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Month: January, 2016

Dubai life update

I have recently acquired a new friend, Sam. A very colourful character who speaks French fluently. I am currently learning French and so I accompany my new friend to the metro station every day after her shift ends and so I get to speak French for 10 minutes daily.

The other day she tried to teach me how to say “noon” and “midnight” in French. Explaining that the one is used for the day and the other is used for midnight, but being unable to find the word “midnight”. I stepped in “Suis Cinderella?” “Oui!”

That the fairy tale of Cinderella has spread from Germany to South Africa and Algeria is really amazing.

I don’t need a French teacher, but I do need somebody to practice with and so I prayed. The result arrived months before I knew I needed it.

I’m improving slowly, but my pronunciation and confidence is growing rapidly. One hard thing is that I don’t want to sound silly and that could mean I don’t speak my broken French which would mean I don’t improve, but my friend urges me to repeat the bad French in English and then translates the English sentence into French and doesn’t quit until I get it right.

Also really proud of myself for reading The Tragedy of Anthony and Cleopatra by William Shakespeare. I actually read the entire book and it was much easier than I ever expected, having been told so many times that Shakespeare is difficult I was surprised at how easily I understood the story.

It’s Saturday today and every Saturday I have a little list of stuff to do and then I usually go to the mall.

I started getting my nails painted bi-weekly by a very nice, but really quiet Nepolise woman. She files them in silence and then only ever asks “which colour?” Dubai is filled with such an assortment of characters, it’s wonderful to be able to meet all these different types of people.

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Dubai Fish market & Spice Souq

Except for one excursion to the Dubai souqs 3 years ago I haven’t set foot there again. Now, I’m cooking my way through Jamie Oliver’s “My Way to Making You a Better Cook” and had to find Bream fish. Therefor I was to be found in a taxi yesterday, stuck in craze traffic trying to get to the fish market.

I was the only tourist at the market. It was a tad gross, but I found a man selling what sounded like “S-bream” fish. Which sounded close enough to what I needed, I said yes and he typed the price I was to pay on a calculator “275”. I walked away, he explained that I would be paying Dirhams not dollars. I still left, he followed me a third time asking what I want to pay. There I took him by the shoulders turned him around and pushed him away while the other fish sellers laughed very much.

I walked over the water covered cement floor almost slipped on some ice and saw a whole salmon. The fish was much, much larger than I ever expected. There were mounds of shrimp and barrels filled with crabs. One man was dishing out fresh caught fish from water onto ice. “Tuna steaks” somebody called as I followed a young Pakistani to a stand selling Bream fish for a reasonable price. I had to pay AED15 extra for “cleaning” which I said I didn’t want to watch. He told me he would “come back 5 minutes”. I waited outside and saw the large flock of sea gulls flying above which suddenly explained the roof over the fish market.

Carrying a bag with 2 lovely fresh fish I walked through the most colourful fruits and veg market. I saw probably 500m of tables carrying various sorts of dates. My best find here was spinach. I haven’t been able to find such nice spinach anywhere else.

I walked to the Spice souq. A man wearing an Arabic headdress asked what I wanted I said tarragon and he vanished returning a few minutes later with a bag of dried green leaves. Really fascinating experience though. Walking through an entire market which only sells spice. The whole place smells really nice though. I liked all the different kinds, but nothing has a label on it, so you don’t know what anything is unless you ask…

I returned home carrying a bag of fish and spinach.  A man in the souq called out to me “Nice vegetables, now you will become slim.” Very amused i walked to the metro station and came home.

I have since cooked the fish according  to Jamie’s instructions and they were delitious! I think I might return tomorrow for more. I followed it with an Eton mess. Perfect meal.