Two Plus Two Publishing LLC
Two Plus Two Publishing LLC
 

Go Back   Two Plus Two Poker Forums > >

Notices

Other Other Topics Discussion of arts & entertainment, pop culture, food & drink, health and exercise, fashion, relationships, work, and just about anything else in life except poker, sports, religion and politics.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 07-01-2015, 09:32 PM   #526
chopstick
Carpal \'Tunnel
 
chopstick's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: where the weather suits my clothes
Posts: 8,438
Re: chopstick goes for a sail

Wangfujing is a very modern, hip, touristy part of Beijing. Besides the Night Market, they have the Beijing Apple store:




yes, it's advertising the 5C. Even though the 6 had come out, and they are made in China, they still have to wait like a year or something until they can buy them.

They also had a ton of these little candy shops everywhere:




and almost all of the candies are some kind of individually wrapped hardened gel candy with almost all of the flavors patterned after various fruits or plants. Pumpkin, tomato, strawberry, etc. You point to the ones you want, and a lady behind the counter adds them to a bag. When you are done, they heat seal the bag closed, weigh it, and you pay based on the weight. I got a bunch of random flavors like peach, jujube, tomato, pear, white gourd, etc.

There was another night market alley down the way which was a lot less touristy. The server/cooks were not all dressed in the same uniforms, and the prices were lower. Time to crush some more skewers!




Had one of those squid things on the far right. It was about as tasty as you'd expect. Didn't even catch typhoid, how lucky.

These little spiraled potatoes were amazing:




You know how pinapple spiralers spiral pineapples? Same concept, except a potato. Then it gets deep fried on a skewer.

This little side street market was super crowded:




and had a few items the more touristy one did not, including these little birds:




they were labeled as quail, but who knows.. I was pretty stuffed by the time I found these and never got around to trying them. For all I know their innards were still inside.

Still have no idea what this one was:



I think it was pork? Or some kind of terrible beef? It was one of the most popular ones, and people were buying them six sticks at a time, so of course I loaded up as well. One thing I have learned while traveling is that if a food cart or whatever is swamped, go get in line. That pile of red dust was some kind of chili powder which the loaded sticks got rolled in.

There were also a few sit down areas:




but I stuck mostly to the stalls.

Managed to get a sweet video of these scorpions wiggling around on the sticks:




I'd say about 40% of them were still alive and fighting. Yes, those are seahorses there, too. They were all long dead. Google wangfujing night market and watch the youtube vids if you want to see the scorpions in action.

The squid were probably my favorite of everything:




and that seemed a common assessment, they were the most common thing I saw people eating. I think I took down 5 of them while I was there.
chopstick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-08-2015, 04:07 PM   #527
chopstick
Carpal \'Tunnel
 
chopstick's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: where the weather suits my clothes
Posts: 8,438
Re: chopstick goes for a sail

After gorging on deep fried... things.. and enjoying sleeping in an actual bed in a hotel, it was time to go exploring.

The subway in Beijing is super easy to use. All of the signs in the areas I went had english translations, including all of the stops:




and what was really cool is that it was very easy to tell where you were and where you were headed, thanks to a lighting system in each car:




in that shot, we are the yellow dot, and heading in the direction of the green dots. The red dots are where we came from. More subways should adopt something like this. I don't know how many times I've been in some random city and had to keep an eagle eye on the signs as we entered each new station to make sure I didn't whiff on my stop. Good job, Beijing.

Lots of rules in the subways, including these rules on the escalators:





Saw a lot of street vendors at the subway entrances. One of the more popular things being sold were slices of melon on a stick:




It looked similar to what we call cantaloupe in USA#1, but I can't be sure because I never tried one. There was never any sign with prices that I could make out and I didn't feel like getting gringoed or getting in an argument over a price.

Arguments for stuff like that happened all the time. Constantly people would light each other up for about 30 seconds with heated yelling, then they'd figure it out or reach an agreement, and everything would go back to normal like flipping a light switch. People were extremely aggressive like that when it came to negotiating, reminding me a little of the grand bazaar in Istanbul.
chopstick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-08-2015, 04:38 PM   #528
chopstick
Carpal \'Tunnel
 
chopstick's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: where the weather suits my clothes
Posts: 8,438
Re: chopstick goes for a sail

With only 5 days in Beijing, I had a lot more that I wanted to do than time to do it in. One of the must dos on my list was visiting the Temple of Heaven. This is a group of buildings surrounded by park in the city. The temple was constructed in the 1400s (!) so it's been around a while. It's been a park for the last 100 years or so.

There are a bunch of little halls and temples on the grounds, this is the hall of good harvest:




As you can see, there are infinite tourists there. This place was very popular.

I found this little shop inside the park, and the electronic marquee was scrolling the names of various foods in both Mandarin and English:




When I saw it flash hot chocolate, I decided to get a photo. It was cycling through about a dozen different things, and strangely the order was not consistent. I sat there taking a bunch of photos while the attendant inside was looking at me like wtf is that crazy dude doing, the temples are behind him. Eventually I finally landed the hot chocolate photo. Now you know how to write hot chocolate in Mandarin.

One of the best parts of the Temple imo was the Heaven Heart Stone on the Circular Mound Altar:




It's a round stone that people line up to stand on and get their photo taken. They also shout or yell when they stand on it because of the sweet acoustics created by how the Altar has been constructed. I got in line and took my turn, then when I was stepping off the stone, people started to ask to take their photo with me on the stone. I had read about this happening, but this was the first time it happened to me or that I saw it happen. The strangest part was that everyone was pretty much just ignoring me until the first person asked to take a photo with me. Then suddenly a bunch of people wanted to take a photo with me. I felt like an injured whale calf spotted by a school of sharks.

The Temple of Heaven complex was enormous. I spent most of the day just walking around through the park looking at buildings, flowers, and temples. Lots and lots of tours, almost everyone was Chinese. Someone I spoke with told me that the ToH is one of the most famous tourist spots for Chinese to visit when they come to Beijing. I guess it's kind of like USA#1s going to Washington DC and visiting the Washington Monument or similar.

One other thing I had read about and had the misfortune to experience happened at the ToH. Kids that just stopped and pooped in the street if they felt like it. Lots of little kids were wearing either crotchless pants or pants with flaps on them. Every so often one would just stop, squat, and take care of business right then and there, surrounded by hundreds of people who just kept on walking. I only saw this happen in the street, but it also happens in the subway, trains, etc.
chopstick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-08-2015, 04:57 PM   #529
chopstick
Carpal \'Tunnel
 
chopstick's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: where the weather suits my clothes
Posts: 8,438
Re: chopstick goes for a sail

Lest anyone think I neglected my usual grocery store photos:




MEAT DELICIOUS

ecological pig hindquarters!



Also verified that Beijing cares not just about the youngs but the olds as well:





and that there are a few places where vendors aren't allowed:





but the Yashow Clothing Market is not one of those places.





I have zero interest in shopping, but I do like cool stuff like the Black Market in Mongolia, so when I read that this is a pretty crazy place to experience haggling and lol at terrible misspelled knockoffs, I decided to head over. It also helped that this was just a few blocks away from where I needed to pick up my train tickets to Hong Kong.

The market was pretty disappointing, gotta say.





It was 5 or so levels of that, with a food court. Just a bunch of people selling a bunch of stuff, most of which was a repeat of the last stall/section. I did pick up a little travel charger and a tshirt just to experience the negotiating. These folks are no jokes when it comes to negotiating, they are hardcore with the full court press. Also had decent enough English to do the basics.

I was in the tshirt area looking at some shirts, and as soon as I started looking, I got peppered with questions about what I wanted, how cheap everything is, how it would be lucky for me to buy one (my favorite), how every size will fit, etc. No prices written on anything. When you ask how much something is, they get very cagey all of a sudden and ask how much you want to pay. They are fishing for you to give the first number so they can game you, and they know that Westerners are used to paying like $20+ for a tshirt but are expecting a deal. I held my own ended up negotiating for an Obamao shirt similar to this one:




which they initially wanted $40 for, but ended up selling to me for $6. There was a young woman and an old woman in the stall. The young woman did most of the talking and the old woman literally blocked my exit from the stall so that I'd have to knock her over to leave. She was about 217 years old and probably weighed 45 pounds. She latched onto my arm with one hand and kept trying to hand me a calculator with the other, telling me "you say how much". I refused to take the calculator at any point, just kept saying "I don't know.. I'll come back later" as they steadily quoted me a lower and lower RMB figure displayed on the calculator. When they got to $6 they stopped going lower, so I figured that was more than fair and took the deal.

My shirt looks a lot sweeter than that one, it's on a dark green background.
chopstick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-09-2015, 02:00 AM   #530
wiper
still catching up
 
wiper's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: USA#1
Posts: 42,246
Re: chopstick goes for a sail

and here im taking creeper pics of girls in bikinis on the beach chopstick goes for a sail

once again, you are the mother****ing man chop.
wiper is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-09-2015, 04:34 AM   #531
Andro
Carpal \'Tunnel
 
Andro's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 6,709
Re: chopstick goes for a sail

Great update once again. The part about kids pooping in the street is really ****ing weird.
Andro is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-12-2015, 11:32 PM   #532
chopstick
Carpal \'Tunnel
 
chopstick's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: where the weather suits my clothes
Posts: 8,438
Re: chopstick goes for a sail

Thanks guys. I'll keep posting as long as people are enjoying this. Next update should get us to Hong Kong.


In more recent news, looks like things are good to go for joining the catamaran (the one I helped sail across the Atlantic last summer) in Turkey sometime in mid August. We'll sail back through the Mediterranean with some stops here and there, then provision in Gibaltar, jump down to the Canary Islands, and bring her back across the Atlantic again, to somewhere in the Caribbean. That should finish up probably in late November or early December. No fixed plans after that but I have a few ideas and already have a few sailing offers including a couple across the Pacific again.

Here's the route and planned stops for this fall:




I meet up with them in Turkey in mid-August. Thinking of heading over to Euroville a few weeks early and doing some exploring in Southeastern Europe since I haven't been there yet. I know Croatia is bonkers and I've been reading good things about Bulgaria and Romania.

Also tempted to just fly to Prague, haven't been to Czech either.

Wherever I end up, I'll then take a train or flight over to Turkey, meet up with the boat, and away we go.
chopstick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-13-2015, 12:31 PM   #533
amoeba
Carpal \'Tunnel
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 19,918
Re: chopstick goes for a sail

Hi Chop, the meat on sticks is most likely lamb. Was the shirt 6 dollars or 6 rmb ?
amoeba is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-15-2015, 05:52 PM   #534
tylertwo
 
tylertwo's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: The Boz turns...
Posts: 8,267
Re: chopstick goes for a sail

Great TR chop! It's been about fifteen years since I was in China, I think I'll plan a trip back.
tylertwo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-15-2015, 11:40 PM   #535
Saklad
Best handicapper in OOT
 
Saklad's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: On my way back to the bar
Posts: 4,892
Re: chopstick goes for a sail

Chop,

Great updates.

Thanks
Saklad is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-16-2015, 09:03 AM   #536
jjshabado
Carpal Tunnel
 
jjshabado's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 22,340
Re: chopstick goes for a sail

Quote:
Originally Posted by tylertwo View Post
Great TR chop! It's been about fifteen years since I was in China, I think I'll plan a trip back.
I think you'll be stunned by the difference.

My brother was in China in 2004ish and comparing his pictures and ours from 2013 you could see incredible differences.
jjshabado is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-16-2015, 10:47 PM   #537
chopstick
Carpal \'Tunnel
 
chopstick's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: where the weather suits my clothes
Posts: 8,438
Re: chopstick goes for a sail

amoeba - $6 USD, or thereabouts. Could have probably gotten it for less if I had made it out of the stall without running over grandma, but I wasn't trying to nickel them out of another $2.

Glad you guys are still enjoying.


If you had asked me what I thought the most wide spread / popular restaurant in the world would be before I started traveling, I would have slam dunked McDonald's. Maybe even bet on it. There would have been no question in my mind. Now that I've been out and about a bit, and been to around 40 countries or so, I'd say the actual answer is:




I've seen KFCs pretty much everywhere. Subway is also pretty popular, as is Papa John's. But pretty much everywhere I've gone without fail has KFC. No clue why.

That one is in downtown Beijing and is open 24 hours.

Of course, there are other establishments:




including the little cart the guy is pushing down the alley. That alley was typical of most of where I went in Beijing. Neon all over the place, lighting up little dark alleys clustered with bicycles.

The neon is even on during the day:




That one on the left, "memories of beijing" is the teahouse that I was scammed at, which I wrote about earlier in the thread. The credit card machine is barely visible on the shelf next to whatever that white object is. It was in front of those chairs that the owner and I went back and forth.

After that confrontation and reclaiming my RMB, I headed off to the Forbidden City, to find it rainy and packed full of tourists:




Including a couple of folks from Israel, one young guy and one older woman. After sharing stories of scams and attempted scams, we decided to walk around the Forbidden City together.

The Forbidden City is easy to google, so I won't bore you with photos you can GIS on your own. It's impressive, and huge. With that many people there during a rainy afternoon, I don't want to imagine how packed it gets on a nice day.

The three of us walked around snapping photos, and my best photo is probably this one:

chopstick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-16-2015, 11:05 PM   #538
chopstick
Carpal \'Tunnel
 
chopstick's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: where the weather suits my clothes
Posts: 8,438
Re: chopstick goes for a sail

After walking around inside for a couple of hours, the older Israeli split off to do her own thing while the young guy and I decided to head for Jingshan Park, just north of the Forbidden City. We had both read that you can climb up the hill there and get sweet views of the City.

Here's the view we got:




So not so much.

The park had some interesting historical spots:




but it was mostly just all about that view. I guess if it wasn't raining the sky would have just been infinitely brown with pollution anyway. You need to go at or around sunrise to get a shot at a clear view.

Walking around all day builds up an appetite, so it was back to the Night Market again, and this time I definitely have a photo of those ridiculous durian cookie cakes things:




also managed to find a spot for Peking Duck, which I had never had before. By "find a spot", I mean I asked the concierge for recommendations, he said the hotel restaurant specialized in it, and I decided it wasn't worth walking to the two places I had already researched.

My order was a half duck. When it arrived at the table, I sat there looking at it for a minute or two, trying to figure out how I was supposed to eat it. That was long enough for a Chinese businessman at the next table to ask me if I knew what I was doing. Not if I wanted help. If I knew what I was doing. I think he wanted to practice his English and he had been eyeing me ever since I sat down. I told him I had no clue and would take any advice. He came over to my table and proceeded to give me an in-depth lesson in Peking Duck 101. Proper use of the pancakes, proper use of how much of each ingredient to add, how much bean sauce to add, in what order, etc. This guy was super meticulous and made sure I was paying attention and understood what he was doing. After he went through it once, he made me do it, then nodded in satisfaction that I wasn't going to **** it up too badly, and went back to his table after 10 minutes of instruction.

So now I know how to eat Peking Duck.

Another item off the menu:




mmm big yellow fish, only $125 USD. I think the duck was around $35.
chopstick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-16-2015, 11:21 PM   #539
chopstick
Carpal \'Tunnel
 
chopstick's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: where the weather suits my clothes
Posts: 8,438
Re: chopstick goes for a sail

Five days of Beijing was enough to get a taste, then it was onward to Hong Kong:




The train takes almost exactly 24 hours, and leaves every other day at the exact same time in the afternoon. I went with a 4 berth soft sleeper compartment for around $100.

I liked that they gave us these as soon as we got on the train:




I took the blue ones.

This is a shot of my berth, taken from just outside the cabin:




There's another one over my head, and two on the opposite side of the cabin in the same configuration. Pretty much the same as the Russian & Mongolian train setup.

The toilet in the car looks like this:




Yep, pretty much just a squat hole. I guess at least it has some side tread.

This helpful message was posted in the toilet compartment:




I agree with that sentiment.

Other than the hole in the floor, the only other thing in the compartment was this netting:




Which I guess is supposed to be cell phone storage given the sign. No way is my cell phone going in that net.

My neighbors seemed to be gaming the system by sharing a single berth:




They were an old couple who slept and made lots of bodily noises. I felt bad for the dude because the old lady constantly had her feet right in his face. I guess that's what you get for sharing a single berth. I stopped feeling sorry at all when she started snoring like a jackhammer. Even with 33db earplugs I could still hear her tearing up asphalt all night long.

Other than the noisy roommates, the trip was pleasant and non-eventful. I had brought a few noodle packages and some fruit, and there was hot water available. The landscape was fun to look at once we got out of Beijing, and terrible any time we went through or near any kind of population center. Infinite trash everywhere. The train ride itself was nice and smooth.



cut his finger out into



and 24 hours later, hello Hong Kong!


chopstick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-24-2015, 11:13 PM   #540
chopstick
Carpal \'Tunnel
 
chopstick's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: where the weather suits my clothes
Posts: 8,438
Re: chopstick goes for a sail

Arrival in Hong Kong was smooth and easy. Train pulled up and I think everyone was off the train in under 5 minutes. Super efficient. I found the subway and took it to the Kowloon area, which is one of the downtown areas that is a pretty easy walk from a lot of stuff and also has a bunch of subway stops.

The first thing I noticed was how much English there was everywhere. Lots of Chinese characters, but also lots of English all over the place:







My initial impression, which would last through my visit and which I still hold, is that Hong Kong is basically New York on steroids. Enormous mass of humanity in a small space, skyscrapers everywhere, people rushing around doing their thing, lots of hustling, and just an overall vibrant feel. Major difference being that Hong Kong feels far more international, which makes sense. Lots of different languages being spoken, lots of different languages on the signs, people of all kinds of ethnicities. An enormous melting pot.

After the initial wow vibe, it was time to check out a supermarket and pick up a few goods:



aromatic!



Wait Hong Kong has British cider, too? Well, I guess that makes sense. Maybe I just won't leave.




The only thing better than animal biscuits is clearly party animal biscuits, amirite?




How could I pass up that brand?
chopstick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-24-2015, 11:49 PM   #541
chopstick
Carpal \'Tunnel
 
chopstick's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: where the weather suits my clothes
Posts: 8,438
Re: chopstick goes for a sail

Checked into the "hostel" in Kowloon that I found on booking dot com. The reason I put that in ""s is because the way hostels work in Hong Kong (at least the ones I used) were that they were a bunch of connecting apartments in high rises that had lots of the walls ripped out and then rebuilt from the inside out to be a bunch of small rooms with a lobby area. Imagine if you went into an apartment building, and three adjacent apartments were bought by one person who then tore down all the walls in them, and rebuilt the area to be a lobby and a bunch of small rooms. That's pretty much what it was like.

One thing they did that I liked was to superglue multi country adapters to their outlets:




Brilliant idea, very useful. The bathrooms were super tiny, and like Mongolia, no separate shower. If you want to take a shower, you're going to soak the entire bathroom because it IS the shower. I'm fine with that, but it's certainly different from USA#1 style:




That thing with the "berlin" writing on it was the hot water tank. You had to turn it on, let the water warm up, then take your shower. That little rack in the upper right hand corner is where you put stuff you want to keep dry.

As I mentioned, the rooms were tiny:




That's the entire room. I'm standing in front of the entry door, and the bathroom is directly on my right. Note the slippers they provided in the lower left of the photo. This was standard. I think this room was on the 14th floor.

This is looking out my window:




at other similar apartment buildings. The one I was in looked the same from the outside. I found out later I was lucky to have a room with a window when I ended up in one without any windows. lolfirecodes

The center of these buildings was just a big empty space with a courtyard way down at the bottom. Reminded me of the movie The Raid. If you've seen that movie, you know what these buildings were like:




Lots and lots of "hostels" set up in these places. Lots and lots of laundry being done.

The pricing for these places was about 300 HKD/night which is just under $40 USD/night. Pretty great deal if you don't need much in the way of amenities, given its location in Tsim Sha Tsui right in the heart of Hong Kong.
chopstick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-25-2015, 12:47 AM   #542
pig4bill
Carpal \'Tunnel
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 28,062
Re: chopstick goes for a sail

At least most of the unit have a/c from the looks of it.
pig4bill is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 07-31-2015, 12:15 AM   #543
chopstick
Carpal \'Tunnel
 
chopstick's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: where the weather suits my clothes
Posts: 8,438
Re: chopstick goes for a sail

One thing I noticed walking around Hong Kong was a distinct lack of pigeons. I was pretty happy about this as I consider them flying rats. It was still kind of odd given the enormity of the city. Then I found out why I wasn't seeing many:




Never got around to having any pigeon while I was there. Nor affluent prawn. I did crush some doner:




which was located next to what I'm pretty sure was some kind of brothel or at least a sleazy massage place.

Hong Kong isn't all skyscrapers and neon. There are parks scattered throughout, including a huge park in Kowloon that I spent a half day walking around. They even had pink flamingos:




Guessing their wings are clipped to keep them there. The penalties were pretty severe for messing with them or the fish. Lots of little koi ponds everywhere.

Another thing I whiffed on was trying these cookies:




This place was inside the building that I was staying. The entire first floor was filled with small shops. Mostly selling junk and trinkets. This place had a huge line every time I walked past it. Given the sign in the lower right, they must be pretty famous for their cookies.
chopstick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-31-2015, 12:22 AM   #544
chopstick
Carpal \'Tunnel
 
chopstick's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: where the weather suits my clothes
Posts: 8,438
Re: chopstick goes for a sail

Hong Kong had rules for their escalators just like China:




My favorite is the one on the far left. Not because the guy is sliding down the rail. Because whatever he's carrying is also banned from sliding down the rail.

The subway was similar as well:




Absolutely loved these light up signs. So much easier to tell exactly where you are and make sure you're going in the right direction. Don't know why more places don't do this.

One day I took the skytram (it's not really a skytram, it's more of a railroad car that goes up a track) up the main hill on the south side of the city. There's a famous spot there to view the city, and the view is amazing:




It's hard to get a feel for just how huge the city is until you see it like that. The skyline is just bonkers. That photo is taken looking NNE from the SW edge of the city. The area I was staying was on the far side of the bay off to the left near where those docks jut out. If you do a 180 from that view, you see this:




which is pretty cool to have that juxtaposition of nature and city so close together.
chopstick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-31-2015, 12:27 AM   #545
chopstick
Carpal \'Tunnel
 
chopstick's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: where the weather suits my clothes
Posts: 8,438
Re: chopstick goes for a sail

Those are probably the last updates for a while. Next updates will involve heading over to Macau for a day trip, meeting up with the 2p2er who runs one of the Macau poker rooms, then finally the container ship across the Pacific.

Not sure when I'll be making those. I fly out to Czech Republic this weekend. Will explore Prague, and make my way down to Crete (probably via Romania & Bulgaria) over a couple of weeks. In Crete, I'll meet up with the sailboat and start heading across the Med. We should reach the Canaries by the end of October, then it will be across the Atlantic to somewhere in the Caribbean. Probably back to USA#1 some time in December.

I'll try to take some interesting photos.
chopstick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-10-2015, 06:01 AM   #546
chopstick
Carpal \'Tunnel
 
chopstick's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: where the weather suits my clothes
Posts: 8,438
Re: chopstick goes for a sail

Still following that schedule. Landed in Frankfurt, discovered that my Google Project Fi works perfectly, then headed to Prague for a few days. Took a train from there to Bucharest via Budapest, spent a few days in Bucharest. Now in Sofia for a few days, then down to Crete to join the sailboat.

Found another sailing opportunity. Someone who wants to take his boat from St Lucia in the Caribbean to Australia. That would be from January to August. It's a very nice boat, a 54' Jeanneau. Not sure if I'll do that or head to Vegas again or do something else. I have another two offers to crew for Pacific crossings during that time as well. This guy with the Jeanneau is in Spain, so I might fly over from Malta for a few days to check out the boat and see if we are sailing compatible. 8 months is a long time to spend on a boat with someone.

I ****ing love Google's Project Fi, btw. So nice to not have to swap out SIM cards or be subjected to international data roaming fees. Data is restricted to 3G speeds but I'm not a heavy data user so I don't care. It just works wherever I go, and I don't pay anything extra other than $0.20/min for intl calls over cellular, which I don't care about because I have Skype and can also use Google Hangouts which has comparable prices to Skype. Both around 2-3 cents per minute using wifi. Oh, and all international texts are just flat out free. So sick!


Since I'm not putting any photos in this update, here's a little public service announcement for you USA#1ers:

When you get or renew a US passport, you can ask for a 52 page book instead of the default 28 page book. There is no extra charge for this.

The 52 page version has 43 usable visa pages, the 28 page version has 17. You can add a packet of 24 additional pages later but it costs $82 to do that. Because there is no extra charge for requesting the 52 page book, there's no reason not to go with the 52 pager as it's not much thicker than the 28.

While you should be able to fit a default of about 4-5 stamps per page, the reality is that most border control officers don't really care how they stamp your book, and many like to find a clean page to stamp. That reduces your total number of pages pretty quickly, which is bad when you need a visa that requires a full empty page.
chopstick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-10-2015, 06:32 AM   #547
Yakmelk
Carpal \'Tunnel
 
Yakmelk's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Slowly dying
Posts: 13,842
Re: chopstick goes for a sail

Every time I browse this thread Im seriously impressed by your ability to keep traveling and have a (seemingly) good time. Sorry if you've answered this earlier but how do you see your own (short term/long term) future ? Do you eventually keep coming back to USA#1 or are you open to living pretty much anywhere you'd want to with all that (traveling) experience you have/different places you've seen ?
Yakmelk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-11-2015, 08:42 PM   #548
golddog
adept
 
golddog's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: In the beer line
Posts: 1,029
Re: chopstick goes for a sail

Chopstick,

Caribbean to Australia is something my friends are talking about someday, now that they're full-time on the boat.

Any idea what the route is? Med -> Suez Canal too dangerous, so you go around Africa? Seems like pulling the entire Indian Ocean would be a super-long haul though.

Good to see your posts, hope traveling continues to go well for you.
golddog is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 08-17-2015, 10:42 AM   #549
chopstick
Carpal \'Tunnel
 
chopstick's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: where the weather suits my clothes
Posts: 8,438
Re: chopstick goes for a sail

Yak - I always have a good time. No fixed plans for the future, life is a lot more interesting that way. Happy to live anywhere. USA#1 will always be somewhere I come back to if nothing else because most of my family and friends live there.

golddog - Caribbean to Australia is thru the Panama Canal. Just went thru it in March. It's a trip. Marvel of engineering.


Just arrived in Malta after a 4 day ride over from Crete in the sailboat. Lost all the water in one of the two tanks somehow so that needs fixing before we cross the Atlantic. We'll be here a week or two, then up to Sicily for a few days, then more westward.

Here's a little tuna I caught on Saturday with a hand line I rigged up:



Thanks to de captain and his sweet fishing ebook for teaching me most of what I know about passage fishing.

Hopefully that photo comes thru OK. First time using the new phone to do a photo with the 2p2 app. Google's Project Fi is insane, btw. Been to nine different countries this month and its worked great in all of them. No intl data roaming fees, free intl texts, no local SIM cards. Love it.
chopstick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-07-2015, 05:41 AM   #550
chopstick
Carpal \'Tunnel
 
chopstick's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: where the weather suits my clothes
Posts: 8,438
Re: chopstick goes for a sail

Just left the south coast of Sicily. Should make it to the south coast of Sardinia in about 48 hours or so.

Malta was pretty great, we were at a Marina for a week, then anchored in what looked like a semi flooded old volcano. It wasn't actually a volcano but it sure looked like one. Hung out exploring Malta for a couple of weeks, then headed up to Sicily.

Rented a car in Sicily and went driving around pretty much the entire island, eating pizza, pasta, and gelato. And cannolis, of course. Visited Corleone because The Godfather.

I've done zero research on Sardinia so don't have any expectations. We'll see what it's like when we get there.

My cousin showed up to sail with us, which is great. He'll be around thru Sardinia then he's off to China. It's nice to have some family on board.

I'll try to make a couple updates with photos after we get to Sardinia. Internet access is usually sketchy and there's always a bunch of higher priority stuff to do (like eating cannolis) but I'll try to at least catch up thru the container ship crossing and train ride across USA#1

For now it's time to set up the handline and see if we can't find another tuna in the severely overfished Med.

Let's go tuuuuuuuuuna let's go!!!!!
chopstick is offline   Reply With Quote

Reply
      

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Forum Jump


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 11:26 PM.


Powered by vBulletin®
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright © 2008-2017, Two Plus Two Interactive
 
 
Poker Players - Streaming Live Online