When the chef holds a knife at your throat

Continuing with the Turkish carne, and throwing it back to March 2016 in Dubai, here is a photo with #Nusret AKA #SaltBae holding a knife to my throat. Honestly, he doesn’t need to as the yummy kebabs are too good to resist.

However, this photo brings back childhood nightmares : eating, especially eating fruits, which I abhorred. Just kidding… my dear mom never held a knife to my throat even though I can ascertain she would have loved to on many occasions, and definitely, when she realized that the pediatrician’s advice was fruitless..he had told her ” let her be hungry and ask for food “ ! Which I didn’t, for a full day until she collapsed with helpless tears of frustration.

22 years later I was confronted with the same nightmare from another perspective though… with my son ..karma I guess, or rather DNA?

Are You a Massage Lover?

There are two different types of people: the massage lovers and the others. I belong to the first group and admit having tried almost every kind of massage one might have heard of…yes, wherever my wanderlust bug took me I thrived to indulge in my favorite pastime.

While the “Razzie award” belongs to the Inca massage in Agua Calientes, Peru (it triggered pain in my neck i.e. Brufen was my best friend for quite a few days ), some of the best experiences were in :

Siem Reap, Cambodia – 25 February 2003 : advertised as “massage by blinds”, all the employees in this center were professionally trained visually impaired masseurs and masseuses.

Sri Lanka : Ayurveda treatments

Spice Gardens in Matala, Sri Lanka – 24 February 2004

and the star of them all, the Shirodhara – oil dripping technique 27 March 2017


29 March 2017


-Bali – 22 August 2012 : yummy treat(ments) i.e. coffee scrubs, chocolate massages…

Maldives – 10 July 2012 : the outdoor picture perfect spectacular setting

Shanghai, China – 4/5 September 2011 : relieved me from a chronic back pain in only one session…like magic!

Chiang Mai, Thailand – 15 November 2007 : Sleep inducing reflexology

– Chiang Mai, Thailand – November 2007 : the 2-hour body massage felt like seconds

Bagan, Myanmar9 February 2005: Room-reflexology


Madagascar: much needed pampering between hikes

Reserva Forestal Los Santos, Costa Rica – 22 March 2018 : excellent “surround sound system” reaching us from the surrounding rainforest…chirping birds, cascading waterfall… live, no CD.

However, the one treatment that left me with the strongest impact was closer to home…Yes, here in Abu Dhabi where I enjoy an established yet dynamic routine.

Honestly, I went to the spa at the Emirates Palace out of curiosity…understandably, it’s the most luxurious spa I’ve ever been to. I suspected the tag price to be associated with the lavishness, the splendor of the surroundings.



I found out it wasn’t exactly true: the treatment was above my expectations…pure bliss is a cliché! Words fail me… I can’t describe the burst of emotions I never knew existed and caused my eyes to well up with tears towards the end of the treatment, once I felt, inch by inch, a warm blanket descending on my back before being left there and covering me like a warm cocoon.


Heroin! It’s like heroin! Yes, well suddenly this particular article came to my mind…I read it twelve years ago in a Glamour UK issue while visiting my daughter Sara in Beirut. It was the addiction journal of a teenager who revealed that the first time she tried heroin it felt like she was being enveloped in a warm blanket. I still remember that I thought then and there why wouldn’t she simply envelope herself in a warm blanket instead of letting herself be sucked into the downhill spiral that could have cost her her life?! Strange how our memory works.


Anyway, back outside sipping on my minted tea in the relaxing area, a smooth transition before exiting the enchanting “realms of the senses”, I inquired about the “heroin effect ” treatment.  They don’t have it on the menu, it was bespoke! They came up with it when I asked for a “brain teaser” : a relaxing and energizing treatment.

Still under the spell, I left the premises with the feeling that the treatment I just experienced could really lead to a habit, a guilt free and harmless habit.

A Day at the Louvre – Abu Dhabi, with the kids

In the beginning, Aboudi quite enjoyed playing tourist, taking pictures of Leonardo’s La Ferronnière,

admiring “leaf because no briefs” Apollo , the Belvedere Apollo ,

and stroking the head of a marble statue after getting (naughty) teta’s permission for “ touching “ . Honestly, I thought his question was intended for another part of her anatomy  but apparently he was too prudish to act on the obvious object of his fascination. Luckily, the mama was away and didn’t notice the security guard who warned him afterwards “ not to touch”.

However, we soon found out the visit wasn’t quite up to Aboudi’s expectations: when mama told him we were going to see Mr. Bean’s painting AKA Whistler’s Mother (James McNeill Whistler). He built up a hype so strong that nothing interested him anymore throughout our flânerie…he kept on repeating despondently the same litany “when are we going to see Mr. Bean’s painting ?” Once there, the disappointment mirrored in his eyes was explained by the “where’s Mr. Bean ?!” His logical question echoed in the silence of the big hall and triggered a few smiles among the art aficionados who witnessed the endearing legitimate confusion of a four year old boy .

“Let’s sit down and enjoy the ba7er (sea)”. His enthusiastic suggestion once he saw the magnificent sea view that welcomes the visitors on the way to the restaurant reassured us about his aesthetic appreciation’s skills…what’s even better ?


His “can we stay until night time?”  request in the Children’s Museum !!



Home Away From Home”

Among the many advantages we get to enjoy living in Abu Dhabi, this quiet, peaceful and laidback capital, is its proximity to Dubai. The energy, vibe and joie de vivre you feel in this cosmopolitan city remind me of Beirut my beloved hometown where going out for dinner means having a good meal but also see and be seen.Throughout the years, the experience evolved from the odd weekends with the family or the few weekday trips with the girls to more frequent and longer stays.15 January 2017

View from The Marina Residence, The Palm – 25 April 2016


Sunset from The Marina Residence, The Palm – 24 April 2016


The Palm – 14 January 2017


The Palm – 14 January 2017


The Palm – 14 January 2017


Sunset from the Loft, Downtown Dubai – 11 May 2017


The Loft, Downtown Dubai – – 13 January 2017


Burj Khalifa – 4 November 2016


The Dubai Mall – 17 January 2017


Mall of the Emirates– 14 January 2017




It Felt Differently Today

For anyone living in the UAE, it is a familiar sight, especially in areas like Al Ain. However, it felt different today.

Having stepped out of the car to take a close up, I noticed his tied feet in the tight space and my mind started pondering : this is the bedouin’s best friend, his oldest way of transport, and he is now being carried away on a modern mode of transport…The symbolism in this situation was not old versus new only… The look in his eyes could be that of a post-retirement workaholic pragmatically trying to stay aloof after acquiring “senior citizenship status”…

Yes, somehow it felt differently today…

My Favourite Holiday

My favourite holiday is without doubt the UAE National Day…

there is something about it, you can’t miss it, you feel it, it’s in the air everywhere.

It falls on the 2nd of December, but as early as November, we start to see flags everywhere,

on almost every single government building, hotel,or house



as both UAE nationals and expatriates celebrate it with the same excitement.

It’s really heartwarming to see all these people that have converged from more than 200 countries united in happiness and pride!

And it’s definitely not a case of “happiness is contagious”: the UAE represents for all the expats a home away from home, the land of opportunities where everyone can find his own bliss: political stability, amenities, facilities, wealth, sunshine ( forget the scorching summers), luxurious, affordable or just a comfortable lifestyle.

I feel fortunate to be among those handful 10 million – out of almost 7 billion – living in the right place at the right time …in the Eldorado of the modern times as I like to call it☺️

Yes, I love the spirit, and look forward to it every year 🇦🇪🇦🇪🇦🇪