Dubai what can I say–Adventure 1

I loved the fact that this small desert oasis blossomed into this city.  It was not a gradual thing like in other places where it happens over time.  Rather their whole mantra is build it and they will come and build big.  The Dubai Mall just speaks to the whole experience. If you are a shopper you will be in heaven and for a few days.

 

I hear people beat up Dubai for it being fake and just a money pit, no real culture, slave labor,  etc.  Well let’s say you moved to a new development in Maryland or Florida and they put in everything-schools, malls,  restaurants, recreational things and a larger than life clubhouse,  would you move into that area.  How about we add an ancient,  somewhat reserved,  slightly behind the times in some areas,  but offering so much  of a mix—all that can be had if you seek it out,  easier for a man,  but still available if you spend the cash and time both researching and “manning up”.  Yeah I never thought I could use that word in that way but I like it.  Now can you say it is “FAKE”.

We took a drive outside of Dubai to Sharja and what we saw was not too unexpected.  Dubai is the brother that  went to Exeter, then Stanford and finally Oxford.  The other cities steeped with an air of ancient ness and tradition like your basic community college and then you go to a very blue collar job.  At times I wanted to just go into stores and shops as well as buildings and just let the atmosphere sink in but we were on a bus tour (this stop for the hop on hop off went to this city but you could only go to this one place). There was no real tourist atmosphere so we just visited a site and went back on the bus.

In Dubai we went to the less touristy part of town in search of goodies to take home.  We ate non western and fast-food a few times.  My fondest memory was the Indian or Nepali food that was spicy as f….

We splurged on a few things but the best was eating bad-for-you-ice cream at Haagen Daz.  We saw a few months later, a blog of a guy eating some cheap cheap food and we were like whhhatttt,, next time.

Are we going back, hmmm.   I will follow up with the stores, ethnicities local mall, and the water in my next Dubai post.

Porto and Coimbra Road Trip

hostel with rooftop bar–hostel was not so ik.  We were able to get a room to ourselves.  (Coimbra)

small ass streets-large luxury vehicles not welcomed thought they try

bridge divers-these street actors egg each other on and then after they collect money

churros -plentiful

telefurico=cable cars

over the top desserts-omg, –I got an ice cream cone and my friend and her son split this crazy Oreo etc shake with all the fix-ins, more like a large ice cream sundae (belly ache waiting to happen)

old friends-hanging out with good friend, our kids get together every year or so, lately

views-you can see the houses in the hills and the ones that were not so luck with the passing of time (Porto),  also the views from out Hostel were of the river and the city–expensive views

bridge over river Douro–people walk over this and it always has people, a little dangerous

food halls-for it was not that great as we just like what we like and there just happened to be not much we liked

expensive upgrades–heating up my pastry is same or more than cost of pastry (Coimbra)

parking overnight–bank breaker

Follow us on our journey through Portugal on instagram #thelivingabroadguide.pt.  You can also link to our website and view our network of local vendors.  They have English speakers in house , so if you move to or travel to Portugal and can use their services, do it!! (no pressure)

 

 

 

 

Travel Stories-around Portugal

notes/short ramblings

We visited a beach with dunes in Sesimbra–about 50 minutes out of Lisbon.

It was nice beach-great sand,  some dunes, to run up and then one massive sand dune.  The kid ran up that things and the cautionary mom could only see them tumbling back down.  Then there was a large dune without greenery–can we say sand blast.  If you sit in the way and the wind blows your eyes will die (my friends kid–first hand experience).

We ate at one of the restaurants-shrimp salad and fries,  steak and eggs, sangria-pretty sweet (needed to be cold), fresh cheese and bread.-I keep getting suckered, bread fills you up fast and you pay extra, yikes.

-crazy day as the surf was breaking way down from the beach


play time

What to do with the kids–we hit a place called Hubi Park–indoor activity park–small.  It had slides, balls and a few other things.

What did we see there–Portuguese parents being parents, men in their smart pencil shorts and women dressed in their casual chic wear. Oh–one woman in particular caught our eye in her getup:  yellow brownish long Culotte emphasized high wasted pants, classic white t-shirt with the words “Study all day”, some white Adidas, and a towering ruffled white and brown small purse.

We decided to eat at McDonald’s,  yay, lets not eat real food.  No judgement, if it tasted horrible no one would eat it.  Things to note-the trash receptacles were automatic so made for me as I am a germ-a-phobe.  Finally the world gets me.  Also why can’t we have this in our McDonald’s.  Maybe we do, LOL,  I have not be in a McDs for a while and then its in non fancy neighborhoods.  Maybe people will just wreck it here–no class, no manners, no feeling of sharing the thing. (just my thought)

Okay, another few stories down.  A lifetime more to go!!

 

Hoping to post again soon.  I work on another project for people wanting to move to Portugal,  we offer a view of local businesses, daily life, some points of interest and also things to do, so check us out.    http://www.thelivingabroadguide.pt.

 

 

 

 

Temptations Cafe

food review of a place we visited when some long time friends came to visit–

so we were at a street fair

-tried to eat at a regular restaurant

-asked a vendor who was in his booth eating a burrito where he got it

-suggested Temptations Cafe

-appeared to be nice  restaurant:  ice cream,  small bakery,  fridge with drinks etc

-backroom was like a bump out with tall ceilings and glass walls

-outside immediately bordering bump out was outdoor seating with a great mural

-food good, tasty, decent portions

Would we return-100% yes.

 

 

 

Road trip PA

Road tripping through Pennsylvania. It’s so funny because we told a bunch of different people prior and most were puzzled why we would go to PA. They asked-“what are you guys going to see, who are you visiting, what’s going on in pa.” Answer to these questions-some PA stuff, no one and not much. We wanted to see the other aide of PA outside of the Amish country, the poconos and the amusement parks. We visited the old Bethlehem steel stacks, the da Vinci Science Center, the Crayola experience, a working farm that sold ice cream, ate at a few choice and not so choice restaurants, visited about 3 museums, rested in a church basement, hit up a farmers market in the city ,visited a dollar store, and swam in the pool at our hotel. I also snatched a few wanted adds for jobspotter. The weather was nice and it maybe only rained once. We also went to an older Market which had all kinds of stuff.

So as we drove through the various towns we could see the gentrification, other side of the tracks, the haves and have nots, the reuse of past places, the welcoming of new things that may not be that great, slim to no people around on the streets and lots empty store fronts. We even saw a large park that had beautiful trees and great lawns. It also bordered several areas which were like night and day in terms of appearance, feel and actual people in the area. We went from crowded narrow streets to wide streets with little cars and houses very far back from the curb. We saw kids walking from the “good ” school back to their neighborhoods. We saw all the dynamic things one can see when you are free to be. We followed GPS most of the times and curiously admired as we drove. We saw farms being eaten up by developments and developments to come. I made the comment that if you want to keep an idyllic setting, you have to buy up at least 100-200 acres or you will have McMansions in your backyard-no joke. Saddest was walking downtown-I was like, where are all the people. Where are the workers, where are the city folks. Even seeing shady people bothered me- why you say? They just do and being unfamiliar with the area, everyone is potential crazy until they speak or do something normal.

Travel Stories -Porto, Portugal

comment on Porto

Smallest streets I have ever seen, you can barely get out of the car, high ass curbs–destroy your car door. daredevil driving–man I would need a different road test to drive there. parking on the edge of cliffs–wtf.  manual driving nightmares come to fruition

guys diving off of the bridge for sport, fans, fame and money–we are back in the middle ages, oh wait, no we are in the right time–opportunity.  it shows that you cannot manufacture crazy, its all around you.

What to eat–fries are dead to me but they show up all the time in Portugal and with chicken-I would like to research the most common illnesses in Portugal.  Maybe I want to trade up.  All that bread cannot be that good-and I love all types of bread and pastries (as long as they have what I want or do not want on the inside)   At home we are all like, oh my carbs count, my this my that.  I see bread all the time there.  I can’t deal.  Its like its following me and laughing.

 

I also learned about cars and here are two I saw often enough ad because they were visually unfamiliar to me, I was scoping them out- T-ROC WV, and the Tiguan VW. They are big and ooze some luxury.  Yeah, to pricey for me.

 

Hope you enjoyed my adventures.

Trinidad-Bitter Sweet -reflections

So Trinidad for me, among other things is known as the

 

land of fun

land of the Carib

land of good food

land of want of things

land of vice

land of the peaceful

land of slowness

land to rip

land that is not mine

land of memories

land of beginnings

So the long and short of this story is that I lost my main connection to the Island back in the fall.  I have been losing my connection (figuratively speaking) for years but the place will still be dear to me.  A large bright spot is Tobago. (Fast forward 5 months later in another blog-coming soon.)  It is pretty and a little less fancy and I have already seen it from various angles.  Family is till a connection in Trinidad but the lack of really personal connections, on account of distance, history and preference keeps us as just acquaintance family.  That is a strange way to put it but that is the best way to put it.

I find enjoyment and ease in travelling and hanging out with my husband and daughter.  They are enough for me and as I travel through life and learn and grow I realize those connections. I have other connections in other places and they are keeping me whole.  I always joke about having to shop for new friends and “family.”  All the people my age have either moved away or moved before meaningful relationships could be formed.

So back to the lost connection.  It is what it is.

So I have a place I usually stay, except the last few years.  And that place now will not be my place.  As mentioned before, losing connections.  Who knows if I can ever feel cool there again.  Will I have much purpose to be there.  I guess only time will tell.

 

Until my next adventure.

273 Kitchen, take 1

During the week we sometimes just want to be outside of the home, and do less dishes. 🙂  So usually once a week we go out to any place we fancy, within reason. We got a Groupon and it was for Mediterranean Food.

We had our mind set or some good Mediterranean food. For some reason we were not  foodies that night.  We for the life of us could not find anything we wanted-I guess since we had eaten out and had parties etc, we were looking for something unique or probably just tired of eating but wanted to go through the motions..They had burgers and fish and chips on the menu as well. I was not impressed by that.  The Mediterranean part of the meal we had was the appetizer which had dips including roasted eggplants( baba ganoush), Tzatziki, avocado dip (aka guacamole) and some others. So there were only two people there that night. They did not announce anything special and we opted for the burger and fish and chips. Inside I died with quiet laughter when they bought in out. Jeez, what happened to curb appeal! What happened to being original. 1/2 …. on bread with burger and some creamy sauce and they could not find a way to make that Mediterranean. Some fries strewn about, what a mess!! The fish and chips-rolled fish with two giant (maybe hand made) tater tots, who is cooking here-a bunch of teens. I never pretended to be a better cook because I went to culinary school, eat out a few times a month and throw my own parties BUT I think I could have done a better with my “simple” skills.

So in retrospect, I cannot bust this place wholly for being devoid of food, as we truly did not even try anything that was remotely Med Food on the menu so in order to give a true review I need to revisit.  yup–our bad! However, what we did have was sad on taste and presentation levels. So until next time.

 

 

 

 

ChaiMaMa’s Noodles House, Queens NY

I liked the place  immediately because of the wooden furniture and walls (bright colored wood).  I am not about wood cabins but just this nice clean soft and bright wood.  There was a lot of sun beaming into the restaurant that day but it was shaded.  The restaurant was simple but clean.  I would say it could hold about 12-16 people.  They used real utensils–metal chopsticks.  At the end you were to clean up after yourself as they have a station, which they point out, for storing the dishes.

I had soup with noodles and then on the side, fried pork chops.  Yum but the chops were rather salty.  I was drinking up the soup to neutralize the salt.  I mentioned to the owner and he said that it was meant to be like that.   I mean the soup was rather bland.  He was nice about it and did not try to stop me from commenting as he asked several times how I thought the meal was.

Would I go back probably–I might choose a different dish but if I am in the mood for salty I could get the dish again.  It was not so bad just a little too salty.