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Cameron Rogers's Posts
Cameron has posted 26 reports and 0 photos.

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Alaska Visit: 2005-7
2009-02-27 - One of the few US states I've spent very little time in (silly since it borders my home province of BC). I walked across the border into Hyder Alaska, population about 100 from Stewart, BC. The US does not maintain any kind of border post here because you can't go anywhere by car from Hyder. However, the Canadians have a little portable building and one border guard. The guard told me that regularly there are people who get stuck in Hyder without proper immigration documentation to get back into Canada. There are 3 or 4 bars, a little motel, and an interesting little orthodox church to see in Hyder. Many go to see the bears feeding on salmon in the river. Bald Eagle spotting is also popular.My friend, who had never visited the US, did not bring her passport, not thinking we might go into the US. She stood at the border looking wishfully at her chance to visit the US visa free. Later to make up for it I took her across another spot south of Hope, BC where you can legally enter the US, and return to Canada without passing through immigration.


Andorra Visit: 1999-12
2009-03-06 - Took a bus up from Barcelona Spain. Went to a massive Spa called Caldea, which is in Andorra la Vella. They claim to be "Europe's largest health spa" and "Europe's largest recreational spa." It is a giant glass pointed structure in the middle of town. The spa was pretty nice actually after a lot of hard travel.

Andorra at night had lighted figures up high that appeared to be floating in the sky. Perhaps this is because it is such a small town it is so dark at night.



Aruba Visit: 2016-12
2017-12-15 - One Happy Island visited via the Island Princess just before Christmas 2016. Did some sightseeing but spent some time tracking down some of the country's gorgeous paper money for my collection.


Bahia Visit: 2017-12
2017-12-15 - Was able to arrange a nearly 24 hour free stop over between Recife and Brasilia. Visited the UNESCO site old town and the old fort/lighthouse which houses a small Maritime museum. About 30% of the displays had some English but everything was pretty easy to figure out. Kids enjoyed the adjoining beach which is appearantly heavily visited by tourists. Afterward drove up the coast back to the airport and our hotel. Salvador has an embarrassing amount of amazing endless beaches. They even have gas stations and normal stores facing the beach on what would be prime residential or hotel beach front property in most cities.


Baja California Sur Visit: 2017-1
2017-01-07 - Visited via the Island Princess. The port requires tendering for large ships, but has a very active inner harbor. Numerous small boats take tourists out to see seals, chase whales and dolphins, and watch seabirds like pelicans as well as interesting rocks and a natural arch. The downtown area is clean and safe.


Belize Visit: 2016-12
2017-12-20 - While exploring southern Mexico we popped across into the Free Zone of Belize. The Mexican immigration hut lady stamped a small slip of paper on the way out rather than our actual passports (we later stapled the papers in) even though the stamp is an official normal Mexican immigration stamp. There was no stamp offered coming back when we showed the slip of paper. The Free Zone is a dusty wild west kind of place with motorized trike taxi, a poor casino, and all manner of knock off and fake merchandise often sold from stores with large high-end brand name signs on the face of them.


Brazilian Federal District Visit: 2017-12
2017-12-15 - With 180+ locations visited, I'm not new to travel. No city on earth I've seen has the look amd feel of Brasilia. Amazing modernist design and huge swaths of greenspace unlike any place I've ever been too. Planned to the extreme. Deserved the UNESCO designation. Well worth a visit.


British Virgin Islands Visit: 2016-12
2017-01-07 - Visited on the Island Princess for a port of call. We just looked around the port area.


Brunei Visit: 2009-1
2009-01-26 - Started near the Sabah/Sarawak border at 6AM, entered BSB by noon. Stamps for Exit Sabah, Enter Sarawak, Exit Sarawak, Enter Brunei, Exit Brunei, Enter Sarawak, Exit Sarawak, Enter Brunei (8 stamps).


Cambodia Visit: 2017-8
2017-08-12 - While I was stuck in Phnom Phen traffic a lovely girl dressed in blue and red smiled big and offerred a brochure. Her name tag also sported blue and red and a glance at the sign above revealed this was a DPRK Pungyang Restaurant. I'd read about these outposts of the hermit kingdom but never seen one before, so I took the brochure and headed back at dinner time. The place was staffed with the prettiest North Korean girls, all who spoke some limited English, as well as some men who seemed to supervise. An extensive menu offered some familior and not so familiar dishes (I understand they offer dog meat, but that was not indicated in any of the English descriptions). Wikipedia says there are around 120 such establishments, mostly in China. They are one of the few ways the DPRK can collect up foreign currency. Usually a local operator runs the business, staffed by carefully vetted university educated DPRK staff on term assignments. The business pays set payments back to the DPRK. I used Google translate to indicate vegetarian no meat no fish in Korean. I asked for noodles. The waitress team seemed to understand and even came back to confirm noodles ok, vegetables ok. The noodle soup arrived with slabs of a white substance which the waitress described as pork! I also has steamed red bean buns, and picked a canned apple juice from a selection tray. Unsolicited they brought cooked stringy potatoes, peanuts, pickled cucumbers and lukewarm tea. For half the meal I had a 10 person table and the entire place to myself, until another man cane in and was given another large table to himself. Two waitresses spent almost the entire meal standing guard over me to ensure I was well served. I engaged them in conversation, showing the photos of Vancouver (they thought it very beautiful) and a google street view of my house, something the waitress found pretty amazing as she tipped my phone up and down and around to view the streetscape. All the waitresses wore earpieces. According to sources I found they usually live on premises. My bill was US$12, but other dishes were as much as $25 and I had no alcohol, which would run up the tab. I tried very hard to tip, but the waitress absolutely refused to tak a dollar and then two dollars. She returned the tip I handed her, then again when I tried to leave it in the bill folder, then came after me and thrust it in my hands when I tried to leave money on the table. Evidently taking tips leads to big trouble for them, and I've never had a tip refused anywhere even where it is not common practice. As I left a huge downpour came, so they sent a male staffer (looked Cambodian) out with an umbrellia to find a tok tok for me. Sometimes they have cultural shows, but not while I was there, likely too few clients. They had karaoke available in the back. Ironically given the internet in DPRK is extremely restricted, the DPRK restaurant had the most reliable internet I've found yet in Cambodia. It was very strange to check CNN which showed all the top headlines revolving around DPRK, threatened nukes, Trump sabor rattling, Guam preparing for a nucular attack, and Japan deploying missile defences from a DPRK outpost in Cambodia. I also visited Siem Reap and Kep during the two visits to Cambodia this month.


Canary Islands Visit: 2017-12
2017-12-15 - Visited two of the islands - Tenerife and Lanzarote - via Pullmandor's Sovereign cruise ship. Although targeted at Spanish speakers, I have no problems recommending the cruise line for English speakers interested in their amazingly low prices (US$123 for a week in the Canaries is one recent offer). We went through on a repositioning cruise from Cadez Spain to Recife Brazil, a one off itinerary. Lanzarote, with it's fairly recent eruption, is nearly devodr of life. Other than to support tourism on this unique landscape, I could not see any reason to live on the island.


Cape Verde Visit: 2017-12
2017-12-15 - Arrived via Pullmantour Sovereign on a repositioning cruise. We visited the UNESCO site and the fort, which has some nice views. Just got a taxi over there. Sleepy little place. The most exciting part was a fruitless attempt to secure an immigration stamp on our Cape Verde Visas. A policeman at the main police station sent us to the in town immigration office. We were having problems finding it, so asked another policeman who walked us there. The immigration office sent us to the port. The port gate police said the man at the 4th brown door was who we needed to see. When another officer called him on the phone, he returned to say we needed to see the lady officer that cleared the ship. Found her out on the docks and she said no stamp - and clearly did not have one. In fact no one at any office seemed to have a stamp. I almost question if we even needed the visas. There is a huge waterfront construction project by a Macao based Chinese company. Pretty, dry island with little happening, little to see and little excitement. I now understand why more than half of Cape Verde citizens have left to live in other countries.


Ceuta Visit: 1999-12
2009-03-06 - Dec 1999: Took the ferry across from Algaciras and walked the short distance into town. Arriving by water has got to be the best way to enter Africa for the first time.

There is a semi-interesting old fort and little else to see in town. Gaze at the desert or the water I suppose. (ya I added the only attractions to the Wikitravel page.)

Exited a couple hours later via city bus to the border, then walked out. Dec 2017: Took the same route into Morocco but with my family. Almost everything has changed. There is a newer port facility on both sides of the straights. Extensive additions tonthe border control facilities. Bus 7 still runs to the Frontera - from the port walk left several blocks, head up the hill to a bus stop in front of the gas station opposite the fort. The border is a few minutes by bus away. Coming back into Ceuta we were carefully checked by Moroccan border police and stamped out. The Spanish guard sitting on a stool just waved us through. When we realized that was the extent of the border checks we walked back and requested an EU entry stamp amd the window behind the guy who waived us through. Oddly the window faces into Spain and is therefore not obvious as you walk by.



Colombia (mainland) Visit: 2016-12
2017-12-15 - So far we have only visited the lovely historic port of Cartagena via the Island Princess. My outdated views of Colombia as a dangerous drug fueled violent place to be avoided were shattered. I hope to visit other parts of the country in the future.


Croatia (other) Visit: 2003-7
2017-10-09 - I can't offer any advice about Croatia as I only passed through the country by train at night. They woke us up to stamp passports.


Espirito Santo Visit: 2017-12
2017-12-20 - While flying and driving around 11 Brazilian States we took a detour over the border to Espirinto Santo State, going a few blocks into Bom Jesus do Norte. The larger town on the south side of the river is also named Bom Jesus, amd the two towns are connected by a couple bridges across a nice looking river. Translated, the town is "Good Jesus, Holy Spirit, which seems to be a pretty unique place name.


Kalimantan Visit: 2007-4
2009-03-06 - Drove to the border from Kuching, only to find that a preissued visa is required at the more remote land crossing. However, if we left our rental car parked in Sarawak, and promised to come back, the border guard gave us a stamp free wave onward. We walked into the little village beyond the border.

There was a maybe 40 ft greased pole set up with various goodies suspended off the top. Men were stipping down to short pants and attempting to climb the pole one at a time or by stacking greasy guys on top of each other.

Much to the delight of the crowd and horror of my Malaysian wife I stripped my shirt off and went for the pole. That really got the crowd going. However at the last minute I backed off from getting greasy and left the job to professionals. I really should have tried to climb that pole!



Luzon (Northern Philippines) Visit: 2011-7
2017-10-09 - Flew into Manila and out of Clark. Also visited Subic Bay briefly. Took intercity bus between airports, plus local buses and trikes. Interesting to see both the poverty and the fancy shopping malls in the country. Really want to explore the country more.


Morocco Visit: 1999-12
2009-03-06 - Took an inexpensive bus ride from downtown Ceuta to the "frontera". Arriving at the border control point was like walking into a garbage dump. Paper, cardboard and plastic everywhere. There were hundreds of locals at in no mans land and feared hours of waiting. It was getting dark so I just walked past all the locals and after a couple minutes had my stamps. Next task getting a taxi to Tetouan. All the cabbies were quoting sky high prices, so I walked back to the border guard, held out some Spanish currency and asked Tetouan? He selected 2000 (a fraction of the asking price), so I marched back and simply offered the 2000 to a driver who happily pocketed the cash, put me in the front seat (4 big guys in the back of the old Mercades) and we were off. That night I had $1 worth of bread, couscous and lettuce, then bedded down in a $4 hotel run by an old blind man and his equally old wife.The next morning I had an extensive market tour with a local tout who falsely claimed he was not interested in money, sat through a spice and medicine show and tell, and then a decent lunch in a tourist oriented restaurant. I almost wandered into a ladies only bathhouse before the true nature of the place was made clear by my self appointed guide.I decided to bus to Casablanca. This was supposed be a 7 hour trip but turned into a 16 hour odyssey. The only non-local on the bus, and the only person who spoke English made it interesting, but then the checkpoints started. Over and over we were pulled off the road and the bus searched. In the middle of no where a couple and a lot of their stuff was pulled off by police. Clutching my passport and a Spanish phrase book (useless in a place where French is the second tongue) I tried to figure out from a young man what drugs they were looking for. Eventually I relocated next to a pretty young lady in a burka. With sign language and a few international words I figured out she was in "commerce" - she eventually lifted her dress and showed me a special belt holding some kind of electronic devices (something to do with TV's). Evidently she was smuggling these devices from Spain. As the bus rolled along, two women in the seat ahead of us got into a big argument, leading to their scarves coming off, then outer coverings being ripped off and in a hair grabbing, bitch slapping fist fight. As the bus rolled into the market at Casablanca the passengers pulled out large plastic tarp like bags and started disrobing! I had thought that these people were well fed, and some quite tall. Turns out they were actually wearing many layers of clothing, some had clothing strapped to their legs and around there waists, and often they were sitting on more clothing. Also, boxes and boxes of canned tuna started appearing from under seats, overhead, and who knows where else. There must have over a pallet of canned tuna hidden in that bus.I clearly could have financed that trip by carrying canned tuna and clothing... if only I had known. The garbage dump at the border was related to people unpacking clothing and other goods to wear across the border. It must be a tax/duty saving gig.


North Dakota Visit: 2008-11
2009-02-27 - While not my first time in North Dakota, I decided to drive south from Winnipeg, MB to show my tropics born, west coast living wife what real winter and flat land looks like. North Dakota in November is cold and windy. It is an interesting fealing to drive for an hour and see just the occasional house and lots of flat land. We saw evidence of abandoned homesteads (National Geographic published an article on these recently) as people exit for cities and farms become bigger and bigger, absorbing smaller holdings making the homes redundent.I don't think there are many tourists to North Dakota in the winter because we got a very extensive search by a whole team of boarder guards after I suggested we were going sight seeing for a day in North Dakota. I've crossed into the US hundreds of times but have never been searched and questioned like that. Made the trip memorable and it was not stressful at all because we had nothing to hide.


Oklahoma Visit: 2013-2
2014-02-08 - Note visit date wrong as 2014 is not yet an option. To fill that annoying unvisited hole on my map, I drove an hour up I-35 to the Oklahoma border from Dallas. Exit two now has the World\'s Largest Casino. Owned by a native tribe, this world city themed casino should be interesting to MTP members if only to see how stereotyped the city rooms are decorated. Seriously, white dragons for Beijing and a Panda Express fast food counter? If you find yourself in DFW for a layover grab a car and tick off OK by visiting the world\'s largest casino before someone builds a bigger casino elsewhere.


Panama (mainland) Visit: 2016-12
2017-12-15 - Cruised with the whole family full transit through the Panama Canal on Christmas Day 2016. Truly an engineering marvel. The Island Princess is a Panamax so it followed the old route at a cost of over $450,000. We were able to see some of the new canal works too. In one lock I touched the ground, though sadly we never stopped in Panama and passed through immigration.


Point Roberts Visit: 2007-1
2009-02-27 - Point Roberts is a small chunk of land South of British Columbia in Washington State. This area falls South of the 49th and therefore in the US. Normally access from other parts of Washington State involves driving North across the Border at Peace Arch, then driving across the border into Point Roberts. Alternatively, one can use a private boat and avoid the border. There is no airport.A large portion of the population is Canadian, and many live here part time. Some view it as the ultimate gated community with the US Border Patrol providing the controls.


Quintana Roo Visit: 2016-1
2017-01-08 - Drove all over the state starting from Cancun on New Years Eve


Sarawak Visit: 2009-1
2009-02-27 - I was able to visit Northern Sarawak while driving from Sabah down to Brunei. This trip involves crossing in and out of Sarawak several times as you traverse the smaller part of Brunei. It was interesting to see the contrast between the poorer homes, roads, and even guard rails in Sarawak and the nicer homes, roads and guard rails in oil rich Brunei. The trip gives you 8 passport stamps in about 6 hours - and another 8 on the return. There are two super short ferry crossings (one within Sarawak has a bridge under construction, the other is an international ferry crossing).


U.S. Virgin Islands Visit: 2016-12
2017-01-08 - Second visit via Island Princess cruise ship. Had visited in 1990 via another Princess ship. Nice American port.
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