FizzyExpatimages-1 by Andy Mayer

Champagne… ………………………….If I had saved the money I have spent on Champagne and the odd sparkling wine over the last 15 years I would have a pretty sizeable sum of cash in my sock drawer. If I was to conservatively guess I could say  I spent about $12,000USD. WHAT?

I know some of you are thinking how disgraceful  that is and the rest are going , geez I spent double or triple that! Some are even saying ” I knew I would save money being a teetotaller”  and then others will say “that’s why I drink beer”.

Now, I just sent a message to a friend having a  jewellery sale in Melbourne saying I  would love a big Aquamarine ring. I am broke though so I can’t afford any jewellery. Expatmumma makes nothing, my childbirth classes are not happening currently as I cannot get a good internet connection for skype classes and I have no clients here in Kurdistan. 

I acquired a  ahem…. cough….. cough um  few hundred bucks the other day and took off to buy some kilims but my wallet is sparse except for the 50 Rubles my mate gave me! (The kilims look great)

All that cash I  have spent on champers would be nice right about now. What would I spend it on you ask? Well I would update my logo/website/business, I would buy another couple of kilms, take a holiday somewhere exotic with a great beach and I would definitely go and buy some champagne.

 The good thing about Kurdistan is they have these neat little duty free stores where all you do is show your passport ( no flight necessary) and hey presto you can  buy duty free. I would load up the storeroom with some bottles of bubbly. It is Ramadan soon the shops might cover all  the booze and stop selling it and just like in a cyclone threat you must STOCKPILE  before this happens!

So today I walk into the kitchen and lookey -lookey what is staring me in the face?  Bottles of Tattinger, Mumm and Hendricks gin….. ooooh I got  all drooley and shakey and actually clapped my hands and squealed in delight. My husband had brought home some gifts.

  It has been a long time between French Champagne  bubbles in my mouth. The last time was at the foot of Bogd Khan mountain in Zaisan, Ulaanbaatar. My friend whom I shall call my “brother from another mother”(BFAM) is my champagne supernova soul mate. We were born to drink the stuff like water. Let’s say that night ended up with my crying about saying goodbye ( in a  wig wearing my pink ray bans supporting my 50th glass of bubbly).

The time before was his Champagne celebration! Only top shelf brands.images

OMG I drank like a woman possessed  by the need for vintage  KRUG.It was the highlight of my Champagne career, really it was a magnificent thingchampagne crazy

My friends in Ulaanbaatar even gave me my own glass as a momento of my champagne antics! Somehow my obsession matched the need to dress up as a character and put on a  little comedy show for whoever wanted. I am unsure if I am funny but champagne  gives me “fuck whatever anyone thinks attitude”.

I  even held court in a ger one night and “ordered” glasses of champagne to be brought to me while I “counselled” the lonely, the drunk, the sad, the happy and those who didn’t want counselling but wanted to sit in the ger . The thing is this Ger was in the hosts loungeroom which made the evening so perfectly normal!


Anyway  one night we polished off 13 bottles of the stuff between 8 of us. It was in celebration of our group “The Kate and William Appreciation Society” (KAWAS) and that is all I will say about this group. 13 bottles does not sound like a lot but to put things inot perspective; 1 was a mormon so just coke for her, 1 was a  random Kiwi not used to these antics so did ok but not great and moved onto spirits, one was being a cautious Brisvegasite all prim and proper so only had 1 glass and joined the Mormon in her coke drinking antics( we are now up to 2 bottles per person),one was Irish and guzzled bucket loads, 2 were seasoned  British drinkers and well they guzzled too but went home early. Even my Saffer mate piked and called it a night after a bottle I reckon.  Although we all know it’s the quiet Sth Africans you have to watch out for total dark horses! Anyway that left my BFAM and me…. basically we scoffed 8 or 9  bottles ourselves! There was definitely some balcony Cigarillo smoking and some very poor quality loungeroom dancing all conducted under the flabergasted eyes of  the random Kiwi who had to stay over  in the guest bedroom. I had forewarned the  young kiwi that the antics of people in their early 40’s may come as a shock and what happens at KAWAS evenings stays at KAWAS evenings.imgres

Nothing was to be  mentioned of the British flags, the Kate and William DVD, the cupcakes, the sandwiches, the gin and tonics, the face masks on sticks and the amount spent on French Champagne bottles! SHHHHHHHHHHHHHH expats behaving badly OH my!

.Anyway before we knew it 4am had rolled around and we were considering a 14th bottle but because we were spastic we couldn’t get the top off!   Now that is just one occasion. There have been many and if friends wanted to tell all I would have to go into hiding for several months.

One day  I am going to share my most embarrassing expat  Champagne episode. It is up there  with the worst of airplane behaviours and could have cost me my seat on the flight. That will have to wait for my book. I can’t have you being  judgmental of me this early in our relationship!  

andy xoxo



 broken vac


by Andy Mayer

So you moved to a far away land where you swear some of the inhabitants have a altered version of  reality to you. Locals move through the  days sipping teeny cup after teeny cup of sweet black tea, they smoke packet upon packet of cigarette and are never in a rush to get a task done, usually one that it is upmost importance to you. “Boukra inshallah”, “subene inshallah”, “oh we can do that next week yeah?”, chill pill Andy just chillax, no rush, let’s go eat lunch. 

Take yesterday for example. My vacuum cleaner is broken, not beyond repair kind of broken, not even replacement parts required broken,  the fucking thing won’t charge. The little light won’t go on when it is plugged into the wall. My reality is I can’t vacuum the carpets and it is really really dusty so  I need it fixed. Now this appliance  may have been a little  mistreated by a person who shall remain nameless (not me as I don’t vacuum) well I never used to until we moved to the land of no housemaids for average foreigners. But that is another story. No fuck it I will tell you  right now.

 There is a cost, an agency fee of  between $4000USD and $4500USD to be supplied a housemaid. On top of that there is an expectation of an $800 a month salary. I know some of you are gasping at the shame of reading a “madam” would only pay a person to work 5 days a week a meagre $800. In fact I know there was gasping because I whinged on FB and the response  was “well that’s disgraceful” and…. this gem

Jan Leong · Friends with Lesley Stewart

I would not work for $700 per month!!!!!!
May 29 at 11:40am · Like     ( note nobody liked that comment)

 On top of that  there are some of you who are gasping at the fact you could not afford a housemaid if you lived here because you only pay your workhorse a paltry $300 a month in the UAE, Saudi or other human rights ignoring country.images-1

I know that is the salary for a fact because I visited an “agency” I call them “Human traffickers R us” and they said I can take possession of a not so young Nepali for $300 a month and “Madame never give them a phone”? (I can explain  that later) I  then would  pay him $4000USD for the  newly purchased woman. I can’t condone that and never will.   The search continues…..On trying a so called  cleaning business  here I was told “no problem 1 day cleaning is $75” when I asked what a day meant, I  was told 2 hrs!!!! bloody hell I need my vacuum fixed now for sure.

I have digressed and I am sorry I shall continue with my riveting story about the vacuum. Ok so this darn vac is quite good as it has a little vac in the middle you can take out for unfortunate crumb dropping incidents on the couch. I like that you can  just suck them up ,whack it back into the big vac and off you go. This big unit sits on a charge plate and that is how simple it is. MY charge light won’t come on and now matter how long I leave it there willing it to  charge I switch it on and nothing but a tragic whiir and deathly silence. I never actually have deathly silence as I have tinnitus which could be a source of my slow decent into madness.

Anyway. I asked one of the company employees( ok it was my driver) if he could take me to  a repair shop for electrical goods. He said the best thing I should do is chuck it in the bin and buy a new one. A sentiment half the world share about anything in life these days which included everything from scratched fridges to  supposed life partners. 

just bin it!
just bin it!

BTW have I told you how many men “dumped” their wives for a younger better undamaged shiny younger model when we lived in Mongolia? OMG it was like there was something in the water, well actually there were high levels of Arsenic, Uranium and Mercury in the water so we all went a little bit crazy some crazier than others. I recall a big  night at a champagne dinner where I ordered an additional bottle after our table ran out,I  refused to pay for it saying I deserved it or something along those lines and souveniered a Tattinger glass for myself…  I think there is a chemical in champagne that brings on an altered reality?   

 Chemical imbalance brought to you by
Chemical imbalance brought to you by

So where the hell have we ended up with this story. Altered versions of reality. Reality schmality I am going for a cup of hot sweet black tea in a teeny weeny cup and a smoke! Fuck the vacuum. I just chucked it in the bin.

Failure is an option.