Archive for August, 2008

A Wafi Experience with Aussie visitors

August 30, 2008

When I first came out here to Dubai, I was thinking that I would get a few more visitors coming through from Australia.  Things have been a bit lean on that front so it was great to catch up with Suz’s brother Jase and wife and daughter on Wednesday evening.  They were en route to Cyprus and stopping over for a couple of days.  They wanted to go out and see something a bit different and a bit more local.

Jase had been here before and he thought somewhere down by the Creek would be good – like Deira.  Problem was the traffic at 7 pm at night heading into town is diabolical.  Decided instead to head to Wafi which has a great selection of shops and restaurants, particularly in their recently opened Khan Murjan area.  When we eventually got there (took about 75 minutes what should take 25), we headed down to the restaurants and enjoyed a sumptuous meal of chicken couscous and fish.  Jase and family loved the place which was great to see.

I had previously been there a couple of times and Lyn and the kids really enjoyed it too.  But this time, I was surprised to find that I had missed a whole arm of the main shopping mall – including this yet another amazing pyramid shaped feature (different to the one in the main area called The Eye of Horus). 


Car Window Tinting

August 27, 2008

Living in a hot climate like Dubai makes many people decide to put fairly heavy tinting on their windows to block out the heat.  One of the things you find as you are driving around is the number of people who have this tinting and how difficult it is to see inside their cars.  While the regulations state that you cannot exceed 30% darker than a clear pane of glass, many put tints greater than that.  I’ve even heard that some people put darker tints on and then take them off for their car to have its registration inspection.

Some women favour heavier tints as they want the privacy of men not looking at them while driving or following them if they see a single female in a car.  Heavy tinting of windows is apparently the fourth top cause of accidents in the UAE, assuming that is people cannot see out of them properly!

So I was quite bemused the other day when I noticed this van in front of me while driving to work.  Apparently, car stickers are doing a roaring trade in some places in the UAE.  This one of course is of UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, portraying his vision splendid for the future of Dubai.

My New Sandals

August 24, 2008

The old trusty leather sandals that I brought over have been worn heaps over here but after many years of wear, the stitching is coming undone and they are not really wearable while birding or fixable.  I thought I would buy a new pair.  My requirements were simple I thought – Good cover on top to protect against sunburn, velcro straps and firly sturdy.  And of course, they had to be Euro size 46.  Forget about the supermarkets, nothing to fit my size.  After a good look around, I ended up with a cheaper pair of rubbery type sandals that fitted comfortably.

I was wondering if the top of the sandals was going to be sufficient to protect me from the sunburn.  In the past, I have been severely sunburnt on the tops of my feet a couple of times.  So I was wondering how these sandals would stack up.  Below is a photo of my feet at the end of the day – I think that clearly shows that the cover over the top is not required so long as there is sufficient dirt!

East Coast dirt - sign of a good day

East Coast dirt - sign of a good day

Sprinklers at the Pivot Fields

August 23, 2008

I’ve mentioned the Dubai Pivot Fields a few times as one of the better birding spots around Dubai.  It uses what is known as centre-pivot irrigation where the field is irrigated in a circle by sprinklers rotating around a central point.  When we flew to Egypt, you could see out the window a whole lot of these irrigated circles of green amongst the arid surrounds.

A couple of weeks ago, I stumbled over one of the big ruts created and slightly twisted my ankle.  No problems yesterday.  And a nice Collared Pratincole was in one of the fields as well.  Unfortunately, some of the flooding that had attracted a lot of birds a couple of weeks ago had dried up.  But still, nice to get out in the middle of the day and look around.  Not too hot – only about 43 with a slight breeze. 



August 20, 2008

One of the things I was planning on doing in Dubai was finding somewhere that I could play basketball.  Well thanks to Francoise, I have finally heard that someone organises some scratch matches at the nearby Dubai International Academy – one of the local high schools.

You arrive around 7.30 pm and put your name up on the board in a team and pay the 20 dirhams.  Then play scratch (no referees) for the first to 7 against different teams.  The pace is a bit faster than I am used to as I have been playing over 35’s for the past 10 years.  Quite a few young Egyptian players and lots of Yanks with superb ball skills.  I felt like making up the numbers.  And playing man on man was also a bit strange.  A couple of women playing as well.

Played three games and we did OK. I even shot a basket or two under the ring but the skills were very rusty.  Each Tuesday and Thursday evenings so I reckon that will make up one of my nights per week. 

Basketball at Dubai International Academy

Basketball at Dubai International Academy