Author Archives: Augustus
Author Archives: Augustus
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.
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.
A picture paints a thousand words.
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:
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.
Apparently, today is World toilet day. Did you get a Hallmark card wishing you “Happy number two”? Neither did I but it had me thinking about my toilet experiences around the world.
Let’s start off with the culture shock a westerner will get when you go to places that literally have a hole in the ground. I recall one cafe in Amsterdam having a hole that you’d need the skill of a WWII bombardier to get your aim right. It was better than a bucket but still, it was not what one expects especially after you’d indulged in their herbal products and you’re not too steady on your feet.
Another culture shock is toilet paper : Not all of them flush it away. Many places around the world don’t want the paper in their water system and expect you to put it in the trash which as you can imagine, now stinks. When in such places, you don’t hang around too long to read a book.
That is assuming you even have toilet paper. In some places such as Middle East and India, using toilet paper is considered unhygienic. The protocol is to wash your backside with your left hand from a cup of water. Afterwards you wash your hand. This is also why you should only eat with your right hand in India. The left is considered ‘dirty’ so careful what you use it for.
At the other end of the toilet spectrum is Japan. Going to the potty can be like the Apollo project. It is a delight to stay in a 5 star hotel in Tokyo just to experience the high tech toilets. They have ones that automatically put a new paper cover over the seat before you sit down. Others may warm the seat for you or play background music so people cannot your movements. Some include built in bidets but good luck in understanding which button does what.
As for toilet paper. Would you believe that many public toilets in Japan did not provide toilet paper until recently: They expected you to carry your own. It may still be the case today in some places but many department stores gave them out for free. For more reading Japan and their toilets, see this Japantoday poll and Japan-talk.
The rest of Asia is also catching up with their obsession with their toilets. When recently in Taipei, I was taken aback by the cleanliness of the public toilet. Look at this, they even had plants in there. By the way, the women cleaners will just walk in so you bladder shy men are pre-warned.
Lets move to the US. Like many things in life, there are some bizarre things when it comes to the US toilets habits:
Which brings me to my favorite toilets of all time: Protea Hotel “Fire & Ice!” in Capetown. Each toilet is individually themed – “Long Drop”, “Stage Fright”, “Out House” and “Tempation”- where it was a delight to try a new one out each time.
Wishing you a clean and crappy World Toilet day.
Another Roaman story on Rome where the one with the E, has banned Impersonators of soldiers from ancient Rome that been a common sight around the Colosseum, Forum and other major sites. [BBC news]
Together with Centurions, bicycle-drawn rickshaw drivers and ticket touts:
City commissioner Francesco Paolo Tronca issued the decree ahead of the Catholic Jubilee year, an important tourist event starting on 8 December.
He is in charge of the city pending the election of a new mayor and cited security issues as well as protecting tourists from scams as the reasons for the decree.
It spoke of the “inappropriate, insistent and sometimes aggressive” behaviour of Centurions, who charge between €5 and €10 ($5.3-$10.6) for a photo. They can also get tips from tour organisers for persuading tourists to go on guided trips.
There is more.
There have been incidents of “gladiators” attacking each other to defend their pitches at lucrative sites.
That sounds pretty authentic gladiator like behavior to me ! I’d pay good money to see this again. Let’s hope they bring in Lions impersonators as well.
But wait, haven’t they tried something legislating like this before. Yes siree. Back in 2012, there was a protest where a dozen of so centurions clashed with police where they even took over the Colossium.
One ruse of the impersonators is to offer to take a photo for small Euro donation but keep the camera until they get a larger payment. Sounds just like politicians to me.
This brings a tear to our eyes. Take a look where it brings back the majesty of the ancient city of Rome (The one with an E not an A).
However, it doesn’t reflect the smell. Cor, did that place stink especially in the summer heat.
To promote activity, Facebook offers you “memories” of pictures on an anniversary of when you posted.
Which brings me to the above picture of a hotel room from the Scottish Inn in West Houston that I stayed in while on business. It turned out that my visit coincided with a big conference so as I searched through my corporate travel site for hotels, I found it on something like page 27 of hotels. All others were sold out. Being somewhat desperate – it was that or Galveston – I booked it. What is more, they hadn’t jacked up their rates like the hotels in Galveston had. From memory, I’d say around $70 per night versus $250 of others.
I didn’t know it before booking but it is located just off the busy highway 6 and not a particular nice part of Houston. I wouldn’t say unsafe but just ugly looking.
As I opened the front door, I stood there in stunned amazement at the decor of the room. It was as if the room had been decorated by an 8 year old: A mural of the sea; fluorescent night lights that lit up the stars; mirrors everywhere.
Eventually I got over the ‘You got to be kidding’ moment and checked the room out : A fridge, plenty of space and excellent Wifi connection. After going out for some food and groceries, I turned in for the night. Being located just off a busy highway, I didn’t hear any traffic and had an otherwise comfortable experience.
The only minor drawback – when I woke up, I felt a bit sea sick !
It is now reported as 100+ dead as I type. The attack was on young people enjoying themselves : A Concert hall, Restuarants and Stade de France sports stadium.
You cowardly miserable bastards.
I was looking at visiting France next summer: It is now a definite.
Driving home from work, I noted a truck ahead of me which had a warning sign on it. Being curious I came up close to read what it said
Big letters WARNING. Smaller letters “STAY BACK 200 FT” with “NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR BROKEN WINDSHIELDS”.
However, the stupidity is that you’d need to be closer that 200 FT away to read the flaming thing.
This had me thinking about the legality of such a sign especially as you need to be close up to read it and you never entered into any agreement with them. Researching around, I found this reddit discussion. My take away from reading it all : Continue reading..
It’s that time of year again: The annual increase in Disneyland ticket prices and a 35% increase for an annual pass, has taken it over the $1000 price tag. They are also introducing their version of surge pricing which is one way to
cull the sheep keep the crowds down but also maintain profits. The previous price increases have only led to higher attendance.
Disneyland (The one in California) have done away with their $779-a-year, “premium” pass and replaced it with two versions : One – “Signature plus” covers all year ($1049), the “signature” pass covers 350 days (minus coverage for peak periods around holidays) cost a mere $849.
Disney World (the one not in California) has a “gold” pass with 335 days of access for $549. The full Monty (or equivalent without the Male stripers) is $829. Continue reading..