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My living space in the concrete jungle…

At present, I live in a flat in a block of apartment – a skyscraper – here in Dubai and I can pinpoint a dozen things or more that irritate me about it, though I have adjusted and learnt to make do.

Given that I grew up in a spacious bungalow spread out on its own compound with a large balcony and that through the years I have lived in either a duplex, townhouse or condo which usually comes with more living space, an apartment can be a squeeze.

My biggest hang-up is that there’s insufficient space to express myself and to set up my personal workspace, which kind of impacts on my ability to create the ambience that I want my workspace to have, to get into the zone and to focus on what I am doing. I love being surrounded by nature and growing plants/herbs, unfortunately, the heat of the Middle-East and lack of sufficient space does not make it conducive to go as green as I would love. Anyhow, I have indoor plants scattered around the house.

There is one central AC control which means that it is difficult to regulate the temperature in different parts of the house, so if it’s cold, it’s cold everywhere and vice-versa.

The AC ducts also brings in aromas/whiffs of our neighbours cooking or the smell of burning incense and a lot of times this happens in the middle of the night and being a light sleeper, heavy smells of garlic, fried onions, curry, spices, incense or what have you simply wakes me and keeps me up at night.

It is not all negative to say the least and over the years of living here, I have managed to create a cozy home for me and my family, but I do look forward to a time in the near future when I will leave the concrete jungle and return to something more spacious, private and surrounded by nature.

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food · Guide To Better Living · Personal

An Arabian Night….

The weather at this time of the year is at its best in the UAE. A great dose of chilly air with a bit of sun thrown in and I am totally lovin’ it 🙂

I’m going to stay in the present and enjoy every bit of the season without letting my mind run off to the fact that the blissful weather will not stay long with us.

Last evening, I had a lovely open-air evening out with some Emirati friends. We sat around the fire drinking Arabian coffee – a wonderful blend of coffee and spices – eating dates, cakes, grill etc. It was just a lovely evening well spent; watching the logs crackle and burn, eating, listening to music, chatting about everything and nothing.

Though my inner throat was growling to snaffle all the goodies in sight, I held my self-respect like a cloak around me in the chilly night and indulged daintily. I am a foodie and believe me when I tell you that the struggle to behave myself around food is real, especially when it comes to sweet nibbles.

I keep having to tell the cookie monster in me that it’s all about balance and not either of the extremes – starving the craving or gobbling up everything – and I think that approach keeps her tamed, calm and contented.

Last night also reminded me that the deeply satisfying and pleasurable things in life are the simple things and most times these simple things are free: laughter, friendship, music, nature…and of course food 😉

It’s the start of a new work week, though mine started yesterday and wherever you may be at this point in time, remember that grace abounds. May your week be fulfilling and your hunger satisfied.

Echos Of My Neighbourhood

Hibernating in the malls – Echoes of my neighbourhood

Our Summer days over here are not filled with barbecues and frolicking at the pool side. It’s steaming hot, that staying outside for longer than is required is asking for heat stroke. If the idea of leaving your side of ribs on the sidewalk to sizzle and grill appeals to you, then by all means indulge and yes it’s possible, I’ve eaten sand-baked lamb and the gentle roast is flavourful.

So, these days with children on vacation and going cabin crazy, most malls are flooded with folks and families seeking momentary respite while we wait with bated breath for the cooler months of Autumn and Winter for our days by the poolside and other wonderful indulgences. For now, we turn into night bats and recreate as the weather permits.

Echos Of My Neighbourhood

Echoes of Sacraments, Iftar, This and That

In recent weeks echoes around my neighbourhood have been on the calm and reflective sided.

From my children receiving their Sacraments of Holy Communion and Confirmation, to The Ramadan season, it’s been a time of spiritual inflections. It has been a time of expressions of love, kindness, and generosity that cuts across boundaries of faith or ethnicity. I see people of all works of life come together in ways that make my heart full and appreciative of humanity.

Interestingly, my personal life hasn’t gotten any slower though the tempo around the region is slower and the blazing heat is intense.

 

Echos Of My Neighbourhood

Camel Craziness: Al Marmoom Heritage – Echoes of My Neighbourhood

I’ve not seen such number of Camels gathered in one place all my life. Certain things are better witnessed to appreciate them and the Dromedary (Arabian) Camel racing at the just concluded Al Marmoom Heritage Festival is one of those things.

The Festival celebrates a most valued beast of burden (in these parts) with more than a week of thrilling camel races and cultural exhibitions.

We managed to attend on one of the days and the excitement of spectators was simply contagious. Nothing prepared me for the prospect of seeing fleets and fleets of gangly dromedaries in full flight carrying their robotic jockeys on their humps while their robot handlers/trainers raced along beside them in their 4 x 4 SUV’s.

The camels’ hail from all across the Middle East. They are the stars of the show and they compete in various heats during the day, over a 12-day period. Believe me, it’s an exhilarating one-of-a-kind camel-crazy jamboree!

I even got a generous offer of 50 camels as dowry for my old hands from an interesting fellow with tobacco stained teeth. Quite an experience 😉

Have you visited charming Bamberg? Lady Lee sure knows how to take a trip. You can take a vicarious trip online with her 🙂

I would like to offer the free use of any of my photographs that interest you.

Should at any time you wish to use my images, please feel free to give me a nudge and I’ll email it to you free from any image credit attributions. 

Echos Of My Neighbourhood

The Dancing Fountain and Echoes of A Celebration

Someone please grab the tail of time and tie it to the end of a strong tree.

Phew! It’s a week already. Immersed between a lot of this and that and reading for an exam that’s taking place today – maybe I will be in the exam hall sweating my French as you read this – this echo will be sweet and brief.

Nonetheless, in the speed of time, I still found time to celebrate my birthday at my favourite Italian place. I had a craving for yummy pasta and the children wanted pizza. Their Ravioli Al Porcini, Capricciosa and Valtellinese pizza are just so fresh and delicious.

It’s a good thing we ate after the jumping and not before ‘cos I was just stuffed.

I took a short video of the beautiful burst of colours of the water display 🙂

Echos Of My Neighbourhood

Festival of Lights, This n’ That – Echoes of My Neighbourhood

This week zoomed past before I could say hey presto. Phew! I’m trying to exhale and catch up with lots of things.

We’ve had unprecedented drippy weather that I anticipate the heat will heat us soon with disgusting enthusiasm and my week has been a mish-mash of this n that.

From going to view the display of city lights for the festival of lights in Sharjah, to attending a jet-ski race on Dubai marina – those machines are powerful and the riders have gumption – sometimes life seems to be hurtling along on a speed train.

Have you seen the movie John Wick Chapter 2? I went to watch it over the weekend and it was a blast.  I wrote a little review on it in Niume. Have you joined yet?

Do share your neighbourhood with us. To join the fun, check this link.

It’s a beautiful new month, let’s make the best of it.