Thursday, April 29, 2010
Here is Heidi at the beginning of her "career"
The Hills. This is a story of someone who was nice looking before.
Keith Brown had a speck of cannabis on his shoe
A father-of-three who was found with a microscopic speck of cannabis stuck to the bottom of one of his shoes has been sentenced to four years in a Dubai prison.
Keith Brown, a council youth development officer, was travelling through the United Arab Emirates on his way back to England when he was stopped as he walked through Dubai's main airport.
A search by customs officials uncovered a speck of cannabis weighing just 0.003g - so small it would be invisible to the naked eye and weighing less than a grain of sugar - on the tread of one of his shoes.
Dubai International Airport is a major hub for the Middle East and thousands of Britons pass through it every year to holiday in the glamorous beach and shopping haven.
But many of those tourists and business travellers are likely to be unaware of the strict zero-tolerance drugs policy in the UAE.
One man has even been jailed for possession of three poppy seeds left over from a bread roll he ate at Heathrow Airport. Painkiller codeine is also banned.
If suspicious of a traveller, customs officials can use high-tech equipment to uncover even the slightest trace of drugs.
Mr Brown was detained and arrested in September last year and has been held in a cell with three other men in the city prison ever since.
This week the youth worker, who has two young children and a partner at home in Smethwick, West Midlands, was sentenced to four years in prison.
A 25-year-old Briton who was found with a similar speck in one pocket as he arrived on holiday has been awaiting sentence since November.
Meanwhile a Big Brother TV executive has so far been held without charge for five days after being arrested for possessing the health supplement melatonin.
The authorities claim to have discovered 0.01g of hashish in his luggage.
Last night Mr Brown's brother Lee said his case "defied belief".
"For that sort of amount common sense should prevail, from where it was found it was obviously something that had been crushed on the floor - it could have come from anywhere."
Rastafarian Mr Brown had been returning from a short trip to Ethiopia, where one of his children lives and where he owns property.
He was travelling with his partner Imani, who was also stopped and detained for more than a week.
Normally he flew direct to and from the UK, but decided to stop off in Dubai.
"He was incensed when he called me," said driving instructor Lee, 57. "It would be funny if the circumstances weren't so unpleasant.
"Bugs are crawling out of his mattress when he's sleeping. His family are frantic with worry and can't call him."
Last night campaign group Fair Trials International advised visitors to Dubai and Abu Dhabi to "take extreme caution".
Chief Executive Catherine Wolthuizen said: "We have seen a steep increase in such cases over the last 18 months.
"Customs authorities are using highly sensitive new equipment to conduct extremely thorough searches on travellers and if they find any amount - no matter how minute - it will be enough to attract a mandatory four-year prison sentence."
Mrs Wolthuizen added: "We even have reports of the imprisonment of a Swiss man for 'possession' of three poppy seeds on his clothing after he ate a bread roll at Heathrow.
Held: A campaign is underway to secure the release of Cat Le-Huy from a Dubai jail
"What many travellers may not realise is that they can be deemed to be in possession of such banned substances if they can be detected in their urine or bloodstream, or even in tiny, trace amounts on their person."
Only two months after Mr Brown was stopped economics graduate Robert Dalton was detained in almost identical circumstances.
Mr Dalton, from Gravesend, on Kent was with two friends when he was stopped and asked to empty his pockets.
Officials found 0.03g of cannabis in a small amount of fluff. He is currently on trial and if convicted, is likely receive a four-year prison sentence.
Last night his brother Peter, 26, told how it took 24 hours to find out why he had been stopped.
"As we understand, the amount of cannabis was barely visible to the human eye and was at the bottom of the pocket of an old pair of jeans.
"He's not a drug user, but he goes clubbing and the speck was so small."
Last week Cat Le-Huy, a London-based German national, was arrested on arrival at the airport.
Mr Le-Huy, 31, head of technology with Big Brother production company Endemol, was arrested on suspicion of possessing illegal drugs after customs officers found melatonin, a health supplement used for jet lag available over the counter both in Dubai and in the US.
Authorities also claim they discovered fragments in one of his bags which they believe to be hashish. Fair Trials International said the amount was 0.01g.
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Monday, April 26, 2010
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
This is an Italian leather company, established in 2001. The company uses a special treatment hand dying and distressing technique to give their leather that worn in vintage look. Unlike most companies, Blur dyes their leather after the jackets are put together. These pieces are truly unique. They are not a widely known brand yet, but I would definitely keep your eye on this company. With fans like Sarah Jessica Parker and Jessica Simpson, these jackets will not be unknown for long. I am saving for one of these jackets! I'll post some pics and a review once I get one of my own.
Another fun exerpt from one of my Japan emails. This is just "typical" Caitlin traveling ;) Lord knows nothing is ever simple when I travel. Hahaha.....
Alright, actually, the bright lights were the 2nd hardest thing to get adjusted to.....some of you may want to skip reading this next paragraph (there might be a few bad words or mental images you don't want....you've been for warned. Read at your own risk, Grandma and Grandpa, I'm sorry :) ) Ok, with that warning....the hardest thing to adjust to is the toilets. My first encounter was at the airport. I walked into the stall and there it was, my biggest nightmare....the squat toilet. Luckily there was another stall with a western style toilet, but I knew I was in for it when I saw that 1st
toilet. My next encounter was at the hotel in Tokyo. I figured I would be problem free here because it was a hotel catering to Western tourist. Little did I know :) The toilet in my room had more buttons than a (computer) keyboard. It took me 10 mins to look beyond all of the buttons and flush the toilet. Everyday in Tokyo presented me with a "toilet adjustment". First it was the running water. When you sit down water starts to flow. At first I thought it was because I was heavier than most Japanese people and it was automatically flushing....but there wasn't enough water for that to be true. After
doing some "research" I found out that this happens to cover up whatever unpleasant noises might come from your roommate (I NEVER do anything as unpleasant as this! Haha). So after the first day I thought I had it all figured out. But then the next day my eyes were reopened. I stopped in the lobby bathroom, thinking I was safe. As I sat down, I thought "Damn, the person in front of me must have been here for HOURS! They could have read a few novels in that time". The seat was burning hot! After a few grossed out moments I realized the toilet seat was heated and no intestinal distress had taken place. The final test has been at my place of work, the Board of Education.....all I will say is squat toilets. It makes me shutter just to think about it. And I thought Belize was the end of this "uncivilized" way of living :) You've survived all of my bathroom talk....hopefully I didn't make anyone gag. Haha :)
Konichiwa. Ok, ok, I better not write anymore Japanese or I might fool some of you into thinking I have actually learned some ("might" being the operative word in that sentence :) Well, somehow I have survived and it's almost February now. Time has gone by pretty quickly. Things here are going ok....things are pretty much the same,
except that I have started teaching at elementary school too. I teach at JHS Mon-Thur and elementary school on Friday. The kids are super cute and genki (energetic). I am teaching second grade. Every Friday I teach five 2nd grade classes in a row (yes, please feel tired for me). By the 2nd class my voice is already starting to go. And some how the kids don't seem to flinch at my awful voice....brings back many memories of out of tune Christmas carols at Chuck and Betty's......Singing is definitely not our family's' strong point (hate to break it to you guys).
Mom was here for almost 2 weeks over Christmas break and it was GREAT to see her. We really had a blast. We were on the go the whole time. We visited Takayama, Hakone, Kyoto and Tokyo....a good mix of culture and shopping (I'm sure I don't need to tell you who wanted to do what). Don't tell Mom, but I did enjoy seeing some of the history of Japan. It was great to see how excited Mom was to see everything.....reminds me of the good old days, when I had just arrived in Japan (I am old and jaded now). It was SO nice to have someone to bother, nag to and generally annoy. Oh, and speak at a normal speed to and use "large" words with. I was REALLY bummed that she had to go home. Oh, Momma, you can't leave me here alone AGAIN!
Back to the grindstone.......I got to go snowboarding for a weekend. It was fun, my first time in Japan (I went to Nagano). I went with a bunch of people I didn't know....which made it a little weird, but they were all Americans, Eurpoeans, Austrailians and such.....so at least I could talk to them. It wasn't Keystone or A-basin, but it was great just to be doing something I love. Was sad to have to come back to reality :)
Well, I should probably move on to a more important piece of information......My decision for next year. As some of you may know (and most of you will know now), I had to make my decision about next year (will I stay or will I go?). I have turned in my contract, and drum roll please......I have decided to come HOME!!!!! (if I could put
neon blinking glittery lights around that I would). I know this might come as a surprise to most of you (the biggest surprise was to my boss). It was a hard decision but I think I have made the right decision. I guess, my emails have highlighted the many highs of this adventure and not really shed light on my true feelings. I am having a good time, but I am really not that happy (this does not stem from my
job). I am complacent but I know I could be much happier.There are many perks of this job (ie I'm actually saving $$), but at this point, I don't feel that it is enough to keep me here. I learned this in Belize (but may have forgotten it as soon as I came
home and saw Needless Mark-ups aka Neiman Marcus), but it has blaringly been brought to my attention here in Japan again. I can NOT buy my happiness. I am in a place where I could buy whatever I wanted (assuming I lost about 100 lbs to fit into clothes, and bound my feet to shrink them 5 sizes), but I realize that these "things" won't make me happy (don't worry I won't be turning down any Chanel or Louis
Vuitton purses. Manolos anyone?). The things that make me happy are at home, and they are people rather than things (does snowboarding count as a person?).
I think a large part of my problem is the language barrier (I know this is my own doing). I have learned a little (that font is too big, I should write little in about size .0005 font) Japanese, but it is hard to motivate myself when what I learn doesn't really help me.
There are 2 parts to this problem. The first one being that, being able to ask "What's this?" doesn't work to well when you have no clue what the respondent is saying. And part 2, knowing how to say "What's this" isn't a great way to make friends (or pick up guys).
Before Japan I have never had a problem making friends, but here I have not made one friend on my own. The friends I do have are people who I meet though association, ie the "old guys" girlfriends. While these people are really nice, I feel like they are obligated to be my friend.....which seems to be less fufilling. There has also been some bad health in the family this year. Being here, I feel like the money will always be here, but my friends and family won't be. I can always work harder or longer, but I can not get time back that I could of or would have spent with my family. I am young and I have plenty of time to make more money. These are not my only reasons for making the decision that I did....but if you would like a more complete list please email me, I'd be happy to fill your time. So, with all that said, I'm coming home.
Yikes, well, this is getting long......Ok, so long story short, my decision has been made. And can I please say, Hallelujah I won't be stuck here another year and 6 months (.......only another 6 months)!
Alright, well I hope you will all support my decision. I hope everything is going well. Miss everyone. Oh, I put up a bunch of new pics, from Mom and my travels (Takayama w/ mom, Kyoto w/ Mom, Kyoto2, Hakone w/ mom, and Tokyo w/ mom, and snowboarding). Enjoy. Stay happy
and healthy. Keep in touch!
Also, today I came across this link: http://gizmodo.com/5520455/bob-evans-sausage-gravy-machine-is-the-last-machine-youll-need
Monday, April 19, 2010
While searching for Hello Kitty food pictures, I came across a Hello Kitty wedding dress. Now, I am a Hello Kitty lover, but I would NEVER consider having a HK wedding dress. I mean, talk about looking psycho. I think most men would probably break off the engagement if you told them you were planing on wearing a Hello Kitty themed dress...or even worse having a HK themed reception. Oh man....