Thursday, 5 March 2009

Up on the roof

Set the alarm for 5am, but if you wake a bit early you'll catch the first prayer call of the day from the mosque across the road. It soon becomes a familiar part of your soundscape while stumping around getting breakfast, prior to seeing the breadwinner off at 6.05 and debating whether to sneak another hour under the duvet or get on with putting off doing another blog post.

Not that there hasn't been enough other stuff to keep the houseboy from getting this blog together. Sorting out visa renewal, trudging to the shops and back, laying low with intermittent tummy bug, going out to dinner with NZ friends, doing battle with computer stuff I should have learnt long ago, all makes the days fly. Not to mention normal houseboy stuff (cleaned the windows, you can see out now, we shall discover how soon the dust builds up again), and a bit of nesting (e.g. hanging pictures) on the assumption that Angela's hard work will pay off and her team will gain another year's contract, meaning we stay beyond July.

The nesting now only lacks obtaining the elusive desk or whatever (anything!) to fill up the empty corner of the re-arranged room and dump laptops, guidebooks, paperwork etc on. Meanwhile, the dining table will do. During the day I can email while listening to peculiar music through a long extension cable from the Mac to the (cheap from Carrefour hypermart, but chunky enough sound) speakers we have set up by the TV. In the afternoons after the missus comes home, we work away on opposite sides, occasionally looking up and peering vaguely at each other from behind our LCDs like crazed Battleship players.

But around 5.30pm is the most magical of the prayer calls, particularly if you head for the roof. Whether the skies are clear, or more often the dust haze is hanging around, it's a nice time to poke your head out of the stairwell door and see if some of the other kiwi expats in the building have heeded the "beer call". Or if not, just as nice to lean on the parapet and take in the sunset, the intricate cityscape, and the all round siren sound of the muezzins.

Here are a few glimpses for you. You have to imagine the soundtrack for now - I did do a panning video from each side of the building (but after the calling had finished), then suffered a few hiccups uploading the clips, but we are working on it folks. Meanwhile, here we are looking west towards the Gharaffa Interchange (sun is setting, traffic is light, but 5.45pm isn't rush hour here, is it).

Now looking more east than north (see, I am starting to patch together a sense of direction), we can see the upwardly-mobile skyline (a bit low-res to see the cranes but they are there) of the Western Bay CBD on the horizon, with narrow dusty forgotten (you have to go three blocks before finding a sign) Saad bin Eyas St in front.

Turn to the south and in the dusk the tower and arches of Khalifa stadium (built for the 2006 Asian Games) look more like some sort of spooky spaceport (which wouldn't be out of place here). You can just see the shelf about 10 storeys up the tower (level with the top of the hoops, on the left side) which contains a swimming pool for some reason.

And back to Gharrafa as the sun goes down, with Al Luqta St (continuation of Khalifa St which goes past our front door) showing the way towards the cranes of Education City and the desert beyond. Just a taste then, but pretty, eh?

The same evening as I took these photos and the videos, I also did a four-shot 150deg panorama from each side of the building so you could have a proper look at it all, but blogger choked on the upload. If I can't get them posted here I'll see about putting them on facebook, so keep checking. Learning all the time, isn't it.


  1. Nice Battleships simile - there should be more boardgame comparisons in world literature.

    Flickr would be a great place for all photos.

  2. Agree with ed, flickr is a better place for panoramas!

  3. Little Red Rooster says - Amazing photos