Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Surprise Visitors to Dubai

Wow, 2 posts in as many days...

Last night was the culmination of a big secret that has been going on since about November in which our youngest Brookie's best friend from Australia has come to visit.  It was a secret to Brooke but we have been aware and preparing for what has seemed like ages and last night her friend Madi, her mum Jo and her big sister Cassie landed in Dubai and I secretly went out to pick them up from the airport.

Then at about 7pm, we pull up at the house, we ring the doorbell and Niki sends Brooke to open the door... SURPRISE!!!

She was absolutely shocked!  She had no idea and soon there were "happy tears" all around.  So at the moment, we have a full house with friends.  And that means presents!!

Niki must have mentioned that we missed certain foods from home and Jo brought boxes of lollies - yes BOXES - of things such as Redskins and my favourite Violet Crumble bars.  Aussie Aeroguard as well... we're now well stocked (the local and British stuff here is rubbish!).

So it's a big shopping extravaganza here as the 5 girls in the house are already lining up which mall they're off to over the next 17 days.

Full house yes, but always good to have visitors from home... and once again showing off that Dubai is actually a pretty cool place to live.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Amy Winehouse in Dubai

Well... been awhile!

Many things going on here and I want to post more but have been pretty busy, but one thing that I just have to report on is that we went to the Amy Winehouse "concert" in Dubai this weekend.  "Concert" is in quotation marks deliberately because it was so bad, that we along with thousands of others, left before it was over.

In hindsight, apparently this isnt unusual for her as she invariably turns up drunk and/or high to her shows and we got off to a bad start when she was gargling her "drink" that was in a white coffee mug as soon as she came on stage.

From there, she was disinterested, vague, forgot the words to her songs, played with her earrings and fingernails as opposed to engage with the audience and then she just walked off stage for 20 minutes leaving the show in the hands of her backup singers.

The crowd boo'ed her mercilessly.  Worst concert we have been to and a complete waste of money.

And to think she was in an Islamic country in which public displays of drunkeness are outlawed and yet she was paid good money to put that tripe on.

Here is some amateur footage (not mine) of her show... it doesnt actually show the worst bits, but I presume the person who took this must have left after he took it.


Monday, January 17, 2011

Change of Scenery

Well, Xmas is always a slow down on many things and Lime Kettles is one that seemingly takes a backseat when you're on the road for 3-4 weeks on holiday.

We had an excellent time in Sydney and caught up with all the family and friends and whilst we deliberately made it less hectic than last year it was still a busy but enjoyable time.  Am happy to report that we scored well on the Santa front with all of us picking up new iPads courtesy of my Mum & Dad (thanks!) and also the girls scored iPod Touches as well... so we're now a fully "synced" family with Apple products.  Coupled with my AppleTV I got for my birthday, we're now sticking our noses at Microsoft.  Having said that though, I cannot bring myself to buy an Apple for PC / Laptop purposes... I hate Microsoft in general but the hassle to learn a new O/S and the Office Products (I know you can get Office for Mac, but still....) is in my too hard / unnecessary basket.

On the UAE front, it is winter here and its cool and we get morning fogs and light rain on occasion but in the main it is still sunny and temps in the high 20's celcius.  The big change is however just this past week, I am actually saying good bye to my job at Masdar and am moving back to the parent company.

Sad, and not by my choice, but I have been "reassigned" and the one thing about working here in the UAE is that change is continuous and management see their workforce as expendable and fluid.  My new job is going to be challenging and interesting but it will be in the office in downtown Abu Dhabi and will be a world away from working "on site" here.

So, this is my last week here... and I have to say it has been a really enjoyable experience and I will miss the people and also the excitement of working on such a unique set of projects.  I guess this means then I will have some new inspiration for blog posts as I settle in to working life closer to town.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Xmas

2010 is coming to a close. As I write this, I am sitting in Sydney after arriving here from Dubai for the Christmas / NY holidays. Our trip to Sydney was fine and uneventful (which is what you want on a plane!) and whilst the weather isnt brilliant, to be honest I dont mind overcast and showers as a bit of variety from our Dubai home.

The year on reflection has been a great one. Work has consolidated in Dubai and is now routine rather than the wonderous experience of oddities that I blogged about in 2009. Its not that it is no longer "different" but rather I have adjusted where what was once odd and different is now the norm.

On the family front, the year has been excellent. We have made great friends, have met wonderful people and have enjoyed many unique experiences. We have explored the UAE and seen many sites ranging from the view at the top of the Burj Khalifa which is a monument of man's engineering down to seeing the sun set over the mountains of Fujeirah as they drop into the Indian Ocean.

We have reached the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, which has been about a 10yr goal of mine to take Niki to and we both were extremely happy to see the kids still hang on to their childhood by dancing around with the Disney Princesses at Euro Disney.

2010 was also the year of learning new things... I have kept up my Arabic lessons and the girls are both getting very adept at French. Kate went into the IB curriculum version of High School and adjusted well.

Sadly though, we lost our first dog Zoe to old age and we still miss her. We also thought we lost Charlie the Cat too, but he came back after a 5 day stay somewhere else?! Both Niki and I had to make sudden trips back to Sydney for her mum and my dad for health reasons but we're glad that they both turned out OK.

But overall, 2010 has been one of the best years ever and we're very much looking forward to 2011. And whilst I know that I havent been posting as often as I once did, but this blog is still a great record of life and next year in 2011 will be the 8th year of Lime Kettles and I will keep posting.

So thank you readers for still reading and I wish everyone a very Merry Xmas and I hope your New Year will be a great one.

All the best!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Dubai Birthday

Well, it was my birthday last weekend and given that last year I spent my birthday in a plane to Sydney, this year was a much better occasion and I celebrated with Niki and the girls and our Dubai friends at a big "brunch".

My birthday you see fell on Friday, and therefore as its the "done thing" in Dubai, we celebrated with a Friday Brunch.

Brunch is where you pay a fixed price and get to eat and drink (including alcohol) as much as you like.  It's definately an occasion to leave the car at home and take a taxi!  All hotels in Dubai offer a Friday Brunch and you can generally find one that meets your price range and you can also take a "non-alcohol" choice as well which reduces the cost of course.  Kids are also offered a discounted price and kids typically under 4 eat and drink free.

This all stems from the Arabic custom of having a Friday meal together with family (much like the Sunday Roast in western cultures) and 90% of all Brunches are buffets.

We went to one of our favourites - Beachcombers at Jumeriah Beach Hotel - in which the food is Thai / Malaysian and we pretty much ate from midday to sunset all the satay sticks, fried rice, roti bread and prawn dumplings you could poke a stick at with an endless supply of Tiger Beer.

Cost was 285 Dirhams a head for full alcohol brunch, 185 for non-alcohol and a token amount for kids.  We had 24 people, of which 3 were kids, 2 were non-paying babies and the rest were adults and it came to about 4500 dirhams.  Now to convert to Aussie Dollars, divide by 3.6 approximately which is about $1,250.  Where else can you feed 24 people for 4 hours with unlimited alcohol in a 5 star location for $50 a head!!

Now my head was a bit fuzzy at the time, but the bill did count how many bottles of Tiger we did order and the final total was 59 beers.  That was from about 6-7 beer drinkers, so we did pretty good!

I tells ya dear readers in Sydney, Dubai is a great place to visit and a great place to celebrate your birthday!!