May 2014 The Sands of Time

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The month started off with an aerospace audit very close to the sands of Great Yarmouth adjacent to the first Nelson’s column. I have been to this Company many times before and it was good to see that things have been steadily improving. A day was also spent in the UK at one of my consulting Companies to get them ready for their forthcoming surveillance audit.

The highlight of the month was visiting my son in China and to see our grandson for a week. The pollution was at its normal levels i.e. very high but the local Chinese seem to be used to it. From there it was straight out to Saudi Arabia between Dammam and Kuwait to Industrial City No 2 which is a 25 square kilometre piece of desert with oil refineries and an aluminium smelting plant. The sand was everywhere (not surprising in the middle of a desert) and the temperatures were once again into the low 40s. The accommodation was in a worker’s camp with temporary buildings. However, the Saudi Royal Commission are tasked with various jobs on the site including drilling bore holes to check for environmental contamination. For 2 of my 4 days there they were drilling a hole just over the fence from my room 24/7 and I did not get much sleep. Why couldn’t they stop drilling in the silent hours????

However, in complete contrast I flew from Saudi Arabia to Dubai for 4 days and stayed in what must be close to a 5* hotel which had its rear entrance open up into a grand shopping mall. There was a full fitness gym and 2 swimming pools and I had the ‘misfortune’ of staying there over a weekend!! I had a good tour of the city on the tourist bus with a red and blue routes and the city, although built in the desert with lots of sand, had the reputation of using the most ‘grey’ water to keep the vegetation going with many flowers, bushes and grass. I really enjoyed Dubai which was vibrant, multi-cultural, Western and there were women drivers, and Western ladies could dress as they wished without any restrictions. A representative of the client took me to a very nice restaurant where there was a red Ferrari and a Rolls Royce parked outside along with the usual cluster of Range Rovers etc.