Predict Dubai’s first rain of the season 2012

You know what November means for us desert dwellers? Cooler, nicer weather and RAIN! I started a poll in 2009 to let my readers predict the first rain of the season. Rain comes to Dubai only on the cooler months between November to March. The last time it rained here this year was March (I think) but yeah, we have been very dry for quite a while.

So, when do you think we Dubaians will get our first drop of rain of the season?

Predict a date and win a prize! Here are the rules:

  1. Pick a date from today, 5th November onto the 30th (I’m pretty sure it’ll rain before the end of this month so I didn’t include December)
  2. Leave a comment with your date of choice (your bet Dubai’s going to have the first rain of the season). If you leave your blog URL in the comment form, I’ll link to it.
  3. This post will be updated with the names of the commentors as they come in.
  4. You can pick any one date but I’ll open the bets to three people per day only. Once three people have picked a day, that day will be closed.
  5. When the skies open up and we get rain here, with the road getting wet – the road has to get wet so a 10 second drizzle isn’t counted, then I’ll announce the winner(s)! Naturally, once it rains, this contest will be closed.
  6. I will update all of you of the weather via Twitter, so if you are on there be sure to follow me – @sandierpastures on Twitter.

I’ll include a news clip/article for evidence – rain in Dubai always land in the news so you’ll know this game is fair. ;-)

The prize will be $30 cash via PayPal or if you do not have a PayPal account, an equivalent Amazon gift certificate or if you’re from UAE, a 100 dhs gift certificate to Kinokuniya bookstore is yours!

* This contest is open worldwide.

Now hit the comments with your bets!

  1. November 5 –
  2. November 6 –
  3. November 7 –
  4. November 8 –
  5. November 9 – Christina Cosa (entry received through email), Ghadeer
  6. November 10 –
  7. November 11 –
  8. November 12 – Erika
  9. November 13 –
  10. November 14 –
  11. November 15 – ilen
  12. November 16 –
  13. November 17 –
  14. November 18 – Jessica
  15. November 19 –
  16. November 20 –
  17. November 21 –
  18. November 22 –
  19. November 23 – Christina, Cindy Brooks
  20. November 24 –
  21. November 25 – Abigail @ Nappy Tales, Virgini Shan (entry received through email)
  22. November 26 –
  23. November 27 – m
  24. November 28 – FlippedGarfield (entry received via Twitter)
  25. November 29 – Marcy, anthony peterson
  26. November 30 – Maura

Someone called Iris voted for December 6.

The prize is not much but wouldn’t it be fun if it rains on the date you think it will? Good luck and wish us rain, soon! 🙂

Top photo credit

Guess the birth date contest!

**This is a sticky post, please scroll down for newer blog posts. Comment section for this post is now CLOSED.**

**Scroll down for the giveaway details. Open WORLDWIDE!**

October is here! In case you have not been following this blog lately – it’s the month where I will be having baby #2. I’m currently 36 weeks in my pregnancy. My husband thinks the baby will come out on the 27th, saying the date ‘speaks’ to him. In fact, his boss has set two days (27th and 28th) to be his day off. Me? I am rooting for the 29th since it’s the husband’s birthday and since he doesn’t like to celebrate his birthday – I thought we can really celebrate it without any excuses if it coincides with the new baby’s birthday as well.

BUT, it could be ANY day, really. And it makes me impatient, restless – you get all those feelings when you’re dealing with a watermelon sized belly and feel like there’s a huge, heavy bowling ball tucked underneath your shirt!

So — Sandier Pastures readers, while I’m pacing back and forth waiting for the lovely labor pains (ouch), why don’t we make a game out of it?

Place your bets on the date our Baby #2 will make the grand exit (or should I say grand entrance to this world). Whoever guesses the exact date will get $30 cash via PayPal!

Before you make your guesses here are some facts that might help you decide to pick the best date:


  • My due date is somewhere at the last week of October.
  • But babies usually come out 2 weeks before or after – meaning, it could even be in early November!
  • My eldest daughter, Pristine’s due date was 23rd December 2003.
  • She was born exactly on her due date (being Japanese and all, she kept up with her appointed time even when I was already in labor 2 days earlier! )
  • Would our Baby #2 follow suit? Maybe but then maybe not – statistics show that only 5% of all babies are born on the exact due date assumed by doctors so it could really be ANY date.

The rules:

  1. All dates between now and the ‘official’ birth date (whenever that will be) are open.
  2. One guess per reader.
  3. In case multiple guessers guessed the correct birth date or if no one guessed the correct birth date, one name will be selected at random.
  4. Contest will end once the baby arrives (I will make the confirmation on this blog and in Twitter, most likely so be sure to follow me on Twitter or subscribe to my blog via RSS reader or via email).
  5. If you don’t have a PayPal account to claim the prize, options would be an Amazon gift certificate or if you’re from the UAE, a 100 dhs gift certificate to your favorite mall.

Ok, time to hit the  comments section and mention your best guess! Good luck!

Guesses are in and we have a winner!

Thank you so much for all your guesses, someone guessed it correctly so I didn’t have to drop hints. The guesses had been interesting so I’ll highlight some of them here:

Kym says: “Is it because the apartment is near a noisy busy road with lots of car fumes!”

Yeah, I wouldn’t want to live near a noisy busy road with lots of idiotic drivers screeching their car wheels and honking which happens a lot in Dubai roads.

She and another commenter, Dominique added, “The apartment doesn’t have air-condition, I know how hot it can be!”

Very good point but at this modern time, there are no apartments in Dubai that doesn’t have a/c or else we will all die in the summer.

JuliaS says, “one bathroom only, or more than one bathroom, but very small ones?”

There are only a few of us in the house so I don’t really mind one bathroom or very small ones. Once I complained about a small bathroom and my husband said, “why? Are you going to do waltz dancing while in the shower?”

Charlotte says, “the bedrooms are too small and no closet space?”

That is our bedroom in our current place! One of the reasons I wanted to move out.

This from Jacki made me chuckle: “Is it because they all have two bedrooms and you need three because you are pregnant?” and Desert Songbird echoed: “You need space for a new baby.” Lori almost screamed: “You are pregnant (oh please, oh please, oh please!!!!!)”

I wish it’s true – the pregnant and need space for a new baby part! But uhm no, I’m still not. I think.

Krista says: “there are a lot of a certain nationality of people in the building that make it smell like something you don’t like from cooking certain foods?”

She has a point! There are lots of certain nationalities from where I live now that cook something smelling really nasty – the worst part? some of our neighbors think it’s coming from my kitchen since we are Asians!!

Krista adds: “no window view – it only looks into an interior courtyard or something? I know you like to get those sunrise pictures!”

You wouldn’t believe we have seen apartments without windows in the bedroom (only one in the living room hall). I couldn’t ever live in that kind of secluded place – makes me claustrophobic! And yes, yes, yes, I’d love me a balcony so I can take sunrise pictures! Krista, you know me too well!

Sandy says: “Is it because there is no bathtub? A shower, but no tub?”

That’s the setup in my present apartment. There’s a tub where we stand to take shower so there’s no use of the tub (it’s also shallow). It’s so different from what we had in Japan. I wish we could have a tub to use but since it’s not that cold here in Dubai, we could live without it.


Someone from Sri Lanka (as per the IP address info) with commenter name Peach Rainbow said: “Is it because it’s close to a mosque and you don’t want to be disturbed by the call for prayer 5 times a day?”



I live in the Middle East, in Dubai where the main religion is Islam. There are mosques scattered around the place, strategically built so that the faithfuls don’t have to walk for more than ten minutes, especially in the peak of summer where temperatures rise up to 45C.

These mosques have this thing called minarets, a tall tower from which the faithful are called to prayer five times each day by a muezzin, or crier. These minarets sound 5 times a day with the first call of prayer (varies each day) at around 5-5:30 am!

When we moved to our present apartment, three years ago, we did not check for these mosques but luckily, the nearest one is located a bit far away, about 500 meters away from us. But still we wake up to the sound at dawn every single day. What more if the mosque is located right behind the apartment building? It’s a good alarm clock if you put it in another way but not good news on weekends!

That said, we found an apartment building we really liked – good kitchen and all, with reasonable price. The 13th floor roof top has a well maintained pool for tenants and a great view:

Skyscrapers and Burj Khalifa from afar

Skyscrapers and Burj Khalifa from afar

The area is full of character, with different nationalities living there. There’s a lot of grocery stores, banks, a nearby bus stop, salons and different restaurants with different cuisines (Indian, Pakistan, Iran, Syria, Filipino, etc). If that’s not your type, there’s a Subway food stop too. Sounds promising, right?

But a mosque is right behind it. I can see it from the balcony.

mosque bori tower a

So we asked around for the prayer time and went there again so hear how loud it sounds. Here you go. Tadaaaa!

That, my friends, FIVE times a day.

it would be fun to win!

I’ve been wanting to join a contest on my favorite radio station every morning called The Trivia Challenge for quite a while now. I love trivias and the prize up for grabs is not cheap: 1000 dhs ($367) of restaurant voucher at a posh hotel!

It seems easy when I am inside the car, listening to the announcer read the questions and I would sometimes laugh at how some people can’t answer to simple questions. They always say, it’s easier when you’re listening on the radio but tough when you’re on the spot. That comment made me chicken out so many times than necessary but this morning, I finally gathered all my fighting spirit and signed up for the trivia challenge via SMS.

Well, they called me back and I was on!

The rule is simple, you just have to answer as many questions as you can in 60 seconds. There’s going to be one contestant everyday and at the end of the week (Thursday), whoever gets the highest score, walks away with that dinner voucher.

I answered 10 questions out of 13 that were asked of me. Ah, I could’ve done better! I missed two questions just because I can’t make out what the female DJ was babbling – she’s British, and her English is sometimes too slang for me! The other question, I really didn’t know the answer to. Ten is not a bad score considering it’s my first time and how I trembled while holding my phone but a beatable one! So, until Thursday, I will be here, pacing nervously, sweating profusely, crossing my fingers, hoping no one beats my humble score of ten!

My husband recorded my radio stint with his cellphone so I might post the audio clip here for all of you to smack me back to my senses why I missed to answer the other three questions! 🙂

4/20 (Mon): trivia challenger (female) scored 7!

4/21 (Tue): trivia challenger (another female) scored 9! So close!! I was almost breathless while listening to her this morning.

4/22 (Wed): trivia challenger was a male and I know males score high in the trivia challenge. Kind of lost my spirits there especially the first few questions hurled at him were EASY! As usual, it was hard to breathe normally while the challenge was on. He scored 8!! I let out a big YEEESSSS!!! Tomorrow’s going to the be the last day. Let’s see if no one beats my score of 10. You know what? I am almost tempted to do my happy dance but it’s too early so I’ll save it for tomorrow, if I win!!

4/23 (Thurs): Last day of the week for the trivia challenge. Female challenger is on…I am breathless…she scored…7!!! I won! I won!

cheers to one year of blogging

Today is the official one year anniversary since the birth of this little blog. Sandier Pastures, first inspired by my relocation to Dubai and my want to share our desert living  experience with the world, is one year and 475 posts old!


~ don’t clink your glasses too loud, alcohol is prohibited in public places! ~

It has been a great year. Writing about life in Dubai has brought me to discover more about this diverse (sometimes strange) place, it’s history and culture. At first, I thought I would tire of it and give up but I haven’t  and I’m surprised it actually made me think of my surroundings and made me strive to experience something new every week.

So what’s in store for the bloggiversary party? In case you forgot, there was a little contest I posted three weeks ago which got an overwhelming response! Thanks to all those who helped spread the word.

Now, without much further ado, I present you the winner of a blog makeover I wished was for me:

UPDATE: I was informed that Susan already won the SAME prize at a different blog so I get to chose another contestant. She is twice lucky!

 Congratulations to Susan of Dirt Makes Fat Nathalie of Kennedy & Friends Co.


Nathalie wins a Gold Package Blog Makeover (valued at $100) courtesy of RS Designs.

Thanks to everyone who participated, posted shout outs and greetings. All your comments and visits had become an inspiration for me to post every single day. Here’s to another year of blogging!