Monthly Archives: May 2013

First Bean Burger!

Bean Burgher

Being a vegetarian has been interesting up to know. The section of the menu that I used to skip has now become the only section I have a look at. It has been interesting to see which restaurant really value vegetarians and which don’t.

Together with my German friends we decided to go to this burger place in the Marina mall called ‘Gourmet Burger Kitchen’. It was supposed to be a very good burger place so off we went!

I ordered the ‘bean burger’, which was one of the 3 vegetarian options. I didn’t taste bad but after eating about half of it I did get tired of the taste of it. Was a bit dry so added some ketchup. Not very exciting in the end but a legit first timer!

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First Time buying fuel cheaper than bottled water!

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Lately, I was using the car of a friend. What I mostly do in Belgium for using somebody’s car,  is filling it back up with fuel. That’s mostly a fair trade. But not in Dubai it seems…

Didn’t came as a surprise, but refilling your car at 1.72 AED (=€0.35 = $0.47) per liter is pretty rare I would say. It is literally cheaper than bottled water in many cases.

Fun fact: The government is considering lowering the price because they are not competitive with the surrounding countries. In Oman for example the price is easily 30% cheaper. Rumors say subsidizing the fuel price may go up to 60% (!!)

 

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First Time Yoga!

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Yoga is one of those things that some of my friends do but I not really cared about myself. So instead of just keeping my prejudices I figured it was about time to check it out myself.

So I basically googled ‘Yoga Dubai’ and found this ‘Club Stretch’. Didn’t need to sign up for any thing. Just had to pop in one of the sessions and join the group.

So together with a friend I went to the session in the Marina district and I’ll summarize the experience by saying that I felt a lot of things that I didn’t feel in a long time. The session was 90 minutes, the room temperature 40°C and about 20 people in the room. We did some nice warm-up exercises and then went on the the main exercises. Although you might expect that ‘stretching’ and ‘holding’ some body positions can’t be that though, I can honestly say it’s quite the opposite. I haven’t sweat that much in years (okay it was also 40 degrees inside, but still). When we were allowed to lay on the ground towards the end of the session, I could feel my heart pounding so hard that I almost couldn’t believe that this was much more intense than my workout in the gym of the day before.

My friend who joined me, who does Yoga now and then, said this was not really a beginners session and she herself hadn’t experienced such an intense session in a long while. So I guess that maybe also explains why I found it that hard. Maybe I should have brought some water as well :p Was the only one who was apparently stupid enough not to bring any…

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First Time in Oman!

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Because I was in Oman only for Visa-issues it is maybe a little less exciting than you would expect but it was still an interesting experience. Because my Visa for the UAE is only valid for 30 days, I had to do a ‘Visa-Run’ to prolong it. Practically this means, take your car, drive to Oman, get an exit stamp from the UAE, get an entry stamp from Oman, get an exit stamp of Oman and get a new entry stamp from UAE.

This 5-hour experience mainly exists of driving but it was a nice way to have a view from the Dubai suburbs, the dessert and the Oman ‘mountains’. When arriving at the border you do all the stamping things, which takes you about an hour, mainly because of the waiting. And you’re ready to get back.

It was a pitty that I couldn’t combine this with a trip to Oman itself because I heard a lot of nice things about it, but I might get there again soon!

Ow yes, also rich Dubai people sometimes have to do it 🙂

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First time not doing new a ‘first time’

Of course it depends on how you define a ‘first time’ because I’m sure I took a roadway today that I never took before or visited a certain website for the first the first time. But I don’t really consider those things as ‘real first-timers’.

So today, the day has come to use my ‘joker’ and say that I have not done something significantly new. I hoped that I could postpone this moment a little further in time, but then on the other hand, not doing something new for the first time, for the first time, counts I guess!

First Arabic Lesson!

Dubai-20130526-00535Today I had my first Arabic lesson. Although you don’t really need the language in Dubai because of the internationalization, I still wanted to learn some basics.

So today we learned the basic stuff. How to introduce yourself, tell people where you come from, count from 1 to 10 and so on. Thought it was really interesting and almost forgot how difficult it is to learn a new language!

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First time clubbing without a sip of alcohol

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Maybe this isn’t a one to be proud of 🙂 but when you think of it there is a good chance you haven’t gone clubbing without drinking any alcoholic drink. Even sometimes when I’m driving in Belgium, I might drink one or two, depending how long we’re staying, because they’ll be out of my body by the time I’m in my car. And because I started to like to “stop doing things for the first time” like stopping to eat meat (being a vegetarian for a while) I wanted to try ‘not drink’ while clubbing.

Of course this wasn’t something super difficult, but I must admit that I could have drunk a beer myself as well. Either way, interesting to stay completely sober because you can see the crowd evolve from normal to tipsy to somewhat drunk and see of course some people who get completely hammered. Another thing I noticed is that drinking non-alcoholic beverages is somewhat boring after a while. This might sound strange but when you start drinking your 8th water you kind of get bored of it.

Another advantage was that I was able to drive my friends home. And maybe even better is that you “don’t lose a day” when you wake up the day after. I had a normal productive day and I must admit that it feels more satisfying when you look back at it!

PS: the club we went to was the “Cavalli Club” in Dubai. Really posh but nice club. Don’t know if it’s always like this but the DJ was supreme! Maybe I had better written this blog when going to a different club 😉

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First Google Hangout!

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Recently Google stopped it ‘Google Talk’ service and replaced it by ‘Google Hangout’. It’s an integrated way of chatting, voice talks and video talks on all your devices. The nice thing is you can continue your conversations form your PC to your Smartphone to your tablet. It has the ‘traditional’ way of adding friends, which is linked to your Google+ circles. You can also start and join public hangouts.

These public hangouts can be watched by anyone with a Google+ account and are hosted on YouTube. They can be interactive or just for watching. It’s a very nice way of holding online seminars or film your offline event and stream it online for free. Hosts of events, definitely have a look at this!

I personally used Google Hangout many times since for ‘chats’. Also checked out some public hangouts today. Some interesting stuff to watch!

 

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First Time with Necomimi Ears in Dubai

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This might not sound as the most original or exciting ‘first timer’ but after having the experience I thought it was worth writing a short blog about it.

If you don’t know what Necomimi Ears are, read my previous blog or have a look at their website. But in short, they are brainwave ears that wiggle based on your brainactivity.

So this is the second time I wear them in public. First time was in SF among some Hult people in a bar, they and other people all liked it and wanted to try it out.  That’s why I decided to take them out to a random party in Dubai and see what people would say.

I must say, this was a really interesting ‘social experiment’. First of all, the UAE is more of ‘masculine’ country so a guy walking around with some funny ears on his head is not really perceived as very ‘manly’. Second, people are not as ‘tech-minded’ here as in they are in the US and Europe. Not that they are lacking behind but in general they care less about the newest gadgets and latest technologies. People were giving me a weird look instead of wondering what it is and how it works. And the people that did come up to me and asked what it was, were like ‘what do you need that for’ instead of ‘wow, that’s so cool’.

So interesting: yes, experimental: yes, recommended: no 😉

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First time at a Mosque!

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Given its liberal and open view on societies and religion, Dubai is one of the best places to visit a Mosque and get an interesting explanation. Probably the best place to do this in Dubai is the ‘Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding’. This place operates under the slogan “Open doors, Open minds” and is designed to give outsiders a view on Islam as a religion and how it is being practiced in the United Arabic Emirates. They themselves describe it even more broader as “an organisation established to increase awareness and understanding between the various cultures that live in Dubai.”

We first had a little tour around the Mosque and eventually inside. As is required we were asked to take of our shoes when entering the mosque. Inside the mosque we got a basic explanation about Islam and how an average Emirati practices his religion. The thing that surprised me the most was the scientific backup of their explanation. The person explaining had a surprisingly good view on how old the universe was, how many stars there are in the galaxy, how life exists and so on. Of course there is an ‘Islam-explanation’ but it was very interesting to hear how they combine the Koran with scientific findings.

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Afterwards we had a typical Arab dinner while having a discussion about cultures. Although I did not agree on all the topics discussed, I really appreciated the discussion in general. Also got a better view on how local Emirati live their lives.

 

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