About The Country Club
Friday, August 8, 2014
Friday, July 11, 2014
Mr. Secretary: After an exceedingly long drought, I'm pleased to announce a new country visit to South Korea. I did the needful with a Budweiser at (AM. I am neither in the habit of drinking Budweiser, nor generally beer of any type at 9AM, but cicrumstances and the Club Rules dictated. Happily, I anticipate some new visits, as I have taken a new job. While I am unclear what exactly this company does, I do know that they have offices in 30 countries, including 7 countries I have not yet visited. Tally Ho!
Mr v/d Z reports
I had a great time in Ulan Bator, MONGOLIA, where of course I consumed the usual alcoholic beverages.
Sunday, May 4, 2014
Mr Brady total on the club ladder was adjusted upward by one to 77 to equal his total on the List of Countries Visited.
yr sec'y. -s
Monday, December 23, 2013
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
Wednesday, August 21, 2013
Monday, August 19, 2013
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
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
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.
[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
Monday, March 19, 2012
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
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
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.
Monday, November 7, 2011
Saturday, November 5, 2011
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.
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Sunday, August 7, 2011
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.
Thursday, July 21, 2011
[Mr Sempliner's absence being noted, a quorum was present]
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
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
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
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.
With much respect and salutations to you, Mr. Secretary, and all my fellow club members.
Caryn de Walden
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
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.
Duncan & Robin
Monday, May 16, 2011
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
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
Sunday, March 27, 2011
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,
Sunday, March 13, 2011
Saturday, March 12, 2011
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,
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Saturday, February 19, 2011
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!
Sunday, February 13, 2011
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
Sunday, January 16, 2011
Monday, January 10, 2011
Thursday, December 23, 2010
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!
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
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...
Mr v/d Z
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
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
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!
"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. . .
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.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Monday, November 8, 2010
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,
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
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.
Monday, September 13, 2010
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
Although their English is hardly understandable,
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
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
Monday, May 17, 2010
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
Monday, April 19, 2010
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Saturday, February 6, 2010
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?
Sunday, January 24, 2010
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.