Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Etihad [unwanted] Guest

I got this email today....

Now, because we are not rich and I don't have a huge flight allowance from my company (unlike some) we always travel in economy. Once we upgraded with our Etihad points when we were both feeling rough and wanted an additional level of comfort, but that was an exception. But having used Etihad for all our flights home and all our kids flights when they come out, we have both managed to get Etihad Silver cards. As I had also used Etihad for some business flights, I got mine first and recently Caz got hers. So when we return to the UK in August it will be the first time we would both be flying on Silver, thus gaining entry to the Etihad lounge before our flights. 

I know it is only a little thing really, gaining access to the Etihad lounge. After all its just some food and drinks in comfy chairs, but the airport wait is the worse thing about travel for me, so any improvement in this boring, uncomfortable time is welcomed. Also at a base, human level, there is also the warm feeling of superiority you get when you walk into the lounge, knowing that so many others are not allowed in. I think many people will not admit that, but whether it is conscious or sub-cosncious, it is there. Of course Etihad play on this big time in their advertising and marketing.

Alas, however, apparently we are not so special anymore! As once coveted, loyal travelers with Etihad - fawned on as frequent flyers - now we are relegated to the "not quite so special" lounge with the frequent flyers of Yemania Airways and those who bought their way in by buying one of the airport pass cards that are advertised. It will be ram-packed and will probably just have dry sandwiches and assorted nuts - not the sumptuous buffet on offer by Etihad. 

So basically, Etihad are only interested in FFs if you are rich enough, or have a corporate travel budget big enough, to travel in Business or First class. I for one, will not be making the 15 minute walk to join the crowds in the "reject" lounge. So, it looks like it will be Burger King for me and the smoking room for Caz! 

Ah well - you can't beat a Wopper Meal at 6am ......

Sunday, June 26, 2011

You can avoid jail if you are rich enough

From today's "7Days" ...

I was going to title this post "In Dubai you can avoid jail if you are rich enough" , but I am not naive enough to think that this kind of thing doesn't go on elsewhere. Money can't buy you everything, but sometimes it can keep you out of jail...

Saturday, June 25, 2011

More on the maid situation

I know for people living back in the UK the idea of us having a maid, sounds a bit like "Upstairs Downstairs" but here it is so common to have one, no one bats an eyelid if you say you have one. To be fair, even at home we had someone come in to do cleaning and ironing and Caroline has used an au-pair before, so the concept is not so alien. We are in the process of looking for another maid after the nightmare of the last one. The main issue for us is having Milo looked after while we are at work. But it has been really great to have the house cleaned everyday, the wardrobe always full of ironed clothes, the garden watered (a necessity in this heat if you don't want everything to die pretty quickly) and the cars clean (yes, she cleaned the cars too).

Caroline has changed her hours for now so that Milo is not left too long, and it is ok, but she can't do that for ever and we both agree it would be so much easier if we had another maid. It will also mean we don't have to pay for kennels when we have trips home. So the search continues...

When you sponsor a maid here, you become her official employer and you have legal responsibilities towards her. As my visa is held in Dubai, then she falls under my sponsorship in Dubai. There are tons of forms to be typed (paid for to be in Arabic), photographs to be submitted, a medical (c.300 Dhs) to be conducted and a 2000 Dhs deposit to be paid. There is also an annual sponsorship fee of 5000 Dhs. The maid then gets a monthly salary, which in the enlightened country that we live in, is purely dependent on what country they come from. It ranges from something like 600 Dhs (c.£100) for an Indonesian to 2500 Dhs (c.£420) for a Filipino. So all in all, it is not a cheap exercise.

Milo is becoming a very expensive addition......

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

House Maid

I haven't covered this subject before, but 8 weeks ago we got a house maid. This was because Caz was going back to work and now we have Milo - so we needed someone to look after him. Cleaning/cooking etc was a bonus. Anyway, it's a very long story - but the long and short of it is below:-

Got a maid

She was crap

Needed to get rid of maid, but she refused to go

Police came

Man from her Embassy came

Maid leaves with man from Embassy

Maid's visa cancelled

Looking for new maid... (are we mad?)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

John Terry breaking the law in Abu Dhabi!


Well, they are aren't they?

I go to great lengths telling my daughters to "cover up" when they visit. Keep your cleavage inside your top; no strappy tops; no short skirts. There are two main reasons for this...

1. respect to local sensibilities
2. to reduce man-staring

We also tell those of our kids that come with other halves - do not kiss each other in public.

So seeing these two muppets over here acting like they are in Ibiza really pisses me off!

I know of a couple that were fooling around in the pool of an international hotel in Abu Dhabi - just normal larking around - only to be confronted by the police telling them to get out and go with them to the police station. The lady had to go there and then in her bikini. Apparently a local had complained and they were charged with simulating sex in public! Fortunately they had a good sponsor, who managed to get them released. But it is so unfair when there is one rule for them and another for celebs staying at Emirates Palace.

I would have so laughed if they had go arrested...

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Petrol shortage spreads to Dubai

Petrol shortage spreads to Dubai and RAK - The National

Have you ever heard anything more preposterous !!

What next -

  • all the sand from the desert has blown away??

  • camels can no longer take the heat??

  • sensible driving breaks out on Shiekh Zayed Road??

...and I thought the UK running out of water with all our rain was ridiculous!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Men should have sex slaves

Men should have sex slaves, says female Kuwaiti politician - The National

So, basically legalise human sex trafficking for guys that can't keep it in their trousers - without committing a "sin" .

Ms al Mutairi said free women must be married with a contract but, with concubines, "the man just buys her and that's it. That's enough to serve as marriage".
...eer enforced prostitution??

"Offices could be opened to run the sex trade in the same way recruitment agencies provide domestic labourers, Ms al Mutairi suggested."

..eer government pimp??

"The ruling was confirmed by "specialised people of the faith" in Kuwait, she said. "They said, 'That's right, the only solution for a decent man who has the means, who is overpowered by desire and who does not want to commit fornication, is to acquire jawari'." "
...eer double-think me thinks.....??