I'm trying to right my wrongs, but funny these same wrongs helped my write this blog

Trippin'- getting ready...

So, I guess I better pull my finger out and do this blog. I am not sure what to say, but I think if I just keep typing whilst my brain is sort of on track and engaged on the subject, hopefully something nearly coherent will be created.
Today is Tuesday 22 June. The time is 11:10pm. Any normal person, who has to work in the morning, get a 9 year old to school and is trying to fend off the start of a cough would be in bed. If that is the equation, well then I guess I am not normal. You see I have a trip to go on in 2 days – a week in Dubai with my best friend Tina J, followed by 2 weeks in Paris.

The Dubai bit is because I want to see the place the Divine Miss J has made home for the past 2 years, and I guess I am curious about the Middle East. In my mind, the Middle East is still somewhat “exotic”. I can’t remember hearing too much about the UAE in the early 2000’s, and yet here we are, in 2010 and I believe we all have some sort of mental construct about what life is like in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

I am not sure what to expect. My inherent arrogance prohibits me from listening to other’s views on any given subject, but from what I have heard, it is extremely multicultural (“90% expat” seems to have been bandied about a lot), a shopping oasis in the desert and bloody hot. Kerrist, did I really just type “a shopping oasis in the desert”?? Ah well, it’s hard to turn off the ‘marketing gene’. In terms of the environment, June is the stupidest time to go to Dubai, as that is the hottest time of the year. Oh well, best laid plans etc. Also, I am going over for Miss Tina’s birthday, so the timing was sort of out of my hands.

I am looking forward to exploring the city of Dubai. In truth, I am not much of a shopper these days –yes it’s enjoyable (hello, I’m a girl), but it’s not really my thing anymore. What really turns me on of late is culture and history – I am quite intrigued to see how the tenets of Muslim culture have been integrated into Western consumerism – the balance and interplay between two strong lifestyles that are seemingly direct counterparts. Also, Dubai is a city that has experienced rapid change – it will be interesting to see if this change has been handled intelligently (infrastructure and thought put into it) or just a sort of “game of Jenga that has gone mental” (in the words of the great Karl Pilkington.)

On the list are Burj Al Arab, which in my mind is the quintessential “Dubai” image – a monument of engineering, a hotel shaped to resemble a billowing sail. Also, Atlantis hotel, Burj Khalifa (world’s biggest building, a 828m, 160 floor monstrosity), Ski Dubai and the famous Dubai Brunch.

If the weather was a little cooler, I could check out the Tiger Woods designed golf course, as well as get into a bit of dune bashing. Alas, ~40C temperatures will force all activities to remain indoors. Further research (a half-assed Google search) have revealed a theme park built by Ferrari is scheduled to open in Abu Dhabi, October 2010.
Which brings me to Paris. Ah Paris. This trip will be the culmination of a lifelong dream, and a gift to myself. Anyone who knows me....... is probably the only person reading this blog, hahah!

As I was saying, anyone who knows me knows I have a hard-on for France. I watch French movies, have a major crush on Vincent Cassel¸ listen to French rap, watch French news, follow the French football team (even though they suck in the current World Cup), learn the French language – basically I am one of those saddos who really likes the subject. Also, if you are close to me, you know I do not do things by halves – all in baby! Big cut big money!
The actual idea for this trip was in March, when Miss Tina came home for a holiday. She started talking about going to Paris for her birthday, for a week or so. That got the mousewheel in my head turning.... and once I decide something, I do it. Don’t say I ain’t disciplined peeps!

So I thought I would build in a trip to Dubai before the trip to Paris. And given that Bastille Day is the 14th of July, I thought, why not make it 2 weeks in Paris – in for a penny, in for a pound as they say (one day I am going to find out who the F they are...)

Anyhoo, so now I had the dates, and I began crafting an itinerary.... I thought – why not do a language course whilst in the city of choice? That will make the words ‘sink in’ a bit better. So I booked that. Then I decided that I would find an apartment rather than a hotel, so I could make the place my own – I like my independence, so having a full kitchen and washer is very necessary.

Other tours I have booked are a trip to Versailles, and a photography tour (my new love). I did try and get a cooking tour as well (I am a try-hard foodie), but the fecking thing wasn’t operating on the day I wanted it, so we gave it a pass. Again, not so much interested in the shopping aspect; although it’s Financial Year sale time – holler! Same goes for the big-ticket items, such as the Louvre, Eiffel Tower, Champs de Elysee, Jardins des Tuilleries, Bibliothèque nationale de France, Père Lachaise Cemetery (where Oscar Wilde and Jim Morrison are buried), but really, it’s about smaller, more intimate meetings.

I just want to walk around the city I have dreamt about since I was 14 and watched La Haine for the first time. I just want to interact with my crappy French with locals, to ask for a serve of Pommes Parisienne¸ to ask where the closest Metro is. All of these simple encounters will truly be a heartprint.

I just worked out that I will be in Paris a) whilst the World Cup is on and b) when the 3rd State of Origin is going to be played. Will have to make my way to Cafeoz for that one.
The intent of this blog is purely selfish, it is for posterity’s sake, for me to create an online record of my daily adventures whilst on holiday; and I don’t expect anyone else in the world to read it. I would like to say that I will be a good little nerd and update this blog daily – but experience has shown that when I give myself strict guidelines, they are more than likely broken; so I will just say that I will update when I have time.

Until next time,
À bientôt!

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