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Gunnar Dahlberg's Posts
Gunnar has posted 27 reports and 10 photos.

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Abu Dhabi Visit: 2011-3
2013-06-03 - Sunday, March 20, 2011 Nothing prepares you for the sheer grandeur and opulence you are about to experience as you enter the main hall when suddenly and without warning you are struck by a lightning jolt of pure awesome. You have never seen anything like it built on such a grand scale as to humiliate all who enter. No, we are not standing, shoeless, in the world\\\'s most expensive hotel, the $3 billion Emirates Palace where 5kg of gold are dusted onto desserts and into drinks annually, we are miles across town further inland towards Mecca in the world\\\'s third largest mosque and single largest outside of Saudi Arabia capable of holding 50,000 worshippers. It is here where the father of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Zayed, lies buried and where unlike other mosques, Christian infidels and women are welcome to wander inside on the world\\\'s largest Persian carpet which took 1,200 Iranian women two full years to weave together. And this just an appetizer in the Abu Dhabi, world\\\'s-richest-city-reaching-past-the-sky\\\'s-limit 2030 Master Plan. - What: Sheikh Zayed Mosque - Where: Abu Dhabi - Wow Factor: 10 - Admission: Free - Best Time To Visit: While you are still alive and kicking - What To Bring: Both eyes for superior 3D stereoscopic effect - What Not To Bring: Shoes must be left at the door


Bangladesh Visit: 2002-11
2013-06-03 - Hey Dude[friend from Toronto inquiring about Bangladesh], I visited Toronto once and drove the entire 7 hours from Connecticut along the Erie Canal(nothing eerie about it!). I passed the world\'s one and only Beechnut Baby Food factory, spent the night in rusting Buffalo, and saw the fantastic Niagara Falls(they really cleaned up the place since my last visit in the 80\'s). Toronto is a world class city with lots of great architecture nicely situated along the water with a great ethnic mix... it\'s a refreshing change from the conservative suburbs of Connecticut. I summited the Toronto Tower but even at some 140 stories up there just wasn\'t much to see besides the vast tundra and piles of moose droppings. Bangladesh is a whole nother story. I originally visited Bangladesh since Bimar Air was the cheapest round trip to Rangoon, Burma from Bangkok($200). After visiting Burma (which should be near the top of your list if you haven\'t already been) I remember being relieved to be back in civilization upon landing in Dhaka. Can you imagine happy and relieved to be in Bangladesh of all places! Just gives you an idea of what a dysfunctional country Burma is... a textbook lesson in how to run a market economy into the ground with a team of crackpot astrological/economic psychics/advisers! There\'s nothing special to see in Dhaka except really bad traffic congestion with rickshaws and ox challenging overloaded trucks and crazy taxi drivers for the right of way. It\'s a Muslim place so don\'t wear high heals or a miniskirt and you\'ll probably be the only tourist within sight. What is special about Bangladesh and Burma for that matter is that the locals haven\'t been corrupted by the tourist dollar yet and seem so innocent and genuinely sincere you wonder if money really is the root of all evil. I had a young, poor boy lead me to the ferry landing without any sort of expectation of payment whereas in India he would have harassed me for money. I thought about giving him a tip but then realized that it would corrupt the little lad and that by the time you showed up he would be asking for big bucks(now how about a little kickback for my valiant effort). I took the train to Chittagong but got homesick for Dhaka and didn\'t even bother to check out the beach. When I arrived at the Chittagong train station as the only tourist on the train, a Bangladeshi man, somewhat perplexed, asked me why I had bothered to visit Chittagong! If you do go avoid the pedestrian overpass, it\'s really a public bathroom and you\'ll have to tip toe past the piles of human dung, made me want to spell Chittagong with a capital \'S\'. Go to Bangladesh to say you were in Bangladesh or to hunt for the Bengal tiger, otherwise India\'s got everything and more!


Beijing (District) Visit: 2001-10
2014-08-03 - Sunday, October 21, 2001 I\'m in Beijing now actually right next to Tiannamen Square in the only internet cafe I know of in Beijing and far from the hostel. There is a great haze that covers the whole city almost like a fog. The streets are wide and clean and great big monuments everywhere. The days and nights have been busy sightseeing. Beijing is so full of culture its amazing. There is still lots to see and I\'ve already been here for a week. Next I head down to Shanghai on the Sunday night Sleeper then Nanjing and Hong Kong before arriving in Taipei, Taiwan to teach English. Pnohm Pehn was cool but the worst roads on Earth. I also spent a day in Vientiane, Loas but there wasn\'t much to see in that city. Put another shrimp on the Barbie for me. Good Day Mate. . . Gunnar


Belize Visit: 2007-2
2014-07-27 - Belize - Thursday, February 15, 2007 - I\'m at the southern tip of Belize in the Punta Gorda town library where I have free but excruciatingly slow Internet access. Belize used to be British Honduras and only became independent in 1981. The British brought in people from the four corners of their empire, Indians, Chinese, Lebanese and a contingent of German Mennonites who left Canada in 1957 because the government mandated that their kids go to public school. Every little town has two or three Chinese restaurants and the shops sell English meat pies and sometimes they give change in US dollars. I have satellite TV in my room with so many USA channels including C-Span, the Weather Channel, 4 Indian and 4 Chinese channels. Tomorrow I take a short ferry ride to Livingston, Guatemala and then on to the Bay Islands of Honduras continuing on south on to the next Banana Republic. Costa Rica is the most popular, safest and well developed tourist destination in Central America and they speak English on the Caribbean coast.


Bolivia Visit: 2009-3
2013-06-03 - Potosi - I know what you\\\'re thinking, why would anyone build a city at 13,420 feet?! I mean, Jimminy Rockets, that\\\'s 6,120 feet higher than Air Force! Well amigo don\\\'t put away the guacamole dip just yet, there\\\'s only one reason why anyone would build a city at 13,420 feet... SILVER! tons and tons of it, a whole mountain of the stuff. So much Silver the locals say the Spaniards could have built a bridge all the way back to Spain with it. So much Silver that Potosi, Bolivia was in it\\\'s heyday the richest city in all of Latin America. So much Silver that it is said the dollar sign originated from the Potosi mint mark, the letters \\\"PTSI\\\" superimposed on one another. Being the highest city in the world lends itself to all sorts of world records... - World\\\'s Highest City Hall - World\\\'s Highest Library - World\\\'s Highest Municipal Dump You get the drift, here Iīll let you complete three more... - World\\\'s Highest ______________ - World\\\'s Highest ______________ - World\\\'s Highest ______________ Excellent! Now try this word scramble(the mountain where they found all the silver) in the local indigenous Quecha language(hint - big letters first)... ceoCluq ocoPr Fantastic! Now connect the dots to see a miner hitting the motherload deep inside a Potosi silver mine. . . . . . . . . .. . . . . .. . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . Well done Amigo!


Brussels-Capital Region Visit: 2012-10
2014-07-27 - Brussels, Belgium - October 2nd, 2012 - If it\'s Tuesday... I must be in Belgium! Brussels to be more precise. Blame it on those super saver European budget airlines, Ryan Air in this case. Those Leprechauns threw a monkey wrench in my Africa trip, making me an offer I couldn\'t refuse so I chose Belgium over the Belgian Congo. The world\'s best Chocolate, Waffles, and French Fries also played a part. Time to get my frites on!


Caicos Islands Visit: 2012-7
2013-02-07 - Where In the World? Tuesday, July 17, 2012 Partly named after an indigenous cactus, this British overseas territory has jet-setters flocking hither to enjoy one of the finest beaches in all the West Indies and world class diving on coral reefs reaching depths of more than 7,000 feet. Before the jets and as recently as the first hotel opening in 1968, many of the \"belongers\" traced their arrival back to a Spanish slave ship that wrecked ashore in 1844. Traffic was virtually non existent, there being only three vehicles on the island, one of them a bulldozer. It was in one of these other vehicles that Suzie, a newly transplanted hotel manager from New York, would pick up guests from the airport, lining up her headlights with the runway to facilitate approach during night time landings. Today as you make your way into town you might spot a street named \"Suzie Turn\" and you might just wonder about Suzie and about days long since departed. This extended weekend, in part celebration of the birth of the much beloved Anja Regina and part escape from New York\'s urban inferno, I will file this country, this \"magic monotony of existence between sky and water\" where \"aging is optional\", #80 under \"T\" between Turkey and Uruguay. - A few days later - By the time you read this I will be high and dry some 30,000 feet over the Bahamas enroute to Atlanta with the fine white powdery beaches of the Providenciales fading quickly in the turquoise waters. It was early Sunday morning when I made my way to the remote and secluded North West Point passing locals dressed in their finest on the way to church services, the tourists still bedridden, recovering from a bout of rum poisoning the night before. I drove several miles along a desolate, rocky dirt road past shrubs and salt ponds over the highest hill until finally reaching Malcom beach. It was here in this bay that Christopher Columbus set anchor and explored the area many, many years ago. I thought I had the entire beach park to myself but spotted a flurry of activity further down near the exclusive Amanyara Resort. Upon closer inspection I found out it\\\'s a Victoria\\\'s Secret swimsuit photo shoot(they also shot here the year before). I made my into the water to find what other wonderful surprises the reefs might offer. The waters were teaming with fish, and I spotted a Barracuda, with a nice set of sharp teeth, just 10 feet away. As in Hawaii there are public access ways to all the beaches even among the big resorts, however being a British Overseas Territory, the beach up to the high water mark is not owned by the people but rather by, ahem, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth. I found \\\"Suzie Turn\\\", she now has an entire shopping plaza named after her, and made my way down to the marina where the original hotel, the Turtle Cove Inn, is still accepting guests. Gentle turquoise waters, friendly English speaking locals, reefs full of a diverse aquatic life, and powdery white beaches as soft as cotton candy teaming with supermodels, the Turks and Caicos certainly is \\\\\\\"beautiful by nature\\\\\\\".


Costa Rica (mainland) Visit: 2007-3
2014-07-27 - Costa Rica - Saturday, March 03, 2007 - I went to the ATM in Costa Rica and it spat out US Dollars! They say Costa Rica is the safest country to visit in Central America but just last week a group of Carnival Cruise folk on an excursion were held up by three armed men, one with a gun and two with knifes. A 70 year retiree using self defense tactics he learned in the US military charged the man with the gun and ended up killing him with his bare hands as the other two banditos ran for their lives!


Egypt (non-Sinai) Visit: 2008-12
2014-07-27 - Cairo, Egypt - Wednesday, December 31, 2008 - The Internet sea cables were damaged off the coast of Sicily from the earthquake so the service is slow. I took a bus to the Suez Canal and saw the super tankers pass by with all the crew on the rails gawking at us and getting ready for the pirate attacks. Cairo is so big and full of stuff I decided to spend the whole week here and see the rest of the country later. They have restaurants that specialize in mean bowls of macaroni for one buck. The pastries are really good, sweet sticky honey nuts and crunch and I got a whole plate full for 5 bucks. Two scoops of gellato will set you back $0.75. A taxi across town in a 1960 matchbox Fiat with missing door handle will set you back $2. I rode a camel to the Giza pyramids which are massive mountains of stone slowly crumbling to dust. Everybody is mad at the Israeli bombings and the guy who threw his shoes at Bush is a hero. I took the subway for twenty cents and the first two cars are for females only. They have Hardees and Radio Shack here too. Most people speak broken English so I only need to use my Arabic in 60 seconds to impress. I visited the Sultan Hassan Mosque in old Cairo which is huge and was built in 1325, shortly thereafter one of the two minarets crumbled taking 300 people down with it. Everybody here wishes you a Happy New Year and a Merry Christmas because the Coptic Christians don\'t celebrate Christmas until January 6th.


Goa Visit: 2002-12
2014-07-27 - Wednesday, December 18th, 2002, 9pm - Goa, India - I had a Mahajara Mac at the MacDonalds back in New Dehli. Since Discover Card is no good outside the USA, I transferred $2,000 to my Mastercard I saw the Taj Mahal and they charge $15 for foreigners and only $.40 for Indians. One penny-pinching British tourist asked me if it was worth the $15 and I told him it cost me well over $100 when I visited the Taj Mahal in Atlantic City. I\'m in Goa, a former Portugese enclave on the west coast. A lot of working class British package tourists fly in for the Christmas Holidays and get rip-roaring drunk. You can give the King Rama puppet to Chuck and Margaritta for Christmas. It only cost me $6 to send them from Bangladesh and that includes having them sewn up and sealed with hot candle wax. Did you ride up the old Pali road? It\'s thick with jungle and has nice curves.


Guatemala Visit: 2007-3
2013-06-03 - I checked the weather forecast and it appears safe to return to New York City, looks like old man winter is heading south for the summer. Iīll be cruising at 40,000 feet over the hot and steamy Yucatan on Taca airlines, Central Americaīs largest, not to be confused with Taco airlines which the FDA grounded after if found ecoli in the meat. I walked right past Óscar José Berger, the president of Guatemala today, he was inspecting the crushed right headlight of his BMW and his two bodyguards didnīt even flinch even though I was carrying a back pack and a duffel bag that could have been filled with armed goodies. I recognised him from the news reports when President Bush came to town two weeks ago. He doesnīt look like a Guatemalan and he is of German ancestry and comes from one of the elite coffee and sugar families that control Guatemala.


Hawaiian Islands (including NW Islands) Visit: 2013-4
2013-06-03 - The skies were sprinkled with stars as we awoke at 4am early. I fried up some spam and packed three buckets of white rice while my cousin Keone filled the coolers with ice. Then it was down to Hilo with boat in tow to meet up with Hoku\'s brother at the pier near the Suisan fish market. \"Don\'t say the \'f\'(ish) word or they\'ll know we\'re coming\", warned Keone. Dawn was breaking as we headed out into Hilo bay with three fishing lines dangling 180 feet behind the boat. We were only a mile past the breakwater at a depth of 250 feet when the fish started biting. Two lines were pulling out fast so I grabbed one, Keone the other and we started reeling them in while Hoku\'s brother steered the boat parallel with the lines. It wasn\'t much of a fight as I drew to the end of my line and spotted a long Ono dangling on the hook. Keone pulled the fish onboard and whacked it on the head with an aluminum bat while I grabbed his line and reeled in the other Ono. A double strike only 30 minutes into the trip, it doesn\'t get any easier than this I thought. We continued out for another 4 miles to the \"E\" buoy where depths reach some 5,000 feet. Nothing doing so we headed back to port to fillet and ice the Ono in preparation for an ono Ono dinner later that night.


Ireland, Republic of Visit: 2012-11
2014-07-27 - RECENT ENTRIESFRIENDSARCHIVEPROFILERSS gunnar dahlberg Dublin - September 20th, 2012 - Dia Dhuit(or \"Hello\" as they say in Irish), We landed in the cool pitch blackness of Ireland at 4:45 am this morning and I caught the 6am bus for the thirty minute ride to the historic Dublin city center and checked into the hostel where a bunch of German and French tourists were busy eating breakfast. I only got an hour of sleep on the short 5 hour flight over (much faster the than 8 week journey Irish immigrants took to America during the potato famine) and the excitement of exploring a new city is keeping me awake for now. The sun is peaking through the clouds which is always a welcome sight in otherwise rainy Ireland. Dublin is small and compact and easy to get around on foot and I hope to see all the historic sights in time for my Sunday departure to Lisbon, Portugal. We took off yesterday evening from JFK on Aer Lingus, Ireland\'s national airline. It was my first time flying an aero-plane and they\'re pretty much all alike except this one was all green inside. The flight attendant greeted us and then proceeded with a live demonstration on the intricacies of seat belt mechanics. She then said something in a foreign tongue which sounded a lot like Norwegian mixed with Dutch and a little Danish but was in fact Irish, or Gaelic for you lingual purists, and I swear I saw a leprechaun dart out from one of the overhead bins. I checked into the Four Courts Hostel, which was located in the old medieval city center that was first settled by the Vikings back in 841 A.D., and proceeded into the streets in search of a full Irish breakfast complete with black and white pudding and a rasher of bacon despite having only managed one hours sleep on the flight over. They say it rains here twice a week, once for 3 days and then again for 4 days but during my entire three day stay in Dublin it only managed to rain a mere 5 minutes, a stray rain cloud. I must of had the luck of the Irish because the radio DJ was thanking everyone for sending in pictures of the sunset and dare I say I actually got a nice tan. Dublin is a modern, compact, and walkable city with only one skyscraper which they plan to tear down soon. The people are cheery and friendly and I can barley make out their Irish accent. I took in all the major sites with the help of the hop-on-hop-off open double decker tourist bus, crossed the O\'Connel bridge, wider than it is long, walked through Phoenix Park, Europe\'s largest city park - twice the size of Central Park, saw the worlds tallest sculpture, 400 feet high - locally known as the rod to God, eaten steak and Guinness pie, strolled the grounds of Trinity College, gazed at the spire of St.Patricks Cathedral, and heard the lyrics of traditional Irish music.


Korea, South (mainland) Visit: 2009-7
2014-08-03 - Friday, February 02, 1996 - Seoul 20°f Just came back from a short romp in the hills. At this hour in the evening you\'re guaranteed the mountain to yourself. I followed the well worn sandstone path bathed in the Moon\'s luminescence. The stars were out sparkling deep above the jagged mountainscape. Below, the city lights danced in a multitude of colors heralding the arrival of night. As I gazed northward, I couldn\'t help but feel the ominous threat of North Korea looming just a few mountain peaks away. I look around for any sign of sudden movement or silhouettes creeping along the bush that might signal the early hours of an invasion.


Laos Visit: 2003-10
2014-07-27 - Vientiane, Loas- Tuesday, October 14, 2003 - I\'m in Vientiane, Laos on some R&R before heading to Shanghai and Beijing and eventually to teaching English in Taipei. This place is dead... although it\'s the capitol, the biggest highlight so far was a bowling alley I drove past on my motorbike. Tomorrow I\'m going to the US embassy to get more pages for my passport... all filled up with visas and exit/entry stamps... gotta slow down... I met up with David in Phnom Penh for two days... It was great... we hired a car with driver to take us around the sights.. I felt like an ambassador! Aloha... Gunnar


Macedonia, Republic Visit: 2012-10
2014-07-27 - Skopje, Macedonia - October 12th, 2012 - What do macadamias and Macedonians have in common? Absolutely nothing, and don\'t go looking for Turks in the Turks & Caicos, I certainly couldn\'t find any. I crossed the border from Kosovo into Macedonia without incident and am spending the night at the Sultan\'s Hotel in Skopje near the old Turkish bazaar, a remnant of the Ottoman Empire days. I met the hotel owner who lived in Queens and San Antonio for 10 years before his visa expired. Skopje is divided by the Varda river into the Christian south and the Turkish/Ottoman north both of which suffered greatly after the 1963 earthquake.


Morocco Visit: 2008-2
2014-07-27 - Marrakesh, Morocco - February 18th, 2008 - It is 70°s here in Marrakesh but only a few miles away I see the Atlas mountains covered with snow. I am going over the Atlas mountains tomorrow and on to the edge of the Sahara desert via a shared taxi to ride a camel in the sand dunes and overnight in a traditional Touareg tent. I got a flight on EasyJet from Marrakesh to Madrid for 57 Euros! I return to New York this Friday. My camel got angry when we tried to cross some mud flats and started growling like a dog. The Sahara looks like a stormy ocean with big waves of sand frozen in time. It is another 52 days by camel from where I was to Timbuktu.


Myanmar Visit: 2002-11
2013-06-03 - Burma was the cheapest country I visited so far. They take Visa but don\'t take Master Card and there are no ATMs so bring US Dollars. I made that mistake and had to ask my brother to wire money via diplomatic cable to the US Embassy since there are no private bank transfers. 100$ bills will get you the best rate on the black market, the official rate is appalling. Keep several single dollar bills to pay as you go because everyone takes US Dollars. There\'s also high inflation so your guide book will be off by alot. Always bargain! Taxi\'s are falling apart. Don\'t take the train or bus, they are the worst in the world. Always fly!


New South Wales Visit: 2016-5
2016-12-21 - Something magical happens when you fly three hours southwest out of Honolulu, you cross that point where the equator meets the international date line and you leap forward a day, from Sunday to Monday, and skip forward two seasons, from Spring to Autumn. Down below atolls appear in the middle of nowhere and 7 hours later your 787 Dreamliner touches down under in New South Wales.


New York Visit: 2013-11
2014-07-27 - The Naked City - January 24th, 2013 - It is 22 degrees outside in Times Square and the biting wind makes it feel more like 40° below. Eskimo territory you would think, but I\\\'m in McDonalds surfing the net when in bursts the Naked Cowboy, guitar in hand, wearing nothing but boots, underpants, and a five gallon hat. \"Two Big Macs!\" he shouts at the counter then strums his guitar for a quick photo-op with some bewildered tourists before heading back into the cold. . . just one of 8 million stories in the Naked City.


Nicaragua Visit: 2007-2
2014-07-27 - Nicaragua - Monday, February 26, 2007 - I arrived in Granada, Nicaragua the oldest city in all the Americas, founded by the Spanish Conquistadors in 1524 - thatīs older than Mother Goose. Nicaragua is the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere after Haiti but itīs also the second safest after Canada. After all that fuss and hassle with Reagan and the Contras, Daniel Ortega was re-elected President and took charge again just this past January 10th. I saw his office in Managua yesterday, the nicest building in the entire city which due to the massive ī72 earthquake has only one tall building left standing. Managua is like one huge tree lined suburb with no cluster of buildings apart from two small shopping malls. Howard Hughes was living on the top floor of the Inter-Continental Hotel at the time of the earthquake and flew out to Miami the next day.


Panama (mainland) Visit: 2007-3
2013-06-03 - Panama - Tuesday, March 06, 2007 - I crossed, by foot, a narrow wrought iron bridge built in 1908 by the Baltimore Railroad for the Standard Fruit Company better known today as Chiquita and arrived in Panama. Chiquita introduced the banana to the American public in 1876 and well, they went bananas! The Panamanian currency is the US Dollar but they call it the \"Balboa\" after the Spanish Conquistador who conquered the area. Itīs nice finally not having to break out monopoly money and due the fuzzy math to see how much the locals are trying to rip you off. I got a real quarter pound hamburger for a buck seventy five and a chili dog for a buck and a quarter! You can get real life martial arts experience in the city of Colon, the atlantic entry point to the Panama canal, my guide books states: \"Most of Colon is a sad slum known for street crime. If you walk around there, well-meaning residents will inform you that you are in danger. Itīs probably best to avoid the city altogether.\" Bring along \"Bare Fists\" Freddy for a bone-crunching good time. Tags: panama, travel It might be 80\\\' in Orlando, Florida but it was 97\\\'f in Panama City today, the hottest city in the world this time of year. I went to the first set of locks of the Panama Canal and they had a four story viewing stand with a horde of tourists and a guy doing live commentary who made us cheer as each ship descended with her motley crew into the Pacific. There was a Walmart ship that paid a toll of $250,000 and got to jump infront of the line for the 8 hour crossing. Richard Halliburton swam through the canal in 1928 and they charged him a toll of $.36 cents. Ships crossing the canal from the Atlantic to the Pacific are actually traveling east the entire way!


Peru Visit: 2009-2
2013-06-03 - Machu Pichu - Sunday, February 08, 2009 Wow! Out of this world! Probably the most amazing site I\\\'ve seen in all my travels to 100+ countries. Like you\\\'re on another planet in a galaxy far, far away. You don\\\'t beleive it until you see it and when you see it you don\\\'t believe it. Beyond my expectations. It is sure to blow your socks off, bring an extra pair.


Romania Visit: 2007-11
2013-06-03 - Bucharest - Thursday, November 01, 2007 I saw the second largest(total mass) building in the world, the first being the Pentagon. I stumbled upon it as I had no travel guide to Romania or Bucharest and no idea what to see or where to go after arriving at the train station from Bulgaria. Romanian dictator, Nicolae Ceausescu, wanted it to be the biggest but just as it was nearing completeion in 1989 the wall came down and he had to escape the mob from the top of the palace by helicopter. He was later caught and executed along with his wife by firing squad on Christmas Day.


Taiwan (main island) Visit: 2003-11
2013-06-03 - How about some real Chinese food you\'ll find on the menu in Taiwan that will have your meat and potato friends scrambling for the fortune cookies. Let\'s start out with piping hot piggy guts soup. Tubular in shape and naturally buoyant, these little intestines prove easy handling for all levels of chopstick enthusiasts. Then there\'s fish served with the head still intact, go ahead poke it\'s eyes out, they\'re considered a delicacy. Next is a serving of stinky tofu, a Taipei specialty that will have you asking if the streets are lined with open sewers? Still hungry? Why not head down to snake alley for a slippery snack. Stay tuned for more heads and tales of Chinese cuisine.


Thailand Visit: 2002-11
2014-07-27 - Chiang Mai - November 2nd, 2002 - Green Curry Over Rice $.75 One Hour Thai Massage $2.25 Boat Ride Down the Chao Phraya River across Bangkok $.20 14 Hour Sleeper Train to \"Lan Nan\" Kingdom in Norhtern Thailand $12 24-Hour 4-Speed 100cc Motorbike Rental No Questions Asked $3.75 Being able to get cash from the Thai Military Bank ATM machine half way around the world on the Burmese border with my First Hawaiian Bank Checking Card... Priceless!


Uruguay Visit: 2009-2
2014-07-27 - Uruguay - February 28th, 2009 - I took the hydrofoil from Buenos Aires to the colonial Portuguese smugglers port of Colonia, the oldest town in Uruguay. No need to worry about scammers, con-men, beggars, muggers, counterfeit money changers, or corrupt border police* because I\'m in the \"Switzerland of South America\" and with immaculate cobblestone tree-lined streets you could easily mistake being in Europe somewhere on the Spanish coast. This town traded hands between the Spanish and Portuguese 10 times before gaining independence in 1826. Only a few days over the Andes and I have already fallen several steaks behind but like Argentina they eat vegetarians here too. (*Just as I exited the Peruvian immigration office and began crossing into Bolivia at border town of Desguardero I was approached by two National Police Officers of Peru who took me to a room and asked me to empty my pockets and place all my cash on the table so they could check for \"counterfeit\" currency. There were three police in the room and I had US$600 cash in my pockets but I had read in my guidebook not to show crooked cops any money so I told them politely \"No Way Jose\" and they let me go on my way without further incident.) I have been keeping up on my Dulche De Leche intake(it\'s in every pastry and cookie they make). Even ordinary muffins can\'t escape the curse of the Dulce De Leche.
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