Thursday, April 30, 2009

19,000 Served

Just noticed that my hit counter ticked over 19,000.  I dont make a big deal of it and to be honest, its down the bottom of the Nav section and I dont look at it often.

I remember being at 8,000 some time ago and then I noticed it hit 10,000 and now I had forgotten it...

19,000 served and still going strong!  Some of those are even religious nutters from the Deep South of the US!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

You know you're a local when...

you get phone calls from rival banks that are not your own (HSBC) here in the Middle East offering you free Platinum Credit Cards with their institution.

I got my first cold call this morning on my mobile.  I was on the work phone and hung up mobile and as is custom here because their is no voice mail, I rang the number back when I was done with my work call.

It was a Dubai number, so I assumed one of my tradespeople who have been giving me quotes.  Instead a woman answered very un-professionally with a simple Hello and I explained I had a missed call from her.  She asked my name, which I gave and I heard her typing.  Then she suddenly says "Yes good morning!  This is XXXX Bank and we were calling if you would be interested in a fee free Platinum card with us".

I cut her off said no thanks and she didnt persist and the call ended.

But its scary... they have you calling back telemarketers in this country!!!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Pets On Tour

Well, we have booked the removalists to take our furniture from Sydney to Dubai.  The packing and shipping happens 4/5 May.  Hopefully it will reach here soon enough to be here for when Niki & the girls arrive around 4 June.  I am assuming it wont however, so the home furnishings at my end will continue...

What is funny / expensive however is the relocation of the animals.  Our two dogs Zoe & Molly and Charlie the Cat are booked in and will land in Dubai the day before Niki & the girls.  But its not just a matter of taking them to the airport and loading them on.  They need to have a series of tests and injections and the service ( includes a pick up and delivery service from the house to the special quarentine centre (somewhere remote in Sydney - Richmond / Badgerys Creek... not sure) and they're given a series of injections.  They have to make two of these trips in the lead up to the 3 June flight.

Also, on the day of their trip, they get picked up and taken to the airport and all is handled by the company.  It even includes delivery to me at home here in Dubai!  So, basically for us it is all hands off and done by them.  We were worried that the pets would have been on the same flight and that Niki would have to juggle getting herself to the airport and taking the dogs as well... but all of that has been taken care of.

They even have accounted for the fact that the Emirates A380 is not suitable for pet cargo as the cargo hold is not "flat" and therefore the flight will be the morning departure from Sydney via Singapore on the regular Boeing.  I have this mental image of the pets on a stop over in Singapore living it up!

So, all going to plan, I will have the pets here with me and when I bring Niki & the girls home from the airport the animals will be here to greet them too.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Well I did it...

I went to the shops at lunch time today (I needed to use an ATM, so just a quick drive from site to the service station) and when I pulled up it was that hot that I left the car running and went and used the ATM and came back out and got into the A/C.

Temps are now in the low 40's I think (my car doesn't have a temp gauge... perhaps that's best!) and whilst the heat is far away from being oppressive, I just didn't want my car heating up again for the drive back to site.

Whilst you would never do this in Sydney with petrol running at $1.50/L and the threat of someone flogging your car as well, here in low crime Abu Dhabi people leave their cars running all the time.

Not very green I know... but when in Rome!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

A Day at the Cricket

Spent an enjoyable day at the cricket yesterday in Dubai to see Australia take on "home team" Pakistan. It was hot, the air was dusty outside as we queued to get in and the temps were pushing 40 degrees... a sign that summer is coming. But the queue moved 'reasonably' quickly but its amazing that some people just ignore the queue and walk to the front. I found out that its local custom that men with women and children can do this, but on occaision large groups of Pakistani men would try to push in but the whole queue (Aussies and Paki's alike) would call out and yell until the pushers would slink away... a very odd thing that wouldnt be tolerated in Australia.

Through a metal detector, and into the stadium the chaos of outside gave way to a nicely constructed neat stadium with big sails providing shade to most of the ground. Oddly enough, the only sunny section was the expensive 900 Dhs area. Not surprisingly, it was mostly empty!

We had missed the first ball and Australia were fielding but the pitch was slow and scoring difficult. Some good Aussie catching saw the locals out for 206 but despite this the crowd (95% pro-Pakistan) were very loud and upbeat.

In front of me was a large Pakistani family with Mum & Dad, about 4 kids, Uncles and Aunts and Grand-dad. They all had horns and signs and we had a few laughs with them.

In the evening session, Australia ground out a slow pace to victory and some people were starting to leave early... then Australia lost two quick wickets and the crowd came to life and the chanting didnt stop for ages, but soon enough it died down and as Symonds hit a half century the locals were done for the day.

But Aussie support was there and this video is a section of Aussie fans who tried to compete with the noise with a rendition of Waltzing Matilda.

Friday, April 24, 2009

My local shops...

Not sure if I have desribed the local shops...

I guess its important to know that when you move into an area, that you have all the facilities that you would want nearby. In Sydney, you generally have a big shopping mall (i.e. a Westfield) and then in each and every suburb you have a little set of shops or the like.

Well, in Dubai where shopping is a national pastime, they don't do things by halves. To put my suburb or estate into context, we're a good 20min drive from the heart of "New Dubai" which is the southern coast of Dubai City (or Old Dubai) and its at New Dubai that the new modern shopping centres are built... Mall of the Emirates, Dubai Mall, Marina Mall and my closest Ibn Battuta. So, its good to know that I am 20mins away from 4 mega malls.

But in between my estate (the Green Community) and the malls is not a series of suburbs and public transport... no, you have Emirates Road (the truck transport road that runs the lenght of the country) and miles and miles of dusty desert... not really desert, more like "badlands" if you are a reader of fantasy fiction... the dread plains of Mordor for example (minus the swamps). The landscape is quite lunar...

So then you have the Green Community, which is a little oasis in the desert and we have all this luxury accommodation and pools for us to live in. But we also have a shopping centre that is by no means massive, but it is airconditioned, has escalators and has pretty much everything you need.

There was though one thing missing and now it has been delivered... yes, tonight the Green Community Shops celebrated the opening of a McDonalds. Yes, I have a Mickey-Dee's within 10mins walk from me... and it is 15 metres away from a Baskin Robbins Ice Cream store as well... temptation city! Tonight, through the crowds of mostly teenagers, I had a Big Mac meal... Burger King has a bit of a monopoly over McDonalds in restaurants on the side of highways so it is quite unusual to have a McDonalds here over a Burger King but I don't mind as I have always preffered McDonalds to Burger King / Hungry Jacks.

I was served also tonight by I think the most enthusiastic teenage server I have ever seen in a McDonalds. In Australia, you usually get a disinterested girl chewing gum with "I *heart* Johnno" written in biro on her arm but tonight I had a guy of Phillipino descent wearing a name badge that was shiny new. I was a bit surprised his name was "Glen" but nevertheless, he greeted me as I came through the door. "GOOD EVENING SIR! CAN I HELP YOU!!" he literally shouted at me and I was a bit surprised.

I gave him my order of a Big Mac meal and some nuggets and before I knew it a chip man delivered my chips, a guy on the drink machine had my coke down on the tray and the nuggets popped out all within 30secs. I had to wait I reckon another 15 seconds (massive I know!) before my Big Mac was on the tray. These were all done by other staff whilst my server took my money and gave me change. Yes, they had a crew of 3-4 people working in the serving area but not actually serving. So different from the indifferent girl in Sydney who drags her feet going from the burgers, to the fries, to the drink machine, to the nuggets, to the sauce, to the counter to collect the cash.

I wonder if it will last though? Were all new McDonalds like this and at some point the shiny name badges wear off and the staff numbers drop and Enthusiastic Glen is replaced by Depressing Melissa? Somehow, knowing the Dubai style of customer service, I dont think so!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

ANZAC Day in the UAE

With so many expats in the country, there is a bit of a culture of everyone being aware of other nations special holidays.

ANZAC Day has been getting a bit of press here in the UAE and I had to go to the Embassy this morning to get some documentation stamped and the small embassy (its on the 14th floor of an office block, much different to the sprawling embassies in Canberra) had many notices of where to celebrate ANZAC Day this Saturday.  Saturday is a weekend day here, but Sunday is a working day and Sunday has been earmarked as a "holiday" for the Embassy and other Australian related services.  Unfortunately, my company wont be giving me a long weekend... but its tempting to take the day off!

I also got an email from TimeOut Dubai this morning and they had a special article on what to do on ANZAC Day as well.

Unfortunately on Saturday morning I am having curtains installed and will need to be at the house but they should be done in the afternoon so I may go out and try and catch some Aussie flavoured dinner somewhere... I have met a few Aussies both here at the office and around the Green Community, I will suss out if anyone is doing anything special.

But there is the cricket on Friday and after last nights loss to Pakistan, Game 2 is a must win and I am sure the match will be a bit special because its on the weekend and the ANZAC weekend at that.  It better be, we got smashed last night lol!!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

New Project Website

My project has just launched a new website to present it to the world.  Check it out here!

Working on this project is very interesting and very rewarding from an altruistic perspective.  I am not a "greenie" or anything, but its different because not only do we have the usual issues of building a "city" to make it commercially viable, but its also a massive experiment.  For example, we're running a number of competitions for people to come in and propose "solutions" for a number of things such as Waste Treatment through to running a 5 Star Hotel.

Its OK to think "carbon neutral, 100% renewable energy", its another thing to come in and build it successfully and make it reasonably cost effective.

And the size of the project!  We're building away on the massive university building and its having its scheduling issues and it was questioned how we can turn it around before it gets "out of control" and then it was pointed out that we have spent 4% of budget and have completed 3% of schedule... we're hardly out of control.  And then you look out the window and you see 2,000 workers and think that its just 3% of the project...and you appreciate how big it is overall!

So, check it out... let me know what you think!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Busy and Homesick

Well, this week has been trying... the extra workload is starting to take hold and I have been in the office until 8-9pm each night.  This is a short term thing, and I have been approved to hire 4-5 people over the coming months and even interviewed an opportune candidate for a significant role this week and I am keen to get the formal offer to him soon, but in the interim I am doing 4 peoples jobs!

I like to be busy, but its a tad ridiculous!

And the missing family issue has been hitting hard this week... Niki and the girls relocating here is now around 4 June and we're on the countdown.  But because its close to being solidly set, I am now getting impatient and want them to be here now.

I have to buy more furniture still and curtains are getting installed this weekend, so the house is coming together and there is still some things to do before their arrival, but with work on top of this, the house is becoming a chore at the moment.

However, I have tickets to this Fridays cricket in Dubai and the following Friday in Abu Dhabi and hence I am looking forward to a bit of Australi-ana and cheering on the cricketers.  Should be a good couple of games and it should cheer me up.  The game in Abu Dhabi, I am in a box with booze, so I need to work out how to get home because just one beer makes you inelligble to drive... a cab is about 200Dhs I think.

So, not much to report... busy as, missing family, wanting to get on with it :-)

Monday, April 20, 2009

Come On Aussie Come On!

Well, I have just secured tickets to the cricket where Pakistan is hosting Australia... I am off to the 2nd One Day International at the Dubai Sports City Stadium where they report to have the worlds best lighting!?

Its moved up on me very quickly and the game is this weekend on Friday!

Should be excellent!!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

A Day at the Races

Drove from Dubai to Abu Dhabi today (about 130kms) to catch a glimpse of the Red Bull Air Race. I had always found it fascinating watching these guys fly around on tele and when I heard they were bringing the flying circus to the UAE, I was really keen to see them.

And I wasnt disappointed with the planes being deceptively quick, the course being tighter than I imagined it would be and a number of wings slicing through the air gates! Also, one pilot nearly lost it when he came out of one tight bend and his nose dipped down low and everyone thought he was going to crash!

Also, it was good to see an Aussie in the field of 15 pilots and he finished qualifying a credible 5th in just his first race. The commentators were saying he has only logged 15hrs flying time before the event so to finish 5th was a sensation. He had a nice gold plane with the Aussie flag on the wings, so it was good to cheer him on.

The event was run at Abu Dhabi's "Corniche" which is the back end of Abu Dhabi and is the main tourist strip. There is a strip of water between the Abu Dhabi island (its a city on a big island) and a smaller island which keeps the water smooth and flat. On the small island side was all the VIP hospitality but the public was on the Corniche side.

Now, a funny thing... it was Friday today and the Holy day of the week for Muslims. The beach on the Corniche apparently is always a "Families Only" zone on a Friday and I was stopped when trying to get to the beach to watch the races because I was a single man.

There was a "single man's" beach down the road but when I walked there, it was past the race course and the viewing would be crap.

I wandered back the way I came and tried to get in a smaller side gate but was again stopped. I was about to give up... I could hear the engines but couldnt see anything as trees blocked the view and I walked back towards the main gate to get a drink and ponder my situation.

At the gate, a British guy was having a stand up argument with the security guard about why he and his 14yr old son (who was a tall gangly boy but was by no means a small child) and the guard was adamant that they couldnt get in because "no wife!"

The Brit was yelling and spittle was flying and he was saying his wife was on holiday in Australia and that this was ridiculous. "My son is my family!" he was saying and he had a point in my mind....

Then as I watched the guard said something and the Brit stopped yelling, said something quiet back and there was some money exchanged... and he was ushered in.

Mmmmm..... OK I thought. I gave it 5mins and then approached the same guard. I tried to go in and he stopped me. He explained that it was families only and I in return explained my family was back home in Australia and I was alone and wanted to simply watch the planes. I flashed the photo of Niki and the girls in my wallet and he simply said "Five Dirham". I slipped him the cash and I too was ushered in.

I understand that they Muslim culture is modest about female clothing and once on the beach there was everything from families through to groups of young adults and every girl seemed to be wearing a bikini. I can understand there rule when you consider that outside there was a swarm of Indian, Pakistani and Afghan men trying to get in... but on the other hand it did seem ridiculous to host an event and have the beaches on the course blocked to men without families.

But once on the beach, I was fine... the beach itself is nothing like a Sydney beach. The sand is the fine dusty sand and there was alot of rocks as well and the ground in places was hard so even though I was on the beach, the thongs stayed on.

Here's a video of one of the flyers... he clips a gate which you briefly see falling. Bloody hard to video and keep him in shot. Also note the dual language commentary being blasted over the speakers!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Weekend Fun...

Well this weekend, I am actually going to take some time out and do something other than work and wait for various quotes and handymen.

In Abu Dhabi this weekend is the Red Bull Air Race.  I am going to drive to Abu Dhabi and check it out.  I have seen these things on the TV and am interested to see what its like live.  I am thinking of going on Friday though which is the qualifying day rather than the main race day and I probably wont stay all that long, but Friday in Abu Dhabi is always interesting because of the many Mosques and the call to Prayer Time is always a cool sound through the city.

So with the internet on at home (and working well!), look forward to some pics and videos of the planes wizzing around the Corniche.

And of course, I will be shopping... I am keen to buy a new suit.  There is a 48hr turnaround suit place in Madinat Jumeirah which does tailored suits apparently "cheap"... Madinat Jumeirah is one of the upmarket shopping areas around the Jumeirah Beach Hotel which is near the iconic Burj Al Arab (the big sail hotel).  We'll see how cheap is.

Also on the list to buy other than some odds and sods for myself... need to think about a dishwasher and Kate has picked her bed from the IKEA catalogue.

Other than that, its relaxing by the pool... the weather is warm without being stifling and taking some time out.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Web Censorship...

Well, the Big Banks don't like what bloggers write about them!

Goldman Sachs are looking to close a bloggers website... have they not heard of free speech.

Classic quote:  "According to Chadbourne & Parke's letter, dated April 8, the bank is rattled because the site "violates several of Goldman Sachs' intellectual property rights" "  WTF is a bank "rattled" about IP rights from a blogger.

Give me a break.  I am very interested to see how this one turns out...

One Negative Thing.... Number Two's

OK, I am really enjoying the UAE... I think its different and I am enjoying the cultural change and the climate and all of that.  Thumbs Up.

I dont want to be a negative blogger either and I don't want my blog to be rants of "this is better in Australia" or "at home, we did it better" type rants.  There are some things that are better here and some are worse... its called diversity.

However, I do want to point out one thing...

The ability to take a crap in public / work toilets without having to worry about getting soaking wet or having Arabs standing in the sink.  Yes, literally.

The Arabic custom of Wudhu is great for them and is part of this great cultural diversity I am experiencing. But the bathrooms everywhere you go are just soaking wet with water as the locals splash around in the sinks washing themselves, including their feet, and then I have no idea what they do with that hose in the cubicle, but its amazing how much water is left on the floor, walls and even the ceiling.

Its part of the culture, its part of the diversity, but really I am sick of avoiding having been soaked in the office...

/rant off ... 

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Well, its been a busy 24hrs! I have had another quote for curtains and another 2 quotes for landscaping and I am sitting here at 10pm to wait for my kitchen dining table and chairs to be delivered. Deliveries here in the UAE run very late!! I am actually tired and want to go to bed, but I am waiting for yet another man in a truck! lol.

But the biggest and bestest news is that I have the internet and I am now "connected". Today was a big day because I was able to Skype home and talk + see the kids and Niki and I had a good long chat about pretty much everything. It was good to relax and chat because the only conversations have either been from my office - where work rudely interrupts - or by traditional phone and I hate to see the phone bill at home this month!

But I am now very happy... and soon I will have a dining table to sit at and I am starting to feel that this is a bit like a home now.

The other thing is that I have been watching a bit of the local Pay TV, which is called ShowTime and its ok, but there is a lot of rubbish on it... but most disappointing is that all 4 sports channels are pre-occupied with Premier League Soccer. Now I like soccer and I went to a Chelsea game once in London, but sometimes I would like a bit of variety. Unfortunately there is no NRL on TV here, but I was watching some English Super League tonight... which is pretty ordinary. Was watching Catalans vs Wigan and saw Jason Ryles, Greg Bird, Amos Roberts, Clint Greenshields and a few other Aussies running around in some paddock in Perpignon, France. I flicked it over to Man City vs Fulham if I have to be honest.

But, the net is on! I will now be able to post a few more pictures and am now able to Skype which is a godsend.

Now where's that truck.....????

{Post Script} - The truck has arrived at 10:15pm and they have to put the dining setting together! I thought it would be just offloaded fully built, so I have two guys with drills going crazy in the kitchen dining... only in Dubai!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter - No Holidays Here Though!

Its Easter Sunday, so Happy Easter to everyone at home.  However, as you may suspect, Easter isnt really a popular event here in the Middle East.  Having said that though, there were Easter Eggs for sale in the supermarkets and plenty of expats are marking the occasion and I have been invited fellow ex-Glenbrook expats Peter & Catherine's place for dinner tonight, which is nice.

But today is just a normal working week and hence I am in the office this morning and have just spoken to the girls about the haul they secured from that furry little Easter Bunny.  Its days like today that you miss the family more...

But the weekend was good though.  I managed to have my application for the internet to be turned on accepted by Etisalat.  That is progress... now I wait for someone to call me to arrange a time for connection.  I have no idea how long that will take.

I had curtains quoted on the weekend as well and also had a landscaper take measurements for grass and some plants.  Its much different that when you rent here in the UAE, the tenant is responsible for such fixtures as curtains and landscaping.  When we do move out, we can take the curtains, but you cannot take the grass!  Very odd... pretty much dead money.

Also, had the water cooler people turn up and install their product... No body drinks tap water here...

And finally, the oven / stove was installed as was the gas bottles for it on Thursday night.

So a pretty productive weekend, pity it was only 2 days!

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Nutters On My Blog

Very old post... the first comments that are relevant to the topic were posted at the time of the posting, but someone has been having delusional rantings on this post just recently.

Discussion on religion brings the best out of people!

At least I can be happy my back catelog of posts are being read.

Stock Take - How's It Going...

Yes, the promotion thing seems a done deal... HR processes have started and things are moving I guess.

Alot of people when I speak to them (speak = email generally) ask if I am enjoying it here and am I enjoying the job.  I can now state categorically yes.  Its extremely busy (I am posting this nearly at 8pm and I am still in the office) but its a good busy and I am happy with the job and the project.

I have to admit its completely different than working in Sydney... but its "nice but different" which seems to be my catch phrase here.  The commute driving is not bothering me as I know that even though I am here late, my car is outside and I am just a 45min drive from home.  What people dont really appreciate is that I am sitting on 150km/h virtually door to door so its not a frustrating drive compared to Sydney where its 20km/h on Parramatta Rd.

I guess I am also working late because there is nothing really to go home to yet... stove / cooktop comes tomorrow night, TV gets connected Saturday morning so without having to cook and no TV to watch (and STILL NO INTERNET) life at the house is very boring.... I am onto my 3rd novel and my PSP is getting a pounding.  But when Niki arrives it will be a different story.

And the culture / lifestyle... its been great.  The local people are very friendly, the cultural diversity is amazing and I am really enjoying it despite great difficulty in spelling my surname to people with my Aussie drawl.  I tend to go by "Mr Clayton" alot.

Funny thing though is that to eat out here, all the food is "foreign" to the UAE.  Its hard to get "Arabic" food... there is always one in the food court that sells Arabic food, but the majority is Thai, Indian, Subway, McDonalds etc etc.  The restaurants are also the same, with fine dining in multiple cuisines, but Arabic (or Persian) is rare in comparison.  Then when you think about it, how many "Australian" restaurants are there in Sydney?  So it makes sense I guess....

So, in short, missing everyone big time, but am having a good time despite the logistical exercises to get furniture etc etc...

Its all good!

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

WTF just happened

Went to a meeting this evening to present a future strategy proposal
to my companies parent company.

90mins later I am no longer employed by my company but instead am
employed by the parent and given a broader role in the company looking
after 7 divisions rather than just my one.

In short I have not only been promoted but need to strike a new
employment contract.

Yes salary will go up but I am more worried about the logistics as my
lease on the house and a lot of other things have been sponsored by my
original company.

Its now getting close to 11pm and I am still stoked and flabbergasted.

I guess I better go to bed and get to work to sort it all out.

Exciting, an honour to be promoted whilst still on probation but geez, WTF?!?!

Tuesday, April 07, 2009


Have been here a couple of months and am still amazed at a) how smoothly the freeways run and b) how fast that people drive.

I was cruising at 160km/h the other day and before I knew it, 3 cars were on my arse, flashing their high beams and aggressively getting me to move over.  I was on a long straight (and I mean dead straight) road and I didn't even see them coming...

They flew past me like I was standing still and one of the cars was tailgating the lead car... very dangerous stuff.  If I was doing 160, they were surely doing 220....

And the thing was, they were Camry's and similar common sedans... its not like they were Ferrari's or anything.

Having said that the traffic flows well on the freeways and snarls are minimal... the system of 4-5 lane freeways with ALL trucks restricted to the slow lane and high speeds are so much better than the 2-3 lane M4 in Sydney with 90km zones.

I better watch myself when I go home... I am probably inclined to drive at 150km +

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Weekend Report...

Well, the TV is installed... mounted on the wall, but the wall is brick so I will need to do something with the cables.  Brooke's bed FINALLY arrived at 9pm last night!  I was told at 10am that the bed will be delivered that afternoon... so I stayed close to home and waited... made the odd call... was told he was running late at 4pm and that he would be there at 7pm.  At 7:30pm, still no show and he would be there at 8:30pm ... at 9pm he showed.

And it was a man and his son, aged about 12, who had been working since 7am and were exhausted and I was the last delivery.  The bed came in about 5 parcels of about 35-45kgs each and they refused to let me help them... I felt really bad for being narky on the phone and then have a 12 yr old boy help his old man out at 9pm.  But they carried the parcels upstairs and when they were done, I gave the boy 20Dhs for his efforts.  I have no idea if that was too small or too big a tip... the split economy here between the rich and poor is still something I am getting used to.

The guy, who was very tired and sweaty asked if he could have some water and I said sure and said "I only have tap water though" and he suddenly refused.  That reminds me to get the water cooler installed.  Everyone seems to have one or drinks bottled water.

As for the TV, it's a Samsung 46" LCD and is actually quite useless until the pay-TV provider hooks me up next Saturday morning.  I have a DVD player, but no DVD discs to watch!

And I have an oven being delivered on Wednesday evening, so that will mean I can now cook food!!  Huzzah!! So I will go out and buy some pots, pans and utensils in anticipation!!  Its half electric, half gas, but I need to get a gas cylinder delivered and I have NO IDEA how that works.

And as for the Internet, I failed again to get anyone to start processing my application at Etisalat... I read this blog post this morning and I hope I am not going to have the same issues!

As for me personally, I am starting to really miss Niki and the girls... its been pretty hard and the girls were bridesmaids / flowergirls at their cousin Lizzies wedding this weekend.  It is hard to take that I couldn't be there... work is good, Dubai life has its set up difficulties, but given I haven't seen the girls since February is very hard.  Miss them heaps!

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Been a very busy week...

Well, my apologies for the lack of posts this week as a lack of internet access at home and the fact that I have been hosting people from London this week and hence not at my desk in the office has meant my internet time has been limited.  I am actually posting this from a shopping mall here in Dubai which has free WiFi so I carted my laptop here!

But to recap this week, the big news at work is that there is a massive restructure at work and I am to get alot more area of responsibility.  This has been because of a contracting company not doing what they were supposed to and we're now taking them out of the equation.  So I have been asked to re-configure my department and determine how many staff I need.  Given I havent even got time to scratch myself its a necessary evil to find time to do this...

So, on the work front its busy.  Home front has been disjointed as I still havent had time to get my internet connected and I have been frustrated by the red tape in doing so but I am determined to make it happen this week.  I spent my first night last night in a bed rather than a foam mattress on the floor and it was much more comfortable!  I am even now sleeping through the 5am Muslim call to prayer that happens everyday and so my sleeping is on the improve.

Food wise, am still living on toast, sandwiches and the odd takeaway.  I took our London visitor out for dinner this week and we went to a steak place and I jumped at the chance for a steak and steamed veges! 

And last night I went out on the town for the first time with work organising a social night out for those of us who live in Dubai.  (The site is split 50-50 between Dubai and Abu Dhabi residents).  It was on at an open air bar called Barasti in the Meridien Hotel in Dubai Marina.  Beautiful spot, massive bar on the beach.  We were a large group so we were standing in the bar area, but on the beach there were sun lounges and the like in which groups of 8 or so could sit down by the water and actually drink alcohol!  Yee Gods!!  The night went very late - I got a cab at 2am - but the place was showing no sign of slowing down nor were the people I was with... I think with everything so tight vis-a-vie alcohol, when you go out, you make the most of it.  I didnt go over the top though and enjoyed the night of chatting with people from the office.  Given we're growing so much many of us are in the same boat - been here 2-3 mths trying to find accommodation, cars, etc etc.  We all had various stories so it was good to share.  Also, again the nationalities are so varied and it was really interesting to chat to people.  Also discovered one guy who has been here a month who has come from my old company but the London office.  Small world.

So in signing off, my battery is running low, but I am off to shop for a stove, a TV and TV unit and perhaps a lounge... at home I need to organise the grass to be laid, so a busy week ahead.

Posting should be back to approx daily this week!