Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Trip home

Heading back to the UK on Friday to see family and friends...can't wait! Back on June 8th. Looking forward to some crap English summer days!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

A mixed weekend

I came back from Bahrain with a nasty stomach complaint, which basically left my in bed and in the bathroom all of Friday! However, I felt a bit better today so we ventured out to Marina Mall, did a little shopping and then went to the cinema. Caz wanted to watch Angels & Demons, but I fancied trying out the Gold Class which was showing the new Terminator film. The film was the usual terminator stuff which was ok, but the seats were fantastic! Massive wide reclining leather seats with footrests - lovely! And for drinks and food service a call button on the table inbetween. Now this is how films should be watched! ... all for Dh110 (£20) so not bad really, probably less than a normal seat in the West End of London.

Here's a couple of pics taken inside the cinema, sorry about the quality, they are just off a phone.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Chrome Merc!

Saw this chrome plated Merc outside Marina Mall this afternoon..... bet it takes some cleaning! ..... not by the owner of course!

Royal wedding flowers

I had a meeting at ADNEC the day after the royal wedding and there were still some flowers in the main atrium. Here's the picture....

Friday, May 15, 2009


It's nice now to be able to just walk out of our tower block and walk around the city. I waited today until the sun started to go down and then walked around our part of what is called the Tourist Club Area and then on to the Corniche. There was nice breeze off the gulf on the Corniche which made it quite pleasant.

Here's some pictures I took ...

Mina Tower (our apartment block)

I'm sure you wouldn't get away with a company name like this at home!

Around the Corniche

They even make the subways pleasant places

A view back from the Corniche showing our location and where Caz works

Sun going down over LuLu Island

Opposite of apartment, Shiraz Nigits!

Office desk

When we moved we had to sell my office desk because it was just too big for the room I now have (which is meant to be a maid's room and I definitely feel sorry for any maids who actually have to live in such a small space!). We priced up desks at IKEA and the cheapest at the right size was Dh399 (£72). I noticed, however, that by our apartment block there are loads of carpentry shops that seem to be making furniture and other items. I found one guy called Asif (!) who offered to make what I was looking for for Dh325, he said he would make itin 2 days and deliver it. His workshop is just across the road from our tower block.

It came, as promised on the day he said. I just wanted something cheap so it's just in MDF, but it's functional and will be fine. I probably won't bring it home with me, so it will do for now. Below are pictures of Asif's workshop, a clip of them carrying it over to us and the finished product in situ.

Etisalat and the Mosque

The two subjects in the title aren't linked by the way - sounds a bit like an Enid Blyton story book. No, I called Etisalat on Monday evening to upgrade my broadband. We have fibre-to-the-home at our new apartment, so we can get 16mb broadband, so it has to be done, right? (question directed to males of course). Went through all the details and they said it should be activated in 48 hours and I can call back to check. Haven't bothered until today (Friday), but ran a speed test and seems no change so I called them. Surprise surprise, nothing has been done. No record of my conversation with them or any upgrade order. Fantastic. So went through the whole thing again and now I'm told it can take up to 4 days. I should expect a phone call. We'll see.........oh, and 16mb is going to cost Dh549, so that's like £100 a month! Fortunately my company will pay it. Seeing as I am their only employee in Abu Dhabi, it's cheaper than renting an office!

So, the mosque. We are now 2 tower blocks away from the nearest mosque. Great if you are Muslim, not so if not. Although, to be fair we have got used to it and even now sleep through the 4.15am prayer call! And you live in an Islamic state - just deal with it! On a Friday as well as the prayer calls - 6 in total (if you are lazy and can't get our of bed at 4.15 you can do the other 5!) - there is the Friday sermon piped out from the mosques. On Fridays, as this is the day 90% of the population are off work, the mosques are packed. The one next to us has an overflow area outside for praying and on Friday this too is packed. Therefore people get as near to the mosque as they can and pray there. So below is a picture showing them praying in a car park, under the shade of shop fronts and basically anywhere they can. You have to admire the commitment to their religion and the way it drives their whole way of life.

The mosque is behind the tower on the left, with it's outside area in the middle on the left.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Royal Wedding Today

I was merrily wending my way back into the City from Mussfah today when the traffic clogged up by ADNEC (Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre). It soon became apparent that something involving the Royals was going on. There were many Police cars, military vehicles and 30th street on one side had been brought to a standstill by police. Here's a clip of what I saw as I passed by ADNEC.....

And here is the reason as described on the Gulf News website....

Rulers attend UAE wedding of shaikh's daughter

WAM Published: May 12, 2009, 16:29

Abu Dhabi: President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and King Hamad Bin Eisa Al Khalifa of Bahrain, attended a wedding banquet on Tuesday.

It was hosted by Shaikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, on the wedding of his son Shaikh Mohammad Bin Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan to the daughter of Shaikh Khalifa Bin Hamdan Bin Mohammad Al Nahyan.

Now, to me, there doesn't sound like too many degrees of separation there! Multiple congenital defects looming for their offspring?? ("Bin" = "son of"), let's hope not - Inshallah

As I carried on down 30th Street, various high ranking and diplomatic cars were passing. Then I saw a nice white Jag with the good old Union Jack flying, with a diplomatic number plate of "1/1". Yes, inside was our very own British Ambassador to the UAE, Edward Oakden CMG (had to look up CMG, as I didn't know what that was - it's a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George, something to do with M&S and ASDA I think? - sorry , UK joke) .

Here's the snaps I got as I drove down 30th , then along the Corniche - he then turned off towards the Embassy...

Sunday, May 10, 2009

New notebook

Updating this today on a new Toshiba notebook bought from Carrefour for AED1000 (c.180 quid). It's one of those dinky little things that you can carry with you. It's petty neat and I thought it would be handy for our travels. So if you are in Abu Dhabi and fancy one, get one while stocks last!

Had a friend of Caroline's over for the weekend (Alison), so was nice to have a visitor to the new place (actually nice to have a visitor at all!). We did some of the touristy stuff here and in Dubai, but made for quite a nice weekend.

Here's a few pics from Dubai Mall a link to some new Zayed Mosque photos...

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

We are in....

Well the move went relatively smoothly and we are now in our 2 bed flat in the City. I have to say the removal company was very good. I think you tend to set yourself low expectations out here, but they kept all their commitments and even made a courtesy call in the evening to ask if everything went well. Good job. So here's their plug...


We are already finding the new location better, with Caz walking to work and I'm able to get to my calls in the City more easily. The only nightmares were Etisalat (phone company) and ADDC (utility services company) - the first setting up our broadband wrong and me doing a lot of running around and making long phone calls to get it up and running; and the second because it took 2 hours with their customer services to open an account, and then only after agreeing to pay AED131 (c.£25) outstanding bill from the previous tenant! I shall be passing that on to the landlord!

It's still a bit hectic sorting everything out, so more later......