Cloud watching

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.

Sun rising behind Umm Suqeim park

Sun rising behind Umm Suqeim park

Mosque and burnt down Chalet restaurant

Mosque and burnt down Chalet restaurant

 

Persian Gulf

Persian Gulf – sunset beach

Surfers arrive

Surfers arrive

Walking in Jaipur

Jaipur city palaceWalking 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:

Sights and sounds

Shopping

Getting about, eating, and staying

Dark and stormy

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.

Workmen praying

Workmen praying

Street cleaner under lamplight

Street cleaner under lamplight

Dawn behind mosque

Dawn behind mosque

Beach cleaning machine

Beach cleaning machine under storm clouds

Everything is pink

Dhow building yard

Dhow building yard

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.

sunset beach

Pink clouds from the dawn over sunset beach

Bind cats

How many cats having their breakfast? One peeping out from behind the bin

Cat and dogs

A cat followed us up the road then they all sat down and contemplated each other

cooking house

This is the cooking house all rebuilt. Lovely aromas still emanate.

mosque

I love this fancy gold mosque against the white scruffy buildings

sunrise on walls

No retouching involved. Dawn colours reflected

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?

Dubai in the dark

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).

Mosque

Mosque seen across sand

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.

Gates and pots - dubai in the dark

Gate and pots

Along the South Bank

A walk from Borough Market to the Tate Modern this summer…

Every day is a bonus

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.

Hello Kitty

The strangest thing I’ve seen appear from a bin in a long time

 

Picnics and paddleboarders

Breakfast picnics and paddleboarders

 

The rising sun

The rising sun over the park

 

fish

Fish for sale in the dhow building yard

 

Sorting the fish

Sorting the fish

 

fresh

Freshly caught King fish

 

house front

One of my favourite houses has been given a paint job

 

Final show of colour

Flame trees in Dubai 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…

March in a photo a day – from street level

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.

Click on an image to view larger.

All pictures are taken with an iphone4 and most use Instagram filters.

Dubai doors (3)

Three neighbours. Three doors. Three interpretations.

Door in Dubai

Door in Dubai - Walking on Sunshine

Door in Dubai - Walking on Sunshine

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