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Destination: Ras Al Khaimah (RAK)

One of the 7 Emirates of UAE.  Here’s the LINK for you to know more about this rugged beauty.

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different soil and colour from other emirates

Hubby finally had a short break from work and our last escapades before the start of school (last week) so yes this is a late post indeed.

The Accomodation

With a nice view of the Golf course when you open your window or veranda

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Serenity at your doorstep

The Surroundings 

Some tourists from Europe mostly from Germany.

The sister hotel (5 star) as we only got the 4 star.  You can access the beach by coming to this place and enjoy the beauty of this luxurious hotel.  You might get confuse if you see the Al Hamra Palace Beach Resort side by side with  the Waldorf Astoria hotel which is among the luxurious hotel nearby. Here’s the photos.

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Al Hamra Palace Beach Resort

May I add that RAK is more conservative than Abu Dhabi and Dubai, so please mind what you are wearing.  I have seen the locals giving a negative look at the woman with a boyfriend in tow holding her shopping bags, who was oblivious of her “dress code” in short shorts!  Remember ladies, you are in a different culture than yours so please mind your manners and clothing.  If you respect their cultures they will respect YOU too.  Just a friendly reminder.  It reminds me too when I first arrived in Dubai and on Ramadan season I have seen a very daring clothing from some Women who doesn’t bother to read the signs from the doors of every establishments and even on hotels leaflet see this LINK to my old post please check it out if interested and want to learn more about the life here in UAE.

Anyway this saying goes….

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Thanks for your time reading this.  🙂

 

 

Unforgettable Misstep in Paris

This is in response (though I am very late to post this, sorry!) to the Daily  Prompt: Misstep

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Gare de Lyon Train Station, Paris

It was a very memorable and unfortunate day of September 2013 that I will never forget as for the first time in years I thought my 5yrs old son will be in a terrible state when he took a wrong step on the pavement in front of Gare de Lyon.  It was like a slow motion seeing it on the movie when it happened just  hours before we depart.  I cannot believe it, I thought it’s nothing until I saw his blood gushing on his lower part of the left lip.  Unfortunately, his misstep caused us an instant panic and inconveniences.  He got a very deep cut under his lower lip and it even the doctors get worried that they need a specialist to see him before they can decide what to do and finally after cleaning him up and taking care of his cut we are just lucky to be on time for our 4 O’ clock train ride to Zürich, as you can see from the picture above when I took it was quarter to 1pm so we went to have lunch.  It was an hour before the accident!  Now I wonder why my photo seems gloomy.  Perhaps a sign of what was to come.  A misstep that makes me understand about “humanitarian aid” or sort of.

First, as some of you may know that French is not fond of talking in English, PERIOD.  I do not know the language and just using my brain to understand some words here and there as we go. It is not too bad, just pay attention and look for some landmarks so you won’t get lost as the signage are mostly written in French and of course the good old fashion of hand signals and logical thinking.  Few people are of great help and some just as if they’re blind, can’t be bothered to help or get involved which I understand.  It’s a long story to tell so I won’t bore you with the details.  My hubby told me I have a memory of an elephant which I take as a compliment haha!  🙂

Needless to say, we learned a lot from this experiences.  Fortunately after more than 2 years finally his scar is “almost” gone.  Perhaps someday we will go back again…. will see.

“Use missteps as stepping stones to deeper understanding and greater achievement.”                       by Susan Taylor

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Destination: Dubailand

It was sunny but amazingly cooler weather (than now it is getting warmer!) when we went to these places a month ago just 30 minutes away to Dubai City Centre and only less than 2 hours away from Abu Dhabi.  So yes it is not too traffic going there even though lots of cars are heading the same way like us.  The roads can accommodate us easily, but be warned better to use a GPS as so many exits that you can get confused and missed the exit to both.  We went to Miracle Garden in the afternoon then Global Village at night as this particular themed park is a must at night to see the glorious lights of each villages.

I wonder what had happened to these places now since the recent BIG storm that hit both Cities of Dubai and Abu Dhabi.  It is rare to even have a rain in this desert country, what more have a storm!  but alas, it happened and lots of people were shocked.  I just hope both themed parks are still ok so other tourists and local residents can still enjoy while we can still walk under the sun!  Please click the images to enlarge.  Enjoy!

MIRACLE GARDEN

GLOBAL VILLAGE

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So many choices of foods but the one I take fancy is the Turkish sweets.  I like it so much if it’s not expensive I can eat a whole box of it by myself! 🙂

So what are you waiting for?  Go now and enjoy!

The Festival: Qasr Al Hosn

 

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seen from Ch.1 

 

February is full of events and actions and it is up to people in Abu Dhabi if they want to participate or not. As an expat, we want to know more of the culture we are currently living in.  Besides this is as good as any other festival and you don’t want to miss that especially if you have kids of your own.  The more activities and events the better.

We didn’t attend on the first day as most of the roads were closed hence we went to another alternative place to wander.  See this LINK about it.

As you can see the old mixes with the new.  According to Wikipedia… this is called the White Fort constructed in 1761 as a conical watchtower to defend the only freshwater well in Abu Dhabi.  This festival is a reminder of the Bedouin life of a bygone era.

It is up to you how you want to experience it but we went to kids activities first before seeing them dancing and lots of photo opportunities that shows their way of life in the old days. It is truly interesting and yes we did enjoy it all.

The men and women that are part of this festival are reenacting their way of life as they walk throughout the place.  So you can follow them  or choose to go in a different direction only to see them again as they do their “chores” of the day.

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Camel everywhere

The surroundings.

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And yes, of course! the foods.  This is a dessert and like a sweet bread with molasses or honey.  Surprisingly I like it and can eat some more.  Good thing one of the activity pass we can swap for some foods and if it’s not for the business call (it’s must be!) that suddenly interrupted me (as I supposed to go to another woman requesting for that “pancake” while balancing the plates and getting my phone) and at the same time my son is already eyeing which one he will taste first.  With that, I didn’t get the chance to take a photo of what they are cooking.  I would like to come back for more but we are about to go to my son’s activity  and a documentary the next as the person on the speaker phone reminding everyone about it.  So yes in the last hour of our time there it was pretty hectic but fun!

 

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The lights on the building dancing the night away!

Thank you for your time reading this.  More to come!  🙂

 

 

 

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Chinese New Year in U.A.E.

UAE is very open minded to other cultures and traditions and so we also celebrated the Chinese New Year Festivals.  Every malls and hotel have their own gimmicks to attract the people’s attention.  So here are the two places in Abu Dhabi that we went to last week to joined in the festivities!  

Please click the photo to enlarge.

Unfortunately, we didn’t get good shots on these Abu Dhabi locations as it is crowded and unlike our last CNY Festival in Auckland, NZ last year … there is no event coordinator who can tackle this issue so everybody can have their fair share of the views. Perhaps I cannot compare it to NZ as there are so many Chinese living in NZ and China brought their own dancers from mainland to perform the shows to be more authentic.

YAS MALL @ YAS ISLAND

THE GALLERIA @ AL MARYAH ISLAND

 MALL OF EMIRATES, Dubai.   Incidentally…we are at the right location and right time when we see these acts.  Sometimes you don’t have to expect something then it happens!

2016 is the Year of the Monkey so it is inevitable that there’s somebody dressed in a monkey suit “monkeying” around their show as per photo shows.

Thanks for your time!

The Souk: Qaryat Al Beri

Have you been here yet?  Please check their website here for more info.

Last Thursday we came here just to do something as most of the roads were closed due to Qasr Al Hosn Festival (will post about this soon!) and we don’t intend to be with so many crowds on the 1st day of this festival so we decide to go the opposite way.  Good thing it is only 10 minutes away from our place.

Here are some of my photos and I hope these will speak volumes otherwise forgive my amateur photo shots as I only rely on my Samsung smart phone.  For me, it is the handy way to make some shots.  By the way… if you don’t know yet, local people are not allowed to be photographed without their consent.  But on festivals, if they are dressed for the event or part of the event and lots of people taking a photo without them saying No then it’s as good as “Yes, hurry up!” be done with it.  As you can see I tried my best to take an empty place to avoid any issue.  It is better to be safe than sorry.  🙂

I only took some photo that interests me so there are more to see so better check it out yourself and enjoy!  Please click the photo to enlarge.

INTERIORS

SHOPS

THE LOUNGE

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THE GROUNDS

AND THE VIEW!!! Beautiful isn’t it? nice to dine outside and so many restaurants to choose from.  So perhaps an idea for Valentines?  ehem!

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Beautiful sunset, vinneve photo

 

That’s Abu Dhabi and more!

Next will post about the Qaryat Al Hosn Festival, still ongoing up to Feb.13th. Please do come if you are in Abu Dhabi so you may enjoy the local culture and everybody are invited.  Just pay Aed10 per person from 5yrs old UP, with 2 activity passes included (you can use for local foods) then lots for Kids activities + petting zoo + camel & horse rides.  For more info please check this LINK.

Thanks for reading.

 

 

 

Destination: Philippines, old sweet home

This is true.

But I do love coming back to my old home, my birth country to see all my loved ones, relatives and friends who stay true to me all these years!

Christmas time and New Year makes it more special, more fun and more exciting in the Philippines.  Reliving the culture that I was grown up to, respect, love and happiness.  I love seeing the familiar faces so happy to see me not because of my gifts (that I am sure of) asking us about our old life, new life and new culture here in the UAE.  Over feeding us with so many dishes you can see on their long table until your stomach hurts. I miss those foods as it is uncomparable to where we are now.  I miss the laughter I hear from my friends and family.  The “Family” that can extend up to the 2nd degree of consanguinity!  I miss being a child as I visit every house of my aunt and uncles so many of them I cannot count on my fingers, playing with my cousins and for my child now playing with his 2nd cousins really bring some sparks in his eyes and sadness too when it is time to say goodbye until we meet again.  

Festival of Lights @MOA

Oh, how can I forget the love and sadness of their faces until we meet again?  I do love coming back to my old home.  Going back there reliving good memories of the past, I am blessed to have a good childhood and I thanked my parents for that.  Now I want to do the same for my son.  Though we don’t have family in NZ and now UAE, if we can help it we go overseas to see them and being in the moment and storing it in his memory bank that will last a lifetime.  Being an expat this is the only thing we can do to include families in this special events and into our life and creating good memories growing up.

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“He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree”                 by Roy L. Smith 

Family Matters

 

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It is really like that isn’t it? whether you admit it or not.  But whatever the case may be families and relatives brings some flavour to your life.

I always wanted my son to have good memories of his childhood so I am banking some while we can especially now that we have moved from the roots he was accustomed to a new culture and environment that are pretty much different from where he was born and have left some of his best buddies.

So the only way to compensate it is to have a holiday to a place he knows where he will feel the love and excitement of the festivities of Christmas and New Year.

My little man is used to having so many “Tita’s” (aunties) in New Zealand but they were not the real relatives.  It is just a way of paying respect not to speak the first name of the people much older than him (mostly Asian culture). So by the time we arrive in the Philippines he knows he will meet so many Tita’s and Tito’s (uncles) both real and unreal (friends) plus the fact that he will once again see his Lolo (grandpa) after 2 years!

It makes me happy to see my son playing with his real cousins, talking to his real aunts and uncles (up to 2nd degrees) and yes so many of them you cannot count on your fingers and feet anymore! For some people, this is not a big deal but for him whose, both parents comes from 2 different continents and have met in another continent that he was born and grows up to (until we moved here in the Middle East) it is a BIG DEAL.

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For us, the caption above should say… in another Country.  It would be much easier if we have a family here just a few hours away from our City.  But for some of us expats here in M.E. dream on mate!  

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I was lucky to have a very good childhood and if necessary, for my son to travel on 2 continents (Asia & Europe) to be with one or two sides of our family or they come to us here, I will do it for the sake of him having good memories of his childhood that he can look back on to.  So it is appropriate of me to say the quote below as it is the truth.

 

 

The Festive Season to be jolly!

“Don’t get your TINSEL in a TANGLE” 

A collection of photos that I hope will bring back cheers in your day upon seeing it. 🙂

Please credit me in case you happen to like one of my photos. Thanks 🙂

Hotel: Old vs. New in Jeddah

Credit: Pinterest

As usual we traveled as a family on business on this side of the World.  The Company pays for the hotel, foods and even for my driver.  Yes as some of you don’t know yet… in KSA no woman is allowed to drive and that is the rule whether you like or not.  If you put it nicely… you can be pampered here being a woman but depends on the host, who you are with and what is your purpose of coming to the Kingdom.

Now let me get on telling you about the type of hotels that we’ve been in for the sole purpose of being near hubby’s “Other Office” so yes we choose the hotels based on that alone as the traffic jam can be terrible.  The good thing of having a driver is… it is good for your health 🙂  PERIOD.

RED SEA PALACE(Old) established 1959

credit to Booking.com, RedSeaPalaceHotelJeddah

I copied the image from Booking.com website as per above link and yes this is how it looks like in the early years perhaps.  Their frontage is now full of parked cars that someone told us that it belongs to a rental company so getting your car parked is like praying for rain!.  There are just a few car spaces inside the gate.  So this is where having a driver are great : he drops you off to wherever you go and he parked the car somewhere and wait for your call when ready.  It is a shame that they neglect this side of things as it can be nice really especially at night.  The reception can be busy depends on the month and what events do they have which is mostly every month as lots of people pays their respect and go to Mecca for their once in a lifetime “hajj” pilgrimage and Jeddah is one of the stopover City to go to.  Ok without any further ado as I can go on and on and I bet some of you will be interested how it is like over there 🙂 maybe on my next post. Here are the photos and you can judge by yourself.

20150805_104550The Lobby is very spacious and clean though old traditional furniture’s and furnishings are on display.

  IMG_0866 IMG_0869Foods are so many to choose from either for breakfast or dinner.  Above sweets are just to show they can make this with a lot of variations plus their Arabic sweets are also good though it may not show on this, sorry. FYI… I cannot really do a lot of picture taking as people will openly stare if I do it too much since there is really no “tourist” there.  ALL people come with a purpose either on business, pilgrimage or locals/residents who play tourist while off from work.  The other thing that they taken for granted is the tablecloth.  It was probably luxurious on those days but not anymore since there are a lot of stains that doesn’t come off.

We are lucky that we got the renovated room so it is always good to pay more in this side of the World so you can be comfortable.

RADISSON BLU PLAZA HOTEL (New) just opened in October

There are 2 Radisson Blu in Jeddah, but this one is located in King Abdullah Rd. and newly opened much modern hotel compare to their other location in Medina Rd.  You have to tell the taxi some landmarks or nearby location so they can locate this new hotel.  Good thing we have a driver on standby but we did go out one night for dinner and stroll in the mall nearby (Andalus mall) and we are considerate enough that we will be late and the driver needs to sleep for an early work (he has tons of other work aside from being a driver) so we ended up taking a taxi (no meter in KSA) and with a good quote on how much it will cost just to cross to the other side of the road then we’re off. It turned out the local driver lived in the UK for a long time so he is well versed in English and very chatty.

The entrance to the room is quite narrow but inside it was very spacious. We had a Suite I believe but on their website it named Apartment so perhaps the style is, as there is a separate mini room for dining which is actually a waste of space as you can see the cathedral window showing the lounge.  Also 2 toilet one just near the entrance and the main bathroom near the bedroom.  Unfortunately, some quality fittings are obviously worked in haste as shown on the photo perhaps to open in time for people going on their hajj.  Anyway… as long as we are comfortable it was okay.

I didn’t get the chance to take a photo in their restaurant but I can tell you it was very modern and the foods cater to Western and Arabian customers. Just probably what you should expect on this hotel chain wherever they are in the part of the World.  They have a mini pool and a mini gym, but it will not do good for me anyway since both can only be mostly for MEN.  Yes they have a time for Women to enjoy the pool and that is strictly for the scheduled time and strictly NO MEN ALLOWED even my 7yr old son!

Finally, it is time to say “Wada’an” (Goodbye till next time) Oh yes I cannot say this is the end.  So it is appropriate to say that type of goodbye. I hope next time I will be more enthusiastic to take some photo IF I may be allowed to as there are some restrictions you see.  The surroundings can vary depends on where you are and since hubby have a business to attend to in the “Older” part of City and they are still developing if I may say so.

Overall… if you happen to read this post by chance and you are thinking of going or having a business meeting in the Kingdom particularly in Jeddah you can bring your missus or the whole family if you want, that is IF they are not a fussy lot and can understand the difference of other culture. Jeddah is a bit softer side of the Kingdom though older and not as modern like in Riyadh, Women will appreciate this side better when you are over there IF you know what I mean. 🙂  I hope you learn something from this post and thanks for your time reading this. Until next time, Shukraan!