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Events in April 2009

Nalynn Dolan Caine |
A really strange Czech custom of saying "I love you", and the great jewels and art auction in Dubai. We found that bicycles are faster than a car so we bless them in New York, and we are still thinking should we join the Amman's Ultra Marathon.

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Amman, Jordan
April 10, 2009

The Amman city in Jordan is situated between the Jordan Valley and the desert. It is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. It is the largest city and capital of Jordan and one of the Middle East's favourite tourist destinations situated only an hour from The Dead Sea.

The Amman Dead Sea Ultra Marathon begins on April 10 and it is a gruelling test of endurance and will for runners. The race is divided into the three separate marathons: standard, 42km long, 21km long half marathon and 52km long ultra-marathon - with no shade and mercy, just a runners and the tarmac road.

Well, despite of the burning Sun and the tarmac road, from the reader's perspective it's just a marathon. Wrong! It's not. The race starts from Amman International Motor Show on Airport Road in 6:30am, 900 metres above sea level, and finishes after 52 kilometres, 400 meters below sea level at the Dead Sea in 1.30pm. That difference of 1300 metres requires extreme endurance and makes the story so challenging. Go and look... and take a hat.

New York, USA
April 18, 2009

Do you know that the basic look of bicycles we know today, meaning two wheels of the same size, was the same in 1900? Fascinating fact, indeed, so the fact that today's bicycles thanks to the gears can go as fast as cars. Now you say "Don’t kidding me" and lift you eyebrows. As we said, those are absolutely fascinating facts.

So, how fast bicycle can go, anyway? In 1985 an American Olympic cyclist and Ironman triathlon winner reached 245,08km/h on bicycle. That's useful data especially in case if you're already making plans to buy some "rocket" car. Now imagine the situation: you are behind the wheel and driving 240km/h and a bicyclist goes ahead leaving you behind to eat the dust.

Quite embarrassing situation, isn't it? Now it seems like there's no big difference in speed between cars and today's bicycles. Or, at least some bicycles. If we managed to stop you to look on cyclists from above, visit Cathedral of St. John the Divine on April 18, 10am sharp, to be present at the event of the The Blessing of the Bicycles.

Dubai, United Arab Emirates
April 28 - 29, 2009

Many people call the city of Dubai The Shopping Capital of the Middle East. It's no wonder that Christie's, a fine arts auction house, made history exactly in Dubai in May 2006, when it held its first auction of International Modern & Contemporary Art ever held in the Middle East. The highest price ever on such event (2.8 million dollars) - and a new world auction record for any Middle East artist - was paid in Dubai in April 2008. So, welcome to Dubai, the place where everything may turn to gold.

In Jumeirah Emirates Towers Hotel, situated only 15 minutes from Dubai International airport, the Jewels and Watches auction will be held on April 28. The day after be a part of the International Modern and Contemporary Art auction which will include the works of six contemporary Saudi Arabia's artists for the first time. Both auctions start at 7pm, so eat well before them to be able to stand a hard competition.

Prague, Czech Republic
April 30, 2009

In 1991, Prague's mayor came to the conclusion that Prague doesn't have its special day so it could be established on, for example, April 30. Thus, the man chose the date and citizens had nothing to add. Actually, that particular mayor didn't choose the date "out of blue sky". He remembered that one mayor was elected on the same position on April 30, 1784 - 207 years ago.

Nobody today remembers how the mayor from 1784 was elected, but the custom of burning witch which dates back to the Iron Age, just perfectly fit the date. Politicians and witches, yes, we can see some connections. On April 30, people across the Czech Republic celebrate Witches' Night by burning a "witch" on top of hills to say goodbye to the winter.

During the years, that event turned into celebration of all those who are in love. That day men who are in love leave freshly cut tree branches on the doorstep of the women they are in love with. Well, we heard for the expression "I love you so much I could eat you", but never for "I love you so much I could burn you!" Now, we heard them all.

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