Arrived back safely to the Pundy House last night. Had a quick look round - to my surprise you guys hadn't wrecked the joint - Minx did her schoolmarm act and kept the Comments wing under control. Thankx, Minx.
Next thing I did was check out my favourite blogs to get myself up to speed on what's going on. Delighted to find that Minx is blogging up a storm with a lot of good writerly stuff. Impressive. Maxine writing fiction too - whatever next? Guess she's caught the bug. Skint still stirring the pot with his regular fervour. My impression is that these blogs are maturing nicely.
Gee, I'd go so far as to say I'm really proud to know you guys. And I missed you.
It's going to take a few days to pump my own blogging muscles back in shape. Need to find that elusive tone again. Right now my brain is mangled with cash flow and P&L projections, marketing reports, strategy meetings, competitor analysis (none - we've destroyed them, the giant service companies that used to dominate our market segment), performance reviews blah blah blah. Business in the middle east - and China, India and Kazakhstan - is going crazy. It's scary - very - but exciting. I can't deny it. If you've got to work for a living, you simply can't beat running your own business when the opportunities - and dangers - are virtually limitless.
Dubai itself I hate. The city is Disneyland on steroids. The world's biggest building site. Too hot to go outside during the day, too hot and humid to sit outside at night. You are forced to live in an air-conditioned, artificial expensive prison.
It wasn't all work. I spent Saturday afternoon watching England getting kicked out of the world cup in a suite up on the 23rd floor of the Burj Al Arab, the world's only seven star hotel, the one shaped like a dhow. I was there as a guest of one of our clients being served obscenely expensive food and drink by a queue of smiling waiters and butlers. I remember shaking my head in disbelief. How on earth had a poor boy from Essex ended up in a place like this?
You cannot defend the inequalities of wealth in Dubai. I'm not going to try either. Built on oil and virtual slave labour. Wealth isn't made there it's flaunted. I was there because that's where our business in places like Libya, Algeria, Kaz and Saudi is based. We're not rich either, not by a long way. We're there earning a living in a very tough industry, at the frontiers of capitalism. And yes, I know, big oil is destroying the planet. I don't sleep easy at night when I think about what I'm doing.
Not for the first time, I truly was glad to get back to the sanity of the Pundy House.