Friday, January 27, 2012


The early year events here in Dubai are coming thick and fast. Kind of.

The Dubai Tennis Championship takes place at the end of February with the top 4 men in the world booked to make an appearance. Whether or not they will actually come is another matter. But, since we literally live across the road from where it is taking place, it really would be rude not to go. Last year we only got tickets for the women's semi-final but this year, we did well. I managed to get tickets for the men's semi-final and the men's final. Delighted. Should be a big crowd in for both and with a bit of luck, we might see Federer, Murray, Djokovic et al. That would be good.

Second up is the Emirates Literature Festival /now there's a plug/ which is around the same time as the Tennis. Last year we saw Charlie Boorman, the bloke that went with Ewen MacGregor around the world on bikes. He was entertaining! We also saw Tony Parsons who wasn't quite as entertaining as Charlie but pretty insightful nonetheless. Oh and I spoke to both of them. Shameless really. Anyway this year we're going to see David Nicholls who wrote 'Starter for Ten'and 'One Day'. I've heard of him but I can't say that I've read any of his stuff. Best get onto that now. Next up will be Jeremy Bowen who is a reporter with the BBC. I bet he's got some stories to tell, that's for sure.

Looking forward to both events actually. It breaks up the daily grind I guess. Oh and a trip to Hong Kong. Maybe married life isn't all that bad?

Thursday, January 19, 2012


For gods sake.

I got an e-mail this morning from my Admin woman saying that we may not have to park in the new parking which is further away and really not all that good. Instead, we might be able to park when the great washed park, right next to the terminal building. I'm not going to be counting my chickens just yet. I'll wait until it's all down in writing and signed by whoever!

Let's see.

What a strange week, all things considered.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


To add to my annoyance this week, has been the last minute announcement that the large, 5 story car park that I park in at work will be closed and demolished. Next week. Yes, next week!

What the hell?!

There was an A4 size sheet of paper put up on the ground floor of the car park last Thursday saying that as of Sunday the car park would be closing and that everyone who parked there will be moved to another car park about 5 minutes drive up the road. In summary, the car park you are using will be gone in 3 days. Deal with it.

Only in Dubai.

I didn't drive to work on Sunday because I knew it would be chaos and that's the last thing I need on the first day of the working week. I get to work to find that the afore mentioned car park was still standing. Indeed, it was still in use despite the signs saying otherwise. In fact, some of my colleagues had parked there as normal. I was confused. My colleagues were confused. No one seemed to know what the heck was going on. One of my colleagues went to find out and to get his ticket so that he could use the other car park. He did so and he found out that the existing car park would be open until the end of the month. He proceeded to ensure his ticket for the new car park was ready and working, just in case.

That left me in a bit of a quandary. The current car park is right across the road from where I enter the airport. It totally serves it's purpose for me. The new car park is actually further away and is not across the road from where I enter the car park. It's really not convenient at all. But what are the options? There really isn't anything. The senior bosses get parking right outside the terminal building but the great unwashed that I belong to do not. That would be ideal. Plus, there is no way I am walking to work come the summer. Too hot. Too sweaty and that is at 6am. I guess I'll just have to grin and bare it.

All this because the Flight Catering arm of the company want to expand. Good for them. Probably good for us in the longer term but crap right here and now.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


The continuing saga of getting my Emirates ID card continues as does the fines associated with it. I must stress that this wasn't the only thing on my mind. I do have other things that I'm concerned about. Honest.

Anyway, after work I decided it was time to go to other place nearby to get it all sorted out. I was at the place by 6.45pm. There were a lot of people around and from the look of it, they had been waiting a while. I noticed one of those ticketing matches which, well, gives you a ticket and when the your number comes up, you go to the counter. The ticketing machine though had it's buttons covered up as if it was 'off'. Or done for the day. I must say, I was a bit sly. I lifted the cover up and pressed it. A ticket came out. I took it whilst no one was looking.

The ticket said that there were 53 people in front of me. The first of many sighs. I waited. I played one of the games on my phone. I walked about. I sighed. I texted the missus. Slowly the numbers dwindled. When I say 'slowly', I mean, I waited until 8.30pm. By which time, people had been turned away. I flashed my ticket saying I was still waiting. I wasn't giving the ticket up. With it, I would definitely get seen. I hoped. 8.45pm came. It was my number. I was there in a flash. The poor bloke at the counter was in surprisingly good spirits given that he had been there since 7.30am. Twelve hours. Then me, who had been cheeky and taken a ticket when I probably should not have. He was fine though and got on with it. In the end, I paid the money but I wasn't fined. I kept quiet about that one. I wonder if it was all a ploy to get people to register. "Yeah, lets start a rumour..." It might have been the case. Sometime after 9pm I left the place. What a waste of an evening. It's the same thing whenever you need to get 'official' things done here. I remember when I had my driving test. I was waiting for 2 hours or more to take it. Stupid. Just stupid.

The next step is to go to the main office and get fingerprinted. /Haven't I already done that?!/ Then they will send the card out. No ETA for this mind. Plenty more chances to be fined though. Let's see what happens.

Monday, January 16, 2012


Thankfully our wonderful company has an Emirates National ID card office in the company HQ. How convenient, don't you think?! And given the news yesterday, I thought I would head over to it early doors to see if I could get my card applied for. I had all the documents required, basically my passport and the visa within it. /don't they have that information already?!/

So, I got there early, only to find that it was totally jammed packed. The word was out and all the people in a similar boat to me had had the same idea. Get it done!

I didn't stay. I would have been there all day. Besides, there are other 'typing centres' which can do the same thing. I decided that that would be the best option. After work then, I went to one not too far from my place only to find it closed. At 4pm?! I gave up. I wasn't going to go hunting for a place to do it. £3 fine or not.

Sunday, January 15, 2012


So, I was up at our IT building in the morning. I'm working on creating a new online English test. It's going slowly though that isn't necessarily due to anything holding it up from my point of view. The IT guys aren't the quickest and I can't say they really consider it a big priority. Fair enough, they have other things to be getting on with. But.

To get things moving, I had to go up and meet one of them. He's OK and I get on fine with him. Before we got down to business, he was telling me about one of his colleagues. The back story is that here in the UAE, national ID cards for everyone have been introduced. In certain Emirates, they are now compulsory whereas here in Dubai the deadline to get them is June the year. After which, anyone who does not have one or is slow in getting it renewed - they are valid for 3 years - will be getting a 20 Dhs per day fine (about £3) up to a maximum of 1000 Dhs (£120 or so). That was the latest, officially.

The IT guy was saying though that one of his colleagues had gone to get his card renewed as it was more than 3 years old. He went to the office to be told that he was being fined because he was a week late in applying for it. He was also told that because Emirates as an organisation is considered 'semi-government', all such organisations and its employees had a deadline of 1st January 2012 to get their cards, and not June as had been stated.

The word was out and it had spread mild panic amongst of lot of people. I guess I was concerned too. I had to get my finger out. The irony being that Emirates has, in the past, been classed as a 'government' and non-government' organisation. It really seems to be changed depending on the situation. Take the case of national holidays. For that, we are certainly not on a par with other 'government' organisations which have more days off. I wish someone would make up their mind as to what we are. Indeed this fining was complete news to many. I doubt anyone in the upper circles of the company even knew about.

Governments, honestly.

The upshot being that I now need to get this card even though I have absolutely no need for it. It does not help me get any additional services, I don't need to come and go from the country. It's all just for show and - this is alleged - to provide a new department so that more local people can be employed in. Oh and to 'tax' everyone so the government can raise funds. Again, that is alleged!

Oh and I did get my online test moving. Though not quickly.

Saturday, January 14, 2012


One minute we were at the beach watching people fly their kits, the next (i.e. withing half a hour!) we were sitting pulling on our ice skates at the Dubai Mall.

Only in Dubai.

Yes, ice skating. I can't even remember the last time I went ice skating. I do remember 'skating' on my arse last winter back in Scotland but in no way was that planned! I was a bit nervous about it to be honest. The last thing you want to do is fall on your back side or even worse, injure yourself. That would be terrible. In the end, I did neither which was some feat. The old arm waving for balance maneuver was employed on a good few occasions. It's neither classy nor cool but it does the job. My feet definitely did hurt at the end. I suppose that was due to trying to balance and grip onto the skate itself. In such situations, I guess you tend to tense up as well.

The thing that annoyed me though was the little punks who whizz in and out of everyone. OK, they are good and can skate infinitely better than me but why do they need to skate so close and so fast. They scare me. In fact, the whole experience was scary.

I wonder if we'll go back?

Perhaps. Practice makes perfect after all.

Friday, January 13, 2012


Eh, yeah, scrap that. Yesterday I had a highest score of 258. Today, I don't. I have a highest score of 269. At bowling. On the X-box. Surely there must be some mistake, Miss Moneypenny. I can't explain it either. I don' think I will even try to explain it. It just happened. I nailed it every time. The 'perfect' line and length. Never to be repeated. Ever.

Anyway, today saw us go up to a place called Satwa. Up in Satwa they have the very best chicken kebabs. Cheap and absolutely brilliant. Love them. But that wasn't the real reason for going up. Instead, the missus was interested in getting a dress made. They have a whole street of fabric shops and tailors who can make anything. We were in one shop that had a lot of fabrics that were almost exactly what she was looking for. She was trying to get a copy of a Ted Baker dress made. It is a beautiful dress, no doubt about it. The tailor said he could do it, but it was going to be expensive.

Whilst she was doing all that, I had a look at getting a suit made. I've always bought suits of the shelf so to speak. One in my life it would be great to actually have a tailored suit. So long as I didn't put on weight. They could make a suit for approximately £120 which is as much as you would pay for an O.K suit in the likes of Next or Marks and Spencers. In fact, it was on a par with the last suit I bought in Zara. They had some very nice fabrics as well. I was tempted. And I might actually investigate further. I'd need to pick a cut that would suit me. That's the hard part. In saying that, I'm going to the home of the 'shiny' suit - Hong Kong - in a month, so it might be worth investigating getting one there.

The irony is, I don't really wear suits that much at all. In a formal setting, yes, but I've now got a kilt and the full ensemble which I'd wear rather than a suit. I guess though you get to a certain age and it's important to have a couple of nice suits, just in case.

Oh and the chicken kebabs on the way home were ace!

Thursday, January 12, 2012


We got a lend of EA Sports for the X-box the other day. I've never really been one for video games, particularly the likes of football based games. The playability has generally been terrible and I would lose interest quickly. I guess I could apply that across the board actually - lose interest. But, I had a sly shot of 10 pin bowling before the missus got back from work. The cheek of me!

Now, actual 10 pin bowling, I don't mind. We used to go on a Saturday night sometimes back in the long distant days. One of the perks of friends having their first car - a drive to the Megabowl. I did bowl in Korea which was often pretty good. I've bowled once or twice in Dubai, so definitely not a lot.

Bowling on the X-box is a different kettle of fish. I might say its easier. It must be. How else can you explain a highest score of 258. I'll write that again just to show that it was no typing error. 258. Eight strikes in total. I've never ever scored that much in my entire life. I doubt that will ever be repeated. I'll never come close to it again.

I'm not sure what happened. It's always the case with bowling, sometimes you just nail it. Each and every time you bowl, it's on line. Other times, you could hit a barn door and no amount of adjusting your stance can correct it. I was just on line all the time. Yes, people can say 'well, it was only on the X-box'. True. But give me my moment of glory. For one day only!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


I got to the office today to hear that Emirates are going to be flying to Glasgow twice a day. I know that doesn't mean much to a lot of people, but I must say, about bloomin' time!

Currently there is only a single flight per day which is O.K. Pretty much every time I fly that route, it's at least 3/4 full. Good for the business but on a personal note, it's always really hard to get discounted tickets because 'regular' customers come first. The upshot is that I would fly to Newcastle which is less busy but further away from home.

So to hear that an extra flight has been added is a bonus and offers more flexibility. Seemingly the 2nd flight will leave Dubai at 3pm and get into Glasgow at 8pm. The return arriving in Dubai at 8am. If that's confirmed, then I could in theory work most of my normal day on a Thursday for example, leave the office at 1pm and fly out at 3pm. That is in contrast to now in which I'd work as normal on a Thursday but not fly out until 8am on the Friday morning. I'd essentially be getting an extra day at home!

Ideally, it would fly to Edinburgh but you can't have everything.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


I have been on a 2 day course called 'Personal Effectiveness'. I quite like attending these courses. The first reason for me liking them is that its actually easier for me to get to the course than it is to get to the office - I can have a longer lie!

Not only that but it gives you a chance to meet people of a similiar grade from different parts of the organisation. This time, we have people from Group Medical, Travel Services, Transport and finally Cargo. A good mix actually.

The course looked at how we can become more effective. The hint was in the name!

Over the past couple of days, we looked at time management, communication styles, assertiveness, and being proactive. It was interesting. Some of it, I had heard of before particularly the time management matrix. What really caught my attention was the on the first day, we had a list of values like honesty, family, ethics, health. We were asked to select the 10 that were most important to us. That in itself was really hard. Once we had selected our 10, we then had to compared one with the other and ask ourselves which of the 2 we placed as more important.

Some interesting results where thrown up. In 1st position, but only just, was knowledge. I then had a spread of 4 at the same level i.e. in the '2nd' position. I can't exactly remember what they were but honesty, relationships, and family were there. Slightly lower was health which is a cause for concern!

Knowledge being 1st was kind of a surprise, but by considering it in more depth, it probably is true. That's what I want. I want to know about things. Everything! I suppose that without knowledge, you don't really have anything. How can you understand things that happen or experiences you have without a knowledge of how to get yourself through them? Knowledge is Power, is the sentence that springs to mind. I'm not the cleverest and I'm never going to be able to scale the heights achieved by the great thinkers or theorists. I won't be able to formulate answers to the big questions like 'why are we here?' 'What's the point of life?' et al but so long as I can satisfy my quest for some kind of 'answer' then all well and good.

And on that note, I'll shut up.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012


Back to work yesterday. How depressing. The festive feeling well and truly over. That said, there were still quite of a lot of people still off on leave, including my boss. In many ways it was a gentle side back into it.

Yesterday was also the day my car registration expired. Here in Dubai, you have to register your car each year. It costs something like 400 dirhams. In order to register your car, you need to get your car insured and what we would call an MOT to ensure that your car is safe. This year, is my final exception of performing an MOT as the car is only 3 years old. I don't need to fart about with all that. My insurance has come down slightly as well to 1050 dirhams. I was 1300 dirhams last year. Not really a big saving - £50 or so. Fully comp so I can't complain too much.

I have everything in place now so come the weekend, I'll get that sorted out. It really is a pain in the ass though. When you get to the office, you have to go to this counter, then the next counter blah blah blah. It does my head in. Thankfully, it's only once a year.

Didn't go and do my 30 minutes exercise. Damn it.

Monday, January 02, 2012


What's new this year?

A hard one.

I've tried to come up with things that are quantifiable. Something that came be measured. That in itself is hard. I am conscious of my health. I can definitely say that I have not been as active as I have been. I don't like that at all actually. To counter that, I want to keep it simple and use the gym upstairs. I'm not setting an unrealistic goals in terms of being able to lift this or that, instead I want to do 30 minutes of either cycling, rowing or running 3 times a week. That would be 3 times more than I'm doing currently. If anything else occurs like sit ups and the like then so be it but this '3 times a week' is my baseline. Distance and time to be recorded. I don't particularly eat loads and loads but I suspect that I could be eating more fruit and veg.

I had said that I wanted to become more familiar with Garage Band on my laptop. I like music. I like listening to it. That does not necessarily mean that I can string 2 notes together but I would like to try. It'll be purely for my own benefit and enjoyment.

There is also the small matter of saving money. I have a figure in my head to put aside per month. Generally, I do that anyway though I have never really formalised it. I know what I want to set aside. If I can achieve that, then brilliant. The reason for this is essentially to buy a house. I don't think we'd buy here in Dubai. In Scotland perhaps but the other option would be in France, specifically the south of France. You are more likely to get more for your money there. It's something to aim for.

Other things that I would like to build upon, but are not especially 'measurable' as such would include being more proactive, particularly at work. Being helpful, courteous and more tolerant of others. I might even write here more often.

Two in 2 days isn't a bad start.

Sunday, January 01, 2012


Let's get this show on the road...

Out with the old and in with the new. Eh, well, not really the new as such as this site remains the same but the year is new. And that's about it so far.

Last night the missus and I went out to a place called Warehouse. It offered unlimited food and drink from 9 to 1am. Not a bad option, all things considered. It wasn't nearly as busy as I thought it would be. It wasn't dead, that's for sure but I there seemed to be a lot of 'walk-in' customers. Mostly blokes. The food was good. I tended towards sushi and what you could call finger food. I had to taste all the ice cream on offer. It was a bit embarrassing actually. They had 5 flavours and I said I would like a scoop of each. Clearly something was lost in translation and I ended up with 5 different plates. The coffee one was awful. The others were lovely. The beer though kept flowing and why not, it was hogmanay.

Midnight came and went. The countdown was shown on the big screens. No Old Auld Lang Syne sadly. You can't have everything. It wasn't an especially late night. The reason for this was only to reveal itself in the little small hours. The missus spent more time in the bathroom than anything. Food poisoning. Nasty. The previous night we order sushi which, in hindsight, wasn't a good choice. It came back to bite her. Badly. It's not what you want to see, ever. At 8am I was at the chemist getting stuff. That wasn't how New Years Day was meant to start.

Needless to say, today was not a day for anything other than resting up and watching TV. Dirty Dancing was the afternoon film. I've never actually seen it before - well, in its entirely that is. Not particularly my cup of tea but it has its moments. I didn't release that it had quite an 'adult' context.

I've not heard any reports of the celebrations here in Dubai. No doubt there will be photos of the Burj Khalifa floating about in the news later.

2012. Bloody hell.