Good Vibes Only at Area 01 (Alserkal Avenue)

I walked into Alserkal Avenue for Area 01 and the first things that caught my attention were the vibrant colours and the strain of really eclectic beats. Even though I had just walked in, this already seemed like the perfect creative and cultural experience of Dubai, from music to market to food.

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A hidden treasure trove of creative talents encompassing everything from theatre and performance arts, to live acoustic and electronic music, and culinary experiences. How could anyone not love it?

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I walked past so many original stores set up all over the place that by the time I reached the DJ console my jaw was hanging so low, it nearly touched the ground. I quickly set up and started my set. I have seen a lot of events marketed with a dose of “good vibes” but this was so different. From the moment the first song began people were dancing, smiling, and filling the entire space with so much of good vibes it was contagious. Everyone from tiny tots to even the pets were infected by this air of good cheer.

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Five hours passed by in a flash, and before I knew it it was time to pack up. But the day wasn’t done yet. I headed down to the main stage area with my friends and we all plonked down on the comfy tires and grass padded seats, wolfed down our food and enjoyed the live music. Will I be back again next year? For sure! Will I see you there too?

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Enter The Exchange Grill

I walked into The Exchange Grill and the first thing that caught my eye was the perfectly set table right next to me. But today we weren’t heading towards the table to be seated, we were heading into the kitchen instead, for our Gourmet Masterclass. We started with my favourite part of any meal, dessert. We watched spellbound as Romain Castet (Executive Pastry Chef at Fairmont Dubai) ran us through how to make the most exquisite dessert – Sticky Toffee Pudding. But this was nothing compared to what was coming up next.

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Once Chef Romain had finished showing us his magic tricks behind the dessert counter, we met Chef Nahsen Akgul (Chef de Cuisine at Fairmont Dubai). We paired up and it was time for all of us to put our culinary skills to the test and make Crab Cakes with Mango Salsa. First we watched the master at work as he made a complicated recipe look like a piece of cake…slicing and dicing without even looking down. I listened like I was back in my High School Chemistry class (scared of blowing the lab up) and then it was showtime. Some of us breezed through it, while others just about reached the finish line but we all had delighted smiles on our faces by the end of it and that’s all that matters right?

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After getting a master class in how to cook various types of meat (which only made our mouths water more) we were finally ushered into a secret back-room which was cozy yet chic. The table was set with a feast and we had certainly worked up an appetite. This is certainly an experience I will never forget!

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Waves and Visions

My love affair with the beach started from as way back as I can remember. When I close my eyes, I fondly recall family outings where we would all go to the beach and everything that worried us would just melt away as the smell of salt in the air filled our nostrils. It was almost like being hypnotised into being instantly happy.

beachIt’s no wonder then, that as an adult, the beach is my favourite retreat. It’s ironic that I live in a desert but it is the water here that makes me the most happy. I can vividly recall the first time I set foot on the beach in Dubai. Everyone else was excited to see the iconic Burj Al Arab in the distance but for me I just jumped through the waves like an excited dolphin.

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The ocean reflects my essence – beautiful, mysterious, wild and free and that’s why I enjoy solo travel with the ocean as my companion. Thailand holds some beautiful memories because I finally shed all my inhibitions and tried Scuba Diving in Phuket recently. I can still feel my palms turning cold as I struggled to put on my scuba diving gear. As I gripped the mouthpiece and let go of all my fear I never felt more free in my life!

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As the water surrounded me from all directions, I entered a parallel universe where my senses were overwhelmed by the underwater beauty! I reached out and gently touched the underwater plants and rocks as a school of brightly coloured fish swam by me like I was a part of their natural habitat. That feeling of being one with nature is something I will never forget.

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My next water adventure was in Ibiza where I finally worked up the courage to try fly-boarding. I had seen a couple of people try it in Dubai but didn’t even know what it was called. In Ibiza, it called out to me and I answered that call by facing my fear head on. The feeling of the water surging under you and propelling you higher and higher is unforgettable. It reminded me of this game I used to play as a kid, called Dangerous Dave, where the hero had a jetpack.

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Every time I visit the ocean, I learn something new. Sometimes it is a simple lesson and sometimes it is a profound one. The one quote that stirs within me every time I hear crashing waves is this one: The strongest waves crash at the coast and go back to the sea and reform all over again…stronger.