Sunday, 25 February 2007


Well, its been a HUGE week in Dubai. I've successfully graduated to business class after a week of testing and practicals that include over the top open hand gestures, wanky service phrases and acquiring far too much knowledge of hommous. We started as a group of 10, finished as a group of 8 and staggered into the cafeteria for some graduation cake which makes the whole week seem worth it.

My expectations of the upgrade included gorging on the cheese boards, picking at the fruit and sampling the delicious deserts that are accompanied by rasberry coulis. Not so. It was a week of late late nights, followed by early mornings full of homework, presentation preparation and memorising menus. Also way too much chatting on the phone and internet made for an exhausting week.

Typically, the college buses were on schedule - at least 20 minutes late every day, which sent us all into a spin. You'd think the punishment for being late to class was death with the amount of panicking in the foyer and frantic phone calls to transport that were happening. Being back at college for the week was like revisiting a rather unpleasant insitiution that you spent a great deal of time at as a child. It smells like a hospital and the food is more predictable than President Bush's stance on weaponry.

After mastering the duty free hand held computers that clearly are worth the 2000 US dollars our instructors claim, we scooted upstairs to be scrutinised for a grooming check and then were sent onwards to the auditorium.

Graduation was ........ graduation. I managed to get up on stage, accept my certificate, shake all the right hands, smile like a beauty queen on prozac and then get back to my seat - all without incident or embarrassing myself. I was rather proud of myself. Freya and Ash then presented me with the hugest, most gorgeous bunch of lillies i've ever seen and our lounge room smells beautiful.

Later that night we had the tunes pumping, had bellies full of pasta and were off to a house party before gracing Zinc (aptly nicknamed STINK) with an appearance. Like it is every night it was full of crew and seemed like a rather incestuous family reunion. Luckily there are some very dark corners to hide in when you see someone you don't feel like talking to.

We woke up feeling rather sorry for ourselves and decided that packets of twisties were our only hope. I jetted of for a short trip to Bahrain, a thrilling new destination for me.

I'm off to Kuala Lumpur for my last trip in economy and I think I'll be doing some reflecting over the next few days. It'll go along these lines: I can't wait to be rid of hundreds of call bells, hundreds of bags and hundreds of screaming children. I assume the desperation for water will be somewhat less up the front as well!

Friday, 9 February 2007

Fancy a Scone?

Well it's that time again: time for a new bad cat picture. This is Stu:

I called home today to ask Mum if she had a scone recipe - I woke up from my post-flight nap craving scones and had to have them right away. I tried the recipe out on my friend Jena and she rates them. If you're also craving scones, try this recipe:

2 cups self raising flour
a pinch of salt
90 grams (3 ounces) of butter
2/3 cup of milk
2 tablespoons of sugar
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
30 grams extra sugar

* Sift flour and salt into bowl. * Rub in butter until mixture resembles fine bread crumbs. * Add milk slowly. * Mix to a soft dough. * Turn on to floured surface. * Knead lightly. * Roll out to a 1/4 an inch thickness. * Cut into rounds using a cutter or something round - I use a cup. * Brush top and sides with melted extra butter. * Mix sugar and cinnamon and brush sprinkle over butter . * Place on greased surface and cook for 10-15 minutes (until lightly brown) in a hot oven (180 degrees).

To make them extra special, try them with a glass of Baileys on ice - we did and they were tops!

Two Dirty Carpet Discos please!

What a week! I've just returned home from a week long Bangkok/Sydney trip that saw me spend three days in Sydney with my Mum!

It was wonderful - Mum flew down from Brissie, met us at the airport and then caught the crew bus with us to the hotel. We had a fabulous time dining by the opera house and had a drink at the lovely Opera Bar at sunset. We scanned the cocktail list for something fabulous and came across a sure winner: the Dirty Carpet Disco. We giggled and decided we had to have one. We took our drinks and sat by the water and marvelled at the size of the Sapphire Princess, a massive cruise ship parked in the harbour. We had a further giggle when a little boat hooted past and a distinctly loud honk was heard. As the princess of silly sayings, I said "that's a big noise for such a little boat"! Then we realised that the cruise ship was reversing and it was the perpetrator of the honk.....rather embarrassing really!

We treated ourselves to room service the next night, watching Desperate Housewives as we drank our wines. The next day was spent shopping till we felt like dropping - my credit cards copped a caning and we struggled back to the hotel with our goodies to get ready for dinner with my friend Lauren, who has recently moved to Sydney from Adelaide and also stayed with me in Dubai last October. We went down to the wharf and had a lovely dinner, bottle of wine and shared our table with a few baby cockroach-like creatures that kept flying out of the bushes next to us! Ewww.......I hope they weren't the crunchy bits in my salad!

The next day we got up early, put a colour in Mum's hair and managed not to get a drop on the hotel towels. We hit the shops again, this time checking out the trendy Rocks area. We found a fabulous antique jewellery store and Mum treated herself to the most gorgeous pair of earrings.

The entire crew farewelled Mum at the airport and I could tell she was thrilled. The crew really were excellent and we've made plans for dinner and dancing tomorrow night. We were delayed by a lightning storm, so I sat in a passenger seat and played Tetris for about half an hour while we waited for take-off!

Back in Bangkok, I had a much needed sleep and hit the shops again. I bought a beautiful hand punched leather picture backed with gorgeous white rice paper and set about smuggling it back to Dubai. My suitcase was packed to the brim and we aren't allowed to carry anything outside our bags. I managed to fit it inside on of the guy's jacket holders. I caught the airtrain back to the hotel station and found Health Land, a gorgeous place that does massage and scrubs and all sorts of treats. I decided I was in serious need of a body scrub and an aroma massage and floated out of the 2.5 hours later.

A massive 7 hours later and we FINALLY landed in Dubai. Our nerves were all paper thin by this time and I crawled gratefully into bed and didn't get out until 3.30pm.

It was so lovely to have my beautiful Mum with me in Sydney for three days. I had her all to myself and shared some lovely laughs. I can't wait to get this trip again - looking forward to more girl time!