Monday, December 27, 2010

Back from the cold....

We just landed back from our Christmas trip home. It was lovely; family, the snow, fresh air and no travel problems whatsoever - amazing! When we left, Heathrow was only only operating a third of flights, but ours left on time and arrived on time - at Heathrow (many did not, they got diverted elsewhere). We picked up our hire car and travelled the M25, also with no hitch.

It was strange seeing England looming in the aircraft. Where we would normally be getting excited about the greenness of it all, the fields and trees - instead everything was white with snow. It has been about 3 years since I saw any real snow - so it was lovely, and great to breathe in some cold fresh air. 

We managed to see all of our kids while we were over which was great, especially as it was a surprise for most of them, we weren't expected home for Christmas. Caz was also able to share her mum's 60th birthday which was a great surprise for her too. Christmas day was with my family in Hemel Hempstead at the brother Ian's house. Everyone knew we were coming home except my mum and dad. We had a Skype link to one of my other brothers, Steve, and his family in Bristol as they wanted to see my mum and dad's face when they arrived and saw us there. It was a classic double take when my mum saw us - "what are you doing here!" Brilliant!

Caroline's daughter lives in our house while we are here, so we stayed as a visitor in our own home - weird. It was so strange to stay in our house, with our family round us, but with none of our things in it. Boxing Day was with Caroline's family in our house. I bought some logs so we could have the fire burning all day as it was so cold. Rochelle had so much food we could have fed the entire village, but we gave it our best shot to finish it off!

It was all over far too quickly and now we are back in the desert. Back to work tomorrow for me :-(

Oh well...only 9 days before the kids are out with us over here and I'll be off again - yippee!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Hawkers in Abu Dhabi

I had a bit of a bizarre encounter today. I was heading back to my car after a business meeting at ADMA. My car was in the public car park in front of ADMA along the Corniche. A Mazda car with two guys in it stopped me for direction to Yas Island. They were Italian guys. The driver was very grateful for the directions and started up about a conversation about where I was from and what I did. He told me he was a fashion designer working for Armani and that he had just come from the Emirates Palace outlet and was on his way to Yas Hotel. I joked with him that if he was a fashion designer I should probably apologise for my suit! - which is definitely not Armani.

He was soooo pleased to be talking to fellow European who had helped him, he wanted to give me something. He looked at my and told me I was a European size 58 and that he had some samples left over - as he and his friend were not size 58 he would love for me to have one free..... ok yeah right... so now I was waiting for the catch. He continued. He had 3 suits my size conveniently, and he was leaving tomorrow and had promised his daughter that he would take her back an iPhone... so here was the deal.. take the three suits but just give me the money enough to buy her an iPhone.......

Of course I politely declined and bade him good day.

Now this kind of thing happens all the time at home, mainly in motorway services stations, generally trying to flog watches....but Abu Dhabi?, randomly in a car park on the Corniche?? Bizarre.....

Friday, December 10, 2010

Beating your wife the Islamic way

This is an interview with Bahraini cleric Abdullah Aal Mahmud explaining the "correct" way to beat your wife under Islamic rules.

I'm sure beating your wife is just the way to make her hot and want to have sex with you! (I think I"ll pass on trying it out) - maybe try not being such an aggressive bastard, that might help!

I'd love to hear some of your comments......

Burjuman Warning Sign

Burjuman is an upscale mall in Dubai housing most of the top designer brands.

Click to see a larger view.....

Monday, December 6, 2010

Abu Dhabi Big Band at the One-to-One

ADBB will be playing a gig at the One-to-One village in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday night from 8pm-10pm with free entry! All are welcome - come and enjoy the music!

Friday, December 3, 2010

World Cup Woes

Well it looks like I'll have to wait at least another 20 years for the chance to see the World Cup in my own country! By the sounds of it, the way the voting went we were never really in the running. Partly thanks to the BBC screening a documentary implicating some members of the committee in a "cash for votes" scandal about 3 days before the vote. Well done guys - good timing! We all know this kind of stuff goes on  (Qatar?/World Cup? - I'll come back to this one) but at least expose them after the vote!

So Russia (have loads of oil wealth) and Qatar (have loads of gas & oil wealth) have got the votes. Well, I guess at least Russia have a football pedigree and have actually been to the World Cup before - but Qatar!? It'll be weird though seeing every other country's football team dying of mysterious food poisoning incidents leaving Russia to win in 2018..

Firstly, as we all know it is going to be 'king hot in Qatar in June/July - no seriously if you haven't experienced 45-50C (maybe more - it got up to 51C here this summer and it has been 55C here before) then it is difficult to convey how nasty it is, especially as it will be over 90% humidity too most likely. Now I know they are building these super "green" (yeah right, ok) stadia with mega air conditioning etc. - but what the hell do you do when you are not at the games? These are the times when fans relax in the parks/seafronts/street cafes etc enjoying the atmosphere and banter with other fans - drinking lots (and lots) of beer, eating hot dogs (not made from chicken) and flirting with the local girls!! Hmmm.... problems all round then!

They are going to have stadia in multiple places in Qatar, but really Qatar is, well, Doha. And Doha is really not that big. There will simply be too many people in a small place with nothing to do. Some of the stadia are apparently going to be dismantled and sent to poorer countries after the event. Now this is a good thing, because at least if they go to somewhere in Africa for example, they will get used - filled to capacity - if they stay in Qatar, they will be redundant. There will be no lasting football legacy for Qatar.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

UAE 39th National Day

It's National Day here in UAE, when they celebrate their birth as a nation, bringing together the 7 Emirates as one country. The National have done a great job of producing some good material about the history of the day. They are working on what they call the "History Project" which will culminate in next year's 40th anniversary. Take a look at their website.....

A nice touch from Google today....

Caroline is still stuck in the UK due to the snow (she was due back yesterday), so I am here on my todd for National Day. I'm just taking it easy with some time by the pool and may go to a cafe and read the paper in a while over coffee and shisha. I've decided not to go to the Corniche this year, having witnessed the madness the last two years! It is great fun and well worth watching at least once, but I can't face the traffic getting in and out.

You can see some pics from last year on my previous blog....

So, mabrook to my Emirati readers - enjoy your day!