Have You been ?

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Re: Have You been ?

Postby Selby White » 04 Jul 2020, 11:10

Remember one night in BA we had been out for a meal and decided we fancied a 2nd bottle of wine so called in a small bar not far from our hotel.
There was quite a few local people in and the waitress came over and started trying to explain something and wouldn't take our order, she couldn't speak English and our Spanish is poor .
Anyway she went away and a bloke came over and told us he was a comedian and the bar was booked for a private event and everyone there had paid money to see him.
We said "ok we understand and will go back to the hotel for a nightcap".
He said "No you can stay as my special guest" and got us seated to the other side of where he was performing.

I said jokingly "Don't worry we will laugh at your jokes when everyone else does"

So we ordered our wine and his act started, was funny at first watching everyone laugh and not understanding a thing.
Eventually the wine ran out but his jokes didn't and on he carried.
The problem was from where we were sat we couldn't get out to pay for our wine and leave without been rude and walking across his makeshift stage.
He went on for almost another hour before we could make our escape and the cost of the wine was about £3 in British money.

So what started funny ended up so boring but something we've laughed about a few times after.
Keep your face always toward the sunshine - and shadows will fall behind you.
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Re: Have You been ?

Postby NottinghamWhite » 04 Jul 2020, 11:23

When we arrived at the cruise ship terminal there was no sign of our rep who was going to give us the tickets. We were starting to panic as we had no mobile phone so I made my way to a public phone & phoned their office which was answered straight away but clearly the man answering didn’t understand English. Through the crowds I saw a chap wearing a Luton Town shirt, I kid you not. I went over & asked if he spoke English to which he replied with a heavy cockney accent he certainly did. I explained our predicament he took the phone number from me & called using his mobile. After a couple of minutes he explained the rep had slept in but should be there in minutes. He had said we would wait by the terminal sign & he came with us. Sure enough a couple of minutes later the rep turned giving us everything we needed & didn’t stop apologising. I offered the Luton fan $20 which he declined but said he would love a packet of Benson & Hedges which I happily gave him. He then walked us into the terminal & put us in the right queue ( 4 cruise ships were departing that day & it was chaotic to say the least ) shook my hand & left.
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Re: Have You been ?

Postby Selby White » 04 Jul 2020, 13:21

NottinghamWhite wrote:
Las Vegas - Did two days there ( tbh long enough ) as part of a coach trip on the West Coast. A place everyone should visit but it’s very in your face. People love it I just found it so noisy & busy. The restaurants are world class though, something that surprised me.


The world is getting smaller my first visit to Vegas was on a Golden West tour which started in San Fran and getting to Vegas with 2 or 3 nights LA and Palm Springs.

Remember ordering a side of Onion Rings to go with my steak and this great big stack of them came, enough to feed a small army.
Keep your face always toward the sunshine - and shadows will fall behind you.
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Re: Have You been ?

Postby Sniffer » 04 Jul 2020, 13:44

London
Lived in Kew and Twickenham for about 7 years so made quite a few trips in to the City. Also studied at SOAS for 3 years which is just off Russel Square.

New York
I've been twice and would definitely go back. Before I went there for the first time it didn't interest me in the slightest. Unconscious (and ill-deserved) bias against all thing 'Murican, I suppose.

Paris
Here I witnessed a hat-trick.
I would have been 19/20 and a friend was working as an au pair for some diplomat in Paris. The diplomat and family went on holiday for the summer and my friend invited several of us over for a party. That was her first mistake. News had somehow got around that a party was going on in the diplomat's mansion and friends of my friend turned up. She let them in. That was her second mistake. That the place wasn't totally trashed is a minor miracle but some stuff got stolen. When we left the next day my friend was so scared of what her boss would say when he found out about the theft she tried to make it look like there had been a break-in. Hat-trick!

Rome
I spent a few hours there in the late 80's on a backpacking trip around Europe. I wandered around but wasn't impressed enough to stay the night and got the overnight train to Florence.

Berlin
December 1990, not long after the wall came down. I arrived on the train early in the morning and had a good look around. I would have stayed longer but I had to get the midnight train to ...

Moscow
I should have been here for the New Year's Eve celebrations in Red Square but because of a storm in the North Sea I was running about a day behind. I spent New Year's Eve on an old Soviet train with a broken bunk and a bottle of orange squash. What I got to see of Moscow was impressive and the Underground system was stunning. And then I had to get another late night train. The Trans-Mongolian express to ...

Beijing
Together with friends I'd made on the train (mostly Scandinavians if I remember correctly - one I'm still in touch with) we stayed at the same hotel and organised a mini-bus trip to the Great Wall. It was freezing. I was wearing 2 pairs of jeans, 2 jumpers, a coat, scarf and furry East German Army hat that I bought in Berlin. And I was still cold.
On the way there we stopped at some weird place with various models from Chinese history/myth/religion and, I think, about a million steps up to a bell on a hill. It was like some really crap theme park but we had no context to frame it in.
We also visited Tiananmen Square and The Forbidden Palace, just outside which, on a trestle table was a butchered tiger presumably being sold for Chinese medicine.
But amid the weirdness and the cold and the horror there was a restaurant/bar - just a shack really, with a corrugated metal roof and an open fire - and the lady there cooked brilliant food for pennies. And the bottles of beer were about 10pence. And the squares and gardens where the older people did their Tai-Chi or danced (strictly ballroom). And the revolving restaurant at the top of some building. And the smog and the bicycles and the dark, cavernous train station with people huddled around braziers to keep warm. And the isolation. Total isolation as the friends from the train went their separate ways.
And then another late night train. This time to .. Hong Kong. Sorry SW, but you got the order wrong here. :D

Singapore
Same trip but a couple of months later I'd got a succession of trains and busses from Bangkok to Singapore via Penang. It's definitely doable, SW. Not that impressed by Singapore but I had neither the money or the time to go full touristy as I had to organise a flight to Australia.

Hong Kong
After the bleakness of the Soviet Union and China, Hong Kong was like a neon slap around the face. I was stunned. Literally stunned. As I walked over the border in to HK territory I was so bewildered by the bright, flashing lights that I could not move for about 15 minutes. I stayed in a sleazy flop house/backpackers place called Chungking Mansions. The second night I was there it burned down.
Ok, it didn't really burn down but there was a fire and we were all evacuated to a local school and given a plastic chair to sit on. I decided to take in the nightlife for the lowlife. I found a bar pretty easily. It turned out to be a topless bar that had been used in one of the James Bond films. I was being hassled to order something more exotic than a beer and I don't mean a cocktail. Well maybe I do if I spelled it differently. Anyway, I left and found another bar where other residents of the Mansions were drinking. We were allowed back in to the hotel at about 5:30. Too tired to sleep, I got a coffee and walked down to the harbour to get the ferry to HK Island. I needed a visa for India and that was where the embassy was. Sat on the ferry, The ferry moved off and I fell asleep. I woke up back where I started. I finally got to the embassy half an hour it was due to open and was asked to take a seat. I woke up an hour later with a queue of people looking at me.

Edinburgh
I've been a couple of times. Not nearly enough. Beautiful city.

Sydney
Stayed here for 6 months and loved the place. I was young, Kings Cross was kind of edgy and I saw a couple of the '92 cricket World Cup matches.

Bangkok
Been here twice. Got shot at by the Thai army the second time. May '92: demonstrations against the military take-over, people being killed or disappeared by the government, curfews, buses being burned by the protesters, roadblocks. Could write a book about it.

Copenhagen
Nice place. Went there by train, train went on the ferry. Strange but good.

Sorry. Went on a bit there. But as NW said, so many memories. :)
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Re: Have You been ?

Postby Selby White » 04 Jul 2020, 13:55

Sniffer wrote:
Sorry. Went on a bit there. But as NW said, so many memories. :)


Good read, :thumbup: funny as you get thinking about the places the stories keep flooding back.
Keep your face always toward the sunshine - and shadows will fall behind you.
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Re: Have You been ?

Postby NottinghamWhite » 04 Jul 2020, 13:56

Great post sniffer :clap:
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Re: Have You been ?

Postby Selby White » 05 Jul 2020, 07:51

One of the things I've been doing on my travels is ticking off a list of the highest buildings in the cities I've been to. Lets face it you can't beat a high point for a fantastic view.
Well didn't know before i got there but Santiago has the highest building in South America "Gran Torre" and what a view you get in what I would argue the most beautiful city not on a coast anywhere. A city surrounded by the snow capped Andes in every direction its some special scenic place.
Image

The views don't stop there, not on the picture above as think that is where this photo is taken from but there is a mountain in the centre of the city which also gives fantastic views, took the cable car to the top of that but actually walked down the mountain trail. Met a few doing it the other way around and it was a red hot day :crazy:
Keep your face always toward the sunshine - and shadows will fall behind you.
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Re: Have You been ?

Postby Selby White » 05 Jul 2020, 08:02

A bad next 10 for me only putting my total up by one to 16/50.

Of course that is Barcelona, been on 3 separate occasions, its one of them must visit places.
Will be going back at some stage because Mrs SW hasn't been but she does beat me on this list (a rarity :D ) having been to both Cuzco (Peru) and Ho Chi Min City. Hence the deal I take her to Spain and she takes me to Peru and Vietnam ;).

The list so far is at the start of the thread, whether you've been to one place or all why not tell us about it ?
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Re: Have You been ?

Postby NottinghamWhite » 05 Jul 2020, 08:35

Next 10 -
43. Barcelona
Great city loved Las Ramblas. Did the tour of the Nou Camp which is a great experience for any football fan. Both times we’ve been was on a cruise ship & the last time there was 9 liners docked. Done the city tour which is very interesting.

44. Porto
Went here on a coach trip. Visited a port distillery ( if that’s the right name ) on the Douro River. To be honest it was boring but the glasses of port at the end helped.

45. Kathmandu
My wife’s favourite city, visited twice. One of the few places on the planet that still suffers from smog. Devastated a couple of years back we still have fond memories of Durbar Square which was badly effected. We took a flight over Everest which was amazing especially as one by one we were allowed in the cockpit for spectacular views. We visited Koshi Camp, Pokhara, Nagarkot, Lumbini & Chitwan National ( we arrived by elephant) we heard tigers here but sadly never saw one. Just back to Pokhara we asked for coffee to be delivered to the room at 07:00. Next morning we were awoken by a loud knock on the door. When I opened the door the guy put the coffee on a table on our balcony he then pointed & said Meru & there in all its glory was the mountain also known as The Sharks Fin. Sue appeared & said it’s 04:40. We sat outside taking in the magnificent scenery. Some 20 minutes later Meru was shrouded in mist. Apparently we extremely lucky to see it hence the early call. I’ll add more on this fantastic city later.


Image

49. Cuzco (Peru)
A city high up in the mountains, the night before we flew into Cuzco I was talking to a chap in the hotel bar in Lima & he just said to me at check in insist on window seats & ask to be on the left on the way there & the right on the return flight. We were rewarded with staggering views of this fantastic mountain range & the folk opposite saw nothing. Cuzco is a great city ( in our top 3 worldwide) its very cultural & a great place to stroll around taking in the sights. Beware though the city is almost 3400 meters above sea level, we weren’t affected but some our party spent the entire time there in their bathrooms. We visited the San Pedro market & the Plaza de Armas as well. The weirdest thing was playing darts in an English pub ( the Cross Keys ) & having lasagna to eat.

Running total 23/50
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Re: Have You been ?

Postby NottinghamWhite » 05 Jul 2020, 09:29

On our second visit to Kathmandu there was a general strike taking place where there was violent daily clashes between police & protesters, the police don’t mess about here. We were stuck in the hotel for a couple of days due to this however. Internal flights are a nightmare, one of the few downsides of this fabulous country. Expect long delays & outdated aircraft. We did a couple of internal flights with YETI Airlines I think Nepal’s aviation record is one of the worst there is. Back to the city there are lots of holy men ( Sadhus) especially in Durbah Square dressed in bright orange robes & lots of face paint. Was like something from a Harrison Ford movie. When on tour we had Nepalese cuisine for breakfast & lunch but in the evenings they thought we would like things like Buffalo Cottage Pie :roll: Nepalese food is actually very good. It’s the scenery though that makes this such a wonderful country & the people. Once away from Kathmandu everyone was so friendly & obliging, they literally couldn’t do enough for you. Nepal should be the top of everyone’s bucket list it really is that magical.

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