only in Dubai

Dubai is not a city for walking, not really.

I first noticed this when I went to the bank in Bur Dubai to close an account. I had to wait for them to process something so went for a walk to find a cup of coffee whilst I waited. In the centre of the triple-lane road is a big grassy island, but it is surrounded by a railing type fence so you cannot traverse it – once you have taken your life in your hands to cross the road you then have to walk parallel to it on the pavement (if there is one) to the next intersection to be able to cross all the way over.

I guess they figured that it’s either too hot or too dusty or too far to really walk anywhere here so they didn’t factor it into the plans.

The picture below I took outside our office yesterday. Nice crossing – straight into a thorny bougainvillea bush. Ouch.

Dubai crossing

[crossing into a bush]

the “O” word

I was devastated when the organic shop that I discovered in April last year closed it’s doors barely 3 months after I found it. I still get upset thinking about it. Yes yes, you still can get organic meat and vegetables here, the Organic Cafe has a good selection of vegetables (as long as you get there on the delivery day) and the supermarkets have some here and there. But mostly they are imported and I hate having to buy an organic onion that has been flown half-way around the world. In my book I would rather buy something produced a little closer even if it isn’t organic. It is an ongoing debate I have with myself – organic vs carbon footprint.

Woe is me.


[missing those lovely markets in Paris]

However all (hope) is not lost – we have (some) options again. First is the very popular bumble box which has been going a few months now, down at the Garden Center in Al Quoz, on a saturday. A choice of two mixed seasonal boxes, one large and one small, that you collect once a week. Fab. And now a second option. Well, from next month (September) technically. It’s called Ripe.

Hmmmmm, reading the website now it kinda looks like the Bumble Box is becoming Ripe. Same place, same price. Ok, seems it’s still only one option.

Still, it’s better than nothing. 🙂

it’s the small things

When you move to a new country there are a lot of things you have to adjust to. In some cases it’s a completely different climate (check), or being far away from friends or family. Sometimes you have to learn a new language or moderate your lifestyle. But what-ever the change required you one day wake up and realise that you have done it, you’ve made the adjustment and you are more-or-less settled in your new “home” away from home.

I truly believe that tools like Facebook and Skype help to keep me connected to the people I left behind. Watching my friends marry, go on vacation or seeing their kids grow up all via their photo album feeds may not be ideal but at least I stay in touch. And that helps a lot.


[three years of cat tags]

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when is a speed limit not a speed limit?

In most places where I have lived or driven the speed limit sign on the side of the highway is the speed that, if exceeded, will ensure you get a speeding fine. In some places there is a small allowance for error, say 10%, but not always. The net result of this is that most folks drive at the “advertised” limit, or below.

In the UAE its an unwritten rule, or at least it was until today, that whilst the sign may say 120 the cameras are actually set at 140 or even 160 in some places. A pretty big buffer I think.


[source: kudufm]

Going one step further now, according to The National today, the police will now install two sets of signs on major roads AND additional markings on the road itself indicating clearly when this limit or buffer has changed – on the border between Dubai and Abu Dhabi on SZR for example.

“The new information for drivers, along with smart technology, increased patrols and speed limits adjusted for road contexts and conditions, are all intended to combat speeding”

traffic police say

Uh, if I know the actual speed limit is 140 why would I drive 120? Go figure.

odds and sods

There have been a few interesting and entertaining regional stories online and in the newspapers over the past few days, I thought I would share them with you today (probably because I have nothing else to tell you).

Firstly the amusing story in the Telegraph about the Saudi woman who is seeking a divorce from her husband of 17 years after finding that he had stored her number under the nickname “Guantanamo” on his phone. One can only assume (like they do in the article) that he is likening his time in the detention centre to his experience of the marriage. Apparently she may settle for financial compensation instead.

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Animal Rescue

If you would like to contribute a few dollars towards my TNR work with stray cats I would be most grateful

what you missed