Sunday, 23 September 2018

African Sunset. My Sunday Photo

Think sunset at a watering hole on safari and you imagine the animals coming down to the watering hole like a scene out of the Lion King. 

The reality is a row of cars jostling for position and this is the view the rest of us see. 


This photo was taken in 2013 on safari at Kruger National Park . 

I’m taking a break from my normal construction photography in Dubai as I’m currently in South Africa and then back to the UK for a family wedding. I’m not here on holiday (hence an old photo) I’m here doing some charity work for a Christmas gift project and spending my time packing and wrapping shoeboxes in a storage unit in Centurion. It doesn’t make for good photos, hence why I’m sharing the one above. 

If you want to see the construction projects I’m documenting, please click on the links below: 

Week 158 Dubai Bluewater Islands and Dubai Eye. Man made island a 210m high Big Wheel

Week 159 Dubai Dubai Marina - Reflections

Week 160 Dubai Dubai Frame. A window between the Old and New Dubai and a 150m high glass floor.

Week 161 Dubai Dubai Marina 3 years apart.

Week 162 Dubai Dubai Water Canal Bridge Construction and reconfiguration of roads

Week 163 Dubai New Metro Line for Expo 2020

Week 164 Arizona and Nevada Hoover Dam 2002 - 2010

Week 165 Dubai Dubai Opera House What a difference a year makes

Week 166 Dubai Unfinished buildings. The Pentominium

Week 167 Coventry Mixing the old and the new. Coventry Catherdral

Week 168 Dubai New Dubai Metro Station 

Week 169 Dubai The new extension of the Dubai Mall and Burj Khalifa 

Week 170 Dubai Hotel fire After the Address fire 

Week 171 Dubai Unusual designs The Opus Building

Week 172 Dubai District Cooling. Keeping the desert cool.

Week 173 Dubai Can I visit the Burj Al Arab

Week 174 Dubai The Almas Tower

Week 175 Dubai The Cayan Tower

Week 176 Toronto The CN Tower

Week 177 Nevada The Paris Hotel 

Week 178 Dubai Ibn Battuta Gate

Week 179 A Wedding

Week 180 Dubai The World's Tallest Tower

Week 181 Dubai and Wales Al Fahidi Fort and Chepstow Castle 

Week 182 Dubai New Metro Station in Al Furjan 

Week 183 Dubai Ski Dubai

Week 184 Another Wedding

Week 185 South Africa Life in a township

Week 186 Austria Ski Jump 

Week 187 Dubai Green Plant Bio Dome 

Week 188 Dubai Update on the Metro Station

Week 189 Dubai My view from the balcony changed in 8 months

Week 190 Greece Just how instagramable is it?

Week 191 and 192 Dubai What's changed?

Saturday, 22 September 2018

One Daily Positive - Week 38 South Africa

Most of you know we used to live in South Africa for almost 4 years January 2011 till December 2014. I missed a trip back last year due to my father dying and this year I can only fit in 2 weeks due to a family wedding the beginning of October.

I really didn't want to leave SA, but we couldn't get our visas renewed, so Dubai it was.

Child 3 and 3a arrived back in the UK over the weekend to surprise their family and friends. I felt/feel left out.

Anyway I'm in South Africa now for 2 weeks, catching up with friends and helping out with a couple of charities, I used to be involved with.

259 Sunday By 8am I'd rescued the cat who broke free of her harness and escaped from the garden, walked Bob, caught up with blog comments and did the ironing. Packed for my trip to South Africa and updated address book and scheduled some blog posts. Visited the Marina to scout for a new location to document the building of Uptown Dubai. Got my clarinet out to help with some breathing practice as I was feeling dizzy and short of breath today, it really helped.

260 Monday Dr's for yet more blood tests, grrrrrr. Coffee afterwards and a trip to the supermarket to find out if the palm trees are real, as requested by Galina. Spent the afternoon in bed, so tired and aching all the time, it's really starting to get me down now. Blood tests back in 3-5 days.

261 Tuesday Took Bob to the indoor dog park, meeting up with human and canine friends. Collected the cat and dropped them both off for boarding  as Peter flew to Saudi for till the weekend. Got the car cleaned and cleaned the rest of the house.

262 Wednesday 8 hour flight to Johannesburg, collected by my friend Cheryl and straight out to Ridgebacks for Jam Jars with my friends and off to Dorette's for the night.

263 Thursday Was dropped off at the storage unit where all the charity donations are stored, sorted, did and inventory and packed 100 boxes, an early night as my hole body aches badly.

264 Friday Back to the storage unit to collect everything needed for the Christmas boxes for children aged 14-18. Each box contains: toothbrush and paste, face cloth, soap, stationery, a toy, sweets, an item of clothing. We've run out of boxes now to pack into, need another 1000 to reach the target. If I can buy and pack 100 a day, we should get there.

265 Saturday Taking the weekend off to meet up with friends and just relax.

On the blog this week:

Building a boat in the sky

What it's really like living abroad? Dubai and South Africa.




Monday, 17 September 2018

What it's really like living abroad? Dubai and South Africa.

Every now and then a little thought passes through my brain and I ask myself

'What am I doing living in Dubai?'

'How did this happen?'

Sometimes this thought is triggered as I drive past the Burj Al Arab or the Burb Khalifa and I think 'this place is a dream holiday location for a lot of people and I'm just going about my daily business'

Usually I'm on the way to or from the vets, the doctors or a food shop.

The other times I'm ironing or sweeping endless piles of sand out of the house.

Life isn't actually any different from living in the UK or South Africa. But there are many things to take into consideration when you leave the UK shores.

In the UK I worked and studied full time, we had 5 kids at home. In South Africa we were down to 2 kids and I didn't work or study. By the time we came to Dubai, there were no kids, but I did work full time for our 2nd year here.

In South Africa I had to deal with issues around personal safety, worry about armed robberies and car jacking on a daily basis. So all trips out were planned, someone was notified of where I was going and when I would return. But I had the most amazing experiences from camping in townships, taking the kids to Kruger National Park. Catching the train from Joburg to Cape Town with the then 12 year old and travelling alone to see the Spring Flowers in the Western Cape.

In Dubai I have the freedom to go anywhere at anytime on my own, walk, drive, use public transport, but my world is much smaller and contained to Dubai which is a huge city, but I also have to contend with the oppressive heat, which does limit my activities.

Temperature in car after parking for an hour.

Living abroad means I spend a huge amount of time on my own. Peter is out the house at work from 8am till 5pm every week day and he also travels a lot which means I'm completely on my own. Whilst I'm safe here in Dubai on my own, compared to South Africa, I still have the odd fleeting moment of panic when I realise if I had an accident or was taken ill, that I'd have to manage in it alone.

In South Africa that happened a few times, but we had a wonderful network of support to turn to. In Dubai I pretty much have only one person who I could call on in my hour of need.

Living abroad is lonely, you're isolated from family back in the homeland. In South Africa we had issues with the internet and even lack of electricity at times. In Dubai all voice over internet is blocked. It makes communication difficult. But at least the postal system works in Dubai unlike South Africa.

We now consider the flight from Dubai to the UK as short haul, despite it actually taking 7 hours to reach and another 4-6 hours to get to and from our homes. From South Africa it would take 24 hours door to door, with a direct flight taking 12 hours, or a stop in Dubai involving 2 x 7 hour flights and a minimum 2 hour stop over.

So what do I do all day as a none working mother of 5 whose kids have all left home?

Well I do the house work, washing and ironing. I food shop. walk the dog, scoop dog poop and clean the litter tray, load the dishwasher and cook dinner. I visit the dog park, get my nails done once a month and pretty much do the same things as I did when we lived in South Africa and the UK, just minus having to go to work.

We're not here on holiday, this is our life. In South Africa we lived on a golf course over looking a small river and the 16th green. In Dubai we live in a villa near the Marina.

My instagram feed is a mixture of an photos of daily activities just with a glamorous backdrop.

I drop Peter at the train station when he travels for the week and after parking i'll get the tram to the beach and the ferry back to the Marina. To me that is just normal life now. I get used to seeing the big buildings, tripping over the tourists, coping with the heat, buying bleach to clean the toilets with from the mall and having a Mcdonalds for my dinner in the food court.

I post the pictures, rarely do people read the comments, they just see me in a holiday destination, having fun or showing off. Being envious of my glamorous life style. But the reality is I just popped to the local shops, I could've been sitting in a park in the UK, instead of a beach in Dubai or a nature reserve in South Africa. I go where I need to go to do what I need to do, it just happens to be 'exotic' in many people's eyes.

We rarely do brunches, we save them for when the visitors come, as they're expensive. We go out for dinner with friends occasionally, but we're not dining in 5 star restaurants. We go to the World's largest Mall on the weekends so we can get out of the house, but stay cool indoors and go for a walk.

It's 8am and I can only sit out in the garden till then or after 8pm when the sun has gone down. The air con is on, set at 25c, you'd not heat a house that high in the winter, the bills are huge. My cold water tap doesn't run cold, even in winter it's luke warm. So I go to the pool over the road for a swim. It's lined with palm trees and sun loungers. It's £400 a year membership. If I swam in the UK 3 days a week for 30 weeks of the year, I'd pay £360, so while it sounds luxurious to have gym membership, it isn't really.

I'm not complaining about life abroad, I guess it's more about expelling myths about how glamorous it is. At the end of the day it's still the shame shit, just a different City and a bit harder to get home when I need to.


Sunday, 16 September 2018

My Sunday Photo - The Address Sky View in Downtown Dubai Week 193

When we moved to Dubai in December 2014, I started taking photos of where we lived and places we visited. It soon became apparent that Dubai was changing almost weekly, so I decided to start documenting the speed at which it was being built.

However as construction is being completed, my view points have altered, new buildings have meant I haven't been able to stand in the same place to update the photo's.

Also I've discovered not everything is built at the same speed and this building The Address Residence Sky View in Downtown Dubai, seems to have come to a halt, you'll also notice that my view point has altered somewhat from the 10th floor of Dubai Mall.

November 2017

September 2018

         November 2017                                                                   

September 2018

I've a new project I'm going to start photographing this week. I'll be scouting the perfect location to take regular photos of it. Uptown Dubai in JLT (Jumeriah Lake Towers) It will consist of 2 towers and a 2 level central plaza some 28 meters above the ground, housing a mall and residential apartments which will be larger than Times Square in New York.

If you want to see the other projects I've been documenting in Dubai and buildings and construction projects from other parts of the world, feel free to click on the links below:



Week 158 Dubai Bluewater Islands and Dubai Eye. Man made island a 210m high Big Wheel
Week 159 Dubai Dubai Marina - Reflections
Week 160 Dubai Dubai Frame. A window between the Old and New Dubai and a 150m high glass floor.
Week 161 Dubai Dubai Marina 3 years apart.
Week 163 Dubai New Metro Line for Expo 2020
Week 164 Arizona and Nevada Hoover Dam 2002 - 2010
Week 165 Dubai Dubai Opera House What a difference a year makes
Week 166 Dubai Unfinished buildings. The Pentominium
Week 167 Coventry Mixing the old and the new. Coventry Catherdral
Week 168 Dubai New Dubai Metro Station 
Week 169 Dubai The new extension of the Dubai Mall and Burj Khalifa 
Week 170 Dubai Hotel fire After the Address fire 
Week 171 Dubai Unusual designs The Opus Building
Week 172 Dubai District Cooling. Keeping the desert cool.
Week 173 Dubai Can I visit the Burj Al Arab
Week 174 Dubai The Almas Tower
Week 175 Dubai The Cayan Tower
Week 176 Toronto The CN Tower
Week 177 Nevada The Paris Hotel 
Week 178 Dubai Ibn Battuta Gate
Week 179 A Wedding
Week 180 Dubai The World's Tallest Tower
Week 181 Dubai and Wales Al Fahidi Fort and Chepstow Castle 
Week 182 Dubai New Metro Station in Al Furjan 
Week 183 Dubai Ski Dubai
Week 184 Another Wedding
Week 185 South Africa Life in a township
Week 186 Austria Ski Jump 
Week 187 Dubai Green Plant Bio Dome 
Week 188 Dubai Update on the Metro Station
Week 189 Dubai My view from the balcony changed in 8 months
Week 190 Greece Just how instagramable is it?
Week 191 Dubai What's changed?

Saturday, 15 September 2018

One Daily Positive - Week 37

I've been up early before sunrise at 6am to walk Bob and water the garden. The actual gardening will have to wait till I finish my travels the end of October, it's still too hot. There is a humid factor of 'feels like' 10c more than the actual average temperature of the high 30's.

I spent 3 days on and off cleaning the house, it's not had a deep clean since the end of May. Peter did clean and tidy while I was away, but book cases and shelves were incredibly dusty. The two spare rooms were full of sand around the doors and windows and the rooms looked like a haunted house covered in dust. One room is the guest room and the other my sewing room and study. Peter just left the doors shut while I was away.

My blood test results are back, Vitamin B12 deficiency, levels very low and no improvement with iron levels after 3 months of supplements so infusions to look forward to. Still no clue to the cause.

252 Sunday Off to meet my friend for coffee and as usual 3 hours, none stop nattering and only 1 coffee each, sometimes we've sat there for an hour before we've even ordered coffee. Cleaned the downstairs of the house in the afternoon after the food shop, went for a swim while Peter cooked dinner, watched a movie and in bed before 9pm.
Some of the malls make you feel you're actually outdoors

253 Monday Up at 5am and sat in the garden drinking tea with the cat (on her lead) and dog, walked Bob and rearranged the furniture in the hall so I could bring the pushbikes inside as the sun is damaging them and it's a flaff to keep chaining (unchaining) and removing the covers. Met a friend for lunch.
Bumped into this fella (no idea why there was a cut out of Ronaldo in the store)

254 Tuesday Early morning start to the dog park to meet our dog and human friends, spent the afternoon cleaning upstairs, went to the outlet centre in the evening. It's the Arabic new year today, but they've made Thursday the public holiday.
Bob ran some energy off in the outdoor area, but we didn't stay outside for long

255 Wednesday Doctors first thing for B12 injections and treatment plan. Found somewhere local to do all the recycling, swept/hoovered and mopped through the house and went to the pub quiz in the evening.
Started a new book

256 Thursday Peter was off work, I headed off to a local football club to meet with them about volunteering with a new youth league they're setting up. We went to Ikea and didn't argue, only bought things we didn't know we needed, stopped at the flamingo sanctuary on the way home, met a friend for coffee and had an early night.
Dubai skyline

257 Friday We headed off to the Palm for Brunch, nothing else happened all day.
I was defeated by dessert

258 Saturday In bed all day with a migraine, Peter had a friend round in the afternoon for a few beers.
Breakfast in bed, coffee in bed, dinner in bed

On the blog this week:

Construction projects in Dubai and how they've come on in the 3 months that I was away.

6 days in Bavaria in July. Things to do and places to see.

My dream wedding venue 'Under one roof' part of my Wedding series blog post.




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