‘nuther Dubai Update Part II

Friday, July 8th, 2005

Man, have I been busy. Got internet at the flat a couple of days ago. I currently am using the laptop on the bar of the kitchen counter, so you will have to forgive me if I do not post anything of great length.

I decided to go ahead and break down and buy some stuff so the place will be more livable when Guli gets here. What did I get? A Plasma TV — I asked for a Plasma rifle in the 40 watt range but they just blank-looked me — and nifty home theatre thingy. It was expensive. I also got a microwave, but it was not. Then I spent approximately 4 days in IKEA, the Swedish Hell-store. I got a TV stand, a desk-table, and a chair. So I don’t know if that’s really more livable, but it is more entertaining. The sum total of furniture aside from that is a mattress and box spring, and two of those cloth covered camp chairs. Ok, so one of them is less functional than one would hope. You just can’t lean on the arm of those things. My density was the undoing of the arm’s destiny. It is of course still fully usable for sitting. I am only so much of a fatass, though I wish you wouldn’t refer to me that way, or I will come over to your house and demonstrate my extensive knowledge of application of force and mass in a nonviolent yet life-threatening fashion. Anyway, enough of your silly threats, I am going to bed. I have been standing for hours now, and the morn is creeping inexorably forward.

‘nuther Dubai Update

Friday, June 24th, 2005

It’s kind of funny — ok, well it’s ironic but it’s not funny I guess. Visiting the folks I now work with had in the past led me to believe that they were not too busy. Well, I ended up in the section of two people that constantly have a backlog. It’s all simple, non interesting stuff like account creations, deletions, moves, general fixes, bitching at those morons at the Help Desk, etc. Well, at least it’s not desktop. I get my hand in one some other stuff like I used to do, and find I am rusty but not rusted shut, at least. So I’ve been really busy. Added to that are the process of getting an apartment (2bedroom, at the Marina, great view, hopefully it will stay that way and all the other towers don’t get too much taller. 22nd flr.) Add to that getting a visa for Guli to go ahead and come over. I don’t want to wait until my residence visa is approved, and when I could sponsor her with no problems. We’ll switch to the “husband visa” later, but I want her here now. Or maybe even weeks ago!

There have been other problems:
– co-worker lets me use his car while he goes on vacation. Forgets fuel cap key.
– Boy does it take a long time to get a mattress set delivered. Luckily I can stay with a friend for a few days.
– various idiocy with the realtor lady. She’s really stupid. Culminates when I take them the lease and checks and she’s off wandering around somewhere else with the key.
– …which doesn’t work. I get all checked out of the hotel, and want to take and drop most of my stuff off at the new place. I tote about half of it up with me, only to find I am stuck in front of the solid, unmoving, unfeeling door. This makes Jobu very angry. It turns out the lock is messed up. We’ll get it replaced somehow. Much administrative roadblocks in place. The actual owner seems like a really nice guy and he’s been very helpful. I haven’t met him yet but he’s been both responsive and pro-active. I hate that word, but in application it’s a good thing.

I’ve been leaning on the guys to get certified to go diving. There had been one diver before, but he didn’t have much luck. At least two are in the first day of their class right now as we speak, or at least as I write. Most of you are asleep right now, though you might start getting up for your M-F 9-5s soon. This is our weekend. That’s right, we get Friday off. It’s like having a 3 day weekend, except you don’t get the following two days.

Gotta go. Going to head into work for a little bit of catch-up. It’s ok because I have been spending a good amount of time during the day doing apartment stuff. They have been flexible with me, and I will give a little in return, at least while I don’t have anyone else I can give my time to. Yall be good now, ya hear?

Oh, and yes there will be more of the Bangkok / Phuket / Similans / Ranong visa run / Cambodia trip stuff to come. I’ve just been on the go 12-14 hours a day for a while now. Following the usual pattern, even though that was an extended trip, I will finish it off just before I go on the next one, which gives me about two months for another 8-10 chapters or so. Wink


Friday, January 24th, 2003

I remembered some other things about housing that I found interesting. In Tashkent I think the majority of people live in the massive apartment buildings. I didn’t see anything that approximated your typical (or even non-typical) stand-alone American type houses. Even so, there hasn’t been money to build things in general, so what they had 10 years ago when the Russians left is what they have today. Now that isn’t totally true, but it gets the idea in your head.

Aside from these buildings, you have many (usually single story) structures lined up against the streets. Long lengths of unbroken wall, with a singe gate that leads into a compound, and hovels or shacks clustered around open courtyards. Looking at them, I can only think of this as a defensible block. The wall has no windows or openings other than that gate. Imagine an old Western fort on the plains, but it’s only a single story, and it’s dingy white bricks instead of wood. It’s hard to get much detail on the interiors, since of course you can’t in general see them, but that’s very much the sense I got from the glimpses I did have. Some of that I was able to tell from flying into and out of Tashkent, getting the aerial view made a big difference.

Out in Karshi, didn’t see any apartment buildings at all, though we skirted the city. There were scattered groups of structures. Imagine your typical American red barn, but smaller. Paint it dingy white (let’s call it concrete!) and beat it up a bit. Now a bit more. Knock some holes in the walls, and figure people are living in the bottom area. These are grouped as well, but not so much in the fortress style, though you can still see the influence.

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