Open Skies Feb 2020

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CONTRIBUTORS Helena Amante; Tony Cenicola; Ben East; Laura Egerton; Sarah Freeman; Sarah Gamboni; Sarah Gillespie; Palko Karasz; Sofia Levin; Akos Stiller; Ali Watkins. Front cover: Dan Saelinger / Trunk Archive















Emirates takes care to ensure that all facts published herein are correct. In the event of any inaccuracy please contact the editor. Any opinion expressed is the honest belief of the author based on all available facts. Comments and facts should not be relied upon by the reader in taking commercial, legal, financial or other decisions. Articles are by their nature general and specialist advice should always be consulted before any actions are taken.

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OUTLETCITY METZINGEN The OUTLETCITY METZINGEN offers its guests numerous premium and luxury brands in flagship outlet stores with an outstanding product selection and prices reduced by up to 70 %* all year round. The picturesque town in SouthWest Germany, 30 kilometres south of Stuttgart and around two hours from Frankfurt, Munich and Zurich is the most successful factory outlet in Europe. If you are visiting from a country outside the European Union, you qualify for tax-free shopping with additional savings of up to 14.5 %. Benefit from an immediate VAT refund on the spot at our OUTLETCITY Service Center! *Compared to the manufacturers’ former recommended retail price if there is any.

Tory Burch Salvatore Ferragamo


Porsche Design

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58 DUBAI Home beans





The inventive creations of Dubai’s homegrown coffee obsessives 58

Global south Experience 14 Stay: From Zermatt to Dubai 16 Can art represent cities adequately? 22 A guide to Baku, Azerbaijan 28 Beauty and the feast 36 Salmon fishing in upstate New York 40 The magic of Romania’s springs 48 Bartending: not just a night job 52

Latest news 72 Inside Emirates 76 Destination: Japan 78 UAE Smart Gate 80 Route maps 82 The fleet 88 Go see this: The breathtaking redesign of Qasr Al Hosn Fort, Abu Dhabi 90

Fathima Butto on why our media consumption is shifting in the global south’s favour 64

Looking sharp Zeitgeist-setting architecture at Dubai’s World Expo 66



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If you drank a glass of white wine that had been dyed red, would you notice? Apparently not, according to a now-famous 2001 study that saw Frédéric Brochet turn wine detective for his PhD. Challenging 54 oenophiles to describe a wine that he put before them, they universally used descriptors typical of red wine – unaware that they were instead drinking white, tampered with an odourless red dye. The study caught fire (primarily because everyone took such pleasure at putting so-called wine experts in their place). It also became a useful precedent for reminding us that sometimes, all is not what it appears. Sour, salty, fat… these flavours are supposed to be detected by our tongue and roof of our mouth. Yet, so much of what we taste is linked to its visual aspect. “Pinkish-white will be sweet, yellow and green will be sour and white and blue tastes salty,” says Oxford professor Charles Spence in ‘Eating with our eyes’ (p36). Food has long been linked to how it looks. Sometimes it is to display hospitality, other times, wealth – banquets at the Vatican are said to include whole peacocks delivered to the table. One only needs to look at the bemusing popularity of the multi-coloured “freakshake” to recognise that we don’t always eat food for the way it tastes. Perhaps, though, we can still find culinary beauty in the natural. In the intrepid hunt for New York’s salmon, as told by Ali Watkins on p40, she describes “hordes of slick green backs, begging to be hooked.” If we can take pleasure in the humble beginnings of our produce – as well as the final, gussied-up version, dished out in a fancy restaurant – so much the better.

Georgina Lavers, Editor

AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD, WHERE THE SKY SWIMS IN SEA BLUE t hi s i s l a nd s a nc t ua r y welcomes you with breeze a nd b i r d s o ng , c a nd l e l i t d i nne r s a nd i nf i ni t e v i e w s . J us t d a y d r e a m s a w a y f r o m t he b uz z o f t he c a p i t a l , y o u c a n l o s e y o ur s e l f i n t he p e a c e f ul l ux ur y o f y o ur o w n p e r f e c t uni v e r s e .


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“A time machine! Out of a DeLorean?” The iconic 1980s film Back To The Future gets the musical treatment this month in a world premiere in Manchester. Roger Burt, who plays Christopher Lloyd’s mad professor character Dr Emmett Brown, explains the magic Given that one of Back To The Future’s classic scenes is Marty McFly playing Johnny B Goode, it’s amazing there’s never been a musical adaptation. Yeah, the movie has this backbone of great music to the story. Marty McFly as a young rock ‘n’ roll guitarist in high school is just the greatest excuse for our show to express itself through song in that main character. On top of it, we have the luxury of spending time in 1985 and 1955, both incredible musical eras. I can’t wait for people to hear the songs – we have an amazing band.

Can you put a finger on why there’s so much love for Back To The Future? Because it’s about family, and the power of love – Huey Lewis’ great song – which everyone instinctively understands. You want to believe in this idea that you can accomplish anything if you put your mind to it, which is such a key part of Back To The Future. And then there’s the notion of being able to go back and fix things.

How’s your Doc Brown shaping up? Well, when you’re playing someone as iconic as Doc Brown, so brilliantly and indelibly rendered by Christopher Lloyd in the film, you try to use what he did as a launchpad for your own performance. I mean, he is perfect in that film. There are certain things I completely lift from him, like the way he moved. But as time goes on and you have your own relationship with the actor playing Marty McFly, it inevitably becomes my version of the character – you have to turn the movie off. I just feel so grateful that Christopher’s version was so fun.

He’s often seen as a purely comic character, but there’s also a real sense of wonder and possibility to Doc Brown Absolutely. It’s a role that really celebrates science and creativity. He really does express an amazing attitude about life, failure, perseverance and dedication; there’s a belief in himself and the universe that

is very attractive. He’s filled with a sense of hope. In American culture, mentors used to be so important and I would say this century there’s been a little bit of a breakdown between generations. Which is why this is such a wonderful relationship – most of what he’s trying to do in this show is help his friend. There’s something to cherish in that.

Have you met Christopher Lloyd or any of the original Back To The Future team yet? Well, first of all, I have been in the DeLorean – which we’re calling Dolores! As for humans, Bob Gale, who wrote the movie and the book for this musical, has been at the majority of the workshops. He’s an incredible guy and he has been key in getting the tone of the show correct. And yes, I did get to spend a couple of evenings with Christopher Lloyd and get to know him a bit. He just wanted to know how Doc Brown sung! Manchester, UK.

Roger Bart (Doc Brown) and Christopher Lloyd at the Manchester launch for Back To The Future the Musical


EMIRATES AIRLINE FESTIVAL OF LITERATURE The 12th annual books extravaganza in Dubai boasts one of its most exciting line-ups to date, with appearances from adventurer Ranulph Fiennes, Booker-shortlisted author Esi Edugyan and current Booker International Prize winner Jokha Alharthi. There’s something for everyone here, with historians, children’s authors, food writers, scientists and thinkers also gathering for sessions during the festival, which this year has the overarching theme: “what will tomorrow look like?” Dubai, UAE.







The carnival season has already begun in New Orleans, with traditional balls and spectacular parades with outlandish floats throwing visitors gifts and trinkets throughout February. The city becomes one big party in the run up to February 25, Mardi Gras Day, but there’s also a Family Gras beforehand that caters for little ones. New Orleans, US.

A little more sober than Mardi Gras but no less intriguing is Venice’s version of carnival, which involves masked revellers in tabarro cloaks roaming the waterways. Only revived in 1979 after Napoleon banned public festivities 200 years previously, there are street shows, more parades (on water, obviously, and beautifully lit) and opulent balls. Venice, Italy.

The shortest, most explosive format of cricket enjoys a biennial World Cup every two years, the big talking point this time is whether reigning champions Australia can win on home soil. They’re the overwhelming favourites, but second in the ICC rankings are England, who will be itching to put right their defeat in the 2019 final. Across Australia.



25.2048° N, 55.2708° E


At Dubai’s Nikki Beach, a lively lifestyle brand adapts to a unique customer

Left: The living room of a garden villa offers space for private dining


FROM THE CONCIERGE Rum tasting Savour a Caribbean dinner served beachfront by Chef Olivier Hilton of Key West Bar and Grill, paired with a rum tasting experience. Try a South Beach Punch, with coconut rum, or 90 Miles to Cuba, with both dark and light rums, cinammon and ginger beer.

House beats seem to melt into the warm air of the Gulf, with guests decked out in Gucci and Zuhair Murad swaying to the hypnotic rhythm of the resident DJ. Every so often, their moves might be punctuated by a spontaneous percussion performance, or a team of aerialists, or even, perhaps, the arrival of a champagne “tank” – pushed by waiters and festooned with sparklers that soar into the dusk. When guests are finished with a hard day’s partying, they may retreat to a suite with views of a whitewashed shoreline, their room lit up in neon blue lights. This is Nikki Beach, a carefully-created experience that transcends the idea of “just a hotel.” Since its inception two decades ago, the

hotel chain has quickly become known for its prime beachfront locations, as well as a buzzy scene that has been replicated across locations including Koh Samui, Bodrum and Santorini. In Dubai, a hippie-luxe flavour similarly permeates the property, with teepees in the reception and quirky ceramics dotted around the social spaces. The property is home to its eponymous beach club, free to access when staying at the hotel. Elsewhere, five restaurants and lounges, a 450-metre private beach studded with palm trees, a well-stocked gym, spa and two oversized pools make for a swanky resort getaway. It’s not all high glamour: on Wednesday, Floridian-themed restaurant

Hammam experience The Hammam at Nikki Spa, prepared the traditional Moroccan way, is a holistic and nurturing experience that provides instant, visible and long-lasting results. Try the one-hour Moroccan Bath experience, where the body is painted with an olive paste, before exfoliation and body scrub with a traditional kessa, a Rhassoul clay mask application and a hair wash. Private villas For families, privacy-seekers or those wanting more than a mini-break, try the self-contained pool villas. Situated between the hotel and the beach club, villas have exclusive access to private patios and terraces, with balconies for each bedroom.


From top: The private beach offers jet-skiing and other watersports; Café Nikki offers all-day dining, focusing on responsibly-sourced ingredients; Beach villas come with their own patios

Key West turns to Jamaica for inspiration, guests foregoing heels for flip flops to the strains of a Jamaican live band (and platefuls of bbq from the buffet). Breakfast can be taken at the resort’s main restaurant, Café Nikki, which serves up eggs benedict and pancakes with a sea view. Small touches like a mini Smeg fridge pair with local considerations, such as a shisha area located just off to the side of the restaurant. Foodies should try the less pricey equivalent of a private club cabana (where minimum spend is US$8,000) and go large on the seafood brunch; with salmon smoked at your own table, and a huge wooden crate groaning with langoustines and crab legs.


Planning a visit to Dubai and the UAE? On today’s flight in the TV section on ice you’ll find Enjoy Dubai & the UAE, with channels dedicated to Tourist Attractions, Dining, Activities, Entertainment, Golfing and Hotels & Resorts.



46.0207° N, 7.7491° E


In the Swiss resort town of Zermatt, a new hotel is proving a welcome breath of fresh air

Left: Décor at the property finds its inspiration in a global, rather than Swiss design


FROM THE CONCIERGE Pop goes the cheesecake

Some hotels wear their name like a badly tailored suit, others have it stitched into their DNA. Mama is the latter. An homage to the grandmother of owner Sandrine Julen, it’s the third incarnation of a hotel that’s been in Zermatt’s famed hotelier family for three generations. The 26-year-old has honoured this heritage, without descending into sentimentality – returning the ceramic fireplace to where it stood during her grandmother’s tenure, and slipping dishes like ‘granny style’ waffles into its bistro menu. In a departure from the status quo (for Zermatt at least) – the property’s rooms span every budget – from cosy singles to

whirlpool suites, where corporates, snowboarders and families can all bunk down. This inclusive ethos extends to the hotel’s stylish co-working area (already a hit with the local ski school), which doubles as the breakfast bar and events space during low season. “I want to break things down and make it less formal,” explained Julen. The hotel thinks outside the Toblerone box when it comes to décor, too. It’s more about global eclecticism than sheepskins and chalet chic – from the metal latticework adorning the bar and facade (inspired by the owner’s brief stint living in Dubai), to the Italian-made armchairs. Adding

Even the bistro taps into the hotel’s textural tendencies; a case in point is its cheesecake, presented in an enamel mug and topped with berries, meringue and popping candy. Warm up for the explosive dessert with a sharing platter of veggie tempura, baked Dolly sheep cheese with boiled potatoes and veal tartar served on Zermatten walnut bread. Yes, it’s personal The spirit of Mama lives on in the ground-floor shop, where you stock up on Italian deli-style treats like speciality pastas and retro-packaged olive oil, ownbrand sunscreen, floral motif Swedish Birchwood trays and even the hotel’s own bespoke scent. In a thoughtful touch, Mama sends you home with a gift from here, handpicked by Sandrine herself.



From top: Bedrooms come equipped with electric fondue sets; A nod to the Alpine setting; Local olive oil and pastas are available to buy in the gift shop

some local spin are Valaisian materials like wood and stone. Texture is also a touchpoint, stimulating a sense that’s all too often forgotten in today’s tech-forward hotels. Dovetail leather place mats, felt forest green cushions and the bedrooms’ fabric wallpapers, right this wrong. What its 29-herringbone parquet-floored bedrooms lack in square footage, they compensate for with statement furniture like leather trunk minibars (complete with electric fondue sets), and bespoke upholstery, printed in Swiss pastoral scenes. In stark contrast, the bathrooms channel an urban vibe – washed in charcoal and black, with chrome accents and geometric lines. Mama’s penchant for yin and yang is catching...


Emirates serves two destinations in Switzerland – Zurich and Geneva.



46.0207° N, 7.7491° E


A popular beach club, top-rated restaurants and a sophisticated setting make Rixos Premium Dubai a preferred destination among the city’s social set


DINING IN STK Channelling a luxe New York steakhouse, this sophisticated dining room draws an equally upscale crowd to its curvaceous booths for flame-grilled beef, tartares from the raw bar, and decadent weekend brunches. Ammos Be transported to the Aegean islands with a meal at Ammos Greek restaurant, a breezy, white-and-blue eatery beside the pool. Standouts include dips with pillowy pita bread, freshly caught seafood grilled to order, and the signature lobster spaghetti for two. Luigia This lively Italian trattoria serves exemplary pizza, pasta and antipasti using the finest ingredients flown in fresh from Italy. A favourite among families, Luigia has a dedicated kids’ play area complete with activities, games and a cinema.

Flashy, fast-paced and eye-catching. As far as first impressions go, Rixos Premium Dubai doesn’t disappoint – and that’s just the sports cars that line the hotel’s driveway. The rotation of Ferraris, Lamborghinis and McLarens (and their smartly dressed owners) set the tone for this high-energy hotel, a favourite among the Dubai party set since its launch in 2017. Hailing from Turkish luxury hoteliers Rixos, the five-star urban retreat in Jumeirah Beach Residence occupies one half of the Crystal Towers complex, a pair of slick structures on the southern Dubai skyline.

Inside, a triple-height foyer of glossy black marble draws the eye past high-end clothing boutiques and low-slung couches to a vast expanse of glass overlooking the Arabian Gulf. Between the hotel and the gulf’s gentle waves lies Azure Beach club, home to an expansive infinity pool and Mediterranean-inspired lounge. Shaded sunbeds, pool floats and chilled DJ tunes make for laidback days, which step up a notch on weekends. Rixos’ acclaimed bars and restaurants add to the party vibe, with nine outlets that take you from buffet breakfasts at Turquoise and morning tea at Godiva to sundowners

Above: Nine outlets throughout the property provide plenty of dining decisions

From top: Floor-to-ceiling windows give expansive views of the Arabian Gulf; Natureland Spa offers traditional hammam experiences

on District’s view-blessed terrace. Yet within the confines of the 414-room hotel, a surprising sense of calm prevails. Muted mushroom tones and soft lighting provide privacy in the common areas, and in the rooms and suites, Arabesque screens and carpets offer a subtle nod to Rixos’ Turkish origins – also evident at the Natureland Spa. Along with classic massages and facials, guests can experience a traditional hammam treatment, where therapists steam, scrub and cleanse the body using exfoliating kessa mitts and clouds of soap. It’s the perfect place to reset after a weekend of Rixos indulgence.


For more great places to stay check out the Dubai Hotels podcast on ice.


From South Korea to Christchurch, public art is responding to cities’ characters WORDS: LAURA EGERTON

Does public art heal?

In New Zealand, 185 empty white chairs act as an unofficial memorial for those that died in the 2011 Christchurch earthquake

“Everything is going to be alright”. These words, spelt out in neon by Martin Creed, were first exhibited on the exterior of Tate Britain, London, and soon after in New York’s Times Square to welcome the new millennium. It was fitting, too, for the first colourful iteration of the piece to illuminate Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu in September 2015 – as the institution reopened five years after the city suffered two catastrophic earthquakes. Sometimes receiving a jolt can propel a city into finding new methods of creative expression. Sometimes it can be manifested through museum programming, but it can also grow organically. Christchurch launched itself as a street art destination after the earthquakes; the city, suddenly full of derelict buildings and containers ripe for graffiti artists, becoming reshaped. Peter Majendie’s 185 Empty White Chairs on the site of the CTV Building where 115 lives were lost (mostly Chinese and Japanese students) is a truly eloquent memorial. The stark collection of chairs of different shapes and sizes





united by their white colour, scattered on what is now a grassy wasteland, alongside the Transitional Cathedral designed by the Japanese architect Shigeru Ban. SCAPE public art was producing new contemporary public art projects in Christchurch well before the earthquakes. Its 2019 edition ‘Rock Paper Scissors’, examined materials, patterns and rituals. “Everything comes from somewhere,” declares curator Emma Budgen. A standout work by Sui Jianguo was displayed by the Bridge of Remembrance: “Made in China is both a provocation – tapping into contempo-

rary anxieties about buying local – and statement of fact. It’s an artwork made by a Chinese artist.” As the world becomes full to bust with things made in China, the art scene in China goes from strength to strength. Blue-chip galleries and private institutions have been flocking to open spaces in Shanghai’s West Bund and Beijing’s 798 Art District for over a decade, since the Shanghai Expo in 2010. Last November’s art week in Shanghai saw the opening of the David Chipperfield designed Centre Pompidou x West Bund Museum, a truly significant new land-

mark. Strong public projects are yet to be launched but by 2035 the city intends to be the leading art centre in Asia and public art is very much on their agenda. Shanghai hosts the annual international award for public art, which in 2019 commended El Seed’s spectacular project, ‘Perception’ (2016). The anamorphic masterpiece of Arabic calligraphy painted on the exterior of over 50 buildings in the Manshiyat Nasr neighbourhood of Cairo (known as ‘garbage city’) has brought the troubled community together and stands as a key example of the power of public art. Whether Man-



1. Sui Jianguo’s resin dinosaur, ‘Made in China.’ 2. Graffiti in Cairo’s ‘Garbage City’ by El Seed helped to reshape its perception 3. A giant fresco by French street artist Saype that pays tribute to migrants, as seen from the Eiffel Tower 4. Considered as a poor area of Busan, Gamcheon is now an awardwinning cultural village, by virtue of its street art 5, 6. Architect Friedensreich Hundertwasser conceived this colourful public toilet block in New Zealand

shiyat Nasr will become a fully-fledged tourist destination as a result of El Seed’s project remains to be seen, but there are examples elsewhere of districts springing to life thanks to innovative urban art schemes. Take, for example the wonderfully eclectic Gamcheon Culture Village in Busan, South Korea. Originally a shanty town where refugees settled following the Korean war from 1958, the village was given a new lease of life in 2009, with schoolchildren, artists and architects taking over spaces in the twisting alleys and transforming them into art installations. With new



elements being added all the time, the village is a fascinating place to explore. Another Instagram hit is a quirky spot on the tourist trail in Northland, New Zealand: the public toilets in the small town of Kawakawa created by Austrian-born artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser. It has been such a success that the late artist’s designs for a major arts centre for the region are being realised as the Hundertwasser Art Centre and Wairau Māori gallery in Whangarei, due to open in 2021. It will be the first gallery dedicated to contemporary Māori fine art and will also bring pieces from Vienna to

be on permanent display. Supported entirely by the community, it will give the region a first-rate cultural destination. A city famed for its spirited and vibrant street art scene is Buenos Aires. From Colegiales to La Boca murals abound, as local artist Irina Kirchuk observes, “the city has a unique energy, it lives on the street, thrives on spontaneity, disorganisation and is all the richer for it”. Krichuk has however shown abroad more than in Argentina so far in her career, her most well-known installation to date was for ‘Bold Tendencies’ in London’s Peckham in 2018, which





remodelled the London skyline in pulsating sculptural forms using materials sourced from rubbish dumps. The market for Latin American art has been on the up in recent years, Buenos Aires selected by Art Basel to launch ‘Art Cities’, to propel its artists and galleries into the global spotlight. Luciana Lamothe’s “Starting Zone” was produced as part of this programme in 2018, her interactive installations creating temporary ‘in-between’ spaces. Ruth Benzacar Galeria de Arte brought her to Dubai as part of Art Dubai’s Resi-

dents Programme in 2019, the piece she created has joined a growing collection at Art Jameel. Several of the projects in Christchurch funded by SCAPE public art are permanent: take for example Anthony Gormley’s STAY, a cast-iron human figure standing in the river Avon which runs through the city’s heart. It has a lifespan of 300 years and has played a therapeutic role as the city rebuilds itself after crisis. The city was lucky in this case as the artist gave a large discount, funding is often a prohibitive factor in producing public

art projects. Fundraising appeals in communities can be successful, such as the Hundertwasser Arts Centre in Whangarei, as can key moments in a city’s history when public funding is readily available: such as an Expo. We saw Shanghai’s cultural spaces open up as a result of Shanghai 2010 and have high hopes that Expo 2020 will have a similar effect on Dubai. What is crucial to bear in mind is how artworks can reflect and respond to the particular character of a city, understand the concerns of its communities and have a positive impact.


7. Argentinian artist Irina Kirchuk’s Bold Tendencies, in Peckham, London 8. Luciana Lamothe’s Limber Sharp at Jameel Arts Centre, Dubai 9. Antony Gormley’s castiron sculpture in the Avon River, unceremoniously crowned with one of the city’s ubiquitous orange road cones

Meeting point for the world’s cultural and gastronomic diversity, the city with bohemian charm, Tbilisi, Georgia welcomes you.




40.4093° N, 49.8671° E

With an eclectic mix of ancient history, art, flavoursome food and the F1 – Baku holds appeal for a variety of travellers




Baku’s currency is modelled on Euros with their size and colour. However, each Manat note is themed with characteristics of its national identity. You’ll find excerpts from the national anthem and images of a sword, shield and helmet to signify power.

Ask someone to point out Baku on a map and there’s a good chance they’ll take a few minutes. It’s Azerbaijan’s most eastern point that juts out into the Caspian Sea, across the water from Turkmenistan. Each year it hosts the Azerbaijan F1 Grand Prix, but the city holds appeal well beyond car enthusiasts. Icheri Sheher, the Old City, is Baku’s historical centre, with many of its 12th-century defensive walls still intact. Within these fortifications are the ancient jewels of Azerbaijan, the Maiden Tower and Shirvanshahs’ Palace, but also a creative community, local craft stores and even entrepreneurs touting Azeri caviar. Visitors can stop for a quick qutab (charred, stuffed flatbread) served from a window for a single manat; pause for tea taken with spoonfuls of jam or indulge in an authentic feast with a side of traditional entertainment. Baku itself is a confection of interesting buildings that range from centuries-old stone, to brutalist remnants of the Soviet era, to modern architectural masterpieces that wouldn’t be out of place in Dubai. Nothing is far, whether it be the sprawling local market, Taza Bazar, or bustling Nizami Street, lined with international designer shops, restaurants and hotels. Neftchilar Avenue separates the Old City from the Caspian Sea and leads to the Baku Boulevard, where people stroll past historical points of interest and watch the sunset. The metro and bus systems are straightforward and cost 0.30 manat (20¢) regardless of where you ride, while taxis are usually less than 10 manat (US$6) within Baku. Spend a few days in this city and you’ll soon realise that while it’s unmistakably familiar, Baku remains unlike anywhere else.




To shop like a local, go where the locals shop. Expect to get lost among stalls of fresh produce, pyramids of dried fruits and teas, baskets of pomegranates, open-air meat and fish sections, tables of traditional cheese, giant jars of pickles and even caviar. It’s an assault on the senses and a photographer’s dream. Corner Salatin Asgarova and Səməd Vurğun, Baku





AZERBAIJAN NATIONAL CARPET MUSEUM There’s a saying in Azerbaijan, “home is where your carpet is spread”. The Carpet Museum is a testament to the importance of the carpet throughout Azerbaijan’s history and culture. The museum opened in 1967 and relocated to the waterfront in an impressive building shaped like a rolled carpet in 2014. Inside the oldest rug dates from the 17th century, while modernist works portray daily life and fairytale-like scenes. Stop to admire the trio of famed Flame Towers from the entrance. 28 Mikayıl Hüseynov Prospekti, Baku, +994 12 497 20 57,



Standing at 29 metres tall over eight storeys, you might spot this iconic stone tower on the back of your manat before you see it in person. There’s debate around when it was built, but it’s generally agreed that the lower part dates to the 6th century and that most of the structure was completed in the 12th century. It’s thought that the Maiden Tower was originally a temple and then a defence tower – the walls are five metres thick at the base. Called Qız Qalası in Azeri, head inside to admire the multimedia installations in the museum. Icheri Sheher, Baku, +994 12 492 11 75,




MUĞAM CLUB It’s as much about the atmosphere as the traditional food at this two-storey caravanserai restaurant, with glimpses of the Maiden Tower from the sheltered courtyard. Sit beside a fountain and fig trees strung with fairy lights while tucking into dishes like dushbere (dumpling soup) and ciz-biz (fried and diced offal with potato). Book ahead and visit in the evening for traditional performances. 9 Hagigat Rzayeva, Baku, +994 12 492 40 85,




PALACE OF THE SHIRVANSHAHS Stroll through Icheri Sheher to this restored, 15th century palace where Azerbaijan’s dynasty ruled, bathed, and cohabitated in the Middle Ages. Through the main courtyard there’s a wonderful view across sandstone domes to the Flame Towers, while inside are exhibitions with audiovisual flourishes. Explore the Divankhana pavilion, burial vaults, mosque, mausoleum and hamam ruins. Icheri Sheher, Baku, +994 12 492 11 75,

The best way to see Baku is from its waterways. Take a gondola through its own Little Venice, a man-made waterway that flows between shops and restaurants and is connected by bridges and walkways.




MUSEUM OF MINIATURE BOOKS This small, obscure museum of more than 5,700 tiny books, courtesy of the personal collection of Zarifa Salahova, is worth 10 minutes if you’re in the Old City. Most require a magnifying glass to read. There’s a whole library’s worth of books from fairy tales and Shakespeare to philosophy and worship. 67 1st Castle Lane, Icheri Sheher, Baku, +994 12 492 94 64,


Arm wrestling is a serious business in Baku’s gyms and bars. The city is home to the Armwrestling Federation, who host the country’s professional league.





ALI SHAMSI STUDIO Baku is an artistic city and if you stop in at this workshop you’re likely to meet the artist himself. Ali Shamsi paints bold, colourful canvases with dreamscape-like subject matter of piercing eyes and pomegranates. He’ll pose for a photo, and will likely ask you to do the same. 28 Kichik Qala, Baku, +994 50 478 14 78,

HEYDAR ALIYEV CENTRE You could spend half a day at Baku’s most famous building and cultural centre, designed by renowned architect Zaha Hadid. It’s not hard to believe there wasn’t a single straight line used in its design. The abstract, white structure bends and curves at different angles, causing it to seemingly change shape. Inside is a museum dedicated to Azerbaijan’s history and the life of Heydar Aliyev, as well as multiple exhibition halls that might include classic cars, photography, traditional musical instruments or puppets from around the world. Keep an eye out for musical performances, too. 1 Heydar Aliyev Ave, Baku, +994 12 505 60 01,


01 INVESTMENT HAVEN High tax benefits, political and economic stability for your investments; European Union member with the highest rate in positive investment intentions.


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THE DIGITAL ERA HAS REINFORCED THE REIGN OF FOOD VISUALS. BUT IS THERE HOPE BEYOND RAINBOW BAGELS? Food should be a multisensory experience: a tantalising aroma wafting up to the nose, a play of textures exploding in the mouth, a surprising combination of flavours lingering on the palate. However, in today’s social media-driven, highly visual world, we are constantly interacting with food only through sight. The old aphorism ascribed to the first-century Roman gourmand Apicius, “We eat first with our eyes”, has never felt more accurate. If an elaborate, scenographic presentation of food was favoured by Roman patricians as a means to amaze their guests and express their wealth and prosperity, the digital world we live in has amplified the importance of food visuals in all four corners of the earth.

“While the senses of taste (gustation), smell (olfaction), and texture (touch or oral – somatosensation) provide the ultimate arbiters of a food’s palatability, visuals make for a big part of our appreciation of food. The natural desire, or urge, to look at food could well be an evolutionary adaption: our brains learnt to enjoy seeing food, since it would likely precede consumption”, says Charles Spence, Professor of Experimental Psychology and Head of the Crossmodal Research Laboratory at the University of Oxford. “Foraging – the search for nutritious foods – is one of the brain’s most important functions, and in humans, this activity relies primarily on vision”. Food and sight are so

closely linked that it has been suggested that trichromatic colour vision could have developed in primates as an adaptation to help identify colourful fruits amongst the dark green canopy. Nonetheless, if visuals have played an essential role in the human relationship with food since time immemorial, there has arguably never been a time where they have been so preponderant. “What’s peculiar in our age is the absolute dominance of the visual: we live in the age of the images of food, and sometimes food is reduced to its visual appearance”, says Nicola Perullo, Professor of Aesthetics at the University of Gastronomic Sciences of Pollenzo, Italy. Over the last few decades, exposure to

38 idealised cooking procedures and beautiful plating has ballooned: exquisitely illustrated cookbooks have become bestsellers and cookery shows fashionable. The Internet took visuals to another level by putting the user at the centre – according to Statista, half of Americans take pictures of their food before starting a meal, and food hashtags account for millions of search results worldwide. Beyond refining the art of plating and serving, the battle for likes and comments on the food web scene has led some restaurants to adopt offbeat techniques to encourage social sharing, such as providing Instagram kits – including LED lights, clip-on wide camera lens and selfie sticks – or printers that scan selfies on the front of drinks. According to Perullo, the current marketisation of aesthetics doesn’t come without a cost, and with rainbow bagels, quintuple burgers and metres-tall ice creams jostling for the food hashtag podium, it’s easy to understand the risks. But if high-calorie, plastic and

shapen, discoloured and knobbly. Making a compelling case for the subjectivity of beauty and the deceptive nature of visuals, photographer Klaus Pichler elegantly portrayed rotten food against a black setting for his project “One Third” – named after the UN statistics reporting that roughly one-third of the food produced in the world for human consumption gets lost or wasted every year. Intentionally emulating the aesthetics of advertising photography, the images of food covered in vivid, putrid green spots and exuberant furry mould strike the eye as gorgeous just before the brain realises what is actually depicted. While Pichler’s work captured the essence of decay into an instant of beauty to raise awareness of food waste, others are devising captivating visual narratives to change mentalities on different food habits, and to tackle the general misconception that healthier equals less tasty. “I think alternative diets should be promoted with the same sexiness as ‘regular’ diets. They can be as appealing”,

“WE FIND THAT MOST PEOPLE THINK PINKISH-WHITE WILL BE S W E E T, Y E L L O W A N D G R E E N W I L L BE SOUR, BROWN AND BLACK TASTES BITTER AND WHITE AND B L U E TA S T E S S A LT Y ” unhealthy food is apparently ideal Insta-worthy material, there’s no reason why visuals can’t be twisted and turned to advocate for different narratives. On the issue of food waste – an ugly problematic in all senses – visuals are being used creatively to shed light on the problem. Initiated in Germany to prevent a startling 40 per cent of agricultural produce from being rejected by supermarkets for failing to meet cosmetic standards, the “Ugly Food” movement campaigned for the commercialisation of perfectly edible and tasty, if ugly, produce. Adopted since in many other countries, by both small shops and supermarkets, the movement’s ethos has flooded to social networks, through profiles like that of NYC-based food stylist Sarah Phillips (@uglyproduceisbeautiful), who aims to explore the appeal of the mis-

says Elise Dumas, the Parisian behind @pineapplechef. “My intolerances were a stroke of luck to help me go back to a good and healthy way of eating. They’ve made me realise I wanted to talk about good and authentic food, and I now use my experience as a former visual merchandiser for luxury brands – the ability to deal with shapes, textures, colours and the overall reading of a display – in my food styling and photography”. Working on content mostly for visual consumption, Dumas uses several techniques to make food feel real and fresh, like highlighting different textures so the viewer almost feels he can taste it. Also, the images rely heavily on storytelling to evoke a strong sense of place, trigger sensory memories and compensate for the lack of other stimuli. “The food needs to be shot like you are going to serve it or eat it.

Food is about sharing. You tell a story of cooking and making, or a story of serving and tasting, or even a story of just ingredients. Whichever story you pick, you need to stick to it and choose everything accordingly, including settings, cutlery, tableware and so on”. But beyond storytelling and photographic artistry, another set of brain tricks can lend a precious hand to shaping our perceptions about food on the sole basis of looks, as cognitive neurosciences delve deeply into the relationship between sight and taste expectations. “The sense of sight is particularly influential in tasting expectations, and both colour and shape convey information to the brain”, says Spence. Most surprisingly, not only is the colour of food itself influential, but taste is also perceived differently depending on the colour of the crockery. Blue – a colour typically associated with unnatural and artificial food colouring precisely because blue foods are rare in nature – is reported to be off-putting: the blue tray meal deal of the Great Depression Era appears to have come out of the realisation of those offering all-you-can-eat meals that customers consumed less food if they were given a blue tray rather than a tray of another colour. In recent studies, Spence and his team at the Crossmodal Laboratory have mapped colours according to taste expectations: “We find that most people think pinkish-white will be sweet, yellow and green will be sour, brown and black tastes bitter and white and blue tastes salty”. In terms of shape, meanwhile, rounded, voluminous and regular forms suggest sweet flavours, while angular and asymmetrical ones tend to be perceived as bitter. Armed with a powerful bag of tricks, Spence has been working alongside chef Jozef Youssef from Kitchen Theory to make our brains ecstatic about a healthy and sustainable meal, with strategies that go from serving food with a fraction of the sugar and calories that our eyes are misled to expect, to boosting the appeal of sustainable but unappetising ingredients. There’s no room for doubt: we do eat with our eyes, now more than ever. Yet, with a touch of artistry and the aid of visual illusions, we may be able to overcome the challenges of food visuals in the digital era with flying colours.





My dad and I were on the rocky bank of Sandy Creek when I saw the first salmon close enough to catch. Like a phantom, it glided against the current, its rhythm just a beat slower than the water around it. Two decades of fishing experience vanished the moment its body – 3 feet long, at least – swam in front of me. I was as anxious and clumsy as a child. I was also not in Alaska, the assumed home of this prized fish; I was an hour north of Syracuse, New York. All anglers have a catch they dream of landing. King salmon, with its signature pink streak and hooked jaw, is almost certainly on anyone’s list. Its very mention brings fantasies of deep woods and

of roaring streams, dammed by hordes of slick green backs begging to be hooked. That fishermen and women wish for salmon is no surprise. The twist in that fantasy is that such visions are not pipe dreams restricted to the West. Thousands of coho and king salmon swim inland every autumn just five hours northwest of New York City, pouring out of Lake Ontario and into dozens of tributaries across Oswego County to spawn and die upstream. They are joined by throngs of hopeful anglers who aim to arrive in Oswego County just as the salmon begin their annual “run,” when the fish leave the lake’s relative safety and begin their doomed mission upstream.

My dad and I were two of those hopefuls this fall, trekking upstate with my uncle and cousins one October weekend to bring home a fish of our own. Both of us had fished in countless states and waterways but never had either of us landed one of those coveted trophies. My uncle, who has pulled salmon from these waters for years, predicted that the week’s early rain would spur the fish upstream, toward us. The salmon run itself is its own ambiguous fish tale. It occurs every year, sometime between September and the end of November, and is usually spurred by the first frost. A handful of blogs and fishing reports keep tabs on its status, as does the region’s whisper network of

Fish On!. a motel in Pulaski, N.Y. The majority of fishing businesses in Pulaski are family-owned, shops and boats often passing down through the generations


tackle shops and fishing lodges. Some say Oswego County’s major run is almost always on Columbus Day, and any other weekend is a waste. Others say it can happen as late as Halloween. The fisherman on your right might say it happened last week, as the one on your left says it hasn’t happened yet. Whichever angler you choose to believe, if you venture to an Oswego County waterway sometime between September and November, you are likely to see a salmon or one of their trout cousins, the equally coveted steelhead. If you see them, you may be able to catch them, which is what brought us to this marshy waterway 15 miles outside Pulaski, New York.

CASTING RITUALS I still remember the first fish I caught with my dad. I was 7, and we hooked a foot-long catfish off Lake Ontelaunee, in the middle of a Pennsylvania summer. We nailed it to a board and gutted it. Then, according to my father, I paraded around the neighborhood with a bloody fish skeleton on a two-by-four. The debacle was the start of our own chapter in a family heritage, passed down by my grandfather who often joined our excursions. When my grandfather died, my father inherited his poles, tokens reminding us to keep that tradition alive. Growing up and moving out has made that difficult, but still, fishing is our

Pulaski, New York is a community built around fishing. The tiny village, with a population of around 2,200, was once known as Fishville

long-distance communion. I send my dad pictures of the trout I pull from Colorado mountain lakes, and he regales me with stories from his foray into fly fishing. To miss a weekend fishing together for king salmon would be sacrilege. For years, my dad and my uncle have traveled to Pulaski, a fishing hamlet on the eastern end of Lake Ontario. The area is an angler’s promised land, brimming with trout, bass and pike year round. But it is the coveted salmon and steelhead that make these streams a sort of angling mecca for the East Coast fisherman. If fishing requires luck, salmon fishing takes twice as much. By the time they begin their trip inland to spawn, the salm-


The native Atlantic salmon of Lake Ontario were demolished by anglers and invasive species at the turn of the 19th century, and attempts to revitalise the fish faltered until the late 1960s



on are no longer eating. Bait is useless. Instead, a hopeful fisher must scan the waterways, look for a stray fin and cast, hoping to land the tiny hook on a fish or annoy one so much that it strikes. Autumn anglers in these waterways are treated to double the odds. As the salmon run wanes, it is followed by a flood of steelhead trout making their own biannual trek to spawn upriver, feeding on the flesh of dying salmon as they go.


A TOWN’S PURPOSE That salmon even exist today to traverse these waters is a wonder. After centuries as a reliable food source for the Iroquois, the native Atlantic salmon of Lake Ontario were demolished by anglers and invasive species at the turn of the 19th century. Attempts to revitalise the fish faltered for decades until stocked king (referred more frequently as chinook in Pulaski) and coho salmon finally made their way inland to spawn in the late 1960s. Since then, they have carried the area’s industry on their glistening backs, tracing a route every fall from Lake Ontario back to the Salmon River and their nascent fish hatchery in Altmar, just a few miles east of Pulaski. Thousands of hopeful anglers descend on the lake’s various tributaries every fall for the fishes’ annual pilgrimage, bringing rods, trophy hopes and around $19 million in annual revenue. To partake in the endeavour requires a small investment. A state license can be purchased for a single day, a week or a year, and in-state residents can get a seven-day permit for $12, bought online or at any of the town’s tackle shops. Fly fishing is most popular, but few tackle shops in the area rent gear. The better option for hobbyists is to book a trip with any of the region’s various guides, easily scheduled in Pulaski. The town, right on the Salmon River, is the modest metropolis of the premiere fishing zone, and it exists for little else. Taverns double as gutting stations and fish storage lockers, and almost every view contains a tackle shop. In-town lodging consists of drive-in motels and antiquated lodges. For those inclined toward comfort, the 1880 House is in the center of town on the banks of the river – the inn’s smart, professorial décor


Clockwise from far left: At Fat Nancy’s Tackle Shop, Rich Nau sells flies, bait and other gear to anglers; Waders and other gear drying in the cellar of the 1880 House; Autumn anglers in the waterways are treated to double the odds – both salmon and a flood of steelhead trout

evokes a more elegant sporting weekend. (Fun fact: The inn has a “unfishable water cancellation policy” if the river is too cold or too high.) While convenience is Pulaski’s benefit, the crowds may be what push so many fishermen and women to venture beyond. In town, anglers swarm the river, which can be so packed during the salmon run that it is difficult to find a spot to cast. Instead, many hopefuls venture northwest toward Sandy Creek and other streams like it, where the crowds are smaller and the fish, having just left the lake, are fresher.

PHANTOMS AND FISH IN SANDY CREEK We arrived in Pulaski and stopped at Fat Nancy’s Tackle Shop, conveniently set immediately off the highway’s exit ramp toward town. It was the morning rush, with more than a dozen anglers in waders and camouflage stocking up on flies and bait. In the aisle, a clerk tied dime-size packs of salmon eggs together in delicate mesh, tempting bait for resident steelhead. Loaded with hardware, we drove to the aptly named Up the Creek campground and set up camp, anxious to join our crew and head for the water. As we began our trek through the brush, my dad passed me my grandfather’s Ugly Stik, the iconic casting rod manufactured by Shakespeare since 1976. The evening current was swift, the water murky, and the fish elusive. Hopeful for better conditions, we turned in early and woke around 5am for a full day on the creek (according to state regulations, fishing is permitted a half-hour before sunrise to a half-hour after sunset). The sunrise illuminated the fall trees, splashing the valley in golden light. We

were delighted to find the cloudy water had transformed into a transparent crystal. Fishing is a sport of patience in a world that has little. To love it is to love the excuse to slow down and focus on a singular goal, surrounded by nature’s stereo: the babble of a wooded creek, or the definitive smack of a fin on the water’s surface. For me, the sport is a harbour, and I treasure it as much for the act itself as the memories that come to life with it – the steady hand of my grandfather, or the quiet company of my dad. A mile into our morning trek upstream, we saw the first emerald body flop its way up a shallow chute. Anglers, like soldiers staged at the bank for battle, began furiously casting and chasing the fish, hoping their hook would be the one that snagged. My dad and I watched in awe. A half-mile up the creek, a man jogged past us, furiously reeling a fly rod. My uncle followed and charitably offered our net – the lucky fisherman pulled a stunning, 28-inch steelhead from the water. On the dawn of the final morning, our six-person group had landed one salmon and hooked into a dozen. The temptation to find our own trumped any urgency to return home. We strapped on waders and gathered our tools, my grandfather’s cherry-handled hunting knife tucked in my vest. For three hours, we stood near a shallow pool and watched half a dozen fish merge toward the bank, resting briefly after their journey through the white water. I was waist deep near that bank when I saw a sluggish silhouette at my boots. My pulse quickened and I shrieked with delight, momentarily losing the ghostly outline. Frantically, I searched the water while my father, chuckling, crept through the reeds, pole at the ready. It could have been a fish, or one of the river’s endless illusions. But we were chasing it, together.

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Previous pages from left: Drinking spring water in the farming village of Tusnad, Romania, next door to a mineral-water museum; A renovated rustic pool in Barzava, Romania. Locals find relief from summer heat via a spring that flows through wooden canals into the wooden swimming pool. Right: Balint Vencel, center, filling bottles with mineral water that he says has helped his kidneys

This is no ordinary water. It flows from volcanic mountains nearby and pours into the springs here. At its best, it’s cool, clear and prickly, with a rich taste of minerals. At its worst, it can quickly develop a foul smell and stain everything in sight a dark amber. But residents swear by its curative powers. Balint Vencel, 36, a frequent visitor, says the water helps with his kidney issues. “I’ve seen doctors and they didn’t help,” he said. “But ever since I’ve been drinking this water, I haven’t had any pain in my kidneys.” The naturally fizzy water is slowly filtered through layers upon layers of volcanic rock, making it crystal clear and sparkling most of the time. In villages like Baile Homorod, dotted with cottages in sight of a single ski slope in the easternmost region of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire, residents once hoped to monetise the springs – turning the region into the Switzerland of the east. They expected visitors to flock to spas and resorts and bathe and heal in the waters, as wealthy tourists did in the Alps. That dream faded because of war, politics and economic failures. After World War I, the empire collapsed, and the balneotherapy industry – natural healing based on therapies like cold and warm baths – eventually went out of fashion. The end of World War II brought Communism, and most of the private spas and resorts were nationalised, closed or mismanaged under state officials. Communist Romania was late to invest in tourism, and it focused not on the mountains but on the Black Sea Coast. In the 1980s, the dictator Nicolae Ceausescu’s repressive regime, along with increasing shortages, made the country an austere and unattractive destination for foreign tourists.

But reminders of the water culture are everywhere in the Transylvania region: in half-timbered villas of old spa towns, wooden pools in pristine surroundings built and used by villagers and roadside pavilions sheltering springs. ANCIENT RITES The mineral water is deeply embedded in the local culture and mythology. It’s Romanians’ favourite drink, advertised on billboards and television. Most shops sell local varieties – sparkling, mild and still – stocked next to internationally known brands. Water is also part of many ancient local rites: On Easter Monday in some villages, young men visit girls to “sprinkle” them with ice-cold water – a ritual holding the promise of youth and fertility. In one village, locals talk of two springs of salty water: One brings on stomach acid, the other cures it. Nowadays, popular springs post the water’s chemical composition to calm visitors’ fears of any ill effects. For residents of the poor and secluded farming communities, the mountain springs are a luxury. Many drink the water instead of tap water, which they don’t trust because of all-too-recent memories of life under Ceausescu. In the 1980s and early 1990s, tap water was a rare commodity in many parts of the country as the nation was recovering from decades of extreme austerity. Nothing but hollow hissing and a few drops flowed from the tap for most of the day. That water supply is still unreliable in some places: In the summer of 2018, for example, taps in Bacau, a city of 200,000, ran dry for five days because of a technical glitch. “The dictatorship brought this experience of making the body vulnerable,”

said Andrea Tompa, a novelist from the city of Cluj Napoca in western Transylvania, who grew up during the worst of the shortages. “It was a sense of control over the body, the opposite of disposing with my own body, deciding what feelings I will have.” She added, “But they couldn’t take away the mineral springs.” Tompa, who hails from the region’s Hungarian-speaking community, now lives in Budapest. Her grandparents owned a small spa in the village of Zizin, where alleys in the shade of pine trees led to wooden pavilions with mineral water bubbling up from the earth. They specialised in water-based health treatments, one of hundreds of such enterprises in the wider region. These businesses reflected an awakening of health consciousness among the European middle class in the early 20th century. Trends were inspired by the likes of Sebastian Kneipp, a Bavarian priest who believed in balneotherapy; walking barefoot on stones, dewy grass and snow; and keeping a mostly vegetarian diet. But then the war came. “Healing with water faded away, and with it the world whose lifestyle included the bathing culture,” Tompa said. That included her grandparents’ spa, which exists now only on black-and-white greeting cards. THE SURVIVAL OF A WATER CULTURE Still, the springs have persevered because enterprising residents have fought for the survival of their water culture, teaming up to clean neglected fountains. In Barzava, a village that lies on a plateau near the regional capital, Miercurea Ciuc, villagers renovated the old “peasants spa.” Just outside Miercurea Ciuc itself, a couple of concrete pools filled with amber water stand as unlikely survivors of a longgone era. The water bubbles up in one cor-




ner of the pools in periodic bursts, direct from the mountain, ice-cold and sparkling. Roadside rituals around the flowing water have endured. When I was a child growing up in Budapest, we would drive to Transylvania, where my grandmother lived. I remember stopping by the springs in Baile Homorod at the tail end of our overnight trips in my family’s rickety Mercedes minivan. My mother would rummage around for a plastic bottle or two and join the long line of weary travelers to drink or to wash away the dust and fatigue of the road. From there, the final 20 miles across the mountain to Miercurea Ciuc, where

my grandmother lived, seemed like a breeze, as the rising sun shone through the pine forests. My grandmother herself swore by the water’s curative qualities, mainly for the stomach. A TRAIN FULL OF POTATOES Erzsebet Janosi, 61, who lives in Tusnad, a farming village, holds the keys to the local mineral-water museum, a single circular room holding old bottles, labels and other memorabilia. Next door is the water source, with slightly sparkling water flowing from two taps poking out of a wooden statue of an owl. Janosi’s father had the idea to drill for water in the village, in 1957.

Tusnad paid for the drilling rights by sending the central authorities in Bucharest a train load of potatoes, the main crop in this mountainous region. The water has been flowing uninterrupted ever since, tainting the taps a rusty yellow. Tap water in the village is still unpopular. “We tend to use spring water,” Janosi said. “The one from the tap is so hard it clogs the coffee machine up all the time.” Travelers stop by on their way through Tusnad to drink or to take the water home. But Janosi has her own view of its rich taste. “It’s not as good after potato soup as it is after a plate of meat,” she said. “That’s for sure.”

Skilled labour


Words: Sarah Gillespie

When a night job becomes a vocation


Marta Ess

Mark Tubridy

Above and right: A pre-finals tour took place at the Bombay Sapphire distillery at Laverstoke Mill in Hampshire, UK

David Yee

“At one point, people joked it had turned into The Most Imaginative Terrarium Contest”

Christian Suzuki

Mark Tubridy, a bartender at New York’s 21 Club, opens an app on his phone and starts playing a drum loop. “The gin is the drums,” he says, grooving along. “The black pepper is the strings, and the Sumatran coffee is the melody.” He’s presenting the drink that won him a place in this month’s grand final of Bombay Sapphire’s Most Imaginative Bartender (MIB) competition in Chicago,


Above and below: Bartenders at Speed Rack battle it out. The female-only competition has raised over $1m for breast cancer charities

A bartender at MIB. Conceptual bartending and low-ABV cocktails have both proven trendy in recent years

comprising three rounds: a conceptual cocktail contest, a business pitch and an ingredient challenge, where each finalist will create a drink from a randomly assigned ingredient. The winner will receive US$35,000: a $10,000 individual prize and a $25,000 grant with which they will develop their business idea. Seemingly every drinks company now has its own competition: industry

authority Difford’s Guide lists 46 competitions on its website, sponsored by everyone from Pernot Ricard to Ting grapefruit juice. And it’s no longer enough for a cocktail to look pretty or taste good – it has to act as storyteller or social commentary. The buzzword for last year was sustainability: Chicago-based Carley Gaskin won MIB with a zero-waste cocktail, and tequila education project The Tahona

Society launched The Collective Spirit, a competition in which contestants aim to secure a $50,000 grant by presenting a sustainable bartending concept. Some contests have brought once-overlooked minorities into the spotlight. The women-only Speed Rack was founded in 2011 by Ivy Mix and Lynnette Marrero; it now runs in five regions and has raised over $1 million for breast cancer charities.


Above: Manhattan’s legendary speakeasy, 21, is home to Mark Tebridy


“I once did a Bacardi competition where I forgot to add the rum, but I still styled it out.” “I started Speed Rack to make a platform for women in a male-dominated industry,” says Mix. “When we started, the profession was almost entirely composed of men; now, we see more and more women leading.” Dubbed “the roller derby of bartending,” Speed Rack rounds see punky, black-clad contestants whipping up four craft cocktails in the fastest possible time. They incur penalties for errors, such as stray egg yolk in a whiskey sour or a leaf at the bottom of a mint julep. USA 2019 winner Kat Corbo’s final time was two minutes and four seconds. To avoid a tiny error from derailing their game, competitive bartenders spend hundreds of hours preparing. For his literature-inspired drink, “Short Story,” MIB finalist David Yee tried endless permutations during his time off from working at Oddfellows Liquor Bar in Columbus. “After a while, your palate starts to go numb,” he says. “I was calling people over to sample three slightly different drinks, asking them which they prefer: A, B or C? It’s too easy to get comfortable, to do something that’s just a riff on a classic. You have to push yourself to do something different.” Occasionally, the conceptualising goes too far. “At one point, people joked that it had turned into The Most Imaginative Terrarium Contest,” says Christian Suzuki, an MIB finalist who works at Wildhawk, San Francisco. “It’s calmed down a bit now, thankfully.” His own cocktail, the Japanese-influenced “Imaginary Folklore,” nearly suffered a similar fate. “It was turning into “17 Ways with Sesame Seeds,” but I pared it back,” he says. When tasting a cocktail that’s the result of weeks of R&D, one should be sober enough to enjoy it. This may explain why the rise of conceptual bartending has coincided with another major drinks trend – low-alcohol cocktails and

mocktails. Even some bartenders are cutting back. “I never drink at home,” says Suzuki. “The older I get, the more responsibilities I have – it just wouldn’t make sense.” In acknowledging its historically high rates of alcoholism and growing calls for change, the drinks industry is slowly course-correcting. In 2018, the Tales of the Cocktail (TOTC) conference in New Orleans – one of the biggest events in the industry – held an alcohol-free opening party. The party also marked the official launch of the Pin Project – founded by San Francisco bartender Mark Goodwin and funded by a TOTC grant – in which workers abstaining from alcohol wear a pin to signal their intention to others. As well as facilitating bartender abstinence, the industry is waking up to the many physical and mental health risks associated with bar work. “It’s disruptive to sleep; people are working against their circadian rhythm,” says Tim Etherington-Judge, founder of not-for-profit social enterprise Healthy Hospo. “Nutritionally, it’s also hard; when you finish work, you’re too tired to cook, and the only places that are open are fast food joints.” Etherington-Judge, a former brand ambassador for Diageo, founded Healthy Hospo after suffering a breakdown in 2016. He now tours conferences and workplaces educating hospitality workers in nutrition, exercise, and mental health. “We show bars and restaurants the business impact of looking after their staff,” he says. “I met with a chef who said to me, ‘If my fridge breaks, I pay to have it fixed; yet if a member of staff breaks, I don’t do the same for them.’ A small investment in staff wellness pays dividends in increased productivity, reduced turnover and sick leave, and improved customer experience.” All this suggests that the bartending industry is beginning to grow up. For

many, it’s also transitioned from stopgap to life calling. MIB finalist Marta Ess, who works at Toronto’s Chantecler restaurant, took up bartending to fund her professional dance career but after retiring from dance at 29, realised that her true passion lay with her side-hustle. She insists it’s not so different. “Bartending and dance require a lot of the same skills,” she says. “They’re both physically demanding, you have to work erratic hours, and you have to have good spatial awareness. You’re also constantly performing – you’re not just providing a drink; you’re providing an experience.” Transition from a previous career is a common theme among many of the MIB competitors. David Yee was a writer; now he tells stories through his cocktails. For some, the lines are more blurred. “I see acting in everything,” says finalist Nikolas Zoylinos, who turned down a place at London’s prestigious drama school, RADA, to become director of operations at Austin speakeasy Here Nor There. “When you do bartending competitions, you’re up there on that stage and anything can happen. I’ve seen people go to pieces up there, just like they would in an audition. But you just have to go with the flow, whatever happens. I once did a Bacardi competition where I forgot to add the rum, but I still styled it out.” Ess says she’s noticed a perception change among those new to the industry. “Our generation all fell into it one way or another,” she says. “But with the younger generation, bartending is not a fallback – it’s the goal.”

Emirates serves 12 destinations in the USA nonstop from Dubai, including New York JFK, Newark, Washington DC, Boston, Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, Houston, Dallas, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Seattle.

Home to roast

Meet the artisans behind Dubai’s homegrown coffee brands – stamping their own unique signature on a centuries-old coffee culture Words: Sarah Gamboni

60 Could a pair of coffee beans reshape everything we know about coffee? According to Antony Wild, historian and author of Black Gold: The Dark History of Coffee, the discovery of two coffee beans in an archaeological dig in Ras Al Khaimah suggests that gahwa (Arabic coffee) was being traded in the region some 300 years before it’s said to have first proliferated in Yemen. “It’s all a bit mysterious, but there is archaeological evidence that coffee has been consumed in the region since the 11th century,” Wild explains of the carbonised roasted beans, which were unearthed at Kush, in Ras Al Khaimah in the northern UAE. “My generally held theory is that based on this find, there could have been a genuine coffee trade throughout the region a lot earlier than we first thought,” he adds. “Of course, this would require all of the myths and legends to be retold.”

THE BIRTH OF COFFEE There are as many twists and turns in the history of coffee as there are beans in a bag, but one of the most popular legends traces back to Ethiopia in the 850s, where a goat herder named Kaldi realised that his herd became particularly lively after eating the berries from the native coffee bush. He shared his find with the local monastery, who dubbed Kaldi’s berries “the Devil’s work”, and threw the handful of beans into the fireplace. Entranced by the aroma of the roasted beans, they placed them into a pot of hot water and, after tasting the mysterious brew, were amazed by its uplifting effects. Similar tales surround the birth of coffee in Yemen, where the first credible accounts date back to the mid-1400s. Records show that Yemeni traders brought the beans to the Middle East from Ethiopia, and Sufi monks drank the brew to stay alert during their long hours of devo-

tion. It was here, from the port of Mokha, that coffee made its way into the wider world, first via pilgrims on their way to Mecca, and then to Europe, where the ‘second wave’ of coffee emerged. It’s this rich regional heritage that inspired Garfield Kerr to launch Mokha 1450 coffee boutique on Dubai’s Al Wasl Road in 2013. “The first wave of coffee was here in the Middle East, where coffee was first drank in its original form. The second wave was popularised in Europe’s coffee houses and cafes, and everything that’s going on now is the third wave,” Garfield explains. “We wanted to go back to the origins of coffee, and our name harkens back to the port of Mokha in the Yemen, where coffee was circulated to the world.” That history is celebrated at the Dubai Coffee Museum in Al Fahidi, which showcases the birth of coffee and the evolution of technology to the present day. The museum’s director, Khalid Al Mulla, explains the significance of coffee in Arabic society, saying, “It’s deeply rooted in our traditional culture. The Arabian dallah (coffee pot) is a sign of hospitality, and it is present everywhere: in the streets; in hotels; even on the one dirham coin.” Coffee has long been at the heart of Arabic hospitality, and the majlis (sitting area), its hearth. “Even if a man had nothing in his pocket, he would always serve his guests coffee and dates,” says Al Mulla. Traditional Emirati coffee is delicate and aromatic, flavoured with a hint of cardamom, saffron, rosewater and clove. The fragrant blend is boiled on a stove then steeped for 10 minutes, before being poured from the dallah into tiny cups called finjan. Don’t be dismayed if your finjan isn’t filled to the brim, Al Mulla explains: “The server never pours a full cup; it’s generally one quarter to one third full, to encourage you to drink a number of cups during your stay – if he pours a full cup, it’s disrespectful, as it means he wants you to drink and leave.” When he’s not explaining the intricacies of Emirati coffee customs, Al Mulla sources quality beans direct from farmers for his own brand, Easternmen & Co, and runs coffee education programs and competitions. “Coffee is the second biggest commodity after oil, and the second most consumed drink after water – and the UAE is considered one of the fastest

61 Left: Kim Thompson, of Dubai’s Raw Coffee, sources cherries in Myanmar

Below: The Sum of Us, a café near Dubai World Trade Centre, has its own micro-roastery



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DUBAI COFFEE CRAWL 01 – Raw Coffee Company Sample single origin coffees sourced direct from farmers, tour the roastery or take a barista class at this pioneering establishment. Corner of Street 7a and 4a, Warehouse #10, Al Quoz 1, 02 – Nightjar Take a seat at the bar and order a glass of nitro cold brew infused with cherry, orange or maple, then buy bags of artisanal beans to go. 8th St, Industrial 1 Warehouse G62, Al Quoz, 03 – Drop Top-rated baristas and a contemporary, light-filled space are the hallmarks of this cool café. Dar Wasl Mall, Al Wasl Rd

04 – Mokha 1450 Coffee is elevated to an artform at these boutiques, which offer a range of brewing methods and scrupulously sourced beans. Aswaaq Centre, Al Badaa, Al Wasl Road and Building 8, Golden Mile Galleria, Palm Jumeirah, 05 – The Espresso Lab This smart café-roaster comes from Emirati entrepreneur Ibrahim Al Mallouhi. Try a citrus-infused espresso or low-acidity cold drip. Unit 8, Building 7, Dubai Design District, 06 – Gold Box Roastery Order freshly roasted brews crafted by award-winning baristas Lyndon Recera and Mark Uy. Warehouse 7, Umm Suqeim Rd East, Industrial 3, Al Quoz,

07 – The Sum of Us While you linger over an expertly poured flat white in this industrial-chic café, watch all the action of the adjoining Encounter Coffee Roasters. Burj Al Salam Trade Centre, 6th St, 08 – Boon Founder Orit Mohammed’s family has been involved in the Ethiopian coffee trade for generations. Sample her organic, single-origin brews at this JLT roaster-café. Shop 21, Cluster T, JLT, 09 – Alchemy Expect a chic setting and state-of-the-art brews at this sleek café, housed within a stylish villa opposite Dar Wasl Mall. 37 39 B St, Al Wasl Rd,

10 – Dubai Coffee Museum There’s no better place to learn about the history and culture of coffee in the UAE than Khalid Al Mulla’s enlightening museum in Old Dubai. Villa 44, Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood, 11 – Leen’s Casual to Gourmet For a local twist on the classic latte, try Leen’s signature piccolos flavoured with delicate rose, decadent pistachio, or antioxidant-packed saffron. Jumeirah Beach Rd, Umm Suqeim 2, and Bluewaters Island,

12 – Boston Lane Get a taste of Melbourne café culture with a pitch-perfect Magic coffee and Aussie staples such as smashed avocado and comforting toasties. The Courtyard, 6A St, Al Quoz, 13 – Brew The queues have been known to snake around the block at this popular haunt, which serves light and fruity filter coffees and mochas made with Valrhona chocolate. Jumeirah Beach Rd, Umm Suqeim 2 14 – Surge Pick up bags of freshly roasted beans or a bottle of smooth Emirati Blend from this edgy roastery-café. Warehouse 33, Al Quoz Industrial 4,

63 growing coffee industries in the world,” he says. “The reason for this is education. Consumers have started to realise what good coffee is, and have changed their drinking habits. The transformation that has taken place is remarkable.”

HOMEGROWN HEROES One woman who has been at the forefront of that transformation is Kim Thompson of Raw Coffee Company, who launched Dubai’s first specialty roastery in 2007. At the time, she was struggling to source quality beans for her café, and so took matters into her own hands. “All the coffee was imported and not fresh. It was very darkly roasted and had a heavy American influence,” Thompson explains. “In the beginning we struggled with people accepting an 8oz cup, but we’ve progressed so much faster than expected. We were the first specialty roasters, and now we’re one of 54, a number that’s growing all the time.” Another local success story is Coffee Planet, which has evolved into a multi-million dollar business since its launch in 2005. In mid-2019, the homegrown company announced the expansion of its Jebel Ali Free Zone roastery to accommodate a 25 per cent increase in sales, with a projected output of 3,000 tonnes of coffee per year. Managing director Robert Jones said, “This is an exciting time for the Coffee Planet team. In a region where the demand for high-quality, directly sourced products are on the rise, we plan to enhance the level of competition amongst brands locally by applying the best practices and the latest technologies in this industry.” At Mokha 1450, those best practices include building relationships with growers in Yemen and Ethiopia to source exceptional beans, says Kerr. “One of the things that sets us apart is that many of our coffees aren’t available anywhere else. We work primarily with women’s cooperatives, and the farmers that work with us get the highest price possible – we compensate them for the additional effort and highest level of quality.” Kerr and his team also pioneered the concept of having a range of extraction methods available, including Kalita and Chemex filters, syphon brewing, aeropress and V60. “With the opening of our branch on Palm Jumeirah, we pioneered

table brewing, which creates a conversation between the barista and the diner.”

THE NEW MAJLIS Globally, with the rise of freelance and flexible work, smaller living spaces and a renewed focus on health, coffee shops and cafes have become de facto workplaces, meeting spaces and lounge rooms. And nowhere is that more apparent than here in the UAE. Leon Surynt has tapped into that zeitgeist with the launch of Nightjar Coffee Roasters in Dubai’s arts hub of Alserkal Avenue. “It’s almost like the majlis was, but now you’ve got your coffee house where you and your crew hang out,” he says. With the social media hashtag of #CoffeeOverClubbing, Nightjar draw a young crowd to its edgy warehouse space for frothy, tall glasses of nitro cold brew, drawn from draught hops taps at a copper bar. “We built Nightjar to look like a bar, and our cold brew is served so it looks like a beer.” A combination of climate and social cache have seen Nightjar’s sales of cold coffee equal their hot coffee orders. “This validates what I was thinking – we have a young demographic, many of whom don’t drink alcohol, but they want something that looks a bit haram [forbidden],” he suggests. At Raw in Al Quoz, the café-roastery performs a similar social function. “We’re all looking for our tribe here in

Below: Tom & Serg, the first offering from a duo that went on to create two more cafes in Dubai: Common Grounds and The Sum of Us

Dubai, so we wanted to create a community space, to create a sense of place for artists and other small businesses, and to offer a relaxed environment that doesn’t cost too much,” says Thompson. Along with enjoying a meal and an expertly poured coffee, visitors can sample various beans and roasts, take a barista class, or join a two-hour tour to follow the coffee journey from crop to cup. While much of the Dubai coffee scene echoes current global trends, the city also sets its own agenda, as Kerr explains: “Our busy period is six to 10pm, and people drink coffee well into the evenings – it’s the inverse of other regions, where cafes have their rush in the mornings.” Here, it’s not just about getting a caffeine fix. “People spend a lot of time savouring the coffee and the experience,” says Garfield. In a city where tourists, residents and trends come and go, one thing remains constant, says Thompson: “All the different cultures, nationalities, genders and ages meet and talk over coffee. Do we say, I’m going out for a tea? No – it’s always a coffee.”


More than just an economic phenomenon; the global south will change the way we consume our TV, movies and music, says Fatima Bhutto WORDS: BEN EAST Fatima Bhutto is recalling the time she met Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan in Dubai. The idea was to watch him film an Egyptian prank show and understand something about a man who many people see as emblematic of success, hope, and pride. But the more time she spent with him, the more she realised that Shah Rukh Khan represented something far more intriguing. “Here I was speaking to an Indian star in the Emirates, shooting an Egyptian show on a Saudi-owned channel,” she says. “And that’s the power of culture – the past century was dominated by America but the 21st century is undoubtedly going to be an Asian one.”

Shah Rukh Khan is still little-known in the West. But he’s one of the icons of a vast cultural movement emerging from the global south encompassing Bollywood, Turkish soap operas (known as dizi, and which have made Turkey second only to the US in worldwide television distribution) and Korean pop music. In her most recent book, New Kings Of The World: Dispatches From Bollywood, Dizi and K-Pop, which Bhutto will discuss at the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature this month, she argues this movement is the biggest challenge to America’s monopoly of soft power since the end of the Second World War.

For more about the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, there’s a TV channel and a podcast on today’s flight. Pick up the ice magazine in your seat pocket for full channel listings of the entertainment on board.


How will the global south impact us culturally?

Putting her finger on when this profound cultural shift from American music, movies and television shows began is a little trickier, however. “There isn’t a date or a year we can point to and say ‘this is the start’”, says Bhutto. “The cultural industries I wrote about in New Kings have been at work for decades, producing culture long before they became globally recognised or famous. I do centre a lot of the discussion around the 1990s, however, because that’s the zenith of the excitement over globalisation as well as the beginning of a global neoliberal wave.” Bhutto argues that this new landscape of cultural power is less a result of the rise in the middle class across the global south than due to the waves of internal migration from rural to urban homes. “The journey from tradition to modernity is neither inevitable nor painless; on the contrary, it is accompanied by profound turbulence,” she says. “I think we are all aware of the successes, they are present all around us. But I was more interested in the fallout, in the dark corners of this phenomenon.” In New Kings Of The World Bhutto talks about a sorrow in India that the lush, unadulterated fantasy of Bollywood masks. As a writer living in Karachi, she says it’s impossible to escape the “incredible poverty and injustice across South Asia”. “It’s overwhelming. But films are a projection of a fantasy – they are about how a country or a people wish to be seen, rather than what they really are.” And how they wish to be seen on the global stage – dizi’s most famous export, Magnificent Century, has been seen by over 500 million people worldwide – will become increasingly important, states Bhutto. “All of the currents I talk about in the book will magnify and expand,” she says. “Look at the Chinese app Tik Tok and how it’s taking over social media. People dismiss it as frivolous but this is soft power at play – without anyone noticing.”

66 / EXPO 2020

EXPO 2020 DUBAI’S REMARKABLE STRUCTURES WILL REFLECT A GALAXY OF STARCHITECTS A glittering array of talent has been assembled to create the incredible home of The World’s Greatest Show

World Expos have a proud heritage as genuine drivers of zeitgeist-setting architecture, responsible for countless iconic buildings that have gone down in the history books – from Crystal Palace at the first Expo in 1851 in London onwards. The Eiffel Tower in Paris (1889), the Atomium in Brussels (1958) and the Biosphere in Montreal (1967) are just three more examples of how Expos have transformed cityscapes across the world. As the most international World Expo of all time, Expo 2020 will be no exception, presenting the next generation of iconic architecture that will live on long after the event closes on 10 April 2021 – designed by a fittingly globe-spanning combined team of starchitects representing the celebrated cream of the planet’s talent. AL WASL PLAZA One of the key architectural feats of Expo 2020’s creation was the completion of Al Wasl Plaza’s cavernous dome, spanning

EXPO 2020 / 67

68 / EXPO 2020

PUBLIC REALM Perhaps the most poetic philosophy behind the Expo site’s myriad elements comes from renowned British architect Asif Khan. The man responsible for a storied show-reel of eye-grabbing structures from numerous previous mega events speaks with verve and charisma about the thinking that informed his designs for the Public Realm. The experiential journey begins from the gates of Expo: the three Entry Portals that form the doors to The World’s Greatest Show are positioned at the entrance to each of the Thematic Districts. Khan calls them his “best work” yet, explaining how air and shadow play an important part in how the design runs with Islamic mashrabiya architecture to create remarkable gateways that will present different experiences depending on the time of day.

Once inside the site, visitors will navigate along a variety of tracks through 6km of concourse, with different materials used depending on the location and the type of movement expected. Khan describes how 50 ‘script’ benches, a series of sculpted benches that each spell out a significant word in Arabic script, will “wrap the site like a poem”. The final designs were realised with the aid of Arabic typography expert Lara Captan. Each bench is influenced by its word – for example, ‘dream’ is designed to be made from hammocks. THEMATIC DISTRICTS The overlapping Venn diagram that forms Expo 2020’s site masterplan incorporates three ‘petals’ that comprise the Thematic Districts, connected to the aforementioned central Al Wasl Plaza. Each district reflects one of the three


130 metres wide, stretching 67.5 metres tall and weighing a total of 2,544 tonnes – equivalent to 25 blue whales. The name Al Wasl means ‘connection’ in Arabic, and Al Wasl Plaza has been designed to form a grand ‘urban room’ – a meeting place that creates a shaded microclimate. The intricate trellis design evokes the Expo logo, inspired by a 4,000-yearold ancient ring discovered at Saruq Al Hadid, an archeological site in the UAE. Designed by Chicago-based Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture, Al Wasl Plaza will become a focal point for Expo’s most high-profile concerts and events, including the spectacular opening ceremony in October. Al Wasl Plaza will become a landmark for the ages as a core part of Expo’s legacy in barrier-pushing, forward-thinking future city District 2020, continuing as an events hub to inspire generations to come.

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subthemes of Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability, anchored by a corresponding Thematic Pavilion, with the pavilions of the 192 participating countries split between the districts. Subtle use of shapes and colours gives each district distinct characteristics: circles and green shades (Sustainability); triangles and blue (Mobility); squares and a warm sand colour (Opportunity). The shapes are abstract, but rooted in Islamic geometry. British firm Hopkins and Partners is the brains behind the districts, inspired by Dubai’s historic Al Fahidi area, with façades resembling traditional Emirati wind towers and walkways lined with indigenous flora. Other innovative features include smart shading (evoking a palm grove oasis), solar cells and moisture-capturing mechanisms – all lending Expo a distinctly Middle Eastern feel. The Thematic Districts will also live on as part of District 2020. “It’s a fantastic feeling to be part of this event,” says Simon C Fraser, Hopkins’ Principal and Lead Designer. “We’ve created something to last and be developed and changed over years. It has been a great journey.” MOBILITY PAVILION The Mobility Pavilion’s eye-catching ribbed and curved shape was designed by Foster + Partners, the award-winning British architectural design and engineering firm led by acclaimed architect Norman Foster. The pavilion’s dynamic form evokes the motion of mobility, with its contents exploring the movement of people, goods and services, capital, data, ideas and cultures. Physical features include the world’s (joint) largest lift, which can accommodate more than 160 people, while a partly underground, partly open-air 340-metre track will allow visitors to see cutting-edge mobility devices in action. SUSTAINABILITY PAVILION Conceived by UK-founded Grimshaw Architects, the Sustainability Pavilion is designed to meet LEED Platinum green building standards – the highest available accreditation for sustainable architec-

ture. Almost every element contributes to that status, from the 130-metre wide canopy featuring more than 1,055 solar panels, to the mini forest of ‘energy trees’ that rotate to face the sun. The building’s tech will produce four gigawatt hours per year of electricity – enough to charge more than 890,000 mobile phones. Almost 10 tonnes of reclaimed wood will cover the pavilion auditorium walls, while the orientation of the funnel-shaped canopy will create air flows that naturally ventilate a courtyard, as well as letting in light, helping to reduce energy requirements. The pavilion sits partially below ground, ensuring it is cooler than the ambient temperature, while the canopy also creates vital shade. Repurposed as a Children and Science Centre post-Expo, the groundbreaking structure is set to continue as a beacon of sustainability for decades to come.

Previous pages: Designed by Chicago-based Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture, Al Wasl Plaza will become a focal point for Expo’s most high-profile concerts and events This page: Innovative features including smart shading evoking a palm grove oasis lend Expo a distinctly Middle Eastern feel

To learn more, watch Expo 2020 Dubai in Emirates & Dubai TV on ice.

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Emirates NEWS










Headline Discounts lab ilite laut in Dubai laut elecae Lorem ipsum Obit autflying aspedto quasserspel molo dolesequam es eum nonsequamus amenduciati autas Emirates passengers and through Dubai can take advantage of the city’s offerings at a velit discount, ipsandel ipsam a deliquat Ehenihillo il return el ium facepe venihil itatias ant volum velecerovid ullesec p.20 with the of My Emirates Pass. p.72



My Emirates Pass returns this winter

Use your Emirates boarding pass to enjoy up to 50 per cent off on leisure activities around Dubai such as golfing, skiing, seaplane tours, desert safaris and theme parks With special benefits and discounts at more than 500 retail outlets and leisure destinations across the UAE, Emirates has announced the return of its signature pass. My Emirates Pass turns an Emirates boarding pass into an exclusive membership card, allowing customers to take advantage of special

NEW BRAZILIAN THEMED DESSERT ON OFFER OVER RIO CARNIVAL This year, Emirates will offer a special dessert called Quindim, onboard across all classes, in celebration of the Carnival of Brazil, an annual Brazilian festival that marks the beginning of Lent, the fortyday period before Easter. Quindim is a popular Brazilian baked dessert, made primarily from sugar, egg

benefits and discounts of up to 50 per cent in over 500 retail outlets and leisure destinations across the UAE. The airline’s signature pass enables Emirates passengers flying to and through Dubai from 1 January until 31 March 2020 to see more for less during their stopover or holiday. Customers

can take advantage of and explore the country’s many exciting attractions, including waterparks, wellness centres, and shopping malls. The pass offers 30 per cent off popular retail outlets and international fashion brands, and up to 50 per cent off fine dining options, leisure activities and spa services in world-class hotels. To unlock the benefits of My Emirates Pass, customers can simply show their Emirates boarding pass and a valid form of identification at any of the participating outlets*. UAE residents flying back home can also take advantage and start the year with special savings. Mohammad Al Hashimi, Emirates’ Vice President, Commercial Products Dubai, said: “We are delighted to bring back My Emirates Pass this winter season. Customers visiting or stopping over in Dubai will have more reasons to explore with unbeatable deals on some of the UAE’s best attractions. As the world’s fourth-most visited city, Dubai awes travellers each time with its ever-growing list of attractions and entertainment options. We look forward to continue working closely with our partners and to always provide our customers the best Dubai and the UAE has to offer.” For more information on Emirates, including how to book flights and a complete list of terms and conditions for this offer, visit *Local terms and conditions apply

yolks and ground coconut. Emirates’ team of chefs have designed the sweet treat with a colourful garnish, in support of the vibrant carnival celebrations. The dessert will be served from 1729 February, on flights between Dubai and Brazil. Emirates’ festive celebrations on board and on the ground are part of its commitment to enhance its customer experience with unique and seasonal offerings.



Plant-based meals a popular choice for Veganuary With the rising popularity of vegan meals amongst its customers, Emirates celebrated the worldwide movement Veganuary on board by including an additional plant-based option that 80,000 travellers opted for in January. While vegan meals can be prebooked on all flights and classes, this is the first time Emirates included a readily available vegan option on its menus. The plant-based meal was available as a fourth main course option in First and Business Class menus on flights from Dubai to USA, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Addis Ababa. Emirates also offered a vegan option in Economy on flights to Addis Ababa in January. Last year, Emirates served 345,000 special plant-based meals to customers on board. The airline has over 170 vegan recipes in its kitchen and for January served new dishes including Tofu Jalfrezi, a spiced tofu and vegetable stir fry served with steamed

wild rice and tandoori broccolini; Shitake Ravioli served with coriander pesto and edamame; Ancho three bean chilli, a spiced vegan stew of peppers and beans served with corn cakes, chimichurri and tofu aioli; Shitake fried rice served with sautéed asparagus and oyster mushrooms and Marmite sauce; and Misir Wat – an Ethiopian style spicy red lentil stew, served with sauteed spinach and spiced potatoes and carrots. On all other routes and across all classes throughout the year, customers can continue to request vegan meals, along with other special meals, 24 hours before departure. Emirates’ vegan meals are created by its team of chefs and nutritionists and come complete with vegan desserts. A special vegan cheese was also introduced in Economy Class and the airline has a vegan option as part of its gourmet chocolate programme in premium classes.

To help contribute to bushfire relief in Australia, Emirates is donating 10% of all EmiratesRED sales on every flight until 16 February 2020, and matching this dollar-for-dollar. The proceeds will go towards the recovery and rebuilding efforts taking place in the communities affected across Australia. “We are deeply saddened by the bushfires in Australia and the impact they have had on families, communities, wildlife and businesses across the country. At Emirates we’d like to do our part not only through monetary contributions, but also to use our global reach to help to maintain awareness and support, and to drive donations for recovery and rebuilding efforts,” said Sir Tim Clark, President of Emirates Airline. “Emirates is also waiving flight change fees for residents affected by the fires, many of whom we know have had their lives greatly impacted already.” The airline is also supporting its workforce, which includes more than 1,000 Australians, on other employee-led fund-raising initiatives to contribute to the bushfire relief efforts.

For more information on the various initiatives in the UAE, check out the #MatesHelpMates campaign hashtag on social media.


Restoring smiles Children received life-changing surgeries in Bangladesh with the help of Progretto Sorriso and Emirates The Emirates Airline Foundation supported air travel for 15 volunteer surgeons and medical professionals who journeyed to Bangladesh to perform craniofacial surgeries, particularly for paediatric malformations. Working for Italian organisation Progetto Sorriso Nel Mondo Onlus, their travel on Emirates was supported by Skywards Miles donated by customers to the Emirates Airline Foundation. Over the years, thanks to the work of Progretto Sorriso, over 3,000 children in Khulna, Bangladesh, have received life-changing surgery for craniofacial disorders. Left untreated, these conditions can have life-threatening consequences, and limit a person’s chances of ever living a normal life. Progretto Sorriso has delivered continuous surgical missions in the same city in Bangladesh for the past 24 years. The missions took place at Saint Mary’s Sick Assistance Hospital in Khulna, the fourth largest city in south Bangladesh, with an estimated population of three million people.

Progretto Sorriso’s main goal is to bring high standards and quality to the developing world. They focus on continuity of treatment and have provided successful outcomes for over two decades. Speaking about the mission, Dr Andrea DiFrancesco MD said, “Our contributions to grant a socially acceptable appearance – through the restoration of smiles, the universal language of reassurance – are only

the first steps towards the social reintegration of the patient. We are proud to see kids enjoying a happy childhood and their first experiences of ‘normal’ life, finally shared with their peers.” Learn more about the foundation in the newsletter in your seat pocket, where you’ll find a donation envelope. You can also donate online at

EMIRATES INKS AGREEMENT WITH CHINA’S LEADING ONLINE TRAVEL AGENCY Emirates has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Group, a one-stop travel service provider. The agreement was signed in Shanghai by executives of both companies, signalling the start of a strategic cooperation between Emirates and Group and allowing the airline to expand its reach in the Chinese market. The mutual cooperation includes joint marketing promotions and other marketing initiatives to boost Emirates’ sales via Group’s online platforms. In the future, collaborations aimed at providing

customised products to suit members of both loyalty programmes will be explored and the partnership will potentially pave the way for joint initiatives on technical

aspects, big data analysis and marketing strategy development. Emirates was the first airline to establish non-stop connectivity between the Middle East and mainland China in 2004. Today, Emirates operates 35 flights a week to mainland China, all operated by the airline’s flagship A380 aircraft, with twice daily services to both Beijing and Shanghai, and daily services to Guangzhou. After a convenient transfer in Dubai, passengers can travel to over 150 destinations on Emirates’ global network spanning six continents.


A Year of Achievements

201 Emirates and Emirates SkyCargo concluded 2019 with a successful string of product, network, and customer experience highlights.

































Emirates SkyCargo












Where traditional charm meets modern luxury Few places on Earth are as captivating as Japan. In the capital of Tokyo, the marriage of old and new is ever-present. Age-old alleyways that were once the domain of geisha are now home to cutting-edge restaurants, and traditional-style guesthouses reside in ultra-modern skyscrapers. In the heart of the city, a short stroll from the Imperial Palace brings you to the glamour of Ginza, lined with flagship boutiques and five-star hotels. With more Michelin stars than any other city, Tokyo’s culinary scene is justifiably revered. Duck your head beneath the curtains at the restaurants’ entrance to discover intricate kaiseki menus inspired by the seasons, and intimate sushi restaurants with just a handful of seats. Place your faith in the chefs by saying ‘Omakase’, which means “I’ll leave it up to you” – you won’t be disappointed. A two-and-a-half hour ride on the shinkansen (bullet train) brings you to Osaka, a port city known for its modern architecture and mouthwatering street food. Soak up the history of Osaka Castle, pay a visit to the Osaka Aquarium (one of the world’s largest), then shop for avant-garde designs in the Umeda and Namba neighbourhoods. As night falls, make your way to the dining and nightlife precinct of Dotonbori, where stallholders grill and fry snacks to order, and there’s eye-popping neon at every turn. Further afield, explore Japan’s breathtaking natural scenery. Wander the laneways of the ancient capital of Kyoto; take to the ski slopes of Sapporo; or soak in the hot springs while you gaze at Mount Fuji from the quaint town of Hakone, a short train ride from Tokyo.

Emirates serves three destinations in Japan with nonstop daily flights between Dubai and Tokyo Haneda, Tokyo Narita and Osaka.





The frenetic auctions of the inner market have relocated, but the narrow streets of Tsukiji’s Outer Market are still one of the finest places to sample pristine seafood. Try Sushi Dai for faultless nigiri, Segawa for maguro donburi (tuna rice bowls), or Tempura Kurokawa for crisp tempura.

Dining is elevated to an artform in Japan’s kaiseki restaurants, serving multi-course menus in keeping with the seasons. In Tokyo, find three-Michelin-starred Ishikawa in the old geisha neighbourhood of Kagurazaka, or nab a spot at Ginza Kojyu – with only eight seats in the house, you’ll need to book well in advance.

Osaka is renowned for its tantalising street foods including takoyaki (octopus balls), okonomiyaki (savoury pancakes) and ramen noodle soup. Sample them all as you stroll down Dotonbori, a vibrant dining and entertainment strip famed as much for its culinary offerings as its iconic neon signs.




Japanese refinement reigns at this prestigious hotel that dates back to 1890. Located near the shopping and business hubs of Ginza and Marunouchi, it’s well placed to explore the capital. Enjoy elegant rooms and exceptional dining, including French haute cuisine and a traditional teahouse.

For a luxurious take on a Japanese ryokan (guesthouse), check into Hoshinoya, set between Tokyo Station and the Imperial Palace. Slide your shoes off and slip into a jersey kimono for your stay in this 18-storey inn, boasting tatami mats, futon bedding and onsen baths.

Situated on Midosuji, the ‘Champs-Elysees of Osaka’, the St. Regis is a short stroll from Dotonbori, Osaka Castle and the stores of Shinsaibashi-suji. This five-star hotel embodies sophistication, with personal butlers, smart bars and restaurants, and 160 rooms decorated with Japanese silks and ceramics.




Tokyo’s premier shopping district, Ginza’s Chuo Dori is lined with high-end boutiques offering everything from sneakers to stationery, and luxury department stores such as Ginza Wako, Ginza Six, and Tokyu Plaza Ginza. End your day with an exceptional sushi meal at Kyubey and a Kabuki show at the Kabukiza Theatre.

For a change of pace in Tokyo, stroll through the ginko forest of Yoyogi Park until you reach the Meiji Shrine, a tranquil escape from the hustle of nearby Harajuku. Or, make your way to Rikugien Garden in Bunkyo-ku, a sanctuary of ponds, shaded walkways, flame-coloured maples in autumn and cherry blossoms in spring.

In Osaka, explore the fairy-tale surrounds of Osaka Castle, ringed by moats, turrets and citadels. Within the castle’s sprawling gardens, share a picnic under the shade of cherry blossom trees, visit the Hokoku Shrine and the Illusion Museum, or cruise the moats on a traditional wooden boat.


Be smart!

Use UAE Smart Gates at Dubai International airport Citizens of the countries listed on the right and UAE residents can speed through Dubai International by using UAE Smart Gates. If you hold a machinereadable passport, an E-Gate card or Emirates ID card you

can check in and out of the airport within seconds. Just look out for signs that will direct you to the many UAE Smart Gates found on either side of the Immigration Hall at Dubai International Airport.


*All customers should be registered to use the UAE Smart Gates













Czech Republic







Hong Kong SAR














New Zealand






San Marino





South Korea




United Kingdom


Vatican City



Have your machine-readable passport, E-Gate card or Emirates ID card ready to be scanned.


Go through the open gate and place your passport photo page on the scanner. If you are a UAE resident, place your E-Gate card or Emirates ID card into the card slot.


Stand on the blue footprint guide on the floor, face the camera straight-on and stand still for your iris scan. When finished, the next set of gates opens.


To register for Smart Gate access, just spend a few moments having your details validated by an immigration officer and that’s it. Every time you fly to Dubai in future, you will be out of the airport and on your way just minutes after you have landed.


Remember to bring your Emirates ID card next time you’re travelling through DXB – you’ll be able to speed through passport control in a matter of seconds, without paying and without registering. Valid at all Smart Gates, located in Arrivals and Departures, across all three terminals at DXB. We endeavour to keep this information as up-to-date as possible; however, for the definitive list, please contact Dubai General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs

*UK citizens only (UK overseas citizens still require a visa)

UAE SMART GATES CAN BE USED BY: • Machine-readable passports from the above countries • E-Gate cards • Emirates ID cards



Routes shown are as of time of going to press


**Seasonal service


Emirates Amsterdam / Auckland / Bangkok / Barcelona / Beijing / Birmingham / Brisbane / Cairo / Casablanca / Christchurch / Copenhagen / Dusseldorf / Frankfurt / Glasgow / Guangzhou / Hamburg / Hong Kong / Houston / Jeddah / Johannesburg / Kuala Lumpur / Kuwait / London / Los Angeles / Madrid / Manchester / Mauritius / Melbourne / Milan / Moscow / Mumbai / Munich / Muscat / New York / Nice / Osaka / Paris / Perth / Prague / Riyadh / Rome / San Francisco / São Paulo / Seoul / Shanghai / Singapore / Sydney / Taipei / Tokyo / Toronto / Vienna / Washington, DC / Zurich

Emirates route

flydubai route


With 24 codeshare partners around the world (22 airlines and an air/rail codeshare arrangement with France’s SNCF/TGV Air and Italy’s Trenitalia), Emirates has even more flight options, effectively expanding its network by over 300 destinations.

Visit for full details on our travel partners


Routes shown are as of time of going to press


**Seasonal service



Emirates route

AFRICA flydubai route




**Seasonal service



Routes shown are as of time of going to press


Freighter destinations


Emirates Fleet Our fleet of 271 aircraft includes 260 passenger aircraft and 11 freighters Visual of A380 Orange livery

AIRBUS A380-800 115 IN FLEET All aircraft 30+ aircraft

up to 4,500+


Up to 489-615 passengers. Range: 15,000km. Visual for Boeing 777 Green livery L 72.7m x W 79.8m x H 24.1 m

BOEING 777-300ER 134 IN FLEET All aircraft 100+ aircraft up to 4,500+

A380-800 2008

Up to 354-428 passengers. Range: 14,594km. L 73.9m x W 64.8m x H 18.5 m A 6- EXX

Live TV, news & sport


Mobile phone

Data roaming

Number of channels

First Class Shower Spa

*Onboard lounge

**In-seat power

USB port

In-seat telephone

BOEING 777-200LR 10 IN FLEET All aircraft

B777-200LR 2007

Up to 302 passengers. Range: 17,446km. L 63.7m x W 64.8m x H 18.6 m

AIRBUS A319 B777-300ER 2005



Up to 19 passengers. Range: 7,000km. L 33.84m x W 34.1m x H 12m

Fly up to 19 guests in utmost comfort in our customised Emirates Executive Private Jet.



* First Class and Business Class; **Available in all rows in Economy Class, and in all seats in First Class and Business Class



The Emirates Aircraft Appearance Centre installs a number of eyecatching decals on Emirates’ aircraft. Here are just a few to look out for.



Range: 9,260km. L 63.7m x W 64.8m x H 18.6m


The most environmentally-friendly freighter operated today, with the lowest fuel burn of any comparably-sized cargo aircraft.


Aircraft numbers accurate at the time of going to press. For more information:


GO SEE THIS At the epicentre of Abu Dhabi’s sprawling modern metropolis lies the city’s oldest and most historic building, the Qasr Al Hosn Fort. Home to the emirate’s ruling elite for centuries, the national monument opened as a museum in 2018, following more than a decade of restoration work and now showcases the development of Abu Dhabi from a fishing and pearl settlement to a global tourism destination.


24.4539° N, 54.3773° E

Want to know more about Dubai? Press the “i” button on your inflight entertainment screen to discover lots of information about sightseeing, dining, getting around and much more.