Last pictures from France

I have been home for almost a week… boy it is nice to be home.   I do miss France already and I want to share some “final” family vacation pictures.   I have already posted “typical” tourist pictures… and have saved “my kind of pictures” for this last post.  I hope you enjoy these unconventional vacation pictures.

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We took the TGV last Sunday to Paris the night before our flight home.   Isabelle’s sister and nephew took us to the train station and you can see them in this “selfie”… (is it still a selfie if there is a group?)

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I love the TGV and they have an interesting  advertisement campaign this year.   Here is an example of one of those advertisements.  Ben and I decided we could create one as well using a phone and Gwen.  (Ben’s sister… while she was sleeping)

 

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Sorry GWEN

 

 

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We love you…. Gwen… couldn’t resist… and had to post it twice…  (never gets old)

 

I have more advertisements…. I saw one for an Opera the first day I arrived in Strasbourg.  I am not much of an Opera guy… but if this publicity is anything close to the actual opera I really want to see it.

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I wonder if severed head “kissing” causes this opera to receive a Mature Audience rating

This was not the only “gore” based advertisement.  I saw another and at first I thought it had been “vandalized”… As I looked closer I realized that it had not been… it was designed this way.  (oh those edgy French)

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Kind of gross huh…

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Speaking of gross…  This is the toilet paper at my mother in laws house.   The “Soft & Saugstark” made me wonder… what is “saugstark”?   I decided to “google translate” this…

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I had assumed that “saugstark”  was German… but google tells me that it is Norwegian for “Juicy”.   I was using “SOFT and JUICY” toilet paper…  hmm   Gross.

Boy… I know this is random… and it is only going to get worse…

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This sign makes me laugh… “French but wild”…  Made me think of a new coffee table book title… “Where the wild things are… France”
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I drove by this tree in a small village… I thought it was paint at first… but it is actually wrapped in some kind of fabric
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Sam took this one for me…   Maybe just a bit too much detail?… I think I  we all get the idea…   the yellow part is not needed.
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In walking I noticed these ridged tiles every where… finally figured out they were for the blind… they show… (by texture) where to cross the street  and the nearest one shows where to catch the bus
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Do you every wonder where “delinquent” light poles hang out?
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SDF means “Homeless”… and this was on the front of a store.  Not sure I understand exactly what this all means… lots of “X”s… but the two that aren’t…  what do they mean… You can hug and charge batteries in their store?
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Bartholdi’s home town… Colmar.   Strange to see a model of the statue of liberty in the middle of the road.
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hmmm…. is this bad? or am I a bad person because I think it looks cool?
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Sometimes I wished I didn’t speak/read French… I would have assumed that this was a sign that didn’t allow mimes… or invisible walls constructed by mimes
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Ya… I can handle anger… but “rage’ scares me…
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This was in the front door of a store… I am not sure what it is suppose to do or be….there is something oddly suspicious about this fake dog
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Here is a frozen yogurt store… pretty cute… except the odd milk wavy thing in the middle…
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Here is a product called “eat me”…   do you think it is food?  Sure would be a horrible name if it was hand soap or worse rat poison!
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Everyone to the ice skating rink!   Babies included… Boy are they “customer greedy”… anything for a dollar… (don’t worry baby heads are soft… nothing bad can happen)
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This is a “PSYCHOGENEALOGISTE” office… I had never heard of this before.   I asked Isabelle if you went there and a “PSYCHIC” told you about your ancestors.   She says this was a “PSYCHAITRIST” who tells you which ancestor you can blame for all of your mental illnesses… (not sure which is worse)

This is all for France… Hope there was at least one picture that made you smile!

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Home at last…(Cruise ends)

Sometimes good things have to end and so it is for my cruise with Isabelle.   Today I went to work and realized that I need a rest break after that vacation.  ( and no… I am not talking about a rest break from my wife… ).  Most of the cruise pictures were serious… and that is a little bit out of character for me so I wanted to summarize this “cruise vacation” with a series of weird pictures. (Hopefully they are weird… I lost the weird contest so I am worried that I am loosing my touch)

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The boat had lots of original art work… and several art auctions… Here is a fine example and although it is not on velvet… it should have been…  
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Here is more art… not sure why the eyes are x’d out… “Knock out his teeth”?   (That is mean)
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And you can see that the fun doesn’t end once the teeth have all been knocked out!!!  We have an artist who really hates clowns
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Speaking of clowns… doesn’t this vacuum look like it should be used by a clown.   By the way… isn’t the carpet horrible on the ship?
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There were lot’s of signs… my wife found this weird.   This was on the running track… but it was not the weirdest thing I saw while on the track.
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Is this a warning… or instructions for some weird tagging game.
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I noticed these evacuation stations. At first this looked fun… almost like you were sliding down an esophagus…
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Then the second sign showing the do’s and don’ts of esophagus travel… scared me.   This looks way to complicated and I can’t tell what the one on the left is doing wrong. 
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Speaking of danger… would you sit at a beach that had this sign?   A niece of ours recommended that we go to this beach in St. Martin.. stating that it is the best beach because  planes land and take off right next to it.  I think she might have something against us

 

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Here are more signs from the track…  They do everything to get you to spend more money… but this seems extreme stating that I had best spend it now… since I may not last

 

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It is good to know that you can’t dump garbage into the sea… You would think the sign would just leave it at that… but it had to list that there were “allowed” exceptions under MARPOL..  I had to look this up just in case I fell under the “exception” clause (sounds fun throwing things off the back of the ship)… sadly I don’t meet any exceptions…   Ironically certain Oil Tankers do… no sure that sounds right or fair.

 

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Speaking of garbage… this place doesn’t allow dogs that poo garbage.    And if that isn’t garbage… I really wonder what that dog ate.

 

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Who doesn’t love sheep with flags…  

 

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and canons that love you?

 

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Finally a sign that makes sure that one doesn’t forget manners when taking selfies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

India 2017 part 1

I arrived in India after 25+ hours of travel… The worst part of all of that travel is that my bum hurt.  (not sure I should be sharing that… ).   At a previous job we always flew business when travelling internationally and my backside was never sore… (hmm still reads strange).   There has to be something you can do to make sitting that long bearable. I wanted to ask my co-sitters but I couldn’t think of a way to politely ask without sound creepy. “Excuse me does you bottom hurt?”… or “Do you have any ideas on how to keep you butt from hurting?”… nothing sounds stranger appropriate.   (I would love for you to leave a comment with any flight bum advice you may have… wow even that sounded creepy)

It was 1:15 in Mumbai when we landed and by the time I got out of the airport it was after 3:00 am. (Bottom was still sore).   I was delayed a bit… something about the visa control guard not thinking my passport picture was me and me stating that I am obviously much more handsome in person.(jesh… no sense of humor.. I was a bit worried that I was going to be taken to the “Secondary Questioning Cell”… it was actually labelled that way and “Cell” is a scary word.  I tried to take a picture but it wasn’t allowed)

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Here is my first India “travel” tip.    If you arrive in the Mumbai airport, especially at night, don’t leave the airport without going up to the departure section.  Arrivals are on the bottom floor and you exit into basically a parking garage.  You will not think much of what you see but if you take the escalators up to “Departures” you will have a stunning view of the airport.  I couldn’t get my co-workers to do this… but I captured this picture to offer all of you a small glimpse. (something about wanting to sleep… or maybe they were too embarrassed to talk about their bums… I guess butt talk is not co-worker appropriate either)

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I stayed the night (just until 11:oo am… that is 3:30 am to 11:oo am) in a Hotel next to the airport…  Hilton Mumbai International Airport.   This is the second time staying a brief moment in a hotel near the airport and I can say that I have yet to be disappointed.
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Hotel main floor just past the lobby…

 

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My hotel room… (feel like I just invited a bunch of strangers into my room… hmmm)   There was a curious note on the desk stating that for my privacy I should leave the curtains closed… (No one can tell me what to do… so I opened them and it was dark outside)

 

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In the morning here is what I saw from my window.   Not much of a view although I was fascinated by the bamboo…

While eating breakfast we noticed workers at the back of the hotel.  A co-worker, lets call him Nate said I wonder if they are not wearing shoes because they don’t have them or is it part of the job.   (We are all not use to watching construction workers who are barefooted)

I sat and watched these workers who were preparing to paint the outside of the building.   They were setting up bamboo scaffolding.   I have heard of this but have never seen it done…  I was fascinated as I watched them tie the bamboo together with jute ropes.   It became a little more precarious as they started tying the bamboo to posts and the fence near the building.   I then became extremely nervous as I watched them climb (no shoes help them climb) the shaky structure and add more bamboo…   crazy… plus they laughed at me watching and taking pictures. (I am sure they were saying “stupid tourist” in hindi)

Here are some pictures showing them build the scaffolding.  They had harnesses but I did not see any of them tie themselves to the structure.

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I also went for a short walk before getting in the car to be driven to Pune.   (My bottom still ached and I hoped the walk would help…)   I would like to share some picture of that small walk towards the airport.

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This was early morning…  and even with no traffic there seems to be the common presence of chaos.   If you look at the cars you will see they are all going in different directions.

 

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I love the idea of a tree being allowed to live even if it is blocking over half of the side walk

 

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Across from the airport is this river…. or as my nose would say… open sewer.

I want to add some “Weird” pictures before I end this post.   so here are three!

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This is one that my co-workers found hilarious… I didn’t get it and was told to look “blue dart” up in the urban dictionary.   (I don’t think I will explain it but if you are curious you can do the search as well…  more potty talk)

 

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I am starting to believe that India has a real spitting epidemic…   I posted earlier two signs and saw this one while riding to Pune at the toll booth.   This one adds the “please” and “here”… so it at least allows one to spit…

 

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I stopped at a rest stop on the expressway to Pune.   I wanted to immerse myself in the India pee on the side of the highway culture (don’t tell my wife).   Unfortunately  as I approached the side… I came across what you see here… and honestly  it smelt so bad I lost the ability to urinate…. (in addition to the smell I feared that it was not safe to expose myself under these unsanitary conditions)

Please stay “tuned” to my blog… I have so much more to share and will be sneaking out more when I get the time.

NON-Weird Pictures of the Day (India Part Three)

Before I start showing some photos that make me laugh (or scratch my head) I want to share some pictures that are more normal.  (I think I am starting to worry my wife…)

 

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When I arrived at my hotel room from work (very late)…   I found these roses left for me in my room.   I think the Hotel or someone  that works here must love me!  (hmmm maybe that will make Isabelle worry more)

 

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Last nights dinner… incredibly delicious!   Lamb chops in Jamaican Jerk sauce…   Finally some Indian food that I love…   I can no longer eat “authentic” Indian ever since I visited the office restroom and was overwhelmed with the smell of Indian Curry.   I can’t eat anything that smells the same way going in as it does coming out…   (maybe this might be too much information?)

 

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Here is the office I am working at.  Beautiful area and building!!!

 

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Front Desk for our company… It is interesting that this office is better decorated for Christmas than my home office.

 

 

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This is the floor that I am working on.   What a great working environment…and the employees are as fantastic as the environment.  I am being especially spoiled by the “office boy”… ( feel weird saying that but I was told that was his title).   He stops by almost every hour with water and asks me if I need anything.  

 

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Here is the view I have from the room they have given me to conduct interviews in.  I have been here 12 hours + each day but at least I have large windows and a great view

This is all I am going to share for now… Please check back… I have many more “weird” pictures to show.

 

 

 

 

 

Weird Picture of the Day (India Part two)

Hey… I am sure you are asking for more weird pictures of the day from India… so here goes!

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This is a close up of the feature picture.  I found the amount of satellite dishes on these “humble” homes  surprising.  

I was going to finish this with a bunch of random pictures but I think I will theme the rest of this pictures… so from now on… this post has become…

WEIRD SIGNS

(I think that I have the right to change my mind mid post… hope this isn’t breaking some blogging protocol…)

 

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Here is a sign on the freeway… “OBSERVE LANE DISCIPLINE”.   I found this at first humorous… but after several days I think this is an absolute necessity and I wished more drivers would stop ignoring this advice.
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This sign can be seen in the previous posted video.. but I wanted to make sure everyone saw it.  I am sorry that I have cut off a letter but it reads “ETC LANE”.   This is a toll gate and I am still puzzled about this lane…   what makes a vehicle qualified for the “ETC LANE”?

 

 

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This is on the way into the grocery store next to my hotel…. I got frisked! and   I realized quickly that “Gents Frisking” meant “men frisking” not “gentle frisking.
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At the same grocery store… (actually behind the store).   I saw this sign and I assume “Nothing is Sold Here” to be completely accurate.   Of course I can not be certain of this since  no one was there.  I waited around a bit to see if someone would show up so I could ask them If I could buy something… you know the saying “trust but verify”.

chilled-monkey-brainsI have always wanted to visit India especially after seeing  “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom”.   If you remember there is a scene where they are serving Indian delicacies like “snake surprise” and the famous dessert of “Chilled Monkey Brains”.   My Indian friends have always told me that this was all fiction (bursting my India hopes and dreams)… but I have remained hopeful thinking that they were just “covering” things up.

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I think I now have proof that the Indiana Jones movie was accurate in its portrayal of Indian cuisine.  If you look closely you will see the “FROZEN MONKEY” sign… you will also note how well they guarded this place so tourist could not learn of the real truth
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This sign is found in front of my current hotel.   I wished this sign was more prevalent throughout the city…  unfortunately even if I could make that so… it would most likely be ignored like the “lane discipline” sign

 

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Last sign picture… and who doesn’t love a “FESTIVITY DESK”.   This is in my “festive” hotel lobby.

 

As in the first picture of India post I want to end with a picture that offers a glimpse of how I am experiencing India.

 

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I find this scene to be incredibly fascinating… you may not…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weird Picture of the day (Las Vegas)

I am at the re:Invent conference in Las Vegas for work and thought I would post a quick “weird picture of the day”.   Before I do this I wanted to share a quick look at what I am experiencing…   wall to wall  people (think over 30,000)… mostly geeky people (Having my kind of people around me makes me feel so much more “normal”)

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Here is what it looks like walking around the conference.   I love people but sometimes you can have too much of a good thing.

SO… What did I find in Las Vegas at an aws conference that would excite me enough to create a post? (NO… not strippers…. jesh)

A REALLY LONG FOOSBALL TABLE!!!

 

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I wanted to play… but need 11 other players…  will have to work really hard to make 11 friends!

 

 

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I know that you have been waiting for this… and I don’t want to disappoint anyone… so HERE it is… Pictures of  McDonalds in Europe… (I should make a coffee table book… ) Out of principal I refuse to eat at McDonald’s especially in Europe (can’t imagine not eating the local dishes…) But I have noticed they are very popular and I hear many Americans when I pass by… plus I have to admit that my children love it… and there can be some interesting differences

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McDonalds in Venice (if you need to a bathroom… great place)
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McDonald’s – Strasbourg… (there is more than one but this one is located in a beautiful building… McDo recognizes another McDonald’s in Strasbourg as being the first in France… 1979…   This is not exactly true since they tried to start one in Paris in 1972 but it quickly failed and was shut down…  If you visit the “first” one in Strasbourg it has a plaque… Don’t have a picture it is in a mall and a bit ugly)

 

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McDonald’s Wolfisheim (This is near my Mother-in-laws house… found it fascinating that this one offers table service… meaning they bring the food to your table…   they don’t have plates yet… but they are not far from that… hmmm… )

I could go on forever… but I think that will be enough… will save the rest for my coffee table book.