Archive for the ‘Middle East’ Category


Sunday, August 29th, 2010


I am walking along Gloucester Road, Kensington. I just met a hero in my profession and she likes me. She smiled warmly and we spoke at length about my hopes and fears. I met her colleague and he escorted me to a pub in East London. Inside people laughed and drank and sat around relaxed on this late August Friday afternoon. We laughed as we spoke for some three hours about our profession. I waved goodbye and got the tube home. I walk down a tree lined street where badge cars and young families jostle with tourists as shops and cafes sprawl into the arteries of London a warm brezzy air encapsulating the whole scene. I will be working with this lady. I know it. This will be a chance that I will not get again.


I am in Bahrain. I sit at my desk my head cloudy with frustration and broken promises. I have been here almost two years. The Isolation. The Frustration. I am working in the south of the island and my days are endless and repetitive. Somehow my family is with me but sometimes they disappear. I am frustrated. I want to go but the worlds economies have gone to shit and I will be fired here. There are no new jobs. There are no new options. I must sit it out here alone. Every day the same. The weather the same. The long drive. The covered ladies. The scary locals. No drinks. No pork. No rights. No fun. Nowhere to go, Nothing to do. No culture. No signs of life apart form a pool. And a big car. That’s all. That’s life. I get up and I want to go back to sleep again.


I am in Asia. I live in a small box with my wife and our young son. Sometimes I am in China but mostly Hong Kong. I am out of place. I miss London. I love Asia. I walk along the MTR station and go back to our home. The streets teem with life. The air thick. I am happy here. Work is different. The people are cold but I love them. This is a new world. This is a new dawn. My wife asks me how my day was and I explain my frustrations but there is something to keep me here. My friends and my closeness to Bangkok. This is my life.


I am in London. I am walking along High Street, Kensington. I meet my wife and we go to the pub. Inside people are laughing and drinking and sitting around relaxed on this late August Friday afternoon. We laugh as we speak for hours about our lives and plans. We walk down a tree lined street where badge cars and young families jostle with tourists as shops and cafes sprawl into the arteries of London a warm breezy air encapsulating the whole scene. I will miss my life here. I know it. Deep down. This will be a chance that I will get again. One day.


I awake. I am in Bahrain. I fly to London in September. The dream is over.

Something In The Air Tonight

Monday, May 31st, 2010

Today, Israel stormed an aid convoy and killed 19 people. Bahrain reacts by burning things as shown in this picture taken from my phone. Its really real in the field.

Protected: Cycles

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

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tick tock

Sunday, August 30th, 2009

19 nnnn 19 nnnnnn 19 nnnnn 19

So, predictably, here we are at the final melting down of the Bahrain office. Something remarkable needs to happen to keep this thing going. Firstly it’s Ramadan here. What’s Ramadan like? Well it’s not a grim as I had initially feared. Firstly and most importantly, the working hours are reduced as the locals are now zoned out thanks to their starvation. We work six hour days which is awesome as you can go home early. The streets are empty in the day and everything is chilled out. Of course you cannot eat, drink, smoke or chew gum but it’s not too arduous. Local staff are not exactly full of energy at the best of times so watching them slow down even further is not exactly a jolt. Besides, what is there to do? Zero. That’s what. As I posted last week we need new projects and we need them now. We are not getting them and we won’t get anything of any substance until next year I am guessing. The situation is as serious as cancer.


Do you wanna be in my Gang?

Wednesday, August 12th, 2009


”you’re management naaaah” one of the bosses drunkenly slurred in my shell like. It’s code for ‘you’re in the gang’ which I assume means the inner circle of management. No, not that highly influential inner-circle where people are hired and fired but rather the accepted larger social circle that one has to get into before they let you at the big boys table. They need to know you drink. You are not a fruit. You think and act the same way they do. You have the same values. UK? Check. Drinks? Check. Likes birds? Check. Kids? Check. In short, am I just like they are? On paper I guess you’d have to say yes – there’s no denying I am from the UK and I work in their company. That’s possibly all you need they need know. It will take time but no more awkward silences or suspicion. I can roll up to them at the bar and talk shit. I have been initiated. Last weekend it all happened. A drunken Thursday night session where you go to some soulless oirish bar attached to a hotel culminating in me waking up still drunk around 10:30AM. It gets better. At 12:00AM I had to go to a pre-arranged champagne brunch with them. So, there we all were, drunk and hungover but we bonded and got through it until at 4PM it was all over and we headed downstairs to the same oirish bar for more punishment. By 9PM I gave up and headed home but it was an experience. In the UK Muslims are largely invisible. Never seen in bars or clubs, just in their own communities behind closed doors and praying in Mosques we never enter. You see them on streets or Sky News but that’s about it. Same for the English in a Muslim country. We don’t interact. We get pissed. We pray in bars and clubs that most seem like weird places to the locals. That how the expats live. Drinking and smoking. Overeating and laying by their pools. Sun. Work. Drink. A couple more years of this and I’ll be one of them. That can’t happen.

36 days to go

You say Shemagh and I say Keffiyeh

Saturday, December 13th, 2008

Whats your fucking problem eh? Mentioning to some people that I wanted to get one of the scarves that are synonymous with the Middle East drew wails of derision. I have been called an idiot, a student and a hippy. Why? What’s the beef chief? I can go to China and buy a Chinese silk garment and THAT’S OK. An Arab can go to London and buy a pair of Wellington boots and THAT’S OK. An American can go to Africa and buy, er, some beads and THAT’S OK but a brit cannot go to the Middle East and buy a Shemagh/Keffiyeh because THAT’S NOT OK. Why? I want one. Its part of the culture, its practical, it looks better than some old shit out of GAP its got soul and its local product so why is everyone giving me a hard time? Why am I worried to wear one for fear of being ridiculed by some Levi’s wearing idiot? Is it political? Has the Keffiyeh been demonised to such an extent and IF so then thats pretty stupid because it makes it even more desirable to wear. If Arabs are ok with me wearing it (I asked some) then the rest of you living elsewhere can really stick your opinions in your hole.