Friday, November 17, 2017

April

What an amazing month March turned out to be, we celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary for an entire week, starting of at Le Meridien Al Aqah and finishing at Al Maha Desert Resort and Spa, with a trip to Jumeirah Beach Hotel and Emirates Golf Club inbetween!!  The weather has finally broken and we are experiencing a rise in temperatures, it's no secret I prefer the hotter months over the cooler ones. It's Easter this month, so I hope the Easter Bunny is really kind to you all. Have a fabulous month wherever are you are.

GA

About three years ago we stopped our subscription to Gulf News, not because we weren't happy with the paper itself, although it did contain an above average amount of rubbish on occasion, but because I was sick of the amount of waste paper I was accruing on a daily basis.   I like so many people globally, turned to the web for my daily update of news in the Gulf and the rest of the world for that matter.  I didn't miss having a hard copy one bit, infact it was quite nice not to have it littering the kitchen worktops.  I even contacted Gulf News and told them of they would just deliver the main newspaper and the tabloid section I would continue with the subscription, I didn't want the other supplements and classified sections, but sadly they couldn't do that. I wonder how many other people did the same?

When we lived in TECOM we got a copy of 7Days, which is actually 5Days I think these days, soon I am pretty sure it will be 0Days, let's face it the content is lame, the advertisers appear desperate and the journalists get alot of their information from local forums.  The most coverage it gets is when a letter is read out daily on The Breakfast Show on Dubai 92.  The letters are repetitive and boring and come from disgruntled expats who feel that airing their opinions in a local rag will make a difference to their lives. Think again Batman.

In my opinion there is only one paper in the UAE that is worth an annual subscription and that is The National, published in Abu Dhabi, which contrary to popular belief is the Capital of the UAE.  A very easy to read publication with unbiased opinion and good reporting.  I don't subscribe to the paper but do read the on line version a few times a week, down the fact that I feel it is a waste of paper lying about the house.

I leave you with this to ponder in your mind ...  I wonder how many actual newspapers will be left in the world in ten years time?


 

 

Today I am going to take a look at the Mum who has a bit of help a few times a week.  This is the category that most fall into and personally I find it alot more acceptable. We do have bigger houses here and too much marble flooring which can be a real killer.  However of course it isn't a killer for an Asian Maid, she must love marble floors.  I know for a fact that if we had to pay these ladies the going UK rate which I think is about 70 dhs an hour we would be cleaning the floors ourselves. We have the luxury of a Maid because of one reason, and one reason only, they are damn cheap.  If you hail from the South of England I think you would find that hourly rate closer to 100 dhs an hour. 

I do have a lady who helps me, a lovely Phillipino Lady who comes once a week for four hours, she is my guilty pleasure, who joined our family when I moved into this Villa, which is pretty big and after three years of no help whatsoever I decided that I was going to have a bit of help with those damned marble floors.  Before she comes I run round like a lunatic tidying up, she is here to clean not tidy up a load of mess created by a lazy 6 year old. I feel I pay her well and have the utmost respect for her.

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The Twitterati will all understand where I am coming from with this one.  I joined Twitter just under two years ago and thought I had joined an alien planet inhabited by people with very strange user names, I was a Twitter Virgin, I had managed to set up an account and create my profile then I had to find people to follow.  Of course I had read in the press about the celebrities who had twitter accounts so I hit the search button and started to follow the likes of Stephen Fry, Philip Schofield, Russell Brand (of course) and then I took a look at International News Sites, after all Twitter is the first place for the news to break.  I found a few Dubai based friends who were on Twitter, a local journalist who shall rename nameless however was the account that I *hacked*, and followed the same followers that he was following in order to get things going, and in return they followed me.  Talk about pressure! people were following me which meant they wanted to hear what I had to say.  I didn't turn into the "link Queen" or the "Quotes are us Queen", I just tweeted about things that I found interesting and over time built up on line relationships with like minded people.

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The final part of my week long look at the Judicial System in the UAE, again written by a third party

Once you have a bed space in your allotted amber then you’re ready for a day in the life of a prisoner.

5am Breakfast, usually bread with either a boiled egg or yoghurt or cheese, then at 6.30 if you’re going to court you need to be up and on your way, if not then nothing much happens until 8am, you have the chance to see the officers if you have a good reason, for example you need to get your passport from a Police Station so you get put on the list. There is a travel agents in their too, no browsing allowed, one way tickets only, the phones in the ambers are open for 3 hours on a morning and 4 or 5 on an afternoon, the morning is the only time you will get anything “official” done. You also get the chance (twice a week) to go to the shop in the outside area, the prices there are reasonable, but there’s a limit on how much you can buy, 3 packs of cigarettes for example. If you’re a non smoker buy your share and sell them later on in the week to the desperate smokers – I was getting 30-50 Dirhams per pack they also sell headphone radios and batteries. Lunch is at 11am and consists of rice and veg/meat/chicken with a piece of lettuce and some fruit or fruit drink. Bear in mind with 800 mouths to feed this will take a long time, especially as the canteen area only sits 90. Food is given on a metal tray and there is no cutlery, so it’s hands only.

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Maid in Heaven .. without prejudice

Probably the most talked about subject in the UAE, to do or not to do, or more importantly how to do? I shall make it quite clear before I continue writing, that having a Maid is down to the individual person/family and it is their personal decision to do so.

A couple of weeks ago, I watched a re-make of a British Drama called Upstairs Downstairs, a drama about the life of the "staff" downstairs and the "we are too posh to polish a shoe brigade" upstairs (great drama by the way). It got me thinking about how attitudes in Britain have changed over the last century. At one time, any decent family was appalled not to have staff, and were judged on how many staff they had. A Cook, Butler, Driver, Scullery Maid, Lady in Waiting, we could go on and on, were all common place in any household of standing. Fast forward 100 hundred years and yes, things have changed a lot in the UK; however, here in the UAE some households seem to think they are indeed entitled to Staff.  Now I didn't say they aren't, but let's just take a look at the situation a bit closer ....

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It recently dawned on me that I live in a City that is quite famous for one thing, well apart from being the biggest of everything, yes you guessed, it's shopping.  Come to Dubai and shop til you drop.  Why bother, I ask myself everything is overpriced, and half the stock in the Department Stores is out of date by at least a season. I seriously believe that multinational chains send over their out of date stock for a joke to pass onto us cocooned expats.

Thursday was a very busy day for my iPhone, she must have received in the region of 30 text messages from retailers who claim to love her and want to share their Dubai Shopping Festival (DSF) experience with her.  Of course she is a very clever iPhone and has deleted all her "love" messages.  In the honour of a true shopper however, I headed out to the Mall on Saturday to see if there were any genuine bargains out there.  If you want a flat screen telly then head to Carrefour, they are breeding them in there ....

I do find that DSF is really handy if you need a free kitchen appliance, yes spend 5000 dhs and get an iron for 39 dhs free, who can resist?

When DSF launched way back in 1996 it was, in my opinion a genuine shopping festival, with huge discounts and people did wait for the festival to start before making a major purchase.  These days if you are after a few discounted bath towels in last years colours then DSF is just the event for you.

 

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