Tag Archives: Dubai

To Beer Or Not To Beer

10 Feb

So, I did it. For the entire month of January, I am proud (and shocked) to say that not a single drop of alcohol passed my lips. As many of you will know, I wasn’t sure if I was going to last; I cannot remember a time over the last four years or so when I haven’t craved a cool, refreshing beer within a day of my last drink.

But I did end up completing the challenge and I have come out the other side feeling miles better for it. For one, it has proved to me that I can survive social situations with strangers without using alcohol to make myself feel confident. It also made me realise just how much I rely on a good drink (or several) to make myself feel more self-assured.

There’s nothing wrong with having a few cheeky ones to bolster your confidence when you’re out and about at night.  After all, I am pretty sure many relationships would have never started had it not been for the gentle shove of one too many beers. But, like with anything, when you start to rely a little too much on something, it can spell disaster. I have realised that I am at the point where if I don’t have a drink, I feel incredibly insecure. Drinking to me is an easy way to get the conversation flowing. It is also a great way of blocking out all my insecurities; I am so self-conscious of everything I say and do in social situations, so drinking helps me gets rid of these weird barriers I have, which I attribute to shyness.

But being shy, I now realise, is a part of who I am. I can vividly remember when I was a child how I would run and hide when members of our extended family would come to visit. My cousin Marina, on the other hand, would be in the middle of the room putting on a magic show for everyone. As I grew older, it didn’t get much easier, especially as certain life events made me feel less secure, and even more unsure of who I am.

As the years have passed by, instead of addressing some of my insecurities, I have been masking them with alcohol. After one too many Long Islands I can easily forget myself. And while this is all well and good when I still have some sort of control over my actions, I always take it a little too far and end up, as I said in a previous post, in a heap on the floor, crying. Or, even worse, shouting abuse at people for no apparent reason.

I now look back on these types of scenarios in shame – if you have ever seen me in one of my drunkard stupors, you will know exactly what I am talking about. I also pity myself slightly, as I realise that my excessive drinking is just a bad symptom of self-loathing. How can I carry on doing that to myself? Drinking is supposed to be something fun, but it stops being fun when most your nights out end in tears.

Being shy, I now figure, is not such a bad thing. So what if I’m the quietest person at the dinner table? Surely that’s better than being the drunkard tit who is rude to everyone? And who cares if there are awkward silences in a conversation? Downing drinks to fill those silences really isn’t the way forward.

Instead of filling the gaps I have in my life with alcohol, I have decided to start filling them with things that make me feel happy, and, in turn, more confident. The best conversationalists, I have found, are the people who are passionate about what they’re doing with their lives, so I am now seeking out the activities I am passionate about, such as my writing and photography.

There’s nothing better than doing something you’re proud of and then being able to share it with people. This blog, for example, has given a massive boost to my confidence. I get such lovely feedback from my readers, which in turn makes me happy. I started a career in writing because I realised I can spread joy through it, and making people happy has always been something that’s made me happy.  So I should be typing away like there’s no tomorrow! The blog is also a great thing to talk about with strangers at a dinner party. People always love the idea behind it and want to know more, which again, is a great confidence booster.

I would say that so far, this challenge has been the most enlightening. I have learnt more about myself in the space of one month than what I have in more than five years of living in Dubai.  I have always known I am not the most confident of people, but it has taken me all this time to realise that one of the things that was hindering me from growing confidence was the excessive drinking.

It’s now time to take back control of my life and start focusing on things that will actually help me to grow. So, in the future you’re more likely to find me in a coffee shop, writing and shaping my future, rather than in the pub, drinking and stunting it. And you know what? I am damn sure this will turn out to be one of the most important decisions I have ever made.

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An afternoon of ironing

23 Jan

Life in Dubai, like in most big cities, can make you rather selfish. Our hectic work schedules leave little time for much else other than eating, working and sleeping (and, ok, drinking).  Since living here, I have to admit that I have done very little to help any charitable causes, which is something I am really ashamed of. While I cannot say I was the most dedicated good Samaritan back in the UK, I did regularly volunteer my time to one nonprofit organisation, and I thoroughly enjoyed giving back to the community and meeting new, like-minded people. It’s been so long since I’ve done anything similar and I have genuinely missed it.

I therefore decided as part of this blog to have a section on challenges I have to complete for ‘selfless’ reasons.   On Saturday, I headed to the Senses Residential Care Home for Children with Special Needs in Jumeirah, where I volunteered to help clean for the day! I found this through the Volunteer in Dubai website, which is a fantastic resource for anyone who is looking to do their bit for those in need.

I have to admit, the day itself was rather uneventful.  My friend Ashley and I were assigned a VERY large blue bin of clothes that we had to iron. I am assuming that it would cost the centre a lot of money to have a company do their laundry for them, so they get volunteers in once a week to help out, thus saving many dirhams that can go to helping the kids instead! I really enjoyed the afternoon; we ironed, chatted, and made a new friend – oh, and I managed not to burn myself, which is always a plus when it comes to me and ironing.

So I gave up three hours of my time, which would ordinarily have been wasted either on Facebook or spending all my money in the mall, to do something that actually made a difference for a change. It’s made me realise how volunteering can easily be  slipped into your weekly routine somewhere, and I intend on making this a regular thing from this point forward.

There’s not much else to say, so I’ll leave you with a picture of me, ironing (I told you some day I’d finally learn how to, mum!).

 

Day 14 – Shocking Realisation; Sober Andrea Can Surive Social Gatherings

15 Jan

Thursday night presented me with my first big test since I started the no-alcohol challenge; I had to spend time with people I didn’t know without being able to drink a drop of alcohol.

The event was my best friend’s leaving do at Mango Tree in Souq Al Bahar, and this was the first time since I started the challenge that not only would I be surrounded by strangers – I would also be in close proximity to a very well-stocked bar.

Usually in this type of scenario, I drink. A lot. See, most of you won’t know this, but somewhere in my subconscious there’s an extremely annoying voice that I cannot get rid of; this voice likes to taunt me and tell me that I’m not a very interesting person. I guess I developed it sometime back in my teens when I was very self-conscious and shy, and now I cannot get rid of it. So over the years I have used alcohol as a way of shutting my subconscious up, and to give myself the confidence to speak in a group of people I don’t know, which is something that really doesn’t come naturally to me.

I was the first to arrive at the restaurant and the maitre d’ showed me to the bar, where I was faced with a wall of alcohol and a menu full of scrumptious-sounding Thai cocktails. If I were to say I wasn’t tempted at this point to ask for my usual (i.e. always the strongest thing on the menu) I would be a liar. However, I resisted my every inner instinct, and turned to a page that is alien to me – the mocktail page.

“One Mango Cooler, please,” I said to the bartender, while feeling a tad appalled with myself.

During the dinner, I was sat at a corner of the table away from the only two people I knew. I usually find it very difficult to speak to people that I do not know, which is where the alcohol comes in – it gives me the confidence to be chatty and outgoing. However, I had to deal with the situation sober. I was surprised at how easy I found it in the end. The people I was with were lovely, which definitely helped. I also enjoyed the novelty of being completely in control of everything I was doing and saying – that doesn’t happen very often these days, I’m afraid to say.

I am now two weeks into the challenge and, much to my own surprise, I am starting to enjoy it. For one, I do not miss the hangovers and I have SO much more free time over the weekend. I also do not miss the horrible lows I get the day after a big night out and the awful flashbacks of what a tit I had been while high on too many Long Islands.

I have also realised that these lows do not help me in the long-term. As someone who already has low self esteem, acting like a complete moron while drunk and then feeling bad about it the next day is really not helpful. I am enjoying feeling positive, sober and in control. For the first time in years, I have a clear vision of where I see myself in the future and what I need to do to get there, which is something I haven’t had since I was at  university many, many moons ago.

Sober Andrea will rule the world. You will see.

My Blind Date Experience

7 Nov

Following my blind date last Wednesday, I found myself describing the experience to others in terms of stocks and shares;  I realised that throughout the course of the evening, my blind date’s ‘value’ fluctuated according to what was happening or being said at the time. So I felt that the most accurate, and dare I say it, scientific way for me to describe this fateful evening to you all would be through the use of the following very thorough line graph:

It doesn’t take a genius or a mathematician to decipher from this graph that, unfortunately, I won’t be seeing my date again. But before I write my conclusions, I will take you through the evening, using the above as my reference point.

As you all know, I was pretty nervous about Wednesday evening, and I spent a great amount of time wondering why I was about to put myself through it.  For someone like me, who dreads and avoids rejection more than the average person, this was the ultimate ‘facing my fear’ moment.

In preparation, I had a facial and a mani/pedi, but I have to emphasise to my friends back home in the UK that these ‘treats’ are weekly rituals in Dubai, and therefore I didn’t really feel I was going to too much unnecessary effort for someone I had never met before. I also stopped myself from buying a whole new outfit and settled for a LBD that makes me feel both confident and classy. Looking back on it, perhaps something flirty and ridiculously low-cut would have been more appropriate. All men are perverts, after all.

My friend Ashley, who set the date up, arranged for us to meet at Teatro in Towers Rotana at 8pm. I suggested this place as it’s one of my favourite restaurants in Dubai, and they serve some of the strongest Caipirinhas in the city. That way I knew that even if the date was awful, I would be able to numb the experience with alcohol.

While I was getting ready, I was very nervous. So nervous that I almost fell in the bath, which is ironic considering that one of my ‘genuine-sounding, harmless excuses as to why I cannot make it on Wednesday‘, was that I had slipped in the bath and was therefore bedridden. Note to self: karma can be a bitch.

Once I did my hair, finished my makeup and got dressed, I decided, to the disagreement of many, to have a couple of quiet drinks in the comfort of my home to take the edge off.  I know many of you had visions of me drinking copious shots of vodka and turning up absolutely wasted, shouting ‘wah hey hey’ at everyone, including my date. But thankfully, I controlled myself, and I have to say the two glasses of sherry did what was necessary of them, and I went off to my blind date feeling cool, calm and collected, which is shocking considering what a nervous wreck I’d been earlier in the day.

So, there I was, at Teatro, on Wednesday November the 2nd , at 8pm.  Here’s what followed:

Point One – He’s Twenty Minutes Late (His Value: – 10)

I arrived at 8pm on the dot, and was very pleased to see that my date had not made it yet. This allowed me enough time to get myself to the bar, order a drink, sit up straight, and pretend I was a confident, sassy young woman who had no qualms meeting complete strangers for blind dates, and who certainly doesn’t tell the world through her blog what a dating coward she really is. This was my Sex and the City moment, and I loved every minute of it.

However, it soon transpired that my date was in fact running very late; my back was starting to hurt from sitting up so straight, and my jaw was aching from having a fixed fake smile plastered on my face. At 8.10pm, a cute guy sidled up to the bar while looking at me. My heart started to race; was it him, I wondered. He sat down two seats away from me, and just as I began to consider whether I should try and talk to him to see if he was the stranger I was supposed to be having dinner with, Ashley started calling me. She confirmed that my date was running late, but was now on his way.

At the time I must admit that I wasn’t too bothered about it. To most of my friends, however, this is one of the cardinal sins of dating. You never keep a lady waiting. Looking back on it, I now agree with common opinion; you should never be late for a blind date. You make the effort to be on time, and if you don’t, it’s obvious that you’re just clearly not too interested in the whole thing.

So I carried on drinking through my fixed fake smile, and my date’s value started to plummet before he had even arrived.

Point Two – My Second Caipirinha Arrives (His Value: 20)

Don’t judge me, but I got through the first Caipirinha in fifteen minutes, flat. By 8.20pm, I was onto my second one, and my date’s value began to rise. Simply because I was getting tipsy.

Point Three – My Date Arrives; Hello Cute Smile! (His Value: 65)

As I was busy updating one of my friends on BBM of my late-coming date, I suddenly heard a voice say: “Andrea”? and for a split second I wondered who the hell knew my name. I then realised that, oh, wait, my blind date had arrived, quickly sat up straight, and slapped my fake smile back on.

My first impression was, wow, this guy has an AMAZING smile. And from what I could see, he was tall, dark, with a hint of greying hair (I’m obsessed with George Clooney. Grey hair is always a massive turn on for grave snatchers like me).

The smile, I have to say, made his  value begin to rise substantially, and I started to wonder whether I’d been too quick to judge blind dates.

Point Four – We Start To Find A Lot Of Common Ground (His Value: 87)

To me, the best part of getting to know a potential partner is those small moments of magic that occur when you both realise you have something in common.

My date and I had a few of these moments. For one, I discovered that his favourite cocktail is also the Caipirinha. When he said this to me, I started to wonder if I would end up marrying him. He also shared the same weird obsession I had for New York in my youth.

These ‘common ground’ moments were great, but I have to say, from this early on into the date I was searching for that ‘spark’ people have when they both really like each other, and sadly, it was nowhere to be found.

Point Five – My Third Caipirinha Arrives; It Is Strong and Tasty (His Value: 90)

Yes, I judge experiences on the basis of the quality and quantity of alcohol that is available. I’m a lush; what more can I say?

Point Six – He Passes The Heels Test (His Value: 95)

At this point in the evening, my date asked me how tall I am, to which I answered 5 foot 8. He then, much to my satisfaction, informed me that he is a nice and tall 6 foot something. This, my friends, meant he passed the heels test.

Before I headed out, I had informed my friend Dona that I was wearing SUPER high heels, to which she exclaimed sarcastically, “As opposed to the flats you wear to work”?! These heels, my friends, aren’t for the fainthearted. Some lesser trained women (and drag queens) get vertigo wearing them. Here is a picture, which illustrates my point:


Subconsciously, this is my way of weeding out the guys who don’t match my height while wearing heels. I’ve never been someone who has a specific ‘type’ of guy that I always go for, but I have to say, height is one thing I cannot seem to compromise on. Wearing these heels ensures I know whether or not he makes the cut.

My date did, and his value continued to rise nicely. But then, it all started to go a bit wrong.

Point Seven – He Eyes Up Another Girl (His Value: 50)

So, we were still sat at the bar, conversation was flowing rather nicely, and then I see him look away, and eye up a very pretty girl who walked past us at the bar.

No, no, no, no, no! Gentlemen, is it too much to ask you keep your eyes on your date for the few hours you are with her? Looking at another girl is just not cool. At this point, my date’s stock started to fall again.

Point Eight – He Starts To Talk Too Much (His Value: 47)

I am all for listening to other people’s life stories, but at the same time, I want them to listen to mine. At some point, my date decided that his life was far more fascinating, and that he’d rather listen to himself speak the whole time than find out anything about me.

This to me was an indication that he wasn’t really interested, and it was at this point I stopped trying to look for the ‘spark.’ It clearly wasn’t there, and nothing he or I could do from this point forward would change that.

Point Nine – He Doesn’t Pay Attention When I Am Talking (His Value: 45)

At the points when he would actually ask me the odd question or two about my life, my date wouldn’t sustain eye contact with me, which, again, is an indication of someone who isn’t really listening. His value continued to plummet.

Point Ten – He Tries A Bit Of ‘Date’ Play (His Value: 67)

We decided to move from the bar to a table and get something to eat. At this point, my date tried some playful date banter, which mainly consisted of him attempting to ‘guess’ what I would pick off the menu, and what my choices tell people about the type of person I am. Well, I ordered the Thai Red Curry. I guess you can say I am a bit spicy.

This playful banter is always enjoyable. His stock began to rise again, slightly.

Point Eleven – We Discover More Common Ground (His Value : 70)

My date and I did share quite a few things in common. Our love of hip hop, for one, led to a very long conversation about Tupac and Biggie, and East Coast versus West (non-hip hop lovers, feel free to glaze over at this point). He also comes from a large, close-knit family, which is always an attractive quality. My family mean the world to me, and I don’t think I could ever be with a person who isn’t close to his.

On paper, we should have ‘worked’ as a potential couple. But the spark…it just wasn’t there.

Point Twelve – He Reveals He Has Housemates (His Value: 50)

Without sounding too superficial, I find it very unattractive when a guy who is over 30-years-old still has housemates. I guess to me it feels like the person isn’t very responsible, and is still content living a slightly student-esque life. When my date revealed this to me I couldn’t help but make some negative assumptions about his personality.

Point Thirteen – He Starts Talking About How Attractive The Girls In Gossip Girl Are (His Value: 15)

Yes, I know that Blair and Serena from Gossip Girl are stunning. Of course they are: they starve themselves to death, have personal stylists, makeup artists and hairdressers at their beck and call. Do I really need my date to sit and drone on about how beautiful they are? He should be telling me how beautiful I am instead. Men.

Point Fourteen – He Accepts Money For The Bill (His Value: -100)

The date came to a natural conclusion as the restaurant was starting to wind down for the evening. We asked for the bill, and when it arrived, the waitress naturally handed it over the guy. He looked at it for a few seconds too many, and I, unfamiliar with dating etiquette, handed over my debit card. He took it, and we agreed to go dutch.

And his value nosedived.

Since that evening, I have asked many other ladies their opinion on this one, and the majority seem to agree that the unspoken rule is that the guy pays for the first date. Perhaps the fact he agreed for me to pay half of the bill is an indication that he also realised there wasn’t a spark between us, and he resented having to settle the whole thing himself. Which, again, isn’t very gentlemanly of him.

And on this slightly sour note, I thanked him for a lovely evening and made a quick dash for the cab queue. We didn’t exchange numbers, and I really wasn’t bothered about it.

Conclusion:

First, I want to emphasise that my date was a lovely guy and on the whole I did enjoy his company. I can see why my friend Ashley decided to set us up; on paper, we really should have hit it off more. We are both British, from ethnic minority, close-knit families, we both love to drink, cook,  listen to hip hop, and party. On top of all that, looks wise, he does tick a lot of my usual boxes: tall, dark, and a great smile.

However, despite the fact that my date and I should have ‘made sense’ as a couple, something was missing, and that’s the highly-elusive ‘spark’ we all look for in a potential partner. It’s that overwhelming, indescribable, amazing feeling that you get when you are with a person who completely gets you. Boy, do I miss that.

So, I will not be seeing my date again. But, I have to say, I am proud of myself for going through with it. The experience proved to me that dating isn’t so bad after all. Although I do maintain that there is something very unatural about the whole thing – had my date and I randomly met in a bar and got to know each other without the pressure of a ‘date’, the outcome may have been different.

 

The Slimier the Better?

30 Oct

Whoever led people to believe that snails are a delicacy was either sadly mistaken or a damn good liar. Before I continue with my rant, I shall share my first point of reference with you :

Now, is it just me, or does this resemble some form of nuclear waste, rather than a form of food that can be consumed by human beings?  What you see here is something that even the Addams Family wouldn’t eat for dinner. Quite frankly, I think a Petri dish full of fungi looks more appetising.

This was my meal of choice last Monday night. Yes, ladies and gentleman,  I ventured to St. Tropez Bistro,  a small French restaurant in Century Village, Dubai, to eat snails for the first time. As you may have read in my previous blog entry, I have always been traumatised by the thought of eating these slimy creatures. So when my friend Dona mentioned that I should do it for my blog, my first reaction was ‘hell no,’ followed by ‘are you mad?’ However, in the spirit of trying new things (and giving you guys something to laugh at), I decided to step up and give it a go. Who knows, I thought to myself, I may even end up liking them.

I was also sadly mistaken.  Point of reference number two:

This either depicts revulsion in its purest form, or is proof that I deserve an Oscar.

When the dish first arrived at the table, I could only smell butter and garlic – two things I love and that generally work very well together. After all, garlic bread is one of the culinary world’s greatest inventions and features both heavily. So I started to think that perhaps I had been too quick to judge in the past and that I would actually end up enjoying them. And thankfully, I couldn’t really see that what I was about to eat were snails – firstly, it was dark, and secondly, the shells and tentacles were nowhere to be seen.

Then, I took the plunge and bit into one.

My mouth instantly turned into a battlefield of foul-tasting, microscopic soldiers that were setting up camp and drawing up war plans with one aim in mind: to destroy my taste buds. The only thing I can liken it to is eating rubber. Burning, rubber, at that. I chewed for what seemed like an eternity, swallowed, then gulped as much of my red wine as possible.

I still shudder at the thought.

Those of you who think I may have given up too easily can rest assured that I did try again one more time, however, I had been so scarred by the first experience that the second snail barely had the chance to brush against my traumatised taste buds before I swallowed the damn thing with a huge chug of wine.

So, while I am extremely happy that I have managed to cross another challenge off the list, I have to say that I will never try snails again. And if there’s one thing this experience has further confirmed to me, is something we Brits have believed for a very long time: the French, who gave us this delightful dish, are strange.

Sorry Nico, Dan et al.

Two down, 28 to go!

I Am Going On A Blind Date (Cue Cameron From Modern Family-Type Scream)

22 Oct

I have a secret to share with you all; I have never been on a date. Now when I say date, I mean it in the true sense of the word: boy invites you out and does his best to woo you with a gorgeous box of chocolates, a bouquet of roses and a three-course meal at your favourite restaurant.  No, romance has always been nonexistent in my life. In the past, I have always tried to get to know guys over a few pints in a dingy pub, followed by shots in an even dingier bar, concluding with a greasy chicken shish kebab at the end of the night if I’m lucky. Well, that is how we Brits seem to do it anyway.

It is my own fault. I have spent most of my life having way too much fun with my friends to ever take guys too seriously. I love being single and have never really been on the look out for a relationship. And, on the rare occasions that I do like someone, I am a master of  school playground behaviour – I pretend I don’t like the guy, to the point where he actually ends up thinking I hate him. Normal, eh? I am sure that there is some sort of Freudian explanation to all this, but I have decided it is time to stop making excuses for myself and to, shock, horror, try to open myself up to the possibility of an actual real life relationship with a guy. They don’t all smell, after all.

Hence, the reason why I decided to add the go on a blind date challenge to my list. The truth is, the idea of a real date has always freaked me out. Being in the spotlight in that way, where I feel like everything I say or do is being judged, is too much like a job interview.  So the only way I would ever agree to meet with a guy is if I knew that a) it would be as informal as possible and b) that there would be a lot of alcohol involved. What would inevitably follow would be a very drunk Andrea, who would do many stupid things, and then wonder why the guy didn’t call again. I am not an attractive drunk. I am a husband beating, man hating drunk. I need to drill that into my thick, vodka-numbed skull.

Do you want the great news? The blind date has already been arranged by my very own Cilla Black, Ashley. During a very drunkard book club session last Tuesday, I found myself agreeing to being set up with one of her friends. I have to admit, when I added this challenge to my list, I wasn’t sure if I would go through with it. In fact, I dread this one more than skydiving, which pretty much sums up my attitude towards dating. But the whole point of this blog is to make myself do things that scare me in some way, so there’s no turning back.

My expectations? Well, I don’t have any. I hope at the very least I learn that dates aren’t that terrible after all and have a good laugh with a guy who I hear is a lot of fun!

The date is set for next Wednesday. I need to decide what to wear. And how to stop myself from reaching for the tequila bottle out of nervousness. Suggestions? Will a cup of herbal tea help?

Note: For those of you wondering what happened with the snail challenge, bear with me. I will be facing those slimy monsters at some point over the next few days.

Challenge 2 – Eat Snails – The Why

17 Oct

I have spent the last few days trying to decide what my next challenge should be. On Friday night, I came very close to spontaneously doing karaoke sober. However, I would be a liar if I were to say that I wasn’t mildly inebriated by the time I took to the stage and sang Phil Collins’ ‘In The Air Tonight,’ complete with chopsticks for the obligatory spot of air drumming. Yes, there was alcohol involved. And lots of it.

Therefore, I had to think of what I could complete over the next couple of weeks that wouldn’t cost too much money, seeing as I wasted the last of this month’s pay cheque on a dress I could not afford.  Following some deliberation, I have reluctantly decided that it is time to strike ‘eat snails’ off the list.

This challenge was suggested to me by my friend Dona; clearly she doesn’t like me a lot, as I am completely freaked out by the idea of eating those slimy things that crawl all over the walls and make a disturbing crunching sound when you accidentally step on them. ‘Why eat something you really don’t want to?,’ I hear you all cry. Well, for one, this blog was  meant to push me to try new things, no matter how much they may freak me out.  And secondly, with the collapse of capitalism imminent, I feel it is important that we all start getting used to living off the land and eating things that make our stomachs churn. Nando’s and Gourmet Burger Kitchen sadly won’t exist in the post-capitalism world. Frogs, snails and wild boars, however, will.

Back to the subject at hand. I have always been troubled by people who like eating snails. In Cyprus, they are something of a delicacy, and in my village everyone heads out to the fields the minute it rains to collect them for dinner. I still have vivid memories of the putrid smell of boiling snails emanating from the various of my aunts’ kitchens, and the disturbing sound people would make when they sucked the flesh out of the shells. I also remember staring at them in disbelief as they licked their fingers and exclaimed how delicious this slimy dish was.

I mean, seriously now, how does anyone find THIS appetising:

Gross. This picture is definitely proving one thing to me, and that’s that my gag reflex is still alive and well.

This weekend I shall therefore be heading to this restaurant in Garhoud to attempt to eat snails without gagging. Thankfully it is strategically located near to the Irish Village, meaning once I have a finished I can run across and down a couple of pints of ice cold beer to get over the trauma.

I am definitely not looking forward to this one.