Tag Archives: Qatar

Time for a change ?

For those in the know, Rue was here for a week but now is languishing back in the tropical temperatures of the UK.  During the week here, we tried to explore a little.  One thing I found was a shopping mall (I really hate saying mall instead of centre) with a theme park inside.  The roller coaster looked half decent on YouTube at least so we headed out to find the place.

Turns out that the roller coaster wasn’t all that.  The theme park was all for kids so a little bit tame to say the least.  Still, I soldiered on and found the indoor kart track, complete with electric karts.  I tried that once before in Vegas and loved it, so I talked Rue into having a go (by that I mean I paid !).

Turned out to be a right good laugh and we had 10 minutes of very close racing.  How close was actually flipping amazing.  When we got off the karts, the staff were staring at the timing screens, keen to point them out to us.

0.001 seconds

 

So I had been beaten by just 0.001 seconds – of course that victory was gained by a death move at the hairpin which included Rue nerfing me off the track to get by.

It was a good vibe but I had lost – after all, it was Cheap Trick that once said that there are no points for second best.  I plotted my revenge.

On Tuesday we headed back to the track for the rematch.  The stakes were high, we were BBQing on the 20th floor.  Rue pulled out first and slowed to let me take the lead – fatal mistake.  What followed next was 19 laps of sheer magic.  I pulled a lead that extended to the length of the start/finish straight  and try as he might, he couldn’t get near me.  It’s fair to say, in Formula 1 terms I absolutely annihilated him – almost 0.3 seconds faster.

Vengance

 

So it was done.  I had more than made up for the 0.001 seconds defeat from the previous week.  I gloated all the way to the coffee house as Rue kept telling me he wasn’t competitive anyway.  I comforted him saying that at least he had improved on his previous time but as I just looked at both photos, seems he didn’t manage that so I shall gloat some more next time I see him.

Not competitive eh?  That’s why you rammed me off the track in the first heat !!

 

There – that done, my time here in Qatar is almost over.  This brings me to another dilemma.  I am heading back to the UK next week to tie up a few loose ends (not a metaphor for bondage), complete some training updates and then decide whether to find a new job or stay off for a few months and take some more exams.

Two days ago, I had a very good job offer from a boat in Thailand that spends its time between there, Singapore and Indonesia.  It was a seriously good job offer too.  Wicked Salary, 80 days paid leave and a months salary as a bonus at end of year.  There was also a short discussion with another sailing yacht currently in Mallorca but heading to the Caribbean and Americas Cup.  I kind of dismissed the sailing yacht as the captain sounded very distant and uninterested on the phone.

The more I thought about the Thailand gig, the less I wanted it.  Last night I typed a mail to the captain explaining that his job wasn’t for me and held it in my draft box.  I was of the mindset that I would also tell the sailing boat the same thing and knuckle down and do my next exams. Then today the captain emailed me with an offer that just blew everything else away, clean out of the water, to the point that I just cannot ignore it.  I am sure that was his plan, to make it impossible to say no.  He has offered me more than a 20% increase over my last job – that is massive!

So now I have a dilemma.  Tonight I will talk to the current engineer to get his take on it all, then I might start negotiations.  Not to be cheeky but I reckon I can squeeze more out of him.

 

Lets see what happens next.

 


Guns don’t kill people – Rappers do

Am I the first person ever to fall asleep while inserted into an MRI scanner?  The noise and vibrations were so harmonic, I actually nodded off for a while.

She said it was a 40 minute session but I don’t believe her, I think she short changed me.  For the first time in 21 years, I had to pull my ring out – not what you are thinking…..!

img_0732

 

Surprisingly, that ring section is hollow.  I thought it was a solid pin but hollow ends can’t be all that hygienic.  I did also ask the nurse why you can’t put metal inside the scanner. She laughed and said it would stick to the sides and never come out.  You would be pretty screwed if you had artificial joints now wouldn’t you.

Anyway, lets talk a little more about Qatar.  Interesting place, lots of Indians, Kenyans and Philippinos in the workforce.  it’s all very very polite and friendly too.  Clean as you like apart from the desert sand.  If shopping is your thing ladies – there is Mall after Mall after Mall.  Very westernised – there are many times when it feels and looks just like Florida.  Petrol is cheap, around a quarter of the price in Europe.

Lots of work happening in preparation for the World Cup, a new underground system is under construction as we speak with tunnelling just finishing last month, major road improvements too – but still the place is two thirds empty.  I also got my temporary driving licence

 

img_0736

 

You might think that my name is Wayne Thunder from that – but it’s not!  I was also not born in 1922.  That said, they did give me a 4.0 ltr Toyota to spunk around in, and a 75 ltr per week fuel allowance – not too shabby I guess.

 

img_0721

 

So I guess all that’s left for me to do now is sign off with something smart and witty – problem is, I am feeling neither of those this evening.  For us, the weekend is here.  Friday and Saturday are the weekend, Sunday a normal working day.  So Thursday evening and guess which fool is on watch?  Still, all being well, at 8am tomorrow morning I could be stood down for the weekend.

 

Let me leave you with a little something from back in the day from Goldie Lookin Chain

 

 

 

 

 


Cold Feet

Imagine my anticipation.  Flying out of Birmingham Airport on the 19th October, heading to Qatar for the first time.  The legendary customer service that you might expect from Qatar Airlines coupled to the fact that I would be flying on the new(ish) Boeing Dreamliner for the first time.  The dreamliner – for those that don’t know, is cutting edge carbon fibre construction.  Now, translating the phrase ‘cutting edge’ into my engineering mindset, I get the phrase ‘new in the market’ or to put it another way ‘not yet proved to stand the tests and rigours of time and flight’.

So, I wandered up to the boarding gate a little ahead of time to get a look at the wee beastie and see if I could calm my nerves some.  I peered in the early morning gloom at the front of the aeroplane and saw something that did indeed rattle my cage somewhat.

See, call me old fashioned, call me what you will, aluminium repair tape has its place in the world, I agree, and have often used it, normally around exhaust joints etc etc etc.  Never in my wildest dreams would I think of using it on a vehicle that travels at 35,000 feet in excess of 500 mph – least of all, would I expect to see it holding the pilots window in place on the latest Boeing Dreamliner – but by christ, that is what I saw.

 

qatar-airlines

Yeah – this was going to be the longest 6 hours of my life.  Except it wouldn’t be.  It turned out to be 7 hours.  Apparently the incoming flight had a Mini Cooper in its hold and the cargo boys at Birmingham were having some trouble getting it out again, so I sat at the gate for an hour biting my nails.

My excitement and apprehension was cut short though. I have a problem with airlines – none in particular, they are all the same.  Being 6’3” I struggle with leg room.  Most airlines combat this by taking an extra £50 or so out of my wallet for letting me sit in the exit row seat (also very handy for being the first out if something does go wrong). Except on this flight, and my return leg, all those exit row seats have been reserved by 5 foot midgets. An extra problem on the Dreamliner as there is something the size of an xbox under all seats, with the exception of the middle seat.  It stands in the inside edge of the seat leg, effectively reducing the width of the space under the seat in front – or in more simple terms, the space where you want to put your feet is reduced and now to combat the Xbox installation, you have to sit crooked in your seat for 6, if not 7 hours.

Now, without getting off topic, this is one of my biggest gripes with modern world.  People keep selling us upgrades, better services, more comfort, faster response times, more overhead locker space etc – but who the fucking hell thought that it would be a good idea to wedge these metal boxes under the seat exactly where 6 people in each and every row want to put their feet?

Personally I never travel with a bag that tests the weight limit of the overhead bins, I would much prefer a little less up there in favour of more leg room at my seat.  I can’t imagine anyone in the world would agree with Boeing designers on this one – with a few exceptions – Hipsters and Apple Lemmings,  because we all know that Hipsters and Apple Lemmings just have to wank on continuously about how good all things modern and diverse are – the fuckers !

Moan over.  Now, I have added a few photographs from a recent visit to Portugal so do pop across to the photo section and take a little look.  Nothing spectacular, but all the same, have a look.

And Finally

Cold Feet – I just watched the last of the current series (courtesy of my newly acquired VPN, I can now watch all the UK TV while globe trotting).

Think back 15 years or so when Cold Feet first came about – It was astounding back then.  It was one of those TV programs that when it was on, you were always home to watch it.  Never missed, and always planned for, it was an epic from a good time in life.  The whole country used to talk about it.  Sure, there were others – 30 something from the 80’s, ER in the 90’s, Six Feet Under in the 00’s, but this was just better, home grown better, and Faye Ripley with that Manchester accent used to (and still does) drive me wild.

For me, it picks up perfectly where the last series finished over a decade ago.  The characters have grown older perfectly and it still makes me feel warm inside – like a good glass of red and block of chocolate.

So I was sad to see the last one go tonight but then I remembered that it has been commissioned for a second series so I am happy again.  Tra La Laa

 

Now really and finally

16 year olds do not have the right to use the phrase ‘back in the day’. Come on, back in the day means at least half your life ago – so when you are 40 and you say back in the day, you are referring to the period in your life when you were 20.  I just don’t see anything that could have happened that was so memorable for an 8 year old that they need to recall it with their adolescent plebs.

Oh yeah back in the day when we used to buy penny chews on the way to school….

 

Now the last really and finally…

 

If you want to see where I am right now, take a look at the link below.  I am in a place called Doha, which is in the Kingdom of Qatar.  I am here for a 5 week gig, working on a boat that is moored at a place called Porto Arabia on The Pearl.  They were kind enough to supply me with a Toyota 4×4, a fuel allowance for the car and a massive, and I mean mah-hoosive apartment on The Pearl overlooking the Lagoon and the City beyond.  There is more than enough room here for John and Mon to come and stay – I actually think Rue might even manage it!

The Pearl, Doha


Chuckle Vision

It’s Sunday, so before I start the normal moan and groan, let’s have a little happiness shall we?  I saw these two cats the other day and they reminded me of the Chuckle Brothers.  I did watch all the way to the end and did even manage to chuckle to myself a few times.  I bet you a pound to a penny you can’t watch these two without having a laugh.

 

I told you so – to me to you to me to you to me to you

Now, let’s get started on the more serious stuff.   Scary Clowns.  I like this new craze but have yet to sight one for myself.  Why do I like it ?  well, when one of these fools stands in front of me, one of two things will happen.

If I am in my car, the suspension will be lowered so that when I drive over them, there is no space between the underside of my car, the road and their head.

The other option will be simply to thrash them to within an inch of their life with my bare hands.

I wonder how long it will be before one of these dick heads gets a good pasting or better still (In the land of the good old USA – shot to pieces).  I look forward to reading that story on the BBC.

 

Staying with the USA at the moment, I really can’t wait to see which candidate gets elected.  I have to admit that more of me would like to see Trump in power purely because he will shake the shit out of the establishment – god knows all political scenes would benefit from a good shake up.  I do feel for the yanks though – I mean really, it’s not much of a choice is it now?

The ideal political situation is to have two opposing parties that are both suitable enough to be in power, that keeps everyone honest – but America, holy shit – not a choice I would want to be faced with.

Lets moan about good old Apple again.  I see they have a new OS on release now, been out for a week or two.  Now historically, for the last three or four years, I have always waited before upgrading to read the reviews.  This stems from an old upgrade I did that was so shit, I actually uninstalled it and ran with Mountain Lion for the next three releases.  Anyway, as a matter of course, I look at the reviews in the app store.  Now normally the reviews are so bad – so unbelievably bad.  This has been the case for the last three OS releases where more than 50% of reviews were giving just one star, with many recommending that you don’t install it.

So I look again in the App store this morning to see what the last two weeks of reviews are saying about it.  What did I read?  Nothing. not one single review has been left.  Now normally that would suggest that no-one has taken the app but in this case I can’t believe that in the last two weeks, none of the apple lemmings have clicked on the download button.

That leads me to only one conclusion.  Rather than deal with the issues that users have openly complained about – remove the platform that allows them to comment about it.  Can that really be the case?  Apple, what is wrong with you? I predict grim things for your future.  I am one more step closer to a return to a Windows system and an android phone !

My next startling prediction will be that in the next iPhone, the earphone jack will be back!

 

Now, on a happier note – on Wednesday I am heading to Doha, Qatar for a 5 week assignment.  Never been there before and always been curious about it so a 5 week stint is perfect for me.  My only concern is the new Dreamliner I will be flying out of Birmingham on.  My concern is all about carbon fibre.

I have been sailing on boats made out of that stuff for years without concern. My issue is flying with it.  lets see, a failure at sea level in a boat is pretty easy to overcome – I can swim.  A failure at 35,000 feet is a little bit more tricky to deal with – I have still yet to perfect my gliding techniques, especially when I am unconscious due to lack of oxygen.  That said, lack of oxygen should make hitting the ground at 120mph fairly painless.

Anything else to moan about ?  No I don’t think so.

I would like to say hello to a few people though.  I did recently open a Facebook account again after a good 5 years without one.  My reasons where completely innocent – there were a couple of recruitment pages that I needed to access on there.  That said, people started noticing I was there again and sending requests.  I very quickly realised why I had stopped using it all those years ago.

So I decided to never send a request but always accept them if I was sent one. (see Shazza, that’s why I couldn’t look for you).  I even got requests from people I have no idea about – weird huh?


It’s all in the cards – I swear.

Honestly, I had forgotten just how fecking windy Sagres can be.  Its blowing a hooligan here, to hard to go surf on the west coast and there is no swell down south.  Thankfully myself and Poopie managed to find an apartment with full AC so we are sitting pretty tonight in the warm dry air of a Portalaia apartment.

We have managed a couple of biking events and some walks too but man alive, it is blowing here.  Not sure what we will try tomorrow.

I have noticed a shift in the typical tourist.  It has been three years since I was last here so things have changed a little.  The house is covered in a jungle – nature is trying to take it back.  I have also noticed a shit load of cyclists, bus loads of hikers and even some runners but generally, the average age of the tourist hs increased.

Interesting that.  As the age increases, undoubtedly the disposable income also increases so the plans that started several years ago of building more upmarket hotels seems to be paying off.  It is also very busy here, which is unusual for the end of September.

I also had a meeting with the local council today.  Remember, Sagres is a place where everyone knows everyone so when a cousin of a friend asked about my house, his uncle pulled the files in the local council and noticed why the previous project I submitted was declined.

He asked me in to talk to him where he showed me exactly why the project to build a new house in 2010 was declined.  In essence, I needed two aerial photos from the archives for pre 1951 and pre 1980.  This will then prove the buildings I have were there at certain times in history and with this proof, I can go back to the council and they will issue a certificate of legalisation for the property.  With that certificate, the original project would have been approved.  Sadly now, the project has expired but with a new project, there would be no reason not to approve a build.

What really gave me some hope was when the council architect suggested that I make a project and get it built so that we can attract more tourism to the area and loose the old ‘falling down’ image that the area has.  All in all, a good feeling about making something new.  Who knows what will happen next?

Moving on – I had a tarot session the other night.  Now, while I would not dismiss the black art of Tarot, I am more of a person that wants to see scientific fact before I acknowledge something.  Clearly with Tarot – there is no such evidence.

So, my card reader discussed several interesting cards – make of this what you will.

I am at a crossroads with my career and looking at several options right now.  The Tarot reader is a personal friend of mine so knows a bit about me.  The spooky thing was, the card that told her this was a picture of a man looking out to sea at 4 ships.  Spooky huh?

Not spooky enough?  well try this.

The money card showed its face several times.  This got me thinking.  I have had a couple of emails from Camelot this last week about winning lottery tickets.  See, while I am out of the UK I can’t access my lottery account so maybe I have hit the jackpot and wont find out for another week?

OK, maybe I am not the latest millionaire.  I share a post office box here in Sagres with some friends.  They keep my mail safe until I manage to get back here.  In amongst the 30 something unopened water bills was a new cash point card for my local bank here, and I could still remember the PIN number – Spooky huh?

BUT IT GETS BETTER……:!!!!!!!

Back in January 2015 I applied (again) for some Amex cards in $ & €.  My super helpful wealth manager told me that there was a problem and I couldn’t have them.  At the time – I was more than fucked off with her – turns out she was something of a knob, so I left it alone and decided not to pursue it.

Low and behold – amid all of those unopened bills were four letters from Amex.  Two letters giving PIN numbers for each card and two more with statements.  I called Amex and they confirmed the accounts are still open and if I wish, I can have new cards.

Holy crap !!!!!  and I haven’t even checked my lottery account yet.

The cards also suggested that the best of the new jobs was a job in Qatar for 5 weeks – strangely enough, it was my favourite too.

So it looks like I will be in Doha soon.


%d bloggers like this: