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Anniversary Thanks

September 26, 2010 4 comments

Not the marital kind.  Yesterday was the blog’s first anniversary.  I would like to thank all the multitudes of regular readers, as well as all those who stumbled onto it using search terms like “sims 3 jacuzzie buy”, “delhi metro in Antonov”, “i”, “magna carda examples”, “mute word of car”, “i m very tayer”, “can you stay at the atlantis palm dubia”, “gzira sex scene”.

You make my day.

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Interlude

August 17, 2010 1 comment

Taken a break from writing (as if it’s my full time job).  I’m not feeling motivated to write much.  Besides, there’s so much inspired writing going on around me (try: the heart felt Mich Cafe, or Shelina’s insightful Ramadan post), that I feel that I cannot contribute much to the blogosphere.

It’s currently Ramadan here in the UAE and in the rest of the Muslim world.  This is the second time I’m experiencing it, but it’s a bit easier this time round since we’ve moved to larger premises at work and I no longer share the same space with my Muslim colleagues.  So I can munch away in wholehearted content without disturbing their fasting.

Until next time.

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Behind the numbers

April 25, 2010 Leave a comment

Today we heard the tragic news of a hot air balloon accident in Al Ain.  There were two deaths and one serious injury out of the total fourteen persons on board.  I was shocked, both because we had seriously considered doing the activity while the family was here, and because we had actually been to Al Ain two weekends back. 

For some reason while writing this up I visualised myself in a hot air balloon, tumbling in the rough winds and finally crashing to the ground, and realised that it is all too easy nowadays to look at the numbers – deaths, accidents, injuries.  But just give the it some thought and put yourself in the situation.  I assure you the result will give you a new perspective on traumatic incidents, and your reaction to them. 

Imagine yourself lurching from side to side in the balloon’s gondola. The panicked face of the pilot is not reassuring.  Your stomach reacts to the sudden drops.  Visibility is bad, there is lots of sand and grit.  Then all of a sudden – you hit the ground. You are thrown off your feet, hit something hard, feel excruciating pain.  If you’re lucky you’re on solid ground, but in Al Ain there’s a chance you hit rocky outcroppings (sometimes referred to as mountains), in which case there would be further tumbling and crashing.  At the end of this you can barely move, or you can barely breathe, or your eyes won’t open for some reason.  Your insides are violently displaced, and there is a strange taste in your mouth. You may have released your bowels, but that’s the least of your problems.  There are moans and cries of pain.  Or silence. 

If you are lucky you make it.  If not, you are a number for the media.

Of course even if you make it, it does not stop there.  There are many issues to deal with – trauma, shock, hospitals, insurance, family, work disruption, repatriation, the chill that goes down your spine when you see another hot air balloon in the sky.

Fujairah Bull Butting

March 17, 2010 Leave a comment

Last Friday we were invited by friends to go down to Fujairah to watch the bulls fight.  I was immediately piqued, but the wife needed some selling.  It’s not like the Spanish bull fighting (hence the term “butting”), but rather two bulls wrestle against each other.  There’s no blood that I could see.  Apparently it’s quite an old tradition, dating from the times of the Portughese colonies in the area.

I’m still not sure how the rules work and how the winning bull is declared so.  But it’s fun to watch nonetheless, because when the bulls are done fighting one of two things can happen.  Either their “reins” are picked up by their handlers and they are taken away, no fuss.  Or they make it more interesting by running towards the rows of people within the large ring, giving their handlers a harder time.  Oh, and this can be safely observed from behind the fence, so there isn’t too much crowd involvement.  The following pictures should explain in better detail.

I also tried to take some video. The siren noise you can hear is when the match is declared over (I think).

You can find more details on our friends’ blog here, with additional videos.

Road Rage

January 31, 2010 Leave a comment

Last night I dreamt I was the driver of a gang who had just botched a heist. We were roaring through town in a truck, the perfect getaway vehicle surely, pushing aside cars and people alike.

I think the dream was partly inspired by the events we witnessed the previous evening on our way home from the mall. We were slowing down to stop at traffic lights when, two cars ahead of us, a big SUV swerved suddenly and cut across two lanes of traffic. It did not just change lanes, it drove almost perpendicularly to the flow of traffic. We watched incredulously as the SUV stopped in front of the car ahead of us and the driver, an Emirati, stormed out. He marched towards the other car just as the latter’s door was opening. A very heated debate ensued, with a lot of gesturing, most probably revolving around who was the worst driver. In another country they might have touched upon the subject of whose mother performed which vile acts, but it is probably illegal to insult a local, for which you could get arrested and / or deported.

They must have had a close call a little earlier, but we didn’t see what’d happened. In the end the local climbed in his car and proceeded to go back across the two lanes to take the exit he had intended to initially. During all of this we had no option but to stay put and watch, since traffic was still moving around us.

It is not the purpose of this post to point fingers at nationalities / ethnicities and their driving attitude, but at the crap driving attitude directly. It could have been anyone for all I care, bad driving is bad driving.  Come to think of it though the protagonist would make an excellent getaway driver.

The Perils of Cat Parenthood

November 26, 2009 Leave a comment

Last weekend we headed out to Barasti again and returned with a snap-glow wrist band for my wife and a neck ache for myself.  We were very tired after a long day and made a beeline for the bed.  Shortly after lights-out though we hear a loud gagging noise – the cat had torn open the snap-glow wrist band and must have drunk some of the liquid inside.

Before going any further i would like to point out two things: 1) we are not the euphorial raving types who dance by the speakers glowing in the dark.  The sticks were being given to everyone and we just did not refuse it. 2) it was by this time 3.30 a.m.

Back to the cat. She started foaming at the mouth and eyes were tearing.  Being completely ignorant of what to do and afraid for the poor creature’s life, I called the vet hospital.  The lady on the phone was very helpful, but couldn’t advise me to do anything except (of course) bring her in for checking.  Also before hanging up she politely explained that there was a vet emergency call out fee of Dhs 700 (around €120).  Fine.

The hospital was difficult to find, and we had to call again to ask for directions.  Also the last stretch was completely off-road stuff, a bumpy track that would have made a 4×4 dance around. I had to crawl at a snail’s pace.  We got there eventually and the Italian vet suggested we leave her there for blood tests and observation.  Later during the day I received a call, she was put on a drip as was not eating much and will be kept overnight.  By the following morning she had started eating again (and passing the food, nicely put) so she could be picked up.  Further off-roading.  At least I was rewarded with a pretty unusual sight for Dubai.

The only road I know of in Dubai with this dense green-age

Today had to go back for a follow up blood test after 3 days.  Levels were improving, she was on the mend.  Getting there I had a bit of an incident.  The vet was still closed as I had to go a bit early, and while I was waiting outside the car the cat managed to free herself from the carrier and decided to take a better view of her surroundings.

Houdini would have been proud

Actually the carrier is of the canvas zip-up type, not the plastic cage type, and the cat managed to work the zip from the inside by wriggling forcefully against it.  So we need to upgrade.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags: , ,

So you are hygienic

November 16, 2009 Leave a comment

You scrub yourself clean before leaving the house.You play twister standing up to avoid touching the dusty car’s surface while squeezing in.  You hold your breath in the elevator if it’s too crowded, outwardly nonchalant.  You hold your breath if somebody sneezes or coughs in your vicinity.  You sneeze or cough in a tissue.  You wash your hands after you shake strangers’.  You wash your hands before you eat. You wash your hands after you eat.  You use the closed stalls to relieve yourself, for the added facilities. You wash your hands and wipe them thoroughly.

Then as you grab the door handle to exit the restroom you realise that, in all probability, somebody before you didn’t.

This is one of the very serious shortfalls in restroom design, in my humble, biased opinion.  Taking a look at the high-traffic malls like Deira City Centre the probability of the above happening would shoot up.  I can only think of Dubai Festival Centre facilities where you can breeze out without touching anything, ready to face the dirty world again.

Granted, the WHO has not issued any reports about the threat to society imposed by public utility handles.  It’s just that everybody has his own parameters of personal comfort, and this is just one situation that lies outside mine.  Especially after witnessing all sorts of gross washroom misconduct.

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