Round and round it goes.

You’ re stressed.

Work is rough, life is tough, and the heat doesn’t help. 

There are times in your subconscious you tell yourself , if you can… drop whatever you’re doing right now.

Take a walk.   Breathe.

You’ve left the office, gone down the elevator and out the doors. You’re walking through the parking lot, the sun beating down on you, burning and shining bright overhead. No one else is out, except the guards watching the lot; everyone is at work back in the building. You could’ve felt guilty about that but you didn’t. You’re fingers reach out and brush the smooth spiny leaves of the plants lining the parking lot in their cement plots.


You ponder on getting in your car and driving somewhere when you reach it but then you remember the fee you paid lasted the whole work day; plus you could use the exercise. So you walk, the guard nods to you as you pass him.

You’re in no rush. You’re enjoying the semi-fresh air and taking in the sight of the two buildings that are the same but different at the same time; faces and voices fade in and out.


You cross the bridge and from afar you see the old boats calmly parked in the canal down below.  It’s been there but today it’s like you’re in a trance appreciating the sight perhaps because you’ve been ignoring the beautiful scenery all along, spending so much time staring at a computer screen and office desk.

One thing’s for sure though, you’ve never been on that ferris wheel before.

The operator is just leaning on his control panel, looking bored out of his mind. You can see some of the carriages have people; mothers with their children, teenagers, young couples.   I am the minimum must be reached for the the ride to be started. You can’t remember the last time you rode a ferris wheel so you approach the operator and pay your fee. You’re carriage is clean, the only kind of blemish in the interior being the speckles of dirt on the white flooring.


The world is beautiful at the top. You’ve reached the same height of the surrounding buildings but seeing the world below you and people appearing as ants and trees as dots of varying green shades, it’s breathtaking.

The air is better up there, cleaner.

Then your stomach drops when you look down.  It will end soon though.

When it does you thank the operator who looks surprised and then smiles.

You walk away feeling refreshed. You continue down a path on the bridge, back to work.  Glad you chose a good day to take that spin.

 

Advertisements

Because it’s a holiday— The Jabal Jais Adventure

Camping up in the mountains…

It can be the easiest and most difficult thing at the same time. Easy because taking some time during a holiday feels easy, freeing even. Difficult because there’s a distance to travel, a journey to take and the obstacles that come with it like the cramps that will come later.

 It’s easy to feel the wind in your hair, the sun on your skin and savor it; be, if only for a short while, away from the daily grind of computer monitors and cellphone screens. No signal, no public solitude. It’s difficult to keep taking step after step, to put one foot in front of the other even though it’s something natural, something that should be easy and having to deal with the sunburn or backpain later will probably be a little less than what it’s worth.


 It’s easy to lay there and look at the stars, to unwind beneath their light and remember what beauty is lost in “progress” and time; to know you succeeded in the climb and worked hard for the view.   It’s tough to find the right spot to camp especially when you realize half of the city decided to camp as well.


It’s easy to sit around a fire, telling stories, sharing laughs and making food that you bought from that corner store because it would be rude to ask a pizza delivery guy to climb a mountain for you. It’s difficult to make that fire, get it to the right size and then even more so to put it out, to signal the  end.


It’s easy to get up and enjoy the morning air, then start to pack up; the descent is less challenging than the climb surely but it is also much more difficult. Because it may be easier to go back but more difficult to be back.

 And to have to deal with that backpain.

 

Short and stout

When the food is all laid out in front of you….. you have to eat.

It doesn’t matter if it’s unusual, uncommon or just plain weird, I will try it.  And that has expanded my palate significantly. Food is food– I enjoy it.

How can you say no to a flavorful and diverse boodle fight; where you eat your spread out of food off of banana leaves with your bare hands like savages (trust me, it’s more fun than it sounds)? Everything is within your reach and there’s just so much– that you can’t even begin to choose what to try first.

BOODLE FIGHT louiseandrain

And what about those colorful, aromatic Indian meals?  Do you go for that bowl of curry that will definitely land you in the bathroom for the next hour? Or do you go with those samosas that will probably make you feel like you need some exercise in the next 30 minutes?

DOSA louiseandrain

Such a difficult choice.

Either way, having such a wide range of yummy treats presented to you is just plain delightful and delightfully confusing.

Dig in!

GOT, HOC…What’s next?

You ever start marathoning a tv series or playing video game and just cannot stop playing until you finish it or reach a point where clicking   pause is acceptable in order to create the needed suspense?

Sure you have.  We all have.

Eddard_promo
Dear Ned… I moved on.

They become what we lovingly call addictions, like an entertaining drug that hits you right in the feels. You seek to complete it, you cannot rest properly until you do.  Your brain will not let you because darn— it wants completion!  And it’s gonna get it one way or another.  It will nag you even if you’re not purposely thinking of it; the desire, the need, to go and finish is there lying under the surface.

https-blueprint-api-production.s3.amazonaws.comuploadscardimage200579
Latest addiction- House Of Cards

This is called the Completion Principle and we all have it ingrained in our brains. Look at that; even when we don’t seek to be outstanding, our nature just demands that we be obsessive in some type of way.  Consciously your mind is on the job- at the office, school or wherever and whatever else you need to focus on that actually matters in life. On the other hand,  subconsciously of course you’re thinking about that moreish tv series.  So if you’re wondering why you’re tired and have a headache at the end of the day, it’s because your mind is putting energy into whatever it is you wanted to finish!

Not only that, it’s distracting and unnerving because you keep thinking “What’s gonna happen next?!”

And it feels like if you don’t get to watching right now you’re missing out on it. But quite honestly it makes no rational sense that you feel that way.  The show’s not gonna go anywhere! It’s not gonna grow legs and run off into the sunset. Just stream it when you get home.

Such is the effect of any brilliant and gripping story. It’s like being a mouse in a field while eagles circle overhead; the moment one of them have you in their talons, it’s all over. It’s got you and you’re not getting away any time soon.

Welcome to the fandom.

 

A Small Space And Some Pretty Little Things

People who come to UAE for work would probably have shifted accommodation minimum 3 times depending on how long the contract is or in my case for an indefinite amount of time.

Those who are blessed with a good salary package also gets a good crib on top of that; some will have to allot part of their income to renting  a flat and most survive by sharing space (housemates/ roommates).

Being that I moved into a new space  recently,  it was in my mind to already plan the essentials. Calculating every move.  Which items I should take with me and which are the ones to go for storage.

It is a  3 x 3 meter room— what could fit in it?


These were my concerns:
Where my bed should be? Feng Shui much…. Do I need a bed?

Where to put my clothes in?  Do I need a closet?

Is there space for toiletries?

What about my shoes?

I started with a rug.  A smart purchase I believe because it was on sale, 50% off and on top of that it was the last piece- I asked the store manager to give me another 10%.


Then I found this charming and somewhat unusually fashioned sofa bed on Dubizzle for 300 Dirhams ($82).


This is when it dawned on me—i need pillows.  Lots of them.


It’s kind of like a therapy; seeing an empty space with infinite possibilities, no matter what the size and then turning that space into something that can become home.

It has been almost a week now.  I am adding little pieces every day.  Most are my old stuff; some gifted.

And if there’s one thing I really enjoyed, those are the  cheap buys from Daiso, Tchibo and Dragon Mart. I was on a mission and I can say I came out swinging.


Now I have to rest my soul as I begin to settle in because yeah my room has reached it’s limits.

 

Thinking Twice- On Eating/Blogging

IMG_8763“The struggle is real.”

I hear this line from the girls a lot.

Everyday I get an sms, asking…..

“What to eat?” or

“Where to eat?”

The truth is, I am in the same predicament.

Shall I cook?  Shall I order?

Zomato or Talabat?

Ok, too much thinking. I will just go out.

While driving – I’m contemplating.

Chinese or Indian?

And then when seated…. it’s a like a quiz.

“Chicken or beef Ma’am?”

“Spicy or mild spicy?”

“Cold or room temperature?”

It’s not that I am complaining.

Let me go to the food court instead.

“Here or to go Madam?”

And then comes that thought…

Are my struggles for real?

What about those who have eating disorder?

And the less fortunate?

Those who cannot afford to buy a decent meal.

Those whose land are all dried up.

Those who are at war.

Yes, deep down there is guilt.

But the fact remains I have to eat.

So to end this— let me just cook here at home

and then drink tea.

Hmmmnnn…..Black or green?


Confession:

At the beginning of this writing I really thought I finally found an opening; a door.   A chance for me to share some of my food photos.   Maybe next time.  So indecisive.

 

 

 

Purse Lover

Money.

I do not enjoy spending it.

Does anyone really?

Sure luxury is a thing and people do it to make themselves feel good or on the other side of the spectrum, they do it so it will look like everything is good, but come on! All of us inwardly cringe when we take a look at the price of something we want that’s just a little too rich for our blood. And we buy it anyway. In my case, it needs to wait until the next pay day.

That said, let’s appreciate here the free stuff!

First of all we must agree that using something we got for free is not being cheap.

Let’s say for example you book a flight or a hotel and they give complementary stuff like travel kits or toiletries. You see that the quality and the design of the freebie is actually pretty good. Practically you use it, and most of the time people will ask you where you got it from.

In the case of my everyday purse, I reply-  it’s free from Etihad.  And they’d comment that it’s actually a pretty good purse, not that they think I am some sort of hoarder or moocher.

Really, just because an item was not bought from an upscale boutique it doesn’t mean it’s not good enough.

Just because it doesn’t have some brand name sewed on, it doesn’t mean that’s it’s not stylish.Louise And Rain Purse

It’s not being a cheapskate, just practical.

I can say I applaud companies who give out good freebies. They can have my business.

It’s good marketing. They treat their customers right by handing out “gifts” that are usable.  It’s like planting the seed of trust in that person’s mind, making them subconsciously think, “Hey, these guys were good to me the last time, why not go back?”

It’s smart and a win-win situation for everyone; especially for me!

Plus, it’s just plain nice.

Just when you thought you had it… Winning The 50K Golden Sound.

What are the things normal people obsess over?

How to stay young-looking, how to keep in shape, how to lose weight, and even how to keep in touch with the times so you don’t miss out.

But what did Liz obsess over?

The Virgin Radio 104.4’s 50K Golden Sound contest. Then again I never said she was normal.

Picture this. It’s 6 a.m., what would you be doing?  Probably having breakfast or going on a morning jog but Liz?  Nope!

Last May 25th, she sat in front of that radio listening intently to every word…watching it like it’s a house pet that’s gonna try and run away.  I don’t even remember when all this started, I just realized one day that she’d been having me listen to an audio clip almost every day for almost one week and asking me what I thought it sounded like. It wasn’t anything too drastic until one day she dropped the bomb on me.

The 50K Dirham bomb!

It was a radio show, a radio show of all things! And yet that prize was so, so tempting. So, of course, I fully supported her in her little endeavor or quest or whatever it was but honestly by the end of it I think I might have been just as pissed as she was.

It started May 14th at 10,000 Dirhams, and for every time the golden sound was played with a wrong guess a thousand Dirham was added.

LOUISE AND RAIN 1

May 24th, when Liz realized she knows the sound but she couldn’t wait until the next day when the winning answer gets to bring home the 50K cheque  (50,000 Dirhams=13,612 USD), so she sent a message to the host of the show.

LOUISE AND RAIN 7

She din’t sleep well that night.

Morning of May 25th she sent a message to our group chat (to different parts of the world of different time zones)—

LOUISE AND RAIN 8

The fact was there were too many calls- the whole UAE must have been calling that time.

Note that I did not even try to keep up with this craziness till later… And soon another batch of people’s wrong answers started pouring in and boy did I start to question my sense of hearing. But Liz seemed to still have faith, she said “I got this!” and that having the list of wrong answers was actually a good thing.

She insisted.. she sent a message to Virgin Radio via the messenger app…. https://appsto.re/ae/MHYX5.i

LOUISE AND RAIN 6.PNG

Going back  to May 20th  when I scheduled an appointment with an ENT doctor, I remembered she just kept on guessing and grew more and more frustrated.  Like “pull my hair out and save money on a haircut the hard way frustrated” which, in turn, made me frustrated.

Remember back when 4 pics 1 word was huge and your friends would both entertain and torture you by asking for help on a puzzle they couldn’t do? Only for you to end up stumped as well and then you’d spend every waking moment of the next few days wondering just what the hell did those four pictures have in common.

It turned into that for me.

She’d have me listen to the audio again and if I couldn’t pin down exactly what that sound was it gave me an incredibly irritating itch worse than those sweaters your grandma knits for you every Christmas.

I went bonkers! I thought about it in the shower, at work, in the car, on the toilet!

Basically, I got pulled under.

Then finally the clues came.

LOUISE AND RAIN 9.JPEG

Immediately right after the first clue we both realized just how wrong we were with each guess. The result was just plain depressing; I imagined Liz with her collection of pillows on the couch as she melted into a mass of human goo and just blankly stared at the wall.  As for me, it would have been funny if I hadn’t realized I was exhausted by the end of it.

In case you are wondering how the sound was like, here’s a link https://www.audioblocks.com/stock-audio/banana-peeling-sounds.html

And of course there was Jake..  the lucky and unassuming Jake. Congratulations!

 

Why I Didn’t Get Flowers On Valentine’s

DMG 1 www.louiseandrain.com

DMG 2 www.louisenadrain.com

DMG 4 www.louiseandrain.com

DMG 5 www.louiseandrain.com

DMG 6 www.louiseandrain.com

DMG 7 www.louiseandrain.com

February 14th is that time of the year where your man buys a dozen of red roses for about AED 200.00 or more, depending where he gets it from.

But I say bring her to Dubai Miracle Garden on Valentine’s day and you both will get to share the “flowery” experience together for less the price.

Click here for more info  http://www.dubaimiraclegarden.com/visitors-guide/timing-rates/