Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Blogville, UAE

Hello and welcome to my little blog. It's a friendly sort of place for friends and family to stop by every now and then to see what I'm up to, and hopefully drop a comment or two along the way. This first post will be a little blanket summary of what I've been up to since my last (and only) email after coming out here to the M.E.

Work is still work, spending four or so days a week in Kuwait for "Phase 2" of the IT Assessment. Overall we are helping them sort out their mish-mash of an IT Department by doing such things as mapping out their systems, preparing a project delivery handbook, and my piece which is an organizational redesign.

I still spend much of my time trying to break down the various stereotypes associated with Arabs and Muslims and figure out what is fact and what is fiction. Prime example of this relates to my previous anecdote about one of the client guys who "refused" to shake hands with the female on our project. Turns out this is rooted much more out of respect than disrespect (see The Handshake Dilemma) and unfortunately the negative connotation we initially perceived was actually encouraged rather than corrected by another (non Muslim) client employee. Moral of the story being there is a lot to filter through around here but the reality is usually a lot nicer than the perception.

And in recent news, I just moved out of the slums of the Grosvenor House into the ghetto of Dubai Marina. I had been hoping to move into an apartment from the beginning, but it took some time to get it all straightened out. Even after just one weekend, though, the change was very welcome because, as nice as the GH was, having a bit more stability and the psychological shift from hotel to apartment was fantastic. And in case it wasn't already obvious, it is just ludicrous that they have to give "hazard pay" to entice Western Expats to endure such hardships. Perhaps the perceptions that are killing Dubai Ports World are not all bad!

Beyond the Middle East, I also took a week off in January and went to Southampton, England for the first of a handful of training sessions for Global Challenge. The training was amazing - definitely put any doubts at ease over whether or not I wanted to do the race. The sailing was a blast and the people were very cool. We sailed around the Isle of Wight, did about a hundred sail changes and man overboard drills, and even went up all ninety-something feet of the mast. Fun, fun, fun. Check out the pics.

Thanks for tuning in to this intro of a post. Would love to here what everyone is up to so please feel free to add a comment or shoot me an email.

This weekend I am headed to Beirut so come back soon for an update...

~ E

7 Comments:

At 2:40 AM GMT+4, Anonymous Jonathan Kletzel said...

Love the blog....nice way to keep up with you and your jet-setting ways. I hope you make it back stateside for a visit soon. Nothing really all that exciting on our end...still staffed at United and enjoying the local life for a change.

Later,

-jk

 
At 2:44 AM GMT+4, Anonymous slikens said...

keep your head down in beruit...

 
At 2:48 AM GMT+4, Blogger plivak said...

How many female faces have you seen since you've been there? Whooooeyyy!!! I'll bet you've seen full frontal face by now.

 
At 3:27 AM GMT+4, Anonymous Anonymous said...

it's z - yeah, sounds totally ghetto over there. can't believe you have to put up with such poor living conditions. did you get to ski in the indoor dealio yet? let it snow. btw, i got a blog too - so there!
http://stayoutside.com/wordpress/
cheers,z

 
At 3:57 AM GMT+4, Blogger Mike McFadden said...

Welcome to the .com era I'm glad you could join.

Very nice to see you contributing to the world of blogs!

 
At 6:27 AM GMT+4, Anonymous Slava said...

Good work dude. Its nice to see the computer science degree finally getting put to some good use!

Can I get a Peanut Butter Jelly Time!!!!!!!!

Looking forward to our roadtrip in the Middle East

 
At 5:45 PM GMT+4, Blogger Tim said...

Peanut butter jelly time....

 

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