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 29

After a tough session with Rama on Sunday morning, my parents and I went out for lunch. We went to a place called Gypsy Chinese at the Dhow Palace Hotel in Bur Dubai. Dad had been to another restaurant in the hotel the day before and wanted to try this Bombay Chinese place.

It’s a small restaurant, and there was only one other table occupied that afternoon. We looked through the menu and I started ordering – soup, spring rolls and dynamite chicken for starters. And then I started ordering the main course. ‘Could we have the sizzling lamb in black bean sauce?’ I began. ‘And some crispy noodles…’ The Indian waiter interrupted and asked what we were going to eat the lamb with? Well, rice obviously, I thought to myself. ‘Why don’t you try the other lamb?’ Because I want the one I’ve bloody ordered. He was starting to irritate me. We eventually ordered the lamb he suggested and rice. We had wanted noodles but decided to see if we were still hungry after the lamb (we weren’t – and even if we were I’m not sure we’d have been allowed to order anything!). The food was good but I don’t think I’d go back in a rush.

After lunch we wandered around Burjuman for a while and had a coffee at Gloria Jean’s. We decided we’d go to a movie that evening and settled on ‘The Bourne Legacy’ at Mercato. I had no idea what was going on in the first 20 minutes but it eventually all came together. I actually only went for the popcorn, and although my mum and I both ordered the small size, mine was much smaller than hers!

I had yoga on Monday morning and then went to Dreamworks Spa for a massage. I’d bought a voucher before my holiday and it was expiring soon. I worked for the rest of the afternoon and evening – I still had a lot to catch up on from the last couple of weeks in Bali, but I was getting there slowly. On Tuesday I went to the gym and worked all day.

On Wednesday I had another session with Rama and then went to Baker & Spice at Souk Al Bahar with some friends. I hadn’t been there yet – and was pleasantly surprised. We shared some salads to start with, and then shared some roast chicken, red snapper, gnocchi and pasta with prawns (which I didn’t have). For dessert we had the best carrot cake I’ve ever eaten. It was out of this world.

I worked all afternoon – my parents went out to a movie – and then I joined them for dinner at PF Chang at the Dubai Mall. All I wanted was soup and the steamed salmon, but as usual ended up over-eating.

I ended up staying home all of Thursday too (apart from the gym). I’d been in work mode most of the week and just wanted to get things done.

On Friday I went to a friend’s birthday brunch at the Grand Grill at the Habtoor Grand. It was a fun afternoon – the food was good and the booze was flowing. That night I met up with a friend at Vintage in Wafi – they still had their two-for-one offer on bottles of wine and we were there for quite a while.

I felt awful on Saturday. I hadn’t slept well the night before and had a headache. I lazed around at home for most of the day and in the evening went to the mall with my parents. My phone needed sorting out at Du, we went for coffee, and then had dinner at Lafayette Gourmet. We like going there because it means we don’t have to agree on what cuisine we want – Dad had ┬áThai curry, Mum had a Caesar’s salad, and I had hot and sour soup and sushi. Perfect. On our way out we noticed there was a new churros place that had opened.

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Oh good. Just what the mall needs… more deep-fried crap. Of course we bought some. We were home by 10pm and I finished watching Season 5 of ‘Mad Men’.

I love my life.

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Dubai: Week 22

What a busy week!

I didn’t have my usual session with Rama on Sunday. Instead I was invited out for an early(ish) lunch at Siddharta Lounge at Grosvenor House Tower 2. It’s a beautiful restaurant – it reminded me of the Sanderson Hotel in London. It was all white – white bar chairs, white sofas, floor-to-ceiling windows all the way round. It’s a gorgeous venue for lunch, but I’ve heard it’s also very popular on Thursday and Friday nights. 

After lunch, my mum, grandmother and I went to the Patchi store at Mercato. My grandmother and I both needed to buy gifts for a few people. Unfortunately the store at Mercato was being refurbished and they didn’t have a big variety of gifts on display. I picked up a few things but we decided to go to the store at the Dubai Mall as well. We were there for what seemed like forever. Between us we ordered about 20 boxes of chocolates and waited around for them to be prepared. By the time we got home it was 6.30. I rushed upstairs, changed and freshened up and was out again by 6.45.

My cousin had asked me to join her and some friends at Capital Club in DIFC for quiz night. I love quizzes so I went along. There were six of us on the team and that particular evening it turned out to be an all-music quiz. My five teammates weren’t very happy about that but I was thrilled about this as I thought my musical knowledge was pretty good. 

Which is why it pains and embarrasses me to say that we came last. LAST. Out of seven teams. There were eight rounds consisting of eight questions each. The first two rounds were fine (TV themes and Oscar winners) but it went rapidly downhill after that. We were by far the youngest team there and the rest of the quiz seemed to revolve around music from the 1960s and 1970s – and I think my musical knowledge only begins with the 1980s (unless it’s classical music). I hate losing. When I got home and told my parents, they were shocked that we lost too!

I had my usual yoga class on Monday and then worked for the rest of the day. I had a lot of work to get through and didn’t want to have to do it when I got to London. That evening we went to a restaurant called Aryaas in Bur Dubai, another vegetarian Indian restaurant. On the menu was a ‘family dosa’ which we were told was their specialty. I have never seen such a big dosa in my life. I don’t even know how they managed to make them so big. I thought the food was just OK – I still prefer the palak dosa at Sukh Sagar! 

I had a session with Rama on Tuesday and then went to Sharjah with my parents. Our work barely took 15 minutes and we were on our way back home. We decided to stop at Mirdif City Centre for lunch. I’d never been there – it was quite empty compared to the Dubai Mall and it was nice to walk around. We ended up at PF Chang’s. 

After lunch, I went to the Dubai Mall as I needed to pick up a few gifts for friends I was seeing in London. I also managed to sneak in a quick visit to Gloria Jean’s. I stayed in that night finishing off some work and thinking about packing. 

I started packing on Wednesday morning. And by that I mean I started looking at my clothes, trying things on, and deciding what to take with me. I left everything I was going to pack on my bed. That afternoon I went to get my hair cut, coloured, highlighted and blow-dried. When I got to the salon I decided to get rid of the highlights and skip the cut. For months the hairdresser kept telling me how ‘terrible’ my highlights were and the colour was all wrong. I was so sick of hearing it I just thought it would be best to get rid of them altogether. I also had a mani/pedi.

I went to have tea with my cousin after getting my hair done. She had flown in from India the day before with her husband and one-year-old daughter and was staying at the Fairmont. It was good to catch up, even though it was just for an hour. I went home, finished packing, did some work and then we went out for dinner. 

It was my grandmother’s last night in Dubai so we decided to go somewhere nice for dinner. We went to Bice Mare at Souk al Bahar. Sadly they didn’t have a table outside but we could still see the Dubai Fountain from our table. The three of them ordered some starters but I decided to have just a main course. I ordered the baked turbot with artichokes and black truffles. It was fantastic. 

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My parents ordered the seafood platter to share and my grandmother had a vegetarian pasta. When we had finished our meal we went out on to the terrace and watched the fountain. 

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We were home before midnight and I was in bed by 1am. 

I woke up at 6am on Thursday and my mum and I left for the airport a little after 7am… I couldn’t wait to get to London!

I love my life.

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Dubai: Week 20

A mixed week, I think. Drama at home with Joy, lots of work to do, spending time with my grandmother…

I had my usual session with Rama on Sunday morning. I had wanted to spend the afternoon at the pool but we’d been invited to my cousin’s place in The Lakes for tea. We left home at 4pm and went to my aunt and uncle’s place in Marina. From there, we followed them to The Lakes where their son and daughter-in-law live. We had tea and snacks and were told that we then had to go to their daughter’s house in Emirates Hills. We got back in the two cars and followed them to Emirates Hills. We were there for about half an hour and then my aunt and uncle said they wanted my grandmother to see their flat in Marina. So we got back into the two cars and followed them to their flat. It was a long afternoon and it was 8pm by the time we got home. 

I had yoga on Monday and settled down to do some work after lunch. My mum and grandmother were out for tea again. They asked if I wanted to join them but I said I’d already been to three teas on Sunday and that was my quota for the week! By 4.30 I decided I’d proofread by the pool for an hour or so. 

On Tuesday afternoon I met a friend for coffee – we went to the Gloria Jean’s on Sheikh Zayed Road. I got home, sat at my desk for about 15 minutes and decided I’d rather work outside by the pool. I feel I should make the most of it before it gets too hot to sit outdoors at all!

I had another session with Rama on Wednesday. After that, my mum, grandmother and I decided we’d go to the Dubai Mall for lunch. We ate at Vapiano – I’d never been there before and the portions were huge. I had the tagliatelle with salmon, my mum and grandmother shared a fusilli with mushrooms and a quatro formaggi pizza, and the three of us shared a Greek salad. I could have eaten just the salad for lunch and that would have been enough for me. We walked around for a while. I tried on a couple of dresses but didn’t buy anything. It’s frustrating that nothing fits even after losing almost 15 kg. It makes no sense to me. We ended up having coffee at Gloria Jean’s and were home by 5pm. As I’d been out all day I settled down to some work and didn’t finish until 2am. 

I was home most of Thursday, apart from going to the gym and down to the pool in the afternoon. That evening we decided we’d go out for dinner. Mum wanted to go to Bikanervala in Karama. I hated it. It really was not my idea of going out for dinner. It was more like going to a crowded staff canteen with screaming children running around. You order your food at the main counter and then collect it from different sections, depending on what you ordered. Never again.

On Friday we went to Thai Chi at Wafi Pyramids for lunch. I’d been there once before, back in February, and the food was really good. What we didn’t know is that they instead of their regular menu for lunch, they have a buffet. It wasn’t bad – there was a large vegetarian selection for my grandmother – but their a la carte menu is much better. 

That evening my parents and I went to an engagement party. I didn’t know the couple who were engaged, just the parents of the groom-to-be, and I didn’t know many people there either. Luckily, a friend and his wife showed up, and we decided to leave a short while later. There were over 100 people at the party so they didn’t notice us slip out. On the way back home, we decided to stop somewhere for dinner and ended up at Japengo Cafe at the Palm Strip Mall. I’d seen one at the Dubai Mall but had never eaten there. It was very casual and we were extremely overdressed, but nobody seemed to bat an eyelid. I couldn’t decide between the Lebanese shish taouk and the Iranian koobideh. My friend and I decided to share one of each and his wife ordered some houmous and fatoush. I was home before midnight.

I went to the gym on Saturday morning and spent the afternoon at the pool with my book. Several people had the same idea – at one point there were 12 kids in the pool playing ‘Marco Polo’. It reminded me of being a kid in Lagos in the early 1980s and spending Sundays at the Ikoyi Club… And just as I was remembering that ‘All Night Long’ started playing on my iPod, which also reminds me of that time. Synchronicity.

And that’s another week gone! I love my life. 

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Dubai: Week 18

After my 100s workout with Rama, all I wanted to do was go back to bed. Instead I had to make a trip to Lulu with Joy. We left with Kaleem at almost 12.30, got whatever we needed, and were back home by 2pm. It makes such a difference having a driver – none of that waiting around, hoping for a cab to show up!

Dad and I decided to have lunch at the Dubai Mall – we both fancied a steak. By this time I would have eaten anything as I hadn’t had breakfast and walking around all that food in Lulu had made me ravenous. We went to the Outback Steakhouse on the second floor. I wanted the spinach and artichoke dip to start with, and Dad wanted the onion rings. So of course we ordered both. We each had a steak which came with two side orders – we both had the house salad and the jacket potato. 

2012

Next time I won’t order anything to start with – I was so full by the end of the meal. I didn’t finish the starter, the salad or the jacket potato. I was so full that I almost didn’t want a coffee at Gloria Jean’s, but had one in the end. We got home at around 4.30 and I just wanted to go to sleep.

I’d booked a massage deal through Cobone at Chelsea Tower – just a few minutes away: ‘Experience tranquility with a 60-minute Swedish massage for AED99 from Chelsea Serano Spa and Wellness Centre at Chelsea Tower Apartments’. I was looking forward to it as I hadn’t had a massage in months, maybe even a year. I went up to the sixth floor and the masseuse showed me to the spa. The ‘spa’ consists of one therapy room, right next to the main reception area and gym. I could hear everything that was going on outside the room and it was very distracting. When she started the massage I remembered why I rarely have them – I’m so ticklish that I’m usually more tense after the massage than I was before it. Then I thought that maybe if I kept coming back, she would eventually figure out where I was most ticklish and avoid those areas. 

When I turned over she said, ‘You have baby?’

‘Excuse me?’ 

‘You have baby inside?’

‘No.’ (F***ing bitch.)

‘You married?’

‘No.’

‘How old are you?’

‘Thirty-nine.’

‘THIRTY-NINE?? Why you no married??’

Oh, FFS – just shut up and do the massage! I wanted to wring her neck. Or kick her in the face. Or both.

‘I don’t know.’

‘Thirty-nine? Or twenty-nine? You no look thirty-nine.’

‘I think I know how old I am.’

Well, that decided it for me. I was never going back there again.

Monday and Tuesday were uneventful. I had yoga on Monday morning and that evening Dad wanted to go out for dinner. Being a vegetarian day we went to Sukh Sagar in Bur Dubai for an early dinner. I couldn’t remember the last time I had a dosa and I’d avoided having one so far because of all the carbs. We started with paneer tikka.

2012

Dad also had pani puri (which I didn’t have). I then had a palak dosa. I’d never heard of this before, but instead of the dosa having a potato filling, it was spinach. And it was so good. The portions are very big and next time I’m not going to order a starter unless one or two others are going to share it. We also had mango ice cream for dessert. Everything was so tasty. Our bill for the whole dinner was AED 87. Amazing.

On Wednesday I had a session with Rama in the morning. I told him about what the masseuse said and he burst out laughing. That afternoon Dad and I went to the airport to pick up my mum and grandmother. My mum had left in the middle of February and was finally coming back. My grandmother was coming to stay for about a month – her last trip to Dubai was in 2001. She also brought a helper with her as she needs assistance with various things.

Dad and I waited at the airport for ages – we had a coffee, browsed in the book store (yes, I did buy something), and finally they came out of customs. 

I had a busy day on Thursday – I had been invited to my first party in Dubai! It was a friend’s 40th and she’d booked the whole of At.mosphere (at the top of the Burj Khalifa) for the occasion. So naturally there were preparations to take care of. By 5pm that day I’d been manicured, pedicured, blowdried and waxed to within an inch of my life. It was tedious. 

My cousin and I went together. We got there at about 10.45pm and I think we were still one of the first few people to get there even though the invitation said 9.30. That’s Dubai for you. Nothing starts on time, apart from the movies. I’d met many of the women before, at lunches and teas, but it was the first time I’d met their husbands since I’d been here – even though I’ve known some of them for years. It was a fun evening, the view was spectacular, and the music was brilliant. Some of it reminded me of being at Bacchus in Lagos in the mid to late 1980s. I told our hostess this (she grew up in Lagos too) and she said that’s exactly what she had in mind when she hired the DJ. We left at about 1.45am and headed home. 

I woke up with a headache on Friday, took some Nurofen and went back to sleep. We had lunch at home, I spent a couple of hours at the pool, and that evening we took my grandmother to Mercato Mall. It was the busiest I’d ever seen it – I’ve only ever been there in the day time during the week, but on a Friday evening it is packed! We had an al fresco dinner at Bella Donna – great food – and were home by 10pm. 

On Saturday the hairdresser was coming in the morning as a friend had a girls’ lunch at Hakkasan. This hairdresser has been to me a few times but I think I’m going to have to find someone else as he’s started getting a bit sleazy. He’s also one of the most unattractive men I’ve ever seen and smells like an ashtray. This particular morning he told me he was single (I wonder why). He asked me if I had a boyfriend. I said I did. ‘In Dubai?’ he asked. ‘Of course in Dubai,’ I said. I hoped he didn’t ask to see a photo because I hadn’t thought that far ahead.

Anyway, back to lunch. There were nine of us and it was really nice. When I got there, the waitress looked at me and asked if I’d been there before. I said I had. ‘I remember you from last time,’ she said. I’m not surprised – that was my third time there for lunch in April. After lunch I went home, needing a nap. I ended up doing some work instead.

That evening I was going to a new book group. I’d found the Bibliophiles Dubai Book Club online and decided to join them. They meet at Caffe Nero in DIFC every three weeks – it was perfect as it’s not far from where I live. For some reason, I thought they met at 7.30pm so was dilly-dallying at home – and then I checked my email and realised they actually met at 7pm! It was already 7.05 and I was going to be late. I got there at 7.30, made my apologies and sat down. We were 12 people and it was an interesting group. There was one other person who was also there for the first time. The book being discussed was The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes (winner of the 2011 Man Booker Prize). We finished at 9pm and I went
home. Another weekend over!

I love my life.

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Dubai: Week 17

It started off as a quiet(ish) week. I didn’t have my usual session with Rama on Sunday, and I didn’t go to the gym either. I’d invited my friends from London and their kids over for lunch – and invited my cousin too. I’d asked Joy to make spaghetti and minced chicken (separately in case the kids wanted plain spaghetti), and broccoli salad. For dessert there was fruit (watermelon, blueberries, strawberries and kiwis) and vanilla ice cream. Most of the food finished – and while we were lingering over dessert the kids were running around the bare living room. They caught sight of the pool below and that was it – they had to be there. We went down for an hour and a half, the kids splashed around for a while, and then we came back up. The kids were changed and they all left at about 5pm.

I had no plans for the rest of the day so I got into my pajamas and watched ‘Game of Thrones’ in bed. 

On Monday I had yoga and then was home working for the rest of the day. At about 4.30pm I decided to take my book down to the pool – it was such a nice day. There were a couple of kids and their nanny already there, but by the time I left at about 6pm, there were nine other people there. It was so nice, I thought I’d do the same on Tuesday.

But Tuesday was cloudy and grey and windy. I went to the gym in the morning, did some work and then decided to get my hair coloured. When I left the Fairmont, I walked to Gloria Jean’s – I was at a good part of my book so I decided to sit in there and have a coffee while I finished the chapter I was reading. It wasn’t hot at all and I thought about walking the rest of the way home. It would have taken me 15-20 minutes, but in the end I opted for a cab.

Wednesday was a busy day. After my session with Rama, my Dad and I went to Hakkasan for lunch with my uncle, aunt and cousin. We all had the set menu, but were there for quite a while. We didn’t leave there until 3.45pm. After that Dad and I went to Festival City to collect our new car. He had been toying with the idea of getting a Jaguar or Mercedes, but I asked him what the point of that is when the only person who’s going to be driving the car is the driver? So he settled on a Volvo. We got there just after 4pm and were there FOREVER. Paperwork, registration, insurance, plates. I had two coffees (which were very good, I have to say) talked James (the sales exec) to death, and at 6.30pm one of their drivers drove us home in our new car. 

A little while later I went to MoE (by cab) to meet a schoolfriend for dinner. She was another friend I hadn’t seen since I left school 20 years ago and she was in Dubai for work. We ended up at More Cafe and talked about school, and what we were up to now, and so on. Her flight back to Tokyo was later that same evening so we said goodbye a little after 9.30pm. It was nice to see her – and I think she’ll be coming to Dubai twice or thrice a year. I think I’ve met more Cobham girls in the last couple of weeks than I have in the last year!

On Thursday I was home all day working (or trying to) and in the evening I went to a wine club meet-up.

I had lunch with Dad at Lemongrass on Friday. We both like the food there and it’s reasonably priced too. After that we went for a wander around Lamcy Plaza – he was looking for a calculator but we couldn’t find one. We went home and I went to my spinning class at the Shangri-La.

That evening we went to see ‘Battleship’ at the Dubai Mall with my cousin and her parents. It was so bad. It should be called ‘Battlesh*t’. It’s set in Hawaii – and I kept hoping Alex O’Loughlin and the 5-0s would show up, save the day and cut the movie short. Bad script, bad acting, too long – the first and last 20 minutes were OK, but the rest was awful.

While we were at the mall, I could hear a lot of activity from the ice rink below. I walked over to the railing and looked over. The ice had been covered and people were playing football instead!

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I had planned to spend Saturday by the pool, but that morning one of the women I’d met at the British expat drinks in January sent me a text about a new writing group that was meeting that afternoon. I decided to go as I hadn’t done any writing since moving to Dubai (apart from this blog). I went down to the pool after breakfast and read for a while. I could only manage an hour as it was so hot. That evening I got into my pajamas, read a little and caught up on some TV shows. 

I love my life.

See more Dubai updates here.

Dubai: Week 16

It’s been a busy week! My cousin came into town from London for Easter weekend and we’d had quite a busy weekend. On Sunday I had my morning session with Rama, and then Dad took us to Hakkasan for lunch. I’d booked a table for 2pm, but the restaurant was very quiet when we got there. 

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We decided to go for the set menu for AED120. We had a choice of starters, a choice of main course and a choice of dessert. It also included steamed rice and greens. To start, Dad had the hot and sour soup with chicken, while the two of us went for the assorted steamed dim sum. We also ordered a portion of the prawns on toast with foie gras. We then had the prawns, beef and steamed red snapper to share. The choices for dessert were lemon tart and assorted sorbets. The portions were quite generous and I thought it was good value for money. 

After lunch we went to the mall – we all had a couple of errands to run. My cousin and I wanted to rush back and sit by the pool but it was quite a cloudy afternoon. We relaxed at home for a while and then got ready for dinner. I had booked Okku for 8pm but was still full from lunch. Of course we went anyway. My cousin and his wife joined us for a couple of drinks while we ate. We had edamame, spicy tuna and crispy rice, rock shrimp tempura, sashimi salad, and of course the truffle fried rice. The waiter asked whether we wanted something to eat with the rice – black cod, chicken? I was perfectly happy to have it on its own. At 9.45, the waiter said they would need the table by 10pm for the next sitting, but we could hang around by the bar and have a few more drinks. We decided to do that – a waiter took the drinks we already had and we followed him down to the bar. He disappeared in the crowd, never to be seen again. I complained to one of the staff and told him what had happened – and he replaced our drinks. It was quite crowded – I’d been told that Thursdays and Sundays are their busiest nights (Sunday being retro night). We started chatting to some random people, had more drinks (which the bartender didn’t charge me for – I’m definitely going back), and eventually decided to leave at 1am. I only left because I had yoga the next morning, and was already dreading it.

After yoga, we decided to sit by the pool before lunch – it was a hot day and I took my book. When we got to the pool I realised I was still wearing my bedroom slippers. Thankfully there was nobody else around. I was outdoors for about an hour and had to come back in – it was too hot for me. After lunch, we went back down to the pool (in my flip-flops) and I sat under an umbrella while she lay out in the sun. I managed to get some colour, however, and no longer look anaemic. Hurrah! I went back indoors at 4pm as I was meeting a schoolfriend at Gloria Jean’s at the mall. I hadn’t seen her since we left school in 1991.

It was nice catching up – finding out who the other was in touch with, what everyone else was doing. We chatted for almost an hour and a half, and then I went to Wafi Gourmet to meet some friends who were in town from London for the Easter holidays. They’d booked their tickets to Dubai before I booked mine last year – and I couldn’t believe how quickly the time has gone and that they were already here! It was great to see them.

My cousin left early on Tuesday morning, very unwillingly. Back to the cold and the rain and the office. I love my life. I thought I’d sit by the pool that afternoon but it was cloudy so I decided to stay indoors and do some work. 

After my Wednesday session with Rama, I went down to the pool for some fresh air and to finish my book. The pool area was pretty crowded – there were seven of us there. That’s the most crowded I’ve seen it since I moved here. By 1.15 I was sweltering and decided to go back indoors for lunch and some work. I had an umbrella covering most of me, but the three girls sitting by the pool didn’t and I wondered how they coped in the heat. I went back down at about 4.30 with some proofreading – it was still hot but there was nobody else around.

On Thursday Joy and I did our weekly shop at Lulu. I’d written a couple of weeks ago that going to Lulu is a pointless task for me because all I do is push the trolley. I’ve since learned that that is not the case. I’ve noticed that Joy shops according to her list, not according to what aisle she’s in. For example, if she needs chicken fillets and minced chicken but they’re not next to each other on her list, she will get the chicken fillets, and then look for whatever comes next (toothpaste, homous – it could be anything) and then eventually come back to the minced chicken. She could spend all day at the supermarket if she continued shopping like that. No wonder it has taken us so long in the past – today it took 1 hour. There is no method to her madness. 

On our way home from the supermarket, our cab was suddenly surrounded by dust and sand – and there was debris flying into the windscreen. It was a sandstorm! I don’t know where it came from but by the time we got to our block of flats, I couldn’t get the cab door open as the gusts of wind were so strong. We managed to get the shopping into a trolley and take it into the building. After unpacking everything I decided to go to the gym. It was still windy outside and while I was on the treadmill I could see the sunbeds and umbrellas being blown over. And then it stopped just as suddenly as it had started. 

2012

On Friday, my friends from London invited me to brunch at their hotel. We had planned to spend the rest of the afternoon by the pool but one of the kids had a skiing lesson at Ski Dubai so we went there instead. 

I didn’t do much at all on Saturday – went to the gym, sat by the pool, watched ‘Game of Thrones’. I love my life. 

See more Dubai updates here.