Thursday, March 15, 2012

Welcome to the Wild Middle East

I would like to share a little anecdote with you that made me have another one of those: "Oh, Toto, we're not in Kansas any more" moments the other day.

I was casually chatting to a chap I come into contact with at work regularly and he informed me he was on his way to the Marina to sell his boss's boat.

"Oh," I said, "Your boss (who I also meet from time to time) has a boat? I didn't know that." Aforesaid boss was rapidly sinking in my estimations as I had previously thought he was ok but I was now envisioning him being one of those ex-pat pillocks idioting around the World Islands on a boat covered with emaciated bikini-clad promo girls. But that's beside the point.

Well, it wasn't his boat, it was given to him as collateral by a client who couldn't settle his bills with boss's business. The understanding was that it would be given back once the client had settled his bills. Unfortunately the client hadn't settled his bills so boss had dispatched the chap to sell the boat to the highest bidder. I resisted the temptation to ask if previously mentioned client was also currently at the bottom of Dubai Creek wearing a concrete overcoat.

Can you imagine such a transaction taking place in Britain unless you happened to be called Phil or Grant Mitchell and living in a fabricated working class community in the East End of London? Perhaps I am naive but I had no idea such things went on. "How very Wild West," I said. But no, it was a lot worse than that a few years ago during the boom times, apparently.  Another lesson learned. I wonder if our next landlord might consider taking Kevin the Toyota if we find ourselves unable to afford our next rental payment?

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