Out and About… A Walk to Remember

Been busy these past few days preparing for my plans on my vacation, particularly my cross training to sales department. I had the chance to go out for a walk after an hour chat with my son, Xam. He’s growing up so fast I couldn’t seem to follow on on his what-abouts. He said he was crying because he misses me. After that he asked, “Are you crying too mommy?” I said, “Yes, because I miss you too, so much!” Then he started to ask when will I come home, when will he see me. He even wanted to come over to Dubai. He surely miss a mom. He knows he got a mom.

So I decided to leave my comfort zone and release the longings. Too scared now after suffering from depression months back. I need to re-condition myself.

Along Jumeirah road…

While walking down to the bus stop along Jumeirah road.

On the right is the Wild Wadi waterpark full of flags from the recent Eid Al Adha. You’ll also see a double-decker tour bus heading down the Jumeirah road. Now is the perfect weather to have some tour around with this bus. Cool wind is already blowing.

A closer shot of Tour Dubai bus

A closer look of the Tour of Dubai bus.

While waiting for the green light to pop up, I took a shot of the famour Burj Al Arab like as if I don’t see it everyday (for not being a pro-photog, I even got a scrape shot of the stoplight pole on my right. Shame). I also heard the screaming fun and the whoosh of water rides inside the Wild Wadi but I skip on going further for three obvious reasons: I’m on jeans not on my suit, I’m alone, and it’s cold.

Burj Al Arab

The topmost of Wild Wadi Waterpark

Further down more is a glimpse alongside our sister property Madinat Jumeirah. Before joining Jumeirah Beach Hotel, I first worked in Mina A’ Salam as a Receptionist at the Front Desk. It’s been 4 years now since my visit to the hotel. A lot of memories and I just couldn’t help but to get sentimental as it was not a ‘good’ goodbye for me.

Road signs. Don't get lost. Brown background means you're almost there. Madinat Jumeirah right next to your right 😀

Mina A' Salam

The entrance to Mina A' Salam

Mina A' Salam sign. Quite unnoticable for guests coming to the hotel especially at night.

Road that leads down to the main hotel. Full of palms. Full of flags.

Oh, I forgot to get some shots of the bust stop as I was catching up the bus itself to go right up to Jumeirah area. I think I have one photo during the night before I headed home. Will see later.

Next stop, Mercato Mall. It’s the first mall that I went to when I first arrived here in Dubai in 2005. Quite a small shopping area but I like it more because besides the nearest one to our place, you’ll get smooth light traffic flow down here. You don’t have to waste bucks for a long trip and get stuck in heavy traffic just to get to the big malls at the city center. Anyway, Mall of Emirates and Dubai Mall are still being built then and the Dubai Metro was still on planning stage. Mercato is a themed Venetian architectural style that makes it unique from the rest.

Mercato Mall along Jumeirah Road

A shot from first floor. Natural daylight coming through from the piazza saves the mall of loads of electricity during the day.


The cinema is not bad at all.

Around 5pm, I took another bus trip down further until I reach the almost-end part of Jumeirah area. Suddenly I felt a little light and drowsy so I went down to get a snack at the nearest McDonald’s, just a walking distance from my last stop, Spinneys. After the snack, I grabbed my pack and walk down still a little weak that I didn’t managed to pull out my cam for some shots before I reach the grocery. I was so tired and it was getting late anyway that all I wanted is to buy the stuff that I need and finally head home.

So it was already dark outside at about 6:00pm when I cross the other side to go back to the hotel to the catch the 7:10 trip back to the accommodation. While waiting for the return bus, I managed to get some shots of the main Jumeirah center where most of the shops, restaus and other establishments are located.

The famous Jumeirah Grand Mosque

There I found it! I took the photos of the airconditioned waiting area at the bus stop.

The air-conditioned wating area at the bus stop.

Schedule check. Nos. 8 bus going to Ibn Battuta will pass by Jumeirah Beach Hotel. I need to take the 18:20 bus to get there exactly 18:50 or 19:00 just right in time for the 19:10 bus to accommodation.

Finally, reached Jumeirah Beach Hotel. Last shots thrown to my home hotel and the Burj at night.

Jumeirah Beach Hotel. Shot taken from the bus stop. I could have found a better side without the trees. Next time.

Great shot at night. Whoah! I made it though not clean enough. Really need to be a pro.

Until the next walk!


Rain that Drops in Dubai

courtesy of Malou E. Valdez-Montallana

So it’s really raining! After quite a while, here goes the drizzles and the hassle of going out. But rain is everything (although quite unusual in Dubai but it naturally happens!). It’s a sign that something is changing and in this case, the rain today is a transition from hot summer to cold summer which is commonly observed yearly in the late months like November and December.

Funny though that we will be encountering annoyed guests bothering us with questions and comments: “why is it raining where it’s not supposed to be?” “We paid bucks and traveled all the long way from the snowy side of the world to come and enjoy the sun in the Middle East only to find out that it’s also raining here! It’s so disappointing!” (As if we have something to do with the rain! If only we can control it!) What are we supposed to say? Yes it’s also raining here and we can’t do anything about it. There are still a lot of indoor activities and attractions to enjoy rather in Dubai. There is the famous The Dubai Mall, the largest in the world, the ever soaring Burj Khalifa, the tallest tower or you may want to have a glimpse and capture the views along the long Sheikh Zayed Road by taking the Metro from Rashidiya station down to Jebel Ali.

So we don’t have to feel sorry about raining in Dubai. It won’t be long anyway. Let’s just savor it. It’s not bad after all. We’ve been complaining for the long hot summer and now that it rained only for days? It’s ridiculous to complain.

Respond the Five-Star Way

Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Image via Wikipedia

The Front Desk is most often, though not always, the ‘hot seat’ for guests’ comments, requests, and complaints. Being in a five star hotel and as the main point of contact with the guests, it is important to know and practice dealing and responding to guests concerns the five-star way.

As the common quote “it is easier said than done” implies, it is frequently difficult for most of the colleagues to respond and handle even the most common guest concern. Why? Because of the driven attitude towards the guest himself and the situation at hand. Why do we often seem to fail the guest even if we think we have listened to them and assured them that their concerns will be satisfied? Why is it that even if we are constantly reminded that guests are the most important people that we have to take good care of, we still receive unsatisfactory feedback about their stay with us? I think it is all rooted to the fact that we tend to forget the basic characteristic a front-line staff should possess: strong interpersonal skills. If we embed in us the true meaning of this, we would be able to provide professional service to our clients.

I myself want to internalize how I may be able to religiously practice Interpersonal Skills. I want to think about the time when I didn’t demonstrate professional service and list ways to improve on my appearance, personal behavior and working attitude to be more professional. I’ll also try to note down the common factors why we are not behaving in a five-star way. It is best to understand and point out the areas of improvements when we are observant of our own behavior and keeping on track our daily job.


via Hotels.com

Scary big men with beards and mustache, wearing crease-free white kandura (wonder why they don’t get dirty at the end of the day) and guthra (headscarf) fixed with egal (black rope); reserved women in their black abaya and shela; sizzling 45 degrees humid temperature during the long summer months; no fun in Ramadan; dry Christmas celebration are just among the many other culture-shocking moments of my stay in Dubai, UAE.

I wouldn’t say I’ve been harrased or intimidated by these Arab people and their norms. Perhaps it’s just a little part of the cultural indifferences that we have to understand and accept when we go out of our national territory. In this place, I rarely experience the taste of raindrops but rather a shower of sandstorm (literally, it’s stick on the scalp for days). I experienced watching belly dancers (they’re really on their fluppy bellies) that almost had their waists detached from their bodies (obviously, an exaggerated description). While working in the hotel, I worry myself so sometimes of threats thrown at me by some Arab guests whenever they are not promised of something they want.

Nevertheless, I coped up with the culture-related idiosyncracies and had a cautious sense of living in Dubai. It’s a motivated mechanism of self-defense that pull me off and put me just right into my place. Working in a multi-cultural environment is not a quip. Insisting yourself is not as easy as you think, no matter you believe how right you are. The technique is minding your own business. The more you involve, the more you get yourself into trouble.

I don’t really feel this way at all. I am not what I am now if I didn’t step in the desert land. I couldn’t have met Xam’s dad if I didn’t cross the boundaries. I sure had a lot of wonderful memories to share, having met new friends and families: Asian, Arabic, Egyptian, German, Russian, to mention the least. The reality seazes and brought me to know and use my sensibilities by familiarizing and acknowledging other nationalities’ background and culture.