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The horse and the not-so-mad Inventor - By Rebecca Wicks

It seems like ages ago that 'T' and I moved into the Iransion. New to Dubai we really didn't have a clue how to handle the mad inventor with his weird horse-powered contraption on the driveway. Almost a year ago, I was writing facebook note after facebook note about his shenanigans, captivating my friends back home with tales of life on his landing.

We figured it would be cheaper to share a room for a while, until we got used to this strange new city. So we found ourselves there, living above him in a tiny room in his Jumeirah villa, sleeping in tiny single beds that looked like chocolate biscuits, thanks to the brown and yellow matching comforters he kindly bought prior to our arrival.

He also put pictures of children on the walls of our room, and on the door. We were never sure why. We didn't even know the children and neither did he. We took it as a random act of kindness, as we did the telly, which couldn't actually receive any channels.

Of course, it was the naturmobil that intrigued us the most. You may have seen it in the newspapers this week, if you live in Dubai. It sat, looming large on the driveway below our bedroom, like a greenhouse on wheels. One day, he tried to convince us to help him take his invention to America, where he'd become an eco-warrior, a megastar, maybe.

We politely declined. We just wanted to go hit the town; make friends, meet people, have a good time. Banishing a weird contraption that blocked the path to the doorway when we staggered home each night to foreign shores, might well have been tempting, but it wasn't part of our master plan. Bit of a shame, really, in retrospect.

He's only a frickin' media star now. He called me a few weeks ago - wanted me to re-write his website. I met him yesterday, on the street outside my office. He pulled up in a flashy red car and crossed the street, grinning from behind mammoth designer shades. He slipped me some cash for my help and told me I must have been regretting my decision not to join him in his venture all those months ago. He then told me he had to run because he was late for another newspaper interview.

He's really changed.

The next day, 7 Days printed the interview - only unfortunately, it related the opinion of a vet, who deemed his horse powered contraption "sick". I received a text from the inventor. He asked me whether the article was "against me or not".

I didn't really know what to say. The dude has been asked to exhibit his invention in America, where they think it's kind of cool - perhaps even useful. Maybe he wasn't such a "mad inventor" after all - he was just in the wrong place. Maybe American people will welcome him with open arms and he can find some new, impressionable yet slightly less cynical ladies to live on his landing, appreciating his art and flickering static television. Maybe he'll become an eco-warrior, just like he planned.

Who am I to destroy his dream?

In the end I told him "I think you should call them"

The paper can deal with him now. I had two months of it last year, and quite frankly, that was enough for me.

Check out the articles online:

Posted: 08 May 2008

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