Friday ” Lock down” Fun

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  • canucklad

    I thought about starting this on Easter Monday and then remember about our Friday Fun topics …..

    On Monday I mentioned I’m not particularly religious , yet when I took time out and looked about my home I realized I’ve surrounded myself with religious and spiritual icons from my travels around the globe including ….

    A Hawaiian Tiki God of Happiness
    2 Buddha’s ( one of which , sits superstitiously above the curtains looking down on everything else)
    A BC Totem Pole (Haida I think)
    A Dream catcher
    An Inuit Inukshuk

    Plus I’m not including all the other stuff I’ve accumulated , like my African , Australian & Chinese carvings and other stuff , and don’t even get me started with my European Tat !!

    However, my favourite which always raises an eyebrow with guests is my large carving of a Kenyan crocodile that sits menacingly , jaws open on my living room carpet . And she’s practical as well as she has a secret compartment hidden in her belly

    Thought it would be nice to share and find out what else is lurking out there in Forum land ?
    And is there something you’d have liked to have brought back but didn’t ?

    For example, for love or money I couldn’t find a Qatari Orynx and had to settle for a Nomad a striding a damn camel !!
    A rather expensive 2nd choice souvenir of my visit to Doha , happy with the camel, as it doesn’t take much keeping but the Arab is drinking all my best malt whisky !

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    canucklad, nice thread. A couple of odd items littering (sorry gracing) our home:
    1. a pair of wooden ducks from South Korea. They symbolize marital bliss and are meant to sit facing each other
    2. a beautiful painted plate from the bazaar in Tripoli, Libya
    3. also from Tripoli, Libya – a copy of Gaddafi’s “The Green Book”. It’s a classic of failed politics and turgid prose (in my opinion)


    20 years ago we brought a nice large rug back from the UAE. Years later we found out it was for praying on, not walking all over !


    On a cricket tour of Sri Lanka we used to get plagued by hawkers trying to sell wooden boats. The usual routine was like the scene from Life of Brian ie 200 rupees countered by 10 rupees etc. They were confused when one of our tour responded 500 rupees……

    When one of the players responded in Dutch, the hawkers countered the bid in Dutch !


    about 20 years ago I was in Almaty, Kazakhstan. On leaving, I was presented with a package of gifts but the main one was a whip, made with some kind of animal foot as a handle, and thick, braided leather at the business end.

    The instruction I was given, at the time, was to return home and tell my wife that I now had a whip. I should then hammer a nail into the wall. The whip should then be hidden away until or unless my wife displeased me, at which point I should take the whip out and hang it on the nail.

    The underlying principle, they explained, was the same as the nuclear deterrent. I have never tried upgrading to Defcon2!

    Tom Otley

    When I was travelling in North Africa 25 years ago, my travelling companion wanted a carpet as a memento.
    We used to joke about this. Well, I would joke, and she would sigh.
    We got into quite a lot of awkward situations with carpet sellers.
    They would invite us in, give us mint tea, and then try and sell us quite expensive carpets.
    The expensive bit was more to do with the price than the quality.
    I thought we shouldn’t waste their time, but since my companion wanted to buy a carpet, we weren’t really wasting their time, but we were perhaps misunderstanding one another.
    I did feel we didn’t quite have the budget to justify the amount of tea we drank in the back rooms of carpet sellers in Marrakech and Fez and Essaouira and Meknes and Casablanca.
    When I say we, I mean my companion. I drank the tea, but I wasn’t going to buy a carpet. Or a rug, as they appeared to me.
    Eventually she found a carpet / rug at a good price, and then she carried it home along with her backpack.
    It was quite heavy, but I was firm in not helping. You have to be.
    Later, much later, I asked her whether it was in her bedroom.
    No, she said.
    Which room at her parent’s house was it in, then?
    She told me, reluctantly, that it was on the floor of her parent’s garage.
    It had smelled so badly, that despite being trialed in various rooms, and even, for a day or so, being hung outside on a washing line to ‘air’, it had been condemned to the garage. And that’s where it is to this day.
    It was quite useful, absorbing the occasional drip of oil, from the family car.
    I’d love to go back and see it again, one day.
    It remains a memory with me, far more vivid than the other items I have dragged back myself.
    You never know what will stay with you.

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    t remains a memory with me, far more vivid than the other items I have dragged back myself.
    You never know what will stay with you.

    Brilliant story Tom….
    There are certain women in your life you’ll never forget , almost like a tattoo ingrained on your brain : )

    I’m staring at a large African soap stone chess set “finally bought” in as high end a shop as you’re likely to find in a backwater town like Malindi , but only after she managed to “IRK” what seemed like every hawker on the beach and then the streets around the hotel
    Too heavy for the hold luggage , I lugged her beloved African treasure all way back to Scotland in my hand luggage ! – Probably why I now have such an aversion to people with excessive cabin baggage

    years later , Lorraine got herself a new husband, I got myself a chess set full of long tall blond memories
    I wonder if she misses It ?

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    DISAPPEARED POST !! ERROR: Duplicate reply detected; it looks as though you’ve already said that.
    Where is it?

    When I was travelling in North Africa 45 years ago, I was offered many inducements to ‘sell’ my lovely blonde girlfriend from Derry. When I tried to explain that I did not ‘own’ her and thus could not sell her, the locals did not grasp the concept!
    There are certain women in your life you’ll never forget , almost like a tattoo ingrained on your brain Yes, and whenever I hear a NI accent, particularly Derry, the memories flood back.

    We have rugs from Saudi Arabia and Iran, wooden figurines from the Philippines, masks from most countries in sub-Saharan Africa, ‘coffee table’ books from just about every country I’ve visited, a soapstone chess set and board from Rhodesia, and at one time I used to collect owls from every place I went to that I liked. I have a display case full of them in every material imaginable, olive wood, marble, malachite, glass, soapstone, jade, copper, verdite ….. We have paintings on leather with frames made from teak Rhodesian railways sleepers. Tin and ceramic mugs from African craftsmen, wire baskets made from stolen copper telephone wires, township paintings.

    I have a Nepali Ghurka Kukri knife in a sheath, complete with two stabbing knives, a Nigerian ceremonial dagger ……

    I never wear jewellery of any kind, not even a watch even though I own quite a few. The only body ‘adornment’ I wear is a copper bangle which I bought from a vendor on the Zambian side of the Zambezi before we crossed into Botswana. 3 for $10!

    To my shame I have a fist-sized lump of red organ-pipe coral from the reef at Watamu. In my defence, when I decided to take it, I was in my 20s and there was very little concern in those days for environmental protection.

    When I left Iran once my hosts, on the very last night of my trip, gave me about 30 kilos of gifts, which is typical of such generous people. I feared I was going to have to dump it at the airport or pay excess baggage charges, but I found out when I got to the airport that they had spoken to the duty manager of BMI and all charges were waived.

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    Great story capetonianm, mind you I had a chuckle imagining the response if the Duty Manager your hosts telephoned had been Ryanair😃😃

    Stay safe everyone.


    Great story Tom. Jogged some memories for me.

    Many years ago, worked for a company keen to expand overseas. Received an assortment of gifts of varying quality. The boss didn’t want the Turkish rug so gave it to me. Okay until a water spillage caused the red dye to run into the pattern and carpet below. By then, fringing looking tatty so it was relegated to local tip. I usually received a box of Turkish delight and offers I easily turned down! Also remember visitors from Finland who brought various food items, none of which looked very appetising as they were vacuum packed. Apparently it was cured reindeer and lingonberries.

    Best gifts from Malaysian company director. First a set of six pewter napkin rings. Second a batik printed silk scarf and a book about Malaysia. The author adding her own drawings. Delivering a seminar at MAS, she then mentioned to the chairman that she wanted to write a book. He offered her unlimited use of their flights for her research trips.


    In the mid 80’s I was flying from Lome to Amsterdam, and while sitting on the plane a good client of mine came on board and gave me a gift of a stuffed crocodile, about 1.60 m long. I tried politely to decline the gift but he insisted and it would have been awkward to refuse. The cabin crew were wonderful as they wrapped it in duty free bags and on landing carried it through immigration.

    Picked up bags and put said animal on the trolley head up (but covered) and was stopped by customs who asked me what it was. I replied a crocodile, she laughed and “said no seriously, what is it” and i replied I am being serious. Off to a small room where it was unwrapped and I received a lecture on how its forbidden to import, endangered species etc etc. I did explain but to no avail, it was confiscated (I didn’t mind that) and a report would be made to the Ministry of Justice to determine the penalty.

    Penalty arrived at (then) DFL 800 but my then wife was working for them, and managed to get it reduced to DFL 400 (+-€200) however it was to remain confiscated and would be destroyed. About a year later a colleague showed her a photo of an official with my crocodile mounted on the wall of his house!! So much for destroying it.

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    Hope you don’t mind the thread high jack Canucklad – but its a quick Tuesday bit of fun.

    An interesting video, try guessing the number of aircraft on the ground at Victorville. The approximate answer is at the end of the video.

    Video published on 15th April 2020, with more inbounds expected.

    ps – just noticed the answer has already been given on the video title… 🙂

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Business Traveller May / June 2021 cover
Business Traveller May / June 2021 cover
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