Thursday, 23 August 2007

week 3 in Al Ain

What a funny place this is! I'm learning about local time. There've been a few problems with our apartment. There's been a burst water tank (and consequent flood), a tap strategically placed so that we couldn't use the oven and various minor issues. However, as it's a brand new apartment, we can take these things in our stride. Luckily we have contacts to ring and get these kinds of things sorted. The drama in all this though is the constant waiting. The guy to fix the plumbing issues is supposed to turn up at 9am. By 3pm he still isn't here. We ring a few times and are always told that he'll be here in half an hour. He eventually turns up at 11am next day and decides that he can't do much until the guy who fixes the electrics does his thing. The electrian guy turns up 5 hours after the appointed time, does half the job and says he'll be back in the morning. He arrives the following evening and finished the job. Then we have to wait again for the plumber guy and then the guy who's gonna fix the tiling that's been damaged by the electric guy and the plumber. This situation is repeated again and again with each problem that we discover! So we're forever waiting.

Luckily for me, I get to go to work during the day. K is supposed to be working from home, so he gets to do most of the waiting. Of course, K can't actually do much work yet as the net connection which is supposed to be 2mg is less than a quarter of that speed, so the provider is going to pull up the cables which they laid last week and relay them next week. So our net connection is likely to disappear.

Whenever someone turns up to do something at the apartment, there is always one guy to do the job and two who just watch. I haven't quite figured that one out yet. A couple of days ago an Arabic guy turned up with 3 guys who spoke no English. While the Arabic guy was talking to K, I was communicating with one of the non-English guys via sign language. We had a good understanding of what I wanted and what he was going to do. We'd sorted it. The Arabic guy then turned to me and said something quite incomprehensible. I said, 'sorry?' He repeated it. I said 'Sorry, I'm not sure what you mean.' He repeated it looking quite annoyed. I had to tell him that I just didn't understand. He asked me, in a very irritated tone, if I spoke English. I had to laugh.

So far I've learnt about 10 words of Arabic. They enable me to communicate reasonably adequately with most taxi drivers. Most of them seem quite amused at my pronunciation, but that's fine. It's kinda fun and a bit of an ice-breaker.

I daily feel more comfortable here. Tomorrow I'm off to Abu Dhabi to check out the 'bluer than blue ocean' I've heard so much about.


Humairah Irfan said...

Haha.. I had to laugh..
we've been waiting for tiles for my parents' washroom for months now for the same reasons!

Al said...

You need to be more assertive, there is asking nicely and then there is asking nicely. I think half the bottom apartments still smell like a sewer.