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Time For Some Culture In Hong Kong, But Not What You Expect

View of Hong Kong from Victoria Peak
Chuck Tue, 2017-02-28 23:35
Does going to Hong Kong mean we can say we’ve been to China? A while back we decided that “going to” a country requires, among a few other qualifications, that we have a stamp in our passports from that country. This means, for example, that we can’t claim to have been to Japan since we only connected through the Tokyo airport on our way to the Philippines. But even though we spent four nights in Hong Kong and trekked around plenty of the city’s sights, we don’t have a stamp from China in our passports. The reasons for this go back a century and a half to Hong Kong’s days as a British colony...

Bali: So Many Bars, So Little Time

Barung Dancer, Bali
Chuck Sun, 2017-02-26 03:27
Travel is learning. And what we've learned this week is that Bali is actually an acronym for "Bunch of Australians on a Little Island". We're just joshing! If that were true, the acronym would really be BDALI, for "Bunch of Drunk Australians on a Little Island". All kidding--and our general fondness for Aussies--aside, life lessons learned while on the Indonesian island of Bali include the following: A pool with a swim-up bar is the true way God intended man to enjoy swimming. The best swim stroke for conveying a beer across a pool is the side stroke. Monkeys are not cute. They are evil, evil...

Three Days in Singapore

The Singapore Skyline At Night From The River
Chuck Sat, 2017-02-18 01:22
It’s mandatory to wear Bermuda shorts and those British colonial military hats that look like fried eggs whilst visiting the city of Singapore. It is also recommended you use words like “whilst” and that you proceed “chin-up” into the heat and humidity of this former British colony that still very much feels like a British colony. If you do not do these things, the British tourists you will inevitably find yourself surrounded by may regard you with a discomforting curiosity. All the global public image of an over-the-top strictly regulated city—no spitting in public, no chewing of gum, no jay...

Farewell (For Now), Philippines

Barangay Boat, Honda Bay, Philippines
Chuck Fri, 2017-02-10 20:00
There's something bizarrely appealing about a country where it's not uncommon to spot men peeing on fences as you drive by in the comfort of your Uber car. It'd be considerably more interesting if you could spot women doing the same, but a people can only be so appealing. By the time you read this, we'll have flown on to Singapore, our welcome--that is to say, our visa--in the Philippines having expired. We Americans are spoiled by relatively lengthy visas, but in the Philippines the standard tourist visa for Americans is 30 days. We've read it's not too challenging to get an extension, but...

Puerto Princesa, Palawan, Philippines

Children in Puerto Princesa, Palawan, Philippines
Chuck Sat, 2017-02-04 00:40
Today’s blog is short on the normal array of pictures for such a visually interesting destination as we’ve experienced the last week and a half. The reason is that Internet service has been such that the approximately 1,000 pictures we’ve taken are stuck on our local devices, unable to sync to Dropbox on the Internet-over-hemp-vine service we are enjoying here on the island of Palawan in the Philippines. Dodgy Internet service, however, goes hand-in-hand with visually interesting destinations, so you will simply have to rely more than usual on my stunning wit to spark your imagination...

The Unspoken Rule(s) Of Travel

Chuck Fri, 2017-01-27 22:08
Our recent 5 hour layover in Tokyo notwithstanding, we've not spent time in Japan, but we understand that when you ride the Tokyo subway you are expected to maintain complete and respectful silence. If you utter as much as a snide harrumph , Japanese officials will forcibly remove you from the subway and brutally chastise you with chopsticks. For multiple offenses, you may be subjected to an even worse penalty: being made to watch Japanese television for an hour. The Japanese are renowned for their politeness. We joke about our own inexplicable behavior in thanking toll booth attendants who'...

Manila

Boat Cruise on Pasig River, Manila Philippines
Chuck Sat, 2017-01-21 05:32
We love Manila because they don’t charge us for plastic bags at the grocery. Just kidding. Well, maybe not really. “Love” of a city is a complex thing. People ask us all the time about our favorite places, and without thinking we typically respond, “Spain, Portugal, the Oregon coast, Paris, and Des Moines”. And maybe a few other favorite spots. Asian megacity Manila, capital of the Philippines, may never earn a ranking in our ad hoc list of favorite destinations in the world, but we can say we’ve been here, and it IS likely that we will return. And to be honest, we've never been to Des Moines...

#RTW2017: As Of Now

View From Delta Airplane Landing in Seattle, Mt Rainier in Background
Chuck Sat, 2017-01-14 00:59
If recent blogging behavior is any indication, you'll get infrequent and irregular communications from us as we work our way around the globe in 2017. Our “Round The World 2017” trip is, in fact, already underway: I pen this on my iPhone sitting by the pool of our highrise AirBnB place in Manila, the Philippines. Lest you think we live a glamorous life of jet setting leisure, it is somewhat humid here. And there is nobody around to bring us drinks. See what sacrifices we make for your travel blog reading enjoyment? We set out just over a week ago. As Weather Channel people issued dire...

TSA Pre-Check, Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI, and Foot Massages

Global Entry program logo
Chuck Sat, 2016-11-26 07:00
On our recent flight from San Juan, Puerto Rico to Atlanta, we were automatically given TSA Pre-Check status when we checked in with Delta. Of course we didn’t notice the little checkmark that graced our boarding passes until we approached the regular security line. Fortunately for us, an attendant checked our boarding passes and directed us to the Pre-Check line. So we walked an additional 50 yards or so and stood in the Pre-Check line. We very likely spent just as much time following this serendipitous process as we would have just getting in the plebe’s security line. But at least we didn’...
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What a Trump Presidency Means for American Travelers

Donald J. Trump, America's first Orange President
Chuck Sat, 2016-11-12 07:00
If, by midnight on January 20 th , Inauguration Day, all Americans abroad are not home, they will come home to find the front doors locked, will have to sleep over at a friend’s, and will have a lot of explaining to do the next morning to avoid having their keys taken away and allowances cut off for a month. If you think the Trump election surprised a lot of Americans, then the rest of the world is in something of toupee shock (half comical finger pointing and half genuine astonishment). Our HomeAway.com host in Guadeloupe said it simply and best when he asked us, “Mr. Trump has a very bad...

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