Camel fence

I collapsed upon the floor in the tent.

My car , a prado wrecked outside the flaps.

My host offered me coffee from a golden pot and some dates to eat. I was shaking from the shock of course and shivering from the mental flight.

‘What’s your problem mate ?’

‘I think it’s a case of the camel and the needle’ big bloody camel just came onto the car. Lucky I rolled it actually. The car that is. Otherwise it would’ve come straight through the windscreen. Just like a kangaroo.  Of course you can’t really build a fence to keep the Kangaroos off the road. But I see you have a pretty decent fence here.  So what’s with the camel?’

‘Inshallah someone will keep the gate closed next time.’

‘Well like I said, the car is a wreck out there in the heat and dust., had some water sat least and it didn’t get chucked out., but I hit that palm tree pretty hard. It all happened so fast.   The brakes, the camel, the rolling flight through the air, thinking… This is going to be bad… And then hittin the palm half way up and bouncing off that with dust and burning all around.’

‘You kill the camel ?’

‘Must’ve grazed it at least’

‘Maybe it hopped back over that camel proof fence you got out there.’

‘You got a bit of a graze there though mate. How’s the head ?’

‘Think I hit it on the roll.’

‘Hope the camel’s ok though. It’s got a much longer neck- and a heavier head really.’

‘Sure – / – you sure it was a camel ? I mean – there is a fence – no gate / camels can’t jump – and they usually don’t survive entanglement with a prado — you get my meaning?.’

‘You must be dreaming’


Martini Dry – Abu Dhabi 

people turn up for brunch by the beach around the courtyard fountain – not all at once – but gradually the place is shiny with tourists and locals – who must realise this might be the better brunch in town today. 

Today is a Friday – a holy day in the Muslim week – which we all probably do our best to hold too. Malls are open. Ferrari world is open. The blue mosque too. But people in the courtyard have maybe seen it all before.

I haven’t yet I’m tired from the tumultuous week at ADIPEC and maybe jet lag too quietly dulling out the brainwaves in the sunny afternoon.

So many people at that show. Cars people security parking badges delegate or exhibitor or visitor. Still with 100,000 people expected over the last 4 days, it had been all rather well organised. 

The paper, too techies for some maybe had to be written. Presented in minimalist form in a 20 minute slot. Of course there is a whole calendar of work starting May with the abstract last chance. How easy to write an abstract with keywords, but work and bits trashed searching through the argument and all the while looking for how to explain in only 6k words or less. 

Anyway that’s just the beginning. There will no doubt be a return visit next year with another idea extending the thoughts of others with another new insight.

But not today – too hard – too bright and the population too shiny under the Abu Dhabi sun reflections of the shiny buildings in the courtyard pool beside.

The Fisherperson

Mostly little bream get caught on days like this. Days when it’s down from the 55c in August and getting on to only 36c. Bright like a star the sun shines down through the salty haze of the gulf. 

The fishermen are covered head to toe with woollen balaclavas and jeans as a kind of heat shield for the morning.  

The prawn bait is cut and skewered onto small hooks on a side line up from the large sinker. Shallow ripple water stretches out as far as you can see – sometimes through to the lights of Bahrain on the other side. The rod whips over head and the cast reaches out about 40 meters. It’s heavy enough to provide some tension on the line but ok for a little bream to nibble around and take the bait.

But it’s not all about the fisherman or woman since generally only the women wear black but then everything else so bright it may not actually be black.

No there is the reflection and static nature of time. The scene could have been shot for 10minutes with almost no change. Waiting for the fish to bite. 

I couldn’t wait – a shore kitten skittish on the rocks took this opportunity to jump up on the Seawall and snaffle the hits of shrimp left lying around.  He saw me and scampered off to the cooler shade of the wall. 

Travelog 3 – long storm journey

Wednesday afternoon 1 June Houston, Tx.

Nothing like a black cloud dogging your travels.  Even though the summer is coming, it’s flooding in Paris and Texas and yes, you look up in the sky and there it is, just out there in the afternoon.  Low hung black and uncool. Everyday another 6 inches of rain and then the sun comes out and then more rain. So every step of the way these past few days, it’s been a black clouded weather issue.

Normally getting to Australia from Texas is not an issue.  It takes a few hours and one connection in Dallas, with plenty of hours of layover to make sure bags and everything including the mind, make that never-ending leg from Dallas to Sydney.

Of course, yous start out hopeful, checkout the handy travel app, says all is ok and on-time.  Check out from the hotel, say goodbye to the hotel staff and pack everything in your bags and your bags into the boot of the rental, to check in and forget about until two days hence landing in Sydney.

Having arrived at Houston airport car rental, plenty of time to spare, got my reciept and caught the shuttle over to terminal A.  I had a 6pm flight to Dallas which seemed on time and even though the newspapers were full of reports of TSA inefficiencies and queues, managed to scrape through TSA-PRE in a matter of minutes and get over to the gate.

On the way, I saw Chilli’s and having had no lunch thought a grab it while you can approach might work.  In this case, a seat at the bar, with my back to the window and the ominous weather, a few margaritas [house economy] and the queso dip should do the trick.

About halfway through the first margarita, the lights went out.  Strange for an airport, but then the lightning flashes through the window into the twilight of the bar seemed to indicate a cause.  Conversation subdued, we all hoped to was temporary. We being the born again loud guy two seats down, the loud lady 4 seats down and round to the left with the laptop [an Apple] and the South of the border bartender with a friendly smile, but suddenly no cash register.  Naturally I made a joke of it, telling friendly bartender that it was all bartender B’s problem, being so tall and standing too close to the refrigerator.

Some time passed, and the sun went down into the west, the room got darker, so dark I had to use the little iphone torch app to find the way into the restroom. I’m pretty sure that was a first.

I had waited over an hour to get my check, pay the bill and get to the gate. In the end I gave up and had to pay in cash and didn’t get a receipt, and no doubt people will talk about my shady transactions in cash in a dimly lit bar in Houston airport for some time to come.

when the power goes out blink

cash tills can't think

how quiet the world is of late

at the dark waiting air gate

Finally my predicament became really obvious.  Out at the gate was a plane, due to leave some hour before but still there, full of people and stuck due to the lack of power at the gate.  We had first for the power to come back, the plane to leave, our plane to arrive, get cleaned and then be boarded.  I chatted to the people next to me. I dozed off, I woke, dozed off again and… Finally some 3 hours later, I left Houston for Dallas.

Naturally you get to land in the rain and wind and trundle to the new gate in Dallas, off load knowing that nearly everyone in the plane must’ve missed their connection that night.  Approaching the gate staff in Dallas, I enquired about the now most probably useless boarding pass in my hand [Dallas-Sydney].  I didn’t even ask a hopeful question.  Just handed it over to the gate attendant and watched her type into a helpfully powered computer.

Long story short, had to stay the night in the airport hotel and get a new flight in the morning.

The clouds of dogging kept it up the next day.

Thursday 2 June DFW

I checked into my flight for 11am to Los Angeles, but then found it had it’s gate changed and that it was going to be late as well. An hour late.  No biggie, I would have had many hours free of layover in Los Angeles.  I sat down and chatted to a young would be rock star from Missouri… looking for a big break in Los Angeles and who just wanted to hear how anyone could fly on a plane where the trip lasted longer than 3 hours.

The black clouds came nearer and soon the rain was coming down fast.  Outside I could see our plane had arrived and well turned up at the appointed hour and started boarding.   We crawled down the taxiway in a queue of planes hoping to ‘get the hell out of Dodge’ but that was easier said than done.  It turned out only getting out flying North was working, due to the storms in the South West.  We finally took off, with  the rain streaming past the windows and straight into the cloud layer and beyond. I’d gotten a book to read.  Crime novels in paperback are plentiful and low cost. After about 71 pages written the pilot came on and informed that we were in fact the last flight out of Dallas before the DFW airport had been closed.

Announcing pilots attended

when you are travelling late

stories of lucky last takeoff,

your predicament now seems great

By now my next flight scheduled to leave LAX at 10:30pm is late.  Not minutes late. Hours late.  We’re now expecting to leave the confines of the very relaxing Qantas lounge at LAX by 2:40am.  One quick way to find out what happened is to check the flightaware website. Turns out the aircraft forming QF12 left JFK way late and at 11pm is still only halfway across the country and wont even land at LAX until well after midnight.  A quick check of the arrival weather in Sydney shows the bad weather closing in from the northwest with a notorious ‘east coast low’ developing.  Could be pretty crazy for the flight arrival Saturday.

Thursday June 3 LAX

Another casualty of delayed flights, particularly long ones are the faint possibility that someone booked on the flight, checked in, and frustrated after one or two too many martini’s just got up and left the airport.  It’s a risk and the longer the delay, the more likely more delays start happening once the people all get on board.

Yes – in our case, said person didn’t turn up for whatever reason and his bags had to be taken off the plane.  On an A380 this can take some time.  Let’s say another 30 minute delay, sitting on the plane.  Not a problem, quickly review all the movies that I might watch to put me to sleep as soon as having had a quick bite after takeoff.

After takeoff, you know that up to 17 hours of weather will happen around the world and surprise you a bit on landing to show you just how well you can forecast it.

SYDNEY Jun 4-5 Weekend

In Boston they have the Nor'Easter

In Sydney the East Coast Low

Either way its double trouble

For people who come and go