Happy Easter !

I have been busy trying to escape for the holidays, with no success so far. To cut the long story short, first  Oman, then UAE, then Cyprus, then Austria, then Thailand… one by one the destinations would be erased from our schedule as the traveling plans wouldn’t work out very well. Anyways I am going tomorrow (or so I hope) and my next post is going to be from there. (No, I won’t tell you the place until I reach it safely 🙂 In the meantime I wish you Happy Easter.

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If the Resurrection is resurrection from the dead, all hope and freedom are in spite of death.
Paul Ricoeur

 

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/robbyryke/5508726333/”>Robby Ryke</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;

 

Postcards from an Anti-Valentine…

Yes. I admit it. I am an Anti-Valentine, and find all the sudden “love striken” couples specifically for Valentine’s day lukewarm at best. I hold nothing against love, I am a loving person, it’s the idea showing your love on that specific day (and sometimes the only day) that I oppose to… Anyways, I think this is too nice to just let it pass…

So, to all of you who don’t actually believe that there should be a “special day” to celebrate love, that includes me…

Past Valentine’s day, my soul sister had sent me a Valentine’s card and I was soooo touched!

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For it made my day special and couldn’t care less if it was Valentine’s day. She gave me a break from my busy routine to remind me how we feel and how much we care for each other even if we live miles apart. Valentine’s day was just the trigger for her to shoot that message on my phone. It could have been any other day, like the one when we discovered this photo from photographer Gay Block on our friend’s coffee-table book…

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…. and in a flash and giggles we imagined our distant future together…retirees and widows somewhere in Miami enjoying our remaining time, our kids looking for us …

But we are still young (at least at heart and spirit) and have lots of fun (whenever we get together). And when it’s been time since we last got together my sister makes sure to remind me that we need some friend therapy..

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There are no boundaries in love, no sexes, no races, no ages, no miles and certainly no special days, for love makes every day a special one.

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Feature in the Unsung Lilly video!

Unsung Lilly is an inspiring pop band from UK. With their music and stance on life Sera, Frankie, Wayne, Allan and Russ, embody many of the values and principles I live by, so it couldn’t but “just be” a love at first sight!

Now if you want to be featured in their new video about self-acceptance visit their blog here and find out how. Act quickly!

For a little inspiration, here is their song “Just Be” which was released last year…

Music: Machine Gun Geezer (video too!)

Machine Gun Geezer, the alternative/indie/groove band from Bahrain will participate at the music competition organized during the National Day Festival at Bahrain International Circuit.

The group will go on stage at 4:30 pm on Friday 13th of December at BIC and we believe they certainly deserve your support and applause!

For more information about the band you may visit their Facebook page and why not become a fan as they are awesome!

Last month, the group had their debut performance at the Dilmun Club, from where the short clip:

Best of luck to you guys! 

November, the month of jewels

Every year Bahrain hosts Jewellery Arabia, claimed to be Middle East’s biggest and most prestigious jewelry and watch exhibition. The 22nd exhibition in a row will take place at the Bahrain International Exhibition and Convention Centre from the 19th to the 23rd November 2013. Admission is free of charge to trade and public visitors but mind that children under 16 years of age are not admitted, even if accompanied by their parents (bling-bling not for naughty kids I suppose!). My favorite participant is Chopard and I was promised that I will get to see their newest collection of watches and jewelry so I will be hopefully writing soon on the highlights of the exhibition.

Additionally, a set of complimentary seminars on precious and semiprecious stones and jewelry shopping are offered, conducted by the Gemological Institute of America, and they seem quite interesting to attend, my focus turns on diamonds and pearls. For the full schedule of the seminars click here

As much as I love precious stones and expensive jewelry, I consider faux jewelry an affordable everyday luxury that compliments any outfit.  Last Tuesday me and Dona visited another -in budget- jewelry exhibition in Saar, or Xmas jewelry party as Liz wished to call it. A costume jewelry designer, Liz Ceaplen, showcased her work of  bracelets, necklaces, earrings and ornamented scarves in a party atmosphere where ladies enjoyed their time having a drink, chatting and shopping Liz’s creations. Nice work Liz!

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Liz wearing one of her beautifully made scarves
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Liz’s creations
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Lots of colorful bracelets

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?”