Wednesday, December 31, 2014

I know it's only gonna get better...

Tell you the truth, I don't even know if blogging is still a thing since Instagram gave every social networking sites a run for their money... but who cares, I will continue my endless ramblings till the countdown to the new year begins and the fireworks display at Burj Khalifa ends. LOL

2014 brought about the most awesomest of experiences pour moi... 
I turned odd in the 2nd quarter of an even year....
Travelled twice outside the UAE....
So much fun at work....
Enjoyed a wonderful bliss of time with the biter ma puce again and again...!!!
To tote it all up, 2014 AN INDELIBLE YEAR.

2015 see you in a bit *winks*

And I know it's only gonna get better. 

Cheers! xx

Saturday, December 20, 2014

5 Days in God's Own Country (Kerala, India)

India. When we say India, we think about Taj Mahal, Gandhi, snake charmers, elephants... we could go on and on but God's Own Country? It's something new!

In Dubai, the place in India you keep hearing about is Kerala because most of the Indians here are from that place. Kerala is located in the southwestern edge of the Indian subcontinent and it's worth exploring.

Happy that I had the chance to visit this place for 5 days because 

"The deeper you go into the country, the further back in time. The REAL India, the way it is, not the way perhaps like to be or pretend to be."

Day 1:  The building in where I stayed and the views around it.

Day 2:  Somewhere in Ernakulam

 Day 3:  Fort Kochi and its Chinese fishing net; Portuguese-Dutch Palace in Mattancherry

Day 4:  Impressive views in Munnar - waterfalls, tea plantation, eucalyptus tree, mountains, lake and all things green. A step closer to nature.

 Day 5: Wonderla Amusement park in Kochi - all the thrillers, water or land based rides and everything's fun! 

 and me stepping closer to nature saying Namaste Hindustan! ;-)

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Beyond Borders: From the UAE to the Philippines

“If you’re twenty-two, physically fit, hungry to learn and be better, I urge you to travel – as far and as widely as possible. Sleep on floors if you have to. Find out how other people live and eat and cook. Learn from them – wherever you go.”

  Anthony Bourdain

MBC1 had featured a documentary entitled Beyond Borders last year. It was about 6 young Emiratis who went to Philippines and stayed there for 2 weeks. And finally I got a chance to watch it (see links provided below).

It is like "from richest to rags" and it's not only about the cultural difference or the "desert vs island living" but it's living and surviving completely different from the comfortable life they're so used to. It's like rich kids experiencing poverty first-hand.

Beyond Borders - part 1
Beyond Borders - part 2

Saturday, September 20, 2014

His Inamorata is an Islander

Original title: I am a Darling of a Foreigner

When she told him that his girlfriend is a foreigner, he said that her boyfriend is a foreigner too. Although for her, in her point of view, she is the foreigner in their relation because she is away from the comfort of her land while he is in "his own" land - his territory. 
That's how I came up with a new title...

Saturday, August 16, 2014

And I Climbed the Highest Building in the World

‘Cause I was on top of the world, hey! ♪
 I was on top of the world, hey! ♪
    Two months ago, I was at the 3rd highest observation deck and the s 2nd highest outdoor observation deck in the world named At The Top located on the 124th floor of the world's tallest man-made structure - Burj Khalifa. 

    Burj Khalifa (photo not mine)
    • Tallest building in the world
    • Tallest free-standing structure in the world
    • Highest number of stories in the world
    • Highest occupied floor in the world
    • Highest outdoor observation deck in the world
    • Elevator with the longest travel distance in the world
    • Tallest service elevator in the world

    The Journey Begins...
    This travelator transported me from the earth to the sky, looks so futuristic, innit? Felt like Mission Impossible...
    Experiencing 1st hand modern architectural and engineering wonder.

    The view from the observation deck:

    The shadow of the world's giant building touches the Dubai Mall, stretches over kilometres
    Looking straight up Burj Khalifa from 124th floor
    Overlooking Downtown Dubai. The roller-coaster-loop-like is the famous Dubai Fountain, world’s largest performing fountain.

     Sheikh Zayed Road in broad daylight and at night time..

    @ the highest OUTDOOR observation deck in the world

    Descending from the observation deck in a high-speed elevator, travelling at 10 metres per second. Woohoo!
    Hope you enjoy the ride! ;-)

    Friday, July 18, 2014

    A Tourist in my Own Country - Last Stop

    This is part deux of a 2-part blog entry about being a tourist in my own country - the Philippines. If you haven't read the previous post, please click here.

    Second stop: Enchanted Kingdom (EK). The Philippines' first and only world-class theme park located in Laguna which is beyond Manila. They say, EK is our version of Disneyland-Universal Studios combined. What can I say, I've never been to any Disneyland or Universal Studios so *shrugs*

    Victoria Park
    We arrived late afternoon/almost sunset and were greeted by Eldar the wizard (EK's mascot) and few entertainers dressed in Victorian-era costumes in front of the magically looking Grand Carousel, a pretty attraction on this zone. Charming!

    Midway Boardwalk
    We walked around and stopped at this Coney Island inspired (1930s America's Playground) zone. My brothers played some skilled games - basketball and pool & billiards, and since they're good - actually best and great at it, they won various giant stuffed animals. Proud!

    Brooklyn Place
    We proceeded to the 1940's Brooklyn, New York theater and shopping zone inspired where we got inside the the Rialto (simulator ride) for the 3D ride of Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs. I said ride because our seats moved in 8 directions around 4 different axes to feel that we are part of the action that is happening on the screen. In which my nephew got scared and almost fall from his seat. Fun! 

    The sci-fi/NASA-ish zone. My brothers, sister-in-law and I got in a long queue for the Space Shuttle ride - a unique roller coaster ride that function like a boomerang. We chose the front seats and our train was pulled backwards up to the highest point and was released to dive down, revolving around, inverting included, the loops like a bullet. It was one hell of a ride as we turned upside-down 6 times, 3x forward and 3x backwards in 2 minutes. I couldn't even scream! We were also shot through the rails backwards so after the ride I walked like a f--cking hammered Charlie Sheen. LOL. Super intense!

    My brother-in-law was excited to join the fun by karting but we were shooed away from the Kart Track (kart racing) because we weren't (though he was) wearing casual and comfortable shoes for our own safety [Noted]. Somehow disappointing, our mistake, we didn't do our research.

    We had to split up to make the most out of our trip there. They have tried the Dodgem (bumper cars) located at Midway Boardwalk, Stone Egg (egg-shaped kiddie Ferris wheel) and Boulderville Express (mini-train ride) both part of the dinosaur-themed Boulderville zone and I think also they tried the calm Swan Lake water ride at the Amazon jungle inspired Jungle Outpost Zone.
    We headed back to the Midway Boardwalk zone and tried the mini roller coaster ride called Roller Skater. It is actually a Spaceshuttle aftershock because it gave us another 10-second heart racing experience. 

    We also rode the EKstreme Tower (a drop tower) in Midway Boardwalk. While seating comfortably, we were lifted slowly to the top (about 12 floors/storeys) and suspsended there for a minute or so to enjoy the overlooking view of the town and Laguna de Bay at night. Then we were released free-fall down the tower, like a hot potato. We were screaming our lungs out. My heart stopped for a bit and when we reached the ground, I felt like my butt was left up there somewhere. LOL. What a scream machine!

    Our final ride was the Grand Carousel and we headed back home. The fireworks display was very timely, it made our exit spectacular, dramatic and enchanting. Haha!
    My bros, sister-in-law and I

    A Tourist in my Own Country - First Stop

    Stunning sunset on Manila Bay
    Last April, I had a chance to go "home" again for 2 weeks, the last time I've been there was 3 years and 4 months ago. I have been living abroad for 8 years now and still think of the Philippines as my own  country. Simply because 16 of my formative to adolescense years were spent living in one of Manila suburbs. But being in Dubai for long, sometimes, I feel like I don't know my country - the Philippines, anymore.

    Anyway. while still in Dubai, my sister and I asked our 6-year old nephew, who lives in the Philippines, about the place(s) there that he has never been to but would like to go. His answer: Manila Ocean Park and Enchanted Kingdom. Good choice as I've never been to both places either.

    So off we go!

    First Stop: Manila Ocean Park, the Philippine's first world-class marine theme park. Just to give you an idea, it is similar to Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo just less grandiose. We've seen 5 different attractions/shows that include:

    Oceanarium. It has long acrylic walkway tunnel wherein you can have a close-encounter experience with a wide varieties of fascinating sea creatures.  They seem like flying around and over you while you are under this big aquarium.

    Sharks & Rays Dry Encounter. I got a chance to touch big sting rays and dared not touch the sharks.

    Jellies Exhibit. The exhibit gave me a surreal experience by being surrounded by hundreds or thousands dancing sea fairies generating neon lights in all possible colors. 

    Sea Lion Show. It features 2 adorable South American sea lions (an adult and a baby). My siblings, siblings-in-law and I enjoyed the show as much as my nephews. LOL.

    Musical Fountain Show. The Philippines' first, largest, tallest and longest-running musical fountain show, at par, with the world's best Dubai Fountain. It is backed by live performance with the magnificent Manila Bay as backdrop.

    The Nephew and I

    For the last stop, please click here.

    Sunday, July 6, 2014

    The Iconic Burj Al Arab

    (not my photo)
    If we say Dubai, what comes to your mind? It's either world's something-something building or the ship sail-like hotel, right?

    And that's my friend is the iconic Burj Al Arab (Tower of the Arab), one of Dubai's world famous landmarks. The symbol of modern Dubai.

    And do you see that girl thumbing a ride to get in there? That's me, Rae. LOL.

    Do you see where this post is going? You didn't, did you?

    Well, guess what, early this year (sometime in Feb), I've been inside that stunning hotel. Oh I just had my morning coffee there, LOL, or should I say luxurious brekky in Sahn Eddar - one of the restos inside.

    I considered it as an achievement because Burj Al Arab is the world's most luxurious hotel and once dubbed "the only 7-star hotel in the world" (1999-2008)..

    The Food, Luxurious Food

    The Interior of the World's Luxurious Hotel - Burj Al Arab

    See that petite woman over there? On the first floor entrance of Burj Al Arab and next to hotel's Rolls Royce limo? 
    Again, that's me Rae. LOL

    Saturday, July 5, 2014

    Bitten from the Block

    I didn't realized I've been hibernating for that long.. 8 months! Would you believe that? Or maybe you didn't realize that I was MIA-ing also... It's okay. LOL

    I really had too much in my plate. Who cares?! LOL. Maybe you had more than I had..

    Anyway, whether you care or not, I am back to blabbing.

    And I will blab anything I want and will compensate for the time I wasn't here so brace yourself..

    After all I'm still Bitten, Bitten from the block!