Welcome to Empirical Purple

A blog by Simon Brady to cover a surprisingly wide range of geekiness, in a combination that no-one else does quite the same way. Probably. Either that, or it'll just be Simon talking about the likes of Football (usually the Soccer variety), PC & Tabletop Gaming, WWE, Movies, Music and occasionally even my actual job of Graphic Design, depending on what I'm up to in the world.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Sheikhs 'n' Blogs 'n' RAK & Goals

2013 has been a fairly slim year for me making posts on this blog, mostly because it has been a crazy year with very little time to even stop and think, never mind begin to write about what I was thinking. Outside of my experiences LARPing, I've not really written anything here at Empirical Purple.

So, to sum events up in a condensed fashion as possible for everyone who's not glued to my social media output: in the past few months I've got married and moved from the UK to the UAE with my wife, Kasia, who has a job out here. So I'm currently an unemployed house husband in the Middle East and, after living here for a little over six weeks, everything is finally falling into place.

But what's it like? I imagine you've asked yourself that by now, if you've read this far. For my wife's friends, too, who may be reading this - Kasia hasn't had time to really post on Facebook about her life here, either, so this is a combination of both our experiences!

Well, first of all, it's hot. Really hot. It is yet to be below 35°C in the daytime, and so far the lowest overnight temperature has been - so I'm told - about 25°C. It's not just the heat, it's the humidity. Last week I went to play football in the 30°C heat at 7.30pm and the humidity was 58%. My everything was sweating, particularly as I was having to chase a female PE Teacher up and down the line in my usual role as a right-sided fullback. Let's just say I was rather more tired at the end than I was at the beginning. Thankfully everything here is air-conditioned, so unless you're the strange stiff upper lipped Brit who wants to go wandering around in the midday sun, you go from air-conditioned car to air-conditioned buidling with only a light glistening of perspiration in between. We'll see what 'winter' is like when it gets here.

Secondly, we're not in Dubai or Abu Dhabi, so the list of places you've likely heard of in the UAE is now exhausted. We live in Ras Al Khaimah (which means 'top of the tent', and now Batman supervillain Ra's al-Ghul's 'top of the demon' name makes sense), about an hour-and-a-bit up the coast from Dubai. The glamourous excesses of Dubai are mostly missing from this city, which is more like a town. Ras Al Khaimah (or RAK as it's commonly known) is like a jigsaw that hasn't quite been filled in yet. Apart from the town centre, every location is a few hundred metres from anywhere else. A few blocks of flats on a street corner, then a dusty lunar wasteland for a while and suddenly a shopping centre, or a school, or couple of cafes on their own.... then nothing again.

Combine the heat and layout together and it becomes a place where the car is king. Driving in RAK - along with everywhere else in the UAE - is 'interesting'. It's not aggressive, or particularly crazy, it's just that everyone is going where they want to go, and you have to deal with that. It's definitely like go karts rather than bumper cars, thankfully, and RAK is rather more chilled out than Dubai. Perhaps this is because there aren't dual carriageways with seven lanes each through the middle of the city. Every car is automatic, and because of it every time a traffic light turns green you've got anywhere between a second and three seconds to move off before someone beeps you. Again, not in an aggressive way, just with a feeling of "I want to drive where you are! You're not letting me drive! Move!".

There's plenty, plenty more to write about (comparing prices, culture, our five-star hotel resort, ID cards, gender issues, Omani visa runs & plentiful alcohol), but that's enough of an infodump for now.

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