Mattopia Jones and the Black Spire Outpost
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All photos taken with the Sony A7R4 unless otherwise noted in the captions

Oga's Cantina
Black Spire Outpost, Batuu

“Hey, it was pretty emotional going into Oga’s for the first time. After being told by the host no lightsabers were allowed inside and catching my first glimpse of the marvelous semi-elliptical-shaped bar, I had to big-boy-up and hold back the tears of joy.”
Mattopia Jones

Let’s Go, Batuu

Matty’s read enough travel guides to know they naturally contain certain biases. The authors favor a certain type of art, music, food; certain crowded environments that are otherwise uneventful make them nervous. Some experiences go underrated while others are — for whatever reason — elevated and overrated. The Let’s Go series in particular became unreliable enough to push Dr. Jones to other sources and drove him to become even more pragmatic and independent. For the past several years, Matty hasn’t had the luxury of time to properly read up on new destinations, anyway; he’s had no choice but to make it up as he goes. Come what may.

Nonetheless, it was a relief when Matty first approached Oga's famed cantina and noticed the streets had clearly been “cleaned up” through recent policing activities. For quite some time, a number of sources (both reliable and not-so-much) reported an up-tick in the scum and villainy department. Regardless of whether the First Order or the Resistance could stake claim to the gentrification, it was nice to walk around and not be pestered by street muck pushing black market death sticks in a hush-hush voice, similar to the hawkers roaming the streets of ecumenopolitan cess pools like Coruscant or major urban areas like Amsterdam and Cairo back on Earth.

The Atmosphere: Music and Drinks

DJ R3X plays Mad About Mad About Me (featuring Figrin D'an and the Modal Nodes)
(Video shot on the Sony A7R4)

DJ R3X, a repurposed droid from the Star Tours enterprise, gamely played the tunes and rattled off humorous banter to help ease the tensions in the outpost’s top-rated watering hole.

Matty grew fond of the jazz fusion stylings of Figrin D'an and the Modal Nodes; their music both evoked the halcyon days of a bygone era, pre-Empire, while also pushing the genre into fresh frontiers, listening out to the future and beyond the Resistance, so to speak. Junee Veech offered an irrestible spin on pop tunes, the stuff of ear worms. And, dang, listening to Kra Mer 5’s awesome gutteral, folksy tones brought to mind some of Earth’s stars, including Bruce Springsteen and Pete Seeger.

The music proved to be a pleasant surprise — and a major improvement over the cheesy, hokey tunes played out in the common areas of Pandora.

A Bespin Fizz
(Video shot on the iPhone 12 Pro Max)

Concoctions like the Bespin Fizz are not only tasty and go down easy, they’re fun to watch. Matty felt morally obligated to try a Jedi Mind Trick. And, of course, there was a nice selection of local brews on tap, including the White Wampa Ale, Gamorrean Ale and Gold Squadron Lager.

Christmas with Oga

The holidays took a major turn last year for Matty, following the passing of his mom and a lack of grounding to keep previous home and family traditions going. Sure, in some regards it’s been a disappointing change and a difficult adjustment. But it’s also offered fresh opportunities and a new degree of liberation.

Last year, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day dinners were reimagined at the Hard Rock Café, situated on the grounds of the Hard Rock Hotel in Pattaya, Thailand. It was the perfect place at the perfect time for Matty — especially after spending the prior few weeks following U2 around Asia Pacific.

So, how would the Christmas meals pan out at the Happiest Place on Earth — during COVID?

Well, they didn’t — and that worked out well.

Securing reservations was one challenge — particularly at any Disney World or Disney Springs properties. But, on Christmas Eve, it didn’t matter. The park closed at 22:00, and Matty basically shut down the place while taking pictures of the Cinderella castle as it changed its lighting theme (with a shot of fireworks) every 20 minutes. And a huge rain storm swept through, delaying efforts to leave the park. Plus, there was one last order of business to tend to that magical night: picking up a huge 3-foot Mickey Mouse plush at the Emporium. It. Well. It simply had to be done. An odd sort of personal challenge, a special sort of memento.

As Dr. Jones recounts the events, he pats his tummy. He had a confession to make. He ate too much for lunch at Pecos Bill’s Tall Tale Inn and Café. The tacos were delicious, but he had to come to terms with pushing things a bit too far with the chicken rice bowl.

So, by the time Matty took the ferry back to the parking lot, ran over to the shuttle bus spot and made it back to the B Resort, it was so late and he was so pooped, food wasn’t even a factor.

Christmas Day had a surprise treat: a visit to Oga’s cantina for lunch. It was a Christmas Miracle: managing to snag a relatively last-minute reservation for the hottest spot on Batuu. The Christmas meal was a happabore sampler (a cheese and meat board), plus a Bespin Fizz concoction and a couple beers. Later, there was a surprisingly yummy Batuuan beef pot roast at Docking Bay 7. Matty was fairly well satiated on the food front. Similar reservation challenges as Christmas Eve, of course. But it didn’t matter. Matty was once again content to simply get back to the room and catch some ZZZZ’s before heading out for the next day’s adventure.

Next Chapters Coming Soon

  • Cameras
  • Savi's Lightsabers
  • Dok-Ondar's Den of Antiquities
  • Rise of the Resistance
  • The Magic Kingdom
  • The Hogwarts Express
  • Ollivanders Magic Wands
  • Hogwarts
  • Kennedy Space Center
  • Westworld Ho!

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