Saturday, December 31, 2005

Update: New Year's Eve

Camping trip has been cancelled. Alternative plan has been hatched. Will tell you more about it tomorrow.
Happy New Year everyone!

The weather

Usually the weather is not a hot topic of conversation in the UAE (no pun intended). We have 2 seasons: hot and scorching hot. But all we've been talking about for the past 2 days has been the weather. Why? Because our new year's eve plans are at the mercy of the weather.

See, we've planned a camping trip on Bahrani island, around 20 minutes away from Abu Dhabi by boat. We've called the met office yesterday and today, and the outlook is not so great. Whenever we ask them whether it is OK to take the boat out, they say "no, no good". It seems the winds are too strong and the waves are too high.

We went camping for New Year's last year as well. It was a fun experience (my first camping trip ever), we were around 35 people, and there was another group of around 40 people on the same island...We had a blast. And it's amazing to wake up the next morning, and have a view of the beautiful blue sea in front of you.

Today's camping trip however is still surrounded by uncertainety. Will we be able to go? What happens if we don't go? What's plan B? What do we do with all the meat and chicken we got for the barbecue? And the 4 disposable barbecues? And the hummus and baba ghanouj? And the chips and drinks?

Friday, December 30, 2005

1000 hits!

Yaaaaay, I've finally achieved 1000 hits on my blog counter...My goal was to achieve this before the new year, and it has happened!

More good news today: an excerpt from my blog was published in Emirates Today. Every Friday they publish a few snippets from UAE blogs, and today my blog was amongst those snippets! They took a few lines from the post where I talk about television schedules here. If you click on "page 4" you can see it (make sure it is today's date, i.e. Friday, December 30th).

Thursday, December 29, 2005

New year, new look

You might have noticed that my blog's look has changed....I've decided that since a new year is ahead, might as well give my blog a new look...

Aaaah, who am I kidding? I was actually just messing around with this AdSense thing which allows Google to place some ads on your blog and you get paid or something like that. Anyway, for some reason the ads always showed up on top of my blog, right above my first post. I tried to delete the code from the template and it kinda messed up my blog. So I decided to give my blog a new look alltogether to solve the problem (and I've decided to give up on AdSense).

In the process of changing looks, I lost my counter for a while, but I managed to get it back! I am at 977 hits right now and I am waiting impatiently for it to go up to 1000...C'mon people, keep visiting!

Wednesday, December 28, 2005


I still don't understand TV schedules in this country, and I don't think I ever will.

First of all, we are always 1-2 years behind when it comes to new shows, if not more. For example, Showtime has just gotten Desperate Housewives and Lost, shows that have debuted over a year ago in the US. We are also a few years behind on older series, like ER for example. Some channels still air shows that stopped being produced ages ago, such as Seinfeld, Friends, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the Cosby Show (yes, the old one, where he was Dr Huxtable!), Beverly Hills 90201, Melrose Place and Joe Millionnaire (both editions of that stupid show!)

We get shows that are just moderately successful in the US, or even shows that were cancelled after just a season or so, such as I'm with her. Some shows I've never even heard of, like American Princess (or something along those lines).

There also does not seem to be a structure when it comes to scheduling these shows, i.e. no "daytime, primetime, late-night" concept here. Comedies, usually aired during primetime in the US, are aired in the afternoon here. Oprah and Dr Phil on the other hand, air at 9-10 PM, whereas they are considered daytime shows in North America. I am not so sure what airs during the day as I am never watching TV during daytime.

Shows don't end on the hour, or on the half hour (depends on the channel of course, but I still get confused). For example, some shows end at 8:45, then the channel airs some stupid "time-fillers" like the latest box-office movies (usually the same "time-fillers" are aired several times a day/week), or endless boring ads. Shows don't necessarily start on the hour (or half hour). Sometimes, Oprah starts at 9:55...sometimes it's at 10:05PM...go figure!

I still don't know when seasons start and seasons end....Is there a summer hiatus here, where re-runs are usually shown?

There also does not seem to be exclusivity when it comes to which channel airs which show. So, for example, MBC4 and One both air Friends...except both channels are not airing the same season, adding to the whole confusion!

And don't even get me started about movies aired on TV: usually it's the same movies being shown over, and over again (depends on the channel of course, some are better than others), and some channels show movies I've never heard of before in my life!

Is anyone else confused by all this? Is there some sort of a system I am not aware of when it comes to which shows air when and on what channel? Please, help me out!

Monday, December 26, 2005

Refund please!

One of the many things I miss about Montreal is the refund and exchange policies of stores and service providers.

Here are a few examples of how the customer is not always king in this part of the world:

Example 1:
My sister wanted to buy her friend an IPod Nano for Christmas. They had run out of them in all the Abu Dhabi stores, so she called the Apple store in Dubai and they told her they had the 2GB ones available, but no 4GB Nanos, but that they were getting a new shipment next week.
My sister wanted to buy her friend the 2GB, just so her friend could have some sort of a gift under the tree come Christmas day. She would then ask the friend not to open the box so that they could exchange it for the 4GB Nano when they arrived. Thank goodness she checked their refund/exchange policy because it seems there is no such thing as returning an item that is bought, even if unopened.

Example 2:
I bought my dad some shoes from Aldo for Christmas, which turned out to be too long, so we decided to exchange them for another style. There is no refund policy at Aldo, only exchanges or gift vouchers (which is really weird because in Montreal, they refund you a full thirty days after you bought the shoes! And Aldo is a Canadian store....why the discrepancy in refund policies?). Anyway, we ended up finding new shoes, which were cheaper than the first ones I bought. They could not refund me the balance, so I asked for a gft voucher. They could only give me a 50 dhs gift voucher (I needed 70 dhs back), because it seems they only have 50 dhs denominations for gift vouchers!! So we decided to buy my brother a belt, because he needed one anyway. I have returned worn shoes in Montreal, because the strap or something else broke! I have even gone back to store 2 weeks after purchasing an item, and gotten a discount because the item had gone on sale just a few days after I bought it.

Example 3:
When I moved here, I had to subscribe to a TV service provider. I had the choice between Orbit and Showtime. Not knowing which one was the better option, I went with Orbit. A few months later, I wanted to change to Showtime (because they get better shows), so I called Sahm/DIC, who informed me that I had to pay Dhs500 in order to change before my yearlong contract with Orbit is up...So I said no thank you, I will live through a few more months of Orbit until my contract is up! Why should I be penalized because I mistakenly chose the wrong service provider?

There are many more examples of un-friendly customer "service". Haven't stores realised that offering their customers better refund/exchange policies will give them an edge vis a vis their competitors? And that this may just help boost their sales? And improve their brand image? And make customers come back to their store more often? Whatever happened to "the customer is always right"?

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone!
Here's a funny one:

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Christmas eve

As expected, this morning was a busy last-minute shopping kind of day. Woke up early, had a nice breakfast, then went shopping at Marina mall trying to find all my last-minute gifts. Fortunately I had already decided what to buy everyone, so it was just a matter of finding those items. I was home two hours later.

After lunch, we wrapped the gifts, placed them all under the tree, then I decided to go wash my car because it was filthy, especially after the Dubai-Abu Dhabi drive yesterday. For some reason, there are always birds who decide that my car is the one that deserves to be showered with exploding diarrhea (my brother's expression...can't take credit for it!), and there are always insects who believe that they will be able to fly through my windshield, and end up dying an unexpected and messy death (SPLAT!).

Now I need to rush to my manicure-pedicure appointment (what a dreadful life I lead...I know!).
And tonight we are having a yummy fajita dinner, courtesy of my sister (it's the only meal she knows how to cook!).

What about you bloggers/blog-readers out there? Any plans for Christmas Eve?

Friday, December 23, 2005

Curiosity killed the cat

I got to Abu Dhabi this morning, and saw a bunch of Christmas gifts under our tree....My "DVD-sized" gift is actually 2 huge boxes (the 2 biggest boxes under the tree!). My sister lied to me, of course, in an effort to confuse me about what I am really getting for Christmas. Well, I am still confused! What could it be? Probably something for my apartment, but what?

Plus, my sister got me another smaller gift, that looks like it could be a pashmina, but I don't think it is, because she got me one for my birthday, so I doubt she would get me another one for Christmas!

I'll just have to wait till Christmas morning to find out...The curiosity is killing me!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Vacation's finally vacation time! I am so happy! A whole 10 days off! Yaaaaaaaaay!

I have a long day of shopping ahead on Saturday however...of course, I leave everything to the last minute! I still haven't decided on what I am buying for everyone. I am hoping that while I am browsing through the stores at the mall, something will call my name out and say "BUY ME!". We have decided to go all out on the gift-giving this year. Usually it's a non-gift giving Christmas in our family (except for money from my dad), but this year we are all buying each other gifts. It's the first year we are all employed and earning money (my sis and bro did not work last year...Now, they are finally in the money-making league).

My sister told me they got me my gift yesterday, but I have no idea what it is! I am so curious! She said it's the size of a DVD, and despite numerous guesses, I could not figure it out (she would not tell me anyway, I am sure). Well, I'm not telling her what I am getting her either! Ha!

I leave you with a cute Christmassy link:

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Big Brother is Watching

According to 6Days, the UAE government is planning to compile a database of DNA samples from all its residents, nationals and expats. Saliva samples would be taken when one applies for their "unified national identification card" (what the hell is that? Do I even have one of those?).

So what next? Does the government want to implant a tracking device in my arm to follow my every move? I am sorry but I don't understand why the government needs a sample of my DNA? Apparently it's to help police solve crimes but how do I know that my DNA information will not be misused? Are there any privacy laws in the UAE?

Isn't it enough that I have to give practically everyone I meet a copy of my passport? And 12 passport-sized pictures? And a copy of my driver's license? And a letter stating my salary? And a copy of my father's passport? And a blood sample? And my mobile number?

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Did everybody leave?

The traffic has been abnormally pleasant in the past couple of days, it took me 10 minutes to get to work yesterday and today. On the other hand, Sunday was just horrendous, the usual 20 minutes stretched into 40 because of some road construction. What happened overnight? Some people at work are saying it's because so many people left on vacation...Did everyone leave on Sunday night? Was there a mass exodus of expats going back to their respective countries to spend the holidays?

Don't get me wrong! I could not be more thrilled! I just love getting to work early in the morning (not that early...anyone who knows me well knows that I am not a morning person)...anyway, I like getting to work around 15-20 minutes before everyone else. I prepare myself a nice cup of coffee (I have switched to instant coffee here, instead of my regular cappucino, for lack of a good coffee shop nearby), flip through the newspapers quickly, read my e-mails and send a few as well. I really enjoy that quiet time I get in the morning, because it's pretty much the only quiet time I get during the day (unless I stay past 7PM, which happens quite often).

When I first moved here, I had a hard time concentrating with all the noise: people calling each other across the office, music blasting, people talking on the phone, people watching ads on their screens, mobiles ringing...It's like a zoo sometimes! Now I kinda got used to it. It's such a vibrant atmosphere...Keeps you motivated, alert and excited.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Tu pableo Espanol?

I was browing though 6Days today and came across an article about how people who are well-educated and who have high status jobs have a better likelihood of not going cuckoo later in life.
The article included many tips on how to make sure your brain does not rust as you grow older, by always challenging yourself and keeping your mind busy.

One of the suggestions is to learn another language, and the headline of that subsection in the article was "Tu pableo Espanol". Huh? What language is that exactly? If I am not mistaken (and I know that I am not) the proper way of asking someone if they speak Spanish in Spanish is "¿Habla espaƱol?". I don't even think "pableo" exists in Spanish.

The quality of journalism in this country is abysmal. I always find mistakes in newspapers and magazines. Not just small mistakes...flagrant ones! Haven't publications in the UAE realised that there's a thing called proofreading??? I am not a journalist, but I do have some basic knowledge about how newpapers and magazines work (I am, after all, the sister of the best journalist in the UAE...and I did work in the publishing industry for over a year), and I believe that any publication that wants to be respected should:

1) Have journalists proofread their own work
2) Have all articles proofread by the editor
3) Have a proofreader/fact checker go through the article

Makes sense no? And another piece of advice to all "journalists" out there. If you're not sure about an expression or a word, then don't use it! Find an alternative!

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Topless Greens

I was browsing through today's paper and found this article:

Outrage in the Greens at topless bathing

Three women sparked outrage in a Dubai residential community yesterday when they stripped off their bikini tops to sunbathe.
The trio, who also took turns jumping in the water, eventually covered up and left when a man who was at the pool with his two children told them they were acting totally inappropriately.

A number of people living in The Greens complained that women were exposing them selves next to a swimming pool in the early afternoon.

Last night a spokesperson for Emaar, which runs the management of The Greens, told Emirates Today such behaviour would not be tolerated. It said complaints of topless sunbathing would be investigated and urged residents to report such incidents.
By the time Emaar was made aware of what was happening the women had left, but the company says that if it receives complaints it will speak to those involved.

“Handbooks are given to all residents with a code of conduct and it has a section on appropriate behaviour,” the spokesperson said. “Topless bathing is not appropriate. We would tell residents to behave in a way that is acceptable in the UAE.

“They have to respect the country and culture. If residents need to make a complaint of this nature they can be assured that we will try and speak to the people involved. There are signs at the swimming pools about suitable swimwear and not having a top on is not suitable.” One resident at the pool where the women were said: “They were treating it like the Costa Del Sol.

A lot of people were tutting when they took off their tops but they just giggled and started jumping in the pool.” After the father with two children told them they were acting inappropriate, they left.


I may sound a little unpolititcally correct here, but I just cannot stand expats who come here and do things that go against the values and traditions of this country. It is such a blatant lack of respect to Emiratis and other law-abiding citizens!

Think of it this way, if you were a guest at someone's house, would you act in a way that would offend that guest? If you're a normal human being, then my guess is, probably not. Why should it be any different with expats living in the UAE?

Come on! Topless sunbathing in a residential community? What were these women thinking? I bet you they would not even do something like that in their own country...It's like women who walk around wearing a string bikini on the beach...another big no-no in my opinion (unless you're in St Tropez or Brasil and have Elle McPherson's body)

We are blessed with having a very privileged life here in the UAE. We are relativelly well paid, the weather is amazing, we have nice places to go to, we can walk around pretty much anywhere safely, and the dress code is rather lenient compared to some of our neighbouring countries...So let's not take things to an extreme by pushing the boundaries of this country's morals and values. Let's appreciate what we have... and let's respect our hosts who graciously let us live in their country.

Thursday, December 15, 2005


The week has ended! I have had such rough work weeks lately, I look forward to my weekends more than ever before! And now I am looking foward to taking a few days off between X-Mas and New Year, just to relax, go to the beach, read books, watch TV, and basically be a lazy bum. I hope I'll be able to take them off, and that I won't have to go to work in between. We have a huge campaign launch in the 2nd week of January, and I am sure some last-minute fires will need to be extinguished. Oh well, I'll cross that bridge when I get to it.

Not much to write about tonight. I'll try to be more interesting in my next post...promise :)

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Nights out

I have had a couple of busy nights for a change. We went out for a team drink last night at Bahri Bar in Mina Salam. It's places like this that make you think "ok, Dubai is really a cool place". It's just a chill place, with a magnificent view of the Burj el Arab, and the man-made lake/pond. Here are some pics I found.

Tonight I watched an outdoor movie called Bosta (The Bus), one of the movies playing during the Dubai International Film Festival. This is the second year the festival is running. It was lots of fun. A huge screen is set up in the middle of Media City (a 3 minute walk from my office), and hundreds of bean bags are made available for people to sit on the grass. It reminded me of the Jazz and Film festivals in Monty.
The movie was also a pleasant surprise. It's a Lebanese movie revolving around a dabkeh dancing troupe trying to set itself apart by modernising the traditional dance. It also follows the story of Kamal, the troupe's choreographer and music producer who just returned to Lebanon after a 15-year absence to reunite his old dance troupe.
The actors were excellent, the music was good, and the cool part is some of the actors and the director of the movie were actually there watching the movie as well! Actually I am quite impressed that the Film Festival has attracted so many celebrities...Some of the attendants include Morgan Freeman (it's the second year he attends), Bob Geldof, Dylan McDermott, and many Arab celebrities including Egyptian actor Adel Imam.
One thing I am still not impressed with is my bank... After switching from my savings to my payroll account, I had forgotten to advise my company that my savings account is now closed. My salary got transferred to my old account, but the company did not get any note advising them that the account was closed (it's the middle of the month already!). So I call the bank to try to find out why my company has not been advised yet because they can't pay me unless they make sure the money has bounced back. I called the 1-800 number, they tell me to call the branch in Abu Dhabi (which is where I opened my account). I talk to the first person who tells me "Can you call back in 10 minutes I am opening an account". Excuse me???? Is she serious??? I say "umm, no, can you transfer me to someone else? So she says "Ok tell me what you need", I explain to her, she transfers me to another person, and then I get disconnected.
I call again, speak to another person who was not very pleasant to speak to. She sa ys "OK hold on" and tansfers me to yet another person, and I have to repeat my story for the 5th time in 5 minutes. The woman tells me I need to check with my company where the money wasdeposited, and what the cheque number was, and a whole bunch of stuff I did not want to know about really...Finally I tell her "listen, just speak to HR and figure it out between yourselves". They spoke, and 6 hours later, my money was found (hurrah!) and it will be transferred into my new account soon.
It seems banks in the UAE are really lagging when it comes to customer service. It's time something is done about this, and fast! I dread the next call I need to make to my bank!

Monday, December 12, 2005

Find the band

This is a cool picture. There are 72 bands in picture format. Try to name them all. Post your answers in the comments section if you wish. Here are the first two to help you out:

1) Guns n Roses
2) Smashing Pumpkins

Some are more obvious than others. I have not found them all yet....(you might need to zoom in to see some of them so if you want me to send you a JPEG, just e-mail me)

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Perfect day pictures

Here are some pictures from our Perfect Day on the beach

Merry Christmas!

I know I know...I am 14 days early...But I am finally beginning to feel the Christmas spirit around here. For the past 10 years, I had been immersed in the Christmassy vibe starting November 1st, which is when Montreal is all lit up with Christmas lights, shimmering with Christmas decorations, and when all you can hear in stores and malls is Christmas carols. I was also anticipating my Christmas vacation, where I'd fly back to the Emirates to spend a very Christmassy holiday on the beach.

Oh how things change in a year. Now that I've moved back to the Emirates, I am finding it hard to feel that warm Christmas spirit. No snow, no decorations (or barely any, I have not been to any malls lately although I hear some are decorated), no Christmas carols.

But we did finally get our Christmas tree in Abu Dhabi. And it's beautiful. It was my first time decorating our family tree in 10 years, and it was lots of fun. We did run into some trouble, but the result was well worth the effort.

About a month ago, my dad and I were in Ikea looking for a magazine tray for my sister, and we ended up buying half the Christmas decorations in the store! See, my dad decided that it was high time we got new decorations for our tree, and that we stick to one color: red. I agreed (I don't need convincing when it comes to buying new decorations!), and we ended buying everything from little red Santas, to shimmering stars.

The only problem was, we did not buy enough lights (we find this out yesterday of course). So my brother reluctantly volunteered to get us some extra ones. One glitch though: Ikea had run out of lights. But, he managed to find some nice lights in Carrefour. Great.

Well, not that great. He got home, and we find out that these were lights that were meant to be used outdoor (400 lights!!!). It took us about an hour to untangle them, and then another hour to figure out what the best way to install them on the tree would be. Finally, after a team effort, we managed to get all the lights on, and all the decorations on, and like I said, the results are stunning.

Oh, I almost forgot...I finally got my credit card today! Yaaaaaaaaay....I'll consider this an early Christmas gift from my bank, given that it's been almost 3 months I initiated the process of applying for a credit card. And now it's finally here! I must throw a party to celebrate!

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Another day...

...another accident. A man died in an accident involving 3 other cars on Sheikh Zayed Road in Dubai (SZR) and his friend (the driver) is fighting for his life. SZR is the most dangerous road in Dubai: a recent survey showed that in the first 7 months of the year, 127 people were killed on the roads of Dubai (that's an average of 18 deaths a month), with 877 accidents overall. I do not have any comparative data, but that sounds huge to me!

In related news, Dubai's transport authority wants to introduce road tolls to reduce traffic congestion. Maybe this will help ease the traffic, but many other measures need to be implemented to help eradicate this problem:

1) Build more roads. In a city where a new building is erected every day, there should also be new roads being built every day. More buildings = more people = more cars = more roads. Logical, isn't it?

2) Implement tougher traffic laws: where are the cops? Why aren't they on the roads arresting dangerous drivers? Why aren't they revoking the licenses of repeat offenders?

3) Make it harder to get driver's licenses. I am not sure about this, but it seems like driver's licenses are handed out too easily to anyone who can turn the ignition of a car on.

4) Encourage carpooling, introduce a carpooling lane on highways...By encouraging people to share cars, this will cut down on the number of cars on the roads

5) Introduce a clean, safe, reliable public transport system. If there was a metro that took me straight to Media City, then I would gladly leave my car at home.

6) Change the road setup...One highway in the middle of the city is simply not smart....Highways should be built around cities, not in the middle of them!

7) Eliminate all those heavy duty trucks during rush hour. They really slow down traffic...I know they need to get around somehow, but maybe at least eliminate them during rush hour!

I can't think of anything else right now...Any other suggestions are welcome. Any thoughts?

Friday, December 09, 2005

Perfect day

It's my sister's birthday today (Happy Birthday Abu Dhabi Sunshine!). We organised a small boat trip (9 people and a dog) to an island nearby to mark the occasion, and it was just perfect.

We got there early (10AM), had some manakeesh for breakfast, swam, chilled, listened to music, read, played frisbee, had amazing barbeque for lunch, lots of beer, some really good watermelon, amazing weather and a beautiful sunset.

It's days like this that make me love this country...What more can one ask for?

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Can you live without it?

An article in today's paper discusses the results of an 8-country survey concerning mobile phone use, and it seems UAE residents are attached to their cell phones by the hip. Out of the 8 countries surveyed (Britain, Spain, South Africa, Russia, Italy, Germany and France), UAE residents claimed they would have the most trouble living without their phone, and their bills were the highest with an average of Dhs 380 per month (more than $100 Canadian).

I manage to only pay around 60 Dhs per month (less than $20 Canadian) thankfully. I call everyone from a land line, and only use my cell phone for emergencies and text messaging. I also buy those prepaid cards which makes me spend less time on my phone cause I'm always afraid of running out of credit.

I must admit that when I first moved back here, I was suprised at how indispensable cell phones are. People carry them around everywhere! My first "culture shock" moment here was when I attended a meeting with clients, and phones were ringing here and there...people send text messages during meetings and even take calls (they whisper but they still take the call). This was quite shocking to me, coming from a place where no one takes their phone into a meeting, and where cell phones are only for personal use.

My clients all have my cell phone number meaning I can almost never avoid talking to them by pretending I am not at my desk. I actually get upset at the fact that my clients sometimes call my cell phone before calling my land line...if I am not at my desk it means that I am probably busy doing something else somewhere else! What's also annoying is when clients call during lunchtime...arghhhhhh...please let me eat in peace! I usually do not answer when I take my one-hour break, unless I am expecting an answer to something important.

If someone does not have a cell phone in this country, then they are dubbed as just plain weird. After 7 months in this country, even I was shocked by the fact that this guy at work does not have a cell phone!

In Montreal, cell phone use is more scarce...I did not even have a cell phone there for many years. People there do not rely on their phones as much. I guess Canadians use their phones less because a phone owner has to pay for the call whether he/she is the caller or the receiver of the call, which is not the case here, where only outgoing calls are charged.

All this to say, after a few months here, I no longer find it shocking to have people take calls during meetings (I am guilty of doing this once in a while), I no longer get bothered by all those annoying ringtones, and I no longer find it weird to give my cell phone number to everyone I meet. Now if that's not adaptation, then I don't know what is!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005


I open up my blinds this morning and all I see is a blanket of fog covering the pool and play area in front of my building. You know it's winter in the UAE when it starts fogging up like that in the morning. This morning's temperature was 17 degrees, the lowest I've seen it so far.

I have had a couple of foggy landings in the past few years. I'd be flying back here for Christmas, the plane would first land in Dubai, then continue on to Abu Dhabi...Well, on a couple of occasions, the plane would land in Dubai and stay there. The visibility was too low for it to be able to take off and land again. So we'd have to ride in buses that took us to Abu Dhabi. I would rather have flown there despite the poor visibility. Because the ride to Abu Dhabi was just as dangerous, if not more, with a crazy speeding driver almost driving into a wall!

Anyway, here are a couple of pictures a colleague took from his building on Sheikh Zayed Road. They look pretty cool!


Monday, December 05, 2005

What women do....

Have you ever thought of the amount of time we women spend taking care of ourselves, making sure we look presentable every day? I mean think of it. There's the manicures and pedicures (takes up an hour and half every two weeks or so), the haircuts (an hour and a half every 3 months), the haircut with the highlights (3-4 hours every 6 months), the makeup (10 minutes on a regular day, 20 minutes to half an hour for a special occasion), the blow-drying of the hair (10-15 minutes every day in my case), the hair removal (can take anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour depending on the preferred method of hair removal), the facials (an hour and a half every 3 months), the massages (an hour every 2 weeks), the spray-on tan or the self-tanner (an hour every week...does not apply to UAE residents who get the sun 360 days a year), the removal of the makeup and face cleansing (10-15 minutes every day), the moisturising of the skin (5-10 minutes every day)...

...and it goes on...

And what do men do to take care of themselves? Take a shower? Maaaaaaaaaaybe put some gel in their hair before they run their fingers through it? Oh, there's also the clipping of the toenails once in a while...And when the man turns 50, he just might decide to trim the hair in his nose and ears. That's pretty much it.

Think of all the useful things we could do in the time we waste making sure we look good! And what I want to know is, who decided that women have to make sure they do not have a single hair on their bodies other than on their head? Why couldn't it be the other way round?

It's so unfair.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

What a day!

Today was the craziest day I've had in a while. All I know is I woke up at 7:45 AM, and next thing I know, I look at my watch and it's 5:30PM!

It was supposed to be much more relaxed given that my clients had the day off today, and that I had already caught up on a lot of my work yesterday...but it wasn't. I will desperately need the few days off I have taken between Christmas and New Year's. Although my latest holiday was less than 3 months ago, the past few weeks have been so exhausting in terms of work, I feel like I haven't had time off in a year! I wish I could be lying on a beach in Mexico again.

I could have desperately enjoyed a long weekend. As mentioned in a previous post, the private sector did not get any time off for National Day, whereas the public sector got 3 days off. Some private sector companies did end up getting either Thursday or Sunday off (like my clients for example), but we did not for some reason. The government really should do something about this. It's just not right.

I also hate the fact that we usually only find out at the last minute whether we are getting a day off or not. In Montreal, we used to get a list of holidays at the beginning of the year. So we knew how to plan our long weekends months in advance.

In the UAE, we often find out a couple of days before the actual holiday whether we actually will get some off or not. This is because we need to wait until the government declares how many days off the public sector is getting, and how many the private sector is getting (if any). This is just absolutely frustrating, especially for those who like to take full advantage of their long weekends, by going on a road trip, planning a camping weekend, or going back home to visit their families.

All this to say, I am just frustrated at the lack of regulation when it comes to the time off that we get here. This has been going on for years now (ever since I used to live here more than a decade ago). I have not heard of such a discrepancy in any other country in the world. If the UAE truly wants to live up to the expectation of being a modern country, then it should abolish its old-fashioned regulations and treat all its residents equally.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Death sentence

Today's newspapers talk about 2 criminals that were recently executed. One is a young Australian drug smuggler, who was hanged in Singapore. Apparently he had tried to smuggle 400 grams of heroin from Cambodia to Australia (he was in transit when he was caught in Singapore). 420 people have been executed in Singapore between 1991 and 2004, which is a huge number.

The other story was about America's 1000th execution since 1976, a murderer who killed both his wife and his father-in-law in front of his two children. The story in Emirates Today claims that "Boyd (the murderer) was wheeled into the death chamber, strapped down on a gurney and injected with a fatal mix of three drugs".

I really think the death sentence is barbaric and should be abolished. Many criminals deserve to die of course, especially considering the severity of the crimes they commit, but I don't think it is up to us human beings to decide whether a person gets to live or not. I don't think it's right that we get to decide to kill someone, no matter how guilty that someone is. I don't think it's right that we punish killers by killing them.

I say, let these criminals rot in hell for the rest of their lives in prison. Let them suffer the pain of hard labor. Let them live the rest of their lives knowing that they will not be able to ever leave the confines of their prison. And if they ever get their conscience back, let them live with the weight of their guilt for the rest of their lives. But don't kill them. Don't commit another crime for the sake of punishing the guilty.

Crazy Cruise

We've all read about Tom Cruise's crazy behaviour lately. Here's a short video that makes fun of his appearance on Oprah. It's called Tom Cruise Kills Oprah (this video comes courtesy of my sis and bro who found it):

And if you want to see original footage of his Oprah appearance, here it is:

He's absolutely lost it! I feel bad for Katie!

Friday, December 02, 2005

Indian Mayyahee

Not sure if any of you have seen the original "Mayahee" video on the Web (Click here to watch it) is the Indian rendition:

I still think my brother's version is the best though! I wish I could post it here too, but I don't have it as a link.

Adventures in Sharjah

I was invited to a wedding in Sharjah today. Not just anywhere in was all the way in the end of Sharjah! I went with a friend and by the time we left Dubai, it was 8PM....we ended up getting to Sharjah at around 9:30 (after getting sort of lost once). The traffic was quite bad too, which did not help.

We left at around 11:30, and the traffic on the way to Sharjah (so the opposite direction) was horrendous! Bumper to bumper! What are these people doing out on a Thursday night at 11:30...Granted, it's a weekend, but still... Is all of Sharjah out?

And if it's this bad on a weekend, how bad is it in the middle of the week, during rush hour? Some of my colleagues live in Sharjah and commute to what's considered the beginning of Dubai everyday. How on earth do they do it? I really think that if I had to be stuck in traffic for 4 hours every day, I would kill myself! What's the point of spending 4 hours in a car? I would rather spend more for renting an apartment in Dubai than spending 1/6th of my life in traffic!