Full Irish Breakfast
 Dane Me Bulmers

1) This is a half portion of a full Irish, I swapped the pudding (I’m not a fan) for an extra sausage. I dread to think how big the full portion is,  2) Dane,  3) Me,  4) a lovely cold pint of Bulmers

 

Boozy lunches are great, am I right? We woke up super late yesterday and decided it was a perfect day for a boozy lunch. Of course we had a few things to do including checking out a party shop for last minute Halloween costume ideas (of course) and so by the time we got to the pub it was half 3 (queue rumbling tummy). I sensibly started with a water to combat the dehydration of going from Ireland in October to 35 degree Celsius Dubai. Dane, however, went straight on the Bulmers. We ordered 2 Irish breakfasts (yes! Only the Irish believe a fried breakfast should be an all-day meal option). Half way through my meal I realised what was missing was an iced cold Bulmers so I order a pint. Our boozy lunch (at 3.30pm) turned into a boozy afternoon and early evening. Ah well, no reason to set the alarm this morning so why not!?

I’m in Dubai now but I haven’t even posted about Dane’s visit home in September so I’ll be doing some retrospective blogging over the next while.

Kiara and IDane and DecoKiara and DecoKiara & ICheers Deco & Kiarapolice car 2Dane & I

1) Kiara and I,  2) Dane and Deco being competitive,  3)  Kiara and Deco outside The Burj Al Arab with the Jumeirah Hotel in the background,  4) Kiara and I with the Mercedes Police car,  5) Cheers – shot time!  6) Deco and Kiara,  7) Dane and Deco with the policeman and the Bentley police car,  8) I love this picture of Dane and I. It’s so silly. We had just posed for a picture together and this was what followed.

The fact that I’m writing this post almost a week after arriving home leaves me with a sad feeling. Dane always says that you don’t really appreciate a place and how amazing it is until you leave. In a way, I believe he’s right. You see it all the time with Irish people living abroad. They tell anyone who will listen how great Ireland is. So much so that I often wonder why they left in the first place. In my opinion, part of this is because the grass is always greener on the other side and part of it is because as time goes by we tend to forget any negative feeling towards a place, especially if there aren’t many, and remember only the positive ones. We also tend to build it up to be better than it was. It’s a funny one because although I remain firm on my stance that Dubai really isn’t for me, when people ask I still tell them how beautiful it is and about all the amazing things to see and do and I would always recommend it to people. Strangely enough, The first time I went to Dubai remains very close to the top of my list of holidays. This may come across as strange, but I feel comfortable in Ireland in a way I’ve never felt in any of the beautiful and spectacular places I’ve visited. I know now, more than ever, that Ireland is my home and I just can’t see that ever changing. That being said, I find myself missing small things about Dubai, most obviously waking up every day and knowing Dane is there.

Our last 10 days in Dubai were spent with Kiara and Deco, as you know from my previous post Summer in Dubai, Part 3. Although they were our third set of visitors in only 2 months, it was just as fascinating to see their reaction to all of the wonderful things Dubai has to offer. The same way a place can seem much more enchanting when you leave, it can seem very normal and everyday while you’re there. Especially if you’re there for a while and have seen it plenty of times. Seeing everyone’s reaction to the things only Dubai can produce was refreshing every time and it reminds you to appreciate it while you’re there. Kiara and Deco were very aware that this was mine and Dane’s last week or so together for a few months and were kind enough to arrange some of their plans for days out when he was off so we could spend some time together. All four of us had a great time and the 10 days went by in a blink. We ate, we drank, we shopped, we played cards, we laughed, we argued over the rules, we took silly photos in photo booths, they experienced Dubai – the Burj Khalifa, the bus tour, the market, Wild Wadi water park, etc. We had a 7 course, 7 star afternoon tea pretty much right after a trip to Burger King, we shopped some more, we went to Sega World and the ‘men’ reverted back to being boys – it wasn’t a long trip! We drank some more, we ate some more, including a McDonalds drive thru trip or 2 in taxis (I have never seen a human being consume food the way Deco can – he eats lots and very often) and we had some of the funniest taxi journeys ever, singing and dancing with the taxi men. Dane’s ability to sing in ‘Punjabi’ is second to none.

This summer in Dubai was interesting to say the least. I got to experience it with some of my favourite people and I am eternally grateful to them for making it that bit easier to be away from home for so long (I know what you’re thinking – you would swear I was away for 10 years but it was a daunting experience for me as I’m such a home bird). Having people that I love there stopped me from getting too home sick and certainly made the days when Dane was in work until 6, 7 or 8 at night much easier. I hope they enjoyed it as much as I did. I also made some lovely new friends and I hope to see them in Dublin in the near future.

Being in Dubai during Ramadan and the start of the 3 day celebration (Eid) that follows it taught me a lot. I learned to appreciate a culture that is so different from my own and because at times it was difficult, it also reminded me to appreciate my own culture. It taught me that although I love to learn about other countries and cultures, I am very lucky to live in a country that it is very liberal (not an opinion I would have had before, we’re still pretty far behind other countries on a lot of issues). Being in Dubai for Ramadan reinforced for me the lengths people will go to please their god and whether you agree with it or not, it takes a lot of strength to fast for 30 days in 40-50 degree (celsius) heat whilst going about your everyday life which includes working and for woman still cooking for children and all of this without so much as a drop of water from sunrise to sunset. Ramadan is not only about fasting. It is also important to live a clean life during this period where Muslims should only think positive thoughts, refrain from gossiping, smoking or having sexual relations during daylight hours. It is also a time for giving and so it’s a nice time to be in Dubai because people are very kind and charitable.

Now that I’m home (well in County Wexford, which is about 2.5 hours from home), I am enjoying the familiarity and beauty that is Ireland and quietly remembering the magnificence of Dubai.

Mam and MariaAbra (water taxi) Maria and Dane Mam and IIMG_6596

So my mam and Maria left Dubai to travel home on Wednesday night after 12 days. Dane organised a surprise for them and we dropped them to the airport in a white stretch Hummer limousine. Slightly cheesy, yes! Ridiculously enjoyable watching their faces as we walked towards it with their luggage, hell yes!! It was really great to have them both here for loads of reasons. For me, even though I was only here a little over a month when my mam arrived, I was delighted to see her. I enjoy the fact that I’m close to my family and I miss them when I’m away from them for too long. It was also great for Dane’s mam Maria to spend some time with him. I know it meant a lot to both of them…probably Maria more so but that’s sons for you. We had a lovely time and we got to see and do some things I hadn’t experienced in Dubai yet which was a win all round. It certainly didn’t take long for Irish ‘mammy-ness’ to kick in and within no time they were telling us what to do (“you need to save more” and “that’s not a substantial breakfast”), asking an outrageous amount of unnecessary questions and dying my leopard print blanket blue and my leopard print pyjama shorts pink (I’m obsessed with leopard print, remember). If I didn’t know better I’d say there’s a clause in the Irish ‘Mammy-ness’ contract that you have to be terrible at washing clothes and regularly stretch, shrink and change the colours. They try to justify it by saying “ah sure now it’s like ya have a new t-shirt” when they change the colour from white to blue. Anyway, we had a busy 12 days which included sunbathing, visiting the mosque, swimming, asking questions, afternoon tea, shopping, eating, drinking, asking questions, playing cards, laughing, the Dubai Fountain, asking more questions, the Burj Khalifa, more shopping, visiting the souks and the creek and did I mention asking questions? Like a lot of questions. They’re gone now and as they left, our friends Kiara and Deco arrived for 10 days. Literally. As in they all met at the airport for a few minutes. Needless to say it’s Friday (the weekend in Dubai) and I’m exhausted so while the others go to the market, I’m tidying around the apartment and relaxing with my book. Stay tuned for the fourth and final installment of ‘Summer in Dubai’. 

Ice cold BulmersFish and ChipsMcGettigan'sFry

I decided to take a leaf out of My Tiny Mind‘s book and do a sort of review on an Irish pub abroad. There’s a pub not too far from the apartment Dane is renting called McGettigan’s and as far as I’m aware, it’s Irish owned.  I’m inclined to agree with My Tiny Mind in that Irish pubs abroad are usually not at all like pubs in Ireland so they would rarely be top of my list of places to find when I’m away from home. McGettigan’s, however, is different. It seems to be based on a more modern style Irish pub and has all the points Irish people look for in a pub. Number 1 and most important – it serves a nice cold pint (Bulmers for me), number 2 – it serves good food, and number 3 – it’s comfortable with an enjoyable atmosphere. 

 

I’ve been to McGettigan’s a few times now on my trips to Dubai, so it wasn’t my first visit and they serve food that will make you want to come back. I went for the cod and chips which is served with mushy peas. I’m not sure if mushy peas are a popular food around the world but they’re big in Ireland. You can expect them with Sunday dinners in most Irish households. Anyway, my meal was delicious. As you can see they serve really big chips which get a 10 out of 10 from me (I’m getting really sick of skinny fries Dubai – take note). Dane went for the full Irish (which is technically a breakfast meal but it’s served all day) and in usual form, completely changed what was on the menu to suit him, because he’s not picky at all (large side order of sarcasm please). He decided against the black and white pudding and tomato and much to his delight was rewarded with more hash browns. It’s also worth mentioning that the sausages in McGettigan’s are delicious, which is very important to Irish people as we have the best sausages in the world. I have absolutely no proof to back that up and I don’t need it. They just are.

 

So as not to end on a bad note, I’m going to jump straight to the negatives now. There are only two. Number 1 – you can still smoke in the pubs in Dubai which is not exactly McGettigan’s fault because there’s a law in Dubai which allows it. However, there is a separate section for eating which is non-smoking so it’s not so bad. Number 2 – The only thing the menu, or in fact any part of the pub, lets itself down on when it comes to it’s ‘Irishness’ is the use of the word pudding instead of dessert. In my almost 26 years of life, I’ve never once heard dessert called pudding in Ireland. England, yes. Ireland, nooooo! Pudding is something you get at Christmas or the meat mentioned above  in Ireland and a type of mousse in a pot in the U.S. It is not a substitute for the word dessert. 

 

Finally, the entertainment in McGettigan’s is always very good. They have live bands playing regularly and have brought over some big Irish bands, singers and comedians. We went to see The Coronas there in February and it’s a perfect intimate venue. They seem to have RTE 2 (Bog 2) on at least 1 television at all times, further cementing it’s ‘Irishness’. Overall, I’m going to give McGettigan’s a 9 out of 10, which I’m sure they’re delighted about…or else they will just carry on completely oblivious to this blog post. The latter sounds more like it. 

 

ChiefyLady

I’m already half way through my time in Dubai (wow, that went by fast) but I’m really missing these two dorks today. I miss the humans too. I haven’t fully transformed into ‘crazy dog lady’ just yet. Plenty of time for that.

View from Burj Khalifa Jade at Burj KhalifaSheikh Zayed RoadMe at Burj KhalifaView from Burj Khalifa

1) A view of some of the sky scrapers surrounding Burj Khalifa,  2) Jade on the observation deck,  3) A view of Sheikh Zayed Road,  4) Me on the observation deck,  5) Another view from the observation deck. The building to the left is the Address hotel which is 63 storeys high.

 

Last week Jade and I paid the Burj Khalifa a visit. We decided on a night tour and went up at 9.30pm after watching the Dubai Fountain and having some dinner with Dane and Owen. The Burj Khalifa is currently the tallest building in the world at over 828 metres high with more than 160 floors and it holds several other records. I had been to the observation deck of the sky scraper before but only during the day. It was much more impressive at night with the lights of the surrounding downtown Dubai on show. Like most cities, there are different sides to Dubai. The Burj Khalifa is a typical example of what you will find in ‘new’ Dubai, a city that is constantly striving to have the biggest and the best of everything. In my opinion, ‘new’ Dubai is certainly not without its merits and I defy anyone not to be impressed. For me, however, the older part of the city is much more enjoyable and interesting. There’s plenty to see around Dubai Creek with many different souks to visit. Although the heat is not exactly bearable right now (remember, I’m from Ireland) I plan to take a trip to the creek next week when my mam and Dane’s mam come to visit. 

Dinner by the lakeJade and Owen - MarinaJade & IOn the abraOwen and Daneour last dinner

It’s about time for another catch up as Jade and Owen have come and gone. We had a great 9 days and now the apartment feels so empty without them. To sum up their visit; the girls had lots of cocktails, the boys had lots of beer, we had plenty of food and loads of laughs. They saw the sights, the sun, the malls and the cars. They got to witness how the rich live and how the richer live. We now have new inside jokes and nicknames that look like they might stick. Jade lost some money playing cards and Owen still doesn’t know how to do a handstand against a wall. We made new friends and of course insisted they visit Ireland. The girls had a girl day which included the most painful massage I’ve ever experienced, a lovely facial and some shopping. The boys went go-karting for their boy’s day. I was really sad to see them go and greatly appreciated their company while Dane was at work. I was exhausted yesterday, slept in and did nothing all day but watch TV. Now Dane and I have a week to ourselves before his Mam and my Mam arrive. Summer in Dubai (part 3) will include their visit and how we’re getting on learning how to live in a Muslim country during Ramadan.