…was in the heart of downtown Dubai at the Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi Beach Resort and Marina, which means it is all these things including a marina to the Gulf. Great class of 13 students, not bashful at all with lots of questions particularly about my time at the White House. They had not heard of Murphy and Murphy’s Law…but now they know. Teaching cyber security one must speak to a host of other actors that are not in the classroom, but will certainly be there in the real world waiting for them on return to their jobs. Murphy is certainly one of them…and the fact that secure designs account for Murphy and the hackers among others.
Continuing on about my maturing impressions and recognizing that they will change with time as I get to know and see more of the U.A.E….
I am told and have read as much that nearly 90% of the population here in U.A.E. is from some other country most on work permits, many tourists, but all participating in the making of this most amazing place. Getting around the city this ratio seems about right. There are boundaries, to be sure, and they are expected to be respected…like the idea that you don’t misbehave, you don’t despoil your surroundings with garbage or graffiti and you follow the rules of the land. Somehow they have also managed to find a way to fit in luxury with the demure dress code that is the custom here among the Emirati….like the latest iPhone and other Apple products, jewelry and watches and the fastest most expensive cars. It’s all here.
Even experienced my first sand storm…lasted for three days and then things came back to normal. The food is as exotic or as plain as one could wish…whatever one would like it is here within reason. Pork products are not easy to find. It seems that every country is represented here…even found a Cuban place.
English is the lingua Franca of our time so it makes it quite easy to get around and most importantly to teach a class when your Spanish and a bit of German won’t help you much if you don’t speak Arabic.
I am here in country with a small team of US experts in cyber security, one a former Army Major friend of mine from the past (a cannon cocker as they proudly call themselves), a young very geeky software developer (and many other things) who is our Fire Team leader (for those of you with no military background a Fire Team consists of five), a former Marine woman who also formerly worked at the State Department (speaks Russian, Hindi and other languages – amazing talent) and yours truly. Okay that only makes four…close enough for hand grenades as they say.
Switching the topic now to book writing…
I have been forming some ideas for the eNikita follow-on including new characters. Met a woman working as a translator who I almost instantly recognized as the character of Roberta in eNikita and then blew me away when she pulled out her pack of cigarettes and it was a pack of Gitanes Blondes. The character of Roberta, or Berta, as she is called in the book also smokes Gitanes Blondes. For those who don’t know, Gitanes is a rare brand of cigarettes – mostly found France. Enough for now. I’ll do a followup next week. Will be teaching in the Emirate of Sharjah.