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Monthly Archives: June 2013

The eternal commoner, yours truly, went on her annual leave a couple week’s back. Two weeks was more of a punishment than a vacation. What with all the scampering for filipino food and realising that I only have one stomach and two weeks until it’s time to go back to Dubai. So on the flight back, small crocodile tears rolled down my cheek , not because I was feeling sad ( I’ve done this for 6 years for crying out loud) but rather because I couldn’t eat all the food I was craving for and it’s gonna be another year before I’ll get the chance to. How depressing.

I started scrolling the vacation photos on my phone and this cheered me up:

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A weekend of fun with my high school buds and with my darling afam of a husband. For your info AFAM literally means A Foreigner Assigned in Manila but these days, everyone is accustomed to calling ALL the foreigners in our country afam. It has a slightly degrading ring to it, such that most Filipinos seen with an afam is likely to be called a gold digger, if you get my drift.

Go pass all your judgmental looks but I’m no gold diggah my friends. My husband and I are fellow commoners in Royal Dubai.

Anyway, back to my slow poke friends. The ride to Dumaguete was two hours from my house, we took a fastcraft to Duma which was about 30 mins, a trike ride, then a scooter, piggyback in an angry man’s back, up on a horse, crossed some hungry crocodiles and was luckily in one piece when we reached our hotel.Kidding.

After our exhausting commute, we had a fancy dinner at this place called Florentino’s and got wasted.

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Yeah, yeah. The only thing wasted was those ice on those sadly sober drinks.

The next day we paid an exorbitant fee to ride a `banka` ( a motorized boat with outriggers) towards the sea turtles in Apo Island.If you ever make it to Dumaguete, consider this as a fair warning when you’re crossing Apo Island – travel light and prepare to get wet and if all else fails, just pray that the rough seas won’t swallow you whole.

It was still worth the trouble. To see these sea turtles swimming about. We saw at least 10-15 of them graceful, sea-grass eating creatures.

ImageSo long, farewell my slow poke friends.

 

 

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So the other day when I got my pay increase, it wasn’t all sad story when I had a solo celebratory lunch. The love of my life, my dear darling husband quickly got wind of it and decided to take me out lest I start pouting all night. We have been on a rigorous daily gym routine since we got back from our vacation in the Phils and this was the first night that we declared a cheat day.

Off we went to the Dubai mall’s cheesecake factory. You can’t miss it. It’s right next door to the world’s biggest indoor aquarium where you can see friendly sharks swimming about with all sorts of fishes and sting rays.

Grand place it was. We even had to wait 15 mins, before getting a table. It’s a bit fancy for normal white collar earners like me but what the heck, my job can at least afford me to splurge once in a while specially when I just got a raise! Ka-ching!

K ordered the white chili chicken with white rice while I went for the four cheese pasta with chicken. Fifteen minutes later, our waiting came strutting with our orders in tow.

K was slightly disheartened when he saw his dish.

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And that’s because it looked like something that comes from the body’s (ehem!) exit row,

But he dove right in, ignoring my comment and he pretty much enjoyed it, scraping the last few pieces in the end.

My humongous plate of pasta on the other hand looked appetizing in the beginning

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But lost it’s stellar look when I mixed in the cheese in the middle. It became more of a soup than the Italian carb feast I was expecting.

Much to my dismay and because I was mentally disturbed (lol), I lost my appetite and only finished half of my plate. So much for dinner. I think I ate more bread than pasta.

I couldn’t bear the thought of leaving it behind, silently counting the dirhams wasted so what’s a third world girl gotta do?

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Take away of course. Got me some soup errr…pasta  ready for lunch next day.

But the main event of that meal was saved for the last. After all, why leave without trying out their specialty of cheesecakes? Hopefully, that will be their redeeming factor.

And yes it was. The delicate taste of the velvet cake meshed with cheese and topped with the calorific whipped cream gave me a sugar coma. Good coma I suppose.

Take a look:

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It was the perfect night cap for my little victory that day.

Let’s face it. The day seems to be more pleasant when you start it with a satisfying session at the throne. Clearly not your majesty’s seat at the kingdom’s palace but for a commoner like me who has intestinal requirements.

But because I like to extend my sleep on most mornings, I’d rather go to work with a pale face and an empty stomach than wake up at the break of dawn just so I can go through my daily routine which includes my throne session.And since there is a more leisurely time at the office than in my short mornings, it has become a habit of mine to make my office building’s bathroom as my first pit stop of  the day.

While we have the endless supply of tissues, so many you can probably use them to dress up  20 mummies in the next holloween party and the luxury of a muslim shower which you can hardly find in the third world (I know because I come from one!), the dummies who designed these bathrooms were probably disgruntled and underpaid because they left out one very important thing. Privacy.

The walls are so thin and elevated in such a way that you can see the persons foot and hear everything that happens next door. Now I try to look like a polished, professional bad ass everyday but behind closed doors, when I go about doing my own business, I don’t like people listening and guessing that I probably had lentils for dinner.

Most days I try to be as discreet as possible and I can feel the effort of my friendly neighbor next door doing the same but there are just days that my exercised butt can’t hold back and out goes my self respect. Sometimes I hang around inside my cubicle a little longer and let my neighbor finish ahead just so she can’t put a face to the loud fart she just heard next door.

I curse the mindless designers of these thinly walled bathrooms and perhaps the decision maker who must have been scrimping on the budget while these were made. But moreso, to the one who designed that elevated wall that reveals my footwear to my next door neighbor who now knows about my secrets behind closed doors.

If they were really so concerned about the cost, then they should have made it like the one below. At least there’s a little bit of distraction than listening to other people do their business.

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And I also heard that there is a more innovative public toilet installed in my nearby emirate Sharjah. It’s swanky and nice and costs only 2AED. But there’s a catch, you’ve only got 20 mins before the door swings open and you’ll be caught by people waiting in line with pants down.

ImageFor the love of God, I just want my normal soundproofed toilets in the morning pls!

Is that too much to ask?

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On the rare occasion that I get a one on one chat with the boss, the paranoid thoughts come rushing in. Did I do a colossal mistake? One that might require me to sell my kidney.

Did I miss a deadline or did another recession occur overnight while I was happily snoring in lala land? I’m pretty sure I rolled the red carpet today before he walked in.

Zilch.

Thank God none of those have happened as I promptly checked my calendar and was reminded that it’s appraisal season thus, the obligatory praise or disgrace discussion.

So there I was, seated on our cozy conference room trying to calm down my embarrassingly loud heartbeat. Silently thinking that I should have slapped on some extra make-up to look more pleasant in front of the boss. Perhaps that would inspire him to up my salary! 

But the appraisal went really well. My liver grew the size of my thighs when he told me that I did a good job and it was a positive feedback after a yearlong of slaving off. Yay! Pat on the back for me. I wish there was an audience listening in to all the words he said and I wish there was a bunch of jealous office mates to gloat at but I work in a small office of 4 people so I pretty much contained all the joy within that shy smile I flashed when it ended.

Good news is, a job well done in our small but excellent company means moolah so yeah, ka-ching! ka-ching!

I went to celebrate my small victory in the usual overpriced DIFC foodcourt. I half expected people to be cheering and toasting on my behalf but no, it’s just another quite wednesday in my solo table at the Yo Sushi. Sigh. I wish I have more friends here.

Here we go. My very first post of a hopefully gazillion pages more which I will fill with stories of angst, terror and bliss of a twenty something expat based in the Middle East.

I come from a far, far, away group of islands called the Philippines. Every other expat in Dubai refers to me as ‘Kabayan’ even the ones that are not my compatriots. Some days are a riot, some days I feel very lucky to be living in one of the most safest place on earth and some days I miss my tropical home where it constantly rains and fresh wind is aplenty.

But it’s been six years since I’ve called Dubai my home and while I don’t have the passport to prove it, I have my battle scars, blistered feet and yearlong tan to show for.

How did I get here? Like most people I guess. In search for the pot of gold at the rainbow’s end!