Thursday, December 18, 2008
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Thursday, December 11, 2008
We had a photography walkabout by the creek last week when it was nice and cool, unlike the oven like conditions we experience a few months ago.
There was a marathon going on. The recent rains left lots of large puddles.
This guy was probably so overjoyed with the weather that he couldn't resist a few cartwheels for my photographic benefit.
The last week was simply wonderful as we had 3 days of public holidays because of Eid, which back home would be Hari Raya Haji. So from Friday to Tuesday we did bugger all. I may have gained a few pounds though but that's okay. With the cold weather setting in I'll need the insulation.
Will it feel like it did the last time going home, like waking up from a dream?
Sunday, December 7, 2008
Sunday, November 30, 2008
I am just so glad to be taking Singapore Airlines this time. How on earth Emirates can win best airline is beyond me.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
I was actually astonished at this man's honesty and sincerity at returning money.
Maybe he did it only because there were others around and if he had pocketed it, he would come off as being dishonest.
Nevertheless it is nice to be surprised once in a while at what can happen. Just goes to show that it takes all kinds and I'll be sure to remember this the next time I feel like generalising
To whoever this man is, I thank you.
Monday, November 24, 2008
Anyway blog aside, I can feel things are looking up because,
1. The weather is cooler.
2. I go home for 2 weeks next month.
3. I'm half way through my driving lessons.
4. RTA Dubai started a new bus service with a newer and bigger bus with an increased frequency.
5. Taxi's seem easier to flag down at 6.30am onwards negating the need for me to wake up at 5am.
6. The first 2 weeks of December are chock full of public holidays!
Monday, November 17, 2008
From L to R: Me, Beaver, May and Heisham.
This was last Friday when we all went out into the desert to watch the sunset, start a campfire and look at the full moon. Felix and his wife joined us a little later with GPS coordinates provided for by Beaver. Anyway this first trip was a primer for what was to come. The collapsible chairs we bought were indispensable. It was actually easier to walk around barefoot. We actually forgot that there were scorpions and snakes at night. Thankfully the nights were cool and breezy and it got chilly a bit.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Ok its been a very long while since I last blogged. No excuses, I have been feeling lazy...and I have lots to blog.
My trip to Libya and Tunisia was quite an interesting experience beginning with the flight to Tripoli. Of all the coincidences in this world I sat right next to another Singaporean on the flight to Tripoli from Dubai. Apparently he and a couple of other S'porean chaps were going to some town in Libya to do city planning.
Our hotel in Tripoli was right next to the old walled city of Tripoli and this got me all excited. This is the view from my hotel room.
Old Tripoli is chock full of history. The walls and some of the buildings date back to Ottoman empire/Barbary pirate times with narrow pathways and arches.
After venturing about 600 metres into the city I came across this fabulous looking Roman archway! I've since discovered that this is the Marcus Aurelius archway built to commemorate the Emperor. I finalky got my chance to lay my hands on some ancient Roman history. There is a restaurant right next to the arch and the dining area is nestles amongst some roman ruins as well. Judging from the ground level of the arch and the elevated streets of Tripoli surrounding the arch, it is probably safe to surmise that the existing city had been build directly on top of the roman city and many more Roman archeological treasures lie beneath the current city!However to have these excavated would probably mean demolishing an equally historically important heritage of Tripoli.
With Libya accepting responsibility for the Lockerbie disaster, announcing it's plans to scrap it's WMD program and renouncing terrorism, Col Qaddafi in one fell swoop has caused the lifting of sanctions on his country and the welcoming of Libya into the welcoming arms of international community as well as the major Oil & Gas exploration companies. As a result, Libya has become a boom town and is rapidly transforming itself.
However there is still a heavy security presence in the country with armed guards everywhere. I was not even allowed to take photographs of the hotel. Everyone had to enter and exit the hotel at the main entrance and pass through a metal detector and have your bags x-rayed. Adults are friendly but generally wary of a foreigners especially one toting a camera. Thankfully these kids had no qualms about posing for me. Their exuberance is a reflection of things to come for their country.
For my next trip to Tripoli I will plan it such so that I can go visit another set of ancient roman ruins in the desert, Sabratha.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Its mind boggling how they price certain goods here. Mac products, Suunto dive computers...I think they follow European standards of pricing.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
End of October its North Africa, 2nd week November its India, and Egypt with the boss early December. Then come 19th December its that flight home. Singapore Airlines this time thank God.
We got a vessel into charter for Libya yesterday and although it was largely due to the brokers efforts, I still feel pretty good about it.
I had a parking lesson today. What I find frustrating is the language barrier that ocassionally crops up. I think I'm doing what the instructor is telling me to do and when I get it wrong, he doesn't (or cannot) tell me what exactly I'm doing wrong. I think it is actually up to me to gauge where I have gone wrong and then deviate a little from his instructions to get it closer to getting it right.
Personal life all fixed, driving lessons ongoing and a more sense of purpose at work. At least I am beginning to get somewhere now.
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Monday, October 13, 2008
1. Scuba Diving this Friday at Fujairah with Heisham.
2. Next week's work trip to Libya and Tunisia
3. Geraldine coming to Dubai for a few weeks (Nov hopefully)
4. Dec 19th's SQ flight home.
5. Housing my Nikon D80 with a Nexus aluminium housing.
5. Driving test (hopefully in Jan 09)
6. Finally driving the company's 4x4 Jeep
Sunday, October 12, 2008
These days I am just so pissed off at work. I used to be depressed, but right now I am just so damn pissed. I think if I could, I'd go home right now and to heck with this stint.
The last week or so has seen me taking almost 2 hours to get to the office which is only about 5 or 6 km away. With the amount of people waiting for taxis at 7 am, it was impossible to get one. And it was a 15 minute walk to the bus stop. A 1 hour wait for the bus, a mad scramble to get on the bus and a short 15 minute bus ride to the office. If this place was more pedestrian friendly I think I could have WALKED to work.
So therefore from this morning on, its waking up at 5am just so I can leave at 6am and get a cab to work. I guess I better try to turn in early. A 2 hour commute to work can be a real b*tch.
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Fishes generally did not seem too bothered by divers which is great for an underwater photographer. Unfortunately this chromodoris nudibranch below was the only nudibranch I saw that really excited me.
What I also love about Musandam is that there is no sign of human habitation. The desolate rugged landscape above water is in direct contrast to what lies beneath the waves. A place so abundant with marine life! And at one look you know no one is going to go build a 10 star hotel here at such an "inhospitable" place.
However on the downside, a 3 hour commute one way just for 2 dives is just too tiring, which leads me to believe that diving Musandam is best done on a liveaboard over a few days. All the other numerous dive sites are way up north anyway.
Photo info: All shots taken with Canon Powershot A620 in Ikelite housing with Inon underwater close up macro lens and Inon D2000 strobe.
Photographer: Me lah.
Friday, October 3, 2008
Thursday, October 2, 2008
The concept of the restaurant is pretty traditional, everyone sits on carpeted floors and tucks away using their right hand. The dish is simple, yet extremely delicious and is enjoyed communally. Comes with the option of Chicken, Mutton or Fish but they were out of fish last night.
Since we had Mrs Beaver with us, we got to use the "family rooms" which in essence is just a covered eating area at the back. It basically looks like the inside of a tent which only adds to the Arabic experience of Mandi. They only thing they need to do now is to simulate a camel sticking it's head into the tent opening to complete the entire Arab experience.
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Monday, September 29, 2008
Tomorrow the Eid Al Fitr holidays begin. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday have been declared public holidays. So along with the weekend of Friday and Saturday, that gives us FIVE days of no work! My fun begins tonight. And knowing full well how time will eventually fly and all this will be but a pleasant memory, I am going to blog each and every day for the next 5 days so that I can relive them all over again when eid's (pardon the pun) all over.