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About Ryan

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  • Birthday 10/19/1969

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  1. "Colectivo" taxis in Havana are public taxis that basically act like small buses. They follow a route, well mostly, or at least sometimes. Since 2011, they have been able to pick up foreigners. You'll recognise them. Pre-embargo cars, not nicely fixed up, with a taxi sign in the front. If you ever need a very cheap (cents) way of getting around Havana in something not remotely approaching comfort but in the mood to have a laugh with some locals, they're the way to go. They have their own sign language, see video More here http://www.cuba-junky.com/havana/colectivo_taxi_havana.html
  2. Let's talk Steak

    The best steak I've ever had was in San Sebastian 2 years ago. There's a place called Bar Nestor in the old town. They do four dishes, steak is one of them. The get the meat from aged dairy cows (vaca vieja). Most beef worldwide is from animals slaughtered at 18-30 months. This beef comes from dairy cows that have been retired out to grass and slaughtered at 14 - 18 years. You choose your cut, it's usually very thick sirloin on the bone (T-bone without the fillet), then it comes out to you about an hour later. Salt is the only seasoning. Rare is all they do. The age of the beef gives the fat a deep yellow colour, it's not "cut with a spoon" stuff but the deep, intense flavour is extradorinary. Well worth it if you're ever in that part of the world. Review of the place here, with pictures of the steak. https://meatandonevegblog.wordpress.com/2018/04/26/bar-nestor-san-sebastian/
  3. Sitting in a mess-tent in the desert in Morocco with my wife on our honeymoon, for dinner with a tour group. There were about 4 places free at our table. I saw a waiter leading a group of 4 French girls to our table, I heard one of the girls protest to the waiter "pas avec les Anglais". I hadn't studied French in a while but I remembered enough to spend the dinner asking them for the condiments in the loudest cockney accent I could muster. My wife, bless 'er soul, played along perfectly, innit?
  4. I was watching a wildlife documentary in a bar in Chicago in the late 90s with a female friend. She asks me "What kind of animals do you have in Ireland?" I decided to have some fun. I told her we have feral giraffes. An English landowner had one male and 4 females escape from his menagerie in the 18th century and they went feral. But due to inbreeding, they got shorter, 6 feet tall, and turned green, probably an evolutionary camouflage thing. As they're an invasive species, there's open season on them for hunting, though we only eat the neck steaks, they're a delicacy. Her response "Really? I never knew!" "No. We don't have short green giraffes in Ireland. We have badgers." She's coming over for a visit in September, she still remembers the giraffes.
  5. Blowfish

    I don't think hangovers are such a bad thing. They're a great natural warning system. If a smoke alarm goes off in the house, we don't just tape a pillow over it. Considering the cause is sometimes a useful exercise! I'm just saying. Of course the saying "do as I say, not as I do" also comes to mind!
  6. I knew a woman from Chicago who, in the 1980s, got travelers checks for her honeymoon, in Wisconsin. Standing on a beach near my house in Dublin, a tourist pointed at Howth (a peninsula about 5 miles across Dublin bay) and asked me "Is that London?" One of my favourites, a fake-news website here (actual fake news, like an Irish version of "The Onion"), Waterford Whispers News, published a story that North Korea had announced they had landed an astronaut on the Sun, pretty funny. http://waterfordwhispersnews.com/2014/01/21/north-korea-lands-first-ever-man-on-the-sun-confirms-central-news-agency/ They got an angry letter from The North Koreans, that starts off "Our Glorious Leader with the full might of his Army seeks to make you aware of an error in your trusted news article." Full letter here. http://waterfordwhispersnews.com/2014/02/08/so-we-received-this-letter-from-north-korea-last-week/ The same news site, During Barack and Michelle Obama's visit to Ireland printed this piece. http://waterfordwhispersnews.com/2013/06/17/there-are-some-seriously-ugly-looking-motherfuckers-living-on-this-island-michelle-obama/ Again, pretty funny, then some news outlets across the water picked up the piece as being real. You never can tell.
  7. The Auld Alliance

    Have fun guys!
  8. A lot of this is media hype. Knives are not banned in the UK. There will always be boy scouts and hunting is still popular. A group of boy scouts camping, or anyone else camping or in the countryside and they have pocket knives/pen-knives, fine. Somebody out stalking deer with a rifle and a knife to clean the thing, fine. Three kids on the tube or the bus late at night in the city and they have hunting knives or kitchen knives, well that's worth questioning, and I think that's fine.
  9. I noticed a decline in US travelers last November and a bigger difference again in February/March. On the way from the airport to my casa in March I asked the driver had he seen many Americans recently, his response was "Zero". Last year at festival time, Fabrica de Arte, for example, was filled with young (18-30 year old) Americans. Very very few this time. The Hemingway house tour was packed last year. I didn't go this year but saw some friends pictures, it's much different, very quiet. Some places are still very busy, the Bodeguita del Medio is still basically no-go and the Floridita full all day, still busier all the time than it was 3 or 4 years ago, both those places look like mostly tours from cruise ships. Prices for accommodation, hotels especially, have come way down, casa particulares not as much yet but I know a lot of those owners have invested a lot of money for the new business and are probably a bit slower to bring down prices. I still know quite a few Americans who travel to Cuba on individual licenses. I spoke with three or four US tour operators to Cuba in the last couple of months and what they say is while the rules haven't really changed all that much, the perception of the rules has. Travelers are now much more unsure of what the rules are and tend to go to easier destinations.
  10. Cuba November 2018

    I'll be there, 10-18 Nov, sharing the same house with Rob and Stuart Fox that we had last November. It's about 100 yards from Santy's with a comfortable covered smoking area for probably 30 people. Foh-ers welcome for a smoke, possibly a rum or two..
  11. Great video Nino! Thanks for sharing that. I hadn't realised I got so fat! Must work on that.

    Can't make it this year Gino unfortunately. I know there are a few of the Dublin contingent going.
  13. 1 Box from Cuba

    Plenty of Sir Winstons on the shelves during the festival. 331 cucs per box. I suppose plus 10% or so when paying in US dollars. Usually it's 3% to use a credit card. As long as your credit card works in Cuba, i.e. not a US bank issued card. Try the shop at Club Habana. Trinidad La Trova, 150 cuc for a box of 12. Very hard to find. Talisman, 331 cuc (as well) for a box of 10. Also very hard to find. I didn't see any Noellas this year (122 cucs for the jar), there were a couple of jars left last year. I did see quite a few San Cristobal Torreon jars on the shelves at 498 cucs per jar. Good price. The shop at the Conde de Villanueva had 3 or 4 of these jars.
  14. Anybody coming to Ireland, get in touch. There's always a cigar to be lit.
  15. Partagas Encuentro 2018

    Just back and going through emails but I remembered this thread. I can confirm it is the week 12 - 16 November. I confirmed that with Heriberto at Partagas on Tuesday morning.

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