Friday - - EDITOR’S LETTER -

What is beauty? For the peo­ple fea­tured in Sil­via Radan’s story on page 20, it’s de­fined by the pos­ses­sion of a big, droop­ing lower lip, dark hair on the back and large feet. Her in­sight into the world of camel beauty con­tests – for, of course, I am speak­ing of the devo­tees of the one humped drom­e­daries that roam our deserts – is fas­ci­nat­ing.

While I knew of the ex­is­tence of camel fairs and beauty con­tests, and the mind­bog­gling amount of money that changes hands at these events, I did not know the de­tails of the prized camels’ care (which ri­vals the regimes de­tailed in our reg­u­lar, hu­man beauty pages) and sim­ply how beloved these an­i­mals are.

That story takes us into the UAE’s his­tory, and out into the sands of the West­ern Re­gion, but if you want to ven­ture into the fu­ture of the UAE, sim­ply turn to page 48, for Shreeja Ravin­dranathan’s sec­ond an­nual look at the new ho­tels com­ing up in the coun­try this year. Not a fan of staycations? I hear you – after all, there’s that ex­tra cost at­tached to go­ing out in 2018, al­though I don’t think you’re go­ing to have to worry about the Man­darin Ori­en­tal Jumeira giv­ing you a pack of tis­sues in lieu of small change. But many of our lives in the UAE do in­volve ho­tel vis­its, of­ten far more than we would in other coun­tries: For a din­ner, a meet­ing, a baby shower or an af­ter­noon by the beach, you prob­a­bly visit a ho­tel. Bored of the old op­tions? You’ve got lots to look for­ward to this year, then, be­cause there are some in­cred­i­ble new brands and prop­er­ties (with some cool

I don’t think you’re go­ing to have to worry about fancy ho­tels giv­ing you a pack of tis­sues in lieu of small change

restau­rants at­tached!) on their way.

Speak­ing of VAT and small change, we want to hear about your ex­pe­ri­ences of the newly im­ple­mented tax – share your thoughts in our weekly Story Tell­ers fea­ture by email­ing us or com­ment­ing on Face­book. This week, readers gave their travel list for 2018 – turn to page 10.

We were lucky enough to have Bri­tish model Mariah Idrissi stop by the Fri­day studio late last year, and she graces our cover this week­end, not only with her beauty, but also with her fas­ci­nat­ing in­sight into the world of mod­est fash­ion, of which she has be­come some­thing of a spokesper­son. And she had a lot to say to Lind­say Judge – find out on page 26.

Natalie Long, edi­tor

Reach me at nlong@gulfnews.com

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