Dubai: Week 9

A terrible week for me!

I mentioned that at the end of week 8, my throat was hurting. I went to sleep early, hoping I could sleep it off, and I also had a 9am session with Rama the next morning. I woke up at 3.30am in such pain. Every time I swallowed it was like there were daggers being stuck into my throat. I wanted to cry. I was awake for over an hour, unable to get back to sleep because of the pain. I took some Panadol, texted Rama at 4.30 cancelling my session, and tried to get back to sleep. I woke up at about 10am, still in pain, and barely able to speak. Everything hurt. I usually self-medicate but that morning I wanted to see a doctor.

I asked my cousin for her doctor’s details and made an appointment for that afternoon. I felt feverish, light-headed and my throat hurt like hell, but I made it there in one piece – I also forgot to take my passport, my insurance card, or any ID. Luckily, the receptionist didn’t send me home (which she really should have, thinking about it) and the doctor saw me. She was English, and moved to Dubai in September. She checked my throat, ears, breathing – all the usual stuff. She said if I didn’t feel any better by the following day to start a course of antibiotics – and she gave me a prescription. She said many infections seem to be immune to antibiotics in Dubai – antibiotics are so freely available at any pharmacy without a prescription (I noticed this at the chemist the other day) and people take them when they don’t need to and build their immunity to them. Earlier that day Joy suggested I take some of her amoxicillin to feel better (er – no!). I asked her where she got it? From the pharmacy. Crazy. 

I went home, got into bed and watched an episode of ‘Downton Abbey’. I thought about reading, thinking of my Mount TBR Reading Challenge but the words were swimming in front of me. I went to sleep instead. Luckily I had the place to myself that evening so I had dinner and went back to bed. I texted my yoga teacher and cancelled my class for the following morning – I hate cancelling at the last minute.

I spent Monday and Tuesday at home – on Monday Dad said he was starting to feel unwell (oh God, no – I can’t cope with that!) but he looked fine. I think he just wanted an excuse to stay in his pajamas all day. I started the antibiotics on Monday and by Tuesday I was feeling much better. My throat hurt less, but I was coughing more. And sneezing. And just felt tired in general. Rama texted to see how I was feeling – was I up for a session the next day? I thought about it, but I barely had any energy. I told him that hopefully by Sunday I’d be OK…

By Wednesday night I’d developed cabin fever and I was feeling well enough to walk to the Shangri-La Hotel for dinner. It was my cousin’s last night with us so we thought we’d have an early dinner there – and Joy was at church that evening. We went to the Vietnamese restaurant at the hotel, Hoi An. It was my first time there. For starters we shared the fresh spring rolls and we ordered a soup each. I order the crab and sweetcorn soup with truffles which was excellent. I would normally order a hot and sour soup, but I didn’t think it would be good for my throat/cough. For our main course we shared the lemongrass beef, grilled chicken and vegetable fried rice. For dessert we shared the ginger crème brûlée. When we got to the restaurant at 8.30 there were quite a few empty tables around but by the time we left at 10.30 the restaurant was full. 

I spent all of Thursday at home again, and had my first real ‘outing’ on Friday. When we went to Thai Chi a couple of weeks ago, Dad and I applied for the Wafi Card, which gives you discounts at the shops and restaurants at the Wafi City Mall. They called on Sunday evening to say our cards were ready for collection. I was feeling much better by Friday morning (still coughing though) so we thought we’d go to Wafi City, collect our cards, have lunch and walk around a bit. I didn’t take any photos the last time I was there, but it looked much nicer in daylight. The outside of Wafi Pyramids:


A couple of ‘statues’ inside:


Just to give you an indication of size, the Cleopatra ‘statue’ is probably double my height, but the Pharoah is a regular-sized person (in fact I had to look twice as I thought it was a real person in costume)…

We ended up at an Italian restaurant called Biella. They have a nice outdoor seating area, but Dad wanted to sit inside. I originally wasn’t going to have a starter but when I saw the salad of goat’s cheese and artichokes (two of my favourite things), I had to have it (but left the bread).


My main course was bresaola ravioli in a cream and caper sauce – it tasted better than it looked.


We walked around the mall for a while. Considering it was Friday, the mall was empty. They have all the usual designer stores there, but I’d say not even 10% of the crowd at the Dubai Mall. The stained-glass pyramid was pretty, but it’s no competition for the aquarium, fountain and waterfalls of the Dubai Mall!


On Saturday morning I woke up with a nosebleed. I get them when I’m tired, stressed, unwell, or all of the above.
The irony is that just two days previously I thought to myself that I hadn’t had one since I’d been in Dubai and couldn’t remember the last one I had in London. Sometimes they’re light and stop in a few minutes, at other times they seem to go on and on and I wonder if I need to go to hospital. Thankfully the nosebleed on Saturday morning was the former.

As I was awake, I decided I’d go to the bank downstairs and open a bank account. It had been on my to-do list that week but I didn’t have the energy earlier in the week. I had spoken to them on the phone and told them I wanted to open a current account. However, for various reasons I was unable to do that so I settled for a savings account. I’ll still get a debit card and phone/online banking – the only thing I won’t get is a cheque book (does anyone use cheque books anymore?). It was a painless process – all I had to take was my passport and valid residence visa and I was done in 20 minutes. My debit card will be delivered in three days and then I can register for online banking. And… the customer service guy said my account number was very lucky. No, obviously I will not tell you what it is.

So how had I been managing for the last two months without a bank account? ‘Dad, can I have some money?’ and ‘Mum, can I have some money?’ My income had been going straight into the company account and I’d been unable to get to it. It will still go into the company account but at least I have somewhere to transfer it now. Considering Dubai is supposed to be some kind of financial capital (isn’t it?) the banking system here seems quite primitive. The company account mail is still going to the previous address my parents stayed at in Dubai even though the bank has been told every week that we’ve moved. And every week my dad gives them the new address. And nothing changes. I asked a couple of friends about who they bank with – and the general consensus is that every bank is the same: rubbish. Oh good. Just what I wanted to hear. Expect a rant in the future about banking. 

That afternoon, Joy and I went to Lulu – a supermarket in Karama. She’d been sulking all morning because I got annoyed with her the night before. After dinner on Friday, she left the flat without telling anyone. I don’t know how long she’d been gone – it was only when we were going out to a movie that I realised she wasn’t there. She hadn’t taken her keys and she hadn’t taken her phone. I know she’s not a slave and I’m happy for her to go out, but at least let me know? We couldn’t leave and lock the door because when she did come back she wouldn’t be able to get in, and I couldn’t get in touch with her telling her to come back and collect the keys. So when she did show up, I told her off. ‘I didn’t know you were going out,’ she said. ‘Excuse me, but did you tell me you were going anywhere?’ She had nothing to say to that.

Lulu was crowded. I used to hate grocery shopping in London but seems to take longer here. It could be because I’ve never been to the same supermarket twice – so I have no idea where things are and it takes twice as long. Saturday afternoon is the worst time to go grocery shopping – so I decided that in future we’ll go in the morning during the week. Another lesson learned the hard way! 

And that was my week. On Saturday I’d been in Dubai for exactly two months…

For more updates, click here.


10 kilos by Easter? Week 7

What a waste of a week. I was sick all week, on antibiotics – I cancelled Rama twice and my yoga teacher too. I had no energy, but not working out made me feel like a moose. Not good. Having said that, I’m sure all the coughing has been good for my stomach muscles.

I weighed myself on Thursday morning anyway – as planned – and in spite of not doing any exercise I’d lost 0.9 kg since the last time I’d weighed myself 10 days before. So that takes the grand total up to 10.9 kgs (24 lbs!). 

Honestly, I’m sick of feeling sick – and cannot wait to get back to the gym. 


Read more updates here.

Your week ahead (26 February – 3 March)

Have a lovely week!



7 of Swords – running away – shirking responsibility, sneaking off, leaving; being a lone wolf – wanting independence, staying aloof, preferring solitude; choosing hidden dishonour – covering your tracks, lying or stealing, avoiding a shameful secret



Temperance – being temperate – finding the middle ground, reaching a compromise; maintaining balance – recognising all sides, feeling centred and secure; experiencing health – renewing energy and vigour, flourishing; combining forces – joining with others, finding the right mix



Death – ending – closing one door to open another, completing a chapter; going through transition – being cast adrift, being in the middle; eliminating excess – shedding old attitudes, getting back to basics; experiencing inexorable forces – going through what cannot be avoided, accepting the inevitable



The Hierophant – getting an education – pursuing knowledge, seeking a deeper meaning; having a belief system – identifying a world view, knowing where to put your faith; conforming – fitting in, doing what’s expected; identifying with a group – devoting energy to a group, feeling loyal to others



Page of Wands – being creative – taking a novel approach, finding a new area of self-expression; being enthusiastic – getting excited, being passionate; being confident – stretching your envelope, moving beyond doubts; being courageous – taking assertive action, overcoming a fear



Queen of Cups – being loving – dispelling anger and hate, having infinite patience; being tenderhearted – being kind and gentle with all creatures, feeling what others are feeling; being intuitive – being guided by the heart; being psychic – having a well-developed sixth sense; being spiritual – having reverance for all life, appreciating the deeper meanings of life



Ace of Pentacles – using material force – improving the body/health, focusing on concrete results; prospering – flourishing, experiencing growth; being practical – accepting the tools at hand, using common sense; proceeding with trust – believing in the good faith of others, knowing you have total security



6 of Pentacles – be generous – you are either about to be the beneficiary or the giver of something with value; share what you have – there is always someone who needs it; generosity does not have to have monetary value – it could be a listening ear, spiritual support, etc; don’t be too proud to accept what is offered, if you are the intended recipient.



King of Swords – being intellectual – being knowledgeable, carrying out research; being analytical – understanding a problem quickly; being articulate – being a lucid writer and speaker, communicating ideas successfully; being just – being impartial and objective; being ethical – taking the high road in all dealings



2 of Cups – making a connection – cementing a friendship, establishing a partnership; calling a truce – healing a severed relationship, letting bygones be bygones; acknowledging an attraction – letting yourself be drawn in, accepting your preferences, feeling a positive response



10 of Cups – feeling joy – embracing happiness, delighting in good fortune; enjoying peace – reducing stress and tension, feeling contented and at ease; looking to the family – going on a family event, supporting a relative in need, forgiving someone in the family



Page of Cups – being emotional – letting your feelings show, shedding your detachment; being intuitive – acting on a hunch, trusting your gut reaction; being intimate – starting or renewing a love affair, getting closer to someone; being loving – forgiving someone who has hurt you or apologising to someone you have hurt, forgiving yourself, responding with care rather than anger

For previous readings, see Notes by Nectar.

Dubai: Week 8

Quite a busy week, I think!

I started off my week with an 8.45am session with Rama on Sunday morning. I was keen to get back on track after the week before where I did almost nothing. Dad and I went to Texas Roadhouse for lunch at the Dubai Mall – I wasn’t all that keen on going, but thought it would be a change from PF Chang! I ordered a filet steak, with a salad and jacket potato on the side. The house salad was disappointing but the steak was actually very good. I was pleasantly surprised – and very full when I was done.

We walked around for a while and sat down for coffee at Gloria Jean’s on the first floor. Just that morning I’d complained to Rama that most places in Dubai had never heard of a flat white coffee – even the staff at Starbucks stared at me blankly when I asked for it. At Gloria Jean’s it was on the menu – and it was one of the best coffees I’ve had in Dubai. Definitely somewhere to go back to! 

Dad had a doctor’s appointment after that, so while he was at the clinic I went to the supermarket next door and picked up whatever we needed for the house. Joy had given me a list of things we’d run out of so I trawled the aisles looking for them. It was so dull. I took my time on purpose as I knew Dad’s doctor was running late, but it was just so boring. I’m sure the security guards looked at me suspiciously as I pottered down the aisles over and over again.

Anyway, we finally got home, I changed into my pajamas and that was Sunday over with.

On Monday I had my yoga class at home and then worked all day. On Tuesday I met a friend for lunch at Social House at the Dubai Mall. The last time I went there we sat inside on bench-type chairs which weren’t conducive to long lunches. I didn’t realise there was a whole separate section on the other side – and a huge outdoor section. It was a nice lunch – I had the spicy tuna roll to start with and then had the spicy wok-fried chicken. The portion was really big and I ended up taking half of it home for Joy. 

On Wednesday I had my 10th session with Rama and then worked the rest of the day. 

My yoga teacher had a cancellation on Thursday so my cousin and I took advantage of that! I then went to PF Chang for lunch at the mall (again). Someone I know had just gotten married and moved to Dubai – she got in touch and we decided to meet for lunch. There were four of us in the end – the two of us, her friend from Singapore who also lives here (who I met for lunch a few weeks before at Social House), and her cousin who lives in Dubai. They decided to wander around the mall after lunch, but I headed home. 

On Thursday night I was supposed to go to one of the British expat meet-ups in Marina, but that afternoon a friend said he was going to Okku for dinner and did I want to join him? I still drool when I think of the truffle fried rice, so I said I would. I met him there at 8pm – we had a table at the bar. He had said two other people were joining us but they were running late. In the meantime we ordered a portion of the wasabi rock shrimp and two types of chicken. I’d forgotten he rarely eats anything but chicken. Oh well, more shrimp for me, and I thought we could order some more food when the others arrived. When they did arrive, one turned out to be vegetarian and the other vegan. Yes, vegan! This did not bode well for the food fest I had planned. So I switched to vodka. After dinner we moved to the bar and a couple of other friends joined us. It wasn’t a late night but it was nice to be out and about!

On Friday, I woke up and looked out the window. I couldn’t see very far and thought it was fog… but it was a sandstorm.


A couple of hours later, it got worse. When I leave my building, the first thing I see is the Burj Khalifa, but on Friday it had disappeared. Apparently visibility was 800m that day (according to the paper). When I think of sandstorms I think of that old Laurel and Hardy movie, Beau Hunks, where they join the Foreign Legion because Hardy has a broken heart – and they then get lost in the desert in a sandstorm!


Dad and I went to Red Lobster for lunch. I’d mentioned in an earlier post that the Dubai Mall has everything you could possibly imagine – and I wasn’t kidding! Dad and I shared the fried calamari and vegetables as a starter. I then ordered the grilled salmon and broccoli as my main course. It was extremely filling. After lunch we went back to Gloria Jean’s for some coffee…

We were only outside for 10 minutes at the most but by the time I got home, there was sand in my hair, my eyes, my throat… it was gross.

That night I had dinner with my cousins at Spectrum on One at the Fairmont. The restaurant was empty – apparently it gets very busy for Friday brunch, but by dinner time the crowd had gone. We had sushi to start with, and then shared the prawn teppanyaki and two portions of the lamb chops. We had ordered the black pepper beef but sent it back as it wasn’t very good. We shared the chocolate fondant for dessert.

Another cousin from Lagos arrived on Saturday morning – and was staying with us. He arrived at about 9.30am and we chatted for a couple of hours until he decided to go nap. I went to the gym. The sandstorm still hadn’t subsided. We later met our other cousins for lunch at Lafayette Gourmet – the service was bad, and I wasn’t sure whether our waiter was a man or a woman. I asked the others what they thought and they weren’t sure either. We had a mixture of food for lunch – sushi, pasta, curry – they do it all there. After that we went to Caffe Nero for coffee. I did try to get them to go to Gloria Jean’s but they said it was too far.

I went home and decided I wasn’t going anywhere else the rest of the day. And by dinner time my throat was hurting… 

For more updates, click here.

Dubai: Week 7

Not a terribly interesting week!

I woke up on Sunday not feeling very well and had to cancel my session with Rama (which I really didn’t want to do). I went back to sleep for a couple of hours and felt much better when I woke up again. I stayed home most of the day and then met my cousin for a coffee. She was visiting from Bombay and I hadn’t seen her in over a year so we went to Starbucks at the Dubai Mall and sat outside. It was nice and I think the fresh air did me good. 

We were supposed to go out for dinner that evening but when she got home after the mall she wasn’t feeling very well and in the end my parents and I went out for dinner on our own. We went to Thai Chi at Wafi Pyramids. I didn’t take any photos, but the buildings there are in an Ancient Egyptian style – the gym is called the Pharoah’s Club, the coffee shop is Rameses, the beauty salon is Cleopatra’s, and so on. Thai Chi is on the first floor – it’s a huge restaurant but being a Sunday night it was quite empty apart from one or two other tables.

The food was good, the portions are huge. My parents and I shared a tom yum soup – which was supposed to be shared between two people, but there was enough there for four large bowls of soup. We then had one of the salads and some chicken satays. For our main course we had a beef dish and a green chicken curry. It was more than enough for the three of us!

On Monday I had my first yoga class with the new teacher. I was home working for the rest of the day and that evening my cousins came over for dinner. My parents were out with their friends so we had the place to ourselves.

I woke up on Tuesday feeling unwell again – and stayed home all day. I didn’t feel great on Wednesday either but went ahead with my session with Rama.

On Thursday, I met up with a friend at More Cafe at MoE. I’d met her a couple of times since moving to Dubai but it was always with a group of people. This time it was just the two of us and we got to catch up properly. We met at 11.30, had brunch, and when her daughter was done with school, she joined us too. What was supposed to be a quick breakfast/coffee turned into a 3-hour session. I stayed home that night – I had some work to do and I was tired.

On Friday, I met up with the same friend for lunch. We had a mutual friend in town for the day from Bangalore so we went to Wafi Gourmet. The service was atrocious. It seems to get worse each time I go there. After our long lazy outdoor lunch, our friend from Bangalore wanted to go to a supermarket so we ended up at Choithram’s in Jumeirah. We went home after that and she left for the airport.

That night I had dinner at PF Chang with my parents. I felt like I’d spent the whole day at the mall by this point. My cousin joined us as we were finishing and we went to see ‘The Iron Lady’. Dad wasn’t happy when he found out what we were seeing (we hadn’t told him) – basically if a movie doesn’t involve high-speed car chases or people shooting at each other, he’s not interested. As expected he didn’t like the movie. I thought it was a bit slow, but I thought Meryl Streep was amazing. There were times, however, when I felt she looked a little like one of the characters in ‘Little Britain’. I think it was her hair or make-up, possibly both. 

On Saturday, I was home most of the day as my mum was leaving for India. I met up with a friend at Caffe Nero at the mall – I was telling her about my photography course and she suggested I brush up on my skills and start doing sessions for the kids’ play dates. She said they’re always looking for photographers for the kids – and that it would be worth my while. I’m not sure how I feel about spending time with toddlers. In fact, it’s not the kids that worry me, it’s their mothers that might freak me out! But I said I’d think about it (which I am)… Anyway, we spent an hour together and that evening I stayed home as I had an early session with Rama the next day.

So that was week 7 – hardly any exercise, lots of work, and not much else!

For more updates, click here.