Monday, October 02, 2006

Birthdays, Boredom, Baldness, Blobbiness

I'm officially having my first bad week here in Dubai. I'm getting a cold. I turned 36 just over a week ago, and then I found out that I have put about a stone on in the 2 months that I've been here. Woe, woe and thrice WOE! I suppose that's what happens when you eat stuff like chocolate birthday cakes.


So, yeah. Ramadan's still going on and on. The working days are shorter (well, supposedly - we work till 4.00pm with no lunch break, but I'm often there till 4.30 or 5.00pm - these boss people ain't stupid). The Malls are bizarre. No cigarette smoke. No bustle of cafés and restaurants, just vacant tables and seats, as if you are there in the middle of the night, or as if you're in a zombie flick. Heck, some people here drive like zombies - drooling on their phones as they zoom past you at 180kph to get home for Iftar (the breaking of the fast). I digress...the malls. We went to the Mall of the Emirates on Friday to look for shoes for the BOY. Turned out he didn't need new ones just yet. That was a bonus. Then we went looking for nourishment, which is a difficult task, as you can imagine. We walked past Ski Dubai to the Kempinski Hotel end of the Mall... (BTW, Ski Dubai looks like this:)

...and the mall-level restaurants were all closed, despite Time Out Dubai saying that at least one of them would be open for brunch. Useless gets. I should have realised their info wasn't reliable after their factually questionable review of Foccacia at the Hyatt Regency. Anyway, I remembered that there was this place called Sezzam in the Kempinski, and we found it down on the ground level after another white-knuckle ride with 2 kids and a push-chair down the escalator. It was hidden behind black curtains running the length of the lobby, keeping the gobbling hoardes out of sight, away from those who are fasting. Seems fair, I suppose. I wouldn't like to watch people eat if I wasn't allowed to eat for 14 hours.

The food was pretty good, after all that. The grilled bratwurst wasn't really that good, it wasn't a real bratwurst - far too soft, and lacking flavour, but the lamb chops (more like a half-rack) were heavenly, as was the cheesy mash and the grilled veg. The WIFE had Tandoori chicken, which tasted really nice and fresh and not at all dry (although she said there was too much coriander), and the BOY and the GIRL ate their pizza and nuggets with little complaint. The GIRL's fresh fruit salad also impressed. Blimey, this is turning into a restaurant review. As I'm doing it, I would also say that the service is a bit patchy, but friendly. I will definitely return.

So Saturday came, and we ended up in a bloody shopping mall again. This time it was Ibn Battuta (did he have a massive hooter?), which is actually a very unusual mall, because it has separate themed areas. I took the family for a little wander in there to see the different zones and the things you just don't expect to see in malls, like full-size replicas of Chinese junks and elephants with enormous tusks. We did the weekly shop in Géant, which we seem to have settled upon as the best place. Carréfour in MOE is just too manic, Spinneys is too small, but Géant seems to have it sorted, except they don't have a pork section, so we always end up going to Spinneys or Choithrams for the bacon and ham, etc. I mean shopping for food is always a soul-destroying experience, in my view. Up and down with the trolley and 2 whingeing kids... so you have to make it interesting by throwing surprise items into the trolley - usually nice-tasting, fattening items, it must be said.

Food, food, food. Ah yes. The solution to and cause of all my problems. (c) Homer Simpson, talking about beer. I can't live without it, but I'm living too much through it. I am in that horrible cycle of eating, feeling fat, not sleeping, feeling shite, eating to feel better, feeling fat, and so on.... I need to snap out of it before I break the 20 stone barrier. SNAP OUT OF IT, MAN!
And what did I do? I was looking at exercise bikes, but ended up buying a PS2 because me and the BOY need our PES fix! The WIFE is now resigned to watching us replaying Boro v Sevilla over and over again to avenge the UEFA cup final humiliation. And then she has to listen to the BOY cry and me shout because we got Tekken 4 free with the console, and we're both terrible losers.

Boro! They're depressing me as well! Bloody hell! Losing to Sheffield frigging United (with all due respect). AAAGGGGGHHH!

I think it's cabin fever, actually. I just want this damn weather to cool down enough for us to get outside for a decent length of time!

Whinge over. Thank Allah!

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