Papua New Guinea Mike

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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6 Nations Rugby & Sunday Funday in Big Smoke

You might as well add another sporting event that I have been exposed to that you can drink like a fish, and cheer for the home team! I recall one summer I was down in San Pedro Belize while World Cup was being played. Mexico was playing that afternoon and the entire town came to a halt to watch the match. As luck would have it while we were in London we were going to be in town for England National playing the Irish team. You could tell that on Saturday it was game day because the pubs were busy.

For those of you who care, the teams that make up 6 Nations are; England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland, and Wales. To understand the game it is similar to football but without helmets or pads. Oh and unlike College or Pro the place kicker is actually the person who scores the touchdown (I don’t know the proper name) and they don’t have to rely on someone who has one job. I like it already

Papua New Guinea and Lady E met us up for some pints and we were also lucky enough to have a drink with JD from Las Vegas. We enjoyed some light fare and many pints that afternoon and had a great visit. Oh and it was a bonus as England won handily and they were chanting that they wanted Clemson next.

Sunday we headed over to China Town to see Jimmy’s Mum & Pop and enjoy some good Chinese food with questionable rude servers. After our meal we walked around and checked out some of the museums on a Sunday. Not a bad way to spend the weekend catching up with good friends. I told my boss on Tuesday “I know you will find this odd but we have some friends who live in England.”

PNG Mike took no expense and got us a nice table to watch the match.
Sorry Ladies, we are both taken.
Lady E is going to break some hearts. Of course Tio Robo and Uncle Mike will make sure that any suitors will be properly vetted
Pro Tip – Go watch this with people who know the game and it will be more enjoyable.
Hanging With Lord Jimmy and his mum. Pop is taking the picture
This one is for you Nova
He is really standing on a bar stool.
Getting ready for the New Year
Royal Academy of Arts
Anyone recall Doctor Bob. This is very similar

It was great seeing everyone and thank you for taking time out of your weekend to spend time with us. You are welcome to our joint on this side of the pond anytime.

The Stereotypes of London

We have all heard or even mentioned them; cold & rainy weather, shitty food, warm beer, bad teeth, no ice for drinks, I could go on for days. Honestly, to visit London/The Big Smoke in late January/early February you should expect the above mentioned weather. The weather last weekend did have temps in the mid 30’s with Rain/snow on Friday however, on Saturday we actually donned sunglasses with temps in the low 40’s and Sunday was pretty much the same as Saturday. To get snow in London is like getting snow in Memphis….the city shuts down. Papua New Guinea Mike told me to be ready for delays but thankfully the Tube was running fine on Friday morning from Heathrow.

Regarding the food sucking, that is a down right lie. We ate some great food while in Big Smoke. Friday night Geranium and I had dinner near the hotel and found a great Brittish/Gastropub that was unbelievable. Saturday while watching 6 Nations (I will get to that later) we dined on traditional Fish & Chips and had a wonderful drunken food Saturday night meal. Sunday we ate in China Town with Jimmy’s Mum and Pop and that evening we found a great restaurant in Covent Garden.

Regarding the last of the stereotypes; making fun of the English for having faults is like Americans acting like our Commander in Chief is a normal fine upright citizen. Yep, we definitely didn’t leave London hungry or without enough to drink.

Traditional English Breakfast – Baked Beans, Tomatoes, Mushrooms, Sausage, Eggs sadly no Black Pudding today.
Braised Ox Cheek and Hasselback Potatoes – This was good
Ahem DR – Look they have their coat hooks eye level and they are just fine where they are. It is time pull the trigger and get hooks at Lisa’s bar!
Shepard Pie (yes I know its boring) but this dish was featured on one of the Andrew Zimmerman food shows and it was devine
Skirt Steak and Caramelized Onion for Mary Louise (we had Mac and Cheese and other food)
Normal Tap Water by UK standards
Look at all that ice in my “Soda Water” and notice where that Lime is. NFL My Friend!
Thank God we brought our shades. Background is the Queens Pad.

I will put out a couple more posts to annoy some of you!

Where Have You Been and What Are You Doing This Weekend?

Apologies to my 14 readers, I have been kinda busy as of late. Mary Louise and I had some friends in town and went out to ABC Cocina to have lunch with them on Saturday. We hadn’t eaten there and we had a great time catching up. That evening we went back into the city and had dinner with the Landlord at a Little Italy establishment. Sunday Mary Louise headed out on the road and is in Spain for a couple days. Then she goes to France for a couple more days. Then she finishes up in London this weekend. 

Because I am such a humanitarian I decided to head across the pond on Thursday night to hang with her over the weekend. Granted because she has her a nice hotel room in Westminster close to the Thames river doesn’t suck. As of now we have plans to see Papua New Guinea Mike on Saturday and The Thompson’s on Sunday. Other than that we are going to wing it. 

Got my teef polished last week and good news! No Cavities!
Also got the Shoes polished too! This is UWS Holly’s favorite place!
He is wearing my skull cap!
Anyone Getting ready for Lent and those great Corny Lenten Jokes
For you who are keeping score

I will keep you posted!