[Dubai Download: Part 2]

And the saga continues…


Day 5 


Lisa and I decided to explore Bur (Old) Dubai. Since we were pros at taking the metro, obviously we did that, got turned around after getting off, but only for a minute, and started walking. We ended up stumbling into the Heritage House which used to be someone’s house that they actually lived in. There was also a resident artist type guy who worked with metal making jewelry, frameable art, and other stuff. He was really nice, and didn’t speak much English, but proceeded to write both my and Lisa’s names in Arabic calligraphy! Mine is currently framed in my living room.

When we left, after being given fairly specific instructions as to where we should go next, we just started wandering towards the water, where the souks (markets) started to pop up. Unfortunately they weren’t quite what I had built up in my head. I knew that Dubai was a relatively young city, but I still thought there might be some older things. I envisioned the souks to be these wooden tables with unorganized piles of stuff for me to sort through and find, kind of like a famer’s market. Not the case. Every vendor basically had its own store, air conditioned and all. The fabric souk looked like China Town in NYC where they have pashminas coming out of their ears; I’m pretty sure it was the same stock, too. I got a couple anyway since Seattle doesn’t really have a China Town like NYC does.

We left, and got to the water’s edge where we then had to take an abra across the Dubai creek. Lisa and I decided to make the most of it, and got ourselves a private abra ride down the creek and back. On the way down the creek there was no breeze, but on the way back it was the extreme opposite. The ride ended up costing a wee bit more than we had expected, but since neither of us wanted to go to jail…we paid. We soon found the spice souks where Lisa really wanted to buy some saffron for her sister. But again, it was a bunch of stores with the same stuff all lined up next to each other. The saffron wasn’t any cheaper than it would have been in the US, so we moved on to the gold souk. Here comes another NYC reference: You know that block or two in the city that are only stores that sell gold or diamonds or whatever? That’s what this gold souk looked like, except slightly less like NYC. Even the fake purse and sunglass hawkers were included. Needless to say we didn’t end up buying anything, and went back to Rae Ann’s.

We all decided it would be pretty awesome to go to the top of the tallest building in the world at night, so we did. Grabbed dinner at The Cheesecake Factory, which had unlimited Coke refills for Rae Ann, and then started to head over to the entrance to the Burj Khalifa tour. Uuuuuuuh…someone *cough cough Lisa* forgot the tickets back at the apartment so we drove back to get them, drove back to the mall, and managed to get to the very last tour minutes before it closed. Phew! And of course we got some sweet pics.




Day 6


Literally all we did Friday was have brunch, and dance. In Dubai, Friday is like Saturday, and brunch is a thing. It’s not quite like US brunch. Basically everywhere in the city has a brunch and they range in price. Our brunch was all you can eat and drink, for, like, 4 hours. There was a big group of us, a lot of people Rae Ann work with, so it was really nice. The food was actually pretty awesome also. Dessert was my fullest plate, obviously. After brunch was done we walked to the downstairs of the hotel and there was a pub-like place where there was plenty of dancing and more drinking. We actually stayed there for 5-6 hours even though Lisa and I were totally against it initially. Time flies when you’re watching drunk people get crunk at brunch.



Day 7


I love the beach. I mean, it’s perfection. Sure there are flaws in some beaches, but if I have a place to sit my butt down, and another to to swim/float in, I’m easy to please. Kite Beach had both of those things, AND an awesome view of the Burj Al Arab where we were going to have tea later.

The first thing Lisa booked for us was this tea at the Burj Al Arab, the 7-star hotel. We bought our plane tickets, and the next day we were heading to tea. Saturday seemed like the perfect day to do it too since we left the next day. It served as our last hurrah. And boy was it worth the wait. The whole evening was pretty surreal. First you have to get past the guarded gate; you can’t even go into the hotel unless you’re staying there, or you have a reservation at any of their restaurants, AND you can only get there 30 minutes before your reservation. Our name was on the list, so we drove up, had the car complimentary valeted, and we walked in. You’re overwhelmed with opulence in every nook and cranny of the hotel. The escalator, which is flanked by a massive fish tank that’s actually larger than my apartment, takes you up as high as you can go unless you’re staying at the hotel, or you have reservations at a restaurant on a higher floor. We did not, and even though we hopped in the elevator to go up, since we didn’t have a key to a room, it just sat there, and we had to get out. Tea was simply amazing. Champagne, berry tart, finger sandwiches, vegetable wantons, sorbet palette cleanser, scones with clotted cream and jam, dessert, and tea. I mean, it was totally worth it. After our almost 3 hour service, we took a couple of pictures and waved goodbye at all the rich people actually staying there. It rained on the way home for all of 30 seconds.



Lisa and I packed all our stuff up, and Rae Ann took us to the airport the next morning. The trip was a once-in-a-lifetime type of trip, and I’m so glad I got to experience it with one of my favorite people.


– S



[149] Blue Skies and Big Boats


Sunday, a day of rest. So restful I slept in, didn’t go grocery shopping, and had brunch with my aunt, uncle and cousin, only to get home, hop in bed for a nap and write this post. My windows are open and there’s a light breeze. Life is hard.

– Stephanie


[128] Hole Digging


I didn’t actually dig a hole today, but I watched my uncle dig a hole from an outdoor swing. We had brunch at the house with one of their friends, and then just hung out. The knot in my neck is worse which means I’ll be scheduling a massage at some point this week. In order to ease my pain, I started watching the new season of Arrested Development. Stay tuned for my reaction…I still don’t know how I feel about it. BUT there are only 12 days 16 hours 17 minutes and counting until I’m home with my east coast family.

– Stephanie


[072] A Blue and White Plaid Easter


First of all, remember last week when I tried to make pound cake and failed epically? Well yesterday I was successful! Take that, baking.

In my family Easter isn’t really an important holiday. We aren’t usually all together like we are at Christmas, but this year it’s a little different. My Babcia (bob-cha) and Dziadzia (ja-ja), or grandparents, are moving out of the house they’ve been living in for over 40 years. This move required some pitching in from all their children, my mother, her 3 brothers, and their families, and it’s happening this coming week. Everyone is flocking to Buffalo, NY, except for me.

With my new job, and the amount a plane ticket costs, I couldn’t make the trip. All my cousins, second cousins, aunts and uncles, mother, father, sister, and dog are going to be there. At first it made me pretty sad that I’d be missing out, especially since this week I was bombarded with “missing my family” emotions. But then I remembered that I would be seeing most of them in June when I head home to Syracuse for my sister’s high school graduation. Plus the weather in Seattle is SO much nicer than it will be in Buffalo. Plus I have my aunt and little cousin to spend the day with. I even got my very own Easter basket! I think it’s time for me to start letting go of the notion that all the holidays are going to be the same with me living on the West Coast. They aren’t, but that’s totally ok. It just means that I need to mentally adjust, and enjoy everything and everyone that I have over here. I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to let go of spending Christmas with my family, but I can totally afford at least one, long trip home each year.


[044] Happy Birthday to Me


Today is my birthday! And the sun is shining. It’s a birthday miracle! I’m 24, and this is the very first birthday that I will be away from my family, i.e. my mom, dad, sister, and Jacob, who is a dog. I had a minor breakdown on Friday while I was talking to my cousin. Obviously it had been on my mind, but I hadn’t talked about it out loud. I had all these emotions just rush over me. I lived at home all through college, lived near my family after that, and just moved away, so this is new to me. I talked to my mom in the morning, and video chatted with my sister immediately after. Talked to my dad in the car on the way home from brunch, and video “chatted” with Jacob, which really just means I talked at him while my sister held her iPod in his face. After that, my day was complete.



It’s definitely been nice having my aunt and uncle and adorable cousin here because it makes everything no so lonely. Before we left, they gave me the most unique present that I didn’t even know I wanted: a piece of the court that SU won the championship game on 10 years ago. It’s so cool and I really love it. They also took me out to brunch at this place called Salty’s. It claims to be the best brunch in Seattle and Portland, and although I haven’t had brunch at every place in Seattle or Portland, I’m going to blindly agree. I ate crab legs, skrimps, salmon, fruit, mac and cheese, blackened steel head, a blood orange mimosa, and LOTS of desserts. Everything was wonderful, and I left beyond full, and the entertainment was fabulous.



I was going to go get a mani pedi but I decided to take a nap instead, and paint my own nails. I do a better job most of the time anyways. Thanks for all the birthday lovin’!


– Stephanie



[023] Sunday Tropical Funday


Having come to Hawaii with a nearly 2-year old, brunch is something I’ve become reacquainted with. He usually wakes up from his morning nap between 10:30 and 11:30 so brunch seems like the logical choice. Well that happened today, we had brunch, then went to the Aloha Swap Meet at Aloha Stadium; this is the place you go to to buy your souvenirs. I didn’t get anything, because nobody I know needs souvenirs. Then we got some groceries for dinner, and headed back to the house. Sitting by the pool was absolutely lovely, and the margarita in my hand was even lovelier. We just got back from a short walk, which was also very nice and leisurely. Might do a short road trip to the North Shore tomorrow, but we shall see.


– Stephanie


[009] Prep Time


For whatever reason, I didn’t fall asleep last night until almost 4am, which means I slept in this morning, and into the very early afternoon. Went on a dry run, even though it was technically wasn’t dry on account of rain, to where my interview will be, got brunch, and went to Cosco. Now that I’m home, it’s time to settle down, and prep for tomorrow. This includes painting my nails, picking out the perfect business casual outfit, creating a 45 minute portfolio presentation, and of course, practicing said presentation. I feel comfortable discussing my work, but I just want to make sure that I highlight how each of my projects has made me a better designer, and has taught me new skills, especially ones that apply to the position. I’m excited, nervous, and filled with anticipation. Wish me luck, and I’ll let you know how it goes tomorrow!


– Stephanie