Humans Of Ningxia

I was lucky enough to be invited to visit and explore Ningxia, China last month by Chinese Tourism and Asia Travel.

Ningxia is also known as the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region and is located in the northwest part of the People’s Republic of China. Twenty percent of China’s Hui population lives in Ningxia and it is one of the 56 officially recognized nationalities of China.

I was not aware of Ningxia’s existence until last month.

I got invited a week before the event. Good thing, I got all my documents sorted out just before the Islamic New Year in UAE as it is an official holiday and the Chinese Embassy doesn’t work on that day. I applied for visa express and it only took 2 days to obtain the Chinese visa. I paid around AED 470.

I didn’t have any expectations of Ningxia. I tried to look it up on Instagram but I didn’t find any proper Instagram post of Ningxia. So, I head on over to the airport and hoped for the best.

I love adventure and exploring new places, pushing boundaries and flying to somewhere I have never heard of or saw before will be a good sign!

Boarded the Emirates EK326 to Yinchuan, Ningxia. Btw, this trip wouldn’t be possible without Emirates Airlines. They just recently launched their direct flight to Ningxia, China.

I have met Kit from Asia Travel, who picked us up at the airport and the super cool travel and lifestyle bloggers and photographers (@charleslibanjr, @travell1ngboots, @tauyanm, @najlakaddour, and @eothman).

We arrived Yinchuan around 5-ish pm. We checked in at Xifujing Hotel , met the hotel staff and Hallie, Kit’s colleague. I did a short Instagram Live to let my followers know about the hotel and the trip I was in. I had a food coma after stuffing my face with  19 super delicious Chinese dishes, all halal, from Xifujing Hotel. I forgot to say thank you to the chef.

My favourite is a dessert with Durian: 

I told Hallie and Kit that I have never eaten so much in my life and that all the dishes we had were all super yummy and guilt free, which made me eat more. have visited several tourists attraction in Ningxia.

For 5 days, we have visited several tourists attraction in Ningxia and what really caught my interest was the people so I decided to do a small project called Humans of Ningxia. Here are some of the portraits I took.

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We have visited a Hui family and taught us how to make a halal snack and how to prepare and drink ba bao tea.

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I went to Ningxia without any knowledge or clue about what to happen and what to expect and returned to Dubai as a storyteller armed with full of experiences, memories, photos and videos and new friends.

I will post another blog about Ningxia – the hotels, tourists attraction and what not so you will have an idea where to stay and where to go, so stay tuned for that.

My First SoleDXB Experience

So, it was my first time in Sole DXB and it didn’t fail my expectations, yaay! Here is my photo diary, hope you like them ❤

Where the talks are happening!
Where the talks are happening!

So many amazing and talented people all in one place and it LITERALLY BLEW MY MIND! Good music and great vibe courtesy of Uncle Jheff’s, thanks to DJ Cheriana for playing my jam – Digable Planet’s Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat), lol – OLD SKOOL yo!

DJ Cheriana
DJ Cheriana

It was great catching up with old friends as well. You guys rock!

And meeting new friends, yaay! Below are the portraits of the most beautiful girls in SoleDXB! #GirlPower

 

More random photos.. 

Too bad, I wasn’t able to stay til the after party. I heard it was LIT! I wanna thank all these unforgettable individuals who allowed me to take their videos/photos and were patient with me and made sure I got my shots.

Also check out the short video I did!! Let me know your thoughts! << Click this or go to www.facebook.com/debbiefortesphoto. Don’t forget to leave some LOVE!

See you all next year! Peace! #SoleDXB

 

 

TOBIAS

A beautiful person from inside and out.

Tobias is one half of the florist duo of Volet, bringing botanical bouquets and flowers to Dubai. He is half-Sudanese, half German, with a passion for Middle Eastern plants. He currently runs Volet, a florist shop on Sheikh Zayed Road. I met him during a photoshoot for Brownbook magazine. The issue will be out in May 2015.

Here are some of the photos I took of him.

For more info about Volet Dubai:
https://www.instagram.com/volet_dubai/
https://www.facebook.com/Volet-Dubai-1566564916956070/
http://volet.ae/

LINÉ

When I was young, my mum used to take me to ballet classes every weekend. I wasn’t a big fan of ballet back then. Mainly, because of the tights and skimpy ballet clothes. My boyish self couldn’t stand it, hehe. I remember we used to walk across a basketball court full of young boys who would stare endlessly at my outfit, ugh! That made me more conscious and shy. I started to miss my class until I totally stopped. Dancing and I didnt end up happily ever after, unfortunately. But dancing and dancers, up to now, still fascinates me. As they say, a dancer will always be a dancer.

Here is a series of photos I took of Liné Van Zyl. Thank you for allowing me to capture this beautiful moment of yours.

a l d h a f r a c a m e l f e s t i v a l

Hello everyone! Before the year ends, I just want to wish you all a HAPPY and ABUNDANT 2016!

Indeed, this year has been an awesome year for me (and I hope for you too), from being selected to be a part of Apple World Gallery to being a full time professional photographer to taking over Instagram accounts to being a brand ambassador (I did a radio guesting too, yay :)) I have so many things to be thankful for and people to be grateful for (you know who you are :)).

I am hoping that this coming year will be more exciting for all of us. May it bring us peace, creativity, opportunities, adventures and success.

And for my last post for this year, I would like to share some of the photos I have took at Al Dhafra Camel Festival last week.

See you all next year!

xx Debbie
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North Emirates Roadtrip

I have been meaning to update my blog for days now. But i was down with a flu and am just beginning to recover from it. I wanna thank Sia’s song Chandelier and Kiesza’s Hideaway which is on repeat and helped me get pumped while i was editing some photos from my last photowalk.  (I listen to some mainstream songs once in a while, sorry not sorry!) I think i have never mentioned before that I don’t know how to use Photoshop. My workflow is currently on Lighroom. I did some attempts to learn PS, by the way. My friends/colleagues who has been very supportive and offer their help. Thanks for their undying support and love! But one thing that is taking me aback is probably not having a proper laptop. Its a bit of a challenge, knowing that I need to post process millions of photos. So every other week i try to bring home my office lappy (I know am not supposed to) to edit some photos and update my blog.

About last week, 5 of us Instagrammers based in Dubai and Sharjah planned a road trip to Umm Al Quwain. Originally, we planned go to Umm Al Quwain and we ended up going to @amran.abdulla favorite spot at the Gulf of Oman. It is basically an ocean between UAE and Oman. The hidden spot is in Fujairah, Al Aqqa Beach to be exact. The beach was a breath of fresh air especially after a very long drive and occasional stops along the way (very humid at that time, mind you). Here are some of my photos taken on Al Dhaid-Sharjah Highway and Al Aqqa Beach. Enjoy! Ciao 🙂

 

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