Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Emirates ID

Does ID stand for "Idiocy...Definitely" or "Incredibly Daft"? Because the whole process is a mess apparently.

If you have 5 minutes and would like to laugh your pants off, check out Fake Plastic Souk's hilarious post on the Emirates ID saga... Stand-up comedy material I tell ya!

I have yet to experience what many others have been experiencing around me, because my company is trying to get our IDs done all together, as a company. My fingers are crossed that this will, in fact, happen, because I cannot imagine dealing with the frustration of trying to get this done by the end of the year. Imagine the loss in productivity if each of us had to be absent from work for half a day (or a full day)to figure this out... Ridiculous!

My family in Abu Dhabi has experienced the same frustrations as everyone else, trying to fill out the application on the website, queuing in line for endless hours. There is no clear process and there are no clear answers.

I think it's safe to say that the December 31st deadline is simply not realistic. Someone, somewhere, better wake up and smell the coffee and do something about this....

PS: Just as I was finishing up this post, we got an e-mail saying that applying as a company is no longer possible as this service was cancelled. Oh GREAT!

Friday, November 14, 2008

It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas...

....well, Christmas in the Gulf at least!

I've only ever spent the holiday season in the UAE. I've never had a white Christmas. The idea of going to the beach on Christmas day is definitely not a foreign one to me.

I love it when the weather starts cooling down, and there's a nice, almost chilly breeze in the evenings, almost requiring a little jacket or a pashmina...

I love it when you wake up in the morning, and it's a beautifully sunny day, and it's the absolutely perfect temperature for spending the day at the beach.

I love it when you can walk outside without breaking into a sweat (or without you hair frizzing up at the sight of humidity...)

The change of weather also usually means a more relaxed time for me. I tend to take a few days off in December to spend them with some family members that visit from overseas... And it's usually a less hectic time at the office anyway, so I don't mind going into work if I have to.

I love "winter" in the UAE :)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


No, I'm not referring to how frequently I update this blog....I'm referring to the way some (most) taxi drivers drive their cars in this city.

I'm guessing they all went to the same driving school, because they all tend to press on the gas pedal for a couple of seconds, then take their foot off it for a couple of seconds, then press on it again for a couple of seconds...and so on and so forth....

Which makes for a very, very unpleasant ride (this is particularly true after a long night filled with boozy antics).

Who has taught these people how to drive? How hard is it to just keep your foot on the pedal? Has anyone else experienced (or been bothered by) this type of driving?

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Who's handling the PR for Atlantis?

And do they really think they're doing a good job by letting all this negative publicity surround them, without really responding to it? I know we usually say "all publicity is good publicity" but still...this has got to hurt them at some point, no?

Ever since the opening of the water-themed resort, there has been a slew of reports and articles highlighting how unprepared they were for what was meant to be a soft launch.

From parking woes to check-in fiascoes, from the lack of water (at a water-themed park...ha!) to refusing to book non-hotel guests into their restaurants, Atlantis has really been dominating the news for the past couple of weeks.

And now the latest PR blunder to have come out of Atlantis revolves around "Sammy the Shark", a whale shark that was , apparently fatigued and disoriented and placed in the Atlantis aquarium. Initially, he was meant to stay there just long enough to recover. But now, it seems, Atlantis have decided to keep the shark in the aquarium. And this has upset quite a few people, including Gulf News which has launched a "Free Sammy the Shark" campaign which has now gone global.

And yet, despite all this, Atlantis has barely uttered a word, which makes me think that:
a) They are still scrambling, trying to figure out how to
deal with the situation (release the shark...they'll never win if they keep him)
b) They are deliberately not responding, because they're getting so much publicity anyway so who cares?
c) The whole thing was staged...Sammy the Shark was never really captured off the coast of Jebel Ali, this whole thing about him being fatigued and disoriented was just a story that was spun around the shark to make Atlantis look like heroes. And they did, for a little while, not realizing that it would eventually backfire when people started asking for Sammy to be released. So now they're in deep trouble because Atlantis does not really want to release a shark that they probably bought from somewhere and probably paid a lot of money for.

Yes, I'm speculating here, but really...How convenient is it that the Atlantis "found" this shark just a couple of weeks before they launched? And how odd is it that it was the Atlantis team that announced the capture of the shark, and not some environmental body? And how coincidental is it that Atlantis had "a custom-made transport unit with a highly advanced marine life transport system that was used to ensure the safety and well-being of the animal"??

Hmm??? Sounds a bit fishy to me!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Simply disgusting

There's been a recent wave of illegal dumping of raw sewage in storm water drains over the past few months, and this has now led to the closing of the Dubai Sailing Club due to water contamination.

Basically, sewage tank drivers have found a way to cut corners by dumping sewage in drains and other deserted areas, rather than going to the Al Aweer sewage treatment plant. Why? Because apparently they have to wait for up to 12 hours to dump their load at the treatment plant. And they get paid based on the number of loads they dump.

Little did they know that in doing so, they were causing serious environmental and potential health issues, with E-Coli and bacteria now floating around in the water and on our shores.

So who's to blame here? The drivers? Maybe a little bit, but then again, they're just trying to make a living and are probably oblivious to the fact that they are causing environmental damage.

Do we blame the companies that hire these drivers? Yes definitely. They should be blamed for not keeping a vigilant eye on how they run their business. And for not training their employees properly. Or, maybe they DO know what's happening but decide to turn a blind eye, simply because they only care about how much money they make at the end of the day.

Do we blame Dubai Municipality? For sure! With everything in Dubai growing at breakneck speed, no one thought that we would need more than one sewage treatment plant to handle the load of treating the sewage of an ever-expanding city that gets hundreds of new residents every day. Not only that, it seems that they are not doing a thorough job of warning residents not to swim in contaminated waters, with most beach-goers oblivious to the fact that there's been an illegal sewage dumping issue.

Do we blame Dubai Police? Yes, them too. Although they claim to be dealing with the situation by going after these trucks and fining them, there's also been reports of them being very slow in reacting to calls from residents who have spotted these trucks doing their illegal dumping.

All this to say that while we are all willing to put up with the growing pains of Dubai, I, for one, am not willing to accept cutting-corner tactics that may potentially damage my health and harm the environment. It's simply disgusting, and it's simply unacceptable.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

I am sick and tired of traffic!


I don't know if it's because it's Ramadan, or because schools started again, or because of construction, or because of Salik, or a combination of all of the above, but traffic in the mornings has been horrendous.

Every single morning, I hear the following traffic report on the radio: Getting out of the Greens, the Springs, the Meadows and Arabian Ranches is a nightmare. And it is! (well, I know in the Greens it is...)

It's simply not normal that it can take up to an hour to get out of the Greens...Just to get on the main road! But no one seems to give a crap...except for the people who live in these places of course. By no one, I mean the RTA and the government. As long as they get to make their money off of Salik, and continue their round-the-clock building of new interchanges, they're happy.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


I've been car-less since Sunday. Not because my car is being serviced. No. It's much more interesting than that.

I went to renew my registration last week, only to find out that they were confiscating my car for a week. Why? Because I apparently parked in a handicapped zone. When? In April. Where? No clue. No one could give me an answer to that question.

So they gave me a piece of paper that instructed me to impound my car for a week. I dropped it off on Sunday. I parked my car in a gated, sandy area, with hundreds of other dusty, desolate cars. I can only imagine the state my car will be in when I get it back next week.

As I left the pound, I asked the person responsible if I could find a taxi. He said that all I needed to do was walk to the Eppco station that was a few meters away to find one. So I did. At 2PM. Under a blazing sun. I get to the Eppco station, only to find it closed (it's next to the registration place, and they close at 2PM for Ramadan timings). I call a taxi, and wait, and wait...for about 10 minutes. I could feel sweat beads rolling down my back.

Luckily, I see that there are people waiting inside the registration place, so I beg the security guard to let me wait inside while I waited for my cab. And I wait...and wait...and wait...

Twenty minutes later, I call Dubai Transport again and they tell me that they haven't found a taxi yet. At which point, I called a friend of mine who works nearby and begged her to come pick me up. Which she did.

I've told numerous friends about this, and many of them have told me that they've just gotten a Dhs 1000 fine for parking in a handicapped zone. I got a Dhs 500 fine, but why did they also have to confiscate my car for a week? That's just ridiculous! It's not like I'm a serial offender and that I always park in handicapped zones! Plus, I don't even have proof that I actually did park there! I mean, no one's given me a ticket, and no one was able to tell me where this happened, despite asking numerous people at the traffic department.

Oh, and being car-less in Dubai sucks! I've managed to catch rides to and from work with some friends, which has helped a lot, especially when I leave work at 6PM and can't find a taxi in sight!

On a side note, I've added the "Followers" gadget on my blog (right under my Who's visiting map). So if you're a regular reader of the blog, go on, click on it, and show your support :)

Monday, September 08, 2008

Where's my North?

It seems that every time I come back to Dubai after a vacation, something's changed. A new road, a new building, or a blocked road...or a building that's been demolished...

This time is no different. Maybe I just hadn't noticed before but apparently all the road signs that used to indicate "Abu Dhabi" or "Dubai" have now been switched to "South" or "North"...And so we now have "Sheikh Zayed Road North" or "Sheikh Zayed Road South".

Why is that? Does anyone know the reason the reason behind this change?

The whole North/South thing is a bit confusing if you ask me... Today was my first time encountering the new signage, and I headed North thinking I was going towards Abu Dhabi, only to find out that I actually needed to be heading South (I am very directionally challenged by the way...always have been and always will be!). I don't think I'll make that mistake ever again but I will have to think twice whether I need to head North or South from now on.

Bring back Abu Dhabi and Dubai! I don't like this North/South bullsh*t!

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Abu Dhabi vs. Dubai - The Rivalry

This article in the Telegraph is one of the only articles I've read that touches upon the unspoken rivalry between Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

It comes after the recent announcement that the Abu Dhabi government has bought the Manchester City football club AND invested 500 million pounds into Warner Brothers.

But all of Abu Dhabi's recent investments into art, culture, sports and movies are not an attempt to mimic Dubai's growth formula, because Abu Dhabi doesn't need the cash as badly as Dubai does apparently:

On the surface, what’s happening in Abu Dhabi mirrors Dubai. But what’s driving its growth is different. Dubai is a story of survival, of how one small city that is running out of oil – it has less than one per cent of Abu Dhabi’s reserves – is saving itself with a mixture of tourism and commercialism, hookahs and hookers. Thanks to oil, Abu Dhabi is not in a rush. It wants to build itself into a global city-state, but is determined to do it with none of the crassness (think prostitution, drunkenness and financial scandal) that is now beginning to tarnish Dubai’s image.

The article also touches upon the personal feud that fuels the rivalry between the 2 cities, which I was also unaware of:

The Nahyans and the ruling Maktoums of Dubai are cousins. They are cordial in public, but compete furiously behind each others’ dishdashas. The Nayhans are irked that poorer Dubai has so far attracted most of the foreign investment, five-star resorts and high-spending tourists in the UAE. They are running fast to catch up.

An interesting read that made me wonder what's in store for Abu Dhabi in the coming years. Will it really be able to differentiate itself from Dubai? Will it really do things differently? Will it be better?

Only time will tell I guess...

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Leaving on a jet plane...

...for a 10-day vacation (and to attend a good friend's wedding). Blogging during this period will be minimal to non-existant....

See you in a couple of weeks!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Great books

I've mentioned reading The Namesake before, and it was a great book. When I was on holiday, I saw a book by the same author called Unaccustomed Earth, and decided to buy it. Just like her first book, Interpreter of Maladies, Jhumpa Lahiri's Unaccustomed Earth is a collection of short stories. I loved it. And I absolutely recommend it to anyone out there.

Within the span of a few pages, the author managed to get me hooked on the characters, transport me to another world, immerse me in their lives, and made me so attached to them, I didn't want the story to end. But then story did end, and I'd move on to the next one, and just like that, I'd become part of another set of character's lives and stories. Pure reading pleasure.

After I finished reading Unaccustomed Earth, I decided to get her first book, Interpreter of Maladies, which was also an excellent read.

And now, I can't wait for her next book to come out!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

So what else was fake?

First we find out about some of the fireworks being fake at the end of the Olympics ceremony, to ensure better visibility according to the Beijing Times:

...members of the Beijing Olympic Committee said it was necessary to replace live video with computer-generated imagery because the city’s hazy, smoggy skies made it too difficult to see, according to The Beijing Times, which first reported the story.

And now, we find out that the little girl that sang during the ceremony did not really sing at all...She was used because she was cute, cuddly and lovable, but it was another -not so photogenic apparently- girl's voice that we heard.

While I may understand about the fireworks, I'm a bit disturbed by the little girl story... That's just so wrong!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Self-service gas stations

Apparently some ENOC gas stations have become self-service stations starting today. When I first read about this about a week ago, my initial thought was "oh...the UAE has finally discovered the notion of self-service"....

Having lived in Montreal, I'm used to serving myself at gas stations...No biggie...right? OK so I'll have to get out of my car, fill up my gas, then walk up to the store to pay for it...In a way, I'd much rather that than wait 3 minutes until the attendant is available to fill up my fuel, then wait another 3 minutes after my car's filled up for him to come take my money. Eventually, this will benefit the gas stations because they'll be able to fill up more gas for more cars.

But it seems that some people are completely against the idea for many reasons...One of them is the heat: getting out of the car, in the heat, to fill up gas, is not exactly enchanting some people... Not sure if this is a valid enough reason though, I mean, temperatures DO reach -30 in Montreal, and yet people still get out of their cars to fill up gas.

One thing that would be a deterrent to me is the payment system, which is just backwards! Here's how it's going to work:
- You pay the amount you'd like to fill up at the store
- You then proceed to fill up your car
- The pump will automatically stop once it reaches the amount you've paid for
- If you fill up less than you've paid, you get refunded for the balance

Complicated if you ask me! How am I supposed to know how much I need to pay if I'd like to fill up my gas tank, but it's not quite empty? And why the inconvenience of having to go to the counter TWICE if I've paid too much? Why can't gas stations follow the North American system of filling up your tank, paying then leaving? Or better yet, you stick your debit/credit card into the pump, and it automatically deducts the amount?

Sunday, August 10, 2008

More metro developments

As I was driving from Abu Dhabi to Dubai this morning, I noticed a bridge that crossed Sheikh Zayed road... It surprised me a bit because I didn't recall seeing it last week...but then again, I could have been distracted or not really paying attention to my surroundings.

But then I read this article and it explained it all!

It seems that I wasn't so distracted after all, and that the bridge was practically installed overnight! Pretty amazing:

The approved installation method involves full pre-assembly of the footbridge including the main structure of the bridge, the external cladding, internal fixtures and finishes, and electrical and mechanical items.

I had also always wondered how people would get from one side of Sheikh Zayed road to the other when taking the metro...and now I know :) One more question remains: how will people get to wherever it is they need to get to once they've stopped at a station? So say, for example, I take the metro and I stop at the Greens station....I then need to get to my place which is around 6 streets away...Now I know 6 streets doesn't sound like much, but keep in mind that:
a) Streets are pretty big here
b) Temperatures are unbearable in the summer

Will there be shuttle buses? How will this work?

Friday, August 01, 2008

Random stuff

Been back from my vacation for around 3 weeks now, and it feels like I've never left! Good thing I have anoter small vacation coming up in 3 weeks...Yay!

A few random things that I just want to get off my chest:

- Damn it's hot! Is it just me, or has it gotten hotter and more humid MUCH earlier this year compared to previous years? I mean, I remember that in previous years, it was the months of August and September that were really bad.... Maybe we just forget!

- I am sick and tired of the fact that the exit that leads to the Greens, which is where I live, is the last free exit before Salik. This means that all the construction vehicles go through it to avoid paying 4Dhs, because the companies they work for are probably too cheap to pay the Salik tolls. This means that traffic at the entrance of the Greens usually moves at snail's pace, at any given time. Last time, I got stuck there for 30 minutes at 8:30PM! There's not supposed to be any traffic at 8:30PM!!!

- I've noticed that there are a couple of cars in my car park that have been there for a couple of years now, untouched. It's as if the owners just picked up and left. And the cars are still there, gathering dust. I know that if a car is left untouched for a few months on the main road, cops eventually will tow it away. But what happens to cars in car parks? Who's responsible for them?

- My Du saga is still ongoing. It's gotten worse actually. They cut my line while I was away on holiday. I've called them again twice since I've been back. The problem is unresolved as of yet.

- After living in Dubai for more than 3 years, I had forgotten how it feels when you get great customer service. Especially when it comes to banking. While in Montreal, I had to call my bank there for some information. Here I was thinking I had to get an appointment, go to the bank and spend time with some advisor....But no. All I had to do was speak to a very knowledgeable customer service representative on the phone, who then told me that any transaction I needed to make could be done immediately on the web! A far cry from banking in the UAE, where you have to go the bank to fill up a form to get access to online banking!

- Here's a great thing about living in the UAE: low cost of telecommunications! I got a Montreal number while I was there, and it was so expensive! I wasn't making many calls... only necessary ones to get in touch with friends... But I must have spent around $100 on phone cards in 10 days! Ridiculous! And the other ridiculous thing is that you pay for the calls that you make as well as the calls you receive!!!

- Does anyone know if August 6th is an official day off (the day HH Sheikh Zayed became president in 1966)? I wouldn't mind another long weekend :)

That's it for now. I've rambled enough as it is. Be back soon!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

CNN's most viewed story today?

This one!

The Michelle & Vince after-shocks have begun!

Not sure if this is newsworthy enough to have it be on CNN, but I guess that:
a) It's a slow newsday for the CNN team
b) Any mention of Dubai these days will generate interest...

Sunday, June 15, 2008


Been out of touch for a while. The past couple of weeks have been hectic...trainings, meetings, big projects, not much sleep!

But the good news is, I've got a vacation coming up! Unlike previous years where, by the time I'd take my vacation in August, I'd usually be drained physically, mentally, emotionally...This year, I'm actually shocked at how soon my vacation's coming up! It's almost as if I am not tired enough to be going on vacation :) But hey, I'll take the break anyway!

And the best part is, I'll be taking another short vacation end of when I come back, I'll have something else to look forward to! Woohoo!

Still, I won't completely ignore this blog while I'm gone...I'll try to write some posts over the next couple of weeks, so stay tuned!

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Dubai's (not so secret) nightlife

A friend posted a link on Facebook about this PBS/Frontline documentary on prostitution in Dubai. Nothing new, nothing we didn't really know of or see before, but still, it shocks me that this sort of thing is happening in my backyard (well...almost!)

Dubai's so good at showcasing its glittery, shiny, modern side, we often forget (or choose to forget) about the seedy nightlife. And although I am horrified and disgusted by what these women have to go through, this documentary did make me wonder whether there really is a "good side" to prostitution, as stipulated by the reporter...meaning that prostitution keeps the rest of us women safe while keeping the men satisfied. Sad....but true.

(PS: Click on Watch Video to see the 12 minute documentary)

Sunday, May 25, 2008

It's almost here! The Dubai Metro

The Dubai Metro is almost here. There was apparently a test run in Jebel Ali a couple of weeks ago. Still...we'll have to wait another year and a half almost before people like you and me get to experience the metro system.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Abu Dhabi always seems to get it right

I was at the Bon Jovi concert last night at the Emirates Palace, and yet again, the organization was flawless. This was also the case at the Justin Timerblake concert last December (and apparently at the Elton John concert in January, which I did not attend).

It took all of 15 minutes to get to the Emirates Palace, parking was widely available, we walked to the wristband exchange area, got our wristbands in 7 minutes, and walked into the venue. A far cry from the Shakira concert last year.

The police were there, directing traffic, making sure there was no congestion. Security was efficient and quick. Service at the VIP hospitality tent was impeccable. The Emirates Palace is really ideal for such an event, thanks to its immense lawn which easily accommodated over 19,000 fans last night.

The concert itself was also incredible. I went there with no expectations, but came out of the concert truly impressed (and with a slight crush on Jon...)

Bon Jovi are real performers, and although I'm not too fond of their newer stuff, they did belt out a lot of their classics such as Living on a prayer, I'll be there for you, Bed of roses, Keep the faith and In these arms (but no Blaze of Glory or Always unfortunately).

Yet again, Abu Dhabi has proven itself as a city that can attract big names and organize great events. So who's next?

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

An inspiration

I do not know the Dasmals, and I do not know Negin, but a friend of mine forwarded this blog to me, with a warning: "it's sad...don't read if you don't want to cry".

But I read it, and yes it's sad, but it's also an inspiration. Negin, a young businesswoman who is the driving force behind successful ventures such as N-Bar and 1847 Men's Spa in Emirates Towers was recently diagnosed with cancer, while pregnant with her fourth child.

Her husband writes weekly updates, informing us about Negin's treatment and progress, and how the family has adjusted to the situation.

The way Negin has been dealing with her illness, and the way her husband has been supporting her throughout her ordeal is truly touching, moving, inspiring and it definitely makes you put things in perspective.

Suddenly, that annoying colleague, or the daily traffic, or that unresponsive telecom provider are no longer a priority... Rather, your focus shifts to the important things in life: family, friends, health...

Here's hoping that Negin stays strong in her fight against cancer, and that the members of this lovely, loving family always stay there for each other.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Someone at Du obviously doesn't care...

...because I called again to explain my situation after not hearing from them for about 10 days. That was towards the end of last week, and the customer service representative listened to my story and said that he will make sure someone calls me back regarding the outstanding amount of Dhs 1200 that magically appeared on my bill.

I'm not going to even think of paying that bill until I get an explanation from someone, somewhere....And I don't care if they cut my phone line...I'll still have my mobile...with good ol' Etisalat :)

Friday, April 25, 2008

Through the eyes of strangers

In the past few weeks, I have met up with a few friends (or friends of friends) who are new to the region.

One is a friend who just moved here with her husband and daughter, and the other is a family who is here for a few days, visiting their relative (who also happens to my relative) for the first time. Both groups are North American and have never been to the UAE before.

Talking to these people makes you realize how much we take things for granted sometimes... Seeing the UAE through their eyes is a truly enlightening experience. They're amazed at the grandeur of the choices that are the shops and stores and restaurants we the weather and the beaches and the the fact that this is an Arab country...and that this country is probably unlike anything they've ever seen or imagined.

And it makes you realize...that beyond the daily traffic woes...and the ever increasing cost of living...and the overbearing heat and humidity in the summer, and the sometimes poor quality of customer service...and the often useless bureaucracy of governmental institutions...beyond all that, and despite all that...this is a great place to live in.

A friend asked me a few months ago whether I liked living here. I told him these words exactly: "I live comfortably, I have a good job, I do not pay taxes, my family's close, we have great weather (and great beaches) almost all year, I have a great group of friends that I've known since high school (if not longer), and rarely a weekend goes by without it being chock-full of activities...what more can one ask for?"

Really...what more can one ask for?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Maybe they'll block this? The Du saga...

I've been a Du subscriber for 3 years now...Actually, I was a SAHM subscriber and then became a Du subscriber when Du came to life.

They've been crediting my account directly, from my credit card, every month.

Last month, I get a bill from them (I guess they changed their bill format because the bill looked different), and I notice a Dhs 1200 overdue amount. I was slightly stunned because I had not seen such amount before, so I go back to my 2 previous bills, and in fact, the amount was NOT there.

So I call them, asking for an explanation of the amount. "It seems like we have not credited your account since June 2007" says the woman at the other end of the line. "Why is that" I ask. "I'll file a complaint with the complaint department" says the woman, "they should call you back within 48 hours".

OK, fine.

50 hours later and no answer. I call back. Same thing "your account has not been credited since June" says the man. "Yes, I know that, but I was waiting for an explanation and no one called back". "OK I will file a complaint and we will get back to you" was the answer again. This time,he gives me a complaint number.

Later that same day, I get an e-mail, saying that my credit card details have not been updated, which explains the amount. And they send me a new credit card form to fill out.

I write back saying that I understand that my credit card details have not been updated, but I want to understand why it took 10 months for them to reflect that on my bill. I get another e-mail asking me to fill up the form again.

A little frustrated, as you can probably imagine, I send off another e-mail asking for further explanation.

I get another e-mail asking for my customer ID number "in order to assist you farther (sic) in your query". I do not respond, but I do get another e-mail a day later stating that "your query has been forwarded to our Collection Team who will be responding to you shortly."

That was a week ago....and I have not heard anything since.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

3 years and counting...

Today marks the 3-year anniversary of my return to the UAE.

3 years!

Time flies!

Things have changed for me since I first moved here. I feel more at home here, and I'm having fun. A good group of friends has a lot to do with this change in perception.

A couple of months ago, I was away on business for about 10 days, and I surprised myself a couple of times in thinking: "I can't wait till I get back home". HOME! I think that was the first time I considered this place to be "home".

This is how I was feeling last year, and this is how I was feeling the year before....

We'll see what this year has in store for me :)

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Dubai World Cup

I've been in Dubai for almost 3 years now and I had yet to attend a World Cup...but this year, a few of us decided to check it out...I had only heard good things about the event so I was really looking forward to it.

So we headed there at around 5PM, and got stuck in traffic before the roundabout leading to Nad el Sheba. The reason? Cops directing cars to head into one direction or another. 45 minutes later, we find parking in a sandpit, then we start walking. And we walked. And walked. And walked (in heels). We finally arrive at gate 7, only to find lineup that was so long and so deep, I was about to turn around and just walk away.

We sneaked in. Yes, I'm ashamed of it, especially as people had been waiting there for ages, but it really was ridiculous!

Anyway, so we're in, and by now it's past 6PM (so over an hour after we left my house).

We find our friend in the Bubble Lounge, hang around for a bit, get pushed around by people left, right and center...we mingle with a few friends then decided to grab a bite to eat. We wait in line for a pizza (but it moved pretty quickly thankfully), look around for a place to sit, can't find one, so we sit on the grass to eat (semi)-comfortably.

Back to the bubble lounge where we find friends that have a table, so we can finally rest our tired feet. A couple more drinks, then we decide to head out because a) we wanted to beat the crowd, b) we were tired after a long weekend of celebrating a friend's birthday and c) some of my friends had to still drive back to Abu Dhabi.

The friend that drove us to Nad el Sheba was staying a while longer, so we decided to take a cab...which meant having us walk on a sandy and rocky path (in heels!), which lead to a 20-minute lineup which was growing by the second. At one point, the cabs became scarce and we were worried we were going to spend our night waiting in line, but mercifully, a cab showed up and we were finally on our way home, black shoes turned dusty white, 3 hours and 20 minutes after we had gotten there.

All in all, I'd rate this as a pretty average experience for me (if not disappointing). Some people have told me that the event has increased in size compared to previous years...Regardless, I was slightly appalled by the organization (or lack thereof!), but again, it seems that previous years were much better on that front.

Oh, and I did see the back of a horse!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Earth Hour

Earth Hour is happening all over the world on Saturday the 29th of March at 8PM. Cities across the world will turn off their lights for just one hour – Earth Hour – to show that it’s possible to take action on global warming. Switching off is a simple action that can make a difference and it sends a powerful message that the people of the world care about the future of the planet.

Dubai is the first Arab city to embrace Earth Hour, it joined 24 other major cities who are committing to this event.

It all started in Sydney last year, when the WWF, in partnership with the Sydney Herald, managed to get the whole city rallied around this symbolic event. Check out the video here, it's truly inspiring:

Next Saturday, anyone can make a difference by following a few simple steps:

1. Sign up to Earth Hour by visiting and commit to turning off your lights on March 29 from 8pm to 9pm. We will send you all the information you need to make Earth Hour happen at home and at work (and to cut your energy bills in the long term). It’s free to take part.

2. Take appliances off standby; unplug any appliances – mobile phone charger, TV, microwave, MP3 player, computer monitor, printer – that are not being used and are on standby. Appliances left on standby account for up to 10% of the average household’s electricity use.

3. Spread the word about Earth Hour and involve your friends, family and workmates. Get them to make the commitment at to turn off their lights at 8pm on Saturday March 29, 2008.

For more information, visit Organizations who are willing to take part can also register their company and receive a free corporate communication pack with suggestions on how to get their employees involved.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Blogger blocked?

I haven't been able to access Blogger or any blogspot websites for the past few days. I live in the Greens and I heard that Blogger's been blocked in all free zone areas.

I am now in Abu Dhabi which is why I've been able to access it from here.

Does anyone know why that is?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


This scares the shit out of me because it could have been me...or one of my friends or family members.

I drive that road practically every Sunday morning as I head back from Abu Dhabi to Dubai, and this Sunday the fog was bad. As bad as I've ever seen it. The road was OK until I halfway between Abu Dhabi and Dubai, which is where what can only be described as a wall of fog appeared in front of me. Visibility was close to non-existent. Really bad.

Some drivers felt the need to put their hazard lights on, while others decided that no lights was a better option.

Today's accident is simply horrible. No other words to describe it. Pure carnage.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Leave our islands alone!

We've been going to the Abu Dhabi islands for as long as I can remember. Every since we were very young, we've been going to Bahrani island (or to Peanut Island, or some other small island around Abu Dhabi) to spend a day or fun in the sun, or for an overnight camping trip.

This weekend we spent an afternoon on Bahrani, but on the way there, I noticed that many islands had a "no trespassing allowed" sign on them...While others were littered with construction machinery. Some islands already have some private resorts built on them.

Is this going to be the trend from now on? Will there be no more islands for us to go to? Will the real estate sharks destroy the natural beauty of our islands?

I hope not! A day on one of these islands is simply breathtaking...The wind, the sun, the perfect white sands and beautiful blue beaches are simply priceless. I still want to be able to spend a fun day on our islands 5, 10 or 15 years from now.

Save our islands!

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Horoscope recycling

7Days seems to have run out of material to write about in their horoscope section. The below pictures were forwarded by a friend of mine. December 9th and March 2nd are apparently the same when it comes to your Zodiac outlook...Well spotted!

Well, at least we now know for a fact that horoscopes are just a bunch of bull!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Tough measures

On March 1st, the UAE is implementing tougher laws when it comes to reckless driving.

According to this article:

On March 1, the new Unified Federal Traffic Law comes into effect putting in place hefty penalties for serious traffic offences as well as black points against the licence of the driver.

Basically, drivers will start earning "black points" whenever they break the law, with a maximum of 24 black points incurred in a year.

It's about time something like this was implemented, especially given the fact that 1,056 people died in 2007 alone due to wreckless driving. That's practically 3 deaths a day! Waaaaay too many lives lost!

Setting up rules and regulations is great, but the real question is, will these be enforced? I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Can I come back?

I know that back in September I had declared this blog defunct, but every once in a while, I experience something or do something that makes me think "hmm...this would have been a great story to blog about"...

And so, being the indecisive Sagittarian that I am, I've decided to get back to blogging. For several reasons:

1) I actually miss it
2) Writing about certain things is actually cathartic
3) I've realised that I do not necessarily need to post every day of the week....and that people who are interested in this blog will still come back and read it whether I write 4 times a day or 4 times a month.
4) I still get e-mails from people who have come across my older posts, asking me questions about anything from living in Dubai to how they can meet Sheikh Mo (this is not a lie...I promise!)
5) It's my blog, and I can do whatever I want with it :)

So, let's just call the past 5 months a blog sabbatical... I'm now ready to resume my blogging career once again. I am back!