Sunday, 24 June 2012

Day 90 in Dubai

Right, I have run out of excuses to not fill in a bit more of the blog - the broadband is connected, we have figured out how to watch UK television via a VPN and Apple TV, the house is (relatively) tidy, so now I will try to update you all on some of our news.

Kids first: All has been going well. Charlotte had a sleepover with Ava from Canada at her house out in the desert.  She really enjoyed herself and they were allowed to stay up watching The Simpsons until 3am! That's what you get if you mix with North American's I guess.... Not exactly what we would have allowed, but hey ho.  She was actually pretty good the next day, no tired tantrums, so we can't complain.

Lucy has been loving Nursery and had Graduation last week! As you can see from the picture she was all dressed up and they all had to memorise 15 songs!  She didn't quite manage them all, but had a good crack at them. I personally think it was about 14 songs too many, but she seemed to enjoy it.  She has a new best friend on our little villa compound, a young English girl called Bella who is also starting at DESS school in September, so that will be nice for her.  They regularly meet at the swimming pool, have playtime and share dinner.

Olsey has been busy playing football at school, learning to dive in the swimming pool and reading every night until you forceably take the books away from him!  He's really got into his reading and maths at the moment, so we are trying to keep that enthusiasm going.  Last night Charlotte and Olsey learnt to back flip into the pool.  We tried teaching them a forward pike too, but that wasn't happening.

Olsey and Charlotte have been having regular climbing lessons at the local climbing wall and making really good progress.  Charlotte has developed the most, going from being scared at 3 metres, to pushing straight up to 12 metres without blinking an eye!  Really impressive stuff.  Olsey was never nervous at all, and got to the top of the wall, 15 metres, on his second session, managing to get past the overhang which is not easy.  They are both pushing themselves with every lesson and trying harder routes, but alas their great climbing instructor, Jack Snowdon (very apt name, sp), has left the climbing wall as his employer didn't pay him!  He's a really great guy, and very experienced, so hopefully he can find another wall to work at and we can follow him there.  He has invited them over to his house to try out his wall in his back garden, so I will try to arrange that.

Lucy had one go at the climbing wall - this was as far as she got before refusing to go further!  "Go on, just one more step" - "Nope!" - "we will buy you an ice cream" - "No, I am not doing it!".

My work has been coming on well.  I had one trip to Iraq, and one short hop to Riyadh in Saudi Arabia.  Both went well and business has been great since we came out here which definitely helps.  We have a regional away day this week at the Burj Al Arab (7 star hotel built on a manmade island that looks a bit like a sail) so that should be fun with about 60 of us.

After a few weeks of getting cabs to and from work each day, only a short trip, and very inexpensive, I had had enough of dodgy drivers, smelly taxi's and trying to explain how they should get around their town!  So I have taken the plump and bought another Land Rover Defender.  This time I went for a big one (110) with a nice big 3.9 v8. It's all set for off road adventures, a shame not to use it properly, so Charlotte, Olsey and I set off at 5.30am last Friday to hit the desert!  We spend a few hours driving round with a few other cars (safety in numbers) and had a great time.  We saw loads of wild camels, a lone donkey, a few goats and lots of sand.  Lots and lots of sand.  The car was faultless and pulled us through everything when a few others got stuck.  Hopefully we can use it for a bit of camping in the winter and to explore the GCC.  I might take the stickers off the door though - agreed?  Answers to please.

And this is from our first venture out in the Expedition a few weeks back, going through a wadi which we then had a swim in!

At the weekends we try to do one or two fun things for the kids as well as getting a few of our bits done.  A couple of weeks ago we hit Kidzania.  It's like a small town of miniture things where kids can play at doing 80 odd different jobs, like working at the Coca Cola bottling plant, airline pilot, fireman, policeman, beautician, artist, racing driving, etc, etc, etc.  They start off with a cheque which they have to cash, then they use the Kadzania money to pay for some stuff, but they can earn more by doing the jobs.  They all loved it, and below are a selection of shots from the day.  They all worked in Pizza Express at lunch time and cooked their own pizza before eating it!

The weather is heating up, but that doesn't stop us popping to the beach for 30 mins at 7am for a roller skate:

And now the important bit, we have an alcohol licence!  We ordered some grog online, the car comes to your house, reverses up to your garage, and brings it in looking like this:  Anyone would think you were buying class A drugs! (there are no class A drugs in these bags).

Needless to say we are missing you all.  Rach is looking forward to seeing you all in the summer, while I will be stuck here on my own...  visitors welcome!

I will update again soon, but by for now!