Stories about Dubai

Dhaba vs fine dining: A $60 meal at a Michelin star restaurant or a $2 meal fit for a Mughal emperor?

Known for the fresh sub-continental food they serve in an open air atmosphere, dhabas can be dubbed as local fast food joints that offer patrons tasty, traditional dishes at an affordable price. The word ‘dhaba’ has become so popular in fact, that both Indian and Pakistani restaurants abroad have adopted it as a part of their name. I grossly undervalued the economical and cheerful appeal of a dhaba until a few months ago, when visiting the land of gold souks and skyscrapers otherwise known as Dubai. I decided to go for dinner at a posh restaurant called Guilt. This of course ...

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With an unconventional kinship and a path of self-discovery, will Pinky Memsaab shatter Pakistan’s ‘maid culture’?

Although still struggling, Pakistan’s cinema has started pulling filmgoers to cinema houses and making waves in the international film market. By taking baby steps to reshape the film industry, local filmmakers are working hard to capture the beauty of life on screen, to transform the portrayal of their motherland through persuasive storytelling, and to foster national identity and pride that hasn’t been experienced for a long time. In this regard, Pakistan’s indie filmmaking scene gives the impression of being more rousing and vivacious than ever, with new storytellers along with unrivalled concepts surfacing the cinematic galaxy. These avantgarde indie movies ...

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Stepping into the void: A magical journey to the picturesque Swiss and French Alps

The mountains are calling and I must go – this is what I told myself while planning my summer vacation. Selecting Switzerland was a no-brainer, as it remains one of the most sought after and popular destinations for tourists around the world, thanks to its alpine peaks, mountain vistas and magical landscape. I started my European journey from Chur, reportedly the oldest town in Switzerland, and made my way to the Glacier Express, dubbed the world’s fastest slow train. This is a panoramic train which reaches Zermatt, a Swiss mountain resort, passing through spectacular lakes, enormous mountains and breath-taking landscapes. [caption ...

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A day trip to the micronation of Andorra, a jewel hidden between European giants

Sandwiched between Spain and France in the Pyrenees mountains, very few have heard of the micronation that is Andorra. I too only came across this tiny European country on Google Maps while I was planning my Euro tour. With a total area of only 468 kilometre square and a population of almost 77,000 people, it attracts over 10 million tourists annually, which is where 80% of its gross domestic product (GDP) comes from. Seeing its beauty and its unusual size, it didn’t take long for me to include it in my itinerary as I planned to visit every single state in ...

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The curse of the green passport: 4 places to visit this Eid break without any visa woes

English novelist Aldous Huxley once said, “To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries.” He could not have been more accurate, as only the bearer of a green passport can truly understand this. However, though it is obviously very difficult to get a visa on a green passport, it is not entirely impossible. If you move away from the Americas and the European destinations to allow for an easier visa, there are several countries that wholeheartedly welcome you despite the colour of your passport. Given the (not so) long Eid holidays coming up, I shall highlight a ...

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Gwadar: From ghost town to gold rush town

From the sky, Gwadar looks like a dust bowl as the ATR aircraft, which regularly flies along the Makran coast from Karachi, circles in for landing. The new airport, currently being designed, will be the largest in Pakistan once it is completed, but for now one has to settle for the old airport. Its VIP section is used often as ministers, senators and even the prime minister and the army chief regularly visit this once sleepy fishing port. They have all proclaimed Gwadar to be the jewel of the upcoming China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The drive from the airport along the newly ...

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Dubai – a city of countless distractions and all the pleasures money can buy, yet no sense of congruity

As I stood in the line behind the passport control counter, a security personnel menacingly shouted at a person ahead of me, who had the unmistakeable look of a working class labourer, “Gulf resident?” Before the poor guy had the chance to get his bearings right, the security personnel added perhaps the only two Urdu words that he knew, “Chalo niklo!” (Get out!) The person quickly gathered himself and hurried in the direction pointed by the security personnel, like a flock of sheep guided with the urgency and indifference of a shepherd. The line we were standing in was for visit visa holders. ...

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It’s about time Pakistan gives India a taste of their own medicine

The Pak-India tussle is always considered as one of the fiercest and most competitive rivalries when it comes to sports of any kind, whether it is hockey, football, kabbadi or cricket. The mounting pressure across both borders is nothing new but rather a normality to say the very least. Ever since the Partition, India and Pakistan have always been on the forefront of controversy and politics. However, almost every time, cricket has been used as a diplomatic tool to bridge the ever increasing gap between the two countries which eventually results in nail-biting matches for cricket crazy fans. [caption id="" align="alignnone" ...

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Sanam: Yet another messy plot like Mann Mayal

In the recent episode of Sanam, we once again see the story relying on harmful stereotypes. This time Sanam vilifies the children of single parents: We see Sara’s child being abrasive and aggressive after seeing her mother speaking to an old friend (Harib). Not only is this a harmful generalisation, it’s also a false one. There are many children who are probably worse off at the hands of a family that is ‘together’ but very abusive. At the same time see Aan’s mother (Hina Khawaja Bayat) lying to prospective in-laws of Aan, stating that they used to live in Dubai ...

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An open letter to my younger self

Dear Tanzila, Today your wish will come true. You will get what you had always wanted. Remember that hair straightener set? Mum has gotten it for you. It has curlers too! But I have some bad news: you will forget about the beloved straightener within three years and never think about it again. Why? Because, you will embrace the hijab as your identity – don’t freak out! You will love it. Today, as the 26-year-old ‘you’, I have reached out to you of the past to share some lessons. Some of them I learned in Sweden, some as I was sitting in a training session ...

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