Nov 292011
 

I was going through some old pictures and when I came across this one (below) it reminded me of my aimless wanderings that resulted in the writing of my wonderful masterpiece ‘The Cat’s Travelogue’ (if you are one of the few people on the planet not to have a copy you can get it discreetly here www.amazon.com and no one will ever know that you didn’t have one of the latest trendiest ‘must have consumer products’ because you can pretend that you had it all the time).

In The UAE They Dream Of The Sea

The picture comes from the ultra modern high rising cement constructed emirate of UAE and brought back all sorts of dreadful memories of a place where the contradictions of life are many, various and confusing to say nothing of their translations into English!

Imagine spending $20 billion on an hotel – imagine the Burj Khalifa – and then try to imagine why you wouldn’t spend $20 on correctly translating a sign from Gulf Arabic to English, if you can do that then you can imagine just what life is like in Dubai or the UAE!

The UAE is a place where ‘foreigners’ are loathed, but welcomed so that they can fill the seven star hotels and try their hardest to buy at least a tenth of all of the dreadful modern and over priced real estate that has been thrown up for them on newly created ‘islands’ in the middle of enormous lagoons which are now sadly sinking back into the depths of the lagoons from where they were dredged up.

UAE

The UAE is a place that likes to pretend that it is modern, go ahead and forward thinking but can’t do more than pretend, take a recent innocent example of a multinational shoe manufacturer (Puma) who thought that the very rich inhabitants of the UAE and the tourists, who troll around the place gaping at the enormous buildings, pleasure parks and the greater number of building sites where construction has ground to a halt, would like a pair of trainers with the UAE flag plastered all over them.

These ‘special edition shoes’ (whatever that can possibly mean) were intended to mark the 40th UAE National Day. All that Puma had to do was to make them and put a stupidly high price on them ($190 because they are special I suppose), stick them in their own stores and ‘bam’ they would be a few million dollars richer even if half of the products sold would have to be returned because they were so badly made in China.

UAE PUMAS

Well it was a brilliant marketing plan what could go wrong?

What went wrong was simple the very conservative inhabitants of the UAE didn’t like the the fact that the nations flag colours were being used on shoes!

At this moment it might be a good idea to cast your mind back to the Iraq war, just at the end when America was being thanked and celebrated before the Iraqis changed their minds, when the enormous statue of old walrus face was toppled and locals started hitting it with their shoes.

Saddam Statue Shoe Attack

Then a short while later after the Iraqis had forgotten all about the repression of the old ways under the tough guy with the big soup strainer and more importantly who had rescued them from torture and terrible moustaches some idiot threw a shoe at Pres. Georgie B, can you see a pattern emerging here?

Pres Bush Shoe

For some reason in the Arab world, best known only to Arabs, feet and footwear are considered dirty, the Cat who writes blogs thinks that it is such a shame that there isn’t more widespread use shoe polish and foot baths in the Arab world as that surely would sort of solve little problems like this and then the UAE could make a better pretence of being what it pretends to be – a modern country that is a great place for tourists and second home owners. Because as incidents like this demonstrate currently the mind set of the people is still firmly entrenched in prehistoric Wadi mud, remember the Cat who writes blogs is just a Cat and Cats aren’t as clever as humans! Are they? But I have to say this I am glad that Cats have Paws and not feet and never wear shoes, unless they are dressed up by idiot humans – but that is the subject of another blog and nothing to do with this one!

Just imagine for a moment if we were so precious about the British Union Jack or the American Stars and Stripes, we would have tacky mugs, tea towels and souvenir shop rubbish in general, Jimi Hendrix’s masterpiece of guitar playing the ‘Star Spangled Banner’ would be lost forever and we would never have had anything to roll our ‘herbal’ cigarettes in at college would we?

US Flag Joint

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Jun 222010
 

You know I think that BP may have been passed ‘The Cat Towers’ my Prague HQ, and the centre of my ever growing empire, because there is the most enormous oil spill outside on the footpath (see below).

P6220112.JPG

The enormous oil spill here prompted me to ask a favour of anyone living on the Gulf of Mexico coastline. If they could take a stroll down to one of their now black beaches and sniff a tarred pelican or two and then let me know if they smell of Vegetable Oil, because I have a feeling that is the odour that is drifting up to my office window and of course if the beach and the wildlife do smell of Vegetable Oil it will confirm my suspicions and I will start to make my compensation claim.

BP say that they have a 20 billion dollar fund that they will use to pay for the damage they have created which is a hell of a lot more than the 1.28 billion dollars that Exxon reluctantly spent in 1989 after the Exxon Valdez hit the rocks off Alaska.

I wonder if BP will wash whiter? Because people who live on the coastline that the Exxon Valdez sprayed with oil say that they are still suffering the ill effects all these years later, but then as the general public have a very limited attention span who out there cares? Definitely not Greenpeace those guardians of the environment who spend so much of our hard earned money on their offices, ships and of course staff needed to collect even more of our hard earned disposable income.

I only know that they don’t care about those poor Alaskans because nowhere on their website do they say that they are doing anything for those poor sods, but then the Exxon Vadez doesn’t have the cachet of the BP disaster does it? And that means that Greenpeace couldn’t use that old Alaskan disaster to make a grab for more of your money could they! The Exxon Valdez disaster is now only relevant to Alaskans.

Exval.jpeg

But think about it can you blame greedy corner cutting corporations when it is ‘you’ that they are getting the oil for at the cheapest possible price so that you always can use your car and don’t pay too much for gas!

Tell you what, if you are ‘that’ concerned about this disaster then the obvious answer is to give up your car, don’t fly anywhere and then happily the developed world will need less oil.

800px-Exxon_Valdez_Cleanup.jpg

If we give up our cars and trucks and save loads of oil then that will leave the two biggest polluter China and India (who of course don’t have any international legal obligations to stop polluting) to pay ever greater amounts of cash for oil, which I have to say is a nice idea isn’t it?

Still thinking about the BP disaster for a moment – did you know that the BP disaster is not the worst oil spill ever, yes, you wouldn’t believe it would you? There is at least one worse oil spill. It happened when that arch villain Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait and then offered a “Mother of all Battles” then ran away before ‘Mother’ arrived and the battle could begin.

During Saddam’s brief time in Kuwait he was worried about the American Marines landing from the Persian Gulf and so being the ‘hero’ that he was he ordered that the valves at an offshore oil terminal be opened. The result was a loss of hundreds of millions of barrels of oil and a 4 inch thick oil slick that covered 4000 square miles.

To give you an idea of what that was like just imagine Rhode Island not only covered in oil but swamped with it to a depth of a foot.

Lastly on an equally unhappy note I recently travelled to Hungary to write a little more of my next book which is a Travelogue, now you can see why I went to Hungary it wasn’t for any sort of literary inspiration or anything I hope you didn’t misunderstand.

The whole trip was awful because basically Hungarians are the rudest people I have ever encountered and I have met Prince Charles!

You can read all about my trip in the book when it finally comes out, but I thought I would share an observation and show just why people are acting unwisely if they wear t-shirts with writing on.

As I passed through downtown Budapest I saw a t-shirt which had a very odd message on it! It said “I Love BP” actually it was one of those even worse than dreadful t-shirts that said “I” then had a little graphic representation of a heart “BP” if you see what I mean.

As you can imagine I thought that this was a very risky stance for anyone to take on behalf of BP in the light of what they are doing to one of the prettiest places in the world, but this was Hungary and as I explained, though I hope not too critically, 99.99% of Hungarians are rude bastards.

It wasn’t until I was on my way home and had spent several hours sighing with relief to get out of Hungary alive it sort of dawned on me “I ♥ BP” meant “I Love or ♥ Budapest.”

As you can now tell it was such a dreadful place, because of the Budapestians that it never ever entered my head that someone would love Budapest, or dare wear a t-shirt that showed any love to the oily polluter either for that matter.

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