Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas in Burj Continued

December 25th is a strange day here. Our hosts know it’s Christmas, and they know it’s about shopping and Father Christmas / Santa Claus and that it is followed by Boxing Day

'Drinks' tend to be hot and 'beverages' tend to be cold.
Or is it the other way round...?

But being muslim they tend not to take the day off, which is fair enough, and they do not expect us to, which we can't do anyway due to the schedule. So we try to mark the day with those little things you see in most offices in the west. 

We have a Christmas tree.

Tree decorated with hazard tape and
photos of (some of) the crew

And I got a card


And there were some presents from the sort of thoughtful person who thinks about these things (i.e. not me)

Gingerbread people
Not sure yet

The management gave us all a watch 

(they may be trying to tell us something...)

And Nadia from the projector crew had a Santa hat.

Didi (stage manager) tries to suck
the hat out of her cheek…

Our caterers  know that Dec 25th has something to do with turkey, though I am sure they think it is Turkey.

On Christmas Eve we received an email saying that we would be served a ‘traditional Christmas dinner’ at 2pm. I am not a great fan of turkey, or traditional 'Christmas dinner' for that matter. So I was mildly relieved when our caterers turned up at about 12.30 with the regular sort of food that we have been served every day so far – even if, very much later, it did turn out to be beef and mushroom stew with macaroni cheese.

Irrelevant factoid: These silver containers are microwavable 

But before I got around to eating or even opening it and discovering what it was, I was called over to the control centre on the other side of the site for a meeting with les grand fromages. Luckily it was a quick meeting and only lasted a couple of hours.

A rather splendid model of the site in the control centre.

I returned to the office to discover that after I had left they had also delivered the ‘Christmas dinner’, and I was reminded of  my farther telling me a story about Queen Victoria.

She was known to be a lady of diminutive height and ample girth – taller lying down than standing up, as it were. Her doctor put her on some salady sort of diet, and having eaten the first meal of her new regime she asked where her real meal was. Being (basically) spineless they gave her the other meal as well. I wondered if our caterers thought that Christmas dinner was in addition to the our usual lunch... no wonder foreigners think we are a bit odd.

It was quite acceptable actually. OK, not for the foodies among you who would have thought it gross, what with being reheated, soggy and served on a plastic plate.

But on a job like this food is a rest, a change, a pause, a moment to think of something else - even if it is eaten at the desk as one tries to staunch the flow of emails that hemorrhage from the screen. However, I would not put any money on it being turkey on the grounds that it was all white meat, came in a roll and tasted indistinguishable from the chicken we get most days in one form or another.

Next time I'll go for a traditional meal in one of the many restaurants within a few minutes walk.

This one looks promising...

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