That isn’t to say I won’t occasionally post here, but as you can see, I’ve been pretty diligent about keeping up with it over the past year, right?
i’ve decided that the lcd soundsystem show i went to at madison square garden a few weeks ago is the best show i’ve ever been to. it took me a while to come to that conclusion; however after 14 days i am still waking up every morning and checking youtube for more live footage and can’t stop listening to the albums, so i think that makes it official.
i’ll spare you my boring details (main points: there was a horn section, arcade fire showed up, biggest disco ball ever, and a massive balloon drop at the end) but if you’d like to know more:
1. Headphones. Loud.
2. Press play here.
3. New window.
4. Read this
5. Now, pretend the bass from what you just heard was 5x louder, there are 19k people singing along (like this) and it went on for 4 hours and was the band’s last show ever.
also of note: LCD SS has also offically un-jaded me toward the music industry.
for the first time in a looooong time, i had nothing to do today. brian is out of town, so i had free reign to do whatever i wanted today. here’s what that involved:
so there you have it. with nothing on my agenda and free reign to do whatever i wanted, i opted to do absolutely nothing. and it was fantastic.
dear gulf of mexico,
you look just like a Great Lake to me. but with nicer sand. (and jellyfish - gross)
from tampa with love
p.s. i kind of like blogging in letter format lately.
i’m writing to inform you of an invention known as the stopwatch. perhaps this hasn’t made it to europe, or other soccer-crazed nations yet, but allow me to explain:
the stopwatch allows you to keep track of time. i know what you’re thinking: “we use a watch for that, silly american football fan!” but wait. the real beauty of the stopwatch is that you can stop it (for example, if there is an injury, or if game play is temporarily stopped) and then, the really revolutionary part is that you can restart it. right where you left off. i believe this invention would add a lot of accuracy and more validity to the sport of soccer. this methodology has worked well for many other sports, including basketball, hockey, football and - well, any other sport that is timed.
think about it.
to the man who nearly vomited orange soda on me around mile 2 of my run today:
thank you, sir, for not actually vomiting on me. i know it was close. you were coming out of that sketchy pizza joint that i think is a front and appeared to be mid-meal, with your food in one hand, and an orange faygo in the other hand. i was on about mile 2 of an unplanned 7 miler. as i ran down lawrence avenue, i thought about all the fantastic places i’ve discovered on that street: harvestime food (best. grocery store. ever.), hella’s greek pastries (honey cookes that will change your world, like michael w smith did, and a super awesome greek dude who always says “nothing but the best for the best, and you are the best!”), nhu lan (most agree one of the top 2 places in the city to get banh mi) and the newest addition, paprika (delicious indian south of devon)
as i ran, i thought about how much i like my neighborhood. except for the sketchy pizza joint next to the laundromat. and then you walked out. quickly. clearly you were on a mission. a mission to nearly run into me and then barf orange soda all over the sidewalk with such alarming force that i thought it might have splattered on my shoes. but lo, our paths didn’t cross at that pivotal moment. had i run those first two miles mere seconds faster i’d have been wearing your orange faygo, but fate was on my side today, dear sir.
also, i’m sorry for the horrific look i gave you. i’m kind of bad at hiding facial expressions. you caught me off guard, as i’m not a puker and this is as close to another puking human as i’ve ever been. at first i thought you were just spitting orange soda out (i wouldn’t blame you) but then i realized (because of the sheer volume) you were actually ralphing on the sidewalk at 6pm.
and finally, thank you for affirming my gut instinct to never go to that sketchy pizza joint.
flickr’s not censored at work! (thanks to jebel ali and his free zone) i’ve got a lot of editing to do when i get back, but here’s one in the meantime.
i’m not a beach person, in fact, i’m probably one of the most un-beachy people ever, so hear me out: i could spend a LOT of time at this beach. (pre 8am and post 5pm, of course). it was so amazing at sunset i was audibly ooo-ing and ahh-ing. right around sunset, all of the photographers come and set up, so you’re in good company if you like taking pictures. sunset is also the last call to prayer and there’s a mosque very close by, makes for a great experience.
got up this morning and headed to jumeirah mosque. its the only mosque in UAE that allows non-muslims to enter, although i did have to cover my head. awesome pictures to come, i promise. the mosque works in conjunction with a group called sheikh mohammed center for cultural understanding to offer tours and Q&A for dumb tourists like me. it was fantastic - it wasn’t a sales pitch for converting to islam, and our guide was super approachable. FYI, she wears wide leg jeans under her abaya, and if she’s in a rush, just wears her PJs under that thing to work.
after that i headed to lime tree cafe, which is somewhere i’ve read about in numerous guide books, so figured it must be good. upon arrival, i noted 4 ferraris parked in the front, all lined up. luckily, the place wasn’t as pretentious as its patrons’ vehicles. it was quite fantastic. if ever in dubai, do not miss lime tree. between the tgi friday’s and the illinois medical center on jumeirah beach road. i wish i were kidding.
next, i found about a solid 3/4 mile of walkable street in dubai! although it was 95 degrees and not a cloud in the sky, i had to take advantage of this. it was a welcoming neighborhood, lots of shops, and i’m really tired of going to and fro in a cab. the downside of this walkable area: divided road. so, all the shops i saw on the other side of the street were inaccessible unless i wanted to walk 1/2 mile back to cross the street. lame! not lame: AIR CONDITIONED BUS STOPS. whenever i got hot, i’d stop in one of these suckers. it was like a fridge inside. take note, chicago!
stopped at a european style mall called mercato. i wasn’t sure what “european style mall” meant in the guide books. turns out, its another epcot-ish mall. i kind of feel like i don’t really need to go to europe now. dubai europe is probably better anyway, right?
after chilling out a bit i had a fantastic cab ride to umm al suqeim beach. my drive was pakistani (coming to find out many long time residents are…) and was fantastic. when he found i was visiting, he gave me his phone number and said to call him if i needed anything: a ride, advice on where to go, where to eat, anything at all.
i hate the beach, but today, i loved the beach. the sun was heading down, so it wasn’t disturbingly hot and i couldn’t feel the cancer growing in my skin. but the view - oh, the view. a panorma, picture it: a mosque to the left, then a big touristy hotel, then in the distance the skyscrapers of internet/media city and the marina, then burj al arab, then WAY off in the distance the outline of a palace, then (wait for it….) a sailboat, and the setting sun. added bonus: one of the mosque calls to prayer is just before sunset, so that was the background noise. are you kidding me?
from there, off to taste of dubai. i have a new celebrity chef crush, so rick bayless and tom douglas better watch out. suzanne husseini is working her way to my #1 favorite chef. i’ll share more later, but she confirmed my suspicion: there are no emirati restaurants here. luckily, her cooking demo (complete with samples) was authentic emirati food - rice with dates, pomegranate, citrus, cilantro, and tons of seasonings, fish - it was one of the finest things i’ve ever tasted. overall, taste of dubai was awesome. the weather was fabulous (if you went at night) the restaurants were great, and it wasn’t very crowded. i never was past 3rd in line.
last but not least: the evening ended with one more example of UAE awesomeness. so when i bought my ticket for taste of dubai they asked for a phone number. i don’t have my dubai number memorized, so i got out a card i’ve been carrying in my wallet with the number on it and gave it to the guy so he could put it into their system. on my way out (about 3.5 hrs later) i’m just about to exit and someone yells for me at the ticket counter. i walk over, and its the guy i bought my ticket from and he goes “you left this card with me, i thought you might want it back”. seriously? stuff like that really happens? not where i live, but apparently it does here…
so, a full 8 days on the ground in dubai. work has been great. getting to do a lot of stuff that i’ve missed doing. uber-geeky stuff, but stuff i like none the less. the client is great, and i think we’re making a ton of progress.
i’ve been searching for the quintessential “dubai” things to do, with very little luck. i know a majority of the city is new and has grown really quickly, but its also been here forEVER - there should be something left from that, right? i’ve slowly been venturing into different parts of town searching for something that seemed authentic. (have i mentioned the absolutely absurd number of johnny rockets here?)
not far from my hotel, i found bateel cafe, where i had an arabic coffee that tasted like cardamom and came with a fig on the side and a zatar croissant (its a spice, and it was mixed with sumac and sesame seeds) YUM! can’t wait to show you the picture. i felt like i was on to something.
today (its my weekend day) i decided to go to the dubai museum, which is in bur dubai, right on the “creek” that runs right through the center of the city. the museum was neat (aside from the life sized animatronic market area, which was fairly dark and thus i couldn’t tell which robed figures were real and which were robots. i about crapped my pants 5 times or more when something i thought was fake started walking) the museum is in one of the oldest buildings in the area which was very cool. outside, this flock of borderline aggressive birds were flying maybe 4 feet above my head. definitely not an event i’ll forget anytime soon.
once done there (wait, did i mention the admission price? 3dhs =$0.81usd) , i went outside and walked around the block - this part of town has a completely different vibe than where i’ve been so far. as in: rather than being one of many people not wearing traditional attire, i was one of the only people not wearing traditional attire. you could also hear the prayer calls from the mosques (instead of hearing them over the loudspeaker in the mall). yes! real dubai!
i wasn’t far from the souqs (traditional markets) so i decided to give it a shot. it was super busy, people were everywhere and everyone wanted your attention. about the third store in was really well lit, there were other girls inside and it had stuff i wanted to look at, so i ducked in. after a quick haggle, i made a purchase. being by myself, i wasn’t too sure i wanted to go any further into the market, so i asked the lady i made the purchase from if there was anywhere good to eat nearby. she says “come with me” and takes me 3 stores further into the souq, introduces me to the owner of the restaurant, and i’ve got a table overlooking the creek next to the port where all the abras dock. it was awesome. have i mentioned i love the people here?
by the time i’m done eating (best hummus, EVER - fantastically flavored kebabs, but cooked to a crisp) its dark outside, and i have to make my way past 6 stores to get out of this palce. not too hard right? i walk out, and realize, i am now the ONLY girl. there is not another woman to be seen anywhere and my reflective skin tone probably isn’t helping me blend in much. the people who aren’t outright staring at me are forcibly trying to sell me there wares. yikes. time to bail, and fast. luckily, in the most unwalkable city in the world, a cab is never more than 10 seconds away. (that’s a true story, i’ve never waited for a cab here.) and there ends my authentic dubai experience, i’ve returned to the cool springs of dubai for the evening, and a very small part of me is ok with that, because, really, i didn’t want to buy an “i heart dubai” tshirt from the men at the market anyway.