The other night we dropped in to Barista for our post-lecture coffee, and there were these two blokes sitting in there chatting away. When we sat down, they said – with great big friendly smiles on their faces – to Rob (Dutch), Ricardo (Colombian) and myself: “You are English, yes ?”. We made it clear that they were incorrect, and after a little of the obligatory discussion about drugs & guns when they found out about Ricardo being Colombian, then the guy turned to me.

It was kinda funny – they were being as cheerful as you like, and not malicious in any way, but you've got to wonder about the translation difference when the next sentence directed at me in this ongoing attempt to make friends was: “You are American ? No ? Oh, you are big and fat like American !”.

I'm guessing this guy doesn't travel much, because he seemed to have all his teeth in tact.

It turned out that their motive for being there was to try to get us to sign up for one of Captain Tactful's weekend trips (he runs like a tour guide company thing). Amazing. “We do everything ! You like fishing ?”. “No”. “Oh… we have rafting, and camping, and fishing, and… Ooooh, fishing is good! I like fishing.”. “I hate fishing”. “Aaah, ok, ok. You take my number, and we organise trip. Maybe fishing? Lots of girls come.”. “Big fat American girls ?”. Oh yeah, I've never heard girls talk about being more keen on anything than the subject of fishing.

Anyway, the other thing I forgot to mention before was there's a couple of videos from our trip up Hatu Peak – there's no sound, and they're not compressed or anything, but in this age of thumping great big broadband connections it shouldn't be a hassle… (Trip part 1 – 8mb) (Trip part 2 – 8mb) (The drive up Hatu Peak – 7mb) (View from the summit – 6mb)

2006-10-26 : How to win friends & influence people
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