Monday, August 15, 2005

The people you meet

My seat-mate from LHR to DXB was a British accountant travelling to Baghdad to work on auditing the Iraqi government. How do you get from London to your office in Baghdad you ask ? One way : take a regular airline to Dubai. Go to the cargo terminal (!) to board another plane to Baghdad. Why the cargo terminal ? Apparently because letting too many people know that there are flights from Dubai to Baghdad might attract their (f)ire. But once you get to Baghdad the hard part has only begun; because you've got to take the notoriously dangerous airport road to the city. So you catch the once-daily 3AM, heavily-armed, military convoy from the airport to the city. Along the way you might see rockets, or if you're lucky --- harmless flares, directed at you.

I also had this broad-ranging conversation with this guy travelling from the U.S. to Islamabad. We talked about the tech industry, the stock market, the british education system (A-levels, GCSE and how there seems to be grade inflation these days) and, while he was reminiscing about his senior-year undergraduate project in his college in pakistan --- about Haar Wavelets. Who knew that Haar wavelets would be fodder for a conversation with a stranger in an airport.


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