18 years of living in the Middle East had made me obsessed with clouds. I marvel at their fluffiness, revel in their pinkness ( or whiteness) and frequently take my eye off the road trying to spot shapes when driving in England. Tourists must be fed up of the strange rainy weather but I’m not.
Walking in Jaipur can be a bit like tackling an obstacle course. The small stretch of pavement by the bazaars is full of people and abstract merchandise overflowing from the small shops and stalls on the roadsides to almost meet in the middle. Then they’ll be a heap of sand with a sacred cow on top of it pushing you out into the tumultuous traffic.
The guide books focus on attractions although the city of Jaipur was designed on a grid system and is pretty easy to navigate once you cut through the chaos. On our way out in Jaipur airport, after we’d negotiation two-thirds of the bureaucratic forms, checks and stamps (6 in total on our boarding passes alone before we got to the plane) we found a book shop in departures which on closer inspection revealed some interest and wasn’t extortionate in price, once you got past the absolutely haphazard nature of the display. Oh how I wish I’d brought home ‘Italian cooking in Jaipur’ for novelty value; but Jaipur – 10 easy walks by Dharmendar Kanwar is a treasure which makes me want to return to the pink city to explore at leisure.
More about Jaipur:
Work load means I’m still heading out of my gate with the dogs at 6.10 am. Dubai in the dark, early morning is another world. Longed for rain clouds glower in the sky as the dawn breaks feebly. Workmen pray under a street lamp on a corner. Cleaners in orange boiler suits appear out of the gloom, picking up debris among the puddles. Lights are reflected in calm pools of water. A pair of bulldozers slumber on the beach, while the cleaning machine competes with a lone jogger along the gently moving tide line.
As the Dubai winter creeps in, each morning the sunrise becomes more intense. The view is muted and bathed for a short while in a rosy glow. Scant clouds break up the hazy skies, the sea gleams colour, white concrete walls (of which there are many) reflect watercolour tints of rose madder and pale aureolin.
More about the cooking house here.
All images taken on iphone4s and post written plus uploaded in same using WordPress app.
Anything that’s made you smile recently from a pedestrian’s view?
We were able to sit out in the garden for book club and the evening marks the start of a long season of dining outdoors, barbecues and living in the fresh air (before the temperatures and humidity rocket again).
I was ridiculously excited that, in a very car focused society and environment, it was a short walk to C’s villa. Dawdling home just before midnight, the streets were deserted. The odd cat darted in the shadows, an occasional vehicle sped by, some workmen murmured together near a building site.
Nowhere is really dark especially with the glare of coloured neon (health, beauty and ‘aesthetic’ clinics). The filigree of ornate gates are back lit, geometric shapes and forms softened by palms.
Dubai in the dark from a pedestrian’s perspective is full of secrets.
Stepping out at 6am in the middle of June in Dubai and not facing a blanket of humidity is a huge bonus. Not the prettiest of skies but a freshness in the air, so I walked to the sea.
All pics taken with my iPhone 4S and blogged via WordPress app direct from phone.
With Rosie and Hazel pawing at the front door, I turned the key and stepped outside this morning braced for humidity and found freshness. Every day like this is a huge bonus now June has arrived; even though it’s 6am, the sun is already climbing steadily and without that bit of a breeze it is too intense to walk on the non-shady side of the street. By 10am it will be nudging 39 C. Seizing this bonus day I walk to the sea; it’s a route that I’ve followed, more or less, every week day morning since the end of September.
This winter, the weather in Dubai has been glorious; no evening too cold or too humid to sit outside, days balmy. Is it global warming or the impact of a strange artificial micro-climate that has been created in this desert land (full of parks, swathes of green, extensive flower-beds and lines of trees due to irrigation supplied from desalinated water)? Who knows.
During the last two weeks before the summer melt, nature seems to have a last ditch burst of colour before fading dramatically. Bougainvillea is ablaze, frangipane glows creamy white or rare deep pink and flame trees are covered in scarlet tendrils and blossom. Later, all colours pale, the sky is light grey, like seeing everything through a net curtain. I start to dream of the English countryside…
I like the discipline of a photo a day challenge (this one is set by Fat Mum Slim). The limitations of sticking to an abstract theme make you look closer at your every day life. Plus I add in an extra requirement – where possible I try to take the picture on my morning dog walk. It means you really keep your eyes wide open.
March was busy, it was the end of my sister’s visit, the Emirates Festival for Literature was on one weekend, Taste of Dubai on another. The weather has been beautiful – the summer sizzle is just around the corner…but not quite yet. We’ve been sitting in the garden for supper every night and there’s still a freshness in the air.
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All pictures are taken with an iphone4 and most use Instagram filters.