Thursday, November 27, 2008

First Birthday in Dubai

Over excited !

On 21 NOVEMBER 2008 we celebrated the birthday of Muhammad Adrin. It was a very happy occasion for my wife and I and a new experience for both of us too. Because it was the FIRST birthday anniversary of our son ! and in addition to the happy note is that we celebrated it in Dubai !

Adrin woke up very early on his special day at 5.00 a.m. My wife and I tried to get him to sleep but he suddenly laughed and clapped his hands. Then we realised that it was his birthday and he was ready to celebrate. So after breakfast we went to the Mall of Emirates and bought him gifts and cake.

His idea was to touch the fire, not to blow it.

Confused on where has the fire gone

Adrin was waiting for his birthday gifts from this store

Last weekend, we went to visit Dragon Mart in International City. Dubai claimed that this is the biggest shopping mall with all Chinese products under one roof outside China. Well I can confirm that this shopping mall is VERY big and you can get all sorts of Chinese products from toys to forklift inside this mall.

This boy was having a good time loitering in front of the Dragon Mart

My wife like Dragon Mart very much simply because she can get the right size t-shirt for herself and she can bargain the price. My 2-cents advice when dealing with Chinese products... never ever buy their electronic goods. Or if you still want to buy, do not expect it to last long and covered with warranty (yeah I wrote like this but I bought a remote controlled fan from Dragon Mart..very cheap Dhs75 only). As long as it has no mechanical parts inside it, buying Chinese products may worth your money (make sure you got it cheap). As an example, we are still amazed with the fact that we could buy a 10 dirhams t-shirt in Dragon Mart. That was the cheapest bargain we ever got here in Dubai.

Couldn't resist the temptation

The store at the back was selling all kinds of neon lamps

This store provides a lot of towels to choose from

Adrin and his new winter jumper (part of his birthday gifts)

And for me, I like the only Chinese restaurant inside Dragon Mart by the name of Sun Tour Restaurant, obviously because they serve delicious foods that suits my taste budds.


Growing old is mandatory; growing up is optional

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Life Has Never Been Happier

What a wonderful time I have now that my wife and son are here in Dubai. Although they will be here for mere 47 days but I have never felt happier ! I feel fantastic !

I was really amazed when I first saw my son Adrin at the airport. He has grown up pretty fast and for a moment I felt awkward, as if I left him for about a year whereas as a matter of fact it has only been just a month. When I left Adrin for Dubai, he was still a baby, but now he is a toddler who can walk, dance, talk a little and play piano ! He even smell differently and I told my wife about the smell and that if I were a lion, I might attack and eat the cub, because of the unfamiliar smell. Hehe..

Another great news is that I have rented a car and started to drive in Dubai. What a great experience ! In Dubai the road system is right hand driving system, that is to drive at the right side of the road. For that matter, the steering wheel is located at the left side of the dashboard. I have been familiarising myself with the right hand driving method since the first day I took a taxi ride in Dubai. It was not really difficult at first, it just that I have to keep reminding myself to "drive on the right on the right !" and when I come to a roundabout, "go anti clockwise...anti clockwise !".

I am not sure who is wrong and who is right on the countries' decision either to drive on the left or on the right. But if you see the coloured map of the world below, perhaps you could make your own conclusion.

Red = Drive on the right side of the road
Blue = Drive on the left side of the road

Map from Wikipedia

So far I am getting familiar with the routes from International City to office and vice versa as well as to Dubai Festival City and vice versa. I plan to drive to the new side of Dubai this weekend, i.e areas along the Sheikh Zayed Road leading to Abu Dhabi. Hatta and Oman are another nice places to be visited and quite near from my house.

So I have my wife and kid, a car, cheap petrol, a nice weather, (it is getting colder now in Dubai) big road and vast dessert in front of me. It is time for a serious exploration and more great photos mates !

Until then....

I don't care how poor a man is; if he has family, he's rich

Dan Wilcox and Thad Mumford
American comedy writers

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Picture Perfect

Salammm, kifakkk...

It has been a week since I moved to International City, Dubai. I am getting used to its location, surrounding and most importantly the life in my home. Although generally speaking it feels lonely to be away from my wife and son. In order to avoid feeling bored, I cook, do laundry, clean the house and read books a lot. I also managed to change 2 lamp bulbs by myself but screwed up the third one...dang !

Last Friday, after Juma'ah prayer, I went to Dubai Festival City again, which is around 10 km from my house. This time I decided to check out the hypermarket situated next to Ikea. The hypermarket is call HYPER PANDA. I find the name a bit funny, thinking about the Panda joke my friends and I had in Dewangga Sakti.

HYPER PANDA is just like Carrefour and Tesco hypermarkets. The only difference is, it doesn't have its own packaged products, like Tesco Cola etc.. But to me, this hypermarket is very convenient to look for and shop for groceries. I tried to look for a Panda mascot, but nowhere to be seen.

Outside HYPER PANDA, are the lines of branded clothes and jewellery boutiques typical of shopping malls in Dubai. There are a few brand outlets which attract me such as Fred Perry and Marlboro Classic. I think my brother Apogee will like the collection in Fred Perry. The price of a polo shirt is AED320.00. But the shirt cutting and fabric are what I like the most, fitted to body, casual but yet rugged and street. Anybody interested?

Around 5.00 pm i walked out from the mall area to the canal walk besides the mall. The canal walk is lined between alfresco style dining area and a man-made canal. I enjoyed the desert breeze and people atmosphere here, including the Arab chics hehe...


Enjoying creek breeze from the marina

Man made canal

I like bean bags !

It was then I got struck by a very scenic view that looked exactly like in a post card. I managed to snap a few pictures which are to me simply Picture Perfect !...subhanallah

View of Burj Al Arab from canal walk

Sunset at 5.15p.m

Marina and boats in Dubai Festival City

Maghrib time

On Saturday, I went out to meet Aidid, a Malaysian who has been in Dubai for almost 3 years. He is a famous blogger amongst the bloggers community in Dubai. We had a good kopitiam time in Burjuman Shopping Centre. I really thanked him for taking half a day spending time to show me places in Al Karama (Kg. Keramat?) especially a restaurant called Singapore Deli, which is run by a Singaporean and they sell Nasi Lemak ! The price is AED23.oo. For an hour in that restaurant, I felt like hanging around in Taman Melati, Gombak.

If I have car, I will come here every Friday for Malaysian foods !

Besides Aidid, I have met a few Malaysians before who have been very friendly and hospitable to me. Some of them have related to me their stories of struggle and experience in Dubai and I salute them for their bravery and survival. And one of them gave me a bottle of black soy ketchup Cap Kipas Udang. A very treasured item in Dubai. Guard it with your soul !!

Later guys,...

"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes
but in having new eyes"

Marcel Proust
French Novelist and Author
(1871 - 1922)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Baiti Jannati (My House is My Heaven)

Yess, I finally settled in my own rented house in Dubai. Now I can take a deep relief breath to think that I have a place to call home in this expensive hot desert country. It was not an easy and smooth process though, considering the initial plan was to move in on 23 October but it got delayed until yesterday.

The one thing I hate and come to learn now is that dealing with people in this country, I have got to have Plan A, B and C, otherwise I will feel very frustrated. A promise here, means agreement subject to if-I-dont-have-other-plan-on-that-time changes. I can tell you of all the promises that were given to me, none of them has been kept. And people here are generally hospitable and they do not like to give negative answer or bad news to guests or clients, so their response to my request or query is certainly in a positive tone. If I ask "how long more should I wait for you?"..the standard answer would be "in another 15 minutes, inshallah". But the real time is another 1 hour. If I ask "are you coming?"..the standard answer is "yes I am on the way, you wait" but he probably is already on the way to a different direction other than to me. And as I said they will not give me bad news, so they never call to explain that they got a problem or other matter and will be late for me or not coming at all. I just have to understand (when I call them again) that the delay or cancellation was, of course, unintended and inevitable. Everything is "insha'allah".

OK, enough about complaining.

The overall good feeling which I have about my studio flat is that it is actually bigger compared to the video images I checked in the Youtube. The interior design is neat and modern with central air-condition, hot and cold water supply, kitchen cabinet, built in wardrobe, bath tub and a balcony ! The flat is fully furnished with 2-seaters sofa, washing machine, cooking stove with oven, refrigerator, TV, dvd player, double bed, dressing table, dining table, side table, vacuum machine, iron, cutleries and to make up the delay, my landlord paid for cleaning and maintenance service until April 2009. And he did't say "inshallah I will pay" but he said "I have paid". know...

The King's bed and couch

I ordered this Lebanese meal as dinner by home delivery at 12.30 in the morning !

The wardrobe to the Land of Narnia

In order to pimp my crib, I went to Dubai Festival City, a shopping complex as big as the Curve shopping area in Mutiara Damansara. And being lazy and in a hurry, I went to shop for bed sheet, pillow, dining wares etc at the Ikea store, a one stop centre for me, of which setting and prices are not much different from our own Ikea store in Mutiara Damansara. The only difference is that their food court offer more food selection than that ping pong-sized meatball in Ikea Mutiara Damasara's food court.

The entrance

The Master Chef's kitchen
(but soon will be taken over by the Queen herself !)

Before dipping myself in a hot steamy bath tub..ahhh !

I guess one of the Malay's trait is that Malay is a natural hommie. By this what I mean is, a typical Malay always emphasize on a comfortable and nicely decorated house. You can observe it when you visit another Malay house during Hari Raya. Same goes to me, my immediate mission is to make my new flat as comfortable as heaven whenever I call for it from work or elsewhere. It is also to impress my wife and kid when they come visit me in the middle of November..hehehe. You will see honey.

Tonight I plan to go home on time (if my driver stick to his inshaallah promise) and do groceries so that I can cook at home.

I like to wish myself "Welcome Home..yeah !"

"Cleanliness and order are not matters of instinct; they are matters of education, and like most great things, you must cultivate a taste for them"

Benjamin Disraeli
(British politician, 1804-1881)


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