9:57 a.m. - 2008-08-24
Julie and I had a fairly fun time last Saturday at the annual pre-Ramadan piss-up: Hopfest 2008. Last year, they would not let Lyra in (for good reason) so I went myself and had to forge a handstamp to bypass the LONG queue.
This year, I wanted to make sure that we didn't have to stand in line so we arranged for Myla to come and watch Lyra at 1030. The start time was at Noon. We thought that we'd be able to have breakfast and have a cardio workout (an utterance that I still can't believe can form and crawl from my lips) together while keeping tabs on the queue. After I rode a recumbent cycle, I joined Julie on the treadmill next to her. And then we gorged ourselves at The Irish Village (a pub with good grub) located just outside the entrance.
Julie and I were quite hungry as we skipped breakfast. I had boiled bacon (which was more of a good boiled ham) and colcannon (mashed potatoes mixed with cabbage ... and that shit's tasty) covered with a white sauce. Julie opted for the FULL Irish Breakfast; a good description. It had:
A fried egg
Two pork sausages
Two rasshers of bacon
A two centimeter thick slice of black pudding
One thin pork chop
A tater tot triangle of hash browns
Two slices of toast, butter and jam.
She had a good drinking base as did I.
We went in and it was quite warm inside though the tent had air conditioning.
It's good to see that the singles scene is alive and well in Dubai. As we ourselves eschew "clubbing" we don't get to see the mixing of young expats in such huge quantities.
I like it because it's always cool to see British women all tarted up. Would you women who read this wear high heels to what is a tent-like barn that has wood chips all over the floor? I also like that they actually have some beers there that are (almost) worth paying $9.53 (that's US Dollars). All the beers were 35 Dirham. We laughed that some of these kids actually paid that for Corona! Julie informed me that Corona is NEVER drunk in Mexico and posits that it may have become popular due to being enjoyed in Tijuana.
They have live (somewhat predictable cover) music with a local radio personality between sets. As there's no cover charge, I didn't mind paying the premium.
I was drinking Belgian and Welsh beers and ales and Julie was drinking GIANT bottles of Bulmers cider.
I can't speak for Julie liking this but she received the drunken, glossy eyed gaze of a fellow and probably the attention of a few others as she was lookin' hot. I should NOT have worn long trousers as the guys were as dressed down as the women were dressed up and that would have been heaps more comfortable. I REALLY wished that I had worn a Milwaukee-centric T-Shirt or better yet, a blue shirt with a huge Pabst Blue Ribbon logo on the front. I hate to advertise but sometimes, especially at a beer festival one must geekily draw attention to oneself.
Yes, we had been splattered with beer but then again, it was fun listening to Brit or Austalpop that has the call and response "football chantiness" that doesn't seem to translate well into words: "Alice! Who the fuck is Alice!
Went to the Picasso exhibit yesterday. Yes, we can be both highbrow and lowbrow. It was a long way to drive but worth it. Though we've seen all of these works with our friend Cathe whilst in Paris, I remembered none of them. Big surprise there.
Right! So there you have have it. We can find a way to have both a wild and educational family weekend.
7:26 a.m. - 2008-08-22
There's a young woman who comes over to the house every day. I mentioned her recently as the one who gave Lyra the birds nest. She works for a family from around the corner and her "madam" is with the kids in Canada while her "sir" is working here. I was under the impression that he was of German heritage but I hear now that he's from Lebanon.
They sponsor her work visa and she does domestic chores for them. Anyway, Myla has had loads of extra time on her hands so Julie has employed her to come and help out around here. The place looks great thanks to this arrangment and Lyra has become taken with her even going over to her house from time to time to watch telly and hang out. Lyra has given her some toys for her little daughter who is staying in The Philipines with Myla's extended family. This arrangement is quite foreign to me but I like that she can earn extra money for sending back home and I like that she's available for sitting for Lyra from time to time but check it out:
Her "sir" TAKES the money she earns for baby sitting! WTF?!?!? Julie said the opinion is that he pays her a wage and anything else is due to him. I'm not explaining it well but I sure don't agree with this. I certainly would like for her to keep whatever she may get from us for her own, at the VERY LEAST any money she gets from us on her "off" hours if, in fact she HAS off hours. Apparently, he keeps tabs on her somehow, perhaps with her mobile phone.
Julie has more of a relationship with her as she has set much of this up prior to Lyra and I returning to Dubai. She has a cousin who works for our South African neighbour and there's talk of them trying to arrange an Emirati sponsor for the lot of them in order for them to be able to freelance. Seems like a plan to me.
There's all kinds of laws regarding these workers ostensibly for their protection (sounds like the same reasoning countries use to go to war). It'll be interesting to see how this all progresses. We like Myla and if and when this all sorts out, I've said to Julie that I'd be willing to have her come stay with us. I'm not quite sure we're within the law even having her do ANYTHING for us though it's common practice and I think we're ok because it's with the permission of her "sir". We hope to meet him someday but now I'm not sure if I even want to.
I was never quite down with the thought of having live in help but once Lyra stars up again with school, I hopefully will be able to use any extra time to get a job or, better yet, get loads of stuff recorded for the "big plan" I have with Eric and our DST deal.
The plants have all survived our being away but the once thriving gardenia that looked to be on the edge of blooming has taken a beating and, though living, looks kind of burnt. The buds probably did not bloom while we were away. Bought an oleander a month or two before we went home and that seems to be doing rather well. I pruned the heck out of it so it would bush out and it's getting new shoots where I cut it and it's blooming here and there. I feel kind of faggy talking about plants but I might get into landscape / gardenning upon our return so I'm trying to learn about this crap. And then there are the "Three Amigos".
When our friend Lisa was here, I took her to the plant souk and she watched me pot up some plants and she offered artistic opinion while drinking tea. When I potted up three cactus she coined the term "Three Amigos" and it's stuck. They are thriving.
They are also quite "Christlike" in their thorniness; I'm not kidding! I have what I thought were gloves that would be impenetrable but they weren't. To really do the job without suffering jabs you'd need large tongs akin to a fireplace tool.
You could surround a maximum security prison with these things. Occasionally, an arm breaks off and all one needs to do is carefully position the raw bit near the soil and off it'll go!