Thursday, August 10, 2006

Neighbors

We moved into this neighborhood in the late 80's. Back then there were only one or two other houses in this whole area which is now almost full with only a few empty plots remaining unbuilt. Basically we've lived with construction activity around us for close to twenty years. We've been patient and understanding, and luckily most of the neighbors have turned out to be great folks. A few years ago the land right next to us and the one opposite us were bought by the same guy, who went ahead and built three massive houses for himself and his children, plus another two for rent. The construction went way over schedule and we had to live with their construction noise, dust, and lack of privacy for well over two years.

After a long delay, they've finally moved in a week or two ago. You'd think that they'd come to say "hi we're your new neighbors, sorry you had to put up with our mess for the past two years". Guess again. The first communication between the neighbors and us, is them complaining to the workers who are working on adding a majlis to our house (a majlis which, by the way, we are only building because their house is so huge that it overlooks our garden and we can't sit in it anymore without feeling like we're being watched) that they are too loud and that they can't sleep from their noise!

They're lucky I wasn't around when they said or someone would've gotten _______________ (edited for the sake of future neighborly relations).

Something tells me that things aren't going to be very cordial with our neighbors.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

On the subject of weekends

Earlier this summer the UAE announced that the government will switch to a Friday-Saturday weekend in September. Last week Bahrain announced that they too are switching to a Friday-Saturday weekend starting September 1st. Qatar already made the switch since July 2003 (in fact there's talk that Qatar is currently considering a switch a Saturday-Sunday weekend). This leaves Oman, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia the dinosaurs with the Thursday-Friday weekend. Incredibly, Saudi Arabia is apparently in the process of making the change as well. Would Oman follow and make the switch or will we continue to be the odd one out?

Many companies, especially those which deal with countries that have a Saturday-Sunday weekend, refuse to have a two day weekend. If they close on Thu-Fri, they get out of touch with the outside world for four days leaving them just Mon, Tue and Wed to do business. If they go for a Fri-Sat weekend they have one extra day of business with the outside, but one less with the government. It was a lose-lose situation. Hopefully
companies that are still operating on a one day or one-and-a-half day weekend would be more encouraged to switch to a two-day Fri-Sat weekend if it means that they would be synchronized with the government.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

I want my two day weekend, dammit

I took the day off today and in a single morning I managed to complete all the errands which I had on my to-do list since last week. They're all house/construction related. I started out at 10am and zipped up and down town twice asking for quotations from a security/alarm system company, two airconditioning dealers, and the window/double glazing. Surprisingly all that took just an hour and a half so I also passed by architect/consultant's office to pick up some extra copies of window and door designs and schedules. I was still left with enough time to choose whether to go visit the construction site or shop at Qurum till lunch. I chose shopping and I was back at home by 1.15pm.

Having worked my entire ten-year career since graduation in the banking sector where we only get Friday off, I was surprised how much a difference a two day weekend can do. As far as I know plans for a two day weekend in the banking sector are dead and burried. It ain't gonna happen any time soon, and that just sucks.