We’ve spent a lot of time here eating good food. That’s not a complaint – it might be a little on the expensive side, but its generally been delicious. Being on a budget, we haven’t exactly been frequenting fine dining institutions, but we’ve still had some delicious meals.
Last Friday, we visited the Ripe Market at Zabeel Park. After cramming onto the metro for what was, luckily, only a ten minute journey, we were pleasantly surprised when we arrived at the park. The market was full of local artisan products – which, effectively, appear to be the same wherever you are in the world, given the ‘locals’ were mainly expats – and delicious food. I had a mysteriously labelled beef and tzatziki shawarma, and Matt had some sort of spicy chicken roti. Nikki and Andrew joined us, and we spent some time in the park, where it was nice to see some greenery and life. It was warm – about 28 degrees – but not unbearably so, and we hung out under the trees on the grass admiring the scenery for a bit.
That afternoon, I noticed online there was a food truck festival that night down at Executive Towers, about 10 minutes walk from our apartment. So, true to form, we visited the food trucks for a second time that day.
When you visit a food truck festival back home, its usually a huge wait to get anything that looks remotely interesting (or isn’t a pulled pork sandwich, the mainstay of the New Zealand food truck festival). Well, there isn’t any pulled pork here, and I guess because these events happen fairly often, they just don’t get the same numbers. It was a lovely, pleasant evening and we managed to grab a table for ourselves, and chowed down on Wagyu beef and onion ring sliders, BBQ chicken buns and nutella churros. I’m sure this is the sort of thing you can only enjoy in the ‘winter’ months, so we are trying to make the most of it now.
Since then, I’ve been trying to cook a bit more at home, to keep costs down. Even the most simple things seem to be difficult to find here (an egg poacher is totally impossible to locate, a sink plug took me a week), so I’m cooking with limited capability. Also, I’m crap at cooking, which doesn’t help. But I’m enjoying the fresh fruit and vegetable deliveries, and having all of my supermarket shopping delivered for free with a few hours notice.
It’s hard to explain why things feel like they are a bit tedious to organise here. Today, I got up and got ready to go to the gym, but then received a message saying I would have a package in the next hour. Two hours later, I was still waiting, so went to go to the gym – but two minutes later, had a garbled phone call to say the courier was coming. About six or seven phone calls between the two courier companies trying to contact me, and an hour and a half later, I had my parcels, but I’d wasted half a day waiting (luckily, it meant I actually got some of my research assignment done). Every phone call is difficult, because we have terrible reception in our apartment, and most people speak an interesting hybrid of English and whatever their first language is. Tonight, Matt has gone out for a drink with his workmates, so I went to order food online for a treat. There was 83 choices of places to order from. Back home, Hell Pizza was the only place I knew that delivered. When I did order something, two separate people rang me in two separate phone calls to confirm what type of chips I would like. The one rug we really loved for our lounge is out of stock. We can’t figure out how on earth to attach the water dispenser to the 5 gallon water jug sitting in our kitchen. It took me three hours to vacuum and mop the floors today, which – now that sunlight is streaming through the window – I can see I did a terrible job of. All of these things are just minor, but when they all happen, and continue to happen, it does wear you out a bit.
In happier news, we now have a TV. I’m not a big TV watcher, and its probably a good thing, given we have about 200 channels of prime Arabic and Indian TV channels. We get about six English channels, but I’m too lazy to try and locate them. However, we do have Netflix, and it seems to have most of the programs and movies we could access in New Zealand. Our internet seems faster than what we had in New Zealand, and is unlimited – a good deal.
We shot out to Festival City – again – in the weekend, for what we hope is the final IKEA haul for awhile. Though we didn’t get everything we wanted, in a weeks time we are hoping that our apartment should be about 90% furnished. We also took a trip to HyperPanda and got ourself a printer.. and some plants.
I do not have a great track record with plants. The last plant I had was Tenzing. Tenzing was an unwanted prize in a pub quiz which was raising funds for Nepalese families in the Khumbu region. We didn’t win anything, and after the quiz, the waitress came around and asked if anyone wanted a free plant. While I scoffed and wondered why on earth anyone would want a crappy plant, Matt went and took it. You can see from the picture below that I was very excited.
He then proceeded to leave Tenzing at my house, where I basically forgot to water him for months on end. When I had to move out of my apartment, I showed up at Matt’s place one day to give him the sad plant back, where it stayed until we left for Dubai. Tenzing is now residing at the Birchall residence in Palmerston North, where I’m sure he is receiving much better care than I was able to give.
However, with such little greenery around in Dubai, I’ve decided to give houseplants another go. We picked up three small plants at HyperPanda, and we’re going to head down to Dubai Garden Centre on Friday to see if we can get a bigger one for our entrance. Not being green-fingered individuals, we have no idea what the plants are, or how to care for them. One of them was mysteriously labelled ‘green plant’. But I’m sure it can’t be that hard to figure out. And if I do manage to kill all three, I can pay my $9 to Hyperpanda and secretly replace them.