Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Big Shopping Day

So today was the big day to go out shopping, for Chris. We were going to Odel's which is a big fancy clothing outlet with some eateries and household stuff.

Spent five minutes trying to find my BlackBerry when I realized I must have left it at work, but that didn't matter as it hasn't been working lately. Obviously not so important to me. What I really needed from my BlackBerry was the number of a trishaw driver I wanted to call.

Decided we would just grab a trishaw from across the street as there is a trishaw station srand there. As we walked across the street there was the guy I was looking for, he was happy to see us.

He took us to Odel's, it was a short ride if you know how to get there.

The place was a mad house, wall to wall people. Lots of clothes that's for sure!

I finally broke down and bought some foo foo cologne, got to do it sometime, Hugo Element.

We had sushi at a sushi bar and cold coffee and a doughnut at the doughnut place.

Had the driver take us to a shopping mall. Three floors of shoes and clothes. I picked up some great linen pants, they had the tag removed, my guess they were Banana Republic pants. Great price, about $17.

Came back home to relax and I went out to get some curry to bring back to the apartment. I also got some chocolate mousse but after reading the ingredients not sure if I can eat one again. Creme, eggs, chocolate, oh my!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The trip to the airport

Had to go the airport to pick up some items for work. It was this big orchestrated affair beginning with the mucho important faxes. Got to send faxes out to a whole bunch of folks at the airport who in turn have to send return faxes. The Sri Lankan guy who was helping with the faxes had me redo them at least six times. On my way to the airport I get a text message from him "Do you have your copies of the faxes sir?"
More on this.

I have a special badge that gets me access to all areas of the airport. Funny thing as I walked around all of the secure areas of the airport nobody looked at me twice or asked to see my badge but when I was leaving I was stopped twice to check my badge.

I had to meet the plane at the tarmac and it had to have been the craziest and most dangerous tarmac I had ever been on. I threw on my reflective vest very quickly. Forgot my ear muffs, it's loud on the tarmac.

Everything worked out, got what I had to get and not a glitch.

Came back very early in the morning. There were dogs lying in streets everywhere! That and must have run into eight army checkpoints.

Nobody asked for any copies of the faxes.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Worst Flight Ever!

My beloved is on her way from the States to Camp Colombo. She departed yesterday from Norfolk, VA.

We have this challenge game of sorts we play, being that she or me had just completed the worst flight ever.

I had held the record previously for my 3 day jaunt from Norfolk to Montevideo via JFK and Miami. That mission resulted in long delays in New York, a canceled flight resulting in a overnight stay in a run down Ramada in New York followed by a glitch of sorts starting the plane in New York resulting in at least an hour or more delay at the ramp followed by mechanical problems in flight to Buenos Aires resulting in rerouting the flight to Miami followed by hectic crowds at gate trying to rebook our flights resulting in a overnight in Miami (Okay, not so tough). I eventually made it to Montevideo. A 13 hour flight from Washington took 3 days.

So I get points for switching carriers (Delta to American at JFK), long delays, international flight, long haul flight, and multiple days.

My beloved is officially over the middle east right now on her way here.
So far she earns points for:

Stress and tears (No points for tears, counts for a tie breaker)
Confusion at ticketing (Never good)
International Flight
Business Class upgrade turned down because of no pets in Business Class (Quite possibly worthy of winning with that category alone)
Long Haul Flight
Multiple Time Zones
Switching Carriers
Reclaim pets and go through customs and security (Bonus points)
Long Delays (See
Changing Carriers
Running through the terminal (Bonus points)
Questionable Carrier (Sri Lankan Air, hmmm)
Last but not least a one hour ride back home.

Oh did I mention she gets here at 04:45! Talk about oh dark !

Yes she takes home the trophy!

Thank goodness I have an expediter when she gets here, basically he will take all the cat paperwork and her passport, take her to the front of the line at customs and passport control and get us out pretty quickly. I also hold a special airport badge that gets me access past customs and passport control so I get to meet her soon after she gets off the plane.

My employer is picking me up in a pretty cool Toyota Landcruiser. The driver asked me if it was big enough, I said I hope so!


Wednesday as I was going to work the apartment receptionist told me that my housekeeper had called and that her home had flooded and she wouldn't be coming in.
I knew this wasn't good.

When I got to work I heard that there were people from work who also had their homes flooded. It must have really rained pretty hard Tuesday night.

I work a half day on Friday so it's my only day to see her and talk to her. As she smiles away and makes curry for me she says the water was 3 feet deep and everything is ruined.

I don't know what to say but, I'm sorry.

She tells me lunch is ready and politely leaves the room. Awhile later she returns and asks if she could get her salary, she needs things, well I guess so. I tell her no problem and she hands me an envelope from the apartment across from me, which she also cleans. The gentleman who lives there wrote on the envelope that he is going away for a week and told her not to worry about coming over till December 1st. Well she was pretty upset. One, she thought he had left her salary in the envelope, it wasn't, it was just a notice from the apartment building and two, she was afraid that he wouldn't pay her for the week. That and, she needed the money.

I could see she was crying. I think a combination of being in the situation she was in and the embarrassment of asking to get paid earlier and probably because she felt she was bothering me as I was at my laptop and I told her I would have to go get the money as I didn't have it.

I went to the ATM at the mall and withdrew her salary and a little more, bought her daughter a Kinder Joy egg (German chocolate egg with a toy inside).

It is raining pretty hard right now. I am going to give her some extra money to take a tri-shaw home, hope she does as there is lightning flashing everywhere.

Count your blessings.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Beached Barge at Virginia Beach, VA (Sandbridge)

This big bad boy broke away from it's tug during the recent nor'easter and floated to the beach, within 100 yards of a fishing pier.

There are few article on iReport (CNN) as well as Flickr and the like. Here is the local papers take on it:

Thanks to my bro' Paul for the vid, with cameos by Dad Meyer, Merle Ann and GiGi.
Check out Paul's other YouTube vids and subscribe.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Church Bazaar

Just returned from a church bazaar. All sorts of hand made goods and lots of goodies, can you guess which I indulged in? Hmm, mmm, iced coffee for 20 Rupees a cup, around $.15, wow, talk about sweet and strong! I went back for a second cup and they were sold out.

There was supposed to be a fancy dress competition. The idea being that the church is so multinational that maybe a few folks would dress up in the attire of his or her country and have a judging competition. I thought that would be interesting except the only entrants were some teenagers with a large letter taped to their shirt and they said they were undercover superheros. I think the letters may have represented their first names. Really the only person to show up in traditional garb was the reverend who being Scottish showed up in his kilt.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Book Corner - Finished Reading

Odd Hours by Dean Koontz
397 pages

Well this was a huge departure from the usual spy thrillers I've been reading. Admittedly I wasn't exactly sure if I would continue reading the book after the first chapter or so. As a Christian I'm not "into" ghosts and spirits etc. and this was somewhat about that, but not entirely.
Strangely I liked the main character and although the story line was way out there, it wasn't a bad book after all.

I am hardly a book critic. Please visit Amazon for better reviews of this book : )

Ackward Situation

Slept in a little late and decided to go to the gym at work. As I was walking through the lobby I look at one of the offices and notice that everyone is standing up, hmm, why is that? I walk a little further and notice one of the guards seems to be standing a little straighter, I then notice some people in the hall had stopped. What's going on? Then I heard the music, apparently the Sri Lankan National Anthem.

Well protocol dictates that I wait for the anthem to finish. Well I see people walking through the lobby, so I walk out and look, and the entrance guards are standing and the people in the bank are standing, now what.

The entrance guards smiled and acknowledged me, so I kept walking out. I should have waited.

So I asked my housekeeper just now if this is a daily thing and she said no, but once a month.

Happy Veterans Day!

On the eleventh month on the eleventh day at the eleventh hour, the guns fell silent.

Happy veterans day to all who have served!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

I Hear The Train A Coming...

So as expected I have gotten pretty much used to the trains, hard not to. What annoys me the most though is the occasional horn blast. I have noticed though that the conductors kindly keep it to a quick blast in the wee morning hours and just a full out assault later on during the day.
And I know why they sound their horn as they approach my apartment, not because it's a good opportunity to annoy the residents but because the train goes around a curve and under the street right after the apartment. Thus alerting anyone (Who shouldn't) be on the tracks around the corner or I can imagine homeless people in the tunnel trying to stay dry.

I have noticed the older the train, the louder they are.

I was watching a video the other day about Sri Lanka and see that there is still a carriage car off the tracks in the southern part of the country. Victim of the tsunami. I see a train that goes by with the same color carriages. Reading some news articles I see the train that was victim of the tsunami was coming from Colombo which makes sense.

Friday, November 6, 2009

The Fort Hood Tragedy

I settled in at my desk this morning and saw a news alert in my inbox. When I read the headline I just had to shake my head in disbelief, as probably many people all over the world probably was doing as well.

There will be much to be said about this, and I'll let the radio and tv talk show hosts have at it.

For now, I think all we can do is pray for those wounded and recovering in the hospitals and for the comfort of all the families, be it those who were killed or wounded. Amen and Amen.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Rain Rain Go Away

Its been raining pretty much everyday day towards the evening. It wasn't raining on my walk home today but the clouds were very dark. My protection from the rain has been a military issue camouflage poncho and an umbrella, works well, if it isn't windy. If it gets very windy and I have to walk then I'll skip the umbrella and use the hood that comes with the poncho.

Funny thing is that the glass ceiling tiles in the office attached to my apartments leak everywhere. Often times when I go to work in the morning there is a clean up crew mopping up the puddles.
The restaurant here also has a few leaks as well. They collect the water in wine buckets. Also they put cloth napkins in the wine buckets so to dull the sound of the rain falling into the bucket, otherwise, ding ding ding.,%20Western

4 days forecast


Chance of Storm
75°F / 91°F


Chance of Storm
77°F / 93°F


Chance of Storm
77°F / 84°F


Chance of Storm
77°F / 84°F

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Book Corner - Finished Reading

The Sigma Protocol by Robert Ludlum
Paperback 707 pages

This book took me forever to finish reading! Came close to putting it away for good a couple of times, but I usually finish the books I start reading.

The end of the book started going a little overboard with what I call "the bad guy dialogue", as in, I'm going to kill you after I completely explain my evil plan etc.

Love Robert Ludlum's Bourne series, but pass this one up.

Field Day

For young Marines living in the barracks Thursday evenings invokes one special memory, field day. Cleaning every corner, everything is moved and cleaned, it's a super clean up.

Sundays here the cleaning crew arrives and it's field day. Mostly older ladies, barefoot, tackling everything. I think they go a little overboard sometimes as they take an electric floor polisher and scrub the driveway and sidewalk in front of the office building attached to the apartments. Men set up scaffolding and clean windows and incredibly enough clean the glass that makes up the ceiling, crazy. I say crazy as most of the glass is badly cracked, the balance themselves on the beams that go across between the panes.

Well, so I thought that was bad. The other day when I was at the pool I looked down to see this barefoot guy on top of a corrugated tin roof scrubbing away at the grime with a scrub brush and hose. That's so bizarre on so many levels, first his safety, but who is going to notice? Only people that live in my apartment. And who cares?

As of yesterday he had scrubbed about 1/4 of the roof.

The Long Walk

Yesterday I decided to go for a long walk. I headed toward the Galle Face Green, amused by the fact that no 'touts" (Con artists) approached me on the way (They would come later).
I passed the Galle Face Green and walked past a hotel only to come to a road block and some guard telling me I couldn't go any further, you think so? So I had to double back, which I found myself doing a few more times.

It was crazy hot and the humidity was awful.

I'd find myself at a traffic circle with no real way of getting to the other side short of just running across at the appropriate time. Hard to explain or visualize.

This young kid approached me with the elephant festival scam, I noticed a tri-shaw close behind him. I realized he had gotten out of the tri-shaw as they work in teams, looking for tourists. Oh tri-shaw, no more tuk tuk, like a tri-shaw driver told me, only Americans and Europeans call them tuk tuks, they are called taxis, tri-shaws and three-wheelers here.

Back to the kid. I decided to mess with the kid, act excited, like a dumb tourist, only his English wasn't so good. So when I am tired of all of this and cannot believe how stupid he is as I am acting like the most gullible tourist and when I finally explained to him that I live here and know that he is a 'tout' he didn't understand. The tri-shaw driver understood, he explained it to the kid, or so I thought, as the kid still didn't get it. I just walked away which I should have done in the first place.

I passed some busy, noisy markets, I had to have been the only Westerner.

It was pretty hot and all I needed was one tri-shaw driver to ask me if I needed a ride and I would give in. When one of them did ask me, I jumped at the chance.

This also served a purpose. How? I wanted to see how to get back to my apartment! I was surprised to see that all I had to do was turn right and keep going, and going and going, but it was the main drag.

I will have to say Montevideo was so much nicer a city for going on long walks. All I had to do was leave the apartment and go right or left and ended up at the rambla and I could walk unobstructed for miles.