Category Archives: Oddities

Video – Crazy Barking Dubai Birds

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Seriously?  Do birds ever get rabid?  This critter was trying to get into the house, I swear!  And, he started out on the carport where the sound REALLY echoes and resonates, and his bird-noise sounded *exactly* like a large dog barking…. Scared the you-know-what outta me till I figured out what was going on.

Now, this wasn’t the first time I’d heard them, just the first tkme I’d seen them…. So I was trying to capture it for TBG to see when he got home, because I had this feeling that he *really* didn’t believe me when I told him there was a crazy barking Dubai bird that came to our house……

OK, hope you can hear it, because I promise you, its wicked weird!

Broke Fork? Nah…… video inside

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So, I had a fruit salad from either a local grocery store or a delivery guy – can’t recall which it was.  But, incorporated in the lid was a utensil that entertained me for a bit….. watch…..

Now, I know that it probably seems like I’m easily entertained…. and I really am.  But I thought that this was a pretty cool way to include a reasonable-sized spork in a very small space.  Thought you might enjoy seeing what I’m seeing here in Dubai!

No Paper for You!

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I think the one black spot out of all my trips to the Dragon Mart here in Dubai (giant Chinese shopping warehouse/madhouse) so far was yesterday, I visited one of the toilets off the main hallway…. Walked in to see 3 doors all closed.  Well, I’ve learned that most toilets have a symbol to tell you if they’re occupied…. One was green, the other two were red, one having the mop bucket and cleaning supplies in front of it, obviously being cleaned, right?

I entered the green door, to find no paper.  *sigh*… minor inconvenience, right?  Walked back out. Looking for supplies, or perhaps a paper towel to use in a pinch…. No joy.  A woman came from the other occupied stall, and I said “paper??”  She shook her head “no”…..  and pointed towards the door with the mop bucket in front of it.  OK, I’ll wait for a bit till she’s finished cleaning….

A few minutes later, a woman in a cleaning uniform exits, WITH HER LUNCH PLATE AND SILVERWARE, scraping her leftovers into the paper towel bin.  She wasn’t cleaning, she was EATING HER LUNCH!!   I said “paper?” She shook her head “no” and said “it is finished”…. I said “where is more?”  she said “it is finished”…..  I looked at her and finally, in an effort to be direct and clear said “go get more”.  She said “it is finished.  I do not understand”.

Insane. I felt like I was replaying a scene from Seinfeld’s “The Soup Nazi” episodes.   But it taught me a lesson…. To carry my own.

Door Mail – we get Door Mail

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And yes, that was a really bad play on the words from the US television show “Survivor” where they get “tree mail”……

Dubai has no real Postal Service like westerners are accustomed to.  So how do you get all that good junk mail??  Well, necessity is the mother of invention, right?  Ya get Door Mail.

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Mail that gets stuck to your door, hung off the door handle, tucked in the cracks, woven through the wrought iron, however it can be stuck on or around your door, it is.  And, what exactly *comes* as door mail you ask?  Menus,  newsletters,  sales flyers, advertising cards, lost cat flyers, newspapers, catalogs, brochures and more menus.  Here are a few photos of some of our daily door mail…

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The lack of street addresses means that any type of postal service customarily found in other countries is not possible here.  If you want an address, you can rent a Post Office Box here (starting around $600USD per year  if I recall correctly) and you have the ability to go to the Post Office here and pick up any mail you might receive.  Or, opt for home delivery 3x a week at a cost of around $1200USD per year, and you must buy their box, and pay to have it installed according to their directives.  So, if you’ve really been missing all the junk mail, catalogs, flyers and ads, you can get it, you just gotta pay.

Locating things here is interesting.  Some streets have no name or number, most buildings are known by the largest entity occupying them, or by a name.  But there is no such thing as an address that looks like

Bobby Jones

123 Woodham Way

Central, KS 11101

An address on someone’s business card might look like this….

Jafar’s Worldwide Carpets

Jumeirah Plaza, Close to Trade Center Roundabout, Across from Amman’s Auto Repair

3rd floor, Suite 308

974.351.6751

So, pretty much if you can’t find someone’s shop based on their description, you call for directions.

But what about all those flyers?  The junk mail, the ads, the sale papers screaming about how much money you can save??  How do they actually arrive at your door as door mail?  They’ve got a guy for that – driving around neighborhoods, attaching these to doors.  Bingo – jobs created.  What’s that?  What about if you go on vacation or holiday you ask?  Well then, your door looks like this….

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And yet *another* opportunity for some enterprising soul to begin a business to remove all those items from your door so it’s not so obvious that you’re not at home.  Could create even MORE jobs!

Never did I Imagine

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That I would be living here.  Seeing these sights, living this life.

Never did I imagine that I would entertain myself on longish drives by watching for camels in the desert off the side of the road.  Or that I would be fortunate enough to have a massage therapist actually come to my villa and give me a massage.  Or that I would be shopping for bacon in the back walled-off section of a grocery store, feeling slightly unsettled, or somehow tarnished.  Or that I would learn haggling over prices so quickly, refusing to pay first or second asking price for just about anything.

This is a photo showing an abra crossing Dubai...

This is a photo showing an abra crossing Dubai Creek in Dubai, United Arab Emirates on 31 May 2007. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sometimes it hits me that this really *is* unimaginable.  Like the other day, a friend and I were sitting on this incredibly crowded rickety-looking wooden boat thing called an abra.  I was sitting in the back, next to the old rope and decrepit-looking wooden paddle/rudder thing for steering.  It was piloted by a man that didn’t speak any language I could identify, who simply hissed at us to pay the Dirham fee.  This abra had no rails, no ropes, no walls, no hand holds, nothing, just a big platform upon which to sit and smush together.

We were crossing over the Dubai Creek to a souk (market) on the other side….. I looked over at my friend and said “Do you realize that we are in a foreign country, riding an over-loaded boat that OSHA would go freekin carnival-ape-crazy over, to an open-air souk with no controls over what’s sold or how, and we’re not paying any sales taxes??  Did you ever imagine you’d be doing something like this???”  She smiled and said “And the ride’s costing us a whopping 27¢ too!”  Crazy.

Some of the things that we’ve done here, the experiences we’ve had, the stories we’ve heard, they’re like nothing I ever imagined would happen to me.  Please don’t read the way I come across in this blog like this whole adventure is routine for me – there ain’t *nothing* routine about Dubai or the Middle East, far as I can tell.  Not at all.