Friday, May 30, 2008

Dubai Surprises

Being new to the middle east, I knew nothing of it except that its landscape is mainly desert. What surprised me was the beauty of the architecture not only of the buildings but the homes as well. Mediterranean, yet retaining arabic and modern touches.

This photo is a shot of the Jumeirah part of the city which is my favorite of all areas so far. My thoughts as I rode the bus one of my bored days here is that "I could live here"...oh no! hahahaha!!!

The next surprise is food. I have not tried much arabic food but I discovered that I like most of them like falafels, kebabs and the yummy variations of rice. I am not a fan of lamb but there are always variations of dishes in beef or chicken.

And if you get tired of Arabic food, this place is also haven of other kinds of food as well. One good restaurant is The Noodle House ( which is part of the Jumeirah brands. The food is asian fusion and the service fabulous. Try their Chicken Sweet and Sour, the Crab Fried Rice and the Spicy Shrimp. Yum!!

Last but not the least of course is the shopping. Dubai is shopping heaven!! Period!! For girls like me who are Asians but not Asian in measurements, Dubai is a place where we can max out ye 'ol credit card and still feel good. I've shopped all over Asia and the best I could find are shoes. But in Dubai, I can find everything from underwear, trousers, tops, blouses, you name it they have sizes for girls like me.

Aside from all the branded items, Dubai now has Dubai Outlet Mall where I could buy branded stuff for 1/3 of the price in regular malls. Needless to say I went crazy.

The running list:

6 pairs of shoes
5 pairs of trousers
6 blouses/tops
a bunch of underwear
a purple tankini (at last!)
a purple watch

5 more days before I go back home...I dare not think what else I would find.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Why Dubai?

Going for my first ever long holiday (defined as 15 days or more), I've decided long ago that I would go to Dubai, United Arab Emirates first. Many would wonder why Dubai when there are a lot more interesting places to visit and spend my hard-earned money.

I only have one reason and its because of these guys who I miss dearly. Yes they come home to Manila once a year but its very different to be with them in a place they've called home for several years now.

My sister came to Dubai 5 years ago while my brother 2 years ago. They have built careers for themselves which I am sooo proud of. With my parents gone and being the eldest, I am privileged to be the recipient of their generosity to see the best of Dubai and the other Emirates.

I also got a glimpse of how they live and met the people that they work and play with. I've had several suprises which I will post later.

Of course icing on the cake was seeing the desert for the very first time. Standing with my loved ones in the vastness of these red dunes was an experience of lifetime.

Would seeing snow for the first time be next? :-)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Terminal...Purple Style

I almost thought that Dubai, United Arab Emirates was going to be just a planned holiday...simply because of a huge mistake.

I was supposed to fly out of Manila on the 14th of May. I was on the visa check line when I found out that it already expired. The next option was to be a chance passenger and that's where my 2 days of hanging out at the NAIA Terminal 1 started.

After much crying and self-remorse, I started my vigil on Friday, the 16th. I thought my new visa was going to be handcarried from Dubai but it did not happen. I was there from 4pm to 6pm.

I was back the next day early at 12nn because I wanted to make sure I get in the stand-by line. The tension that I felt for the next 12 hours was something that I've never experienced in my life. What made it bearable was the support of the PAL Operations staff who were very helpful.

I did not get in the 6:50 pm flight of May 17th despite the full force presence of the team. Though it was disappointing we were still hopeful because there's still the midnight flight. While waiting for the next flight, I had a pizza dinner with the team and took this photo to remember my bonding with them.

Another 6 hours of waiting and sitting around the small office happened. I was so bored that I even showed these people who were strangers just a few days ago my family and trip photos. And they were so kind as to indulge me and my craziness.

When I heard my name called to get a boarding pass from the Emirates people (codesharing with PAL), I felt like a won the lottery and was jumping up and down with Jack who was assisting me that day. Last on the immigration counter and boarding gate, I finally landed in Dubai on the morning of May 18th.

I am so grateful to the men and women of the PAL Operations Team for the extra mile most especially Ms. Yssa (who met the person who handcarried my visa from his flight and ran all the way to the standby counter to hand it to me) and Jack (who escorted me through immigration).

You guys were awesome and will never be forgotten. Maraming salamat!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Living on a Prayer

With all the tragedy that has rocked Asia recently...Myanmar, Sichuan life story seem insignificant.

But I really feel that I'm living on a prayer...and I just wanted to give myself a big GANBATTE!! JIA YOU!! HWAITING!!

The story later...

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother to most...Maming to me

Mother, Mom, Mama, Inay, Nanay...are just some of the common terms used to describe women who bear children and raise them.

To me and my 4 siblings, she is Maming. During these months I remember my Maming especially as we lost her in April 2000 and Mother's Day is usually just around the corner of this date.

She was a character...a self-made woman who made something of herself despite poverty and limited education. A life worthy to be made into a film. For some reason the funniest story that I was just telling my colleagues at work this week was the "mangoes story".

One summer, my Maming brought home a couple of kilos of mangoes. My siblings and I fought because of it as we were all mango monsters and wanted an extra share. My Maming was so mad at us that she yelled, told us to stay put and not move from where we were. She came back and plunked down one "kaing" (a big basket) of mangoes in front of each one of us and made us eat the whole thing because we were greedy she said.

What was funny about this story is that I remember myself in tears, crying and saying sorry and I've had enough and will she please let me stand up already...but despite this I still ate I think more than half of the big basket!!! Hahaha!

Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers who had to raise children like me. Special greetings goes to my sister Teng and sisters-in-law Jenny and Pam who all had to raise the second generation of this family.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Breaking Our Door Handle Was a Blessing...

My husband had sweat beads from exasperation when I broke our front door handle. I was outside and he was inside. So I had to cool my heels in the hallway while I wait for him to get the door open.

He was not happy having to go out and buy a new door handle so I just quietly surfed the net not getting in his way.

When he came home from Home Depot, he was so happy and smiling saying he had a surprise. It was because he found a purple door handle! He said it is actually a bedroom door handle but he knew I wouldn't care.

He was so right. And I was amazed that finding something purple made him forget why he had to go and shop for a door handle in the first place. Sweet...

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Crabtree and Evelyn Lavender Collection

One of my high school friends was in town from San Diego, California. She and her family visits Manila every so often. Lucky for me that it was my birthday so I was so happy to get this awesome set from her.

Aside from the obviously luxurious toiletry set, I just loved the hat box it came in. Long before the bottles have been emptied, the box will now forever be a decor piece for my bathroom.

Carol, just like what you wrote in your gift tag, you will always be my BFF!! (those who do not know what this a comment! :-D). Thank you for the gift and the many years of friendship.