I had about 50 comments yesterday, then noticed that the last one (quite a good one about my last post) had disappeared. It seems any comments by non-subscribers have been deleted, and non-subscribers weren't allowed to comment when I checked my settings. So, sorry to all those whose comments have vanished. It wasn't me! I've re-enabled them now.
THIS SECTION REFERRED TO THE BRITISH EXPATS BLOG SITE.
But there we go. It's been a while - again. Time seems to be squeezing together like some mad accordian played by Buster Bloodvessel, and all the daily occurences are just falling on the floor and flowing down the drain. We are nearly in February 2007. Yesterday it was June 1996, I'm sure it was. I've already been in Dubai for 6 months, and it's been a veritable BLEEEUURRRGH. It's good to be occupied, rather than bored. Boredom depresses me and makes me want to eat bad, bad things that will make me fat again. With all the time in the gym and with the WIFE becoming a cyber-addict (she's been playing a particularly annoying and addictive game called Zookeeper pretty much every waking hour...she didn't notice what I did to her the other week while she was sat playing...maybe she'll notice when the bump gets between her and the table...) I've had less time to go on the computer. But that's probably a good thing. I spend all day on the bloody things at work.
But yeah, that good old gymnasium. I've been going for a 2 full weeks now after joining up at the local place, and the weight is dropping off. I'm trying a programme I found on a Men's lifestyle website which only takes 35 minutes, 3 times a week, but which leaves you feeling really quite tired, as if you've done an hour and a half of hard work. There is little cardio work, just 5 minutes warm-up and cool-down, and the rest of it is resistance training, on the basis that muscle burns more calories and is denser and more compact than fat. The trick is the slow cadence, and doing a low number of reps till failure (listen to me, I sound like a gym rat). 4 seconds to lift, then 4 seconds to put down. Try it and see - you get a proper burn. So far I've managed to double pretty much every weight that I'm lifting. The only area I'm struggling with is my shoulders, but I'll keep working on it.
The best bit is going to a gym that is quiet. I rarely, if ever, have to wait to go on a machine. And that's 15kg (33lbs) down, 23 (51lbs) to go to reach my target. I like the metric system. It sounds much less. At 1 kilo a week, I should be down to target by July or August. I went to see the heart doctor again last week and he seems to be happy with what I'm doing. Getting drug-free 6 months down the line would be brilliant.
In other news, we finally got the two cars we've been waiting for so long to get our hands on. The actual buying process was smooth and trouble-free. Once the car dealer had the money, they arranged the insurance and registration, and I picked them up the next day. At the same time, the WIFE and kids' residence visas came through, so we got the WIFE her driving licence and got rid of the 2 hire cars. Now, in a weird kind of juxtaposition, I (the large man) drive a little sporty coupe car and she (the little lady) drives a 7-seater MPV.
Worryingly, I'm now driving something like a local. I flash my lights and beep my horn and occassionally weave between lanes when I get frustrated at the chap in the ageing white Nissan Sunny bumbling along at 80kph in the middle lane without a care in the world. But I'm getting to thinking that it's the only way to be, because hesitancy here can get you into bother. Of course, I draw the line at some things. I always strap the children into their seats nice and safely. I never drive on the hard shoulder. I don't send SMS messages whilst driving at 180kph (140 is the limit), and I'll never, ever plaster pictures of my country's leaders on my car's back window. Can you imagine seeing that in the UK? I reckon anyone who put Tony BLEEEUURRGH's insincere grin on the back window would probably get a brick through it. And rightly so.
As I drive around this place and get used to the anarchy on the highways, I'm starting to realise that a lot of the people in this part of the world live in little sealed-off bubbles. It's not malicious, they just don't think about consequences, particularly when other people are involved. The oft-used phrase "Insha'allah" is starting to make a little bit of sense. It's the culture, the upbringing to just carry on regardless, and leave the worrying about it all to God. It was similar in Taiwan. The people were lovely and friendly and hospitable, as they are here, but when they get in a car (or sometimes just in public), they just throw a switch and the bubble surrounds them. They must wonder what these flashing orange light things and shiny appendages attached to the doors are, because they don't bloody use them. Queues? They have a Barbie in front, don't they?
And then, there was the incident with the drill, which completely threw me out of kilter the other night. I think it was Thursday. I was sat at my laptop at home, minding my own business. It was late. The WIFE had gone to bed. From nowhere, the incredibly loud and wall-juddering sound of an electric drill burst into life. I looked at my watch. It was 11.25pm. Someone next door (in the adjoining villa that's been empty for 3 months) was obviously moving in, and had decided that this was the right time to start auditioning for DIY SOS. I can't remember the exact thoughts that were going through my mind, but I think the words "what", "the" and "fuck" were in there somewhere, amongst others.
I let it go. I ignored it. It couldn't go on all night. Could it? The WIFE, the BOY and the GIRL didn't seem to be overly upset by it upstairs. The kids could sleep on the runway at DXB International Airport (or the suburb of Mirdiff, as it is known round here). It kept going for another half an hour, on and off, and finally ceased just before midnight. It's a good job they stopped, because I was getting more and more annoyed, and was even thinking about going to bed in a bad mood. Again, I put this behaviour down those cultural quirks I was talking about before, you know - that unwitting, unintended selfishness. It was like my first few weeks in Dubai which I spent in that flea-pit hotel that the fleas had moved out of, and the banging doors and shouting and general hoo-hah that occured every night after midnight. It's not malicious. These people have just been brought up that way, and don't know any different.
The next day, as we pulled out of our car port and set off for Al Ain, we saw the culprit getting out of his own car with some curtain poles.
It was a Westerner.