Sunday, October 30, 2011

From Abu Dhabi with Love

It's the most wonderful time of the year, with the kids jingle-belling and everyone telling you be of good cheer It's the most wonderful time of the year...probably on the other side of the globe for my case. While Christmas decors bedeck the walls of every establishment and Christmas songs are blaring from every radio station in my home country, I am the complete opposite of the joy this season brings.

If only I could skip December and make it January after November ends. This will be my first Christmas away from my family and it feels like torture. Anyway, most OFW at this point are already saving up to send money and balikbayan boxes to their loved ones in the Philippines just in time for the exchange gift day. The thing about sending balikbayan boxes, you need to check the price, the inclusive charges and most especially the number of days it will be delivered.

My husband and I have one (1) retainer when it comes to sending out packages. Below are the lists of couriers that delivers to the Philippines.

1. Omeir - (highly recommended) We have been sending boxes via Omeir Cargo for three (3) years now. And I must say, they truly deliver right on time. Omeir cargo is via air freight. Luzon destinations particularly the Metro Manila area will only take 4-6 days. If you want to have it shipped farther south like Mindanao, the delivery will take more or less 10-15 days. Costs for Metro Manila area is only AED 150 for the first 30 Kilos plus 20 for the airwaybill thingy. For Mindanao shipment will be 10.75 per kilo.

2. LBC - the good thing about LBC is that it is one of the oldest and trusted courier by almost all Filipinos abroad. When I was in Singapore, we sent out a small balikbayan box too and it went well. However that was sent October not during the Christmas season. Back to LBC Abu Dhabi. You can call their office and have the box delivered at your unit. The box costs around AED 15 - 20. The downside of going with LBC is the number of days it will take to deliver your package. If you want your package to reach the address by Christmas you have to send it by September. The shipment is via sea freight. Imagine how long the waiting period for the package to reach. It is advisable not to include any perishable items in the package.

3. Khoory Clearing and Forwarding: - This courier was already tested by an officemate and sea freight will take around 45 days if it is Metro Manila Area and costs AED 225 for super jumbo size box. They also have air freight which is quite expensive. for Metro Manila area AED10 per kilo and for Mindanao area is AED 14.0 per kilo.

Monday, October 3, 2011

The De-stresser

Before I came here in Abu Dhabi I am frequent visitor to massage salons or spa as we call it in the Philippines. I never forget to book an appointment every other work. Or If I just got back from an official business trip, the first thing I do is pamper myself to one of man's greatest invention - massage.

I have tried a few affordable spa/massage salons in Davao and I must say I miss going to those places. It has been more than a year since a warm comforting hand of a masseuse touched my back. I am burden with the thought that I might not get pregnant if I have a massage, plus the massage here in Abu Dhabi cost a fodtune.

Anyway, I received an awesome gift from my awesome sister and that is a voucher for a scrub and a massage. I was so ecstatic that I called for an appointment the soonest possible time.

So, the day came for my scrub and massage session at Wellness LIG Spa in Electra. It was a bit difficult to find because no signages along the side of the building to show that the spa is in that building. Anyhoo, for those who are interested, Wellness LIG Spa is located at Rose Tower in Electra Road. Landmarks are Abu Dhabi Coop, Adnoc, and Mary Brown. Those are the nearest establishments that could identify you. The shop Veet rent a car is on the same building. Right across Elak Saloon. The spa is located at the Penthouse floor.

When I arrived I was immediatley ushered inside by the masseuse, her name is Ms. Nadine. I'm not exactly sure what her nationality is but I think she is French.

The place is jsut small. It only has 3 beds. I was assigned on the corner bed. It was still dirty, plenty of used towels and pillows are on the floor. Ms. Nadine was still tidying up from the last customer so I have to sit and watch her do her routine before I could have my turn.

Next, I was told to go the washroom and do whatever I need to do before the session. She gave me a towel and told me to take off my clothes. Before the scrub I have to take a sauna bath. I was practically clapping when I found out about the sauna. I haven't done that too for a long time. My eagerness was short lived because turned out I'll just be using the portable sauna. I have to sit inside this little tent where steam will be blown inside. It was as good as a sauna could get.

After the sauna bath, I was told to lie down on the bed. I was butt naked by the way. By the time I was asked to take everything off a deja vu ofmy KL adventure came into mind. I sure hope this isn't the same.

The bed was covered in plastic before laid down then the scrubbing began. My body was so tensed because it was my first time to have body scrub, and believe me every nook and cranny of my body was scrubbed. And I mean everything! After the scrub I took a shower. The thing about the shower thing, she asked me to get up and go to the bathroom, I was only covered on the front. I was walking butt naked with just a plastic covering my back. Good thing though nobody else was inside the area.

When the massage started, I was pretty excited. But only for the first 10 minutes. The massage was not I was expecting. I was used to the precise slow patterned strokes of massages I had in the Philippines. What she did was hurried strokes of feeling and kneading my muscles. Not exactly the relaxing type.

The whole session lasted for 1:45 minutes. It was quite an experience, but I don't think I'll be coming back to that spa in the near future. I'm still thankful, a quarter of stress that I was carrying was taken out.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Addicted to Shabu-Shabu

From the Japanese word that means, "swish-swish" - shabu-shabu became a rage for the yuppies who are in search of a new to dining out in style.

I first heard of shabu-shabu when I was in Singapore. We went to this Seoul Garden in Bugis. I thought it was Korean sans the name. But after a few tinkering with Google i have found out that its actually Japanese. Anyhoo, they are all the same to me because of their common denominator - noodles.

One hot Thursday afternoon, we have decided to eat out to this shabu-shabu for lunch. Though its not really a good thing slurping hot soup on a 38 degrees temperature, we decided to check the place.

Hiding among the buildings along Airport Road. This restaurant could definitely bring out the noodle monster in me. The name of the restaurant is something you would defintely forget after 30 seconds of reading it. The name above the entrance door is Inner Mongolia Xiao Wei Yang Catering China. How's that for a mouthful?

But the plate says Little Lamb. quite confusing, I'll stick to the little lamb name thing. It's more recognizable and easy to remember. So we ordered a big hot pot with the shape of yin yang symbol. The other half is for the ordinary soup and the other red one is the spicy one. Thin slices of beef and chicken were next to be delivered on our table. Then the noodles, the seafoods and the vegetables. We dunked everything into the hot pot and wait for it to boil.

After a few stirring, it was boiling and everyone can't wait to dig in. We sample the spicy first, and yes it was as good as I imagine it to be. Tangy and spicy. Just the way I like it. The noodles were also good but too slippery.

We also ordered grilled chicken wings. Definitely the best chicken wings I have tasted. This I think this is one of their best sellers. No wonder people are queueing just to dine in this restaurant. We were 11 sharing that huge hot pot and we only paid AED 252.00 Not bad.

But apart from this restaurant, I was also informed that another shabu-shabu is also offering the same but with better tasting food. That remains to be a quest I have to conquer. Till next weekend I guess.

For now, I will settle for a good meal at this LIttle Lamb.