Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Don't hit me!

I heard a funny story at the weekend, well, not actually heard, more kind of 'read' - I was 'chatting' with my brother via Facebook messaging, I'm sure we communicate far more now than we ever did when we both lived in the UK!

Ed is living the expat life out in Libya (he works in oil & I gather the weather is a tad better there than in Aberdeen where the oil industry is also huge, although I'm guessing that the quality of life probably leaves something to be desired!) They (he & his wife Dear*) have a great house and a pool, and a guard (!) house all behind a big wall with an equally big gate. This is the norm for expats living out there, I don't think the locals like having foreigners in their country 'taking' their jobs (that they don't necessarily have the training to do, btw) and so security is essential.

A big problem in Libya (for women anyway) is that although they're technically allowed to drive there (I know, such a modern, forward thinking country isn't it?) if a man finds himself behind a car he thinks a woman is driving he will overtake no matter what. I guess a tall woman can get away with this, but Dear is knee high to a grasshopper (Ben was highly delighted last year when they were with us, as he was as tall as she was, this year he's almost as tall as me) so Dear will never be mistaken for a male driver (I'm sure even in Libya there's a minimum driving age). Consequently Ed and Dear have a driver, who doubles up as a guard I think, who takes Dear around and about.

Ed was complaining about the drivers in Libya, not being very safety conscious, I think was the message he was trying to get across, and I commented that he didn't need to worry too much as he had a driver, to which Ed replied that Dear had had to hit said driver the day before.
Why on earth would tiny Dear feel the need to actually punch the driver? (I did ask how hard had she hit the guy) and it turns out he was driving like an idiot, speeding and trying to overtake when there wasn't any space and Dear had already told him to quit being so stupid. Quite how a 6 foot tall Muslim man who is used to be kowtowed to by his women folk has taken this remains to be seen but then this is the guy who wanted to take his gun with him on a flight to Egypt...

* not her proper name, nor is it a pseudonym, she's Thai and I think many westerners struggle with the pronunciation of 'Phanrutai'.

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