Notes by Nectar

Your destiny lies in your own hands

Dubai: Week 41

Sunday was National Day and a public holiday in the UAE. I didn’t have much planned until the evening except have lunch at home with my parents and wait for the sleazy hairdresser. Late that morning one of my friends from Wine Club asked what I was up to and did I want to meet for lunch? I told her I’d meet her for coffee after lunch instead. I met her and another friend from Wine Club at Toscana at the Madinat Jumeirah. They’d had lunch and were sipping prosecco by the water – so I joined them. It was a lovely warm December afternoon and we stayed there till almost 6pm.

That night a friend had invited me to one of his friends’ birthday drinks at Okku. I love Okku and I love Okku on Sundays! We got there a little after 10pm and hung out at the bar – we didn’t really meet many new people as we were chatting and drinking and it was quite crowded. Sunday is retro night at Okku so they play a lot of music from the 80s and 90s – they started with ‘Africa’ by Toto which is one of my all-time favourites. They also played ‘Ain’t Nobody’ by Chaka Khan, ‘I Can’t Wait’ by Nu Shooz, ‘Self Control’ by Laura Brannigan, some Michael Jackson and a lot more songs I loved. We left a little after midnight as my friend had an early start the next day.

The rest of the week was pretty dull until Thursday. I had my second piano lesson on Thursday afternoon – it went well. I hadn’t practised on my own as much as I would have liked – it’s difficult at home and I usually wait until I have the place to myself before practising. But still, the class went well. I spent most of it playing variations of a piece called ‘Love in Portofino’ and Elvis’ ‘Can’t Help Falling in Love’. My teacher said he would also give me some classical music to learn so I was happy with that.

After my class I decided to walk home – it’s really not that far – and I stopped at Tim Horton’s for a French Vanilla cappuccino on my way back. It wasn’t too hot either which was nice.

That evening I met up with a friend and one of her friends. I’d met her friend when we had dinner at La Petite Maison a few weeks before. We went to the Jetty Lounge at the Royal Mirage – I’d only been there once and that was back in May. We got there at about 9.45 and every table was taken. We added our names to the waiting list and sat at the bar until a table became available. We had three Margaritas each and ordered two of the ‘Mexico’ platters – tortilla chips, guacamole, salsa and┬ájalape├▒os. After drinks we decided we’d meet a couple of other friends at the Cigar Lounge at the Address Downtown. It wasn’t a very late night – I was home by 1.30am.

I was home all day on Friday until the evening. My cousin had organised her son’s birthday party at the India Club in Oud Metha. My parents and I got there at about 6pm – the kids were playing cricket indoors and the women sat outdoors having tea and sandwiches and chaat. I was only there for just over an hour as I was meeting some friends for drinks elsewhere.

I went to Sho Cho for drinks with some friends – we were five girls in the end. We had several glasses of wine and then moved on to Boudoir because they had free champagne for women until midnight. Score!

2012

There were more drinks and some dancing. We were there till just after 2am and we’d started to feel peckish by then. We walked over to Japengo Cafe but their kitchen had closed 10 minutes before. I suggested we go to Zaatar w Zeit next to the Shangri-La. We sat down and ordered fresh orange juices all round. I had the halloumi and beef bacon wrap (amazing but probably 10,000 calories) and we ordered some French fries to share. I walked home from there as it was just a few minutes away.

I spent all of Saturday in my pajamas.

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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