November 30, 2011

Sunset at Dubai Silicon Oasis

It took me a full year at Dubai Silicon Oasis to re-learn that the sun rises and sets at and from different locations during the year.

Around summer, a rounded sun sets down just beside the spiked cone of the Pineapple building from my workstation angle. The cold months are here and I missed to take a photo of that beautiful summer view. Save for next summer, so here's a November sunset photo of Pineapple building for now . 



This alley below too, has the setting sun's beautiful golden hue peeking out given the right timing, which also remains on my wishlist to capture: 


November 29, 2011

Global Village 2011- 2012


2011 Entry fee : AED 10/ person. 
Duration:  1st Nov 2011 to 3rd Mar 2012 (website)
Timings: 4pm to 12mn , Monday is family day (website)

Dubai Global Village is an annual fair revolving on the one-world-one-place  concept providing a quick insight of the participating countries' architecture, cultures and products.  






There’s always a magic at Dubai's Global Village that pulls us to check it yearly even when we don’t shop nor scour inside each of the pavillions. I recall that I loved it when I first visited in 2004. A greater proportion of each country’s booth were manned by its nationals selling their own products (as against seeing Chinese products displayed in most of the booths); more pavilions ran regular cultural shows in their own stages; and there were  more participating countries with facades seemingly engaged in a race on which was the most passionately built.





How to get there:
It is located along Emirates Road (E311).  I suggest aiming to immediately enter Emirates Road rather than aiming to drive in parallel along Ras Khail, a newbie on this road runs the risk of missing the right exit. Once we wasted 75 kilometers and an hour finding our way out. From Sharjah and Mirdiff City Center, keep driving past pineapple building at Silicon Oasis (on your left) and before you reach the interchange at Motor City (that’s kilometers apart). It’s signposted so it’s easy to find.

Parking:
It’s great to arrive at 4pm to get a space near the entrance. There’s a sea of cars in the evening so note where you park. Once, our friend took an hour locating his car at 12 midnight.

What to see and do:
Shopping, dining, cultural shows, boat rides, other fun rides


Personally, our annual visit always include the following: (1) check the Philippine pavilion’s theme for the year; (2) indulge in a food trip at Thailand Pavilion and exit with a bagful of dried fruits; (3) move at fast pace to take photos of the pavilions before sunset; (4) catch cultural shows.

More updates and info is available at their website: http://globalvillage.ae/

Do check my other photos here AT FACEBOOK.

November 27, 2011

Sumo Sushi Al Qasba is Preggy Friendly


Sushi is generally associated to raw fishes and creates a general notion that it is a no-no during pregnancy. I would not take the risk even when few argue otherwise. But there's still a way around it, sushi minus the raw fish is still sushi for me, at this era when sushi has evolved to cater to other non-Japanese patrons.    

Big Gremlin's typical plate
 My husband and I love sushi and we mostly satisfy our cravings during Sumo Sushi's Friday AED88 buffets either at Al Qasba or their Garhoud branches. I wouldn't let him suffer (naks!) at the expense of my pregnancy knowing that the weekly buffets include non-raw servings of tempura, teriyaki, katsu, yakisoba and fried rice plus miso soup and a little of fresh cucumbers, lettuce and tomato slices.


A ten-stars compliment to Sumo for this voluntary complement for a preggy patron.
 What's more was a pleasant surprise when a staff brought over our table a non-raw-fish maki prepared ala-katsu sushi (don't know its name, sorry :-) ) just because I was over the sushi table asking which ones are preggy-friendly. I did not request yet they made a 'customised' sushi for me :-)

November 26, 2011

Another Oman Road Trip

Oman's got three-day holiday this week so the Big Gremlin is with us over the weekend. It's funny how we delight when we both can have two consecutive days of coinciding days in a week to be together.  You see, UAE weekends are Fridays and Saturdays while Oman has Thursdays and Fridays.

This weekend, we drove to Oman as planned, leaving early Friday and back home Saturday night, clocking 1,110 kilometers.

The drive's goal was to visit Al Hoota Cave. This is our second time in the area. On the first drive  in March this year, we needed to call off Al Hoota Cave when we got too scared then to get caught driving at night in an unfamiliar  single carriage-way-no-light-posts-no-center-island road for the expected next 300 kilometes drive before we reach Al Ain border (it turned out that that scenario was only about half of the way).

Also planned was to spend Friday night at a  hotel (rather than drive straight 145 kilometers to Big Gremlin's quarters in Muscat) so we could go roam other Nizwa, Jibreen and Bahla forts/ castles/ wadis. But with the long exhausting drive and our failed expectation on Al Hoota Cave, we decided to leave for Muscat right after the visit. 

This post has nothing against Al Hoota Cave. The cave is a wonder in its own right for the region. However, I guess it becomes a lot different when one expects a lot in exchange of travelling six hours (including 1.5 hours traversing Al Ain roundabouts and stoplights and 30 minutes border formalities), 410 kilometers from Dubai and paying AED 55 cave entry fee per adult, one expects a big reward at the end of the tunnel. For someone like us from the Philippine mountains who explored the magnificent Sagada Cave, and many other caves we are taking for granted, our reward was to realize to take pride, love and care of our home resources, as how Oman is preserving the 'inactive' Al Hoota Cave. It's overwhelming how the Omani invested US$ 5.7m to develop the cave for tourism purposes, and properly mans it to ensure its preservation.

- - - - - -

We sure love long road trips but somehow we say enough when our interests and curiousity wanes down for a certain place. Either interest or curiosity make us return to a place twice. Road trips are mostly not comfort-based activities hence we make it a point to infuse something relaxing in it. To make up for the Al Hoota Cave exhaustion, we drove to Qantab beach the next day and took a chartered boat ride (photos in another post).

- - - - - -

Driving from Dubai to Muscat via Al Ain - Al Dhakiliya is long and tiring which we dont plan to doing again soon:

  • 2.5 hours to reach the Mezyad border from Dubai, mainly due to Al Ain's stop lights and round abouts, (that's about 1.5 hours granting you have a map and a little acquantance of Al Ain). Dubai to Hatta Border is only an hour drive.
  • This route is costlier at 3 hours and more than 200 kms longer compared to Dubai - Hatta- Sohar - Muscat.
  • Much of the roadside is barren compared to the greener Sohar roadside.

If there's something to go back to Dhakiliya Region, I guess it will be a mountain retreat at Jabal Akhdar. 

November 19, 2011

Jeep Wrangler Sahara Unlimited

My husband rarely do window shopping, and when he does, he rarely (can) spend.

We were too early for the Global Village's opening last weekend hence we detoured by Jeep's showroom along Festival Center to check an item on his wishlist - a Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, one for his dream drive - to climb the high desert dunes.  Of course, we're far off able to affording one.

Interested how much it costs now (as of 2nd week of Nov11) here in the Sandpit?





Jeep Wrangler Sahara Unlimited - AED 134,900 / USD 36,700

Jeep Wrangler Sport Limited - AED 89,900 / USD 24,500

Jeep Wrangler Sahara Limited - AED 107,900 / USD 29,400
Tags: How much does a Jeep cost in Dubai?


Buying a new Jeep, anyone? Or shall I say, wishing for a Jeep?

Qanat Al Qasba at Night

Sumo Sushi's Friday Buffets (served between 12 noon to 4pm at AED 88 per adult) always prompt us to frequent Al Qasba in Sharjah. But a few Fridays back, we lounged cozily with the  perfectly pleasant weather and unknowingly we had stayed until sunset. We had to transfer from Sumo to Dunkin' Donuts on the other side.

As the Gremlin delighted running around and his dad giving him company once in awhile, I savoured the sunset and night views to practice night photography. See my tries below, isn't it inviting  trying your lens there too?




The Gremlins in the boat that went along the corniche (beach) and the canal.


From our seat in front of Dunkin Donuts.

WHERE TO GO IN SHARJAH

Al Qasba is one of Sharjah's landmarks. It's not much of a space, but there are a number of activities apart from dining, including the boat ride, Eye of the Emirates ride and for kids the play area and the small water fountain.

From Al Qasba, the Sharjah Aquarium  is a nearby  drive.  It is located near a beach and a marina where jetskiiing and fishing by rods and boats are a sight. A 'heritage village' of sort, composed of ancient/ historical houses is undergoing restoration.

Kalei's Grill in La Trinidad, Benguet

Scouting for casual dining places at night in La Trinidad (Benguet) without being tempted to just instead drive to the city, could be challenging for those finding an alternative to Jack's and Marosan's  and for those who want to eat in comfort minus being seated near tables of alcoholic drinks patrons.  Establishments close early , so our alternative fastfood meals at Pines Supermart's  Calajo or just Tiongsan's Greenwich are but closed, unless we decide to pop in at  Km5's Jollibee or McDonalds. 

My brothers suggested Kalei's Grill along Km.4. All the while I thought this was a pub with live bands playing at night, and would later know it has two sections with adjacent entrances  - the pub and the casual dining resto.

The resto has a  traditional western tavern ambiance infused with some local (Igorot) accent as influenced by the country-music-loving market.   

I'd say there's enough on the menu to offer.  

I did not note the dish but it sure has wine.


The white sugar served in unsealed small plastic made me smile



The interiors give a mixed impressions of sorts. An Igorot deerhunter accent is added to the cowboy-cum western fisherman's haven feel.

November 12, 2011

Fourteen Years and the nth bouquet

"Ate, may delivery ka" came the other end of the line, the Reception. I was not expecting any delivery but as I advance out, I  felt a wee nervous realizing it must be my Big Gremlin bringing me flowers at work! As I reached Reception, I wasn't wrong at all!


Last week's occasion was something we had always overlooked in recent years with the coming of our Gremlin and with putting our Church wedding anniversary a greater importance.

Last week the Big Gremlin and I recalled fourteen years back when the University pond and trees stood witness as we both sincerely told each other " I commit". (I hope I am not sounding too cheesy here now :-) ).  It was a celebration of thanksgiving especially of having a blessed relationship and union since then.
Heavenly Father,
Thank you for blessing me with the love of a man who despite my imperfections, remains steadfast in letting me hold You. Please bless him as You bless me.
Please guide us as we share these blessings to others too.
Yours lovingly,
The Big Gremlin's Mate

A Patriotic Gremlin and his Lupang HInirang - 2011.11.11

The Gremlin attends a Filipino school here in Dubai, hence the daily singing of the Philippine Anthem (I suppose).

Once in a while, he would browse youtube listening to Lupang Hinirang versions. He loves singing along, even when his lyrics are still lost somewhere. We took a video of his progress yesterday, which I uploaded on youtube today with the note:

Nah, this is not to make the Gremlin a laughing stock, in fact, we are glad that our patriotic five-year old has a bit improved in singing the Philippine Anthem, despite that he doesnt speak Tagalog/ Filipino to date. 
Yes, we hide our giggles as he sings, but behind us is our gladness in his progress. :-)



November 04, 2011

And it's a rainy Muscat

Rains are un-usually heard of in the desert, and if it rains people rejoice -- unless it starts to become disastrous to the sandpit whose systems are not prepared to flooding and whatever brought by raining.

Dubai is yet to get its share of drizzles this time of the year, but near or along the Hajar mountain ranges (Ras Al Khaimah, Fujairah, Oman), rains started pouring in October.

On Wednesday (first week of November), the Big Gremlin waded in Muscat's afternoon rains. He reached their villa drenched and with shoes on hand as puddles covered the streets. The amount of rains that day was like a typical subtropical afternoon rain in Baguio (Philippines). Tuesday was bearable just with 'strong' drizzles.

Rains in Muscat



Tunnels that are on lower elevation are prone to 'flooding', such as this in Muscat
With the Big Gremlin working in Muscat now, I pray that the most he'd witness be limited to his light experiences so far, and not a repeat of Cylone Gonu (in 2007, the strongest tropical cyclone on record in the Arabian Sea) that brought forth substantial damage as below:


 (Photo Credit: Wikipedia)



(Photo Credit: Wikipedia)

It's Eid Al Adha here in the sandpit and most are taking advantage of the long weekend break. Pleasant weather has now kicked in, and if not that I'm on pregnancy-induced-laziness mode, we would have pushed through with our planned Oman drive via Al Ain - Buraimi - Ibri - Nizwa - Muscat route to see more of those we missed earlier (more wadis, historical sites, Al Hoota Cave and Jabal Akhdar part 2). But with rains currently in season, it becomes risky getting into wadis (dried river beds) on chances of sudden gushing of water. So to those travelling offroad now - stay safe. 

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