Dates – a source of life


From an early age I associated dates with a dry and unpleasant “thing” (not even a fruit!). Wherever I was offered them in Europe, I either refused them straight away or pretended I was pleased to but then spat it out right after….


It was just not my style – at all. Then I moved to the UAE and to my (back then) distaste, those bloody “things” were offered on EACH AND EVERY CORNER… Either for check-in at the hotel lobbies of the sumptuous 5* hotels; at face-to-face meetings with partners or for trial in the supermarkets/souks.

..LESH? (“Why?” in Arabic)..

Rather than ignoring this active presence over here I decided to investigate a little more about it. This is what I found out:

The dates are widely seen as a tradition which have been kept for generations and therefore belong to the UAE’s heritage as well as identity. First and foremost, dates are the nourishing source – supplementing today’s diet – the foundation of “life” for more than 5000 years. The classic “Bedouin” diet consists of dates and camel milk, which keeps them going for miles and miles. The combination of those two is just everything a human body needs: The flesh of the date consists of 70% of sugar (invert sugar), is easily digestible, provides instant energy, restricts harmful bacterial activity, little fat and rich in Vitamins A, B & D. However, camel milk rounds it off with fat and Vitamin C.

Despite the nourishing facts, date palms were the shelter and shade giver nr. 1. You can make almost anything out of palm leaves – such as: food covers, baskets, fans, boats etc..


Contrary to popular belief there is not just a single date “category” but a couple of different sorts. There are over 44 million date palms in the UAE that can be grouped under 199 different varieties and together produce ca. 75,000 tonnes of fruit every year.

Khalas, Bari, Dabbas, Lulu, Fard are some of the names of those cultivated in the UAE; on the international market you will have heard of Ajwa, Madjool and Khalas.

The Middle Eastern climate is one of the best in the world for date cultivation, yet humidity levels are the most important aspect, and low humidity is required to grow larger dates. The different physical and chemical properties play a vital role in the price of dates, in addition to the different nutritional properties and the size, colour, thickness, softness, and sweetness.

..Same same?..


Once in the UAE definitely give them a try since the amazing taste and huge diversity will definitely surprise you!

During Ramadan you will have even more access to them but also for the National Day eg. You will be able to sample some at the Emirates Palace.

For more information and a “live experience”, feel free to attend the annual Date Festival in Liwa.


On another note: In case you are still looking for a souvenir – UAE Dates will definitely surprise your family and friends.
Either you check Carrefour for their regular or stuffed dates OR you spoil yourself with a luxurious date selection at “Bateel”.

For baking purposes help yourself with the “date syrup”; there is also “date sparkling” (no alcohol) and all kinds of different stuffed or chocolate-dipped dates!

Give them a try! It’s definitely worth it! 🙂

Sad Nation..?!

..ya, totally – NOT.

Rumor has it that the United Arab Emirates are a sad, boring and very strict country. Well, in reality especially Dubai and Abu Dhabi have more weekend activities to offer than what I got offered back in Europe.


Please see below the most popular upcoming events (most of them are even free of charge!) in Abu Dhabi:


Sheikh Zayed Heritage Festival (Dec-Jan)


Abu Dhabi Classics (Oct-May)


AbuDhabiDanceFestival (Jan)


Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship (Jan)


Red Bull Air Race World Championship (Feb)


Chinese New Year (Feb)


Venetian Village Festival (Mar)


Open Air Cinemas @Sheraton, @Dusit Thani & @Intercontinental


Concerts & Shows @Emirates Palace and @National Theatre (Mar-Apr)


Mother of the National Festival (Mar)


Brauhaus Springfest (Apr)


IFTAR @diverse hotels in the city


Concerts @DU Arena


Brauhaus Octoberfest (Oct)


Taste of Abu Dhabi (Nov)


Formula 1 (Nov)


National Day Celebrations (Dec)


Abu Dhabi Food Festival (Dec)


Emirates Palace Tree Lighting (Dec)


Swiss Christmas Market @Beach Rotana (Dec)

Many ask me if there is ‘Christmas’ in the UAE.
Yes, there is – this tolerant country tries to cater all our individual needs and habits! From Christmas, Chinese New Year, National Day to Diwali! 🙂

Here, it’s all about us! ❤

Dubai – more to see, eat, drink & do post is not enough!

In my previous post I elaborated “the perfect day trip to Dubai”. Obviously this city has so much more to offer so one day only is almost not enough.. In the following post I will just quickly enumerate some more attractions, actions and dining experiences to round off your Dubai experience. These are just “elements” which you can incorporate into your personal plan according to your interests, budget and time frame.


Bar Level 43 @ Four Points by Sheraton Sheikh Zayed


Dubai Miracle Garden


Global Village


Chillout Dubai


Souq Madinat Jumeirah


Sunsets @ Old Dubai


JBR Walk


Beachin’ @Kite Beach


Cruisin’ around


Skyscraper by night


Win Victory Love


Milkshake @ IceLab


City Walk Dubai

..and many many more! Go & explore!..

Fake Place

..I don’t want to hear it anymore.. 

Why is it a fake place? Why an artificially raised metropolis?

Did your home countries simply exist? All of a sudden? No, they were also built. The main difference is that this happened way earlier than here in the UAE.
What’s so bad about that?
In fact I do see it as a great chance to implement all “successful” or “unsuccessful” things of other countries right from the beginning.  The UAE is actively being shaped according to people’s needs and yes, even exceeding it from time to time.
Of course, the UAE is well known for its record breaking buildings, malls and other kind of achievements within a small time frame but definitely not limited to this!

Quoting His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, ruler of Dubai and Vice President of the UAE – “what makes us proud is not the height of our buildings but rather the openness and tolerance of our nation” – which I totally agree with!
Rather than focusing on World Records we should highlight the fact that we all live here together in peace and safety.
This is a great gift, keeping in mind the hatred and fights which are surrounding us nowadays!

But now, let’s have a look at the “fake city”:

1. Saadiyat Beach 


“People are paid to distribute diverse shells and stones among Saadiyat Beach” – NOT.
Saadiyat Beach is a beautiful, natural beach with amazing waves and stunning different kind of shells.
If you are lucky enough you might even be able to see dolphins, turtles, rays & crabs:


Spot the ray!

2. Desert 


“Everyday tons and tons of sand are shoveled all over the place” – NOT.
Liwa Desert for e.g. is beautiful! It offers high, endless dunes which you are able to access by feet or 4×4. Don’t even try to crest it with your “regular” car – it will def. not work! Desert rule: never go alone! The best way to enjoy a desert camping or BBQ is to drive in with 2/3 cars – be ready to be helped and to actively help whenever someone is in need & stuck in the sand. Follow the Local’s example.


If you are visiting feel free to book one of the organized “Desert Safaris” which include pick-up/drop-off from/to the hotel; camel farm stop; dune bashing; sun downer; sand boarding; belly dance show; desert BBQ; shisha; henna painting; Arabic coffee & dates and upon extra charge you may even get the quad experience.
Never (!) book this through your agency back home since they will get their commission on it. Rather book it with local partners like for e.g. Desert Rose at around AED 250 p.P..

3. Eastern Mangroves 


I cannot even think of a potential “rumor” why the Eastern Mangroves should be fake.. They def. are not.
The best way to explore this natural reserve is by Kayak. The Kayak Tour takes up to 2h, costs around AED 160 p.P. includes a snack and a stop on a small sandbank. I did mine with Noukhada and was more than happy with their service – departure point: Anantara Eastern Mangroves.

4. Al Wathba Wetland Reserve


“Every day these flamingos are dropped off at 9h and picked up at 17h” – NOT.
This place is just lovely. To reach Al Wathba you have to calculate an hour drive from AD city center (between Baniyas, Mussafah and Al Ain Truck Road) .
You will find lovely walking trails alongside different plants and over hundred birds. My favorite spot is the bird hide which provides close view to the free-roaming Flamingos.
Al Wathba Wetland Reserve is an ecologically sensitive area therefore the visiting hours are quite limited: Thursdays and Saturdays from 8.00am to 2.00pm – free entrance.

5. Jebel Hafeet


“This is an artificially built mountain” – NOT.
Jebel Hafeet is one of the tallest mountains we have with its 1240m. It’s worth a drive or a cycle up to enjoy a tremendous view over Al Ain.
Enjoy a coffee or a shisha at the Mercure Jebel Hafeet Hotel and absorb this moment to the max.

…soooo Fake?… 😉 


Awful Arabs & Muslims..?!

“Arabs are all Muslims and really bad people”

Well…this is one of the statements I hear quite often therefore I need to URGENTLY comment on it.

Firstly, being an “Arab” does not automatically mean that the person is Muslim.
(In Lebanon for eg. live more or less 54% Muslims and 41% Christians)

Secondly, there will always be bad people regardless of religion, nationality etc. and I’m pleased to say that most of the “Arabs” and “Muslims” I met were simply amazing.

My friends here in Abu Dhabi are mainly guys (yes..males..oh oh!) from Palestine, Jordan, Sudan, Yemen, Somalia, Oman, Lebanon, Syria and the UAE (Locals).

We do what friends do – we go to the the club & the the a friends’ place etc. – yes, we interact and it is “allowed” 😉
They do respect me like I respect them and we absolutely enjoy our time together! It’s an ongoing interaction and cultural exchange for both sides.
My Arab guys would always make sure I get home safely; I don’t carry too heavy things as a female and value discussion at eye level.


I do not wish to go into detail in regards to religion and beliefs but still I need to make three things clear:
A) Just because you are Muslim – you are not necessarily an extremist
B) The Quran is THE Holy Book in the Islam and at the same time an amazing piece of Arabic literature, written with the most precious Arabic words
C) Muslims do not necessarily have to be Arabic – they could also be Indian, Asian, Australian, Chinese or even American & German

The Muslims who I met appreciate the “female” (mother, wife etc.) contrary to their reputation. Some say there is no “law” which forces Muslim lady to cover her hair (hijab) – it is rather a personal choice – back in the days the covering intended protection against “annoyances” which is nowadays regulated by well-functioning law systems. Wearing a hijab (or not) does not portray her emancipation nor her “oppressed” opinion.
There will always be Muslims and/or Christians who practice or interpret something which was never meant to be practiced.
In the end it is all about communication and exchange – there is no right, no wrong.

Who says that your perception classifying something as “normal” is the correct one? 😉

Yes, almost all “Arabs” and “Muslims” are awful.. they are kind, graceful, food and family loving, generous, hospitable, understanding, loving, nice, funny, food-terrorists (“eat more, have more, serve yourself”), interested, respectful, caring and do not try to impose something on you. Horrible, isn’t it? 😉

We are all the same – we live to love. 


26.01.2016 – Pearls & Caviar, Abu Dhabi

“I can’t visit you, it’s always so hot over there – I cannot handle it”

People often associate the desert with unbearable heat throughout the year.

Well, first of all, once you are in ABU DHABI or DUBAI a) you do not see any desert (if you do not drive at least one hour out of the city) and b) it does not seem at all that the desert is nearby due to beautiful greenery, waves in the ocean and most different skyscrapers.

Secondly, yes, we are blessed with mainly sunny weather but still temperatures rise and fall..our temperatures may sound “high” in comparison to Europe but the heat/humidity is different..yes, it can get chilly due to the cool desert winds and yes, we do have some rainy days in between.

Jan – 15˚C – 23˚C  (windy evenings)
Feb – 15˚C – 25˚C  (windy evenings, rain possibility)
Mar – 18˚C – 27˚C (windy evenings, high rain possibility)
Apr – 20˚C – 30˚C (a-m-a-z-i-n-g) 
May – 23˚C – 35˚C (great but humidity increases)
Jun – 26˚C – 40˚C (in the past two years May & June were amazing in terms of weather) 
Jul – 28˚C – 42˚C (highway to hell..)
Aug – 30˚C – 46˚C (stuck in hell..only way out: take a plane!) 
Sep – 26˚C – 40˚C (humidity is still quite high!)
Oct – 23˚C – 36˚C (great and humidity fades out)
Nov – 20˚C – 32˚C (a-m-a-z-i-n-g)
Dec – 16˚C – 26˚C (great but it’s getting chilly)

If you are weather sensitive I would recommend you to come and explore this beautiful country from March till June + Mid October till December.

March 2016 was pretty bad: Hey Global warming, are you proud of this?

Forecast Saadiyat Beach.jpg

“What about the sea? How’s the temperature?” 

Ranges between 22˚C and 35˚C
(yes, I would not go to the sea in July, August & September – “too much hot”)

‘Sheikh’-overload or traditional garment..?!


This is one of THOSE widespread rumors and comments which I constantly hear from friends, visitors, guests etc..

“Does this white garment mean they are ‘Sheikhs’?”

Fortunately or unfortunately (matter of opinion) not everyone wearing a “white garment” (= Kandura) is a ‘Sheikh’.

The Kandura is the official UAE national dress which consists of a long, white shirt-like garment, a red checkered or white headdress (ghutra) and a black cord (agal).

As mentioned, the UAE manages pretty well to tie a not between MODERNISM and TRADITION – yes, many locals do have the most recent phone, the most expensive watch & drive fancy cars but they still identify themselves with their roots/traditions by for eg. wearing the Kandura in public.

“They seem so arrogant, untouchable”; “They are not friendly and have no good manners”

In this diverse world you will ALWAYS find “good” and “less good” people.
Generally speaking I’ve encountered mainly genuine, welcoming and kind Emiratis here in the UAE, who are thankful for what they have today and are “equipped” with an open mind due to overseas studies.
The reputation of an Emirati on “annual leave” is not the best but as I like to compare: does the German behave back home the same way he does in “Mallorca”? 😉
..second-hand embarrassment..just sayin’.. get what you give..

Once my car and I (yes, I drive, as mentioned earlier) had a battery issue at the petrol station. It was quite hard to find a helping hand due to the tinted windows of the XXL Nissan Patrols and Mitsubishi Pajeros which surrounded my VW Polo. After knocking on several windows I got two local helpers who were not “too arrogant” to help a “Blondie” or “too afraid” to sully their hands/garment! 😉

Boring sandpit or enchanting metropolis..?!

When it comes to “life in Abu Dhabi” people do often think we are surrounded by sand only; sit in a tent; sweat because of the unbearable heat and play with camels (if we, ladies, are even allowed to leave the tent! ;))..

..Near enough is not good enough..

Thanks to the “young” age of this city it got the chance to be shaped/created according to “our” needs!

This means we have received quite a few malls; big five star hotels with restaurants, bars and clubs; sports centers; beach clubs; gardens; museums; street coffee shops; view points; public event spaces; etc.etc. which was man made and we are also able to enjoy natural reserves; mangroves; great deserts and natural islands.

My TOP 5 activities:

..beach, beach, let’s go to the beach..
Saadiyat Public Beach; Yas Beach; Corniche Family Beach

..let the sun go down..
beautiful sunsets @ Eastern Mangroves Promenade

..seduce your palate..
yummy surf & turf @ Turquoiz

..good friend and a glass of Hugo..
Beach House the night away..
follow City Vibes and take your crew with you

Oh no..Abu Dhabi..?!


..almost three years ago, when my new life period started, I immediately received comments like “what? you are moving to Abu Dhabi?”, “a Blondie in the middle of the Arabs?”, “you will have a restricted life, no car driving, covering, etc.” and “it’s not safe there, you have to take care”.

Thankfully these comments did not move me at all.

I was ready for this chapter and more than looking forward.

Looking back I am somehow proud that I did not approach Abu Dhabi and this region with these negative feelings otherwise I might have missed out on one of the BEST chapters of my life. get what you give..good vibes, good life..

Abu Dhabi consists of more or less 20% local “Emiratis” and 80% of Expats (US, Asia, Europe and Africa guess what..incl. other “Arabs” Palestinians, Jordanian, Syrian, Lebanese etc.).

Why would we all live here if our life would be that “horrible”? 😉

Everyone who decides to come to the UAE, finds its own kind of happiness! From the CEO of an European company, the Asian taxi driver to the American teacher.

Yes, there are certain rules which we have to adhere to; they might be different from our “home countries” but how do you want a system of over 70 different nationalities and cultures to work in peace and with respect towards each other if you do not set the standards high? 😉

To finalize this introduction…

Yes, I do have Arab friends..mainly Arab dudes actually! They are Muslims but this does not mean they are extremist 🙂 I’m their “Amira” (princess) and can genuinely count on them for whatever it is..

No, I do not cover..even shorts (not the “belt-shorts”) are fine! Obviously you cover yourself slightly if you go into a Mosque – or would you go in a short skirt into a church?! + The “Abayas” (we do not call it burka!) are worn by choice and for traditional reasons not by force..

Yes, I drive – oh yeah..i love to drive – listening to my “ghetto” music..

Yes, as a “Blondie” I am respected and actually it is even advantageous in regards to queuing up in the supermarket or bus; cross streets; etc… hehe 😉 In general the “woman” rates high in the society, opposite all rumors.

UAE is ranked as a leader in gender equality in the region where women in the UAE are playing an increasingly stronger role in business, military and government. This achievement comes from the fundamental belief that women and men are equal partners in society.
(UAE Embassy in Washington DC) 

Yes, it is indeed safe! Criminality rate is under 1%..Where else..can you leave your bag unattended while going to the buffet to get more food?..can you walk alone on the street as a lady in the middle of the night?..does someone pick your wallet up after it accidentally fell out of the pocket?

..Funny enough..Everyone is travelling to Indonesia and is against or simply afraid of Muslims..Did you know that they have the world’s largest Muslim population?.. 

So pack your things (don’t forget your open mind!) and visit this beautiful Region and especially..

my Abu Dhabi