Another stab at new year resolutions...


Over the years I have learnt to my regret that by the end of January, most of my New Year resolutions have already fallen by the wayside.

This year I decided to give myself a second chance in February and draw up a selection of resolutions and promises, which might actually come true or be realised.
Currently the list is like this:
1) On a personal note, I will not become annoyed, when some moron overtakes me on the hard shoulder on the Sheikh Zayed Road in Dubai. I will just charitably assume he is in a hurry to get to a hospital.
2)  When I am staying in my favourite London hotel and the receptionist again asks for my choice of newspaper, which I always give and which should have been noted, I shall not register annoyance or issue a sarcastic remark. But, if we again have to request more coat hangers, then this is the last time we shall be staying at that hotel. Hotels ought to take note of their guests' special requirements on the first and not on the sixth visit.
3) On a travel note, I would love to take another train journey, my favourite form of conveyance. There is the Asian Orient Express, which sounds good. Must find out if the cabins are bigger than the European Orient Express, which are tiny. Australia offers two train trips which attract me. One from Perth across to the East coast and another one called the GAN, apparently named after the Afghanistani camel trekkers, travelling south to north via Alice Springs. The Trans-Rockies with its marvellous viewing cabin is intriguing – if we can over come our dislike for the security queues in the USA. A ‘must’ could be the Blue Train again, we have already experienced the Cape Town tour, but apparently the Vineyard country tour is even better and we could possibly then tie in a Safari trip in the Kruger National Park.
4) I would like just once to attend the Edinburgh Tattoo at the lovely Edinburgh Castle. I love the Scots and their bagpipes. However, one has to book very early for the Tattoo, i.e. the previous year!
5) I would like to find another 19th century teapot for my collection, which has stood still for some time, as these specimens have became difficult to find and very costly nowadays. Maybe I will have to make do by adding a couple of rosewater sprinklers from one of the souks in Bahrain, Doha, Muscat or Dubai, as I collect them too.
6) I would like to visit Algeria, as it is one of the few Arab countries still missing from my ‘visit’ agenda. Another ‘hot’ Arab destination I should like to see is Palmyra in Syria, of the famous Queen Zenobia repute.
7) I would like to find some old Omani earrings. They hang so beautifully and are getting quite rare to locate. I bought my eldest daughter a pair some years ago and she loves them and wears them often.
8) This one might never come true, but I would very much like to see Machu Pichu in Peru. This once hidden secret city of the ancient Incas sits on top of a high mountain. My husband went there alone about twenty years ago and he still enthuses about the pictures he took there.
9)  Again on a personal note, I want to know how to make a spreadsheet on my computer. In fact, I want to learn to operate the machine as well as my 13-year-old granddaughter.
10) I have now mentioned a few times that it would be nice to have a digital camera for my birthday or Christmas to replace my Olympus film-using camera. However, I have been unable to explain to my better half the benefits of such a switch. I'll just have to persevere, I guess.
11) This year I am definitely going to make a Baked Alaska!
12) It would be a good idea to take up oil painting again. When we lived in Libya years ago, I went to classes run by a professional painter and I quite enjoyed it –  although I was not particularly talented, I managed to paint a few canvasses.
13) I will not become irritated when airport security takes away my mascara which I forgot to pack in my suit case.
14) I will contribute more to my favourite charity, Actionaid, which deals exclusively with disenfranchised children around the globe.
15) I would like to learn all the silly two-letter words which our opponents always seem to use when we are playing Scrabble. My husband and I, when playing alone, never use words, which are not ‘proper’ ones, but again, that is why we mostly do not win when playing with others.
16) I want to plant an apricot tree in our garden in Cyprus. The lemon and orange trees are surviving, so I would like to try the apricots and perhaps another vine.
17) I intend to keep studying Arabic. I have recently found my old textbooks which I purchased, when we first arrived in Bahrain. Now I am trying to discipline myself to recapture the excitement of learning a new language, Shukran!
18) To try to be tolerant and keep quiet, as I observe newcomers to the Gulf region marching, hands-free, followed by a maid or two carrying the baby and the groceries.
19) Keep my comments and thoughts to myself when I see visitors or resident expats in Dubai milling about in shopping malls totally inappropriately dressed for Dubai, after all this is a Muslim country and not the liberal South of France.
20) I would like to visit the mountain areas of the UAE again. I remember, when we first arrived in Dubai, we took an Arabian Adventures tour through the wadies and thoroughly enjoyed meeting the hill Bedouins, whose lives seem to be untouched by the massive developments taking place only 30km away. It was a wonderful excursion and we were able to relax and enjoy this peep into the past, which is swiftly disappearing.
I wonder how many of these New Year resolutions/promises will come true in 2007? Time will tell! In the meantime I remind my self that resolution also means decision and determination!

Speaking Out
by Jonna Simon