Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Easiest Job in the World

I saw this today on my travels....

I think working for the Abu Dhabi Forestry Department must be the easiest job in the world.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Film and food

Before we went to see Contagion at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival , airing at the Abu Dhabi Theatre (which I really enjoyed by the way) we had dinner at the Havana Cafe at the marina. There is a nice view across the marina from the cafe.

The menu, once again proved interesting. I went for the Grilled Seafood, which was nice but had a kind of strange description......

...and to be honest, there were much better things on offer! .......

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Crap cinema, crap film

Oh dear , oh dear, oh dear - what a waste of time and money. We fancied going out to see a film (movie for anyone Americanised (Americanized, sorry) ). We normally go to the VOX Cinema at Marina Mall, in the "Gold Class". This is not because we are snobs or something, but because in Gold Class you don't normally get people constantly texting, BBM'ing, making and receiving calls and generally talking loudly, thus spoiling the whole experience. I checked out the listing for Gold Class and there was some kids film in 3D and something else that didn't sound too great, so I thought I would check elsewhere. There is a new cinema in the new Dalma Mall in Mussafah. This is called the "Royal Cinema" and had "Platinum" showings.  They had a film called (and take note of this, you will thank me) "Killer Elite" staring none other than Mr Robert De Niro and British gangster actor, Jason Statham (Lock Stock.... / Snatch etc). So I figured it had a good cast and it sounded like the sort of action film I would like. So off we set for the half hour drive to the mall (we British would say, shopping centre, with an re by the way, not an er).

As the mall is still quite new, the place was pretty deserted and apart from two seats we had the pick of the place. When we first entered the first thing we noticed was that the seats are much closer together than the ones at Vox, but they were leather (possibly faux) and looked nice. The seats had a forward and back button that put the seat into a recline, but without the leg support of Vox. Caroline's seat buttons were not working, so I tried the one next to me. That didn't work either. I then tried various seats in the cinema and about half of them were not working, although some were working but had the wiring crossed so the buttons were reversed! Having found two seats at the back that worked we made ourselves comfortable.

The trailers began. I noticed that the film did not appear to be in focus. Titles and subtitles were blurry and even some of the on screen action just didn't look clear. The whole picture also appeared to be bobbing up and down, like the projector was bouncing. I thought maybe it was just for the previews, but when the main film started and it was the same, I thought I am going to have to say something. I was beaten to it by another British guy who walked out to go and complain. I went and chatted to him when he returned, just in case he had actually been to the toilet and I still needed to complain! But, yes, he had spoken to somebody about it. The next thing we hear, being on the back row, was the full sound of the projector room when the projectioner opened his window to view the film. Now we had an annoying sound disturbing the poor picture! I spoke to him and I guess he was trying to get a better view of the screen to focus it properly. I gave him a thumbs up when it was better and asked him to close the window.

Now to the film itself. What a load of drivel. The storyline (thin as it was) was implausible, the script terrible (it could have been written by a 12 year old) and the acting was pretty awful too. We managed half an hour, gave up and left.

So, it looks like we will be back to the Vox Gold Class next time, even if it is to watch Lion King 3D !


It is reported today that during the 2 day BB blackout, road accidents were reduced by 20% in Dubai and 40% in Abu Dhabi! You can read the article here.

"On average there is a traffic accident every three minutes in Dubai, while in Abu Dhabi there is a fatal accident every two days." the report states.

Brig Gen Al Harethi (Abu Dhabi Traffic Police Chief) said: "Accidents were reduced by 40 per cent and the fact that BlackBerry services were down definitely contributed to that."

"Absolutely nothing has happened in the past week in terms of killings on the road and we're really glad about that," Brig Gen Al Harethi said. "People are slowly starting to realise the dangers of using their phone while driving. The roads became much safer when BlackBerry stopped working."
It seems amazing that the BB effect could make such a huge difference, but honestly, I'm not surprised. I see tons of people on their phones while driving every day here in the UAE. I admit that I too have been known to send the odd BBM or email while driving, so I suppose I am part of the problem - although I do have 27 years of driving experience and judgement behind me to draw on, rather more than most of those typically involved in accidents here. It's over 10 years since I was involved in an accident of any kind, including zero here in the UAE - not a bad record I reckon!
One thing I do usually avoid is holding my phone while having a phone conversation. I have a Bluetooth kit in my car so I can talk handsfree. This is what really gets me - most of the people I see on the phone are in expensive, luxury cars that no doubt have built in Bluetooth controlled from the car's on-board computer system. So why the hell don't they use them! 

Well BB is working again now, so I guess the stats are back up to normal now! 

Friday, October 14, 2011

Janet Jackson played Abu Dhabi tonight

.... I didn't go, but here's a video of some behind the scenes footage.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Al Reef Swimming Pool

There was an article in The National yesterday highlighting the problem of community pools not being taken care of properly, leading to skin irritation and illness. One of the pools they discussed was our community pool at Al Reef Villas (see picture). You can read the article here. (picture by RAVINDRANATH K / THE NATIONAL )

Now, we are very fortunate to have our own, albeit small, private pool, so we have not been affected by the closure of the community pool. And despite what the management say, there were already lots of complaints from people in the community about illness etc. before the Municipality got involved, so there is no way that the pool was closed for "maintenance". If the Municipality say that they asked to close it, I see no reason to disbelieve them, although for various reasons, I may well disbelieve the management.

They do have a habit of making things up - like when they said that the pit which holds our water pumps outside our house was filling up with water because we were washing the drive down with water, causing the pumps to fail. Er, no - it's because of the crap design where the main contractor has placed the pumps at the bottom of the pit below the ground water level!

We too have had issues with our own pool. Firstly, the heater/chiller unit kept failing - we are now on our 4th unit, which seems to be holding up (he says looking for the nearest piece of wood to touch) . We have a pool maintenance contract, but we are constantly chasing them because the pool cleaning has not been done, or has been done badly. This week our pool turned into something that resembled pea soup. They have thrown so much chlorine at the problem that the levels are now off the scale (I have taken to doing my own water tests now), so on our day off tomorrow, we will probably not be able to go in our own pool.

In the scheme of things though, these are minor irritations and we do like living in Al Reef. So, anyone thinking of moving here should not be overly alarmed I would say. The general feel of the place is good and does have a nice community atmosphere. The maintenance teams are friendly and helpful, but unfortunately are not usually given the right tools for the job, but this is not the workers' fault. We had a plumbing issue and the guy came promptly enough, but only armed with a screwdriver!

Oh well - all part and parcel of the colourful life living in the Middle East....

Monday, October 3, 2011

Fire at Mina Port today

No-one seemed to be too bothered that the flames were licking the cars on the road next to it.

An Abu Dhabi driving classic

Maid woes....

Another one bites the dust!

Oh dear... This one has got gobby and says she wants to work somewhere else next year. Sorry love, if that's how you feel you can go now!

She has the easiest life ever for a maid but apparently it's not enough!

Read my lips....