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Monday, October 26, 2020

A Change of Pace


Rewind 365 days. The past 30 hours have been so much different. In 2019, I was in Tokyo during a Typhoon. On the last day of a trip organised by FUSO Japan, coming down from their proving grounds, I experienced the shutting down of Tokyo due to mother nature doing her thing. 

On 25 October 2019 I got up early, wanting to go for a jog, my first sports activity in an action packed week. It was sleeting rain, so I abandoned that thought and worked instead. Only later did I find out that the cozy hotel has a hot spring and I could have done that instead of emails. The bus trip took 3 times longer back to Tokyo and there was a lot of howling winds and more rain. Something was on.

After depositing the others at Haneda, it was my turn to be sent to Narita. Getting there was quiet the adventure. We stopped on the side of the highway. Highways were closed and some train lines stopped operating. My guide told me that we gonna try to make our way to the airport by means of using three different trains.

The first one was packed. Packed as shown in the documentaries about Japan. And then some. To get to the next one we first stood 40 minutes in the rain, then decided to go in the opposite direction for a few stations as the trains arriving were overflowing.

Turns out that we managed to get onto the last train to the airport. Arriving there we learned that the flight I was on had been delayed. Not cancelled. Having sat down after check in as the last ones they allowed to do so, the beer tasted really good. The flight was supposed to leave at 5pm. Finally left after midnight.

The good news was: people did not make it to the airport and the flight was empty and I had a whole row to myself while bumping out of Tokyo. But I was late into Kuala Lumpur. The plan was to arrive on 25th, sleep and fly on to Singapore on 26th. I arrived in Kuala Lumpur with the missus already at the other airport and me having to rush from one to the other. As a precaution, I re-booked my flight to one an hour later. Turns out, had I not sat down to do so, I could have been on the original flight. Bad news: it was the first flight I have ever missed in 36 years of flying. 

Today, 26 October 2020, I just saunter back and forth between fridge (beer) and sofa (aktschen Fulms).

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Kitchen Improvements

Who would have thought! The lockdowns have lead to one thing: massive arms race in the kitchen. We now have cast iron skillets and woks, light saber-sharp bread knife, a new coffee grinder and some other nifty tools.

The cast iron skillet makes a real difference on the bacon. Much tastier. But man, cast iron cooking tools are pussies! Can't scrub them. Can't use dishwashing liquid. Need to oil them once dry (Our olive oil consumption through the roooooofffff!!!) Should have done an video of the unboxing though.

I kinda enjoy the Korean BBQ grille we also got. As you know.. I can BBQ any time of the day. And now I can BBQ any time of the day. At home. For breakfast. If I want. 

And we make bread now...

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Musical Chairs - Sounds Bad to Me


As I walked into this eatery at 5:15pm, I steered towards the table you see here. I wanted a beer before dinner. The "auntie" running a food stall in this locale came to me and asked me to sit at another table. I asked why she would want me to do so and the answer was "This table I need for my customers..." Ok, so I am already not a customer?

While having a beer, I had half an eye on the table. In 45 minutes not one "Customer" sat at this table. In fact, only two people came to buy take-out food. My table was the same size, had the same utensils on it as well as the same type of soy sauce. Identical twins in every respect, except for the position. My preference was still the other table I wanted at first.

Finishing my beverage, the auntie and her team settled on another table to have dinner. I ambled over and said "You asked me not to sit at that table. I am so glad that there have been so many people sitting at it. Now, since you didn't let me sit there as a customer, I won't dinner eat here. My wife, who is on the way to join me won't eat here either. And in future, I will have my beer somewhere else..."

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Why Care?

 Yesterday, everyone was talking about "The Debate". I had very little idea about what that was all about until I checked it. It was a televised debate between Trump and Biden. A lot of commentary on social media. Especially from those not living in the US and not even being Umericans.

Honestly: I don't care.

Bush Senior as President had no noticeable impact on my life.
Bush as President had no noticeable impact on my life. 
Obama as President had no noticeable impact on my life. 
Trump so far as President had no noticeable impact on my life. 

The only thing I wish I did was to put money on Trump winning his first presidency. Ok, sure, I won 4 bottles of Scotch, but at 1:200 000 odds, a 1 000 USD wager would have put me on a boat by now. 

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Lost on this Generation


Then. It was when I was 8 years old that I had my first stereo. I would "tape" songs on my tape recorder. A massive thing with 2 spools. Like a casette. Just the size of a luggage bag. The bands of that time were legends. One would read up on Paul Newcastle's "19" and how he used the song to get to grips with the horrors of the Vietnam war. 

On Sundays, the family would huddle together at dinner and listen to the "Hitparade". They would play the songs of the billboard charts, counting up to the ultimate number 1. My dad would tell me about how the Beatles got the girls all excited and what a loss it was that Lennon got shot.

There was such a high impact of music on culture.

One would spend days planning a trip to the record shop. Some would have a vest with patches sewn onto to indicate where their allegiance was. Today, we have memes based on covers of the Beatles LPs. (Long Playing record ya!)

And there I am. Sitting in a restaurant with the missus. It is called "Abbey Road". It is themed. AND serves amazing food. And I look around, almost tearing up. Cos, there is no way that we will have that again. What that? That awesomeness that people will model an entire establishment after their idols. Their most favorite band. Or bands. 

Today, most live bands play the songs of the 70s, 80s, some 60. NEVER newer stuff. Every dive bar with sticky bars and smelly toilets I have ever been to has Alan Parsons on tap. 

Or can you imagine going to a Dua Lipe Bistro and Beer Cafe? 

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Stefan Reads: Great Railway Journeys in Australia and New Zewland


By David Bowden

 … fully revised, revitalised and refreshed

His revised book on 35 classic railway journeys in both countries has just been released by John Beaufoy Publishing (UK) and includes a few new railway journeys including the Mary River Rattler (Queensland) and the Coastal Pacific (New Zealand). This 160-page book has numerous photos of the railways and the journey and is the perfect guide for those who would love to set off to discover both Australia and New Zealand. 

Covering both long and short distances, steam and diesel-driven trains, commuter and tourist routes, this book provides a fascinating overview of rail travel and great railway journeys in both countries. 

Each journey includes photographs, points of interest, railway history, details on the train and a route map to assist in experiencing the journey for those planning a trip or those travelling virtually from the comfort of their own lounge chair.

With Christmas just a few months away, I couldn’t think of a better gift for those who love travel; especially rail travel. 

Sunday, September 13, 2020

No Choice

 Having made a trip to the wine shop to replenish the bar, I asked the missus:

"Do you want beer, wine or whiskey tonight??"

She said "Yes!"