Friday, March 31, 2006

Ay Karama!

My girlfriend, Joy and I decided to spend an afternoon shopping at the Karama souks yesterday. It was her first and my second time there.

[Al] Karama is notorious for its copy designer handbags, clothes, shoes, watches and DVD's. This is the place to come if you want to get a bargain and have lots of energy to haggle! As you walk through the maze of shops, you will be asked again and again if you'd like copy handbags, watches, DVD's, pashmina shawls... by men hoping to lure you into their Aladdin's cave of treasures.

...Karama souk...

We stopped for lunch at a Filipino restaurant which was, as Gypsy Boy likes to say, 'cheap and good'. It was a first for me and I ordered 'Pancit with bihon', secretly hoping it would be like Malaysian 'ying yong' noodles. Alas, it turned out to be rice noodles (bihun) with thicker yellow noodles stir-fried with chicken and shrimp. I have to say it wasn't bad, but it wasn't great either.

As the shops started to close for the afternoon siesta, we moved on to a nearby shopping mall before heading to Joy's where we watched 'Memoirs of a Geisha' on DVD.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Movies at the beach

Last night we went to watch one of my all time favourite movies, The Shawshank Redemption, at the beach!

The Jumeirah Beach Club Resort & Spa is a gorgeous setting and as we walked through its beautiful landscaped grounds and inviting swimming pools to get to the beach, it reminded me a lot of our time at The Fijian.

The beach was picture perfect. The movie screened on a projector screen with a beautiful backdrop of rolling waves and distant ships on the horizon. There was a choice of either lying on carpets with cushions, sitting at the bar, or relaxing in a beach chair - all right on the soft sand and under the stars!

What's more, you can get popcorn, a glass of wine or a beer, hot food and shisha! With 5 star waiter service, you don't even have to leave the comfort of your beach chair.

It's hard to believe movies screen for free every week! We're already planning on going back next week for more...

Monday, March 27, 2006

The First Malaysian Restaurant

This is actually what it's called! It is the one and only that we have come across, and trust me I've been looking.

Located on the rooftop of Sky Tower on Sheikh Zayed Road, diners are sure to enjoy the view of the skyscrapers on Sheikh Zayed Road while savouring a wide selection of traditional Malay dishes.

...the menu...

We ordered Tahu Goreng, Nasi Campur and Kari Laksa and the food was hot, hot, hot! One thing is for sure, it's authentic and you can definitely find fellow Malaysians hanging out here for their Malaysian food fix.

This was our first visit to the First Malaysian Restaurant and we'll be back for more.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

The Dubai World Cup

The richest horse race in the world was on here in Dubai last night, The Dubai World Cup.

Unfortunately, we were not able to go see the races live, but it did look just amazing on TV. The horses were beautiful, as were some of the hats and dresses! There were fireworks and dance performances - truly the social event of the year, as it is said to be...

Electrocutionist, a 5 year old locally owned horse won the race, taking the winnings - a whopping $6,000,000 USD. Wow.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Welcome to DXB!

Good news. Our amazing salsa dancing friends from NZ have just moved here! They are on a 7 month dance contract here and we're really looking forward to seeing them perform and spending more time with them. Yay!

Monday, March 20, 2006

A stormy weekend

The weather over the weekend was dreadful, most unusual in sunny Dubai! We had a sandstorm and a thunderstorm so we took the opportunity to pay a visit to our local DVD store.

Pleasantly surprised by the rates, it costs just 10dhs to hire a DVD [$2.70USD or approx $4.30NZD]. Regardless of whether it's a new release or The Sound of Music, it's all 10dhs and they all have to be back within 24 hours. That's simplicity for you!

We decided to get Crash. It's no wonder this won Best Motion Picture of the Year. In my opinion, it was fantastic.


We got tickets to go to The Dubai International Jazz Festival, a 3 day long festival, held at Dubai Media City. It was very cool. The atmosphere was electric and the venue was just beautiful. At a park by the lake, you could either grab a seat on chairs or one of the comfy bean bags! There was a huge turnout and the set up was really impressive. There was lots of food put on by the Hilton and we had enjoyed scrumptious spring rolls, burger & fries, wine and a grape shisha listening to fabulous jazz.

We got to the festival just in time to catch the end of Mojo featuring Salha, had a look around and got some dinner and drinks before settling down to listen to Chico Freeman - Hilton Ruiz! He was fantastic. Silvia Droste was next, also known as Germany's First Lady of Jazz.

...Kool & the Gang...

Last was Kool & the Gang, needless to say they were awesome. These guys performed their greatest hits such as *Get down on it*, *Celebration*, *Let's go dancing*, and *Ladies night*. What a night!!!!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Be afraid,

Be very afraid!!!!!!

You Are 36% Evil

A bit of evil lurks in your heart, but you hide it well.
In some ways, you are the most dangerous kind of evil.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

A desk with a view

I came across some photos Gypsy Boy took of the view from his workstation. He is lucky enough to get a desk by the window that offers an aerial view of the racetracks, horses stables and out into the desert.

You definitely get a different perspective of the city from up here, somehow it doesn't look so flat and dry from the ground...

Monday, March 06, 2006

Residency visa, take 2

Woohoo! My passport came back yesterday with my UAE residency visa. Gypsy Boy had to get his residency visa first, then sponsor me [the unemployed one!].

Everyone applying for a UAE residency visa needs to go through a blood test and chest x-ray. This is a routine check for AIDS and TB. Being no exception, we trucked up to the hospital last weekend to get the test and x-ray where there were hundreds [no exaggeration] of men queuing up to do the same. Thanks to 'women's queues' though, I was ushered straight up to the counter and served immediately!

It's only taken 3 months to get my residency visa done, not bad really considering another couple I know were living in Dubai for 13 months and it took 12 months to get theirs done!

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Dubai Tennis Championships 06

Our first live tennis match was nothing short of amazing. We got tickets to the Men's ATP Semi-Finals hoping it would be Agassi vs Federer. Unfortunately Agassi got knocked out and we watched Federer play Youzhny.

The match was not as exciting but it was good tennis all the same and the atmosphere was great. It was just amazing watching Federer play live and I'm sure most of the girls out there would agree with me, he is one fine looking guy.

Youzhny proved no match for Federer and the game only lasted a little over an hour with a score of 6-2, 6-3.

...the scoreboard...

...the speed of one of Federer's serves, 200kph...

This saw Federer up against Nadal in the final last night. What an exciting match! It was so close, and in the end 19 year old Nadal won the championship after a two hour battle with Federer.

We are already looking forward to next year's tennis and will definitely be getting our tickets early!

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Pancake Tuesday

Yesterday, we had our first experience of Pancake Tuesday. Traditionally eaten on Shrove Tuesday [the day before Ash Wednesday], pancakes are made to use up all the fats and creams in the house before Lent.

We were kindly invited to Gypsy Boy's Director's beautiful home, where delicious home made pancakes and a rather interesting array of toppings awaited us! Fresh lemons, sugar, marshmallows, Rollos, Nutella, bananas, and ice-cream?!

Dubai is such a multicultural melting pot - we had 7 different nationalities at our table of 8 last night! One of the things I really love about this place is that there are so many fantastic opportunities to learn and share about different countries and customs...