Thursday, July 06, 2006

Thousands of requests have poured in asking for my comment on the conviction and subsequent pardon of Dallas Austin (apparently his real name), the hippity-hop producer who moseyed into Dubai with a gram and a quarter of cocaine and got thrown into the local clink, subsequently sentenced to four years in jail and immediately pardoned by the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed. (A gram and a quarter of coke is about enough to get you through the night if you're a heavy user or sharing with friends. So I hear.)

The local press has given the story plenty of coverage -- up to the pardon, which has been reported, but then sort of swept under the rung. Leading dailies' letters pages are generally filled with rants about everything from the traffic to the weather to the trouble with kids these days and recent news items. Emirates Today hasn't published a single letter about Austin's pardon.

Most people I know here were thrilled to hear about Austin's conviction. It's pretty hard for me to get excited about anybody going to jail for drug possession charges. On the other hand, his summary pardon -- obviously based purely on the fact that he was a high-profile American -- makes a total joke of the country's justice system. Then again, the more I think about it, the more I think this country is a bit of a joke.
3 Accused In Theft Of Coke Secrets: "Then in June, an undercover FBI agent met at the Atlanta airport with another of the defendants, handing him $30,000 in a yellow Girl Scout Cookie box in exchange for an Armani bag containing confidential Coca-Cola documents and a sample of a product the company was developing, officials said."

It's those telling details that really make you feel like you're there.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Yes, this has become a running commentary on encounters with the acupuncturist. Today the doctor told me he was going to try something new to try to force out a persisent chest cold which has manifested itself in an unpleasant phlegm-spewing cough for over a week now.

For the first time, I was to sit upright rather than lie down. (He sorta came up with this idea on the fly. He's that crafty.) Then he inserted the needles into all sorts of nervy spots on my hands and legs and told me to sit there and breathe and meditate "like a monk" and to ring the bell if there's any problem.

So I sat there and started to breath. I began to feel somewhat light-headed. I thought, I wonder if I should ring the bell. Then I started to feel even more light-headed. Then I thought, that's funny, my face seems to be on the ground. Think I'll just stay here for a bit.

Yeah, I fainted. I finally got up and rang the bell and informed on myself.

The doctor wasn't too pleased, saying I should have rung the bell as soon as I felt light-headed because one of the needles could have gone way into me and pierced my lung. But everything's fine, and he said in the end it was probably a sign that we were doing something right.

I'm moving into a new apartment, which is a major life improvement. I'll have some British roommates. And TV and internet and stuff. And a sofa. All the mod cons in other words.

Problem is I haven't found anybody to take my current apartment and I'm leaving on Sunday which means I might be stuck paying two rents. That is not good, really not good. But I'm happy, happy about getting the new place.

Next thing I have to do is buy a car, but I can't seem to find my U.S. driver's license, which I need to do so.

I'll be in Prague on Sunday if anybody wants to find me.