Saturday, January 22, 2005


I don't normally blog much about work things, but we have a really interesting project coming up, and the world needs to know about it!

As you may or may not know, we (that's the royal we and my employees) spend our lives designing websites and multimedia CD-ROMs. On the whole, it's pretty good fun, but we do spend most of our time chained to the desk and the PC. So it's nice to get out in the fresh air for a change.

The upcoming project is a webcast of the FEI World Equestrain Endurance Championships from Dubai Endurance City* this coming Thursday. This involves us setting up our gear and testing on-site on Wednesday afternoon. On Thursday morning we have to rise at 4am, go to the site and be ready for kick-off at 5.30. The event will last anything from 6 to 8 hours, and we'll be squirting the video all over the worldwide interweb for the entire period.

We have done this several times before for Endurance races from Abu Dhabi, and we know that there is a small but dedicated global audience for this. The last few times we've done it we've had emails from people as far afield as Australia, North and South America and Europe.

For the uninitiated, equestrian endurance racing is a real test of horse and rider. They have to complete a 160 km course in the fastest time possible. The races are split into 5 or 6 'loops', with a half-hour rest and veterinary checks in between. Typically more than half of the starters will be 'retired' before the end. Endurance racing is a fairly new sport, but the UAE has always been very keen on it. The climate is particularly punishing for both horse and rider, which is why they start at the crack of dawn.

*Pretty much everything that gets built in Dubai now is a 'city'. We have Media City, Internet City, Healthcare City, Academic City, International City and many more. We also have Knowledge Village (sic), and DubaiLand. I'm just waiting for the next thing to come up - maybe Cookery Continent or Plasticine Planet. And I'm sure Hamster Hamlet can't be too far away. I think all of this 'clustering' of similar things has evolved from the soukhs (open markets). Historically we've had the Gold Soukh, the Spice Soukh etc. Since we've been here we have named several other areas as soukhs - the Plant Soukh in Satwa, the Wood Soukh, the Paint Soukh, the Computer Soukh, and of course the Bank Soukh (where else but 'Bank Street'). And we mustn't forget the Second-Hand Air-Conditioner Soukh in Deira.