Your Brain is Green
Of all the brain types, yours has the most balance.
You are able to see all sides to most problems and are a good problem solver.
You need time to work out your thoughts, but you don't get stuck in bad thinking patterns.
You tend to spend a lot of time thinking about the future, philosophy, and relationships (both personal and intellectual).
Monday, 30 April 2007
Friday, 27 April 2007
I don't know where to start writing about it all. I could do a day by day account of where I went and what I did, but I think I will just talk about it randomly, as things come to me.
Well, Dubai is part of the United Arab Emirates, situated between Saudi Arabia and Oman, and across the water from Iran. The Persian Gulf is the sea along its shores. Only 20% of the residents of Dubai are Arabs, the other 80% are made up of ex-pats from all across the globe. The city really is still being built and is to some extent a massive building site. The main language spoken in Dubai is English although many languages can be heard. All the street signs and menu's etc are written in both English and Arabic, so it really is an easy place to tour around. I didn't have much idea at all of what to expect before I left.
My flight to Dubai went via Paris, from Dublin. The flight from Dublin to Paris took 1 1/2 hours, and then from Paris to Dubai was a further 7 hours. It is possible to get direct flights but these cost a lot more. I flew over night and arrived in Dubai at 8 am on Wednesday morning (3 hours ahead of UK time).
The weather was gorgeous for the entire week - not a single drop of rain, so no humidity. I didn't find it too hot the majority of the time. I think the temperature ranged from about 32 C up to 46C on one of the hotter days (when I actually did have to get a taxi to the villa and sleep off my headache!) Anyone thinking of travelling to Dubai, just remember, don't go in the summer when it gets to over 50C and even the locals don't venture outside!
I'm gonna just post some photos and write a bit about them rather than going through a day by day run down of what I did.... You can view all of my photos in my flickr account by clicking here. (there are 3 pages of photos so don't forget to click through the pages to see them all) Also, the photos posted below can be seen full size by clicking on them.
This is me at the entrance to the Irish Village! Since Dubai is so multi-cultural it is possible to eat any type of food from any country. We had a few nice meals here. I must have put on a stone in weight!
Talking of food, this is me with one of the waiters at the Meridian Hotel. They were having a South African evening and all of the waiting staff looked like something out of a Tarzan film! For the cost of about £20 we could eat and drink as much as we wanted. There was an African band playing, and authentic African food. I was lucky enough to sample crocodile steak, crocodile salad, stir fried ostrich and BBQ'd wart hog! Being a natural coward, I decided to pass on the big black worm salad (basically massive black marinated caterpillars - think of those witchety grubs on 'I'm a celebrity get me out of here', just black !!!!)
This photo was taken on the same evening at the African dinner. These two Arab men offered me some chewing gum as they were walking past! "For you" they said. So I said thanks and asked if I could take their photo. At this point I hadn't seen many people in authentic Arabic clothing and I wanted to show my kids what they looked like. So they said yes, and posed for me. Later that night to my horror and amusement they had called a cab and were expecting me to go somewhere with them!!! Well, I laughed my guts out. I had no idea that accepting chewing gum meant so much more to an Arab man that it does to a Caucasian woman. LOL! That night (Thursday night - the start of the weekend in Dubai) I was propositioned by no less than 8 men, including the 2 Arabs, 2 Jordanians, 2 Syrians and 2 Iraqis! Wow, so popular! One Jordanian dentist even offered very kindly to give me a thorough dental examination with his tongue!!! Well, I almost wet myself laughing and he was not impressed.
Here are my Dubai friends D & W who kindly took me out for that evening. I think they are trying to avoid my camera in this shot.
D is working in Dubai on business and has a lovely villa there with a swimming pool. During the day if I was home I had the place to myself, including the pool!
(Yes, that is me in the pool - jealous yet?)
I did so much while I was there, including the open top bus tour (mandatory tourist adventure for any city holiday!) One of the highlights was definitely the beaches. In particular Jameirah Beach Park.
This is Jameirah Beach Park from the air (no I didn't take this photo myself, lol)
I spent 2 full days on the beach, sitting under the shade of a palm tree. This was my view on day one, of another palm and the sea in the distance. The sky looks quite dull in this photo because I think it was full of sand!
As I looked the the left or right of where I was sitting on the beach I could see palm trees and the odd little hut, plus a few sun bathers.
OK, so it was quite tough to get photos of myself on the beach, but just to prove I was there here is a photo of me - the whitest legs in Dubai.
I must say that I really enjoyed those two days on the beach. Just lying there relaxing, with nothing to do - no dinner to make, or children to bath, or Cd's to sell. It was just heaven. I even managed to swim in the Persian Gulf a good few times, the water was lovely and warm. It was so clear that I could see blue jelly fish (no one seemed worried about them so I presumed they weren't poisonous!), star fish, and shoals of little fish swimming around in the shallow waters!
On one of his days off work D took me to some of the city's huge shopping malls. These malls are like nothing that I've ever seen in the UK. They are more like palaces. Because of the heat most of the shops are inside big air conditioned malls. Two of the malls we visited were out of this world. The first one (I forget its name) had different levels decorated as various countries (china, India, Tunisia etc). One of these area was lit and decorated to be permanently dusk - with twinkling stars in the ceiling, dim street lamps - it really felt like shopping at sunset! Here is a little photo of it (click to see larger)
Every area of that mall was decorated like a palace. I just had to take a photo of this starbucks cafe where we had a cup of coffee. Just look at the ceiling! I felt like I was inside the Taj Mahal or something! Have you ever seen a Starbucks like this one???? Everything in Dubai is the best in the world. Anything you could look at would be the tallest in the world, or the oldest, or the widest, narrowest, longest, shortest, in the world. Anything that they build has to be the best. You simply must click on this starbucks photo to see it full size. It blew my mind!
The second mall was called the Mall of the Emirates, and this one had an indoor ski slope with REAL snow! Honestly, I stood in my summer clothes in this huge mall looking through a huge glass window at people in ski clothes with hats and woolly scarves! The adults were skiing and the children were throwing snow balls and tobogganing. Only in Dubai!
D took this photo of me in the mall toystore. Even the toy store is larger than life. This truly has to be the biggest teddy bear on the planet! I was chuffed that 3 Arabs walked into my photo as well, to make it truly middle eastern.
Monday, 16 April 2007
Barney & Annabelle played animals and dinosaurs in the upstairs landing and then Annabelle must have set her camera to take a photo of them both. I thought this was so cute, they look so friendly and happy playing together!
If only it was like that all the time!
The carnage of packing for a trip to the middle east!
Mum came round last week with her three new belly dancing outfits. We had a hilarious time up in my bedroom trying the costumes on and dancing round the room! The kids enjoyed it as much as we did and everyone gave their opinions on which outfit suited us best. Mum will be wearing the black and copper outfit for our performance in June and I will be wearing the purple one. (Unless of course I purchase something new in Dubai!)
Mum in the copper outfit, with my coin shimmy belt which matched perfectly, and then in the shocking pink number (which I aptly looked shocking in!)
Edit - I am now happy to say that this person phoned me this morning and apologised profusely. He was mortified and embarrassed and is going to work the week, although he know that I will not put up with it again. So hes gonna be on his best behaviour. Phew!
Saturday, 14 April 2007
But I am very excited about my trip. Today in Dubai it was 38 C in the shade (!!!!!!!!!) so I am a little worried about what I have let myself in for. I will be leaving from Dublin airport at 7.30pm on Tuesday evening, flying throughout the night, stopping at Paris, and arriving in Dubai at 8am (their time) on Wednesday morning (5am our time). Hopefully I will get some sleep on the night. Our friend is picking me up from the airport and showing me around their villa, then going off to work and leaving me to unwind and relax. My plan is to relax a lot! I will not get a tan because it is far too hot for me to come out of the shade, but that's ok.
If I have access to a computer I will post a blog post or two whilst I am away. Oooohhhh, I'm so excited! But right now, I need to have a bath, eat, and sort through the bin bag of 'summer clothes' (ahem, we don't actually use them in this country so my range is very small) that Dan just got out of the loft for me.
Wednesday, 11 April 2007
Monday, 9 April 2007
Well, our trip started on Friday. In an effort to be as relaxed as possible we got up late, didn't pack until it was almost time to leave, and just mozied out of the house whenever we were ready. The drive to Derry took about 4 hours because we stopped a few times to eat, stretch our legs and admire the view. Some of the scenery along the Glenshane Pass was breath taking, so we stopped to explore it a little. Here are some photos of that. You can click on them to see the bigger photos.
All 3 kids were great on the journey down. When we got out of the car they climbed trees, jumped across streams and burnt off energy, ready for the rest of the journey. We had to stop at a garage to buy duck tape to tape up one of our windows which is falling down all the time, and is going to cost £110 to fix! (I'm happy enough with a duck taped window for that price).
When we arrived at the hotel I was surprised at how posh it was! Dan had managed to get a really good deal for the two nights. I don't know how he managed that at Easter, but we were paying substantially less than most of the people there. And the place was full to capacity. As expected the kids rushed into our room to check it out. They ran into the bathroom, opened all the drawers, exclaimed in delight at there being a TV, and bounced on all the beds. The room was very nice. The favourite spot in the room turned out to be the window where many moments were spent gazing out over Derry City.
Saturday turned out to be a great day, despite our lack of arrangements. We all piled into the car and had a vague notion of heading towards Donegal. We ended up driving along the Lough Swilly coastline and through the mountains of Inishowen. We made various stops along the way at beaches and in mountains, all of which the kids loved. Dan was particularly inspired by the mountain scenery (anyone who reads this blog regularly will know he has a passion for mountains, LOL). Barney was a different child on the beaches. The incessant talker we all know and love turned into a quiet, focused child, who was basically in a world of his own. He was so taken with the beaches that he couldn't even answer questions, as his mind was so deeply engrossed in his surroundings! It made Dan and I laugh, but was lovely to see.
Dan and Barney were the only ones brave enough to paddle in the freezing Irish sea! Even Jimmie thought the water was too cold for that. At the end of the day the back seat of our car was completely caked in sand. Even now I keep finding little mounds of sand around the house, where someone has emptied another sock or shoe.