Thursday, May 31, 2012

City Curb - 1; Renee - 0 - Part I

I'm guessing some of you will start to think I'm making things up, but I swear, every blog story is completely true and only embellished a little to make things entertaining ... well, except that post about getting arrested last year, but that was an April Fool's joke and doesn't count.

So yes, I've had another exciting Abu Dhabi Adventure, this time involving our car and a city curb. Have I mentioned the curbs here? There are no standards ... at all. Some of them look just like the ones back home, some of them are almost level with the road and can hardly be called a curb at all and some are close to 2 feet high (not embellishing). It was one of those monster curbs that caused all the ruckus this week.

It was Sunday evening and I had stopped into the local supermarket to pick up a few things and drop off my dry cleaning. The place was busy, per usual after work, and the cars in the lot were doing the usual - leaving me very little room to back my car out to head home. I backed out and CRUNCH, I hit the curb behind me. An expletive or two later and I maneuvered around the truck waiting for my open space and headed home - wondering what kind of damage I had done to the bumper. (sigh) Brian was going to be so pleased.

Unfortunately, I also had talk radio on so got distracted by a story and when I got home, I grabbed the groceries and headed into the apartment without even looking at the damage.

Then it was time for my yoga class at a nearby hotel so I jumped in the car and headed out. And then noticed the noise ... coming from what seemed like the back right muffler area ... oh boy. When I reached my destination, I took a look and sure enough, I had 'smushed in' (technical term) the back right muffler. Dang it!

When I got back home, I had Brian take a look and I think his response was something like, "bleep, bleep, bleepity, bleep" but don't quote me. Neither of us went to bed very happy and the next day I had to figure out how to get it fixed.

Stay tuned for Part II ... City Curb - 2; Renee still 0

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Airport Trivia

One of the perks of being a Human Resources professional is that you can change industries mid-career, which is exactly what I did when we moved to Abu Dhabi. Most of my working career has been spent in the telecommunications world, and although nowhere near an expert, I know a fair bit about that industry and their business model (at least the US version). Now, I work for an airline - the Middle East's Leading Airline for the 6th year in a row, in fact - and am learning about a whole new industry, which is awesome.

This past week, I got to spend a day at the Abu Dhabi ariport touring the different areas of our airport operations and learning some fascinating things about the airline industry that most of us as passengers never even think about. Thought I'd pass along a few of the more interesting tidbits.

Pushback Tractors
I don't know about you, but as a passenger getting ready for takeoff, I love that vertigo feeling you get when the plane starts moving backwards. I also always assumed that the pilot had thrown the thing into reverse and was stepping on the gas much like a car. In actuality, while a plane can actually reverse on the ground, in most cases the plane is pushed back by a tractor. This is because having the engines running in order to reverse is costly, dangerous and could stir up dust and debris that could damage the airport structures, as well as the engines themselves.

Cleaning the Runways
Those same engines require that the runways and taxi routes on the tarmac remain spotless. A careless bit of debris or garbage could do millions of dollars of damage should it get caught up in an engine or get hurled across the area by the thrust of an engine. The airport staff work hard to keep the runways clean, including scraping off the rubber the airplane tires leave behind - this is to make sure there is adequate traction for subsequent planes to take off. Imagine this work over the summer months in Abu Dhabi - scraping rubber off the tarmac in 120 degree heat sounds like a job for the 'worst ever' list.

Non-Stop and Direct are NOT the same
If I had been quizzed, I would have thought a non-stop flight and a direct flight to be the same, but that's not the case. Here's a personal example. We flew DIRECT from Abu Dhabi to Cape Town, South Africa over Christmas last year. It was direct because we flew on the same aircraft from our departure city to our final destination city. However, we stopped in Johannesburg to let off and take on passengers, which means it wasn't a NON-STOP flight. Something to watch for next time you're booking your tickets.

Crew Meals on Board
Did you know that every crew member on board gets a different meal? Any guesses why? So that if there's some food not quite right, it doesn't take down the whole crew. Makes sense right - can you imagine a long haul flight of 15 hours and food poisoning? YIKES! Talk about an emergency! There are also a set of banned food for crew on board such as dairy and eggs to further mitigate any food issue problems. Fascinating - makes me wonder if someone thought of that in advance or the industry adopted the rule from experience.

Baggage Fun!
Talking to the baggage guys was the most interesting part of my visit. I got to see the holding room for unclaimed luggage, which was smaller than I imagined. After talking to our "luggage detectives" as I dubbed them, I understand why they don't need as much room as you might think. Because of the advances in computer tracking, it's harder and harder to lose a bag forever. Sure, things get mis-routed and mis-placed for a time. And trust me, if you were to see the baggage handling operations behind the scenes and the thousands of bags they handle every day, you'd understand how things can go awry once in a while. But permanently lost is rarer than you think these days.

These guys told me that as long as the passenger gives them the truth, they can find the bag ... always. Huh? tells the truth? Apparently, people do all kinds of crazy things to get around weight limits and sneak things into the country. Now that I think of it, I had a woman on our way to Jordan last year look at my single bag and ask if I would check in one of her 5 with my stuff. (yeah, right - not in a million years!!) But I suppose it happens all the time, and since it's illegal, when someone loses one of those bags, they make up a story, giving the baggage detectives incorrect information in the hopes that they will find the bag anyway and somehow they'll get their stuff back. The bummer is, the detectives have to follow through on every claim so they end up chasing false information for weeks and sometimes have to declare it lost and reimburse the passenger. Unfair, but true.

One thing the unclaimed baggage room is full of? Child strollers and wheelchairs. Loads of them. They told me that when they locate the owners, most often they're told to 'donate them to charity'. I guess families must either bring an old stroller they plan to get rid of anyway and then just dump it or for whatever reason don't want to wait for the stroller as they disembark or have money to burn, I don't know, but there are a lot of extra strollers sitting in storage at airports all over the world. Seems like the airline could make some money off these - maybe offer them as rentals or something? Might have to look into that. :)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


As we careen full tilt into summer (the high is already consistently over 100F) we need to adjust our weekend activities. This weekend, we decided to see a movie. Have I told you about the movie experience in Abu Dhabi? Come along for the ride ...

We arrived at the ticket counter where you have to select your seat. Today unfortunately, the only seats available were in the second row from the front - not our preference, but hey, that's what happens when you arrive just in time for an 8:30 show on a Friday evening here.

The theaters are smaller than back home with maybe 20 rows total for each movie. The whole cinema might be showing 10 different films, but each theater is a bit smaller than we're used to. Which means you're almost always sitting right next to someone. You'll understand why that's unfortunate in a moment.

According to the ticket counter computer, the theater was completely full except for an odd single seat here and there, so we were surprised to enter the theater and see lots of empty seats in the middle. But the previews had started so we took our seats in row 2.

During the next 10 minutes, the seats filled up. And right in front of us came a family of 5 small children and their 2 nannies. But let me be more descriptive. This family erupted into the theater - kids running to their seats, then running back and forth down the row to share their popcorn, candy and sodas. Yelling non stop - yes, yelling. The sound in these theaters is soooo loud, and I could STILL HEAR the ankle biters arguing over who had the last sip of Pepsi.

Brian and I looked at each other and just sighed. We were seeing the Avengers, a comic book action movie so figured all the fighting and action would drown out the little rugrats before too long. And you know what? It did. We enjoyed most of the movie and were able to ignore the chaos in the front row for the most part.

Meanwhile, the two guys next to me are talking on their cell phones, not just during the trailers, but during the whole movie. I could hear this constant mumbling next to me for the first half of the movie. Only the first half because about 1/2 way through they decided to get up and leave. This happens a lot and is so curious to me. It's not like movie tickets are cheap - we pay about $12 a ticket and it wasn't like it was a bad movie. Maybe comic book heroes just weren't their thing?

So the mumblers left, which was good and the loud action was keeping me distracted from the circus in front of us ... until we got to that part in the movie where the action slows down for a few minutes and the characters have some heartfelt moment. Honestly, it was like these kids were in their living room at home - jumping around, changing seats, and talking through the whole movie.

The coup de grace was when we got up to leave and saw the absolute mess this family had left behind. Popcorn, drink containers and candy wrappers all over the front row and not a one of them made any move to take any of it out to the trash.

(sigh) It's gonna be a long summer.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Off with their Heads

Today's post is courtesy of a Gulf News article I read this morning about a beheading in Saudi Arabia.

Yes, you read that right, a BEHEADING.

I don't usually (okay ever) get political on my blog because, well, I like living here and don't want to inadvertently risk deportation. But since this article appeared in the local newspaper, I figured it was fair game to discuss.

Here's the full article if interested: Gulf News link

Now, in some ways, I applaud this swift and decisive action. Makes it pretty clear that murder isn't tolerated in KSA (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia). And from what we can tell from the article, this guy was very clearly guilty of some really heinous crimes. What I find so interesting is that yesterday, I heard how 1 or 2 more states in the US have done away with the death penalty. Quite a contrast, wouldn't you say?

The other thing I find astounding is what you can be beheaded for: "rape, apostasy, armed robbery and drug trafficking, as well as murder", according to the article. Apostasy, by the way is "a total desertion of or departure from one's religion, principles, party, cause, etc." according to So, a Muslim who wants to covert to another religion, runs the risk of beheading? WOW.

And if you don't believe it, check out the immigration form Brian received on one of his trips through KSA. Can't say they didn't warn ya!
Brian has been to Saudi twice on business and he describes the cities as very nice, but somehow stifling and oppressive. Big cities with all the amenities you can think of - this country is rich, rich, rich, but at the same time, extremely judgmental and governed by lots and lots of rules. Women can't drive, must wear the Abaya in public and even cover their heads in some cities. Foreigners can be restricted in terms of where they live and travel. And the list goes on.

To be fair, I've read a lot of posts from US expats who really enjoyed their time living in Saudi. Apparently, there are these HUGE American compounds set up for expats and within those walls, women can drive, wear whatever they want, there are bars and cinemas and it's supposed to feel like a small American city. So that's good, I guess. Personally, I didn't travel 1/2 way around the world, leave friends and family, to live in an American compound in the middle of the desert. Part of the attraction of UAE for me, is the opportunity to mingle and interact with so many different cultures.

KSA is such a contrast to the incredible freedoms we enjoy here in UAE. Yes, we need a license to purchase and consume alcohol, and yes, there are only a few grocers that sell pork, and yes, we need to dress conservatively and keep displays of affection private. Not so bad when you consider some of the alternatives you could face in KSA. I think we'll stay here and politely decline any offers to work in Saudi. ;)

Friday, May 18, 2012

Bu Tinah - What a Wonder

This is a bit outdated for my Abu Dhabi readers, but I realized I have some old photos of things we've done that I never got around to writing about. One is Bu Tinah island. This island is off the coast of Abu Dhabi a ways (that's technical for I don't know how far) and was in the running for one of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World. Apparently, anyone can submit a natural 'wonder' and then the world votes for what they think should win that honor. Abu Dhabi went all out trying to raise awareness and generate votes for the wonder in our backyard. Unfortunately, those efforts were in vain as we didn't make the list.

Part of the awareness campaign was an education 'dome' erected on the Corniche and free to the public. The goal was to teach us a bit about the island and the conservation efforts going on there. Here are a few photos from the exhibit.

The red carpet leading into the dome. These domes have started popping up all over Abu Dhabi for various functions. There's another not far from where we live that is a temporary garden center - maybe just for the winter? A very interesting temp structure.

The center of the exhibit was a man made replica of the island and showed the various wildlife that inhabit BuTinah. This variety of life was one of the key selling points for their bid for one of the 7 wonders. (in all honesty, none of it seemed all that impressive compared with a lot of the other wonders on the list) Oh, and did I mention that no one is allowed to visit Bu Tinah island except conversationalist researchers. Makes it a little hard to vote for something you're not even allowed to see.

Along the edge, they had 2-3 turtles and about the same of big ugly fish - I suppose to represent the real inhabitants of Bu Tinah, but actually, it made the whole thing a little depressing. The few creatures looked pretty lonely surrounded by the glitz of the exhibits.

This was the fake turtle on display, his flipper (or whatever turtles call them) would move occasionally in an effort to make it look real, I guess.  The lighting was pretty cool, though.

Another creature example. The models were really well done, but made the place feel a bit like Disney World as opposed to a serious education exhibit. But, here in Abu Dhabi that's a lot more appropriate.

The biggest attraction, according to the guides posted around the exhibit, were the computers at which you could vote for the 7 wonders. Don't tell anyone, but we left without voting - I just didn't think Bu Tinah, while cool and interesting, deserved to make the list. Sorry Abu Dhabi!

If you're interested in who made the list, or want to now vote for the 7 natural wonders on each continent, check out the organization's webpage here.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Awkward Haircut

Little did I know that after writing the last two posts that I would have the opportunity to write a similar one about my most recent haircut.

Getting a haircut here is always a bit of an adventure anyway as good hairdressers are 1) hard to find, and 2) incredibly expensive. But over the last year, I've located a couple of options. Actually, I tried to find a consistent hairdresser, but one other trait of salons here is appointment cancellations ... sometimes last minute. So, I'm now growing my hair long to minimize the haircut hassle.

But even in the growing out phase, it was time for a trim, so I made a last minute appointment on a Friday morning, which was pretty lucky so I figured maybe this time, the haircut would be a pleasant and smooth experience. (sigh - I've always been a hopeful kind of gal)

When I arrived, my hairdresser was standing outside the salon talking in animated Arabic which sounded angry (but you can't always tell with Arabic). Still, it didn't seem like a good omen. Checked in and had a seat. Not too much longer, she came back in and took me to the chair. I explained what I wanted and headed to the shampoo basins. Shampoos are done by the salon assistants here, not your stylist so all was going according to plan. And the assistant was great and I got a nice head massage (not awkward at all ;)

Meanwhile, my stylist started a blow dry on another client who had an appointment before mine. After a few minutes waiting, my stylist asked, "Could I have some of your time please so I can finish her blow dry?" Sure, I wasn't in a hurry and an extra 5 minutes wouldn't hurt anything.

20 minutes later she came back to my chair and apologized. The good thing was the salon manager (I think) got me some coffee and a couple of free trial bottles of conditioner for my inconvenience. I was impressed that she noticed and tried to make up for it - that doesn't happen much here.

We finally got started and she seemed to be doing a good job, no complaints on my end.

About halfway through my cut, one of the assistants started teasing her about being in the same dress as yesterday. Come to find out, she had left the salon late the night before, gone to dinner, had waaay too much to drink (this is her recounting the story to me) so ended up partying all night. Her plan was to go home and shower and have a nap, but then one of her clients (the blow dry marathon lady) called so she came straight in to work.


I started paying closer attention to make sure she was cutting in a straight line after that story! What would possess you to tell a client, a NEW client, that you've been up all night partying and are really tired and haven't showered? Did she think she was forming a bond with me or something? That I would sympathize and forgive any crooked edges because she was hung over?


The good news is the haircut turned out fine. Who knows, maybe she does her best work hung over? It will make me think twice about going back to her, however. But I shouldn't have to worry about it again for at least 8 weeks.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Awkward Massages - Part II

I tried to resist the Call of the Groupon, but I'm weak, and I admit it. This time I was enticed by a set of 3 one-hour massage sessions for AED 219 - that's $60 for THREE Massages!! And I figured this way Brian could get one too. And, the vendor was a medical centre - surely they know how to give a decent massage? ... right? ... (sigh)

Again, I had trouble even making the appointment. My phone calls were with a guy who spoke passable English but giggled every time he had to tell me they didn't have any appointments available. It took 2 phone calls for him to definitively tell me we couldn't get in the next day, and another 2 calls and more giggling to finally make an appointment for the following weekend. But, all sorted, Brian and I were scheduled for massages the following Saturday at 2pm.

We headed downtown and found the location. The 'medical center' was housed in a converted villa apartment in one of the high rises downtown. This isn't really that unusual as most small businesses are set up this way, but even though we know that's how it works here, it's a little disconcerting.

We were greeted by 'Giggles' who asked for our Groupon voucher (we were using 2 of the 3 massages on the voucher) and asked us to wait. It was then decided that Brian would have an oil massage, but that I needed something called a slimming massage. ... yeah, you can imagine how thrilled I was to hear that. Something of a Filipino cultural thing to point out to us Westerners how fat we are. But, oh well, how bad could it be, and what if it really worked? ;)

Off to separate rooms - bigger than the last 'spa' but very clinical, which I did actually expect. Just the massage table, a sink and a desk. Luckily, she kept the fluorescent lights off.

The massage started out just fine and basically what I've come to expect here - they aren't great, but get the job done, and I was feeling pretty proud of my discount and restored faith in Groupon.

And then it was time for the 'slimming' part of the massage. (I feel like I should suggest you pause here to let you mind come up with all manner of creative ideas of what this might have entailed. Your imagination is probably a lot more interesting than what actually happened.)

The slimming part of the massage is this lotion of some kind of Chinese miracle plant extract that she rubbed into my upper arms, stomach, thighs and calves. Then she wrapped all those parts in Saran Wrap (yes, seriously) and left me to 'slim' for about 15 minutes. While she was gone, the stuff started to burn, so I tried to imagine all the fat burning off while I lay there so as to keep myself from pulling off the plastic wrap. Then, the plastic comes off that that's it. I tried to wash the stuff off in the sink, but no luck - my arms and right inner thigh in particular were really burning now and looked red to me. I tried to see if I looked any slimmer ...

Brian's experience wasn't much better - awkward, not at all relaxing and now he was covered in oil. As we started to leave, Giggles made sure we had our voucher for the 3rd massage ... this was tossed in the nearest garbage can when we left the building.

My arms and thigh burned for the better part of the next two hours and I don't look even the slightest bit slimmer.  Okay this time I really am going to STOP buying Groupons ... promise.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Awkward Massages - Part I

I blame it on Groupon. For those of you unfamiliar, Groupon is a discount voucher website that offers all kinds of things we can't live without for at minimum 50% off. For those of you really unfamiliar, I'm a sucker for a discount. And on top of this, they send a daily email enticing you to partake of these discounts. Recently, I was sucked in by the following:

Sit back & relax with a 1-Hour Full Body Aroma Massage with or without Mani-Pedi including Colour starting from AED 85

85 Dirham (AED) is about $23! A full hour massage AND a manicure AND a pedicure for $23?! What right-minded girl wouldn't sign up for that deal? So, of course, I did.

I made the appointment after 2 phone calls to the establishment, a lot of yelling in Arabic and finally a Filipina who spoke enough English to take my details. Hmmm, starting to wonder if this was a good idea, but hey, language barriers are just part of the adventure, right?

I arrived on a Saturday at 1:00pm ready to spend the afternoon being pampered. I was greeted warmly and asked for my Groupon voucher and then asked to wait. There were 4 women in the salon, and I later understood that 3 were employees (I think one may have been the owner) and one customer getting her hair colored. After a few minutes, I was shown to a very, very small room with one of those plastic accordion things for a door - not very private and didn't at all minimize the racket coming from the salon. I got undressed and on the table for the massage.

The Filipina came into the room and told me she would be doing my treatment today. She was very nice and got started without any fuss. The fuss was coming from the other side of the 'door'. Apparently, something wasn't to the customer's liking so there was a lot of yelling and arguing happening literally right outside the massage closet. Not exactly the tranquil atmosphere I was hoping for. To make matters worse, my therapist (word used very lightly) had to go and help sort out the mess ... THREE DIFFERENT TIMES! Each time she came back and said, "sorry madam, I give you more minutes, so sorry." Yeah, not as sorry as I was becoming for buying that Groupon.

Now I'm the only customer in the salon, and aside from the TV blaring (all in Arabic), things quieted down slightly ... until my therapist started whispering to me. She started telling me how horrible it was to work there, how the owner was okay, but the other hair stylist was awful to her and very lazy. Ummmm, seriously? I didn't know what to say and certainly had no intention of getting involved so just mumbled a few oh, hmmm, that's awfuls hoping she'd stop talking! Well, eventually she did, told me to get dressed and now it was time for my manicure and pedicure. It was now almost 2:30pm and I think I felt less relaxed than when I arrived.

I should have bolted. I'd gotten my 23 dollars worth and should have cut and run, but for whatever reason, I followed the same woman over to the mani-pedi area. Another hour and a half and I left with one of the worst mani-pedis I've ever received. The good news is that the pedicure itself wasn't too bad - just took forever. But I don't think this woman has any training in actual nail polish application. It was smeared, uneven and all over my skin. Really bad job. And while this is going on, the 'mean' hair stylist was cracking her gum, adjusting her really ill fitting tight jeans and sending texts while the owner changed the TV channel every 3 minutes. 90 minutes of this awkwardness!

I finally left  around 4pm not feeling the least bit relaxed and making a pledge not to fall for any more Groupon deals. (you did see the part I in the title, right? ... stay tuned)

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Changing Seasons, Sandbox Style

One of the things I miss most about home (aside from the people of course) is the changing seasons. My favorite is fall when the air gets cooler, the leaves turn color, apples are in season and the holidays start. Then of course there's the first snowfall of winter and those cozy wintery weekend days where you don't even feel guilty if you spend the whole day reading a book with a kitty on your lap. Well, I also like Spring quite a bit as the world starts to green up, everything smelling so fresh and clean, and the flowers ... Hmmm, I can't forget summer either with perfect days and a perfect rainstorm or two to mix things up a bit. So yeah, the changing seasons is something I miss living here in the sand box.

But don't misunderstand, there are seasons here in the land of sand dunes and camels, they're just a bit more subtle. Here's an overview of the changing seasons, sandbox style.

Fall (September - November) while not my favorite season in Abu Dhabi, it's similar to home in that the air gets cooler ... meaning the temp goes from 115 to 85 over the course of season. The humidity drops a bit as well, which is such a welcome change that we start sitting outside in weather that would have us running to the air conditioned house back home. The best part is the overheated crankiness starts to abate as you realize relief is on the horizon and soon it will be winter. (I know, such a weird thing to think coming from Wisconsin where winter is considered a swear word to some.)
One of the many Plumeria trees that start to flower during the fall
Winter (December - March) is my new favorite season. The temperatures range between 60 to about 85 and it can get chilly enough to need a sweater. The humidity drops significantly and the wind picks up. This is the season of sandstorms, but they don't happen frequently enough to cause too much frustration. We now start living outside, which is such a welcome change from the blistering summer. The best part is the flowers. The city is transformed and annuals are planted everywhere making the place look cheery and clean. Winter is nice.
Would you believe I can't find a photo of the flowers?

Spring (April-May) is pretty short and perhaps I should include March here to even things out a bit, I don't know. The temps creep up until one day you realize it's 100 degrees and you're sweating through your business suit. The good news is the flowers and plants are out of control and look stunning, and on a good day, things will cool off enough for you to spend the evening outside to desperately hold onto the wonderful winter feeling. But, the real issue with Spring is that it reminds you that summer is coming.
Spring in the dessert (looks just like Summer, Winter and Fall)
Summer (June-August) is just plain miserable. I really can't think of one redeeming, positive thing to say about it. The high is consistently 105 or higher and the humidity can hit 80% on a bad day (so don't even try to make me feel better by saying it's a 'dry heat', it isn't). It's a bit surreal to hear people complain about the summer after growing up in an area where everyone looks forward to summer. Our first (and only so far) summer was an adventure and something to be irrationally proud of, "I survived an Abu Dhabi summer" kind of stuff. But this year I'm just dreading it. The novelty of your skin 'fogging up' when you step outside is gone and now I'm plotting ways to leave the country during the summer months, or maybe spend them immersed in the chilled pool.
The only comfortable place during the summer months!
So, I guess it's not so much that I miss having seasons, because we have seasons all right. I guess it's the variety that I miss, and the green, and the rainstorms, and the snow ... but maybe I'm just wistful  because today's temp will reach 102 and it'll only go up from there. :)

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Kittens under the Stairs - Update

I'm sure a few of you at least have been waiting for me to announce a new family member ... well, you'll have to continue waiting. We were able to resist the cuteness of the kittens and Rogue remains an only cat. This is mostly because the kittens were moved before they reached the irresistible stage of development. Last we saw them, their eyes were just barely opened and they were wobbling a bit, but pretty much staying close to the kitten pile and their mama. Here's what happened.

We came home from Dubai after a fun weekend with our visitors to find posters inside the villa. One said, " Keep the doors closed." and the other "No feeding of cats." We also had a note under our door from the management telling us to move the cats and kittens as they are not allowed inside and had been disturbing the other tenants. Yep, someone had 'ratted out' the little cuties and since we had been feeding mama, I guess they thought we were responsible for moving them outside.

Actually, we were happy about this because it gave us the chance to move them somewhere safe. Our fear was that the villa management would have had them killed. So, we moved them to our back patio (much to Rogue's chagrin) and set out some food and water. I don't think Rogue moved once from the window that night and mama kitty seemed just as bothered by Rogue on the other side of the glass.

A day or two later, as I was getting ready for work, I heard some mewling, and after some investigation realized it was coming from the front of the villa. In our car park area I found one of the kittens all by himself - strange. So, I scooped him up and carried him back out to the patio at the back of the villa. That's when I saw mama kitty scaling the patio wall with another of the kittens in her mouth. Ahhh, she was moving them. I waited a bit thinking what to do with the one I 'rescued' when mama came back with the same kitten followed by another Tom cat from the compound. Lots of hissing and spitting and mama brought the kitten back to the box with the rest of the family.

Not much I could do to help so I went off to work wondering all day what I would find when I returned home.

You guessed it, all the kittens were gone. :( But I can certainly understand why - she had Rogue looking on from within the house, a calico Tom patrolling the garden wall and a very fluffy Orange guy/gal who stops over every couple of weeks to torment Rogue. Not a very safe place for a new batch of kittens.

Since then, we've only seen the kittens once, but my neighbor had them in her patio for a couple of weeks and now they're old enough to hunt and fend for themselves. Glad they've survived so far and really glad we weren't more tempted to bring one in the house. It's just better if the cats in the house are outnumbered by the people. :)