Category Archive: Experiences

The Things People Tell Me

The United Arab Emirates as a country was founded today, 2 December, exactly 50 years ago, when Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Fujairah, Ajman, and Umm-al-Quwain joined forces. Ras-al-Khaimah, the 7th emirate making up… Continue reading

Landscapes – A Virtual Travel Adventure

“Adventures will change you. They’ll saturate you with a fresh view of life. They’ll take every foundation you ever stood on and shake them until they crack. Adventures will tear away layer after… Continue reading

Learning to Live with the Meaning of New Words

“It used to be thought that the events that changed the world were things like big bombs, maniac politicians, huge earthquakes, or vast population movements, but it has now been realized that this… Continue reading

Coffee Architecture: A Place That Feels Like Home

“Coffee has to go through a series of processes and changes to reveal its true identity. If we pay attention, we can taste decisions on species, variety, processing, milling, roasting and brewing. Every… Continue reading

Paddling Through Time and Space

“We have come to forget that our minds are shaped by the bodily experiences of being in the world – its spaces, textures, sounds, smells and habits . . .”    – Robert Macfarlane… Continue reading

Are You Kidding Me?

I exit from the Al Ras Metro Station, and plunge myself into the sweltering heat of a mid-summer’s day in Old Dubai. I hug the outside of the neighbourhood, in which the Gold… Continue reading

Sharjah Heritage Area

The older gentleman, who steps through the gate with me, smiles and returns my greeting. Instead of hurrying off, he beckons me to follow him. I am intrigued, and soon we step through… Continue reading

An Evening Under The Stars

Red carpets are rolled out to form narrow pathways that lead to rows and rows of padded chairs facing an enormous purpose-built stage. A cup of coffee warms my hands, while my winter boots warm… Continue reading

A Tinge Of Green

The night air is laced with an uncomfortable chill. Gone are the daylight hours of suffocating heat. The longed for growing season has finally arrived. In my postage stamp size garden clusters of… Continue reading

Sabkha Flats

The coastal landscape that stretches south of Abu Dhabi city along the coast is bleak and desolate. Sabkha flats, or salt plains, extend like ghostly fingers towards the Arabian Gulf. The water that seeps through the… Continue reading

The Best Part Of A Summer’s Day

The bright, silvery moon has, over the last couple of mornings, slowly been erased from the sky. In its place, only a persistent sliver remains. I step out of the cool interior of our… Continue reading

Wish Upon A Star

The gentle snoring of my husband creates little eddies of sound in the otherwise motionless air. There are no other sounds. The sultry night air feels heavy on my skin. Like a warm embrace from a lover. I… Continue reading

The Abu Dhabi International Book Fair

I am grateful for the opportunity to sit on a comfortable couch. My feet ache from walking through the massive exhibition space of the 24th Abu Dhabi International Book Fair. The room is… Continue reading

Dubai – From Small Town to Sprawling Metropolis

Imagine a dusty town huddling close to a creek with no roads, electricity, running water or traffic noise. A place where drinking water has to be brought by donkey, drained through a muslin… Continue reading

You Cannot Book The Weather

A different rhythm shapes the seasons in the UAE. Kharif (autumn), shitta (winter), saif (early summer), and gaith (high summer) all sound, smell, feel, and look different from the seasons that used to structure… Continue reading

An Ocean of Words

Books have always held a special allure for me. Even as a small child, my mother used to recount, I would gently page through magazines and books, careful not to rip any pages. Spending hours… Continue reading

Celebrating A New Year

While Dubai was busy with a record breaking firework show on New Year’s Eve, I found myself under a canopy of stars that could rival any ostentatious spectacle with its simplicity and sparkle. I must admit… Continue reading

Wadi Al Nahyan

Pushed up from the seabed millions of years ago, Jebel Hafeet does not just dominate the landscape around Al Ain, but is a fascinating geological feature. Here geologists can study Eocene and Oligocene… Continue reading

The Growing Season

During the long, hot summer months our once beautiful garden dwindled and disappeared, except for a tenacious origanum, basil, mint and jasmine. We had to concede that the desert won, but we bided our time,… Continue reading

Atta Allah – God’s Gift

The Arabic root for camel, jamel, is also the root for beautiful, jameel. With their long eyelashes, curious eyes, and long, slender legs, I do think camels could be considered beautiful creatures. Their… Continue reading