in my parking garage
You know, my favorite thing about living here is still the fact that I do something new every week. I'm sure eventually that will slow down, but in the meantime I am really enjoying the experiences that I am having and I hope they continue. So, aside from the usual Mall journey, or soccer practice/games, or Thursday night happy hour, or Friday brunch, I had two new experiences this week that I will share with you. Driving
Sunday, I finally took myself to get a rental car. It just took about an hour of my time. Jamie had told me if I go to Satwa (actually, just outside the Al Karama metro station), there is a whole line of store fronts that specialize in renting cars. They are all cheap - no Hertz or Budget - but this also means they are a bit more flexible. I just picked a random one, Gold Star, walked in and ordered a car for two weeks. The guy was very friendly and it looked like they had a few cars to choose from. I got a 2008 Nissan Tida. It is a smallish car, but I actually like it. What is funny
was that after all the hoops I went through in order to obtain my driving license here, the guy said he needed my American license since mine was less than a year old to get the full insurance. This place is just so strange - you get a completely different answer from every single person you ask a question and there are no set laws that are easy to define. Oh well, it worked out.
The driving itself... I was a little nervous. Dubai loves its roundabouts and one way streets. Oh, and their car horns! You have to be a pretty aggressive driver around here or you just won't make it. I patted myself on the back for making it back to my office on my first try, coming from the opposite direction that I'm used to (keep in mind, in a world of crowded one way streets and roundabouts, this is not easy). I then started to drive myself to work each day, which worked out great as my coworker's wife is in town and he doesn't have to worry about me now. One thing that is kind of fun is the fact that there are pretty
Two days this morning, we've had a heavy fog
much no cops around to police the driving infractions. They just don't care. So, if you are behind a slow car in the industrial area, you can go around him or cut him off on his turn or even drive across dirt pads to avoid crazy traffic. It is interesting to say the least. I'm sure I'll have some driving stories soon, but I can say that I can see how easy it is to get road rage. Arabic Class
I decided this week to just go ahead and take the class. I've been thinking about it for a while, but I do love having my weekends to myself to do nothing. However, I am here to soak up the whole experience, so three hours on saturdays is not that hard and keeps me from being lazy or spending money at the malls. I had to go down Friday morning to finalize my payment (it is about $450 plus a book, which is another $40 - not bad). The class is 3 hours every saturday for 10 weeks. Today, was our first class and our teacher seems pretty nice. There is about 12 people in our group from
all walks of life: Chinese, German, Sri Lankan, English... I feel we actually learned a lot today and I look forward to our homework and practicing with my coworkers and soccer teammates.
We learned greetings, a few small words and the first 8 letters of the alphabet (well, we learned all of them, but our homework is to get very familiar with these first 8 letters). There are three types of Arabic: Classical which is not really used anymore, Modern Standard which is what all people need to be able to understand in the Arabic world, and Colloquial which is broken down by region - people from one area may not be able to understand others in another region. Zenah had told me this before; she says she has the most trouble with people from Moracco. The language is also further broken down into four main regions: The Gulf, Levant (Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, etc), Egypt/Libya, and Northern Africa (Tunisia, Moracco, etc). There are 28 letters in the alphabet, including 3 vowels which can be long or short. Every letter can be written four different ways because the language is written in cursive, from right to left, so you'll have
Where I take my Arabic class
an initial position, stand alone, middle position and final position - they all are written slightly different based on their position but are the same letter. This is what we are to practice this week.
I feel like I will learn a lot from this class and I'm pretty excited about it. I think the center, Eton Institute, is set up pretty well and so far, I recommend it.
Anyway, I am keeping quite busy and I am a bit tired, so until my next blog. Tomorrow, I may start looking for a car to buy; I'll keep you up to date.
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