Notes by Nectar

Your destiny lies in your own hands

Dubai 2015: Week 43

After the gym on Sunday morning I met up with a friend for an early lunch. We went to Tasha’s and got a table without having to wait – it was about noon by the time we got there. We sat down and decided to share the quinoa salad and the penne with mushrooms. Both were very good but I thought the pasta could have been a little less oily. We were there for a while as we hadn’t seen each other in ages and it was about 2.30pm by the time I got back home. I was home for the rest of the day.

On Monday morning I had a session with Pete and later that afternoon I had a piano lesson. My dad arrived from Bombay that evening – he’d been there since the end of August, when we all went together for his medical treatment. The house had been so quiet for so long – and now it was back to CNN and dodgy Indian channels at full volume!

I went to the gym earlyish on Tuesday morning. On my way home, I was rummaging through my handbag and couldn’t find my keys. I was pretty sure I’d taken them with me and thought I’d have a proper look once I was outside the flat. As I approached our front door I saw my keys hanging there. Crap! I’d locked the door from the outside and then left the keys there. Anyone could have picked them up and walked off with them. And if anything had happened on the inside, they wouldn’t have been able to open the door to get out.

After I’d had a cup of tea and showered, Ajay (our cook/housekeeper) and I went to Lulu for the weekly shop. It’s not the most exciting couple of hours of my week, I can tell you. I’m waiting for the driver to come back from his (ridiculously long) holiday so that I can send the two of them together!

Apart from my session with Pete on Wednesday morning I did nothing but catch up with work.

On Thursday night I met up with a friend from Lagos who was in town. He’d booked a table at La Petite Maison and I’d been looking forward to it all week. He’s vegetarian though, so everything we ordered was vegetarian. To start with we ordered the burrata, the lentil salad and the scrambled eggs with truffles. For our main course we shared the risotto with goats cheese, the gnocchi and the dauphinoise potatoes. I thought the gnocchi was bland, but the risotto and potatoes were fantastic. We shared the cheesecake for dessert.

After dinner, we went to White Dubai at Meydan. My friend had been invited to a party and took me as his ‘plus one’. I’d never been to White Dubai – what a place! The music was so good – and I wish I’d taken a photo of the view of Sheikh Zayed Road and the Burj Khalifa from there. Our hosts had a huge section to themselves which was nice. I even knew a few people there. I got home at around 3am.

I was tired on Friday and spent the day in my pajamas. Well, until 6pm anyway, when I decided I had to get ready if I was going to be on time to meet my friends for drinks and dinner. I met a couple of girlfriends at Fai at the Palace Downtown. We had a drink and then had dinner next door at Thiptara. We ordered a lot of prawns as one of my friends eats only seafood. For our starters we ordered the papaya salad and the deep fried prawns with hot chilli sauce. For our main course, we shared the phad thai, stir fried prawns with basil and chilli, and we ordered a red curry with prawns. We also ordered a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc.

Everything was fine, but when they brought us our main course, they brought us a green curry with prawns. They were very apologetic and eventually brought us what we’d ordered. They also gave us complimentary sorbets for dessert.

While the food was good, the service was terrible. There were only two waiters in the whole restaurant and getting their attention was not easy. It was Friday night and the restaurant was full – so two waiters really didn’t do the job!

After dinner I went to meet some other friends and left my two girlfriends at Fai. They later told me that the staff were still feeling bad about getting our order wrong and gave them a complimentary drink as well!

I was in high heels so luckily my friends picked me up from the Palace lobby and we decided to go to the Nippon Bottle Company at the Dusit Thani. I’d heard a lot about this place and had been wanting to go there. It’s just to the left of the lobby at the Dusit Thani, but the entrance is rather deceiving. Four of us managed to get a table and ordered some drinks. I thought it would be best if I stuck to wine, but the others had Kamikazes (I’ve only ever seen these as shots so it was weird seeing these served in tall glasses).

We each had two drinks and decided to join some of my other friends who were at La Cantine du Faubourg at the Emirates Towers Hotel. It was after midnight and the place was packed! I managed to find my friends and we hung out with them the rest of the night. By 2am I couldn’t take the pain any more and took my shoes off. I knew that putting the back on would be hell but by then I didn’t care! I left at about 2.30 with my neighbours and we came home…

I got out of bed on Saturday at about noon. All I wanted to do was sleep. And have a foot massage. I did neither. But I did spend the day in my pajamas, which was perfect!

I love my life.

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Dubai 2015: Week 4

I had to cancel my Sunday morning session with Trevor as I had to be in Sharjah by 10am and I wasn’t sure I’d be back in time. I got to Sharjah, had my blood test and X-ray and was done in about 20 minutes. The traffic coming back to Dubai was pretty bad and I’m glad I’d cancelled the session.

Instead of going straight home, I decided to go to the Dubai Mall and have a look around. I needed to get a birthday present for a friend and I’d seen the perfect book at Kinokuniya – Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck (Charley was Steinbeck’s dog and my friend has a dog called Charlie). On a previous visit to Kinokuniya I’d noticed three Folio Society copies of the book and thought I’d get one. I also wanted a couple of books for myself (naturally). The Folio Society copies were nowhere to be found. I couldn’t believe that three people had bought them and I went to the Information desk to find out if they had any in stock. I gave the man behind the desk the title, the author, the publisher – and he insisted they’d never had that edition in stock. And I insisted that they had at one point. Why was I so sure, he asked me. Because I used to work at that publisher in London, and I worked on that particular book. Anyway, I ended up getting the Penguin Classics edition of the book – it’s nowhere near as impressive as the Folio Society edition, but there you go. I also picked up the new Wally Lamb book (We Are Water) and a book called Marina by Carlos Ruiz Zafón. It was written before Shadow of the Wind but was only translated a couple of years ago. In hindsight, I shouldn’t have bought the second book because I doubt it will be as good as The Shadow of the Wind! While I was browsing I was horrified to see this sign on one of the shelves.

I was so horrified I went to Debenhams and bought a dress to cheer myself up. I was home in time for lunch and spent the rest of the day at home.

I woke up at about 6am on Monday – all I could hear was the wind howling outside. It was dark and looked like rain. It rained most of the day and I hoped that my piano lesson would be cancelled (it wasn’t). Luckily, when I left for my lesson it had stopped raining and only started again after I got back home. I could still see lightning and hear thunder as I got into bed at around midnight.

I had yoga on Tuesday morning and then met up with NP for lunch at Tasha’s in Galleria Mall on Al Wasl Road. NP got there a little before me and managed to snap up the last available table. There were already people waiting when I got there at 1pm. She had the wagyu burger – she said it was better than the one at Jones the Grocer. I had my usual quinoa salad with chicken and a carrot/beetroot/apple/ginger juice. We both had a coffee after that and went our separate ways.

I got home and did a bit of work. I was reading Natalie Goldberg’s The True Secret of Writing and it made me want to start writing again so I decided that my project for the week would be to clear up my desk. (I finished reading the book later that night, and to sum up her ‘true secret’ of writing: Shut up and write.)

2015-01-20 11.30.29

Yes, that is a bottle of vodka. No, I haven’t been drinking it – I inherited it half full. What else is on there? Camera lenses, books, papers, sunscreen, makeup, my old laptop from three years ago which I must get rid of. I haven’t worked at my desk in about two years and I need to start using it again. Where do I work? On my bed. No comments, please.

So I put off clearing up my desk until the evening. And then I spent about four hours sorting out papers, emptying drawers and basically throwing out a lot of sh*t.

On Wednesday morning, my desk looked like this:

2015-01-21 09.38.16

Miles better, but still room for improvement! After my session with Trevor that morning, I had to get ready in a rush to go back to Sharjah to finish off the rest of the visa renewal process. I was in the visa application centre this time. My dad had arranged for someone to take me through the procedure as I had no idea what to do or what queue to stand in. I had to wait in line at the front desk while they stamped all my forms, then I had to queue to pay for my renewal, then I had to queue to submit my passport, then finally I had to submit the rest of the forms. I sat in the chair opposite a local woman. She looked at me and decided she’d rather continue chatting to the male colleague on her right. For about ten minutes. Eventually, she decided she’d better get on with her job and looked through my forms. She told me one form was missing, so the guy I was with rushed off to get it while I waited there, and this ‘official’ folded her arms on her desk and just put her head down. Erm – that’s professional. The guy came back with the form, I filled it in, signed it, she woke up and that was it.

I had a piano lesson on Wednesday afternoon – we spent the entire hour working on the Debussy Arabesque. I spent a few more hours clearing up my desk that day. I even came across my first plane ticket which my mum had saved.

By Thursday morning, my desk looked like this:

2015-01-22 09.45.14

Yes, there was still crap under the desk and that’s a work in progress. But – I’ve been feeling very positive and energised since clearing it up.

On Thursday night, I went to my friend’s Gatsby-themed birthday party at his house (I wore my new dress and he loved Travels with Charley). It was a nice evening – and not as many people as I thought there would be. I had just two glasses of red wine (I hadn’t had any alcohol since my friends left after that mad week they were here). I hadn’t really missed it and even started with a mocktail, but because we were outdoors and it was quite chilly I thought the red wine would warm me up. I got home at about 2.30 and went to bed.

I worked all day on Friday and most of Saturday. I had a sudden influx of work on Thursday and my only option was to work all weekend.

On Saturday evening a friend and I went to visit some friends who’d had a baby just before Christmas. We were there for about an hour and then headed home. And I went back to work for a few more hours! I love being busy at work, but I’d been swamped on Friday and Saturday. According to one of my clients, I should expect it to be like that for the next couple of weeks. Oh well, more work equals more money!

I love my life.

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