Sunday, July 25, 2010

Beer Run!

Well, life here has been.... dull.

Niki and the girls continue their Australian adventure and seem to be having a great time catching up with friends and family whilst I am here doing not much other than working and mucking around on the computer or PlayStation.

I suppose its not all dull and boring... have managed to run two D&D sessions this month and we have finally completed the adventure that I was running. Next steps in the game is in my court to arrange and I will probably do a fair bit of that this week.

Also, went for my first ever beer run through Sharjah to Umm al-Quwain to a place called "Barracuda's". Barracuda is just like your regular Australian bottle shop except its very large and secondly and most importantly, they dont enforce the UAE regulation of requiring a license to buy alcohol. I have no idea why, the place is extremely popular with tourists (in fact the neighbouring water park would probably go out of business if it wasn't for westerners doing 'a Barracuda run").

So on Saturday morning I set off with friends John & Trevor to the bottle shop to stock up. Its about a 45min drive and most importantly you need to run through Sharjah (see map below). Sharjah is the opposite of Umm al-Quwain in that it enforces alot of the Sharia laws and it is a bit of an urban tale that many a car has been pulled over by the police who are looking for alcohol.

Punishment is typically 10 days jail... but I have never met anyone who has been jailed here, so I tend to have my doubts.

Anyway, we got to Barracuda's without incident, we spent 8000 dirhams between us on alot of beer and wine and some harder stuff and then we set off back. Stupidly, we didnt have anything covering our load - which was a very full Land Cruiser and whilst we did pass police on the road, we weren't stopped and made it back safe and sound.

Now... who wants a drink!

Full Land Cruiser

Monday, July 12, 2010

Up In Smoke...

Strange feeling this week... with Niki and the girls in Australia and both my staff on summer vacation, I am alone at home and the office... mmm... a bit weird!

Yes, work is still here and I still interact with people, but its a bit different when you're the only one in your area and that banter isnt happening across the offices.

But I am hardly in solitary confinement... went out last night for the World Cup final and wasn't home until after 1am as a result.  I am glad the Cup is now over because its been playing havoc with my sleeping patterns.  Also, I found myself sharing a plate of chicken wings at midnight last night as we watched the game and I feel really 'gluggy' this morning.

One thing about Dubai that is different to home is that smoking is not banned in pubs and I spent 5hrs in a pub last night sitting behind some Dutch fans who were keen to smoke big fat cigars all night.  I absolutely reeked when I got home and after two showers and prodigiously brushing my teeth, I can still taste / smell cigar smoke on me.

Also met an Aussie guy last night at the game as well.  In a packed pub that had arranged seating in an almost movie theatre style convention around the big screen, this guy in a t-shirt with Aussie flags sat next to me and would you believe I picked his accent as being from Queensland?  Yes, you know the high nasally accent of Brisbane people - if you know what rugby league player Billy Slater sounds like, you'll know what I mean.  Anyways, in true expat style when you see someone from home, despite them being a complete stranger you introduce yourself and shake hands.

So, in a rather weird clash of worlds, I found myself in a Dubai pub, watching the World Cup final between Holland and Spain and in the breaks was talking to a guy from Brisbane about State of Origin and the Melbourne Storm salary cap drama.  All the while being fumigated by big Dutch stogies and eating chicken wings!

Still on the smoking, in a throw back to the 1970's, would you believe that there were 2 girls in matching tight legging pants and tops walking around giving free cigarettes of a particular brand to all the punters?  This girl came up to my table and asked us would we like to try the new Marlboro cigarettes and when I said I didn't smoke she asked would I like to try!  Imagine if a company used attractive girls to give away cigarettes in Sydney!  There would be an uproar!

Obviously they haven't heard about lung cancer here in the Middle East yet....

Monday, July 05, 2010


Niki and the girls in Sydney and today I am off to London on business.  It amazes me how the world has gotten so much smaller over the years.  I am sitting here in Dubai and just skyped Niki in Sydney and will board a plane shortly to go to London and by this evening I will be in a pub catching up with some friends I have met via online gaming.  Then work will be the next day and will involve me meeting with my business colleagues who are flying in from Denmark and Germany.

Whilst this all goes on our dog and cat Molly and Charlie will be here being walked by our Sri Lankan maid...

Makes my head spin sometimes thinking about it and how far life takes you at times.

Other than the logistics of arranging all this, I am a bit bored and lonely and I can already tell that its going to be a very long month ahead.  Skype is great, but it freezes your life as you sit and chat away for ages and then when the call ends, the silence is pretty deafening.  I will need to do something to take up some time for me... perhaps painting or get into a new PS3 game or something.

Will report again when I am back from London on Wednesday!