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FIFA does it’s thing

December 19th, 2016 No comments

I don’t often get too excited about the meanderings of football’s “governing” body.  I’ve watched the corruption allegations get swept as much as can be under convenient rocks.  I’ve observed ridiculous, nonsensical decisions to hold football games in 45C desert heat and wondered if its plain stupidity or there are darker forces at play. I’ve watched the guys at the top compete with the top football athletes (who – god knows – are paid more than enough) for rewards from this game.  All the while ignoring the one truth…

Football – which FIFA purports to represent – is the sport of the average English man, Scotsman, Welsh man and Northern Irish lad.  It’s not a rich mans sport (that tag would be more appropriate alongside a rugby game or perhaps F1) – its the bread and butter of the United Kingdom – the popular sport.  These people have made football the iconic sport that it is, with often hard to defend behaviour by fans fuelled by passion.

Fans make a poppy mosaic before the Wales game

Fans make a poppy mosaic before the Wales game

The same passion that drove these same people in earlier generations to prevail against European aggression and win two world wars. At significant cost in terms of life.

Once a year we remember.  We wear the poppy as a symbol of remembrance.  It’s not political.  It symbolises our appreciation for our ancestor’s sacrifices in the past.

Overwhelmingly the football world – that same one that made the game great and put the idiots into their FIFA ivory tower in Switzerland – agreed to show respect and remember the sacrifices of the past.  By wearing a poppy.

For FIFA to issue fines against England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland today for showing respect on 11 November, in accordance with the wishes of the vast majority of supporters, is ridiculous and simply once more shows that the time is long past for change at the “top” of this game.

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Million Euro Winner on Slots.Cafe

June 23rd, 2016 No comments

Slots Café and White Hat Gaming are pleased to announce an epic win on the NetEnt progressive jackpot network.

On Thursday 16th June 2016, Dennis from Warwickshire, a Slots Café (www.slots.cafe) player, hit the Arabian Nights jackpot, winning €1,021,289.86 after only registering his account a few hours earlier and depositing just £35!

slots-cafe“Wow! I can’t believe it’s true!” said Dennis, father of a 1 year old daughter. With another child on the way in the next few months “All I can say is a huge thank you…If you were here right now I would kiss you…I am just happy for my children more than anything!” . Whilst still getting over the shock of winning Dennis is already thinking about a secure future for his family and starting his own business.

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Busuanga Bay Lodge – Part 4 – Kayangan Lake

January 20th, 2016 No comments
Access to Kayangan Lake

Access to Kayangan Lake

 

The Bay at Kayangan

The Bay at Kayangan

Kayangan Lake is to the north east of Busuanga about an hours trip by fast boat.  One reaches it through a shallow and narrow passage over a reef and then by walking over a relatively steep mountain path (not more than 20 minutes walk) from the small settlement in the cove.

The lake is amazing – absolutely crystal clear water with little fish swimming around. One swims and feels suspended in the clear water – its unfortunate that I dont have any underwater shots to show this.

The top 30 feet of water is fresh and under that there is a brackish layer at a different temperature – apparently this makes for interesting dives although we only had masks and snorkels so I didnt experience that.  The lake is well worth a visit – its a unique experience and the views of the cove from the top of the walk are absolutely awesome!

On the way back we stopped in Coron which is the main town for lunch – crazy little place!

Coron main street

Coron main street

Kayangan Lake

Kayangan Lake

Clear waters of Kayangan Lake

Clear waters of Kayangan Lake

Beautiful clear waters

Beautiful clear waters

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Busuanga Bay Lodge – Part 3 – South Cay

January 13th, 2016 No comments
South Cay Island

South Cay Island

South Cay is Busuanga Bay Lodge’s own private island!  Located about 20 minutes by fast boat or jetski or 40 minutes by the more traditional Banca, the island houses a bar with the most sophisticated toilet I have ever seen on an island!

Busuanga Bay Lodge runs a regular shuttle service to and from the island for resort guests and at Ph 3,000 per person including all you can eat and drink its a really great service!  Particularly when the bar (manned ably by Dante and his assistants) provides a never ending stream of fresh fruit cocktails (the mangos are amazing – Mango Daquiri is a must), beer, wine and spirits.

The Bar at South Cay

The Bar at South Cay

Lunch is typically a BBQ with fresh fish, meat and shellfish such as the local lobsters – eat as much as you can.

Activities included kayaking, snorkelling (fantastic clear waters on a coral reef), jetskiing, sailing (Hobie Cat), volleyball and generally hanging around and having a good time!

We were fortunate to be able to spend boxing day evening on the island where the resort laid on an amazing party including fire dancing, a massive bonfire, and music to wile the night away. The party developed somewhat into the later hours – not sure that was on the agenda!

The Bar at South Cay

The Bar at South Cay

Beach Volleyball

Beach Volleyball

Boxing night bonfire

Boxing night bonfire

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Busuanga Bay Lodge – Part 2 – Diving with D Divers

January 7th, 2016 No comments

D’Divers is run by the amazing Gunter with his equally amazing assistant Maria.  I only did 3 dives, but all were memorable and it was great to dive again.  The dives are very organised with all equipment supplied at a very reasonable price.

The bay of Coron is home to 15 wrecks thanks to the US Airforce taking out the Japanese supply ships towards the end of the second world war. A full account of the military action can be read here.

Pearl Bay Hotel

Pearl Bay Hotel

The first dive we did was on the Okkinawe which lies quite close to Busuanga Bay Lodge.  The wreck lies with the top deck in about 20m of water.  We dived along the deck and then down at the severed bow which was broken off in the bombing.  The wreck is covered in a variety of coral with plentiful fish life all over it.

Our second dive was Kyokuzan Maru – a wreck on its side with easily accesible penetration through the open cargo holds – also in about 20m of water.

By far my favourite dive was the Gunboat at Luzon – a very shallow wreck (the one end comes above surface at low tide) which makes it a popular snorkelling spot.  Diving at 10m we were able to avoid the tourists and witness an amazing variety of fish life and coral, with some penetration into the hull where I saw my first stonefish (dont stand on these – they cause serious damage!!!).

Nearby Hotel

Nearby Hotel

D’Divers operates out of a small resort near Busuanga Bay Lodge called Pearl Bay – we island hopped to the bar for a drink one evening.

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Busuanga Bay Lodge – Part 1 – The Lodge

January 3rd, 2016 No comments
Busuanga Bay Lodge from the water

Busuanga Bay Lodge from the water

Sunset over the pool

Sunset over the pool

This is the first in a multi-part series about my experience in the Phillipines at the magical Busuanga Bay Lodge resort.  I was fortunate to be able to spend an amazing 10 days exploring the resort and surrounds and have to say that it ranks as one of the most memorable holidays in my life.

The Phillipines is an island nation – many small islands often with uninhabited or only housing only a few fishermen.  It is lush and green with small sandy beaches and normally very clear waters although on our stay it was the peak of the full moon so the tidal currents caused the water to be less clear than normal. Still, in comparison to places like the med the water was clean and clear and an amazing temperature (bearing in mind that we are in mid winter!).  Busuanga Bay is on the island of Palawan voted best island in the world based on over 76,000 votes in Conde Nast Traveler’s Readers’ Choice Awards for 2014.

Our trip started with a seaplane ride from the cultural center in Manila. While one can take the less expensive trip via commercial airline to Coron and then courtesy bus or taxi to the resort I would shell out the extra (about Ph15,500) for the seaplane – not only is the scenery way better lower down but its really cool to rock up and climb aboard with no wait and then climb out at the resort dock!  And where else would a 5 year old get to drive the plane?

The dock at Busuanga Bay Lodge

The dock at Busuanga Bay Lodge

We flew low over the resort and then landed in the sea close by, taxiing up to tie up at the resort dock.  Staff were on hand to sing us a welcome song, hand out drinks and take care of the bags.  We shared a waterfront twin room – I would take this again by choice – being able to sit outside in our own little garden and watch the evening creep on is a beautiful way to end the day.

Much of the resort activity (not surprisingly) revolves around the pool and the sea, with all the usual toys – jet skis, kayaks, paddle boards and boat trips on hand.  Busuanga bay and Coron Bay are also home to 15 wrecks courtesy of the US airforce taking out a Japanese supply convoy – all of which make for an array of amazing wreck dives from the shallow gunboat at to the much deeper dives where the adventurous can dive within the wreck, some at much more depth.

South Cay Exclusive Island

South Cay Exclusive Island

One can also venture inland to the local villages and via taxi or boat further afield to the main town of Coron. The resort runs regular trips too and from the South Cay island which is a private island owned by the resort – featuring a bar and lunchtime buffet, really nice beach and snorkelling and various other activities.

Our week started with a swim in the pool and sundowners while we got comfortable and got to know the staff. The staff deserve a special mention – from the manager Thomas, barmen Brian, Felix and Dante to the wait staff Cathy and her clan they were all amazingly friendly, greeting guests by name and making us feel at home.  I did prefer the “Sir” Adriaan to “Madame” Tricia (I think she felt it should be more “Lady” Tricia!).  And, incidentally, if you are wondering when you are there why you are called “Sir Adriaan Po” it is because Po is affixed to the end of a name as a sign of respect.

Cathy singing with the band

Cathy singing with the band

We watched the sun go down over the horizon from the pool level and ended the first magical day in this rare, unspoilt, paradise.

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Internet World 1995

May 14th, 1995 1 comment

This show is running here in London from Tuesday, so of course I’m going to be there along with my chums here at Micro Media (the London Mall’s publisher).

IT HAS NOTHING TO DO with the free cases of London Pride beer which Fullers have been so kind in donating to our stand. Visit us (we’re sharing a stand alongside Silicon Graphics) and you might get some.

As part of the stand’s web-presence, I’ll be sending hourly reports from the show, updating pages for our viewing public live. Come along and get your photo taken and put onto our special show-pages, and you’ll be able to tell friends/colleagues/people in the pub that you’re published on the cutting edge of a new medium.

(The Internet I mean, not this column)

If you can’t make the show, come back to this page on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday and you can read the reports; so vivid it’ll be just like being there.

Can’t do anything about the beer, though.

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Victory in Europe Day

May 8th, 1995 No comments

Today is Monday 8 May. Its a public holday in Europe to celebrate VE Day. Hyde Park has reverberated with the sounds of The People young and old celebrating the end of Hitler’s regime of terror in Europe. There can be little argument that VE was a good thing. War is a terrible waste. The end of a war is something that should be remembered with two emotions – joy that its over and sadness that it ever happened in the first place.

Unfortunately the lessons of 1939-45 have yet to be learned in many corners of the world. There are probably more people suffering through war today than there were in 1945. Not all war is conspicuous. There are today many regimes as terribly unjust as that which Adolf attempted to inflict on Europe. Let us ponder on them as we remember the past.

I refer of course to the tragedy brought about through differences of opinion with regard to religion in the Middle East, tribal cultures in Africa and downright oppression of free thought in the East.

Freedom is the unalienable right of all citizens. This notion is central to modern society. While there exist places in this world where this fundamental tenet is not upheld, war cannot be considered to be over. Let us observe the two minutes silence tonight in memory of those who fell in the War in Europe, and reserve for the future a constant thought for those who continue to fall through tyranny and denial of rights around the world today.

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Last week in London …

April 30th, 1995 No comments

Today was my birthday. Quiet affair – few drinks with friends and the baby’s first day out. Wierd how he’s quite happy to ride around in the car, in fact it seems to placate him. I guess he hasn’t yet learned the concept of “accident”!

We are exhibiting at Internet World International ’95 – 16-18 May at Wembley arena. Come and have a giggle if nothing else! We are trying to persuade a few London breweries to donate a keg, in which case it may be possible to acquire a pint by mentioning your pent up desire to meet Arthur in the flesh…

Damon Hill won the San Morino Grand Prix today. Only managed to watch a few laps, so I will have to watch the rerun on Eurosport sometime. It appears that Michael Shumacker didn’t feature. David Coulthard has to be the one to watch this season. Unbelievably talented driver, he looks certain to give Damon a run for his money. Nigel Mansell managed to do very little, and of course the Ferraris seemed to find that extra 5% that they have lacked in most of the races recently in front of their home crowd. F1 is much more interesting this year than it has been for a while.

Snooker – Jimmy White is out, and it looks like Steven Hendry is going on to take the World Chamionship yet again. He plays like a machine! I dont know if you saw the perfect (147 point) break yesterday, but it blew my mind. Practise makes perfect?!? By now he has won the finals yet again.

Pubs to watch – for a typical british pub why not try The Copper on Tower Bridge road? The illustrious web writer Andres, our artist Neil (Line and Design) and I had a few too many and played snooker a good deal less proficiently than Stephen Hendry there on Saturday. Plotting things for the show and a new look for the Mall. Watch this space! Anyway, The Copper is a reasonably decent pub with a reasonably small pool table with reasonably large pockets (faster games make more money I guess). Earlier we were at The George which has been mentioned more than once in this column. Now there they have a game called Bar Billiards. Basically its a pool table which has some holes in the middle rather than around the outside, and different holes count for different scores. You’ll have to go and look yourselves – too tricky to describe here. Fiendishly good game to play.

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Arthur’s Neural Aerobics

April 23rd, 1995 No comments

This test is to measure your intelligence, your fluency with words and your creativity. In the three years since this test was developed there have been few people who could solve more than half the 26 questions at the first try.

Many however, reported getting answers long after the test had been set aside, particularly at unexpected moments when their minds were relaxed, and some reported answering questions over a period of days.

There’s no glitterig prize for solving this challenge, though a Solution Page with your name (and photo?) on it, with perhaps a mention in the next Arthur’s Column (hence gaining the eternal respect of your peers) would be suitable reward for the first set of correct answers.

SEND COMPLETED TESTS TO: adriaan@adriaan.com

Example
Question: 16 = O in a P Answer: Ounces in a Pound

Now spend sleepless nights with these:

1.   26 = L of the A                        14.     3 = BM (SHTR)
2.    7 = D of the W                        15.     4 = Q in a G
3. 1001 = AN                                16.    24 = H in a D
4.   12 = S of the Z                        17.     1 = W on a U
5.   54 = C in a P of C                     18.     6 = D in a PC
6.    9 = P in the SS                       19.    57 = HV
7.   88 = PK on the KB                      20.    11 = P in a FT
8.   13 = S on the AF                       21.  1000 = W that a P is W
9.   32 = DF at which WF                    22.    29 = D in F in a LY
10.  18 = H on a GC                         23.    64 = S on a CB
11.  90 = D in a RA                         24.    40 = D and N of the GF
12.  20 = R in the TT                       25.    76 = T in a BP
13.   7 = S on a FPP                        26.    10 = GB on a W
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