Posted by Kanga.
Hello new cookstove!
Good bye, old burners!
It passes the required cat inspection.
It only took us a year and a half to get around to this purchase.
posted by Kanga.
After our furniture buying spree in August which resulted in closets and bookcases, one would think that the apartment is full and we should stop. However, we ventured out to buy two recliners. Here’s a few things we didn’t buy.
DaddyBird was impressed by this set. It’s a boy-thing. The closet doors are apparently gas pumps. A fully equipped military installation.
Tiger chairs! How Austin Powers is that?
And we got to see this bed in the flesh, so to speak.
We bought none of the above. Two boring brown recliners will arrive on Saturday. When they asked us where to deliver the chairs, it was kinda fun to go to the window and point to our building. It is rarely that easy.
Posted by Kanga.
Meet our new kitchen table.
The table itself is not important. It’s just an Ikea table with drop leaf sides and a few drawers. The cats were disappointed to find the drawers too small for them to get into. No, the important thing here and the reason for this post is the table runner.
This was made by an Emirati woman as part of the Sougha program of the Khalifa Fund. Emirati women who are skilled in the traditional weaving craft used in creating bedouin tents have been encouraged to develop smaller products and keep the weaving tradition alive and well.
My first purchase was a carry bag just the right size for my iPad. We’ve made our purchases at the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair the last two years. They sell at other events and festivals, so keep your eyes peeled for Sougha products.
Info on other blogs & articles:
Prior to the cats coming to live with us, we kept our clean towels on open rack shelving. As you can imagine, our clean towels were not so clean once kittens came to stay, especially since we had to shut them in the bathrooms until they got used to each other. So, we now have a lovely painted cabinet to keep our towels out of the reach of cats.
Pet stores are fairly rare here and not necessarily fully stocked. We went to one of the “best” and they had three brands of cat food to choose from – the cheap brand we were already using (and which seems to be giving the cats digestive trouble) or two really expensive brands. The only litter scoop they had came with a litter box. There were no separately available tools. AND they were all out of litter. They had a few cat trees, but they were short and one was covered in powder blue shag carpet – way too foofoo for two male cats. They were also not particularly sturdy.
We have very high ceilings and Bert, especially, wants to be as high as he can get. He climbed on top of the dining room chair and stared longingly at the ceiling the other day. Plus, there are plenty of interesting things for them to see out the window, if they can just get high enough to see over the balcony railing.
To order a nice, big cat tree via the internet and have it shipped here is prohibitive. Finding a carpenter who could build us one would be time consuming and possibly impossible.
So, while at Ace “Hardware” (I use quotes because they have very little hardware) we found tall metal shelving for a fairly reasonable price and I had an epiphany, alright, it was just an idea, but a really, really good one.
We bought two sets of shelving. I cut up the box to make the wire shelving easier to walk on for cats. I was very frugal, this is what is left of the boxes the shelves came in. I cut up cheap fleece blankets to cover each shelf. These can be removed, laundered and replaced (unlike carpet covered cat trees.) I added dangling toys. Daddybird gave me a hard time for putting the Star of David on a tree for Arab cats.Again, I was being frugal. The stars were attached to some felt place mats I bought for another project.
We will connect the two shelf towers with heavy duty plastic ties. I have to run to the store to get them, so not quite complete, yet.
We got matching bedside tables. They are 33″ wide and 21″ deep. I am so glad that my alarm clock won’t be falling off onto the floor anymore. (I was using a chair previously.) I only wish we’d thought to get a third matching one to go under the television. Next time, I guess.
Here is our lovely new bookcase. The sides have cut out camels.
The back is painted dark blue.
And our books have nestled into their new home. Ahhhh.
They are happy to not be laying in piles on top of the ironing board anymore. And, if I ever find an ironing board cover, I might get some ironing done.
We got these items at Lucky’s Furniture and Handicrafts in Sharjah. We recommend it!
I am afraid that I will have to stop writing this blog. It was fun while it lasted, but it must stop. Because, if I continue to tell you how freaking happy we are here and how cheap things are here and how interesting things are here and how freaking happy we are here, there might be unfortunate consequences. Dubai should be kept our little secret. Shhhh.
So, if you are tired of hearing us rave about how much fun we are having, stop reading and never come back. If you stick around to hear more, you must swear to keep it a secret.
Tonight we ventured out to find an out of the way furniture store that we had been told about and wanting to get to, but it’s not the kind of place you can get to by taxi. Now that we are mobile, we went in search of Pinky’s and after a few wrong turns, found it.
A warehouse full of lovely hardwood furniture from India.
This is the set we bought. Sorry that the picture is blurry. The seats lift up and there are storage compartments underneath. We (read I) will add cushions to make them more comfy. We got all three pieces for Dhs 3200 (approx. $800.00).
The table on the bottom we purchased to be my sewing table. It is 160 cm X 160 cm, which is just over 5 ft X 5 ft and it cost us Dhs 1400 (approx. $380.00).
And here’s the corker, all prices are negotiable and we did not dicker. We paid top dollar.
They will deliver on December 10th, after we get back from Germany. The delivery charge is a whopping Dhs 100 ($27). That is for delivery from a different city and they will bring the pieces all the way up to the 8th floor (I hope the table fits in the elevator!) — all for $27.
Other things we saw today:
The brown arch above the rearview mirror on the white SUV is a boat spraying sand/dirt to create an island.
Again – brown arch = island in the making.
Most of my pictures are devoid of people, because it is considered rude to take pictures of people without their permission, but that makes it seem like no one lives here, but us. So, I snuck a few pictures to prove that there are MANY people living here.
This is a pedestrian overpass with crowds coming and going.
Where there is a sandlot (and there are many), there’s a cricket game or ten.
In the picture below, above the bus, between the stop light and the round sign, way in the distance is the world’s tallest building, the Burg Dubai. At least it will be the world’s tallest until the next one is built, which will be a kilometer high. It must be disappointing to be building the world’s tallest building and have someone else start a bigger one before it is even finished.
Above is the Dubai Ports and Customs Authority building, made to look like two ocean liners side by side.
Well, for someone who threatened to stop blogging, this is a very long entry. Hope you enjoy it. You could always leave us a comment or too, ya know (hint, hint).
Anyway, keep our little secret, and I will keep on extolling the virtues of Dubai.
Apparently, the grand opening ceremony for the Atlantis Hotel was well publicized in the States, because several of you have asked us about it. The fireworks were supposed to start at midnight and we did look out the window at 5 after midnight to see if we could see them. However, apparently they started about 40 minutes late (typical Arab time) and we were fast asleep by then. We probably would have been able to see them, had we gone up to the roof and waited long enough. Fireworks are common at ceremonies here (even my college started the year with a fireworks display), but I am sure this was a record setting performance.
This next week is National Day — the celebration of the creation of the United Arab Emirates in 1971 — 37 years old (or young). The build up has already started and displays are already going up. We passed the house below on the way home tonight. It is literally covered in lights all the way around roof to foundation.
So, following our Friday adventure, we had an interesting Saturday. We had two missions we wanted to complete – find the quilting store to buy sewing supplies and go to Homes R Us (yes, that is what it is called) to order our bed frame. The quilting store is in Bur Dubai, the area of the city that is across the “creek” from us. Daddybird figured out what bus line would take us there and we got on the bus without too much trouble. This particular bus had display screens on the ceiling telling you what stop was next, HOWEVER, the display was off by several stops, so we exited the bus way too early. It was hot and we walked quite a ways trying to find the landmark we were seeking, then walked all the way back in case we had gone the wrong way. So, Daddybird studied the map in the bus stop shelter, which was air conditioned, thankfully. We got on another bus and were able to get within a couple blocks of our destination. We found the quilting store, which was interesting in itself. It is a small retail space. It wasn’t really designed for shoppers to come in and browse. It was clearly an Indian family business and they were set up to actually make quilts right in the shop for you, apparently. Anyway, I was successful in buying some thread, needles, seam ripper, etc.
Next we set off to figure out how to get to our next destination. After standing/sitting in the heat, watching the buses go by and being unsuccessful at flagging down a taxi, I was getting dehydrated. I suggested that we go to a shopping center I had seen as we got off the bus and get something to drink. Which we did, but since it is Ramadan and one cannot/should not drink or eat in public before sundown, we each took our drinks into the restrooms and drank them there, out of sight. Next, we ended up back at the same bus stop waiting for buses/taxis. We got on a bus that Daddybird said showed on the map as going right by our destination. It did indeed go right on by our destination at full speed. So, we ended up staying on the bus all the way to the end of the route which went out into the industrial area and the labor camps.
These pictures aren’t particularly good, but what can you do when you are in a moving bus? As you can see, it is somewhat bleak in the industrial area. Large areas of open space between industries.
The picture above was taken at the end of the bus line. There did seem to be some civilization out there, so it wasn’t like being completely stranded, but in the heat, those buildings were a very long walk away.
Here is Daddybird at the end of the bus route. There were three buses. The one we came in on. The one at the front of the line that had no driver and the hood over the engine was up, which is never a good sign. And the bus in the middle, which we were able to take back the way we came after a short wait. It took an hour to get out to the end of the line and about an hour to get back.
This is a picture of one of the labor camps. It is not a very good example, but the best I could get from a moving bus. They actually call them labor camps (for Westerners that is a loaded phrase). Employers here are required by law to provide housing for expatriate employees. There are an astronomical number of expatriate construction workers, housekeeping workers, etc. Many employers have these apartment buildings out in the boondocks and bus their workers into work. The livability of these accommodations varies greatly. Some are clearly well maintained, others are very slum-like and overcrowded. There were some where the air conditioner was missing and there was just a gaping hole where it should be. I cannot even imagine how hot it would get inside. There is clearly room for better regulation of worker accommodations. I’ve noticed a tendency here to declare that something be done without a clear delineation of what that means – like how many people to a room, building maintenance, air conditioning, etc.
I’ve heard people remark about how bad these labor camps are and I agree some are very bad. But, I also think what American employer would provide housing and transportation for manual laborers?
So, Daddybird and I seem to be bad tourists, or maybe just accidental tourists who get on the wrong bus and see things 99.99% of tourists don’t see. It’s not a bad way to go, I think. (By the way, our adventure cost us 2 bus fares each which is about $1.10 each. We’re not only accidental tourists, but cheap ones, too. Just try to find a 2 hour tour for $2.20.)