Published: July 21st 2012July 21st 2012
Yesterday was a nice start to the weekend. I lounged in bed all day, read a huge chunk of my book on Kindle, ate some leftovers. Yes, Friday was the first day of Ramadan and I had prepared. Thursday night, I ordered delivery - enough to last me for supper and through the day - and from one of my favorite places: Zaatar w Zeit. They make these delicious falafel wraps that are huge and are good for two or three meals: it is a spiced falafel mix with parsley, tomatoes, turnip and radish. I also a Fattoush Salad on the side, which is a traditional Lebanese salad with tomatoes, cucumber, mint, parsley, onions, pepper, lettuce and halloumi cheese with baked bread chips and drizzled with a yummy vinegarette. Seriously, so far this my absolute favorite meal since I've been here!
I handwashed a bunch of laundry and continued reading. I was planning to go out at 7, so i had plenty of time to lounge around. Most of the people here sleep during the afternoon, then have the big Iftar after sundown, which is basically a large buffet, and then go out. Many of the restaurants are open until
A traditional Lebanese salad
the wee hours of the morning!
That evening I met with a bunch of work people at Belgian Beer Cafe at Madinat Jumeirah, which is a luxiurious resort that also owns the "7-star" Burj al Arab. The resort is set up to look like a traditional Arab town, albeit a very clean, pretty, perfect and expensive one! Walking to the restaurant was very cool as there are many courtyards and souk-like halls with stores and vendors. We accidentally went outside looking for our restaurant, and I would love to come back to eat at one of the restaurants that overlook the gulf with the Burj al Arab in the background.
The Belgian Beer Cafe was just what I needed, though a bit pricey. I got a "pint" of Leffe Blonde, which was pretty good (i've had before). A pint here is much different than the US! I asked my coworker, "is this really a pint?" We couldn't really decide and my phone stopped working, but I looked it up today and the US pint is approximately 473mL while the imperial pint is 553ml, which is what it said on the menu. Quite a difference! I am really enjoying
the one drink per occasion thing - no hangovers and consistently losing or maintaining weight! For dinner, I ordered the salmon; at 125 dirhams, it was by far the most expensive meal I've had (~$35), but it was very tasty; it came with grilled salmon, mashed potatoes, and some sauteed greens in a butter sauce. I ate every bit after not having eaten since about noon.
About 10:00 I started to get sleepy and was ready to call it a night. It was fun people watching - quite a few cute guys in this area!!! And I enjoyed getting to know some of my other coworkers better, while also hanging with Samar and Angel for the second week in a row. Some of my coworkers live in JLT, where I am really wanting to move. They dropped me off at my hotel on the way home and riding in the jeep, I keep thinking I may want to get one...
Today, I went to the usual: Mall of the Emirates. I needed to recharge my phone minutes as it appeared to have stopped functioning the night before. I went to the Metro, through the oppressive heat, swiped my
card, rode up the escalator and realized that I forgot my phone - my whole reason for going in the first place! So I returned to my room, grabbed my phone and got a cab this time! :) Apparently, I didn't need my phone anyway; good to know for future and it was pretty easy to call and recharge. I then bought some new movies to watch on my mac. I looked at some tv prices for when I finally get my own place. I bought some toiletries. I checked to see if any good movies were playing; most of the tickets were sold out for early evening and I definitely didn't want to see a movie at 10 pm! I check out the food court, which was closed off and many restaurants completely shutdown. There were a few still open though, especially the American fast food places (NYF, Baja Fresh, McD's, Burger King, and Pizza Hut), and they only served takeaway, but I decided to go for a new place: Pastamania. It was pretty good: spicy aglio olia (garlic and oil pasta), with garlic toast and a soda. Mostly, it was just really nice and very different to be
able to walk around the mall without crowds or pressure.
I took a big long nap and here I am! The buffet at the hotel is in the actual restaurant while they've shut down the usual buffet location. I was still full from the pasta, so got a tiny little ice cream instead from the supermarket, but I looked at what they had to offer. It looked like a lot of good food, but i will have to come early as it looks to dry out pretty easily.
Tomorrow is the first work day of Ramadan and I have no idea how that is going to go. Muslims can go home after 6 hours while the rest have to stay at work. We are not allowed to eat, drink or chew gum in public, so we have to eat our food in private (like the bathroom or something). I have my granola bars and fruit ready!
So, I'm sure you'll hear about it tomorrow! :) First, I have to figure out how the heck to add photos using this stupid mac....
There are more photos below