Thursday, 27 February 2014
Wednesday, 26 February 2014
Tuesday, 25 February 2014
Monday, 24 February 2014
Before going to Montreal, I agreed with my friend and ex colleague Bassem that we have to meet at least for a coffee to catch up, and discuss so far our experiences in Canada.. Bassem left Dubai around 8 month ago and moved with his family to Montreal.
So in my second day in Montreal, Bassem called me early morning and didn't accept to let me take a cab, so he picked me up from the hotel, and he asked me if I have any preference for breakfast, and being very flexible when it comes to food told him I'm fine with anything, so he decided to take me to a small cosy bakery where everything is so yummi..
We went to "Au Kouign-Amann" on 322 Rue Mont-Royal E, Montreal, a very modest place, when you look at it from outside, nothing fancy, and you can feel the charm this place has from its facade and once you're in you got taken by the wonderful smell, and your eyes feel already full from the delicious pastries..
It took us some time to decide what to order, and between the two of us we ordered four different pastries and they were all incredible so we enjoyed our hour there, having our coffee and catching up and sharing our stories from Montreal and Toronto and Bassem telling me how his kids are adapting to the new life in Canada..
And then Bassem was kind enough and offered to drop me to Laval to visit my cousin and her family..
I loved Au Kouign Amann, so unpretentious, simple and fantastic..So next time you're in Montreal and feel like having a good breakfast, do not miss!!!
Sunday, 23 February 2014
Saturday, 22 February 2014
When you like movies, when u like cinema theatres, the best thing they can offer you is a loyalty card where u can collect points, get offers, discounts, and free movies..
After watching couple of movies in different theatres around Downtown Toronto, a friend of mine recommended to issue a Screen card, especially that I can use it in most of the cinemas, all Cineplex theatres around my place.. and the first time I went to ScotiaBank theatre I filled the form to issue my Scene card and a week after I received it by mail, and since then, my Scene became my new friend, always in my wallet, and helping me collecting points and making my cinema experience even better to escape to the wonderful world of movies.
Friday, 21 February 2014
I got a message on Facebook from my friend Kevin who lives in Rio, putting me in contact with a friend of his, Ashraf, who used to live in Toronto for seven years, then he moved to Budapest for two years and now he decided to move back again to Toronto, and since he's into Advertising too so Kevin was keen on introducing us and asking us to meet..
And just few days after he landed, Ashraf sent me a message and we arranged to meet for a coffee, so we met at one of my favorite cafés that u know by now, Dineen coffee, we ordered our drinks and we were lucky to find a table as it's always super busy.
Ashraf had lots of insights to share about the market and the advertising industry and how to approach the job hunt, and he confirmed what other people where telling me about the importance of networking and just sending CV to recruiters online is not enough.. And we talked about Egypt and his view on what's happening there (Ashraf is originally Egyptian), and about his experience in Budapest, and his expectations from his move again to Toronto..
Ashraf was kind enough as he shared my CV & portfolio the second day with one of the great agencies that I would like to work with, and invited me to his "Welcome back" drinks that his friends organized for him.. And I really enjoyed that evening where i met many interesting people, that I will definitely introduce in my future posts, and got to hear some interesting stories, and of course laugh and get Tipsy (not to say drunk) :)
Thursday, 20 February 2014
Wednesday, 19 February 2014
Another great people I met through my cousins in Ottawa, during the Winterlude Festival, where we met Diana and James at the Ice park, we had a freezing dance, on the snow, we tried our best to handle the cold, and Diana kept telling me to move my toes while dancing.. It was tough for me but we had a good laugh and the music was nice so it kept us going for an hour..
And after that we decided to go for a bite and few drinks, so we went to The 3 Brewers where I had the famous Poutine and a nice beer..
Diana was upset cause she couldn't make me"Get Nipped" , where u should have a whiskey shot, you toast in the direction of the parliament, you drink it then you kiss a beaver.. And this way you become an Ottawan, so this wasn't possible at the 3B, but we still had our shots.. And the rest was laughs, jokes, Olympics, and weather.. I like how people always start their conversation with me by asking how I am handling the cold and if I miss the Sun in Dubai.. Which honestly I do, big time, but heyyy.. There is so many other great things other than the cold weather, like that fun night and meeting nice people like Diana and James..
We did a long walk to reach my cousin's car, said good bye to my new friends and wished to see soon in my next visit to Ottawa and of course invited them to visit Toronto for a weekend where I can take care of them the way they did with me during my lovely Ottawa weekend.
Tuesday, 18 February 2014
During my 9 years in Dubai, I had my car and taking Dubai Metro (which was inaugurated on the 09/09/09) was more of a touristic ride to show around friends and family visiting Dubai, so it was never part of my daily routine. But I was always a big fan of the underground, especially when visiting London or Paris, and believe it saves traffic hassle and money, and decided that when I move to Toronto I don't want to buy a car at least the first year and use instead the public transportation to go around which it seems it s accessible and covers big part of Toronto city..
And when I was looking for an apartment, one of the main criteria I had to judge a place on was how close it is to the Subway, and especially that the first few weeks after I landed were extremely cold, so I felt the closet I can be to the subway the less I have to suffer outside walking in the snow and the insane low temperature..
I was lucky to find a place where the entrance to the Subway was right at the entrance of my building, and I started a love story with the subway.. A story that will last for very long time..
I remember the first trip I did was from Bloor/Yonge Station to Union station and since then I rarely remember a day passed without me taking the subway at least once, and it feels nice when you know you will reach your destination without the hassle of driving..
Every time I take the subway I like to look around at people, try to imagine their stories, their lives.. Observing people is my number one source on inspiration for my work, because when you only understand the behavior of people you can come up with real human ideas..
Even though I miss my car, and sometimes the delays or sudden closure of stations for emergencies can be annoying but I think the subway will be my friend and my way of going around for the years to come, and I like it.
Wednesday, 12 February 2014
This was my first time trying Cuban food, my friend Maz who' s been there before recommended we go have dinner at Julie's snack bar, the Cuban restaurant at 202 Dovercourt Road, Toronto.. I had to say, I now am a fan of Cuban food.
The atmosphere was wonderful. It was homey and friendly, and it felt like you were in someone's house while the host was cooking your food. I even liked the bathroom downstairs was super cute.
We started off with the tapas. They were all amazing, especially the plantains. We shared couple of entrees and they were extremely flavorful and full of interesting spices (even though we asked for mild versions as I m not a spice fan) and to ended we had to try the Tres Leches dessert which was a bit of disappointment and not as good as the Tres Leches at tried couple of times at a Mexican restaurant..
Julie's snack bar opened in 1954 and used to be a convenience store of sort. She (Julie) eventually even started selling fresh made sandwiches. After Julie passed away, her daughter Syvlia took over. Her and her Cuban husband turned the place into a mini homestead Cuban restaurant.
The place is warm, inviting and ambient. The setting inside with the shelves and the decoration and the different Cuban items are beautiful and super charming..The servers are unbelievably personable.
If you visit Julie's, expect a warm inviting, almost romantic atmosphere. Order a few drinks and a few tapas.. Then you'll have an amazing time and you'll get the charm of Julie's.