Sunday, 18 March 2018

Week 168 - My Sunday Photo New Dubai Metro Station Discovery Gardens

I posted a photo of the new Metro Line for Expo 2020 for Week 163, showing the progress of the line between October 2017 and 11th February 2018. Well I travelled to the UK for 4 weeks and I returned home to discover the new station is well underway and thankfully not that far from where I live.

I'll photograph it's progress weekly between now and May 31st when I next leave Dubai to see how far it's come along.

Week 158 Bluewater Islands and Dubai Eye. Man made island a 210m high Big Wheel
Week 159 Dubai Marina - Reflections
Week 160 Dubai Frame. A window between the Old and New Dubai and a 150m high glass floor.
Week 163 New Metro Line for Expo 2020
Week 164 Hoover Dam 2002 - 2010
Week 165 Dubai Opera House What a difference a year makes
Week 166 Unfinished buildings. The Pentominium
Week 167 Mixing the old and the new. Coventry Catherdral

Saturday, 17 March 2018

One daily Positive - Week 11. Nicholas Parsons and home to Dubai

Both a sad start and end to this UK trip, arriving for my SIL's funeral and leaving 2 days after the death of my Uncle. This happened in 2016 also, when I came over for my father's youngest brothers funeral and my mother's eldest brother died the day I left. I finished the week back home in Dubai. Fell back into local time straight away, tired and had no milk, the garden had survived, one house plant was a bit worse for wear and it felt strange not being met by the cat and dog.

70 Sunday Our Easy Jet flight from Belfast was delayed by an hour, said our goodbyes to child 4 and 4a, who we'll see again in Dubai at the end of the month. Collected car hire and then the teen from Stratford and dropped him off at my mum's where he's staying till the end of the week. Mother's Day gifts from child 4, 4a and 5.

71 Monday Collected child 1 from Gloucester and hubby suggested we visit Bicester village for a day out, the roads were really misty. I took Mary's (over40andamumtoone) birthday gift with us and called her on route and she joined us for a coffee or two. I must say both Peter and I were impressed with how she handled Stephanie and dodged flying drink bottles.

72 Tuesday Collected MIL from Keynsham and headed off to Street for the day for shopping and lunch. Had the start of a migraine. I know I'm over doing it, but our remaining time in the UK is limited and I lost 4 days to the snow. I took Peter to me local pub to meet Geoff, the landlord, who bought my fathers car. I tend to treat the pub as an extension of my living room as the teen is still living in the flat.

73 Wednesday Woke to the sad news that Uncle Tim died last night. It was something we were expecting and it hit me really hard. Tim was my father's best friend from birth and I can't recall any event over my lifetime of 46 years that he and his wife, Aunty Pat who died in 2012, hadn't been part of. I had a horrendous migraine and really didn't want to go anywhere, but child 2 had his suit fitting appointment for his wedding in June and I was dragged to Gloucester, called in to see ex MIL on our way back and went straight to bed. Peter went to see my sister, mini me and Thing 1, 2 & 3. Managed to get out in the evening to see Nicholas Parsons at the local theatre, it was very good, despite the migraine.

74 Thursday Took mum to visit my cousin, Tim's son, I hadn't seen him during the hospital visits and as I won't be able to attend the funeral, we drove to Aberdare for the day. On the way back we stopped at the crematorium to order my father's memorial plaque. It was a sad time for both mum and I, first time back at the crematorium and we saw where my father's ashes were buried. In the evening Peter and I did a whistle stop tour of saying goodbyes and met friends in the pub for a quiet drink and replied to 2 of the 3 wedding invites we have to look forward to this year.

75 Friday It's not often Peter and I fly together, we joke we're like royalty. We sat together upstairs on the Airbus A380. I require a window seat when I fly so I have something to lean against. Peter was pleased with the extra legroom and storage but I was disappointed as I may as well have been sitting in an aisle seat, I had nothing to lean against and spent most of the flight in pain and tears.

76 Saturday I didn't get much sleep, woke early and fetched milk, caught up with some blogging while Peter slept as it's back to work for him tomorrow, unpacked, collected the cat and dog and had a manicure, pedicure and new gel polish while Peter did some food shopping, a relaxing day and an early night ahead.

On the blog this week:

My Sunday Photo - Coventry Cathedral - Mixing the old and the new
Triumphant Tales, Tweens Teens Beyond, Best Boot Forward and PoCoLo linky
What it's like being a woman living in Dubai.

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

What’s it like being a woman living in the Middle East?

I live in Dubai in the UAE, not Saudi Arabia.

Please stop confusing the two countries. I can’t talk about what it’s like to live in any other country in the Middle East, other than the UAE and Dubai in particular.

But I can talk about living as an expat spouse in another country, in South Africa, different to my country of birth, the UK and where I live now.

Living as a none working expat, as in I'm only living abroad to support my husband while he works in another country for a set period of time, means that my visa reads 'not entitled to work' and therefore I am unable to obtain things such as bank, phone accounts and have utility bills in my own name. This is because I do not have an income, my husband sponsors me as in he is taking full financial responsibility for me being in the country with him, including my emotional, mental and physical well being.

It means I have to have a letter of consent from him to work, which makes me more desirable to employers as they are not financially responsible for me in regards to paying a housing allowance and  providing medical cover and I need a letter for me to drive, meaning my husband will take full responsibility to ensure I am insured, my vehicle is road worthy and I have the means to pay any fines.

The above applied to life in South Africa also, but strangely enough I didn't meet the requirements under BEE Black Economic Empowerment law to work there regardless of whether my husband sponsored me or not as I didn't meet the skills shortage requirements.

If I were the one with the visa to work and he was accompanying me, then the same rules would apply to him also.

It does not mean that because I am a woman I am a 2nd class citizen, in any way shape or form.

I did work for a year in Dubai as a Teacher, I made a decision to stop working as realistically one of us needs to be able to travel to and from the UK to support our families living there and as a Teacher I cannot earn the salary to maintain our standard of living and fund my husband to do the same level of travel.

I was also offered a job with a sponsored visa by the UAE Government for another teaching post, which I had to decline when my father died last year.

Now that part is all cleared up, let me tell you what it's like living as a woman in Dubai.

I can drive a car.

I don't have to wear an abaya or cover my head or face. I have to ensure my shoulders are covered if I go to a government building and wear a head scarf if I visit one of the two mosques that offer tours to none Muslims.

I can drink alcohol. Everyone needs a licence to purchase alcohol from a liquor store, all one has to do is provide proof they are not a Muslim to do this by filling in a form and paying a small fee. I don't have a licence, there's no need to pay for two and besides with all the travel we do, we purchase what we want at duty free.

I can buy pork products in the local supermarket.

I can wear a swimming costume or bikini on a public beach.

I can go out on my own.

I can buy myself a glass of wine at a bar without my husband being present.

I actually have my own bank account, car and insurance and mobile phone contract, in my own name, from when I was working that I don't have to change now I'm not.

I can hold my husband's hand in public, I can hug him and give him a kiss when I greet him at the airport or say goodbye.

I can go out for a meal or a drink or get in a car with a man who is not my husband, father, brother or son.

My Doctor is male.

I can celebrate Christmas, Easter, Halloween and purchase everything I need/want from the local stores and Malls. I can attend a Christian church.

And if I choose to, on public transport I can sit/stand in the woman and children only section of a bus/train.

All in all life in Dubai isn't that different from living in the UK, other than the fact that Dubai is a much safer country for me to live in, regardless of whether I'm male or female. I've yet to encounter groups of drunks on a weekend, I don't come across people fighting, swearing or throwing up in the street. I have no issues travelling across the city late at night on public transport or in my car. I have no fear when I go out alone at night walking the dog, taking a short cut through a park regardless of the time of day and have absolutely no worries about my personal safety in regards to my belongings. If I leave my bag at a table in a restaurant while I go to the toilet or on the beach while I go for a swim. I can guarantee it will still be there on my return.

Sunday, 11 March 2018

My Sunday Photo Week 167 Mixing the old and the new - Coventry Cathedral

I've not visited Coventry since the mid 80s and from memory it's not changed at all. When I mentioned this on social media there was an assumption that my comment was negative, it wasn't. I meant there had been no development, the city remained unchanged in terms of architecture, yes a lot of the shops were empty, but that is typical of most towns and cities up and down the UK these days.

Coventry Cathedral was bombed during the blitz in 1940, which destroyed most of the city centre, which was rebuilt in the 1950s and 60s. Only the tower, spire and outer wall and the bronze effigy and tomb of the first bishop of St Michael's Cathedral was left standing, originally built in the late 14th and early 15th century.

The current St Michael's Cathedral was built alongside the ruins joining them to form one church in the early 1960's. My access for photos was restricted when I visited due to filming of Nativity 4 in the Cathedral grounds.

I always enjoy visiting churches and cathedrals when I'm in the UK, mainly because the buildings are old and full of character, something I don't see in Dubai, where everything is modern and new.

You can see the other building projects in Dubai and around the World, I've been following below:

Week 158 Bluewater Islands and Dubai Eye. Man made island a 210m high Big Wheel
Week 159 Dubai Marina - Reflections
Week 160 Dubai Frame. A window between the Old and New Dubai and a 150m high glass floor.
Week 163 New Metro Line for Expo 2020
Week 164 Hoover Dam 2002 - 2010
Week 165 Dubai Opera House What a difference a year makes
Week 166 Unfinished buildings. The Pentominium

Saturday, 10 March 2018

One Daily Positive Week 10

Another busy week, catching up with all the things missed from last weeks snow. Peter arrived and I flew to Belfast to visit child 4 and 4a. Friday was a tough day for me. Although it was a proud day as a mum watching my son march through Lisburn on his return from Iraq, I was very aware all day that Christine, my SIL, was no longer with us as several times I started to message her and tag her in posts for her share the day with me. Her name also pops up daily on nearly every Facebook memory with a like or a comment and it hurts. Strangely it was only the following day when I realized I’d not once thought about sharing the day with my dad and realized time does truly march on in many ways.

63 Sunday A lazy morning, a hot bath and a coffee in town, some blogging, a bit of cleaning, then I took 3 nights of dinner up to Mum's before seeing Miles Jump and friends at the Savoy Theatre in town. I sat front row, on my own.

64 Monday An early start to Malvern to meet British Gas to get a price for a new boiler to be fitted tomorrow, encountered 6ft snow drifts on the journey, drove the teen down to Abergavenny then went to visit a friend in the Forest of Dean in the evening. Snow pyraminds in the car park.

65 Tuesday popped up to see Mum in the morning, then back to bed with a headache, stiff neck and shoulder pain and foul metallic taste in my mouth, back up to mums in the evening, a hot bath and an early night. The flood plain for the river is the opposite sided thankfully.


66 Wednesday Felt much better this morning, still stiff and have taste in mouth, but no headache. Took the teen to Stratford, drove onto Warwick with the rest of Dad's cigarette and post card collection, spent a couple of hours wandering around Coventry where they were filming Nativity 4, hence the Christmas tree, before collecting Peter from Birmingham airport.

67 Thursday Back to Birmingham, returned the car hire and caught a flight to Belfast, child 4 collected us from the airport, we checked into the B&B then walked to 4a's house to introduce Peter to the parents.

68 Friday Child 4's medal parade in Lisburn today followed by lunch with Prince Edward and the evening with 4, 4a and her parents.

69 Saturday spent the morning with 4 and 4a in Belfast with a visit to the Titanic Museum and a walk around the City, the afternoon in front of the telly watching the rugby and this evening we're all off out for a meal.

On the blog this week:

My Sunday Photo - Unfinished buildings in Dubai. The Pentominium 
Triumphant Tales, Tweens Teens Beyond, Best Boot Forward, PoCoLo Linkys
Crossing Boundaries, both physically and mentally.