Category Archives for "Cleopatra"

Garlic Bread and Circuses : The Philippines garlic shortage

Smuggled Garlic crushed

Smuggled Garlic crushed

Delicious longganisa served for breakfast

Delicious longganisa served for breakfast

Imelda to prophet

Imelda the prophet

Dahlings, During my trip in Philippines, I got to do something that reminded of times of old – I read the paper versions of the newspapers that were delivered daily to my room. Since I had quite a few moments of no connections, I took time a read to see what is going on with the Philippine chattering classes.

If you didn’t know that the gentle people from Philippines all have nicknames, then the headline story about “Bong being turned in” would make you question what on earth is going on. The actual story was of politicians being busted for fraud and embezzlement.

However, what caught my attention was another ongoing story: a shortage of Garlic. Apparently this was more important to the people on the streets. Even one of Cleo’s Filipina managers, mentioned it. A story about customs seizing a ship full of Garlic made front page. It was even an editorial in there under “Imelda was right”.

Why is this some a big deal: it is a key culinary ingredient of Filipino food. For breakfast, garlic rice. For Lunch also. Guess what then is for dinner?

It is not just rice but Garlic is of course used elsewhere. I got to eat delicious Philippine breakfasts for 5 day in a row. A favorite was the longganisa. Yummy. Philipine star had this as a main story: Garlic prices push cost of ‘longganisa’.

The good news is that the shortage will likely end after the rainy season.

I let out a sigh of relief . With such Garlic shortage, I was glad I was not visiting the Carpathian mountains in Central Romania.

Ciao for now,

Delta Skelter : Stuck on the tarmac


Queue of planes waiting to take off at Detroit airport

Dahlings, on the US final leg of our return Asia trip, our plane was stuck on the tarmac at DRT waiting for a take off slot. One hour later, the pilot announced that we were number 9 in line. We had no explanation about the delay but that was the end of the good news.

The real news they wanted to give us was that because of the time incurred, the cockpit crew would be exceeding their Federal limit for flying even if they could take off. The result was the plane returning back to the gate to get another crew.

When back at the gate, I posted this event on facebook and one of my Roam’n friends, Andrewmicus, commented “DELTA = Doesn’t Ever Leave The Airport” which cheered me up quite a bit. I like that.

After getting a new crew and having to refuel again, the outcome was the flight arrived at our destination 2.5 hours late.

Still it was good of Delta to express empathy for the delay: Everyone on the plane was offered a complementary cup of water. Thanks..

Ciao for now,

This is just Nuts


The warning label on the Delta Vegerian Cavier

Dahlings, I was distraught to read the warning label on the Delta’s vegetarian caviar known by the Plebeians as “Peanuts”.

It turns out the peanuts were produced in a facility that processes…peanuts.

Ciao for now,


Arms and the man: Strange hotel rules


Firearms rules at BCC

Dahlings, I got a kick out of this. This “Firearms” rule has to be one of the strangest for any accommodation establishment that I have stayed in.

Cleo was going to complain about it as it is rulerist – Dahlings, I AM a Roam’n Emperor and in my prior gig, Queen of Egypt etc which is much better than any President- then I remembered I don’t have any such items anyhow. Silly me.

Good news is that there were no rules about asps, so I’ll just put them in the wicker basket marked “For laundry”. Nobody will disturb them there.

Ciao for now,


What a Sock of Crocs: The Censorship of poor dress sense

Dress code at Baguio Country Club

Dress code at Baguio Country Club

Dahlings, I was tickled pink hearing about the dress code of Baguio Country Club where I am staying. I have never heard of a “No Rubber Slippers” rule.

Not only that but it  rule that says “we don’t care about who you are, the brand or how much it cost you” !

I just love this. No Crocs. Finally, a place of decorum.

Not only that but tank tops, mini-skirts or mini-shorts are not allowed.  On the first night on the Veranda, an American party being turned away for well, dressing American. Tee hee.

Thinking this is an attempt to subtly control the influence of American poor taste, I didn’t think about it until I was visiting the Cathedral at Baguio. Low behold, I spy yet another dress code. This time it cannot be aimed at the Yanks but locals. Oh dear. Armani, where art thou?

Ciao for now, Cleo.


Dress code for Baguio Cathedral

Dress code for Baguio Cathedral

Highway to Hell: A trip up the mountain with a maniac driver

Back seat view of ride to doom

Dahlings, little did I know that I would be following on to my prior article so soon:  the one about a demon attacking an aircraft engine mid flight and the traveler going out of his mind.

Cleo is in Philippines and traveling with a colleague from Manila to our final destination of Baguio city. A car driver was there to pick us up from our Makati hotel and Manila traffic was relatively light. Once out of Manila, the journey took us up the North Luzon highway and the driver followed the speed limits. All seemed to be good. All very pleasant and relaxing.

That is until the North Luzon highway ended and old world Philippine roads began. Since it is the rainy season with the weather forecast was for rain for next 7 days, it also started to rain. However, the rain was really Rain not rain.

The change in roads and weather was the cue for our driver to change gear from cruise to maniac. Overtaking, undertaking. Straight roads, blind bends. School zones, countryside, towns.  Motorbikes, Jeepnies, pedestrians, dogs, cattle all had to obey the tooting command from our car horn to get out of the way.

Even Cleo’s Collegue who comes from an old world country, was mortified with what we were seeing. Visibility was terrible and many oncoming drivers didn’t have their lights. Even when the car’s back end skidded going around bends and we climbed into the hills, the driver did not relent is his mission.

Good news is we got to our destination safe albeit very early.

I now understand why the Philippines is such a religious country: Any moment now, you may be meeting your maker.

Ciao for now, Cleo.

Captain Kirk goes Beserk : William Shatner’s original twighlight zone

Dahlings, Tomorrow I must endure a long haul flight. Being the minx that I am, I have previously joked about the “Twightlight Zone” movie and the gremlin on the wing tearing up the engine, but only one passenger can see it. The passenger who eventually goes crazy, was played by a much younger John Lithgow. Nobody in my entourage remembered it so I was looking it up for them.

Well, Roll me over in the clover. Youtube didn’t have full version of what I was looking for but I found instead something I haven’t seen. The 1963 original. Guess which Thespian played the passenger: it is Cleo’s longtime friend, William Shatner.

I am sure Priceline would be delighted in using this footage. They should put it under tips for nervous passengers : Tip #1: get an isle seat.

I eventually did find my other dear friend Johnny “JoLi” Lithgow’s version under Vimeo. Dahlings, here it is for completeness.

Ciao for now, Cleo.

The Nightmare at 20,000 Feet" - 1983 Version


In the event of a water landing: Mom cleaning up seat after ‘todler accident’ causes JetBlue flight to return to gate

"Manneken Pis in Brussels" licence : Myrabella.

“Manneken Pis in Brussels” licence : Myrabella.

Trajan was initially a bit perplexed on the story hitting the interweb about JetBlue and how a Flight attendent treated a mother whose 3 year old daughter needed to go potty while it was queued up on the Tarmac before taking off.

The story was that a Mom was refused permission to take her 3 year old daughter to the restroom and ordered to stay put in their seat. The tot ended up wetting herself and when mother stood up the clean it up, the FA called into the pilot who turned the plane around to return to the gate, announcing over the intercom that there was a “non-compliant” passenger on board and they were bringing her to security.

The good news is that she was not arrested and allowed to stay on the flight. It turned out that a fellow passenger was an off duty Pilot and stood up for the mother. The other piece of the information to put some context to the story is that the plane had already waited 30 minutes on the Tarmac and the airport was JFK, a busy airport.

We see both sides:

  1. The FA whose responsibility is to keep passengers seated as anytime the flight could be taxing for takeoff. In fact on a recent International flight, we saw one Idjiot stand up while taxing down the runway to open the overhead to get something out of his bag. The FA screamed down the Tannoy “SIR SIT DOWN NOW” to which he turned around with a “who me?” look. He quickly sat down as plane started climbing.
  2. The other side is that as a mother, she wanted to not to want to have her daughter sit in pee while in public.

Continue reading..

Coaching 101

Dahlings, So the Prince Of Wales flew coach on his way from Memphis to Dallas.

It is a mistake any blue blooded person could make.  The poor boy: a simple misunderstanding between American English and British English.

Let me explain:

  • British: COACH: A means of luxurious transport attached to horses with a driver called a coachman. Often used for short distances between your Palace and the Abbey.
  • American : COACH:  A Compartment where the Colonials rustle animals in as small a place so they cannot rest comfortably, fed as little as possible and abused by their captors.

Ciao for now.



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