Going home

Its been almost a year now when I landed in Dubai airpot the first time. One year contains a lot - new experiences, new people, new discoveries, new places, enhanced understandings. Things I've discovered about myself and things that have changed in me. "Life changing experience" is what AIESEC is saying about living and working abroad experience. Do I agree? I think I do. My horizons have broadened and I see the world differently in many ways. My self-reflection increased tremendously. I think when one is trying to figure out their place under the sun, to find out who they really are and what are they looking for in life then going away from your everyday surroundings - out of your comfort zone - helps a lot in this sense. I know myself, my personal mission and aspirations way better know. I think this is also largely because it was my main goal for going abroad and I never stoped pursuing this goal. If anyone wants to figure out what to do with their lives, I suggest going abroad for at least 6 months. Only those who seek will find.

A lot has changed, but at the same time - so many things are still the same. Most probably I will understand better what has changed and what not when I go home in 3 days, when I can observe the everyday life, my home, my friends... I think I will understand better then.

Back in Dubai on the 9th.
Picture: my first day in Dubai

Happy birthday to me!

Yay me! I'm a year older now. Last year on my birthday I was convinced and told everybody I'd back be in Estonia by Midsummer's Day (Jaanipäev). Well, I was wrong and ended up having my first birthday indoors, not on my real day and without bonfire in the last 10 years. But it was a really cool party and was great to see most of the people follow the theme: white! We also set a new Guiness record by having the most estonians (12!) in the same room in Dubai!:)

Some random pics from the party:

You should cut your hair

Because it just feels so good! What I like about cutting hair in Dubai is that every time you also get a head massage (according to my experience). Doesn't matter if its a very cheap or a fancier place, I've got my massage every time. So I suggest you all to cut your hair. Feels so good!

Real24.ae in the news

Yesterday on my way to another business meeting I got a phonecall, just when I got into a taxi. Call from Estonia's main business newspaper. I was told they found me (us) from my blog.

The result you can see here (those who can read estonian):

Fun with Dick and Jane...

..was fun, but I'm having way more fun with Peep. My name, that is. People just can't figure out what my name is. Even people close to me can't pronounce it the way it really is (I'm told I cannot say their names perfectly as well though). Mostly its sounds like Phep or smth.

When I do my business calls and introduce myself, the fun with secretaries never ends. Sorry what was your name again? Could you repeat that? Pete? Beth? Pet? And I'm stubborn usually, I repeat it as my name really is. Then I help them out and spell it Portugal-Europe-Europe-Portugal. Just today when I did that the secretary's reaction was nice.

"OH, its Peep (Piip)!?"
"...Yes" (Having given up on educating her about the real pronouncation)
"Hahahahahahahah! Hahah! What a cool name!"

Since my colleagues are Janek and Meelis, they have fun with their names as well. At least I'm not alone in this!

Nothing is for free

World cup! Football mania is also in Dubai. Everything else is like I'm used to when the world cup is on, but this time one thing is different. Here you have to pay to see it! ART bought the exclusive TV rights for the whole Middle East and are making everyone pay.

I checked with a cable TV to get the package that has the relevant sports channel - and I was told I have to pay 500 dirhams extra (1750 eek) to get that channel. A friend of mine also heard about fees higher than 1000 dirhams at some company. Ridicoulous!

All the pubs, shisha cafes and restaurants that want to show the matches live had to acquire a special license which costs like 10,000 USD. Therefore places have entrance fees or a minimum charge. The only free places are those which took the illegal way and show UK or I don't know which channels - illegally. I read from a newspaper that those companies will get heavily fined.

Okay I understand that ART wants to earn money - but couldn't they just sell air time for commercials? There's a huge crowd watching the games live all over Middle East, for sure companies would invest. Why make the fans suffer? This sucks.


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Oman, again

Oman was nice as always, I like it a lot. We had a group of 4 - me, Sarah, Shady, Holly.

This was my first time in Oman in the summertime - and I have to say its not pleasant at all! Oman has always been hotter than Dubai and the sun more aggressive (can get a sunburn in 20 min), but this time it was way more. Didn't measure the temperature, but for sure it was around 50 degrees - just killer hot. When the wind was blowing it felt the same when you open the oven door and hot air strikes you in the face. It was just way too hot. I made a 3-4 minute phonecall from a payphone and got all sweaty within this time. Being outside during the daytime is next to unbearable. Humans were not meant to live in this area, at least not during the summer. Stay outside too long and you die. Without water you're a deadman in no time.

We stopped at an outdoor shisha cafe around 8 when it was already dark and sun had set, but it was still so hot. One of us got sick because of the heat. You just gotta stay indoors all the time. AC is everybody's best friend.

When we were about to leave on Sunday afternoon, I got to know that my new employment visa is not ready yet (although I was promised it will be ready by Saturday) and I can't go back to Dubai. So I stayed alone for 1 more day in Oman. As I couldn't really go around because of the heat (still took a small walk in the evening) I stayed in the hotel most of the time. Next day I killed time until it was 4pm and I could start by journey back to Dubai by bus. Meanwhile my phone battery died.

When I reached the border of UAE my boss was there to greet me and tell me the news - "you have to head back, visa won't be ready before tomorrow". Nice. No car, no bus, no taxi. So I started to hitchhike - and luckily already second car stopped and I was on my way.

The driver was an omani guy, a vegetable trader who couldn't speak much english. So we conversed just a little bit. He had toothache, I had aspirin. Next town (Sohar) was 100km away and he dropped me there to a hotel. There I discovered that its ridicoulosly expensive, so I decided to find a taxi and try my luck with the other hotel (the town only had 2). This was luckily cheaper and even more luckily for me I got the last vacant room.

Next day I started to hitchhike back to the UAE border, but nobody stopped for like 20 minutes. So I took the decision to take a taxi before the sun would suck the life out of me and so it was. Paid the biggest taxi bill of my life, but at least I'm still alive! On the border I met my boss who was there with my visa and so yesterday afternoon I made it back to Dubai.

Life's an adventure!

Taking a break

Going to Oman for the weekend to recharge my batteries. See you next week.