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ABU DHABI

I was at Abu Dhabi only once, and that was to install a radio in one of the local sheik's Landrovers which the sheik used for hunting. (For the technologically inclined it was one of the latest state-of-the-art Redifon GR410 100 watt "Third Way" single-sideband transmitter-receivers.)

The driver carried a rifle and had an ammunition belt slung across his chest. He never said a word the whole time he waited for the installation to be completed. Then when the radio had been installed and he prepared to drive the Landrover away, he gave a nasty smile, pointed at the radio, and drew a finger across his throat, making it clear what would happen to me if the radio didn't work.

But it was only a local bully's bluster. In his culture, an engineer was a mere minion who worked with his hands, whereas he was a magnificent warrior who carried a gun.

UMM AL-QUWAIN

I visited Umm Al-Quwain while I was at Sharjah.

RAS AL-KHAIMA

There was a British agricultural research station with a guesthouse at Ras Al-Khaima, and most International Aeradio Ltd ex-patriots living in Sharjah and Dubai visited it at least once during their tour of duty. We also subscribed to a weekly delivery of a box of fresh vegetables - unobtainable from other sources.

BAHREIN

In 1963 I spent three months in Bahrein working at the airport. There was a mess (guesthouse) run by International Aeradio Ltd in the Bahrein capital, Manama, where I spent much of my time being incredibly bored. There was no transport available, but fortunately there was a store in a nearby souhk tht sold English language paperbacks, mostly from the US. An eclectic selection: Philip Roth's Goodbye Columbus and William Faulkner's The Rievers vying for space with a mass of science fiction, and every noire crime thriller in print. I went through viagra naturale the whole of Mickey Spilane's Mike Hammer novels and developed a taste for Erskine Caldwell.

As in all Moslem countries, Friday was the "weekend". There were frequent dhow trips where I went snorkel diving at the coral heads which rose from the bottom of the Gulf and occassionally I went swimming at the Ruler's private beach which he had made open to Europeans.