Tuesday, 22 July 2014

A Dogs Life: Moving to Dubai with Expatsblog.com

I always wonder what goes on inside that little head. I wonder what she is thinking, how she is feeling, what she wants to say to us when she lets out those little mumbling barks. 

Truth be told I was a little worried about relocating her to Dubai. Not because of the heat; I mean she has only ever lived in Cyprus which has a pretty similar climate to Dubai and while the heat is a struggle in a fur coat, she copes remarkably well. 

No I was worried about the actual moving process, transporting her from one country to another and being separated from her. We were each others rock for the past year and I didn't spend more than a day without her, so handing her over to a stranger at the relocation company, and trying to coax her into her travel box was rather stressful. Especially when she let out a little whimper as the car door shut. 

Relocating a dog to Dubai is a complicated process with vaccinations, paperwork and regulations to navigate, but it is possible. And worthwhile. The pooch is now living a wonderful life in the sunshine; she walks every morning and evening, she has air conditioning on tap and she has made doggie friends. They all run around together off leash, like a little furry crew. 

A dogs life in Dubai ain't bad at all. 

If you want to read about the practicalities of moving a dog to Dubai and all the things (and the list is long) that you need to think about, the next article in my "Moving to Dubai" series, Bringing your Dog to Dubai, is now live. 

Catch up with the rest of the posts in this series, here, here, here and here.

Monday, 21 July 2014

The Souk at Dubai Mall

The Souk in Dubai Mall is a little paradise of intricate architecture and independent retailers within the conformity and air conditioning of Dubai Mall. The Souk is crammed to the rafters with gorgeous jewellery stores and no joke, the windows glisten and twinkle from every angle. But that is not why I love The Souk.

For me the decor and architecture is reflective of the culture and offers a more authentic feeling as you wander the little avenues. The arches throughout make for an intimate setting compared to the vast bright expanse of the rest of the mall. And the ceilings, well it is a good job we explored one morning midweek, because my head was fixed upwards and I definitely was not looking where I was walking. The bold wood carving that clads the ceiling makes beautiful patterns and the intricately decorated light fittings in cream, gold and blue have a very "Arabic" feel. 

The Souk is definitely worth a visit, whether you're in the market for jewels or not. 

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Life Lately: cloudy mornings and a dog ban

This past week has seen the humidity race up and every time I leave the confines of an air conditioned building, my glasses cloud over, my phone screen steams up and slowly but surely, a warm layer of sweat appears on my skin. It sound's lovely right. 

The mornings, and when I say mornings i'm referring to 6am, are equally humid and dare I say it cloudy. Or is it fog. Or maybe haze. What's the difference I don't know, but the point is the mornings have an eery, haunted city feel to them as I walk the pooch on the empty streets. And then bam. Suddenly the skies clear and the sun returns, waking from its slumber. 

My morning then proceeds in a frantic haze of showering, breakfast and too many minutes spent in front of the wardrobe trying to decide what to wear to work. I have forgotten how indecisive I am in the morning and must start picking outfits the night before. Well it didn't matter if I wore my grey cotton maxi dress everyday when I was unemployed did it. 

My first week at work, aside from the wardrobe dilemmas, was wonderful. It carried the smell of fresh basil, it made me feel worthwhile and it gave a purpose to my days. To actually begin to develop a life/work routine again is making me one happy expat. 

And the other big news this week is the signs that sprung up, out of nowhere, along the Dubai Marina Walk, declaring dogs were no longer welcome. I thought something fishy was going on when the dog poop bins mysteriously disappeared a few days earlier and in my naivety, I thought maybe they were replacing them. 

Nope. Dogs are no longer allowed along the promenade which runs the length of the Marina, which is a shame because we moved to this apartment because of the areas "dog-friendly" reputation.  But I also understand why it has happened; some very irresponsible dog owners who don't clean up after their pooches have ruined it for the rest of us. Oh well, we will roll with the times and find an alternative. At least we live at the end of the marina where there's plenty of open, unused land to walk her. 

No more morning snaps of the marina in its sleepy state. You were probably getting bored of those anyway. 

sunday sound #29

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Food: upping the fish quota with a seabass

I'm foodie; I like snacks, I like vegetables, I like plates filled to the brim with delicious fresh salads and fish or grilled chicken and I like malteasers ice creams. I will eat pretty much anything except livers and eyeballs. Food brings me pleasure and I like cooking; the process of preparing an amazing meal is all part of the fun for me.

And one of the best bits of expat life is the food. Exploring a different country through its cuisine is one of the best ways to get to know a place. I probably get more excited than I should admit, when walking the aisles of the supermarket, as my eyes feast on a whole world of new products that my belly urges me to throw into shopping basket. 

While I haven't had a taste of traditional Emirati cuisine yet, I am certainly making the most of the abundance of fresh fish here in Dubai. In England, the fish quota within my diet extended to salmon and tinned tuna; I have a thing about buying fresh fish in London because I am never sure if it is just that, fresh. And I don't want to disappoint my taste-buds in a mediocre fish experience. No fear of that here though. The supermarket fish counter is packed with everything from whole fish and fillets to seafood and you only have to look at it to know it was swimming around not too long ago. 

As such, seabass has become a regular feature in our diet because it's cheap, easy to cook, versatile and really delicious! And it has loads of health benefits to boot; oodles of omega-3 essential fatty acids, a whole range of vitamins and minerals and can help improve brain function, reduce the accumulation of body fat and it is a natural anti-depressant (apparently)

The fish counter can do the messy bit and clean it out and de-scale it etc. and then all you need is some olive oil, fresh lemon, salt and garlic. Pop it in the oven for about 25 minutes and what emerges is soft, delicately flavoured fish which melts in your mouth. Pair it with a fried potatoes (because fish and chips are an English girls perfect combination) a home made tatziki and a simple salad and you have a delicious dinner in no time. I will be honest, my better half is the fish king in our house and I do the rest. I do knock up a pretty decent tatziki after my years of training in Cyprus!

Remember I was saying it is versatile? Seabass can be paired with a whole host of flavours to suit your palate; this recipe and this one are next on my radar. 


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