A Change of Scenery

Ah! Dubai.  The Jewel of the Desert, Pearl of the Middle East.  With its rich culture, exotic beaches, authentic cuisine, world class hotels and restaurants, friendly locals, and luxurious lifestyle for all, Dubai is truly heaven on earth.  Witness those who pay thousands to come from the slums of Europe to taste the nectar of this desert flower for a short week, and the place speaks for itself.  And with a dozen exciting new projects under construction and a further dozen on the planning charts, life in the city can only get more idyllic.  Who could want more?

Well, me for one.  I’ve had enough.  I’ve handed in my notice, and after 6 weeks or so I will be moving to that other well known holiday paradise, Sakhalin Island.  Here’s a description of its climate:

Owing to the influence of the raw, foggy Sea of Okhotsk, the climate is very cold. At Dui the average yearly temperature is only 0.5 °C (January -15.9 °C; July 16.1 °C), 1.7 °C at Kusunai and 3.1 °C at Aniva (January, −12.5 °C; July, 15.7 °C). At Alexandrovsk-Sakhalinsky near Dui the annual range is from 27 °C in July to −39 °C in January, while at Rykovsk in the interior the minimum is −45 °C. The rainfall averages 570 mm. Thick clouds for the most part shut out the sun; while the cold current from the Sea of Okhotsk, aided by north-east winds, brings immense ice-floes to the east coast in summer.

All the snow you can eat, and all the seals you can club.  Now that’s what I call expat living.

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32 thoughts on “A Change of Scenery

  1. Damn, I wish I’d used that as the title to my post. I should delete your comment and change the title, but that would invite hostilities from Blognor Regis.

  2. That’s you, advenrtures in dubai, grapeshisha, and others all leaving here. Im considering moving here. Am i a mug? All the good people are leaving – well at least the good ones from uae cyberspace. is it a secret that only a few of you know? is dubai too expensive? or what?

  3. They do however have the most amazing scallops and Sakhalin crab is famous at least as far west as Moscow.

    You may find that the social life leaves a little to be desired.

  4. You may find that the social life leaves a little to be desired.

    I’ve had mixed reports, to be honest. The place is stuffed full of expats in the oil and gas business, and oil towns usually have a very good and close-knit social circuit. I guess I’ll find out soon enough, and let you know through mouthfuls of crab. 🙂

  5. Local news won’t be quite the same. I don’t think they have any suicide bombers. Hezbollah doesn’t have an office there. Women are not afraid to show their face and hair if they remove their parka. I’ll bet they have a good Ice Hockey team. Just be careful and watch out for the “Snow Snake”.

  6. If you only knew HOW funny that is. Especially about the seals.

    Start to learn Chinese. I hear they all go out to China on weekends, for food. (goodness gracious)

  7. Oh, just so you know: don’t try to send an email to my old work address (in case you did). I too changed jobs, albeit in the same city. Hotmail address is still valid.

  8. Oh no, our smuggest and most know it all, america loving, conserative blogger is leaving! you’ll fit right in on sakhalin. Watch out for Korean Airlines spy planes…

  9. youll fit right in on sakhalin

    Yes, I’m sure Sakhalin Island isthe natural destination for America-loving conservatives.

  10. The Sakhalin Times says:

    Besides really good pay and excellent working conditions, many expats have learned to love Sakhalin for another distinct reason. The abundance of attractive and easy women! Lets disregard a popular myth that Russian women are the most beautiful on earth. There are enough attractive young girls in my area and an equally large number that wouldnt finish in the top 2000 in a beauty contest. Single or even married expats look for one major point when they get involved with a Russian woman in Sakhalin. That is pure and simple subjugation.

    Ah, now I see. Good luck over there.

  11. I seem to have screwed up the formatting. Sorry Tim.

    [RLFANS-induced incompetence fixed! :D]

  12. Single or even married expats look for one major point when they get involved with a Russian woman in Sakhalin. That is pure and simple subjugation.

    Ha! I’m actually going there with my girlfriend from St. Petersburg. If I attempt to subjugate her, I’ll find myself being fed to a polar bear.

  13. Wow. Congrats – I guess this is pretty much your dream job.

    Try not to piss of your girlfriend so much she feeds you to the polar bears (or the seals!).

  14. I guess this is pretty much your dream job.

    Not quite…that would have been in Moscow. Sakhalin is a stepping stone in that direction. BTW, I expect to be comparing notes with you in 6 months about how to survive Siberian temperatures. I’m starting with copious consumption of vodka.

  15. Blimey, there’s a massed crowd stood on the quayside to wave you off.

    Will there be a name change for the blog? No sun of the tundra?

  16. I knew you liked Russia. But Sakhalin? Wow, that’s extreme. In 50’s my father was there in GULAG. I hope they don’t have any of those left there.

  17. Will there be a name change for the blog? No sun of the tundra?

    I was thinking about it. Not sure. White Sun of the Desert doesn’t seem relevant, but I can’t be bothered getting everyone to relink to a new blog. I’ll think of something.

  18. But Sakhalin? Wow, thats extreme.

    Yup, but unfortunately you only find oil and gas in places which are either bloody boiling, bloody freezing, or under half a mile of water.

    In 50s my father was there in GULAG. I hope they dont have any of those left there.

    Jesus! I’ll spare a thought for him. Actually, they initially said my accommodation was on a camp…

  19. I hope this means that your more political entries will recommence?

    They will, on a new blog under a not-too-subtle pseudonym. 🙂

  20. I hope you hold on there for a couple of months before you start your whining about “those locals”, about how “emotionally-drained” you are, and about this damn news paper that they have in Sakhalin that simply drives you mad, and yeah, those nasty journalists and TV stations ruining your day while you “work” 🙂
    Strange, heh? British expats (naggers) do have a bad reputation of assimilation; then you came and just proved it on daily basis – well done!
    If one didn’t hear enough nagging and quacking through his day, simply he can come to your blog and read for a few minutes : )) that’s why I am here, anyway.
    Jesus Crirrrrist!!
    G Luck – you certainly need it.

  21. Interesting you put “emotionally-drained” in quotes. If you can find a single instance when I have said that I am emotionally drained, I will give you a tenner.

    But I probably won’t be whining on about those locals, because I already know exactly what they will be like. I have a pretty sound knowledge of Russians, and I find them to be infinitely more hospitable, genuine, honest, friendly, and welcoming than the locals of the Middle East. As for the assimilation, I’m sure I’ll be okay. It helps if your hosts don’t lecture you on religion,give you lashes forshagging your girlfriend, and smash up your consulate over a simple cartoon.

    But as for the general whining about the bureaucracy, the weather, the state of the roads, etc. I’ll be doing that all right, rest assured. I’m a British blogger, complaining’s what we do best.

  22. Best of luck to you, Tim. I will miss your desertsun insight and look forward to learning about Sakhalin…..which I’m embarrassed to admit I’ve never heard of.

  23. Do Police officers in Dubai accept Bribes ?

    Apparently, YES!

    So this friend of ours was in a taxi being driven down to Sharjah, the cab guy skips a light at the Galadhari cross roads and changes three lanes in a go. The cab got pulled over and the Cops came over and wanted to arrest this guy. Not the Driver, but the passenger,(Brown passenger).

    The cops asked him if he was drinking, (remember he was not in Sharjah yet, still a few hundred meters away from the border),

    The guy freaked out so he offers a bribe, AED 1,800 that he happened to have in his pocket. And guess what, the Uniformed Dubai Police Officer accepts it and lets him go.
    Now we understand that corruption is endemic in this region, however is it acceptable to fleece the underprivileged? Oh allk right this over paid brown guy we are taling about is not part of the ,underprivileged, but WTF? Well Dubai is progressing and

    Dubai = a wanna be First world country?

    Dubai = stereotypical Arab nation with nothing new to offer.


    Surprised Sheep Productions

  24. I should not have “quoted” that phrase, sorry, accept my apologies.

    I agree with what you said about assimilation:
    “It helps if your hosts dont lecture you on religion, give you lashes for shagging your girlfriend, and smash up your consulate over a simple cartoon”, but I still find it more than strange that you have NOT met any interesting people over there!! What??Only evil landlords and religious evil demonstrators? So assimilation in Russia will be easier? Guess what? I think you’ll find there, in Russia, “xenophobic people” who like to lecture you about the West and conspiracies against Mother Russia, and who….etc

    IMPORTANT: I don’t mean that this is how I think of Russians, let that be very clear to you. I meant to show that the way you generalize when you talk about “locals of the Middle East” surprises me so much, and even offends me a bit, (although I have nothing to do with that region), I just smell some ugly racism there. Excuse me, maybe it’s my nose.

    @surprised sheep: What you wrote should be the discovery of the year; and the theory of this century.
    I really hope you have something new to offer.

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