Friday, 30 December 2011

Arabian nights: Tales out of the UAE - ABu Dhabi and Dubai Part 2: Dinner on a Dhow boat

On our first evening in Dubai we decided to go for dinner on a traditional Dhow cruise, so we arrived on the bank of the man made canal after making a booking on an unknown boat and were greeted by hundreds (and I literally mean hundreds) of wooden boats (dhows) lit up like Christmas trees. It was a spectacular sight with one problem - which one was ours?

After a couple of harried, confusing calls (I only heard one side) and a bit of a mission up the canal we were now looking for a boat called Duty next to the Star of something or other. We found the boat the Star of something or other but not Duty. Then we realised it was GT not Duty. Well that is what we surmised since it happened to be next to the Star of something or other. We did surmise correctly so without further ado we boarded the two story, well lit Dhow and were led below deck to enjoy our pre-trip juice.

We were only due to leave  8:30pm so we were sitting chatting, doing the touristy photo thing when they cranked up the music. Out poured Britney Spears - The Ballads. The men in our party (and most of the women to be fair) looked around in abject horror wondering if they had time to abandon ship before we left for our dinner trip. I must admit that after the Britney faded away and the Celine Dion ballads took over I wanted to join them! I think it would have been okay if it had been background noise, but it wasn’t! And it didn’t stop.

After awhile we eventually left and after watching a whole set of near misses as the other 99 Dhow boats left their little docking stations (a little like bumper cars, fortunately no-one collided, near misses aside). As we anchors awayed the food was served and it was surprisingly good! Really yummy some kind of veggie soup followed by a buffet that featured an amazing veggie curry and a whole host of unidentifiable desserts (I tried all of them and I am seriously okay not finding out what they are), well apart from the fruit salad.

While we were busy digesting and watching the other brightly lit boats passing us and the bits of scenery we could see on the banks the entertainment for the evening started setting up. It was a magician (and we were now being serenaded by discordant Christmas carols). I must say, the magicians one saving grace was he turned the music down. Shame he actually wasn’t a bad magician cutting ropes and rejoining them, making things disappear, substances change and levitating tables but he had no stage presence at all. Poor guy!

Our little magician wrapped up his show as we finished our cruise. I’m not going to lie, we all upped and bolted as soon as the plank was down. Unfortunately everyone else had the same idea so we were stuck in a little queue, moving out in single file with a song about sexy Tarzan and a whole lot of Janes playing in the (loud) background. It sounded like it was sung by chipmunks. It was all I could do to not collapse in absolute hysterics! Once we were off the boat we indulged our hysterics, I have to say it was actually a very entertaining evening!

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Arabian nights: Tales out of the UAE - Abu Dhabi and Dubai - Part 1:

I was driving around Abu Dhabi with my mother yesterday (on the right side of the road which to me is just wrong!) and in between flinching and twitching, convinced we’re going to collide with oncoming traffic (even though we were in the correct lane, obeying all the traffic rules unlike most people on the roads) I noticed that I hadn’t seen many mosques. I had heard the call to prayer constantly, from the apartment and while driving around, but I hadn’t actually seen many mosques. So I asked my local encyclopedia (mom) why I hadn’t seen any mosques, considering we are in a Muslim country. My encyclopedia gave me an odd look and said “well there is a mosque every 500m”. Now this just boggled my mind, how could I not be seeing a mosque every time I turned around? I mean 500m really isn’t that far! Apparently they are mostly off the main roads. I, of course, remained slightly sceptical.

Later in the evening I was sitting on the balcony, enjoying a G&T absorbing the bright lights of the city below me when I realised there are a lot of green lights. Basically every 500m or so there was a building lit up with green lights - see where I’m going with this? It is incredible - all the mosques are lit up on an evening with green lights. Looking down from the balcony all the roads are lit and most of the buildings, especially the tall ones have lights of some kind on them but in between there are dark patches. In between all the well-lit up areas and all the dark patches, at very regular intervals, there are mosques glowing green, and this stretches out as far as you can see into the distance. It is spectacular!

I wondered if there was any significance to the green, as far as my local encyclopedias (this time both the rentals) were aware, they weren’t sure. After all the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi is lit up blue, as are the mosques in Dubai. Either ways it really is a pretty incredible sight!

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Jealousy makes you nasty

Jealousy is a strange emotion, in small doses I used to think it was healthy. It makes you try a little harder, do a little more, efforts that any relationship, fling or otherwise can always do with. The catch is that it’s poisonous, it fuels your insecurities and spite, and no matter how hard you try and how attentive the partner you stop believing it. The thing is trying hard is a great thing, trying hard because you’re jealous not so much.

On a realistic level is it fair to despise that beautiful, incredibly sexy girl on the dance floor because of the way she is? No not really, but there is often a little something in you that hates her anyway which is very unfair when most of the time she is just minding her own business and dealing with the very raw side effect of seducing without meaning to – it’s a bitch!

I used to think ‘well don’t give me a reason to be jealous and I won’t be!’ That’s bullshit. That means you’re looking for reasons and should take a time out to figure out what is going on in your head.  If you are with a man (remember he most likely wouldn’t be with you if he didn’t want to be) and they notice another woman, it’s most likely because they are not blind, not because they are comparing you and are now demanding an upgrade. Mind you it often takes very little for you to get it into your head that she’s pulling moves on your man, and if she isn’t and you are being fanciful your subsequent blow up is going to make you look petty and drive a mountain sized wedge between you, and if she really is hitting on him it’s up to him to shut her down and return to you!

Look I’m not saying turn a blind eye if your partner has a roving eye, if it really is a roving eye and you can live with it fine carry on, what I’m saying is if you’re uncomfortable try to find out why and fix it or maybe it is just a bad egg and let it go.

I’ve been on both sides of this particular fence – I have poisoned a good relationship with my jealousy and I’ve been the unassuming (and undeserved) target of another’s. Neither side is particularly fun. Nowadays I have decided if I start feeling jealous I don’t feel secure. If I don’t feel secure it would never work so walk away early. Sure it’s harsh but it’s a lot safer than tearing yourself and someone else up over a jealousy. Keeping this in mind every situation is different and try go with your gut – it’s usually right.

Jealousy is not only nasty, it’s a toxic poison – AVOID AT ALL COSTS!!!!

Friday, 25 November 2011

Meeting real men, really?

When we go out and about as single women we come to expect certain things from the men we meet, depending of course on where we go. The general standard is man-boys , normally plastered, that can talk about nothing more than sports and cars ... *sigh I imagine the way we feel now is sort of how the mature men felt in the 1800s when talking to young 18 year old girls who could talk about nothing other than the weather; it’s actually slightly depressing!

I feel duty-bound to actually distinguish man-boys from normal men; it is a very subtle difference in attitude more than actions if I’m completely honest. A man-boy is an adult male who never grew up, who seems to live for nothing more than getting wasted, trying to score and they generally don’t have a whole lot going on upstairs; this is very different from ‘normal’ men who go out have fun, get wasted, but they know when to be responsible, they have very real responsibilities in their lives and they have plenty of interesting stuff going on upstairs. It’s a very subtle difference.

I went out the other evening and encountered something rare; I went out and met smart men! Mind you these men were kind of on the other end of the scale since they were Astronomers and IT whizzes. I was expecting to feel like I had been launched into an episode of Big Bang Theory, but I didn’t! Mind at one point they lost me when they started quoting Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy, which went way over my head since I actually haven’t read the book!

I have to say, it was an awesome evening. I don’t know whether it was because I was out and about with people older than me or whether there were just no pretensions and trying to impress people. All I know is it was pretty darned entertaining and very, very refreshing! It’s so nice to go out and meet smart guys for a change!

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Hormones, heart or head????

I watched friends with benefits on Sunday night, thankfully with a group of friends and not with parents as it was one of the cringiest movies I have seen in ages! Cringy, but the hopelessly romantic sap in me (buried real deep mind!) loved every second of it!

In one part of the movie the main actress mentions a 5 date rule. Essentially no sex until date number 5. So as a group of females are wont to do, we got chatting about this issue. One of my friend piped up that this is the kind of stuff I should write about, so I am – I’m not sure that I’ll have much insight to offer though!

Basically how long should you wait until you have sex with someone? The obvious answer is wait until you’re ready; unfortunately though, your body is normally miles ahead of being ready compared to your head and heart. I still think it depends what you are after, if you want to just satisfy (tee hee) your hormones, and you’re not bothered about a call back or seeing them again why wait? The problem is that as females it is not so easy for us to do that. A little corner of our souls wants more, wants to be called back, wants to feel like that special one – no matter how much we protest that we don’t!

So if you’re looking for a relationship and not just casual sex, how long do you hold out to know that a man isn’t going to do the nasty and disappear into a puff of smoke? I suppose it depends on the guy and how much they like a challenge, after all not all men are just looking for a quick lay, and really it costs NOTHING for a guy (or girl, I suppose it does work both ways) to say the right things at the right time then next second you know you’re feeling very used and wondering where the hell that ‘perfect man’ disappeared to, leaving this weird alien in his place to walk out the door never to be seen or heard from again.

Honestly I think to play it safe, the longer you wait, the less likely the guy is just out to add you to the notches in his bedpost. I used to think a good 3 months would do the trick, but that is very, very hard to achieve; even for an ice queen!

My advice would actually be to be upfront and honest about what you are looking for, if you don’t tell, they won’t know! Complete honesty comes with a risk though, for some reason men (I really do apologise for the generalisation) seem to think that as soon as you’re not just into casual sex you want to be with them forever, get married and have babies (weird I know) and so they run (if that was really the case I would also be sprinting out the door!).

Ultimately try use your head as a thinking organ and not as a sex organ and that will hopefully help you out!

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Party rocker in the house ... NOT!

When a 23 year-old comes to work tired and brain dead what would you assume? Me? I’d assume that said 23 year-old had been out the night before having a good time. So when I roll into work looking like death lightly toasted you can imagine what people assume, especially when I only went to sleep just before 2 in the morning.

Now you see there is the key – I only went to SLEEP just before 2 am, I was in bed long before that! You see I am a rare commodity nowadays; I am part of a very rare group of people called nerds, what makes this even more exclusive is the fact I am one of the few who actually embrace it (and take a measure of satisfaction from it!). I stayed up until 2 am, not to party or visit with friends, but to finish reading a book I seemed completely incapable of putting down! I just had to finish! It was so exciting!

So I come into work yawning widely and a colleague asked me how I was. My reply (obviously!) was that I’m tired. Then you get the response, the widened eyes and the “Oh really? Why are you so tired?” in a very specific tone – a tone implying there has got to be a juicy story here ... with a sleepy smile I respond (and I of course, nerd that I am) excitedly, “I was reading this book that I just had to finish!” My colleagues jaw dropped, and then she burst out laughing, “You really are such a nerd aren’t you?” and my poor little heart swelled with pride because yes, I am a nerd, and unabashedly proud of it!

I really did enjoy that book, and I’m really proud of the fact I’m only a little tired today but I feel good! Then I looked at the clock and realise that it isn’t even 10am yet and I am on my way to make another cup of coffee! Whoops!

Thursday, 13 October 2011

I think Mother Nature is bipolar ...

I think Mother Nature is Bipolar – especially in Cape Town. For those of you who commute daily, whether it is from Blouberg or Durbanville to Town will know exactly what I mean. How many places do you know in the world where you can experience rain, sunshine, mist, wind, mild and harsh weather all in one city, all in one day? Not many I’m guessing.

So often it has happened that I wake up on a morning, take a peak outside my bedroom window to get an idea on the weather and it’s been cloudy with a wind whipping through the tree in my neighbour’s yard. So with that I dress like a snowman to keep the chill out. I’ll then go on my merry way to work and on route the weather starts changing. The wind miraculously calms down, I look at the sky and slowly but surely the clouds have retreated and the sky is an innocent, pretty blue. So by the time I arrive at work I look like the Eskimo that got lost and ended up on a tropical island! I then spend the day trying my damndest to keep cool, cursing our fickle friend Mother Nature.

Even though the dressing warm and ending up overheating seems to be the usual I’ve been caught out the other way often, especially recently. You see I thought I’d learnt, so I’d take a sneak peak out my window to get a read on the weather, and dress opposite to what I saw – it seemed to be the pattern after all – and then true to form I’d be dressed in a light skirt and top with nothing warmer than a thin cardy and a silk scarf shivering my butt off the rest of the day.

So I pretty much feel no matter how I dress Mother Nature will totally do the opposite, and short of taking a spare outfit to work what is a girl to do? If I start doing that my colleagues are going to think I’m wackier than I already am for dressing for “summer” in “winter” and for “winter” in “summer”! I guess I could check the weather forecast but I somehow doubt the weather man is having anymore luck than me!

I pointed this process of discovery out to a friend not so long ago and she offered a good piece of advice that left me feeling like the moron I’m starting to think I am at heart – layer you clothing and pack a jersey just in case; and she’s not even a native Capetonian like me, clearly I missed a few vital lessons! Oh the horror!