Tuesday, April 30, 2013

My dotted line boss, meets my Line Manager


White Trucks 'R' Us

I've been meaning to take pictures of this vehicle storage area in Jebel Ali, where my work is based, for ages and finally got round to it this week. It basically a holding area where vehicles are kept as they are delivered straight from the port, waiting to be shipped to dealers. The photos I took don't cover may half of the area, but give you an idea...

My edit I have called "White Trucks 'R' Us "

Monday, April 22, 2013

Time for change...

Well as I approach 5 years here (OMG how did that happen!?), things are changing. I am about to start a new job (it's big and it's blue) and for the first time since living here, I will have an Abu Dhabi visa and not a Dubai one. It doesn't make too much difference, except it means we don't have to traipse across to Dubai for medicals and immigration visits for me and the maid . It also means that I can get an alcohol licence! Yay! Nearly five years and no alcohol has been a bind (ahem) but I will soon be able to purchase and drink alcohol legally  Anyway, no doubt more on these changes in the coming weeks.

As well us approaching 5 years, The National newspaper here is also celebrating it's five year anniversary. It is by far the best English speaking newspaper in the UAE and I have subscribed to it, I think, for 4 years now. The have doing some pieces focussing on "then and now" from 5 years ago to now. Below are some photos they published in the paper showing two of the major developments that have risen up in the last 5 years:-

There are many others, including everything on Yas Island, everything on Saadiyat Island and everything on Aldar's Al Raha Beach development. I could name probably a dozen other major developments and other infrastructure projects that have been completed while we have been here. Although it does seem that projects are slow at the time, as you look back you can see how things have indeed moved on significantly.

I'm sure I will be reminiscing more as the 5 year mark approaches in June, so I think that is enough for now!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Biting your tongue...

This is a frequent occurrence in the UAE. Such an occurrence happened to me tonight in the extreme.

I was already pissed off because I had been to Yas Marina Circuit to run and my Garmin GPS's battery had died at 4.8KM, leaving me not knowing what my time was for 5KM. Annoying.

So, the route home from there takes me through a short tunnel (imaginatively called 'Yas Tunnel') which has a 40kmph (c.25mph) speed limit. This in itself is ridiculous for a three lane (or is it 4, can't remember?) road, even if it is in a tunnel. So, I am driving in the outside lane of said tunnel, absolutely not doing about 80kmph and neither was anyone else (!) , when a twat in a (wait for it.... yes,  you guess it.....) a Land Cruiser (shock, horror!) came tearing up behind me, flashing his lights and positioning himself about 4" from my rear bumper. This is in a tunnel remember? 40kmph limit.

So anyway, as he didn't actually have anywhere to go i.e. no hard shoulder to overtake on (which is a favourite) and cars on my inside, I do my usual thing....just sit there. Save ramming me (which I wouldn't put past some) there wasn't really much he could do, except continue flashing his lights, sounding his horn (he did, a lot) and kind of swerve from side to side like a demented cobra. As he was being a particularly irritating rear orifice, I did in fact slow down somewhat just to wind him up. Yes, childish I know, but it just had to be done. This was "bite your tongue" moment no.1. I'll explain later.

When we exited the tunnel, I sloooowwly pulled over so he could pass, which he did and performed the totally predictable "lets try and swerve in front of you to make you break hard" manoeuvre, which they learn as small children on their bikes in the street most nights between the hours of 11.30pm and 1am. I followed him as he screeched round the roundabout and up to the traffic lights, which much to my amusement, were on red. As I pulled my car up behind his, I thought this is it, I'm going to get out and have a quiet chat to him and explain the error of his ways. Or something like that. So I put the car in "park", undid my seatbelt and then started counting to 10. I reached about 3 and had my second "bite your tongue" moment. I put my belt back on, waited for the lights to change and let him speed off.

So why all the tongue biting, the uninitiated may ask? Back home it would be for different reasons. Back home, these days you never know who you are dealing with and could end getting stabbed. But the odds are more in your favour of this not happening, so road rage kicks in and arguments abound. So why here? Because the odds are totally stacked against you. Try to argue your case against certain people and you are just going to fail every time. So when my instinct in the tunnel is to slam on my brakes and let the pillock smash into the back of my car (why should I care, it's a lease car and the insurance will cover it),  I have to remember that when the police are called, all he needs to do is say is that during the inevitable confrontation that would occur after, I had verbally insulted him and flipped my finger at him. This will be enough for me to be arrested, thrown in jail and eventually given a short jail sentence, followed by deportation. No need for witnesses. No burden of proof. My word against his. Happens time and time again. Same at the traffic lights. Whatever I may have said to him, would just be relayed as something totally different to the police and include the inevitable finger flip too.

So - biting you tongue my friends is the way to go. Not very satisfying, maybe galling, but will keep you out of jail. After nearly 5 years here now, my tongue is very sore.