Archive for the ‘World’ Category

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.

Advertisements

The Couple That Mesmerized Me

Observing people isn’t something new to my personality, and God knows how many observations I’ve written so far in my blog. But the thing is, I don’t like to stare at someone for a long time and then “gossip” about it. I believe the definitions of observing and staring are dissimilar, but you might disagree with me on this one.  The other day, I was at the Burger Boutique with several of my friends, just a casual gathering in attempt to catch up with those who graduated from the university. Obviously, I was engaged with all the discussion that was going on around the table. A couple entered the restaurant…

Pause

How fascinating that I was able to recall the following with a vivid memory, or at least made me think of stuff I wouldn’t normally think of.

Resume

The couple was definitely in their mid-twenties, and a quick glance on their ring fingers and there they are, wedding rings. Even though I’m not a materialistic person per se, I couldn’t help but not to notice their gleaming garments. The young woman wore a short skirt that goes beyond the knees but revealed a small amount of skin leg. It had a graceful sweep with not very crinkled but sensual texture that made it comfortable yet elegant. Her top consisted of a fitted, short-sleeved blouse that was finely accessorized with a simple chic necklace. She shared the same length as her husband and her body frame was nicely robust but feminine as well. She didn’t apply too much makeup at all; just a light blush on her angle-like cheeks, pink lipstick that gave a subtle gliding effect and sensual shine, and finally, a small eye makeup that wasn’t excessive. Her hair was a little beyond shoulder length and she gently let it loose to her back. Her facial features were delicate, all of it: lips, eyes, nose, and ears. She wasn’t what you call a sexy woman, but she certainly was beautiful and cute: my ideal combination.

The husband was genuinely handsome, and that’s a fact I cannot hide. He was slightly above average height with a fit (presumably athletic) body, but he wasn’t buffed. He wore long pants that nicely extend his length, with a dark brown leather belt. His Banana Republic-esque shirt was fitted and tucked in and nicely hugged his upper body. He wore slightly loose thin tie with an open collar, which gave him a chic casual look rather than an intimidating cooperate feel. He moved his long shirtsleeves a little beyond his wrists, but instead of rolling it, he buttoned it. He had a dark, black short hair that had a nice shiny texture, thanks to a small application of a hair cream. His face gave a nice Gulf (Khaleejy) modern look; big brown eyes, long and straight nose, small lips, and long but not bushy eyebrows. His goatee was nicely trimmed and thin, coupled with hidden (not quite apparent) dimples. He was easy on the eyes.

Pause

Yes, I realize what you are thinking? You think I went overboard with this and maybe coming out slightly creepy. Actually I think I have a talent in describing people vividly even if I met them for a brief moment, however; I wish I had the same talent in recalling people’s names.

Resume

Sitting quite adjacent from their table, I couldn’t help but to subtly look at them but I wasn’t able to hear their voice but only when they had their order taken. The man spoke a standard American English (either he studied aboard or was taught English from his early childhood) when he was talking to the waitress; the wife wasn’t bad either, she had a sassy Kuwaiti accent but wasn’t too obnoxious that you wanted to kill yourself. The couple certainly engulfed my heart, and actually made me want to get married. Sure, I had many discussions regarding marriage but I wasn’t completely swept by the idea that it will happen anytime soon, simply because I want to establish myself professionally before tying the knots. However, I cannot help that I didn’t think about it excessively that day. The couple seemed quite in love, quite modern, and quite compatible. It was a long time since I wanted to be in somebody else’s shoes, but I certainly didn’t jinx them or was all evil eye-like. I cannot wait to be at that point of my life.

Pause

I really hope that wasn’t too creepy or weird. I would hope you consider this post as inspirational.

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~

Death & Beauty In The Eyes Of The Photographer

The following paragraph and photo was submitted by a photographer named Enrique Metinides from Viceland.com. I should warn you that the picture is a little bit explicit, so read and gawk at your own risk:

This picture was taken on Avenida Chapultepec and Calle de Monterrey in Colonia Roma. She was a very famous journalist who wrote some really good books. That day she had a book-release party and was on her way there. She was all made up, going to pick up her sister to go to the event. Crossing the street, two cars crashed and then ran her over. This picture is great because she has all her makeup on and she just doesn’t look dead even though she is.

It is a beautiful and moving photograph, but I’m not sure about that last point: isn’t that a severed lump of mangled, bloody flesh in the right hand corner? Oh wait! It is indeed a freaking human being. You might want to know that the author removed the comment later on upon receiving complaints from the readers.

[Link]

What Stress Can Do To You?

Stress can take it’s toll on you, although granted, it varies from person to person. Take this gentleman for instance who went from happy and fresh-faced to weary and shriveled in a span of in three years, if these photos are to be believed that is. The price paid for the life of a news anchor seems high indeed. And here I am, thinking that with its endless supply of anime, manga, and videogames, Japan would be stress-free.

What Would Children’s Illustrations Look Like In Real Life

Korean photographer Yeondoo Jung‘s series that recreates scenes found in children’s drawings is probably one of the most creative works I have ever seen. Some are funny, some fantastical, and some are simply surreal but all of them are beautiful. If these are indeed based on actual drawings by children, one wonders how close the photos came to the original scenes envisioned in each child’s mind.

Here are some photos along with captions I came up with.

Art #1: The Flying Witchman & The Shelf of Teacups

Art #2: My Life Is a Sitcom

Art #3: The Princess That Stands In Pink

Click Here For More

The French Way Of Life

I have expressed several times in my blog about my fascination regarding France and the French people. As a matter of fact, when I come across the Travel section in any bookstore I visit, I always scan the bookshelves for France’s travel guides. Sometimes however, I think I’m more fascinated with the French than France in general. Throughout my readings regarding the French, and watching the countless French movies, they are certain charms and habits that you cannot help but to notice. Not to be positively or negativity stereotypical, I condense my thoughts as follow:

  • The People of Paradoxes

Ask mostly anyone which country they consider the most “European,” and they’ll probably answer France. Thomas Jefferson knew France well, dubbing it “every man’s second fatherland.” Why, in view of these tributes, does one hear unflattering things about the French: that they’re rude, unfriendly, impatient, and even promiscuous? Every visitor shares this bewilderment, and I shall reserve my judgment until I go there and meet them myself.

  • L’esprit Critique

You’ll spot the characteristic shrug of the shoulders, which is the Frenchman’s reaction to all startling news. Some might call it cynicism, but a better phrase is the one the French use themselves: l’esprit critique. It’s not something negative; it’s simply the way the French use their common sense. A Frenchman can’t describe something without adding his own judgment of value, that is, he wants to know if it’s good or bad for him.

  • The Cold Treatment

French indifference and coldness to outsiders is really another virtue seen from the wrong end. If a Frenchman seems cold to outsiders, it’s because he reserves his affections for his family and close friends. Family life in France is one of the closest in Europe: it affords the French the small pleasures (like the evening meal), which they value above all else. Apparently, The French consider instant friendliness a sign of insincerity. Thus, a sign of banjour might be a rare expression (among the French and the outsiders) than you might think.

  • In Unity We Trust

For all their individualism and eccentricity, the French still have bonds, which keep them together as a nation. One is pride in their nation and its language. France is, after all, the oldest unified country in Europe of any size. For centuries, the French language dominated European diplomacy and royal courts. Another bond that unifies them is the Frenchman’s respect for intellectual distinction in general. The French probably read more than any other people. The leading intellectual figures of the day receive the same media coverage that movie stars, politicians, or sports heroes do in the U.S. However, this also means that sometimes the French lose sight of a problem in the endless analysis of its details, especially when the experts disagree.

Conclusion?

If you were seeking a conclusive statement after reading all of that, then I’m sorry to tell you that I don’t have one. I cannot deduce something that I didn’t have the chance to essentially investigate and observe. However, I can firmly assert that I have at least scratched the surface of the French way of life. In the end, I invite you to watch this movie and experience a little taste of my all time favorite city, Paris. It might lighten up your weekend.