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Dear Lauren,

You'll be pleased to know that I finally got off my lazy behind and picked up my Arabic book. So far I know three whole words - Salam (hello), marhaban (welcome) and shokran (thank you). Considering the atrophied state of my brain (caused by full-time Mommydom or the heat, who knows?) I'm feeling fairly smug. By my calculations, if I can learn three new words every week then I'll be speaking Arabic by, erm, 2012.

Onwards and upwards!

I haven't hit the gym yet or completed any of my other resolutions, but this week has been better than last week as I've been quite busy, mainly due to having a couple of nice friends here who are hell-bent on rescuing me from my home-alone mummy doldrums. I've also been making myself useful by helping out at school and with extra Dyslexic Unit sessions for Firstborn (more on that another time).

Other exciting news from Dubailand is that the mangy stray cat that adopted us when we moved in should be giving us the double-edged sword of a litter of kittens very soon, probably next week if her enormous girth is anything to go by, which will be both unbearably cute and cause utter chaos (imagine multiple small fluffy sharp-clawed things swinging from the curtains). Firstborn, the champion of animals everywhere, is already insisting that we have to keep them all, no matter how many arrive, with the cast-iron argument of "you wouldn't like it if someone made you give us away, would you?" Sigh. Stymied by a six year old.

On to swine flu... our local rag, the Gulf News, yesterday announced that the Health Ministry is holding the position that: "This particular type of flu can be transmitted by being close to pigs; so in this regard there is no real threat in the UAE." Word just in is that the supermarkets are starting to ban pork - they have 'Pork Rooms' to satisfy the needs of expats - but it seems that these will soon be a thing of the past. Silly me, there I was thinking that swine flu can be transmitted person-to-person, just like regular flu, but all I need to do to avoid infection is to avoid bacon! What a relief...

But just in case the Gulf News has got it wrong (hard to believe, obviously, but you never know) Alpha, who as I may have mentioned before is borderline OCD, got me to go to the pharmacy yesterday to bulk buy face masks and various sanitizing products. Our freezer has enough in it to feed ravenous hordes and the cupboards are fully stocked, so hopefully we'll be ok. We also live a fairly sterile life, going from the house to the car to school/ work/ supermarket, so no having to squeeze into germ-infected public transport (there isn't much of that to speak of here) which would be my big worry. Saying that, schools are famous for their petri-dish properties... hopefully nobody decided to pop over to Cancun for their Easter break.

The economic downturn is being strenuously denied in Dubai but people are leaving, often at short notice, and there isn't a huge amount of work around for freelancers (a meeting I had with an events company earlier this week confirmed this). The official figures show that more people are coming into Dubai than are leaving, but who knows? From having been resident in the UK for so many years I am only too aware of how figures can be manipulated. Hopefully Alpha's job is secure as I would be seriously cross if we had to go back to London right now.

On to more cheerful things. The Small(er) One turned five at the weekend so we had a day of birthday extravaganzas. As she only started school the week before we didn't have a kiddy party (although I'm being held to the guilty-mommy promise of having a tea party at home next week with her new school friends) so we embarked on a family day out to Wild Wadi, a kind of lame water theme park in Dubai. Lame or not, the kids love it and so do I (it's just my sort of water park since I'm insanely afraid of putting my face into the nasty clear wet stuff... but this particular phobia is a whole other story) and Alpha likes having happy kids and a non whingey-wife, so we all had a great day.

It's getting seriously hot here now. Today it's around 109F with 9% humidity. Feel pleased with your relatively cool climate...

Love ya,

Kate x


Anonymous said…
Salam YLM - surely YDM?
Love your supermarket 'Pork Rooms' - sound somewhat shady and disreputable. But there might be something in it. Aetiology of this outbreak - pig farm in rural Mexico. Honeymoon couple from Scotland and schoolgirl from Devon had both visited Mexico and returned on the same flight. All went down with flu. All recovering well. Nobody (so far) who knows them well and has daily contact has caught this flu. Strange!
Margina OCDs win in this epidemic. Constant hand washing is necessary but face masks are ineffectual and could even spread germs as they harbour moist airborne bacteria which explodes into the vicinity when the mask is removed. Best move - eat well, rest up, stay off planes and out of crowds if poss, get medical help at the first sign of illness.
109F=43C!!! We have 10C today. Feeling smug in Blighty.

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