Dubai

Do not try this at home kids. Sydney (AUS) – Photographic tales of an ex-Emirates flight attendant

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Do not try this at home... Photo credit: Dan Wilkinson (Hot & Delicious Group). https://hotndelicious.wordpress.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photographic tales of an ex Emirates flight attendant – Hot & Delicious Rocks: The Planet!

Do not try this at home. Sydney, Australia Photo credit: Dan Wilkinson (Hot & Delicious Group).

Do not try this at home, kids… 

One of the joys of working with an international airline is the diverse array of people you get to meet across a range of nationalities and cultures. Living away from home in an expat community like Dubai your friends become your family.

As a result, I became friends with a whole bunch people I met through Emirates, the Dubai Dragons rugby team and the Emirates Muppets (Emirates Airline rugby team) whom I had the privilege of touring with around the world to play in tournaments in Paris, Cardiff, Phuket, Johannesburg and more.

I became friends with pilots, lawyers, dentists, teachers, guys in construction and even a group of Sydney-based Emirates engineers who would travel up to Dubai every year to complete new aircraft certifications or renew old ones.

Many of those people I met in my time in Dubai became life-long friends and so almost every time I flew through Sydney on a 5-6 day DXB-SYD-AKL return trip, I’d catch-up with the Emirates engineer boys in the city or down at the seedy Cronulla establishment known as Northies. Invariably we’d spend the afternoon smashing beers and putting the world to right, then head back to one of the boys houses for more bevies and a BBQ, which is when this image was shot. It’s not too clever, but one of the lads was playing around with an aerosol can and a lighter after we finished our meal and me being me I had the camera out and I snapped this image. Looks impressive as a full colour photo, but I just love how the image came out in black and white and captured my imagination.

8 years on I miss jet-setting the globe on a weekly basis, being in a new city every few days with exciting new adventures, visiting the little hidden bars, cafes and restaurants that become your favourite regular haunts when you visit different capital cities around the world and catching up with some of my closest friends who are now spread far and wide across this vast planet of ours, but that’s also a big part of what inspires and drives me.

Ever since I left, I’ve been working towards getting that lifestyle back on my terms doing something I love. I’m close now… I can feel it. 🙂

DW

You can also listen to the Hot & Delicious: Rocks The Planet podcast series here.

Hot & Delicious: Rocks The Planet is a weekly podcast interviewing inspiring individuals and successful entrepreneurs from around the planet across a range of industries (incl. music, film/tv, fashion, travel, comedy and more) about what makes them tick as people and drives their hunger for success.

Hot & Delicious Group.. Passion, Creativity & Community.

Culture, travel, music, news & sick live photography from around the planet:

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Dan Wilkinson works as a Manager, Marketing Strategy & Analysis – Social Media at SapientNitro Australia and is founder of music industry biz, Hot & Delicious Group.

 

Sunset. 4WDing. Middle East – Photographic tales of an ex-Emirates flight attendant.

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Sunset. 4WDing. Middle East. Photo credit: Dan Wilkinson (Hot & Delicious Group).

Flashbacks to Dubai days… from 1999 to 2006 I lived in the Middle East working for Emirates Airline. We lived a plastic-fantastic life traveling the world with disposable income, pretty girls and 5 star hotels. The rock-star’s lifestyle without being the rock star.

This expat lifestyle and cash cash cash meant buying toys that we’d otherwise probably not buy if we were living back in our home countries. One such treat to myself with my Monopoly money and access to cheap fuel, was a blood red JEEP Wrangler Renegade. It was a beast 🙂 some of the happiest memories I have in the haze of parties and hundreds of flights across our planet was hitting the desert with friends in our 4WDs and dirt bikes, driving through sand-dunes and creeks to rock-pools out in the back-blocks of the Dubai Emirate at the base of the mountains near Hatta.

While the photo inset is actually of a 4×4 tour I took to the desert with Arabian Adventures, it evokes memories of wadi BBQs and beers in the middle of the desert with good friends, dodging boulders at speed in wet, rocky creek-beds with James Brown cranked and diving into crisp cool rock-pools like no other place on earth.

Happy 🙂

DW

Click here for more photos from the Hot & Delicious Rocks: The Planet! travel series

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Hot & Delicious Group. Culture, travel, music, news & sick live photography from around the planet.

4x4 driving in Hatta, UAE.
4×4 driving in Hatta, UAE.

Dan Wilkinson works as a Manager, Marketing Strategy & Analysis – Social Media at SapientNitro Australia and is founder of music industry biz, Hot & Delicious Group.

 

Sunset #805 Pink Bldg. Dubai – Photographic tales of an ex-Emirates flight attendant

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Sunset beers. 803 Pink Building, Dubai.

Hot & Delicious Rocks: The Planet! – photographic travel diary series.

Sunset #805 Pink Bldg. Dubai. Photo credit: Dan Wilkinson (Hot & Delicious Group).

Sunset. My happy place. Ingrained in my daily ritual. It’s my down-time, recharge, meditation & relaxation all in one.

For me, this ritual began in Dubai days when I lived on Sheikh Zayed Road in “Emirates White Building”, an apartment building next door to the Shangri La Dubai, that can quite clearly in the spectacular ‘Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol’ footage shot from the world’s tallest building, Burj Khalifa.

Fortunately my 2nd Dubai apartment faced away from Dubai’s busiest strip of road – a 4 lane freeway on each side. My balcony faced west towards the Persian Gulf overlooking a medium-sized mosque and part of the ritual I had with 2 best mates that I shared our “Club #203” bachelor pad with (yes, I’m serious – there was carved plaque and everything! 🙂 shakes head.. ) and friends in the Pink Palace next door (Emirates Pink Building), was watching the sun go down over long chats out on one of our multiple balconies or to smash a few ice-cold pints at the start of big nights out. Our kitchen had a 2nd full-sized fridge dedicated to the slabs/cartons of beer piled next to it and chock-full of ice-cold bottles of vodka, chilled pint glasses and a vast array of spirit mixers. One serious life of excess.

This shot was captured at one such Pink Building sunset session. We got up to all sorts of mischief in Pink and White buildings. Water-bombing unsuspecting Starbucks patrons from 8 floors up, tequila & Jenga drinking games, Up the River/Down The River, scantily-clad cabin crew packing out themed apartment parties, end of night drinks ’til dawn & beyond after the Dubai bars and clubs closed at 3am.. and let’s not talk about the time the tool-bag in the pic decided to drop an empty Corona off the building straight into one of our mate’s JEEPs from 8 floors up! Damage control in more than one sense of the word!

True story. In case you haven’t been up on my Hot & Delicious Instagram yet and been bombarded with sunset magic, one of THE major factors in me choosing my current Melbourne CBD apartment is it’s stunning views of Melbourne’s Docklands, breathtaking skyporn sunsets and nightscapes.

It is truly my happy place these days and some days I float away to the Middle East. 🙂

DW

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Click here for more photos from the Hot & Delicious Rocks: The Planet! travel series

Hot & Delicious Group.. Passion, Creativity & Community.

Culture, travel, music, news & sick live photography from around the planet:

Dan Wilkinson works as a Manager, Marketing Strategy & Analysis – Social Media at SapientNitro Australia and is founder of music industry biz, Hot & Delicious Group.

 

Blind old guitarist. Pucón, Chile. Photographic tales of an ex-Emirates flight attendant #travel #photography

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Blind old guitarist. Pucon, Chile. Photo credit: Dan Wilkinson (Hot & Delicious Group).
Blind old guitarist. Pucon, Chile. Photo credit: Dan Wilkinson (Hot & Delicious Group).

Hot & Delicious Rocks: The Planet! – photographic travel diary series.

Blind old guitarist. Pucón, Chile. Photo credit: Dan Wilkinson (Hot & Delicious Group). Chile Part I

Years back I jetted off from my Dubai base for a 2-3 week escape to South America… no internet, no phone, no plan… just me, my backpack, journal and an SLR. After almost 24 hours on aeroplanes, I landed into Santiago with no idea what I was going to see in Chile or where I was going to go. Daunting yes, but mannnn.. have you ever done it? So empowering! My dream is actually to rock-up to Melbourne International Airport armed with nothing but a passport, laptop, DSLR and carry-on luggage. The world’s your oyster!

Anyway, so after settling into a hostel (accom I may struggle with these days :p ), I contacted the half sister of a family friend of my family, Picque, and organized to meet her for a drink to tap into her thoughts. This blessed soul had never met me, but welcomed me into her family home, cooked me delicious meal and cracked open a fine bottle of Chilean red.

Now some may find this experience of catching up with someone you’ve never met a little strange, but who I am is completely open and passionate as a person and this openness has lead me to some wonderfully, amazing people, which the old me (shy introvert) would never have had done. This personal attitude has had a profound impact on my life and lead me to all the amazing career opportunities I’ve had so far. Sure, some people find this attitude to be a little intimidating and mistake my intensity for appearing needy, but invariably those quick-to-judge fall swiftly by the way-side and I’m left with beautiful new friends across the planet and experiences of a lifetime.

Anyway, after chatting with Picque at length about travelling north to the desert region of Arica versus south towards Patagonia, I settled on south as I was already living in the deserts of the Middle East. I thoroughly enjoyed my chats and the rest of my meal with Picque, then trotted back to the hostel to collapse in exhaustion.

Next day, I enjoyed a few vinos at world-renowned Concha Y Toro winery and explored Santiago, before prepping for the journey down south.

My train journey down south to Pucón, was broken up with a brief stop in Temuco for a traditional Chilean lunch with Picque’s sister who again, despite having never met or heard of me, picked me up from the local train station and took me back to the family home where her kids and myself enjoyed Chilean fare of whole artichokes individually plucked and then dipped in aioli. Delicious!

After the short ride on to Pucón, I checked into the hostel and strolled towards the supermarket alongs the streets of this tiny ski village situated at the base of active volcano, Villarrica. I was struck by the beauty of this desolate place and in awe of a town that could be so swiftly swept aside at any time with just one volcanic eruption. Whilst soaking up these emotions, I stumbled across this old, blind Chilean guitarist singing for his supper outside the local supermarket that I’d stopped by for supplies and captivated as if it were a pinnacle moment in time, I was compelled to capture it immediately.

DW

This snapshot of my life and image have stuck in my mind for the past 13 years. I’ll write another piece about my trek up the volcano, the people I met and my experience of Chile as a whole, but have already gone longer than what I’d like in this piece. Want to keep the stories in this series short, sharp and digestible. 

Click here for more photos from the Hot & Delicious Rocks: The Planet! travel series

Santiago to Pucon
Santiago to Pucon

Hot & Delicious Group.. Passion, Creativity & Community.

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Dan Wilkinson works as a Manager, Marketing Strategy & Analysis – Social Media at SapientNitro Australia and is founder of music industry biz, Hot & Delicious Group.
Dan Wilkinson works as a Manager, Marketing Strategy & Analysis – Social Media at SapientNitro Australia and is founder of music industry biz, Hot & Delicious Group

 

X-Emirates cabin crew. Confessions. I’m no David Duchovny, but I feel like Hank Moody!

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HotnDeliciousRocksThePlanet4

Argggghhh… amazing end to Californiation! Well worth the wait!

As a life-long fuck-up like Hank Moody in many ways (aren’t we all? :p) and with 6.5 years spent traveling the globe staying in 5 star hotels partying like a rockstar with beautiful women, I feel a lot of parallels between David Duchovny’s Californication character and the life I used to lead in Dubai (albeit with less fucking and punching).

Galavanting the globe as an Emirates Airline flight attendant with serious disposable income was such an eye-opening experience and if I hadn’t been through the situations I have had, Hank’s life would seem surreal. To me it feels like home. As a result I became close to a TV show that mirrors of a lifestyle from my Dubai days that was so bizarre that the few people who have had the opportunity to experience it will know what I mean when I say “You can’t understand it until you’ve lived it.”

I’ve had a stunning Singaporean/Malaysian cabin crew girl I was seeing be offered US$10K to spend the night with an Arab guy that she’d never met (I wasn’t there & fortunately she refused), hotel room after-party in Colombo (Sri Lanka) with a Swedish and Turkish girl both throwing themselves at me after a night on the town drinking cheap-ass spirits and musty Sri Lankan beer in seedy  underground bars, a friend who’s spent years in Middle Eastern prison after returning from an Amsterdam boys weekend with (unknowingly) half a pill left in his back pocket, bailed another mate out of a Mexican jail for US$188 after he was arrested by the policía for urinating down a Cancún side-street, drinking 5 nights out of 7 ’til blackout for years on end and the only reason it wasn’t 7 is that occasionally I had to jump on an oversize metallic flying tube for work, ripping up Bangkok’s Radio City dance-floor with Aeroflot cabin crew on renowned Pat Pong red light strip, daring my best mate to run nude through Prague’s streets during weekday peak hour after an all night session in Czech bars, devouring Heineken cans in the back of taxis in the sandpit not caring that I was living in a Muslim country (so disrespectful), landing into Brisbane at 6am followed by a 21 hour drinking session then flying on to Auckland 3 hours later, Emirates Airline rugby tours in Paris, Phuket x 2, Cardiff, Johannesburg..  and that’s just a drop in the ocean of memories… I’m not boasting & I’m certainly not proud of some of my exploits..

HotnDeliciousRocksThePlanet8

For all these experiences, from childhood to now on my self-imposed tumultuous journey from self-loathing to self-love, I have traveled the planet, lived in the Middle East, Italy, Indonesia and all over Australia, had more women than most (although not nearly as many as some that’s for sure! – you know who you are! :D) and made a whole lot of fuck-ups.. but some things never change. While I grew up as a kid thinking I wasn’t good enough for anyone and all I craved was a hot woman who’d love me, I now crave so much more.. a love that just makes sense without trying.. someone who will do stupid things just to make me laugh (as I do with my friends) and accepts me as I am but teaches me so much by just being who she is.. AND of course I wouldn’t be overly upset if she’s a little bit hot, intelligent, loves to travel, sexual, spontaneous, independent, ambitious, craves delicious food & works out regularly like me (mixed in with a few cheeky bevies of course)… but again.. one common thread has stayed true.. essentially for all my faults I’m a good person and I crave someone special..

So while I’m happy and living life in the now, I’m always striving for more – to be a better person, better at what I do and constantly learning; I’m far from perfect and the hopeless romantic in me felt sated tonight to see the good-guy who’s a fuck-up chase the lady he loves, bare his soul and have it all work out.. the happily ever after flying off into the sunset.. at this moment.. at least for now 😉 It might all be fiction, but this just makes me happy…

Vale Hank Moody.

P.s. Most of the ladies featured in these images are rather good friends of mine and their presence in this gallery in no way suggests I’ve had the pleasure of their intimate company.. I wish! 😀

Hot & Delicious Group.. Passion, Creativity & Community

Culture, travel, music, news & sick live photography from around the planet:

Twitter @hotndelicious 
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Dan Wilkinson works as a Manager, Marketing Strategy & Analysis – Social Media at SapientNitro Australia and is founder of music industry biz, Hot & Delicious Group.
Dan Wilkinson works as a Manager, Marketing Strategy & Analysis – Social Media at SapientNitro Australia and is founder of music industry biz, Hot & Delicious Group.

Sunrise & Sunset – The perfect time to Recharge & Reset #SKYPORN

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Sunset 801 Pink Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai. Photo credit: Dan Wilkinson (Hot & Delicious Group). www.hotndelicious.com
Sunset 801 Pink
Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai.
Photo credit: Dan Wilkinson (Hot & Delicious Group).
http://www.hotndelicious.com

Sunrise and sunset are easily my favourite time of day. I’ve been shooting #skyporn since before #skyporn was invented.

There’s simply nothing quite like walking along a deserted beach as the sun rises to recharge, reset and put things into perspective. The same goes for sunset.

Back in my Dubai days when I was traveling the world serving chicken or beef as Emirates Airline cabin crew, the 3-bedroom bachelor pad I shared with 2 of my best mates had 4-5 balconies, most of which faced west.

I kid you not, every single day that I wasn’t jet-setting around the globe, getting hammered at the pub or at rugby training with the boys in 35+ degree heat, I’d be on my White Building balcony watching the sun go down. I lived in that Sheikh Zayed Road apartment (#Club203 for the regular party-goers :D) for 5 years and must have taken hundreds of photos with my old Nikon F60 SLR on that window to the world. Cheeky beers, tunes crankin’, chillin’ solo or with friends complete with peach, purple skies during the call to prayer with a mosque silhouette. Perfection.

I became addicted to those long moments of inspiration, so much so that I named a song after it  ‘Endorphins’ and a rather significant factor in selecting my new Melbourne apartment recently, was that it had a 10th floor west-facing balcony. Air balloons, birds in flight, aircraft coming in to land at Melbourne International Airport.. I’ve only been here 3 weeks now, but almost daily I soak up nature’s little slice of heaven with and without iPhone camera at the ready.

I don’t know who invented the #skyporn hashtag, but I can tell you the 1st time I heard it and you had me at sunset..

Sun rises over a secluded beach near Apollo Bay on the Great Ocean Road in Australia

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Waking up to a beach sunrise.. perfection

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Pretty lady.. sundown Melbourne-town #magic#Melbourne #beautiful ❤️

Beauty is Everywhere

Melbourne.. beautiful ❤ #love #skyporn #melbourne#hotndelicious #mornporn

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