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Monthly Archives: March 2009

If like me you’ve never understood the attraction of being off road but on only two wheels, then spend one afternoon watching a MotoCross race.  The power, the noise, the speed, the mud, the flying and of course the competition (both against yourself and others); all add up to make a fun race and a great sport.  The racers are crazy to say the least.

The last race of the season was yesterday.  Adrenaline posted about MotoCross some time back; and about this race, he posted again last week.  It’s a nicely organised event – and screems in the face of anyone who claims there isn’t much to do in Kuwait.  The hospitality was wonderful, the location convenient, and the atmosphere very relaxed and welcoming.  I will take the family next time.  I had planned to but my daughter, Noor, was very poorly yesterday and is recovering today.

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Even at the best hotels, food is almost never as good as home cooked… I’m not a breakfast man during the week (needs to change) but when it’s the weekend, I enjoy nothing more.  A simple thing like eggs for breakfast is rarely simple during travel.  I’ve been fortunate enough to stay at the best hotels almost around the world (I’ve had my fair share of dodgy places too) – but that’s no guarantee.  The perfect mix of good toasted bread, properly prepared quality eggs and, of course, a proper coffee – is almost impossible to find.

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Whilst I was unable to go around Jeddah, being here did bring back memories of my previous trips.  The thing I remember most is the intriguing architecture.  Older buildings here are like nowhere else.  They have their own character.  Even the ugly buildings seem to have a soul.  I remember walking around an old market (Souq Al Alawi) and missing most of the shops as I gazed above them at the old windows and balconies. 

The modern Jeddah is of course just as impressive.  The interesting architecture theme seems to creep into the new; and the Corniche by the Red Sea offers beautiful views of the city sky line at different points.  I stayed at a hotel in North Jeddah and the beach area is nicely presented with children play-areas, little cafes and long landscaped walkways. There is also an impressive long pier into the water that splits into three ends.

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The journey from Jeddah to Yanbu was nothing exciting.  The road is long, has two lanes, and desert on either side.

However there was one point near where the road splits to Medina which was rather beautiful.  There were more trees and mountains in the background.  In fact the roat to Medina is behind the mountains that are just about visible.  I heard today that that road is a gorgeous drive all the way to sacred Medina.

I passed through Jeddah yesterday.  This was my view from the hotel room.  In fact all I saw of Jeddah was this beautiful sunset.

Sometime last summer I started a book and it found its way into a briefcase of mine. I only found it again two weeks ago, and finally finished reading it on the flight yesterday.  The last chapter of Eats Shoots and Leaves by Lynn Truss is about the hyphen, and how it’s becoming extinct.  I should therefore point out that the title of this post is Red-Sea Sun-set; not Red Sea-Sun-set.  

Good book if you haven’t read it – it’s light despite the heavy subject.

Ok… This is the last Spring related post for the week. With us spending more time outside, and Sandy getting used to her new home (and garden), she now speeds around us whenever she’s excited. I don’t know how many times I have exhausted everyone in my family by asking them to run and to try to get her to chase them. All this to get the perfect shot of her running.  

Well, after 387 shots, this is unfortunately the best one I can offer.  It’s not perfect, but it does reflect her passion when running.

In case you didn’t notice it’s Spring time, look at this.  I took it late this morning in Shuwaikh.  The little flowers were in a pot and the surrounding area was full of butterflies.  I don’t know what family this butterfly is from, but I know I’ve always seen it in Kuwait.  I have many childhood memories of this exact colour.  I remember catching them and placing them into jars – only to watch them stop moving a while later.  Before you write to the UN, we were five or six at the time.

I promised the family I would buy these flowers in the hope of attracting butterflies into our garden.

UPDATE 23 03 2009

The flowers are called Lantanas & the butterfly is called Plain Tiger.

It’s a beautiful morning with blue skies and a gentle breeze.  Plants and animals are just as grateful as we are for this wonderful time of the year.  These two pigeons refused to land after taking off this morning.  They were dancing in the air for quite some time.

Wishing everyone a happy start to the week.

This was my forth attempt in the last five or so weeks to get these shots.  Every time I managed to run down to get my camera, I scared this little bird away.  This is the balcony adjacent to our living room.  I filled the pots with tiny shoots of Habiscus and they have been growing steadily since last year.  

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I love this time of year.  It’s Spring time and we’re shaking off the cold weather. The garden starts to blossom like no other time in the year.  New shoots, new flower buds and the grass is standing upright ready to invade the bald patches.  We have two trees in front of our house, one of which insists on shedding almost all its leaves around mid February. It’s now filling up with new fresh green foliage, and the result is very pleasing indeed.  It baffles me how two identical trees getting the same amount of water and light, of the same species and age, behave very differently. When this happened the first two years, I thought the tree was ill.

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I was told you can’t love a woman like a sister, wife, daughter and girlfriend – all at the same time.  How wrong was I to believe that?

This is my contribution to the rescue package of the world’s economy.  Actually I’m leasing it – so it’s a rather small contribution.  I had the same car last year for a year’s contract and absolutely loved it.  It’s beautifully built and the purring of the engine brings senior citizens to tears, as they miss their youth.  Enough about last year.  This time round, I went for a two year lease. This allowed me to increase the engine size, upgrade to the turbo and get the four-wheel-drive version for the same monthly payments.  The engine no longer purrs, it growls as the car disappears into the horizon.

I have to remember to control my foot – thus ensuring the only camera to capture this beautiful lady, is my own…

I’m not experienced in designing websites, nor am I fluent in html.  A few years ago, I had a website which I designed using Microsoft Publisher but I didn’t like the tedious work involved in uploading the files.  Whether it’s because things in general have advanced, or in fact that the Mac world has always been more friendly, using iWeb is a completely different story.  I can update a website’s content literally with a press of a button.

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You have to give it to the French.  Their capital, their roads, their cars, their fashions, I could go on for a while.  One of the ugliest things invented by man is concrete – and even that is beautiful here (at least in some places).  The airport is full of little design ideas offering a quality overall look and good function.  The seats, the natural light and more.  My favoutite is the big neck-friendly board.

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This is the first personal few minutes I’ve had since my arrival!  I took a taxi out of Paris, first thing Wednesday, and I’ve been busy ever since…  My journey out of Paris airport reminded me what an active airport CDG really is.  The number of long white clouds (from the jet engines) that lined the sky was impressive. After our meetings, there are receptions, followed by dinners, followed by late nights with colleagues, followed by more meetings the next day.  It will be a tough year and many companies are struggling.  We are no exception, so it’s important to agree on strategies.  

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Off on a short and very busy trip to France.  I’m not sure I’ll have much free time, so I’m posting the above photo of the Eiffel Tower taken back in August last year.  I doubt I can make time to go into Paris as my meetings are outside by some distance, but if I can make it there, I will of course take my camera with me.