Notes by Nectar

Your destiny lies in your own hands

Dubai 2015: Week 46

I woke up on Sunday feeling awful. I’d been out the night before and had way too much champagne! Any plans I’d had of going to the gym in the morning (or even getting ready) went out the window as I got out of bed at 1pm. I spent the day in my pajamas. It took me all day to edit one paper which would have normally taken me an hour. I just couldn’t focus on anything.

Monday was a bit better. I had a session with Pete, sorted out some paperwork at the du shop and then had my piano lesson. I came home after that and worked the rest of the evening.

After the gym on Tuesday, I went to the monthly lunch of the IBWG (International Business Women’s Group) at the Trade Centre Club. On the way there, I realised that I was in one of those moods where I didn’t feel like speaking to anybody. Networking was not going to be easy that day! I got there, picked a number out of the bowl (which indicates which table you sit at) and found my name tag. I said hello to a couple of people I’d met before and had a quick chat, but a few minutes later I found my table and sat down. There were two other people already sitting there so I guess they didn’t feel like networking either! Our lunch was served – I opted for the braised lamb with vegetables.

The talk that day was really interesting. It was all about posture and ergonomic work spaces. Er – if the presenter could see how I worked, she’d have been furious. I work on my bed with my back against the headrest and my legs either straight in front of me or cross-legged. I suppose it’s good that I’m not hunched over my laptop though! She went through consequences of bad posture and some exercises (which I either do as stretches with Pete or in yoga). She was an interesting lady though – and I enjoyed the talk.

After lunch I went to Mercato to pick up some Patchi chocolates and other things that my mum needed in Bombay. My dad was leaving over the weekend and she had a list of things to buy.

I came home after that and did some more work. I’d been swamped for the last two weeks or so, which is great!

It was Diwali on Wednesday, but honestly it felt like any other day. I had a session with Pete which pretty much knocked me out for the rest of the day. I was exhausted. After lunch, I worked until the early evening, fighting off the urge to have a nap. At about 6pm, Dad and I did our Diwali puja – which took about fifteen minutes – and that was that. I’d been invited to a friend’s place for the evening but Dad didn’t want to go anywhere so I stayed in with him.

The weather was horrible on Thursday morning. Five minutes of rain in Dubai means five hours of traffic. The whole city comes to a standstill – and apparently so do I. I took one look out the window and decided to stay in and do some work.

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Of course, it had cleared up by the afternoon.

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That evening I met a friend for dinner at Segreto in Madinat Jumeirah. I had initially thought I’d eat something healthy, like grilled fish, but when we got there they had a special truffle menu which included pasta with truffles. We both took one look at that and ordered it. We shared a crab/prawn starter – it wasn’t what we expected but it was OK. The pasta with truffles was delicious. We also had a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc, which was lovely. For dessert, we shared a cheese platter. I really think Segreto is one of the best Italian restaurants in Dubai – the food and service have always been excellent whenever I’ve been there.

After dinner we went to The Agency for a drink and then went to meet some friends at Cave at the Conrad. We had some more wine and at 1am, decided to head home. On the way home one of our friends decided he was hungry and wanted to stop at Burger Fuel. I hadn’t been there in ages and was also feeling a little peckish (our dinner was early – 7.30pm). I ordered a hamburgini with jalapenos – there was no way I could eat a regular burger so the mini one was just fine. I walked home after that and got into bed.

On Friday, I went to the gym in the morning. As I was walking to the Shangri-La at about 11am, I noticed how much cooler the temperature was – that rain the day before really cleared out the last of the humidity. That afternoon Dad and I went to Sakura at the Crowne Plaza for lunch with my uncle, aunt and the kids. The food was good, as usual, but it’s scary the amount of butter they put on the teppan when they’re preparing the food! I went home after lunch and did some work.

On Friday evening, I went to a friend’s birthday drinks at his place in Executive Towers. I didn’t know anybody there but him, but I’d already RSVP’d ‘yes’ and didn’t want to flake. I hate it when people do that to me, so I know how it feels! I stayed for over an hour, met some of his friends and then went to meet some other friends who were at Roberto’s in DIFC. I don’t know what it is about Roberto’s but every time I go there I just want to go to sleep. I start yawning and feel bored in general – it doesn’t matter who I’m with. Even though the bar area was crowded, it had such low energy that we had to leave after one drink.

As soon as we left – literally, as soon as we walked out of the restaurant – we were all in a much better mood! We went to La Cantine at the Jumeirah Emirates Towers Hotel and were dancing until 2am. When we left we decided to go to Zaatar w Zeit for some food. I hadn’t eaten dinner and was famished! After eating, I got home at around 3am.

I was home for most of Saturday. Dad left for Bombay and I did a bit of work. There was a gorgeous sunset that evening. I had been invited to Maya at Le Royal Meridien Beach Resort for a friend’s engagement drinks. I got there at around 6pm and stayed for a couple of hours. A friend and I decided to have dinner after drinks instead of staying on there and went to Jones the Grocer. I hadn’t been there in ages. I had the pasta with chilli and prawns – which was OK. I thought it would be better. I was home by 10pm.

I love my life.

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Dubai 2015: Week 40

I woke up on Sunday feeling like hell. I eventually got out of bed at noon, but only because I’d been invited to lunch at 1pm.

I made my way to Tresind at the Radisson Royal on Sheikh Zayed Road. I don’t really go out to eat at Indian restaurants and I’d been to Mint Leaf the day before so this was really Indian overload.

But the food was so different – we had the modernist chaat trolley, the raan, mushroom kulcha (which I remembered trying at Taste of Dubai) and the deconstructed Black Forest gateau (and a few other things I can’t remember).

After lunch we went up to the bar at Tre for a coffee and to show my friend from London the view. I hadn’t been up to the bar since it had been renovated – but it’s a great space. It reminded me of a hunting lodge!

After lunch, I went home, got into my pajamas and got into bed. I was exhausted.

I had a session with my trainer on Monday and a piano lesson that afternoon. Apart from that I was at home catching up with some work.

On Tuesday night I met a friend for dinner at Tolosa in Souk Al Bahar. I hadn’t seen her since before the summer and it was really nice to catch up. We decided to share a few starters: burrata, beef carpaccio, goat cheese salad and the charcuterie platter. It was all good – but I found the platter a bit disappointing, especially as it seemed to be attracting lots of little flies! We also had a bottle of the Cabernet Sauvignon which was lovely. Nothing on the dessert menu really appealed to us so we skipped that.

Apart from my session with my trainer on Wednesday I didn’t do much else.

And then the weekend was busy! I met up with my friend who was leaving Dubai (the same one who had the leaving brunch the week before). We had a late lunch at the Western Steakhouse at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. He had some relatives in town from Mumbai so they joined us as well. We didn’t meet until 3.15pm so it was almost 5pm by the time we were done. Straight after lunch, the two of us headed to Marina Mall where we were meeting some of his other friends (some of whom I’d met at brunch) and then all going on to Abu Dhabi to see Bon Jovi in concert.

His friend had hired two seven-seater vehicles with drivers to take us to Abu Dhabi and back that evening. By the time we left Marina Mall it was close to 7pm and we got to the du Arena at about 8.30pm. The cars weren’t allowed to drop us off at the front so we had to walk for about 15 minutes from the car park to the arena entrance. It was a really humid night and by the time we got to the arena we were all sweating. But then, so was everyone else! We got some drinks and elbowed our way into the middle of the crowd. I wasn’t expecting it to be as crowded as it was but it was packed.

And then Bon Jovi came on. I have to say Jon Bon Jovi is still devastatingly good-looking at 53 years old. The others haven’t aged that well though – Tico Torres (drums) looks about 70 and David Bryan (keyboards) still has that perm left over from the 80s. They opened with a song I didn’t know (I had no idea they’d released a new album in August 2015) followed by ‘You Give Love a Bad Name’. Interspersed with songs nobody had heard of, they played some of their older songs: ‘Dead or Alive’ (my favourite one), ‘Bad Medicine’, ‘Keep the Faith’, ‘Someday I’ll Be Saturday Night’, ‘In These Arms’ and ‘It’s My Life’.

And of course they played ‘Livin’ On a Prayer’ as their final encore.

It was fantastic. Getting out of the arena wasn’t. There was chaos finding the drivers and we walked way too far down the car park, getting lost from the rest of our group. My friend’s phone was dead and his was the only number I had out of the people with us – which was quite useless. I also had a blister by this point. They eventually found us and it took us over half an hour to get out of the car park. We eventually made it and stopped at a place to get some food on the way home (I was still full from lunch!). By the time I got home it was 2am.

I woke up on Friday – my feet were aching and I was tired. I’d been invited to a housewarming party by a couple I’d met at the same brunch the week before and was so tempted to stay home and order sushi. But I’d said I’d go and didn’t want to flake. My friend picked me up a little after 6pm and we headed to the Marina where they live. It was mostly the same people from the brunch and I’m really glad I went because they’re a really fun group of people and we spent much of the night dancing to 80s music. It was 3am by the time I got home.

I met up with some friends for lunch on Saturday. We went to Tribes, an African restaurant at the Mall of the Emirates. We shared the African lamb spring roll for starters and each ordered our own main course. Three of us ordered the spicy lamb rump steaks and one ordered a rib-eye steak. The lamb steaks were excellent – they tasted like suya in Lagos – but the portion was huge and two of us could have shared one!

I came home from lunch and did a bit of work. That evening I was going to meet a friend for drinks and dinner. As I walked out of the building, I was hit by a wall of humidity. I couldn’t believe how humid it was (I checked later: 85%). Disgusting! Anyway, I met up with a friend at Jean-Georges at the Four Seasons. We met early, at 6.15pm, and got a sofa in the bar area. We had a few drinks and decided to order our dinner in the bar area so we didn’t have to move. We shared the snapper ceviche, crispy calamari (disappointingly average), salt and pepper shrimp, and the black truffle and fontina cheese pizza (heaven on a plate). We skipped dessert and had another drink instead. I got home at about 11.30, after dropping him home, and realised how shattered I was once I got into bed – I couldn’t  keep my eyes open any longer.

I love my life.

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