Friday, July 30, 2010

we are all trancients here

... I have been living and working in Abu Dhabi UAE for almost five years now, but I have never felt more 'intergrated' into mainstream society as I did last Tuesday. No, I did not get to hobnob with Abu Dhabi's movers and shakers, nor have I been given the title 'honorary adopted sheikha' - if there ever is such a title...

... my 'integration' came in the form of two small surprises that brought about that feeling - maybe its just me being overly dramatic but it was truly how I felt, it certainly made my day!!!

... remember a few days ago I posted something about being a UAE water hero? well last tuesday the Watersaver people came a knocking and installed that one small gadget that will be a huge help in our water conseravtion pledge. I think the installers are somewhat surprised that I readily let them in (having known about the campaign and anticipation of their arrival) even moreso when I started taking pictures. I chatted with them a bit and learned that the watersaver are made and imported from Italy and nowhere in Abu Dhabi can it be bought. Wow I really salute the UAE goverment for going to great lengths to ensure the success of the campaign.

my first surprise came in the form of this tiny gadget

fitted to a T- tap that is!!!!

the second surprise came via phone call - I had just woken from my nap later the same day when I got a call from an unidentified number. The nice lady turned out to be the picture editor of Gulf News!!! she wanted some facts about a picture I took and submitted online, telling me to watch out for the photo in next weeks' feature!!! YAY!!! - more on this in the next blog!!!

... as you can see - these are not very huge things, but it made me feel the way I did because I felt that I had contributed a (tiny, tiny) part of myself to the UAE society.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

my favorite day of the week

... today would be my last (second) day off in who knows how long - everybody is going on vacation, trainings or worse (better for them, I suppose...) getting transfered and we are left with a skeletal workforce at least until the end of the year.

... I usually start my days off early - it is ironic that I wake up earlier on my days off than when I have to go to work. OC behaviour maybe, but I just don't want to waste the day lying in bed, I want a productive day off!!!. I usually get my chores out of the way and done in the morning so I'd have the afternoons for walks, shopping or movie watching.

... today though is different, while I've done some quick chores, I was not frenetic to do everything I want to and fit it all in one day... today after luch I decided to lounge around in jammies and relax with some healthy snacks and a movie or series marathon...

... i love getting tuesdays off!!! now I only have to wait two days until the weekend!!! makes the waiting seem shorter!!!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

I pledge to become a UAE water hero!!!

... umm no, I don't intent to be the next Aquagirl or a new Marvel superhero donning a spandex costume, I just pledged to do my bit in saving the environment.

I came across a UAE water heroes like page on my facebook account and upon visiting the Heroes of the UAE website, had pledged my support in the campaign and promised to be mindfull of my own daily water consumption.

Kudos to the UAE Government, its partners and sponsors. I admire your dedication to the campaign and not just stoping with posters, banners, the website and other media blitz but actually going about UAE aiming to install the watersaver in each and every household, making it even easier for people to follow through with their pledges. I will be waiting for your coming to my neighborhood with anticipation.

I encourage everyone to visit the site and make the pledge. Let us all do our bit to save mother earth.

Friday, July 9, 2010

the corner shop bakery

What was once a quarter of an old clothes shop is now a bakery - no not your typical bakery with glass display cases and coffee machines but a 'rustic' and simple arabic flat bread bakery, with no sophisticated and shiny electronic appliances, shiny aluminum pans and tins or even a big indrustrial sized oven. The only tool they have is a rolling pin, what looks like a mortar with a head of nails, a pillow like something, long steel poles and a circular open-top stone oven.

It seems to have sprung overnight or maybe I just hadn't noticed the conversion even though I pass by the area everyday on my way to work. I smelled the aroma of freshly made bread even before I saw the bright red signboard around the corner.

Everyday I see the 'bakers' roll the dough and bake it in front of the waiting crowd. I made a mental note to bring my camera with me the day I buy me some bread so I can blog about it and this morning I did!

large flat breads for only 1 dirham each

simple tools

rolling it nice and elongated!!

 toss it a bit...

punch holes in them and lay it on the 'pillow'...

use the pillow to 'stick' the dough to the oven wall...

... and viola!!!

The 'bakers' have ready made dough that they roll out, prick with the mortar like device, toss, lay on the pillow like something - use this pillow to 'stick' the dough to the oven wall, and bake it until its golden.

The result is a chewy bread with a thin crispy outer layer. It kinda reminded us of thin waffles and so we stopped by the grocery to get some ice cream. We usually eat it with hummos but its a whole new level of yummy with ice cream!!!

usually eaten with hummos...

we made a new 'discovery' and paired it with ice cream!! yummy!!

When we got to the bakery, I hesitated a bit in taking pictures, the bearded man looked aloof but he accomodated us, allowed us to come into the shop and nonchalantly went about making a fresh batch for our order while I click away, the younger guy seemed to be enjoying the 'photo shoot' and went about with a flourish. The bearded man thought we were tourists and asked if we were from Chile.

It was the best trip to the bakery I ever had!!!

Monday, July 5, 2010

milk it!!

I just love food adventures!!!

last friday I finally got to taste Camel milk! yes you read me right! camel milk!!

a few years back, I read somewhere that camel milk will be finally available commercially, and wanting to 'delve' deeper into middle eastern culture I wanted to go and try it. I scoured milk and dairy sections of supermarkets everytime I go shopping and was constantly disappointed to find them out of stock. I finally got lucky last friday! I excitedly put it in my basket and made a beeline for the cash counter, thinking it would be the perfect before bedtime snack along with my freshly made brownies and cookies.

camel milk fast facts. Researchers say camel milk is:

- lower in fat and cholesterol and richer in potassium, iron and minerals such as sodium and magnesium that cows milk.

- has longer shelf life that any other types of milk

- has higher Niacin and Vitamin C content

- a rich source of proteins with potential anti-microbial and protective activity for the human digestive system.

- has a stronger flavor than cows milk

Camel-icious!!! choco flavored of course!!

milk and brownies and cookies!!
perfect before bedtime snack!!!

... camel milk does have a stronger flavor than cow's milk - it taste a little bit salty and isn't as 'creamy' but it still is yummy!!!