Tripping to Paradise

Paradise does exist. It’s a tiny little dot laying in the middle of the pacific ocean. Mortals call it Maui, Hawaii. I’m back in town but I left my heart there.

What to do… Life is a beach.

Maui’s beauty is irresistible and our stay at Alejandro’s studios in Haiku- Pauwela was beyond enjoyable. You definitely have to visit the island at least once in your life and if you finally do, check with Alejandro for your accommodation. His profile on Airbnb is found here.

Aloha! 

No kidding, it’s me not Kidman

Unaware of Etihad’s release of their new commercial and shortly after it, my husband took this picture of me on board Etihad’s flight to Abu Dhabi. And then… no kidman… ehm…I mean no kidding…

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Don’t get me wrong, I’m not comparing myself to Nicole Kidman, I’m simply comparing the two photos leaving the comments on you.

I have to admit though, traveling first class with Etihad had been a pleasure.

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Oman : a photo gallery

I’m back from our short trip to Oman and although I have a hectic schedule these days I still feel like sharing some photos with you as I believe a picture is worth a million words. Some of these photos you may also find on my Instagram account: idolimages
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The Beach at the Shangri-La resort
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View from Shangri-La’s Al Husn Hotel
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Al Husn Hotel private beach – exclusive to Al Husn guests
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Al Husn Hotel private swimming pool

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We had a great stay at Shangri-La Al Husn Hotel. Then we were taken fishing. We caught nothing more than footage in our cameras (editing project number 24 on my to-do list? bear with me please!) but we loved exploring the beaches.

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Our host saved the best for last: The revelation: The road trip to Jebel Akhdar (The Green Mountain), high up to 2,400 mtrs. And we were left speechless!
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A rose-water “factory” in the village of Sayk.
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The village of Sayk
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Swimming pool view of the Sahab hotel.
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Enjoying the view and some fresh air!
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Alila Hotel
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Alila Hotel
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Indoor pool at Alila Hotel
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Alila Hotel
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View from the special council for the people of the village of Al Roos
 That’s all for now and we are certainly going back to explore more of Oman’s beauty.
Oh! And I shouldn’t forget: a special thanks to my “panoramic view” photographer and of course to our host! (They know who they are!) xxxx
All photos were shot with iPhone 5S.

The adventure begins

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Oh boy! Oh boy! Finally, I am test driving my new iMac and does this hi-tech genius make wonders! So easy to use!

Well, I just got back after spending one month in the US (part of the shopping frenzy I got into is my new iMac too) and have so much to share with you. I’m sure I left you in good hands and we all got some interesting reads from Dona. Now it’s her turn to take a long vacation while I will be entertaining you with some amazing stories and photos from overseas (give me some more time to get ahold of the video editing on my iMac and promise I will share videos too).

Although I was too busy in making the most of my journey in the US and my gadgets’ technical issues left me unable to share my experiences on the spot, I still posted some photos on my Instagram so if you want to have a look of what’s going to follow here, then go and follow @idol_image on your Instagram! (I always follow back 🙂 )

My holidays are not over yet and soon I will be hitting the beaches on some Greek coast. But we’ll get to that too 🙂

The jet-lag is getting me and need to go for now, will be back with a clearer mind shortly! In the meantime, have a great weekend,

Evie V.

Dubai: “What do you want to be today”?

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Written on the Kidzania’s (a children’s role-play park in Dubai Mall) map and leaflet, this simple question “What do you want to be today?” reflecting hospitality could be asked not only to the minor guests of the specific kids’ place but to all who visit Dubai. Well, Dubai is actually a big play park for adults.

Every time, in every visit, Dubai looks and feels different, the result of an allegro paced growth that seems untouched by the financial crisis that hit the Emirate not that long ago. They might have appeared losers in the short run and they might have been accused by their adversaries for being foolishly pride or taking hasty steps; but it seems that they are now cashing in their well developed plans: tourists from all over the world pour in to experience this blend of European cosmopolitan air with Middle Eastern exotic scent; a man-made paradise which smells like the interior of a brand new luxury car. Visitors can find literally everything and “play” according to their moods or tastes changing from one day to the other, as Dubai offers a variety of activities that satisfy even the most demanding guests.

Turning a “dry” land into a touristic “oasis”

Glazing Dubai from high above, while the airplane is about to land, it is amazing how beautiful it looks, with the imposing Burj Khalifa, the world’ s tallest building in its center, so tall one might fear the aircraft’s belly will scratch its top during descend. This unique panoramic view is the result of a simple vision.

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Dubai’s ruler had a vision and a vision is just a bet. Actually it is even worse than a bet, as quite often visions are against winning odds, something which in the eyes of the common mortal makes the visionary look like a big gambler. So where did this gamble lead the once upon a time dry place? To the creation of not just a superficial show-off city but to the foundation and settlement of an infrastructure to support the glowing image, thus the amazing airport (one of the busiest in the world), the introduction of a complete scheme of public transportation including the new metro rail, road and water buses and taxis, the establishment of Media City, amazing hotels and huge shopping malls (among them the world’s 7th biggest Dubai Mall), all making the experience of visiting Dubai very pleasant. It is not called “Paris of the Middle East” for nothing.

On the other side, the elevated Jumeirah Palm monorail, reportedly the first of its kind in the Middle East, connect Dubai’s Gate towers to Atlantis hotel resort and Aquaventure Park, another architectural wonderland for adults and kids. With guestrooms literally submerged in the huge aquarium situated in the center, and a reception hall where people are delighted in the view of a simulation of the ocean, the resort is an example of a great antithesis: the serenity of the deep sea contrary to the excitement offered in the aqua-park.

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But the aquatic experience doesn’t stop in Atlantis. One of the world’s largest aquarium tanks is situated in the heart of Dubai Mall featuring the world’s largest viewing panel. The visitors line up to get tickets in between their shopping frenzy breaks to see up close more than 85 species in the underwater zoo.

Dubai’s marvels include the first in-door ski resort in the Middle East: Ski Dubai in the Mall of the Emirates is yet another proof that nothing is impossible for a visionary: a snow park in the heart of a desert.

Opposed to such up growth of a “futuristic” nature goes the speculation that Emirati nationals might lose their identity. With more foreigners visiting and living in Dubai the mixing of cultures might threat the core elements that synthesize the Emirati’s values and beliefs system. The initiative by Ali Alsaloom, an Emirati entrepreneur and communicator tends to bridge the gap between the Middle East and the wider world. His website www.askali.com is a valuable source of information both for visitors and expats living in the UAE.

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Ali had realized there was not sufficient or accurate information on the web about Emirati culture when he envisioned his now successful website. He initially drew on a piece of paper his action plan. Today he’s thought to act as a cultural ambassador; he’s celebrity starring in a television series, hosting radio shows, publishing his Ask-Ali Guide books that disappear from the bookstore shelves, with the only aim to educate people of the customs and ethics of the UAE tradition.

Ali’s vision came into light the same way that Dubai’s vision did: with strategic planning and years of hard work to achieve and complete the picture that only started as an idea in a visionary’s mind. Dubai conception for the future might have been a one night’s dream but turning this dream into a reality was nor easy or quick, even if since the 1990’s I was hearing stories of family and friends who had visited the all sandy place that would turn into miles of concrete by the very next morning, to their amazement.

“Hellooo! Bahrain, wake-up, I’m calling you, What do you want to be tomorrow?”