Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Difficulties with foreign visas

Heard that some people have had difficulty obtaining visas, especially from the UK. I know the UK has been tightening up on visas since the markets crashed last year but some of the stories I have heard have been pretty bad; of students being asked to show Rs.8-9m in their own bank accounts (not their parent's accounts), of a senior businessman who has traveled extensively in Europe and the US being denied a business visa until intervention by another business associate.

Does anyone have any stories to share? My purpose is to understand the difficulties early before wasting money on visa application fees.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

I can see clearly now....

The frames of my spectacles have needed replacement for some time, but I had not got around to doing it. I'd been thinking about it for more than six months, when finally catching a free long weekend, decided to go and check a frame out last Saturday.

My eye's are pretty bad and the trouble is that when I take my glasses off to try a new frame on, I can't see what it looks like in the mirror until my nose is almost jammed against the glass, which is why I always end up choosing some horrible frame so this time I took a friend along, to help me decide.

As a matter of routine, I got my eyes checked (on the little machine) as well and the guy in the shop said my eyesight had improved a lot. He double checked by getting me to read the letters off a card placed at a distance (the old fashioned way of testing eyesight) and it still showed a big improvement. He wanted me to get my blood sugar checked and I decided to go to a proper eye surgeon as well.

To cut the long story short, my eyes have improved by about 50% and when I put on my new glasses it was amazing. I could see so much detail, traffic lights, number plates, the speedometer on the dashboard even the gravel on the road - everything was pin-sharp. I could see faces the small photographs hanging on the wall without peering at it.

My eyesight has probably been changing for about a year at least, I don't know how I managed to get by thus far. I cursing and wondering if by wearing my high powered lenses I actually weakened the eye further.

The optometrist was amazed that I did not seem to have noticed much discomfort; there were the odd difficulties but I thought it was overwork, stress, etc.

Anyway, I shall be testing my eyes more regularly and with any luck can move to lower powered glasses in another year.

ps. My eye's used to be -6 and -5.5; now they are -3 and -3.5.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Iran to import petrol from Venezuela

Iran has just entered into an agreement to import petrol from, Venezuela.

This may surprise a few people but Iran's decrepit oil industry lacks refining capacity so they export crude oil and import refined fuel. Hang on a minute, is'nt Iran the country that is helping us to build a brand new refinery in Colombo??? Lets hope we don't end up with a another Mihin Air.

Anyway, Iran exports crude and imports refined oil, but why go halfway across the world to import petrol when there is plenty of it nearby? Presumably its a super deal, which probably means that the poor Venezuelan is about to subsidise Iran's oil bill, just so that it boosts their leader's ego and sphere of influence? Or perhaps its case of the two countries concerned being rather short of friends, which has driven them to each others arms? Hang, on, hang, these are our friends, right?