Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Drought and Rising Food Prices

We are all so interconnected. I knew rice prices here in Kuwait had gone sky high, so high that imported American rice is now a relative bargain. I always bought Indian rice, in an effort to buy more (relatively) locally, and I knew India had restricted rice exports, but I didn’t know that the long drought in Australia was also contributing to the short supply.

You can read the entire article at this New York Times link.

A Drought in Australia, a Global Shortage of Rice
Published: April 17, 2008

. . . . . .

The collapse of Australia’s rice production is one of several factors contributing to a doubling of rice prices in the last three months — increases that have led the world’s largest exporters to restrict exports severely, spurred panicked hoarding in Hong Kong and the Philippines, and set off violent protests in countries including Cameroon, Egypt, Ethiopia, Haiti, Indonesia, Italy, Ivory Coast, Mauritania, the Philippines, Thailand, Uzbekistan and Yemen.

Drought affects every agricultural industry based here, not just rice — from sheepherding, the other mainstay in this dusty land, to the cultivation of wine grapes, the fastest-growing crop here, with that expansion often coming at the expense of rice.

The drought’s effect on rice has produced the greatest impact on the rest of the world, so far. It is one factor contributing to skyrocketing prices, and many scientists believe it is among the earliest signs that a warming planet is starting to affect food production.

It is difficult to definitely link short-term changes in weather to long-term climate change, but the unusually severe drought is consistent with what climatologists predict will be a problem of increasing frequency.

Read the rest of this article, and related articles, by clicking HERE.

April 17, 2008 Posted by | Bureaucracy, Community, Cross Cultural, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Financial Issues, Food, Kuwait, Living Conditions | , , , , | Leave a comment

Traffic Watch

Never fear, the Qatteri Cat is on traffic watch today. All is well, you can tell by his relaxed stance. Every now and then, he will utter an alarm – birds come by and taunt him because they are flying freely and he is trapped inside. He’s not smart enough to say “yeh, but I get free food, water and medical care in this gilded cage.” All he knows is that he would love to be free to show those birds a thing or two.

Once, in our Qatar villa, a great big pigeon hit a window and then THUNKED to the ground, not 10 feet from QC, who was allowed in the garden as long as someone was with him. The bird was so big and QC was so astounded, that by the time he decided to go investigate, the bird had recovered consciousness, stood up and shook his wings. He was bigger than QC! As QC thought twice about approaching, the pigeon flew off. I am betting that is about the closest QC has been to a real live bird.

One time (one of many) the Qatteri Cat escaped the yard. This time I knew where he was within the first half hour, because I could hear him crying pitifully. I had to ask a neighbor if I could go into her back yard, and there was QC, high up in a tree, scared and unsure how to get down. There was a wind blowing, and the only thing QC could think of, every time the boughs swayed to a strong gust of wind, was to go higher. He had reached the spot where every gust made him sway like a pendulum. He was terrified.

It took me about an hour to talk him down. First, he had to get over his panic, because his terror was paralyzing him. Second, he didn’t know how to climb down, so he had to turn around, to kind of walk down the tree, which, with gravity, was a very scary thing. He kept turning and then turning back.

(How do you teach a cat to back down a tree?)

Finally, I just kept talking. I locked eyes with him, and every time he would look away, I would say his name, get him focused on me again. Slowly, slowly, he worked his way down (he was up very very high, higher than a ladder could reach). He ended up falling the last 20 feet, but I could catch him. His little heart was beating like thunder, his adrenelin was pumping and I had to hold on to him to get him home. He didn’t want to be held, and I have the scars to prove it.

The neighbor thought I was a nut case, I am sure, but I don’t care. A cat can be so paralyzed by fear that they cling to the tree until they are exhausted and drop to their death. Some cats will figure out how to get down, but not all, and not while a wind is blowing and swaying them back and forth.

As much as I love fresh air, we have to keep the windows closed. He’s a sweet cat. His little brain just goes on hold sometimes. If a bird taunted him, he would be out that window in a heartbeat, no second thoughts, just instinct.

April 17, 2008 Posted by | Adventure, Community, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Pets, Photos, Qatar, Weather | 8 Comments

Not New News

Just as the Qatteri Cat monitors traffic in front of our place, I monitor my blog traffic – a lot like Qatteri Cat, sort of lazily, desultory.

Yesterday, I got the most hits – a lot – on MOC bans Porno Film Sites, a post I wrote almost a year ago.

80 hits. That’s a lot for a post almost a year old. Why so much interest? Are there new movements afoot in the Ministry of Communication to ban undesirable content? Are there new technologies available that make that possible?

I knew exactly the kind of photo I wanted to include here, so I googled “saudi censorship image” and found this wonderful blog: Your World Today. I really like his blog.

April 17, 2008 Posted by | Bureaucracy, Communication, Community, Cross Cultural, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Political Issues, Relationships, Satire, Saudi Arabia, Social Issues, Technical Issue, Women's Issues | , | 8 Comments

Storm Threat

Yesterday, late in the afternoon, the office sent out warnings that another storm is highly possible in near future, yesterday or today, and to be aware. As far as I know (and all I saw of the last one was a lot of cloud-to-cloud lightning) if one is coming, it hasn’t struck yet.

But as the sun rises, I am looking at that dark spot out on the horizon, and looking at the thickening clouds and wondering if there is some instability we can’t see . . .

April 17, 2008 Posted by | ExPat Life, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Photos, sunrise series, Weather | , | 12 Comments