Jillian 8a – Best Travel Experience

Another time when we were talking about travel, Jillian spoke about a wonderful experience she had had in Mumbai or Bombay.

If you don't tell her, I won't; but India was another country I omitted from my list a few posts ago. Oh dear!

This is a really nice story and well worthy of being included in the best experiences category. India, unfortunately, is often on the other side of the best/worse experiences for travellers and I can vouch for this. One evening while walking on Chowpatti beach, during the most fantastic Ganesha Chaturthi Hindu festival, celebrated in honour of the elephant-headed God, Ganesh - remover of obstacles and the God of beginnings and wisdom, when Hindus immerse idols of Lord Ganapati with a variety of herbal leaves and plants into the Arabian Sea; I realised, too late, why no Indian people were bare footed in the sand. Oops.

Back to Jillian. On her 1st visit to Mumbai, she was able to snag a kind of a taxi, a really old, rusty and run down, but garishly painted in swirly rainbow colours, car of some sort with an unkempt scraggy young boy as a driver. The longish journey into the southern Mumbai suburb of Colaba was punctuated by very loud, very colourful fireworks, and a madly waving driver indicating with hands and bobbing head large numbers of incredible sights not to be missed, although the road appeared quite capable of taking care of itself without eyes, or hands on the steering wheel.

And the SPEED. Oh well that's another thing altogether. This guy took a shine to Jillian - a slight mix-up with money and a largish tip changing hands may have helped. He adopted her. He became her personal taxi driver in Mumbai. Slept on the bonnet of the cab outside her hotel. "I look after lovely white lady without man." he used to say. He must have had other clothes in the cab as he was sometimes in an ordinary shirt and trousers, sometimes an Indian dhoti with a shirt, not very clean and not always much more than threadbare. His odour was acceptable most days so he must have had a bit of a wash in the nearby Arabian Sea. In itself this is a risk as some of the stuff floating in and on this water had the ability to make things worse. Much worse.

Mumbai is a city where traffic cannot even begin to be described, taxis and hire cars are seemingly non-existent, cows roam the streets and motor bikes make up a greater population than sheep in the whole of New Zealand. And everything that moves - (except for the cows which can sit in the middle of the road often not moving at all for hours; and of course, because they are sacred you can't touch them), everything moves at lightning speed.

Walking is hard because of the beggars living, eating, feeding babies, defecating, yelling, and sleeping. The streets are often an extension of the slums. Jillian was very nearly run over by a young chap with no legs zooming along the footpath at warp speed on a skateboard.

So, it is good, no read REALLY GOOD, to have your own personal taxi driver. He can move anything - except cows (even a personal taxi driver can't do that), park anywhere, help you avoid the unavoidable beggars and peddlers and spruikers, circumvent for you the prominent back street, garishly decorated, overpriced emporiums where you can get the best fake Prada bags ever made. "I mean even the leather is fake," Jillian screamed hysterically at me.

And he can recommend shopping for real bargains, theatres for Bollywood movies, street food to avoid and that to eat, sights to see and – those that are a rip off. He can inform you of traditions and religious stuff to help you avoid the major gaffes most of us make.

In short he is an additional God to add to the possible 330 million others.


$50.00. Money for Jam. – Well not quite.

$50.00 for you all. That's each. Not to share. OMG. WTF?

However, nothing is for free.
I remember once I heard this explained as TANSTAAFL. "There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch". Great word to chuck into a conversation, isn't it?
Anyway. What is this all about?
I am offering, for the month of February 2015, $50.00 cash paid directly into your nominated bank account to anyone who refers a friend, colleague, family member or whatever to me and they purchase any coaching product.
Look, I'm feeling generous, let's make it $50.00 for a single paid session, then $75.00 if 3 sessions are purchased and paid for at the same time and $100.00 for my 6 session package.
There it is. Money for you. In your pocket.
Refer anyone. Anywhere. We can use Skype, phone, or face-to-face if they live in Melbourne.
No strings. No questions. Just great coaching.
The more you refer, the more cash you can earn.
All you need to do is refer them to the website and they can purchase there. No sales spiel. Nothing further.
Oh well, you need to message me their name so I can look out for the purchase and know it's from you. But that's not too onerous, is it?
An explanation of coaching can be found on the website.
Let me just say that any footy or ball team or any athlete worth their salt has a COACH. Not because they are crap (although some might be - Collingwood for Melbourne viewers), but because they want to be better. To win the cup this year.
Coaching is NOT always about fixing problems, it is more often about empowering and enabling a better future. 2015 is the year of living better than ever before.
Make a commitment to refer two people this month. Now GO!
That link again:

Jillian 8 – Best Travel Experience

One of the questions I ask travellers is, "What is the best experience you have had?"

Usually takes a few moments thought, but I have found it makes for a lot of interesting stories. Some you might wonder how they made it into the category. For instance this story is surely one of the more interesting. It was a few years ago, now in the City of Genoa in Italy. My story teller was walking down a dark alley - why you would do that in city in a country where you don't know the culture or the language escapes me; but for some people adventure and risk taking is the drug of choice. The most interesting thing he saw was a ??retailer?? sitting on the pavement with a lot of wet, tightly sealed plastic bags ranged in front of him containing brightly coloured boxes covered in what he thought was Japanese script, and pictures of the latest electronic devices.

Apparently the reason for the plastic and the water was that at this time in the history of Genoa smuggling was rife. Bags of goods from the Far East were dumped over the side of ships passing through and were picked up by divers to be sold on the black market, or in this case the black alley-way. Yep. True. Very interesting. Was it one of his best or worst experiences? Don't know. Go figure.

Jillian's best experience featured music. She is a huge fan and on this particular evening found herself at The Bitter End Club in Bleecker St, Greenwich Village New York City, New York. USA.

In the mid 1970s, the club became known as the birthplace of Bob Dylan. Anyway she turned up with her travelling companion about 7.00 pm looking for a feed, some wine and music. Plenty of booze they said and music to die for, but, no food. However, she was welcome to get take-away from the Italian 'round the corner and bring it in. This they planned to do.

The Italian round the corner turned out to be about 20 different restaurants and they were all so cute, dinner was enjoyed sitting in a very small, owner operated joint that could have been anywhere in any town in old Italy. Fantastic ambiance, unbelievable food, and service from the owner (who hardly spoke any English and knocked at least one glass of wine to the floor with his wild gesticulations), that was just out of this world.

Returning, eventually, to The Bitter End they grabbed a table and were treated to many hours of music from a huge variety of master entertainers.bitter end It was a kind of Jam night. Happened every Sunday night, they said, and is still happening to this day. After their own concerts, musicians from all over New York City converged on arguably the most famous club in the city. A better night to finish a lovely week in New York City could not be imagined. The music was made more exciting because there was nothing planned.

The MC picked names from a list at the door (entertainers wrote down their name and instrument or voice, on arrival). So he would pick 'a band' and they would all take their places and someone would say, "OK. Blues in D. Go." And it was on. That is until the MC tired of, say, the piano player, stopped the ‘band’ in mid note and substituted another performer, may be on piano, may be on violin. Just as his fancy took him.

Some musicians Jillian knew of but many she didn't. It wasn't important. Music was supreme for the evening.

A trip to the toilet was an epic adventure in itself. Rubbing shoulders with the famous, infamous and unknown was impossible to avoid. But who would want to? The club walls were covered with the names, in their own handwriting, of comedians and musicians who had played there. From Stephane Grappelli to Leonard Cohen to pretty much any comedian, poet, band, singer, songwriter known to man since 1961 until today, well whatever day it was Jillian was there. It was beyond wonderful.

She left there at 2.00 am. The subway was still running (only in NY) so arriving back at the hotel about 30 mins later she realised there was only a few short hours to sleep, and pack ready for the airport bus which was due at 8.00 am.

Apparently being drunk and having a hangover on a plane from New York to wherever was NOT one of the best experiences.


CCS002: Radio Interview Marie Ryan and Colin Rochford – 96.5 InnerFM January 2015

On January 15th, 2015 Marie and I had a little chat about about New Year Resolutions and the 4 reasons they may not be very effective.

InnerFM is a community radio station in Melbourne's Eastern Suburbs.  The morning magazine programs are very much worth listening to.

We covered a lot of ground:

The four reasons included:
too many resolutions,
expecting them to just happen,
and Goals V's Resolutions
and we included a very quick explanation of SMART Goals.

Jillian 7 – Aftermath

Well I have now had a little chat with the lady, and we have reached a kind of understanding. Soon not yet, I am going to be able to continue our saga. She needs a bit more time apparently, not sure why but …

A cupla new rules. I have to check stuff with her before publication, and she can correct any errors of fact. Or obvious memory lapses on my part. (not sure about that because as we all know memory is very subjective and she may remember things differently from me). If that happens I'll deal with it at the time. Since this is a transition piece we'll keep it to ourselves? OK?

In another few days (week maybe) we will be good to go again. I'm getting a kick out of this journey and so are you as far as I can tell. (Feel free to comment - I'm sure Jillian would love to hear how you are enjoying her story.)

Anyway we chatted about a few things particularly about her tendency to over-react. Yes she was correct I did miss out a couple of places on the list - notably USA and NZ. And I should have remembered as I do make a habit of asking travellers the best and worst experiences that have had on their trips as it seems to be a much more interesting question and is easier to answer than, "Tell me about it." or "Where did you go?" Way more fascinating answers as well.

And OK, I had already asked Jillian this in one of our conversations and knew the responses had included USA, NZ and India too, but we won't tell her about missing that one yet.

You'll hear about these in the not too distant future.

Just a an aside, it came up that part of the name thing seemed to be linked to the Jack and Jill nursery rhyme (interestingly enough early versions of this did sometimes contain the name spelled Gill). Anyway kids used to tease her about breaking Jack's crown or something - she couldn't quite remember, and as she grew up people kept shortening Jillian to Jill. She didn't like that. And of course that NEVER happened to girls called Gillian, did it? - See above!!!

Over-reacting? What is that all about?


Your Success book for Mithra Publishing

My Well-Being Magazine
 Today I submitted a proposal for a chapter in a compilation style book to be published digitally and in paperback. I was provisionally accepted. (Well accepted, but guess they need to see the chapter first). it is 2 - 7 K words. I am so stoked. This is what I want to do. No money, but my BRAND will be out there. Fan-bloody-tabulous.

Jillian 6 – Rant

"That's just like you. Men. You are all the same. never listen. Just get it into your head that you know it all and off you go."

Top of the voice stuff, this. Red face and erratic motions of hands and arms as well. This is really starting to be a big deal. I'll cut out some of the profanity and over the top bits and pieces..

"I don't think I want to do this anymore. You can stop writing about me. Immediately. Do you hear?
"Of course not. How could you? Always got your head in a book or on the computer - looking at God knows what kind of depraved stuff."

True, perhaps. But how she knows that I can't figure. We are not that close. We don't live together. We are not a couple! She's a good friend, but ....
Anyway, I try to find out what is going on.
"What do you mean? Wha...?"
"You know what I mean.This is just stupid. I don't know why I trusted you in the first place. This was bound to happen.I let you into my life. I let you write shit about me. I let you put it on that stupid FaceBook thing and what do I get in return? NOTHING!!! That's what. And to add insult to injury you get it all wrong as well. "
"You can't get anything right. Just lies and stuff that isn't even true."
Guess it's not the correct time to point out the tautology.
"SHUT UP!" I yell. And when she calms down a bit, not used to me raising at her like that.I ask quietly if she can please explain to me, in an inside voice, exactly what it is that seems to have riled her so much.
"I'll give you riled!" she starts again."You ain't seen nuthin yet!" This at least as loud as before; even if without some of the attendant physical manifestations.

I hold my hands up in resignation and turn to leave.

"Where do you bloody think you're going?" she yells.

"Home, until you calm down," I say quietly, still moving towards the door.

"Not so fast Buster!" she pushes herself between me and the door. "You've got some 'splaining to do." Still angry. This time the words getting mixed up in the emotion of the moment.
"EXPLAINING? ME? I yell. "Ever since I walked in in here, you've been yelling at ME. AND I HAVE SOME EXPLAINING TO DO?"

"Yes you do." she blusters. But quieter now. A tad more controlled..

I turned round from the door, walked back into the room and sat quietly, deliberately in the only armchair in the room (probably hers) but every now and then I revel in the chance to play power games. It can be fun.

"OK." I said, as she walked back to the middle of the room from the door. She looks at me - realizing I am in her chair. pulls one from the dining room table and leaning on the back fixes me with a black stare.

"Tell me what is going on? What has got up your nose? and what do I have to 'splain?" I tried the joking approach. But unfortunately it backfired. This must be something big. Huge even.

"Don't think you can sweet talk me with your stupid, juvenile attempts to make a joke of it all; and mimicking me is only gunna make me madder. I don't need this bullshit."
She calmed down a bit,.went silent and dropping her preying mantis stance, she turned the dinning chair around. With another glare that might have frozen water in my direction, she sat down.
I opened my mouth to ask the same question again. and she cut me off with a raised chopping motion of her left hand. "No! Don't! Just wait!" she said.
I waited. The tension lowered like the water in a bathtub when the plug has been pulled. You could see it almost. Certainly I could fell it.
I waited.
"I don't suppose you thought I'd read your silly - what do you call it - blog? Did you?" She said.

A slight hesitation followed. If I were Harold Pinter, the now dead playwright, I might call it a slight pause, in the stage directions.
"Well I didn't. But my sister did and she told me all about it.?"
I looked over my glasses at her. "OhhhhKayyyy" I said.

Off she went again, "Don't you bloody "OK" me you big shit." But it was with less punch this time.

A bit like the Australian Bastard which is really a term of endearment, I recognised 'you big shit' as a come down of sorts. A nickname from some long time ago. So I wisely said nothing more for a few moments.

"Perhaps." she said, you might have thought I wouldn't notice. But I did.

"You left off my overseas world travel itinerary two of the most important places in my story. I had my worst travel experience in NZ, and one of my best in NY. That is in America in case you don't remember. And you missed both of these. How dare you."


Jillian 5 – NZ Shakin’ All Over

I remember one time in NZ. We were with a group of people - all ages. I have known Jillian for some time. It was late evening, we were talking, having a bite to eat and a couple of wines. Chateau cardboard at that time and only a few. The longer, more dedicated drinking sessions came later. Another era. Another country.

It was a retreat up in an old mansion on a man made hill built in an old river bed I think. Somewhere in The Hutt Valley. Between Lower Hutt and Upper Hutt. Not very imaginative names for the cities really. They were both on the Hutt River, named after Sir William Hutt, chairman of the New Zealand Company, that flowed from The Tararua Ranges for 56 kms ending up in Wellington Harbour at Petone. (pronounced 'pet own e' - not pet one), just a few kms down the road from us. Anyway I digress.

In the middle of our peregrinations through "life and the whole nine yards" we were struck by an earthquake. Not an unusual thing in NZ, but scary just the same. Knowing our possie might be a bit precarious we all headed off down the hill to a safe place.

Just then a secondary "after" shock occurred and we were reminded by a very young Jillian to turn the radio on for any announcements we might need to be aware of.

The disk Jockey was playing a Jerry lee Lewis number, "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On." I was the only one to laugh. And i laughed so hard I thought that I would cry and perhaps deposit some of the wine, filtered by my trousers, back into the ground from whence it had originally risen. Jillian had no idea of course, but I will not forget the look on her young face as she thought I was going to choke, or wet myself, or both. I hoped I hadn't scarred her for life!


Jillian 4 – The world Traveller

Oh Jillian.

Well, I left the management business alone after that.

Not sure what the problem is, but as she says, not my business. So we moved on. The next time I saw her we talked about other things.

She had just returned from an overseas trip, so I asked about that. Jillian travels a lot and mostly by herself. She reckons men get it easier than women and are not generally worth the trouble anyway. I left that comment – wisely I reckon, and forged ahead.

We kept a record of her and my travels and we were equal for a while, but then my circumstances changed and she surged ahead.

Can't remember now, how many countries she had visited at the time of this conversation, but the list contained the following:

Vanuatu, Fiji, Samoa (both varieties), New Caledonia, India, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand (3 or 4 times), Burma, England, Egypt, a couple of places in the middle east – Iraq and Iran I think, Scotland, Ireland, Greece – Athens, Mykonos and Santorini to name a few Greece spots – chasing sun, relaxation and men I'd guess, maybe not in that order – and perhaps not always Jillian doing the chasing; France, Italy (suffering a surfeit of wine, food and stuff like that), and a few other European places. I know there were many more, but that gives you an idea. Still nothing in South America and I know Russia is next on her list.

In case you think the 'men' comment above is a bit out of character, I have heard Jillian say that men were a bit like grandchildren: Great to pick up and play with; but even better to be able to give them back when you're finished. How she would have any idea about that I wouldn't know. The grandchildren bit I mean.

She's getting REALLY good at packing and travels light. Everything fits into one quite large backpack. Including the odd formal gown for those special evenings out with Celebrities or Heads of State, (my little joke), but there is apparently always room for something a little more upmarket than a swimsuit, short skirt, jeans, a top and flip flops (often called thongs; but my question is why would you wear underpants on your feet? No sensible answer for that yet! In NZ we called that kind of footwear Jandals).

Anyway. There are YouTube videos which feature other people showing us their methods of 'travel stuffing', but I reckon Jillian was the first.


Jillian 3 – Management

The next time I saw Jillian, I asked her about the management situation. “Not 'cause I'm prying or anything like that,” I said, “Just interested.”

I mean you are well educated and your credentials for the job you are doing are impeccable. I reckon you'd be liked by everyone. I guess I am not sure what is happening.”

“There's no problem,” she said. [Editorial note – I didn't say there was a problem, this is a presupposition which often comes from negative thinking.]

I just don't want all that responsibility and all the extra work that it would entail.”

“OK.” I said.

“Pity. I reckon you'd make a good boss.”

“I am a boss (if you want to call it that)”, she said.

I have a small team and we do alright. Our research is going well, although it is not really the kind of thing I thought I'd be doing when I was at Uni. I mean it's not rocket Science, but it is important work and not too full of reporting useless stats that no-one ever reads, and there's not a lot of that admin bollocks.”

“I didn't know all that”, I said. “But you were pretty ambitious when we were in school. And competitive to boot. I remember the time ….[perhaps not appropriate for here – maybe another time and place?]”

“Yes. Thanks for that.”

“So why are you choosing to stay at shallow end of the pool then?” I asked.

“None of your bloody business!” she blurted.

Oops. Always the forthright one?