Your month ahead (February 2015)

February already!

Aries

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

Taurus

15 The Devil

The Devil – experiencing bondage – being obsessed, being addicted and enslaved, losing independence; focusing on the material – forgetting the spiritual, getting and spending, being caught up in appearances; staying in ignorance – being unaware, choosing to stay in the dark, fearing the unknown; feeling hopeless – believing the worst, lacking faith, thinking negatively

Gemini

Wands 4

4 of Wands – celebrating – rejoicing over an event, observing an anniversary or milestone or special time, enjoying well-deserved rewards; seeking freedom – breaking free of bonds, cutting loose, letting go of limitations; feeling excited – bubbling over with delight, feeling jubilant, being surprised

Cancer

Pentacles Princess

Princess 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

Leo

Cups Queen

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 Prince

Prince 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

Libra

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

Scorpio

Pentacles Prince

Prince of Pentacles – finding a balance between being unwavering and stubborn – staying fixed to a chosen course and refusing to listen to reason; being cautious and unadventurous – checking/double-checking and being too conservative; being thorough and obsessive – being meticulous and being too picky; being realistic and pessimistic – predicting problems in advance and dooming a project from the start; being hard-working and grinding – being tireless and unflagging and forgetting life should be fun

Sagittarius

Cups Ace

Ace of Cups – using emotional force – getting in touch with your feelings, expressing deep feelings, empathising with others; developing intuition – going with your gut reaction, enhancing your psychic awareness, trusting your inner voice; experiencing intimacy – falling in love, getting close to someone, going to a deeper level; proceeding with love – expressing affection, giving to those in need, getting rid of negativity

Capricorn

Cups 4

4 of Cups – being self-absorbed – concentrating on your own feelings, seeing only your point of view, ignoring gifts and blessings; feeling apathetic – losing interest, finding life stale and flat, lacking motivation; going within – meditating, dreaming, withdrawing from involvement

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, abusing your body, refusing to take care of yourself; being rejected – having the door slammed in your face, being ostracised, standing alone

Pisces

Swords 5

5 of Swords – acting in your own self-interest – thinking of your own needs, going for the win-lose result, gloating; experiencing discord – choosing to battle, creating ill will, feeling people are set against each other; witnessing open dishonour – losing your moral compass, sacrificing integrity, knowing of criminal activity

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Your week ahead (1-7 February 2015)

Have a wonderful week!

Aries

Pentacles 9

9 of Pentacles – being disciplined – exercising self-control, sticking to a programme, reining in impulses; relying on yourself – handling the situation alone, doing it all by yourself, wanting to be alone; pursuing refinement – achieving a comfortable lifestyle, being tactful and diplomatic, remembering to be gracious

Taurus

20 Judgement

Judgement – making a judgement – having a day of reckoning, taking a stand, getting off the fence; feeling reborn – awakening to possibilities, making a fresh start, discovering joy; hearing a call – feeling drawn to a new direction, answering a need, recognising your true vocation; finding absolution – feeling cleansed and refreshed, atoning for past mistakes, feeling sins washed away

Gemini

Wands 4

4 of Wands – celebrating – rejoicing over an event, observing an anniversary or milestone or special time, enjoying well-deserved rewards; seeking freedom – breaking free of bonds, cutting loose, letting go of limitations; feeling excited – bubbling over with delight, feeling jubilant, being surprised

Cancer

Swords 7

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

Leo

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

Virgo

Cups Ace

Ace of Cups – using emotional force – getting in touch with your feelings, expressing deep feelings, empathising with others; developing intuition – going with your gut reaction, enhancing your psychic awareness, trusting your inner voice; experiencing intimacy – falling in love, getting close to someone, going to a deeper level; proceeding with love – expressing affection, giving to those in need, getting rid of negativity

Libra

Swords 8

8 of Swords – feeling restricted – feeling trapped by circumstances, experiencing few options, being fenced in by obstacles; feeling confused – being unsure which way to turn, not understanding what is happening, needing guidance and clarity; feeling powerless – doubting anything you do will help, looking for a white knight, avoiding responsibility

Scorpio

05 The 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

Sagittarius

09 The Hermit

The Hermit – being introspective – thinking things over, looking for answers within, needing to understand; searching – wanting the truth at all costs, desiring a new direction, needing more; receiving/giving guidance – going to or being a mentor, turning to or being a trusted teacher; seeking solitude – needing to be alone, desiring stillness, experiencing seclusion

Capricorn

Swords Prince

Prince 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

Aquarius

Pentacles 8

8 of Pentacles – showing diligence – making an effort, plugging away, producing steady results; increasing knowledge – taking a course, researching, increasing expertise; paying attention to detail – being painstaking, checking and re-checking, noticing the fine points

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.

Dubai 2015: Week 4

I had to cancel my Sunday morning session with Trevor as I had to be in Sharjah by 10am and I wasn’t sure I’d be back in time. I got to Sharjah, had my blood test and X-ray and was done in about 20 minutes. The traffic coming back to Dubai was pretty bad and I’m glad I’d cancelled the session.

Instead of going straight home, I decided to go to the Dubai Mall and have a look around. I needed to get a birthday present for a friend and I’d seen the perfect book at Kinokuniya – Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck (Charley was Steinbeck’s dog and my friend has a dog called Charlie). On a previous visit to Kinokuniya I’d noticed three Folio Society copies of the book and thought I’d get one. I also wanted a couple of books for myself (naturally). The Folio Society copies were nowhere to be found. I couldn’t believe that three people had bought them and I went to the Information desk to find out if they had any in stock. I gave the man behind the desk the title, the author, the publisher – and he insisted they’d never had that edition in stock. And I insisted that they had at one point. Why was I so sure, he asked me. Because I used to work at that publisher in London, and I worked on that particular book. Anyway, I ended up getting the Penguin Classics edition of the book – it’s nowhere near as impressive as the Folio Society edition, but there you go. I also picked up the new Wally Lamb book (We Are Water) and a book called Marina by Carlos Ruiz Zafón. It was written before Shadow of the Wind but was only translated a couple of years ago. In hindsight, I shouldn’t have bought the second book because I doubt it will be as good as The Shadow of the Wind! While I was browsing I was horrified to see this sign on one of the shelves.

I was so horrified I went to Debenhams and bought a dress to cheer myself up. I was home in time for lunch and spent the rest of the day at home.

I woke up at about 6am on Monday – all I could hear was the wind howling outside. It was dark and looked like rain. It rained most of the day and I hoped that my piano lesson would be cancelled (it wasn’t). Luckily, when I left for my lesson it had stopped raining and only started again after I got back home. I could still see lightning and hear thunder as I got into bed at around midnight.

I had yoga on Tuesday morning and then met up with NP for lunch at Tasha’s in Galleria Mall on Al Wasl Road. NP got there a little before me and managed to snap up the last available table. There were already people waiting when I got there at 1pm. She had the wagyu burger – she said it was better than the one at Jones the Grocer. I had my usual quinoa salad with chicken and a carrot/beetroot/apple/ginger juice. We both had a coffee after that and went our separate ways.

I got home and did a bit of work. I was reading Natalie Goldberg’s The True Secret of Writing and it made me want to start writing again so I decided that my project for the week would be to clear up my desk. (I finished reading the book later that night, and to sum up her ‘true secret’ of writing: Shut up and write.)

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Yes, that is a bottle of vodka. No, I haven’t been drinking it – I inherited it half full. What else is on there? Camera lenses, books, papers, sunscreen, makeup, my old laptop from three years ago which I must get rid of. I haven’t worked at my desk in about two years and I need to start using it again. Where do I work? On my bed. No comments, please.

So I put off clearing up my desk until the evening. And then I spent about four hours sorting out papers, emptying drawers and basically throwing out a lot of sh*t.

On Wednesday morning, my desk looked like this:

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Miles better, but still room for improvement! After my session with Trevor that morning, I had to get ready in a rush to go back to Sharjah to finish off the rest of the visa renewal process. I was in the visa application centre this time. My dad had arranged for someone to take me through the procedure as I had no idea what to do or what queue to stand in. I had to wait in line at the front desk while they stamped all my forms, then I had to queue to pay for my renewal, then I had to queue to submit my passport, then finally I had to submit the rest of the forms. I sat in the chair opposite a local woman. She looked at me and decided she’d rather continue chatting to the male colleague on her right. For about ten minutes. Eventually, she decided she’d better get on with her job and looked through my forms. She told me one form was missing, so the guy I was with rushed off to get it while I waited there, and this ‘official’ folded her arms on her desk and just put her head down. Erm – that’s professional. The guy came back with the form, I filled it in, signed it, she woke up and that was it.

I had a piano lesson on Wednesday afternoon – we spent the entire hour working on the Debussy Arabesque. I spent a few more hours clearing up my desk that day. I even came across my first plane ticket which my mum had saved.

By Thursday morning, my desk looked like this:

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Yes, there was still crap under the desk and that’s a work in progress. But – I’ve been feeling very positive and energised since clearing it up.

On Thursday night, I went to my friend’s Gatsby-themed birthday party at his house (I wore my new dress and he loved Travels with Charley). It was a nice evening – and not as many people as I thought there would be. I had just two glasses of red wine (I hadn’t had any alcohol since my friends left after that mad week they were here). I hadn’t really missed it and even started with a mocktail, but because we were outdoors and it was quite chilly I thought the red wine would warm me up. I got home at about 2.30 and went to bed.

I worked all day on Friday and most of Saturday. I had a sudden influx of work on Thursday and my only option was to work all weekend.

On Saturday evening a friend and I went to visit some friends who’d had a baby just before Christmas. We were there for about an hour and then headed home. And I went back to work for a few more hours! I love being busy at work, but I’d been swamped on Friday and Saturday. According to one of my clients, I should expect it to be like that for the next couple of weeks. Oh well, more work equals more money!

I love my life.

For more updates, click here.

The final few

I had to cancel my session with Trevor on Sunday morning as I had to go to Sharjah for the medical tests (blood test and X-ray) for my visa renewal. I had to be there by 10am and wasn’t sure how long it would take. So I didn’t work out on Sunday.

I didn’t work out on Monday either.

I had my usual yoga class at home on Tuesday morning. I was so stiff – I definitely need to do more yoga. I found out that the Shangri-La Hotel next door now offers yoga classes in their studio. They emailed me the schedule (four times in one hour!) and they have at least three classes at various times every day during the week. The price was reasonable too – a single class was AED 60, and a 12-class package for 1 month was AED 500. My cousin and I decided we’d try the 8:30am class on Thursday morning so I called them with a few questions.

I asked the man what kind of yoga it was.

‘Err, weight loss yoga?’ he replied.

Was he asking me or telling me? He obviously didn’t have a clue. Never mind – I’d go to a class and see for myself.

I asked him if I could reserve two spaces for Thursday.

‘Yes, we have classes at 6:30 and 7:30.’

‘But the schedule I have says you have a class at 7:00 and 8:30. Is the schedule wrong?’ I knew that they’d only just started doing yoga so surely the schedule couldn’t be out of date already.

‘The classes are at 6:30 and 7:30. In the evening.’

‘The schedule says you also have two in the morning.’

‘Oh yes, we have 7:00 and 8:30.’

Good grief. It would have been quicker for me to walk there, speak to someone and walk back home at this rate.

‘Can I book two spaces for the 8:30 class?’

‘Oh, you don’t need to book – just show up and you can pay before the class.’

‘OK, great. And do I need to bring my own mat?’

‘We have some mats but you can bring your own if you prefer.’

Yes, I think I will because I’m not sure I believe you, I thought.

I had a session on Wednesday with Trevor. I did 5 minutes on the bike and then moved over to the weights area. I started with 20 squats and then had to do the following exercises with 10-lb weights:

  • Deadlift – bent over row – bicep curl – squat – shoulder press x 7
  • Squat – shoulder press – then putting the weights on the floor (but still holding on to them), I had to step my legs back so I was in a plank position and then step them back in – then stand up x 7

I thought 7 was an odd number to choose but then Trevor told me it would be increased to 8 in the next set. Trevor told me the second exercise was a simpler form of a compound exercise called the ‘Man Maker’. I told him that, if anything, it was making me feel like a little bitch. He burst out laughing.

After those two exercises I got on the treadmill for 10 minutes (5 km x 1 min, 7 km x 2 min, for 10 min) and had a water break.

In the second set of the compound exercises, one more move was added to the end of each one:

  • Deadlift – bent over row – bicep curl – squat – shoulder press – reverse lunges x 8
  • Squat – shoulder press – step back – mountain climbers – step in – stand up x 8

It was hard! I think the shoulder press was the hardest for me out of all those exercises. I spent another 10 minutes on the treadmill and had a water break, hoping there wouldn’t be another set of 9 reps! There wasn’t. Instead I did this circuit:

  • Seated row x 15
  • Tricep extensions x 15
  • Repeat two more times

I did some stretching after that and the session was over.

On Thursday morning I decided to try the yoga class at the Shangri-La. I got there at about 8:20 with my mat and registered at the front desk of the spa. I was told that my first class would be free. I went to the studio and there were just two mats laid out so I laid mine out too. It was quite chilly outside and the studio was nice and warm. The teacher, Shilpa, introduced herself to me. There were towels available and complimentary bottles of water, which was nice. By the time we began, there were eight of us in the class – a variety of ages and fitness levels.

Hmm, what can I say about the class… If you’re looking for a relaxing way to start the day or a traditional form of yoga, this is not it. The warm-up was quite energetic – jogging on the spot, kicking our legs from side to side and forwards and backwards; there were some more usual yoga moves but at a faster pace. Once we had the warm-up out of the way, we did a few rounds of sun salutations and went through a few asanas. It was a proper workout. What I found annoying was that the teacher kept saying ‘mountain pose’ when what she really should have said was ‘downward dog’. And she kept saying it. At the end, we spent the last ten minutes doing breathing exercises and then we could finally relax in savasana. The teacher was good, but I think calling it ‘yoga’ is misleading. It was more like body conditioning based on yoga poses. If that makes sense.

Still, it’s better than doing nothing at all! I even planned to go back on Monday, knowing that I’d get a full workout.

I’ve still managed to abstain from alcohol (mostly). I thought it might all come to an end when I went to a party on Thursday night but I just didn’t feel like drinking. I even started with a passion fruit mocktail but found it far too sweet and cold (we were out in the garden). I spotted someone with a glass of red wine and knew that would warm me up. I ended up having two glasses in the entire night – my first drinks since the 2nd of January. I was very tempted by a third glass later on but we couldn’t find the corkscrew!

I didn’t work out over the weekend.

Low point of the week? I can’t really think of anything. Oh yes, the pizza I scoffed for dinner on Friday.

High point of the week? Not drinking very much – and not wanting to – and not missing it. I don’t expect it to last forever, but for now I’m enjoying it.

Weight loss? Well, it’s been up and down, but the general trend (for now) on my Libra app is finally down.

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Read more updates here.

Your week ahead (25-31 January 2015)

Have a wonderful week!

Aries

12 The 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

Taurus

10 The Wheel

The Wheel – feeling a sense of destiny – using what chance offers, finding opportunity in accident, altering the present course; being at a turning point – reversing, having a change in fortune, being surprised at a turn of events; feeling movement – being swept up in new developments, getting involved, experiencing change; having a personal vision – seeing how everything connects, becoming more aware, expanding your outlook

Gemini

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

Cancer

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, abusing your body, refusing to take care of yourself; being rejected – having the door slammed in your face, being ostracised, standing alone

Leo

07 The Chariot

The Chariot – achieving victory – reaching your goal, winning, beating the competition; using your will – rising above temptation, focusing your intent, concentrating your energies; asserting yourself – knowing who you are, feeling self-confident, having faith in yourself; achieving hard control – getting your way, maintaining discipline, curbing impulses

Virgo

Pentacles King

King of Pentacles – being enterprising – making any venture successful, attracting wealth, having the Midas touch; being adept – having quick reflexes, handling any situation competently, having a wide range of abilities; being reliable – being counted on in a crisis, assuming responsibility, meeting all commitments and promises; being supporting – encouraging the accomplishments of others, sponsoring worthwhile projects, readily jumping in to help; being steady – having a stabilising influence, maintaining a calm approach, avoiding mood and behaviour swings

Libra

Swords King

King of Swords – being intellectual – ably carrying out research, using thought creatively; being analytical – applying reason and logic, understanding a problem quickly; being articulate – being a lucid writer and speaker, being a stimulating conversationalist; being just – being impartial and objective, being concerned with truth and fairness; being ethical – encouraging high standards, living by your highest principles

Scorpio

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

Sagittarius

Cups 8

8 of Cups – seeking deeper meaning – leaving the rat race, finding out the facts, concentrating on what is important; moving on – abandoning a hopeless situation, starting on a trip of unknown length, finishing up and walking away; growing weary – dragging through the day, lacking energy, getting weighed down by worries

Capricorn

15 The Devil

The Devil – experiencing bondage – being obsessed, being addicted and enslaved, losing independence; focusing on the material – forgetting the spiritual, getting and spending, being caught up in appearances; staying in ignorance – being unaware, choosing to stay in the dark, fearing the unknown; feeling hopeless – believing the worst, lacking faith, thinking negatively

Aquarius

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

Pisces

Wands 9

9 of Wands – defending yourself – being paranoid, protecting others, feeling wary and guarded; persevering – trying repeatedly, keeping your resolve, refusing to take ‘no’ for an answer; showing stamina – holding fast, keeping up the pace, continuing despite fatigue

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Dubai 2015: Week 3

I felt much better on Sunday after being sick for most of the previous week but I didn’t really have anywhere to go so I stayed in all day.

I had dinner at La Petite Maison on Monday night with some friends. One of my friends was in Dubai for work for one night only and I’d booked a table last week for five people. On Sunday we discovered we would be eight people and changed the reservation accordingly. By Monday lunchtime ten people had confirmed they were coming, but the restaurant said we’d have to squeeze in as their largest table was already booked.

Everyone was on time, which was impressive. I’d decided I wasn’t going to drink as I still wasn’t 100% better and wanted to take it easy. I ordered the starters for the table: pissaladiere, crab and lobster salad, lentil salad, escargots, yellowtail carpaccio and burrata. We also shared the main courses: grilled entrecote, salt-baked sea bass, vegetarian gnocchi, pasta with beef ragout, truffle risotto and another truffle pasta. The food is always excellent there. For dessert we shared two cheesecakes (amazing), two pain perdus and one tiramisu.

I’d decided that I needed to get back into my routine this week – I’d had enough of flu and sitting around so I had my yoga class on Tuesday morning and I had a session with Trevor on Wednesday.

On Wednesday afternoon, I met up with Chandra, a yoga teacher, for lunch at The Roseleaf Cafe at the Dubai Garden Centre for lunch. I’d only been there once before for one of her full moon yoga classes and that was back in September last year. The Roseleaf Cafe is lovely – and very busy! I ordered a toasted tuna mayo sandwich and a Green Machine smoothie (spinach, mango, pineapple and flax seeds).

2015-01-14 12.24.56

Later that day, I had my first piano lesson in almost a month. And of course I hadn’t practised in all that time. Ovidio gave me something new to work on (Say Something by A Great Big World and Christina Aguilera). We also went through what I’d been doing last time (Firework by Katy Perry, one of his own compositions and Debussy’s Arabesque 1).

I was home for most of Thursday. I went to the Shangri-La for a mani/pedi but apart from that I was home. Dad was out on Thursday night so I thought I’d stay in and enjoy the peace. I wasn’t in the mood to get ready and go out. I also wasn’t in the mood to drink (gasp!).

On Friday I met a friend for lunch. I went over to his flat in Downtown Dubai – he’d just moved and wanted to show me the place. We had lunch at Maison Bagatelle – which I always enjoy. I know the restaurant gets very mixed reviews but I haven’t had a bad meal there and the service is always good. I ordered the chicken quinoa salad and a carrot/orange/ginger juice and my friend ordered the eggs Benedict and some water. The waiter brought our drinks with a basket of bread and olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and about 10 minutes later our food arrived. We ended up sharing a slice of carrot cake for dessert and had some coffee too. The only thing that was annoying was the amount o flies buzzing around. I didn’t remember it being like that any time before – and we eventually complained. The waiter brought over two candles for our table (but does that really work??).

After lunch we went to Global Village. Neither of us had been before and really weren’t sure what to expect. We got there at around 4pm, just as it was opening. Entry was AED15 each and each ticket had a token which you had to scratch to reveal what you’d won. My friend won a two-for-one voucher on any ride, and I won AED10 off in a participating restaurant if we spent a minimum of AED60. As we walked in, very loud Indian music was playing and there were juice stalls on the side of the path – I felt like I was in India. The first pavilions and buildings we passed were UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iran, Qatar, Yemen – these were all near the entrance. We then came to a square and I made an attempt to use the ‘panorama’ setting on my phone:

2015-01-16 16.09.28

I was standing in front of the Chinese pavilion.

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I noticed several countries had their own areas, but there was one pavilion simply called ‘Africa’. Really?? How offensive.

It reminded me a bit of Epcot in Florida – but a sad imitation. We walked through the Italy pavilion – there was a gelateria, a stall selling different kinds of pasta and the rest was all complete crap. We walked through Cambodia which was even crappier – baseball caps, sunglasses, mostly junk.

We walked over to Fantasy Island where all the rides and games were. My friend wanted to go on a ride called ‘2 Extreme’ but there was no way I was getting on that. I was still full from lunch and the thought of being flung around through the air did not appeal to me. I settled for a ride on ‘Wheel of the World’ – it was basically a giant ferris wheel and I knew the views from up there would be good.

2015-01-16 16.38.21

2015-01-16 16.38.01

You can just about see the Burj Khalifa in the distance, just to show you how far out of the city we were.

On the other side of the ride, there was nothing but sand. We could see a turquoise arena in the middle of the desert, which I later found out was the Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Sports Complex.

We went around twice on the wheel and then my friend decided he was going to go on ‘2 Extreme’. He was the only one on the ride and I’m glad I didn’t go. It swung back and forth, gradually getting higher and higher until the arm swung right over the top to the other side – and it seemed to go on forever.

2015-01-16 16.45.48

He looked relieved when it was over. We walked around a bit longer and then decided to call it a day. It would be a fun place to go back with friends and go on some rides together. And we were there as they opened so there were no queues for any of the rides. There were also rides and games for kids – something to consider when my sister is here next!

We were home by 6pm and I stayed in that night. I was home all of Saturday and then met up with a friend for dinner.

We went to Pai Thai at the Al Qasr Hotel. We were seated at a table in a corner by the water. We ordered two starters (grilled chicken salad and grilled prawn and lemongrass skewers) and two main courses (steamed sea bass and red prawn curry) with steamed rice. Neither of us was drinking so we stuck to water. All the food was excellent – the portions were large and we were really full by the end of it. The red prawn curry was so tasty – it didn’t taste like any red curry I’d had in the past, and the size of the prawns were unbelievable. The service was really good too – until the end. I couldn’t eat any more so I put my cutlery down. Not even one minute later, the waiter took my plate. He tried to take my friend’s plate too, but he hadn’t finished eating. This happened again five minutes later. And again five minutes after that! It was so annoying – and when I got the email survey the following day I mentioned it a couple of times. Apart from that it was a lovely evening – and I would go back.

I was home by 11.30 and got into bed soon after as I had an early (well, early for me!) start the next day.

I love my life.

For more updates, click here.