Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Bring Me to Middle East

I should have followed my instincts to write about my Dubai hangover right after my plane landed on the Philippine soil, so I could capture in all its rawness my emotions about the trip. But I did not. So my original plan of writing a bible-thick book about my Dubai trip did not materialize (yes, that thick, lahat ng bagay na na-experience ko gusto kong i-discuss, me in major OA-ness!!). Buti nalang uso na ang digital camera ngayon, so let these Dubai pictures paint a thousand words and tell you my March Story. The third of the twelve promised stories for this year.=)

For this experience, I have my boss and that real estate company which I am working for in MOA to thank. I am eternally grateful, ma'am's/sir's!

So we begin with one of my favorite topics: FOOD!

When you order a chicken in Dubai, you will be served, of course, with a chicken - plus rice, plus vegetable salads, plus pita breads and not one but three choices of dips. And most are in large serving. No wonder, Dubai-eños (haha, imbento word, parang Davaoeños lang) are big-boned and really tall - they need an extra human organ to store all these foodies. While the hotel food is glorious (and free, of course), the best way to enjoy a genuine Dubai foodie experience is to take that sexy belly to the Arabian streets. Dubai food is all spicy and  french fry-chie (meaning most of the value meals are bundled with fries) and dip-py (meaning most of the meals are with dips kahit parang hinde kailangan).And because I suck at descriptions and I make a bad food blogger (Lord, I forgot all the names of the food I've eaten) please, please enjoy these photos - my words won't do these gifts from the universe justice. One Dubai meal will last you the whole day - take that from me who is naturally sexy (naks!), eats like a construction worker and never really gets full.

Merienda after a long, hot afternoon scouring the Souks.
Wejdan Cafe and Restaurant somewhere near our hotel. Miss Toni and I were the only girls eating there one lunch time.

Buffet in the Desert

Then there's the only in Dubai travel destinations. Dubai screams "I am rich and still am preserving my culture". Dubai refuses to confuse itself if it wants to project an in-the-now-image, with impressive contemporary architecture and first-world cityscape, or an old-rich-traditional Arabian country because it has perfectly mixed both. Seamlessly.

I enjoyed Dubai Souks - the Gold Souk, Textile Souk and the Spice Souk. Neil Oshima, as featured in Rogue Magazine this April, considers "markets" as the windows to a place's culture - if you want to know more about places you are in, include in your itinerary going to Markets. And Dubai has interesting markets. Efficiently sectioned depending on the products they offer.This is Divisoria - if only it were in a developed country.

Pictures at the Souks

Pictures at the Souks

I told myself my only agenda in Dubai is to see the world's tallest building, Burj Khalifa, and see from afar the glass windows Tom Cruise has touched in his last Mission Impossible installment. Nakakilig.Hard core turista.=) Shopping malls are not really part of my itinerary in my travels (yes, travel with an "s", super feeling traveler talaga, haha!) as I prefer the real local experience but Burj Khalifa is best viewed from the Dubai Mall so I conceded.

Burj Khalifa and Dubai Mall pictures.
My sex and the city moment happened in Souk Madinat Jumeirah, from where Burj Al Arab, the world's only 7-star hotel can be viewed from afar. I have no intention to shop since I am really low on cash and I do not think I am really much of a shopper (haha! rason ng walang pera), but Jumeirah is heaven. Jumeirah is a marriage of Dubai and Paris.  Colorful lanterns, camels glistening in gold, silky smooth dresses, and persian rugs. The place is so dreamy and every shopper's paradise.I was Carrie Bradshaw - only with my backpack, dirty jeans and sweaty kili-kili. 

Pictures at the Souk Madinat Jumeirah
You've never really been to the Middle East if you haven't set foot on a desert. So just hours before our flight back to Manila, we stubbornly squeezed in our itinerary the Desert Safari experience. We shared a ride with 3 other passengers - all from Brazil. Miss Toni was in near tears when our 4x4 ride stopped in the middle of the desert with the glorious sun setting amidst a backdrop of  endless sea of sand - happy and grateful tears. This is one of the occasions when I am regretful I did not pay close and serious attention to my English teachers because I desperately want to express in words how beautiful and wonderful and surreal this experience is. But I resolve to just saying Thank You to the hands of the Universe which worked their magic into making this experience happen.

Desert Safari


...because I like taking pictures of my feet even if they look awful

...because I am addicted to DOORS, yes, doors!

...because I like stories of people...
...because I have the highest respect to the OFW's who bravely left the comforts of the Philippines in search of a better future for themselves and for their families; because it is only them who really know and recognize and embrace the word sacrifice
...because I love my brother so much and I pray to the Universe, that whatever his intentions are for leaving the country, I wish they all come to fruition, I pray that he be protected at all times from any harm, that he has an infinite pool of legit reasons to be happy even if he is away from his family, that he is OKAY - in every sense of the word. I am a "supladita" sister and all the guilt of being one magnified on the night he dropped me off my hotel after we had our dinner - I love you kuya and if I can not outwardly express my love to you because you are far away from us, I will always include you in my prayers and I promise to shower Tanya and Theo love the same way you could have done if only you were here with us.

I end this lengthy (but still not bible thick =)) entry in praise of the wonders of the Universe, in gratitude for the many blessings in my life (and sorry Lord, if I am such a whiner at times) and in prayer that the Lord bless all OFWs and their families.

Thank you!
Thank you!

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