Sunday, 3 June 2012

What I did on my weekend by Katrina Hunt Grade 1

Our first trip to Dubai seems to have gone swimmingly- mostly. We had cunning plans of relaxing by the pool, not doing very much, a little bit of shopping, some sightseeing and I planned to meet up with the Dubai ravelry knitters. Ravelry is an on line community of knitters - it's huge. When I first signed up it took a week to process, because it's slow, but because there are soooo many people signing up all the time. Anyway, that was our great plan 3 out of 5 ain't bad.

The sightseeing we did was from the hotel balcony. Not so bad when you consider we were on the 35th floor of a many starred hotel Grosvenor Towers.  One of David's contacts in Dubai had arranged us a limousine and driver to and from the airport (a tad more expensive than a taxi, but definitely the way to go) and managed to book us into a non smoking room when there were none available.  That meant, instead finding something vaguely affordable, we stayed in luxury.  This is what greeted us in the lobby when we staggered in at 11:00pm.

A bit of a floral arrangement
The size of it is more obvious in the photo of it during day light hours

A refreshingly icy drink with ginger to pep us up

This is the sightseeing that I did.  David did more, he also visited Dubai Mall on Friday  - because he could - while I was lounging around knitting and drinking coffee .  After an exhausting day in the Mall, we scampered home (after a lovely meal in a Lebanese restaurant overlooking the ski field) ready to gird our loins and study Arabic.  Fortunately two bottles of wine intervened and we may have got a little squiffy.

Looking over the balcony

And once more, from the other side of the balcony

David relaxing on said balcony
Yes, David is blue.  No, it's not because of my camera skills; although the blurriness in the previous two shots could be blamed on my squiffiness. The outside of both towers of the hotel have blue lights - so you can tell the difference between them and all the other tall buildings.

Waiting for something in the lobby the next day I spotted the really cool pattern the flowers made on the ceiling. The table has a mirrored top and the reflection was truly lovely. I think there's a monochrome quilt in it.  Off you go mum.  You know you want to :-)

The renewed arrangement.   
See?  It really was huge.  That fellow with the astonishing beer gut wasn't actually very far away from the table.  Breakfast was part of the deal and you can read about that on the food page when I get to it.  It was a rather nice breakfast and set us up for about a week of sightseeing.  A quick dash to the toilet, to make room for more coffee,  revealed another level of interest.  Apparently it's good to watch flat screen TV while washing your hands after doing the necessary.  No mucky paper towels to catch the drips, damask napkins thank-you very much.....

The Ladies on the Mezzanine

Our little bit of shopping ended up being, for me any way, eight hours in the Mall of the Emirates. I bought ibuprofen, a camel teapot with matching cups that was so fanatically horrible I couldn't leave it there, a top that I will be cutting a pattern from and some *ahem* fabric.

The World's most 'interesting' teapot
and yes, this one does spit tea.

Not a lot of fabric...just...well...yummy fabric.  David and I both need some lightweight linen pants, and there was a linen in this shop, very fine, light, Italian linen.  Whoops, nine yards of it feel into my bag.  Then there was the silk. There is a lot of silk in the Middle East and I ignored it all.  Well, except for the printed Italian duchess satin which also fell into my bag.

Mmmm, designer fabric....

I had a lovely morning on Friday knitting with the Dubai knitting group.  I now have five balls of yarn in my new stash and one and a half pairs of knitting needles - do you have a stray red knitting needle at your house Liz?  I have since remedied the needle situation by ordering more on line. 

We left Dubai feeling like it had lost it's Middle Eastern identity.  We had flown in on a plane full of (mostly western) businessmen and flew out on a plan full of very short Indian migrant workers.  It reminded David strongly of Singapore, but really didn't remind me of anywhere at all.  If you dropped me in Dubai blindfolded, I really could not not have told you what city I was in when the blindfold was removed.  I find that a little bit sad.

 I have rather regretted leaving all my knitting gumpf back in Australia.  I don't usually knit in summer (except when needing to supply very warm things to children who decide to live in cold climates) and thought that it would definitely be too warm in Muscat to knit.  I had not figured on the effectiveness of multiple air conditioners and the completed trashidness of  my brain in the evenings.  By the time everything stops (by everything I mean Arabic lessons and nipping out most afternoons to get something that we didn't have) all I want to do is collapse.  When we first arrived the chairs were too uncomfortable to relax in and I was hitting the bed at about 7:30.  Now we have comfortable chairs and can sit up a little later - sometimes staying up until 9:30pm!  Sitting still is not really for me, and I need to do something I don't need to pay much attention to.  Hence knitting.  The bottom row of my little 4 ply stash will make three pairs of socks (watch out Brooke - the lime green pair might be for you) and one of the top two will have a whole lot of friends come over and turn into a cardie in 50% merino, 50% silk.  All the yarn is hand dyed, the multicoloured ones in country England and the other three by a lovely lady in Dubai.  The question is - which will become the cardie?  The purple or the sage?  Who know?  The decision will be in the swatching.

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