Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A day off and a gold car...

On Monday night, the Emir announced that he would be handing power over to his son, and that the following day, Tuesday would be a public holiday.

Amazing - within a couple of hours, everyone knew, schools had sent out emails cancelling the day's events, and Tuesday was a day off.

A little inconvenient, truthfully, as it was supposed to be prize giving at Sherborne, and now prize giving has to be squeezed into today's activities.  But hey, I'm not moaning about a bonus day with Darrell and kids.

Being a holiday, and such an important day, the fancy cars were out in force.  Darrell pointed out something red, he called it an Italia something or other, and various other cars which didn't really interest me that much.

The car which did get my attention was some sort of Mercedes (need D to tell me the model!) - and the reason it grabbed me was that it was gold.
Not painted gold. 
The entire car was covered in gold.

Can you imagine what the insurance premiums must be!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

At last - tar roads!

For the past two years I have been driving to school along a network of dirt roads.  My 4x4 skills have been honed and nothing scares me anymore.

But this morning, all my skills seem to be superfluous.

The powers that be have been gradually tarring the roads, and this morning we had a landmark event.  The last piece of road has been tarred.  We drove to school without a single 4x4 adventure! 

A huge leap forward.

But, I must add, a bit boring.

Friday, May 17, 2013

It's the little things....

Today was not the best day for me, exacerbated by the temperamental behaviour of my car's remote control.  I had the battery changed (at a little shop at a little garage) 2 weeks ago, but clearly they put in a faulty/cheap battery.

So, this evening, I sat with a screwdriver, and looked at the remote, baffled.  Nowhere obvious to open anything.  Anyway, with the help of the internet, and without the help of my resident teenager who knows everything, I managed to open the remote, replace the battery, close the remote again - and the remote WORKS!

As I said, it's the little achievements in life that keep one going!

Words one shouldn't know....





I hope the list stops here......

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A holiday in Abu Dhabi

We decided that it was time to return to AD on a holiay.  So we booked the flights and the car, notified friends that they would be lucky enough to see us, and headed off.

We got as far as passport control here in Doha before the wheels started coming off.  The passport chap looked at D's passport and said "You can't leave.  Your exit permit expired.  Yesterday."  Yes, this place is like Saudi - you have to have permission from your employer before you're allowed to leave the country.  So, the kids and I proceeded to our plane, while D ran around like a blue arsed fly, getting an official pass from his company to allow him to leave.  The irony is that since D is the GM of ALEC Qatar, he had to sign the pass himself, but no matter.  What mattered was the split second timing.  D is usually a master of this, but this time round, DBLASTMINUTE.COM failed him.  He missed the flight by about 60 seconds.  Lots of very bad language was used.

He eventually caught us up at Rachel's house, by which time Rachel, her hubby Tony and I were all 90% asleep, so not exactly scintillating company!

Thursday we went to the new Yas Water Park.  The kids had a brilliant time!  They did lots of scary rides and had a ball.  The only poor part for them was the Q for the family ride - it was one and a half hours due to technical problems, but by the time we'd started Q'ing, we thought we may as well continue.  That wasn't all bad though, as we had to climb many stairs up a very tall tower to get to the top of the ride, and climbing up one stair at time was just perfect for me - I probably wouldn't have been able to do it in less time anyway!

An early night at Claire's house, the kids were all pretty exhausted after their late night and busy day.  We spent far too long at the waterpark!  We got a bit lost finding Claire's new place, her directions weren't very accurate (right instead of left, that kind of thing) and Darrell was rather rude about them. 

Friday we met up with Charmaine and her little girls (Steph's best friend Taylor) for lunch, then I dropped the boys at Zayed sports city to go to the Monster Truck Show.  Apparently it was great, and they also went 10 pin bowling (Alex won QR100 by getting the highest score).  In the meantime, I headed up to Dubai with Steph, to join Joss and Katie in their jacuzzi.  Delish and wonderful.  I'm not going to discuss the drive, apart from stating that after the map Darrell drew to supposedly get me there but which actually landed me in the middle of the desert, Darrell is no longer allowed to criticise anyone else's poor directions!

We had a girlie night, pedicures and pizza, and bravely waited up for the men to get home before heading to bed.  Actually, we were waiting for our sons, the men could look after themselves!

Saturday we had a pork overload (thanks Barry and Joss!), loads of bacon, the full fry up.  Then off to Al Ain to go...... White Water Rafting!  Yes, rafting in the desert.  Totally natural, of course, like the rest of the UAE. Not.  Steph wasn't keen, so she did the air park - involved climbing a huge frame about 60ft high, fortunately with harness attached.  Everyone had a great time at their various activities, and after a quick snack, we whizzed back to the Dubai airport.  Couldn't believe that D found it without getting lost once, if I'd been driving, we'd never have got there.

Checked in OK, got through passport control OK, flight was OK, picked up our bags OK - I'm not going to tell you the story about the car keys....I think I've ripped Darrell off enough today!

Suffice to say, home safely, kids in bed not too late, back to school and SATS week for David.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Unbearable beauty...

I had to share this story - it is true and happened to my friend this morning.

She went to Immigration, to organise her e-Gate card (it allows you to skip the passport control), so she made sure that she dressed modestly, with no skin showing except hands and feet.  She got to spend about 3 hours at Immigration, doing fingerprints, waiting, retina scans, waiting, forms, waiting etc etc. 
About half way through the procedure (during one of the waiting periods), she was approached by the security guard, reprimanded and asked to leave.

Her crime?

She was making the men stare at her!

She had to leave and stand at the back of the room so the poor helpless men wouldn't be overwhelmed by her beauty...!

Gotta love it!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Expat kids

You know your kids travel too much when you overhear them having earnest discussions about the strength of various currencies, and working out their pocket money in 2 different currencies, to see where they get the most.....

We have had the most unusual weather lately - rainy, cloudy days for 4 days in a row.  In the middle of this was Stephanie's birthday party, a swimming party, but the rain and cold (relative - 28deg) did not detract from the fun.  In fact, it added to the fun for the grown ups sitting at the side of the pool supervising, as we didn't die of heat exhaustion.  (I had previously been told by pool management to sit inside on a hot day when supervising the kids... how one can supervise while kids are not in direct sight and it would take you several minutes to reach them on the slight possibility you would see them in trouble....anyway....).
The point about the rain is that when it rains here, the kids all head outside directly.  Steph has a new teacher at school, fresh from the UK.  The first day it rained during break, she went out and called her very disgruntled class inside.  She has since learnt that expat kids go out when it rains and come in when it doesn't.....