Jillian R.

Emoticon Sugar Cookies
I hope your day is going great so far
:x  :p  and :) to you too!

Jillian R.
I really don't like eating out very much these days if I don't absolutely have to; or if a restaurant serves something that I can't/don't know how to make at home.

I started planning my weekly menus about two years ago. It started the first few months after we moved to Muscat. We didn't have a car (we rented one later on) and every time we needed to take a taxi somewhere, it involved 10 minutes of haggling - and still paid such a hefty fee for a 5-10 minute ride. We did a major food shopping once a week, so I had to make sure my shopping list didn't leave out the cilantro! Anyway, we realized quite quickly how much more convenient menu planning was, and how much healthier we were eating.

To make this post as brief as possible, I wanted to show you how easy and fast it is to make a satisfying three course, balanced meal in about an hour - I spread it out throughout the day, but there's no reason why you couldn't do it all at once.

On the dinner menu today I have the following Gordon Ramsay dishes :-

To start; Cauliflower-Saffron Soup

I cheated a bit with this one and used instant vegetable stock instead of making it from scratch (I usually do). It took 5 minutes to boil the milk, another 2 minutes to cook the cauliflower florets, a few seconds to whiz it all up into a pureé and about a minute of sautéing a few florets into a lovely golden brown.
Total time: 10 minutes
Note: If I do use homemade stock, I would make it a day ahead so that I could skim off the fat

The entré; Chicken Marsala with Red Chicory

I cut up the chicken earlier in the day and had them covered in the fridge. All I needed to do during dinner time was brown the pieces for a few minutes in the pan with some garlic, threw the Marsala over it and dish it out. It took all of 20 seconds to stir fry the chicory leaves.
Total time: 15 minutes (including prep time)

And finally, dessert; Chocolate-Coffee Mousse

Desserts always take the most time to make (in most cases), and this one in particular needed time to set, so I had it done in the early afternoon. It took about 5 minutes to whip the mascarpone and cream, while at the same time melting the chocolate on the stove. The mixing took another 5 minutes.
Total time: 10 minutes (cleanup NOT included!)

So, like I said, this entire dinner took about 40 minutes to cook. It's healthy; I substituted low fat milk for milk, olive oil for butter, etc, clean and easy on the wallet. Plus, eating at home means *doggie-tax for the babies!

*Note: We NEVER feed our dogs from the table. We make them wait until we finish eating and they get a couple of bite-size pieces of our meal. This way, they don't get overfed, and don't beg as they know that waiting is rewarding!
Jillian R.
There is a new Korean restaurant in town!

This one merely a five-minute walk from our apartment; well two minutes if we walk faster.

The restaurant sign was put up a couple of months ago and I've been anticipating its opening ever since. It's been about two years since we left Korea, and I've been craving some Korean dishes. Despite being able to make some of our favorite Korean dishes at home; thanks to the tubs of gochujang which are available at the Chinese Supermarket, it is not really the same without the variety of side dishes that are always served with a Korean meal.

Anyway, the restaurant opened a week ago, and it is apparent that not too many people know about it just yet; as we were the only ones there when we arrived. The decor is very Korean; complete with floor seating and barbeque grills on the table. The only thing missing is a water cooler in the corner and a cup sanitizer.

One look at the menu and I whispered to Eric "Guess we're not in Kansas anymore". Although they have quite a selection; everything from everyday Korean dishes like Kimbab, Kimchi chigae and Bulgogi to Korean-Chinese dishes like Jjampong, Jjajangmyeon, to the less common Godongah; which is a Mackerel-Kimchi Stew, the prices are about three to four times more than what we used to pay in a nice restaurant in Korea.

We ordered the beef barbeque (would've loved to have Samgapsal which is pork barbeque, but of course, being in a Muslim country, this is not available).

I was quite disappointed seeing the few bits of meat as the "set" costs 85 AED (US$23). We have a choice of having them cook the meat in the kitchen and bring it out or cook it ourselves on the table. We chose the latter, but as it turned out, cooking it ourselves meant having the waitress do it for us...

The beef was tender, nicely seasoned and came with refillable side dishes.

Besides the raw garlic (which we couldn't cook on the grill because the grills were too far apart), green peppers, ssamjang, tofu, and Kimchi, none of the other side dishes are typically served in Korea. They were nice however. I realled liked the zucchini rounds seasoned with some kind of soy sauce.

After gobbling up the meat and had the side dishes refilled once, we decided that we had to order another dish to fill our bellehs. We ordered the Godongah; which I never had a chance to try whilst living in Korea. It was delicious and quickly went from the plate into our tummies before I could take a picture.

The restaurant is great really, the owner is a Korean woman who has been living in the UAE for over 20 years. The food is authentic, even though it comes with a steep price tag. I just don't think I would ever get used to seeing a 50 AED (US$13) roll of Kimbab after having only paid 3,000 won (US$3) for them at the little eateries located every street corner in Korea.

All in all, Manna Land is a must-visit for those who love Korean food and cannot make it at home. We would definitely be going back, if only to use their flat, metal Korean chopsticks and to watch the waitress barbeque our meat for us.
Jillian R.
When we moved to Abu Dhabi last August, I was immediately captivated by the beauty of the Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque (SZGM) as we entered the city in a taxi. We arrived at night, and the mosque was illuminated by colored lights. I later learned that the lighting system reflects the phases of the moon.

"This architectural work of art is one the world’s largest mosques, with a capacity for an astonishing 41,000 worshippers. It features 82 domes, over a 1,000 columns, 24 carat gold gilded chandeliers and the world's largest hand knotted carpet. The main prayer hall is dominated by one of the world’s largest chandeliers –10 metres in diameter, 15 metres in height and weighing twelve tonnes. The mosque's first ceremony was the funeral of its namesake, Sheikh Zayed, who is buried at the site." - Source: Visitabudhabi.ae.

I remember telling Eric that we had to find out if non-Muslims/tourists were allowed to visit the mosque, and that if not we had to at least drive near it to have a closer look. We had missed visiting the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque of Oman you see, having only lived in Muscat for 6 months; of which I was mostly bitter...

The grand mosque in Oman is beautiful but the SZGM is breathtaking!

Anyway, when "winter" (refers to the non-scorching, very, very pleasant weather in the Middle East) rolled in, we were still busy setting up the apartment, taking care of business, you know, the usual must-do's when you move to a new country, so we never had time to do anything touristy. By the time we were all set up, summer had arrived again, and we were mostly confined indoors for the next 6-7 months.

It is now winter again! Time to finally see Abu Dhabi, a city which I've come to love!

As it turns out, the mosque is open to the public every day except Friday morning. We arrived shortly before lunch and the place was quite empty.

The weather was wonderful; it had just rained a couple of days ago so there was a constant cool breeze. On top of that, there were puffy clouds in the sky (which was rare, clouds here are mostly scattered all over the place). We didn't join the complimentary tours, instead we just wondered around the grounds. 

The lighting is cleverly hidden in these beautifully engraved pillars

Before entering the mosque, men and women were asked to enter from separate entrances. The men merely walked in while us women entered through a dressing room where we covered up in abayas which the mosque provides free of charge. I had bought a very affordable abaya just for this occasion as I didn't want to wear the "public" abayas. I could see the abayas hanging on racks with dry cleaning covers over them, so they probably were clean.

I've always had hygiene issues with clothing. I never wear anything new (even if it just came out from its wrapper) without washing it first. If the garment is white, I have to bleach it first.

Anyway, after putting on the abaya and struggled with covering our hair (I had to tie it into a ponytail so that it didn't slip out from under the headscarf), we were given the okay by the female security guard to leave the dressing room.

There was a board showing the do's and don't's while in the vicinity of the mosque. Some of the obvious ones were of course; no hugging and no holding hands. We saw a couple with a baby taking a picture where the husband tried to place his hand on his wife's shoulder and a vigilant guard immediately said "No hugging!"

Seeing that, this was as close as we dared stand!

The inside of the SZGM is absolutely beautiful, one does not need to know how to read the Arabic scriptures to appreciate the work of art that is this place.

It could be the high ceilings, or the intricate art work, or that the mosque being such a holy place; there was a sense of calmness and peace that washed over me as I wondered through the building. Having said that, I am glad it is opened to the public, I think we would definitely visit again in the near future, and this time, the camera stays at home - I want to really see the place, not through the lens.
Jillian R.
I promise that what I'm about to share with you, your dog(s) will absolutely L.O.V.E. It will also probably satisfy the most picky eaters. I know because our Jester is one who turns away from the most delicious-smelling store-bought doggie treats. When chewed, these treats make LOUD crunchy sounds, and of course, which dog does not like to crunch things?!

I started making these chicken treats because Ginger has Colitis and has to be on a strict diet. The only treat (besides her prescription food) she is allowed to have is chicken. It only took a few pieces to get the dogs to do whatever we want. I now use these as high value treats, together with other home-made treats which the dogs also love (but not as much) for training.

What you need:-
4 Chicken Breasts (the lower in fat, the better)
A pinch of salt

1. Preheat oven to 200°C/400°F. Put chicken breasts in a pot and fill with water just enough to cover them. Add a pinch of salt.

2. Bring water to a boil. Remove lid so that it doesn't boil over and continue cooking for 10 mins or so or until chicken is cooked. Do not overcook as we do not want the chicken breasts to have a stringy texture.

3. Remove chicken from stock. I reserve the stock to pour over the dogs' food - they love having a bit of gravy.

4. Once the chicken is cool enough to handle, cut into medallions.
(I like cutting it against the grain so it doesn't flake when baked)

5. Cut the medallions into bite-size cubes. 
(Note: Make sure your cubes are smaller for smaller/older dogs. I like bigger chunks like these because it's easier to handle during training)

6. Place chicken cubes on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 45 mins to an hour, or until the cubes turn golden brown.

7. When chicken pieces are done, place them in a microwave safe dish, cover (optional) and microwave on high for 4 minutes.

(Note: You don't have to microwave, but I find that this last step really helps zap up any moisture left in the chicken and turns it harder and crispier. Skip this step for puppies and seniors)

8. When they cool, place the chicken cubes in a Ziploc bag or airtight container. They keep in the refrigerator for up to a month (or longer, I can't say, because my dogs gobble them up so quickly that I make a new batch every other week!). They do just fine in room temperature too.

I like to place a small jar (top picture) of it by the door so that I could easily grab some and throw them into my pocket as I take the dogs out. These are a good distraction if Jester sees a cat (or laborer) during walks.

Try this out. If you like making your own dog treats like I do, this is as easy as it gets. I guess if your dog loves other meats more than chicken (is that even possible?) you can easily substitute the chicken breasts for beef chunks, etc. 

I hope this post inspires you to make your own dog treats. If you like knowing what you put in your food, why shouldn't you know what your dog is eating? I've stopped buying dog biscuits and treats a long time ago - only the best for our babies!
Jillian R.
I'm leaving tonight for a week-long trip to Georgetown, Penang. I can't say I'm super excited; because I'm leaving behind my precious little babies and the husband. I just have some errands that can't be done overseas since the Malaysian Embassy here is completely inefficient and has done nothing  to help me as long as I've been here (except stamp some documents for quite a hefty fee!) - they can't even give me a citizen registration form while I was there (in person), I was told to come home, print out the form from the website, fill it out then go back to the embassy to hand it in. I haven't gotten around to it at this point of time.

Anyway, I thought before I get going, I'll write a quick restaurant review since I haven't really written about Abu Dhabi in quite a while.

After much hesitation, we finally visited Madinat Zayed Shoppipng Centre. The mall has been around for some time I suppose, and is a popular hangout for laborers. This is not an assumption as every evening (all day during the weekends) one can see HUNDREDS of laborers hanging around the front of the building; on the grass, under trees, etc - many of them napping blissfully, seemingly unaware of the noisy traffic and people trampling around. 

So, yes, after MUCH hesitation (it only took a year!) I reluctantly went with Eric to check this place out. I was pleasantly surprised I must say. We went on a weekday morning, the building; although dated and is mostly occupied by outlets selling gaudy jewelry and Middle Eastern and Indian traditional wear, was empty. The bathroom is clean (and tasteful). There are TWO food courts, one which looked dark and kinda sad and the other, bright, open and inviting. Naturally, we wandered into the latter.

Tanjara is an Iranian/Lebanese/Moroccon restaurant located in one corner of the food court; a nice little sit-down place to go to if one does not fancy carrying their own tray of food and using plastic cutlery (I've always hated plastic cutlery with a passion!).

I've never really liked Middle Eastern food, so I went in there hoping to order some Fish 'n' Chips, or anything other than. However, I changed my mind after seeing the specials menu and we ordered "Harira Soup" (which was SOOO good, I think I could eat this every day), fried calamari and a Lamb Tagine to share. The meal came with a basket of Arabic flat bread (which I've never been a fan of). Everything was really good, or maybe Eric and I were really, really happy when the food (and drinks) finally came.

The restaurant, although serves really delicious food and had ONE good waiter (which is extremely rare in this part of the world), had a(?) really slow chef. It took ages and ages for our pot of Moroccan tea to arrive and the food took even longer! We went in hungry and was near starving when the appetizer was served. The waiter apologized and said that they were making it fresh.

We were the only diners in there at the time. I don't want to imagine the wait if there were a few others.

(Eric; who said he wasn't hungry when we sat down got impatient after 20 mins)

After a 30 minute (or so) wait, the food arrived and we gobbled everything up in under 10 minutes. 

The verdict; great food but perhaps under-staffed resulting in extremely slow service. I'd recommend trying this place out, but only do so after having a small snack to line the stomach!

Note: We went back there with some friends for dinner. There were 3-4 other tables dining at the time, we waited almost an hour; of which 15 mins were spent waiting for the drinks to be served. Our friends didn't order enough so they put in a second entre order halfway through the meal, it only took another 30 mins to reach the table. After dinner, we ordered some coffee which took about 20 mins. I don't think I ever spend this much time for waiting for food at a restaurant!  
Jillian R.
I think there is a very simple reason why some people will always remain as domestic helpers; People Skills. This is no great discovery of course, but I have two stories of my own encounters with domestic helpers which makes me think; "Good for them!".

The thing which holds the door open (then closes it slowly) in our garbage chute room is broken and has been broken for months. The building supervisor knows it's broken but has never fixed it. Anyway, instead of closing slowly, the heavy door swings shut behind us quickly, and I've always been afraid that one fine day, the lock will be faulty too and I'd be trapped in the garbage room for hours, screaming for help in that smelly room would be an absolute nightmare. I usually use my leg to keep the door opened while I quickly throw my garbage bag down the chute.

Last night, when I took the garbage out, one of our neighbors' maid was in the chute room rinsing out a garbage can (and therefore selfishly wetting the whole area. I don't know why she's not allowed to do that in the house) - with the door closed. So I opened the door and waited for her patiently. When she looked up, I smiled and said a cheery hello. What did she do? NOTHING! No acknowledgement that anyone was even there, even though I held the door opened and allowing her some fresh air. Nothing!

This of course, reminds me of another encounter. This one far more aggravating. So much so that I felt like slapping the woman right there and then.

This happened in the public bathroom of a mall here. I went into the same bathroom twice that day. Once after a meal and again after I drank lots of tea. I don't like to shop with a full bladder. The first time I was in there, the bathroom was a little crowded, and the bathroom cleaning lady (who had the most sour-looking face in the world, I noticed) was busily mopping away while the bathroom patrons walked all over the spots that she just mopped. As soon as a stall became available I went in, but as it turned out the toilet would not flush. I tried several times but it just wouldn't flush. So, I came out and told the cleaning lady "I'm sorry, it won't flush". I said I was sorry because I've always hated people who use public toilets and feel that they're above flushing. The cleaning lady, without saying a word or making eye-contact, walked into the stall, touched the button and it flushed! I was feeling a bit annoyed but it didn't really affect me very much.

Like I said, two glasses of iced tea later, I was back in the bathroom. This time, only the stall with the broken flush was empty. What luck! So I used it, and attempted to flush, many times. I even pressed different sides of the huge button hoping that that would work - it didn't. So I went out and again, Sour Face was there. just standing by the sinks. Again I said, "It wouldn't flush, I tried". And again, she didn't acknowledge my existence, she just walked into the stall and flushed the toilet. So like any normal person, I smiled and said "I guess it just doesn't like me". Sour Face just would not look at me!! Not even making eye contact. Rage started to build inside of me and I asked her a bit louder "Hey, can you speak?" No answer, nothing. So I called her an idiot and left. I really felt like slapping her, maybe then she would say something.

See, I don't understand! What is wrong with these people? I get that they don't have the best jobs in the world, and the people they meet are often not the nicest, but at least I'm trying to be nice! I'm really trying to be a better person but sometimes it's just too hard. I'm not exactly looking for people to react to me with warmth or whatever, but a nod, or an "Ok" would be nice!

However, I do realize one thing; that if being nice is so hard, it must be good for our soul, right? 
Jillian R.
I can't say I've never stolen anything in my life. I think everyone has, at some point stolen something; maybe a candy bar or little knick-knacks that don't matter.

Today however, I stole something out in the open - I stole a taxi.

I had just finished a 2-hour blood test at a hospital (which is really one of the best I've been here so far) and was waiting for a taxi out in the heat. Luckily it was only about 10am and the sun wasn't really burning my skin (yet). When I got to the bus stop/taxi line there were already a group of workers standing around. They were kind of huddled together so I'm not sure if they (maybe about five) were together or they were in fact waiting for more than one taxi (or if they were waiting for a bus). 

Anyway, I didn't cut in front of them or anything, I just waited behind them. As soon as I saw an approaching taxi I immediately stuck my arm out. Then I noticed that they stuck theirs out as well. What happened next wasn't entirely my fault. The taxi ignored them and came in front of me. So I got in and pretended that I didn't see one of the workers coming towards the door.

During the ride home I started thinking and realizing the sad truth; if they were a different color, the taxi driver would've stopped for them. As for me, I would've offered them the taxi if it wasn't that hot. Or maybe I wouldn't. I don't know. I can't say.

Although, I don't think the taxi driver would be very happy with me if I hadn't jumped in. I can't imagine he would be happier if five workers squeezed themselves into the car. Right?
Jillian R.
It's said that you learn something new every day.

In my case, I'm still learning new things about living in Oman - a year after leaving Muscat.

I bought a new set of ink cartridges today (black and color); why is this relevant to anything I'm about to say? Well, you see, early last year (2011), my printer ran out of ink and so like any normal person, I went to the supermarket and bought a set. Little did I know that I would go to through a year of frustration wondering if my printer is busted.

(My printer had moved with me from Malaysia to Korea, then to Oman. I've since developed sentimental feelings towards the trusty ol' thing)

Anyway, I remember not printing anything the first few days of installing the new cartridges. However when I did print something, I realized that the colors looked weird. One of the colors were missing (of stuck, I thought) so everything I printed had a reddish hue to it. I tried the standard few things that come to mind; shaking the cartridge, wiping it with a damp cloth, etc but nothing worked. I then decided that perhaps we don't need to print things which are yellow or any variations of yellow.

I also did not buy another color cartridge because I thought maybe the move to Oman did the printer in.

So as you may have guessed by now, the new color cartridge works fine. The older one didn't work because Oman is so hot that even ink cartridges do not survive. 

Now, in the middle of the hot season, I walk on the burning sidewalks outside thinking "this is nothing compared to Oman" and I feel all joyful inside.

I am going to have a lot of fun printing yellow things for the rest of the evening.

Jillian R.
While throwing out some old stuff, I found a page in my notebook from when we were living in Oman. Let me share the contents with you all.

Jillian's Notebook (undated; March-Aug 2011): 
Why Jester is the BEST little boy in the World

1. Hides chewies under the bed and couch for "later use".

2. Not supposed to go into the bathroom so he threw his ball/toy in there so that he'd HAVE to go after it - can't help it if his bally rolled in there, can he? He made sure that I watched him go fetch it the first couple of times. The third time his bally "accidentally" rolled into the bathroom he didn't come out. I went to check and found him going through the garbage.
(He doesn't get to do this anymore because we always keep our bathroom door closed here)

3. Sits and wags tail when other people are around to show what a good boy he is.

4. Learns commands in one lesson - 10 mins.

5. Stops us from getting dressed by tugging on our pant-legs and sleeves so that we couldn't leave him at home alone.
(I miss having my clothes tugged on. He has Ginger now so he doesn't really mind us leaving the house)

6. Pulls us by our fingers onto the bed so that he can snuggle with us.
(This too has stopped since Ginger joined the family)

(He had to wear a cone for a couple of days after getting neutered. We had to dodge gravel and rocks which he scooped and hurled at us)

7. Throws toys in the air and plays catch by himself. 
(New favorite game; keeping ALL the toys away from Ginger, piles them around himself)

(Loves Ginger very much though, and would protect her with his life)

8. Crawls under mine and Eric's work desk (at home) to keep us company while we work.
(Jester has mellowed out a lot, now he just naps on the bed while we're working on the computer)

9. Jumps on the bed and stares at us with cute-puppy-eyes before we leave the house - maybe we would decide to stay.
(He still does this now. Leaving the house while 2 pairs of the saddest eyes staring at you is very, very difficult to do)

Sometimes I think he tries to kill himself:-

10. He jumps in the air and tries to strangle himself on Eric's belt every time Eric tries to put it on. Maybe this is related to No.5. Don't know.

11. We have to leash him to a door when we have Muslim friends over. He would get upset and lay down as far as the leash would let him all the while choking himself.
(This was before we got a kennel)

12. Managed to open the bedroom window at one time and tried to jump out from our second floor apartment because no one was paying attention to him.

Okay, so maybe he wasn't the "best" little doggie. If anything these were downright bad dog behavior. Jester was merely an 8-month-old puppy when we adopted him. Six weeks of obedience classes and three weeks of "summer camp"* later, he's grown into such a mature, obedient dog that sometimes when he comes and snuggles with me on the bed, I get all teary-eyed because well, there's really nothing like loving a pet. Period.

That said, go ahead, go to a shelter, go to a rescue group; adopt your new best friend today. No words can describe what dogs can do for your soul.

*summer camp: Jester was kenneled at Canadian Jebel K-9 Dog Training & Services (Muscat, Oman) while we visited New York last year. We chose a kenneling program that includes daily basic training (and lots of walks!). It costs a bit of course, but nothing is ever too much for our best friends. They did an EXCELLENT job with him.

Jillian R.
We moved to Oman in Feb/March 2011 and subsequently, well, here in Abu Dhabi last fall. Living in the Middle East is not an easy feat which one can just adapt to - like moving to Korea for example. While there were surprises here and there due to the differences in culture and mindset, we didn't really have to change how we act or dress, to name a few. Well, we didn't have to change anything except our diets really - which I didn't mind at all. Again, living in the Middle East; it's literally a whole new world.

Here are a few things that I'll probably never get used to.

1. Getting pecks on the lips/cheek before parting ways with my husband; while this is a very, very common thing among couples, you don't see it often, or at all here. Say you're at the supermarket and your husband wants to wander off into the car accessories section while you just wanted to get on with grocery shopping. You bid each other farewell and tell your husband not to spend unnecessarily (knowing that he will anyway). This is when you may want to hug your husband and/or kiss each other on the cheek. We don't do that here. Sometimes Eric kisses me goodbye anyway (on the cheek/forehead!) and I quickly scan the area nervously to check if anyone was watching or was getting offended. Yes, people get offended easily.

 No kissing in public!

2. Having to go to different supermarkets to complete your shopping list. You cannot get pork products or anything that contains pork traces at most supermarkets here. While I don't usually cook pork anyway I would still like the option of being able to get it easily. I remember the first few times I went shopping with Eric in Korea while we were still dating and I was still living in Malaysia. I saw him grab several bottles of sweetened condensed milk from the shelf and I asked why. He said "because I may never see it again". I laughed at him. It was until I moved there myself that I found out just how true it was; hence we adopted a general rule while shopping; if you see something you like/want, grab at least 2-3, you'll probably never see it again. That general rule also applies here.

I grab lots of "Bounty" brand paper towels every time I see them, plus, only Lulu's have them. Thank you Lulu's! 

3. Fridays and Saturdays are weekends. This one really isn't that hard to deal with. Except it takes away the joy of Fridays. Fridays were once magical. You have extra energy on Friday evenings. You feel a bounce in your walk to the car, all that's gone. Now, Thursday is the new Friday. I don't know why there are so many T.G.I. Fridays here. It obviously defeats the purpose. Sunday is the start of the work week. I always, ALWAYS mistake it for Monday and call it that until I confuse everyone. I find it very difficult to say "--a Sunday-Thursday work week". Who says that?!

4. It's a land of construction workers. Like my last entry suggests. They like to stare. I bet they stare at anyone who does not look like them. It's very uncomfortable, mainly because they stare without any trace of expression.

5. Not knowing a good hair salon. I haven't had a hair cut in a year or so. There are many beauty "saloons" around Abu Dhabi. Most of the "saloons" are either the Indian barber kind (which are for men only) or fancier ones which are for women only. The women-only salons are usually completely covered from the outside, obviously to maintain the privacy of women who are in their without their head scarves, etc. While I completely understand and respect this, it makes it hard for me to decide which one I should go to. I've always needed to look inside a salon and see if the lighting was okay, what kind of chairs/equipment they use, etc. Obviously, I don't feel comfortable going to a "saloon", peek in and leave if it wasn't up to my standards. That said, I've decided to only get a hair cut once a year when we visit New York or when I make a trip home to Penang.

Until then, I'll just grow out my hair like Rapunzel.
Jillian R.
I know I rant quite a bit about the construction workers around our building (or anywhere really, around this part of the world), like in one of my last entries, and they (the construction workers) are often the source of my violent screaming fits on the streets.

So being from certain parts of the world, I understand the fact that they are perhaps not raised around domesticated dogs and/or if they encounter a dog, the dog is about to eat them. I can't say I blame the dogs, seeing how they are treated. The workers (and sometimes local teenagers/kids) would stare at our dogs with creepy, unblinking eyes (which I think is because the are dead inside - due to their harsh working conditions). Some would whistle under their breaths so that we can't hear them but the dogs would and the whistling creeps Jester out and he starts barking. Ginger would sort of shuffle away nervously. Anyway, besides staring and whistling, often they would call out to the dog by making kissy sounds and snapping their fingers - and if we make ANY movement towards them with the dogs they panic and run away.

Yeah. Like I said, they grew up around dogs who were out to eat them.

Now, look at these pictures;

These were taken one fine afternoon when we took the dogs out to a friend's place with a yard to run around. The doggies were loaded in the back, but as we were setting up the GPS navigator, the dogs started barking and growling.

 ("La-la-la, I wasn't looking....mmm, mmm" thinks the guy in gray. The one in the striped shirt is pretending to look at our back tire. C'mon, REALLY?)

 (One guy tried to cover his face with his hands but wasn't doing a very good job)

I turned around and sure enough, we had attracted quite a spectacle. These workers were gathered around our car like they were watching a snake dance, only this was MORE interesting! THERE WERE DOGS IN THE CAR!! What?! How?! While some merely stared soullessly, their friends were pointing and making faces at the dogs. 

It didn't help that Eric did not find the location immediately and as he was jabbing around the navigator screen going "Where is it?!!", I rolled down my window and yelled at them to go away. The barking and growling was getting very loud and it certainly was not good for my bad ear. Yes, I have a bad ear that throbs inside when I hear loud noises and I had just had a CT scan two days ago; not too anxious about the results.

Anyway, the more I yell, the more fun and exciting for them it became and MORE of them started gathering around our car. So I whipped out my camera and started snapping pictures

And so, they finally dispersed. The show was over. Awww.

Thank you for reading. More next time.

Grumpy Lady Who Yells at Workers
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