Am on the front end of my return trip to the States. I love the middle east and highly recommend anyone who has the least little inkling to experience the world to consider Dubai, Bahrain or any of the many GCC kingdoms and emirates as their final destination. The people are kind, very friendly to Americans and engaging on all levels.
Eye openers this trip… Only one new thing really: I met Dr. XXXXXXX who is a professor at Qurna, Iraq. (Reconsidered naming him outright as I’m thinking it might jeapordize him. Sad.) I know of Qurna only because it is the home of the best date fruits in the whole of the world. He said the date trade of southern Iraq was ruined in the Iraq war. Due to (wait for it…) RADIATION! HUH? Yep, according to the good Dr. the Iraqi tanks which were blasted to smithereens (the ones caught trying to hide under cover of the palm groves) were radiation laden and have effectively spoiled the dates. He said geiger readings of the palm fruit from those trees WILL set off a geiger counter even still.
Oh, the things you’ll learn and the lengths we’ll fly to learn them.
Also, met several people from Iran, Sudan, Yemen and Libya. Yes, all of them on the “can’t do business with you” list of the State Dept. And, no, they didn’t have two heads and breath fire. I’ll treasure the pen set from the Iranians for many many years. Their kindness was coming from a very deep place within and was very sincere.
So, I’m now off to the airport and will go dark for several days as I put my luggage into the international lottery pool of “maybe you get it back, maybe you don’t” and sleep off the opposite day/night cycle I’ve only now adjusted to.
PS – Apple (couldn’t post without the mention) will be announcing the iPhone SDK while I’m out. Rumor has it there will be a charge to be a commercial developer. If so, I *will* be paying the fee, whatever it is. Just hoping they have a solid debugger and an onboard emulator. Had both of these in the Newton days. So, I think the chances are good. More news when I wake up from my slumber.