Category Archives: Dubai

What’s on your plate? 

Do you decide what to wear depending on the cuisine of the restaurant you choose to dine in? While I may not always do that (like come on, what do you expect me to wear to an Egyptian restaurant?), I somehow dressed up just right for my visit to Aseelah.

My knowledge was limited to Aseelah (located at Radisson Blu Hotel, Deira Dubai Creek) being a Fine Dining Emirati restaurant, which stands true, but it’s worth mentioning that it has a modern twist to it. The dishes have a perfect blend of Emirati spices served in a modern way.
While the dining area is warmly lit, the entrance stands to be my favorite part of the restaurant.


Starting with Date and cheese manakish and saffron water, we picked the items from the menu and went to explore in and around the restaurant.

Currently, there is an Iftar buffet option too during the month of Ramadan which lets you choose from the array of restaurants including Shabestan and Minato, Fish Market and of course Aseelah.


It was my first experience at an Emirati restaurant (yes, even after having stayed here for n number of years), I was nothing but impressed.

With Fennel and Orange salad, we went in for Lentil soup and Spiced Parsnip soup. It’s pretty obvious what my choice would have been. We were happy with our choices.

Did I tell you that this is the only Emirati restaurant in UAE for now, that serves alcohol?

Our mains included Aseelah Signature Chicken Roulade (suggested by our server) and Home Smoked Rack of Lamb.


I was amazed with the Chicken Roulade which had the right amount of spices served with freekeh risotto and smoked eggplant puree. It was nothing less that outstanding.

My friend equally enjoyed her Rack of Lamb which was served with Apricot cous-cous, sautéed spinach and saffron (her favorite) cardamom infused gravy.

For desserts, while my friend went the traditional way and opted for Date Pudding, I went in for Baked Cardamom Cheese cake. The lime and laban ice cream served with the cheesecake was quite refreshing.


Mr. Tawfik, the Restaurant Manager, enlightened us with the concept behind the restaurant from the menu to the interiors. Each detail has been carefully thought about and holds a meaning.

My friend and myself are already waiting to experience the outdoor lounge which is expected to open once the summers of Dubai start receding.

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Winter in Dubai

  
I came back from a short trip last night only to be welcomed by the beginning of Winters in Dubai today, 22 December 2015, bidding a farewell to the Autumn season. 

Winter solistice, day with least sunlight, is witnessed around 21 or 22 December in the Northern Hemisphere while Southern Hemisphere witnesses it around 20 or 21 June where the sun is farthest from the Sun. 

  

While it doesn’t get end up snowing here, except on the peaks in other emirates of UAE, the change is welcome from the gruelling summers, which is borne for most of the year. It’s good enough to pull out the sweaters buried deep in the wardrobe. 

How could I not go on clicking photos? 

   
 

Connect the dots

Traffic is not a recent hurdle but something I have been stuck in quite often, recently. Have I been traveling more? I think. 

It was no surprise when I saw standstill traffic when I looked out of my window on a early bright sunny evening, except it was on the opposite side of the road. What was I missing? 

Twitter refused to upload the photo I clicked and my query to the media was unable to get through. 

Google maps was surely stunned by this situation, the traffic pile up it showed, was unimaginable. 

  
Just when I concluded it was a mere security stunt, I see Dubai Media Office’s photos on Twitter of Sheikh Mohammad on an inspection tour of the streets of Dubai with the Egyptian President, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

Welcome to Dubai! (This was just a part of the trailer.) 

It can’t get any simpler #ThinkCareem

With a speedy internet at everyone’s disposal in this region and apps for every move you want to make, life has become a smooth journey.

And Careem makes it even better.

The thought of heading to Sharjah drains out all the energy from one but what more could you ask for when Careem assures you a smooth and luxurious journey.

Prompt lunch plans with a friend in Sharjah cropped up and the heat outside was just dreadful. That’s when I chose to book a car for myself through Careem.

The Careem app is very user friendly and in minutes one can do the booking simply by entering the Pickup point. Entering the destination at the time of booking is optional. One gets to choose from Economy cars, Business cars, SUVs, First Class cars and Careem kids (new).

Once done with the booking, I got an SMS too informing me that I got an automatic upgrade to Business car from the Economy car I chose (Isn’t that simply wonderful!)

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One can track the driver’s location through the app. I hardly got to wait for 10 minutes before the car landed at my doorstep.

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And they do send you an SMS too upon your driver’s arrival.

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A white luxurious Lexus driven by a very courteous driver who confirmed my name as I sat and offered me water safely stored for his customers.

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While we passed through my favorite roads of Dubai

 

I think I may have started liking Sharjah

 

Saturday views

Saturdays are meant to be relaxing after a super busy (lazy) Friday.

Office is quiet and empty and there is no rush. This is in case it is my working Saturday. Otherwise, it is nothing special except for last Saturday.

It started with some social service with an awesome view of Dubai.

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Followed by gobbling down yummy pizza and warm dough balls with Nutella dip.

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Photo credits : My lovely friend

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It didn’t just end there. The selfies without selfie stick happened. Trust me, it was fun 🙂

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Photo credit : My lovely friend again used her magic wand 🙂

I couldn’t ask for more than a seat in the metro while on my way back.

Reached home only to be informed I had to attend a gathering with Mom. The day got even better with the view, delicious food and lovely people I met there.

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Coming to today, my working Saturday. The sky outside was so pretty that it kept distracting me.

Mornings like these.

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Only for it to get better.

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And just before I left office. The cool breeze makes it even better.

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Home of Emirates A380

Following my daily routine of checking my phone as soon as I open my eyes, I had this one interesting e-mail in my Inbox (Yes, apart from the Twitter related emails:p). This was inviting Skyward members to come visit the home of Emirates A380 opened as an extension to Terminal 3 of Dubai International Airport. I don’t know why it got me so excited but it sounded fun. Not much details were given in the mail or the site but knowing the step to step procedure beforehand was actually no fun also.

So yes, I got myself and my mom registered for this. They asked for too many details in the form. Too many because they needed the passport copy and all to be uploaded and all of that. All done, we got a SMS confirmation that our application has been received and they will let us know if we are selected. The closing date for registation was 9th December 2012. There were two trials to be held, one on 15th December 2012 and the other on 22nd December 2012. The one today, i.e., on 22nd was called the Advanced trial. We couldn’t go for the 15th one because of our busy schedules so 22nd was selected.

Days went by and I got no SMS or call or E-mail for the same and I had almost given up on it. And only when I stopped thinking about it I got an SMS followed by an email on late Wednesday evening about my cofirmation. I work on Saturdays, but this being a busy season for us Auditors I doubted I would get a leave. But God knew I was keen and my Manager for a change decided to be sweet and granted me a leave. So there I was all happy and excited.

We had to reach by 8:30am and the registrations were to start at 8:45am. I got up on just one wake up call that day. But the morning laziness made me take time to get ready. There was free parking organized but we thought Metro was just a better option. We managed to reach around 9. Not bad I feel.

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Stepped out from the Airport Terminal 3 Metro station and with the help of the signage we were guided to the Registration Desks. We had received a Unique reference number in the initial SMS and accordingly we got into our respective queue. We were so excited that we never noticed that the queues were divided as per the reference numbers. we chose the shortest line and stood there. It turned out to be just where we were supposed to be. From these counters we were supposed to collect our passes and an arm band. We then got into another long queue to have some refreshments which were quite good and light, aptly chose to keep us going.

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We then had to collect our boarding pass and the trial script which we were supposed to follow. The staff was adequate and spread over to assist us in our queries.

We were given a meal voucher each which could be used at some specific outlets mentioned in the script. Having had refreshments just then, we decided to go on to the Departure gate B28. It was 10:15 am already. We had no clue where did time fly. Gates were to close at 11:00 am so we had ample of time to sit the at the Departure lounge and while away our time. The newspaper gave us some company and I tried my hand on some Photography. Also, since this was an end to the First part of our trial, we had a feedback form attached which we were supposed to fill up and give. Also the Dubai Airports blessed us with free Wifi so I was happy. In the feedback form we were instructed in the end to visit the Dubai Airports site and write down the Reference number we get from there and rate the internet service.

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Now, the count of the volunteers who had registered for this trial went up to 10,000. Yes, 10,000. So as per the flight capacity the volunteers were segregated and made to go through different departure gates.

We were also offered 10% discount at the Duty Free shops. Not many made use of it though. mainly I guess due to time constraints.

This was our flight from Dubai to Kuwait. Yes, that was what was mentioned in the boarding pass. I am sure every gate took volunteers to different countries. No we were not made to sit in the flight and all of that. That would have required us to go through the Immigration and the ‘real’ passengers would not have been happy about the long queues. We were to be in the Airport at all times during this trial.

We then got out from this departure gate and were instructed to go to the arrivals and then to Transfers. We were now getting transferred to Lahore. We had this Boarding pass for that, fake one with fake details.

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Now this is where a little confusion started. The staff which was assisting us till now was nowhere to be seen. The information desks were at quite a distance so many did get confused on where to head. Since I had this meal voucher I decided to get a coffee from Starbucks and to my disappointment they refused to entertain us. Lack of coordination it was, I say. We and many many of the volunteers landed up at the same boring Mc Donalds where again long queues were formed. Our next departure was at 12:40 p.m. so we really had to rush. We had a train to catch.

Yes, now we were heading towards the Departure gates of A380 and we had to take the Train to reach to it. Unseen and unheard of this, it got me even more excited. We were at Concourse A till now. We now had to head to Concourse B.

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This place was a sight. Newly built up places do look fascinating. yeah.

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The blue and red signage could not be missed.

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The Duty Free shops were still coming up but some were ready. We headed to our gate A1. There again we were made to sit as passengers and fill up yet another feedback form.

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There were people divided into Business and Economy and the boarding announcements were made accordingly. There were also wheel chair passengers, like some were actually meant to be on it while some had volunteered just to make an example.

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All this felt so real only if now were were made to board the flight and fly away the experience could never have been forgotten. But that is a little too much to ask for.

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We then had to take the Train and head back to Concourse A, which is the original Terminal 3 and claim our baggage Naturally we did check in anything so we had to head to the Exit, where we had to collect a gift bag as a memento Wow! Another long queue was faced but what all we got in return was just amazing. It made up my day, like really. Although they took away our pass and Armband which off course was due to security reasons.

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In this people from all age groups, all nationalities had signed up. This was not restricted to only Skywards members as the number was nowhere asked while registering.

Now the email with the instructions had mentioned as quoted ‘Please also bring some carry-on luggage’. To my surprise, people had been obedient enough to carry a small hand bag or a trolley bag. They really had come prepared to fly. Haha!

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Overall the experience was wonderful but just too tiring as we had to walk a lot. But it was something different and totally worth it. Except for our Metro fares we didn’t pay anything for this.