Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Cold Virus Hotspots

This is from BBC Health News:

Warning over cold virus hotspots

TV remote controls, bathroom taps and refrigerator doors are hotspots for the common cold virus, experts have warned.

Researchers at the University of Virginia swabbed these common household surfaces in 30 homes and found traces of rhinovirus 42% of the time.

While coughs and sneezes do spread the disease, everyday objects in the home are another important source and should be cleaner regularly, they say.

Each week in winter, a fifth of the UK population suffers from a cold.

As the virus can survive on household surfaces for up to two days, a single family member or visitor can spread the virus to other members through touching such things as door handles and taps, the researchers told a US infectious diseases conference.

Infectious rhinovirus was detected on almost a quarter of subjects’ fingertips one hour after touching household surfaces contaminated with the virus.

And genetic material from the virus was still transferred to the finger tips of more than half of the 30 people studied 48 hours after the surfaces were contaminated.

Lead researcher Dr Birgit Winther said the public needed to be aware of this route of transmission.
“Some people still spray the air with disinfectants, but rhinovirus doesn’t fly through the air. I think that the message from this research is that we need to focus more wisely on cleaning commonly touched surfaces in the home.”

Professor John Oxford, virologist at St Bartholemew’s and the Royal London Hospital and chair of the UK Hygiene Council, said: “The cold virus is a hardy one because it survives on surfaces for so long and can then be passed on, putting the whole family at risk of infection. Home hygiene is key in the fight against colds.

“Recent government recommendations mean that doctors can no longer prescribe antibiotics to alleviate colds – so it’s vital that families target these key surfaces in the home to protect themselves from colds this winter.”

October 31, 2008 Posted by | Family Issues, Health Issues | 10 Comments

Happy Halloween

This is from the New Yorker

We love their cartoons. This one, unfortunately, is more true than funny.

October 31, 2008 Posted by | Family Issues, Financial Issues, Humor, Interconnected, Living Conditions, Satire | 5 Comments

Halloween Sunrise

Boooooooooooooooooo! Good Morning, Kuwait, and a chilly autumn Halloween morning it is:

How COOOOOOOOOL is that? Sweater weather?

The sun rose all golden and smokey looking this morning, there are strings of fishing dhows on the horizon and life is sweet:

Have a great day, Kuwait.

October 31, 2008 Posted by | ExPat Life, Halloween, Kuwait, Living Conditions, sunrise series, Weather | 9 Comments

Heading for the Desert

Every now and then I wish I were a man. When I was a little kid, our dads would all head out on a big boat, going hunting. Mostly, women stayed home. Some women hunted, but it is hard work, and, I think, maybe men don’t always want women along when they go out hunting, they want to (in Alaska) drink and party and play cards and talk crude and don’t want anyone around reminding them to mind their manners.

The truth is I don’t know what they do. I can only imagine, based on things I’ve heard, movies, my imagination.

Today, my neighbors are headed out to hunt. How do I know? They have their falcon with them. It is perfect weather – clear, relatively cool, the heat has definitely broken, it is wonderful to be able to drive without any air conditioning. . . .

I know, I know, there is still this kid in my heart that thinks that going hunting with a FALCON is very very cool.

October 30, 2008 Posted by | Community, Cross Cultural, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Weather | | 8 Comments

Sunrise After Rain, 30 October 2008

It’s a glorious morning. The sky is clear all the way to the horizon, there was huge surf last night, so if you comb the beaches – today is YOUR day. 🙂

Weather Underground: Kuwait says we have a more serious chance of rain in just five days:

Meanwhile – today is a glorious day. I thought I had posted this first thing this morning, LOL, guess not. Have a gr8 day, Q8!

October 30, 2008 Posted by | ExPat Life, Kuwait, Living Conditions, sunrise series, Weather | 2 Comments

WordPress Incoming Links

Something is weird with my Incoming Links – most of them aren’t blogs I recognize, and when I check them – they are not linked to me at all. Very weird. I have to guess that WordPress is doing some experimenting in the background, and that they don’t know the bugs unless we all tell them.

My Categories seem to be OK, now. I changed them back one more time, and this time it stuck, but . . . that was weird, too.

On the whole, almost every change WordPress makes, makes my blog run better / faster / smarter. The only thing I hate is when they come up with a new way to upload photos – it may work better, but the agony of having to learn a new process just when I have gotten really good at the current one bugs me! 🙂 I’m just not that flexible with technical things.

October 30, 2008 Posted by | Blogging, Technical Issue, WordPress | 7 Comments

Warning Triangles, Flares, and Traffic Control

There was another accident outside my house last night, and I almost didn’t even call the police, but then . . . I did. I thought “It’s useless to call.” And then I thought “But at lease it’s SOMETHING I can do to help.” I am guessing people would have thought I was crazy if I had gone out and started trying to direct traffic (LOL; isn’t that a funny thought?) This time the polite man on duty took all my information and the police didn’t call back. A road warrior (traffic police) arrived nearly an hour later, but with the slick roads in my area, I can imagine they were very busy, and there didn’t appear to be any injuries to people, only to cars.

What is scary to me is how easy it would be for another car to come plowing into the accident. It’s night, it’s dark, people are in a hurry to get home and they have their route down pat, so they are on automatic pilot. Most of the time, they go past at a fairly fast speed.

Aren’t people required to carry warning triangles and flares here? Even just setting up a warning triangle a hundred feet back would have helped last night. A flare would have gotten attention and slowed traffic. People directing traffic around the accident would have helped. For an hour, those involved in the accident just stood around, so vulnerable. It’s a small thing, but it might help, in Kuwait, where even these very basic precautions are ignored.

October 30, 2008 Posted by | Community, ExPat Life, Health Issues, Kuwait, Living Conditions | 7 Comments

Menace on the Roads

LOL, AbdulAziz sent these fabulous close-to-sunset-in-Kuwait photos. Here is the first:

Isn’t that beautiful?

And here is the one taken just before it:

AbdulAziz, I hope you were at a stoplight when you took these photos! I imagine you driving down the road, camera in one hand, one eye on the photo and one on your rear view mirror and you might come into conflict with one of those bus drivers! Watch out!

October 29, 2008 Posted by | Community, ExPat Life, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Photos | | 3 Comments

Rain in Kuwait

Lots of rain, peals of thunder, lightning strikes and lots of rain! The Qatteri Cat is totally freaked out, running from the leaking window with it’s new drip drip drip to the windows – he thinks the rain drops are bugs or something, and makes that eh-eh-eh-eh-eh sound cats make when they see birds. Rain!

I am laughing; who would think this PacificNorthwest gal would be celebrating rain – we get so much rain out there in the PNW. But even when there was a huge rainstorm here in Kuwait last year, we didn’t see any where we live, or only a drop or two, not even enough to smear a window or create a puddle. Now Rain! Real rain!

When it started, I was driving. We got home as soon as we could; the first rains turn the highways into grease slicks.

Remember – this is not California, where people might stop and dance for joy at the parking lights. (California has droughts, too.) Dancing for joy only allowed in the privacy of your own home!

Update – an hour later it is still raining, and I have towels under several of my windows to collect the intrusion!

October 29, 2008 Posted by | Community, Cross Cultural, ExPat Life, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Social Issues, Weather | 15 Comments

New Buses, Mixed Blessing

As many of you may remember, I am a supporter of public transportation. I would SO much rather have the time to read a book or magazine than to be stuck in traffic. When I saw the bright, modern, fast new buses hit the streets recently in Kuwait – during the last year – instead of the clunky slow, old buses they had, my heart rejoiced.

Hmm. Not so fast.

I drive on a major local road regularly. The buses have become a menace. They drive way fast. They halt, and then merge back into traffic as if they have the right of way, which as we all know, in Kuwait there is no right of way. I guess they figure that because they are big, and faster, they are king of the road. I can tell you for a fact, they don’t like being passed by a woman. Imagine, being chased down by a bus!

Buses cause accidents on Sixth Ring Road

Al Watan staff

KUWAIT: Sixth Ring Road was the scene of two accidents caused by public buses.

A man driving a small car suffered serious injuries when he hit a public bus after the bus driver lost control of his vehicle and hit the barrier and then stopped at the middle of the road. The man was taken to the hospital by a fellow citizen to seek medical assistance.

Ten minutes later, another bus driver repeated the same scenario of the first accident except as he hit the barrier he also hit a small car. The car driver suffered serious injuries and was taken to hospital to seek medical assistance. The two buses caused serious traffic congestion but police officers managed to move them to the side of the road and continue the traffic flow.

I don’t know what training the drivers receive before they head out in their buses. I have a suspicion that it isn’t much. I think they need to be trained in safe driving practices, and warned against aggression on the roads. I think they need to use their rear view mirrors, their signals, and they need to be an example of proper driving, because they are a visible, public model of state policy.

October 29, 2008 Posted by | Community, Cross Cultural, ExPat Life, Health Issues, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Social Issues | , | 11 Comments