Categories Travel Junkie Diary of UAE

Alamira Noor Bani Hashim

Thursday, May 16, 2013
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We are in the U.A.E with Alamira Noor Bani Hashim, one of the most influential Emarati woman in her country, the U.A.E. Is one of the founder of The Dinner Club by No.57 which is a new way of experiencing food by way of an underground supper-club. Every month, her business partner, Buthaina Al Mazrui and herself choose a different location, gather a group of unique individuals, and serve delicious, beautiful, mouthwatering food. Think of it as a surprise underground party for your senses. But better. Based between Abu Dhabi and Dubai and her incredible busy schedule, it is so hard for her to find time to travel, so she resorts to local escapes “Plus, there really isn’t anywhere more beautiful than the UAE!” {*Photo Credits to Cherry Pick Dubai}

We are so excited to have Alamira Noor Bani Hashim here on Travel Junkie Diary!

Here is her diary in the U.A.E

Favorite hotel Mina Al Salam in Dubai is a classic getaway.

In your suitcase 

The U.A.E has incredible weather for most of the year and all you really need is a light sweater over whatever you are wearing especially from December to April. People here tend to dress up a little bit more than usual, so make sure you bring your finest when visiting. The summer gets really hot and humid, so make sure to pack things in light materials like cotton. But don’t forget that everything is super air conditioned and you’ll need a jacket for when you step inside somewhere, like the mall. Also, please always respect the U.A.E modest culture when dressing.

Dined at

La Petite Maison. Their food is very homey and their portions are surprisingly big. The Burrata, Penne Arrabiata and the Calamari are incredible. It is very hard to find a booking for the weekend, so make sure to do so well in advance. I also really enjoyed Smiling Bkk, which is a hole in the wall Thai Restaurant in Dubai. I love that their place-mats are random pages ripped out of magazines. Something else that is really fun to do is Ateliers des Chefs in Dubai. You can book it out with a bunch of friends, cook a meal all together and then enjoy it. It is so much fun and you get to learn a few tricks!

Shopped

S*uce is great for super quirky items, and Spera in J3 mall is perfect for those long flow dresses and skirts. Comptoir 102 in Jumeirah is this amazing new converted villa that has everything from gold head pieces to dainty rings and chairs. Their newly opened café serves super healthy smoothies that actually taste delicious.  Oh! I can’t wait for the opening of The Luxury Arcade in Abu Dhabi that will hold all these insane designers that you can’t find anywhere else. It will be in The World Trade Center next to the old souk. And after all that shopping and running around, the best place to get pampered in is JetSet for hair and Nbar for nails. They do such an incredible job and get you looking pretty and ready to hit the town! I recently also discovered this tiny thrift bookstore in Abu Dhabi that has the most beautiful old leather bound books that are tattered and falling apart and for such a steal. It is behind behind Hamdan Street, right in front of the Mosque.

Diary

If you are looking for something more relaxed, then Abu Dhabi is probably a better option. There are a lot of beautiful places to go visit like the Sheikh Zayed Mosque and Emirates Palace. Most of your time will be spent at cafes or relaxing at people’s homes. Dubai is where all the glitz and glam lies. It is perfect for all the shopping you want to do (I have yet to go to all the stores in Dubai Mall!) or relaxing at the beach. Their roster of fine dining restaurants is endless: Zuma, La Petite Maison and Roberto’s top the list. Make sure to book ahead of time because they get full quick. There is a whole slew of new cool laid back café’s in town like Comptoir 102, The Archive and The Pantry for late morning brunches. For nice weekend getaways, so many people loved Bab Al Shams out in the middle of the desert for star gazing at night and a more traditional experience.

Tips The best time to visit the U.A.E is in the winter time ( November to March) because the weather is so wonderful and there are so many places to go and see! One of the nicest places to go is Bein Al Jisrein in Abu Dhabi because you get a wonderful view of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. I can never get enough of it.

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  • Would you go to furthermost place on earth? 
I’m so excited to announce our 5th destination release on @travelwithtjd 
Join us on the 1st-6th of May 2020 to the Northernmost Settlement on earth and explore the Norwegian archipelago between mainland Norway and the North Pole on an Arctic expedition. In this packed polar journey, we have the chance to encounter some arctic wildlife, Kayaking into the glorious glaciers, snowmobiling into the earth’s depends fjords, enjoy husky safari, taste the culinary Arctic experience and learn so much about our beautiful planet.
Few tips on the trip: 
During May, it will be the start of the midnight sun, and so, the sun will not set below the horizon
As flights on our packages are not included, I always suggest to find the best flight deals through @wegoarabia which will give you a range of flights to chose from, matches your budget and connecting flights
Please get in touch if you would like to join this expedition, also, keep in mind that you will need a certain fitness level to join. 
Due to safety circumstances, we can only have 6 guests in one group. 
#TravelwithTJD #CreateYourReality
Photo by @dennisstever
  • Svalbard is a Norwegian archipelago between mainland Norway and the North Pole. The archipelago is composed of nine main islands. 
We visited Pyramiden, 2 hours by boat from longyearbyen, and known as a Soviet Ghost Town, an abandoned Russians coal mine settlement sold to the Soviet Union back in 1927. When we arrived, they told us that they have seen few polar bears around and so had to stay close. 
Barentsburg, the second largest settlement in Svalbard with about 450 inhabitants, mostly, also, Russians... Some of the other islands have amongst scientist and researchers. Needless to say, Longyearbyen is the northernmost capital on earth.
I also want to thank the team at @arcticexpedition.no who were so incredible with us, it wouldn’t have been the same without them, despite me being a little afraid of walking out, they assured our safety ☺️ Make sure you join us on our next @travelwithtjd in May to Svalbard once again!#TravelwithTJD
  • With thousands of years of history frozen in time, the Arctic, for me, is as a place where we can freeze our former selves and visualize what we can achieve what’s found in stories,  books and inspiring people that made it this far. 
It’s just you, the land, and your thoughts, and you can't leave until you've wrestled with yourself and emerged a survivor. 
But then again, the light is much more intense up here and everything looks different because of it. The sun hasn’t set in a couple of months, and you can see things much more clearly when it is light all of the time. 
I’m addicted to the Arctic, it has been so for the past two years as @dennisstever and I set a mission to work together to conquer it on @travelwithTJD 
Thanks to @dennisstever for capturing this moment.
Thank you to the wonderful team @arcticexpedition.no for making this a memorable experience ❤️
  • Im at the Earth’s northernmost inhabited settlement and I made this happen!!
A Norwegian archipelago in the Arctic Ocean. Svalbard is home to the ‘King of the Arctic’, which is the Polar Bear, followed by whales, Arctic Fox, Birds, Seals, Walrus and Reindeers. Svalbard is 600 miles away from the North Pole, the farthest place on earth I have ever been. This is not a dream...I created this beautiful reality. #TravelwithTJD @travelwithtjd @visitsvalbard
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In so many ways. 
Ive always felt that my moods could be best explained in photos (and music) and that’s why I’m drawn to photography because it allows me to portray what’s going on inside when words fail. 
@dennisstever and I spent a week in Finland for the midnight sun, exploring the summer season. He probably took a thousand shots of this moment and encouraged me to keep going despite the cold waves splashing on me. 
But, I’m thankful, because, after a while, the cold numbed me, so I caught my breath, looked around and realized how F*** amazing it is to feel alive!
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Loving yourself, or accepting yourself doesn’t start with just accepting your body or its ‘flaws’, that’s not how we become ‘ordinary’, and the constant focus on bodies is directing the false message, denoting how our looks comes first and preaching about it (constantly)is not ordinary. 
Whatever happened to beauty from within? Or education? 
Are we truly loving ourselves if we put our body ‘flaws’ constantly out there on social media waiting again, for others to approve and congratulate you?
Is that not just promoting more “What’s on the outside counts more than what’s on the inside?”
Acceptance and beauty is deeper than that, because, surely, a body’s ‘ordinary’ image, is not solely what we should or should not be celebrating. 
Imperfections comes from the inside... Our actions, reactions, our weaknesses, strengths, our challenges and triumphs, our anxieties.
Loving oneself is accepting our heart and mind’s inability to function today but still give tomorrow another chance. 
We are beautiful for how we make others feel, for being there for one another, for lifting each other, for forgiving, for loyalty, for being there for your children, for your family, for strangers and for those around you and definitely not because we have or have not accepted our bodies and those around us. 
Whoever you are... our ‘imperfections’ in our souls are what makes ordinary and learning to accept it, is what makes you beautiful, and that is what we need to be sharing. 
So let’s highlight what’s on the inside, instead of just purely focusing on the outside. Because, that’s the only way we can truly love ourself, and not by perfect or imperfect bodies.
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My collection of images posted on Instagram, are spontaneous memories of living through joy, love, passion, achievements, sadness and struggles. 
My journey, my soul and those in my life, expressed in words and photography. 
I shoot for what is important for me and not for what is expected of me. I post when I want to, and not when a schedule says it’s time to. 
I might have fewer ‘likes’ on some images than others and I’m not consumed by it because my reality is keeping me ‘disconnected’ from social media ... In my real world, I have those around me who make me love with every heart beat, laugh till my stomach hurts and lift me up till my hands touch the sky. 
My intentions is to always stay true to myself first, to my passion, to my photography. I believe that’s the only way one can create something extraordinary. Thank you for all the support throughout the years, or if you have just followed... thank you for your messages and your words of encouragement. 💫
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I’m a forever kind of person. I don’t have room for temporary. I believe in big love, of growing old with your friends and soulmates. I believe in being there for people through thick and thin. I believe in not giving up when things get tough. I believe in relationships that can make it through everything... 💫
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I can never get bored of this view! 😍