Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Back to NZ

Well, well, well - in the morning went to visit a camel souk where there were camels for sale as far as the eye could see - didn't even mind the smell. Eventually got to the airport and, on check-in, were given new boarding passes that happened to be business class upgrades as far as Singapore - the three of us had the whole business section to ourselves for the section to Dubai so we were made a fuss of by the incredibly attractive Singapore Airlines flight attendants - Andrew informed them that it happened to be my birthday so that started an almost non-stop supply of Singapore Slings, Silverkris Slings, Dom Perignon, single malt scotch and almost anything else - Andrew and I were well stewed by Dubai - was the best birthday present ever! Unfortunately back to cattle class Singapore to Auckland - don't know why people don't travel business class all the time.
An incredible experience going to Saudi Arabia - hadn't fully appreciated that there is no tourism there and one doesn't just apply for a visa to go for a visit - have to be sponsored and invited. An amazing time.


Saturday, November 13, 2010


Lovely gig at lunch time yesterday - very cosmopolitan audience and, as usual, amazing food.
Went out to the escarpment and watched the sunset - had to 4-wheel drive up the bumpiest road ever to get there but well worth it.
Today we went shopping then to the Al Faisaliah centre to the observation platform - incredible - then had lunch at the Kingdom Tower.
We cannot thank the people here enough for their amazing hospitality, especially Louise - I don't know how we can reciprocate in NZ but we'll think of something.
Have to get ready to fly home now.

Cheers, Terry

Thursday, November 11, 2010


Hi from Riyadh again. just finished our second gig for the NZ Embassy - this time for the Tui Club, which is for the Kiwis in town. Big night for most of them as they never get to enjoy Kiwi hospitality unless they are here at the Embassy. Wonderful day today - taken to the Souk (market) this morning and bought some mementos. Walked through Chop Chop square where the occasional beheading and limb-removal takes place, We stared fixedly for a while at a large red stain on the cobblestones which was probably a spilt boysenberry ice cream. Wonderful lunch at our friend Louise's house - in her tent on the roof of her apartment. We all were given thobes (the long white robe-shirt) and appropriate matching head gear and sandals and strutted around like Yassar Arafat for a while, ordering the staff around and demanding oil for our tea. Lunchtime gig tomorrow after which we have been invited to drive out to the 'Escarpment' to watch the sun set over the Arabian desert , after which we might watch the All Blacks play Scotland at the Embassy (no the game isn't actually at the embassy - they have a big TV) and a BBQ. I said we'd try and find room to fit this in.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Saudi Arabia

Hi everyone from Riyadh. What a trip. about 30 hours and 4 flights by my reckoning. Second leg to Singapore probably the hardest, bearable after a couple of Singapore Slings. Changi Airport immense. We had six hours stopover and a hotel room each to relax in. Shopped for shoes and ate Mea Siam for breaky....sort of Laksa soup with a boiled egg - very hot. Third leg to Dubai not so bad and Dubai even more awe in spiring than S'pore. A couple more Singslings on the way helped. An hour's stopover in Dubai then on to Riyadh. Completely alien environment. No women at the airport and no shops. A plane load of Phillipino labourers and us. Fortunately Brian Chambers and his Yemeni driver Abdullah met us and using Abdullah's command of Arabic we were able to negotiate customs and be photographed and fingerprinted without too much bother. All gear arrived OK. Driven to the Dip. Compound which is guarded by a couple of machine gun posts and some khaki-ed military types who checked under our vehicle with a mirror for devices, and met by the NZ Embassy staff with a magnificent meal and a couple of cold drinks. temperature very mild in mid-20s. Off to the Embassy for lunch if we can rouse Nils who got in from Hamburg about 4.00am this morning. Gig tonight for assembled diplomats and friends hosted by Rod Harris, NZ ambassador. Will report tomorrow if poss.