Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Too Many Books?

Ewooh! What's inside this Magrudy's Green Bag?

Ewooh! What's inside this Magrudy's Green Bag?

Just some books. Maybe too many or too little...

Just some books. Maybe too many or too little...

Or maybe there isn’t such a thing as having too many books. I purchased those books from those three stores in a six-day Dubai trip. Although, I’ve to say that I re-bought couple of books because I lent them to people who refuse to hand it back. Don’t worry; I’ll give them a piece of my mind once I see them again. And yes, there’s one Arabic-written novel in that pile.

The Three Earthly Heavens

Magrudy's Bookstore - BurJuman

Magrudy's Bookstore - BurJuman

Virgin Megastore - Mall of The Emirates

Virgin Megastore - Mall of The Emirates

Borders Store - Mall of The Emirates

Borders Store - Mall of The Emirates

Just take me there and let me be…

Post-Mortem: Dubai Trip

It’s been almost a week since I got back from Dubai, but the lazy bum that I am, I had to wait for like six days to talk about it. Every time, I tell myself that this would be the last time I abandon my blog for more than a week, I find myself abandoning it for too long, to the fact I started to lose readership (an unfortunate loss for a long time blogger).  So, I’ve asked myself: how would I repay the debit for all of that? Well, by writing a semi-comprehensive post that’s how. Allow me to share my insights regarding my trip to Dubai with my aunt and her “delightful” daughters.

Things I Loved In Dubai

  • Aside from the elevated, breathtaking skyscrapers that seem to stand high among the sky, it was the amount of construction that is going on that left a big impression. I’ve no idea when the constructions in Dubai will ever come to an end. It’s like a continuous cycle of death and rebirth; for every old constriction that goes down, a new one emerges out of nowhere in its place.
  • The diversity of people there never seizes to amaze me. I think Dubai is becoming the new London in terms of being a multi-cultural city. I found it very refreshing.
  • Another thing that I loved is that everyone seems to mind his/her own business. That is, you won’t find people starting at people, or horny men harassing/staking girls in malls. There is an apparent amount of respect among the residents and visitors of the city in spite how different they look or the choice of clothes they wear. Very distinctive indeed of what we have here in Kuwait.
  • The quantity of tourism and activities. If you think that Dubai is just a place where you just go and shop, then you are terribly wrong my friend. Unfortunately, you have to be loaded with dough to enjoy everything Dubai has to offer.
  • Mall of The Emirates! That place is like a shopping heaven. You are bound to find every single item in your shopping list there. Prepare to spend a whole day (or a two) there to enjoy every nook and cranny of this humongous mall.

Things I Hated In Dubai

  • The traffic, especially between 5PM to 9PM. No day goes by that I don’t get nuisance from the constant braking in the midst of the traffic. Having a full bottle of Perrier at the end of the day has totally become a daily ritual.
  • The taxi drivers! Half of them have developed quite an attitude, and some of them tend to develop a terrible body odor during rush hours. Keep a vomit bag handy whenever you ride a cab.
  • There are many conmen and people who wish to embezzle you, and cash in from your naïve knowledge. Make sure you equip yourself with basic familiarities regarding the cost of items and such. And be extra careful on whoever tries to befriend you out of nowhere. Even though I hate to endorse a stereotype, but some of the people living in Dubai has no humane conscious at all.
  • The customer service in some stores is really terrible, and yes, Zara is still one of them. Some of them really look down at you as if you are asking for their charity. My advice: become a total bitch whenever they act in a derogatory manner toward you. Show them who’s the boss.

Gallery

The Chinese ship in Ibn Battuta Mall is glaring at the visitors.

The Chinese ship in Ibn Battuta Mall is glaring at the visitors.

Is that the flight info screen? No, wait! That's the movie schedule screen. Enjoy almost censorship-free movies in any of Dubai’s big cinemas.

Is that the flight info screen? No, wait! That's the movie schedule screen. Enjoy almost censorship-free movies in any of Dubai’s big cinemas.

A Meydon project in BurJuman shopping center.

A Meydon future project in BurJuman shopping center.

Behold! Mall of the Emirates...and Modhish!

Behold! Mall of the Emirates...and Modhish!

On the road, heading back home after a full day of shopping.

On the road, heading back home after a full day of shopping.

An Upcoming Dubai Trip

I shall be leaving Kuwait and heading to the lovely land (but radically hot and hopefully dust-free) of Dubai this upcoming Saturday with my aunt and her delightful daughters. Apparently, they designated me as their “big man” for the trip but I’m pretty sure that will change as soon as we land in Dubai. You see, my female cousins are complete control freaks and I doubt any of them will lend me an ear once we get there, despite their attempt in convincing they’d hear all what I’ve got to say. And my aunt isn’t an angel as well. She was like “Yes Angelo, we would love to have you with us as someone who speaks fluent English and competent such as yourself”, but I know behind those glistering eyes and this forged smile, there is a woman praising her well-schemed accomplishment in recruiting a slave to carry all the luggage and the countless shopping bags (don’t worry, I love my aunt to pieces and I wasn’t making a fun of her. Well, maybe a little). But hey, considering I’m a shopaholic myself, and the fact I’m getting a free ticket, free food and a free room, I’m really getting a nice bargain by the end of the day.

Now, I shall resort my aunt’s tactics on you and abuse your wisdom as well. The fact is, I haven’t been to Dubai since 2003 (i.e. the year that I went to the US for college), and I’m pretty sure my outdated knowledge won’t help me at all in 2008 Dubai. So, I turn to you to recommend me nice tourist places (from malls to restaurants) that are new, hip, and somewhat family-friendly. Sure, I can google for all the nice places and restaurants, but I found that information from a first hand traveler is more reliable and safe.

The comment section is all yours…

Book Review: A Year In The Merde

I picked up this book while browsing at Borders in Heathrow International Airport as I was exchanging flight to return back home. The fact that I spotted it after publishing “The French Way of Life” post was a clear sign that I have to dive in its pages. And thank God I did. Stephen Clarke has intricately crafted a novel that is half guidebook and half fictitious autobiography that bursts with witty humor, rich language, and simple execution.

A Year In The Merde recounts the fictional adventures and misadventures of Paul West, an English businessman sent to Paris to create and open an English tearoom as he encounters the language and culture of Paris. Throughout the book, Paul gets to experience French charm, French inefficiency, sublime French food, slimy French corruption and political intrigue, a seemingly endless series of strikes, and more sex than he can shake his weakened British stick at. It’s informative, humorous, and outrageous, all in the same time.

It’s pretty important to mention that the author himself is a British expat residing in Paris, so we can definitely assert that those affairs that Paul goes through aren’t necessarily fabricated. However, it is also important to note that those incidents are exaggerated a bit, especially when it deals with sex and public strikes. Also, I wasn’t real interested in Paul; he is shallow and lacking any qualities to make me root for him to succeed, but it was the supporting characters that was genuinely satiated with life and realism. Furthermore, the most interesting thing to observe is the interaction between the French and the English and just laugh out at the stereotypes and misconceptions that have with one another. In the end, I can candidly conclude that Merde one of the most enjoyable books I have read recently. The story is well told, with just the right balance between understatement and outright hilarity. A definite pick-up for those of us who love and hate France. If you loved this book, make sure to grab the following two books that are part of Paul West hilarious trilogy.

~Rating~

Dusty Morning @ Souk Sharq

Today, I went to Souk Sharq roughly at eleven o’clock in the morning. It a little bit dusty than usual, and that kind of ruined my morning walk at the pier. I didn’t do much shopping like last time but it was nice strolling around and just observes the people there, which was a good thing since I finally got to monitor the stylish Dishdasha wearing “gentlemen” that Sushi told me about. They usually hang out in a fancy coffee shop while reading the New York Times even though most of them aren’t exactly that sophisticated, if you know what I mean. I’ve to say though, some of them really looked good in a Dishdasha, which kinda sucked for me because I don’t look good wearing one at all.

Anyway, here are some shots I took using my Sony Ericsson K810i. Not too shabby for a cellphone camera.

Musing: Shopping In Kuwait

Despite the herds of Muhajababes that seem to stare deep into my soul while buying the most provocative outfits…

Despite the Kuwaiti retailers that look insulted when you ask them for a bigger size of pants…

Despite the Lebanese sellers that seem to know French more than English, and have the slightest clue on who Ewan McGregor is…

Despite the gay bodybuilders who cannot wait to screw each other and have an orgy in the middle of the mall…

Despite the Mulla-looking dudes that are lurking in a place where they consider a “devil’s haven”…

Despite the flocks of youth that didn’t’ hit puberty but have a knack on hitting on girls who are 10 years older…

Despite the Indian car drivers that have no problem on running you over in the parking lot…

Despite the Westerns that got BBQed from the heat…

Despite being a racist while writing this post…

Shopping in Kuwait still has its charm and splendor.