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.

Saturday, May 11, 2013


This is almost the classic shot Shanghai is known for with the famous TV tower on the left. Toward the right you can see the Shanghai World Financial Center (the one that looks like a giant bottle opener). It is actually the tallest building in Shanghai right now until that building under construction next to it is finished. You may also notice another very popular tower, the security camera (lots of those around). On top of the wall you see is a wide walking area which I show in the next couple of pictures.
The view to the left...yes, lots of people...as far as the eye can see.

The View to the right...yes, lots of people...ok, you get it.
Here are some people you don't see in the above pics. My former colleagues from work who took me out for lunch. AT this point in the trip I hadn't seen a familiar face for over 3 weeks. Seeing them and enjoying their company and hospitality were a highlight of my trip.
And this shows a tiny part of that lunch. Everything was, I was told, Shanghai-style (as opposed to Cantonese, Hunan or Szechuan that you normally find in the US). Shanghai style is not spicy and a little sweet.
I hope I can repay the favor one day when they visit the US.
Najing Road has many nice shops. This is where the monied go to become less monied. Also, they go here to listen to guys in really loud jackets play less loud music.
Not far (i think east?) from Yuyuan Gardens (a nice little tourist trap area) I found street after street of local shops. Incredibly crowded and bustling with activity. This was a side street (a bit less crowded) looking back toward the "main" shopping street.
I always smile when I see a shop with a name I would not expect. In the US you might guess this was a software store. Here, they sell juice. This was just off Nanjing Rd.
No actual sleeping allowed here!
Let's Eat Tar! Woohoo!
(In all fairness, I think it actually says Let's Eat Taro.)
I took the overnight train from Shanghai to Beijing. I actually fit on the bed with maybe an inch to spare but since there was no place to put my pack (not the daypack shown in the pic), it stayed on the bed with me but did not reduce my ability to sleep. Compared to the overnight train from Vienna to Zurich, this was roomier and more comfortable.
It was a four bunk room and they give you four different colored pair of slippers to walk around in. They are clearly not made for 11EEE feet. :)
I mentioned that my pack being on the bed did not affect my sleep. That's partly because despite this being a passenger train, it sounded like a freight train (listen to the video above). The good news (as much as I hate to say it) was that with his sleep apnea, this guy would stop breathing for 30 seconds or more every so often. By around 2am I was tired enough to fall asleep during one of those respites and it takes more than a freight train to wake me in my first 3 hours of sleep.

This concludes (I think) my blogging for now. Until my next trip!

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Me love you long tail

I wanted to post at least one normal picture from Bangkok. This is from one of the temple complexes (I think the one with the Emerald Buddha.) The picture really does not do the scene justice. Maybe if you zoom in you can see some of the incredible detail on the center and right buildings. And this is just a tiny section of a vast area of buildings like this. I think gobsmacked best describes how I felt.

Next we took a ride on a long tail boat. If you are not familiar with them they are long and narrow (like a gondola but longer). They harvest engines from cars or trucks, extend the driveshaft and stick a propeller on the end and then mount the whole thing on the back of the boat. Like something out of Junkyard Wars. In the mornings/evenings they are used by commuters and in between they give rides to tourists.
Here's a little clip from our ride. Note at the end our driver is talking on the phone though how he can hear is beyond me.

Did I mention the lizards? The giant monitor lizards? We saw a few of them lining the canals. And when I say "We saw" I mean our guide pointed to them and we stared and stared and eventually distinguished them from the rocks.
Yeah, I wasn't too sure what this was either as our V8 truck engine long tail wizzed by but I still like the pic enough to post it.
The reclining Buddha. (The World's Largest Reclining Buddha, I believe...there are a lot of "World's ____est Buddhas" in Thailand.) As our guide pointed out, Thai Buddhas are thin, unlike the Chinese Happy, Fat Buddhas. Each culture makes Buddha their own.
Here's a cool bridge. It is a single tower, asymmetric  cable-stayed bridge. Gave me a bit of a nerd-gasm.
If you've seen the little baby bananas at the store, these are much smaller. Unfortunately, I did not get a chance to taste one (or ten). :(
We also had a ride on a tuk-tuk, the half-motorcycle, half rickshaw taxis of Bangkok. With no doors and a crazy driver, I felt like I took my life in my hands just trying to snap a picture.
Safety rules in Thailand are apparently open to interpretation. Such as "Workers must always wear a hardhat!"

Saturday, May 04, 2013

No Lyin' City

Didn't have much time in Singapore (Lion City). We got into Singapore a bit late and customs was pretty ridiculous. So I wondered around admiring the architecture a bit. Singapore, which likely has the death penalty for looking at regular pornography, is architectural pornography. Here's a few highlights:

From the left: the double helix bridge, the Marina Bay Sands casino/hotel and whatever that white building that looks like a giant baseball glove.

Here's a shot from inside the double helix.

A good shot of the Marina Bay Sands cantilever. It hangs out more than 200 feet over the edge of the building below. If you zoom in, you can see the tiny people on top.

Singapore is short on land so here's the floating soccer pitch.

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Coochie Coochie Coo

Here I am inside a tunnel in Cu Chi.

This is, I'm pretty sure, one of the enlarged tunnels as most Western tourists were simply too fat to fit through the original tunnels. Despite the enlargement I still had to duck walk my way through.

You may wonder why I'm wearing a hat inside a tunnel. The simple answer is that hair acts as an early warning signal something like "Hey, stupid, you're about to smack your head against the ceiling!" Lacking such a natural signal, I use a direct substitute. (Other people use an indirect substitute, like a Corvette, which says "Hey, you won't even notice my bald head if I drive an expensive car!")