The 5:30AM call for prayer woke me up. God darnit! I thought I could sleep in this morning.
Oh well, it was fine though because I managed to find a channel to watch the Oscars live. TD and I did our holy duty by going to mass on
Saturday night. After mass, we ate Filipino food at a local mall. It was pretty good. She is now "madame" because Agnes left. People now
think we are married. I snapped at Rafael. I was waiting for the right moment to attack. LOL Paul, how about stop forgetting your keys
and don't dip into Jacq's spare. It is there for contingency purposes. My first real webinar takes place tomorrow at 7AM to 9AM. I'll be in the
office a bit late. I have to get through this week and next week and I'm home free. We are making good progress. I texted on my phone while
KNT washed her dishes and did laundry. Happy Anniversary, Cass and Michael! I didn't think I would like "The Social Network", but it was
pretty good. How can you not hate that Facebook guy? The Napster guy said to drop the "the" from the company name. It was definitely a good
call. I remembered getting the notification to drop "the" from the web address. I am no longer on FB so don't look me up.
February 26, 2011
Yesterday was a good day. I caught up with Mike via Skype from Vietnam. Apparently, they
have rolling blackouts. I can do skype to skype, but I still can't call a real telephone number from Skype. Plus, I was advised that there's
no such thing as "spinned". I need to go back to ESL class. P and I had a pow wow that lasted 42 minutes. I hope Gene won't get mad at
me. TD and I found a Chinese place not too far from the apartment. By the way, nothing is open on Friday mornings...except for Chinese
restaurants. The businesses open after 2PM. It was such a dead town. We ate yummy Shanghai noodles with shrimp toast. I had probably
the best mango juice to date since I've been here. We went home so I can nap for a couple hours. Yes, my siesta lasted for two hours.
I woke up and met TD downstairs. We cabbed it to the Marina Mall to look for "Made in the UAE". We snacked on carrot cake from Starbucks.
We walked over to the Heritage Village and did some sightseeing. I found some headgear for the boys. I think they will like it. We found
out that the mosque looking building is a theater/auditorium. Oh, Alexis did not help my hunger earlier in the day. I viewed this food porn
blog site. The pictures were amazing. I found a texting app so I can text from here for free. I only need wifi, which means I can only text
if I'm at the apartment or in the office. We waited around for the film screening to begin. Please check out "Madly in Love". It was a really
good movie about a Tamil and a Swiss falling in love. Some Bollywood dancing is thrown in there too. We went back to the mall to pick up
snacks at Carrefour. We waited in a long line for taxis. The cab driver found a short route to get home. I was in bed by 11:30PM only to wake
up to the cellphone alarm programmed on the department's blackberry. Agnes made it back okay. She said it was a very long flight.
Hoa and Loan, I always thought you guys knew about this. So here you go...if you want to creep and snoop, this is where it's at. Enjoy
the pictures and I'll find one for you Loan. I'll at least try. LOL
February 25, 2011
I'm working on my first homework assignment. Let the games begin!
February 24, 2011
Happy Birthday, Chi Mai! We checked out the family beach yesterday afternoon. If you are a man,
you must be accompanied by your wife or kids. The beach was actually very nice. They had ice cream shops and restaurants on the boardwalk.
We saw quite a few expats sunbathing. Some of them did not have their family members with them. I think they'll let you visit the beach
if you are not a local single person. The local women dressed in their black attire as usual. After the beach, we cabbed over to the Emirates
Palace. Security did not grant us access because I wore shorts. Agnes and TD stepped out of the cab to take some snapshots in front of
the palace while I stayed in the cab to chit chat with the driver. They returned to the car and we made our way to the Rotana Hotel for
some dinner. Again, the hostess looked at my legs and said they normally do not allow guests in shorts because it's a fancy pants place.
However, we convinced her otherwise and she sat us. We ate Italian food and drank very light cocktails. After a short walk through the
Abu Dhabi Mall, it was time to go home. We all skipped out on hip hop class and retreated to our apartments. Today is Agnes's last day
before she returns to New York. It's also considered "Friday night" here since we have no work on Fridays and Saturdays. What are my
plans tonight? I guess we will bid Agnes farewell.
February 23, 2011
I have been nonstop since I arrived in Abu Dhabi. I neglected this website. I apologize to all
you readers out there...all 3 of you who keep up with my blog. My colleagues and I went to Dubai last weekend. The city was pretty
impressive. It reminded me of an Arab version of New York. You see people from all over the world. No one group was the majority.
We went on a half-day city tour that took us to a local mosque, photo opportunities in front of that sailboat looking skyscraper, the Dubai
Museum, boat ride across the Dubai Creek, and visit to the local spice and gold markets. Early next morning, we went on a hot air balloon
ride in the desert. I thought I would freak out considering I am afraid of heights, but I was perfectly fine. It felt as though we were in an
airplane because the ride was very smooth. We are now certified to go on another hot air balloon. I napped at the hotel after the balloon ride
while the ladies went to the Mall of the Emirates. We almost didn't make it for the afternoon safari ride because of my mistake. The
Land Cruiser took us back to the desert to ride up and down the sand dunes. We stopped at a camel farm to take pictures. One camel
actually escaped and was running all over the desert by itself. We ended the night at our camp where we treated to a nice meal,
belly dancing, camel ride, hookah smoking, and hena painting. Oh, and they had alcohol available for purchase. We came back to the city.
Agnes was too tired to go out so TD and I went for drinks at Long's Bar. We met the DJ and managed to get free drinks from him before
I knocked away one of his drinks. The music was your typical top 40 mixed with a bit of club mixes. It was sort of dead, but I'm glad we
were able to loosen up with some vodka soda and dancing. We were done by midnight. I think at this point everyone else was coming into
the bar. We went to the tallest building in the world and made it all the way up the observation deck. It literally took seconds to go from floor 1
to whatever floor we ended up. We manged to find a cab to take us back to Abu Dhabi. TD's contact met us at the Dubai Mall for some
hookah. She showed us her local art, which was very interesting. It was a great weekend. Now it's back to Sama Tower. I have a couple
more weeks here before I return to NY. Let's hope the Middle East/North Africa revolutions stay where they are and not creep into the UAE.
By the way, calling Skype does not work in the UAE. It sucks!
February 14, 2011
Yesterday was my first day back at the office. It felt nice to finally get this assignment started.
We went on a tour of the downtown campus. It was interesting to see the campus surrounded by other buildings. It's as if the campus was
in a middle of a courtyard. Our work area was warm at first but the IT guy showed us how to work the thermostat. Connecting remotely to New York
was quite slow. Perhaps there's a work around the slow connection. I was yawning around 3:30PM. After work, we cabbed it to St. Joseph's
Cathedral for Sunday mass. I have never seen so many people in a single building. Luckily, we got to the church early. Like TD said, it
was definitely a fire hazard. The congregation sang songs that I've never heard before. A majority of the parishioners were Filipino. It took
us quite some time to exit the building. During mass, we could hear a call for prayer from the mosque right next door. It was definitely
interesting to recite "Our Father" while hearing the echoing voices outside. The bus drivers outside were another surprise. What were they saying? We found a taxi and took it
to the local Popeye's. I ordered chicken tenders with fries and biscuits. The Budweiser was an energy drink, not an alcoholic beverage.
We ate our chicken in Agnes's apartment. I was dozing off and excused myself. I was in bed by 9:30PM. I woke up at 5:15AM. I am glad
Chi Chinh and her boys are okay. Driving in that SUV definitely helped the situation. Carter is such a good boy. He was not running around
like Carson. How will they ever tame that boy? I couldn't get in touch with Chi Chinh through the telephone. I got in touch with Paul as
he was trying to find parking in Ctown. Happy Valentine's Day to all the lovers out there!
February 13, 2011
I slept at 8PM local time and woke up at 1AM. I am due into the office later at 9AM. I cannot
go back to sleep. Today was a jam packed day. Agnes and I wanted to hit the gym but it wasn't open until noon. We walked along the main
street instead.Tammy joined us. We ate breakfast in Agnes's apartment. We cabbed it to the biggest mosque in the UAE. The ladies had to
wear this black gown and scarf to cover their entire body and head. The religious police enforced the rules. The
mosque is very impressive. Attention to detail and extravagant chandeliers were all over the mosque. Our tour guide was very nice.
We had to take off our shoes before entering the prayer room. After the mosque, we went to the Abu Dhabi Mall. It was like any other
mall in America. We were somewhat disappointed. We asked about local shopping centers. The information guy told us about a souk that
was not too far away. We made it to Mina Souk. The stores selling souvenirs ended up closing their doors upon our arrival. All the retail
employees are Filipinos. We went back to the apartment and rest up before dinner at an Indian restaurant. The food was delicious, especially
the butter chicken. After dinner, we went to another souk. The souk had too many fabrics and perfume to choose from. There were no
souvenirs though. We all retreated to our respective apartments and called it a night. I ironed my clothes for the week and caught up on
some emails. I am now making myself some ramen noodles because I am hungry. I still need to get my timing down.
February 12, 2011
I am 9 hours ahead of New York's time. The 13 hour flight went by pretty fast. I remembered
sleeping for a couple hours. We experienced crazy turbulence during the flight. Laying down flat through the turbulence helped.
I was wasted before departing. Tdanger mixed a drink and prepared a shot before we boarded. Agnes waited for a good hour before
we met her at the airport. I didn't even eat dinner. I only ate breakfast on the flight. I was disappointed that they didn't have scrambled eggs.
I watched "The Social Network" and "127 Hours" on the plane. Immigration at Abu Dhabi was quite easy. There were no lines. You don't
need to fill out immigration or declaration forms. Just show them your passport and no questions asked. My luggage was supposed to
be priority but it was pretty much the last luggage to make it through screening. We waited almost an hour for my bag. We hopped into our
Chevys bound for Sama Tower. After a 30 minute car ride through extra wide expressways with manicured landscaping, we arrived
at our studio apartments. We picked up our ID's and apartment keys. We walked around and found a restaurant across the street.
It was a buffet-style restaurant with American and Indian food. After dinner, we walked around the neighborhood shops. Men were holding
hands and continuously stared at Agnes and TD. I barely saw any women. If I did, they were escorted by at least one male. I thought I saw
some ao dai fabric for my mom. I exchanged money at the restaurant's hotel. I couldn't wait for the currency exchange place to open up
the next day. So far, everyone has been very nice and pleasant. I slept at midnight local time and woke up four hours later. I have not gone
back to sleep. Agnes and I walked down the main thoroughfare and stopped at the local supermarket to pick up snacks and toilet paper.
I bought the fancy toilet paper because you should never go cheap on toilet paper. My bed is a king size and quit firm. The apartment reminds
me of a New York studio. I have a washer in the kitchen, but no dryer. All the channels are pretty much in Arabic except for a couple
English-speaking channels with cheesy American shows. The weekend here is on Friday and Saturday. Sunday is the first day of the workweek.
I caught up with Khoi, Chi Kim, and Paul via video chat. I made my calls back home upon arrival at the airport. It was a good first night. I am ready
to get down to business.
February 10, 2011
February 8, 2011
I have been lazy this week. I couldn't wake up early to hit the gym. It really
doesn't matter any way at this point. I am going away and leaving this god forsaken town behind. Will the cold weather ever go away?
Will the snow stop? I look forward to a dry sidewalk and wearing shorts. When will Spring get here? The Uniqlo thermals
make me sweat, yet keeps me warm. The NYU bus skipped me the other day because I was too busy to look up. I was
playing with WWF. I now know to pay attention or the bus will pass on by. I think I got a good deal on my luggage but I
could have spent a little more for a Tumi. It's time to change my password.
February 7, 2011
Happy Birthday, Paulie Paul!
February 2, 2011
Sorry that I have not been on this thing in a very long time. I believe my last
entry took place in mid-January. A lot has happened since we last spoke...or I last wrote. The winter storms keep coming and
coming. I think we average about one snowstorm a week. NYU closed one day last week...or was it a couple weeks ago.
Anyways, it was rare for NYU to shut down considering they are Nazis about staying open, much like the NYC public schools.
I cannot wait to leave all this mess behind. Next week, I am off to the Middle East to calm the Egyptians. Okay, I'm kidding.
I am heading to the Middle East where dictators rule. Who is to say an uprising won't happen? Dictators or not, the people
will protest no matter what. Tet is tomorrow. Tonight begins a marathon of festivities, including Paul's birthday extravaganzas.
Where can I buy a good suitcase? I think I have four crappy suitcases under my bed at the moment. I need to throw them
all out. They take up too much room. I think I made the right decision. Yes, the word is "hopeful". Let's keep it nice and clean.