We had a relaxing weekend at the Cove Rotana Resort a few weeks ago for a friends birthday celebration. Just a short 2-hour drive from Dubai, the resort is located on a water inlet on the Ras Al Khaimah beachfront and overlooks the Arabian Gulf. We shared a Villa with two other couples and loved how the resort embraced the uniqueness of the surrounding Arabian culture. The traditional charm was matched by the lovely Spring weather – gorgeous, right?
Continue reading “The Cove Rotana Resort – Ras Al Khaimah”
It’s been 3 years since I was last in Doha and it was more beautiful than ever! Jordon and I visited Qatar this past weekend for the Tasmeem Conference held in Education City. It’s only a short 1 hour trip from Dubai and the flight on flyDubai was very affordable. We loved the slower pace of the cosmopolitan urban environment and that the city seemed to seamlessly integrate people together in wonderfully unique ways.
Continue reading “Doha! Qatar”
We found these glass bottles while hiking through the abandoned village of Jazeerat Al Hamra in the UAE. The classic styling of the lettering is not only beautiful, but the inclusion of bilingual (Arabic) typography stopped me in my tracks. Isn’t it funny how discarded trash can feel like a treasure depending on the context? Notice the shift from the first bottle to the second, where the designers are starting to more distinctly echo the American branding. Continue reading “Bilingual Pepsi Cola Glass Bottles”
The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi is the largest mosque in the UAE and the most beautiful building I’ve had the opportunity to visit while living here. To reflect the spirit of Islam, a religion of peace, education and tolerance, the mosque is open to visitors of all nationalities for educational tours. To enter the mosque, women are required to wear an abaya and a sheila, while men are required to wear a kandora if they are wearing shorts.
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This weekend we went to a ghost town. No really, we did! There is an abandoned village called Jazirat Al Hamra south of Ras Al Khaimah where Jinns are known to come out at nightfall. Just an hour-long drive from Dubai and we found ourselves wandering through empty streets, exploring crumbling homes, looking for geo-caches, and taking photos – so much fun!
Continue reading “The Ghost Town of Jazeerat Al Hamra”
Last month we had our first “High Tea” in Dubai served at the tallest tower in the world, the Burj Khalifa. I made reservations a week in advance and didn’t have any trouble getting a table since it was on a Tuesday. The afternoon tea included a selection of scones, sandwiches, quiches and desserts with obligatory mocktails, juices, tea, and coffee.
Continue reading “High Tea at the Burj Khalifa in At.mosphere”
Sikka what, Sikka who? This week I had the opportunity to visit “Sikka” at Al Bastakiya during the Art Week of Dubai. Sikka was named after the alleyways in the neighborhood and showcased emerging Emirati talent from the UAE. Historic buildings throughout Al Bastakiya were home to small exhibitions, while participating artists stayed on-site to support educational activities for the public.
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March in Dubai has been filled with exhibitions, international artists, and art-fairs all coming together for the umbrella initiative “Art Week.” Faculty, students, and art lovers toured galleries, non-commercial spaces, and fair-grounds filled with regional and international art throughout the jam packed week. The annual Art Week positions the Gulf as a place of artistic production in numerous cultural centers including Art Dubai, Design Days Dubai, and Sikka.
Continue reading “Design Days Dubai”
Luckily, our first full day in Mubai was a “free-day” and a great opportunity to explore the city. After some extensive internet research for the “best tourist attraction in Mubai,” we decided to visit the Elephanta Caves, a world heritage monument. Interestingly enough, very little is known about the history of the caves and precise dating is controversial. Most people seem to agree that the magnificent sculptures inside the caves were probably finished some time between 450 and 750 AD (!!).
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Jordon and I had short and wonderful trip to Mumbai, India during the first week of March. The purpose of the trip was for me to present my recent research (and paper) at the Typography Day Conference (held at IDC, ITT, India). Preparation for the conference has been a pain-stacking process and is a huge reason I have not been updating this blog as often as I would like (sorry!).
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Last weekend we went camping in Oman for the first time and had an absolutely amazing experience! Since this was our first camping trip in the UAE, we didn’t have any gear to call our own besides a newly purchased tent and set of chair(s) from Carefour. Luckily our friends had all the camping equipment, a great jeep for trekking across the rough terrain, and knew the perfect beach to set up camp for the weekend.
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We just watched a spectacular fireworks show welcoming in 2012 at the Burj Khalifa in Dubai!! The traffic on Sheikh Zayed Road was absolutely insane and I felt lucky to ring in the new year from the top of our apartment building in Business Bay. Happy New Year to all you wonderful friends and family. Wishing you joy, peace, and prosperity this year and beyond!
Continue reading “New Years Fireworks at the Burj Khalifa”
Our last full day in Thailand started out in Kanchanaburi and ended at the 4.5 star Suvarnabhumi Suite in Bangkok. We were both starting to feel the exhaustion from the non-stop activity and after the 4 hour drive to the city through terrible traffic, we planned a low-key day for ourselves. We visited the well-known Sky Bar at The Dome Bangkok and took care of some last minute shopping for gifts for friends & family back home.
Continue reading “The High Life in Bangkok”
Well rested and excited to start the day, we enjoyed an early breakfast at the resort before our 8am pickup for the Erawan Trekking Adventure. During the tour we hiked the Erawan Falls, swam in 2 of the tiers, rode an elephant, traveled the River Kwai on a bamboo raft, visited the Krasae Cave, took a trip on the Death railway, and stood on the famous bridge over the River Kwai. Talk about a memorable (and exhausting) day!
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Today was an exhausting day starting the moment we woke up. We rushed to pack and leave the hotel in record speed with the looming feeling we might forget something. Luckily we didn’t leave anything behind, except our energy. Our three hour drive to Kanchanaburi was smooth but neither of us were able to recover from our lost sleep the night before. Thankfully our spirits quickly lifted as we entered the driveway of The Royal River Kwai Spa and Resort and we caught a glimpse of the picturesque location.
Continue reading “Kanchanaburi and the River Kwai”
Our Christmas Day in Bangkok was jam packed with activity. We visited the floating market, shopped at the Chatuchak Market, sampled a 5-course Thai dinner, took a private night tour of the historic side of Bangkok, watched a Thai play, visited the Royal Palace, and walked along the infamous Khao San Road. We finished the busy day by calling home and spending time wishing our family a Merry Christmas with the help of Skype.
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We had a slow and relaxing morning before checking out of the Old Palace Resort today. With a cool breeze in our hair we sat on the porch reminiscing on our trip while drinking tea (me) and coffee (Jordon). We said our good-byes to the outstanding little bed & breakfast and made sure to thank our hosts for their generous hospitality. In Thai, you thank someone by saying Krab Kun Kha (if you are a female) or Krab Kun Khap (if you are male).
Continue reading “Christmas Eve in Bangkok”
Our second day in Ayutthaya was filled with temples, tuk-tuks, elephants, bikes, and more temples. The fact that the city of Ayutthaya has built itself up and around all of these old ruins is absolutely amazing to us. To have such an obvious visual representation of your ancestry is not only awe inspiring, but makes us both a little jealous to tell you the truth.
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The city of Ayutthaya was more than we could have imagined with glittering golden towers and ancient stone temples on every city block. Late in the afternoon of our first day we took a beautiful boat trip around the city’s perimeter with a soft breeze gently cooling us off from the hot day. During the tour we stopped to venture inside Wat Panan Choeng and Wat Phutthaisawan. Both were absolutely amazing in their own right.
Continue reading “Ayutthaya River Tour”
On our first full day in Thailand we slept in until 10am (6am in Dubai) and headed down to the lobby for a complimentary breakfast after packing our bags to leave. Jordon had arranged for a driver to pick us up that morning to take us to the city of Ayutthaya (a world heritage site) and we were excited to see some of Thailand’s countryside.
Continue reading “The Island City of Ayutthaya”
No matter how excited you are for a vacation, the impending 13 hours of travel (at the airport and on a plane) is never something you look forward to. There are always hassles and headaches that can push you in one direction or the other…and lucky for us… today fell on the positive side of the travel-track.
Continue reading “Touchdown Bangkok”
Finally! We have our parcel of goodies from home after two days of “adventures” to the Deira Main Post Office. The journey was actually a great way to see a part of Dubai we normally wouldn’t explore and we found some great food along the way. Thanks to the ease of the Metro, some tasty Ethiopian food, and our box of gifts – it was a fantastic day.
Continue reading “Ethiopian Restaurant in Dubai”
You wouldn’t think it would be difficult to find the post-office, but today we learned that it’s all about finding the “right” post office. Let me back up a bit. Up until now, I haven’t had any problems with my mail or packages being delivered directly to campus. But for some odd reason, a package from home (that Jordon has been impatiently waiting on) was delivered to the Deira Main Post Office this week. Apparently this happens occasionally and there is no telling why.
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I have had far less Arabic tea while living and working in Dubai than I would have ever expected after visiting Qatar last Summer. In each and every place we visited in Doha we were offered Arabic tea and coffee along with delicious sweet dates. It seemed like a natural component of the home & workplace and I fell in love with the flavors of the experience. In Dubai on the other hand, there are so many Westernized areas you can easily miss this Middle Eastern hospitality. Continue reading “Arabic Tea”
This December we’re on to our next baking obsession – which seems to be centered around bananas. Banana bread, banana oat muffins, banana pancakes, and more. Want to cook along with us? If so, here’s our favorite recipes this month. Do you have any yummy baking obsessions to share? I would love if you would send them my way since we’re always looking for something new to try.
Continue reading “Can you add bananas to that?”
2011 marks the 40th year of the formation of the Emirtes and decorations have popped up all across the city to commemorate the occasion. Lights sparkle in green, red, white and sometimes blue (since black isn’t available in string-lights) while HUGE flags drape across buildings, houses, Universities, and even cars. To mark the occasion, the University celebrated the 40th National Day with performances, food, and events before sending us off on a 3-day weekend.
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We were suppose to spend this Thanksgiving with my friend Brandee in Al Ain yesterday, but with a last minute change of plans we decided to stay home and try and cook our own meal. I’m sure everyone back home had a similar feast, but in Dubai this is considered a truly unique meal. In the end, we were pretty proud of our final spread and felt closer to home by actually cooking the dinner from scratch ourselves. Here’s what we cooked:
Continue reading “Happy Thanksgiving!”
We are celebrating Thanksgiving a day later this year (at least food wise) because Thursday is a workday in Dubai. Not much of surprise considering it is an American holiday – but it didn’t stop me from thinking about all of the things I’m grateful for. I could go on-and-on about thankfulness – especially considering all the recent changes in my life – but here’s a few thoughts I wanted to share for those of you who follow this blog regularly: Continue reading “Thankful”