Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Taxed By Taxi's

Calling a taxi, easy right? Should be. Let me take you to Montevideo. We would dial 141, a computer voice would repeat your address and ask if you wanted a cab dispatched to that address, if so, press one. It would then tell you what taxi was dispatched and how soon it would arrive, usually within three minutes. By two minutes I could look out the window and see the taxi pull up. Get in the taxi, tell the driver where you want to go and the meter starts.

Taxi service Colombo style. There are many taxi companies in Colombo, all with easy phone numbers as well. It pretty much ends there. We call any of the taxi companies and the dispatchers speak English but they don't understand us and we don't understand them. After repeating our address at least five times they will say that a taxi will arrive in about thirty minutes. This really means fourty-five minutes to an hour. So the taxi arrives, usually not where we wanted them to park but arrived nonetheless. They may or may not have a meter. You tell them where you want to go. They'll say they know where it is, but they don't know how to get there so all along the way they will pull over and ask random people how to get to your destination. All the while adding more kilometers to the meter.

Now don't get me wrong. We have had some rare instances of taxi's showing up on time and friendly drivers that take us where we want to go with no problem. But there are rare instances.

The worst part by all means is just trying to get the dispatcher to understand our address.

Book Corner - Finished Reading

The Second Tour by Terry P Rizutti
212 pages
War fiction

I stumbled upon this book on Amazon and the reviews seemed good enough so I bought a copy.
I didn't catch the fact that the book was fiction, but the stories are gleaned from the authors own experiences as a Marine during the Vietnam war.

The authors writing style was rather eclectic. The stories were just plain raw. I'd like to say the I enjoyed the book but it was hard to keep up with. Guess you would have to read it to understand.

Book Corner - Finished Reading

Sail by James Patterson and Howard Roughan
400 pages
Mystery thriller

Well go figure, another Patterson. The Amazon reviews were right on course for what I would have given it. It was not one of Patterson's better books. You could pretty much figure out the entire book in the first couple of chapters.

Not a good read.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Book Corner - Finished Reading

Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything
by Steven D Levitt and Stephen J Dubner
242 pages
Pop culture

The authors reveal some very interesting facts of their own. Debatable? Yes. Controversial? Absolutely. Still interesting.

It was a good read.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Book Corner - Finished Reading

The Blog of War: Front-Line Dispatches from Soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan
By Matthew C Burden (et al)
304 pages

I wasn't sure if I was going to like this book, but then I found myself not able to put it down. Just great blog posts from soldiers on the front lines and from family and friends back home.
My favorite story is the personal account of retired Marine Gunnery Sergeant Nick Popaditch who was struck in the head by a rocket propelled grenade while in the turret of his tank and survived.

For you military fans out there, this is a good read!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Book Corner - Finished Reading

The Dew Breaker by Edwidge Danticat
256 pages
Fiction novel

I've been trying to figure out a good way to review this book instead of my typical, I liked it, it's a good read.

But I can't and this book deserves a good review, so I'll just give you the Amazon review: Review

In her third novel, The Dew Breaker, the prolific Edwidge Danticat spins a series of related stories around a shadowy central figure, a Haitian immigrant to the U.S. who reveals to his artist daughter that he is not, as she believes, a prison escapee, but a former prison guard, skilled in torture and the other violent control methods of a brutal regime. "Your father was the hunter," he confesses, "he was not the prey." Into this brilliant opening, Danticat tucks the seeds of all that follows: the tales of the prison guard's victims, of their families, of those who recognize him decades later on the streets of New York, of those who never see him again, but are so haunted that they believe he's still pursuing them. (A dew breaker, we learn, is a government functionary who comes in the early morning to arrest someone or to burn a house down, breaking the dew on the grass that he crosses.) Although it is frustrating, sometimes, to let go of one narrative thread to follow another, The Dew Breaker is a beautifully constructed novel that spirals back to the reformed prison guard at the end, while holding unanswered the question of redemption
. --Regina Marler

Monday, December 6, 2010

Sound and Fruit Salad

Every work day around 1:00 that's what I order from the cafeteria at work. Of course the people who work there know this as I haven't strayed from this request in months.

Why soup and fruit salad? Did I hear somebody say because it's cheap? Well yes, and no.
The combined bill for both of them is 260 Rupees, about $2.30USD. But really I just find its a good deal that fills me up.

You get two rolls with the soup and the fruit salad is very big filled with mangos, papaya, banana, apples and watermelon. I find it hits the spot!

The only problem is that the soups are good. Problem you say? Good creamy soups are generally chock full of butter. Most of these soups are cream of something or another, delicious, but not good for the ol' cholesterol numbers!

I end up augmenting the meal in the morning with a banana and some dates and raisins and in the afternoon with a protein bar. So I guess I do cheat some!