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Tuesday, 10 April 2012

November 2010 - really?!

I've been thinking about the blog recently. Do people blog anymore? Last time I did a 'next blog' flick through, it was all cancer and Christians. Now there seems to be a swing to blogging about adoptions...

So, what's been going on in my world since November 2010? A lot. Take a deep breath....

.... continued working in Libya, had a couple of awesome short trips in Libya, Xmas 2011 in Egypt (loved Cairo, meh to the amount of hassle in the other places I visited - nice old stuff; too many people...), cold winter in Libya, troubles in Libya, evacuated from Libya to Poland and sub-Arctic temperatures, forced to go back to London, continued freezing, sent to Doha, Qatar to work for four months, awesome, bla bla, had a long summer in Sri Lanka, mainly on an ayurvedic retreat, ended up in Abu Dhabi last September where, shockingly, apart from a couple of trips back to Doha I've only been away once - to Sri Lanka again, at Xmas.

Right. Caught up. So why the blogginess now? Partly because I've become utterly undisciplined at everything - took up the guitar in October - put it down to go to Sri Lanka and not picked it up since; put down my Arabic in February 2011 - and not restarted on that either...

But also because I think back to the old blog and the years I detailed there and think it's a shame I stopped.

Of course, Japan is unique, meaning there I had a constant source of amusements and amazements to talk about. Everything was just so .... weird.

Life in Libya / Qatar / the Emirates is actually quite normal in comparison. There's an utter lack of stupid conversations to repeat, people don't wear stupid clothes, and the (lack of) festivals are all very very normal. Not seeing it's boring, just very easy and very convenient, and everyone speaks English.

Not that I'm saying Tripoli, Doha and Abu Dhabi are the same. But they're not Japan. I miss nights out in izakayas or doing karaoke. I miss hanami and Yoyogi park and old places. I don't miss the weather. Abu Dhabi's temperatures sway through a spectrum of hot enough to way too hot. I've not been out of sandals since I got here.

Abu Dhabi, and Doha, are just so new and sparkly. Not neon explosion Shinjuku sparkly (I miss Shinjuku) but 'look how much money we're poring into this' sparkly.

Abu Dhabi is compact and I live very centrally. My definition of 'centrally' here being I can walk to lots of bars (all inside hotels - as are all restaurants with booze), can see the Corniche from my window and am about 5 minutes taxi ride from a few massive malls. Doha is a bit more spread out and not so user friendly. Drivers are used rather than taxis there.

Of course, Tripoli, or rather Janzour on the outskirts where I lived is a different story. Pavements were optional and badly maintained / half finished. Roads were flat. It rained a lot. Therefore roads were often flooded beyond passing.

There weren't any cinemas or malls (well, one cinema but impossible to tell what was on there) and things were quite spread out with shops and restaurants appearing and disappearing all the time. But it's the blue skies I really miss. The sky was always such a bright blue - even when it was cold. I liked the rundownness of it all. The other areas of Libya that I visited were drenched in old cultures and ancient history. The people amazing.

While some people were glad to leave, I felt my time there had been prematurely cut short and it took a long time to feel closure with the place and the evacuation experience.

Abu Dhabi is a very modern city. Where Tokyo had convenience stores and vending machines every few metres, AD has mosques. A ridiculous amount of mosques. Standing in the street and spinning around (not necessarily recommended) you can often see five or so at a spin.

Whilst a religious country, it's not as conservative as some other countries in the region and I imagine this could be partly to do with how multinational the place is....

Okay. Very unstructured rambling post but need to start back somewhere...


  1. Okaeri nasai.

    Great to see you back in blogsphere!

  2. I think this short trips in Libya is best one for you and very enjoyed in this days. I am a honest reader that often come to view your articles.

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  3. Thanks, C. Are you blogging these days?

  4. Ya! You're alive! I was worried. Keep on blogging please.