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The old codgers' thread - Caribbean

The old codgers' thread - Caribbean

Old May 29th 2021, 1:25 am
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Default Re: The old codgers' thread - Caribbean

Originally Posted by uk_grenada View Post
I have visited Norway a number of times in my IT career. Mainly for the Americans who inhabit your north - listening to your neighbours to the east.Cant really recommend a norwegian winter...
Why the Norski politicians think it's cool to belong to NATO and harbour US troops up north, God only knows. If there ever is another European war, Oslo will surely be the first capital city to be nuked. Oh well, that will be a problem for my grandchildren, I guess. And their father, my son - well, maybe. He's 45 now, and still trying to shake off his hippie past.

I reminisced about this in my long-discontinued online journal. I'm not allowed to give the link here, but if you go to the Barlow's Cayman archives (on the right-hand side of every post) and go to August 2013, you will find the reminiscences in the piece I called "Not the Swiss Family Robinson". The reference is to the tree-house in Guatemala built for him by the local Mayans while he and his girlfriend were off in Peru. That was in 2003. The baby featured in the story is now 18, and her sister coming up for 21.

Last edited by Gordon Barlow; May 29th 2021 at 2:27 am.
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Old May 31st 2021, 12:23 am
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Default Re: The old codgers' thread - Caribbean

Originally Posted by Expatrick View Post
Just a few hours in Ancona before catching a train (with wooden seats) to Milan. From there night train through the Alps, to Strasbourg and then across France to Calais. We had a young man from Nigeria with us who was hauled off the train by French border authorities (with a teacher for Company!) and held for 24 hours, until they were satisfied that his parents were in Nigeria and not en route for La Belle France!
This brings to mind a story some acquaintance once told me about an unusual train journey he had years before. He was a young priest at the time - or maybe he was still studying to become one - and he was travelling around Yugoslavia. One night he found himself sharing a carriage with a local priest who spoke no English. Since they had no language in common, they spent the evening laboriously conversing in Latin! It was about the only time that language was any use to him in life, he told me.
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Old Jun 4th 2021, 2:26 am
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Default Re: The old codgers' thread - Caribbean

At the moment my son is visiting me in Cayman and under our 14-day quarantine. I have set him the task of sorting out old photos taken by him of his daughters when young. The bulk of them feature his unofficially adopted daughter at ages one and two, when he and her mother lived together in various places in Latin America - and the toddler was in the company of native companions.

I visited the three of them in their treehouse beside Lake Atitlan (mentioned here in an earlier post), and well remember being astonished by the mutual adoration between the man of the house and the little one. He graduated to Papa Ross, and later just Papa; technically Pappa or Paps in Norway. Being el papa de Ross, I became Papa Gordon, which I still am - to both sisters. The multitude of photos from Peru with the hippie band, before the return to Guatemala, are all wonderful material for reminiscing!
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Old Jun 10th 2021, 2:21 am
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Default Re: The old codgers' thread - Caribbean

Originally Posted by Expatrick View Post
Travels between 1960 & 1970. As I recall they started with frequent short trips to Istanbul, followed by trips to Berlin, Warsaw, Moscow & Leningrad, between, I guess '63 & 66. Subsequently to Tel Aviv, Damascus, Cairo, Jeddah & Riyadh. I think all or most of these fairly short assignments (weeks, or maybe a month or two). Finally, longer assignments in Hong Kong & Singapore.
Don't forget I only spent a few weeks each year with my Father so wasn't always aware of his activities!
This is fascinating stuff, Patrick. Jeddah and Riyadh are unusual visiting places for even the most active of spies! Is there really no hint at all of what he did there? He must surely have stood out like a beacon in those places at those times. As I've said, my friend and I backpacked in the Middle East in '64/65 (from Turkey & Iran through Iraq and Palestine/Jordan), and even there we stood out like beacons, at that time. We weren't allowed to enter Saudi Arabia!

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Old Jun 10th 2021, 10:18 am
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Default Re: The old codgers' thread - Caribbean

When i were a lad, my father used to very occasionally let me travel with him. He was a very senior scientific type, who was sucked into the scientific civil service. He then spent his life supporting trade missions, and doing technology sales and purchases effectively with other governments. Swapping knowledge.

Best example i know of - the ruskies wanted to make float glass. All window glass is made by floating liquid glass on liquid tin, where the glass solidifies in an endless river. Technologically its clever and involves the ability to pump liquid tin. Pilkington in the uk owned that, but when the russian govt glassworks said they wanted to buy the secrets, they offered roubles in exchange, so enter HMG... Turned out the ruskies could swap all sorts of tech, including how to make glass plus lenses and mirrors for use in space / defense. So all sorts of side deals were done in the style of the american vodka cola deals. This is why nasa etc use pilkington glass in space, its better than the american stuff, and why some of it is still secret for use in satellites etc. The americans use the same tech in places but have to pay pilkington. It sort of all ceased when the curtain came down... Carl Zeiss had been split into east and west germany, and made cameras and lenses for space/military for the east. When they were joined again, lots of knowledge came to the west including the fact that western nuclear subs werent invisible at all.

So my dad spent lots of time in russia, china and all the other eastern european countries when the curtain was up, and heard stories of russian spies, bugging, being followed, british intelligence serious and bungling plus other dodgy dealings. I can also seriously say we had the russian premier, the chinese ambassador and other interesting people over for dinner. I met henry kissinger when i was a child, and also held a real Stradivarius violin [wife of russian ambassador was a violinist of note.]

The chinese were always the ones to watch, they were into stealing buying or acquiring knowledge everywhere. I cant believe the UK allowed their exchange students in places like atomic energy research.
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Old Jun 10th 2021, 3:16 pm
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Default Re: The old codgers' thread - Caribbean

Originally Posted by Gordon Barlow View Post
This is fascinating stuff, Patrick. Jeddah and Riyadh are unusual visiting places for even the most active of spies! Is there really no hint at all of what he did there? He must surely have stood out like a beacon in those places at those times. As I've said, my friend and I backpacked in the Middle East in '64/65 (from Turkey & Iran through Iraq and Palestine/Jordan), and even there we stood out like beacons, at that time. We weren't allowed to enter Saudi Arabia!
I am not sure when he started work for the Economist Intelligence Unit but I reckon it was fairly early in his "international" career and would have given him an ideal cover to go to the more difficult locations. However, initially (& when he first went behind the iron curtain) he told me he was selling washing machines! Maybe he was, or maybe not!
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