EXPLORING THE NEIGHBOURHOOD

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We live in an area called Jumeirah Lakes Towers, a collection of high-rise towers configured around large artificial lakes. It sounds strange but I actually really like the area as being next to water, artificial or not, gives the place a peaceful and serene feel. My favourite time of day is walking around the lake in the early morning, before the sun is up to go and do my practice in the studio.

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(Sunset at McGettigans Beer Garden)

I’ve explored JLT quite a bit over the last few weeks, combining my curiosity with the task of handing out flyers for the Yoga Room. I’ve found a café nearby run by two Greek brothers who make great coffee and feed my za’tar croissant addiction, an outdoor Irish beer garden surrounded by palm trees and by far my favourite location – Blue Planet Green People Organic Food Shop.

I love this shop not just for the fact that it is our closest corner shop, where I can get all my organic staples but also for the fact that the owner is making a wonderful contribution to building a sense of community in the area. It is so easy for high-rise residential developments to become soulless and isolating, as everyone retreats into their individual boxes stacked on top of each other.

BPGP hold a weekly farmers market on Fridays where I go each week to buy organic tomatoes, kale, cucumbers and zucchinis at ridiculously low prices. I’ve also started ordering a weekly box of organic veggies that I pick up from the shop on Wednesdays. For AU$20 it is great value and I am happy to know I can eat organic, seasonal and support local farmers.

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(This week the farmers market was held in the morning and a regular market of crafts and other stalls was held in the afternoon. This is a photo of the afternoon – everything is in the shade by then)

This Friday, BPGP organised events to celebrate two different festivals, reflective of Dubai’s cultural diversity. In the morning I spotted a group of Indians covered in coloured paints celebrating the festival of Holi. I later found out that the paints were in fact organic and chemical free – provided by BGPP! Walking around the lake in the afternoon, I saw groups of families joining in the BPGP Easter egg hunt!

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(I couldn’t resist taking this photo – although I had to take it quickly as they were threatening to paint me!

Maybe I should have joined in? Next year!)

Discovering people and places that are focused on promoting a more sustainable and holistic way of living is a pleasing reprieve to the excessive consumerism of the multitude of malls that Dubai is better known for.

Friends who know me well, know that I love a good bargain and that trawling through second-hand shops and markets is one of my favourite past-times. So I was excited to hear about the Dubai Flea Market and made a visit a couple of weeks ago. It is held a couple of times a month at different locations around Dubai and one of the locations is quite close to me, the roof top of a carpark for the Ibn Battuta Mall, an incredibly kitsch mall themed by various countries, China, India, Persia, Andalusia, Egypt and Tunsia.

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(Dubai Flea Market  – not sure for how long they will be able to keep holding this outside! Might be too hot soon!)

The market was quite small compared to markets in Sydney but some bargains were still to be found. For less than AU$25 I was able to pick up a collection of baskets, storage jars, lamps and even a painting of a camel! I’m looking forward to next month’s market already!

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(My flea market bargains. I love this painting of the camel. It has finally been hung in the bedroom – thanks Roberto!)

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