Networking with the Media Professionals

Media Mondays is a business networking event that brings together media professionals from different fields. When I first found out about this event, there was a date set for an Abu Dhabi meetup. So when I heard that the next one will be held in Dubai, I made a note in my diary and made sure that I would attend. I even went on to tell my media and non-media industry friends about it, ending my e-mail with the words: see you there!

Yes, as you can see I was very excited about the opportunity to network with people from the media industry. Especially since I now have a personal business card which I can present to anyone I meet.

The event was conveniently located at The Address Hotel, Dubai Marina. One of the closest land marks to where I live. We all got together at “Shades” outdoor venue. A highly stylish chill-out lounge overlooking a slick pool, with stunning views of the Dubai Marina landscape.

The evening went by so quickly, yet so smoothly. I got the opportunity to meet with a lot of new people from different functions and roles….all related to the media industry in one way or another. The crowd included a wide range of interesting people. I met with a hair stylist, a chef, a business development manager, an actor, a female lawyer, and an event manager; to name a few.

Although I didn’t get to meet anyone from the publishing industry, I still managed to get a relevant contact through one of the event organizers. It was towards the end of the evening, and I had already put in so much effort and wit into going up to random people and introducing myself and what I was looking for…that’s when a couple of us “networkers” decided to wait for one of the organizers to meet him in person. Eventually, he did show up. When he asked me how I found the new Spanish water brand they were introducing and promoting at the event, I said: “The water is OK, but I would have loved to meet someone from publishing”. Or something like that!  That’s when I got the contact details for an editor, and handily saved them onto my i-phone.
I guess it’s always that extra bit of effort that gets you the results you need. It’s that moment when you think of giving up because you simply can’t go on any longer. If you keep trying after that stage, the universe works to your advantage and takes you one step closer to your dreams.

A Glamorous Art Affair

Glamorous arty types gathered at DIFC’s Gate Village for a fabulously fun evening merging art, design, music and cuisine in a contemporary urban environment.
I had never seen the DIFC Gate Village so packed with people like on that night. It was the perfect night for people watching. As everyone was dressed up to the nines. From artists to guests to passers-by. My friend was not able to grasp anything with the huge amount of people in the area. She was having a “sensory overload” as she described it.

Guests were seen admiring the art pieces at the renowned art galleries, sampling the gourmet food and desserts on offer, or networking and chatting with friends.

A Brazilian band on drums livened up the night with their cover of Shakira’s “waka waka” hit song. They even asked guests to join in and try their drumming skills for some added fun and amusement.

Having had a filling dinner prior to the event at “The Noodle House” with a friend didn’t stop me from accepting an invitation from a new friend to join her at the classy French restaurant “La Petite Maison”.  After all, how could anyone resist a dinner invitation to world-class eateries accompanied by a charming opportunity to catch up with great friends?

Leaving you with some snap shots from a vibrant and colorful night at DIFC; the beating heart of Dubai’s art scene.

London Meets Dubai in a Japanese Backdrop

At the iconic address of One Sheikh Zayed Road, a blend of fashion and design students, tutors and their friends met at the prestigious Okku restaurant. The networking event marked the start of the University of the Arts London’s short courses program in Dubai this October and next January and May. It was also a get together event for all the alumni students in the region.

My undying nostalgia for London town and my deep desire to network, were great motivators for me to make an effort to attend the event although I wasn’t feeling at my best on that day.

As I was waiting to catch a bus to take me to the nearby mall to get my hair done, I met a lady who shared my job struggle story. We decided to walk together to the mall, since the driver was nowhere in sight…That’s when I found out from her that she was going for a job interview at the mall but was suspicious and a bit afraid as to what to expect. Later she told me how she was physically visiting random commercial towers in Dubai in the efforts of meeting with employers and submitting her CV. On that same day, she had been to the airport free zone doing the same thing. She was on a visit visa to Dubai, and had no time to waste. She had heard of many stories about ladies from her country who had flown to Dubai for short periods of time in search for work, but were not successful and had to go back to their homes eventually. She also mentioned how her brother thought that she was courageous for trying in more assertive and unusual ways.

For me, trying to personally submit my CV to companies had been a thing of the past. Now though, I am practicing my usual wit in the form of attending random events and networking with strangers!

The University alumni reunion was no exception. I specifically felt my bravery as I stepped into the restaurant full of random faces standing or sitting in groups and conversing over drinks. I was alone and it was up to me to start a conversation with an anonymous person or group of people. I would say I did pretty well and managed to network with a few people and make a new friend who shared my struggle to make her way in the fashion world. I of course was more focused into publishing and lifestyle journalism.

Since I only had a light salad for lunch that day, the eggplant and salmon fillet hors d’oeuvres that were being served weren’t enough to fill my food deprivation and I ordered some pieces of baked salmon sushi rolls later that evening.

Finding the individual from the University that I was advised to contact upon arriving at the event wasn’t a piece of cake, or in this story – a piece of sushi roll! But I managed to locate her by the end of the night. It turned out that she was the alumni director from Chelsea college of design. However, she did introduce me to the marketing person from London College of Fashion. Whom I had already exchanged e-mails with prior to the event to inquire about a communication short course being taught in Dubai. The course is scheduled for next May and I plan to take it.

Yes, even after all this time trying to make it in the magazine editorial world, and not quite landing a full-time role, I am still determined to make it, and will not let go of my dream career or listen to everyone’s suggestions to try other fields. Mostly including my dad’s.

We all know that achieving any dream or goal is not always easy. The journey will be long. There will be numerous obstacles of all types and sizes. But the most important aspect of the road to achieving your goals is the learning process and the development and personal growth that comes with it.

My parents and the people around me might not see any results, and would think that I am simply wasting my time and energy. But I look at it differently. I look at the countless ways in which I have developed, and the amount of things I had learned along my journey.

Maybe my comfort zone could use a little more expansion. Maybe that’s when I will reach my goal. When I do though, it would be through the long and proven track. And I would have an equally long and solid story to support my accomplishment.

Who knows? maybe I will be the famous author of the best-selling book: “How to Make it in Dynamic Dubai; a Step-by Step Guide” 🙂
Have a look at some pictures from my nostalgic night or what I like to call: a piece of London in Dubai.




Fashion, Music, and Silly Camera Poses

It was an ordinary day that involved plans such as “supervising the cleaning lady”, grocery shopping, and re-heating yesterday’s lunch! But just as I was about to iron my clothes for my grocery shopping errand, I received an invite text from Topshop. The invite was for the J.W. Anderson collection launch and the event was being held at the Dubai Mall store on the same day.

Considering that the event was on the same day, and I hadn’t added it to my diary, I was thinking a lot before I decided to go. Eventually, I thought to myself that I must get out there and network. And that this event will be a good opportunity for me to meet new people and make new contacts.

As I walked towards the spacious Topshop Dubai Mall store, I could hear DJ beats coming from inside…The DJ played commercial pop hits throughout the event, non-stop.

In the first hour or so, we got to meet and have a chat with other guests. As well as have an exclusive look at the young designer’s new collection.  At the style workshops later that night, the speakers explained to the guests about the designer and the outfits.

J.W. Anderson is a 27 year-old British designer. His outfit creations can be worn by both men and women. Which I found to be very evident in the design and cut of the shirts and jersey jackets. His style inspirations come from the pop and youth sub-cultures. There were some sixties-inspired ensembles among the collection too. What defines Anderson’s designs is his “print on print” style. Which in my opinion is a very funky and unique way to dress up. I personally loved his use of vibrant and bold colors on tops and other pieces.

The fashion crowd had a great time posing at the photo stand while holding signs that promote the store and the innovative designer.

I will leave you with more pictures from the event….

Celebration of Life with its good and bad – I guess


Many times, we take our lives for granted, and immerse ourselves in sorrow and self-pity and other negative emotions. Forgetting about the most important blessing: the privilege to be alive and in good mental and physical health.

I was delighted to be invited to my first charity event in the UAE, and even more happy since I would be going with my motivational and inspiring and sweet next-door neighbor.

I was told to wear white, as the theme for the year was angels and halos and purity. But when I went shopping for a dress, the dress that grabbed my attention and gave me the feel of a charity-related event came in two colors only: light jade and pale pink. Unfortunately, there were no sizes of the pink number. So I had to go with the jade one.

At the ball reception area, we took a look around at the different jewellery and items displayed. My neighbor met a few people she knew. Having lived in Dubai all of her life, she obviously has a big social network. The majority of the guests were wearing white…many had wings attached to their backs.

That image made me decide to make an effort to dress in-line with the theme at next year’s ball.

As we sat at our designated table, the event started with a number of speakers and slide shows explaining the success and impact the charity has contributed to cancer research organizations in the UAE and the UK. There were tables with the donation amount figures and totals. We were all happy to know that we could help, even if it’s just by a small contribution.

A three-course meal was served at our tables. And although neither I nor my neighbor and her relatives could make out what the appetizer dish was, the main course and dessert were fabulous.

There was an auction on some signed tennis rackets and other one-off items. Which I thought was interesting. Especially the way the dealer was auctioning and speaking. You could tell that he was a trained professional in his field.

This was followed by a raffle prizes draw. Naturally, I didn’t win anything. But I was ecstatic to see the lady from our table dancing as she went to collect her golf game prize voucher.

There was live music for a while, that to me and my neighbor, lasted for a little longer than it should have. We were bored by that time, and I was anxiously waiting for the DJ to start playing!

Luckily, the DJ was worth the wait. He played mostly mainstream and club hits. And even mixed in some Gypsy Kings and I found myself swinging my pleated dress to the music in so-called Spanish dance moves.

From all-time favorites like “I will survive” to an Arabic beat dance track, me and my neighbor had a great time on the dance floor, and continued dancing the night away with other guests and the rest of the party crowd.

At one point, when me and my neighbor were taking a break from all the dancing at our seats. A good song was playing, and I went to the dance floor alone because she still wanted to rest. At that time, another guest happened to be dancing solo on the floor as well.  Surprisingly, he was impressed by my unclassified dance moves and later presented me with a white rose at the end of the evening, as me and my neighbor were waiting for her car to arrive.

All in all, it was a fun evening of pure joy and laughter. And a significant reminder to enjoy every single day of our lives. With the good and bad that comes with this game called life.

Living the Dream ahead of its realization

I’ve always believed in living out your dream as if it were a reality, in order to eventually achieve it…So I was naturally delighted to find out that my strategy was mentioned in the book I’m reading: How to get from where you are to where you want to be….Yes, I’ve been reading the same book for weeks…I actually don’t get the chance or free time to read much. Since I spend most of my free time working on “trying to get from where I am to where I want to be”!
Keeping in line of following the book’s advise, and wanting to get my hair trimmed at a salon that happened to be located in the area I am targeting for employment, my plan for yesterday involved spending part of my day (well, most of it, since I didn’t leave the house till around 2) at Dubai Media City.

My first stop was at an uber cool hair salon located in stylish office buildings, that made me feel like I was in London! The salon was on two floors (the top one for ladies), and had large windows with a lovely view of the surrounding garden and modern buildings. The walls had a brick theme, which added to the London feel of the neighborhood.

After my nostalgic hair appointment, I headed to a new Sushi place that I had read about on my secret sources web site, and decided to try their shrimp California rolls. The food was not bad, but the place had a relaxing vibe to it, and made me want to just sit there for the rest of my day, except that it was empty and I knew that I couldn’t afford to waste my valuable time hanging around at a secluded joint in the heart of Dubai Media City.

So, I got up and was considering finding a local Starbucks to try to network with the media crowd. But the place was a bit of a walk and I had to meet my friend who happens to work at the city’s biggest publishing company soon. After asking for directions, I was happy to know that I was just a block away from Dubai’s renowned publishing house.

After a lovely tour at the multistory office with my high-school friend, we sat at the roof terrace and had a chat that was a symbol of what our lives had come to at this stage: we were both going through a lot of challenging times and had no moral support or someone who understands to talk to. Therefore, the conversation we had was a combination of isolated rants on different topics coming from each one of us, which didn’t necessarily follow any rational sequence. The one hour we spent talking flew by so fast and neither of us had a chance to express a mere 10 % of what was going on in her world!

Yes, the dilemma that comes with being single in a city like Dubai. As we said our good-byes, I promised my friend to visit her again soon and continue my stories of trials and tribulations. I guess she doesn’t have an option but to listen, or be stressing about work, as she confessed she was!

Today though, I attended my first proper event in the effort of putting my new strategy into effect: attending events and networking!

It was a fashion and art event in association with one of the biggest publishing company’s fashion titles. My illustrator friend had invited me as a guest, and I couldn’t help but jump at the occasion of being at a magazine-related event. The event involved the shortlisted illustrators drawing a fashion-related sketch of a model and hand bag. Listening to the guest speaker David Downton, who happens to be a visiting teacher at London College of Fashion took me on a trip down memory lane back to the days when I was taking my Fashion Media and Communication course at the same college’s London campus.

My London days will always be memorable to me…but now I am in Dubai, and I must focus on staying in the present moment. With all its great challenges, fears, and endless hardships.

As the event came to an end, I came to know from the presenter that she is an editor at an interior design title from the city’s biggest publishing house. Unfortunately, not having any business cards left in my purse meant that I didn’t have a good way to approach her or present myself. I also had already tried to approach the company’s HR department and individuals many times for the past two years and more, but with no luck.

But when I told my new friend from the event, she offered to give the editor the card that I had given her, and we both went looking for that potential contact, who we later found out had made a quick disappearance from the location. I assured my friend that it’s fine, I am attending another event tomorrow. This time though, I will make sure to carry a stack of business cards in my clutch bag!

I find it strange the way Dubai has become an International city that resembles New York and London, where it is highly challenging to get into the publishing industry or any other industry for that matter.

Mainly because I grew up in the Gulf region, and to me, it was always a laid-back, easy-going place….where we didn’t need to work super hard to get anything in life. Or maybe that was just living in Saudi!

Oh well, it is time for me to sign off now…and go fill my clutch bag with my newly created business cards….

Emotional Roller Coaster Ride


Since I was young, I loved planning everything. Be it weekends, holidays, school breaks, week nights, time spent with friends, you name it, I will create an agenda for it!

Being an avid planner is not always great though, especially when the plans don’t work out for reasons outside of my control. Like when friends have familial or personal commitments and sudden plans that make it impossible for them to meet up.

Planning things way in advance also takes out part of the fun that comes with spontaneity and going with the flow.  Sometimes, we need to let things go and just live the moment with whatever it has to offer.

I found out about the Cultural Night Market a week or two ahead of its planned dates. And immediately informed my friend who was a fan of the monthly flea markets that are held at the same park where that event was taking place for the first time. Naturally, I thought that she would be the best companion for that event. Well, I was wrong. First, she has a lot of responsibilities and happened to suffer from an eye sight problem that week which was giving her headaches.  She suggested to go early and check out the market and give me her feedback. I thought it was a good idea since I don’t drive and would be taking a cab for a kind of long distance to the park. An hour later, she texts me to say that it was not worth it and that there isn’t much to see.

At first, I decided to change my plans to having lunch with anyone of my friends who would be free to join me for a late afternoon lunch. Since my market companion had other things to take care of. But when no one was available to join me, I decided to have a quick healthy salad and then head to the night market anyway, to have a look for myself and have something to write about on my not-so-regularly-updated blog.

As I walk to a new salad joint in the other side of my area, I take note of people sitting for meals together, other walking alone, or walking their dogs, and I can’t help but feel the loneliness of Dubai make its way into my soul for a number of times that I can no longer keep track of.  That ugly emotion reached its peak as I was sitting in the salad joint high chair, facing the lake surrounded by towers…it was around sunset and the dawn of the darkness didn’t help in lifting up my mood. It only made it worse. Then, a song that held a sentimental memory to me was playing….that’s when the tears started rolling down my eyes, and it was just my tired soul, the wilted nicoise salad bowl and that motionless, irritatingly lifeless, colorless lake.

Ironically enough, my lonely Dubai moment was interrupted by an IM from an old school friend who lives in another city asking: “are you happy in UAE?”

As simple as her question was, the answer was too complicated to be briefed in a yes or no  answer, or even in a text message.

An hour or so later, I was laughing my heart out with a new friend from my building who managed to join me at my park night! We were enjoying the remarkably great live music, the stale pizza, and the not so cool, yet fresh air.

In the end, my day did unfold as planned….well, maybe not exactly the way I had envisioned it. But what matters is that I had an amazing time with my friend, and my tears of sorrow and pain were later replaced by endless laughs of pure joy that followed me to bed that night every time I remembered my friend’s witty and sarcastic jokes!


A More Urban Walk

Sometimes, our days or nights take on a different route than what we planned. And many times, a spontaneous activity is all we need to have a good time and explore something new.

I had just finished my meal at a casual place at the Marina Walk, and decided to go for a short walk before I sit down at a cafe to read my book. While that was the intended plan, I found myself walking endlessly for a few more hours before it started to get late and I decided to head back home.

Basically, I wanted to explore the walk at the marina waterfront. Which I thought of exercising at many times, but stayed forever loyal to the walk by the lakes in my area. Mainly for its proximity and ease of access.

As I made my way past the restaurants and cafes lined at the waterfront, the waiters were promoting the food and free shisha for ladies. After two waiters had offered me the free shisha as I walked by, I had to explain to the second waiter that I didn’t smoke.

At that point, I was thinking to myself that walking in that area might not be such a great idea after all. With all the disturbance and stares and observations from the staff scattered along the walk. But as I walked further along, where there are no restaurants or cafes, only pavements full of people walking, jogging, skating, walking their dogs, or pushing their baby strollers, I began to develop a liking to the area. Especially since it offers a much longer walking distance than my area. It also offered more eating options in case I wanted to grab a bite after my walk.
The only downside to the beautiful waterfront walk is its security level. Several incidents made me feel exposed and wary. The first incident involved a man supposedly doing his walking round just like everyone else on the walk. Except that he kept turning around to look at me (I was behind because I wasn’t walking fast)…every few seconds, he would turn around to see where I was located or something. This led me to sitting on a bench next to a nanny with a kid, and sending a message with my phone. He also decided to stop his workout routine and stand at the waterfront nearby and continue to observe me from there. This went on for a few minutes, before he got bored and decided to move on. Verdict: I won and managed to loose him.

As I later continued my walk, I noticed a lot of unfinished buildings, some with workers staying inside their construction camps. Which wouldn’t be unsettling if it were during the day, and if it weren’t for the fact that one of them was clearing his throat and making strange noises from behind the bars of the building under construction.

The area gave me mixed feelings; when at one moment I was happily singing to Sade’s voice coming from the Yacht club terrace, and at another instant I found myself in a deserted part of the walk, with only me and a creepy security guard who looks more like an under-cover thug. My curiosity and love of exploration drove me to walk further in an attempt to do a round and get to the other side of the man-made waterfront. But as the number of people went down to a few ladies jogging every couple of minutes, I asked the next lady I saw if it was possible to get to the other side or if I should just head back to where I came from. Her reluctance to stop and answer me in a proper way made me feel like I was in London or somewhere in Europe where it’s not safe to speak to strangers in the street even if you are both from the same gender! Was it my Arabic looks that scared her? or the dark and lonely setting? I couldn’t help but strongly feel the loneliness and fear associated with this city; feelings that I continuously work on masking and replacing with good positive ones of certainty and bright dreams. But the negative energy the lady was carrying was so strong that it caused me to feel uncomfortable and at the same time sad for her.

As I found my way back to the more populated area of the walk, I made a note to myself that if and when I decide to exercise in this area, I will limit the distance to right after the Yacht Club. Since that is where the danger zone begins.

While passing by the nice balconies at the buildings, I couldn’t help but wonder about the lives of the people who live in those waterfront apartments. Where do they work? if they did…What type of lifestyle do they have? do they take a stroll by the marina? or own a yacht or two? maybe they are just ordinary people who were given this lovely housing by the companies they worked at. At that moment, I felt the need to network more. I wanted to socialize with people who lived in different areas of the city. I felt that there was a lot to see and explore in this town and that now might be the right time to do just that.

After tonight’s walk, I see my area as a very safe and friendly place to walk in. With two play grounds in the surroundings, it also makes for a family-oriented community. With more kids, pets and couples walking around, than single men and women.

It’s amazing how the super urban lifestyle brings with it a different level of safety and well-being.

Throughout my walk, I’ve seen many more images of the real face of the town. But I won’t mention them for their sensitive nature, or their boring details.

It’s true when they say that the best way to explore a city is by walking. I personally think it’s the most enjoyable and enlightening.

A Refreshing Italian Night

Being a fan of secret and hidden places – especially in a highly-populated city like Dubai, I always make sure to follow a couple of web sites that list newly opened places or hidden ones that no one knows about.  It’s always a plus for me if that place happens to be located outside of a mall.  As living in this region, means you will be frequenting malls almost all the time to get your shopping or anything else done.  It’s more convenient, and it’s what is mainly there. The weather doesn’t allow for street shops or corner stores, or outdoor markets. Except in the winter when a good number  of outdoor markets are spread out across the city.

Since I had a strained lower back for the past couple of days, my plan to take my first Pilates class with my friend had to inevitably change to: dinner at a new place in our area.

Luckily, a few new eateries have opened up in our area recently. More specifically in my friend’s side of the neighborhood. She herself didn’t know about the new places, until I told her about them and sent her the links from my special insider web sites!

As we approached the entrance of the northwest Italian kitchen restaurant, we were pleased by the setting and sleek decor that made the place stand out from other restaurants in the area. The decor was minimal, yet stylish and elegant. The area wasn’t very spacious, but it was clean and had a fresh feel to it. The ambiance was soothing with soft music playing in the background.

When I read the menu, I wasn’t pleased with the limited choice of dishes, and found myself looking for more Italian classics like lasagna (which I had been craving for a while) and spaghetti bolognese (a favorite of mine). I was told by the waiter that they only made lasagna when it was the daily dish for that day, and unfortunately it wasn’t my destiny to end my lasagna craving tonight!

My friend went for the daily dish; fusilli pasta with green peas in a creamy sauce. While I ordered the penne with tomato sauce and asked for ragu sauce, as I wasn’t in the mood to go vegan tonight. Mostly because I had a late breakfast, and a small light salad in the afternoon. So I was looking forward to a hearty Italian dinner that would possibly include a beef lasagna.

The food arrived within a few minutes of making the order, which surprised both me and my friend. Even with my customized order of ragu sauce penne! The portion was quite small for Dubai standards. But it was filling nonetheless. Topping my penne with some Parmesan cheese, I would say the quality of the food was great, but the taste could use a little improvement. Maybe it’s me, I like a richer tomato taste or a stronger flavor.

I noticed the lady at a the only other occupied table dipping a piece of bread in some sauce in a plate, and I realized that we didn’t get any oil or vinegar with our bread basket. So only when I asked the waiter for some olive oil, we were served the traditional Italian dipping sauce. And enjoyed our antipasti of bread after we finished our meals!

The restaurant supervisor came to our table to ask how we liked the food and recommend their tiramisu cake, which was supposedly really good. But since I was full, and my friend had just started a diet, we had to pass on the offer and ordered a glass of fresh orange juice for my friend instead.

When I raised the lack of menu options to the supervisor, she explained that this is a starter menu and that they have the classic dishes as part of the daily dish theme, and added that they plan to have a terrace soon.

I would love to go back to the place when the weather is cool enough to sit outside, and share their famous tiramisu cake with my friend. As we were told, it is a big piece enough for two.
My conclusion is: if you live in the further end of JLT, and feel like dining at a decent place, but can’t be too bothered to drive or head to the mall, then the Italian Kitchen is a great option for a quiet meal in a relaxed and simple environment.

I think my friend has described it best when she said that the place is great compared to other eateries in the area where it’s located.

In the meantime, I will be looking for another Italian spot to satisfy my recent lasagna craving.

Timely Unwinding

At the time that I decided to have a chilled and relaxed Friday and get a foot reflexology treatment, I didn’t know that the timing would be perfect since I started to get a cold and feel worn-out and exhausted.

I was excited to try a Balinese massage center that I used to pass by while walking in the area, but never really thought of trying.  I always trusted the big chain places for my back massage or foot reflexology fix. Not knowing that I was missing out on what turned out to be a great find in an even greater location!

The branch I booked at is located right across a metro stop one station away from where I live. You will understand the great value of this criteria if you live in Dubai and don’t drive. To me, any place that’s within walking distance from a metro station is a gem…of course, provided that the place is worth the visit.

Unfortunately, booking my appointment was not part of the great experience. I was trying to find out from the receptionist what the difference was between the 30 minute and 60 minute feet reflexology treatment. His answer was simply more confusing that I ended up booking a 30 minute session when I actually wanted an hour-long treatment. He told me that the one hour treatment included a full body massage, which didn’t make sense…So after hanging up the phone, I hoped that I would meet someone else at the reception and try to understand the difference from them. Then I started imagining a scenario with only that guy at the reception and me repeating the exact same dialogue we had on the phone, only this time at the shop!
On my way walking to my appointment (my favorite part since I get to walk and don’t need to take a cab to reach my destination), most of the passers by in the metro bridge were wearing their shorts and beach wear and carrying their back-packs after what I assumed was a full day at the beach.  The rest of the city was probably at their homes getting ready for a big night out.  I on the other hand, was as usual, doing my own thing and creating my own unwinding plan, which mind you, might not appeal to anyone on the face of this universe 🙂

To my relief, I was greeted by a lady at the reception and was able to understand clearly what I would be getting in both treatments. I asked her what she would recommend for someone at the beginning stages of a cold or sickness, and she suggested that I do a 30 minute feet reflexology and 30 minute back massage. I was delighted by her answer since back massages are a favorite of mine, and immediately agreed to the offer.

Being awarded for “best value massage 2008” and “best budget spa 2010”, I wasn’t expecting a fancy treatment room or anything high-end, but the stainless steel towel rack which resembles the one I had bought for my bathroom did prove to be amusing for the first glance! If only they had took the effort to assemble it properly so that the racks wouldn’t swing when you tried to hang anything on them. I actually had a moment of pride knowing that I did a good job in assembling my piece!

When I first met my massage therapist and spoke to her, I was doubtful as to how strong the massage will be. But I later found out how mistaken I was! The pressure she exerted on my back made me wonder if she was using her own feet to step on my body! It was just the right amount of pressure though, and was done in a highly professional manner.

I never had anyone massage my toes to the bone in a feet reflexology session before! She used her knuckles at the bottom of my feet and that’s exactly what I needed after walking in not so comfortable sandals the other day. I had even attempted to do similar massage strokes myself on my feet the other day, so you can imagine how contented I was when she targeted those sore spots on my feet.

The background music, although repetitive was pleasant and calming. It was a combination of birds chirping and some chimes and other instruments playing.

What made this treatment stand out from others I have tried in town, is the fact that the steps the therapist made didn’t feel memorized and practiced over and over again…I felt as if the treatment was customized for my needs, and that the therapist performed her job with dedication and good spirit. As opposed to making me feel like I’m the 100,000 customer she has done this service to since the beginning of her employment at this role…and counting….It didn’t feel like she was just doing the job to get it over with and start with the next client on the list for that day.

The therapist was friendly and even asked how I liked the pressure of the massage, and if I had any problem areas that I wanted her to focus on.  She gave me the impression that I was the master of my own treatment! that I was in total control of exactly how I wanted the treatment to be done.  And that to me was another bonus for the place.

Unlike other massage centers, the treatment did not end with an offer of a ginger tea, green tea or any other type of tea for that matter, but the wide glass of warm water I was served would not lessen the overall quality of the experience.

A massage treatment that eased up my nasal congestion, worked on the right spots, while exerting the right amount of pressure is definitely scoring high points in my book. Add to that a convenient location, at a budget price that gives you value for your money, and a very friendly therapist who even told me: “you’re beautiful”.  I believe the Balinese massage center deserved the awards it was given, and it is a great refreshment from the other value massage options in town. And with its out-of-mall location, I personally will become a fan of this place.

Now though, I will have another cup of my anti-oxidant green tea with honey….hopefully I will be in better condition when it’s time to take up my first Pilates class next week.