Notes by Nectar

Your destiny lies in your own hands

Your month ahead (October 2013)

Wow, the year is almost over…

Aries

18_moon-scaled500

The Moon – feeling fear – lacking courage, being overcome by anxieties, feeling a nameless apprehension; believing illusions – deceiving yourself, experiencing distortions, chasing after a fantasy; stimulating the imagination – opening to fantasy, having vivid dreams or visions, plumbing the unconscious; feeling bewildered – losing direction and purpose, being easily distracted, feeling disoriented

Taurus

Pentacles 3

3 of Pentacles – working as a team – finding all the needed elements, functioning as a team, cooperating; planning – organising resources, reviewing beforehand, being prepared; being competent – getting the job done, meeting your goals, being up to the job

Gemini

Wands 5

5 of Wands – disagreeing – quibbling over details, quarreling, arguing and bickering; experiencing competition – rising to the challenge, trying to outdo yourself, looking for a fight; experiencing hassles – getting annoyed by demands, needing to take care of details, being bothered by trivialities

Cancer

12 Hanged Man

The Hanged Man – letting go – accepting what is, ending the struggle, giving up control; reversing – turning the world around, seeing from a new angle, overturning old priorities; suspending action – giving up urgency, living in the moment, pausing to reflect; sacrificing – putting self-interest aside, putting others first, giving up for a higher cause

Leo

cups_queen-scaled500

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

Virgo

Wands Knight

Knight of Wands – finding a balance between being charming/superficial – being physically attractive/focusing on style and appearance; being self-confident/cocky – totally lacking self-doubt/overestimating abilities; being daring/foolhardy – risking anything without fear/being reckless and rash; being adventurous/restless – loving travel and new experiences/never being content to sit still; being passionate/hot-tempered – taking a vocal stand/acting without thinking

Libra

6 The Lovers

The Lovers – relating to others – feeling love, getting closer, making a connection; being sexual – making love, opening to another, feeling a physical attraction; establishing personal beliefs – figuring out where you stand, staying true to yourself, making up your own mind; determining values – facing an ethical or moral choice, finding out what you care about, struggling with temptation

Scorpio

Pentacles Ace

Ace of Pentacles – using material force – working with the physical, improving the body/health, focusing on concrete results; prospering – having the means to reach a goal, seeing efforts rewarded, increasing assets; being practical – using common sense, being realistic, accepting the tools at hand; proceeding with trust – feeling safe and protected, having a support system, believing in the good faith of others

Sagittarius

Pentacles Queen

Queen of Pentacles – being nurturing – giving love and support, making people feel better; being big-hearted – giving freely and abundantly; being down-to-earth – handling problems matter-of-factly, taking a simple and sensible approach; being resourceful – making a little go a long way, being handy and versatile; being trustworthy – being loyal and steadfast, keeping confidences and secrets

Capricorn

13 Death

Death – ending – closing one door to open another, putting the past behind you; going through transition – changing status, being in the middle; eliminating excess – concentrating on essentials, shedding old attitudes; experiencing inexorable forces – going through what cannot be avoided, riding your fate

Aquarius

Pentacles 5

5 of Pentacles – experiencing hard times – running into material troubles, feeling insecure, struggling to make ends meet; suffering ill health – feeling run down and tired, getting medical attention, neglecting your body and its needs; being rejected – having the door slammed in your face, feeling excluded, lacking support

Pisces

Wands 8

8 of Wands – taking quick action – making your move, putting plans into action, rushing into a new area; coming to a conclusion – closing out an activity, completing unfinished business, having all elements come together; receiving news – getting an important message, finding the missing puzzle piece, having a meaningful conversation

For your monthly readings, click here.

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For a personal tarot reading, please contact me.

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Silent Sunday

2013-09-28 01.33.38

Silent Sunday

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Your week ahead (29 September-5 October)

What a lot of court cards! Have a great week!

Aries

Wands Queen

Queen of Wands – being attractive – being appealing and popular, making friends easily, having great sex appeal; being wholehearted – being loaded with enthusiasm, being open and sincere; being energetic – being vigorous and strong, being a natural athlete; being cheerful – having a warm and sunny disposition, having an encouraging word for all; being self-assured – having faith in your abilities, quietly demonstrating self-confidence

Taurus

Swords Page

Page of Swords – using your mind – analysing the problem, using logic and reason; being truthful – acting honestly, exposing what is hidden; being just – acting ethically, righting a wrong; having fortitude – facing problems squarely, keeping a firm resolve

Gemini

cups_queen-scaled500

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

Cancer

5 Hierophant

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

Leo

Wands 3

3 of Wands – exploring the unknown – expanding horizons, leaving the secure behind; having foresight – getting a premonition, being visionary; demonstrating leadership – assuming a responsible position, showing others the way

Virgo

2 High Priestess

The High Priestess – staying non-active – withdrawing from involvement, being receptive to influence, waiting patiently; accessing the unconscious – using your intuition, trusting your inner voice, being aware of a larger reality; seeing the potential – allowing development, opening to what could be; sensing the mystery – opening to the unknown, seeking what is concealed, looking beyond the obvious

Libra

Pentacles Page

Page of Pentacles – having an effect – making plans real, using your body, acting on your dreams; being practical – taking a realistic approach, using common sense, finding a solution that works; being prosperous – increasing your means, enriching yourself, becoming secure; being trusting/trustworthy – having faith in others, keeping your word, establishing credibility

Scorpio

Wands King

King of Wands – being creative – having natural artistic ability, being original and inventive; being inspiring – setting an example others want to follow; being forceful – carrying authority naturally; being charismatic – magnetically attracting others, naturally becoming the focus of attention; being bold – being intrepid, daring to stand and be different

Sagittarius

Wands Page

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

Capricorn

Wands 7

7 of Wands – being aggressive – going after what you want, taking the offensive, making your point forcefully; being defiant – holding out against pressure, combating criticism, resisting authority; showing conviction – demonstrating strong character, knowing you are right, being firm

Aquarius

17 Star

The Star – regaining hope – having faith in the future, thinking positively; being inspired – realising an inner strength, regaining motivation; being generous – wanting to give or share, offering with no reservations; feeling serene – experiencing peace of mind, being tranquil amid trouble

Pisces

Swords Queen

Queen of Swords – being honest – facing the truth, even if it’s unpleasant, playing by the rules, avoiding lies and deception; being astute – sizing up a situation quickly, being quick on the uptake; being forthright – getting to the heart of the matter, being candid when necessary; being witty – never taking anything too seriously; being experienced – having seen and done it all, having realistic expectations

For your monthly readings, click here.

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For a personal tarot reading, please contact me.

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Dubai 2013: Week 37

I had a really busy week with work and it was a heavy social week too!

After my session with Randy on Sunday, I had a few errands to run – send out a transfer from Standard Chartered Bank in Mankhool, pay one of my mum’s bills in Karama, and meet a friend for lunch at the Dubai Mall. I actually got to the mall early and browsed in Kinokuniya (dangerous!) – I ended up buying the new Jhumpa Lahiri book. I met my friend for lunch at Shake Shack. It’s just opened and is on the first floor next to the Waterfall.

I’d never been to Shake Shack but my visit to Burger Fuel over the weekend had whet my appetite for another hamburger. I mentioned I was early, but my friend was running late so by the time we ordered I was famished. I had the double Shackburger and fries. And a diet Pepsi (ha!).

Double Shackburger and fries (and diet Pepsi!)

Double Shackburger and fries (and diet Pepsi!)

It was so good but as I was eating it I could see the grease dripping out of it onto my tray. Definitely for cheat days only!

I worked the rest of the day. That afternoon I got a call from the bank to say that the IBAN number I’d provided on the transfer form was wrong and I’d have to come in and submit a new form. For goodness’ sake – isn’t that something the woman checking and stamping the form is supposed to do? When I went back on Monday with a new form and the correct IBAN number, she said, ‘Oh, you’re back again.’ ‘Yes, stupid. If you’d done your job properly I wouldn’t be here,’ I replied. Well, OK, no, I didn’t say that. But I sent that to her telepathically.

I woke up on Tuesday feeling feverish and my throat was scratchy. Great. I took some Panadol and felt better for a while. I had a piano lesson on Tuesday afternoon. I’m still working on ‘When I Was Your Man’ and ‘Primavera’. My teacher also gave me the music for L.O.V.E by Nat King Cole and told me to ‘play around with it’.

That evening a friend and I went to Karma Kafe at Souk Al Bahar. They were launching an event called ‘Sake in the City’, an after-work alternative to ladies’ night every Tuesday. Women get three tokens for free drinks (either wine or a choice of three sake-based cocktails) and there’s also 50% off selected items from their a la carte menu all evening. We got there at 7pm and ordered some cocktails. I can’t remember what the cocktail I had was called but it had sake, vodka, kaffir lime leaves, ginger, lime and who knows what else. It was yummy. We also ordered some food – edamame, spicy tuna rolls and a dim sum basket. A little while after we got there the two women on the next table said they were leaving and gave us four of their tokens. We ordered some more drinks (I stuck to the cocktail the whole evening while my friend switched to Pinot Grigio) and some crispy duck rolls. We basically had four drinks each – we didn’t get round to using all our tokens! When the bill came we each paid… AED80. That’s just under £14. How crazy is that? I think we’ll be going back there a lot! There were a few photographers there from various magazines and we had our photo taken a few times.

I still wasn’t feeling great on Wednesday but really fancied some pasta from Vapiano so I went to the mall for lunch and came straight home.

I felt better on Thursday and went to wine club at the Sheraton MoE that evening. The first three wines were white, the next three were red. I didn’t particularly like any of them. I tried the first white and thought ‘Ugh, this is Chardonnay.’ I tried the second and third and thought the same thing. Surely they wouldn’t have three Chardonnays in one night? My fears were confirmed at the end of the evening when all the wines were uncovered:

  • Catena Chardonnay from Argentina. Ripe tropical flavours, white stone fruit and citrus notes, lively floral notes, strong mineral character and excellent acidity.
  • Finca el Origen from Argentina. Bright greenish yellow in colour, aromas of tropical fruit, pineapple and melon, light floral and citrus. Round velvety texture on the palate, a refreshing acidity and elegant finish.
  • Kumeu River Chardonnay from New Zealand. Elegant citrus and peach fruit aromas, along with a touch of hazelnut that is typical of quality Chardonnay. The palate also shows nice ripe peach flavours with fine, flinty acidity that gives the wine a refreshing long finish. This wine is perfect to drink with fish and shellfish.
  • Robert Giraud La Collection Saint-Emilion from Bordeaux, France. Seek out a rich dark ruby colour, aromas of blackberries and other fruit mingles with oak and a little spice. On the palate, a moderate body with a medium finish. The palate should confirm fruit found on the nose.
  • Chateau de Moulin Neuf from Bordeaux, France. A well-crafted authentic Left Bank Bordeaux blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (for structure and power) smoothed with elegance and finesse of Merlot. Deep red appearance with ruby highlights. Reveals delicate aromas of ripe raspberry and blackberry, with hints of soft spices. Melting tannins introduce a well-structured wine on the palate, with a great balance and dark fruit flavours. Its elegant length makes it a great accompaniment for roasted or grilled meat and soft cheeses.
  • Montes Cabernet Sauvignon from Chile. The classic series-intense ruby-red colour. The nose has layer upon layer of caramel, cinnamon and candy with hints of mint, but without any dominance of oak. A spicy, full-flavoured wine, with good body, fruit and firm tannins and an engaging strong finish. Drink now or cellar for a few years.

After wine club a few of us went to Vantage, also at the Sheraton, where we ordered more wine and were there until closing. On the way home, three of us stopped at Burger Fuel for a bite to eat.

I felt like hell on Friday. I was home all day and would have happily stayed home all night but had a friend’s 40th to go to. I met my cousin at the Fairmont where the two of us and one of her friends had a drink before heading to the party – in the ballroom of the new Oberoi hotel. There must have been at least 200 people there – and several of them were from out of town. I met people I hadn’t seen in years and had completely forgotten about! At the beginning of the evening, I really wasn’t sure how long I would last – my head was aching and I was so tired. But after a few glasses of champagne, I got my second wind and was actually there until 5am! The DJ was amazing – he played loads of Prince – and I told several people I’d seen Prince in concert nine times (whether or not they were interested). Ha! When we left at 5am, the party was still going strong, champagne was still flowing and breakfast was being served (omelettes and shawarmas).

If I thought I felt like hell on Friday, I felt even worse on Saturday. And I had a cough. My original plan had been to spend the day at the Radisson Royal and have a massage in the evening. When I woke up, the last thing I felt like doing was sitting out in the hot sun with a pounding headache. I ordered some Chinese food for lunch and spent the rest of the afternoon in bed. Dad arrived that evening so I spent some time catching up with him before going back to bed!

I love my life.

For more updates, click here.

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The final few

I had my usual Sunday morning session with Randy.

After I finished my 5-minute warm-up on the cross-trainer I did the first circuit:

I did that three times with a break in between each set. I did another 3 minutes on the cross-trainer, had a short break and then did the second circuit:

I was done! Randy stretched me out and I was done.

That afternoon I went to Shake Shack for the first (and possibly last) time. I was famished by the time we ordered and I had a double Shackburger and fries. And a diet Pepsi (I almost laughed when I ordered that).

2013-09-15 14.37.58

I know, I know – I could have gone for the single Shackburger but I was hungry. My friend tried to convince me that the cheese fries were worth trying but I don’t really like anything on my fries. As I tucked into the burger that I’ve heard people raving about for months, I could see the grease dripping out of it onto my tray. It was kind of… gross. I’m not saying I’d never eat there again, but I definitely would consider other options first!

I woke up with sore obliques, abs and hamstrings on Monday. I had yoga on Monday morning – with more side planks!

I woke up on Tuesday feeling feverish and my throat was scratchy. And my sides were still aching! I took some Panadol and felt better for most of the day but by the time I went to sleep I was feeling terrible. I cancelled my session with Randy and didn’t work out on Wednesday or Thursday. I just wasn’t feeling up to it. I also had a really heavy weekend and by the time Saturday evening came round I was feeling like hell – fever, cough, cold. Not a good week for me.

Low point of the week? Starting the week with a burger and fries and then getting sick at the end of the week.

High point of the week? Starting the week with a burger and fries!

Weight loss? I actually managed to stick to 70 kg all week.

Sick

Read more updates here.

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Silent Sunday

2013-09-18 18.06.12

Silent Sunday

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Your week ahead (22-28 September)

Have a great week!

Aries

cups_king-scaled5001

King of Cups – being wise – giving good advice, understanding many levels of experience; being calm – keeping your head in a crisis, never seeming nervous or tense; being diplomatic – balancing the needs of many people, being able to diffuse a tense situation; being caring – feeling compassion for the less fortunate, doing volunteer and charity work; being tolerant – allowing others their freedom, being patient in trying circumstances

Taurus

12 Hanged Man

The Hanged Man – letting go – accepting what is, ending the struggle, giving up control; reversing – turning the world around, seeing from a new angle, overturning old priorities; suspending action – giving up urgency, living in the moment, pausing to reflect; sacrificing – putting self-interest aside, putting others first, giving up for a higher cause

Gemini

Pentacles 2

2 of Pentacles – juggling – coping with demands, having a lot of irons in the fire, keeping everything in balance; being flexible – going with the flow, seeing the possibilities, handling challenges; having fun – taking time to play, feeling in high spirits, seeing the humour in the situation

Cancer

Wands 6

6 of Wands – triumphing – having your day in the sun, coming out on top, achieving success; receiving acclaim – earning applause, achieving recognition, getting a pat on the back; feeling pride – strutting your stuff, holding your head up high, having a high opinion of yourself

Leo

Swords Knight

Knight of Swords – finding a balance between being direct/blunt – being frank and outspoken/tactless and rude; being authoritative/overbearing – commanding with attention/forcing a position on others; being incisive/cutting – being sharp and alert/having a barbed wit; being knowledgeable/opinionated – having well-reasoned opinions/being arrogant; being logical/unfeeling – reasoning clearly/undervaluing intuition

Virgo

2 High Priestess

The High Priestess – staying non-active – withdrawing from involvement, being receptive to influence, waiting patiently; accessing the unconscious – using your intuition, trusting your inner voice, being aware of a larger reality; seeing the potential – allowing development, opening to what could be; sensing the mystery – opening to the unknown, seeking what is concealed, looking beyond the obvious

Libra

Swords Page

Page of Swords – using your mind – analysing the problem, using logic and reason; being truthful – acting honestly, exposing what is hidden; being just – acting ethically, righting a wrong; having fortitude – facing problems squarely, keeping a firm resolve

Scorpio

14 Temperance

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

Sagittarius

5 Hierophant

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

Capricorn

Wands Knight

Knight of Wands – finding a balance between being charming/superficial – being physically attractive/focusing on style and appearance; being self-confident/cocky – totally lacking self-doubt/overestimating abilities; being daring/foolhardy – risking anything without fear/being reckless and rash; being adventurous/restless – loving travel and new experiences/never being content to sit still; being passionate/hot-tempered – taking a vocal stand/acting without thinking

Aquarius

Swords 4

4 of Swords – resting – taking a break, giving your body time to heal, taking life easy; contemplating – taking time alone to think, standing back from the situation, reviewing where you are; quietly preparing – making sure your base is secure, tying up loose ends, stabilising

Pisces

Wands Ace

Ace of Wands – using creative force – inventing a better way, expressing yourself, allowing a talent to unfold; showing enthusiasm – feeling fired up and eager, creating an aura of excitement, giving 110%; having confidence – believing in yourself, having high self-esteem, knowing things will work out; proceeding with courage – being true to your beliefs, daring to take a stand, facing your fears

For your monthly readings, click here.

For your weekly readings, click here.

For a personal tarot reading, please contact me.

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Dubai: A proofreader’s paradise

Below are a few things I noticed in various places over the past few weeks…

Why the f*** not??

Why the f*** not?? (Gulf News, Tabloid section)

Another Gulf News gaffe

Another Gulf News gaffe (Gulf News, website)

I thought it was Sonoma County?

I thought it was Sonoma County? (MJ’s Steakhouse, Al Qasr Hotel, wine list)

And this really made me laugh!

To see more mistakes, click here.

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Dubai 2013: Week 36

What a busy week! I had my usual work and gym sessions but it was also a very social week…

After my session with Randy on Sunday morning I went to the airport to meet a friend from London who was on his way to Riyadh. He’d been in Abu Dhabi for work and his flight to Riyadh was leaving from Dubai. We went to the food court in Terminal 1 and ended up having ice cream rather than coffee. I had a scoop of the Pralines ‘n Cream flavour. I don’t eat ice cream very often and I never know what flavour to have! We spent about an hour together and then he had to go check in for his flight.

By this time it was 2pm and I was getting hungry. I’d been meaning to go to the Dubai Mall to take some photos of the Moon Reflections sculpture so I decided to do that and have some lunch there too. I’d been thinking about the pasta with creamy salmon at Vapiano for a few days so I took my photos and then headed down to the Lower Ground Floor to the restaurant. Being Sunday it was fairly empty – I ordered my food and a Diet Coke and thoroughly enjoyed it when it arrived! I was home by 3.30pm and spent the rest of the day at home.

As I didn’t have yoga on Monday, my cousin and I decided to go to Tim Horton’s for a coffee. She’d been in London for a friend’s wedding and we hadn’t caught up properly. We spent about an hour there and I went home for lunch and to finish off some work. At about 5pm I noticed that it had suddenly gone very dark – I looked out the window and all I could see was… nothing. It was like being in a big white cloud – I felt like Mary Poppins.

Sandstorm!

Sandstorm!

The sandstorm came out of nowhere. Visibility was very limited for about 10-15 minutes but gradually started to improve. As it cleared up I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw people still swimming in the Shangri-La pool. Sandstorms are disgusting – if you happen to find yourself outdoors and in the middle of one you will end up with sand in your hair, eyebrows, eyelashes, nostrils, ears, teeth, throat – it gets everywhere!

That evening I went to Galleries Night in Alserkal Avenue with a friend. It was the first event of the new art season – it’s a sign that summer is definitely over and things are starting to happen again! All the galleries were open and serving refreshments. I was surprised to see some of them serving wine and champagne as I didn’t think they’d have a license there.

We started at Salsali Private Museum which was exhibiting photos by Christian Voigt. I loved them. All of them.

Nocturnes

Nocturnes

Dark Burj

Dark Burj

There was also a fabulous photo of Downtown Dubai (which I never tire of looking at) and one of the Pharaoh’s tomb in Egypt.

At another gallery (I can’t remember which one) we met a young local Emirati photographer who had three photos exhibited – I liked all three photos which depicted life, death and burial with a woman’s hands and jewellery. I also liked some work by Jung Lee at the Green Art Gallery.

JL1

JL2

We walked around a few more galleries but nothing was as good as the Christian Voigt exhibition (for me).

While walking around Galleries Night I realised I’d forgotten how dressed up people get for events like this. It clearly is the place to see and be seen! Heels, make-up, little black dresses (actually little dresses in all colours) – it all seemed a bit much to me. But I suppose this is Dubai. Note to self: don’t wear jeans to events like this ever again.

After I left Alserkal Avenue I met NP for dinner at MJ’s Steakhouse at Al Qasr. I hadn’t been there before but I had Entertainer vouchers so we thought we’d try it. We each had a glass of red wine and we both had the same steak (200 g organic tenderloin) and shared three sides: garden salad, onion rings and the mac and cheese. While we were waiting for our food, our waiter brought over an amuse bouche – unfortunately neither of us could figure out what it was even though we asked him to repeat it three times. We were then told we could choose our own steak knife.

I chose the sixth knife from the left

I chose the sixth knife from the left

The food was really good – I’d definitely go back. For dessert, we decided to share the blueberry cheesecake. With my Entertainer voucher we got one main course free, so we each paid AED250 (we saved AED110 each) – not bad!

On Tuesday afternoon I had my first piano lesson since July. I also hadn’t done any practising since my last piano lesson! At about 2.30 Kaleem (our driver) called me to say that the car wouldn’t start. WTF? I walked over to the car park and another driver had jump start cables attached to our car and was trying to get it started. I had no idea what to do, who to call; I don’t even drive! I called my dad who told me to get in touch with AAA who provide roadside assistance. They said they’d have someone with us in about an hour. We managed to get the car started, Kaleem dropped me off at my lesson and I told him to go back home and wait for them to call.

My lesson was good – it was good to be back at the piano. I must practise more! We went over a couple of things I’d been learning (When I Was Your Man by Bruno Mars and Primavera). When I finished I called Kaleem to see if help had arrived. He said they hadn’t called him yet and he came to pick me up. He’d obviously left the engine on the entire hour I was at my lesson because once he switched it off it wouldn’t start again! They called while we were on our way home and had a look at the car. They replaced the battery and everything was fine after that.

That evening I met up with a friend from Lagos who was in town for the night. We went to Loca. We went after dinner so I had a couple of margaritas. One of the guys with us was a stand-up comedian. He was so interesting – and as he was speaking I vaguely remembered reading about him in the paper a few months ago. His father is South Korean and his mother is Vietnamese – he was born and raised in the Middle East and speaks fluent Arabic – in fact, his shows are mostly in Arabic. I asked him what languages he spoke at home with his parents and sisters – they speak Arabic at home, to his mother he speaks Vietnamese, to his father he speaks English, and when the siblings don’t want their parents to know what they’re talking about they speak French which they learned in school. Fascinating! He had us all laughing – it was a great evening.

I was home all of Wednesday until the evening. I went to see a movie called The Hunt (Danish with subtitles) which was being screened at Knowledge Village by The Scene Club. It was absolutely packed and they had to turn away people who had reserved tickets (you sign up online and then collect your tickets at the door – it’s all free). The movie was brilliant but a little disturbing. It’s set in a close-knit community in Denmark. The main character is a teacher who has lost his job and is helping out at the local nursery where he gets falsely accused of exposing himself to his best friend’s daughter. He gets shunned by the community but the ostracism turns to violence when his dog is killed and he gets beaten up while trying to buy food at his local grocery. Eventually everything gets resolved but it just shows you how a person’s life can change overnight. Why would a child lie about something like that? The main character was played by Mads Mikkelsen (Le Chiffre in Casino Royale) and he won the Best Actor Award at Cannes in 2012. It’s definitely worth watching.

On Thursday night a friend and I went to Zuma for drinks. Yes, I go there a lot! We were having a good time – we bumped into the guy from Bahrain we’d met a few weeks before and were chatting with him and some friends until they left. We had just about finished our bottle of wine when the bartender gave us two more glasses telling us they were from the guy standing next to my friend. He was probably in his late 50s, but wouldn’t he have thought that if we were interested in speaking to him, we would have started a conversation? So now we had to talk to him. He was Swiss, born in Ethiopia (he was half Ethiopian but didn’t look it), and spoke German, French, Italian and Ethiopian. His English was terrible. My friend asked him about Haile Selassie and what he thought of him. The Swiss guy then said that he was a descendant of Haile Selassie. I really didn’t want to talk to him so said very little. When the next two glasses of wine came for us (again without him asking us whether we wanted them), we decided it was time for us to leave. When I tried to settle our tab, the Swiss guy told us he would take care of it, and the bartender annoyingly let him and gave my card back to me. So we actually didn’t pay for any drinks at Zuma that night. Did I have a business card for him? Hell, no.

It was only 10pm at this point and my friend and I decided we’d go elsewhere for a drink. We walked into McGettigan’s and decided it was a bit like being in Essex (now that summer is over, everyone is back in town). We ended up back at DIFC at Caramel – much better! We had a couple of drinks there and then decided it was time to go home. We were both hungry by this time and decided to stop at Burger Fuel on Sheikh Zayed Road. We both ordered the Hot Rod (beef, sliced jalapeno peppers, melted Cheddar, salad) and fries. It was the best damn burger I’ve had in a long time!

I spent all of Friday at home in my pajamas.

I had a lot of work come in this week so spent most of Saturday at home working too. A friend and I had booked massages at Spa Zen at the Radisson Royal – I had two vouchers for AED100, one of which was expiring soon and wanted to use up. The massage was great, as always. It was almost 6:30 when we finished so we decided we’d go up to Icho, the bar on the 51st floor. Being a Saturday evening it wasn’t very crowded so we sat at a table near the bar. The waitress told us that it was happy hour until 8pm and they were offering 50% off some of their wines. Excellent! I asked her what time happy hour began – she said they had happy hour every day from noon till 8pm! That’s good to know! We had two glasses of wine and then our friendly waitress convinced us to split one glass between us (I think she just wanted to finish off the bottle) – but when she poured the wine, the ‘half’ glasses were as full as the two previous ones! Our bill came and we paid just AED70 each. I was home by 9pm, had some dinner and did some more work before getting into bed.

I love my life.

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The final few

I had my usual Sunday morning session with Randy. He filled me in on what had happened with his now ex-employer. He’s been given whatever money was owed to him and is considering starting his own company to avoid being an ’employee’ of another dodgy person!

After I finished my 5-minute warm-up on the cross-trainer I did the first circuit:

  • Seated row x 15
  • Single leg extensions (machine) x 15 on each side
  • Russian twists (with a 15-lb weight) x 15
  • Toe reaches x 20

I did that three times with a break in between each set. I did another 3 minutes on the cross-trainer, had a short break and then did the second circuit:

  • Chest press (15-lb weights) x 15
  • Abdominal leg raises/scissor combination x 15
  • Single leg pelvic lifts x 15 on each side

I did another 3 minutes on the cross-trainer and then Randy stretched me out and I was done.

My yoga teacher cancelled our Monday morning class so I went to the gym instead. I managed to do 3 km on the treadmill in under 25 minutes (24:43) but it was a struggle. That night I had dinner with NP who told me her fastest 10k time was 49 minutes. Right now I’m thinking I’ll consider myself lucky if I finish at 90 minutes!

I got to the gym on Tuesday morning and the air conditioning in the gym wasn’t working properly. I got on the treadmill and was exhausted after just 5 minutes. I ran/walked the first kilometre and walked the rest of the 3 km (26:09). How on earth am I going to get to 10k? I’m already doubting I’ll be able to do it at all.

I had planned not to work out on Wednesday – that would be my day off. Randy cancelled our session on Thursday and I had planned to go to the gym on my own, but I fell asleep again and had to rush to the bank in Mankool before they closed. And I stayed in my pajamas all day on Friday.

On Saturday I was very tempted to skip the gym again and just go and sit by the pool, but I forced myself to go. I resisted when I was getting changed, I resisted as I was in the lift, I even resisted when I was on the treadmill telling myself I’d just walk the whole time. I walked for most of the first kilometre but then decided I’d alternate running and walking. I ended up doing 3 km in 24:50 (only just under 25 minutes – but still). That evening my friend told me she’d managed to do 7 km in just over 54 minutes. Wow – I was so impressed! Let’s hope I can get to that stage soon!

Low point of the week? Three days in a row of doing no exercise – really not good. Also, eating a burger and fries after several drinks on Thursday night probably wasn’t the best idea either.

High point of the week? Doing 3 km in under 25 minutes – twice – and working out four times in the week.

Weight loss? In spite of the burger and fries, I hit my lowest weight of 69.1 kg on Friday for the first time since May! Clearly I was just dehydrated as I was up to 72 kg on Saturday!

Slow

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