Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Did You Get the Dashboard Gas Emissions E-mail?

I did.

Here is what I read this morning in the Qatar Gulf Times:

Steamy car interiors do not produce gas: expert
By Sarmad Qazi

The National Campaign for Road Accident Prevention (NCFRAP) yesterday dismissed as “false” a purported e-mail from “Saudi Geophysical and Environmental Consulting” making the rounds, saying that a poisonous gas forms in cars parked under direct sunlight.

There is no such company in Saudi Arabia, it has been learnt. However, a national organisation, “Saudi Geophysical” has been in operation since 1998.

“This is absolutely false. It is true that vehicles parked under direct sunlight get hot, but the formation of any poisonous gas is absolutely ridiculous,” Ademola Ilori, adviser to the Traffic Department said yesterday.

The e-mail cautions motorists to leave the vehicle’s doors well and windows open for a while, to let the “gas” escape.

“Based on scientific research, it is found that there is a gas called gasoline, emitted from the seats, air fresheners and seat covers, when parking your car in the sun particularly when the temperature is higher than 15 degrees Fahrenheit or 6 degress Celsius,” one of the six paragraphs from the e-mail reads.

According to Ilori, on a typical sunny day in Qatar, the temperature inside a parked vehicle can easily exceed 50 degrees C in just ten to twenty minutes.

“Hot weather brings unique challenges to vehicles. It can present dangerous conditions for both the vehicle and its occupants but fortunately most incidents can easily be avoided,” Ilori said.
“Studies show that 75% of the temperature rise occurs within five minutes of closing the doors and goes up to 51-67C within 15 minutes. Leaving the windows (cracking) slightly open does not keep the temperature at a safe level,” he added.

Sharing summer driving tips, the official said that motorists should check oil, transmission fluid, windshield washer, battery level and strength, tyre pressure, etc before taking their vehicles out.
“Drivers need to stay cool as well, by drinking a lot of water (not ice cold) especially those who travel in vehicles without air-conditioning. Of particular importance for motorists is to keep an eye on the lights and gauges when driving in hot weather.

“If your temperature gauge moves up, turn on the heater to its highest and hottest setting. It will be uncomfortable, but it will help draw some of the heat away from the engine. If you are stopped in traffic put the vehicle in “P” (or neutral for manual gears) and lightly step on the gas to help circulate the coolant,” he said.

In case the temperature gauge enters the “red zone”, a vehicle should immediately be pulled off the road and the engine be shut.

However, at this point, motorists should not attempt to remove the radiator cap as the hot pressurised coolant will spray out with great force.

“Do not pour water over the radiator or engine, since a dramatic change in temperature could cause damage. After the engine cools, add a 50-50 mix of coolant and water to the reservoir to bring it up to its proper level,” Ilori said.

July 22, 2010 Posted by | Environment, Lies, Living Conditions, Technical Issue | Leave a comment

The Bride: To Dance or Not to Dance?

From National Public Radio, where you can listen to the entire story

July 22, 2010

One Sudan Marriage Ritual: An Alluring Nude Dance

A mating ritual in Northern Sudan is hotter than the Sahara but not for everyone to see.

It has no official name, only a few simple rules apply, and, like all matters of the heart and the loins, the custom is open to interpretation.

In English, people here call it the Bride Dance.

Young brides have been performing the dance on, or near, their wedding nights for thousands of years. Like Sudan, it is both Arab and African. And, like Sudan, it is neither Arab nor African.

It is deeply erotic. The women wear revealing clothes. Not so long ago, in some fleeting instances, they wore no clothes at all. Sometimes, a gathering of sisters, aunts, mothers and friends teaches the steps. Or wealthier brides engage professional instructors. Because rich or poor, urban or rural, every bride knows that doing the dance well takes practice.

(skirt traditionally worn)

The Bride Whisperer

Iman Ali, aka Shengota, is a kind of bride whisperer. She teaches young women how to be one part Salome, one part Beyonce and one part the girl next-door.

But that ain’t easy.

Creating the right effect takes several songs, smart choreography, a custom-built stage and a whole wardrobe of costume changes.

Young brides-to-be practice their steps every day, sometimes for months in advance. The upside, Shengota says, is that the women usually lose several pounds before the wedding. And that makes just about everybody happy.

When the music starts, the bride and groom mount a circular stage. And while the groom stands there snapping his fingers, the bride does her best to make him look like the luckiest man in the room. Never mind that he’s usually the only man in the room. The dance is, more often than not, performed in front of an entirely female audience of cheering family members and friends.

But not everyone here is a fan.

Contradicting The Rules?

The dance predates Islam in Sudan. And it may be one of the few customs on which feminists and Islamic fundamentalists agree.

Nowadays, plenty of Sudanese women say they don’t want to dance, “like monkeys,” half-naked for the crowd. And Sudan’s Islamic fundamentalist government has strict rules on how women should comport themselves in public: conservative attire, head and legs covered, no shimmying.

Fatima Sir El Khatim Hallulah danced when she was a bride at age 14. Now, at age 60, she says she doesn’t want her daughters to dance.

Hallulah says she was an uneducated country girl at 14, marrying a man she had never seen before at the bidding of her parents. But her daughters are university graduates who chose their own husbands. Hallulah says her girls should not be made to debase themselves. Others say they’d hate to see videos of their performances end up on YouTube.

‘Nice To Show Off A Little’

But after a recent dip in general interest in dancing, choreographer Shengota says her phone is now ringing more often. Educated women of Sudan’s economic elite are seeking her services.

Zaeneb El Khamis, a dentist in her late 20s, says the dance gives brides a chance to shake things up a little before settling down to marriage. The lights and the music and the costume changes — including different perfumes and nail polishes for different dances — can be great fun.

She, like many brides, enjoys watching the video of her performance with her family and friends. “It’s nice to show off a little,” El Khamis says. “I was good.”

July 22, 2010 Posted by | Africa, Living Conditions, Mating Behavior, Women's Issues | Leave a comment