Spence Green

التكرار يعلم الحمار

I work at Lilt. In addition to computers and languages, my interests include travel, running, and scuba diving. more...

Archive for the ‘UAE’ Category

India v. Pakistan

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Last Wednesday I attended a cricket match for the first time. Previously I had rejected this game as an idle pastime. On television, I had seen nothing but celebration punctuated by tea breaks. Further, the games can last up to seven days, a taxing period for someone with Generational Attention Deficit Disorder (GADD). I had never swooned over the indomitable Brett Lee nor had I an appreciation of England’s all-rounder Freddie Flintoff and his coach Duncan Fletcher. What sort of name is “Duncan Fletcher” anyway? It sounds like either a Cabbage Patch Kid or the archetypal British moniker. Oh wait…

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Written by Spence

April 24th, 2006 at 1:23 pm

Posted in UAE

Weekly Post

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Andy sent along some additional pictures from Oman. These differ from the rest in that I appear in them. So far I have been loathe to pose before this rock or that animal; such contrivances make me feel stupid and maybe a little Japanese. I haven’t traveled much over the past month, electing instead to prepare for the Africa trip this summer, dive, and practice Arabic. The latter has improved and I can now speak without thinking. Yesterday, for example, Anita (my teacher) asked if I could drive well and I responded, “Yes, much better than all of the Emiratis.” The half-inch mortar board walls at the school failed to confine that opinion and we subsequently heard laughter in the adjacent room. Later, I saw several Emiratis walk out.

A coworker also taught me some naughty words last week. Now if you are learning a language, you must know the patois early on. Otherwise, you could commit unintended indiscretions. For example, in Arabic, “hamam” means bathroom and “hamaar” means [large mule-thing]. Suppose I’m at the restaurant:
“That ravioli looks delightful. Does it come with a salad?”
“Of course. Which dressing?”
“The vinaigrette. By the way, do you have a [large mule-thing]?”
“Sir!”

Arabs are usually congenial and would understand the miscommunication. But in a place like France, this behavior would likely inspire a riot.

In other news, an Arab friend called me last weekend and said, “Let’s go play football. Do you have shoes, etc?” Sure, I said. That is, I had gear by the next afternoon. I haven’t played since age 6, but I figured that I could at least kick the ball and play defense. We went to a small turf field (quarter-size, I think) and we played pick-up with some guys from the best football club in the country. I managed the situation for about ten minutes and then the ball came right toward me. I didn’t think; I grabbed it. Never have I seen such laughter in my life. A fat man in the corner had a bout of tachycardia. For the rest of the evening they wouldn’t let me near the ball. Each time I approached it, one of them ran up screaming, “Hello, Captain” and took it from me. The next evening, my friend had to apologize for not bringing “the professional.”

Written by Spence

April 10th, 2006 at 11:46 am

Posted in UAE

Weekly Post

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Again, I have made infrequent posts over the last few weeks. I have devoted considerable time to both running and diving. The marathon is one week from today; after I finish, I will write on a variety of topics. I’ve got a long list of things to work on, including this cartoon issue. Have another look in a week or so!

In the interim, look at some new pictures from Khor Fakkan, UAE on the country’s eastern coast. I recently took a diving trip there and then spent a pleasant afternoon on the beach. Although this town is but three hours from Abu Dhabi, the landscape differs dramatically. It looks like a different country.

I will also post a travel schedule next week. Trips this year include India, Tibet and Western China, Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, and several diving expeditions.

Written by Spence

February 10th, 2006 at 11:56 am

Posted in UAE