So in a miracle of rapid reorganisation, my Afghanistan trip has been placed in Dubai. That means that not only do I have a new destination, but so do a bunch of Afghans, Iranians and Kyrgyzstanis. Within 3 days of the bomb going off (and I mean that literally) more or less everything bar a few last minute visa hitches had been put in place for the new venue.
Hence I sit here in the Emirates lounge at Munich airport, bound for the highly peculiar city of Dubai. (I was actually the first person in this lounge so I got the run of the place including the TV remote, meaning I am sitting here sipping a very nice "Schneider Weisse" beer, watching Tunisia vs Senegal on a big screen TV and pootling about on my computer. It's all very civilised. To begin with I was outnumbered 10-1 by staff, but now others have arrived to disturb my center-of-attention status. None of them have ventured into my zone though, finding themselves uninterested in African football - which is sad for them as it is a cracking match.)
I had been hoping for a spectacular temperature differential between Csikszereda and Dubai so I could flaunt my destination in people's faces and tell them I'd be on the beach while they shivered in sub -30 icy chills, but in a curious turn of fate, on Monday this week it reached 11 degrees in Szereda (that's PLUS eleven) while the temp in Dubai was a mere 18 (and even dipped as low as 9 at night). So, my heartless gloating was put on hold. This morning was much better though as we drove through a raging blizzard to get to the airport (much better from a "ha ha I'm going to Dubai" perspective, rather than a safe driving perspective).
Last weekend we went up to the local ski resort, amid the slowly melting snows in the unseasonal thaw. You may not be aware but in your house you have an almost perfect sledge. Slick, glossy, plastic, slightly cambered for minimum friction. Know what it is yet? Well, I'll tell you. It's a toilet seat. We found one on the mountain (presumably used by someone else for the same purpose - at least that's what I'm telling myself), and zipped down the snow in our virtually frictionless way (note to any scientifically minded pedants whose fingers are as we speak hovered over the keyboard angrily composing a response - yes I know it's not frictionless or even close to being so, but it's poetic licence. If you'd flown down the side of a mountain on a toilet seat you'd use the same level of hyperbole. Honest). More sedately, I went cross country skiing for the first time in bloody yonks, and remembered how much I like it. In Dubai apparently there is a shopping mall with a ski resort in it (that's Dubai for you). I wonder if they have any cross-country sections?
Podcast 90: The Rest Of The Season, Decided
10 hours ago