Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Lessons for the Gulf from Nigeria

Over the last three months we have watched oil spill into the Gulf of Mexico as government and BP officials make speeches daily about how much oil is spewing and what the newest plan to slow the spill is. We feel for the people who's lives have been wrecked by this situation, for those who lost their lives, and for the wildlife we see drenched in oil. It turns out we are the lucky ones. This has been the biggest news story in our country for three months, our president has made multiple trips to the affected areas, and there is a public cry to help everyone and everything hurt by this spill.

It turns out that the oil companies have some experience with this type of situation. Although they may have been used to making up an estimate on the amount of oil and never having to back it up. It may never have mattered that the marine biologist that they planned on contacting in a situation like this passed away years before this disaster (even years before the disaster plan was filed for the Deepwater Horizen). In the past the details never really mattered.

For 40 years now there have been oil spills in the Niger Delta. The amount that spills annually is by most estimates at least as much as the Exxon Valdez spill. Yet I had no idea. I have never heard a word about this until a week ago. How can this much oil be spilling every year and not even get just a little media attention?

It seems the environmentalists in this country seem to focus their efforts locally. It is easier to cover up something going on in Africa. It has made me wonder why we are drilling off our own shores at all? What is really so bad about depending on foreign oil? It's kind of like paying someone to do your taxes. You give somebody else the responsibility so you do not have to worry about it or take responsibility. By no drilling here the environmentalists would quickly lose interest and even if something would happen and we had another disaster no one would care. There would be no claims to the oil companies for lost wages, no massive cleanup, no daily updates on the plans to stop or slow the leak.

The other side of this is of course the people of Nigeria. Aside from the issues we face such as employment, they also face lack of access to clean water. They do not have daily press conferences about the situation or masses of people lining up to help in any way they can.

It turns out that this is happening in other remote areas of the world as well. Far from the watchful eye of the media, far wealthy businessmen and even far from anyone who seems to care.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

A Positive Thursday Night Dining Experience

Since my husband and I relocated to the DC area two years ago we have made it a point to try new things, go to different places and not to get stuck in the same routine. This year we purchased an Entertainment book to encourage ourselves to do this even more frequently. I must say that we have been pretty successful in immersing ourselves into this new town and seeing what it really has to offer outside of the mainstream staples. Most places we have been have had good food, a fine atmosphere and acceptable service. It is the places that go beyond that I plan to talk about in this blog. Maybe I will encourage one more person to walk through their door and give it a try. After all, if I enjoyed my experience so much, do I not owe it to the restaurant to spend five minutes to tell someone how great it was?

So I will start this blog with an experience I had this evening while I was out with my husband. We decided to give Persian food a shot. We had our coupon from the Entertainment book for Caspian House of Kabob and thought, why not?

It turned out to be a fantastic choice. We had actually planned on getting takeout only to walk into the restaurant and instantly change our minds. Although they have live bands on the weekends Thursday night was rather quiet and the baby was safe at home with my mother. It was the perfect place for adult time(even though there was a table full of kids right next to us).

We were seated in the corner by one of the most polite servers I have ever met. I instantly knew that we would be giving this man a generous tip. It is rare for me to go into a restaurant and really get the feeling that they appreciated my business. But this place did just that.

My husband and I have recently been on a lamb kick and both of us ordered the lamb kabobs. It was an excellent choice. My husband is one of the most critical people I know and rarely leaves a restaurant completely satisfied. I can honestly say he left this place impressed.

If you are ever in Gaithersburg, MD this is a place you must try.