Discovering Dubai

I had great expectations for this destination; well known as a business hub, I imagined big go-downs (airplane hangar style) full of business people from all over the world haggling over goods, streets full of people, Arab music flowing from ‘dukas’, aroma from the delicious food wafting down the streets, veiled women, hairy men, large mosques with an Imam calling on the faithful for prayers.
I was not ready for the modern, highly organized city that I found during my recent visit. The city looked as though hundreds of architects were let loose with a brief to design tall and interestingly shaped sky scrapers. The roads were also an engineering marvel, so smooth, clean, well marked, well lit and the vehicles, huge SUVs, fancy sports cars all racing down the well designed roads, these guys drive fast, I kept imaginary breaking!
I was however nursing some disappointment; there were no dukas or food aroma, the streets were not full of people, there were however hairy men and some veiled women. But I sensed a general lack of personality or soul in this city. The place lacked ‘dubainess’, to me it was all tall buildings and roads. Eighty percent of Dubai’s population is made up of immigrants from all over the world who are there mainly to earn a living. I would imagine this cosmopolitan mix would create an interesting feel to the city, but I was mistaken.
Disappointment aside, there’s plenty to do in Dubai only thing that will stop you is time and money. With my limited time and busy schedule I tried to cramp in as many activities as I could, of course I had a list. I was only able to squeeze in visits to the Burj district and Global village.

Dubai Skyline

Dubai Skyline

The Global Village is a must do if in Dubai, it’s a big area where countries across the world have pavilions selling their wares and culinary delicacies. There also an amusement park with all manner of fun games for both kids and adults. A full day is advised if you wish to enjoy the place. Some interesting ‘countries’ I managed to visit include Pakistan with their wide array of leather products and carpets, Egypt with a museum explaining the mummies, queens, pyramids, pharaohs and others, India full of clothing and fabric, Turkey, amazing food and jewellery and of course China full of cheap stuff. Then there’s a big pavilion dedicated to Africa, it however had no demarcation of the different countries thus making Africa look like one big country (and we wonder where such ignorant notions come from!). Global Village is a great place to visit to appreciate what other countries have to offer to the world. There is a food court offering food from various parts of the world, I had a Shish Kebab from Egypt.
The Burj district is overwhelming; this is where the tallest building in the world is housed. Burj Khalifa stands at 828meters and has over 160 floors and has the highest observation deck. Inside there are residences, hotels, offices and other amenities. Right outside are the Dubai Fountains, for this blog, we shall refer to them as a lady. And this lady can dance! The fountains, a combination of water and light are choreographed to move to classical, Arabic and world music. There are daily shows at specified times, but since I was lucky to be there during the Dubai Shopping Festival, there was a special show every evening at 8pm and 10pm. The show was a festival of water, fire, light and sound! Enthralling!!

Tiger shark in the aquariam

Tiger shark in the aquariam

And finally there is the Dubai Mall with over 1200 retail outlets spread out on four levels. There are major design houses from all over the world selling anything you can imagine. The mall features the Dubai Aquariam, home to over 30,000 aquatic animals; The Souk, designed with Arabic architectural features, intricate designs on the floors and walls and a dome roof that goes on and on. It offers a quiet escape from the buzz in the rest of the mall. Then there is the Ice rink, the Village and many other wonderful features. Word of advice to any visitor, get the brochure as soon as you get in, have a seat and look through to decide which shops you wish to visit it could take you days to get through all the shops! There are also food courts if you get hungry.
If I had more time I would have gone on a bus tour of the city, gone down to the creek, visited the Palm Jumeirah, gone down to Abu Dhabi for Formula one…ahh so much to do so little time!
All said and done, glad I have ticked that one off my bucket list. Let me know what you get up to when you visit.

Advertisements

Lamu Tamu

Pristine beaches that go on and on; food that will make you break any resolutions to lose weight; warm balmy weather; no traffic and no cars; welcome to Lamu!
I had always wanted to visit Lamu, I would always get this longing feeling every time I watched coverage of the Lamu Cultural Festival. A couple of months ago I stopped stalling and off the hubster and I went to the island.
We flew the small Safarilink jets, and to say the 1hour 45minute flight was enjoyable would be a lie. The flight was scenic alright but I hated how turbulence made the plane dip and rise. Anyway we arrived safe and sound. The airstrip is on Manda Island and to get to Lamu you need to cross over via boat.
We were staying at Msafini Hotel in Shella and the boat ride takes about 15 minutes. The hotel is nice and clean and the food is fantastic! Since we were there during the Lamu Cultural Festival, the hotel was packed with tourists and media personalities, but the services were great.
First thing I had to do was get a hena drawing, so the next morning we walked to Lamu town which is a half an hour walk that feels like you are in a sauna! The sea front town was filled with music and dance and an air of excitement as tourists milled around and the Amu people (Lamu Natives) prepared to entertain their guests. After getting the hena done in record time, we walked around the narrow streets of Lamu. We got a guide to take us round and he explained to us that the narrow streets are a way of ensuring the houses remained cool throughout the day. It was definitely cooler to mill about the narrow streets than it was to walk on the sea front.

My Hena work of art

My Hena work of art

Lamu cultural festival is a three day event that combines various activities. There is the highly publicized and exciting donkey race, there is the swimming competition and the dhow race in the evenings there is traditional coastal music from various musicians and food is in plenty.
Next to The Majlis is a little restaurant right by the beach. The little restaurant makes great food in the open air and serves alcohol, not a common thing in Lamu. You can lie down on the comfy cushions, sit with the bar man or lay next to the beach. Idyllic! Let me tell you a little about Majlis Hotel, it is one of the bigger establishments in that part of the world. At about twenty five thousand bob a night, visitors have kept off thanks to the kidnappings that happened on the island several months ago and so the place was closed. Shame! Away from Majlis, Manda island has the best beach I’ve laid my eyes on! Now I understand why tourists go gaga about Kenyan beaches. That beach commands silence so you can appreciate its beauty. That beach whispers to you, ‘sshhhh, everything will be alright’. That beach will make you happy to be alive.

Manda Island

Manda Island

Another joint that serves alcohol is the floating bar. Yes it’s in the middle of the ocean and looks like its floating away as you approach it. Rest assured, it’s you that’s moving and not the bar. We had great expectations of the bar…it didn’t live up to our expectations.
To end the trip on a high note the flight back was pretty smooth, or was I already used to the small plane ride? Let me know what you get up to when you visit Lamu, the beach on Manda Island is a MUST!

It’s not s resolution; it’s a reconstitution

Helleerrr (Madea style) anybody there? So, yes its January and as is ‘worldly’ tradition many people view it as a fresh start, an opportunity to right the ‘wrongs’ of the previous year. Mostly they are on pursuing dreams and self improvement and development.
Anyway this not what it looks like…It’s not a resolution but a reconstitution of my time and how I spend it and I have chosen to go back to documenting things in my own quirky way.

Here we go again

I have been reading other people’s blogs more and more these days and i have learnt a thing or two about these online diaries.
To start a blog is easy, very easy infact, maintining that blog however is an other issue all together!
Many bloggers start withlot of passion and a burning desire to have several loyal followers who leave comments (prefarably positive) on your page each time you post something.
As i was signing up for this blog, WordPress informed me that hitting numbers might take a while and that i should be patient, well guess what…3 years later it tells me the same thing!

Today i read a blog that lifted my spirits and gave me a feeling that i am not alone.
I will pick up where i left off and continue talking about all and sundry that happen in my life that has some social relevance.

To write or not to write

We all get to a point in our lives when what we were accustomed to doing gets turned upside down due to other changes that have taken place in our lives. These changes mean that you no longer do what you enjoyed doing for various reasons, but they say that if you really love something then it will come back to you (I think I have screwed up this saying to suit my statement, but isn’t that what words are for?). Well, I am no different and writing on this blog has been an issue I have been grappling with since the last post. I enjoy expressing my thoughts better in written than spoken form, those of you who read my letters when I was in high school probably know this (Does letter writing business still exist in this social media age?)
At first I thought I lacked the inspiration to write, but when I thought back to what this blog was about; daily rants, raves and generally experiences in my life, and I realized there was no way I could have lost inspiration, if that was the case then I’d be long gone (dead I mean).
So I am back, changed as I am sure you too have. I intend to carry on with writing, because I have this platform to and because it is only by practicing what you enjoy that helps you get better.
ION (In Other News)
I intend to start a sister blog to this one, it will be purely based on one of my passions, but hey let’s see if I can manage this one first before I get too ambitious.

Relationships

I was thinking about the aforementioned word a few days a go and I formulated an analogy that might help explain, and to some extent over simplify, relationships and all their intricacies and intrigues.

If you look at the work Relationship, two words can be derived without any rearranging the letters, that’s relation and ship. Separately, these two words have different meanings but together, they form a word we know all too well.

Now what got me thinking was the last word, ship. A ship can be easily defined as a water vessel that carries either goods or passengers with the aim of taking them to a destination.
So I naturally thought about the other word, relation. This can be defined as the interactions between two people (and sometimes more, but for purposes of this analogy let’s stick to two).
So at this point my abstract thoughts and imaginations kick in and I think of the other word, ‘relation’ as a good/passenger carried in the ‘ship’ and it has a particular destination.

I hope we are still together, if not feel free to re-read. With the relation aboard the ship, they set off on a voyage.
As is common knowledge, the sea is an unpredictable entity, regardless of how many experts and scientists pick and prod equipment that will provide them with weather forecasts, the sea is capable of unpredictability, and has proved this on more than one occasion and often with disastrous results.

Anyway, back to the topic at hand, the ship and relation set off on a voyage that just like any other is, unpredictable.
Allow me to throw in more abstractness, now look at the sea as a combination of the relation and the ship, thus making, relationship, got it? Good!

Now relationships are as unpredictable as the sea…and this is where the analogy comes into full play, the sea can be a stunning and kind entity that makes you want to bask in its majestic beauty, now equate this to the wonderful times in a relationship when love reigns supreme and you cannot imagine any bad times.

With time there are small and controllable storms that are easily overcome, this can be likened to the small troubles that relationships face but are easily dealt with and soon the relationship (ship) is back on track.

Then in comes the bad and ugly storms that threaten to capsize the ship…sometimes it does and sometimes it does not. These are the hurtful and painful things that threaten to end a relationship, sometimes it does but other times, through a lot of turmoil and cajoling, the bad storm is weathered and the ship is on its merry way again.

When you least expect it, the ship could come across something that hits it form the bottom so hard that the ship has no chance of remaining afloat (Titanic and the Iceberg) well the ship does sink and that marks the unceremonious end of the relationship between the relation and ship! These are those secrets we hold to ourselves and when uncovered, they cause irreversible damage.

In other instances, the ship could meet pirates and if the relation inside the ship is not a strong fighter then the ship gets hijacked and it begins a new relation with another ship. But if the relation puts up a good fight, the pirates are warded off and they go in search of another ship to have relations with. I am now talking about chips fungas, sausage fungas, mpango wa kandos or whatever else they are called nowadays.

In the long run, and this is what we all wish and pray for, is for the ship to finally dock at its destination. This may mean many things to many people; for some its that walk down the isle, for others it would be hitting fifty and still be together, and for others its dying together (The Notebook).
Whatever it means to you, I believe we all want our relation and ship to come together to make a relationship that has weathered the storm and can stand the test of time!