Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Lucky for some.

On Friday the 13th, we set off on our weekend getaway to Abu Dhabi - the capital city of the United Arab Emirates. We dropped Gypsy Dog off at his best pal's, Groucho's, for his weekend of fun before starting our 90-minute drive to Abu Dhabi.

It's basically one straight road to the capital city from Dubai, and much of the scenery along this stretch is of 'the green belt' - basically cultivated greenery in what would otherwise be desert. As we approached the city, there were more villas, mosques and rows of small shops distantly resembling some of the smaller townships in Malaysia.

...the view from our room at the Hilton Abu Dhabi...

We arrived at the Hilton on the corniche which had gorgeous views of the Emirates Palace Hotel and the Marina Mall across the sea. I have to admit that the exterior of the hotel did look a bit dated and like something out of the 70's, but it couldn't be more different once we got inside and to our guest room.

Despite being the capital city, I found the pace of life a little slower and more relaxed compared to Dubai. The traffic didn't seem as bad and the city also seemed more developed, less crowded and generally well organised. We took it easy at the hotel once we arrived, before having a leisurely buffet lunch at the hotel's Thai restaurant then took a short drive across the causeway to the Marina Mall. the beach...

We didn't spend too much time at the mall, but just enough to check out Gap [as the one in Dubai is not open just yet!], and my all-time favourite one-stop home furnishing store, IKEA. We then retreated back to the hotel in time for an evening swim and to watch the sunset on the beach. the pool...

The rest of our stay was filled with relaxing by the beach and the pool, reading, and eating - including one of the best Italian meals we've had outside of Italy! We couldn't have asked for a more perfect long weekend getaway.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Quack, quack!

According to my last monthly check-up at the obstetrician's a couple of weeks ago, I've put on a grand total of 3kg! This may not seem like much, but you definitely can't miss the baby bump now and I feel ginormous at 40kg. Funnily enough, I still weigh 3kg less than I did when I left NZ a year and a half ago which goes to show how overweight I was!

I've also seemed to have developed some of the lovely symptoms that go with the third trimester as we approach the home-run, such as painful ankles when I get up, leg cramps, and very sore and aching ribs on my right side. I have to say I still wouldn't trade any of these symptoms for the awful nausea of the first trimester.

Oh, and did I mention I am also starting to waddle?

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Itchy Feet.

This time last year, we were getting ready to leave for our European Escapade, and what a trip it turned out to be! I've really missed travelling the last 6 months, and now at 27 weeks pregnant, it's really too late to fly anywhere.

Not to despair! We've got a short weekend getaway planned to Abu Dhabi which I know, does not sound all that exciting, nonetheless it's something we're both really looking forward to. I've never been to Abu Dhabi - a neighbouring emirate of Dubai and the capital of the UAE - and Gypsy Boy is desperately in need of a well-earned break. We're also just looking forward to getting out of Dubai for a change of scenery, and a weekend of lounging at the hotel and beach in the garden city of the UAE.

Here's to what will probably be our last holiday as a couple in a while!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


Every night at around 9.45pm BabyG stirs in anticipation for what feels like his big dance performance at 10.15pm. This has been going on since I first started feeling his movements at week 19. He moves quite a lot during the day as well, and the obstetricians we've seen have made comments such as 'a very active baby' and 'baby never stops moving'! I can certainly vouch for that. It really feels like he's dancing, and rearranging my organs while he's at it.

We're just amazed that he seems to have already developed his own little routine and punctuality. It looks like we're really going to have our hands full in a few months time!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Connected again.

Oh, it's good to be back online! Moving house meant changing ISP which was a bit of a pain as it took time with the usual running around and paperwork required to get anything cancelled or set up here. Worth it though in my book, as I can now access and Skype!

Sunday, June 03, 2007

On the move.

We're on the move again! Just within Dubai this time but into a place with a bit more room for a growing Gypsy family!

Having only lived in apartments during our married life together, we are extremely excited to be moving into a house. Or as they call it here, a 'villa'! Yes, very posh isn't it. Unfortunately though, it's more like a shoe box. Nonetheless, a villa it is, double-storey and with its own garden too!

I guess you could say it looks like we're settling down to family life.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007


It's a BOY! It's a BOY! It's a BOY!

We had the morphology scan over the weekend, and we were so happy to find out that all is well. To celebrate, we had ice-cream at Swensens before heading to Babyshop to buy a carseat, a pram and some clothes for BabyG.

Monday, May 21, 2007

BabyG Movements.

About a week ago, I rolled over in bed and I felt BabyG do a tumble roll too! Ever since, I've been feeling little rolls, nudges and kicks. Even Gypsy Boy has felt a couple of little movements with his hand on my belly.

I have to admit it freaked me out a little bit the first time I felt BabyG move, most probably because it was an actual roll and not just a small kick, but I'm getting quite used to the movements now. So far, I've noticed BabyG reacts to external sounds like beeping horns, music playing, or my singing! Probably trying to tell me something...

Looks like we've got a very active little gypsy on the way!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Music makes the world go round.

I love music! As a little girl, I used to listen to my Mum play the organ and sit beside her singing along to songs. When I was 4, she discovered that I could play by ear and decided to enrol me in Yamaha Music classes. Later, I got my very own piano and started piano lessons.

Over the years, I've been into all kinds of music and still enjoy listening to a wide variety of genres depending on what mood I'm in. My favourites would have to be Jazz, R&B, Soul, Pop, and Classical. I also enjoy listening to soundtracks, and good old 80's and 90's music!

Earlier this week, we were lucky enough to be invited to see the Renaissance Chamber Orchestra of Armenia. The orchestra performed at the American University of Dubai and it was our first time there. The acoustics were [surprisingly] great and we really enjoyed the concert.

Tonight, we've got tickets to see Boyz II Men, followed by live DJ acts courtesy of Claude Challe and Pete Tong. What a blast from the past! I can't wait.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Baby Bash & Bangle.

On Sunday, Baby O turned 1 and I went along to his birthday party to celebrate with all his little friends. There were lots of cute babies and toddlers there, I wish I remembered to bring my camera! It was really nice to see all the kids playing with each other and also get to meet with and talk to lots of mothers.

Baby O's Mum did such a great job with making the cake and all the delicious food for the party. Gypsy Boy, who adores Baby O [I honestly don't know who wouldn't - he is the most gorgeous baby I've ever seen!], was meant to join us in the evening but couldn't make it as he had to spend the day working in Bahrain.

I was enjoying myself so much, I didn't notice how late it was and only just made it home 10 minutes before Gypsy Boy did! We took Gypsy Dog for a long walk and caught up on our day apart before he surprised me with a beautiful gold bangle he bought at Bahrain airport!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Wacky dreams.

I've been having vivid and very eventful dreams lately, another one of those weird things that is said to go with pregnancy.

Last night, I dreamt I was playing poker on a gaming machine, except I wasn't in a casino. I was in my aunt's study, in her house in Kuala Lumpur. Also, it turned out I wasn't gambling with my own money but with one of my brother's! By the end of the night, it seemed like I'd only had huge wins so, excitedly I went downstairs to share the news with my brother. I got to the dining room of my aunt's place which seemed to have turned into some kind of gambling den where everyone was playing cards around the table. I found my brother and happily shared the news with him showing him all the money I'd won, then asked him how much cash there was to start with. He said $60, and I started to count the money in my hand. "But there's only $60 here" I said to him in disbelief. The rest of the family turned their attention to us and started to point the blame on one or two cousins saying they may have taken the money...

I woke up from this dream feeling very much like playing online poker. Funnily enough, I've never played online poker before! Anyway, there's none of that here as any form of gambling, including online gambling sites are banned in the UAE.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

17 weeks.

Almost halfway there! I've been advised that by this time, I should be 'glowing' and 'blossoming', but I'm neither and I've also accepted that I'm just not one of those women that do. In fact, I've lost weight. I'm now 36.5kg, and my normal ideal weight is 37-38kg [when I'm not preggers that is!]. Light, I know but I am as everyone puts it, tiny.

So, those of you who've been asking me for photos, you'll just have to wait a little while longer. I've been meaning to take photos of the 'bump' but I more or less look the same as I did before, maybe just a little thinner with a bit of a fat looking tummy. Charming, huh.

Sunday, April 22, 2007


It looks like I have caught the cold off Gypsy Boy. He's been sick for a week now but has not taken any time off work, which drives me mad because it takes him ages to recover, and of course he spreads the germs. Hmrph!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


Gypsy Boy comes home today! He's only been away two days in Bahrain for work, but I'm really not used to him being the one going away and me staying home. It used to be the other way around when I was working, and both Gypsy Dog and I have missed him heaps even though it's just been a couple of days.

Anyhow, he is on his way home now and Gypsy Dog and I are anxiously waiting!

Sunday, April 15, 2007


OMG. Summer has arrived. Yesterday, we were out and about and the temperature was 41 degrees celcius by 1030!

It has been said that because we had an unusually cold winter here this year, we can expect summer to be hotter than normal. Ugh. I didn't think it'd be arriving this early though. It's still only April and I'm not looking forward to July or August!

Also, instead of having a central hot water cylinder for the whole house [as we do in NZ], there are separate cylinders for the kitchen and each bathroom. By the light switch, is the water heater switch you can turn on or off to heat the water up. Because it's so hot outside, the cold water is actually now warm, so we don't even really need to heat the water up before a shower.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Nip / Tuck.

A couple of weeks ago the 3 seasons of Nip / Tuck we ordered from arrived. We finished watching the first season last week, and haven't really watched much more this week as Gypsy Boy's been working late. I'm not watching it during the day 'cos I'd probably finish all three seasons in one week, and then have to sit through them again while Gypsy Boy slowly catches up.

So, I'm looking forward to more Nip / Tuck over the weekend. Oh, that and satisfying some of my cravings. I've planned out just about all our meals for the next 2 days.

Happy weekend!

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Happy Easter!

Gypsy Boy has taken one of his two religious days he's entitled to per year off work today. We plan to go to mass later this morning, then lunch and spend the afternoon shopping. There are some things we need to pick up and I desperately need some new clothes to fit my growing bump! I can't comfortably fit into any of my pants or shorts any longer.

Here's wishing you all a safe and happy Easter however you may be spending the day!

Friday, April 06, 2007


It's no secret that I haven't been having much fun the last couple of months being pregnant. Mostly due to being riddled with all-day sickness plus every other symptom in the book. Then just as the nausea abates, I find I can't satisfy [m]any of my food cravings. Not cool when I'd been surviving on dry crackers, toast, and cereal for weeks! I'm not even really asking for anything extraordinary, maybe just some 'KL Black Mee', 'Wonton Meen' (Malaysian style of course!), Vegetarian Crispy Noodles...

So, I almost jumped up and did a dance for joy at the China Club Chinese Restaurant today, when I saw deep-fried taro filled with chicken on their menu. This is one of my favourite yum-char dishes and something I'd also been dreaming of lately but never expected to see [given the sad range of yum-char restaurants and dishes available here]. They looked and tasted even better than I'd imagined! I guess one would hope so at 32AED for a plate of 3. Ouch!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Coming soon: BabyG.

Gypsy Boy and I are expecting a new arrival later this year - yep, our very own Baby Gypsy [BabyG]. This is what's been making me feel so sick the last couple of months, and I'm glad to say that the nausea is finally beginning to subside! Woohoo!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

First sleepover, second birthday.

Gypsy Dog had his best friend, Groucho stay over in the weekend. Together, they are a bundle of mischief and full of energy! They got up to their usual antics of play fighting and tug of war when inside and playing tag when outside!

...At the Greens: I think I found a scent!...

...and it's a race!...

...woah! Look at me go!...

...We're pooped, no more photos till we get home please...

In 3 days, Gypsy Dog turns 2! In doggie years, he will be 14. It's amazing how much calmer he is since we got him. He's really growing up! We plan to get him a new fluffy toy and a big bone for his birthday on Sunday.

...can we have a treat now?...

...I love having my buddy over...

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Finally, an iPod!

The LCD display on my old Sony stereo has given way for the third time in about as many years. I picked up this little baby from Tokyo's 'Electronic City', Akihabara, during the summer holidays of my first year of university while on my travels in Japan. At the time, the model was pre-world release (test market for Japan only), and I still remember asking myself if I'd gone mad while I lugged the box along with my suitcase along the subways of Tokyo during the last leg of my trip.

...My old faithful...

Now - almost ten years later! - I can say that it's served me well and apart from the display, it's still in excellent working condition. However, instead of sending it off to get fixed again, we decided it's about time we invested in a new sound system for our bedroom.

...our new iPod and Jamo docking station...

We didn't want anything big or bulky and decided that an iPod would be perfect for our needs!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Warm Fuzzies.

I just received a really nice phone call from one of the lead editors of the publishing company I just completed a job for. I know it's been absolutely frantic at that office as they have five new travel guides going to print this week, and she still took the time to call me and give me feedback on my work.

I usually make it a point to ask for feedback after a job completed, as I think it's a valuable learning opportunity - even if it's just learning the preference in working style of an individual. Anyway before I'd even asked, the feedback I got today was all positive, in fact it's the nicest feedback I've received [work-related] in a long time.

*Sigh* It really made me want to go back to working full-time again.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Independent study.

This time last week, I was attending my last Arabic Language for Beginners class. It was an 8-week (16-hour) course, but I managed to miss 3 weeks of classes due to enrolling a week late, being sick, and work commitments.

The aspects of the course I really enjoyed were learning the language, the interaction between tutor and students, and the opportunity to ask questions about Arabic culture or about the different regional variations affecting the language. I found more similarities Arabic shares with Bahasa Malaysia (Malay) than I was expecting and being able to speak Malay, this helped a lot.

This week, some of the students have made a private arrangement with the tutor to continue on as a group in one of their homes. As much as I'd like to advance in learning the language, I didn't find the tutor's language teaching method effective for me. So, in the weekend while browsing in the Virgin Megastore at the mall, I bought an Arabic Language Kit complete with workbooks, CDs and cassette tapes!

It's been some time since I studied a language on my own, and I'm really looking forward to making a start on it. I think it's going to be a far cry from the pressure and self-discipline I faced studying Te Reo Maori (the language of the natives of NZ) by correspondence for Bursary University Entrance level at school. I'll keep you posted with how I go!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Doggy Date.

Gypsy Dog had his best friend Groucho over for the day, and like all the other times he has a doggy date with little Groucho, he is beside himself with excitement!

About half an hour before Groucho was due to arrive, I told Gypsy Dog "Groucho is coming!". Upon hearing this he darted from the comforts of the cushion in his room to the front door, tail wagging, then proceeded to sniff under the door. He then settled to wait for Groucho's arrival by the coffee table, never taking his eyes off the front door.

He didn't have to wait long, and both doggies played their hearts out. It's a bit like having two small children (boys of course!) in the house, with occasional time-out enforced when one gets a little too feisty when play fighting, resorting to treats for distraction, or confiscation of bones when one doesn't want to share!

It's the cutest thing though to see the both of them playing together or sleeping side by side. Groucho is the most adorable little white Westhighland Terrier. Unfortunately I didn't take any photos from today, but you can check out Groucho on his very own website here.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

I'm baa-ack!

Ok, so I know I've been AWOL from blogging over the last 6 weeks or so, but I've had a valid excuse. I've been feeling very under the weather over the last month, and I'm still not quite over it.

Nevertheless, while I've not been snug under the covers in bed (or veg-ed out on the couch) feeling like absolute hell, I've been pretty busy. So here is an update of what's been happening in a Gypsy Girl's world:

1. Completed Arabic Language Course for beginners
2. Worked from home on proofing some exciting new travel guides soon to be realeased!
3. Finally got an iPod
4. Found out some very, very exciting news

More on all of this later...

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Good one, UAE!

The UAE won the Gulf Cup last week, and there was a parade held in their honour over the weekend. We didn't think to go, but were caught up in the horrendous traffic jam that resulted after it had ended.

Being stuck in traffic for 2 hours on Sheikh Zayed Road would usually be extremely frustrating. This time however, we had quite a bit of entertainment watching UAE nationals who had come from the parade and were also stuck in traffic.

No expense had been spared in decorating their [very expensive] vehicles, which were adorned with balloons, streamers, UAE flags, flower arrangements, and even huge soft toys. Oh and let's not forget the spray paint. Yep, since the win many have spray painted their cars with UAE in huge letters, hearts, dots and other expressions of national love and pride.

On top of these spray painted and heavily decorated cars many were proudly waving flags while hanging out of their car windows, some were perched on top of car bonnets while others were dancing on the rooves of their car. All while the cars were moving, albeit slowly, the roads were wet as it had been raining, and the 2 cop cars that we saw were observing.

It was, in a word, unbelievable.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007


Keef hakum? Ana zaina, shukran! Al hamdilaila!

These are some of the phrases I learnt in my first Arabic language lesson today. I've been really looking forward to learning another new language but couldn't help being a little worried that I was going to be lost and left behind as I'm enrolling a week late into the course.

The administrator tried to reassure me with comments like "yes, it'll be fine" and that "the teacher will help you catch up", but the minute I entered the classroom full of white expat women stressing over not remembering what they'd learnt in the previous week's class, all 3 ounces of confidence and optimism I had in being able to catch up disappeared.

It seemed that my small stress attack was short-lived as the ladies in the class were really lovely and showed me some of their notes from the lesson I'd missed last week. I managed to photocopy the notes and caught up fine in the end.

Our teacher, Mohammed, is the only male in the class and he is really laid back and takes the class at a slow-ish pace. Mohammed doesn't write anything up during the lesson, nor does he have any preparation notes! I found this approach to language teaching really fascinating as I've never seen it before in all the seven languages I've studied. Mohammed's emphasis is on repetition and class participation.

I'm naturally an audio-visual learner with most of my preferred learning style being visual so at first, I found not seeing words and patterns a little challenging but soon got into the hang of listening carefully and repeating.

All in all, it was fun and I'm so happy to be learning a new language again. I'm already looking forward to next week's lesson!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Crappy Chilli Crab.

The ads and promos looked so good and the 5-star venue is just a stone's throw away from where we live at the Madinat Jumeirah. We both love and miss chilli crabs, so when we heard about the Singapore Chilli Crab Festival we were very much looking forward to a gastronomic weekend.

Advertised as being held from 1pm-10pm on Friday and Saturday, the weekend here in the UAE, we arrived at 1.30pm only to be turned away and advised it will start from 2pm. We decided to grab a quick lunch at the mall instead before going back to try again.

Low and behold, at 4pm we were turned away again to say that it was closed and would reopen at 6pm. We didn't want to hang around, so we decided to come back later and returned at 7.30pm. Of course this time, no tables were available and a shabby line had formed. We decided to wait for a table and were finally given one after 30 minutes. Although we were hungry, the wait was not too bad as there was a great jazz band playing live and so we sat back and enjoyed the music and atmosphere.

After 15 minutes of waiting however for a waiter we had to flag down and ask for a menu, let alone get someone to take our order or serve us, we decided we would go somewhere else and get some real food and service!

I was surprised when the following day, Gypsy Boy suggested we go back and try again! Off we went and it looked like overnight, they had gotten some of their act together. There were 2 queues, one where you place your order and pay for your meal in exchange for tickets and the second line where you take your ticket and pick up your meal.

Of course, it was a little too good to be true. We were quickly disappointed when we saw how just how much crab we got for our money. 100 AED (27 USD or 42 SGD) got us 1 tiger beer, a crab shell filled with shredded crab meat in more of a sweet tomato-based sauce [than a chilli sauce]! We were really glad we didn't get the satay, even though I was eyeing it up on the menu, when we found out that 35 AED (10 USD or 15 SGD) only would've got us 3 measly sticks!

What I don't understand is, why pour so much money into promoting such an event when there isn't anyone prepared to put a little effort into organising it. The worst thing is many people felt ripped off. One thing's for sure, if this is an annual event as they say it is, we definitely won't be going back next year.

Oh and the picture posted above is the one shown in one of the promotional ads for the event, the actual crab we got at the event looked nothing like this.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Big clean up.

Gypsy Boy's brother left Dubai last Friday after a 2-week stay with us. The last six weeks or so have been an extremely busy one for us, with the festive season, entertaining visitors, and farewelling friends. During this time, we've had the foldable beds out in the lounge and some of the furniture rearranged to accommodate.

...aboard an abra...

We've also had friends leave Dubai and thus, inherited an array of household goods, food, and pot plants! I haven't really had the chance to sort through all these treasures so they've been sitting in a big pile in a corner. Add to this another pile of 'stuff' that we're storing for another friend, and you can imagine why our place looks like a tornado has just been through it!

...Farewell Joy & James...

At times like these, I really wish I have access to an online auction system like TradeMe. Of course, then we'd also need a reliable and efficient postal system as well. So it looks like I'll most likely resort to putting up a classified ad on an expat forum and giving the rest of the stuff we don't need or want to a friend who is in the process of setting up home here.

There you have it, my list of what's been keeping me busy, excuses for why I haven't been posting on here and why I haven't been replying to [m]any emails. I promise I'll try to get to emails this week in between cleaning, laundry and sorting out stuff. In the meantime, here are some of the latest photos. Hatta... Hatta Fort Hotel...

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy 2007!

It's been a rather relaxing first day of the year for us. We spent the day talking to family on the phone and online, watching a bit of tele, attending mass and finally doing a spot of shopping.

New Year's Eve for us this year was also extremely low-key. Plans to spend the night camping out in the desert with friends were foiled due to a miscommunication between Gypsy Boy and I. Gypsy Boy failed to mention that we were actually staying the night and I thought we were just going for the evening and welcoming in the New Year. By the time we got our act together, it was just too late to organise a kennel for Gypsy Dog.

Instead, we had our own little private celebration at home where we cracked open our favourite bottle of merlot from NZ - Church Road, and made a wonderful chocolate fondue with pineapples and strawberries! Yum!

Happy New Year everyone, may it be a fabulous year for us all.