Had a fun week. Spent most of the week exploring Graeco-Roman ruins, Palermo and swimming in the villa pool. Strongest impressions:
- Big island. One week definitely wasn't enough - we spent most of our time in the central portion of the island, didn't get to see Etna, Siracusa etc. Assuming I go to next year's Malta Open, I'll have to do the day trip to Sicily thing just to see Etna!
- Definite sense of faded/stagnated glory. I can believe Sicily was once considered the most advanced/sophisticated court in Europe but that was a long time ago.
- Impressed and surprised that the Normans decided to absorb and integrate the Arab/Muslim administration and art after they conquered Sicily, rather than engage in the then usual massacres and expulsions!
- Sicilians drive like maniacs. Lanes and red lights appear to be advisory and failure to move off within a nanosecond seems to incur much horning. Crossing the road also seems to require the Saigon principle: they'll never stop so just pray and start walking, slowly, steadily and don't stop till you get to the other side while the cars, scooters and motorcycles weave around you...
- There seems to be a lot of streets and buildings named after people the Mafia have killed.
- We were there a week and we failed to ever find an open post office
- Abused SMS. Yvonne made the mistake of SMSing me to say thanks for the Legend VCDs so my friends made me text her back to get lottery numbers, St Johnstone's Scottish 1st division scores etc. Heather made a similar mistake on our last night and got hassled for UK headlines!
Needless to say, took shedloads of photos once more. Really must get my Malta, Edinburgh and Sicily photos uploaded at some point. But not, I suspect, over the dial-up link I'm currently on.
Overall, nice but I like Malta more.
Dragon Valley skirmish on Sunday
First heard about the airsoft skirmish there about 2 days beforehand when Cookie called me while still in Sicily, at the temple complex in Segusa, no less. Quick flurry of SMS messages later, I'd arranged to go, and acquired passengers. I love mobile communications!
Bit painful getting there though - landed at Stanstead on Saturday night, 10.30pm, got home about 1.00am, packed up my skirmish kit by 2.00am and up again at 5.30am to go pick Pat up from St Albans. Urgh...
The day itself was fun though. For the first time ever, I think my kills:times killed ratio actually exceeded 1! Also first time out with the Canadian digital CADPAT camo I bought at Beltring. I think I like it. Only downsides were the long turnaround times between games and the primitive toilet facilities (the promised "Turdis 2000" portaloos failed to show up).
Well, at any rate, I doubled my total of skirmishes for the year (David points out it's still twice more than he's managed). Kate couldn't make it as she was working but suggested going in December as she's busy most weekends in November when I get back. Not sure about this. Not sure I fancy doing Moscow 1941 or Winter War themed games!
Flight to Malaysia
Generally uneventful which is about as good as it gets for a long haul flight, as far as I'm concerned. I did get a phone call from a headhunter on the way to the airport about a possible opening. Moderately impressed he remembered me, given I haven't spoken to him for over two years. He was a bit concerned about how long I was going to be in Malaysia (for this opportunity at least) but I now need to write up a CV while I'm out here. Bah.
Singapore Airlines' in-flight entertainment is getting really impressive. Even economy class passengers get access to a wide range of on-demand films, audio and games. Hell, they were even trialling an in-flight email system. Needs work though - thought I'd test it out and crashed the system and my console. Noticed the communications option was "unavailable" the rest of the flight!
On arriving, got into a Blake's 7 episode title SMS pun war with Kate, stemming from the whole headhunter thing (Headhunter is the title of a fairly poor season 4 B7 episode, BTW. Then again, fairly poor applies to most of season 4 of B7...).
And now I'm on a dial-up modem link. ARGHH!!!