Thursday, September 20, 2007

The End.

I have thought long and hard about this. It was not a spur of the moment decision. Anyone who knows me will tell you that I am the most indecisive person on earth, and that I tend to over-analyze things.

Which is why I am very confident about the decision I've taken to officially declare this as my last post on this blog.

I don't know when or how it happened, but I've simply lost all interest in blogging...A bit like falling out of love I guess. The frequency (or lack thereof) of my posts recently must have been indication that I was just not that into it anymore.

Over the past 2 years, 338 posts, and almost 50,000 visitors, I've met a lot of interesting people...some virtually, others in person... I've been able to vent my frustrations, share my surprises...and almost anything else I found to be interesting.

I'm still an avid reader of many blogs and I'll keep reading them...I may decide to come back to share a few tidbits here and there, but my posts definitely won't be regular.

So, this is it...

Thank your for reading me...thank you for commenting...thank you for bearing with my ranting and raving...I'll still be reading any comments that may come through on my previous posts, and I will keep checking my blog e-mail once in a while:

"When you part from your friend, you grieve not;
For that which you love most in him may be clearer in his absence, as the mountain to the climber is clearer from the plain."

The Prophet - Khalil Gibran

Friday, August 17, 2007

Occupation 101

This documentary is a must-see.

It discusses the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, starting with the rise of zionism, all the way up to the current situation in the Gaza strip and the West Bank. And it's definitely an eye-opener when it comes to the amount of money the US dedicates to the support of Israel.

Special thanks to my sis for sending me the link to this.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Random thoughts....

I know I've probably discussed this subject to death, but I still don't understand this whole public holidays system here.

Israa wal Mi3raj is today. Some of our clients had the day off yesterday. Some will have the day off on Sunday. The government sector will not have any days off apparently, so it's weird in this case that the private sector has been given some days off. My company has not given us any days off, which sucks! I could have really used a long weekend!

On another note, I keep getting this message on my cell phone from "HHIE Survey" which says the following:

Determining the minimum wage limit and securing a satisfactory standard of living are major goals of the Expenditure and Income Survey.

Okay.....Umm...3 things:
1) What does that mean?
2) What am I supposed to do with this message
and 3) Why have I received this SAME message over 5 times now?

And finally, my vacation is now 14 days away. I can't WAIT! I can't wait to be away from Dubai and Abu Dhabi, I can't wait to be away from the heat, and I can't wait to be away from work.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Finally figured it out!

I finally figured out how to add links to my posts again....It was simply a question of changing browsers...I was using Safari, and I've now switched to Firefox, and that seems to have solved the problem. Woohoo!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


I'm at home...Took the day off today. I've been battling a stupid cold for the past couple of days now. It started over the weekend and just kept getting worse. And although I am not dying and could technically have gone to work today, I decided to take the day off and rest a bit.

I could so get used to this!

I'm still checking my work e-mail once in a while to make sure there are no major disasters, but I also have the TV on, I'm logged into Facebook and I am browsing some blogs...And I've just rented a movie which I plan to start very soon.

I don't usually take sick days. As a matter of fact, over the past 2 and a half years here in Dubai, I've only taken one other sick day. I always feel bad taking days off because that means dumping work on other people, and it also means that a lot of work gets put on hold because I'm not there to move things along...

But this morning, as I woke up feeling like crap, and feeling like I needed another 3 hours of sleep (which I ended up having by the way), I decided that it would not be the end of the world if I took the day off, and that I am not indispensable at work, and that companies have sick day policies for a reason, and that sick days are meant to be taken when someone is sick, and that I don't have to be dying in order to take advantage of a sick day, and that I really needed to rest in order to be able to get rid of this damn cold because I don't want to be stuck at home this weekend.

Okay...better go start that movie now...:)

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

OK...really, I'm still here...

Yeah it's been a while. It seems like every single one of my posts lately starts with "I know I've been gone for a while", or "I've neglected this blog" or "It's been too long since my last post". But I'm here....

And no, I don't have an excuse for not posting. I've just been...distracted lately. Work is busy as ever, but I just don't have the energy anymore...I feel like I'm kinda neglecting work lately. But I'll attribute that to some internal changes at the office, and to the fact that I am just drained. Right now, the only thing that's keeping me going is my holiday, which is happening exactly a month from now. Woohoo!

I've been reading a bit more, which is a good thing. Spending more time with friends, which is also a good thing.

I've watched a couple of interesting movies, one of which is Fast Food Nation, which, once you watch it, will turn you off fast food for good! (I still can't figure out how to add links to my posts using a Mac...!!!)

Anyway, I haven't had a burger since I watched that movie. Really. The movie is loosely based on a book by Eric Schlosser. It features Greg Kinnear, Wilmer Valderrama (Fez from That 70's show) and Bruce Willis among others, and follows the investigation of the marketing manager of a ficticious fast food chain, trying to pinpoint why traces of feces were recently found in their burgers. In parallel, we follow another story of Mexican immigrants entering the US illegally to work and make a better living...and how they get exploited by the managers of a meat packing company producing meat for the ficticious burger chain.

Directed by Richard Linklater who also directed Before Sunrise and Before Sunset, the movie was so graphic at some points that I simply could not watch...and I still wonder how he got the footage in the meat packing plant.

Otherwise, I've also been watching Planet Earth, a documentary narrated by Sir David Attenborough. It's one of the best documentaries I've ever seen in my life. The footage that was captured is simply breathtaking, and makes you discover places and species you would never even knew existed otherwise (an American version narrated by Sigourney Weaver also exists). Words can't really do justice to this one-of-a-kind documentary...its definitey a must-see for everyone and anyone, and it'll make you fall in love with our planet.

OK..I'll leave some stuff for the next post....:) I'll be back soon....

Saturday, July 14, 2007


How does one add links to posts using a Mac? 

I've recently become the proud owner of a Mac after the sad demise of my old laptop. So far so good, but I can't figure out the link thing (CTRL+SHIFT+A doesn't work with Mac). So I'm asking for the help of other Mac users out there....Any tips?

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

My Salik day

I woke up this morning dreading the traffic on my way to work. I debated whether I should take an alternate route through the Lakes. It's a longer road but would probably take less time and cause less stress.

But as I got out of my underground parking, I quickly scanned the roads and noticed that there did not seem to be any unusual traffic activity. So I opted to take my usual route, and got to work in 10 minutes. Weird.

The drive home was not bad at all either. I left work at 7:30PM and got home around 15 minutes later. I decided to go buy my Salik tag since I have to cross the Barsha toll gate tomorrow for a client meeting...and it was about time I got it anyway. I can't ignore Salik much longer.

So I head to the Eppco station next to my house, and they tell me that they do not have any tags left. Apparently they've been asking for new tags for a few days now, but they haven't received any.

Fine. So I head to another Eppco station across the road, and they do not have any either. Great!

I decide to drive down the beach road, in search of the next petrol station. I find another small Eppco station, and I'm convinced that they do not have any Salik tags. But they do. Success! Or so I thought. They needed a copy of my car registration card, which I had (for once, I had done my homework!). But apparently they needed a photocopy of the front AND back. Crappola! They do not have a photocopy machine, so I decide to u-turn to try the station across the street.

There were two stations on the other side of the street. The first one had Salik tags but no photocopy machine. The second one has tags AND a photocopy machine. Five petrol stations later, my quest for Salik was finally succesful! And you know what? They did not need a copy of the back of my registration card...

Monday, July 02, 2007

I'm worried...

I've been out of the country for a few days and came back today to news of Salik disasters from many friends and colleagues.

Having driven straight from Abu Dhabi to work this morning, I did not really experience the wrath of Salik. But apparently, the past couple of days have been disastrous for people leaving the Greens to get to anywhere! Just as I had predicted, the Greens exit being the last free exit before the Barsha toll gate, it's now become the place where traffic chaos reigns. A colleague told me it took her 50 minutes to get to Media City from the Greens yesterday.

Apparently, al Sufouh road, which was a blessing (because it took me between 7-10 minutes to get to work) has now become a scene of bumper-to-bumper mess.

The way home is not any better, with al Sufouh jam-packed again. I got my own taste of the Salik medicine this evening. I left work at 7:20 from Media City, and got home around 25 minutes later. Not so bad, some of you may think...well, it used to take me 10 minutes pre-Salik, and I would never ever get stuck in traffic on al Sufouh past 7PM.

I would like to take a minute to thank Emirates News on Dubai One, for providing me with a good 10 minutes of comic relief this evening. According to them, life is rosy again in Dubai thanks to Salik. The only news they reported was that it took people half the time to get from Sharjah into Dubai, and that Sheikh Zayed road was clear most of the day today. They also interviewed a few people who did nothing but praise the arrival of Salik. that really the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth? I doubt.

Incidentally, Emirates News is now at 8:30PM instead of 7:30PM. Is it because they wanted to give people more time to get home from work now that Salik is in place?

Monday, June 25, 2007

Same old feeling

I was going through my posts from last year, and came across this one, which I wrote almost a year ago. It's amazing because I feel almost the same way now as I did a year ago.

The common denominator? Work! Too much work...And not enough energy to do it. I feel drained. And again, I'm in dire need of a holiday...Yes, I am leaving in a couple of days, but it's mostly work, and just a couple of real days off...But really, I'm dreading it more than anything. The last thing I want now is to get on a plane. With my clients!

All I want to do is take the battery our of my cell phone, disconnect my Internet, and curl up on my couch with a couple of DVD's and a good book.

And then maybe I'd decide to venture off to my pool for a couple of hours of suntanning... Then, I'd pop in for a quick, relaxing yoga class... Or a massage... mmm...sounds good...

Instead, I'm already dreading my return to work next week.... Help! Positive vibes needed again! Seriously.

Friday, June 22, 2007


I was reading today's Gulf News, and came across the section where they ask people to give their opinion about a specific topic. Today's topic: Things to do this summer, and the statement was "Parents should allow their children 18 years or older to travel on budget holidays".

Two our of the four people interviewed said that "18 is too young for children to travel alone" and that "25 or above is a good age because then they are adults".

WHAT?? That's a bunch of crap if you ask me...and that's the reason why some young men and women are irresponsible and immature.

At 18, (well, at 17 actually), I was off to university. I lived on my own in a foreign country where I knew practically no one. Yes, it was difficult, but in hindsight, I am happy I got to live through such an experience. It made me stronger. It made me more confident. It made me responsible.

Before that,I lived in the UAE, where, like many children, I led a pampered life, with no chores, no worries...nothing to do.

In the span of a long flight across the world, I was transported to a city where I had my own apartment which I now had to clean myself. I had to make my own bed. I had to learn how to use an ATM machine. I had to buy my own groceries. I had to do my own laundry and my dishes. I had to call the utilities company to get my phone set up. All these were things I had taken for granted.

So, in response to those parents who won't let their kids travel before the age of 25, I ask: why not? Let them learn, let them experience things, let them build their personalities, let them be responsible, let them grow. Don't think that you're protecting your children by smothering them.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Yeah yeah....

I haven't been posting much lately....I know...

Blogging is like exercising... (except much less tiring!). Once you stop for a few days, it's hard to get back into it. Plus, nothing interesting is happening in my life. Here are some random thoughts cause I'm too tired to organize them into a post that makes sense:

  • I am overworked again. It's become a yearly thing: summers are busy...

  • As a result, I'm tired. Physically, mentally, emotionally....Just tired...I need a break!

  • A mini-break is coming up next week. Not really a break, because part of it involves work, the other part will be pleasure, but most of it will be spent on various planes. Hmm...I'm gonna need a break after mini-break!

  • I need sleep! Unfotunately, I'm not one of those people who can sleep easily on planes...So forget about catching up on sleep on my various plane trips.

  • It's officially summer today...But it's been hot here for around 2 months's really bad. Is this year worse than last year? Or is it just me forgetting how hot it was last year?

OK that's all I can come up with tonight...My brain is mush....I promise that my next post will be more interesting...

Friday, June 15, 2007

Salik...or not salik?

Everyone's been talking about this Salik thing. And although I know it's coming, I haven't been too concerned by it...until now.

As I was driving from Jebel Ali to Dubai yesterday, I noticed the new signs that warn you where the next toll payment zone is, and where the last free exit is. Incidentally, I noticed that the last free exit before Salik charges you is the exit to my apartment. GREAT! So can I expect never ending traffic jams in a couple of weeks from now?

Anyway, since everyone seems to have an opinion about Salik, here's mine (nothing new I'm warning's pretty similar to everyone else's opinion).

  • This whole Salik thing seems like a ploy from the government to make more money off the residents of Dubai.
  • I have a feeling it's going to backfire, and will end up causing more harm than good. But of course, the government won't do anything about it.
  • The way I see it, Salik will just be taking the traffic away from one road, and putting it on another... I can just see it now: Jumeirah Beach Road and Emirates Road all clogged with bumper to bumper car.
  • Why don't they just implement Salik during rush hour? Why should I pay a toll charge when I am driving down Sheikh Zayed at 9PM on a weeknight...or at 11AM on a Friday morning? Sheikh Zayed is never busy at those times, so why take money from me?
  • What happens to people who live in Abu Dhabi for example, and who only go to Dubai once or twice a month? Do they have to buy a toll-tag as well?
  • Why do I have to pay twice: as I enter the toll zone, and as I exit it? And if I do 2 trips a day, does it mean that I have to pay 16 dhs a day?
  • If Dubai had a alternate means of transportation, I'd understand the whole toll thing to encourage people to use public transport. But right now, there's no metro, and the bus system is just crappy. And taxis will charge you toll rates anyway.
  • Are companies going to help employees now that there's an additional cost to living in Dubai?
I dunno...I'm just really skeptical about this whole toll thing. Has anyone bought their toll tags yet? Is there anyone out there (other than the RTA) who thinks that this is a good thing?

Friday, June 08, 2007

How are they supposed to live?

One law I never understood in this country is the one that bans bachelors (and bachelorettes) from sharing an apartment. So basically, if 3 friends want to be roomates, they can't, because of some stupid law.

I understand the government imposing measures to make sure that apartments are not overcrowded with 15 guys living in a 1-bedroom flat, but what's wrong with 3 people sharing a 3-bedroom apartment?

This law has affected many of my colleagues who share apartments with 2 or 3 friends. These guys and girls come here from countries all over the world in search of good job opportunities. They accept these jobs, but can't afford to live on their own, because starting salaries are quite measly, and rents are quite hefty. So they share. Because paying Dhs 110,000 a year for a 2-bedroom apartment is better than paying Dhs 70,000 for a 1-bedroom apartment. And after a year, they get eviction notices practically throwing them on the streets.

It's really stupid. I've never heard of any law of this sort in any country in the world. What's the point of this law here?

Saturday, June 02, 2007


I know I've been kind of MIA lately...but I'm still here. I realise that lately, the only updates I've had on my blog are about my hole in the wall...NOT the most exciting thing on the face of this earth, I admit...

I've just been preoccupied lately... Nothing serious... Just the usual stuff. Preoccupied with work (why is summer always such a busy period for us? In every other job I've had, summer was a more relaxing, it seems, summer is the worst time!). Preoccupied with my friend A., who's been going through a bit of a rough time lately.... Preoccupied with planning vacations, which is not an easy thing to do it seems (but I desperately need time off!)

But it's not all been bad.... And I did want to post about things, but never seemed to find the time to do here goes:

There was the Chicago the musical for example, which took place a couple of weeks ago at the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi. I enjoyed that tremedously. The actors were really amazing, and I loved the songs. I think it's really cool that Abu Dhabi is getting into this culture thing really seriously.

There's also a book I recently read, which was pure pleasure... I haven't read a whole book in 2 days in a while...and this book was so good, I couldn't put it down, and yet at the same time, I didn't want it to end. It's called The Namesake, and it takes us through 3 decades of the life of the Ganguli family, and Indian family that immigrated to the US . The hero of the novel, Gogol Ganguli, is born in the US, and we go through his teenage and adult life as he struggles to find his true identity.

The book was recently made into a movie, which I also managed to watch (after I finished the book). It's directed by Mira Nair, who also directed Monsoon Wedding, which I also loved.

I highly recommend either the book or the movie.

There's a couple of other things too, but I'll leave those for another post. I'll be back soon...promise!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

I'm kind of impressed...

Update on the hole in the wall: it's gone!

No, it's not because someone from Emaar read my blog and decided to do something about it (I wish!)

I decided to call Emaar yesterday and file a complaint (again...I had already filed a couple of complaints 3 months ago when the whole hole in the wall saga had begun).

So I asked them how long it would take for them to actually do something about this, they said within 48 hours. I really thought that the 48 hours meant that they'd send someone to look at the hole within 48 hours...I didn't really think they would fix it so quickly! But they did!

Finally! That really made my day...doesn't take much to make my day does it? :)

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Remember my hole in the wall?

I wrote about it back in March. At the time there was a constant leak. Well, the leak's gone, but guess what? The hole is still there! I've decided to take some pictures...Shame on you Emaar! What will it take for you to finally get someone to fix that hole? Another cockroach? A mouse? Or a rat maybe? I am sick and tired of that hole in the wall!

Friday, May 11, 2007


I sometimes wish I could blog about my work...I'd rather not for confidentiality purposes...and also because I'd rather this blog remains anonymous (except for the few people who know me and who know that I write this blog).

But I really, really wish I was at liberty to discuss some conversations or meetings I have with my clients, and some of the things that come out of their mouthes sometimes. If only you knew the number of times I've stared at my phone in disbelief while my client is babbling away...Or the number of times I've gotten out of meetings so frustrated, that the only thing I can do is laugh about it...

There are stupid people everywhere, but it's really scary when you think that these people are handling multinational brands. I often wonder how these people are even allowed to remain in the positions they are in...If I think that my clients are stupid, then what does that say about the bosses that hired them in the first place? Are they even more stupid?

Deadling with stupid clients is frustrating, mind-numbing, and unfortunately, there's nothing I can do about it. I sometimes wonder why I put up with it and if it's even worth it.

This post is purely for venting purposes by the way. This past week has been rough work-wise, and by Thursday evening, I was feeling drained...both mentally and physically. I desperately need this weekend to just sleep, go the the beach, sleep, get some shopping done, sleep some more and watch some TV. I didn't even want to think about work and yet here I am writing about it...


Tuesday, May 08, 2007

I can't stand that ad anymore! Part II

I heard the ad again this morning. And I just wrote the following e-mail on the Al Futtaim Motors customer service website:

I am writing to comment about your current radio campaign which has been running for the past couple of months. I am referring specifically to the 2.22% promotion, where a drill sargeant screams through the whole ad to get his message across.
While the ad may have been attention-grabbing and unique when it first started airing, it has not become a nuisance, to the extent where I just want to throw my radio across the wall.
The fact that the ad airs around 10 times in a single hour (meaning at every single ad break) is not helping.

I am begging you, for the sake of my sanity and that of other listeners to please take the ad off the air, or at least reduce the number of times it airs.

Yours truly,
Dubai Sunshine

I highly doubt that I'll ever get a response, but let's give them the benefit of the doubt. I don't think this e-mail will take the ad off the air, but I hope that they will at least plan better for the next ad.

Monday, May 07, 2007

I can't stand that ad anymore!

I usually listen to Radio 1 in the morning while I'm getting ready. And then I usually tune in on my way to work. And lately, they've been playing this ad, and it's come to the point where the ad makes me feel aggravated...and I just feel like pulling my hair out!

The ad is for some Toyota/Al Futtaim motors car, and not only is the ad annoying as hell, it plays a million times in that one hour it takes me to get ready and drive to work in the morning. It's like they decided to spend all the advertising and media budget on that one single ad!

I'm sure you've heard it's the one where it's a drill sargeant in the army, screaming his lungs out "ATTEEEENTION!....GET YOUR TOYOTA WHATEVER NOW!".

KILL ME NOW! I can't stand that ad, and if I hear it one more time, I'm seriously considering writing to Al Futtaim Motors to strongly suggest they change their ad agency or media agency! Or come up with a new ad already!

Sunday, May 06, 2007


It seems Dubai is taking this whole radar thing very seriously. It used to be that once you hit Saih al Shaib on the way from Abu Dhabi (which is actually the beginning of Dubai), you only had 2 radars until your hit Jebel Ali.

A few months ago, they started placing a mobile radar somewhere along the way. It caught me once, even though I knew it was somewhere there...stupid me...

A few weeks ago, a bunch of radars were added...and by a bunch, I mean a LOT. There are radars every few meters now, so there's really no way to exceed the 120 km/h speed limit.

A lot of people still don't know about these radars though, because on a recent trip back from Abu Dhabi, I saw 3 radars flashing in a span of 5 minutes...and no, it wasn't me!

Saturday, May 05, 2007

@ work...

...on a Saturday afternoon...


This is the last place I want to be right now, really...but it's amazing how much work one can get done when there are no distractions, no phone calls, no fires to put out, and no idiots to deal with...

Why can't it be like that during the week?

Friday, May 04, 2007

Dubai on NBC

It seems that everyone wants a piece of Dubai these days. NBC's Today Show has chosen Dubai as one if its destinations for "Where in the World is Matt Lauer". Matt was in Dubai yesterday reporting from the helipad of Burj al Arab, making Dubai sound like it's paradise on Earth.

In one of the segments, Matt interviews Sheikha Lubna al Qassimi, the UAE's minister of Economy and Planning. He asks her about mistreatment of laborers in the UAE, and she gives him a politically correct PR answer along the lines of "often times, the problem comes from the country of origin, and sometimes it's the companies hiring the laborers that are at fault, the law protects the laborers, and the government has built laborer cities that provides all the necessary amenities".

In the rest of the segments, the NBC crew shows the glitzy, glamorous Dubai life, the shopping, the dune bashing, the golfing and the 7-star treatment at the Burj al Arab.

You can check out all the "Where in the World" Dubai segments here.

PS: Thanks to my cuz in DC for sending me the link to this.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Ministry of...wild goose chase?

Thankfully, I don't have to deal with ministries and governmental offices very much. But a couple of weeks ago, I had to contact the ministry of health for some information, and it wasn't exactly the most helpful experience I've ever had.

Here's how the story unravels:

1) I find the phone number of the PR department of the ministry of health in Abu Dhabi. I give them a call. Someone picks up. I ask for the information I needed, he tells me I need to contact a division of the ministry in Dubai, and gives me the name of the person who could help me out. Okay...doesn't sound so bad. I ask for a phone number in Dubai, but the PR person in Abu Dhabi does not have it. Hmm. Isn't he supposed to know the number?

2) Next, I try to find the phone number of the person whose name I have. So I call 181 (which now became 199 by the way), and they give me the ministry's number here in Dubai. So I answer. Call answer. Call a third answer. Call 199 again to ask for the number, to make sure I got it right. They give me the same number again. I call again...and just as I was about to hang up, a lady picks up. Success!

3) Or so I thought. I try to explain to the lady what I'm looking I'm babbling away, I realise that she's put me on hold...I was on hold, while I was babbling away!!!! Like an idiot! So I wait, and wait, and wait....and waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaiiit....

4) I hang up, thinking that she's forgotten about me. I call again. Another lady picks up, she tells me she's transferring my call to the right department. As she's transferring me, the line cuts.

5) I call again, a lady picks up (is it the first one, the second one, another one? I'll never know), she tells me I need to call another department. I ask her if she has the number, she mumbles something then transfers my call. I wait. And wait. And wait. Finally someone picks up. I ask for the information again. She tells me I have the wrong department and transfers my call again.

6) So I get transferred for the....I don't know, I've lost track of how many times I've been transferred already. I wait. And wait. And wait. A man picks up. Tells me I have the wrong department, I should call another department. I ask for the phone number, he says he doesn't have it. I ask for the number of the person whose name the Abu Dhabi office gave me, luckily, the man has that person's mobile number. Okay. I'm getting somewhere here. My wild goose chase was finally leading me somewhere.

7) I call the person's mobile twice. No answer.

And that is where I'm at. Ten phone calls later, and I still don't have the information I need. I'll try again tomorrow. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

740 days...and counting

It's been 2 years (and 10 days) since I moved back to the Emirates. I can't believe it's been 2 years already! One thing I've learned about living in the UAE since I moved here is that time flies. I don't know why, but it seems that time goes by much faster here...

Is it because I'm getting older? Is it because I work harder here? Is it because there are no real seasons, which makes it seem like one whole year feels like just one summer? I don't know...

Last year, I was mostly nostalgic about having moved to the Emirates. My Montreal days were still fresh in my mind, and I was still at the stage where I was comparing my life here to my life there.

It's different now. The nostalgia is gone (except for a few waves here and there). Dubai has grown on me a bit...I have a few good friends here, but nothing like the friendships I had built in Montreal. There's a constant feeling of fleetingness with any relationship that's built here. It seems like the people I meet are here for a short while...they leave after 2, 3, 4, maybe 5 years. So they come here and try to live life to the fullest, keeping themselves busy with work, parties, movies, concerts, events, activities... which is OK in a way, but do they ever take the time to just sit and relax?

All this means that I never feel settled in Dubai...How can you feel settled when everything around you keeps moving? When everyone seems like they're constantly running after something (happiness? something else? who knows...)

And yet, in a way, I'm jealous of all these people who come here, knowing that they're only here for a short time. Because they have a plan. They have somewhere to go to after they've paid their dues here. They have a home to go to. I sometimes ask myself: what's next for me? Where do I go from here?

But I don't have an answer, because I've always said that home is where your family is, and my family is here. And moving somewhere new and starting from scratch becomes more difficult every time.

I don't know where this post is going...and after re-reading it just now, I realise that I am still a bit nostalgic...and that I have rambled on quite enough for one post...

So here's to hoping that next year, I'll still be blogging....and seeing how thing are going, I'll probably be telling you about my 3rd year in Dubai!

Monday, April 16, 2007


I killed a bird yesterday. The stupid bird just flew into my windshield, as I was driving along the Abu Dhabi/Dubai highway. I saw it coming from the left, and it just hit my windshield with such force, I really thought my windshield would crack!

I was shocked for about 3 minutes, not really realising what had happened. Poor birdie. R.I.P...

That was yesterday morning, the start of what looks like is going to be a very rough week. Work, work, and more work....enough work to last me a lifetime...I've come to the realisation that I hate meetings. Not just because most of them are simply completely useless and a complete waste of time, but also because meetings usually mean that I have to stay an extra 5 hours at work just to try to catch up on the workload. And that was in fact the case yesterday.

And to top things off, I have a horrible back ache that's making me miserable, you know, the kind of back ache that makes you hurt when you take a deep breath...and that woke me up at 5AM this morning. I feel like I'm 70 years old!

And that was just Sunday! I wonder what the rest of the week has in store for me...

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

You can make a difference - Tip 8

It's been a while since the last You can make a difference tip. My friend S. has been busy....but also a little lazy I suspect.

This edition of you can make a difference tackles a hot topic (pun intended). We've been hearing about global warming for as long as I can remember, but Al Gore's recent documentary "An inconvenient truth" has brought the issue under the spotlight.

Here's what my friend S. had to say about this:

Reports reveal that human activities are behind climate change.

To avoid cooking our pretty planet to the max, switch off the lights, turn off your tv, and shut down your computer while you're out enjoying the sun, moon, stars and other mischievous activities.

Facts: The average home contributes more air pollution than the average car.

Leaving lights on for an extra hour each day over the course of a week releases 20 tonnes of green house gases.

Screen savers do not save energy.

On average, human activities release 70 million tonnes of carbon dioxide a day, every day! Emissions should be cut by 70% to 80% to simply stabilize atmospheric concentrations - and thus temperatures.

Why can’t climate change go unchecked? It's been a while since the last You can make a difference tip. My friend S. has been busy....but also a little lazy I suspect.

This edition of you can make a difference tackles a hot topic (pun intended). We've been hearing about global warming for as long as I can remember, but Al Gore's recent documentary "
An inconvenient truth" has brought the issue under the spotlight.

Here's what my friend S. had to say about this:

Reports reveal that human activities are behind climate change.

To avoid cooking our pretty planet to the max, switch off the lights, turn off your tv, and shut down your computer while you're out enjoying the sun, moon, stars and other mischievous activities.

Facts: The average home contributes more air pollution than the average car.

Leaving lights on for an extra hour each day over the course of a week releases 20 tonnes of green house gases.

Screen savers do not save energy.

On average, human activities release 70 million tonnes of carbon dioxide a day, every day! Emissions should be cut by 70% to 80% to simply stabilize atmospheric concentrations - and thus temperatures.

Why can’t climate change go unchecked?
This video says it best (for your viewing pleasure: have your glow sticks handy).

To be honest, I didn't realize that I, personally, was contributing so much towards global warming...I'm usually good with switching unnecessary lights off, and I spend all winter with my air conditioning switched off, but my computer is constantly switched on at home...And I'm sure that offices and malls could make the effort of putting the air conditioning down one or two degrees (why should I be wearing sweaters in the middle of the scorching summer??), and we could all make the effort to recycle more (or, in my case, start recycling!)...A little goes a long way...

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Boys and their toys

A very interesting and amusing documentary about 4 of the richest men in the Middle East and how they live. Click here to view it.

I still can't, for the life of me, figure out how to embed videos on my blog. I've tried with YouTube, I've tried with Google no avail! Can someone attempt to explain to me what I'm doing wrong? I'm not that technologically inept!

Anyway, back to the documentary...It follows the lives of 4 filthy rich men:

  • Sheikh Maktoum Hasher Maktoum al Maktoum, a member of the Dubai ruling family, who brought the A1 race to Dubai.
  • Sheikh Hamad bin Hamdan al Nahyan, known as the "Rainbow Sheikh", a member of the Abu Dhabi ruling family, whose eccentric vehicle designs are out of this world.
  • Mohammad bin Sulayem, the famous Dubai rallye-driver, whose car collection is worth more than 10 million dollars.
  • Sheikh Mohammed bin Issa al Jaber, the self-made Saudi billionnaire hotelier, with luxury properties all around Europe and parts of the middle-east.

It's like "Lifestyles of the rich and famous"...the Arab edition! Check it's quite mind-boggling...and entertaining.

Friday, March 30, 2007


I attended the Aida Monumental Opera on Fire last night. The event took place at the gardens of the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi.

When we reached Emirates Palace, there was a huge lineup of cars, and in my head, I thought "here we go...this is Shakira all over again!". But with some creative maneuvering from my dad, we managed to find a parking spot rather quickly. But it seems that the parking area and the opera area were not the same...We had to take a bus that would take us to the place where the opera was taking place. So we waited in line, behind a few other people. There was already a bus waiting there, but it was full. The bus left, and we waited for the next one. And waited. And waited.

Fifteen minutes later, we decided to walk, because we heard an Emirates Palace employee telling someone: "it's a 5 minute walk towards the hotel". So a bunch of us start walking, then another employee sees us and says: "what are you doing? The opera is in the opposite direction, and you can't walk there it's too far, you need the bus".

So we head back to the ever-expanding line, and wait, and wait...and wait some more. Finally, 3 buses show up, and they stop towards the middle of the line. People were being disrespectful and rude, with everyone rushing towards the buses, rather than wait calmly in line like civilized people. We were at the front of the line, but by the time we made it to the bus, there were almost no seats left! But thankfully, at the last moment, we managed to make it on the bus.

The bus took us out of the hotel, and back into the traffic jam of people trying to find parking...ridiculous! But we made it through eventually, and reached the opera area.

Once we got there, we made it through security and ticketing quickly, and managed to find our seats. We had to walk through some sandy areas, which is not ideal when you're wearing high-healed sandals, but it was OK (hey, at least it wasn't a new pair of shoes!).

Unfortunately for us, the weather conditions were not ideal for an outdoor opera that involves pyrotechnic effects. Because of the wind, the backdrop could not be lowered, and the special fire effects were cancelled due to security reasons. And it was so windy, that we actually decided to leave halfway through the performance, because we couldn't take the cold anymore.

The show itself was good (well, the first half at least...). I'd never been to an opera before, and I initially throught that I'd be annoyed by all the high-pitched singing, but I wasn't...As a matter of fact, I was really into the whole thing, and the story of star-crossed lovers Aida and Radames was intriguing. The only thing is that our seats were a bit far, and the subtitles on the screens could have been a little bigger to make them easier to read.

I just really wish we could have toughed it out till the end...But I'm glad to see that Abu Dhabi is taking a step in the right direction by bringing some arts and culture to the city. And it was cool to see so many Dubai people coming to Abu Dhabi to attend an event for a change, rather than the other way round!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007


If you haven't seen it yet, go watch 300. Those who know me will tell you that I'm not really into the gory, bloody, shooting, killing kind of movies. But this is a movie that's worth seeing, if only for the brilliant cinematography and special effects...and of course for all the hot, amazing, half-naked bodies.

300 is the film adaptation of a graphic novel (which is something that's entirely prominent in the movie, as a lot of the settings look like they were taken straight out of a superhero comic book) of a semi-historical account of the Battle of Thermopylae.

What's amazing about this movie is that it was almost entirely shot in front of a blue screen (and sometimes a green screen) in Montreal. While the filming took 60 days, the post-production work took a whole year!

All the actors in the movie had to undergo a strict workout regimen to end up with the bodies we saw on screen. Here's a video showcasing the workout routine. Impressive!

Good entertainment...and finally, a war movie that both men AND women can enjoy :)

Monday, March 26, 2007

A hole in the wall

There's been a hole in the wall on my floor (in my building) for about 3 weeks now. It started off as a leak in the corridor. It leaked for about 2 weeks, until finally someone decided to look into it.

Some contractors came, looked into the leak, tried to fix it for about 2 weeks, and then closed the hole.

And then it leaked again. Even more than before. I've slipped once already, and almost slipped another time, because it seems that the concept of putting a bucket under the leak is too foreign for the people who are running my building. So they put a hole in the wall again. A bigger one. It's kinda scary when you know that these hole-making people are Emaar!

What's even scarier was the cockroach I found last week, taking a stroll in the corridor. He greeted me one morning as I was leaving for work. I guess he was feeling adventurous and decided to come out of the hole in the wall and see what's out there. I think he must have been the King of Cockroaches or something like that, because he was really fat, and long, and very scary looking.

I came back from work that evening, and he wasn't there anymore. Someone had gotten rid of him. Or so I thought...

...Turns out His Royal Cockroachness decided to pay me a visit in my apartement. Out of the 20 apartments on my floor, I guess he decided that my apartment was the cosiest, warmest, and most welcoming. Imagine my surprise when I saw him strolling on my living room floor. I panicked. And I sprayed him with everything and anything I could find, from Pledge to Windex (I didn't have any insect spray) until he died (or drowned).

This morning again, I called Emaar to complain (for the 3rd time), and again they took note of my complaint and promised that someone would look into it within 48 hours.

I'm looking forward to the day my wall becomes hole-less...and to the day my life becomes cockroach-less.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Shakira, Suckira

Never again will I attend a huge concert in Dubai. Never again will I attend a concert organised by Mirage Promotions. Last night can be described with just one word: DISASTER.

Dubai wants to organise concerts that attract international artists? Dubai wants an event where there are 25,000 people attending? Well Dubai better start setting up a decent infrastructure that will be able handle such a load, before...because the logistics of last night's concert were simply ridiculous!

It took us 2 hours to get to the Dubai Autodrome (from the Greens), because the traffic on Al Khail road was moving at snail pace. When we finally got near the Autodrome, we realised why traffic was so backed up: there was simply one entrance, with one lane (!!) to the parking area of the autodrome. Umm, I may not be an engineer, but HELLOOOO! Don't you think that's a recipe for disaster right there?

We told the cab driver to stop up at the roundabout before the autodrome, and we walked a good 20-30 minutes to get to the ticketing area. And there, we were met by yet another disaster.

Keep in mind that by that time, it was already 9PM and the concert was supposed to be starting. But we heard an announcement saying that the concert would be delayed because people are still coming in. Understandably...HALF the people who were attending this concert were still waiting to go through the security check!

We waited in the blue line (which is the section for which we had bought our tickets), and people started pushing and shoving to get their wristbands. The line was huge and was moving so slowly. At one point, while we were in the middle of the line, we heard someone in the other line saying "please send an ambulance, someone just fainted!". My friend, who's a doctor, ran to the other line to see what was happening. It seems the girl who fainted was drunk, dehydrated, and hyperventilating. Of course, no ambulance showed up, and the promoters barely reacted to this incident.

After 50 minutes of waiting in line, we finally made it through security, at which point the concert had already started. We had to walk another 10 minutes to make it to the concert spot.

By that time, we were thristy, so we had to wait in yet another line to get coupons for drinks. But here's the catch: outside the concert area, you can buy drinks, and they'll give them to you in cans (Pepsi, beer, etc.), BUT, you can't bring them inside the concert area. If you want to bring drinks INSIDE the concert area, you have to buy them from another spot, where they give you your drinks in plastic cups. Go figure!

We finally get our drinks, and got into the concert area. The concert itself was OK, and Shakira entertained the crowd with her dancing for about an hour and a half alltogether (by the time we got in, it seemed like the concert was already ending!).

As she finished her signature "Hips don't lie", we made a mad dash to the exit, trying to beat the crowds. We managed to make it through unscarred, but then we were met by yet another disaster: no taxis! Thank God we hadn't brought our car, because cars were stuck for miles on end trying to get out of there. We decided to keep walking on Al Khail road until we found a taxi. We walked, and walked and walked, for about half an hour if not more....

Taxis were few and far between, and some weren't even stopping! I never thought I'd say this, but at one point, I was walking in the middle of Al Khail road with cars all around me!

I called Dubai Transport asking for a taxi, and the woman at the other end of the line said "I'm sorry we can't send any more. We already sent 200 taxis to the autodrome". I laughed at her. I said: "You have an event with 25,000 people attending, and you send 200 taxis?? Are you kidding me? You're gonna need much more than that!".

The taxi driver we finally found told us that he didn't even know there was an event taking place at the autodrome, and that he was just passing by there by fluke! Imagine!

Let me tell you that we were happy to get home. The concert in itself was OK (not wow, but OK), but the whole pre and post experience made it a very frustrating and horrible event for us. Definitely not worth the Dhs 295 we paid for each ticket!

Friday, March 23, 2007

I feel alive again...

Woohoo! I feel like I'm back to my old self today, finally...These past couple of weeks have been rather hectic, between the longest workweek I've had in a while, getting sick, and trying to spend time with my best friend who's visiting Dubai (and who I haven't seen in over 2 years!).

Tonight, I am going to the Shakira concert. I don't particularly love Shakira (and her voice can becoming annoying after a while)...but I don't hate her I'm looking forward to just having a good time and dancing my hips off :)

And I'm also looking forward to no longer hearing Shakira ads and songs on the radio. I mean, I understand that Mirage Promotions needs to promote the concert, but enough is enough! Radio, TV, newspapers, magazine covers....UGH!

Anyway, back to tonight. After the concert, we're going clubbing to celebrate my friend M.'s birthday (a few days early, but hey, it's never too early to start celebrating, right?).

I'll let you know how the concert went....I know I've been neglecting my blog lately, but hopefully, that's about to change!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Dubai airplane incident

For those of you who may not have seen it yet, here's a video of the recent plane incident at Dubai airport that shut the airport down for around 8 hours.

I'm just glad to know that there weren't any casualties...the accident could have been so much worse!

Here's the link:

I still can't figure out how to embed my videos...You Tube keeps giving me a "failed to embed" message...

Oh, and I know I haven't been posting actively lately...just a combination of work overload and lack of inspiration. I'll be back in full form soon hopefully!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

I hate

I've bought tickets on a couple of times already, and never ran into any problems with the website.

A couple of days ago, I wanted to buy tickets to the Russell Peters show in Dubai. Now for those of you who don't know Russell Peters, he's a Canadian stand-up comedian of Indian origin, and he's really funny. You can watch part of his act here.

Anyway, so Russell had a first show planned on March 11, which sold out within hours of tickets going on sale. I had completely forgotten about the show that day and did not buy any tickets. So when I was told that the show had sold out, I was disappointed.

Then, my brother tells me that a second show was added, and that tickets would go on sale at midnight that night. That was a couple of days ago.

So at 11:45, I was ready. I had my laptop in front of me, my credit card ready, I had logged in to, and I was refreshing the page every 5 minutes to make sure I'd be one of the first to buy my tickets.

At 12 o'clock, things went awry. The website started messing up, and it was extremely slow. I tried several times to purchase my tickets but couldn't get through to the payment page. I was trying to get front section tickets, but after 20 minutes of pointless tries, I get a message saying that front section tickets were sold out.

Okay, fine. Let's try back section tickets then. Again, I try, and try, and try some more. Finally, another 20 minutes later, as I was about to fall asleep on my laptop, I succeed in getting to the payment page. Hurrah!

I enter my credit card info, and proceed with the payment. I get a black message box informing me to wait while my credit card is verified, and that if I do not get a confirmation message, I should contact a person from ITP, and that I should NOT attempt to send the order through again.

I knew deep down that my purchase did not go through. But I decided to go to bed that night, with a glimmer of hope that the next day, I would be pleasantly surprised.

So the very next morning, I called ITP ticket's infoline. I call, and call, and call again, and all I get is a voice saying "all our representatives are currently busy, please leave a message and we will call you back"... only to be followed by another message saying "sorry, our mailbox is currently full".

Hmm...Finally, by around 2PM, I manage to speak to a human being. He very grudgingly takes my name and phone number, and says that he will investigate if my payment went through and will call me back.

No news.

I decide to call again today, and after several tries, I manage to speak to someone (I think it was the same grumpy person I spoke to the first time), and this time he confirms that my payment did not go through, and that I did not get any tickets.

He said that 8000 people were trying to access the site that day, and there were 1800 tickets on sale only.

He also said that they were trying to book a 3rd show, but that they were awaiting confirmation from Russell Peters, to see if he could do it. And that they would contact me if this was the case.

Anyway, I know that it's not all ITP's fault, and that the number of people trying to access their website at the same time would have wreaked havoc on any website, not just theirs...but still...I really really wanted some Russell Peters tickets :(

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Prince Charles vs McDonald's

Prince Charles, who is on a Middle-East tour (and is in Dubai today) may have ruffled a few feathers when he said yesterday: "Have you got anywhere with McDonald's? Have you tried getting it banned? That is the key." He was discussing children's eating habits with an Abu Dhabi nutritionist yesterday when he blurted this out.

The news has already spread around the world, like in this article in the Daily Mail. Notice how they point out that a Duchy Original Cornish Pasty (whatever that is) contains more calories, fat and salt than a Big Mac. And incidently, Duchy Original is owned by Prince Charles! Woops...talks about putting your foot in your mouth!

And what about the fact that Prince Harry was recently seen buying chicken nuggets and a burger...Hmm...

Better watch what you're saying there Charlie...

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The Oscars 2007

The buzz these past couple of days has been about the Oscars...and just like everyone else, I have an opinion about everything from who deserved to win to what people were wearing...
I didn't get to watch the whole thing unfortunately because the live broadcast was way too early for me to be awake, and the re-run started at 10PM last night, and there was no way I was going to stay up till 2:30 in the morning watching the Oscars. How stupid of One TV (or Dubai one as they are now called) to put 2 full hours of mind-numbingly boring arrivals before actually airing the show!!!

Anyway, here's my 2 cents about the winners:

- Helen Mirren...definitely deserved to win best actress! I watched The Queen a few months ago, and I must admit that I went into the movie not expecting anything, and came out pleasantly surprised and defintely impressed. She not only played the role, she owned it!

- Best actor Forrest Whitaker: no comment about that, as I did not see the Last King of Scotland. And I'm not sure if any of the other nominees deserved to win.

- Best Director: Martin Scorcese....yes, he deserves to win, if only because he's been nominated 8 times already without ever winning. But although I haven't seen Babel (yet), I have a soft spot for the director (Alejandro González Iñárritu who also directed Amores Perros and 21 Grams, both amazing movies), and I kind of wanted him to win.

- Best picture: The Departed. Hmm...not convinced by that one. Yes it's a good movie. But was it really the best one?

- Best supporting actor: Alan Arkin. I liked Little Miss Sunshine...didn't LOVE it, but it was an all-round good movie, and I must admit that all the actors in that movie were incredible, but Alan Arkin was not the one who stood out the most in that movie...I thought that Toni Collette, Steve Carell and Abigail Breslin were the true winners of that movie. And I think that either Eddie Murphy (Dreamgirls) or Djimon Hounsou (Blood Diamond) deserved to win this category.

- Best supporting actress: Jennifer Hudson. Okay. I'm happy for her, and it's truly remarquable that she's gone from American Idol contestant to Oscar winner in such a short time. But I really really do not believe that she deserved to win an Oscar. Maybe it's because I watched Dreamgirls a couple of days ago, and I was this close to walking out of that movie. I just could not stand the singing, which sounded more like screaming to me. Plus the storyline was a bit weak.

Now when it comes to clothes, you can see all the Oscar ladies here (the men don't count...they all wear black suits and white shirts...booooring!). Scroll down to see all the pictures.

My favourites?
- Helen Mirren: stunning, classy, confident...amazing dress
- Reese Witherspoon: she has looked amazing at every single one of her public appearances since the breakup of her marriage
- Cate Blanchett: always a class act
- Celine Dion: her dress looked pretty good...her comment!
- Jennifer Lopez: maybe a bit over the top, but she can (and did) pull it off
- Rachel Weisz: I loved the dress, but she should have lost that necklace....too much!
- Nicole Kidman: only she can pull off a dress like that. She looked stunning.
- Penelope Cruz: classy and simple. Maybe a different color would have been better, but overall, I liked the look.
- Kate Winslet: alway simple and classy.

Worst dressed:
- Cameron Diaz: what the hell was that?
- Jennifer Hudson: that gold bolero thing looks painful...and ugly!
- Jessica Biel: I dunno...that color was just wrong...
- Anne Hathaway: Anne, Anne,'re so pretty...why do you do this to yourself?
- Beyonce: one word: tacky!
- Eva Green: nope...doesn't work. Too much makeup and the dress makes her look washed out...
- Kelly Preston: animal prints are out...waaaay out!
- Jodie Foster: that dress did nothing for her. Neither the color, nor the cut.

- Gwyneth Paltrow: Only she can pull off a dress like that, in that color...but I'm still not sure it's the best choice she could have made.
- Emily Blunt: She looked good, but I'm not so sure about the shiny blue fabric.

OK fingers are tired...haven't typed such a long post in a while!

Monday, February 19, 2007


I've finally discovered a yoga place right next to my work...and I am soooooo happy! It's really convenient because it's a 5-minute drive away, and the classes are interesting. The timings are a bit off though, so either I'll have to start leaving work earlier than usual, or wait for the later classes to begin...we'll see... But all I can say is, boy am I out of shape. There was some serious muscle pain after the first couple of classes!

I've also recently discovered Facebook, an online community which allows you to find and link up to friends all over the world. Now, I haven't used Facebook to its full potential yet (adding pictures and messages etc.), but it has satisfied my never-ending need of always finding people I know in common with other people I know...I can now play my own version of 6 degrees of separation online! Love it!

And finally, I've discovered that some people can be condescending, stupid, rude, mean and unprofessional, despite them having no seemingly obvious reason to be this way. And that I have yet to learn how to deal with these people. Any thoughts or advice? (I can't adopt my typical "avoidance" strategy, as these are people I need to interact with on a daily what do I do?)

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


This was a performance on last night's Grammy awards, with Corinne Bailey Rae, John Legend, and John Mayer.

I can't seem to figure out how to embed videos on my blog (although I've done it before!), but anyway, click on the link above and check it out. An amazing performance by 3 very very talented artists...

I've always loved John Mayer, he is truly gifted...and did you know he has his own blog too? I just can't believe he is going out with airhead Jessica Simpson! C'mon John! (Yes, by the way, I am an avid gossip reader...shocking!!)

And who knew he was a Grey's Anatomy fan (just like me....I'm tellin you John, we're meant to be together!). Check out his post dated January 18th (from Beirut, cool!), where he showcases his scriptwriting skills, penning some script excerpts where Dr Burke (played by Isaiah Washington, who recently caused controversy with his use of some inappropriate language at the Golden Globes), comes out to his friends and colleagues...

Well, at least the Grey's Anatomy writers have a backup option, in case they ever need one!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Emirates News

I just watched Dubai One's Emirates News for the first time today. The half hour newscast is the first local English-language newscast in the UAE.

Kudos to One TV for taking that first step in catering to the non-Arabic speakers of the UAE (or to the Arabic speakers, like me, who do not read or watch the news in Arabic).

The newscast itself was OK, although could use some improvement. The studio is nicely designed, but the graphics looked a bit cartoonish.

The presenter looked like she had rehearsed one too many times, resulting in a lack of genuineness and believability. And she must have said "High Highness Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister, and Ruler of Dubai" around 5 times in just the first 3 minutes of the newscast!

Also, every time a headline or title or name appears on screen, there's an annoying bell and swoosh sound that accompanies it, which is very distracting when you're trying to pay attention to what the presenter or reporter is saying.

Some of the stories covered were far from exciting, while others could have been reported with more depth, but like I said, this is the first newscast of its kind, and it's still in its infancy, so I'm sure there will be improvements along the way.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Too risqué?

This Superbowl ad has been pulled off the air in the US, due to its allegedly controversial nature.

What do you think? Is it worth being pulled? Or has it all been blown out of proportion?

All I know is, this ad has gotten more than 600,000 views on YouTube already, countless articles have been written about it, numerous reports have aired in the news, Snickers no longer has to pay gazillions of dollars to air this ad, and everyone has an opinion about it....So who's the real winner here?

Has Snickers tarnished its image? Will it impact sales? Or will they be laughing all the way to the bank?

Friday, February 02, 2007


...and refreshing...

I love the way this guy thinks. Logical, open-minded and moderate.


Why am I up by 9:30 on a Friday morning after being up until 5AM last night? (or this morning to be more accurate?). Why? WHYYYYY? Can someone please explain to me?


Thursday, February 01, 2007

A good thing

I never expected I'd see an article on a reduction in price of anything in the UAE, but in Emirates Today, there's an article about the Ministry of Economy reducing ticket prices back from Dhs 35 to Dhs 30. Ticket prices had gone up at the beginning of the year.

Apparently it has something to do with consumer protection laws, and the fact that the concessions inside the movie theater are already so damn expensive.

Way to go Ministry of Economy. It's good to see that they're actually keeping an eye on these things. Here's to hoping they're as diligent about other price increases in the UAE.

Sunday, January 28, 2007


This weekend I watched The Pursuit of Happyness, a movie based on the real-life rags to riches story of Chris Gardner and his son Christopher. The movie stars Will Smith in the role of Chris, and Will Smith's own son, Jaden, in the role of Chris Gardner's son. Jaden is the most adorable thing on the face of this earth by the way, and he really does steal the show. And it's good to see Will Smith in something other than his usual blockbuster action flicks.

Chris Gardner is inspirational because:

He had made a promise to himself that he would always take care of his son, after his biological father disappeared and after a childhood of abuse by his stepfather. And so, when Chris Gardner's wife left him at a point of his life when any other normal human being would seriously consider abandoning a child (or maybe even contemplate suicide), Chris Gardner kept his promise and was there every day to pick up his son from nursery. He was interning at a brokerage firm, getting no pay whatsoever, trying to find shelter and food for his son every night, sleeping in subway station bathrooms, and yet he never gave up. All the while, he was studying hard so he could get a paid job at the company he was interning at.

Chris Gardner is inspirational because he never gave up. And he never lost hope.

Watch the'll feel happy, sad, motivated, good, lucky and of course, inspired.

Here are also a couple of YouTube links of a 20/20 interview with the real Chris Gardner:

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Dubai's dirty little secret

Samuraisam already posted this on the UAE community website, but I thought I'd post this here again, for my (few) friends who read my blog (and for whoever has not seen the UAE community website).

Dubai's dirty little secret is a 20/20 investigative report which aired on ABC in the US.

It's an interesting and fairly balanced report on Dubai, showing both it's glittery, luxurious facade, and its dark, hidden (or not so hidden for those of us who live here, but it's still shocking to see) exploitation secrets.

The report generated a heated debate with some friends today, with some arguing that the workers still choose to come here, despite the harsh living conditions, and that many of the workers state that their current conditions are still better that their living conditions back home. Another argument was that the workers come here for 5-6 years, save up some money, and go back home to live a very comfortable life which allows them to send their kids to school and provide them with a better life. There's a price to pay, but ultimately it pays off.

I still think it's slavery. Even worse than slavery...I mean, 600 dhs a months is just mind-boggling. So mind-bloggling, as a matter of fact, that I can't even begin to image how someone can live on so little. And the fact that the workers can't do anything about it and have no rights is simply ridiculous! And I also think that embassies here are not being proactive at all about the situation. Heck, they're not even being reactive!

It's really sad. And what's even more sad is that every day, we live in our own little bubble, sheltered from reality, and that it takes a report by 20/20 on ABC in the US to open our eyes to the things going on in our own backyard.

I do hope this report will have some positive repercussions for the workers, and that the government will actually do something to improve their living conditions...or maybe that's just wishful thinking on my part.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Dubai City...Sim City

I was chatting with a friend a couple of days ago, and the conversation inevitably turned into a discussion about Dubai and how quickly it's grown and how busy it's become.

He came up with an interesting analogy for Dubai. He said "Dubai is like a Sim City game,. They see that there's too much traffic in a certain area, and "pouf!", just like magic, a new flyover comes up. Another day it's: oh, there's an empty plot of land right there, and again, just like magic, a new tower comes up".

It's so true! It really is like a Sim City game!

Oh, and I love Sim City...but I'm not so sure I love Dubai as much, although it's growing on me, slowly but surely...

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Gulf Cup = crazy driving

Ok, so the UAE won a match yesterday. Good for them. And I understand that people wanted to celebrate. Heck, it's cute to see people with their cars all decked out in flags and little footballs (except when the flag covers up the back window of the on earth can they see anything from their rear view mirror?)

But what I don't understand is this:

Driving on the Abu Dhabi-Dubai highway, at 160 km an hour, with your emergency lights on!

Helloooo! A bit dangerous don't you think? I mean, how on earth am I supposed to know when you're changing lanes when I can't see a signal that tells me where you're going?

So stupid...and so dangerous...Where are the cops?

Thursday, January 18, 2007

To tip or not to tip...that is the question

According to this 7Days article, Westerners are better tippers that Arabs. It doesn't seem like it's based on any factual or statistical evidence, but one thing I agree with is that no rules are set in the UAE about tipping, and this can lead to some confusion.

In general, I prefer to tip rather than not tip. And while the below is just an idea of what I feel are right amounts to tip, I may be wrong, so feel free to give your own assessment about tipping.

1) Taxi drivers: I tend to round up the fare, or give an extra 5 dhs (in Dubai). In Abu Dhabi, I round up the fare or give an extra dirham or two. Except if the driver is rude, like the one time the driver screamed at me for getting slightly lost. Then I don't tip at all!

2) Waiters/waitresses: If there's a 15% service charge included on the bill, then I usually don't tip. If there isn't, I give a 15% tip.

3) Food delivery people: depending on the size of the order, anywhere between 5 and 10 dirhams.

4) Hairdresser: I tip the hairdresser (anywhere between 10 to 30 dirhams, depending on whether it's just a blow-dry, a cut, or highlights) and the person who washed my hair (5 dirhams).

5) Nail technician/masseuse: 10 dirhams each.

6) Car cleaning/car drying men at the carwash: 10 to 20 dirhams, depending on how many there are.

7) Person doing repairs at the house: Dhs 10 (varies, depending on the extent of the repairs)

8) Person carrying your groceries to the car: 3 to 5 dirhams, depending on the amount of change I have.

9) Cleaning lady: 10 Dirhams for 2 hours of work.

10) Bartender: I usually don't tip....which is weird because in Canada I'd always leave a dollar per drink. Should I be tipping the bartender?

I can't think of anyone else that I usually tip...I must have forgotten someone. Any thoughts?

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Is this guy for real?

I found this article in 7Days today:

A man exposed himself to an eight-year-old girl by accident when his trousers fell down, he claims. The 36-year-old Indian man was cleaning in a building in the Refa area when he allegedly exposed himself to the girl, who was also Indian. He asked her to touch him, but she refused, the Dubai Court of First Instance heard. The man denied the charges yesterday, telling the court: “I was wearing old pants and the belt was also weak - it came off while I was working and my pants just fell down.” The trial was adjourned until next month so the accused can be given a lawyer.

His trousers fell down? All by themselves? And did his lips move by themselves as well when he asked her to touch him? What a friggin idiot!

I hope they throw him in jail and let him rot there. I can't even begin to imagine how traumatising the experience must have been for the little girl.

Speaking of which, here's what happened to me a couple of months ago: as I was walking out of work with a colleague, I saw what I thought was a guy standing on the sidewalk, touching himself. I told my colleague but by the time she turned to look at him, he had stopped doing whatever he was doing.

The very next day, that same colleague was leaving work, and called me to tell me she thought she saw the same guy touching himself again. She asked me to check if he was still there when I left work, but he wasn't. If I ever see him again, I'm calling the cops on him!

Paris, je t'aime

I recently watched Paris, je t'aime, a wonderful movie that will get you laughing, crying, happy, sad, pensive, and wanting more.

What's interesting about this is movie is its format: it's comprised of 18 5-minute segments, each telling a different story, each directed by a different director, each using a different cast, each representing one of Paris' arrondissements. Initially, there were supposed to be 20 segments (because there are 20 arrondissements), but apparently 2 of the segments did not make it into the movie because they could not be integrated with the rest of the story.

The movie boasts an international cast, including Juliette Binoche, Steve Buscemi, Gerard Depardieu, Natalie Portman, Gena Rowlands, Elijah Wood and Nick Nolte, among others.

Some segments are more interesting than others, some touched me more than others, but this is still an excellent movie that I highly recommend you watch.

It was showing here during the International film festival a couple of months ago, and I'm sure it'll be out again sometime soon (it's set to open in the US in early 2007).

Monday, January 15, 2007

30,000 hits!

Sometime in the last few days (or weeks), I hit the 30,000 hit mark on my blog. I had been waiting for that to happen for some time now, and when it did, I didn't even notice!

I hit the 20,000 mark back in September, and the 10,000 mark back in May....I see a pattern here, 10,000 hits every 4 months!

Thanks again to those of you who drop by once in a while, and to my faithful commenters. Keep coming back! I promise I'll try to be more diligent with updating my blog.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Cirque du Soleil

We finally watched Cirque du Soleil's Quidam yesterday. Overall, the show was good. The music was great, the acts were impressive, and the art direction and costumes were stunning.

But this was not the best Cirque show I have seen. I have had the chance to see 2 other live Cirque shows (Varekai and Dralion), and Dralion was by far a better show.

But still, I am glad I got to see this one. The Dhs 400 ticket price for decent seats is a bit steep (something like Dhs 250 would have been more reasonable), and just like when Moryarti went to the Cirque, we were surrounded by crying, screaming children (and infants! Why would someone bring an infant to the Cirque du Soleil, I just don't understand!), and people walking in and out. I guess we should have chosen an 8 o'clock show rather than the 4 o'clock one, but the 4 o'clock show had better seats.

The show is still around for a couple of weeks, so if you get the chance to go see it, I highly recommend you do so. The show is a must-see, if only for its uniqueness when it comes to circuses.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

All's good!

  • I got a new, temporary work laptop to replace my sick laptop that needed to be sent to the doctor...woohoo! I am no longer disconnected from Blogland :)
  • I'm on vacation (again!)
  • I found out last week that my rent can't go up this year. Here I was wondering how I could possibly afford another 15% increase, when Sheikh Mo decided that for those who had their rents increased last year, there would be no increase this year. So I won't have to leave my apartment hopefully (unless the landlord decides to kick me out because a "relative" wants to move in....). Double woohoo!

In other news, my cousin (a regular reader of this blog) is visiting from out of town, and although he knows Abu Dhabi really well, Dubai is still foreign to him. So here's a question for you all: if you had some visitors from out of town, and you only had time to take them to one place in Dubai, what would that place be?

Looking forward to all your comments....

Sunday, January 07, 2007

I'm still here...

No, I haven't dropped off the face of the earth like my sister tends to do once in a while. I'm still dealing with computer troubles. My work laptop, which I use from home, has not been fixed yet. My home laptop is a piece of sh*t. It's in serious need of some reformatting (or throwing out the window if you ask me!). This means that the only time I could potentially blog is from work...and who has the time to do that! (plus, I'd rather avoid blogging from work...playing Pacman at work is OK, but blogging is crossing the line in my opinion....ha!)

Anyway, back to New Year's eve....this year, we decided we were sick and tired of spending new year's surrounded by sand (either in the desert, or camping on an island somewhere), and that we wanted to get dolled up for a change. And given the lack of interesting venues in Abu Dhabi, we decided to organize a house party at M & S's place. We had four days to prepare...and there was LOTS to prepare! It makes your realise how time-consuming and tedious it is to organize any sort of, RESPECT to all you function-organizing people out there!

The party was a success, all our fears of no one showing up were gone when more than 30 people came...we stayed up late, drank, ate, danced, and had a blast.

After that, it was back at work...waaaay too soon if you ask me...But no worries, I have another vacation to look forward to, very travelling....just getting rid of all those 2006 vacation leftover days...YAY!

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everyone!

Too tired to post anything else...I am functioning on 4 hours of really bad sleep, but I will divulge celebration details later.

Oh! And a belated Eid Mubarak too! My computer has suffered a slight injury, so access to internet has been more limited lately...

I can't believe I am back at work tomorrow...ugh....This vacation has passed waaaay too quickly!