HOLD THE PHONE
Friday is a ‘no phone’ day, which makes it by far my favourite day of the week. I wake up at 7am, prepare breakfast for my kids, Zeina, Rahid, and Raya, and give them my 100 per cent undivided attention. They are my angels in disguise. After my morning workout and Friday prayers, depending on the weather, I take the kids to one of the many parks in Dubai, visit the pool or take a boat trip with friends. In the evenings we watch a movie or play some board games at home.
A WISE MAN
I’d love to get the chance to spend a day with my maternal grandfather, who passed away in 1993. He was a very wise man, a tribe’s leader and a very successful entrepreneur who helped thousands during the diaspora of my people in 1948 – I am Jordanian of Palestinian descent. I come from a small village called Arura on the outskirts of Ramallah.
STROKE OF LUCK
I moved to Dubai from Bahrain in April 2004 and worked for a branding agency, handling the branding of Dubai Mall and Downtown Dubai. Launching Sava and the tea business was total luck – in 2005, I travelled to Marrakech to visit a university friend from the UK; during one of our walks my friend spotted a tea boutique and went in to buy white tea for his dad. As soon as I entered [the boutique] I was struck by the range of teas on display and the mélange of intoxicating flavours and aromas on offer. I instantly had an epiphany to bring the culture of fine teas to the Middle East and change their tea-drinking habits.
I love fishing and always find time on the weekends to indulge in it. Fishing teaches me patience in times where instant gratification is demanded by me and of me. Just off the Palm Jebel Ali or the east coast are spots I like to fish in.
IT’S BEEN OOLONG TIME
Today, my favourite tea is the Taiwanese Ali San High Mountain Oolong tea. It is a green oolong variety that is handpicked in spring 1,300 metres above sea level. But that doesn’t make it the best tea. The best tea, like I always tell my clients, is the one that suits your taste.
TABLE FOR ONE NO FUN
I hate eating alone. I love cooking and make sure I cook Friday breakfasts and Saturday family dinners. Baked salmon with lemon, garlic and herb sauce, fries and homemade mayonnaise is my favourite meal.
TO BE A MAN WITH A CATAMARAN
I am not a big spender on luxuries and lifestyle items but when the time is right, the big spending will go towards a new holiday home and a Catamaran; sailing the Adriatic Sea on my catamaran with friends and family, all the way from Venice passing through the breath taking Croatian islands, down Montenegro is my dream trip.
Reading is one of my favourite ways to unwind over the weekend. I’m looking forward to catching up on my reading this weekend. I’m currently reading Bold by Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler. It’s about exponential technologies and how they disrupt existing businesses. I’m addicted to creativity and new disrupting ideas and concepts.
Coffee is to tea as Usain Bolt is to Deepak Chopra.
I travel a lot for business. A habit I’ve picked up as part of my travels is to look up friends who might be residing in the city I am visiting. It makes staying away from my family just a bit more tolerable.
I KID YOU NOT
I can reel off dialogues from Frozen, Boss Baby and now Beauty and the Beast – my three children have taken over the living room and I have no choice but to watch their movies. It’s also the perfect remedy to unwind.
If I could advise my teenage self, I’d tell him to aim for progress, not perfection.
The last time I laughed so hard I started crying was at the look in the eyes of my friend’s lazy Persian cat when it was being chased by my two-year old daughter Raya. The cat was practically begging for help.
We have no other choice [but to go green] if we want to leave a world worth living in for the generations to come. An average hotel discards 2,000 tea bags and foil envelopes into the environment every day. That’s why we’re launching a biodegradable brand of tea – we found a way to pack full leaf tea in biodegradable bags at a margin of the cost of similar products. Another unique factor is that the entire product is chemical-free, including the ink used to print on the paper tag.