Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Global Terrorist Incidence Map

My husband told me about a website, Global Incident where terrorist events are entered on the map and refreshed every 300 seconds (sometimes a little faster and sometimes a little slower.)

You first see a map of the world with flashing incidence icons – explosions, planes, some I am still figuring out. You can click on any one incident to get more information. You can also zoom in and out a la Google Earth – same kinds of controls, to get a closer look at any one part of the globe.

As you scroll down the page, you find a listing of the 25 newest events, listed by country. Scrolling down a little further, you find a search feature, and just below that, events divided into categories (airport/aviation, arson/fire, biological incidents, threats, bomb threats, chemical events, etc.)

The one drawback I have is that every now and then as the maps and incidents refresh, the program hangs up for a matter of seconds to a minute. It clears up faster if you just sit there and do nothing, but I am not good at sitting and doing nothing.

The map is worth a slot on your favorite places list, just for it’s astonishing relevance. Today, for example, in Kuwait, it says:

Kuwait increases security alert

“Officials said authorities did not rule out the prospect that Al Qaida insurgents from Iraq would seek to infiltrate Kuwait and conduct attacks during Hala.”

During HALA????? Strike the desperate bargain and entertainment seekers in Kuwait? We’re that dangerous???

On, HALA is described thus:

“Tourists flock to Kuwait during the period of Hala February. This month-long shopping festival celebrates the beauty of the spring season in the majestic deserts. Whether you come to enjoy the lush springtime greenery and animal life or to purchase items like spices, jewels and ornaments at great discounts, Hala February has it all. The city comes alive with its annual parade, cultural celebrations, entertainment and various organized events. Experience the true, warm Arabian welcome and make your stay a fun-filled experience.”

I don’t think life gets any sweeter than February in Kuwait, but I have a real hard time buying into tourists flocking here for the shopping experience. And a harder time imagining Al Qaeda crazies targeting bargain-crazed shoppers.

February 19, 2007 Posted by | Adventure, Counter-terrorism, Cross Cultural, ExPat Life, Geography / Maps, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Middle East, News, Political Issues, Shopping, Social Issues | 3 Comments

Surveys and Statistics

We have a unique expression “to eat crow.” It means when you make a flat statement that you believe to be true but you later find out it isn’t, you are obligated to say those words were untrue, and you have to say them to the people you first said them to. Or at least that is how it works in my family. You “eat” your words, they don’t taste good, you “eat crow.”

So today I am eating some crow. Remember when I talked about Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics and I told you about a survey I had filled out about building management and maintenance? I was so cynical; I thought the survey was really going to be a marketing took, a pat-myself-on-the-back kind of thing. I was wrong.

Recently, a management team came to interview my husband and me, and as they are building more complexes like ours, they wanted our input – what was working and what wasn’t. They asked honest, open ended questions. And they weren’t just looking for the good things, they genuinely wanted to know the weak spots and criticisms.

Seeking critical input, as I see it, is a great strength. I don’t do it a lot. Just putting myself out here in the blog is risky enough for me. I’m not about to ask you all how I’m doing; I figure you have plenty of opportunity to tell me in the comment sections. If I DIDN’T get readers, I might wonder, but I think that since I am out there, you can take me or leave me, and I also figure some of you probably won’t like what you’re reading and go elsewhere. My initial reaction to criticism in denial. As the pain lessens, I can begin to evaluate more objectively and perhaps (insh’allah) learn from the criticism.

In the commercial world, customers going elsewhere is not a good thing. The building operators don’t have the luxury I have; if their customers go elsewhere, their investment goes bust. There are a lot of apartments and residential units going up in Kuwait – I admire this management team for intelligently seeking out what they are doing right, what they can do better, and what is hands down annoying. They asked about maintenance, security, internet connections, suggestions. Very open ended, very uncontrolled.

As they listened, they were writing things down. We had comments in multiple areas, and they listened, wrote, asked further questions. I’m impressed. This building isn’t bad, and I bet the next one is even better.

February 19, 2007 Posted by | Blogging, Communication, Customer Service, ExPat Life, Kuwait, Language, Living Conditions, Middle East, Statistics, Technical Issue | 3 Comments

Getting Into Heaven

Getting Into Heaven

After a long illness, a woman died and arrived at the Gates of Heaven.

While she was waiting for Saint Peter to greet her, she peeked through the gates. She saw a beautiful banquet table. Sitting all around were her parents and all the other people she had loved and who had died before her.

They saw her and began calling greetings to her. “Hello!” “How are you? We’ve been waiting for you!” “Good to see you!”

When Saint Peter came by, the woman said to him, “This is such a wonderful place! How do I get in?”

“You have to spell a word,” Saint Peter told her.

“Which word?” the woman asked. “Love.”

The woman correctly spelled love, and Saint Peter welcomed her into heaven.

About six months later, Saint Peter came to the woman and asked her to watch the Gates of Heaven for him that day.

While the woman was guarding the Gates of Heaven, her husband arrived.

“I’m surprised to see you,” the woman said. “How have you been?”

“Oh, I’ve been doing pretty well since you died,” her husband told her. “I married the beautiful young nurse who took care of you while you were ill. And then I won the lottery. I sold the little house you and I lived in and bought a big mansion. And my wife and I traveled all around the world. We were on vacation and I went water skiing today. I fell, the ski hit my head, and here I am. How do I get in?”

“You have to spell a word,” the woman told him.

“Which word?” her husband asked.


February 19, 2007 Posted by | Family Issues, Joke | 4 Comments