Adventure of a lifetime

One of these sleepy nights as a kid, I was waiting eagerly for the Grammys to start, and an MBC AD popped up, just a few scenes from several cheesy romantics blended together with the title “Home of movies”, however, I was fascinated by the song they’ve chosen! That was the first time I listen to coldplay! — A warning sign.

My beginnings with music were not mine, I hadn’t chosen what I wanted, but instead I used to listen to whatever my young uncle listened to, Aerosmith with all the cassettes and the cigarettes, The Doors, Led Zeppelin, all the bands I couldn’t name back then. I remember one time he left a mixtape and I took it, man these 20 songs were the soundtrack of my life back then! I had nothing else. Side A and side B. I remember then telling him about it years and years later, he gifted me his first iPod video, filled up with all these Rock nd Roll grand hits! I remember it was signed on the back by U2. Those are my early memories of music, and I am thankful I was introduced to it with legendary albums, yes It was before the Backstreet Boys phase, which I got out of quickly to an even funnier phase of sense, punk rock!! and then up to Radiohead, I was that annoying fan yes.  So in 2016 I decided to end the year alongside Coldplay, begin with them too. I booked a flight to Yas Island and got a ticket with my friends to hear them live for the first time! and on New Years Eve, just the thought of a countdown with one of my favorite bands was a memory I am looking forward to make.

The Joy of watching Chris Martin from Coldplay, live for the first time in your life, so close, it fills you with joy and nostalgia as you have been hearing this healing voice since childhood, when your mind was growing and making sense out of this world, and you realize at that moment, all the times you circled around the sun and back, every kink, every fight, every tear, every smile, every song you sang, was all a part of who you are today, alive and free, standing here in that spot, listening to the same song that made you, who you are.

I am not sure how to describe this memory, but I can definitely say that trip was one of the highlights of my life. It was beyond than just a concert for me, I was celebrating life, spending my time near beaches and buildings, in constant movement with the ongoing life, witnessing all sorts of people on the metro, the sleepless workers, the mother with her carriage, the ones who just want to hit the mall.

To begin our trip with beautiful scenery from up in the air.

With my beautiful hosts and family from Dubai. Selina, Zain, Faisal and my Uncle from behind the scenes (the one with the great music taste)

My beautiful hosts, Selina and Faisal, Taken in Urban Dubai.

Zain and Fouz, I have spent lazy days in the heat feeling exactly like this cat, so spoiled and relaxed.

“Fouz” the cat. *Taken with iPhone 7* not bad for a phone with these depth maps.

For this trip, I have challenged myself not to bring a camera, and instead if I had the urge to take a photo, I’d pull up my phone and snap a picture. I felt weightless! I did not carry a backpack around, I wasn’t loaded filled with gear, no lenses, no extra batteries, no tripods, I only had my phone and my wallet. I ended up taking beautiful pictures and was very satisfied, that all of these photos were taken with an iPhone, it proved something to me, and I had the time of my life.

Seen in Dubai from the Metro Station. Textured by nature 🙂

Being in Dubai has always been a debate for people; “I don’t like it” “I won’t live there” “It’s just fake, its all plastic, these trees aren’t trees”, Its a constant debate between people whether to like to dubai or not, and they do take that debate seriously.. but I dare you not to enjoy your time there regardless.

I know it is one of the cities people around me love to hate, it’s the politics and how its built, and how everything runs, the amount of money they spend on everything, the laborers, it’s definitely controversial to have feelings for that city, but personally I just can’t accept the saying that it’s soul-less. There is no perfect city, no clean politics, and each trip to dubai for me can be as spiritual as a trip to India or Europe.

One cannot ignore a fact about Dubai! It is an artistic hub, a beautiful form of desert and culture, it is a multicultural city where you can meet people from all around the world. I remember attending my first Gulf Photo Plus all by myself, I met a lot of photographers who shared the same interest, and filled my notebooks with photography tips, I couldn’t stop writing I think I abused that notebook.

One of the key stops in that trip was the Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi. This mosque’s architecture was a blend of inspirations of Islamic designs from all over the world!

My fierce friend and host in Abu Dhabi, Isra’ Ayasrah (Izzy) whom I ended up meeting her wonderful family. I can’t tell how much my trip was spiced-up because of her.

I am dazzled and in Awe with the quality of pictures produced by the iPhone, I took this photo in the midst of day, the sun was very harsh and the highlights were close to being blown away, but it was handled greatly!

Beautiful architecture, so pleasing to look at and observe. Water really added a sense of calm and serenity. It’s one of the most attractive and entrancing design element in the design and organization of urban open spaces. The shapes and structure of how pools and fountains are built essentially reflect social culture. Eventually, we humans are shaped by water.

Ironically for an introvert, I socialized with a lot of people in that mosque, from the Middle East, the Philippines, Japan, the USA. Here’s an interesting shot of Ryosuke Imai, a wonderful guy I met and ended up taking an interesting picture for. Sunset and a Japanese with a khaleeji custom! the perfect time and settings.

So now to move on to the next highlight of this trip, the concert. We made our own t-shirts that marked the day and the event, with the name of the tour and graphics sketched from their album art. I think I can describe this experiment as an adventure of a lifetime. That’s my friend Anas Qolaghasi with the Tee!

Here’s a busty group photo to mark the beginning, on doors, in line, in queue. It’s also friends who accompany you at trips, I’ve known them for years now, and it isn’t awkward to be crazy with.

It was one hell of a concert, I don’t think any show will ever top that one for me, so colorful and filled with life.

The aftermath and the end.

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