Paulomi Bhatt, head of The World at Her Feet in the Middle East, a women’s travel group. Courtesy of Paulomi Bhatt
Paulomi Bhatt, head of The World at Her Feet in the Middle East, a women’s travel group. Courtesy of Paulomi Bhatt

Female travellers scale the heights



A year after climbing a Malaysian peak on her 40th birthday, British expat Julie Lewis, based in Dubai, decided that travel was the new passion in her life.

In 2003, she launched an organisation that would take women on expeditions around the world.

Called Mountain High, its first trek was to the Everest base camp with 17 women.

More than a decade later, the women-only travel organisation is still going strong. The latest expedition took place in January, with eight women crossing the Wahiba sands in Oman, trekking an incredible 115.5 kilometres by foot over four-and-a-half days.

“I thought ‘I like meeting people and travelling, and adventure travel would be just perfect’,” says Ms Lewis, who studied sports science in the United Kingdom.

While Mountain High is among the pioneers in women-only travel groups based in the UAE, the niche trend is slowly expanding. Paulomi Bhatt’s the World at her Feet opened for business in 2012.

“For women who wanted to travel but didn’t have a companion to travel with or even if they were married, but the spouse didn’t have time, we provided an alternative,” Ms Bhatt says.

About 70 per cent of the women who book her packages are in fact married.

She founded the venture in Dubai after taking a cue from her friend who started Girls on the Go in Mumbai in 2010.

“The audience used to be 50 and 60-year-olds, more elderly women, when we started in Dubai,” Ms Bhatt says. “Today we have a happy mix of all nationalities and cultures.”

These include Emiratis, Indians, Pakistanis, Europeans and North Americans in the age range of 25 to 35 years.

“As people got to know about us, the younger crowd found it a fun thing and something they can get along with,” Ms Bhatt, 44, adds.

The holiday packages offered by World at her Feet are less physically challenging than Mountain High, centred instead around shopping or culinary trails as well as exploring new cities on foot.

Next month a group of women is off to explore Iceland and Argentina in the footsteps of the former first lady Eva Peron; in June another group is heading to the Ecuador Highlands and the Amazon jungle; and this year the Galapagos Islands are on the agenda. The groups vary in size from six to 14 with a trip almost every month, Ms Bhatt says. The year she started, there were six trips.

Last year, the company took a group of eight Emirati women on a culinary trip to Morocco. The cost varies according to the destination and the activities; a six-day trip to Guatemala, for example, costs Dh8,500.

The Dubai company works through partners in the destination countries, and Ms Bhatt says it is all about finding the right partner.

“I personally meet them at international trade fairs, build a relationship, check how long they have been operating, and who else they do business with,” she says.

“We hardly work with large companies, we outsource to the little gems that have a reputation and offer personal attention.”

Ms Bhatt wants to expand the concept to major cities in the Middle East, with plans to be operational in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar and Lebanon via partnerships by the end of the year.

“The model is so simple, it doesn’t really need an investment,” she says. Currently, she has two freelancers who work with her.

Meanwhile, Ms Lewis, who has moved her company with her from Dubai to Hong Kong and now to Abu Dhabi, agrees.

She started it under the umbrella of a tour agency in Dubai in 2003, and a year later – when the company owners left – moved the business base to Dubai Media City.

“I broke even in 2005, and in 2007 I was flying,” she says. In 2008, she expanded the services of Mountain High to include more retreats. She also branched out into group coaching and public speaking, sharing her experiences at events by showcasing footage from expeditions and highlighting the lessons learnt.

The cost of a trip with Mountain High can range from Dh2,500 to Dh45,000 depending on the activity and the location. For mountain treks the group size is typically 16 or fewer, while she takes up to 12 people for yoga and meditation retreats.

So far, Ms Lewis has led 50 expeditions to 20 countries, including Peru, India, Iran, Morocco, the Antarctic and the Arctic with Emirati and expat women.

“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone,” the 52-year-old likes saying. “That’s where you grow and evolve.”

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Dengue fever symptoms
  • High fever
  • Intense pain behind your eyes
  • Severe headache
  • Muscle and joint pains
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Swollen glands
  • Rash

If symptoms occur, they usually last for two-seven days

Sweet Tooth

Creator: Jim Mickle
Starring: Christian Convery, Nonso Anozie, Adeel Akhtar, Stefania LaVie Owen
Rating: 2.5/5

Bombshell

Director: Jay Roach

Stars: Nicole Kidman, Charlize Theron, Margot Robbie 

Four out of five stars 

THE SPECS

Engine: 3-litre V6

Transmission: eight-speed automatic

Power: 424hp

Torque: 580 Nm

Price: From Dh399,000

On sale: Now

How to get exposure to gold

Although you can buy gold easily on the Dubai markets, the problem with buying physical bars, coins or jewellery is that you then have storage, security and insurance issues.

A far easier option is to invest in a low-cost exchange traded fund (ETF) that invests in the precious metal instead, for example, ETFS Physical Gold (PHAU) and iShares Physical Gold (SGLN) both track physical gold. The VanEck Vectors Gold Miners ETF invests directly in mining companies.

Alternatively, BlackRock Gold & General seeks to achieve long-term capital growth primarily through an actively managed portfolio of gold mining, commodity and precious-metal related shares. Its largest portfolio holdings include gold miners Newcrest Mining, Barrick Gold Corp, Agnico Eagle Mines and the NewMont Goldcorp.

Brave investors could take on the added risk of buying individual gold mining stocks, many of which have performed wonderfully well lately.

London-listed Centamin is up more than 70 per cent in just three months, although in a sign of its volatility, it is down 5 per cent on two years ago. Trans-Siberian Gold, listed on London's alternative investment market (AIM) for small stocks, has seen its share price almost quadruple from 34p to 124p over the same period, but do not assume this kind of runaway growth can continue for long

However, buying individual equities like these is highly risky, as their share prices can crash just as quickly, which isn't what what you want from a supposedly safe haven.

Omar Yabroudi's factfile

Born: October 20, 1989, Sharjah

Education: Bachelor of Science and Football, Liverpool John Moores University

2010: Accrington Stanley FC, internship

2010-2012: Crystal Palace, performance analyst with U-18 academy

2012-2015: Barnet FC, first-team performance analyst/head of recruitment

2015-2017: Nottingham Forest, head of recruitment

2018-present: Crystal Palace, player recruitment manager

 

 

 

 

HEADLINE HERE
  • I would recommend writing out the text in the body
  • And then copy into this box
  • It can be as long as you link
  • But I recommend you use the bullet point function (see red square)
  • Or try to keep the word count down
  • Be wary of other embeds lengthy fact boxes could crash into
  • That's about it
KEY DATES IN AMAZON'S HISTORY

July 5, 1994: Jeff Bezos founds Cadabra Inc, which would later be renamed to Amazon.com, because his lawyer misheard the name as 'cadaver'. In its earliest days, the bookstore operated out of a rented garage in Bellevue, Washington

July 16, 1995: Amazon formally opens as an online bookseller. Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought becomes the first item sold on Amazon

1997: Amazon goes public at $18 a share, which has grown about 1,000 per cent at present. Its highest closing price was $197.85 on June 27, 2024

1998: Amazon acquires IMDb, its first major acquisition. It also starts selling CDs and DVDs

2000: Amazon Marketplace opens, allowing people to sell items on the website

2002: Amazon forms what would become Amazon Web Services, opening the Amazon.com platform to all developers. The cloud unit would follow in 2006

2003: Amazon turns in an annual profit of $75 million, the first time it ended a year in the black

2005: Amazon Prime is introduced, its first-ever subscription service that offered US customers free two-day shipping for $79 a year

2006: Amazon Unbox is unveiled, the company's video service that would later morph into Amazon Instant Video and, ultimately, Amazon Video

2007: Amazon's first hardware product, the Kindle e-reader, is introduced; the Fire TV and Fire Phone would come in 2014. Grocery service Amazon Fresh is also started

2009: Amazon introduces Amazon Basics, its in-house label for a variety of products

2010: The foundations for Amazon Studios were laid. Its first original streaming content debuted in 2013

2011: The Amazon Appstore for Google's Android is launched. It is still unavailable on Apple's iOS

2014: The Amazon Echo is launched, a speaker that acts as a personal digital assistant powered by Alexa

2017: Amazon acquires Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, its biggest acquisition

2018: Amazon's market cap briefly crosses the $1 trillion mark, making it, at the time, only the third company to achieve that milestone

Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace

Developer: Big Ape Productions
Publisher: LucasArts
Consoles: PC, PlayStation
Rating: 2/5

Buy farm-fresh food

The UAE is stepping up its game when it comes to platforms for local farms to show off and sell their produce.

In Dubai, visit Emirati Farmers Souq at The Pointe every Saturday from 8am to 2pm, which has produce from Al Ammar Farm, Omar Al Katri Farm, Hikarivege Vegetables, Rashed Farms and Al Khaleej Honey Trading, among others. 

In Sharjah, the Aljada residential community will launch a new outdoor farmers’ market every Friday starting this weekend. Manbat will be held from 3pm to 8pm, and will host 30 farmers, local home-grown entrepreneurs and food stalls from the teams behind Badia Farms; Emirates Hydroponics Farms; Modern Organic Farm; Revolution Real; Astraea Farms; and Al Khaleej Food. 

In Abu Dhabi, order farm produce from Food Crowd, an online grocery platform that supplies fresh and organic ingredients directly from farms such as Emirates Bio Farm, TFC, Armela Farms and mother company Al Dahra. 

Genesis G80 2020 5.0-litre Royal Specs

Engine: 5-litre V8

Gearbox: eight-speed automatic

Power: 420hp

Torque: 505Nm

Fuel economy, combined: 12.4L/100km

Price: Dh260,500

Specs

Power train: 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 and synchronous electric motor
Max power: 800hp
Max torque: 950Nm
Transmission: Eight-speed auto
Battery: 25.7kWh lithium-ion
0-100km/h: 3.4sec
0-200km/h: 11.4sec
Top speed: 312km/h
Max electric-only range: 60km (claimed)
On sale: Q3
Price: From Dh1.2m (estimate)

UAE athletes heading to Paris 2024

Equestrian
Abdullah Humaid Al Muhairi, Abdullah Al Marri, Omar Al Marzooqi, Salem Al Suwaidi, and Ali Al Karbi (four to be selected).


Judo
Men: Narmandakh Bayanmunkh (66kg), Nugzari Tatalashvili (81kg), Aram Grigorian (90kg), Dzhafar Kostoev (100kg), Magomedomar Magomedomarov (+100kg); women's Khorloodoi Bishrelt (52kg).


Cycling
Safia Al Sayegh (women's road race).

Swimming
Men: Yousef Rashid Al Matroushi (100m freestyle); women: Maha Abdullah Al Shehi (200m freestyle).

Athletics
Maryam Mohammed Al Farsi (women's 100 metres).

Scoreline:

Barcelona 2

Suarez 85', Messi 86'

Atletico Madrid 0

Red card: Diego Costa 28' (Atletico)

ROUTE TO TITLE

Round 1: Beat Leolia Jeanjean 6-1, 6-2
Round 2: Beat Naomi Osaka 7-6, 1-6, 7-5
Round 3: Beat Marie Bouzkova 6-4, 6-2
Round 4: Beat Anastasia Potapova 6-0, 6-0
Quarter-final: Beat Marketa Vondrousova 6-0, 6-2
Semi-final: Beat Coco Gauff 6-2, 6-4
Final: Beat Jasmine Paolini 6-2, 6-2

Porsche Taycan Turbo specs

Engine: Two permanent-magnet synchronous AC motors

Transmission: two-speed

Power: 671hp

Torque: 1050Nm

Range: 450km

Price: Dh601,800

On sale: now

Libya's Gold

UN Panel of Experts found regime secretly sold a fifth of the country's gold reserves.

The panel’s 2017 report followed a trail to West Africa where large sums of cash and gold were hidden by Abdullah Al Senussi, Qaddafi’s former intelligence chief, in 2011.

Cases filled with cash that was said to amount to $560m in 100 dollar notes, that was kept by a group of Libyans in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.

A second stash was said to have been held in Accra, Ghana, inside boxes at the local offices of an international human rights organisation based in France.

In Full Flight: A Story of Africa and Atonement
John Heminway, Knopff

SPECS

Engine: Two-litre four-cylinder turbo
Power: 235hp
Torque: 350Nm
Transmission: Nine-speed automatic
Price: From Dh167,500 ($45,000)
On sale: Now

Director: Paul Weitz
Stars: Kevin Hart
3/5 stars

Important questions to consider

1. Where on the plane does my pet travel?

There are different types of travel available for pets:

  • Manifest cargo
  • Excess luggage in the hold
  • Excess luggage in the cabin

Each option is safe. The feasibility of each option is based on the size and breed of your pet, the airline they are traveling on and country they are travelling to.

 

2. What is the difference between my pet traveling as manifest cargo or as excess luggage?

If traveling as manifest cargo, your pet is traveling in the front hold of the plane and can travel with or without you being on the same plane. The cost of your pets travel is based on volumetric weight, in other words, the size of their travel crate.

If traveling as excess luggage, your pet will be in the rear hold of the plane and must be traveling under the ticket of a human passenger. The cost of your pets travel is based on the actual (combined) weight of your pet in their crate.

 

3. What happens when my pet arrives in the country they are traveling to?

As soon as the flight arrives, your pet will be taken from the plane straight to the airport terminal.

If your pet is traveling as excess luggage, they will taken to the oversized luggage area in the arrival hall. Once you clear passport control, you will be able to collect them at the same time as your normal luggage. As you exit the airport via the ‘something to declare’ customs channel you will be asked to present your pets travel paperwork to the customs official and / or the vet on duty. 

If your pet is traveling as manifest cargo, they will be taken to the Animal Reception Centre. There, their documentation will be reviewed by the staff of the ARC to ensure all is in order. At the same time, relevant customs formalities will be completed by staff based at the arriving airport. 

 

4. How long does the travel paperwork and other travel preparations take?

This depends entirely on the location that your pet is traveling to. Your pet relocation compnay will provide you with an accurate timeline of how long the relevant preparations will take and at what point in the process the various steps must be taken.

In some cases they can get your pet ‘travel ready’ in a few days. In others it can be up to six months or more.

 

5. What vaccinations does my pet need to travel?

Regardless of where your pet is traveling, they will need certain vaccinations. The exact vaccinations they need are entirely dependent on the location they are traveling to. The one vaccination that is mandatory for every country your pet may travel to is a rabies vaccination.

Other vaccinations may also be necessary. These will be advised to you as relevant. In every situation, it is essential to keep your vaccinations current and to not miss a due date, even by one day. To do so could severely hinder your pets travel plans.

Source: Pawsome Pets UAE

if you go

The flights

Etihad, Emirates and Singapore Airlines fly direct from the UAE to Singapore from Dh2,265 return including taxes. The flight takes about 7 hours.

The hotel

Rooms at the M Social Singapore cost from SG $179 (Dh488) per night including taxes.

The tour

Makan Makan Walking group tours costs from SG $90 (Dh245) per person for about three hours. Tailor-made tours can be arranged. For details go to www.woknstroll.com.sg

COMPANY PROFILE

Company: Eco Way
Started: December 2023
Founder: Ivan Kroshnyi
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: Electric vehicles
Investors: Bootstrapped with undisclosed funding. Looking to raise funds from outside

Kandahar

Director: Ric Roman Waugh

Stars: Gerard Butler, Navid Negahban, Ali Fazal

Rating: 2.5/5

Company Profile

Company name: Cargoz
Date started: January 2022
Founders: Premlal Pullisserry and Lijo Antony
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 30
Investment stage: Seed

Dark Souls: Remastered
Developer: From Software (remaster by QLOC)
Publisher: Namco Bandai
Price: Dh199

ESSENTIALS

The flights 

Etihad (etihad.com) flies from Abu Dhabi to Mykonos, with a flight change to its partner airline Olympic Air in Athens. Return flights cost from Dh4,105 per person, including taxes. 

Where to stay 

The modern-art-filled Ambassador hotel (myconianambassador.gr) is 15 minutes outside Mykonos Town on a hillside 500 metres from the Platis Gialos Beach, with a bus into town every 30 minutes (a taxi costs €15 [Dh66]). The Nammos and Scorpios beach clubs are a 10- to 20-minute walk (or water-taxi ride) away. All 70 rooms have a large balcony, many with a Jacuzzi, and of the 15 suites, five have a plunge pool. There’s also a private eight-bedroom villa. Double rooms cost from €240 (Dh1,063) including breakfast, out of season, and from €595 (Dh2,636) in July/August.

In-demand jobs and monthly salaries
  • Technology expert in robotics and automation: Dh20,000 to Dh40,000 
  • Energy engineer: Dh25,000 to Dh30,000 
  • Production engineer: Dh30,000 to Dh40,000 
  • Data-driven supply chain management professional: Dh30,000 to Dh50,000 
  • HR leader: Dh40,000 to Dh60,000 
  • Engineering leader: Dh30,000 to Dh55,000 
  • Project manager: Dh55,000 to Dh65,000 
  • Senior reservoir engineer: Dh40,000 to Dh55,000 
  • Senior drilling engineer: Dh38,000 to Dh46,000 
  • Senior process engineer: Dh28,000 to Dh38,000 
  • Senior maintenance engineer: Dh22,000 to Dh34,000 
  • Field engineer: Dh6,500 to Dh7,500
  • Field supervisor: Dh9,000 to Dh12,000
  • Field operator: Dh5,000 to Dh7,000
Company Profile

Name: Direct Debit System
Started: Sept 2017
Based: UAE with a subsidiary in the UK
Industry: FinTech
Funding: Undisclosed
Investors: Elaine Jones
Number of employees: 8

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Klipit

Started: 2022

Founders: Venkat Reddy, Mohammed Al Bulooki, Bilal Merchant, Asif Ahmed, Ovais Merchant

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Digital receipts, finance, blockchain

Funding: $4 million

Investors: Privately/self-funded

The Specs

Engine: 1.6-litre 4-cylinder petrol
Power: 118hp
Torque: 149Nm
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Price: From Dh61,500
On sale: Now

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: BorrowMe (BorrowMe.com)

Date started: August 2021

Founder: Nour Sabri

Based: Dubai, UAE

Sector: E-commerce / Marketplace

Size: Two employees

Funding stage: Seed investment

Initial investment: $200,000

Investors: Amr Manaa (director, PwC Middle East)

Essentials

The flights
Emirates flies direct from Dubai to Seattle from Dh6,755 return in economy and Dh24,775 in business class.
The cruise
UnCruise Adventures offers a variety of small-ship cruises in Alaska and around the world. A 14-day Alaska’s Inside Passage and San Juans Cruise from Seattle to Juneau or reverse costs from $4,695 (Dh17,246), including accommodation, food and most activities. Trips in 2019 start in April and run until September. 
 

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