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.





by Queen Gitchee

Warning:This article contains expletives.

The way it should be
The way it should be

There has been a lot of hoo-har about drinking Soy Milks. I am not lactose intolerant, just intolerant. I have hated milk my whole life but lots of parents and teachers in the 70’s forced kids to drink milk. I had a cup of milk at kinder, at school we had those litle cartons and at home we had to have it on cereal and a glass with dinner. “Cereal” in our home  was 10% fibre and grains and 90% sugar think weetbix. Most of it stuck to the bowl as a sloppy mess and tasted like cardboard with sugar on it. I blame that for my weight gain these days as it  surely stuck to my lower intestine  all those years ago and has acted like clag and  trapped all the food I have eaten since.

Anyway I digress,  I have been drinking soy “milk” for 20 years it has gone from tasting like dirt to tasting like sugar in many instances but I only have it in my morning coffee so figure as the hormonal bitch that I am, the effects are negligible ….. I find Rice Milk or almond milk super sweet and is a treat for me but soy for coffee is nice and creamy. Actually I just made one a few mins ago. Nothing wrong with me.No hormonal influence from soy milk in my's not the soy milk ok

 Fuckin hell where is my fuckin coffee shit I just had it here fuck, Jesus H Christ I need that fuckin coffee NOW,  I want to cry, I hate this life, I hate this house it swallows up everything like my fuckin handbag . ahhhhhh there it is next to the computer,  phew,  all good did I mention I have 3 coffees a day all before 9am!

So coffee. It’s 8.05am and I am willing my empty cup of coffee to refill itself without me having to get up and go press the button on the machine.  Please just hold on a minute I am just going to make myself a cup of coffeee……

I am back. hmm a nice creamy coffee with soy milk…… actually you know what. It is not that great.I get that sticky yukky  essence of coffee taste in my mouth.

I was a coffee snob from Melbourne. I can’t tell you how many coffees I threw in the bin in disgust after paying $5 for them, I refused to drink inferior coffee and would walk miles to my selected barista bars! I drink espresso macchiato when I am out. I love them but they go down too quickly. It’s like driving  really fast on a stretch of road with the windows down and the stereo up  loud wind in your face for 30 seconds then getting stuck in traffic.

Nespresso Machine
Nespresso Machine

My husband purchased a Nespresso machine about 5 years ago. I remember gasping as he brought it into our home and had to censor myself so I didn’t appear rude.( snigger snigger) 

Imagine my displeasure at a pod system. OMG can you get illy pods for that, can you whack a bit of 100% Arabica and My special Colombian blend( snigger snigger) in it?

The previous week  when  I had said  to him “I can’t get a decent coffee in Jeddah” I meant it.  I thought he would come home with a Jura, a Cimballi or at the very least a machine that accepted grounds NOT pods. I really didn’t want to be called an ungrateful bitch again recalling the time I sold the phone he gave me as a birthday present.

Well that darn machine has been around, it has been missed in times I have been away, it is lovingly looked at each morning as I perform my own type of ritual “kids don’t look at me talk to me or touch me until I drink my coffee” and it has sat idle , unused because fucking Nespresso pods are the bain of my existence. I have lugged boxes and boxes of those fuckin’ pods around in my luggage from Hong Kong, Dubai and Shanghai because you can’t get them in Mongolia. I have stolen them from hotel rooms, I have traded booze for boxes of pods and I have emptied a supermarket shelf of their whole supply. I have spent hundreds and hundreds of dollars on pods and they are not that great! My friend who shall remain nameless told me you can repack the used pods and whack foil over the top and reuse them. OMG ! who does that?  It’s like rinsing out a tampon. eewwwww.

Oh  great news I found a bag in the storeroom in this house, it is a carry bag for a Nespresso machine. I got so excited! How cool and we are going away this weekend so  I am now taking my machine  away with me how exciting I can get a decent , average, just ok coffee! Better than the alternative! I wonder if they will have soy?


It’s 8.38am and I have downed 2 cups. I am a bit sweaty and feeling jittery. Can’t wait for the 3rd!






“Holy Shit! Are you kidding me?” was my response to a Russian friends explanation of how much was costing to relocate their ageing mastiff from Mongolia to The DRC.

 “ It costs what For a cat!” I exclaimed when an Aussie relayed the cost  of relocating her pet moggie from Saudi Arabia to Australia.

I am scared! Our children have been begging for a pet dog, well actually a puppy for years now. We have managed to save off the inevitable with statements like:

  • “You are just a bit young, maybe when you are older” – (they are older)
  • “Who would look after him when we go on holidays *#1 expat benefit
  • “You can’t seem to drag yourself away from minecraft so who would walk, clean up after and  feed the dog?” *#2 expat benefit
  • “ok in the next place we live you can have a puppy” (Fingers crossed behind my back)
  • “The only dogs we can get here in Mongolia/ Saudi Arabia/ Kurdistan are mongrels we better wait until you go to Australia and buy from a breeder?” *#3 expat benefit

So with statements like that we have managed to keep the boys happy with Terrapins and Sea monkeys. Ok none of those things worked out and we only have  dead terrapins and empty sea monkey enclosures.  (Don’t mention fucking Sea monkeys around me though I get a bit twitchy and have flashbacks to a nasty incident in Saudi Arabia. but I can talk about that later) 

Now the boys are older and after living in Mongolia we promised them and it is time to accept this challenge. The problem is there are only Mongrel breeds here and they are HUGE they are called Kangols ever heard of them? I hadn’t and google did not please me one bit. The other issue is Dubai has breeds available form “not puppy farms” but they are $1000 to $2000 for little rats on stilts! then you have to cargo them over. We can live with that but by far the most pressing issue at present is Max the 7 year old wants to call the dog, Jesus. He proudly tells us his new best friends is called Jesus with a smile bordering on a smirk like he just got away with swearing.

I have a friend in Abu Dhabi (who shall remain nameless) she is a lovely person and a kind animal lover so kind she is vegan! However when she was in Saudi she named her new pet cat Ahmed.It was a fateful choice of names for my Mexican mate because as she found out when registering him it was deeply offensive. Everyone needs a bit of Wasta* in the kingdom and the receptionist at the compound had a little bit and was particularly helpful if one needed a compound car in a hurry, an extra seat on a bus or some kind of assistance, anyway he also registered  all the compound pets! The mexican had a favourable relationship with this man and when she announced his name tag was to say Ahmed he boomed, “How dare you shame one of the 99 holy names of the prophet( SAWS), Astafrullahazim” and waved her away.He refused to acknowledge her again and there went her little bit of Wasta! Needless to say Ahmed was left behind proving “too difficult” to ship that little pussy out.

What will happen if max gets his way and the new $1000 puppy is called, Jesus or worse his full name ,Jesus Christ? Who knows but blasphemy runs high in our household and there will be shouts down the street on occasions “Jesus Christ come back here you bloody dog”

How much did the dog and the cat at the beginning of the story cost to relocate you ask? The Mastiff, called Walter, cost $14,000 USD and the  mongrel cat called ,Stinky cost $8000AUD. Ahmed didn’t cost a  cent and is  still with a loving family in Jeddah.

*#1 expat life causes families to bail on there place of residence on numerous holidays to tropical beaches

#2 ok it will be the housemaid/helper/nanny who does all that as l don’t lift a finger normally

#3 note to self include pet cargo in the next job contract! expats don”t pay for anything

#4 all  hashtag comments are said with tongue in cheek

andy xoxo