If I had a chance I would go back to sea

 If I had a chance I would go back to sea
Khaled Awadallah from Jordan used to be on s ship before and enjoyed it thoroughly

Abu Dhabi - Khaled Awadallah who owns a workshop in Abu Dhabi talks about his life in the country


Silvia Radan

Published: Thu 30 Jun 2016, 8:16 PM

Last updated: Thu 30 Jun 2016, 10:46 PM

I've been living in the UAE since 1990. I'm actually a marine engineer. I submitted my CV to Jananah, a company that belongs to the Muhairi Group here.
I got the job and joined their ship in 1991 as second engineer. It was a bitumen carrier, sailing in the Gulf, between Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Bandar Abbas and Oman.
I was at sea till 1999. It was difficult, but I loved it. Life was different on water; very peaceful, living in a small community, as we were a maximum of 20 people on board, far away from everything, blue sky and blue sea for as far as the eye can see. We would spend our free time fishing, especially while waiting for the cargo.
If you ask me now, I would go back at sea tomorrow, but you can't have that life when you get married and have children. You have responsibilities for your family and you need to be near them. At sea we used to be gone for three months, sometimes staying up to six months on the boat.
I have an Emirati relative in Abu Dhabi and we set up a private business together. This is how I started the Seapal car workshop in Musaffah. It was a new career, a new business - it wasn't easy to shift - but cars, mechanics, fixing things have been my hobby since I was a boy.
I've been running this workshop now for 16 years, but I still remember my first job. It was a Honda Accord belonging to a lady working with my relative's company. The car was white colour and she had scratches all over it, so she needed to paint it.
Being the first customer we gave her a good discount and she was very happy with the paint.
Outside work, I love going offroading. I drive a Nissan Patrol now, but my first four wheel vehicle was a 1992 Jeep Wrangler, manual gear, fully loaded - suspensions, lift kit, lights, tyres, all ready for dune driving.
I bought it in 2002 and the first time I took it offroading was in Badayer desert, in Dubai. I had no idea what I was doing! All I knew was that I have a 4x4 and if I go in the sand the car will be fine, so I just put the car in four-wheel drive and I went inside the desert. After three meters I got stuck. I guy came to me and told me I have to deflate the tyres first, so I began learning step by step. Those days were nice!
I've seen a lot of change in Abu Dhabi in these past 26 years since I've been here, but for me, I prefer the old days. It was quieter back then - less crowds, less traffic - and life was very simple. We didn't have social media and smart phones, but news travelled very fast. If something happened today, by tomorrow everybody would know about it!

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