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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

THE SOIREE

THE SOIREE

One nice thing about wandering the planet is when your paths cross with old friends.

Granted, this doesn't happen as much as sitting in the same town all your life when you may run into other people in similar ruts at the local grocery store you've both shopped for years.

This makes it more special.

My buddy (who I will call Sherlock Holmes out of respect for his privacy and because he fucking is Sherlock Holmes) has a new girlfriend I shall call Irene though she has nothing in common with Miss Adler.

It just fits the Sherlock thing.

Note that I mistakenly - and often - give out their real first names later.  Like in the video I made of the room.  This is because I am often found to be doing stupid stuff.  But the whole Sherlock and Irene thing helps keep me amused so I'm sticking with it.

It was a 'significant birthday' and gathered a whole bunch of her friends to attend.

And then Logan farted and killed the dog...

This gathering is to take place in the Australian haven for drinking, southern Bali.  Since it is only a four or five hour plane ride (drunk it is no time at all) from Australia, folks from there have been flooding in for years and attempting to equalize the prices of third world Indonesia with their homeland.  They've nearly succeeded.

As I am convalescing in Bali from my latest near death experience

"NOBODY SYMPATHIZES WITH ME HAVING SO MANY 'NEAR LOGAN' EXPERIENCES..."

...Sherlock contacted me and kindly invited me to the party.

Fortunately, I was to go out a few hours early and that would give me valuable one on one time to hang out with them.  Because hosts are always swirling about and chatting with different guests I didn't want to attempt to monopolize their time at the party.

Irene also insisted on getting me a fancy - and extremely expensive - hotel room for the night.  She said there was no arguing.  When a woman tells you that, it is best just to graciously accept.  If you want to argue you can but you will still be sleeping in the hotel room but with hard feelings all around.

So I took the room.  Here is a video of it.  I apologize for the sideways view but have no idea how to change it.

After a quick lunch in the Australian town (though we did spot some of the locals) Irene went for her pre-party freshen up leaving Sherlock and I to discuss life over several drinks.

Even while it was taking place I knew this was the 'golden time', the 'jam in the jelly roll' or 'the money you find in your jeans which has not been destroyed by the washer'.

Just getting to sit and catch up with him was great.  [And yes other people reading this, I would like to do that with you all too some day.  Sherlock was even clever enough to bring booze.  While I didn't want to have any alcohol he managed to force some down.]

Mr Sherlock Holmes. Pictured here in woeful under dress and disarray. Lacking items include top hat, frock coat and laser guided chainsaw.

Though we were continually warned by Irene to stay trim (was it?  Not sure - the message was 'don't get drunk before the party) I was slurring my words by the time she got back.  I wasn't drunk by any stretch but messing with people is always fun.

And on to the party.

There were about twenty people in attendance including old and current co-workers and their assorted significant others and families.

It was a nice, quiet crowd.

They stack food to show you it is 'fancy'.

The venue (read as place the event was held) had one good aspect, one bad and one 'wtf'.  This is pretty common in Asia.

The good aspect was (up to a certain point) they were amazing at taking care of people.  If you lit a cigarette, an ash tray appeared next to your hand.  If you ran out of a drink, there would be someone to find out what you wanted next.  They were friendly, quick and remembered your name.  Probably the best service I've ever experienced.

The bad aspect was that a rooftop venue (over a place which liked to play loud music) was for some reason chosen.  This rooftop had - to be blunt - no roof.  Nor did they seem to have any idea that it sometimes rains in Indonesia.  They were short about thirty umbrellas.   Fortunately, it didn't rain all that long.

The WTF aspect happened after the (extraordinary) bill was paid.  All of the great service immediately stopped as though someone had thrown a switch.  The staff pretty much avoided the party goers and ignored them.  It was like "You've paid, we're not getting anything else for being nice to you, get the fuck out."  Very strange indeed.  I'd have made sure they kept being nice until everyone went away.  That's how you get repeat business.  Better than the Aussies saying "Be sure not to pay them until everyone is headed out the door because once they get their money they don't give a fuck about you."


Baffling.

In the morning, got a decent breakfast with my 'breakfast voucher' from the hotel and paid a moderately unhappy (that I knew the correct price) driver to get back to Ubud.  I wouldn't have minded having more chatting time but they had stuff to do.

Where all of that amazing food immediately took the other exit out from my body, claiming it was 'too rich for my colon'.

The important thing was Irene seemed happy with the party.  I was happy to get to go there and visit with an old friend.  Got to meet some other nice and interesting people at the party as well.

And Holmes?  He seemed bemused and happy to see me as well.

In a few days, he will be back in Australia chasing down Moriarty.

The kind of master criminal we all want to be.





LAST WEEK TONIGHT

After watching S2E11, I put this on their Facebook page.

Low prices vs slave labor in other countries.

Adorable.  Partially because I couldn't find grown men whipping kids to make them work like in the second Indiana Jones movie.

We Americans will always choose the slave labor in other countries because a) we're cheap, b) we spend more than we make due to the black magic of credit cards  c) the injustices and horror are not in front of their face.

Having traveled to and lived in those countries for the last four years (continuously) I can also tell you some other things that never seem to be in the news.

Those kids were not abducted in the middle of the night by roving bands of gypsies.  They got those jobs because it is often 'that or don't eat'.  Most places around the world the kids help with the income for the household and get a little schooling when they can.

There is a lot of talk about 'safety standards'.  They don't have them.  Not in the factories, not anywhere.  Because of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia killing everyone who wore glasses, I've witnessed people welding doing so without even the benefit of sunglasses.  Not a welding helmet, sunglasses.  People in other countries sometimes use those because welding helmets cost money hence are not supplied.  Like fire extinguishers.

In conclusion, while it is horrible compared to the USA and other westernized countries the rest of the world uses a much different measuring stick.  It's shorter and has barbs on it.  Due to less than half of the people in the USA owning a passport - much less using it to go anywhere other than Canada, Mexico or some beach resort to get drunk and pass out - their understanding of the rest of the world doesn't seem great nor realistic.



MY IDEA FOR SOUTH PARK (written on their Facebook page)

Announcer 1:  "Sadly, survival shows have been going really downhill in the ratings."

Announcer 2:  "That's true.  They've tried both A and B list celebrities pared up with survival experts!  It's just not boosting the ratings like they'd hoped."

Announcer 1:  "Fortunately, they have a new show they are airing a pilot of where they are trying something radically new!  They are paring a survival expert with someone who would have no chance of surviving!"

"Next week on Dubious Survival - Bear Grylls is pared with...Timmy!"


Bear:  "Normally to drink urine, you place it in a bottle and drink from that but we don't have a bottle.  Timmy is looking pretty dehydrated.  I'm going to have to help him!"

Timmy:  "Timmy?"  (pause)  (very wet)  "Timmy!"



COSTS

'Warung' means small cafe.  A meal there is generally .77 to 3.09 USD.  Eating at restaurants serving foreign food can cost three times (or much, much) more.

Hotel room in southern Bali (where the people from Australia go) can be around $100 USD.

Getting back and forth from the southern part of the island to Ubud, 250,000 IRD.

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PICTURES

{{2011}} London, GB | Rail N Sail | Amsterdam, Netherlands | Prague, Czech Republic | Budapest, Hungary | Sarajevo, Bosnia | Romania | Chisinau, Moldova | Ukraine: Odessa - Sevastopol | Crossed Black Sea by ship | Georgia: Batumi - Tbilisi - Telavi - Sighnaghi - Chabukiani | Turkey: Kars - Lost City of Ani - Goreme - Istanbul | Jordan: Amman - Wadi Rum | Israel | Egypt: Neweiba - Luxor - Karnak - Cairo | Thailand: Bangkok - Pattaya - Chaing Mai - Chaing Rei | Laos: Luang Prabang - Pakse | Cambodia: Phnom Penh | Vietnam: Vung Tau - Saigon aka Ho Chi Minh City

{{2012}} Cambodia: Kampot - Sihanoukville - Siem Reap - Angkor Wat | Thailand: Bangkok | India: Rishikesh - Ajmer - Pushkar - Bundi - Udaipur - Jodhpur - Jasalmer - Bikaner - Jaipur - Agra - Varanasi | Nepal: Kathmandu - Chitwan - Pokhara - Bhaktapur - (Rafting) - Dharan | India: Darjeeling - Calcutta Panaji | Thailand: Bangkok - again - Krabi Town | Malaysia, Malaka | Indonesia: Dumas - Bukittinggi - Kuta - Ubud - 'Full Throttle' - Gili Islands - Senggigi | Cambodia: Siem Reap | Thailand: Trat | Turkey: Istanbul | Georgia: Tbilisi

{{2013}} Latvia: Riga | Germany: Berlin | Spain: Malaga - Grenada | Morocco: Marrakech - Essauira - Casablanca - Chefchawen - Fes | Germany: Frankfurt | Logan's Home Invasion USA: Virginia - Michigan - Indiana - Illinois - Illinois - Colorado | Guatemala: Antigua - San Pedro | Honduras: Copan Ruinas - Utila | Nicaragua: Granada | Colombia: Cartagena | Ecuador: Otavalo - Quito - Banos - Samari (a spa outside of Banos) - Puyo - Mera

{{2014}} Peru: Lima - Nasca - Cusco | Dominican Republic | Ukraine: Odessa | Bulgaria: Varna - Plovdiv | Macedonia: Skopje - Bitola - Ohrid - Struga | Albania: Berat - Sarande | Greece: Athens | Italy: Naples - Pompeii - Salerno | Tunisia: Hammamet 1

{{2015}} Hammamet 2 | South Africa: Johnnesburg | Thailand: Hua Hin - Hat Yai | Malaysia: Georgetown | Thailand: Krabi Town | Indonesia:
Sabang Island | Bulgaria: Plovdiv | Romania: Ploiesti - Targu Mures | Poland: Warsaw | Czech Republic: Prague | Germany: Munich | Netherlands: Groningen | England: Slough | Thailand: Ayutthaya - Khon Kaen - Vang Vieng | Cambodia: Siem Reap

{{2016}} Thailand: Kanchanaburi - Chumphon | Malaysia: Ipoh - Kuala Lumpur - Kuching - Miri | Ukraine: Kiev | Romania: Targu Mures - Barsov | Morocco: Tetouan

{{2017}} Portugal: Faro | USA: Virginia | Michigan | Illinois | Colorado |

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