Tag: Travel

  • Proper Emmets

    In contrast to two years ago, this year’s holiday was mercifully free of stifling nights and sweltering days. This year we stayed in a caravan by the sea in Cornwall, a much more relaxed (and cheaper!) affair. Since we live by the sea anyway, a seaside beach holiday wasn’t high on my list of priorities, and in truth grey skies and cold winds prevented any sunbathing opportunities. Instead we did proper grockle emmet stuff, touring some of the county’s attractions.

  • Adventures in Belgium

    Freshly back from a work trip to Bremen at the end of May, they sent me off again for two weeks in Belgium at the start of June, to the exciting seaside destination that is Zeebruges—a town famous for its commercial port, its 1980s ferry disaster, and very little else. By and large our days there were long and consisted of “hotel, naval base, pub, hotel, repeat”, but the event turned out a great success.

  • Despatches From the Isle of Skye

    When we were told, months ago, that we’d be spending much of October playing with boats off the western coast of Scotland, our expectations for the weather were less than perfect. We packed our foul weather gear fully expecting two weeks of strong winds and pouring rain.

  • Summer in the City

    My body tingles all over, droplets of water slowly shrinking and evaporating into the thick night air. I’ve repeated this process half a dozen times in the last hour, hoping and praying that one of the attempts will cool me down enough that the sweet embrace of sleep will take me. It’s summer in the city, and air conditioning is a luxury we have not been blessed with.

  • A Case of Stolen Identity

    London is a strange place.

  • By Distant Shores

    We sit and eat lunch by the sea, our cars parked up on the sand, engines running, air-con on. In front of us, waves roll into the shore bearing an ocean’s worth of hydrocarbon flotsam. A nylon rope from a Malaysian yacht, perhaps; a Madagascan trawler’s fishing floats, or a sandwich carton blown into the sea from a cruise ship—it all washes up here, where the wide Indian ocean begins to narrow.

  • Lost in Translation

  • My Son vs the Global Monoculture

    The other day I set to wondering what Joseph would make of his Spanish heritage – much more immediate for him with Spanish grandparents than my own distant Scottish and Irish relatives whom I was born too late to meet.  But I suspect the answer will be “not much” – that he will grow up like all children of the twenty-first century, considering national and regional cultures to be a thing of only historical significance.  Cheap travel and global communications are already merging cultures, and the pace of the change is only going to increase.

  • Geo-IP Security: Option Three

    Facebook, and many other online services, have an almost-clever security measure that tries to protect users against account theft. It uses your IP address to do a “Geo-IP” lookup – that is, to figure out roughly where in the world you normally access the site from. If an access attempt happens from elsewhere, the user will have to supply extra information to log in – often an “identify this person from their tagged photos” quiz.

  • The Platform Blues

    Hearts sink as the display updates from showing wildly inaccurate times to showing Delayed, Delayed, Delayed from top to bottom. “Signalling fault at Bournemouth”, it says, and we know then that all hope is lost.

  • Cyberpunk Cities in the Making

    (http://www.flickr.com/photos/allandonque/4649225751/))”]Bahrain Financial Harbour

  • Engineering and Enterprise

    I stoop low over the table, squinting in the flickering light of an incandescent bulb not long for this world. My fingers clutch and twist wires, forming tiny twigs of copper into shapes that would join and hold fast. I am Making Ethernet Happen. Without benefit of crimping tools or solder, or even sellotape to separate each contact from its kin, I have zero technology, and with it I bring our species’ greatest technology to this place.

  • Game Recommendations Please!

    A job for bored lazywebbers:

  • From Beneath the Ash Cloud’s Shadow

    The morning began with a blaze of contrails across the sky, traces of the early flights to far-off lands. With them came a sense that pent-up tension is being slowly released into the atmosphere, this time the tension of humanity and holidays and business, rather than that of rock and magma squeezed upwards by tectonic plates.

  • Highway Lolcode

    Thus far, I have discerned the following differences between driving in the UK and Saudi Arabia. They are presented here for your edification.

  • Square of Britain

    In here, behind the twenty-foot walls, the razor-wire and the cheerful-looking chap with the 50-cal machine gun, there is a square of Britain. There is a restaurant, which is functionally British. (Today’s lunch was chicken, chips and broad beans.) The villas have 240V plugs. There’s a bar, and a bowling alley, a pool table, and a library stuffed full of Andy McNab and Mills & Boon books, all threatening to separate from their spines.

  • Alas, Poor Culture

    As you step out of baggage reclaim at Bahrain Muharraq, the first smells that assault your senses are cinnamon and coffee, exotic spices from the lands of “Cinnabon” and “Costa”. We drove through the eternal traffic jam that is Bahrain, spotting the BHS, the Debenhams, the Carrefour. We drove across the causeway to Saudi Arabia, its passport control presided over by the twin golden arches of a McDonalds. I drank Coke on the way to the compound.

  • Inbound

    I have watched the sun set over Iraq, seen the lights of cities glow beneath me, and further out the flourescing military bases, square and uncomfortable amidst the desert. I have watched the first stars come out over Kuwait, reflected in the orange plumes of oil platforms in the Gulf below.

  • To Arid Pastures New

    In just over 12 hours’ time, I’ll be off for two weeks of joyous business trip to sunny Saudi Arabia. I’ve no idea what I’ll get by way of an internet connection out there, but I’ll try to pick up mail if I can.