Tag Archives Travel

The USA is no longer a destination of choice

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On 21st March the TSA and Homeland Security are expected to announce their banning of electronic devices larger than a mobile phone on some flights to and from the USA. This ban will be in effect on certain airlines and countries. There appears to be ten airports from eight Muslim countries affected, including Saudi Arabia, UAE, Jordan and Egypt.

On first read, I feel that this is a funny joke of the day. Yet another brainfart of a failing administration.

The serious stuff; to me at least, is that the USA is no longer on my destinations of choice list. If at all I can avoid going there for business or pleasure, I shall do so. There are more destinations – welcoming destinations – all over the world that I will endeavour to visit and enjoy instead.

The US can stay for Trump, Inc. for all I care.

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Yoga, first experience

Yoga, first experience

While touring the grounds of The Leela Palace Hotel in Mumbai where I stayed, I chanced upon Racchana who observed me admiring some of their flowers, and we started to chat. I got to know that she is the hotel’s Yoga guru and does free lessons for guests from 7 – 9 am. I asked her a few questions about yoga which she fully answered, and also demonstrated some of the basic and not so basic poses. She even led me through my very first yoga pose and I can tell you, this stuff is hard!

A few days later, today in fact, I had a full hour’s lesson with her. My very first, and I feel stretched, a little sore and happy that I took this first step. I fully intend to take it up when I get back home…

Recommendations welcome!

Enjoy the video and I hope that you too get inspired by Racchana as I have.

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Off to KL

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It’s only a week since I came back to the island after an excellent and fruitful holiday. That holiday was followed by a hectic – but fortunately very fruitful – week spent in the office. Now, I’m off with my crew to Kuala Lumpur to cover another of the Power-Gen series of international power conferences and exhibitions. I promise you that an even more hectic work schedule will continue for the week where we’ll be producing three distinct corporate films, and I’m thoroughly looking forward to the experience once again.

I hope that you too have had and shall continue to have fulfilling times my friends, in whatever endeavor you chose.

Until then, expect some pictures from KL!

Cheers!

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Road trip to Sombrio Beach

Road trip to Sombrio Beach

We love going on road trips while in Canada, or almost anywhere where a road trip can take more than 30 minutes without spanning the whole country 🙂

We decided to go check out a recommended beach on Vancouver Island called Sombrio Beach, about two and a half hours outside of Victoria and we stopped at this location just outside Sooke for a quick bite. The seagulls decided to be our lunch companions so we obliged 🙂

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M.Report: Photography Masterclass in NY

M.Report: Photography Masterclass in NY

Looking out of the apartment’s window after Hurricane Irene had passed, I noticed a group of people with a lot of tripods and some photography equipment. That piqued my interest and I thought I’d go and investigate (aka, poke my nose in!) – I’m glad I did! I met the renowned photographer Bryan Peterson (http://ppsop.com) who was teaching photography techniques.

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Killing with impunity

And not only that, get the bloodied survivors to sign a no contest agreement to absolve the killer and his sponsors to boot.

SURVIVORS of a tragic bus crash that killed three Bahrainis in Jordan have reportedly signed documents absolving the driver from responsibility.

Caravan owner Saeed Al Durazi, who is still nursing his wounds in a Jordanian hospital, said driver Ali Najaf was staying in a hotel with the remaining survivors arranged by the Bahrain Embassy in Amman.

Forty-nine Bahraini pilgrims, including 38 women and two drivers, were travelling on the bus owned by Bahrain-based Al Dalal Caravan to the Sayeda Zainab shrine in Damascus, Syria.

The accident happened on Thursday at the Al Zarq’a area when Mr Najaf attempted to avoid a truck hitting the bus, according to the Jordanian Embassy in Bahrain.

It is thought he was surprised to see the vehicle, which was reportedly changing lanes, and swerved to avoid it.

However, the bus ended up colliding head on with the truck and overturned several times.

GDN · 26 Dec 2010

There are many such international bus transport companies operating from Bahrain, most of whom are ill equipped to safely transport goats, let alone people for journeys to places as far as Mecca, Medina, Jordan, Syria and Iraq, which are usual destinations for these operations. They survive on cutting costs by hiring sub-standard and inexperienced drivers and goodness knows what other trade-offs in safety and comfort are incurred in their greedy chase for quick profits.

As far as I know, there are no rules governing such operators either. Or if there are, they are not applied. Punishments, of course, are never meted out for transgressions.

Instead, what we get is just as happened here: a clear case of negligence in which the criminal company, its owner and the driver should be strung up or at the very least beggared, to pay for lives lost and livelihoods destroyed and make a strong example of in order to ensure that like-operators take safety seriously and invest in better staff, better training, better equipment and better practices.

So who’s to blame?

Well, let me put it another way. Who’s responsibility is it to oversee enterprises in a country to ensure that they operate within the law, within published guidelines and within mandatory safety parameters?

Yes. It’s the government department or departments which are charged with all of these elements, so they are to be blamed first and foremost. With them abrogating their responsibilities, people were killed, and will continue to perish because of their gross negligence.

The second are the operators. It is very much their responsibility to ensure that their equipment, drivers and operations are conducted with safety and comfort in mind.

Third, and most importantly, are the very people who use such services without questions just because they are cheap! Not only that, they continue to look for even a cheaper deal, without much regard given to the safety, comfort and reputation of an operator.

It is no surprise at all that the combination of these factors result in deaths and will continue to do so. However, the real tragedy is not just the unfortunate loss of life, it is the condoning of such an event and even readily attributing it to fate and God’s will.

“The driver came to me crying in hospital saying that the memories of the tragedy were haunting him,” said Mr Al Durazi from his hospital bed.

“I told him that God has chosen that this tragedy happens and crying wouldn’t rewind time and that he is not responsible or else I would have him arrested myself.

How revolting.

The Public Prosecutor should immediately get involved here and raise a case of criminal negligence on both of these jokers. Those documents they got signed absolving their responsibility should be immediately declared null and void, and the owner of the company and the involved driver should be put on trial.

Doing anything else is just irresponsible and unacceptable.

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Walking the shore

One of the most pleasurable things my wife and I do while on holiday is walk!

I know, sounds so mundane doesn’t it? But we love it. We walk, we talk we watch people, observe the surroundings, interact with the locals, or just join hands and silently amble. Walking, we’ve discovered, is one of the best ways to know the locality we’re visiting.

These walks last anything from as little as half an hour to hours on end but almost always don’t have a predetermined route. We look around and let our legs carry us to a destination. Yesterday we did just that. We went to downtown Victoria, found a walkway at the harbour and struck off. We were pleasantly surprised to find that the path carried us along the harbour to the Blue Street Bridge from which we observed that the path carries through to the very end of the inner harbour! We estimated the distance to be around 3 kilometers long so it was shaping to be an excellent walk!

My friends, let me say this again, this is a constructed path for the PUBLIC. It snakes its way at the edge of the shore and rocks of the harbour. Very high end apartments, condominiums and town houses are packed on one side of the path – some of which I’m told are worth over a million dollars – and water is on the other. While there, tens of people were walking together, jogging, walking their dogs or simply sitting on one of the many benches or on the rocks talking, laughing, communicating with each other. Frances and I were in heaven! Beautiful location, beautiful people and very beautiful weather.

Coming home, I traced the route on Google Earth:

According to Google Earth, the path we took was 3.23 kilometers long and is marked with the white line with red dots on the map above. We spent a lovely period of 3 or 4 hours walking to the end, and of course walking back. A good afternoon’s exercise of over 6 kilometers. Beautiful.

I can’t help but wonder why we don’t have such a thing in Bahrain? With a country which is a collection of over 30 islands, shouldn’t we at least be able to have a properly prepared and constructed walkway along the shore of those islands for us to enjoy when we can?

Why is it that the only development we get along the shore is those which essentially adversely impact the environment, some irretrievably so? No sooner than one such project falters, another is announced and yet, none offer public access – other than Diyar Al-Muharraq which publicly announced public access walkways and beaches, but that is very much in the future.

A beautiful construction from flotsam installed at the Inner Harbour Walk protesting against a proposed high-class marina development.
The damning things about these developments in Bahrain is that the public are never consulted. No hearings take place. Unlike the situation in Victoria where the public is consulted for just about everything. A developer submitted an application for building a high class marina and development within the inner harbour, that immediately was placed online and placards were posted at the location of the proposed development announcing where the public might get more information and the dates of public hearings. These applications could take a long time. I understand this marina project was tabled in 2000 and it’s still under review with active public opposition, one of whom displayed his objection in a very innovative way near where the marina was proposed, as you could see from the picture on the right.

If there is such a process in Bahrain, I’d like to know about it. Because I couldn’t remember seeing any public consultation notices about any of the mega-developments in Bahrain. I think it’s high time that we get involved in this. We can’t really do any worse than the chaos we have at the moment with everything from road systems through to the hodgepodge we see in Juffair and other places. No regard is given for access, emergency services or public access. Or even simple pavements we can safely walk on when not being used as impromptu car parks!

Let me leave you with some of the pictures I took yesterday for you to get the feeling of what I’m talking about. Call this inspiration, if you would.


A Panorama of Victoria Harbour

Victoria Harbour

A Panorama of Victoria Harbour

Harbour Walk

Protest Art installation at the Harbour Walk

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Victoria Inner Harbour Walk

Harbour Walk

No to Mega Yachts!

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[MtvSM] Amsterdam, here we come!

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We’re off to Amsterdam for a week to produce 5 (yes, five) corporate videos in 7 days!

Needless to say, we’ll be a bit busy. So please hold the fort while I’m away. I’ll try to pop in as often as I can, but expect delays in responses and posts please.

Until my return, and in the spirit of the Den, The Mahmood’s Den Scapegoat of the Moment shall be….

The protestors and crew of the Feedom Flotilla.

Pay your respects, admiration or anger in the comments.

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Looking for inspiration…

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maybe I’ll find it in Berlin over the next 10 days where I’ll be attending a ‘Blogging Tour’ courtesy of the German Federal Foreign Office….

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