August 30th, 2001

krazy kat

More sunny updates.

Ok, so I looked at that sign again. I got it wrong -- it's not "Watch for Surprises in Road"; it's "Beware of Road Surprises". Which I think is even funnier, but anyway.

The reason I haven't been online much recently, is because the school isn't quite up and running yet. Classes don't start until next Saturday (the 8th)*, and things are still getting up to speed. There are (theoretically) computer labs in all the dorms, but aren't supposed to open until classes start. At least that's the theory. Whether it actually comes to fruition is something we shall have to wait and see.

The only computers with internet access on campus are in the Library. Unfortunately, I can't use them until I get a logon name. I can't get a logon name until I get an ID card. I don't get an ID card until "next week, insha'allah**, maybe week after".

My computer has no way at all of being connected; besides which I blew a fuse trying to plug the North American plug (110V, 60Hz) in to the local power supply (220V, 50Hz). It is theoretically rated for the local standard, but it blew up anyway. So now I have to get a new fuse. Sigh.

So I came back to Abu Dhabi for the weekend, and have a chance to use my blessed, blessed parents' computer with internet access. I haven't been on a computer in a week, and I think I'm suffering from withdrawl :-)

The university is cool. It's rather more restrictive than I had anticipated. People have to be in their rooms, lights out after 11:00 (I'm still recovering from jet-lag, so that hasn't been an issue yet, but I suspect it may be), and I have to hand in an itinerary of where I'm going if I want to leave the campus. Bleh. This is more like boarding school than university. But whatever. I can cope.

Being one of only a small handful of Western (white) guys on campus is interesting. I certainly get a lot of the girls checking me out. Probably mostly just as an object of curiosity, but hey... since when have girls ever looked on me as anything other than an object of curiosity...? :-P

I have a room-mate in the dorm... a guy from India named Ajit. He's pretty cool. He likes the room (temperature) a bit on the warm side, but I can acclimatize. It's usually about 27 degrees. Which is not a problem most of the time, but I find a bit warm for trying to get to sleep. Anyway, he's going into computer engineering, and so we have all sorts of geeky things to talk about. The other guys in the dorm seem to spend most of their time in the common room playing pool or watching soccer on the telly. I've met a couple of them, but don't know them well.

The campus, despite being not quite open for the term yet, is interesting. There's a Tarbuck$ which actually almost sells reasonably-priced food. The damn convenience store actually sells Clearly Canadian, and not only that, but it's imported, not made for local consumption (has English/French on the label, not English/Arabic). The bookstore carries current copies of PCGamer... as long as I don't mind paying $CA 23 a pop on them. I'm taking a number of pictures around campus which I'm planning on scanning in and putting online, but that may be a while yet. Since I don't have a scanner, I'm going to have to use my parents', I think.

Anyway, there's more, but I'm lazy and will write at some other time.

* The Muslim weekend is Thurs-Fri; Saturday is the first workday of the week.

** An Arabic term, literally meaning "God willing". Realistically, meaning "We both know it won't happen, but I'm telling you that it will so you don't get mad at me. I hereby absolve myself of all responsability in the matter."
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