Tag Archives: uae

My yearly ‘hi’ – to delightful Dubai.

Dubai. Oh my, oh my. A unique, splendid city. I’ve written about the place plenty here before, and it also features in my Top-20 Best, Must-See Cities of the World list. I’d been here before many times. And I looked it up – yes – this visit was my 12th!

I was first here in 2005, when we signed our first partner agreement in the region. Ever since, practically every year there’s been an event of some kind I attended – an exhibition, partner conference, F1 race, etc., etc. But I like it so much I sometimes come here just to chill on the beach for a day or two or three. And I try and stay in the unparalleled Atlantis too ).

I also find the place fascinating due to all the construction that’s always going on here – it’s one of the largest and busiest building sites in the world. I remember at the beginning of the 2010s someone saying that around a quarter of all skyscraper-high cranes were in Dubai (I reckon the other three-quarters were in China:). From the world’s tallest buildings to daring artificial islands. It’s nice to return every year and see what new audacious real estate project has been added to the existing zillion ).

Here are a few pics from 2008, right after Atlantis was opened, and two years after Palm Jumeirah was finished:

Read on…

Four oceans and seven seas in 2018.

My friends and I have a bit of a tradition that goes back years.

Each time we find ourselves at the seaside – or ocean side – we make sure we get in that sea/ocean for a spot of bathing/paddling/swimming. But it’s not just seas and oceans; also a river or a lake… in fact, any body of water must be entered and our bodies fully submerged in.

A stream? In we go! Waterfalls – under we go! A hole in the ice? In we go! Natural – preferably hot – springs? In! (The only bodies of water we refrain from entering are the bubbling-volcanic-sulfuric ones which are extremely harmful to human health.) The best natural bathing places are even entered into a hit-parade (part one; part two). And because the bodies of water can be literally anywhere around the world, there’s no real start or end of the bathing season for us globetrotting H₂O lovers.

For example, we once found ourselves in the New Zealand seaside town of Raglan on New Year’s Eve. After seeing in the New Year (based on local time) we went for a night-dip in the local river, which flows into the Tasman Sea. But New Year was still several hours off back in Moscow. So whether that night-swim signaled the start or the end of the bathing season for us is far from clear.

Fast-forward to this year, however, and things seem a lot clearer cut: looking over my travel itinerary up until the end of the year, it looks like I’ve already ended the bathing season for 2018. ‘Eh? But it’s only October!’ Indeed, but all my appointments are in places where there’s no sea or ocean lakes, or whatever. Oh well. Still, I ended the season with a real bang splash…

At the weekend I was in Dubai, having joined the family there (they’d been there a week already (school holidays and all)). The air temperature hovered around 30°C in the shade, and the sea temperature was about the same too (though it felt cooler)!

Dubai is an undeniably unique place, having risen up out of the desert literally from nothing. It’s what you get when you have plentiful resources and wise management. I’ve written and length about the place before, so I won’t duplicate things here. But though I’ve already hundreds of photos of Dubai and I really don’t need any more, I find I still can’t resist taking a few extra each visit:

Read on…

Flickr photostream

Instagram photostream

Snow and Yas.

There’s a Kamchatkan saying that goes something like: ‘If snow falls in June, then spring will be long and drawn-out’. Well it’s not quite June yet, but Moscow weather right up until last week sure did seem to resemble Kamchatka’s extreme climate…

The ducks have already arrived at the reservoir next to the KL office. They’re circling up above it, peering down at the water (still!) completely covered over in ice, thinking ‘EH?!’!!

Read on…

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The glamorous final Grand Prix – where else but in Abu Dhabi.

Oh my G-force. The Formula 1 season’s over! Where did that go?

What can I say? Well done to Mercedes, is what. Unrestrainable and uncontainable they are. I mean, the Merc racing cars are pretty much the same as the Ferrari ones, but as a team they make less mistakes. The fearless Finn and the blazing Brit together make a fearsome twosome – a more level-headed and self-possessed one than Ferrari’s German-Finn combo, it turned out. In Baku Seb… forgot his age and national character traits, while in Singapore… no – let’s not even mention it. All the same – staying positive – we are at least one point up in the Constructors’ Championship.

So what about Sunday’s race? Well, of course it was on the Yas Marina Circuit, so it was never going to be a ton of fun. Our F1 fanatics always complain about how dull it is: boring turns, a lack of overtaking possibilities, and so on. But, as they say in Russia, to a bad taxi driver a round steering wheel will always be square :). The Benz boys won fair and square – at least to non-insider spectators. There were all sorts of rumors about behind-the-scenes pressure on the new owners of Formula One, but I don’t know the details and so can’t comment on them.

But now about the race.

The best bits of any race are of course the start, the tactical controversies throughout the race, the overtaking, and the pit stops. I think the pit stops are best of all: so long as you don’t blink! Three seconds and they’re done!

Read on: Pics from the pits…

Another Long Week: Snows & Scorchers, Politics & Hacks, Moscow – Abu Dhabi – Tokyo.

Good day boys and girls!

I’ve been a bit quiet of late – but I’ve a good excuse – I had a real tough week: the schedule was tight and intercontinental, plus alarmingly… combative…

It all started in Moscow. Now, normally come the month of May, the last vestiges of the long cold winter – snow and ice – have long disappeared, at least by a month. Not this year. It snowed the other week! The weather was so bad – cold, windy, wet – that even the May 9 Victory Day parade was partially called off (the airborne part). Ye gods! And I was soooo looking forward to it.

Bad weather causing things to be called off – hardly anything new there, right? Well, actually…

You see, in Russia, the authorities have a habit of… making sure the weather’s good on special occasions. In Russian they call it ‘shooing away the clouds’. I don’t know the details, but they somehow shoo away clouds by… doing something to the atmosphere to make sure clouds don’t come close. Playing God? Maybe. Whatever, it normally works. My question: WHAT WENT WRONG THIS TIME?! I mean, the budget for seeing off clouds for the weekend must be huge. Hmmm, I wonder…

Early doors it looked like the budget was well-spent: the sky was clear and the sun was shining:

Read on: a sudden global malware outbreak…

A Mirage-Hotel in the Desert.

Briefly, a few words about a place we stayed at in the desert. Well, this hotel… was like… a mirage – for it seemed almost unreal to me, what with it being right in the middle of a real desert!

It was built, so we were told, on a greenfield site bare desert site up from nothing. As you can see – all around there’s nothing but desert. Water gets piped in from 200km away! And the Internet is super-fast. And free! The hotel is called Qasr al Sarab.

Read on: Chinese New Year and a lucky upgrade…

PhwoahxPhwoah in the Desert.

Ever driven across a desert – I mean, off-road – actually on the sand? Probably not – it generally can’t be done by all and sundry; only specially-trained, experienced drivers are permitted. But it doesn’t really matter; just being in a passenger seat is equally thrilling as being sat behind the wheel. The experience beats helter-skelters easy. Must-try!…

Alas, after such a wonderful sunrise, the sunset was a bit disappointing. There was a strong wind, and the clouds on the horizon appeared to eat up the sun-imbued colors like a crocodile. Or so it seemed to me ). All the same – pretty awesome, even though it seemed to have been digested by a large reptile.

Read on: The difference between dunes and barchans…

Desert Scene: Beautiful, Serene.

Deserts…

Nothing quite like them. Endless sandy scenery, wavy dunes, sand all squishy underfoot – or blowing up into your face by the wind; in fact, sand: EVERYWHERE! In your boots, in your pockets, in your… teeth! But despite such petty tortures (and with sandals on your feet, not boots) – the desert is otherworldly beautiful, breathtaking, brain-numbing, hypnotizing. Like this:

Read on: the largest contiguous sand desert in the world…

A Knight’s Move.

Howdy boys and girls!

Many of you will already know about our latest sponsorship project – seen it on the news or on one of our sites, if not this one.

But for those who missed it…

In this here large charming building, constructed specially to house such events – in the Emirate of Sharjah

…a few days ago we announced to the world that we’re now sponsors of world championship chess, i.e., of FIDE and World Chess!

Read on: So… why?…

Dubai-city.

I first visited Dubai a long time ago – back in 2005, in February as I recall. It was then that we signed our very first distributor contract in UAE.

Business didn’t take off immediately (if I remember correctly), but by little by little we started conquering the home-user segment (green boxes appeared on the shelves of local shops) followed by small companies, and now we are working with large corporate customers too.

In November 2008, we officially opened our local office in a skyscraper right in front of Palm Jumeirah island – in this one right here:

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Read on: A quick excursion…