Dubai: Week 43

What a busy week!

I was home most of Sunday but had dinner at Caramel with my sister and a friend who now lives in Nairobi. I really enjoy the food at Caramel but always forget how dark the place really is. I know I’ve said that before – but it does take some of the enjoyment out of eating there.

On Monday my sister asked me if I’d go shopping with her. I declined (as she knew I would) but when she got to the mall she realised she’d left her credit card behind (on purpose, I wonder?). I had a piano lesson to make up for the one I’d missed while I was in Singapore and then went to join her at the Dubai Mall.

My piano lesson was good, considering I’d hardly done any practising since my last lesson. My teacher gave me a few new songs to learn – ‘Skyfall’ and a Scott Joplin ragtime piece, and I did some more work on ‘Love in Portofino’.

I met my sister at the mall and we had lunch at Vapiano. I ordered the penne arrabiata which I’d never had before – it’s so good! We sat outdoors by the fountain. The weather in Dubai in December is just gorgeous.

And then came the shopping. I’m a terrible shopper – I can’t bear going from one shop to the next, browsing without looking for anything specific. We eventually ended up in Michael Kors where I saw a dress I liked and tried it on. I wasn’t sure about it but when I came out of the changing room my sister said I had to buy it. So I did. At least I have something to wear for New Year’s Eve. Now I just need somewhere to go! We also walked through the new Shoe District in Dubai Mall. If you like (love) designer shoes, you need to go there.

I was at home on Tuesday until the afternoon. My sister and NP had arranged a play date for the two boys. We met up outside Ski Dubai and took the kids up to the toy shop where they had a trampoline for the kids to jump around on – they had a blast.

Not much happened on Wednesday – I was home all day after my session with Randy.

Thursday was busy. I had another piano lesson (still working on ‘Skyfall’, Scott Joplin and ‘As Time Goes By’ and then walked to The Fairmont to get my hair done.

That evening I went to Wine Club. This time it was held at the Empire Room at the H Hotel and the format was a little different. Instead of having tables of 10, the wines were set up at different stations around the room. There was one sparkling wine, two white wines and three red wines. The wines we had were:

  • Chandon Sparkling Rose NV: In the glass, the colour is a dramatic deep pink with a blush of sunset. Intense ripe strawberry, juicy watermelon and fresh red cherry fruit aromas and flavours are interwoven with apple, pear and stone fruit. On the palate, the wine is creamy and seductive, with defined structure from the addition of still Pinot Noir at tirage. The overall impression is one of bold vibrancy and impact from start to finish.
  • Pascal Jolivet Attitude Sauvignon Blanc: ‘Attitude’ has a beautiful freshness in mouth, a frank attack, delicate green and lemon flavours, citrus fruits, green apple and kiwi aromas. The minerality gives a long finish to the wine, a smoothness and elegance.
  • Richter Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Kabinett: This Kabinett has light, elegant, racy, honeyed green fruits offset by a firm acidity. From a very well-known and highly thought of vineyard and winemaker in the Mosel region of Germany. Serve well chilled.
  • Mazzei Belguardo Serrata di Belguardo: Intense ruby red. Aromatic with scents of ripe cherries, spice and chocolate on the nose. A rich, balanced red. Soft and well-structured with flavours of wild berries, spices and herbs. Abv: 13.6%; 80% Sangiovese, 20% Alicante Nero.
  • R Stuart Big Fire Pinot Noir (this was my favourite wine of the evening): Made in Oregon, USA. Voluptuous, ripe. Vibrant with rich chocolate, dark berries, fragrant new cherries and sinfully creamy texture. Pairs well with duck pate, fresh figs and goat cheese mousse.
  • Dourthe Diane de Belgrave Bordeaux Blend: Diane de Belgrave is produced at Dourthe’s Fifth Growth property, Chateau Belgrave. This beautiful estate in the Haut-Medoc is adjacent to the prized Saint Julien appellation. The wine shows an evolved crimson in the glass. Very elegant nose of red and black fruits with subtle, well integrated notes of cedar. Supple on the palate, with a rather velvety texture and juicy mid-palate; acidity gives good lift on the finish. Aromas of stewed fruits, cassis and dark mulberry. An elegant, medium-bodied wine, where Cabernet Sauvignon flavours dominate.

When the wine had finished a few of us went to Calabar at the Address Downtown. I was home by 1.30am.

I didn’t sleep well on Thursday night and was tired on Friday. My sister and I met our cousins for lunch at Royal China. It was lovely sitting outdoors in DIFC. We had dim sum (sadly no char siu pau) and soup, noodles and Szechuan chicken and rice.

After lunch, my parents, sister, nephew and I went to Mirdif City Centre for some shopping – I ended up buying two more dresses. We had a bite at PF Chang and were home by 8.30.

I quickly got ready as I was meeting a friend and some of her friends at Villa Romana at the Habtoor Grand in Marina. I got there a little before 9.30pm and the place was empty apart from our party of six and a two other groups of two and three. I was surprised as it’s quite new and I thought it would be crowded. We sat down to dinner after 10pm – the menu was disappointing – it was limited and nothing appealed to me. I ordered a pasta in the end. I think we all thought the food was average. The entertainment was disappointing and the music was rubbish. We didn’t stay for dessert or another drink.

Instead we decided to walk over to XL Beach Club which was right next door to Villa Romana. It was a bit more happening, the music was better, but we only stayed for one drink. The night just seemed doomed to never pick up. And then we went to I2.

We walked in and the DJ was playing ‘The Only Way Is Up’ by Yazz and the Plastic Population. Jesus, I thought to myself, more shit music. But it got so much better – it seemed to be retro night so all the hits from the 80s, 90s and early 2000s were played, along with their respective videos. The place was packed – we started off at the bar where we had three Dudu shots each. What’s in them? Vodka, lime juice, tabasco and a green olive. They taste much better than they sound. I think that if we’d started the night on these shots we’d have had a much better time! We moved on to the dance floor (Ice Ice Baby, Billie Jean, Last Christmas, Grease) and stayed there until 3am. I got home at 3.30am but couldn’t sleep until 5am and was awake early the next morning.

I was exhaustd on Saturday but had been invited to the India Club for lunch by one of my mum’s friends. We got there at 1.30 and stayed for a couple of hours. My sister and I went to the Dubai Mall after lunch (I bought another dress) and we got home at about 7pm.

Later that evening I had a drink with one of my cousins at iKandy at the Shangri-La. She was in town for the night on her way back to London. I’d never been to iKandy – it’s outdoors on the terrace by the pool. We caught up over a couple of glasses of wine and I walked home at midnight.

I love my life.

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