Friday, 18 September 2009

Unscheduled holiday



Last week I got an email from My Girl that was simply a flight booking confirmation. On closer inspection it appeared she has booked to fly to Damascus where she intends to study Arabic. After I had come out of a spin, I calmed down, talked to her father, and have booked to go with her! Only for 10 days, to satisfy myself that she is settled in her studies and to have a bit of a holiday, but as you can imagine, there is quite a bit to do beforehand. I hope to bring back a suitcase full of rose oil.

29 comments:

woman on a raft said...

Brilliant! Don't forget to stock up on Aleppo Gold soap.

Hope she remembers to send us regular pictures.

Nomad said...

Excellent, at last! Rest easy, the Syrians are very hospitable people (utterly unlike the regime they have to live under) and will make her welcome, especially after she has learned a few words and can chat to the folks in the souk. Many of them still speak French too as a fallback. Enjoy the scenery, there is much to see especially the Roman ruins all over the place and the Crusader castles. I spent many happy months in that neck of the woods - so I am jealous! Do you need someone to carry your bags perhaps?

Ma'a salamat. Bon voyage.

idle said...

Strange things happen on the road to Damascus. Try not to become distracted.

If you end up selling Calfy to a bushy-moustached fellow in the souk, insist on the highest grade of rose oil and a brace of racing camels. With her complexion, you should get top dollar.

Nomad said...

Lilith:
PS: You must ensure that Calfy registers with the Consular Section of the British Embassy so they know where to find her quickly if the brown stuff hits the twirly thing during her stay.

Idle: Many years ago in the dim and distant past I was offered 6 camels for my young lady travelling companion by the local Caid (regional chief) in a town in the deep south of Morocco. Had her boss not insisted she be back in the office the following Monday morning I might have been tempted!!

lilith said...

Yes WoaR, I must remind her to take (and to hang onto) her camera. I say hang onto, because she sheds technology like it can be replaced tomorrow.

Nomad! :-) We'll meet you there. I am listening to an Arabic Earworm, a cd that brainwashes you into knowing how to ask for a taxi to the airport and a bottle of water. Shukran.

Idle,Nomad, Calfy's Dad was offered 80 camels for her in Jordan, so inflation must be rampant out there.

If I start going on about clanging cymbals and resounding gongs and not having any love on my return Idle please send me for re-education at once.

Philipa said...

Blimey! Kids, who'd 'ave 'em?! Sounds like a plan though. Hope you both have a great time, you bring some frankincense back and Calfy has a safe, fascinating and fulfilling study break.

The Beast of Clerkenwell said...

I studied Arabic and then came to the conclusion
"Why the fuck does anybody want to listen to this bollocks, or read those squiggles ?"
Why would any sane person want to speak anything but English?
Calfy should spend her time in that shithole teaching the wogs Gods language
ENGLISH

lilith said...

Pip, they don't get any less of a worry as they grow older as far as I can tell! Thank you for your well wishes.



Beast, well I never...:-)

I don't think anyone has suggested that Calfy is a "sane person", have they?

Scrobs... said...

What's Arabic for Gin and tonic...

You take care and I hope Calfy has stocked up on Immodium...

Old Holborn said...

Wonderful news. With no bog paper, at least it'll stop her biting her fingernails.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/travel/2008/dec/20/damascus-syria-shopping

Remember, they drink in Syria

Elby the Beserk said...

On worrying about your children.

I am one of three brothers; only the oldest has made any dosh, hard-working, middle east for 15 years, no kids. Architect. Lost his job at the end of the 80s for about three years, but now on a plane all the time.

His joy - to take four weeks off to follow the Lions wherever. Job is to project manage luxury hotel schemes all over the world; hob nobs with Maharanis in India and such like; they love him - he is as English as they come, and his word is his bond. If he says he will do something, he does it. I doff my cap to him

Bought his wonderful flat in Notting Hill Gate in the 70s. Mortgage paid off years ago. Wife has a small flat in Holland Park which they rent out.

Top guy. Chalk and cheese, him and I, but we get on like a house on fire.

By contrast, my younger brother and I have .. got by.

My mother, bless her sainted, gin and whisky pickled soul, whenever I would go and visit her in Cheshire, would always say...

"I'm so worried about Nick. What if he loses his job again?"


Bless her.

But it is true - you don't stop worrying about them (my four now 26 to 34)

Trubes said...

Lils: lots of love to you and your darling girl, Calfy...

Gracious me, I almost feel that she is my fourth daughter!

Di.xxx

Nomad said...

Scrobs:

"Minfadlak gintonic" (+ smile) always worked for me in every Arab country I visited.

In Morocco, since those rugged, up-standing and true believing Arab camel herding gentlemen never let a drop of the evil "arak" (= alcohol) pass their lips, a "Coke Marocaine" is a double shot of whisky hidden in a large glass of coke. Just so you know next time you are in Casablanca...

Nomad said...

PS: I always found Dr Collis Browne's mixture far more effective for countering Montezuma's revenge than Immodium. Guaranteed instantaneous liquid cement.

Scrobs... said...

Nomad - that's excellent advice - thanks for that!

I love Collis Browne's. Never go away without it, because the day I do, there's an instantaneous good reason never to take off my bicycle clips...

electro-kevin said...

Good luck to you and her.

I think she should join the Royal Marines instead.

electro-kevin said...

... that's what I'd do given my time again.

Kill kill kill !

Philipa said...

Last night, my husband and I were sitting in the living room and I said to him, 'I never want to live in a vegetative state, dependent on some machine and fluids from a bottle.

So he got up, unplugged the Computer, and threw out my wine.

He's such a bastard...... 

lilith said...

That was funny Pip :-)

E-K, she may need Arabic in order to make herself useful to the Royal Marines :-)

Scrobs, Nomad, it isn't what it used to be (Collis Browne's). I am hoping that the Damascene pharmacist will have something nice and strong as Immodium is useless.

Old Holborn, Yes, that's what I call a real education :-)

lilith said...

Trubes, you are sweet :-) But your nerves, think of your nerves! You don't need an extra, at least not one like Calfy :-) I will send her over to you on her return.

Old Holborn said...

Elby

My twin retired aged 39 to Lake Luzern on the proceeds of a company I moved country to help him build.

My elder brother designs and builds embassies and hospitals

My sister is a nurse

Me? Whatever.

This life thing is so, so much better than than the alternative. As I tell my six kids every day, in the nicest possible way.

She'll be just fine.

Elby the Beserk said...

Quite so, OH. Contentment has always been my prime goal in life, since a very early age, and by and large, I am a very contented man. I too have passed that on the my children, and it is a blessing to watch them reap the rewards of having that, rather that gold and fame, as a guiding star

If you are not happy, and free, then what is the point of anything?

Nomad.

They downgraded that most excellent elixir, Collis-Browne, many years ago; indeed, I suspect it is no longer on the shelves. I used to take it to rock festivals - kept you warm at nights (I gather they take TENTS to them now. Whatever next?), and kept you so well lodged that you didn't have to brave the horrors of the portaloos.

Nomad said...

Elby: If what you say is true, that is very sad. I wonder what the chemists suggest nowadays in its place. I was last in the UK about two years ago and managed to get a couple of bottles, one for me and one for another nomadic friend who spends a lot of time sitting on 747s, but on that occasion I had to sign the poisons register for the first time in 50 years. Immodium is useless - you would probably do better to eat 4 hard boiled eggs for 3 days on the trot before you travel to stay bunged up for the duration!

Elby the Beserk said...

Nomad,

My father, who had a lousy stomach from too much gin and whisky, chronic overwork and stress used to get pills called "Lomotil". That worked a treat. He insisted that it had been developed for the astronauts, but he did have a fine line in tall tales. Certainly it worked, and Google suggests it still exists.

I shall check on Collis-Browne. It did, of course, contain liquid morphine, which is why it works. The opiates bung you up like nobody's business. "Lodged", as my Lancastrian Granny used to say.

Elby the Beserk said...

Well, Nomad, you can buy a bottle online at

https://www.lloydspharmacy.com

I do think the morphine content was decreased a while back.

Nomad said...

Elby: TQVM. I have used lomotil in my time too to good effect as it seems to be available in the most unlikely places.

Actually, on a more personal note, my system seems to work in reverse ie as soon as I step on a plane everything seizes up for 4 or 5 days despite extensive sampling of local souk or market stall fare, water and ale. But the bottle of CB is in my toilet bag for less fortunate travelling companions.

Elby the Beserk said...

Nomad,

Intercontinental flights just makes my pooh go long and stringy.

I think that is probably more than enough information, so I shall go and walk Pig the Dog.

lilith said...

eeeeeewwwww Elby!

Nomad said...

Lilith: We appear to have reached the, er, bottom of this thread, so a new one might now be in order.


P L E A S E !!!