Phwew – smells like someone died in there

Weekend at Hungy Jack's.

Weekend at Hungy Jack’s.

Oi, ‘ave you noticed when you go in the crapper and they have a sign off sheet showing when the last cleaned it?

Well someone in a Perth “Hungry Jacks” – a version of Burger King – obviously wasnt doing their job after someone died in the toilet from an overdose, and the body wasn’t discovered until 3 days later. From ABC website

Another customer, who gave his name as Rob, said he was concerned the toilets had apparently not been checked for three days.

“Three days is a long time for somebody to be locked in a toilet cubicle and for it not to be cleaned,” he said.

Just look at some local reviews on Zomato of the place. It got 2.6  from 5 ratings so forgetting to do a dead person inspection, doesn’t sound too amiss.

Hungy-Jacks

Brexit : We did it first !

roam boudicca

The original Teresa May?

In case you’ve been asleep for the past month, the people of Britannia voted to leave the European Union by a slim majority. All the polls predicted they would stay but nope, Plebs being Plebs didn’t listen and voted out.

The person who agreed to allow the vote and managed a poor campaign, David Cameron, has resigned. Since then some of the pro-leave advocates Farage, Boris and Gove have all left the political stage.

A new dawn beckons where Teresa May is going to be the new Prime Minister. She will be the second female PM after Thatcher.

It is not looking good to the Opposition either, where there is a Labour party backlash against the Uber-Lefty leader, Corbyn who may not survive.

It is now up in the air about what happens next : trade, work visas and others as there is no transition plan.

Also, ‘Leave’ means uncertainty about the long term survival of Great Britain as an political union with the Scots making noises about wanting a second referendum on independence. Scotland voted majority to stay and claim that the 2014 referendum was based around Britain being a member of the EU. Since Britain is now Brexiting, they are saying not so fast we want to stay in. This is not easy in the Spain, for example, doesn’t want to allow countries to split up like this as Catalonia may have similar ideas.

Over Wine, The Emperor of Roam were tittering so where we though it was funny to think that around 1600 years ago, it was Romans who had the original Brexit around 410 AD. Back then Emperor Honorius wore the purple.

The situation had parallel to today’s Brexit but in reverse. Back then we had:

  • Troubles on the continent- Rome was having a bit of bother with the Vigioths. So much so, it led to the sacking of Rome by the barbarian, Alaric.
  • Political Divorce with no plan- Our Brexit was Romans leaving and move our troops to the Continent. Adios Brits and thanks for the tin !
  • Immigration – Saxons, Angles and Jutes coming across without visas and taking the jobs Romans wouldn’t do like defend the country.
  • Troubles with Gaelic Celts – This is when Picts invaded England and Irish tribes invaded Wales. Now we have it the other way around.

Anyhow, back to today. We at Roam have no idea how this is going to turn out.

For the Traveler, this period of uncertainty has led to pound dropping from ~1.50 to the dollar to around 1.30. This may put the great in Great Britain if you going there but it may also lead to price increases for items that are imported. Go visit soon while the Union Jack T-shirt means something.


Some official tourism links for you should you want to visit:  Great Britain Tourism Board   |  England  | Scotland  |  Wales | Northern Ireland

Beer are the champions

Munich Brewer’s day 2016

Sometimes, you act on a spur of the moment and you discover fate has a plan for your life.

And so it was then, that I made a spur of the moment decision to get off at  Odeanplatz U-Bahn station instead of my original intended destination of Karlplatz. There was no particular reason apart from a inkling to get out here when the train stopped.

As I walked up the steps, It was to my delight that I discovered a mini beer festival was going on: “München Brauertag 2016”. They had representatives from all the major Munich brewers – Paulaner, Lowenbrau, Augusteiner, Spaten etc with many of the locals all dressed up for the part.

Thinking to myself, “When in Roam, do as the Roamans do” so I must now now have a beer.

As I went to pay, the assistants waived me away saying “Nein” so I thought they were closed. However, I then understood what they were telling me – it was a FREE beer festival.  Yohooo !!!!! What an excellent welcome to Munich. Wunderbar! I found out that 4,000 litres of beer are given away free.

Oh, and if you are thinking of going for 2017. Don’t. It occurs every two years so next one is 2018.

A voluntary Upgrade to a No grade

When I checked in to United Flight to Munich, the machine asked me if I wanted to change seats. I took a look, knowing that this would give me visibility on how full the flight was.

I booked my flight a week ago and I’d selected the  rear rows which were empty for going  forward a few rows so I was confident of getting space. I looked now and saw the rows were pretty much full but there empty rows but only in Premier Economy.

Not wanting to sit next to anybody so I could spread out and sleep, I caved and forked out for an upgrade to a seat in an empty 2 seat row just in front of the exit/ wing seats . The twin seats in rows 21 and 22 behind me were similarly free as well as middle row/isle seats. I was checking in within 90 minutes on an International fight so I felt pretty good about getting a two seats for an overnight 10 hour flight.

As I boarded, I then found ALL the Premier Economy 2 seats filled and isle seats filled and there was a 8 year old kid in the seat next to me. His sister was in the adjacent middle isle seat and I recognized the two kids as they and mom, had checked in prior to me in the line. They therefore, had their tickets way before mine so obviously had not bought that seat upgrade.

Son of a bitch I said to myself : I’d spent money for nothing and United had upgraded quite a few passengers to fill these seats.

It turned out somewhat ok in that I asked the sister if she wanted to sit with her brother – she did- so I got an middle isle seat with nobody in between but I will not pay for this again just to try the free row lottery. The longer foot room was not my care about. Not only that but when I went to the toilets towards the end of the plane, the rows weren’t as full as original seating diagram suggested. I could have had a 2 seat option to myself if I had done nothing.

Beware the ides of the isle seat upgrades.

Car Rental vs Going Mental

An unclean machine is a money machine.I needed to get to IAH airport for a 2 week business trip. The business part meant I could expense it, within reason and the best option (which I too often forget about) was the 1 way rental with AVIS. It ended up at $42 with no surcharges.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed it but renting cars from their franchised office (instead of a airport rental or implant) is a hit of miss affair with respect to their service. One thing I have noticed, at least with AVIS franchises, is the specific warning that that they will charge you for additional cleaning if you return it back dirty – Just look at this one attached that I got the other day.

I remember similar warning from a franchise in San Antonio but their pet peeve above standard no smoking , was actually a peeve about pets – dog hair. I don’t recall this from airport rentals other than the standard warning about no smoking in the car.

But look at this notice where it included sand. Last year when the Imperial Family visited North Carolina, we returned the car rental with quite a bit of sand in it but no comment from the car rental company. Wow- This opens up how much is normal ‘dirtyness‘ is allowed here?

The Odors and Cigarette, I get. You smoke, the car will stink and it is common policy to surcharge even in hotels. So it is then with Pet hair which if all over, is going to be all over so will require additional cleaning especially if the vacuum will not pick it up. The same with spills which may have stained. ..but sand or Grass – Surely vacuuming should sucking this up anyhow? At what point do they detect a grain of sand versus having to professionally detail a car is not clear here when that $250 amount is invoked.

 


 

Long to rain over us

My great escape from Houston floodsI’m SO tired of the storms and floods we are are getting around the Houston area and so it was with pleasure, that I snagged a short notice business trip to Munich starting tomorrow.

Ah, Europe in the summertime. I can picture myself sitting in a beer garden with Hendl, a Maß of Helles while watching the sun go down around 9 pm.

It was with dismay that I look at the weather forecast and see the weather is as bad in Europe as it is in Texas.

They also have their floods where 5 died in Bavaria recently. Paris is also flooded which just adds to the misery of having to face all the strikes.

My second week I plan to go to UK where the weather there is being reported as being colder than christmas day.

Oh Bugger it. Perhaps I’ll be substituting that helles for glühwein.

Flybe to the moon

FlyBe airlines : No buttock shots.

Dahlings, I have another tale of someone getting kicked off a flight.

What was it for this time Cleo? It was for taking a picture.  and what’s wrong with that? He took it of a flight attendant. I still don’t get it.  Why was he kicked off for taking a picture of a flight attendant?

It was because he took a picture of her backside with his mobile phone. ..while she was doing the pre-flight safety announcement ! After being asked to remove the pictures, he said he couldn’t so security was called in and off he went.

This all happened on a Flybe flight from Dublin to Cardiff.  From the Irish Independent

“Just before take-off, while staff were going through the safety demonstration, a worker claimed that a man was taking pictures of her. “The individual was asked to remove the pictures.

“He initially refused to, but then said that he wasn’t able to, which is hard to believe. Security staff were then called,” a source said. Airport police were alerted by the crew and the man was taken off the flight, after it had taxied back to the terminal.

A spokesperson for Flybe said: “The matter is now in the hands of the police..

Oh saucy !

Ciao for now,
Cleo.

France industrial unrest: Henri the Strike Engine

If you can, avoid France. In addition to oil refiners which has led to gasoline shortages, the rail workers have now gone on strike nine days before the Euro soccer tournament starts. Air Traffic controllers are also threatening and so are Air France pilots.

According to SNCF, the state rail company about 60% of high-speed trains and between a third and a half of other services are expected to run. High-speed services to the UK and Germany (Eurostar and Alleo) are said to be normal. Only one third of SVI services to Italy and 40% of Ellipsos services to Spain will run,

So what is the strike over? From the BBC news.

French labour reform bill – main points

  • The 35-hour week remains in place, but as an average. Firms can negotiate with local trade unions on more or fewer hours from week to week, up to a maximum of 46 hours.

  • Firms are given greater freedom to reduce pay.

  • The law eases conditions for laying off workers, which is strongly regulated in France. It is hoped companies will take on more people if they know they can shed jobs in case of a downturn.

  • Employers to get more leeway to negotiate holidays and special leave, such as maternity or for getting married. These are currently also heavily regulated.

Incredible.

Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na, missed it !

Bats on Congress Bridge in Austin

On our Saturday evening in Austin, our party decided to go to see the Bats at Congress bridge. Since I knew something about Austin I was the one in charge of arranging it. I said let’s leave between 5:30 in order to have dinner just before hand. Since some of us wanted to have a nap, we compromised at 6.

So by the time we get going it was more like 6:20 and after seeing some I35 traffic, I began to wonder to myself if my recommendation of going to Chuy’s was a wise choice. We get there at about 6:45 and find a parking spot but there was a 15 minute wait.

After about 20 minutes and just as I was following up with the front desk, our table became available. The ordering and then bringing the food took some time and after it all, the food alas was pretty mediocre. My enchilada sauce we caked hard from over warming and Patricious did not like his crispy tacos at all.  On the plus side the waiting staff was very attentive and the food in a tourist area is cheap but I was left wondering if I should have gone to my second choice of ‘Shady Grove’ instead which has an outdoor patio and hybrid Americano/TexMex food. I thought Chuy’s would be more the more memorable for everyone but it wasn’t. Nothing special, move along.

As we walk to the van, it is now it is after 8:00 and kids are asking me about the bats and saying we have plenty of time since they only come out at night. I correct them and say they come out at twighlight so we need to get a move on.

We drive and park in a pub near the Congress bridge. I point out the No Parking signs other that patrons and the door staff at the pub watching us getting excited. We convince the driver that getting the car towed may not be a good idea after all. (I bet the door staff get a commission if they call in a tow away). So we all get in the car and park in a multistory at Riverside/1st instead which turned out to be free but a big walk.

It is 8:40 by the time we get to Congress bridge we see a big crowd on the East side of the bridge but many are leaving. At the point where the land ends and lake begins, some kind souls allow our kids to come to the front where they can see some bats leaving but only if someone in the boat trips below shines a red light upwards.

What we wanted to see was the black dots of 100.000’s of bats disappearing into the night to hunt for insects  – see the picture. What we saw instead was the crowds of people looking for bats but there was nothing to see but blackness..

IMGP5210

Crowds below Congress bridge in Austin looking for the bats : Copyright Roads-2-roam

Ah  travel and the disappointment of reality!

Tales of the Brazos Riverbank

For Memorial Weekend, Patricious and I joined some family friends for a weekend in Austin. The trip up on US Route 290 from Houston revealed many flooded side roads and fields. Just past Hempstead near the Brazos, there was a minor hold up near the river where local police were directing farmers across freeway to round up some livestock. It  not often that you see a cop holding up his hand to halt traffic on a 70 mph highway road to allow someone on horseback to cross.

After spending Sunday in San Marcos, we took the cross country route thought Bastrop which eventually brought us back to I10 at Columbus. The I10 traffic was moving so I was feeling very pleased with my decision to leave on Sunday to avoid the Memorial day traffic snarl on I10.  From experience, it is a terrible route to travel on holiday times, as it is only a 2 way freeway that cannot any handle the volume of traffic.

water gawking on I10

The queue on I10 to gawk at the Brazos Flood

Then we hit traffic stop just before Sealy. As we are now stationary, I look on Google maps and see stationary traffic all the way to the Brazos river. There was no indication of a wreck on the map and having seeing the degree of flooding further up North, and having just passed the flooded Colorado at Columbus about 20 minutes before (normally it is a passive river around there), I guessed it is related to the Brazos flooding.

Forty five minutes and 15 miles later, I confirmed that was the case but it was nevertheless stunning to see the degree of flooding at the Brazos having passed that same spot many times over the years. For those who know it, it extended past the DPS commercial vehicle enforcement station.

As we sped up, we notice some locals driving up the service road even though it was closed. While they may have made it out of this stretch, further up it was deeper.

IMG_2104

A Texas hellraser driving where Angels fear to tread – A local driving through the Brazos river flood water below I10: Copyright Roads-2-Roam

 

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