Notes by Nectar

Your destiny lies in your own hands

Dubai 2015: Week 45

I woke up on Sunday feeling really tired. I decided to skip the gym and do some work instead. Later that afternoon I went to the Fairmont at the Palm to hang out with my friends who were leaving the following day. I’d met them on Thursday and Saturday but wanted to see them before they left. I got there at around 5pm – they were at the pool with their kids. I hadn’t intended to swim at all, but sat on one of the sunbeds watching the beautiful sunset! Once they were out of the pool, the husband took the kids up to get them ready for dinner and/or bed while the wife and I went to one of the pool bars for a glass of wine. After we’d had a drink, he came back down while she went up to get ready – so I managed alone time with both of them! I left the hotel at about 8pm, expecting terrible traffic on the way home but it only took me half an hour to get home. I have to add that on my way there and on my way back I had two different cab drivers, and both drove so fast I wasn’t sure I’d even make it to my destination…

On Monday morning I had a session with Pete and spent the rest of the day working.

After my yoga class on Tuesday morning, I settled down to a full day of work. I would usually have gone to the supermarket for the weekly shop but I was so fed up of getting a cab there and back. Kaleem, our driver, was back at work the next day so I decided I’d wait one more day.

I was ready to leave the house at 9am on Wednesday morning, but when we got to the car it wouldn’t start. After sitting in the car park for two months, the battery had died! Kaleem called one of his friends and they tried to get the battery started using jumper cables but that didn’t work either. At 9.40, Ajay (the cook) and I decided to cab it to the supermarket. I was supposed to have a session with Pete at 11am and I didn’t think I’d be back in time. He was fine about me cancelling so late and said he could do the following day instead. As we’d gone to the supermarket so early, we didn’t encounter as much traffic as we normally would have and by 10.40 we were on our way home. I went to the gym anyway and then settled down to some work.

After my Thursday session with Pete, I worked the rest of the day. That night, I went to see Texas in concert at the Dubai Tennis Stadium. I’d seen them live in January 2014 at the Irish Village (but had taken a break from blogging then). The venue this time was larger and there were seats. We could sit anywhere we wanted so we got some drinks and made ourselves comfortable.

The concert was brilliant – Sharleen Spiteri’s voice is still incredible, even after twenty-five years. They opened with ‘I Don’t Want a Lover’. This was followed by ‘Halo’, ‘When We Are Together’ and ‘In Our Lifetime’. She sang a couple of songs from their latest album which I didn’t know – ‘The Conversation’ and ‘Detroit City’. Then back to their old stuff: ‘In Demand’, ‘Summer Son’, ‘Black Eyed Boy’. They finished with ‘Say What You Want’ and said goodnight.

What I like about her is that she chats to the audience a lot! Their first encore was a cover of an Al Green song.

What an amazing vocal range she has! They then performed ‘Inner Smile’ which is my favourite song of theirs. Unfortunately as I was recording it, the camera on my phone froze and I lost the entire recording. So… here’s the one from last year.

I thought that would be their last song, but they did a cover version of Elvis’s ‘Suspicious Minds’ after that. It was after 11pm when they finished and I was home by 11.30pm, which was nice. I ended up working until 2am and went to bed.

I was home all day on Friday, mostly working. That evening Dad and I went to Mercato for dinner. We thought we’d try somewhere different and ended up at a Jordanian restaurant called Azkadenya on the first floor. We ordered one hummus and one fatoush to start with.

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The starters were really good – the salad was fresh and the hummus was creamy. Dad ordered a shish taouk for his main course and I had the lamb cubes. Both were very good but the portions were big – we could have shared one dish between us.

After dinner we still had some time to kill before the movie so we went to the Chocolate Bar for a coffee (for him) and hot chocolate (for me).

At 8.30 my cousin and her parents joined us and we went to see the new James Bond movie, Spectre, together. I wasn’t expecting much from it, but I enjoyed it. I think I’d have enjoyed watching anything that involved Daniel Craig running around for two hours!

On Saturday evening, Dad and I went to a wedding reception at the Four Seasons. We got there at around 9pm, which was a bit early even though the card said 8.30pm. Cocktails were on the lawn and by 10pm there were a lot more people there, and people I hadn’t seen in a while. Honestly, I was surprised to have been invited as it’s not a group I usually socialise with, but I’m glad I went. I caught up with friends who had flown in from various places and I also drank a hell of a lot of champagne. I got home at around 3am…

I love my life.

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Dubai 2013: Week 8

What a crazy busy week!

I had a couple of doctor appointments on Sunday afternoon but apart from that it was quiet.

On Monday evening I went to see the Dubai Chamber Orchestra at The Fridge in Alserkal Avenue.

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I didn’t even know Dubai had a chamber orchestra.

Dubai Chamber Orchestra programme - 25 February 2013

Dubai Chamber Orchestra programme – 25 February 2013

I didn’t know any of the music, but the last piece sounded very familiar. I then realised it used to be the music for the advert of a mobile phone company but can’t remember which one. Any ideas?

On Tuesday evening my cousin and I went to see the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships at the Aviation Club Tennis Centre. We went last year too. We watched the whole Djokovic v. Troicki game.

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We also saw the first half of the Tsonga v. Llodra match but left as it was after 9pm and we were getting hungry. We had reservations at Shogun, a Korean/Japanese/Thai restaurant, at the Al Ghurair Centre in Deira. We managed to find the restaurant and were taken to a small room with two tables in it – each table had the built-in barbecue to cook our food. We ordered the pah-jeon, barbecued chicken and beef. We didn’t have to order the kim chee as it was complimentary.

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The portions are huge and we could have done without one of the dishes!

On Wednesday night I went to Art Night at DIFC. I was meeting a friend at 8.45 but decided to go a bit earlier to get out of the house. I walked around for a bit and bumped into a friend of mine who was kind enough to ditch his colleagues to walk around with me for a while. My friend showed up as soon as he left and we went to the rest of the galleries. There were some interesting pieces of work but nothing that I’d want to see every day in my home.

After we were done, we went to Roberto’s for a drink with a couple of her friends. It was too crowded in there and there was nowhere to stand so we had one drink and went to Capital Club. The four of us sat in the sheesha terrace – we were the only people there and it was quiet so we could actually have a conversation.

I had my usual piano lesson on Thursday afternoon. I think we actually had a breakthrough because at 1.20pm I got a text from my teacher saying he was running 20 minutes late. I told him it was fine – and that I’d see him at 2.20. I don’t mind him running late as long as I have enough notice! I had a good lesson – still working on ‘Solfegietto’ and the ‘The Heart Asks Pleasure First’. I feel like I’m actually getting somewhere. I’ve been trying to practice at home, but the only time I can really do that is when my parents are out. When they’re home, either the TV is on or they’re sleeping, so it’s not ideal.

That night I met up with a couple of friends – we decided to go to Zuma for some drinks. We had three bottles of wine between the three of us and it was just too much. My parents were still out when I got home (thank goodness) and I went to bed.

I felt like rubbish on Friday but had a work deadline for that afternoon. I spent 4 hours copyediting a paper and had to incorporate equations and all sorts of formulae into it. It was a nightmare.

That night, me and my two friends from the night before went to the 80s Rewind concert at Festival City (where the Jazz Garden had been the week before). We’d been hearing about it for weeks: the line-up included Carol Decker from T’Pau, Heaven 17, ABC, Howard Jones and Rick Astley.

That’s right. Rick Astley.

Carol Decker went on first – she sang only two songs that I could remember (‘China in Your Hand’ and ‘Heart and Soul’). Heaven 17 were on next and I could only remember two of their songs (‘Come Live with Me’ and ‘Temptation’). I actually knew more ABC songs than I thought I did (‘The Look of Love’, ‘When Smokey Sings’, and a couple of others). When Howard Jones came on, I really couldn’t remember anything he sang until he started singing! He played ‘New Song’, ‘What is Love?’, ‘Like to Get to Know You Well’ and some others I sort of recognised. Each band did about 20 minutes on stage.

And then Rick Astley came on. He sounds the same, and he looks almost the same – he has hardly aged! He was on stage for about 40 minutes and interacted with the audience a lot, especially a couple of people at the front. He sang all his hits. Did you know that he holds the record for being the only male solo artist to have his first eight singles reach the Top 10 in the UK?

He sang his usual hits (‘Whenever You Need Somebody’, ‘Together Forever’, ‘It Would Take a Strong Strong Man’, ‘She Wants to Dance With Me’, ‘Cry For Help’ and a few others). He finished with ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’.

Brilliant!

After that we ran to the taxi stand and luckily had to wait just 20 minutes in the queue.

On Saturday my parents and I had lunch at Long Yin at the Meridien. When I checked in on Foursquare I was told I’d get a 20% discount off my total bill. Nice! The food was good – we ordered dim sum, which came in little baskets big enough for just two dumplings. We also had some soup, and for our main course we had lamb with rice.

After lunch we went to see Parker at the Dubai Mall. I personally thought it was better than the Die Hard movie we’d seen the week before, although Jennifer Lopez is looking a little ‘tired’.

We went home after the movie and I got into my pajamas. What a week!

I love my life.

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