Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Quick summary of our year, note for ourselves - 2014



Let's sum up:

I have written only 21 posts in my blog this year, still not bad taking into account how busy I have been. For me it's very important to write since I want to remember as many details about my life , as possible. I want to leave behind me some legacy so that my family and friends can always go back and read my good memories. I'm not going to say that 2014 has been the perfect year, it has not been. There are always good and tough times but I only like writing about the good times because I do want to forget about the tough ones . Besides,  I always try to find the positive side out of anything that happens in my life, every event it's  a learning experience for me, which also makes me stronger and wiser.

Let's start with the summary:

How many films we have seen this year in the Cinema:
  • 26 (4 less than last year and not many in comparison with 2011 where we saw 42 movies!). My favorite ones: Magic in the Moonlight, Mood Indigo, Gone Girl, Budapest Hotel, The Fault in our Stars, Big Eyes and Wolf of Wall Street.
Musicals and Theater :

  •  3  Musicals ( Singing in the Rain, Dirty Dancing &and The Wizard of Oz). My favorite being "Singing in the Rain". I also went with my manager to see " My ideal husband" from Oscar Wilde.
Trips:

7 for me and 4 for Andres. Out of my 6 trips, 3 were due to business and for Andres 1 of them.

Concerts:

One Republic (Loved it! True Artists!), The Coronas ( We see them every year!), Lady Gaga (We went with Juan and Juan Diego).

In general I'd say that has been a very busy year studying the master, my leadership program in my company ( Green House) and working long hours. Overall , it has been a good year.


 
Something I have done for the first time in 2014:


We started our year with our first trip to the Emirates. We have taken the decision of buying a house (big decision !) ; We also waited for hours in a long queue to see our favorite Irish band to have their cd signed ( we realized that we are very old to do this.. but it was worth it! We even have a selfie with them). I also took part for the first time in a mini Marathon ( Flora's Women Marathon). I also went to a shooting ground as a team activity for the first time, I also realized that it is not for me, I'm more than a peaceful person lol. I also organized my first charity event selling doughnuts in the National college of Ireland, dressed as a bunny. It was all a Success! My mum also gave us a present a Thermomix and I have our Xmas party in the Aviva Stadium. Currently I'm leading a team of 20 people with 13 different nationalities and we cover 16 different languages. I also took part in my first Gay parade representing Facebook. We also won the Halloween competition due to our costumes for the " Adam's Family".  Our cat Pepe has already reached 100 fans in his Facebook Page!
 Ah! And my father got a park named after him, he will always be present not only for us but for younger generations that go to play in the park. Unfortunately, I still have very good friends that live in different parts around the world and not here, but thanks to the internet we continue to be connected.





Even my cat Pepe got a cd signed by the Coronas!!! Yes, Andres told them a story about our "sick son" that loved them and could not go with us. Of course, in the end, I had to tell the truth and explain that my "son" is actually a cat.



Loved ones that are not with us anymore:

Our dearest friend Ursula, I still can't believe that I won't see her anymore, we are very grateful for everything she did for us while we were living in Germany and she will always be in our hearts. Best wishes to heaven , if there is one, I'm sure you are there due to your kindness.

My auntie , Berty also passed away this year, I can't believe it either, it's so difficult to assimilate death of your loved ones when you live abroad. I still feel that I'll see her in Madrid in one of our trips.

Mention at least 3 highlights of your year:

  • We helped our friends Juan & Juan Diego to have them settled in Dublin, they moved to our place in February 2014 and stayed with us for 6 months until the became fully independent (he,he).
  • I took part in a Mini-Marathon for charity (Yeah, o.k. I walked all the way..) and I raised money throughout the year, not only for that but also for other charity causes that my company support.
  •  Taking my sister, nieces and brother in law to the theater in Dublin. I was very glad to have them visiting us for the first time. Our Xmas has not been so lonely this time . Thanks for the visit!


Mention at least 2 things that I have stopped doing:

  • Cooking. Is it my fault? No, I do not think so.. It's just that food is delicious at Facebook.. so I can't compete with the Urban picnic meals and when I'm not at work , I just don't feel like cooking. 
  • I used to go out and travel much more than now. Now I even spend my holidays either studying or resting. Does this mean that I'm growing old? Gee!

Resolutions for 2015:

  • Get finally the keys of our place, I can't wait to do the first check-in there.
  • Finish our Master Degree and have our social lives back (lol).
  • Continue growing professionally.
  • Get fitter and not to eat so much sugar ( Will I stop drinking coke? Uhm.. don't think so)
  • Go to more music concerts than this year. Music is very important for me.
  • Continue learning new things and doing things for the first time.
  • Do a trip with my mum since this year I haven't had time and it's something that I like to do every year. 
  • Don't be so workaholic.. ( Not so sure about this one..)

Most importantly, Andres and I continue to love and respect each other, no matter the obstacles that we can find in our way. As I always say, marriage is about teamwork and we are a great team!


Last movies I have seen in 2014 and the last Musical " The Wizard of Oz"

I have not had a lot of time this year to write about the movies we have seen and most likely I may have missed a few behind:

The Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) : 

I usually enjoy superheroes movies but this was not the movie of my life. I have already forgotten the details of it.. , which means that it's a forgettable movie..

Horrible Bosses (2):

I really enjoyed Horrible Bosses (1), but the second part was not very good. Not even sure if I would give it a pass mark. Not worth spending your time watching it.

Big Eyes (2014):

This is the last movie we have seen this year and what a great way of ending it. Beautiful but sad true story about the female painter Megan Keane. Her husband took credit for her work for 10 years. I love her paintings of kids with big eyes where he wanted to portrayed their soul through the eyes. I'm very glad that we went to see it since i have discovered a new artist that I like. Excellent actor Christoph Walz, plays very well the role of Megan's husband.

I truly recommend this film if you have the chance to see it.

Looking forward to what 2015 has to offer!



The Wizard of Oz, the musical ( National Concert Hall, Dublin, 27.12.2014):

Very lively performance that brought me back to my childhood. The main actors played very well and sang  beautifully. I was singing along "Over the Rainbow"with Dorothy all the time while the band played.  It was a great experience that I could share with my niece , nephew, my sister, Eva , my husband and my brother-in-law. They even had a real dog on the stage, so cute!! And the bad witch was even scary for us!! At the very end we were lucky enough to take a selfie with the actors.



One of those memories that will last for me, even though my husband fall asleep lol.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Recent movies I have seen, 2 recommended and one to avoid: "Dracula; Gone Girl and She is the one"

(2104) "Dracula , the Untold"

We really liked this film, it was a combination between the historic facts of Vlad the Impaler and Bram Stoker fiction novel of Dracula. This is what I really liked, the combination of the 2 and the effects and aesthetic scenes such as when Mina is falling from the cliffs and Dracula is trying to catch her. I also found very beautiful when the vamps were flying all together making different shapes. The movie portrays a powerful Dracula who becomes a vampire to defend his territory and his people. This is one of the films that you have to see in the big screen , main actor Luke Evans was a discovery for me, he plays very well his part.



" Gone Girl"(2014)

I'm not a big fan of Ben Affleck and I did not know what to expect of this film that is breaking records in the American box office. Well, we actually liked it a lot, I did not expect how it turns out to be in the end. I don't want to write much about it since i'll spoil the film for you but one thing i can say is that after seeing this film, you won't believe that much in the perfect marriage portrayed by Rich & famous American people. In a way, i think it's a criticism of what people want others to know about their lives and what are they really like behind doors. British actress Rosamund Pike plays an stellar role, it's one of those characters in a movie that you do not forget. The film reminded me a bit of how old movies used to be with a slow plot making you think of what could happen next. I'm a bit intrigued about how truthful the movie is to the original thriller novel by Gillian Flynn. A must see!



" The Best of Me"

Yes i know based on the title and on the trailer, it was not very promising. But I had one of those days where I wanted to see a romantic movie and we went to see this one. It's so predictable and cheesy that the aromatic side of things vanishes.., do avoid going and seeing this one. I regret not having gone to see a good movie instead! The only good thing is to see the male protagonist topless lol. A forgettable film ..

Sunday, 21 September 2014

The Riots Club (2014)


The Riots Club (2014)

To be honest I did not know much about this film and I did not expect how it turned out to be.. it made me feel very bad when they showed the posh spoilt members of the Riot Club inside the town's pub and what happened in there.. I felt so sorry for the owner of the pub that I could not even looked at times. The audience has scored it with a 91% in rotten tomatoes. I have to admit that actor Sam Claflin plays an excellent role, he is so rotten.. Unfortunately Rich spoilt guys like that do exist.. they believe that money can buy everything and get them out of any situation and in a way they are right. After this film ended, both of us felt like crap. If you ask me if I recommend it, well no. I just want to forget I have watched it just because of what it made it me feel. The only good thing for me was actor Max Irons, he is a hottie!


2 movies to cry in the cinema: "The Fault in our Stars " (2014) & " If I stay" (2014)

" The Fault in our Stars"

I do not know about you but for me sometimes I just want to see a film to cry with a dramatic film. From the moment I saw the trailer of this film, i knew I wanted to see it, it's based on a best seller from John Green. The audience has given a 88% in the rotten tomatoes cinema page. Even though the protagonists are very young, they have a lot of chemistry together and they play very well. 2 teenagers, Gus & Hazel, fall in love in a cancer support group. The male protagonist, Gus (played by American actor, Ansel Elgort) has a prosthetic leg , is personally my favourite one, his positive attitude spite of his illness make Hazel , who has cancer, fall in love with him. Their love story is short but they enjoy every moment together, I personally did not expect how the movie ends. I think i haven't cried so much in the cinema for a long time... Of course, this film is not for everyone, it's for sensible people,  like me, that want to see a dramatic romance in the big screen.



If I stay (2014)


Yes, more dram of another teen couple that has a difficult romance.I did not cry so much with this film as with the Fault in our Stars, maybe because I could not see the chemistry between the 2 protagonist and their love story. The beautiful and talent Mia has a future ahead of her as a Cello player who would tell her that a car accident with her parents and brother changed her life forever. Int the film you see her struggle between life and death after she falls into a comma. I liked the film but it was not as good as The Fault in our Stars, in this one i could predict the end but not in The Fault in our Stars. The moral of the story is that life can change in seconds and it's always worth fighting for your life, for those who love you.

Recommended movie: Last Woody Allen movie "Magic in the Moonlight"

Last movie from Woody Allen " Magic in the Moonlight" (2014)

Thank you very much Woody for having shared with us this witty romantic comedy with one of my favourite actors, Colin Firth. We were smiling throughout the film and enjoying every dialogue, it really surprised me. I also love the lovely settings, the costumes and surroundings. Some of the highlights for me are when Colin playing Stanley realised that the medium could potentially not be a fraud and start to shout out of joy. The morale of the film is that love is not always rational and sometimes people are even happier if they live in their own world of what they believe to be true rather than trying to always find a logical reasoning behind everything. I remember to have had a very good feeling after this film ended. A very simple story but with elaborated dialogues that reminded me of the old good movies, where dialogues had a true meaning and special effects did not exist and the storyline was much more important than anything else.




Monday, 4 August 2014

Recent movies I have seen: "Begin Again" & "Dawn of the planet of the Apes" by Belén Delgado

Begin Again

You can tell from the beginning that the director and write is the same one of the movie "Once",John Carrey, the plot has a lot of similarities: A set in a city (this time New York); A guy and a girl that meet and music helps them to cope with their problems and get carried away. Also in both movies they want to record an album so they look for other musicians to be able to fulfil their dream. If you like Music and New York , it's a very enjoyable movie. We loved the music and the setting but it lacked originality; in my opinion it should have had a different twist.



Dawn of the Planet of the Apes:

I loved the first movie , Rise of the plant of the Apes and I also liked this one, although not so much as the first one. In this film you see a mature ape " Caesar" , who still feel a connection with the human but all will turn out nasty when Koba's lack of trust, would make a war start between the Apes and humans. In-between, Caesar shows his compassion and also humans Malcom and Ellie start to develop a special relationship with him and they will help each other. There is a lot of interaction between humans and apes and fast scenes of the Apes fighting. Definitely recommended to see it in the big screen so that you can get more involved in the fast scenes of the Apes and humans.

Sunday, 3 August 2014

A couple of the typical American comedies: 22 Jump Street ( Had a laugh!) and Bad Neighbours ( Funny!)

2 comedies that you can see at some point that will make you laugh if you are into this type of simple and cheap American humour like me:

22 Jump Street

I love the first movie and this one made us laugh a lot , too. I like the chemistry between the 2 protagonists (and of course, I'm a big fan of Channing Tatum). This movie is great to relax and have a laugh, they are hilarious. The way they make fun of the usual American tough looking cop is fab. One of the highlights for me is when their boss find out that one of them had slept his his daughter and all the scenes after that ha ha. I'm not going to tell you anything else  so  that you can see it and laugh, as we did.

Bad Neighbours

Cute couple with a baby that have to find ways to have their noisy college neighbours under control. Same as with Jump Street , it's a great movie to have a laugh and not to think much. Nothing really stood out for me , I just remember that we were entertained , which was the main purpose. Rose Byrne and Seth Rogen were my favourite, they are fab, I think Andres and myself would have probably behaved in the same way lol. No need to say that although I'm much older than Zac Efron , I can't deny that he looks hot!





Recent movies I have seen: Mood Indigo (Recommended!); The Purge , the Anarchy ( Recommended!), Boyhood (not sure..) by Belen Delgado

Mood Indigo

Yesterday we went to see a French surrealistic movie, we wanted something different after having seen so many American movies and that's what we got! An original story full of symbolism and fantasy. We could not stop smiling throughout , we had no idea what was going to come next, it was as if we were watching an art performance some times, so aesthetic and beautifully done. A few people left in the middle of the film and I was actually surprised because we wanted to see more and more of it. One more time Audrey Tautou has acted in a different film that captivates a very selected audience. It mades us dream of a different world, a movie set in Paris. Yes , a 10 from me and totally recommended. I personally loved the little mouse showing up all the time and the scene when he takes the drawings of their love story with him and of course the scenes with the dancing and lively food plates (Instagram should have an app like this one day..) . Also the wedding scenes are full of fantasy.. loved them..



The Purge, The Anarchy

I loved the first movie, The Purge and I knew that this one was not going to be great , however, it was much better than I expected. The concept was the same and they only elaborated it a little bit criticising the rich American society but it was full of action and it kept us entertained. I do not think it's so far from the reality that this may happen one day.. a world without criminality and only once a year, everything is allowed and if you do not have the means to protect yourself, you will end up dead in the hands of the rich people. Maybe because I'm a member of the cinema, I went and see this one, if you ask me if I would pay 11 euros to go, no, you can always see it when it's released on a dvd or online later on, you do not miss much but as I stated above, we enjoyed it.

Boyhood

I heard a lot about this movie so I had high expectations of it, which I think was the main problem for me. Agree that it's something different because it has been shot with the same actors intermittently over 12 years and it shows a regular life of 2 kids and how they grow up. As it was just about a regular story about life, it could be any of us, for me there was lack of excitement and action. When I go to the cinema I like getting something different. I was not sure where the movie was going as it was about the kids life and it was a bit too long for me. On the other hand, as it's about life, it brought back some memories from my childhood, too, when I used to go with my grandpa to the river and throw stones (like the protagonist does) and also it reminded me of my teens times when I looked horrible just like the female kid protagonist lol. This film has excellent reviews, so I'm no-one to tell you if you should go or not, go and judge for yourself. My husband liked it more than me, I personally found it a bit boring..

"Dirty Dancing", The Musical by Belen Delgado

Dirty Dancing is a movie that I have seen an uncountable number of times , it does not have a memorable plot, photography or excellent acting but it had something that was appealing to me when I was a teen and it was very exciting to see it live as a Musical at the Board Gais theatre in Dublin. Theatre was packed with group of mid and late thirties women with a few boyfriends and husbands. The performers looked very alike from the ones from the original movie. If you ask me if I recommend it..  well, not so sure. It was a bit disappointing that they didn't sing all the songs live but when they did it was good. There was no connection between the 2 main protagonists, however, the last scene that most of us was looking forward to: " The Time of my life", brought tears to my eyes . Two additional singes sang it live on the stage, while they danced, this was the highlight of the whole show for me. At times it was funny when the ,al protagonist took his t-shirt off and showed off his fit body and the female audience (including me lol), started cheering very loud. Their representation was an exact "copy" of the movie, there was no innovation (I guess i was expecting a bit of it..) and no "wow" factor for me. As we have seen so many musicals at this stage, we have become very demanding. And how come they didn't sing live "she is like the wind", one of my favourite songs from the movie.. :-( . A pity that a musical with so much potential did not blow us away.


Sunday, 22 June 2014

Recent movies I have seen: Maleficent & Transcendece (2014) by Belén Delgado

" Maleficent" 2014 - I have to admit that I was a bit reluctant to watch it. I'm not a big fan of Angeline Jolie.. and I thought that what could be added to the story of the Sleeping beauty?. Well, I actually loved this film from the beginning to the end and I was totally wrong about it. It's one of these movies that you have to see in the big screen due to the special effects to get more involved in the story. It's definitely a very original version of one of the fairy tales classics: The Sleeping beauty. Angeline plays a superb role. The only piece of criticism that I have is that the king could have been a bit more handsome (lol) but apart from that: Class! Top class! In a scale from 1 to 10, definitely a 10!!! I would watch it again!! Watching this film reminded me when I was a kid and I always wanted to be able to fly like a bird!



 " Transcendence" 2014 - A futuristic movie about the power of intelligent minds to be integrated into computers to create automats without feelings who could be able to take over the world. In a way it reminded me a bit of the movie "Her". It started well and i could relate to the plot and its originality but then at some point I started to find it a bit too long and I stopped enjoying it that much. There is no doubt however about the excellent role played by Johnny Depp, he never plays an conventional role, so no surprises there.  In a scale from 1 to 10 I give it a 6.5.

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Gate Theatre: An Ideal Husband by Oscar Wilde by Belen Delgado

In order to keep records of the movies and plays that I go to , I'd like to remember An Ideal Husband that I went to see last month. I admire Oscar Wilde and i'm never tired of listening to his brilliant dialogues ahead of time and its witty and irony. I enjoyed the play very much, it took us back to another time with the beautiful dresses and changes in the stage. The main protagonist, Martin Rea, is so hilarious!! The theatre was packed, as it always is when there is an Oscar Wilde play on stage. What a mixture of romance, comedy and criticism of the society of that time. Class!




4 movies i have seen recently by Belen Delgado

Lately I'm not having enough time to write in my blog, so let me write only the titles of the recent films we have seen and the score from 1 to 10:

"Her" - original love story about a lonely man that falls in love with a female voice software. I have to say that i had too high expectations of this movie, maybe this is why i didn't enjoy it that much, i have to see it again, i think, for now, yes, a bit more than a pass but it wasn't the movie of my life. Score: 6

"Divergent" - Movie about a possible view of the future when people will have to fit in into 4 different fanctions of personalities and those who do not fit are divergent and are not welcome since they can cause conflict or wars. I liked the film, those know me, know that i like films that have a view about the future.I'll score it with a 7.5

"The Grand Budapest Hotel" An usual movie, i loved the photography and the angle of the scenes,the colours, the dialogues, so different, a unique story line. Good for people who are tired of the usual films, definitely not for everyone but we enjoyed it. Love Ralph Fiennes performance, he is fab! I'll score it with a 7.5, too.

"Bad Neighbours" Typical funny American comedy, no need to think much, bring popcorns, seat and have a laugh. Plot is simple but I laughed out loud several times. I'll score it with a pass, 5.


Highly recommended: "Singing in the Rain - The Musical", Board Gais Theatre Dublin by Belén Delgado

1952's movie musical "Singing in the Rain" is superbly performed in a production direct from the West End at the Board Gais theatre in Dublin  from the 20th to the 31st of May. I actually didn't have plan to go and see this musical, even though i knew the musical that I watched several times during my teen times when I used to watch classic movies with my parents. Last Friday night was raining not-stop and on Saturday morning i woke up needing to disconnect from the routine , what do i usually do in these situations? Going to a good concert or to the theatre, so I did my research online and when I saw "Singing in the Rain" , I did not hesitate and I was lucky enough to find 2 tickets in the circle, row c, seat 37 & 38. They were the last 2 seats left together in a good location, the theater was packed!. Andres was happy to go with me and i think he was very surprised to see how good it was. I personally have always admired Gene Kelly, his energy, lively personality and charm and I thought it was going to be very difficult to portray that on stage, how wrong i was!

 (Photo taken from their Facebook page)


Happiness, love, positive energy, full of color, vibrant dancing with 12.000 litres of water live with the famous "singing in the rain performance", which is portrayed twice. The audience was smiling all the way through and we were personally dancing along in our seats, so emotional, even my husband cried out of joy in one of the songs. For us, this has been the best musical we have seen so far, after the one from Queen that we saw in London. It just made me feel what i needed, this is the magic of performances when they are well done. I would have loved to bring my mum to this musical, too, she would have loved it.

There are also celebrities in the cast, screen star Maxwell Caulfield plays the studio boss R F Simpson, i was actually saying to myself all the time, his face is so familiar.. i knew him from somewhere! From Dynasty, the tv series!! Gee, he still has the same face!!, Actress Vicky Binns from Coronation street soap opera, is so hilarious.. her voice is terrible!! Amy Ellen, blew us away with her fabulous voice and dance style. The main singer portraying Gene Kelly is also very elegant and professional and his funny colleague , Stephanie Annelli,was excellent. No need to say that at the end of the show, everyone stood up to clap and everyone had a huge smile in their faces. And of course, when we left the theater, it was raining cats and dogs , so we were dancing along on the way home !

Some of the highlights for me:

Good morning song; singing in the rain (both performances), specially seeing the people in the first rows trying not to get wet (lol); performance with the 3 male dancers doing tap dance in a very funny way and all the scenes with the mute movies being shown like the old times.

Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/SITRMusical/reviews

Their official page:

http://www.singinintherain.co.uk/cast/


Sunday, 2 February 2014

Dubai & Abu Dhabi trip review by Belén Delgado Larroy

A few people have asked me now about our trip to Abu-Dhabi and if we liked it. We decided to go there because we were chasing the sun and we wanted a different experience and also we were looking for a place with a direct flight from Dublin. I was told that Abu-Dhabi was more beautiful than Dubai so this is one of the reasons why we decided to have our hotel there and go to Dubai one day only.

We stayed in a 4-star hotel with its private beach with breakfast ,internet and what they call "snacks" included (yes we are posh lol ). The snacks ended up to be enough for us to have dinner there almost every day and soft drinks and even alcoholic drinks were also included during the snack time from 6 to 8 pm. Our hotel was called: Shangri-La Hotel, Qaryat Al Beri, Abu Dhabi

http://www.shangri-la.com/abudhabi/traders/

I have to say that we have been to many hotels around the world and in this one we received the best service we have ever had. Breakfasts were good and food international (we realised that there were onto typical meals of the emirates but more of other neighbours countries, such as India), not excellent but definitely tasty. The rooms were very comfortable , super clean and with everything you need, a huge shower and a separate bath-tube. They also have a small gym and swimming pool. Before going to Abu-Dhabi I read that the singing to pray for muslims, was a bit loud and if you are in the city, it may not let you sleep, the first one being before 6 am. The good part about our hotel is that it was a bit away from the city and it was very quiet.

We have been there in January, which is great since it's not very hot, temperatures around 23 to 25 degrees. In the summer it can reach up to 55 degrees and I would not recommend you to go there with that heat. The only thing for me is that it was a bit cold to go and swim but we could rest on the beach and read a book peacefully.

We we arrived at the airport there is an official line for taxis (other people may approach you before when you arrive, just say no and go to the official airport taxi-line) and we grab one to the hotel, it was only 20 mins away and it costed us 55 dirhams, which is around 12 euros. If your hotel is in town, it may cost you around 80 dirhams (depending on the traffic). All the taxis are very modern and the moment you get in the taximeter has a voice that welcomes you to the taxi and start counting. They never charge you more of what the taximeter says and they will give you a receipt if you need to.

To get by in Abu-Dhabi it's ok to move by taxi and also our hotel had a free-shuttle to town that we managed to catch several times. We also took the bus once , it's actually very cheap only 2 dirhams from our hotel to town but it stops in every corner and neighbourhood and even though the bus stop was in front of the hotel, it took us more than an hour to get there, whereas by taxi it would be 25 mins max, so we decided not to take it anymore. Additionally on the bus women and men cannot seat together , there is a sign at the front saying "ladies only" that we saw for the first time when Andres was seating by me just behind the driver upps.. so he had to move back and we went in separate part of the bus all the way. The men were paying at the front and getting into the busy by the back door. A lot of separation between man and women.

To go to Dubai, we hired a chauffeur for 8 hours from the hotel, which was very expensive 800 dirhams but as we only had one day to see Dubai it was the best thing we could do since without knowing the city and the traffic we saw, we would not have managed to see as much as we saw in a few hours. The chauffeur happened to be from India, he was an excellent driver and took us to everywhere we told him. It was a pity that we did not have more time to stay in Dubai, to be honest.

So to summarise the main highlights for us:


  • Very impressive mosque in Abu-Dhabi (a must see before you die!): Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. There are a few rules about how you should dress to get in, we decided to live the full experience and the day before we bought the typical costumes: Scarf for my head, long dress with long sleeves and for Andres, the typical Emirate men white costume (his costed us 80 dirhams in a city centre popular shopping centre). Tour around the mosque happen a few times a day, check online to be able to join, it's free and they tell you a bit the history and Muslim tradition. Take at least 3 hours to stay there and see it. There are plenty of taxis that you can take to go back to the hotel or town.
  • Madinat Zayed shopping centre just in town is good to find more traditional shops, you can buy souvenirs , scarfs, men sandals (very comfy and good quality) and the typical men costumer (if you are as crazy as my husband, of course).
  • Marina Mall area - beautiful view of the port and high-scrappers; Also good to go shopping or to have an Starbucks! Inside the mall there are a few bars and restaurants, otherwise it's difficult of find bars outside hotels or shopping malls.
  • Corniche beach , public beach very clean and great to go on a bike or for a long walk. Being public you have to respect their rules and women cannot show much e.g. being topless, which was not an issue for me, to be honest.
  • We also had a funny anecdote with one local taxi-driver that did not speak much English and let us into the taxi and was engaged in a conversation in Arabic for 20 mins while we were waiting to tell him where to go, then he stopped talking and we couldn't avoid it and start laughing at the situation, then he started laughing and with hands and a few English words he told us to go to his friend taxi and kicked us out, basically ha , ha.
  • A few anecdotes in terms of communication since they always wanted to be friendly and never say no to our questions  , for example we asked about taking the shuttle and they always say yes and then when we get there the shuttle was gone but they did not want to tell us that and be rude.
  • It was also a bit difficult for me to be cold to me husband in public since I usually like holding his hand or give him a kiss.

In Abu-Dhabi there was not many more things to see, only the Ferrary Theme park or if you want to go for a ride on an hellycopter or a limousine and of course there are a few more shopping malls.

Abu-Dhabi is more a business city and it's also far more traditional than Dubai, you see many more of the typical Emirate men dressed in their typical suits covering their heads and with their wives or on their own with other men. You did not see many emirate women hanging out on their own. All the men with their iPhones or the latests technology devices and they love Starbucks as much as I do. At the beginning, if you have never been in the Emirates it's a bit strange to see women all covered, first being when you arrive in the airport and the men at the security points are already dressed in their typical costumes but after a few days, you get used to it and you stop thinking about it. We liked the call to pray, it reminded me of the Flamenco singing, it sounded beautiful and it did not bother us. We understood that this is their culture and we respected that. We even saw men praying in the middle of the road with their car by their sides. In the shopping centres they have small praying rooms.

To be honest i had not see so many modern and high buildings in another location , in the city centre  it's all new and luxurious , in both in Dubai and Abu-Dhabi. Abu-Dhabi does not have metro but Dubai has it. There is also a train going over the sea that we took where you can see the Palmera complex. Totally recommended, it's unbelievable to see what men can build on water.

We also went to see the highest building in the world, very impressive from the outside, we did not manage to get in since it was sold-out , if you go , make sure you book it online way in advanced, they will not let you in if you try to buy the ticket at the door. It's called Burj Khalifa:

http://www.burjkhalifa.ae/en/

We also went to the public beach just by the only 7-star hotel in the world: Burj Al Arab

http://www.dubai7starhotel.net

Again if you want to get inside, the only way is by booking a table in one of their expensive restaurants, we decided not to do this this time. I was surprised that on the beach by it, there were a bunch of tourists wearing tangas and even in topless.. not sure if this is normal there but I did not expect to see that in a muslim country where you are expected to follow their rules, for example it's illegal to sleep in the same room if you are not married (luckily we are married!), the same applies to show passionate affection in public, homosexuality is also illegal and there is zero tolerance to drunken behaviour. Something that drew my attention was that it was all wealthy, there were not beggars or homeless in the streets. Also Dubai is very cosmopolitan and I noticed that there are many more places to eat or even to have a drink. We went to the main mall called  the Dubai Mall: http://thedubaimall.com/en/Index.aspx ; when you go inside you can see again how much money they have, there is a huge aquarius with live sharks inside the shopping centre; fake waterfalls; an ice rink and even an Armani Cafe! It's one of the biggest ones in the world and you will need at least a day to see it all, we didn't manage! Also in one of the exists you can see the beautiful Dubai Fountain, the tallest building in Dubai and a other modern buildings.

In Dubai traffic was heavy and it was hotter than in Abu-Dhabi. We also did not see so many typical EAE men as in Abu-Dhabi, you can easily forget that you are in the emirates.

In general, we felt very secure everywhere we went to, only when one taxi driver thought that I was rich because I work in Facebook, I thought pups… but in the end, nothing happened, it was only a comment. Most people working in the hotels are from other neighbour countries and all very friendly. Also the Emirate airlines is excellent, one day we will go on pearl business class, they even have their own entry to the terminal in the airport! They really like dividing between class and money.. we felt a bit small in that sense.. working so hard and not having half of the wealth that millionaires have in there.

Definitely if you are planning to go to Abu-Dhabi or Dubai, save to be able to enjoy it. Our hotel was not that bad, around 700 euros for 7 nights with all the meals as I explained before and a 4-star hotel in the emirates, in Dubai it's definitely harder to get this price. Try to go when it's not high season. In relation to the language, don't worry all of them speak English since tourism is very important there and all the signs are in Arabic and English.

Last but not least if you ask me if we enjoyed it, yes we did, it was something different but I think I'd be bored if I had to live there.. I'm used to Ireland with loads of pubs with live music , concerts, theatres and without restrictions regarding what to wear or where man or women should seat. There are also tours you can take to go to the dessert and be a bit more adventurous, we did not do it because we just wanted to rest. The building constructions are impressive!





Movie recommended: "12 Years a Slave" by Belén Delgado

" What differences is there in the colour of the soul?" Solomon Northup, 12 years a slave

Outstanding film based on a true story of a black free man , Solomon Northup, husband and father of 2 kids that is kidnapped in New York and ends up being sold as a slave. From the very beginning the events that will take place are difficult to watch sometimes, specially because you know it's based  on historic and true facts. Slaves were considered property and treated worse than wild animals, they were abused verbally and physically and only the strong ones who did not complain survived. The sadness and frustration of all the actors playing the slaves in the film, is touching, their eyes say so much.. At the same time, the photography of the film is beautiful, it's made with such an elegance. The actors playing the evil owners of the slaves or minders are all excellent performers, specially German actor, Michael Fassbender and  her wife in the film , Sarah Paulson  (.e.g the scene where she hits one of the female slaves with a bottle.. shocking!) also the short role played by Little Miss Sunshine Actor, Paul Dano is also stellar. Of course, the main protagonist, British actor of Nigerian origin , Chiwetel Ejiofor, has to win an oscar ; as he said of himself:  " I like to disappear into a role. I equate the success to if with a feeling of being chemically changed" and this is exactly how I describe the way he acts in this film.  All in all, it's an aesthetic film being told with an elegant and beautiful touch. By the end of it, you will be a bit upset, mainly because so many people suffered unfairly during slavery times, I'm glad that Canadian abolitionist, played by Brad Pitt, came into play. Sometimes life put people on your way for a reason and Salomon did not deserve to die being a slave, well no-one really did deserve it! Second movie of the year and for me it deserves definitely a 10!!! A must see!


First movie of the year we have seen: Wolf of Wall Street by Belén Delgado Larroy


"My name is Jordan Belfort, The year I turned 26, I made 49 million dollars, which really pissed me off because it was three shy of a million a week" Jordan Belfort (Wolf of Wall Street)

Great start of the year using our cinema membership with this excellent movie by well-known director Scorsese. There is so much going on in the movie: People getting out of control with drugs, alcohol, sex and money that it was hard to believe that it's actually based on a true story. I do hope they win a lot of oscars, every single character in the film has a very peculiar personality and deserve some recognition. The main highlights for me  were the different crazy scenes of the parties they had in the office; also when Jordan Belfort (played y Di Caprio) meets Mark Hannah played by Matthew McConaughey and they go for lunch and the scenes to pass the money over to Switzerland. Yesterday, I saw in an interview that Matthew explained that the gesture of hitting his own chest with the fist that they do in the film, it's something that they came up with after Scorsese saw that Matthew was doing that before starting the scene. It seems that it's something he does to get into the mood of a scene and to prepare his voice and Scorsese liked it for the film. No need to say that Di Caprio plays a superb role, it's quite real to me when he plays all those scenes with him being high taking different drugs, I personally remember the one where he can barely walk and crawls to try to get into the car (class!). Last but not least, I'd like to mention actor Jonah Hill, he usually plays in comedies but in this film he really shows that he can act, his role is so convincing, what a character! He explained in an interview that it was difficult for him to had those fake teeth in the movie and that they even fell off in one of the scenes. The only criticism that I have for this movie is that it's a bit too long (3 hours), I would have get rid of 20 mins of it but apart from this, I really liked it and I recommend it to those who think they have seen it all. Sometimes reality overcomes fiction and this film is the proof. It's unbelievable what money and greed can do to people. The last thought from me would be, I'm surprised Jordan is still alive after having that hectig and unhealthy life style!



Wednesday, 8 January 2014

A summary of our 2013 by Belén Delgado

As I always do at the beginning of every year, I look back and I write about what we have done in 2013:

In 2013, we went twice to the Opera: Carmen and The Three Penny Opera. We saw 2 musicals: Cats and Priscilla, Queen of the Dessert. Andres went an additional time to see Opera as part of the Bram Stoker Festival.

We went only to one concert, Glen Hansard and we took Carlota to her first Rugby Match in the RDS. We also went to 2 festivals: The Vodafone Comedy Festival & Street Art Performance Festival.

In terms of trips we started 2013 in Spain, with my family. Then I went to Liverpool with my mother while Andres went to New York to meet his family. Then I went to San Francisco (USA) in April and then one more time in October (work related). In September we meet our friend Matteo and Helena in Sardegna  (Italy) where we spent a week together. We also travelled a little bit in Ireland , we took our friends Matteo and Elena to Galway and Connemara, we got soaking wet but it was a beautiful trip together! I can´t wait to do it again!



We saw a total of 30 movies in the cinema , which means an average of 2.5 movies a month. Not bad taking into account how busy we have been.





Last but not least, among the things I did for the first time in my life in 2013 were; Going to the Facebook Headquarters in Menlo Park (California) and meeting Mark Zuckerberg; going in a limousine with my team , going to a real Indian restaurant (I enjoyed it a lot!), eating a Roscón de Reyes in Dublin, being on a beach in Ireland in bikini eating an ice cream , eating Brazilian food (Thanks Lucimar and Marina!) and delicious bread from Sardegna (delicious!), going to work dressed as a zombie and have my whole team dressed as zombies for a day. I also professionally grew a lot doing what I like the most, managing people.

Additionally, I wouldn´t like to forget that we have also met some great people this year such as Carlota, Sergio or Jorge. In general, the analysis of 2013 was a good year with a lot of changes, I started a new job, I met new people, I have gone back to college with my husband and I´ve gathered new experiences. There is no perfect year, there were ups and downs but in the end, what counts is that I added another year to my life together with my husband and my beloved cat, Pepe.

Looking back: Last Cultural events of 2013

Just a quick post to remember the last cultural events we went to in 2013:

I bought tickets to see the three penny Opera (Die dreigroschenoper) by Bertol Brecht, we forgot that we had tickets and a quick flashback came on a Saturday on our way to the cinema and we managed to get there on time. My husband enjoyed it very much, I'm still  not very convinced by the genre of the opera but just seeing my husband so happy, it made my day. I'm also glad I went to see an early example of modern musical comedy :-).



We also saw in the Board Gais Theater the musical of Priscilla Queen of the Dessert, a very colorful and happy-go-lucky musical protagonized by the 80ies pop singer, Jason Donovan. Wow he can really walk and dance in high heels! Chapeau! I really enjoyed it but to be honest I expected more of it.



I'm trying to remember now the last 2 movies we saw in 2013, the very last one was the second part of Hunger Games "Catching Fire", we really liked it, although I would not say that it's better than the first one, it is not. Based on the ending there will be another movie and I'll be there! I can't have enough of the Hunger games, I love the idea, I find it so original.

The other movie we saw was "Don Jon", I went to see it because I love Joseph Gordon-Levitt but I had no idea about the plot. We actually went to see if with a friend of ours and I think she thinks now that I'm a pervert or something because the movie is about a guy who is obsesses with the gym and porn and it's also a womanizer. Lol. It's actually a comedy, we enjoyed it but it was not the movie of our lives. To be perfectly honest with you, I cannot even remember the end now.. so another forgettable movie that I won't see twice. And yeah my husband enjoyed seeing Scarlett Johansson ..

2013 has been a busy year, a year of changes and with not much time left to write in my blogs.

Places to See