20200209 – Mickey Mouse Towm


Sunday

Lovely sunny day. Drive up to Dunedin after the usual lazy morning. It’s a buzzing place. Last night we went to dinner there and the place was hopping, livelier than Clitheroe on a Saturday night, but alas despite the balmy evening scantily class wrenches were a tad rarer.

Wendy has her usual lunch on the pier s as we watch pelicans scooping up minnows into their amazing expanding chins.

Have a leisurely stroll around in hope of finding a cafe for coffee. No chance they’re all restaurants full of excess adipose tissue stuffing themselves to accumulate more.

Sit around the pool when we get back, but soon flew indoors as it’s just too hot. How anyone copes with Florida in summer I’ll never know.

Just the thing for rocking tables, every restaurant should have them.

Don’t I just love watching Curb Your Enthusiasm with Lary David, America’s Victor Meldrew. He comes out with some amazing rants that I can truly associate with. Like Rocking tables in cafes and restaurants and how difficult it is to get money out of pockets when in the car – hence traffic light beggers will never get rich.

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Sick of passwords and the daily grind of remembering them, waiting for a one-time passcode and a plethero of other strategies designed to drive us all nuts. I wouldn’t mind but to have then for a trivial web site like donkey sanctuaries just takes the carrot.


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Trump is so right. Who in their right mind would trust this lying barbaric 7th century islamic regime where lying to infidels is mandated in the quran.


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Watched question time it seems tame and boring now BREXIT is over. Whatever happened to the excitement and passion, the outbursts, rants and raves. Never mind at least over here we have the excitement and pantomime of impeachment followed by the election of a president. How do the Americans cope with 18 months of this nonsense every four years?


Monday

Another gorgeous sunny day.

Drive up to Honeymoon island state park. Visit the nature centre and discover why it’s called honeymoon island. At last we get to have a coffee and then a pleasant stroll along the beach. Then sat like two old dears on a swing just watching the world go by. Who knows perhaps one day we’ll even come and spend a day sat on the beach – I doubt it.

Supermarket for our tea then it’s an alcohol free evening watching Netflix.


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I think that we should make change immigration laws:

If any family arrive they should consider them selves welcome “guests” for three generations. They should have all benefits and citizenship as now, but administratively the family must demonstrate loyalty and support for their new home. Over three generations, disobeying the law, defrauding the taxpayer, or trying to kill the population should automatically result in expulsion and return to the original land, for all the family.

This will concentrate minds, and assist mum’s and dads of “lovely children”, and communities, increase support for the British state, and for its values.


Tuesday

Our hotel.

Depart our home exchange and drive up to Orlando for 4 nights. Home exchange was comfortable and clean, the only downside was a decrpit kitchen, not a handle on doors or drawers, and the outside needed some tender loving care. At least we had 10 days at zero cost.

Tonight’s tea along with some scallops. But those rubber bands need some sauce on them and some extra time cooking.

Takes us about 90 minutes to get to our Comfort Suite hotel in Kissimmee. Very comfortable suite and well situated.

Have a leisurely coffee around the pool and get talking to an American couple from Atlanta, both ardent Trump fans. Have a pleasant afternoon putting the World to rights. Amazing how similar their problems are.

Go to the Red Lobsster for dinner. Just love obster but so much better having it prepared for you rather than having a whole lobster and having to excavate the green gunge inside yourselve.

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Boris Johnson faces a legal fight to keep terrorists locked up after Labour’s Shami Chakrabarti and civil rights groups today hinted they could challenge an emergency law to stop terrorists being automatically released. Bloody snowflakes strike again.


Wednesday

At lasts a waffle for breakfast, not just any waffle but a Mickey Mouse waffle and to top it all they’re made for you. Although there is something quite rewarding in mastering the waffle machine and cooking your own breakfast. Mastery of a waffle machine should be a mandatory element of any American citizen test, along with mastery of a giant gas barbecue.

Drive down to Hollywood Studios. The only reason we’re calling in at Disney is to truly brass my kids off by going to see the Star Wars Park. They’re 30+year old Star Wars geeks. Going to Disney without a rug rat seems almost bizarre, it’s a wonder don’t have a Rent A Rug Rat counter at the entrance to all their theme parks for all the old saddos with no kids with them.

Hot, busy, clean and impressive. Catch a few of the shows and manage to get a free Fastpass into the Toy Story shooting ride, thanks to a kind attendant who obviously took pity on these two poor old dears who allegedly had no idea what a Fastpass was.

Finally, get to the Star Wars land, busy but not overly so. Amazing that I manage to get on the Millenium Falcom Smugglers run ride with only a 15-minute wait by joining the Singles line. Wendy gives it a miss, which given the roughness of the simulator ride was a smart move. The ride is just short enough to avoid you having to shout for Huey or Ruth, and still keep my breakfast.

An impressive new land. The attention to detail is amazing and although there are only two rides there is a lot going on.

Watch a Frozen Singalong – how sad is that. The woman next to me is orgasmic, more moves than a belly dancer, waving arms and body, singing along to the songs, trying to encourage her 5-year-old who has her head in her hands in disgust at her Mothers behavior.

At last, a leisurely coffee and some people watching. Orlando, the blobby capital of America, a magnet for excess adipose tissue. It’s quite depressing. More blobbies than good bacteria in a fat gut. Interesting how one of the family has an excess of adipose tissue then the rest of the family seems to suffer the same. The biggest threat here is being run down by a blobby in their electric dodgem.

Tea tonight is a Taco Bell at long last. Alas very disappointing, I think Taco Bell will no longer be top of my Junk Food list.

After 48 years of marriage has it come to this?



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Ideal weapon for jihadis.


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One in the eye for all the Remoaners and doubters:

Britain had the third-fastest growing economy in the G7 group of advanced nations last year even though it stagnated in the final quarter.

Official figures show that the economy beat expectations to grow by 1.4 per cent last year. The UK outperformed France, Germany and Italy, which grew by 1.3 per cent, 0.5 per cent and 0.2 per cent respectively.

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), growth picked up to 0.3 per cent in December alone. The annual 1.4 per cent growth rate meant that Britain was behind only the US and Canada, which posted growth of 2.2 per cent and 1.5 per cent respectively.

Oh yea of little faith in your country.

Nothing like a good screw. First time I’vs ever seen an Archimedes spiral. I bet you’re all orgasmic.

20200205 – Beaches, Dinner With Friends, Shooting And Kayaking


Wednesday

Treasure Island beach.

Early start as I’m off to Pickleball. Alsas get to the sports centre, 6 pickleball courts but no one there. Abandon hope of playing pickleball today.

After lunch, we set off to Sand Key Park and the beach. Wendy sets foot in the sea, so brave, only a paddle. Too cold for me. Nice beach but not really our cup of tea so we have a stroll along the beach with a view to having a coffee in one of the nice hotels. Sadly there’s a river in the way so no coffee.

In the evening we drive over to Joe and Donna’s (friends from PC who live in Oldsmar) then we all set off for dinner at Southern Fresh in Safety Harbour for dinner. Awesome pork dish, just how I like it, the slightly burned outside and plenty of it.

Finally, we finish watching Succession. Another one that I hope they don’t do another season, it really has started to lose the warring family plot.

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I’m so sick of passwords, crap software written by 10 year olds who are probably incapably of tying their shoelaces and this daft obsession with “click to accept cookies” (driven by more obsessive data laws from the EU).


Thursday

Wendy braves a paddle.

Lazy morning. Just the excitement of a supermarket trip.

After lunch I drive over to Joes and we go shooting. Bizarre they need to see my ESTA before they can let me shoot. Supposedly federal law, not that they seem to bother in Utah. Good choice of guns. Love Joe’s standard 9mm, same as the Park City gun, and even more accurate. 1911 combat style 45 is awesome, easy to shoot, flattering and pleasing accuracy results. Not as big a kickback as I expected, but wow what a mizzle flash. As for the small 380, god only knows where the dum dum bullets went, shattered my good shooting performance.

Lunch stop.

Sushi for tea and then Netflix. We’ve seen all we want to see on HBO so will be cancelling my free 7 dya trial.

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Friday

Safety Harbour.

Lazy and frustrating morning trying to cancel Wendy’s Santander account. Major password issues; usual crap software; poor HCI; then to top it all won’t let me transfer all of my funds out. After an hour and accepting my transfer request, I’m told “not allowed” to contact us. Then to be told we’ll have to go into the branch to do the transfer. So much for an online banking site. As you can probably imagine I’m madder than a Taliban trying to cross the street during a gay pride parade. After kicking off I finally get through to the security department, who after the third batch of inane security questions do the transfer, but I have to go into the branch to close the account. That’s their loss then they can continue to service a zero balance account.

Safety Harbour

After lunch we take a drive down to Safety Harbour. Have a pleasant stroll around a lovely little town. Stop off for a Starbucks, really have gone off Starbucks just lately. Their coffee always seems a tad bitter or burnt. The only good news is the consistency, but give me Volcano coffee range any day.

Come across a sandwich shop and get a classic Reubens with a double dose of corned beef. US corned beef is nothing like our fat globuled version, it’s more like pastrami. At last I get an awesome Reubens for my tea, I’ve been mithering for one ever since we arrive, the haute cuisine of American junk food.

After more battling the technology I get my Smart DNS working, it seems that software has it in for me today, and get to watch Silent Witness on BBC.

Safety Harbour



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Saturday

Kayaking at Tarpon Springs Bayou.

Leisurely morning as usual.

Kayaking at Tarpon Springs Bayou.

Drive up to Tarpon Springs to go kayaking with Joe and Donna in these see-through kayaks. More like a canoe and as the water is so murky there really isn’t much benefit to them. Get to see Manatee snouts as they surface for air and a couple of Dolphins. Awesome weather clear blue sky, no breeze and warm. Wendy goes for a stroll around Tarpon Springs whilst we’re all on the water. Alas no really much there to see.

Kayaking at Tarpon Springs Bayou.

In the evening we meet up with Joe and Donna for dinner at the Lucky Lobster Co in Dunedin – not really that lucky considering how much lobster we eat. Great food, great company, and the wine wasn’t too bad. Finally, get to have some scallops as well as a lobster roll. They were delicious.

Back home we sample yet another white wine. This time it’s a Muscato, so sweet it makes your eyes water. Not to my liking, but Wendy likes it.
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Gorgeous sunsets from Clearwater Beach. Alas not one of my photos as we missed the opportunity last night.


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20200201 – BREXIT At Last, New Home Exchange And Mermaids


Saturday

BREXIT at last.


Leisurely drive up to Clearwater. Encounter our first traffic jam on the interstate. Mainly caused by scrots wanting to cut in at the last moment. Seems to be a world wife problem.

Our pool.

Easily find our new home exchange and settle in. All very roomy and comfortable – see pictures. Then it’s the almost daily trip to the supermarket for tea. Sushi tonight, expensive but we’re worth it.

Lounge.

As if we don’t have enough to watch on Netflix we sign up for yet another free seven day trial of HBO. I’m nearly out of unused email addresses. There are quite a few things worth watching on it and at $15 a month it’ll be worth it while we’re here.

In this home we have two pianos; two surfboards; two guitars; two coffee machines; an X box and loads of games; more cushions than Muslim fundamentalists at a stoning; and a foot operated singer sewing machine, but no hairdryer and no kettle. It’s a nice home but none of the kitchen drawers or cupboards have handles on them. How bizarre is that?

Master bedroom.

This home exchanging lark gives you an interesting view on how other people live. You come across some bizarre ways. Teaches you to accept how others live.

It has two bedrooms, just one bathroom – no en-suite and only a single sink. How will we cope?

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“To mark a moment in history.” So said the bbc on the so-called BREXIT celebration programme. What a remoaner disgrace it was. One of the most significant events in our recent history and all they can do is bring out a few boring talking heads. Meanwhile in parliament square good old Nigel is hosting a rave celebration, but oh don’t let’s show that, people might actually think BREXIT was popular and a good thing. ITV weren’t any better.

Meanwhile in Downing Street, Boris couldn’t even be bothered to open the front door and say a few rousing words. Nor did the Queen pop out onto the balcony and give a dignified wave.

Our 1776 moment. Our Independence Day and the remoaner controlled media just can’t be bothered. Poor losers. No doubt they’ll be doing everything they can to hinder success. It’s a national disgrace.


Sunday

Pier 60 Clearwater Beach.

Yeah, it’s Super Bowl, haven’t a clue who is playing and not that I’ll be watching it. Don’t really understand it. Wathing the adverts and half time interval can be fun in hope that there’s yet another nipple exposing wardrobe failure.

Pier 60 marina.

Lazy morning as usual. Then we drive down to Pier 60 on Clearwater beach, rated number 1 beach in America, with pristine clean white sand. Pier was nothing much to write home about, but it’s a lively area and although a tad cool breeze and only 60F it was lovely to stroll around with the sun on you and clear blue skies. A very American resort, no a single “kiss me quick” hat, candy floss or fish and chip shops. Of course no litter or graffiti.

Our home exchange for the next 10 days.

Then it’s the damn supermarket again for tea. My theme this week is seafood every night. Might as well whilst we’re on the coast. Will I survive tonight’s crab cakes. I survived the White Castles, no problem.

Evening in watching Succession about the most dysfunctional family you can ever imagine – they’re all crazier than a squirrel on crack. Sadly it’s a no-alcohol day.

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Started to watch season 10 of Curb Your Enthusiasm. Larry David is one of my heroes. The American Victor Meldrew. One classic scene tonight is him walking down the pavement and a young couple sticks a selfie stick in his path as they take a photo. He grabs it, snaps it and hands it back to them and carries on – awesome. How often have I felt like doing that? See picture.


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What is it with Americans who seem to think that any flat horizontal surface on a bed or settee needs to be smothered with pillows. We seem to spend the first hour in any new home getting rid of excess pillows, by which time we’re exhausted and ready for bed.


Monday

Mermaid at Weeki Watchee.

Another glorious sunny day and a lot warmer.

After our usual lazy start, we head up to Weeki Watchi State Park for the World famous mermaid show. I’ve always wanted to do this in Florida, but it has whole always been too far to travel. Anyway, after a hours driving with more traffic lights than there are pricks in a second-hand dart board,we finally get there.

It is a lovely State Park built around typical Florida Spring. We watch two mermaid shows, the first one is about the history of the show, the second is a little mermaid show a tad to twee for my liking. We also catch a park ranger presentation on snakes, gopher tortoise, and alligators. As usual with Ranger presentations, they are always very interesting and informative. Overall a great day out, made all the better by the gorgeous weather and to be fair even the mermaid shows well worth it.

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Today’s useless information.

Ranger talk.

A male Gopher tortoise has a concave underside. Why? So that it doesn’t fall off when procreating. Isn’t evolution amazing?


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Why is it that American women in supermarkets don’t seem to comprehend that you can steer a trolley around obstacles. Instead, they seem to expect you to move to avoid upsetting their straight-line trajectory.


Tuesday

Weeki Watchee spring.

Lazy start then we drive down to St Petersberg beach heard a lot about it. Well how disappointing it all is like a Spanish seaside resort, all big hotels and condos with little beach access and no real character or charm.

Treasure Island beach.

Stop at Treasure Island beach for Wendy’s lavish lunch and a stroll down to the sea. Then drive back up along the coast road, traversing all the islands. Not very inspiring. At least Clearwater Beach has something about it with a pier and a marina acting as a centre.

Watch Larry on Curb Your Enthusiasm followed by Succession – won’t be sad when this is over. Then watch the state of the union. It’s a pity we don’t have something similar in the UK. See jokes for comments below.

Oops.



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Don’t I just love the state of the union address. Great to watch those on the right clap their hearts out and bounce up and down like a tarts knickers. It’s almost like the soviet era where they’re all freightened to stop clapping. First to stop gets sent to a gulag / Guantanamo.

But best of all, them on the left all sat on their hands with sour puss faces and won’t even applaud the most sensible of items. Then you have the childish behaviour, Trump doesn’t shake hands with Nancy; Nancy fails to introduce him with respect; Nancy tares up his speech.


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Yet another islamic jihad just released from prison has been out on the rampage with a knife and attacked two innocent victims. Fortunately he has been shot dead.

It’s no us imprisoning them. It’s no use trying to de-radicalise them. Death penalty for any terrorist offence, it’s the only way to deal which such mad dogs.

As for his parents who claim he was a lovely child but prison made him an extremist, they seem to forget he was sent to prison for extremist terrorist offences. They must have known he was a threat and you’re obviously incompetent as parents.

How many murders in the name of this vile ideology, islam, have to happen before it becomes a banned organisation. The IRA is banned in the UK – and it killed nowhere near as many as this organisation in mainland Britain.

When will we learn? Smell the coffee before it’s too late.

20200128 – Oh Joyous Day – BREXIT At Last


Tuesday

Up at 05:00 for a conference call. Back to doing some ARC management consultancy.

Kayaking around Pine Island.

Then it’s an early start over to Rolf’s to got kayaking. We’re off to Pine island where we meet up with a group of about 14 from the kayaking club. Off for a 2-hour kayak around the waterways of Pine Island. Gorgeous weather, friendly people and an awesome way to spend a morning. Then we all troop off to lunch at a local fish restaurant that you’d never come across by accident but it’s packed. Good food and I even have lunch of Clam Chowder but pass on one of the 12 varieties of pie.

Kathy.

Back home for afternoon tea around the pool and yet more of that damn Handmaids Tale. Try some white wine (Gewurztraminer) a tad sweet but very tasty. Yes, I’d drink it again. Then to finish off a Basil Hayden Caribbean reserve nightcap. I really must stop drinking, but roll into bed a happy chappy after a great day. Thanks to Gerry and Diane for linking up with Rolf and Kathy, yet more friendly Americans.

Wendy’s stroll.

But the highlight of the evening has to be the visit from two burly police officers, one of them built like the proverbial brick shithouse, and both armed to the teeth. They had an alarm activation. But the alarms not even on. The big guy checks. Yes, the alarms disabled. Meanwhile, the other guy asks if we can prove we’re legally resident as home exchangers. I browse my .pdf’s, in the meantime, they both take one look at these two geriatrics, one of whom is eating her dinner on her knee, both are suffering the torture of watching The Handmaids Tale. While Wendy points out “my son’s a detective”. Clearly, we’re no felons. They leave before it all get’s too complicated and Wendy bursts into a long-winded monologue.
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Now I know I’ve arrived when I see these – heavenly junk food. Didn’t realise you could get them in a supermarket. One of the benefits of shopping with Wendy.

White Castles


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Yes, he’s let the Chinese spy on us and pissed Trump off. Great way to get a good trade deal.


Wednesday

Fort Myers harbour.

Another sunny day. Lazy morning browsing the news fro The Times (depressing) and The Wall Street Joournal (hilarious, no doubt it would be depressing if I was an American).

Then we set off to drive down to Naples but decide it’s too far and we’ve been there before anyway. Instead settle on a visit to Fort Myers, never been there. Soon discover the historic district and the Centennial Park which is being dug up so parking is a nightmare.

Florida beach.

Have a wander around the historic district. As usual, not all that historic but try and find somewhere for lunch. Settle for a coffee for me and a subway for Wendy sat on a bench by the harbour.

Drive back through Cape Coral. Then the joy of another supermarket visit before home for afternoon tea. What an exciting life we lead.

Yeah, celebration all round as we watch the final episode of The Handmaids Tale.

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Mustang image to light the way to my rump hunter.

Finally got to the last episode of The Hand Maids Tale, huraah, it’s as slow as shit through a coffe filter paper. 36 fifty minute episodes, that’s 30 hours of our lives taken up by a series that could have been over quite effectively in 2 hours. Only to learn they’re doing a season 4. I thought we’d escaped the torture of that saga. I suppose we can always do the sensible thing and ignore it, really don’t think we can cope with any more of it, just a waste of our lives.

Here are some reviews:

“…often lapses into the realm of the deadly dull, making long and redundant loops around its original premise and revisiting already established resentments and animosities between characters.”

“The Handmaid’s Tale seems to be going too slowly, stretching out the story to fill the latest season.”


Thursday

Gasparilla Island lighthouse and Wendy.

Lazy mornig as usual then drive down to Bayshore Live Oak Park for a stroll along the water front and out onto the short piers.

Wendy chomps away on her lunch and then we set off to Gasparilla Island to visit the Boca Grande Lighthouse. Don’t ask me why. It just seemed like an interesting place to go. By the time we’ve paid a toll to cross the bridge and a parking fee this little jaunt has cost us $9. Was it worth it? Sort of, but you never know until you try.

Living Oaks park in Port Charlotte.

Then in the evening, we go out for dinner with our new found American friends Rolf and Kathy. Good food good wine and best of all good company. I try the shrimp and grits, actually taste pretty good but they have cheese in them.

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Friday

Wendy at living oaks park pier.

Lazy morning. Spend over an hour on the phone booking flights. What a nightmare. You think there’d be an AI solution to this.

Then it’s pickleball followed by the delights of a visit to the supermarket.

In the evening we celebrate BREXIT with the epitome of American junk food, 6 White Castles, for tea and a bottle of wine, white wine, I’m really getting into this white wine, followed by a quiet night in. Decide to watch the celebrations on BBC
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Oh Joyous Day (to quote from The Handmaids Tale) – BREXIT at last.

Remember this 3 years ago?

Then we had 3 years of treachery and incompetence, with the great and the good doing all they can to defeat the democratic will of the British people. Fortunately, a lot of those treacherous arseholes in parliament have now lost their seat, received their comeuppance for their arrogance and treachery.

But at last, we escape the Evil Union. Our 1776 moment. Now I can start to imagine how the founding fathers must have felt when they escaped.

All thanks to this guy, dedicated his life to escaping the Evil Union, and yet not a skerrick of recognition from our government. Thank you Nigel.


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20200124 – Lazy Days In Port Charlotte


Friday

Fishermen’s Village Punta Gorda.

Another lazy morning, coffee and newspapers around the pool. How civilised is that. I’m almost missing the cut and thrust of the daily BREXIT battles between the remoaners and brexiteers, bumping up against one another like angry molecules in a cloud of hatred.

Weathers just lovely today although a tad humid.

For excitement we toddle off down to Fishermens Village. A haven for geriatrics with too much time on their hands. A harbour with boats and pelicans, plenty of places to sit and watch the world and geriatrics shuffle by and of course the obligatory shops. Shops that emphasise the the difference between want and need. Selling everything from olive oils, balsamic vinegars, tat and cheap looking but expensive clothes. In other words stuff that no one needs but may be sad enough to want.

Harbour at Fishermens Village

Call in at ABC liquor store. A real luxury, nothing like this in Utah. They have not only Basil Haydens Dark Rye, luscious, but also the Caribbean Reserve Rye. Can’t resist trying this, a blend of rye whiskey’s and some rum. Also take the opportunity to buy some of the more exotic white wines on my list of wines to try.

It’s a tad too humid to do any walking and we save the excitement of a wildlife centre for another day – have to ration out the excitement.

Back for afternoon tea around the pool. No cake or cucumber sandwiches, sans crusts, I might add.

Evening has a bottle of Zinfandel – no help from Wendy – and my new whiskey, along with the excitement of the Handmaids Tale. Amazingly I stay awake, I think. Stagger to bed.
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Another warm sunny day. Getting real lazy now not up until 08:00.


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Another great pantomime along with 18 months of electioneering, will keep us entertained:


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Saturday

Lunch by the harbour in Sarasota.

There’s an early morning stream of stick people, look like they’ve escaped from one of Lowry’s paintings, shuffling down the road, with one or two walking sticks, no zimmer frames so far. It’s amazing that the ever present vultures aren’t circling around them in eager anticipation. At least they’re taking some exercise, the more mobile of them I probably encounter at geriatric tennis, AKA pickleball.

Last night’s Hand Maids tale set new records, slower than a pregnant nun going to confession, with virtually a whole episode needed to cover a birth of a baby, followed by another episode on milking, breast pumps and baby feeding. I really don’t know why we continue, it’s not as if there’s any exciting sex. What sex scenes there are so damn slow it puts you into a coma well before orgasm.

Gay pride market in Sarasota.

Another gorgeous sunny day. Lazy morning round the pool with coffee and dull words and pictures that passes for news these days.

Then we’re off for some cultural. Drive up to Sarasota for a trip to the theatre. It’s a 50 minute drive, nothing to us American clones, getting into the American way. Have a wander around Sarasota. There’s a local market on to keep Wendy happy; picnic by the harbour watching the pelicans majestically dive bomb for they fish dinner; then we stumble across a gay pride market and sing along, free condoms, free HIV and STD tests. Yes I went to a gay, Lesbian, 52 sexual orientation jamboree. All very colourful, some really freaky clothes and body adornments. Then we stumble across a shop selling CBD so I have to investigate, is this marijuana? No it’s some 0.1% derivative.

Fancy a free HIV or STD test?

The play is the “American Son” come from broadway, can’t imagine it lasted long there. It was ok, actors seemed a bit wooden. I think I’m being spoilt by professionalism and glamour of TV, Netflix and films, might give up on live theatre. But why is it that every time we go to see a play in America it’s about blacks, how they’re treated and racial tension. Has the country not got over it and moved on? It would seem not.

Theatre to see “American Son”.

Every time we’ve been to Sarasota we’ve always come across the Amish. Must be a settlement nearby. Makes me wonder how they get into town, don’t see any hitching posts for horse. As we drive home my curiosity is finally answered, there they are riding along the pavement (sidewalk for my American friends) on bicycles. I’ll sleep a lot better now I know the answer to that.

Just love Sarasota. So civilised, so much going on and such pleasant city to stroll around.

Call in for a Subway on the way home. An Italian classic with lashing of jalapeños, I’ll regret it tomorrow but they’re always amazing.

More Handmaids Tale. I really do want to give this up but thankfully we’re into the final season 3 now. Let’s hope they don’t bring out another season.
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The joy of sitting, in the warm sun, on a park bench in Sarasota harbour watching the World go by and best of all the Pelicans dive bomb for their dinner. Amazing.


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WOKE. What is it with this damn word. It seems like every PC snowflake of a wordsmith in the press and on TV has suddenly discovered it and now receives a commission on how many times they can use it.

I blame the Meghan saga. Prior to this first world fiasco I’d never heard of it. Anyway for the avoidance of doubt and to add my voice to the cacophony of absurdity here’s a definition:

WOKE – “aware of and actively attentive to important facts and issues (especially issues of racial and social justice).”


Sunday

New found American friends.

Lazy morning and after lunch we go to meet a couple of friends of Jerry and Diane at the Village Brewhouse. Long story short. Get a call from an unknown Rolf, don’t know him from Adam; Friends of J & D who has told them we’re in Port Charlotte; ringing to offer to meet up and then take us kayaking. Typically friendly Americans. Can you imagine a Brit doing that. And then people ask us why we spend so much time over here.

Have a pleasant boozy afternoon with our new found friends and two of their friends. Off kayaking with them tomorrow.

Quiet evening in yet again watch that damn series. It’s mind numbingly slower than molasses on a cold day.

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Monday

Wendy at Peace River.

Up and out for geriatric tennis (AKA pickle ball). More knee braces and other sign of geriatrics than there are good bacteria in a healthy gut. Two good games but it’s very busy and there’s a lot of waiting around.

Driving around and nearly every other building and business is associated with medicine and health care. Not surprising when you consider the average age of the decomposing geriatrics around here. Never seen so many grown ups riding tricycles.

After Wendy’s lunch we drive down to Peace River Wildlife Centre, a bird rescue centre. Interesting birds and talk from a docent, all free. Then we have a wander around the mangrove swamp.

Heron taking flight.

Next stop is the Port Charlotte Harbor State Park. Sadly the welcome centres closed but we take a circular stroll the 3 Lakes loop. Meant to be 1.3 miles but Wendy was convinced it was longer. A constant silent “are we there yet”. Sadly don’t see much wildlife, despite the warnings of don’t approach or feed the alligators. A $500 fine for feeding them. I wonder if one bites you then they fine you $500 for feeding it? Finally get to see a small gator, only about 3 foot, a baby.

Peace River Wildlife Centre.

To top off the day there’s a ‘pubics’ on the way back, more Wendy’s idea of a stroll on the wild side. Oh well yet another merchandising escapade – how lucky can I get.

Get back home and to a police presence of 4 patrol cars, police and a tracker dog. Looks like some baddy has taken flight and they’re trying to find him. Is this a dodgy area.
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I know I persecute the geriatrics, but don’t forget I’m one and every time I go to play pickle ball I count myself so lucky to still have my health and be fit enough to play. So many people our age just aren’t healthy or fit enough to play. Currently Wendy’s one of them as she’s suffering with her back.

A real pity because it’s an awesome game for people our age.


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Let me be clear, I don’t have a problem with Muslims. I have a problem with their book, the quran, and it’s vile ideology.

Opinion piece here on “Political correctness shuts down any reasonable critiques of Islam” is worth a read – https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/political-correctness-shuts-down-any-reasonable-critiques-of-islam

If we want to fight Islamic Terrorism, let’s talk about it and damn the PC snowflakes who are attacking our free speech. Let’s lend an ear and platform to those brave moderate muslim who are trying to reform islam from within.


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And still the impeachment pantomime trundles on.

20200120 – Port Charlotte


Monday

Just relaxing!

Up at the crack our sparrows to beat the Manchester traffic; taxi to airport; amazing we manage to get into the escape lounge – priority pass is a rip off.

Excellent virgin flight to Orlando. Plenty off free booze; comfortable; food was even quite good. Premium economy is worth the extra.

Arrive on time. Customs was quick and unnervingly friendly. Just had to wait 30 minutes for pick up to hotel. Hotel was ok – see rant / review. Early to breed.

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Moe of the Harry & Meghan saga. Who gives a damn.


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By what stretch of anyones imagination does this count as news:

“Melania Trump’s Heeled Boots Sink Into White House Grass On Way To College Football Game.”

What has the media come too, can’t they at least generate some false news rather than this puerile horse shit.


Tuesday

One bad ass mean growling machine.

As usual first day up with the larks for typical hotel breakfast. For once I pass on the waffles. Well the whole of Florida seems to be in a corybantic tis was because there’s a cold front coming and it may get to freezing overnight. Bloody hell they should come and live in Belthorn. Meanwhile the rest of America has a new pantomime to watch with the senate impeachment trial. And I thought out politics was crazy!

Then get the shuttle back to hertz at the airport. There’s a whole row of President circle free upgrades. Some really tasty motors but hidden at the far end is a Ford Mustang convertible all 5 Litre, 460 HP and a top speed off 155MPH. I’m in love with it but Wendy doesn’t look to impressed. Chose the free upgrade to this bad ass. It’s got more knobs, driving modes, gizmos and switches than the flight deck of a jumbo.

Our new home exchange pool.

A classic rumpo hunter (if you don’t know what one is get some one over 60 to explain it to you), I’m in my second adolescence. Happier than a nerd with a Raspberry Pi.

The accelerator is scary, just the slightest touch and your arse ends up in the boot. Haven’t dare put it into one of the many sport modes, YET. Best of all though is the throaty roar of the four giant exhausts, not 2 but 4, time to get my own back on those young scrots with their noisy Fiat 500’s.

Happy days here in Florida.

Lounge.

Then is off down to port Charlotte, just a 2.5 hour drive. Religiously stick to the speed limit s as I’m sure this car is a cop magnate. Good job as we see more motorists pulled over than there are dandruff ridden tea towels in Afghanistan.

Our new home exchange for the next 10 days is very homely, spotlessly clean and looks like a loved in home, not like your typical clinical rental. With 230MB of Wi-fi I don’t think we’ll ever leave. It’s 3 bedroom but not massive like most American homes, just right for the two of us and even has a swimming pool, a couple of kayaks (Wendy’s orgasmic about that) and two bike that look like they last time they had rubber to the road was world war 2.

Dining kitchen.

As a special treat for Wendy we go to Publix supermarket. Sadly I have to push the trolley to avoid her back playing up anymore. Now I know what purgatory must be like – I promise I’ll be good from now on.

Treat ourselves to sushi for tea (dinner for you southern softies). Then settle down to watch some more if the Hand Maids Tale, it’s slower than a herd of turtles stampedin’ through peanut butter. No alcohol today after the excesses off yesterday’s flight.

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Beware of falling frozen Iguana’s.

Looks like I’d better to check my travel insurance to see if we’re covered for being hit on the head by frozen Iguanas falling out the trees because of the cold. No weasel word to exclude that.

Beware Authorities in Florida have warned residents to watch out for a strange phenomenon during the unusual cold weather – iguanas falling from trees.


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Master bedroom.

A city in northern Wisconsin will hold a vote today on whether to overturn a law banning snowball fights.

The snowball ban has been on the books since 1962 in the city of Wausau, where flinging packed handfuls of snow is outlawed alongside the shooting of arrows into buildings and the hurling of projectiles across pavements, playgrounds and other public places.

The city’s police department explained they did not seek to arrest consenting adults who have snowball fights.

Futtocking arse-mungels, these SNOWFLAKES know no borders.


Wednesday

By the pool.

Up early again because we can’t sleep, still on UK time but getting better.

Usual breakfast of granola and fruit. Amazing two packets of cereal for the price of one.

Unpack and lounge around most of the morning.

Call in a Winne Dixie supermarket, wow a much better choice. I’m becoming quite an authority on shopping.

Lunch time we drive down to Punta Gorda to explore pickle ball opportunities. Looks like there’s a great drop in with 4 courts and only $3, but oh so busy.

Not a good idea to swim then!

Doesn’t seem much around Punta Gorda so it’s back home for Wendy’s lunch – needs her sustenance otherwise she gets so hungry she’d eat the balls off a low flying duck!

Then we set off for a short walk to the local park. At least here we don’t get socked wet through or have to battle against a howling gale.

Evening see’s us trying to keep awake through the fast paced Handmaids Tale. Not help by having drunk a bottle of Chardonnay between us. Yes Wendy’s trying wine and I’m starting to widen my horizons and exploring white wine. So far so good.

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At last. Will the removers now accept it and get behind it. I doubt it.


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Just after a time of year when Christians throughout the World were celebrating Christmas, it may also be worth reflecting on what is happening to freedom of religion and how many Christians are being slaughtered.

A quote from the Times sums it all up “A review led by Philip Mounstephen, the Bishop of Truro, and commissioned by Jeremy Hunt when he was foreign secretary, concluded this year that the persecution of Christians is at near-genocide levels in some parts of the world.

It is an under-reported crime.”

Near genocide level and yet no one, including moderate muslims, dare talk about the elephant in the room “Islam” for fear of persecution or being called racist. It really is about time we started talking and doing something about it.

Remember “With or without religion, good people can behave well and bad people can do evil; but for good people to do evil – that takes religion.”
― Steven Weinberg

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/comment/the-times-view-on-the-preservation-of-religious-freedom-faith-under-fire-3grrl20rd?fbclid=IwAR0TVYyl4LpGgSwyHMpBneWkEwosyYxrrHMJN0PBqGhZjFmBuY8D1BcC7M0


Thursday

Wendy chases Victor. Victo wins.

Yet another lazy morning but at least staying asleep longer. Who knows we may even stay up until Noddies gone past Big Ears tonight – 22:00 for those of you who never had a Noddy watch or don’t have a clue what it means.

It’s a warm sun and cloud day, mainly sun and 75 degrees. Get to spend sometime sat out around the pool.

Have to pop down to Pubix for tonights tea.

Then after Wendy’s lunch I head off to pickle ball and Wendy goes for a stroll. Pickleball is busier than ants at a picnic. They’ve 4 courts but could do with 10, so only manage to get 5 games in during a 2 hour session, but every ones friendly enough.

More Hand Maids Tale and as it’s a non alcohol day we may even manage to stay awake.

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Another American political pantomime keeping us entertained. If only the senators can stay awake.


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The snowflakes are at it again. This time they want to ban chlorinated chicken for the USA under any new trade deal and yet:-

The canal at the bottom of our garden. Can’t wait to launch the kayak.


As long ago as 2005 the EU’s own Food Safety Authority said: “Exposure to chlorite residues arising from treated poultry carcasses would be of no safety concern.” In his pamphlet Fertile Ground, published by the Institute for Economic Affairs, Shanker Singham points out: “The [European] Commission even submitted a proposal in 2008 to relax EU rules on PRTs. The effort, however, was struck down by member states with all except the UK voting against.”

So here’s the situation: when we were committed to remaining in the EU, our government wanted to accept so-called chlorinated chicken, but now we are leaving, supposedly to escape from the suffocating embrace of anti-competitive, one-size-fits-all regulation from Brussels, our government is determined to remain subject to it. There’s not even method in this madness.

It’s not as if we have the slightest right to lecture America on food safety. According to data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, US citizens eat more than twice as much poultry per capita as Europeans, but instances of food poisoning by salmonella and campylobacter per 100,000 population are 20.4 and 66.3 in the EU and only 15.45 and 13.45 in the US. And the 2019 figures for global food quality and safety (as measured by the Economist Intelligence Unit annual survey) have America in fourth place, behind only Finland, Norway and Sweden. The UK is in 18th place.

Ollies pond, the in place to swim with gators.

In fact, our own broiler chickens — like those in America — will find more space in an oven than they ever did alive.

In short, there are no morally consistent animal welfare grounds on which to reject mass-produced American poultry, unless we were to demand our own industry move exclusively to free range. But only 3% of chicken bought in UK supermarkets is free range — showing the vast majority of Britons are captivated not by the thought of their dinner having had freedom to roam while alive, but by the fact they can buy a whole chicken, and thus feed their family, for £3 or so.

Besides, why can’t the British consumer be given the choice? Let him or her buy American chicken, labelled as such,

20191201 – Last Few Days In Tokyo; Goodbye Japan We’ll Be Back


Sunday

Senso-ji temple.

Breakfast on 40th floor. Great views but an expensive breakfast.

Set off to the Senso-ji temple. An interesting combination of the cultural, holy and spiritual complete with about 100+ stalls selling all sorts of tat that you’ve neither need nor hopefully want. It’s as busy as hell, all the world are here. But combining the cultural with the shopping cravings that Wendy has meets both our expectations.

Then it’s down to the Akihabara district for the Kanda Myojin shrine and the hustle and bustle of electric town, the centre of maid cafes and anime and manga culture. Wendy is reluctant to go to one of the maid cafés, exploits women she says – so it’s not PC, all the more reason to do it, hopefully it may offend some snowflakes. Mind you at 500 yen each for a 30 minute visit to a cafe it is a tad expensive. For that price I’d be expecting Pole dancing.

Empty barbecue.

No this isn’t a joke, Maids in the café’s will also kneel by the table to stir cream and sugar into a customer’s coffee, and some cafés even offer spoon-feeding services to customers. Recently maid cafés also offer other services such as dance performances, singing karaoke together or taking photos together on a nostalgic polaroid photo. Customers can also sometimes play rock-paper-scissors, card games, board games, and video games with maids as well as prepare arts, crafts and many more fun activities. You even can request your favorite maid to perform for you some type of fun and cute activity (P.S.: Anime character acting is very popular)!

They close the main road off so you can stroll down the road. It’s humming.

Senso-ji.

Catch the train to Tokyo station for a visit to the palace gardens. Unbelievable how many people are being herded in. We take a short cut to avoid the well behaved conforming crowds and get away with it. Then we’re in and realise how futile this really is so we try and get out of this rat trap. Really makes you realise what it must be like living in these high rise rat cages. How anyone can put up with these crowds is beyond me. I suppose the whole of Tokyo must come out at weekend to escape and supposedly enjoy the open spaces. Sadly they’re not open as they’re full of people trying to escape. It really must do something to their psyche, living like rats in a cage. I’d be demented.

Having a rest on a zebra.

Finally escape and head back to Tokyo station. Another hell hole, signposted by a lost blind man. It rightly has the accolades of the busiest and most confusing complicated station in the world.

Decide we’ll eat in tonight so go to try some bento boxes, so very Japanese. The shop is busier than a public stoning in Tehran, I think all the crowds from the palace gardens have decided to buy bento boxes.

Finally escape, search for our platform and for some reason our pasmo card has been invalidated. It’s probably as confused as I am.

Crowds the the Emperor’s palace.

Back to the hotel for sanity, peace and luxury. I take a stroll around the hotels amazing Japanese gardens to calm my frayed nerves. Have afternoon tea in our club lounge along with free chocolate cake.

Then it’s back to our suite for our bento feast, along with a well deserved bottle of Hofbrau original – how civilised is that – and more of The Crown. Very disappointing this season.

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Not really a laughing matter.


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Tea tonight.

Why do we not see the word Islam in this or any other Times article dealing with Islamic terrorist’s. Why are there no comments on any of the pieces covering the Islamic Troy attack on London Bridge. What are we not talking about the problem. Hiding it will not make the problem go away. I’m sure there are many Muslims who are disgusted with this and would like to provide their moderate views.


Monday

Wait time to get into the Nintendo store. These people must be insane I’d be terrified of joining a queue with them.

Breakfast on the 40th floor this morning, would be great views but it’s raining.

Then we set off to Shibuya for Wendy’s shopping trip. She’s obsessed with going to the Nintendo store. Get there and there’s a 180 minute queue, yes that’s not a mistake, Monday and a 180 minute wait. To top out all the store looks pretty crap, not really that much in it. What is wrong with these people. Living in rat cages must addle their brains.

Sushi on a conveyor.

As it’s pouring down we decide to have our conveyor belt sushi for lunch. Wendy’s clever idea. Really smart, order on an iPad and it’s all in English. Interesting watching the Japanese eat sushi. Unbelievable as they take a 4” long piece of sushi in their mouths all at one go. Whereas I’m struggling to cut it into a few pieces with my chopsticks. No wonder chopsticks work for them but you need a big gob.

Carols back at the hotel.

Must have RFID in the plates as all they do is scan the empty plates. £26 for 14 plates and beer, no wonder people were queuing.

Have a stroll around including yet another BicCamera. Pick up some cake and sandwiches for tea. Can you believe it they even provide a small freezer pack to keep your food cool. How cool is that.

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Our Bento boxes for tea, note the quality beer.

Metropolitan Police counterterrorism chief Neil Basu said the suspect appeared to be wearing a bomb vest but it turned out to be ‘a hoax explosive device.’

Basu said officers were keeping ‘an open mind as to any motive.’ Obviously this guy will never make the grade as a detective. Go read the quran and then perhaps you’ll get it.

For allahs sake he was a convicted terrorist who had served time in prison and was wearing an electronic tag at the time of the attack. 


Tuesday

My snack of grilled eel on a stick being prepared.

Yet another average but expensive breakfast however the Japanese garden view makes it worth every penny. Then as we approach the lift one of the staff of 5,000 presses the button for the lift for us, escort us to right lift shaft and then scrapes, bows and smiles as we enter. Perhaps she thinks we’re too old and frail to push a button and to senile to decide which door to use. I could really get used to the service level in this hotel.

Catch the subway to Tokyo station to reconnoiter the way to the Narita express. Essential with this maze the station from hell – must have been laid out by a blind woman with an etch a sketch.

Tucking in.

Then it’s onto the giant BicCamera store to see if we can get a Nintendo figure for Jasper. All this way and we spend more time shopping than seeing any thing Tokyo has to offer. No luck on the Nintendo toy.

Set off to the old fish market. A crowded maze of stalls selling every fish you can imagine, some are cooked, some are raw and some are still alive. Most are served on sticks ready to eat. Not seen any live ones on sticks though. I try some smoked eel.

Wander back to Tokyo station in the hope of finding somewhere to have a coffee and something to eat. Fat chance. Finally find some where. Then find we have to pay 140 yen to leave the central part of the station – because it has shops. How crazy is that.

Passed on this.

Head towards the palace in the hope that we can finally have a stroll around the gardens. We’ll just like yesterday we can, along with half of Tokyo and all the school children in Japan – forget it.

Head back to the hotel for Otani club lounge and afternoon tea. A sanctuary of sanity, with free tea, coffee and cake.

Wendy then does the packing. I offered to do my own but she won’t let me. Seems to think I’m irresponsible.

Quality infrastructure.

Tonight’s we treat ourselves to tea at a ninja themed restaurant. Getting like me mother, always finishing a holiday with a meal treat and bingo. Fortunately I don’t think they do bingo in Japan. Meal starts off by being greeted by a ninja jumping out of the wall. Not recommended for anyone with a weak heart. Haven’t a clue what we eat, but it was 9 courses of most of the sea creatures known to man and some unknown.

Yamato Spirit Course
1. Shuriken star-blades grissini
2. Appetizer of the season
3. Turban shell bombs with garlic butter
4. Special stone-boiled soup (Japanese bouillabaisse)
5. Seafood specialty of the day
6. Sherbet candy in flavors of the season
7. Meat specialty of the day
8. Special Sushi & Sushi Roll
9. Today’s dessert

Ninja food.

Did they bother cooking them? Who knows. I can at least confirm that none of the fish were still alive – count your blessings. It was good and entertaining, including amazing ninja magic at the table.
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Top tips to survive Japan

Wear slip on shoes, you’ll be constantly taking them on and off.

If it’s the colour of green tea, then leave it be. Avoid anything green, it’s probably made with green tea – not my cup of tea.

Walk on the left apart from some train stations.

Use google maps.

Buy a pasmo card, great on the trains and subway.

Have plenty of cash

Avoid popular places in Tokyo on a Sunday.

If it’s raining and you don’t wear glasses then invest in some welding goggles to save your eyeballs from the umbrellas.

If you’re thinking of getting perfect photos with no strangers in them, forget it. Download off the internet. There’s always a cast of 5,000 extras lurking in your view finder.

Avoid Tokyo station at all costs The station from hell, laid out by a blind woman with an etch a sketch.


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You really can’t believe that these two Communist, terrorist sympathiser might be in Downing street. If so time to seek asylum in Tehran.


Wednesday

More Ninja food. Yes, I’m still alive.

Early hurried breakfast and then the subway to our nemesis, Tokyo station, to board the Narita express to Narita airport. Just over an hour to the airport, all very comfortable. Glad we reconnoitred the platform but as luck would have it it was so easy to locate.

Of course British airways check in haven’t bothered to open yet.

Go to the IASS, priority pass lounge, what a dump. Would be better sat on a bench outsides local doss house. Is anybody stupid enough to pay for this, the cafes outside are more welcoming and comfortable, ah but you don’t get the one free drink. Oh and there’s no food.

Colourful ninja dessert.

To top it all the lounge is land side rather than Airside. Stupidity abounds.

Like a young lager lout on a booze trip to Amsterdam it’s 09:00 and I’m drinking beer already. Forgive me oh Flying Spaghetti Monster for I have egregiously sinned.

Wendy’s done the smart thing and gone shopping. She did ask me if I wanted to go. Such an enticing offer but I declined.

And they even say goodbye in style. No tips needed.

Flight was very comfortable despite the food screw up. Seats are very roomy and comfortable, but choice of films is dire. Give me Virgin Atlantic anytime.

Bretts at the airport to pick us up Thankfully tea tonight does not include fish but good old Shepards Pie. Proper food. And tomorrow night we’ll be celbrating with baked beans on toast. Enjoyed trying all the different foods, sadly missed Udon Noodles, but will be glad to get back to my junk food diet.

Go home with an overdose of omega 3 in me and like most Brits abroad still not knowing a word of the language, apart from the word for thank you – Arigatōgozaimashita, try remembering or saying that after a few beers, better stick with origami! Mind you I can recognise the Japanese symbol for Yen.
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Final thoughts on Japan

Waiting for the Narita Express.

Would I come again? Yes, absolutely but would not bother so much with Tokyo, apart from the new otani garden hotel which is amazing. Instead would explore Kyoto and other older towns with the benefit of a Japanese Rail, the trains are so convenient.

Would Wendy come again. Nah not now we’ve been.


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Narita Express.

I realise I might as well chalk pentagrams and stroke my toad as expect British airways not to screw up, again. On the way out they ran out of our chosen meal even though we’d ordered it online in advance. Yet again they’ve run out of our choice of meals despite there being only 9 people served before us. I have a major meltdown. We pay extra for premium economy and they can’t even get the meal right, so we end up eating a cattle class meal. I feel a serious complaint coming on. They log a complaint on their system and give us a bottle of champagne.

20191127 – Kyoto, Castles, Shrines, Temples and Adventurous Food


Wednesday

Golden Pavilion

There’s a queue for one of the two breakfast buffets in the hotel – no way. So go down to the gold room, it was worse than St Thomas primary school canteen, complete with greasy table clothes and non existent service. Go to complain and ask for a reserved table in the other breakfast room for the next 3 mornings. Manager has not arrived yet, still abed no doubt so they summon the restaurant manager. He has about as much English as I have Japanese. No he can’t reserve us a table to avoid queuing. No way is this 5 star service more like a Spanish 2 star. So we check out and cut short out 4 night stay. No way I am paying these prices for such service.

Hotels zen garden – not quite up to New Otani size.

Our new hotel seems a lot better. Rooms not quite as big but very tasteful and well equipped, you also get a feeling of quality, well staffed, good English and plenty of respectful bowing and scraping. Amazing it takes two to take us to our room. One shows the way and opens doors for us, the other carries the luggage.

Then we set off for a gruelling day of tourist attractions.

Hotel room

Start with a train towards Kinkaku-ji (golden pavilion) and rather than risk a bus we have some good exercise with a 30 minute walk. The Golden Pavilion is amazing, so many awesome vistas, just a pity there are so many tourists. We spoil everything.

Then we take a walk down to the Ryoan-ji, Buddhist temple for their World class Zen garden, on the way we pick up some lunch for Wendy and a coffee.

The Temple is pretty good but the Zen garden is a bit of a disappointment. Not really impressed with the master raker (not to be confused with a masterbator), it’s supposed t take 10 years to train but his patterns and depth were not what I expected. Could do better – please try harder.

Top world famous zen garden.

After over 9 miles walking we head back to the hotel. Tired and wary.

It’s amazing how many people are asleep on the trains. Must be working them to hard. Many iPhones dropped while nodding off.

Emperor of Japan passing by along with a Shinkansen.

More of the zen garden.

Still battling on with chopsticks. Think I’ve got the hang of it, can even pick up single grains of rice – good for the diet. Still struggle with how to cut large pieces. There is a market for razor sharp edged chopsticks.

Set off for dinner, Google leads us a merry dance down a load of dark lonesome back streets. Finally find our restaurant hidden in a hotel. Tonight’s tea is another Japanese buffet. Seems to be the best way of experiencing so many different dishes, mainly fish and then mainly raw. Must have tried about 30 different dishes.

Getting back to the hotel without the back streets requires us to cross the ginormous and complicated Kyoto station It’s a feat of daring, desperation and dead ends. Finally make it.
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QuickPath swipe keyboard on the iPhone is amazing, so much easier and quicker that normal typing. Just love it. If you haven’t tried it give it a go and you’ll soon be typing 120 words a minute.


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Grand Prince hotel Kyoto – Review1 star

Good – Royal floor lounge.

Spacious room.

Bad – so bad we voted with our feet

5 star prices but not 5 star, especially after 3 nights in Tokyo New Otani hotel.

Choice of queue for breakfast in one restaurant or the gold room. It was worse than St Thomas primary school canteen, complete with greasy table cloth and non existent service. We gave them the opportunity to put this right by reserving table at 07:30 but not prepared to do that so we cut short our 4 night stay and checked out. Had they put this right we would probably have stayed.

Hardly anyone spoke good English.

Not very well staffed.

Bed was rock hard.

Poor location at the end of a subway line way out. Yet Booking.com think it was a “great location”.

Infested with party of school kids.

Coffee table in the room had multiple cup rings and stains on, should have been a clue to what to expect.

No bottled water or towelling gowns in room.

Thursday

NIjo-Castle

New hotel is lovely but the bed is like sleeping on a concrete pavement. I suppose if you’re Japanese and used to sleeping on the floor with a brick for a pillow it must seem like a feather bed but not for us softie gaijin’s.

Breakfast is ok. But at least well served and pleasant.

More of Nijo-Castle

First trip is by train up to Nijo Castle, another UNESCO World Heritage site. Interesting and worth a visit.

Here we are drowning in culture and what does Wendy want to do she wants to go shopping, oh well each to their own.

Then we catch a train to the Shimogamo jinja shrine, yet another UNESCO site. Very colourful and not too crowded. By now we’re both pie fagged so catch the train down to Gion and end up in a massive food court for lunch and coffee.

Shimogamo Shrine

Then it’s a stroll around Gion and the Nishiki food market. It’s heaving and sells all imaginable delicacies, the majority of them raw or on skewers.

After wandering around Gion markets we go to Liptons tea house and the perverts serve tea with evaporated milk. They tell me that all there is. After kicking off big style we finally get some cold milk. No chance of cold skimmed milk.

Shimigomo shrine

Finally off down the backstreets of Gion to the Gion Tanto restaurant for the Okonomiyaki (savoury pancake) which is much thinner in Kyoto and jam-packed with fillings. The place is awesome; shoes off and put them in a quaint wooden locker; only room for about 15; either sit on floor or at the bar with a well for legs; hotplate and see the kitchen. I have the special, which is packed with every sea fish and creature of the deep along with a few meats of course – pretty good. Very cheap.

Head back home tired after another day of cultural excesses.

Dinner in the backstreets of Gion.

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Retired Star Wars fan who never had a light sabre.


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Friday

Guess who is the Geisha.

What what a lovely day we had around here, more temples and shrines than you can shake a stick at, you seem to trip up over one on every corner.

Fushimi Inari-Taisha

First stop is a train ride to the Fushimi Inari-Taisha shrine. With all those amazing gates that form long tunnels through the gardens. Sadly very crowded and spoilt by all us tourists. Well worth the visit and the photos just don’t say it all.

Then it’s off to the Kennin-ji shrine for a World famous zen garden. Sadly we could not really find the Zen garden as there were no signs in English. Turns out what we should really done is go into the temple and they were in the middle of the temple. Anyway included some pictures acquired from the internet so I can see what we missed.

That temple again.

At the Kodai-ji temple we enjoyed the gardens and saw what is reckoned to be one of the top to Zen garden in the world. I was totally devastated with the desecration, vandalism and the perversion that occurred. It seems that somebody has gone into the Zen garden with cans of spray paint and painted multicoloured patterns onto the gravel. How could anybody commit such crass sacrilege.

After trekking for miles amongst the crowds of fake geishas – it seems that all of Japan has come here to rent Kimonos and shuffle round – we have coffee and a quiche at the only cafe that seems to cater for our English taste. Not only thousands of fake geihas posing for pictures but can you believe even muslim geishas – I wonder how that reconciles with their little red book.

Desecration.

Gion is such a lovely lively area, yes it’s a bit too touristy in places and very crowded, but there is so much going on.

On our way back we pass the Yasaka shrine – really am shrined out by now so it just warrants a picture. Just one of the many.

One we missed.

For dinner we decide to go to a temppanyaki restaurant in the Gion area. It’s a highly recommended mom-and-pop restaurant, just 12 seats, very small very cosy and you can watch the chef preparing your meal. Yet again I have Okonomiyaki. But this time I just have beef and I have to say it was even better than last night’s. Wendy had shrimp and pork noodles which were also good. The chef and his wife were lovely, treated us like royalty and went out of their way to be polite and accommodating. They provided Japanese entertainment from YouTube while we were waiting, were interested in our tours of the temples and even offered us free tickets to the local temple which was lit up and open at night. Sadly we were so tired that we gave it a miss. And to top it all the food was very good and rare that I ever say this but also very cheap.

Dinner again in the backstreets of Gion.

Then it’s back to our hotel for some complimentary drinks in the bar. Pleasant end to yet another 9 mile tiring but awesome day.

Note to ourselves we really must avoid organised tours and make sure we do our own thing, it may be more exhausting but so much more fun.
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Pinchenko parler.

Amazing the subways have banisters at two heights to accommodate children.

There are even dedicated children’s toilets and staff of 1000’s to direct you down the platform.

The place is teaming with old Toyota taxis, but unlike the 20 year furry diced Nissans in Blackburn, they’re all in immaculate condition.

Sadly the majority seem to live like rats in a cage, high rise cramped conditions. Probably conditions are a factor in explaining their conforming psyche. Makes us appreciate Belthorn, but that’s not to say I’ll never complain about it again.

Another garden in To-Ji

Free complimentary drinks tickets each day if we don’t have a room serviceAmazed at the attention to detail. A Japanese worker gets on the train to set up new advertisement’s. Not only does he put up a new one with unerring precision but goes and adjusts an existing one by about 2mm because it’s out of line. Most people would not even notice the Misalignment.


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Saturday

To-ji

Start our last day in Kyoto with breakfast, checkout and then take a stroll to To-ji (at least that was easy to spell). Another UNESCO temple just 20 minutes away. Complete with 5 story pagoda. Really could do with some Brasso on the brass. The steps up to the Pagoda must be about 18″ high, how did they manage these steps with their little legs?

Then we trawl around the stores, including ToyRUs to try and find a model Shinkansen train. No luck.

One from the internet.

Finally pick our luggage up from the hotel and catch the Shinkansen back to Tokyo. Pass on the green car this time to see how the poor people cope. Amazed there really isn’t that much difference and it’s £200 reserved, instead of £270 reserved green car. Trains is full so a reserved seat was a good idea. Just 2 hours of comfortable travel, with Japan whisking by and we arrive in Tokyo.

Mount Fuji from the Shinkansen.

Have really enjoyed our 4 nights in Kyoto, so much to see and do especially enjoyed Gion area. Only two regrets, firstly we gave up on trying to find the zen garden in Kennin-ji (resorted to pictures from the internet) and secondly that we didn’t spend more nights there.

Check back in to the New Otani Garden hotel. Sheer luxury and the standard by which all future accommodation will be measured.

Our room back in the New Otani Garden Tokyo – the new standard by which all future hotels will be measured.

It’s a lazy dinner tonight, we try to find a couple of bento boxes but no luck. Then troll the main restaurant district with an agreement that if we can’t find anything it’l be the Wendy’s at the end of the street. Settle on a Wendy’s triple burger USA style and some spec boll and cheese burger for Wendy – really enjoyed some junk food. Then back to the hotel for a couple of cans of beer whilst we plan our remaining days in Tokyo and try and stay awake through The Crown.
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No litter, no dog muck, no dogs, no begging, no sleeping rough, no drunks, no smell of piss everywhere including the trains, no yobs with feet on seats, no yobs, no graffiti, no chewing gum and no spitting.

Guard bows and smiles every time he leaves the carriage.

Don’t you just love it. Shinkansen (bullet train) guard walks through, smartly dressed, complete with white gloves on, and bows and smiles to everyone as he leaves the carriage.


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View from hotel room at night.

Yet another attack from an Islamic jihadi there’s not a mention of the word Islam or would that be to presumptuous, islamophobic (not that such a word can really exist) or likely to offend some PC snowflakes. It really is about time we started talking about the real threats.

Let’s wake up to the reality and threat from Islam before it is too late.

20191123 – Bye, Bye Cruise, Hello Tokyo


Saturday

First stop the Apple Store.

Goodbye Celebrity; goodbye food; goodbye free drinks. Catch the shuttle bus to Yokohama station into Tokyo and then onto some unpronounceable station near the luxurious 5 star New Otani Hotel. Arrive wet and dishevelled only to be wiped down on arrival. Drop our luggage off and go get a really expensive coffee in the hotel – I suppose we’d better get used to it. All this luxury, bowing and scraping comes at a price.

Then as we’ve a few hour to pass before check in we catch the subway to the Apple store. By now I think we’ve mastered the subway.

Lounge area in our suite.

Apple store is heaving, even more so than in America. Find a red shirt that speaks excellent English and check out the new iPhone 11Pro. I can save nearly £300 on the UK price and to top it all they can deal with the tax refund. Walk out the proud owner of another new toy – us nerds have to keep up with the latest technology. Have to admit if Apple were to come out with a new cardboard box I think I’d be there queuing overnight for it.

Back to the hotel to check in, again much bowing and scraping. It turns out that our deluxe room also gives us Otani Club lounge membership, whatever that is. Luggage is carried up to our room by a tiny tot of a Japanese girl in smart uniform, complete with pillbox hat, very smart. I fear she will collapse under the load, but no she makes it. More bowing and scraping as we’re shown into our lovely suite. The bathroom alone is bigger than some hotel rooms I’ve stayed in.

Bedroom area.

After settling in we venture across the river and down a side street for dinner. Too much choice and most of it we haven’t a clue what it is. Settle on some skewers of under cooked chicken, grilled rice ball, sushi for me and various other offerings too numerous to remember. Will I wake up dead tomorrow?

Back to the hotel to enjoy our suite with a beer and to start watching The Crown. Thankfully no mediocre Celebrity showtime tonight.
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Towel wipe down when you arrive out of the rain into our hotel.

Dinner

Approach information desk and they both stand up to attention and even bow. How neat is that.

Elderly Gentlemen offers his seat to Wendy while two young whipper snappers continue to sit engrossed on their iPhone.

Easy travel with the pasmo card. Just a pity you have to reload with cash only.

Music on on zebra crossings.

The Otani Lounge club is great. We pop in any time and get a choice of tea, coffee or fruit juices and always served with a delicious chocolate cake and daily newspapers. Very relaxing.


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I hope not.


Sunday

View from our breakfast table.

Go down to breakfast in our white slippers from another hotel and we’re accosted by one of the staff of a 1,000 saying that hotel slippers are only for use in the room. Then they realised they were from another hotel, oh so that’s ok, you can pass.

Another important temple.

Start with an expensive breakfast but with an awesome view over the Japanese garden. The view alone was worth it. Then we have a stroll around this awesome Japanese garden in our hotel. It’s amazing.

Catch the metro to Shibuya to visit the Meiji-jingu Shrine. Shibuya station is unbelievable. Never seen so many people in one place. Walk up to the shrine. Impressive. Weddings galore. They seem to be marrying them off at the rate of one every 10 minutes. Each one led by some priest and entourage, they must be minting it. All very interesting with kids dressed in their beautifull kimonos for their 3rd, 5th and 7th inauguration of some sort.

Main temple entrance.

Then we try and visit the Nintendo store. Can you believe they are even queuing to go in the shopping Mall and then when you finally get to the Nintendo store admittance is only via ticket and no more are being issued that day – too busy, too easy money.

Wend our way back through the Sunday crowds to the station and the hotel.

Venture out again in the evening and finally find a buffet all you can eat restaurant. A tad expensive but you get such an amazing selection of different Japanese foods – well worth it.

If the Japanese are so clever how come they didn’t invent the knife and fork?

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Yet another wedding.

I see the pope wants to stop spending on nuclear weapons and spend it on the poor. All very laudable. Yet we have a conclave of about 10 cardinals, red skull cap geezers, staying in this luxury 5 star gin palace of a hotel. Surely if they’re serious about the poor they could stay with local parishioners who would no doubt be delighted to put them up for the night.


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Stupidity (Baka) Today

KIds getting blessed in their Kimonos.

Metro signs – it seems that the subway don’t want to admit that the JR line exists and vice versa. Stuff the poor unsuspecting customer. If you’re in the subway looking for a train line and it happens to be a JR line then there’s no mention of it and vice versa. Moral to that story is either vote with your feet at such poor customer care and walk, or if you can’t see the line in the subway then head for JR lines, while if you can’t see the line in the JR section head for subway or metro.


Monday

Nintendo store.

After a leisurely breakfast overlooking that awesome Japanese garden in our hotel, we set off to Tokyo station to pick up the hop on off bus tour. Not very impressive. Wendy rated it as the most boring bus tour this century.

Have a stroll down to the Bic Camera store, an amazing 7 floors of technology.

Lunch is a sandwich and drink from Starbucks before we catch the blue bus route. Slightly better than the red route.

I think Wendy expected them to drive into each famous land mark. She’s being a bit harsh, miraculously I don’t think either is that bad. Just gave us an overview of a big city, mainly full of high rise buildings. What can you expect.

Can’t believe I walked past an Apple store without noticing it.

Get to Shinjuku station and this Japanese geezer comes up to us and starts rattling away in Japanese and shakes a box under my nose. I ask him “do I look like I speak Japanese”. The clues in my Caucasian looks. Looks like he’s collecting for animals. Not one of my favourite charities.

Finally find a cafe for afternoon tea. Amazing how you can never find one when you need one. Anyway excellent choice as they even do Assam tea, and with boiling water. Best cuppa we’ve had since arriving in Tokyo.

Dinner Sunday night.

Find the Zauo Fish restaurant hidden away in a hotel.

Issued with a fishing rod and then a rather rotund Japanese young man puts some scrawny bait on my hook and point to the sea bream and away I go. Soon catch one, even if it is a tad on the scrawny side. Decide on having it cooked 50% boiled and 50% fried – not sure if there is really enough of it to do half and half. Then spend a good 10 minutes trying to find someone who speaks a modicum of English – no chance. So no idea what comes with our freshly cooked fish – answer when it turns up is not much. I order a portion of Sushi raw fish, 6 different types, whilst Wendy goes for sea bream kamameshi – get it cheaper because we have to cook it ourselves.

Bic Camera store.

Finally get back to the hotel after a long day and there’s 13 bods, 7 with red light sabres and 6 meeter and greeters on the entrance to the hotel. Bloody hell just sack half of them and Room rates could be slashed. This country really is the ultimate in job creation.

After fishing and scoffing raw fish we get back to our room after another exhausting day. There’s a note from housekeeping apologising for a problem and asking us to ring housekeeping. Ring them and they’re most apologetic but one of the two sinks is blocked and can’t be fixed today. Want to move us to another room. Most apologetic. Tell them we’ll struggle by and manage with just one sink.

Google maps is amazing. Tells you train station, time, platform, least crowded car and map guidance for walking. Only downside is that initial direction orientation can be awkward.
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Catching our tea – Sea Bream.

People walk on the left consistently. Apparently this is because the samurai usually would wear a sword on their left side because it makes drawing it with the right hand easier. It’s said that the streets were way more narrow than they are today, so when the samurai walked on the right side with their swords tied on the inside, they would collide against one another.

Well the one good thing about chop sticks is that you won’t get fat with them. Then of course the raw fish just helps with the starvation.

Amazed how smartly dressed the Japanese tend to be, men in suits, complete with a tie, and women in dresses or skirts. But there really is an opportunity for a tie tying school, they are hopeless at getting a good knot.


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Waiting patiently for her tea to cook.

I really want to buy some of these surgical masks, especially one of the bad ass black ones, and go into the Nat West with one on. Then when challenged I’ll claim I’m a member of a fundamentalist sect of the religion of the Flying Spaghetti Monster and this is my daily wear.

Catch of the day.


Tuesday

Bullet train to Kyoto.

But the blocked sink saga didn’t end last night. On check out I’m told the housekeeping manager would like to see me. OMG what have we done? Don’t tell me he’s found out we used one of the sinks with our shoes on! He comes up to me, bows not just any old bow, but a deep one and apologised profusely for the problem. I tell you at any moment I think he’s going to bring a sword out and commit hari-kiri.

Another deep bow and away he goes. Then he returns and hovers waiting for me to finish check out, then another deep bow and hands over a carrier bag with a gift wrapped box of cakes in as an apology. How neat is that.

On board bullet train.

Find our Shinkansen (bullet train), with reserved seats in the green car (first class). Immaculate and 6MB Wi-Fi, I don’t think I’ll ever get off.

Two hours to Kyoto. Amazing they seem to run about every 20 minutes and of course they are fastidious in there timeliness.

Check into grand prince hotel in Kyoto. All very nice but not quite up to the new otani standards. We have access to the royal floor lounge, similar to the access we had to the Otani lounge, only this one has free booze and cakes all day and evening.

As the countryside flashes by.

In the evening we check into the royal floor lounge for beer, prosecco and bourbon. Then tonight’s feast is beer and a selection of bento boxes from the local supermarket. Cost us all of £10 and we even got free chopsticks.

Then some more of The Crown. Well the pillows may not be bricks but the bed is rock hard – I suppose if you sleep on a Japanese floor you would find it quite soft.

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Even the toilet on the bullet train requires the skills of a high priest of technology to operate. Just love this sign that tries to stop 7th century rag heads from squatting on the seat.


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Hotel bedroom.

A Populous Poll from 2006 showed that 12 percent of Muslims in Britain believe that suicide attacks against civilians in Britain can be justified and 1 in 4 support suicide attacks against British troops.

In 2007, the Pew Research Center conducted a poll which found that 26 percent of younger Muslims in America believe suicide bombings are justified. 42 percent in France.

Hotel garden.

With these figures it’s hard to settle for the common quip of “Islam is peaceful.”

Looking at just the United States, which has an estimated Muslim population of five to 12 million according to Frontline, that’s still over a million Muslims (even taken from 26 percent of the lower estimate of five million) who statistically believe suicide bombings are justified. Granted, this number is taken from the 2007 percentages and I’m highly skeptical of such a high number, but it’s still quite telling.


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Stupidity (Baka) Today

Free bar.

Slippery trays in the restaurant so your glass and cup slide all over them.

Japanese, English and German QR codes too close together, so it is virtually impossible to select the one you want. If the numpty who positioned them had only tried using them he or she would have realised what a plonker he was.

Bento box feast for dinner.

Delicate chocolate cake sealed in a wrapper you need a chainsaw to open, by which time it’s just mush. Does no one ever try out their creations to realise how stupid they are.

Hotel garden at night.

20191119 – Hairy Crabs, Gate Crash A Food Exhibition, Tea Ceremony And Cupanoodles Museum

Blog 1911 to 2211


Tuesday

Hakodate

Hairy crabs.

Well today we’re in Hakodate on yet another tour.

First we go to a fish market to ogle the hairy crabs and some not so hairy but live giant ones.

Then it’s the red brick warehouse, full of shops selling things you probably don’t want and certainly don’t need, where we’re told we’ve an hour to “enjoy the shopping”. Seems an oxymoron to have the word shopping and enjoy in the same sentence.

Then its lunch. Very Japanese stye with fish, fish and fish. They obviously know were coming as well as chopsticks they provide knifes, forks and even spoons, along with a box full of extra forks. Lunch was ok, not something you’d get fat on.

What a monster. Only £140 to buy.

Next we’re supposed to be catching a cable car up to an observation deck. But high winds mean it’s cancelled. So we’re off to a park and an observation tower. Should add a reminder that it’s freezing cold and we even get snow flurries. Neither the park nor the 300 metre high observation tower, complete with shops and cafe, are that stimulating. At least we manage to relax and have a coffee.

Not one of the better tours. Apart from the fish market which I found fascinating the whole tour was a tad disappointing.

Port in Hakodate.

This evening we’re thinking of going up to the cafe for dinner, but first check the main restaurant menu. Amazed that we find quite a good choice so stick with the main restaurant. In general we’ve found the menu choice to be rather bland but have to say whatever we’ve had has been excellent.

See Phil and Kim and do one of the game shows with them. Then it’s bourbon, coffee and brandy (this free drinks package is a nightmare – all that free booze). Watch the Elton John show, it’s not the really him.

Then early to bed as we have a 08:00 start tomorrow.

The last Samurai.


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Still in awe of how civilised Japan is. They’re all so friendly and so many speak English.

On the downside they do seem to have a bit of an issue with personal space.

A great place to visit if they just sort the language and writing to English they’ll have it made.


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It is not a “war on terror”—it is a war against an ideology that employs terror as one of many tools to advance itself. Second, the leaders and their foot soldiers who actually plan and perpetrate the terror are only one element of the enemy.


Wednesday

Aomori

Didn’t expect this.

A tad windy, force 7 / 40 knots, so we can’t dock. Spend all morning waiting for the wind to drop. Snow flurries and they’ve even built a snowman on deck.

Finally allowed to dock about 12:00. Decide to cancel our tour, don’t fancy 3 hours on a coach. Sadly will miss the pottery, sounded interesting.

Float museum, they were awesome.

Wendy has lunch In the cafe. Then we set off in a snowstorm to the museum of the Nebuta Matsuri parade, with all the amazingly colourful paper floats. It’s only a 20 minute walk. Costs us $5 each so we’ve saved $94 each on the ships tour. The museum is amazing, see pictures. Hands on opportunity to play the drum s and symbols. Really enjoyed it.

Wendy tries her hand at music – don’t give up the day job.

Called in at the tourist info centre, full of shops. Gate crashed a food exhibition. We do stand out a bit as we’re the only Caucasians and looks like it was a wholesale buy invite only. Like Costco on steroids, just so many samples. Nobody seemed to mind that we didn’t really belong, even sat and had a free coffee.

Then we pop upstairs have our photos taken with some Samurai, followed by watching a samurai sword dance. Followed by yet more photos. They’re all so friendly.

Stroll back to ship. It’s still freezing cold but at least the wind and snow have stopped.

Samurai dance.

What a great afternoon. Really reminds us that we should do our own thing rather than ships tours.

Evening meal is downstairs. Have to do a fly pass on our usual table as Groucho and good Russian internet brides are there. End up on a table with 4 Canadians and 3 Americans. They all hate trump apart from one American. Another American asks about BREXIT and trumps up that the problem was the Brexiters didn’t understand what they were voting for. Well that was like a red rag to a bull. Needless to say I ripped him another ahole and enlightened him on how rude and arrogant that was. Told him, somewhat brutally (he deserved it), we knew exactly what we were voting for, very similar to a lot of things you guys voted for in 1776.

Coffee and brandy in the lounge and then early to bed before I nod off and spill me brandy.


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Snowflakes transport.


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A rather boring park and it’s freezing.

Grateful to all the blobbies on board, they’re as numerous as dandruff ridden tea towels in Afghanistan, for constantly reminding me that I need to keep on top of my weight. All this food is just a constant temptation.

I know it’s a tad cruel to say it and totally non PC, so makes it all the better.


Thursday

Archery, not quite as I know it.

Lazy start to our second sea day as we don’t get up until 09:00. Breakfast is a tad crowded, but we cope.

No really a lot to do. Have a go at the indoor archery.

Wendy did some knitting whilst I played on the Internet. Then had afternoon tea, not to forget some wine, with our LA friends in their luxurious suite.

Dinner was flexible dinning with not the most stimulating of company.

Friday

Tea ceremony.

Meet up with the only Republican Tesla drivers in LA for a free day in Yokohama. No tour guide; no serenading; no being treat like a 6 year old. Sadly it’s raining all day . Catch the free shuttle to the main train station and then are escalated along to the Park Royal Hotel, highest in Yokohama and fastest lift in the World. Start our day by doing a traditional Japanese Tea Ceremony on the 65th floor. No Typhoo quick brew tea bags here. All very formal, sedate and proper. Green tea is not too bad, a tad fishy for my liking, but quite an experience – see pictures. Mind you us geriatrics can’t sit cross legged or on our knees too good.

All bow.

Then we make our way to the Cupanoodles museum. Just can’t believe that such a big building can be dedicated to cup noodles. Along with mainly Japanese children, hardly and an adult or caucasian in site, we get to colour own cup noodle cup and then get to fill it with fillings of our choice. Sadly the make your own noodles activity was all booked up. What a laugh we all had.

Then we have a chinese lunch. Seemed a bit bizarre to me going for a Chinese in Japan but that was the majority decision.

Cupanoodle making.

Swiftly followed by a shopping expedition to the Red Brick Warehouse. Phil and I cop out and go for a coffee.

Then back to the ship. Where Wendy gets the packing done while I while away my time on the Internet.

Dinner tonight is with 2 Brits and 2 Americans who we’ve encountered before. Typical the Brits a Southern soft and of course voted remain. We have an interesting, yet sensible and well mannered, discussion on the merits of leaving and project fear.

Finally meet up for drinks with our LA friends. Wendy gets to sample too many Martini’s. She’ll pay for it tomorrow no doubt. Say our final goodbyes and look forward to them visiting us in Park City and us going to LA.

What bunch of nerds.



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How to gate crash a food exhibition.

If any bleeding heart remainer out there says it’s us geriatrics that are ruining their future then think on this.

We’re rapidly decomposing – as we wake every morning we’re reminded of this – yet the benefits of BREXIT are greater for the future of my kids and grandkids. Because we ain’t go so long before we kick the bucket we’d probably be vastly better off remaining. With our gypsy lifestyle currency fluctuations under BREXIT will probably make us worse off. But it’s the long term, probably when we’re pushing up daisies, that we’re thinking about with our decision.