Saturday, 14 December 2013

New Year street theatre, post - mortem

Well, back an entry or two  ( )  there was me going on about how enjoyable the impromptu street party, racing, dancing, dressing up for National Day was. A huge release of peaceful, boisterous, happy energy. I tried to engage the studes with it in ensuing lessons asking whether the boys, who all must live off campus, were there (girls not allowed out without a family penis to accompany) in their fright masks, wigs and er...dresses. A silent fumbling and mumbling, heads down exclamatory no came through at three decibels. I feigned a burst of  surprise, showed some inappropriate shots of New Year of National Day in different countries to try engender conversation and for once nothing came of it. I left it...the collective hive mind was not going to talk. The hive mind is wont to do that.

However, a few days back it emerges that one of my colleagues who really is in the know with local journos and local Really Big People through consultancy work and being fat with the British Council, explained over a friendly pint that Plod did get involved late night / early morning to close down any semblance of fun and genial disorder and drag off anyone in a wig, mask or girls' clothing.
It disappointed me but then did  sound sadly familiar. For plod and power the world over does not like being overawed and appearing pointless and useless...what kind of small-willied example would that be to a hitherto dutiful and respectful population - cuddly bits of the early Arab Spring notwithstanding. Word is that next year spontaneous joy will not be happening...which may of course be a way of bottling up trouble which a look over the region might not be a good idea especially when you are getting on a bit and had the best part of 50 mostly benevolent and beneficial years in power. Ah well, not my place to speculate but it is good to know folk with an ear to the ground which fully explains the 'shame' felt or at least dutifully modelled to the curious, nosy outsider.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Psychological psoriasis

 The two year itch...

Oh dear, the first signs happened quite a while back, familiar as they happen most places I go...the unconscious move from taking things seriously and professionally to having to try to take them so. Of course I participate, like my work and students and colleagues, an friendly, open and social but...but...but...

...but indeed...

... as we know, or indeed should, everything before but is foul and rancid  bullshit so no point in good pal here called me a commitment phobe, which struck me initially as strange to use from someone past 35,  it is  a  word laced with the benighted judgement of certain cheesy single wimmin's mags and accompanying crap films - to crap movies rather, there is a difference. However, there may be some truth there or simply the wish for some more refreshing excitement for this is a very sleepy conservative place. Natural beauty and friendly people can only go so far especially when you need a license to drink...

That creeping scratchy itch has been morphing slowly into some sort of psychological psoriasis turning  my usual insouciant bonhomie, affability and geniality to mildly irascible, grouchy and worryingly, on occasion, broody and bad tempered as I ponder horribly that some feelings I get towards the nice but conservative and culturally constrained kids are similar to the ones that made me leave education in England although for far different reasons. Said itch has not started inflaming, suppurating or seeping yet but the signs are worryingly there and I am not too sure what I can do about it. Answers on a post-card or tweet please...

Thursday, 21 November 2013

My Hero, My Sultan

Photo: niceThe Yanks have one, France has the best one well, that I have been around for,  even bloody Canada has one - in fact most places in the world have one except us English which we cannot really justify. These things are possibly a gory, cheesy and up-itself wankfest which is probably what the politicos would turn it into, it can though of course be and should be a great excuse for a party not just  an excuse for saying how fantastic we are while boosting the Chinese disposable flag making industry. That's right National Day. A punctuation in the year when most nations celebrate their birth often after a nasty bloody struggle against some exploitative overbearing power from far away whose language they might now speak.

Coming to the party style(?)
None of my students could really explain why their 43rd national day falls on November 18th - the Sultan's birthday? That seemed to be the consensus anyway which Wikipedia confirmed. It certainly couldn't be for independence? From whom? Oman was, luckily for them, never formally colonized. No one could tell me, or more likely they were loth so to do, for this is a place where standing out is not considered a virtue....until that is you cover your car in red, green and white stickers, bedeck said car in flags and pics of my hero, my sultan, slip off your traditional conservative, and arguably mentally constricting clothing and go racing around the town centre well as fast as you can which isn't very fast in gridlock, but that's all part of the fun as you get to honking, hooting and cheering.

Of course your face is covered in face paint of the national colours, you might also be a wearing a Halloween style horror masks or  fright wig which is odd as Halloween and dressing up as the devil are a tad unIslamic. Perhaps most weirdly to me and cowering car mate, were the Guy Fawkes masks. None of these objects have I seen on sale anywhere - 'cos that kind of frivolity just ain't Islamic or traditional. It was great to see singing, dancing to African, Latin, Arabic  tunes accompanying the screeching of tyres and souped up engines making sounds disturbingly like gunfire. Cowering carmate was from the US so therefore used to the gunfire but completely unused to Omanis out of the strait-jacket happily sticking their heads, unthreateningly through the car windows.

Beep beep etc
There were plenty of young folk hanging out of cars, on roofs and even a few in the boot. All safe as the traffic was going nowhere.  Plod looked overawed, helpless and hopeless which is always lovely to see. The fear of the uncontrolled crowd. However, it was all good-natured and seemingly sober. Us Euros and assorted others on our way to the hotel pub were welcomed, greeted and thanked for  coming along to the party which had naturally stopped us from getting anywhere close - that was a lovely touch but I did have to turn down the offer of joining a group for a dance. Unlike back home there was no (obvious) booze and a complete absence of women aside from the Carmate who embarrassingly feared that she was going to be pulled out of the car and subjected to all sorts of nasties with her head paraded around on a spike. Oh dear the liberal mask had slipped and she won't be a Carmate again.

Apparently there was all the usual other stuff that goes on - fireworks, military nonsense so beloved of leaders the world over, and I was told that the Red Arrows even turned up. Still, all good free-flowing fun, unless you are a terrified plod or over-reacting Carmate and everyone happy and still at it when returning home several hours later....

So Happy Birthday Sultan.

Friday, 15 November 2013

Tony Bloody Blair buggered my tooth

Oh fuckityfuckfuckfuck - that hurts more than having the gove removed did...whisky (lots of) xxx painkillers (by the dozen) antibiotics by the pick-up full.....

So conscious my temporary filling  was about to burst and shatter into rotten shards before a pleasant and enjoyable root canal could be performed, I sought advice from the various shinily toothsome American and German colleagues about where to go - they all said the very expensive American or German dentists over in Qurm. The former Soviets smiled at the glories of Soviet dentistry, and the solidly buck toothed fellow NHS loving Brits...? Well, they all go to the cheapo  London trained Iraqi ten mins from work. 

So off I went smilingly along, he smiled back, saw the x-ray gave me a few chatty jabs and then revealed his painful grudge - for he was the Iraqi who could smell my evil dark and vile secret...that I... er.......ahem ...(sotto voce) voted for Blair in '97 back then the foul and grubby Tories were trying to brand him Bambi but that is irrelevant and was therefore partially complicit in breaking Mr Dentist's country which he then I reckon took out on my now fractured back molar. He began gouging the bugger out in several pieces with bits of gum straggling off and blood coursing out of my mouth through the tissue doubling as a dental bib onto my once white shirt...he let forth a flow of curse s at me and his assistant in Arabic and English stating between sweaty tugs and gouges how it was all my fault. I couldn't ask what was or why? He wasn't happy...but not a lot that could be done with a rubberised hand in your gob with an angry man poking and digging with medieval torture equipment. 30 minutes on it seemed that, with fragments of rotten tooth laid out, slightly stunned and other than to mumble a polite thank you with a mouth full of cotton pads and pay him the 20 quid.

Not to disparage the guy (much)...there is nothing wrong with the medical treatment I have had in developing countries not least as my employers have all stumped up for all the tests usually needed on entry. They will also pay for most else . That said the few times I have needed anything the insurance companies and doctors alike will royally profit from it by ordering  no end of tests and unnecessary analysis, and pointless follow ups. Bit of an obvious problem there allowing markets into medicine. Or have I missed something? Dentistry aside I am near the top of the pecking order here the multitude of other economic migrants are barely covered at all, there is no universal health provision which is bleak. So yes (insert divinity of choice or ideally none)______________ bless indeed save the NHS and all that cos Camoron and his one eyed ideologues and sponsors won't.

Friday, 25 October 2013

A grain of truth in this?


The painful will of Allah ...

(In pained man moaning voice) Ouch - that hurt a lot, actually, it hurt a fuckuvafucking lot  in a humbling and humiliating way.

Ibuprfen Nitro for men
I staggered in to the dentist with a cartoon comedy bag of ice from on my inflamed jaw. Once in the chair of pain the no-nonsense former Soviet dentista snapped on the rubber, shoved in her hand, gave me a few jabs with elephant needles, sawed, drilled and took out the long dangly, fierce sinewy web of electric pain which had, over an increasingly dreary week, spread from my bottom jaw to the top of my head by way of my sizzling sinus. It was not only a vicious lizard of a pain but far worse it was XXX Man Pain which no combination of whisky and new improved formula elephant strength Ibuprofen Nitro for men can possibly assuage.

The Will of Allah

The work based emergency dentist always attracts a huge crowd in the early morning as there are sick notes to be garnered but being an on-a-pedestal teacher hushed room was made for me at the front of the dolefully mourning queue.  X-ray taken, tooth tapped, filling removed and wire brush applied to the inner tooth while I failed pathetically to hide my discomfort in front of some slightly smiling female dentistry students who looked on as  la dentista made good the mess caused by the munificent kind and wise Will of Allah.  There was a chorus of surprisingly harmonic but shocked with a tinge of disgust bismillahs as they saw a text book seeping, suppurating abscess dealt with. Horror. But what added a fairy light to my dark day was hearing them in move to hushed and awestruck tones as their disgust moved  to medical interest and utter shufi al gove as they as the mess of my mouth was explained to the. Yes, gove it transpires is indeed Arabic for abhorrent abscess - seems to fit.

Regardless, the pain was gone and I can see how torture victims now come to love Mr Nice the one who takes away the pain, who cares and understands...unfortunately though she was unable to complete the root canal as in her role as the emergency dentist her job is far better it is simply to take away the pain and send you skipping and ever grateful on your way into the unknown hands of the High Street private third world dentist which is now my next job - she said I have a week to do it or the temporary filling (I'm sure I had a crown last time) will flare up and I will get a ghastly and most gangrenous inflamed infection which I really wouldn't want not least as in Gulf Arabic such a humiliating and shameful disorder is unsurprisingly I suppose called a clegg.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Teaching boys and cultural diversity

A typical English schoolboy or puce faced comedy posh wanker...?
Teaching boys in single sex classes has many merits especially in languages as it takes the little tossers out of class and allows the girls to thrive and generally prosper. Yes, indeed there are some arguments for single sex education. In Sleepy Town-sur-Mer the Very Big Man has stipulated that in tertiary and higher ed at least, all classes should be mixed much to the wailing dismay of both sexes who generally loathe it as the only members of the opposite sex they generally know are from the closest recesses of The Family around which everything revolves. They have not the slightest suggestion of an idea of how to speak to one another, indeed they are told not to in case they get pregnant or something in which case the elder brother will have to take some kind of honour vengeance using long sharp knives and swords which glint in the sun...perhaps. So they naturally self-segregate (like primary school kids do), never mix thus reducing any hope of  pair or group work. A real pain as a teacher if the group is skewed towards one gender. Occasionally though you do get given a single sex class usually when there is an orphan in the group who then gets shuttled off to another class when this happens the dynamic changes immensely - everyone relaxes opens up and is generally happier with no more of The Horror of The Other which renders both genders pant wettingly speechless.
English boys...well the sort I taught

  • Fidgety
  • Feral haircuts and sprouting bumfluff.
  • Spots based on value packs no-brand biscuits, fizzy pop masquerading as breakfast / lunch / dinner
  • Scratchy and itchy - based on aforementioned junk diet and putridly poor hygiene.
  • Perpetual erectile discomfort caused by being congenitally teenage and consuming copious amounts of specialist one handed material on the net at 3.00 was in The Mail so it must be true
  • Repulsive gag inducing odour of seeping sweat (see all of the above)
    • Add captio
  • Repulsive gag and reflux inducing use of industrial pollutant Lynx to fail to mask aforementioned suppurating seeping sweat.
  • Excellence in the manufacture of fast flying sharp nosed model planes
  • Thumping one another hard to cover up sexual identity confusion
  • Olympic standards  in non-syllabic communication
  • Creative insults (your mum, gay, wankah etc)
  • Insecure homophobic comments (are there secure ones?)
  • Great skills at sopping spit balling
  • Disrespectful of teachers, parent(s), alleged friends, and self
  • Hates foreigners - despite one in five (or something) being part - 'foreign' and trying to sound Gangsta.

Education? Why bother? There are so few -  even shittily paid - jobs at the end of it all anyway? 

Sleepy part of Gulf (but only in all boys classes)
  • Fidgety - which they cannot ever be among girls who inspire all sorts of evil and depravity and must therefore be covered up
  • Scratchy (surreptitious fear ridden comedy stiffies being constantly slapped down as they don't go with pre-medieval nonsense belief systems)
  • Beautiful moulded, hair and sculpted trimmed beards showing a careful balance of machismo and religious devotion and piety.
  • Clear skin based on plenty of  fruit and veg owing to a sad lack of value brands
  • Excellent mosque and religious based personal hygiene hammered home by fear of relgious damnation and death by slow spit roasting for the teensiest morsel of stray and bedraggled toe jam
  • As there is rightly a fatwa banning Lynx our boys use lots of musk and frankincense based oils and skin fresheners. Nice it is too.
  • Shit at anything kineshetic creative subjects are not taught as they get in the way of religious devotion...
  • Never violent or touchy ... in class anyway.
  • Mono-syllabic and unfailingly polite in English as teachers are hugely venerated objects of respect placed upon gleaming sun flecked pedestals of marble and gold.
  • Creative insults in Arabic (not that I can understand and they won't tell me but I suspect your mum is NOT in the repertoire)
  • Attitude to LGBT? Stone to death and get a few virgins in reward
  •  (Question I have yet to ask my Omani friends - what if the virgins are boys?)
  • What's a spit ball?
  • Foreigners? Ah yes, horrid poor people with their ...oh hang on they do all the hard, unpaid dirty dangerous frequently life threatening work don't they? Also mainly brother Muslims who do it. Just saying...
  • Westerners - Indian whisky and Filipina sex workers. Confused feelings of either jealousy or hatred or both. 

Education? Why bother I'll get a cushy government job with a big house and pension as the unelected  government needs to keep us all onside to avoid a Syria style spring.

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Striking teachers - Mexico

Our Mexican colleagues have been a little active over reforms. I am just trying to imagine UK teachers (or any other group of workers these days) occupying say Trafalgar Square for three weeks and the trying to face down our noble riot Plod? Not that I would ever condone or encourage such action as that would doubtless raise eye-brows among those who have drawn the short straw and have to read such things.

Sure, it's a different political and educational culture and possibly to strike have not been so circumscribed as they have back home. To get teachers, the vanguard of the revolution, so angry that they have been pushed to take such action is at the very least interesting.

From The Guardian 15/09/2013

Initially the protests were aimed at pressuring the legislature into modifying a wide-ranging education reform that threatens teachers with dismissal if they fail evaluations aimed at improving the dismal standard of the country's state schools.
With the reform approved earlier this month, they began demanding that it be scrapped. They also demanded face-to-face negotiations with the nation's president, Enrique Peña Nieto.
Most of the striking teachers come from Mexico's poverty-ridden southern states, and argue that the country's educational deficiencies are more closely tied to social inequity than their performance in the classroom.
They belong to the smaller of the country's two teachers' unions – the National Education Workers Co-ordinating Committee.
The larger union, much weakened after the arrest of its legendarily powerful leader Elba Esther Gordillo in February, has supported the reforms.
Having lost control of the Zócalo, the protesters began regrouping at the nearby Monument to the Revolution.
Organisers said teachers were not responsible for the earlier violence, blaming radical supporters of the movement who had joined the protest just before the police moved in.

Monday, 19 August 2013

My inner prostitute

Well, that was fun - a while back now, it seems so, I did enjoy a freebie to London for a rigorous interview to become a value free, grubby, educational prostitute in the jolly old Kingdom of the Magic Stones. It is not a teaching gig for everyone - least of all me. The brutal client is a hard bastard  who deals in oil, vicious weaponry and medieval high tech torture equipment (probably) for the greater benefit of  Britain and this part of the unethical conscience free business sector of course. They take unfeasibly large sums from folk who, like them, don't give much in the way of a micro-toss,  and of course they could see right through my facade of enthusiasm and a few days later thanked me so much and said they would keep me on file - adminese for naaaah not wanted. That said I knew I would not accept any offer not least because of the hassle I was getting from people around me and the sober finger wagging voice within that was telling me that it was a compromise of jaded and faded withered principles too far. There is just so much yogic bending over and contrived contorting and Obama style empty self-justification you can make.

I had found and breached my limit which, after times in the semi-slave feudal Gulf, is tolerably, worryingly, too high for a once high-minded wet lefty. My twenty year old self would loath what he has morphed into - or perhaps not?  Still, by desperate default I have kept the ragged shreds of my distressed dignity.  Yet my cheap and nasty inner prostitute (you have one too) would like to have at least been offered the gig with of course the option to high-mindedly turn it down. The terms and conditions were really rather good. Droolingly good - in such a place they would need to be. I could have closed my eyes, served my time painlessly and been out in three years with several heavy swag bags full of untaxed cash that Grubby Gideon and his fellow lizards would not get and who knows do something useful like erm...teaching for the good guys.

Ho hum, what next? See out the contract in the sleepy end of the Gulf or maybe I should get some tatts for I  am the only man or woman left in England without one, and do a crash course in the latest whacky wheeze from that educational colossus G*ve and sign up to the soon to be piloted teachers to troops programme...?

Thursday, 11 July 2013

The Time of Starvation and Binge

Well, we all sloped home in our sharp linen suits, Panama hats and culturally inappropriate breastful dresses. Searching for a seasonally overcharging  taxi through the streets which had now been taken over by the celebrants of the Time of Starvation and Binge...there was no place for us at the abandoned and deserted pool side bar once the Tanzanian muscle made their discreet presence indiscreet and made it clear that the Last Drink must be surrendered as the silvery crescent moon had peeped coyly into view. 'See you in a month' smiled the Filipina bar staff as they joined the scrum to get to the airport for the first time since 2005. It was bizarrely, unusually quiet as the adherents to the Faith had all gone off serenely home or to the mosque to do their thing that we infidels do not have the wit, inclination or imagination to be part of. Same species of mammal but coming from very different worlds. I blame religion but that's for another time...or perhaps not, there is already way too much division even within the ostensibly same set of beliefs. As my fondly feral Yr 8s used to say '' 

At home the TV was on and some of the 4,691 unwatchable (to me at least) channels were being desultorily flipped through as one of the party wanted, curiously I thought,  to watch the Mecca Channel of which I had no idea I was the proud possessor - you might have it too. Quizzical I was for sure, as you too would be for this is the Koran wielding Middle East where no bingo or gambling of any sorts is allowed, and rightly so perhaps. So I thought albeit most fleetingly momentarily that this would be one of those very late-night ones on one of the many unwatchable Freeview channels hostessed by a bored, tired and success-lite unglamour model with an aura of lingering career bitterness who would be urging sad and / or drunken or maybe vulnerable and definitely deluded folk to part with their pitiful amounts of money via a piratical premium  phone line - the sort of thing which should be outlawed too but doubtless such corporate viruses give Dough Ball Dave and clubbable chums a friendly donation. Right Dave?

Not 2001 live from the Mecca Channel - probably on Freeview somewhere
Anyway I digress. No, foolish old moi, this version of the Mecca Channel showed full on live action footage of multi-thousands of the embearded Faithful  praying at an obelisk like thing from 2001: a Space Odyssey which is what I ignorantly mused, of course it was full on religion around the mystical Kaaba.  Even as an infidel it was fascinating and powerful too but also, for me very disturbing to see so much humanity  bowing down in what appears to me to be pre-medieval submission and supplication...but what do I know...? *

The praying and chanting was intercut with explicit hard core war porn from Syria and all sorts of righteously angrily voiced commentary and brutal font subtitles which made me wish I had been taught how to say more in Arabic than the initial Year 7 MFL rubbish in which you get to ask what someone has in their pencil case. How often has anybody ever had to use such pointless language beyond the second week in Year 7? Do something about that G*ve....on seconds thoughts don't, you're an unqualified one-eyed damaging fool.

Anyway to those stumbling across this as they seasonally say hereabouts Ramadan Murbarak.

* I actually do know that Carols from Kings is far easier on the ear but never mind.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

...(predicatbly) what a load of balls

Yep, well done to Murray, it might get a monkey and his mother off his back but replacing them are a swathe of dislikeable and objectionable folk crying out to give him a gong for winning a few tennis matches and thereby scrape a bit of kudos by association. Give him a break at least wait until he finishes his career and perhaps does something worthwhile thereafter.

09.07.13: Steve Bell on Andy Murray's Wimbledon win – and possible knighthood

Monday, 8 July 2013

Lurching into Lockdown

Well...the end of the world inevitably lurched  proudly into clear view or so it seemed in this backwater area of deluded Expatland - the rumours of the last eleven months had hardened briskly morphing into the black scab of an unspeakable degenerate truth. The world ends Tuesday 6.30 pm.

To compensate for this irredeemable impending disaster, for that is what it is, desperate (but enjoyable)  Bacchanalian  Dante styled orgies were hastily and lustfully held in the bars and hotels at the weekend and, as the rabid realisation took hold red-veined, gout hobbled Johnny Expat of every hue, blotch and addiction battered down the armour plated door of Al - Oddbins for desperate entry and stumbled and scrambled feverishly  grabbing armfuls of whatever remained on the soiled shaky shelves and broken-doored fridges...even the Pakistani Shiraz and the traditional fermented Azerbaijani aged and fermented dog testicle.

Scenes of feral despair at the booze shop

Licenses had been begged, borrowed and blagged as the whole of jaded Expatland cashed in its monthly ration in a 48 hour frenzy. In the 50 degree heat and humidity queues of Soviet proportions doubled round the block, the shelf-stackers and sales staff struggled to hold back the pulsing crowds needing judicious amounts of pepper spray and freely wielded electronic batons from the Nubian muscle to hold back the eye bulging fearful fretting license waving souls aghast at the incipient Horror.

The crowds were mercilessly kettled and removed by the dead hands of the law and the shutters slammed and sealed at 7.00 to a bitter chorus of ululating, wailing and sobbing. It was truly a brutal sight of degrading desperation, futile frustration, and middle-aged middle class junkie despair as the hour of tomorrow's end of the world  moonrise Horror gets ever and forbiddingly closer.

Sunday, 30 June 2013

Ramadan Lockdown

Ramadan Lockdown and Expat Hysteria

Yes, the supermarkets are getting the Ramadan Kereem garlands out and offering special twofer offers on oil, cereal and other Ramadan Specials - all as tacky as Xmas except, fortunately,  it doesn't start three months before. At this time the students are saying how they are looking forward to the annual fast whilst getting their excuses in early and trying to amend yet more the already foreshortened timetable and reduced expectations.

Meanwhile, in the weird and parlous parallel universe of Expatland the slow burning realisation and developing panic has really set in with vicious circulating rumours that any places to get a nice cold drink, of which there are many all of which will be brutally and coldly closed for the duration. Fasting by proxy? This does sort of surprise me as it is not as anal here as the UAE in which the hotels and booze shop were always happy, smiling and welcoming through the Holy Month. Indeed, unlike the UAE most bars you go to here have a large proportion of local men happily knocking back the industrial fizz. But no, come sunset on 8th July, a merciless Lockdown will take place. Hotel bars and the offy will close....

The offy was cleared of booze by late last week with stocks being desperately air-freighted from India and replenished twice daily as desperate, thristy expats of all stripe were buying up with some (YOU know who you are) doubtless hoping to profit from the impending black market.

Tomorrow marks a new month the retarded booze license when the mean monthly limit  will be reached in a single spastic spree. Sad really for some, but not me, oh no, even the plastic White Mischief Indian vodka will go, as will the equally plastic McGhandi Scotlandish Whisky brewed in Delhishire. Evil, cheap, toxic brews I don't doubt which are probably bought by Dickensian building site owners to keep their serf-like charges (who have no access to nice things) docile and possibly grateful.

The Gulf is an odd part of Expatland which I have seen do strange, disturbing things to a person and their taste,  judgement and usual good sense and moderation. This time of year with the impending annual joyless (for us) Lockdown is symptomatic of a minor breakdown in rationality that sometimes occurs. Others let it drift by them and others become proactive some colleagues will even fast along (or claim to) with their students. They have in other places in which I have worked which always struck me as odd with a touch of patronising as unless of course it is (gulp) me who is missing something...?

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Airport Chic

1. Dubai

The cheesy bling infested uber Essex of the Gulf -  Blue Water with planes attached. Buy a lottery ticket (add nationality to stop non-UAE folk from winning....probably) and win a huge V8 blacked out Toyota Turbo Earthraper to go with the other ten you already have. That kind of place. Aspirational and extremely classy.
Building the Gulf States' dream on bugger all a day in 45 degree heat

2. Heathrow

Well, you know, hordes of armed on-the-edge cops in too tight shirts sporting the gay para-military look protecting hordes of us from the bad guys (maybe sponsored by our pals in the UAE, Saudi or Qatar) who would otherwise be doing badness in extreme abundance according to the Daily Mail, The Sun and their friends in GCHQ which makes it all absolutely true of course.
Travelling in style

3. Muscat

Typical hand luggage
Regional feel for a capital city (a plus), full of South Asian workers (not quite so slave like as in neighbouring lands) ferrying white goods in badly packed boxes to send home to show that they have made good really (see also Bahrain, Doha, Abu Dhabi, Dubai). No women or children anywhere.

4. Brunei

Friendly and small but no place for a lengthy stopover unless you have time for a trip to the water village. As of the last time I had to go through there - no bar and only brightly coloured sugary drinks on offer.   
Water Village - really good for a long stopover

5. Schipol

Crap to buy someone you don't really like
Overpriced, selling lots of Chinese made Dutch tat. Clog keyrings - a must. Who still buys dope leaf tat or bags sporting the red light district? However, the refreshing  guilt free Universal Airport Pint is available and it seems far more right there than in most other timezones.

6. Doha

Too well hidden bar / restaurant / shower area which can only be entered if the nostril flaring harridans from Hades on the door let you through crap night-club style.
'How much for the World Cup, Sepp...?'
Doubtless, the copious amounts of semi -slave labour will be used to build a nice new shiny one in time for the 2022 World Cup to show just how great and wonderful the Qataris are.

7. Abu Dhabi (See Dubai for pic)

Bags lost in transit on more than one occasion by Etihad among whose staff I am sure there are no Emiratis well aside who those who collect the large amounts of profit. Interminable prayers which don't disguise its primary purpose which is to extract as much cash from you as possible 'cos shopping is why you go to the UAE apparently. (See Dubai)

8. Manston 

Airports as they should be
Yeah, the airport for me, maybe it's an age thing now.  It is run seemingly, by enthusiastic, smiling happy Yr 10 work experience kids. Like the nice ones I used to teach. They take it in turns to check in the passengers and argue about whose turn it is to try to use the funny machines. Well, they did last I used it.They  just want to show what great fun an airport should be. Not a gun or grim faced psycho around. Off the plane and out of the airport within 15 mins.