Notes by Nectar

Your destiny lies in your own hands

Dubai 2013: Week 7

It wasn’t a very busy week. I was home for most of it.

On Tuesday afternoon I had to go to Abu Dhabi for a meeting. I left home at about 4pm and was back by 9pm. It was exhausting though. I don’t know how people do that every day – and I wasn’t even driving.

The Dubai Jazz Festival was on this week so on Wednesday evening some friends and I went to the Jazz Garden in Festival City to listen to some music. It was a free event if you registered on Facebook so there was a complete mixture of random people there. The big events took place in the bigger arena somewhere else in the grounds. All the tables were full so we got some food and drinks and found somewhere to sit on the grass. If I’m honest, I’m not sure I would do it again…

I had a piano lesson on Thursday. My teacher was already at his studio when I got there – I think it was the first time I didn’t have to wait for him! We worked on ‘Comptine’ and ‘Solfegietto’. He also gave me a new piece from the movie The Piano called ‘The Heart Asks Pleasure First‘ (I loved this movie).

That night I had quite a night! I started at wine club at the H Hotel. One of my friends and I got there before the third so we got a glass of Prosecco and tried to find a table. There was a table with three Australian guys on it so we asked if we could join them?

‘Actually we’re going to be eight people, so if it’s just the two of you, that’s fine,’ he replied. I told him we were three so we’d find somewhere else.

‘Why doesn’t the least boring of you sit somewhere else and two of you can sit with us,’ he said.

‘That’s not going to work,’ I replied, and we walked off and eventually ended up sitting on a lovely table with a complete mixture of people: one American woman, an Italian/German couple, one French man, three South Africans, and the three of us (Brits). The wines were served and we started tasting them. At the end of the evening we discovered they were all Chilean. They were:

  • Vascos (Lafite Rothschild) Sauvignon Blanc: This fine Sauvignon consists of grapes selected from the fashionable cool climate Casablanca Valley. It has all the pure, intensely refreshing flavours you’d want in a Sauvignon, but what really sets it apart is the tremendous elegance and complexity in each delicious, crisp glassful. That’s Lafite’s winemaking expertise. An ideal white with smoked salmon, Thai crab cakes or plaice with a creamy lemon sauce.
  • Vascos Chardonnay: This is a fresh and delicate wine, with a harmonious and fruity bouquet. Flavourful, fresh and pleasant, this wine has an appealing character with good length of fruit. The nose offers an explosion of aromas with notes of melon, banana, grapefruit and other tropical fruit. The vineyard’s own Chardonnay grapes are complemented by a selection of grapes from the Casablanca Valley located further north between Santiago and Valparaiso. Naturally, this was my least favourite – and I knew it was Chardonnay as soon as I tasted it.
  • Veramonte Pinot Noir: This light to medium-bodied Pinot Noir has a bright ruby red appearance and nose of sweet plummy fruit with inflections of cooked meat. The dominant flavour component is the sweet plummy fruit complimented by impressions of strawberries and wet stones.
  • Santa Carolina Carmenere: Dark as night, with mildly leafy, herbal, varietal appropriate aromas of olive, earth, tea and black fruits. The palate is big but nicely chiseled, with good acidity and tannic support for roasted berry, plum, fig and peppery flavours. A smooth, correct high-end Carmenere. Pair with same foods as Cabernet Sauvignon.
  • Vascos Cabernet Sauvignon: From Lafite Rothschild, the grape that made the estate famous. The vintages all share a mature and fruity quality, fresh aromas, and a supple fleshy structure. This wine has a sparkling ruby red colour and a pleasantly fruity nose with aromas of black cherries, raspberries and plums, all with a hint of spice. This is a silky, flavourful wine, with a supple tannin structure.
  • Santa Carolina Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc: Golden in colour, with aromas of citrus fruits and white flowers on the nose. Intensely complex flavours on the palate, with great balance and a long finish. Pairs well with dairy-based desserts like cheesecake. I loved this – I wish it was considered OK to drink dessert wine at any time!

I was very keen to try out my new Vivino app on my phone – a friend of mine had told me about it in London. Using the app, you take a photo of the label on the wine bottle, it scans it and tells you what it is, where it’s from, the year it was produced, what to drink it with, where you can buy it, how much it costs, its ranking within its region, country and worldwide. It is amazing.

While we had some lovely wines, I think the food was a real let-down. There was no cutlery on the tables – which is fine as most of the food was finger food – but there were no napkins either. When we asked for napkins, the waitress brought us one napkin. Were we supposed to share it between 10 of us? ‘For everyone, please,’ I said. She looked annoyed and came back with a box of tissues. I expected more from a 5-star hotel.

After that I went to La Petite Maison to meet a friend and a couple of her friends. As I walked out of wine club, the same Australian guy from earlier asked me, ‘So how was your table?’

‘Better than yours!’ I called out over my shoulder.

The bar at La Petite Maison was crowded but we hung around for a while. I had a passion fruit martini and then for some reason switched to vodka. We walked over to Capital Club for a drink and then ended up at Cavalli Club until they closed. It was a heavy night and I actually turned down the offer of a drink at last call. I think that’s a first!

Needless to say, I had a headache the following day. My parents and I ended up at the Dubai Mall for a very late lunch. We ate at the Outback Steakhouse and then went to see the latest Die Hard movie. Good grief, it was shit. While we were at the cinema my parents bumped into some friends and they decided we’d all have dinner together at Wafi Gourmet. All I wanted was my bed but I went with them. I was still full from our late lunch so couldn’t eat very much.

I spent all of Saturday in my pajamas. It was lovely.

I love my life.

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Dubai: Week 32

I had a good week – I got lots of work done, had some good sessions at the gym and a fun Friday night out.

I woke up on Monday with a swollen left eyelid. It wasn’t particularly painful, more uncomfortable, and it didn’t look very pretty. After my session with Rama, Mum and I had some lunch and then went to the mall. I needed to go to the chemist for my eye, she needed to get a birthday card, and we needed to go to the Virgin Megastore to pick up tickets to see Il Divo (she was very keen). After the mall, we decided to go to Gitex Shopper (the Gulf IT exhibition) at the World Trade Centre. Monday was its fourth day and I didn’t think it would be crowded.

I was wrong. It was crowded and noisy, and walking down the middle aisle was like being in the line of fire with sellers trying to entice you to their stands. All I wanted was a 1TB hard drive to back up the files on my laptop. I was also tempted to look at a new lens for my camera but I wasn’t in a rush for that and I hadn’t done any research on prices.

I picked up my hard drive from Seagate, we walked around the quieter stalls for a while and Mum picked up a portable steam iron. After an hour or so I wanted to get the hell out of there. I’d had enough.

On Tuesday my eye was worse but I thought I’d give the eye drops some time to start working. I was starting to look like the guy in ‘The Goonies’ (‘Hey, you guys!’). I stayed home all day.

I had a massage at Dreamworks on Wednesday afternoon. It was just average. I think the massage I had at the Emirates Grand Spa a few weeks ago has ruined other massages for me! Later that evening Mum and I went to see my aunt and uncle as they were travelling the following day.

On Thursday afternoon we went for mani/pedis at the Fairmont and for dosas that night. I didn’t make any big plans for Thursday night as I wanted to go to the gym the next day and I knew Friday night would be busy.

By Friday morning my eye was looking normal (more or less). Mum and I went to see Il Divo at the World Trade Centre on Friday evening.


They were good, but I don’t think I’d see them in concert again. Not on a Friday night, anyway.

After the concert I met up with a friend at Zuma. It was almost midnight and it was packed. We had a few vodkas and then decided to move on to Cavalli Club at the Fairmont. I’d never been there – we had no trouble at the door and walked right in. The place is huge and not as crowded as I thought it would be. We got a couple of drinks, walked around, enjoyed the music, chatted to some random people, and left after it closed at 3am.

I got home and for some reason thought it would be a good time to watch an episode of ‘Grey’s Anatomy’. It was 5am by the time I went to sleep and I was awake at 9am.

Saturday was a write-off – I didn’t feel like doing much and spent the day at home.

I love my life.

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