vineri, 23 decembrie 2011

It's time. It's Christmas time.

Who said you cannot enjoy Christmas if you're far away from home? Of course it's not the same feeling as when you are there, but the ones who are really making the spirit are the people with whom you spend it. And what do you know, I did it! I'm in the spirit. It took me some time, usually at home I'm in the spirit since 1 December, while in Dubai it came a little bit later, that beeing yesterday :D
The plan went wrong in the last 4 days, after buying tickets and having ready a small surprise for my family and friends to appear home on Christmas Eve, one working day on 24 Dec and the imposibility to change that ruined everything. So here I am stuck in Dubai, with 3 tickets that will not be used soon and just the dream of Christmas carolling :|
Instead of that a very nice family brightened my holidays by comming in Dubai and spending Christmas with them, my folks from home calling me and decorating the Christmas tree along with me on Skype (tree e-decorating was quite nice I must say) and my dear friends packing santa's gifts for friends and family again with me on Skype (God bless whoever invented this program) It might sound too much electronic, but when you'r away from home and from the dear ones on these special days of the year, internet is one of the most welcomed inventions :D
In the end it seems Christmas will still be about spending time with the dear ones, having lovely times and foods together and celebrating God's birth, because even doe Santas croud the places and Christmas trees are everywhere, the celebration is not about them.
Merry Christmas to all and may these holly days brighten your thoughts and hearts.

miercuri, 14 decembrie 2011

Gold card...

One great thing that I like about this job is that sometimes, but only sometimes, I have quite interesting discussions on the phone with our customers. The last one, a few days back, was with a "gold member", as in a frequent flyer with Emirates, who reached the gold stage with the numbers of miles earned.
I always say that the "gold card is a cold heart", because of the amount of expectations and rudness that some of these kind of customers have, but of course every forest has its exceptions.
After giving me his booking in economy to be upgraded to business with cash (because now I reached the next stage where I am able to change tickets and know how to read aviation fare rules, which suck by the way) he told me he needs to fly to Singapore for 3 days and, what do you know, in first class. Cause according to him, Dubai is that kind of place where if you don't have fancy cars and travel in business or first class, you'r not "good enought". Of course beeing intrigued by the idea, I rejected it saying that it is each persons choice to spend money in such a way, nobody forces you to do so... The guy paused a few seconds and agreed, but still he bought the first class ticket, which was for my good sake of course :))) Besides that his assistant was travelling also, however the guy was "punished" to stay in economy, in a normal chair with a normal screen in front of the eyes, with chicken biryani and fruit, not a flat bed in an own compartment, with lcd wide screen and champagne and caviar as dinner :))
Apparently the customer was not at all boderred by my sincereness and after releasing his card of a few thousand euros, he wanted to know some more about the agent who disagreed him, within the company confidentiality policy of course, do not imagine otherwise :P And here we were after 50 minutes of chit chats, exchange of ideas and book impressions (because what do you know, I started to read here :))) ) happy with the service and with the long talk, the "gold guy" went to have a beer and I went pleased home, happy that I made someone happy that evening.
Gold card...sometimes warm heart :D

sâmbătă, 3 decembrie 2011

Happy nation(s)

Stuck (in a good way) between 2 countries, and what a coincidence, both with the national day in consecutive days, 1st and 2nd of this month. We celebrated 2 times of course, first on 30 Nov, with Arabic goodies and traditional tea and last but not least on 1st Dec, with traditional Romanian food and Romanian colors. If you are wondering, no fireworks, no parades, no music, quite a chill celebration, not as sophisticated as I would have wanted it. And now ... a little bit of history.

1. Romania, a small country on the left hand side of the Black sea, independent from the turkish domination since 1877, completely united in 1918. Official language our own, Romanian, flag colors red, yellow and blue, cleared out from the comunism rules in 1989, when Nicolae Ceausescu was erased from the image. What you can do here, well almost everything cause you find mountains as well as sea. Winter -5 degrees even less, summer 30 degrees even more. Snow and sun, forests and sea (by the way it's not black even doe it's called Black sea, just to be clear :)) ), traditional clothes and delicious foods, welcoming people, kind of corupted ruled but which country isn't :P This is my home country which I miss so much.

2. UAE, in translation United Arab Emirates. Now here there are some interesting things to say, first may it not be confused with Arabia, as in Saudi Arabia, which is a totally different story. UAE became independent in 1971, so 40 years of life were celebrated this year. The "country" is formed out of 7 emirates: Ras al-Khaimah, Dubai, Sharjah, Fujairah, Ajman, Umm al-Quwain and Abu Dhabi which is the capital, each with its own ruler-emir and a national president. Official language, Arabic, flag colors red, green, white and black. Well known for the strong Arabic coffee, which I do not like at all, palm tree fruit-the dates, Arabic tea which is good and the long clothes that cover the entire body both the men and women. The culture and people hospitality I cannot write about, cause I did not really meet it, probably because of the interesting fact that there are lexx than 20% of local arab people living in this area, the rest are other world nationalities. Desert and camels all the way, falcons, mosques, tall glass buildings, very less vegetation (a thing that I hate), a beautiful, extremely salty and healthy sea, dry stony mountains. This is my host country. search of ...

sâmbătă, 19 noiembrie 2011

What women really want...

I somehow have the impression that I wrote about this a few years back, or maybe the topic was lot discussed here lately. Probably one of the oldest questions ever, what the hell these women always want?
Movies, magazine and newspaper articles, public debates, stand up comedies on this subject when it's all so clear. Why would anyone pay so much attention on a subject that is not at all difficult and not at all as every guy says. That women are not to be understood, or if possible, how do you do that. Well it's not hard at all, considering that she is a human being like any other, and well she might have the same basic and even not so basic need like you have. What do they want?
News flash dear male, nothing special :))) In fact a woman's mood changes according to the things happening around her (which is normal, right?). When she is seeing a romantic movie whe wants to be loved, when she's in the club having some drinks and sees sexy ladies moving like snakes she goes home and feels bitchy like (time for you, dear male, to take advantage :)) ), when she reads culinary magazines she's in the mood of cooking fancy things but when she's tired from work, be sure not to ask for food, but maybe ask her out for a dinner...and so on. When she is alone she wants attention and company, and sometimes when she has to many people around she needs some moments alone (which even men need, isn't it?), time for you guy to back up and let her be. If she had an argue with someone be sure to support her not to acuse any of her ideas or words, which is normal by the way...
So with all above examples a woman's needs change daily, every hour maybe, not even she knows all the time what she then, how should someone else know, especially if that someone else is a man :)) The best thing for you to do is be there, take it as it is, assist her and she'll be gratefull or ignore her but be sure she will remember that. She'll forgive you but remember always :P
Now don't come over my head, of course there are exceptions when nothing you do will make it better and then the inevitable question rises, "What the f**ck do you want, woman?!?" Those moments are the moments when men go insane thinking that they will never figure out what the opposite sex needs and tent to give up. Well, don't! cause it's not your fault, it's her fault, and she know it, just that she will never admit it :))
So to summarise the idea dear male friends/readers, women do not know what they want, therefore no worries in respect of you knowing that :) Just enjoy and help her do the same, and be sure to thank me after reading this article and iluminating your life :))

luni, 14 noiembrie 2011


Few days back, tired of work and bored of staying in Dubai, a bunch of fun people decided to make a trip, somewhere quite close but still out of the "country". This is how we ended up in our neighbour country, Oman. The interesting part of the whole story is that Dibba-Musandam, the place where we've spent our day, is a small part of land and water pertaining to Oman, but surrounded by United Arab Emirates. We only needed to show our passports to enter the place.
4 people and 3 digital maps were enough to get us there in time, without getting lost on the long & many UAE highways.
UAE surprised me in a very pleasant way, with the landscapes and big mountains. After half year of no vegetation and only sand, as I keep writing in every post :)), the road to Dibba took us through some lovely hills, mountains, not all green, but new views for a change. The 2 hours drive was fast at one moment, then became fun on a undefined road where all cars and big trucks were driving however (kind of Indian style :P ) and on the way back scary, on the same "undefined" road all dark with car/truck lights blinding you all the way :| The moment we reached the main highway on the return our hearts came back to the normal rhythm and we managed to enjoy the rest of the evening.
For the first time in my life I saw, live, the amazing underwater life, the one that I always used to admire on national geographic or animal planet. Our cruise included snorkling, so of course being a fish most probably in a past life, I did not got out of the water for at least one hour. The snorkling equipment did not "fit" me at all. I panicked when I started breathing throught that long tube so I went under water just with glasses and a deep breath of air. All the fishies were looking at me curious. Different plants, corals and spiky sea creatures at the bottom of the sea were living quietly in the not too salty water. A memorable picture and experience I must say.
The last surprise of the day happened in Dubai, in the restaurant called Fridays. Funky waiters with funky place decorations, funky food, and at one point, a funky happy birthday song with a small candle cake showing at our table. It is so beautiful when you have dear people around to give you such presents on your birthday, so beautiful that not only the birthday girl was surprised but me too, so surprised that my mouth could not hide a big impressed smyle.
Life? is full of surprises. All you have to do is... believe :)

The story

miercuri, 9 noiembrie 2011

I miss

Just walking in the mall a few days back, looking around, staring at the places, the people, the colors. And then hundred of chaotic thought came to my mind. I realized that so much time passed since I am here, It's already more than half year and I don't remember when the days went. At home, I always used to say with my mom that the planet must be spinning faster nowadays, cause 24hrs and the months are going so fast...too fast.
Life in an Arab country can be quite hard sometimes, even if the place is so modern and international as Dubai. But even with all these fancy, tall buildings, with this blue skies and clean sea, with the palm trees all the way, with the delicious foods and exotic fruit, with a big company and a reasonable salary, I really miss the Romanian street dogs :D Today in the bus, on the way to work, I realized that I haven't felt a whole on the road since half year, also I haven't felt ground (soil) since my 5 days in India, only sand. No rain for half year, no cold weather, no animals around, no family lunch, no tram rides, no forests, no dear ones. many NO's just in one phrase. Instead of that Indian food, going to the beach in the middle of October, air conditioned in the middle of November and for the middle of December... yet to come :))) The worst part is doe, no real Christmas this year.
And then among the hundred of thoughts, another few thoughts come around, is it all worth it? Is it worth being sometimes so unhappy just to create your way in life for later, for when you are a "grown up"? Or I am already a "grown up"? And then hundred of answers come over. Among them the idea that life is full of sacrifices, sometimes you suffer for some later happiness, sometimes you cry and after that the "sun shines" and you smile back, sometimes you stay away from someone so long, and when you get back to him, it will be much more better.
So at the end of the day, a conclusion: it's worth it, for now, and it can go on, for now. For how long, not yet known. But man, one thing is for sure, I miss you Romania!

duminică, 30 octombrie 2011

Have seen lately

I used to write every week about movies I saw and I loved. Now I became selfish it seems, I keep them only for me :)))
One giving moment is now, when I am about to tell you all how great some "peliculas" can be.
A little princess is an old movie, back from 1995 when I was just about 7-8 years old, with no worries and no back pain :P Good I didn't see this movie then, it wouldn't have felt the same. With a big imagination and tremendous positive attitude, Sara Crewe, the little princess, managed to brighten my day so much that I am keeping this movie for dark days :))) You should try it dear reader, something will sparkle in there, I'm sure :D
The beach I saw before, long ago, but I didn't remember the scenes to come, so I enjoyed it once again a few days back. Leonardo Di Caprio is just amazing, in any role, and the story made me wanna try the Bermuda Triangle :))) Maybe there is a life after that as well.

One evening while talking to my mom, I found about a good movie that was recently played on our National Tv Station in Romania, something called Shopgirl. Life gives you many options, so what do you do then? Take them all? Avoid some of them, and if you do, for what reason? Well this is how I saw this movie, a life of choices, the choice when you can stay down and comply, or the choice when you can stand up and do something for a change, for your change. And more than that...aaaah see for yourself, don't listen to my bullshit :)))
My friend Anca told my this is a crap movie, she didn't like it because all this kind of movies have the exact story line, the exact old boring story, thank God the actors are different every time. Well you can take her opinion of course, but mine is that this movie is a lesson. And in order for us to learn the lessons, they must be repeated, otherwise in some time we forget them. A little bit of heaven from 2011 was the lesson for me, a nice and positive one, reminding that there are worst things than not having enough money to go for a movie at the end pf the month, or that a rude customer didn't get enough food on board and he screws your day on the phone. Never worry, be happy!

Today's evening movie called House of D left me and my friends with a nice taste, making us miss our homes and childhood streets and big green parks. We were also reminded what a good actor Robin Williams is, how to never let go, no matter what and that a complete stranger can be at one down moment... your savior.

And now, the biggest movie of them all, Time To Sleep, the one that is happening every evening after a certain hour, depending on the mood or how did the day go :D Be good you all, and watch movies, they might teach you something new :)

sâmbătă, 22 octombrie 2011

The lost symbol

A little bit weird to write about this, since I am not a "reading" kind of person, but Brown's last book left me speechless again. Since I first got in touch with his "stories", this writer is the only one who kept me waiting impatiently for his next appearance. The last book I read was Digital Fortress, for those who don't really know this man has already 5 books, Angels and demons, Deception point, The DaVinci code and hopefully not last, The lost symbol.
What I always like about this guy and his books is that every (or at least most of them) ritual, organization and other descriptions from his books are real, imagining every time I read it, how much he must have read and documented in order to write such things.
"FACT: In 1991, a document was locked in the safe of the director of the CIA> The document is still there today. Its cryptic text includes references to an ancient portal and unknown location underground. The document also contains the phrase It's buried out there somewhere. *All organizations in this novel exist, including the Freemasons, the Invisible College, the Office of Security, the SMSC, and the Institute of Noetic Sciences. All rituals, science, artwork, and monuments in this novel are real" (Introduction in "The lost symbol" by Dan Brown)

But one thing made me think a lot of this book while reading it, the main character, the famous Robert Langdon who faced a lot of troubles and mysteries in his "booky" life. If in the DaVinci code he was the master of reading hidden messages and the man who knows it all, his unbelieving thoughts about an old masonic symbol in this last book, made me wonder. Is this guy going down? Of course the tremendous many information about old rituals and historical things about different world organizations was captivating during the entire book. Each page was giving birth to a new idea, so that at the end of a chapter, the solution or continuation would be suspended until another 2 chapters, and so on, making it a thrill to read. Well, that is actually the main thing what I like about Dan Brown, his writing style, and of course the tones of information brought out to the not so intellectual ones :P Especially about Freemasonry in "The lost symbol". So with the hope that I made you at least a little bit curious about the book, enjoy it all, until next time, "cheers mates" :)))

PS: check out the symbols around you. might be amazed

miercuri, 5 octombrie 2011

It's all about...

Since I was little I used to see all those movies with best friends, doing everything together and enjoying life until they grow old. I always wanted one for my own :))
And as I grew, I figured it's quite hard to have such a close person, who can accept you all the time, in all the moods, with all the imperfections.
Friends came and went, some stayed, some slowly disappeared, I don't even know if I can call those ones friends. But the ones that stayed made it all worth it.
One of them is Bianca. By the way, let me tell you the story with Bianca.
We met one late summer day, with the purpose to finish an online partnership, between her events website and our organization in which I was working, AIESEC. We had a cup of tea because she was sick and we started talking, but somehow the conversation kept going in another side than the professional one. About her, about me, about what we were doing and how we like it, finally deciding that we will collaborate, but meet again to talk more about the "terms and conditions" of our partnership. And so we met again, and again, and we realized that this might work even better as a friendship, not only as a partnership. So the events kept coming, and we kept meeting and hanging out, until we realized that we became so close friends, and when it was time for me to go, it was harder than imagined...
Now? She is waiting for me, and I am waiting to get back home to see her. In the meanwhile, we are heating up the keyboards on the laptops :)
Well what I am trying to say I guess, is that in the end, it's all about the people that surround you, and with who you live, it's about them making you happy and the other way around. It's about making yourself worthy to occupy a space in this world thanks to your good thought and acts, not thanks to the amount of money that you earn, or the cars that you own, or the jewels that you wear.
Maybe some won't agree with me, but that is fine, cause this is actually making the world such an interesting and diverse place to live in.
As for me, well, I now have the "movie kind" of friends which I always wanted, whom I love and who love me back, the ones that really like and respect me as I am, and guess what, one of them sent me this. How lucky I am, isn't it?

made by Bianca Daniliuc

joi, 29 septembrie 2011

Google it!

Every little thing out of our reach makes us wanna know about it. So what better way to find out about things than to "google" the information. An expression that all of us used at least one time. Isn't it? But how many of us really know what Google is about? I bet not even half. I didn't knew either, until a few days ago, when in my small Indian vacation, I visited the main Google office in India, Google Hyderabad.
A big building, half covered in glass, in the high tech part of the city. Strict security service at the entry, visitors must give their name, and the employee name who they are visiting. After getting in the building, again security, again filling out names and start wearing a sticker to be easily identified, and then the fun starts.
Google-rs, as they call themselves, are the most happy employees than all I have ever seen. Inside the working area they have everything an employee might desire. Besides the snack areas on each floor, where you can serve tea/coffee, juices, snacks, large halls with relaxing chairs await for them to recreate their brains. Game room with pool, table tennis or table football machine is at the Google-rs discretion, in case of head ackes, take a break, play some pool or tennis, wash the tensions and go back to work. What more could you want. Well wait, cause there is more!
The shower area is as clean as my home bathroom, with clean towels, shower gel and shampoo so you never have to bring anything with you. Of course jobs that require a lot of sitting usually end up with back pains and even worst. Well not at Google, because the employees have their own massage saloon inside the cool is that?
And the best thing of them all is the sleeping area, a room with beds where you can sleep over night in case you had an argue with your wife, or just take your afternoon nap, relax your muscles and brains, and wake up and finish the crazy report that is bugging you since morning :)))
The thing I love the most, and Indians love it as well is the canteen. A biiiiig room full of tables and buffets all around, with all sort of food, for every taste and diet, making you day at work COMPLETE. Did I mention that they have a buffet with sweets and pastry and coffees on one floor, in case you want a sweet taste after 3 hours of work? And did I mention that everything is... FREE?
Now I know you are drooling but get yourself together, put up your cv and throw it to the nearest Google office you find. And start praying :)))
As mush as Emirates is pampering their clients, that much this company is pampering its employees, and guess what, people actually work with all these recreations, and work well...if you know what I mean.
So, Emirates, some new ideas to motivate your employees????

duminică, 25 septembrie 2011

Electricity nahi hai...

...meaning, no electricity. This was one of the first things I've learned when coming first time to India. We use to reach the office in the morning, and the hot weather was taking over the entire building because...there was no electricity, therefore no AC. Not only that, but after some time, I realized even when you stay at home, there are hours when electricity is simply stopped, most probably to save energy, we think :) Zahraa, my friend, did not have such situations in Bombay, so the same thought came into our minds, why do they do this?
Imagine I was in Nagpur, one year and half back, alone at home in evening, in my bathroom, taking a long bucket shower and suddenly, with my hair full of shampoo and eyes closed, I opened them to see...nothing around, complete darkness. For an instant there I thought maybe I went blind and I was slowly starting to panic. Then I've noticed some small lights outside the window and realized that I can still see, just that electricity is...well...on a break. Then I got used to it, I even had candles prepared and my laptop fully charged all the time, in case of any lights drop off. Oh and how many candle light dinners we had, and how many early sleeping night because of this.
Well it seems in Hyderabad the situation is the same. You don't want to know how much it took me to write yesterdays article because, electricity went down during day. So while this is happening, you just wait patiently, in the heating room, with no internet, no TV, no fan, no NOTHING, so that life comes back in your house. Thank God this is a hot country and they don't need heaters in the house, otherwise...I don't want to imagine.
Oh boy how dependent we are to these modern things. What would we do without them?

vineri, 23 septembrie 2011

Indian babe

Someone told me that dreams come true only...if you're living in a dream. Of course I refuse to believe that because I am now, for real, living whatever I was dreaming about. Because dreams do come true, but only when you really believe in them.
So here I am, after one year and a half, back in India, the place that I loved the most from all my journeys till now.
I landed in the city called Hyderabad yesterday morning, here to visit my dear friend Zahraa, who was anxious like a baby to see me again...just like me actually. I flew with Emirates (duh), and as expected I had a great flight, with goodies and nice atmosphere and friendly faces there to serve you anytime.
Hyderabad is a quite big city, bigger than my old Nagpur anyways, all green (comparing to the deserted dubai :))) ) and as I expected, very crowded. Dust is everywhere, cows walk freely on the streets, people walking on the sides of the road, just like I knew it :)
So my Indian adventure started with a long walk in the city, looking guess for what, a damn exchange house. If you can easily find exchanges in any place of the world, here we had to go 30 minutes with an auto ricksha and another 20 minutes walking. Can you imagine! Colors everywhere on the streets, women in sarees walking around, fresh fruit at every corner, fried Indian snacks all the way and lots of cars and bikes. I was just walking around, breaking my neck to catch every part of the world around me, to see every move, every shop, every person passing by. The lovely but tiring day ended with a shopping session in an open kind of park-bazaar and fresh fruit. But the most adventurous experience was the way back from the open market, traveling in the auto ricksha. The traffic went crazy by evening, so besides not being able to bargain to get a good price till home, we found ourselves "squeezed" between ten of cars, bikes, and a huge buss who was about to squish us for a couple of times. Amazingly this never happens, because the ricksha drivers, as crazy and as illegal as they move around, they never get stopped or have accidents. Or at least I never witnessed one, thank God :D
Irrespective of whatever people say or think or imagine about India, I know that this is a place where I will always love to be. And this came clear to me now, when I found myself here for the second time.
Tomorrow new adventures await for us, and after a traditional romanian lunch with polenta and cheese and onions today, and Zahraa wearing traditional romanian clothes (IE), we are ready to go out there once again!
See u laters alligators!

vineri, 16 septembrie 2011

The music room

A strong cold wind blows your face when you enter. Don't dream to much, it's just an AC :) Then you step in a luxury small hall where 2 smiley faces welcome you. After that you are in.
Welcome to The Music Room.
A semi dark atmosphere with strategic lights around the room, a small stage, good live music, metallic tall chairs, a long bar with all your little heart might want, one billiard corner and one DJ in the other corner. You go in, choose a perfect spot to have a view over the entire place and your night begins.

The cute African waitress is there to make sure you have all you need, will treat you with peanuts from the house and keep you company if you are alone.
And here they are, the ones who entertain the atmosphere every single night. Urban.
The band I've heard only the 3rd time when I went to that place. During Ramadan they weren't singing. And one late night, after the holy month was over, going to Music Room was a big surprise. One beautiful girl was in the middle of the stage, singing Alicia Keys "If I ain't got you". Since that day, the song kept singing in my mind.
Then I went again and again, and there they were all the times, filling the place with an amazing sound, the sound of music. It was quite impossible not to notice the cute guy in the back playing the drums and singing "sos for love", or the amazing guitar player whose voice simply melts your senses.
Last time in Music Room I decided: I'm gonna find out who these people are. And so I did. A little bit nervous and with one bear on board, I went to their table, took a seat, and with a big smile asked if I can stick with them a few minutes. They looked at my a little bit curious but after I explained the reason everyone gave me the OK.
Karen was a little bit nervous when I started asking about her life, I could see her hand slowly trembling and her muscle faces going bananas :P She is the lovely singer, the only girl in the band, originally from the Philippines. All her life she didn't do anything else except music, nothing professional like studies or music school, simple passion, and for 2 whole years she used to sing in South Korea, besides other places in the world. And her
Steve, the cute drummer is from Australia and use to sing there for 11 years, time when he meet Peter, the talented guitarist, and since then they kind of stayed together. His eyes are as blue as the ocean so you can simply get lost in them.
Now Peter, he is something. Started playing the guitar when he was 15 years old, having now 17 years of professional music background, he's the one who started Urban in March this year. He was actually more social and fun than appeared on the stage. Every time I saw him sing, he had the serious face, till the moment he started talking about his life. Originally from New Zealand, Auckland to be more precise, he is in Dubai since 2007, so quite some time now. He played in Australia a lot of time, when he became best friend with Steve and then about 4 years in the Middle East. I was quite surprised to hear about Middle East, I am not really imagining people in these countries going and enjoying an evening with live music. But apparently there is a music industry in this part of the globe as well, and as Peter said, a quite social and good one, especially in Dubai, thing that again left me "open jaw".
Robert is in charge of the keyboards. He came all the way from Malta to Dubai, and his family business is music. He is not very excited about the city and lifestyle, well just like most of the Europeans here, but it's fine for some time. My kind of guy :D
And last but not least, Hernan, the guitar bass guy. It took me some time to get his name, and guess what...he is from... Colombia. I so wanted to talk to him in Spanish, but it would have been rude for the other guys around. His life is music of course, and he so reminded me of the rock concerts from my home.
So officially they and Music Room became part of my Dubai life, and I am so happy for that. I would stay and listen to them hours and hours, which I will actually do from now on, whenever I get the time.

vineri, 2 septembrie 2011

Things to do, places to see

4 months of my life in the desert :))) But it's worth it, I'm telling you.
And what really keeps me hanging is mostly the idea that soon, very soon, the world will be "at my feet". Why is that? Well surely you can imagine that working in a airline you have good discounts for airfares, even on other airlines not only Emirates :D
And while selling tickets every day to different destinations around the world, it's quite impossible not to imagine where would I like to fly in the future.
Here are some of the destinations which got stuck in my mind for the next year or maybe at the end of this one if my leave days will allow that :))
Manila (MNL) the bright capital of the magical island of the Philippines. With Spanish influences and many Spanish names on the streets, Manila is the most cosmopolitan city in the islands, the second as number of population and main religion roman catholic. Definitely one trip in the Phillippines should not end in Manila, but when you don't have to many days in your pocket, you can settle with the city as well :)

One dream of mine since I came here is to visit Seychelles. The island pertains to Africa, being in north of Madagascar, situated in the Indian ocean, having as neighbors the lovely island of Mauritius, Reunion, Zanzibar, Maldives and others about which I don't know about :P With official languages French, English and Seychellois creol, I imagine I should not have any problem in finding a spot there for a few days or relaxation. Anyone else in for Seychelles (SEZ)?

My last year plan after coming back from India was to work or at least visit Brazil. To work there surely can not do right now, but what do you know, we fly to Sao Paolo (SAO) and Rio de Janeiro (RIO)... Just my luck! Since I was little I dream of seeing the statue of Jesus on the top of Corcovado mountain, so my dream is about to come true some time soon :D I won't go into carnival stuff and Copacabana, I don't wanna stretch it to much :)) Will stick to some city tour, a cool swim in the ocean and a visit on the top of Corcovado mountain. Of course Sao Paolo would not hurt either, but I would prefer Rio instead.

And of course should not leave aside the eastern part of Asia. Could not decide yet to a destination but Emirates flies to all corners of the world, so some options would be Osaka, or maybe Shanghai or even Seoul. Would prefer Osaka by now, but none of these places would hurt me to get there...
I would love to tell you more, but I fear this can be painful for some of my friends especially, so I will stick to these places for now :)))
Now 2 slaps over the face, a glass of cold water, a cold shower (well actually a warm shower cause we don't have cold water in this country) and off to work. Let's send some people in the world, till I'll have my chance to get there.

miercuri, 24 august 2011

Fun n fly

Emirates Airline, a service excellence airline company, making its way in the top companies in the industry with every single day passing by. Which is good definitely, but sometimes a little bit of imperfection makes a flight good as well, if you know how to put it of course.
Since more than 2 weeks I have this article and I keep reading it and laughing and imagining how can I get to fly with such an airline. Cause I would really love to try it someday.
People always think of these things like jokes,not really knowing that somewhere in the world, other people put the jokes in practice, even when it comes to business. Now this is Kulula Airline, a South African low fare airline. Their flights are more than fun, or so everyone "says" on the online pages. Even wikipedia caracterizes them as a fun way to fly, explaining most of its history.
Here are some of the "flight entertainments" from Kulula airline, the original article from where I actually got them and where you can find much more is here.

~~~On a Kulula flight, (there is no assigned seating, you just sit where you want) passengers were apparently having a hard time choosing, when a flight attendant announced, “People, people we’re not picking out furniture here, find a seat and get in it!~~~~

~~~There may be 50 ways to leave your lover, but there are only 4 ways out of this airplane~~~

~~~In the event of a sudden loss of cabin pressure, masks will descend from the ceiling. Stop screaming, grab the mask, and pull it over your face. If you have a small child travelling with you, secure your mask before assisting with theirs. If you are travelling with more than one small child, pick your favorite.~~~~

~~~~As you exit the plane, make sure to gather all of your belongings. Anything left behind will be distributed evenly among the flight attendants. Please do not leave children or spouses..~~~

~~~Another flight attendant’s comment on a less than perfect landing: “We ask you to please remain seated as Captain Kangaroo bounces us to the terminal.~~~~

~~~Heard on a Kulula flight: “Ladies and gentlemen, if you wish to smoke, the smoking section on this airplane is on the wing. If you can light ‘em, you can smoke ‘em.~~~

...and imagine they are in the industry since 10 years, 'n still "hopping"....
Good for you guys, good for you!!!!

miercuri, 17 august 2011

Tourist or local

I feel like this city is getting me more and more, and I really don't want to start enjoying Dubai that much :))) So what should I do?
Anyways the idea is that in India I felt like a local since the first month, here I am still not in the "local mood"
One benefit of being a resident was clear last week, when our group went to spend a day off all together in the amazing Aquaventure Atlantis park. Being a UAE resident the month of Ramadan brought us a discount of 50% in that aqua park. And then I felt like a local. Afterwards the situation changed immediately, when spending a whole day in those pools and in that entertainment I truly felt like a tourist, being just in vacation in Dubai, having no worries, no stress, no work the next day...
One think is clear doe, the country could not live without the tourists. One major source of money here is definitely tourism, so imagine all these people not coming and spending luxury vacations in Dubai, where would we be? Hundred of hotels, with different entertainment and different attractions, making you feel like a king and taking a hell lot of your money. Well if you want to feel like a king, clearly you should pay, right?
Now some other sources of "living" here are the fines. As I mentioned before, the highways within the city allow quite a high speed comparing with other cities in the world. On Emirates road that is crossing Dubai from one end to another, the speed limit is 120km/h, but people from around here know that the radar will not catch you even if you drive with 140. But how can you drive only with 140 when you have an amazing road in front, all clear, with 7 lanes and one hell of a car that can go up to 220? So here comes the problem, speeding=>radar=>fine=>money in local budget.
The metro stations are absolutely divine here, all air conditioned, all clean and organized, metros come in time and a lot of rules. Did you know that you are not allowed to drink or eat in the metro? Most probably in all countries it's like that. Well here you actually get a fine if you do that but more than this, you get a fine chew gum inside the metro. And just to clear that out, 2 work mates that were going in the city one hot summer day, found themselves having to pay a 100 Dhs (aprox 20 euros) fine because they were chewing gum inside the metro. The crazy part is that the fine went up to 110 Dhs...the extra 10 Dhs amount was...what do you think..knowledge fee. For the simple reason that they were shown the manual where it is written that chewing gum inside the metro is prohibited, they were charged 10 Dhs (aprox 2 euros) Therefore being a local is quite hard as well...
So I'm just thinking, better to be a tourist or better to be a local? Any ways you get to spend a whole lot of money on God knows what.
I could stay and write little stories from Dubai all day but time is running out and I gotta go. So stay tuned y'all.

luni, 1 august 2011

Ramadan kareem

Finally the Holy month of Ramadan is here, this year being celebrated between 1-30 August. Just to imagine how this is happening in Muslim countries, this month is like the December month for Christian, especially Christmas days, with lights and decorations and fasting and others as such.
And because living in an Islamic country, of course we have to adjust to the conditions. One rule here, Ramadan or no Ramadan, Muslims are called for prayer 5 times a day, meaning that in the city you can hear the readings from Coran in the speakers of every mosque...and believe me there are a lot of mosques. The Muslim prayers are happening at specifid timings, the first prayer being in early morning at 04:26, Fajer, at 05:46 Sunrise, at 12:30 Dohor, Aser at 15:56, Magreb at 19:06 and Isha at 20:36. But especially in this month, because of fasting from morning till dawn, eating and drinking is not allowed in public...

As a sign of respect for the locals, all non Muslims should not eat any kind of food or drink, not even water in front of the Muslim people who are not eating and drinking all day.
So how to live in this crazy heat without at least drinking water. Our luck is that, being such various in nationalities, our dear company permits us, the "guests", to drink water during working hours no matter if Muslims are around or not, and to eat in public, but only in specific areas :) So we are saved.
Definitely I will need to pay lots of attention with this drinking or eating, cause today I just found myself with the bottle of water at my mouth in the middle of the bus...without realizing that I am surrounded by locals...who are fasting. I closed my bottle immediately and put it back in my bag, just like nothing happened. Luckily no one said anything, probably they were to sleepy to notice me :P
More about Ramadam here.

vineri, 29 iulie 2011

Once upon a time...

So many things are going through my mind lately, especially before I go to sleep. I recap the whole day, I think about what might happen tomorrow, what i have to do, if I need to do follow up on any passenger, if I talked to my friends today or when will I get the time to call them and so on. And of course one main thought that is always there in my mind is... where I want to travel next. Working with an airline company is making impossible to keep this thought away.
Then I think of all the placed in the world and I imagine myself there. And somehow the images are not at all new, like I've seen that before, I've been there maybe once, that view looks familiar in a way. In those moments I believe that long time ago, before being a Oana, I definitely was something else, or someone else, maybe who traveled a lot, or maybe I was one of the palm trees from my dream views, or maybe I was an animal that lived somewhere not far.
I remember being little and my folks telling me that I must have been a rabbit in another life, cause my first 2 teeth were too big for my that time dimensions. How cool must have been to be a rabbit, I must have had a blast of a time running around from a place to another, with my small little fluffy tail, eating fresh plants all day and peeing in different colors according to whatever I was eating. Cause you know bunnies pee green when they eat cabbage and orange when they eat carrot :))
Being a frog must have been quite an interesting life for me, because of my big eyes, everyone called me at least one time froggy eyes. I wonder if I really enjoyed eating all those insects, catching them with my tongue, just like frogs do. In this case who needs Chinese food, anyways I probably had more insects than all Chinese people in the world.
What I wonder if I really was a giraffe at some point, cause my long bones would really say this about me. And if I was, it means all Africa was at my feet, right? Life must bee quite amazing to be seen from up in the sky, being able to eat leaves directly from the tree, without a later to get up in it...
I'm now thinking if I was a fish one time, cause whenever I go to the beach I hate staying in the sun for tan, I could be in the water all day, getting all pickled and full of salt. And I dive, and I play, and I swim from one side to another, like a crazy small fish who is just getting used to his habitat.
But since one year, I keep thinking that maybe one time I was an Indian, cause since I got to that place, I felt like keep going and going, and visiting and seeing, and eating and living just like Indians do. So...maybe I was an Indian a life before this one, and I tend to think that I loved my life cause I feel very attracted to that part of the globe, no matter the differences and the difficulties and the dusty roads :P Me, the person who hated bugs in the house, and who was sneezing because of dust, and who was always eating nicely with the fork and used to hate to sweat and stay out in the sun in 30 degrees :)
So here I am, with a whole lot of experience in my subconscious , living in Dubai and being OANA in this life, waiting like crazy to see where is my step going to take me, and my next life, and then the next one and next one and the next one.
Man it's so cool to be alive!

vineri, 22 iulie 2011

Welcome to Emirates

Welcome to Emirates. This is Oana speaking. How may I help?
Life in call center is not that bad yet, I must say. But still have some more months to go, so the impression might change...right?
Anyways welcome to my world, day by the day the same phrases, the same faces, the same inquiries, but still not yet bored. Why is that? Maybe because I keep "entertaining" the customers, when I can of course, and in the meanwhile I entertain myself while entertaining them.
But the crazies thing is actually how much money people spend on travels. Every time I speak to a customer I try to imagine what would be his job, what kind of social situation he has (and if he is flying Emirates that must be quite good), if he is having a good or bad day, if he has a family or not, if he is really interested in his inquire or just calling to pass the time, cause yes, we have "customers" like that as well :) I've faced till now people who were hoping to "find" me on the phone when they call next time, frustrated people with no time not even to talk on the phone and book their own business flight, people who did not have enough credit on the phone and were expecting me to call them back..., people who are traveling for a living and spending like nothing on one way flight from Europe to Middle East, people who are barging with me to give them a better fare, people who actually know where Romania is and even have friends there :), people with huge families that travel only in business class, people who know exactly what they want when they call to book a flight, people who have no idea why they are calling and many many others. So in this case how can a day be boring, when actually besides the lines that open and end my call, I have situations to which I may respond different every day. And improvise of course in case I don't know something :P Hopefully my calls won't be listened too often :))
Last day I also realized that in my days off, I am kinda getting bored, especially if I am the only one from my friends having off. You can imagine a whole day only sleeping and eating and watching movies and again eating? I couldn't till a few days ago :P
Dubai is still not for me, and this lifestyle is still not for me, so the only thing keeping me here are actually the customers and the daily fun is that?
Life in call center: quite joyful till now! Next step? Expiry of the first 6 months and then...

luni, 11 iulie 2011

Lost & found

Usually I never lose things, I take good care of my keys, my phone, my head, however one thing I cannot take care of is my umbrella, so this is the only thing I always lose, no matter how big or fat or colorful it is : ))) But what happened last week made me reconsider my bad memory even in terms of umbrellas, because... I lost my fresh bought I-Phone 4.
Yes, exactly! Right after paying a lot of hundred euros for this sophisticated and fancy item, I found myself in the food court in Emirates Mall without being able to make a call. It was more than weird because I didn't even remember what I did with it, after leaving the beach. So the first option was the cab. I called the cab company "crying my heart out" that I need to find my phone. Of course they would call me as soon as they find something out, however I was very skeptic about this. And because my friends did not let me leave in peace without trying to do more to get it back, I decided that I will call the police and give the ID number of the phone to track it down and bring the "baby" back home.
Therefore after 2 days, the story continued with me thinking about my lost phone every minute of the day&night and calling to the police to ask what is the procedure to get track my item down. And while I was swearing that the line is busy since 20 minutes, a weird number is calling my mobile.
"Hello, did u lose an I-Phone?" You can imagine that my knees felt like jello and my voice started trembling..."Yes! I did!"
SURPRIZE!!! My phone was in Qatar as that moment, with a nice man who found it in the cab, took it with him just in case, cracked the pass-code , found out my number and gave me a call...from Doha-Qatar to Dubai-UAE to tell me that a friend of his will be coming in Dubai, not to worry, and he will send it back to me. How amazing is that?????!!!?!??
So after another 3 days, just as the man said, a friend of his came to Dubai and returned my "baby" to me.
At the moment, me and my "baby" are living happily ever after, trying to learn more about each other and enjoying every song and application together :D
"Si-am incalecat pe-o sa, si v-am spus povestea mea"

sâmbătă, 2 iulie 2011

Arabian wear

We all know that black and heat never go well together. However it seems this side of the globe is ignoring this fact, because as you can see all over Dubai, Arabian tradition says... Abaya and Niqab.
Since I came here, one of my dreams became wear at least one time the traditional Arabian clothes. And I will succeed eventually, I am sure.
Now about the locals and the black wear. For some it's tradition, for some it's religion, however, all locals (it seems all) have their heads covered. And they look lovely. Or at least some of them. Besides this, under that long black cover, you will be able to see the latest fashion, from all the brands in the world, especially Armani, Gucci and D&G. Just like in sex and the city movie :D
Exotic perfumes with strong essences, big sparkly bags, high heals (a MUST), hairpins, make-up, a cool mobile phone (either Blackberry, either I-Phone) all are part of the modern Arabian wear.
However, the BAG is the most important part of them all, because it is the only article in the Arabian wear that you can see completely. Some women here spend thousands of Dirhams, equal with hundred of Euros, just to have a cool, modern, fashion BAG to go with their wear. If not thousands than at least some good hundred Dirhams, just to be sure that they have the latest fashioned bag.
The purpose of the Abaya and the Niqab is of course to cover the woman's shapes, so that she does not attract the looks on her figure. She can get it off only when she is surrounded by family.
An Egyptian "story teller" told me one evening that the way the locals wear the Niqab is reflecting their social status. As big the hair bun, the higher in the social class...
One thing is amazing in this traditional wear, the fact that some woman cover themselves completely. Meaning that you cannot see not even a little part of skin from the persons body. Some Arab woman cover their face completely and also wear gloves and closed shoes, which must be quite difficult to wear I imagine...
There are the "modern" women that only cover their hair either with a Niqab, either with simple scarves. Them I would personally call "araboaice rebele" :)
I keep thinking if I would be able to live like this, if I would bare this heat combined with this wear, and those are the times when I feel happy I didn't grow up in this part of the world doe, no matter how beautiful the women are and how much money they have.
Fascinating, isn't it?

joi, 23 iunie 2011

A taste of Tanzania

Life can be very fun sometimes, but other times it can be quite difficult. Some stories make you laugh, some stories make you cry, essential is to listen to them, maybe they will come handy at one point...
Tanzania, an African country, situated in East Africa bordered by Kenya, Congo, Zambia and other exotic countries, as you can read on Wikipedia.
Long time ago, in 1840, Zanzibar, a separated land next to Tanganyika, was the capital of...Oman. In 1964 the 2, Zanzibar and Tanganyika united their "forces" and became The Republic of Tanzania, as we all know it nowadays, with the capital in Dodoma and Dar es Salaam the biggest city (a city where Emirates flies by the way :P) Resulting from this story that Oman and other Arabic countries are now hosting a lot of "Swahili" people :) One of them being...A.
A was born in Tanzania (duh) but is now living in Dubai. When he was 1 and a half years old he moved in UK at his grandma, and after another almost 2 years of staying in UK, which he barely remembers, he moved in Dubai where he is living since then. He is 35 years old and is my colleague in Emirates. Being crazy curious about Africa and what amazing things that part of the globe hides, A started telling and telling stories that actually made me want to write about him.
The vegetation in Tanzania is savanna style of course, with green borders in Arusha and Moshi. The country is proud of its amazing national park, Serengeti, that is famous for it's annual migration of wildebeest and zebras, and of course with Kilimanjaro, the "little shining mountain".
Quite interesting till now, right? Well guess what, there is more to come.
studied in Rostov, Mother Russia, for 7 years, so he is taking calls in the call center in English and Russian. His mother, sister, brother, aunt and other family members work with Emirates and Dnata, so he joined the group. But A's life became "windy" before starting this experience.
Credit cards, a sin on earth and one of the biggest temptations after women probably =)) Well, imagine having a credit card and going wild with it, what do you think might happen? A spent 46 days in prison in Dubai, for using a credit card and not paying the bank back. Banks are always nice with you and caring until the moment you open a credit account and start "eating" their money. After that, hell starts and your pink little world becomes dark. As dark as a jail cell. But fortunately, the prison in Dubai is not that bad as I've been said :P McDonald's, KFC and lots lots of friends. This was prison life for A, a "cool" place as he categorizes it. But the funny part is how he got there. One day, being tired of the bank's warnings and letters after letters, A went to the police department and said "I came to give myself in". The police men started laughing and asked him why...
In the hostel in Russia, A met lots of people from all over the world, however, one of the most memorable moments was with Sri Lankans. The girls called him for food one evening, but something felt kinda wrong since the very beginning. Being hungry and eager to taste the delicious beef with rice, A started enjoying his dish without asking what it actually is. At one point he found himself stared with big eyes by his hosts. Finally the moment was ruined by a Russian girl who started screaming when he saw him eating and ran out of the room. In the end, a Korean guy put an end to the whole charade, asking A if he knows what he's eating so eager. Can u guess? A DOG... The last piece was the hardest to swallow, making A always from then onward asking about the food he is about to eat...
~A Chinese once had 2 pets, a cat and a turtle. And because the cat was sick, the Chinese decided: "No problem, I chop and eat it..."~

vineri, 17 iunie 2011

Did you know.. (part 3)

* Alcohol. A forbidden word on this side of the globe. Or at least in UAE. But I’ve heard Saudi Arabia is the same, even worse, and many other countries from Middle East. Just so you understand, in order to buy drinks, as in alcoholic drinks, you need to have a permit. With the permit you go in special liquor shop and you purchase whatever you desire. Of course I do not have an alcohol permit here, but from time to time we are having a drink. Where is that? In the clubs and bars where we hang out in weekends. Some of them serve, some of them don’t. And of course the ones that serve are full all the time =)) Now if you want to drink at home and you go in Carrefour hoping to buy some beers or a good wine to come with the tasteless Pakistan veil ;)))), you will never find them my friend. NEVER :P You will find all the beers in the world (well almost all) but non alcoholic, which will always fool you for the first time you see them.

* And if alcohol is something rare here, there is one thing that would make you love Dubai. The petrol price of course =)) Can you just imagine how cheap is the petrol in this country? Probably not. Well I’ll illuminate this aspect. As per what I know, in Romania a full tank would be around 60-70 Euro, for the average car let’s say. Well hold your horses, cause in Dubai a full tank is around 15 Euro for the same average car. Don’t you just love that?

* The weekend as you already know is including Friday and Saturday here. Well anyways it’s better than in India, where Tuesday was my only day off in a week. So the previous weekend, being the last weekend with our trainer cause Monday we had the final assessment, we went out for some beers and entertainment. We visited Irish Village, a cool Irish bar & restaurant with good music and very nice atmosphere, where we had some beers of course, then we had a nice dinner at McDonalds (which is by the way not that good as home or other European countries) After so much fuss we went at a hotel’s restaurant, next to the airport, where Emirates staff apparently had discount, and we played pool and had some more beers of course. But on the way to our final destination, while “flying” on the highway, a flash burned our eyes. Can you imagine what that was? Yeees, the most awaited technology in radars, an automatic flash radar that makes the local authorities so rich. Our colleague told us that it is impossible not to get a fine here, cause you have these huge highways, all waiting for you to go wild, and you have only 100 km/h speed limit... It is so unfair. If you go in Dubai, most of the highways have flash radar, and they always get what they are “looking for” :P So speeding in Dubai is normal, but it’s expensive also.

* This crazy city has no warm places except the malls, definitely. Therefore since we came here, one of the biggest issues is that...we have NO cold water... Morning, afternoon, evening, night, either for washing dishes, showering, or baths, the water from the sink is at least 20 degrees, making our showers and morning freshening so hard to get. I must say in India was the same, but at least at night the water was cool, so officially, here is worse =))