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Monthly Archives: February 2009

I’m not sure who started this “tradition” nor when it all began, but it has become part of our celebrations.  Friends and family have mixed views, but it seems fathers of young children are in agreement.  Seriousness aside, we had a blast.  Noor cried a little when she was “attacked” by a future pick-up driver and both her and Yousef kept reminding me to lock our doors 🙂

The story was somewhat different when we parked and got out.  It was revenge time…

” 1848 is historically famous for the wave of revolutions that swept Europe and the world, starting in France. They significantly altered the political and philosophical landscape and had major ramifications throughout the rest of the century .”

This is what Wikipedia says about the year 1848.  Well… 48 years ago, Kuwait started a new chapter in her history.  Going back 18 years on the 26th, an “altered” history was changed back to the right course.

I’ve timed this post to appear at 18:48 to the 24th.  At that time, I shall be on my way home in time for the holidays.

Happy Independence and Liberation Days Kuwait. 

May god bless this country and everyone who calls it home.


My host drove me around Abu Dhabi for half an hour today, which was enough to get a flavour of the city.  I really like it.  It’s well maintained and there are some exciting projects nearing completion, and others further into the future.  Abu Dhabi is also preparing to host a FormulaOne race.  Parking is a real issue in the city.  It’s not uncommon to make a 999 call to complain about someone blocking you.  The police call him/her on their mobile and ask them to move their car!

The gardener in me was so impressed not only by the endless green space, but by the quality and variety of the shrubs and trees,.  The area near Emirates Palace and the garden within its walls makes me forget I’m anywhere near the Gulf.

I asked about old Abu Dhabi and where the old souq is… I was extremely surprised to learn it had been removed.


I use flickr to store my photographs and link them into this blog.  To my amazement, not only is Skype blocked in the UAE but for some reason flickr is too! I will upload the photograph above when I return.  

This photograph is of the carpet pattern at the Intercontinental Hotel. Security is very high in the Emirate as they host IDEX.   The gentleman on the x-ray machine at the hotel entrance asked me to take a random shot pointing to the ground.  The flash had to come on too.  I’ve never been asked to do that before – and I’ve never posted an unplanned shot before so here we are.

I’m finally at my room.  With the extra number of guests in Abu Dhabi, it is just about coping.

Two days to go for the big two days in February.  I’m off on a short business trip and back in time for the festivities.

For readers outside Kuwait, the above is the building of the headquarters of the AFESD.  Their annual contribution is this simple but effective way of celebrating another year of independence.

Dear Readers,

I need your help with the new Kuwait Mini Guide page.  It’s not much of a guide but more of a short introduction to Kuwait.  I started it some time in June last year and planned to finish it in a week.  Eight months on my final draft is ready.

Please comment with your recommendations for changes, additions and omissions.  I want to make it useful but also keep it relatively short.  I also want it to be a fair description.

Please post your comments below, on the page itself, or by email to me.

Thank you.

Bu Yousef

I took this photograph some time ago in Doha.  This man did a wonderful job cleaning the windows at the Ramada Hotel – and made it look so easy.  The gold you see behind him is the other side of the hotel. I was staying on the 8th floor, so it was nice to see that he was wearing a harness/belt which he had clamped onto the railings outside.  That same week, I saw cleaners washing (I mean washing washing – with running water) the curved glass cover of the entrance of Al Manshar Rotana hotel here in Kuwait.  For those who don’t know it, this is 4 metres high! The guy was standing barefooted on curved wet glass wearing no protection whatsoever.  His shirt was a little dodgy, so you almost wished he would fall.

It takes courage to work at high altitude.  Courage is the subject of a joke that I came across this evening.  A little long but worth it 🙂

World War Two. Close to the front line, three Allied generals talk about courage. One is Russian, the other is American and the third one is British.

The American general wants to show the others how courageous his men are. He calls a soldier and tells him: “Private, I want you to run across that mine field, jump over two enemy trenches, and come back in 10 minutes!”

“Sir, yes sir!”
The soldier does everything the general asked him and comes back on time. The American general says to the other two: “You see? That is what I call courage!”

The Russian general is eager to show the toughness of the Red Army. He calls a soldier and tells him: “Comrade, you must run across that mine field and jump over no fewer than four enemy trenches, while carrying a box of live grenades. And for the glory of Mother Russia, you must be back in 8 minutes!”
“Da, comrade general!”
This soldier also does everything the general asked him and comes back on time. The Russian general says to the other two: “You see, comrades? That is what I call courage!”

The British general raises an eyebrow and steps in slowly. He calls a soldier and tells him: “Hey, you there! Go and run across that mine field and jump over ten enemy trenches, while carrying a box of grenades in your arms, a timed C4 explosive on your back, and balancing a stick of dynamite on your nose. Oh, and be back in five minutes.”

The soldier replies: “You what? Are you bloody mad? I didn’t join the army to listen to braindead idiots like you! Go and do it yourself mate!”

The British general looks triumphantly at the other two. “Now, gentlemen, this is what I call courage!”

Coffee time at the office is now as easy as instant coffee (a definate no no) and better than drip coffee (no longer good enough).  I have always been against the idea of Nespresso because they choose your coffee for you.  The photograph shows the many blends on offer.  However the feeling of smelling the beans as they’re being ground is quite literally worth jumping out of bed for.

My current machine,  which is amazing, takes a little too long between phone-calls and meetings.  The Nespresso on the other hand, using the ready capsules, is ready after pressing one button!  You can’t argue with that.

… it’s the taking apart!  I saw this written on a bill board in London ahead of an England v France rugby match.  One letter and a truely English play on words.

Today, we thrashed the French.  I say we, but it was actually Yousef and the rest of the under fives team.  In fact it wasn’t Yousef at all, it was the rest of his team. Actually it was a couple of the players who knew what they were doing. The rest had no clue where the ball was, and some didn’t even care.  It was great fun to watch and the weather was great considering the start of the week that we’ve had.

The match was part of an annual tournament  between football teams of the BSK and LFK  of all ages.  I’m not sure what all the results were and I really don’t care.  It was great to be part of an energetic and friendly Saturday.

With pigeons, a dog and a fish tank, we clearly didn’t have enough animals at our house… My brother-in-law kindly offered us button-quail chicks as a healthy addition.

The children are facinated as am I.  I couldn’t believe how tiny they are.  What’s amazing is they eat independently and behave exactly like mini hens…  Look at the 50 fils coin for scale!

I was asked by intlxpatr if our white pigeon, Softmint, is my favourite.  I explained that I prefer the “ugly grey ones” and she asked for a good photograph of one.  This is an old photograph, from October 2008, of one of our homer pigeons returning home.  It doesn’t look any nicer, nothing can do that, but I hope you agree that a nice moment was captured.

They may not be good acrobats, nor particularly attractive – in fact they’re quite boring – but the way homing pigeons navigate and fly home is impressive every time.

It all started in 2004.  I registered a www address (mEYEworld for those who remember) and uploaded my favourite photographs.  No words, just pictures – aiming at a photograph a week.  It didn’t work as well as I wanted, and apart from two readers, I had only one visit from the outside world.  In 2006, I started IkarosImages and advertised it on every outgoing email to every friend and family member.  My total number of readers for that soared to 4.  Yes including my wife…  

In 2008, I learned a little more about blogging and noticed how the results of search engines seriously included some posts. I started and immediately felt that I’ve opened to a different world.  A world with real readers ad genuine interest.

This post is to thank you ALL for coming back again and again.  I have so much pleasure and pride in writing that today – and after less than ten months – I had 10,000 visits!  In the blogging world this is by no means anything significant.  Do however compare it to the above and you will soon see the reason for the candles… It’s a huge achievement for me personally.  It’s an average of a 1000 a month and is beyond any of my wildest predictions.

Your comments, compliments and advice are huge drivers.  Please keep those coming.

It’s been a while since I’ve been to Dubai.  I will be going there a few times over the next month or two.  This doesn’t mean I haven’t stopped there on the way, or the way back, from somewhere.  I suppose anyone with wings has to stop there at some point.

I managed to catch a glimpse of Sh. Zayed Road from the air very early this morning. You can see Emirates Towers if you open the larger version.

Meet my new travel companion!  It is a great friend when you’re stuck at an airport hotel – unable to sleep before a flight.  I just took this photograph.  I couldn’t miss the opportunity of the wonderful picture on the wall.

My MacBook Pro is a gift from my dear wife. Yes, I am officially (and finally) converted from the industrial PC to the artistic and musical Mac.  Until last week, and apart from a couple of iPods, I managed to stay completely outside of the world of Apple. 

The forbidden fruit was not specified in the holy books, but after what I’ve experienced in the past few days, I am 100% convinced it was an Apple…

Sens has only two hotels and all the rooms were booked. The office booked a room for me at a hotel in Fontainebleau. The bad news is it’s an hour away from the office, and an hour away from Paris.  The “good” news is that we were in meetings and dinners most of the time.  I took this photograph early this morning after checking out, and before we left for the office. The remainder of the ground frost was still visible. The only thing I knew about this town was that INSEAD is based here.  What I didn’t know is that it was the location of the headquarters of NATO until Charles de Gaulle kicked them out, and that Napolean was among the residents of the chateaux.

Unfortunately it was too early to see the chateaux, the largest in France, from the inside.  The photographs available on the web have made me even more interested.