1. As sales manager for the Middle East and Africa for the UK-based international arm of a big US college publisher (Prentice Hall) 25+-odd years ago, I used to get the occasional “happy Eid” card from clients in Muslim regions of my territory, which was nice.

  2. The lack of an explanatory link for “Eid Mubarak” appears to indicate that Bill thought it needed no explanation. I have no idea how I got as old as I am without ever having heard the phrase before, but I did. I must be one of XKCD’s “lucky 10000”.
    P.S. The word “Eid” (Arabic for “celebration”) just happens to mean “oath” in German, and my first association for “Mubarak” was the (recently deceased) former Egyptian president. Ooops.

  3. President Mubarak was the only world leader or indeed senior politician* that I ever met (or even saw in the flesh, I think). He was touring the foreign publishers’ stands at the Cairo Book Fair in January 1991, and I showed him a copy of one of our newly published books (on materials selection) written by an Egyptian author at the American University in Cairo. I think we even shook hands.

    Later that day he was meeting an incoming delegation of US Senators – this was all a few days before Desert Storm. Although Cairo and Kuwait are 1000 miles apart, the coming allied effort to liberate Kuwait was starting to affect air travel schedules (for insurance reasons) throughout the Middle East. Some of us rep types sat in the bar in the evenings thinking up adventurous non-air routes out (train to Alexandria, ship to Greece &c) but in the end there were still enough normal flights and I got on one a bit earlier than originally planned. I’ve kept my expense claims. The return flight cost £555 – whereas now, almost 30 years later, I could book a London-Cairo-London flight for July for £400 with BA – and I see I went out on Sunday 6th Jan and came back Sunday 13th. The air campaign in Kuwait/Iraq started on the 16th.

    *I did meet Austin Mitchell, a British Member of Parliament for nearly 40 years, in 1981. My friend Ady worked for him in the House of Commons (Mitchell was his constituency MP in Grimsby) and he came to Ady’s wedding, where I was best man, and he congratulated me on my speech (partly written in his constituency office, during which time I pinched some sheets of headed Commons writing paper). However, he was never very senior in politics.


  4. It’s actually a bit surprising how quickly the phrase has entered the American lexicon. A few years ago, I don’t think I’d heard the phrase, and now it’s being used without any explanation.

  5. @ narmtaj – The reduction in the current flight price sounded strange at first, but then I realized that it’s not really a fair comparison:
    1) Your ticket in 1981 probably did not include any sort of a discount for advance booking, whereas the comparison flight allows at least five weeks advance notice;
    2) January is a more favorable time to travel to Kuwait, demand for flights in July would be much lower (because of the summer heat).

  6. @Kilby – I was talking about Cairo rather than Kuwait, but yes, it’s hot there too in summer. Though when I went on holiday to Egypt in 1989 I went in June, and then the entire trip including flights and hotels and internal transport (including 6 days drifting down the Nile on a felucca) but not meals, cost only £600 up front, if I remember right.

    Probably other factors include the fact that 30 years ago there were generally fewer flights on generally less efficient and smaller aircraft. And I am not sure that the “current price” for July 2020 relates to any kind of reality in this covid world either!

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