Friday, March 30, 2012

Polo at Ghantoot

We decided to go and watch Polo at Ghantoot this afternoon. It was The President's Cup Final. We had never been to polo before so were curious. It was a really nice atmosphere. We just sat on the grass with a couple of bottles of wine and watched the game. Lovely.

Some people had made an effort with their dress, like they were going to Ascot or something, and others were very casual, making for a very comfortable mix whatever you wore. The games were relatively short (4 chukkas of 7.5 mins each) and quite entertaining.

We were a bit apprehensive about going as it was 41C when we left, but it clouded over and the temperature dropped 10 degrees and there was a nice breeze, so it was very pleasant.

McLaren MP4-12C on Al reef

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Couple of random pictures...

Abu Dhabi Police obviously think they need to go faster to catch the badies! Looks like they are having a new Camaro delivered...

Roll up, roll up - get your gold bullion here! No, seriously...they are selling gold bars!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Highway Idiot

This guy was going 140 kmph on the Dubai-Abu Dhabi highway. The kid actually had his face right on the front windscreen, and was resting his chin on the dashboard when the picture was taken. Oh ... and he was also smoking, so was no doubt having to manage the driving one handed at times too, or maybe no hands while lighting it?

Two words spring to mind, wit and fuck. Not in that order.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

St. Patrick's Day at Burj Al Arab

In celebration of St. Patrick's Day at the Burj Al Arab. It's not immediately obvious, but there is a shamrock projected in white.

... shame about the rugby though lads!! :-)  Come on England!! Get in!!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Al Reef Burglaries

Below is a story from The National today. This is where I live. Underneath are my comments.

Al Reef residents alarmed by burglaries

ABU DHABI // When ZA's pet birds started squawking in the middle of the night last week, she and her husband did not think anything of it.

It was not until the next morning that the Al Reef Villas resident noticed deep scratch marks on the outside of her back patio door and realised someone had tried to break in.

On ZA's street alone, several residents have reported attempted break-ins in the past several weeks. In the Mediterranean Village, where the Canadian lives with her husband and three children, the houses back on to an expanse of sand near Abu Dhabi International Airport.
"It's easy access," she said. "It is not being monitored, and there are no lights in the back. Our backyard is totally dark."
Residents at Al Reef, one of the capital's largest gated communities, estimate that they have been the victims of more than a dozen attempted break-ins in the last month alone. ZA has since barricaded her sliding door with a stick to keep it from being slid open from the outside.
Other residents have not been so lucky. One reported that a gold watch and US$1,000 (Dh3,673) was taken.
Last Thursday, JL, a resident in Arabian Village, woke up early. The mother of one had just poured herself a glass of water when she was startled by a noise downstairs. The burglar had made it into her house but was scared off when she turned on the light. Nothing was taken.
"I definitely don't feel comfortable," she said. "I've been leaving the garden lights on all night now, and I put a stick in the door."
The thieves always try to come in through the sliding patio back door. Police suspect a screwdriver was being used to prise open the door.
The incidents began in Mediterranean Village but have spread to Arabian Village.
Sometimes a thief will strike in the middle of the night; others say they have been targeted in the middle of the afternoon.
"What's really a mystery to me is why my house was targeted," said JL, a Briton. "Most of the previous homes were backing on to the airport, but I'm surrounded by houses, at least two on each side, and they are all occupied."
Manazel Real Estate, the community's developer, has increased patrols in "weak areas" and is working with the police and CID officers to provide additional security.
Saeed Al Jabri, the general manager of Manazel Specialists, said security cameras would be installed within 10 days, but only in public areas.
"We don't want to violate people's privacy," Mr Al Jabri said.
"This is a major priority for us, but we want to keep people safe and ensure they still have their privacy."
Mr Al Jabri also said the company was considering installing electronic checkpoints that would allow guards to use a key card to check in at specific sites, to ensure patrols were hitting the must-see areas.
Another resident, NR, said she planned to install a motion sensor in her backyard after she found scratch marks on her door about three weeks ago.
"I'm not sure how cameras would work, because the burglars are trying to get entry from the backside," the German woman said. "But maybe it would be enough to give them a fright and keep them away."
JL said that open alleyways and other points of entry should be blocked. ZA said more night-time patrols would make her feel safer.
Mr Al Jabri said fences would be installed, and Manazel has asked the airport to improve its security along the periphery. The community's 32 guards have also been given golf carts for patrolling.
Guards have told residents to put broomsticks in the runners or locks on their patio doors and to report attempted break-ins to the police. Residents are also encouraged to approach Manazel with their suggestions.
Mr Al Jabri said the police are investigating the attempted break-ins, but so far, no suspects have been caught.

OK, so here's my thoughts on this...

It seems a lot of people when they move here, from wherever they come from, think they can kind of outsource responsibility for many things to others; maids, drivers, nannies, cleaners and... security. We too have taken advantage of the low cost of some of these services out here. The problem lies in the attitude taken towards it. Everything seems to become someone else's fault if things go wrong. When children get hurt at home, it's the maid's fault. If a car gets a parking ticket, it's the driver's fault and if my house get burgled, it's Security's fault.

In a way, I understand, when you are paying for a service and in some way the provider is negligent, then some blame should be attached, but I can't stand the attitude some people have towards this. So, this brings me to Al Reef security. Some people seem to think that it is the responsibility of the Al Reef property development company to prevent them from being burgled. Many of the people with this belief come from places with crime rates way higher than here, yet I am sure if they tried to blame their council, or their housing association, they wouldn't get very far. Take some PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY and do something for yourself to protect your home.

We rent our villa at Al Reef and as such I don't pay any service fees to the developers, I'm not sure if the owner does and if he does, I'm not sure what it provides in terms of security. What we do have are manned barriers at two entrances to our community and security guards who walk around day and night. Now, it has to be said that it would not be too difficult for anyone to enter (depending on what nationality you are - easier if you haver a white face - seriously), so frankly it doesn't serve much purpose. I think most of the problems at Al Reef have been around the edges of the development where the gardens back onto open waste ground. There it would be relatively easy for someone to jump over a wall and into someone's garden. This would be true of many other people's property at home I am sure - ours included.

Our villa backs onto a community area and as such I would say is less vulnerable, however we have taken some steps to provide an increased level of security. As one of the residents in the article described, we too have a pole which traps the sliding patio door to provide some extra protection....

I also have an IP Camera trained on the patio door at night recording any movement. We are pretty sure that if anyone did come in, Milo would sense this and he pretty much barks at anything! 

I think the whole thing has been blown up out of proportion honestly. I understand there have been about 20 attempts to gain entry, but only one has ever succeeded. There is a bit more Al Reef can do to provide some extra security and it seems they are taking steps to do that, which is good. But people, really, please do something for yourself and stop blaming everyone else! We do not live in some perfect utopia where bad things never happen, even here, so just take some sensible precautions.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Meat Company is awesome!

One of our favourite places to eat is The Meat Company. Everywhere else in the world it is known as The Meat and Wine Company! - for obvious reasons you might think, but they do in fact serve very nice wine, and beer.

We went on Sunday night for Darryl's birthday. The beef ribs are more like brontosaurus ribs and so beautifully soft. I decided to have the rib meat burger which was fantastic.

Some of the delights...

Here's proof of them having more wine than most wine bars I've been in!

...and no shortage of steak knives either!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Wow, nice car!

Saw this as I was going down Yas Highway today. I didn't know what car it was, but as I pulled up along side it at the lights at Mina Port I had a quick chat with the driver. It is a Weismann. A hand built German car, with the GT version I saw having only 80 produced so far. It looked stunning. c.$250K. I'll have two please.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Dubai Metro success

There was a piece in the paper today talking about ways they are looking to improve the service on the Dubai Metro and talked about its overall success. Undoubtedly, it has carried a lot of passengers, but one paragraph citing its success said...

Mr Al Hammadi said that a study carried out on Sheikh Zayed Road found a reduction in traffic of at least 15 percent [in the period the Metro has been open - two and a half years].

Lies, damned lies and statistics? Has there not been a financial crisis over the last two and a half years? Has not virtually all major construction ground to a halt in Dubai over the last 2 and a half years? Has there not been a population reduction in Dubai as a consequence? Guess why there has a been a 15% traffic reduction?! Anyone who has a car is still driving. Mostly, in my opinion (willing to be proven wrong), people who use the metro do not own a car. I would use it, but it is so sslllloooooowwwww and much quicker to drive on the, now 15% emptier Sheikh Zayed Road!

How do you measure success?

Already having tasted success, these high-fliers quit to follow a dream - The National

The article above relates to three women who have given up successful careers to start their own businesses to follow their dream. In all cases, finiacially at least, they were doling better in their old jobs. They seem very happy that they are doing what they want to do and in that sense it was all worth it. However, it does strike me that for the majority of people, if you want financial success, stick to what you are good at. I'd really love to be a professional golfer. It would be great to give up my job and follow my dream. The problem is - I'm crap at golf! I don't think I'll be giving up my job just yet!

Definitely the best way to transport flammable material

Friday, March 2, 2012

Happy Birthday to me!

It's my 45th birthday today and that along with my recent news of impending grandadhood, are making me feel very old!

We had a lovely dinner at Hakkasan, at the Emirates Palace. I just love Hakkasan. The layout is almost exactly as I remember it in London. The London restaurant is, or was, Michelin starred, the food in Abu Dhabi is just as good. By far the best Chinese food in the country. Below is a piccie of my birthday dessert!

It's been nice to get messages from friends and family all day today. I got a few from companies I am associated with in one way or another, like my bank, HSBC, and my financial advisors, GlobalEye - who sent me a cake! Very nice it was too!

We have just chilled out by the pool today and this evening there is more chilling for me as Caz has bought me a 2.5 hours session with a the Spa at the Shangri-La! Will be sooo nice. Film and take away after that I reckon...