You are currently browsing the monthly archive for September 2008.

 

let me begin with the story preface.  we got our apartment, which we later found out came with ONE KEY.  nice.  so we need another key… or 4.  so we have been searching for a place to duplicate keys for a week and a half now.  we have tried the place that we were told about at the emirates mall, which no longer exists, the ace hardware at the greens that we couldn’t find, and the minutes store at the ibn battuta mall that no longer makes key duplicates.  so we went to the information counter at the mall and asked the guy there where we could go (since we HAD to go today, because we have to give the maid a copy tomorrow), and drove ALL THE WAY across town to the only place anyone knew of.  now keep in mind, we live in the marina, not the middle east.  big difference.  this place, its in the middle east.  a complete different country.

 

first of all, we were stuck in traffic so bad (at 10 pm) that it literally took us 20 minutes to move 0.3 km.  (thats 2/10 of a mile).  second of all, we were out of gas.  a very bad thing when you are stuck in traffic so bad that it takes you 20 minutes to move 2/10 of a mile.  third of all, we really don’t know where we are going.  we have an asterisk on a map that mall info dude drew.  thats it.  so we are circling around this block trying to find the mysterious place that has a sign that has the word “key” on it.  but we can’t move, because we would run over hundreds of thousands of dudes in robes.  EVERYWHERE.  this is arabia-town, like no other.  i was a little scared.  and hiding.  there were NO women around anywhere.  and there was no english.  and it smelled bad.  and there were horns honking.  and lights flashing.  and people trying to stop the car to talk to us in arabic.  eek. and we are out of gas.  oh yeah, and i have to pee like I HAVE NEVER HAD TO PEE BEFORE!

 

so we decide after almost an hour of circling that we have to go get gas.  so we did (taking a ridiculous amount of time), and we were SURE that there were going to be NO key-making places open at 11 pm.  well apparently, there are.  not one, but 57,000 in a row.  are you kidding me?  there is NOWHERE to get a key made in ALL of dubai, except for this place, and we get here, and there is an entire CITY BLOCK of key-making places?!?  all open at 11 pm.  what’s next, hanger alley?!?  so we find the only place to park that there possibly is (after much honking, flashing, and waving…) and park the car.  then we sit and look at each other.  um…. i’m not getting out of this car!!  well, jonathan thinks i should.  he doesn’t want to leave me in the car, and i don’t want to get out of it.  so i do, because he insists, and have to cross the street like the advanced level in frogger, and run into the closest key shop there is.  after we passed through the PLASTIC doors, the smell hit us.  omg, i think i might fall out right here on the floor.  which. by the way… ew.  after regaining consciousness and getting over my dizzy spell, i begin to notice that i am standing in at 10×10 room with – count them – SEVEN arabic men sitting around talking and staring at me – the girl in the tee shirt.  eek.  so jonathan got the dude to cut the keys – and although we could have bargained our way to cheaper keys – at this point, we were doing whatever it took to get out of there the quickest.  btw – next time i say i’m sitting in the car – IM SITTING IN THE CAR!  oh yeah, and i REALLY have to pee now.  like i’m not even kidding.  really.

 

we hop in the car, and i could not tell the gps to “go home” fast enough.  and we are 20 km from home.  (about 12 miles.)  oh yeah, here’s where the dinging comes in – the cars here… they ding when you hit 120 km/h.  most cars just ding once.  the rentals – they ding THE ENTIRE TIME that you are over 120 km/h.  the point of the story??

 

[insert blog title here.]

 

here are some pictures that i managed to get of our little adventure before i got scared that i was going to be hauled off for taking them…

 

 

p92706681

the burj as of today.

full speed ahead. 

p9270673

in traffic – needing gas and a toilet.

p9270675

the “choking” as i like to call it.

p9270676

the grand mosque.  nest to “key lane”.

warning… the following has nothing to do with our new life in dubai.  



the other night i got all excited because marie antoinette was coming on tv.  i get excited when things that i want to watch come on tv, because it happens very rarely here.  now, i had never seen marie antoinette before, but have wanted to since it came out to theaters, because i LOVE the french revolution!  i don’t care for a lot of history, but i love love love the french revolution for many reasons – marie antoinette is an entertaining person to me, it is a story about a people versus themselves, and it influenced art potentially more than any other single historical event.  so i was VERY disappointed to learn that this movie told NOTHING of the story of the french revolution.  the entire movie was based around the fact that the marriage took years to be consummated, and she needed a male heir. nothing about the french peasants,  nothing about the guillotine, nothing about them DYING – nothing!!  basically, it was a waste of two hours of my afternoon.


yesterday i bought sex and the city from itunes since it just came out, and we watched it last night.  love it.  love it.  love it.  🙂


and i just have to say that this “living situation” thing is not making me very happy.  i need outlets in the bathroom.  i need my things to plug in and not blow a fuse and cause mini-fires on the floor.  i need to hang artwork on the walls with something other than mounting tape, and i NEED to hang curtains in the bedroom.  i don’t know how much longer we can go thinking that every time we change clothes, sleep, or do other private things that one does in one’s bedroom, someone is watching us!  and im tired of having to turn off the lights to change clothes at night!!  I NEED CURTAINS!


that said, we have received our last box of moving things, and after it is put away this afternoon, we will officially be moved in and settled.


also, we have taken our vacation days off for christmas.  we are off december 12 – january 3, so we will have pretty much 3 weeks in savannah.  we might spend a day in atlanta first, though.  and hey, next weekend is a 4-day weekend for us.  yay!!!!


okay, sorry this entry was so boring.  and no pictures.  hopefully it will be better next time. 🙂

 

so it’s been an entire week since i’ve written anything – sorry.  we’ve been sooooo busy trying to get everything settled with the new “flat”.  i think we might finally be there. we have electricity, water, furniture, internet, television, and a maid!  we’re just waiting for 4 final boxes to arrive, and then we will be finished with moving!  its taken long enough…


it is obnoxious how many things you have to have to get simple things around here… for example, to get internet and tv (same company), we had to show a passport, copy of our visa page, copy of our lease, stamped twice by the real estate company, a letter from our company saying that we work for them, a letter saying our visas were in process, a letter saying how much money we make, and a copy of the company’s trade license…  i literally walked into the mall (yes, you get EVERYTHING from the mall.) with a file folder FULL of papers.  (i had three copies of everything, just in case.)


so after quite a few annoyances, we are finally settled enough that we have time to watch tv or go to the pool today, before we go back to work tomorrow.  we are still getting used to going to work on sundays. 


on thursday, the entire office was “forced” to leave the office at 1 and go bowling.  it was mandatory.  there were people that have never bowled in their entire life!  can you believe that?  they literally did not know how to even roll the ball.  it was quite humorous.  a few people from the atlanta office had just arrived in dubai for a few days, so we bowled with lauren from hba atl, and then went to lunch… at like 5.  we were starving, and couldn’t find food anywhere because of ramadan.  i hate ramadan.  we went home and were going to take a “15 minute nap” before we went to dinner and then to drinks with the atl crew, but our “15 minute nap” turned into 15 hours!  i kid you not!  we went to sleep at 6:30 in the afternoon and woke up at 9:30 in the morning!  it was kinda unbelievable…


so then yesterday we introduced ourselves to “geant”, the equivalent to walmart.  (first we tried carrefour, but believe it or not, i hate carrefour 10 times as much as i hate walmart.)  geant i only hate the same as i hate walmart.  and theres nothing like a target.  😦   so we stocked up on some groceries, etc, and i took a few pictures in the store to post here.  (see below)


after spending most of our day shopping we met up with lauren again for drinks at the buddah bar.  which happens to be a HUGE bar, and quite interestingly designed.  it was nice.  we grabbed a cab home and hit the sack, and awoke this morning to the doorbell… the maid was here!!  


you all have NO IDEA how excited i am to have a maid!  shes coming EVERY SUNDAY.  to clean everything, and iron too!  (no, we’re not rolling in the dough.  she costs equivalent to about 20 bucks a week.)


at the same time that the maid was here, we also had a guy come to fix our electrical problem in the bedroom, and another guy here to install the internet and tv.  and today, there were two maids.  plus me and jonathan.  that equals SIX people in a 700 sf. apartment, all trying to get something accomplished.  it was interesting.  and now, we have everything done! 🙂


so now that ive bored you all to death with every happening of the past three days, ill post some pictures.  there are some of the “hypermarket”, and some of the apartment.  we have a large whole in the living room where we cant afford any more furniture to put in it, and the bedroom is so small that we have jonathan’s wardrobe in the living room.  and theres no plug in the bathroom at all.  so whoever came up with this genius space should be fired.  but it has ac.  and a bed.  so we’ll take it.

 

p9190639-leveled

the bakery at geant

p9190641-leveled

any spice you can think of… dirt cheap.

p9190642-filtered

the fish counter.  pick a fish.  any fish.

p9200646-filtered

our front door and “office”

p9200648-filtered

our kitchen.  and laundry room.

p9200652-filtered

the living area…

p9200653-leveled

the entertainment area / jonathan’s wardrobe

p9200655-leveled

our ridiculous bathroom with literally NO storage or power outlets,

and the most hideous tile on the face of the planet…

p9200656-leveled

our bedroom, large enough for the bed and a walkway to the other side

p9200657-leveled

kendals wardrobe

p9200658-leveled

balcony view of sheikh zayed road and jlt

p9200660-leveled

balcony view of the marina and jbr

this is just a quick update – i’m about to go pick up the keys to the new pad.  we were supposed to have furniture delivered yesterday, but never got a call and when we called the store ALL DAY no one answered.  so we went there last night, and yada yada yada, they are supposed to call us this morning with the redelivery time, hopefully tonight.  we went to ikea last night and bought some stuff, and need to go back for a dresser and tv cabinet, and after that i think we’re done with furniture.  then we need STORAGE – theres NONE in the bathroom.  i kid you not.  nothing.  the sink is on a counter, and theres NOTHING under the counter.  i’m going to take pictures today when we get there and post them soon.  


btw – we filled up our rental cal yesterday, and for about 11 gallons, we paid 50 DHS.  that’s 13.61, putting gas at $1.23 per gallon.  we’ll take it.  🙂

btw, i have a new number to call – 1.912.228.3988  its a skype number, and i’m going to try it to see if i like it better than the other number, on gizmo (1.912.434.4170).  you can use both for now.


also, i have a dubai mobile number now, too.  its +971.050.911.6937.  use it anytime you need to urgently talk to me.  the skype number should forward to my mobile if i don’t answer, but i haven’t tried that much yet.  we’ll see if it works soon enough.

there was an earthquake in iran about a hour ago, and tremors were felt all over dubai.  i didn’t personally feel any, but our other office was evacuated.   here is the news story.


http://www.gulfnews.com/nation/Environment/10243956.html

ever seen a picture of nothing?  take a look at our drive to the outlet mall…

p9070616-leveled1

p9070619-leveled

p9070622-leveled

p9070624-leveled

 

so i dont have a lot of time, im ready for bed and its 12:30, but i wanted to post some things before i forget.  so heres some random bits of information:


i can read and write all of the numbers in arabic now.  but not say.


we moved hotels today, and are now in the hilton jumierah.  we are RIGHT ON the beach, and have a view of the sea from our balcony.  today we went to the pool and sat at the bar for lunch IN THE POOL.  how sweet is that?!?  then we walked a few “metres” (im working on my british) down the path with the lounge tents to the private beach.  we got in the water, and it was NO LIE 95-100 degrees.  it burnt my ankles for a second.  we were in it for about 15 minutes, and i was beginning to get light-headed, and had to go back to the refrigerated pool.  in about a month, im told, the weather will be so perfect i will never want to leave.  the sand will turn white, the water perfect, and the humidity gone.  im waiting…


i now think in british.  all of the voices in my head are british.  all the time.


we just got out of osama bin laden’s nascar taxi.  i thought we were going to die.  we have had relatively good taxi experiences until tonight.  there was obnoxiously LOUD chanting arabic noises, and a crowd cheering and chanting.  i thought that they were planning to kill all of us, but then the taxi driver started turning this TINY roundabout at like 80 kph.  thats about 50 mph for all of you imperial people.  i thought the car might flip over.  i think the chanting people were sending him messages to kill us.


only about 1/3 of all the people here wear traditional islamic abayas, etc.  and most of them are men.  i was observing in the mall tonight.  and on a regular day when i go to work and then the hotel, etc, and dont get out to places like the mall, i probably only see maybe 3 people wearing them.  its not as crazy as you may think.  plus, everyone else wears normal clothes.  theres not a lot of extra modesty.  i see everything i would normally see in a normal day in atlanta.  or worse, seeing that its constantly 1,457,835,953 degrees outside.


ramadan sucks.  everything is closed during the day, and you cant even drink water in public during the day.  (problem when its 1,457,835,953 degrees outside.)  you have to go either to the supermarket or a hotel restaurant to get ANYTHING.  and if anyone sees you drinking or eating, even in your car, they can call the police on you.  you have to be in private.  even the restaurants in the mall close… except this one that pulls a giant black curtain around so that no one can see in.  but then at 6:37 (today) everyone eats.


we keep hearing this arabic chant song playing at night in public places.  when we got to the airport, we heard it, and didnt know what it was.  then the other night we were at the mall, and at the same exact time, we heard it, and thought that it must be the call to end the fast for the day.   but then tonight we heard it again at the mall (this time we were in radio shack), but it was much later than the breaking of the fast, so we dont know what it is for.  very weird.


theres a krispy kreme across the street from our hotel.  walking distance.


we went to see the mummy movie tonight.


this hotel isnt as nice as the other one.  but the beach view is better.  ill take it.


im going to come home for christmas and beat you ALL in a tan!


why is it so freaking hot?


tomorrow we’re going to look at more apartments.


last night we went to dinner with sayeli, our office manager, howard, the atlanta/london/dubai president, michelle, the other office manager, a new girl that is starting soon, jerry wu, the guy who started with us from the shanghai office, and howards wife.  dinner was nice.  its kinda freaky to see a menu quoting the price as “360”.  thats how much my entree was.  granted that is dirhams, but thats still 98 dollars.  then sayeli wanted to go for more drinks, instead of go home, so she took jonathan, jerry, and i out to the souk. 


for more pictures of the hotel, beach, etc, click here.  theres some more pictures added.


more tomorrow.  if i can make it out of the pool.

 

p9050610-leveled

the sunset on the beach from our room

p9050606-leveled

another view from the room of jbr

p9050609-leveled

jbr and a roundabout near chili’s and krispy kreme.

p9030597-leveled

ski dubai from the mall corridor

yesterday was the first day of work, if you can call it that.  really, we just left the hotel by FOOT, (while it was like 95 degrees), walked to work, in which we had to go around construction, which made the trip 3 times as long as it should have been, and by the time we got to the office,  i thought i might die.  we got aquatinted with our desks, and realized that we aren’t going to be able to remember ANYONE’S names because we cant say any of them!!  or maybe we could… if we could see them written, or hear from someone who speaks english…  anyway, we took a taxi to the other office to see it, searched for an apartment, took a taxi back, searched for more apartments, and walked back to the hotel about 3:30… (gotta love ramadan!)


btw… the heat at 3:30 was like none other that i have ever experienced.  it was humid, that didn’t feel like humidity, but rather made the heat RIDICULOUS and made the air so thick you couldn’t breathe.


 

so our hotel is really nice.  im posting pictures in an album on the photos page – just wait a few hours for them.  we had room service bring dinner last night, and had to turn away the turndown service yesterday afternoon because we were napping.  we have a pretty sweet deal going here.  too bad it can only last 2 weeks.