Archive for March, 2010

I am having the most horrible week!

Posted in abu dhabi, Cars, Confusion, Nissan Tiida, Police, Settling in, Work, Work week with tags , , , , , , , on March 30, 2010 by Amanda

Until this evening I thought I wasn’t having a good week at all and this evening I’ve realized that it has been absolutely horrible! There have been a lot of changes this week at work and things have been stressful and confusing. I guess I’ve also been feeling a little homesick and in need of a vacation. I have on coming up on April 24 but I’m really wishing I’d scheduled it earlier. I really thought I’d feel more settled in here six months after being here than I do.

What made this evening so bad was finding a big dent in my car and having to deal with all the police station stuff. I started by going to the closest police station but was told to call Saeed (the traffic police) and have them come. I then had that police officer, whose English was almost non-existent, slowly fill out a form. I surprisingly didn’t cry (but I think I’m at the point of being too worn out to cry which means I am actually feeling worse than when I do cry) but I must not have been looking so okay as an native English-speaking man approached me while I was still talking to the police officer and asked me if I was okay. When I thought I was done with all the police stuff I was told to take the paper I’d been given and go to an police station and when I first got there I was told I needed to go to another but thankfully someone else directed me to a police officer who went a took a photograph of the car. The police officers here were very friendly and spoke decent English and one was surprisingly knowledgeable about Canada but they didn’t think I should be feeling upset or confused! Anyway, after that I called my insurance company and was told to scan or fax the documents to them. Of course, my scanner was not cooperating at first; but, eventually I got everything scanned and sent. So, I need to wait and see where I have to take the car. I was planning to go away for the weekend as I really need a change of scenery but I’m not sure what will be happening with the car.

The Grand Mosque

Posted in Abaya, abu dhabi, Grand Mosque with tags , , on March 27, 2010 by Amanda

So, I finally got around to actually going to see the Grand Mosque up close this morning. I have been meaning to go see it for months as it is clearly the most well-known of the quite limited number of real tourist attractions in this city but yet I just hadn’t gotten around to actually visiting. I see it from afar all the time. It looks so huge as you’re driving over the bridges on to the island.

Outside the Grand Mosque.

While not small, the mosque was smaller than I had expected. It was beautiful but as I had seen so many pictures before it really didn’t impress me a much as I thought it would. Still, I do think it was worth the visit and I’m glad I went fairly early in the morning as there were literally busloads of people arriving there as I was leaving. I took a bunch of pictures but I’ll just put a few on here:

To be appropropriately covered I had to wear an abaya and a headscarf. Wearing the abaya wasn’t so bad butthe headscarf was such a pain to try to keep on my head (especially since it was pretty windy) and as you can see below I didn’t do such a great job of keeping the thing on my head!

Me at the Grand Mosque.


Posted in abu dhabi, Kayaking, Mangroves with tags , , on March 27, 2010 by Amanda

I went kayaking for the first time ever yesterday (through the mangroves here) and must say I much prefer it to canoeing though I did get much wetter than I had expected and some salty walter came into my mouth. The kayaks felt really stable and I think it would really take some effort to fall out of one.

Apparently just a few years ago there was much more wildlife here. However, I did see some really huge crabs, some tiny fish and some flamingoes (from a distance).

In the picture you’ll clearly see that I was wearing gloves. We were told beforehand that this was a good idea because it would prevent blisters. Others did not follow this advice so I felt a bit silly wearing them but I am blister-free today!

A visit to the post office

Posted in abu dhabi, Cadbury Easter creme eggs, Chocolate, Mail, Post office with tags , , , , on March 23, 2010 by Amanda

I decided to be ambitious tonight and actually send my sister the t-shirt I bought for her in Thailand. I have been meaning to send to her for a while now. She had just requested Cadbury mini eggs and I actually already had a bag in my apartment (I’m really not doing so great at staying away from chocolate but that’s another story!) so I thought I better send them before I eat them and have to buy another bag. Although I have a feeling I’ll probably buy another bag for myself later, I figure my second six-pack of Easter creme eggs and a good size Reese’s Peanut Butter cup eggs is more than enough for me right now!

As the enormous post office just down the street from me still hasn’t opened, I decided to head for the one at the airport as it is the next closest and although parking costs something (it’s not bad if you’re only paying for an hour) it is very plentiful. The two things I was sending didn’t take much room and I didn’t have any really small boxes, so I just took the things to the post office figuring they would sell small boxes or at least strong envelopes. But they don’t sell things like that, apparently. However, the men there were really nice and used a bigger box to create a small box for me for free. The box looks a bit strange and has an enormous amount of tape holding it together but I’m sure it is strong enough for its journey to Korea. It didn’t seem like they’d heard of Korea before but I guess it probably isn’ the most common place to send packages but the one man showed me “Korea, South” on the screen so I’m sure it will get there. I’m glad they didn’t have any other customers as this all took a while and I sure wouldn’t have wanted to be waiting behind me! I have definitely learned a lesson: don’t take anything to the post office without having it in a box or an envelope!

Car post #? + an exciting find!

Posted in abu dhabi, Availability of products, Cadbury Easter creme eggs, Car Servicing, Confusion, Nissan Tiida, Shopping with tags , , , , , , on March 20, 2010 by Amanda

Yes, I have yet another car story to tell. Basically, it is unbelievable how different taking your car in for service here is from home. Firstly, it is apparently normal (and very important) here to have to take you car in for service once you’ve reached just 1,000 kilometres. So, I was obedient and took my car in this morning as it has just passed the 1,000 kilometre mark. I had to bring it in for 8am and there were a lot of people doing the same. You have to park your car in the parking lot and then one of the 20(!) or so service advisors comes out to look at your car’s mileage and such. I was told the car would be ready by 4pm and was driven back to my place. At home, you have your car back in an hour or so and thus, there is no need to go back home.

Around 10am I decided to have a nap and was woken up by a phone call at around 11 and told that my car was ready. If they’d told me it would only take three hours, I would have just taken a book and read in the dealership’s coffee shop! So, I went back there and this time the place was much quieter. There were only a few customers and most of the staff were just sitting there. The guy behind the Renault counter looked like he would actually fall asleep at any moment! Anyway, I was told when to go to the cashier (even though I didn’t have pay anything) and I was given a piece of paper called a “gate pass” and then had to wait a while for a guy to bring my car to the door. I have no idea what way meant by “gate pass.”
All in all, the whole experience left me feeling very confused but the good news is that I don’t have to go back there for a while!

On the way back I stopped to go grocery shopping and I finally found Cadbury Easter creme eggs! They weren’t even expensive and the British ones are the same in appearance and taste as the ones in Canada (which isn’t a given; I find American V-8 tastes a bit different than Canadian V-8). I only bought a package of six as my self-control has been pretty much non-existent and my weight is currently on the high side! You can buy almost anything here but it is often a rather frustrating scavenger hunt because it is really unpredictable where something will be sold. For example, you can find something for weeks at one place and then suddenly never see it there again! However, it can be incredibly exciting to find something you’d given up on ever finding!