All posts by pamela

March – April

March brought with it visitors to the office, Des & Alice and some friends of ours Zane and Niamh. Needless to say, we did the friday brunch, they did the afternoon tea, the ski slopes, the water park, the desert safari… can you spot a theme here?? We waved good bye to Zane and Niamh on easter thursday morning as they were flying to Paris. However, we met them again the next morning as both myself and Paul went to Paris to support the GLENS.. ( who were playing for a european title.. they played and they won:) Go on the Glens..

We came back after a traumatic experience of flight cancellations, dingy hotel and really bad food and finally made it back to Dubai a day later than expected.

We then had the Dubai World Cup to get organised for (of which I actually bought my outfit the day before, I wasn’t panicking at all!!!). The day before I was due to meet some friends for an afternoon tea in the Royal Mirage, our version of a baby shower except the baby wanted to say hi a whole month early and we ended up going to the hospital to visit the newest queen in Dubai:)

That brings us up to April, which I’m pleased to say has gotten back to normal somewhat.. we do have visitors arriving on the 26th and we leave for a trip home for a certain BIG PARTY..on april 30th, so whats normal really??? You need a bit of madness to keep you sane.

Hope your all keeping well, don’t forget to look at flights to come out and visit:)

Lots of Love,

January – February

Well the end of January brought with it another competition. This time I was trying my hat at a bit of Ladies Football. After a couple of weeks of intense training I managed to pick up enough skill, determination and pure genius to make it as a sub on the A squad. I got a few runs outs during the competition and was actually picked to start the final! Go me:) Anyways, after a tiring couple of days we were crowned Dubai Gulf Gaelic Games champions 2008. (for more info on the club go to

February brought with it yet another competition, but this time it was my favourite.. hockey. Both myself and Paul doned the Dubai Hockey Club colours one friday morning and headed to Sharjah (the dry emirate… thats arguable!). Dubai Hockey Club entered in 4 teams so we had a really good turn out. We made it to the final (with me scoring the odd goal) and lost on penalty flicks in the final to a team called Lusitanians. The team is made up of workers from pakistan (already have the advantage!). Both myself and Paul played in the final (Paul was the goalie) so it was really nice to have played on the same team. I should tell you that each team only required 1 girl… whereas others stuck to the one, we had 2 girls (amazing talent again!!)

Anyways, February then brought my birthday, and my parents arrived on Feb 21st so lots of fun was had that month! I’ll let the parents fill you in on the Friday brunch, the microlites, the bus trip, afternoon tea, the ski slopes, the desert safari.. pictures tell alot:)

Happy New Year; its 2008!

The 7’s finished on an even bigger high when Paul asked me to marry him and I said yes! We then had a whirlwind of a week or so going out celebrating and then getting ready to go home for the Christmas Break. It was certainly lovely being back home and we also got a chance to book a venue and a church for the big day! More details to follow?

We’re now back in Dubai, its 2008 so HAPPY NEW YEAR TO EVERYONE!

We’re just getting settled back in to reality here and now I’m getting ready to attempt (and I use that term loosely) to play GAA in the Gulf Gaelic Games on January 25th & 26th, my mum and dad are coming to visit in February, we have more visitors in March, along with a trip to Paris and the Dubai World Cup! Phew.. its gona be a busy few months.. and I haven’t even mentioned the Big Day in May?


The latest update!

The latest update!

As you can see from the lack of posts on the website, its been a busy couple of months! November started with visitors and ended with more visitors!

To keep it brief, Pauls sister and some friends came to stay at the beginning of November, we ate out, drank out and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves! I did play in the Dubai Celts Railway Cup day on Friday 9th November. My first ever real gaelic games tournament!! While I was representing Munster, as Connaught were short players I joined them and was so proud to be on a team that had their first victory (against Leinster) in 4 years?

Leo arrived a few days after Pauls sister left and we had some more fun in the sun! A desert safari and some shooting in Jebel Ali were definite highlights of the trip. Leo the sharpshooter showed us up bigtime. I wasn’t bad at the auld clay-pigeon shooting, but I managed to knock a staple off the top right hand corner of the pistol shooting thingy. I wasn’t very good at it?

After a few days rest, a bit of rugby and a broken nose later, Maurice arrived for the Dubai Rugby 7’s. For anyone that didn’t know, I was involved in the 7’s this year and had my nose broken the weekend before in my first ever rugby game!! Here’s a brief synopsis of the weekend.

The Dubai Celts – Dubai Exiles Ground- Dubai Rugby 7’s
Having decided to join the Gaelic Football Club over here I got roped into playing on the Ladies Social Rugby Team for the Dubai Rugby 7’s this year. We began our training (about 4 weeks before hand) at a local park and had our first “full contact” rugby match the week before the 7’s. This is when I had my nose broken!

We soldiered on to the rugby 7’s, held on November 29,30 & December 1st. We were one of 8 teams (all of which participate in UAE rugby leagues during the year) taking part, and we were placed in Group B, along with Doha RFC, Dubai Hurricanes and Abu Dhabi. We lost our first game against Doha FC 12-10, a dodgy conversion, (I did score a try in this game though!). We marched on to beat our biggest rivals Dubai Hurricanes 15-7 in the second game and lost 17-15 (another simple conversion) in the third game against Abu Dhabi.

These results placed us third in our group and into the semi finals of the Ladies Social Plate against Kuwait Agility Nomads. We took these girls on with some mighty strength at 9.20am on Saturday morning and narrowly kept them away from our line to win 10-5!

Having caused some major upsets in this tournament we had a good support system built up for the final as teams we had knocked out came to support us. We had also befriended a men’s team who were so impressed with our skills that they played waterboys for us! In the final we were matched against our other biggest rivals, the Dubai Exiles (on their home turf!). After a shaky start we started plugged away and claimed the Ladies Social Plate title with a convincing win of 31-10! Not only did I manage to score a try, but I also managed a conversion, one of 3 conversions our team scored in that game!

Next up is the Gulf Gaelic Games on Friday 25th & Saturday 26th January which will run in conjunction with the Irish Society “Irish Week”. Watch this space or check out for more on the antics of the Irish in the Middle East! My pictures are uploaded on

Mike & Tanja in Guatamala

Hi All,

Things are going very well down here in Guatemala. We have settled in
to life here in Antigua, a small colonial-style city about 45min west
of the capital, which is also a bit of a tourist/volunteer hub. We
arrived going on two months now, and are living in our third, and
hopefully final residence, but you never know.

We came through the States on the way, to visit a friend of ours in
Chicago, which was fantastic. The highlight was of course seeing the
Red Sox give the White Sox a baseball lesson, in bright sunshine, 3
rows from the dugout. Although, there was the rainout the night
before, which had us waiting in the wind and rain for 3 hours before
they called off the game and rescheduled it for the next day. A
labour of love on my part in any case, which my very understanding
wife agreed to sit through! Chicago is a really nice modern city,
particularly in the summer. Worth a stop if you are in the area.

We arrived in Guatemala and went straight to Antigua, to stay our
first week with a local family. This was good for the Spanish, and
the food was great. The Guatemalan diet is varied and delicious, with
re-fried beans, tortillas, salads, all kinds of vegetables that you
have never seen before, hot sauces, and everything that you could
possible do with corn. We moved out of there to a residence after a
week, which was run by the biggest tight-arse this side of the
equator. We met interesting people though, which comprised mainly
people 50+ years old, who have come to Guatemala for a sea-change.
Each one has there very different story, but sometimes it is hard to
tell them apart.

I started work for a little primary school a few kilometers away in
Ciudad Vieja, which was started by a young Guatemalan couple, and
which caters for kids who cannot afford to get into the public school
system. Only primary education is public in Guatemala, and apparently
the standards are nothing to write home about. I did, however notice
a big difference between the kids who had been sponsored to go to
primary school, and came to the school for some extra tutoring, and
the kids who were at the school for the entire day. It was a great
experience to teach kids, which is something I had never really done
before, and of course it involved a lot of practice of the imperative.

We know live in a volunteer house with an amazing view of the Volcan
de Agua, which towers over Antigua. Tanja started with, and I now
also work for, an organization which creates little micro-entrepreneur
businesses based on the double or triple-bottom line theory. They use
what they call a micro-consignment model, meaning that they provide
the micro-entrepreneurs with the product, which they sell for a
profit, whilst returning the cost-price to us. Double-bottom line
means that there is a monetary profit, and a community profit, meaning
that the product is good for the community. Examples are cheap but
good-quality reading glasses, efficient and smokeless concrete cooking
stoves, energy-saving light globes, seeds etc. etc. To make it a
triple bottom-line, the product also should have environmental
benefits. Tanja started a little fruit and veggie business with a
lady who lost her husband and mother in the same week, and is creating
an accounting system for the organization. I have been helping them
with their legal-company structure stuff, and writing articles on how
to run a small-business (overnight expert!).

We have traveled a bit as well. We went to the pacific coast and
stayed at an idyllic beach resort with black volcanic sand, have been
through the capital, the market in Chichicastenango and took a trip to
Quetzaltenango (known by the locals as Xela). The Xela trip was for a
rugby team that I am now playing for and helping to coach. I am happy
to say that I am the only person from a rugby country (except for the
odd Argentine), with the vast majority being Guatemalan. And boy do
they play with passion, and without a real understanding of the
offside rule! It is great fun to play again, although it has come at
a cost – a dislocated finger, sprained-knee, sprained-ankle, and
bruised ribs (I’m actually exaggerating a bit – I can still play!).
They have a website which I think is

We spent All Saints Day in town called Sumpango, which is famous for
its giant kites. It is tradition for Guatemalans to go to the graves
of their family members who have passed on, and decorate them in
bright colours and with the odd dram of rum. They also fly kites with
little messages, supposedly addressed to those relatives in heaven.
The giant kites are ornately decorated, and are up to 15-20m tall,
made entirely of coloured tissue paper. They are incredible. We also
went to a live volcano on Saturday, which was amazing, and slightly
scary. As Guatemala doesn’t quite have the same litigation
environment, we got up close and personal with lava, with Tanja’s
shoes coming off second best.

I’ll cut it short before the boredom starts to set in and wish you all
the best for the run-up to Christmas.

Best Regards,

Mike and Tanja