Monday, May 9, 2011

Another Day in Dubai - Oh Boy!

Dubai Day 2.5-9-11

No big day here. Off to the hotel for 9:00 am roll call and then back to Al Bustan to do important hang-around-and-wait stuff. We decided to go to the Lulu Hyper-Mart for some serious shopping. I bought a pair of plaid madras shorts that are al that and a bag of chips. If I had known that I was going to be stuck in a hotel, I would have brought some civilized ones with me but these are OK for loafing in a hotel room. Otherwise, they should not be shown in public. I would consider posting a picture on the internet but I don’t want any porn on my computer.

The walk to the Lulu-Mart was interesting because we got to peek behind a few walls and look at the construction. On one wall, there were lamps posted about every 20 feet. The wiring to the lamps was simply draped along the wall made to appear as ornamental roping. Don’t poke it with your umbrella. At one corner, the wires for a street lamp were coming up out of the conduit. They were neatly taped together with electrical tape. And the concrete is loaded with salty Dubai sand that does wonders on ribar. If they had to face a tsunami here, they might have some real problems.

The other thing we noticed way the perpetual haze to the sky. It is humid here but not any worse than Richmond in summer – in fact, perhaps not as bad. They claim it is not smog and who am I to argue but it is thicker than just the haze of humidity. It definitely has a bit of a tint to it. I guess that is to be expected in a city of several million and an apparent equal number of cars.

After muster this morning, we saw another class of Dyncorp recruits come in. These folks were from Kenya. There is a boatload of Kenyans and some Bosnians too. We think they are here to provide unskilled labor. This is quite a multinational affair. We hear that there is a flight tomorrow and we hope we are on it. We have been glad to see Dubai but we are all eager to get out of here and to do some real work. Besides, we are getting weary of schlepping bags, taking shuttles to meals and getting nickeled and dimed o death for things like laundry, internet, glasses in the bathrooms, 110 volt electricity washcloths and toilet paper. Furthermore, while some of the food is interesting and even tasty, some of the textures are strange and take some getting used to. I’m doing fine with the food but I am somewhat leery of the salads and fresh fruits. Hopefully the mess halls (or in New Army Parlance “D-FACs” which is short for Dining FACilities) will do better. I think I’m going to learn a whole new vocabulary.

This may be the last post for a few days. If we fly, things will be a little weird until I get settled. If I’m stuck as some people have been, I’m going to wait a day to post because internet access is 90 Dirhams for 24 hours. That works out to about $24.00 a day. There is no , none, zero free internet here like McDonalds or Starbucks or any decent hotel with amenities. And I love you all but paying $24.00 a day every day is just plain goofy. So, I'm trying to post this before my 24 hours is up.

So, a brief description of the pics. The building that looks like a Ukrainian tenement is our hotel. No pool. (But it does have running water) The beige tower is a minaret of the local mosque. The building with what appears to be blue tarps is the Lulu-Mart. The tarps are actually canopies to shade the valet-parked customer cars. The insides look like a dirty Wal-Mart or maybe a clean Food Lion – take your pick. Downstairs groceries,upstairs drygoods and electronics. I bought two washcloths and some Zip-lock baggies to put them in. The last shot is a gate of am Islamic school of some descripion. On the other side of the hotel is an Iranian (Shiite) school in the middle of a Sunni country. We will stay out of the crossfire.

The last picture is definitely something that children should not see.

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