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Monthly Archives: March 2016

My big fat Greek Hijacking

The most bizarre selfie ever?

Stockholm syndrome: The most inappropriate selfie?

What a complete bizarre story the hijacking of the Egyptian airliner and having it divert to Cyprus is turning out to be. [See Daily Mail]

The hijacker was not a Jihadi but some run of the mill fruitcake who apparently had strapped explosives around himself and threatened to detonate it. He chose Cyprus in order to deliver a 4 page letter to his ex-wife who now lives in Cyprus.

It all turned out well, if you can call it that, in that the explosives were fake and he is now in custody.

Now what makes this even more strange is the selfie of a a hostage with the hijacker. I don’t think I’d be smiling if there was a suicide bomber next to me unless it turns out he was forced to do so.

Then we have a statement from the Egyptian Foreign Ministry official, who said: ‘He’s not a terrorist, he’s an idiot. Terrorists are crazy but they aren’t stupid. This guy is.’

And to cap it all of, then was have the Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades telling reporters ‘..the incident appeared to be motivated by personal reasons and ‘is not terrorism-related’  Asked about reports that the hijacker had demanded to see a Cypriot woman, Anastasiades laughed and said: ‘Always there is a woman.’

Oh Boy.

But seriously, this event makes asks a lot of questions about Egyptian airport security.

The Philippine Nail salon

Trust us, we Roamans don't know anything about this one.

Don’t judge a book by it’s cover : A Crucifixion in San Fernando. Hey, we at Roads-2-Roam ain’t taking the hit for this one.. It wasn’t us.

The Philippines are an ultra-Catholic country. So it goes then that Easter is one of the THE most popular holiday of the year.

So much so, that some of the pious volunteer to be crucified. Yes, you understood correctly : they put themselves forward to be fully nailed up on a cross and not the Crucifixion-lite namby pamby roped up version.

ice_screenshot_20160327-205024

Philippines Govt Health Warning. Crucifixions are dangerous

But this is not a small thing done in the local parish. Cities such as San Fernando (NW of Manila), have real life Easter enactments of crucifixions that by themselves are tourist attraction drawing in 10’000’s. From Philstar.com:

Ferdinand Caylao, executive committee chair for Maleldo (Kapampangan for Holy Week), said Telesite company installed CCTV cameras in San Pedro Cutud that would be operational from Holy Thursday until Good Friday. Crucifixion rites annually take place in Barangays San Pedro Cutud, Sta. Lucia and San Juan, but most tourists flock to San Pedro Cutud where “Kristo” Ruben Enaje would be nailed to the cross for the 30th year.

The purpose of the CCTV in such a place of holy reverence is to capture people at ease with their religion catch pickpockets. I see something wrong amiss there.

Not only that but there will be medical crew there. “The city’s health and disaster management officers would also deploy medical teams in the crucifixion sites.” said the Philippines Star.

Nails. Crucifixion. Health and Safety.  I seem to recall hearing about those together before. Now where was that?

Oh yes, back in 2008 where Health officials in the Philippines issued a warning to people taking part in Easter crucifixion rituals. They urged those about to be Flagellated or Crucified to get tetanus vaccination before hand and if being nailed to a cross, to practice good hygiene. Seriously? 

Now to come back to Mr Enaje. He’s a bit of a folk hero where wheresidewalksend has some more details on him. From that page, I just love the picture of the guy self flagellating himself but look at his face mask. Surely it should be Mary Magdalene not Mary Jayne.

Flagellation across de Nation. Man.

Giving the people what they want !

Microsoft's Tay release 1.0 : "What the F@#*are you ****** @#$#%^ &^%$# looking at?"

Microsoft’s Tay release 1.0 : “What the F@#*are you ****** @#$#%^ &^%$# looking at?”

Dahlings,  this is week when it showed the limitations of why you should not ask the Plebeians what they want – you may not like the smell of having to deal with them. And no, I don’t that silly election thing with ‘Little Hands / Large Manifesto’ Donald, ‘BusTED’ Cruz, ‘I did not not have textual relations with that server’ Clinton or ‘Eat the rich’ Sanders.

Instead, I refer to two other separate instances of humanity showing it’s true colors this week.

The first was Microsoft shutting it’s online Artificial Intelligence flagship ‘Tay’ less than 24 hours when it began to “tweeted wildly inappropriate and reprehensible words and images” that included support for Hitler and genocide. Oh dear. What had started so loftily,  came crashing down after listening to and learning from human interactions.  I guess those hipsters in Redmond, Washington (a bunch of rich eaters supporters if you go by the result of their recent State caucus, without noticing they those local rich folks such as MS employees may also look pretty tasty on the grill) are too young to remember the lessons from ‘Ed209’ and back before that, HAL9000. This is rapidly getting a bit iClaudius techie nerdy for me but let’s just say it is history repeating itself. Or is it art imitating life ? Or is it life imitating art? Or is it art imitating history? or is it history of art?

ENOUGH !!!!!Either way or whatever is imitating what, the second instance I want to mention is across the pond in Britannia also have their wisdom of the crowds moment where the oiks have been asked to name a boat for NERC – Natural Environment Research Council. And how did that end up you may ask?

I invite you to watch Roads-2-Roam’s first mockumentary based over a monologue by Jon Holmes during BBC Radio 4’s “The Now Show” to find out.

If you can’t watch (if you are work you’re excused ) or can’t be bothered to watch (then you’ll miss out on Holmes’ excellent delivery),  the result was top vote for the ship’s name was as you may have guessed by the title was .. “Boaty McBoatFace”. But that is not the end of the story, the Toffs and the establishment don’t like it.

This adds to a long list of ‘not asking the online public what they think as you may not like the answer’.

  • In 2012, A poll to name a Bratislava bridge “Chuck Norris” was rejected by Slovenian lawmakers. Boo, I would have loved to have seen a hairy bridge. (O.M.G., what did I just type!!)
  • Before that in 2010, a Justin Bieber website polled users as to which country he should tour next, with no restrictions on the nations that could be voted on. The result.. North Korea.

Oh I like that last one. Power to the People. How about this slogan-  “BIEBER, FOR KOREA”. I’ll start up a gofundme for that !

Ciao for Now,
Cleo.

French air strike strands Easter get aways

A futile attempt against French air traffic controller strikes?

A futile attempt against French air traffic controller strikes?

And what a week it has been. The Brussels bombing was awful news but we will talk about this elsewhere.

However, some things are European business as usual such as air traffic control in France going on strike around a holiday. AGAIN. For those new to Roads-2-Roam, this is all too familiar pattern and covered our prior posts ‘FRANCE STRIKES. AGAIN’ and before that ‘FRANCE : A LAND OF STRIKING BEAUTY. A LAND OF STRIKING WORKERS.’

Of course, this has the usual consequences of stranding thousands of passengers whose flights needs to pass through French airspace. The passengers of budget airlines, EasyJet and Rynair, are particularly put out by these event. They are also getting an eye opener in what limited support such airlines offer – you’ll get a rescheduled flight back but not necessarily when you need it. You are probably on the hook for your unexpected accommodation unless you want to sleep at the airport.

From the Daily Mirror:

Tessa Hargrove, 35, was left in limbo in Marrakech after she and her 67-year-old mum, Helen Stephenson, were told their flights were cancelled by text at 10.30pm on Sunday night.

Tessa said: “Ryanair needs to give us more information, a text on the night before when there’s no other information is not good enough, they said they would send us an email but that didn’t come until 2.11pm, four hours after we were meant to get on a flight.”

Tessa and her mum were forced to queue for hours to find out what was going on.

She said: “The Ryanair people at check in were just crossing you off so they could send you to a hotel and the other desk was about an hour and a half queue to find out your options.

“You can get a free flight back to the UK but the first one we were offered by the time we got to the front was one on Thursday to Luton or on Friday to Stansted where we were meant to be flying to. “My mum and I were dashing from queue to the next so we didn’t lose our places. There weren’t enough people for you to actually speak to. Someone else spent ages queuing on the phone to try and speak to them.”

Tessa needed to get back for her work with a company which sells scientific equipment to research labs so booked to fly back on Wednesday online with easyJet costing £500.

She is now worried she will not be able to get on the flight because staff at the easyJet desk in Marrakesh told her that flight was already fully booked on their systems.

According to Ryanair this is the 41st such strike since 2009. Robin Kiely, head of communications at Ryanair said “It’s grossly unfair that thousands of ordinary European consumers have their travel and holiday plans disrupted by the actions of a selfish few. We also encourage any affected customers to sign our online petition, Keep Europe’s Skies Open.”.

Ryanair has said it plans to present it to the EU Commission and the EU parliament once it has attracted 1m signatures.

“As a member of Airlines for Europe ( ), we are working with other airlines including Air France KLM, Finnair, International Airlines Group (IAG), Lufthansa Group, Norwegian and Ryanair, to call on governments and the EU to develop an action plan to minimise the impact of ATC strikes on passengers.”

Here is the link to their petition : keepeuropesskiesopen.com .  I remain skeptical about Brussel’s willingness to act of it.

Our message to the French Air traffic controllers..

The Roaman anti-greeting.

Those damned French Air traffic controllers: Feed them to the Lions. Again.


 

Some links for further information of A4E

Taiwanese triple tales

Betelmania in Taiwan

So farewell to my colleague Albanius who retired today. It made me think about the time that both of us went to Taiwan on business trip over a decade ago. Three things come to mind:

  1. Taxi to our hotel: As many people did not speak English, we were advised to have someone write the name and address in Chinese on paper and take that with us. We handed that paper to taxi driver at the airport and off we went. We sat in slow traffic for a while and the taxi driver turned off next exit and drove us to our hotel. Hey looks nice, we thought and had the valet unload our bags and take us to the front desk. We got a receipt from the driver and because we had sat in traffic, we gave him a good tip. At the front desk, they had no record of us as guests. We protested and handed over our booking documents: That is not this hotel sir. Yep, he deliberately took us to the wrong hotel.
  2. The jade market: On Saturday afternoon, we had time to kill so we have quite a few beers. I did note that Albanius got very merry, very quickly. “Let’s go to the jade market” he said with a bit of a slur and not having a better alternative, I agreed. It actually turned out better than what I expected and I bought some Chinese hand painting. Albanius on the other hand was on a jade hunt for his wife. He liked something but didn’t have enough cash to buy it so I lent him money to buy it.
  3. Betel nuts: For the life of us, we could not work out what the pretty looking girls in bikini’s skirts  were selling in those roadside small shops/ outlets – see the internet picture as an example. We didn’t think a conservative society like Taiwan would permit sex workers to be so openly pursuing business but we remained curious about. We even asked around what was going on and nobody could explain it back to to us. We eventually read about it: they were selling Betel nuts which are a mild stimulant used by many drivers. PS: remember kids, if anyone offers you betel nuts, just say no : It isn’t good for you.

When back in the US, I gently reminded Albanius that he owed me money. Would you believe it that the Chiseler denied all knowledge of ever borrowing money and claimed he had bought it himself: He would have remembered borrowing money he said ! It then occurred to me that since he wasn’t much of a drinker, he probably doesn’t remember much about the jade market anyhow so there was no hope there. Still it was some consolation to find out that the expensive preesent he had bought for his wife with the help of MY MONEY, got broken intransit. Thank you travel gods – Karma.

Augustus.

Somewhere uber the rainbow

Uber-logos-582x292

Left: Rider Uber icon. Right: Partner Uber icon

Dahlings, Back on 2nd February, those sharing revolutionaries Uber changed their  flag logo. From a “U”, it is now a square-dot-plus-squiggle that communicates the meaning of Uber.

What the heck – this looks almost like the hieroglyphics I used a few centuries before texting was invented. It is a clear as their fare policy.

From a complete puff piece by wired:

The company updated its logo, and new rider- and partner-app icons reflect the individuality of Uber’s local markets. In place of black, gray, and blue, Uber is embracing bright colors, and lots of them. Each of 65 launch countries will receive a toolbox of new brand assets that include tailored colors and patterns, new midcentury modern illustrations, and guidelines for photography. Uber hopes to develop a more flexible brand that can grow with the company as it develops new products and attracts new customers.

The story of how Kalanick and his design team came to replace the ubiquitous “U” logo is about more than a corporate re-branding effort. It’s a coming-of-age tale. It’s about Uber’s attempt to transform its purpose and cement a new reputation—to change not only how it is perceived throughout the world, but how it perceives itself.

Ok, Travis. Really- A coming of Age tale? When I think of ‘coming of Age’ tales I think more about movies like “Dazed and Confused” but that is a good way to summarize these logos. And there’s more to this story. Continue reading..