The September Issue II.

…After the obligatory quick suitcase repacking in Dubai I was off again – this time with my red hat and the red lipstick on. It was Sydney o’clock. Crazy crazy Sydney o’clock. I hope to never ever have a layover like this again. Let’s just leave it at that. When I landed back home three days later I promised myself and the rest of the crew that what happens in Sydney stays in Sydney. So I may have to try and never return to Sydney again. I stayed in Dubai for only as long as it took to attend a few spinning classes that I fell in love with recently and immediately after boarded a flight to Sri Lanka. Jana – my lovely friend I told you about who graduated a few months ago – was one of my fellow crew and since her parents were visiting her in Dubai she decided to bring them on the flight with us. I have known her parents for nearly as long as I know her so they are pretty much an extension of my own family. And so my Colombo layover became a bit of a mini family vacation. We did EVERYTHING there is to do in 24 hours in Sri Lanka- visited a tea factory where we sampled some of the best tea I have ever drank, went to an elephant orphanage where we watched, fed and rode a few of the them, took a tour around a botanical garden and spent a fortune on magical love potions and anti-ageing creams.IMG_3453 IMG_3355 IMG_3454 IMG_3451

As soon as I landed back from Sri Lanka I shook off my uniform and headed back to the airport – this time I was Prague bound. I had a few important appointments to attend.. The first one the the very same evening in a tattoo parlour :p) The next one the evening after… with Pharrel Williams- which was one of the best live concerts I have seen up to date. I met with cherished friends, ate my favourite food, drank my favourite beer. And before I knew it – it was once again time to pack my bag and leave the indian summer in Prague behind and go to Seattle.IMG_3492 IMG_3643 IMG_3634 IMG_3629 IMG_3584

A brand new destination to tick off my bucket list. I have been particularly excited about this since I’m a die-hard Frasier fan. And Seattle has not let me down. The city is quite frankly stunning. Surrounded by mountains and lakes, bathing in lovely late summer sunshine, full of greenery and friendly smiling people. I was in love instantly. I already know that whenever I fly so far out West the jet lag hits me hard and right in the face. So I learned to plan my layovers accordingly. I can only commit to anything that happens between 3am and 2 pm. Whatever is on offer for later than that – I’m quite literally out (in limbo). Thankfully jet lag is not something I have an exclusive claim on – we all know it, we all suffer the same way. And so it’s not very hard to convince my colleagues to start off our days out in the West bright an early. But not before I managed to stuff my face with as much bacon as I physically can. Simply because bacon makes me happy. As soon as I started to feel slightly guilty and mostly sick from all the crunchy goodness in my tummy me and my crew set off to explore the fantastic place that Seattle proved itself to be. We have managed it all – the bespoke Space Needle, the Public Market, the Chewing gum Wall even the First Stone – the first ever Starbucks shop. IMG_3674 IMG_3725 IMG_3765 IMG_3766 IMG_3769

And that still isn’t all. It is still not the end of my mad September travels. There was yet another trip I was feeling quite particular about. Moscow. I have heard my fair share of horror stories about the flight and I have heard my fair share of all kinds of stories about the destination. I felt torn flying to Russia – I was curious and excited yet didn’t want to admit it to myself either of those two. So ( decided to opt for a very casual and carefree approach. And it somehow seemed to work. I have to say – even tho the flight was packed both way- Moscow has been one of the most pleasant flying experiences of my work life. I was also assigned the duty free position and made an absolute bomb in commission! The Russians just love their duty free watches and perfumes!

Moscow was harshly beautiful. It was sunny and crispy cold and full of fur clad stunning Russians. It was vibrant and buzzing with life everywhere.  It smelled of pirogy and autumn. It was painfully close to my heart in many ways. I tried to resist its charm but I simply couldn’t. Moscow had me falling…IMG_3938 IMG_3943 IMG_3940 IMG_3939 IMG_3929

 

And that was it. That was the epic journey of September that has taken me over two months to describe. I’m really sorry my lovely readers. By now you must have given up on me… I don’t quite know how to apologise anymore. This autumn had been one of the busiest times of my life. I have had a lot to deal with on my plate and even tho I WANTED to blog badly I need quite got around to doing it. Maybe I have commitment issues. Because whenever I committed to writing sleep would have sounded like a much better option…

So long y’all

Love

x

G.

 

 

 

 

 

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. 

What Time Was My Train ?

A very close friend of mine got married last weekend. I’m not gonna lie – it scared the sh*t out of me. No – you do not understand. I have gotten used to my Facebook wall being flooded every Monday with wedding pictures of my old high school mates, it has been happening pretty much since we left it almost 10 years ago. Then about two years back a new trend had started. Pictures of newborns, pictures of little toddlers messing with their first ever b-day cake, videos of their first words and steps. Got used to that too. This is different. This friend is not someone who lives in the far away universe I call The Real Life. This is not someone who travels twice, three times a year max and if at all then for holidays, someone who wakes up to go to work in the morning and goes to sleep at night, someone who has a mortgage, has an office job, has sales targets to hit, has a Sunday lunch with the family once a month, someone who’s 5 best friends come from the same country or at least from the same continent. In other words someone “normal”. The kinda “normal” I left behind the moment I decided to live in the Middle East. This is a friend I made here in Dubai. Who drinks the same water, breaths the same air, does the same job… who should be infected or shall I say inflicted the same way I am.  

I have been peacefully living scrolling down FB, skipping hen-do invites and ignoring the fact that out of the 32 girls and guys I have attended school with I’m one of a very few, perhaps already the only one that is not committed to anything in any way. Because I always had the very comfortable explanation (or an excuse) of all of them living a very different life. Well – of course ! Aren’t we all tho?! In my happy little bubble I would see everybody making adult decisions with their lives and somewhere in the back of my mind I’d think “One day that is maybe going to be me too. One day in a very very very far away future.” That one day when I’m living that different kind of life. 

That fact, that someone so close to me (not only in geographical sense) , someone with a not-so-different lifestyle has gone and effortlessly created a bridge between them two worlds that seemed so incurably incompatible to me has made me realise that I may have missed my train. No- I haven’t just missed it. I wasn’t just late. I haven’t even purchased a ticket. I had no idea there was a train to catch. Nobody told me. I was just gonna walk. And quite possibly the opposite way. In fact that’s exactly what I was doing. Cheerfully skipping down the road, with my EarPods in, all on my own when I suddenly saw the train rushing off in a different direction. With all of my friends and acquaintances aboard. And I’m just standing here in shock. In complete disbelief that I didn’t get invited to this “Happily Ever After-party”.

Does this make me sound desperate? Well that would only make sense. Not because I’m a single girl. Not because I’m living in Dubai. Or because I’m dating (or well -at least trying to). Because I’m a single girl living in Dubai and dating. And last time I checked that was the new definition of desperate over here.

It’s a jungle out there. No- let me rephrase- it’s a war zone. My parents always use to say how lucky my generation was to be given the chance to grow up in a Como-free, revolution-free and a war-free environment. Little did they know I was heading into one when they congratulated me on my new exciting job in the skies. I can just feel your raised eyebrows and feel you clicking away from this post. You think I’m being overdramatic and exaggerating. I swear to all I hold dear – for once I’m not. It is hard to believe unless you lived the experience of the Dubai dating scene but let me try and paint you its true picture. 

Imagine a buffet brunch. A massive buffet brunch. All kinds of flavours in huge quantities catering to all kinds of tastes and appetites. And you are starving- you haven’t eaten for days because there is quite literally nothing but the desert all around you. Just this buffet you have been waiting for. And now you have all this tasty, delicious food harvested at its best, prepared to its best and presented at its best – all of it nicely laid out in front of you. Up for grabs. All you need to do is reach out and choose. Are you imagining it? Ok – in that case you are the guy in Dubai. 

Now imagine being that poor little courgette or a lamb chop and a chocolate tart, laying there on a plate surrounded by tens and hundreds of others just like you. You are the girl in Dubai now. Being brought out here into the open and scary world and being scrutinised by every single pair of eyes. Are you the biggest, the juiciest, the tastiest looking? Or what if he doesn’t like courgettes? Maybe he is more of a carrot-type of a guy… Maybe he is sick of lamb and wants chicken, maybe he doesn’t like chocolate and vanilla is his thing. Maybe he doesn’t like sweets at all. You simply do not know. You are hoping you would be The One to at least his pair of eyes and look – he is reaching out just about to choose you… But wait they just brought out a new plate of freshly prepared courgettes and that’s the end of it. See – that’s the thing about Dubai. You can be the funniest one, the sexiest one, the fittest one, the tannest one, most fashionable one but you will never be The Newest One. The Freshest One. The Most Exciting One. The moment you go out with the guy you have become conquered (sex doesn’t even have to be involved, not even a kiss). You have been seen, talked to and evaluated. Let’s move on, lets swipe right again, let’s see what else is out there. Because this is the brunch buffet of Dubai – aka the Brunch Buffet of Bigger and Better. “I’m perfectly happy with my medium rare steak cooked to perfection and seductively bleeding onto the plate. But I HAVE to go and check if there isn’t a piece of sashimi that COULD taste better. Because that’s what it says on the tin – and I want and CHOOSE to believe it. Even if I possibly cannot eat any more. There must be a little space somewhere in my stomach for a little more. Because c’mon once I leave this brunch when will I ever get the chance to eat and taste so much ?! “

“Oh I’d so very much enjoy a brunch in Dubai” is probably what most of you guys are thinking right now. Yeah well – it’s not all just pearls and diamonds. Actually – that’s precisely what it is! Going to a brunch in Dubai is all about status. You have to book the right table, wear the right clothes, turn up in the right car. If you are driving anything less than a Lexus just take a cab honestly. Otherwise you are walking off from this brunch and still starving. It’s also a very exclusive event. You have to book well in advance. Try turning up at the last minute and wearing jeans. You are gonna be laughed at for weeks on end. And probably banned from the place for the rest of your days. But let’s say you managed to get in and at last you are holding your plate and about to choose your first dish. “Oh my- look at that beef stew! I always liked beef stew, reminds me of my granny and my granny is the one person that loves me the most, because she knows I’m just the best thing since sliced bread. My granny is awesome. Man- I’m definitely having some of that stew it just smells so good. Especially in comparison to that awful overcooked fish stir fry right next to it. Ewww – fish ! Fish makes me sick, not to mentioned this one comes with green peppers and I’m allergic to green peppers. Last time I had them I broke out in hives. Yeah let’s have that stew.” And just as you are about to have the tastiest looking stew of your life you notice a guy to your right helping himself to the fish stir fry. The flash of his Omega watch is what caught your attention. “Why does he get to eat the fish stir fry?! Wait- do NOT eat it all you dick,what are you doing I just told you not to ! What do you mean I said I was allergic to it?! Well now I’m not and I want some of that. What? What beef stew ?! I don’t even like beef. Gimme that fish ! I want fish!”

But let’s say we all got thru that brunch successfully. And the courgette was lucky enough to be the tastiest thing on the menu that day. And the guy wore the right clothes and drove the right car the courgette was happy with. And nobody is already married… altho -ehm ehm – even that doesn’t seem to stop some of us… And there is date number two. A dinner this time. Then perhaps a movie night. A couple of drinks the next time. First kiss. Goodnight and good morning texts. Then the “sweet nothing and I miss you and when are you back” texts. And then you seal the deal. Or so you think. Because apparently having slept with somebody you have been dating for some time doesn’t make you guys exclusive anymore. Nowadays it goes more like ” Dinner, drinks, kiss, sex and I may see you next week unless the other girl I’m seeing is available in that case I will see you the week after that or maybe you will not hear from me for a few months and when I get back in touch I will be married”. Welcome to Dubai. You are gonna have the time of your life. It’s gonna be the best party you have ever been to. The only thing they forgot to mention on the flyer was that this is a BYOB (where the B stands for boyfriend not beer) kinda party. 

I dedicate this post to all my fellow Dubaians. To my fellow fighters. I salute you and gracefully surrender. I’m done with Dubai dating, especially the online type. I suck at it anyway. I’m gonna stick to doing what I do best. Which is sit around cafes smoking shisha and blogging. So if you are an available single guy with singular taste and see me around sometime- don’t Whatsapp me. Don’t Snapchat. And definitely do not look for me on Tinder. Just come and talk to me – it’s worked for thousands of generations before us maybe it will work for us too! 

Love 

x

G.

Flying High Flying Low

Flying high is something I enjoy to the fullest -both in life and at work. Is there a better feeling than being so high up in the sky it seems impossible I’m just a mere human being and not some kind of a goddess-like creature? And flying low … well flying low makes me appreciate the small wonderful things in life and in the world that I sometimes overlook. See- when I fly high over the tops of the highest mountains and all I can see is the vast endless blue sky it’s so easy to forget about the world down below and how much beauty it holds.

Most of you already know me as a person that strives to be happy. Always. And I’m doing a pretty good job. But sometimes I have to come down from the heights of Mount Bliss and fly low for a while. Because that’s life isn’t it? And one of those whiles lasted a bit longer than I intended a couple of weeks back. And I realised that to get back up I was gonna need some new fresh fuel. In the shape of my sweetest sister. And so I played the carefree “drop everything you are doing and come to Dubai at once” card and went all in. And it paid off. We have spent a wonderful week full of laughter, food and shishas and by the time she left I was feeling invincible again. She is a true blessing of my life !

And here is the more or less edited Story of our Sisterly Shenanigans :

She is here !

She is here !

Nela is not what I ‘d call a frequent flyer. She is more of what I’d call a nervous flyer. So to make sure the flight was as comfortable as possible I let the operating crew know what treasure they were about to carry that day. And they made me proud. As I picked her up she was giddy – not only from the first class champagne she was treated to but also from all the caring attention she was given. And once again I was feeling grateful for all the opportunities my job gives me to make the people I love happy. And we have only just started !

I took her home and let her rest for a couple of hours before I whisked her off to the pool to start off our homeliday (holiday at home:) with a swim under the watchful eye of the Burj Khalifa. She was happy enough to paddle there for the rest of the day but I had an agenda we absolutely had to adhere to. And so we had a massive breakfast in the public extension of my living room – Le PQ and off we were to the beach. I didn’t think Nela was quite ready to experience the public one so we ventured all the way to the Marina to chill out at Barasti. And chill we did. So much and so hard we nearly missed the birkam yoga that was next on the list. My poor little sister ! She had already taken in more heat in the past 12 hours than she had in the entire past 12 months. By the end of the 90 min session she was as worn out as pair of athlete’s socks. But the day was far from over ! My sis couldn’t have stayed oblivious to the fact that I live in a walking distance from the world’s biggest mall. And so that’s where I took her. And that’s where she – having seen it in all it’s might and glory – had fallen in love with the Burj. Ever since then everywhere we went she I had to point her to the direction of it (in case she wasn’t able to see it herself). We watched the fountain show, we ate, we watched some more fountain shows and then when we could barely walk any longer we headed home.

Lift selfie.. first one of many

Lift selfie.. first one of many

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L<3 ve vole

L<3ve 

Next day after the obligatory morning swim it was time for some more beach living – we put our swag on, slipped into the roller skates and left the SZR behind once again. The beautiful thing about Dubai is that nobody skates around here. And so – this early in the morning we had the roads to ourselves. We skated for hours, we dodged a few jellyfish, we burnt in the sun … and then we still had most of the day to spend smoking shisha, eating and endlessly chatting. Oh how beautiful life can be !

LIfe with you is so dope

LIfe with you is so dope

Sistas on da beach

Sistas on da beach

 

What else did we do ? We rented bikes and cycled around the Marina. We sweated our asses off in the Miracle Gardens of Dubai. We went to the Palm to see world’s most crowded aquarium. We ate like crazy. We smoked more shisha. We tanned some more. We went to my favourite park in the entire world. And we had so much fun! It was amazing being able to share some of my everyday life with one the most important person to me. I wish I could have kept her here forever but the week just flew by and before we knew it was time for her to go back. Luckily enough I have been rostered Prague three times in May and one of them is tomorrow!!!

renting a bike they said. easy they said

renting a bike they said. easy they said

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Zaroobabes

Zaroobabes

UR so beautiful

UR so beautiful

I'm skilled at taking selfies   doing whatever

I’m skilled at taking selfies doing whatever

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Another lift selfie? Just shoot me already

Another lift selfie? Just shoot me already

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Al Safa

Al Safa

Last Dinnah

Last Dinnah

IMG_0060

Gimme that meat !

Gimme that meat !

Seeing her off

Seeing her off

The last evening's selfie

The last evening’s selfie

Fly high , fly low, be happy and let life go. It always seems to know the right way !

x

G.