Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Crossed Wires

You can't escape British Gas even in Dubai.... my UK mobile, switched on because I needed a UK number it contained, rang this evening. At the other end was someone trying to sell me a gas contract for a house we've not lived in since early 2006! Are their dialing systems the source of the annoying missed calls from Glasgow & Liverpool yesterday and today, when my phone has rung once and then hung up before I could reach it several times?

Meanwhile with hubby away (again) I was bored with cooking for one so ordered a takeaway. Having repeated the address for delivery several times even spelling the name of our building "Al Arta 1" twice, I was told it would be 45 mins minimum probably an hour, which suited me as I needed to pop out to the ATM before paying for my supper. As I drove back into the underground parking some 20 mins or so later I spotted a delivery scooter from the Copper Chimney arriving, I just beat him up the lifts to the apartment door. Not only was it delivered promptly, there was sufficient to feed me several times over, delicious and fragrant vegetable biryani together with fish in a lovely cashew cream sauce. Supper anyone?

Finally the intriguing tale of some crossed lines. When I switched on the aforementioned mobile a day or two ago it was sent a text;
"Hi  sent email with details of flights etc for sat 25 jun. Cheap deal on monarch has2 b booked today 9th 2 get good rates! hope you make it! Cherry x"
Not certain that Monarch fly to or from Dubai and the only Cherry I've known was unlikely to sign an SMS with a kiss so it definitely wasn't meant for me so being a good hearted citizen I responded.
"Think u snt txt re flights to wrong no."
Then when I turned my phone on again today another text arrived:
"I did then we spoke on phoner earlier in week! Still ok if u want 2 change yope u are feeling better now. Cherry. x"
Ah well, it left me wondering who Cherry is and who is the friend who might have been visiting but now it appears isn't!

Monday, 13 June 2011

Somethings Remain The Same Wherever You Are

Jeanie Jeep
Took Jeanie Jeep in for a service at the main dealers Trading Enterprises yesterday. "We'll call you when it's ready." We left them my mobile number, exchanged JJ for a piece of paper and took a taxi home before Kevin left for the airport. By 5pm no contact from the garage so I called. No answer. They open at 7am so at 8am this morning I try again;
 "Yes ma'am your jeep is ready, the service is done but they couldn't find a problem with the "jerking" so perhaps it's the way the customer is driving. Please come here at 9am and one of our technicians will drive with you if required."
They won't win any prizes from me for tact but as Kevin is the official owner and here I am always a "housewife" (as officially designated on my visa) it was to be expected!

Collected the car shortly after 9 this morning and decided a test drive wasn't needed, it was already 40° outside. The staff were friendly, efficient and extremely helpful, explaining everything that had been carried out in detail rather than simply handing over the bill. I quickly forgave the smiling, quiet Ranesh for not calling me back yesterday and for his lack of tact this morning or was the latter faux pas down to my misunderstanding his Indian English? The cost was just 888 AED (just under £150) which seems quite cheap compared with the extortionate amounts BMW Mini used to extract from me in the UK. Or does it appear value for money given the difference in size between the two vehicles?

My Much Loved Mini Cooper S
The garage BTW is in an anonymous, dusty grey industrial unit just off the SZR on Al Manara St East. Step inside and there is an inside parking area, sparkling plate glasss windows with a smart reception beyond and behind the desks views of servicing and repairs being carried out. Coffee and the papers are provided as is comfortable seating in the waiting area. UK dealers could do worse than visit Dubai on a field trip.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Cooling Facts

We've realised over the past few weeks that there is a world of difference between 23° and 24°. The latter feels decidedly warm and cosy like a winters evening by the fire and the former slightly cool but not overly chilly when in a t-shirt and shorts.

To obtain this sort of climate indoors when outside it is hot and muggy with overnight temperatures rarely as low as 25° air conditioning is a must. The recirculating fans hum their low thundery rumble day and night as warm air is drawn in from the apartment, chilled, effectively dried as any moisture condenses out (this is what went wrong in Bahrain last year when we returned from a few weeks away to a disaster), cleansed by filters that remove pollen and dust then blown out again.

Usually the open plan kitchen/dining/living area is set to 24 and the bedrooms to 23, the latter being about the warmest you can get a comfortable nights sleep under a thin duvet. The apartment's two systems don't always understand our requirements for comfort properly and often waver around 22.5° when set to 23 or a sticky 24.2° - 24.5° when set to the higher temperature. Opening or closing bedroom doors helps - a balancing act we are learning to play!

However we apparently should be grateful as many in Dubai are on a district cooling system where chilled air is produced centrally and then piped into homes. This results in a flat fee per square metre plus an additional electricity cost for circulating the air. And the air isn't always as chilled as it might be depending on the overall demand from all the users on the system. At least we are only at the mercy of our erratic thermostats and our DEWA bill which is surprisingly low considering the aircon is on 24x7 at present. The reasonable electricity bill is in part down to the compact size of our apartment (1,021 sq m) and the fact that being an apartment with neighbours all round means we mutually benefit from each others cooling as well as the icey blast that the buildings' owners fill the common areas with.

But I am already looking forward to that moment in the Autumn when the wretched noise can be turned off for a few months and the windows opened. I have sympathy with tinnitus sufferers, if we're busy or the TV is on the noise seems to disappear but sitting quietly reading or right now writing this, the constant thundering drives you mad.