Monday, December 22, 2008

Keeping Up With Tradition

It's with sadness that I revela that one of my favourite Christmas traditions hasn't yet been realised: watching Muppet Christmas Carol. Yes, surely one of the greatest films ever made (aside from Muppets Take Manhattan, of course.) What with work commitments and all I haven't been able to find time to watch it so far this year. I'm desperately going to try to fit it in before the Big Day!

Baby, It’s Cold Outside…

Ok, well it’s not exactly freezing, but it has cooled down considerably here. As in ‘too cold to lie out in a bikini’ cold. This is a sad day for me! Went to the beach on Friday but for once just had a bit of a walk rather than sunbathing. To be fair, in a t-shirt and a thin jumper it’s still a delightful way to spend a day off. Next time I shall go armed with a large blanket and a picnic.

Last night I sat outside for a few drinks at a hotel, and on arrival scoffed at the large gas ‘patio’ style heaters next to the tables. I wasn’t laughing 20 minutes later when I was so cold that I had to ask the waiter to switch mine on! No need!

Sunday, December 21, 2008


I’ve just finished a dvd boxed set which you may or may not have heard of: Damages, with Glenn Close. Ironically, I came across this amazing series late one night on Dubai tv – nearly fell off the sofa with shock at finding something so good to watch. However in true Dubai style they never showed it at a regular time again, so I missed it. I managed to snaffle it up in HMV for the bargain price of 15 quid when back in Manchester, and have been watching it each night when I fall through the door from work.
If you haven’t seen it – it’s a truly gripping thriller (heart was in my mouth on many occasions) brilliantly produced and directed. Glenn Close is as fabulous as you would expect her to be as a manipulative lawyer battling for her clients. Possibly the most ruthless woman I have ever seen on screen. I won’t ruin the story line for you, but I thoroughly recommend you get yourselves a copy of this. Or, of course, borrow mine. Form an orderly queue!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Office Politics

You know how when you visit an office, it sometimes has a screen in the reception showing something topical: CNN, Sky news, etc. Well yesterday I discovered something far more entertaining playing in a client’s reception area: Camel Racing!!!!!

It was all I could do to contain my excitement! I haven’t seen the real thing yet – and haven’t even seen it on the telly, so this was a treat. They look very graceful from the wait up, bless them. Waist down it’s a bit of a jumble of legs and hooves!

You have to laugh though – only in Dubai would this be playing in an office. Can you imagine walking into a UK office and the latest footie match being screened? Hilarious.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

A Whirlwind Trip!

Who would think that anyone could pack quite as much into 7 days as I did last week. There was the visit from my parents and grandma, a trip to the panto, catch ups with old friends, work colleagues, clients, and much, much more. All helped along with various delicious meals and drinks.
To all those who I had the pleasure of spending time with: thank you. I see that time as credits building up in the bank that I can draw on when I’m not there.
To those that I missed: I’m sorry. The week flew by in a heartbeat. I'm completely worn out and have developed a cold from overdoing it.
But I’ll be home again soon. Or there’s always a bed for you in Dubai!

There’s no Place like….Manchester

Imagine a city where within ten short strides you are in a fabulous bar, great restaurant, cool shop, or art gallery. Where you can nip to a late night shop for a pint of milk, and meet up with your friends – all without having to get into a car, drive for an hour, get stuck in traffic. Oh, and where you can nip for a civilized drink or get a bottle of wine on your way home. Sounds like a dream if you like in Dubai. But this is a normal day in Manchester.

Yes, having spent the last 7 days in the best city in the world (other than New York) I am feeling very homesick. Manchester is worlds apart from Dubai – well of course, you may snort. Visually there’s no comparison – yes it has the slick skyscrapers of Dubai, but it also has the most awe-inspiring gothic and ancient architecture. It has culture in spades (none of that here) but one thing which it has bags of, which you can’t really explain or quantify is this: personality.

You can feel it in the air when you’re walking down Market Street – gritty and dirty it might be, but it has a swagger (quite literally at times) and vibrance which is palpable.

And it’s so easy to get anywhere, and get things done. I think I achieved more in the first few days of arrival than I could in weeks in Dubai. Everything is within walking distance (such bliss after 6 months of having to get in the car to go 50 yards!), if you don’t want to walk then there are trams, buses, trains, all in addition to taxis – which is all you have to work with in Dubai.

I’m sure I’ll get back into the swing of things here in Dubai soon, but Manchester, I miss you.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Happy National Day!

It was National Day here on Tuesday, and a public holiday – thankfully the day after George as we didn’t get back to Dubai until 3 am.

It’s along the lines of St George’s day in the UK, only everyone really gets into the spirit of things, and celebrates properly. After a leisurely lunch in the sunshine we headed to one of Dubai’s many gorgeous green parks. (Yes folks, we ARE in the desert.) And it was fabulous.

We had to queue to get in, such was its popularity, but once inside it wasn’t cramped at all. Miles of rolling green grass, hundreds of picnic areas with bbq’s and tables. The park, we discovered, is very much a family affair. Whole generations of families were there, sat on the grass, furniture, eating and drinking. Some had brought their maids/chefs to cook for them!

It made a pleasant change from the beach, and we relaxed on blankets with friends, food and drink. This being Dubai, there was no booze. There were some attempts at rounders, Frisbee and football by the more energetic amongst the group, but I was far too busy eating twiglets. A great day. We left vowing to visit the rest of Dubai’s parks just as soon as we get back from the UK.

The Man, the Legend.

George Michael landed in the Middle East this week for a one-off concert in Abu Dhabi. Of course, I was there. Attending wasn’t nearly as easy as Manchester – I’ll never take for granted how lucky I was to live a ten minute hop, skip and jump from the MEN arena. The journey to Abud Dhabi took just under 3 hours – the traffic was awful on the approach to the football stadium where he was performing.

Alicia Keys was supporting – bless her she has a great set of lungs (not a euphemism) but not many people were really interested in her. Everyone wanted George!

He came on stage at a tardy 11 pm, and stayed on til 1.30. That’s value for money folks! With a back catalogue as wide and varied as George’s he has plenty to choose from.

And he was AWESOME. Not for him the Madonna attitude of “I’m too good to perform the old hits.” No, he came on stage to Fast Love and went straight into I’m Your Man. What a treat.
We danced, we sang, we left happy. And his encore? Careless Whisper. You really can’t say fairer than that.

You can see some You Tube footage of him here, here and here. That's not my caterwauling in th ebackground - it's a friend's video footage. Honest!