Tuesday, April 21, 2009

off to dubai-4

in dubai......
1 - weather is hot. humid.  and i learned that when it's cold. it's really cold. ergo, weather is extreme.
2 - having your own car is helpful to go around the city.  public transport is only bus or by taxi.  their buses are not so frequent and not that efficient.  they don't have subways or train stations.  it will only be available later this year.
3 - there are no poor locals.  no local holds a blue-collar job.  everytime i see a woman dressed in abaya, i would think, "this girl is rich".  and when i would see a woman covered in abaya from head to foot, face included, i would say to myself "this married woman is rich" hehehe they said that only their husbands can see their faces.
4 - a lot of construction is going on.   i dont know if many were suspended due to the crisis.
5 - even husband and wife are discouraged to be 'affectionate' in public.  no holding hands even.
6 - pakistani men likes boys... nyahahaha

an indoor life-size aquarium inside DUBAI MALL, the biggest (but unfinished) in dubai
sand everywhere.. scenery before our DUNE BASHING...
we had to fill up before THE ride...
articulated bus as means of transport
palm trees?  inside dxb international airport

Monday, April 20, 2009

off to dubai-3

the next days, we joined a tour - DHOW cruise and DESERT safari.  it was Good Friday, and to attend to our duties, we heard mass in the lone Catholic Church in the vicinity - St Mary's Catholic Church.  it was hot and humid and most of all, crowded.  good thing there was this adjacent basketball court to cater to the throngs of people.
the DHOW and ABRA (water taxi) both traverse the dubai creek.  the former is a sailing vessel used by earlier settlers as means of trade (for dates and fish) while the ABRA is a means of transportation to avoid traffic congestion in the major bridges of the city. now, the DHOW is used for tourism to let visitors enjoy the view from the creek. the cruise, which lasts for 2 hours includes dinner with a view.  but, im not sure i enjoyed the food though. hehehe
DESERT safari includes hotel pickup, dune bashing, henna tattooing, abaya photo op, belly dancing show and dinner.  food was better here.  i love the arabic bread and the BBQ chicken. realized i dont have the taste for lamb, mutton BBQ.

our campsite area

i was soooo relieved to finally get to our destination because the DUNE BASHING is taking its toll on me.  after the first half of being tossed left and right, up and down my seat in the car, i felt a bit nauseous already.  the 3 of us rode at the back and even with my seatbelt on, i couldnt stop myself from bumping with others.  it was more than a roller coaster ride, more than i could take! hahaha at least for a theme park ride, it only lasted for a few minutes but this one... takes you on what seems like FOREVER!  i grew quiet as time went, coz im not feeling good anymore.  thank goodness, before i even reached my limit, we reached the campsite.  boy, was i so thankful.  however, i was too drained to even ride the camel (kaya pichur nalang) and try the sheesha.  
during the latter part of dinner, of course there was belly dancing... and more dancing.  i prayed we didnt have to endure that same dune bashing experience coz it was already night time and drivers wouldn't dare under such situation... but no! they still opted for one last hurrah... good thing, it lasted only a minute plus the paved road is actually nearby.  whew!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

off to dubai-2

dubai international airport reminds me of singapore.  i guess, it's because of the print of the carpet(?), the size of the arrival area, and the enclosed seating area in the boarding gate.  noticeable too, is the palm tree(?) indoor.  it was 5am when we arrived so we lingered a little in the airport, got a cab and checked in at 7am in at the hotel apartment in bur dubai. 
we ate breakfast, rested then headed out to meet rose.  we also met with gcel and jobert.  super thanks to them we have transportation to go around.  if not, we would've taken the cab from one place to another.  i learned that you CANNOT just walk, even if it SEEMS near, in the map.  dubai is nOt a walkable city, in that sense.  of course, the tour wouldn't be complete without the classic backdrop... BURJ AL ARAB, the 7-star hotel.  
went to SOUK MADINAT, a sosy tiangge nearby. but we still had to take the car.  saw some souvenir items.  i was warned not to buy coz cheaper stuff can be bought elsewhere.  and true enough, we found affordable items in KARAMA, ala divi in pinas.  we had dinner in MALL OF THE EMIRATES.  visited the SKI DUBAI for some photo op.  haha and while walking around, window shopping, rose, jobert and gcel were surprised to see a familiar face - sheik MAKTOUM.  (i hope i got the name right.)  he's the highest ruler in dubai and the 2nd highest in the UAE.  
after dinner, we headed to JUMEIRAH Beach residences (where gcel's office is) for coffee.  shempre, starbucks. hehehe from here, we can get a glimpse of ATLANTIS, another star hotel in dubai located in PALM JUMEIRAH, this is the reclaimed area built to be a luxurious residential area because you can have your very own.... beachfront! right!

after some catching up, jobert and gcel dropped us at our hotel.  kahiya, coz it was already late and momi gcel and her baby are still up. hehe but anyways... thanks soo much!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

off to dubai-1

our midnight flight to dxb gave me enough time to work in the morning, go home, get my stuff and head to the airport to meet my bro, who flew in from manila. we checked in online to at least guarantee that we'd be sitting beside each other. checking in cathay was a breeze. immigration, customs are not a problem. i prepared my documents just in case i would be held for questioning. bro was stalled in NAIA for some time (good thing he was in the airport early). there was this visa checker making sure all necessary papers are available. she asked why bro only have the photocopy of the visa... and why he was issued that type of visa. she even showed sample visa papers from previous passengers.  bro called my sis in dubai to clear up the misunderstanding.  eventually, the visa checker conceded, "sige sir, kayo na po bahala sa immigration dyan sa papers nyo".  uhm, of course, who else would take care of it?!  so off he went to immigration... not even one question!  

transit in HK
fast forward to meeting in hk international airport... bro was still fuming about his encounter at the NAIA.  hahaha i got a bit naririndi over his repeated rants and so we just opted to eat and googled the directions to our hotel.  finally, boarding time!  

the flight lasted for about 9 hours, arriving dubai at 5am.  i wasnt bored coz there are a lot of things to keep you busy just with the cabin entertainment.  i just found it hard to fully rest by just sitting.  but that didnt stop me from being excited to explore.  we hailed an airport taxi to go to the hotel.  the drive was a sight to see with wide, clean roads and architectural structures, which i later learned are malls. hahaha  now, that's interesting.  so much to explore, so little time.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

getting ready for dxb

i've been trying to go home early the past 2 days to prepare for my holy week sojourn.  i seem to always find ways to buy things especially when im going for a trip.  why can't i just buy them way before and not cram the shopping in a few days?!?!  hmm.. i guess that's the fun part of it.  knowing i can buy with just a wave of the plastic, rationalizing that i NEED that item, more than WANTING it. hahaha in a span of 2 days, i managed to buy a luggage bag, sturdy and classic-looking enough.  i bought this gray, echolac bag with lock.  it's on sale in JUSCO but still a little expensive than the pierre cardin, elle bags on display.  i opted for this coz it looks classy (hindi pala classic hahaha) and strong for me to carry around or should i say, whenever i happen to lazily transport it on a plight of stairs thus, bumping it's wheels, scratching its body on the ground.  i also bought some pistachios, which my sis loves so much.  bought some HK pasalubong to my fwends in the hopes that they'll like it.  hehehe gotta travel light!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

outbound this holy week

finally!  we got our travel visas already.  this travel plan was in the works for a month now, and at last, things are actually happening.  we're a little apprehensive in getting our visas denied coz we passed incomplete requirements and the guy from the hotel sponsoring is not so optimist.  no thanks to him.  he said if we can't get ALL the requirements by that day, we might as well postpone our trip.  i just think he wants to rush us for our own good.  so now... i gotta prepare for the 5-day trip.  plus buy some stuff, etc... just need to remember to spend within my limit.  i CANNOT go beyond, as the airfare and hotel alone is enough to max out my credit.  hahaha i just like to think that this is my way of helping the economy - by spending!  something good will come out of it.. even not for me hahaha 

Saturday, April 4, 2009

meeting with other expats

got back from a geoexpat language exchange meeting.  it's just a casual meetup with a little english-cantonese exchange.  i mean "little" coz it's not really a formal lesson.  besides, i don't even have a pen and paper to write down notes! haha i organized the meetup mainly to meet people and get a few cantonese expressions.  we're 5 in the group, just enough to talk with everyone.  met with 2 aussies and 2 chinese (1 local and 1 UK-bred).  that leaves me - a filipino.  we met in starbucks ferry pier (i was late!) and headed off to IFC for dinner.  i forgot the chinese restaurant.  but it was good.  i was expecting it was expensive, but it wasn't.  we sat and talked for 3 hours.  nothing very formal learning.  there's this one guy though, that kept on mentioning to me why i DONT have a plan.  i didnt realize i HAVE to have one.  i merely wanted to meet casually and talk.  turns out that he's quite a veteran with these eyeballs cum meetings and every time, the event organizer ALWAYS has a plan, itinerary for those joining.  well, i guess my plan was simply to go with what others would like and not impose.  simply put, we decided right there and it turned out fine for my "first time".  

Friday, April 3, 2009

work. work. work

thank God it's finally weekend.  time to bum around!  suffice to say, i was a little stressed with meetings, project launch and some misunderstanding with the big boss.  the latest had me most tired and dazed.  it was morning and im in our head office for a meeting.  just as i got in the meeting room, my immediate boss handed me the phone with big boss on the other line.  he lashed out "where are you?" and i answered i'll be in a meeting in a few minutes.  he asked me the status of a project, and he was expecting me to be in our data center for another meeting.  we talked the night before, told me about meeting to decide the direction for the project.  i didnt realize that it will have to be FIRST thing in the morning to discuss with the related parties.  i only have one hour meeting and i'll be back.  guess i didnt realize the urgency.  coz i was thinking, i can work from head office, call our vendors and handle it accordingly.  i told this to him.  so we were on the phone, and he's asking me what to do next.  i told him that i will call some people first, investigate the problem further and report to him our action plan.  i cannot just decide and tell him what went wrong without going to the root of it.  after what seem to be endless calls between developers and users, i called him and told him that by 10:30am the system would be up and running either by fixing the problem or doing rollback.  to make the story shorter... it did resume to normal.  

return to data center
it seems there was a scene that morning.. that big boss was looking for me.. disappointed why i was nowhere to be found.  my colleague even said that he sat in my area and threw a pen on my desk.  huwatt?!?!?!  he missed me THAT much?  i was relieved that i didnt have to witness this first hand, if this is even true. hahaha  it's good that im kinda used to him when he's frustrated with something.  i will just post my most stoic face and answer back in honesty about the status of the problem and the resolution.  i guess he's also being pressured that's why he's just gotta share it with others. hehehe  what i learned about this job also is that, since we're on the system side, we'll never really know the gravity of the problem of a user unless we're in their situation.  say, a customer inquiry screen is hanging, in the middle of dealing with a customer, or a loan application is missing when a client is asking for the status... geez! too bad for front staff... worse for system people, i guess.  i try to do multitasking, but sometimes it just fails as you lose focus on other tasks at hand.  

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

april 1

first... a shoutout to my cousin across the seas... 

H A P P Y   B I R T H D A Y   R O N A !!!  *power hugs*

not fooling around with that. hehehe  hmm... so, what's up with today?  hang on.. another 'uninteresting' story ahead.  went to work a little early to check on our project deployment.  seems ok... but of course, we wouldn't know UNTIL transactions come in and we're really live.  i'm constantly on the lookout for issues from users via email, phone call.  questions from peers about this and that.  it's kinda exhausting even sitting down at my desk.   1 incident left hanging and we have to decide on it the next day - to rollback or not..   (i hope not)