05 Jul From Threetowners to Dubai
Ray Hunter has been around the world with his job
1) Where did you grow up and at what age did you leave Scotland?
Most of my formative years between Saltcoats, Ardrossan and Stevenson.
I left Scotland in 1970 to work in Baglan Bay South Wales. A large petro chemical plant, sadly I think it has now been converted in a park of sorts. Many Scots down there at the time and Swansea was like “Little Scotland”.
Came back to gods country 2 years later but left again in 1979 to work in Saudi Arabia. Memories from that time were a Burns Supper in Dhahran Eastern Saudi with the haggis being addressed by a very able gentleman before being doused in whisky brewed in Kilmarnock Scotland!!!!
2) What made you leave sunny Scotia?
I worked as a maintenance engineer in an abattoir in Saltcoats that was taken over by receivers. The construction industry in the UK was in the doldrums. I needed money to pay my mortgage and Saudi Arabia was a good place to earn it!
3) What is your job/sector and how many countries have you lived in?
I now work in Dubai and have done since 1986 after leaving Saudi and my job sector is with HVAC Maintenance and Servicing. I used to look after the Middle East, Africa and India and have been all over the place.
Long term I have only lived in Saudi and the UAE but have been round the world with my job and on wee holidays.
4) Do you crave Irn Bru when you’re homesick?
Who does not crave for Irn Bru when away. The good news is that it is available in Dubai but in the local supermarkets it is normally put alongside the “Energy Drinks!” Thinking back to the old morning after the night before, this is probably a good place to put it! The great stabiliser on a Sunday morning before the breakfast!
5) What do people in your host country think of Scots and Scotland?
There are many Scots here in the UAE and there is an active Caledonian Society. In the old days here, they even had a Highland Games. You will also see a Saint Andrews Cross flag flying at some of the hotels! Formal events and the occassional “do” at the Embassy will see a flurry of kilts, much to the amazement of some of the locals. Hogmanay is celebrated in style of course and this is the chance to dress up in the full regalia!
There is also some very good pipe bands here and they are heard regularly. Sadly I do not have the legs for a kilt. Talk about “Rob Roy” and “Brave Heart” and most of the nationalities here have seen the movie! Amazing how bad the english were in those troubled times!
6) How do you feel about Scotland now that you’re gone?
Of course I miss Scotland a lot especially the wee trips up the mountains or across to Arran. Nobody can beat it on a good day! Nobody can beat it on a bad day too! Believe it or not but living in a country which has very little rain, you miss a wee soaking now and again!
7) What do you miss most and least about the auld country?
What do I miss most ….. Good Black Pudding, Clooty Dumplins and Tatty Scones! The least …. thats a hard one. Probably the “Small rain” that gets right into your bones and the dreech mornings during the winter!
8) What about the independence referendum coming up? How will it affect you and Scotland’s international image?
Independance …. I wish we would have had it years ago before they mortgaged all of the oil! Not sure it would be to our benefit now although I would probably vote yes. But in truth not enough people would support it. Scotland has always been an independant country by the nature of the people and Scots are accepted worldwide as good people!
9) Describe Scotland in three words!
Scotland in three words … Nowhere like it.
10) Do you have any plans for living in Scotland again and have you got a message for Scots back home?
I will return to Scotland for sure and hopefully in the not too distant future. As a message to the folks back home. Keep flying the flag, be very proud of your country and never forget your heritage.