Legs covered at the Dubai Fashion Weekend

We got to see the cat walk show at yet another new mall in Dubai, at Mirdif City Centre. You see a new mall pops up every now and then, adding to the long list of malls in Dubai, each competing to create something different from the other.

The new Mirdif City Centre is near, just 15 minutes from where we live. It’s new, huge, have an indoor sky diving attraction (I bet to compete with the indoor ski of Mall of the Emirates or the huge skating rink at The Dubai Mall).

When we got there, there was a fashion show for Dubai Fashion Weekend. Now a fashion show in a Muslim country must be a far fetched idea, some people might think but no, it’s a regular happening here. Pristine participated in a kid’s fashion show last year but it is our first time seeing grown-up models in action. We were early to get the best seat (no entrance fee – it was in the mall’s main galleria).  Pristine thinks this model is beautiful:

beautiful model

(sorry her face is not so clear here since I snapped my camera at the same time the other photogs with huge cams and flashes clicked theirs) Me? I think this model rock.

model mom

She might not be the most glamourous in the bunch but she’s still beautiful, carries herself well and? She’s married with two children (12 and 5!). Now that is the glam for me! Because you know what? to look good in your 20’s is almost effortless but in your 30’s or 40’s, AFTER children? That requires effort!

One thing very distinct though about the fashion show we watched was that models were baring some skin – off shoulder blouses, some plunging neckline, a model not wearing a bra (bra!) but what surprised me?

They wore tights under short shorts. Why?

At first I thought it was the new fashion trend but the people around were talking about it and I heard: the models can bare their shoulders but needs to cover their hot legs. Look:

Dubai Fashion Week

The organizers of the fashion show must have adhered to honor the “Respectful Clothing” policy inside the mall. But while the models aren’t allowed to parade their bare legs exposed in the 5 meter runway, I see these girls stroll the huge mall in this getup:

irony respectful clothing

The irony!

World’s tallest tower opens in style!


Photo credit: Gulf News

Yesterday was a historic day for the UAE, especially for Dubai. The world’s tallest building Burj Dubai* was officially opened with an inauguration ceremony that could surpass all inauguration ceremonies for a long time. Thousands of fireworks lit up the cool desert night, witnessed by thousands of people from the UAE and abroad.

It was not a special holiday yesterday although it would have been great if it was. In my opinion, every Dubai resident would have loved to get out there and witness that piece of history in the making. I had work until 6 pm and by the time I got out of the office, all roads leading to The Dubai Mall (the huge mall beside Burj Dubai*) already looked like a huge parking space. A part of the main arterial road Sheikh Zayed Road was closed. Crowds have gathered near the promenade as early as 2 or 3 pm!

promenade crowd

Image Credit: Oliver Clarke/Gulf News

We always watch the beautiful Dubai Fountain show from this side but yesterday, there was no way we could get near: the parking areas were full and there could never be a foot space for us who come late (damn work!!). One of us would eventually carry Pristine (she’s 20 kgs heavy) so she could see.

burj dubai from ras al khor

M appeased me by trying to find a place where the tower can be seen, a little bit far but still a good view. We ended up watching it from Ras Al Khor. So many people parked their cars on the side of the road, even police cars! We couldn’t see the special fountain show from where we were or but the firework display was grandiose.

Pristine was so excited that she kept shouting “Happy New Year!! Happy New Year!!” and jumping up and down. Oh well, even if it wasn’t New Year’s Eve, it’s still the 4th of January and the new year just rolled in. In a sense, I feel that 2010 will be a new year for the UAE and for Dubai, after the much talked about credit crisis last year that paved way for Dubai bashers to celebrate, with more bashing than ever before.

I didn’t take photos because it would not look good from where I stood but I took a video. I’m still uploading it and while we wait for that, here’s some awesome photos of the big event courtesy of Gulf News:

Burj Dubai fireworks

Burj Dubai fireworks

Burj Dubai

I am not from this country but I feel proud. I love the UAE – I’ve never been to a place where people of more than 200 nationalities live and work together in harmony. People of different religions and sect who respect each other and love their adoptive country like their own. I love Dubai, the city with all possibilities of growth no matter how others view or criticize it.


* I logged in to Twitter as soon as I came home and surprised to know that the newly opened tallest tower in the world, known as Burj Dubai had been RENAMED to “BURJ KHALIFA”, in honor of the UAE’s president and Abu Dhabi Prime Minister Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.


Burj Dubai —–>>> Burj Khalifa.

It just doesn’t sound right! JUST. DOESN’T.

It should be as is, “Burj Dubai” because it IS located in Dubai. When hearing the words “Burj Khalifa”, I bet people will go like, “Burj what? Where is that!?”

Is this what Dubai has to pay for Richie Rich Abu Dhabi’s redemption of Dubai’s massive debt last year (and in the coming years)? And just the start of Abu Dhabi showing control over the Emirate?

UPDATE: Here’s a video I took that won’t give even a fraction of  judgment to the real thing. If there’s going to be another inauguration of any Dubai feat in the future, I’ll skip work and be there early.

Happy 38th National Day, UAE!


Thank you very much for all your comments regarding the red or green obi for Pristine’s yukata (summer kimono). So many of you had the same opinion with my girl and chose red – my mom was surprised but she gave up and thought it must be a “generation gap” kind of thing. Oh well.

So we got the red obi and the kimono ready to wear on her school program last week when I got a call from her teacher. No, they won’t be wearing their own country’s national dress for the National Day program!

Of course I couldn’t protest and say, “but I already blogged about the kimono and my readers have chosen the obi!”

Turned out, the children has to dress up in traditional Arabic costume, that is abaya for females and dishdashas for males. I had to run and get a black dress for Pristine!

I found an abaya for children in the nearby store. The design wasn’t anything fancy, it has a few embroideries in the front and it was just black all over. It was easy for her to slip onto it, no sweat but the headdress? For the life of me, I couldn’t get it right and ended up loose or too tight or just wouldn’t stay in place. She donned the head piece when she left for school but said it all came off when the bus moved!


Today, 2nd of December, United Arab Emirates celebrates their 38th National Day. Mabrook! to all Emiratis and all the non-locals (gotta include them, I mean us, after all, expatriates comprise more than 80% of the entire UAE population) who love their adoptive country (I do).

The Dubai Metro 9-9-9 frenzy: a success!

Dubai Metro was opened  a few weeks ago and have to say, I haven’t tried it until now. What a shame. We are still waiting for the rush of excited people to slow down a bit. The local news reported that 212,000 passengers rode the Metro in the first four days of its operation!

I have no photos of the Metro yet but I got a great collection via email so I thought I’d post it here. I don’t know who to credit for these photos so whoever you are, thank you!


The most awaited moment: the giant clock displayed 09:09:09 on 09/09/09.

090909 clock

Sheikh Mohammed, the ruler of Dubai, punched in the first ticket at exactly 9 pm, 9 minutes and 9 seconds on 09/09/09. Then he boarded the first ever Dubai Metro train that Wednesday night.

Sheikh Mohammed

The Mall of the Emirates station is lit up on the night of the project launch.

Mall of the Emirates station

As the train left Mall of the Emirates station,

Dubai Metro

fireworks lit up the sky to commemorate the big event in the history of Dubai, the UAE and the Middle East. (The Dubai Metro is the first driverless train in the region, and the longest one too)

Dubai Metro fireworks

Residents braved the heat and humidity (yes it’s still quite hot even at night here) around the station in the hope of getting a glimpse of Sheikh Mohammed and the new trains.

Dubai Metro

Some of the passengers on board one of the first trips on the Dubai Metro.

Dubai Metro passengers

To promote the opening day, the government launched the Dubai Metro Golden Ticket Competition. The Golden Ticket might not have guaranteed entrance to Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory but it was enough to stir up excitement in many eager passengers.

A few of the 500 Golden Ticket winners, obviously ecstatic of their Metro ride.


Some photos of what’s inside the stations:

Dubai Metro

Union Square station:

Dubai Metro

Union Square station

Khalid bin Waleed station:

Khalid bin Waleed station


On Friday of the week of the opening, we were ready to try it out. We woke up early, as usual, even on a weekend morning and drove to Rashidiya Station. It’s the nearest station from where we live but when we got there, we were surprised to find out that:

  • the car park building was closed
  • the security personnel couldn’t speak English (he was trying to say something in Arabic which we couldn’t understand. At all)
  • Turned out that the car park building wasn’t available (so we had to park far from the station then we had to walk…it was hot)
  • the station was creepily quiet


Do you know that sometimes, when you read something in CAPS LOCK it kind of implies as the writer is screaming? In this case, yes, it’s true.


Anyway, we are still looking forward to our first Dubai Metro experience. That might not come until mid-October though, when we come back from our vacation in Japan.

Countdown to Dubai Metro Opening (5 more days!)

Photos obviously not taken by me – I received these photos via an email circulating in the office or in the UAE. The most awaited event of 2009 in the UAE will be open to public 5 days from now, on September 9, 2009. I don’t know about that date but the government seems to love the idea of the number series “9-9-2009 or 999”. I don’t like to see it reversed.

Dubai Metro

Anyway, there’s so much anticipation of the opening of the first rail system in the UAE as well as expectations – mostly, that it will significantly reduce traffic. That we’ll have to see!

Dubai Metro

Short facts of the Dubai Metro Red Line:

  • Operates from Jebel Ali, runs along Sheikh Zayed Road to Rashidiya, has a total distance of 52.1 km (about 32 miles).
  • The Red Line runs from Rashidiya Terminal along the Deira side of Dubai Creek, past the Dubai Airport and Deira City Center to the Union Square interchange with the Green Line. The track then goes under the creek to the Burjuman Center at the Khalid Bin Walid interchange, also with the Green Line, emerges from its underground section shortly after and follows Trade Center Road and Sheikh Zayed Road to the Jebel Ali Terminal.
  • Total number of Red Line stations is 29, with 10 opening on 09 September 2009

Tthe completion schedule of the Dubai Metro has been well talked about. This time, they will open on time but it doesn’t mean there’s no delay – only 10 stations will be opened.

But we’re still excited about it. Dubai just don’t run out of new things coming up.

Ramadan Kareem 2009

Today starts the first day of Ramadan. If you’re not a Muslim or not familiar with Ramadan, it is the holy month of spiritual reflection and devoutness. Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar and is a month of obligatory daily fasting. Ramadan start dates move 10 days early every year. Daily fasts begin at dawn and end with sunset. For Muslims, fasting means not eating or drinking anything (including water) while the sun is up.

Eating, drinking and other no-no’s during Ramadan:


I don’t see why ice cream and hamburger which symbolizes food are separated and don’t know the medicines not allowed.

As a non-Muslim, I am not required to fast even if I’m living in a Muslim country and even if more than half of my work colleagues are fasting. Work timings are from 9am to 3 pm instead of the usual 8:30 am to 6pm (with an hour of lunch break from 1-2 pm). Thirty days during the month of Ramadan, we ONLY have six hours of work (hurrah), with no lunch break in between. We non-Muslims are free to eat or drink but have to do it discretely.

This is my 3rd Ramadan in Dubai.

During my first Ramadan in 2007, I didn’t really know what to expect. I found out food shops are closed until after sunset, how difficult it is to be out on an empty stomach and can actually buy something at Burger King (they’re open) but can’t eat in public. “Can’t” is an objective word here. There’s just something in the atmosphere that would prevent you from clawing that hot, cheesy burger. In 2008, we were in Japan for most of Ramadan and when I came back, I enjoyed work time that’s three hours short but had to find ways to sneak in eating my lunch. It is always a challenge. Food that can’t be seen doesn’t mean it can’t be smelled. Nose power is twice as effective during the fasting period. I got dagger looks when I put out my ham sandwich last year.

Now, I will be here for the full 30 days of Ramadan. I am drinking green tea freely, no one argues with that. I do sneak in little finger foods like small slices of rye bread or fruit, which I do normally, anyway. At 3pm, office work finishes and I head to the gym. I’ll be eating my proper lunch at around 4:30 pm or snack and have an early dinner at 6pm.

For me, Ramadan is a time to reconnect with my family and bond with my daughter by spending more time with her. When I usually go home at around 7pm everyday, I am home at 4:30 pm during Ramadan.


Ramadan Kareem to my Muslim friends all over the world.

If I need to stay up late, it better be good

If you know me well, you’ll know that I am not a night person. At all. I sleep before 10pm and can barely hold myself awake beyond that. I do, however wake up very early at, usually before 6 am. Anyway, the point is, it’s difficult for me to stay up late. If you give me something to do, a writing assignment maybe to be submitted the next day, I WON’T stay up late for it and instead sleep early and wake up at 4 am to do it. I am more effective in the morning.

Ah, I’m a blah machine.

Anyway, last Tuesday night, I had to stay up late to watch the meteor shower. I don’t usually get excited at night, only for stargazing activities. For the record, I stayed up so late to see the Halley’s Comet in 1986. Staying up until 3am was too much for a 10 year old.

I dragged Pristine on the meteor shower quest but she had a long nap in the afternoon and very well can cope up with staying up late unlike me (who’s child is this?). She’s her father’s daughter in this department.


We went out at 11:30 pm and M drove for about an hour far away from the city trying to find a place where it is dark. There’s just too much light pollution in Dubai. Some Dubai residents have been tweeting (yes I do hang around Twitter A LOT) to go see the sky show which made me think, shouldn’t just the city turn off all the bright lights for a while, even during meteor shower nights so we won’t have to go out and drive to far away middle of nowhere lands?

We found ourselves a spot in the desert laid a carpet on the soft sand, to shockingly find:

  • The moon shining brightly – Shock level: 1
  • the desert stinking with camel poo – Shock level: 2
  • it’s still hot and humid even after midnight – Shock level: 0
  • a pack of dogs barking at us, ready the extra poundage I have – Shock level: 100

We had to pack up and find another place away from the hysterical dogs and the smell of camel poo but we couldn’t get rid of THE MOON. It was nice to lie down on the soft carpet, with the warm, soft sand underneath, though.

We settled just after 1 am. I instantly slept (highly predictable) while Pristine was busy looking up at the sky, counting the stars and asking her father: “Why does the moon always follow us?”

Annoying, I know. The moon, that is. Someone should cover it with blanket next time.

So, telling it the short and sweet way: we drove for an hour, one way, smelled camel poo and endure a short sprint from dogs only to additionally find out:

  • there were NO FALLING STARS – Shock level: unmeasureable

(maybe because of the moon, our location, etc…too busy and sleepy to ponder on our misfortune.)

*might update later today for photos of what we did or how I looked like staying up way beyond midnight..*

So did you see the Perseid meteor shower by any chance?