Wednesday 31 December 2014

New Year's Eve in Dubai

Well it won't be at the Burg Khalifia, or the Madinet, or the Burg Al Arab, or The Beach or Dubai Marina, it will be from our hotel, assuming we haven't fallen asleep by then.

Our 19 year old is spending the night on the beach with a school friend from South Africa who also lives in Dubai.

So far for New Years Eve we've checked out of one hotel and into another, walked the dog and fed the cat.

We are currently sitting in Starbucks sending emails to HR, the rental agent, the landlord and the relocation company who to date have helped us find a house, made all the bookings with the shipping and air freight, our personal flights, booked hotels and made the arrangements to have the dog and cat flown over. However, we don't have a house yet that is habitable and after tomorrow the 19 year old doesn't have anywhere to stay for 4 nights until his friends visitors return to South Africa. We can't afford to pay for an additional room at the hotel as we've had to pay for most of the above and until we get residency visas we can't have a bank account and therefore the company can't reimburse our costs.

Off now to a supermarket to buy cleaning material and camping gear so we can spend the rest of the afternoon and tomorrow making one bathroom and bedroom useable, however the kitchen in it's current state is a write off.

Not how we had been promised we'd spend our new lives in Dubai, but hey ho, it's a company move.

Happy New Year to you all and I hope your New Year is a lot less stressful than ours.


Well we ended up at The Beach after a meal at the Marina and it was amazing, peaceful, friendly and calm, no alcohol drunk so no worries about any violence or trouble. When everyone left it reminded me of leaving a big football match but without the worry of anything kicking off.

Tuesday 30 December 2014

Public transport in Dubai

Public transport in Dubai

This is my 3rd trip to Dubai.

In January 2014 I walked EVERYWHERE, I covered miles on foot along the beach, through the streets and around the malls and back again.

In November 2014 with hubby I mastered the train and now December 2014 after relocating here from South Africa I’ve mastered the taxis and the buses.

I’m rather enjoying the freedom in Dubai, the fact there is public transport that is affordable, the fact after 4 years in South Africa I can walk out the hotel to the local shops and cafes without fear for my safety on day one, has made it all so much easier to relocate.

On my first day in Dubai and on my own I stepped outside the hotel and into a taxi, I very confidently gave him the address of our new house, somewhere I’d only seen on google earth and within 5 minutes it became apparent the taxi driver had no idea where I wanted to go. Assuming it was my accent and I’d pronounced the place name wrong, I wrote it down and showed it to him.

From my memory of google earth I directed him to the house, after he finally listened to me. I was pleasantly surprised when he didn’t charge me on arrival and he apologised. But I’m now avoiding taxis, it wasn’t over expensive, but the bus and train is cheaper.

Armed with a map that is not to scale, having been dropped at the airport to wave goodbye to the youngest, I caught the train to ADCB where the map indicated I could pick up the number 88 bus. It cost me AED5, after a 15 minute wait I hopped on the bus which cost a further AED7.50 and tah dah I made it, back to the house. Yesterday at the same stop after the number 8 whizzed past, I caught the 88 again which terminates right outside our hotel, I then caught the train to Dubai Marina and then the metro to Jumeriah Towers 2, where I sat Big Chef's cafe awaiting the arrival of Real Madrid.

The buses and trains are brilliant, I purschased a NOL silver card for AED25, which gives you AED19 of travel time and cheaper journeys, you swipe in and you swipe out when you reach your destination, no worrying about having the correct bus fare on you, although you do need a miniumum of AED7.50 for any journey to start loaded on your card , and no worries about where you need to ask to go. I recognised the area near our house very quickly, both journeys I had a seat but I got on at unpopular stops for this time of the morning, by the time I reached my destination it was a bit of push and shove to exit. 

Be prepared for a bit of a walk from the train to your end destination, for example it is 1km from the train into Dubai mall, but it's under covered, air conditioned and there are travelators to use.

The bus stops have air conditioned shelters with an electronic board of when the next bus is due and it's end destination. All of the public transport is very clean, runs on time and is easy to navigate. The routes, the rules and the fines are very clearly displayed.

I will be avoiding the weekends, Fridays and Saturdays, especially the popular destinations such as the malls and the creek as everyone seems to be going there.

Monday 29 December 2014

Driving in Dubai

I have 22 years driving experience, all accident free unless you count the time my wheel fell off my jeep.

I’ve driven all around the UK, across Europe and the west coast of the US, as well as living in South Africa for 4 years.  I’ve even navigated my way round the arc de triumphe in Paris, with a lot of laughter and tears.

This is my current ride, we’ve borrowed the car of hubbies boss while he’s in Europe for Christmas.

Ok so I may be telling a bit of a lie here

This is the one really but a girl can dream

Hubby has driven it, I’ve been relegated to the back, while the boys sit up front and fiddle with the navigation system and I’ve turned into a back seat driver because although they set the destination they seem unable to actually follow it and we’ve done lots of detours.

Once hubbies visa application is made he is unable to drive and I will be firmly in charge.

The first time I drove it I had to listen to endless instructions before the key was handed over and before I even started the engine there was a row after I climbed into the passenger seat ready to drive. I thought it was funny and since then hubby has done it several times as did the 19yo but he got in the drivers seat. I guess there will be a lot more of that.

New to me but not to the world of driving is the rear view camera, can't believe how much easier parking is with it.

I managed it fine, I left hubby and the boys at the mall as I had to return to the house to see the builders on Christmas eve and as they had left their Christmas shopping till the last minute they had no choice but to let me go on my own.

TBH I found it easy, programmed the navigation system, remembered to stay on the correct side of the road, keep left on the highway and get out to the right to U turn to get onto the road I needed. The Sheik Zayed Road, the main highway is signposted north to south and even if you do get on the wrong way, U turns are perfectly legal and well managed with signage and the exits/entrances to the malls are straight on and off into and from the car parks.

I will confess images like this panic me, but it was earlier than it looked

We only have the one key which is the spare, the other key is in Belguim with it's owner. I'm not a fan of this remote starting. Hubby puts the key in  a little pocket in the car and every time he parks I'm panicking he'll leave it inside, so I've taken to keeping it on a key tag inside my handbag so we don't get locked out.

The first time we stopped for fuel we only had a few hundred dirham on us, not having any idea what so ever of the tanks capacity, the cost per litre or what the average costs for a full tank were, we proceeded with caution, like South Africa the fuel is pumped for you, so I actually asked the attendant what an average tank costs here, I couldn't really believe what he said so I watched the numbers turn until I saw them start to slow and then I relaxed.

A full tank for a BMW 5 Series was AED103, that's around £18/R300

I’ve yet though to master crossing the road and it takes a while to remember look right, left, right rather than the 43 years I’ve been used to of look left, right, left.

Sunday 28 December 2014

My Sunday Photo - Nikon Camera

For the past 4 years living in South Africa, having traveled the entire coast line by road, the length of the country by train and plane and numerous safaris in Kruger, trips to the beach and whale watching, I've traveled with my trusty iPhone and a cheap digital point and shot camera.

I don't edit my pictures and I state where a zoom lens has been used, in case of safari, if I can't take a close up shot with my iPhone then it doesn't count as a viewing, but I suppose I've been lucky and spoilt with the number of opportunities I've had.

And now that we have left South Africa and moved to Dubai where a whole different world of photography will be on on offer, may I present to you my 'leaving South Africa, personal gift to me, myself and I'

So this is my last photo for My sunday photo for 2014 with my trusty iPhone (BTW the point and shoot died quite some time ago)

Saturday 27 December 2014

My view on life with teenagers

Well that’s it really, everytime we go out as a family, everywhere we go, this is my view of everything.

If I want to talk to hubby it’s a matter of push and shove, but really I don’t actually mind as it saves me from all the banter, the mickey taking, the male humour that drags me down after an all day outing.

How do you view life with teenagers?

Friday 26 December 2014

How did you spend Christmas day?

Well we spent our first Christmas in Dubai in a hotel as we are in the middle of relocating from South Africa.

We are used to the sun shining and it being hot on Christmas day, so that wasn’t a new experience for us. Christmas in Dubai happens, however it is optional. Although the malls are decorated and the Christmas songs are playing everywhere and the shop staff are wearing Santa hats, no one wished you a merry Christmas and it entirely up to you if and how you celebrate it.

After breakfast hubby and I played Santa and woke the boys up with last minute purchases as the  Christmas presents are in the airfreight, which is still in South Africa, then headed off to the house to walk the dog and wait for the builders to arrive, which they did, eventually, but that’s a whole other blog post. We met the boys back at a cafĂ© near the hotel where hubby and I had a chicken salad, cookies and coffee and the boys went to Subway.

We then drove to the beach, which wasn’t as busy as I thought it would be.

Afterwards we headed off to Dubai mall where the sales have started, did a bit of car shopping and had dinner in the food hall of burgers, pop and ice cream.

We then skyped family and friends back in the UK and South Africa, ate chocolates and drank wine out of a mug.

Christmas wasn’t stressful, there was no washing up, no family logisitics to organize, we still had the family arguments lol.

What did you do differently this year? What would you like to change for next year?

The family Christmas for us is now over (insert sad face) the 4 older kids have left home and are spread out over the UK, the youngest who will be 16 by next Christmas has opted to spend it in the UK with family, so I guess unless hubby and I travel back to the UK, we’ll be spending Christmas in Dubai, but at least we’ll have our own home, tree and oven to cook a dinner in.