Sunday, November 30, 2008

Not Long now..

A sure fire way for me to drop off to sleep every night now is this. In my mind, I go through the sequence of events that I will have to take the day I fly home (3 weeks more!). And normally, before the bit where I am about to get on the aircraft, I am deep in slumber.
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

IF I could.

If I could start over. I would have pursued an education in one of the following.

1. Political Science/Economics
2. Marine Biology

Just as well I didn't. I don't think I could have afforded to go to University anyway!

Pleasant surpises

When I was walking home yesterday evening through Satwa, a wad of cash, ok not exactly a wad, but about 20 dirhams fell out of my pocket as I took my iPod out. I didnt realise it as I had earphones on. A guy who must have been Pakistani picked it up and ran after me to give it back.
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

Life in Dubai - Trip to Hatta

Heisham, Beaver and I went to Hatta a few weeks back to look for old forts and this supposedly famous rock pool. We didnt find the rock pool but we saw a few cool looking fortified outposts.

Thanks to Heisham for the photo of me.

We didnt find the rock pools as we were quite restricted at the offroad areas in Heisham wheels. But all that will be solved once I get my driving license and the company's 4x4 Jeep Cherokee. Then it will be my turn to contribute to our road trips.

Life in Dubai

Ok I think I managed to sort out the kinks on this blog regarding the sizing of my photos but I don't think its a permanent solution. The blog just isn't doing what its supposed to be doing.
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

Life in Dubai - Chums

I cannot stress enough how important it is to have good company, especially living in a place like Dubai. These are the guys (and gal) that have kept me sane and who's company I look forward to at the end of some very trying days.

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

Tripoli, Libya

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.

Thankfully I had a few hours to kill on the second day we were there so I got to explore old Tripoli with my D80.

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.