From Gulf Times (Qatar); a new proposal to lower speeds on some roads to try to meet the goal of reducing accidents and fatalities rates. It notes they are also putting in more cameras and radars. All that is good. The question will be: How equitably will the law be enforced? When you look at percentages of accidents and fatalities as a proportion of population, are Qataris over represented? How do you encourage the nationals to drive respectfully?
Qatar’s Public Works Authority (Ashghal) is seeking to lower the speed limits set for several roads in Qatar in a new initiative to bring down the number of accidents. This is a sensible move. Aggressive driving and speeding are common on Doha’s roads now. Strict regulations are needed to counter this trend. Qatar already has one of the highest rates of road accidents in the world.
During a presentation at the Qatar Transport Conference in Doha this week, Ashghal official, Yousef Abdulrahman al-Emadi, blamed speeding for most fatalities in road accidents. Speaking on “Road safety in Qatar: improving safety for all road users”, al-Emadi said Ashghal had recommended reduction in the current speed limits to the government.
Ashghal is also calling for the installation of additional radars and cameras at key locations in Doha as part of its initiative.
But rules and regulations alone are not enough to bring about a safety culture on our roads. Programmes to raise safety awareness among motorists should be a regular feature of all initiatives. That is why the “One Second” campaign , launched by the Traffic Department in association with Maersk this week, is important.
A Qatar National Road Safety Strategy (2013-2022), released in January 2013, aims to save 800 lives and prevent 2,000 serious injuries over the next 10 years. This is an achievable target if the government acts on the Ashghal suggestion and organises regular campaigns like “One Second”.
Driving in the Middle East is a whole other world, a world of chaos until you realize that the rules are different, no matter what the published rules are. To drive in Qatar, I started at 0430 on a Friday morning, when there was little or no traffic (things have changed) and would drive until traffic began to thicken. Eventually, I knew the city and gained confidence that I could drive without getting killed. In Kuwait, for months, I would only drive to relatively nearby shopping areas, or drive only on back roads carefully plotted on the map during low traffic hours. After a while, you begin to get a sense of things, and the sensation of imminent death lessens.
Adventures in Qatar: a radiator dropping off a truck in front of me, being hit on purpose by a man who didn’t like women driving, being pushed into a round about by a Hummer, being nearly assaulted by two young Qataris who believed we had insulted them by being in the lane where they wanted to be, watching men drive up the wrong side of the ring roads because they were too important to wait in line, later standing and laughing at their crashed cars – Daddy would buy them another. It sounds crazy, but you get used to it.
Kuwait was a whole different ball game, controlled chaos at high speeds. Adventures in Kuwait: the sleeping elderly man driving in the lane next to me who almost hit me, watching drivers drive through red lights as if they were green, sparks off the fenders of SUVs on Highway 30 as people wove quickly in and out of traffic, the dramatic crashed and burned out cars on the sides of the highways, the car impaled on a palm tree – 10 feet above the road. Kuwait was so surreal that I couldn’t even begin to imagine how some of the accidents happened; I learned to be a very prayerful driver.
So out of idle curiosity, today I looked up highest rate of traffic fatalities per country, and found this on Wikipedia. So here’s a surprise . . . Kuwait’s fatalities statistic is roughly equal to that of the United States. Qatar’s is significantly higher, and many countries are even double or triple Kuwaits fatality rate. I’m having trouble wrapping my mind around this.
List of countries Fatalities per 100,000 inhabitants
Benin 31.2 1
Bosnia and Herzegovina 10.9
British Virgin Islands 21.7
Brunei Darussalam 13.8
Burkina Faso 31.1
Cape Verde 25.1
Central African Republic 32.2
Republic of the Congo 28.8
Cook Islands 45.0
Costa Rica 15.4
Czech Republic 10.4
Dominican Republic 17.3
El Salvador 12.6
The Gambia 36.6
Republic of Ireland 3.51
Republic of Korea 11.3
Marshall Islands 7.4
Federated States of Micronesia 14.4
New Zealand 8.6
Palestinian territories 5.6
Papua New Guinea 14.2
Puerto Rico 12.8
Republic of Macedonia 6.9
Republic of Moldova 15.1
Saint Lucia 17.6
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 6.6
San Marino 0
Sao Tome and Principe 33.0
Saudi Arabia 29.0
Sierra Leone 28.3
Solomon Islands 16.9
South Africa 33.2
Sri Lanka 13.5
Syrian Arab Republic 32.9
Trinidad and Tobago 15.5
United Arab Emirates 37.1
United Kingdom 3.59
United Republic of Tanzania 34.3
United States of America 12.3
Like all statistics, I think some are honest, and some need to be taken with a grain of salt. I found reading through them fascinating. You can get more information, accidents per thousand cars, total accidents, etc.
We did this same cruise with the same house guests two years ago, and . . . we never get tired of it. We don’t do it that often, and it is always fresh and relaxing.
We booked with Olin Marler Charters out of Destin. Fortuitously, we had a Groupon. It was so easy, buy the tickets online, call for a reservation, be at the dock at 5 p.m. for boarding.
Yes, it can be a crowd. Yes, you always have to know where you want to be and head directly there so you will have a good view, although people do wander. Yes, you have to hope that people who take young children aboard will be responsible and watch them like hawks. Other than that, these cruises are fun and easy.
There are other cruises. The others that we saw were all very crowded, people packed like sardines on little barge-like boats. We like a boat with a couple levels and lots of places where you can take photographs without having to crawl over anyone – or having people crawl over us! – to get a photo. This is our second time with Olin Marler, and I expect it will not be our last – it’s just so much fun.
We saw lots of dolphins. Dolphins are not so easy to photograph as they surface and dive, oh aaargh. If you want to see dolphins from our last trip, click on the blue hypertext in the first paragraph.
Also lots of seagulls and lots of sunset Great times with special old friends from Germany, our sons have been best of friends for years, too.
This is the boat they took us out on, the yellow one:
When the sun actually sets, it gets cold quickly. We had a very warm day, maybe 80 degrees F. and it dropped almost immediately by 30 degrees. Fortunately, we knew this happens and came prepared this time
Great way to end a day, followed by dinner with the same good friends.
My mind works in quirky ways, and yesterday as I was setting up for the hands-on Heirloom Feathers workshop with Cindy Needham, one of the good local Pensacola quilters was telling her how you can tell a Southerner from a Northerner.
“If you go to a Southerner’s house, they’ll ask you first thing if you’d like a drink of water, or iced tea or something, but if you go into a Northerner’s house, you can sit there for five hours and they won’t offer you ANYTHING!”
I grinned to myself, no, I have learned to censor these thoughts. But I couldn’t help it.
“You’re not a Southerner,” I am thinking, “You’re ARAB!”
I thought about a long ago trip through Morocco, we have a rental car and on our way from Ouazazarte to Marrakesh, on an isolated stretch of the road, we see a car in trouble. We stop and ask if we can help, if the man would like a lift to the next town. He tells us no, he wants to stay with the car, but asks if we would go to such and such service station and tell his uncle he needs help, and where he is.
We drive into town, find the service station, and find the young man’s uncle, who is the owner. He sends help.
Did I mention it was Ramadan? No eating or drinking in public from dawn to dusk?
The owner insisted we come into his house, and seated us in his diwaniyya, and sent in mint tea and luscious almond-filled dates to refresh us. We said “No! No! It’s Ramadan!” but he told us it was his honor. He sat while we drank and ate.
Such enormous hospitality. Such grace. We only stayed a very short time; we still had a long drive, but I’ve never forgotten his hospitality.
Then again, it was Southern Morocco. Maybe he was Southern.
We were so efficient at the Mobile Botanical Garden that we had plenty of time to hit the nearby Mobile Museum of Art. Actually, we loved the whole park area; there is the Botanical Garden, the Museum of Art, also walking paths, a huge water . . . something, it might be a river or a large lake with a dam in it, I don’t know what it is, but it is a large amount of water. There are athletic fields and even some offices, not large office buildings but some smaller outlying kinds of state or county offices. It’s a nice park, it has a nice feeling, a lot going on.
It doesn’t hurt that it is one of the prettiest days of the year, not hot, not humid, and no mosquitos!
I love it that not all the art is inside the building. There is statuary outside, along the walking path, and this huge made-from-found-objects butterfly at the entrance. It is wonderful. As you enter the museum, looking through miles of glass out through trees at the water, you immediately think “what a place for an event!” thinking wedding, reception, small chamber group performance, etc. Truly beautiful spaces; I would show you but they have a really strict policy about photographing inside the building, so I didn’t.
They have some surprising pieces, surprisingly good for a small museum. They have some very odd pieces, par for the course in a small museum. They have an amazing art glass collection, beautifully displayed in a room with gorgeous natural light that allows each piece to shine. They had an exquisite visiting exhibit based on a Vietnamese classic, with intricate, ethereal pieces.
Too much to take in on one visit! I think our favorite piece in the exhibit were some gorgeous silvery angel wings on a wall near the gallery entrance on the top floor. When you get closer to the exhibit, you see it really, REALLY is silvery – it is silver spoons! The bowls of the spoons form the outer part of the feathers, hundreds of spoons, and the base of the spoon the lower part. It is whimsical and surprising, and made me whoop a little (trying to be respectful in a museum ) with delight. We are eager to go back and to take our little grandson, as he gains in ability to focus his attention
Driving Directions From I-65
From I-65, take the Springhill Avenue Exit (Exit 5) and head west on Springhill Avenue. Go approximately 1 1/2 miles and turn left on John D. New Street (traffic signal). Take an immediate right onto Museum Drive. The Museum is the first building on the right.
AdventureMan and I had one of the sweetest days of the year – nice cool sunny morning, heading into a warm afternoon as we got up early to head over to the Mobile Botanical Gardens Annual Plant Sale.
They do a GREAT job. Starting with publicity, ads in the Pensacola News Journal and information sent out to all the regional gardening clubs and extension centers raising the level of awareness and creating a buzz. Everyone wants to go.
You get there, and parking is well organized and handy to the sales area. Signage is great – ENTER HERE! EXIT ONLY! PERRENIALS! ROSES! SHADE PLANTS! TREES! And great signs telling you how each plant is color coded and you know immediately what the price is:
Lots and lots of healthy looking plants. We knew what we wanted and found it quickly, except for the ones that were already sold out. Check-out was friendly – and fast. There was an exit strategy; people with large purchases could leave plants, drive into a pick up zone and have them loaded up. It was an amazingly efficient and well-run operation. Perfect weather, great selection of healthy plants, well-organized and efficient – it doesn’t get much better.
Well done, Mobile.
One of our life dreams came true when we were able to visit Avery Island and the McIlhenny Company. Tabasco sauce is on every table in almost every restaurant in the South, right along with the salt and pepper. When AdventureMan was serving in VietNam, soldiers had a tiny bottle of Tabasco in each ration, to spice up the food. The quote “defending the world against bland food” gave me a big grin. Rest in Peace, Paul C.P. McIlhenny. (This is from AOL News/Huffpost today)
Paul C.P. McIlhenny Dead: CEO Of Tabasco Company Dies At 68
AVERY ISLAND, La. — Paul C.P. McIlhenny, chief executive and chairman of the board of the McIlhenny Co. that makes the trademarked line of Tabasco hot pepper sauces sold the world over, has died. He was 68.
The company, based on south Louisiana’s Avery Island, said in a statement that McIlhenny had died Saturday. The statement, released Sunday, credited McIlhenny’s leadership with introducing several new varieties of hot sauces sold under the Tabasco brand and with greatly expanding their global reach.
McIlhenny was a member of a storied clan whose 145-year-old company has been producing the original world-famous Tabasco sauce for several generations, since shortly after the Civil War. The statement said McIlhenny joined the company in 1967 and directly oversaw production and quality of all products sold under the brand for 13 years.
Under his management, the company experienced years of record growth in sales and earnings, according to the company.
McIlhenny also worked to develop an array of items that could be marketed and emblazoned with the Tabasco logo: T-shirts, aprons, neckties, stuffed toy bears, and computer screensavers, the Times-Picayune of New Orleans noted. The newspaper first reported the death and noted that McIlhenny was an executive with a keen sense of humor, quipping days before he reigned as Rex, the King of Carnival, for Mardi Gras in 2006: “We’re defending the world against bland food.”
The Times-Picayune said he had taken up the post of company president starting in 1998 before adding the title of CEO two years later. It added that his cousin, Tony Simmons, took over as president last year.
“All of McIlhenny Company and the McIlhenny and Avery families are deeply saddened by this news,” said Tony Simmons, president of McIlhenny Company and a McIlhenny family member, in the company’s statement.
He added: “We will clearly miss Paul’s devoted leadership but will more sorely feel the loss of his acumen, his charm and his irrepressible sense of humor.”
The statement said McIlhenny led the way on new brand merchandising, taking an instrumental role in the company’s catalog business of licensed merchandise. He also was a driving force behind the growing global reach of Tabasco products, today sold in more than 165 countries and territories.
The company said McIlhenny, at the time of his death, was also a company director. He was a sixth-generation member of the family to live on Avery Island and among the fourth generation to produce the Tabasco brand sauce on Avery Island, where patriarch Edmund McIlhenny had founded the company in 1868.
Born on March 19, 1944, he grew up in New Orleans and spent much of his childhood moving between New Orleans the family compound on Avery Island, according to The Times-Picayune.
Reports noted he also had been an impassioned board member of America’s Wetland Foundation because of his longtime interest in preserving south Louisiana coastlines crumbling under the onslaught of decades of erosion.
Attorney Edward Abell called his friend McIlhenny “a well-known figure.”
“It really kind of puts us on the map here,” Abell said, “because the Tabasco products are known all over the world.”
“That’s my very first gator!” our friend said, watching the reptile sun himself on the side of the big pond in the Audubon Bird Sanctuary. We had taken the very short hike out to see the gators and the turtles, and any birds who might be migrating through this gorgeous February day between storms.
(That’s not a stick; it’s a turtle head sticking out of the water )
We had a great day for a drive and a ferry boat ride. The car ferry only handles maybe thirty cars max on the trip across Pelican Bay from Dauphin Island to Gulf Shores. It cuts off a long long trip back into Mobile and around the huge Mobile Bay, and takes us along the beach back into Pensacola.
February is a great time of the year to walk these areas and to take a day trip. We had a wonderful day, mild temperatures and calm waters – altogether a great adventure, counting in our unforgettable stop at Smokey Dembo’s Smokehouse en route along Douphin Island Parkway.
We had endured water aerobics, quickly dressed and hung up our swim clothes, and driven to Mobile en route to Dauphin Island with our visiting friends from Norfolk, old travel buddies and long time friends from Germany. As we left I-10. heading south toward the Island, we are starving, and all we see are McDonalds, Arby’s, fried chicken and Asian buffets.
“No! No!” we wail, and hold out for something better.
As soon as we saw it, we all knew. This was IT:
Look at that cow’s head! You take one look, and you know this place is going to be an original. Little did we know . . .
As we drove into the parking, we asked some people leaving how the food was. “Excellent! The best!” they said, and other people leaving chimed in saying “You won’t be sorry.”
As we walked in, we were greeted by “Smokey” Dembo himself, who said “I saw you taking photos outside, don’t you want a photo with me in it?”
Yes! Yes! I do! I do!
Smokey, as it turns out, is our kind of guy. Former military, from this small little town outside of Mobile, his dream was to own a place just like this, with his father, who taught him how to grill. One day, shortly after he retired, he was driving his daughter to soccer practice and he saw a for sale sign on this building, and on his way back, stopped – and made a deal. That was 11 years ago, and he’s never looked back. This is a happy man, living his dream.
He spends Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday marinating and preparing his meats. He is only open Thursday, Friday, Saturday (maybe Sunday, I can’t remember. Or maybe not; Sunday may be for church. Actually, you’d better call, because I might have gotten it all wrong. I KNOW he is open on Fridays and Saturdays, and I know he serves breakfast on Thursdays and Fridays, but the rest is foggy . . . . )
The aromas of BBQ are killing us; we have to order right away:
As we are waiting for the food, we continue to talk with Smokey and to learn about his restaurant. He has a wonderful wall, a tribute to his family and his family history:
I apologize. We were starving. When the food arrived, we totally forgot to take any photos at all, not a single photo of the boneless BBQ pork, nor of the potato salad nor of the cole slaw, nor of the baked beans. Although we are a very talky bunch, when the food came, we ate in awed silence. It was so GOOOOOOOD.
We cannot wait to see Smokey again. This is some fine BBQ.