Big Bus Tour – Part 6, or, The Last Route

Just like on the Green Route, I hadn’t realised quite how much time would be spent on Sheikh Zayed Road so had opted to go upstairs again.  I can now say that I know that there isn’t a photo opportunity that is worth sitting in the open air section of a bus with no seat belts, belting along SZR at 100kmph in strong winds.  Not only was it cold but it was a little scary at times!!

Thankfully it was the end of the day and so the traffic had started to build up in the marina so we didn’t hurtle our way through there.  We got to sit in traffic, warm up slightly and take pictures of the water.  I could have take more but I was fascinated with the people sat in front of us.  I couldn’t work out if they were brother and sister, or an item.  What I can tell you is that I have NEVER seen a straight man take so many selfies or organise his sister/partners face so much to get the right look, angle and light.  It was unbelievable!!!

Such a shame the buildings were in the way of the sunset!!

I miss the Marina… but not the traffic!!

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Big Bus Tour – Part 5, Or, The Green Route

We jumped back on our bus at the Spice Souk and were very pleased to see that our calculations had been correct.  Our bus wasn’t over crowded and we took our seat for the final leg of the Red Route.

Different view of the city

We drove past the Frame again and I have to say, it’s much more impressive looking when it has sunlight to shine on it! Continue reading

Big Bus Tour – Part 4, Or, The Creek

With Dubai Museum behind us and the wind from being on an open top bus cooling us down (how people do this in the summer is beyond me) we set off again.  Sadly it was only a couple of short jumps to our next get off point.  We were headed onto the Creek for a Dhow Cruise.

We also had it perfectly timed because within minutes of being there, the dhow docked and the last tour group disembarked.

Traditional wooden boat

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Big Bus Tour – Part 3, or, Dubai Museum

After our exciting little mooch around the hidden souq (Part 2!) and our impromptu silly faces photo shoot outside it to pass the time, we jumped back on the bus and headed off to learn more.

We battled the traffic through Karama and Burjuman and I spent half the time giggling at our fellow explorers.  Their faces were priceless!  It is absolutely not the Dubai that they were expecting.  It wasn’t the Dubai they had seen in the glossy brochures and the websites that they looked at before heading over.  There was a brief reprieve when the newly refurbished BurJuman shopping mall came into view, but then as we headed to the Creek, the faces came back.

It’s not that these are dangerous places.  They are just old and tired, and a bit grubby.  It doesn’t help with all the balcony’s being full of laundry or used as storage generally.  They don’t have the same layer of gloss applied like Downtown, but they aren’t meant to have.  Continue reading

Winchester Winter Market

On one of his many long drives the other week, The Boy was listening to some or other grown up boring chat show type radio programme and was highly entertained to listen to a discussion on the appalling state of the ice and size at Winchester’s temporary ice rink.  He was also amused by the very eccentric local MP that came out in defense of it all.

A week or so later it was all forgotten as Mum and I made a plan to visit a Christmas Market.  Something must have stuck as without discussing our plans with him, we decided we all had to go to Winchester.

As we drove down we had the chat again and wondered about the state of the ice now.  Had it improved?  Was it any bigger?  Burning questions, naturally! Continue reading

Sticks and stones

We are all told that little rhyme when we are growing up. It’s meant to keep us safe from mean words. 

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me. 

It’s great in theory but it’s a lie. Words can hurt horrendously. 

It’s an obvious thing really. Don’t use the n-word to a person of colour. Don’t use the f-word to a gay person. Don’t tell someone they are ugly. Don’t point out someone’s lower than average intellect. 

You know what’s not actually socially unacceptable yet? Telling someone they are fat. 

Tonight I got in a taxi. He was so proud of himself because he remembered me. He excitedly told me that he has driven me a couple of times before. 

Wanna know why he remembered me? 

“I drive you before. I remember you. You fat.”

Now, I doubt he meant any offence. He was just really chatty. He was merely stating a fact. To him I facially look like every other white woman, no doubt. What makes me stand out is my size. 

I had this before. Years ago I slipped down some marble type stairs outside a building. There was water on them. The taxi driver told me that if I wasn’t fat, I wouldn’t have been hurt. 

Both were Pakistani. 

(Which I say not as a slur but as a fact which will play out further along in my post.)

On the flip side, when I got really sick and couldn’t eat properly for 6 plus months so lost a bunch of weight, the Filipinas that I knew couldn’t stop praising me for how sexy I was looking or how I was now beautiful. I wasn’t healthy but hey, I was looking better. 

This is what you get when you live in a melting pot. Society throws you all together and it’s fun. But with the good you have to take the bad. There was no malice meant today or when I fell. There was no malice meant when I had lost weight and suddenly looked more acceptable. But you put together different cultures and add English as a second language and sometimes you get hurt. 

There was no such excuse however for Essex born financial advisor Paul, who shouted at me in the street that I was a “fat cunt” who would never get laid. Why did he do this? (At the same time the Filipinas were telling me I was looking good, as an aside.) He decided to attack how I looked because I didn’t say goodbye as I walked off with my friends. 

I hadn’t been speaking to him. He wasn’t someone I knew. I threw a “bye” over my shoulder as I went off to flag down a cab but this wasn’t good enough for him. He called me a bunch of other things too, to the point random bystanders threatened to call the police. It wasn’t fun. 

My point is that he may have thought I was arrogant or rude, but what gave him the right to call me a fat anything? 

Then there was the guy I was seeing briefly who broke up with me by telling me if I ever wanted a boyfriend, I needed to lose weight. Again, in the aforementioned “sexy” years. 

Why, in this day and age where people are always worried about what they say and not being phobic or abusive, why is it still ok to shame fat people? 

I made it to the end of my taxi journey without crying. I made it two steps away before the floodgates opened. I am a bit embarrassed to admit that but it’s true. Despite logically knowing the taxi driver was just chatting, it hurt to know I am the fat girl. That there is nothing else remarkable about me except my weight. 

People don’t realise that it hurts. They don’t realise that some people, like me, are emotional eaters. I quit smoking. I rarely drink any more. I eat. When I am stressed or unhappy, I eat. When I don’t want to get out of bed because I am so miserable, I get up so I can have breakfast. 

Is it right? No. But it’s me. It’s how I get through the day. I don’t know how I make it sometimes but I do. 

Tonight I am having a glass of wine for dinner. And probably some crisps. Because I am hurting. 

Next time you think something mean, or you make a joke at the expense of someone fat, just take a moment to think. Make time to realise that they are a human too. Give them a silent back slap for facing the world when it’s programmed to hate them. 

Just try and be nice. 

Hairdressing Adventures in Dubai

Or, as I like to refer to it… the ongoing search for someone who doesn’t f*ck my hair up.

I had the wonderful Stylianos take care of me for so long.  He did wonders with my strange decisions of the time.  He managed to get me back to a decent blonde after it was dark brown and red.  He NEVER cut it badly.  Also, as an aside, he was a genius at up-dos (here and here).  Then he went and moved back to Greece.  I still haven’t forgiven him.

Then I found a salon in DIFC and loved the hairdresser.  She didn’t cut (I wasn’t brave enough to let her try) but the colour was perfect.  It turned out it was her last week.  Typical.  The guy who took over afterwards Continue reading