Monday, January 30, 2012

I kissed a girl (or two) and I liked it...

... until I got arrested and sent to a detention centre!

So a young guy who is cheekily dating two sisters, with their knowledge apparently, sneaked into their house and has a snog with them. That's it. No more fumbling, no suggestion of any other fornication - but for this, he is now banged up.

If we had the same laws in the UK I reckon there would be very few boys still with their freedom!

Full story here....

Boy, 15, who kissed girlfriends detained for up to three years - The National

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Great weekend of sport in Abu Dhabi

This weekend Abu Dhabi hosted two major International sporting events; the second cricket test between England and Pakistan and the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship (with Tiger Woods, Luke Donald, Rory McIlroy etc etc). The two venues are literally only 10 minutes part by car and both of them were free to enter, so this afternoon went to both of them! I started at the cricket and saw England bowl out the last three Pakistani batsmen, then I went over to the golf. I stayed a couple of hours, following Tiger and Rory round a few holes and then watching more from the Village while getting some lunch. Then I decided I would go back to the cricket to hopefully see England bat through to 145 and win the test. Alas, what I actually saw was a totally dismal effort, totally outclassed by Pakistan's spin bowlers. All out for 72! Seventy Bloody Two ! Still, it provided a good spectacle, and made a large number of Abu Dhabi's Pakistani residents very happy!

Dinner at Quest, Jumeirah Etihad Towers

We had dinner with some friends on Thursday night at Quest. Quest is on the 63rd floor of Jumeirah Etihad Towers, which would have had some fantastic views if the windows were cleaner! As there was 9 of us, they provided a private dining room which was lovely. The food was a kind of Asian fusion. The dishes were "ok", but not fantastic - certainly overpriced, offering more of a reflection of the hotel brand rather than culinary excellence. Over all we did have a nice evening, but we would probably not go back in a hurry.

One cool thing they had though, was the wine list provided on an iPad. Now, I'm not a wine buff, but if I was, I would have found it really interesting to scroll through and find out the finer details of the vineyards and their ownership in the information provided. For me, I just looked for the cheapest red and chose that! I'm sure I am not alone in that strategy!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

What do you reckon?

Welcome to our newest addition!

Well, Caroline decided that as I wouldn't agree to having another dog - she would just get one! Bloody women!

So here is our, as yet unnamed, new member of the family!

Yes, he has huge ears!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Lost in translation

I went to a security exhibition in Dubai this week. One stand caught my eye. I'm not sure they would go down well in the UK....

Monday, January 16, 2012

Close shave!

Today I was driving to Dubai from Abu Dhabi when the cars started slowing rapidly with hazard warning lights flashing. I thought "uh oh, here we go for an hour sitting in a jam", but it seemed that I was on the scene not too long after the accident had occurred. Judging by the fact that there was only about, maybe 10 cars in front of me when we had slowed down and the way that debris was strewn everywhere, I'd say this could only have been minutes before I got there. The only thing suggesting otherwise was that there was already an ambulance at the scene, but I am ring to assume that that was just a lucky coincidence for those involved! There was no sign of anyone still in the car, so hopefully, they were ok and not killed, as could easily have been the case judging by the state of the car.

Here a quick clip of the scene....

Friday, January 13, 2012

Discount to death

This is a headline on the front page of The National today:-

"Road deaths linked to traffic fines discount"

This follows a previous post of mine below...

They had another "sale" on fines in September, giving 30% discount, which then increased to 40% in December. Low and behold, the violations increased, as did the number of fatalities - all very predictable.

“When we reduced traffic fines, many people saw it as an opportunity to commit more traffic offences, and they came to think that we did not care,” Maj Gen Mohammed Saif Al Zafein said.

You don't say!

It seems a common occurrence here that rules or laws are changed at whim without really thinking through the consequences, only for them to be revoked soon after. I can only assume that some big guy decides he wants to do something and no one else dares challenge him. Surely if there was some level of consultation, some of these changes wouldn't happen?

I love the way they then try to blame the pedestrians for the high fatality levels. Yes, this is a problem, but I don't think that in the main it is their fault. It is either high speed driving at fault, or urban planning that doesn't provide any way for people to get from one side of a highway to another without a ten mile hike.

“Highways are not there to be crossed, and they should also not have any underpasses or overpasses,” he said.

I really don't understand why they should not have underpasses or overpasses? You are just giving no option to many people who have to get from A to B without a car.

Anyway ... here's the full story ....

DUBAI // Deaths on the roads rose by 28 per cent during a four-month discount period for traffic fines.
Pawan Singh / The NationalMaj Gen Al Zafein said anyone crossing a road that has a speed limit of more than 80kph should be fined.
The deaths are too high a price to pay and the discount experiment will not be repeated, Dubai’s traffic police chief said yesterday.
“When we reduced traffic fines, many people saw it as an opportunity to commit more traffic offences, and they came to think that we did not care,” Maj Gen Mohammed Saif Al Zafein said.
Officials introduced a 30 per cent discount on traffic fines in September last year. In December the discount was increased to 40 per cent and the period extended to January 10. The scheme was aimed at encouraging offenders to pay accumulated fines, and nearly 800,000 fines worth Dh344.7 million were paid compared with just under 700,000 worth Dh335.5m in the same period a year ago.
In the last four months of the year, however, 46 people were killed on Dubai’s roads, compared with 36 a year ago. “We observed a clear connection between the discount and road fatalities.
“Deaths on roads continued to increase during the discount period, and for us that is a clear sign of a direct link between the two,” Maj Gen Al Zafein said.
“Our main priority is reducing road fatalities and saving lives, not collecting fines. And if collecting fines would mean that more people are killed we will be held accountable.”
He dismissed any suggestion that police might extend or reintroduce the discount scheme.
Maj Gen Al Zaffein said one of his department’s main goals for 2012 would be reducing the number of accidents in which pedestrians are run over, which comprised about 30 per cent of the total number of road fatalities in 2011.
“Reducing the number of people killed while crossing the roads is our main challenge this year,” he said.
Last year 41 people were killed in such accidents, compared to 43 in 2010.
Maj Gen Al Zaffin blamed lack of awareness and negligence by pedestrians for most of the deaths.
Anyone crossing a road that has a speed limit of more than 80kph is committing a traffic offence and should be fined, he said.
“Highways are not there to be crossed, and they should also not have any underpasses or overpasses,” he said.
However, he did call for more pedestrian crossings on roads with lower speed limits.
“There are not many pedestrian crossings on inner roads, such as those in Al Wasl and Jumeirah, and therefore people will cross those roads from anywhere,” he said.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Volvo Ocean Race Gig

A few pictures taken from the gig this evening and a video of Kamal Mussalum, on the Oud, with ADBB.....

Thursday, January 5, 2012

I want one!

I want one of these in yellow, black and red! A trip to the tailors required I think!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Abu Dhabi Big Band @ Volvo Ocean Race event

The Abu Dhabi Big Band will be playing on Saturday Jan 7th for this event at the Race Village on the Breakwater, Nr. Marina Mall, Abu Dhabi. We will be playing two sets at c.4pm and 6pm.

Best news... it's free, so come along!

Photo: Tiffany Schultz

A few more photos from Qasr Al Sarab

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Sunset at Qasr Al Sarab

I made the trek to the top of the large dune next to the resort (c.200ft tall) to watch the sun go down. It is pretty spectacular up there, with nothing but sand dunes to be seen for as far as the eye can see.

...with apologies to Lawrence...

Monday, January 2, 2012

England Class

I am going to be catching up on a few blog entries having been a bit neglectful lately. I am, however, Tweeting regularly which you can follow on the right hand side of the page, so that will provide more regular comments.

It seems now, the more we go back to the UK, the less bothered we are about coming back here. I know the weather is grim, but everyone looks so bloody miserable and, in the high streets in particular, basically, scruffy. I think the permanent sunshine really does make difference here in making people look brighter and less dowdy.

Here's a couple of pictures showing the classy side of England....

Dartford Shopping Centre

Swanley Cafe

Coventry eatery

"Man Queue" outside Primark, Coventry