Monday, October 27, 2014
"Do you really want to spend the entire flight in the airplane lavatory, throwing up - or worse?"
I passed up all the open-dish-with-flies places and salmonella-on-a-stick joints and found the Roast Duck and Pork Char Siew kiosk.
3 bucks for a nice taste of duck and pork.
Now- If I can just make it to Abu Dhabi without doing the technicolor yawn on the flight...
TBG- Streetfood Gourmet
Sunday, October 26, 2014
From 2010 at the Senior PGA Golf Championship at Harbor Shores-
"You want me to show ya how to putt it?"
TBG- ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒE
Saturday, October 25, 2014
I've had the idea for a post scurrying around in the wide open spaces found twixt my ears for a couple weeks.
Problem is, I can't put it to words and post it as it could be considered, if taken without proper context, as be quite raaaacist.
I can give you the gist- I was in Shanghai and this year the traffic, especially the large numbers of near-accidents and offensive driving incidents was markedly higher than in previous years.
It's not hard to imagine why- think of the worst stereotype about Asian drivers in the US, then imagine driving in a place that was populated by ONLY these kind of drivers.
All the time.
And if you carry the stereotype of Asian drivers to the next quantum level, segregating by gender,it is no surprise which sex gets the nod as being worst than the other.
And by obvious extrapolation, half of the total drivers in Shanghai are the stereotypically worst type.
(I hope I have been sufficiently vague-but-obvious...If not, ring me up and we'll chat.)
So I have been noodling that for a good bit...
But today/tonite's flight has been quite an eye opener, stereotype-wise.
I have been on several airlines that are geared to one nationality or another over the course of my job...
US Carriers that cater to bacon-eating, gun owning, loud, fat, ugly Americans such as Yours Truly...
I was on JAL - a carrier that tailors their passenger jets in a configuration lat enables them to stuff 4 or 5 salarymen into a space that would normally fit one of the afore-mentioned bacon-eating Americans...
(And let me tell you, that was a miserable center-seat nightmare.)
And I was on the ANA flight a few weeks back in a center seat built for Taiwanese nationals. And it was pure joy, if you will recall...
But tonight... Wow. UAE-based Etihad Airlines.
I have never been looked at with such smouldering animosity for 20 hours...
Both on the plane and here in the terminal waiting for my next hop to Kuala Lumpur.
On the whole trip, in line to board, one the flight itself, getting off in Abu Dhabi, hanging out in teh terminal...
I thought I might have had one of CJ's "Pork-Eating Infidel" t-shirts on for the number of hateful looks I was getting just for being a 'Murican on a Middle East flag carrier.
Really- from the looks I'm getting you'd think I was walking around with a paintbrush and a 5 gallon bucket of pig fat, anointing all flat surfaces I come in contact with...
And that is not the worst of it- I have found an out-of-the-way spot to kill the 6.5 hour layover and do my favorite thing- people watch - and man, it's quite entertaining.
I thought I was the only one getting the looks-that-could-kill-if-I-had-a-block-of-C4-and-a-kindergartener-to-tape-it-to...
Oh no- any Westerner here gets a "fuck you infidel pig" treatment- and the worst recipients - any Western woman- and the more attractive, the nastier the looks and reactions.
You can practically read the minds of the typical Middle Eastern male:
"Western whore! How dare you dress like that to tempt and titillate me! Get out of my presence, but hey- Abdul- check out her cleavage before she goes..."
Fuck this entire place.
Cannot wait to get outta here.
TBG- ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒE
Friday, October 24, 2014
Going back through TSA Checkpoint...
Since I'm booked on Etihad Airways and I don't have a profile registered with them, I had them apply my American Airlines FF number, not that I have much status, but I was hoping they'd pass my TSA Known Traveler number on and I'd get PreCheck.
No such luck.
So I'm in the cattle class line, remove all your stuff, belt, shoes, etc. Take out the laptop, turn you head and cough.
I've been spoiled with PreCheck...
Just empty pockets and go.
Now I have to go find the restroom to clean up from the full-arm rectal exam I just got...
This will be an interesting trip.
Been trying to get my head above water-
I have several Shanghai stories to share, and an item or three from the DC/ Indy/ Oakland whirlwind...
I'll never get caught up if this morning is an indicator...
Sept 28 - Oct 14 - Shanghai (and an extra night in Chicago)
October 17 - October 23 - Washington DC - Indianapolis - Oakland CA.
And when I walked into the office this morning my man Slaw catches me as I'm talking to Bookkeeping.
Slaw: "Hey... You got any plans for the weekend?"
S: "I need help. Can you make a quick trip to Malaysia?"
6:00pm - Jax - JFK
JFK to Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi to Kuala Lumpur.
I'll give the hand-carried case of correct equipment to the tech (who took the WRONG equipment with him initially), headslap him, and get back on the plane and head home.
Thursday, October 23, 2014
I'm giving United yet another shot at screwing up my day/week/month...
I'm on the 6a flight to Chicago...
The same one that I was scheduled on a couple weeks back when they had the suicide/fire at the Aurora FAA radar facility.
Dodged the bullet (heh) that day...
Wonder what they'll throw at me today?
Sunday, October 19, 2014
Saturday, October 18, 2014
I have finished Captain Ward's "Tales of the Anna Karrue" and "Into the Mystic" - the chronicles of a tugboat captain in Charleston SC.
Capt. Ward is an old friend from Key West- he and his wife kept me sane on more than a few trips to the Dry Tortugas, where he was a captain on the Yankee Freedom.
His stories give a glimpse into life on waters in and around Charleston SC, really highlighting some of the drama that surround a very colorful segment of coastal life.
Tasty stuff... Pick them up if you enjoy a good seaside tale.
Speaking of tales- or more appropriately - tails...
If you have not secured your copy of The Book of Barkley yet, what the hell are you waiting for?
It took me a while to get mine, but I am so glad I did...
I may be a bit biased, having had the pleasure of meeting the author not once but twice, and this book has double impact on me: Knowing the author, and being the recipient of the love of a black lab at my humble abode, the tales hit home with a vengeance.
As the author shares her tales of life, love, a mischievous black lab, and ultimately, loved ones lost, she weaves thought-provoking tales of home, work, squeaky toys, and family, she makes you reflect on your life and your loved ones in a very profound manner.
If you read this book and don't smile, laugh out loud, and shed a tear or three (or like me, about 50), I will have to revoke your status as a Constant Reader.
Listen to your Uncle Jay: Go to the site and order The Book of Barkley now.
TBG- ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒE
Friday, October 17, 2014
Getting there is a 20 hour nightmare, and once on the ground, the CBD is hell-and-gone from the airport in PuDong.
Count on at least an hour, one-way.
But once you're in your humble abode, things get better.
Or, at least you hope they will.
I was prepared to rise to challenges this year, but there was one big change that caused me a good bit of inconvenience-
Google (and Google products) are strictly forbidden behind the Great Firewall...
There are work-arounds, but every Interweb connection goes through filtering and censorship that was pretty effective.
(VPNs are usable, but being the cheap bastard I am, I won't spring for paid service, and since I'm on vacation I couldn't (ethically) use the company VPN)
Case in point- any website that was on the whitelist would still load slowly.
and if there was any Google APIs (like AdSense) those segments would stall the page load or just hang the process entirely.
A monumental pain in the ass, really.
This was new for this year and it was really bad. I was for all intents and purposes incommunicado for most of the trip.
I did post a few Instagram photos and did a couple tweets, but as a rule, I was too busy to do much blogging even if connectivity was good.
TBG- ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒE
United Airlines was bending me over the back of the couch and having it's way with me, in a very horrid and painful manner.
I made my connection in Nooowark, but just barely.
For the long flight I did have the seat next to me empty, so that was a small victory.
Not a lot of sleep though.
On the ground in Shanghai things got interesting.
Traffic was just as bad as it always has been...
At least my driver didn't hit anyone on the way to the hotel this time.
Once ensconced in my temporary domicile, it was only 2 O'clock in the afternoon-
And after long experience I knew that getting comfortable and lounging would lead to sleep, and that was the recipe for disaster.
I needed to fill the larder.
One thing about China, you can find some familiar but different items... A veritable cornucopia of Spam varietals for instance... And no.
Didn't get any of them. But I was tempted.
Another familiar-but-not-so-familiar variation:
The tried-and-true XXX Acai Vitamin Water. Love this stuff. I grabbed a taxi and headed toward Shinesun Center, the replacement for the old CyberMart on Huaihai Road.
I got a little sidetracked and found an interesting side market near by...
I was a little puzzled by these tiny ceramic bowls.
Serving dishes for Barbie dim sum?
No... This dude was working on an additional accessory for the same sport/pastime/hobby.
He's carving out these dog-dish sized containers made from semi-soft terracotta. They are the homes and food dishes for Chinese fighting crickets.
(Sorry about the crap focus on my photos- had a hard time keeping the phone steady.)
Seriuosly- some of these bastards are the size of your thumb.
Here's one in his natural environment.
The place was creeping me out- I'm heading back to the tech market.
If you want to know more about the sport of Chinese Fighting Crickets, go here.
But first- wanna buy a bag of fish?
Seriously- bags of fish.
Back at the tech market I was treated to a demo of the latest must-have gadget for the Round Eye- Blue lasers.
Here the girl running this kiosk is lighting a cigarette with one. Oh yes, I gotta have me one of these.
I picked one up, along with some other sundry crap like bluetooth enabled selfie sticks and some other goodies, then headed out for an early dinner.
There was a restaurant nearby-
Let's see what's on the menu:
Yeah, a great big NOPE on that.
I guess if you're looking for for some spicy ass, this would be your restaurant.
Me, not so much.
I'll take the Spam instead- I headed back to my hotel. There's a Cantonese restaurant nearby. Porkbelly and dumplings are on menu tonight.
So much for my first afternoon in Shanghai-
TBG- ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒE