About The Country Club

The Country Club exists to divert its members by recording and comparing members’ travels. There are 194 UN Member States/Official Observor, and we are trying to visit them all. Check our progress on the Club Ladder, to the right, or by clicking the link for the List of Countries Visited below that. Curious how we count? Click The Country Club By-Laws link.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Three Members, Three Continents

Mr Negus reported a November visit to Burma and Messrs v/d Z and B report visits in South America and Africa below.  

Mr v/d Z reports:

The good news: I managed to combine my workshop in Bariloche, ARGENTINA, with a weekend Andes cross-over into CHILI, both in which local wines were consumed. And to top the itinerary, I complemented last weekend in Buenos Aires - what a great town, perhaps in my top three worldwide - with a day's ferry return to Colonia, URUGUAY, which I remembered you having told about as interesting TCC option a decade ago. In other words: I keep on the speed... 110!

Mr B reports


Dear fellow Country Clubbers

Alas after a long hiatus I spent a few weeks in Cameroon this October – the first time for me in West/Central Africa.  I am happy that my work was focused on supporting PSI - based in Yaounde.  A few days trying to get around in Douala was more than enough (Douala has a “mini Lagos” reputation).

As per my escapist tendencies, and the rules of this venerable club, Various drinks were consumed – including palm wine!

Although given the humid climate, I ended most days sampling a wide range of beers.  Cameroon has one of the most diverse selections of beer in Africa. Les Sociétés Anonymes des Brasseries du Cameroun (SABC or BC) is the main brewer, with an interesting ownership profile. Les Brasseries et Glaceries d'Indochine (BGI) owns a 75% shareHeineken 8.8% and of course Cameroon's president, Paul Biya’s hand is in this profitable business. Les Brasseries brews, bottles, and distributes: "33" Export, Beaufort, Castel, and Tuborg, as well as three beers from De Hooiberg (The Haystack): AmstelHeineken andMützig.

I hope to hear about more global exploration from all of you in the coming year

 - All the best

Chris

A Long Way from Lilongwe

Mr Secretary

Proof from David Greeley of imbibing in an alcoholic beverage in rural Malawi, a new country for our beloved Founder.  Says our exalted leader "It's a LONG WAY from Lilongwe"

David Greeley







Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Zim, Zam, Zoom!


Dear Mr Secretary,

Greetings from the bottom rung!  

I would like to confirm travel to Zimbabwe and Zambia.  Here are photos of my dive into Devil’s Pond, Vic Falls, Livingstone, and myself with the boyz at The Big Tree (a habitual meeting place for Mr Livingstone and his buddies) on the Zimbabwe side of the Falls. This brings my total to 45 countries visited.  

I remain swinging happily from the bottom rung.
Ms Ridley



Monday, August 19, 2013

Dear Members,

It is with regret that we have received notice of the death, after a long illness, of Mr Sempliner on 16 August 2013.  

Mr Sempliner was elected in 2004, entering the List at 45 countries.  He immediately protested the absence of a definite article in the names of many countries.  Some of his recommendations were easy on the modern ear, such as The Netherlands and The United Kingdom.  Others, such as The Lebanon and The Argentine, less so.  Much Club conversation and deliberation ensued and today our fine list holds several parenthetical references in a nod to Mr Sempliner's preferences.

Mr Sempliner visited nine countries during his membership, namely Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Burundi, Rwanda, Congo, Kenya and The Philippines.  His missive, from Peking (his word), in 2011, requesting the recording of a visit to China, was rejected as redundant based on pre-1999 visits to Hong Kong and Macau.  He replied that there was some satisfaction having gone to the "heart of the beast."

Mr Sempliner, ever competitive in the great traditions of our club, was uncomfortable at the lower end of our The Club Ladder and made the suggestion in 2010 that the By-Laws be amended to narrow the criteria for a country visited to a visit done and a drink had without subsidy from one's employer.  Less Club conversation and deliberation ensued and the proposed amendment was rejected.  

Mr Sempliner made mention in the Club's proceedings in 2011 of his presence in Tokyo Narita during the earthquake that resulted in a tsunami and Mr Sempliner spending a night sleeping in a terminal "for the first time in many years."  

Mr Sempliner was a close confident of many in the Club, particularly Messrs C and D, and Ms v/H.   One of my dearest memories will be playing golf with him in The Democratic Republic of the Congo during his visit there.  Other memories from members welcome.

Mr Sempliner will rest in peace at 18th on the Club Ladder and 54 Countries Visited.  

With sadness, yr sec'y. 

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Mr P announces visits to Haiti, Oman, Qatar and UAE -- up to 68 countries.  

Close observers of these proceedings may have noticed that none has appeared for the past 15 months.  That says more about your secretary than the peripatetic members.  Countries have been visited!  Apologies to members whose travel may not be recorded here; a quick review of the List, always merited, will both confirm its completeness and inspire movement.

Our founder and beloved chairman visited Uganda, Governor D Switzerland, Ms v H Russia, Mr B Bangladesh and yrs truly Angola, Colombia and Peru.
 
Mr v/d Z visited Kenya, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe Zambia, Qatar, Ethiopia, Somalia, Djibouti and Uganda, rocketing into first place, with 105 countries, past our leader for the past decade, Mr H., who remains at 101.  :-)

VTY, yr sec'y.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Guinness Will Leave St James Gate Brewery in 10760

Mr Secretary, 


I just returned from a tour of the Guinness brewery in Dublin, which is subject to a 9000 year lease by Arthur Guinness.  We had the obligatory tasting session and enjoyed the fab view from the brewery's top floor. The black beer smells nice and hoppy but, in the end after a taste, I preferered the French sauvignon blanc to toast to the new country. 

Yours, 

Ms v/H


[From Wikipedia: Arthur Guinness started brewing ales from 1759 at the St. James's Gate Brewery, Dublin. On 31 December 1759 he signed (up to) a 9,000 year lease at £45 per annum for the unused brewery.]

Sunday, April 1, 2012

v/d Z flies to top from down under

Mr Sec'y,

The Climate Change review panel tour returned to Auckland Sunday morning. We visited the Marshall Islands (serious vulnerability), Fiji, Micronesia, Tonga, Kiribati and Western Samoa. Mostly hotel drinks -- I'll send the details when I can. Guess the club can celebrate its 10th anniversary this year with a new leader. Looks like I may get a bunch more a year from today -- conference is in the Caribbean.

[Sec'y's note: Mr v/d Z, at 102 countries, now stands on top of the List of Countries Visited].

Monday, March 19, 2012

v/d Z consumes anchor

Mr v/d Z wrote "anchor and pinot noir were consumed in Malaysia and New Zealand!"

Rien de Mali

Yr sec'y met Mr Brady in Bamako. Photos were taken (as was merlot), but sadly are not yet in our possession!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Mr G Climbs


Mr G is on the climb -- country number 62, Ethiopia, and a tie with Mr K.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Mr B @ Work


Just completed a 4 day sejour on the Bahamas. I assure you – this required dedicating myself 24/7 to schmooze a range of donors. In any event it puts me at 76 countries, still 5 countries behind the very worldly Mr. Earle. As you can imagine it was tough putting on shoes and a jacket while staying at the Vegasesque Atlantis resort on Paradise Island (along with 2,500 other Caribbean HIV conference attendees). Here you see me here sipping a tasty Kalik Gold lager (doing the needful), and munching on a conch salad. The Bahamas stand apart from many of its Caribbean brethren in terms of its successful offshore banking and general cleanliness. Amazing that within this orderly environment more than 3% of the adult population is living with HIV (mainly due to the extremely large Haitian migrant workforce).

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Peace Building Movement

After a bit of break I am back on the road and looking for points. Next week I will be in Ethiopia for some low hanging fruit, but this week a slightly more prickly pear to pluck, North Sudan. In fact I was here a few weeks ago, and to my shame, not appreciating local customs fully, I failed to meet all club requirements. However, a second bite of the prickly pear and I was better prepared; with exceptionally strong (and rule compliant) mouth-wash especially imported from Loretto, Kentucky. A hard earned point but I believe but a point all the same.

Attached, also find a photo of an amusing sign I happened to see hanging discretely above the gents (or rather the "The Peace Building Toilet") in the office of a UN agency I happened to visit (and obviously won’t mention to avoid unnecessary embarrassment). But I must say, when I whipped out my iPhone to take a snap, I got a very dirty look from an earnest looking young women in the impeccably tasteful, global-and-yet-oh-so-ethnic-and-at-one-with-the-downtrodden-at-the-same-time, ‘neck ornament’ - but hang em’; A couple of us thought it was very funny. And if you can’t laugh at a bit of toilet humor...

So I wish all club members, peace-building movements, wherever their destination.

Warmest,

Grant.


Monday, November 7, 2011

The World's Newest Country

Greetings from Juba in South Sudan, the world's newest country. Tonight I did the needful with the locally brewed "White Bull" beer while dining on the banks of the Nile. To be confirmed by our secretary, but I believe this moves me from 9th place to a tie at 8th with Mr. Negus. I only regret that delayed permits prevented me from visiting Khartoum on this same trip and making it a two-fer. Next time......

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Dar es Salaam Chapter Meeting


Messrs Karam, Earle and Chapman, with Special Guests, Messrs Manchester and Crapper, combined Club business with queries relating to Another Club such as "what was the name of our first representative in Eritrea?" [Mr Earle retrieved the answer in a mere a 48 hours; by that standard, I'm sure the rest of us would have come up with an answer by the end of the year]. All conversations concluded with a tale of our Dear Founder in the early 90s. Odd that. Mr Earle noted concern that some members appear to be actually trying to visit countries. Firm denials were issued all around.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

3G = Ghana, Golf and Goats

Mr Secretary,

After a fine game of golf at the Celebrity Golf Club in Accra Ghana today, there
ensued a discussion on whether the course was to be qualified as a goat track
or not. The participants in the earlier match between Ghana and China did not
seem to be occupied too much with this issue, nor was I as my golf partner
and I had won the game by the time we Teed off the 16th hole. The cool Star
beer afterwards helped settle the issue, the caddies received a nice tip and
we all agreed that, as nobody had lost a ball in the lagoon nor was anyone
bitten by a viper, plus that the scorecards were sponsored by Porsche, the
course was not quite a goat track. With that, I humbly report my visit to a
new country. MvH

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Bob Sahib @ One Tuna Beach

Mr Secretary,
Lovely Lion Lager on the Beach of Unawatuna, Sri Lanka! You would love it here even more than India - colonial and clubby for sure, yet cleaner, fewer touts, and dynamism post civil war! Bob v/d Z

Sunday, August 7, 2011

VDZ: Ain't No C2H6O Where He's Gone

Mr Secretary,

I am writing to report that I visited KUWAIT (new country) en route back from South Korea (not new). Painfully, I searched for two days the entire city, and every corner of every single mall in this town, but I can assure you: there ain’t any C2H6O in that country. Thank you for having confirmed that this is indeed a visited country according to Article 3.1.

Bob vdZ

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Washington Chapter Meeting

[Mr Sempliner's absence being noted, a quorum was present]


Katrinka writes:


With Malcolm D-nald as our beloved benchmark -- I'd say we all look prettttty darn good, quoi. Will, shabash on hosting in your beautiful home; Andrew, great to have u back in town, and a good excuse for a gathering, Steve, thanks for the ride, country club stories and chocolate motorcycle, Peter, a real treat to get you to stay up past your bedtime and good on you for keeping PSI en forme, quoi. And Daveed -- always a delight to catch up with you; we promise to visit u at your air-conditioned digs at Walter Reed. As for jobs -- I hear there might be an opening as CD for PNG...

Love you guys,


Our founder writes:

Great picture, great time, great summary, and maybe worth inclusion in the notes for the Country Club as an ad hoc Membership get together, even though no drinks were visibly noticeable in the picture.

If anyone needs to reach me tonight, you can find me in one of DC's cooling shelters, I think near the Armory

Minutes.

1. The Chapter had a lively conversation about The Good Old Days, which none could clearly remember.

2. We drifted in and out of a largely substance free discussion concerning Article 3.4 of Our By-Laws, with our Founder concluding, in a nod to revisionism, that it made no sense. Here is the Article in question:

"3.4 A Visited Country that, subsequent to the qualifying visit, splits into two or more countries, can only be counted as a single Visited Country. The Member will elect which of the issuing countries shall be recorded as a Visited Country."

3. The Chapter gave the highest of praise to the gracious hosting and culinary skills of our dearest member, Mr W!!

VTY, yr sec'y




Friday, July 15, 2011

Two for None

Our newest member, Mr PC, visits two countries, frugally.

Excuse my informality, and certainly this incorrect method of notification. But I hereby and boldly lay claim to my 82nd and 83rd countries respectively: Papua New Guinea and Australia. The latter having been visited in full conformance with the appropriate by laws of this fine club, yet without having secured in advance the absolutely necessary visa. The ensuing difficulties at the border form the stuff of legends, yet I will spare you the details in this missive, knowing full well as I do that official club communication protocol requires that members relate such details only while suitably armed with liquid refreshment of the type normally served in such establishments where the purpose of dialogue speaks to the higher and more, shall we say, refined principles of communication.

As to photographic proofs of my exploits, as have been submitted by some of our esteemed membership in similar circumstances, I can only plead that my usual personal staff were not in my company, and thus the necessary assistance was not available to record these events on any media, whether that be using my habitual chemical plates, or using the latest technology, which I take as being some sort of photographic film. Yet I would only be too happy to show you my passport, which indeed does bear the markings of the official border entries and sorties affixed by the appropriate authorities in the performances of their duties. As to whether I consumed liquid refreshment during these visits of the type that is normally reserved for gentlemen such as I, I trust that my reputation well precedes me and I beg your forbearance in lieu of any sort of formal evidence to same. I would, however, be only too glad to provide references as it seems that I need to settle some accounts with the various establishments visited in the course of my travels, as I was unaccountably short of the local currencies, and I had promised to wire the appropriate remittances upon my return.

I remain, Sir, in your debt, and I look forward to your speedy confirmation of my exploits, secure in the knowledge that I am fully and irrevocably in possession of 4th place, absent any dubious claims by Mr. Earle.

South Sudan Becomes 193rd UN Member State; Club Denominator Changes to 194

>

South Sudan Becomes 193rd Member of United Nations

Friday, July 15th, 2011 at 9:15 am UTC
Posted 3 minutes ago

The national flag of newly independent South Sudan has been raised outside the United Nations after becoming the world body's 193rd member on Thursday.

Hundreds of diplomats gathered outside U.N. headquarters in New York to see the flag being raised for the first time after the U.N. General Assembly admitted the country by acclamation.

On Friday, a U.N. telecommunication agency made another gesture in recognition of South Sudan's landmark independence.

The International Telecommunication Union assigned South Sudan a 211 dialing code at the country's request.

The number symbolizes the year South Sudan became its own country after approving a referendum in January.

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has praised Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir and South Sudan's President Salva Kiir for ensuring that the south's referendum for independence and its results were honored. He said the north and south share a common destiny and must see a future as true partners, not rivals.

The world's newest nation declared independence on Saturday, splitting from Sudan. The two sides fought a bloody 21-year civil war that ended in 2005.

The now neighboring countries are still trying to work out disputes over borders and oil revenue. The Ethiopian government says it has started deploying troops to the disputed Abyei region this week. The U.N. Security Council recently authorized deployment of a 4,200 strong-Ethiopian peacekeeping force to monitor the situation there.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Just One More Thing...


Mr. Secretary,

Colombo. Wasn’t there a 70’s TV detective by (almost) the same name? If so, he’d doubtless be able to put me at the Taj Hotel in Colombo in the attached photo. But he’d probably have known that that glass I’m holding isn’t really an alcoholic beverage. Nor is it a purple Japanese fighting fish. It’s just the floral decoration from table where I’m sitting. You couldn’t get a drink on the day that picture was taken because of the full-moon festival. Luckily for me, I’d taken a Lion beer in my hotel room the night before.

Mr B

Viva CdW!



Mr Secretary,

It is with great pleasure that at long last I share new country news.

Revolution! I have broken away from the dictatorship of travel to already visited countries and at long last conquer my 63rd country - Cuba. What better liberation can there be than the land of rum, sugar cane, 1950ies Buicks, Che and Castro with its infectious music, warm hearted people and beautiful countryside. Needless to say, libation of Cristal beer and mojitos accompanied our visit. May country number 64 be not far away and just as fun.

With much respect and salutations to you, Mr. Secretary, and all my fellow club members.

Caryn de Walden

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Bonne Anniversaire!


Mr. Secretary,

Ms. Ridley and I report a first visit for us both to Morocco – we went for an early celebration of the 25th anniversary of an event which 3 other of our esteemed members attended: our wedding! [sec'y's note: those would be our Honorary Past President, Mr Hovig, Mr Brady and yrs truly].

In fulfillment of article 3.1 we sampled local beer, Flag, wine, see attached as well as numerous G&Ts as we explored the medina in Marrekech and the rugged Atlas mountains.

Cheers!

Yours faithfully,

Duncan & Robin

Monday, May 16, 2011

Ukraine a go-go!


I am pleased to report my visit to Ukraine.
In addition to visiting Kiev, I visited Crimea, which is an autonomous republic (but may NOT be counted as a new country, as per instructions from our Secretary, alas)
While on my visit, I did the needful with, among others, Lvivske beer (delicious).

Balkanized




Yr sec'y traveled nearly 6000 kilometers from Amsterdam to Albania on his BMW R1200 GS and visited Albania, Macedonia and Serbia for the first time while observing naturally Article 3.1 requirements along the way.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Dalai Dublin

Your secretary visited Ireland earlier this week. The conference I was in grew absolutely electric when word went around that the Dalai Lama had walked into the hotel lobby and chatted up people there. Others reported seeing him multiple times in the lift. I could find him nowhere, and made my way back to my room, only to pass him in the hall; he was sharing a giggle with another saffron robed monk. Beats a Guinness. Here's a link to what he was doing there.

http://www.rte.ie/news/2011/0413/dalailama.html

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

An Outlet Survey


Mr Secretary,

As you can see from the photos I combined some spiced rum tasting with an condom outlet check in St. Lucia (a new country for me).
Each bar has its own recipe, some much better than others.
What I tasted was quite the concoction as you can see from the expression on my face.

Here is a more conventional recipie if you want to move past Captain Morgan.
  • whole star anise
  • 1/2 3-inch cinnamon stick, broken into pieces
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 2 allspice berries
  • 2 cardamom pods
  • 1/4 ounce (1/2 tablespoon) freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 liter light rum
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
  • Strips of peel from 1 whole orange
    & lemon

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Rock Bottom?






Mr Secretary,

Since my induction as the 18th member of The Country Club in February 2010, I have planned with little success to visit a new country. Most recently, a December snow storm thwarted my plans to spend my 50th birthday with Mr Earle in Livingstone, Zambia (and neighboring Zimbabwe which would increase my country scorecard by two). See first attached photo - doesn't Mr Earle look a bit off?.

Finally, in early March, I had the opportunity to visit New Delhi, India for the first time. I was surprised by the many green spaces in Delhi - tree lined boulevards, parks and gardens. The second photo was taken at the Imperial Hotel with my UNDP colleague Andrea P. who then dragged me off to our real destination [See email for the rest of the story!]

Sincerely yours from the rock bottom rung,

Ms Ridley

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Mr W Suggests a Competition

As you know, the world will welcome its newest country in July when Sudan splits in two. I request a clarification re how the Club will treat this split. Will those who have visited Sudan receive credit for North Sudan, and will South Sudan be the new country? Or have you and the Governors made other provisions? However you plan to approach it, I suggest we launch a contest to challenge our members to see who will be the first to visit the new country. A prize should be offered. I have suggestions. [Sec'y's note. Students of the By-Laws of our fine Club will cite Chapter 3 "Definition of a Country Visited" and Article 3.4, which states "A Visited Country that, subsequent to the qualifying visit, splits into two or more countries, can only be counted as a single Visited Country. The Member will elect which of the issuing countries shall be recorded as a Visited Country."].

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Shaken but Not Stirred

Mr Sempliner writes:

I was waiting in the lounge here at Narita Airport (Tokyo) yesterday afternoon for my connecting flight to San Francisco when the earth literally moved, windows swayed and things began to drop from the ceiling. Women began crying, lights flickered and it was like being in a bad movie. All pretty dramatic and the worst earthquake I've ever experienced. Needless to say my flight, in fact all flights, were cancelled as we continued to have aftershocks all afternoon. At first we were asked to leave the terminal for a few hours on the tarmac. Once back inside disorder reigned... well, as much as it is going to in Japan, and I slept on an airport bench for the first time in years.

This morning I found that the office had re-booked me on today’s flight. A good thing too, people (foreigners really) are beginning to get petulant. On reflection I’m glad I was in Japan when this happened. If this sort of thing had happened in New York or LA it would have been even more of a nightmare.

Shaken but not stirred,

Sandy

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Our Beloved Founder Comes to Dinner

Ms v/H cooked, our Founder regaled, and yours truly took a picture. :)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

No Cooler in Finland

Mr Secretary,

Hello from freezing Helsinki! The word arctic has a new meaning for me since walking around in a city with -3F temperatures. Had an Italian red wine over a business dinner last night and a German white with lunch. This is probably the one country where a wine cellar needs a heater. The red, although nice, was served at room temperature and was still too cold! There is so much snow that one simply has to believe in the existence of the abominable snowman!

Ms v/H

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Mr. Warshauer visits DRC


I spent most of last week enjoying Kinshasa and did the needful there with several Primus beers. I believe this visit further extends my lead over other club members for visits on the continent, although I'm sure our esteemed Secretary can confirm. The city is one big construction site and the central boulevard has been widened to be 8 lanes (at the cost of all the trees that used to line it, alas), creating some rather amazing pedestrian crossing challenges. I had a great visit, my only regret being that I left on the day that Papa Wemba was giving a big concert in town. Prochaine fois!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Metaphoric in Manila

Mr Secretary,
Here in the dank underworld of the Country Club cellar, where mirth and happiness are unknown, we still have our pride. We dream of one day toppling the masters of the universe who rule so capriciously from above in their all expenses paid business class seats. I'm proud to report having removed one more brick from the wall of oppression by arriving in Manila and drinking deeply from the river of golden San Miguel that flows so powerfully here.
Respectfully yours,
J.A. Sempliner

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Mao-tini

Dear Sir,

I write to you from Peking where the heroes of the risibly named Peoples Liberation Army seem to have developed a prodigious taste for Gucci, Burberry, Maserati, Rolex, Louis Vuitton and every other conceivable sort of western consumer goods. I have consumed a martini.

Unsure whether my previous visits to Hong Kong and Macau count as China visits or otherwise I write to confirm presence in the heart of the beast . Those of us in the cellar of the country club always identify with the proletarian struggle!

The East is red,

Sandy

[Secretary's note: Mr Sempliner has indeed already visited China when he traveled to Hong Kong and Macau]

Monday, January 10, 2011

A White Nile

Mr Secretary,

Having a white “Chateau du jardin Nil” while overlooking the Nile River from the Four Seasons Hotel bar. Not a bad way to start my first visit to Egypt!


Ms v/H

Thursday, December 23, 2010

KyleManDu

Mr Secretary,

Our fellow traveller, Andrew Boner, is one blessed boy. I thought Turkey and Morocco were the best places to visit, until I experienced Nepal. Maury, six- year old son, Finn, and I trekked in the Himalaya and safaried on elephant back in the Nepal jungle. All of this was part of Maury and my sabbaticals. Along the way, we drank a few Everest beers and sipped millet "Roxie."

Hope everyone has a great holiday and look forward to adding a few more countries to the list next year!

Namaste

Kyle

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Sophia is (not only) the Capital of Bulgaria

Mr Secretary,

I hope that our newly born, Sophia, will also become a great traveller.
She is in good hands though, so we foresee the best for her.

Meanwhile, for the short term I hope this change in life will not
affect my new countries record too much...

Cheers,

Mr v/d Z

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Real Country Club

Mr Secretary,

Like the real IRA I sometimes wonder if there should not be a “real” Country Club. The qualifying criteria would be that you paid for your own ticket and did not claim that beer on expenses. Now that would truly clear the hard core travellers from the expense account boys.

With humble respect,

Mr J.A. (Sandy) Sempliner

Monday, November 22, 2010

For the List of Counties Re-Visited

I have been meaning to update you on recent ‘re-visits’ and ‘expanded’ visits -
In October I went to Zanzibar for the first time and while Tanzania has been on my circuit for some time, the magic of the legendary island did not disappoint … nor did the Safari beers and South African wines.
Also in October I made my first ever legal visit to Ghana … yes, I have been to and imbibed of local nectars, bottled and not, but never before having transited a legal border with a visa …
It was hardly a visit as it was largely spent in the Airport Holiday Inn in a meeting – the Accra Airport Holiday Inn is still very much more Accra, West Africa than Holiday Inn, Generica. We did manage to fit in – no exaggeration – the most harrowing, scary, holy-shit-we-are-all-gonna-die taxi ride of my life! One of our local hosts decided to have a bunch of us – five taxis worth, plus one lost taxi – over to his house for dinner. His very nice house, deep in an Accra neighborhood, a la quartier ouest-africaine, would have taken us 90 minutes to 2 hours to reach had we labored through the absurd rush hour. Instead, a scene out of Too Fast Too Furious ensued in which these guys decided we would emulate a VIP motorcade – lights flashing, horns blaring, high speed overtaking with a game of chicken with each oncoming lorry – we are talking West African long-haul semis – as one of the drivers put it, with 5 cars, even the cops are afraid to stop us in case there really is a VIP in the group! It was 25 minutes of dusty, wrong-way around-the-roundabout, who can cut it closer, scariness followed by a delightful peanut stew with cold beers, wine and Talisker, and a much quieter trip home.
So no new countries, but memorable nonetheless!
Best,
Duncan

And in the 7th Year, He Traveled

Mr Peterson writes about a recent visit to Chile, bringing him to 63 countries and out of a three way tie for 11th, with Ms de Walden and Mr Karam.

"Winds from Patagonia"

I’m just back from a ten-day hiking trip to the famous Torres del Paine on the Chilean side of Patagonia.

Click here to see it: http://maps.google.com/maps?q=define:+sabbatical&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&hl=en&tab=wl

While there, I tasted some delicious reds, which we packed in for the hike. A highly recommended cabernet is the Montes Alpha. I also enjoyed several Austral cervezas under the famous “Paine Horns” that are featured on the beer can label.

As this is the start of a two-month sabbatical, more posts with new country entries will be coming in soon. . .

Kyle

Secretary's Note: Below is Mr P's original posting, lost until two months after this posting:

Mr. Secretary,


The good winds have carried me to a new country, Chile, where I have just enjoyed ten days of hiking and kayaking in the Patagonia wilderness. I recommend the Pale Ale from the Austral brewery and sipped one under the famous Horns in the Torres del Paine National Park. The Montes Alpha Cab is also quite nice after a long hike. I nearly bagged Argentina, only a few kilometers away, but will do so the next time I'm here.


I have two months off and restless feet - stay tuned.


Salud


Kyle

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Mr Peterson Maps!!!











Put your TravBuddy Map on The Country Club Pages

1. Go to http://www.travbuddy.com/
2. Register
3. Complete the Countries Visited Map
4. Copy and send me the html code for the small map.

Takes 5 minutes.

The Country Club Meets TravBuddy











Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Monday, November 8, 2010

Mr Clancy Joins Club, 20th Member

The Governors and Members of the Country Club today welcome Mr Clancy into our coterie. Mr Clancy enters in fifth place on the Club Ladder, at 81 countries. VTY, yr (very slow in updating our proceedings) sec'y

Back on the Ho Chi Minh Trail

Mr. Secretary,

It is with relief that I write to let you know I have finally broken what must be the longest drought in Club history. I am enjoying Hanoi and finally moved off of 69 countries by imbibing a "Bia Ha Noi" here last night. Given my new global mandate, I hope this is the first in a series of regular updates on new countries to come from me.

Yours in Transit,

Will

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Ms v/H gets a clegg up

Ms v/H breaks up the three way tie for 16th and writes:

Dear Mr. Secretary,

I would like to report my recent and first visit to South Africa, at Mpumalanga, to be specific, for a business conference where beside many technical meetings and discussions, several social meetings took place and fine South African wines were tasted. My South African business colleagues Messrs. Clegg and Stretch (pictured) are not Country Club Members yet but did compare notes on having visited over 40 African States, which I in any case consider impressive.

Regards, MvH

Monday, September 13, 2010

Are You Sure It is the Water?



Mr Brady writes (as he goes one up on Mr Negus)

Chris Brady on THE White Nile (origin near Lake Victoria, Uganda)

Nile Nile Nile – it is the water and it makes me smile.

Fishing eagles and thirsty nomads are common images along the Nile

Note: Nile Special (5.6% ABV) has been the flagship brand of Nile Breweries for the past 50 years.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Misanthropically Yours :)






Although their English is hardly understandable,
their country pretty much like the US - but then way more expensive, their people even more voluminous, and their tourists all of their economy, the beaches of the Bahamians are white, their waters fresh, and most importantly: their Kalik Gold very refreshing! BvdZ

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Greeley nearly sips KoolAid in Jonestown

(Apologies for taking a month to post this piece from the National Enquirer)

Earlier this week, upon arriving at the airport in Georgetown, I was met by a blurry eyed charismatic looking man donning a Hawaiian type shirt who called himself “Mr. Jones”. He asked if I would be interested in joining him to visit his “community” somewhere in the idyllic countryside of Guyana. He said there would be women, tall grass and tasty drinks. Since I am a curious man at heart, and I had never been to Guyana before, I rejoiced in this invitation and headed towards his car. As I was about to get in, a tall, rather good looking man jumped out in front of me screaming “David, don’t drink the Kool-Aid.” And thank God I was saved, and by no less than a fine newcomer to the Country Club, Chris Brady. Chris whisked me away in his limo, without my even being able to bid farewell to “Jim” -and thank God he did. The rest of my sojourn in this South American/Caribbean nation was peaceful, and, most importantly, I am back stateside to be able to tell you about it. And yes, Chris did suggest we indulge in local Guyanese Bank’s beer (as the attached photo attests to) rather than drinking Jim Jones “Kool-Aid” and your never hearing from me, the Country Club Founder, Governor and sometimes Benevolent Dictator, again.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Brady & Negus in Lockstep

Messrs B & N both made the move to 73 countries.

Mr Negus wrote from the Dominican Republic of a sip of red shortly after arrival. Mr Brady, wrote on June 5 "I am flying through Bangkok after a full week with MSI's Vietnamese crew (quick project design mission for the government). Soumitro was there at the same time developing a different proposal. As you can see we dined with Carlos Ferreros. Always interesting to hear his stories and learn about DKT's approach to social marketing. Of course there was also Lots of reminiscing and comparing stories .. .the good Ol PSI days and host of characters --

In any event Vietnam represents a new country for me. Various alcoholic drinks were consumed, and thoroughly enjoyed in Hanoi. But what I really blew me away was the food. I plan on trying some powerful new recipes back in Santa Barbara."

Friday, May 21, 2010

Ms v/H creates three way tie for 16th

Ms v/H rang last night to describe a qualifying cabernet sipped in a bucolic location one hour north of Oslo. This brings her to 54 countries, tied with Mr Sempliner and Ms Thuermer.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Odessa - Amsterdam is 2800 kilometers


Yours truly traveled to four new countries en route home from Odessa, including Moldova, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. Article 3.1 of our by-laws was strictly applied and my experience is that the qualifying beverages are far superior to the food. Here, the Moldovan Cabernet is the only non-frightening thing on the table (that is a schnitzel in Slovakia).

Monday, May 10, 2010

Amsterdam-Odessa is 3200 kilometers

Yours truly is in Odessa resting from nine days of riding my motorcycle from Amsterdam to what "in your pocket Ukraine" calls "the world's most wretched roads." I'm on the Ride-On Motortours 16 day "Ukraine All Road" trip. A fine Ukrainian Cabernet from the south Crimea makes the visit qualifying and my 85th country. Tomorrow, inshallah, Moldova. Below, the route from L'viv to Sinovir.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Mr v/d Z takes the Midnight Train

To (the other) Georgia, his 90th Country. Red wine made the visit qualifying.

Dana Eyjafjallajoekull Gets a Century!

I write these words from Doha, Qatar, where I am stuck on my way home from Nepal to London. I believe this is my 100thcountry visit. I guess there is a silver lining in every (volcano) cloud.

It is a fitting way for one of us to reach the century mark, truly representative of our club’s karma. This visit wasn’t planned. It wasn’t desired, as I want to get home. And on my way here, I didn’t even realize Doha was in a separate country – I thought it was one of the Emirates, like Dubai, which I have already visited.

To mark this century, I would like to propose to our grand poobahs and esteemed Board of Governors that we rename our humble club the Eyjafjallajoekull country club, after the volcano that pushed me, unwillingly, over this milestone.

Hereafter, we would call ourselves Eyjafjallajoekull-ians. We would greet each other with the words: May you live long, prosper, and Eyjafjallajoekull. Our founding members would be described as “Eyjafjallajoekull-icious”. The only requirement to enter the club would be to pronounce Eyjafjallajoekull 3 times, while standing on one foot, patting our heads, and rubbing our tummies. When any of us reach the 100 country mark, we would officially change our last names to Eyjafjallajoekull, thus truly becoming travelling brothers and sisters.

As in most good Middle Eastern countries, the scotch flows here. And it is flowing through me, as I await my fate.

Yours in suspended animation and travel.

Dana Eyjafjallajoekull

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Is Mr Brady Too Short?

Welcome from Beirut- that makes it 72 for me, and a tie with Mr. Brady. I have several other secret (and new) destinations lined up for the next two months, so I guess Chris is the one who needs to stay on his toes now....

David

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Ballet slippers for Mr Negus

Mr Secretary,

I must admit that this is embarrassing, but just realized that Ecuador was left off the original list submitted. I spent a week there for work in 2005. As you can imagine, cervezas were consumed. Sorry to hit you with a trip, retroactively -

Saludos

Chris

PS. 72 has a good ring - It'll keep the others on their toes ---


Saturday, February 6, 2010

et tu, Mr Greeley

Mr vdZ's announcement below moves Mr Greeley into third for the first time in the long and fine history of our club. No news yet if vdZ made it to Qatar, which is so close to Bahrain that a bridge is being built. vdZ has, with these visits, 9 of 13 countries in the Middle East.

Dear Secretary,

UAEE!! This would normally have been another exclamatory, but I felt this was
exceptionally slightly more appropriate: as United Are these Emirates as I am currently
with my Foster's bEEr. Could you confirm that this brings yours truly in a new
interesting position in our dear Club's ladder!? But more importantly: I am starting my retour
to A'dam on Friday with a two-day visit to BAHREIN, but haven't so far been able to track down
whether there are neat little boats or so from this island to the peninsula-country a tiny bit East
from it. Would you, or in fact any other of our distinguished members with travel
experience in the area, perhaps have a TCC suggestion for me?

BvdZ

Sunday, January 24, 2010

IceSave

Mr Negus writes:

Since the newly arrived Mr Brady entered with 71 countries, and I have been stuck at 70 since joining, this has pushed me to immediately make a move. I passed through Reykjavik yesterday..... Icelandic Schnapps was consumed, and additional quantities were purchased for later consumption.


Monday, January 18, 2010

The Brady Bunch

Mr Brady enters the club ladder at a higher longitude than originally advertised. Rather than being at our southern end, he is substantially north of our equator (at 71 countries in fact, north of Mr Negus, and in a remarkable sixth position). Apologies for the under estimation. Mr Brady takes the lead in the Pacific Ocean, having visited four countries there, and the Caribbean, with one more country than our beloved Chairman and Founder. He also ties our Honorary Past President with nine countries in South America. Welcome Mr Brady!

Friday, January 1, 2010

No Country for (Not So) Old Men

[Our beloved Honorary Past President writes about a December 2009 visit to PNG]

Port Moresby is not high on my list of places to return to. A hard place to
get to. I needed 4 flights and about 36 hours. Violent, depressing,
corrupt, overrun by Australians extracting raw materials and precious
metals. I met the acting Prime Minister, but could only highlight the
issue of violence against women there, and the need for family planning
and services for gender-based violence. Others from the country club
will have to travel to PNG to tackle the other problems...

I understand that the rest of Papua is amazing, with unbeatable flora,
fauna, and gentle people. Perhaps in another life, I can visit there,
bypassing Port Moresby.

On the bright side, an unintended consequence of the Australian invasion
is the easy availability of high quality reds. So I had a nice bottle
of Shiraz in my hotel room, since I was cooped up there after dark,
cowering from the violence and lawlessness.....

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Persian Golf

This week at the Ghallah Wentworth Golf Club in Oman, an 18-hole desert course with punishingly domed browns, Ms v/H lines up for a par putt and a one stroke lead on yr sec'y (not pictured, brow knitted). Our honorary past president and the peripatetic Mr v/d Z visited here recently and praised it highly, and, given the ease with which one can make a visit here qualifying, we now see why (a bright Spanish rose shall be noted for these proceedings).

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Lake Victoria Sundowner

My obligatory alcoholic beverage taken with friends on their boat on Lake Victoria. Can I count this as two countries since, as you will notice, I have two glasses of wine in hand?