Tag Archives | laborers

Saturday’s Snapshot (surat al-sabat): لقطة السبت

Workers planting flowers in the roadside flower beds. Everything that grows here, pretty much, needs to be irrigated. These flowers are planted in between rows of black hoses – but even then, the flowers don’t last long. For some reason, begonias are often what get planted, which is an odd choice, I think, because if memories of my mom’s suburban gardens are any indication, begonias grow best in partial shade.

Ain’t none of that here.

I know more about the flowers being planted than I do about the men doing the planting. Depending on who you ask, the money these men make here far exceeds the money they could make in Sri Lanka, Islamabad, Goa; or they are being wildly exploited and are little more than flower-planting prisoners.

I expect the truth resides somewhere in between.

Continue Reading · on November 10, 2012 in Abu Dhabi, Politics, surat al-sabt saturday snapshot, UAE

how hot is it? if you have to ask…

It’s summer.

We moved here last August and it was Very Hot.

It’s June 1 today and already it’s hotter now than it was last August.

How hot?  Really hot.

For those of you thinking “it’s a dry heat, though, so it’s not that bad,” let me adjust your perceptions: the city perches on the edge of the Gulf, which creates a lovely swamp-like effect, similar to what you get in New Orleans (but without the consolation of Cajun cooking or jazz).  Think air like hot wet towels, think Bikram yoga studio after a full day of sweaty-bodied yoga classes, think sauna.

And even in New Orleans, I bet residents don’t get warnings like this one:

“As advised by the UAE Defence Ministry, car owners should not fill their fuel tank to full, as for the next few weeks temperature will climb up to 53-54 degrees which can cause the fuel tank to burst/explode. Please pass this message to all your contacts, as all of us here are in the habit of filling our car tanks to full. Please remember that prevention is better than cure and enjoy safe motoring.”

For those of you not celsius-savvy, 53-54 is about 120F.  And yes, I do believe you could cook an egg on the sidewalk.

Or maybe this notice in the newspaper the other day:

“The midday break for outdoor labourers will be from June 15 to September 15, the Ministry of Labour said yesterday. Working outside will be banned from 12.30 to 3pm, and companies must provide water and shaded areas for labourers.  Each violation carries a Dh15,000 penalty.”

True, it does seem that water and shaded areas should be provided as a matter of course, but… hey, we’re talking about laborers here, which in Abu Dhabi seems to be a category sometimes unrelated to “people.”

So yeah. It’s hot. So hot that I bet even Cole Porter couldn’t make a song of it.

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Continue Reading · on June 1, 2012 in Abu Dhabi, environment

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