Sunday, December 30, 2007

Another Day

Well, I did prepare for this. Long before the first time I left for Dubai. That Christmas isn't going to be the same as back in our country. There would be work although some companies celebrate the holidays.

But I still find it strange to see christmas trees and santa clauses on window displays. It's not that I didn't want to see them here, it's just that I wasn't expecting that it would be allowed here in the first place. And the whole idea makes me think. What are those for? To attract shoppers? I mean, I don't expect them to really get the meaning of these christmas symbols. Maybe that's why I do not get the reason why they do it here.

Anyway, we were supposed to have our Noche Buena. Mimi, CIndy and I cooked spaghetti and inihaw na liempo. But unfortunately, not everyone made it because they went home late as they were required to work late. But anyway, the spirit was there, as in where the spirit of christmas should be... in our hearts.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

First Day

this is technically the first day that the pinay that i relieved wouldn't be here. by this time, she should be there in the philippines starting her month-long vacation. i'd be in charge of basically her monrning tasks and afterwards, i am off to my own post. i am seeing that there would be a lot of changes at the company at the turn of the year. my boss is looking into a lot of good things happening and i would be very glad to be a part of it. i am hoping that everything would work out good.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007



Monday, December 24, 2007

Bus Tales

there's not much commuters today... or is it because i got up a little earlier than usual? i got the bus exactly at the time i was expecting it and was waiting for the next bus to my office when i encountered a kabayan. she was asking me if the bus we will be riding will pass by the murruqabat police station and i said yes.

she asked if she can sit beside me and i nodded. she said she's going to the dubai hospital because her friend died last night, and they were looking into asking for autopsy if that would be possible. she said that her friend just complained of pain in the stomach accompanied by vomitting, which is something that she never experienced before. the doctor diagnosed cyst in the ovary and the patient would be under observation to find out if she would respond to medications. unfortunately, she was told that she had to be operated, and the patient conceded. after the operation, she was transferred directly to the ICU and was declared dead two days after.

the patient is on visit visa, therefore, they cannot ask any assitance from the phil embassy or consulate. she's been on visit visa for a year working on part-time basis. but she was supposed to be issued a residence visa this coming saturday. my bus seatmate said that the deceased is kind and hard-working, and that she jsut wasn't given a chance. these words hit me... how many kabayans are here who are just as hard-working and kind as she is, but not given a chance?

Sunday, December 9, 2007

My Fortress


I had a very good sleep last night, probably because of the fact that I wouldn't be worrying about job hunting anymore. This time, I think I deserve a break so I decided to go to my favorite place here. I left our house at about 12 and took me about 20 minutes of waiting before bus number 3 finally came. Since it was about time for me to get a monthly bus card, I went straight to the Bur Dubai station. This is actually where one can start walking along the creek. But there was an entry point that I discovered today. The view of the creek is actually breath-taking. You can see the life of people here in Dubai. This creek divides Dubai and an abra (what they called the boat transport) is what you take to cross the creek to get you to the city center. A bus ride would actually take about 15 minutes and can take even an hour if there's heavy traffic. But a ride on an abra would take about five minutes and you get to have a feel of Dubai's culture.

There's actually a painter who had an exhibit in an art gallery where my room mate used to work. The artist is Niamh Cunningham and the gallery's name is Art Attack. I am not sure if you can have a glimpse at the gallery's website on the works of Cunningham but let me link you to it by clicking here. You might think that my succeeding photos are inspired by this. Actually, half no and half yes. If you would visit this link, you would find out that I tried taking some photos from the creek during one of my previous visits. But I do love this place and would want to discover it more. Now, I am sharing you pictures I have taken today.

Another Abra trip is a fall I had while walking towards the creek side. I fell on my hands while walking the uneven side walk and it wasn't really that bad. The thing was no one even helped me stood up. I was on my hands and was helping myself o get up and there were a lot of passersby. But, I do not find this strange. Because I take it that it might be a part of their culture not to touch ladies that are not related to them. There weren't any Filipinos around so no Kabayan was there that would help me stand for sure. So, off I go to walk again and the pain was gone after a while.

This was the point that I discovered today. It served as a resting place I guess for tired people or for some who are just letting the time pass by. For the tourist, I guess this is the starting point where you would see a large part of the creek.

This is what you'll see across that park. I am not really sure what's on this side of the creek but I plan to go there one of these days, probably not soon but I will, and hopefully with her.

This is an abra with a restaurant on board. You can take a two-hour trip on this boat for I think Dhs 150 which includes the food. I planned to go here when Sky visited here but unfortunately, the weather at that time was too hot for the both of us to handle.

As you walk along the creek, you'll see birds feeding on the shore. I know that these are doves but I do not quite know what were those white birds called. I find this view very relaxing.

The following photos are different views, angles of the creek and the abras. You will see the abras cross their paths as they make their way to and from each side of the creek. As Cunningham said in her exhibit, 'In Vivo - The Creek Series': "the term IN VIVO is the study of something within a living organism. For me that living organism is the Creek… of life and its activities within an urban setting of present day Dubai."

On the pictures below, the twin towers are called the Rolex towers. I have seen post cards of these towers. I guess it used to be one of Dubai's famous landmarks.

Also, one of those that I missed on my first trip here was the activities that happen along the creek. I didn't know that there were restaurants that thrive on the side of the creek and the view is also rather amazing. I've tried to peek at one of the resto's menu but I am quite apprehensive since I think it's mostly Arabic food on the list. It's not that I don't want to try. I just think that maybe not now.

Also, aside from the food, they also have sheesha as part of their tourist attraction. I was lucky at this time because the guy who makes the sheehsas was kind enough to pose for me.

Then, a few more yards would lead you to the old souk (market). This is my favorite place because it is rich with their culture. You will find here anything Arab. Since it soon would be winter, shawls and other winter clothes are on display and I think on sale. I was offered a shawl for as low as Dhs10. one of the rare crafts I saw is this man in the picture below. I think he is the only one who offers this service. I am not sure though if he makes sandals or just repairs broken ones. I believe it is one of the local crafts because I have seen a waxed image of craftsmen like him at the Dubai Museum.

The overall structure of this place is very much like the one you can find at the gold souk just across the creek. I am fascinated by the concept of the façade. You won't see this anymore anywhere else in Dubai. I think I feel like it is here where time stood still in Dubai. With all those high-rising, high-tech buildings I normally see on the streets, this is where I find the culture intact and retained.

Dubai continues to build. You can see constructions almost everywhere you look. There are still a lot of upcoming projects that right now are already remarkable though yet to be seen. At present, it houses the world's tallest building, the Burj Dubai standing at almost 180 meters high. I can't help but feel overwhelmed every time I see it, in almost every place here that I go to. But in spite of all this, I can't help but feel awe in this place that seems so serene, so laid back, so preserved. I guess they choose to preserve time here. And this is where you can get as close to their culture.

I find tranquility and peace whenever I am here in this place. Even though the buildings amaze me that God has given talents to those people who built it, I still feel closer to Him whenever I visit this place where I feel so close to him, and I am thankful that I have found such a place in this country.

I wonder if this man feels the same way I do…

Or if this local misses the way things used to be; or wishes that things stay the same (at least in this place called Abra) after all those development and changes that are happening in his country.

05 December 2007

Abu Dhabi

5 December 2007


It takes almost exactly two hours from Dubai. It was a public transport but I guess there's not much of a difference with private transport. It's actually the first time I rode the bus since I got here this November. The first time I went out of the community where I live. Not much adjustments since everything is already kind of familiar. But the bus is something new, at least to me. The monitor overhead shows the time of the day and the succeeding stops. I guess this is intended for people (and I guess there are a lot of them here) who are not very familiar with the bus routes.

I didn't know that Abu Dhabi is actually the capital of the seven emirates until just recently. Ever since I learned about this, I keep on wondering why it seems (at least based on what I know) that Dubai is more popular than A.D. This is the time to find it out, I guess.

I had the opportunity to take pictures from the bus. On the way, I couldn't help but notice the mosques that sprawl at the sides of the highway. I guess it's true that the UAE's dream (if they haven't yet accomplished) is to have mosques every 500 meters. I tried to take as many pictures of mosques as I could (was hard since the bus is moving at an average of 60kph) and I chose this as the best of them.

Below, I have this picture below that amazes me in some way. I am still wondering whether it's the sun or the moon that I captured here. It was 1 in the afternoon and it was hard to conclude which of them is this. You might have conclusions of your own… please let me know.

Anyway, this trip is both pleasure and business. Joyce has been inviting me since day 1 on my first trip here but I kept on holding it for later until there was no time because I've gotten a very demanding job. This time, I promised myself that I'd see her as soon as I can by the time I get back. And I did. It is very reassuring that these friends I have (like her) calls me almost every day to make sure that things are okay on my side. So, we did schedule the trip in time for her second kid's first birthday, and we did it a week earlier. This gave me enough time to entertain interviews in time for my trip. That way, no time is wasted. But as I said, I guess I wasn't lucky enough but it's okay. I guess things are not meant to be.

I didn't have the opportunity to take pictures until a few days after. I had two interviews Wednesday and Joyce is busy with her work and at the same time preparing last-minute tasks for the occasion. It was Thursday when she finally took me to a trip I guess to the most popular landmark of A.D. - the Emirates Palace.

Yes, the pictures are the best I have right now. We are in her car and we couldn't make the stop we wanted to make pictures. But that's okay. I know that in my mind, I have a picture of what I've seen and it would stay there. People say that this is the seven-star hotel of A.D. to match or rival Dubai's Burj al Arab. They say that there are rooms here that have gold ornaments and what-nots that's why access to it very restricted. From where I've been, the palace is not as high as the Burj al Arab but the land area it occupies is really huge. And the structure is really amazing.

From what I saw, I think there is no point of comparison between the Emirates Palace and the Burj al Arab. They are both breath-taking structures that continue to fascinate me. They are both a beauty in their own ways. An imagination brought to life; a dream that is realized.

The corniche (this is what the road by the sea or shore is called) is also amazing. It was a park that is so peaceful and the view is spectacular. Funny thing is, I have been taking a lot of sunsets recently and this trip was also during sunset so I had a glimpse of A.D.'s setting sun. Yes, the sun isn't here anymore, but I guess I still captured the feeling.

I gave this post the title Abu Dhabi I because I am hoping to go back again whenever I will have the chance. Yes, I found out that A.D. is a nice place. It is true that it is laid back, quiet, clean - a lot different from Dubai. I'd probably take a job here in the future when opportunity allows me.

Another Day

04 December 2007


Or so I thought…

I got a call yesterday and was scheduled for an interview at 4p.m. earlier today. I wasn't expecting much since the first time I was here in Dubai, I went into a series of interviews that came out with nothing. It's not that I am complaining, it's just the way it is. They'll call you and talk to you and that' basically the process. So, I just went there since I didn't have anything to do today.

But it's different. I got to like the post and it seems that the interviewer which is one of the owners and the other one is the director seem to have liked me. It is an insurance brokerage but I am not required to sell. Some office work, telemarketing, and chances to sell… no pressure, no quotas, weekly nor monthly. I took the job. I am to start on the 22nd of this month having the starting salary that I got from my last job, and an opportunity for a raise if and when I get regularize after about a month. Good deal for me.

My room mates were kind of surprised that I walked that segment I did. They say it was far. I said I used to walk there every now and then back when I was till looking for a job in April. So, it's nothing new, and it is never that far to me. This time, it still isn't and I still plan to walk it when I start working.

On my way down (since I am more relaxed on my way up and kinda anxious about what's going to happen on the next few minutes) I noticed the elevator sign. I guess it is because I was on this ride alone and had to push the buttons. Also, I feel uneasy and I sometimes get claustrophobic and altophobic (fear of heights???) and I am not really comfortable on lifts. But this is kinda funny. This lift has 0 for the ground floor, and I am thinking that maybe -1 is for lower ground or parking… LOL…

I went home about 4.30, good thing since rush hour is still about an hour away. The bus took a shorter route which I believe is an order from the hierarchy since rush hour is soon. I was kinda apprehensive that it wouldn't go back to the route that is familiar to me and I'd get lost. So, I had to be more watchful of the buildings for landmarks that are already familiar to me. I finally saw this landmark, my landmark that I am near. We had to wait for green. While waiting and kinda gazing at the building to make sure it is indeed my landmark, the sun caught my eye. I hope it catches yours, too.

*The sun is at the top of the furthest traffic light, and seems to be just an image on the wall of the building. It is actually just a reflection on the windshield of the bus.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Sunsets and Insights

25 November 2007


My trip to Abu Dhabi has been reset a day earlier. I was supposed to go there on Wednesday but since I was scheduled for an interview on this same day, I decided to go a day early so that I'd be fresh (lol) for the meeting.

On my way home, I decided to go to Coop to buy milk and bread for breakfast. I bade hi to one of our kabayans who works there as a sales assistant selling corns. I learned that she used to stay on the bed I occupy now, so I kinda like the idea that she used to stay with the people I stay with now. I got there while she was talking to someone. We were introduced and I learned that this other kabayan has just been here for a week and is also looking for a job.

As we speak, I learned that she doesn't even have a mobile number here. Learning that she doesn't have one sounds rather odd to me. How can you sell yourself and make others reach you if you don't even have one? After some time, I must have convinced here that she in fact needed one. SIM cards are not available in Coop we learned, and the nearest supermarket where we can find one is kinda far. The sales attendant informed us that it was Dhs6 riding a cab (flag down is Dhs3.50) and walking would take some time. Kabayan begged me to accompany her if I didn't have anything to do. I submitted since I know how she feels being a week old in a place that is entirely new. I must admit that I, too suffered from some sort of culture shock the first time I got here.

We started to walk and talk. We found out that we are both from Laguna although she's from a different town. Then, as always, I couldn't resist taking a picture of things that catch my eye.

(Then, not far from my last stop, the sun caught my eye again. This time, I think I like it where it was. She even offered to take my picture. But I said no, it's the view that I am really looking at.)

On my way home alone, I realized that we saw the same sunset. But we looked at it in two different perspectives. None of neither is better... nor worse. For tomorrow, we'd still have one sun rising on the east, and it's still up to each of us how we make use of the light it gives to strengthen our hopes and our dreams. To take a chance and look at it at a different perspective, hoping that this time it's better, stronger.

(Then, not far from my last stop, the sun caught my eye again. This time, I think I like it where it was. She even offered to take my picture. But I said no, it's the view that I am really looking at.)

On my way home alone, I realized that we saw the same sunset. But we looked at it in two different perspectives. None of neither is better... nor worse. For tomorrow, we'd still have one sun rising on the east, and it's still up to each of us how we make use of the light it gives to strengthen our hopes and our dreams. To take a chance and look at it at a different perspective, hoping that this time it's better, stronger.


03 December 2007


I am finally back in Dubai. I just checked my last post and I think there is something wrong. I promise I'll try to make corrections as soon as I can. The trip was fun and at the same time I got to go into two offices. The first interview was quite nonsense and we applicants thought they just wasted our time because they could have just asked us to send our CVs through e-mail or fax. The other one was postponed to a latter time that same day because of a management meeting. By the time he had the time, I was told that they were just informed during the meeting that they do not need anyone in that position at the moment and would by first week of January. Since that was an appointment, the interviewer was professional enough to apologize for that and I think he was sincere.

I did take a few pictures but would upload it before the week ends.

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