Day 5/6/7: Notebook, Pictures

I started and finished this post differently twice – on two different computers – but each time, I was interrupted before I could make up my mind enough to post. One of those interruptions however resulted in me having bought a brand new notebook πŸ˜‰ so I guess I can’t complain much. It’s an HP Pavilion DV4000 – Centrino 1.7G, 512M shared, a 15.4” widescreen that makes for some wacky resolutions (1280×800), a DVD/CD-Writer Combo, a 5-in-1 card reader, Wireless, Bluetooth, Network card, a dialup modem and more :-). For the price (3600Dhs) it’s the best config Dad and I found, and aside from the very slight niggle of it not having a DVD-Writer, I find it increasingly amazing.

If you haven’t owned a notebook (or I imagine, a manufacturer’s PC) like I have, it’s great to note the increasing level of ties software has with the OS as opposed to a hand assembled PC. I switched it on, and an HP welcome screen popped up, asking me which version of the OS I’d like installed (Arabic or English) and then it proceeded to install not only the OS, but also every other driver required for the myriad of devices bundled. It also popped in Service Pack 2, more updates, Norton Internet Security, and even installed a DVD decoder. In effect, it has a more useable default configuration, but it was a bit bloated, though that was easily remedied by tidying up XP home. πŸ™‚ The other major goodie that I bought was an Aircard PCMCIA card with GPRS/GSM support… I’ll elaborate later the huge plans I have for that baby.

I’m not writing more about Dubai today (LOTS to write). Instead, because of the card reader I have now, I’ll post some of the pictures that I took over here. Go back to my earlier posts, and see them become a wee bit more magical now πŸ™‚

Day 3/4: Water, pictures, blue eyes, traffic & more

The water over here is scaldingly hot. Ironically enough, the tap that’s marked ‘hot’ dribbles in really cold water when I take my bath late at night. Dad tells me that’s because nobody bothers to heat the water in the overhead tank, and by night, it cools down a bit :-).

For the commenter who asked for pictures of my stay, alas I didn’t bring my cam cable. I’ve taken dozens of pics, but can upload nothing until I reach home. A grevious error that I regret, if not for the perky what-do-you-imagine-them-to-be. I’d also stopped writing Anaka’s story, and had begun a prequel… perhaps I’ll post what I’ve written one of these days. πŸ™‚

Something wacky about yesterday: Dad’s friend, Savad uncle, has an optical shop, and he had a few test pieces of contacts lying around. Guess what? I picked blue. Blue eyes look really cool on me, if I say so myself. πŸ˜€

Blue eyes, me

What can I say about the rest of these two days? I’ve settled into a routine which goes something like this: wake up nine-ish, drink chocolate milk, plug into the computer while I munch on something or the other, and spend time on it until ten or eleven. Mostly I just talk to my friends and get my regular whiff of the net, and then it’s time to venture out a bit. Yesterday I went for a haircut… it’s 10Dhs (~120 Rupees) out here, but the guy spent a lot of time on my hair poking and shaping it around. After that, lunch, and then a thorough sleeping session till around five, five-thirty. Eat again, and go out with mom and dad, to places with funny names like “Lulu” and corny ones like “City Center”, and amazing out-of-the-world shops and very obliging female shopkeepers ;-). Let’s just say I have a blast. Back to having a huge dinner, and then by around eleven, twelve, I’ve hit the sack.

Dubai follows the American lane-system of traffic regulation. It’s pretty amazing to watch brash Malayalees who honk and yell at everything in sight back home meekly put on indicators to switch lanes. Many are amazingly aggressive drivers, and handle the system like they were born into it. The entire length of the city is around 60kms (it’s small :-D), but to travel from one end to the other at peak hours takes around one to two hours, it’s that congested. The entire road system is pretty amazing though, mile long tunnels, and sweet traffic lights that work by activators on the road and all, but it makes no sense to me… cars seem to go this way and that following an entirely different set of rules. I’m pretty sure though that anybody who’s driven here all er life would shudder in horror at having to drive back home, but it’s debateable as to which system is better. An ad-hoc system works for some people πŸ™‚

Later. Lots more isolated islands of thoughts to divulge, but I prefer a proper beginning and end. Next time perhaps πŸ™‚

Day 1/2: Hot, Pretty, Fake

There is a reason Dubai is called the other kochu Keralam. Every other person – from the airport trolley handler, to the taxi driver to shopkeepers to the man on the street has that undefinable but immediately recognizable Malayalee twang. My dad says locals (local Arabs that is, because in my books, many of these Malayalees deserve to be branded that) have taken over a lot of the routine business out here, and because of that, this proliferation has reduced somewhat. As some of my friends back in Kerala (ex-Dubai-ites) would attest, it was indeed a Malayalee who taught the Sheikh English. πŸ™‚

It’s hot out here… you wouldn’t believe how hot. I flew in by Air India Express (IX) – the airline created out of tiny morsels that its parent, Air India, threw out to fill that niche of the money-minded customer – and the ride took around 5 hours, with an hour and half (almost) spent at Calicut. Aside from the agonizingly long trip and the really funny costumes of the air hostesses, it was a pretty uneventful trip. The flight landed at the second terminal of the Dubai Airport so I missed seeing the reportedly splendid terminal one with its really long (but splendid nevertheless) route from arrival to passport check to Dad.

Terminal two just sports a five minute walkthru, made a bit longer by a compulsory optical register. Look into the mirror and get your eyes scanned… pretty sophosticated stuff. The passport official though was a lady in a bad mood and worse English, and I had to stutter the names of a few places in Dubai I knew before she would let me through (She wanted to know where I’ll be staying). My mom and my bro fared much better, and I suspect that she took an aversion to my rather wonderstruck face and the nincompoop smile. (Not at her, you perverted morons, at the world and at Dubai, for even the squalor of Terminal Two was splendor enough for me, and also because the optical wizardry described above fired up my techno radar. All admirers of the female figure though need only wait for ample descriptions πŸ˜‰ ).

Let us talk about important stuff. The weather here is awesome. Awesomely hot. Before I diverted into a diatribe about IX and un-pretty officials, I was talking about how the flight landed me in Dubai at the dead of the night, and still it was sordidly hot. A 41 degree high is apparently fine weather here. The ride to Dad’s flat was in a sporty four-wheeler which my bro appreciates far more than me, and I had neither the energy nor any inclination to spend that night going out. So, talked a lot to Dad about GRE, my company and all, and then fell asleep like a log.

Mom, me bro

The next day – yesterday – was a whirl too. Dad lives at Karama, and as far as I understand the geography of the place, it’s somewhat to the center of the city. There’s a Lulu center nearby, and Dad took us there. By the time I came back, the heat had drained me, and I spent all my waking hours eating chocolate and then lunch before smashing into bed to sleep. The evening saw us going to City Centre, one of the biggest shopping malls out here, and wandering aimlessly around the place from shop to shop, and buying odds and ends from everywhere. Mom bought loads of jewelry, but nothing (almost πŸ˜‰ ) exciting enough for me. That, I hope, would come later.

Which brings me to another important topic. Girls. In tight tshirts and perky you-know-whats. In tighter jeans, and short skirts and in pink and blue and black and white, and blondes and brunettes and rich black hair, and eyes blue and hazel and every other color in the spectrum. Girls almost everywhere. Aaah! Dubai is a city you must visit without your parents, and without that leash. For a decidedly un-metropolitan kid like myself, it’s promised land :-D. A lot more about this (I hope) when mom’s not looking over my shoulder.

It’s too early to form conclusions, but I remember the one I made last time. It’s a city pretty enough to visit, but not one strong enough to stay in. Aside from its shopping malls and really crazy hangouts, I don’t think it has anything to offer anybody (most probably am wrong). Afaik, the educational institutions – although there’s a branch of almost every famous Uni out here, and almost every syllabus – are nothing to swear by, there’s almost zero indigenous development (everything seems imported from the Europe/USA, even the architecture), and all the jobs available can be had anywhere else; Dubai isn’t the dream it’s made out to be. It’s a hub – a melting pot – of a tolerant (but still strict) Arab culture and the West. In many ways, it’s a LOT more developed than India, but there’s an element of freedom and personal achievement missing in a lot of what people do out here. Everything seems to be survival-oriented. Call me idealistic, but I want something more πŸ™‚

I’ll write more later. Have a lot of free time coz my dad’s-a-gone in the morning, and I was too lazy to venture out by myself today. There’s also a pretty good chance I’ll be lost, but when the boredom hits record highs, I’ll probably risk it :-). Leave comments, please.

Dubai

I’m going away this Friday to visit my dad in Dubai. It’s a trip that’s been a long time in the works, and I’m pretty happy about it. The last time I was over there (three years ago?), lots of eventful things happened, so I’ll blog from there (of course), and keep all you really patient readers updated.

Have lots of stuff to tell you people… from the consequences of my GRE to the fact that I’m part of a small firm right now :-). Lots! I’m waiting for some closure on lots of things I’m working on before I start to say stuff about them.

One of the things I’ve realized though (and I think it’s pretty important) is that no matter where you are and how horrible you think a place is, what you make out of your life largely depends on how well connected you are, and how much you’re willing to work towards it. Everything – even your wildest dreams – are pretty damn possible. And I say that even while I’m in Thiruvananthapuram, which is saying something. πŸ™‚