Notes by Nectar

Your destiny lies in your own hands

Dubai: Week 25

Apart from Wednesday, it was quite an uneventful week.

I had a session with Rama on Sunday and spent the rest of the day working. I did enough work in London to keep things ticking along, but had quite a bit to catch up on when I got back to Dubai. 

I went to the gym on Monday and that afternoon I met up with a friend for coffee at Starbucks in Mercato. I hadn’t seen her in a couple of months even though we’re in touch constantly on Twitter and BBM. It amazes me how quickly the days go by here. 

Tuesday wasn’t very eventful. I went to the gym, had lunch, did some work and then went down to the pool. I started a new book and after being completely disappointed (and bored) by The Marriage Plot, I think I’ve accidentally stumbled upon the best book I’ve read so far this year (The Other Hand by Chris Cleave). I read one-third of it in the 2 hours I spent at the pool. I did a few lengths to cool off, but wanted to continue reading! 

The sunset on Tuesday was gorgeous:


On Wednesday I had another session with Rama. I did some work that afternoon and that evening I went to an InterNations event at Ruth’s Chris Steak House Lounge at The Address Marina. I went with a couple of expat friends – I met one of the girls in the lobby of the hotel and we realised we were wearing very similar dresses – same colours, same vertical stripes, but the styles were slightly different! Yes, we got a few comments that evening. One of our other friends joined us a bit later on and we had a couple of drinks. They left at about 10pm but I stayed on with a couple of people I’d met that evening. It was actually a very fun night – I got home at about 2.30am after several glasses of Sauvignon Blanc. 

I woke up feeling rather fragile on Thursday – I didn’t (couldn’t!) get out of bed until 12.30pm and skipped the gym. I wouldn’t have been able to walk in a straight line anyway! That afternoon Mum and I went to Dubai Festival City Mall. There was a music store there (Thomsun Music) I wanted to check out as I’d seen an ad in the paper that morning – they were on sale. Their ‘range’ consisted of four Yamaha upright pianos, one Yamaha baby grand, one Yamaha concert grand and a mahogany Bösendorfer grand piano (it was beautiful – if I had the space and the money!). There wasn’t a lot of choice but I decided to go for one of the Yamaha uprights (instead of the  Ritmüller pianos I had looked at the week before). 

Now that I’ve bought the piano, I’m plagued with fears that I won’t remember anything that I used to play and will never be as good as I used to be. I need to find a good teacher (again) and learn everything all over again. It’s been 20 years since I played seriously. I’ve held on to all my old sheet music for all these years. I can’t wait to start playing Chopin again…

I stayed in on Thursday night. I thought I had plans to meet someone for dinner and drinks but he didn’t call (and I didn’t have his number). Guys not calling me when they say they will seems to be the general trend these days. A friend asked why we didn’t just swap BBM pins so I explained that he had an iPhone. ‘Doomed from the start,’ was his reply! I was actually shattered from the night before – so the night in was probably a good thing! 

I had a lie-in on Friday, went to the gym, had lunch at Biella at Wafi City Mall with my parents (terrible service and I forgot to take photos – again!), walked around for a while and came home. I went down to the pool with my book and read another third of it. I ended up finishing it that evening. Yes, definitely the best book I’ve read so far this year.

On Saturday morning I went to the gym and was home the rest of the day. My piano was supposed to be delivered from 2pm onwards and it showed up just after 5pm. While I was waiting at home, I watched a movie on YouTube that Rama had recommended called ‘An American Crime’. He had told me it was quite disturbing but didn’t tell me what it was about. I don’t think anything could have prepared me for it. It’s a true story about a suburban housewife in Indiana who kept a teenage girl in the basement of her home in the 1960s. People are insane. 

That night I had dinner with my cousin at Caramel. I’d been there a few times but I’m not really sure how I feel about the place. There’s something about it I don’t like. Being a Saturday I expected it to be not very crowded, but I hadn’t expected it to be quite so empty. I think a lot of people are already away for the summer. We were shown to our table which was in a very dark corner. And I remembered that that is what I don’t like about the place. It’s just too dark. We needed little torches to read our menus. My cousin ordered a Cosmo, I ordered a (double) vodka with soda. It was bloody strong. Just how I like it.

We ordered a few starters to share and thought we’d order the main course afterwards. We had the spicy tuna roll and Chinese chicken salad to start:


We also had the yellowtail sashimi, miso black cod and mac and cheese. It was quite filling for just the two of us so we ordered another round of drinks and decided to skip the main course (we had planned to order the seared Chilean seabass). We shared the dark chocolate fondant with cappuccino ice cream for dessert: 


We had a lot of catching up to do – we hadn’t really talked properly since I got back from London. It was a chilled evening and I was home before midnight. 

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.’ 


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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