Monday, July 12, 2010

Lont time no post cont'd

Monday and Tuesday once again came as blurs as it was work followed by the gym followed by some food and the house. Wednesday was once again my savior night of the week as it was the day to play some footy. We had two more games in which we won both again which put us in first place at the end of the first session. Not bad I don’t think. However, it was once again really, really hot out and the breeze didn’t help any as it was blowing around already hot air.

Thursday was a pretty fun night as I went to the gym and then caught a taxi to meet Joe and his aunt at the Reem Al mawadi restaurant. It was an authentic Lebanese place with vines and everything, man was this place sweet. It also was a place where a lot of the celebrities go to get some authentic food when they come to Dubai. It even served Nelly, which I thought was pretty cool considering the restaurant was off the main drag. The food was delicious and so was the company and the service as per the usual over here is excellent. After dinner, we took his aunts back to their apartment and decided to head back to the house, after all it was around 1 am and Friday was our fun day.
Friday was again a nice lay out and relax day. We then took our butts over to the mall to look for some jeans and ties for the wedding we are scheduled to go to in august. Also we had to get his uncle a gift because they were having everyone over to the house for dinner and this is the first time they have had anyone over since moving into the place in May. So we walked around for awhile and then decided to go get some drinks and play some backgammon in Downtown Dubai. We hung out there for awhile and then headed to dinner at his Uncle’s place. Dinner was fantastic and as usual it was a gigantic meal. First came the main dishes of lamb and rice, kidbe, chicken and pasta and some fatoush with hummus and bread. Then we all left the table the maids cleared it off and it was back to the table again for some deserts and fruits. By this time I was completely stuffed to the brim and then they offered coffee and tea with some biscuits and baked goods. I don’t think I have ever eaten so much but it was all so good I couldn’t resist. We headed back to the other mall to try and continue looking for some jeans and stuff but to no avail couldn’t find anything in the right size nor in the right price range….A pair of Levi’s cost almost $120. So we decided to pack up and head back to the house.

Yesterday was a nice relaxing day at work, not too much happened and at the end of the day I got offered a job when I finish college to come over here and work. Not sure how I feel about that but I will for sure take it into consideration. We hit the gym after work and then headed over to the lighthouse for some food before the big consolation game last night. The chicken was once again spectacular and the game last night was everything I was hoping for with a lot of goals and a good core of entertainment.

Today has been well busy and hectic and tonight I have practice once again. We are getting filmed again but for this time I have no idea. Last time it was for a world cup infomercial or something but I don’t really know the details. Anyway for now… good bye from Dubai.

More long time no post

Joe’s birthday dinner took place at a restaurant called Marooj Rotana. This place is for the lifestyles of the rich and the famous. I felt completely out of place because not only was the place way to ritzy for me but it was also a Lebanese place complete with a belly dancer and Arabic music. However, it was one of the best experiences of my life. When we sat down at the table, it was already covered in food. The first course was all dips and salad sort of things and man was it all delicious. There were vegetables, hummus, potatoes and much more. I had to make sure I watched myself so I could save some room for later. The second course was cheese, breads and some seafood. The calamari was absolutely amazing, not to mention the cheese. If you don’t know me very well, I LOVE cheese and I was almost done in for the night after that. The third course was all the chicken and lamb and other meats, by this point I was loosening up the buttons a little bit. Fourth course was an entire platter of fresh fruit and when I mean fresh it was practically cut right in front of us. Finally, we had desert which was a cake for Joe’s birthday and I don’t think I have to explain how delicious it was.

Meanwhile, the entire time we were there which was a period of almost three and a half hours, my glass was never empty and the food was always good. Not to mention there was a belly dancer for a good hour then a singer and man did the place start rocking when he came on. There was dancing and singing, clapping and swaying, pretty much all the ingredients for a great night. Although the cost was around 1,000 AED which translated into roughly $360.00, it wasn’t too bad. So if you are ever in Dubai and are looking for an experience, head on over it’s only a block away from the world’s tallest tower.

Saturday night was the big game between Ghana and the United States in the sweet 16 of the World Cup. I suggested to Joe that we head down the Barasti Beach stadium to watch it and he obliged so we were on our way. We had to make sure and get there early in order to guarantee us a seat and a table and when we got there, we were one of the last ones to get a free table. My friend Eddy from our summer team met us there and immediately the American flags started flowing. We met a bunch of other Americans and exchanged some high fives and beers and waited for the game to start. Not to mention we also were dealing with drunken Scottish women who wouldn’t leave us alone. That is a story in itself. Anyway, the game started and the vuvuzela’s were going crazy and then Ghana scored and I was about ready to kill someone. When Donovan scored the equalizer I ran around as much as I could much to the dismay of the Ghana fans. However, at the end of the night I was left heartbroken by our side’s honorable defeat. I couldn’t fault them for playing hard and I did get some encouraging words from the Ghana faithful not to mention a couple kisses from the girls, but it still wasn’t enough to comfort a broken World Cup dream so I went to bed.

This week has been a bit of an up and down because Joe is trying to fight off the flu so we have been kind of quiet and kept in to try and recover. I went out by myself on Tuesday for the first time and thankfully I didn’t get lost. I only went out to the gym for a workout and some small sided soccer then I went to the grocery store because we needed to pick up a few things. Last night held the usual Wednesday night summer league and we had the usual two games. We won the first one 3-2 even though we were playing a man down the whole time and we won the second one 2-0. I am not sure what tonight holds but tomorrow is our day off and I am thinking I might try and head over to the beach to get some sun and go float in the ocean for awhile. Who knows? So for know “Sabah al Kher” (goodnight) from Dubai.

I am skipping now to July 4th. Friday and Saturday were filled with the usual sleep in on Friday followed by a day laying out and working out with some good dinner and the World Cup at night. Yesterday was same old, same old with work and then the Lighthouse for some food and the World Cup… Today however was the day we celebrate our Nation’s Independence. Although it is kind of hard to celebrate in a country where America the Beautiful doesn’t go over to well. Anyway, we spent all day at work trying to find a celebration at an embassy or an American bar or something and we came up with nothing since all of the celebrations were on Friday. So we had to settle and make our own plans. We decided that we would first head to the beach and play some good old American football. Although we didn’t play it was the next best thing we could think of that was American next to playing catch with a mitt and a baseball which we had none of. So I went for a run and Joe enjoyed the night and when I got done we decided to talk a walk down the beach front walk to Bob’s Diner. It was designed to look like a 50’s diner which was impressive considering it was in a desert and boy did this place impress. It had the music the seating and all the interior decorating to make you feel like you took a seat back in the 50’s. We thought this was as close as we are going to get to some old fashioned American food that we might as well give it a shot. First on the menu were the milkshakes. I had to have a chocolate milkshake and so did Joe and man did they taste amazing. Then we had to order some burgers and these burgers were massive. Joe couldn’t even finish mine and as I was finishing mine, I yelled “this is for America”. I thought it was fitting. Then we decided that we ate way to much so we headed back for the house to indulge in a Budweiser and the most American movie on television…. Hoosiers.

Long time no post

Ok So I haven’t wrote in my blog for a little over two weeks so this will take some catching up to do.

I am not going to write about work over the past two weeks because that would just bore anyone who reads this out of their minds so I will talk about some of the experiences and places I saw.

On the 20th of June I had another Sunday night soccer practice at the same field I had mentioned before except tonight was a heck of a lot cooler than it was last time. Tonight there was a market/festival thing going on right beside the field, and when I say right beside the field I mean it literally. There were tents and everything set up and the people were selling everything from toys to clothes to cameras and cell phones. It was your typical slum market in Dubai but it was different because it was right beside the field where we were practicing. So not only could I smell food the entire night, I was also in amazement at all the people who just sat around and watched us practice and scrimmage. This was no high profile game no world cup by any means and yet they loved the game. This just truly exemplifies that soccer is indeed the world’s sport.

The week held the usual dinners and world cup games. We left work early on 23rd to watch the US play. We got to the restaurant and it was filled with Algeria fans…just my luck. However, I calmly kept my mouth shut, and sat there with my USA soccer shirt and dress clothes on. The game seemed like it was going to give me a heart attack and then in the 91’ minute I believe I did. The Algeria fans had been yelling all game and I was waiting for the right moment to burst and when Donovan put that goal in I jumped in the air and shouted and then the place got silent and the only person yelling was me. I didn’t have a care in the world though because that qualified the US into the second round and I was now a happy camper and I didn’t care what happened the rest of the night.

The 24th was Joe’s birthday and we were planning a dinner but that got moved to Friday so we had to make a little change of plans. We went out and got some grub with his uncle and his aunts and had a good time. Then I and Joe went out to the Mai Tai bar on the beach for some beers and the world cup. It wasn’t bad actually the place was pretty packed and the beer was relatively cheap, in Middle East terms. However, we were extremely tired so we didn’t last too long on the night and eventually retreated back to the house for the night. On another note, we brought cake into the office for everyone today. It is a cultural thing that when you are celebrating something you bring the office some sort of desert or sweet. This is the entire office as well, so I and Joe had to go get two nice sized cakes. The cakes were delicious and the office was very appreciative of the thoughtfulness. Just today I received a Cadbury chocolate bar because one of the Customer Service reps downstairs passed his driving exam.

Friday the 25th was probably the best day I have had in Dubai so far. We woke up around 11 had some brunch and then I went over to the gym for a little workout. After a round of lifting and some abs I returned to Joe telling me to get in the shower. At first I’m like ok can I sit down first and he said no that we were heading out. So then I started to ask him questions and then he turned around and tossed me three toboggans and said pick one or you’re going to be cold. After that moment I knew we were heading for an adventure down the indoor mountain. We got there changed got our skis and headed into the icy cold temperatures in the middle of the desert and I have seen this place on TV but it actually felt like you were out in the mountains of West Virginia after a fresh snow. I had a heck of a time after my first run. I am not going to talk about my first run because it wasn’t pretty. Let’s just say I cleaned out the cobwebs more than once on that first run. For two hours I forgot I was in the middle of the desert and felt a little bit closer to home. That was until I saw the Arabic writing on the slow down signs ha-ha. It was a great start to the day and the perfect warm up, or should I say cool down, for the festivities that would ensue.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

And some more updates...


Today was also quite busy as we had some meetings and stuff to do. The new warehouse is coming in a little behind schedule but it is starting to look really good. I haven’t gone up to the new offices in a week or two so I can’t really report on them. However, my desk is looking a little better as I am adding some pictures and stuff to my wall so it’s not completely desolate and depressing. Although the walls are still blank.

Tonight held in store haircuts and a good workout session for me and Joe. We went over to the gym for our usual game of ping pong. I am starting to get quite good I might add. I even have my own paddle (watch out). Then we went out for a good haircut. As I said before, the haircuts here are awesome. They wash your hair, cut it, wash it again, then gel it…if your getting a shave its even better. However my ability to control facial hair is the same as a 12 year old boy so I am pretty much screwed. After that we went out to a bar on the beach to enjoy the night and grab some food. It was a good atmosphere as there were loads of people, the world cup and good music. Then we hit the sack for our road trip to Oman on Friday.


Today was our road trip to Oman. I needed to go to Oman to renew my visa. Otherwise we were going to have to pay a good amount of money that neither one of us really have the money to pay for. The day started off early, I mean early in the sense that today was our day off, but we woke up and got ready to leave the house around 10. We picked up Waleed and headed for Oman. I will compare driving to Oman like driving thorough southeastern Ohio mixed with the Appalachians….only think a lot of sand. There was a stretch of nothing but sand dunes followed by a stretch of nothing but mountains. It was absolutely amazing to see. I mean I’m not used to seeing this type of landscape and it was truly one to experience. I took along my sunflower seeds, some crackers and a red bull and we hit the Oman boarder. I really didn’t get to see much in Oman as the nearest town with anything in it is another hour away so we turned around and came back. That night was the USA game so we needed to find a place to watch it. What better place to watch it then right in our own backyard. So we stayed at the house and watched the US play. We contemplated going out to a club but then realized we were way to tired to do much of anything so Joe hit the sack and I chilled back and watched the England game.


Yesterday, I got in a way another day off as I had to stay at the house to wait for the Air Conditioning guys to come. This is becoming a regular Saturday habit for me the past two weeks. I watched a movie or two, when the AC guys came I thought ok, cool I can now go to work but then I realized they didn’t fix anything so I had to call them back. So that took another three hours so I went and swam for a bit and laid out, then they came and tried to fix it, then left and came back and finally they fixed it. A major relief for me and Joe as we finally had a cool room. We relaxed and watched a movie when he got back and then headed to the gym. We had a good workout, took some showers and then headed out to our place of choice in the Lighthouse. We had some good food and relaxation before heading back to the house to watch some more soccer and end the weekend.

Still updating...


Today held in store another surprise. Joe received a call around 9:15AM telling him he had won 5 VIP passes to last night’s festivities at the Barasti Beach Stadium. So in literally one week we had won two radio competitions. We started jumping up and down in the office and it really lightened the mood to what at the point had been a pretty rough morning. Yesterday we got to put in some shipments and update the trackers and stuff and I had to continue to put together some ideas for the brochure. We also had a couple of meetings that seemed to take up a large portion of the day as well. We also walked through the new warehouse to check and see how the construction there is going and by what I can tell (not a construction worker), it’s looking pretty good.

So last night Me, Joseph, and Eddy went to Barasti to sit in the VIP lounge. Eddy is a soccer player from Canada who is on my summer league team. This lounge had really sick bean bag chairs a little bar and carpet and lighting and the whole bit. Not only that but it over looked the general area and the two bars in the dome so we had the best seats in the house. We got ten free drinks and a platter of food, which by the way was pretty darn good. We watched the entire game of Italy vs. Paraguay and then called it a night. I have to say I could get used to this whole VIP thing, if only I could ever really afford it lol.


It’s pretty much beginning to be the same old, same old around here with work and all. The wake-up alarm in the morning is getting harder and harder to get up to. I blame that mostly on the world cup because the late night games are starting to take their toll on me. Work was, well it was work today and we have been real busy with shipments and receipts of goods over the past week. Still work for me continues to drag on during the day. We still haven’t gotten anything for the office so it’s kind of bland with all white walls and stuff. Tonight was pretty relaxed night. I and Joe went to the gym to get our ping pong on, and then I played some soccer in the gym while Joe went and worked out. I would rather play some soccer than lift weights any day. After that we went back out to our usual hangout at the Lighthouse to grab some food and some soccer. Once again we were up till 12:30, but hey its world cup time so we have to deal with it I guess.


It was rather busy today as we were filling out reports and going to meetings. There have been some changes in the procedures around here so we had some meetings today to go over all of them. Still our jobs done really change they just are tweaked ever so slightly in the way we fill out things or who we forward them to. We all went out for lunch today which was pretty good we had some hummus and faroush with some pita bread. Also there was some chicken on top of the hummus which made for some good eating. I am still working on the brochure along with some stuff for Jesuit in the fall. I mix it in every now and then when I have some lay time which has been frequent the past couple days.

Tonight was Wednesday night which meant football. I was excited to play with the world cup and everything going on and it was the final two weeks of this section of the summer season so I was running on energy hoping we could top the league with a couple of victories. That didn’t seem to happen. Our defense got ripped apart tonight and we gave up a lot more than we scored. There wasn’t much I could do about it as there were a lot of breakaways and chances from point blank range that they just fired in. The best I could do was dive and hope I could get a tip on it. Some of them I did…but we still lost. After, I meet Joe and Rami at Freddo’s to get some food and watch France get beat by Mexico. I had a good laugh at France loosing. I guess karma is coming back to bite them in the butt.

Still updating


Now obviously after a night like we had, the next morning usually doesn’t feel too good. To my disbelief, I woke up around 9:00AM and if I had one wish it would have been some eggs and pancakes but you have to struggle to find those over here and I really didn’t feel like driving. I got some chocolate milk and I laid back down. Around noon I went out by the pool to try and make my pasty white self a little darker on the skin tone and that worked for awhile till I realized it was around 105 degrees so I jumped in the pool and then went back inside before I had the chance to be a tomato. We headed to the mall because we had to pay a bill or two and then had some food and headed back to Barasti for the opening kickoff. Needless to say the place was absolutely crazy and it was packed with South African and Mexico fans. I, really not caring who won decided to cheer for South Africa because they had some good looking girls there and hey it was worth a shot. After that game me and Joe meet up one of the guys we work with and went to a restaurant to get some food and watch the French take on Uruguay and man did that game bore the crap out of me. Anyway, it was all in all a good start to the world cup.


Saturday was actually a pretty boring day for me. I was really just super excited for the US England match that night so I really didn’t pay attention to much of anything that happened that day. I know we went to lift after work and I ended up playing some more soccer in the gym with a group of guys for about an hour and then we headed back to the apartment. We watched the game and it was a game of ups and downs for those of you who watched it you know what I’m talking about. We showed some flashes of brilliance, but only managed a draw thanks to an awful mistake by the England keeper. After the game I was completely dead so I hit the hay.


It was a rather boring day at work, keeping in mind it is the Arabic version of a Monday, so it is supposed to be busy. We only had one or two trucks going in and out today so it was just another day to work on some catch up stuff. I got to talk to the family today during my work hours so that was good. Caught up on the stuff that was happening back in OHIO, and that was like maybe two or three new things. Haha just kidding, but seriously. Over the past week there have been many changes that have taken place in the company so it was a very hectic week and I hope this week starts a slide toward normalcy again.

The highlight of Sunday was my soccer practice actually. It really was a special night. We are driving to the compound to have practice and when we are approaching I realized our compound was in the middle of a labor camp. Now in the Middle east labor camps are all to common and to me are all to disturbing but tonight was a special night. I walked onto the field and the lights were still warming up so they had yet to come on and while I was putting on my boots and socks the lights clicked on so I looked around at the field and thought alright lets play some football. However, within about 5-10 minutes there were literally around 500 Pakistanis, Indians, and phillipinos who crowded around the field. Here I am thinking it is just practice, which it was but to them it was a beautiful game. They have no T.V’s, no radios. Most of them live in a room with as many as ten other people but for tonight they were all fans of the most beautiful game, and they made sure to let us know exactly how they felt. They were cheering, clapping, laughing and watching us play soccer. The most amazing thing was right in the middle the prayers started coming out of the mosques and so it was like the true Middle Eastern experience of hearing the Muslim prayers broadcasted throughout the entire neighborhood and playing soccer at the same time. For what was only an hour, this practice seemed to last an entire night and man was it awesome.

Updating from a long time...


Not really much happened today at the office. We did move into our new offices which was a nice change of pace, yet the offices are still bare. We really have to do something about them because I’m not sure if I can stare at blank wall for two more months I might go clinically insane. We got stuck with another task at work to coordinate all outbound shipments and have a daily update tracker on where everything is going, where it is at, and approximately when it will be there, while having all the details about the shipment up to date and available. In crude lamen terms that means it’s a heck of a lot of work and if something isn’t updated in the system well then it’s a major pain. To this day it hasn’t gone smoothly for one complete day but there is still hope. After work we headed out to the gym to get a little workout in. I also got to play a little bit of soccer in the gym with a group of guys who were playing pick up so I had a pretty good time.


I received my first official task of my own I guess you could say and it is something I have never done before so it should be fun. I was put in charge of designing and constructing a business brochure for the company complete with information, photos and the other things that go into a brochure. So I had to get on the internet and take a crash course in the language and structure behind marketing and advertising, something I know nothing about. However, I thought it was a very educational day as I spent all 8 hours looking over other companies brochures gathering ideas and mapping out a couple of things. The day wore on as usual and I couldn’t wait to play some soccer that night.
The time came to pack up and head out for the night and I was ready to play some football however the weather was not. It was absolutely dreadful outside with the temperature hovering around the low 90’s and the humidity as bad as it could be. I mean our first game was at 8:45 and I was still sweating putting my boots on. After the first game my shirt was so completely soaked that it looked like I had just taken a bath in it. We won the first game and lost the second one to a pretty darn good team. We did just enough to remain in the Top group of the league as this last section was an elimination section where two groups fall down a league.


Today was all about waiting for the night. As I previously stated in my blog I won two tickets to a grand opening VIP party and we couldn’t wait to go. Free drinks, food, prizes and more awaited us at the brand new Barasti Beach stadium at 8:00PM. The only problem was it was at 8PM and we had to go through a full day of work. So we worked, and as our luck would have it the day was busier than a wal-mart on black Friday. We were back and forth and up and down and I was trying to get a draft finished for the brochure, Joe was trying to finish reports and take report tests and man was it a mess. I did finish my draft of the brochure around the afternoon and from then on it was ok but the first half of the day did more than make up for it. We left the office around 6 to get home shower and get ready. Before the party we hit up the mall to get some USA shirts so that we could show our pride against what were mostly England fans.
We got to the party and man was that stadium awesome. It holds around 1,200 people and is air conditioned. Also it houses two bars and a 13.5 meter screen with HD capabilities. Immediately I knew where I would be watching the entire world cup. We walked in and there were Carlsberg cheerleaders and enough beer to make a small country drunk and then the music started and so did the party. We were there till around 1030 when it opened to the public and then the place just got too packed for our liking so we left. I did however, get some free stuff and I took third place in a dance competition so all in all it was a good night.