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Sunday, September 30, 2007

We have a new home!!


We finally got to move in!! I received the keys Thursday am while Mark attended a meeting. I was able to get most of our stuff moved in before he got off work. This place is AWESOME!!




We never got an official size but I'm going to guess around 1100-1200sqft. It is a 2bdrm/2.5bath with maids quarters. What that actually means is there is a storage closet that has its own bathroom. People do actually employee maids (usually Indian) that live with them in this room that is smaller than most closets back home. So far everyone, including native Indians, say that the situation is heaven compared to what they would be living like back home. Typically they clean, help with the kids, maybe cook and in return they get a paycheck, a health card, meals, a space of their own, in a nice, clean home, and they get a free ride home at least every other year. I guess it must be better in most cases or they wouldn't be falling over each other to find work here.

So, instead of building the apt. with a nice size laundry room I get a storage room with a bathroom attached and my washing machine is in my kitchen. :)


It didn't take us any time to demolish the apt once we got everything inside. Actually we had that company dinner at the desert resort and I didn't have the foresight to pull out our clothes and stuff before we moved so everything got opened up and thrown about.



I'm still working on settling in and getting everything put away - I should be about done by tomorrow and then I'll start cleaning - everything already has a layer of dust on it.

I've got to get to bed - talk to you soon!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Just a quick update

Nothing really new or exciting going -just thought I'd check in.

FYI: Still looking to sell the Prius and rent out the Missouri City house. If you know anyone looking for either please let me know. Thx

I should get the key to the new apartment tomorrow but we aren't sure how quick we are going to get cable or internet. :o Crap! I guess its a small trade off.

Mark comes home tomorrow nite and I just learned we are having 'Iftar' with his company Thursday nite out in the desert. Don't worry, its not just sand and a tent, it is actually at a resort - it sounds fantastic! You know I'll take tons of pictures but here is the link to the place in the mean time: http://www.jumeirahbabalshams.com/ramadan/#PTP_070807_07071336_EJZV2





Went out for Starbuck's after sunset tonite. They say that traffic in Dubai is bad, and it is a little hairy, but the real problem in my opinion is parking. It is amazing how bad it is in some locations. I spent more time tonite driving around looking for a spot than it took for them to make my coffee. The build these great buildings and shopping areas but rarely consider adequate parking spaces to accommodate the throngs of people they are trying to attract.


That's something else - I hate to admit it but I think that globalization has finally taken its toll on Starbuck's. The pure joy and happiness that has filled my soul every time I have found that glorious green glow in foreign lands has been tainted by the companies inability to maintain basic product standards worldwide.

A good bean is a good bean, no argument there, but the quality of the cup of joe is definitely sub-par. Few places, even in the states, appreciate the difference between a Latte and a Cappuccino, and more places than not burn the coffee to boot. What a shame!

Well we need to end on a happy note so:





I also just heard tonite that a very good friend of mine is pregnant! YAY!! Congrats guys, that's great!!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Wednesday, Friday, Saturday...

WEDNESDAY:
Mark was home over his weekend. That gets a tad confusing... Dubai's weekend falls as Friday/Saturday, Friday being their Holy day (Sunday). In Saudi the weekend falls Thursday/Friday, Friday still being the Holy day. So, for work, since he works mostly in Saudi he follows their weekend and flies home on Wednesday nite and leaves again Saturday morning, early. Its weird but we will adjust I suppose. Anyways, he was home this weekend, we had a nice weekend.

THURSDAY:
We finally got our boxes this weekend!!! I was able to track them down at one of the local post offices. They don't use actual addresses here. Everyone has a P.O. box located at the respective area Post Office and these PO Boxes only receive letters. They will however, if the package is addressed correctly, store you package and put a notification in you Box regarding the parcel. We were not aware of this and had no PO Box listed and no contact phone number, simply the physical address of Mark's place of employment (not good enough). I use the term 'physical address' loosely, Dubai does not have addresses in the way we know them. They don't really use street names or north, east, south, west that I've heard. Everything is done by landmarks and occasional building names but mostly just random business landmarks. So, our packages actually arrived in Dubai on the 7th, we did not track them down until the 17th or 18th and were not able to get them until Thursday the 20th. They just sat in storage for 10+ days... sat, drop kicked, whatever... They look to be in pretty bad shape too, we have not opened them yet since we will be moving this weekend and don't want to have to repack. We have our fingers crossed that I did an excellent packing job. :)


Good thing they stamped FRAGILE on them!

Luckily I had reinforced most of the corners with packing tape.

I should have reinforced the entire box.

ehh - live and learn...

THURSDAY NITE:
We walked over the Marina one nite for dinner, here are a couple of pictures I snapped. I'm still working on mastering the nite-time shots.





The lights on the right is the Marina Mall that is being built with a good size parking garage.


THURS, FRI, SAT:
I've had an ongoing saga with my phone. I'll spare you the gory details but after hours of blood sweat and tears the defective one is finally on its way back to the States. The end of the story is Tmobile has an extremely pleasant staff of customer service reps but their procedures are retarded... I lost a few small battles but ultimately won the war!! Congrats to the good guys!


FRIDAY:
We took it easy, we went and saw Harry Potter 5 on the IMAX. The last 20 minutes were in 3D. It was pretty cool. I think that whole movie saga would do well in 3D. It was during the day so Ramadan rules were in affect, no food or drinks in the theater and it was FREEZING! It was so cold that even Mark made numerous comments thru-out the show.


What else...
OH! I drove for the first time this weekend. I don't think I've mentioned it before but we have a temporary rental car until our Honda Accord arrives. We have been blessed with a super snappy (insert sarcasm), electric blue, Chevy Avao. This car is terrible! It is supposedly a newer model but I'm calling BS. Its not that bad I guess to look at but it has about 2 horsepower and a fire extinguisher under the driver's seat. We can no longer put the thing in "Park", we have to put it in "Neutral" and pull the Emergency Brake. If we put it in "Park" it gets stuck and takes an undetermined amount of time for it to unstick. hahaha - The moral of the story is I have been released to drive at will and no longer am resigned to taxi's. It doesn't matter much right now though, with Ramadan in full swing I have no desire to go out accept for the occasional grocery store run. Its not too bad, they drive like maniacs but not that much worse than Houston; vehicles float from lane to lane as they please with no real warning or concern about others on the road. The constant road changes and giant 'roundabouts' are the worse of it. (I don't operate on Windows so I don't have access to a lot of the blog features and enhancements, one of which is installing hyperlinks into my text so you'll have to copy this link yourself of connect directly from my "LINKS of INTEREST" above on the right) How Roundabouts work: http://www.th.gov.bc.ca/popular-topics/roundabouts/roundabouts.htm

SATURDAY:
Mark left this morning at 5:30a. He arrived fine and worked all day. He sends his love...


I went for my evening cup of coffee at the neighborhood ‘Central Perk’ tonite. I was pleasantly surprised to walk in and see two women chatting over a cup. In the week or so that I’ve been going I’ve never seen another customer in there. I congratulated the barista who has been making my coffee for me – expressing to him my concern of possibly being his only customer. Much to my dismay he tells me that tonite is the last nite… “WHAT?!?!” Just then my eyes focus and I realize that the tables were not outside, some of the wall d├ęcor has been taken down, the food display is empty, there are no specials written on the board… Upon further conversation he tells me they are closing until Oct. 10th. There just isn’t enough passing traffic to keep business up. He is right; they are in a poor location for public display and a bit difficult to get to. I made comment of that to Mark after the 1st nite I had found them. There is a lot of road construction in the area and with Ramadan killing the daytime sales and lack of advertising on any scale killing the rest I’m shocked they are going to open back up at all, well lucky for them they will. Unfortunately, this doesn't work out for me; I have 5 more days at our current location before we can move and the one highlight of living here was finding this caffeine loaded, iconic oasis… now what am I going to look forward to in the evenings?!

Well that's about it for me for tonite - I'm tired and need to lay down.
Have a good weekend!
Jen

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Guess what I learned this week?!

Well the past 3 days have been very exciting! 3 fabulous things happened.
1. I found our boxes!!! After controlling my urge to crawl thru the phone and punch someone at the United States Postal Service I begun calling postal office here and finally found our boxes!!!!
*Fun Fact - Dubai does not use, nor do they rarely even have actual street addresses. Everyone operates out of a P.O. Box at their local office. You do not get mail delivered to your door. We mailed our 8 boxes to Mark's work address, they were told they would arrive in 6-10 days. So they should have been here sometime around the 10th at the latest; I finally found them on the 17th
*Fun Fact - Nobody calls you when you have packages sitting at the post office.
2. I found out that Dubai has a "Central Perk"!!! You know the coffee shop from the wildly popular sitcom 'Friends'!! There are actually a handful of them here but what is really important is that there is one across the street from where I'm staying - sweet. Its very cute. From the outside the windows and all look like it does on the show and the inside has sweet comfy chairs, I'll take some pictures eventually.

The 3rd thing I've learned this week I think is really going to put a sweet twist on my life here...

3. I found that I can take pictures of myself at my computer and upload them quickly to show stuff off!!


YAY!!

Monday, September 17, 2007

1st week alone

Well, Mark flew out to Saudi Saturday morning. He'll be home Wednesday nite. My week has been pretty uneventful. I'm a little disorientated without him here, its a little lonely, but I could occupy my time just fine if we were a little more settled. We are still in our temporary digs living out of suit cases so I can't start 'nesting' yet....
This Ramadan thing is really cramping my style too. I don't feel comfortable taking off to do anything because it is still hot and you can't drink anything in public, I typically don't do any kind of roaming around without a coffee or water in my hand but now, when I'm told specifically I can't, well of course then I REALLY NEED SOMETHING! Its depressing out there anyways. I went to one of the malls yesterday and it was practically empty, the clerks in the stores were barely awake zombies and there was no music or anything playing (that too is forbidden this month), all the restaurants were closed as well as all the coffee shops! Travesty. I wonder how much money they loose? I'd be pissed to show up as a tourist during this. Supposedly the nightlife is pretty good, I haven't been out to see that yet.

Well just a quick post tonite - It's getting late and I need to get up in the morning and start hunting down our boxes that we shipped over that are overdue! Yay!!

Here are some daytime/nightime pictures from our balcony... Enjoy!








Thursday, September 13, 2007

HAPPY RAMADAN!!

It should be an interesting month, especially for Mark while he's in Saudi during the week where the rules are more strict. Feel free to view the link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ramadan
As a super quick explanation as to what this means to us--- No eating, drinking, smoking (no problem) or chewing gum (WTF) during daylight hours. Supposedly at nite the party is on... we'll see....

Wish us luck!

Jen

Wednesday, September 12, 2007