Archive for November, 2005

Back in the dunes, finally!

30/11/2005

We finally managed to get the Jeep off tarmac and back into the desert last Friday with a trip organised by ME 4×4.

Micky’s Jeep in my wing mirror
We were in an area I’ve been to before, between Big Red and the Al Maha resort. Three groups in all – I lead our group initially and was the first to get stuck.

After lunch Adiga took over and lead us through the dunes in a more direct and challenging style. I’d been taking it easy early on as it was the first time I’d been since May and wasn’t sure of how skilled everyone else was. Next time I’ll be more aggressive.
Everyone was very experienced and we had no major stucks after my initial cresting.
This looks easier than it was – a sharp dip that was just enough to swallow a Jeep.

Tabu got a great pic of this young family.

A great day out.
There are some nice pics over at the ME4x4 site. Check out

Flickr blocked in the UAE again

30/11/2005

The local isp here has blocked access to Flickr. Apologies to any UAE based readers – you won’t be able to see any of my pictures for now!

Ronnie Corbett rocks Dubai

30/11/2005

Never let it be said that Dubai lacks quality international entertainment.
Just over a week ago Ronnie Corbett graced the new theatre in the Madinat. He was actually very good. Here’s the man himself, just before he had to leave to do a wedding. He’d been booked as the groom on the cake.

After Ronnie’s flying visit, the next day saw The Human League playing in a nearby pub!

Earthquake?

27/11/2005

The whole Sun office in Dubai has just spent at least two minutes wobbling around as if an earthquake were happening. Quite nerve racking!
Update –
It was an earthquake – most of the tall buildings on the Sheikh Zayed Rd, including the one we live in, were evacuated after a minor tremor hit.

Solaris x86 working perfectly and wirelessly

24/11/2005

I expect anyone finding this via Google will be frustrated by this entry, but…
After using what I think are internal tools and drivers only I have my Solaris x86 laptop now working perfectly with the wireless network in my flat. I also have an internal only tool that gives me a graphical interface to choose which network type to select and which lets me setup profiles so that I can quickly change IP addresses depending on my location and what I want to do. Fantastic!
Here’s my lovely assistant demonstrating my Toshiba S1 downloading Firefox from Blastwave.org, wirelessly and power cord free.

I know, let’s visit an Iranian controlled military island base!

24/11/2005

Whilst I don’t sympathise with the way these people were treated, I don’t understand why they went there in the first place.
UK to pursue ordeal of expats detained in Iran
A lot of expats based in Dubai go skiiing in Iran apparently. I wonder how easy it is for Brits to go there?

I know, let’s visit an Iranian controlled military island base!

24/11/2005

Whilst I don’t sympathise with the way these people were treated, I don’t understand why they went there in the first place.
UK to pursue ordeal of expats detained in Iran
A lot of expats based in Dubai go skiiing in Iran apparently. I wonder how easy it is for Brits to go there?

Sky high Dubai

23/11/2005

Hmmph. Prices here are going through the roof and it’s really beginning to grate.
When we arrived we got used to 5 star stuff at very reasonable prices. Now it’s 5 star at unreasonable prices, but we’ve got used to going to all the nice places! Time to scale back and get used to reality again. It was fun while it lasted. The problem is that there’s not much ‘middle’ stuff to scale back to. It’s either pretty low-end entertainment or 5 star hotels without much inbetween.
Take a lovely seafront bar near the Sun office, for example. The fish and chips used to Cost 50 UAE Dirhams, or about $13. In less than a year it’s gone up to $20. That’s from good value to poor value in less than 12 months. Petrol has just gone up 32% and our rent went up 32% too. Duty free drinks prices have increased too. A friend paid $8.50 for a pint of beer in a bar the other day! Three years ago the average price was $4.80. Taxi prices and everything else will follow soon…
We’re lucky in terms of salary compared to many others and we’re still financially better off than in the UK, but the price rises are increasingly leaving a sour taste in the mouth. You can shop around for good deals, but good value is no longer the default. Many sections of society must be having a tough time.
That said, tourists and expats continue to flock here – hotels are packed and you can’t find an apartment for love nor money. Dubai Inc’s doing well and I have to congratulate them, even if the Sauls are cutting back. With the huge number of hotels going up I can only hope that the extra competition will restore some value to the entertainment market around here. Apart from offroading there’s not a huge amount else to do…

Would you eat these?

21/11/2005

We saw some great menu items when out for a meal in Dubai’s Heritage Village the other night.
Most were the usual slightly cryptic offerings, such as ‘chicken stuffed cheese’ and ‘castard’.
My favourites though –
* Homos
* Beirut Homos
…and a particularly painful sounding
* Homos with fried meat
That brought some strange images to mind.
I dread to think what searches on Google will now end up linking to my blog!

Put a tiger in your…. Front seat

20/11/2005

This article from the Gulf News is classic.
In my experience it’s usually children who are hanging out of the windows around here, not animals.
Some of the schools have seen interesting pets brought in during ‘show and tell’ sessions, I’m told.
The best thing I’ve encountered was a large family of peacocks who’d wandered out of a nearby palace onto the roundabout I was trying to drive around. A friend of a friend went to an Iftar buffet at one of the palaces and encountered a gazelle on the front lawn!
Note the brand new 2006 Range Rover as well. They’re sprouting all over Dubai along with the Range Rover Sport.