Friday, 15 June 2007

Blue Bar Blue

Thursday nights here are like Friday nights for most of you. So last night, despite struggling to keep our eyes opened, we were determined to go out and have a couple of drinks. I discovered a jazz bar named Blue Bar at Trade Centre Novotel that has a live band playing every Thursday and Friday nights. The band called Olivier Collete is brilliant, churning upbeat electronic-mixed-acoustic renditions of some great ol' jazz tunes. Crowd was fab too, you get the arty musicians type, good lookers (hey eye candies are nice), the tourists, the business types who stay at the hotel, and of course, first-timers like us... This is our first night out in Dubai!

It would be perfect time and place to order a cosmopolitan. Everyone's from everywhere. One or two Arab men were spotted in the bar with cigarettes and beer in hand. Irony huh.

Later that night when I wanted to take pictures of all six of us I realised my camera's broken (so is my heart). The Canon display screen went bonkers, casting a bright white light with evidence of cracked, broken pixels disaster. I could've dropped my bag earlier. Such a shame.

No matter, with the coming Dubai Summer Surprises (macham Great Singapore Sale that'll last ten weeks) starting on 21st June, I am so going to get myself a new camera. I would love to still own a Canon but anyone with recommendations please advice! I want something slim, pretty, with good usability and quality. No need 12 megapix, I'll appreciate big display screens and more optical zoom anytime.

A Week Full of A(bbre)viations

Another week of SEP has passed with hardly a night of full 6 hours sleep. We are all breathless from lessons, practical assessments, tests and exams. BTW I should also mention that I have 100% marks for all the above.

Now that's giving me false hopes because we have a nerve-wrecking practical exam this Sunday (on A330 doors and evacuation procedures) followed by lessons on A340-300 and A340-500 that same day. Come Monday there will be a big exam on all Airbus types we learned: aircrafts layout, equipment locations, drills, communication systems, fire, and various types of Standard Operating Procedures. Passing mark is 80%, a re-sit will require 85%, third time under 90% and you're going home. Tough. I am definitely aiming for nothing less than 95%.

The past week also see us doing plenty of simulator drills. One worth mentioning was ditching, also known as emergency evacuation when aircraft lands on water. We had Captain announcements from "Attention Crew At Stations" to actually opening doors in armed mode so that the slide raft ejects and inflate. Then we exit a/c, enter raft, detach from craft, some procedures after, we were told to get into the pool. Cold cold water! After much screaming and laughing we did some exercises to prevent Hypothermia then we each take turns to haul our fat asses up the raft. It's hilarious. It wasn't the most glamourous sight at Emirates Training College but we sure had a whale of a time!

A group of us are getting together to study and I think that's good cos it helps keep me awake. Having said, the coming week will be the worst week of training so I was told. By Thursday we would have to be experts in all aircrafts operated by the company including the Boeing, amongst many more subjects. One girl from my abinitio didn't make it thus have to repeat the whole gruelling week with the next class. Same thing is happening to all abinitios, some classes having a few repeats.

All training photos can be found in my Picassa gallery, with captions. Enjoy!

Us monkeys in overalls taking photos with the simulator A/C.

I can fight fire now!! All 3 classes of fire!

Just the A330-200 3-class configuration.

Saturday, 9 June 2007

The Makeover

In the morning, all excited and giggly in our uniforms. This is Laura (Romanian) and Maya (Lebanese):

The 'Before' picture:

We had the very professional ladies from Jessica giving usmanicure advises and services. So that's us, all men and women, soaking our finger tips, buffing and polishing away. Polishing for the girls only please :)

Then the ladies strip our faces of makeup and begin skincare and makeup lessons.

Ta-Dahhh!! The ladies as per uniform/grooming guidelines.

Day 2 and 3 Induction

Day 2 begins with Corporate induction at the Aviation College. We were to be further introduced to the Arabic culture, and about the company. This session also see staff from other departments and companies, and the new Flight Deck Crew.

Here's Sharon the Purser and part-time trainer giving us a taste of Arabic coffee, which tastes funny... it's rose-water mixed. Lucinda (AU) and me however enjoyed the almond dates that comes with the coffee.

I am thankful for this induction as it takes me out of my quiet and huge apartment to proper social opportunities. Coursemates are an interesting bunch.

Here's me with Saori and Yuko, both Japanese and another one with class rep Richard (AU).

Rest of Day 2 and 3 are lengthy, boring medical checks and talks and vaccinations. Yes two more shots I got. And come October I should get my booster jab for Hep A. I feel like a new born with all these doses. Ahh, rebirth.

Day 1 Induction at Training College

It's first day. Bus pick-up at 7am. Here I am waiting for it, sleep deprived:

This day we would be introduced to the two Ab-initios this week. Yes, 2 classes every week. I am the only Singaporean. Apart from Air the Thai girl, we have a handful of Canadians, Australians, Japanese, Lebanese, Maltese, Phillipinos, etc. We also met with our trainers for SEP (Safety & Emergency Procedures), Security, Service and last but not least our Cabin Crew Manager.

Here we are on our way to the Uniform store and back.

It IS hot here in Dubai, and it's just the start of summer. Temperature at around 38-40 degrees in the day. As you can see we are all aquinting and baking when outdoor.

We did our uniforms fitting, my 3 skirts and 1 pants were to be altered. I was told to NOT lose anymore weight - that's right, they think I'm skinny haha. Got the red hat, shoes, scarves, etc. We are to turn up at college on day 4 in full uniform for grooming lesson.

Later that evening curiosity got the better of me and I decided to walk down the corridor of my apartment to try and find out if anyone knows or hear of my housemates. I have not met them since arrival. I need to know why that place is a mess. So I knocked on a door as I heard voices. 2 Lebanese guys at the door, surprised that I introduced myself as the new neighbour, and they invited me to dinner after seeing my kitchen and taken pity on me. They're both senior crew with the company, and I received many great tips and encouragement from them two. Best of all, I had yummy Labanese food.

New in Dubai

Here I shall present to you, in pictures as I describe the first 2 days in Dubai.

Day 1:

Me arriving in Dubai Airport, greeted by the Marhaba staff (part of the Emirates Group of course...) and driven to a counter where I meet an officer who will give me some documents and bring me to my apartment. I had no sleep on the flight here so I was very tired.

At the reception of my apartment - these two guards are very kind and friendly! See all my stuff... all 66.6kg of them. Nothing broken, all intact!

My room, which happens to be the largest of three. Each with attached bathroom!

The view from window at my head board. The big spacious sandy area is an outdoor carpark, the brown building is another block in my area, for crew. There are 7 blocks here altogether.

From the adjacent window, I can see the simulator aircraft in the aviation college, that's how near I am!

My building from the block as pictured above.

This is Air, from Bangkok. Met her at the airport in the morning, took her number and good thing we met. We went to Deira City Centre (I heard this is where all newbies go).

City Centre. Huge mall but oh, they're all gigantic here. In here there's Carrefour and many other good retail shops: H&M, Zara and Zara Home, Topshop, among others. And there's Krispy Kreme!

So tired, no mood for shopping. Waited bloody 2 hr+ for the damned taxi to take us back, apparently it's normal at this mall on a weekend. I'll figure out the timings eventually.

Day 2:

I was invited to Air's apartment at Al Hathboor, about 6 minutes taxi drive away, where we had home-cooked Thai dinner prepared by her neighbour! Lucky me.

I Am Here

Here is a picture of me getting all ready to search for internet access:

If you've been checking here the last week or so and find nothing new, that's because I arrived in Dubai on the morning of 1st June, have been crazy-busy since, with no internet connection in my apartment so I've been trying to figure out where I can tap access from.

Until now. I was told there's a cafe called EGO about 8 minute walk from my apartment and I can bring my comp, there's free wireless internet. So cool.

It is now 3pm here on a Saturday (Fridays and Saturdays here are weekends). Tomorrow is the start of second week in college. I'd need plenty of rest to go through the week and I'll update for sure.