Archive for June, 2009

Too much burger!


Interesting comments from one of the UAE’s star players on why they failed to qualify for the World Cup.

It sounds like they need a dietician keeping an eye on them.

That said, I’m surprised at their alleged fondness for McD’s. As professional athletes, I’m sure they know that eating fast food shouldn’t be a daily occurrence, even if their diet wasn’t being particularly controlled by anyone.

I’m disappointed the UAE won’t be in the World Cup – football related celebrations are one of the few times that, as an expat, you get to see local people out on the streets and enjoying themselves publicly.

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Shameless self-promotion


I have an article in this month’s Arabian Insight, available at all good magazine shops.

The article’s online here as well.

100 years since Zayed the First passed away


In Abu Dhabi for work yesterday, I noticed adverts commemorating the 100 years that have gone by since Zayed the First passed away.

There’s a great website here that has some info on the man. The video’s well worth watching.

At the very least, look at this picture here!

Interesting stuff. I would love to read some contemporary accounts from the local British political agents who would have worked with him.   

Dear drivers in the Old Town/Downtown area of Dubai


Hello there, people who drive around where I live!

Apologies for the intrusion, but I just wanted to talk to you all about something rather important.

You really need to understand that just because a road has two or three lanes, no speed cameras and little in the way of speed bumps or general traffic calming, it does not mean that the road is a racing track.

You may have noticed all the apartments around you when you’re whizzing along through the Old Town – they are full of residents. This makes the area a ‘residential’ area.

‘Residential’ means that people live there. They need to cross the road occasionally, they might enjoy taking a walk around the place and certainly need to sleep at night.

So, there’s no need to rev your Nissan Patrol so hard that it backfires at eleven at night. Testing whether Toyota’s marketing brochure was telling the truth when it said your FJ Cruiser and do 0 to 60 in 8 seconds is also something you should do elsewhere. My suggestion would be to do this sort of thing somewhere else – the street you live in, for example. At midnight.

Taxi drivers – testing your Camry’s braking distance, or its ability to accelerate hard towards pedestrians is also a bit silly.

Why not use your off day to drive to an empty road in the desert with your friends and get it out of your system there? You could spend the morning racing towards your colleagues as they try to cross the road, indicating left but turning right and slamming on the brakes at the last minute so as not to miss the entrance to an imaginary hotel. After you’ve had your fun, you can then drive calmly through Downtown to Dubai Mall or to the hotels there. Guess what? You’ll arrive at pretty much the same time! Astonishing, I know, but it’s true!

Finally, a top tip to drivers picking up customers in branded vehicles belonging to leading airlines, or to delivery men working for local businesses. Cutting people up, flying over the three speed bumps we’ve been blessed with or generally pretending you are Jensen Buttenstan or Lewis Hamilreddy is also a bit twitty. There’s a big sign on your vehicle, so when you endanger people’s lives, We Know Who You Are and can call the company you work for to complain about your Formula 1 antics.

This is just a friendly ‘heads up’, as they say in the States. Carry on as you are and the next time it’ll be a friendly ‘heads off’ as the axe-wielding residents of this residential area chase you away.

Thanks guys!


Single visa for GCC travel?


This would make life a lot easier.

Although you can get a visa on arrival in Bahrain, Qatar, Oman and Kuwait, the process can sometimes be time consuming and involves yet another stamp. Saudi visas always seem to be for three months only, take three or four days to be issued and take up two passport pages.

My passport’s just over a year and a half old and has only one double page left, shortly to be used for an Algerian visa. Anything that can help me get through immigration more quickly and which keeps my passport pages as empty as possible is most welcome!