Category Archives: Daily Roads

The [Expat] Adventure Continues

Many of our friends and all of our family (and Barr and I ourselves) have been waiting to get the word on the length of our expat status. The original plan was to return to the states in September..from Dubai. Obviously things change!

"A nomad I will remain for life, in love with distant and uncharted places"

“A nomad I will remain for life, in love with distant and uncharted places”

As it stands, we will be here in Perth a little bit longer than September: we will be expats here now through December, returning to Charlotte by the end of the year…not what we thought would be the case, but knew that it could be a possibility.

Two of my loves back in the states: Dash and my mom :)

Two of my loves back in the states: Dash and my mom 🙂

While we miss our friends, family, America, and our course Dash (!) more than a blog post could ever possibly convey, we feel blessed to be given the opportunity to live abroad and travel to new places (we have a few still on our list before we return to the states). And are, of course, pumped to stay in Australia through their spring/start of summer seasons!

If this is Perth's winter, we're definitely looking forward to a spectacular spring!

If this is Perth’s winter, we’re definitely looking forward to a spectacular spring!

Friends and family: come visit! Our door is always open. Cheers to new adventures in Perth and beyond and to our return to North Carolina in December! Until next time…

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The one where I learned the term “Perthed”

My friend (currently, yes, this is pretty singular) here in Perth introduced me to a new term the other week: Perthed. Before I explain, let me give you a bit of background.

Via Oh She Glows

Being more of a morning person than a night owl, one of the things that I really struggled with in Dubai was the fact that hardly anything opened before 10-11AM. I mean the earliest coffee shop opened at 8AM – a far cry from the 5AM opening time of the Starbucks back in Charlotte! On the flip side of this, however, was the fact that shops/restaurants stayed open LATE – it wasn’t unusual to have the malls open to midnight (and during religious holidays, sometimes open all night long!)

Fast forward to Perth: people here are definitely morning people – my kind of people! But for every positive, there’s a negative, and in this case, it is that everything – and I mean everything – here in Perth closes early. Malls: closing time 5PM. A restaurant’s kitchen usually is done by 9PM, and if you’re wandering in at 845PM, you’re getting some dirty looks for sure. The little street around the corner from us is bustling in the mornings, but is dead by 830PM. Now of course there are exceptions to this, but for the most part, one will find that this is the norm, especially during the work week.

Not a morning person? You may be in trouble here in Perth…

Back to the term Perthed – you’ve been “Perthed” if you go to the grocery store, a mall, a restaurant, you name it, and it’s closed already. And we’re not talking going at 11PM – we’re talking the grocery store is closing its doors to you promptly at 6PM! Oh you want some delivery or take away at 930PM? Too bad – Perthed big time (this is a true story from my husband).

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No complaints here as I now know to make earlier reservations, pop to the grocery in the afternoon, and understand the fact that the people of Perth have mastered the art of day drinking 🙂

Well, I’m off to Sydney tomorrow morning for a long weekend with Barr and then heading to Adelaide in South Australia with a girlfriend  – there’s a great bit of wine country in that part of the country; we’re heading to the Barossa (pronounced Bar-rah-sa – say the “O” like an “A”) Valley (Penfolds, ya dig?!) and the Clare Valley. So any recommendations for Sydney, Adelaide or the Barossa/Clare, please let me know! I’ll definitely try to keep up a few posts (most likely picture heavy – the big girl camera is definitely making these trips!) over the next week or so – fingers crossed for sunny weather. Until next time…

Cloudy Afternoon in the Park

I miss quite a few things about Dubai, but I have to admit, I dont miss the lack of expansive green space in the city. Lucky for us, there’s a great little park along the Swan River just down the street from our house – green space for days! In fact, I’ve been so pleasantly surprised with the vast amount of parks and trails around Perth. Coupled with the temperate weather we’ve been experiencing the last week or so, it makes for great days outside 🙂

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Some of the little village shops near our house – love all the local, cozy stores all around Perth!

The Perth foreshore

The Perth foreshore

It’s also been nice to see clouds – plus, clouds also always remind me of my friend/artist extraordinaire, Tara Andris! Given the cloudy weather Perth has had this week, there has been no shortage. That being said, apparently the hole in the ozone layer is above Australia so the sun is exceedingly powerful – even cloudy days can be warm with plenty of UV warnings.

The autumn here has been pretty mild so far – early mornings and evenings are cooler, but the afternoons are pretty pleasant – mid/upper 60s and 70s. I was saying to Barr though, it’s weird to have fall in what we’re used to being the summer months – plus fall isnt fall to me without football season and Halloween!

Enjoy some pictures I took of my walk to the park – I need to work on my photography skills as they didnt turn out quite as I hoped, but c’est la vie – practice makes perfect! Until next time…

Perth CBD from the foreshore

Perth CBD from the foreshore

Perth CBD from South Perth

Perth CBD from South Perth

On the weekends you can find plenty of people sailing, paddle-boarding, boating, and jet skiing on the river (I'm a bit dubious, however, given all the jellyfish I see in it!)

On the weekends you can find plenty of people sailing, paddle-boarding, boating, and jet skiing on the river (I’m a bit dubious, however, given all the jellyfish I see in it!)

It may be fall in Australia, but there are plenty of flowers around!

It may be fall in Australia, but there are plenty of flowers around

CBD peeking out from the house rooftops

CBD peeking out from the house rooftops

Until next time…

Like Bambi Learning to Walk…

If you’ve ever seen the Disney flick Bambi, you may remember when Bambi learned to walk for the first time – here’s a refresher just in case:

Notice the confusion, the stumbling, the looking around in wonder? Also see the surprise on the bunnies faces when he kind of gets it? Welcome to learning to drive on the other side of the road (with the steering wheel on the other side of the car).

We took the plunge and rented a car for this week ahead of my trip back to states so I could easily explore Perth – a good and a bad thing! If you didnt already know, one drives on the left side of the road here in Australia. And if you didnt already know, I have limited (okay no) experience with this. How’s is going you may ask? Here is a series of events that have occurred in the last 48 hours:

  • This morning on the way to dropping Barr off at work, I right hand turned into the wrong lane/oncoming traffic. Whoops. Thank goodness it was the crack of dawn and we could quickly scoot to the correct lane!
  • I clipped a curb (pretty hard) prompting Barr to say, “Are you even awake right now?!” The answer, in case you were wondering, was yes, but your entire depth perception is flip flopped from when you drive/steer on the right side of the road – you’re used to having the curb on one side and judging distance from that, but it’s obviously opposite here – very tough!
  • I’ve tried to get in on the Dubai/USA side of the car more times than I have originally gone to the correct, Aussie side of the car. Quite embarrassing should one be in a busy parking lot.
  • Barr is left handed so I think this is a piece of cake for him, but for righties like me, the gift shift is to your left. Maybe I’ll strengthen my left hand with this new found usage?
  • The turn signal is on the right side of the steering wheel and the windshield wipers are on the left. Again, opposite from what I am used to – can you guess how many times I’ve turned on the wipers as opposed to the turn signal? Spoiler alert: a lot.

It’s been comical and at times scary, forcing me to drive a lot slower and really pay attention (probably a good thing!) to each turn and lane change. Wish us luck as we continue to navigate these roads and get the hang of this 🙂 Until next time…

 

Abu Dhabi International Triathlon

Five minutes after I crossed the finish line of the Abu Dhabi International Triathlon (the sprint distance: 750m swim, 50km bike, and 5km run), the endorphins kicked in, and allowed me to euphorically state to my husband, “I could do this again!” Endorphins are funny like that; three hours later (and even now, eight days later), I’m not as sure – still euphoric though – that I finished (my time was nothing to write home about, but I finished!) The event was exceedingly well run, and I can see how triathletes can become quickly addicted, though I dont think I will morph into one of those individuals. 🙂

As some of you may know, I am a runner – it’s definitely my preferred form of exercise! In a past life, I swam (though I wouldnt call myself a “swimmer”), and I definitely do not bike. When Barr and I signed up last fall, I thought, “Well, 1.5 of the athletics of the race I have down – I’ll just train”. HA! Having the triathlon on the heels of my return from the states didnt quite allow for as much training as I should have done, but again – I finished! So photographic evidence:

No no, we didnt come in 1st...

No no, we didnt come in 1st…

I so naively believed that the run would be my easiest leg, but having it be the last portion of the event and after the particularly grueling 50km bike (I could scarcely run my bike back to the racks), I struggled in the 5k run. But I finished! And nothing can really prepare you, save experience, for swimming in the ocean with hundreds of other swimmers thrashing around you – very daunting. But I finished! (Can you tell I was morbidly fearful of not completing the triathlon?)

The experience held two major highlights (aside from completion): seeing Barr cheer me on in the last kilometer or so of the run and having the Brownlee brothers (Olympic triathletes from the UK) whiz past me on the bikes (they did 100km of the bike) – I wasnt anticipating them (and they came upon me fast!!), and saw some cameras snapping shots. Thinking that they were trying to get a photo of the girl in the cute blue outfit (it is all about a good ensemble, isnt it?), I smiled wide, but alas, they wanted that picture perfect athlete shot of the famous brothers. You can (kind of – it’s a bit like Where’s Waldo) spot me in a picture from The National here – I think the Olympians had passed by me as this point:

Riding the struggle bus…err, I mean bike

An item to tick off the bucket list, to be sure, but would I do it again? Ehhhh, ask me again in a few months as I may have stored up some more endorphins by then! Until next time…

Filling My Day

I suck – I havent done my neighborhood post this week, but it’ll come later this week, I promise! In the meantime, how have I been filling my day you might ask? I started substitute teaching! Having come from corporate America, a job where the whiteboard looks like the below vs. a conference call that always goes like this (CAN I GET AN AMEN?!), I have been a pretty happy camper lately. Subbing is good for one’s ego! 😉 Until next time…

Thank you for thinking I have blond hair!

Thank you for thinking I have blond hair!

Happy – Dubai Version

Happy Tuesday, all! To those that have seen and heard Pharrell’s new jam, Happy, you know what a joyful and fun song it is – and now, Dubai has its own version, starring 29 (!) different nationalities as they dance around various areas of the city as the backdrop of the video (the gentleman getting down in his suit and tie is my personal fave). I love this song – I put it on in the mornings sometimes and literally do feel happier starting a day with it.

Thanks to the Dubai Confidential site for putting this video together. I dare you not to smile watching these folks spread happiness around Dubai. Enjoy and have happy weeks! 🙂

Dubai Neighborhoods: Al Safa Park

Yall! Staying true to weekly post, I bring you the next “neighborhood” in Dubai: Al Safa Park. You read that right: there is a beautiful, green park smack dab in the middle of the desert that is Dubai – this city never ceases to amaze!

There is a running/walking track that loops around the park

There is a running/walking track that loops around the park

The park has undergone several updates over the last 20 years, and now, as you can see below, there are plenty of skyscrapers that create great views from the park:

Burj Khalifa and the two towers on the right are the tallest hotels in the world: Marriott Marquis

Burj Khalifa and the two towers on the right are the tallest hotels in the world: Marriott Marquis

Where: From this map, you can find the park right in the middle of the city – a perfect location!

What: Safa Park is one of the many parks in Dubai, but it is the largest, about 160 acres, containing 3 lakes, plenty of bird wildlife, and 16,924 different trees and bushes (per Wikipedia!). The park is covered in 80% of grassy knolls, which offer plenty of amazing views of the park itself as well as the Dubai skyline.

Highlights: I love the Archive restaurant situated in the center of the park – it offers great coffees, yummy food, free Wifi, and just a generally chill atmosphere. There’s also plenty of playgrounds, football (ahem, soccer) pitches, tennis courts, a waterfall and lakes, and  little walking trails that sprawl throughout the park. Also, on Friday, there is a fab farmer’s market!

The Archive

The Archive

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Not too shabby for February!

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Fun Facts:

  • The park was originally built waaaay back in 1975 (practically ancient by Dubai standards)! And prior to the park’s creation, that area was one in which many illegal immigrants congregated – read more on that here
  • Tuesdays (during the day) are designated for children and women only
  • Bring some food and have a BBQ – there are plenty of grill stations to go around!
  • The park entrance fee is AED3

Until next time…

The view from my spot in the park this afternoon :)

The view from my spot in the park this afternoon 🙂

Comptoir 102

I truly enjoy and am 100% comfortable grabbing a bite solo – it is the introvert in me! After finishing up a doctor appointment in Oud Metha, I decided to put Blanca to use and stop by a locale I’ve been wanting to try for ages: Comptoir 102 in Jumeirah 1.

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Why, you may ask? Well, when we first moved to Dubai, I scoped out and googled “Gluten Free Dubai”, and Comptoir 102 was one of the places that popped up on my radar! I hadnt been before this week as it can be bit tricky to grab a cab afterwards on Jumeirah Beach Road, so Blanca to the rescue 🙂

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Comptoir 102 is part restaurant, part concept shop. The shop includes really diverse textiles, jewelry and tableware – each item had a lot of character. Regarding the restaurant, there’s a two-course menu which changes daily, coupled with a dessert option (or two!) There are plenty coffee, juice, tea, and smoothie options (all made to order).

Perfect al fresco dining atmosphere

An ideal al fresco dining atmosphere

 

Here was the menu the day I stopped by:

Nom nom nom

Nom nom nom

Many of the ingredients are locally sourced, of which some are even grown in-house (they have a great little garden in the back) and others organic and gluten-free (of course!). Dishes are prepared with techniques designed to boost digestion (see the definition of miso from one of the board’s below):

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Now on to the good stuff – the food! For my solo, GF lunch, I ordered the red pepper with feta…

My favorite dish of the meal - just the right amount of salty and sweet - DELISH!

My favorite dish of the meal – just the right amount of salty and sweet – DELISH!

…the gluten free pizza…

Topped with avocado cream, more feta, basil, zucchini and mushrooms, this was a good GF pizza overall. Gluten free crusts are always tricky, but this one wasnt as crumbly as most and was exceedingly filling

Topped with avocado cream, more feta, basil, zucchini and mushrooms, this was a good GF pizza overall. Gluten free crusts are always tricky, but this one wasnt as crumbly as most I’ve tried and was exceedingly filling

…and of course, I indulged and enjoy a choco petit pot for dessert:

Delightfully light and rich - I was glad it was "petit" :)

Delightfully creamy – I was glad it was “petit” 🙂

All the portions were quite small, but the meal overall was very filling. I’ll definitely be back for another lunch – the vibe is really cool and inviting, the food deliciously healthy, the service top notch, plus, I cant wait to see what else Comptoir 102 will add to their menu. Until next time…photo 9

 

 

 

Letters from Home

Everything is so electronic these days – and dont get me wrong, I enjoy getting immediate news, updates, pictures, videos, books, shopping, etc, etc, etc (I mean, hello, a blog couldnt be anymore e-newsy! All things considered, though, a handwritten letter (or even an addressed envelope) goes a long way in 2014!

Check out our newly redecorated refrigerator – full of happy memories, pictures, Christmas cards, and invitations from friends and family stateside (and this wasnt even all of them that my mom brought to Dubai with her from Houston!) Seeing these each time I open the fridge (ahem, a lot), means more than I can express electronically 😉

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Until next time…