Friday, December 02, 2011

Happy Birthday UAE

40, eh? Almost time to break out the pipe and slippers, put your feet up on the dog and fall asleep watching News at Ten. As if.


Friday, February 04, 2011


As if Mubarak's refusal to just go away, and the murder of several protesters yesterday weren't enough, the Egyptian 'government' has ordered mobile phone operators in the country to send this message to all of their subscribers: “The Armed Forces urge Egypt’s loyal men to confront the traitors and the criminals and to protect our families, our honor and our precious Egypt.”

Traitors? Criminals? Come on guys, get a life, will you. Outside of politics would be good, and definitely not in PR. Morons.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Dubai Furnished Property

Dubai Rental Property have been comment spamming this blog and my Madrid blog, neither of which are about property rental, at least in Dubai. I asked them to desist yesterday, and in response they left me five fresh comments. I know that off-site links from other blogs and websites are good for search engine rankings, but this is going too far. I will be watching the results for Dubai Furnished Property quite closely over the next few days, and also reporting the company to Google if they persist in their extremely irritating action. Foolishly, they publish a mobile, landline and fax number on their website. It may become necessary to make a few phone calls.

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Thursday, September 09, 2010

Doesn't The World Have Enough Madmen?

So, Pastor Terry Jones, a Florida-based leader of A Very Small Church Of Nutters, has declared this coming September 11th to be 'International Burn a Koran Day'. Despite massive condemnation from Barrack Obama, Hillary Clinton, the Pope and Tony Blair, he is still planning to go ahead and throw 200 Qurans onto a bonfire. I find it incredibly hard to believe that, in a country where pretty much anyone can be arrested for pretty much anything, this moron from hell cannot be stopped from carrying out this vile act. Sadly, there's also no way you can explain that to the proto-rioters in Pakistan, Afghanistan, the Middle East and bits of North Africa, who are so used to a lack of freedom they think if your Government knows you are about to do something insanely stupid and doesn't stop you from doing it, then that government implicitly supports your actions.

In this case, bollocks to freedom of speech. Pastor Jones must know the impact of what he is planning, and the likely consequences thereof. If the US government cannot stop him, then there is something seriously wrong with the system.

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Monday, May 31, 2010

Israel Attacks Aid Convoy

Early this morning, the Israeli Defence Force boarded one of six ships carrying humanitarian aid from Turkey to Gaza and killed at least 10, possibly 19 unarmed activists. This happened about 50 miles offshore, in international waters. By any reckoning, that's an act of war. And yet, there is hardly any international condemnation (half a dozen ambassadors called in for a slap on the wrists), and the silence from the US has been deafening.

Israel behaves more like the rogue state it is with every passing day. Arab states continue to prevaricate and tremble at the knees, while the US not only refuses to condemn Israel's actions, but actively enables them with billions of dollars of aid every year. I would have expected Obama to take a very firm line with Israel, but it seems he's lost his bottle.

Had the Israeli government sat down and brainstormed what was the worst, most revolting, sickening and disgusting thing they could do, I doubt they could have dreamt up anything to beat murdering a dozen or so peace campaigners whose sole aim was to bring some relief to the Palestinians. I am sure that most Israelis are fundamentally decent people, but that cannot be said for their leadership. Human decency features nowhere on their agenda.

Will no-one stop these bastards?

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Sunday, May 02, 2010


For about my last five years in Dubai, I had an officette in Dubai Media City. DMC was quite a pleasant place to work. On one side we had the Arabian/Persian Gulf, and on the land side we had an artificial lake and a bit of parkland beyond that. There was this wiggly bridge thing that crossed the lake, with a square bulge in the middle that had a kiosky/kitchenny thing that could be used for a teeny-weeny cafe. I think it had one tenant for about two months during all the time I was there.

I used to like to go out on the bridge several times a day. I would stand on the cafe platform and stare into the water, lost in my thoughts. One day in high summer, I noticed there were thousands of little fish lurking in the shade provided by the bridge and the platform. I also noticed that the sun was at such an angle it cast a shadow of my upper body onto the water. And then I noticed the little fish were moving into the shaded area provided by me.

So, here's the confession; I would wait until my shadow was full of fish. And then I would deliberately move several steps to the left or right, thereby exposing the fish to the full heat of the sun, causing stress, trauma, and goodness knows what else to the poor little blighters.

Sorry, fish.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Is This Justice?

During my thirteen years in Dubai, I usually had at least one friend or acquaintance who was in jail at any one time. Usually, they were found to be innocent of whatever it was they were accused of.

Farting in lifts, middle-finger-waving, driving with a miniscule amount of alcohol in your blood, having a poppy seed from a bread roll stuck to your jacket, even having smoked a spliff in a different country, not having the actual prescription (translated into Arabic) for the medications you have to take: these were all considered 'crimes' so serious as to justify a month in jail followed by deportation.

I consider myself very lucky to have avoided any personal incarceration during my time there (although I did have a scare when I once told an Iranian client to 'just pay the sodding bill' and a few days later received a letter from their lawyer).

So, the latest blot on Dubai's travesty of a legal system. A couple accused of kissing in public sentenced to a month in Al Slammer followed by a one-way flight home. The evidence in this case seems to be vague, contradictory and/or non-existent. It was the word of one Emirati woman, who didn't even turn up to any of the hearings. And who said, variously, the kissing was witnessed by her 2-year-old daughter (at 2am in a burger joint); or that she'd seen it herself.

Of course, the UAE is a sovereign country, and has the perfect right to make any laws it cares to. However, I do think the government (especially in Dubai) needs to think about the contradictory and negative image that cases like these are creating. On the one hand, they are desperate for tourist dollars, but on the other hand these stupid little 'crimes'  (which are just normal behaviour elsewhere) are punished out of all proportion to their severity.

And you can say 'well, tourists should learn about these things before they come', but it is not actually possible to do so. And if it was, I think a lot of people would just be too scared to visit.

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Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Arrest Netanyahu. Yeah Right.

You've got to love Dubai's police chief, Dahi Khalfan Tamim. I always found him very entertaining when I lived in Dubai. And now there's this:

Dubai police chief to seek Netanyahu arrest

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Burj Khalifa!

So, they finally managed to complete the Burj Dubai and get the thing open. Congratulations to Emaar and Dubai on a stunning achievement - and a truly mind-blowing fireworks display - search for it on YouTube if you haven't seen it.

Like most people, I had a WTF moment on hearing its new name for the first time (let's just say, 'Dubai' sounded pretty good, and even 'Zayed' would have had a nice ring to it). And I had a good laugh at hearing somebody has registered '' - how I wish I'd thought of doing that!

I won't bore you with speculation about what I think the name change actually means.

Happy New Year!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

That Wraps it up for Dubai, Then

What do I know? Reuters thinks Dubai is in a bit of a financial pickle. Dubai faces financial sheikh-up. If I was the boss, I think I'd just give the place to Abu Dhabi and bugger off to retire in Spain. Cordoba, probably, or Granada - some nice Islamic architecture there. Bits of it look like Ibn Batutta Mall. And it's sunny most of the time.