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Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Mobile Torture Devices

As promised, my post about Carrefour's infamous electrocuting trolleys.

The subject of Carrefour comes up quite regularly amongst Al Ainites. Why? Well, lets face it, if there is a place in this city where everyone goes, it's there. It's our biggest supermarket and still, on the whole, is the cheapest..although not as cheap as it used to be. (moan, whinge)

It's a common topic of conversation at Al Ain dinner parties:

"Oh this fois gras is delicious, where did you get it?
"Carrefour" ( a no brainer )
"Really? I'll have to look out for it next time I'm in there. Talking of
Carrefour, is it just me or does anyone else get electrocuted by the

Now, I'm talking about the old trolleys, the ones with the grey wheels that are a little bit wonky. Those are the ones you need to avoid. Unfortunately the rest of Al Ain knows this tip and if you visit on a Thursday night you have no choice. Well you do have a choice: starvation or electrocution. Carefully, you manoeuvre round the store, clinging on to the plastic handle as you can hear the static building up with every aisle. Touch that metal and wham!

The good news is that the UAE is bound for static-free shopping. Posted by Picasa


Sunday, February 05, 2006

Cool things to do in Al Ain

In response to Jenny Foreigner's dilemma in trying to find cool things to do in Dubai, here's my list of 'cool' things to do in Al Ain which won't break the bank:

1. You need 'wheels' for this one. Bah, I hate cars and it's a struggle for me, as a Londoner, to come to terms with the fact you need one in this part of the world. I'm a bike person, me. Anyway, I digress... CAMPING IN THE HAJARS has to be the coolest thing to do in and around Al Ain. You take the road out of Al Ain, past the Intercon hotel into the mountains. There's a small border post further along there so it's a good idea to have ID although you're not really crossing into Oman at that point. After about twenty minutes on the road, turn off left into the mountains. There are many wadis and oasis' out here that a good camping spots, ask any Al Ain expat to recommend you one. A night under the stars, cooking food on the bonfire and telling stories can't be beaten.

2. Going up Jebel Hafit. The views are great and there's a nice hotel up there now. Have a meal followed by a session in their pool and go on the waterslides.

3. Walking round the Oasis followed by tea in the Oasis Restaurant as the sun sets. It's the most romantic place in Al Ain (not the restaurant, the oasis ;-)

5. Camel riding in the desert. Trips can be arranged from the Hilton.

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Thursday, February 02, 2006

Nothings changed here

January is the month that many Al Ainites who work at the two big educational establishments get their first big holiday since the summer. This means Al Ain is dead(er) for about a fortnight.

With the new semester brings the return of these over-worked-underpaid senseis. So where did they go? Well, the poorest ones stayed in Al Ain with the highlight of the holiday being a trip up to the bright lights of Dubai, maybe a day on Jumeirah Beach Park. The slightly richer ones went to Oman, spending most of the holiday in their 4 wheel drive on a long straight road or in a tent on the Hajars. The ones with a bit more cash either went to India or Thailand. Finally, the moneyed ones or those so homesick they don't care went home to the UK and froze their little ***** off.

This weekend they all convened in the H&J with different stories to tell:

-Etihad Airways are flying Iberworld charter jets on their Abu Dhabi-Gatwick route at the moment and the experience is terrible...

-It was freezing in England and expensive but worth it

-I got Delhi Belly and was on a drip for three days

-Carrefour was really quiet and I managed to get one of the trolleys with red wheels that don't electricute you.

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