Tuesday, March 29, 2011


This posting is not going to be a sad one. It's going to be the opposite. The reason is that one year ago, I did the boldest thing I've ever done in my entire life. Actually, I did 2 very bold things.

The first was to arrange a balloon trip. Now that may not seem a bold thing but it is when you don't particularly like heights. I'll temper that by saying I do like being able to look down on things from height. I find it fascinating. But, I don't actually like being high up. It's a chicken and the egg thing, isn't it? The main cause for concern was being in a wicker basket at 3,000 feet with no safety apparatus. That worried me.

Though, that paled into insignificance given that I was more worried about a certain question that was to be asked to a certain lady. Yes, that question. It's a simple question which only requires a yes or no answer, yet has very large importance. Everything was in place, all I had to do was utter the question. Not easy at 3,000 feet and even less so when you are holding onto the edge of a wicker basket and the slightest movement moves the basket away from the horizontal. In the end, I did it. I did it. And the answer, well, it was a good answer. Hell, it was a fantastic answer!

And that was a year ago today. I know that because it is inscribed on the lady's ring. One year later, it's still a mystery as to why I decided to get in a balloon but it is certainly not a mystery as to why the question was asked. The best question I've ever asked. No doubt about it.

Monday, March 28, 2011


No particular update on the events of yesterday.

On the work front, my bosses have been kind enough to allow me to drop everything and travel home as and when is required. That is one less thing to worry about, certainly. Though that is only half the story. The other part is actually trying to get flights back. Not always as easy as it appears. However, I can check flights and see how full they are which helps. One of the perks of working for an airline.

But, given the lack of definite news from home, it's hard to say when I'll fly back as the funeral might be this week. Equally, it might not be. So, it's best just to do nothing at the moment. And that is what I shall do.

Sunday, March 27, 2011


You know that when you get a text message saying that you should phone home as soon as possible, there is a problem. Particularly if you happen to be in a foreign country at the time.

That text arrived just after 5pm today.

Alas i did call home as soon as possible. The news though was not positive at all. Indeed, it was the opposite. It was news that my Grandmother has passed away. It was something of a shock, of course it was. She was, for her age, in relatively good health and that was inspite of smoking for the majority of her life. I last saw her at Christmas and she was her usual self, that is to say, opinionated as ever with a small glass of whisky or equivalent by her side.

The phone call home wasn't particularly long. No need to stand on parade and make small talk. The news is what it is. Nothing else really needed to be said. No real news of what happened. All that was known was that her next door neighbour had noticed that the blinds in her house were down and that the kitchen light was on despite it being lunchtime. The neighbour had called my folks' to say that it might be an idea to go and check it out. They did so and found her in the living room. There was nothing out of the ordinary and no suggestion of foul play or even any kind of accident.

Given the circumstances, the police need to be involved and with it a postmortem in order to formalise everything. That though will take time and with it, the arrangements for the funeral.

A sad day indeed.

Thursday, March 24, 2011


Yep, that Vanity Fair article.

It doesn't particularly paint Dubai in a positive way and I can see that most of what is said is actually fairly accurate. I guess I am one of those who came for the money and the job. I can't really say otherwise, can I? I mean, I didn't particularly come for the culture or the heat. In fact, I can't say that I had any great inclination to head to the middle east. But, I needed a job after graduating and they offered me one. I would suggest that a lot of people would do the same if they had been in my shoes.

I can certainly say, and I have in the past, that there is large inequality here. No question of it. I don't like at all. What he says about the local's doesn't appear to be too far from the truth. The local newspaper the other day was suggesting that average new (local) graduates can expect 20, 000 Dhs (approx. £3000) a month. I don't make that and I've been working for 10 years. I'm not even sure my boss makes that. Perhaps these locals have it too easy. Is it sustainable? I doubt it. When 'we' - expats leave, then they'll need to get on with it. I can't see a local becoming a shop assistant for example. If they do become one you can bet that they will command a very large salary!

Then there are those at the other end of the scale. The drones. They are just trying to make enough money to live off and to send home to their families. No real difference between me and them it could be argued. I guess I have a better place to live.

I'm not sure what to say about the ruling family. They have their way of doing things. Are they any different from royalty in other countries around here? Probably not. One thing for sure is the image that is projected to the masses is different from the one in reality.

One day, it'll come crashing down. Maybe not next year or in 5 years but the place can't continue as it is. After all, it's a desert. It's not meant to be here. Its using more resources than it has. One day, the locals will be left to get on with it.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Dubai on Empty...

This is the remainder of the articles found in Vanity Fair. Comments tomorrow!

The Arabs live in their own ghettos, large, dull containments of big houses that are half garage behind security walls, weighed down with satellite dishes. We drive by an empty lot, and my driver tells me that this was the site of the house of the second son of a high-ranking official. Daddy had it bulldozed when his boy was caught having a Western-style rich-brats’ party. There is a growing, unspoken problem with the indigenous youth here. Fat, and spoiled beyond reason, they are titanically rude. They have reportedly taken to forming slovenly gangs that have been responsible for random attacks on foreign workers and women simply for the computer-game fun of it. This is a generation of kids who expect to never seriously work—but do expect secure jobs. An Indian manager who runs hotels in Dubai told me that everybody dreads the call from some royal Arab telling them to expect a nephew who will be coming to work. The boy will demand an office, a secretary, a car, wages, deference, and an empty schedule. It’s a sort of protection shakedown that you pay to do business here.
The Al Maktoums are secretive and autocratic, as most Arab despots are. The emir is always prime minister. Abu Dhabi’s ruler is always president. The royal family’s public exposure is universally adoring, supine, sycophantic, and breathlessly bland. There are rumors, always rumors, about disappeared princesses, abducted children, madness, and suicide. The royal family owes its power to an intricate web of family alliance, patronage, and operatic charity. It is sincerely respected.

A reveler at the Dubai World Cup, the most lavish horse race in the world. The winner walks away with a $10 million prize.

The Al Maktoums have taken to horse racing. They practically own the British and Irish bloodstock business. It’s a clever and self-serving hobby. Horses are one of the very few upper-class American and European enthusiasms that are shared with Arabs. All racehorses have a little Arab in them. So the Al Maktoums can mix in the West without that stigma that the Saudis suffer from back home—the public decorum with a private, Western decadence. The simple business of betting is of course ignored with a disdainfully turned shoulder. Since Dubai’s construction-based economy stumbled, the prince has obliviously opened a massive and spectacularly hideous hippodrome, the Meydan Racecourse. The biggest racetrack in the world, it cost almost $3 billion to build. It’s home to the Dubai World Cup, the most expensive horse race in the world, naturally. This place couldn’t have the second-most expensive horse race in the world. The winner pockets $10 million.

The track sits in a wasteland surrounded by the exhausted squirm of motorways. I walk around it and look not at the galloping horses and their bright jockeys but back up at the stands. Here in one long panorama is the Dantean vision of modern Dubai—the Arabs huddled in a glass dome, looking like creatures from a Star Trek episode in their sepulchral winding-sheet dishdashas. Next to them are the stands for Westerners, mostly British, loud and drunk, dressed in their tarty party gear. The girls, raucous and provocative, have fat thighs that wobble in tiny frocks. Cantilevered bosoms lurch. The boys, spiky and gelled, glassy-eyed and leering. In the last enclosure, the Asians, packed in with families and picnics, excited to be out of the Portakabin dormitories and the boredom and the homesickness of Internet cafés. In front of them all are the ranks of wired-up security guards, making sure the layers of this mutually dismissive society don’t pollute each other. After the horses have run, Elton John will perform.

Dubai is the parable of what money makes when it has no purpose but its own multiplication and grandeur. When the culture that holds it is too frail to contain it. Dubai is a place that doesn’t just know the price of everything and the value of nothing but makes everything worthless. The answer to everything in Dubai is money. In the darkness of the hot night, the motorways roar with Ferraris and Porsches and Lamborghinis; the fat boys are befuddled and stupefied by sports cars they race around on nowhere roads, going nowhere. Taxi drivers of their ambitionless, all-consuming entitlement. Shortchanged by being given everything. Cursed with money.

Inside Ski Dubai, an indoor ski resort in the middle of the desert.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Dubai On Empty cont.

This is a continuation of the articles found in Vanity Fair...

No one dreamed of this. Twenty years ago, none of this was here. No Narnia. No seven-star hotels. No tallest prick buildings. Just a home of pastoralist tented families herding goats, racing camels, shooting one another. And a handful of greasy, armed empire mechanics in khaki shorts, drilling for oil. In just one life span, Dubai has gone from sitting on a rug to swiveling on a fake Eames chair 100 stories up. And not a single local has had to lift a finger to make it happen. That’s not quite fair—of course they’ve lifted a finger; to call the waiter, berate the busboy. The money seeped out of the ground and they spent it. Pretty much all of it. You look at this place and you realize not a single thing is indigenous, not one of this culture’s goods and chattels originated here. Even the goats have gone. This was a civilization that was bought wholesale. The Gulf is the proof of Carnegie’s warning about wealth: “There is no class so pitiably wretched as that which possesses money and nothing else.” Emiratis are born retired. They waft through this city in their white dishdashas and headscarves and their obsessively tapered humorless faces. They’re out of place in their own country. They have imported and built a city, a fortress of extravagance, that excludes themselves. They have become duplicitous, schizophrenic. They don’t allow their own national dress in the clubs and bars that serve alcohol, the restaurants with the hungry girls sipping champagne. So they slip into Western clothes to go out.

The Gulf Arabs have become the minority in this country they wished out of the desert. They are now less than 20 percent of the total population. Among the other 80-plus percent are the white mercenary workers who come here for tax-free salaries to do managerial and entrepreneurial jobs, parasites and sycophants for cash. For them money is a driving principle and validation. They came to be young, single, greedy, and insincere. None of them are very clever. So they live lives that revolve around drink and porn sex and pool parties and barbecues with a lot of hysterical laughing and theme nights, karaoke, and slobbery, regretful coupling. In fact, as in all cases of embarrassing arrested development, these expats on the short-term make don’t expect to put down roots here, have children here, or grow old here. Everyone’s on a visa dependent on a job.

Then there is a third category of people: the drones. The workers. The Asians: Indians, Pakistanis, Sri Lankans, and Filipinos. Early in the morning, before the white mercenaries have negotiated their hangovers, long before the Emiratis have shouted at the maid, buses full of hard-hatted Asians pull into building sites. They have the tough, downtrodden look of Communist posters from the 30s—they are both the slaves of capital and the heroes of labor. Asians man the hotels; they run the civil service and the utilities and commercial businesses; they are the clerks and the secretaries, the lawyers, the doctors, the accountants; there isn’t a single facet of this state that would function if they didn’t maintain it. No one with an Emirati passport could change a fuse. Yet, the workers, who make up roughly 71 percent of the population, have precious few rights here. They can’t become citizens, though some are the third generation of their family to be born here. They can be deported at any time. They have no redress. Many of the Asian laborers are owed back pay they aren’t likely to get. There are reams of anecdotal stories about the abuse of guest workers. I’m told about the Pakistani shop assistant who, picking up an Arab woman’s shopping bags, accidentally passed gas, got arrested, and was jailed.

Monday, March 21, 2011


Interesting, and let's face it, a fairly accurate representation of Dubai. Or as we like to call it 'home'. Kind of. It's actually taken from Vanity Fair. Not really a magazine that I would read. To further compound things, it's written by A.A. Gill who is O.K. in small doses.

I'll post it over the next three days...

Dubai on Empty

Its skyline erupting from the desert in just two decades, Dubai is a cautionary tale about what money can’t buy: a culture of its own. After gorging on the Viagra of easy credit, the emirate has the world’s tallest building, the world’s most expensive racetrack, and a financial crisis to match. From the Western mercenaries and Asian drones who maintain the gaudy show to 100-odd families who are impervious to any economic reality, A. A. Gill discovers that no one truly belongs in Dubai, where the legacy of oil has made everything worthless.


Locals stand in front of the royal enclosure at the track.

The only way to make sense of Dubai is to never forget that it isn’t real. It’s a fable, a fairy tale, like The Arabian Nights. More correctly, it’s a cautionary tale. Dubai is the story of the three wishes, where, as every kid knows, with the third wish you demand three more wishes. And as every genie knows, more wishes lead to more greed, more misery, more bad credit, and much, much, much more bad taste. Dubai is Las Vegas without the showgirls, the gambling, or Elvis. Dubai is a financial Disneyland without the fun. It’s a holiday resort with the worst climate in the world. It boils. It’s humid. And the constant wind is full of sand. The first thing you see when you arrive is the airport, with its echoing marble halls. It’s big enough to be the hub of a continent. Dubai suffers from gigantism—a national inferiority complex that has to make everything bigger and biggest. This includes their financial crisis.

Outside, in the sodden heat, you pass hundreds and hundreds of regimented palm trees and you wonder who waters them and what with. The skyline, in the dusty haze, looks like the cover of a dystopian science-fiction novella. Clusters of skyscrapers lurch out at the gray desert accompanied by their moribund cranes, propped up with scaffolding, swagged in plastic sheeting. Dubai thought it was going to grow up to be the Arab Singapore—a commercial, banking, and insurance service port on the Gulf with hospitality and footballers’ time-shares, an oasis of R&R for the less well endowed. But it hasn’t quite worked out. The vertical streets of offices are empty. A derelict skyscraper looks exactly the same as one that’s teeming with commerce. They huddle around the current tallest building in the world—a monument to small-nation penis envy. This pylon erected with the Viagra of credit is now a big, naked exclamation of Dubai’s fiscal embarrassment. It was going to be called Burj Dubai, but as Dubai was unable to make their payments, they were forced to go to their Gulf neighbor, head towel in hand, to get a loan. So now it’s called Burj Khalifa, after Abu Dhabi’s ruler, who coughed up $10 billion to its over-extended neighbor.

Dubai has been built very fast. The plan was money. The architect was money. The designer was money and the builder was money. And if you ever wondered what money would look like if it were left to its own devices, it’s Dubai.

My driver gets lost more than once. He’s lived here all his life. He says he always gets lost. The roads keep changing. It’s a confusion of orange traffic cones and interlocking barriers; access roads peter out into long drops to rubble and dust. Nothing actually goes anywhere. The wide lanes loop around endlessly, and then there’s no place to go. No plaza or square, no center. Nowhere to hang out, nowhere to walk. Why would you walk? In this heat? You pull over and throw your keys to a valet, and get indoors as quickly as possible, generally in one of the countless shopping centers that look like the airports of lesser nations or Egyptian tombs. They echo with the slow footfalls of the security guards. In the boutiques, the glossy assistants stare at mannequins with a mutual mime of cashmere-folding despair. Dubai has been mugged by its own greed. Its consumer economy is being maintained by oil-rich families to whom depressions, booms, lottery wins, and recessions mean little. Riches and wealth are relative terms. But not ones we’re related to. There is an indoor ski mountain, probably the biggest indoor ski mountain in a desert, where the Arab boys queue for suits and boots and skis. The smarter locals arrive in their own designer après-ski gear, with fur and moon boots. You walk through the doors and it’s like The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe—the land of permanent winter. The fat boys push past carrying their snowboards toward the Tyrolean chocolate shop and Swiss fir trees and slide down the hill with a practiced arrogance. The girls slither, splay-legged, hijabs fluttering, in the manufactured snow.

Pre-race at the nearly $3 billion Meydan Racecourse, in Dubai.

Sunday, March 20, 2011


Oh, Oh, Oh. The Girl Who Played with Fire. Bloody hell.

Explosive corrosive. What an excellent film.

Yes, the 2nd of the Millennium trilogy was watched and I can definitely say that it was well worth watching. A few twists and turns and but that's what you want in a book/movie. It did not disappoint. It ended with more questions that answers. Again, though that's what usually happens in the middle installment of a trilogy. c/f Star Wars (the original), The Bourne Series to name but 2. The film ended in a very precarious way. I'm eager to find out what happened and for that, the Girl Who Kicked the Hornets Nest will need to be watched as soon as possible.

I'm not sure the Hollywood version will be as good. Time will tell.

Saturday, March 19, 2011


A couple of weeks ago, I managed to download the first of the Millennium trilogy films i.e. the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I've not read the books even although all three of them are sitting in the book cabinet. I should get round to them. All in good time.

I wanted to watch the Swedish version of them before the Hollywood version is released. I can say that I was definitely not disappointed. Excellent would be one word to describe it. There are a lot of twists and turns and the women who plays Lisbeth is equally excellent. She's a tough cookie, that's for certain. At times though, I did feel it was a little 'generic'. The part I'm specifically talking about is the scene in which the 'baddie' tells the journalist about what he's done. I couldn't help but thinking 'James Bond' or some other, similiar film in which the baddie spends too much time talking and not enough time trying to knock off the goodie. I guess such things are required to ensure the narrative is concluded one way or another.

Next up is the Girl who Played with Fire. Same cast and again it's the Swedish version. Looking forward to it.

Friday, March 18, 2011


After a week like that, all you really want to do it do nothing and or drink. I guess I managed 1 out 2 of so that's not too bad. Alas, I can do without drink. Not always but most of the time.

Friday wasn't really a busy day. The weekly shop was about as exciting as it got. Nothing wrong with that. After all, if you don't eat you get skinny and that's not all that good.

Thursday, March 17, 2011


You know it's St. Patrick's Day when:

a. Even people with the most tenuous links to Ireland go on about how in touch they are with their homeland.
b. Wear green no matter how daft they look.
c. Wear oversized Guinness 'pints' on their head because it's 'cool'. The same can be said for t-shirts, and some kind of sporting top.
d. People wish you a 'Happy St. Patrick's Day'. What does that mean exactly? It's just another day. Nothing special happens and it is no different from someone wishing you a 'Happy Ash Wednesday'. You just wouldn't, would you?
e. A number of U2 cover bands extrapolates, with a noticeable down turn in quality. Nobody wants to hear One get murdered.
f. Every single 'Irish' theme pub is hooching irrespective of how good a bar it is. 'Must get to Irish bar' seems to the general thought.
g. All of the above.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


This is literally turning into the week from hell, work wise. Busy doesn't just do it justice. I don't quite know how it has happened, it's just kind of crept up. I am fairly organised and I do know what needs to be done. It's just doing it.

First up are the tests that I'm conducting. Two sessions per day, one in the morning and the other in the afternoon. Both sessions are totally full in terms of people attending. That part is fine. It's the marking that comes with it. Not only the marking but the fact that the results need to be compiled and databases updated. Essentially, it's the paperwork and admin side of it that takes the time. I'm mostly on top of it thankfully and it'll get done. I just don't know when.

Which then leaves little time for this 5 day training program that I seem to have been left to get on with. It's not all that difficult to make one, again though it's the writing it and formalising of it that takes the time. We need everything to be written down and in a standard format. So far all 5 sessions have been mapped out. But, only 3 of them have actually been written up. 2 more to go. In all, it's looking like it's going to be 30 + pages. Grr. Once this has all been written up, it's a case of getting the materials together. That task is definitely getting delegated to others. I'm not farting about with that.

I suspect tomorrow will be a long day and I can't see myself getting out the office on time. Shame really, because it's the weekend.

Saturday, March 12, 2011


And so the Lit Fest continued...this morning it was Tony Parson's.

I knew of him but I didn't really know much about him and certainly even less of his books and novels. I knew about him threw his work as a journalist with the NME and GQ. I do vaguely remember him being on BBC2 as well.

It wasn't the best slot - 10.30am on a Saturday but he got a pretty decent crowd. It's funny because he came on stage all of a sudden in his polo shirt, jeans and reebok trainers and a record bag. Quality.

He was really interesting to hear him speak of his early days: leaving school at 16 and all about his family, specifically his mum and dad. I get the impression that they were a major influence on him and his writing. He also spoke about 'how to write'. He certainly had some wonderful insights into the whole process. I guess that comes with the knowledge of having written a million selling novel. He took some questions at the end as well. I wanted to ask one but didn't really have courage to. It was more to do with his music journalist career. One guy did ask about it but I got the impression that he didn't necessarily want to speak about it. He was more interested in the writing and novels side of things which was perfectly understandable.

Once he had finished, he also did a bit of book signing. And Yes, I got my book signed! Why not. This time I did speak to him. During his segment, he had mentioned that he was giving a talk to 16 year old kids the other day. He had a Q+A with them. They weren't particularly interested in his writing but wanted to know if he was 'Arsenal or Chelsea'. He didn't give an answer to that so I cheekily asked him about it. 'Arsenal' was the answer. He did say that he had a trial for Chelsea but he was hopeless and he hates them now because of it!

Anyway, that was my chat with Mr Tony Parsons. Really enjoyed listening to him.

And that was it for the Lit Fest. Definitely have to get back next year. God, I'm turning middle aged or something...

Friday, March 11, 2011


This particular weekend I was looking forward to.

The reason for this was the fact that the Emirates Literature Festival was taking place. I've never been to a Lit fest before and it was all a big new experience. The list of names of people attending was fairly big. There were a number of people I had never heard of but there were certainly a few I had. Michael Palin, Kate Adie to name but two.

We had managed to get tickets to 2 events. The first was with Charley Boorman of Long Way Round fame and the second was with a guy called Tony Parson's. This second event was early doors on Saturday and the review for that will have to wait!

Anyway, we got to the venue about 45 minutes early to find a queue waiting to get into the Charley show. We were a bit gutted actually. We went in and managed to get centrally located seats but perhaps 10 or maybe 15 rows back. Not bad exactly.

Finally, the man himself arrived. I must say he was very entertaining. He spoke about his film career, then when on to speak about Long Way Round and some of his other adventures. He was laugh out loud funny, particularly when he showed a couple of clips from the programs. The thing that struck me most was the fact that this guy who I had only ever seen on DVD was exactly the same up on stage. There wasn't any of this playing up to the camera act. What he's like on the TV is what he is like in real life. He got a big, hearty cheer at the end as well. In fact, it was a full house for him.

At the end, we hung around for the book signing. Yes, abit sad but come on, you might as well. I had visions of being a bit star struck or something but I really didn't at all. I shook his hand, asked him how he was and asked him to sign the book and to take a photo. He was totally happy to do that which was great. My better half was a bit star struck I think! He mispelled her name actually, but he kind of made a joke out of it and signed 'sorry' on the page which was good. In hindsight, I feel quite bad about little aspect of it. The reason for that was that he's actually dyslexic which I had no idea about. It must have been quite a scary prospect doing some book signing. I wouldn't have felt confident about doing that. I just hope we didn't offend him in any way because he's a top man and I love his enthusiasm for bikes, and adventure and for his work with UNICEF as well.

So, Mr Charley Boorman, I salute you and thanks for the evening.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


Ah, there's nothing like heading straight out after work on a Thursday (the weekend starts on Thursday's for us lot) to the pub. Whist some may consider it unbecoming, I do not subscribe to that. It's great. Particularly when the first couple of mouthfuls of Magners or the like go down nicely. It tastes good. The only 'difficulty' I find with doing this is that often, you get knackered fairly quickly. Generally, you perk up somewhat but there is definitely a lull.

I used to go out each Friday when I lived in London. Straight up to the students Union for cheap pints until 8pm, then down and round the corner to the local Witherspoon's bar until closing at 11pm followed by a swift walk back home. Classic Friday night in fairness.

Yet, here I have and I haven't done such a thing as readily and certainly not since my partner in crime got himself married. What was the point in that, the fool?!

But, we are both allowed out at times and today was it. Thankfully. It had been a crap week.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011


Isn't funny how people try to take credit for something that they haven't actually been involved in or have had little input in. It does amaze me. Although, given that I work in an office environment where politics play a part in how things work, I really ought not to be surprised.

Let's just say that something I have been involved with was 'hijacked' somewhat by others who should be working on a project but haven't really done anything to claim the 'credit'. This other then tried to suggest that he (or she for that matter!) was the driving force behind it. Of course, this individual wants to look 'good' in front of certain higher up others.

I could have let it lie but I can never resist getting a final, last word in. Nothing nasty exactly with done with a little humour to make it seem innocent.

Doing this made me feel really quite good. Surprisingly this individual didn't reply. Wonder why.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011


A very strange occurrence occurred today. Very strange.

I have been trying to book a weekend away in April to a place on the Indian Ocean called Dibba. I wanted to go to a particular hotel because they also run a day cruise up the Omani coast up to the Straits of Hormuz. I e-mailed them, but strangely another hotel in another location but same chain replied. After a few e-mails we finally had everything in order. I was then requested to fax my credit card details to them to conform the booking. I did this and dropped them a little e-mail to say that I had faxed the details and if they could tell me if they received it.

A couple of days passed and I hadn't heard anything from them. I wasn't particularly worried because - between you and me - I hadn't given them the full, correct 16 digit number. Why would you? After all, they only need the information just in case you don't show and take the price of the room from it. I fully intend to go, so my conscience is clear. Anyway, I called them up to see what was what. They said that they would call me back. I didn't hear another peep from them for the rest of the day.

I was starting to get a little worried at this point.

I went to work and opened my outlook to find an e-mail from some random woman I'd never heard of. I opened it to find that this random woman had been sent my confirmation for the hotel room I had tried to book. She said it must have been sent to her in error and so was forwarding it to me. Unbelievably good fortune on my part. I replied to her thanking her a lot for that.

I got to thinking that that was a really fantastic thing for her to do. Would I have done something similiar had it been me? Would anyone have done that? In this day and age, perhaps not. It gave me a nice warm glow that people can still be lovely.

So, to that women, I salute you!

Anyway, holidays in April. Nice.

Saturday, March 05, 2011


What of all these Middle Eastern protests?

Libya is completely going mental, along with the Col. He's off his head by the sounds of it. The rest of his family doesn't appear to be much better. It'll be interesting to see what goes on there. Certainly, it's not going to pass off peacefully which is disappointing.

The thing that caught my attention is not so much with Libya but our neighbours in Bahrain, Oman and now Saudi Arabia. Little has been heard of Oman, but seemingly 'something' went on there. Bahrain was news. Saudi Arabia has taken interesting steps in order to prevent anything happening. Yes, they're banned protests. Oh well, that'll work then. Of course they have gone further than that and have invoked 'religion'. It always comes down to that, doesn't it. Essentially, you'll go to hell otherwise. Fear is a wonderful tool. Which countries have done that? Answer: loads and loads.

Not only have the Saudi's done that but there are reports that civil servants have been given a whooping 15% pay rise to quell dissent. You have to say, that's fantastic. I doubt whether civil servants would actually think too much about protesting anyway. They'll be laughing all the way to the bank I'm sure.

That got me thinking though about whether or not something might kick off here. I really can't see it to be honest. The principle reason being that most of the UAE are foreigners like my good self. What good would 'we' do by taking to the streets? Not much. Arrested and kicked out. If it wasn't 'us' then it would be the 'locals'. But, if the government was providing you with good housing, a very high standard of living and a decent salary - often more than an equivalent foreigner (allegedly!) - why would you want to upset the applecart?

It's just not likely. The same could be said of Qatar. What chance of anything kicking off there? Not much I would have thought.

That said, I've got my passport at the ready and a stash of cash to take with me should anything happen. You'll be the first to know if that happens!

Friday, March 04, 2011


It seems there were a few 'niggles' in the latest Celtic Rangers game. Eh, slight understatement!

In the end, Celtic won 1-0 but that doesn't tell the full story. Three players sent off and fights in the dugout between assistants and managers. A fit in the tunnel at half time as well. It was kicking off, no doubt about it. Not a good situation at all and to make matters worse it was live on the TV. It does make good viewing however.

No doubt the footy admin guys will wade into it. Players will be banned, Managers as well. I believe even the police and politicians are getting involved. What are they getting involved for? Not really their domain, is it. I guess everyone has an opinion.

It's interesting that Celtic and Rangers both still have to play each other on another 2 further occasions. One of them is the League Cup final. Fireworks will be on display, I'd say. Perhaps not the good ones. I'll be watching closely!

Thursday, March 03, 2011


This wifie that was interviewed for this job with me - I think I mentioned it last week - well, much to my surprise, was hired. Someone has taken the decision to do so. It definitely wasn't mine, that's for certain. I only found out by a short forwarded e-mail. How classy is that?

I'm not impressed with this decision. For me, it's not an issue of the wifie herself. It's the whole process that has lead to this. There is something decidely underhand about it all. Something doesn't add up. I'm not sure what it is as yet but something's not right here. How can someone with no previous experience get parachuted into quite a high grade of job. The bosses have been consistently going on about removing 'grey' areas from how we do things. They go on about black and white and how things should be clear. That goes for everything, for standard operating procedures to providing evidence of whether  a trainee has passed or failed a training course. The key sentence appears to be they (the trainee) is either competent or not competent. Nothing inbetween. If we apply the same logic to this wifie - and I certainly did - then this wifie has a hell of a lot of 'grey' and not enough black or white. Too much grey in actual fact. Hence my conclusion.

Clearly though, someone has over ruled this and has not applied the same logic and that is what stinks. That is what riles me the most. It appears to be a case of do as I say not as I do. Which, is bollocks. I deplore that and it troubles me. Somethings not right here. Not by a long shot.

I've not even had the courtesy of having the logic behind it all explained. That tells it's own story. I can safely say that I have lost a lot of respect and motivation because of it. It's a faff, or that is how it appears. I might be reading the situation wrongly and if I am, then fair enough. From the outside however, it looks suspect.

Next week at work could be interesting.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011


The kilt for the wedding is complete. Fantastic. The only question is: how on earth am I going to get hold of it?

I'll worry about that later. The main thing is that it's ready well in advance of the big day. In fact, the big day is only about 180 days ago which totally seems ages and ages away. It is, isn't it?

Given that the outfit is ready, all I need to do now is make sure that my weight doesn't fluctuate up or hell, down. I'm fairly confident that it wouldn't do either. I've remained fairly constant for a while now and indeed, my waist size hasn't changed since high school, I think. But I can't leave it to chance so a mini diet will be introduced i.e. don't eat and eat and when I need to eat, make sure it's fruit and/or something healthy. Perhaps I should start running or cycling or something as well. Oh hell, all in good time. I'll start next week. Honest.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011


Oh how I can't be arsed.

Yes, one of those days and/or weeks. Who can say. One thing is clear, I can't be doing with going to work and slaving my guts off. I know I have a hundred and one things to be doing. But, when it comes to it, where to start. And where to find the energy to get on with it. It's something of a vicious circle all things considered. That, coupled with the nonsense of the monthly meeting yesterday, is it any wonder that I'm hacked off.

To compound things, there really are people in the department who are up for promotion to the same level as I am. I'm all for that, however I can't for the life of me figure out how they'll be able to justify promotion. They're just not that great. One guy can hardly speak English for goodness sake. The snob in me thinks, why should people like that get to the same level as me. I've worked my ass off to get a decent job. Yes, it's wrong to think that but it nags in the back of my head.

The 'injustice' of it all. I'm fed up of people getting promoted or favoured because of who they are and who they know. It irritates me to massive lengths. Get a promotion based on whether you can do it. That's it for me. Plain and simple. I have definitely seen when that hasn't been the case and it is depressing and really does not make me motivated at all. If I can see that good work and hard work is rewarded, then all well and good.

Right, I'd better stop before slander comes my way.