Saturday, March 29, 2008


The other lunchtime I was in a taxi heading home, sitting in the back seat and minding my own business as I often do.

We (the taxi-driver and I) were driving up the middle lane in a 3 lane street. Further up the road, on the left side was a small slip road which would take you off across the 3 lanes on the opposite side of the road. Also, traffic coming on that side could also use the slip road to come across the 3 lanes that I was travelling up. Any driver could then either continue in the direction I was heading or go right across the 3 lanes and continue up an ajoining road. /if that all makes sense?/

So, in the lane to our left were 2 cars - a black one and a blue one. The black was slowing to turn left onto the slip road whilst the blue one didn't really notice that the black car was going left. The blue car then cut over onto the middle lane infront of us. We then tried to break and move to the right hand lane to avoid the blue car. Meanwhile, as we were trying to slow down another car that had been attempting to come across our 3 lanes of traffic pulled out in front of the blue, missing it. Alas, our car was not so lucky and we hit this other car. Thankfully, as we were slowing it wasn't a high impact crash and in fact the car only had a minor bump. The other car who had caused the crash - well, his bumper was hanging on by a thread!

My taxi driver pulled over as did the other driver. They started 'discussing' who was at fault whilst examining the damage. Meanwhile, I was in a bit of a state of shock. I've never really been in a car crash. The taxi driver explained that he wasn't going to take me to my destination. The cheek of him. And what was even more of a cheek, he asked me to pay for my ride upto that point. Huh!

So, the moral of the story - don't sit in the front seat of a taxi and always wear a seat belt. In fact, I might as well just say - don't travel in a car etc in Dubai. It's not good for your health.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


I'm not very sure if any of my postings are actually being posted. On blogger, I write them and then click on the post button but when I got to the website the new posting doesn't appear. I just went to the main page to find the 'last' post was in the middle of March which isn't actually correct because I've definitely posted some since then. So, I'm not sure what's going on. As for deleting comments - I can say that I have 100% not deleted any at all.Anyway, I'll keep writing and see what happens.

Sunday, March 23, 2008


Yep honeymoon is over.

Fed up in all honesty.

The initial excitement of a new job and a new place and a new environment have evaporated into the sand dunes and the full realisation of the task in hand is becoming clearer.

On the plus side, the apartment situation seems to have resolved itself. The Landlord that went back on our agreement called me back to say that we could have his apartment if we still wanted it which, given that there were no real alternatives, was something of a godsend. Whether or not I want to share is another issue but needs must. At least the apartment is not going to break the bank.

On the slightly negative side...this whole job task really is huge. Essentially creating a very specific English Language textbook/program would take experience authors in publishing houses months and months of time to research, plan, write, proof-read, trial and that would be within a team of other experienced teachers. Yet, I have only myself and it is frustrating. I guess the rewards at the end might be good but as it stands its not all a bundle of laughs.



Why is it that some people that you haven't spoken to for a while think they can just waltz back into your life as if everything is all grand and dandy?

It's not on.

Saturday, March 22, 2008


Having a bit of a 'mare to be honest.

It's all accommodation, or to be more specific the lack of accommodation. I've been looking at a number of apartments but some are better than others and the better ones are in the hands of landlords that are less than honest.

Their unrealistic demands and their going back on their word leaves a bad taste in the mouth and if they are going to behave like that then I'm much better off not getting involved with them. Which still eaves the problem of finding an alternative place to stay.

And that is stressful.

It is defintely causing problems and headaches and a loss of focus at work.

Friday, March 14, 2008


So, I'm currently shadowing people at the Airport - seeing what they do and seeing what kind of language they need or would need with the eventual aim of creating some kind of English language training program for them.

This week, I've been following 'Driver's'. The people that transport checked-in baggage from the bagge sorting areas to the aircraft or take the baggage from the nearly arrived aircraft to the terminal or for transfer to other flights. In essence I've been sitting in a tractor thingy going from place to place at a speed not more than 25mph. A strange way to be spending my days. But, thankfully most of the Drivers i've come into contact with have some amount of English - enough to speak with anyway. Which in many respects is a good thing but in others, its not especially when they choose to complain about there job to me. For example, they want to know why they have been passed over for promotion or why they are on the same salary as someone who has been doing the same job for half the time they have. All questions that are well outside my area. I guess that they might see me as some kind of link to 'management'. Some white-boy with a shirt and tie who might be able to do something for them. I see there point especially considering that even there own Bosses rarely speak to them. In some ways, its good for me because they will be more likely to speak to me because they think i'm 'important' and they want to make a good impression but at the same time its not something I want to get involved with. I don't know why they haven't been promoted or whatever.

Anyway, more of the same next week I would say. I have to go back to the office around lunchtime though because it gets hot on the tarmac and I'm not paid to be hot.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


There I was, sound alseep when someone walked into my room. Shocked and surprised, I looked at my clock '2.15am'. I needed to be getting up in 3 hours. The someone turned out to be the building security guard. He said that someone was here to move into my room...right now. Stunned, I didn't really know what the hell was going on. Half asleep I mumbled something unpleasant whilst thinking this was some kind of joke. I went back to bed hoping that it would all go away and that maybe I was dreaming. Back out in the corridor I heard voices - one belonging to the security guard and the other from an unknown random bloke, presumably the new employee that had arrived and was due to move into my room. They were talking. The random must have glimpsed into the room to see an empty bed with no pillow or duvet or anything. He asked the security guard for all those items. The security guard replied that he didn't have any and that they would arrive tomorrow. The random wasn't impressed and said so. He also said something along the lines of not wanting to share which anyone. 'You're not wrong mate' I thought to myself. He random then said to the security guard that he wanted to go to a hotel room. After a few minutes, they both left the apartment. I'm not sure where they went and neither did I care.

In the morning, I was onto my Boss to complain about the farce at 2.15am. He forwarded my concerns onto someone else who then finally replied to say that this random was meant to move into my room but had been rehoused elsewhere. The reply suggested that I should have been informed of this also. 'No shit, Sherlock'. No apology, no reassurance that it wouldn't happen again, nothing.

I've no idea what to make of it all. Actually, my thought was 'I'm moving out asap if I have to share a room'. In fact, my co-workers said that because I'm at a certain Grade, I shouldn't have to share a room. Clearly someone in Accommodations needs to be made aware of that.

All I'll say is I'm not impressed with certain aspects of Accommodation - lack of communication being one of them. I wonder if this is 'big company' syndrome in which nothnig gets answered or done right away. My flatmate is still waiting for a reply to an accommodation request from last week. It seems that if you want something answered or donw you need to C.C. your E-mails to your Boss and also the Boss of the person you are trying to ask something of. I would call that abit shady but if it is the only way to get something actioned, then so be it. As my Boss said 'use the rules to your own ends'.

Monday, March 10, 2008


Finally got my Visa stamped and authorised which now means I can get a Bank Account and start looking for Apartments. A co-worker and I went back to the Apartment we had seen last week in order to try and get it but when we went to the building, we were told that the Landlord had let it to some else despite him calling the previous day to ask if I was still interested in it. Needless to say, I was not overly impressed but I get the impression that that kind of thing is quite common here. In fact, I've been advised to carry everything I would need to secure an apartment with me so that if I do see a place I like, I would be in a position to get it right away.

Alas, we saw another Apartment just up the road from the missed one. It was O.K. but I really didn't get a good feeling about it. It would have been fine and would have done the job but it just wasn't right, even though the rent was. Since I'm not in any particular hurry to move, I might as well hold off until I see something that I actually do like. This place wasn't that place. But the 2nd place I saw kind of was. New building, nice fittings and a fully eqipped kitchen which is unusal here. Plus it had a gym and a swimming pool on the roof. I liked it alot but the rent was just too high. I could have stretched to it but again, I've got time on my side to hold off.

After the disappointment, think I need a week off from apartment hunting.

Thursday, March 06, 2008


Not sure if I mentioned but I got a new room-mate. He's an I.T. guy from El Salvador. He's alright and we get on just fine. We also got another room-mate the other day. A bloke from Serbia. Not sure what his job is but its in Customer Services - perhaps gettting passengers checked-in and stuff. He's on a different Grade than me which means less money and less benefits. It seems that he been abit unhappy since he arrived - complaining about the terms and conditions of the job and his prospects for getting an apartment.

It's all abit strange because he has lived in Dubai before and has family working for Emirates. And surely, he knew of the job conditions and salary and all 'Dubai-related' stuff before he arrived. In fact, he probably had more information than me before I arrived.

Alas, he came home last night to tell us that he had decided to quit!

Madness. He arrived on Sunday and quit on Thursday. How can you make a decision like that after 4 days? I don't get it. It's not as if he's came here on a whim as it take time for Visa's and stuff to be obtained. He's known for at least 2 months he was coming over. And now suddenly, he's not impressed. Silly boy.

Monday, March 03, 2008


So the wobble about the Apartment might be resolved soon enough. I think its fairly safe to say that I'm not moving into the Company apartments. Nice apartment, crap location. Instead I'm looking at moving closer to work which means closer to the Airport and away from the beaches and high class hotels that the tourists come for but then I'm not here for all that glam. I'm here because I have a job.

I saw one place which is about 10 minutes away from the Airport. Its meant to be a studio apartment but is abit bigger than that. In fact, it could be considered an 1-bedroom apartment. It's in a brand new building - right on the top floor and has abit of a balcony and iinterestingly everyroom has a window. Not bad for an apartment. It's small but well formed. And, I quite fancy it. I can't do much about it at the moment until I get my Visa validated but hopefully that will happen next week. Then, I might be able to talk cash with the Landlord. I got a figure from him which is not bad and is within the Utilities Allowance that I get. We'll see but I'd like to get the place just so I can start to feel as if I actually live here and am not just here on holiday.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Part of the appeals of this job I've taken was the fact that I get what is called a 'Utilities Allowance' which is basically an amount of money every month that should cover any housing rent and costs associated with having my own place. I also get my basic salary along with it. Though, if you choose to stay in any of the Company provided apartments, you do not get this 'Utilities Allowance' but the Company pays for the rent and the costs associated with it. You still get the basic salary as normal. In many respects its quite a good deal because it takes away the stress of finding a place to stay. I had felt that this option would be the best way forward as it would be one less thing to worry about and once I was abit more settled, I could look around and see if it would be better to move out of Company accommodation. Of course, the upshot is that you have to move to the area that the Company accommodation is which might not be the part of town that is closest to work, for example.

Anyway, I had elected to take Company accommodation because I would get a 2 bedroom place. The place being a new-build also but as it stands they aren't completly ready yet.

So, this morning I took a trip out to these new apartments to have a decent look around the area just to see what's what.

In some respects I wish I hadn't.

I'll go with the positives first. The accommodation complex is brand new. So new that the electricity hasn't been connected yet. Since I'm meant to be getting a 2 bedroom place, that's where I headed for. There were 2 variations of 2 Bedroom apartments - similiar size but slightly different layout. One has a larger balcony but has 2 air-con units in it which might be noisy. I think I preferred that variation out of the 2. In fact, I really really like the apartment. I can definitely see myself in it. Plus, there will be a Company bus to take me to work.

The negatives however. Location. The area around the apartments is shockingly bad. To all intents and purpose the area is an 'industrial estate'. There is no community, there are no shops around the corner, no supermarket, no pavements, no bus stops. Nothing apartment from these new apartments and a few blocks over yonder. It's not even that close to anything. There is no way of even walking to 'civilisation'. Plus, the whole area has alot of construction. In addition, it would take about an hour on the Company to get work. It's all wrong. It just is. In fact, I'm devastated by the location. Completely devastated.

I like being able to nip down the road to the corner shop or being able to at least have the option of going into town. I like being close/ish/ to work or at least being close to some form of transport that will get me to work quickly. This place just doesn't do it. When I started teaching at University in Korea, I essentially lived in the countryside on campus which was a nightmare to travel to and from. I managed that for a year before moving back into the centre of Cheonan. This proposed location is akin to that. Apparantly the location will be better is a year or 2 when the facilities nearby spring up because of the appearance of the apartments but 2 years?

I don't know what to do.

Take the place and see how it goes?
Look for a new place on my own, closer to work?

Alas, my weekend is ending shockingly badly. I've been really upbeat since I arrived and now this. Not a happy camper.