Category Archives: Local Happenings

The 30 Year Jump: SkyDive Dubai

Standard

As some of you may remember, when I turned 30 in December 2013 (which means I’m about to be 32.. EEP!!) Alan amazingly gifted me with a SkyDive Dubai voucher. In return, I promised to gift him the same and that we would do our jumps together. Due to our severely conflicting schedules and one cancelled jump due to weather, we finally made the jump in April of this year, just one month after Alan turned 30 in March.

I wouldn’t necessarily call myself a thrill seeker, but I am an adventure-ish type and do like to try new things. This was definitely unlike anything I have tried in my life! Many people have been talking about it throughout my 5 years in Dubai, and I was finally going to make the jump (pun intended!). I was actually sick with a stomach bug just the day before, but I woke up feeling well – I just didn’t eat anything before the jump!

At a steep 1999AED (about $544USD), its definitely not cheap, but I can tell you, that if you’re like me and will probably only do it once in your life, doing it in Dubai is the way to go. The jump is only allowed during certain times of the year, and is done over the Palm Jumeira – the man made peninsula shaped like a palm tree. The price includes professional photos and a nicely (although full of stock footage) edited video documenting your harrowing but life-changing experience!

I guess at this point I should just shut up and show you the pics!

img_2076

This was by far one of the most amazing experiences I got to share with Alan. I can tell you that it was an odd feeling for me – as I work on airplanes and am 35,000 feet in the air for more than half the month, it was strange that I was actually going to jump out of the plane. I wasn’t really nervous at all.. in the beginning.

img_2085

This is my jump instructor, and me looking a bit unsure! Take off was great, climbing was fine, it wasn’t until that roll up door opened and the chilly air from 6000 feet high rushed in. Immediately, I’m thinking, “WTFFFFFFF!”

img_2089

At this point, I literally screamed “FUCK NOOOOOOO!” as he shoved me out of the plane!

img_2109

BUT IT WAS WORTH IT!

img_2114

The G-force was incredibly strong, and air was cold, so my weak little arms couldn’t hold out for long. In addition, I was wearing contact lenses so my eye mask was strapped on extra tight.

The 10 second freefall was definitely the scariest moments of the jump itself – when you watch the video, you can see that we actually flipped upside down when exiting the plane, so to see the glorious blue sky – land – blue sky – land – was a bit trippy! But after the parachute is pulled, the view of the world is breathtaking – almost surreal – that the fear escapes you and all you can do is absorb the beauty experience into your entire soul.

img_2142

Alan took both our videos and combined them into one – the original video contains short interviews and since I wasn’t feeling great I looked a bit stupid! But take a look at our video below!

Upgrading to New Horizons

Standard

Hi everyone! Wow, it’s been quite some time since my last post I see. I have started up some new projects during my absence, such as getting back into the cosplay circuit, starting up a new geek community in the Middle East, having various family visit, and most importantly, I just completed two weeks of training to move into the role of Senior Flight Stewardess, beginning as soon as June 3. I have one more flight working in business class to Colombo, Sri Lanka, and it will be my first layover in Colombo, since I have only been to Hikkaduwa on holiday and only spent time in Colombo to get to the airport. So to highlight some of the above mentioned stuff… In past entries and my bio, I have mentioned my geeky side, as well as attending the first ever Middle East Film and Comicon, as well as the second one last year. I also may have mentioned my past in cosplaying at various events in the US, most specifically, the San Diego Comic-con International for multiple years. Even though I was lucky enough to go back in 2012, I hadn’t really made any significant new cosplay, and I don’t really count the last minute female Louis from Left 4 Dead I made to join my family’s group cosplay!

580905_10150963522668857_1732110488_n

My brother and his kids make up the remaining Survivors of one of my favorite zombie video games.

Many factors had kept me from coming back to cosplay – the fact that I didn’t know WHERE to find supplies, what kind of events I could wear them to, the dress-code factor of the Middle East, and most of all, not having my mom around the guide me. She had been the mastermind of all my cosplays – she was a self-taught and talented seamstress who manage to create the perfect patterns and alterations that is the crazy world of cosplay. I could do a lot myself, but when I was stuck or needed help, she was the one I could go to. Because I no longer had her, I felt emotionally blocked from attempting to cosplay again.

My mom helped design the structure of this top - keeping it true to the character of Elika from Prince of Persia, but also making it functional, stable, and immune to malfunctions!

My mom helped design the structure of this top – keeping it true to the character of Elika from Prince of Persia, but also making it functional, stable, and immune to malfunctions!

I eventually met a friend who was currently cosplaying in Dubai, and she helped me find places to buy supplies, and I must say, AMAZING supplies that really inspired me to get back into cosplay. So with the comic-con coming up in April, I finally decided to start on a costume I had been wanting to complete for years, since I played the game in 2009.

mdb-momohime1966937_10153972413530532_401791951079747708_n

Momohime from the Wii game, Muramasa: The Demon Blade

While I did encounter many obstacles, I did try to think back at how my mom might have done things or what kind of solution she would have came up with. Getting back into the creative world of cosplay was so therapeutic for me, and I felt like a small hole in my geek heart had been refilled! I even managed to get in touch with Yaya Han (yayahan.com), a well-known cosplayer in the US I had met a few times and did a cosplay group with once, who was coming the MEFCC as a guest and offered to take her on some sites around Dubai.

IMG_2113

With cosplay legend Yaya Han, her boyfriend Bryan, and my family.

Any cosplay fans, please check out my Facebook page, Jinx Cosplay, and Like and share. ūüôā In addition, I started up a website to try and link all geeks, whether local or expats, in the Middle East region to network and socialize. It’s still under construction but please take a look!

The Middle East Geek website, The Middle East Geek Facebook.

My sister, cousin (who lives in Bahrain) and his parents came to visit during MEFCC, and a month later, Alan’s brother and his girlfriend came to visit from the UK, so I will be highlighting those visits in my next few posts. Keep an eye out! I do also have a few new destinations I will be posting up soon. In the mean time, I’m still trying to analyze and understand all the knowledge I’ve gained throughout the last two weeks in my new role as a senior onboard. Being on ground for two weeks was a huge change to my body clock but I am back to flying in the early hours tomorrow morning! Thanks for those that stayed with my blog, even when it was dead for a while. ūüôā

Alan’s Birthday Weekend

Standard

Even though Alan only turned 29 (not like me, who joined the Dirty Thirties Club in December) on March 13, I felt like being in a festive mood and made some special plans for his birthday. ¬†Instead of paying for a dinner somewhere fancy, I opted for the annual Taste of Dubai, a weekend long festival where restaurants all over the city, from casual to fine dining, sets up a booth and offers a “taste” of their menu. There’s also live musical performances, cooking classes, as well as live demonstrations from cooks from all over the world.

British Airways VIP tent

British Airways VIP tent

French Chef Jean-Christophe Novelli does a lot of talking and very little cooking...

French Chef Jean-Christophe Novelli does a lot of talking and very little cooking…

Alan and I taken by Ahlan! Magazine (no, really!)

Alan and I taken by Ahlan! Magazine (no, really!)

Food booths.. yum!

Food booths.. yum!

IMG_1756IMG_1753

Cooking competition

Cooking competition

Also, I had made it a goal to photograph each plate I got, but I had starved myself beforehand and devoured each plate as soon as I got it! So here’s the only picture I have of food.. and it’s half eaten…

Delicious Thai green chili prawns and crab cakes

Delicious Thai green chili prawns and crab cakes

Every dish we tried was amazingly delicious! I even cheated on my low-carb diet and had a really yummy red velvet cupcake with cream cheese frosting.. ohhh maaaan I can still taste it!

Afterwards, we stopped by a friend’s place for a nightcap, and spotted an almost aerial view of the festival:

IMG_1766

The next day, although weather reports were showing to be quite wet for normally dry Dubai, we hired a yacht and invited some friends out. We were fairly lucky as it was only semi-overcast and sprinkled lightly for a few short bursts, but we couldn’t sail anywhere and just stayed put in one spot. It’s ok, we all still had a great time:

Lots of boats out not sailing, just like us!

Lots of boats out not sailing, just like us!

And this crazy guy...

And this crazy guy…

All the girls on the boat!

All the girls on the boat!

Aaaand birthday boy!

Aaaand birthday boy!

Christmas in Dubai 2013

Standard

Christmas cookies!

Christmas cookies!

Well, it’s about halfway through January, so I think I can officially be recovered from the holiday season! Sorry for the lack of updates, I get in those modes where I’d rather just play Dragon Age all day on my days off (I know I’m about 5 years late on that train, but I do adore it to bits) so I figured with a long Dallas trip coming up and then leave to Sri Lanka, probably best to pump out some blogs!¬†Sadly, I haven’t had the luck to be able to go home to the US for Christmas since I got here, which marks my 4th Christmas away from home. Fortunately, Alan helps make Dubai feel like home, even if my friends end up flying during the holidays. I scored a 5 day string off during Christmas, but because of weather issues and the long travel time, I opted to stay in Dubai. Alan and I planned a few holiday activities to help us get in the mood for Christmas!

My bestie Natalie and her boyfriend were scheduled to fly on Christmas day, so we organized a little get-together a few days before the have Christmas dinner. I love having my Irish cook me traditional meals, yum!

Although I don’t get this whole yorkshire pudding thing.. looks like bread to me!

 

Alan and I had purchased an Entertainer coupon book (this is popular in Dubai as well as back home in the US, a giant book of buy one get one free coupons) and had many to use up before the end of the year when they expired, so we hit up the ice rink in Dubai Mall (the first time for me, but Alan plays hockey and has been recreationally and used to play with a team in Dubai).

733781_235025410004978_1674293661_n1526244_235025426671643_1763464738_n

For Christmas eve, we went out for drinks with friends which kind of made us sleep in on Christmas day! After opening presents (I got Alan an iPhone 5!) we chilled out for a relaxed Christmas day and headed out for dinner at a nearby pub.

Can always add a little bit of bubbly!

Can always add a little bit of bubbly!

After a nice and chilled out Christmas, the next day we set out to try a very popular tourist attraction that I have simply missed out for the past 3 years – SkiDubai. A man-made ski slope in the middle of the desert! I have seen it from the outside as I’ve visited the Mall of the Emirates before (it used to be the world’s largest mall until Dubai mall was built, of which i live very close to) and there’s loads of snow activities there, like tobogganing, playing with penguins, and continuous ski and snowboard school. I skiied once in Toronto back in high school, which was difficult but I somehow managed, and then tried snowboarding about 5 years ago in Reno, Nevada. While I had a very difficult time with the snowboarding, I changed feet, and felt a whole lot better once I did. So I opted to snowboard and Alan chose to ski. While I did fall quite a bit, I felt much better about the snowboarding. Since it’s man-made, it’s got fairly easy slopes and no tricky tree trunks suddenly appearing in your way.

Yes, this was just after I fell.

Yes, this was just after I fell.

After our short 2 hour trip to the “alps”, we headed for a much needed bite to eat at Apres, a restaurant modeled after a ski lodge with a great view of the slopes. The food was delicious, as was the kiwi margarita!

1482800_10151867781193857_358554920_n

 

My Favorites Photos of 2013

Standard

It’s that time of the year! The time of reflection and celebration of the good times over the past 12 months. Here are my favorite snaps from 2013.

3

Mauritius Рwe encountered these guys when we had hired a boat to take us out and about. They ate up the bread we gave them and they politely posed for my photo!

13

Santa Monica Pier, California, USA¬†– There’s not much I really like about California, actually.. ok, that’s a lie, but because I used to live to close to it its appeal has lost on me. Alan had to remind me that he’d never set foot in California so we took him to all the typical tourist spots. But one thing I do love is street art and public works. This one is beautiful. For more pictures from this trip, click here.

7

Castellorizo, Greece –¬†This tiny little island boasted delicious fresh fish at the many restaurants that lined the marina. For more photos from this trip, click here.

5

Warsaw, Poland –¬†Loved this shot I caught at just the right moment of a peacock chasing off some pigeons stealing its spotlight. More photos from this trip coming soon.

1

Absinthe, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA –¬†Our first Las Vegas show was amazing – Alan wanted David Copperfield but I wanted Absinthe at Caesar’s Palace. The sexy show was like a mix of burlesque under the big top with amazing acts like these Russian acrobats. Loved it!

15

Casablanca, Morocco –¬†The famous Hassan II Grande Mosque. More photos from this trip coming soon.

4

Grand Canyon, Arizona, USA –¬†I hadn’t visited this wonder of the world that sat in my backyard for almost my whole life since I was about 5 years old, so I figured it was a good time to revisit when I showed Alan around my home. It is truly a breathtaking and unbelievable sight. See more photos from this trip here!

2

Barasti Beach, Dubai, UAE –¬†One of my usual spots in Dubai is Barasti Beach, a little beach bar that provides a chill layout during the day and dance party and DJs at night.

11

Nuri’s Beach, Turkey –¬†Nuri’s Beach was my favorite little spot on our Turkish sailing holiday with Alan’s parents. It was laidback, and not very crowded like a typical beach bar. I love this shot of Alan against the little bay of Nuri’s beach, with our boat in the background of the small marina.

14

Legoland, California, USA/Tatooine –¬†Say whaaaaat? Mixing two great universal loves into one – Lego and Star Wars. Check out this awesome lego model of the Mos Eisley Cantina.

16

Venice, Italy –¬†My first time in Venice this year. I was completely amazed at how water taxis and use of the canals basically keeps the city alive.

12

Mauritius – I hadn’t planned on going parasailing (which I’d never done before) when we hired a boat for a tour, but everyone was so hyped to try it. Here’s a picture of some of my colleagues while they parasailed against the beautiful surroundings of Mauritius.

9

Mekong River, Vietnam –¬†The communities all along the Mekong River rely on it for their daily lives. These boats were used for the tour, but they resemble the boats locals use in everyday life. See more photos from beautiful Vietnam here.

6

Kalekoy, Turkey –¬†Kalekoy is a tiny town only accessible by boat.

Thanks for taking a look at some of my favorite shots from the past year! For me it’s not always the best shot, but sometimes it evokes an emotion or a memory. I live my life through photos and love sharing and seeing other peoples’ photos!

Joining the Dirty Thirties Club!

Standard

Yes, it’s true, I’m one of THOSE people now.. the “30 and Over crowd”!

But what better place to spend my big 30th birthday than in one of the most spectacular cities in the world?!

I originally had no major plans, due to my roster, but at the last minute I decided to swap my Copenhagen for a sweet and short Seychelles to give me the night off. The day started out with my oh-so super cool gift from my awesome fiance, Alan:

Yes, the note says "What better way to celebrate your 30th than to throw you out of a plane"

Yes, the note says “What better way to celebrate your 30th than to throw you out of a plane”

Unfortunately, due to the nature of my job (rosters and such) he couldn’t schedule it for December, but I am hoping to get it done in January! I have always wanted to do the Skydive Dubai, which takes you over the famous Palm Jumeirah and films and photographs every step of the adventure. In fact, we spoke about doing it together, which I really look forward to.

After breakfast, I got a free haircut from Toni & Guy (well, no, not for my bday, but for hookups!), had a nice lunch with Alan between his appointments and then went off to shop for some Christmas gifts and of course, birthday gifts for myself!

Selfies galore.. it’s my birfday. The famous haircut

One of my all time favorite cuisines is Thai food, as you might have read in my You Are What You Eat entry, so I requested dinner at one of my favorite spots in the luxurious Madinat Jumeirah and Al Qasr hotel. I love this little spot – you actually take an abra (small boats used much like water taxis) through the man made canals of the hotel to the restaurant. The short ride itself it really beautiful, as the hotel has suites scattered over the property and decorated with glittering lights. Dinner was delicious as it could be, and I was granted with a free birthday cake! But is it bad that I don’t even like cake? I would have much preferred mango sticky rice!

On the abra with the Burj Al Arab hotel in the background

We took the abra further down to get some cocktails at the local Trader Vic’s and then BarZar to finish the night off with yummy mint shisha.

Back when we had visited the US and spent time with family, Alan deviously contacted my family members to gather some trinkets I could open on my birthday –

Can you tell I like The Walking Dead?

Can you tell I like The Walking Dead?

In the bundle was loads of Walking Dead goodies (yes, I’m 30, but I’m forever a geek), a book of my favorite Internet cat sensation Grumpy Cat, and a painting made lovingly by my 3 year old niece. And you can see the beautiful flowers (complete with yellow roses, my mother’s favorite flower, and purple, my favorite color) from Mr. Great Fiance. Thanks, guys!

And to top it off, I put up a Christmas tree, some decorations, and bought mandarin and cinnamon scented candles and oil from Marks and Spencers. Yum!

1474625_10151825101798857_1628421979_n

Happy 42nd Birthday, UAE!

Standard

20131007_UAE-National-Day-2013

Happy National Day, which not only marks¬†UAE’s formal nationalzsation from the¬†British Protectorate¬†Treaties, but it also means 2 days till my birthday!

Thanks, UAE and Dubai, for offering me a great company to work for, experience life in another side of the world, and get paid to see the beauty of it as well! And lastly.. thanks for giving me the opportunity to meet amazing people from all cultures, and making lifelong friends and lasting relationships!