Driving in the US is often a relaxing experience. Rosemary Behan
Driving in the US is often a relaxing experience. Rosemary Behan

On the move: a sense of place really drives you



"People don't take trips. Trips take people." So reads a paraphrasing of John Steinbeck's words from his 1962 travel memoir Travels with Charley: In Search of America. He actually said: "A journey is a person in itself; no two are alike. And all plans, safeguards, policies and coercion are fruitless. We find after years of struggle that we do not take a trip; a trip takes us."

In short, our environments change us. We as humans are surprisingly affected by where we live, and where we go – especially if we travel or live in a different place for a long time, as we as expatriates invariably do. Particularly when they’ve lived in an international environment like the UAE, a lot of expats report difficulty adjusting when they return home to their nationalistic little countries, as they sometimes seem. Then, they adjust back.

I never used to realise this. An Australian friend in London, who worked for the Financial Times, used to constantly moan about the weather. It had never crossed my mind to complain about something so integral to a place that we have absolutely no control over. I just thought she was being negative. Perhaps, as a Brit, I thought blue skies were only for holidays.

Then, as I travelled more and more, it became clear that one’s mood and even whole outlook can be changed by the character of a place – though you still have to let it. I love the idea of surrendering yourself to your environment, and so I’ve learned to accept and absorb as much as possible.

The effects of place then become more evident the more you travel. Living in the UAE, I’ve grown accustomed to my drive to work along the old “Salam Street”, a multi-lane highway now renamed Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Street, as meaning anything but “peace". It’s impossible to get to work without at least one rude driver – usually in a Land Cruiser, driving right behind me and flashing their lights. They forget that whatever car they’re driving or however much they flash, I’m still in front. Nevertheless, it’s stressful.

The difference I experienced on a recent trip to the United States couldn’t have been more marked. After picking up a Volvo at Seattle airport, I took the I-5 motorway down to Portland. I’d wondered if there were any alternatives to the “stress” of the motorway, but the drive was anything but stressful. All the other drivers obediently kept to the speed limit, without any speeding or nerve-wracking sudden movements.

So much so that in the beginning, their tame driving annoyed me. I found myself cursing under my breath at these peaceful drivers, wondering if they were asleep at the wheel, had set cruise control to 70kph or had the whole day to waste. But again, I got used to the change. By the time I made the return trip three days later, I loved this relaxed way of driving. In Portland, too, I really enjoyed slowly cruising the residential streets, once I remembered to stop at the multiple four-way residential junctions. Driving there was almost like yoga, a slow but satisfying journey to enlightenment.

I found my way back to Seattle airport without a scratch, as high white clouds filled a clean blue sky. Now back in Abu Dhabi, it’s time to drive to a yoga class.

Pathaan

Director: Siddharth Anand 

Stars: Shah Rukh Khan, Deepika Padukone, John Abraham 

Rating: 3/5

Get inspired

Here are a couple of Valentine’s Day food products that may or may not go the distance (but have got the internet talking anyway).

Sourdough sentiments: Marks & Spencer in the United Kingdom has introduced a slow-baked sourdough loaf dusted with flour to spell out I (heart) you, at £2 (Dh9.5). While it’s not available in the UAE, there’s nothing to stop you taking the idea and creating your own message of love, stencilled on breakfast-inbed toast.  

Crisps playing cupid: Crisp company Tyrells has added a spicy addition to its range for Valentine’s Day. The brand describes the new honey and chilli flavour on Twitter as: “A tenderly bracing duo of the tantalising tingle of chilli with sweet and sticky honey. A helping hand to get your heart racing.” Again, not on sale here, but if you’re tempted you could certainly fashion your own flavour mix (spicy Cheetos and caramel popcorn, anyone?). 

FIXTURES

Nov 04-05: v Western Australia XI, Perth
Nov 08-11: v Cricket Australia XI, Adelaide
Nov 15-18 v Cricket Australia XI, Townsville (d/n)
Nov 23-27: 1ST TEST v AUSTRALIA, Brisbane
Dec 02-06: 2ND TEST v AUSTRALIA, Adelaide (d/n)
Dec 09-10: v Cricket Australia XI, Perth
Dec 14-18: 3RD TEST v AUSTRALIA, Perth
Dec 26-30 4TH TEST v AUSTRALIA, Melbourne
Jan 04-08: 5TH TEST v AUSTRALIA, Sydney

Note: d/n = day/night

The National in Davos

We are bringing you the inside story from the World Economic Forum's Annual Meeting in Davos, a gathering of hundreds of world leaders, top executives and billionaires.

MATCH INFO

Champions League quarter-final, first leg

Ajax v Juventus, Wednesday, 11pm (UAE)

Match on BeIN Sports

Results

Men's finals

45kg:Duc Le Hoang (VIE) beat Zolfi Amirhossein (IRI) points 29-28. 48kg: Naruephon Chittra (THA) beat Joseph Vanlalhruaia (IND) TKO round 2.

51kg: Sakchai Chamchit (THA) beat Salam Al Suwaid (IRQ) TKO round 1. ​​​​​​​54kg: Veerasak Senanue (THA) beat Huynh Hoang Phi (VIE) 30-25.

57kg: Almaz Sarsembekov (KAZ) beat Tak Chuen Suen (MAC) RSC round 3. 60kg: Yerkanat Ospan (KAZ) beat Ibrahim Bilal (UAE) 30-27.

63.5kg: Abil Galiyev (KAZ) beat Nouredine Samir (UAE) 29-28. 67kg: Narin Wonglakhon (THA) beat Mohammed Mardi (UAE) 29-28.

71kg: Amine El Moatassime (UAE) w/o Shaker Al Tekreeti (IRQ). 75kg:​​​​​​​ Youssef Abboud (LBN) w/o Ayoob Saki (IRI).

81kg: Ilyass Habibali (UAE) beat Khaled Tarraf (LBN) 29-28. 86kg: Ali Takaloo (IRI) beat Emil Umayev (KAZ) 30-27.

91kg: Hamid Reza Kordabadi (IRI) beat Mohamad Osaily (LBN) RSC round 1. 91-plus kg: Mohammadrezapoor Shirmohammad (IRI) beat Abdulla Hasan (IRQ) 30-27.

Women's finals

45kg: Somruethai Siripathum (THA) beat Ha Huu Huynh (VIE) 30-27. 48kg: Thanawan Thongduang (THA) beat Colleen Saddi (PHI) 30-27.

51kg: Wansawang Srila Or (THA) beat Thuy Phuong Trieu (VIE) 29-28. 54kg: Ruchira Wongsriwo (THA) beat Zeinab Khatoun (LBN) 30-26.

57kg: Sara Idriss (LBN) beat Zahra Nasiri Bargh (IRI) 30-27. 60kg: Kaewrudee Kamtakrapoom (THA) beat Sedigheh Hajivand (IRI) TKO round 2.

63.5kg: Nadiya Moghaddam (IRI) w/o Reem Al Issa (JOR).

Closing the loophole on sugary drinks

As The National reported last year, non-fizzy sugared drinks were not covered when the original tax was introduced in 2017. Sports drinks sold in supermarkets were found to contain, on average, 20 grams of sugar per 500ml bottle.

The non-fizzy drink AriZona Iced Tea contains 65 grams of sugar – about 16 teaspoons – per 680ml can. The average can costs about Dh6, which would rise to Dh9.

Drinks such as Starbucks Bottled Mocha Frappuccino contain 31g of sugar in 270ml, while Nescafe Mocha in a can contains 15.6g of sugar in a 240ml can.

Flavoured water, long-life fruit juice concentrates, pre-packaged sweetened coffee drinks fall under the ‘sweetened drink’ category
 

Not taxed:

Freshly squeezed fruit juices, ground coffee beans, tea leaves and pre-prepared flavoured milkshakes do not come under the ‘sweetened drink’ band.

Schedule for Asia Cup

Sept 15: Bangladesh v Sri Lanka (Dubai)

Sept 16: Pakistan v Qualifier (Dubai)

Sept 17: Sri Lanka v Afghanistan (Abu Dhabi)

Sept 18: India v Qualifier (Dubai)

Sept 19: India v Pakistan (Dubai)

Sept 20: Bangladesh v Afghanistan (Abu Dhabi) Super Four

Sept 21: Group A Winner v Group B Runner-up (Dubai) 

Sept 21: Group B Winner v Group A Runner-up (Abu Dhabi)

Sept 23: Group A Winner v Group A Runner-up (Dubai)

Sept 23: Group B Winner v Group B Runner-up (Abu Dhabi)

Sept 25: Group A Winner v Group B Winner (Dubai)

Sept 26: Group A Runner-up v Group B Runner-up (Abu Dhabi)

Sept 28: Final (Dubai)

Difference between fractional ownership and timeshare

Although similar in its appearance, the concept of a fractional title deed is unlike that of a timeshare, which usually involves multiple investors buying “time” in a property whereby the owner has the right to occupation for a specified period of time in any year, as opposed to the actual real estate, said John Peacock, Head of Indirect Tax and Conveyancing, BSA Ahmad Bin Hezeem & Associates, a law firm.

Company Profile

Company name: Cargoz
Date started: January 2022
Founders: Premlal Pullisserry and Lijo Antony
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 30
Investment stage: Seed

Spider-Man 2

Developer: Insomniac Games
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Console: PlayStation 5
Rating: 5/5

Sarfira

Director: Sudha Kongara Prasad

Starring: Akshay Kumar, Radhika Madan, Paresh Rawal

Rating: 2/5

The specS: 2018 Toyota Camry

Price: base / as tested: Dh91,000 / Dh114,000

Engine: 3.5-litre V6

Gearbox: Eight-speed automatic

Power: 298hp @ 6,600rpm

Torque: 356Nm @ 4,700rpm

Fuel economy, combined: 7.0L / 100km

BACK TO ALEXANDRIA

Director: Tamer Ruggli

Starring: Nadine Labaki, Fanny Ardant

Rating: 3.5/5

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Almouneer
Started: 2017
Founders: Dr Noha Khater and Rania Kadry
Based: Egypt
Number of staff: 120
Investment: Bootstrapped, with support from Insead and Egyptian government, seed round of
$3.6 million led by Global Ventures

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Haltia.ai
Started: 2023
Co-founders: Arto Bendiken and Talal Thabet
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: AI
Number of employees: 41
Funding: About $1.7 million
Investors: Self, family and friends


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