Nature

In the word “Similarity”

We find symmetry in our world, and the outer world

In places where serenity prevails…

The ocean is right in front of my eyes

How many people used it as a “trope” to tell how they felt?

How marvelous is it to catch someone with that gaze…

The same glimpse of the ocean that we all catch… Even for few seconds

I could have settled for that too

I took off my glasses, my head bent down as I was walking towards the sea

I could have settled for that too… But a whole other thought struck me

Steps on the sands

As I looked around, I saw sands

I saw its grains volatilizing with the wind

A ball hits the ground, its atoms dissociates with each hit, and drops out in different spaces

The grits that get stuck on a ball or a flip flop that people carry away with, when those atoms become irreplaceable

We resemble the sands,

When someone sits for a long time, and their place digs deeper as they sit longer

As they leave after then, it takes a while for its surface to be level again…

Some of it from a breeze moves in a beautiful way, and with the wind… It flies in a frightening way… Perhaps, lead to a hurricane… Just as we do when we hear what soothes us, or when we get hurt…

We resemble the sands…

Maybe we are created out of it for a reason

And we’ll end to be those atoms…

The plant that grows in the middle of an empty place

Like the marks that are left in our hearts

The traces of wheels that remain… Those who mess with and rip us vainly…

Steady rocks, dived into the sands… Just as we do when get stone hearted

In the word similarity

We find symmetry in our world, and the outer world

Right now, I know we resemble the sands, as much as we resemble the oceans…

In places where serenity prevails

Perhaps, to nature, we’re much more related than we think… We’re more associated

Perhaps, we’re more connected…  But we just need to be mused.

Waldorf Astoria- A Home Away from Home (@WaldorfRAK, @raktourism)

Ideal for a staycation, the Waldorf Astoria in Ras Al Khaimah is less than an hour drive away from Dubai and is located right at the edge of Ras Al Khaimah in Al Hamra Village. Escaping the hustle and bustle of the city, the property has a lot to offer for those that are looking for a rejuvenating getaway without having to travel far.

Upon entering the property going for a stroll to admire the wonderful pieces of art surrounding the lobby and getting to know the Waldorf’s story is just one of the unique aspects of the property and what it has to offer is highly recommended. Beautifully designed in a light blue and beige color scheme, the interior design resembles the property’s prime location which lays on the shorelines of the Arabian Sea.

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Strolling down Peacock Alley, which has been a Waldorf trademark since the 19th century and the famous clock that is located amidst the lobby, representing the Arabic culture by displaying the five daily prayers are only a fraction of Waldorf’s remarkable and rich history that takes you on a journey through time and space.

The guest rooms and suites are spacious and possess over a variety of comforts such as a walk in wardrobe and large balconies with outstanding views overlooking the clear blue ocean and the majestic Arabian Gulf. A personal concierge is available upon request ensuring that all your needs are not only met but exceeded.

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The property has plenty more to offer and regardless if you choose an afternoon of relaxation in one of the exclusive garden huts surrounded by greenery pure, or in the cabanas at the adult pool overlooking the ocean, plenty of outdoor activities give visitors the chance to enjoy the facilities to the fullest. A variety of water sports activities is available on the resort’s resident water sports center that is located right on the resorts strip of private beach.

If you are traveling with children, the extensive family pool offers plenty of fun and the integrated restaurant is ideal for a family lunch without having to walk far.

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For a quieter lunch, the Azure restaurant offers a variety of delicacies, and the atmosphere gives off an authentic Mediterranean flair.

The chef’s specialty the Asian chicken salad is certainly recommended as a light lunch. The hotel offers a variety of dining options, so make sure to leave enough space for what is yet to come.

Regardless if you are looking to end a beautiful afternoon with a stroll along the resort’s beautiful white beaches or with one of the signature massages at the Waldorf Astoria Spa, rest assured that you will be rejuvenated in no time. The spa has separate facilities for females and males and a well-equipped gym overlooking the resort’s lush gardens is available for hotel guests to use.

A Waldorf experience wouldn’t be complete without dining at one of the resorts’ exclusive restaurants and the options are plenty.

The award-winning Marjan restaurant, located on the 16th floor of the exclusive Waldorf Astoria hotel in Ras Al Khaimah is recommended to anyone who is looking to experience authentic mouth-watering Middle Eastern delicacies in a highly exclusive setting. Pre-booked private dining rooms are available offering guests the option to enjoy an exclusive and intimate dining experience.

UMI is a trendy Japanese restaurant and is the ideal venue for sushi lovers. The attached authentic Japanese balcony garden allows guests to enjoy a fresh breeze while overlooking the beautiful Marjan Island lid up at night.

Last but not least, the property has a variety of business centers and conference rooms, so even for the busiest amongst us, there are ways to relax while taking care of business, leaving you with no excuses to not book for a few days and enjoy exquisite Waldorf Astoria hospitality.


For information and bookings, call 07 203 55 or

email rasalkhaimah.info@waldorfastoria.com

A Cliché

You ever hear the phrase “life goes on” and think duh, what a cliché!

But if you really think about it, you’ll realize that this quote is actually onto something. Sometimes, life gets the wind knocked out of us, and it becomes so hard to breathe. It simply becomes impossible to get back up and move on. Think of the friend that betrayed your trust, the person who broke your heart, or the passing of someone so dear to you.

Somehow, you have managed to survive all of those. Even when it felt like you would never be able to get over such a thing, you were convinced that you could never recover from this.

Maybe you still do.

Yet, here you are. You’ve made it out alright, and it doesn’t hurt as much, might not even hurt at all anymore. It has become something that you went through… once upon a time.

Because just like the “clichéd” saying life goes on.

And so do you.

Muslim Women Playing The Beautiful Game

Despite their conservative reputation, a growing number of veiled Muslim women are taking up football… and giving men a run for their money.

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There is a general perception across the globe that if you are a Muslim woman who covers her hair, then you are restricted in the sports you can play – or that you are not allowed to play sports at all. While this is the case among the most conservative, many hijabbed Muslim women play sports, including professionally.
Lena Rodgers is of Syrian and British descent who resides and works in Dubai, UAE, as a social media executive during the day but in the evenings and at weekends, she laces up her boots and turns her attention to football – her hobby and passion. “As a child, I was an all-rounder at sports,” recalls Lena.

At the age of nine, Lena first encountered the beautiful game when she accompanied her mother to her younger brother’s football practice. “I felt this instinctive urge to play too,” she recounts. Lena soon discovered that football had a more powerful pull on her than any other activity, toys or games, and it rapidly became her primary source of fun.Luckily, rather than informing Lena that girls don’t play football, her mother encouraged her talent. Lena began training with a professional coach who was an injured ex-footballer and it was he who helped develop her skills. A few years later, Lena started to learn advanced football skills on her own and through practice games.le

Luckily, rather than informing Lena that girls don’t play football, her mother encouraged her talent. Lena began training with a professional coach who was an injured ex-footballer and it was he who helped develop her skills. A few years later, Lena started to learn advanced football skills on her own and through practice games.At first, other girls were unaware that Lena was playing football, as it was still an unfamiliar concept for girls to play such sports around where she lived. It was only when she began secondary school that Lena started playing in a girls’ team.

At first, other girls were unaware that Lena was playing football, as it was still an unfamiliar concept for girls to play such sports around where she lived. It was only when she began secondary school that Lena started playing in a girls’ team.Fortunately for the upcoming generation, the situation in Dubai has changed considerably since Lena’s pioneering days. “I currently coach girls in skills that I didn’t learn until my 20s, and they are only 4-12 years of age,” observes Lena. “It makes me sad to think how many skills I could have been taught that would have enabled me to become natural at them if I’d been able to start younger.”

Fortunately for the upcoming generation, the situation in Dubai has changed considerably since Lena’s pioneering days. “I currently coach girls in skills that I didn’t learn until my 20s, and they are only 4-12 years of age,” observes Lena. “It makes me sad to think how many skills I could have been taught that would have enabled me to become natural at them if I’d been able to start younger.”From the start of her footballing career, Lena was lucky to enjoy the full support of her family, although she admits that she still gets surprised looks when she informs her extended family that she plays football. “They see a girl, and they just don’t think you’re any good,” she explains.

From the start of her footballing career, Lena was lucky to enjoy the full support of her family, although she admits that she still gets surprised looks when she informs her extended family that she plays football. “They see a girl, and they just don’t think you’re any good,” she explains.In reality, Lena was always as good as her siblings and better in certain positions, especially defence.

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In reality, Lena was always as good as her siblings and better in certain positions, especially defence.Football was traditionally a working-class sport played mainly by men. Although this has changed considerably in the West, in the Arab world the sport was almost exclusively male. Lena’s instincts and abilities prompted her to push back the boundaries and to break with tradition. “I found myself good at it, sometimes better than the boys, so it made sense to continue,” she points out. “I was also the star of the defence, so the praise I got for that kept me going. I

Football was traditionally a working-class sport played mainly by men. Although this has changed considerably in the West, in the Arab world the sport was almost exclusively male. Lena’s instincts and abilities prompted her to push back the boundaries and to break with tradition. “I found myself good at it, sometimes better than the boys, so it made sense to continue,” she points out. “I was also the star of the defence, so the praise I got for that kept me going. I was depended on, and I felt useful.”

Her passion, talent and determination led Lena to play in the Dubai Football Women’s Association amateur league. She helped her previous team, the Arabian Leopards, to become league champions before moving to her current club, Sandstorm. Lena also plays in a mixed league and takes part in tournaments, which is a new trend that started last year.Lena has been pleased by people’s positive reaction to women’s football team. “Off the pitch, they are usually impressed and don’t expect it when I say I play football,” Lena describes. But there is a lot of pressure to perform. “You almost feel like you have to justify to them that you are good and just as good as the guys, or even better. The standard is set in their eyes as soon as they see a girl, and a veiled one at that, which makes the task of the female footballer much harder than her male counterpart, as she needs to do double the effort to earn the audience’s respect in a way.”

Lena has been pleased by people’s positive reaction to women’s football team. “Off the pitch, they are usually impressed and don’t expect it when I say I play football,” Lena describes. But there is a lot of pressure to perform. “You almost feel like you have to justify to them that you are good and just as good as the guys, or even better. The standard is set in their eyes as soon as they see a girl, and a veiled one at that, which makes the task of the female footballer much harder than her male counterpart, as she needs to do double the effort to earn the audience’s respect in a way.”On the pitch, though, it is a different story. Male footballers tend to hold back because they are afraid of hurting the female players. “Some think that they shouldn’t challenge you – somehow they do it sympathetically, and some just refuse to play with girls because they think that they are not going to get a tough game out of it,” says Lena. “Also the more annoying part is when they don’t pass to you as much because they think you are going to cost them the game.”

On the pitch, though, it is a different story. Male footballers tend to hold back because they are afraid of hurting the female players. “Some think that they shouldn’t challenge you – somehow they do it sympathetically, and some just refuse to play with girls because they think that they are not going to get a tough game out of it,” says Lena. “Also the more annoying part is when they don’t pass to you as much because they think you are going to cost them the game.”Ultimately, however, Lena believes that her gender and religion do not, and should not, play a role in her sport. “At the end of the day, if you play well, no one cares where you’re from or what you are wearing,” she insists, “they are greedy for your talent and contribution.”

Ultimately, however, Lena believes that her gender and religion do not, and should not, play a role in her sport. “At the end of the day, if you play well, no one cares where you’re from or what you are wearing,” she insists, “they are greedy for your talent and contribution.”

Lena regards football as both a hobby and a way of life, and, as a coach, a profession too. She loves everything about football because “it teaches you teamwork, reflection, improvement, fitness, excitement, urgency, awareness of your surroundings, concentration, handling situations under pressure – almost everything.””It also makes me incredibly happy, so I am so committed to it,” she adds.

“It also makes me incredibly happy, so I am so committed to it,” she adds.The dream of playing football professionally is what keeps Lena’s ambition going, but she is quick to point out that “I am where I am right now because I have got a bit of everything in my life – football, photography, social media, coaching.”

The dream of playing football professionally is what keeps Lena’s ambition going, but she is quick to point out that “I am where I am right now because I have got a bit of everything in my life – football, photography, social media, coaching.”Football can affect one’s personal life, especially for women. Lena recognises that time management “is going to be a big factor in my life, knowing when to say no to football (which is extremely hard). I have to fight for time with my

Football can affect one’s personal life, especially for women. Lena recognises that time management “is going to be a big factor in my life, knowing when to say no to football (which is extremely hard). I have to fight for time with my family, because I recognise how important they are in my life and they shouldn’t be taken for granted.” Lena sees a bright future for Arab and Muslim women’s football. “I think it is definitely on the rise and inshallah there will be more professional cups, leagues and tournaments because there is such a high demand for it.”

Lena sees a bright future for Arab and Muslim women’s football. “I think it is definitely on the rise and inshallah there will be more professional cups, leagues and tournaments because there is such a high demand for it.”

The Girl That Fell

I’ve watched so many sappy romantic movies, might have even cried over some, and read countless love books, and yet I never pictured myself going through it, couldn’t actually. The closest thing to love was me falling for the characters I read in books, or watched on the big screen.

That was my life’s cycle: open a book, fall head over heels for the brooding main character and talk about him constantly as if he existed in the real world. Get a new book, and simply fall again for a new different character. But to have feelings for an actual person? A human being that exists in the same world that I do?

Nope, was never in the cards for me.

Then the oddest thing happened, I crushed on someone and it slowly dawned on me that this was no simple crush. In fact, it wasn’t a crush at all, I was falling for a guy. And for the first time in my life, I was the character in the book.

The girl that fell for the tall, dark and handsome guy.”

Except the real world wasn’t like the books I read, we don’t end up together and he doesn’t profess his love to me when I tell him how I really feel. And just like that, I am reminded again that love is not meant for people like me. Because the person that my heart really wanted and the one that I completely fell for.. wasn’t willing to catch me.

BANG Shall Not Stop Me From My Dreams

“BANG!” I hit my head so hard into one of the invisible walls that I thought were clear pathways. I walk few steps again and “BANG” I hit my head for the second time. I thought to myself that I might be doing it wrong; maybe I should be walking faster this time. I did and “BANG” I hit my head again into the invisible wall. I paused for a while and started looking around me to make sure that no one is watching while saying to myself “trying one more time won’t hurt,” I started counting, one…two…three! Running this time at full speed across the field “BANG! BANG!” I was wrong, “Ouch this hurts,” I thought to myself lying on the ground and my face is directed to the sky. A second thought crossed my mind that made me forget the pain “Whoa, the sky is so beautiful!” I said to no one around, marveled by its beauty that I noticed for the first time. It is so wide, peaceful and clear. I wonder how would it feel like flying up there to my goal instead of banging into invisible walls down here.

This person might be me, you or anyone with a dream. All of us have goals and things that we thrive to achieve. We might know the path to our desired destination or we might not but we walk anyways. However, “BANG” sometimes our paths might not be as clear as we thought and not as easy as we want. But will this stop us? Will it make us forget about our dreams? Goals? Desires? I don’t think so. If we were determined, if we had faith and a strong will, nothing will be able to stop us. Not even if we fall millions of times. We still will be able to stand up and walk again. I stood up laughing at my silly thought of flying. I stood tall and straight and looked ahead towards the horizon with a courageous heart and a determined mind I stepped forward never looking back.

Alone

She lives alone

In a place she has created for her own

She colors and writes on her walls

Walls that make the borders of her world

A world of words, colors and jewels

*

In her home

She sings and twirls around with melodies on her lips

She opens her curtains and welcomes the sun

It kisses her eyelids and warms her up

In a world she had created for herself

*

She lives as if there is no time to catch

Time is nothing but the sun and moon

Every day she creates a life she desires

Because there is nothing else she requires

She creates happiness with her hands

Words swirls and curls out of her pen

In the world she has created with her fingertips

*

She speaks magic to the moon

Every day she has a date with the night

She gazes at the stars

Reading them as a book

They tell her of the lives they looked upon

Years and years ago

And years and years to come

She lights her candles

Let their aroma dance their way into the sky

*
She is alone

In the place she has created for her own

Made out of words, colors and jewels

Walking In The Dark

When a person walks into a dark place, they generally think that they won’t be able to maneuver in the darkness, that the darkness might swallow them, stripping all the light they hold in. As they step into the darkness, these thoughts start to consume them to the point of turning them into blind people.
However, little do they know that when one walks into a dark place, that by accepting the darkness and engulfing oneself into it, the eyes start to accustom itself to the new surroundings.
The act of acceptance gives us a new perspective, it helps us maneuver into the new surroundings, giving us strength and the will to keep going.
It is the same when things in life don’t turn the way we want, it pushes us into a dark abyss, into a place, that the instant we are in, we’ll give up and we’ll blind ourselves. However, if we accept the state we are in, and understand the situation, and most importantly, believe that we can get out of it, we will succeed.
I believe that one of the most important things that can help us get through hard times in life is to accept it, and not reject the fact that, for example we didn’t get the job we dream of, the support we wish we had, the talent and strength in us, it will help us understand ourselves better, know where we stand in life.
Therefore, no matter where you stand in life, don’t reject the things that happen to you, good or bad. Accept yourself, your life so far, your past, and know that you can’t change your past no matter what you did, but you can change your future, little by little.

Cool Remarketing Strategies for Your Business Today

Cool Remarketing Strategies for Your Business Today

It must have happened to you; you visit a certain site today and check their products and then go away only to get their Ads everywhere you go online. It might not be obvious at first but if you are keen you will start noticing these targeted Ads every time you open your browser. Well, this is a marketing strategy known as remarketing that businesses are using today to gain more visitors and increase their ranking on search engine result pages (SERPs).

Brief Overview of Remarketing

Remarketing is an ingenious way to re-engage with visitors who have visited your site previously. Traditionally, businesses didn’t have a way to re-engage with visitors who have not converted. If you have invested heavily in Ads and your traffic increases, you would expect good sales but as it turns out this might not happen.

If a visitor doesn’t convert, remarketing gives you a chance to re-engage and probably convert in future. While there are many marketing strategies available, you will agree that conversion rates are not always great. Through remarketing, you have a chance to either display the same Ads or a different one depending on your marketing strategy.

Remarketing works by placing cookies on your website visitor’s browser when they meet the criteria you want. Their cookie ID is included in your remarketing list. The beauty of this technique is the fact that you can have multiple lists all with a different criteria.

To appreciate the reason remarketing is crucial for your business, consider these facts:

  • There is a 78% shopping cart abandonment for purchases from $1 to $100.
  • 96% of website visitors leave before converting.
  • 49% of website visitors will visit 2 to 4 times before converting.
  • Over 60% of items in a shopping cart are not bought.

These numbers indicate how important it is to remarket, as this will increase the possibility of conversion on your site. If you are struggling with your online marketing campaign, it is time to rethink your strategy and remarketing will be a good start. There is no limit to the remarketing lists that you can create. For instance, you can target those who abandon a cart, those who checked the price pages, your Instagram followers,those who took a survey, users who visited a particular page, those who purchased and many more.

Factors to Consider In Remarketing

To start the campaign, you need to use an Ad exchange program and Google and AdRoll are among the best. Now that you appreciate how important this tool can be, it is time to get down to work and launch your campaign. Before starting consider the following:

  • Create a list of activities users on your website do.
  • Create Ads based on these actions
  • Create groups and build remarketing lists that are tailor-made for these groups.
  • Your Ads should have a personal connection with the target group.
  • Use frequency capping: This will improve users’ experience and avoid making your brand look bad by bombarding users with Ads.
  • Keep track of the numbers: This is the most important factors and it not only helps you get an idea of the ROI but serves as an evaluation tool. It will help you make adjustments when need be. Conversion tracking is important as it gives you the actual ROI based on the sales from remarketing. Automated reporting through Google analytics gives real-time follow up of your campaign.

How to Optimize Your Remarketing Strategy

While remarketing is a great idea to improve conversion, its success greatly depends on how well you plan. There are millions of businesses, which have invested heavily in remarketing but they are not getting value for their money. Here are some ideas on how to get your remarketing campaign right:

  1. Split Your Remarketing Strategy

Most website owners are not ready to go an extra mile and segment their visitors. Well, if you treat all your visitors the same way you will be losing out on a great opportunity. There are many tools that can help you segment your visitors based on the time they spend, pages viewed and other such factors. For every group, make sure you add a unique call-to-action (CTA) based on what they had earlier done on your site.

  1. Choose Your Landing Pages Carefully

Choosing the wrong landing page is one of the greatest blunders you can ever make. Once you have segmented your visitors, make sure you target them more specifically and you do this by driving them to the most appropriate page. The page you tag depends on your marketing objective.

  1. Make Different Sized Ads but with Matching Copy

This is a clever strategy to guarantee your Ads are eligible on all Google Ad sites. This also improves your reach and conversion.

  1. Spend More on Conversion Pages and Shopping Cart Abandons

If a visitor was already at the shopping cart stage before leaving, it is highly likely they are still interested in your product. As such, you should invest more in shopping cart abandons and other conversion pages to guarantee better remarketing ROI. If you remarketing strategy so far is not working, it is time to adjust your bid strategy. You should also reduce your investment in the homepage and non-conversion page visitors.

  1. Use Coupon Offers

Now that you are targeting visitors who were further in the sales funnel, it is important to draw them back and the best way to do this is through a coupon. Shoppers love discounts and if you will be able to make a good return on a particular product even with a discount offer, why not try it out? When your visitor sees that coupon and realizes it is meant for them, it will not increase the possibility of conversion but you will also get a loyal customer.

The aim of remarketing is not only to convert but also increase brand awareness. To do this, make sure your Ads are relevant to the group of visitors you are targeting. The Ad must clearly lure back your visitors and this will only work if you promise better user experience.

Elephant

It’s an elephant,

I have an elephant now

It follows me everywhere

Sometimes it wanders off somewhere

When I’m on my own,

It creeps up on me from behind

I push it outside the room and shut the door

Other times I stare at it, I circle it

It’s the ugliest elephant I’ve ever seen

 

Often, when there are people around

I hear the elephant stomping about somewhere near,

I know it’s coming

I grow agitated, I don’t look them nor do I look at it

I grow lightheaded, It’s inhaling all the air

I grow indifferent, I look at them

I see them not taking notice of it

A sense of uncertainty takes over

They can’t see it!

Perhaps…only I can see it

Then I look to my left, my front, and my right

I see you move your teacup away from its curious trunk

I see you edging your way around its huge form as you take your seat

And I see you flinch at the ruckus it makes as it knocks down the cupboard

…I feel the sides of my mouth pulling upwards

 

All this gets all too familiar over time

Unintentionally or otherwise they summon it

I sense its presence, towering over

I learned to look at them as they perform

Their well-rehearsed ‘we don’t see the elephant’

 

And then I met you, it’s been a long while

Approaching me, approaching my elephant

I see the color drain from your face

I see you looking right at it

Pointing right at it

I turn to it, I look at it

I touch its chin, stroking it

With ease, in one quick movement of my hand, I break its neck

Its huge heavy form dropping down

Shaking the ground

Jolting everybody who saw, they openly see now

I walk away, and I feel its absence

I turn to see it slowly lifting itself up

With its head hanging

Adding to its other deformities

Its tusks scratching the floor as it walks

Following you now

…Right!

You gave it to me after all

A Different Kind Of Heartache

When growing up you’re bound to go through some unpleasant situations and some hardships. One of them is having your heart broken, now many people would immediately think of a Romeo & Juliet scenario or any Shakespearian tragedy. But the truth is, broken hearts aren’t always caused by a significant other, they are caused by someone you have chosen to let into your world, someone you have chosen to trust and confide in. Notice that it says you have chosen, and not they have forced themselves. It was your choice, your decision to open the door for them, and that’s what probably causes your heart to break even more.

It is actually a Shakespearian tragedy, when you lose all kind of respect to someone you thought the world of. Someone you once looked up to and aspired to be like one day. It doesn’t make you a fool, no, just a human being who preferred to see the good in people.

Nevertheless, there are good people out there, people that make you believe again that in the battle of good vs. evil, good will always win.

So my advice to you and myself included, don’t lose your faith in people no matter how badly your heart is injured.

Put Nostalgia Aside And Take It As You Go

Why is it that when we are young we fantasize about becoming adults, and we glorify it to the point where it’s ultimately the answer to all of our problems. But then once we reach adulthood we are so desperate to go back in time and be young again. “To a simpler time we say.

Being young wasn’t easy and sure wasn’t that simple, fewer responsibilities? Yes, perhaps that’s true. But what about struggling to be who you are? What about all those petty fights you had with your friends, your parents and everyone who went against you? I for one, wouldn’t want to go back to a time where I was less knowledgeable, and as a result of it suffered from lack of self-esteem and anxiety.

Nostalgia is a tricky thing, it sheds light only on the good parts of a period of time and shuts the struggles out. Now that doesn’t mean that what’s in the past is all bad, nor does it mean that it is all good. It shouldn’t make you think that where you are right now is horrible, that back then was much better. Don’t let nostalgia play mind tricks on you, every human being has to go through some ups and downs in order to grow.

Being young doesn’t necessarily mean “Good times only”. And being an adult isn’t synonyms with problems and midlife crisis.

Stop daydreaming about the past and stop imagining the future. Just take it as you go and let it be, good, bad or ugly.

Go with the flow

Emirati Zombie Checking In

I always wondered where the “Emiratis are slackers” stereotype came from, and why? There are many Emiratis out there that radiate passion, and are quite hardworking.

Let me tell you a story of where it all began.

She was a fresh graduate ready to take on the world, she’s been waiting for this moment since she set foot at university four years ago. Landing a job at one of the biggest companies in the country, a place that is shaping the future of this city, what better way to leave your mark?

“Beware the vultures, for they are vicious and unkind.That’s what people kept telling her about the workplace, but she believed that if you had a positive mindset and were persistent enough you’ll make it out alright. She should’ve known better.

Because the vultures she encounters don’t have claws, they have nice suits and beautiful smiles. They rip away every opportunity that comes her way for the greater good. They’ve cornered her, so where to go to? Who to turn to?

The Emiratisation! For stories have been passed down to generations, of how the Emiratisation is meant to protect you from all things that are evil.

There she went, seeking refuge. “Welcome to the real world sweetheart! We’re not the savior. is all she got, so if the Emiratisation was not going to support its fellow Emirati, then who will?

It finally dawned on her that she is completely and utterly on her own. So be a good doll, sit in the corner and occupy your seat until it’s time to go home, is what she kept telling herself.

Don’t forget you must do that every single day, as long as you’re here. How else is the zombie transformation supposed to work?

Here comes a new fresh graduate eager to learn and bring change! Give it a couple of months, until they are infected.

You’ve got to feed the stereotype somehow, right?

Yahia Lababidi’s Balancing Acts

Balancing Acts: New and Selected Poems 1993-2015

Lababidi the aphorist, essayist and poet in his Balancing Acts transforms into an avid storyteller. Lababidi treads between the mystical, mundane and imaginary in his most up-to-date comprehensive collection. This collection features a wide range of topics from Egypt to exile and everything in between. I immediately fell in love with “Voluntary Exile”:

                        No matter how voluntary

                        it may appear,

                        exile is never

                        really a choice

-but banishment

from the land of the living.

Simple yet shrouded with layers of meaning for the poet who resides in the states for the past ten years. Exile, whether it is voluntary or imposed, uproots the individual from his/her heritage, family, and environment. The yearning for Egypt resurfaces in multiple poems and is eloquently captured in “Cairo”:

                        I buried your face, someplace

                        by the side of the new road

                        so I would not trip over it

                        every morning or on evening stroll

The poet hides in his mind all the memories of his homeland safe and sound. Lababidi tightly holds on to the sights and smells of a place that exists firmly in his mind. In “Alexandria” the bride of the Mediterranean Sea the poet envisions the unrealistic allure of this popular tourist destination:

                        taking the air in outstretched arms

                        with open mouth

                        they drink the wild waking dream

                        of a shoreless sea.

In “Discarded People” the poet possibly describes the rundown condition of undocumented migrants or refugees who are not recognized by authorities:

                        Discarded people like plastic bottles

                        litter streets sidewalks and benches

                        out to air their cramped crumpled spirits

                        from rotting in long-forgotten drawers

                        -staring intently at Nowhere, in particular

It is quite reminiscent of Warsan Shire’s “Home” where she outlines the disposability of unwanted people by the privileged and upstanding members of society:

the

go home blacks

refugees

dirty immigrants

asylum seekers

sucking our country dry

niggers with their hands out

they smell strange

savage

messed up their country and now they want

to mess ours up

how do the words

the dirty looks

roll off your backs

maybe because the blow is softer

than a limb torn off

Lababidi’s poems are linguistically rich, highly engaging and topics address wide issues ranging from love to ancestry. The poet easily and effortlessly glides through subjects with clarity, sense of wonder and with the purpose of examining life. Lababidi’s poems transcend the mere locality of one particular place, feeling or contemplation. Reading his poems one gets the sense that people are more than their religion, status and indulgences. The spiritual person who finds wisdom and comfort in Rumi surely has a companion in Lababidi.

The Wooden House

Take me away,

So far away,

The noise is killing me; no it’s destroying me,

Take me away,

To an isolated place, to an island or maybe a wooden house on a mountain,

This is better,

Leave me alone,

So I can close my eyes,

And let the cool breeze play with my hair,

I will allow the sun to burn my cheeks till they turn red,

I don’t care,

My mind is getting clearer,

I can go inside now,

The house is empty; I see nothing but a small bed, a chimney and a rocking chair,

I can manage, I guess,

When the sky is covered in navy blue,

I sit on my rocking chair, covering my lap with a blue knitted blanket,

One of my hands is occupied with my mug that’s filled with hot chocolate,

The other one is holding a book,

I can relax now,

The wooden house was a good idea.

The Stranger

The day was rough and tiresome.

As I opened the window

Silent breeze brushed my hair

And the long curls tickling my nape.

A sudden chill ran inside and freshness regained

To get through this dullness

I intended to take a stroll in the cool atmosphere

Covering myself with a sweatshirt and shawl I made a start.

Merrily everyone in the streets were enjoying the climate

Dried leaves swirling on ground

And making crackling sound.

As I passed by,

I saw a man standing on a parapet adjacent to the road

He has a long beard and hair was completely dishevelled.

Clothes torn out and shoes worn out

He seemed to be a lame duck wandering on roads.

He rummaged his belongings from the satchel

Again put them back and sat there brooding.

Hands inside his pocket, searching for something

He pulled out a paper and a pen

And started scribbling.

I wondered what he was writing!

Few seconds passed,

He held the paper high

And read out the lines he scribbled.

I was taken aback at the words he was uttering.

Each and every line unleashed his deep pain inside

And also made rhyming run along in each line.

 

I couldn’t believe that a man who appeared

To be insane, wrote those wonderful lines.

 

A sudden screech interrupted my thoughts.

And I came back to the scenario,

I saw four people who were in white uniform

Rushed out of the van and caught hold of the stranger.

The stranger started yelling and wriggling

Struggling to get out of their clutches

But, he couldn’t set himself free

And surrendered to those men in white.

The van started with an abrupt screech

And left field.

I stood there feeling lousy

For the stranger’s helplessness.

Never again did I see him there

And never heard his words of pain.

The Tricks of Advertising

With advertisings’ barrage of endless promises to consumers from lighter, brighter, less of, extra, new, better, and most likely every other adjective fathomable,  is there any questioning why consumers are more cautious and less trusting.

According to CBS our eyes are exposed to 5000 advertisements per day, which is nearly 2 million per annum. We do not process everything we see so advertisers try to use every gimmick or trick to catch our attention.

Marketers suggest that the packaging of a product is what makes the product a success or failure. Supermarkets are a key arena for advertising, where product packages dupe it out to be the fairest of them of all. Each product has dozens of substitutes and consumers make decisions within a few seconds. Products have to continually offer new and better benefits to consumers to be selected. With that logic one can only assume we are creating this monster called advertising.

Let’s take a look at a few of the favorites. First up is Knorr Light Mayonnaise which claims that it has 68% less fat than the original, which is true but what consumers aren’t aware of is the reduced fat means more sodium. The regular full-fat mayonnaise has no sodium whereas the light one has 64 milligrams per 10 grams of mayonnaise. Then there are many additives to compensate for taste and thickness. Choosing full-fat mayonnaise or light mayonnaise is simply deciding between the lesser of two evils

Next is the kids’ favorite, Capri Sun that proudly displays “no artificial sweeteners, colors, flavors and no preservatives.”  Merely because they haven’t added artificial sweeteners doesn’t mean they haven’t added an abundance of sugar.   Each 200ml juice pouch contains 19 grams of sugar which is roughly the same amount of sugar in a 200ml of coke. Capri sun also states they only use natural flavor, the irony of it being in the list of ingredients there is actually an ingredient called “natural flavor” the ambiguity of that so-called ingredient is worrisome alone.

Finally, who can resist anything that claims it can make you healthier. The probiotic craze in yogurt is thriving based on that very notion. Yogurts like Activia claim their product can regulate your digestive system.  However, in 2010 Activia settled a 45 Million Dollar lawsuit for false advertising. Their claims that their yogurt had been “clinically and scientifically” proven to improve the digestive system was false and were ordered to remove those two specific words. Furthermore, each small container has 15 grams of sugar which is roughly 4 teaspoons.

As consumers, we want so much, but want to do so little. So who is the real culprit?

Before you grab a box of cookies stating less fat, try to focus on what it isn’t telling you rather than what it is.

Apartment Hunting in Dubai

Getting an opportunity to work in Dubai has become a sought after dream by many professionals across the World. It has become a business center in the region and at the same time provides a full living experience where people get to balance work and leisure in a way that benchmarks globally.

Being such a desired destination made the real estate market a very competitive one and it has become harder to find a place that meets your criteria, and more often than not, you are forced to prioritize and compromise to get the maximum benefit if and when possible.

It is not easy to find the perfect apartment in the suitable price range in any place, and it becomes a bit more complicated when you are a foreigner to the country and culture and you don’t know the language. Therefore; you have to be ready to do your homework before committing to a long term rent contract especially when you are moving there for the first time. So what do you have to consider when you are looking for apartments for rent in Dubai?

Do Your Research

How would you choose your apartment if you don’t have the slightest idea where to look and how much people are paying in different areas? Well; this is what you have to find out before you start your hunting.

Dubai is a very big city and like any other city worldwide; it has different neighborhoods and urban areas, so how would you know which one matches your criteria and meets your taste? It is hard enough that you are moving overseas and joining a new job, so try not to make it harder by leaving this task until you are physically there, because you will lose focus and exhaust yourself. Start by using available resources to get as much information as possible before you book your flight. Online classifieds websites have made this very easy for you, as you can search through the real estate category and make a list of the apartments that appeal to you, then complete the picture by researching the area, its population, landmarks … etc. Then you can communicate directly with the agents to get more information.

Get Some Local Help

Maybe you already know someone who lives in Dubai, so reach out and get their opinion about the results of your research, and ask them about the things that would help you take a first step in finding a suitable apartment. If you don’t know anyone, you can always reach out to the HR professionals in your new company and they can provide you with advice or connect with those who can.

Compare Market Prices

Using the same Online Classifieds would help you do a quick comparison of prices, and this would give you a better idea about the areas and their populations. Once you shortlist your choices, try to find out what hidden costs are there, and remember that what applies to your current living arrangement will also apply when you are living abroad as you will need to park your car and pay for electricity and water, etc.

One Word: Budget

Your efforts can all go to waste if you don’t know what your budget is. You need to decide how much you are willing to pay for a rented apartment, especially that you will have to buy most of the household items. It is true that most companies in Dubai offer housing allowance, however; it does not necessarily cover the rent amount because the prices keep going up with the high demand from expats and locals, so this one is on you to figure out.

Rental Period and Payment Method

The rental periods in Dubai are usually annual or bi-annual, so you have to find out what you can afford. It is also common for building owners and agents to ask for an upfront payment, so do your calculations and find out what you can spare to put as a down-payment without having to suffer from the consequences.

Now you know what to expect when you are hunting for apartments in Dubai, just don’t splurge in the beginning because the first period would be stressful and full of changes that you have to cope with, so don’t make debt and overspending to be one of the things you have to worry about.

Happy Hunting!

Broken

My dear broken perfection

I will never take away my love and affection

But if I had to do it all over again

I would have no one else but myself to blame

Sometimes life is just a shadow

Of what we hope for, or dream to be

A story for the future we need to validate

When love is not enough to compensate

 

My dear broken angel

You were haunted and i was no savior

I was on the edge of my world

And in your head

You were back in some war

And you just wanted something

Or someone to adore

As i stood on the diving board

 

My dear broken fighter

I cannot bring back the laughter

I’m drowning in my questions

Lost inside the why’s

And it’s almost impossible to compromise

But how can you move on?

After your heart is gone

When you gave up

And chose to commit suicide

أنا مواطن إذا أنا الأهم‎

وقفت تنتظر دورها وبجانبها سائق البيت الذي أوصلها
فأهلها ينتظرون راتبها الذي سترسله ليُستقطع ويشبع أفواه المصاريف الجائعة
في تلك الأثناء
دخلت امرأة “مواطنة” وانتظرت دورها هي أيضا
جاء دور الأولى..
ابتسمت وهمّت بالتقدم للشباك وكأنها ربحت هدية
أشار لها السائق وتمتم بأن تفسح المجال لبنت البلاد!
قبلت بكل سرور
تقدمت الأخرى للشباك
قدمت معاملتها
انتهت
انصرفت
لم تختمها بشكرا
كما لم تبدأها برفض دور “غير المواطنة” وجعلت انتظارها بلا قيمة
بعضهم يعطي نفسه أهمية وأولوية لا يستحقها لمجرد أنه “مواطن”

Best 5 Restaurants in Dubai

Thanks to the insane number of restaurants, quality and variety they offer, Dubai is hands down, one of the best culinary cities in the Middle East, and also the world. Given the fact that Dubai consists of an estimated 10% of nationals, 90% of foreign workers gathered from around the globe, it didn’t only help shaping Dubai structurally way, but it also helped establishing the food scene. Masters of culinary and famous chefs traveled with their recipes, flavors, and spices from home to deliver a classy extravagance or a budget street side meal.

Here are five of the best restaurants in Dubai.

NOBU: Where chic meets vibrant

Located in the wildly popular, Atlantis Hotel, NOBU reflects the art of Japanese fusion integrated with Arabian influence, to pamper their guests with a Sushi Bar, and stylish surroundings available for guests who would like to enjoy the lounge or guests who prefer more intimate gatherings. Not only it serves world-class food, but it also offer cooking classes every first Saturday of every month, to teach guests the secrets of the worldly famous restaurant chain, created by the artist and internationally renowned chef Nobu Matsuhisa, to give you the finest bites of Japan.

Coya: Award Winning Peruvian Restaurant

Bringing the Inca heritage and Latin American Lifestyle to the Middle East, Coya is one of the most luxurious Latin restaurants in Dubai, bringing an exceptional, multi-dimensional experience to their guests in Dubai. The menu maintains the traditional art and elements of Peruvian cooking, adding an authentic ambiance to the place; Coya combines tastes, sights, and sounds of the Latin American culture under one roof.

OKKU: Luxury Japanese Restaurant and Lounge

OKKU, is yet another one of the most famous and luxurious Japanese restaurants and lounges in Dubai. This multi-award winning restaurant offers unique dishes mastered by celebrity chefs who cooked for Hollywood A-list. With their nothing less than elegant service, stylish design, and amazing plates, Okku sets an atmosphere that is perfect for both intimate dining and late night lounge. This Ultra Chic restaurant offers a seating for more than 200 guests in the midst of an extravagant lounge, VIP dining rooms, and the main restaurant with a sushi bar to present a captivating atmosphere.

The Meat Co: A Cut Above

Perfectly set in Souk Al Bahar, Old Town Burj Dubai. The Meat Co, as the name suggests, brings their meet-expertise all the way to Dubai to offer the finest meat and steak cuts to their guests, and create this restaurant that sticks to their trendsetting. The lavish dark wooden design mixed with polished wooden flooring that perfectly blends with the flavors offered by this restaurant. Not only that, The Meat Co dedicates a special carved knife named after each of their frequent guests.

Spirito: The Cool Latino Oasis in The Middle East

Head Chef, Nilton Rodigo Ceccarelli created and developed Spirito’s menu and delicacies to present signature dishes to their guests. The Pastel De Carne ‘light and thin pastry filled with spicy braised beef, smashed avocado and lime is just the tip of the iceberg to what Spirito offers. In addition to that, Spirito blends fresh juices that can be mixed and muddled with Silver Cachaca or Havana Club spirits to create variations of Brazil’s famous Caipirinha cocktail. Put all that together, with the perfect location, Spirito dares to create an eclectic sound mix of Latin atmosphere in the middle of Dubai.