What a surprise

28/08/2014

Well educated people have some of the top jobs in the country – at least the jobs that require a good education.

My father went to a grammar school. If I wanted my daughter to have an education of similar quality I would have to pay a fortune to buy a house in the catchment areas of the few remaining grammar schools in the country, or pay for a private education – the cost of which has rocketed beyond the means of those who could previously afford it.

Zara

21/06/2014

Zara is growing up fast. Every day is a riot of excitement.

The dummy will go when teething stops.

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Dubai Mall’s aquarium is a daily visit.

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We’ll be hiring her out soon of household duties.

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She put a shoe on herself for the first time this week.

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I want to go for a walk!

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Back on the road

21/06/2014

I’ve been back on the road, seeing Kenya again since 2007 and revisiting old haunts I hadn’t expected to back to so soon, but where there’s lots of business and I need to play a role in kickstarting things.

Two trips to Nigeria. The first involved my worst ever airport experience, with out of date yellow fever cards, crazy shuttle bus to the car park and nearly falling off the edge of the car park into a muddy field six feet below. The second was with a colleague who I’d prepared for the worse, but who is probably wondering what I’d been talking about – instead of the usual craziness we had smooth boarding in Dubai, little turbulence, AC working in the airport and even a cafe to wait in whilst waiting for another colleague from SA.

We even managed to get the driver to meet us near arrivals so we could avoid the shuttle bus and car park completely…

There was an incident where a soldier spent five minutes shouting at the Avis guy, plus, whilst we drove off, a lady policeman seemed to think we owed her some money, whacking the window of the Camry as we drove off. Sorry, no pay day for you…

Both Nigeria trips were the usual whirlwind of last minute meetings but good progress. The second even coincided with a Citrix event being held in my hotel, but as usual on these work trips, catching up with old friends and colleagues was limited to a few minutes at the top of a staircase. Shame.

Here are some pics, in slightly random order.

TVs have been erected at Lagos airport. Unknown if TVs are still in the boxes…

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I didn’t eat this but a colleague did. It’s kind of a grey spicy splodge with bits in.

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The view from my hotel room in Lagos. I can never understand why there is so much junk lying around in Lagos. Why doesn’t it get used for scrap? You’ll see all sorts of stuff just lying a around, falling to pieces.

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I walked around the ‘computer market’ in Ojota, dodging open sewers and speakers pumping ‘afrobeat’ at top volume.

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My colleague from our distributor, Peter. Peter is helping me improved my pidgin.

‘How far?’ – how are you?

‘A dey’ – I’m fine thanks.

‘A beg no vex’ – Terribly sorry old chap, please don’t be angry.

I ate a chicken pie in a roadside cafe and survived. The open drains make the whole experience a bit much at times.

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I was in Lebanon when thousands of Syrians went to vote at the consulate, causing gridlock. I saw the tail end of it – lots of people wearing Assad t-shirts. Lots of very tough looking men who’d probably been working on building sites since they’d been in their mid-teens and smoking since their ninth birthdays.

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Kenya has a great mix of Indian, English and local food. Chicken tikka, chips and naan bread!

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The usual workhorses, this time in Nairobi. I loved Nairobi (compared to Lagos at least). Much more evidence of colonial times and I could walk around outside.

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1972 Merc in perfect condition for sale in Amman.

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The coolest guy in Amman, driving to work in his Mustang, radio blaring, cigarette in one hand, arm out of the window.

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This Patrol is probably in the best condition of any breakdown vehicle you’ll see in Lagos.

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I will, one day, talk to the owners of one of these Lagos breakdown Rangies. I wonder how much they go for? There are lots of them. Probably not the end their European or American former owners expected.

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Savvy move

30/05/2014

I’d love to visit Montenegro.

I wonder if this move will see an influx of UAE tourists or not?

Also, the first time I’ve seen the use of the word ‘ambassadress’. I always find it odd when people use ‘actor’ or ‘waiter’ to describe what I grew up calling an ‘acrtress’ or ‘waitress’, but in this case I find myself confronting my linguistic and sexist prejudices.

Latest crime news

30/05/2014

‘The woman reportedly told police she did not know why she was naked and declined to explain her actions.’

Unusual crime report from the Gulf News.

Poor woman.

Idiots

10/05/2014

Tragic.

Most of these drivers seem to think the laws of physics don’t apply to them. The truck driver placed a fire extinguisher as a warning? Doubtless three feet away from his truck, just like most of the morons who stop and place the red triangle thing inches away from their car instead of fifty plus metres further down the road, or the construction workers who provide three metres of warning before closing a lane on a 100kmph stretch of motorway, albeit with some cannon fodder waving a red flag in the darkness.

What is it? Culture? Education? How stupid do you have to be not to understand these fundamentals?

Jumping off my neighbour’s roof

24/04/2014

This is pretty cool.

Cut working hours, increase employment

14/04/2014

I don’t quite understand the logic here.

Nine years on Tuesday

29/03/2014

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Day at the beach

24/03/2014

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