On the road with CT

One Year Ago Tomorrow – We Lost A Great Traveler

I recall it like it was yesterday. The first text came from GrainbinGirl at like 7:AM (6:AM Memphis Time) then the next came from Pepe. “Anthony Bourdain was gone and by his own hand.” *Disclaimer – I have lost many a good friend and family member by their own hand. This post is not in any way shape or form trying to speak of this horrible disease. Sadly it takes too many good people*

Best Friends

So the loss of Antony Bourdain has bothered me for a while. Now that I have just finished up on a whirlwind tour with Shawna (yeah, I am serious when I use real names) I miss him even more.

Tunisa

For this post I plan on speaking about some of Tony’s quotes that I hold dear to my heart.  His friend Jose Andres said it best in his latest book in the tribute;

To our friend Anthony Bourdain, who spent his life planting seeds

That man put a bunch of seeds in my head and I owe it to him to make them grow and experience some of what he got to see. Let’s be honest….the Cock Sucker had the best life in the world and I am so grateful that I can try to do as much as I can!!! Enough with the chatter. Here are my favorite Bourdain Quotes in no sequential order and some notes;

  • “Travel changes you. As you move through this life and this world you change things slightly, you leave marks behind, however small. And in return, life — and travel — leaves marks on you.” – Loved my trip to a small town in Switzerland. You don’t get the same experience in the larger towns. Here I was just an American who couldn’t speak French and didn’t know I needed to bring a bag.
  • “If you’re twenty-two, physically fit, hungry to learn and be better, I urge you to travel – as far and as widely as possible. Sleep on floors if you have to. Find out how other people live and eat and cook. Learn from them — wherever you go.”Or if you are 49 years old do this and load up on the ADVIL! I am not going to lie, the travel I did to see Shawna was tough but I look back and loved every minute of it!
  • “The journey is part of the experience — an expression of the seriousness of one’s intent. One doesn’t take the A train to Mecca.”I landed at Heathrow exhausted but figured out the Tube Schedule, walked my ass through the rain and got to the hotel. I could have wimped out and paid a King’s Ransom for a Black Car but what is the point if you aren’t going to see and experience Rush Hour into London on a Friday?
  • “I’m a big believer in winging it. I’m also a big believer that you are never going to find perfect city travel experience or the perfect meal without a constant willingness to experience a bad one. Letting the happy accident happen is what a lot of vacation itineraries miss, I think, and I’m always trying to push people to allow those things to happen rather than stick to some rigid itinerary.”This was 100% Barcelona! I only had a list from The Notorious NFG but it was going to be a total wing it. I love that town. I want to go back and I want to go back now.  
  • “Drink heavily with locals whenever possible.”No Comment
  • “You learn a lot about someone when you share a meal together.” – Loved our visit with English Mike & Ellie as well as our visit with The Tour Agent and Curly Sue in Switzerland. I know that our paths will cross again and when it does. I plan on picking up from where we left off.
  • “Your body is not a temple, it’s an amusement park. Enjoy the ride.”It is very well documented that I smoke cigars, drink alcohol on occasion, and need a cholesterol pill. Sure, I try to keep myself leaning towards the cleaner side of life but what’s the point of living if you can’t slide down butt naked on a sheet of ice. Yes, I ordered the damn goose liver and I loved it!
  • “I learned a long time ago that trying to micromanage the perfect vacation is always a disaster. That leads to terrible times.”I am hoping she never reads this but I so disagree with Z-Squared and her guerrilla vacation tactics. I love her to death and will be that “3AM phone call guy to come bury a body” guy but I can’t vacation with her. Let that shit roll off the back.

And will I finish with this one. I will always have the deepest respect and love for Ernie and Lynn Mellor for giving an out of work carnie a job.

  • “Barbecue may not be the road to world peace, but it’s a start.” – Nothing is better than standing over a hot smoker busting balls and or discussing life. I am always appreciate of the visits with the Asian Fireman in Woodlawn.

So, if you have not figured out by my already 900 words this is telling you to go out and explore. It doesn’t have to be in a different country. It can be in a different part of your home town.

All you have to do is be friendly, be respectful and always be humble.

How cool would it be if you were having a lunch on this beach?

Rest in peace Tony. I am still pissed I didn’t get to drink with you at Billy Mark but that is more for a selfish reason.

To honor you I will try to see as much of this world as you did.

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It’s Friday Bitches!!!!!!! We Made It!

To my 7 out of 15 readers who are not from Memphis; there is a DJ in Memphis who would scream her battle cry “Its Friday Bitches!” on Fridays when she opened her show. Naturally “The Lady Killer’s” best buddy, Christopher Blaine Jarman would bring it down a notch and just say “It’s Friday Snitches” because he was the afternoon guy and he knew that kids were in the cars at that time. Shout out to the Jar!

I have had a couple of people ask me what the hell is going on since I have been on a Blog writing tear lately. What can I say, when Geranium is back in town the world revolves better. Thank you to all of you who commented on my Say No To The Bag/Styrofoam post because that has been on my mind for a couple of days since my return from Switzerland. Actually last night I went down to Target to get a couple of things and naturally I brought my Old Lady Cart and LL Bean bag. The cashier informed me she is required to put scanned items into a bag because it is a security issue. This is going to break TCB’s Mom’s heart but Target is a huge contributor of plastic bag waste. Even though I was putting the bagged items in my buggy the bitch still double bagged it. I counted 16 plastic bags after I got home. They got to do better!

Anyway here are some pictures that I have taken for the past 3 weeks.

Prayers for the Repose of the Soul of James “Jimmy” Farrell a classmate of mine. He was the type of a person who would give you the shirt off of his back. 49 years old is just scratching the surface and prayers to his family and also to the Class of 1988. Honestly, I am most sad that I was not able to attend our reunion last year and get to see him. To be around him was a good thing. Sadly It seems like we have been losing a classmate every 6 months.

Jimmy, I will see you on the back nine or at Buckley’s Bar on Poplar and I appreciate all that you have done for the reunions. Nobody can ever replace your spirit.

Saint John Baptist de La Salle…..Pray for us.
Recall when I said that Cooking For One Person SUCKS? I broke out some stale French bread that Geranium and I didn’t eat so I made some Catalonian Tomato Bread this week. I hate messing up the kitchen.
We are now in 2 Handkerchief carrying weather. One is for my sweaty ass and the other is always for a lady that may need one. Is this something that a 90 year old Southern Gentlemen would do? I think so.
Wait till Tay-Tay or Anna Copacabana is at The Double Decker Tourist Tour Bus Ticket Sales office and needs a napkin. #RoboCares
Not a Molatov Coctail – Vodka Soda and Tea in a Light Bulb!
Speaking of Vodka Soda or Tonic…..
Don’t give me shit about my hat…I like my Silence of the Lamb’s Hannibal Lecter Hat. Wait till I wear this thing in the UES!
Insert Chelsea Handler Nugget Food Joke here
The fiscal year ends today at midnight. Everyone has been blowing out vacation since we can’t carry it over. I haven’t done shit this week.

Have a good weekend Folks.

Carbunkle is on his soapbox again

Now I have to come clean with you 15 readers. I really enjoyed my trips over to Spain and Switzerland to see Mrs. Trumpet. But what I am about to tell you may shock some of you. I really enjoyed being somewhere that has their shit together when it comes to the environment. Relax, I am not going to be chaining myself up to any trees or will get involved in the ongoing debate about Tom Lee Park in Memphis. I am referring to the way that in both Spain and Switzerland they have their shit together with recycling and the banning of plastic and Styrofoam.

Case in point – my corner deli and frequent breakfast haunt. While I was living the bachelor life I would head down there and get me some eggs, bacon and sausage. I would get a single use Styrofoam to-go container, take the container to be weighed and would have to almost yell at the cashiers; “I don’t need it in a bag or any utensils” and they would look at me like I told them I wanted to sleep with their sister. All I was doing was walking upstairs to eat it at the apartment and I have all that shit here. Why do I need to create more waste if I don’t need to? 

If I got a San Pellegrino, they would be trying to put that in a plastic bag and also throwing in napkins and a straw too! I can’t fault them, they are ingrained that everyone wants a bag and everyone needs a knife, fork, spoon combo kit. Seriously, how many of your offices have that drawer with all the ketchup, utensils, soy sauce and millions of napkins. The worst are the food delivery guys. You are delivering to a residence, I bet if you had an option to not get all that crap with the order maybe they would knock 50 cents off the order. Whole Foods does that if you BYOB.

When in Switzerland on Saturday morning I ventured out to get hydration supplies. Traveling 10 hours and then drinking enough booze to sedate a small city does tend to make one thirsty. I walked out onto the plaza and found the Coop supermarket. 3 big 1.5 L of water, 2 Coke Lights and I was ready to go. I get to the cashier and she looks at me asking if I had a bag. With my limited French and her lack of English she informed me that they don’t have bags and I have to bring my own. Try carrying 5 big bottles with a Class 3 Hangover two blocks and not drop anything. Was I kinda steamed? Yep. Why don’t you carry bags Coop Supermarket? Oh, wait why is the Ugly American bitching? Shut the Fuck Up Carbunkle Trumpet and do better.

When they announced the ban on bags here in New York you should have heard the people bitching. “What do you mean I have to pay for a bag? This is an outrage!” Personally, I think that we should all adopt the Aldi Supermarket model. Use a quarter to rent a cart and you bring your own bags or buggies. Think about it, for all of you bitching about the Kroger on Union Avenue how nice would it be with no carts being left in the parking lot? Sure, the number of bums waiting to take your cart would be epic but that solves a lot of problems there. The plastic bag issue….I now carry a couple of the plastic shopping bags that can be balled up into the size of a pack of golf balls. This also limits me on picking up all the big stuff and I am making the environment better. Now I can feel no remorse when I am clubbing the hell out of that baby seal!

Ok, I am nearing 650 words and I know that some of you are losing interest.

Do you know how many of these are flying around the city a given day?
Our Bags for Shopping when we head out the door
I have one of these in my briefcase for when I pick up stuff before heading home
My Old Lady Cart
Seriously, how great is this idea?

But seriously folks can’t we all do better?

The Trip to Switzerland to see Geranium

Since we made the trip to Barcelona during Beale Street Musicfest I decided that I would head to see Geranium while The World Championship Barbeque Cooking Contest would be going down. My plan was to again fly out on Thursday and take the Red Eye into Geneva, CH. Geranium was staying in Neuchatel which is about an hour and a half by train from Geneva’s airport. Zurich is 2 hours and my return trip would have been a pain in the ass.

Cleared Customs by only getting my passport stamped and rolled over to the Train Station which is in the airport. Was able to get on a train that was leaving in 5 minutes so off I went. I was texting Geranium who had to go to Bern to do a training so we were probably going to miss each other. Thankfully I got to see her and grab a quick kiss before I had to find the apartment in town.

Neuchatel is a quaint little town on the lake. Naturally it was raining when I arrived *Papa New Guinea – I think all it does in the EU is rain!* I found the apartment and Marco was nice enough to let me in and show me around. The place was nice, hell it was bigger than both of our New York Apartments combined! I showered and made my way to search for some breakfast/food. So with smaller towns in Switzerland they really don’t cater much to tourists so trying to find a menu written in English can be a challenge. In Neuchatel the primary language is French. I took Latin so I was fucked. I did find a nice Brasserie and the waiter was nice enough to speak English to me. I asked her to bring me the most ordered item on the menu. When the food came I was about to eat a fucking Cheese Burger. Oh well, next time maybe.

I was losing steam so I figured I would swing back to the apartment and grab a quick nap before Geranium returned. When she returned we headed out and had a couple drinks and bounced around town finding some of her haunts. Had dinner at an Italian Pizzeria joint and finished up having last drinks near her apartment.

Saturday we were to go over to Lausanne to meet up with one of Geranium’s work peeps and his wife. They live in town about 10 minutes from the lake and have a killer view of the French Alps. They are here for a short term relocation which probably will end up longer. Whereas I sell double decker bus tickets to tourists, Geranium and K-Man “The Travel Agent” sell cleaning solution for bed pans. He and Curly Sue have a very nice 4th floor walk up apartment and we enjoyed a nice afternoon drinking the local refreshments.

We left Lausanne and arrived back in Neuchatel, found a place to grab some take away food, and promptly went for last drinks. Sunday morning I arose and you know how my travels back to see the Monkey head went. It was a good visit and I was glad to see where Geranium had been living and meet some people she has been spending time wiht.

Looking at Neuchatel from Lake Neuchatel
At least it wasn’t raining
The water was so clear. I was told by The Travel Agent that it is all glacier fed lakes
Boat Storage Lockers – Seriously look how clear that water is. You don’t see that in the Hudson or East River.
A chocolate store in Neuchatel
Oh yeah, you have to have the logo chocolate
Saturday is Farmers Market and it is packed. Sunday by the way the town rolls up the sidewalks and everything is closed
Fruits and Vegetables are cheap, Main Proteins are muy expensive
Grilling up Sausages
These guys were working their asses off making Sandwiches for the masses
Making Risotto. They had 2 of these going at the same time. Incidentally this is the same Paella Pan that Patrick from The Majestic uses
What the Fuck? A Swiss Smoker? Say it ain’t so!
I have to say, the Alps are fucking cool to look at.
I had entrée envy.

Again thanks to Curly Sue and The Travel Agent for a lovely afternoon on Saturday and for showing us around town. I could get used to Switzerland but I really need to experience the two major cities to give a proper evaluation.

Playing Russian Roulette flying Standby – Sometimes it may taste like Lead Sandwich

What is the old saying, you ride her until she bucks you or you don’t ride her at all. (I am talking about riding a horse you sick fuckers) That is what happened to me on my last leg of my 3rd international trip in the past 60 days. That my friends is a good damn run if I don’t say so myself. Let me explain.

To get to Geranium over in Neuchatel Switzerland it goes down like this;

  • Subway from Brooklyn to Penn Station
  • New Jersey Transit to Newark International Airport Train Station
  • Air Train to Terminal C
  • United Flight from EWR to GVA (That is Geneva for you non airport people)
  • SBB CFF FFS Train from Geneva to Neuchatel
  • Walk down a ridiculously steep hill that you will now worry about on your return trip into town.
  • Boom you are there. Total Travel Time – 10 hours give or take

So my return was a little tricky. The flight from GVA to EWR was at an hour that would have made me get up at an ungodly hour on Sunday and the SBB CFF FFS Train was running local so it would have been worse. I found a GVA to Washington Dulles that wasn’t bad and the commuting flight from IAD to EWR was still open. There was another direct flight from GVA to JFK but it was fairly booked so that was my back up plan if I couldn’t get on the Washington DC flight.

So the return trip looked like this;

  • Bus up ridiculously steep hill from town to Neuchatel train station
  • SBB CFF FFS Train from Neuchatel to Geneva
  • United Flight from GVA to IAD
  • Clear Customs walk to the gate for IAD to EWR flight.
  • Find out that you are in position #20 and there are only 8 available seats. TRANSLATION – YO ASS AIN’T GETTING ON THIS FLIGHT
  • Find that there are only 2 remaining flights from IAD to EWR/LGA and they look fairly full.
  • Uber from IAD to Union Station to take Amtrak.
  • Amtrak from Union Station to Penn Station
  • Find out that original flight is now delayed 55 minutes due to weather
  • Arrive Penn Station at roughly the same time I would have if I actually got a seat on that booked flight.
  • Subway to Nevins Street
  • Hug and Kiss Maya! Total Travel Time – 19.5 hours and out train ticket ($200.00) and Uber Pool to Train station ($40.00)

Folks that is a win in my book! I told my former Domestic Work Wife that you have to get creative when traveling. Not only do you have to find additional flights and where hidden cities are you may have to rely on back up cities and train back in. We are talking seeing the Matrix kind of shit here folks.

Shout out to the hardest working people in the airline industry. No I am not talking about the pilots or the STB’s. I am talking about the flight attendants and anyone in HR. You are the real MVP!
Couldn’t get a seat up front but I got the next best thing. 3 seats in the bulkhead.
Neuchatel’s Train Station
Coming in Hot to Geneva
As Homer says on occasion “DOH! You better have plan B ready for the return trip Carbunkle!”
Oh look its Caterpillar Dealership
This flight was thankfully wide ass open! I guess not a lot of bankers want to go to Washington these days. Now I bet the flight from Russia to IAD is always packed.
Yo Holmes, Can you turn on the air a little bit more. It is 87 and I am getting ripe back here!
When you are almost to Philly and you get this notification. I chose wisely and am only out $250.00

Long Story Short – be flexible and always have a plan for back up. It was great seeing Geranium even if it was a short trip. I got to see Neuchatel. We went over to Lausanne on Saturday and met up with some of her work peeps who are Ex-Pats here for at least 3 months. Oh and we drank some beer! Thankfully Geranium returns this Thursday!

“The Sure Thing” – No I am not talking about the 1985 John Cusack Movie

Incidentally did you know that this movie was one of the only few movies that John Cusack didn’t also work with his sister Joan? What you think that all I do is sprinkle the word “Fuck” and take half ass selfies? I have another side of me. I just can’t see it because I am too fucking fat.

Regarding the title of this worthless dribble I am referring to the the weather. I was on the phone with someone from the home office in Memphis yesterday. There were some issues with some Double Decker bus tickets that I sold last month and I was trying to get it handled. While we were waiting for her computer to finish the report we were talking about the weather. She said that it was raining in Memphis yesterday and I said of course it is raining. It is Memphis in May and it always rains during Memphis in May.

The person from the home office laughed and didn’t realize I used to live in Memphis. I told her that there are 3 times in Memphis when you could predict the weather;

  • The Hottest day of the year – Dead Elvis Week.
  • The Coldest day of the year – The Liberty Bowl Game
  • 100% Rain on a certain day – Any Memphis in May Event Day

Now I would like to add a 4th Sure Thing to that list;

  • Want to know when it will rain in New York – Just wait till Friday! It always rains in New York on Friday!

Enough words, here are some pictures from the past 2 weeks that have been in my iFoam.

So good to see Joyce a couple weeks back! I didn’t hear of any flooding at the Yale Club! We need to go back to Cozumel!
Meh.Com gave me a shout out and is now reading this worthless dribble
Speaking of BBQ Fest!
Go Netflix this movie. It is great! I saw it on one of my many flights.
Sunday was a nice day at La Playa
We may have drank some Gin Tonics here on Sunday
LVD – They sell Corn Dogs in Spain!
No that isn’t a urine sample. It is Lemoncello!
That damn Picasso sure didn’t paint much inside the frame did he?
The Shit you see in Barcelona!
Narrow Streets with little signage. It can drive one a tad crazy but that is why you drink wine
OTB we found your boat!
I don’t think that RAB reads this worthless dribble but who knew Picasso was a fan of Nuggets

Have a good week I am going to try to get over this sinus infection that I got from flying to the EU last weekend so I can do it all over again next weekend!

Barcelona – The food and Drink an Ashley B picture post

As I previously mentioned HERE we were really blown away by how great Barcelona was on our long weekend trip. What really shocked both of us was how good all the food was. From simple cut fruit cup in the market to tapas at one of the celebrated tapas restaurants we never really encountered a bad meal there.

First of all one needs to visit La Boqueria on Las Ramblas. Don’t worry Cay-Kee, I have a list ready for you. Same for you Tay-Tay, I got you boo. No seriously La Boqueria is a 500 stall open air market that offers pretty much any type of food that you can find in Spain. We figured that if anyone who lives in Barcelona that they would shop for at least one or a lot of your weekly meals. The food was that good.

Ok enough with the words. Let me Ashley B’s the crap out of this post with some pictures. Oh and if you are a fan of Gin Tonic’s or cheap good red wine then you need to put Barcelona on your list. Enough Said!

No disrespect to The Rendezvous but this is a helluva Meat and Cheese Plate
Gin Tonics with all kinds of botanicals
Some of the best Paella we have ever had!
Want some Ham Carbunkle and Geranium? Is the Pope Catholic?
Sadly they wouldn’t let me put that in my carry on bag
It was like eating a gum drop
Peppers as big as your hand
Shit I forgot to take a picture of the food at Cal Pep
Why yes I will have a fancy drink
This is my kind of ice cream cone!
Yeah, it was a good trip

Like I said, you need to put Barcelona on your short list if you like good food and drink.

Carbunkle Trumpet and Mary Louise Take on Barcelona – And that town ROCKS!

When Geranium was in the planning stages of being based in Switzerland, we decided that I would try to make 2 trips over to see her. With it not being the tourist season yet the chances for me to fly stand-by would be better than average. The plan was for me to come during Mother’s Day weekend; possibly to Spain and we would see what the schedule will allow. That changed two Thursdays ago when she texted me saying she would be in Barcelona over Cinco de Mayo weekend. Carbunkle was booking some stand-by flights with a weeks lead time.

I flew in to Barcelona Thursday night on the Red Eye and arrived about an hour late due to rain in Newark. Sadly, it was raining like a cow pissing on a flat rock in Barcelona and did so pretty much all day. I get to the hotel and was able to get into the room where I could take a shower and a little cat nap while I waited on Geranium. Because of the quickness of this trip I really didn’t have much time to do any research on the town but thankfully one of my peers did a semester in Barcelona so she got me the hook up.

So with little to no knowledge of Barcelona, no real impressions or idea of what to expect I went into this trip with an Anthony Bourdain outlook. As I was heading back to the airport yesterday early morning the cab driver asked what I thought of his fair city. I got to be honest with you 10 readers. Barcelona FUCKING ROCKS! Would I have put this on my short list of cities to visit? Nope! Would I think that the food scene here is comparable to New York and much cheaper? Nope! Did I expect that I would find the narrow ass streets and old-world charm neat? Nope!

Seriously, if you have never thought about a trip to Spain and to spend some time in Barcelona you are missing out! More to come on this.

This is Aldi’s in Barcelona, They allow dogs to be inside the store near the front door.
Narrow ass streets that are not very well marked can make one crazy. But when we get crazy we go find wine.
The Catherdral…..in the freaking rain
Cab into the city. Love the balconies
Fucking Gate Lice!

More on this trip in the next posts.

Some Pictures of London

I have been remiss in posting these so here is a bonus Post Presidents Day entry for you 15 readers. We had a blast in London and hopefully we will be doing something like this again in the near future.

Regarding London, it was great seeing PNG Mike and Lady E as well as Lord Jimmy and his parents and seeing Vegas JD was a bonus too.

Had no idea that the Landlord has such a following here in London.
Parliament they seem to have some issues much like we do. To quote Jimmy’s father “Please don’t impeach Trump, if you do then we will be the only assholes with issues!”
I think that I have drank some Gin with picture of that fella on it
Sure you can always get a selfie of Buckingham Palace but can you get a bird to stop in mid flight for a Photo Bomb?
10 Downing Street or Number 10 depending on who says it.
Man I have smoked a bunch of this man’s cigars.
I know some people from Whitehall!
Hey Look Kids, Big Ben, Parliament….and Fucking Cold ass Rain!
Too bad we didn’t get to see Master A as we were told he is over 6 feet tall.
Driving on the other side of the street can confuse you

Oye Ceras, por favor, no te bajes la pierna. Es considerado grosero por los estándares de inglés.
I passed on the Ribs at Harrods
Always loved Peter O’Toole
As I have heard that the Angel of Darkness has fallen ill, I am wishing I saw this show while we were there.

It was a great time and we will be back!

A trip to the Track

Springtime in Memphis would normally mean one thing for us. Frequent trips to Hot Springs Arkansas to bet on the horses at Oaklawn. We hadn’t been to any of the tracks up here so this past weekend we decided to head into Queens on the A Train for a trip to Aqueduct Race Track.

For those of you who have never played the horses Aqueduct runs from early November to mid April and their big race is the Wood Memorial. Typically those horses that win the Wood will be running in the Kentucky Derby so it attracts some good horses and jockeys. Having never visited Aqueduct but hearing all kinds of opinions we were wide open with our expectations.

For you Memphians who play the horses think Southland Greyhound park but with Long Island accents. We found what I would equate to as the Jockey Club in Hot Springs but with an overpriced buffet and a very expensive beer list. We had a good time and thankfully the racing Gods were good to us and we broke even.

It is nice jumping on the Subway to head to the track.
Slow crowd on a Saturday
From the Jockey Club(ish) area
Having all these be Maiden Races is hard to handicap so I went with Names, Pink Silks and Grey Horses. Beach Access was a winner!
Chuckles let me down!
Damn Chuckles!

It was a good time and we were able to check this off the list. We will probably be back for the Arkansas Derby.