Saturday, December 15, 2012

Dubai Christmas Festival 2012


This will be the second Christmas that I will be spending away from home.  So I decided to make it as memorable as possible as if I am actually spending it with my family.  Good to know that this country have been open to accommodate the difference cultures of the expatriates living here.

First on the list is the Dubai Christmas Festival.  Sponsored by Philips, the festival was held at the ampitheater of the Dubai Media City.  The venue was not difficult to locate.  Once you entered the Dubai area passing Ibn Batuta Train station, you just need to be within the area of  Marina Mall.  Once you found that exit, the sign for Dubai Media City is seen.  Just follow street directions, plus the festival is noticeable with all decors and loud music.  The only problem was the parking.  There's not much space, we have to go around the area for some time till we were able to hit a jackpot.

The entrance is hard to miss, a huge signage for the festival and a booth for the tickets welcomes the visitors. Entrance rate for Adults cost AED 40 and AED 25 for kids.  Another ticket for Santa's Grotto is also sold for AED 20.00  Once we gave them our voucher, we were given two entrance tickets with raffle ticket plus a mini map of the festival.  The Christmas tree lined pathway was an encouraging sight for the arriving visitors.




And so our adventure started.  Three were plenty of booths for food and restaurant.  Further from the main Christmas tree area is the market which sells bric-a-brac that could be a funky Christmas gift.  What I love the most was the booth with carnival games. ho ho ho!  It was located at the end of the night market area.  though its not hard to miss as it is next to a ice cream truck.  I did a beeline there, I'm a sucker for this games and I rarely win but still the trill of trying to win something is just plain enticing.  Good to know there's no shooting games, I'd need my sister for that to win a prize.  A huge donut caught my eye and decided to try my luck there.  the game was hook a gift bag.  If the back you hooked has a Christmas ball inside you get to take home the huge donut displayed.  The game cost AED 15.00, first bag we got a stuffed shark. Boohoo.  Before I spend more, my husband drag me back to the center of the festival.










We got a a bench and watched the Christmas tree lighting and listen kid's choir sing.   While the Christmas concert was going, I had to scour every booth and scored myself some freebies. I love fairs like this! The festival serves draft beers at AED 35.00 per cup.  We bought from fish and chips and some sushi and dinner underneath the stars is served.




The night was almost perfect after another round of window shopping and more sample tasting I forced my husband to have another go with the donut game before we leave for Abu Dhabi.  When I got there, I was handed the hook and I was just there looking at all those  glittering gift bags, where could those balls be hiding.  Only two donuts were left for the taking for that night, After so much deliberation I hook the bag that was staring right in front of me.  And ta-dah! I won a donut! I shrieked horribly and it was unlady-like but I really don't care.  That made my night.




We left around 8:00 pm while the rest of the drinking crowd were just starting to heat up the beer station. The festival ran from Dec. 06-08, 2012.  I hope I get to catch this same festival next year and win another gift to add another stuff in our living room.


 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

41st UAE National Day

Ho! It has been three months since my last post, and that was a bit melancholic considering that it was a post  about a forbidden protein (in my case).   Before this post will reek of sour graping thoughts...what better way to make a come back than to do it in one of the most wonderful month of the year..December!



Our December started with a loud bang, with the UAE national day kicking off the month.  The celebration started with  a 10 minute fireworks display at the corniche area on 01 December 2012.  As advertised the fireworks will start around 8:30 pm.



We decided to join in the festivities since there will be no work the following day.  We had a impromptu picnic at the park.  We packed our instant hot chocos and some munchies and headed to the park.  We have to walk since the road leading to the corniche is already crowded.  Before we were able to find a spot, the fireworks started already.  One word, beautiful.



The kid in me will always be amazed with the loud bang as well as the colorful splatter of glittering lights in the sky.  It will never cease to make me clap with glee while shouting "ooooohhhh" and "aaaahhhhh." 



After the display, we found a small spot since the entire park was fully packed.  That's when we started people watching.  Yes, people watching, the most enjoyable activity that you could do without spending a cent.  Kids and and adults are walking while spraying artificial snow and bubbles to passersby.  We even had our share of spray even if we were just sitting.  It was fun.  Cars passing honking and throwing confettis also made the night more party-ish.



The main firework event was on 02 December 2012 the same venue.  we didn't dare went out to watch it because there's too much traffic.  We only went out before it was dark to do a little shopping.  We were lucky to catch the air show.  It was exciting.  The daredevil pilots can really take your breath away.  The parade of cars with uae stickers were also everywhere.




Truly a festive way to start off my December 2012.



 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Red Meat Diary

Warning:  If you are not a red meat fan, please stop reading.

Forgive me for being so inactive lately.  I haven't been much of an adventurer since I started this new journey which I still prefer to keep mum till something happens.

It has been 41 days since my last red meat gorging.  And I think, it has finally taking its toll on my well being. *sheepish grin*  and while I was scanning my phone for rubbish pics I found this!





Oh hello there my good friends...

Dear Oinky Bacon,

I miss your crispy personality.  I can't get enough of you.  I'd welcome you anytime of the day.  I miss the way your smell makes me dream of a sunny day while swinging under the shade.  I miss how your crunch marries the chargrilled taste of your good friend Beefy Patty.

Dear Beefy Patty,

As I've said, the experience is not perfect without you in the picture.  It is an empty gastronomical fulfillment.  It was like drinking coke zero or pepsi light without the zing.  Or eating low fat ice cream.  Subtitutes just don't make the cut.  It is not the real thing.

Good, good friends...when will our paths cross again?  

Until then, I will keep you on the pedestal of my wish-list.

This monstrous burger by the way, is from Davao.  Had the chance to sample it way back in March 2012.

Gino's Burger
Door 4 Yu Uy Tong Bldg.
Lapu Lapu Street
Corner Sobrecarey Street
Davao City 8000, Philippines
(Near Sta. Ana Parish / Between FabuLocks Salon and ARVP)
Telephone Number (082) 226 2659
Mobile Number: 0946 565 4636
Open: Monday to Saturday from 9AM to 8PM
for the menu, click here


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Three Countries in One Day

So the long weekend for Eid al Fitr has finally passed, and we spent it glued to the tube.  Seriously, while everyone else we know frolicked under the sun, we jumped from one channel to another just because its free!  No, I will not be talking about the free cable channels. 

I was berating my husband for not making any plans for the long weekend - sad to say because we were both so wrapped up with the door thing.  We currently don't have a doorknob.  Don't ask, I might end up complaining about our real estate agent. hmp!

Anyway, since we didn't have any reservations for the first and second day of Eid, hubby woke me up early and promised to take me around the globe in one day.  I jumped into the shower and some coffee.  He took out our emergency bag and filled it out with chips and then we're off.  Road trip!

First stop. IKEA! Imagine my glee when I noticed the road we are heading.  So we had Swedish breakfast.  We had their breakfast meal plus waffles and refillable coffee.  We didn't linger inside the store because we need to take a longer trip from Abu Dhabi.



Second stop, yes, its in Dubai.  We decided to do some early Christmas shopping.  Make the most of what ever is on sale.  For lunch, we had an American meal.  Nope its not the big yellow M logo with it.  We opted to eat healthy and go for Subway.  Healthy subs plus cookies is the perfect lunch while shopping.



For our last stop we decided to try out the newly opened Filipino restaurant in Abu Dhabi. Max's Friedn Chicken.  The restaurant is located in Khalifa St. in Abu Dhabi.  It is at Corcniche Apartment building at "R" floor.  We were excited to try it since, it has been a while since we ate something Filipino.

Once you the elevator doors opened at level "R" we were warmly greeted by the hostess.  There is a queue for the table.  So she got our name and we sat at the waiting area.  The restaurant was buzzing.  Every Filipino was excited to try out Max's.  Good thing the waiting didn't take that long.  We were seated and our orders were taken.  After 15 minutes our order came and we dive in.  We had Max's platter and Max's basic and Chicken sisig.  I'm not a sisig eater but husband told me to try it, and amazingly it was good.  Everything was good.  It tastes like being back at home. *sigh*  downside though, the plates were oily.  It felt like it was not properly washed?  I'll let is pass, being it newly opened and too busy with customers.  Total wallet damage was AED 84.00 not bad.  Not bad at all.





All in all we had a taste of three countries in one day.  Maybe next holiday we'll do this again and maybe this time we will have a plan.


Saturday, August 18, 2012

Break The Fast in Abu Dhabi

Well, I really have to wait for the last day of Ramadan just to make this article, right? Uhmmm...would it help if I say " I was swamped with work for the last couple of weeks." ? Anyway, before the moon shows up tonight I've checked some restaurants and Iftar deals where you can indulge all the yummy foods to your burst out of your seams.



Le Jardin
Mercure Centre Hotel, Al Markaziyah
Rate: AED 95.00
Time: sunset - 8:30 pm
For reservations: 02 633 3555

Mafraq Hotel Abu Dhabi
Mafraq Hotel Abu Dhabi
Rate: AED 99.00
Time: sunest - 10:30 pm
For reservation: 02 659 6207

18°
Hyatt Capital Gate
Khaleej al Arabi St
Rate: AED 170.00
Time: sunest - 10:30 pm
For reservation: 02 596 1440

2.35
Cristal Salam Hotel,
Tourist Club Area
Rate:  AED 125.00
Time: sunset - 7:30 pm
For reservation: 02 659 7712

Afya
Traders Hotel Qaryat Al Beri,
Bain Al Jessrian
Rate: AED 125 ++
Time: sunset - 8 pm
For reservation: 02 510 8888

Al Badiya
Tilal Liwa Hotel, Liwa
Rate: AED 140.00
Time: sunset - 10:30 pm
For reservation:  02 894 6111

Al Bathna
Armed Forces Officers Club & Hotel
Rate: AED 160
Time: sunset - 8:30 pm
For reservation: 02 441 5900

Assymetri
Radisson Blu, Yas Island
Rate: AED 105
Time: sunset - 10:30 pm
For reservation: 02 656 2000

Atayeb
Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi, Yas Island
Rate: AED 120
Time: sunset and onwards
For reservation: 02 656 0600

Barranca
Yas Links Golf Club, Yas Island
Rate: AED 125
Time: sunset onwards
For reservation: 02 810 7777

Choice
Yas Island Rotana, Yas Island
Rate: AED 160
Time: 9 pm to 11:00 pm
For reservation: 02 656 4000

Citrus
Millennium Hotel Abu Dhabi, 
Al Markaziyah
Rate:  AED 149.00
Time: sunset - 10:30 pm
For reservation: 02 614 6020

Dine
Aloft Abu Dhabi,
Khaleej Al Arabi Street
Rate: AED 135
Time: sunset - 8 pm
For reservation: 02 654 5013

Gems
Cristal Hotel, Madinat Zayed
Rate: AED 125
For reservation: 02 652 0000

Haritna
Grand Millennium Al Wahda,
Al Wahda Complex
Rate: AED 139
For reservation: 02 443 9999

Holiday Inn
Downtown Abu Dhabi
Rate:  AED 140
Time: sunset - 10:30 pm
For reservation: 02 657 4856

Jing Asia
Crowne Plaza Abu Dhabi
Yas Island
Rate: AED 140
Time: sunset - 9 pm
For reservation: 02 656 3053

La Terrazza
Hilton Abu Dhabi, Al Khubeirah
Rate: AED 165
Time: sunset onwards
For reservation: 02 681 1900

Emirates Palace
Emirates Palace Hotel
Ras Al Akhbar
Rate: AED 250
Time:  sunset - 9:30 pm
For reservation: 02 690 9000

Most fastfoods are also offering iftar meals at a low cost prices.  Like the following:

Mary Brown
For AED 25
includes: 5 pcs chicken, 2 fries, 2 softdrinks

KFC
For AED 55
includes: bucket good for 4 person includes free donuts from Krispy Kreme

Subway
For AED 10
includes: 6" subs any filling

Well, that's about it for Ramadan.  Time to celebrate Eid!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Take Me To Your Place..

Take me to your place...please?  As the title goes, it does not actually mean physically - but you can take me there virtually.  I have been to many places and most of them are in my dreams.  And it would take some heavy coaxing to the husband in order to tick off some places in my travel bucket list.  So I have decided to do postcard swap. 

I am currently living in Abu Dhabi.  This culturally rich country entices a lot of foreigners aside from the cames and the endless stretch of sand.  The heat (which I think at this point in time - summertime - is unbearable) is a welcome change for those who experiences snow and rain most of the year.  I'm from the tropics so the heat is something I'd like to escape as much as possible.

And so to make this post as short as possible (i wish!) I would like to invite all you readers to swap postcards with me.  With the age of too much technology, receiving something from snail mail is refreshing.  Truly, the personalized writings, the stamps and the wait is a joy for those who were born before yahoo mail was created.

Anyway, if you are interested to swap postcards with me let me know.  Send me an email (does this defeat the purpose already? I'm promoting snail mail through email? jeessh!) at maruya24@yahoo.com.

Hear from you soon!


Saturday, July 14, 2012

Wasabi Night

Among the smalls joys of life is sampling the food paradise of the city you are currently living.  For this week, target cuisine is Japanese.  Hubby likes sushi and never missed to buy a set when we visit Carrefour, so why not visit this Japanese restuarant that also offers  the real deal and more.  So we we set our sights at Samurai Restaurant.









Samurai Restaurant, is I think the only Japanese restaurant listed here in Abu Dhabi.  It is near Toursit Club Area and behind Capital Al Diar Hotel along Mina Road.  The area is not located at the usual busy streets of the city.  There was ample parking space and it was not difficult to locate.  We were the first customer to arrive.

the restaurant from the corner angle


Honestly, the reason why I chose this restaurant to try out because they have churros in their dessert menu.  I have been craving for churros for the past few days. Missed munching on them.  I think the best churros I had was in Singapore at Clarke Quay.  It was soft and crunchy at the same time.  I don't know how churros ended up in the menu of a Japanese restuarant, because it sounded Japanese? Hohum. Ok back to the Asian cuisine.

We ordered Chicken Yakisoba for me, Yakiniku Bento for hubby, Maguro Sushi, Tamago Sushi and of course don't forget Gyoza.

the appetizer
Gyoza!

Yakiniku (Beef and Fish with salad and rice)

Chicken Yakisoba

Tamago Sushi

Maguro sushi


The verdict:  the yakisoba was disappointing, it tasted and looked like the Filipino Pancit Canton.  The noodles was not even passable.  It was bit salty.  The  lunch box that hubby ordered was good.  The fish and  the beef was very tasty.  It was my first time to try sushi minus the seafood, that's why I ordered for the Tamago, I must say, the rice, the seaweed wrap and sweetened omellete was a welcome surprise to my choosy palate.  Since I am not a fan of anything raw, I didn't try the tuna sushi.  The gyoza was cooked perfectly, crispy edges and soft shells.  I still prefer the gyoza of Rai Rai Ken in Davao though.  I don't know why.

Total wallet damage was AED 174.00 and left some tip since no service charge on the receipt.  WE were not able to order the churos since we were already pretty much filled up.  Maybe next time.



Samurai Restaurant
Online Menu

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Mesmerized

Mesmerized.  Yes, I was totally hyponotized by the flowy movement while the orchestral music blared.  My heart jumps at every beat and I just can't take off the smile on my face as every scene unfolds of Snow White on Ice.

As part of Abu Dhabi's Summer Activities for the entire family especially the kids, Abu Dhab National Exhibitions Company (ADNEC) hosted Summer in Abu Dhabi.  It would have been just one of those usual kids playground inside an airconditioned venue, except for one - the ice show.




I have always wanted to watch an ice show.  It's one of the 100 things I want to do before I die.  Hubby was a bit wary of going there.  The posters itself showed kids running around.  Its probably a children's affair.  After a few assurance from me, we head to ADNEC and decide for sure what the summer in Abu Dhabi is all about.



ADNEC was full of kids.  Unlike the first time we visited the place, the exhibit this time if full of running kids, all food stalls are open and loud music is playing, so it was not difficult to locate the hall where it is held, halls 8, 9,10 and 11.  Booths outside the hall are open for tickets.  The entrance fee is AED 40 for adults and AED 30 for children under 12 years old.  By the entrance of the hall, tags are available to put on to the kids with their names, in case you get separated.

Once inside, you'll be welcomed by the huge Ice Village, inspired by Ice Age movie. Plenty of rides and activity area swamped the halls.  There is even a hall where you can do contact sports.  On the other side, more booths for shooting hoops or tying a camel and carnival rides.  It was total chaos but it was an absolute heaven for the kids.  At the far east end, there is the sea lion show.  The last show was on 8:10 pm but that was not what we came for, opposite the sea lion's den is the cinema like lights blinking show world.














A long qeue is starting to build up. We headed there and joined the throng of kids and parents.  I guess we were the only couple there without screaming and jumping kids as companions.  We entered the venue and found a seat.  The ice rink was a bit small, not what I have expected.  The show started exactly 8:00 pm, hurrah for the organizers for opening right on the dot.  The show opened with the crow suspended doing ballet moves and finally touched the ice and the swish swish sound just took my breath away. 




The 30- minute show was very entertaining.  I didn't expect hubby would loved the show, but he did.  We were both like kids the entire show.  Smiling the whole time and clapping our hands vigorously if one of the dancers show jaw dropping stunts and maneuvers.  We were gushing so much about watching more ice shows and I even pointed out that those dancers were Russian.  Another good point in Russia.  More reason to visit the country. hurray!

video


The ice show will continue until 19 July 2012.  Visit www.summerinabudhabi.ae for more information of the activities.

Monday, July 2, 2012

A Step Towards Utopia

A few weeks ago, I went to my OBgyne for my usual visit and while waiting for my turn, I tried to look for something on the side tables to busy myself.  I found one pamphlet which I think is only possible in the movies.  Have you watched the movie The Island?  It was lead by cutie pie Ewan Macgregor and sultry Scarlet Johansson where they served as clones whose organs will be harvested if in case their sponsor requires it.  Well, this pamphlet offers more or less the same.  This is Cryo-Save.



Cryo-Save is a stem cell bank that collects your baby's umbilical cord that can be used for the lifesaving of your family.  Below is the excerpt of the pamphlet.

Cord blood banking is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for you to collect and save the stem cells from your baby's umbilical cord blood for porential medical uses.  Having this invaluable resource can be lifesaving or life-changing for your baby and other family members.


*  Cord blood us a rich source of hematopoietic stem cells, which are being used in transplant medicine to treat nearly 80 life-threatening diseases, including a wide range of cancers, genetic diseases, immune system deficineces, and blood disorders.


*  Cord blood is being researched today for use in regenerative medicine where stem cells may help induce healing or regenerate cells to repair tissues.  This exciting new area of medicine has led to clinical trials and research using cord blood in experimental therapies to treat cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury and juvenile diabetes.


Additionally, having your baby's own genetically unique stem cells offers many advantages if stem cells are ever needed for treatment by you, your child, siblings or other family members:

     *  Your baby's cord blood is immediately available for your family if needed for treatment, and early treatment can minimize disease progression.

     *  If ever required for a transplant, using your own family's cord blood instead of an unrelated donor's can have a significant advantages, including fewer complications and improved medical outcomes.

     *  For experimental regenerative medicine therapies that use cord blood, the child's own stem cells are required.

How about that?  Science has really come a long way.  There certainly more ways to increase our number of years here on earth.  This life banking will cost AED 13,000.00.  Does this blog sounds like I'm advertising this bank?  It's not, actually.  I just wanted to share this new science discovery.

If you want to know more about this whole science thing you can visit their website www. cryo-save.com.