Jabreen Castle, Oman

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This impressive castle with wooden ceilings, Arabic calligraphy and decorated windows is located in the Dakhiliyah province of Oman, about 175 kms from Muscat. It was built in 1670 by Imam Bil’arab bin Sultan, the son of Sultan bin Saif, who helped in driving the Portuguese from Oman. Visitors get a taste of period architecture while exploring its numerous rooms  spread across three stories. At the entrance are two large canons that lead on to an open courtyard. Racing up the castle’s numerous stairs can be exhaustive and rewarding as you get views of several rooms including meeting rooms, libraries, classrooms and dining areas. There is even a date store where large stocks of dates were preserved, their juice was crushed and collected in earthen jars. In peaceful times the juice was used in the castle kitchen but during a siege it was boiled and poured on attackers through holes in the doorway.

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Reading room inside the castle

A closer look at the castle reveals arches with Arabic calligraphy, beautiful carvings on doors and brightly painted wooden ceilings. Yet another interesting room is called the Sun and moon room. It has 14 windows that make this room remain cool throughout the year. It has an eye shaped ceiling and was used to conduct meetings.

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Painted ceilings

For those who manage to maneuver through the castle’s rooms and unending staircases will get a memorable view of the picturesque date palm oasis surrounding the area. Catch your breath and spend a silent moments here before you brace up to navigate your way back ♥

View from the top

Key to Dubai book launch

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Written and illustrated by Dubai resident Liliane van der Hoeven the Key to Dubai book was launched on Saturday, September 12, 2015, at the Dubai International Writer’s Centre in Bur Dubai. The book, an illustrated encyclopedia on the emirates, is packed with fun facts and targeted at children in the age group of 6 to 14. At the launch Liliane read a few chapters from her book on the history of pearl diving, the wind tower houses in Bastakiya, Arabian horses and abaya fashion.

Trip to Khor Fakkan

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No, these are not pics from holiday spots in Maldives or Seychelles but from very own neighbouring Sharjah. Like you I too was surprised when I first caught a glimpse of the pristine Khor Fakkan beach. Clear blue waters, a white sandy beach along a lush green park with rugged mountains in the backdrop — what more could a holiday seeker ask for? Pack a picnic hamper and enjoy this view or fly high with para sailing here. Khor Fakkan, which means, Creek of Two Jaws, is just a two hour drive from Dubai.

Wafi events

The sun is still scorching hot but September means the winters are not far away, a time when events rain galore in Dubai. The Wafi malls seem to be early birds this year in event promos. At a recent visit I spotted two forthcoming events — Taste of Wafi and Wafi Bazaar. The former is a family food event to be held every Saturday featuring a selection of sweet dishes made from locally produced goods. While tasting the desserts you could also indulge in some retail therapy at the Wafi Bazaar that will showcase over 50 stalls selling an assortment of goods (from handicrafts to accessories). Both events run from Sept 13 to Dec 27th 2014.
These brochures have all the details:

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Button shoes

What can you do with cute colourful buttons? Lots it seems. Here is what was displayed at a kiosk at the Dubai Festival Centre:

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Madhbi @Mandilicious

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Mandi and Madhbi are traditional Arabian rice dishes slow cooked with meat. I have often seen restaurant boards selling Mandi in some parts of Dubai. Although I was always curious to taste it I never got around to doing it until at a weekend outing at Lamcy Plaza’s food court where I saw Mandilicious. Surprised I went to inquire and came back with two hot plates of Madhbi and Mandi. The difference between Mandi and Madhbi I was told was that the chicken in Madhbi is grilled and not baked like its done for Mandi. The rice was soft and flavourful, the chicken succulent and tender. The portions are quite large for one person. Since that visit we have gone back several times for quick takeaways of Mandi. Traditionally mandi was cooked in a hole dug in the desert. It is also eaten with hands on floor seatings. So, Mandilicious does a great job of bringing this conventional cuisine in a fast food setting.
Watch this video to know more about Mandilicious.

Street festival at Dubai Marina Mall

The Rain Gods have been very kind with the intermittent showers (so uncommon in Dubai) making April evenings pleasant and breezy. Add to this weather some free entertainment and some scenic views — voila it turns into a perfect family day out. Thanks to the annual Dubai Marina Mall Street Festival we enjoyed an evening strolling along the lovely Dubai Marina promenade watching jugglers, acrobats and fire artists performing. The Street Festival is on till April 12th.

That's Japanese artist Ryunosuke Yamazumi performing his unique juggling stunt  on a pole

That’s Japanese artist Ryunosuke Yamazumi performing his unique juggling stunt on a pole

A very agile acrobat

A very agile lady acrobat

Loved the foot tapping music and the dare devilry of this fire hoop artist

Loved the foot tapping music and the dare devil act of this fire hoop artist

Fire, Water and Light Show at Dubai Mall Fountains

Fire, Water and Light Show at Dubai Mall Fountains

Don’t miss this mesmerising show that brings together a medley of sound, light and fire at Downtown Dubai.

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Two shows daily at 8 and 10 pm until February 4.

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2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 2,900 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 5 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

The Setting Sun

The setting Sun through my lens

And an evening well-spent sipping coffee at Sharjah beach.

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