Archive for November, 2006

I’ll just parachute down and get you one, sir


Some conversations on my flights are hilarious.
From Dubai to Athens –
Passenger: Excuse me, I ordered a vegetarian meal.
Crew: This is a vegetarian meal sir. It’s clearly labelled here and you can see there are no meat products in it.
P: But it has mushrooms in it.
C: Mushrooms are definitely vegetables, sir. No question there.
P: Oh. Are there any other choices? I ordered a vegetarian meal.
C: This is a vegetarian meal sir, as you ordered. We don’t have any other varieties of vegetarian meal on board.
P: I didn’t have this last time. I’m worried about the mushrooms in it. Can you fetch me a different version?
C: There aren’t any other versions on the plane sir, so I can’t get you anything, I’m very sorry.
P: It just that I wanted vegetarian and this has mushrooms in it.
And on, and on, and on…

Tuhaanuu angrezi aandii hai?


Last week, out of the blue, three people started speaking Punjabi to me.
First off, the security guard at the Dubai Autodrome gave me directions on where to park in Punjabi. The guy digging the ditch that was blocking the entrance to our car park one evening explained his predicament in Punjabi. Finally, the laundry man delivering my clothes asked me, in Punjabi, if I had any washing for him to take back with him.
Anyone who’s seen my photos on Flickr will know that my general appearance doesn’t instantly suggest Punjabi might be a tongue I’m familiar with. I think the reason for assuming that I might understand what was being said to me was Mrs Saul’s presence on each occasion. Presumably everyone guessed that if I had a wife who looked like she might well be a Punjabi speaker I might speak it myself.
Fortunately, thanks to the fact that Mrs Saul does speak Punjabi, I was able to find the car park, ignore the promise that the ditch would be covered in 5 minutes and tell the laundry man, in English, that I had no laundry for him.
These situations did get me thinking that I should learn a few phrases so that I can chat with people here in what amounts in certain stituations to be a far more common language than Arabic. Why should they always make the effort? As well as that, I’d love to be able to talk a little to Mrs Saul’s grandmother in her mother tongue.

Prague tomorrow


Off to Prague tomorrow for a customer workshop.
Prague means getting my overcoat out after a summer tucked away in a drawer. It’s made of wool and since trying it on I’ve been sneezing like anything – I seem to have developed either an allergy to wool, the chemical used to clean it or something else I can’t work out.
Travelling from Dubai to Europe during winter can present complex packing dilemmas. Should I wear my coat from Dubai onwards or pack it away and get it out when I arrive? I usually find that if I’ve put my coat and jumper in my carry on case I end up having to take a bus from plane to terminal with no chance to unpack my warm clothes, which means freezing to death in shirt sleeves when it’s -10C with windchill. If I wear the coat and jumper during the journey I’ll be whisked directly from plane to arrivals via a walkway, sweating profusely as I lug my case along with me.

Kamaz coming through!


jaok from ME4x4 has posted a great shot of a Kamaz truck at this year’s Desert Challenge. I’d love to have a go at driving one of these!

There are some other good pics from the event to be seen in this thread.

What make of 4×4 is this?


I saw this Polish registered 4×4 in Bratislava in the summer, but it had no badges on it to help me identify the make. Any ideas?

Richmond Resident


One of Richmond Upon Thames’ occasional visitors. Photo spotted browsing Mrs Saul’s folder of summer pics.

Musandam trip photos


Here are the photos from our recent Musandam trip. All images courtesy of Mrs Saul.
And from Google Earth, the area we sailed around.

Buff up, Bond


Went to see Casino Royale last night and thoroughly enjoyed it, even if I did have to ask two guys in front to stop jabbering at eachother and into their mobile phones so that we could listen to what was going on.
It’s interesting how Bond’s shape has changed over the years. Sean Connery was a lot more barrel chested and paunchy compared to Daniel Craig’s incredibly buffed appearance. Connery looked naturally fit and healthy as opposed to scientifically enhanced thanks to regular visits from a personal trainer. Not that I’ve spent much time staring at either of them, I hasten to add – the thought simply occurred to me briefly.
Interesting how modern technology can change people’s shapes – cheaper materials and improved science mean easier access to efficient gym machines, resulting in a ‘fit’ person being quite a different shape from his or her counterpart 30 years ago. By contrast, the increase in cheap processed food packed with high fructose corn syrup and other poisons, combined with a more sedentary lifestyle, means a modern ‘unfit’ person is probably drastically larger and unhealthier than he or she would have been in 1976. The only difference is probably that people today are less likely to smoke.

Greenprint – save trees and money


A cool new app I must try – Green Print.
Green Print, amongst other things, saves you printing unnecessary pages, thereby saving you money and time. It’ll also save trees, which will annoy all those Swedish foresters planting those renewable resources, but never mind.
Green Print comes from a company that an old friend of mine’s involved in. Jamie Kellerman and I hadn’t heard from eachother for years, but recently randomly hooked up via the blogosphere. Good luck to Jamie and to Green Print, I say.

Bloglines not picking up new entries


Bloglines doesn’t appear to be picking up the fact that new entries have appeared in my blog.
Re-subscribing to the atom feed seems to fix this.
So, for all of you Bloglines users wondering why I haven’t posted recently, here’s a telepathic message beaming out to you to edit your subscription.