Sunday, January 31, 2010

New Mall in Town

I found out a new shopping mall where I can find all I need! Well, not the Dubai Mall. Discovery of this weekend was the Jumeirah Town Center. I don’t know how I missed this place but never too late. Zen Pilates has studio in this mall and there is everything here from Feet First to Skin Clinic, Nail Station to Sumo Sushi. Well actually I told you before that I am a sushi smob, but I actually liked the Sumo Sushi here. There was also a handcraft shop that I’ll check for my mummy. She would have loved this place. There is a nice Cremic Café with the large outdoors sitting area as well if you feel like painting.

Jumeirah Town Center is on Jumeirah beach road and just before Mercato Mall incase if you have some time to kill.

Surfers Beach

Girls, I have one good and one bad news for you. I start with the good one.

This weekend I discovered where all the cute surfers are in town! They are all practicing at the open beach by the Burj Al Arab! You have to see them with the waves of the Arabian Gulf! Nice!

The bad news is that, beach is full of usual Friday crowd that you can not really show off your figure in your tiny small bikini. There would be hundreds of eyes watching you all over. Well, life! You can not get all at the same time. However beach is still worth to check out. It was full of people; tourists taking pictures, surfers with surfboards, some having sunbath in beach clothes, or ladies in abayas or Japanese tourists with umbrellas.

Pics from my N97.

Scoop the belly in!

Dubai is the place that you actual can have some spare time for yourself. At least that’s what happened to me after moving here. After my busy life in Istanbul, it was fantastic to be able to do something for myself. After all I didn’t have to waste lots of time in traffic! If you think about it, I already saved at least two hours every day.

So when I had time for myself, best way to kill that is to do some exercise. I have always been a member of a fitness club in Istanbul, always paid tons of money but never been there at all. You can picture the type :) so one thing I knew that I should not go to Fitness First, one of the biggest fitness club in town.

Zen Yoga was my savior in Dubai and I met lovely yoginis and pilates junkies there and have been practicing both yoga and pilates since then. I must say that I was able to see my body changing and growing in a good way, needless to say that I also become a much calm and positive person. I am not sure if that’s the effect of the every day sunshine, lots of practice or a happy marriage :)

Last weekend I have started my Pilates Reformer Instructor journey at Zen Pilates studio. I had Reformer Level 1 Instructor Training workshop by Balanced Body University during the whole weekend and I’ll need to pass a test next weekend so that I can participate the level 2 training in April or May. It was so much fun to spend the whole day at a studio full of Pilates apparatus such as reformers, trapezes, chairs, balls etc. It was really motivating and relaxing. On the other hand it was a bit stressing to find out that teaching can be very hard and need a lot of practicing. So from now on all free time will be spent at Zen Pilates Studios at Jumeirah Town Center or Emirates Hills.

Wish me luck!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

This Weekend

I will start my long time waited Pilates Reformer Training! That will be fantastic!
Did you hear about the Morgan? Will be nice to see at Reel Cinemas Dubai Mall.
Full Moon Beach Party at Palm Jumeirah, something might be worth to check out!
And clean up the home before guests arrive on Tuesday :)
Enjoy the new Audi A5


You understand that you lived in Dubai long enough when you start saying “it’s winter, brrr!” only on the first cloudy day you get after a year! And you start freezing when it’s only 22C outside.

Yes, that’s me. I am feeling so cold; missing wearing my cashmere, my trench coat and my ankle length boots and it is really hard to get myself off the bed, like any usual winter in Istanbul although sun is already up and shining in my bedroom! I can’t blame the sun about my morning tiredness since it’s not even dark outside!

I wonder, is our body coded for winter months so that it does not matter whether it is sunny or not that we feel like winter lazy during December, January and February?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Dubai Pamper Services: Oriental Hamam

If you’re born and raised in Turkey, you already know a lot about the Hamam. Their architecture, ritual and traditions. If you’re from Istanbul, you see many of them around the town, at least you read about them in the history books or simply you have been dragged by your grandma at least once when you were a kid.

Hamams are no longer fashionable among my friends mainly because of the fantastic hotel spa’s and unfortunately treatments and hygiene at the historical hamams can not really compete with the 5 star hotel comfort. But at the same time, you can not really compare the atmosphere of a 18th century Cagaoglu Hamami with the bath at any 5 star hotel.

I love the historical hamams and especially the special exfoliation treatments ‘kese’, hot marble stones and simply the shadowy lights which flow through the small round glass windows at the dome. So relaxing!

Last week, for the first time in Dubai, I went to discover the Hamam at One & Only Royal Mirage. To be honest, I didn’t have any expectations since I was sure that it would be same as any hotel Turkish Bath experience. But when I got there, I entered the place and already had completely different opinion. This oriental hammam is called Moroccan Hamam and interior decoration done in such a lovely traditional way that it immediately takes you away. With its light, and Moroccan Blue tiles and small details are just worth to see and feel it and suddenly you’re out of this world.

In the traditional hamam, you do nothing and let ‘tellaks’ guide you through this experience. Tellaks at the Oriental Hamam are the masters of this ritual and are really good in exfoliation treatments and massages. If you like to pamper yourself more, you may also add on a honey body warp which was absolutely fantastic.

After hamam, there is a beautiful resting area where you just have your nice Moroccan tea and just chill out. When I was there, there were two girls from Brazil and actually one of them was getting married on the same day. They were just relaxing and enjoying the day like our traditional Bridal Hamam, Gelin Hamami. The whole bath thing takes about one hour but I spent like three hours there, just chilling and relaxing.

So I finally found perfect hamam for myself in Dubai and highly recommend this fabulous place for all friends and guests.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Luxurious Golf*

Did you know that, 2,800,059 liter of water is used every day just to keep ONE golf course green in Dubai? Knowing that there are TEN top class clubs in town, the amount of water consumed here probably can easily be the solution of ‘dry’ African countries. Only this argument can be the good reason not to play golf but unfortunately one has to sacrifice one way or another.

I started to play golf when I moved to Dubai. I can’t help myself because golf courses are the only green areas you can find in this yellow toned city.

Dubai has the best climate for golf lovers. Sunshine, all year! Even too much sometimes, like summer time! If you have a chance to avoid July and August, you can enjoy the green as much as you can.

In my case, I am privileged to spend my summertime in Turkey and in Finland, for the rest of the time I love spending time at Montgomerie Golf Club, closest to my home. I can not say that I am already a Pro. Actually you really have to practice golf if you want to have some consistency in your stroke and swing but who cares. Like I said for me the most important thing is that I can fell the chilled grass and smell of the green after the ‘rain’ or water showers!

Last weekend Abu Dhabi Golf Championship took place and we had a chance to follow Mikko Ilonen, from Finland. I love to follow golf competitions because they really do not seem like a competition! Gentlemen’s sport! Competitors talk to each other or with the audiences during the game but when it’s the time for the play then everybody stand still and just follow the player. After the 9th hole, we decided to take a small ‘bubbly break’ as it was getting very warm and then followed the rest of the games from the Bubbly Bar and from the grass area near by the 18th hole.

Highlights of the tour for me; I met my all time favorite player Johan Edfors from Sweden and got a ball after the game and ‘Spider Man’ Camilo Villegas, 27 year old Colombian was worth to see with his signature putting style.

* Luxurious Golf was the header of my husband’s article at Golf-Digest Magazine Finland.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Up In The Air

Definitely a must see for George Clooney fans. Good for an easy Thursday or Saturday to kill some time but no expectations for Academy Awards.

I find it quite realistic in a way that the story of a modern man consumer habits and an overly motivated a new-grad at work that you might just meet at a daily life.

Not recommend for those who's just got unemployed, just broke-up/divorced or who will fire people!

A week at The Airport

I could not resist when heard about 'A Week At The Airport: A Heathrow Diary' by Alain De Botton.

I love travelling and I always find airports very interesting places to be. If I have time, I’d like to go to the airport early to spend sometime and just observe people passing by. I think that airports have quite a different energy under their cold and artificial architecture.

So this is what Alain De Botton writes about his one week stay at Heatrow Airport in summer 2009 as a first ever Writer in Residence of Heatrow Airport. He meets travelers from around the world; he interviews with the personnel from cleaners to security guys and tells us their story in his philosophical and sophisticated way. Easy and joyful reading.

After Heatrow Dairy, I had a chance to read about days and night story of Istanbul Ataturk Airport from Onur Basturk.

Onur decided to spend 5 days and 4 nights at Istanbul Ataturk Airport like Alain De Botton and as a journalist he draws a completely different picture of his days. He gives us te opportunity to learn about the terminology of the airport dialogues, interesting stories from the security of passport personnel and most interesting he visits the air traffic controllers which I could die to visit myself. Onur writes only in Turkish, if you feel like you can check out his blog here.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Walking Dubai

Dubai is a city that we never walk! At the beginning this was a biggest downside for me because I like to walk and use public transportation and so on. In Istanbul where I used to live, I lived at the heart of the city and walked everywere.

One reason why you can not walk in Dubai is because it gets really hot during summer months (40+c, Yeah!) and other reason is that the things you need in daily life are just spread all over the city. Like we do not have a super market in walking distance.

Well not anymore! Since the JBR walk is now up and running we have everything in walking distance! So I love this! In the evenings, people are just out at streets, cafe's and restaurants are full of people and shops are open till late in the eveining. And now people actualy walk in Dubai. That's fantastic.

Jumeirah Beach Residence -AKA JBR- is one of the newly developped residential area in Dubai where I live. JBR is located at the heart of new Dubai, overlooking the Arabian Gulf and offering plenty of facilities including an access to open beach and the lovely Walk where you can find restaurants, play areas for children, retail stores and hotels etc.

2 years ago when I first moved in, there was simply nothing! It was like a ghost town. But now it's lovely and really enjoyable to spend time outdoors.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Emotional Intelligence; Is It an Advantage of Successful Business Women?

Since the day I have read this article about Guler Sabanci, I can’t stop asking myself; is the `Emotional Intelligence` key to success of women in business world?
One of her interviews, Guler Sabanci mentioned that `Emotional Intelligence` is the key of successful business women. The interview was published in one of the bestselling newspapers of Austria, Kurier on Sunday Aug 2nd and Guler Sabanci, Chairman and Managing Director of one of the Turkey’s leading industrial and financial holding Sabanci Group, was mentioned as one of the most powerful women worldwide.
Guler Sabanci; Turkey’s Queen of finance according to Financial Times, ranked as 5th Financial Times top 50 women in world business; answered a question `How she could succeed in the male dominant business world?` which was directed during her interview:
“I grew up in a family where the members talked about business while eating. I assumed positions in the production and organization following my university education. However, the point is, to do the best way that what is to be done, and to focus on success. In business life, women are not better or worse than men. But women are simply different. I am of the opinion that it is an advantage for the women that they have more emotional intelligence.”

Emotional Intelligence have been described as being concerned and effectively understanding oneself and others by Dr. Reuven Bar-On at the beginning of 1980’s attracted more attention when the psychologist, science journalist Daniel Goleman published his New York Times bestselling book “Emotional Intelligence” in 1995. Although the original definition of emotional intelligence is conceptualized as a set of interrelated abilities by Mayer & Salovey, there are many different opinions and overly broad and wide range of definitions available. In practice, emotional intelligence is the ability to understand and feel the senses and act, not only with the facts but also with emotions. Emotional intelligence is not a naturally born ability, it’s possible to enhance and develop emotional intelligence with education, social and family relationships, unlike the Intelligence Quotient (IQ).
According to a research on emotional intelligence, people with high emotional intelligence tend to be more socially competent, to have better quality relationships and to be viewed as more interpersonally sensitive than those lower in emotional intelligence. High emotional intelligence correlates better relationships on business setting as well. Managers higher in emotional intelligence are better able to cultivate productive working relationships with others and demonstrate greater personal integrity. (Mayer & Caruso, 2008) Concept of Emotional Intelligent is now in many different platforms of modern life. It’s widely considered from personal and social relationships to business world that leaders with high emotional intelligence make better contact with the employees and considered as charismatic leaders.
Having more emotional intelligence compared to men counterpart is a valid advantage of women in business, however, it’s not the only and major key to success. If the potential is not utilized in a productive and adequate way, emotional intelligence might turn to be a disadvantage.

(FT, 2009) FT top 50 women in world business Retrieved: Sep 26th FT top 50 women in world business

(Kopeinig, 2009) Kopeinig, Margaretha; ` Modern, Mighty Turkish Woman`, Kurier Daily Newspaper, 2009, Aug 2nd.

(Bar-On, 2006) The Bar-On model of emotional-social intelligence (ESI), Psicothema, 18, 13-25.

(Mayer&Salovey) Emotional Intelligence; New Ability or Eclectic Traits?, American Psychologist, September 2008,
Vol 63, No. 6, 503-517

PS: If you read this one, you might ask what is it to do with Dubai! Well, nothing! This is just one my assignments that I wrote as part of my studies. Just wanted to share ;)

This Weekend

Tonight "Up In the Air" George Clooney forever!
Friday yoga morning! I so need to get back in shape.
Saturday to Abu Dhabi Golf Championship.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Nobu Forever!

I didn’t like Japanese food at all! I thought that I won’t enjoy because it’s raw fish and seaweed, yay! I never like them. Once I was in New York and I was taken to this lovely restaurant that was supposed to be one of the best Japanese ever and even there I didn’t try it! It was a bit embarrassing to turn down Chef’s specials though but that’s life.

When Nobu opened its doors at Atlantis Dubai a little bit more then a year ago, I wanted to go and check out the place. Just to see the design, is service good and so on. But there was only one obstacle! I didn’t eat any Japanese or sushi.

Anyway encouraged myself and got there with a group of friends. And it turned out that Japanese cuisine is not all about rise and sushi at all.

Nobu’s contemporary style is quite different than any Japanese and Chef Nobu Matsuhisa is just creating a fantastic feast with his special sauces that the taste is something extraordinary. A must taste dishes for me at Nobu are; fantastic Black code in Miso; shrimp tempura Nobu style that I can eat every day and Yellow Tail Sashimi with Jalapenos, I love it.

And the designs of those every single dish make me feel like becoming a food stylist or a photographer simply because they are so simple yet stylish.

I now became a very snob-ish Japanese fan ever because after trying Nobu (or Zuma), sushi house round the corner is just no-no for me.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

24 Hour Dubai

Although I am not a big fun of the 24 Hour rally yet never miss a chance to take a look at a Chagall masterpiece and enjoy some bubbly. I know it sounds very confusing now. What is the connection between Marc Chagall and a rally aaand a Moet Chandon? Well, easy! If you join a rally team party at one of the international art galleries in DIFC then you meet Chagall and enjoy a glass –or two- champagne.

DIFC is Dubai’s financial district and one of my favorite place with its design stores, restaurants and art galleries. This open air place is so spacious and always nice to be outdoors even when the weather is 40+c. The Opera Gallery is in the heart of the DIFC and owns some valuables including several Marc Chagall and Pablo Picasso masterpieces as permanent exhibitions as well as international artists as temporary exhibitions.

During the party we had a chance to meet the Team First, their cars and drivers before the race which took place last weekend in Dubai. I didn’t have a chance to go to Dubai Autodrom to support the Team First but I am sure it has been a great race and some fun times for rally lovers. Also selections of BRM watches were on display but especially I loved the one that Vanessa was wearing ladies special edition full of diamonds, such an eye catching one.

Dubai is such an international and multicultural city. During the party majority of the participants were French, I guess due to Team First and Renault GCC cooperation, still I could not help but notice so many different languages and accents spoken.

After party, a DIFC must-do, we all went to Zuma to enjoy the fantastic black code and some sashimi. I’ll write about my Zuma very soon as well.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Highlights of the week

Highlights of first week of January
- Hammam at The One and Only Royal Mirage, fan-tas-tic!
- Nail Bar - I love it!
- Okko and Zuma in the radar

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Girls Power

Girlfriends! I can not imagine a life without girlfriends! And whenever girls got together, believe me, some good things happen!

In Dubai we have this fantastic group of ladies who are supporting each other at all times. Do you need a tailor, what is the best hospital in town; do you need something from Istanbul? Just drop an e-mail to the group, Sultans of Dubai, and answer is just few clicks away. Isn’t that fantastic?

Well, it may sound strange but when you live abroad, this feeling of friendship is something you definitely look for.

5 years ago 7 women had the idea of this simple yahoo-group and now we are 491 Sultans! Sultans of Dubai have been organizing several charity events past two years that I also had a chance to participate and were able to donate 35 KUSD to several different foundations in Turkey.

I call this “The Girls Power” and happy to be a part of a such good cause.

The other day, we got together with Sultans on a Tuesday breakfast. Another lovely Dubai day! We had our morning coffees over looking at the Dubai Marina Yacht Club and brain storm what can we do this year. I like the idea of organizing a April 23rd events, that’s the Children’s Day in Turkey. I’ll keep you posted.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Burj Khalifa, World’s Tallest Skyscraper

Burj Khalifa, World’s Tallest Skyscraper has become the new symbol of the Emirate. Yes, another once in a life time experience while I live in Dubai. After seeing the opening ceremony of Atlantis The Palm in 2008, I had an impression that nothing can beat this show. Well, I was wrong! Dubai surprised me again in a fantastic way.

Burj Khalifa opened it’s doors and we all witnessed the fabulous light, fountain and fireworks show on the other night. I didn’t want to get stuck in traffic, I was told that thousands of people were expected to be there, so we decided to be at friend’s house and enjoy the show from a distance but with “quality”. Yep, we had some bubbly too :) Fireworks were amazing and so magical that I’ll never forget the view. Next plan is to see the famous observation deck on 124th floor!

When I first arrived to Dubai two years ago, I thought that the Burj Dubai (it was renamed as Burj Khalifa on the inauguration day) was so unaesthetic. At that time it was only half way done and without the glass frame it looked so strange. But by the time The Dubai Mall was open, it started to look really fantastic. Not only the building itself but whole area was changing day by day. Now there is a fabulous The Old Town, new residential area full of restaurants and café’s and beautiful The Address Hotel and The Palace Hotel. So now we have a New ‘Old Town’ on top of our Must See List of Dubai.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Dubai Invasion

Imagine Dubai is occupied by space knights? Or you bump into an alien creatures round the corner while you’re just on your way to a supermarket?

Thanks to Paris based photographer Cédric Delsaux who did bring science-fiction and reality together in his digital photographs now I can figure how it would look like if Dubai was occupied by Star Wars characters.

At his solo photographic exhibition “The Dark Lens – The Dubai Invasion’ Delsaux uses Star Wars statues with Dubai's real-world locations and works George Lucas’ special effect model makers and his images become the most futuristic photographs I have ever seen.

I believe Dubai is one of the best location for his work as it has it’s own characteristic locations with unfinished skyscraper constructions, a creaky hotel building (which took almost 6 months to tear down) or huge metro construction. Locations not easy to find in modern built-in cities which would easily transform to a imaginary modern “a space-like” living platform. Actually when I first saw the photographs at The Empty Quarter Art Gallery, I fell in love with all of them. And they didn’t seem imaginary at all even at first sight! They looked so real and so familiar.

A futuristic Dubai from Cédric Delsaux lenses was at The Empty Quarter Art Gallery until Jan 3rd’2010.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Welcome 2010

New York
Blue Voyage

Welcoming a new year for me means list of new places to discover! This is my New Year resolutions. Well I also plan not to eat too much bread, do more yoga, finish the books I have started etc but planning a travel is the one I enjoy most!

Again I am planning my travels for 2010. This is something I love. I guess maybe even more than the actual travel! Could that be possible? In every step of life I enjoy planning or I enjoy until I actually do it! I really enjoy the joy of preparing for something, getting so excited for it rather than being in that moment. I hope I am not missing something huge by doing that. If so it’s too late anyway. It’s like I enjoy cooking so much but when the food is ready I am already full! You know what I mean.

Today again I started planning the travel for whole year. Last year I spent two weeks in Bali and I fell in love with it. So I put it again on top of the list. Kenya is second. This year I want to see Africa. I feel it. I am ready for it! New York is a continuous love story. I can go there again and again. Istanbul, Helsinki is anyway in the list as default destinations and a Blue Voyage… aghh I love Blue Voyage!

Lets see if I’ll have time to do all!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Notes for 2009

2009! A beautiful year! Unfortunately not for the world though. Never ending wars and global crisis. For me; I have discovered new places, did lots of yoga and pilates, travelled to home many times and started my masters. All and all it's been a good year.

Only one thing was missing!

When I moved to Dubai, I wanted to discover all over since I love going out, walk on the streets and just be outdoors but never had a chance to share them via blog. Now time has come. 2010 onwards hopefully I'll just drop some notes here, sometimes in English sometimes maybe other languages. We'll see.

Welcome 2010. I am excited!