Saturday, 19 January 2008

tuscan dreaming

I've got it into my head that I want to go to Tuscany in July. I hadn't given it much thought before today, but suddenly it's a 'must do' despite two huge drawbacks; firstly the net is covered with stories about thieves and pickpockets targeting older travellers (I think that includes me these days!!) especially around stations and areas where tourists hangout in Firenze. The second drawback is that I have it on good authority (Seinfeld episode from about 1997) that it's impossible to find accommodation there. Seinfeld wouldn't mislead me on that or any other issue, I'm sure. So I'm gonna be Tuscan-dreaming for the next few months, or at least for the rest of the day.

The other big issue on my mind is cars; to buy or not to buy? All the arguments are in favour of buying rather than continuing to rent, but I seem unable to take the step. I'm afraid of commitment! I thought that was supposed to be a guy thing!

Some days I decide, 'Yes, I'll do it.' Others days I decide, 'No, not yet.' There are also days when I struggle with 'shall I get car X which is very sensible and gets lots of good reviews, or should I get car Y which is gonna be more fun, but is more expensive and doesn't get such good reviews.' So I can't decide whether to be sensible, a little reckless or just plain indecisive. Indecision is still winning out.

Monday, 14 January 2008

it rained today

Yay! It rained for about 5 mins while I was in Khalifa Street today. Sensational! It was continuous rain, but not all that heavy. Interestingly the water didn't have anywhere to drain and there were huge puddles in the right lanes of the road.

This is where I should have a good picture of Khalifa Street puddles, but I was enjoying the rain too much to even think about getting a pic.

Friday, 11 January 2008

jebel hafeet goes missing

As I look out my lounge window I see grey sky where the mountain used to be. Jebel Hafeet has gone. It is no longer there; finished, kaput, nichts.

One wonders how it could have been moved over night and where it went. Did a conga line of large trucks come and 'disappear it' in the middle of the night? Is it being used for off-shore palm fronds in Dubai? Were aliens involved?

There's an obvious crack waiting to be written here, but in view of the unfortunate naming of a teddy bear in a near-by country, I'd best refrain.

The simple answer to the mystery is desert storms. The air is full of sand effectively screening the mountain from view. I've not seen it quite like this before. The atmosphere is heavy and pregnant with expectation and perhaps anticipation of imminent relief. It seems that rain is needed to lift the heaviness and clear the air. I wonder whether that happens here.

I'm hoping that I can soon report 'It rained today.' In the almost six months that I've been here I think I've seen about six drops of rain - one for every month. Rain would be nice. Funny how much you can miss it!

Wednesday, 2 January 2008


Oscar died in Australia today. He was 11 years old and was taken by a tick. I'm going back to Aus in a few weeks and hadn't realised how much I was looking forward to seeing Os again. He'll be terribly missed.

Os we all loved you dearly. RIP.