Minnesota Hot Dish

This week I visited my colleagues in Eagan, Minnesota, to capture on film their various expertise (don’t ask me to explain what they do, I stay behind the camera for a reason). There were several other visitors, so the Eagan folks organized a traditional Minnesota potluck, with traditional Minnesota foods such as Mexican lasagna, jello salad, and other hot dishes. Those Tater Tots took me right back to childhood…

Thanks, Eagan gang, for a yummy lunch and very good company. I’ll definitely be back for your next party!

One thought on “Minnesota Hot Dish

  1. David

    Your comments about the Italian postal service were amusing. I came across them after Googling to see why almost no eBayer will ship goods to Italy. In actual fact this laid-back manana type service is common all around the Med. Those who live in Northern Europe whose life consists of rushing about doing things before it starts raining or snowing again find this manana attitude hard to come to terms with but when people know that tomorrow the sky will be blue and the weather dry and sunny there is no urgency for anything.

    Greece is a country that I hate for its officialdom although things may have improved since1979. At that time Iwas driving back from Cyprus. The first bad experience was in Cyprus at Limmasol docks. Officials who are supposed to check passports were lounging about smoking cigarettes so the queue got longer and longer. When the queue got very long someone at the back pushed which jostled the entire line. Wallet vanished in the shunt! Probably the officials were part of the pickpocket team.

    The ferry trip was “basic” to say the least and the ship reeked of gazol (even in first class so I was told) Lucky not to have an engine fire I reckon. As the ship meandered around the Cyclades and Sporadese reception of Greek TV became possible. The main feature seemed to be news about a man in muslim robes who turned out to be the Ayatollah Khomenei. Well by the time the ship reached Greece tourist petrol coupons had been withdrawn so I had to pay £2 per gallon instead of £1 per gallon. By my reckoning the bloke owes me £50.

    Getting off the ship at Piraeus took about half a day as all passengers had to go to the dining room. The first queue was for passport checking and to my considerable amazement the passports were all scrutinised on every page by about a dozen officials. After each official had looked at it, the passport was handed on to another person who did exactly the same thing. There was also a further check by a policeman who had a suitcase sized card index of wanted persons! The next queue was for vehicle owners to pay £1 port tax and this queue was no big deal, only about ten to twenty minutes. After all this one leaves the ship and gets onto the dockside. Still not finished however as there is another queue to have ones car entered on ones passport (So you can’t sell it in Greece). After this there is the customs queue and customs object to the moped on the roof rack. The moped has to be put on the passport as well! More queuing up! After clearing customs the traffic queue began to leave the dockyard but lunchtime intervened. A man in a sentry box stopped the traffic and padlocked the dockyard gates. Everyone had to wait about half an hour until the gatekeepers lunch break was over!

    As to Greece, Athens is a bit like London but with sunshine. Tolls were avoided by using free roads over the mountains which were no problem for theTriumph GT6. Stayed in Lamia at the Hotel Americano (with electric lift) Nice clean quiet accomodation and only £2 per night!

    Pressed on through Greece and was cleared by the customs who looked at my passport and waved me through into Yugoslavia. After about 40 miles I was pulled over by the police who said “You must go back”. Couldn’t really argue as the cop was huge, spoke very little English and he had a gun! Back another 40miles to the Greek-Yugoslav border where a red-faced stroppy official grabs my passport. He opens it at the page where the car and moped are listed and crosses them off with a ballpen then says “You may go”. Don’t they have any ballpens in Yugoslavia then? The cop could have done that and saved me 80 miles but it wasn’t his fault it was the Greeks. Not been to Cyprus or Greece since and I’m not planning to either. I had been warned off about travelling via Italy but I would be surprised if Italian officialdom could worse although I have heard that they still have gate-swinging tax. I have also heard that yachtsmen who visit Italy sometimes get fined for not having an Italian tax disc on their dinghys outboard motor! Whilst on the subject of Jobsworths the Cine-Noir film “Death Of A Bureaucrat” sums up peoples feelings quite well. Unfortunately Europe now has far too many Jobsworths.

    Good luck with your blogs and travel and feel free to post this one.

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