Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Dhaka Madness

Q is in Dhaka, Bangladesh for a four-day trip - Because he can, okay? Get over it, you lot!

His first text message after just landed:"Bangladeshi
passport number of the guy I'm hitching a ride with. ######. Heavy rain on
arrival. Just adds to this excitement!"

Second message:"I don't think anything can prepare you for Dhaka. It's sheer madness! I'm doing okay. On my way to a village for the night with my CS host. ... Also already met up with Andi (N.B. friend from CS who inspired the trip in the first place). Meeting up with her again tomorrow. We also already have a couch in Cairo :)"

Third:"4 hrs by bus, 10 mins in rickshaw and 20 mins by motorcycle and we are in the middle of nowhere. Lightning everywhere, so no star gazing. But the rain sounds cool. :)"

Okay, I admit that we are a bit of adrenaline junkies. But just imagine for a moment, sitting in rickshaw cutting through the heavy rain just to get to a nowhere village in Bangladesh - it does make you smile, doesn't it? :)

p.s. Here are a few photos from our recent weekend road trip to Musandam, Oman. I treated Q to a fantastic birthday dinner in an Indian eatery for a grand total of 28 dhs (less than 6 euros or 8 dollars) - Sweet!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Do You **Bling**?

Introducing the latest addition to ultra-luxury lifestyle: Swarovski-crystal encrusted bottles of water at US$70 each! Like the 7Days article pointed out, that is the same amount of money that would supply a child in Africa with clean water for life! To the UAE distributor Harvey Nichols, I think this so-called "unique lifestyle product" is ultra-low, and it's time to uncool all the glitters!

Somebody Pinch Me!

Some days I just can't help but wondering, "where the heck am I???" Today I was briefly transported to India when I received the following email from an Indian colleague, J, who I have exchanged no more than a dozen hi's in the past year.
My dear friends,

Behold a copy of my marriage invitation attached. Proof that it is finally happening! It would give me immense pleasure if you could grace the occasion by your presence. Your prayers and blessings will be appreciated in any event.

However, it would give me equal pleasure if you could come to enjoy a lunch on Monday the 17th of August at our office at 1:00 pm. It is no coincidence that the marriage ceremony is also scheduled for that day in Cochin – India. Enjoy the lunch as I bid farewell to bachelorhood.

Apparently it is very common in certain Asian and African cultures to send out an office-wide wedding invitation. Personally I think they make some of the best social celebrations, but I'd feel weird not knowing the happy couple fairly well.

Culture shock aside, it also made me smile to read the bible verse quote on the invitation, "It is not good for a man to live alone, I will make a suitable companion for him. (Gen. 2:18)"

...I'm sure they love each other very much! :)

Monday, July 20, 2009

And One of Them is Mine...

Take a guess at the number of traffic fines that the Abu Dhabi police issued in the first half of 2009. Ready? *Drum roll, please!* A grand total of 705,377! In six months! According to The National report, that evens out to about "one traffic fine for every second person in the emirate"!

I'm embarrassed to admit that one of the 433,202 speeding fines is mine: a hefty AED 700 (equivalent to 140 euros or 190 dollars).

I will never speed again.
I will never speed again.
I will never speed again.
I will never speed again.
I will never speed again.
I will never speed again.
I will never speed again.
I will never speed again.
I will never speed again.
I will never speed again.