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Saturday, March 29, 2008

Whisked away...

Mar 29, 2008

Mark was working from town all this week!! It was so great to have him home in the evenings. We only have one car so when he is here I take him to work and pick him up in the afternoons. This works out particularly well lately since I have a class around the corner from him that lets out around the same time he gets off. Wednesday I was running late leaving class and when I looked to my phone saw that I had multiple missed calls from Mark. I promptly called him back on my way to retrieve him to make sure everything was okay. Everything was fine, but he did have a surprise for me!!
M: "Where have you always wanted me to take you?"
J: "If we could go anywhere?!"
M: "Where is somewhere you've always wanted to go..."
I begin to name off places like Italy, Germany, the Maldives, African Safari.... He finally puts an end to the game and tells me he is whisking me away for an impromptu weekend.....
......Bahrain. The plane leaves at 11pm tonite and I will return to Dubai on Friday as he is heading to work in Saudi.
At this point I'm not really sure if I should be excited or what. Bahrain, to the layman, sounds like a neat place. Even to the slightly unfamiliar it sounds like a decent get away. Bahrain is a little island just to the West of us, off the shore of Saudi. Mark regularly flies in and out of the city and then drives to or from Saudi from there. It's a pit-stop for him and a 'alleged' playground for SA. Although a Muslim country they are small and govern themselves as it suites them... I'll let you fill in from there.
Anyways, I'm getting off topic.
Mark's work schedule is very tight with no wiggle room for sick days or mishaps. Well, he had a mishap and the only way to resolve the issue in a timely manner was for him to spend his weekend in Bahrain and then travel straight on to SA. This was going to cut into, actually completely take away, our precious 1.5 day weekend we get together. To make matters worse, all he would be doing is sitting a hotel alone while I sat in our apartment alone... It was a crappy situation that was not going to be able to be avoided. But then, in all his sweetness, he booked me a ticket to go with him and officially, for the first time, literally "whisked me away for an impromptu weekend" (huge romantic points), to another country (extra points), to an island (ding-ding-ding!! bonus round!) :)
The weekend itself was very tame, there really isn't much to do or see there in the city and everything seemed quite expensive from taxis to food. He took care of his business he went there for and I did some studying, we took a couple walks to the Starbucks (there is always a Starbucks!) and we went and got a massage there at the hotel. Friday afternoon came quickly and we went to the airport together and parted ways for the week.
Although it was not a very notable journey in the destination, I just wanted to make sure he was publicly given credit for the gesture that allowed us to spend the weekend in each others company despite some stupid workish-thing that came up. Thanks Mark! I believe I am truly married to the greatest man on the planet!! xooxxo

And then the fun begins...

My plane out of Bahrain is delayed a bit, no worries. I finally board and make my short hour flight back to Dubai. As I'm standing in the throngs of people trying to push there way off the plane I wonder to myself...
"Where is the house key?!" really! Where is the house key?!?!

We packed and left the house pretty quickly without any time to really eat anything. Then we were on a plane. Landing in a foreign (to me) country. Getting an overprice taxi. And finally arriving at our destination tuckered out. Neither one of us ever thought about who should rightly keep the house key.
As I was waiting for my bag, I called Mark who was now 1/2 way into SA and agreed he probably had it in his luggage. We did not expect to big of a problem, if our building did not have a copy, I would go and stay with a friend who lived nearby and get a locksmith in the morning. I arrive at my apartment around 10pm and begin talking with the night deskman. He does not have a key and tells me that I have to have my tenant contract, a letter from the owner and the police inorder to get the door opened.... I'm too tired and irritated to deal with this tonite. I walked over to a friends apt and decided to deal in the am.

~This is getting huge, sorry. I'll try to summarize the insanity that occurred over the next 6+ hours~
I wake up and try to go back to my building to get the door open.
Mark in the mean time is going to have the key overnited so at worst I stay with Laura another nite and go back to normal on Sunday.
As I speak to the building deskman (manager) I discover that indeed, not only is there no one on premise that could let me in the apt (via picking the lock or other wise) but if I wanted to call a locksmith I would need a copy of my Tenant Contract and a letter from the owner (who, btw, lives in the UK) before they would let him touch the lock (for security purposes)! Now, the Tenant Contract shows that I am not only the tenant but that I am fully responsible for the care of the apt, per the owner. All I want is someone to pick the lock so I can get my secondary key and the key to my car and access to all of my personal belongings! So after lengthy discussions with the staff, all the way up to the building manager (all on a weekend, mind you), I have all my paperwork as they require and I am told that they (the building team) can still not help me, I will have to call a locksmith who they will oversee.
We proceed to have further discussions about the fact that they do not have anyone on property to pick my lock and supposedly, it is not a 'maintenance function they perform'. I find it impossible to believe that they have not had something like this happen before AND are technologically unable to open the lock. I told them with the right tools I could probably get it open!! By this time I have a key coming (Mark has over-nited it), I have a place to stay (with Laura) so I could just pack it in and call it a day and wait but now at 11:30am my stubborn pride has kicked in and I refuse to take no for an answer.

Scene 2 (sorry, I'm still rattling on)
I've called a locksmith who is going to meet me across the Marina (with in walking distance), I've convinced Laura to return to her plans for the day so with my luggage still in tow I go for coffee and wait. When I finally meet with the locksmith at the coffee shop he informs me that it is going to cost me 45oaed for him to do this job. I'm floored. The other 5 people I had called all wanted 200aed which I thought was ridiculous but had finally resigned to pay. Now this jack-ass is wanting more than double. I told him no way!!! He's crazy.
About 15 minutes after we parted ways and I had begun again to call back some of the other 'smithies this Jack-ass calls me and says he will do it for 200aed but he won't be available until 6pm. He just left my sight and scheduled appointment but now isn't available for another 6 hours!! I told him to call me before he comes out... now I have one undesirable guy in the wings as I look for someone to let me in a timely fashion. The only other person I can find isn't available until 4pm. It is now noon:30. This is now the best I can do. My steadfast stubborn pride is bruised and the wind is all but gone from my sails. I gather my luggage again and begin the short walk back to my building to wait in the lobby for 4pm to roll around. As a last resort I stop at a neighboring building to inquire if they could direct me to a locksmith, theirs or otherwise. She is unable to help but is appalled that my building people will do nothing to help. I'm feeling better that someone else, unrelated, is seeing my side of it and is appalled at the situation.
I get back, dripping with sweat and sit my now smelly butt in the lobby and begin to read a magazine. At around 3pm one of the building guys that I have been arguing my problem with asks if I have someone coming to unlock the door? "...yes, they say at 4pm..." He proceeds to explain to me that now, now, that he has seen me sitting here for so long that he believes that I am a resident and do indeed need help. The fact that I have been trying to enter my apt since 10pm the night before, the tenant contract I had to get someone to fax over for me on their weekend, the lengthy discussions I've had with them and their boss over my situation AND the fact that most of the cleaning and security staff know me was not enough to convince him that I truely lived there and was in need of help. But sitting in his lobby for 2hours sold him! (this is the frustration that is Dubai in a nutshell)

Conclusion (at last)

We have a brief 'discussion' about why is has let me suffer all day when he could have helped me all along. The short of it is, for whatever the Effed-up reasoning, per building rules they are not allowed to perform such services (I guess like a policeman helping you change your tire) for tenants but his heart finally went out to me and as long as I don't tell anyone he would arrange the service which turned out to be, even with a tip, a mere fraction of the price I was going to have to pay some stranger out of the phone book (which oddly, they didn't find to be a security issue).

:p pppttptttttthhhhhhhhh!!!
At 5pm, like a bad dream it was all over. Thanks Laura for you help, patience and hospitality!!

With Earth Hour in full swing I will leave you to it. Thanks for listening! (sorry, I don't know what I did to the font color...)

Tisbah alaa khair

Earth Hour 2008

Per Gulf News:

Dubai to switch off lights tonight for Earth Hour
03/29/2008 08:54 AM | By Kevin ScottStaff Reporter

Dubai: Thousands of people are expected to take part in a Lantern Parade from 8pm to 9pm on Saturday night to mark Earth Hour.

The parade will begin at the Burj Al Arab and will follow a two-km route along Beach Road to Jumeirah Beach Park and back. Jumeirah Road will be closed for an hour between Al Thaniya and Umm Suqueim intersections in both directions. The intensity of streetlights will also be reduced on this road.

The parade will be marked by the switching off the Burj Al Arab's exterior lights and fire fountain, plunging Dubai famous landmark into darkness. It is organised by Dubai Holding and the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa).

Dubai is the first Arab city to declare support for Earth Hour. In a poll conducted by City 7 TV in Dubai, 98 per cent of people taking part said they would support the initiative by turning off unnecessary lighting and appliances. Other landmarks, including Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Emirates Towers and Madinat Jumeirah will switch off their exterior lights. Nakheel has informed all staff and residents of Palm Jumeirah, Gardens, Jumeirah Islands, International City and Discovery Gardens of the event and its importance.

"It included guidance on how to participate," said Aaron Richardson, spokesperson for Nakheel. He said Earth Hour was an excellent tool in creating awareness.

During Earth Hour, Ibn Battuta Mall will turn off its floodlights and exterior lighting. "We will aim to extinguish all non-essential lights across our offices and construction sites. We will also liaise with third party contractors with the aim of extinguishing all non-essential lights on their own sites," he added. Abdullah Raffia, Assistant Director General of Dubai Municipality for Environment and Public Health Affairs, said an internal circular has been issued urging more than 10,000 Municipality staff to participate by switching off non-essential lights as well as electrical and electronic appliances.

Marco Nijhof, Senior Vice-President for Jumeirah Group - Gulf Region, said: "We are also encouraging our guests to actively participate by switching off their lights."

Union Properties PJSC (UP) will also switch off the external lights of UP Tower, its landmark building on Shaikh Zayed Road.

Simon Azzam, Chief Executive Officer of Union Properties, said: "We look forward to joining Dubai and the rest of the world ... to deliver a powerful message about the need for action on global warming."

The Dubai World Cup takes place at Nad Al Sheba today but it will not be affected by the initiative. Seb Vance, Media PR Manager for Dubai Racing Club, said: "Dubai Racing Club won't be switching off non-essential lights as we cannot afford to jeopardise the safety of 55,000 racegoers."

personal note:
It will be interesting to see the city plunged into darkness... I'm staying inside but wish me luck for a safe 're-light'.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

FYI: technical difficulties

Mar 22

I'm not able to view anything on blogspot except for the edit portion of my blog.  All other blogs, including my own, are unattainable for me at the moment.  There has been rumor that a country band has been put on blogspot because of a particular site that was deemed offensive.  I'm not sure how true this actually is but for now my access is limited, and I am obviously annoyed.  I'll let you know when I know more and will post again soon.


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

We made the front page on Yahoo

Mar 12

There was a terrible accident yesterday morning on the main highway a bit south of the city. I've heard reports of up to 60 cars being involved. We get really bad fog in the mornings (hence the waking in a cloud pics from before) and that combined with people driving like they are trying to win the Indy 500 and extremely poor use of hazard lights, or lights at all for that mater... well, shit like this is bound to happen. It's awful. Surprisingly they are saying only 3 people lost their lives. Check it out, the pictures are surreal.

Here is the video link off of Yahoo's homepage
And here is the link to the local paper that covered it yesterday:

This was the front page of most regional papers yesterday:
Nobody knows who took it. The Associated Press finally claimed credit for it so it could be used.

Anyways, you guys be careful out there on the roads!