Saturday, November 19, 2005

The Real Champion

Yes, I am alive and kickin. I made around the Burj in 15:11 minutes, while my brother made it in 17:30 minutes and my friend in 26:55 minutes. Looking back at 1.1 kilometre event, I think we did a good job for bunch of couch potatoes wanna be athletes.

The fasts swimmer did in approximately 8 and half minutes which means he was doing less than 50 sec, per 100 meter. That's absolutely awesome. But the real winner is the man pictured next to the person dressed in the 'Juha' costume, above. He actually pulled a man dressed in a cartoon character, in a tube, around Bur Al Arab and came in the top 25 swimmer in approximately 12 minutes, now that is a real fit athlete.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Swimming around Burj Al Arab

The big day I have been preparing since last week is approaching and I am yet to get into the sea to prepare for 1.1 k.m. swim aound Burj Al Arab. My brother a friend and I will attempt to swim around the Burj tomorrow. Luckily I am in a better position than them since I have been training at the pool. All they did was swim twice in the sea.

The swim is for a charity called Médecins Sans Frontières and I have managed to collect over 2,000 Dirham so far from kind people at work and hope to raise more today through friends.

If don't updated my blog again, then you can safely assume that I never made out the sea.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Irony Again

The man who brought Islam to big screen in Hollywood, died yesterday at the hands of Islamic extremist. How ironic is that?

Mustafa Al Akkad was famous for his 3 movies: The Message, Lion of the Desert and Halloween, died form injuries he sustained from the hotel bombing in Jordan, carried out by extremist.


Friday, November 11, 2005

Pride over life

Six months ago a Sudanese colleague of mine at the bank, who used to work in the translation department, took the biggest leap of faith. He applied for a job in Iraq as the Operation Manager and got it.

The risks were extremely high, but he was willing to take the sacrifice as he saw it as golden opportunity to move up in the bank. Moving from a dead end job of translation into the top management ranks of banking, with a great salary and six return tickets to Dubai or Sudan a year its a dream comes true to him!

We all thought he is really gutsy if not crazy, after all he had a wife and son in Dubai and going to Iraq during these hard times could get him killed easily. He would have to wear a bullet proof vest and carry a gun at all times. He would be transported in an armored van with high security around it everyday to work, he would also not be allowed to leave his house at any time, except for work.

I asked him is worth risking your life? You’re Sudanese and you would stick out like sour thumb in Iraq and would be targeted by extremist for sure. He told me that he was not worried at all and this is a once in a life time chance that he is happily taking.

After an intensive 3 months program in operational banking matters, he left Dubai to Iraq. I saw him once in between and he told all is well in Iraq but it’s a bit stressful as he had to always be alert incase something happens.

Ironically, he quit the job last week! It was not because the security situation or because the money was not enough. Neither was it because his family did not want him in Iraq or because he did not have any freedom to move around on his spear time. Nor was it because was under too much stress. He quit because his pride was hurt!

His boss was rude and did not talk to him nicely and he had could not take it anymore. He was willing to risk his life but not willing to get insulted by his boss. His pride was more important than his life.

Funny how the world is. That is the one thing I always told everyone about my visit to Sudan 3 years ago. The Sudanese people would die of hunger before begging. I hardly saw any beggars in Sudan although it’s extremely poor but their pride would not allow them to beg.

Once again, I got to see pride having a higher value than life.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Camping at Wadi B (Baiya)

Finally we get to Wadi Al-Baiya in the mountains of Musandum, after 207 k.m. drive from Dubai. The drive is amazing on the unpaved road between the mountains and the wadis, but when we got to the camping site at 2 p.m. it was full of people, some even got there in their small 2 wheel drive sedans. The best sites were taken and many cars were passing by looking for a place to camp. Luckily I took my car off the track into a rocky area and found a really nice quite spot.

We set up camp and after 2 hours a car stopped not too far away from our camp site. We kept waiting to see if another car would follow, but none did and only one man came out of the car to camp.

We were in disbelieve, camping alone! None of us has seen that before. How much fun can that be? Is the man a big looser or just antisocial? Would I do that? I don't think so. But I really do admire the fact the he is comfortable going alone camping. It takes a lot to be at ease with yourself that you can enjoy camping alone.

Would you camp alone?

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

When is Eid?

Why can't we decide when Eid is astronomically?