Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Airline Fees We Love To Hate

Frequent Flyer.com reveals a new survey identifying the fees airline travelers hate the most:

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It goes without saying that of the many gripes travelers currently have about flying, the so-called ancillary fees charged by the airlines for, well, everything they can disaggregate from the core service would rank near the top of the most-despised list.

But of the multitude of such fees, which irk travelers the most?

A new survey conducted by Skift shines some light into that dark corner of the travel experience.

According to a poll of 1,000 adults, the most and least reviled airline fees are as follows:

Bag check fees (50.1%)
Seat selection fees (18.4%)
Inflight WiFi fees (12.4%)
Inflight food or beverage fees (9.7%)
Early boarding fees (9.4%)
Although there was general unanimity across age and other groups, there were a few interesting demographic disconnects:

Wealthier travelers were less bothered by bag fees but more bothered by seat-selection fees.

Less wealthy travelers were notably less bothered by inflight meal/drink fees.
Younger flyers were more bothered by inflight WiFi fees.

Travelers 65 years and older were most bothered by inflight meal/drink fees.

October 16, 2013 Posted by | Financial Issues, Statistics, Travel | Leave a comment

Mackey’s Mud House in Pensacola

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The Rooftop Dining area at Mackey’s Mud House, Pensacola

Mackey’s Mud House has been open mere months, but is already attracting attention in downtown Pensacola for it’s variety in tastes and the freshness of their offerings.

We decided to give it a try. We love the growing sense of life in downtown Pensacola, love the open market and the variety of restaurants.

The chips and salsa knocked our socks off.

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I love the colored chips, but, even better, they were thin and crisp. The salsa tasted fresh, and had just a little bite. It was a great way to start the meal.

I ordered cider slaw and the Mediterranean Pasta. The slaw was the way I like it, no mayonnaise, and tasty. The Pasta had more of that fresh taste – made with all fresh ingredients, maybe the healthiest pasta I have eaten in a long time.

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AdventureMan’s Mediterranean Pizza was also fresh and delicious, and as you can see, there was so much of it we had to take some home for dinner. Yumm. 🙂

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We ate inside; it was still a little too warm for me outside.

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Our waitress was Jen, who was totally on top of things, friendly, efficient and informed, without being intrusive. We’ll be going back. . . and I’m thinking this is a great place to watch the Pensacola parades from . . .

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October 12, 2013 Posted by | Eating Out, Food, Living Conditions, Pensacola, Restaurant | Leave a comment

Saudi Arabia Inching Toward Allowing Women to Drive

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Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world where women are not allowed to drive. There is an irony – there is no law banning women from driving. They do not issue driver’s licenses to women, they arrest women seen driving, and they do not – officially – teach women to drive. Thank God for good fathers and brothers and husbands, who take their daughters, sisters and wives to isolated places and teach them, often for the good of the family in case of an emergency.

Saudi women drive in Europe, in the USA – they drive everywhere except in their own country. The government shows signs of wanting to allow women to drive (officially) but they seem hesitate to stir the wrath of the religious police who believe – based on nothing – that God forbids women to drive. Recently, the head of the Saudi religious police said there is nothing in Islam that forbids a woman to drive. What’s the hold-up guys?

This article is from AOL Auto News, where you can also see a video of a woman driving in Saudi Arabia with cars passing her and waving encouragement:

Saudi Arabian Women To Protest Driving Ban On Oct. 26

Saudi society is slowly inching toward more equality, but driving is still disallowed for women

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When Farha was a young girl, about seven years old, her mother told her something that rocked her world: She said women could drive.

For Farha, a 24-year-old writer who has spent her entire life in Saudi Arabia, this was akin to a Western child learning the truth about Santa Claus. She’d only ever seen men behind the wheel in her country, where women are not permitted to drive. The revelation was slightly scandalous, a little bit funny, and totally paradigm-shifting.

It took another two years for Farha (who didn’t want to be identified with her last name due to the sensitivity of the issue in her home country) to decide she would, one day, learn how to drive a car. And, for good measure, she’d learn how to ride a bike. Two modes of transportation that have been banned to women and girls for most of Farha’s lifetime.

On Oct. 26, women in Saudi Arabia will engage in the third protest against the female driving ban by getting behind the wheel anyway. The protest won’t be widely attended, because the vast majority of women in Saudi Arabia don’t know how to drive. There are no driving schools in the Kingdom that cater to females, and state agencies will not issue a driver’s license to a woman.

“Since there is no justification for the Saudi government to prohibit adult women citizens who are capable of driving cars from doing so, we urge the state to provide appropriate means for women seeking insurance of permits and licenses to apply and obtain them,” a petition at the protestor’s web site reads. The web site has been blocked within Saudi Arabia, yet there are still a thousand or so names on the petition. The few women who are adept behind the wheel learned while living overseas, often in the U.S., Canada, or nearby Bahrain or Dubai.

In urban areas, women are chauffeured around by male relatives or paid drivers, or they pay for taxis. In rural areas, the driving ban generally isn’t enforced, and more women drive out of necessity. One woman who was recently videotaped disobeying the ban got support from her fellow (male) drivers, who passed by and gave her the thumbs up, a sign that society may be more willing to accept an eventual change.

Learning to drive

Farha tackled the task of learning to drive first by reading about the process. She edited a story on how to drive for her high school newspaper, and from that she felt she learned quite a bit. Then her father spent some time talking to her about how cars work, and the theoretical aspects of driving. He took her out for a few hours over the course of a few days, letting her drive around their neighborhood in the coastal city of Jeddah. But she never ventured onto the main roads.

She also learned the basics of riding a bicycle, but doesn’t consider herself adept at either skill. When the ban is lifted, she said she’ll sign up for classes at a real driving school.

“I always thought this ban would go away when I was 18,” she told AOL Autos. We connected with her through a publication where Farha wrote, under a pseudonym, about the driving ban. “And I’m still hoping it will be lifted when I am 26.”

“I always thought this ban would go away when I was 18,” Farha said. “And I’m still hoping it will be lifted when I am 26.”
Not driving makes life’s everyday movements difficult. Sidewalks aren’t available, so walking isn’t realistic. Farha’s father has mostly been responsible for driving her and her mother around, but five months ago he got into a car accident and broke his leg. He is currently unable to drive. Farha feels the burden of her father’s injury. If she could drive, she said, she could bring him to doctor’s appointments and help him get out of the house. Instead, the family is home-bound unless they pay someone to bring them places.

Farha has hired a part-time driver to take her to and from work. It costs about 2,000 to 3,000 Saudi riyals (or around $530 to $800) a month for a driver. That’s about the same amount that women make earning minimum wage in Saudi Arabia, prompting many women to just stay home.

“A lot of women don’t feel the incentive to work and hire a driver,” she said. “It doesn’t make any economic sense.”

Some women opt for the public bus system, but that makes women from conservative families feel nervous because it exposes them to strange men – the exact problem the country is trying to avoid by banning women drivers. Taxis run the same problem, putting females into cars with strange men. “It doesn’t make sense,” Farha said.

Farha is considering signing up for a karate class, but she’ll have to pay her driver for more hours or take a taxi to the classes. On top of the class fees, the price of getting to and from karate starts to seem like a silly amount of money, she said.

And she worries she’s spending too much money on herself. She could spend 30 riyals on a taxi each way, or she could donate that money to a family in need. Or spend that money sending school supplies to girls in other countries.

“It’s a difficult decision to make every time,” she said.

One unintended consequence of the rule strikes Farha as incredibly unsafe: Women often let their 13-year-old sons drive them around when they are out of other options. Farha’s observation was backed up by a U.S. intelligence research note made public by Wikileaks, which noted that these young drivers sometimes get into very serious accidents.

Weird, long history

Oddly enough, there isn’t any actual law in Saudi Arabia banning women from driving. In 1991, the late Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, Sheik Abdulaziz bin Baz issued a fatwa prohibiting women from driving. A fatwa is different from a government law, in that only followers of the religious leader who issues the fatwa are obliged to follow that law. But given the intertwined nature of Saudi Arabia’s government and its religious leaders, the fatwa took hold. The government agency in charge of issuing driver’s licenses will not issue one to a woman. Saudi Arabia’s court system relies heavily on fatwas from the Grand Mufti.

So, in essence, the religious order became a rule that everyone follows, even though it’s not enforced by the Saudi government. The government just makes it impossible for women to get drivers licenses, and if they catch women driving, they make them sign a pledge promising they won’t do it again.

Abdulaziz bin Baz said at the time that the ban would protect women, because allowing women to drive would put them out in society alone, leaving them to mix with men. If women were stranded by the side of the road due to a flat tire or car problem, they could end up being assaulted or raped by a man who came to help them, argue critics who still uphold the ban.

A reporter for the Christian Science Monitor recalled a 2012 conversation with a man in Saudi Arabia about what would happen if the ban was lifted. “What would happen if a woman got in a car accident, he asked? Then she would be forced to deal with the male driver of the other car, a stranger, with no oversight – a problematic situation in a country where male guardianship of women is deeply entrenched.”

Just last week, a Saudi cleric came under fire for claiming women were damaging their pelvises and causing birth defects by driving. Sheikh Saleh bin Saad al-Lohaidan argued women should put reason ahead of their hearts, because it “could have negative physiological impacts as functional and physiological medical studies show that it automatically affects the ovaries and pushes the pelvis upward.”

Saudi society is slowly inching toward more equality for women. Just this week, four women became attorneys. Earlier this year, women were allowed to work in retail establishments that sell underwear and bras, taking away the embarrassment for women who’d previously had to purchase these items from male salespeople.

Since around 2006, the Saudi government has been indicating it would consider lifting the driving ban if society deems it acceptable for women to drive. Diplomatic cables released by Wikileaks showed the U.S. government has been paying attention to this issue, and putting some pressure on the Saudis to change their ways.

Will of the people?

But it’s clear the Saudi government won’t make any controversial moves: “This has to do with the will of Saudi society,” said Saudi Justice Minister Muhammad Al-Issa in a TV interview in April, according to a translation by the non-profit group MEMRI. “If Saudi society, given its culture, wants women to drive, it’s fine. But if society has any reservation for whatever reason, that’s fine too.”

Farha said she’s holding out hope that the rules will change, as soon as possible. But the change will depend greatly on men’s attitudes.

“More men certainly support it now, but … they have their concerns,” she said. And “some are outright hostile to the idea.”

When she does get her license, Farha said she’d like to try driving a sports car. It doesn’t matter what kind, she just would like to try driving something fun. But she’d rather be able to walk or bike to work, even if she could drive.

“Cars feel suffocating inside,” she said. “But the whole idea is to lift this difficulty for women. I hope it happens soon.”

In sharing this story, and others, with our readers we hope you are inspired to Raise Your Hand for girls’ education, helping us spread the word on this crucial effort.

October 12, 2013 Posted by | Adventure, Cooking, Cross Cultural, Cultural, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Financial Issues, Law and Order, Living Conditions, Social Issues, Values, Women's Issues | Leave a comment

Kuwait Divorce Rate “50% and Rising”

How did I miss this truly excellent article in the Arab Times?

Divorce Rate In Kuwait 50pc … And Rising

Huge Increase Seen In ‘Cheating’

A good, productive and stable marriage is built on one’s ability to love someone else and make sacrifices for that person. We in this region as a whole are sometimes very materialistic and usually wealthy. Many a time couples get married for the wrong reasons. Sometimes because marriage is the new “thing to do”, it’s merely the new toy. Maybe the honeymoon period is the only highlight of the whole affair.

Lawyer Waleed Khaled Al-Dousari was talking to the Arab Times on marriages in Kuwait, exploring the causes behind the increasing rate of divorces in the society. “The rate of divorce in Kuwait has reached more than 50 per cent, and the number is still on the rise,” he adds.

Q: How would you describe marriage in Kuwait, and have the trends changed?

A: Traditionally, the ideal marriage was tribal, related families encouraging their offspring to marry cousins or other relatives in order to increase and strengthen the tribe, or occasionally to marry into another tribe in order to heal rifts between families. Another reason for such marriages was that families knew the background of the partner.

As is the case in some Latin countries, young couples in the region are allowed to meet under the watchful eyes of a chaperon. In Kuwait, however, the marriage is arranged without any part of the girl’s body (including her face) being seen by the prospective groom, who must rely on the reports of his female relatives as to his wife’s appearance.

There are three main elements in an Arab marriage. First, the groom must discuss and agree the dowry with the bride’s father. This might include gold, jewelry and clothing and is usually of considerable valuable. After the dowry settlement, comes the actual marriage contract, which is conducted by a legal or religious representative.

The bride is asked in the absence of the prospective groom if she agrees to the marriage and this question is then put to the groom. After the agreement, the groom joins hands with his future father-in-law and, with two witnesses present, the marriage becomes official.

However, there’s another stage before the couple actually meet as man and wife: the wedding party. Celebrations are segregated, with the women in one section of the house or private ballroom and the men in another. Finally, on the last night of celebrations, the couple meets, accompanied by all their friends, and eventually leaves for their honeymoon. On their return, they either live with the groom’s parents and become members of the extended family or – as is increasingly the case – set up a separate home by themselves.

According to Sharia, a Muslim man may have four wives, provided that he can look after them materially and treats them equally. This practice is now dying out, however, not only because only a few can afford it, but also because women are becoming more independent and assertive and many refuse to accept it.

In fact, a Muslim woman can insert a clause in the marriage contract that restricts her husband from marrying another woman for as long as the contract is valid. The wife also retains her own name after the marriage.

Although gender roles have always been clearly defined in the Islamic world, with the man as ‘provider’ and the woman as ‘nurturer’, both the man and the woman are increasingly going out to work, although this is much less common in Saudi Arabia, where there are restrictions on women working, except in culturally ‘acceptable’ occupations such as medicine and teaching. However, many Saudi men are reluctant to marry doctors and nurses, who have physical contact with male patients.

A man can divorce his wife simply by saying ‘I divorce you’ three times. He can rescind the divorce if this was done in the heat of the moment, but only if the wife agrees (and only on three occasions though). On the other hand, even if a wife has a good reason to seek a divorce (e.g. if her husband has been unfaithful, abused or deserted her, or engaged in criminal activity), she must go to a court for the case to be heard.

The husband must maintain a divorced wife and any children from the marriage if the wife is unable to support herself. He can claim custody of any sons when they reach a certain age; however, the priority is given to the mother, but this still depends on the sect of the couple. A female divorcee usually returns to her family, and few remarry.

Although a Muslim woman may not marry a non-Muslim man unless he converts to Islam, the reverse isn’t the case. Non-Muslim women are often pressurized into converting, and there have been many cases of foreign women marrying Arabs and then discovering that the local culture and lifestyle are unacceptably restrictive. It should also be noted that, in the event of the breakdown of such a union, the children are usually kept by the husband in his home country.

Expatriate workers can usually be married in the Gulf, provided that they meet the civil and religious requirements of their home country. Embassy and consulate staff sometimes performs civil marriage ceremonies, again provided that certain requirements are met. Religious ceremonies can be arranged, but only in countries that allow churches or similar non-Muslim places of worship.

Although many young citizens in Kuwait are still seeking the blessing and help of their parents for choosing life partners, some youngsters in Kuwait prefer finding their partners without parental guidance and mediation. This approach is the result of cultural interactions. This changing trend has become quite noticeable in the countries of the region.

Q: Why are we currently encountering an increasing rate of divorce in the country?

A: A good, productive and stable marriage is built on one’s ability to “love” someone else and make sacrifices for them. We in this region as a whole are sometimes very materialistic and usually wealthy. Many a time couples get married for the wrong reasons. Sometimes because marriage is the new “thing to do”, it’s merely the new toy. Maybe the honeymoon period is the only highlight of the whole affair.
In some cases, both partners may be in need of intimacy and so they get married to have that kind of intimacy. There’s nothing wrong with that. In fact in this arrangement, there is one good thing in that youngsters feel that they should “get married first” before “becoming intimate with anyone”. That’s a noble and encouraging thought.

But after the first few months or the first couple of years, we start noticing the first signs of trouble, and you see both sides contemplating the “D” word. They think “I don’t need this.” And rightly so, they really don’t need it. Both are wealthy, both have high paying jobs, their rooms in their parents’ houses are still empty and perhaps are still untouched with their original furniture in place and in tact.

Other reasons, however, come along due to the change in the definition of marriage as a whole from the perspective of both men and women. Even families in Kuwait today no longer feel shameful that their daughter or son is divorced. Some families are actually encouraging their daughters to divorce, because sometimes that divorce gives her more financial gains than she already has.

In Kuwait, it is a huge problem when a man cannot provide a luxurious life to his wife. It is his duty to provide her with the maid, driver, shopping every now and then, and the ability to travel at least on a yearly basis.

However, not all Kuwaitis are able to provide this kind of lifestyle for their wives and children.
Another issue is that of cheating. There is a huge increase in the percentage of cheating wives and husbands. It has become so easy for a husband or wife to cheat on each other, especially because marriages are neither based on love nor respect.

The high divorce rate in Kuwait insinuates that we are too spoiled to remain stuck to our marriages.
So what will happen to us in say 50 years? The world will be less dependent on our oil, and the oil will become less abundant anyway. We will become poorer in general. Isn’t that right?

We will have less materialistic “toys” to play with. And therefore we will be less spoiled. And I think we will tend to stay committed to our marriages more.

Our men will start actually doing some “work” to earn a living. And less of these jobs will be suited to women, and women will have less incentive to leave the umbrella of her husband’s (modest) financial security. Just like the times of our grandfathers and grandmothers.

Now, this might be a bleak picture, but maybe with less material distractions, and with healthier marriages, I only see us becoming happier people.

Q: So what happens, when a couple comes asking for a divorce?

A: From my experience as a lawyer, the usual scene when two couples ask for a divorce is that they come to my office in the image of two enemies who completely hate each other, and cannot even stand being in the same room with each other.

The women usually tries to file as much cases against her husband to get all the rights that she wants, and the man tries to do the same thing.

Q: What is the role of Shari’a law in divorce cases? Is there a difference between the rights that a woman may take if she was Sunni or Shi’ite?

A: In Kuwait we abide by the Islamic Sharia law when it comes to marriage or divorce. Therefore, when a couple asks for a divorce, usually there are certain proceedings that should take place.
To apply for divorce, you should be of sound mind and be able to make your own choices.
The first step the couple should do is to register the case at the Moral and Family Guidance Section at the court.

Shortly afterwards, a counselor will meet the couple and discuss their problems. They are then given a three-month time to try and solve the problems, before beginning the divorce process.

If the couple, or either of them, still insists on divorce, the papers will be forwarded to the court for the judge to study the case. The judge will discuss it with the couple and listen to the witnesses. It could take a couple of sessions before the judge makes his decision. The couple needs to attend all the proceedings.

A woman may be granted a divorce if she can prove that her husband has physically hurt her or mentally tortured her. A woman also may sue for divorce if her husband abandons her for a period of three months, or if he has not taken care of her needs or that of their children.

The law allows women to obtain a khula – a separation, when she returns the dowry to the husband.

The Sharia Court will accept a divorce lawsuit from Muslim men or Christian or Jewish women married to a Muslim and apply the Islamic laws.

If the divorce applicants are both Muslims, but from different countries and are residents in Kuwait, they will be divorced according to the administrative laws in their country, or the Kuwaiti law, whichever they wish. While Sharia is same in all Muslim countries, there are a few administrative differences between the various schools of thought.

If the couple is from the same country, the law of their country, will be applied or the Kuwaiti law may be applied, if they so wish.

If the husband is a Muslim and the woman is not a Muslim, the Kuwaiti laws will be applied, or the law of the country where they had got married will be applied.

If the couple is non-Muslim, they can seek divorce according to the law of their country, at the embassy or consulate.

There is not much difference between the two sects when it comes to divorce; there is only one main difference, and that is a Sunni women can take the custody of her children without ever having to return them to their father. However, the father can be with his children on previously arranged days.

According to the Shi’ite sect, the father can take his children when the children reach the age of seven or above, by which time the children too have a say in that kind of decision.

However, even the issue of custody is abused by some women, who place a huge financial burden on the man under the pretext of asking for the children’s upkeep. Some women do so despite being financially well off themselves.

Q: Can you give us examples of some divorce cases in Kuwait?

A: One intriguing divorce case involved a woman who divorced her husband on their wedding day because she found out at the wedding ballroom that groom had not made the costly arrangements that she had asked for, and instead chose a reception that cost much.

Some women get divorced because they see divorce as a financial gain for them. Men are sometimes forced to provide his divorcee with a house, a maid, a driver, and a monthly alimony for her and her children.
In many cases the reasons are very silly, which makes it very difficult for us lawyers to take any stand on the issue. For example one woman filed for a divorce because she didn’t like the way her husband made sounds while eating.

Q: What do you think is the role of society to tackle the problem of increasing divorce rates? How can education help reduce the rate of divorce, or help couple’s understand and appreciate the true value of marriage?

A: In light of high rates of divorce cases, social authorities should play a role in educating youth about the basic criteria for sound marriages. Grassroots associations and the media in the Gulf have to educate families about potential negative aspects of coercing young males and females to marry relatives, in the first place, and also how arranged marriages can have very harmful results on both couples, especially as they might not be suitable for each other.

Most of the persons I have met expressed desire to marry non-relatives, thus affirming the idea that parents must refrain from coercion. Moreover, to by taking away the right of youngsters to choose their life partners is against religious values and common sense.

Some official reports estimate that divorce cases in Kuwait are at 50 percent, and the phenomenon has been linked to diverse factors related to modern-day developments in the country, and western concepts and values and post-oil-boom social transformations.

Most males in Kuwait tend to get acquainted with the would-be “soul mate” personally while the majority of the females favor the parents’ role in this regard.

In Kuwait, we are starting to have many welfare societies that are helping couples to refrain from divorce as much as possible. However, the problem is that we do not have the right education concerning marriage in the country.

Neither families nor schools educate children on marriage or even give them the chance to fall in love and make their own choices of who they want to get married to.

We need to set a proper age limit for marriage for both males and females, because some are getting married at a very young age, such as 17 and 18. This is also leading to the great increase in divorce rates. The proper age for males to get married should be between 26 and 30, and that for the females should be above 20. However, that is only my opinion.

As to the qualifications of the would-be partner, the couples should believe in commitment. They should be educated. There is the need to be attracted to the physical appearance of each other and not be forced to get married to people they don’t know. Then of course financial capacities and employment are important factors. These are not the most important issues though.

biography

Born in 1983
Khaled Al-Dousari: currently a divorce lawyer at the Mohamad Saleh Al-Sabti, Lawyer Office. Started at the office in January 2007.
Graduated from the Academic Law Institute in Jordan in 2006.
Until today he has taken up to 300 cases of divorce.

By: Rena Sadeghi

October 10, 2013 Posted by | Bureaucracy, Character, Community, Cultural, Family Issues, Financial Issues, Generational, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Marriage, Mating Behavior, Social Issues, Women's Issues | Leave a comment

Taliban Says Malala ‘Has Done Nothing To Earn Prize’

Mr. Taliban, did you see Jon Stewarts interview with Malala? (See below) All she wants is an education. She wants an education for herself, but also for all children in Pakistan. Your children, too! She wants them to have that opportunity, that’s all. And she has paid the price for her courage speaking out, and she bravely continues to state the obvious – there is nothing in Islam against educating women.

MIRANSHAH, Pakistan: The Pakistani Taliban Thursday said teenage activist Malala Yousafzai had done “nothing” to deserve a prestigious EU rights award and vowed to try again to kill her.

The European Parliament awarded the Sakharov human rights prize to the 16-year-old, who has become a global ambassador for the right of all children to go to school since surviving a Taliban murder attempt.

Malala survived being shot in the head by a TTP gumnan on October 9 last year and is seen as a leading contender for the Nobel Peace prize, to be announced on Friday.

“She has done nothing. The enemies of Islam are awarding her because she has left Islam and has became secular,” Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) spokesman Shahidullah Shahid told AFP by telephone from an undisclosed location.

“She is getting awards because she is working against Islam. Her struggle against Islam is the main reason of getting these awards.”

He repeated the TTP’s threat – made numerous times in recent months -try again to kill Malala, “even in America or the UK”.

Malala and moved to Britain in the wake of the shooting for treatment and to continue her education in safety.

Feted by world leaders and celebrities for her courage, Malala has addressed the UN, this week published an autobiography, and could become the youngest ever Nobel Peace Prize laureate on Friday.

Her autobiography “I am Malala”, written with journalist Christina Lamb, has gone on sale in Pakistan and Shahid warned the Taliban would target bookshops stocking it.

“Malala is the enemy of Islam and Taliban and she wrote this book against Islam and Taliban,” he said. (AFP)

October 10, 2013 Posted by | Character, Civility, Communication, Community, Counter-terrorism, Cultural, Education, ExPat Life, Faith, Family Issues, Free Speech, Generational, Interconnected, Living Conditions, Pakistan, Poetry/Literature, Social Issues, Values | , , | Leave a comment

Pensacola Ale House ReVisit

“I’ll have what she’s having!” I laughed, as I parroted the famous line from When Harry Met Sally. As soon as we were seated, I could smell the sauce on the shrimp pasta; garlicy, spicy, oh yummm.

“She has the light sauce, you want that?” asks the waiter.

“Exactly what she is having,” I repeat. The smell is driving me crazy.

When it arrives, it IS all that. It tastes even better than it smells. There is so much of it that I take half home for dinner some night. Fabulous. AdventureMan had the hamburger. He said it was good, but . . . not McGuires. Not Red Robin.

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Mostly we avoid chains, and the Ale House is a kind of a chain. We prefer local places. On the other hand, their food is reliably good, and now and then we even have a great meal. My Shrimp with light sauce was great.

October 9, 2013 Posted by | Cultural, Customer Service, Eating Out, Food, Living Conditions, Pensacola, Restaurant | Leave a comment

Eid al Adha on October 15

From The Peninsula – Qatar:

Eid Al Adha on October 15

Sunday, 06 October 2013
Riyadh: Saudi Arabia’s Supreme Court yesterday announced that today is the first day of Dhul-Hijja, 1434 Hijri. The court said in a statement carried by Saudi Press Agency SPA that standing at Mount Arafat will be on October 14 and thus the first day of Eid Al Adha will fall on October 15
.

Why, you ask, are you printing this when You live in Pensacola?

Today, at TJMaxx, the Saudi woman in front of me was talking with the Palestinian woman behind me in line – they were talking about sweets and special dishes they were preparing for Eid. I grinned to myself and thought for a few minutes I was back in Kuwait or Qatar or even Saudi Arabia. But no, as we exited, each woman headed for her own car, and the Saudi woman drove competently and confidently out the parking lot. Only thing is, they were thinking Eid is on the 17th. Maybe it is the 16th, here?

The Peninsula also states that sheep are at a reasonable price leading up to the great sacrifice. I wonder where people but sheep in Pensacola? I wonder if it is legal to butcher them in your driveway? I am imagining the horror on the neighbors’ faces were that to happen. I am sure there is a halal butcher in town who is very busy this week and next 🙂

This is the only shop I could find specializing in Halal meats, and it is in Tallahassee, a good two and a half to three hours down the road.

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Possibly Four Winds has halal meats:

Four Winds International Food Market
6895-F N 9th Av, Pensacola, FL 32504

October 7, 2013 Posted by | Eid, Pensacola | Leave a comment

My Kind of Day . . .

Tropical Storm/Depression Karen blew herself out before she ever got to Pensacola. We had a glorious sunny Saturday, a Sunday with frequent spells of rain, and today dawned with high skies and sunshine. It looks like rain on the weather map, but the skies are blue. Even better, the temperatures have dropped. It is 62° as I write. Wooo HOOOOO!

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This is an exciting time of the year for gardeners. Tomatoes blossoms will ripen into tomatoes once the temperatures go below 70° at night. For two years we have had our own tomatoes well into January, even February.

When we went downtown on Saturday, a beautiful breezy day, there was no market on Palafox – I guess they had been cancelled by fear of the storm blowing in. It was quiet, but a good lunch crowd.

Sunday I finished a charity quilt which turned out better than I had thought it would. That sounds funny, but sometimes I play around, try something new, and about three quarters of the way through I figure out that I am not happy with it. Sometimes it is hard to finish a quilt you don’t particularly lilke, but I have learned to press on, that sometimes once it is pieced, sandwiched and quilted, once it is washed, it looks better. That’s the story with this quilt. I had time on the rainy Sunday to finish up the quilting and binding, and once I washed it, I was happier with it than I had been. It is going to a youngster aging out of the foster care system.

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Off to water aerobics and whatever else keeps me outdoors on this beautiful day!

October 7, 2013 Posted by | Arts & Handicrafts, Charity, Community, Environment, Exercise, Living Conditions, Pensacola, Weather | 2 Comments

Palafox One of ‘Ten Best Streets in America’

From today’s Pensacola News Journal, the best parade street I have ever seen is recognized nationally for parades, restaurants and community spirit.

Palafox named one of Ten Best Streets in America

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Written by
Julio Diaz
and Kevin Robinson

Need more proof that Palafox Place has become a thriving thoroughfare? Here it is: Palafox Place is one of 10 “Great Streets in America for 2013,” according to the American Planning Association.

The independent, not-for-profit educational organization — affiliated with the American Institute of Certified Planners — named Palafox Place alongside streets in Philadelphia; Galveston, Texas; Honolulu; and Corning, N.Y., on its 2013 list.

“For hundreds of years, Palafox Street has been at the center of life in our city,” Mayor Ashton Hayward said in a news release. “Over the past three decades, our community has reinvested in Palafox Street and, as a result, Palafox has once again become the anchor to a thriving, vibrant downtown and a city in renaissance.”

The organization recognized the eight-block stretch from Wright Street to Main Street. Locals will note that Palafox Place addresses run from 1 to 400 south of Garden Street, so this honor additionally includes parts of North and South Palafox Street (from Wright Street to Garden Street and from Government Street to Main Street).

The selection cites the historic architecture and character of the street, as well as popular events such as Mardi Gras parades and the annual Pelican Drop on New Year’s Eve; management of public events and street closures by the Downtown Improvement Board; private investment, including the Al Fresco food trailer court; and a variety of planning and preservation achievements.

You can read the entire article by clicking here.

Or better yet – come for Mardi Gras! See for yourself 🙂

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October 5, 2013 Posted by | Civility, Community, Cultural, Customer Service, Entertainment, ExPat Life, Living Conditions, Mardi Gras, Pensacola, Statistics | , | 2 Comments

Steamer Trunks

I saw this ad in a higher end magazine and felt a bolt of recognition pass through me . . . my Mom had a suitcase, probably from her Mom or grandmother, that looked like this. She stored special fabrics in it for later use. It always smelled like faraway places.

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Look at the space! You can pack everything neatly into drawers, you can hang your hanging clothes.

These were for ship travel, where someone would deliver your trunk to the ship and sometimes, even unpack it for you and store the trunk in the hold while you dined and supped your way across the Atlantic – maybe ten to fourteen days. There were no restrictions on numbers of bags, no restrictions on bag size.

Even as a child, going back and forth to university from Germany, we had BIG bags, huge bags we could stuff full. The two bag limit was 77 pounds, but it seems to me that the airline staff always looked the other way. I still get steamed every time I fly a “foreign” (i.e. not an airline I have privileges on) airline and have to pay a baggage fee for even one bag. Stuffed in like sardines, even in business class. Unspeakable food, tinier and tinier restrooms . . . People fighting for space in the overhead bins . . .

Oh my gosh; I am talking like an OLD person.

October 4, 2013 Posted by | Adventure, Aging, ExPat Life, Living Conditions, Random Musings, Travel | , | 2 Comments