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 =))

marți, 7 iunie 2011

Working for Emirates

Just so you all know Emirates Airline is part of Emirates Group, a huge, if not the biggest, company in UAE, the airline industry being actually the jewel of this “titan”. When you drive around in Dubai you will see lots of buildings pertaining to Emirates, in all city areas. Of course the Headquarters (HDQS) is located right next to the airport, terminal 3 to be more precise which is by the way exclusive for emirates flights, and you can easily recognize it thanks to its immensity and luxurious aspect.

When you walk in any Emirates building the first thing that will welcome you is precisely this, the luxury. All covered in marble, inside and outside, the places are big, very very clean shining all they ways, nice smelling and of course very chill (about 20 degrees indoor, if not even less :P ) You can easily get lost in them, but fortunately you have guidance on every corridor, either from receptions either from signs that will tell you which way is were.

I already have 1 month in the company, God only knows when the month passed that fast cause I didn’t even felt it, and I must say that it is a dream company. Who wouldn’t want to work in such an environment? And I am saying this not only because of its aspect, but because of its quality in...well, EVERYTHING. From a new joiner’s pint of view I must say that we were welcomed in a very hospitable way, with traditional Arabic coffee and sweets, with Arabic history and music, with a city & safari tour and nice and helpful people. No bad looks, no stress, no shouting, no superiority, just smiling faces giving a whole bunch of information, very aware that half of it will be forgotten quite soon :P

The training is programmed for 1 month and a half, after which I will start live “on the floor” as we call it here, meaning I will start getting phone calls and actually doing everything I’ve learned till now. Definitely I am paid in the meanwhile, I am waking up every 6 in the morning and I am cooking my lunch every day. So... a normal day job this training, what can I say. After 6 months the night shifts are most probably to start, therefore I need to enjoy everything I can until that time, cause I’ve heard that will be painful in some ways : )) But coming back to the training, the interesting thing that we have been told since the very beginning is to be proactive (AIESEC style) For everything that we are saying, asking, wondering out loud, we are getting marked, noted, in a good or a bad way. “Everything that you say can and will be used” this case either against you either for your benefit :D My batch has 3 nice trainers, one from India and 2 from the Philippines who are there for us with all the information that we require and even that we do not require. I feel very lucky I can say, cause I’ve heard one of them is the best there is :D

What am I doing in short words? Of course the main things are the ticket bookings for different locations where Emirates fly, and even for code share flights (meaning flights of Emirates operated by other airlines) Besides this, ticketing (so I will be getting lots of money from the people :D ), counseling people in their different flight/holiday requests and other things as such. It may not seem much, but for one person to remember this quantity of information, it’s a lot, believe me. Actually I am very eager to start taking the calls, I am sure I will be quite good at this =))

Therefore if anyone interested in a nice holiday in the Maldives, or maybe New York, or even in New Zeeland, give me a call, I’ll do my best to make your holiday a blast, with Emirates of course ;)))

sâmbătă, 4 iunie 2011

Did you know... (part 2)

Just 3 stories about life in Dubai this time, but many more to come :)

* Last night we went in a club named Barasti. Actually going in the club is probably the only thing you can do here in weekend at night. And here comes the funny part of it all, the closing time. If in Romania I was used to leave a party at minimum 4 in the morning, in Dubai all clubs close at 2,30... I don’t really know the reason but it’s very annoying. When you get in the mood, bang music off, light off and everyone has to leave. Silly thing, isn’t it?

* Besides this, of course people do not kiss here. I barely see from time to time couples holding hand in public, but kissing, definitely NOT. Well, actually in India was the same, but comparing the number of foreigners from Dubai with the number of foreigners in my ex home town in India, it should have made a difference. But no. It seems even tourists respect this local rule in public, they do not make out at all. Which is quite good from my point of view. Well maybe not as strict as it is here, but still. Most of all, I’ve heard, only heard not seen with my eyes, that there is a certain authority in UAE that is in charge of these show offs in public, so if someone see you doing this on the streets, or wearing to short clothes or transparent or any how indecent, you get a fine. Therefore no short skirts for me :P

* I am sure everyone knows the Islamic rule which says that Muslim women have to walk covered, some only hair, others only face, but anyways covered. I am curious how many know what is a woman like this wearing under that long, hot, black robe? Guess what? From Gucci, till Louis Vuiton, from Armani to Chanel and many many others, the Islamic woman have an amazing passion for clothing, especially shoes and bags, because these are the items that you can see coming from under the robe, which is actually called...abaya. And the unmissing parts of the look, gold jewelers and the phone, which is either Blackberry or I Phone. I was asking an Egyptian woman one day how they can bare the scarf on the head in 45 degrees. Don’t they sweat like crazy? Well it seems they don’t, because they are doing this since they were little and the body got used to it. Amazing, huh?

More fascinating things about UAE in the next episode :P