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Wednesday, 30 November 2005
On the beach

Jebel Ali Beach

On the day I arrived my cousins took me to Jebel Ali Beach where we relaxed, swam and had a picnic. The only off-putting part of the day was the guys in 4x4 cars who cruised the beach staring at the women bathers. The water was warm and I swam and then dozed on the sand under one of the sunshades that scatter the beach. The link above takes you to a map of the area. We were on the beach between the Jebel Ali palm and the Jumeirah palm (in the distance of the photograph I took, above).  These are

ecological disasters

large man-made peninsulas which have been constructed in the sea in order to expand the coast-line and provide islands with luxury villas, hotels, theme parks, restaurants and shopping malls. 

According to official sources, the palms will have no adverse effect on the ecology of the area, but this is controversial. Others have written of Dubai’s Sinister Paradise, and have alleged that the palms are having a devastating effect on local coral.

I saw lots of pieces of broken coral littering the beach, which was disturbing.

Posted by bigblue on 30/11/2005 at 11:49 PM
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Tuesday, 29 November 2005
Orange tree II

orange leaves

This is my last automatic post, as I return this evening from a short holiday. I chose this dramatic photograph of late autumn leaves. Wikipedia has some interesting comments on the significance of autumn in popular culture:

Autumn’s association with the transition from warm to cold weather in the northern hemisphere, and its related status as the season of the primary harvest, has dominated its themes and popular images. In Western cultures, personifications of Autumn are usually pretty, well-fed females decked out with fruits, vegetables and grains that ripen at this time. Most ancient cultures featured autumnal celebrations of the harvest, often the most important on their calendars. Still extant echoes of these celebrations are found in the late-Autumn Thanksgiving holiday of the United States, the Jewish Sukkot holiday with its roots as a full moon harvest festival of “tabernacles” (huts wherein the harvest was processed and which later gained religious significance), the many North American Indian festivals tied to harvest of autumnally ripe foods gathered in the wild, the Chinese Mid-Autumn or Moon festival, and many others. The predominant mood of these autumnal celebrations is a gladness for the fruits of the earth mixed with a certain melancholy linked to the imminence of harsh weather. Remembrance of ancestors is also a common theme.

Posted by bigblue on 29/11/2005 at 05:12 AM
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Monday, 28 November 2005
Orange tree I

orange deposit on tree bark

On our walk last weekend on Limpsfield Chart, Surrey, bluemeanie and I found this tree with an orange deposit on the bark.  It was not clear what caused this interesting colour.

I should be back from the Dubai and Muscat late tomorrow afternoon, and will therefore resume normal blogging service.

Posted by bigblue on 28/11/2005 at 06:05 AM
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Sunday, 27 November 2005
Jack is back


While I am enjoying the sunshine in Dubai and Muscat this week I will be thinking of the zero degree temperatures I left behind in England, and wishing that I had brought some warm clobber with me for when I arrive back at Birmingham airport in two days time.

Posted by bigblue on 27/11/2005 at 06:24 AM
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Saturday, 26 November 2005
Desert ride


After an eventful drive through the desert we made it to Oman. The border crossing was the eventful part, bringing to mind the good old days when we used to do the Bapetikosweti rigmarole.  This one might have been a bit more scary and real, but I was younger when we used to have to produce our passports to go in and out of Bapetikosweti and I didn’t know that. 

The reason it was similar is that one of us (usually my brother) was always allowed from South Africa into Bapetikosweti but they made it clear that he would not be allowed back in. (We had to take the route back where there was no border post).  In this case, one of my cousins was allowed from Dubai into Oman but she was told she was not allowed back because she did not have a multiple entry visa.  In her case the alternative route back might mean flying back.

Posted by bigblue on 26/11/2005 at 01:20 PM
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A Chelsea tractor

four by four

For comparison with the Leicestershire tractor of yesterday, I present the Chelsea tractor.

Posted by bigblue on 26/11/2005 at 06:18 AM
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Friday, 25 November 2005
First night in Dubai


This is at a night spot we went to on my first (er, only) night in Dubai.  It’s one of those ones where you set the timer and then run around and plonk yourself in front of everyone.  In the background is a dhow. If there are two things they seem to like in these parts it is dhows and fairy lights.  Why not?

Posted by bigblue on 25/11/2005 at 01:20 PM
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A Leicestershire tractor


I took this photograph of the tractor just outside Ashby-de-la-Zouch last week.  The generic term in Southern Africa for a large vehicle like this which makes a noise like this is ganda ganda.

Posted by bigblue on 25/11/2005 at 06:10 AM
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