3 April 2007

On the Move in Melbourne

I think that this is the longest time that we’ve been away from this blog, since its inception, as we’ve been hellishly busy and travelling again.

Leaving Berlin and onto Dubai
After leaving Berlin, we were a week in Dubai as we sorted out business details around our new company which is now up and running in the DIC – yay! Bureaucracy has certainly increased over the years in Dubai. When J set up her first company 4 years ago, it was operational and legal within 10 days. This time, it took us 4 months to get everything established, including a detailed Business Plan which had to be presented to the DIC management, AND it was read as they came back with “suggestions” on how we could “enhance” our application by adding in some embellishment!

We walked Umm Suqeim Beach and, along with a large part of the Dubai population, watched in dismay as a construction site wall was erected along the beach which indicated that one of the last free Dubai beaches was about to be lost to the public by yet another reclaimed land development project planned for the area.

The Dubai wall goes up

There was also a lot activity off the shore with tugs and barges emptying loads of muddy sand in the first efforts of reclamation. The muck stank – and the northern part of the beach (towards the fishing port and breakwater) now has very soft sand with the consistency of mud.

A fully laden barge is pushed into position

Within minutes it doubles in height, as it splits in two to spill its load onto the sea floor
Umm Suqeim III is very popular with everyone – it’s the best place for tourists to photograph the Burj Al Arab and to laze in the sun, and it’s used by Dubai residents for sunbathing, swimming, picnics, dinners, surfing, kitesurfing, walking and running. The place is packed out each New Year’s Eve as everyone comes to watch the midnight fireworks displays from the Burj, JBH and Madinat.

Dubai residents and visitors enjoy the beach

Thankfully, it appears as if the beach has been saved from development, due to the intervention of Sheikh Mohammed who has stepped in to halt the project. Good sense prevails, and not so healthy tourist numbers would indicate that many vacationers aren’t returning to Dubai on a regular basis. Not everyone can afford to stay in luxury 5+ star beachfront hotels, and if one of the last remaining free beaches is taken away, there is one less reason for a lot of the tourists wanting sun, sea and sand to come to Dubai.

Melbourne bound

After a week of madness which included the surprisingly easy process of having to get our eCards renewed (oops – they had expired but luckily we were allowed back into Dxb!), we were back on a plane headed for Melbourne, Australia, where we’ve been for the past 10 days. We’re due to leave at the end of this week.

Melbourne has been a blast, and we are excited to have the opportunity to station ourselves here for a while from the middle of this year, as we have a few projects down this way which would require us to be in Melbourne for longer stints.

Plusses for this include:
- incredibly cheap rents (when compared to Dubai) for apartments within walking distance of the city. (For around 6,000 dirhams per month, we can get a quiet 2 bedroom apartment with pool, gym, tennis court and a 20 min. walk to the office)
- decent infrastructure in the forms of internet and telephony (no more Big Brother Etisalat and yes, we can freely Skype!), and great public transportation including trams, buses and trains.
- what construction there is going on stops at 5pm and doesn’t resume until 8am and they don’t work on weekends. It’s so quiet in the middle of the city!
- we will get to explore Australia and this part of the world even more that we already have.
- amazing food – yes, better quality than that of Dubai – something which I can’t believe that I would ever be able to state.

Minuses would be:
- the weather over winter – bitterly cold and wet!
- we are further away from J’s kids who live and school in Germany.

Getting back to the food, we’ve been staying with our good friend T, and part of the family ritual is to visit the South Melbourne food markets every weekend to buy supplies for the coming week. This place is just awesome, and photographically it has me grinning from ear to ear!

Here are "just a few" of the many images I've taken:

Click on the images to enlarge them

My favourite shop - the seafood bar!

Lots of yummy prawns, crayfish and oysters
Olives, dolma and dips

Theo's Deli is very popular

Do you want large or small Turkish bread?

Mixed dried fruit and nuts

Fresh olives

The store owners gather for their daily coffee and chat about the state of the nation

Apples and tomatoes

Big chocolate Easter eggs

Fresh flowers which also smell divine

One of the fruit stalls

Ferdinand, Skippy, Bambi and Schnappi on the menu!

The t-shirt says it all - she's a faaarking Magpies supporter!
What's good today?

Global coffee beans

Cute cupcakes

Every possible type of dip

Hmmph, they go off to play and leave me here!

It’s J’s birthday tomorrow. Happy Birthday J – may all your dreams and wishes come true!


A world of Symphony said...

So much to see, so much to read in this post but just one grabbed my attention.

J: Here's wishing you Many Happy Returns of the Day in advance.

Happy Birthday.

Have a Ball.

Have a Whale of a Time for this Day is Yours to Make :)

Dubai Sunshine said...

Happy Birthday J! May all your wishes come true :)

Pandabonium said...

Happy Birthday to J. Make it special.

One good thing about Hawaii, which was passed down from the old days, is that all beaches are public and hotels must provide access paths and parking.

I liked my visit to Melbourne (way back in 1991). K taught Japanese out at Ballarat for 6 months in 1996 and enjoyed it as well.

Wow, that's some market. I could get fat there. :D

CG said...

Happy Birthday J!!!

Wow, fantastic pics. It looks absolutely awesome. Bring some back for me. yumma yumma

Keefieboy said...

Ah, I thought you'd dropped off the end of the world - now you've confirmed it. Happy Birthday J!

BuJ said...

Yooo Hooo!

Welcome back :)

Happy birthday J and thanks M for the lovely post with the great pictures as usual!

So you've picked up a lot of airmiles in the last month or so.. anyway hope ur better settled now.. and jetlag is a thing of the past.

I have a friend in Melb-town, and two friends who have just come back from there for a holiday.. they say it's lovely. i know it's lovely. and now i wanna go!!!!

kaya said...

So much to see, so much to EAT!.
Oh that sea food display!
MIAOWRRRRRRRRR (purrrr purrrrr)

kaya said...


mwaaah! mwaaah!

Shaykhspeara Sha'ira said...

Happy Birthday J! May you stay healthy and happy always.

Well NZM we are grinning in delight at your pictures and GT is particulary happy about your Melbourne stay :)

Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

What, what - you are in Melbourne!!!! Those photos certainly make the South Melbourne market look inviting. We certainly must catch up some time. Geelong is only 50 minutes away and Peceli goes up and down a lot - tonight he's with a Taveuni friend up in Melbourne drinking kava and perhaps wondering what the cyclone is doing in that area today.
You can probably find our phone number by googling peceli and wendy or via Diversitat.

pearlofdubai said...

I share your joy about the beach being saved. That is one of the few places in Dubai I really love and the idea of it being developed was depressing. Got your comment about Hydropolis hotel cancellation -- I am still getting conflicting messages about whether it is a go or not. Either way, I will keep it up and maybe edit the text a bit...the concept alone as just too good.

dej said...

Hi - this J making my first comment on the blog!

I had a lovely birthday in sunny Melbourne - walking around the park and with 2 business meetings that can bring some nice potential work my way.

Thank you for all the birthday wishes and I hope that we have a chance to catch up with all of you when we get back to Dubai.

Shaykhspeara Sha'ira said...

Hej J welcome to blogging! Glad you had a fab birthday and congrats on the business sucess!

Kishor Cariappa said...

Interesting pics. Time to start a photolog soon:)

BuJ said...


Good to see you! Especially with the lovely Boum picture!


DUBAI JAZZ said...

Fabulous photos of the Melbourne food market ... thank you for sharing...
Although I am assuming that you've deliberately rendered the elderly store owners in black and white? :)
A belated happy birthday to J...

MamaDuck said...

What a mouthwatering post! When we get settled, I shall drag you round the local food markets, which are every bit as splendid. Not sure about Skippy & Bambi, but Thumper's cousins are very popular. Belated birthday greetings, J!

nzm said...

Pandabonium: we did get fatter and came back to Dubai to stop eating and drinking! We'll have to be more disciplined when we live in Melbourne on a more permanent basis, that's for sure!

Wendy: we'll definitely meet up when we're back to live there for a while! We had so much to do on this trip that we ran out of time. I didn't even get to see Anne Walker.

Pearl of Dubai: there's been nothing about Hydropolis for some time now - I think that it's now definitely sunk before it started!

Kishor: don't go there - I have hardly enough time for this blog and Global Themes without starting another!

BuJ: the boum image was taken at Khasab as it motored past the hotel. The light was just perfect!

Dubai Jazz: yes, turned it slightly sepia on purpose - fitting for a shot of old men with great character!

Mama Duck: can't wait for that post, and of course, we could always visit each other to get a taste of the real thing!

Mise said...

Hey guys ....long time, no visit ...I've been as busy as you are so I'm not getting time to blog or read others either ....great to see you're up and running again, and getting a chance to live in Melbourne, a city my brother loved when he lived there....Happy belated birthday J!!