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On a great stag night two days before the wedding, Bob was out with groom Dudley Steele and another dozen buddies from England, Spain, the Netherlands and Germany in Puerto de la Cruz on Tenerife's north side. Rounds of warm-up beers were followed by dinner at an Indian restaurant, where "somebody" decided it might be interesting to see how much heat could be put out there in one dish.

When the owner came to me, I turned to him. “Some of the lads are from England, and
like their food very spicy, sir. Not Spanish, white man, or even English vindaloo spicy.
Please make it extra
Indian spicy. I used to live in India. You know what I mean. Do your
best, please.” I laid down the gauntlet in challenge to his piquancy prowess.

“I make extra very special for you, sir,” he replied, smiling, and with a knowing gleam
in his eyes.

                                                                              ***

Our appetizers arrived. We were hit by the pungent wave of heat and spice wafting from
the one dish given extra attention. The owner beamed as he placed the plate in front of
me on the table. I knew from a distance, without a taste that he had risen to the challenge,
and then some.

Before us was a plate with half a dozen peppers stuffed with a selection of ground chilies,
unidentifiable little 
lumpy bits, and white clumps of some sort of cheese-looking substance.
Death peppers deluxe!

“Right, then,” said Roddy fearlessly. “I can handle it. Let’s do it together. No excuses, or
a bollocking.” Dudley, Mr. P, Roddy, and I each took a pepper confidently in hand.

“Remember lads, if it’s too hot, take some of the raita.” I pointed to the bowl on the table
beside the pepper plate. “No water. Or anything else. It will only make it worse.”

The four of us each popped one in our mouths and bit down. Like a shot, Roddy reached
for the raita bowl, and downed a healthy swig straight from the bowl, bypassing the spoon.
Serious stuff.  Mr. P’s face froze in horror. His jaw unhinged as he spat out mangled morsels
of pepper onto the plate. He turned red and his eyes teared.

My mouth exploded in a firebomb, with intensity I hadn’t experienced since I’d left India
three years ago. I could tolerate it though. I warmed up and felt sweat developing on my
brow.

“Jesus fuckin’ H. Christ, Bogus,” snarled Dudley, after he swallowed two spoons of raita
in rapid succession. He likely wanted to add more scolding, but couldn’t. Mr. P followed
and did the same, silent in his suffering, but his watery eyes clearly revealed his state.

“Bobby Bo was merely providing the opportunity for those that wanted an amped up
appie adventure,” I said.

“Right fuckin’ cunt you are,” retorted Roddy.

“You asked for it, mate,” I said calmly.
Innocent.

A few were clearly unhappy with this initial part of  our dining experience, and a bit miffed at Bob, despite their professing being tough guys in the HOT 'n SPICY department.

So, just what exactly had gone down here? We had very likely just been “ghost peppered” in that dish. On the Scoville scale of measuring the “bring the heat” factor, the Indian Ghost Pepper, or bhut jolokia (and a few other names), is way up there at the top.


Until 2013, that puppy was reputed to be the spiciest pepper out there. It has since been surpassed by the Carolina Reaper, and for a time by the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion and related derivative Butch T.

But hey, don’t take this pundit’s word for how hot these things are. Here's a nice intro from someone in the trade with some good narrative and background information.



Here are a few more folks that tried, and who wanted to share their experience. Pop one of these suckers in your mouth, and watch the mirth and mayhem unfold.


Our next hero contestant, RapidResponseKing (aka Tedy), needs to be admired for aiming to take in several in rapid succession. 
 

Our full-of-energy gal, GloZell Green, wasn't yet hip to things like water and soda NOT being a good idea here to fight the fire, even when she was munching on a lower intensity habanero


When stuff goes sideways on you here, know ito have some dairy around (e.g., milk, yoghurt, sour cream, raita or other fine things of that ilk.) to help douse the flames.

And sometimes, Momma knows best, as in “Just don’t do it!” We had to get a mention in there of her, what with Mother’s Day going down tomorrow.


Even if U a hottie, your sorry state won’t get spared when it comes time to bring the heat and take your ass down (as Bob likes to say), "faster than a piñata at Carlos Slim Helu’s surprise 50th birthday party."



And then, at the very end of this transforming culinary experience, after your having received that consumng warm embrace on the inbound path, one might find that gift of pure joy getting recycled through the outbound, backdoor end. So brace, and beware, Bobbolin(o/a)s. 


But hey, it’s all just like the tagline points out, on this bag below, as taken from Bob’s own pantry. 



Things like this, they ain’t be teaching your ass in school. That’s why Bob hits weddings across the world, where one can find oneself in all kinds of crazy situations and funny encounters in exotic locations. As some single cat traveling between continents, you pick up a few things along the way. And you can read all about it here, since life's too short for boring reads. 


 
The close of this chapter set in 1994 features a brief exchange centered around bananas.

A global spat on banana distribution had erupted in late 1993 between the US and EU. This informative piece lays out the playing field nicely. On one side, you had your American-owned  Latin American companies pumping out larger-sized bananas, and on the other side, you had European-owned enterprises that operated in many former colonies of Africa, the Caribbean, and Pacific with smaller-sized bananas  As for taste and texture preferences and differences, it wasn't about that. At stake was importation into different global markets, and a tussle over tariffs and quotas.

It was all kind of like a “my banana be better (if not bigger) than your banana" battle. 


Maybe the Germans had the right attitude with "just let the consumer decide," but of course that would have been too easy and logical. As tall Dutchman Ruud de Cock presciently commented,

"If we can’t even fix bananas, how we can fix all the other serious matters in the world? The banana battle is only getting started, but will take years to solve. You’ll see."

Ruud knew the drill, and it only took like nearly 20 years to sort this shit out per here and a more detailed breakdown here.

German Karl Kurt Köttelwesch (aka K-Kube) dropped a pearl on all when he talked about the optimum method monkeys use to peel a banana, one which many humans are not aware of. This video shows it ain’t rocket science, Corky. Look and learn. If you really are fascinated by this then you can also check out this WikiHow covering the eight methods to peel one, and wow foe and friend alike with deep MacGyver-like insight. 


The US-EU spat t wasn’t the only banana battle it seems. The Velvet Underground had Andy Warhol’s famed banana design on the cover of their 1967 debut album with Nico. A lawsuit erupted in 2012 and took 18 months to settle per here and here. It was good to see that as the trade banana dispute was winding down, there was another banana themed dispute to take its place. Maybe that was by "design," pardon the pun. 


If setting bananas straight took so long, is anybody surprised we can’t resolve more complicated world matters like peace in the Middle Crease, pretending that climate change ain’t happening,  and increasing global inequality. Go figure. We’ll all be waiting a very long friggin’ time to deal with everything else.  Either that, or the powers that be steering the ship just want it that way. Cuz , like, when it’s "heads I win, tails you lose," they can play that game all day long and always come out ahead.

Perhaps it makes as much sense as this little ditty, as taken from Despicable Me 2, featuring The Minions, and their take on the Beach Boys song Barbara Ann.


For those with an ever-inquisitive mind and dying to know what language this is, here’s a link to some background on Minionese, and some more on the specific lyrics.

Then, there are these banana commercials, ranging from a 1940s classic through to ones from modern day Japan and Australia.


N.B. Somebody who penned a novel and utilized "chikita banana" as a reference for a woman (making his female editor’s skin crawl every time it came up) may have been inspired by this vintage ad.  Or maybe it was just pure coink-e-dink.



 

 

The fellas also gotta like these topical banana-based words of wisdom. So true, but it kinda makes me wonder about what the preceding 391 rules are. 

                                          Source: QuickLol

Chikita bananas, on the other hand, can get away with THAT all day long, and the world comes to a stop.


Get your mind out of the gutter. It’s all about the fruit, Bobbolin(o/a), and proper technique. Truth be told, most guys will not  be bothering to correct them on their peeling technique as Karl Kurt pointed out above. As the Pink Floyd Dole ad above declared, "if you feel it, peel it." Bob sure digs the double entendre going on with that tagline.

After all of the above. know that bananas be bidni$$ too, and now that the trade tiff  has been settled, consolidation is in the air, as evidenced here by the attempted acquisition action going down between Chiquita, Fyffes and some Brazilians in Cutrale and the Safra Group wading into the fray of late. Maybe the Brazzies are pissed cuz of their showing at the World Cup. In the end, they may all still figure out a way to get cozy together and mix $$$ with bananas and oranges. 


Bob be diggin’ deep, to bring you the skinny on matters of consequence in our world, when he ain’t busy as some single prat traveling the world attending weddings.



Subject: Tenerife #18 - What's in your glass?
(Posted on Jun 10, 2014 at 10:02AM ) Tags:
Perplexed by that ages-old glass that is half-full versus half-empty conundrum? Decisions, decisions.


It always depends on how you wanna look at stuff, ain’t it? Optimsim and pessimism are just states of mind. Attitude is what counts. 


Just as Dudley Steele scolded Billy Brant and "Student" Grant Lipman pooside at the villa in Tenerife, the day after his bachelor bash dished him a raging hangover, always ask your friendly neighborhood barkeep to pour you another one. Unless your’re getting bad pours, that should usually fix it. 


And if/when the beer runs out, switch to something else.


Whether your thinking runs left, right, middle of the road, or upside down, it doesn't matter. There's always an answer for that too, even if you're a more cerebral science- and math-minded type. 


And as our good friend and drinking buddy, The Most Optimistic Man in the World, always has a pository spin on things, here are a couple of apropos vignettes in light of the World Cup kick-off in just a few days time and another matter of note sure to make a splash in our world at some point down the road. 



Remember, as Bobby Bo likes to always say as a rule in life:

Think Pository = Negatory Suppository

At the end of the day, forget all that pseudo-intellectual philosophical crap, and just shout ¡Uno mas! When the beer runs out, no whine, switch to wine, shots or whatever else may be lying around. It’s all perspective.

And when you tire of this talk of glasses in various states of relative fill, maybe "Think green" and go smoke some weed or sumpin’ for yet another different take.

Subject: Tenerife #18 - Finca el Drago / El Teide
(Posted on Jan 15, 2014 at 01:58PM ) Tags:
The wedding reception setting, Finca el Drago is still there to this date, and looks to be holding up well since 1994.

You can imagine the scene by the pool unfolding for the DeathList exchange, as well as bachelor night when Dudley got dropped off drunk at the cottage on the property, back to "da Boss."


Here are some photos of the island's peak / volcano, El Teide, and the national park around it, as well as more shots of the villa and compound. Gnerally, the island overall is a pretty spectacular place on many fronts. This NASA satellite radar shot from 1994 gives a great view of the whole island and its shape. 


Parts of the island really can look like Mars, and here's the video shot there in 1991 by The Shamen - Move Any Mountain, as referenced in the chapter and included in the music playlist. 


And as also mentioned, right after filiming the video here, Will Sinnott (or Will Sin) drowned while swiming off the coast of nearby La Gomera, another island that is part of the Canaries chain.


 
Subject: Tenerife #18 - Death List and Oprah Winfrey
(Posted on Jan 10, 2014 at 04:17PM ) Tags:
Per the poolside discussion in Tenerife with Billy Brant and Grant Lipman (aka Student Grant), DeathList (with no space between being the proper way to write it per the site) really does exist, and it's been going for decades now. Their tagline is certainly pretty catchy.


Bobby Bo wouldn't make up stuff like that, but he might make up other stuff. Another example of fact being more interesting and stranger than fiction.

N.B. It is in no way connected to the movie, Death List (2006), which looks pretty bad, judging from the trailer.

Even the mention of Oprah Winfrey being on DeathList 1990 in position #30 at the tender age of 36 years old is factual. What were those guys on about way back then with that? That's another matter altogether.

Fast forward to present day, and it looks like the lads hit a record year with DeathList 2013, bagging a record bumper crop of 13 / 50 stiffs. Seems they are getting better with their picks over the years. What will DeathList 2014 bring? Take a look as there are, as always, some interesting candidates, but no one really unexpectedly young, save one.

Last, but important, Bobby Bo was at a wedding in the summer of 2012 in the UK countryside way out past Stonehenge. Billy Brant finally tied the knot, but  the bride's identity is a surprise for now. Sure enough, Student Grant, still not married like this cat  tapping the keyboard, was there too, We both had another good laugh about DeathList one more time 18 years later.

This rather odd, annual Brit hobby, or pursuit, will reappear in future dialogue in one of the next two books in the Wedding Chronciles trilogy. It's just too good to pass up.