Olympic Fencing action

While it's still illegal to smoke pot in public in California, there will be an exception made for people smoking weed inside the fencing at San Francisco's Hippie Hill. Jackie Ward reports. (4/18/18)
Smoking Weed In Public Remains Illegal In California, Even On 4/20
While it's still illegal to smoke pot in public in California, there will be an exception made for people smoking weed inside the fencing at San Francisco's Hippie Hill. Jackie Ward reports. (4/18/18)
While it's still illegal to smoke pot in public in California, there will be an exception made for people smoking weed inside the fencing at San Francisco's Hippie Hill. Jackie Ward reports. (4/18/18)
Smoking Weed In Public Remains Illegal In California, Even On 4/20
While it's still illegal to smoke pot in public in California, there will be an exception made for people smoking weed inside the fencing at San Francisco's Hippie Hill. Jackie Ward reports. (4/18/18)
While it's still illegal to smoke pot in public in California, there will be an exception made for people smoking weed inside the fencing at San Francisco's Hippie Hill. Jackie Ward reports. (4/18/18)
Smoking Weed In Public Remains Illegal In California, Even On 4/20
While it's still illegal to smoke pot in public in California, there will be an exception made for people smoking weed inside the fencing at San Francisco's Hippie Hill. Jackie Ward reports. (4/18/18)
We paid calls on the Facebook CEO's barber, high school fencing coach and others to find out what makes Zuckerberg tick. Also: We visited one of the more controversial stops on his recent nationwide tour.
CNET goes to Mark Zuckerberg's hometown
We paid calls on the Facebook CEO's barber, high school fencing coach and others to find out what makes Zuckerberg tick. Also: We visited one of the more controversial stops on his recent nationwide tour.
We paid calls on the Facebook CEO's barber, high school fencing coach and others to find out what makes Zuckerberg tick. Also: We visited one of the more controversial stops on his recent nationwide tour.
CNET goes to Mark Zuckerberg's hometown
We paid calls on the Facebook CEO's barber, high school fencing coach and others to find out what makes Zuckerberg tick. Also: We visited one of the more controversial stops on his recent nationwide tour.
We paid calls on the Facebook CEO's barber, high school fencing coach and others to find out what makes Zuckerberg tick. Also: We visited one of the more controversial stops on his recent nationwide tour.
CNET goes to Mark Zuckerberg's hometown
We paid calls on the Facebook CEO's barber, high school fencing coach and others to find out what makes Zuckerberg tick. Also: We visited one of the more controversial stops on his recent nationwide tour.
We paid calls on the Facebook CEO's barber, high school fencing coach and others to find out what makes Zuckerberg tick. Also: We visited one of the more controversial stops on his recent nationwide tour.
CNET goes to Mark Zuckerberg's hometown
We paid calls on the Facebook CEO's barber, high school fencing coach and others to find out what makes Zuckerberg tick. Also: We visited one of the more controversial stops on his recent nationwide tour.
Taxpayer-controlled RBS is stumping up £3.5bn to help plug its pension scheme deficit, prompted by restructuring required to comply with UK "ring-fencing" rules. The high street lender said it was making the payments to compensate pension scheme members for the loss of financial firepower resulting from hiving off the firm’s investment banking arm NatWest Markets. RBS will contribute an initial £2bn by the end of this year, and then up to an additional £1.5bn from 2020. The further sums are dependent on the bank’s dividend restarting, with pension payments set to match any dividend paid, up to the £1.5bn threshold. RBS declined to disclose its pension scheme deficit, but said it did not expect to have to make any further deficit contributions following the payments. Ewen Stevenson, RBS chief financial officer, said that the pension agreement was an “important milestone” on the way to restarting a dividend – which has not been paid since the financial crisis and the bank's £45bn state bailout. Ring fencing rules are designed to protect high street customers from lenders' riskier investment banks Credit: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg Mr Stevenson added: “With these proposed payments ... we will have substantially addressed the historical funding weaknesses that existed in the fund and brought clarity to future funding arrangements.” The ring-fencing rules force UK banks to split their retail arms from their investment banks in changes designed to protect consumers and businesses from the fallout if there is another financial crisis. The rules come into force next January, but the big banks are all set to switch on their "ring fences" well ahead of the deadline. Barclays became the first to do so over the Easter weekend and RBS will do so at the end of this month. RBS said the initial £2bn pension payment would cost it 80 basis points of capital, which if incurred today would take its core capital ratio from 15.9pc to 15.1pc. The bank is currently well-capitalised relative to its peers, as it awaits a likely hefty fine for past misconduct in the US for mis-selling toxic mortgage-backed securities. Barclays settled a similar albeit smaller case for $2bn (£1.4bn) last month, a lower figure than the City had feared. As part of the pension scheme changes the pension pots of RBS investment bank staff will be transferred into a new scheme. RBS shares were up 1.7pc in mid-afternoon trading.
RBS to pay up to £3.5bn into pension scheme ahead of switching on 'ring fence'
Taxpayer-controlled RBS is stumping up £3.5bn to help plug its pension scheme deficit, prompted by restructuring required to comply with UK "ring-fencing" rules. The high street lender said it was making the payments to compensate pension scheme members for the loss of financial firepower resulting from hiving off the firm’s investment banking arm NatWest Markets. RBS will contribute an initial £2bn by the end of this year, and then up to an additional £1.5bn from 2020. The further sums are dependent on the bank’s dividend restarting, with pension payments set to match any dividend paid, up to the £1.5bn threshold. RBS declined to disclose its pension scheme deficit, but said it did not expect to have to make any further deficit contributions following the payments. Ewen Stevenson, RBS chief financial officer, said that the pension agreement was an “important milestone” on the way to restarting a dividend – which has not been paid since the financial crisis and the bank's £45bn state bailout. Ring fencing rules are designed to protect high street customers from lenders' riskier investment banks Credit: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg Mr Stevenson added: “With these proposed payments ... we will have substantially addressed the historical funding weaknesses that existed in the fund and brought clarity to future funding arrangements.” The ring-fencing rules force UK banks to split their retail arms from their investment banks in changes designed to protect consumers and businesses from the fallout if there is another financial crisis. The rules come into force next January, but the big banks are all set to switch on their "ring fences" well ahead of the deadline. Barclays became the first to do so over the Easter weekend and RBS will do so at the end of this month. RBS said the initial £2bn pension payment would cost it 80 basis points of capital, which if incurred today would take its core capital ratio from 15.9pc to 15.1pc. The bank is currently well-capitalised relative to its peers, as it awaits a likely hefty fine for past misconduct in the US for mis-selling toxic mortgage-backed securities. Barclays settled a similar albeit smaller case for $2bn (£1.4bn) last month, a lower figure than the City had feared. As part of the pension scheme changes the pension pots of RBS investment bank staff will be transferred into a new scheme. RBS shares were up 1.7pc in mid-afternoon trading.
Taxpayer-controlled RBS is stumping up £3.5bn to help plug its pension scheme deficit, prompted by restructuring required to comply with UK "ring-fencing" rules. The high street lender said it was making the payments to compensate pension scheme members for the loss of financial firepower resulting from hiving off the firm’s investment banking arm NatWest Markets. RBS will contribute an initial £2bn by the end of this year, and then up to an additional £1.5bn from 2020. The further sums are dependent on the bank’s dividend restarting, with pension payments set to match any dividend paid, up to the £1.5bn threshold. RBS declined to disclose its pension scheme deficit, but said it did not expect to have to make any further deficit contributions following the payments. Ewen Stevenson, RBS chief financial officer, said that the pension agreement was an “important milestone” on the way to restarting a dividend – which has not been paid since the financial crisis and the bank's £45bn state bailout. Ring fencing rules are designed to protect high street customers from lenders' riskier investment banks Credit: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg Mr Stevenson added: “With these proposed payments ... we will have substantially addressed the historical funding weaknesses that existed in the fund and brought clarity to future funding arrangements.” The ring-fencing rules force UK banks to split their retail arms from their investment banks in changes designed to protect consumers and businesses from the fallout if there is another financial crisis. The rules come into force next January, but the big banks are all set to switch on their "ring fences" well ahead of the deadline. Barclays became the first to do so over the Easter weekend and RBS will do so at the end of this month. RBS said the initial £2bn pension payment would cost it 80 basis points of capital, which if incurred today would take its core capital ratio from 15.9pc to 15.1pc. The bank is currently well-capitalised relative to its peers, as it awaits a likely hefty fine for past misconduct in the US for mis-selling toxic mortgage-backed securities. Barclays settled a similar albeit smaller case for $2bn (£1.4bn) last month, a lower figure than the City had feared. As part of the pension scheme changes the pension pots of RBS investment bank staff will be transferred into a new scheme. RBS shares were up 1.7pc in mid-afternoon trading.
RBS to pay up to £3.5bn into pension scheme ahead of switching on 'ring fence'
Taxpayer-controlled RBS is stumping up £3.5bn to help plug its pension scheme deficit, prompted by restructuring required to comply with UK "ring-fencing" rules. The high street lender said it was making the payments to compensate pension scheme members for the loss of financial firepower resulting from hiving off the firm’s investment banking arm NatWest Markets. RBS will contribute an initial £2bn by the end of this year, and then up to an additional £1.5bn from 2020. The further sums are dependent on the bank’s dividend restarting, with pension payments set to match any dividend paid, up to the £1.5bn threshold. RBS declined to disclose its pension scheme deficit, but said it did not expect to have to make any further deficit contributions following the payments. Ewen Stevenson, RBS chief financial officer, said that the pension agreement was an “important milestone” on the way to restarting a dividend – which has not been paid since the financial crisis and the bank's £45bn state bailout. Ring fencing rules are designed to protect high street customers from lenders' riskier investment banks Credit: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg Mr Stevenson added: “With these proposed payments ... we will have substantially addressed the historical funding weaknesses that existed in the fund and brought clarity to future funding arrangements.” The ring-fencing rules force UK banks to split their retail arms from their investment banks in changes designed to protect consumers and businesses from the fallout if there is another financial crisis. The rules come into force next January, but the big banks are all set to switch on their "ring fences" well ahead of the deadline. Barclays became the first to do so over the Easter weekend and RBS will do so at the end of this month. RBS said the initial £2bn pension payment would cost it 80 basis points of capital, which if incurred today would take its core capital ratio from 15.9pc to 15.1pc. The bank is currently well-capitalised relative to its peers, as it awaits a likely hefty fine for past misconduct in the US for mis-selling toxic mortgage-backed securities. Barclays settled a similar albeit smaller case for $2bn (£1.4bn) last month, a lower figure than the City had feared. As part of the pension scheme changes the pension pots of RBS investment bank staff will be transferred into a new scheme. RBS shares were up 1.7pc in mid-afternoon trading.
The Novichok nerve agent used in the Salisbury spy attack was delivered in “liquid form”, the Government has revealed. Officials from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said that only a “very small amount” of the substance was used to poison the former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia. The details emerged at a press briefing in Salisbury, where reporters were told the highest concentration of the deadly material was found at Mr Skripal's house. The Government also announced that the cleaning up of a handful of sites across Salisbury which were potentially contaminated as a result of the nerve agent attack will “take a number of months”. Specialist military personnel will be deployed to ensure nine sites in the Wiltshire cathedral city are safe with police cordons in key areas to be replaced with secure fencing. Officials maintain that the risk to the public remains low after Mr Skripal and Yulia were poisoned on March 4. Russian spy poisoning | Read more Chemical weapons experts identified the deadly nerve agent which was used in the attack as belonging to the Novichok family - a type of weapon created by the Soviet Union. The UK has formally blamed Russia for the attack but Moscow has denied all accusations of wrongdoing. Both nations have engaged in tit for tat retaliation in the wake of the incident as they expelled each other’s diplomats with relations between the Kremlin and Downing Street rapidly deteriorating. The Salisbury sites earmarked for decontamination include The Maltings shopping area near to where the pair were found, the city cemetery, the Zizzi restaurant where the pair dined and the Ashley Wood compound where Mr Skripal's BMW was taken after the attack. Three of the nine sites are in the city centre. A small cordoned area of London Road cemetery was the first area to be reopened to the public after extensive investigations and testing established that it was not contaminated. All of the remaining sites will remain secured. Mapped: Russian diplomats expelled from West The Government has stressed that the current scientific assessment is that the remainder of Salisbury is safe for residents and visitors while Public Health England has reaffirmed that the risk to the general public is low. Work to clean each site, which will be supported by approximately 190 specialist military personnel from the Army and RAF, will involve a process of testing, removal of items which may have been contaminated, chemical cleaning and retesting. Sites will not be reopened to the public until test results show they are free of contamination. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, which is leading the work, said it is “expected to take a number of months”. Doctors caring for Mr Skripal and Yulia have said the pair are recovering from the attack with both no longer in a critical condition. Front Bench promotion - end of article
Salisbury spy attack: Novichok nerve agent was delivered in 'liquid form', Government reveals
The Novichok nerve agent used in the Salisbury spy attack was delivered in “liquid form”, the Government has revealed. Officials from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said that only a “very small amount” of the substance was used to poison the former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia. The details emerged at a press briefing in Salisbury, where reporters were told the highest concentration of the deadly material was found at Mr Skripal's house. The Government also announced that the cleaning up of a handful of sites across Salisbury which were potentially contaminated as a result of the nerve agent attack will “take a number of months”. Specialist military personnel will be deployed to ensure nine sites in the Wiltshire cathedral city are safe with police cordons in key areas to be replaced with secure fencing. Officials maintain that the risk to the public remains low after Mr Skripal and Yulia were poisoned on March 4. Russian spy poisoning | Read more Chemical weapons experts identified the deadly nerve agent which was used in the attack as belonging to the Novichok family - a type of weapon created by the Soviet Union. The UK has formally blamed Russia for the attack but Moscow has denied all accusations of wrongdoing. Both nations have engaged in tit for tat retaliation in the wake of the incident as they expelled each other’s diplomats with relations between the Kremlin and Downing Street rapidly deteriorating. The Salisbury sites earmarked for decontamination include The Maltings shopping area near to where the pair were found, the city cemetery, the Zizzi restaurant where the pair dined and the Ashley Wood compound where Mr Skripal's BMW was taken after the attack. Three of the nine sites are in the city centre. A small cordoned area of London Road cemetery was the first area to be reopened to the public after extensive investigations and testing established that it was not contaminated. All of the remaining sites will remain secured. Mapped: Russian diplomats expelled from West The Government has stressed that the current scientific assessment is that the remainder of Salisbury is safe for residents and visitors while Public Health England has reaffirmed that the risk to the general public is low. Work to clean each site, which will be supported by approximately 190 specialist military personnel from the Army and RAF, will involve a process of testing, removal of items which may have been contaminated, chemical cleaning and retesting. Sites will not be reopened to the public until test results show they are free of contamination. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, which is leading the work, said it is “expected to take a number of months”. Doctors caring for Mr Skripal and Yulia have said the pair are recovering from the attack with both no longer in a critical condition. Front Bench promotion - end of article
Barbed wire fencing stands at the Kinder Morgan Inc. Trans Mountain pipeline expansion site in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada, on Wednesday, April 11, 2018. Alberta, the landlocked Canadian province that's home to the oil sands, would be willing to buy out Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline if that's the only way to salvage the critical export route, Premier Rachel Notley said.
Alberta Readies Oil Embargo in Kinder Pipeline Battle
Barbed wire fencing stands at the Kinder Morgan Inc. Trans Mountain pipeline expansion site in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada, on Wednesday, April 11, 2018. Alberta, the landlocked Canadian province that's home to the oil sands, would be willing to buy out Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline if that's the only way to salvage the critical export route, Premier Rachel Notley said.
When we think about pets, the only things that come to mind are the small animals that we get to keep in our houses. Dogs and cats are the usual suspects, but the list can be expanded to include rodents, birds, lizards, serpents, insects and other things that might not come naturally to you as a companion. We think we can also add cows on the list of animals and creatures that might not strike you as pet material. If you do not believe us, you should definitely take a look at this here clip and see for yourself. It's impossible to deny how happy this <a href="https://rumble.com/v3z0cl-adorable-cow-is-delighted-with-her-brush.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:cow" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">cow</a> is when he is called from across a field. Watch him run and jump right up to the fence to greet his human best friend! What a priceless moment. We have no idea how good a cow’s vision is, but one thing is for sure. He may have taken a few good looks over by the fence, before he actually came running to the human like a tiny puppy. Only this is a <a href="https://rumble.com/v3odjh-adorable-cow-thinks-hes-a-dog-and-lives-in-house.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:big puppy" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">big puppy</a> with hooves for feet and can’t sleep in the house. Still, the love and respect these two feel for each other is inspiring! He even makes a few bounces before reaching the fence, because yay, it is his favorite human! For a moment there we thought that he wouldn’t stop and just ram himself into the chain-link fence. But the gentle animal slowed down in the nick of time and aligned himself with the fencing, expecting a few sweet scratches. Who wouldn’t love a pet like that?
Cow Runs Over Like A Puppy After Being Called By Owner
When we think about pets, the only things that come to mind are the small animals that we get to keep in our houses. Dogs and cats are the usual suspects, but the list can be expanded to include rodents, birds, lizards, serpents, insects and other things that might not come naturally to you as a companion. We think we can also add cows on the list of animals and creatures that might not strike you as pet material. If you do not believe us, you should definitely take a look at this here clip and see for yourself. It's impossible to deny how happy this cow is when he is called from across a field. Watch him run and jump right up to the fence to greet his human best friend! What a priceless moment. We have no idea how good a cow’s vision is, but one thing is for sure. He may have taken a few good looks over by the fence, before he actually came running to the human like a tiny puppy. Only this is a big puppy with hooves for feet and can’t sleep in the house. Still, the love and respect these two feel for each other is inspiring! He even makes a few bounces before reaching the fence, because yay, it is his favorite human! For a moment there we thought that he wouldn’t stop and just ram himself into the chain-link fence. But the gentle animal slowed down in the nick of time and aligned himself with the fencing, expecting a few sweet scratches. Who wouldn’t love a pet like that?
When we think about pets, the only things that come to mind are the small animals that we get to keep in our houses. Dogs and cats are the usual suspects, but the list can be expanded to include rodents, birds, lizards, serpents, insects and other things that might not come naturally to you as a companion. We think we can also add cows on the list of animals and creatures that might not strike you as pet material. If you do not believe us, you should definitely take a look at this here clip and see for yourself. It's impossible to deny how happy this <a href="https://rumble.com/v3z0cl-adorable-cow-is-delighted-with-her-brush.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:cow" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">cow</a> is when he is called from across a field. Watch him run and jump right up to the fence to greet his human best friend! What a priceless moment. We have no idea how good a cow’s vision is, but one thing is for sure. He may have taken a few good looks over by the fence, before he actually came running to the human like a tiny puppy. Only this is a <a href="https://rumble.com/v3odjh-adorable-cow-thinks-hes-a-dog-and-lives-in-house.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:big puppy" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">big puppy</a> with hooves for feet and can’t sleep in the house. Still, the love and respect these two feel for each other is inspiring! He even makes a few bounces before reaching the fence, because yay, it is his favorite human! For a moment there we thought that he wouldn’t stop and just ram himself into the chain-link fence. But the gentle animal slowed down in the nick of time and aligned himself with the fencing, expecting a few sweet scratches. Who wouldn’t love a pet like that?
Cow Runs Over Like A Puppy After Being Called By Owner
When we think about pets, the only things that come to mind are the small animals that we get to keep in our houses. Dogs and cats are the usual suspects, but the list can be expanded to include rodents, birds, lizards, serpents, insects and other things that might not come naturally to you as a companion. We think we can also add cows on the list of animals and creatures that might not strike you as pet material. If you do not believe us, you should definitely take a look at this here clip and see for yourself. It's impossible to deny how happy this cow is when he is called from across a field. Watch him run and jump right up to the fence to greet his human best friend! What a priceless moment. We have no idea how good a cow’s vision is, but one thing is for sure. He may have taken a few good looks over by the fence, before he actually came running to the human like a tiny puppy. Only this is a big puppy with hooves for feet and can’t sleep in the house. Still, the love and respect these two feel for each other is inspiring! He even makes a few bounces before reaching the fence, because yay, it is his favorite human! For a moment there we thought that he wouldn’t stop and just ram himself into the chain-link fence. But the gentle animal slowed down in the nick of time and aligned himself with the fencing, expecting a few sweet scratches. Who wouldn’t love a pet like that?
When we think about pets, the only things that come to mind are the small animals that we get to keep in our houses. Dogs and cats are the usual suspects, but the list can be expanded to include rodents, birds, lizards, serpents, insects and other things that might not come naturally to you as a companion. We think we can also add cows on the list of animals and creatures that might not strike you as pet material. If you do not believe us, you should definitely take a look at this here clip and see for yourself. It's impossible to deny how happy this <a href="https://rumble.com/v3z0cl-adorable-cow-is-delighted-with-her-brush.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:cow" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">cow</a> is when he is called from across a field. Watch him run and jump right up to the fence to greet his human best friend! What a priceless moment. We have no idea how good a cow’s vision is, but one thing is for sure. He may have taken a few good looks over by the fence, before he actually came running to the human like a tiny puppy. Only this is a <a href="https://rumble.com/v3odjh-adorable-cow-thinks-hes-a-dog-and-lives-in-house.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:big puppy" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">big puppy</a> with hooves for feet and can’t sleep in the house. Still, the love and respect these two feel for each other is inspiring! He even makes a few bounces before reaching the fence, because yay, it is his favorite human! For a moment there we thought that he wouldn’t stop and just ram himself into the chain-link fence. But the gentle animal slowed down in the nick of time and aligned himself with the fencing, expecting a few sweet scratches. Who wouldn’t love a pet like that?
Cow Runs Over Like A Puppy After Being Called By Owner
When we think about pets, the only things that come to mind are the small animals that we get to keep in our houses. Dogs and cats are the usual suspects, but the list can be expanded to include rodents, birds, lizards, serpents, insects and other things that might not come naturally to you as a companion. We think we can also add cows on the list of animals and creatures that might not strike you as pet material. If you do not believe us, you should definitely take a look at this here clip and see for yourself. It's impossible to deny how happy this cow is when he is called from across a field. Watch him run and jump right up to the fence to greet his human best friend! What a priceless moment. We have no idea how good a cow’s vision is, but one thing is for sure. He may have taken a few good looks over by the fence, before he actually came running to the human like a tiny puppy. Only this is a big puppy with hooves for feet and can’t sleep in the house. Still, the love and respect these two feel for each other is inspiring! He even makes a few bounces before reaching the fence, because yay, it is his favorite human! For a moment there we thought that he wouldn’t stop and just ram himself into the chain-link fence. But the gentle animal slowed down in the nick of time and aligned himself with the fencing, expecting a few sweet scratches. Who wouldn’t love a pet like that?
When we think about pets, the only things that come to mind are the small animals that we get to keep in our houses. Dogs and cats are the usual suspects, but the list can be expanded to include rodents, birds, lizards, serpents, insects and other things that might not come naturally to you as a companion. We think we can also add cows on the list of animals and creatures that might not strike you as pet material. If you do not believe us, you should definitely take a look at this here clip and see for yourself. It's impossible to deny how happy this <a href="https://rumble.com/v3z0cl-adorable-cow-is-delighted-with-her-brush.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:cow" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">cow</a> is when he is called from across a field. Watch him run and jump right up to the fence to greet his human best friend! What a priceless moment. We have no idea how good a cow’s vision is, but one thing is for sure. He may have taken a few good looks over by the fence, before he actually came running to the human like a tiny puppy. Only this is a <a href="https://rumble.com/v3odjh-adorable-cow-thinks-hes-a-dog-and-lives-in-house.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:big puppy" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">big puppy</a> with hooves for feet and can’t sleep in the house. Still, the love and respect these two feel for each other is inspiring! He even makes a few bounces before reaching the fence, because yay, it is his favorite human! For a moment there we thought that he wouldn’t stop and just ram himself into the chain-link fence. But the gentle animal slowed down in the nick of time and aligned himself with the fencing, expecting a few sweet scratches. Who wouldn’t love a pet like that?
Cow Runs Over Like A Puppy After Being Called By Owner
When we think about pets, the only things that come to mind are the small animals that we get to keep in our houses. Dogs and cats are the usual suspects, but the list can be expanded to include rodents, birds, lizards, serpents, insects and other things that might not come naturally to you as a companion. We think we can also add cows on the list of animals and creatures that might not strike you as pet material. If you do not believe us, you should definitely take a look at this here clip and see for yourself. It's impossible to deny how happy this cow is when he is called from across a field. Watch him run and jump right up to the fence to greet his human best friend! What a priceless moment. We have no idea how good a cow’s vision is, but one thing is for sure. He may have taken a few good looks over by the fence, before he actually came running to the human like a tiny puppy. Only this is a big puppy with hooves for feet and can’t sleep in the house. Still, the love and respect these two feel for each other is inspiring! He even makes a few bounces before reaching the fence, because yay, it is his favorite human! For a moment there we thought that he wouldn’t stop and just ram himself into the chain-link fence. But the gentle animal slowed down in the nick of time and aligned himself with the fencing, expecting a few sweet scratches. Who wouldn’t love a pet like that?
<p>SBI was not willing to exit one of its biggest overseas markets, despite new ring-fencing rules. </p>
State Bank of India looks to broaden UK customer base beyond Indian diaspora

SBI was not willing to exit one of its biggest overseas markets, despite new ring-fencing rules.

<p>SBI was not willing to exit one of its biggest overseas markets, despite new ring-fencing rules. </p>
State Bank of India looks to broaden UK customer base beyond Indian diaspora

SBI was not willing to exit one of its biggest overseas markets, despite new ring-fencing rules.

<p>SBI was not willing to exit one of its biggest overseas markets, despite new ring-fencing rules. </p>
State Bank of India looks to broaden UK customer base beyond Indian diaspora

SBI was not willing to exit one of its biggest overseas markets, despite new ring-fencing rules.

NORWICH, UNITED KINGDOM - AUGUST 25: (EDITORS NOTE: IMAGES EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION UNTIL 0001GMT AUGUST 26, 2005; NATURAL LENS FLARE VISIBLE IN IMAGE) The sun shines through high security fencing surrounding Norwich Prison on August 25, 2005 in Norwich, England. A Chief Inspector of Prisons report on Norwich Prison says healthcare accommodation was among the worst seen, as prisoners suffered from unscreened toilets, little natural light, poor suicide prevention, inadequate education and training for long-term prisoners. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images) Photographer: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images Europe
Puerto Rico to Offload Inmates to U.S. From ‘Archaic’ Prisons
NORWICH, UNITED KINGDOM - AUGUST 25: (EDITORS NOTE: IMAGES EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION UNTIL 0001GMT AUGUST 26, 2005; NATURAL LENS FLARE VISIBLE IN IMAGE) The sun shines through high security fencing surrounding Norwich Prison on August 25, 2005 in Norwich, England. A Chief Inspector of Prisons report on Norwich Prison says healthcare accommodation was among the worst seen, as prisoners suffered from unscreened toilets, little natural light, poor suicide prevention, inadequate education and training for long-term prisoners. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images) Photographer: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images Europe
Next Up on ESPN: Harvard Lacrosse, Fencing for Only $5 a Month
The $3 million project should be completed at all seven substations in July.
Dallas Police Officers, City Leaders Pleased With Perimeter Fencing At Substations
The $3 million project should be completed at all seven substations in July.
The $3 million project should be completed at all seven substations in July.
Dallas Police Officers, City Leaders Pleased With Perimeter Fencing At Substations
The $3 million project should be completed at all seven substations in July.
The $3 million project should be completed at all seven substations in July.
Dallas Police Officers, City Leaders Pleased With Perimeter Fencing At Substations
The $3 million project should be completed at all seven substations in July.
The $3 million project should be completed at all seven substations in July.
Dallas Police Officers, City Leaders Pleased With Perimeter Fencing At Substations
The $3 million project should be completed at all seven substations in July.
Austin Taylor, left, and Chase Morris, right, of Lee&#39;s Decking and Fencing, check the level of a fence post as they build a 350-foot-long privacy fence on Monday, April 9, 2018 in Owensboro, Ky. (Alan Warren/The Messenger-Inquirer via AP)
Austin Taylor, left, and Chase Morris, right, of Lee's Decking and Fencing, check the level of a fence post as they build a 350-foot-long privacy fence on Monday, April 9, 2018 in Owensboro, Ky. (Alan Warren/The Messenger-Inquirer via AP)
Austin Taylor, left, and Chase Morris, right, of Lee's Decking and Fencing, check the level of a fence post as they build a 350-foot-long privacy fence on Monday, April 9, 2018 in Owensboro, Ky. (Alan Warren/The Messenger-Inquirer via AP)
Scenes from along the Mexican border in Nogales, Arizona. West of Nogales, the fencing ends and this barbed-wire fence is the international boundary. (This is on Dan Bell's Ranch.)
America’s Virtual Border Wall Is a 1,954-Mile-Long Money Pit
Scenes from along the Mexican border in Nogales, Arizona. West of Nogales, the fencing ends and this barbed-wire fence is the international boundary. (This is on Dan Bell's Ranch.)
Scenes from along the Mexican border in Nogales, Arizona. West of Nogales, the fencing ends and this barbed-wire fence is the international boundary. (This is on Dan Bell's Ranch.)
America’s Virtual Border Wall Is a 1,954-Mile-Long Money Pit
Scenes from along the Mexican border in Nogales, Arizona. West of Nogales, the fencing ends and this barbed-wire fence is the international boundary. (This is on Dan Bell's Ranch.)
Jason Piper with Diggers Fencing runs a line of string across newly erected fence posts to mark the height of the tin that will be installed next on the fencing as the ball field at Chautauqua Park continues to be renovated on Friday, April 6, 2018, in Owensboro, Ky. (Greg Eans/The Messenger-Inquirer via AP)
Jason Piper with Diggers Fencing runs a line of string across newly erected fence posts to mark the height of the tin that will be installed next on the fencing as the ball field at Chautauqua Park continues to be renovated on Friday, April 6, 2018, in Owensboro, Ky. (Greg Eans/The Messenger-Inquirer via AP)
Jason Piper with Diggers Fencing runs a line of string across newly erected fence posts to mark the height of the tin that will be installed next on the fencing as the ball field at Chautauqua Park continues to be renovated on Friday, April 6, 2018, in Owensboro, Ky. (Greg Eans/The Messenger-Inquirer via AP)
Barclays&#39; credit rating has been downgraded to one level above junk by ratings agency Moody&#39;s, after it said the lender&#39;s £1bn move to &quot;ring-fence&quot; its UK retail arm had made it a riskier overall investment. The bank became the first UK lender to switch on its &quot;ring-fence&quot; over the weekend, to comply with new rules designed to protect British consumers and businesses from the fallout if there is another financial crisis. The newly-formed Barclays UK has 24 million ­customers and £250bn of assets. Moody&#39;s said the changes - which also need to be adopted by Lloyds, HSBC, RBS and Santander - are likely to make UK retail banks safer, but could lead to downgrades for the investment banking businesses hived off as a result. Separately the agency confirmed it had downgraded RBS&#39;s investment bank - NatWest Markets - and upgraded its soon-to-be-created retail units RBS, NatWest and Ulster Bank. Its ring-fencing will take place at the end of this month. Barclays chief Jes Staley is under pressure to turnaround the under-performing bank Credit: Jason Alden/Bloomberg In Barclays&#39; case, Moody&#39;s said the overall bank also faces &quot;ongoing profitability challenges&quot;. The downgrade had been expected by the City and had little impact on its share price and bonds. But it underlines the pressure on chief executive Jes Staley to turnaround Barclays, particularly its under-performing investment bank. It emerged last month the bank has been targeted by New York-based activist investor Edward Bramson, who has built up a 5pc stake in the lender. Barclays has drawn up battle plans to fend off any attacks. The bank posted a £1.9bn loss for 2017 but restored the dividend and pledged to return more cash to investors in time. Last week Barclays agreed to pay $2bn (£1.4bn) to settle a lawsuit over mortgage-backed securities sold in the run-up to the financial crisis, a smaller figure than the City had feared, raising the prospect of dividend hikes or share buybacks.
Barclays' credit rating downgraded to just above 'junk'
Barclays' credit rating has been downgraded to one level above junk by ratings agency Moody's, after it said the lender's £1bn move to "ring-fence" its UK retail arm had made it a riskier overall investment. The bank became the first UK lender to switch on its "ring-fence" over the weekend, to comply with new rules designed to protect British consumers and businesses from the fallout if there is another financial crisis. The newly-formed Barclays UK has 24 million ­customers and £250bn of assets. Moody's said the changes - which also need to be adopted by Lloyds, HSBC, RBS and Santander - are likely to make UK retail banks safer, but could lead to downgrades for the investment banking businesses hived off as a result. Separately the agency confirmed it had downgraded RBS's investment bank - NatWest Markets - and upgraded its soon-to-be-created retail units RBS, NatWest and Ulster Bank. Its ring-fencing will take place at the end of this month. Barclays chief Jes Staley is under pressure to turnaround the under-performing bank Credit: Jason Alden/Bloomberg In Barclays' case, Moody's said the overall bank also faces "ongoing profitability challenges". The downgrade had been expected by the City and had little impact on its share price and bonds. But it underlines the pressure on chief executive Jes Staley to turnaround Barclays, particularly its under-performing investment bank. It emerged last month the bank has been targeted by New York-based activist investor Edward Bramson, who has built up a 5pc stake in the lender. Barclays has drawn up battle plans to fend off any attacks. The bank posted a £1.9bn loss for 2017 but restored the dividend and pledged to return more cash to investors in time. Last week Barclays agreed to pay $2bn (£1.4bn) to settle a lawsuit over mortgage-backed securities sold in the run-up to the financial crisis, a smaller figure than the City had feared, raising the prospect of dividend hikes or share buybacks.
Barclays&#39; credit rating has been downgraded to one level above junk by ratings agency Moody&#39;s, after it said the lender&#39;s £1bn move to &quot;ring-fence&quot; its UK retail arm had made it a riskier overall investment. The bank became the first UK lender to switch on its &quot;ring-fence&quot; over the weekend, to comply with new rules designed to protect British consumers and businesses from the fallout if there is another financial crisis. The newly-formed Barclays UK has 24 million ­customers and £250bn of assets. Moody&#39;s said the changes - which also need to be adopted by Lloyds, HSBC, RBS and Santander - are likely to make UK retail banks safer, but could lead to downgrades for the investment banking businesses hived off as a result. Separately the agency confirmed it had downgraded RBS&#39;s investment bank - NatWest Markets - and upgraded its soon-to-be-created retail units RBS, NatWest and Ulster Bank. Its ring-fencing will take place at the end of this month. Barclays chief Jes Staley is under pressure to turnaround the under-performing bank Credit: Jason Alden/Bloomberg In Barclays&#39; case, Moody&#39;s said the overall bank also faces &quot;ongoing profitability challenges&quot;. The downgrade had been expected by the City and had little impact on its share price and bonds. But it underlines the pressure on chief executive Jes Staley to turnaround Barclays, particularly its under-performing investment bank. It emerged last month the bank has been targeted by New York-based activist investor Edward Bramson, who has built up a 5pc stake in the lender. Barclays has drawn up battle plans to fend off any attacks. The bank posted a £1.9bn loss for 2017 but restored the dividend and pledged to return more cash to investors in time. Last week Barclays agreed to pay $2bn (£1.4bn) to settle a lawsuit over mortgage-backed securities sold in the run-up to the financial crisis, a smaller figure than the City had feared, raising the prospect of dividend hikes or share buybacks.
Barclays' credit rating downgraded to just above 'junk'
Barclays' credit rating has been downgraded to one level above junk by ratings agency Moody's, after it said the lender's £1bn move to "ring-fence" its UK retail arm had made it a riskier overall investment. The bank became the first UK lender to switch on its "ring-fence" over the weekend, to comply with new rules designed to protect British consumers and businesses from the fallout if there is another financial crisis. The newly-formed Barclays UK has 24 million ­customers and £250bn of assets. Moody's said the changes - which also need to be adopted by Lloyds, HSBC, RBS and Santander - are likely to make UK retail banks safer, but could lead to downgrades for the investment banking businesses hived off as a result. Separately the agency confirmed it had downgraded RBS's investment bank - NatWest Markets - and upgraded its soon-to-be-created retail units RBS, NatWest and Ulster Bank. Its ring-fencing will take place at the end of this month. Barclays chief Jes Staley is under pressure to turnaround the under-performing bank Credit: Jason Alden/Bloomberg In Barclays' case, Moody's said the overall bank also faces "ongoing profitability challenges". The downgrade had been expected by the City and had little impact on its share price and bonds. But it underlines the pressure on chief executive Jes Staley to turnaround Barclays, particularly its under-performing investment bank. It emerged last month the bank has been targeted by New York-based activist investor Edward Bramson, who has built up a 5pc stake in the lender. Barclays has drawn up battle plans to fend off any attacks. The bank posted a £1.9bn loss for 2017 but restored the dividend and pledged to return more cash to investors in time. Last week Barclays agreed to pay $2bn (£1.4bn) to settle a lawsuit over mortgage-backed securities sold in the run-up to the financial crisis, a smaller figure than the City had feared, raising the prospect of dividend hikes or share buybacks.
RBS sets date for ring-fencing of retail operations
FILE - In this June 19, 2008, file photo, in front of a new five-mile section of border fencing, Master Sgt. Ken Clemens, a member of the 200th Red Horse Air National Guard Civil Engineering Squadron from Camp Perry in Ohio, works on a new guardrail along a new road at the border in Nogales, Ariz. U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen said Wednesday, April 4, 2018, that Trump and border-state governors are working to &quot;immediately&quot; deploy the National Guard to the U.S.-Mexico border to fight illegal immigration. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
FILE - In this June 19, 2008, file photo, in front of a new five-mile section of border fencing, Master Sgt. Ken Clemens, a member of the 200th Red Horse Air National Guard Civil Engineering Squadron from Camp Perry in Ohio, works on a new guardrail along a new road at the border in Nogales, Ariz. U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen said Wednesday, April 4, 2018, that Trump and border-state governors are working to "immediately" deploy the National Guard to the U.S.-Mexico border to fight illegal immigration. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
FILE - In this June 19, 2008, file photo, in front of a new five-mile section of border fencing, Master Sgt. Ken Clemens, a member of the 200th Red Horse Air National Guard Civil Engineering Squadron from Camp Perry in Ohio, works on a new guardrail along a new road at the border in Nogales, Ariz. U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen said Wednesday, April 4, 2018, that Trump and border-state governors are working to "immediately" deploy the National Guard to the U.S.-Mexico border to fight illegal immigration. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
Barclays (BCS) separates its investment banking business from its retail banking division by forming a new ring-fenced entity called Barclays Bank UK PLC.
Barclays Successfully Creates a New Entity with Ring Fencing
Barclays (BCS) separates its investment banking business from its retail banking division by forming a new ring-fenced entity called Barclays Bank UK PLC.
Champions Cup pulled into firing line in Premiership ring-fencing wrangle
Champions Cup pulled into firing line in Premiership ring-fencing wrangle
Champions Cup pulled into firing line in Premiership ring-fencing wrangle
Champions Cup pulled into firing line in Premiership ring-fencing wrangle
Champions Cup pulled into firing line in Premiership ring-fencing wrangle
Champions Cup pulled into firing line in Premiership ring-fencing wrangle
Action from Leinster’s 30-19 victory over Saracens in the European Rugby Champions Cup quarter-final in<br>Dublin.
Champions Cup pulled into firing line in Premiership ring-fencing wrangle
Action from Leinster’s 30-19 victory over Saracens in the European Rugby Champions Cup quarter-final in
Dublin.
Barclays’ £1bn transformation is complete as the bank became the first in the UK to switch on its “ring-fence” – splitting up its investment bank from its retail bank. It used the extra bank holidays over the Easter weekend to make the move, meaning it could switch off its online banking service overnight and have extra time to fix any unexpected problems before the start of the business week. Around 1,500 Barclays staff were working overnight on Saturday into the early hours of yesterday. The bank’s biggest-ever restructuring means Barclays UK will be run as a stand-alone retail bank. The new Barclays UK business will be run by chief executive Ashok ­Vaswani and a board led by Sir Ian Cheshire, the former boss of B&Q ­owners Kingfisher. Its project has ­involved ring-fencing 24 million ­customers, £250bn of assets and changing a million sort codes. Barclays UK - the ring-fenced entity - is headed by Ashok Vaswani Barclays has overhauled itself in ­order to comply with new rules coming at the start of next year requiring ­Britain’s big five banks – also including Lloyds, HSBC, RBS and Santander – to wall off their high street operations from their riskier investment banks. The regulations are meant to protect British consumers and businesses from the fallout if there is another financial crisis. The idea is that if a lender’s investment bank were to fail, the UK retail arm would have its own capital and separate IT systems and remain safe. Barclays is the first of the big banks out of the blocks. The 1,500 staff were drafted in on various shifts to carry out final testing and will get time off in lieu. This was the final of seven temporary switch-offs. Customers had been warned in advance that the online systems would be down from 11.30pm on Saturday to 3.30pm yesterday, though the work was actually completed ahead of schedule and the website and banking app switched on again at 9.30am. Customers should not notice any ­immediate difference. Any existing standing orders and direct debits, and other transfers such as wages and ­salaries, using the old sort code will be automatically redirected for the next three years. They should also have ­received new bank cards and chequebooks with the new sort codes. Barclays share price Barclays’ restructure has proved controversial, as its UK retail pension obligations will sit with its riskier ­investment bank, rather than at the ring-fenced bank. Barclays has claimed it was not feasible to split its pension scheme in two. Both the regulators and the courts have rubber stamped the changes in recent months. It is the latest in a series of major banking reforms aimed at keeping the system safe in a crisis. Ring-fencing alone cannot itself ­protect a bank from a collapse in its ­retail banking business – the crisis which brought down the UK’s former building societies in the credit crunch. Neither Bradford and Bingley nor Northern Rock had investment ­banking operations. Banks have already beefed up their capital buffers to protect themselves against another crash. The Bank of England runs regular stress tests which calculate how the banking system would cope with a severe recession. In the tests run so far, officials ­believe the banks would be able to withstand a recession more severe than the financial crisis, and to maintain lending, which should mean the banks supporting the wider economy.
Barclays is first UK bank to complete £1bn ring-fence to split retail lending from investment banking
Barclays’ £1bn transformation is complete as the bank became the first in the UK to switch on its “ring-fence” – splitting up its investment bank from its retail bank. It used the extra bank holidays over the Easter weekend to make the move, meaning it could switch off its online banking service overnight and have extra time to fix any unexpected problems before the start of the business week. Around 1,500 Barclays staff were working overnight on Saturday into the early hours of yesterday. The bank’s biggest-ever restructuring means Barclays UK will be run as a stand-alone retail bank. The new Barclays UK business will be run by chief executive Ashok ­Vaswani and a board led by Sir Ian Cheshire, the former boss of B&Q ­owners Kingfisher. Its project has ­involved ring-fencing 24 million ­customers, £250bn of assets and changing a million sort codes. Barclays UK - the ring-fenced entity - is headed by Ashok Vaswani Barclays has overhauled itself in ­order to comply with new rules coming at the start of next year requiring ­Britain’s big five banks – also including Lloyds, HSBC, RBS and Santander – to wall off their high street operations from their riskier investment banks. The regulations are meant to protect British consumers and businesses from the fallout if there is another financial crisis. The idea is that if a lender’s investment bank were to fail, the UK retail arm would have its own capital and separate IT systems and remain safe. Barclays is the first of the big banks out of the blocks. The 1,500 staff were drafted in on various shifts to carry out final testing and will get time off in lieu. This was the final of seven temporary switch-offs. Customers had been warned in advance that the online systems would be down from 11.30pm on Saturday to 3.30pm yesterday, though the work was actually completed ahead of schedule and the website and banking app switched on again at 9.30am. Customers should not notice any ­immediate difference. Any existing standing orders and direct debits, and other transfers such as wages and ­salaries, using the old sort code will be automatically redirected for the next three years. They should also have ­received new bank cards and chequebooks with the new sort codes. Barclays share price Barclays’ restructure has proved controversial, as its UK retail pension obligations will sit with its riskier ­investment bank, rather than at the ring-fenced bank. Barclays has claimed it was not feasible to split its pension scheme in two. Both the regulators and the courts have rubber stamped the changes in recent months. It is the latest in a series of major banking reforms aimed at keeping the system safe in a crisis. Ring-fencing alone cannot itself ­protect a bank from a collapse in its ­retail banking business – the crisis which brought down the UK’s former building societies in the credit crunch. Neither Bradford and Bingley nor Northern Rock had investment ­banking operations. Banks have already beefed up their capital buffers to protect themselves against another crash. The Bank of England runs regular stress tests which calculate how the banking system would cope with a severe recession. In the tests run so far, officials ­believe the banks would be able to withstand a recession more severe than the financial crisis, and to maintain lending, which should mean the banks supporting the wider economy.
You’re miles from home, you don’t speak the language and you’re lost. At precisely that point help arrives in the most unexpected form. In the spirit of the season, our writers salute Good Samaritans worldwide our immediate acquaintance. Five writers recall acts of decency they have encountered on their travels. Marcel Theroux The remarkable thing about random acts of kindness is not how rare they are, but how frequent. The well-advertised possibilities of human cruelty would make you think that homo homini lupus is the size of it: man is a wolf to man. But wander the world and what do you find? Strangers going out of their way to give each other painstaking directions. People lending each other umbrellas, drivers thanking each other by flashing their hazard lights. Trying out the cuisine was on the menu in the Faroe Islands Credit: Getty If humans were the rational maximisers of advantage that some economists would have us believe, rich people would never return from poor countries alive. But, in general, the human response to vulnerability is not to prey on it, but to help. And very often, it seems to me, generosity varies inversely with the wealth of the giver. My highlight reel of unexpected kindnesses could quickly become the length of the main feature: a Fijian medical student who let me share half his berth on a train from Darjeeling to New Jalpaiguri that was so crowded I would never have been able to board it without his help. A Siberian trucker who changed a flat tyre on my car in Chukotka and waved off my offer of assistance. “It’s like drinking a cup of tea for me,” he said. A Mongolian noodle-seller who, in Ulaanbaatar, gave me a bottle of home-made yak vodka as a leaving present. But the current prize for going beyond the call of duty I’m awarding to a Faroese lady called Laura Joensen, who invited me to lunch in her cosy, turf-roofed house in Tjornuvik. She didn’t know me from Adam, but I’d bumped into her niece during a walk on the blustery Faroese coast and expressed an interest in traditional Faroese food. I received a lunch invitation for the following day. Over lunch, I realised that Laura is an actress and quite celebrated in her homeland. It was rather as though Helen Mirren had invited a total stranger around for pie and mash. It was an unforgettable meal – and not just because of Laura’s generosity. She served fermented lamb that smelled like blue cheese, whale meat, and a sauce of sheep guts called garnatalg that is served on wind-dried fish. She was aware that some palates might find the dishes a challenge. “It’s enough to say “like” or “not like” without saying “ugh”,” she said, with a slight steeliness. The food was an acquired taste, but the sense of conviviality was universal. Thank you, Laura. Your stories | The kindness of strangers Sophie Campbell To the two Dutch women who lent me money and let me – and a flea-bitten dog I’d temporarily adopted – share their rented bed on a bitter night on Isla del Sol, Lake Titicaca, Bolivia, when I truly thought my travelling companion was dead, thank you. (I did pay them back and buy them dinner). To the Anglo-Russian couple I met at Chekhov’s house near Moscow, who insisted on inviting me to their dacha where a relative took me swimming in the green forest backwaters, thank you. To the women on the same trip who stopped me striding starkers into a banya during the men’s’ session, thank you. And likewise, to the Japanese guy who explained that the tall chimney I had mistaken for a sento (public bathhouse) in Kyushu was actually a crematorium, thank you. Help was found at Lake Titicaca, Bolivia Credit: ANDRAS JANCSIK In travel, as in life, 85 per cent of people you meet are very decent, 10 per cent go above and beyond, and you just hope you don’t meet the other five per cent. I’ve lost count of the times that people have gone out of their way to help: right now, for instance, I’m in New York City and last night got on a bus without validating my MetroCard first. A woman not only explained but got off the bus to help me, risking missing her ride home. Meanwhile, the driver waited for us. That spontaneous generosity is incredibly moving and often impossible to pay back, except for a heartfelt thank you at the time. It’s frequently proffered by people who have little to give, or who are busy, or tired, and could pretend not to notice. Such acts change how you feel about a place. It happens in this country, too. On at least three occasions I’ve been moved by women coming over to commiserate and ask if they can help while I’ve been blubbing on public transport (usually about men). Valle de la Luna, Chile Credit: Getty Nevertheless, I’m haunted by a bloke in San Pedro de Atacama, Chile, who offered us a bed for the night and then added: “So, my son can stay with you when he comes to Britain?” We didn’t stay. Thinking back, I don’t think it was fair: we didn’t know him, hadn’t asked to stay, and these things are spontaneous gestures, not deals. Still, it made me realise how important it is to pass on the favour in your own country. Which I do. My most recent success being a man from the G K Chesterton Society of Barcelona (honestly) who was trying unsuccessfully to find the author’s flat on my road. I stopped to help. We ended up not only finding it but being shown around by its owners. He was thrilled. I was thrilled. I think we’ll both remember that, although we’ll never see each other again. Isn’t that what travel is all about? Chris Leadbeater There are several things you always need to hand as a travel writer. A passport, a phone and a credit card are essentials. So is a sense of direction, and an awareness of where you are on the map. As is a grasp of how much petrol you require to reach your next destination – and whether you already have this in your tank. You tend to be careful with these matters if you are on, say, the back-roads of Uruguay. But you might be more complacent if you are exploring South Island of New Zealand. Complacency was one of my excuses at the February end of a Kiwi summer. That, and a wanderlust that meant that, after a mazy meander down from Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park to Queenstown, I was seized by an impulse to carry on – to glimpse the sunset on the shore of Lake Te Anau, 110 miles south-west. Mount Cook or Aorkai in New Zealand&#39;s South Island Credit: Getty Did I pause to think that this was a round-trip of a fair length? Longer than I had fuel for? Not really. The sunset was superb, the lake serene, and the only petrol station, shut. By now, I was driving on fumes. This presented two possibilities. A continuation that would undoubtedly see me rammed by a lorry in the darkness, after conking out on the road. Or a cold night in the seat of my car waiting outside the petrol station. Or maybe there was a third option. Margaret. A grandmotherly figure, wrapped in a thick coat, though the evening was warm, she pulled up as I was considering my fate. Did she know when the station would reopen? Tomorrow. Did she know where the nearest alternative was. Yes, Limehills, 30 miles away. My face must have fallen here, as she mentioned the canister of fuel for her lawnmower – mine, if I would pay her for it. I opened my wallet to find nothing but euros. No New Zealand dollars. Margaret laughed; asked what I did for a living. “Travel journalist.” She laughed again. “Dearie me,” she added, “Aren’t you having a bad day?” New Zealand – where you can&#39;t pay for things in Euros Credit: Getty She would later explain that she had a grandson travelling abroad; that she hoped someone would extend the same help if he was similarly stuck. For, when she returned after five minutes, she said I could have the petrol. For free. She wouldn’t take the euros. All she wanted was a copy of the feature I was writing. And so we stood in her garage – me a man she had just met, half her age and twice her height – pouring her petrol into my hire car. She even made me a cup of tea. Of course, I ignored her wishes. The next morning, I posted 40 dollars (£25) to her address, with a thank you card. The following day’s email had a mildly cross tone. A deal was a deal, she said. The petrol was a gift; she had given the cash to charity. I did at least keep to the rest of the bargain. Six months later, I posted a copy of my article. Again, word came back. “Nice piece,” it said, “but you seem to have omitted some of your difficulties on the road. Perhaps a list of gas stations would be of use to your readers?” Peter Hughes I was on my way to Timbuktu when I was the beneficiary of an act of empathy almost mystical in its surprise. The stranger could hardly have been more strange, nor, it turned out, could he have been kinder. It was January 1971 and two of us were attempting to drive across the Sahara to the ancient desert city in Mali. Fabled for 700 years, Timbuktu, at the time of our journey, was known chiefly for being among the remotest places on Earth. Djinguereber Mosque in Timbuktu, Mali Credit: Getty For four days we had driven south through Algeria across a flat gravel plain, following a track waymarked by carcasses of dead sheep tossed from trucks, battered fragments of abandoned vehicles, rock cairns and the occasional oil drum left by the French. In Mali the road deteriorated. Broad pools of sand as fine as cement powder flooded across the track. Wheel marks swooped to either side to skirt the foot-deep ruts in the middle. We ploughed into one of these sand lakes, hoping to power our way through. Within 50 yards we were stuck. Working in temperatures of more than 86F (30C), we set about the laborious routine to free ourselves. First one side of the car was jacked up, then the other, so sand could be dug out from under it. We had strips of chain link fencing to lay under the wheels for grip. After two hours we had moved the car six feet. A Tuareg in blue robe and white turban appeared from the desert. A Tuareg in blue robe appeared from the desert Credit: Getty He gestured that the easiest thing would be to pick the car up and place it on firm ground. We agreed and suggested he helped. For a while he did, but we only gained another nine inches before the car sank to its axles again. Without a word, the Tuareg stepped aside, knelt and abased his head in prayer. When he returned, again without speaking, he took a lanyard from around his neck and presented it to me. It had a small noose at one end and a tassel at the other, and seemed to have been spun from fine strands of black goat leather. I touched my right hand to my heart in thanks and placed the lanyard over my head. The Tuareg nodded and left us as mysteriously as he had appeared. Minutes later a truck arrived, the first we had seen, and its crew pushed us free. Michelle Jana Chan Some say Sana’a is the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world, founded by Shem, son of Noah, and the origin of all truly Arabic people. I entered the Old Town by the throat-like archway of Bab Al-Yaman, to wander between the towering six or seven-storey homes built a millennium ago in mud with alabaster friezes in gypsum and Koranic calligraphy embossed above arched windows. Along the narrow alleys there were men manoeuvring wheelbarrows laden with bales of wire and bolts of cloth, children playing with spinning tops and a woman carrying a Singer sewing machine on her head. Fruit-sellers were touting pomegranates, pink mangoes and persimmons, besides traders offering up frankincense and myrrh. A chance meeting led to an enchanting encounter in Yemen Credit: MOHAMMED HUWAIS Then a woman and I caught each other’s eye, down from the mosque in Harat Mansur. She spontaneously asked me to lunch and I accepted, of course. It is encounters such as these that can become the most enchanting of a trip; for me they are the greatest reason to travel. It continues to astonish me how often strangers reach out this way. Behind the closed doors of a home, this was my first chance to see the faces of the veiled women I had heard were the most beautiful in the world. Sa’ada, my impulsive host, was lovely: a mother of four with olive eyes and a flawless complexion. Her daughters were pretty, too. But it was her servant who was the kind of woman that men go to war over: dark, polished skin, full lips, a swaying walk. She could have been a child of the Queen of Sheba, said to have ruled Yemen a thousand years ago. We should be kind on holiday, too | The kindness of strangers A meal almost miraculously appeared on the table. We tore apart unleavened flat bread, dipping it into saltah stew with fenugreek froth, pots of soft, broad beans and a vegetable ratatouille with peppers and tomatoes. I remember the taste of aniseed, fennel and cumin – as Sa’ada urged me to eat more, while showing me pictures of her family, touching my hair, holding my face in between her hands like a prayer, even pinching me in the ribs to say I hadn’t eaten enough. Before I left, she gave me grapes and sweet honey-cake and Yemeni coffee made from qusr, the husk, which is boiled with cinnamon and cardamom. The kindness of Sa’ada. Above all, it was her welcome into her home; the shared meal; the snatched conversation; the reaching out of two women across cultures – that I will always remember most about Yemen.
The kindness of strangers: Five times travel restored our faith in humanity
You’re miles from home, you don’t speak the language and you’re lost. At precisely that point help arrives in the most unexpected form. In the spirit of the season, our writers salute Good Samaritans worldwide our immediate acquaintance. Five writers recall acts of decency they have encountered on their travels. Marcel Theroux The remarkable thing about random acts of kindness is not how rare they are, but how frequent. The well-advertised possibilities of human cruelty would make you think that homo homini lupus is the size of it: man is a wolf to man. But wander the world and what do you find? Strangers going out of their way to give each other painstaking directions. People lending each other umbrellas, drivers thanking each other by flashing their hazard lights. Trying out the cuisine was on the menu in the Faroe Islands Credit: Getty If humans were the rational maximisers of advantage that some economists would have us believe, rich people would never return from poor countries alive. But, in general, the human response to vulnerability is not to prey on it, but to help. And very often, it seems to me, generosity varies inversely with the wealth of the giver. My highlight reel of unexpected kindnesses could quickly become the length of the main feature: a Fijian medical student who let me share half his berth on a train from Darjeeling to New Jalpaiguri that was so crowded I would never have been able to board it without his help. A Siberian trucker who changed a flat tyre on my car in Chukotka and waved off my offer of assistance. “It’s like drinking a cup of tea for me,” he said. A Mongolian noodle-seller who, in Ulaanbaatar, gave me a bottle of home-made yak vodka as a leaving present. But the current prize for going beyond the call of duty I’m awarding to a Faroese lady called Laura Joensen, who invited me to lunch in her cosy, turf-roofed house in Tjornuvik. She didn’t know me from Adam, but I’d bumped into her niece during a walk on the blustery Faroese coast and expressed an interest in traditional Faroese food. I received a lunch invitation for the following day. Over lunch, I realised that Laura is an actress and quite celebrated in her homeland. It was rather as though Helen Mirren had invited a total stranger around for pie and mash. It was an unforgettable meal – and not just because of Laura’s generosity. She served fermented lamb that smelled like blue cheese, whale meat, and a sauce of sheep guts called garnatalg that is served on wind-dried fish. She was aware that some palates might find the dishes a challenge. “It’s enough to say “like” or “not like” without saying “ugh”,” she said, with a slight steeliness. The food was an acquired taste, but the sense of conviviality was universal. Thank you, Laura. Your stories | The kindness of strangers Sophie Campbell To the two Dutch women who lent me money and let me – and a flea-bitten dog I’d temporarily adopted – share their rented bed on a bitter night on Isla del Sol, Lake Titicaca, Bolivia, when I truly thought my travelling companion was dead, thank you. (I did pay them back and buy them dinner). To the Anglo-Russian couple I met at Chekhov’s house near Moscow, who insisted on inviting me to their dacha where a relative took me swimming in the green forest backwaters, thank you. To the women on the same trip who stopped me striding starkers into a banya during the men’s’ session, thank you. And likewise, to the Japanese guy who explained that the tall chimney I had mistaken for a sento (public bathhouse) in Kyushu was actually a crematorium, thank you. Help was found at Lake Titicaca, Bolivia Credit: ANDRAS JANCSIK In travel, as in life, 85 per cent of people you meet are very decent, 10 per cent go above and beyond, and you just hope you don’t meet the other five per cent. I’ve lost count of the times that people have gone out of their way to help: right now, for instance, I’m in New York City and last night got on a bus without validating my MetroCard first. A woman not only explained but got off the bus to help me, risking missing her ride home. Meanwhile, the driver waited for us. That spontaneous generosity is incredibly moving and often impossible to pay back, except for a heartfelt thank you at the time. It’s frequently proffered by people who have little to give, or who are busy, or tired, and could pretend not to notice. Such acts change how you feel about a place. It happens in this country, too. On at least three occasions I’ve been moved by women coming over to commiserate and ask if they can help while I’ve been blubbing on public transport (usually about men). Valle de la Luna, Chile Credit: Getty Nevertheless, I’m haunted by a bloke in San Pedro de Atacama, Chile, who offered us a bed for the night and then added: “So, my son can stay with you when he comes to Britain?” We didn’t stay. Thinking back, I don’t think it was fair: we didn’t know him, hadn’t asked to stay, and these things are spontaneous gestures, not deals. Still, it made me realise how important it is to pass on the favour in your own country. Which I do. My most recent success being a man from the G K Chesterton Society of Barcelona (honestly) who was trying unsuccessfully to find the author’s flat on my road. I stopped to help. We ended up not only finding it but being shown around by its owners. He was thrilled. I was thrilled. I think we’ll both remember that, although we’ll never see each other again. Isn’t that what travel is all about? Chris Leadbeater There are several things you always need to hand as a travel writer. A passport, a phone and a credit card are essentials. So is a sense of direction, and an awareness of where you are on the map. As is a grasp of how much petrol you require to reach your next destination – and whether you already have this in your tank. You tend to be careful with these matters if you are on, say, the back-roads of Uruguay. But you might be more complacent if you are exploring South Island of New Zealand. Complacency was one of my excuses at the February end of a Kiwi summer. That, and a wanderlust that meant that, after a mazy meander down from Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park to Queenstown, I was seized by an impulse to carry on – to glimpse the sunset on the shore of Lake Te Anau, 110 miles south-west. Mount Cook or Aorkai in New Zealand's South Island Credit: Getty Did I pause to think that this was a round-trip of a fair length? Longer than I had fuel for? Not really. The sunset was superb, the lake serene, and the only petrol station, shut. By now, I was driving on fumes. This presented two possibilities. A continuation that would undoubtedly see me rammed by a lorry in the darkness, after conking out on the road. Or a cold night in the seat of my car waiting outside the petrol station. Or maybe there was a third option. Margaret. A grandmotherly figure, wrapped in a thick coat, though the evening was warm, she pulled up as I was considering my fate. Did she know when the station would reopen? Tomorrow. Did she know where the nearest alternative was. Yes, Limehills, 30 miles away. My face must have fallen here, as she mentioned the canister of fuel for her lawnmower – mine, if I would pay her for it. I opened my wallet to find nothing but euros. No New Zealand dollars. Margaret laughed; asked what I did for a living. “Travel journalist.” She laughed again. “Dearie me,” she added, “Aren’t you having a bad day?” New Zealand – where you can't pay for things in Euros Credit: Getty She would later explain that she had a grandson travelling abroad; that she hoped someone would extend the same help if he was similarly stuck. For, when she returned after five minutes, she said I could have the petrol. For free. She wouldn’t take the euros. All she wanted was a copy of the feature I was writing. And so we stood in her garage – me a man she had just met, half her age and twice her height – pouring her petrol into my hire car. She even made me a cup of tea. Of course, I ignored her wishes. The next morning, I posted 40 dollars (£25) to her address, with a thank you card. The following day’s email had a mildly cross tone. A deal was a deal, she said. The petrol was a gift; she had given the cash to charity. I did at least keep to the rest of the bargain. Six months later, I posted a copy of my article. Again, word came back. “Nice piece,” it said, “but you seem to have omitted some of your difficulties on the road. Perhaps a list of gas stations would be of use to your readers?” Peter Hughes I was on my way to Timbuktu when I was the beneficiary of an act of empathy almost mystical in its surprise. The stranger could hardly have been more strange, nor, it turned out, could he have been kinder. It was January 1971 and two of us were attempting to drive across the Sahara to the ancient desert city in Mali. Fabled for 700 years, Timbuktu, at the time of our journey, was known chiefly for being among the remotest places on Earth. Djinguereber Mosque in Timbuktu, Mali Credit: Getty For four days we had driven south through Algeria across a flat gravel plain, following a track waymarked by carcasses of dead sheep tossed from trucks, battered fragments of abandoned vehicles, rock cairns and the occasional oil drum left by the French. In Mali the road deteriorated. Broad pools of sand as fine as cement powder flooded across the track. Wheel marks swooped to either side to skirt the foot-deep ruts in the middle. We ploughed into one of these sand lakes, hoping to power our way through. Within 50 yards we were stuck. Working in temperatures of more than 86F (30C), we set about the laborious routine to free ourselves. First one side of the car was jacked up, then the other, so sand could be dug out from under it. We had strips of chain link fencing to lay under the wheels for grip. After two hours we had moved the car six feet. A Tuareg in blue robe and white turban appeared from the desert. A Tuareg in blue robe appeared from the desert Credit: Getty He gestured that the easiest thing would be to pick the car up and place it on firm ground. We agreed and suggested he helped. For a while he did, but we only gained another nine inches before the car sank to its axles again. Without a word, the Tuareg stepped aside, knelt and abased his head in prayer. When he returned, again without speaking, he took a lanyard from around his neck and presented it to me. It had a small noose at one end and a tassel at the other, and seemed to have been spun from fine strands of black goat leather. I touched my right hand to my heart in thanks and placed the lanyard over my head. The Tuareg nodded and left us as mysteriously as he had appeared. Minutes later a truck arrived, the first we had seen, and its crew pushed us free. Michelle Jana Chan Some say Sana’a is the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world, founded by Shem, son of Noah, and the origin of all truly Arabic people. I entered the Old Town by the throat-like archway of Bab Al-Yaman, to wander between the towering six or seven-storey homes built a millennium ago in mud with alabaster friezes in gypsum and Koranic calligraphy embossed above arched windows. Along the narrow alleys there were men manoeuvring wheelbarrows laden with bales of wire and bolts of cloth, children playing with spinning tops and a woman carrying a Singer sewing machine on her head. Fruit-sellers were touting pomegranates, pink mangoes and persimmons, besides traders offering up frankincense and myrrh. A chance meeting led to an enchanting encounter in Yemen Credit: MOHAMMED HUWAIS Then a woman and I caught each other’s eye, down from the mosque in Harat Mansur. She spontaneously asked me to lunch and I accepted, of course. It is encounters such as these that can become the most enchanting of a trip; for me they are the greatest reason to travel. It continues to astonish me how often strangers reach out this way. Behind the closed doors of a home, this was my first chance to see the faces of the veiled women I had heard were the most beautiful in the world. Sa’ada, my impulsive host, was lovely: a mother of four with olive eyes and a flawless complexion. Her daughters were pretty, too. But it was her servant who was the kind of woman that men go to war over: dark, polished skin, full lips, a swaying walk. She could have been a child of the Queen of Sheba, said to have ruled Yemen a thousand years ago. We should be kind on holiday, too | The kindness of strangers A meal almost miraculously appeared on the table. We tore apart unleavened flat bread, dipping it into saltah stew with fenugreek froth, pots of soft, broad beans and a vegetable ratatouille with peppers and tomatoes. I remember the taste of aniseed, fennel and cumin – as Sa’ada urged me to eat more, while showing me pictures of her family, touching my hair, holding my face in between her hands like a prayer, even pinching me in the ribs to say I hadn’t eaten enough. Before I left, she gave me grapes and sweet honey-cake and Yemeni coffee made from qusr, the husk, which is boiled with cinnamon and cardamom. The kindness of Sa’ada. Above all, it was her welcome into her home; the shared meal; the snatched conversation; the reaching out of two women across cultures – that I will always remember most about Yemen.
You’re miles from home, you don’t speak the language and you’re lost. At precisely that point help arrives in the most unexpected form. In the spirit of the season, our writers salute Good Samaritans worldwide our immediate acquaintance. Five writers recall acts of decency they have encountered on their travels. Marcel Theroux The remarkable thing about random acts of kindness is not how rare they are, but how frequent. The well-advertised possibilities of human cruelty would make you think that homo homini lupus is the size of it: man is a wolf to man. But wander the world and what do you find? Strangers going out of their way to give each other painstaking directions. People lending each other umbrellas, drivers thanking each other by flashing their hazard lights. Trying out the cuisine was on the menu in the Faroe Islands Credit: Getty If humans were the rational maximisers of advantage that some economists would have us believe, rich people would never return from poor countries alive. But, in general, the human response to vulnerability is not to prey on it, but to help. And very often, it seems to me, generosity varies inversely with the wealth of the giver. My highlight reel of unexpected kindnesses could quickly become the length of the main feature: a Fijian medical student who let me share half his berth on a train from Darjeeling to New Jalpaiguri that was so crowded I would never have been able to board it without his help. A Siberian trucker who changed a flat tyre on my car in Chukotka and waved off my offer of assistance. “It’s like drinking a cup of tea for me,” he said. A Mongolian noodle-seller who, in Ulaanbaatar, gave me a bottle of home-made yak vodka as a leaving present. But the current prize for going beyond the call of duty I’m awarding to a Faroese lady called Laura Joensen, who invited me to lunch in her cosy, turf-roofed house in Tjornuvik. She didn’t know me from Adam, but I’d bumped into her niece during a walk on the blustery Faroese coast and expressed an interest in traditional Faroese food. I received a lunch invitation for the following day. Over lunch, I realised that Laura is an actress and quite celebrated in her homeland. It was rather as though Helen Mirren had invited a total stranger around for pie and mash. It was an unforgettable meal – and not just because of Laura’s generosity. She served fermented lamb that smelled like blue cheese, whale meat, and a sauce of sheep guts called garnatalg that is served on wind-dried fish. She was aware that some palates might find the dishes a challenge. “It’s enough to say “like” or “not like” without saying “ugh”,” she said, with a slight steeliness. The food was an acquired taste, but the sense of conviviality was universal. Thank you, Laura. Your stories | The kindness of strangers Sophie Campbell To the two Dutch women who lent me money and let me – and a flea-bitten dog I’d temporarily adopted – share their rented bed on a bitter night on Isla del Sol, Lake Titicaca, Bolivia, when I truly thought my travelling companion was dead, thank you. (I did pay them back and buy them dinner). To the Anglo-Russian couple I met at Chekhov’s house near Moscow, who insisted on inviting me to their dacha where a relative took me swimming in the green forest backwaters, thank you. To the women on the same trip who stopped me striding starkers into a banya during the men’s’ session, thank you. And likewise, to the Japanese guy who explained that the tall chimney I had mistaken for a sento (public bathhouse) in Kyushu was actually a crematorium, thank you. Help was found at Lake Titicaca, Bolivia Credit: ANDRAS JANCSIK In travel, as in life, 85 per cent of people you meet are very decent, 10 per cent go above and beyond, and you just hope you don’t meet the other five per cent. I’ve lost count of the times that people have gone out of their way to help: right now, for instance, I’m in New York City and last night got on a bus without validating my MetroCard first. A woman not only explained but got off the bus to help me, risking missing her ride home. Meanwhile, the driver waited for us. That spontaneous generosity is incredibly moving and often impossible to pay back, except for a heartfelt thank you at the time. It’s frequently proffered by people who have little to give, or who are busy, or tired, and could pretend not to notice. Such acts change how you feel about a place. It happens in this country, too. On at least three occasions I’ve been moved by women coming over to commiserate and ask if they can help while I’ve been blubbing on public transport (usually about men). Valle de la Luna, Chile Credit: Getty Nevertheless, I’m haunted by a bloke in San Pedro de Atacama, Chile, who offered us a bed for the night and then added: “So, my son can stay with you when he comes to Britain?” We didn’t stay. Thinking back, I don’t think it was fair: we didn’t know him, hadn’t asked to stay, and these things are spontaneous gestures, not deals. Still, it made me realise how important it is to pass on the favour in your own country. Which I do. My most recent success being a man from the G K Chesterton Society of Barcelona (honestly) who was trying unsuccessfully to find the author’s flat on my road. I stopped to help. We ended up not only finding it but being shown around by its owners. He was thrilled. I was thrilled. I think we’ll both remember that, although we’ll never see each other again. Isn’t that what travel is all about? Chris Leadbeater There are several things you always need to hand as a travel writer. A passport, a phone and a credit card are essentials. So is a sense of direction, and an awareness of where you are on the map. As is a grasp of how much petrol you require to reach your next destination – and whether you already have this in your tank. You tend to be careful with these matters if you are on, say, the back-roads of Uruguay. But you might be more complacent if you are exploring South Island of New Zealand. Complacency was one of my excuses at the February end of a Kiwi summer. That, and a wanderlust that meant that, after a mazy meander down from Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park to Queenstown, I was seized by an impulse to carry on – to glimpse the sunset on the shore of Lake Te Anau, 110 miles south-west. Mount Cook or Aorkai in New Zealand&#39;s South Island Credit: Getty Did I pause to think that this was a round-trip of a fair length? Longer than I had fuel for? Not really. The sunset was superb, the lake serene, and the only petrol station, shut. By now, I was driving on fumes. This presented two possibilities. A continuation that would undoubtedly see me rammed by a lorry in the darkness, after conking out on the road. Or a cold night in the seat of my car waiting outside the petrol station. Or maybe there was a third option. Margaret. A grandmotherly figure, wrapped in a thick coat, though the evening was warm, she pulled up as I was considering my fate. Did she know when the station would reopen? Tomorrow. Did she know where the nearest alternative was. Yes, Limehills, 30 miles away. My face must have fallen here, as she mentioned the canister of fuel for her lawnmower – mine, if I would pay her for it. I opened my wallet to find nothing but euros. No New Zealand dollars. Margaret laughed; asked what I did for a living. “Travel journalist.” She laughed again. “Dearie me,” she added, “Aren’t you having a bad day?” New Zealand – where you can&#39;t pay for things in Euros Credit: Getty She would later explain that she had a grandson travelling abroad; that she hoped someone would extend the same help if he was similarly stuck. For, when she returned after five minutes, she said I could have the petrol. For free. She wouldn’t take the euros. All she wanted was a copy of the feature I was writing. And so we stood in her garage – me a man she had just met, half her age and twice her height – pouring her petrol into my hire car. She even made me a cup of tea. Of course, I ignored her wishes. The next morning, I posted 40 dollars (£25) to her address, with a thank you card. The following day’s email had a mildly cross tone. A deal was a deal, she said. The petrol was a gift; she had given the cash to charity. I did at least keep to the rest of the bargain. Six months later, I posted a copy of my article. Again, word came back. “Nice piece,” it said, “but you seem to have omitted some of your difficulties on the road. Perhaps a list of gas stations would be of use to your readers?” Peter Hughes I was on my way to Timbuktu when I was the beneficiary of an act of empathy almost mystical in its surprise. The stranger could hardly have been more strange, nor, it turned out, could he have been kinder. It was January 1971 and two of us were attempting to drive across the Sahara to the ancient desert city in Mali. Fabled for 700 years, Timbuktu, at the time of our journey, was known chiefly for being among the remotest places on Earth. Djinguereber Mosque in Timbuktu, Mali Credit: Getty For four days we had driven south through Algeria across a flat gravel plain, following a track waymarked by carcasses of dead sheep tossed from trucks, battered fragments of abandoned vehicles, rock cairns and the occasional oil drum left by the French. In Mali the road deteriorated. Broad pools of sand as fine as cement powder flooded across the track. Wheel marks swooped to either side to skirt the foot-deep ruts in the middle. We ploughed into one of these sand lakes, hoping to power our way through. Within 50 yards we were stuck. Working in temperatures of more than 86F (30C), we set about the laborious routine to free ourselves. First one side of the car was jacked up, then the other, so sand could be dug out from under it. We had strips of chain link fencing to lay under the wheels for grip. After two hours we had moved the car six feet. A Tuareg in blue robe and white turban appeared from the desert. A Tuareg in blue robe appeared from the desert Credit: Getty He gestured that the easiest thing would be to pick the car up and place it on firm ground. We agreed and suggested he helped. For a while he did, but we only gained another nine inches before the car sank to its axles again. Without a word, the Tuareg stepped aside, knelt and abased his head in prayer. When he returned, again without speaking, he took a lanyard from around his neck and presented it to me. It had a small noose at one end and a tassel at the other, and seemed to have been spun from fine strands of black goat leather. I touched my right hand to my heart in thanks and placed the lanyard over my head. The Tuareg nodded and left us as mysteriously as he had appeared. Minutes later a truck arrived, the first we had seen, and its crew pushed us free. Michelle Jana Chan Some say Sana’a is the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world, founded by Shem, son of Noah, and the origin of all truly Arabic people. I entered the Old Town by the throat-like archway of Bab Al-Yaman, to wander between the towering six or seven-storey homes built a millennium ago in mud with alabaster friezes in gypsum and Koranic calligraphy embossed above arched windows. Along the narrow alleys there were men manoeuvring wheelbarrows laden with bales of wire and bolts of cloth, children playing with spinning tops and a woman carrying a Singer sewing machine on her head. Fruit-sellers were touting pomegranates, pink mangoes and persimmons, besides traders offering up frankincense and myrrh. A chance meeting led to an enchanting encounter in Yemen Credit: MOHAMMED HUWAIS Then a woman and I caught each other’s eye, down from the mosque in Harat Mansur. She spontaneously asked me to lunch and I accepted, of course. It is encounters such as these that can become the most enchanting of a trip; for me they are the greatest reason to travel. It continues to astonish me how often strangers reach out this way. Behind the closed doors of a home, this was my first chance to see the faces of the veiled women I had heard were the most beautiful in the world. Sa’ada, my impulsive host, was lovely: a mother of four with olive eyes and a flawless complexion. Her daughters were pretty, too. But it was her servant who was the kind of woman that men go to war over: dark, polished skin, full lips, a swaying walk. She could have been a child of the Queen of Sheba, said to have ruled Yemen a thousand years ago. We should be kind on holiday, too | The kindness of strangers A meal almost miraculously appeared on the table. We tore apart unleavened flat bread, dipping it into saltah stew with fenugreek froth, pots of soft, broad beans and a vegetable ratatouille with peppers and tomatoes. I remember the taste of aniseed, fennel and cumin – as Sa’ada urged me to eat more, while showing me pictures of her family, touching my hair, holding my face in between her hands like a prayer, even pinching me in the ribs to say I hadn’t eaten enough. Before I left, she gave me grapes and sweet honey-cake and Yemeni coffee made from qusr, the husk, which is boiled with cinnamon and cardamom. The kindness of Sa’ada. Above all, it was her welcome into her home; the shared meal; the snatched conversation; the reaching out of two women across cultures – that I will always remember most about Yemen.
The kindness of strangers: Five times travel restored our faith in humanity
You’re miles from home, you don’t speak the language and you’re lost. At precisely that point help arrives in the most unexpected form. In the spirit of the season, our writers salute Good Samaritans worldwide our immediate acquaintance. Five writers recall acts of decency they have encountered on their travels. Marcel Theroux The remarkable thing about random acts of kindness is not how rare they are, but how frequent. The well-advertised possibilities of human cruelty would make you think that homo homini lupus is the size of it: man is a wolf to man. But wander the world and what do you find? Strangers going out of their way to give each other painstaking directions. People lending each other umbrellas, drivers thanking each other by flashing their hazard lights. Trying out the cuisine was on the menu in the Faroe Islands Credit: Getty If humans were the rational maximisers of advantage that some economists would have us believe, rich people would never return from poor countries alive. But, in general, the human response to vulnerability is not to prey on it, but to help. And very often, it seems to me, generosity varies inversely with the wealth of the giver. My highlight reel of unexpected kindnesses could quickly become the length of the main feature: a Fijian medical student who let me share half his berth on a train from Darjeeling to New Jalpaiguri that was so crowded I would never have been able to board it without his help. A Siberian trucker who changed a flat tyre on my car in Chukotka and waved off my offer of assistance. “It’s like drinking a cup of tea for me,” he said. A Mongolian noodle-seller who, in Ulaanbaatar, gave me a bottle of home-made yak vodka as a leaving present. But the current prize for going beyond the call of duty I’m awarding to a Faroese lady called Laura Joensen, who invited me to lunch in her cosy, turf-roofed house in Tjornuvik. She didn’t know me from Adam, but I’d bumped into her niece during a walk on the blustery Faroese coast and expressed an interest in traditional Faroese food. I received a lunch invitation for the following day. Over lunch, I realised that Laura is an actress and quite celebrated in her homeland. It was rather as though Helen Mirren had invited a total stranger around for pie and mash. It was an unforgettable meal – and not just because of Laura’s generosity. She served fermented lamb that smelled like blue cheese, whale meat, and a sauce of sheep guts called garnatalg that is served on wind-dried fish. She was aware that some palates might find the dishes a challenge. “It’s enough to say “like” or “not like” without saying “ugh”,” she said, with a slight steeliness. The food was an acquired taste, but the sense of conviviality was universal. Thank you, Laura. Your stories | The kindness of strangers Sophie Campbell To the two Dutch women who lent me money and let me – and a flea-bitten dog I’d temporarily adopted – share their rented bed on a bitter night on Isla del Sol, Lake Titicaca, Bolivia, when I truly thought my travelling companion was dead, thank you. (I did pay them back and buy them dinner). To the Anglo-Russian couple I met at Chekhov’s house near Moscow, who insisted on inviting me to their dacha where a relative took me swimming in the green forest backwaters, thank you. To the women on the same trip who stopped me striding starkers into a banya during the men’s’ session, thank you. And likewise, to the Japanese guy who explained that the tall chimney I had mistaken for a sento (public bathhouse) in Kyushu was actually a crematorium, thank you. Help was found at Lake Titicaca, Bolivia Credit: ANDRAS JANCSIK In travel, as in life, 85 per cent of people you meet are very decent, 10 per cent go above and beyond, and you just hope you don’t meet the other five per cent. I’ve lost count of the times that people have gone out of their way to help: right now, for instance, I’m in New York City and last night got on a bus without validating my MetroCard first. A woman not only explained but got off the bus to help me, risking missing her ride home. Meanwhile, the driver waited for us. That spontaneous generosity is incredibly moving and often impossible to pay back, except for a heartfelt thank you at the time. It’s frequently proffered by people who have little to give, or who are busy, or tired, and could pretend not to notice. Such acts change how you feel about a place. It happens in this country, too. On at least three occasions I’ve been moved by women coming over to commiserate and ask if they can help while I’ve been blubbing on public transport (usually about men). Valle de la Luna, Chile Credit: Getty Nevertheless, I’m haunted by a bloke in San Pedro de Atacama, Chile, who offered us a bed for the night and then added: “So, my son can stay with you when he comes to Britain?” We didn’t stay. Thinking back, I don’t think it was fair: we didn’t know him, hadn’t asked to stay, and these things are spontaneous gestures, not deals. Still, it made me realise how important it is to pass on the favour in your own country. Which I do. My most recent success being a man from the G K Chesterton Society of Barcelona (honestly) who was trying unsuccessfully to find the author’s flat on my road. I stopped to help. We ended up not only finding it but being shown around by its owners. He was thrilled. I was thrilled. I think we’ll both remember that, although we’ll never see each other again. Isn’t that what travel is all about? Chris Leadbeater There are several things you always need to hand as a travel writer. A passport, a phone and a credit card are essentials. So is a sense of direction, and an awareness of where you are on the map. As is a grasp of how much petrol you require to reach your next destination – and whether you already have this in your tank. You tend to be careful with these matters if you are on, say, the back-roads of Uruguay. But you might be more complacent if you are exploring South Island of New Zealand. Complacency was one of my excuses at the February end of a Kiwi summer. That, and a wanderlust that meant that, after a mazy meander down from Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park to Queenstown, I was seized by an impulse to carry on – to glimpse the sunset on the shore of Lake Te Anau, 110 miles south-west. Mount Cook or Aorkai in New Zealand's South Island Credit: Getty Did I pause to think that this was a round-trip of a fair length? Longer than I had fuel for? Not really. The sunset was superb, the lake serene, and the only petrol station, shut. By now, I was driving on fumes. This presented two possibilities. A continuation that would undoubtedly see me rammed by a lorry in the darkness, after conking out on the road. Or a cold night in the seat of my car waiting outside the petrol station. Or maybe there was a third option. Margaret. A grandmotherly figure, wrapped in a thick coat, though the evening was warm, she pulled up as I was considering my fate. Did she know when the station would reopen? Tomorrow. Did she know where the nearest alternative was. Yes, Limehills, 30 miles away. My face must have fallen here, as she mentioned the canister of fuel for her lawnmower – mine, if I would pay her for it. I opened my wallet to find nothing but euros. No New Zealand dollars. Margaret laughed; asked what I did for a living. “Travel journalist.” She laughed again. “Dearie me,” she added, “Aren’t you having a bad day?” New Zealand – where you can't pay for things in Euros Credit: Getty She would later explain that she had a grandson travelling abroad; that she hoped someone would extend the same help if he was similarly stuck. For, when she returned after five minutes, she said I could have the petrol. For free. She wouldn’t take the euros. All she wanted was a copy of the feature I was writing. And so we stood in her garage – me a man she had just met, half her age and twice her height – pouring her petrol into my hire car. She even made me a cup of tea. Of course, I ignored her wishes. The next morning, I posted 40 dollars (£25) to her address, with a thank you card. The following day’s email had a mildly cross tone. A deal was a deal, she said. The petrol was a gift; she had given the cash to charity. I did at least keep to the rest of the bargain. Six months later, I posted a copy of my article. Again, word came back. “Nice piece,” it said, “but you seem to have omitted some of your difficulties on the road. Perhaps a list of gas stations would be of use to your readers?” Peter Hughes I was on my way to Timbuktu when I was the beneficiary of an act of empathy almost mystical in its surprise. The stranger could hardly have been more strange, nor, it turned out, could he have been kinder. It was January 1971 and two of us were attempting to drive across the Sahara to the ancient desert city in Mali. Fabled for 700 years, Timbuktu, at the time of our journey, was known chiefly for being among the remotest places on Earth. Djinguereber Mosque in Timbuktu, Mali Credit: Getty For four days we had driven south through Algeria across a flat gravel plain, following a track waymarked by carcasses of dead sheep tossed from trucks, battered fragments of abandoned vehicles, rock cairns and the occasional oil drum left by the French. In Mali the road deteriorated. Broad pools of sand as fine as cement powder flooded across the track. Wheel marks swooped to either side to skirt the foot-deep ruts in the middle. We ploughed into one of these sand lakes, hoping to power our way through. Within 50 yards we were stuck. Working in temperatures of more than 86F (30C), we set about the laborious routine to free ourselves. First one side of the car was jacked up, then the other, so sand could be dug out from under it. We had strips of chain link fencing to lay under the wheels for grip. After two hours we had moved the car six feet. A Tuareg in blue robe and white turban appeared from the desert. A Tuareg in blue robe appeared from the desert Credit: Getty He gestured that the easiest thing would be to pick the car up and place it on firm ground. We agreed and suggested he helped. For a while he did, but we only gained another nine inches before the car sank to its axles again. Without a word, the Tuareg stepped aside, knelt and abased his head in prayer. When he returned, again without speaking, he took a lanyard from around his neck and presented it to me. It had a small noose at one end and a tassel at the other, and seemed to have been spun from fine strands of black goat leather. I touched my right hand to my heart in thanks and placed the lanyard over my head. The Tuareg nodded and left us as mysteriously as he had appeared. Minutes later a truck arrived, the first we had seen, and its crew pushed us free. Michelle Jana Chan Some say Sana’a is the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world, founded by Shem, son of Noah, and the origin of all truly Arabic people. I entered the Old Town by the throat-like archway of Bab Al-Yaman, to wander between the towering six or seven-storey homes built a millennium ago in mud with alabaster friezes in gypsum and Koranic calligraphy embossed above arched windows. Along the narrow alleys there were men manoeuvring wheelbarrows laden with bales of wire and bolts of cloth, children playing with spinning tops and a woman carrying a Singer sewing machine on her head. Fruit-sellers were touting pomegranates, pink mangoes and persimmons, besides traders offering up frankincense and myrrh. A chance meeting led to an enchanting encounter in Yemen Credit: MOHAMMED HUWAIS Then a woman and I caught each other’s eye, down from the mosque in Harat Mansur. She spontaneously asked me to lunch and I accepted, of course. It is encounters such as these that can become the most enchanting of a trip; for me they are the greatest reason to travel. It continues to astonish me how often strangers reach out this way. Behind the closed doors of a home, this was my first chance to see the faces of the veiled women I had heard were the most beautiful in the world. Sa’ada, my impulsive host, was lovely: a mother of four with olive eyes and a flawless complexion. Her daughters were pretty, too. But it was her servant who was the kind of woman that men go to war over: dark, polished skin, full lips, a swaying walk. She could have been a child of the Queen of Sheba, said to have ruled Yemen a thousand years ago. We should be kind on holiday, too | The kindness of strangers A meal almost miraculously appeared on the table. We tore apart unleavened flat bread, dipping it into saltah stew with fenugreek froth, pots of soft, broad beans and a vegetable ratatouille with peppers and tomatoes. I remember the taste of aniseed, fennel and cumin – as Sa’ada urged me to eat more, while showing me pictures of her family, touching my hair, holding my face in between her hands like a prayer, even pinching me in the ribs to say I hadn’t eaten enough. Before I left, she gave me grapes and sweet honey-cake and Yemeni coffee made from qusr, the husk, which is boiled with cinnamon and cardamom. The kindness of Sa’ada. Above all, it was her welcome into her home; the shared meal; the snatched conversation; the reaching out of two women across cultures – that I will always remember most about Yemen.
You’re miles from home, you don’t speak the language and you’re lost. At precisely that point help arrives in the most unexpected form. In the spirit of the season, our writers salute Good Samaritans worldwide our immediate acquaintance. Five writers recall acts of decency they have encountered on their travels. Marcel Theroux The remarkable thing about random acts of kindness is not how rare they are, but how frequent. The well-advertised possibilities of human cruelty would make you think that homo homini lupus is the size of it: man is a wolf to man. But wander the world and what do you find? Strangers going out of their way to give each other painstaking directions. People lending each other umbrellas, drivers thanking each other by flashing their hazard lights. Trying out the cuisine was on the menu in the Faroe Islands Credit: Getty If humans were the rational maximisers of advantage that some economists would have us believe, rich people would never return from poor countries alive. But, in general, the human response to vulnerability is not to prey on it, but to help. And very often, it seems to me, generosity varies inversely with the wealth of the giver. My highlight reel of unexpected kindnesses could quickly become the length of the main feature: a Fijian medical student who let me share half his berth on a train from Darjeeling to New Jalpaiguri that was so crowded I would never have been able to board it without his help. A Siberian trucker who changed a flat tyre on my car in Chukotka and waved off my offer of assistance. “It’s like drinking a cup of tea for me,” he said. A Mongolian noodle-seller who, in Ulaanbaatar, gave me a bottle of home-made yak vodka as a leaving present. But the current prize for going beyond the call of duty I’m awarding to a Faroese lady called Laura Joensen, who invited me to lunch in her cosy, turf-roofed house in Tjornuvik. She didn’t know me from Adam, but I’d bumped into her niece during a walk on the blustery Faroese coast and expressed an interest in traditional Faroese food. I received a lunch invitation for the following day. Over lunch, I realised that Laura is an actress and quite celebrated in her homeland. It was rather as though Helen Mirren had invited a total stranger around for pie and mash. It was an unforgettable meal – and not just because of Laura’s generosity. She served fermented lamb that smelled like blue cheese, whale meat, and a sauce of sheep guts called garnatalg that is served on wind-dried fish. She was aware that some palates might find the dishes a challenge. “It’s enough to say “like” or “not like” without saying “ugh”,” she said, with a slight steeliness. The food was an acquired taste, but the sense of conviviality was universal. Thank you, Laura. Your stories | The kindness of strangers Sophie Campbell To the two Dutch women who lent me money and let me – and a flea-bitten dog I’d temporarily adopted – share their rented bed on a bitter night on Isla del Sol, Lake Titicaca, Bolivia, when I truly thought my travelling companion was dead, thank you. (I did pay them back and buy them dinner). To the Anglo-Russian couple I met at Chekhov’s house near Moscow, who insisted on inviting me to their dacha where a relative took me swimming in the green forest backwaters, thank you. To the women on the same trip who stopped me striding starkers into a banya during the men’s’ session, thank you. And likewise, to the Japanese guy who explained that the tall chimney I had mistaken for a sento (public bathhouse) in Kyushu was actually a crematorium, thank you. Help was found at Lake Titicaca, Bolivia Credit: ANDRAS JANCSIK In travel, as in life, 85 per cent of people you meet are very decent, 10 per cent go above and beyond, and you just hope you don’t meet the other five per cent. I’ve lost count of the times that people have gone out of their way to help: right now, for instance, I’m in New York City and last night got on a bus without validating my MetroCard first. A woman not only explained but got off the bus to help me, risking missing her ride home. Meanwhile, the driver waited for us. That spontaneous generosity is incredibly moving and often impossible to pay back, except for a heartfelt thank you at the time. It’s frequently proffered by people who have little to give, or who are busy, or tired, and could pretend not to notice. Such acts change how you feel about a place. It happens in this country, too. On at least three occasions I’ve been moved by women coming over to commiserate and ask if they can help while I’ve been blubbing on public transport (usually about men). Valle de la Luna, Chile Credit: Getty Nevertheless, I’m haunted by a bloke in San Pedro de Atacama, Chile, who offered us a bed for the night and then added: “So, my son can stay with you when he comes to Britain?” We didn’t stay. Thinking back, I don’t think it was fair: we didn’t know him, hadn’t asked to stay, and these things are spontaneous gestures, not deals. Still, it made me realise how important it is to pass on the favour in your own country. Which I do. My most recent success being a man from the G K Chesterton Society of Barcelona (honestly) who was trying unsuccessfully to find the author’s flat on my road. I stopped to help. We ended up not only finding it but being shown around by its owners. He was thrilled. I was thrilled. I think we’ll both remember that, although we’ll never see each other again. Isn’t that what travel is all about? Chris Leadbeater There are several things you always need to hand as a travel writer. A passport, a phone and a credit card are essentials. So is a sense of direction, and an awareness of where you are on the map. As is a grasp of how much petrol you require to reach your next destination – and whether you already have this in your tank. You tend to be careful with these matters if you are on, say, the back-roads of Uruguay. But you might be more complacent if you are exploring South Island of New Zealand. Complacency was one of my excuses at the February end of a Kiwi summer. That, and a wanderlust that meant that, after a mazy meander down from Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park to Queenstown, I was seized by an impulse to carry on – to glimpse the sunset on the shore of Lake Te Anau, 110 miles south-west. Mount Cook or Aorkai in New Zealand&#39;s South Island Credit: Getty Did I pause to think that this was a round-trip of a fair length? Longer than I had fuel for? Not really. The sunset was superb, the lake serene, and the only petrol station, shut. By now, I was driving on fumes. This presented two possibilities. A continuation that would undoubtedly see me rammed by a lorry in the darkness, after conking out on the road. Or a cold night in the seat of my car waiting outside the petrol station. Or maybe there was a third option. Margaret. A grandmotherly figure, wrapped in a thick coat, though the evening was warm, she pulled up as I was considering my fate. Did she know when the station would reopen? Tomorrow. Did she know where the nearest alternative was. Yes, Limehills, 30 miles away. My face must have fallen here, as she mentioned the canister of fuel for her lawnmower – mine, if I would pay her for it. I opened my wallet to find nothing but euros. No New Zealand dollars. Margaret laughed; asked what I did for a living. “Travel journalist.” She laughed again. “Dearie me,” she added, “Aren’t you having a bad day?” New Zealand – where you can&#39;t pay for things in Euros Credit: Getty She would later explain that she had a grandson travelling abroad; that she hoped someone would extend the same help if he was similarly stuck. For, when she returned after five minutes, she said I could have the petrol. For free. She wouldn’t take the euros. All she wanted was a copy of the feature I was writing. And so we stood in her garage – me a man she had just met, half her age and twice her height – pouring her petrol into my hire car. She even made me a cup of tea. Of course, I ignored her wishes. The next morning, I posted 40 dollars (£25) to her address, with a thank you card. The following day’s email had a mildly cross tone. A deal was a deal, she said. The petrol was a gift; she had given the cash to charity. I did at least keep to the rest of the bargain. Six months later, I posted a copy of my article. Again, word came back. “Nice piece,” it said, “but you seem to have omitted some of your difficulties on the road. Perhaps a list of gas stations would be of use to your readers?” Peter Hughes I was on my way to Timbuktu when I was the beneficiary of an act of empathy almost mystical in its surprise. The stranger could hardly have been more strange, nor, it turned out, could he have been kinder. It was January 1971 and two of us were attempting to drive across the Sahara to the ancient desert city in Mali. Fabled for 700 years, Timbuktu, at the time of our journey, was known chiefly for being among the remotest places on Earth. Djinguereber Mosque in Timbuktu, Mali Credit: Getty For four days we had driven south through Algeria across a flat gravel plain, following a track waymarked by carcasses of dead sheep tossed from trucks, battered fragments of abandoned vehicles, rock cairns and the occasional oil drum left by the French. In Mali the road deteriorated. Broad pools of sand as fine as cement powder flooded across the track. Wheel marks swooped to either side to skirt the foot-deep ruts in the middle. We ploughed into one of these sand lakes, hoping to power our way through. Within 50 yards we were stuck. Working in temperatures of more than 86F (30C), we set about the laborious routine to free ourselves. First one side of the car was jacked up, then the other, so sand could be dug out from under it. We had strips of chain link fencing to lay under the wheels for grip. After two hours we had moved the car six feet. A Tuareg in blue robe and white turban appeared from the desert. A Tuareg in blue robe appeared from the desert Credit: Getty He gestured that the easiest thing would be to pick the car up and place it on firm ground. We agreed and suggested he helped. For a while he did, but we only gained another nine inches before the car sank to its axles again. Without a word, the Tuareg stepped aside, knelt and abased his head in prayer. When he returned, again without speaking, he took a lanyard from around his neck and presented it to me. It had a small noose at one end and a tassel at the other, and seemed to have been spun from fine strands of black goat leather. I touched my right hand to my heart in thanks and placed the lanyard over my head. The Tuareg nodded and left us as mysteriously as he had appeared. Minutes later a truck arrived, the first we had seen, and its crew pushed us free. Michelle Jana Chan Some say Sana’a is the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world, founded by Shem, son of Noah, and the origin of all truly Arabic people. I entered the Old Town by the throat-like archway of Bab Al-Yaman, to wander between the towering six or seven-storey homes built a millennium ago in mud with alabaster friezes in gypsum and Koranic calligraphy embossed above arched windows. Along the narrow alleys there were men manoeuvring wheelbarrows laden with bales of wire and bolts of cloth, children playing with spinning tops and a woman carrying a Singer sewing machine on her head. Fruit-sellers were touting pomegranates, pink mangoes and persimmons, besides traders offering up frankincense and myrrh. A chance meeting led to an enchanting encounter in Yemen Credit: MOHAMMED HUWAIS Then a woman and I caught each other’s eye, down from the mosque in Harat Mansur. She spontaneously asked me to lunch and I accepted, of course. It is encounters such as these that can become the most enchanting of a trip; for me they are the greatest reason to travel. It continues to astonish me how often strangers reach out this way. Behind the closed doors of a home, this was my first chance to see the faces of the veiled women I had heard were the most beautiful in the world. Sa’ada, my impulsive host, was lovely: a mother of four with olive eyes and a flawless complexion. Her daughters were pretty, too. But it was her servant who was the kind of woman that men go to war over: dark, polished skin, full lips, a swaying walk. She could have been a child of the Queen of Sheba, said to have ruled Yemen a thousand years ago. We should be kind on holiday, too | The kindness of strangers A meal almost miraculously appeared on the table. We tore apart unleavened flat bread, dipping it into saltah stew with fenugreek froth, pots of soft, broad beans and a vegetable ratatouille with peppers and tomatoes. I remember the taste of aniseed, fennel and cumin – as Sa’ada urged me to eat more, while showing me pictures of her family, touching my hair, holding my face in between her hands like a prayer, even pinching me in the ribs to say I hadn’t eaten enough. Before I left, she gave me grapes and sweet honey-cake and Yemeni coffee made from qusr, the husk, which is boiled with cinnamon and cardamom. The kindness of Sa’ada. Above all, it was her welcome into her home; the shared meal; the snatched conversation; the reaching out of two women across cultures – that I will always remember most about Yemen.
The kindness of strangers: Five times travel restored our faith in humanity
You’re miles from home, you don’t speak the language and you’re lost. At precisely that point help arrives in the most unexpected form. In the spirit of the season, our writers salute Good Samaritans worldwide our immediate acquaintance. Five writers recall acts of decency they have encountered on their travels. Marcel Theroux The remarkable thing about random acts of kindness is not how rare they are, but how frequent. The well-advertised possibilities of human cruelty would make you think that homo homini lupus is the size of it: man is a wolf to man. But wander the world and what do you find? Strangers going out of their way to give each other painstaking directions. People lending each other umbrellas, drivers thanking each other by flashing their hazard lights. Trying out the cuisine was on the menu in the Faroe Islands Credit: Getty If humans were the rational maximisers of advantage that some economists would have us believe, rich people would never return from poor countries alive. But, in general, the human response to vulnerability is not to prey on it, but to help. And very often, it seems to me, generosity varies inversely with the wealth of the giver. My highlight reel of unexpected kindnesses could quickly become the length of the main feature: a Fijian medical student who let me share half his berth on a train from Darjeeling to New Jalpaiguri that was so crowded I would never have been able to board it without his help. A Siberian trucker who changed a flat tyre on my car in Chukotka and waved off my offer of assistance. “It’s like drinking a cup of tea for me,” he said. A Mongolian noodle-seller who, in Ulaanbaatar, gave me a bottle of home-made yak vodka as a leaving present. But the current prize for going beyond the call of duty I’m awarding to a Faroese lady called Laura Joensen, who invited me to lunch in her cosy, turf-roofed house in Tjornuvik. She didn’t know me from Adam, but I’d bumped into her niece during a walk on the blustery Faroese coast and expressed an interest in traditional Faroese food. I received a lunch invitation for the following day. Over lunch, I realised that Laura is an actress and quite celebrated in her homeland. It was rather as though Helen Mirren had invited a total stranger around for pie and mash. It was an unforgettable meal – and not just because of Laura’s generosity. She served fermented lamb that smelled like blue cheese, whale meat, and a sauce of sheep guts called garnatalg that is served on wind-dried fish. She was aware that some palates might find the dishes a challenge. “It’s enough to say “like” or “not like” without saying “ugh”,” she said, with a slight steeliness. The food was an acquired taste, but the sense of conviviality was universal. Thank you, Laura. Your stories | The kindness of strangers Sophie Campbell To the two Dutch women who lent me money and let me – and a flea-bitten dog I’d temporarily adopted – share their rented bed on a bitter night on Isla del Sol, Lake Titicaca, Bolivia, when I truly thought my travelling companion was dead, thank you. (I did pay them back and buy them dinner). To the Anglo-Russian couple I met at Chekhov’s house near Moscow, who insisted on inviting me to their dacha where a relative took me swimming in the green forest backwaters, thank you. To the women on the same trip who stopped me striding starkers into a banya during the men’s’ session, thank you. And likewise, to the Japanese guy who explained that the tall chimney I had mistaken for a sento (public bathhouse) in Kyushu was actually a crematorium, thank you. Help was found at Lake Titicaca, Bolivia Credit: ANDRAS JANCSIK In travel, as in life, 85 per cent of people you meet are very decent, 10 per cent go above and beyond, and you just hope you don’t meet the other five per cent. I’ve lost count of the times that people have gone out of their way to help: right now, for instance, I’m in New York City and last night got on a bus without validating my MetroCard first. A woman not only explained but got off the bus to help me, risking missing her ride home. Meanwhile, the driver waited for us. That spontaneous generosity is incredibly moving and often impossible to pay back, except for a heartfelt thank you at the time. It’s frequently proffered by people who have little to give, or who are busy, or tired, and could pretend not to notice. Such acts change how you feel about a place. It happens in this country, too. On at least three occasions I’ve been moved by women coming over to commiserate and ask if they can help while I’ve been blubbing on public transport (usually about men). Valle de la Luna, Chile Credit: Getty Nevertheless, I’m haunted by a bloke in San Pedro de Atacama, Chile, who offered us a bed for the night and then added: “So, my son can stay with you when he comes to Britain?” We didn’t stay. Thinking back, I don’t think it was fair: we didn’t know him, hadn’t asked to stay, and these things are spontaneous gestures, not deals. Still, it made me realise how important it is to pass on the favour in your own country. Which I do. My most recent success being a man from the G K Chesterton Society of Barcelona (honestly) who was trying unsuccessfully to find the author’s flat on my road. I stopped to help. We ended up not only finding it but being shown around by its owners. He was thrilled. I was thrilled. I think we’ll both remember that, although we’ll never see each other again. Isn’t that what travel is all about? Chris Leadbeater There are several things you always need to hand as a travel writer. A passport, a phone and a credit card are essentials. So is a sense of direction, and an awareness of where you are on the map. As is a grasp of how much petrol you require to reach your next destination – and whether you already have this in your tank. You tend to be careful with these matters if you are on, say, the back-roads of Uruguay. But you might be more complacent if you are exploring South Island of New Zealand. Complacency was one of my excuses at the February end of a Kiwi summer. That, and a wanderlust that meant that, after a mazy meander down from Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park to Queenstown, I was seized by an impulse to carry on – to glimpse the sunset on the shore of Lake Te Anau, 110 miles south-west. Mount Cook or Aorkai in New Zealand's South Island Credit: Getty Did I pause to think that this was a round-trip of a fair length? Longer than I had fuel for? Not really. The sunset was superb, the lake serene, and the only petrol station, shut. By now, I was driving on fumes. This presented two possibilities. A continuation that would undoubtedly see me rammed by a lorry in the darkness, after conking out on the road. Or a cold night in the seat of my car waiting outside the petrol station. Or maybe there was a third option. Margaret. A grandmotherly figure, wrapped in a thick coat, though the evening was warm, she pulled up as I was considering my fate. Did she know when the station would reopen? Tomorrow. Did she know where the nearest alternative was. Yes, Limehills, 30 miles away. My face must have fallen here, as she mentioned the canister of fuel for her lawnmower – mine, if I would pay her for it. I opened my wallet to find nothing but euros. No New Zealand dollars. Margaret laughed; asked what I did for a living. “Travel journalist.” She laughed again. “Dearie me,” she added, “Aren’t you having a bad day?” New Zealand – where you can't pay for things in Euros Credit: Getty She would later explain that she had a grandson travelling abroad; that she hoped someone would extend the same help if he was similarly stuck. For, when she returned after five minutes, she said I could have the petrol. For free. She wouldn’t take the euros. All she wanted was a copy of the feature I was writing. And so we stood in her garage – me a man she had just met, half her age and twice her height – pouring her petrol into my hire car. She even made me a cup of tea. Of course, I ignored her wishes. The next morning, I posted 40 dollars (£25) to her address, with a thank you card. The following day’s email had a mildly cross tone. A deal was a deal, she said. The petrol was a gift; she had given the cash to charity. I did at least keep to the rest of the bargain. Six months later, I posted a copy of my article. Again, word came back. “Nice piece,” it said, “but you seem to have omitted some of your difficulties on the road. Perhaps a list of gas stations would be of use to your readers?” Peter Hughes I was on my way to Timbuktu when I was the beneficiary of an act of empathy almost mystical in its surprise. The stranger could hardly have been more strange, nor, it turned out, could he have been kinder. It was January 1971 and two of us were attempting to drive across the Sahara to the ancient desert city in Mali. Fabled for 700 years, Timbuktu, at the time of our journey, was known chiefly for being among the remotest places on Earth. Djinguereber Mosque in Timbuktu, Mali Credit: Getty For four days we had driven south through Algeria across a flat gravel plain, following a track waymarked by carcasses of dead sheep tossed from trucks, battered fragments of abandoned vehicles, rock cairns and the occasional oil drum left by the French. In Mali the road deteriorated. Broad pools of sand as fine as cement powder flooded across the track. Wheel marks swooped to either side to skirt the foot-deep ruts in the middle. We ploughed into one of these sand lakes, hoping to power our way through. Within 50 yards we were stuck. Working in temperatures of more than 86F (30C), we set about the laborious routine to free ourselves. First one side of the car was jacked up, then the other, so sand could be dug out from under it. We had strips of chain link fencing to lay under the wheels for grip. After two hours we had moved the car six feet. A Tuareg in blue robe and white turban appeared from the desert. A Tuareg in blue robe appeared from the desert Credit: Getty He gestured that the easiest thing would be to pick the car up and place it on firm ground. We agreed and suggested he helped. For a while he did, but we only gained another nine inches before the car sank to its axles again. Without a word, the Tuareg stepped aside, knelt and abased his head in prayer. When he returned, again without speaking, he took a lanyard from around his neck and presented it to me. It had a small noose at one end and a tassel at the other, and seemed to have been spun from fine strands of black goat leather. I touched my right hand to my heart in thanks and placed the lanyard over my head. The Tuareg nodded and left us as mysteriously as he had appeared. Minutes later a truck arrived, the first we had seen, and its crew pushed us free. Michelle Jana Chan Some say Sana’a is the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world, founded by Shem, son of Noah, and the origin of all truly Arabic people. I entered the Old Town by the throat-like archway of Bab Al-Yaman, to wander between the towering six or seven-storey homes built a millennium ago in mud with alabaster friezes in gypsum and Koranic calligraphy embossed above arched windows. Along the narrow alleys there were men manoeuvring wheelbarrows laden with bales of wire and bolts of cloth, children playing with spinning tops and a woman carrying a Singer sewing machine on her head. Fruit-sellers were touting pomegranates, pink mangoes and persimmons, besides traders offering up frankincense and myrrh. A chance meeting led to an enchanting encounter in Yemen Credit: MOHAMMED HUWAIS Then a woman and I caught each other’s eye, down from the mosque in Harat Mansur. She spontaneously asked me to lunch and I accepted, of course. It is encounters such as these that can become the most enchanting of a trip; for me they are the greatest reason to travel. It continues to astonish me how often strangers reach out this way. Behind the closed doors of a home, this was my first chance to see the faces of the veiled women I had heard were the most beautiful in the world. Sa’ada, my impulsive host, was lovely: a mother of four with olive eyes and a flawless complexion. Her daughters were pretty, too. But it was her servant who was the kind of woman that men go to war over: dark, polished skin, full lips, a swaying walk. She could have been a child of the Queen of Sheba, said to have ruled Yemen a thousand years ago. We should be kind on holiday, too | The kindness of strangers A meal almost miraculously appeared on the table. We tore apart unleavened flat bread, dipping it into saltah stew with fenugreek froth, pots of soft, broad beans and a vegetable ratatouille with peppers and tomatoes. I remember the taste of aniseed, fennel and cumin – as Sa’ada urged me to eat more, while showing me pictures of her family, touching my hair, holding my face in between her hands like a prayer, even pinching me in the ribs to say I hadn’t eaten enough. Before I left, she gave me grapes and sweet honey-cake and Yemeni coffee made from qusr, the husk, which is boiled with cinnamon and cardamom. The kindness of Sa’ada. Above all, it was her welcome into her home; the shared meal; the snatched conversation; the reaching out of two women across cultures – that I will always remember most about Yemen.

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