As I embark on my first adventure of 2017, travelling from Dubai back to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, I wanted to conclude my review of (my) 2016 – the second half of the year featured a great holiday, and my first steps into the worlds of the DSLR camera, and blogging!
6) July – Another weekend break was enjoyed, this time at the Hilton Resort, in the nearby Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah. However, with temperatures well into the 40’s, most of the time was spent in the pool or sea.
It was whilst on this trip, I took what was one of my favourite pictures of the year, snapping a wandering camel as I drove on a desert road. The camel was one of two, walking in a line on the side of the road, as if they totally knew the protocols of walking along a road.
7) August – Early in this month I got the blogging bug, and so ‘Expat Steve’ was born. My first post, published on 2nd August, was all about ‘The Why’. Since then, I’ve really enjoyed working on my posts, and it’s something that I hope to continue regularly into the new year.
August also saw us relaxing on a wonderful 2 week break, spent partly in Gabiano eating large amounts of pasta, washed down with the delicious local wines, where we were joined by our friends Darryl and Mary, and also at our apartment in Paphos, Cyprus, where the highlight was being able to share in the fabulous wedding of fellow Dubai residents, Rowena and Andreas.
8) September – Having been bitten by the blogging bug, I decided that rather than rely on my iPhone camera, I needed a new one, and also to learn some photography skills. After some hunting around, we settled on a Canon EOS 80D, which has turned out to be a really good buy.
I’ve spent many hours since then hunting through various online articles, magazines and YouTube videos, to understand all the different options and settings. I also discovered that there is a whole world of image editing that pretty much goes hand in hand with using the camera, so ‘Photoshop’ and ‘Lightroom’ were added to my list of items to google or search for on YouTube!
Also in September, we had a 5 day weekend, and took the opportunity to enjoy a Dubai staycation – lots of fun eating, drinking, exploring and shopping, but the real ‘high’light was a wonderful evening spent on the 123rd floor of the Burj Khalifa, in a bar called At.Mosphere – a really great night out.
9) October – This is birthday month for both Mel and myself, plus we also celebrate our wedding anniversary, so its a busy month. First up was our anniversary, and this was spent enjoying a lovely dinner at the Dubai Marina Yacht Club.
Then for our birthdays, we had a joint celebration at Gordon Ramsey’s restaurant at The Atlantis Hotel, attending a special event that he was hosting personally, to mark the 1 year anniversary of the restaurants opening. Excellent food and wine, plus Mel got to meet the man himself!
I also squeezed in a quick trip back to the UK during the month, where I became obsessed with taking photos of scenes that offered natural frames – a bit weird eh?
10) November – During this month, I started my new project in Jeddah, but one of the first things I had to do was attend a conference in Las Vegas – a tough start, I’m sure you would agree!
11) December – The year ended as it had started, watching fireworks in Dubai, although this time, I was accompanied by Mel and her son Aston, and we stared up at the colour filled sky from our vantage point on the beach.
Christmas was also spent in Dubai, and in between Christmas and New Year, I managed another trip back to the UK to catch up with my nearest and dearest – a hectic holiday break, but I wouldn’t have missed it!
So, as the title suggests, the year was never dull, there was quite a bit of travelling, far too much work, but some great times in between with family and friends.
Before closing however, I wanted to also acknowledge the sad passing of many of my long time musical heroes during the year – most notably David Bowie, who I was lucky enough to see in concert in London during his ‘Thin White Duke’ tour in 1976, and Prince, who I saw twice – once in his home city of Minneapolis in 2001, and then again in London a couple of years later. Add to that both Keith Emerson and Greg Lake, of Emerson Lake and Palmer, and Rick Parfitt of Status Quo and that makes up a super group of very talented musicians whose music I have enjoyed over many years.
Here’s wishing everyone a happy and peaceful 2017, with the hope that whatever you find yourself doing, you too will have a year that is never dull!