Saturday, 31 January 2015

Day 1861 & 1862 (31/01 & 01/02/2015)

Busy in my office catching up on stuff that has come in over the last week and making lots of changes to my website.

Had a Chinese with Thomas in the evening when he got back from his football, whilst my wife was in Bristol seeing her mum.

I think the Chinese must have decided to give me a little welcome home treat. They must  have thought he doesn't need that extra rice and so added a nice hot & sour soup and some banana fritters, which were lovely.

First of February today and its looking good so far.

For dinner we started with some Tesco's Sushi

then duck breasts for dinner, which was lovely.

Day 1860 (30/01/2015)

This was a long day as my flight left Abu Dhabi airport at 2:40am.

The flight was OK as I had front row seat so lots of room and slept for most of it.

The did supply a breakfast which was OK but had turkey bacon, which just didn't taste right, especially at whatever early hour it was.

Then we arrived at Heathrow at about 6:30am and thankfully the threatened snow hadn't arrived.

I was able to catch an earlier coach so was home before midday. If i make this journey again and I think I will, I shall probably use the coach again because as well as being cheaper than parking it was nice not to have to drive straight away after a flight.

It was great to be home, with my own bathroom and a nice bowl of porridge with a banana.

In the afternoon we were all at Mum & Dads for her birthday, having fish & chips and birthday cake.


Day 1859 (29/01/2015)

The course finished and seemed to go down well.

Quick thought on the toilets in Abu Dhabi and possibly in the Middle East.

Firstly I know lots of trendy pubs in the UK have strange signs for the Gents & Ladies but I noticed this in the hotels.

Also their toilets,  all of the ones I saw, had little shower attachments.

Things could have been worse, I still remember the open drain / sewer at the Police Academy in Sarajevo.

Looking forward to being back home.

Day 1858 (28/01/2015)

Wednesday and the course is still going well, though a 10 minute break is often a 30 minute break.

After the course I went to meet some people at The St. Regis Saadiyat Island, which was a lovely place.

The meeting was interesting and may mean I that I do more training around this part of the world. I would rather not but needs must.

I went for a walk along the beech, which was beautiful.

At least I could say that my desert boots have been in the desert, well nearly.

On the way back to my hotel I went to Ray's Grill at The Etihad Towers for a nice steak dinner on the 63rd floor over looking Abu Dhabi.

That was a lovely evening out.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Day 1857 (27/01/2015)

Day three of the course and its going OK.

I do struggle to get out of bed and down 8 floors by 9am, I can see that Thomas may take after me and his mother.

After the course I went for a relax by the pool but it was quite busy and I had to sit in the shade and it was quite cool but I stayed there reading my book.

In the evening I thought about going out but I got busy doing some stuff on my computer and in the end ordered room service.

Tomorrow evening I am meeting up with a local training provider in a nice hotel, so I will be seeing a bit of Abu Dhabi then.

Day 1856 (26/01/2015)

Day two of the course went well and I am where I hoped to be with the material.

We finished a bit earlier today and I went to sit by pool which was warmer than for the last few days. Yesterday I put my hand in the water and it was lovely and warm, very inviting, so I thought I would have a swim today, what a mistake the water was quite cold and came as quite a shock.

Everyone had been keeping on to me to see something of Abu Dhabi so I grabbed a taxi into the main town and had a wander around.

I ended up in a shopping mall that reminded me of Brighton's shopping mall apart from it didn't have a Lego Store. it had all the shops you would see in the UK plus ones for Porsche, Mercedes and all the expensive high class designers (that i don't wear),

I did buy something which took my fancy,

a hot chocolate and carrot cake which was lovely.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Day 1855 (25/01/2015)

The first day of the course went quite well. It was an impressive start as there were quite a few nice sandwiches and nibbles put out for us, so paying for breakfast would be a waste.

All 16 students turned up and were present all day, which isn't what others have had when they have done similar courses here. It might change tomorrow but everyone seemed interested and keen, so it could be a full week.

Unfortunately I'm not allowed to take any photographs at the course and I'm not allowed to ask what any of the students do. I might have posted some photographs without knowing this, so had to delete them after being contacted.

Lunch was at the all you can eat buffet restaurant, so I grabbed a bit of pizza and salad.

Afterwards I had an hour to relax by the pool before it got too cool & too dark.

In the evening I had a lovely Oriental Mixed Grill, which was very nice.

Followed by a posh banana split.

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Day 1854 (24/01/2015)

It was a bit late by the time I had done everything last night and went to bed, so I slept in this morning, waking about 9:30am but it was my one day off. Although the client has paid for the room they didn't pay for breakfast or any other meals, so there was no reason to rush this morning as I wasn't that hungry.

After getting showered I had a quick explore of the hotel checking out the gym & the pool. Then I went for a wander around the area, to see what was nearby. The first shock was a Premier Inn, I didn't expect to see one of them here.

As I am in the diplomatic quarter I passed a few embassies on my walk about.

Basically the whole area was dead, which may be because this is their Sunday but also because there is nothing here apart from the embassies, a few hotels and their National Exhibition Center. It is clean but dead, with a feel a bit like Tenerife but posher. It would be unfair to judge Abu Dhabi on this small area, a bit like judging Birmingham if you were stuck at the NEC.

I can't be bothered to wander further a field as apart from Ferrari World, the Grand Prix track and shopping malls there isn't a lot to see.

Although I did visit a nearby hotel, which has an 18 degree lean (apparently this is a record) and had a nice open balcony on the 18th floor (on the top of the white metal structure at the front of the hotel) which over looks Abu Dhabi, where I sat for a few hours with an iced lemon tea.

And then a prawn & smoked salmon lunch, which was very nice.

It was very nice and I might go back as it was quite posh. One thing to note is that all the hotels seem to have airport type security at the entrances, putting luggage thru x-ray machines and people thru metal detectors. The guards don't seem to be armed so this might just be for show to reassure the westerners that they are looking after us.

Back at my hotel I did some work in my room, where I noticed a marker in the ceiling to point which way is Mecca.

The telly is awful here, the one advantage of going to Eastern Europe is the telly is a lot better, for a number of reasons, one of them being that they have quite a few channels in English. But here it seems that 25% of the channels are currently showing stuff about the King of Saudi Arabia, with two sports channels about racing falcons and only a few channels in English, one being the BBC News. So I've taken to watching Richard Herring videos on YouTube and listening to Radio 2 & 6 on the iplayer.

I went to the gym for a short cycle and lifting a few weights, easing myself back into it after not going for over a week because of my cold, then went for a lie down by the pool, relaxing listening to some music.

I was only there for about an hour as sunset is at about 6pm and then it gets dark quite quick.

In the evening I went to one of the restaurant in the hotel as they had an all you could eat buffet.

It was OK but I probably wont bother again.

Friday, 23 January 2015

Day 1853 (23/01/2015)

The day started just before 2am, leaving home when it was -5 with the car already iced-up but by the time we got to the coach station it had warmed up to only -3.

Then it was on the coach and up to Heathrow, giving me the opportunity to sleep for a couple of hours on the journey.

We I got to Heathrow I had a few hours to kill but spent the time wisely by going to Gordon Ramsay's for a lovely smoked salmon & scrambled eggs.

The other reason for spending time at Gordon Ramsay's is that it means you can use their lovely toilets and I have now reached an age where I appreciate nice toilets. In fact, whilst others go away and look forward to sleeping in their own bed upon their return; for me when I've been away I often look forward to being able to sit on my own toilet.

The plane was comfortable but we were delayed for over an hour as the walkway was stuck and so we couldn't move until engineers arrived from the walkway company.

I slept on and off, in-between eating and drinking, it was chicken curry for lunch with a nice white wine.

I also watched a few films.

At Abu Dhabi there was a Gold Plated Porsche in the airport, truly the home of tasteless excess.

The hotel seems quite nice and my room is very nice.

But I was fairly tired when I arrived, so had a chicken burger delivered to my room, watched a few Richard herrings videos on YouTube then went to bed.