All dressed up in NYC

Yes, I had to ask where she was going. I’m usually not the one to make small talk with strangers, but I was just too curious. Here was a gorgeous lady walking briskly in the streets of New York in broad daylight dressed up like a bride.

This lovely young woman was on her way to school, to participate in a formal event where the students will be wearing traditional dresses.

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This post is strewn with random photographs that I’d taken over the last few months, in no particular order whatsoever. It’s an update post of sorts; a peek of what’s been going on in this blogger’s life.

You may have found me sharing this beautiful, dreamy picture of the Burj al Arab on my social media accounts…

This picture gives the illusion of a weather that is perfect for a summer vacation. A picture that may entice you to pack your suitcases and hop onto the next flight to Dubai …

burj al arab by the sea

Here’s the reality:

summer temperature in dubai

That’s 104°F that feels like 106°F. At 8 in the evening. We, the residents of the UAE, habitually bring up the topic of the oppressive heat each year, but due to various reasons, we remain here and actually love it here. No complaints, alhumdulillah.

In the UAE even small, inconspicuous restaurants offer the best food.

simple salad

chicken sizzler

dal fry

Unfortunately, this particular restaurant closed down. Not only was the food delicious and affordable, their customer service was great.

I love the wooden chopping board from the Global Village.

wooden kitchen utensils

Olive wood is said to last many lifetimes. In France, families pass olive wood bowls and dishes to the next generation. Olive wood is very hard, strong and durable. It is deep brown in colour with beautiful grain patterns.

They say that olive wood is not so good for chopping boards because it’s hard on the knives, but I haven’t had any issues so far – my knives are doing very well.

olive wood chopping board

The reason why I love these chopping boards (I have two) is because olive wood is fat-resistant, does not hold odors and is anti-bacterial due to its high content of tannic acids and lignin. Neither vinegar nor mold can destroy olive wood salad bowls and cutting boards.

Plus, cleaning olive wood product is a breeze. I simply wash them using my regular dishwashing soap and wipe them dry with a paper towel or cloth.

Visit the Tunisia pavilion when Dubai’s Global Village opens in October this year.

I miss posting recipes but can’t seem to do anything about my indolence in styling the food and taking pictures of them.

 Paneer kadhai

Contrary to what some of my readers believe (that I mostly eat in fancy restaurants), I cook on a regular basis. I experiment when I’m in the mood (and have the time and energy), but mostly they’re simple, home-cooked meals.

That is a dish called Karahi Paneer. I followed this recipe, and it turned out very delicious. It’s a combination of homemade cottage cheese, capsicum, tomato, onion and whole spices cooked in ghee. It is a main course which is generally served with Indian breads like roti, naan, kulcha, paratha, etc.

nihari and dal fry

I also cooked chicken nihari, although I must admit to using Shan’s masala. It does taste like the nihari you’d buy from a restaurant. Then I made mash dal fry, dhaba style, using this recipe. Masood loved them both. I don’t believe he remembers eating the karahi paneer, considering it’s been a few months now and I hadn’t made it again.

My Eid gift: pretty crochet coasters made by Ammi!

crochet coasters

My mom frequently gives me crochet gifts, but I must say these are my favorites! This year I have spent the entire month of Ramadan with my family, attending to religious obligations, inviting friends over, and feasting on homemade meals. Also, work hours are shortened during Ramadan, which gave me extra time for myself. It was absolutely fantastic.

Presently, our guest bathroom is filled with plants. 

photo 5

So that’s the latest update. Those are our indoor plants, and Masood has the responsibility to care for them. Currently, his mind and interests appear to be occupied elsewhere and he feels it tedious to carry the water container and attend to each pot separately. Therefore, he picked them all up and placed them in the bathroom to give them all a shower in one go.

Hopefully, I shall return with a proper post – most likely after I finish reading this book that I’d downloaded: a biography of Saudi’s King Faisal.

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el capitan

“Climbing is all about flirting with the impossible and pushing the boundaries of what you think can be done,” says Tommy Caldwell who, together with another professional rock climber, Kevin Jorgeson, made history by completing the first free ascent of the Dawn Wall in January 2015.

The Dawn Wall is a notoriously difficult section on the 3,000-foot El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. That’s the one shown in the picture above. It is the steepest, tallest, blankest section of El Cap.

El Capitan is considered the largest granite monolith in the world, being formed from a single chunk of granite.

Masood and I had the chance to admire this imposing rock late last year, so when I first read the news of these two rock climbers, I immediately got interested and followed their progress.



yosemite valley

Would you believe that I haven’t edited this picture except for adding the frame? El Capitan is the granite rock on the left. This is called the Tunnel View.

Summer is when Yosemite is most busy, specially during school break. We visited during autumn which, as I have observed, isn’t really the best time to visit because the water levels are very low, with waterfalls (including Yosemite Falls) containing little or no water, and also because Yosemite is not known for having spectacular fall colors because most of the trees are evergreen. The best thing about visiting in October-November is that students are back in school, making the park less crowded.

yosemite valley in fall

I walked a few steps back to capture this photograph of the same place so that you may see excited tourists taking in the breathtaking view of the valley. The weather was great – the air crisp and pleasantly cool, the sun nice and mild.

So we stood there, an hour before dusk, admiring El Capitan. We have joined a dozen or so other tourists on a day-trip to Yosemite. Our driver/guide was a friendly young man who was very knowledgeable and passionate about everything California related. He let us borrow his binoculars and pointed out three of the climbers who were half-way through scaling El Capitan.

el capitan in yosemite

“That is crazy!” said the eyes of the Japanese lady who did not speak English. She and her husband were the only tourists on the bus with us that did not speak English. Although the couple appear to be enjoying themselves, I couldn’t help but feel sorry that they could neither partake in our friendly conversations nor understand the interesting facts our guide was sharing with us.

I walked towards the Japanese lady, handed her the binoculars, and asked her to look through it. I pointed toward El Capitan and made an effort to explain that there were people climbing the rock. My hand gestures may seem ridiculous but it successfully conveyed the message and the lady was definitely astonished and amazed with what she saw. Later, she gave me her warmest smile.

el cap

A typical ascent can last from seven to ten days, but here’s a fun-fact: you can actually get to the summit by hiking 13 kilometers up the back. That’s how the family members and reporters got to the top to meet the rock climbers who made history.

I had a classmate back in university who spent 90% of his free time climbing rocks. I thought his hobby was crazy considering that we hardly got any free time away from books and classrooms, plus how did he, on a student budget, even manage to afford traveling and buying ropes and the paraphernalia needed for the rock climbing?

While I’m sure I won’t be climbing any rock formation that is more than three feet high, I can’t help but sometimes admire the courage and determination of those who do it. We all have different goals and dreams in life, and these people love what they do and they work and practice hard to achieve their goals.

There are, unsurprisingly, those who think rock climbing is dumb. There are hilarious comments left on NY Times, for example:

“Tom Cruise did something like this for that movie Mission Impossible, not sure if it was the I or the II, but he definitely made it look easy. I actually canceled my own trip to El Capitan after seeing that film, and instead went bow hunting for lion in Kenya. Maybe this year I’ll give it the old spin.” – Patrick

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