Thursday, August 28, 2008

Life in Dubai..

Martin is going home...

Life in Dubai - Fujairah

The guy whom we bought our carpets from. When you buy his carpets, he sure ain't gonna say no to you taking his photo!

Fujairah Mosque surrounded by hills... Bothe pictures taken with my Rollei Magic II Twin lens Reflex camera and on Fujichrome Velvia 100 slide film. This was a test to see if the local neighbourhood photolab could deliver what it says it could and develop medium format 120 slides.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Life in Dubai

The first thing I am going to do when I get home (touch down at 8.15pm) is go eat Chilli Crab and have Tiger Beer at the local coffeeshop! Woot!

Photography - Quirky Stuff

This was taken in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei. Fock Lee Enterprise is a chain of shops selling cheap DVDs (read: pirated). The choice of name though is very intriguing. What if it had been "Fock Yeo" instead? If I remember right, this was taken when I was still using my Voigtlander Bessa R4M, my very first rangefinder camera. I believe the film might have been Fuji Velvia.
Anyway... "Fock Lee!"

Life in Dubai - Drive to Fujeirah

Camels on the road..

Carpet Shopping..

On a last minute whim, Sham (Heisham) Kenneth, Felix along with new additions Claire and Brenda took a road trip to Fujairah yesterday. I didn't expect to run into some carpet shops there and wasn't expecting to buy anything but the carpets were dirt cheap (relatively)! They must have been at least 3 times cheaper then what you'r get in Dubai. I finally found the ideal carpets for the "alleyways" of my apartment that were about 2m x 0.7m in size and costing 150 Dirhams each. However since a whole lot of us were getting stuff, we managed to bargain this down to 120 Dirhams. They were silk carpets. Very nice to the touch. I'm definitely coming back soon for the larger varieties!
Now normally on most weekends, I'd wish for them to pass as slow as possible. But for this one, I didn't mind if it ended too soon. For that would only mean that the 28th Aug would come even faster and I can catch that big bird home.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Misc Adventures

I love vintage looking firearms. Taken with my Leica M6 and Voigtlander 21 and 40mm lens.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Life in Dubai - Scuba Diving

One of the things I am really looking forward to is doing some Scuba Diving on the UAE east coast or Musandam up in Oman. One of the other S'poreans, Heisham has just been open water certified so that's already a buddy in hand. It also helps that he lives about 300m down the road from me! All I need to do is to bring over my OMS BCD* from Singapore and I'm all set. Everything else I'll get here. There seems to be no OMS or Halcyon (or even Zeagle) back plate BCDs here in the UAE (unless I didnt search hard enough) and I do not fancy the usual jacket type BCDs. We're aiming for our first leisure dive first week of October. And I am seriously considering bringing over my Underwater Photography rig as well.
Yes, I know this photo of me has been posted before earlier but hey, I like it.

* Buoyancy Compensator(?) Device

Life in Dubai

One more week to go. This time next week I will be getting ready to board that flight home. I guess I am lucky, getting this chance to fly home after only 3 months being here, and on company time as well. As much as I would love the next week to fly by fast, I know that will also mean then my 10 days at home will be as equally fast and in no time, I'll be back here..

But at least I'll have more of my stuff with me.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Photography - ME!

And because I acknowledge that a blog full of moaning and groaning and bitchin' and whining and full of words is no fun, I shall now liven things up abit and post photographs of ME!

ME! Underwater..

ME! In a hotel room in Aberdeen...

Life in Dubai - Work

Despite all my moaning and groaning about my work life here, I will still say that I am extremely lucky to be working under someone like my current boss. His years of experience and knowledge is second to none and I feel very priviledged to be able to work with him before he goes off on retirement.
It is great to actually have someone I can learn and get guidance from for a change.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Life in Dubai - Work

Somedays I feel so restricted as to what I can do that I feel pretty much useless and ask myself what am I doing here? Time will of course change everything and boy am I looking forward to that time! The last two times I can remember feeling this way was when I started at the manpower office at Ang Mo Kio Police station in 1997 and when I started doing operations in Dec 2003 in this company. Looking back, my run in those two vocations ended resonably well. I can only hope that it will be the same for this one.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Life in Dubai

Allah be praised I am not Diabetic! Had an initial scare that I was experiencing the symptoms (throat always dry, always drinking glass after glass of water) of Diabetes Type 2. I wouldn't have realised that anything might be wrong if I hadn't mentioned it in a conversation with Claudine at my place. Nevertheless I immedietely made an appointment with the clinic the next day. Being the knucklehead that I am, I forgot about the usual fasting rule before any blood and urine test and finished a bag of crisps at home before the appointment. As a result my suger levels in my blood was on a borderline case of being diabetic. The next day two more subsequent tests (before and after fasting) revealed that I was in the clear. The Doctor even said I could eat as many sweets as I wanted (hey..who am I to argue with a Doctor?) and can enjoy life. He even shook my hand!

Health is certainly Wealth..

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Scuba Diving - Manado April 08

A yellow warted Frogfish..

Starfish Shrimp.. I'm glad I spotted this guy..

Another great find...whip coral goby faces of with whip coral shrimp!

Snake Eel in it's burrow at Lembeh Strait..

My underwater photography rig set up for Macro. I use a Canon Powershot A620 in an Ikelite Housing with Inon Macro lens and Inon D2000 strobe.

Scuba Diving - Manado April 08

Off on another underwater adventure...

Another nudibranch..


 Black hairy frogfish.. one of the highlights of the trip..
Emperor Shrimp..

Scuba Diving - Manado April 08

I miss that deep blue water..

I do not miss seeing Simon aka Lam Dugong pee'in in the water.. and crapping as well but I shall not go into that..

 We enjoyed every moment when Simon fell asleep..

Simon made us laugh with his antics but I bet if he knew where that float had been he wouldn't have put in on his head...

Oh yes...what fun we had...above and under water...Simon is looking constipated at the back..something he ate didn't go too well which led to the crapping in the water incident referred to above...

Scuba Diving - Manado April 08

My first real post on Scuba Diving. Back in April of this year, a couple of mates and I got together for a great fun filled trip to Manado. It was made all the more special because it would be the last time that any one us could dive together for a very loooong time, with Clifford moving to Japan with Emi and myself off to Dubai.

L to R: Zac, Cliff, Emi and Simon aka Lam Dugong
There were lots of great underwater marine life like this tiny pygmy seahorse.

Or this Nudibranch..

Or this Rhinopia scorpionfish..

 This is how a typical wall dive looks like..

Life in Dubai

Sometimes I feel I slide backwards as much, if not more then I move forward. I end up asking myself why on earth did I ever come here? Have what I have achieved so far justified my giving up of what I had back home? The answers are hard to find now but I hope in time, it will all become clear. It's still a long slow road at work, I've gained weight, I'm not exercising (just discovered that Fitness First S'pore has been screwing with me), and now there's a slight concern that there may by high glucose/suger levels in my blood so its off to the clinic again tomorrow for another check as I had forgotten about the empty stomach rule before doing a urine/blood test and had some crisps before going to the clinic.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Life in Dubai - Claudine!

This was taken in October 2005 at Claudine's housewarming party. I remember I brought two bottles of white wine and when that ran out I remember asking if she had anything else so she ended up opening her party campagne.

This was taken in August 2008 at my apartment in Dubai. I should have worn the same Dubble Bubble T-shirt! (yes, I still have it)

Life in Dubai - Claudine!

Today was also a good day because I got to catch up with Claudine,  someone with whom I have been friends with for over 20 years! Claudine who is a Lead Stewardess with SIA was on a stop over in Dubai before going on to Istanbul early Sunday morning. It is certainly great seeing a warm familiar face in the form of a good old friend in a faraway country that I am trying to call home. We went to a great South African steak restaurant called "The Meat Co" at Souk Al Bahar where to my surprise they had bottled Tiger beer. Woot!

Photography - Dubai Creek and Spice Souqs

I went out this morning again to the Creek and Spice Souqs for photography and I tried out my new 85mm f1.8. Awesome lens for portraits! It was a really hot and humid day today but I enjoyed myself because my subjects were all so willing.  I feel a bit bad though because the rest of the S'poreans that joined  me appeared extremely uncomfortable in the heat.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Photography - Surin Beach, Phuket.

Some shots of Surin Beach, Phuket. Shot on a Twin lens Reflex Rolleimagic II camera. Medium Format is a pretty interesting format to be shooting on. Great for landscapes or scenics.

Life in Dubai

I'm going to have a pretty much packed weekend this Friday and Saturday (weekend's here are Fri and Sat). Phototaking again Friday morning at the creek and souqs, Lunch with a huge bunch of fellow S'poreans, dinner with a dear old friend who is with Singapore Airlines and flying in on Friday. On Saturday it's lunch with the same friend if she's up to it.
Then on Sunday or Monday an uncle may be coming up to Dubai for work. The last week or so has been socially explosive for me with all the frequent UAESG forum activity and meet ups for dinner. Its all good....all good.

Photography - London June 2008

I was in London for about a week for a seminar and was wondering around the Tower Bridge area when I came across this scene at just the right moment! The Tower Bridge was up, a cruise ship was about to pass, the band was playing, lots of peeps gathered around to witness the spectacle and a television camera crew on hand to capture it all. I personally like this shot because it has a lot of details from the guy holding down the umbrella to the guy standing on a box to cut out the glare on the TV camera lens to the other guy in shorts taking a photo and of course the cruise ship passing through the Tower bridge.
However I am unhappy with the result of the developing process of my local neighbourhood photo lab. All my rolls turn out grainy and had an odd colour cast.
Shot on Leica M6, Voigtlander Nokton 35mm f1.2 and Kodak Gold 400.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Life In Dubai

At the risk of sounding derogatory, I think Dubai is very much like Singapore in it's infancy stage (like a 150 years ago!). You have people from all over the place here with the intention to work and make some money but no real intention to plant roots here. Everyone has it in mind that they will eventually return to their home countries and Dubai is not a permanent fixture in their life plan. As such no one really wants to have a permament stake in the place so no one is really bothered if current systems don't work or if policies implemented now will have an effect on their children or their children's children.
And the locals who are in the minority, I wonder sometimes what they make of all this. They have seen their country transform almost overnight from a quiet riverside town to the struggling metropolis that it tries to be now. They must hate us...