Sunday, May 23, 2010

Phew!!..... 'nuff said....

So while the UK basks in 27C ........ and, errr, check the time


.... and yeah I know...I need petrol!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Idiots on Sheikh Zayed Road

This video has been floating around showing local guys doing doughnuts and driving on 2 wheels along the main Dubai highway, Sheikh Zayed Road. You can see the regular highway users braking and trying to avoid them.

Salvation Army to set up camp in Emirates

This will be of interest to some of my folks back home.......

Salvation Army to set up camp in Emirates
Zoi Constantine
The National - News
18 May 2010

Dubai // The Salvation Army, the international Christian movement known for its charity work, is to establish a presence in the UAE, according to church officials. The Emirates will be the second GCC country to host the Salvation Army. The more...

Traffic fines

Apparently the “Black Point” system is going to be rolled out across the whole country. Below is a list of the country’s traffic offenses. 95% of these are never enforced. Check the difference between 3. and 4. Obviously number plates are more important than life!

To people who live here, some of these are just laughable. 32. for example - every local here has illegal tinting and not one will be fined. 26. - 1000’s of people do this - never fined. 41 - happens all the time, never seen anyone fined.

Oh well, ho hum...... one day maybe they will wake up and start imposing the law?

UAE Traffic Offences

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Odd meeting

I just thought I’d share some moments of a meeting I attended today.

Firstly: The tea boy. Every company you go to here will have an Indian (or Bangladeshi/Pakistani) tea boy who will be called (or shouted to) to come and take an order for drinks. So the lad comes in (by the way our tea boy at work is probably about 58!), and goes round the room. “yes sir..” he says to me. I say in very clear, pronounced English “coffee please, with milk, no sugar” to which he replies, “black coffee?”. I say “no, with milk please, no sugar” - tea boy shakes his head in an “ok I got you kind of way”. Drinks arrive. Mine is black. I say, “can I have some milk please”. “ok”, he takes it away. Sometime later he returns with white coffee! Hurrah! I drink some......It’s got sugar in! Aaagghhhhh! I just drink it. I know there could be a language problem, but he only has one job to do all day and that is make drinks, you would have thought he would have picked up the difference between black, white, with milk, sugar and no sugar!

The meeting was with the Project Management company and the Engineering Consultant for a building security project. The project is for a government organisation. Now, the client (the government organisation), had instructed the project team that under no circumstances shall there be any products installed in the building that originated from China. These days that is a tough call, because even if you propose a solution from a highly regarded, global manufacturer, they will inevitably have some manufacturing going on in China.

Products from China, per se, are not a problem. Products that come from some nondescript , generic, white-label factory that are then just “badged” as someone’s product may be a problem. In my industry we see plenty of examples of this and there can be some pretty poor products out there sold this way, so I can kind of understand the reticence about using products from China. However, the manufacturer in question built and owns their factory, it was built to the exact same standards as all their factories globally, it has the same manufacturing equipment, highly experienced staff from all over the world running it and the products produced are exactly the same as those produced elsewhere and carry the same warranty. But no, if the Country of Origin is China it is “haram”, not allowed. They made exceptions for products from Cisco and HP, as there was no other product source in some cases.

So now they will have pay up to 50% more in some cases to have the same items sourced from Europe. Oh, and Taiwan is ok apparently - go figure! I’m sure if we applied the same principle to our daily lives, we would not leave the house, or even get out of bed, as pretty much everything we touch has some connection to China these days it seems.

Two other things things made me smile in the meeting. The first was an exchange where the project manager was told “I know where you are coming from”, to which he replied, “yes, I am coming from Alexandria!”. The other was when we were asked to supply a revised proposal “later today, or before tomorrow” - yesterday maybe??!!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Shurely shome mishtake

Saw this on the back of a Nissan TIIDA. There may be a few possible reasons for this.......

  1. A genuine factory error
  2. Nissan have a drive to employ more dyslexic people
  3. A staff member at the factory trying to be funny
  4. The car owner trying to be funny
As far as I am aware “TAIID” doesn’t actually mean anything so a definite FAIL if 3) or 4).

In any case, if I owned a Nissan TIIDA, I would not want to do anything to draw people’s attention to it.


Friday, May 7, 2010

More of LuLu's treats

Another couple of things in LuLu’s that caught my eye.

A broom... (maybe the name connotation only works in the UK?)


...and a rather scary looking skinned rabbit! I think at home, maybe they might have at least taken the head off! Maybe it’s only us sensitive souls in the UK......


UK Election

Well yesterday was the general election in the UK. I must admit, for once it was not the uppermost thing on my brain due the media coverage at home and my interest in voting. I had all but forgotten it was going on. So for those who are not so familiar with British election rules and the different parties , here is a quick (if very simplistic) summary.....

I don’t mind saying that if I had been at home I would have voted Conservative. Labour and Brown are tired and devoid of any ideas, and I can’t see the Liberal Democrats ever being in contention unless.....

...well unless something happens that will favour them over the next few days.

As it stands right now here are the results..... (thanks to the BBC for the graphics!)


Now many people seeing this from other UK countries may immediately think that the Conservatives have won. Actually, it’s not that simple. To be able to immediately form a new Government they must have an outright majority with a minimum of 326 seats. As none of the parties have achieved this, we have what is known as a “Hung Parliament” - calm down ladies, it’s nothing to get excited about!

So, now here’s what happens - best summarised in the graphic below......


For sure there will now be frantic discussions up and down the corridors of power, positioning and posturing, to try and negotiate power. The Constitution means that until anything else is resolved, then Gordon Brown remains the British Prime Minister and has the first shot at forming a Government with the Liberal democrats. The Lib Dems are of course perfectly at liberty to have parallel talks with the Conservatives to see if they can negotiate a better deal. One of the Lib Dems main war cries is on electoral reform. They are not in favour of our current electoral “first past the post” system. They would rather a “Proportional Representation” system used in many other parts of the world, especially in Europe. This system would gives seats in Parliament equal in percentage terms, to the percentage of the vote received. This they argue is a fairer systems and is more representative of the electorate’s wishes. If one were a cynic, one might counter that they are only interested in it because it means then, that they would do better and have more chance of power. The LIb Dems would use this issue as leverage with both competing parties in their negotiations on joining a coalition to form a Government. It is widely believed that Labour would agree to a referendum on the subject to entice the Liberals to join them.

Personally, I think the swing in favour of the Conservatives shows the country’s mood and should give them a mandate to form a government, even a minority one. However, of course they are not in control of this decision making.

Interesting days lay ahead in British politics. In a way I am sorry I am not there to experience it, as it will be an election to go down in British history, but in another sense it is nice to dive into the news about when I want to and not have it rammed down my throat!

Monday, May 3, 2010

It's mad here, honestly!

Just have a read of this story from yesterday's newspaper and you will get a small flavour of how ridiculous it is here, in oh so many ways!

Traffic frenzy in mall car park
Essam al Ghalib
The National - News
02 May 2010

For Salman Khan, 41, a Pakistani driver for an Emirati family, trips to Al Jimi Mall are a navigational headache that usually end in a telling off. He can never pick up his employer’s wife and children fast enough, due to the ongoing gridlock in more...

Saturday, May 1, 2010

New Apartment

Well we have finally moved into our new apartment. We are very pleased with it and it is much nicer than the previous one - and cheaper to boot! The staff have been very helpful sorting things out for us. One great thing is that they don’t allow you to put your own pictures etc up on the wall in case you hit an electrical cable or something, so the maintenance men will come and do it for you! Hurrah!

And parking... oh my god , parking - you don’t know how wonderful it is to actually be able to park in my own space... hurrah no.2!

Unfortunately, we are still right on top of the roadworks, although the noise so far doesn’t seem to be too bad.

All in all though, I think we will be happy here.

Here’s some pictures of the place......

Al Mansoori Building Apartment

Indian Universities

There was a news story in the paper here discussing some unrest in India because the government was going to allow more foreign universities to invest and build in the country. The argument was that it would lower the standard of local universities and create a gap between those who can afford to pay for the foreign establishments and those who have no choice but to use the local ones.

Standards definitely need to improve... see below (they just love to burn a flag eh?)


....nuff said.