I Survived ‘The Edge’! My Visit to Eureka Skydeck at Melbourne

All four of us (Umana, Shelly, Sharful and Selina) went to see the Eureka Skydeck at Melbourne, Australia in 2010. This is the highest skyscraper in Melbourne. It offers an awe inspiring view of the city of Melbourne from the Southern Hemisphere’s highest vantage point. Located on the southern banks of the Yarra river of Melbourne, Eureka is positioned for 360 degree, floor-to-ceiling views!

Here is the picture I took in front of the 88 storied skyscraper:

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Here is the picture of Sharful in the observation deck:

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Here are the pictures I took of the Melbourne city from the Eureka Skydeck’s 88th floor terrace above the ground:

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The Skydeck 88 is the only observation deck in the world that can thrill its visitors with ’The Edge’ — a glass cube which projects 3 meters out from the building — with the maximum capacity of 12 visitors in it — suspended almost 300 meters above the ground! I thought it would be a great challenge for me to endure the thrill in there! Nonetheless, I survived ‘The Edge’!

Here is a relatively recent YouTube video post on Melbourne featuring the Eureka Skydeck, uploaded by its own YouTube channel Eureka Skydeck:

Below is a YouTube video of Eureka Sky Tower of Skydeck 88, and the Edge Experience, uploaded by the CityDiscovery YouTube channel:

Skydeck 88 strongly recommends its visitors not ride ’The Edge’ if they possess any of the following conditions:

If they have acrophobia, i.e. fear of heightsIf they have claustrophobia, i.e. fear of closed spacesIf they are sensitive to loud or sudden noiseIf they are pregnantIf they have heart problemsIf they have Epilepsy, and other medical conditions

According to the Weekend Notes blog post by Lionel, a trip to Melbourne’s highest man-made lookout point — Eureka Skydeck 88, is incomplete without having the opportunity of mailing postcards to family or friends from Australia’s highest postbox! Four of us were introduced to this concept for the first time during our trip to the Skydeck, and we thought that it was a cool concept! Four of us — Umana, ShellySharful and Selina dropped two postcards from there to reach our apartment in Bangladesh.

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Above is the post box I had been talking about!

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The picture above is of Sharful and Shelly writing the postcards to themselves from the 88th floor of Eureka Skydeck while Selina looked on.

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The pictures above are about me, Sharful and Selina making a post to ourselves to our home in Bangladesh from the world’s highest post box in Melbourne, Australia!

Interestingly, though all of us had expected that the postcards would reach us at the same time yet the postcards did never reach at the same time! Although we stayed at Dhanmondi in the same building, it was strange that my card had not reached even within the same month it had reached Sharful and Selina! I thought the postcard to myself was lost in transit somehow yet it finally reached me more than a month later after Sharful and Selina’s postcard to themselves reached them!

Thank God, my postcard to myself ultimately reached me after a long time though I thought it was lost in transit! But, oh well, better late, than never!

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A Trip Down Under!

Four of us (i.e., Umana, Shelly, Selina and Sharful) had decided to have a trip ‘down under’ during 2010. We decided Melbourne could be an ideal place to visit Australia for the very first time!

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Here’s one of the videos (posted in YouTube by ’experiencemelbourne’ channel in 2009) that we had watched initially before setting out to explore Melbourne.

Here is one of the latest videos (2013) on Australia tourism (Melbourne Vacation Travel Guide) posted by the ’Expedia’ channel in YouTube:

From a 09 hour-long trip straight from Malaysia, boarding on a budget air we landed in Melbourne, Australia only for five days. Melbourne wakes up pretty early and the day starts from about 7 am and everything closes at around 5 pm! After five, the whole town seems just like a ghost town!

Luckily there were free trams and hop-on-hop-off buses available to explore the city. Unfortunately, due to my inability to get off the jet lag, I used to wake up at about 12 noon – 01 pm Melbourne time. Then I used to have only a couple of hours to explore the city!

Here are the pictures I had clicked of Docklands area surrounding our service apartment at Melbourne.

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These are the surrounding areas of Arkley service apartments at the Docklands, Melbourne, Australia. There are many expensive restaurants, exhibits and museums nearby.

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These are our pictures we had clicked in the evening once me and my friend Selina set out to explore the area at Docklands.

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It was pretty darn cold and quite like the climate of Knoxville, Tennessee. All of the four seasons could be experienced in one day! Dressing up in layers was still inadequate with the jackets that we packed with us. This is when we realized we should have gotten gloves to prevent the wind chill.

These picture below are of the Arkley service apartments at Docklands, Melbourne that four of us had booked for ourselves.

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The picture above is the entrance of the Arkley apartments that we had checked in. The apartment was extremely secured. None was allowed without swiping a card and the elevator could only take one to the designated apartment s/he lived in. No way one could approach any other apartment in the building. Therefore one could only see this much of the other apartments from the balcony (take a look at the picture below):

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My friend Sharful was ecstatic about the view of the Melbourne river. In the picture below you can get an idea you happy he was with the beautiful view from the balcony of the apartment as he was asking us to have a look once we just checked in the apartment. You may notice we had just dropped our luggage inside the living room and set out to explore the nook and cranny of the apartment.

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This is Melbourne river at night (picture above).

Before I say adios, let me share this beautiful video of new years fireworks of 2014 at Docklands, Victoria, Melbourne, Australia by Samuel Brown.

See you soon! Here’s Umini signing off by saying, “G’day, Mate!”

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Sights of Putrajaya in Malaysia

In late 2011, I went to Malaysia for a pleasure trip. I stayed at Damansara, not very far away from KL. Here I found my long lost friend and class mate Afsana Jahan, who came all the way from Gombak to Damansara, only to see me with her children. We had a girls’ day out once she drove me to Putrajaya, Malaysia’s administrative city.

Here are some of the pictures I took of the city Putrajaya while on my way in her car.

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This Seri Saujana Bridge was really a fabulous piece of architecture!

Here are some more snapshots of buildings I took of some buildings there from her car.

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The picture above is of Masjid Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin, known as Steel Mosque. I took the snapshot while stepping out of her car during sunset around Putrajaya. This is the second principal mosque in Putrajaya, Malaysia after Putra Mosque.

The Putrajaya is a beautifully planned town and is worth a visit. This is the Federal Government Administrative Center of Malaysia; not very far away from the capital Kuala Lumpur (KL). The administrative capital was shifted from the capital KL to free the capital from traffic congestion.

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The picture above is a view of one of the administrative buildings of the city (possibly the Ministry of Finance) that I took while on the go. This shot I managed to take while I was inside her car. The city is spotless, clean, and beautifully maintained.

Here is an aerial view of the city; a beautiful video uploaded by Yusmar Yahya YouTube channel:

Boldly standing with beautiful architecture is the Masjid Putra (Putra Mosque) which is majestic place for worship. I visited the place with my friend and her children. She offered prayers there. I was modestly dressed and therefore needed no gown or hood to cover myself. However, I missed the floor sign that wrote/depicted, ‘no shoes’ inside a particular area and therefore I was given a somber threat through a gesture from one of the curators of the mosque.

Being a Muslim myself, I could understand what he meant while his gesture meant something else that was very unwelcoming! However, this is what that could turn-off most of the people away, i.e. those who do not know much about this religion might misunderstand the religion and thus harbor negative feelings! There is no attitude problem in the religion, but only with some people’s ignorant attitudes who forget the teachings and the motto of this beautiful religion.

Here is a YouTube video of the iconic Putra Mosque in Putrajaya, uploaded by Aerialogy/Aerializm. This is video could relax your mind by letting you experience the vivid serenity and calmness of this mosque.

Here is another beautiful YouTube video by Hafiz Ismail in his own YouTube channel. The video is on the ‘time lapse of a majestic sunset at Putra Mosque’, Enjoy:

I hope you had fun while taking these magnificent virtual aerial tours in this blog post! See you soon!

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Bosphorous Cruise!

Hey there everybody! I haven’t been able to catch up with you all lately due to my sojourn at Istanbul, Turkey.

I still was on the go and was yet to return to my destination at Knoxville, Tennessee. Nonetheless, while on the go I wrote this piece, since I could not defer sharing this amazing cruise that I had done in Bosphorus at Istanbul.

In the first day of my Istanbul tour, while I was strolling through the sites nearby the Sultan Ahmet mosque, suddenly a man named Ozan approached me and Shelly with a 02 hour cruise offer titled as I-MIEV at Bosphorous Boat Tours nearby. He handed a leaflet and tried to convince us to take the cruise which was about to start in half an hours time.

The cruise was between two continents along the Bosphorous: Europe and Asia since Istanbul spans in both the continents; isn’t that amazing! The ship cruised by these historic places:
- Dolmabahce Palace
- Beylerbeyl Palace, and
– Wooden villas and mansions up to Rumeli Fortress

I am sharing two YouTube videos by AG34 channel that showcased the Bosphorous bridge panoramic view during night and day time:

Here is the night time scenery video:

And here is how Bosphorous bridge at daytime:

While being on the ship, this is one of the pictures I had grabbed:

Bosporous View from Boat

Below is the picture of myself in a Turkish costume. I did not buy it though, during the boat trip along the Bosphorous, there was an option for the tourists on board to hire a photographer during the boat trip. Turkish costumes were available for men and women to don and pose in front of the photographer. The photographer was an expert and he took hardly ten minutes or maybe less for about 21 shots of me and Shelly.

Here is one of my impromptu shots at the photo-session:

I hope you have enjoyed this latest post. I hope to catch up with you all soon, Lord willing! Till then, take care you all!

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My Visit to Burj Khalifa — The Tallest Skyscraper in the World!

Most probably many of you are aware of the tallest building in this world — Burj Khalifa. I have been fortunate enough to take a tour of this fabulous building. The sightseeing experience is one of a kind. This wonder of the world is a magnificent sightseeing center piece of the downtown Dubai. Burj Khalifa is an emblem of Dubai’s progress and the prosperity of the Middle East.

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Dubai has a vision of attaining the seemingly impossible and a target of setting of new benchmarks! Fortunately our friends used to stay in The Residences Apartments at Downtown Dubai. These apartments are situated right at the opposite of the Burj Khalifa! The above picture I have been able to take up close. However, me and Shelly could experience the observation deck of this skyscraper (At The Top observation deck on the level 124, combining an experience of levels 148 and 125 of the world’s tallest tower with audio guided tour) once I went to Dubai for a conference — International Conference on Emerging Research Paradigms in Business and Social Sciences (ERPBSS) at the University of Middlesex, Dubai.

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Here is the picture of the Burj Khalifa I took right in front of the skyscraper while I was about to enter the building.

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The above picture I had been able to take of the skyscraper from Dubai’s skytrain by Dubai Metro (a driver-less, fully automated metro rail network) while it was plying.

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While my visit to Tanveer and Samira’s place in early 2010, I took the picture from their The Residences Apartment while a light show was going on during the evening.

Here is sharing some of the pictures I took while experiencing the ‘At The Top’ observation deck at the Burj Khalifa:

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The picture below is a panoramic view of the Dubai Mall from the observation deck of Burj Khalifa.

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This is a beautiful YouTube video uploaded by Expedia channel featuring Dubai vacation travel guide that features the Burj Khalifa, among other magnificent attractions of Dubai:

I hope you liked this feature of blog post outlining the thrill of life experience. Stay tuned for some more of my posts on panoramic tours around the world.

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The Genting Highlands Adventure in Malaysia

Four of us friends (Sharful, Selina, Shelly, and Umana) went to the Genting Highlands in Malaysia back in August, 2008. Genting Highlands is a famous hill resort that is about 5,710 feet above the ground and it is situated within the Titiwangsa Mountains on the border between the states of Pahang and Selangor of Malaysia.

The most attractive expedition one could take up at the Genting Highland is its gondola lift. It used to be the World’s fastest and South East Asia’s longest gondola lift!

Here is the picture of mine with my friend Selina Laiwala while we were about to embark on a journey to the Genting Highlands in Malaysia:

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This wonderful video of the entire journey of Genting Highlands‘ Genting Skyway tour at Malaysia was uploaded by the YouTube channel called Apple Foodees YouTube channel.

In addition to the Skyway exhilarating expedition, one can take pleasure in enjoying the indoor and outdoor theme park there. The Skyway expedition is worth it, especially when the cable car wades through the clouds of the highlands!

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My Visits to Madame Tussaud’s in Bangkok and NYC

I had always wanted to visit Madame Tussaud’s at London yet I did not get a chance to. The good thing is: Madame Tussaud’s has so many branches worldwide now. Therefore, I went to the Tussaud’s at Bangkok for the very first time in 2012. Here are some of the pictures:

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I think I have a para-social relationship with Oprah. I never used to miss the Oprah Show when it used to be telecast during weekends at my home country.

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This has always been a dream to appear as a guest at Oprah Show. Well, if not in reality, one can click a picture like being interviewed by none other than Oprah Winfrey and frame this photo in his/her living!

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I am with the replica statue of how Einstein would have looked like in the real life! My cousin who was a doctorate and post-doctorate from Princeton was inspired to study Princeton University since it was Albert Einstein’s school!

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I am inspired by Ludwig van Beethoven’s inspiring compositions and when I read his biography, I really feel very sad as his hearing power was compromised at an early age of his life. The cause of his ailment was unknown — most probably it was an autoimmune disorder. Ringing in his ear made it difficult for him to hear music. I feel so sad when I try to imagine his situation. I also try to put myself in his shoes as to why he used to immerse his head in cold water to stay awake. Although living with the challenge of deafness made him think about suicide, yet he made a resolution to continue living for and through his art.

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The Bangkok museum also had a replica of Oval Office, which was interesting! Once I went to the Madame Tussaud’s at NYC last year, I also got to pose with the Obamas once again!

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In the museum at New York City, I saw Oprah once more.

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I admire Ben Franklin a lot and that’s why I posed with him and sat on the mock set up of his desk there. Benjamin Franklin had a beautiful handwriting! His handwriting was once featured in one of the Advertising texts written by Arens where it had a vignette on early days of advertising.

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Here is Marilyn Monroe’s statue in her classic pose wearing the ’White Ivory Cocktail Dress’ in Manhattan subway scene in the film ’Seven Year Itch’ !

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I listen to a lot of old-time songs since my very childhood and The Beatles is my most favorite. Here in the Tussaud’s museum, all of the statues of this pop group seemed a ditto copy except the statue of Ringo Star (which was sitting beside John Lenon’s).

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I have been a fan of Michael Jackson since I was in school. I feel really sad however of his early demise all on a sudden!

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I am with the Spice Girls’ statues below. In my high school days I used to listen to their upbeat music and do my sums!

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I remember, when I was a toddler, I got to know about the legendary boxer Mohammad Ali. Bangladesh had a huge fan following of the legend at that time. I believe this fame of his has not waned at all even till now at least my home country. There was also a song dedicated to the legend. When I was a child, I used to sing, “Tumi Mohammad Ali!…” (meaning ’You are Mohammad Ali!…’)

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I saw Tyra Banks for the very first time in one of the Oprah Shows. This ’Black Beauty’ is one of the most attractive fashion models I have ever seen!

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Shelly made me pose with the statue of George Clooney in the next picture:

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When I was in school, I used to watch the television show ’Mork and Mindy’ where Robin Williams was the lead character. This picture below with his statue was clicked in May 2014. At that time, I had no idea that he would leave us so soon! Maybe his complications with Parkinsons were really terrible that he did not want to live anymore! Nonetheless, I am no one to judge yet having a little experience with Multiple Sclerosis I can tell that the option of suicide may not be a great idea since one never knows for sure if s/he will get salvation in the afterlife from the pangs of day to day sufferings of this world!

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Pattaya Blues!

With this blog post on ’Pattaya Blues’ I am going to reminisce about my sojourn at Pattaya, Thailand. I am terming this short trip as my “Pattaya Blues” since I couldn’t enjoy as expected due to sudden illness :(((( yet I am glad that my friends were around!

This was the Pattaya pristine seascape view from the balcony of my hotel room.

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This was the balcony that was adjacent to my hotel room.

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This was the dining space in Best Western. You could tell the hotel was all colorful inside out!

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Here is the room in Pattaya at the Best Western that I checked in.

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The hotel bathrooms at Thailand strangely have glass windows in them and it was no different than the usual hotel bathrooms in Thailand!

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My travel mates (Sajjad, Sharful, and Shelly) were all set to enjoy the thrill of go kart racing in Pattaya at ’Pattaya Go Karting Club’.

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Here are some snapshots of their go-kart racing moments.

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This was an ordinary restaurant at the seaside. However, my working experience as a hotelier once at Sheraton Dhaka told me that ‘welcome drink’ was supposed to be absolutely non-alcoholic. However, the welcome drink this seaside restaurant delivered had alcohol in it. Being a teetotaler it was quite frustrating when I found out that they mixed a little bit of alcohol in the welcome drink! This is a valuable lesson I learnt that there could be a cultural difference in every place you go and one should always verify before making any purchase, especially with food and drink.

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The seafood these seaside restaurants offered had seafood that was only half cooked and these are not fully done. Unless one is quite alright with half cooked fish, s/he is going to have a hard time when choosing food there.

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Dune Drive in Dubai!

After the last presentation session of the ERPBSS conference (that I went to in November 2011, more on that on my previous post), the delegates were taken on a dune drive excursion event.

Here is the snapshot of a section of the fleet of cars that were about to take off for a dune adventure journey in the desert. In the following picture you can see the array of cars that were about to leave the Hotel Pullman, Mall of the Emirates for the dune drive expedition and the cultural show thereafter.

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Here is the photo of the site once we reached. Here in this photo we were in the middle of a desert under the open sky.

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The drive was thrilling! We were on a 4w drive on the sands. This was an exhilarating experience! I had been to Dubai many times before my conference yet I could not muster the strength of my nerves to go for it! Every time Shelly was with me on my previous trips to Dubai, he did not take the adventure since my medical conditions did not give me the audacity to face this challenge. However, during late 2011 once there was an optional tour for the delegates of the conference, I registered for myself and Shelly to give it a shot!

We set out on the expedition of sand dunes on Thursday, the 24th of November 2011. I bought a ticket for me and Shelly at AED 200 per person, and the entire package included pickup from the hotel in an SUV, a 45 minute drive into the desert, and they served beverages at a pit-stop in the desert, welcoming fruits like dates, tea and coffee of traditional Arabic style, entertainment, traditional hubbly-bubbly (although I did not experience that), dinner, and a drop-off at home. The desert safari was arranged by the Middlesex University in Dubai. We experienced the view of the changing patterns of the high sand dunes across the Hajar Mountains which extended from the UAE through Oman, Yemen, and Saudi Arabia. The entire event was a 07 hour expedition that started at 3 pm and ended at 10 pm.

There were a number of local camels strolling at the site. If the delegates wanted to have a ride on the camels, they could do so if they wanted to.

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The expert driver of our car was an Egyptian gentleman who also provided us a guided tour. As a safety harness, we were asked to fasten our seatbelts all the time during the ride. We departed from the hotel and drove up to the point where they deflated the tires before entering the desert where the off-road adventure started with dune bashing. This was quite a roller coaster ride in the sand dunes! Though the driver was quite an expert and we were tied securely with the seatbelts yet I got a little hurt in one of my collar bones due to one of the sudden jerks! Later I managed to forget the pain!

Once we were done with dune bashing expedition, we were taken to a place in the desert where there was an arrangement for the Arabian cultural show and Arabian dinner with barbecue.

The desert was hot in daytime yet quite cool at night! Once I set my foot to get out of the car and wade through the sea of sands into the desert in order to reach the destination where there was arrangement of the cultural show in the desert camp, my feet were sinking in the pool of sands just like getting drowned into the ‘quicksand effect’ of the sand dunes and it took me ages to wander from one place to another which only was a very small walking distance! This is when I realized how painful it was for the prophets of this region who used to travel mostly by foot just to preach about the revelation! Preaching a religion in this geographical domain was never easy!

We were all set and ready to watch the cultural show once the dune drive expedition was over. The cultural show and barbecue dinner was accompanied by an arrangement of henna painting and sheesha smoking. Below is a couple of snapshots of the show where an artiste danced wearing illuminated costume in the show in the ‘Bedouin Camp’.

Here is an Egyptian man dancing the Tanoura dance that had its origin in Egypt; his dress was full of lights! We were shown belly-dancing here in this show as well but I refrained from uploading it here for obvious reasons as a close picture of the belly dancer might just be offensive to some cultures… you can catch a glimpse of all of these dances in the YouTube videos that I have uploaded in this post that provide a long shot of these dances. It is interesting to note, however, that in a country like the UAE, there are fully clad women in their abayas (abāyah in Arabic, which is a cloak, usually a simple, loose, robe-like dress that women wear in the Muslim world) yet there are belly dancers who make unwarranted display their body!

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Here is a high definition YouTube video on Tanoura dance, uploaded by daintellekt. You can have a look at this exotic dance, up-close and personal:

Let me share a nice YouTube video on Abu Dhabi and Dubai dune drive uploaded by Eline Fauconnier in her YouTube channel. This video is a the thrill of the experience. You shall get a feel of the dune bashing experience from this video:

Here is a high definition YouTube video on ‘Dubai Desert Safari Tour Belly Dance’ uploaded by daintellekt:

Once the show was over, we drove back to the inflation point where they inflated the tires to drive back to the hotel. The desert safari was an unforgettable experience one should take back home.

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A Conference to Remember!

It was the mid 2011 when I proactively sent a conference paper to an international conference in Dubai. I always wanted to experience such an event (i.e. an international conference) and therefore, was really besides myself with joy once the conference paper was accepted in the ERPBSS (Emerging Research Paradigms in Business and Social Sciences) organized by the Middlesex University at Dubai in late November 2011.

Here is my picture once I got out of the airport after landing in UAE for the conference:

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Like usual, I packed Shelly along with my luggage in this trip! This trip was a conference experience for me while it was a holiday for Shelly.

Shelly’s vacation began! Here is Shellychillaxing’ (chilling out and relaxing!) at the balcony of Hotel Pullman, Mall of the Emirates:

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The conference was held at Hotel Pullman, at Mall of the Emirates in Dubai. As I said before, I tagged Shelly along with me while I went to the conference. The hotel was quite nice, and I was impressed by their greeting style. Once we checked in, the television screen in the room read the following (the welcome address/greeting from the GM of the hotel in an indicatively personal way!):

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The ambiance of the hotel was also impressive. The view of Burj Al Arab at a distance from the hotel was also nice. Here’s the picture that I clicked from the hotel’s balcony:

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Here is the picture of the glitzy hanging illumination at the lobby in the upstairs where I used to browse the Net for free via Wi-Fi:

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I really loved the ambiance here (pictured above). Every night I used to make use of the Wi-Fi here to catch up with emails, Social Media and YouTube videos of my favorite show (catching up on TV however, was a very rare episode of my life yet the show was utterly fascinating that I used to be glued to it, even across the miles!).

Every day during the three-day conference, the quick breakfast used to be a tensed episode lest I run late!

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Here is what I used to have during a regular conference day, the Pullman  breakfast before my everyday errands, i.e. before leaving for the conference sessions every day…

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Once the conference was on, the day I was about to present, Shelly went outside to have a sightseeing tour via Dubai Metro and I was all by myself. I had to face the tensed course of time myself.

None was there in my room while I dressed up (for success! ;-) ) before my presentation! So I took my own picture before I left for the ‘battlefield’; naturally I was nervous and gloomy :-( due to the tension I had inside me. This is a ‘selfie’ while I got ready and was about to present in about an hour… At that time I didn’t have any smartphone, so I clicked the ‘selfie’ with the camera I had. Yes, I really do look despondent here… with the tension and all! But, thanks to Allah, my dear God, everyone loved it and it ended with a huge round of applause!

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Once the conference was over and the audience present liked my presentation, it was a great relief! I asked one of my fellow presenter colleagues to click my picture. This was the only picture I had at the venue on the day of my presentation:

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The conference was jam-packed with presentations each day. Here is a picture of one of the sessions in one of the venues:

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While writing this blog post, I have been looking back and feeling really nostalgic about the good times in the conference there!

Of all the good things, the breakfast was really awesome:

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Here is the picture of the conference proceedings of the ERPBSS, the UAP (The University of Asia Pacific, my work place) business card holder, and Hotel Pullman collateral:

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Once the conference was over with a successful paper presentation, I decided to treat myself with London Dairy ice cream from the Mall of the Emirates food court! You should check out any variety of London Dairy Ice Cream if you happen to be in the UAE.

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Once a bit free, I used to take a stroll through The Mall of the Emirates:

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The hotel ambiance was really nice, except for a few service exceptions. Here is a snapshot of the view of the hotel entrance that I took while I was there:

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I hope you enjoyed this bit of conference experience I shared with you! Catch up with you later. Please remember to check out my blog post on dune drive/desert safari expeditions.

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