Street cafes: editors pick

tom-and-serg Tom & Serg, Dubai, UAE

Tucked away on the outskirts of the Al Quoz, Tom & Serg was established in Dubai in 2013 by Tom Arnel and Sergio Lopez. The space is an expansive industrial warehouse with exposed ceiling pipework and high ceilings.  The open kitchen and white subway tiles provide a trendy, open and inclusive environment to sip coffee while you work, lunch/brunch/brekkie or catch up with friends.  The on-brand menu ranges from locally influenced dishes like Shakshouka baked eggs, Baghdad scramble, Quinoa and falafel wrap or there's the morning after wrap made up of scrambled egg, beef bacon, roast chicken, mozzarella, crushed avocado, tomato, black bean & lime salsa.  A magnet for Dubai hipsters and the thirty-something crowd, this joint would work well in any city.  I'm sure we will see this successful blueprint pave the way for future editions. Al-Joud Centre, Al Quoz, Dubai near Ace Hardware Shk Zayed Road Tel: +971 (0)56 474 6812 www.tomandserg.com    

How to get a Police Check in Dubai

"As the volunteer work in Peru involves working closely with children and other vulnerable individuals, volunteers need to provide a police clearance document before volunteering commences." - GVN

This will be a new challenge in Dubai. We have been advised to contact the local police station to find out the procedure. We should then expect to be asked to complete an application form authorizing the check to be done, pay a fee and a few weeks later the check will arrive in the mail. Hmmmm. According to GVN, it should go like this: If you come from a country that does not issue police clearances, three character references from reputable sources (employer, justice of the peace, landlord, the minister of your local church, teacher, etc) may be substituted. Your character referees should know you well enough to vouch for your character. Please ask them to write a letter stating who they are, how they know you, give a description of your character and how well you get along with those around you, and to judge your suitability to work in the volunteer program. The police clearance or letters of reference need to be faxed, emailed or posted (copies only) to GVN at least 4 weeks prior to your start date in Peru. You will also need to take the original copy with you to present to program staff during the Orientation period in Peru. Failure to provide a police clearance or character references may result in you not being able to volunteer in the program in Peru. Let's see. I will post the outcome...  

Flights – where to start?

classic-airplanes-1 The trip starts in Dubai and the destination is Cusco, Peru. We are hoping to stop off in San Jose, Costa Rica to see my sister in Durika on the way back. So far, I have found that the quickest routes are: Dubai - Dallas - Lima - Cusco (23 hrs) Dubai - Sao Paulo - Lima - Cusco (20 hrs) Dubai - New York - Lima - Cusco (22 hrs) Obviously the stop over times are  crucial to the whole trip (and the cost!).  A great site suggested by GVN for doing a recce is http://matrix.itasoftware.com/cvg/dispatch/login. You can use any origin/destination and it provides itineraries with booking codes and fare codes included:  You can't book through the site, but the info can be given to a travel agent who can use the codes. The flights may not be as direct as possible, but it usually means cheaper fares. GVN also recommend using Airtreks or Airline Alliances, such as Oneworld who provide Round The World fares based on 3 things: how many miles you're flying, whether you have a minimum or maximum number of stops, and if you're flying the same general direction. AirTreks allows more flexibility.

The beginning of the VW Camper project

Our Bus   IMG00317-20130504-1556 IMG00297-20130504-1545 IMG00300-20130504-1545  We both love VW campers but never owned one...until now. The bus is "a project" at this stage as you can see from the images. It didn't come with an engine but did come with dents. Over the course of a few months my hubby searched online for a split screen that needed work. We ended up finding this one based in the USA and then shipped it over to Dubai in a container.