As if diving and sailing weren't enough, I've taken up windsurfing too. You may all think I'm mad, but where and when else do you get the chance to do so many things with such good weather and having just enough free time to do them all? Answer me that then.

If you read the old website and were one of the 2 folk who voted on me joining the health club at the Al Bustan Palace Hotel, you'll be please to know I did.

A quick history lesson on the Al Bustan hotel: built in 1984 to host the GCC summit, it was probably the most lavish hotel in the middle east and one of the best in the world. Since then, the decor has aged a little, service standards have slipped slightly, and the clientele are perhaps a little different. Yes, the Sultan's throw-out zebra skin chairs are in the vast lobby, the seats in the piano bar look like the scene out of an 80s channel 5 movie with mullets all round, a friend of mine was served rancid cream with his afternoon tea (when he complained to the waiter, he replied "I know its off, but the chef told me to serve it"), and they let me join. Still, if you visit, I'll take you there and you can see how the other half live. And at what price membership in this elite establishment? Well, its the cheapest health club in town, probably cos its so far out.

After a few false starts with windsurfing (like the place being closed, the phone not working and the instructor not wanting to teach), I finally had my first lesson on Thursday (=Saturday) after diving.

As expected, its pretty difficult, but after the first hour, I was standing, going in a straight-ish line, and turning into the wind. Changing sides was beyond me and a few more hours down the Al Bustan will be required. Hopefully the jellyfish which got me in 3 places last time (see right) won't be there next time.

The Al Bustan really is an amazing setting. Set in its own bay surrounded by mountains, the tranquil garden is home to parroqueets (spelling?) and thousands of palm trees.