Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Flower man of Tihama

Flower man of Tihama, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

Here is another portrait of a young flower man. This was taken on the streets of Al-Farsha in the area of Tihama in the Province of Asir in southern Saudi Arabia, not far from the Yemeni border.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Champions League Final - well done Barcelona

Well done Barcelona for such a wonderful display of controlled football.

I think Barcelona must be the most popular team in the Arab World, so hopefully their win on Saturday mnight came as some relief from all the strains arising from the 'Arab Spring'.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Dirty old Gaul

Dirty old Gaul, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

Funnily enough, we had the previous Prime Minister of The Netherlands on our flight back - one week after this over-sexed Frenchman was taken out of his First Class cabin on suspicion of having raped his chambermaid a few hours before. Fortunately, the same did not happen to Balkenende, who for all his faults, seems to be a decent man. Unlike, his predecessor from the 1980's Ruud Lubbers who had the reputation for pinching girls' bums. What is it with these politicians?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

And this!

Fresh "Hollandsche aardbeien" in a 1950's glass bowl, inherited from my grandparents and we never eat strawberries out of anything else (at home, at least).

Monday, May 23, 2011

How nice to come home to this!

Seems to be pleased to have me back!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

In the city that eats the sky

In the city that eats the sky, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

Breaking my NYC virginity, I decided to make a stop-over in New York on the way back from Atlanta. It made the flight a lot cheaper, my boss agreed to pay the hotel and I was encouraged by Fred (who has been here twice before), so here I am.

Arrived this evening after a not-particularly pleasant flight with Delta, there was time to walk up to Times Square and start to orientate myself.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Head Office Atlanta

Head Office Atlanta, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

Been in Atlanta all week. The meetings went really well and I feel all fired up as I return home, albeit with a nice stop-over on the way back. It started cold, ended up warm with the inevitable delay now at the airport. Ate far too much, as always. It has been my fifth time here and I have never seen Atlanta looking so good. The gardens outside the office were full of birdsong, to be enjoyed whilst accompanying my colleague who had to step outside to smoke his cigarettes.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The black struggle for civil rights

Back in Atlanta for a few days of meetings...

Monday, May 16, 2011

Yes, we were in Danmark (11 years ago)

Fred's 40th birthday in Copenhagen - on the day when Denmark last womn the Eurovision Song Contest with those Olsen Brothers, Flying On The Wings Of Love!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Running scared to Azerbaijan

Running scared to Azerbaijan, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

Congratulations, Azerbaijan on your first Eurovision win!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

With the birthday boy

With the birthday boy, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

Fred's birthday... Happy Birthday!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Spring went by so quickly

Spring went by so quickly, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Hungary was better anyway

Hungary was better anyway, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

A bit of a silly photo, with my own Turkey scarf (I lost my Bosnian one) and two flags I borrowed from some real Turks. My new Greek Aussie.friend is on the left, happy that Greece went though.
Already on the train out of DD on the way to what will be a waste-of-a-day meeting in Antwerp before arriving back home this evening. A summer sun rises over the green fields to my left.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Germany, so currywurst

Germany, so currywurst, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

In Germany for the first semi-final of the Eurovision Song Contest 2011

Good luck, Turkiye!

Good luck, Turkiye!, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

I am off to my first real Eurovision event this afternoon - yes, travelling AGAIN - this time to Dusseldorf for the First Semi-Final of this year's Eurovision, the final of which is in Saturday - Fred's birthday!

I will be seeing 19 acts, of which ten will go through to the Final. Turkey and Hungary will both perform and should have great chances of making the Final.

With all my travelling this year, I am not so into Eurovision but my favourites remain Bosnia, UK and Hungary. Don't like the favouites France at all. Turkey is good but the singer could have a bit more charisma -is it too late to send this chap?

Monday, May 09, 2011

Back home on the balcony

Back home on the balcony, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

The whole group, with the delcious dinner Fred had cooked for us, the last evening with our Ukrainian friends before they return home. Afetr a very long dry period, Amstertdam had a couple of hours of heavy rain today which has freshened everything up, before the sun came out to greet us again this evening for a dinner on the balcony.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Yay! I am going home!

Yay! I am going home!, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

Last week I was among the tulips and this wekend as well. I am on an externded stop-over in Istanbul where they ahve hgad a very cold spring - and it was snowing in the east again yesterday. The tulips here have lasted unlike back home. Last night I was sitting outside, havinga beer, feeling cold despite having a shirt, jumper and jacket on. Fred meanwhile was enjoying a babrbecue yesterdaty evening in a short-sleeved shirt!

Missing you guys

Missing you guys, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

Will be seeing Fred this evening and the Ukrainians tomorrow evening. I know you had a lovely time together, just so sorry I wasn't there as well. So... I think it wil be our turn to visit Odessa!

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Two friends

Two friends, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

As usual, it was a great pleasure to catch up with Ahmed during my work-related visit to the Kingdom - my fifth visit now in 15 months. I met Ahmed the first time I came over and the first thing we did was wander around the streets of Old Jeddah and this is something now which we do every time, seeing many of the same faces as we do. One has to be a little careful of the photos one takes in Saudi Arabia but it is always nice to get the odd snap of the two of us together.

As I am at the airport on the way home, it is time to thank Ahmed again for his friendship and hospitality and hope everything goes well with you.

Friday, May 06, 2011

Mall of Arabia curves and colours

I am not a great shopper and can go from place to place without every going inside a shop (in the same way that I never watch the TV in the hotel rooms I stay in). However, this time I succumbed, found a place selling beautiful Brioni suits at not only a cheap headline price but also a 60% discount, with the result that my suitcase now has three of them finding their way back to Amsterdam.

The Mall of Arabia is a beautiful looking building quite near the airport with lovely curves and pointed edges as well as ever changing colours. Here is a small impression. Lots of foreign shops - more of high street quality rather than expensively exclusive, wioth prices similar to European levels, still itw as a nice place to while away the odd hour or two yesterday evening.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Old Jeddah is being rennovated!

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Camels against a stormy sky

Camels against a stormy sky, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

Yes, I had to leave Fred and the boys back in Amsterdam to return to Saudi Arabia on Monday, which was a real shame. Some emergency at work brought me over and hopefully, we are nearly done now and I can return home soon,. So, in contrast to the bright clear blue skies of the Dutch spring, to the stormy greyness of the start of the monsoon season back down in Najran last month. I am in Jeddah this week, where the skies alternate between white and blue depending on how much cloud, smog and sand there is in the atmosphere.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

In Marken

In Marken, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

Happy memories of last weekend when we ended up on Sunday late afternoon in the old fishing village on Marken, which used to be an island until the causeway was built in the 1970's.

Monday, May 02, 2011

More May Day Red!

Red, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

May Day Red

Red, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

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