Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Sending the Girls Home :-(

Niki and the girls are off tomorrow for a month in Sydney.  On one hand I am happy that they can get to go back and visit the family and their friends but on the other hand I will be rattling around the house here on my lonesome when I am not at work.

To me, my holidays wont be until a) they get home and b) we get on the plane to go to France in September!

As I type this, its nearly 11pm in Dubai and Niki is packing the last minute things and double and triple checking.  Then we'll be off early in the morning to be at Abu Dhabi Airport at around 8:30ish for her check-in.

So, mixed feelings tonight and I will miss Niki and the girls heaps!

Monday, June 21, 2010

World Cup and a Bit Each Way

The Australian World Cup journey is spluttering along in which we really should be dead and buried but we keep on keeping on.... To have conceded 5 goals in two games and to be still in with a decent (read 10%) chance of qualification to the 2nd stage is not really a testament to Australia but rather a statement that a) the Germans should have buried Serbia and b) Ghana should have beaten us.  But we take it as it comes and we look to the heavens for a miracle in the 3rd and final game.  All we can do is win against Serbia and hope that either Ghana beats Germany OR Germany pummels Ghana by 3 goals.  Yes, we're cheering for BOTH teams to win!

If you can follow the logic as to why this is the case, then congratulations you are now a fully fledged soccer aficionado!

In other news, its getting rather busy all round at my end... Niki and the girls are making preparations for their trip home to Australia for a month to beat the heat and enjoy the extended school holidays.  I will be staying on and I am trying not to think about it.  I will miss them heaps and I will be alone for the entire month of July.  Other than the World Cup and watching the NRL I will probably be beating the heat on the weekends by staying indoors with the blessed PS3.  Might buy myself a new game...

Also at work each of my two staff members will be taking their summer holidays and for one week at least I will be manning the fort on my own.  So it will be lonely times indeed!

But, when the girls come back, I will be looking forward to our French sojourn in September and between now and then, I will be booking train tickets, Euro Disney and hotels!  Very excited!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Heat Is On...

Well, summer is here.  Officially.

By officially I mean because I have turned off the hot water heaters in the bathroom as the "cold" water now gets so hot in the pipes that it is actually very warm and therefore if you don't you end up with a "hot" tap and a "very warm" tap.  Not great for brushing your teeth!

Because the hot water tank is in a building and out of the direct sun, if you turn off the heater, then the water goes cool and is shaded and therefore comes out cool from the taps.

So, hot is cold, cold is hot and summer is here!

It's been 47-48 degrees Celsius this week... and it will probably get hotter next month!

Monday, June 14, 2010


Das Mannshaft or in other words, the German Soccer team really did shaft Australia last night... Today I am really perplexed at a) the tactics that the coach employed (no strikers, 5 full backs) and b) how slow we looked in comparison to the Germans... but for full match analysis, I will leave you to read the newspapers because I want to dwell more on my personal experience last night.

Once again, I attended a bar - this time the Jebel Ali Sports Club - to watch the match.  Being a sadist, I accepted an invitation to join a party being hosted by a German contracting firm which was attended by, you guessed it, Germans.

By the time kickoff came around, I was outnumbered 40 to 1 and whilst the beer and food was free, the Germans in their jerseys, t-shirts and flags were making me pay.  Sure, it was all good natured and I was giving it back, but I always seem to end up as the vocal minority at these things.  I was wearing my Socceroos hat and had the national flag tied around my neck but I was just as much of a match for my German hosts in the sledging stakes as our team was on the pitch.

In the pre-game build up the Qatari TV network they had a number of British guys talking 95% about Germany but ex-Aussie coach Terry Venebles was one of the panel members and he declared Australia whilst not favourites would not be over run and would be very physical.  I didnt hear what Terry said during the half time break, but I am sure he wasn't saying Australia was going to come back and equalise.

But as the game went on, I slumped further down into my seat and the Germans were laughing it up at my expense and the beers couldn't come quick enough.

Finally it was over.  4-0 but it could have been 8 nil and the German hosts announced the winners of the "Pick the Score" competition of which I was eliminated from in the 9th minute when Germany scored their first goal (I was going for a 1-0 Aussie win).  A flashy soccer ball and sports bag were shared between the two guys who tipped 4-0 but graciously the German company man hosting the function came up and and shook my hand for being a good sport and for cheering on Australia.

He gave me a soccer ball as well with his company logo emblazoned on it.

I was very happy with getting his German ball... apparently they go into the back of the net alot easier than Australian ones!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

World Cup in Dubai

Well, I find myself in Dubai for the World Cup.  Its different from previous World Cups as the games are in prime time (from 3pm through to midnight) and the local TV coverage is in a shambolic mess.  In Australia, the coverage is free and excellent courtesy of SBS but you have to get up at 3am to watch the games.

In the Emirates and in neighbouring Saudi Arabia, the main TV network is Orbit Showtime.  They dominate TV here in the UAE but the thing is - they dont have the rights to the World Cup.  The Middle Eastern rights were secured by Al Jazeera (many of you may be familiar with their news channels) who are based in Qatar.

Now Orbit Showtime do have Al Jazeera news as part of their package and you have some of their basic channels (in Arabic only) as part of the package, but nobody has access to their English language sports channels which includes the World Cup.  So, Dubai has been a scramble as people try to get Al Jazeera connected.  Not an easy task as you need a different decoder box (approx 1000 dirhams) and sign up to their service which apparently is another 700 dirhams.  Supplies - in true middle eastern style - are too short for demand and nobody I know has managed to get connected successfully.

As a result, I am only able to watch the games in my lounge room with Arabic commentary.

The second thing also to consider being an Australian in Dubai in the World Cup is that nobody rates Australia and it gets zero mention in the press.  Whilst Australian media are all over us, here I can't even buy an imitation jersey as the market is swamped with English, Brazil, Argentina and German gear.  Not a single piece of Socceroo paraphernalia in the entire country I don't think!  And of course not alot of Aussies at my work or neighbourhood who share the enthusiasm of our chances.

So last night, I went with my English neighbours to the Jumeirah Beach Hotel to see England vs USA.  99% of the 2000 strong crowd were English, 0.95% of the crowd were American and I was the 0.05% being the token Aussie.  Sure, I was polite, but was silently cheering on the Americans... hehe.  The game ended in a 1-1 draw and the English turned rabid against their team.  Before the game they were touting the side as the best thing since 1966 but after they "were all a bunch of donkeys" and were "rubbish" and had the knives out for a number of players.  I guess I experienced the Fleet Street press mentality up close!  To me, a scrapping 1-1 draw in a World Cup is nothing to be worried about as you can live to fight another day.

Tonight though will be another big "odd experience" for me.  One of my English neighbours is a client of a German contracting firm who invited he and a few friends (including me) to watch the Germany vs Australia game.  So I will, in my Socceroos cap and draped Aussie flag, be sitting in an all expenses paid function hosted by Germans.  Should be interesting!  My English friends are supporting Australia, so I won't exactly be alone, but it will be daunting sitting in a room of Germans chanting "Aussie Aussie Aussie" and getting weird looks.... Particularly when we win 1-0!  LOL!

Wednesday, June 09, 2010


Sorry for the lack of posts this week. We've been dealing with a sad thing in that our beloved dog Zoe was deteriorating and she was not well enough to go on. Today, we called the vet and he came to our house and she went to sleep at home very peacefully.

She was a wonderful dog who managed to live in two continents and was there for the birth of both our girls. She slowed down dramatically in the past six months but never stopped smiling.

We will miss you Zoe. XXXX

Zoe: 24/1/98 - 9/6/2010