Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Qatteri Cat Catches Up

Ha ha ha ha ha, Qatteri Cat! Take that! I’ll show you what it is like being awakened from a nice snooze! I’ll take your photo!

After racing around all night, rearranging the carpets and playing in places he should not have been playing, the Qatteri Cat is ready for a nap – and I am getting revenge for his nighttime capers! Actually, his fur is getting all matted, and while he is napping, I often take the scissors and cut out the badly matted hunks, and try to comb him so he won’t get so matted.

One of these days, I really want to give him a bath. He has come a long way in the four years he has lived with us. He is a gentle cat, a sweet cat, a snuggly cat. Underneath all that veneer of civilization, however, is still the WILD cat. All it takes is for him to be scared, tired, hungry or mistreated and all the wildness comes back to the surface. I know I can’t attempt to give him a bath on my own – I need to have AdventureMan with me to help handle him. In all these years, I have never given him a bath – I am a little afraid of him!

July 26, 2008 Posted by | ExPat Life, Family Issues, Living Conditions, Pets, Qatteri Cat, Relationships | 9 Comments

Please Treat as Urgent and Confidential

My good friend Adamu Attah, head of the FILE DEPARTMENT at the African Development Bank wants to give me money! I am printing his letter, exactly as written, because I am thinking my bank friend really needs some grammar, spelling and spacing review. In any case, I am much too busy these days to collect my 40% of 15.5 million dollars.

But it is summertime, and some people have a lot of time on their hands, and if you want to contact my friend Adamu Attah, here is his address:

adamu_attah1@sify.com

Please. Please. Do not send him any money, not for fees, not for deposits, not for anything. This is another of those hoax spams that some people actually respond to. Please, please, don’t be one of them.

FROM THE DESK OF ADAMU ATTAH

THE HEAD OF FILE DEPARTMENT,
AFRICAN

DEVELOPMENT BANK (ADB)

OUAGADOUGOU BURKINA-FASO WEST
AFRICA.

TREAT AS URGENT AND CONFIDENTIAL.

PLANE CRASH WEB
SITE…http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/859479.stm

(“remittance of $15.5million u.s.a dollars

confidential is the case”)

compliments of the season
2008,

i am (adamu attah),head of file department & debt recovering in
african development bank ouagadougou burkina-faso in west
africa.

first, i must solicit your confidence in this transaction.this
is by

virtue of its nature as being utterly confidential and top
secret.

however after series of petition was recieved by this present
regime from foreign contractors and inability of the african
development bank (adb)to fulfill their obligation for the payment to
its foreign creditors, in conjunction with the council of ministers,
they mandated us to carry out a careful and comprehensive review of all
overdue payments to foreign contractors and to effect payments
immediately.

during the above mentioned process, we discovered an
abandoned sum of us$15.5 m (fifteen million five hundred thousand us
dollars) in an account that belongs to one of our foreign customer who
died along with his entire family in a plane crash that happened in
(monday 31st july 2000).since we got information about his death, we
have been expecting his next of kin to come over and claim his money
because we cannot release it unless some body applies for it as next of
kin or relation to the deceased as indicated in our banking guidelines
and laws but unfortunately we learnt that all his supposed next of kin
or relation died alongside with him at the plane crash leaving nobody
behind for the claim.

it is therefore upon this discovery that i and
other officials in my

department now decided to make this business
proposal to you and release the money to you as the next of kin or
relation to the deceased for safety and subsequent disbursement since
nobody is coming for it and we don’t want this money to go into the bank
treasury as unclaimed bill.

i agree that 40% of this money will be for
you as a foreign partner, in respect to the provision of a foreign
account,and 50% would be for me, while 10% will be for expenses incure
during the transaction. there after i will visit your country for
disbursement according to the percentage indicated.therefore, to enable
the immediate transfer of this fund to you as arranged, you must apply
first to the bank as relation or next of kin of the deceased indicating
your bank name, your bank account number, your private telephone and fax
number for easy and effective communication and location wherein the
money will be remitted.

upon the receipt of your reply, i will send to
you by email the text of the application to fill and send to the bank. i
will not fail to bring to your notice that this transaction is
hitch-free risk and this transaction will only take us 14 banking days
because as a banker, i know what to do and move the fund into your
account without any delay and thatyou should not entertain any atom of
fear as all required arrangement have been made for the transfer.

you
should contact me as soon as you receive this letter so that i will
send you the text of the application to apply to the bank and the data
information of the deceased .

your’s faithfully,

adamu attah

from (adb) ouagadougou burkina-faso.

July 26, 2008 Posted by | Africa, Blogging, Community, Crime, Cross Cultural, Fund Raising, Lies, Social Issues | 8 Comments

Down the Drain

As I was wandering through the Co-op (Jamiya) the other day, picking up a few basics, I came across something not-so-basic – a bottle of alcohol-free Merlot.

I was making spaghetti sauce – and here is the truth as I see it – almost any sauce is improved by the addition of a little wine. And this is alcohol-free! I can serve it to my Islamic dinner guests.

The sauce was superb, even if it is me saying it about myself. Just a basic meat sauce, but with the fresh basil from our friend’s prolific garden, and the cup of Merlot – sublime.

That was a week ago. Today, I went to use the Merlot in another sauce and HORRORS! Look at that!

Can you see that? That great big spot of MOLD growing on the Merlot-drink-that-does-not-contain-alcohol???

I had to throw it all out. I don’t take chances on making people sick from food bourn illnesses, not even myself. And while AdventureMan and I are generous in our nature, we are frugal in our private lives, and throwing nearly $16 literally down the drain horrifies me! Maybe it was the humidity – my bread also went green very quickly – or maybe it is the non-alcohol that allowed it to mold so quickly. I don’t know. I don’t think I will be buying another bottle of Merlot here in Kuwait any time soon.

July 26, 2008 Posted by | Cooking, Cross Cultural, ExPat Life, Food, Health Issues, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Shopping | 4 Comments

Mary Nell’s Secret

“I’m coming in tonight,” says AdventureMan, “but not on my original flight. My flight from Denver to Chicago was cancelled, so I missed that flight. I’ll be on the flight coming in at around 10.”

“Oh, I’m so glad you called; I would have been waiting at the airport!” I replied.

“There’s an e-mail waiting for you – I had (our son) send you an e-mail to let you know,” AdventureMan continues, “I was lucky to get a flight at all – they had re-booked me for tomorrow night! I used Mary Nell’s technique, and they found me a seat on another flight.”

I laughed in delight.

If we are very very lucky, we learn from our friends. I have several friends who are flowers of the South, but Mary Nell takes the crown as the Queen of the South. Mary Nell and I would be on the road to France in a heartbeat, any excuse would do. We had our favorite stores, we introduced one another to new favorites, new villages, new restaurants. Even better, our husbands liked each other, too, so now and then we would hit a very lovely restaurant, the four of us.

Mary Nell is polite and well-mannered. Always. Polite and well-mannered, and she always gets her way. When someone gives her information she doesn’t like, she pauses, gathers her forces, looks them directly in the eye and says the magic words: “That won’t do.” She shakes her head sadly as she delivers the words.

She follows up firmly, “No, that won’t do at all. We have a problem here. (Names what she wants, like the shoes she likes in a color not available in that shop) What are we going to do?” and she looks deeply into the other person’s eyes.

She uses the same techniques on the bullies she counsels in the guidance office, the out-of-control parents, the crazy teacher. They all back down in the face of Mary Nell’s relentlessly polite confrontation.

AdventureMan and I could only watch in absolute astonishment as Mary Nell worked her magic. After a while, we tried it, too. It took a few tries, but – it really does work!

Again, at the airport, as the ticketing guy explains that with the downsized plane, they have had to put my husband on a later flight. “No! That won’t do!” says Adventure Man. “People are counting on me! We have to fix this problem!”

The ticketing guy thought he had it fixed, but this technique forces him to search out new possibilities. Once again, Mary Nell’s technique prevails.

She never gets aggressive. She never raises her voice. And whoever is working with her knows, with utter conviction, that she is not going to go away until this problem is solved to her satisfaction. Woooo Hoooooo, Mary Nell.

July 25, 2008 Posted by | Cultural, Customer Service, ExPat Life, France, Friends & Friendship, Germany, Living Conditions, Relationships | | 7 Comments

Animal Welfare League Seeks Your Help

From a public service ad in today’s Kuwait Times:

Summer is upon us and with this time of year comes the seasonal abandonment of dogs and cats all over Kuwait. As we rush to bring these animals to safety, we need your help in doing so. In addition to having many wonderful dogs and cats up for adoption, we are always in need of shelter volunteers, foster homes, and donations from our wish list:

Wish list:

Clorox
Canned Dog and Cat food
Dog and Cat toys
Tide
String Cheese
Peanut Butter
Frozen Chicken
Large Capacity Garbage Bags
Extra Large capacity Washer / Dryer

Animal Friends League of Kuwait
“Saving One Animal at a Time”

TEL: 700-1622
Email: info@animalfriendskuwait.org
Website: http://www.animalfriendskuwait.org

July 25, 2008 Posted by | Community, Cross Cultural, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Pets, Relationships, Social Issues | 2 Comments

New Improved Image Uploader at WordPress

New today from WordPress:

The Image Uploader — Now With Captions

WordPress bloggers love to share their photos and images with each other, so perhaps it shouldn’t have come as a surprise that when we removed the boring, old image icon that you wrote to us lamenting its disappearance.

But if you haven’t noticed already, there’s nothing to fear, for in its place is the Add an Image button in the Media Toolbar, which has been around for a bit but is now more robust than ever — making it the only thing you’ll need to add and organize photos.

Among its newest features is an easy-to-add caption tool. Just write your caption in the caption field before inserting an image and, voila, the caption displays below the photo inside a tasteful frame.

What I like best is the ability to resize and work with the photo right in the upload process, instead of having the photo WP ready to start with.

You can read the entire article here, in the WordPress News.

July 25, 2008 Posted by | Customer Service, News, Photos, WordPress | Leave a comment

Ministry Cracking Down on Porn Sites

A little over a year ago, May 18th, 2007, I remarked on an article in the Kuwait Times called MOC Bans Porno Film Sites. I had no idea that even over a year later, that blog entry would continue getting countless hits.

In this morning’s Kuwait Times, it’s like they say – deja vu all over again.

KUWAIT: Communications Minister Abdulhahman Al-Ghunaim has ordered the establishment of a committee to improve Internet services by finding ways to stop the spread of pornographic websites, which contradict local cultural and religious values.

The committee will reportedly be headed by Engineeer Ali Al-Zibin, the ministry’s Assistant Undersecretary of Information Technology, and will include representatives from the Interior, Awqaf, and Information Ministries, as well as Kuwait University.

A Communications Ministry official said that the committee will coordinate with and supervise the country’s Internet service providers in order to formulate a strategy to limit this phenomenon, by strengthening their supervisory role in this field.

It will also work continually updating the country’s systems to ensure that they are on a par with the latest technological developments to put an end to the spread of pornographic sites, in addition to establishing a map for joint coordination between all ministries.

You can live in a country a long time and barely scratch the surface. I honestly try to figure out what is going on, and even so, I get surprised often. I feel so encouraged when I see people tackling a problem, but then, so often, it turns out to be just meeting, just talking – no fixing.

As I have said before – I hate pornography. It isn’t part of my country’s values, either. It is certainly counter to my values. And yet, when I think of spending a country’s resources on trying to fight pornography, which we have had with us since probably the earliest times, I just feel tired. I don’t think you can win a fight against pornography. I think, to eliminate pornography, prostitution, alcohol and drug abuse – you have to change the way people think. Haven’t you noticed? You restrict something, it only makes it more attractive. Look at the countries that brutalize people arrested for possession of pornography – Saudi Arabia and Iran – have they been successful in eliminating access to pornography – on the net, or elsewhere? Where there is a demand, there will be suppliers, or that is how it seems to me. How do we eliminate the demand?

Who accesses and downloads porn the most, do you think? My bet would be on the 15 – 35 year old male, the most technologically savvy group in any population. How long do you think it will take them to break through any barriers you can place? And how many nanoseconds before they spread the “fix” all over the internet?

There is another article today, one on the air conditioning breakdown at Ibn Sina hospital, patients keeling over from the heat and humidity and then sewer-dwelling insects swarming into the children’s ward. How disgusting is that?

Attack the problems you can solve. Put people first. Fix the infrastructure – the roads, the hospitals, government services, licensing, visas. Make Kuwait state-of-the-art in communication accessibility. Kuwait is RICH, Kuwait can do anything. I hate pornography, but I don’t think any nation has the capacity to stop it.

July 24, 2008 Posted by | Bureaucracy, Community, Cross Cultural, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Mating Behavior, Relationships, Social Issues, Technical Issue, Women's Issues | | 14 Comments

Operation Hope News Flash

Those of you who read regularly know I am a great fan of people who see a need and have the courage to tackle it. One of those people here in Kuwait is Sheryll Mairza, who feeds and clothes the poorest of the poor – mostly laborers who are not paid. With her vision and enthusiasm, she has provided for – literally – thousands in Kuwait. Provided warm clothing in cold winter months, provided meals, provided basic necessities. Her most recent quest is below:

Operation Hope Kuwait would like to promote a used shoe drive to benefit farm-hands working in Abdalli, Kuwait… preferably sports shoes and/or work boots. Last Saturday a small group of dedicated volunteers went to Abdalli to deliver used clothing, which was collected by AGILITY LOGISTICS. While there they noticed that many of the workers had barely any sole left on the shoes they wore.

Currently am hoping a local private school will open its doors to receive donations from August 1 – 10. If you’ll stay in touch with me I can get you the final drop-point details.

Again ~ many thanks for your support! God bless, Sheryll

I don’t know about you, but I tend to buy new athletic shoes often – I like a fresh springy step :-). She probably isn’t looking for your daintiest 4 inch spikes from last season, but shoes with some life and some support left in them. As she gives out further information, I will keep you informed. Meanwhile – gather your old shoes and save them for Operation Hope!

July 24, 2008 Posted by | Community, Cross Cultural, ExPat Life, Fund Raising, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Social Issues | | 4 Comments

Vanity Fair Spoofs Obama Cover

Vanity Fair Spoofs New Yorker Cover

From AOL News

(July 23) – Call it the battle, albeit friendly, of political cartoon satire. A little more than a week after The New Yorker magazine caused a commotion with its controversial magazine cover of Barack Obama and his wife, Vanity Fair decided it wouldn’t be outdone.

This week, the magazine published a spoof cover — published only on the Vanity Fair Web site — of John McCain and his wife in a similar pose and in the same Oval Office setting.
But this image may create some of its own controversy. It shows the 71-year-old McCain, often the butt of age jokes, using a walker, and his wife Cindy — who once had a drug problem — cradling an armful of prescription pill bottles. A portrait of President Bush hangs above a fireplace where the Constitution is burning.

July 24, 2008 Posted by | Humor, Lies, Political Issues, Satire | 6 Comments

Seasonal Change Sunrise

More clouds! Beautiful Tiepolo clouds! A Turner sunrise! And look, you can see almost all the way to the horizon. That nasty yellow-black band of (whatever it is) that hangs over the horizon on some days is gone!

It is 91°F / 33°C at 0530 in the morning – and it was still 98°F at 0300 this morning – imagine! No wonder most of the flights take off at night!

July 24, 2008 Posted by | Beauty, ExPat Life, Kuwait, Living Conditions, sunrise series, Weather | 4 Comments