This actually happened to me

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My old friends will already know about this very embarrassing thing which happened to me on a long distance train in China several years ago when I was on a one month backpacking trip by road, rail and air.. It wasn’t the train in the picture but an express train from Hangzhou to Guangzhou (Canton). The journey time was twenty seven hours and we were travelling in a hard class sleeping car.

We were seated in our compartment and seated opposite to us was a very pleasant Chinese couple who didn’t speak a word of English. The train miraculously wasn’t full so we had plenty of room on the seat and the couple opposite placed some full supermarket bags on the seat near me.

About an hour after leaving from Hangzhou I was feeling hungry and we had been to a supermarket in Hangzhou to buy water, tea, snacks, instant noodles, chocolate, biscuits and bread.  I took a plastic bag and started rummaging through it to see what we could easily prepare in our seats. The bag was quite full so I took out many things and placed them on the seats. NSC was also interested in eating and the very friendly Chinese couple opposite were smiling so I took out some oranges and biscuits and offered to them. They were very polite and declined.  I selected two noodle pots because on Chinese long distance trains there are urns of boiling water at the end of each coach for passengers to use for their tea and instant noodles. I again asked the friendly couple if they would like some noodles but they declined with smiles.  I went to make the noodles at the end of the coach and NSC and I satisfied our hunger. I was confused because I couldn’t remember buying the same flavour noodles.

Suddenly it hot me like a ton of hot bricks. They were not our noodles. I asked NSC but he didn’t know. I looked again at the bags and oh my God, I had been rummaging through the shopping of the friendly Chinese couple sitting opposite. I had offered them their own food and we had eaten their food and they hadn’t shown even the slightest annoyance. I felt myself going very red. I felt terrible. I tried to explain to the couple opposite  who had watched the whole thing in silence. But of course they couldn’t understand my words.  I quickly found the correct pot noodles in our own bags and tried to give them to the Chinese couple but they just smiled and declined. I offered them chocolate, red wine, everything I could find but they just declined with grins from ear to ear. I guess they had understood from the beginning that I had made a huge mistake.

This was one of the most embarrassing times of my life.


Stabbings and bombs. Gun ownership. St Cloud shopping mall

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I don’t know about you all but I’m sick to death of hearing the world news these days. It all seems to be about war, violence, killings, bombings, shootings, stabbings and so on. Now we have all the bombs found in New Jersey and New York. I was really shocked to hear about the mass stabbings in the Crossroads Centre in St Cloud, Minnesota. Normally Minnesota is a very safe state to live in but times are changing and nowhere is safe anymore.  A large number of Nepalese students live(s) in St Cloud and I hope that they are all okay. The police shot dead the attacker. I think he was originally from Djibouti or Somalia or somewhere in that area, because of his name. I think that if ever I had to live in the  USA  I would buy a gun for my self protection and to protect the family members at home. Many people think that guns are only for killing but looking at this another way, they are also for our protection and can save lives too.

I hope that the New York Police find the person who exploded the bomb on Saturday before he or they have a chance to plant another one.   Nowhere is completely safe but I’m glad I am in Portugal which is one of the safest countries in the world. Terrorist attacks could happen here too of course. I hope that day never comes.

I took the above picture a few years ago. It is an entrance to the Buddhist shrine of Swayambhunath in Kathmandu. It’s a place of peace. This gate is the start of a long, steep and sweaty climb up to the top of the  hill, to the amazing shrine.

Thanks to my WordPress Friends. Multiply, some random thoughts.

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Although I’ve been a member of WordPress for several years, it’s only now that I’m learning how it all works. I have to say that it’s not an easy site to navigate but at the same time it is a really excellent site with MANY features. And of course my age is against me for learning all these things.  I’ve never ever tried to take a picture with my mobile phone and totally given up on my Smart Phone. One day I’m gonna find out what an app is.  I hate changes and updates and think that in so many ways life was so much better before this rush of technology hit us. I did master that fantastic blogging/social site called Multiply and I’m losing hope that it will ever come back.

After almost losing my mind trying to wade through the hundreds of facebook and WordPress notifications for years, I’ve finally done something about it and now I can easily manage my daily notifications once more.

The best thing I’ve learned about this week is how to manage my notifications here in WordPress. I’ve stopped getting them and instead I use a magic button in the top right hand corner of my site. I’ve found all sorts of great things there. I’ve found out how I can view WordPress members’ homepages and how to contact them.  I’ve found out which comments I must read and who has liked my posts. Now after spending several hours there this morning, I am totally up to date. Thank you Australian for changing my WordPress life for me.  Now I will be able to make comments again without any fear of being overwhelmed by notifications.

The next thing I want to do is to change the way my site looks. I  hate the way it is now and I only got it by accident. I got stumped in the process and couldn’t get my original theme back again. I might come begging for help soon, Pooja.

Last night I got hit like a ton of hot bricks by news of somebody’s death. Hearing about anybody’s death always changes my mood for hours and yesterday was no exception. I couldn’t sleep for hours because of thinking that this person was just not ready to die. I am still thinking and thinking about this awful news.

Life is generally excellent these days. I look forward to getting up each and every morning. It will be much better when all the immigration matters have been cleared and I can start planning and organising things.

Changing the way I use facebook

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So I’m finally doing it and completely changing the way I use facebook. I had to do it because facebook was taking over my whole life and there was little time remaining for anything else.

I don’t want to leave facebook altogether because that would be tantamount to turning my back on years of friendship and that trait should be left to little old ladies in Denver, Carson City or Clacton-on-Sea.  So what I am doing is unfollowing all the mass posters and ignoring all the tags (I hate those because of the days of follow up comments).  I will no longer respond to most shares and anything frivolous.

I will respond to personal messages and posts from my friends, as usual. I love to see my friends’ family and travel pictures. These  measures should bring down the number of daily notifications to a more sensible 20 to 40 instead of the insane hundreds of notifications which I have been receiving in recent months.

I also have to do something about my WordPress notifications now. It seems like I can either get none at all or be swamped with endless comment notifications. I do want to read my friends’ posts and I do want to comment but the problem is that I also get notified of all the subsequent comments of posters and commenters. If I hit the UNSUBSCRIBE button I don’t get to see the responses to my comments either and of course I do want to see those. I’m not sure if there is an answer to this one but I am searching.

I’m sure that I’m going to lose some friends in facebook but only the people who refuse to understand my predicament. But one thing is for sure, I had to do something because I had no life left outside facebook and that was plain crazy.

Spending far less time on the internet. Terrible 727 bus service

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Dai in Saigon, Vietnam

It’s yet another gorgeous morning here in Lisbon and I always feel great on these bright sunny mornings, until I have to go outside that is.  I far prefer being in my cool (relatively) apartment.  That picture wasn’t taken in Lisbon. It was taken a few years ago in Saigon.

Yesterday I had a nightmare journey over to Alcantara. When I reached the nearby bus stop, the arrival indicator said the 727 bus would be there in 50 minutes. That was really long and unusual, even for a Sunday. I noticed four 727s passing in the opposite direction but I had to sit and wait in the hot bus stop for 45 minutes before a 727 came along. The bus was unbelievably packed and the driver did not even open the entry door so I had to squeeze myself in at the exit only door further along the bus. It was impossible to reach the ticket swipe machine so I just hoped that no ticket inspectors would board the bus.  It was ridiculously hot and I had no place for my feet  I hung on to a glass pane near the door. What a relief when my stop came in Alcantara.  I thought that Kathmandu buses were bad but that was plain crazy. Going home the 727 bus was half empty and I had a seat. The airconditioning was working and the journey was pleasant. I never did find out what caused the very long delay with my first bus.

So I’m going to spend far, far less time in facebook.  I’ve really had enough now. I am going to cancel almost all notifications and just keep the people who actually bother to comment under my posts. I was almost a prisoner to facebook, every day trying to comment as much as possible to my friends’ posts.  I will answer all private messages as usual. So when people want to find me, they can.  What I would really like is to have only a very low number of contacts who actually care about me and bother to make comments to my posts.  I intend taking similar action here with my WordPress contacts and only follow the people who actually make an effort to keep in touch and make comments, like my very valued friend Pooja who always makes a huge effort. I know some people will be offended but I don’t know any other way. I am spending most of my life online these days and I have to get myself off.

PS.   Only people with WordPress accounts are able to make comments here in WordPress. But for those who do want to make comments, getting an ID and password takes only a few minutes.

Some facebook contacts blindly click the LIKE under my blog link without even reading what I wrote. They don’t realise that they can be seen in WordPress.  That is really making a fool of me so those people are also going to get deleted.