Comebacks and Second Chances

Would you like to know what is The Number One Question I get asked all the time? It is not “What’s this- water ?” (ok this was a crew joke and unless you’ve ever done a round of drinks you are not likely to understand it.) And strangely it is not “Where are you from?” (oh – how much has my life changed in just two years!). The one thing people always seem to want to know is how long am I “in it for and what’s next?”. How long am I gonna stay in Dubai and have I considered what I wanna do next? As if it is quite impossible to believe that I would want to stay in Dubai forever and fly until I can’t lift my cabin bag no more. 

Dubai is so conveniently located which is one of the reasons why the Airline I work for became so successful. It connects the East and the West, it makes travelling to and from Down Under so much more bearable and brings Asia to everybody’s doorstep. You can now take a flight that’s shorter than 6 hours from pretty much anywhere in Europe, spend a layover in the glorified Sandpit and travel on refreshed a couple of days later. Which is what everyone seems to be doing. The popular opinion is that none in Dubai is here for the long run. All of us expats have come for a more or less a layover that can sometimes last years – to have our fun, earn some tax-free cash, travel as much as we can whilst we have the rest of the world within our reach… and then eventually return back and start living the responsible life. Nobody moves to Dubai to establish themselves. Or do they? Having read back my latest post it occurred to me I could have left you feeling like I don’t particularly like living over here. Which would have been a very wrong impression. I love Dubai and my life here. I don’t love it all day every day. But I love it enough every day to consider it my home and staying here for as long as they would have me.  Not to mention the fact that -unlike many others- I don’t really have anywhere to go back to. See – I don’t do comebacks. When I left Czech all those years ago I always knew that was it. I was never to come back and live there. I do adore my country and I would proudly ramble on about its wonders to everyone who is or isn’t willing to listen. But it’s just not for me. Ever since I could remember I never saw myself actually spending my life in Czech – it was never even an option to consider. So I lived there for as long as I could take it or for as long as it was necessary to come up with a plan and then took off. I never looked back. I never doubted the decision to leave a respectable job in a respectable company where I was earning twice as much as anyone else my age that I knew (I was 22 then). My heart just wasn’t in it. My heart was in the hands of a guy I thought I loved then. So much I would have followed him anywhere in the world. Oh wait – I actually did that! Many years later this romantic affair has ended in a disaster but despite that or maybe just because of that I decided not to run back “home” and heal my wounds but to stay right where I was and make this new life work for me. And so somehow I found myself living in the UK and liking it. But me and the English don’t seem to agree with one another. My relationship with the country has followed the same pattern as the relationship with the guy – after being initially smitten with each other we started to see each other’s flaws in the everyday life’s light and slowly but surely we have come to a point where none of us could take it anymore. I was allergic to pretty much anything the country has laid my way and in return it seemed to have rejected me. I was ready to move on. The only issue was – I was much older than when I so carelessly thrown a great job opportunity away and followed my heart. I was worried. My life wasn’t going the direction I had wanted it to but I felt I was too scared to change it completely. And so I waited. And waited. And waited, For what I did not know. I think I was waiting for the brave 22 yo old girl to wake up in me and take charge of our live again. And as the time passed me by I started to realise that wasn’t going to happen. I was going to have to (wo)man up. And so I did and moved to the Middle East. When I told my family I didn’t get a single “Oh but..” not a single eyebrow was raised not even a little bit. They all knew just like myself that that’s the kinda person I am. The kinda person that takes “moving on” literally. And then up a notch. How was I feeling leaving the UK for Dubai? Relieved most of all. I have come to the end of the road and for all I knew I could never see myself coming back to live there. Because as I told you – I do not do comebacks. Ever. To anywhere. Or anyone.

And that’s where my job comes in. After more than 18 months of flying – it turns out not only do I do comebacks. I also give second chances. Who knew? I most certainly did not. August 2014 saw me give a lot of second chances. It had me coming back to many places I have visited and left behind before too. August 2014 has been one big learning curve, one big journey into the depth of my own self and mind you – it is still not over yet..

 

Exploring new places and flying to new destinations can be exciting… as much as it is tiring. Sometimes all I want from my roster is for it to be easy, short and familiar. And as Asian as possible. And my late summer roster has turned me into the Queen of Asia. Singapore, Bangkok, Shanghai, Hong Kong on top of Rome and Frankfurt. I could not have been happier or more familiar with any of them having visited all of these places at least 3 times before. Sometimes it is just so nice to know what to pack, where to go, what to eat and how to behave. It’s also nice to give another chance to a place I wasn’t too sure about. Like Singapore. It’s a great place no doubts about that. It’s just not the kinda place I thought I would ever want to visit again once I’ve seen it. Singapore is quite spectacular with its clean green and luscious streets, friendly people, big expensive cars and delicious food. It’s also a little too high maintenance for my liking. I feel like I should try hard and harder… like I can’t really let go and be myself in a place that has literally made it to the top of world’s capitols. I always feel a little lost when in Singapore. And as I was wondering and wandering in the SinCity I suddenly found the one spot I needed to calm my slightly agitated senses. I little beach bar on the Sentosa Island. A piece of heaven. A sanctuary. The Bikini Bar. Where they played good music, served mean frozen Margaritas and I could read my book undisturbed. And just like that Singapore and I became friends for life. Because as it turns out I don’t need that much to be friendly. Just a little time and space to be myself…

 

The Bikini Bar

                       The Bikini Bar

 

As for the other comebacks I have mentioned – well not much new has gone down in Bangkok and even less so in Shanghai. And I’m not about to bore you to death talking about my massages . I guess one very successful return I should tell you about was to the Friday Brunch at the Atlantis hotel – the crime scene of my mad birthday bash back in January which I have still not been able to blog about… Some stories should remain untold. There was no particular occasion to celebrate this time apart from Salma coming back to Dubai and with the pressure off we simply let go and enjoyed ourselves to the fullest. And Saffron has not disappointed us.

Brunch in Jan

           Brunch in Jan

Brunch in Aug.. same same

Brunch in Aug.. same same

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OK- this post could go on for hours. Yes I indeed have so much on my chest about second chances and comebacks. But I’m gonna spare you this time since I also want to tell you about a few first times I have gone thru in the past month or so… Y’all just wait :)!

Lots of love 

G. 

My May Loving

May 2014 was or still is my Top bid. Which in crew speak means that I get the chance to ask the Roster Gods to give me exactly what I want from them. And if they are in a particularly good mood I may also get it. And in May 2014 the Roster Gods were very happy with me. So happy I’d call May not only my Top Bid but also my Top Month so far.

I have started off the May loving in the most fantastic fashion – in Shanghai out of all places! You guys all know how special Shanghai has always been to me. It was after all my first ever flight as an air hostess. Coming back after more than a year full of travelling, full of irreplaceable memories, full of experiences I still felt as starstruck as I did when I first laid my eyes upon that vast city. I thought that enough shopping has been done the first time around and so this I have opted for some sightseeing. Couple of other girls and I decided to take a river tour and since we were in China where none has never needed or will ever need to speak English there was no English tour to choose. s=So we wet for the Chinese one. Ehm… The view was very nice. I’m not quite sure what I got to see but it all looked lovely. After that we stopped in a botanical garden for some tea and played around with a couple of Chinese toddlers that found us all as interesting as we found them.

Melon on a Chopstick

Melon on a Chopstick

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River tour

River tour

Not even two days after I left my Chinese home away from home I was already enjoying the first rays of spring sunshine in my “real” home – Prague. It was the 8th of May, which is a bank holiday in Czech and so I didn’t have to waste time waiting around for my sister to finish work. By the time our crew bus reached the hotel she was already patiently waiting in the lobby. Since the weather was as glorious as it gets this early in May we just casually strolled around chatting, stopping for food, enjoying each other’s company and just generally having a great time. We discovered a few new hangouts – one of them cooking some real mean czech cuisine and another one that’s so cool you gotta bring a woolly jumper to stand it ! If you ever find yourself in Prague go and have a milkshake in the James Dean bar just off the Old Town Square. It’s a little pricier than what one would expect from a Czech bar but totally worth it. The ambience is fantastic and you get a service with an attitude included in your tip 🙂 I wasn’t overly sad having to leave Prague since I knew I had another two coming up later in May.IMG_0626 IMG_0682 IMG_1131

hashtag selfie square

hashtag selfie square

But not before what I like to call My Milan New York Fussing Week. Yes, yes. It’s that 6-day trip that all crew are dying for. The timings, the destinations, the length of the flights, the customers…. It’s a crew dream in a box. With a cherry on top. And luckily I got to try it before it disappears from the Airline’s schedule.  I have to admit that all I did the first day in Milan was listening to music and eating a lot of pizza. It was just one of those days where I felt too lazy to even comb my hair. So when it was time to meet the crew for some dinner I just pulled it back into a ponytail. Over tea we met the crew that just came back from New York and it turned out I knew a few of them from my previous flights so we sat down for some more drinks and laughter until early morning hours. And then it was time to fly back to my own personal paradiso – New York, New York ! In a few year’s time when I’m happily married to a very rich handsome man I’ll casually ask him if he “could be a total darling a buy me a little pad in NYC so I could have a place on my own for little getaways from the kids once in a while”. Preferably somewhere down the 5th Av. facing the Central Park. You know – to keep the spark 🙂 !

I spent way to much in NYC. Energy, wooing and money. But I have no regrets. There is just something about that place that makes one wanna enjoy all of it to the fullest! You may remember that last time I set my foot in Manhattan was for NYE. It was bitterly cold and raining back then. Well… it wasn’t too cold this time. But it did rain a lot. But honestly – I couldn’t care less. I got up so early I had to wait an hour for the breakfast buffet to open. The last meal I had was back in Italy so I must have looked real graceful wolfing down my strawberry pancakes. What a lady! When I consumed enough food to feed a family of four I borrowed a massive black umbrella that I was bound to forget in the first shop and headed to the Central Park. My original plan was to go jogging there but Dubai got me too spoiled. I don’t jog in the rain anymore. It’s bad for… the knees …:) To shut up my guilty conscious I decided to at least walk quickly. After  a few hour that I got lost and found again in the Central Park I noticed shops were starting to open so I headed back to the 5th Avenue. There – as predicted – I managed to lose the umbrella and spent an unforgivable amount of money. I’m truly hopeless when it comes to New York shopping 🙂IMG_1050 IMG_0860IMG_0862 IMG_0859 IMG_0812 IMG_0861 IMG_0852

Back in Milan the jet lag was starting to kick in. In combination with my annual hay fever that got even worse in the States I was one tired snotty mess. But I wasn’t gonna let that put me down. The weather outside was so sunny and bright I just had to make the most of it. So I boarded one of my least favourite means of transport – an Italian train – and headed direction Lake Como. The hotel is about 5k away as the crow flies… yet it took us hour and a half to get there. Well- such is life. I could see that the girls I dragged out with me were just about to start b*tching when we got there. And suddenly all the sorrows, all the tiredness, everything was forgotten. Lake Como is stunningly beautiful. It’s everything you want an Italian lake to be- and then some more ! We sat down for some food, some wine and a lot of attention from male Italian by-passers …. and we thoroughly enjoyed all of it. I made a mental note that when I mention to my future rich handsome husband my appartement on the 5th I mustn’t forget about a holiday house at Como too. For the family you know !:) IMG_0870 IMG_0986 IMG_0969 IMG_0985

Coming to Dubai I had a week of back to back turn arounds to “look forward to”. Thankfully to ease to pain I was kidnapped to Abu Dhabi for an overnight stay in … well heaven:). I have to say it made the next couple of days of little sleep and a lot of flying much more bearable.IMG_1034

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Beach time

Beach time

After the four flights that turned out to be much less painful than expected I was bound for Prague once again. Particularly excited this time around as my Mum, that hates any kind of travelling was meeting me there. Everybody kept asking whether she was elder my sister which says a lot about her night cream … or very little about mine. I wanted to make her stay special since I missed her b-day last month so I took her to all the nicest places I could think of. We ended the day in a spectacular fashion – in an Opera House. I have been going to opera since I was about 12-yo. It’s a passion my Nanna passed onto me. My Mum however has never been. I saw it as a sign then when I noticed that my favourite Verdi’s masterpiece ever was on that night- La Traviata. I have seen it about 8 times already. And for the 9th time – it was as amazing as ever!IMG_1102

One quick flight over to Dubai, one day by the beach, one night out with my gurls, one night dog sitting and I was checking in at the Prague hotel again. The receptions asked why I haven’t left my suitcase in the room at the beginning of the month and made it easier for myself… She was right:) It was Mummy’s time two days earlier and now it was all about Daddy. Not only because he is the best Daddy. But also because it was his birthday! I missed Papi’s big day last year so this time we made sure to celebrate in style. Him and my stepmum have only recently joined the world of smart phones and social media and so all of our moves and mischiefs have been documented, posted and checked in. So cute! They are growing up so fast ! Next thing you know they will be tweeting!IMG_1275 IMG_1297 IMG_1279

I have just woken up from the longest and much needed sleep of this month. May has been amazing but very hectic and fantastically busy. I couldn’t have asked for a better and sweeter month of love! I’m now -more than ever- ready for my reserve month which I have been scheduled for June. It can bring me anything and so I’m -as always- hoping for the best.

Please Love ME

Please Love ME

Sleepy time

Sleepy time

I laughed so frigging hard

I laughed so frigging hard

 

Love and hugs

x

G.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lucky Number 215

I generally consider myself a very lucky person. I live for free in a place that is for many the ultimate dream holiday spot. My job is essentially as heavenly as a job can get. I spend my free time either sleeping, eating, chatting to one of the precious people I can proudly call my friends or the combination of all of the above.

Life Is What You Make It

Life Is What You Make It

Sometimes I get so caught up in the bliss of my everyday life that I tend to forget to appreciate it fully. So from time to time I get to experience moments that leave me speechless and beyond grateful . Like last month in LA . Oh – yeah I forgot to mention. I flew to LA. And it was great. Amazing. Fantastic. Fabulous. So much better than I have ever imagined it. So good that as my wake up call was approaching all I wished for was the chance to stay longer and enjoy more of it. And that’s when my good omen kicked in.

I woke up expecting to put on my uniform, shut my suitcase close and take off direction Dubai. But instead the hopeful red light was flashing on the room phone and when I pressed it I heard the most amazing voice mail of my life :

“Your wake up call has been postponed for at least another local night .”

Thanks to the foggy weather in Dubai that delayed some of my flying friends by hours and hours and stranded the others in more of less desirable places across the globe I got to spend three happiest days in L.A. All expenses paid. With a cherry on top :).

First time seeing the Pacific

First time seeing the Pacific

Most of the crew flying with me have -just like myself- never been to California before. So the first day most of us agreed to book a tour and see all the local attractions people are always after. The Hollywood sign. The Avenue of Stars. Beverly Hills. Rodeo Drive. Santa Monica. The New Port Beach. The enjoyed all of it. I was living my Californian dream to the fullest with the sun shining bright and high and everybody flashing their broad american smiles. I was in awe of New York when I first got there. But I BELONGED to L.A the moment I laid my eyes upon it. It felt like finding a long-lost home honestly.

Rodeo Drive

Rodeo Drive

Stars

Stars

one day...

one day…

902 10

902 10

Chuck and I

Chuck and I

IMG_7628

HappyHolly In Hollywood

HappyHolly In Hollywood

Especially when I took out the roller blades that I brought with me all the way from Dubai and headed for the beach. Some of my new friends came with me, rented bikes and we cruised up and down for miles and miles passing all the other bikers, runners, walkers and holiday makers. Then we purchased cold beverages and hot dogs, sat on the beach and just chilled watching these weird tiny little birds running into and away from the tide. They kept us entertained for hours! IMG_7732 IMG_7828 IMG_7804

My absolutely favourite place in L.A. must have been this outdoor farmer’s market called The Groove. It was crammed with people craving all the yummy food you could get there – everything from a fresh fish chowder to an organic chocolate covered beans. Whoever says that the Americans have no culture where food is involved has evidently never been to The Groove. It was most definitely one of the top ten taste bud enticing spot I have ever been to. I wished I was a cow and had three stomachs just so I could fit in more food… Not the first time that has happened to me either… 🙂 IMG_7649 IMG_7680IMG_7645 IMG_7682

I also went shopping because that’s an absolute must when in the States. Have you ever seen the prices of clothes and sportswear out there? My jaw literally dropped when the cashier announced the final price.

“Are you from Europe?” he asked

“Yup” I said

“Thought so. We usually get this reaction from you Europeans.” he replied wisely.

My bank card got a good work out that day but I came back to the hotel with a brand new skiing outfit that I’m absolutely IN LOVE with (and got to use immediately after the L.A. trip and you can read about it here) , entire running outfit and much much more. So much more I had to ask one of my colleagues to lend me some space in her suitcase since I just couldn’t fit it all in. Yes. I have a problem. I know.

I HAD to buy it

I HAD to buy it

That unexpected turn of events ate into my annual leave but to be completely honest I couldn’t care less. That one extra day in Cali already felt like a wonderful holiday !

x

G.

Viva La Barca !

I started February in a pretty spectacular way. Flew the very first A380 ever to one of the cultural capitols of Europe – Barcelona. As a passenger. This is pretty much how it happened. I had few days off the start of the month. The weather was what us Dubaians call “sh*t” – meaning the temperature wouldn’t rise above 22 degrees and it overcast most of the time… And I was bored off my head being buried in books whilst studying for my annual recurrent tests in order to renew  my flying licence. So when one of my very good friends suggested I accompany him on his flight to Barcelona I jumped at the opportunity like it was freshly baked chocolate cake with cream on top. I have been once before about a century ago with my mum and all I could remember was how beautiful Barca seemed to me back then. IMG_7550

The first A380 crew to Barcelona... and I was there to document it! Talking about proud moments of my career !

The first A380 crew to Barcelona… and I was there to document it! Talking about proud moments of my career !

And I wasn’t disappointed this time around. I spent the flight over on my Mac reading the manuals over and over. One of the many perks of flying standby and having a friend working in a premium class is getting spoiled rotten with sweets and endless cups of delicious tea and coffee. I couldn’t have asked for a better, more serene and comfortable place to study. In those mere 7 hours I was able to drill in more than in the past few days I spent trying to concentrate on reading in Dubai collectively.

Not the worst of study rooms... :)

Not the worst of study rooms… 🙂

We landed in Barcelona on a lovely crisp winter morning and it felt damn good not to be absolutely exhausted for once. I was ready to venture out and explore. The Captain was nice enough to let me ride the crew bus with the rest of the operating crew to the hotel . After only a year of flying I was surprised how many of the my colleagues I have either met or flown with before. Seems like the flying community of 17 odd thousands crew is a very small one after all.

My friend and I dropped the suitcases and headed to the city centre. The hotel is right by the beach which also sounded very tempting however it was still the 1st of February and despite the sun shining we were both freezing our butts off. Barcelona is extremely easy to navigate in. It took us about half a minute to figure the metro system out and even less to get to where everything happens – to Las Ramblas aka the main street of Barca. I asked my Catalonian friend who operated the flight as well what is The Thing to do when in Barcelona. She said “Eat as much jamon as you can”. So we did. We ate delicious seafood paella, jamon, drank wine – well my friend did and I watched – we strolled the wonderful streets, ate some more, shopped for useless and overpriced keepsakes and generally had a great time. Then it got way too cold and we wen back to the hotel.. Well – what can I say after a year of living in the desert I’m simply not used to bitterly cold winter evenings anymore. IMG_7512 IMG_7521 IMG_7524 IMG_7517 IMG_7530 IMG_7518

I got up extra early the morning enjoying the fact I don’t need to rest before the flight. Met up with my friend and we ventured out for a morning walk. Just in time to find a small cosy caffè opening its doors to all the early morning birds craving a cuppa coffee. We indulged ourselves in even more delicious food – this time a steaming cup of hot chocolate as thick as soup and a basket of fresh croissants to dip in (so here goes the reason why I outgrew most of my jeans recently:). It must have been to sweetest breakfast I have ever had. After having walked for a bit more my friend headed back to bed to rest and I decided to work off some of the consumed calories – got changed and went for a run on the beach.

OMG! Ok – I have had my chance to run literally around the world. I go running on most of my layovers and the settings are usually pretty decent… then there are a few that are spectacular. And then there is Barca. Quite possibly the most amazing jogging “facility” I have ever had the pleasure of using. The promenade keeps on going for miles and miles following a beautifully kept white sand beach. Every half a mile there is a work-out station targeting a different part of your body. There are water fountains all over to quench your thirst. There is the omnipresent sun shining. And most of all there are crowds of sports enthusiasts jogging, walking, playing football, practising yoga and generally exercising all along. The overall atmosphere is just so amazing – it really pushes you to keep on going that little further. IMG_7546 IMG_7537IMG_7542

I got back to the hotel completely besotted by my experience. By the time I reached my room I came up with about 5 different plans how to marry a Spaniard and end up staying in Barcelona forever. It was with a heavy heart that I left this amazing city to go back to Dubai to study and “Jump and slide” once again. One day Barca – I promise we shall be reunited !

Love and hugs

x

Gabs

The Tale of Two Girls (and many Cities)

15 days, 4 countries, 3 airlines and many MANY many bottles of wine later and I’m finally back from my summer vacation.

There is so much – perhaps even too much- two young girls travelling around Europe can jampack into two weeks of holidays- but fortunately for you my dear readers I have just ordered a large soya cappuccino and have all the time in the world to describe everything Dolly and I got up to during our girly trip to Croatia. So why don’t just sit back, relax and enjoy the read ?:)

Chapter One – The Most Wonderful and Horrible Thing…

… that can happen to you when travelling stand-by is to miss or not get on the connecting flight you were hoping for. Like it did to us. We happily boarded the A380 bound for Munich and spent the few hours it takes to fly from Dubai to Europe watching films, drinking miniatures ( or as we liked to call it “sampling for future reference”) and chatting to our former batchmate who happened to be the operating crew on our flight.
We (still happily) disembarked and made our way to the check-in counter of our connection. And that’s when the fun started. I’m not gonna bother with the details and wonders of stand-by travelling. The important thing was that some 40-minutes later we found ourselves mentally exhausted and without a flight to board that day. The miniatures we haven’t managed to finish on board came in handy at that moment. We were stranded in Munich for 24-hours. It was horrible because thanks to the Octoberfest all the hotels were fully booked and there was no way we could find a last-minute accommodation. And it was wonderful because out of all places I’d have wanted to be stranded in Europe- Munich during the Octoberfest was the best of them all! We put our heads together and figured there was no harm in asking our batchmate if she would mind terribly letting us crash in her crew-hotel room for the night. Which she didn’t. The holiday had started right there and then. IMG_4253

Chapter Two – Octoberfest…

… is not your typical festival as you would imagine. I have always wanted to go. Just like everybody else I guess. I expected it to be crowded, chaotic and commercial. To my surprise it was none of the above. For such a massive event the whole place felt very intimate and so so soooOOO super friendly! It had everything – massive pretzels, foot-long sausages, roasted sugar coated almonds, music, drindls and leder hosen, amusement rides and THE BEER of course! And we tried all of it. If you ever considered going then DO IT ! It’s an unforgettable experience !IMG_4268 IMG_4279 IMG_4317 IMG_4327

Chapter Three – Dubrovnik …

… has very nearly taken over the Number One City spot in my heart that has been so far occupied by Prague. Well- when I say nearly I mean I still haven’t decided. It is a true germ – so stunning it makes you wanna weep. I scored a window seat on the way there and got the chance to enjoy the most beautiful approach and landing in my life (yes -and I have landed into Maledives before).

We checked into our approx. 100yo little stone-cottage B&B overlooking the Old City of Dubrovnik, downed a shot of something very strong offered to us by our friendly landlord and ventured out to savour the moment of our first Adriatic sunset. There is so much I would like to say about this amazing city starting by describing its white streets full of jewellery shops and ice-creams parlours and beautiful architecture and its morning markets with all kinds of fresh fruit and home-made products and the most fantastic wine bars on the city walls and all the painters and musicians on every corner and all the different smells from local restaurants  and… and… and are you still with me? We have fallen head over heels for this hidden paradise – so hard we decided to extend our stay from the originally planned two nights to full 5 days sacrificing the Venetian part of our trip. Yes- that’s how very awesome Dubrovnik is!

After having spent our first night gorging on seafood and wine we left Dubrovnik for a couple of days and returned for another overnight stay a few days later. This time around we have learned a lot about the history of the settlement and the importance it has had throughout the history of the Medditerranean trading. We have walked on the City walls and visited even more jewellery shops in preparation of making some very hefty purchases. And because we felt like that still wasn’t enough we returned yet another time right at the end of our tour of Croatia and stayed until we really HAD to go in order to return to work on time. But not before we treated ourself to some bling bling shopping and -you know it’s coming – yes even more wine!IMG_4403 IMG_4420

I will never get sick of taking pics of palms... never

I will never get sick of taking pics of palms… never

Morning fruit markets... fresh figs, dried figs, fig salamis, fig jams, fig liquers, fig brandy... but they also had some grapes...:)

Morning fruit markets… fresh figs, dried figs, fig salamis, fig jams, fig liquers, fig brandy… but they also had some grapes…:)

ahhhhhh...

ahhhhhh…

first evening in Dubrovnik - the City Of Stunning

first evening in Dubrovnik – the City Of Stunning

The view from our room

The view from our room

Dubrovnik from above ..and my Croatian ring

Dubrovnik from above ..and my Croatian ring

Just chillin' on the last day of our epic trip

Just chillin’ on the last day of our epic trip

One of many mouth watering dinners we have treated ourself to.. this one featured a lobster...

One of many mouth watering dinners we have treated ourself to.. this one featured a lobster…

IMG_5518

Croatia has it all... sun, wine, seafood, silver... rain

Croatia has it all… sun, wine, seafood, silver… rain

The City Walls and the two of us

The City Walls and the two of us

Ahhhhh

Ahhhhh

Having a glass of vino and watching the sunset on the City Walls.. my life is complete now

Having a glass of vino and watching the sunset on the City Walls.. my life is complete now

another day another breath taking sunset

another day another breath taking sunset

yes... it's happening

yes… it’s happening

and another one

and another one

Catching on and catching up

Gosh – how many layovers has it been since I last posted about one? Far too many I fear… I’m so very sorry, my dear readers, I just got so distracted by pre-Ramadan partying, growing my hair longer, cutting my workouts shorter and generally lazying around.

The last trip I posted about- to Singapore- seemed to have closed my asian chapter for a while since from then on I have been in and out of Europe like there was no stopping me. I had very mixed feelings about my Dubai-European pending. I spent my whole life living and travelling around Europe- the very last reason why I moved to the Middle East was to go back there every other day.

It was however- as I had to admit to myself eventually- very nice. Landing on familiar grounds, breathing in the fresh continental air with near to no humidity, being able to speak the language and knowing exactly what it was I was eating.

There is not much I can write about my German trips- apart from being easy, short and relaxing there were also dull and not very blogger-friendly. I either ended up spending hours chilling around the hotel facilities making friends with the crews from all around the world or stocking up on delicious goodies such Ritter Chocolates, sausages, cheese and pretzels. I was totally at peace with the fact that my IPhone camera wasn’t getting used every 20 sec and the only thing eating up my battery was the non-stop listening to all the good music I have downloaded recently…

…and then I went to Zurich and absolutely l.o.v.e.d. it! I mean everything – I loved everything about Zurich. The little cobbled Strassen of the old town, the massive Zurichsee with swans in the middle of the city, the cool cafes, the rent-free bikes that were available everywhere. Zurich is the ultimate romantic-weekend-break destination. One day – when the man of my dreams finally finds me and climbs up The Great Wall of China without a single word of complain with me(I decided that’s the way I’m gonna know he is Mr. Right)- I will make sure to come to back to Zurich with Him.

Cycling around the Zurichsee

Cycling around the Zurichsee

So beautifully European

So beautifully European

Well Hello Tomorrow

Well Hello Tomorrow

quite literally the longest menu I have ever seen

quite literally the longest menu I have ever seen

Cool cafe at the Zurichsee

Cool cafe at the Zurichsee

IMG_2580

The Operahaus

The Operahaus

Old old old time bakery

Old old old time bakery

Zurich

Zurich

<3

The other memorable layover of the month was Malta. I mean – one kinda already knows it’s gonna be a great stay when you open the door to your room and see this :IMG_2714

I was torn between jumping on the next bus and going to explore the capital of Malta – Valletta (which nobody else wanted to do) or just jumping into my bikinis and lounge by the pool (which everybody opted for).  But since I spent the last day before my MLA flight in bed nursing a massive hangover which resulted in me being quite well rested I decided to be more adventurous than the usual sleep->buffet dinner->cocktails in the lobby scenario and ventured out of the hotel. And I’m so glad I did – Malta is such a wonderful place.

As soon as I got off the bus I was approached by a guy with a horse drawn carriage offering me a tour around the town and its surroundings. I negotiated a reasonable price and off we went. That way I managed to see much more than I probably would have walking around. Plus it made me feel like a princess which let’s face it was far more important… IMG_2843

princess view

princess view

IMG_2752 IMG_2757 IMG_2754 IMG_2841 IMG_2809 IMG_2833

After the tour I got dropped off in Valletta town centre. I walked around snapping pictures of the amazing architecture when I came across a street artist drawing caricatures. I had a browse thru his work and fell in love with it. When he offered to draw a caricature of me I couldn’t possibly refuse. It took him about 5 minutes to make one and when I got to see it… well.. see for yourself:IMG_2840

I made my way back to the hotel feeling content. As I was concentrating on people watching rather than watching out for my stop I managed to get as lost as it gets on a small island such as this one . What should have been a quick 20min drive turned into a 2 hour adventure by the end of which I believe I have seen the entire coast of Malta. It was bound to happen to me at one point in my life tho  and I suppose a picturesque island in the Mediterranean is not the worst of places one can get lost …IMG_2735 IMG_2733 IMG_2794 IMG_2790 IMG_2812 IMG_2818

When I woke up the next morning I felt like there has been enough excitement for one layover and made the decision to stay within the safe and marked area of our hotel. I finally made it down to the pool I was admiring from my balcony and chilled there waiting for my dear friend to come and see me. When she eventually did we had exactly an hour before my pick up which we spent drinking coffee and catching up. One of the best things about best friends is that altho you don’t see each other often (in our case it has been nearly two years) it always feels like it has only been yesterday since you last spoke…

x

G.

I guess they call this a “working holiday” …

Last week I was treated to a little surprise by my best friend of late – The Roster. Couple of “on reserve” days have changed to a few very uneventful stand-by evenings and a few days off and I was left with astonishing 7 days of sun and fun (and most importantly no work or college) in Dubai. Which in normal-life-terms would be my annual summer holiday…

I decided to use that time as an opportunity to explore a bit more of Dubai and go beyond my usual borders of the Sheik Zayed Road. The initial plan was to visit a place called The Miracle Gardens. Yet again tho – that plan did not take into account the very inconsistent competency of the Dubai taxi drivers. See – the success of every trip you make around here comes down to your cabbie. I had my fair share of scary rides (the driver has decided to drive me all the way to Abu Dhabi instead of Deira because he “liked me” as he put it), peculiar rides (taking a taxi every day at the same time going the same direction doesn’t mean you will end up paying the same fare- it can vary from 50%-200% of what you have paid the previous day), funny rides (driver singing along to what I assume must have been his favourite song ever) and believe it or not even completely normal rides (get in, pay, get out). The valuable lesson I have taken from all this is to always do your re-search in Google maps first, then take a picture of the screen (it’s no use to just remember the name of the street/area and try to spell it to the driver), grab a taxi, ask whether of not the driver knows the place you want to get to then a) if he does know re-confirm that by showing him the picture or b)if he doesn’t know then get out as fast a you can and don’t wait up until he calls his dispatcher to have a 30min long conversation and yet still manages to get lost and makes you pay half of the fare anyway. Yes indeed- taking a taxi in Dubai is an adventure on its own.

So anyway as I was saying I was trying to get to the Miracle Gardens, however my taxi driver has decided that today was not the day I was meant to see them and drove me around for good 40 minutes before announcing he doesn’t know where the place was and can’t seem be able to find it (he hasn’t used that many words but I got the gist anyway). As you know my dear readers I have been embracing a new way of life lately and trying to take it as it comes with all its ups and downs. Yet at this particular moment I have completely lost my cool for the first time in ages. I have considered a range of options from trashing the interior of the car to killing the driver but then opted for calmly asking him to stop the car immediately. I got out and screamed of the top of my head. Then got back in and asked him if he knew where Dubai Marina was. He said yes and I honestly didn’t care anymore if that was true or not and told him to take me there. Which -surprisingly- he did. Here is a picture to prove it :

Dubai Marina

Dubai Marina

A little bit disappointed about not having explored anything new I have chosen to get refreshed in the most exotic looking cafe in the Marina Bay. But that day was just not my lucky day I guess since this restaurant was clearly the winner of this year’s “Worst Product& Customer Service” contest. Upon asking what the Iranian tea tasted like I was told “it’s of course delicious m’am, it’s Iranian” which unfortunately wasn’t the kind of an answer I was after. When I tried to find out a bit more I got an eye roll and a sharp ” it tastes like tea m’am”. I probably should have left then but I decided to beat my bad luck and try to turn it around and stay. Plus I was a bit intrigued by this tea I have to say. It wasn’t delicious. It was alright. The Iranian ice cream wasn’t delicious either. It was edible and I’m being generous here.

The "delicious" Iranian tea

The “delicious” Iranian tea

The weird ice cream (you can choose what flavour you want by pouring a syrup over it)

The weird ice cream (you can choose what flavour you want by pouring a syrup over it)

I gave up on that day, went back home and watched countless episodes of  The Family Guy whilst eating dates stuffed with almonds. So I guess it turned out to be a great day after all!

I spent the next couple of days chilling out by the pool reading books and magazines on my amazing Christmas Kindle, working out in a new gym I found (more on that one later),eating fantastic food, hanging out with friends checking out all the Ladies Night’s offers around SZR, shopping and watching all four seasons of Misfits all over again. It was just the perfect “holiday” at work.

Of course one experience I shouldn’t forget to mention was Wild Wadi Water Park. That was Fun. With a capitol “F”. I come from a family that takes water parks and swimming in general very seriously so I couldn’t have missed out and not go when the opportunity arose. It was definitely an unforgettable day full of water, slides, stripes and fruit smoothies. Quite pricey tho so I don’t think I will be doing it anytime soon again (there is however another water park by the Palm Atlantis which I HAVE to go to so I will keep you posted).

So that was it. My “holiday” that wasn’t really a holiday but it sure felt like it! I have since been to China and am going back there again this weekend but that trip deserves a post on its own so just gimme a little time to put it together 🙂

Lots of love

x

G.

The Dubai Life

I have been standing-by for almost 4 hours now. My guess is I’m not getting pulled out for a flight after all. Sitting around an airport lounge for that long- however hi-tech and comfortable it may be- can get quite boring but I have found the perfect way to keep myself occupied.

This video is full of things I love : good friends, amazing food, coffee and great weather. Check it out and let me know what you think !

x

G

Credits:

Music : “How it Ends” by DeVotchKa 

” One day baby” by Asaf Avidan

Starring (in order of appearance):

Jumeirah open beach

Sheik Zayed Road

Barasti Beach

The Pool Bar

Blue Marlin Ibiza

Burj Al Arab

Ryan

Holly

Salma

Batch 2194

Luida

Moudy

Mohammed

Millenium Airport hotel brunch

Frozen yoghurt and other delicious treats

Blazing hot sun

Burj Khalifa

The Dubai Fountains

 

 

 

What Gabri Did (Next)

I don’t like to mix work and pleasure (although I kinda already do considering my job) so this post is purely on my rambles in Dubai. Again – due to being otherwise engaged so far I haven’t had the opportunity to see as much of Dubai as I’d have liked. But I did manage to see a wee bit. Here are some pictures , they are pretty much self-explanatory so just in bullet points:

  • The Mosque 

Beautiful, we got to learn a bit about the Islam religion, which was very interesting – it explained a lot and helped me understand some of the basic competencies I’m expected to have as a cabin crew of a middle eastern airline.

The Mosque

The Mosque

  • The Beach

Was breathtaking. As someone who grew up in a land lock county I will never get rid off that feeling of a complete amazement everytime I see the clear ocean/sea waters and wonderful long beaches. This one had a long dual lane running track with a special soft surface to protect your knees from getting damaged- ingenious ! Can’t wait to go back after the training try it outing get back in shape !

That's me on the left

That’s me on the left

  • The Dubai Mall 

Very dangerous for a gadget shopping addict with no idea of how much a “dirham” is in pounds.

Here is my shopping list : IPhone 4s, IPhone 5, IPad, mini IPad, those amazing Beats speakers, that thing to remotely controls my IPhone that looks like a necklace, Porsche Blackberry, new MacBook Pro, waterproof camera, LCD TV, Wii, humidifier, that things I saw in the first shop and had no idea what it was and was too shy to ask but it looked really cool nonetheless…

Here is what I got: new IPhone 4s (yeah well girl’s got to do what she’s got to do!)

Here is what I should have gotten:

Po(r)sch(e) Blackberry

Po(r)sch(e) Blackberry

  • Secret location cafe

I won’t tell you where it is or what it’s called unless you tell me your great secret location hang out in exchange but this one is just literally unreal! Friendly personnel (which never ceases to surprise me here in Dubai- everybody is so super friendly and smiley- must be the weather!), cosy interior, tasty shishas, AH-mazing coffee!

  • Wafi’s free open air cinema

We went to see a really stupid flick chick which I wouldn’t have normally suffered but this place was so super cool, chilled and comfy I found it hard to leave. You don’ have to pay any entrance fee but you are expected to purchase a drink or food (which will be delivered to your beanbag- yes I said bean bag) plus the surroundings are ah-so picturesque !

On a beanbag

On a beanbag

  • Long’s Bar

Last night was the time to let the books closed for a bit and have a lot of fun with the batch. Which is exactly what we did 🙂 I’m not on drugs btw thats just the red-eye fix:)

  • Friday brunch at the Millennium Hotel

Ooohhh… what an experience. Let the pictures do the talking :