Archive for the ‘travel’ Category

parking in Toulouse

Friday, September 8th, 2023

So we have arrived in Toulouse. Easy enough from Bordeaux. Apart from the parking at the airbnb. Nightmare. After a couple of laps we found a space in front of the entrance to the apartment. Only a two hour slot. There are lots of underground car parks available but they all had a 1.8m height limit.

My car is 1.967m high, with a possible reduction of 4cm when I press the button to drip the car. We followed a car into one car park to watch their top box being totally trashed. The driver was clearly stressed because it took him a hole to reverse out. Several goes.

Turns out there aren’t any parking spaces in Toulouse for a Land Rover Defender. They all own poxy little motors that fit anywhere. After some time driving around fruitlessly I stopped to ask some gendarmes to no avail. None of them could help.

I called the hilton at the airport who welcomed me with open arms. Twas only 18 minutes away. When I got there turned out they too had a height limit so they let me park out front next to the airport shuttle bus. Result. Moreover it was only 32 Euros for 3 nights. Plus the Uber there and back on Monday. Cheaper than the poxy rabbit holes they have in town.

Anyway to cut a long story short we bought some supplies in the local Casino, had a simple salad for supper and caught a cab out to the campsite to meet our pals. Now we are back in the airbnb watching the end of the opening game of the tourney. France v All Blacks. Currently the home side is willing. Only real problem is the commentary is in French and they do get excited.

The rugby world cup has started. Stay tuned…

PS God are we glad we didn’t come in one of our campervans., We would still be on the way and totally knackered. Whilst being height limited for parking the defender is totes luxurious. When it is 35 degrees C out you want to be nice and cool inside.

The AirBnB is great btw. 10th floor apartment with views over the city.

Another grey start to the day in Killybegs

Sunday, September 3rd, 2023

Another grey start to the day in Killybegs. After breakfast yesterday I took a stroll around the harbour to check out the fishing fleet. Many of the boats were registered in Sligo. Impressive bits of kit.

At the end of the quay there were three guys fishing with rods. Big contrast between the rods and the industrial scale fishing out of the boats. Nothing was being caught and later I bumped into one of the fishermen walking through the village. He was relocating to another spot in the hope of better luck.

All is quiet in the cottage. Was a big day yesterday with a contingent of us heading out on a boat trip to Slieve League. Great afternoon out fair play. On return to the harbour the party dispersed with Toby George and I heading to the Harbour Bar for some refreshment. We hadn’t quite realised it was only around three thirty pm. We were meeting the others in the Bay View Hotel at around nine!

Gradually the Davies and Cookson parties converged on the bar and a pre order for fish and chips from the Seafood Shack was compiled. Twelve meals for picking up at seven twenty. The point here I guess is that there were four hours of Guinness consumption before dinner with the prospect of a further spell afterwards in the Bay View. The energy levels after eating were understandably low but we made it out, at least to show our faces.

Notable events during the day included Joe being hustled at pool at the Harbour Bar. Someone played him in the best of three frames and Joe won easily in the first. After that a bet of twenty euros was laid and the other guy proceeded to thrash his unsuspecting victim. Classic hustle. The Harbour Bar was Uncle Patsy’s local apaz.

In the Bay View a band was banging out Irish folk music and they attracted a number of couples to the dance floors for what I can only describe as old time dancing. There is a video somewhere of THG dancing with one of the locals 🙂

The consequence of yesterday’s merriment is a slow start for everyone this morning. Fair enough. We are on holiday. THG however has gone out running. The woman is superhuman. After thirty five years of marriage she never ceases to impress. Problem is it puts the rest of us, well me, to shame. Ah well.

Today is our last in Killybegs for this trip and tomorrow I will point the car towards Dublin and the ferry to France. Plenty happening between now and then though so stay tuned.

Church bells calling the faithful to mass. First session of the day, presumably.

Foggy start

Saturday, September 2nd, 2023

Looking out of the cottage first floor window at the line of fishing boats tied up next to each other in Killybegs harbour. Ireland’s premier fishing port and we are smack bang in the middle of it. 

They are wonderful looking boats. The nearest is Pacelli D383. Most people here are associated with the fishing industry one way or another. Times are not great since they were forced to give up some quota post brexshit. UK waters. Mackerel don’t recognise territoriality 🙂

Bright lights are still on around the quayside as it is very foggy, a fact that was drawn to my attention by the foghorn blasting out periodically. Presumably from a nearby lighthouse.

John has gone off surfing with Toby and Lils. 7am start. They are welcome to it. A hardy bunch. John does not have a wetsuit which he may find out to be an issue. We will know soon enough.

Everyone knows everyone here. Was in the Harbour Inn early doors yesterday chatting to an O’Rourke from Leitrim. Mam was an O’Rourke from Leitrim. Spent the night with the extended family: Fidelma, Dearbhla, Rory, Lachlan, Cathy, Claire  et al. Tara Hotel and The Fleet.

Today’s entertainment is a boat trip to the cliffs of Slieve League. Hoping the fog will have lifted. The forecast is good and the fog should burn off. Light winds also which is obvs desirable when going on a long sea journey. 3 hours apaz. Right now the fog does seem to be getting heavier though!

There are signs of life in the cottage. Noises from a downstairs bathroom. I am in the kitchen. A good orientation and hence the view.

I have breakfast options this morning. Sausage sandwich or bacon sandwich. The sausages are Irish recipe and I am tempted. The bacon is just the rubbish you get in supermarkets. Ditto the sausages really but I do have a soft spot for ‘Irish recipe’ as mam used to sometimes serve them up when we were kids. 

Two sandwiches are an option but I do need to pace myself. This trip is a marathon not a sprint. I’l mull it over. No rush. It is a Saturday morning in Killybegs and most non surfers are still snuggled up in bed.

I can see a scenario where a stroll around the corner to buy a paper might be in order. Fishing Times or similar. If they sell it anywhere it will be in Killybegs.

We are joining the boat at one pm this afternoon from a spot in front of the Ahoy Cafe. A goodly emporium if you are looking for bodily sustenance before a long voyage. Or anytime you are hungry I suppose. Had breakfast there with Rory a couple of trips back.

Then just along from there is the ship’s chandlers. A truly wonderful aladdin’s cave selling every kind of cleat, block and tackle and rope going. I love that kind of stuff and have to restrain myself from buying any. Don’t really need it although it would of course look great in the shed. If there was any room which there isn’t. I guess a block and tackle would be perfectly positioned hanging outside under the overhang at the front of the shed. Hmm. I still regret not buying the spitfire squadron scramble bell from Hemswell Antique Centre a few years back. It was a bit on the big side and I already have a bell, albeit a ship’s bell. Keep meaning to go back and see if they still have it.

THG is now up and a second cup of tea has appeared. For the record I made the first, for both of us. I just opted to drink mine in the kitchen where, as you know, I was able to look out over the harbour, were it not blanketed in fog.

Blurry start

Friday, June 23rd, 2023

Somewhat blurry eyed start to the day as we vacated the house in Peel at oh five forty five and steered east for the ferry terminal in Douglas. An uneventful eleven miles although somewhat frustrating that the car in front slowed down for every speed limit. When I was a kid there were hardly any speed restrictions on that route.

It is of course right and proper that we obey these speed limits. They are there for a purpose. Obvs. Normally I stick the cruise control on the speed limit and settle back for the journey. Not really practical in urban areas.

It’s been a fabulous few days in the Isle of Man. Weather amazing. It’s going to rain in Peel today so we got out just at the right time. Now on to the third leg of our trip: camping in Flamborough with the gang. Great place to see puffins apaz.

Sat now in Seat 16 in the Exec Lounge. The lounge is full and has been turning away folk looking for speculative upgrades. There is a lesson there. Apparently flights to and from the Isle of Man have been subject to numerous cancellations due to a shortage of air traffic controllers. Some of the passengers on this boat are those who have had to switch from air transportation.

We are on the way. I have not looked back. We shall return. Were it not for my dislike of the concept of holiday homes we would probably buy a place in Peel. Apart from the philosophical objection and in particular the way that holiday homes destroy communities the place would remain empty for much of the year. A bit of a waste. Cheaper to hire a cottage every now and again.

Peel has not yet been sullied by the scourge of the holiday home. It is a working town, city really as it has a cathedral. There aren’t even many rental cottages and only a few B&Bs. We want it to remain that way.

Listening to a spot of Hermanos Guiterrez. Very relaxing as I’m sure you will know. Meanwhile the windows in the lounge have steamed up. Struggling to grab some kip though could do with it. I never sleep well when I set the alarm and was up shortly after five. Got a long drive once we get to Liverpool. 

The boat moves slowly away from the quay

Thursday, June 15th, 2023

And we’re off. The boat moves slowly away from the quay. The safety video is mildly irritating. Some bloke pretending to be a pirate. It’s almost on a par with that BA safety vid which really used to get on my tits. The one with lots of celebs. That was supposed to be funny. It was funny the first time I saw it. Fortunately BA appears to have stopped using that. Either that or they just don’t show it in first class 😀.

We are sitting in comfort in the Premium Lounge. Table service. Splendid views over the Wirral which is slowly moving to the rear. Actually that could be a misnomer. ‘Splendid views of the Wirral’. I suppose I could say that our viewing position is splendid irrespective of the quality of the actual view.

The sea is very calm. Not quite a mill pond but nearly. This makes for a very comfortable voyage. I almost used the word journey there but voyage seems more appropriate. Earlier I had started using nautical terms such as ‘avast there’ and ‘ahoy’ with members of the crew but they all appear to be Phillipino or simlar and the terminology was lost on them. They are a great crew otherwise 🙂 

Other useful nautical terms include splice the mainbrace, cast off forrard (and aft), land ho and shiver me timbers. I’m sure there are others if I put my mind to it but do feel free to chip in.

Kisses off the missus

Wednesday, February 8th, 2023

Great to be home natch. Kisses off the missus.  Lovely sunny day out. Everything unpacked. Mostly.

Shed relations reestablished. Posters from NoLA and Miami laid out flat and weighted down to counter the effects of being carried across the sea in tubes.

Spotify not playing through the amp for some reason. Kluged it by playing through the Roku stick which is plugged into the amp. Doesn’t feel optimal. Might setup again. Something tells me this has happened before. I think it fixed itself.

The joy of washing your face in cold water in the morning

Lots of nice places in the world.

Earthquake reminds us of how weak we are in the face of the power of nature.

Great kip last night. Need to power on through today and hopefully be back in the zone by tomorrow, or Friday at the latest. Got lots to do. 

Lovely morning in the shire. Although it is true of all travel, this latest trip really made me think. We went to New Orleans, Mexico and Miami Beach. Three very different although in some respects, due to their exotic nature, very similar locations.

The fantastic apartment above an artisanal bakehouse in New Orleans had a balcony overlooking Washington Square and Frenchmen Street. Position A for the best bars and music clubs in town but far enough away to not be affected by the noise. When we awoke on our last day we were in the middle of a real live movie set as the cameras had moved in to Frenchmen to film an episode of a New York based TV show.

Our villa in Playa Del Carmen had its own pool, also in the shade of coconut palms and was a 50 metre stroll to a fine white sandy beach with the warm waters of the Caribbean. I could stand on the beach letting the warm waters lap around my ankles and imagine Spanish galleons coming up over the horizon.

Before heading to the airport and home, in Miami we luxuriated in the perfect temperature of a pool protected by the dappled shade offered by surrounding palms. We had lunch accompanied by cold beers sat on stools at the poolside bar. Miami had given us her best.

On the trip we ate great food, drank a huge variety of beers and cocktails, watched our first full game of American Football in a Sports Saloon, listened to lots of live music, met interesting people and had good times all round. 

I am lucky enough to be/have been able to travel to lots of different and exciting places in the world whilst also living in a beautiful town with beautiful family and friends around me. I frequently find existence to be quite surreal. I also find it quite amazing the concept that life still goes on after I’ve left places I’ve visited.

Does make you wonder. It is not possible to enjoy everything this world has to offer. How does the brain cope with this? Why not? None of it really matters.

We are surrounded by bad things as well as good. Terrible wars, devastating earthquakes, human suffering, homelessness, criminality, misfortune. I recognise that these things are all there, still, in the streets as I pass by and because it is impossible to avoid media coverage.

All I can do is focus on my own space. This doesn’t mean ignoring all the bad things but I can’t fix everyone else’s problems. Neither can I perpetually be visiting nice places in the world. My waistline (and wallet) would consider this inadvisable.

This morning I washed my face in cold water in the bathroom sink. One of the joys of being alive. That feeling of cold water on your face and drying it off afterwards in a cosy towel.

Life has many joys. The act of existing is one of them. On the radio during breakfast there was news coverage of a family living in a cellar in a bombed out town in the Ukraine under siege by the Russians. Although the conditions were terrible they still seemed to be able to laugh. It is the only option really. There is no real alternative.

Being at home is a joy. It is always great to get home after a trip. Anne didn’t come on this one as it was one of my occasional dad and lad/daughter trips. It was a joy to meet her at Kings Cross station and travel up from London together. I saw her before she saw me and I smiled. Her kiss invigorates me, still sends shivers down my spine, after 36 years of being together. 

Of course life is also mundane but there is comfort in the mundane and really there is no reason why the mundane should not be joyful or at least beautiful. Next time you pass a road sign or a tree, a house or even a brick you should consider how wonderful a thing it is. I am sitting writing this in our kitchen. A wonderful place. Just as wonderful as the beach in the Caribbean. Just different.

I guess at the end of the day it is all about getting the most out of life. How you want to do that is up to you. We are only here once, afaik 🙂 Get on with it 🙂

In a similar vein of thought I followed a Fiat Doblo out of the Waitrose car park this morning. My first thoughts were ‘what a weird looking car’ and ‘what an odd name!’. Someone must have designed it. A team of specialists would have sat in a room deciding what to call it. I can picture it now.

Then I thought hey, it’s part of the rich tapestry. The design will have appealed to the presumably substantial minority of people who bought one. The designer will have had objectives. A spec. It’s part of what makes this a good place to be, along with the road sign, the tree, the brick and the paddling in the warm waters of the Caribbean.

Doesn’t look as if they make the Fiat Doblo anymore. All things come to pass…

waiting for a drink

Tuesday, February 7th, 2023

Froze right to the bone

Green rich village

Sound like a hillbilly

Rob you with a fountain pen

So long new york

In my time of dying

Been airborne for a while. I’ve had my hot flannel but being in the last row in business class the drink is taking a while. I know this would be the case but it was a trade off – best seat versus speed of service. Nomatter.

Listening to a bit of Bob Dylan. Hi early stuff is good. Not sure at what stage that changed.


Monday, February 6th, 2023

Checkout in one hour and forty minutes. All packed but there is no rush. A relaxed approach to the day of travel is entirely appropriate. Currently sat on a sofa in the Blues Bar. The bar is shut but it is a pleasant spot to sit.

Sbeen a terrific trip. A combined work and play job. Looking forward now to going home, despite the fact that it is bloomin cold in the UK. The system won’t know what has hit it.

The National Hotel is very comfortable. An appropriate way to finish off the trip. It is in a great spot with access to the beach. Classy decor in keeping with the art deco nature of the building. Miami Beach has done a very good job of keeping its character.

Was chatting to some folk last night who said the city is trying to move away from the spring break image to a more cultural destination. Apart from the fact that you need to remortgage your house every time you come here they would appear to be making good progress.

The hotel is a better spot to hang out than the airport lounge. The last time I was there, only three short weeks ago, the lounge seemed packed. Fortunately on that occasion I was flying in first class and was escorted through to the haven of the first class dining room.  

Not so this time. No availability. Last time I slept seven hours and didn’t bother with the in-flight service. That was a nine thirty pm flight so it made sense to eat before getting on the plane. Today’s flight is at five pm so I will be availing myself of a spot of nosh before hitting the hay.

Observations from Mehico

Saturday, February 4th, 2023

Observations from Mehico.

Didn’t manage to take a pic of the pickup truck carrying workers.

Before the Spanish arrived they didn’t have chickens or pigs

The reef protected the coastline on the east of the yucatan peninsula

The tree of life (not sure that’s the right description) had 13 steps to heaven and 8 to hell. You could go up or down in different lives. Being a human sacrifice guaranteed instant access to heaven.

Friendly lot

Felt a little inadequate with my limited knowledge of Spanish. If I lived somewhere Spanish speaking I’d need to learn the lingo.

Not had a proper cup of tea in a while.

Didn’t notice any fresh milk for sale. Might just be me not knowing where to look.

Beautiful coastline. Real scenes of paradise – soft white sands, coconut palms, azure sea.

Gets v hot in summer – 43 degrees – toohotman

Some great food

cave dwellers of the north

Thursday, February 2nd, 2023

Exotica such as this is strange for us cave dwellers of the north. Palm fronds waft gently in the breeze. A bird chirrups unseen. Whitewashed buildings with pan tiled roofs.

Yesterday, at sea, it was possible to imagine the ships of Cortez appearing over the horizon, scanning the shores for signs of civilization amidst the jungle that creeps down to the pristine white beach. A beach that stretches for untold miles to the north and south.

The beach is protected by a coral reef that makes itself known, mostly, by the sign of breakers and the change in sea state on either side.

Mornings are a slow start with a simple breakfast. The days are spent relaxing in the shade, occasionally taking a dip in the pool to cool off. Evenings are a slow start. Couple of beers before heading out to the night. We don’t have late nights. 

Tonight we are having a barbecue so it’s a night in. A simple marinated chick with some salad and mango salsa. We will need to make our way to Walmart for supplies. These include some decent tequila, not for consumption here but to take home. 

Everyday a worker appears outside the villa to rake up the dried leaves that seem to fall constantly from the abundance of roadside trees. A very verdant environment.

I can see the attraction of places like this although I can’t understand how, in this sun, people can lie on the beach for hours. The first thing Robinson Crusoe must have done was to build some shade and make himself a hat.

Lazy days in Old Mehico…

Slightly disappointed to have lost my receipt from this pm’s Walmart shop. It would have been a good souvenir of the daft amount of stuff Joe and I threw into the cart just for tonight’s bbq and a bit of bacon for the next two mornings. Ably bumped up by a couple of bottles of top of the range tequila to take home at £41 each.

Walked there, cab back. Outbound we were treated to local sights not to be seen on the tourist main drag including some great looking bars – simple yet cool.

Hola Marco, hablamos antes sobre ir a visitar las Ruinas de Tulum mañana.

¿Podría recogernos en el número 683 de Villas Jaguar a las 9:00? Playacar Fase1

La villa se encuentra en la esquina de Bahía del Espíritu Santo y Esmedregal de Caleta

necesitaríamos que nos recogieran para el viaje de regreso dos horas después de dejarlo

En el camino de regreso, ¿hay algún cenote conveniente que podamos visitar solo para echar un vistazo? – No queremos hacer snorkel. ¿Sería capaz de hacer esto dentro del precio cotizado de 2000 pesos de devolución?

Trefor Davies

high noon mexico

Tuesday, January 31st, 2023

Noon. 28℃ with a 40% chance of rain. Theyreavinalaff. It is time to consider a siesta. Possibly a stroll down to the sea to get our feet wet.

Although there is a lot to do here I sense that half the point of coming somewhere hot like this is to do nothing. I’m not a lie on the beach type. If you stay in the sun too long it tires you out in anycase and better, methinks, to chill out and be fresh for the evening.

Our decision to hire a villa instead of staying at an all inclusive hotel has been vindicated. Can’t imagine a holiday where we sit there drinking all day in this heat, just because it is all “free”.

Hard to put yourself in the shoes of someone who lives in this part of the world all the time. I suppose you get used to the heat. Called home a while ago and everyone is in winter coats and woolly hats.

villa mexico

Tuesday, January 31st, 2023

Sat on the terrace at the front of the villa, surrounded by exotica. Palm trees and plants I don’t recognise from home. Interesting birds sing to me. The need to purchase insect repellent springs to mind.

Inside the villa ceiling fans rotate gently. It is a spacious living area with a kitchen bar to one side. Tons of room for the two of us. Last night after dinner we hit the local Walmart for some very basic supplies. Coffee, orange juice, bread, butter and to my delight, orange marmalade. No fresh milk from what I could see.

This morning there is no rush whatsoever to consume any of those supplies. We are having a relaxed start to the stay in Playa Del Carmen.  A bit of planning. A stroll to the beach, 50 metres away. Dip in the pool. That kind of stuff.

Although we are here for 5 nights, one of which is already over, there does appear to be a lot more to fit in than is possible in that time. Chicken Itza, snorkelling, stuff like that.

A high sided pickup truck drives by with 12 or so Mexican blokes squeezed into the back, on their way to work. A few minutes later the truck went back empty the other way. Bit annoyed that I’m not quick enough off the mark to take pics of this sort of thing. It is still early.

We are staying in a gated community. Posh cars in drives. The bars and restaurants around the main drag, 5th Avenue are full of tourists flashing the cash. It’s no wonder Mexican people try to get into the USA. The land of gold and honey. For a substantial minority.

A coypu or similar has just wandered past the window. Saw a couple nosing around the pool earlier.

Carlos the concierge recommended not touching the eateries on 5th Avenue but to go to 30th Ave where the locals hang out. A bit more of a walk but less crass than 5th which almost reminded me of Bourbon Street. Not quite as bad as Bourbon Street. 

There were plenty of interesting looking bars fair play. Last night we were tired having been travelling all day so we just ate, Walmarted and hit the hay. 

The street outside 801 Frenchmen

Tuesday, January 31st, 2023

This morning the street outside 801 Frenchmen is a hive of activity. They are filming an Amex commercial. I had hoped that the Ayu Bakehouse would be open for a bit of breakfast earlier than scheduled 8am but that wasn’t the case when I went down to enquire as to whether our taxi would be able to make it to our pick up spot.

Looks as if some touristy looking folk have rocked up to watch the action, deckchairs in hand.

Apparently they aren’t filming an Amex commercial but a show called Life and Beth starring Michael Cera. That’s him doing the press ups next to the curly haired guy whose family owns Preservation Hall. Fwiw. Not heard of him or the TV show meself but that shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. Joe knew of him.

Straightforward trip to MSY. Taxi arrived on time and we were checking in within 30 mins. A bit of a contrast the the experience getting to JFK, or LHR. I guiess MSY is smaller.

New Orleans was totally fab. We drank beer and listened to a lot of great music. Got some great posters as souvenirs from a music shop on Frenchmen. Couple of 1970s originals.

Couldn’t have picked a better location for our AirBnB. Perfect home from home in New Orleans.

It’s quite interesting to observe how touristy NOLA is. Of course we had to do the main touristy bits but once those boxes had been ticked you didn’t really need to go very much further than Frenchmen St and onwards slightly towards but not as far as the French Market.

Btw Austin based friends I will be with you for 90 minutes or so this pm but won’t be able to meet up unless you want to come and meet me at the airport gate (AA2835) from around 1pm.

Seat 3F en route to Austin. Comfortable and spacious fair play. Window. Don’t typically book a window but it’s just me n Jose and I figured I’d give him the option. He went aisle. Fair enough.

Sometimes when I am on a plane I just use my notebook to write. I typically do that where the use of a laptop is not convenient. On a bus for example. This does mean that if I want to upload any of the notes I have to type them in later but in the interest of being able to remember things I’ve seen on route it is worth the effort.

These could be ideas for poems, interesting observations or just something that takes my imagination. For example the street car named Desire is still in operation on the New Orleans green route as number 922. I’d never have remembered that had I not written it down. I didn’t need to look up the number later. The act of writing it down made me remember it.

It doesn’t always work out like that but the notes are there anyway so it doesn’t matter. It’s quite interesting to go back through the notebook and read the observations. It is for me anyway. People tend not to write stuff down anymore.

This aircraft is an Embraer E170/175.

Cotton wool ball clouds – seems appropriate for a cotton growing region. Do they still grow cotton in Louisiana?

When them cotton wool ball clouds get rotten you can’t grow very much cotton. They are way down yonder below us, but above the Bayoux.

The clouds above the bayoux

We stream through the air, seemingly effortless. 

Most of the world is cloud covered. 

Ayu Ayu Ayu

Bake house Bake house Bake house

The guy sat outside the music club differentiating with his flute. The competitive music scene of New Orleans. The battle of the banjos. Banjo battle.

We leave the people and bars of Frenchmen behind. Another smile, another tip. Thank you for coming. The banter was, mostly, good. Thank you for being there . Thank you for the beer and the chips and the French fries. french fries? What makes a fry french? The fries of France.

Willie’s doesn’t do pizza anymore. They should take the sign down. Take down the sign. Paint over the mural. Sumpin like dat.

The invasive American culture. I live in a different world. An educated professional world where people understand what I am trying to say.

The comparisons with the strata of society in the UK and USA are quite similar. The educated person will understand me and I them. Unless they only speak Chinese.

A smooth ride is expected. AHA. Sparkling water with lime + watermelon. No sweetners.

Sweet not the sparkling waters of the flow. The first flow. Dirty clouds mingle with the pure.

Tree nuts of nature’s garden have been served. Powered by plants. Distributed at 28,000 feet. Scattered in the controlled direction of my hand. moved to mouth. Munched.

Scatter my nuts! Scattrerbrained stories from the stratosphere.

Made in USA with ingredients from India, Indonesia, Mexico, South Africa, USA, Vietnam. A blend of almonds, cashews, pecans and pistachios.

Pissed achios. Inebriated in the USA. Call that a shot? Call the shots. Big shot.

Remember January 2023. It has nearly gone. Disappeared. Vanished with a click of the fingers. Blink and it’s gone. Goner. Gonner?

Fabricate, felicitate. Random words to confuse the mental palate.

It will be cold when we get to Austin. 1 degree centigrade, celcius. In the vernacular, bloody freezing. My shorts and silk Tommy Bahama shirt won’t cut it outside the safety of the airport biosphere. I shall remain cocooned where the life support system operates. Do not, I repeat do not pull that plug. Under any circumstance. Aaaaaaaarrrrrrgggggghhhhhhh.

Flight to cancun

Watched some simon sharma and then switched to tunes whilst eating. Can’t believe it took me until I was 60 years old before finding Pink Martini. What else lies out there undiscovered. By me obvs.

The time we have left. Rest not on your laurels. Keep on exploring, discovering.

What are laurels? What are they worth. Do they have a trade in value. In the next life.

Heard some quotes by the venerable bead who had written as if it was a nobleman speaking about the Christian religion. It offered hope for a life after death. This is its chief selling point. How badly do you want to believe in that.

When you are gone there is eternal silence. Get on with it whilst you can. Whilst you are able. Dodge the bullet. What on earth are you doing putting yourself in the path of a bullet?

Heavy rain washes the streets of NoLa

Monday, January 30th, 2023

Heavy rain washes the streets of NoLa. Water lies on the ground in Washington Square. A slow start to the day occasioned by a heavy night in Coop’s bar. Great bar. Position A for watching the Mardi gras parade outside. 

I didn’t feel the need to watch much of the parade. Watched it long enough to tick the box. Star Wars themed. A couple of the crew from the USS Enterprise came into the bar.  Box also ticked for the trolley car. A streetcar named number 48. Also the New Orleans Museum of Art. Well the cafe at least. And Central Park.

This morning we are ‘doing’ brunch at Nonna’s down the road to us on Delphine. Their French Toast is to die for, apparently. Nonna’s is en route to the bus stop for the city tour. Multiple boxes to be ticked there, at least from the outside.

A trash truck, or whatever they call them, roars noisily along the street below. The rain has stopped and I can hear conversation. We have a wonderful spot on Frenchmen. Couldn’t have picked a better one really. This does not happen by chance. Extensive research goes into planning these trips.

Funnily enough I received an acknowledgement from Un Hôtel en Ville, La Rochelle for a booking in September that was made sometime before Christmas. I guess there was no rush. Didn’t even realise the booking wasn’t firm prior to the response.

Sunday morning punters have started to appear at Ayu Bakehouse. Sgood stuff in there fair play. I have just over a week to enjoy such wheaten delights before going back on the keto diet. The last four months seem to have been one long party.

This time next week we will be having breakfast at the National Hotel in Miami. South Beach. It has a very long pool. A claim to fame according to the hotel. I saw it last week on my last trip but the weather was not conducive to swimming and I wasn’t staying there anyway.

Someone walks by sipping from a takeaway coffee cup. You see a lot of this in New Orleans. There must be a cafe on every corner, perhaps. This particular chap/guy stopped to investigate something on the pavement/sidewalk, pushed it with his shoe and moved on.

All is well.

Walked down Bourbon Street. Felt no urge whatsoever to enter any of the establishments thereon. I was carnage, even at 5pm. Our objective was Preservation Hall but turns out you had to book online. Wasn’t like that last time I went, admittedly around 30 years ago. Moved on to the Old Blacksmith’s Forge. Cool enough gaff but rammed so we went straight to Coop’s.

Turns out that Desire still operates on the green line. Number 922.

New Orleans continues to give

Saturday, January 28th, 2023

New Orleans continues to give. A wonderful day out. Set off at around 10am and arrived early at the riverboat. Secured our boarding passes. A good half of the passengers had not realised they needed to do this so when the announcement came there was a huge queue at the ticket windows.

The steamboat cruise was memorable, partly for the fact that the food was perfectly edible. Wasn’t totes sure what to expect there. Booking for the second sitting also proved to be a result as we benefited from the views on the top deck during the commentary and only had to move down to the restaurant deck when we hit the farthest point of the cruise and turned around for the return leg.

The commentary itself was memorable for the fact that the announcer repeated each fact at least three times. Must be an American thing. Signs of the havoc wreaked by hurricane Katrina were still visible along the whole route. 

Following disembarking we did a few more touristy bits including visiting St Louis’ Cathedral and purchaysing a couple of hats/caps. Couldn’t resist. Then hit the Market Cafe for a beer and listen to the band. This set the scene for the next three hours or so. We moved on and stopped at a number of establishments en route to the flat.