Notes by Nectar

Your destiny lies in your own hands

Dubai: Week 33

Aside from the usual gym sessions and work, it wasn’t a very exciting week.

I went to an InterNations gathering with a friend on Sunday night at the Ritz-Carlton at DIFC. As usual we were given a choice of wine or beer as our complimentary drink, but the serving was so tiny it was quite ridiculous. It was also quite warm indoors as the doors to the terrace were open – and it was much cooler outdoors. We met a few new people and some people we’d met before. It was a nice evening, and not too late – I was home by 10.30pm.

On Wednesday night I had dinner with some girl friends at Toscana at the Madinat Jumeirah. We initially had a table outside but eventually moved indoors as it was too hot outside. We ordered some starters to share – and I had a slice of pizza. It was my first slice since Bali! We also shared some main courses – some grilled chicken, risotto and pasta. I thought the food was just average. I remember it being better when I went there the first time back in January.

I went for dinner because I hadn’t left the flat (other than to go to the gym) in 3 days. Out of the six other women at dinner, I only really knew two of them, and two of the others were brand new to me. The conversation revolved around schools, Bollywood movies and a couple of other things I’ve forgotten. I had absolutely nothing in common with them. They must also think I’m pretty dull as I don’t say very much when I’m with them.

I was supposed to leave for London on Thursday morning but decided to postpone my trip. I was away for so long over the summer and was just getting back into my routine. I just didn’t feel like travelling. Not going to London meant selling my George Michael tickets – it was the sole purpose of my trip. I’d had those tickets for 18 months (due to the rescheduled shows) and had really been looking forward to it!

I stayed in on Thursday night – I didn’t really feel like doing much that evening.

On Friday night I met up with a friend – we went to Karma Kafe at Souk Al Bahar for some drinks and a bite, and then headed to Movida for more drinks and dancing. It was a really fun night – the music was good, the vodka was flowing, and I even bumped into someone that I knew (which is weird because I only know about five people in this city). We left when the club closed. I got home at around 3.30am or so.

For some reason I thought it would be a good time to watch an episode of ‘Revenge’ and chat to a friend in San Francisco on Skype. By the time I went to sleep it was 5am. I woke up at 8am – couldn’t sleep. I tried to go back to sleep at about 11.30 or so but managed to snooze for a little while only.

That afternoon I had to go to the Virgin Atlantic office to pay for the date change of my ticket. Mum and I went together, it took 5 minutes to sort out, and then we went to BurJuman. I had a coffee at Gloria Jean’s while she had a sandwich. We walked around for a while. I tried on a dress in Ted Baker but thought it looked better on the hanger.

After BurJuman Mum and I decided to go to Mirdif City Centre for a wander. By the time we got home it was 8pm and I was shattered. I couldn’t wait to get into bed and pass out. I watched a couple of episodes of ‘Revenge’ and that was the end of my weekend!

I love my life.

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Dubai: Week 21

A busy week!

After my usual session with Rama, my mum, grandmother and I decided to go to Royal China for lunch.

I’d barely been there 5 minutes and the waitress started to annoy me. She asked us three times whether we wanted virgin mojitos and we told her three times that we didn’t. We ordered some dim sum (prawn and chive dumplings, vegetarian dumplings, spring rolls, crispy asparagus), and after we’d finished that we ordered our main course (noodles with mixed vegetables, tofu and pak choy). She asked us about the virgin mojitos again. Good grief. NO! 

After lunch we went to the Dubai Mall. I had a couple of dresses that needed altering and we’d been told there was a good tailor there. I’d heard about other tailors in Meena Bazaar in Bur Dubai but this was much more convenient. I tried on both dresses and they said they’d be ready later that evening. 

That evening, I was supposed to go to an InterNations event at Jambase but by the time we got home it was after 5pm and I was feeling too lazy. I got into bed and decided to do some work.

On Monday I had yoga and was home until the evening. I’d booked a facial at Spaces at Oasis Mall (they offer 50% off on Mondays) for 7pm. I learned that 7pm is really the wrong time to go. There was traffic getting there and back, and the spa was crowded too. Next time I’ll go in the middle of the afternoon. A couple of days later I got a call from the spa telling them the payment on my card hadn’t gone through.

‘Really?’ I asked. ‘Because I paid cash.’ 

‘Oh! So sorry for the inconvenience, mam.’ 

Mental.

I worked all of Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday but was out those three nights.

On Tuesday evening I met up with NP (formerly known as ‘Twitter friend’). She suggested we meet at Jetty Lounge at the Royal Mirage Hotel. I’d never been there so it was nice to go somewhere new (for me). It’s located on the beach, on a jetty (hence the name), and it was very chilled. We ordered a bottle of rosé and some food (the mezze and Mexican platters). The houmous and guacamole were fantastic. It was a warm night and the rosé went down very smoothly.  

On Wednesday evening I met up with a friend and one of her friends at Blends Bar at The Address Marina. It was Havana Night, which meant women got free mojitos until midnight and there was also a free salsa lesson taught by Aloy Junco. We got there at about 9pm, got a round of drinks and then joined the salsa class. There were about 40 people in the class and once I figured out the instructor’s strong Cuban accent it wasn’t difficult to follow. As the class went on, the room started filling up, and once the class was over the dancefloor was overtaken by the serious salsa lovers. It was fantastic to watch – all that twirling and hip-shaking! By the time we left just after midnight the dancefloor was heaving. We had such a good time we decided to make it a regular event once get back from our various travels. 

On Thursday night I headed to Ibn Battuta Gate Hotel for Dubai Wine Club. As I walked in I prayed that the crazy woman from last time wasn’t there. And my prayers were answered! What a fun evening! Our table consisted of four men and six women (nine singles, one married man): I knew one of the women, and two of the men and two of the women were on my table at the last wine tasting. Again, we were seated outdoors just outside the lobby area, and this time all six wines were red. I thought it was a shame as it was quite warm and a perfect night for chilled white wine! We went through all six wines – talking about them (and other things). The woman on my right said ‘I think they’re all Cabernets from different regions’ (the bottles are covered so you don’t know what you’re drinking). How on earth could anyone possibly know that? One of the guys said ‘I think F is a Malbec.’ I had to disagree because I actually like Malbec and F smelled (and tasted) like burning tyres. At the end of the evening, the organiser unveiled the bottles and, sure enough, they were all Cabernets. Genius. The conversation flowed (sex was the topic of choice) and people on other tables kept looking over at us wondering what the raucous laughter was about. We were by far the best table there. Pretty soon we were the only table left, still sitting down, still talking – and the organiser brought over two bottles of Bordeaux to our table. At about 11.30pm we decided to move into the bar area as it was getting too warm outside. I think Dubai is the only place where it gets hotter as the night goes on rather than cooler – of course the red wine didn’t help. I left soon after midnight – all that red wine had left me feeling dopey.

Friday was relaxing – I had lunch with my parents and grandmother at Sakura at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. We all overate, as usual. Imagine if I’d gone for that awful massage after Sakura?? After lunch I went down to the pool, pleasantly surprised to find nobody there. I stayed in that evening – I think being out three nights in a row is enough for me! Plus I knew Saturday would be an early start as Mum and I were taking Joy to the airport.

After seeing Joy go through passport control, Mum and I left the airport. The Metro station was right there so we decided to go home by train. I hadn’t been on the Metro yet and was in no rush to get home. I already had Mum’s old Nol card which needed topping up. I put it in the machine and decided to top it up with 5 dirhams. As I was fishing around for change in my bag, I noticed that there were some coins in the change box in the ticket machine. Five dirhams exactly! Perfect. 

Because we were close to the beginning of the line we got seats on the train. It was 9am. We got to Financial Centre Metro station by 9.30 and started walking home. We passed Tim Horton’s and decided to get a coffee. Mum bought a croissant which looked and smelled so good. I’ll admit I had two bites of it. It was my first time at Tim Horton’s and was pleasantly surprised by their coffee. We got home by 10am – it’s about a 7-minute walk from Tim Horton’s to our building and I could feel my skin burning, even at that time of the morning.

When we got home I finished my coffee, did the crossword, and sat with my grandmother. Mum went back to sleep. At about 11am I decided to go down to the pool. It was boiling so I sat under an umbrella. After a while I was so hot I thought I’d do a couple of laps in the pool. The metal railings on the ladder getting into the pool were so hot I could barely hold them for more than a couple of seconds at a time. And once I was in the pool I felt like I was in a tepid bath; that’s how warm it was. 

That afternoon I was supposed to go to my writing/book group, but I only went for the book part of it. There were just four of us this time, but I got some good book suggestions which I’ll look into when I’m in London. After book group I went to meet my mum and grandmother at Burjuman. They were having coffee with one of their friends at Hediard Cafe in the mall. After that we walked Saks for a little while and then went home. 

That evening we went to Social House for dinner. Mum had made lunch but didn’t feel like making dinner so we went out. When we got to the mall we passed a watch repair shop so I had a few links removed from my watch so that it finally fit properly. Let’s hope I never have to use them again! The man charged me 10 dirhams. By the time we sat down to eat it was 9.45 and I was famished. I couldn’t see anything on the menu that sounded as appealing as the Wagyu beef burger and fries (I didn’t eat the bread)… and it really hit t
he spot. 

I was shattered by the time we got home and couldn’t wait to get into bed. It was the longest day I’d had in a while!

I love my life.

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Dubai: Week 5

There isn’t that much going on here (for me) to write about each day separately so I think will have to be weeks from now on.

So, week 5. 

Torture session with Rama followed by Sunday brunch at the Shangri-La – my parents, sister, cousin and me. It was nice but the food was different from the last time we went, and the service was pretty rubbish. We waited 20 minutes for our coffees after lunch. I don’t know what’s happened to me but I crave coffee these days. In London I would have one a week, but here it’s every time I go out (but not at night – I’m not quite there yet).

After lunch, my dad had an appointment with his physiotherapist. My mum usually accompanies him but she was helping my sister with her packing so I went with him. My mum had been saying how good-looking this physiotherapist was but I couldn’t really judge because I’d never seen him. So when I met him… Oh. My. God. She was right! I’m sure there must be some part of me that needs physiotherapy? Hmm… Anyway, while my dad had his appointment I sat in the waiting room counting all the spelling mistakes in the magazine I was reading. I thought I might go along with him every week!

Monday was uneventful – I went to the gym for a cardio session and did some work. 

On Tuesday I spent the whole day with my parents. We had to go back to Sharjah to sign our contracts. I decided to take my camera with me as I haven’t been taking enough photos. It’s all about practice, right? We were in Sharjah for about an hour – we signed our contracts and went to see a friend’s furniture store. 

On our way back, my parents decided they wanted to go to IKEA. Again. They were looking at cupboards for their room and my dad finally found something he liked. We ordered it and while they were paying I took some photos.

2012
2012

Instead of going home, we went to BurJuman – a different shopping mall. It was nowhere near as crowded as the Dubai Mall or Mall of the Emirates – it was quite nice to walk around.

2012

My dad was in the mood to buy some shoes and ended up buying five pairs. I’d never seen him like that. It was as if he had the need to fill his new cupboards before they’d even arrived. So while he was trying on shoes, I decided to jump on the bandwagon and chose a pair for myself.

We got home and I was relieved my parents were going out that evening. After dinner, I went out to the balcony and took these:

2012
2012
2012

I think I need to take my tripod out there too – just so the camera doesn’t move as I take the photos. And it might be a good idea to wait until it’s a bit warmer. It was quite windy out there. 

It had been a long day and I was asleep before my parents got home. 

Wednesday was uneventful, apart from the yoga class I had in the morning. 

On Thursday I had a session with Rama in the morning. I then went to the ‘saloon’ (FFS) at the Fairmont and met my cousin for a coffee. 

That evening I went out with a British expat group I joined online. I had never met any of them but it was a fun evening and I paid for it the next day (when I had to spend four hours in my photography class with a stinking hangover). I could not wait to get home and into my pajamas. My parents wanted me to join them for dinner with some of their friends, but there was no way I was going anywhere. 

On Saturday morning, my mum and I went to the gym. My parents had been wanting to take me to an Italian restaurant called Vapiano at the Dubai Mall so we headed to the mall for lunch. The restaurant was so crowded when we got there that we decided to go elsewhere. We ended up at Wafi Gourmet – again, great food but terrible service. I’d never been to the cinema at the mall (there are 22 screens there) and we ended up seeing ‘Haywire’. Not a great movie, but definitely not the worst I’ve ever seen…

And that was week 5!

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