Saturday, October 31, 2009


Mona, Rebellious Arab Girl , posted a blog entitled Open your minds to the possibilities, which discussed open mindedness. A worthy discussion point of something the world seems to lack.

When one lives in the Gulf or a new adopted country like the USA or Canada, one is exposed to diversity whether one likes it or not. One can live in a closed community, but the moment one steps outside his home, it hits. It comes in different shapes, colours and sounds and it can be intimidating and overwhelming.

Keeping an open mind diminishes fears and eases the transition.

Yes, transition to a wonderful world of multiple cultures, friendships, tolerance and acceptance. A world of enriching experiences. Kids seem to cope with it better than adults, they have no prejudices except when those are instilled by parents. Acceptance of different ethnic and religious groups does not detract from ours, on the contrary it enriches it.

Needless to say this is not a situation faced by expatriates and immigrants only, it is becoming a fact of life. With the globalisation of business and the growth of multinationals and outsourcing, almost everyone in this world is exposed to diversity.


I grew up in Jordan and Autumn was not the colourful season, Spring was the great colourful season. I went to college in Southern California (LA) and there was not an Autumn country either. Then of course the UAE where Autumn is remembered for the cooling down of the weather.

There is nothing like a North American Autumn. My first one was in 1977, I graduated and my sister was going to Bryn Mawr. The whole family was in Philadelphia, it was late September and for the first time I saw the colours of Autumn, such an overwhelming cacophony (I like this word, I know it has to do with sound and not sure it is the right one) of colours.

There were the few remaining greens but then the yellows, browns, oranges, reds and everything in between. I was so thrilled, it has left an everlasting impression, even though I am a colour blue person.

It was not until we moved to Michigan in 2004 that I had the time to take in all these colours, I remember walking with my son from school one after noon, a distance of no more than a mile and a half, and we collected more than 20 leaves of different shades and colours. Imagine, all of that in a mile and half.

Nothing compares to Fall in Michigan it is an experience in the beauty of nature, a true feast for the eyes.

Monday, October 26, 2009

In Memory

This is dedicated in memory of the courageous crew of SD2241 that steered the aircraft away from residential areas. May the rest in peace and God's mercy be upon them.

I first came in contact with her in 1990 when she was 21 years old. ST-AKW operated for the Sudan Air Force flying relief supplies into Juba (the capital of Southern Sudan and the province of Central Equatoria).

It arrived into Royal Jordanian Engineering and Maintenance Base for Heavy Maintenance (D Check) a few months before the first Gulf War. This B707-300C was worked hard transporting humanitarian supplies and it was in need of serious maintenance work. Work started on the check after the beginning of the war and lasted for months, after which she became a frequent visitor to Amman for routine maintenance work (C Checks) with the other B707-300C of Sudan Airways.

It was only after eight (8) years and during my work with Air Arabia at Sharjah Airport that I had glimpses of her and her sister ST-AFB as they came to the cargo terminal. It felt like meeting old friends.

An aircraft crash is a very tragic and sad event. The loss affects not only the families of those directly involved but also those who are associated in one way or another with the crew and the aircraft.

Our prayers go to the crew and their families and a farewell to ST-AKW (2/69-10/09) you have served well and long.

NB Airline Industry review has compiled A Photographic Farewell of the A/C

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Replacement of Dubai

On a radio business talk show, a question was asked on which city will replace Dubai. Would it be Doha or Abu Dhabi? The answer was very diplomatic, but then I don't have to be diplomatic.

The short answer is not in a million years.

What about all that oil money? Precisely because of the oil wealth Dubai will not be replaced. What every one forgets, Dubai is not towers and malls or amusement parks. Dubai is an idea, a vision and a life style that became a reality not only with money but with the hard work and innovation of Emaraties and expatriates alike, who bought in the vision and dream.

Other cities will copy the parts of Dubai which are money related. They may have higher towers or bigger malls. What they will not have is the dream and the vision that produced the life style and quality of life that is cherished and makes Dubai what it is now, irreplaceable.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Two radio commercials drew my attention since I get to hear them on and on that I find very amusing.

1. Emirates Airlines, it goes something like that and I paraphrase, why have a midnight snack when you can have an on demand gourmet dinner, fly Emirates First Class. Duh, really Emirates is that for me the poor economy class passenger luring him to fly First Class. WOW guys that will be the most expensive meal ever, somewhere in the tune of $5000 to $6000 depending where you are going.

2. Sun and Sand well apparently they have the sports wear to "MULTI GENDER" customers I thought there were Two (2) genders in this world. I am interested to know what other genders they have in mind.

multi- A prefix that means "many" or "much,"

Enough said, just remember there are people who listen to the Radio and actually hear what you are saying.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Road Worrier

For those who are smiling, no I did not misspell worrier. What worries me on the road is the lack of discipline coupled with a total misunderstanding of the concept of "endangering traffic" and "average speed" within the driving community here. I am not going to discuss discipline or lack thereof here, whoever has used the roads here can attest to that.

Endangering traffic and average speed are coupled together. Endangering traffic is when one drives at a higher or lower speed than the prevailing average speed on the road. So the lil ole lady in Phoenix driving her 1969 Chevy Impala at 25 mph when every one is driving at 55 mph is actually endangering traffic just as the macho guy doing 75 mph.

The notion, that most drivers have here, is we own the road.

One finds the guy that drives at 120 kph on the second lane down Shaikh Zayed Road when everybody else is averaging 140 kph and then wandering why everybody is passing him on either side and giving him the evil eye. But what is worse are those who think they are F1 drivers on a speed track doing far more than 140 kph, head lights flashing, riding your bumper while you are having nightmares of what will happen if you have to brake for any reason.

It makes me wonder if these people have any idea of the consequences of their actions. Having a driver's license is like having a permit for a big ass projectile.

Safe driving people and God Bless

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Place That Does

I was never a great fan of Dubai. Having lived in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for almost 14 years, I always thought Dubai was artificial and ostentatious, not the best place to raise kids.

For the last year or so I have to drive across Dubai almost on daily basis. There is nothing like driving across Dubai in the early morning, very light traffic and easy driving, it gives one the opportunity to look at all these towers and reflect on how things were several years back.

Dubai, or to be more exact the Rulers of Dubai, had a vision and that vision evolves and changes year on year. That vision puts Dubai in a league of its own, not only within the UAE but globally. What differentiates Dubai is the will to implement that vision and realise it, at a time far richer and larger countries did not have the will. When Dubai started building the Metro a few years back, I could never figure why the rail went up and down instead of a simpler straight line, last year I saw overpasses being built over where the metro line dips. A vision so detailed that was designed a few years back and only being finalised now with such precision.

The recession has not been very kind to Dubai, but in a way it was needed to provide a reality check of what has become a totally changed Dubai which has lost its sense of balance. What is painful is the negative press that attacked Dubai and the UAE. Some of it is justified and is being addressed by amending existing laws or passing new ones. It is the hypocrisy of a lot of the authors of these articles that really angers me, why was it OK when Dubai was boom city and now it is all wrong.

Dubai is The Place That Does. Dubai is a place with a VISION, but more importantly a place that goes forth and delivers on that vision as planned and on time (well a few months late sometimes but better late than never).

Am I a greater fan of Dubai, well I am less critical of the place and sometimes I think it is actually cool. It is a privilege to be in The Place That Does.

The Art of Cooking

In Arab Culture food figures out in all occasions and celebrations. It is central in weddings, births and death. It is probably the single measure of one'e generosity. Arab will share their food no matter how little it is. And, unlike other cultures we cook for almost double the number of invitees.

After my blog about Wild Peeta my wife commented on Facebook
" Randa Khoury After I read you blog about the fusion shawerma,I am expecting you to write about my cuisine!!!!!! hahahahahah" Well, who am I to disappoint her.

I am blessed to marry a woman who is multi talented. She enjoys painting on glass, silk and canvas using different media and of course she has great patience (having married me). Above all, she certainly enjoys the art of cooking. Not only the normal day to day run of the mill meals like Mahshi (any thing that is stuffed marrow, squash, carrots etc) , Malfouf (rolled cabbages), Vine leaves, Kibbeh (ground meat with Burghul -cracked wheat) and all the other Yakhnie (stews) and pastries, etc..

She specialises in those old almost lost and forgotten recipes that your grand mother and great grand mother used to cook, the ones your doctor warns you against, yea and I mean Kourash and Fawaregh (stuffed intestines similar to haggis) and lamb's tongues, heads and rijlain (feet), stuffed lamb and Dal'a (Lamb ribs and sides). On top of that she made the meanest and tastiest Cheese cake among other cakes and cookies.

These were the meals for Christmas, New Year and Easter and whenever requested by friends and family who we gladly accommodated.

So Bon Apetite

PS For a list of Arabic Cooking Terms refer to

Friday, October 2, 2009

No One Wins Alone

No One Wins Alone, such a true statement but not so simple. Everyone says success has many fathers/mothers and failure is an orphan. So where do we get all these people to support and help ?

They could be close family members who usually give unconditional support unless you have the envious and jealous variety, otherwise one has to assemble a team for support regardless of whether it is a professional or personal goal. Considering that most people want to be winners by their own right, and do not see the value of supporting anyone. Confusion reigns, all these conflicting desires and ambitions.

People including family have to be convinced that the only way they can win is through you. One has to show leadership and team building abilities, that applies to everybody in any position in life or in an organisation and not necessarily to CEOs and Senior management. One has to nurture and support back, being supported and being a supporter are not mutually exclusive.

Winning is about leadership and team building, about sharing a vision and a dream and most of all being attentive and supportive to the needs of one's supporting team.

Then everyone is a winner


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