Archive for April, 2011

Shopping-the bad news

At first, I thought it was a blip but it seemed to be happening with startling regularity at each of the clothes shops that I deigned to try things on.

Clothes sizes had got smaller. It was a travesty, I was being forced to try on clothes a size bigger, I mean honestly, a whole dress size bigger.

Ok, so it wasn’t the clothes, but it raises a pressing issue …


If you see me walking awkwardly around the shells, unable to breathe properly wearing big belts, you’ll know why,  it’ll be because I’m sucking my belly in. Or in training for London 2012 weightlifting.

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Mainlining retail at Dubai outlet mall

Having done some net research, I’d discovered that there was an outlet mall about a 30 minute drive away from town. Hearing that the prices in Dubai aren’t that cheap, I’d decided that we should make a beeline for this place before doing any proper shopping anywhere else. I wasn’t sure what to expect, probably all tat I thought, but on entering the rather staid and functional mall and spotting an Adidas shop awash with the Stella McCartney line at not at  bad prices, I thought this might be ok after all and it was.

I didn't have a picture of the mall so here's a metro station instead not that you can get to the mall by metro either

I got a couple of skirts (Fat Face and Jane Norman) and dresses from Zara and the other one, a great pair of jeans and shirts from Abercrombie and Fitch, all at cut prices.

To be shopping again was ace, to be bagging bargains was even better, I was mainlining retail all the way, man.

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Web wiles

I was in Dubai for course to learn all about how to use our web content management system and it wasn’t as bad as I thought it might be. It was even almost interesting. Being a communications person, it would be remiss not to know about digital and social media but that doesn’t make me techno savvy or a geek (though I do show some tendencies) so  no drooling over html for me – although this software spared me any of that nonsense, thank goodness.

I was worried that it might be difficult trying to juggle being sociable with the group and having the other one along for the ride (he was on his easter holidays) but in the event it wasn’t as the group wasn’t very sociable. Score.

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Blinded by the sun and shops in Dubai

There were no people as I believe they can only ever be found in cars or shopping malls or Starbucks (of which there seem to be a few making me happy if not poor,$5 a pop ).

I was staying in the Crowne Plaza on Sheik Zayed road, a main artery of Dubai opposite the Emirates Towers and the first shopping mall I went into and came out again, I managed to divest myself of quite a few pounds buying prescription sunglasses. I’d been in Dubai less than 5 hours and already made a crazy, rash purchase for I think no more than than the flimsy reason that I could. I felt guilty but rationalising it to myself, I’d get my wear out of them. Seychelles: 300 sunny days a year, England: 62.

There was also the small matter of my other sunglasses making me look like a complete n**.

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Tall buildings everywhere. Rising from the desert, gleaming to the sky. Dusty, burnt beige, drained of colour, blurs of cars speeding down tarmac lanes. An urban landscape.

With no people.

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Confusing veggies

The hostess came to our row brandishing two trays of food.

‘Did you order two strict vegetarian meals?’

To be honest , I wasn’t entirely sure, I might have done but it’d have been doubtful I got one for the other one seeing as though he’s a raging carnivore these days. So rather  pathetically, I said:

‘I don’t know’.

‘You don’t know?’ she replied.

‘I don’t know, no’. The other one gave me a look as if to say sort it out, a cheek given that I was quite happy with the veggie meal and he was the one causing the sodding confusion.

To him I said: ‘I don’t think I ordered it’. To her: ‘I’ll take one’. Her to him: ‘Sir?’ Him to her: ‘Er, if I could have a non veg?’ Me to her: ‘He used to be veggie’. Him to me: Glare. Him to her: Smile/laughter and grovelling thanks. Her to him: ‘I’ll see what I can do sir’. Me to him: ‘Maybe, it’s on a database from some other holiday’. Him to me: ‘Humph’. Her to colleagues:’ Row18, what a couple of bleedin muppets, can’t work out if they’re vegetarian or not’.

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Flying high with Emirates

Seatback screens! A plethora of crap to watch, brilliant!

We both started on Megamind whose premise I liked but I think tried too hard in execution and after getting interrupted by some plane announcement, decided not to bother continuing with. The other one got excited about watching the latest Mitchell and Webb and proceeded to guffaw loudly, catching some glances from nearby passengers and causing me some embarrassment. More to the point, I seemed to be missing out and so obviously had to watch it too. It was pretty funny but out loud guffawing? I’d say more inward chortling level.

But he’s also like that with his sneezing and I’d be grateful for views…do people have to sneeze loudly? I don’t think they do. Worse are the people who actually say ‘atishooooo’ when they sneeze, like do they not realise that that’s the phonetic sound of the sneeze, they don’t have to say it?

Little things, little things. Or is it just me?

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8 hour turnaround

Three hours before my flight was due to leave Mauritius and I was stood in Jumbo supermarket (aptly named) contemplating whether I could sneak  home a tub or two of Philadelphia (retail price £5 in Seychelles) and wondering how long exactly it’d take my host to get her month’s worth of family shopping through the till? I was perturbed that I might not make the flight on time,I did, but with hardly anytime to slaver myself in the La Prairie free samples that are the best thing about Mauritius Airport (the skill is to not get caught by a shop assistant asking if you need help who knows full well that you haven’t got $100 to sink on a 25ml tub of eye creme even if it is infused with gold and how’s that get rid of wrinkles anyway?).

The flight was uneventful and I landed in Seychelles about 9pm. I spent ages waiting for my luggage, the other one met me and whisked me home and it was out with the dirty clothes, in with the clean (of which there weren’t many), ironing (I don’t know what possessed me), some stew (don’t ask, I think the other one had been surviving on it all week like some hapless homeless person) and finally to bed at around 1am.

Up at 5am for flight to Dubai.

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Fwoarrrr curry

Poppadoms. Paneer. Chutney. Naan. Beer. Heaven.

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More Mauritius

After a hectic but enjoyable trip to Mada, I was back on the plane to Mauritius and back at my host’s house to round out my week in Port Louis, meeting more people and getting face time with colleagues based there. A highlight was an invite to a reception aboard a US ship (courtesy of my hosts) that had been in Seychelles and had continued to Mauritius and was in port. An opportune moment for my best the diplomatic dud impression.

Approaching the ship, I was faffing with my camera trying to get a shot so I didn’t hear the horn that sounded nor the official announcement of the arrival of my colleagues broadcast to the ship nor did I catch if I was announced or not, though I could have sworn I heard something about taking a lens cap off…

Not quite get the hang of this camera yet..

Just to make it worse, there were sailors on board to take the arms of ladies to lead them in…I frantically looked round for mine, where’d he gone? Hooked on to some guy with hair barely grazing his upper lip, I wittered on inanely and I swear he let go of me before he should leaving me to falter into the main reception on my own, never trust a bloody sailor.

I must be getting used to these ‘do’s’ now, I didn’t even bother queuing for the buffet not that that had anything to do with knowing I was going for dinner after or revealing to my hosts what a total piggy I am.

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