Slow boat to Dubai

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Nearly three months ago a section of our front room back in Harrogate resembled the setting for a weird kind of car boot sale. A collection of random household objects were piled up in preparation for a journey into the unknown. Our trusty removal firm (ha!) told us that shipping would take five weeks max so we should provide a delivery address in Dubai soon after our arrival.

As we left home with no fixed abode in Dubai we had visions of the whole lot arriving whilst we were still residing in a small hotel room. With that thought in mind we felt we had no time to waste in getting ourselves settled into a suitable apartment. We needn’t have worried. (more…)

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Chickens, hens, eggs and chocolate

Chicken, hens and chocolate eggs

The title might suggest a bit of an Easter theme but I am not about to launch into a post on new beginnings, rebirth, fluffy animals or indeed, chocolate. The chocolate in the title was trespassing on serious cheesecake territory and the egg was more spherical than ovoid. Confused? Me too. It’s these misleading menu descriptions. They do it to me every time. They lull you into thinking that you know what you ordered. Too late, you realise that chef, in a burst of madcap inspiration (culinary genius that he is) has deconstructed your favourite dessert. The clues were there after all. I might have guessed that the passion fruit and yuzu cheesecake sounded too good to be true.

When the waiter leaned in, eyes reverently lifted skywards, whispering that chef’s ‘signature dish’ is a not a ‘traditional’ interpretation, my internal dessert alarm went to red alert. Afters was about to go down the Swanee. (more…)

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Brunch at the Billion Pound Hotel

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Before we made the decision to move to Dubai we came out for a week’s ‘recce’ to see if this was for us. Even before we got here the symbol of Dubai, the stunning Burj Al Arab hotel with its distinctive exterior design, based on a ship’s sail, cast a spell. There it was in the pages of the flight magazine and it kept hoving into view all week. When we checked into our somewhat less exclusive hotel we discovered that the rooftop bar afforded a tantalising view of this iconic structure. (more…)

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Bob G and Jack D in Dubai

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I may be in Dubai but I’m keeping a careful ear to ground for any news that Bruce Springsteen is back on the road. Shortly before we left the UK it was announced that all plans for a rumoured tour to Europe have been put on hold till 2016, so now I have a huge gap in my live music addiction to fill. Tim’s guitars are still making their way over here (another story) and until they arrive he will frankly find it a bit tricky to join a band. Air guitar can only get you so far. (more…)

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Stressful route to relaxation

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At the start of this journey I made a promise to myself that I would explore the opportunities Dubai offered for self-improvement. If that sounds a bit severe then maybe it needs unpacking. I have never been a great one for taking exercise. I don’t remember the last time I broke into a run – probably around 1978 if I’m honest, when I was a teacher. Letting three dozen teenage boys arrive at the school hall, ahead of time for their weekly drama lesson, would have spelt disaster so I must have had the ability to put on a sprint at some point. (more…)

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Let’s do brunch!

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The UAE working week is Sunday to Thursday and I thought it would take me ages to get used to thinking of Sunday as a working day. Not a problem. I’ve come to realise you can take pretty much anything in your stride if the sun is shining. The weekends appear to come round a bit faster, if anything, over here and the Thursday night traffic suggests that people would like to get their weekend underway even sooner, if they could just get to their destination in time for the party. (more…)

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Bling it on

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Understated, subtle, restrained and unadorned. Dubai does not understand these concepts, much less live by them. How very refreshing.

Perhaps it has something to with the dazzling sunlight bouncing off the city’s waterways and courtyard pools, or the way the glass and marble facades of the buildings appear to glimmer in the heat of the day. Glitter and sparkle seem almost natural elements here and quite appealing to this Brit, recently arrived, with skin as pale as whitewash from too many Yorkshire winters. (more…)

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Taste for local knowledge

I have been uncharacteristically quiet on the subject of food since we landed here. Holed up in a hotel for two weeks brought some highs and lows on the eating front, particularly as we have been staying at one of Dubai’s less grand establishments on a bed, breakfast and dinner basis. We haven’t always taken dinner though – two days in we gave the ‘dish of the day’ a whirl and what they did to a poor innocent piece of tuna scared us off. Overcooked, to the consistency of a rubber ball it was hard to believe it was once a fish. It was almost impossible to swallow which is quite a feat of achievement on the chef’s part. Luckily, we could fill up on the salad buffet which, save for an overcooked pasta creation, had been prepared with minimal interference from the kitchen. (more…)

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