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Pictures: Seeing the forest and the trees

I'm usually not much of a nature boy, saving the passion of the outdoors for my forester brother. But in the Southern Hemisphere I couldn't help take pictures of trees that are really different from the ones at home. The tree picture above…
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Don't drink from the toilet!---and other odd signs around the world

We've come across some unusual signs in our journey. Some funny signs caution people about not doing things that would seem to be self-evident. Like the sign posted above. It's in the bathrooms at the Adelaide Airport in Australia. Not that…
Kim Il Sung mausoleum Pyongyang
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Visiting the mausoleums of Mao, Ho and Kim

Communist governments feel compelled to preserve the corpses of their founders and keep them on display for public viewing. It's their way of sustaining the cult of personality that keeps the current regimes in place. In the past…

Pictures from the frenetic streets of Hanoi

Our hotel in Hanoi was in the Old Quarter, a frenzied and chaotic labyrinth of streets that rambled like they had been laid out by a toddler chasing a rabbit. Each street specializes in selling a certain product. Apparently our…
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To travel cheaply, go where it's cheap

Cheap travel is often a challenge, but how would you like to live in a land of 35 cent hoagies, $25 gourmet meals for two and beers for a buck? A place where the dollar stretches so far it could cover the entire country. That’s daily life…

I miss Saigon

From Michael ~ Yesterday, on our last day in Saigon, I strolled around the city streets for one final look. I miss Saigon already. Its current name is Ho Chi Minh City, but it was in the news a lot when I was a kid and it will always be…
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Fill 'er up with Johnnie Walker Black

When we walked the streets of Bali we noticed sidewalk vendors selling bottles of Absolut vodka with a yellowish liquid inside. Usually the bottles were stuffed closed with a wad of cloth making them look like a row of Molotov…
Foot pedicure massage

Video: A fishy foot massage in Malaysia

Imagine having hundreds of fish nibbling at your toes underneath a giant sign that assuredly proclaims "No Piranha." Now picture your feet are in a tank with about a dozen other feet that are also being nibbled on. Larissa normally loves…
Singapore skyline
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Rooms with a view

We've generally rented apartments with some hotels thrown in. A few of them have had incredible views of either city scenes or country landscapes. The picture above is the view from our flat of the Sky Tower in Auckland. This being New…
Original Starbucks Pike Place Market
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10 food tourist traps to avoid

We've all fallen for them; food places the guidebooks say you absolutely must try when visiting a certain city.  So we join all the other tourists who've read the same guides and wait on long lines for what turns out to be overrated, mediocre,…
Chinese New Year lion head (800x778)

Video: A lion roars for Chinese New Year

The other night we had one of those impromptu cultural experiences that make travel worthwhile.  On a quiet Monday evening we strolled the streets of Chinatown in Malacca, Malaysia. It was a few weeks before Chinese New Year and the town…

Larissa gets toilet "trained" in Malaysia

We were on the train from Singapore to Malaysia. Friends in Singapore had advised us that the toilets on the train left something to be desired, but it was a five-hour journey so eventually nature called. The facilities were better than…

Playing "tourist tag" in Bali

Balinese kids love to play a game we dubbed “tourist tag.” It reminded us of a game American kids play called “punch buggy” when they spy a Volkswagen Beetle and get points. Everywhere we went kids would call out to us, smiling and waving.  We…

Surviving the air pollution in Beijing

Yesterday over two hundred flights were cancelled at Beijing’s airport due to smoggy skies from China air pollution. The air was so bad it wasn’t safe to fly. Like many things in China the truth behind the shutdown remains elusive. One news…

The Great Wall of China minus the tourist hordes

The Great Wall of China is one of the most popular sites on earth. Movies like The Bucket List reinforce it as a must-see place to visit. It was also high on our list of the best places to visit in China, but we wanted to avoid the crowds of…
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Airing our dirty laundry in China

Before we left for a year one of our friends asked us what we would do about our laundry. Since our first month was in China we figured finding a laundry wouldn't be a problem. We were wrong. By the time we arrived in Shanghai three weeks into…

Sizing up the Shanghai skyline

The Shanghai skyline reveals the city's unrelenting growth. A taxi ride from the airport shows hundreds of bright yellow and red construction cranes whirling about its skyline. The parade of skyscrapers is measured not in blocks but in miles.…
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Would you eat this?

Part the fun in visiting different countries is trying new foods we haven’t heard of or can’t find at home. Sometimes though, something gets lost in translation from the kitchen to the menu. Here are a few items we saw on our trip to…