From Our Own Correspondent, 2013

(131 Posts)
Salbertina Mon 09-Sep-13 06:33:57

If I may? Loads of us seem keen. Idea is to post a little about your daily life overseas or a particular trip, event etc of interest, modelled on the R4 programme.

Got the school run but shall think of something to post later.

Salbertina Mon 09-Sep-13 09:21:03

Ok, shall i start? Desperately trying to think of something penetrating and insightful to say

Pondering "Men by the side of the road" situation here. First thing when I drove to school this morning, I spotted the usual gaggles of men, sitting on the kerbside, relaxing and chatting but with one eye on the road in the hope that someone would pick them up for ad hoc work. Quite a tall order with 28% unemployment rate. Too easy to blank them out as I drive passed but hard to know how best to help. My kids used to be curious about them when we first arrived, now they never comment.

Meanwhile, Spring is in the air, the sun shines and for some here life is good.

chloeb2002 Mon 09-Sep-13 15:18:59

Meanwhile in sunny Australia we gained a new government. The leader of which my mother confidently announced is Russ Abbot. Never a better description made wink

Salbertina Mon 09-Sep-13 15:24:20

Oh dear. Not a good result then?

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Mon 09-Sep-13 15:31:48

Today I had the misfortune to get not one, but two 'Kowloon side' taxi drivers who had no clue where they were going. Although in Hk red taxi drivers can legally drive on both hk island and Kowloon, in practice they rarely do so by choice, so if a trip takes them across the harbour they try desperately to get back, in the meantime grudgingly doing 'wrong side' journeys, forcing their passengers to navigate for them, and sighing heavily.

Salbertina Mon 09-Sep-13 15:35:46

Sorry, Richer, but couldn't help wry smile, remember it well, seemed to happen to me on the stickiest of summer days, too! Bit like south of the river in London, only worse.

TanteRose Mon 09-Sep-13 16:00:53

Thanks for starting this thread, Salbertina smile
The one a few years ago was fun!

So Tokyo won its bid to host the 2020 Olympics...my first reaction, honestly, was "oh FFS" confused
I mean, yes, London did it and it all worked out in the end, but London was not sitting on top of a seismic fault line that literally, and I mean LITERALLY, could cause a massive earthquake at any time. Mt. Fuji is also due for some volcanic action. There is the site of a nuclear accident not a million miles away, and although it is true that Fukushima does not really pose that much of a danger to Tokyo at the moment, the fact is, money needs to be channelled up north to fund the clean-up and decontamination work. There are so many people who are still living in temporary housing, facing another long, cold winter.
But, yeah, let's have a sports' party in Tokyo - that'll solve everything <cynical>

And breathe... grin

znaika Mon 09-Sep-13 19:26:36

On the metro on the way home from work, a youngish guy was passed out drunk lying across a whole metro bench, taking up maybe 5 seats or more at rush hour.nobody went near him for ages, just let him sleep it off, until one bloke shoved his feet off, so he could sit down, and he awoke with a start and rolled on to the floor. He jumped right up dazed and confused.

After a few minutes he started patting down his pockets and he was obviously robbed while he slept. He looked gutted sad. I gave him 100 rubles (all I had on me) He fell over 4 more times on the way top his stop. Noone laughed/helped him/ looked at him even. Stuff like this happens everyday. I live in Moscow.

MasterOfTheYoniverse Tue 10-Sep-13 03:06:29

Znaika that's awful. We rarely see drunken disorderly behavior here in Asia but human frailty is visible everywhere.
What drives me insane here is to see 70-80 year olds working very physical menial jobs such as clearing food canteens, making deliveries etc…..In both Singapore and HK which are small, very affluent and have able governments, its just so unethical that they don't have a system to take care of the aging population.

The Tokyo win made me wonder along the same lines TanteRose.
Lots of valid points in the article below but its very Asia/Pacific centric.

Tokyo win a sign of the time?

The same argument could have worked for Madrid….. goes to show that Europe is still deep in trouble as our "special relationship" with the US has moved miles from the Marshall plan and firmly away from the Atlantic.

On a prosaic note, must do yet another trip to Ikea. I hate to think of how many bits and pieces I've bought and chucked out over the many moves….still nothing beats their expedit storage/bookcases.

Isthiscorrect Tue 10-Sep-13 03:39:42

Over here in the ME, the sky this morning is a washed out white colour. Last night a huge sandstorm blew up. Driving here is difficult enough (the sense of entitlement to always be first off the lights or the fastest, etc is felt very keenly by all drivers) but throw dusk and 30 yard visibility into the mix and its pretty much taking your life into your own hands. Back to this morning, the good news is the sand has cleared to a much higher level hence the washed out sky, the air is clear to breathe but everything is covered in sand, the roads, making for dangerous driving, the cars, the outside furniture, and inside as it seeped through any tiny crack. I the resting to see the labourers and gardeners wearing towels over their faces to avoid breathing the sand. It's just a shame that the ubiquitous face masks from the Far East haven't made their way over here.

Salbertina Tue 10-Sep-13 10:50:46

Gosh, Is, sounds full on! We have sandstorms sometimes but nothing like as bad.

The South African love of the dog knows no bounds - I can think of only one family without one. What would be a huge dog back in the UK is normal here- on today's walk we saw several huskies, ridgebacks, Alsatians and labs.. And only two little poodles. I used to find all these large hounds bounding about rather unnerving, but now with my own am part of this club.

All is quiet on the Mandela front, nothing much in national media. Instead it's ANC corruption, strikes and shack protests as well as a v good news story, Africa's "lion" economies and their rapidly growing GDP.

Barbie1 Tue 10-Sep-13 13:33:42

Signing in from South Korea, too late to post bit marking my spot

thanksamillion Tue 10-Sep-13 20:51:15

From Moldova:

Today we visited an 87 year old lady in our neighbourhood who can barely walk. She still tends her garden, often by shuffling around on her bottom. If she doesn't grow things to eat she'd have almost nothing to eat. When we went to visit she was sitting soaking her feet in a bowl of cold water and in the time we were talking the water almost all drained away because the tub was tin and had corroded away.

We went back later in the day with a plastic bowl, some warm water, soap and moisturising cream and washed her feet, cut her nails and then massaged them and her hands. When we left she wanted to walk to the gate with us so we helped her there and said goodbye. A neighbour saw us with her and said that it would probably take her until dark to walk back again to the house.

I think I may have got fleas from her house hmm

Good afternoon in pleasant heat from the entertainment capital of the world, Los Angeles.

The late summer has finally blossomed with an excruciating heat wave after months of the marine layer stretching all the way east of the 405 freeway, which continues to be as fucked up as the Victoria Line circa 2007-2011

Chia Seeds are the current go to food for all vegan, lentil weaving, competitive yogis in the city; schools returned from their summer vacation shock horror before labour day hit at least it got the pesky tourists off our beaches and out of Beverly Hills.

Celebrity Spot for the day - Gael Garcia Bernal sipping a rose water almond latte and eating a vegan walnut and coconut macaroon while discussing his next film venture in Bob Dylan's "18th Street Coffee Shop" cafe in Santa Monica.

<<LA Correspondent will return in a month after a sabbatical to the motherland>>

Sibble Wed 11-Sep-13 05:17:59

While rugby is New Zealand's national sport, kiwis are passionate about most sports and New Zealand is currently gripped by America's Cup Fever. The 34th America's cup is currently taking place in San Fransisco. The race is highly topical in NZ: Russell Coutts CEO of Oracle (Team NZs opposition) is himself a kiwi, he 'defected' several years ago and NZ never quite got over the 'betrayal'; Oracle were penalised two points in a cheating scandal before the race began; if NZ win the race will next be hosted here in NZ bringing with it economic opportunities.

Team New Zealand currently are leading 4 races to 1. The first team to win 9 races wins. As Oracle were penalised two points before the race began the current score is 4/-1. Oracle have just used their wildcard that allows them to defer the next race.

The government are already working out finances for hosting the next cup. Heaven help the nation if we lose!

Salbertina Wed 11-Sep-13 10:17:10

Keep 'em coming, these are great!

So far, roll-call is NZ, Australia, LA, Hong Kong, Moldova, S Korea, ME, Moscow, S Africa...hope i haven't missed anyone out?!

Salbertina Wed 11-Sep-13 10:18:02

And Japan- Tokyo?!

mirai Wed 11-Sep-13 15:26:47

Good evening, this is your second Japanese correspondent reporting for duty! I live a good few hours south of Tokyo, in a tiny village, so hopefully my reports will complement Tante's!

I had the exact same thought about the Olympics going to Tokyo. Of course it is a cause for celebration, but given our taxes went up earlier this year "to support the rebuilding", I couldn't help but be a bit hmm that they have magically found all these billions to stage the Olympics. That said, the first thing DH and I said was that we were going to try and get tickets for it!

On a more local level, everyone is getting very excited here for the yearly 'matsuri', or festival, which is takin place this weekend. (It even has its own Wikipedia entry!) Very conveniently placed too as we have a public holiday on Monday to sleep off the hangovers! DH and I have persuaded quite a few other English teachers to make the long trek up so I am looking forward to being able to talk to people other than my husband! wink

Its football season here in the US and Texans take their sport very seriously. Supplies for tailgating parties (barbecuing in the parking lot before the game) and Texans merchandise are everywhere but while I try to work out the intricacies of stoppages and fouls, I've been keeping an eye on the local Houston Chronicle.

The Chron carried a great story that particularly appealed to my newbie-incredulousness of firearms laws here in Texas. Apparently a man was dropping a rental DVD back to a rental kiosk in a mcDonalds parking lot late one night this week. He was allegedly approached by several carjackers who were unaware (not for long) that he carried a licensed concealed weapon. Our DVD viewer fatally shot one would-be carjacker and another two fled the scene, leaving their weapons behind.

The punch line ......? Police said the fatal shooting appears to be justified. You don't mess with Texas.....

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Thu 12-Sep-13 14:31:18

It's netball season here, and I just went for a social with my new netball team. They are all hard-bodied and 25 and I am flabby-bodied and 38 grin. Netball is MASSIVE here, probably due to a lot of Aussies, Kiwis, Safas and Brits. We met at 6.30pm. There were 8 of us. We were 6 bottles of wine down by 8pm. I'm not sure I can survive the season!!

thanksamillion Thu 12-Sep-13 14:55:09

Ooh I love playing netball but no one has even heard of it here sad

MasterOfTheYoniverse Thu 12-Sep-13 14:55:34

Lol Richman, sounds like more fun than hiking!
Seems like for everything the "seaon" has begun in HK.
It runs about until chinese new year. Very odd and old fashioned.

Salbertina Thu 12-Sep-13 15:12:39

Is (female) tag rugby still popular on HK? Was among the people i knew

Beautiful, beautiful day here but tranquility of the weather disturbed by the manic pile drivers on the various building sites around, reopened after winter. Lots of developers desperate to finish and cash in during the coming holiday season.

Dc trying to understand the regional accents on BBC bitesize - chuck any SA accent at them and they'll understand, but Geordie, N Irish? Confused faces all round. Took me a while to realise not due to the mathematical concepts!

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Fri 13-Sep-13 00:24:50

sal not sure about tag rugby- full contact is quite popular amongst women now but netball and hockey still the front runners. The hiking is lovely on HK, it must be said but agree re the pile driving. That's why Lantau is a good bet if you can be bothered to go over there.

MasterOfTheYoniverse Fri 13-Sep-13 02:12:47

free day!!!
Going for my favorite "local" tradition: Foot massage.
With the current pollution levels, nothing like a good flush.
Its a thin line between pain and pleasure and leaves you all floppy but intensely re-energised. Perfect Yin in Yang.
reflexogy chart

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