Where Have We Been & Where Are We Going?

Wow; it has been around 50 days since I last posted in this blog. Why on earth have I refrained from practicing my favorite unwinding exercise (jotting my brain down into the pages of my beloved blog) for so long?! I can actually think of a couple of distractions to blame, but mostly it is work that has been sucking my creative juices dry. I haven’t even had the time to pack the Christmas tree away yet! Yes it is still sitting in my living room looking as pretty as ever, but it must immediately go.

Otherwise the last few weeks have been pleasantly spent with friends and family. I have also been busy emotionally packing away 2011 and planning the next decade of my life. That normally happens to you as you suddenly turn 30 I guess! Anyways let me recap the highlights of my disappearing period:

Javier Came & Left

My brother in law (Javier) visited us and stuck around for 3 months. He came to work on his English and joined a full time class at the University of Wollongong in Dubai. I know….. an awkward choice of location to learn the language, but this seems the reality of the matter; Arabic remains the medium of interaction amongst the locals and those who already speak it here, with minimum effort paid by the others to learnt the official language of the country (including someone I live with) and English is the common connector. Apparently it worked very well for Javier, as we were able to have lengthier conversations in English by the time he left.

Meanwhile we used his visit as a valid excuse to do some backyard touring. We gave him the customary grand tour of the malls of Dubai, he ascended to the top of Burj Khalifa, spent plenty of time renewing his tan on JBR’s beach, we took him for a good old desert safari, and other things….

Dubai desert safari
Falconry Show

arabian adventures desert safari

desert safari Dubai

sunset in the desert
Desert Sunset

He loved it all, nevertheless he would like to send a short message to Arabian Adventures encouraging them to eliminate the horrifying belly dancer show from the safari itinerary, or at least hire a dancer with less belly involved!

Please don’t shoot the messenger.

New Year’s Eve

Hukama chinese restaurant at the address downtown hotel dubai

 For the last few years Angel and I avoided spending New Year’s Eve in Dubai, as the gigs are usually way overpriced and poorly organized. This year I was unable to take days off because of work so we decided to join the local crowds in watching what is currently considered the highest new year’s fireworks display in the world. We booked a dinner table at the Hukama Chinese Restaurant at the Address Downtown Hotel, we were seated at the terrace where we enjoyed a fantastic 8 course meal with a marvelous view of the Burj and multiple shows of the Dubai Fountain. At midnight magic happened; the fireworks show was splendid and worth every single dirham we paid.

 dubai new year firworks at burj khalifa

It would have been an ideal end to the night if RTA had fulfilled its promises of putting plans in place to organize the traffic in and out of the area to avoid the same chock ups that happened last year! We took their advice that was repeatedly announced on the radio and opted to use public transportation to return home; man did we regret it.

There were not enough taxis or feeder buses to transport people to the metro stations. The queues were backed up for as far as you can see and some of the field coordinators were extremely rude and unhelpful. When we finally managed to get into a bus no one knew where it was taking us until it dropped us in Al Jafliyah station, because the Dubai Mall station was closed. How convenient. The metro was loaded and stopped at each station for too long. We didn’t get home until an hour and a half later.

Resolutions & Lists

I didn’t even bother taking up a resolution this year; the reason obviously being that I never kept one past January for the last at least 15 years. Instead I took the time to identify all the grey areas in my life currently, and ran a series of comprehensive evaluations to clarify my stand. In other words, I made another list.

Yep, just like that, over a deep cup of hot chocolate the other night, this baby was casually conceived. drum roll** I give you the long awaited, the almighty, my 40 to do by 40 bucket list.

The first 20 are fresh out of the book (101 Things To Do Before You Die by Richard Horne). I am glad to report that I have completed 20% of the original list already (mostly ones that I will never discuss with anyone but my husband). Here is what I am yet to achieve in the next decade of my life:

  1. Write a bestseller.
  2. Swim with stingrays.
  3. Meet someone with my own name.
  4. Realize my childhood dream.
  5. Learn that Instrument.
  6. Get a piece of art into an exhibition.
  7. Capture the moment in an award winning photograph.
  8. See an erupting volcano.
  9. See the Aurora Borealis
  10. Throw a dart into a map and travel where it lands.
  11. Scuba dive.
  12. Own a pointless collection.
  13. Play a part in my favorite TV show.
  14. Stand on the International Date Line.
  15. Visit Antarctica.
  16. Run a marathon.
  17. Conquer my fears.
  18. Continue my gene pool.
  19. Stay in the best suite in a 5 star hotel.
  20. Hit the target.

The next 20 are merely the result of the thorough evaluation of my lifelong goals. They are in no order of priority although I have to admit that I am seriously behind schedule on some points:

  1. Watch all the seasons of the amazing race.
  2. Visit all the destinations of the Amazing Race. Another list
  3. Speak Spanish fluently.
  4. Get published.
  5. Follow the route of Ibn Battuta.
  6. Get my family to meet Angel’s Family.
  7. Go on a family trip.
  8. Perform my compulsory duty of Haj.
  9. Climb a mountain.
  10. Improve my photography skills.
  11. Become a Yogi.
  12. Go on a cruise.
  13. Travel to every continent.
  14. Own a house.
  15. Travel to 50 countries, visit 100 cities.
  16. Be my own boss.
  17. Live loan free.
  18.  Read All the Arabic and English classics that I missed in high school. Another list
  19.  Learn to drive a stick shift.
  20. Throw a big bash for my 40 birthday.

Thailand, Here We Come

Finally the time comes to cash out our travel voucher to Thailand. I have been to Thailand before; almost 12 years ago. I weighed 10kg less and I didn’t own a camera so I don’t have much record of that trip. It must be a totally different place from what I remember, which is why I am excited to update my impressions of the tropical paradise.

It’s going to be Angel’s first time. He’s has been so thrilled and incredibly busy planning for it. Bangkok and Phuket will be the two stops of our 8 days trip “Insha’Allah”. I wish we had more time as I really wanted to go to Chaing Mai and trek the golden triangle, but there is always the next time, right? I can’t wait to blog about it.

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