Saturday, October 25, 2014

International Cricket Referee, Dev travels to Malaysia

Friday 24 October 2014


It is Friday morning and I am finally able to settle down at the Kinrara Oval before the start of Day 2 of this ICC World Cricket League Division 3 Tournament here in KL.

It has been a very busy time since our arrival into KL from South Africa on Sunday evening- bearing in mind it is 6 hours later here – so by the time we had traveled from the KLIA to the Istana Hotel and settled in we were totally exhausted.

Thankfully Sunday was a free day to allow time to get familiar with the splendid hotel centrally situated with wonderful shopping malls and a myriad of restaurants available – all within a walking distance of the hotel- already it is clear that the city comes out each night to enjoy the international choices of cuisine and there is quite a special vibe that brings the city to life.

We were welcomed with a few days of heavy rains as well and this was a worrying factor- being very close to the equator KL is known for many days of rain each month- thankfully Day 1 came along yesterday and all three matches were completed without any interruptions- it is hoped that the same happens today which will then mean that the reserve day set aside tomorrow can be used for some sight seeing!

Already the impressive Petronas towers has been observed but not visited and the KL Tower is also a prominent feature in the KL skyline. Hopefully the other nearby attractions shall be visited depending on the reserve days not being taken up by playing matches affected by the weather.

I have been most impressed by the high degree of professionalism displayed by the hosts- The Malaysia Cricket- their offices are here at the Kinrara Oval and it is clear that they run a very good organization.

I have now visited 2 of the three venues and all of them are outstanding- the pitches are well prepared by competent Curators and the outfields in lush condition with the venues all having the necessary facilities necessary to host international matches.

Catering here is certainly another aspect worthy of mention- with the Asian population forming a vital cog in the Malaysian whell, there is always an abundance in Indian dishes available- even the hotels have Indian cuisine served during breakfast!

The local match officials appointed as reserve umpires and D/L managers ( Duckworth – Lewis for the uninitiated!) are top class in the execution of their duties- it is evident that taking pride in what you do is a hallmark of their character.

Daily transport and logical issues have been quite special with attention to detail making sure there have been no lapses for officials or teams.

Well, before I get too caught up in the cricketing issues, let me get this update off – as an aside- Diwali is a public holiday here and was observed on Wednesday. The hotel as well as public places and malls had beautiful d├ęcor with lamps and lights forming the central theme for this auspicious Hindu occasion.

Hopefully I shall send off a 2nd update before flying out on the 31st- there has now been a change of plan and I shall be staying over in Jhb to attend a workshop of CSA on Saturday next and be on duty at the Wanderers on Sunday 2nd where the triple-header of the Ram Slam event will be played.

Until then may I send good wishes in the hope, as usual, that there shall be news in the form of a response-

Take care always



To view all of Dev's stunning photos, log onto his facebook profile:

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Turkey 2014 - The land of the Crescent Moon

Over the past few days I have received inbox messages from a few of my ardent facebook fans asking me why have I not written or blogged about my recent trip to Turkey. The honest truth is time... I returned from my vacation a few days before Eid, so it was getting ready for Eid and sorting out business issues at month end. I also traveled extensively over an 11 day period and I could not possibly write everything in one article. It was literally a case of 11 days, 4 flights and seven hotels. I have thus decided to break down my journey into days. So over the next few weeks I will try my best to do a weekly blog write up from day 1 to day 11. Hope you enjoy the write ups as much as I enjoyed the experience.

Day 1 and 2 --- Wednesday September 17 and Thursday September 18.

Our flight was at 22:30 at night. As we were four of us with luggage, dad decided that brother Haroon from Centurion Tours should do our transfer to the airport from our home. If you looking for a professional shuttle service in Johannesburg, I definitely recommend Centurion Tours. They are extremely reliable and their prices are definitely competitive. Having arrived at the airport, there was absolute chaos at the Emirates counter. The queues were horrendous. After finally checking in our luggage we all made our way to a restaurant for a sumptuous family dinner. I must be honest I cannot tolerate plane food. The nauseating smell just gets to me.  After boarding the flight, we decided to watch a few movies and get some sleep before landing in Dubai at around 8:00am.

Naturally we were hungry when we landed, and so after freshening up we decided to have a meal at the Ocean basket at Dubai airport. It was really busy  but the staff were extremely friendly. One of the waiter’s was from Zimbabwe and he worked at many Ocean baskets in South Africa. He was then transferred to Dubai. He told us that the grass is not always greener on the other side as many people believe it to be. In his opinion Dubai is only for the rich and famous whilst the rest of the middle class people are bullied and exploited. He earns a middle class salary which is a lot for him compared to Zimbabwe, but the standard of living in Dubai is high. According to him there is a culture of the high and mighty exploiting the poor and those who are desperately in need of a job.

As we still had some time before we boarded our connecting flight, we decided to do a free makeover at the Mac store located at the Dubai duty free section. Mac has always been one of my favourite cosmetic brands. I find that the makeup blends well into the skin. I love the feel and the texture of the makeup. After browsing through the duty free shops it was time to board our connecting flight. The flight to Turkey is usually three hours from Dubai but due to the war in Syria the flight route had to change thereby increasing the flight time by an hour and half.

It was raining when we arrived at Ataturk International airport. We were all flabbergasted by the huge influx of tourists at the airport. It was absolutely chaotic. Due to the rain and the fact that many flights were all landing at the same time, we waited for over an hour for our luggage.  After receiving our baggage we exited the airport. A representative from Insight Vacations was patiently waiting for us. A big thumbs up to the Turkish people for mastering the art of the tourism and hospitality industry. Surrounded by the hustle and bustle of people walking in different directions along with the cacophony of different sounds, our representative and bus driver was there ready to welcome us to their country.

The traffic in Istanbul is horrendous, like all other major cities in the world and hence it took us a good hour to get to the hotel. Whilst we were really tired and exhausted from all the travelling, the sheer opulence and grandeur of the Conrad hotel took our breath away. The staff welcomed us with a smile on their faces trying to make us feel as comfortable as possible. After settling in, in our respective rooms we made our way to the Manzara restaurant where we were allowed to indulge in the snacks and light buffet that was prepared for us.  After dinner, we headed straight back to our rooms to call it a night. We needed to get a good night sleep as the next morning the tour began at 8am.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Once again, the Medix team saves the day

2 October 2014

This country is gone to the F****** dogs. Excuse my French but I am extremely furious. Earlier this afternoon, a young woman was riding with her colleagues down Goldman street when suddenly she passed out from an asthmatic attack. She was unable to breathe.. gasping for each breath. Desperately looking for help they stopped at the pharmacy. My colleagues and I carried her out of the vehicle on a stretcher and we quickly nebulized her and connected her to some oxygen. After about an hour she started coming around. She started responding to treatment. At the pharmacy we have a minimal emergency supply of oxygen and thus we knew that even if she came around she still needed to be hospitalized. We called Netcare 911. We were refused help point blank as the lady did not have any medical aid. When we called for a government ambulance firstly no one answered the phone. When we finally got through to someone we were told that there are no ambulances available. Make your own plan to get the patient to the hospital. We then called the Florida park fire department. The operator on duty told us that there are no ambulances available. By now I was damn furious. I was worried that the woman must not have another attack in the pharmacy.My colleague and I got into the car and drove to the Florida Park fire department. Guess what. We counted 12 ambulances parked off. There was a gentleman on duty who realized the seriousness of the situation and was quite appalled at what we were told on the phone. When we returned to the pharmacy the ambulance arrived.. but one hour later from when then the initial call was made. Take note that the Florida park fire department is literally a 4 minute drive from the pharmacy.Another patient who was purchasing his medication during the whole ordeal informed us that his colleague at work died from a heart attack only because the ambulance arrived 2 hours later. The idiot driving the vehicle did not know how the GPS system worked and so they were driving around in circles trying to find the address. Welcome to South Africa folks.......

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

An Expats guide to residing in the Kingdom

Over the past few weeks now I have been inundated with emails and inbox messages enquiring about residing in the Kingdom in terms of pros and cons. Most of the messages are from females who have acquired opportunities to work in Saudi Arabia. Some of the concerns raised included:
- Women being unable to drive in the Kingdom
- The extreme weather conditions
- Kids education
- Arabs are mean and will treat you like slaves
- Do you get Indian spices

I did not have the time to respond to each and every email and inbox message and so I decided to do a post on the above concerns raised. This is my advice to anyone deciding to make a home abroad outside South Africa.
1. Firstly if you contemplating taking up a job opportunity in the Kingdom, please do not read about other people’s experiences especially experiences from western expats who have no idea about Arab or Islamic culture. Most Saudi blogs written by western expats are negative and portray Arabs and the Kingdom in general in a bad light.

2. Do not listen to extended family member comments. – When I broke the news to my extended family on Eid day years ago I was bombarded with all sort of comments. Whilst my immediate family were over the moon and supportive of my decision my extended family were sceptical about my journey to the magical Kingdom. Here are some of the comments that were thrown at me.  “How can you be so silly to leave a good job behind only to become a slave to the Arabs?”
“Arabs are bad people. You will run away from Saudi within a month after arrival” I resided in the Kingdom for 5 years . Listen to your heart and follow you dreams.  Everyone has their own experiences and you need to make your own journey and experience a memorable one. In every country you get the good, the bad and the ugly. Do not generalise and paint everyone with the same paint brush.

3. As an expat you need to forget your South African ways and habits and get in touch with the local culture and people. After all when you in Rome do as the Romans do.

4. Make an effort to learn Arabic. There are many private tutors and schools in the Kingdom that teach Arabic to expats. As soon as you speak the local lingo you start breaking the ice, you start breaking cultural barriers and you will find the locals responding towards you in a more positive light. (

5. Don’t  isolate yourself and mix only with the expat community. Become friends with the locals. Most Saudis are very hospitable. They are eager to share their culture and their traditions with expats.

6. In the Kingdom, women are not allowed to drive which was actually a blessing in disguise for me. I enjoyed the luxury of being chauffeur driven. After all the queen of England doesn’t drive around by herself, does she.

7. We reside in a global community where all types of products are available everywhere. In Saudi Indian groceries and vegetables are readily available considering that the country is home to a large Indian expat community. Food and spices should be your least of worries.

8. Education in the Kingdom is expensive. This needs to be discussed with your sponsor at the time of signing your job contract. Most companies will pay for the education of two kids only.

9. Most hospitals have a social club. It is highly recommended that you join the social club to be in touch with the latest fun happenings within the hospital. Activities include sporting events, weekend camping trips and touring the Gulf region in the company of knowledgeable tour guides.

10. On the subject of weather, yes in peak summer which is around June July, the temperature can soar to as high as 55 degrees. Do not despair, there are air conditioning systems in place wherever you go.

11. Last but not least, embrace local culture, cuisine and traditions. Respect and abide to  the laws of the country. Remember that it is not your country and you are simply a guest in the country. Do not bitch and moan about rules, laws and regulations. Most western expats do this and it is just totally disrespectful and uncalled for.
And in the words of Mark Twain, ““Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”