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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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    Tennis
    24 August 2007
    Hiatus
    If you need me, you know where to find me. If you don't need me, then you don't need to know where to find me. If you need me but don't know where to find me - I guess I don't need you, in which case you don't need to know where to find me either. Problem solved.
    posted by Bravecat @ 4:30 pm   18 comments
    22 August 2007
    Now this is what I call Dubai
    With my fresh Dubai residency stamp in my dog eared passport, I can finally share my thoughts on what being a resident in Dubai is like.

    Dubai is like a massive melting pot of every possible and impossible thing in the world. And melting it is, with temperatures settling comfortably in mid forties. I so far refuse to melt and spend most of my free time indoors. The only recent and quite memorable outdoor event that will take me a while to get over was being left alone on the beach in Fujairah for 7 (!) hours on my own with no means to escape, but that's another story altogether. At least I got a neat tan out of it and sea was awesome, just the right temperature, and only a little rougher than I would prefer.

    It seems that Dubai is slightly hotter and slightly more humid than Qatar, although I can't be quite sure. I miss Qatar so much that I seem to forget all the bad things. If you ask me now, I'd say that Qatar has the ideal climate! :^) Dubai, however, doesn't, and it's freaking HOT! And of course I came down with a cold as I do every year around this time, so it adds to the enjoyment of not being able to have my A/C on.

    Driving in Dubai is way better and easier than Qatar, people generally seem to stick to the rules more, speed less and you don't usually come across a local guy driving his Landcruiser on his own personal lane to his own personal speed limit. You don't usually come across local guys here, period. It seems that they all moved to Abu Dhabi :)

    The city itself... well I never venture further than Emirates Towers anymore. I live in Emirates Hills and there is absolutely no need for me to go to Dubai proper. I am very happy about that because those few times I did have to drive through weren't the most pleasant of experiences. Before I moved to Emirates Hills I had stayed in Golden Sands area of Bur Dubai and hated every minute of it. The dirt, the lack of parking, the traffic, construction on virtually every corner, constant noise and dust... thanks, but no thanks.

    Emirates Hills however is a little miracle. I haven't seen anything remotely as nice as this area in Qatar. It even reminds me of home until I get out of the car and feel the heat. I would say that Emirates Hills area is a little like Rifaa in Bahrain, but of course a lot more open. Some residential complexes in Emirates Hills and further towards Jebel Ali are really nice, like the Lakes and Meadows, and some are a little less to my liking. I can't quite grasp the Marina concept, what with those towers sprouting like mushrooms so close to each other? Apart from the obvious drawbacks (no parking, pigeon hole style apartments) there are a number of less obvious issues: how can you evacuate the people in case of any emergency since there are so few exits? I think there are only two in Marina. Those towers were built in a matter of months... what about construction quality?

    Those who like shopping will find themselves in shoppers' heaven in Dubai. I think the only thing I wasn't able to find was Victoria Secret but I am sure it's there somewhere. There is absolutely everything else in Dubai, not quite as cheap as it's hyped up to be, but not overly expensive either, and with (usually) very attentive service shopping is a pleasant experience. I live close to the Emirates Mall and I think it is rather nice and it has lovely restaurants and cinema, not to mention the kids playground and Ski Dubai! I love the service in the Middle East and Dubai is no exception. I was recently served in a department store by an Emirati salesgirl and she did a great job. She wore too much Arabic perfume for my liking but otherwise she was great and friendly and helpful and I ended up buying something I didn't really need as a token of appreciation :^)

    Other than shopping, there is a multitude of other activities one could pursue in Dubai. All kinds of sports (even winter sports!) are available for a price, and there is an awesome gym that I go to, Fitness First, which is really the first gym I enjoy going to, and that is saying a lot. I've been working with a personal trainer a little, and doing some classes, and I liked everything so far. I wonder what it will be like after the summer when people get back from their holidays, and whether I'll be allowed to drink water there during Ramadan, but that won't make much difference either way. This gym rocks. And it's only 10 minutes from home which is ideal really. I go to Ibn Battuta branch.

    Sports aside, there are plenty events one could attend, theatre plays, ballet, various sports events, famous singers and performers come here regularly (I'm waiting for Pink!) and even in the malls you can stumble across a great show: anything from deep diving to Japanese drums to American Indian pow wow performances, some of them literally take your breath away.

    And then of course there is food. More like Bahrain than Qatar, this country boasts every single way of cooking and ingredients known to man. And you don't even have to go to a 5 star hotel to enjoy a great meal. I like the restaurants and bars at Madinat Jumeirah and after "shopping around" I realised that this is probably the best place in my area to go out for a meal and a drink.

    The area I live in is so quiet it deserves a note! After the horror of living where I lived in Qatar, this is paradise for the Cat. "Quiet" was my only requirement when I looked for a place to stay. And quiet is what I got! I don't hear anything! When I walk into the house and lock the door, the world outside simply switches off. I don't hear cars, people, no construction sites anywhere near here, I don't think I have any neighbours because I never see or hear them either. I have a pretty green garden, plenty parking, and it is so green and quiet all around it comes as a compensation for the years I had to endure trying (and failing!) to sleep with earplugs. So I love it here.

    But... I left people in Qatar, once again, making friends and moving on. I miss my friends dearly, I am so happy Fishy is coming to Dubai. I miss someone badly. You know who you are. This is the hardest part of being here - not having people I've grown to love with me anymore. Again. Life is cruel like that. And no amount of shopping, partying, working or travelling would ever compensate for the separation from those who mean the world to you. And I don't even mention my parents who I long to be with but have to wait till at least Christmas to meet.

    This is Dubai - maybe I'll grow to like it. For now it's a strange land, albeit fascinating and welcoming, but still a strange land.

    And man it pisses me off when Blogger underlines the words with British spelling!! It's NEIGHBOURS, dammit, not neighbors, it's TRAVELLING and REALISING and don't mess with me today. Or ever. Yeah.

    :P
    posted by Bravecat @ 10:16 am   18 comments
    21 August 2007
    Feeling...
    posted by Bravecat @ 2:39 pm   12 comments
    19 August 2007
    I'm feeling homesick ;-)



    I got 3 (!) emails today describing the joys of either being a Cypriot or living in Cyprus, and here are the best parts of those emails. Enjoy! :^)


    You know you are a Cypriot when:

    You can't get over how early bars & clubs shut in all the other countries - surely they're shutting just as you should be going out?

    You aren't just surprised that the plumber/decorator has turned up on time, you're surprised he turned up at all.

    You think it's fine to comment on everyone's appearance.

    Not kissing every new acquaintance on the cheeks seems so rude.

    You're shocked by people getting their legs out at the first hint of sun - surely they should wait until at least late June?

    On msn you sometimes type 'xaxaxa' instead of 'hahaha'.

    You don't understand how anyone could think olive oil on toast is weird.

    You eat lunch after 2pm & would never even think of having your evening meal before 9.

    You know that after 1pm there's no point in going shopping, you might as well just have a nap until 4 when the shops re-open.

    You don't accept beer that's anything less than ice-cold.

    The fact that all the male (or female) members of a family have the same first name doesn't surprise you.

    The sound of mopeds in the background is the soundtrack to your life.

    Your mother does everything for you if you are male.

    You do all the housework and cooking if you are female.

    Your relatives alone could populate a small city.

    Everyone is a family friend, or somehow related to you.

    Instead of cooking a meal for 4 you cook for 10.

    When you have a dinner party there is enough food to last for the next 2 weeks.

    You fight over who pays the dinner bill.

    You always say "open the light" instead of "turn the light on".

    A Mercedes is not a car, it's a Taxi.

    You walk around in jumpers when it's +25C but put your airconditioning to +15C and still find it hot.

    Not smoking is considered 'weird'.

    Not eating meat is unthinkable.

    All men over 30 look 50.

    You sms people sitting at the next table.

    You sms whilst lifting weights.

    Police park on the pavement..to book you for a parking offense.

    Translation of 'thank you' is..... "thank you".

    Translation of 'sorry' is....."sorry".

    The first thing a police officer asks you is "what does your dad do?".

    You call everyone "koumbare"('best man')...and they probably are!
    posted by Bravecat @ 11:21 am   12 comments
    18 August 2007
    Is divorce bad?



    Once again today I had to endure a conversation about the vices of Western society. How bad we are. How we have drugs, alcohol, prostitution, and worse of all - how our divorce rates are higher than anywhere else in the world*. Because see, divorce is really bad, and it happens right left and centre in the West.

    It got me thinking. Is divorce really that bad?

    Looking at the history of divorce in the West, it's quite obvious that the stigma that was once associated with divorce isn't there anymore. Both men and women can get a divorce and still be accepted in the society. They can remarry again and live a happy life. Or not so happy, in which case they can get another divorce :P

    In the East, however, divorce is an awful thing for all involved. It's not just between the man and wife anymore, it's a shame for the entire family or clan, and has to be avoided at all costs. Divorced women normally won't have another chance at having a family (among other things). Depending on the reasons for divorce, sometimes women can be even killed instead.

    Why is divorce gaining ground in the West? Mostly because women can now afford to get divorced and get on with their lives. They are no longer dependent on men and being a single mother is no longer a crime. Some women even choose to become single mothers. So these days a woman would rather walk out on a bad husband than stick to a bad marriage for the rest of her life. And good for her!

    Those who say that divorces are bad for kids are right, but only to a point: divorce IS bad for kids, but divorce is much better than a bad and abusive parent, a hostile family environment, endless fights and living with parents who hate each other but have to continue living together.

    I think divorce is not a bad thing per se. It can be both bad and good, just as marriage can be bad or good. A divorce is a good solution to a bad marriage, that's for sure. Many kids from "broken homes" grew up with a step parent and step brothers and sisters in a loving family. Staying in the marriage "for kids' sake" isn't always in kid's best interests. It is better for the child to have both mom and dad at home, no argument there. But if mom and dad fight all the time - that isn't better at all.

    I believe that divorce is a little like abortion: the act in itself is negative, i.e. breaking a family, killing a life, but it’s being pregnant or married when you don’t want to be that really really sucks. The problem isn’t divorce; the problem is bad marriage. Divorce is simply a solution to that problem. Not having this option when you really want it is much worse than getting a divorce.



    *Maldives has the highest divorce rate in the world. Maldives is a Muslim country.
    posted by Bravecat @ 6:34 pm   17 comments
    16 August 2007
    Dreamland



    I had the strangest dream... I dreamed that I was in a hotel room with a man. I don't know who he was, or why we were there. I know he was in bed while I was taking a shower. When I walked out I realised that the room got filled with light blue water, and there were fish in the water... tiny dolphins and whales... and stars, and shells... The water was knee deep. The man didn't say a word, he was asleep on the bed which looked like a white island in this little blue sea, and the whole room was filled with sunlight coming through the windows. Fish were playing around my feet, and I just stood there in absolute awe at the beauty of it all...
    posted by Bravecat @ 9:05 am   5 comments
    15 August 2007
    Counting days
    Since I left Doha the government of the beautiful state of Qatar decided it is no longer necessary to have a day off for my birthday celebrations, and moved the said day off to December 18th instead. Probably to let the people do their Xmas shopping.

    I am somewhat flattered.

    ;-)


    posted by Bravecat @ 12:12 pm   1 comments
    Coming and going
    A year ago today. Am I walking in circles? Or perhaps it is the usual case of being extra moody before my birthday?

    Speaking of which, this time all I want is flowers.



    Make them bright.


    posted by Bravecat @ 9:29 am   4 comments
    12 August 2007
    Colours of silence...

    posted by Bravecat @ 10:02 pm   7 comments
    I hate tennis!
    I wake up, and first thing I do - I run to my laptop and open tennis news to catch up on what happened overnight. And what do I see?? Djokovic smothered Rafa and will meet Federer in the finals, and Sharapova withdrew with leg injury 20 minutes before her semifinal! I mean, WTF?? Who in the world withdraws 20 minutes before the semifinal? What, was she walking downstairs to the courts and slipped on the staircase? Did her racket bag land on her foot and broke her toe? Did she get stuck in the elevator and use her leg to break open the door??

    And I won't even go into Rafa-Djokovic game.



    From now on I'm watching snooker.
    posted by Bravecat @ 7:59 am   5 comments
    6 August 2007
    Wanna make God laugh? Then plan something.
    Why is it that whenever I plan something it never works out? Honestly, someone in charge of my destiny and fortune seems to get his kicks out of ruining my plans! I am not an overly superstitious person, but lately I start to believe that telling someone about something I plan to do is a guarantee that it will never happen. Note to self: if I don't want something to happen, I should plan it and share the word!

    I had so many plans for this summer, for example. I wanted to do so many different things. None of them included remotely anything I found myself doing! My plans did not have a temporary job that sucked all my energy out of me, my plans did not make any provisions for whoever-is-in-charge-of-visas to delay my residency so much that when I finally got it, I couldn't believe it was real. I wanted to go to Qatar and I said I would but I couldn't because I had no visa and now there is no point in going - I'm too late. All I had to do was actually make a rough estimate of when I could expect my residency and tell it to a couple of people - and sure enough, it took 3 times as long as I thought it would! I planned to watch tennis finals last night and promised my mom to text her the scores, but for the first time in my adult life I couldn't stay up late even though I didn't have to wake up next morning. I stayed for about 15 minutes and went to bed. Missed two great games, but at least both players I root for got their titles. Mom texted me the results in the morning instead.

    It gets ridiculous at times. Only yesterday I was telling SA about this silly Du ad on the radio where a bunch of guys sing about missing greasy fish and chips to the music of the British national anthem. SA never heard it so I said we'll listen to the station today on the way to the gym and I'll point it out when it plays. Simple, right? Wrong. Reading the newspaper today, I find out that the ad was taken off the air as of today. They said it's offensive. I don't think it actually offended many Brits (except the one that complained, apparently) but definitely if a British Telecom company used any Arab country anthem and wrote lyrics for it about camels, dates, tents and deserts hoping that the said country's citizen would immediately feel longing for his homeland and make an international call - not many Arabs would be happy. So anyways they took it off the air and my point is that it happened as soon as I planned to point it out to someone! Not a day earlier, not a day later.

    Driving to the supermarket today I decide to be considerate and even though there aren't any cars behind me I indicate that I am going to turn right. As luck would have it, as soon as I indicate I realise that it's the wrong turn I'm trying to make and swerve out. Angry honking behind me (well deserved! I am sorry!) and I speed up, thoroughly embarrassed, only to miss the correct turn hundred metres on. All that because I decided to share my plan of turning with the guy who appeared out of nowhere behind me! Ugh.

    It really gets on my nerves! I should either learn to survive without plans, or at least try and keep them secret.



    Afterthought: someone in Du is going to get his bottom spanked. I wish they took off that dreadful ad about Du mobile payments instead, though.
    posted by Bravecat @ 2:07 pm   9 comments
    2 August 2007
    Birthday list
    Yes it is the time of the year when I usually post a list of gifts I'd LOVE to get for my birthday!

    Those who frequent my blog (all three of you) will know that I dream big, lol. I usually post a list of gifts I would like to receive on my birthday, Xmas and so on. Well, my birthday is a month away, so here comes:

    Embarrassingly, this year's most wanted gift is this device. Anybody knows where I can get me one of these?? Quote from the website: "Samsung has been awarded a patent on a method of sending an SMS to a handset then being able to later send a "delete" command to the same phone to erase the SMS from the handset memory."

    I can't think of anything else I want for my birthday. And frankly, I can't think of anything much at all! Hangover headache, rather aggravated after seeing the contents of my Sent messages folder.

    Peace!

    =^..^=
    posted by Bravecat @ 3:52 pm   8 comments
    1 August 2007
    Is it just me?
    Has anyone seen this ad? Du mobile payments? Is it just me who thinks it is horrible? I mean, how is Du mobile payments facility going to help that little girl in the middle of the war zone? The music is nice, the scenes are beautiful, but what in the world? Du freaking mobile payments???

    posted by Bravecat @ 4:14 pm   2 comments
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