Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Where do we go from here?

So I got to the weekend without any major upsets and battled on feeling like cack most of the time, making the most of the chance for a lie-in on Friday morning (they got the soju out again on Thursday night, but I only had a few small glasses this time). An idea for a road-trip to Al Ain or anywhere really had been mooted by the Canadian chap, but he didn't call me on Friday morning (he went on the lash Thursday night...nice for him) so I called Bashir the driver at about lunchtime but he was in Dubai so he sent a driver to collect me from the villa and take me wherever I wanted to go...the airport was tempting, but I settled for the Marina Mall in good old down-town AD. There are a few decent eateries there, so they tell me, and a chance just to get out and about.

On the way I noticed that AD has really come on leaps and bounds in terms of development since I was here 4 years ago. I remarked in my Beer and Bloating blog about how there were fewer high-rise buildings there, but now there are loads and many more being built. There are some real architect's flights of fancy and more than a few exhibitions of ego as well. They are definitely attracted to weird-shaped buildings in this part of the world, especially curves and wiggly lines. There's on at the Exhibition Centre that looks like a giant shiny sock. Hey, their money; their country, eh?

Marina Mall looks like a fairly mature, well-established mall, shall we say. There is a sky-tower sprouting from the back end, with what looks like a revolving restaurant at the top, giving views along the Corniche and the other way towards the sprawling, ornate Emirates Palace complex. The mall itself is airy and open with lots of natural light, and the choice of coffee shops and cafés is just mind-boggling. I made a bee-line for Belini, at the rear of the mall, having heard good reports of it, and had a very pleasant lunch of calamari followed by Quattro Staggioni pizza, sitting quietly and doing some people-watching. A young Bitish family with Southern accents were sat close by, with the obligatory blonde yummy-mummy and photogenic twin boys. One was called Sebastian, the poor child, and his father gave him a hard time over drawing a snake's head or something.

After lunch I wandered about for a bit, finding the Cinestar multi-screen cinema on an upper level, but deciding I didn't really fancy paying to see anything they had on, so decided to venture out the front of the mall and maybe take a taxi along to the beach and Corniche area. I ended up boarding an open-top double-decker bus that runs a shuttle to the beach park area and back and trying to take some photos of the AD sights as I went. The driver had other ideas, and sped along quite alarmingly, I thought. He took corners and roundabouts at high speed, and I honestly thought he was going to tip the bloody bus over, so when he came to his first stop, I jumped off and decided to use the two lower limbs and get some exercise. I hadn't reckoned with the heat.

It was knocking on towards 40 Celsius that afternoon, and I ended up walking a good half mile along a busy, bank-lined road trying to find my way to the beach. Luckily I found a shop where I bought a bottle of water to keep me going, and eventually I cut along a side street and came out at the Corniche road, not far from the beach park. I was getting very hot and sweaty by this point and was hoping to find a café with shaded tables to get an ice cream or similar, whilst making sure there were no inappropriate beach volley-ball games going on, otherwise I would have had to film them...

As it was, the options for drinks were rather limited, and access to the beach cost 10 dirhams, and since I had no swimming gear or towel, I decided not to bother, or risk being seen as a bit of an old perv just sat there watching people on the beach with my mega-zoom camera in hand. I ended up grabbing a taxi that had luckily just dropped someone at the beach and going back to the mall, finding Starbucks and ordering a large iced coffee. It was much needed, is all I can say.

So that was my weekend, pretty much. I tried hard not to think of the people in the UK enjoying the first of 2 four-day weekends, and apparently enjoying superb (not too hot) weather as well. And Saturday morning, I was woken at 5.30am by the alarm on my phone, and flung myself into another week of high adventure...or so I thought.

I got my blood test results back that morning. Nothing too alarming, just a bit of a naughty cholesterol profile. Tell me something I don't know. The anti-biotics should have been doing their job and ridding me of the sinus problem. If I could get my info together for the bosses, I might be able to get them to talk the client about moving me to my own place and reducing my hours, etc. and I might be better off within a week or two.


Sunday was pretty horrible. I felt horrible, and just didn't feel right. I had struggled to get up in the morning and just went through that day from one coffee to the next...drinking far too much caffeine again...and sugary stuff. My brother will kill me if this place doesn't, I tell you. I was glad to find out that I'm not alone in feeling tired and wretched. The main man I deal with at work and who I sit next to gets up as late as possible, turning up for breakfast five minutes before the bus leaves (even I'm not that bad), and I spent an hour watching him dozing off in front of his laptop one morning. He rarely types anything, just sits here with his left hand holding his head up, right hand holding the mouse and stares at the screen. Occasionally he rolls the mouse wheel. I can't see his screen from where I sit, but when I have managed to see it, it's always the internet on there. Everyone else is on it at least 50% of the time as well. It's insane. We could do what work we have in half the time we spend there, if not less. The stupidest bit is having the 90 minute lunch break which is spent sleeping to catch up on what we've lost in the morning. What is this about? It's fucking insane, people. Fucking insane!

But anyway, I got through Sunday, and half-hoped the soju would come out that night, as it had last Sunday. It did - for one or two tables - but not ours. Our department manager, sitting next to me at dinner, sent the bottle that came out for us back to the kitchen. I was not amused, and when I went back to my room, I got a migraine. I hardly ever get them. I can count the times I have had one on one hand, but my vision started going weird and then came the zig-zags, so it was an early night with 2 pain-killers for me.

So Monday morning, I'm thinking: this has to get better some time. I have to get used to this routine. My body clock has had 2 weeks to adjust, but no, I feel worse than ever, and sit at work wondering what the hell is going on. My head still hurts, and the nose is stuffier than ever. I tell the main man that I have to go back to the doctors, and this time I want to see a good one, not some dismissive prat who won't listen. I ring the insurance firm and tell them this, and they get me in with a very nice doctor called Doctor Vera, an American lady doc of oriental descent who sits and listens to all my worldly troubles, takes my BP, checks my ears and nose and then tells me I need to get some rest. I still have the sinus infection and my body needs rest to help it. I still have a high BP because of the lack of rest and the infection and probably the stress I'm under, and she thinks that a working situation like mine is unsustainable for someone in my condition...in fact anyone. What do you do for rest and relaxation, she asks? Everyone needs it. She gives me a letter for my bosses explaining this, and I take it back to the site, give a copy to the client and e-mail another to my company.

It's down to them now. They have let me take the prescribed time off (which is boring as hell in this villa, but it's needed), as they should, and they are going to want to discuss this between them all, I'm sure. Whatever. I have got to the point now that if the worst comes to the worst, I will just have to go home and start looking for a job in the UK, be it as a QS or a bloody burger-flipper. I really don't think I can do this shit any more, and I think my body is telling me that. Is this all really worth paying the ultimate price for? I don't think so. I don't want my health to get bad again after the work I've done to improve it. I want to be at home with my family and friends. I don't want to watch my daughter crying every time we Skype as she tries to hug the computer screen. I don't want to miss any more family get-togethers or friends' weddings or trips to the seaside. I just want a life.

I'm off for a sleep. Typing this has actually worn me out.

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