What do you mean, Geordies don’t come from Jordan? I had a friend once who was convinced that the denizens of Liverpool were known as Geordies (not the sharpest pencil in the box – he also thought that the Spice Gurrrls were American).
Last night was taken up with some seriously (for us) advanced planning. A car has been booked for the week, and an hotel room reserved for the first night. Today we will throw together some kind of itinerary which we will of course completely ignore when we get there.
I’ve also been checking the weather in Jordan, and boy, they have nearly as much weather as England! In Amman today the max will be 14°C and the min 3°C. In the last few days the figure 0°C has been featured, along with the word ‘rain’ and the phrase ‘snow in the mountains’. But it seems to be warming up a bit now.
We are flying tomorrow morning, and blogging will be light to moderate.
My old mate Deepak Morris sent me a link to The Dialectizer. This very clever site can translate your blog, or any web page, into several dialects, including Cockney and Hillbilly. It’s a scream!
Unfortunately, you folks in Etisalat-land won’t be able to access it because it’s blocked. All those strange words flying about the page are obviously up to no good.
All cheer for the cabbies
Hooray for Dubai cabbies, a horrifically underpaid and under-appreciated profession whose bosses were trying to screw even more blood out of an already well-squeezed stone.
Taxis in Dubai are only charged by distance, meaning that in these days of perma-gridlock, drivers are stuck for hours in traffic earning zero money. Drivers also have to carry out all their own maintenance, despite paying
December 27, 2005
New Year’s Question
Its THAT time of the year again. The time everyone asks you “whats up for new year?”. I don’t mind getting asked every five minutes by every phone call or everyone I bump into in the street. What i do mind is
when I am judged, assessed or evaluated based on how much money am gonna be spending for a “11:00pm to 1:00 am” gig on that night.
I also hate it when I get that sympathetic face if my answer was anything near “am gonna stay home and chill out with the family” – which, most probably, will be the case this year.
So, since everyone is really trying and working really hard to know what your’s truely will be doing for new years, I think its a shame to have all this inquisitive energy go to waste.
I know i can redirect it to make the best out of it .. for example, i can use it to:
Get things done for me
Cool friend: What are you doing for new years ya man?
me: wallah no plans yet
Cool friend: walla yhemmak ya man (don’t sweat it), i made bookings at this great place – Dhs 400 per person and counted you and the Mrs. in.
Bust a wannabe’s chops
Wannabe-cool friend: SUP MAN, NEW YEARS IS GOING DOWN – i booked at this ultra cool place for 1000 dirhams a pop. I am inviting ALL my wasta friends, and there iz gonna be hoes and sh!t..what are you doin?
Me: My best friend, the Egyptian pop singer, will be in town. So he made reservations in Boudoir for Dhs 2500 per person along with his other celeb friends. Most of the hot models from his latest video clip will be there. My singer friend also told me that all the models are planning a wet t-shirt contest at 12…
*Wannabe-cool friend turning green*
Get ahead in my career
Boss: What are you doing for new years?
me: Well sir, you know i moved to a new house, i don’t think i can party cause my back hurts from sleeping on the floor. I also need to save money for the new baby we are expecting.. And my car is still in the garage …. and..
Boss: Pass by my office later today .. its time we discuss your appraisal and promotion
Get Parental Support
Dad:what are you gonna do for new years baba?Me: Anything low profile, you know i don’t have money and everything is expensive in dubai, rent, dewa … etcDad: Don’t worry my son, i will wire you some money this afternoon – make sure you enjoy your time
Me: i love you baba!
Make a good impression
Conservative friend: Assalamo 3alaikom, what will you do in the upcoming vacation my brother?
Me: I will sit back and think of all the bad things i did, what could I’ve done to avoid them and focus on helping my fellow brothers and sisters around the world
Conservative friend: baraka allahu feek (god bless you) – we need more believers like you
Dodge work deadlines
Client: I need (delivery, report, mail, files..etc) ASAPme: But sir, you know that its new years and most people took xmas all the way to new years as holiday. No one is getting back to me … i have been trying really hard.Client: Oh, its not a problem then – happy new year
Any more ideas?
The exceedingly handsome Ibn Battuta
A grave error
Canoodling among the corpses: two months in Al Slammer for an amorous Indian couple who spent “private moments” in a bath used to wash dead bodies:
“Othman’s friend Monyer R, 35, a security guard at the cemetery, let the couple into the normally well guarded building used to prepare the bodies of the deceased according to Islamic ritual, which entails washing and dressing the corpses in white robes for burial.
“However, a policeman making his usual late night rounds of the services building at the cemetery noticed that the lights were still on in the room and caught them in the act.”
A very interesting article here.
CAIRO, Egypt Dec 26, 2005 — Staff members at a Riyadh hospital got a surprise when they looked at the fine print on the paper cups they were using. Workers in a storeroom at a Dubai hospital were similarly shocked when they took a close look at the tags on a large shipment of uniforms, towels and sheets.
The labels said “Made in Israel,” according to recent newspaper reports from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, both of which have laws that ban imports from the Jewish state.
Very dirty laundry
Billions of dollars are laundered in Dubai every year, through organised crime such as arms smuggling, drugs smuggling and prostitution, according to Dubai police expert Laurence Al Moalim:”Though mainly European, the offenders belong to other parts of the world too. No UAE national has so far been convicted of these crimes. Dubai and Bahrain used to be transit points for launderers,” he added.Dubai’s “attractive” financial structure is partly to blame, with its tax-free status. A thriving hawala system, due to a huge population of low-wage Asian expats, also facilitates the transfer of black funds, as does the emirate’s famous gold souq.As Al Moalim and even the CIA note, Dubai and UAE Federal authorites are making efforts to fight money laundering. But the country’s strategic location, and historical status as a trading hub, make it vulnerable:But Dubai also serves as the region’s criminal crossroads, a hub for smuggling, money laundering, and underground banking. There are Russian and Indian mobsters, Iranian arms traffickers, and Arab jihadists. Funds for the 9/11 hijackers and African embassy bombers were transferred through the city. It was the heart of Pakistani scientist A. Q. Khan’s black market in nuclear technology and other proliferation cases. Half of all applications to buy U.S. military equipment from Dubai are from bogus front companies, officials say. “Iran,” adds one U.S. official, “is building a bomb through Dubai.”Dubai authorities and the new DIFC have a tough battle ahead.
December 26, 2005
Tits out at the Greens
Remember reading about the two ladies staying at the Greens who went topless at the swimming pool? That story made me laugh, because those ‘New Dubai’ areas really are carving out reputations for themselves. So now we have topless frolicking at the Greens, wife swapping at the Meadows, it really does seem a whole suburb of nutters from Umm Suqueim upped sticks and fled in droves to New Dubai, taking their crazy ways – indeed, it is said anyone who considers buying property in Dubai is mad – with them.What stories should we start to expect from the Ranches – horse manure eating parties, with everyone sat round wearing crotchless underwear?
just a couple of pictures i took while chilling in the Kubba bar at al qasr … i just loved it!
Merry Christmas to all. As SecretDubai said, 2005 is the year when Christmas truly exploded in Dubai, with all sorts of events and displays in public places like shopping malls.Have a good one, and none of this ‘Happy Holidays’ PC nonsense.
Tits off at the Greens
Remember reading about the two ladies staying at the Greens who went topless at the swimming pool? That story made me laugh, because those ‘New Dubai’ areas really are carving out reputations for themselves. So now we have topless frolicking at the Greens, wife swapping at the Hills, it really does seem a whole suburb of nutters from Umm Suqueim upped sticks and fled in droves to New Dubai, taking their crazy ways – indeed, it is said anyone who considers buying property in Dubai is mad – with them.What stories should we start to expect from the Ranches – horse manure eating parties, with everyone sat around wearing crotchless underwear?
The art of using golf courses
Personally I will never understand the obsession property developers have here with golf courses. It seems a golf course comes as standard on every single new development, no matter how big or small, low income or high income the project is.Take Emaar’s latest attempt to enter the Saudi real estate market, the King Abdullah Economic City. The press releases are peppered with the same overused words – luxurious, exclusive, etc – and there you have it, an “international-class signature 18-hole golf course”.
It isn’t just Emaar that loves golf courses, Nakheel shares the same fascination of building them on its developments. Well actually, I should have said they like selling homes on golf courses, then cancelling the golf course when said houses have been sold and building more houses on top, which is exactly what they did with Jumeirah Islands.
Doesn’t it just render you speechless?
Al Ain Taxi
Christmas in the HnJ
No, we didn’t have dinner at Al Ain’s hottest nightspot.
I know many people have their Christmas grub in one of Al Ain’s four hotels but not us. Nothing against their cooking but I spend enough money in there during the rest of the year.
However, we did go there for a drink and listened to their Christmas CD on repeat mode three times. You’d think they’d have more than one Christmas CD and I began to feel sorry for the poor bar staff who must be counting the hours by the number of times Nat King Cole’s ‘Chestnuts Roasting’ goes round.
Hope you all had a wonderful day whatever you did, wherever you went.
SEAGULL IS BACCCCKK!!!!
SEAGULL IS BAACCCKKK!!! i.e. meaning me…
since I don’t like to use the computer from home anymore, I have restricted my self to the office hours for blogging, email checking, e-shopping, and any other casual surfing, that is of course alongside the remaining work I do on the ‘puter here.
Annnnnnywaaaay since Xmas is slow at work, i decided to take a couple of days of and relax and de-stress
The lucky mispelt adulteress
Sharjah law enforcement: what images of wisdom, competence and efficiency does that stir up in most of our minds? Very few, and even less after reading this gem, when the wrong Indonesian-suspected adulteress was deported, because her name was similar to that of another Indonesian convicted-adulteress:
Sharjah: An Indonesian woman suspected of adultery was deported by a Sharjah prison before she had been sentenced by the court, sources told Gulf News on Saturday.
Sharjah jail officials mistook the woman for another Indonesian woman who had already been jailed and lashed for adultery charges, and was awaiting deportation after serving her term, they said.
The confusion also arose because of the similarity in the women’s names: Lilian had yet to be sentenced, while Lileet had completed her term.
Jail officials are blaming the Arabic language, because “n” and “t” are written similary: the n with one dot above, and the “t” with two. Of course if they wrote Arabic properly, the names would be as patently dissimilar as they are in English.
But with so many Arabic speakers too lazy or too clueless to use vowel diacritics in official documents, their writing reads a bt lk ths. Intelligible enough, except when you come to trying to tell the difference between K(i)t and K(a)t.
And of course there’s no standardisation of transliteration, coupled with immensely sloppy spelling standards, meaning that Susie Peters may end up back in in English again as Soosee Peteers or Soozey Beetrs. Not a great way to build a database if you ever want to cross-reference with foreign governments and law enforcement agencies: police and census operators, take note.
In another incident in the same jail, officials were about to lash a woman 120 times for adultery, as the woman pleaded for mercy, the sources said.
But they stopped just in the nick of time when they realised they were about to administer the punishment for the second time.
Sharjah officials: words literally fail.
December 25, 2005
Who stole Christ from Christmas?
It is Christmas time and I see a lot of Christmas promotions in shops, friends talking about the holidays and so on. One thing that I have noticed is a lot of people (including promotional material) call the 25th of December “x-mas”. Why? Why do you have to remove Christ from Christmas? Isn’t is because […]
Christmas Chez Nous
We are into Christmas in a big way in our house. None o’ that ‘bah humbuggery’ for us, no sir! But now we are empty-nesters, so it’s a bit different. For one thing, I’m not cooking the gazillion-kilo turkey and trimmings – the two of us wouldn’t be able to eat it all before we go away. So we will be dining out tomorrow. Also, no mountains of presents under the tree this year – our present to ourselves and Offspring is a week in Jordan.
BetterArf is busy doing a research project into gingerbread houses. Every few years she has a go at making these things according to different recipes, and they hardly ever work. Yesterday and today we have an ongoing comparative study. One comes from a generic Christmas magazine, the other is from Martha Stewart and it has the best flavour, apparently.
She is also watching the ultra-cheesy “White Christmas” with Bing Crosby. A preposterous movie.
And of course, no Christmas is complete without the Christmas Singalong at Jebel Ali Cloob (this evening).
I probably won’t be allowed to switch on the computer tomorrow, so I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year.
Hot News From Jebel Ali
Your fearless number one reporter Keefieboy brings you this eye-witness report. Passing Ibn Battuta Maul on the way to repay Etisalat for their extreme generosity in disconnecting my broadband on Christmas Day, I found the road was blocked by hundreds of Oriental-looking blokes marching in the direction of the China Court. Somehow I don’t think they were going shopping. Returning from Jebel Ali, the road to China was blocked by dozens of policemen, cars and the kind of busses you use to take a lot of people to jail in. Some of the police were wearing riot gear.
More hot news. I arrived at the little Etisalat office (after detouring halfway to Abu Dhabi and then back to Jebel Ali Village because I managed to miss the turn-off in both directions) to find the car park completely empty. Now there is no way that Etisalat are going to take a day off to celebrate the Prophet Isa’s Birthday (PBUH), and I was right. The old office is closed because they’ve moved to a big new shiny building not far away. Unfortunately, because of the crap road layout around Jebel Ali Free Zone’s Main Gate, the only way to (legally) drive to the new office would involve a detour back to Jebel Ali Village. I kid you not.
So I walked over to the new office. It is indeed big and new and shiny, boasting no less than a dozen counters, one of which was actually open. But there’s loads of room for people to queue in and we all enjoyed that.
Al Ain Taxi
Happy Christmas…It’s not the same…
It doesn’t matter how you try to dress it up, Christmas in a Muslim country is not the same. I understand how Muslims feel in the UK when they celebrate Eid. OK, you can make your home as festive as possible but as soon as you step outside it’s just another day
However, we will do our best to celebrate today despite the blinding sunshine and lack of snow.
Happy Christmas !