Monday, January 31, 2011

Wedding Anniversary

Today is our 7th wedding anniversary. I thought about buying Caroline some itching relief cream in case of need, but didn't get round to it! This was us with our sprogs on our wedding day:-

Tonight we had dinner at the Cipriani restaurant at the Yas Marina. We have been lucky enough to eat at Cipriani's "Harry's Bar" in Venice and also their Rainbow Grill on the 65th floor of the Rockefella Centre in New York (now closed), so I thought it would be nice to try out the new Abu Dhabi venue. It was lovely. The food was great (calamari followed by langoustine "scampi" for me!), the decor is lovely (I particularly liked the port holes either side of the bar complete with video of an ocean scene!) and the overall ambience was very nice. As the weather was good we decided to sit outside, where we had a nice view of the Yas Hotel ....

The funniest things was as we were leaving. A local guy was leaving the restaurant and gave his ticket to the valet parking attendant. The attendant proceeded to drive his Mercedes SL63 AMG 5 yards, parked it and opened the door for the guy! The car ended up further away from him that it started! Brilliant!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


I finally gave in!

Caz has wanted a dog for as long as we have been together (nearly 10 years!). She has always had dogs before and has really missed having one around. I have always said that while we are both working full time it wouldn't be fair and Caroline has agreed. But now she isn't working full time, so my main argument has crumbled!

So let me introduce to you Milo......

Milo is 10 weeks old and a typical cross breed "desert dog". We deliberated over his name but finally settled on Milo, as suggested by Caroline's daughter Rochelle. He is a lovely placid dog and is pleasure to have around.

We adopted him from a rescue centre, Strays of Abu Dhabi (SAD) . They have been fantastic and have provided a great service - to us and Milo!

I'm sure you will hear more about Milo in the future.......

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Shisha at home

I have finally succumbed !......

About 100 Dhs from Carrefour and I am sorted. I've bought a few different flavours of tobacco to try, so should be a few nights of puffing away outside while the weather is good.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Valentine's Day, UAE - Feb 13th

Yes, I said Feb 13th!

This year the Prophet Mohammed's (PBUH) birthday is due to fall on Feb 15th. This will mean that there can be no alcohol served or live entertainment from 6pm on Feb 14th.

This of course will screw up many people's Valentine's night plans, especially those who are not especially attractive and rely on alcohol to make sure they have a good night! As a consequence of all this, most of the hotels are pulling forward Valentine's night to Feb 13th so they can offer the usual full package of fun and frolics.

We will have Caroline's daughter, Rochelle, over with her boyfriend that week. We are sparing her the embarrassment of a double date with her mother, but we don't have anything arranged as of yet. It's on my to do list to organise!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Saudi Arabia has banned blogging without a license

I guess we should be grateful that the UAE has a more liberal attitude to these kind of things. Whilst you shouldn't be insulting, to a degree comment and debate within reason is allowed. I do know of bloggers however that have fallen foul of the law here, so freedom of speech is definitely not to be assumed.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Video of trip to Beijing

I'm way behind on editing my videos from our trip to China.

Here's a compilation from Beijing.....

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Abu Dhabi Speeding

I've realised it's been a long time since I blogged about driving in Abu Dhabi. I actually think I have become partially immune to the madness, because I don't come home every day thinking how lucky I am to be alive. I've become de-sensitised to it all. According to Caz, I have also started to adopt some of the local bad driving habits. I think maybe I have partially - it's a case of "if you can't beat them, join them" sometimes! And if you can drive down the highway at 100 mph at no risk to anyone else, knowing that you won't get flashed by speed cameras - why wouldn't you!

I am totally unfazed now by the flashing tailgaters on the highway. I just sit there in my lane if I am overtaking and move over when I choose to do so, not when they try to force me to. There is the occasional one where I do get out of their way because they are quite clearly psychopathic and will literally ram your car off the road because they have no fear/intelligence/respect/problem buying a new car if theirs is wrecked.

If I get the chance to block someone who blatantly has driven past the queue of traffic to barge in at the last minute, then I certainly will. Mind you - I would do that at home too, it's just it happens more frequently here. I just can't stand the "get out of my way because I am more important than you" attitude. In the UK you might shout "do you think you own the road!" - here, the answer could be possibly be "yes". Mind you, at home you might also get punched or stabbed.

There is a news story running here that they are cutting the "buffer" that allows you to drive up to 20kmph over the speed limit without penalty. In residential areas they are cutting limits to 20kmph (ridiculous) and 40kmph with no leeway.

They are doing this because they believe it will save many lives.

“I think this is a positive step forward,” said Mustafa Issa el Wazani, a senior engineering inspector at the National Transport Authority. “If we implement this correctly, it will have a huge impact in terms of safety.”

When are they going to do it?

The changes will take effect in two years’ time in an effort to reduce speed-related accidents, Brig Gen Hussein al Harethi, the head of the Abu Dhabi Police Traffic and Patrol Directorate, said yesterday.

In two years time! Deeerrrr! Why? If it is going to make such a great difference - do it tomorrow, next month - but don't leave it 2 bloody years!

They have already declared publicly that the highway speed limits and the speed at which cameras are set (also public announced - another FAIL!) will not change. Hooray I say. I am not a believer in the phrase "Speed Kills" when applied to highways. Poor lane discipline kills. Idiots kill. Not using mirrors kills. Driving on worn out tires kills. Driving with a family of 9 in your Nissan Tiida kills. Driving at speed in fog kills. Speeding per se, does not kill.

Here endeth the lesson.....Amen

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Contradictions challeged

From today's The National.

Shop manager appeals conviction for indecent video game - The National

Basically, two men are appealing their conviction for showing indecent images on a video game in the billiard hall. Their defense is that they bought the machine legally and how can they know what images are going to be portrayed in the machine with 150+ multilevel games. Also to support their case they produced stacks of magazines and underwear packaging (also purchased legally) which show images far more indecent than the ones in question.

This case exposes major problems here, that of contradiction and hypocrisy. You can't show an indecent image on a games machine, but you can on underwear packaging. You can't show cleavage on a cereal packet, but you can show mannequins with "peep hole" bras in the mall. You can't wear "indecent clothing" at the mall, but you can go to a Dubai club venue wearing next to nothing. You can get arrested for having consensual sex if you are unmarried and living together, but a blind eye is turned to hoards of whores in many venues all over the country. And and and........

It is no wonder tourists (and others) fall foul of the law - all the contradictions are confusing.

I hope the two guys succeed in their defense, but I suspect that for some logic to be applied will be too much to ask.


Shop manager appeals conviction for indecent video game - The National

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Bronchial Tourrets

I'm still feeling rough and feeling sorry for myself. Caz is making the usual "man flu" jibes and not really taking my suggestions that I might have TB or pneumonia or something very seriously. It might have something to do with me suggesting I had nose cancer last time I had a cold. But honestly, there has to be something in the female make up that mean they are partially immune to certain ailments, because they really don't seem to get them as bad as males. They just can't do, it's impossible.

I do think this time though I have developed a new illness, Bronchial Tourrets. When I cough it hurts and exhausts me so much, that after each bout I swear uncontrollably. Something like *cough**cough*"f@ck off" or *cough**cough*"bastard".... I'm sure it will wear off, I'm hoping the antibiotics will kick in soon and I can stop being a grouch and an anti-social cougher........

Saturday, January 1, 2011


Ohh err, spooky date!

It is the second anniversary of me writing this blog. So much has happened in this time it is really quite unbelievable. We are in our fourth home, Caroline has starting her own work venture and we have visited some amazing places. Here's to another eventful year!

Just so nobody bothers asking - no, we had a crap new year's eve!

We had already decided to have a quiet night in, but Caz wasn't feeling great and I had a fever with a chesty cough. We were tucked up in bed watching a film Caz wanted to watch by 10.30pm - a lovely cheery story with Julie Walters going through an assisted suicide. Great way to see the new year in!

We decided to pull ourselves out of bed to go and see the fireworks on Yas Island from our balcony at midnight. We couldn't see them. We could hear them though. So as midnight came we just, well, listened to the fireworks, then went back to bed to watch the final moments of Julie Walters' life.........

Today was a better day though, well what we saw of it. I think we finally surfaced just after 1pm. We went to the Abu Dhabi World Tennis Championship and watched Rafa Nadal beat Roger Federer 7-6 7-6 in the final. A very civilized way to pass the afternoon of new year's day.

I commented to Caz on the way back that we are fortunate that Abu Dhabi does manage to attract world class sports and other entertainment, the venues for which are mostly less than 15 mins from our house - Yas (F1, Concerts), Zayed Sport City (Tennis, Concerts), Abu Dhabi Golf Club (European Tour Championship in a couple of weeks time). If we wanted to go and see these sort of events at home, they would normally be quite a trek.

Best news of the day though.... Watford vs. Portsmouth live on Al Jazira Sports tonight! Yes, get in there! So I am off to watch my team live from Watford, in Abu Dhabi - doesn't get any better!