Dubai: Week 12

What a busy week!

I had a killer session with Rama on Sunday morning, followed by a trip to Lulu for our weekly shop. I decided mornings would be the best time to go – the last time I went was on a Saturday afternoon and there was no way I was doing that again. After bringing everything home, Dad and I decided to go to Burjuman for a late lunch. He’d been to Zone Lounge before and wanted to go back. It’s an Italian/Lebanese restaurant and I ordered the houmous and shish taouk. I was famished by the time the food arrived – it was 3.30 and I hadn’t eaten all day – so I ate the houmous with bread (gasp!). Dad ordered the seafood soup because the photo looked good in the menu. Unfortunately it didn’t look anything like it did in the photo and he was disappointed. The shish taouk was OK – the chips that came with it were good though. So I basically had a carb-loaded lunch. I don’t think I’d go back there again though. I’d seen a Gloria Jean’s Coffee place on our way to the restaurant and we went there when we were done.

We had a couple of errands to run in Deira after our late lunch so off we went. I always thought it was so far (because that’s what I’d been told) but it really wasn’t. It looked like an interesting area of Dubai – you could see the dhows and shipping boats being loaded in Dubai Creek – and I’d have liked to walk around but Dad didn’t want to and I’d been out of the house most of the day so I didn’t mind too much. It was also quite chilly by the waterfront and I didn’t have a shawl.

On Monday evening I went to an InterNations event at the Ritz-Carlton DIFC. I’d kept in touch with a couple of people from the British Expat drinks I went to in January and they were going to the InterNations get-together. I got there at about 8.45 and there must have been at least 300 people there – and all from different countries. I registered/paid at the door, was given a token for a free drink and a sticker with your name on it, and then I was let loose with the others. While waiting at the bar I started chatting to a couple of people (mostly about how slow the bar staff were). After being served I went outside to look for the people I knew – it took me ages to find them in that crowd – and just by walking around I ended up chatting to people I didn’t know who have since been in touch. It wasn’t a late night, or a heavy one, but I will definitely go to more events like that. 

On Wednesday I met a new friend for lunch at More Cafe at MoE. I’d never met her before but we’d been chatting on Twitter for the last few weeks. We do have one friend in common but keeping track of her was proving difficult so we decided to meet without her. It was a lovely lunch and I’m looking forward to more of them! After lunch I met up with another friend for coffee at Columbus Cafe – she’d just been to London so it was nice to hear about her trip and catch up. Yes, I was rather jealous but time is flying and May will be here before I know it. 

I’ve decided I need to re-think my ‘no work in the morning’ policy for the next few weeks if I’m going to get all my projects done by their various deadlines. The main deadline at the moment is 30th March so until then my mornings aren’t going to be as relaxed as they are now. 

On Thursday morning, I was up early. I was at the gym by 9am only to find that it was closed as it was being repainted. Damn! I got ready and was at my desk by 10am – and I was there pretty much all day (apart from meals). 

That night I had dinner with some friends at Zuma. Our table was booked for 10pm but by the time we sat down it was after 10.30. I have never seen such scantily-clad women in my life. There was a woman who came up in the lift with us and I wondered why she bothered wearing a top at all! I guess the mall dress code doesn’t apply to Dubai after dark.

On Friday Dad and I went to Sumo Sushi & Bento at Jumeirah Town Centre for lunch. It’s a small mall right next to Mercato.

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We decided to have the set meal for two – it included miso soup, a sushi platter (there was a choice of three), prawn tempura (again, a choice of three starters), chicken katsu and barbecued beef (there was a choice of four main courses). It was a lot of food – and an hour after that I went to Taste of Dubai.

Taste of Dubai was held at the amphitheatre in Media City. It’s similar to Taste of London – all the restaurants have stalls, you can buy any of their signature dishes, there’s live music, cooking demonstrations, chefs doing signings. Some of the restarants with stalls were Nobu, Ronda Locatelli, Gaucho, ToroToro, Rhodes Twenty10, Rivington Grill and PF Chang’s. The dishes served at Nobu were black cod, nasu miso, sashimi tacos, tuna sashimi salad and mochi ice cream. I had the black cod and tuna sashimi salad – each portion is about two bites’ worth of food which was perfect after the lunch I had! A few of my friends had signed up for a session at the Miele Cookery School.

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There were 12 cooking stations and the chef from Rivington Grill showed them how to make seared salmon salad. It smelled and looked pretty good…

We wandered around for a while after that, looking at all the foods on display.

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At about 7pm we went back to the main area and tried to find somewhere to sit. It wasn’t easy.

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We eventually found somewhere, sent the kids to get us some food and got ourselves some beers. When I see certain things on a menu, I have to have them – such as truffles, artichokes, wine… The Ronda Locatelli stall had a truffle ravioli on their menu (I’d spotted it earlier and had been thinking about little else) and when the kids brought it back I could smell the truffles from across the table. I had to have it. Just one bite. It was divine. We relaxed for an hour or so and then a few of us had to leave as we had tickets to see a play at the Madinat Theatre.

‘August: Osage County’ was the winner of the 2007 Pullitzer Prize and seven Tony Awards. The play wa
s written by Tracy Letts and the original version is set in Oklahoma. The production we saw was adapted and directed by Lilette Dubey, and set in Goa. Before the play started, an English woman came up on stage to announce members of the cast and who the sponsors were. The woman could barely read. The main sponsor was Petrochem – and she pronounced the ‘chem’ exactly as it’s spelled. It didn’t bode well for the rest of the play. 

Fortunately, she was soon forgotten once the play started. It was brilliant. It was about a dysfunctional family who come together for their father’s funeral. It reminded me a bit of Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom – or a long episode of ‘Brothers and Sisters’ (but well written). I stopped watching ‘Brothers and Sisters’ somewhere in season 2. I figured if I wanted to listen to a family arguing I could just go to my living room and sit with mine. Anyway, the play was funny, dark, sad – thoroughly enjoyable.

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The only criticisms I will make (and that have nothing to do with the production) was that the sound system wasn’t very good, and that for the first half of the play the theatre was freezing, even with my shawl wrapped tightly around me. The play ended after midnight so it was almost 1am by the time I got home.

On Saturday I went to the gym and then decided I was going to do nothing all day. I didn’t even switch on my computer. Armed with factor 20 sunscreen, I took The Hunger Games down to the pool and sat there for a couple of hours.

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It was the first time I’d been to the pool since I moved to Dubai. It had been too cold and/or windy before that to sit down there. When I got home I got into bed and continued reading until I’d finished the book. A perfect Saturday… 

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