Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

In the Headlights: Added to the Blogroll

I don’t remember how I came across this blog, at some time in December, but I remember laughing my head off. After two months, I find that she still delights me every time I visit. Today at In the Headlights (a reference to a common English phrase “deer in the headlights” meaning that wild-eyed-I -don’t-know-what-to-do-next-so-I’ll-just-stand-here-frozen look) Riannan shares an e-mail from a friend with curmudgeonly rules for 2007, and earlier on the page, shares a site where you can have mittens, etc. knit out of your pet’s lost hair! Dying laughing.

(And no, she is not a relative of mine. I don’t know her! I just like her blog!)

This woman comes across some of the most amazing things. She, like me, is all over the map – salsa dancing, books, great recipes (the latest was Oven Baked Sesame Scallops, oh yum!), stories about friends, some of the funniest signs I have ever seen, and screwball ideas. She can give your day a lift.

January 26, 2007 Posted by | Arts & Handicrafts, Blogging, Books, Cooking, Random Musings, Relationships, Shopping, Social Issues, Uncategorized, Women's Issues | 2 Comments

Check Every Comment

One of the things I like best about WordPress is the scum and filth they keep from ever appearing on my blog. But the scammers out there get better and better.

Check every comment. Check where it is coming from. Check closely – some at first appear to be blogs, but they are really all about marketing / selling. They are getting clever – the comment appears to be pertinent, or flattering (example: great blog and great content!) but if their blog is really just a sales tool, you can (in WordPress) go into EDIT on the comment, and eliminate the url entry, and then you have this sweet comment but there is NO connection with this person’s so-called blog.

Here’s what to look for. A blog may look like a medical information blog, for example, but just underneath the entry (which is copied from someone else’s blog!) you will find a list of 10+ url sites that have little or nothing to do with medical information. Like “click here for a bargain on leather luggage” and more irrelevant entries.

Be aware!

January 25, 2007 Posted by | Blogging, Communication, Customer Service, Lies, Social Issues | 7 Comments

Google Earth – Map Your Books!

More news from Earthling (not quite my co-blog writer, but he sure gives me some good stuff to share with you 🙂 )

“This just launched, very cool. Google books search now lets you see a map of all the place mentioned in a book.
Go to books.google.com
Search for your book
Click the ‘about this book’ link.

example: Pride and Prejudice

The 9/11 Commission Report
911 Commission Report

Our Vanishing Wild Life: Its Extermination and Preservation
By William Temple Hornaday
Vanishing Wild Life

The great cities of the ancient world, in their glory and their desolation
By Theodore Alois W. Buckley
Ancient Cities

The Book of Ser Marco Polo
By Marco Polo, Henry Yule, Henri Cordier
Marco Polo

Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
By Arthur Conan Doyle
Sherlock Holmes

Kiss Kiss Bang! Bang!: The Unoffical James Bond 007 Film Companion
By Alan Barnes, Marcus Hearn
James Bond

Travels of Ibn Batuta AD 1325 – 1354
Ibn Batuta

My comment: The maps usually showed up on the lower right part of the page, not always immediately visible, you have to scroll down. Not every page had a map, but the reference led to other similar books which had maps.

I didn’t even know Google had a book search section – and it is good! When I am reading, I like to read a train of books on the same subject – and I like the way Google gives small summaries which can give you an immediate indication whether this book will interest you or not. Thanks, Earthling!

January 25, 2007 Posted by | Blogging, Books, Customer Service, Geography / Maps, GoogleEarth, Tools, Travel, Uncategorized | 6 Comments

What Happens Next?

I love reading the paper in a foreign country. It often reveals a different way of thinking. Often I am mystified; there is a context in which the article is written that you may “get” while I do not. As I read the Kuwait Times there are many times I wonder “what happens next?” Rarely do we get any follow up, rarely do we know the ultimate outcome of these incidents. These are all from today’s paper(24 Jan 2007):

1. The ‘Other’ Woman
A woman after suspecting her husband of infidelity, decided to keep tabs on him, and followed him to a spring camp in the Jdailiyat area and was shocked when she found her fears had turned into reality when she caught him red-handed in the arms of the ‘other’ woman. The wife immediately summoned police who rushed to the camp and also found out that he was under the influence of alcohol. In a fit of rage, he also smashed the police car’s windowpane to smithereens. He was referred to the relevant authorities.

My comment/questions: Infidelity is a painfully personal kind of behavior. Why would the police be called? Would you call the police if you want to salvage a relationship, or bury it? Does involving the police help in a divorce settlement? Will the husband normally be shamed and repentant, or angry and defiant? Are there processes to help a husband and wife save their marriage? And what happens to the other woman? Does it depend on who she is and what her nationality is? And wouldn’t a wife be afraid to confront her husband in that situation, would she be placing herself in physical danger?

2. Daughter Reveals Affair
A 47-year old Kuwaiti woman lodged a complaint with Mubarak Al Kabeer police that another Kuwaiti who works for the National Guard had several sexual intercourses with her 16 year old daughter in her own room, whenever she went out on errands. She said that her daughter confessed to her and revealed her affair our of her fear that she might be pregnant after which her lover might dump her. The man is being summoned for further interrogation.

My comment/questions: Why does it matter how old the woman is making the complaint? Why is that on the public record? If the girl is pregnant, what happens next? Can she raise her child as a single mother here in Kuwait? Is there a possibility that the girl will marry her National Guard lover? If not, what are her chances for marriage? Can she continue school if she is pregnant?

3. Mother Accused of Kidnapping
A 60 year old Arab lodged a complaint with Jabriya police that his 55 year old Iraqi divorcee had kidnapped their two sons. He produced a court order that authorized him custody of the boys and that their divorced mother showed up in his absence, along with her older sons from an earlier marriage and took the boys away. The father filed a kidnap case against his ex-wife althought Kuwaiti family laws do not under any circumstance permit accusing a mother of kidnapping her own children, even if the father had the legal custody rights.

My comment/questions: Why list the ages of the complaintant and his wife, but not the ages of the boys? How can the father file a case, if Kuwaiti law specifically states a mother cannot kidnap her own children? Do the boys have any choice of which parent they would want to live with? If the wife is 55, isn’t it likely that the youngest “boy” is around 15? (I would think it’s pretty hard to kidnap teenage boys.) Do parents often have heated contests over their children in Kuwait? Does shared custody work here?

January 24, 2007 Posted by | Cross Cultural, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Kuwait, Living Conditions, News, Random Musings, Relationships, Social Issues, Women's Issues | 2 Comments

Protestors for Hire

Fresh in from this morning’s BBC News:

Germans put price on protesting

They refuse to rally for neo-Nazis, but as long as the price is right a new type of German mercenary will take to the streets and protest for you.

Young, good-looking, and available for around 150 euros (£100), more than 300 would-be protesters are marketing themselves on a German rental website.

They feature next to cars, DVDs, office furniture and holiday homes.

For some, these protesters show how soulless life has become. For others, they breathe new life into old causes.

Staging a protest

Their descriptions read like those on a dating site.

I would like to point out that not all protests will tally with my own point of view and I would like to distance myself from these
Demonstrators’ disclaimer

Next to a black and white posed picture, Melanie lists her details from her jeans size to her shoe size and tells potential protest organisers that she is willing to be deployed up to 100km around Berlin.

Six hours of Melanie bearing your banner or shouting your slogan will set you back 145 euros.

A spokesperson for erento.com was unable to say how many demonstrators had been booked since the service was launched earlier this month, but that there had certainly been demand.

Organisations using the service are unlikely to reveal themselves, keen to pass off their protesters as genuine supporters of the cause. But German media reported a Munich march had hired protesters because its own adherents were too old to stand for hours waving banners.

Erento.com stresses that no protester needs to offer their services to a cause they object to, and therefore many may genuinely believe in the protest they are joining.

But the fact they are paid has perturbed a number of commentators in Germany, especially those who remember the passion-fuelled protests of 1968.

“It seems to confirm the increasingly common assumption,” wrote one, “that democracy is for sale”.

My Comment:
What would such a service look like in Kuwait?
“Will protest for Gucci?”
“Available for the right cell phone?”
“Protestors available in designer abayas?”

Or would they all be brought in from the Phillipines, Nepal, Indonesia, Bangladesh, contracted in multiples of 100?

January 24, 2007 Posted by | Cross Cultural, Customer Service, ExPat Life, Germany, Kuwait, News, Political Issues, Random Musings, Social Issues, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Publish Your Photos on Google Earth

This is from Earthling, my nephew, who works at GoogleEarth, about contributing to the content layer of GE:

“Okay, it’s not technically Google Earth, and we don’t accept pictures that are too personal, but this can be done. I don’t know if you’ve played with the Panoramio layer in Google Earth (it’s on by default), but if you click the little blue and white circles that look like compasses, up pops a photo someone took. Its a lot of fun browsing these, they are by far the most popular layer we have.

How do you upload your photos? Go to www.panoramio.com and make an account and just start uploading. In order for them to eventually display in Google Earth, you need to give them a location. To do this, start uploading a file, then click the Map this Location button, enter a city name, pick the country/state from a list, and it show you a google map of the location. You can navigate in this just like on Google Maps, and when you find the spot where you took your picture, just double click on it.

The upload time takes a long time… so I don’t know how performance will be. Also, we (Google) don’t display photos of just people anymore. They will simply be removed from the feed panoramio sends Google. The layer is not real time, it gets refreshed every month or so.”

My comment: I uploaded a photo to Panoramio and it didn’t take me much time at all, even with my unreliable QualityNet connection. But just as with WordPress, I downsized the pixels in the photo considerably.

January 23, 2007 Posted by | Blogging, Geography / Maps, GoogleEarth, Kuwait, Lumix, Photos | 9 Comments

Liberation Tower at Dusk

For your comparison:

00liberationtoweratdusk.JPG

January 23, 2007 Posted by | ExPat Life, Kuwait, Lumix, Photos | 3 Comments

Sebille Collection: New Addition

My husband and I are delighted by the variety of sebilles in Kuwait. I probably didn’t spell it right, and I am probably going to give some semi-erroneous information to my non-Kuwaiti, non-Muslim readers.

Sebilles are places where you can get sweet fresh water to drink or to wash yourself with before prayer. In some places, the government may provide them as a public service, and in other places you find organizations or individuals who will provide them as a charitable work, the way nobles in France would build a cathedral, or we might contribute a pew or a stained glass window to a church, or build a library for a city. In a hot country, sweet fresh water is a blessing to anyone who needs it.

My husband is really good at stopping when I want to take another photo, and even at spotting those we don’t already have. We love the creativity involved. There are some very utilitarian places, all stainless steel and refrigeration. But here are two of our favorite, more creative models. (Please, if I didn’t get this quite right, correct me in the comments section!)

The first is in near the Heritage Souks, back near the gold souks. It is a representation of the famous Kuwaiti Water Towers, which survived the invasion of 1990.

00kuwaittowerwatertower.JPG

This one was in a residential area, but I have also seen a couple elsewhere. I think it represents the Liberation Tower. I understand that at night, the red light on top really lights up!

00kuwaitsibille.JPG

January 23, 2007 Posted by | ExPat Life, Health Issues, Hygiene, Kuwait, Lumix, Middle East, Photos, Social Issues, Spiritual | | 2 Comments

Special Reduced Rates

Kuwait Times
23 January 2007

Brothel Raided
Farwaniya police launced an inspection drive against vice dens in Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh area in which police raided 4 flats, arrested 19 women and three pimps. During interrogation, the pimps confessed that they would charge men KD5 for women under 25 years and KD3 for women over 30 years and cheaper prices for women around 50. Police filed a case and referred the women and pimps to the authorities.

January 23, 2007 Posted by | Kuwait, News, Social Issues, Women's Issues | 4 Comments

Weather Underground

sunny.gif
We all have routines that get us through the things we do every day, things we do almost without thinking. You get up, you take care of your morning ablutions, fix some coffee, and then, in my case, you check e-mails, read the day’s selections from the lectionary, check the blog, and check the weather.

Part of my routine is Weather Underground. I like it so much, I added it to my blogroll, over there to the right. When I click, I get Kuwait Weather, first thing, but over on the left are all my favorite cities where I have family and friends – Seattle, Pensacola, Doha (Qatar), Mfuwe (Zambia), Colorado Springs, Zanzibar . . . all at a glance. With one click, I can see what the weather will be there, too.

And for any other city I’m travelling to, I can just type it in and it will take me there.

When my son was getting married, I could check the weather for many years back to see how hot it generally gets on that day in that city – it gave me a range for which to pack.

I’ve tried a lot of other weather sites, but this one has the things I need. It’s part of my daily routine. You can find it here.

January 23, 2007 Posted by | Blogging, Cross Cultural, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Kuwait, Qatar, Seattle, Uncategorized, Weather, Zambia, Zanzibar | 2 Comments