Zoned Out

Traveling to the Middle East from Singapore                                             Sun, 26 May 2002


Another report from your intrepid traveler…

I have now changed time zones for the 6th time on this trip.  I was supposed to return toHouston May 22nd but my Middle East office asked me to come toDubai, in theUnited Arab Emirates, to put on a presentation with a potential customer.  And hey, I was in the neighborhood, just 7 hours and $700 away by Emirates Airlines (fondly known by me as Air Jihad), so I delayed my trip home.

 As a side note, on one of my in-flight meals I was provided with eating utensils, as would be expected.  But with all the security concerns that abound in the airline industry, it seemed strange to me that they provided all plastic forks and spoons EXCEPT a metal knife.  I figured it was a trick so I did NOT commandeer the plane with my knife.  But I digress… I am now in sunnyDubai, where it is a balmy 42 degrees centigrade IN THE SHADE. (That’s 108 degrees F to you roundeyed westerners) But, THERE IS NO SHADE since nothing will grow in this gawd-awful land of ragheaded, sheet wearing, camel jockeys.  To illustrate just how hot it is, there was an automobile company, Citroen, who sold their first car inDubaiwhich featured a sloping windshield that allowed sunlight to cheerfully fill the vehicle.  The problem was that, with all that glass, the heat building up in the car caused the dash board and the steering wheel to melt like cheese in a microwave oven.  So much for style over function.. I wanted to try the old “fry an egg on the sidewalk trick”, but the chickens here all lay hardboiled eggs…

I got up at5AMthis morning to drive toAbu Dhabi, the capital of the seven Emirates (a loose confederation of city states) to see the customer that this segment of the trip was dedicated to.  We ate breakfast inAbu Dhabi, at a very nice hotel restaurant.  They think a little differently here in the Middle East…maybe it’s the heat, but I saw a big poster of an upcoming festival….celebrating Asparagus.  Yes, this tasty vegetable sensation has it’s own holiday weekend here inAbu Dhabi.  Too bad my dance card is already filled or I would work this timeless bit of heaven into my plans…

The customer did actually like what I told him and they have need of over $1million in valves for some projects coming up.  He wants to use our product, so I believe the extra time, effort and expense may have been worth it.  I later met with the owner of my company, who happened to be in Dubai this week also, and he wants me to plan a trip to Cairo, Bangladesh, Syria, Palestine, ……hey!!!, is he trying to get rid of me??

Anyway, I am done in the Middle East for this trip, and my flight BACK toSingaporeleaves bright and early at2:45AMtomorrow morning.  I get the pleasure of spending some quality time with my knees which will be tucked under my chin.  I then stay inSingaporefor a half a day and then fly toTokyoand on toHouston.  Life just doesn’t get any better than this.  Of course, I also like rancid milk….So Gwen, please pick me up at the International Terminal “D” at Bush, on Tuesday, May 28th at1:45PM.  Please have some crowd control arranged for.  I know how Houstonians love to greet a returning hero.  I will try to call you fromTokyoto reconfirm that you are still married to me.  It will probably be in the middle of the night for you, so tell the sailors to expect a call.

This may be the last report from your intrepid traveler, dear reader, unless something interesting happens.  But why should things change now?  I took a few photos during this adventure and hope to create a photo essay of the trip.  I am sure a Pulitzer is in there somewhere.   So it is onward and upward on Air Jihad. 

Signing off for now, Bill


I have lost my cell phone and a credit card on this trip, so if bad things happen in threes, I can hardly wait for the third thing.  Maybe my wife….Gwen has been very patient with me up until now….  Before this trip came up, we had planned to take a short vacation after she got out of school for the semester and before her summer school started.  Well, the day she got out of school I left on this trip and now I won’t get home until her summer school starts.  So I guess I’ll start planning on doing a planning.



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