UAE Web of Life

Tracking Websites, E-groups, Blogs and Forums in the United Arab Emirates – UAE’s first independent current issues e-newsletter

Posted by advaitin on March 4, 2006

GRAPESHISHA – Maybe the first independent UAE Current Issues Newsletter, the editor also compiles useful UAE data files for UAE residents and would be residents.

1) Can you tell us a bit about yourself, your educational and work background?

I have stayed relatively anonymous due to the nature of the work that I do, but I am originally from the UK and have been in the region for the last few years, doing strategy consultancy for a few organisations, both here and in the UK.

2) What inspired you to start Grapeshisha?

Well, Grapeshisha originated from an email home to friends to give them an understanding of the Middle East, and specifically the UAE, since most thought I was living in a war zone. It evolved to tackling cross cultural issues, before I formalised it about a year ago. Now, I just tackle an issue every month or so that I feel is of interest to people who have signed up. I have also started to put together information on subject areas such rent, cost of living etc. at the website because of the many emails I receive asking questions about specific issues. I just hope that the resources help people in some way.

3) How has the response to your newsletter been so far?

The reponse so far has been generally very positive. I get requests to cover certain topics, but am sometimes not able to cover them, but in the main, I try and keep the readers happy if there is a want for subject coverage.

4) What are your future plans for Grapeshisha?

I’m really not sure what will happen with Grapeshisha. I have just started a blog, and am trying to add more information to the website when I can, but essentially it is just a hobby. Really, it is to promote cross cultural awareness and understanding, as well as help people understand what life is like here, if they need to make a decision to move here, for example. If there is significant interest, perhaps it will become more of a real portals out there, but that’s a full time job. If it can make a little money for charity as well, that would be nice.

5) Any interesting tid-bits and happenings that you can share from your experience with Grapeshisha?

Well, I have had a couple of interesting marriage proposals from men, which my wife thought was amusing. At least this clears up the fact that I am male. Best of all, I had an email from a supposed ex-General in the Ivory Coast, asking if I could provide 10,000 shisha pipes, and if I could provide my bank details so that they could wire me the money. What will they try next?
6) What are your other interests and hobbies?

I read. I read a lot, usually business literature. I am also a 24, and Lost aficionado and a closet American Idol and Apprentice viewer.

7) What are your favourite books, music, movies, celebrities and inspiring personalities?

FAVOURITE BOOK: Fiction, A Fine Balance – by Rohinton Mistry, Non-fiction, I have just finished Blue Ocean Strategy by Kim and Mauborgne, which was an excellent read.

FAVOURITE MUSIC: Anything that is not too hardcore. I like stuff like Sting, Alicia Keys, John Legend, Coldplay & Kanye West. I guess you might class that into popular mainstream, these days. I also like old school R&B.

MOVIES: Too many to list, but here are a selection I like: Jacob’s Ladder, Heat, Crash, Lock Stock, The Godfather, Stand by Me, The Insider, Memento

CELEBRITIES: Whoever is making a fool of themselves at the time. The TomKat thing was hilarious
Inspiring Personalities : Gates, Clinton, Branson & the Aga Khan – all successful and inspiring in different ways and all philanthropists in different ways.

8) What is your motto or philosophy of life that you would like to share with our readers?

“The winner is the chef who takes the same ingredients as everyone else and produces the best results.” – Edward de Bono


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