Sunday, March 08, 2009

Back in the UAE

Well, my jaunt to London is done and I am back "home" at the Al Raha Beach Hotel...

Flight was good... nice to fly during the day and hence not be too out of whack with jet lag.  When I landed at the airport, I was able to hire a car (a bloody Nissan Tiida!) and drive myself to the hotel.

Which was excellent because today I drove up to Dubai and the Green Community to visit some fellow Aussies who have made their home there.  Catherine & Peter lived in our area in the mountains and their daughter Grace shared a class with Brooke before they left some 18mths ago.  Now they're living not only in Dubai, but also the place where Niki & I hope to settle and they offered to give me a tour and a home cooked BBQ (YES!! Real Food!!)

So whilst the link was via our respective daughters, I had never actually met Catherine & Peter but they were very welcoming of me into their home and gave me a guided tour of their home, the parks / cycle tracks where the neighbourhood kids play and the shops.  Best of all, with Catherine being a teacher at the local school, she took me around there and gave me a tour inside the school.  I have to say I was blown away by the facilities which included modern classrooms, plenty of skylights and natural lighting, fully kitted out labs and music rooms, a proper school cafeteria, 'soft fall' play areas and park style slippery dips and monkey bars, a massive gymnasium for indoor sports, an astroturf hockey field, a full size astroturf soccer / rugby field (long grass astroturf so its safe to fall on) and an outdoor swimming pool (25m long, 7 lanes) that is fully shade clothed and a kids wading pool for the junior kids.  Excellent stuff and I feel alot better now re their fees!

Also, Catherine and Peter's house is a lovely townhouse that is very very large compared to Aussie townhouses.  Very high ceilings, lots of natural light and doors that open up the entire back of the house to the back yard.  I was very impressed and am now 100% certain the Green Community is for us!

So, after a huge BBQ lunch, the tour and a good chat (and a packet of Aussie Tim Tams were produced, so that was an excellent bonus!) I headed home back to the hotel.  Being a bit bored, I decided to see The Watchmen at the movies next door.

My view is that it is a good pulp comic book movie but it was incredibly censored by the locals here.  When I saw Benjamin Button I thought they cut a scene in that because of nudity or something similar, but The Watchmen is alot more ruder than Benjamin Button so the movie actually got a bit disjointed for me... they were cutting scenes entirely I think so I lost the plot at times.  But I *think* it was good...  if you liked Sin City or 300 then you'll like The Watchmen.

A good day... tomorrow is a public holiday too, so even better!  I might go into Abu Dhabi tomorrow to see the sights a bit...

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