We are in Roanoke ... and our room has an Ethernet connection!!!!!!
Awaiting for every member of the ICCA (and each 'go-with') was a "goody bag" containing some corkscrews, name tags and the week's schedule ... plus some details about the Roanoke area ... and a few postcards. Don and Bonnie have started all of us off on the right foot.
PS: Photos from tonight's ICCA "Right's Cocktail Party" and the "First Gala Dinner Party" of the week:
The day started with breakfast in the hotel's main dining room: The Regency Room. Of course, we had to pass through the lobby and take the elevator and go back to our room after we ate.
... much more to follow ... just hold on.
Thursday Festivities: A 5-Page Photo Album
Not all or the news coming out of Virginia revolves around the 30th AGM of the International Correspondence of Corkscrew Addicts:
U.S. Denounces Robertson for Nuke Comment
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (Oct. 11) - The U.S. State Department has condemned an on-air suggestion by religious broadcaster Pat Robertson that the agency ought to be blown up with a nuclear device.
Robertson, who heads the Virginia Beach-based Christian Broadcasting Network, made the remark while interviewing author Joel Mowbray on "The 700 Club" television program last week. Mowbray wrote a book called "Dangerous Diplomacy: How the State Department Endangers America's Security."
"I read your book. When you get through, you say, 'If I could just get a nuclear device inside Foggy Bottom, I think that's the answer.' I mean, you get through this, and you say, 'We've got to blow that thing up,"' Robertson said during the interview.
The State Department's headquarters are located in Foggy Bottom, a Washington neighborhood.
Richard Boucher, the agency's top spokesman, called the remark Thursday "despicable."
"I lack sufficient capabilities to express my disdain," Boucher said to reporters during a press briefing.
Robertson was out of town and could not be reached for comment, his spokeswoman Angell Watts said Friday.
In National Review magazine, Mowbray has written articles criticizing the way visas were issued in Saudi Arabia. Mowbray was questioned in 2002 by the State Department after disclosing at a press briefing that he had obtained a classified document about visa issues.
Robertson also advocated bombing the State Department during a June interview with Mowbray.
"Well, it looks like Congress had better do something, and maybe we need a very small nuke thrown off on Foggy Bottom to shake things up," Robertson said.
The Christian evangelist regularly condemns the State Department as a rogue element he says consistently undermines U.S. policies and the principles of freedom.
"It's like an entrenched bureaucracy that has their own agenda, and it doesn't comport with the will of the American people. How do we get rid of them?" he said during the June interview.
In a July broadcast of "The 700 Club," Robertson accused the State Department of supporting Muslim rebels who opposed the Liberian government headed by Charles Taylor.
Robertson, a Bush supporter who has financial interests in Liberia, said he believed the State Department has "mismanaged the situation in nation after nation after nation" in Africa.
"So we're undermining a Christian, Baptist president to bring in Muslim rebels to take over the country," he said during the July broadcast.
But ... we move on ...
Last night the 'girls' spent the night in our hotel room....so that they could be fresh and tidy for today's PCC AGM.
Patpong Corkscrew Club 2003 AGM
The Third Annual Meeting of the Patpong Corkscrew Club was held today at the Roanoke Hotel in Roanoke, Virginia (USA).
Present at the meeting were the following officers and members:
Apologies were sent by Dean Mary Volcansek of Texas Christian University, who was not able to attend due to political and religious objections by the minders at her employer: that Baptist university in Texas.
Other apologies by other absent members were not received ... though this dereliction was excused only in the case of member Ning, because she is at sea.
Dues were kept at zero for the coming year.
The same officers who were elected in 2001 and 2002 were again elected in 2003: Erickson as #1, Bull as #2 and Hunt as #3.
The 2004 AGM was booked for Bangkok ... it will probably be held at King's Club on Patpong 1.
Mike Sharp and Jack Bandy were admitted as provisional members to the PCC ... full membership will be on their doorsteps in 2004 if they show up in Bangkok for the meeting.
The meeting was adjourned.
It's all over for another year; but, we'll meet again next year ... at about the same time ... in Stockholm, Sweden for the 31st AGM of the ICCA.
While Gift was killing time with Ohmy and Amma in the camper ... [BTW, nicely illustrated leaving Roanoke in Don Bull's October 13 web page] ... the 'girls' got a bit of camper fever: So, Gift went down to the Roanoke Department of Motor Vehicles (Drivers License Division) and picked up a Virginia drivers license. So ... she and her pillow-fight buddies can travel back to Florida (a few car lengths ahead of us) without worrying about what Watcharee and I will say about their 'in-house' fun.
PS: A Day's Inn Internet connection = 9,600 Baud to a local Orangeberg, South Carolina, AOL number ... versus ... an AT&T Cell Phone connection, from the same Orangeberg "berg" to Bangkok, Thailand = moving as fast as a Thai daughter can talk to her Thai Mom, going at full speed (probably zillions of Bauds per second?).
Why it's not so bad to still be on the US Interstate Highway System ... yes, this is from our Bangkok nanny:
As you have undoubtedly heard, the 2003 APEC meetings will take place in Bangkok from October 16-22. We are sending this message to provide the American community with important information and guidance which we have received from knowledgeable authorities, so that American citizens living in or visiting the Bangkok area may plan accordingly. With an event of this magnitude, extraordinary security measures will be in place that may cause some inconvenience. Please review the following and share it with your family members, as it may help to reduce any inconvenience. In addition to this message, we will send out other important new information which may become known to us. Please be aware that much of the information given here comes from the Thai government, and is subject to change.
APEC MEETING VENUES
APEC meeting venues will include the following locations:
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Queen Sirikit Center: Streets around these locations will be partially closed on October 17, 18, and 19, and no parking will be permitted on any of the streets surrounding these facilities.
Grand Palace, the Royal Thai Navy Institute Government House, the Old Parliament, and the Royal Thai Army Headquarters: Streets around these locations will be partially closed on October 20 and 21, and no parking will be permitted on any of the streets surrounding these facilities.
Security will be extremely tight at these venues, and only credentialed personnel will be permitted access. We recommend that you completely avoid these locations during the dates indicated above, as non-working, non-credentialed personnel will NOT be permitted access to the sites.
GRAND HYATT ERAWAN HOTEL
Extensive security measures will be in place in and around the hotel from October 16-21. It is expected that police will close the two lanes on Ratchadamri Road on the hotel (i.e., east) side, and permit two-way traffic on the other two (i.e., west) lanes. Phloenchit Road is expected to remain open. We recommend that you completely avoid the area around the hotel during the dates indicated above, as non-working, non-credentialed personnel will NOT be permitted access to the hotel.
Police plan to close routes and control intersections approximately 20 minutes prior to the movement of motorcades and keep them closed for approximately 10 minutes after the motorcades have passed. Motorcades will be most frequent in the area between the Grand Palace, Government House, and the Old Parliament, and to a slightly lesser degree on Ploenchit/Sukhumvit Road. In addition, there will be frequent motorcades on the Tollway to and from Don Muang Airport on October 19 and 22.
Authorities have advised us that they do not plan to completely close any streets, except temporarily during motorcade movements. They do, however, plan to adjust traffic patterns and close lanes on certain streets. For example, from October 17-22, only the north (outbound) side of Sukhumvit Road will be open from the Nana intersection to the Asoke intersection. The south side of Sukhumvit Road will be closed. Please go to http://usa.or.th/embassy/apectrafficmap.doc for a map showing the planned traffic patterns in the Sukhumvit Road area.
The BTS Skytrain is expected to run according to schedule. American citizens are strongly encouraged to use it as much as possible during APEC in lieu of driving.
Police plan to establish numerous, random checkpoints in and around Bangkok. These checkpoints will operate similar to sobriety checkpoints in the U.S., and motorists will be stopped on a random basis. If you are instructed to stop, you should cooperate fully with police.
Authorities are expecting demonstrations to take place during APEC, but do not have specific information at this time. We will inform the American community of major demonstrations to the extent that we know about them in advance. As always, you should leave an area immediately if you encounter a demonstration.
As APEC approaches, this would be a good time for American citizens to re-read the State Department's Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, and to review their personal security posture as appropriate. The Worldwide Caution can be found online at http://travel.state.gov/wwc1.html.
PS: Interstate 95 (aka I-95) is famous for its Factory Outlet Stores: only stuff from the Best.
Next: Back in Florida