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Realistically idealistic daydreamer, seasoned procrastinator, atheist and monarchist with a secret agenda and a slight inclination towards voodoo practices.
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    21 February 2007
    MTD - Step 3 - Car and more
    Today I had to go and arrange the paperwork for the car. I had to change the car licence plates to export plates (I got a kewl number, it gave me a giggle). It took about 45 minutes and was painless. The new company's mandoub met me at the police station at 8am as he promised, and did most of the legwork. The car had to be checked, the temporary insurance had to be arranged, the forms had to be signed and the money had to be paid. Then I said good bye to my lovely number plates (34 25 34) and got a set of new red 5 digit export plates. Voila! I have to export the car within 10 days. Shouldn't be a problem since I have to leave by the end of the month. I still have no idea when I am flying, no reservations have been made. I should have that done tomorrow, probably for the 27th.

    Crown cargo company is a total rip off. And they're good. So I'll go with Crown, since the new company pays for it anyway. The guys will come to pack and box everything up on Sunday the 25th. I guess I'll have to spend a couple of days sitting on the floor with no telly ;-)

    HSBC is a pain in the neck. Our garantor was not accepted by the bank in the end, and the account is blocked yet again. Apparently, the guarantor has "high liabilities"(means he has a Visa card). How very true. I don't know how to get rid of it now! All Visa card users beware. It's a HUGE liability. It only seems like it makes your life easy, in fact it's a source of constant pain.

    So far so good. Note to self: MUST start going through my stuff to sort out what I'm taking to Do-buy, and what I am leaving in Cat-ar. Today.


    posted by Bravecat @ 2:00 pm   21 comments
    13 February 2007
    Is it worth it?
    The following post is on loan, it wasn't written by me, and will be featured here for a few days during Valentine's celebrations. The writer of this beautiful piece is no longer blogging.

    Is She Worth It?

    Relationships are hard. They are hard to start, hard to maintain and hard to end. Relationships are also complicated. No matter what we say, any relationship worth having is both hard and complicated. The question that I often ask myself when I look at a woman is: Is she worth it? You see, in my opinion when I start a relationship, I take on a series of responsibilities and challenges. Starting a relationship means not running away at the first sign of trouble, it means sticking by her during the good times and the bad times, it means accepting the unacceptable, it means compromising on what you thought was un-compromisable, it means swallowing your pride to preserve hers, it means loosing yourself so that she can find herself. These are not easy things to do. But once you start the relationship, this is what you must be prepared to go through.

    So, back to my question: “Is she worth it?”. “Would I be willing to go through the gates of hell for her?”. If the answer is no, then better to walk away. I always feel that relationships are out of 10. If one party gives 8, the other will give 2, if one party gives 4 the other will give 6. When I explain this concept to most people, they immediately assume that the successful relationships are those where both give 5. This is, in my opinion, not correct. Successful relationships are those where the numbers change constantly and no one keeps track.

    Unfortunately it is very difficult not to keep track. It’s human nature. It is human nature to bicker and count mistakes and to re-open dead issues over and over and over again. That’s just the way we are. It takes a supreme effort that goes against everything we stand for as human beings to not do that. So, my second question for a relationship is “Is she worth it?”. Is she worth that effort? When the day comes that I have to choose between her and the bickering, who/what will my choice be?

    Relationships are hard. They end. They end badly. They end in disaster. And they hurt. However, there are also good things in relationships: The companionship, the closeness, the sharing, the intimacy, the comfort and so much more. How do you balance those two? For me, I simply try to weight one against the other and just ask myself “Is she worth it? Is she worth the risk?

    The beauty about such a question is that it really allows me to test everything against it. For me, it just comes down to that simple equation. Is everything that will happen next worth the risk of what might happen afterwards?

    I know it might sound selfish at first glance. But when you really look at it, it is not really. It is a question that insures that I will try my very best, each and every time. No compromises on that. If she’s worth it, then she deserves my best, nothing less.
    posted by Bravecat @ 1:39 pm   13 comments
    12 February 2007
    Of diamonds, tennis pros & gay cowboys
    In the true Oscar season spirit, I watched the following movies in the last few days: Blood Diamond, Match Point and Brokeback Mountain.

    Blood Diamond I watched mainly thanks to M & J and their fantastic review of the movie. Set in Africa, it shows the gory truths of the conflict diamond trade. From drive by shootings to child soldiers to severed limbs, slavery and drugs - this movie shows the dark side of the sparkling stones. Loved the movie, even though I think I cried non stop most of the time. It was just too real, and the realisation that it is happening just as I am watching it on the screen was too much to bear. The movie follows the story of just one diamond (albeit big, rare, pink 100 carat diamond) from the moment it is found to the moment it is placed in a vault in Europe, and the stories of the people who were tied into the diamond's journey. I won't get into details - you have to go and watch the movie. Make sure you do.
    I might not be the biggest fan of Leo, but he was great in this movie, accent and all. As for Djimon Hounsou? I think I'm in love.

    Fav quote:
    Danny (Leo): I like to get kissed before I get fucked.

    Match Point is one of "my kind" of movies, slow social drama with a twist. Directed by Woody Allen it shows off the best acting I've seen from Rhys Meyers and possibly, Johansson, too. The story? Predictable. An impoverished ex tennis pro Chris Wilton (Rhys Meyers) gets a job of a tennis coach at a privileged club in London, and strikes gold with his very first student - young rich aristocrat Tom Hewet (Matthew Goode). Tom introduces him to his family, and Chris starts courting Tom's sister, Chloe (Emily Mortimer) with the approval of Tom's family who really liked Chris despite his humble origins and lack of money. However, Chris has a misfortune of falling for Tom's fiancee, extremely sexy but unsuccessful American actress Nola Rice (Johansson). Despite this, Chris proceeds to marry Chloe Hewett, and accepts his father in law's offer of a posh job in the family business. Chris owes everything to his family, and is tied up in more ways than a normal person could possibly handle. On one side he has an adoring wife who is trying hard to conceive, and her supporting family who pay for his luxury lifestyle, on the other side he has an affair with now ex fiancee of his brother in law (who dumped Nola for another woman). Nola gets pregnant and Chris finds himself in a situation he can no longer control. As Nola begs him to leave his wife for her and threatens to talk to his wife about their affair, Chris has to make a choice: his comfortable life, or a woman he loves. What would you choose??

    Brokeback Mountain. Oh well, the title lived up to its name as I almost broke my back trying to stay awake on the sofa watching the movie. Is it just me, or is it really the most boring and overrated movie? What exactly was all the hoop-la about, again? That two men can love each other? Well yeah, they can. We know that. And yes 30 years ago it wasn't easy for men to love each other. That's about it, really. I don't like Heath Ledger, and I can't stand Jake Gyllenhaal and I didn't like the movie at all, although I was expecting something special. What I liked? The scenery. The mountains were beautiful, and the water and the trees, and horses... And Anne Hathaway riding at the rodeo - that was great. And one thing that saved the movie for me... the moment when Jack says: "The truth is... sometimes I miss you so much I can hardly stand it." I do know the feeling.
    posted by Bravecat @ 12:26 pm   10 comments
    10 February 2007
    Valentine Day - hurry!
    Who is your one and only?? Who do you hope to get THAT card from? Or, who are you most likely to send it to?

    Find out here.

    It does work! ;-)

    posted by Bravecat @ 12:14 pm  
    9 February 2007
    I've got sand in my hair, sea in my eyes, sadness in my heart...
    posted by Bravecat @ 11:22 pm   2 comments
    8 February 2007
    MTD - Step 2 (Banking)
    Went to the bank to close the bank account and get the remaining money out. Haha. I've got VISA card, that means for the bank to close the account they have to cancel the card first (fine with me), and keep the money on the account blocked for 45 days "in case late VISA payments come through". How much will be blocked? The whole card limit. In my case - it's more than what is on the account itself. Awesome. That's a no go as far as I am concerned, I may be broke at the moment but I do need whatever money I have left, especially since my VISA is paid in full and there were no new transactions. Anyways, the lady in the bank punches two holes in my VISA and proceeds to block the account. Thanks to the presence of a couple of friends employees of the bank I figured out I could get someone to sign a guarantee for my VISA so that I could use my money in the meantime. This guarantor, however, can not be an HSBC employee so I had to ask someone else (thank you!). So now my VISA is cancelled, there is a guarantor for the "possible" outstanding amount and my account should be unblocked in 2 days. Yay! I should have read VISA terms and conditions more closely when I signed up for it.

    Step 1 update - got the paper from Toyota that the tax on the car has already been paid. It took about 5 minutes. Oh, and 45 minutes to find the accountant's office who is dealing with all this stuff, in Toyota tower (he was hiding behind the door that said "computer room").
    Union Cargo failed to impress, apart from what they were planning to charge, so I am switching to Crown - lets see what they come up with. I am not very keen on having my precious sofas taken to Dubai in an open trailer. It's been raining crazy here for the last... 3 months!

    Boss called the other day and said I am needed at work. So back to work I go next week. Should be fun especially since I can't see myself doing anything at work which is worth going there in the first place.

    It's raining and rain always makes me feel so lonely...


    posted by Bravecat @ 11:23 pm   3 comments
    6 February 2007
    Bling Bling

    I HAD to show off!


    Click on the image for a better view.
    posted by Bravecat @ 2:12 pm   5 comments
    4 February 2007
    Moving to Dubai (MTD) - step by step
    I decided to start a new series on my blog - all about our move to Dubai. I hope it will go smoothly and I will have only the positive experiences to write about.

    Moving To Dubai - step 1

    Today two charming gentlemen from Union Cargo Systems came to my house to "check what you Ma'am is sending Dubai". They checked, and announced that everything (car included) will be driven to Dubai via Saudi in an open trailer. Apparently, there will be no insurance because "no insurance company will cover for damage if there is no accident". I will have to check that. I am pretty sure I'd rather insure the stuff. They will do all the packing and wrapping - total bliss! The trailer will take approximately a week to arrive to Dubai. We will probably request our new company to store the stuff till we find accommodation.

    Speaking of which - the job is at Port Rashid, therefore we will be looking for a place somewhere in Bur Dubai - Sheikh Zayed road - Satwa - Mankhool. We are thinking to rent a 2 bed apartment in a nice block, preferably with some kind of gym and other perks. My only requirement that I will absolutely not compromise on is that it HAS to be quiet in the apartment. And I don't care how much that costs. I've been living in the dumpster in the middle of a permanent construction site for 4 freaking years. I deserve some peace and quiet. And yes, I know, I know - Dubai and especially the areas I will be looking at are far from being "quiet", but I'll just have to find what I am looking for or die trying. OK maybe not die, but I am just not going to settle for background noise and earplugs anymore.

    Back to packing. As I am taking my car with me, I was told that I have to get the paper from Toyota saying that the custom duty on my car has been paid to avoid paying the duty upon its registration in Dubai. So I will go to Toyota tomorrow and try and get this document. Wish me luck!


    posted by Bravecat @ 9:21 pm   7 comments
    Cyprius Victor!

    What an awesome victory! The players I root for didn't do all that well this season, and this is the first truly outstanding result. Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus beat Croat Ivan Ljubicic, number 3 in the world, in Ivan's home country, in front of Croatian fans. Ivan won Zagreb tournament last year, but this year Marcos snatched his crown from him.

    Second ATP title for Marcos. Well done!
    posted by Bravecat @ 8:16 pm   0 comments
    2 February 2007
    Women's rights plights shmights
    One of my favourite bloggers, Marjorie, posted the article distributed by Qatar Guest Centre. One question I would like to ask after reading all this: What year are we living in, again?

    Women's Rights

    The following are some of what Islam requires of the individual and society concerning the rights of women.
    1. Have you ever seen a jewel? Why is it that people love it while it is simply a piece of stone? The reason for this is that it is not easy to see or touch without first paying an exorbitant price. Similar is the case of the woman: to retain her honor and purity, Islam does not allow any man who is not a near relative (MAHRAM) to see her or touch her. She is like an untouched, delicate jewel that needs protection and care.

    2. Have you ever seen how a rose wilts, withers, and loses its luster and beauty if it is touched too much? Likewise, a woman is not allowed to be touched except by one in a lawful relationship of marriage. And whoever attempts to touch her unlawfully will earn a severe punishment or death.

    3. Do you know the punishment for one who violates the marriage trust and cheats on his wife? The penalty is death, since he has failed to preserve the jewel that is in his possession in addition to encroaching on the rights of others.

    4. Have you ever seen a jewel searching for someone to possess it? The same is the case of a woman. Like a precious jewel, she is the one who is sought out. Therefore, it is always a man who seeks her hand. And if she agrees to marry him, he will have to give her a marriage dowry and some portion of his wealth.

    5. It is obligatory upon a man to spend his wealth for the maintenance (accommodation, food, clothing and general care) of those under his care, including his mother, wife or daughter, even if he does not desire to do so.

    6. Consider a ruler or head of state. If everyone were able to speak to him directly and sit in his presence, he would not be held in awe, nor would he possess the same prestige and status amongst people around him. Similarly, a woman is like a noble queen. It is not the right of every man to speak to her directly or sit in her presence; this is allowed only to a select few, namely her near relatives with whom it is unlawful to marry (i.e. MAHRAM)

    7. The Supreme Being created men and provided them with strong bodies so that they may go out and earn their livelihood even in difficult circumstances in order to maintain their wives and children. Women, on the other hand, were created gentle, soft and sensitive in order to educate the future generations and bring them up in the best possible manner. Men go out and work with the world outside, while women deal with human beings (i.e. raising children).

    8. What do you think would happen if a lion and gazelle were kept together in th same place? Would it be possible for them to co-exist? Obviously not! Likewise, it is only in the interest of a woman to be in the company of a man who is not [sic] a MAHRAM. She is beautiful, attractive and delicate. Hence, an immoral man will certainly try to overcome her, oppress her and even violate her chastity even if she were not willing.

    9. A woman who performs work equal to the work of a man is entitled to the same salary as a man.

    10. A woman is allowed to engage in any occupation she is capable of as long as it suits the nature of her physique.

    11. Just like men, women are required to perform certain religious obligations for which both will be equally rewarded.

    12. Women are exempt from certain religious obligations during their post-child birth and menstrual periods, since these conditions cause them a great deal of weakness, and in some cases depression, and hence they need rest and relaxation.

    13. If a woman dies while giving birth to a child, she will be rewarded with the highest station in paradise.

    14. The person who is killed while defending his mother, wife, daughter or sister will be rewarded with the highest station in paradise.

    15. It is permissible for a woman to seek a separation from her husband if he fails to fulfill her marital rights.

    16. Is there anything more valuable to the human being than his life? Well, the honor and dignity of women is more valuable and important to a Muslim than his own life.

    17. It is permissible for a woman to remarry whomever she desires if she is divorced from her husband or is widowed.

    18. If a woman possesses wealth, she is free to dispose of it in any lawful way she likes without permission of anyone, be he the father, husband or any other person.

    19. Women have a right to the inheritance of her relative -- at the time of his/her death -- even if he/she does not desire that she receive it.

    20. A mother has been given preference three times over a father as to their right to kindness and benevolence from their children.

    21. Whoever truly desires Paradise, know that paradise lies at the feet of the mother, for the one who pleases her.

    22. Whoever has daughters and treats them well will be screened from Hell-fire as a result on the day of Judgment.

    23. If a man kills a woman intentionally, he -- under Islamic law -- incurs the death penalty, even if the victim was his wife.

    24. The Messenger of Allah (may Allah's peace and blessings be upon him) advised us concerning women: "Treat women well." He also said, "The best of you are those who are the best in the treatment of their wives." He also said, "No one honors the woman except an honorable man, and no one humiliates her or holds her in contempt except one who is evil, wicked and depraved."

    I am a jewel. A rose. A gazelle. Hands off, dammit!
    posted by Bravecat @ 3:17 pm   9 comments
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