Friday, 30 July 2010

And just to prove I did do some work...

in between visiting temples etc. here is the sole piece of photographic evidence.

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Over the last couple of days I've consumed a wide variety of strange, unidentifiable, majorly spicy foodstuffs...Fave dish so far are 'Mo Mos' which are very much like Chinese Dim Sum eaten with a chili type dip. Generally no idea what I'm eating but mostly tastes pretty good...that said it was ever so slightly disconcerting watching the cockroaches skuttling across the floor in the restaurant last not dwell on that too much I reckon....

Traffic report

You have seen nothing like the traffic here...something else. This is the capital City but there are no road markings on the roads, pavements are virtually non-existent, sacred cows aimlessly wander the routes occasionally sleeping by the central reservation, and there are cars, buses, rickshaws, tut tuts, mopeds, bicycles and scooters a go-go, but it boasts a total of two sets of traffic lights! Traffic is directed by extremely brave policemen who stand in the middle of the mêlée gesturing with their immaculately white gloved hands and presumably muttering prayers under their breath! To drive here you need nerves of steel...definitely a case of 'who dares wins' even to get out of a road junction!

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

The meetings we've had this morning have been both fascinating and vital. I've learnt loads of stuff about the caste system here which is predominantly based around geographical location as well as the social status of the various factions. The selection of the right mix of individuals has a huge bearing on recruitment as you've got to get the balance/heirarchy of teams weighted in the appropriate proportions or you end up with major dissent. I absolutely love the fact that this job means I'm having to learn and use so much cultural stuff as well as basic selection procedures.

Monday, 26 July 2010

Chaotic Kathmandu

would be a good description from what I saw on the way from the airport. Not a particularly pretty place but vibrant. City of exhaust fumes and incense, pashminas and pot-holes, cockroaches and kukris (traditional symbolic weapon for Gurkhas)

Now ensconced in the Yak & Yeti Hotel which is actually infinitely better than it's name might suggest.

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Destination Delhi

but having reached there I'm not sure it's the type of place anyone wants to spend five hours waiting for a transfer :o/ The airport itself is firmly still in the 1970s with the type of amenities that might of been state of the art in those days, but decidedly jaded now...So having sat around until our bums were numb we eventually went throught the usual rigmarole of passport control, screening etc. encountering loads of staff but absolutely no systems or process. Got to the gate ready to board only for my colleague to be sent all the way back to first base because one of the guys on x-ray hadn’t stamped his luggage label...the poor chap on the gate was lucky he didn't get lynched…combination of sleep deprivation and frustration at the lack of any organisational ability.

Saturday, 24 July 2010


by the Middle Eastern Correspondent who very kindly took me to visit his house in Al Hamra, Ras al Khaimah in the northern part of the UAE. Went swimming in the lagoon which was wonderfully warm, calm and completely deserted. Bliss...

Friday, 23 July 2010

Night flight to Dubai

arrived in shortly after 7am. Much to the surprise of the toilet attendant at the airport I did a quick change from jeans & 'T' shirt to smartest business wear before heading straight off to a hotel to conduct interviews. Caught a pink 'Ladies' taxi to 'the Address' on Emaar Boulevard, had a brief discussion re. interview format with my colleagues and was in full flow by 9am. It was a bit of a long morning having had a wailing child in close proximity for the entire flight but, with copious amounts of coffee to get me through the selection session, all went well and we achieved a highly satisfactory outcome.

Monday, 19 July 2010

"Nepalese Rupees!?!"

said with total incredulity. Well perhaps not then...guess it's probably not a staple requirement in downtown Great Malvern. After a succession of less than standard currency requests over the last couple of months methinks the local Postmaster on the exchange counter believes me to be 'taking the Mickey' when in actual fact I am genuine in my requests. Off to Nepal later this week to visit our Gurkha recruitment set-up, stopping en route in Dubai to interview candidates for Business Development roles in Baghdad and Kabul, before flying on to Dehli and then Kathmandu. Starting to amass a collection of currencies in various envelopes around the house as well as a stock of malaria tablets 'just in case'…..somehow never entered into the equation in my previous existence…

Monday, 5 July 2010

Trials & tribulations for today

centred around tattoos...we've deployed two guys to Afghanistan and the customer they're working for doesn't appreciate their body art so we need to transfer them...sounds straight-forward but I reckon 80% of the guys have some tattoo or other, and the younger ones are into it in a big way (God I sound old-arsed saying that!). There are cultural sensitivities the Māoris start having tattoos at adolescence to celebrate important events throughout life. Their first tattoo marks the transition from childhood to adulthood and is done with a whole series of rites and's an important part of their culture, a show of strength, courage and status...Maori men without tattoos are considered to be without status or worth. Then there's the whole discrimination angle which could be extrapolated to the Human Rights angle... What to do?? In some respects you'd almost expect the Clients to feel more comfortable with someone who looks 'hard'. Need to have a conversation about a guy due to be deployed Monday who apparantly has a tattooed head!!!!

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Dear Icy Jumbo

your meeting with the Strident Student yesterday brought to my attention the fact that I have been neglecting this blog. I have a myriad of excuses attributable in the main to having a manic life at the moment. Since returning from the Iraq/Oman trip it's been non-stop in every area from work, to Miss Sensible's GCSEs, to visiting to check on my dad's very slow recovery from the cancer treatment, to transportation of Strident Student and her worldly belongings from the Steel City back to mundane Malvern...and the odd bit of gardening when I can squeeze it in.

For those who are wondering how things are going as I move into my fifth month of the new job and the honeymoon period starts to fade, I'm pleased to report it's still great. Ridiculously full-on but soooo interesting. The range of things I have to deal with is wide, unpredictable and incredibly challenging. This week I have been wrestling with the fact that one of the Embassies is no longer issuing us with visas to enable the recruits to be deployed to their place of work, I've also been considering the medical assessment required if we decide to recruit from a nation with a very high incidence of AIDS. ..where else would I be coming up against these issues?

In terms of travel, at the moment I'm spending far too much time in London (and consequently on Great Western trains) so the work:life balance is a bit of an issue. I remain hopeful this will eventually become a bit more reasonable but probably not for a couple of months.