Cracker in a Hand Basket, Part Deux

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June 20th 2012
Published: June 20th 2012
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It seems like most of the restaurants around here deliver and they all have little bikes like this. Perfect! This is from the Daiy restaurant nearby which I am a little afraid to try...
Ok, this one is going to be a doozy. What a very hectic last couple of days! I even took notes today to keep everything straight! Unfortunately for you, it's almost all regarding work - haha!

Towards the end of work yesterday, Samar wanted me to come with her across the street to grab a drink (drink = soda). But she warned me that the place is very scary and that I "Will be shocked!". It was a little scary - we crossed the street in the industrial are and go through this gate in the wall, where it smells like a men's bathroom (one of my favorite analogies, huh Tim?), then into this little... I guess you could call it a shop. It seems to be primarily for the particular company there, but they had large coolders with drinks in them. We each got a can of soda for 3AED (about $0.85) while the two men in there just STARED at us. It was creepy and I definitely would not want to come alone, but Samar says it is the only place around. Since we have 200 people at our office, maybe Fugro should invest in cold drinks...? I
One of my favoritesOne of my favoritesOne of my favorites

There are two identical buildings side by side and they make me think that a sleeping giant is going to open his eyes with big eyelashes and start talking - every see Labyrinth?
have no idea how they found this place to begin with...

Last night, I stopped by the Golden Fork and got the spicy chicken curry again. They gave me even more so it is now my dinner for both nights and at 17AED that's less than $5 for two dinners! And it's yummy.

Ivan and I had lunch together yesterday; his wife had made a delicious chinese chicken thing. They are indian, but he says she is not as good at indian food as chinese. Today, she had made for him some kind of radish casserole-curry thing. I have no idea what it was, but it was pretty tasty and subtly spicy. I'm not usually big on radishes, but I liked it. He, on the other hand, looked very sad; he does not like it! Zenah brought in what basically amounted to collard greens with chicken over rice. She asked if I'd ever had the vegetable before and I said "Oh yes! They're my mom's favorite except we make with ham." However, I noticed it was kind of slimy, like (not to be gross) spit texture (like boiled okra), but I just assumed it was the way it
Dubai BuildingsDubai BuildingsDubai Buildings

I lovve how each building here is unique
was cooked. It was still quite good. We looked it up after work and it is not collard greens, but it tastes exactly like them and must be the alternate version of them, even though they are two different plants. Hers is made over here in the Middle East, Turkey and Egypt areas, called "mnokheyeh" - which I have no idea how to say or spell so I made her email it to me - it is called corchorus in English, but I've never heard of it. The slimy consistency is typical of the plant. Collard greens (and turnip and mustard greens) are a staple of the South and southeast asia. I should have taken a picture... Sigh. Next week! But it did make me realize that when I finally FINALLY get my own kitchen, some of the first dishes I make will be southern ones!

There are a lot of things that I have to get used to on a daily basis. One of them is the drilling practice. In California, when I had a drilling project, I wrote the proposal, hired the drill rig, marked up the site, watched the drilling while counting blow counts, logging, and
The Metro at Business BayThe Metro at Business BayThe Metro at Business Bay

where I ride from after work each day
collecting and identifying samples, then assigned lab tests and wrote the report. Here at FME, there is a team that writes the proposals. We have our own drill rigs, so we do not hire anyone - we just send the rigs to the job sites when they're availble. There is a team of drillers who record blow counts, water levels and collect samples. Then there is a team of geologists who review the samples and log them. Finally I come in - and what do I do? I make sure that the project is running smoothly, communicate with the client, review or assign lab tests, and write the report. It is so weird to me to only have that partial responsibility for each project and I have to let myself accept that other people are doing things that I am used to doing myself. Which you know what - that is just fine by me!!! It is just a strange feeling.

Another thing I have to get used to is the language barrier. It is hard for me to understand people sometimes and vice versa. For instance, today I was going over the safety policies with the HSE manager
Shuttle stopShuttle stopShuttle stop

My shuttle pulls off on the shoulder and lets me out. Haha!
and he asked me a question that I answered. He said no, then basically repeated back what I had just said! I think we use different words for many things and of course the accents are difficult. It is also hard for me to remember that even though some people are speaking apparently fluent English, sometimes without even a strong accent, there are some words that are just completely lost upon them. Remember how I mentioned Zenah with the food names? Things like that.

I was given a brand new project this morning from Nidal, who returns to Lebanon tomorrow for a month to be with his family. Between that project and my postponed site visit to the Palm Jumeirah project, I have two site visits tomorrow, so it is going to be a very hectic morning! Plus, we have a lunch scheduled because it is Khaled's last day and we are eating at the lebanese place again - this time I'll let them order for me. Maybe I will just have some of their delicious salad!

It is looking more and more like they would like to send me to Qatar but I have been told that
Moon BuildingMoon BuildingMoon Building

still under construction
it is the last place I want to go. I'm so torn! I want to do some good and work on big projects, but I definitely do not want to be miserable, and that is the impression that I get from this office. I am taking the warnings from people very seriously...

The best part about today was being able to video chat with my mom! Well... almost! I do not have a camera or microphone, so I'll have to get one. But apparently facebook has this capability which works out great since Skype is blocked here. So, probably friday, I will pick up the camera and mike hook it up. So much better since I was unsure how I was going to be able to talk with them. Now I am so happy!!!

Additional photos below
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I kind of like the design
Foggy dayFoggy day
Foggy day

It's hard to see many of the buildings thru the fog

french fries come with EVERYTHING around here and I'm not a french fry fan

I have no idea what the M stands for - chicken in arabic?

20th June 2012

Loved all the pics! keep'em comin'!
21st June 2012

How is the metro?
Hey! I'm going down to Dubai in a week to work there, and I'm gonna take the metro every morning. Is it like really full during rush hour? Can you find a place to sit?
21st June 2012

Thanks to you both for your continual comments. Sharnell - how's the baby? Can't wait to see YOUR pictures! Did you have a shower yet? Jamal - very rarely do i ever get a seat on the metro. There are not very many but the ride is pretty smooth. It can get crowded, but usually you can find a place to stand near a window.

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