Travelling around the world Traveller pics January-March

Hello! I am so inactive on my blog lately… However, it doesn’t mean I forgot all about it and don’t work on the content :)

Here is a new big edition of travel pics back from January, February and March. Special huge thanks to my lovely traveller for taking these and sharing them. Big love

Seoul, South Korea
SeoulShanghai, China Shanghai
Moscow, Russia
MoscowMoscowMoscowMoscow
MoscowMoscow
MoscowSydney, Australia Sydney
SydneySydney
SydneySydney
Sydney
Toronto, Canada
Niagara FallsNiagara Falls
Niagara FallsToronto
Niagara FallsToronto
TorontoToronto
TorontoToronto

Love,

Ainur

Catching up

Following the previous post with a short story about the past two month here are photos I collected on my iPhone throughout this period of time.

random1. As my mom and I first arrived we often went to two shopping malls. In one of them I saw this Cinderella shoe inside a cinema. It’s so cute, isn’t it?
2. Great pastry from a great, but a little too expensive supermarket.
3. Our dining experience. I think my dad will love that meat mince in a pocket that looks like a steak.
4. Valentine’s Day spent with my love of my life, my mom. We got “Love is…” gums in a stationary boutique as complimentary gifts
samovarSamovar. Russian traditional boiler with hot water for tea. Took this pic at a dining place above (pic 3)
neighbourhoodMy local neighbourhood. It was snowing last week, so beautiful in the morning. For better views watch the two videos below:
Mountain Views
Snowfall
from homeI went home twice over this period of time. The first time at the end of February, and the second time I think two weeks later (somewhere around March 8)
1. Our dear Ficus tree, who’s name is Finik.
2. Second flight home.
3, 4. Before my flight back to Almaty my mom has arrived from Abu Dhabi. These are the litlle gifts from her and my sister. Love you!!!
streetlightsOn the way to the airport with my dad. I meant to take a pic of the city, but the focus thought otherwise, and here is a beautiful photo of melted snow on a car window.
crispy snowCrispy snow at home. I think I still can’t get enough of little winter wonders.
make upMy everyday make-up essentials. Everything I need for a natural looking make-up. Not much has changed since I posted my routine, I only added Giorgio Armani corrector.
dining1. Perfect healthy food: black rice, salmon and broccoli
2. Some vegetables and Russian-style sandwiches
3. Business lunch. In my homecountry it means a lunch comprising of a soup, salad, main dish and sometimes a dessert coming in an inexpensive price. I went to a place near my office, and really loved it. Although I must admit that this business lunch costs more than an average one.
4. My usual Saturday lunch now (?) Every weekend I go groceries shopping, so I get myself a cake or two as well.

Love,

Ainur

Memories. Living in Ocean City and Peninsula II

Few days ago I opened my old web diary and found some posts I completely forgot I posted a while ago. Apparently, I already deleted everything from the years 2006-2008. I was a little bit disappointed, because I remember going through my old entries and thinking that at that period of time I had quite interesting thoughts and an amazing writing style (in Russian). But, oh well, I discovered other interesting posts and events. That is exactly why I love having a diary/blog. I want to capture it all and once in a while come across all the good memories, and remember them.
After I found a post of one of our moves from one apartment to another back three years ago, I downloaded all the photos and my mom and I decided to feature them here. I also collected some other pics from the place as well as from two other flats we rented in Shenzhen. I will be telling a short story or make a description of every single pic below.
Residential complex Ocean City. What a residential complex! It was sort of isolated, located a bit far away from proper supermarket; a metro station (or what was it) was just beginning to build up from a seaside of the building making a huge noise. But we just LOVED the apartment and even got used to the drilling sound after one night! It is quite a pricy place to live in (after all you can’t kill the taste), but we had a great deal, so the rent was not as expensive. Also, not so many people lived in the complex and in the area, so it was just a zen place after living close to a stifling atmosphere of  the city. The air, the perception, neighbors, all felt different and refreshing.
1.2. A lane leading to the complex (the one on the left);
3.4. Typical buildings of Ocean City;
5. A gate close to the building we lived in (although residents never used it).
Lobby Ocean City has been built by an Australian company, so everything is very well done. Apartments are amazing and spacious, with built in wardrobes and central air conditioning system. As you can see on the collage above, even the porch, the lobby look expensive. I have to admit that all of the lobbies in new apartment buildings I’ve seen in China are well and beautifully preserved, but these are just on the next level. From what we’ve been told, all the chandeliers are made of Swarovski crystals. Overall, the richness of the lobby is undeniable. However, a year later we moved out of the apartment because the price went up, and the owner started showing his true colours. These photos were taken during our move out of Ocean City.
1. Glorious heavy doors of the building. As usual, residents have swipe access cards for the complex gates and every building.
2. Lobby. There used to be a gold glamorous couch with crystals at mirrored wall, but it was taken away at the moment of our move. It is seen on the next collage with close ups.
Interior close-up And then we moved to our dream place, Peninsula II in Shekou. It is located along the sea border with Hong Kong, and is home to many expats. When you are there, you feel like you are in foreign world. However, the realization of being in China comes once you cross a road from the complex toward a bus or metro station. That is something special about the country. Mixture and diversity of neighbor areas is presented in most of the cities. And when it comes to more expensive places, prices are still much-much cheaper than in countries west and south of Asia.
My family thought of moving to Peninsula for years, but at that time new buildings were not completed yet, and old ones were expensive. The first apartment we rented there for two years we found in one day. Simply not having enough time after the monthly price for the previous apartment in Ocean City went up, we found two lovely real estate agents through my mom’s classmate and they helped us out really well. Even though the new apartment was smaller, we loved living there. Peninsula is much more convenient place to live in, because it is a much bigger community with an access to the seaside, supermarkets with products from foreign countries, cafés, bakeries, international school, etc.
After living in the first apartment in Peninsula II for two years we moved to another one in the same residential complex. I posted an article about the move here. Peninsula1.2. Peninsula I and II is on the right side;
3.4.5. Around the residential complex.

Another thing we loved about Peninsula is a resort-like seaside pool. Even though people don’t have an access to the sea, it was completely compensated. The seaside area included a bigger and a smaller pool, a restaurant and a gym. Most of the modern residential complexes in Shenzhen have a pool, but this one is somewhat more likable. On weekends families gather together and spend some quality time in a nice weather. On weekdays people just come to swim, tan and relax.
poolside 1. On the way to the pool
2. View on Peninsula I
3. View on Peninsula II
4. 5. Pool, gym and a restaurant
6. View on Hong Kong
Seaside viewsViews from the three apartments:
1. on the bridge and one of Hong Kong islands. From Ocean city terrace, 6th floor;
2. 3. on wharf. From Peninsula II balcony on 4th floor. 4th November 2011 and 31st December 2012;
4. same bridge as on the photo 1. From Peninsula II balcony on 47th floor;
5. on wharf and the rest of Shekou seaside. From Peninsula II balcony on 47th floor.

What else to say here? We  cherish our memories about our life in Shenzhen. Every place we live in teaches us something, changes and improves us. That is one of the reasons why we love to travel.

Love,

Ainur

My hometown in summer

It is the last day of summer, and I happen to have a folder with all these pics of my hometown on my desktop. I thought it is finally time to make this long-planned article. These photos were taken randomly in the period of the end of May to July months when I was walking or driving in the city. They do not cover the whole beauty of the town, but you can see more of it in My time back home, Everyday life in Ast., Trip to hometown and Week at home posts. hometown 1.2. The old part of the city
3.4. Grocery shopping with my dad at METRO

hometown Promenade with my mom from the New City to the old city.

hometown New city
1.2. Took these after market grocery shopping with my parents.
3.4. Driving to the airport with my parents to greet my sister.

hometown 1.2.3. Driving to the airport with my parents to greet my sister.
4. Strolling through the city with my mom and sister. Good times :D

Love,

Ainur

Just breathing in

IMG_2262 Since we are spending the time in a coastal city, we finally, almost at the end of the trip, made it to the beach. It was kind of a random walk to the sea. My mom and my sister swam for some time while I was seating on the beach observing them and breathing in salty air. I found it energizing in a way. However, I am not sure if it was because I was tired after a walk in a humidy heat or is it just the power of the sea. One thing I am sure of is that I don’t get tired from viewing it. Just watching the evening sun setting down on the water, palm shadows moving on the sand, and sea water rising in the morning. IMG_2252 IMG_2251 IMG_2255 IMG_2254 IMG_2253 IMG_2258 IMG_2264Love,

Ainur

Summer travels

This post is going to be semi-themed because I didn’t post in a while and I want to catch up on everything major that was going on back in July. Also, unfortunately, my phone is broken these past few days, and I missed on taking photos of such amazing places that I want to go back once I get the chance.

The main event that took place almost a month ago was my sister’s travel back home. We were all so excited to have her with us in our apartment that feels so empty when she’s abroad. She brought a suitcase full of gifts for everyone and majorly lightened up the whole mood and atmosphere of home. My sister spent a week in our hometown and then my mom and her left for Abu Dhabi once again. Gifts I’m especially in love with these Swiss souvenirs! Swiss souvenirs La Cure Gourmande Tendresse de caramel La Cure Gourmande Tendresse de caramel Starbucks mugs Belgium Starbucks mug Nagoya Starbucks mug Burberry sun protection umbrellas from Japan (UV 100)UV 100 Burberry umbrellas One of the lunches spent together (my dad brought everything from a store) Salads and cakes I left for Abu Dhabi one day earlier because of the confusion with prices for the two airlines. But it’s all right, I love travelling with my favorite one. Very often, if you’re lucky, you can sit all by yourself and feel comfortable in economy class seat. Plus, this airline has the best plane food! I’ve already mentioned this company before in Fast Packing and Going Far Away posts.Up in the air Plane dinner All by myself Abu Dhabi Abu Dhabi Corniche Right now we are still in Abu Dhabi. Sometimes we travel to explore Dubai, and that’s where I need to go back with a camera once I get the chance.

Love,
Ainur

Lately in Abu Dhabi

Here is a brief photo diary of what we’ve been doing lately. The next day after our trip to Dubai, my dad and I visited Yas Waterworld. Strangely enough most of all we enjoyed just laying on water in a pool-river and go with a stream, and on waves on a “beach” Yas Waterworld exterior Yas Waterworld interior waves
our lunch at Dana’s Dinner: hot-dog and chicken wrap Hot-dog, chicken wrap and french fries
Continuing with the food theme here’s our favorite food outlet, Hatam. My mom and my sister fell in love with it last time they visited Abu Dhabi, and now we found it in the nearby shopping mall. (note: there is Hatam in the airport, and its prices are much cheaper) Hatam Kebab and chicken soup Arayes, kebab, eggplant and lamb cooked in tomato pasta Kebab, eggplant and lamb cooked in tomato pasta
Ice-cream and a cronut (the very first one) :) Baskin Robbins Cronut
And some more pics of this beautiful city:
Golden bridges are all over the city IMAG5147
Market at Mushrif Mall market
Beautiful Yas Island Yas Island Yas Island Hotel in Yas Island A bush A bush A bushLove,

Ainur

A day in Dubai

Two days ago my parents and I went to Dubai. It took quite some time for me to get ready (as usual) and then we headed to a bus station conveniently located on the right side of the place where my sister stays. To go to Dubai we took some kind of a mini wan, and it dropped us as close to Burj Khalifa as it could. Then we just took a taxi and went to Dubai Mall.

Opposite to Dubai Mall View from Dubai Mall
One of my dream boutiques Dubai Mall
This cute one always makes me smile DSC_2732
The Souk. Here you can find jewelry, carpets, souvenirs and traditional clothes as well as little cafes. Dubai Mall Dubai Mall Dubai Mall Dubai Mall Dubai Mall Dubai Mall Dubai Mall Dubai Mall
Dubai Mall in-store fountain Dubai Mall Dubai Mall
Outside of Dubai mall Dubai Mall Dubai Mall
Choreographed fountain, The Dubai Fountain. Sorry for the missing seconds on the video. I forgot that when taking a snapshot it stops recording. View from Dubai Mall
The magnificent Burj Khalifa, the highest skyscraper. We planned to go to the top, but all the tickets were sold out for the day Burj Khalifa
My mom found in the Internet that The Emirates A380 flight simulator was opened last month in Dubai Mall. We just had to check it out. We had so much fun taking off, flying and landing in Rio de Janeiro, London, Paris and Dubai, and choosing various times of a day and weather conditions. Flight simulator at Dubai Mall
Somewhere above London I think… Flight simulator at Dubai Mall
Taking off at Charles de Gaulle Flight simulator at Dubai Mall
and flying in Paris sky Flight simulator at Dubai Mall
I couldn’t resist to put these beautifully arranged fruits at the end of the post. FruitsLove,

Ainur

Safari adventures

I had about 600 photos to choose from, and it finally came up to 25. The safari my parents and I chose was so much fun! And totally not what we expected… Once again, I found this particular company in Entertainer voucher book, so we paid for two of us, and one ticket was for free. Told you, I love great deals and sales :D Safari Safari Safari
The camp is about an hour and a half away from Abu Dhabi. A bus picks everyone up at the nearby shopping mall, so it’s convenient for us. In a bus the tour guide asked us if we will be doing the dune bashing. We agreed and thought: “Of course we will, it’s just a ride, we’ll take a look at dunes…”. An noooo… how naive we were… We were the first group to take one of the two Land Cruisers and go into the middle of the dunes. And there it started! Unexpected roller coaster, except for if a car falls on the side, I don’t know what happens… Thank God it didn’t happen to us! Our driver was quite gentle with the four girls in his car. Safari Safari Safari
In the middle of the dunes. Breathtaking!.. Safari
And going back to the camp to ride a horse and a camel Safari Safari Safari Camels Horses
The safari adventure was not over on that. Others also enjoyed sand boarding and kid’s play area, visited goat ranch, did henna tattoo and took photos in beautiful traditional dresses. Moreover, for additional charge we did a ride on quad bikes. I was bored and tired of it pretty soon, but my dad and everyone else loved it. Then we took a couple of pics with a cute falcon. Staff takes a good care of him :)  Later, on sunset they did a falcon show.
Falcon
Next, we had a dinner with many dishes to choose from. The company did a great job at this matter, especially with complimentary drinks available in a fridge throughout the whole day. Safari camp dinner
And finally, watching a short film about UAE around a camp fire before going back home. Some people chose to stay for the night though, but we did only a half day safari. Safari camp Safari camp Camp fire

Love,

Ainur