Sunday, April 25, 2010

Abu Dhabi Big Band at the Club


On Friday night the ADBB had a gig at The Club in Abu Dhabi. It was for their dinner dance and was attended by c.150 people. The Club is a private members club started by some British expats in the late ‘60s on land donated by the late Sheikh Zayed.

The gig went really well and featured our new logo’d stands. There were lots of people up dancing which was great. Our next gig is at the end of May (date to be finally confirmed) to be held in the auditorium of the ADMA-OPCO (Abu Dhabi Marine Operating Company), an oil company here. This will be open for the general public so I’ll post more details later... you would be most welcome!

Here are some pics from Friday....




No Justice

This from today’s BBC website.....

Amnesty International says UAE abused Indian prisoners


Rights group Amnesty International has condemned authorities in the United Arab Emirates over the alleged torture and forced confession of 17 Indians.

They were sentenced to death last month for killing a Pakistani man. Amnesty says the men were taken to the scene of the killing in the emirate of Sharjah and forced to re-enact it. It says they were made to beat a police officer posing as the dead man a month after their arrest - an act filmed and presented as genuine evidence.

There has so far been no comment so far on the allegations from the UAE authorities.

'Faked video'

Citing evidence produced by Indian rights group Lawyers For Human Rights International (LFHRI), Amnesty said that the 17 men were beaten with clubs, given electric shocks, deprived of sleep and forced to stand on one leg for prolonged periods.

"This is a mockery of justice. These 17 men have been tortured, forced to confess and sentenced to death based on a faked video," Amnesty's deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa, Hassiba Hadj Sharaoui said.

"Amnesty International is calling on the UAE authorities to investigate the allegations of torture and abuse and to ensure the 17 men receive a fair trial on appeal," the group said in a statement.

The murder allegedly took place after a dispute over control of an illegal alcohol business. About 50 people were involved in the fatal attack in which the Pakistani man was stabbed repeatedly. Correspondents said gang violence connected to illicit alcohol is on the increase in the UAE, where the sale of such drink is controlled. Reports said that it could be the highest number of death sentences handed down at one time in the Emirates.

The 17 have appealed and are due to reappear in court on 19 May.

This story has been running for a while out here, but this Amnesty report sheds new light. I think it is safe to say that Amnesty are a pretty reputable organisation, with some pretty good lawyers, so I am sure they wouldn’t be putting this kind of information out if they didn’t have some solid evidence behind it.

So, if proven to be true, this is just disgusting and yet another example of the lack of justice available in this country - especially to expats.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Video blog entry No.1 !

Emily Pankhurst eat your heart out!

Marriage licences would curb abuse, expert says
Haneen Dajani
The National - News
22 Apr 2010

Marriage licences should be renewed every five years, and specialised trainers should give couples a test before they are allowed to get married, a professor and TV host said yesterday. Such steps would reduce the risk of women and children more...

This ones a cracker! The bottom line is, let your husband shag you whenever he wants and all will be well!

I can't argue with that!

The funniest thing is a comment left on the online version of the paper....

A good finding-'Men are soft on the inside'.
Western influences make other woman think that she is above man.
Mindset has to be changed through education and mass media.Behavioural sciences should be taught from school.The advantages to the society of a good family shall be taught.
What men mostly look [qualities]in a woman are:
--non-argumenting;but softly expressing views once the time comes[not at the height of an argument];views can be put in writing also,if talking is difficult in a situation.
--do not complain about parents or friends
--give some advance notice of requirements,so that man gets time to arrange
--do not look for perfection in men
--sms to remind functions/birthdays/parties
--arrange the food as per his liking
--take care of the children,including studies
--ask things as per family's allowable budgets
--do not push for loans to live luxury life
--talk nicely to his friends and relatives

Radha Krishna, Dubai

Some very sensible suggestions Mr Krishna! (but don't tell my wife I said so........)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

ADBB Gig at The Embassy

The Abu Dhabi Big band had a gig at The British Embassy tonight in commemoration of The Queen’s birthday. We were just providing background music while the assembled great and good of Abu Dhabi quaffed champagne and ate canapes. It was also the first public engagement for the newly installed British Ambassador, Dominic Jermey OBE. The leading local dignitary was H.H. Sheikh Nahayan bin Mubarak al Nahyan, the UAE Minister of HIgher Education and Scientific Research. The Ambassador gave a speech which he started quite eloquently (or so it seemed to me) in Arabic, which was quite impressive.

There were lots of military types there in their regalia and one of them proposed toasts to a) Sheikh Khalifa and b) The Queen , but asked out of respect to the local customs and traditions to use non-alcoholic drinks!

They had on display a restored Aston Martin DB5 that has been doing the road in Abu Dhabi over the last couple of weeks. It is definitely a beautiful car. I’m afraid my camera phone doesn’t do it justice.

All in all quite a good night.

Next gig Friday night at The Club.





Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Ambrovich ahoy!

I was involved in hosting an event at the The Yas Hotel today. It was spoilt somewhat by the practice session for the GT1 event taking place this weekend. The hotel had previously said that the practice sessions wouldn’t start until tomorrow, so a strong conversation was had with the management!

In the marina I spotted the yacht below...


It is the Ecstasea owned by Roman Abramovich, or did his wife get it, I’m not sure! It’s number 24 on the list of world’s largest yachts.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

On the move again!

We have decided to move... again! This will be the 4th home we have lived in within 2 years!

Rental prices have softened in Abu Dhabi somewhat. There are many developments, on and off the main city island, that are now being completed. So, that together with the number of people that have moved to Dubai to take advantage of the massive drops there, has meant that the supply and demand balance has shifted slightly. Last year we paid 200k AED (c.£36k) for the annual rent on our 2 bedroom apartment. At the time this was not a bad price for the area, pretty average. When I discussed the price for the coming year with the building owner (bear in mind that there are about 70 flats in our building and this is probably not the only property he has - how rich must he be?), without any haggling on my part he offered us 150k AED. So that sounded better. Armed with this info I thought we should check out some other buildings around us, still close enough for Caz to walk to work, but that might have that most elusive of treasures in this part of town - a parking space! And guess what - we found one!

The map below shows where we are going......


It is the “Al Mansoori” building, named after the owner and his business, whose offices are also in the tower. It is still a 2 bedroom apartment, but it is bigger, with a full sized “Maid’s room” having it’s own en-suite, rather than the cupboard allocated to maids in our current block (not that we have a maid!), so you could pretty much call it a 3 bedroom. There is a swimming pool on the roof of the building and also a small gym. But the best thing is ... I will have an allocated, numbered, completely dedicated parking space in the underground car park! Yippee!! All-in with fees 174k AED + 4k deposit.

More for less. Bargain.

Roll on April 29th!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Just friends....

This is a temporary bridge walkway over Mina Road while the roadworks are taking place - at least I hope it is temporary!


Saturday, April 10, 2010

Things from home

We just got back this morning from a week at home. It has been nice to see everyone again, but I have to say that neither of us was particularly bothered about leaving the UK to come back. We are growing to like it here and there are definitely more pros than cons to living here at the moment.

Mostly when we go back for a week, we end up going from pillar to post trying to catch up with as many people as we can, staying in various locations and spending the earth eating out with an assortment of kids. Nothing changed this time. Next time however, when we go back in August, we have booked a 5 bed cottage in the the country with an outdoor pool. So all the kids and hangers on can stay with us and if family and friends want to catch up - they can come and see us! We are going to have a BBQ/Pool party, so should be fun.

One day while out and about I took a few pics on my phone as a selection of things you just don’t see in Abu Dhabi, so here goes :-

A chimney pot......


A betting shop....


A letter box.....


Tesco (an old school high street one at that!).....


A 18th century pub....


A public showing of affection.....


A naked statue......


Maybe a prize if you can name the high street??