Thursday, May 30, 2013

Good Morning World!

Good morning world!
I love my journey to work. Aside from the fact that it's 8 minutes by car (used to be the same on foot) it's a really great route. 

After pootling through some of the oldest residential streets in the city, I head down a large main road. Although this is sparkling and well groomed (as are all of Dubai's roads) you can tell it's been around for donkey's years. It's flanked by trees: big trees, not the skinny, newly planted ones in Downtown. These are so wide you'd struggle to get your arms round them, with branches so vast you could get the cast of Fame in the shadows they spread. 

The palm trees are old too. Like the gnarly older brothers of the Downtown Boulevard palm trees, their knotted trunks and oh-so bushy tops make them look markedly different to the usual sanitised Dubai palm trees.

At the end of the road I turn onto the huge highway that takes me into the office, and am met with the (always) resplendent sight of Sheikh Zayed road, complete with skyscrapers, the Burj Khalifa, but also piles of low rise villas back from the days when Dubai was a pile of sand with no electricity and A/C. Oh, and 99.9% of the time there's a backdrop of blue sky and sunshine. Joy. I love love loved my walks to work through the Manchester streets, but it's hard to beat this view as I head to the office each day...

Always impresses me...

Saturday, May 04, 2013

The Card's in the Post...Oh Really!?

My reaction to the bill. Minus tie and dodgy hair.
You probably know by now that Dubai has no postal system. Ridiculous, I agree. 

If you're in the UK, you CAN still send things here, if you're prepared to go to the post office and pay a little extra for an air mail stamp. 

Or, you could of course courier something, if you really wanted to. 

No one ever uses this option. 

In fact, it's rare to get any post at all. 

I have a few friends who do send me mini parcels on a regular basis, and when they arrive, they are like GOLD. The office boy chirpily brings them to my desk like one of the wise men clutching precious Frankincense. Honestly, it's THAT big an occasion when a parcel arrives from the mystical 'U.K'.

If you're in Dubai and want to send anything to the UK, the post office is a bit of a waste of time. There's a very good chance it will never get there. This means that in order to sort birthdays, Christmases, and general gifts, you have to use a courier.

I use the office UPS service. It's easier, quicker, no hassle of trekking to an office or a mall. I have to pay for it, it's not a freebie. Each month a finance bod brings me my bill, I sign it off, and it's deducted from my pay packet.

Want to know what this month's bill was? Really? Ok then:

  • 200 GBP.
  • $280
Whichever currency you write it in, that's a whole lot of dosh in my opinion.

I didn't feel like I'd sent a lot of things...a letter, a few packs of wedding photos, a couple of gifts. But wowser! Call me tight,but that bill made me flinch.

Here's the thing: I want to stay in touch with my lovely friends and family. I don't want to be the kind of person who gives to receive. But it's hard not to feel like things are a little one sided when you see the black and white evidence of the effort you make to stay connected, and compare it to the number of birthday, Christmas and wedding cards you've received over a five year period. Which barely make it into double digits.

What are your thoughts, Dubai chums and overseas ex-pats? How do you correspond with the UK? Rely on Moonpig? Never send gifts or parcels? Or bite the bullet and cough up, like I've been doing? Would love to hear your thoughts.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Just Call me Grandma

Comfy, no??!!
Heels. High heels. Women salivate over them, lust after them, covet them. And years ago, I was never out of them. In my twenties I went from office to bar to club to bed with a pair of them stuck to my feet like glue. In my raving days I'd dance for 12 hours without flinching in a pair so vertiginous it would make Posh look short.

And then something happened. Living and working in Manchester city centre meant that walked a lot, and realised that I couldn't reach the warp speeds that I like to move at if I was teetering in heels. 

But more than just practicality, I realised that THEY HURT. This revelation was a huge surprise to me. This had never bothered me before. Perhaps in the past I was always anesthetized by wine, perhaps I just got older. Whichever, heels are not the friends they used to be to me these days. I'm tall, so I'm lucky that without them, I don't look like Kylie's twin sister (although I'd love her bottom!) so I don't feel the need to wear them day in day out.

We started an office clear out this week and as I rifled through my cupboards I discovered I have SIX pairs of heels tucked away to change into for meetings. I simply can't stand them for a full day so just jump into them when I want to. Rock, and indeed roll, my friends.

I paused in Marks and Spencer a few months ago - they have lovely heels with (whispers) padding inside them. Is this a step into middle age? Will it be a slanket and giant slipper next (have to confess have always thought these look ace.) Answers on a postcard, please.