Archive for the ‘Places’ Category

GO! Smell Barack Obama in New York! his UN debut.

Posted on September 21st, 2009 by Jim

Hi from new york! My Greyline  bus tour was interrupted yesterday as police diverted traffic near the Waldorf Astoria as a Mr Barack Obama is in town for his first United Nations meeting. This likes of Iran, global warming and Afghanistan are on the agenda and I doubt he’ll have time to see the sights!

obama healthcare

As he is right in the middle of reforming Americas Healthcare policy   (I recently watched the Michael Moore film: SICKO and was shocked) what better than to check into the paragon of sophistication: The Waldorf-Astoria: The only hotel in New York to enforce adress code (no jeans, T-shirts, tank tops, or baseba(ll hats in the public areas). Built in 1931 (then the tallest and largest hotel in the world), the Waldorf-Astoria is knownfor  its stunning art deco grandeur.

I didn’t realise that every President since FDR has stayed in the presidential suite AND that Obama can access his Presidential suite without even getting out of his car. There even used to be a secret train underneath the hotel at 49th Street, for high-profile guests that my 7 day metro pass won’t give me access to. Needless to say the bus tour continued

So – if you were to attend this UN meeting what would be top of your agenda and why? Do tell!

GO! Smell coffee from New York

Posted on September 20th, 2009 by Jim

Hi from New york coffee smellers  – WOW, what a place. I feel very connected and part of the film set in this larger than life city. They are filming sex in the City part 2 this week so who knows?!

I’m here on the hunt for good coffee, a potential investor for this here online community and a possible publisher for the book GO! smell the flowers.


With temperatures around the 23 degree C mark and clear blue skies the tour started with a trip up the empire State building (bought a 6 places to see ticket that included the must hear audio tour) followed by a spiced pumpkin latte at Starbucks right next to Macy’s.

Then it was on the hoof to the oyster bar at Grand Central Station followed by cheesecake from Jnyuniors for desert.

All in all a great first half day after a 14 hour flight from Abu Dhabi with the timezone working for me – the 6a.m surise was welcomed as it was mid afternoon for my body clock.

Any New York recommendations welcomed as my 10 day tour starts here. Will probably head for the hop on hop off bus tour tomorrow. Cheers!

Go! And stand on the 4th plinth

Posted on September 15th, 2009 by Lib

Hi, Lib in Manchester here, fresh back from a visit to London.

Whilst seeing a play at the Trafalgar Studios, Kurt and Sid, (it was actually very good, which I think is a debate in itself) we thought it would be rude not have a wonder around Trafalgar Square which funnily enough, is just opposite.

Well, I could have stayed there all day.


Above, is the rather ominous looking 4th plinth in the square, which is currently being utilised by the artist Anthony Gormley in his project entitled One & Other.

There are loads of details in the link, including this one of me ringing someone on the plinth at about the 5.20 mark (it was a warm day and I’d sunk some wine) but in a snap shot, 2,400 participants representing every region of the UK each spend an hour alone on the empty plinth in Trafalgar Square for 100 days and nights. They can do pretty much anything they want although I’m sure there’s a disclaimer somewhere but I haven’t found it yet.


So, my question to you is, what would you do for an hour on the plinth, given the opportunity?

Would you get your jazz hands out like the rather dapper looking chap above?

Coffee working smart thanks to bud light!

Posted on September 13th, 2009 by Jim


YouTube Preview Image

I recently added this to the funny commercials section in forums here at coffee.

Feel free to add yours and your comments on this clever advert from Budlight! Cheers.

The curious case of GO! Smell the flowers

Posted on September 10th, 2009 by Jim

It’s been quite a roller coaster of a year both on and offline and it’s high time the coffee community had an update on the place where it all started – GO! Smell the flowers!  With 3 years of time together we found the energy to finish the book with the ‘keeping it real’ ending which is now complete as we approach prospective agents & publishers with our manuscript complete with the foreword by Allan & Barbara Pease.


As the coffee community is brewing up nicely the flowers site has returned back to the way it was originally with the aim of promoting the book. Feel free to head over to GO! Smell the flowers which will have occassional flower smelling posts as our story is told with more twists & turns than a twisty-turny thing.

Comments welcomed! Cheers.

9.09.2009: Dubai Metro opens

Posted on September 9th, 2009 by Jim

Hi from Dubai  and Choooooo Chooooo to you.

The Dubai Metro officially opens today but the city’s commuters will have to wait another day before they can take a ride on the £4.5bn transport system.Its construction has been the emirate’s largest infrastructure project in more than a decade, and an army of overseas workers laboured day and night to meet the deadline as featured in this random slide show of how it all came together:

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It is the world’s largest automated driverless train system – with just under 75km of magnetic track. The Metro will be able to carry up to 27,000 passengers in each direction every hour.


The carriages boast air conditioning, wi-fi and mobile phone reception while a gold class cabin with leather seats and plush pile carpets offers panoramic views at the front of the train.  Sadly mountain bikes & surfboards will be banned and I’m not aware yet if coffee will be allowed!

Most commuters only care about its congestion-beating ability as this place was bumper to bumper before the economic crash. The ambitious project has had to defend a budget spike of 75% – with the estimated cost rising from an estimated $5 bn to about $9 bn.  The Road and Transport Authority also announced that only 10 of the Metro’s 29 stations would be opened and we’ll have to wait unil March 2010 before the benefits of the system really kick in.

While Cairo and Tehran already have metro systems, Dubai’s network is the region’s first mass transport system in more than a decade. It ensures Dubai’s ambition to be the Middle East’s number one metropolis remains on track but is it sustainable considering the current economic climate?

So all aboard here for comments as the Dubai public transport system gets one step closer to reality. Mind the gap and share your view on public transport right here!

I love Venezia

Posted on September 8th, 2009 by O'DB in the Forest

Back from a long weekend in Venice. Went for the 53rd Venice Bienalle & 66th Film Festival, which are great cultural events, but the city in all its faded glory, burnished with Adriatic sun, was the real star.

Sometimes gets bad press for crowds of camera toting tourists & smelly canals, but out of the heat & humidity of summer (e.g. May or September) & with all those charming kiddywinks back at school, the place is simply stunning: every turn a new picture postcard vista.

At the Film Festival, I saw the latest Werner Herzog offering: Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans (starring Nicolas Cage & Eva Mendes). A strange one for Mr. Herzog & agree with the review’s sub-heading (‘A chaotic clash of art-house sensibilities and cop movie clichés’). Also completely immersed myself in contemporary art at the Venice Bienalle, much like the floating corpse of The Nordic Pavilion’s ‘The Collectors’.


But the real find was Punta Della Dogana, an old customs warehouse sitting on a triangular slither of land at the mouth of the Grand Canal, that has been restored & now houses the contemporary art collection of François Pinault.


The art collection is stunning (e.g. liked the horrific & humorous piece by Jake & Dinos Chapman – ‘Fucking Hell’) & all within Japanese architect Tadao Ando’s breathtaking restoration of the Punta Della Dogana – all high ceilings with big wooden beams, polished concrete & 1/2 moon windows looking out on to the Grand Canal.

Pricey (€20 entrance) but recommended for the coruscating art & architecture within.

Any favourite cities, places, parts within cities or buildings? – with our collective international flavour should be some great insider tips to tap into for future O’DB safaris.

GO! Help nature along on safari

Posted on September 8th, 2009 by Jim

Ever been caught short coffee smellers?


Do tell – who will be the brave soul to bare all in this post and reveal all in comments?

GO! Smell Ramadan part 2: Confession time

Posted on September 3rd, 2009 by Jim

Day 13 of Ramadan here in Dubai and time is flying by. Whilst I respect the customs behind this event I have 2 confessions to make to the coffee community.

1) In daylight hours I recently bought food at a supermarket and scoffed a Paunjabi samosa (that’s a food, not a person) down behind a screen.

2) In daylight hours as it was 43 degrees C I took a swing of water in the car.

Hardly the crime of the century but punishable if court doing these ‘live daylight’ acts. I’d have survived an dgot through the day without doing either but I did.

Britain has talent

Nobody witnessed either event  – just thought I’d share them here and will resist the temptation to enter the next speed eating contest:

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Comments welcomed and I ask you – should all people respect fasting in the day here or just the practicing Muslims? Do tell…..

Again, Devastating Southern California Wildfires

Posted on September 1st, 2009 by Clinically Clueless

ClinicallyClueless aka cc reporting from wildfire country of Southern California actually in between and mostly south.  Regarding the current fires,  information is very fluid, so in trying to write this post it was tricky.  The following video was from Monday morning, August 31, 2009:

Out of date YouTube

It is now Monday evening on August 31, 2009.  And, have things changed.  As the deleted video mentioned, last night it doubled to 85,000. This afternoon I took a nap and ate dinner about 7:00pm and decided to finish this post.  Well,  the Station fire has now consumed at least  105,000 acres.  There are several different fires, but the Station fire is the largest and only has 5% containment and is impacting many cities.  The fire line now extends about 134 square miles.


The fire is impacting four Southern California counties and smoke covers almost all of Los Angeles County.  I’m at the southeastern end of Los Angeles County and when I go outside, I start coughing and my eyes sting.  Even, if you don’t smell the smoke, the air quality is impacting all of the surrounding areas and the wind spreads it. 


Today, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger issued emergency declarations for four counties due to raging wildfires.  This allows the State of California and it’s residents to request Federal assistance if needed.  6,000 homes are now in mandatory evacuation areas and the numbers are expected to rise.


Mt. Wilson, the key of Los Angeles’s communication towers and hub, is within a half-mile of the blaze.  Damage to the towers can disrupt television and radio broadcasts, cellular telephone service, and communication between law enforcement and other agencies.

The loss of the towers on Mt. Wilson would cripple fire, police and other public works agencies across Southern California.  The towers and antennas are used to communicate in the field and relay signals to the dispatch centers. 

“These are extremely-crucial to the infrastructure and public safety protection, and the daily lives in the L.A. basin,” said Mike Dietrich of the U.S. Forest Service.


DC-10 dropping red fire retardant to slow the flames

No one seems to be stating a cause, so I believe that it was of natural causes as our forests if left alone do natually burn as a normal part of the ecosystem.  The area of the flames has been in a drought for more than 3 years and it has about 60 years of dry unburned brush. 

The people toll is something that is just a figure and doesn’t begin to account for the emotional toll on everyone even those not directly involved.  However,  two firefighters were killed and one injured while trying to assist a couple who did not leave during mandatory evacuations.  (They are called “mandatory”, but they can’t force you to leave.  Basically, it is a term for “your home is in emminent danger, so leave!”)  The blaze has burned 53 home with 1000s more in danger and with containment at 5%.

Two residents were rescued and were badly burned as they tried to ride out the fire, but were unsuccessful.  Today, another 5 residents also did not heed the warnings either and it became too dangerous for ground or air crews to rescue them.  After attempts were made, they were basically told to ride it out. (At this point, it is unknown to this writer what has happened to them.)


I pray for all those involved, that the usual Santa Ana winds don’t begin to feed the flames and for comfort for anyone that needs it.  Especially, the firefighters and their families and most importantly those that were lost…I keep becoming tearful…they put themselves at risk everyday.  Please, if you ever are in a situation like this and you are told that you need to leave please do so immediately.  Otherwise you put the rescue workers at risk, take them away from helping with the fire or someone else who may be in danger.

I know that I’ve asked this question before and we have had similar things like this, but what ten items not including family would you take?

Post comments @ coffee!


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