Sunday, April 23, 2006

I have a confession to make...

... so I lied! I said that I'd be posting alot more often once I get back to Oman and I didn't! In fact, I don't think I updated my blog at all! But I was just soooo thrilled to be back home and not have to worry about bills, uni and whatever, that I didn't really get a chance to sit myself down and type anything let alone a whole post! And you know how long my posts are.... I'm incapable of typing short posts... It's not me!!!

Well, now that I'm back in Leeds, I'm not going to promise you guys anything, but I tend to get the time to update my blog atleast once every week. BUT, like I said, I can't promise you anything!

Being back in Leeds has been a nightmare! I arrived in Manchester airport at around 8, got on the first train to Leeds and reached Leeds at around 9.30p.m. My friend was there to meet me and we decided that I'd chill with him and the group until I was too tired to stay out! And that's exactly what I did.

A few hours later I decided that I was too tired to function. So, I grabbed my bags and took a cab back home. Imagine, I had slept at three in the morning the night before, woken up at 6 in the morning to get ready for the flight back to Leeds, hadn't slept at all on the plane or train and had chilled with my friends until 1 in the morning (which was like 3 in Oman). I couldn't wait to go home, get changed, jump on my bed and doze off!

Finally I was home. I walked up to my flat and stopped to check the mail box. Once I finally placed the letters in my bag, I searched for my keys and finally unlocked the door.

First there was shock.. then there was nausea and finally there were tears! My flat had been flooded with shit once again. Yes, It had happened before but atleast the first time it'd happened my flatmates and I were there to put an end to it. This time, the shit on the floor looked like it had been there for weeks! Problem is, it was still flowing out of our toilet onto our floor and into our rooms! The smell was unbearable and the sight was just disgusting!

I immediately called my friend and informed her that I was not sleeping in the flat when it was practically soaked in shit...I had to check it out though. I needed to know that my room was ok. That my shoes, clothes and carpet were all ok. So I placed a few plastic bags on the floor and barely made it into my room. The smell had invaded my room as well. My carpet was ok and so were my shoes. Although they smelled like shit, my clothes were fine too.

For some UNAPPARENT reason, I decided that I could not carry my huge bag with me wherever I went, and so I went back out and carried my bags into my room. I then found my way out and headed towards my new temporary home!

I have now been living in someone else's house for 2 nights and the news just keep getting better! The flat's situation is worse than we all thought! It's not just drenched in shit, but the whole floor needs replacing. My poor flatmate's carpet has also suffered from the flooding as his room is the closest to the toilet!

At this point in life, words can not describe how pissed off I am! I'm fed up and I'm not impressed. With the amount of money these assholes are making us pay, you'd think that the flat ought to be of high standard! High standard my ass! The flat has the equivalent of sleeping out on the streets!

Anyways, I've got shit loads of work to hand in this week and two exams to revise for. Without a home, clean clothes and books, I can't exactly do anything can I!? Oh well, shit happens.... LITERALLY!

This can only mean one thing... I am definitely back in Leeds!

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Back by popular demand ;)

It started on a wet Sunday morning. My phone went "riiiiiiiinggg riiiiiiiiingg" and I was up instantly. After all, I couldn't afford to be late when I had a train followed by a plane to catch. My bags were packed, and I had already arranged the outfit I believed to be most suitable for the occasion. I got dressed, checked to see if I'd packed everything I needed, located my passport and head to the living room for a cup of coffee.

It was still dark outside. There was not a human in sight, not a bird fluttering in the sky and not a car in the neighbourhood. In a way, I couldn't help but feel like I was in the same situation that poor guy in 28 days later was, when he woke up in an empty hospital all alone, only to find out that the world had been invaded by a deadly virus. Ok, so the world hadn't been invaded by anything, but the place looked so peaceful, unlike usual, and deserted.

I had informed my flatmate to book a taxi for me the night before, and therefore had no intention of calling for one that particular morning. As I sat down sipping my coffee and simultaneously smoking my cigarette, I looked at my watch only to realise that it was getting late and there was no taxi in sight. I decided to call the taxi company to confirm that a taxi had infact been previously booked and was currently on it's way to claim me.

"Hello? Good morning. I was just wondering, is there a cab on its way to 75 Hyde park road, under the name M?"
"Ummmm, no ma'am."
"NO? Shit...... Ok, in that case can you please send a cab to this address as soon as possible?"
"He'll be here in 15 minutes. Thank you."

Silence. Panic. Anxiety.

Fifteen minutes later, the cab arrived. I struggled down the stairs, using all the strength I had to try and lift the 20 Kg bag full of books, my laptop case and handbag, without stumbling over in the process. I managed, and before you knew it, I was comfortably sitting in the back seat, saying goodbye to all the familiar buildings we drove by, with a smile. This comfort was temporary however, for disaster stroke once again when the taxi driver asked me where I was going, and what time I had to be there.

"Oh, I'm going to Manchester Airport and I'm taking the 5.40 train to be there by around 7."
"I see. You mean 6.40."
"No, I mean 5.40a.m."
"But it's already 6 o'clock."
"No it's not. It's 5."
"Didn't you hear? The clock's gone forward. You know daylight savings? So it's currently 6a.m and not 5."
"WHAT? ARE YOU SERIOUS? YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDIN' ME!"
"No it's been on the radio all morning."
"And what if you don't listen to the radio? Then what? How are you supposed to find out?"
"Well, they've been announcing it on T.V as well!"
"OH SHIT. THIS CAN'T BE GOOD!"

Panic.

The car finally came to a halt, and before you knew it, I was doing what I did best; running. There was no point in running though. I was an hour late! Luckily, trains to Manchester were frequent, and although I had booked a ticket on the 5.40 train, I was now trying to catch the one at 6.40.

Despite being an hour late, I was surprisingly calm. I sat down, lit another cigarette and text my mom telling her what had happened. There was no reason to be nervous. My plane was at 10.20 and I didn't need more than 30 minutes to track my ticket down and eventually check in.

One hour, forty minutes and a whole lotta running later, I was comfortably sitting in a cafe having hot chocolate, a muffin and a fag. I had not only made it in time, but the plane had been delayed for an hour to compensate for the bloody time change which, apparently, not only I was completely unaware of!

Three hours later, I was still sat in the lounge area listening to Kelly Clarkson complain about here dysfunctional family, while at the same time laughing at random people rush their way to their specified gates hopelessly. The plane had been delayed for an additional two hours! To others, this might have been convenient as this would've given them a chance to check in despite their late arrival, but to me, this meant one thing; I was bound to miss my flight from Doha to Muscat.

I was right! I spent the night in Doha's Grand Regency hotel. I didn't mind. I had always wanted to visit Doha, so this was my chance. And although it was dark outside and I did not leave the transit bus until we reached the hotel, I concluded that Doha was beautiful. It reminded me of Dubai. The tall glass buildings, the amazing architecture, the colourful atmosphere, it was simply beautiful. It was definitely good to be back in the Middle East. One can only stand looking at identical houses and buildings for a limited amount of time!

Being back in the Gulf did (inevitably) have its downs. Wearing full-length loose jeans and a black 3/4-sleeved top proved to be quite problematic! Two Indian, two Kuwaiti, three Sri Lankan, one Lebanese and an additional Philippino man approached me in just 40 minutes! At first I thought it might've been the piercing and the unfamiliar Western look, and I was soon 100% sure that it was in fact the cigarette in my hand that grabbed their attention.

All in all, it's good to be home. I've been getting along with my mom pretty well. I have not touched a cigarette for the past 48 hours and counting. The piercing has finally come off. Been eating healthily. Relaxing.

Being back in the Middle East has proved to be a very eye-opening experience. I've done this so many times I ought to be used to it by now, but as much as I'd like to say that I'm getting used to it, the cold truth is that you NEVER get used to it!

Haven't updated in a while, so I thought I'd make this a long one :)