Scuba diving in the Andaman Sea in Thailand

Andaman Sea diving, notice the Starry Puffer towards the bottom.
Andaman Sea diving, notice the Starry Puffer towards the bottom.

I went scuba diving in Thailand while on Phi Phi Island. This is on the West coast of Thailand and the body of water is called the Andaman Sea, it is a part of the Eastern Indian Ocean and it is separated from the Bay of Bengali by the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

I chose Princess Divers for my dive and Felix was an excellent companion for someone who does not do a lot of diving but is a certified open water diver with both PADI and NAUI. Here is little clip from the dive:

Bridge on the River Kwai – on location

Bridge on the River Kwai
Bridge on the River Kwai

Bridge on the River Kwai, is the bridge that the Japanese built with civilians and Allied POV’s during WWII (1943) to complete the rail-line between Bangkok and Rangoon in Burma (now known as Yangoon in Myanmar). As many as 12,000 people perished during the construction. A Movie with the name “The Bridge on the River Kwai” was made in 1957, starring Alec Guiness and William Holden and directed by David Lean.

A view of the Bridge on the River Kwai.
A view of the Bridge on the River Kwai.
Looking out over the River Kwai.
Looking out over the River Kwai.
Train stop on the River Kwai.
Train stop on the River Kwai.
The Bridge.
The Bridge.
Unexploded ordinance at one end of the bridge.
Unexploded ordinance at one end of the bridge.
Train coming over the Bridge.
Train coming over the Bridge.

Lost Bayou Ramblers at FQF

Los Bayou Ramblers at French Quarter fest 2018.
Los Bayou Ramblers at French Quarter fest 2018.

French Quarter Fest in New Orleans in April this year, saw it’s 35:th edition go off with only a minor hitch  – one day was “stormed out’ – Saturday’s events had to be cancelled due to high winds and a copious amount of rain.

One of the more popular stages at the FQF is the Chevron Cajun-Zydeco Showcase on Decatur Street with bands such as the Grammy nominated Lost Bayou Ramblers performing. Let me tell you that these Cajun tunes are catchy as can be, especially when combined with the rhythmic Cajun/Creole music.

Lost Baju Ramblers consists of 6 band members and they are: Brothers Louis Michot (fiddle and lead vocals) and Andre Michot (accordion and lapsteel), Bryan Webre (electric bass), Johnny Campos (electric guitar), Eric Heigle (electronics and acoustic guitar), and Kirkland Middleton (drums).

Their latest record to date at the time of FQF in April 2018 is “Kalenda” and you can buy it from their store here . I strongly recommend that you buy this great record and support the band!

Below is a little snippet from their performance to show how good this band is and how catchy their music is.

Louis Michot, lead singer and violinist of the Los Bayou Ramblers.
Louis Michot, lead singer and violinist (or fiddler) of the Lost Bayou Ramblers.
Riverfront bag check point.
Riverfront bag check point.
Big River stage in the Woldenberg Park by the Mississippi river.
Big River stage in the Woldenberg Park by the Mississippi river.
A fiddler on one of the many stages during the 2018 French Quarter Fest.
A fiddler on one of the many stages during the 2018 French Quarter Fest.
French Jazz band at the French Market Stage.
French Jazz band at the French Market Stage.
The Brass Band stage at the New Orleans Mint.
The Brass Band stage at the New Orleans Mint.
New Orleans 300 sign by Jackson Square.
New Orleans 300 sign by Jackson Square.

New Orleans was claimed by the French in 1682 and the city of New Orleans was formed in 1718 by Jean Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville. The city is celebrating 300 years this year 2018, read about the events here.

Statue erected in 1955 depicting Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville (Born Feb 23 1710 in Montreal New France, died in Paris March 7 1767) de Bienville is credited with founding La Nouvelle-Orléans (English - New Orleans) in 1718. The actual date is not exactly known, but May 7 has been the traditional date of celebration.
Statue erected in 1955 depicting Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville (Born Feb 23 1710 in Montreal New France, died in Paris March 7 1767) de Bienville is credited with founding La Nouvelle-Orléans (English – New Orleans) in 1718. The actual date is not exactly known, but May 7 has been the traditional date of celebration.
Nachez, New Orleans only steamboat.
Nachez, New Orleans only steamboat.

Finally an image of the Nachez stamboat that offers Cruises with dinner and Jazz, go here for more info and tickets.

The Broads should have kept their art in their living room!

It is unfortunate that so much art is put in a place that suffers immensely from being poorly run and planned. The Broad art museum in downtown LA is the worst run art museum that I have ever visited, and that is said without even setting foot inside.

The Broad, (image from the Broad website)
The Broad, (image from the Broad website).

Make no mistake, I have only admiration and respect for Eli and Edythe Broad, they are very nice people and are doing a massive amount of good work with their fortune. This article pertains only to how the art museum that bears their name is run on a daily basis.

I went to see the Jasper Johns exhibit yesterday Thursday May 10 as it was the waning days of the exhibit and I wanted to see it before it ended on May 13. On this day May 10, the museum offered free admission to the exhibit between 16:00 -20:00. However,  since I prefer to see art in as uncrowded an environment as possible, I went ahead and paid $25.00 and booked a ticket for 14:30 on Thursday instead of trying to attend for free. Since this would be my first visit to the Broad I anticipated coming in a bit earlier than my time slot for the Jasper Johns exhibit – so I arrived around 13:00 instead and was looking forward to seeing the rest of the museum before my 14:30 timed Jasper Johns ticket.

The first thing you will notice if you choose to drive your car to the museum, is that once you enter the garage all parking spots are two cars in tandem! This is an odd configuration for any public space and particularly odd for an art museum of this supposed caliber. It means that you have to leave your keys with an attendant if you are the second to park in a space and if you are the first, you will be ‘parked in’ and need to have an attendant move the blocking car to get out. It obviously also means that the museum need to hire  quite a large number of parking attendants to manage all this. I can only imagine that the thought is to strongly discourage people from driving to the museum, to me it just creates an inconvenience for the patrons of the museum and adds administrative headaches. I think a better way would have been to go with the tried and true way that you will find in most of Southern California’s and the rest of the worlds parking garages – single stall parking.

As I made my way up to the entrance I was excited to see the museum and hastened my steps coming out of the elevator from the garage, only to find a big line as I rounded the corner where the exit is situated (it looked like an entrance, but it was a guarded exit). I had not anticipated a line as long as this for ticketholders, and when I asked if this was the line if you already had a ticket I was told that it was. After a short period of time in the line, I asked one of the staffers that was moving around aside the line and asked hime how long the wait would be. He asked me what time my ticket was for and I told him that my timed ticked for the Jasper Johns exhibit was for 14:30 and that I had arrived early to see the rest of the museum (as is suggested on the museum website) before my ticketed time for Jasper Johns. I was told that I could not enter before the time of my Jasper Johns ticket. When I asked why that was not made clear at the time I bought the ticket the staffer told me that it was made clear, and essentially blew me off. As he walked away, I asked if I could speak to a supervisor or someone else that might be able to explain this better to me and also someone that would listen to my input on the matter. He told me that he would get someone to come talk to me. After waiting ten minutes I asked someone else to please get me a supervisor and shortly thereafter a supervisor came out and talked to me. All these encounters were not very pleasant, and although I’ll admit that I was slightly upset and disappointed with the whole situation and it likely showed. However, after having driven downtown and really looking forward to the art, and even more about seeing the architectural gem that the museum building really is, the disappointment should not be a surprise or something that the staff would not be able to handle in a better manner. Clearly, if you choose to work in a customer service position on the very front lines, one of the absolute requirements needed is to be able to deal with people – upset or not – in a manner that will calm upset feelings and make people feel better about things. In addition the front-line staff should have great powers granted to do what is necessary to correct any missteps or misunderstandings to ensure a satisfactory outcome for all sides. It is obvious that this is not how the Broad’s staff is instructed or empowered to operate, rather the feeling you get is that they do not need you – you are  there because of them… and at their will.

I was in the end offered to get in with 30 minutes less of a wait, at 14:00 instead of 14:30 – but at that point my day was already ruined by all the nonsense and in my view poor treatment. I just paid my $10 parking fee for the half hour of nonsense and decided that there is no reason for me to go back to the Broad.

I will keep supporting LACMA, the Tate’s in London, Centre Pompidou in Paris and all other museums around the world that knows how to run an efficient and more compassionate organization.