Sep 252016
 

I was away from my computer and Abu Dhabi this weekend, so I could not really post. It was a nice 24-hr break away from the crazy realities of life these days.

When we were in Bali everyone was keen to organize a monthly get-together when we were all back in the UAE to keep our connections strong. Although their saying this may have been similar to the passing phrases of “we should get together soon” that people often make knowing that it will likely not happen, I attempted to make it happen for this month.

There was a Yoga Tune-Up workshop advertised a couple of months ago that I really wanted to attend. So, I used that as a reason to make a trip to Dubai. I accepted the offer of one of my yogini friends and stayed at hers on Friday night. I arrived around lunch time and we had a slow start, but eventually got to Dubai Mall where one of our yogamates was in a food festival as an executive chef of a rebranding vegan restaurant. It was nice to show support and to see her and her husband briefly. πŸ™‚ While my friend and her son did some ice skating I walked around the mall, which is just really an insane place to be. If I had had more time and money, I probably would have shopped or at the very least eaten much more! πŸ˜›

(Vegan restaurant where my friend is the chef)

(Her delicious vegan chocolate orange cake)

(Dinner mostly made by my host but with some help from me πŸ˜› )

In the evening, we got back and made dinner together (or tried) while another yogamate came over for drinks and dinner with her two sons. It was nice to catch up with them and to see people in their own environment.

The next morning (Saturday), we were up bright and early to get to the Surf House to rent Stand Up Paddleboards (SUP) for some paddling and attempts at SUP yoga with the Burj Al Arab as our background. It was a real shame that no one had a camera to take photos. While I have tried SUPing a few times, this was the first time that I actually enjoyed it. Maybe it was the scenery or just knowing what to expect. So, M and I will likely give it a try by the mangroves when the weather is a bit cooler and we are feeling a bit more relaxed in our activities.

Once back from that, I had a little bit of time to relax before heading off to the workshop. I got to see another yogamate there and the workshop was absolutely fantastic. I am a HUGE fan of Yoga Tune-Up balls as they really help to relieve muscle strain and in my less luxurious days, it saves on the lack of spa visits. πŸ˜€

tuneup

All-in-all, it was a really nice weekend despite being rather busy and not getting to ‘chill’ that much. Who needs to chill every weekend, anyway?! πŸ˜› It is a busy week ahead, but should be good!

-T πŸ˜€

May 112013
 

SWAN LAKE-The Royal Moscow Ballet-Dubai

Ballet is a mysterious part of my life. In my second adoptive family, I used to take ballet lessons. My crazy mother at the time was really into “Flashdance” and perhaps had some dream that I would become her surrogate dancer or something. In any case, I did fall in love with ballet, but due to my bad memories of her I never really wanted to have anything to do with it once I left that home.

My mom used to take me to the “Nutcracker” when I was young and through my sleepiness I would be fascinated with the art. After I saw “Black Swan“, I was even more interested in seeing the real thing. Β So, when it was announced that the Royal Moscow Ballet troupe was coming to the UAE, how could I pass up the chance?

The performance was quite wonderful. Now that I’m old enough to appreciate the talent and interpret the story, I quite enjoyed it. I am not sure that their best dancers were the ones performing, but what do I know. In any case, it was beautiful and nice to see.

However, like most events I have attended here, the feeling is that things are done half-ass. I should be fair to note that just 40 years ago people here were living in tents or clay buildings and the concept of a royal ballet troupe coming to the country was not only foreign, but most likely totally unknown. So, I should give them some credit for that. Still, the venue was makeshift, the seats were uncomfortable and poorly laid out. I could barely see over the top of the person in front of me and if anyone moved in their seats, we all felt it. I am used to performances in proper auditoriums with a real orchestra pit and a sense of sophistication in attending an event where amazing talent is about to be shared. This place just did not lend itself to that kind of feeling, sadly.

Overall, though I am very glad that I got to see the performance. I would like to see it again from better seats and in a nicer venue someday.

Below are a few pics and videos I managed to take.

-T πŸ˜€

Swan Lake - Dubai
 

Dec 292011
 

What’s a visit to the UAE without a stop in Dubai?

We took MJ for an overnighter in Dubai; stopping to see all the necessary places. I didn’t get as many pics as she did, so will have to wait for them, but here are some highlights:

Burj Al Arab

 

Tip of Burj Khalifa

 

Entrance to Bastakya Quarters

Sep 042008
 

One more day….

More of the same on Wednesday – had to finish studying. I managed to get caught up and a bit ahead in one course. So, I shouldn’t have to worry about it while I am in NYC. I have readings to take with me for the second course, but the tasks can be done once I get to Oregon, if I focus! My first assignments are due the first week back at work, so that should be interesting….

Anyway, I went to the pool in the afternoon, but they were cleaning it. So, I took a nap laying in the sun while trying to finish up my book, _Collapse_. I realized for the first time, though, that I am brown. Imagine what I would look like if I lived here!

In the evening, Allan was still not feeling well with a very sore throat, so we stayed local and went to a Chinese restaurant, called Spring Bamboo. It was actually quite nice and it was good to see Chinese people eating there as well since that is usually a good sign. Afterwards, we had Coldstone Creamery ice cream at Lamcy Plaza, which was very hard to finish and then came home to relax.

Tomorrow is my last day. I may not write until I get back to Oregon, but if I have a chance while in NYC, I will try to post a bit then. Nothing planned for the day, tomorrow, packing and sunning. My flight is at night, so at least I have the day to relax and make one last meal at Allan’s. πŸ˜€

Until next time,

-T

Sep 032008
 

Only two more days left…. πŸ™

Unfortunately, Tuesday was all about getting studying done. I plowed through another module (unit) in my “Discourse in Professional and Organizational Contexts” course. It’s not my favorite I have to admit, but it has interesting bits here and there. I started a module that I should have finished last week for my “Concepts in Managing Language Programs” course, which is much more interesting for me, but I only got half way through the module, so it will require another day of studying.

I did stop early afternoon to do some cooking since we were having guests over for dinner. Michael (pronounced Me-hal) and his wife, Maride (Marith) from Ireland came for dinner in the evening. Michael and Allan work together and Maride works at a high school in Dubai. They have been here for about 9 years, so there must be something nice about it here. ;D Anyway, we had a nice time.

Before that, I made it down to the pool as I needed a break from everything for a bit. Somehow the pool was only about half level full, so not sure what is going on. Maybe they are cleaning it for Ramadan?? Will have to see if it stays that way tomorrow.

Until next time,

-T

Sep 022008
 

My days will be very quiet for the next few left in Dubai.

For Monday (Day 19), I ended up getting up fairly early since we did go to bed around 9:30pm. Allan has caught a cold or something, so hasn’t been so energetic the past couple of days. So, on Sunday night, we relaxed, watched soccer and went to bed early!

Thus, I woke up early on Monday and was determined to get some work done as I’m a little bit behind on things. I managed to get work-work done, but still have one syllabus to put together, which will have to wait until I get back to Japan.

Then, it was on to studying. For some reason I cannot get into this discourse course I am taking…so, I spent most of the morning trying to plow through that with very little success. I finished a few tasks in the assignments, but was distracted by laundry and finally gave up around 10am and went to the City Centre to get groceries.

So, at City Centre I intended to just get the groceries and go home, but instead shopped for sunglasses since I recently determined that mine are all scratched and lacking in some style, though still good. So, I searched. I had searched before, but as I have a very flat face and high cheekbones, it is often difficult for me to find a pair of glasses that fit just right on my face. In other stores, I found that Armani and D&G glasses fit me relatively well with still some style to them. Though, the style I most like will NOT fit my face no matter how many pairs I try on.

I walked into a store. Tried a few on. The salesman was unusually less stalking or watching than other stores, so I felt comfortable to keep trying on different styles. He knew what would fit my face and gave me a few others to try on. I found a pair that worked. I held on to them as I tried on more. I kept going back to the pair in my hand to confirm I liked them and they fit. After looking at basically everything, I bought the pair in my hand. They are Giorgio Armani and they cost a pretty penny – never spent so much on a pair of sunglasses before, but I’m living on the edge. They aren’t gaudy, but still somewhat stylish, I think. Maybe you’ll get a photo of them on later!

After that, I tried to go to Starbucks to buy coffee beans. Forgetting that Ramadan had started, I found it eerie that all the food stalls including Starbucks were closed!!! So, I bought groceries and headed home.

In the evening, we went out to Thai food at the nearby Lemongrass restaurant near Lamcy Plaza. It was really good Thai food and since the sun had gone done, the Ramadan fast was broken for the day and people were out and about eating. We stopped in Lamcy Plaza again to look for some medicine and gifts before heading home. It was another early night for us, but I suppose it will make getting back to work easier!

Until next time,

-T

Sep 012008
 

Ah, the time is flying.

Yesterday was my Ski Dubai day. It is an amazing experience to ski/snowboard in the middle of the desert. I almost forgot that it was actually hot outside. The Ski Dubai slope is located in the Mall of the Emirates, which is a 40 dirham taxi ride from Allan’s apartment. (Can we say incentive to rent/buy a car??).

To ensure that I had the freedom to ski as long as I want, I bought a day pass and then signed up for Discovery snowboarding lessons (pre-beginner). With the day pass I was able to switch to snowboarding after a few hours of skiing. Now, the two-hour pass is 180AED. If you are a pretty good skiier, this is more than enough time. I skied for about 2.5 hours and made close to 30 – 40 runs. They claim to have 5 runs, but from what I could tell there were about three and short still, though challenging and long enough to work on form or race down the slope. Since I haven’t skied in a year or so, it was really nice to be back on the snow again and I like just practicing form and style more than racing down, so it was worth it to pay for the day pass at 300AED (or $30US more).

After about 90 minutes, I took a 45-minute lunch break at the Avanlanche Cafe where they serve a mean hot chocolate, though I skipped the whip cream, M&Ms and marshmallow topping.

It was time to switch to the snowboard after that. So, I did a couple of runs on the shorter slope, but got tired since my last ski run had me biting it hard and my leg got sore…. Once I finished the second run on the board, I took a wee break and then went to meet up for the lesson. The lesson was 160AED for an hour. There were 4 others in my group and we did basic moves to get down the training slope. It wasn’t so hard for me since I had boarded before, but it was good to remind myself of the basic skills required. If I were here a bit longer, I would go regularly and take the different lessons and I think I could actually board down the main slope after a couple more lessons. Still, it is hard, but I didn’t fall hard on the board, which is amazing!

I could have gone again to keep boarding, but by then I had been on the slope for 4 hours and my ankles were sore from the boots, so I called it a day. Financially, it probably would have been cheaper to just have done the 2-hour pass and lesson, but hey now I know and I did have the freedom to go back if I had been up for it. I am getting old as I felt very sore and unable to move much once I got home. Then, I was out for the count before 10pm!

If I were to live here, I would be a regular on the slopes, though. For a couple of hours a day, I’d pay it! Rumor is that they are making an outside slope for the winter months. Should be interesting to see the ocean and desert while skiing!

Until next time,

-T

Aug 312008
 

πŸ™ Only 5 more days left….

Today was a lazy day of sleeping in, cleaning house, doing laundry and watching James Bond on the TV. I was quite tired after yesterday, so I took an afternoon nap.

Finally in the late afternoon, we made it out of the house. Allan was in search of a barber and so we walked to the Lamcy Plaza area – yes another shopping mall – and I looked around while he got his hair cut. It’s a small mall, but nice to have close-by with a Starbucks, Daisou on the top floor, Coldstone Creamery (didn’t have any though…) and other necessities for a quick mall fix.

We didn’t stay too long and then moved to the Movenpick Hotel to watch the first half of a soccer game with a few drinks. I found it ironic that we went to a bar to watch soccer when it can be watched in Allan’s living room. He claims it was just because it was on the way home. ;D

On the way home, we ordered a pizza for delivery from Papa John’s and then watched another game at home. It was a relaxing evening and I was passing out by 9pm…sad, but true!

Until next time,

-T

Aug 302008
 

Once upon a time, a dude named Juha and his friend Sinbad got stranded on an island and the beautiful location seemed a great place to make an entertainment zone for people to come and enjoy the water rides they had created. Thus, is the condensed legend of Wild Wadi – Dubai’s famous water park!

If it is too hot to do anything outside and the beach is still a bit too warm, what is one to do in Dubai? You can go skiing or if you don’t ski, you can go to Wild Wadi. Since Allan doesn’t ski and we had a whole day of fun ahead, it was time for the slides and rides.

The first ride we did after finding a place to drop our towels was hit the big rides. The first up was a 33 meter high slide called Jumeirah Sceirah. I was a bit nervous as we climbed up the stairs to the top and not knowing where the bottom was sort of freaked me out. However, once I began the descent and came to a very bumpy halt, I determined it wasn’t that bad. Sadly, Allan got a bit of a skinned elbow since he didn’t cross his arms quite enough on the way down.

We then went on to enjoy the waves, intertube slide rides, body boarding zones and the view of the Burj Al Arab and Jumeirah Beach Hotel for the rest of the afternoon.

On the way, I got to get an upclose photo of the Burj Dubai – slated to be the world’s tallest tower. It is still incomplete, but when it is done, I imagine it will be quite amazing.

After six hours at the water park, we headed home and got ready to go to a house-party in Sharjah of one of Allan’s colleagues. She lives in a medium-sized villa, which means large house in my world! Amazing accommodations are provided here….

Anyway, thus the day in the water was ended.

Until next time,

-T