Friday, April 29, 2011

Book Corner - Finished Reading

Devil's Waltz (Alex Delaware Novel) by Jonathon Kellerman
528 pages
Mystery thriller

I thought I had certainly read the last of Kellerman, but I caved in and decided to give him another try. I'll admit this one was better than the others, although like the others the end just seemed to drag on.

I'll say this was somewhat of a good read.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The McDonalds Lesson

So I've been back in the States for a couple of days now immersing myself in all the Americana I can.

Tonight I decided to go for a stroll and have dinner at the McDonald's near the Rosslyn Metro station.

The crowd waiting at the counters was the usual mixture of blue collar and office workers.

In comes a man wearing what can only be described as rags. He was talking loudly, to himself, ranting endlessly on many subjects, fortunately no obscenities. Everyone gave him a wide berth as expected. The counter people gave him dirty looks. Everyone else tried to avoid looking at him.

When there was no one waiting in line he walked up, gained a minute of normalcy, turned around and asked if anyone was waiting. With no reply he placed his order of Dollar Menu items.

Just then a young girl wearing a hijab (head scarf that Muslim women wear) walked up to the counter, gave the counter woman some money and told her something. She in turn said something to the homeless man and he turned around and said "Thank you ma'am, thank you, thank you, God bless you!"

Life's little lessons in the strangest of places.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Trip to McDonald's

When it comes to "round to it" projects my list is a mile long. One of things that I wanted to do was treat our housekeepers daughter and friend to McDonald's, maybe something else along the way.

Because my time here is short, I knew I had to do it this weekend. I asked my housekeeper if I could take her daughter and a friend to the park and McDonald's and she said yes. Later Chris told me that I should also bring our housekeeper which I ended up doing.

I called a taxi and met them at a store near her home. We then went to Victoria Park (actually that's the old British name for it, but I can't pronounce the new name). It's a big park with lots of the usual playground stuff, swings, slides etc. I was surprised to find out all three of them had never been there. The girls were very happy and had a good time, I bought them ice cream. I was hoping to take them to the side of the park that had a bunch of carnival rides, but it didn't open until 4:00PM, probably because of the heat. Speaking of heat, the girls did tire quickly so it was off to McDonald's.

We arrived at McDonald's and when they came inside I had just as well taken them to Disney Land. They didn't know what they wanted, which I expected, so I ordered hamburger Happy Meals (in hindsight I should have got the chicken nuggets). A counter girl came over and put paper crowns on their heads, which made them both happy. They saw the playground and got excited.

When I brought them the food they didn't know what to do. They both found their Happy Meal toys, but neither one opened the bag with the toy in it. I think they wanted to save it until they got home. One girl ate some of her french fries, but not all and didn't touch her burger, the other girl did not touch anything in her bag at all. When I asked why it's was because she wanted to take it home to her mother. I told her I would buy her another Happy Meal, but she said no.

They both played in the playground for awhile and then it was time to go. I offered some more entertainment for them but I think this little episode was a bit overwhelming for them.

One thing that I didn't put into perspective and didn't expect was the fact that the other customers knew that this was probably their first visit and that they were poor. There was lots of unnecessary stares.

I wanted to take them to our company clubhouse as it has a children's playground complete with rubber matted play area. It never gets used and it's mostly shaded.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Book Corner - Finished Reading

Super Spy by Matt Kindt
336 pages
Graphic novel

I saw this book at a bookstore in Santa Cruz while visiting my daughter. I flipped through a couple of pages and decided I had to have it...via Amazon.

The book is a graphic novel in that it's almost like a comic book. The graphics are great.

From Amazon:
Super Spy is 52 interwoven short stories about cyanide, pen-guns, heartbreak and betrayal. Each story follows the life of a spy during World War II. Spanning the globe from Spain to France and Germany, this book takes the reader on a tour of the everyday life of the spy. From the small lies and deceptions to the larger secrets that everyone hides, Super Spy reveals the nature of espionage and how an individual can be lost and also find redemption. A children's book is something more than it seems... a woman swims the English Channel to deliver a deadly secret... a German spy desperately seeks escape for herself and her daughter... and a spy continues to serve his country even beyond death.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Sinhala and Tamil New Years and Other Breaks

I'll have to say if there's one good thing about working in Sri Lanka it's the time off for holidays.
This week we get the 13th and 14th off for Sinhala and Tamil New Years, yeah! Friday is our usual half day, so it's a two and a half day work week. If you were very crafty you could have taken vacation this week, burned up 3 vacation days and utilizing last weekend and the upcoming weekend quite the long vacation to get off the island!

Along with the usual local holidays we just have to love it when the Sri Lankan president decides for whatever reason (his birthday party) to declare a national holiday.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Book Corner - Finished Reading

Blood Test (Alex Delaware series) by Jonathon Kellerman
360 pages
Mystery thriller

Against my better judgement I decided to give Kellerman another try. True to his style the books keeps you interested in the beginning. In fact I was tearing right through it. But then much like the previous novel I read by him it got, well, stupid. The dialogue between the bad guy and Dr. Delaware seemed ridiculous.

Judging by the reviews on Amazon I wasn't the only one who felt this book was not a good read.

Friday, April 1, 2011

The Good The Bad and The Ugly

Living in Sri Lanka.

The Good
Watching the wonderful sunsets from our apartment
Looking at the twinkling lights of the ships anchored out at sea
Relaxing on the beach at Hikkaduwa

The Bad
The corruption
The huge number of stray dogs and cats
The poverty

The Ugly
Story time. We just went shopping across the street and ended up with a few more bags then we thought we would. Easy enough, we would get a tuk tuk to take us to our apartment. Chris went to find one and in short time she was back. The bagger loaded the bags, the tuk tuk driver didn't help. He took us across the street which meant leaving the parking garage, turning left and going about 50 feet, making a U-turn, returning about 50 feet and going down the ramp to our parking garage. Again he didn't help unload the bags and just sat there. I counted out 80RS (we figured 50RS was certainly sufficient) and he shook his head and said no, he wanted 100RS (or at least that's what I thought he said). Chris told him in no specific terms what he could do with his request. I being the diplomatic one said I had 100RS in our apartment,I would get it, against Chris' wishes. I told the driver to wait. I got the 100Rs and came down, stifling my anger I handed it to him and he said "No sir, 120RS". At that point, diplomacy went out the window. I went full Drill Instructor on him. Huh? I used to be a Marine Corps Drill Instructor, we have a special way of yelling when we get "upset". The driver called me a few names, I told him to "GET THE #$% OUT OF HERE". One of our splendid apartment guards was in the garage, he started approaching, then he backed off, go figure.

The beloved Colombo tuk tuk driver, always giving Sri Lanka a good name.