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And we're back! The List - May 12

Hello hello!

Wow, has it really been that long that I've left you all in the lurch without a guide for what to do in Dubai?!
Well, I’ve been on sabbatical for the past 4 months, globe trotting & cool hunting. Forgive me for abandoning you dear readers.

There has been plenty happening in Dubai, however, and I've run into quite a few of you during my hiatus. It was good to hear that you missed the lists. So, I’m back in the groove and full of recommendations for the 'what to', 'where to', and 'how to' of Dubai and other locales.

Yours truly,


In Dubai…

Where to eat – (Safa Park/Al Quoz):
Afghan Khorasan Kebab came highly recommended by my friends & dining partners @OmarAlfi and Reem and is now one of my favorite spots in Dubai. Order the Afghan kebab and the Mutton Kadai and they’ll bring you soup, bread, rice and salad to go along with it. You will leave fat and happy guaranteed. (Just across from the bowling alley on your way towards Meydan)

Be cool: Order a Bateel Date Shake. Time Out this week has a run down of the best milkshakes in Dubai, however, being a milkshake connoisseuse myself, I found one major omission from their list- the thick and creamy date shake at Bateel Café is to die for. As is heats up outside enjoy the last few afternoons outside on their patio in DIFC and indulge in one of these cool treats.

What to mall- Festival City:
This mall is easier to get to than you think, just hop on the Business Bay bridge and you’re there. The cinema in the mall is nice and clean, the selection in popular stores such as Forever 21 is particularly good, and if you are looking for home stuff this is the place to go with IKEA, Ace Hardware and plenty of other little shops to choose from. The mall is also full of great cafés and restaurants. I like the high-back chairs at Crème De La Crème for sneaky little rendez-vous. Dubai is a very small town after all…

Where to watch:
I’m not sure how much longer Movies Under the Stars at Wafi will last, but for now, every Sunday night they hold a FREE screening of a themed double feature (last week was Sean Penn week). Settle in to one of the giant beanbags and take in a movie or two al fresco. Check TimeOut Dubai for listings

What to watch:
Go see City of Life if you haven’t already. Directed by local filmmaker Ali Mostafa the movie takes place in Dubai. It tells 3 stories of typical Dubai experiences, but ones you may not have heard. It’s a great film for the UAE’s first feature. I recommend the cinemas at Ibn Battuta and Festival City, they are generally cleaner, have better sound than MOE, and the serve crepes.

Night at the Opera: Art Sawa is a gem of place in Al Quoz offering all kinds of cultural events and art exhibits. This month they are screening full-length operas. Enjoy Donizetti’ delightful romantic comedy – L’elisir d’Amore featuring Battle, Pavarotti & Pons Sunday 16th May 8:00 pm . Admission is only Dhs25.

What to weekend- Thursday:
It’s crowded & smoky, and has a flow problem like C Bar, but One on One in the Monarch is HOT HOT HOT. Booking a table is a must if you want to really enjoy this place, but the music (mostly 90s RnB) is the most groove-worthy I’ve heard in town since Boudoir raised the roof on Wednesdays back when we had Thursday-Friday weekends. 04 501 8888

Wet n Wild:
Ladies, ever wanted to let loose at Wild Wadi and not have to worry about losing your top on the Jumeirah Sceirah or fending off perverts in the wave pool? Thursday nights from now until August are Ladies Nights at Wild Wadi. Dhs 165 admission. Grab the girls and have some fun.

What to read:
Join the TwitBookClub, they meet the 3rd Saturday of every month at The Shelter in Al Quoz. This month they’re reading one of my personal favorites Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut, as well as 3 other great books. Check them out online or follow the conversation on Twitter by looking for #TwitBookClub

Guilty Pleasure: I love, love, love the blog
Red Velvet Nation written by the extremely witty Dipesh Depala. He comments on the ‘goings on’ of the social set in Dubai with a focus on style. Of course I may be a little biased, seeing as yours truly made the RVN’s Top 20 Most Stylish Women in Dubai list…

And around the globe…

Who to follow on Twitter:
@paulocoelho Brazillian writer Paulo Coehlo shares inspiring pearls of wisdom on Twitter such as “Intense life is not complete without a touch of madness” and is quite interactive with his followers. Thanks to @tomgara for this recommendation.

WTF?: Who hasn’t South Park made fun of? Well, now they’ve now gone after my peeps: gingers! When I was growing up, we were just called redheads; but like Russell Brand, this British export seems to have snuck in and taken hold of otherwise unsuspecting Americans. The South Park declaration that Gingers have no souls lead to a response video by a very angry youngster, which of course had to be followed up by a South Park parody of his YouTube video. Very funny stuff. But then take a look at the video by visionary director Romain Gavras made for M.I.A.'s 'Born Free,' which depicts men in police uniforms dragging gingers from their homes. Is there a larger, more nefarious conspiracy forming against us? via @urlsesque

Take a laughternoon break:
“Mormon livers are expensive” and “does your virginity grow back” are just some of the current posts on this hilarious site that show screen grabs of autocomplete suggestions given by Google for various web searches.

What to read:
the Three Musketeers by Alexander Dumas. Yes, I'm talking about the original classic. Read it in French if you can, but the English version is just as fun. You can pick it up in the classics section of any book store for around $5. Modern authors just aren’t as good story tellers, this book is so fun to read and full of drama and intrigue.

How to save the Earth (and yourself): You wouldn’t think shampoo could be so dangerous, but in a review last year of 413 shampoos, it found that 11% of products contained a known probable or possible carcinogen (including selenium sulfide and coal tar, found in some dandruff shampoos), 17% had ingredients that may be linked to breast cancer, and 82% had ingredients believed to help carcinogens penetrate the scalp (including EDTA, propylene glycol, urea, and PEG-7 glyceryl cocoate). NASTY! Take a break from the dangerous chemicals lurking in your bottle of Kérastase and try all natural olive oil soap and a vinegar rinse. I brought a bunch of this soap back from Syria and I follow up a wash with a rinse of ½ liter of water + 4 capfulls of Apple Cider Vinegar. Your hair will be clean and shiny and free of build up. You won’t event need conditioner. Try it.

What to podcast: YogaJournal.com offers FREE podcasts from (IMHO) the best yoga teacher in North American, Jason Crandell, on iTunes. The 20 minute podcasts focus on specific areas of the body such as hip openers, arm strength, or Sun Salutations. Indulge in a little yoga every day, it will change your life.
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I've been gallivanting around ancient cities along the Silk Road, looking for adventure and inspiration.
Apologies for the prolonged absence.
I'm back though, see you all soon.
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Happy New Year!

Goodbye 2009 and he-he-hello 2010. We've been waiting for you!

I'm taking the week off since most of you are traveling and reveling.

Will be back on track with a fresh list next week choc full o tips on how to do things better in 2010.

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The List- Special Holiday Edition

I know it’s kind of late in the game- I missed Islamic New Year and Hanukka, and Christmas and Kwanza are just few days away, but I am sort of a Scrooge and I have been distracted from timely holiday preparations- so I have a holiday themed list this week. You may find inspiration for future gifts and outings, or a few ideas for procrastinators, either way enjoy this week’s edition 4 days early of ‘what to’, ‘where to’, and ‘how to’ in Dubai and around the globe. And if you don’t find any of that, there are plenty of great YOUTUBE links to entertain you. (FYI- the red text in each section are actually links to cool things)

Happy Holidays,

In Dubai…

Where to eat – Al Diyafa: Fah-rah-rah-rah-rah-Rah-rah-rah-raaaaaah in one of the best Christmas movies of all time, the special turkey is ravaged by a pack of dogs and the only restaurant in town that’s open is Chop Suey Palace. So it is with this in mind that I recommend Noodle Bowl on Al Diyafa Street. Delicious Chinese and Malaysian food for Recessionista prices.

Where to sip- Deira: Everybody is talking/tweeting about Toffee Nut Lattés, blah blah blah… C’mon brainwashed consumers, Starbucks is lame. Next time you’re in Deira head over to the JW Marriott and order a hot chocolate in the Vienna Café in the lobby. It’s open 24hrs and they serve them submarino style like they do in Argentinian – real chocolate dunked into steaming hot milk...mmmmm (add a peppermint stick and you'll be ooozing Christmas)

What to mall-Al Quoz: Antique Museum- Ok, it’s not a museum and it’s technically not a mall per se, but it offers 65,000sq ft of treasures from around the world all crammed in this Al Quoz warehouse, none of which are actually antiques, but you’ll find gifts a plenty. Al Quoz Industrial Estate (take the first right before Kanoo building and first right again, Antique Museum is on your right). Open 9.30am-8.30pm 04 347 9935

What to plan ahead for: Avatar has opened to rave reviews and sold out cinemas. Plan ahead and get your tickets early. It’s playing on the IMAX screen daily at Ibn Battuta Grand Megaplex 10:30am, 1:30pm, 4:30pm, 7:30pm, 10:30pm

What to gift:
etisalat or du pre-paid phone cards are probably the best thing you could give the kind people who sweep our floors, guard our buildings, pump our gas, and myriad other (often menial) jobs in this city. Stock up on a stack and take this time at the end of the year to recognize the work they do.

And around the globe…

Who to follow on Twitter: @longestwiener [teeheeheehee] the Longest Wiener Contest is a charity fundraiser for animal charities and non-profits. If wieners aren’t your thing, find another charity group to follow on Twitter, like @CharityTweets, @SavetheChildren or @CharityWater and get inspired by more ways to be a source of generosity in the world.

WTF?: A clip from a South Indian Tamil 80's movie "Athisiya Piravi". I wish I understood Tamil to know what the plot of the scene is about. (the holiday theme here comes from the song in the clip Holiday Rap by MC Miker G & DJ Sven

I imagine it goes something like this:

Migdet dances

Wife comes in and breaks up the party

“Uh dah dah dah dah dah!
“Aaaah Chemporchodi, did you got to that special market in Chennai and buy another dancing midget!? I told you not to do that, I don’t need another mouth to feed."
“Run along boys, go see if you can pawn him off on our neighbors. I think Aamithyan is getting married soon, maybe they will take him for the wedding entertainment. Puh puh puh puh puh..”
“Chemporchodi you must be tired, I can’t see that you are laying on top of a ghetto blaster, get some rest.”

Wife leaves

Midget sneaks back in

“Yo dude, your old lady busted you. I told you we had to be more smooth about this, break it to her slowly. Now give me a drag off that blunt homie and we’ll figure out how to tell her about our dream to win America’s Best Dance Crew."

The comments are equally WTF? Here is a sampling:
elsangre333 (10:05am)
WOW! i'd like to buy one, but when they are still a baby. Then i would train it. i would raise million off one of those dwarf dancers.
CoralMan24 (12:37pm)
I would pay to see him on Dancing with the Stars.
marceloribeirobarros (5:48pm)
betskier (6:03am)
Where can you buy one??????
NoiKeomisy (7:12am)
no its not a midget....its a 2 year old light skinned black dude named lil nitro
Eggroll42 (11:37am)
madshoe99 (2:20pm)
he actually lives in a zoo and eats raw steaks

Take a laughternoon break: Again, Christmas lends itself well to humor. Check out Sketchy Santas [via @urlesque]

What to read:
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens One of the greatest writers of all time, here is the entire text online. Definitely worth a read again.
And I’m also reposting a link for my other favorite Christmas story from David Sedaris, hilarious
Apologies non-Christian friends, but the I’m short on ideas for humorous Kwanza stories or classical tales of visits from jinn on the eve of the Islamic New Year, feel free to add them in the comments.

What to DVD/Slingbox/iTunes: A Christmas Story, as mentioned above, is the best Christmas movie of all time. There is a reason it plays for 24hours on Christmas eve in the U.S.

How to change the world: Kiva.org is one of my favorite microfinance programs where you browse entrepreneurs' profiles from all over the world, choose someone to lend to, and then make a small, but valuable loan to that person. For as little as $25 you can help a real person make great strides towards economic independence and improve life for themselves, their family, and their community. Throughout the course of the loan (usually 6-12 months), you can receive email journal updates and track repayments. Then, when you get your loan money back, you can re-lend to someone else.

*new* a few links and ideas I find interesting that don’t always fit into the list

Random recommendations:
Read about soushoku danshi, also known as Japanese Herbivore Men- shun sex, don't spend money, and like taking walks- represent an unspoken rebellion against many of the masculine, materialist values associated with Japan's 1980s bubble economy.

When Poker Face came out I thought it was the most ridiculous song ever.
But just like “Turn me on” by Kevin Lyttle and “Ignition” by R. Kelly, its ridiculousness eventually grew on me. And I am slowly becoming a Lady Gaga fan. It may be more that she has Rilke tattooed on her arm,
but also the fact that she’s already so incredibly successful at 23 and has been playing piano since she was 4, and no one on this earth can really rock Alexander McQueen they way it’s supposed to be rocked but her.
Her stylist Nicola Formichetti has a beautiful blog worth perusing if you are interesting in the madness that is Lady Gaga.

And speaking of dancing midgets: If you watched Twin Peaks (David Lynch’s TV masterpiece, you’ll appreciate this 'Twin Peaks' Wishes You 12 Days of Christmas
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The List- December 17

Back from 2 weeks off and starting to feel festive as the rain came and scrubbed Dubai clean, and brought great films to DIFF and generous gifts from Abu Dhabi - aptly named Sukukmas by our brilliant friend @TomGara. 2009 is quickly coming to a close and if you’re like me you are probably ready to say goodbye to this year and get on with 2010 already. But we have a few weeks left and plenty of time to assess where we are in our lives and where we’d like to be next year. Otherwise for the non-reflective fatalists out there, there is lots of goings on in Dubai to keep you busy until 2010. Here are a few ideas on what to, where to, and how to:

In Dubai…

Where to eat – Souk al Bahar: BICE Mare is now open. Practically every table in the place has a view of the Dubai Fountain and the food is excellent. Great date spot (hint hint… ya, you know who you are) Reservations: 04 318 2520

What to mall- Ibn Battuta Mall:
As much as I like sing the praises of Dubai Mall, it is worth the drive out to Jebel Ali for a visit to Ibn Battuta for several reasons, here are just a few: ِ
A. the cinema at Ibn Battuta is cleaner and has more movies to choose from than MOE, and they serve crêpes at the snack bar
B. the Forever 21 has the best selection in Dubai
C. Don’t miss the Napoli Gelato stand outside said Forever 21- amazing
D. You can get 2 for 1 tickets at the aforementioned cinema on Tuesdays
E. free parking

Who to follow on Twitter: @DubaiMallNews because they’re supercool and will tweet to you when you’re in the mall, you’ll feel special

What to weekend: It’s time to go out to the desert. The best desert escorts are the locals of course so start making friends with some of the awesome Emiratis who live here and get yourself invited to the desert. If that doesn’t happen, don’t miss the amazing weather and gorgeous scenery, grab a copy of Explorer’s UAE Off-Road book.

Who to follow on Twitter: @emiratweet is a virtual majlis for Emiratis, you could make some nice friends there who may invite you to the desert if you’re lucky

What to do after the weekend: Go see Avatar because it’s a dry night tonight so the cinemas will be crowded. It's playing on the iMax at Ibn Battuta

How to answer -“Do you want anything from Cambodia?”: “Baat (if you’re a dude)/Jaa (if you’re a chick) please bring me some spices like lemon grass or cinnamon.” Thank you @omaralfi :)

And around the globe…

Who to follow on Twitter: @chucknorrisftw Just because tweets like “Chuck Norris uses Tabasco Sauce for eye drops” are fun to read (thanks @Alexi13 for spotting it)

WTF?: Tiger Woods- seriously dude,you are disgusting.

Take a laughternoon break: One of the best marketing campaigns ever, hilarious URL. Take time to read the copy.

What to read: While all the TV shows are on holiday hiatus, it’s time to curl up with a good book. I recommend Little Bee a compelling novel about globalization played out through the intersection of a 16-year-old Nigerian orphan and a well-off British couple.

What to podcast: The Moth is a not-for-profit storytelling organization, was founded in New York in 1997 by poet and novelist George Dawes Green, who wanted to recreate in New York the feeling of sultry summer evenings on his native Georgia, where he and a small circle of friends would gather to spin spellbinding tales on his friend Wanda's porch. Each week there is a new podcast featuring someone telling true, engaging, funny, touching and eye-opening stories from their life.
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The List- November 25

Eid Mubarak,
and Happy Thanksgiving,
So much happening in Dubai over the past week that, although I’m off the crutches, I can barely keep up: Eve performed at was a major “Sheikh Up” at the top of the Dubai financial world, Global Village opened, and multiple sword fights broke out in the city. Yes...sword fights!
We’ve got a long Eid Al Adha weekend ahead of us and plenty of scandal and intrigue sure to follow.

In Dubai…

Where to eat – Mall of Emirates: Almaz by Momo serves yummy North African cuisine in a chic setting on the top floor of Harvey Nichols. Don’t miss the authentic pigeon pastille and minty Moroccan tea.

What to mall- Lamcy Plaza: It’s been on my list before, but it’s worth the drive to Oud Metha to check out this very bizarre multi-level shopping center with an open floor plan. Head straight to Daiso Supermarket for cool Japanese trinkets. You could spend hours in that place picking up things like ladies face razors, Beckoning Cats, butterfly nets, miniature clothes pins, and plenty of useful home stuff too.

Who to follow on Twitter (local): @emiratweet is a virtual majlis for Emiratis, created by @angelistiic I think she’s on to something big. You go girl!

What to weekend- Thursday: Catch an indie film at The Scene Club. This month’s film is Kerala Café, a Malayalam film directed by a team of 10 directors focusing on a common theme of journeys that reflect contemporary times in Kerala.

What to weekend- Thursday: Catch a Hollywood blockbuster on a 4000 sqft screen accompanied by a 32 speaker digital surround sound system when New Moon opens the Swiss Open Air season in Media City.

What to weekend: Take your sheep for a walk. Eid al-Adha, also known as the Feast of Sacrifice, is on Friday. It is the most important feast of the Muslim calendar and concludes the Pilgrimage to Mecca. Eid al-Adha commemorates the Prophet Abraham’s willingness to obey God by sacrificing his son. During the feast families re-enact Abraham’s obedience by sacrificing a sheep of their own. The more beloved and dear the animal is to its owner, the more meaningful will its sacrifice be. The family eats about a third of the meal and donates the rest to the poor.

One more, we do have a long weekend: Go see the human cannonball at Global Village! David ‘The Bullet’ Smith Jr is the current World Record holder for the longest human cannonball flight. David will blast off twice a day between the 22nd of November and the 21st of December 2009. Just one of a many reasons you should go.

How to answer -“Do you want anything from Egypt?”: “Aiwa, please bring me a nice khamsa or evil eye to ward off the bad mojo of 2009...”

And around the globe…

Who to follow on Twitter: @urbandaily keep up to date on the newest word in the Urban Dictoinary like: darth breather, Febreze shower, and moviegating. You’ll sound so clever.

WTF?: Somewhere in India there is a Spiderman Ganesh, need I say more?

Take a laughternoon break:
This Party Took a Turn for the Douche” this is a hilarious song about a party turned bad full of hilarious pop culture and literary references- Mike Seaver, Golda Meir, "metaphysical like John Donne" [warning mom types- prolific use of the F-word, but it really is funny]

What to read: Sign up for Book Crossing Welcome, where hundreds of thousands of people from more than 100 countries come to share books through a unique method of recycling books which are left on a park bench, a coffee shop, at a hotel on vacation. You can even track the book's journey around the world as it is passed on from person to person. Very cool, very green.

What to listen to: Rakim, the godfather of the golden-era rap just released a new album. For you youngsters, Rakim is the ‘Microphone Fiend’ you hear Hova rapping about in “Run This Town” . Rakim is not slappin’ hoes, he is not poppin’ bottles, this is what rap should be. Buy his album.

How to save the Earth: Join Book Crossing.

And finally, something to inspire you: 11 Productivity Tips
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The List- November 19

It’s been a whirlwind week again. My cast came off Monday so I ventured out a bit, although I’m still a little gimpy on my left foot.
Participated in the Dubai Cool Twitter Conference, which was a really nice event.

It’s a short list this week, so much to do this weekend. Enjoy the weather and this week’s list.

In Dubai…

Where to eat Sharjah:
Samakmak I know, I know Sharjah… but this is authentic Alexandrian seafood joint is well worth the drive. And comes highly recommended by @omaralfi, my dining companion. He recommends the grilled butterfly shrimp.

What to mall-Dubai Mall:
Dubai Mall is not only big, it’s just plain cool. They offered me a wheelchair for the day so I wouldn’t have to crutch through the mall, so sweet. Regress and hit up Sega Republic and Candylicious. And Dubai Mall is on Twitter, let em’ know when you’re in the mall @dubaimallnews

Get your swing on:
the course is beautiful and tickets are free, get down to the Dubai World Championship this weekend and enjoy the weather and the best golfers in the game. I’ll let you in on a little secret too: best spot on the course is at the 17th hole in the Après tent, get there early.

What to culture: Abu Dhabi Art 19-22 November at Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi. Abu Dhabi has been bringin’ it lately. Time to take a drive (the pastries at Emirates Palace Lobby Café alone are worth the drive!)@Abu_Dhabi_Art

What to get excited about: Global Village is opening in 3 days!!! Woohooo!!!!! And Dubai International Film Festival is coming soon. Friend them on facebook and follow them on Twitter, there are some amazing films in the lineup. @diff2009

And around the globe…

Who to follow on Twitter: @BoingBoing Cool geeky humor and news

Laughternoon break: Ok, it’s maybe more of a chuckle this week. The Top 5 Most Annoying Facebook Couples. If that isn’t enough for you this site is always good for a laugh.

WTF?: New Moon fashion

What to read: Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts. It is over 900 pages, but I couldn’t put it down when I read it. Amazing story, beautiful writing, you’ll love it.

Get ready for Thanksgiving: in this article Mark Bittman gives you 101 head starts on the most delicious holiday of the year : )
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