Greetings from a very cool and mild Dubai – it was 16 degrees when I landed at 5am the other morning and I started to ask myself if I had packed a jacket for the trip…I had not. It’s good to be back in Dubai though and get back on the park after the Christmas break. The holiday has been great but the kids have gone back to school and today was Sophie’s first day – I missed it of course but Helen helped out with a few photos and here’s one of them below – they all look great and I’m very proud of them. I’ve got the last Test here and then the ODI series. Some very good company to be had with other match officials such as Steve Davis, Jeff Crowe, Peter Manuel and Kumar Dharmasena.
I’ve been trying to get used to the 7 hour time difference without much luck. Fell asleep the first night just before 8pm and woke up at 1.50am. I tried to doze back to sleep but nothing doing and I got up an hour later. After visiting the ICC office earlier in the day, I had plenty of other work to do and keep me occupied until catching up with the other umpires for breakfast.
I’ve spent some quiet time in the room preparing for the upcoming match, but we ventured out yesterday afternoon to the Mall of Emirates. It still fascinates me to see the extravagance here – the high class shops, the indoor snow skiing and the cars. This car below was parked outside the Mall entrance where we were waiting for our driver (he was only late by 50 minutes!) – it’s a Bugatti Veyron and we were told it belongs to a Sheikh from Qatar and only worth about US$1.7 million (currently the most expensive street legal car). If it was my car, I would have had several minders keeping all the prying hands off the thing, but I suppose he has a couple more of the things parked at home!
While also passing our waiting time for the driver, we happened to see Roger Federer and his wife walk past to their car – both were talking on their mobile phones but not to each other we think? Or, it was a great tactic by both of them not to be stopped and spoken to by people like us!
As I said, fascinating place this. Well, back to normality and down to preparing for the Test. After seeing over 100 appeals in the last match with these sides, I’m starting to get my decision making skills in order so I can be ready for the onslaught.
Hope all is well with you and trust that Santa Claus was kind – best wishes for a great 2012.
31 January 2012.