Tags: Al Fahidi in Dubai, Arabic food, art galleries in Dubai, Burj Al Arab, Burj Khalifa, Deira, Dubai Creek, Dubai Mall, Dubai souks, Jumeirah Open Beach, Majlis Gallery, skyscrapers in Dubai, XVA Art Hotel & Cafe
Six months ago, if anyone told me I’d be traveling to Dubai I wouldn’t have believed him. But last August, I found myself packing my bags and heading off to Dubai for a month-long (well, almost) business trip. I’ve never been out of the country so imagine my anxiety just before I left for Dubai. Considering the fact that I’m going there alone for work didn’t lessen my anxiety. But after a few days of staying there, I gradually settled in comfortably.
Work-wise, my experience while I was in Dubai wasn’t that fantastic. There was so much work to do that I was always stressed out. I barely had time to eat. I was exhausted by the end of each day. My only consolation were the weekends when I got the chance to see the sights and explore the city.
Speaking of the city, my visit in Dubai came in an inopportune time. It’s the middle of summer there so the weather is scorchingly hot and humid. But being an excited traveler that I was and eager to explore, I bored the heat and traipsed my way to the Dubai Museum and the art galleries.
I had such a fun time at the art galleries in Al Fahidi (formerly known as Bastakiya). The art pieces from various and international artists were just amazing! Of course I’m talking about the art exhibits in Majlis Gallery and XVA Art Hotel and Cafe – two of the most popular art galleries in Dubai.
I also had the chance to try some of the local cuisines. Some I liked, some I didn’t. I particularly loved the kibbeh, kofta, falafel, and the hummus dip. But I absolutely fell in love with their famous mint lemonade (or mint and lemon juice)! It’s what I usually order every time I dined out.
My uncle who was based in Bahrain came to visit me on my third week and we explored the rest of the city together. We had a dinner cruise aboard a dhow boat and sailed along the Dubai Creek.
And of course, my visit to Dubai wouldn’t be complete without going to the city’s two most recognizable attractions – the Burj Khalifa and Burj Al Arab. The Burj Khalifa is currently the tallest building in the world, standing at 828 meters high and having over 160 stories. It’s also the same building that Tom Cruise scaled in the movie, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol.
My uncle and I were able to go inside Burj Khalifa and got to see the spectacular views from the 124th and 125th floors of the building – the observation deck At the Top. True enough, the elevators were super fast! I think it took us only a minute or two to reach the 124th floor.
But perhaps to the general public, the most recognizable icon of Dubai is the Burj Al Arab – the world-famous building in the shape of a sail. Unfortunately though, my uncle and I weren’t able to go inside Burj Al Arab. Because you’re only allowed to go in if you have a reservation in one of the building’s restaurants. And to dine in one of the restaurants there was too expensive! So my uncle and I just contented ourselves with taking photos of the building while we were at the Jumeirah Open Beach. The beach was within the vicinity of Burj Al Arab and has a perfect view of the building.
We also visited the popular souks in Deira, particularly the spice and gold souks. The spice souk had rows and rows of different spices in splashes of vibrant colors. It’s simply visually stunning. Various teas and nuts were also on display. I had the chance to visit the textile and garment souk in Al Fahidi before my uncle arrived in Dubai. There were so much to buy there – from local and traditional clothes, pashminas, parasols, to bags, shoes, rugs, and souvenir items.
But while the souks offer shoppers great bargains, the two biggest malls in Dubai provide the wealthy with the most high-end stores that they could find. The Dubai Mall, which is adjacent to the Burj Khalifa in Downtown Dubai, is one of the largest malls in the world and boasts of having a collection of global brand names – from Armani, Dior, Hermes, Louis Vuitton, to Versace, Christian Louboutin, Ermenegildo Zegna, and many others. My uncle and I practically got lost while we were inside the mall.
Another mall we visited was the Mall of the Emirates. It’s a bit smaller than Dubai Mall but also holds the same global brands. I actually prefer the interior design and architecture of Mall of the Emirates than the Dubai Mall mainly because of the former’s use of traditional, Islamic architecture, which I find really gorgeous.
My friends and coworkers kept telling me that I’m really lucky to have been given the opportunity to visit Dubai. I guess they’re right. Work aside, my experience in Dubai was one that I will never forget.
Tags: cell phone, phone review, sony ericsson elm
Just recently bought a new cell phone to replace my old, faulty phone. Being a Nokia user for about five years, I felt that it’s time to try a new brand. I’ve been eyeing Sony Ericsson for quite some time now due to its durability and high-res phone cameras. I was never interested in touchscreen phones and preferred the classic keypad-based cell phones. So that’s why I bought the Sony Ericsson Elm.
I’m more into the functionality of the phone not on aesthetics and Sony Ericsson Elm’s features perfectly match with my lifestyle. The Elm is lightweight, slim, and has an easy-to-use keypad. It has Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, an FM radio, a 5 megapixel camera, 3G connection, and media player. What also attracted me to this phone is its Noise Shield and environment-friendly features. The Noise Shield lessens the background noise during a call. The phone is also made of recyclable materials and has additional “green” features like the Green Calculator. The Green Calculator allows the user to calculate the carbon emissions one causes based on his or her lifestyle. The phone also comes with a power-saving battery charger.
There is also the Grocery List application where the user can choose from the prelisted items that one needs to buy when he or she goes grocery shopping. This eliminates the use of paper when grocery shopping. The list is very limited though as it only lists down food items, excluding others like toiletries.
Accessories that come with the phone – apart from the battery and its charger – include earphones with a propriety jack and a short USB cable. The quality and usability of the earphones though is not that good. I don’t mind the earphones’ propriety jack as my Nokia N73 features the same thing. What I dislike is the sound quality and the lack of function buttons. When I listen to the FM radio through the phone, I have to manually turn up/down the volume or switch stations. So when I’m outside on the streets I still have to dig through my bag to get the phone, turn up the volume or change the radio station, which is really a hassle.
On the other hand, the picture quality of the camera phone is very satisfactory. I took a few pictures and they turn out pretty well.There is also the Walk Mate Eco application, which counts my steps when I walk and calculates how much carbon dioxide I saved through it. This I find pretty neat.
Popular social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and You Tube are also pre-installed into the phone so they come in handy, especially to those social networking addicts (not me, though). Web browsing through other sites are limited though. But this is fine by me since I rarely go online through a phone anyway – except to check emails. The texting and calling functionality is what really matters to me. Another minor inconvenience of the Elm is the lack of a memory card. I have to buy a separate memory card to store large files. But the 280MB internal memory is good enough for me – for now.
Overall, I’m very satisfied with my new cell phone. It may have a few inconveniences but generally it’s all good. The Sony Ericsson Elm has all the features I need and want at a very affordable price.
I always have a dilemma whenever I go shopping for shoes. The thing is, I’m petite so naturally my feet are small. I know most women consider shoe shopping as exciting but in my case I take it as frustrating. It takes me longer than usual to pick the right shoes. And it’s not because I’m picky or anything. It’s just because my feet are so small. I’m a size 5 and I always have a hard time finding the right shoes that would fit my feet.
I tried shopping for shoes today but by the end of the day, I went home empty handed. There were a few pairs that I really wanted to buy but couldn’t because the brands I happened to choose only carry sizes 5 1/2 or 6 as their smallest. There are a few stores that carry my size but they’re either out of stock or they don’t have the style or color that I want.
And it’s not just the length of the shoes I’m having problems with. It’s also the width. Sometimes the shoes I like fit the length of my feet but the width isn’t right. My feet are not wide and small; they’re short and slim. So just imagine the frustration I feel every time I go shopping for shoes. Normally, I allot at least 6 to 8 hours of the day just to shop for one pair of shoes. I go from one store to the next just to look for the perfect pair.
A friend told me once that there is a store that customizes shoes. But when we checked the store out, their designs were not my style. So I don’t know if there are other stores out there that customize shoes. And if there are, I doubt they offer a reasonable price.
I just spent the entire afternoon yesterday looking for a gift for the office Kris Kringle. But after hours and hours of searching at every possible store where the item/s could be found, I ended up with nothing. This is really frustrating. I think this is the first time that I’m having trouble buying a Kris Kringle gift. I never knew looking for a gift based from a wish list could be this difficult!
Arrgh! This Kris Kringle thing is making me feel stressed out. Practically all the items on the wish list I got are either unavailable, too expensive (that is, exceeding way too much upon the agreed amount), or out of stock. And it doesn’t help that my Secret Santa is a guy. Choosing a gift for a guy is usually hard. I just don’t know what gift to give him now. Ugh! I wish this would be over soon.
My entire weekend was spent malling and shopping. In fact, my aching and tired feet are still feeling that bout of leisurely pursuit. Saturday was spent meeting with my close friend’s sister in Robinsons Metro East in Marikina. And since I was already in the mall and I was planning to buy a new set of clothes anyway, I decided to look around and see if I can buy anything. But alas, I ended up not buying a thing. My shopping philosophy had always been, “There’s something better — and possibly cheaper — to buy in other stores.” So I said to myself, “No worries. I could always go out the next day and shop in Makati.” And that’s exactly what I did last Sunday. My original plan was to shop for a couple of items only. But since there was a 3-day sale at the three major malls in Makati, I found myself buying more than the items I need. I ended up with six items and spent more moolahs than what I originally planned. Just like that.