Archive for March, 2016

Easter 2016

Posted: March 27, 2016 in Midlife Crisis in Maryhole

There is a lot more to Easter than just eating chocolate. The pubs are also open. But first , a chance to catch up with the Fab Five in Toowoomba for Great Friday. Not too often get all 3 children and 5 grandkids together so was indeed a Festivus miracle come early . An early morning trip from Flashman Inc , Sunshine Coast had us sitting down to a very passable breakfast at Esk on a glorious clear morning. Luckily the traffic was all heading the other way or I had got stuck in reverse. Again. There must be something in the area where you can float a boat and pitch a tent on but am happy for it to remain unknown for this little black duck. Camping is right up there with Prostate exams and root canal work in the pleasure stakes for me . There was that one time I got both done and just hope like hell he washed his hands in between. Don’t need floss down there! Sent the grand kiddies well on the way to juvenile onset diabetes before tucking into a lovely lunch

image

image

image

Headed back to Brisvegas early afternoon where CLP is house sitting in Windsor for a couple of weeks. Just hope the owners don’t find out . Lovely location and perfect for some late afternoon drinkies and nibbles on verandah overlooking the poor people . Then a night of sport . On TV ok! Went to bed secure in knowledge both Broncos and Cricketers had lost so got pleasant surprise in morning . The bed was dry ! Then back to verandah for relaxing breakfast and planning of day . Wonder if any beer serving establishments open on Easter Saturday ? Of course they do but if you really want to enjoy that first drink wander around for an hour on a simply glorious, but hot , day and grab some culture at GOMA first. Hey it’s free, but still a rip off 😎

image

image

image

Then onto Tipplers Tap to arrive precisely at 11:59 , mouth open, for advertised midday opening. Hey here is a TIP ya clowns. If you want to close on Easter Saturday by all means but how about a heads up online! Shan’t be back . Ok back track to The Charming Squire (named after me apparently) and settle in for beer and fat food in equal portions. Great set up and very pleasant way to spend a couple of hours . The rest of the day was less productive but hey needed to rest up for the Della feast on Sunday . Apparently Grange was involved . Early to bed early to rise makes one….. well 58 I guess.

image

image

image

image

image

image

The Easter Bunny came and went rather quickly . Another noice home cooked breakfast on verandah while we waited for the guaranteed storms to arrive. Well at least it is a bit cooler . Morning tea with Mum and a catch up and then onto the Della residence at Burbank. Grange is red eh ? Apparently πŸ˜‰ The usual MASSIVE amounts of food and wine from our gracious hosts ADJG while MEAGRE amounts of rain fell. Could well have settled in for my nana nap but more family alive still so off to Strathpine to see Anne and John for dinner and tres nice fried rice (with fresh prawn) before heading back to Sunshine Inc , the land of no showers . Maybe there is a clogged pipe somewhere and trust me after these last 3 days I know what that feels like …..

image

image

image

image

image

It had been a wonderful Easter enjoying the Holy Trinity on this religious occasion – Family, Chocolate and Alcohol. And still a day to go. Which could only mean one thing . Time for a sing along

Back in the land of bananas and winning State of Origin teams for almost a week now and the body clock almost back to normal. Sadly it is a Grandfather clock so still wakes up at 4 am, looks at the body and realises it wasnt just a nightmare and wonders what the little hand is doing.

Speaking of little hands , what about Trump, D eh. Now, when in USA and watching this nonsense on TV it kinda makes sense because you then head out and mix with The Walking Braindead on the streets. Back home, twice removed you just scratch your head and wonder how can this be. Anyone who ever complained about ABC bias needs to watch Fox News in America. It seems almost impossible to get unbiased reporting but the difference I see is most of the Democrat fans are the satirical programmes like Colbert, Noah, Oliver so they are usually taking the piss anyway. Every now and again though you see that even they cant see any humour in this try as they might and frustration bubbles to the surface. FNC just has a line up of Stooges with maybe O’Reilly the least insufferable but Hannity the worst. Caught a bit of his interview with Trump last night but couldnt see his face as he was on his knees with his head in Trumps lap doing something. It was a town hall with the faithful – as happens on both sides – but he just never answers a question with any detail. “Oh they will pay for the wall trust me” Rapturous applause, no follow up. “We will have the strongest military ever and wipe out every enemy” Rapturous applause, no follow up “I will get smart people in and we will fix the economy” Rapturous applause, no follow up. It is both amusing to a degree but scary because whoever is running USA does impact us and the rest of the world. While most still never see him getting to the final prize I have watched House of Cards so know what can happen at national conventions! Really would be an FU. Start praying now

Which is the segue of course for the genuinely sad news of the week. Nancy Reagan only made it 94. No, not that and I do get sick and tired of the angst expressed when someone, regardless of how significant their achievements may have been, is mourned day and night when they were basically just wasting oxygen anyway at that age. By all means celebrate their life – ala George Martin – but spare me the prolonged sadness or at least save it up because there are plenty of things in this world to grieve over and celebrity deaths are very rarely included. However , the passing of Jon English at 66 was sad. Not baby seal sad but still enough to take pause as you grew up with him to a degree. From early days in JC to any number of memorable songs. He toured regularly too, even to Maryhole and obviously loved performing on stage. But the strongest memory was the show All Together Now which if nothing else introduced the world to that amazing weather guy on the Today Show. Rebecca was still looking hot too and some fun supporting cast. Not sure if still holds up today so will track down an old episode on You Tube and see. In the meantime, enjoy

ABD – The Final Washup

Posted: March 7, 2016 in Travel

Qantas flight left NYC a little late but I was feeling no pain and we made up time in the air.

12800104_10208049631612120_6262133236230289458_n

12802952_10208049631772124_1874388989523661185_n

12803173_10208049386806000_1650649687514362348_n

There are 36 PE seats available of which only about 10 were occupied. Including the one next to me of course! BC was full, so dont really understand why more people dont upgrade to PE for the trip as far superior product to economy and relatively good value. Anyway as soon as left ground could move around but the guy next to me was quicker and got up first πŸ™‚ Arrived in LAX on time and so went to lounge and even had a shower. Next time I will use the designated cubicles. Didnt need anything to eat or drink at that time of night trust me. The Qantas flight to Brisbane is always a full one and boards early and then sits on tarmac for 60 minutes. Had a Chatty Cathy (MALE, the worst kind) next to me and that was ok for a start but 20 minutes is my limit so then opined “Gee with the Qantas safety record one of these has to fall out of the sky soon eh” with my most hopeful grin. He shut up. On a side note, it is pretty clear that the old days of chicky babes as hosties are long gone – as is that term no doubt. This is not a complaint as the service and attitude is generally excellent although pretty sure I saw my mother serving in Economy and she was still dishing out the LA Dinner as we flew over Straddie at 6:45 am! Arrived in Brisvegas on time and it is a fairly smooth move through Customs etc. My sweet CLP was there to pick me up and before you could say “Straighten my Banana” I was first in Nambour and then sweating in Maryhole before afternoon tea. So some final thoughts on USA as may never return. Yeah right

1. USA is a great destination although one needs to factor in conversion rate. The people are generally friendly and helpful and service uniformly excellent

2. Dallas was an interesting place and would love to explore Texas more as realise Dallas is not all that reflective. Dealey Plaza was one of those surreal places to visit

3. Washington has some of the most iconic monuments to visit but not a lot else so about 5 days is enough. I do not get to explore the dining options much as a solo traveller

4. Boston is a great town to walk around and a great drinking/eating town with plenty options.

5. May finally be over NYC but really it is a must visit for any first timers and a very high energy city with its own vibe. I had no energy left by time I got there

6. The three day trips I did were great and the commuter rail works very well. Always consider a day trip when visiting a big city for several days

7. All public transport is very efficient in all cities and first thing one should do is download the local official “Transport app”. The next thing to check on is a the place you are staying at has a functioning shower as sometimes you get up close and personal for extended periods

8. Segway still remains the best way to see a new city and have to say never had a bad “foodie” tour either

9. See as many sporting stadiums as you can in the cities as they have so much history

10. Weather is totally unpredictable. Do your research but prepare for all possibilites. In winter dress in layers because they have THERMONUCLEAR HEATERS everyfuckingwhere.

11. VRBO remains an excellent option for accomodation (if legal in said city) but they do gouge you with fees and conversion rates. If you can deal directly with owner do so

12. Pubs are easy places to sit at if solo traveller and often get a very reasonable, if slightly unhealthy, meal.

13. The “sales tax” system and currency in general is a pain. Follow Aussieland and drop the small stuff. Best to use cards I suggest but always been a cash man. Just like the bulge in my pants of a big wad.

3 solo trips have been great but maybe enough. Time to see a bit more of Australia methinks but like an old woman I retain right to change my mind

Afterall we have great coffee and still serve beer last time I checked

Later dudes and dudettes

ABD – Day 19 – Homeward Bound

Posted: March 4, 2016 in Travel

Me and Little Marco feeling reflective

( On a side note the GOP debates are embarrassing for mankind period)

So the time has come to bid farewell to USA once more and while I never say never at this stage do not see another solo trip here in my future . I love all things US and have enjoyed all trips but maybe Old Whiskers is trying to tell me something. I have been sick the whole 3 weeks, not totally debilitating but certainly annoying. At my sickest on my birthday in lousy weather .I missed out on the central goal of visiting White House. Weather has been nothing like last year with no snow at all .( Thanks Al Gore ) And the icing on the cake so to speak was that my half hearted effort to upgrade to BC on first leg failed miserably. No wrist slitting though please fans as still have Premium Economy to struggle through πŸ™‚

As always it is a long day until you actually fly out at 6 pm. Did wake up to a very light powdering of snow which at this stage simply limits options for filling in the few hours before catching the LIRR train at midday. It was very cold so the on site diner appropriately called Tick Tock seems like the sort of place trakkies would not look out of place at 630 am . Sweet .

image

image

image

image

Damn I was overdressed . Mind you the elastic waist will not be wasted after that breakfast . Back to room for a bit and see if can get out for a walk a bit later. Ok, how about a quick walk around the block

image

Did pick up my LIRR ticket and metro card so have the routine down pat to get to JFK. Main reason for picking this hotel was proximity to Penn Station. All went smoothly and Simply best way to get to JFK from downtown for $12. Arrived way to early so sat for an hour before Qantas opened check in. No late surprises with late upgrades πŸ‘΄πŸ» . The security check here is very slow but not because of over vigorous checking which I understand but because ” workers” always slip in before you . 8 people in front of me and it took 15 minutes to get through . I was lucky to get to the BA lounge with only 3.5 hrs before boarding! Now from memory, which could be blurred, this is not great for eating but is for drinking. I especially like the help yourself beer taps. The food is still ordinary but I shan’t miss out . Better sign off from USA now as this could get ugly . As always there have been many highlights and in a month or two will no doubt start pining but will try and stay strong .

I could live to 100 after all with all the preservatives I take on board !

image

image

image

image

Cold morning for a walk to train station ! Train left on time as is usually the case with Amtrak. Scenic ride for first hour or so and not too crowded on train

image

image

Arrived on time but room wasn’t ready so stored bags and went for a walk. NYC is the type of place you want to see at start of holidays when energy levels are high . The difference walking the streets here compared to Boston and Washington is significant. You feel like Croc Dundee always walking against flow . Everyone is impatient and simply ignore pedestrian crossings and green lights ! I found The Australian pub which was quaint but did enjoy the meat pie. Did love Chapelli on the toilet wall . Checked in just before 3 pm and got upgraded to a high floor room. Headed back out again for one last look at Times Square et al. And maybe a beer….

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

Have a full morning to fill in tomorrow before starting trek out to JFK for 6 pm flight . Looks like my bare bones offer to upgrade to business class was not accepted πŸ˜‰ Try and find a good coffee place for breakfast. Night all

image

Only natural after a Super Tuesday. Rainy start to day and not much planned apart from what all lone male travellers fear most . Laundry day .Tomorrow is off to NYC for one night in a hotel and then 24 hrs of flying and waiting . In same clothes . Shock, horror they are saying may be some snow here on Friday. After I have left . Mind you at this stage of holidays you just want to get home and don’t want any weather interruptions.

So what else to do on a rainy morning ? Well, catch up on the fallout from Super Tuesday of course. Is there any chance Fox News would have any coverage this morning?? Thought I was on top of the whole electoral process until they pull in proportional delegate allocation. Which varies from state to state ! Think all souvenir shopping is done but as always you fear some grandkids have done better than others so a quick check of ” available US money to use ” in wallet . Factor in a few more beers and a packet of chips and we should be good . Food is overrated after all. So can at least head out for a coffee. Talk about truth in advertising !

image

Of course next door was a shop which left no grey areas. No. I don’t mean they were ageist. A meltery ?

image

This weather does bring out one of the more ignorant breed of person- the 5’8″ clown that walks with head down and umbrella up without a care in the world.
Back to apartment to get the satirical view of US politics and catch up on some Daily Show. Looks like some sun starting to peek through. As predicted of course! Let’s head out to Harvard for a walk around and a beer

Nice day for a stroll around but in reality not a lot to see. Most buildings look much the same as the next and no pubs in the near vicinity . Eventually found a restaurant bar that didn’t look too special but had simply the best value shrimp deal for $5 so as usually happens it all worked out.

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

As weather has improved will head out for one last stroll later on . Early start again in morning and looking forward to a few hours in NYC. In meantime will put up with the usual crap US TV just to see the Tina Fey American Express ads

The day cleared to a booteful and cold late afternoon so headed up to roof for one last look at the surrounding area . What a glorious view

image

image

image

Hah, I can Trump that . Bring back Pancake Tuesday I say

image

Ok that is going to take a while to walk off but maybe cut out the middle man and go straight for a colonic irrigation methinks . Ah, what’s that you say ? Oh its SUPER Tuesday where a variable percentage of Yanks get off their ass and vote in a number of states between 1 and 50 to help decide who knows its time to stop wasting money and curl up your toes. Makes as much sense as everything else that has happened so far I guess. Whatever your inclinations may be any GOP supporter who saw the Oliver takedown of Donald Drumpf would have grave concerns if he is the nominee .

Devoted followers would know my disappointment in missing out on White House tour and the fact I did the only thing possible . Drink myself stupid. A short trip admittedly. Given today was a significant day in US Politics thought would head out to JFK Library. What a stunning location on the water. The “problem ” with JFK is so many significant moments of his life are so well known that there are no great surprises in retracing his life, as fascinating as it may have been. While a much more interesting person and President the Bush Library showed the advantage of improved technology with many more interactive displays. And an Oval Office you could sit at ! Still well worth the visit to remember such an amazing time. And there is a Edward Kennedy Library next door now

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

As is my way after a short break just headed off for a walk in general direction of Fenway Park on what was a glorious day. Had a coffee along the way and then arrived at said Park and wandering around looking for best photo locations. Looking through hole in fence showed the ground was being dug up as expected . Then I saw the Bleacher Bar? Why not , sounds like kitschy fun

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

The rest of the afternoon was a blur but did eventually wake up in Boston Common

image