1936: After two years’ training with the oil company Shell, Roald Dahl anticipated an exotic foreign posting – somewhere with tall coconut palms, silvery beaches, jungles, lions and elephants.
Head office called him in to meet one of the directors. “We are sending you to Egypt,” the director said.
“Oh, but sir!” Dahl protested. “Not Egypt!”
The director reeled back in his chair. He expected whippersnappers to go where they were sent. “What is wrong with Egypt?” he demanded.
Dahl knew that the country’s lack of lions and elephants would seem a feeble excuse.
“It’s too dusty, sir,” he explained.
Source: Roald Dahl, Boy: Tales of Childhood (1986), pp. 172–3