Dubai 2013: Week 9

The beginning of the week was fairly quiet – apart from my usual gym and yoga sessions I didn’t do much apart from work.

On Tuesday afternoon I decided I would spend the afternoon at the pool with my book. I didn’t feel like working at all! I was barely there for an hour but had to come back in as it was just too hot.

That night my parents and I went to Shang Thai on Sheikh Zayed Road for dinner. The restaurant has been open just over a year and my parents had been there the week before with their friends. There were quite a few tables occupied and the service was pretty good. We had soup to start with (I had the tom kha soup). The portions are too big though – I think at least two people could have shared my soup. We ordered a papaya salad to share. For our main course we had the green chicken curry (which was a bit bland) and the steamed fish with Thai chilli and lemon (which we sent back because it was cold). They reheated it and brought it back – it was much tastier than the chicken. It’s a good place if you want a quick casual meal without alcohol.

A friend and I went to an InterNations event on Wednesday night – the last time we’d been to an InterNations event was in October. It was at Clique at Jumeirah Emirates Towers. We got there quite early and found a table to stand at. We were joined by a Greek woman who introduced herself to us and the three of us started talking. We were joined by a French guy and one of his friends. We were then joined by even more people: English, Lebanese, Syrian, American. It was such an unexpectedly fun evening! At 11pm I had to go home. I didn’t want to… but I knew that if I had another glass of wine I’d be in trouble.

My headache the next morning made me thankful I’d gone home at 11pm. I had my piano lesson on Thursday afternoon – even though I felt like a zombie for most of it. I was still working on ‘Solfegietto’ and ‘The Heart Asks Pleasure First’. My teacher gave me a new piece of music as well – the 2nd movement of Mozart’s sonata in C major (‘Sonata Semplice‘). I think this one will take a while to learn!

On Thursday night I met a friend for dinner at Caramel. It was a chilled evening with more wine (but not too much). I do like the food at Caramel, but as I’ve mentioned before it’s just too dark at night! You need a small torch just to read the menu. It wasn’t a late night because I had to be up early the next morning. I spent all of Friday at the Literature Festival – I was there from 9.45am to 8pm! It was fantastic.

That night I had dinner with a couple of friends and one of their friends at Rivington Grill in Souk Al Bahar. I hadn’t been there before but was pleasantly surprised. We shared a selection of starters (Welsh rarebit, Devonshire dressed crab, Eggs Benedict, warm smoked salmon salad). For our main course, two of us shared the beef Wellington, and the other two shared the Rivington burger and the seabass. For dessert we had the apple and blackberry crumble. It was a fun evening – we sat outside and had a great view of the Dubai Fountain. I know I’ve seen it many times, but I still think it’s spectacular.

On Saturday afternoon, my parents and I went to see the Classic Car Festival in Downtown. There were hundreds of cars on display – and some of them were incredible.

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Isn't this so 'Bonnie and Clyde'?

Isn’t this so ‘Bonnie and Clyde’?

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I didn’t get to see several cars as I had to rush off to my writing group at The Pavilion Downtown. There were about 10 of us that evening – and it was a fun group. The first exercise was to describe the room of one of the following characters (they cannot be in the room): a faded movie star who thinks she’s still famous, a student about to drop out of high school, a cashier who has just won the lottery, a paranoid schizophrenic. I chose the last one – everything in his room is covered in tin foil. I’m not very good with descriptions – I always want to go into the mind of the character and explain why things are that way rather than explaining how they look. I guess that’s something I’ll have to work on.

The second exercise consisted of writing a scene or story with three characters. The three characters had to be the personification of your heart, your brain and your soul. In my story, my heart was a voluptuous blonde, my brain was a male psychology professor, and my soul was a classroom adjudicator (silent, but observing everything). The blonde asks her psychology professor if he can explain what goes on in the male mind in 10 minutes, why they say one thing and do another, or why they say one thing and do nothing. We only had 15 minutes so I wasn’t able to write what the professor would have said to her. It’s probably just as well because I’m clueless when it comes to things like that!

For the third exercise we were given a sentence and had to continue the story. I love these – I think it’s the easiest way to start writing. The sentence we were given was: ‘Someone must have slandered Joseph, for one morning, without having done anything truly wrong, he was arrested.’ I wrote about a white man living in a small Nigerian town where the locals don’t trust him. Interestingly, the woman sitting next to me was from South Africa, and her Joseph character was a black man in a predominantly white neighbourhood. It’s amazing what different stories you get from just one starter sentence.

I didn’t stay for the fourth exercise – I was feeling rather drained so I left. I was home by 8.30pm. I had dinner, got into bed and read my book.

I love my life.

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