Marie Laurens Taleb

 

 

(United Arab Emirates)

 

I think, I’m in Love, pure genuine Love.

 

I’ve not yet told my husband but, I’m sure, he would understand.

 

At first, I wasn’t certain but, when you come here, in the desert, the sandstorms grip your face with so strong dust that it takes your sadness towards an unknown, and forever, missing destination.

 

Dubai is exactly what a vibrant and artistic spirit would look for.

It is a city where shattered dreams are repaired by mysterious powers.

It is a place where you can learn back to live like an imaginative human being.

The thirst for pure happiness then comes back by its vibrant roots and throws away forever and ever all undesired feelings like loneliness, frustration and sometimes unfulfilled life.

 

If Aladdin, accompanied by its magic lamp, was ever there he would definitely be the guardian angel of this everything but common place.

 

We all have heard bits of stories more incredible than the others about this place but, believe me; you’re far from guessing what truly awaits you here.

It has been, it is and, is going to be beyond your dreams.

 

As a human being, who accidently happened to live there, I am going to serve you the better I can as a special guide.

 

Your personal guide.

 

I want you to see what I mean,

I want you to feel what I mean,

So that you may plainly enjoy the beauty I discovered here in Dubai,

 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

Let me present you my Love Affair with Dubai

and

Its dazzling souls,

First part: The Poetic Dubai

 

The Arabic City of Dreams counts some numerous intellectuals. In the core of its glittering scene there is the Nabati poetry much appreciated by the Locals. One, who comes into age, has to show its maturity by writing some poems that, later, are judged by the ancients. Sitting in their beloved majlis, tents often luxuriously decorated with carpets, they silently sip some cardamom coffee, eat some dates and hear what worth people have in their minds in order to be admitted into Their Circle.

 

One has successfully achieved this goal and whoever has lived in the emirate has heard about him. Some people say that he’s fascinating. Some others say that he’s a visionary. Some say that is very powerful, eventually, also some say that his existence is so exceptional that he can only be a legend… if you don’t mind, let me show you one of his poems, it is truly vibrant and kind of represent the spirit of Dubai.

 

 

 

I, with My Eye, Chose Her

 

I, with my eye, chose her,
And my wound is indeed by herself.

Of highly esteemed ancestry,
And resides in her Emirates.

With sea of yearning I met her,
Deep, with towering waves.

As a fawn, in its pasture,
A deer amongst deer.

As it happens, I wished for her,
For even a moment, her to meet.

My heart raced, though I did not see her,
Dangerous, if ever increased.

To the cadence of her voice,
Gentle, her speech.

Pierced me, the day I met her,
On a bright day we met.

Her large eyes, I discovered her,
Flowers are her cheeks.

In my eyelid, her I concealed,
Throughout my soul she spreads.

For her eyes I indulged her,
Sign of love is indulgence.

She is the one I chose,
And she satisfies all her desires.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This poem is emblematic because, metaphorically, it represents love and so the Union formed, forty years ago, by Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Ras al Kaimah, Umm al Quwain and Fujairah, to give birth to the United Arab Emirates. From gigantic celebrations to surprising more incredible than the others if we just had to choose a sample it would be its catchphrase that they created especially for the occasion.

 

                                                   Spirit of the Union.

 

Symbol of union and complementarily they managed to get through their differences to become one entity.

 

I have something to add about the author.

 

I call him Momo, but people are more used to his real name which, as it is, His Highness Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum. For now, apart from writing poems, he also is and very usefully Vice President of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai.

 

Now, Ladies and Gentlemen, let me bring you somewhere where the words of mouth are nothing without a stomach fully loaded!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Second Part: The culinary Dubai

 

Now let’s take a walk across the Old Dubai. You are in Deira, in the street where you can discover the cooking of the whole world.

 

It is called Muraqqabat Street and, believes me; it could also be called the restaurants souk.

 

On each side are various restaurants, Yemeni, Lebnan, Irani, Egypt, Iraqi, Palestinian and lots of others serving what is the must to every true Dubaian and resident in big love with food. Walk along the palm trees and choose either salted or sugary things.

 

If you want to plant your teeth into something kind of gooey try the ash sarayeh, literally The Lover’s Nest, at Al Aroos Damascus. If you’re more traditional Arabic dessert go for the cheese kounafah at Samadi. If you’re in Dubai, even for a short time, there is no way you can go back to your country before having tested THIS. Imagine some buttered semolina on a bed of unsalted cheese, yes I know it sounds strange but it’s terrific! AND, on top of all that some orange blossom flavored syrup. It melts directly into your mouth and makes you wonder how on earth has it been possible to live without this stuff until the day you landed in the desert.

 

As the afternoon starts, you’re to cross Al Rigga Street which was, a most elegant part of Dubai to all local families, the emarati response to Avenue des Champs Elysees. On its former glory you could have walked along many attractions to divert poor and rich ones. This place was the center of the former Dubai and, today, it’s like a jewel in its box. It is hidden so secretly in its old part of Dubai that you wonder if you’ve come to the right place. No matter how late it is, no matter how it has become dangerously frequented.

 

Police, authentic local response to Starsky and Hutch, is there to make justice and put some order. You walk sidda sidda, like would say the pakistani people means straight straight, until you meet with a strange and mysterious sculpture. Half carved in the stone, half built onto wood, this lace of a building cannot leave your heart insensible.

 

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Spices Souk. It is truly magnificent and, if it not had been for the sweet tooth I would have brought you there for its magnificent old buildings.

 

 

 

 

 

Buy there some Iran rose, in one of the small shops, ask for the rose and black tea recipe and take the abra, small wooden boat, for the fantastic cost of thirty cent of Euros and which brings you to the other side of the creek. Walk along the impressive array of textiles like silk, damask, moiré…

 

Ladies and Gentlemen welcome to the textile souk Meena Bazaar!

 

At the corner of the street you will see a small track which more looks like a rough place than anything else… go till its dead end to find a door half tore down which the main entrance of a building that could be believed abandoned by any human life…

 

You’re arrived into the genuine temple of Indian cooking. Here, for five Euros, you have starter main course dessert and drink for five Euros for two adults. Beware of the very low price; it is nonetheless one of the oldest and one of the best restaurant of the whole town!

Manjuna, I think Asi Baba would better suit him, is its proud owner. He created, by the sweat of his brow, a pure culinary jewel that step by step he transmitted to his thirty year old son. Son who, one day, will transfer it to his own nine year old son which is quite young but, on the other side, never too young to start to learn. Here we go, My Dear, right to the cashier!

 

Iranian black Ceylon tea for two people:

Boil 1 liter of water. When it bubbles throw on it two tea spoons of rose petals. The water is going, small fire,

two to four minutes later to infuse the rose petals. At this moment put one tea spoon of black Ceylon tea. One or two minutes later stop the fire. Let it to cool down during five minutes, then, pass it through a strain into a tea pot. Taste it accompanied by rose macaroon.

Bon Appétit !

 

 

 

Third and last part: The Blingtastic Dubai

 

When you’re in Dubai you’re supposed to discover its culture, its core culture, but there is SO much to see that if there are only a few days left you have to make a choice. A hard choice, really  hard.

 

So let’s see, then, what would be the must see and, also, to do.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A long time ago, when the ship looking Burj Al Arab opened, people started to calqued like hens because all what was gold looking was, in fact, genuine massive gold! Everywhere like door handles, bathtubs, and I don’t know what else crazy things. It was pretty much the big talking of the town and, if it was to happen again, it would not surprise anymore.

 

Because, until now, there opened totally incredible places like The Atlantis and its white sandy beaches overlooking the Palm Jumeirah. Mall of the Emirates and its marble floors, its ski slopes onto which skiers and genuine penguins are befriending!  Opened the door  to other incredible ideas. From this moment a kind of new trend was created.

 

It doesn’t matter if it’s excessive as long as it is impressive!

 

In Dubai, old and new times are melted. Nowadays young locals drive their giant SUV’s in order to impress their fellow ladies by humming their powers and parade their muscles, flexed by hormone powders drank every morning before going to Fitness First

 

For those who have to show off, the new horse of a man, a real man, is called customized GMC

 

The old ones, who were made from a softer material than the young ones, had another idea of how to live. Falconry fighting’s, camel races. But the best one EVER! Is the beauty camel contest they created by copy paste our own national beauty contest… if you see what I mean!

It is so touching that a beautiful camel lady, who won the race, can fetch a nice price of around one million Euros! What a bargain!

 

On Thursday evening, starter evening of the week end, you should see the young locals parading into their sports cars onto the Walk at JBR with their pets, the more exotic the better, like monkeys, it’s not a joke I saw this !, and why not on the same time one or two panthers !

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eventually they had the great idea to create Burj Khalifah and The Dubai Mall complex. This place is so superlative that only feelings can describe it. On the outside terrace of the Dubai Mall, which is the size of dozens of hectares, they have installed into a giant man-made lake the highest Fountain in the World up to 200 meters high, inside the mall they have installed the biggest aquarium in the world into which you can swim with sharks, the biggest mall in the world, they have also built Burj Khalifah the highest tower in the world 828 m and the highest restaurant in the highest tower in, guess what… the world.

 

There is no doubt that fairy tales are for babies and children but, I promise, each time I go there I stare like a little girl and I have all the difficulties in the world to recover my breath and voice.

 

When you’re a baby you’re in love with your parents.

When you’re a child you’re in love with toys.

When the rocking times of adulthood open you have your first crush.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, if God hears me, here and then, right now, I would like him to allow me to become, in my turn, an angel that could fly so high onto the sky of Dubai that I could declare to the whole world the enchanting magic of this dearly loved place.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Dear Dubai,

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today,

Tomorow,

For Ever and Ever,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I LOVE

 

 

 

 

YOU!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photographer: MARIE LAURENS TALEB

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

________________________________

Born in 1980, in a corner of France completely lost, the little Marie fought very early for her thirst of ideals, ideas and I don’t whatever funny things she could imagine.

As there was nothing to do but observe the nature and read some books she discovered that life was better with writing it herself than letting the others do it.

Thus started her big writing adventure and, after her marriage in 2008, she landed in Dubai where life is so tasty and mysterious that again she put her thoughts on paper.

Actually she’s a stay at home mother of three and she would be very much happy to, one day,  write books,  real books, and publish them.

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