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20 Jul 2010




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Mon Jul 12, 2010

ndia Congrats to Megha Bhagat, Winner of HP Laptop/Printer Bundle Theory of Change Contest Congrats to Megha Bhagat, Winner of HP Laptop/Printer Bundle Contest that I ran on my blog last month. To enter the contest, readers had to share their "Theory of Change." Megha is a passionate human rights advocate in India and also lawyer. Her blog is here. Here's her theory of change and social media: Social Media was at one point of time just about what we read or saw in news or heard over the radio. Then came in social media as an effective mechanism to be able to catalyse change.Maybe the attention its got is relatively new but no denying that its become today such a strong change maker. I am a lawyer by profession and presently a student of human rights law in my masters at India. Going back to my under graduation days i can say social media helped me bring together people for a cause time and again. Today i use it effectively with maybe another handful of lawyers spread over the country who communicate via mails and help in their own small ways . My theory for a change has some linkages to my law specific profession: 1. How to get Communities like the litigating, practicing lawyers effectively engaging on social media: It is still a fact that in India the lawyers who are practicing,are working in firms have a very very closed view on usage of social media tools. It is important to get them initiated into usage of social media. This becomes important for pro bono services. Some lawyers are ready to help people in distress in pro bono cases and in India you need a strong network of such lawyers. Getting the practitioners all across connected via social media tools ensures that this network is able to deliver services for the masses who donot have enough means for access to justice. Today i am a part of a small group like this, but we are people who are in a younger age bracket and have been using social media for sometime. The change is needed in the whole fraternity where in the sensitivity and readiness of lawyers to take up pro bono cases is encouraged by teaching them how effective social media tools can be for conversing with other like minded professionals etc. 2. Breaking the Myths about Social media: For a community like the lawyers its important to introduce them to the new age social media and what it has come to mean. It is important to make this community to realize that their services can bring about a change in societal access to justice delivery system and more importantly that social media is now not a waste of time but an effective tool for sharing experiences and getting motivated by work that others in their community do. Even as social media experts/trainers engage with professionals from all walks of community it is important that this community is also engaged in breaking their myths, apprehensions etc. 3. Every individual is a change maker: My experience with social media tools has been that conversations, discussions, arguements shared on discussion boards, forums, groups has brought the unconventional professionals to come ahead with ideas that can bring change. A lot of times these discussions have brought ahead an individual who probably would not engage in a certain type of case but is inspired and motivated by following the discusisons and gives his input which becomes an important idea for people like us who are into human rights practicing. It is therefore pertinent to constantly realize that, to bring together an effective change maker group of lawyers who are ready to provide justice delivery services, every lawyer we train in social media tools or even get introduces to such tools becomes an individual who can have an amazing idea. For me personally i can envisage a system where in we have trained lawyers from all walks of practice in India, in effective communication via social media and such engagement can bring about at least a start of coming together of ideas, brain storming of changes needed and more importantly networks of professionals who are readily available for getting justice to the under served masses. Megha Bhagat Advocate LLM student, NLSIU, Bangalore(Human Rights), India meghabhagat@nls.ac.in


















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Sat Jun 05, 2010

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Tue Jun 01, 2010

Streets and squares, Serbia Breakfast is an unhurried and often alcoholic affair in a Serbian summer. For instance, Laze Teleckog in Novi Sad is home to plenty of places to appreciate the beauty of coffee, rakija, Serbians and something that one tourist brochure called "the hobby of uninterested hanging around." You can spend all day sipping your drink and skimming your book. Conversation if you care for it, privacy if you don't.... Your table is waiting. l_1263394760Breakfast_At_Lautrec.jpg


















Tue Jun 01, 2010

Streets and squares, Serbia Breakfast is an unhurried and often alcoholic affair in a Serbian summer. For instance, Laze Teleckog in Novi Sad is home to plenty of places to appreciate the beauty of coffee, rakija, Serbians and something that one tourist brochure called "the hobby of uninterested hanging around." You can spend all day sipping your drink and skimming your book. Conversation if you care for it, privacy if you don't.... Your table is waiting. l_1263394760Breakfast_At_Lautrec.jpg


















Tue Jun 01, 2010

Streets and squares, Serbia Breakfast is an unhurried and often alcoholic affair in a Serbian summer.For instance, Laze Teleckog in Novi Sad is home to plenty of placesto appreciate the beauty of coffee, rakija, Serbians and something thatone tourist brochure called "the hobby of uninterested hanging around."You can spend all day sipping your drink and skimming your book.Conversation if you care for it, privacy if you don\'t.... Your table iswaiting.l_1263394760Breakfast_At_Lautrec.jpg


















Tue Jun 01, 2010

Streets and squares, SerbiaBreakfast is an unhurried and often alcoholic affair in a Serbian summer.For instance, Laze Teleckog in Novi Sad is home to plenty of places to appreciate the beauty of coffee, rakija, Serbians and something that one tourist brochure called "the hobby of uninterested hanging around."You can spend all day sipping your drink and skimming your book. Conversation if you care for it, privacy if you don't.... Your table is waiting.l_1263394760Breakfast_At_Lautrec.jpg


Tue Jun 01, 2010

Streets and squares, SerbiaBreakfast is an unhurried and often alcoholic affair in a Serbian summer.For instance, Laze Teleckog in Novi Sad is home to plenty of places to appreciate the beauty of coffee, rakija, Serbians and something that one tourist brochure called "the hobby of uninterested hanging around."You can spend all day sipping your drink and skimming your book. Conversation if you care for it, privacy if you don't.... Your table is waiting.l_1263394760Breakfast_At_Lautrec.jpg


Tue Jun 01, 2010

Streets and squares, Serbia Breakfast is an unhurried and often alcoholic affair in a Serbian summer.For instance, Laze Teleckog in Novi Sad is home to plenty of placesto appreciate the beauty of coffee, rakija, Serbians and something thatone tourist brochure called "the hobby of uninterested hanging around."You can spend all day sipping your drink and skimming your book.Conversation if you care for it, privacy if you don't.... Your table iswaiting.l_1263394760Breakfast_At_Lautrec.jpgearth.orgCreative Commons License Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Germany Licence;


















Mon Apr 26, 2010

lyndacorcoran I have had a busy few weeks since I was last in touch. I did a couple more days of volunteer work in Cusco. I absolutely fell in love with the kids and it was heartbreaking to hear about how tough their lives were. The little fella who greets me every morning with a hug is apparently physically abused at home. At the weekends they get very little food. There aren?t many kind words at home so no wonder they are so well behaved at school. As they get older they seem to lose some of their spirit; life taking it out of them I suppose. I was so impressed with the teacher. He was so patient and loving towards the children. He also gave a lot of background information about the kids. View from Loki hostel bar, Cusco.I had a really funny experience in Cusco on a night out. I had my little wallet in my jeans pocket but it was peaking out slightly. However I had nothing in it except my cash for that night. We walked through an area that lots of people were milling around at 2.30am. Next thing I felt that I wallet was missing!(I felt it immediately). I went up to the guy who had taken it as he had made no attempt to flee the area and said 'Give me back my wallet'!. So he takes it out of his pocket, along with a pack of Skittles sweets and offers both of them to me! I really don't understand what that was all about but he did kindly give me the wallet back!!! Who ever heard of someone getting their pickpocketed wallet back!!! After that he stayed in the general area, standing only about 10m away from me for ages! Steph and I in Colca Canyon, PeruAfter this Steph and I took a trip to Colca Canyon, which is the World's Deepest Canyon, except that it isn't!(The deepest one is a couple of valley's over, but lets not get pedantic!)The whole trip was fantastic - both nights we stayed in places with no electricity, which was pretty enjoyable. 18th Century church in Colca Canyon.The canyon was breathtaking but my favourite part of the trip was the night hike. We got up at 2.30am to trek up the side of the canyon in order to be in time to go condor watching.(They only appear early in the morning). It was pretty magical to walk at night. I was a bit worried about it as there are significant drops from the narrow path but in the end it was amazing - the moon was so bright we didn`t need to use our torches! We had the most stunning view of the canyon and surrounding mountains. We did have a a glass of wine on my birthday to celebrate and Steph bought me a beautiful scarf. So I didn`t feel alone on a day that I always spend with my family. I returned to Cusco to meet Linds and Keith, which was just fantastic. We hadn't seen each other for almost 6 months, when she left to go on her travels. We had a lovely few days just hanging out in the town, which is defintely the best place in Sth America for it! Great food, nightlife, places to stay. Because I didn't book the Inca Trail before I left home, there was 3 week lapse between booking and starting the walk. It was a great place for it; I had a lot of fun there, made some great friends and did lots of different things.The Inca Trail Group The Inca trail turned out to be justfantastic, definitely one of the highlights of my trip so far. It would have been just such a bummer to have waited around so long and not to have had a great time. The group was brilliant, so much fun. Jenn and II shared a tent with a really lovely American girl called Jen. She is so much fun and a little bit nuts. She is a teacher in a private school and is working in Peru for 5 weeks. She was there in advance preparing a 3 week trip for her students who were to arrive shortly afterwards. Imagine that type of experience, as a 15 year old! The weather was mixed but fabulous when we were at Machu Picchu, which was just as amazing as I had hoped. Really magical. The Classic Machu Picchu photo I was also the fastest walker everyday! It was very strange, I don`t know why. The most difficult part of the walk was over Dead Woman`s Pass at 4300m. Everyone else did it in 3 hours and I did it in 1 hr 35 mins. I was the first person there in the morning other than the porters.(Hundreds do it every day). How bizarre! I was first everyday, other than when we were walking in areas that had drops. I think it was a strange convergence of different factors that might never be repeated in my lifetime!!! The other thing I did that I was really pleased with was walking up Wanyapicchu, which is the high mountain behind Machu Picchu. There are a lot of drops and the steps aren`t great. Anyway I had no intention of going up, just going to the bottom and taking a look. I ended going up 90% of the way. At that point it got very difficult and we also ran out of time(we had to run to catch our bus). I would have loved to have finished it though. After Cusco I moved onto Huaraz, in the Cordillera Blanca. It is the 2nd highest mountain range in the world(and it really is this time!)after a section of the Himalayas. Have you seen / read 'Touching the Void"" This is where it is set. I can't remember what the name of this mountain was but it was spectacular!I did another 4 day trek which was sort of hard-going doing it the week after the Inca Trail. I was quite happy when it was finished! Whilst the scenery was really beautiful, I just didn`t seem to gel with the group that well. It just seemed that they would contradict EVERYTHING I said. One of the many beautiful wildflowers on the trek. However the best thing about the trek was seeing some of the peaks by moonlight and also doing my highest trekking yet -going through a mountain pass at 4750m.Me at Punta Union Pass Right now I am in Equador. It is so funny that I am running out of time! I am going to the Galapagos islands which will be extremely expensive. It is unlikely that I will get to go again so I should just bite the bullet. It will be the last thing I do before I start my journey home. I have arranged the most interesting volunteer work for myself! I am going to be developing chocolate bar recipes for a fair trade chocolate co-operative called Kallari! I met a girl, Lily, in the bar of my hostel in Cusco and got chatting. She was so excited that I was a food technologist! I have never worked with chocolate; I only have an idea how to handle it from cooking!!! However that has not been a problem at all with the work we have done so far. Lily is really nice and lots of fun. I am staying the apartment she lives in, along with about 8 other volunteers connected with the co-operative. Its quite an interesting environment. There is so much ideas floating around and lots of chat. However Lily has said that they are great at sitting around chatting but often very little gets done! I am good at getting things done. I am focused on the task as I only have time to be there for a about 10 days. I am helping develop a recipe for a Chilli Cinnamon Chocolate bar. We spent most of yesterday working on a recipe for a Chilli Cinnamon Hot Chocolate. I think we cracked it, it was just gorgeous! Lily and I hit the town in Quito last night. It seems that Salsa is absolutely enormous in this country! We went to a Salsa bar and saw some fantastic dancing there. The unfortunate thing about these places is that you get asked to dance. Now normally this would not be a problem but I can't Salsa to save my life! God the first time I danced it was a truly awful experience!! I really felt sorry for the guy I danced with. I also could not understand why I kept getting asked to dance, especially when it was so obvious how bad I was. I eventually realised that every club needs someone like me, cos without me, who else would the other really bad dancers dance with!!! I was barely off the dancefloor for the night so obviously most local girls are too good for their own good!Yesterday we took a trip to the Equator, which is only 30 mins from Quito. We had lots of fun, even though it is really just a touristy thing to do!Me at the Real Equator Next on the cards is a trip to Limoncocha, with the other volunteers from Kallari. This isn't work, it is purely to see wildlife. The main woman in the organisation, Judy, is a biologist so will be acting as our guide. It sounds really exciting as it will be cheap, we get to go to places that are off the tourist trail and will be spending time in proper jungle communities. Sleeping on the floor! Also the group going are great and we should have lots of fun. After that we are going to the place where the cacao is harvested and the chocolate is manufactured. The nerd in me is really looking forward to this!!Anyway folks. It is unlikely that I will be sending a blog before I get home on Friday 1st June! I am sooo looking forward to meeting up with everyone and just being at home! Maybe I have lost my restlessness; I will have to wait and see. I am also home for the summer; I have decided it is not a good time to go to Africa. It will still be there if I want to go another time. [8] [7] [6] [5] [4] [3] [2] [1] [0]


















Wed Apr 21, 2010

LibaurinaHey there guys!! We are writing this time from a different country! Weare in Laos now in a town called luang prabang! Its really nice and wethink it is all of our favourtie places so far! Its quite relaxed andfeels quite french!! So after the water fights in chiang mai we wantedto go and ride an elephant and so joined a tour, which there only endedup being us and a japanese man on! We got to the elephant camp andjumped on after being guilt tripped into buying some bananas to feedthe elephants! Libby and Laura went on one, while Corrina joined thecute japanese man on Roland. She seemed to forget he was there thoughand proceeded to sit in the middle of the small seat whilst he wassquished up to the side! This made me and libs LOL a LOT and also thefact that she was so oblivious!! The ride was really goood and theelephants seemed much happier than the ones that we saw in ayutthaya!!The day continued with bamboo rafting, where we got soaked by many thaipeople! We are not sure whether they were still celebrating songkran ornot! Corrinas top did not survive the splashing well and wentcompletely seethrough, but it did help get the elephant snot out fromearlier! We also went to see some hillside tribes, but felt these werea little too comercialised and we went to see a waterfall but it wasntas good as the other one that we had seen!We then took the bus up toChiang Khong which took around 6 hours! We had a minor panic when wegot to the station and laura realised after unpacking her bag in thebus station that she had left her most valuable possessions in thehotel room, her passport money and cards!! A quick dash back and wemanaged to get them and still make the bus! We got to chiang khong andcrossed the border and though it was very hot it went quite smoothly. We stayed here for one night and then begun our 2 day journey down theMekong to Luang Prabang! The slow boat was very slooww and even thoughthere were some right characters on our boat the first day was long!The characters included a hawaiian guy called tony who produced aguitar and sung about mawi(the only word in the whole song was mawi.he also had a tatoo of his middle name which we later found out ment'free one'. There was also another guy called matt who was an experton everything and even offered corrina a pillow at one point which waspromptly taken back 'to rescue another'. This provided us with muchentertainment an ment that we couldnt look them in the eye withoutloling. The stopover town was called Pakbeng, it was MENTAL! Firstly,after sending Libby scrambling up the hill to secure us a room, Corrinaand Laura had to stop all our bags being stolen by random locals! Theyaudaciously claimed they were their own bags, this did not make ushappy. Libby found a good room for $15, or so she thought... when wewent to pay he wanted $50, this was met by Corrinas enraged reply of'do you know how much $50 is?!?' needless to say, we only payed $15. Wewent out for dinner and had just finished our random indian meal wenthe electricity went out. Not just in the restaurant, in the wholetown. In the middle of the jungle. At night time. Luckily we hadtorches to get back to our room but it was not the best experience!Next morning we got on a slightly more comfortable boat to continue ourjourney. It was good, amazing scenery which Laura took millions ofphotos of, perhaps the start of an illustrious photography career?! Shecertainly thinks so. We are now in Luang Phrabang where the journeyended. Getting off the boat was perhaps the most entertaining part ofthe trip. On seeing the duckboard we had to walk off Laura said 'I cantdo it'. This, unfortunately, turned out to be accurate. After Corrinahad made a relatively uneventful exit, Laura stepped on to the plank,she made it about halfway before losing balance and in a last ditchattempt to save herself from the river, flung herself straight on tothe rocks where she crouhed like spiderman with her rucksack on. Afellow passenger(Matt from earlier)mistook this action as being acourageous attempt to disembark with style, forgoing the boring plank.He said 'ur a brave woman' Laura replied 'I didnt mean to!'. Meanwhile,Libby is doubled over laughing on the plank, which remained stablethroughout and Corrina was halfway up the rocks confused as to what hadhappened. The most entertaining part of this story is that it is notthe first time Laura has struggled with transport here. When getting onthe sleeper train in Chiang Mai, she had managed to get up the(admitttedly steep)step into a crouching position, this however iswhere she stopped, unable to carry on a stand up she began to flailbackward dragged by her rucksack and would have fallen back off thetrain were it not for Corrina pushing her back on in a slightlyundignified(for Laura)manner. We can only ponder what would havehappened had she been last to embark, and the small thai casualtiesthat could have arisen.Anyways, safely on land we found a nice hoteland are very much enjoying Luang Phrabang. It is very beautiful andscenic in the day and has such diverse entertainment at night as'ethnic fashion show' 'ip op dance crew'(in french accent)and'american gay singer' actually 'american guy singer' but Lauramisheard. Today we have been cultured and seen a temple and alsoclimbed a hill to a shrine and saw many buddhas. This did howevernearly kill us in the midday sun so u are lucky to be reading this atall! After this town we are off to Viang Vieng, will update thereprobs!Toodles for now,Corrina, Libby and Laura x x x frontpage


Sat Apr 10, 2010

Location: El Calafate, Patagonia, Argentina On the 25th we took the 3 hour flight from Buenos Aires down to Calafate in Patagonia so take the trip to the worlds largest active glacier outside the Arctics, The Perito Moreno Glacier. As soon as we landed we knew we were somewhere unique somewhere so different to anywhere we'd been. Our driver Julio was waiting at the tiny airport to pick us up and drop us at our hotel. We got settled there, played with the friendly hotel dogs for a while and made our way out to explore the town. We went out for more steak at a restaurant Julio had recommended and obviously enjoyed it very much! The next morning we were collected by minibus at 8am and taken to the National Park to visit the glacier. We were blown away by what we saw as well as the wind! The glacier cut its way through two mountains while large chunks of ice occasionally broke off and crashed the 60m(18 storeys)to the freezing blue lake below. We took a boat trip up to the south face of the glacier for some photo ops before getting back on the bus and driving around to the north side to walk the various manmade walkways. It was a spectacular day. The next day we decided that after two straight weeks of activity we were due a down day, which conveniently coincided nicely with the Ireland England six nations match which was being shown on ESPN Argentina! We got some snacks and beers in and flaked out in the hotel room for the afternoon shouting like mad men and women at the screen! Jaysus that Tommy Bowe is some man! Still buzzing we headed out to soak up the post match atmosphere which nobody else in the town seemed aware of but I got the closest thing I could find to a Guinness and saluted the boys in green! That night after some dinner we just had to stop for ice cream at "Tito's"...not because it was particularly well known but because Tito spelled his name with a smiley face instead of an "o" and it was a once in a lifetime photo opportunity that I could not pass up! image327 image328 image329 image330 image331 image332 image333 image334 image335 image336 image337 image338 image339 image340 image341 image342 image343 image344 image345 image346 image347 image348 image349 image350 image351 image352 image353 image354 image355 image356 image357 image358 image359


















Wed Apr 07, 2010

Next morning, we got our stuff together and and started our journey following the instructions of a local chai-wala. I was still driving. This was going to be a 12 hour drive. After passing by the gorgeous lake tal of Nainital, we passed by a few other smaller tals. Every few towns, we checked for directions and came down in to the plains. We passed Corbett Conservation Park, a reserve for 26 tigers, and continued towards Haridwar. The 'Kumbh ka mela' had recently happened here and while crossing a 500 meter long bridge, an endless array of tents for the accomudation of the pilgrims could be seen. This festival happens once every 12 years, which left haridwar looking like a battle ground. I took the liberty to take a bath in the Ganges. It was pleasant. Mom told me that all my sins are washed that I took a bath in that river in this holy month. Noice - giggty. There after we drove through Dharamshala and started climbing towards Mussoorie. We reached Mussoorie at 7 PM, 12 hours after we left Nainital and against Mom's wishes, I kept driving towards Dhanaulti. This destination was chosen for its quite and isolated nature, which was an absolute requirement after staying in the hussle-pur station, Nainital. It was dark when we reached Dhanaulti and upon insisting and convincing M.A.D, we stayed in a reasonably decent hotel _ Crystal. This hotel had a very decent first imperession due to its newer furniture and larger room sizes. But once we started settling, issues became apparent. Lights were missing - we got a new room. Water heater was not working - we got a new room. The washroom exhaust was missing - we got a new room. Actually a different floor all together. The last room, I believe the only one left in the hotel, had no issues and provided decent comfort for the night. Dad and I played some chess, and I started working on my project, which was due in 3 more days. Not sure if I mentioned earlier, I had one final research paper that was due on 23rd April, which I had planned to do in the first week while I was in India. This allowed me to travel for a longer period of time, and have something to do while I was accustoming with the weather, water and time differences. Next day, MAD took walks around the town while I studied and would occasionally join them for lunch or snacks.With my project half done, we left to the plains and my hometown, Amritsar on 21st April. When I went to pay for the hotel with the agreed credit card method, the manager told us that he didn't have the machine and he would send someone with us to Mussoorie to get the required payment. On the way, the hotel dude mentioned that they are expecting a cash payment and will be taking us to a ATM machine. Since I had spent an hour insisting that I would pay for this hotel, I was not gonna let this happen. I had not converted my currency and the only method of payment was my CCard. I bitched at the hotel dude and made him understand that the payment shall only be made through a CC and if they want my money, I shall only give it in the agreed manner. After 2 hours of bitchery and 5 calls, his manager suggested for me to deposit money in his account once we reach Amrtisar. Sweet Deal. We left to Kempty falls after having breakfast in Mussoorie.The puri and chaane were absolutely delicious. By this time, I had no clue, that my body had stopped absorbing water due to ecoli in my body. So I ate like a pig and started my journey to Kempty Falls. After driving 3 hours, we reached Kempty falls. I had a nice swim in the fall pool and even dove into the falls. I used to be scared of water bodies, especially when i don't know the depth of it. But, after swimming with Aarthy for a few months, I gained a little confidence and now can take small chances. A fat man with a thin mustache even told me not to jump in the falls since it is too deep, I could not resist to. Fun it was!! I swam out, took some pics and we walked back to the car. We reached home at 11 PM and dad drove rest of the way since I was starting to feel week. By next morning, it was clear that the Indian water and food had already done its dark magic. After taking the required medicine, I started to work on the project and finished it the same day. Next few days were spent in shopping, meeting relatives, etc. Today, my stomach feels much better. I had planned to leave 12 PM, 26 April 2010 for a solo trip on my bike, but that might not happen at all. The bike is missing some papers and a 'mochi' cobbler has taken off with my bags. fook me life.


















Mon Apr 05, 2010

Simpsonpenita Day 53 Feb 17 Off to a train steam cemetery that has only been abandoned25-30 years! It was used to transport people and minerals during theNitrate mining days. We stopped and got to walk across the Tropic ofCapricorn (a highlight for a Geographer!). Desert, desert and moredesert! Actually the Atacama Desert is the driest in the world, thereare some spots that havenapos9t registered rain in 50 years. Then to theAtacama salt flat, we drove on a salt road to get there and got somegood photos. Then on to an oasis on the slopes of the Andes calledPeine. Historically, this location was important for the AtacameƱos,Incas and a first stop for Spanish conquistadors on their way southfrom Peru. We swam in the pool in Peine, well I dipped my feet then hada nap in the van. Afterwards we headed to the Natural Reserve LosFlamencos (Laguna Chaxa), saw the pink flamingoes (one of the oldestbirds alive, their fossils date back 30 million years) some smalllizards and some other birds. We watched the sun set (it only took 4 or5 minutes!) and got a few nice photos. Then we got to San Pedro deAtacama and I shared a dorm room with an Irish couple (Jon Paul andJenni) and Carole. Most of the group went to dinner together, itincluded a glass of wine, pisco sour, an appetizer (half a tomato withtuna and an olive on top) a main course and a desert! Stayed up latechatting with group again, this time I didnapos9t drink much but the drivergot drunk and was harrassing me! Asking if I took ridilin. haha.
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