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The less I do, the more time I have to write about it. The sum of today's effort was a staged "photo opportunity" with the Prime Minister of England. Mr. Major was on a whirlwind tour, from Kuwait City and down to Dhahran, where we caught up with him. Or rather, he caught up with us, since we were staked out half an hour in advance. The site was the big air base in town where British-flown Tornados had been stationed. The planes were parked in front of the platform, and by the time the P.M. arrived each jet was swarmed by about 50 onlookers from the R.A.F. Mr. Major briefly thanked his boys, promised to bring them home without any unnecessary delays (whatever that means), and then he climbed down to shake a few hands. The entire event, though well orchestrated (right down to bussing in the 300 members of the audience), was quite a casual affair. I couldn't imagine George Bush exchanging wisecracks with the commoners.

It's an old joke, but Americans and the British simply do not speak the same language. I had a hard enough time carrying on a conversation, but Sergei's efforts were entirely in vain. Nonetheless, he tried. One UPI reporter whom we've travelled with before classified him as "irrepressible." His antics served as a warm-up act for the Prime Minister, putting all the audience in a good mood. Of course if you don't want to be in a good mood, the man will be a real nuisance. That would seem to account for the few folks who are clearly tired of his company. No matter to me--he's going home in a few days,1 and things can only be duller for it.

I also did my laundry today. And that is the sum of my accomplishments for the day.

1Editor's note, 2011: Sergei was going home because trouble was brewing in Yugoslavia and he wanted to cover it. The region of Slovenia had already voted for independence. The protests that were breaking out in other cities became the civil war that eventually tore the country apart.

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© 2011 Chuck Afflerbach for The Hick Town Times