If you're looking for the funniest stuff, I suggest starting with the Steve, Don't Eat It Homage and then the travel category. You're on your own with the older posts that have yet to be categorized.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Good Morning, Vietnam!

Quick monkey + limited attention span photographer =

At least she didn't throw her feces at me.

Easy to take a picture of was my coconut drink. The guy with the machete accomplished this in 4 whacks. First to flatten the bottom, then three to make a triangular opening on top. I was amazed he had all of his fingers still intact. I thought mine kind of looked like a face.

We also stopped off for some local fruit. On the plate is dragon fruit, watermelon, pineapple, mango and papaya. In my hand is a non-Cavendish banana. While green, it was perfectly ripe and incredibly banana-y.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Hong Kong Escalation

As we sat off the coast near Shanghai, I snapped these pics of current conditions (to save you the trouble, 46 knots is about 53mph):

And so we skipped Shanghai and motored down to Hong Kong to spend an extra day. One thing to do in Hong Kong is ride the Mid-level Escalators. Here's the start of them:

After the escalators I planned to walk over to the Peak Tram but ended up walking to Victoria Peak. Most of this journey was up Old Peak Rd. which at least in part, is closed to vehicles. It's pretty steep, maybe 1000 ft. elevation over a mile. Probably took me about an hour stopping for pictures.
 At 8pm sharp, a bunch of buildings put on a light show. Don't bother taking pictures, just watch the show. (I took about 30 pics, this was the best of the bunch). Also, don't kill yourself to see the show. Frankly, the escalators are more fun.
 I can't tell you how many people asked about Chinese junk. Yes, I saw one and it was bigger than I expected.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

I did not see any used panty machines (Are those only in Tokyo?)

For Nagasaki, Japan, one of the major sites to see is Nagasaki Peace Park.I really expected something different.

And speaking of parking, I thought this was pretty ingenious. When you pull into the spot a metal barrier rises up preventing you from leaving until you pay at a central machine.
Of course, the parking machines should also have breathalyzers since the street beer vending machines do not.
I made mention of the ferris wheel in another post. Here's a picture from near the top.
Coming down the cable car (ropeway, as they call it) from Mt. Inasa, I saw what looked to be ruins or something. It was to far away for me to see so I snapped this zoomed picture but didn't look at it until I got home. Try to figure it out before clicking for the big version (in which it is pretty clear what this is).

A store for every insult

Here's a fairly typical shopping street in Busan, Korea. There is the NOX Lady Bar on the left but if you think that means something, you are probably confusing things with Bangkok.

And speaking of meaning something, there was this store.

Apparently there is (or was) some controversy about this subject in Korea not long ago but none that involved this store.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Temple of Heaven help us

All wheelchair ramps are not created equal.

Big Yak Attack

Did I mention eating at the Tibetan restaurant already? Regardless, here's the dish of yak medallions w/ broccoli and a Green Barley beer from Tibet. I admit I was expecting a bit more meat because it was yak. It had a texture like brisket and was quite savory. And it did not make me yack.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

15 Minutes of Fame

I wrote about this before. I snapped this pretty late in the game. You can clearly see two people taking my picture, plus the one on the left who is looking at the picture her friend (the guy holding the handbag, somethings in this world are universal) just took.

I think part of this is certainly my height as I was clearly the tallest person in the Forbidden City at the time. (BTW-I would like to thank the 6'9" in Shanghai for taking the heat off me.) And part of it might just be that when someone takes a picture of a stranger other people might assume the stranger is some kind of celebrity.

Overall, it was nice to have people ask for my picture for a few minutes but it quickly became tiresome. And when no one wanted my picture later in the trip, it was a bit of a bummer. I think that's enough fame for me.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Here is a peek at a Mandarin Duck. Not to be confused with a man eating Peking Duck. (taken in Forbidden City, Beijing)

Domo Arigato, Mr. Vibrato

I have some catching up to do. This photo was taken in the bathroom of my hotel in Beijing. The obvious joke is on the right where the Not Free Vibrated & Condom can be seen. But the real gem to me was the Vigor 6+1 (not 7!) Wash Set. Hmmm, maybe it was funnier after 22 hours of flying/layovers.

As a side note, my hotel in Shanghai did not have buttons for the 4th, 13th or 14th floors reflecting a combination Chinese tetraphobia and Western triskaidekaphobia. I stayed on the 8th floor (lucky to Chinese) which was really the 7th floor (lucky apparently to everyone).

Monday, April 22, 2013

Almost home

For the train ride last night through the 13 hour flight today, I wore my glasses. Just now, in a Newark airport bathroom, I put in my contacts. Felt a little like a secret agent.

I'm assuming the charlie foxtrots at the airports are a misguided, knee jerk response to the pressure cooker bombs?

Another check mark

Cross "use a squat toilet" off my list. (For those wondering, it was number 1 on my list, not number 2.)
I'm proud to say I was not one of the people who can't aim.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Wait. It was Mr. Miyagi!

The fame I found in Beijing by being so tall has long ago waned. Now I still get stares but it usually is a look up at me, a glance down at my feet (maybe checking for high heels?) then another glance up. Like you might look at a tall building.

Otherwise nobody pays much notice except the people offering "masagi". My first thought was this was something you should not get wet or feed after midnight. It became clear when I was offered a beautiful girl masagi. I did finally figure out an easy way to quickly end the solicitation. I ask them "Sprechen Zie Deutsch?"

Yet another self portrait

My last day in Shanghai. Taking the sleeper train to Beijing tonight then flying home.
I will see many of you soon.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

No sign of General Tso's chicken yet

One day to go. And while I've thoroughly enjoyed the food, the locales and the relaxing, the best part has been the people. Helpful locals, friendly shipmates, great tour guides and, today, former coworkers.

I feel sorry for xenophobes.

Friday, April 19, 2013

World famous skyline from The Bund

Dinner in Shanghai

That's duck on the right. Cauliflower (which looks more like broccoli) on the bottom and squid on top. Not shown, pickled cucumber skin and an eggplant dish. I liked the eggplant and squid best. Looking forward to lunch tomorrow. :)

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Best laid plans

I thought I was doing pretty well with my Thai bahts...until my hotel returned my forgotten 1000 baht cash deposit.
Flush with cash I decided to take a taxi instead of the train. I could then eat something and chocolate the rest (yes, I just made chocolate a verb).
So I'm sitting, waiting for my flight. I'm a little hungry and trying to decide if I should open one of the bags of dehydrated durian I bought with all my leftover money. But I don't want to stink up the place.


Just had Indonesian food cooked by a ladyboy. That's a check mark I never expected.

This smells like feet

I had durian before during my trip to Seattle. Funny thing was I thought they had made the durian into a custard. I even thought that was why I didn't think it smelled so bad. I was wrong.
Had durian again today. Straight from the fruit. It is creamy and rich. And to my nose only has a slight odor. However, when we brought it into the taxi still wrapped in plastic wrap and a shopping bag the driver almost threw us out of the cab. He must be a supersmeller.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Tonight's dinner

That's Pa Naeng Moo with a side of rice and a Leo beer. If you want to learn a little Thai, "Moo" means pork whereas "Nuea" means beef. So if you want cow, don't say moo.

Not too happy with Princess

Princess screwed up royally. Arriving in Laem Chabang (port for Bangkok) they put our luggage for retrieval outside. This would not be an issue except it was raining. While the luggage was under tents, nothing stopped the rain once it was on the ground. Which is where I found my suit bag...in a puddle. It was not a big puddle but that is likely because my suit and sport coat soaked up most of the water.
I unpacked them to dry but otherwise will deal with it when home.

It rhymes with G'day

I'm now in Thailand, home of Hangover 2, Muay Thai (kick boxing, sport of the future) and ladyboys (not to be confused with the recliner of similar name).
My fascination is with the toilet. As you can see there is a spray hose on the left. I'm pretty sure it's not for washing your vegetables (unless that is a euphemism I'm unaware of).

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


I've now gone through immigration/ customs if some sort for 6 countries. Interestingly, countries that one would likely consider "desirable" to live in, or those that seem a but paranoid, have more arduous requirements.

Despite this being Asia, I haven't noticed any tea shops. Plenty of coffee shops especially in the richer countries (Hong Kong, Singapore) and Vietnam.

Why is Vietnam in a different time zone than Beijing and Singapore?

ESPN at sea is way better than at home.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Also caning for gum chewers

Here's the Singapore landing card.

Blood sacrifice

Update at 8am this morning by the captain (in 4 different languages, of course) is that we will only be half an hour late or so, arriving around 9:30.
I hope yesterday's two events were unrelated. :-/

May you live in interesting times

It has been quite an interesting day at sea. Around 5pm the captain announced that our port nacelle (I'm sure he didn't say "nacelle" but he should have) was in difficulty (he's British, they say stuff like that). We are limping toward Singapore and instead of 9am we hope to get to port by 1pm. (There is no poop flowing in the hallways so this might not have been on the news.)
Around 6:30 there was an announcement of a medical emergency and they needed a volunteer to donate O+ blood.
Around 10pm they announced a helicopter would be meeting the ship sometime around midnight to evacuate the crew member that had the medical emergency. Passengers on decks 11 and 12 central would need to evacuate their cabins for about an hour during the evacuation plan. 5 minutes later they repeat the announcement in German, Spanish and Russian.
At 10:30 they announce that the helicopter is on the and the expected arrival is now 11-11:15. A couple minutes later they repeat the announcement in the other 3 languages.
A few minutes later they announce no flash photography is allowed of the helicopter. They repeat this in 3 other languages.
I just was browsing through my passport and noted for Singapore, the penalty for drug trafficking is death.
The penalty for flash photography of helicopters was not listed but I'm taking no chances.

Friday, April 12, 2013

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Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Is this the nice part of Hong Kong?

Easy way to tell the nice from the less nice areas of Hong Kong. Ratio of people asking you if you want a bespoke suit vs. a massage.

After 3 massage requests in a row, I turned around.


Current chocolate collection.
Not too shabby for an area not known for chocolate.

Monday, April 08, 2013

Better late

Here's a pic from near where I stayed in Beijing. On the left end of the building you will see a KFC. Near the right end you will see the colonel's face where another KFC is located. KFC is the Starbucks of China.

Hong Kong, no fooey

Here's a pic of the peak view building near Victoria Peak. I planned to take the tram up here but got lost and ended up walking the whole way... except the mid level escalators.

Billed as the longest escalator in the world it is actually a series of travelators (as they call moving sidewalks) and escalators. Maybe 15 in total?

For those wondering, I did not hurl during the high seas near Shanghai but I did take a meclizine.

Gusts to 85 knots!

Yesterday's (and since I don't know when this will post "yesterday" is a bit nebulous) port call to Shanghai was cancelled due to weather. Seas were very rough. Winds steady at near hurricane strength with gusts at absurd levels. Since I have two more days in Shanghai on my way back home this is not a big deal for me.

On the plus side, we are now speeding toward Hong Kong to arrive a day early, giving us two days there.

This morning I swam for the first time. I did 70 laps in what I estimate to be a 10 m long pool. Although the ship is moving around a bit, it is impossible to notice while swimming. After my swim I jumped into the hot tub. There was a guy from France in there. He said enough to me that I figured out he was speaking French. I responded in my best French, "parlez petite Frances" which is probably incorrect but likely gets my point across even better.

Clearly he did not get my point or did not care. He talked and talked, adding in the occasional hand gesture that made even less sense to me than his French. My best guess: he was looking for someone to help him take over the world (he did say "monde" at some point). I declined by pointing at my mouth and saying "omelette du fromage" as I stood to exit the hot tub.

Nagasaki, part 2

There is a mall in Nagasaki that has a ferris wheel on the roof which I decided to check out.

I found it on the 5th floor without too much trouble but the ticket machine looked to be in Japanese only. Fortunately, it was not very busy and the guy running the thing helped me out by pressing the correct buttons. About the only thing I did was hold up 1 finger and insert my 500 yen coin.

When the ticket popped out the guy grabbed it and handed it to me. Then he stuck out his hand, I handed him the ticket, he tore off the end, handed me the stub and helped me get on the wheel.

Thursday, April 04, 2013


I'm trying to keep these posts light and funny.

I'm in Nagasaki.

I ate half a schneeballen today.


What to do with 30,000 won?

First I bought a street donut. What to do with 29,000 won?

Eventually I found a couple things and spent the rest on chocolate. The mist interesting if which was a pack of 3 schneeballen which means snowball in, I'd guess, German. (Please, no comments about weird German porn.) Why there are Korean schneeballen I do not know.

They are tasty. The problem is I now have a Tom Petty ear worm to the time of Free Fallin'.

Yes I'm schneeballen

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

The Wall

This should have posted this past Saturday.

Got up first thing so I could catch the 9am train to Badaling to see part of the Great Wall. I had read that if you want a seat on the train you should arrive 30 minutes early. I got there at 8:30...and missed the train entirely.

The next train was at 11am which I did get a seat on. I'd guess you need to be an hour early to make the train. Maybe another half hour to get a seat. Advice: don't take the train unless you like standing in queues.

The Wall was mostly as expected but what I didn't expect was the steepness. It's quite the hike going up and down parts of it.

I hiked around for a couple hours and then headed back to take the 3pm train. After waiting from 2:30 until 3:30 it was clear I had bad information and the next train was at 4. Advice: don't take the train.

Starving, I decided to try Mr. Shi's for dumplings. Unfortunately I could not find it. I ended up at a Tibetan place catering to the youth hostel crowd. I had a Tibetan beer and some yak (taste and texture much like brisket).