Tonight I take part in one of my least favourite activities - travelling!
Odd for an expat to hate travelling but I'm afraid I do. I don't like going to the airport, I hate check-in, I don't like the journey and I don't like the airport at the other end! Tonight we leave our new apartment at about 9:30, take a taxi to Dubai International Airport (always assuming we can get one!), wait around for 3 hours before going to the boarding gate, find out that the flight is delayed for an hour or so, eventually get on the Kenya Airways aeroplane and fly to Nairobi. Then we run through the terminal at Nairobi and jump on another Kenya Airways flight to Jo'burg (don't you just hate people who call it Jo'burg instead of Johannesburg), wait around in Jo'burg for a while and then fly with some other airline to Cape Town, Get out of there, pick up a rental car and drive to Somerset West, getting there about 4:30 - that is 6:30 Dubai time - about 21 hours after we set out.
God, I just can't wait, and just think, on the 4th of January we get to do the whole thing again, only in reverse ~ I wonder if I will have got over the outbound journey by then?
Anyway, there is unlikely to be much blogging between now and when we get back but there should be some nice piccies to put up then.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to anyone who chooses to spend time reading my blog.
Thursday, 20 December 2007
Tonight I take part in one of my least favourite activities - travelling!
Posted by dubaibilly at 16:30
I found this whilst sat having a coffee in Ibn Battuta Mall and reading The Times.
In case you don't want to follow the link, here is my synopsis of the story:
Was this some sort of state visit - no way! Mr Rajapaksa had been to Britain to watch his son graduate from the Royal Naval College in Dartmouth - where, presumably, he was trained to be "An Officer and A Gentleman", unlike his dad!
So what was the upshot of this incident - he wasn't allowed on the flight and the Sri Lankan Government, far from censuring this outrageous man for his disgraceful and anything but diplomatic actions, have threatened to cancel the work permit of Mr Peter Hill, the British head of Sri Lankan Airways, thus effectively sacking him.
Some people, quite simply, have too much power and do not know how to use it!
Aris Salonika needed to get a draw with Bayern Munich last night to ensure that Bolton got knocked out of the UEFA Cup, but they didn't quite manage it! In fact they got battered 6 - 0!
So now Bolton go through to the knock-out phase in which they will play one of the teams who finished top of their group on a home and away basis. The aggregate score will decide who progresses.
Bolton will face one of the following:
Everton are English, Panathinaikos are Greek, Villareal and Getafe are Spanish, Hamburg, Bayer Leverkusen and Bayern Munich are German. Getafe lost 3 - 1 at home to Villareal last sunday and are currently struggling at 14th out of 20 in the Spanish Primera Liga whilst Villareal are ten places above them, Panathinaiakos lost their last game (on Saturday) but are currently 3rd in the Greek Super League while in the German Bundesliga, Bayern Munich are top, Hamburg are third and Bayer Leverkusen (who received a 5 - 2 thrashing on Saturday) are fourth! Finally Bordeaux are third in the French Ligue 1.
So, all in all, in order to keep progressing in the Uefa Cup, I think Bolton's best chance lies in being drawn against Getafe. Of course, if they do draw Getafe, it means that my mate keefieboy will have the opportunity to go and watch the match as Getafe is a city in the southern zone of the Madrid metropolitan area. And Keefieboy lives in Madrid!
The draw is made tomorrow.
Posted by dubaibilly at 07:14
Wednesday, 19 December 2007
Baggins is our beautiful ragdoll cat. We've had him for just over four years now. We thought we had lost him this morning but, after a frantic 20 minutes searching the flat and the area outside the apartment block (one of our windows was open and we thought he might have jumped!), Mrs Dubaibilly found him fast asleep under our duvet - that will teach us to make the bed in the morning!
Baggins is usually very happy sleeping anywhere - our bed included. He doesn't seem to be impressed with me stopping his sleep by taking this photograph!
We can't bring a bag or a box into the house without Baggins wanting to get into it!
No, it's not a football match!
18 months ago I went to IKEA Athens with the intention of furnishing my home in Skopelos. Now, reasonably, there are no signs in English in IKEA Athens and very few assistants who speak English. We asked at Customer Services for help but got a fairly terse "Ohi" (No).
We spent four and a half thousand Euros in IKEA that day. We ended up with 57 IKEA boxes of various sizes and weights. Whilst Mrs Dubaibilly and I were in the warehouse finding the stuff we wanted not one of the warehouse assistants lifted a finger to help and only reluctantly told us where to look to find an item we were having trouble with. We then had to pay another 750 Euros to get our stuff delivered from Athens to Skopelos. It took a full week to get there. Once we got it there, it cost another 30 Euros to have it brought to our house and then I spent over a week putting the stuff together -to be fair, it looks fine and will be OK for us until we retire.
Yesterday, Mrs Dubaibilly dragged me around IKEA Dubai. We spent four and a half thousand dirhams (about a fifth of the amount we had spent in Athens). In the warehouse an IKEA guy was most helpful - lifting boxes for us and arranging our two trolleys and even offering to push Mrs Dubaibilly's trolley to the checkout for her. They offered us free delivery AND free assembly of our stuff, anywhere in the UAE!
People who live in Dubai often bemoan the lack of customer service in the city - all I can say is "Go try shopping at IKEA Athens".
It's the same company but on different continents - IKEA Dubai really does win, hands down!
Tuesday, 18 December 2007
Well. as I told you before, we are now in and happy! So I thought I would share a few during and after pics with you:
Although we tried to keep things in some sort of order, in truth, we were just dumping stuff anywhere!
At one time it seemed that we had stuff covering every available surface!
Mrs Dubaibilly and Baggins survey the mess and wonder if it will ever be sorted
But sorted it was!
And in the end...
It was all worthwhile!
When you are a British football supporter, the Christmas and New Year holiday season is always an important part of the year. There are a lot of matches over this period and a good holiday season can make a lot of difference to your clubs standing in the league, and therefore to their final finishing position.
Because of the number of games and the (usually) inclement weather, the pitches sometimes leave a little to be desired for Premier League players and injuries abound - thus the clubs with squads full of internationals who have "strength in depth" have something of an advantage. I don't think Bolton Wanderers fall into that category.
So the Christmas fixtures start this coming weekend and we are at home to Birmingham on the 22nd, away to Everton on Boxing Day, away to Sunderland on the 29th, and at home to Derby on the 2nd of January. Now, Everton are currently riding high in the table in 6th place, Birmingham are 15th, Sunderland are 17th and Derby are at the bottom in 20th spot. Now we (and in that "we" I include you dear reader, for now you are a Bolton supporter by proxy), we are 16th.
I don't expect us to win at Goodison Park (Everton), but we have to take all three points against Birmingham, Sunderland and Derby. 9 points over the Christmas break will see us on 23 points for the season so far and well on our way to Premiership survival!
Posted by dubaibilly at 07:55
Monday, 17 December 2007
Well, the weekend (Friday and Saturday here) finally arrived and with it came shifting day. As always with that sort of thing it was pretty much the day from hell - in fact, it took us two days. But now we are in our new home and we love it - we actually have space to swing our cat - oh bugger, I forgot I'd locked him in the bathroom, best I let him out now while I'm thinking about it. That's him out then, now where was I ...
Tuesday, 11 December 2007
So, there I was, at work, teaching away, when all of a sudden the phone rang. Aye, aye thought I, better answer that in case it's a phone call. The voice on the other end of the line (? - is it a line when you are talking on a mobile, perhaps it was the voice on the other end of the microwave - whatever), said "Hello, I'm the Etisalat engineer and I'm here at your apartment to sort out your new phone line".
Sunday, 9 December 2007
Ye Gads and little fishes. I thought we'd win, but I can't remember the last time I saw us score four in one match! Well, unfortunately not all of the other results went our way - could have done without Middlesboro taking 3 points of Arsenal and could also have done with Spurs not picking 3 points up. But I'm not complaining - that 3 points has taken us up to 14th and helped our season along quite nicely thank you.
Posted by dubaibilly at 21:19
Saturday, 8 December 2007
I don't care what you call them, Eatyersalad or Itisalot or even their real name Etisalat - I was dead impressed with their service this morning!
Friday, 7 December 2007
Red Star Belgrade 0 Bolton Wanderers 1
Thursday, 6 December 2007
Mrs Dubaibilly has decreed that this weekend is when we start moving into our new apartment. Not much chance of any rest then, she came home today with this trolley thing to help us with the move - I'm guessing that every spare minute between now and next weekend will see me moving something from our current apartment to our new one.
49 years ago my dad took me to watch my very first professional football game - Bury v Bolton Wanderers at Gigg Lane. I have spent the rest of my life supporting Bolton Wanderers. These days I have to support them from something of a distance (about 4000 miles) and it is a bit too far to go to the games. It doesn't make any difference at all.
Wednesday, 5 December 2007
In Dubai, the word 'shifting' refers to the act of moving to a different abode.
So, after the exhausting weekend down in Liwa, yesterday saw me back at work. At the end of the day I had a football match to referee and, boy, am I suffering for it now! I pulled a muscle in my calf and, rather stupidly, played on for the rest of the game. As a result I am in considerable pain today! Had a hot bath when I got home last night, took a Voltaren tablet with dinner and rubbed some Voltaren Emulgel into the sore calf last night and again this morning. It's sore but it is a lot easier than it was yesterday!
Monday, 3 December 2007
The moon was particularly beautiful that night.
Then, getting up for a pee first thing in the morning, I was met with this magnificent sight of mist in the valley between the dunes.
Went camping over the weekend. Y'see, here in the UAE it was National Day weekend - the UAE was 36 years old - many happy returns! We had a long weekend to celebrate. So Ted and Alice (no, of course that isn't their real names) and Mrs Dubaibilly and I all went off to the Empty Quarter to have a two day camp to celebrate. All organised by Alice. And what a splendid time we had.
This is crazy - so many people blog that it must be easy - surely! Even someone 10 years away from retirement could do it with no probs - ha!
Posted by dubaibilly at 09:52
I guess all blogs have a name, but why "waiting for Skopelos"?
This is the beautiful Greek Island of Skopelos and in particular Skopelos Town and Harbour.