Monday, January 31, 2000

Menu Section

All of the entries in January, 2000 are here for organizational purposes. They are all of the static links on our webpage.

Please ignore the man behind the curtain.

Thursday, January 27, 2000

The Baltics

June 13 - June 16

Because the Bon Voyage Party is not until June 4, we are taking some time out of this part of the trip. It looks like we will (at best) see on Baltic country and that country will probably be Estonia. We can fly to Tallin from London and then go on to Saint Petersburg via ferry:

(those may be the same line)

or possibly also by train. Russia is a bit picky about visas, so we may have to make hard plans for this one.

Tuesday, January 25, 2000


London is where I call home. We spent a few days here getting together last minute kit and bidding farewell to UK-based friends and family.

Day by day breakdown:
  • Tue Jun 7th - Landed in London, picked up by Jonny and Jenny, The Dogs with Overture UK folks
  • Wed Jun 8th - Slow day of recovery, BBQ with AM/FM and J-Rock
  • Thu Jun 9th - Lunch with Nic, train out to Wales, BBQ with Pat and Julie
  • Fri Jun 10th - Sleep in, train to London, pints with Pat and Ian B, dinner with Jonny, Jenny, AM/FM and J-Rock
  • Sat Jun 11th - [Uhhhh......]
  • Sun Jun 12th - Jason convalesces, Mike sees Kirsty R, Matthew A, and Robert H
  • Mon Jun 13th - Early flight out to Tallinn, Estonia


June 13 - June 17

The official first stop of Operation Cromulent. Everying up to this point has been preparatory.

Estonia was a fine choice as a warm-up country. The language was very foreign and it was not quite on the normal tourist map, but it was relatively rich and there were plenty of English speakers to help along the way. The entire experience got us used to dealing with practical confusions, language issues, and working hard to meet locals.

Day by day breakdown:
  • Mon Jun 13th - Arrive from London around noon, check into hotel
  • Tue Jun 14th - Moved to cheaper hotel, exercise
  • Wed Jun 15th - Tour around Old Tallinn, ladies' night at Club Hollywood
  • Thu Jun 16th - Check out of hotel, hacky sack with Fins, board ferry to St. Pete
  • Fri Jun 17th - Arrive

Photo Album

Sunday, January 02, 2000


May 30 - June 10

We have hired a boat out of Split, Croatia for one week. The crew assembled over a couple of days between Zagreb and Split. After the trip, Mike headed out alone to meet his parents while Jason delivered Jackie safely to her plane.

Day by day:
  • Tue May 30 - arrive late at night on train from bucharest via budapest, walk around town looking for a hotel but all is full, catch a taxi to a hostel outside of town and check in
  • Wed May 31 - up around 10:00, tram into town, stop off at bus station to check schedule to split, walk to train station to check timetable to split and to munich, walk up to near cathedral to drop off laundry, have a heavy lunch of croatian home cooking for lunch, back down towards train station to exchange money, up to tourist office to find a camping supply store, walk around a bit to find a trek towel but settle for a gym towel, stop at cafe for a beer and a snack, end up seeing x-men 3, return to hostel via tram to sleep
  • Thu June 1 - mike up at 05:45 to pick up atkin at train station, take tram back to hostel for a shower and to relax, travel to bus station to drop bags, leave jason there, atkin and astle head into town, take in croatian history museum and the city cathedral and a street market, mike gets involved in a street performance, cut down to pedestrian city for beer and a pizza, check out modern gallery, meet jason back at bus station, quick voyage by taxi to retrieve laundry, board bus for split, two stops along the way but otherwise quiet drive through green scenery, met by leo at the bus station offering private accomodation, a bit of confusion trying to find a place with 4 separate beds, jason and jackie decide to head to a hotel, mike and atkin eventually settle into an apartment a little out of town after have tea with a family, out to find a drink but end up just having a chicken sandwich and doing back to sleep
  • Fri June 2 - up around 09:00, head into town to find the internet, meet up with jason and jackie and go to net cafe to sort out crew list, jason gets on a bus for the airport to meet katia, others have a walk around town and some lunch, meet back up at hotel cafe for a beer, walk up to the apartment, jason and jackie head back to the hotel, katia has a nap whilst the mikes read and chat, all reassemble at the hotel and meet the mysterious falk, out to pizza place for dinner, meet troy at bus stop, back into town center for a couple of more beers before retiring
  • Sat June 3 - mikes up around 07:30 to start prepping breakfast, others arrive around 09:30 and have a fry-up, clean up and check out of apartment after making battle plan, mikes spend 2 hours at net cafe before attempting to walk to marina over a big hill, change plans and grab a taxi, arrive a bit late for boat orientation, others arrive a bit later, board the boat and store supplies, motor for 2 hours to milna, tie up at the dock just as a wedding party is coming out of the chapel, walk around the town a bit, stumble into a small wine cellar and get some local grog, take an american resident's advice and head for a fish restaurant a bit outside of the main city, eat a big meal, back to the boat to swill grappa and smoke before bed
  • Sun June 4 - woken up around 06:00 by horrible bells from the church, slowly the crew gets on their feet and has tea and breakfast, sail out to vis, some seasickness, cafe and internet upon arrival, snack it up on the boat, dinner at pizza place
  • Mon June 5 - out and around vis, anchor in cove for lunch, dingy around to cave for a snorkel, sail back to harbor, dinner and drinks in the marina, early-ish to bed
  • Tue June 6 - attempt to sail to korchula but get blown back to hvar by what might have been a tornado ("tarnado"), stop in marina oppostive hvar, 1 year anniversary champagne, taxi out to hvar, nice beefy dinner, dancing and hanging out, back to boat via taxi, crash
  • Wed June 7 - sail to nearby harbor and set anchor, explore hills with small hotel and goats, two ambushes / one successful, pasta dinner aboard, atkin and troy sleep on deck to keep watch
  • Thu June 8 - up around 08:00 and get things moving, sail towards bols but are pushed back by strong bora wind, resort to motoring directly into high waves to make it, tie up next to an unfriendly german-run power boat, mike stays aboard while others head out for lunch, the girls and jason go to the beach, atkin gathers advice from around the marina and it is concluded that we cannot stay the night, get everybody back aboard and sail/motor to milna with a brief stop for swimming, eat al fresco at a nice fish place, return to boat with a polish guitar player and singer in tow for more drinks, everybody collapses at some point
  • Fri June 9 - late start in milna, get out of harbor around noon, spend a bit of time waiting in line at the gas pump, good sailing towards split, drift in heave-to position and have pasta lunch, motor back into marina, showers after a celebratory drink, mike packs up and heads out with katya to train station via taxi, board train around 22:20 and sleep all the way to zagreb
  • Sat June 10 - mike arrives zagreb around 06:30, have lunch in the station, board train for munich around 7:30, watch the mountains go by across slovenia and austria, arrive in munich around 14:00

Photo Albums
Sailing In Croatia

Video Clips
Basement Winery
Jackie's Croatian Concert

Temple of Heroes

The OC Temple of Heroes is a place of honor for people that have made contributions to the OC abve and beyond the normal call of duty.

Jonny C and Jenny T - Picked us up from Heathrow, gave us free room and board in Londinium, and generally helped us get wound back down after the madness of the NYC.

Tennis (sp?) - Set us up with some post-club Estonian breakfast and a place to have a few final laughs with our new Baltic lady friends.

Angela and Mamma - Showed us the sights of St. Petersburg in high style.

Daniel/Simona/Stacia/Polina - Grabbed us off the street and created an unforgettable evening of drinking, dancing, and conversation.

Kate and Nastia - Led a dusk 'till dawn tour of the finer parts or Irkutsk.

Professor Kolia - Just when it thought it was a myth, he demonstrated that the Russian propensity for drink is alive and well.

Leo R - Set us up with not one, but two free places to stay in super-expensive Tokyo.

Jonny R - Our tour guide to the underbelly of the Eastern Capital.

Wee Wee - Got shit straightened out when our Chinese bus driver tried to pull some scammy scamola.

Andrew - Went several hours out of his way to ensure that we had a decent place to stay at a fair price. He went so far as to personally inspect the room.

Vicki and Lilly - A chance meeting in Tiananmen Square led to a week of enthusiastic native guides in Beijing and beyond.

Cora - Her tenacious will to help the foreigner saved us from a torturous 19-hour ride through southern China the "hard way".

Erin L - After threatening for almost 4 years to come to Yangshuo, I finally did, and Erin was there to help us along every step of the way. She arranged places to stay, came to meet us in Guilin, and introduced us to all the right people (I love you Lily) and places. She was equally gracious when illness forced us to suddenly leave and hooked us up with friends in HK. Top marks (and big thanks) all around.

Saturday, January 01, 2000

OC Dictionary

Neologisms from the road (best viewed in unicode).

ANZACs ['an-zaks]
n. - Insufferable antipodean backpackers.

bleef ['blEf]
n. - a foul substance - especially a slimy or odorous one.
v. - to excrete such a substance.
adj. (bleefy ['blEf-E]) - describes something with bleef-like traits.

bolsa ['bOl-s&]
n. - Scrotum. (Jason was kicked in the bolsa by a camel.)

booya booya ['bü-y& 'bü-y&]
excl. - An exclamation of extreme delight at good fortune. During utterance, it is conventional to shout, knock something over (a lamp is a particularly good target), and thrust both hands in the air.
First exclaimed by Erik B during a game of Liars' Poker in Argentina.

bwaaaaaa saaaaaay [bwo-'sA]
excl. - A general exclamation of dismay. Must be spoken in a whining shout.
First (and repeatedly) used by Vicky and Lilly in China.

camaoeira [kam-O-'A-r&]
n. - Advanced sexual technique.
First heard from Jo in Salvador, Brazil.
See also cuarto seite.

cameltoa [kam-&l-'tO-&]
n. - Cameltoa is a fictitious monster appropriate for South Park. It indicates sex-related disgust.
This expression is not normally said directly. Rather, it is referenced by flapping the lips together slowly while breathing out.

chinese [chI-'nEz]
adj. - Describes something that stinks heavily of scamola. Generally used surreptitiously.
See also scamola.

colonaut ['kO-l&-nät]
n. - Russian male homosexual.
Deftly coined by Lauren E.
See also intestinaut.

corn beef ['korn 'bEf]
n. - Any of a variety of models of small shared-ride vans in Brazil. An intentionally vulgar anglicism of the Brazilian Portuguese word "combi", meaning the same. Generally used to specifically annoy Fabiana.

cuarto seite ['kwär-tO 'sech]
n. - A place (especially a room) where a lot of sex occurs. Refers to the domicile of one Jo, proprietor of a hostel in Salvador, Brazil and a notably randy individual.
excl. - A plaintive cry for sex.

'dat true? ['dat 'trü]
qust. - One of the few questions in the OC lexicon, this phrase seeks to emphasize the veracity of the previous statement. The correct response is "true 'dat".
See also true 'dat.

eigh ['a]
excl. - The sound of an Australian passing at a fair clip. Indicates mediocrity or lack of interest.

fancy bitches ['fant-sE 'bich-ez]
n. - Monied women affecting airs. Also, snooty damsels.
Origin: ODB.

flippy dance ['fli-pE 'dants]
n. - Capoeira.
Proudly coined by Mike to emphasize his general lack of respect for possibly the lamest fighting technique know to man. It makes Tai Chi look like ninjitsu.

hhhhhhhhh [unpronounceable]
excl. - Said to a camel to make it kneel. Sounds something like the clearing of the throat.
Origin unclear. Possibly Arabic.

I [don't] like it. It makes me feel... ['I ('dOnt) 'lIk 'it. 'it 'mAks 'mE 'fEl]
excl. - Always spoken slowly. The thought is completed with an unusual or creepy adjective. This expression is used to call attention to some comedic aspect of an object, person, or situation. (I like it. It makes me feel... wet.)
First spoken by a Swede in South Africa.

intestinaut [in-'tes-ti-nät]
n. - Male homosexual.
Derived from a Dutch slang term that translates roughly as "intestinal tourist".

not many, infin'y ['nät 'me-nE, in-'fin-E]
adj. - Many.
Derives from the paradoxical philosophy of New Zealand hip hop star and Christchurch native: Scribe.

poo poo ['pü 'pü]
excl. - Always spoken in a sing-songy cadence, this is an expression of cheerful contentment with the state of affairs. Allegedly Dutch.
Similar phrases include "hee hee" and "hoo hoo".

scamola [skam-'O-l&]
n. - Any kind of lie, half-truth, or trickery.

Scuba Steve ['skü-b& 'stEv]
n. - A toy featured in the film Big Daddy. His name is usually invoked as "damn you Scuba Steve" to indicate general frustration.
The word scuba can be used in conjunction with other terms or names (damn you scuba jason. damn you scuba burrito) to form a more specific exclamation.

smokeadisimo [smO-kA-&-'dE-sE-mO]
excl. - Expresses delight. Must be pronounced with a "Spanish" accent.

take the fucking photograph, nigga ['tAk 'th& 'f&-ki[ng] 'fO-t&-graf, 'ni-g&]
excl. - A request to do something immediately, especially after a long wait. A direct quote that has achieved connotation through historical usage.

telefooooone [te-l&-'fO-On]
excl. - A repetitive nonsense expression used as a space-filler in a manner similar to humming or whistling. May be derived from Arabic.

time for some cheese ['tIm 'for 's&m 'chEz]
excl. - A demand for, or query regarding, breakfast.
Although the record is not entirely clear, scriptural usages of similar expressions crystallized in the most frequently cited original usage by Tenacious D in the otherwise unremarkable recording entitled Malibu (Taking A Poo).

the book of many things ['th& 'buk '&v 'men-E 'thi[ng]z]
n. - A travel guidebook. Usually from the Lonely Planet series of hand-holding texts.
See also the nerd book.

the nerd book ['th& 'n&rd 'buk]
n. - A travel guidebook. Usually from the Lonely Planet series of hand-holding texts.
See also the book of many things.

thirty percent VAT ['th&r-tE p&r-'sent 'vat]
excl. - Indicates an unnecessarily intense level of surprise. Always bellowed with an Australian lilt of remarkably high volume and pitch.

toblerone ['tO-bl&r-On]
n. - A British caucausian male of imperceptibly minute African stock disproportionately proud of there underproportionate heritage.
Origin is obscure, but is loosely derived from Tobago by way of toboggan.

traveling at the speed of light ['tra-vli[ng] 'at 'th& 'spEd '&v 'lIt]
excl. - Sung in the warbling style of a 20's entertainer. It indicates that a person or situation has no soul, despite pretensions otherwise. (Toblerones are often traveling at the speed of light.)
See also toblerone.

true 'dat ['trü 'dat]
excl. - Confirmation or strong agreement with the correctness of a previously stated opinion. Often a response to "'dat true?".
See also 'dat true?.

yupi yupi ['yü-pE 'yü-pE]
excl. - A exclamation of joy, delight, or exhultation. Generally spoken with arms akimbo in an unnaturally high voice. A more restrained form of booya booya.
Some evidence suggests it is of Arabic derivation.
See also booya booya.


Jason, Ben and Jarah took three days out of their time in Thailand to enjoy the ruins of Anghkor area of Cambodia.
Photo Albums

Video Clips
Apsara Dancing


December 27 - Janauary 6

Some links:

We left and returned from Ushuaia, Argentina. The cruise was a total of 11 days. Jarah E joined
in for the journey.

Day by day:

  • Wed Dec 28 - board boat around 16:30, check in, first meeting, watch departure, champagne cocktails, dinner, many drinks in the bar with giovanni, in bed for about 02:00
  • Thu Dec 29 - up for breakfast at 08:15, jason gets some exercise, mike right back to bed until 14:00 (motion sickness pills are strong), spend afternoon drinking tea and logging OC video, daily meeting, dinner, play D20 until 22:00 then hit the bar, play mexican with a good crowd, collapse about 02:30 after listening to giovanni play a few of his songs
  • Fri Dec 30 - up for breakfast at 08:05, back to cabin to read and relax, jason gets a bit of exercise while mike works on D20 character, lunch, take a look on deck then return to cabin to blog and log video, dinner, suit up and hang out on deck, zodiac cruise, whiskey in the bar, bed around 12:30
  • Sat Dec 31 - up at 07:00 for breakfast, suit up and head to land, hike up hill with a commanding view and watch ice chunks break off, return to boat for lunch, afternoon landing in hawaiian shirts, make snowman at the top of a hill, return to the boat for barbecue dinner on the back deck, jump in zodiacs for glacier cruise after a bit of wine and champagne in the bar, hit the new year party, win hat contest, champagne on back deck, cigars in the snow, back inside to lame disco then wander below to find russian party, watch some sort of play, have a bit of a dance before getting asked to split, fall on as on the bow (not sure what i was doing there), sleep around 03:00
  • Sun Jan 01- sleep in until lunch, eat, suit up and head to land, build a easter island head in the snow, back to boat and chill over cups of tea, dinner, early to bed
  • Mon Jan 02 - mike sleeps in until lunch, jason gets up to land at british station, lunch, a bit of d20 stuff and hanging, afternoon landing at big penguin colony absolutely full of poop, back to boat to chill, russian show and supper, a few drinks in bar becomes a lot of drinks, jason to bed at 00:00, mike and jarah somewhat later
  • Tue Jan 03 - mike again sleeps until lunch, jason and jarah up early for landings on deception island and a swim in the volcanically heated sea, do some post-lunch blogging and napping, largely uneventful landing, nice dinner, last landing - mike nearly gets eaten by a seal, shower and warm up, international dinner, drink a bottle of vodka with the italians then sleep
  • Wed Jan 04 - mike sleeps until lunch, spend all afternoon watching documentaries and working on blog and video projects and galleries, dinner, work a bit then mike and jarah go to drink with russian doctor, mike to bed for about 02:00
  • Thu Jan 05 - mike up around lunch, spend some time on bridge and trying to find jason, d20 denied so chill, spend afternoon doing this and that, farewell dinner, mexican in the bar and get well sauced, jason and jarah sleep a bit, mike stays up all night to watch boat arrive
  • Fri Jan 06 - disembark around 08:00 in a a state of tired confusion

Photo Albums

Video Clips
Zodiac Attack
Three Blind Penguins
Snowman Massacre
Even Seals Scratch
Antarctic Plunge


December 24 - December 28
January 6 - January 29

We entered Argentina the first time on a bus for Chile. We spent a few days in Tierea del Fuego before cutting out for Antarctica. After, we plan to head north all the way to Brazil in the company of the Briceno family.

Day by day:
  • Sat Dec 24 - cross border around 14:00, arrive in ushuai at 19:00, check into hotel, out for christmas dinner at 20:30, back to hotel and sleep at 0:00
  • Sun Dec 25 - up around 09:30 for breakfast in hotel, conversation with a anglo-american couple that live in rio, find lunch at bar/cafe, spend the afternoon in a net cafe with wifi, nice steak dinner at che-themed restaurant, in bed for about 0:00
  • Mon Dec 26 - up around 09:30 and check out of hotel, check into new hotel, grab bus to national park and spend a few hours walking, lakeside lunch, cup of coffee at cafe and bus back to town, drop laundry, go to bank, spend a bit of time at net cafe, up to room to chill and watch a bit of TV, out for pasta dinner, sleep
  • Tue Dec 27 - up around 09:00, simple breakfast, check out of hotel, move over to hotel albatros (organized by antarctica tour company), wait around in lounge until room available at noon, lunch at pubby cafe, back to hotel to get laundry receipts and chill a bit, jason out after laundry but unsuccessful, some TV, then out to buy pimp cups and booze, deliver goods to hotel, jason out to get laundry again - this time with success, chill in hotel, jarah arrives, out to parilla buffet place for big supper, back to hotel to sleep
  • Wed Dec 28 - up at 07:00 and drop bags in lobby by 08:00, have a bit of breakfast at hotel, relax in lobby for a bit, out for a short time to buy glue and pens, taxi out of town to tour group asado lunch next to the water, jason back on bus, mike and jarah walk back, hang in hotel for just a bit then board bus for the boat, board boat around 16:30
(In Antarctica for a bit)

More day by day:
  • Fri Jan 06 - check into hostel, have breakfast with lee ann and jarah, mike gets some bad news by email so return to hostel to sleep, mike calls home, rest a bit more than out for supper at che-themed place again, drinks at irish bar with dr. dudley backup and son (ben), out to x-mas restaurant on waterfront to dance, return very late and very drunk
  • Sat Jan 07 - up at 10:00 to move to another hostel, mike spends almost entire day sleeping and watching tv and being hung over, dinner at french-style grand cafe, back to hostel to watch tv and relax
  • Sun Jan 08 - up at 07:00 and take taxi to airport, catch flight to rio gallegos, get some lunch there and hang in internet cafe after a walk around town, back to bus depot to catch an overnight ride to puerto madryn
  • Mon Jan 09 - arrive around 12:00, check into hostel, take in laundry and have empanada-based lunch then search for SIM cards, back to hotel to siesta, out again around 18:00 to chase down phones and such, stop to get haircuts and end up having dinner with the owner of the place (natalia), walk natalia to her car then return to hotel to blog and then sleep
  • Tue Jan 10 - up around 11:00 after a night full of scary dreams (for mike), buy bus tickets to BA for the evening of the 13th, try to pick up jason's new SIM card but are denied, denied again at laundry, kill some time by having a beachfront lunch of pasta and salad, pick up laundry and return to hotel to change for the beach, enjoy an afternoon at the beach followed by a drink at a bar on the sand with live guitar player and singer, back to hotel to shower, try again to pick up SIM but again denied, spend some quality time at an internet cafe uploading media, simple late dinner at parisian-themed corner cafe
  • Wed Jan 11 - up around 10:30 and walk an hour down to "ecocenter" but find it closed until 5, stop on way back for hamburger and hotdog lunch, return to hotel to regroup, jason tries to get SIM again but finds place closed, mike naps while jason hits the beach, work on media stuff, dinner, early-ish to bed
  • Thu Jan 12 - up around 09:30 and both get some exercise, regroup for lunch, mike heads out to find a box and some tape while jason relaxes, mike fails but does spend some quality time with the internet, meet up at hotel and nap then head for ecocenter, spend an hour or so there then return to hotel, gussy up a bit and head out, dinner at restobar then some pool then back to restobar for a beer, try local dance joint but nothing is going at 01:00 so turn in in preparation for early start tomorrow
  • Fri Jan 13 - up at 09:00 and pack, check out of hotel and mike spends rest of morning putting stuff in the mail while jason reads at the hotel, lunch at barbarian corner cafe then get a big dollop of internet, over to bus station to wait a bit more than board ejecutivo service to buenos aires with a short dinner stop
  • Sat Jan 14 - arrive in Buenos Aires around 11:30, take a cab into town, pass over louis's hotel as too expensive and settle into prince hotel at a much more comfortable rate, shower then have a bit of a walk and a very nice lunch of tamale (mike) and fat soup (jason), back to hotel to relax, walk up to cafe to watch football match, out to milion for drinks, spend evening chatting with a couple of girls, return to hotel around 06:00
  • Sun Jan 15 - relax a bit at hotel, check out then jump a taxi to the airport, meet louis and cab it back, crash hard for a few hours, walk around city a bit and ruin our supper at a local cafe, mike chucks some wine on louis, retire early
  • Mon Jan 16 - up around 10:00, steak and chips lunch, cemetery, stop for drinks on way to japanese gardens, tube down to arms and armaments museum, walk down to central plaza and pop into cathedral, stop in cafe on pedestrian walkway (la florida) for a beer, mike gets shit on, walk back down to hotel for shower and relaxation, out to san telmo for "vietnamese" dinner with drinks at an empty bar afterward, in bed for about 01:00
  • Tue Jan 17 - up around 10:30, light lunch at cafe, inquire about estancias and tango at tourist information bureau, head out to Once by train, walk back, relax at hotel, meet for beers in cafe next to louis's hotel, head out for italian dinner in microcentro, back to hotel to relax, put louis to bed and grab a cab out to the club around 02:00, return to hotel at about 06:00 after a storming night of drum and bass with bad boy orange
  • Wed Jan 18 - up around 13:30, mike feeling damn ill, jason and louis have lunch then work on organizing estancia trip and tango outing, mike stays his ass in bed and blogs and watches TV, jason and louis head out at night for a few beers than a tango and dinner thing
  • Thu Jan 19 - up around 08:00, jason and louis head to airport to pick up eric and karen, mike heads down to park and gets shit on while reading paper, return to hotel to wash, then go to another park to read the economist, fall asleep on park bench and awake to find the soon-to-be extended briceno family, over to restaurant from first day in BA for lunch, naptime, others head out to shop while mike goes to see (half of) king kong, meet back at oasis bar (next to wilton hotel) for a few beers than cab it to waterfront for steak dinner, back to oasis for a drop of aged tequila then call it a night
  • Fri Jan 20 - up at 09:00 and back up, check out at 10:00 and meet louis and eric and karen at wilton hotel, cabs to bus terminal, catch a ride to san antonio de areco after a short wait, taxi to estancia, hang out around pool, tea time, change clothes and go on horse ride, croquette match, wine and sunset, dinner and talk with english and irish couples, hang out on porch after with the dogs, retire to room to bathe and relax, sleep
  • Sat Jan 21 - mike sleeps until 13:00, others get up around 10:00 for breakfast and a riding lesson, big fat beefy lunch, ping-pong with kids, hang around pool for a bit, mike and karen play some bocci, then a game of croquette, tea, jason goes for another ride, others enjoy cocktails and chess, take some photos of jason on horse, back to porch to hacky sack and such, chicken dinner inside, drink wine and play cards into the night, in bed for about 02:00
  • Sun Jan 22 - up around 10:00 (or earlier in some cases), grab a bit of breakfast, packed and out for 11:00, catch a bus straight through to prince hotel in BA and check everybody in, walk down for empanada lunch then over to parks to shop at market and relax, regroup at hotel and set out to palermo viejo for upscale dinner followed by nice drinks, back to hotel, boys chat about finance before bed
  • Mon Jan 23 - up at 11:00, split up, mike and jason have an indian lunch, karen and eric get their shop on, louis sorts out plane tickets and missing stick (at estancia), regroup at hotel, mike and jason nap and compute, eric and karen back out for lunch, out for a movie, dinner at corner bar/cafe thing near cemetery, drop karen and louis at the hotel, boys out for pints at the shamrock, karen later makes everybody go to bed
  • Tue Jan 24 - up around 11:00, gather the clan and head out to san telmo, lunch and beers in nice square, watch a bit of street tango and feed peanuts to the birds, walk down to national museum but it is closed, taxis up to national art gallery, spend some time there before regrouping at hotel, some napping, mike out to shop a bit, stops at oasis bar/cafe to read newspaper and is joined by the rest, dinner and many drinks there, drop off eric and karen and louis at the hotel then out to drum and bass night around 02:00, return to hotel for about 06:00 and sleep
  • Wed Jan 25 - up around 11:00, louis and karen and erik are checked out of the hotel, jason has a lunch date with emma, others go for empanadas and such, interview eric and karen after the lunch, hang out over coffee in corner cafe, meet up with jason, head to airport and say goodbye, taxi back, dinner at rigeletto, watch pulp fiction over some beers in the hotel, sleep
  • Thu Jan 26 - up at 08:30, pack up, talk to front desk about tickets, they will contact travel agent whilst we go to bus station, go and return via subte to bus terminal to get tickets, back to hotel on check on flights, all is well so turn over passport and credit card data and head to lunch, nice eats at cholito, split up, jason heads out to buy new sun glasses, mike goes to park to write letters and work on blog and edit vid and the like, mike stops at apple store to get laptop foot fixed and also takes in tea and cake, meet at hotel and get tickets, hang there for a bit reading before off to bus station, board bus around 20:50 and speed into the night
  • Fri Jan 27 - up around 08:00 for onboard breakfast, arrive in iguazu about 13:00, check into hotel alexander and immediately head out for a al fresco lunch, chat up waitress a bit and hang with street urchin, also meet claire - scottish girl at next table, claire enters a bet with mike regarding tony blair's nationality that necessitates a post-lunch trip to the internet cafe where the matter is decided soundly in mike's favor, she agrees to accompany the OC lads to the falls the next day, head back to hotel to read and relax around the pool then enjoy wifi in the lobby, head out around 23:00 to a salsa dance club called cuba libre, dine on hamburgers and many fries and enjoy some beer and energetic dancing, return to hotel at 01:00 to get an early start on the next day
  • Sat Jan 28 - up around 07:30 and to the bus station for 08:00, claire does not show, take 08:50 bus to falls, hike along catwalk to top down view of falls, then backtrack to take truck ride through jungle and boat ride on the river and into the mists, then cross to beach where jason has a swim and mike dries out, climb up steps and run into navimag peeps looking over smaller falls, chat with them a bit and walk around then part company, cross back to mainland and walk lower circuit back to where we started from, grab bus back to town and hit hotel to wash and relax, out for final parilla supper then back to hotel to snooze
  • Sun Jan 29 - up at 09:00 and pack, breakfast and hang out in lobby taking advantage of free wifi, down to bus station, empanadas while waiting, get bus to border, jump off bus to get stamps, cross into brazil around 12:00

Photo Albums
Buenos Aires
Iguazu Falls

Video Clips
Beach Soccer
Puppy vs. Big Nuts
Iguazu Falls


December 6 - December 24

We entered Chile by taxi from Peru and worked our way down the lenght of this long-ass country. Most travel was by bus, but there was a pleasant train/ferry combo leg in there from Santiago to P. Natales. We left the country on a bus into Argentine Tiera del Feugo.

Day by day:

  • Tue Dec 6 - cross border around 09:00, have breakfast at arica bus station while looking for a place to sleep, catch a taxi to chosen hotel and settle in, over to internet cafe to finalize brasil hotel, lunch at local place, buy SIM card for jason and new phone for mike, back to hotel for a bit of this and that, mike climbs el murro and jason chills, rejoin and head out to make trouble, dinner and strong beers at cafe, out to rock club but mostly empty, hit the strip club for many beers, back to rock club well drunk where mike occupies self screaming at the band, ditch out and return to strip club, somehow make it back to hotel
  • Wed Dec 7 - hotel brings breakfast around 10 but don't get out of bed until at least 1, mike has a shocking hangover, hit firehouse cafe for lunch and a restorative pisco sour, it doesn't work, sit in hotel burning DVDs and watching shitty movies (streetfighter!) to recover, out for pizza dinner and a restorative beer, it also doesn't work, then retire for more TV and DVDs
  • Thu Dec 8 - head to bus station and catch a very long ride (20 hours) to la serena, mike has to sit next to a very strinky mofo, bad movies are watched
  • Fri Dec 9 - arrive in la serena around 12:00, find a hotel and taxi over to settle in, out for cafe lunch al fresco, mike takes a nap while jason organizes the immediate future, mike heads out to fax driver's license to mom, rejoin jason and go out to local pub for 2 completos and a big pitcher of beer, then off to jazz cafe for a bit more food and rather more drinks, meet english couple (eliott and kelly) from santiago there and procedure on to another bar and then on to a salsa/disco sort of affair, return to hotel in something of a state about 04;00
  • Sat Dec 10 - up late and out for another al fresco cafe lunch, kill time in courtyard of jazz club enjoying wireless and nice weather, mike is again feeling worse for wear, back to hotel to meet van that takes us first to hotel in vicuna to drop bags then on to observatory to check out stars, return to hotel after the show and pass out
  • Sun Dec 11 - up early for breakfast of cake, cheese, tea, bread, jam, and butter, hike across town and take in election day antics, climb up local mountain to statue of mary, back down and hang in plaza de armas for a snacky lunch and to watch the world go by, a bit of a rest at the hotel, hacky sack back in the plaza, try to get some food but most things are closed, resort to eating an entire fried chicken and a mountain of potato chips while watching predator in the hotel, sleep
  • Mon Dec 12 - up at 09:00 for another breakfast that includes cake, walk over to pisco bottling plant and take the tour, taxi up the valley and try to find another pisco outlet, eventually find a shop and get the goods, taxi back to hotel then out for a very nice lunch next to a garden, pick up bags and catch a commuter bus back to la serena, wait in bus station for a bit drinking beer and computing, take night bus (23:45) to santiago
  • Tue Dec 13 - arrive in santiago around 08:00, settle in to city hotel, nap a bit, hit cafe in plaza de armas for a sturdy lunch, go shopping for christmas presents and cold weather clothes in pedestrian area, trek out west to a big mall to continue shopping, have light dinner in cafe there, back to hotel, out for beer and completos and empanadas, in bed for about midnight
  • Wed Dec 14 - up at 09:00 and grab breakfast, out to central station to get tickets, walk back along main road and stop for a very meaty (but apparently typical) lunch, drop in a few vintage clothing shops along the way, hop tube back to hotel, a bit more shopping, mike fights the post office while jason runs errands and makes use of the internet, mike calls home to SC, stops for a coffee, assemble at hotel to prep for night out, good mexican eats then a student pub, find that dance club is closed, settle into another bar blaring butt rock classics, meet a local called richard and chat with him a bit, end up in strip club for an hour until closing, bed down somewhere near 04:00
  • Thu Dec 15 - up at noon and have lunch just off the plaza de armas, back to hotel to relax a bit, mike heads out for a walking tour of the city, jason blogs and rests, reassemble around 08:00 to shower and head out to celebrate jason's birthday, go to bellavista for drinks and dinner then more drinks then a club, bounce around a bit and end up in a reggaeton kind of place until closing at 04:00, walk home and hit the sack
  • Fri Dec 16 - up at noon and back, leave bags with hotel and head to local cafe with wifi for a big laptop jam, get nice spanish lunch on the way, take in "coffee and cigarettes" then pick up bags and taxi to central station, board train and split around 22:30
  • Sat Dec 17 - arrive in Temuco at 07:00 or so and change to P. Montt train, it arrives at 14:00, catch a taxi into town and check into hotel, late lunch at local cafe, drop off laundry, mike walks up to fishing village of angelmo to shop for a jumper, jason does a few errands, meet back at hotel for a nap, check out parade then grab giant hamburgers at OK Corral, mike heads out to take in street carnival and some free music, then back to hotel to sleep
  • Sun Dec 18 - mike up late at 12;00, out for a run, meet jason back at hotel and walk up to angelmo for seafood lunch, screw around for a bit then head out to cafe for coffee and wireless, realize that final league cup match is on and head back to hotel bar to enjoy, laptop jam a bit, then head out for a completo and a beer and call it a night
  • Mon Dec 19 - up early at 07:00, mike out for a run and breakfast, grab laundry and pack, taxi to port, get tickets and leave bags, head down to angelmo for another seafood lunch - picorocos (barnacles) this time, grab some groceries then wait for departure at port, board boat around 03:00, four person cabin shared with an australian girl (chris) and a french man, cocktails at 18:30 with chris and andrea (another new friend - from ny), then dinner at 19:30 followed by beers and some music on the bar deck, in bed for about 0:00 after a couple of bedtimes stories
  • Tue Dec 20 - up at 08:15 and grab a big (by chilean standards) breakfast, mike spends the morning talking to andrea, jason does some laptop shiz, lunch with chris and andrea, mike showers then works on vidz after a read, jason hits the laptop as well, long nap for mike, cocktails, dinner, conversation with passengers, sleep
  • Wed Dec 21 - jason up early to visit natives, mike up at 11:30, lunch with the usual suspects, spend the afternoon working on jarah vid and d20, cocktail hour at 18:30 then ruckus dinner with boozy conversation to follow back in the pub, mike gets attacked by an irate passenger and heads off to bed after a smoke with a sympathetic welshman, jason stays up late for some dancing
  • Thu Dec 22 - up at 09:00, mike has a hangover, leave the ship and take a taxi to town, try to find breakfast and succeed after a short stint in the park like hobos, get some internet at local cafe, hang at bus station then board up for p. arenas, arrive around 17:00, check into hotel, stop at cafe for simple dinner and watch the football, back home to watch TV and chill
  • Fri Dec 23 - up at 09:30, missed bus to argentina, so spend day eating seafood and shopping and chilling (love the cable), watch crappy movie in the evening then head back to hotel to blog and play games and watch TV
  • Sat Dec 24 - up at 06:30 to catch bus for ushuaia at 08:30, cross into argentina around 14:00

Photo Albums
Drink Chile

Video Clips
Take That Photograph
Completos and Conversation
Da Glacier


June 17 - July 5

We entered Russia in St. Petersburg by overnight ferry from Tallinn, Estonia and spent a few days up north before grabbing the train for Moscow. After a short two days in the captial, we boarded the Trans Siberian Railroad and headed east. We stopped in Omsk and Irkutsk and arrived in Vladivostok on the 4th. The next day, we flew to Fukuoka, Japan (via Seoul - Air Korea) on the 5th.

Day by day breakdown:

  • Fri Jun 17th - Arrived St. Pete, checked into LDM (Leningradsky Youth Palace), internet cafe, searched for Estonian singers
  • Sat Jun 18th - Tour of Saint Pete with Angela and Mama, Club Metro that night
  • Sun Jun 19th - Kidnapped by Simona, Polina, Daniel, and Stacia
  • Mon Jun 20th - Laundry, lunch with Angela and Mama, coffee with Daniel and friend, hacky sack with Swiss lads, boarded overnight train to Moscow
  • Tue Jun 21st - Arrived Moscow, checked into hostel in The Frozen Land of Nador
  • Wed Jun 22nd - Got JR rail pass, mimed our way into tickets to Omsk, Red Square, drinks in The Arabat with Anna The Swede
  • Thu Jun 23rd - Bath house, boarded train to Omsk
  • Fri Jun 24th - On train
  • Sat Jun 25th - Arrived in Omsk, no hot water, townie club
  • Sun Jun 26th - Exercise, watching everybody drink in the park, Club Bunker
  • Mon Jun 27th - Internet cafe, board train to Irkutsk
  • Tue Jun 28th - On train
  • Wed Jun 29th - Arrive in Irkutsk, boozing around town with Kate and Nastia
  • Thu Jun 30th - Slow day, cafe lunch, central market, laptop jam in pub
  • Fri Jul 1st - Leave Irkutsk for Vladivostok
  • Sat Jul 2nd - On train
  • Sun Jul 3rd - On train
  • Mon Jul 4th - Arrive Vladivsotok, Kolia-sized hangover
  • Tue Jul 5th - Fly to Fukuoka Japan via Seoul (Air Korea)

Photo Albums
St. Petersburg
St. Petersburg House Party
Trans-Siberian Railway

Trans-Siberian Walkthrough
Student Art Film

Current Location



What does "cromulent" mean?
It is an invented word from the Simpsons. Check it.

Are you a gay couple?
No. Are you a gay couple?

How much did the entire trip cost?
About forty grand apiece.

What languages do you speak?
We both got English down pretty well. Jason speaks Spanish. Mike speaks passable French and enough Russian to get into (or, hopefully out of) trouble.

Was it safe for Americans to travel in 2005/2006?
We intentionally avoided anywhere that was clearly unsafe, not because we were cowards, but because stopping the operation because of an avoidable mishap in Pakistan would have made us feel really stupid. Beyond that, I don't really think that Hanoi is any less safe than New York. We could have gotten shot or blown up in either place. Not being in cars every day probably increases our survival probability more than staying domestic would have.

World Cup

June 10 - July 10

Our match schedule was:

12 Jun - USA vs. Czech Republic in Gelsenkirchen
17 Jun - USA vs. Italy in Kaiserslautern
22 Jun - USA vs. Ggana in Nuremberg
26 Jun - ITA vs. Australia in Kaiserslautern
30 Jun - Italy vs. Ukraine in Hamburg
04 Jul - Italy vs. Germany in Dortmund
09 Jul - Italy vs. France in Berlin

Mike's parents, sister, and brother-in-law came out from the 11th to the 23rd. We had a rental car that entire time and took a side trips to Amsterdam, Koln, and Salzburg. After we dropped the parents in Munich, the OC made for Vienna. We stayed with Beth S.'s family in K-town before heading up with her, Kevin B., and Leo R. to Copenhagen. Katya S. flew out for the weekend of the Hamburg match and we hooked up with Carl U. and others in Dusseldorf before Dortmund. Before Berlin, we made an expedition to Amsterdam where we picked up Falk U. and returned with him to the capital where we stayed with his parents and were joined by Troy. The OC parted company the day after the final.

Day by day:
  • Sat June 10 - arrive in munich for about 14:00, change trains and grab some euros and sandwiches, long but comfortable ride to dusseldorf in the company of england fans, get a train on to the airport and check into hotel sheraton
  • Sun June 11 - up a bit late, sushi lunch in airport, pick up keys to rental car and meet parents, drive to hotel in essen, big lunch at hotel, others sleep while derek and mike stay up to watch a few matches and chat and drink beer and soda (derek is off the sauce)
  • Mon June 12 - most up for breakfast, jason arrives around 13:00, have lunch at hotel, a bit of a nap, head out for game at 16:00, parking problems, make it into the stadium almost just in time for the kickoff, watch the US get plastered 3 to 0 in a terrible match (for us), run into kevin b. in the stadium then run into cynthia g and jason w outside, give the latter 2 a ride back to essen, walk to local town center to get some turkish grub, back to hotel to sleep
  • Tue June 13 - mike up around 09:00 for quickie breakfast, hang with mom a bit in the beer garden reading about cologne (the city), got everybody on their feet, leave the hotel for about noon and drive to cologne city center, park, walk up pedestrian avenue to cathedral, up the river on bicycle taxis and take cable car across river, hang out in park for a bit, walk back down to cathedral on other side of river, cross at rail bridge, back through shopping area to the car, drive to dusseldorf, find a place on the water to watch the france vs. switzerland match and have a bit of dinner, back in the car and drive to essen in time to watch brazil and croatia in the beer garden, do some internet research and updates before falling asleep
  • Wed June 14 - up at 07:00, shower and shave and breakfast, call sixt to confirm that car can be taken out of germany, gather the troops, drive to amsterdam, park just near rijksmuseum (sp?), walk around museum square a bit and stop into cafe-ish restaurant for lunch, derek and jenny hit the museums while rest go on a walking tour into downtown, shop and watch some soccer and drink tea and such to avoid the intermittent rain, meet back up at the car around 18:30 and head back to essen, jason and mike head to put to watch germany vs. poland, others go to greek place to eat, in bed for about 23:30
  • Thu June 15 - up around 08:00, breakfast, jenny and mom and derek and mike head into town for some errands but most things are closed apparently due to a holiday, pack up and drive to mainz, arrive at hotel konigshof right next to main train station, mom and dad and jason and mike walk down to the waterfront to have a bit of lunch and to watch a soccer match, return to hotel and watch another match in tapas place across the way, pasta dinner at very nearby italian and to bed
  • Fri June 16 - up early enough for breakfast, travel to rhine by train, take a long boat ride up the river to koblenz, catch a train back, back at hotel for around 23:00, family has a late pizza dinner
  • Sat June 17 - up late, jason sick again (derek's fault, apparently), mike and jen out to buy game supplies, meet helpful tunisian guy, leave in car around 13:30, park in distant lot and catch bus into town, sit in beer garden listening to a band and futzing around for a bit, stop in park to get all gussied up, long and slow walk to stadium, watch a dramatic one/one tie with 3 ejections, crowded bus back to parking area, derek drives home as mike is fairly drunk, arrive around 01:00 and straight to bed
  • Sun June 18 - up late-ish, walk to near mainz cathedral for late lunch, mike and jason go to beer garden to watch games, others go to hotel to rest, meet back at hotel around 20:30, watch last match of the day in tapas place, retire
  • Mon June 19 - up early for breakfast, pack the car and head out, dad travels by train on his own, others stop in rothenburg for lunch and a shop, reassemble at minotel brunner hotel in amberg, mike and jen and mom out for a look around the city while dad and derek rest and jason watches a match, reunite for dinner (excepting derek), retire to hotel rooms to watch TV and sleep
  • Tue June 20 - up early, leave at 08:30 for salzburg, lunch with a view, mom and mike sit at cafe and shop while others are off to see fortress, split up again - mike and jason watch germany vs. ecuador on big screen next to cathedral while others shop and see sights, leave for amberg around 18:30, out for a doner dinner then to bed
  • Wed June 21 - up early, mike and mom breakfast than sort of repair the panels on the rental van that got damaged in yesterday's minor collision, mom and mike do some wedding outfit shopping, mike out for haircut, all (minus derek) assemble at hotel, out to city square for a simple lunch, mom and jenny off to shop, boys back to hotel to do this and that before the 16:00 match, jason and mike and mom out to local joint to watch a game, return to hotel to collect others, walk back to same place to eat and watch the evening game, mike and mom retire early, others hang on a bit to watch end of game and have dessert
  • Thu June 22 - up early, pack the car and head out to nurnberg, park car in plenty of time for US vs. Ghana, head over to "nazi documentation center" then sit in beer garden to have sausage lunch and a beer, split up to watch the US lose, meet back up at the call and drive down to munich, find the hotel after some outfit - 4 miles from airport, mike and derek drive back to return rental car and come back via bus, mom and dad and mike and jason have supper in underground hotel pub, sleep
  • Fri June 23 - up early, simple breakfast in hotel, take shuttle to airport, check in and have a snack and a coffee outside, say goodbye to astles and crouchers, take train to munich central station, change for train to salzburg, chat with an austrian businessman and trainspotter for a bit, make a quick connect to train for vienna, read and blog and such along the way, meet karoline and sonja at vienna west station, drive to near tulln and have a light dinner and some wine in a garden, have a quick look at a nearby village before heading to tulln, sit on karoline's balcony and drink wine well into the night
  • Sat June 24 - up early, breakfast at karoline's with her sister charlotte, charlotte takes the OC on a tour of vienna, see the sights and do some shopping and rest a bit in a park, drive back to karoline's to get ready for the party, kill some time in a beer garden next to the danube, charlotte drops OC off at party, help set things up by hanging printed photos, stand around and drink a bit and congratulate yashi and nina, leave in karoline's car early - maybe around 00:00
  • Sun June 25 - up at 06:00, karoline drives us to tulln train station to catch a ride to vienna west station, connect on the u-bahn, board train around 08:20 and sleep most of the way, inquire about tickets in munich and have a burger king lunch, make contact with elizabeth s. who promises a place to sleep in k-town, board train for k-town via heidelburg at 13:30 or so, rest and blog aboard, meet elizabeth and wolf and colette at the station, they take us to their place in a nearby village, dinner there and watch portugal beat holland in a match with four sending offs, to bed
  • Mon June 26 - up around 09:30, colette makes a very nice fried breakfast, catch the train into town with elizabeth in tow, exchange voucher very easily for rest of match tickets, meet kevin b. and leo r., settle down in beer garden for a good bit and listen to a somewhat cheesy band, walk up to the stadium to see italy beat australia at the last moment with a penalty kick, hang around town eating slowly served sushi, make it back to the house for about midnight, decide to head to copenhagen the next day, all four boys now crash on colettes floors and couches
  • Tue June 27 - up around 08:00, colette makes dutch pancakes for all and we spend the morning chatting about this or that, pack up and head out, train to mainz, drop bags there and watch brazil beat ghana in a local beer garden, make a friend of a scotsman who happens to be sharing our table, beat feet back to train station to catch ride on to koln, then switch to sleeper train, all five of us pack into a couchette cabin and watch pulp fiction on a laptop before bed
  • Wed June 28 - up around 09:00, arrive in copenhagen main station for 11:00, arrange a hotel room through tourist info center, drop bags and head out, elizabeth and mike split up from the group and head out to hippie village to listen to music and wander about, others take in some more conventional sights (palaces and forts and museums and such), meet back up on the street on the way back to hotel, mike and elizabeth stop at station to arrange tickets to hamburg the next day, wash up and take care of a few bits and pieces before going to wagamama for dinner, from there carry on to a small concert venue to watch boss hoss - a german band that does country covers of popular radio songs, head to a club afterwards on foot, mike and liz split before entering, all end up crashed in our hotel room made for 5
  • Thu June 29 - up at 08:30, mike heads down to blog and breakfast while others snooze, carry bags over to train station to store in lockers, head to national museum to learn about danish history, split up after, mike and liz go shopping for a gift for coco, jason and kevin enjoy the tivoli gardens, not sure about leo but he ends up with some chocolate, reassemble at train station and board our ride back to hamburg, train drives onto a boat to cross the water, buy much booze on the boat and get a bit sauced on the remainder of the voyage, talk a bit with fellow passengers and exchange jokes, arrive at hamburg, mike and liz take a hotel room across from the train station, others go to meet leo at guesthouse in st. pauli
  • Fri June 30 - mike and liz meet kevin and leo ro. at the train station, reservations are made, walk up pedestrian street and have a falafel lunch, long walk along lake to a museum hosting a football exhibit, mike walks liz back to station to put her on her way back to kaiserslautern, meet back up at fan fast but it is full, take train up to near stadium, watch first half of early match on a small tv at a kebab stand, watch rest inside across the way from the statdium, go in and watch italy beat the snot out of the ukraine, kevin and leo ro. head back to train station and take off for switzerland, leo r. and jason head back to st. pauli, mike goes to the east of town to meet katya who has just flown in from milan
  • Sat July 1 - mike and katya head into city center by train, have fancy lunch on canal, walk around and see the sights, end up in st. pauli looking in sex shops for japanese porn, meet jason and leo at fan fest, watch england lose to portugal before watching brazil lose to france, drop by the guesthouse to drop off stuff and have a beer before heading down to the reeperbahn (minus leo) to drink, mike and katya split around 3, jason stays on until 5 or so
  • Sun July 2 - up a bit late, mike and katya check out of hotel and head over to guesthouse to drop bags, grab jason and head out for a vietnamese lunch, down to reeperbahn to shop for a birthday gift for katya's dad, head over to park to relax in the sun, back to guesthouse to gather the goods, jason goes as far as bus station to say goodbye, mike carries on to airport, reassemble just the OC (for the first time in awhile) back at guesthouse, head down to reeperbahn for a pork meal and some beers, things are pretty dead, buy a little present for mignon before heading back to sleep
  • Mon July 3 - up around 10:00, shower and update log and pack up, down to internet cafe to send a fax and read email and such, have lunch at mr. kepab, take the u-bahn down to train station and wait for service to dusseldorf, chat with some old german folks on the way, arrive in the dorf for about 18:30, meet carl at the station, walk over to hotel to check in, meet up in lobby with carl and alex and head out to waterfront for a few giant beers and some seafood eats, head in a bit to the old town for more drinks at an irish place before moving to an arabian-themed joint where we smoke sheeshas and meet mexicans, then around the corner to a dance place called peter pan, a very drunk mike apparently picks a fight with a bunch of gay men, taxi back to hotel to crash
  • Tue July 4 - up around 12:00, mike has a bit of a hangover, get a kepab on the way to the train station, take a long hot ride to dortmund, drink a few beers before going to the stadium, watch italy beat germany with two overtime goals, meet with kevin and leo afterwards, mike goes out on his own, he ends up in hospital for a few hours and reaches the dorf around 05:30 the next morning, jason in a bit earlier after hanging with leo and kevin for a bit
  • Wed July 5 - up around 11:00, say goodbye to carl and joel and vanessa (alex already left for paris by train), stop at pharmacy to get drugs for mike's throat infection, drop bags at train station, eat at nice cafeteria-style joint, mike hangs at internet cafe while jason is off to post, have a tea in a nearby cafe, back to train station to retrieve bags and wait, chill on platform for a bit, get very pimp first class service to amsterdam - sleep almost the entire way, meet mignon (huzzah!) at the station, head over to hers by car, have a few drinks and a dip in the pool, anouk joins for dinner, smoke a spliff with neighbors karen and corentina (sp?), anouk takes off leaving only mike and jason and mignon to hang out in the pool until late, in bed for about 02:00
  • Thu July 6 - up around 11:30 when mignon arrives from alice's to make breakfast, head out to surprisingly fun wax museum, walk up to vondel park and have a tea, mignon goes to a meeting while the OC goes back to hers by tram to relax, alice and corentina show up and order chinese for dinner, close on their heels are wendy and daniella and dora and mignon, most of the group head out by bike to a "beach" near the river, meet mr. falk there, hang out and drink and smoke splif for a few hours, return to mignon's by bike, in bed for 01:00 or so
  • Fri July 7 - up around 08:00 to say goodbye to mignon, properly get out of bed about 10:00, take care of a few computer things, say goodbye to alice who is off to the gym, pack up, then say goodbye to neighbors, out the door and on the tram by 12:30, drop bags at central station and pick up train reservation, argentine steaks for lunch, back to station to get bags and wait on platform, are joined by mr. falk, climb aboard and cross back into germany without incident, arrive at east station around 10, take s-bahn to eastern suburbs, falk's family has dinner ready - "chicken klaus", turn in after a very good meal
  • Sat July 8 - up around 10:00, breakfast on the terrace at noon, troy has arrived, head out to city for some sightseeing, take in the old bit before reaching the brandenburg gate and the path of the wall, see holocaust memorial before having a typical german dinner, over to fan fest to watch germany beat portugal for 3rd place, travel to an old brewery that is now a club complex, leave around 04:00, back at chez unger for about six, falk and mike have a light snack before bed
  • Sun July 9 - up around noon, breakfast on the terrace again, falk and troy head to beach and then on to a barbecue, mike and jason head direct to the stadium, pick up some italian-candians along the way and help them a bit, meet with leo and kevin outside the stadium, hang out a bit, meet andreas and some other overture-era folks inside the stadium, watch italy beat france on penalties (zidane sent off in overtime for a headbutt), straight back to home base, troy and falk reappear after jason and mike are already in bed
  • Mon July 10 - up at 6, shower and pack up, one more nice breakfast on the terrace, momma unger drives mike and jason and pappa unger to the train station, cruise into town, have a bit of sparkling wine to celebrate completion of the mission, both on same train south, jason gets off a fulda, say goodbye on platform

Photo Albums
World Cup

Video Clips
A True Patriot
Boss Hoss


April 27 - May 14

We traveled to Athens by overnight train from Istanbul. After two days, Lauren joined us. We flew down to Santorini and back before saying goodbye to Lauren and starting out for the north. We made an abortive attempt at seeing some islands not too far from Athens before getting back on track and heading inland to the monastaries of meteora. After that, we spent a few pleasant days sampling the urban pleasures of Thessaloniki before heading to Bulgaria by train.

Day by day:
  • Thu Apr 27 - cross border on daytime train, make the change in Thessaloniki for overnight train down south
  • Fri Apr 28 - wake up missing stop at athens, try to get a taxi but end up taking a train back one station, then get a taxi that wanders around quite a bit, first choice hotel is full but they redirect us to another that has room, can not check in until 10, walk down to busy square to have a light breakfast and coffee/tea, check into hotel and have a nap, out to nearby square for dinner, watch films on TV, sleep
  • Sat Apr 29 - up around 11:00, out to internet cafe, grab a big lunch, send some parcels from the post office, relax back at hotel, mike drops off and retrieves laundry between reading about the crusades, walk around checking out alternative hotels for lauren's arrival, buy movie tickets at theatre, spend an hour snacking and drinking beer, watch V For Vendetta, walk back to hotel, sleep
  • Sun Apr 30 - up around 09:00, breakfast in hotel and arrange to stay two more nights, hang around in hotel and cafe for most of the day reading and blogging and such, head out to airport by bus and meet lauren, return to hotel and drop bags, out to local bar to down ouzo and other strange drinks, mezze dinner not too far away, cafe for a bottle of wine, back to bar to have one more raki, get a bit of baklava on the way, retire to hotel to sleep
  • Mon May 1 - up at 08:00, breakfast in hotel and make plan for the day, walk up to parthenon but find it closed, admire the view, walk into town and take in a few protests, have a sit in the park, down to studenty area to have lunch and then coffee and a couple of glasses of wine (for mike), walk a bit more across town to view some hipster cafes and shops, back to hotel, go to internet cafe to upload some shiz, mike and lauren hit the hotel grand bretagne for cocktails and conversation, jason joins and all head out for dinner, very filling meal along somewhat touristy street, return to hotel, pack, early to bed
  • Tue May 2 - up at 03:30, head to airport via bus, long line to check in, catch flight to santorini after a bit of a wait, arrive around 07:00, taxi to kumari but unable to find an open hotel, jason arranges a hotel and transport to thera, check in, get breakfast, take a nap, out for drinks and snacks with ocean view, walk down to old port past lots of donkey poop, have a beer by the water, cable car back up to the town, back to hotel to change clothes, run by supermarket to get some snacks and booze, down a bottle of wine, head out to cafe to have cocktails and watch sunset, seafood dinner, hit the bars to booze it up and dance, back to hotel relatively early, sleep
  • Wed May 3 - up around 11:30, out to breakfast after a bit of a lay in, a few drinks over crepes and back to hotel, jason scores some beers, play mexican for quite some time on hotel balcony, very nice dinner at lonely planet recommended restaurant, out again to murphy's to get things started, have a boogie there than bar hop to a few other places, retire around 5 AM
  • Thu May 4 - mike sleeps in until six or so, jason and lauren go out for breakfast and some internet during his slumber, shower and head out in the evening for dinner of multiple souvlaki wraps, grab some baklava and enjoy it overlooking the water, cup of tea in a nearby cafe, over to box bar for a drink, mike calls it a night on the grounds of general whoozyness, jason and lauren carry on late
  • Fri May 5 - mike up early to shower and blog, lauren and jason rise somewhat later, pack and drop bags at hotel and book a taxi to hotel, out to local cafe, jason enjoys mexican omelette and corona to celebrate the mexican holiday, get a newspaper and sit in another cafe with a view just chilling, mike and lauren climb up hill to get a look at old church, come back down and meet jason, back to hotel and jump in cab for airport, no issues boarding flight and arriving back in athens, luckily manage to find a hotel room by way of a booking service in the arrivals area, bus than tube than a short hike to hotel, check in and drop bags, mike and lauren back out for indian meal in slightly dicey part of town, back in to sleep
  • Sat May 6 - up at 07:30 and downstairs for nice hotel buffet breakfast, out the door around eight on foot and arrive at parthenon half past, get in early and see the hill, walk down from there to national gardens and enjoy coffee and a bit of a debate at the cafe, walk up to archaeological museum and take in the excellent collection, have lunch in weird russian gypsy porn disco, back to hotel to relax for an evening on the town, walk a good way through not the nicest hood to reach a tourist free family neighborhood eatery, great meal, back to hotel and in bed for around one after copying lauren's photos
  • Sun May 7 - wake up late at 06:10 and immediately leave for the airport in a taxi, get there in plenty of time especially because lauren's departure has been delayed, have a cup of tea and a cheese and spinach pie while we wait, say goodbye, return to hotel on the very new subway, mike stops for a bowl of cereal, nap for a bit, awaken and pack, down to internet cafe to take care of some backlogged business, lunch at local cafe, pick up bags and take subway to train station, train we want is not leaving until late so choose another somewhat at random, end up in halkida, unable to get a bus that day so check into john's hotel on the advice of a very friendly and helpful taxi driver, watch a police academy movie, out for seafood dinner and ouzo, watch some crappy movie on TV with ralph machio playing blues guitar before falling asleep
  • Mon May 8 - up around 11, shower and pack and check out, decide to head elsewhere on the advice of the hotel manager, back to train station to get back to the main line, lunch and a few beers there waiting for train up north, get on the wrong train so get after one stop, taxi back where we were to find our train long gone, change destination and get new tickets, board another train (the right one), read and blog and nap and watch the hilly scenery as the sun goes down, get off a bit early at larisa and head straight to nearby hotel, mike out to atm and back, watch a bit of escape from la before heading out for basic dinner at very nearby restaurant, return to sleep
  • Tue May 9 - up around 06:00, shower and pack up, to the train station and have tea and a small breakfast, sleep through most of the train ride to kalapaka, get a taxi to kastraki and check into sydney hotel, have a cup of coffee with the very gracious hotel owner, get a map and head out for a long circular trek that includes stops at lots of scenic hilltop monastaries and a break for lunch, back down to the village and get some OJ before retiring to the hotel to rest, shower and head out for a couple of beers at the only bar/club in town, dinner and wine at taverna with good view, retire to hotel and watch a bit of AI before falling asleep
  • Wed May 10 - up around 09:00, breakfast separately in the hotel, jason out early for rock climbing lesson, mike hangs out in village square and reads and blogs, meet back up for simple lunch and decide to split, check out, taxi to train station but find that the trains are not running so carry on to bus station, wait a bit waiting for ride, arrive in thessaloniki that evening, taxi to hotel, back out for a dinner at the kitchen bar on the waterfront, also stay for one confused post dinner cocktail, martini rossi ain't all >that<>
  • Thu May 11 - up around 10:00, mike out for a run, gets bit by a dog (not badly) on the way back and has a bit of a shout at the apologetic owner, shower and gather up laundry, march out to drop off clothes, have a nice lunch at a quiet restaurant near the student cafes, hop over to an internet cafe for a few hours to get some stuff uploaded, pick up laundry, stop off at book shop and pharmacy on way back to hotel, relax for a bit, hit the oceanside strip for a few beers, have an unsatisfying dinner at an ouzeri back near the hotel before heading back to the seafront, hang around in a bar with well-dressed locals for a bit before deciding to retire for the evening
  • Fri May 12 - up around 10:00, mike has a minor hangover, dress and out the door, head north to see the older (turkish) part of the town, have a nice seafood lunch with a view over the old city walls and down to the harbor, check out fortress that was used as a prison, than over to what appears to be an old church but is actually in the process of being built (or possibly rebuilt), down to the lower city, have a cup of tea at the byzantine history museum before having a look around the exhibits, the place is nice and the collection interesting but the very watchful staff are unnerving, walk back towards hotel, stop at internet cafe before going up to the room to chill and shower and watch a spot of TV, dinner at a noodle bar then pop next door to "don't tell mama" to hang out with gay bartender that we met at the museum cafe, down quite a few drinks before jumping into a cab for an entertainment complex called "milos", dance to dj spooky and leave shortly after the start of the comparatively lame set of one df food, taxi over to a place called "boutique" but only stay for a bit because mike is feeling very unsteady, taxi back into town and crash at the hotel
  • Sat May 13 - jason up around noon and out for lunch, mike up around 16:00 with a good hangover, watch TV for a bit before heading out, mike gets a chicken gyro to snack on, sit for three hours in a place called elvis drinking and doing little else, head over to a place we saw that has karaoke, sit at the bar and talk to the saucy bartenderess and bleat out a few tracks, stop by elvis again briefly on the way home but decide to turn in, hit the sack for about 15:00
  • Sun May 14 - up at 11:00, pack and check out - leaving bags at hotel, head down to post office so jason can send off a few things, have a gyro lunch at a little place and chat with the waiter about his dream of going to the US, walk up to internet cafe and shift some bits, hang out in nearby cafe for awhile before walking back to hotel to collect luggage, take a taxi to the train station, wait there for a bit before boarding direct service to sophia, hang out with some cypriot kids on board that study in sofia

Photo Albums

Video Clips
Karaoke Mike


April 14 - Apr 27

We arrived in Anakara (via Istanbul) from Cairo early on the 14th. After two days in Ankara, we headed west for Izmir and spent a few days there before moving on for an extended visit to Istanbul. We left by train for Athens.

Day by day:

  • Fri Apr 14 - land in istanbul early, clear passport control and change to domestic terminal, hang about a bit before boarding flight around 08:30 for 09:00 launch, arrive in ankara about 10:00, clear customs and grab a taxi into town, have a nap until 15:00 or so, jason relaxes at hotel while mike has a walk around, meet back at hotel and head out for pide dinner at restaurant below the hotel, return to hotel, fall asleep early
  • Sat Apr 15 - up around 07:00, mike out for a run in local park, return to hotel for turkish breakfast, shower, out to drop off laundry, to cargo handler to mail packages, walk down to shopping area to find bookstores, spend a few hours on the internet in an upstairs cafe overlooking a pedestrian road, taxi over to museum of anatolia civilizations, have a walk around old town (citadel) district and eat an early dinner in a restored ottoman mansion with views over the city, walk back to hotel, jason deals with photos while mike reads, to bed around 22:30
  • Sun Apr 16 - up around 07:30, mike out for a run, back to hotel, mike takes breakfast than has a shower while jason fusses with photo mosaic program, pack and check out of hotel, grab laundry, back to hotel to repack, walk over and get a minibus to the main bus station, buy tickets at 13:00 for a 14:30 to izmir, wait it out in the bus station reading and having a snack, one tea stop along the way, arrive in izmir bus station and have iskender kepab dinner, taxi into town and check into imperial hotel, sleep
  • Mon Apr 17 - up around 07:30, mike out for run in nice local park complete with track and workout area, back to hotel to shower, out for breakfast at corner kebab and confectionary place, buy bus tickets to selchuk near the train station, catch free mini bus to bus station, jump on connecting bus just as it is leaving, arrive in selchuk around noon, walk to site of ephesus (efes) and spend maybe two hours looking around, walk back to bus station and wait for a bit before catching a ride back to izmir, mini dolmus back to hotel, relax for a bit - mike finds the internet, walk to the fancy part of town in search of a rough guide pick that is not to be found, settle for waterfront dinner at a nice sports bar type of place, enjoy our first turkish beers, march back to hotel for sleep
  • Tue Apr 18 - up around 08:30, decide to have a lazy day in town, soup and bread breakfast at nearby cafe, back to hotel quickly to get ready, walk town to city bazaar and look around, up the hill to ruined fort, talk to a kid and an old man and take some pictures, stop to drink beer/tea and work on various books and projects, walk back down and stop for pide dinner in the bazaar, back to hotel, jason stays in while mike goes out looking for cinema, he doesn't find it - settles for an evening sit in the park before returning, read a bit and early to bed
  • Wed Apr 19 - up around 07:30, pack and check out by 8, minibus to bus station, drop big bags at left luggage, jump a bus out to village near ancient sardis, walk a bit to reach the two sites and have a look around, stop in village to have a nice lunch, catch bus back to izmir from main road, arrive around 14:30, collect bags and head out again by bus to istanbul after a bathroom and internet break, a couple of stops along the way for tea and dinner and such, arrive in istanbul around 00:30, taxi into old part of town, walk around a bit finding a hostel, eventually settle into a twin room and crash
  • Thu Apr 20 - up around 08:00, breakfast in hostel, pack up and check out, stop by bookstore to get an istanbul guide, sit at closed outdoor cafe for a bit looking for a place to stay, try out a few options before settling on another hostel, check in there and retrieve bags, do a bit of research on apple repair places, head out to taksim square and beyond to drop off jason's laptop for a fixin', nice lunch near apple center, taxi back to taksim square than a bus back to near the hostel, relax and read and surf (free wifi) for a few hours, have dinner at a very nice restaurant with open fire, retire after the meal to bed
  • Fri Apr 21 - up around 08:30 and have the usual turkish breakfast at hostel, head out again to taksim by bus than taxi to retrieve jason's laptop, metro back to taksim, walk down iskadil (sp?) cad. to look at the shops, walk for miles down an unpleasant busy street to have tea at the pera palas hotel, walk down to water looking for a bus back, end up hiring a guy to get us across the golden horn in his little boat, walk through a bit of the bazaar area on the way back to the hostel, relax for a bit, bus back down to taksim square, walk along iskadil (sp?) looking for a place to eat when encounter a pair of "friendly" locals - one that speaks pretty good english, we join then for a barbecue dinner then they take us to a bar with scammingly high prices, we bail, go for a beer or two at a cafe that features turkish music, try to find a particular club but fail, get denied at the roxy, take a taxi over to babylon, hang there for a bit with a disappointingly young crowd dancing to disco, split by taxi back to the hostel, in bed for around 04:00
  • Sat Apr 22 - up around 10:00, mike grabs a quick breakfast in the hostel, check out the blue mosque and the aya sophia, have chicken kebap lunch at corner cafe run by very garulous man, he recommends a joint for watching the galatasaray vs. fenerbache derby that evening, relax in the grass for a bit, down to view giant cistern, walk up to palace but decide not to go in, back to hostel to chill for a bit, mike out to travel agent to try to get train tickets but no luck - will have to go back monday then down to barber for a hair cut, walk down to cafe to watch the footie, have a mezze platter before the match but forced to abandon it in order to save marginally reserved seats, game is a 4 to zero blowout but fun, hang around cafe and have supper, back to hotel to change clothes, grab a taxi downtown, mike gets scammed by the old "you gave me a 5, not a fifty" trick and (on top of that) is overcharged, arrive at drum and bass clus show at balans and watch ronnie side do an uninspiring set, leave around 02:30 by taxi and arrive back at hostel for maybe 03:00
  • Sun Apr 23 - up around 12:30, kofte lunch in busy local joint, over to hamam for a bath and viscious massage, stop for tea and orange juice after, stop at sweet shop for some turkish delight and a bit of cakey thing, back to hotel to read and blog and surf, eat supper in a turkish place near the hostel, have a few beers and a desultory dance with the other backpackers gathered around the various hostels and honkey bars, retire at about 15:00
  • Mon Apr 24 - up around 11:00, breakfast at patisserie where weird joke-telling kurdish guy works, drop off laundry, out to travel agent to get train tickets, they now claim that they can not handle international ticketing so walk to train station, get tickets with incident, return to hotel, head out for a lonely planet walk west of sultanahmet, skirt the edge of the bazaar area and eventually find a cab, view a big mosque, walk down busy road and stop for an ice cream, take a look at old city walls where the city suddenly seems to stop, over to 4th century church, fancy dinner near the church of ottoman-era food, taxi back to near hostel, jason out to retrieve laundry, mike sends a bit of the email and works on eclipse video while jason reads, watch sin city (again) and hit the sack
  • Tue Apr 25 - this is apparently ANZAC day, up a bit late, tasty kebab lunch at cafe owned by guy that directed us to football cafe, walk around grand bazaar and buy some goods, stop for a drink of boza - weird fermented grain stuff, take a look at sulieman's mosque, walk to waterfront and catch tram to sultanahmet, walk to hotel and pick up warm clothes, back down to waterfront to catch ferry across the water, taxi up a hill, enjoy good view over tea, then retire inside to have a dinner mostly remarkable for the sunset view, taxi back down the hill and catch ferry back, march up to hotel, mike sets a tape to capture before bed
  • Wed Apr 26 - up around 09:00, mike has breakfast in hostel, out the door for 09:30, make it to waterfront with plenty of time for jason to have a snack and to catch the bosphorus tourist ferry, travel all the way to the black sea, disembark, climb up hill to castle, come back down for seafood lunch, take the boat back to city center, stop by train station to check on departure for the next day - all is good, walk to hostel, mike pops out to swap some books and chat with kurdish guy while jason does some internet comms, walk over to yeni marmara tea house to enjoy good food and wifi and a champion's league match, back to hotel to pack and sleep
  • Thu Apr 27 - up around 06:30, shower and finish packing, taxi to train station, board early, mike pops out to get some cash and a bit of breakfast and coffees, train departs on time around 08:30, guy a bit more borek on board, get some snacks at turkish border, cross into greece without incident

Photo Albums
Tourist Turkey

Video Clips
The Call To Prayer
Turkish BBQ
Turkish Catfight


March 26 - April 14

We arrvied from Bahrain on the 26th and were lucky enough to meet Chris and Gigi on their last evening in Egypt. We spent a few days in Cairo, saw the pyramids and the big musuem, and split by taxi out into the desert. After a four day trek, we returned to Cairo and head immediately for the Red Sea where we did 4 days of diving. We took one rest day after emerging from the ocean, then caught a bus to Cairo and an early flight on the 14th on to Ankara (via Istanbul).

Day by day:

  • Sun Mar 26 - arrive around 13:00, suffer a bit of confusion at immigration trying to get a tourist visa, immediately thereafter find baggage personnel to report our still-missing luggage, hook up with a travel agent called abdul who helps us manage the bag issue and book a hotel, he also arranges a ride into town and accompanies us to our room, a friend of abdul's called ahmet arrives an hour later to talk about travel options, we plunk down some cash for a trip to the pyramids on wednesday, head to zamelek island by taxi to meet chris and gigi in the pub beneath their hotel, have a mezze dinner of sorts there, say goodbye around 22:00 and return to hotel, early to bed
  • Mon Mar 27 - up around 10:00, breakfast in hotel, head out on foot to american university bookstore to buy reading material and guidebooks, deflect a tout on the way, walk down to street bazaar, buy some clothes, tea then meaty lunch, cross over big road to get a look at a mosque, take a tour and have a great view of the area from the minaret, met outside the mosque by a guy claiming to be an english student, he shows us around some workshops and craft stores, mike buys a little present for his mom and a fez for himself, part company with volunteer guide after a short visit to a papyrus shop, walk back to hotel, find that luggage has been delivered - huzzah!, call ahmet to arrange transport to eclipse, he comes buy a bit later to collect money and the deal is sealed, head out to local joint for a tasty dinner of grilled meat and macaroni and salads and fresh bread, back to hotel to do a bit of admin, sleep
  • Tue Mar 28 - up around 09:30, breakfast in hotel, pack up and check out, leave bags in the lobby, head down to mcdonalds for internet access, walk up back towards hotel to check out some camera shops in search of solar filters, stop in to DHL to mail gift to mike's mom, a bit more shopping, tasty lunch of meet in pasta and beans, walk down to nile to check out the scene, walk back up to hotel and wait there for driver, he arrives around 20:00 with chris (another passenger to the eclipse), drive all night with only a stop in mersa matrouh to have tea
  • Wed Mar 29 - arrive at eclipse sight around 04;00, have some tea and bread and generally chill out in the cold, watch the sun come up, play a bit of hacky sack, wait around, get interviewed on live TV, the show starts at 11:00 and hits climax around 12:40, the egyptian president was there, get a lot of photos and video, wait for driver to come back with chris, jason meets some members of the egyptian pariament, jump into car and split for cairo, stop for a meal in mersa matrou, say good-bye to chris who is staying there, truck on to cairo with only one more stop for le toilette, arrive back at hotel around 22:30 and straight to bed
  • Thu Mar 30 - up at 06:50 and out the door at 07:30, drive with guide and driver to pyramids of giza, take a camel ride to see the site, jump back in car to see older pyramids at sakarah, guide gives us a good rundown, view inside of one tomb, stop for lunch at a very touristy restaurant but the food is good, return directly to hotel by car, do some turkey and desert safari research before taking a good nap, make a few safari-related calls but no very solid leads, head out to mcdonalds for some internet access, stumble across restaurant that does pizza and savoury pastries, eat there and chat in french with some locals, back to hotel to sleep
  • Fri Mar 31 - up at 07:00 to shower and do some more reading about turkey, breakfast at hotel, book tickets to ankara on the phone, taxi down to zamalek to pay for tickets after an attempt to find the travel agent at the wrong place, taxi over to egyptian antiquities museum, enjoy exhibits separately, have a cafe lunch, save mummies and king tut for last, walk back to hotel, jason reads about crusades while mike works on eclipse video, out for dinner in mostly empty hotel restaurant, back to hotel to watch a bit of james bond before bed
  • Sat Apr 1 - up at 08:30, jason puts in the laundry, not so patiently wait for hot water, cold shower, breakfast at hotel, out to mcdonalds for internet access and to upload april fools day joke, underground to ramses square so jason can post some things, mike kills time by drinking tea and watching movie in cafe, walk back to hotel, eat takeaway lunch in hotel room and watch CNN, chill reading and burning DVDs and watching CNN and crap movies, out to cairo tower to dine in cheesy rotating restaurant, target nightclub does not appear to exist, go on a hunt for belly dancing that takes us to a riverfront club and the pyramid road, retire back to the hotel around 23:00 in despair, straight to bed
  • Sun Apr 2 - up at 07:40, shower, pack, mike pops out to try to get the internet but finds cafe closed, check out and jump into car destined for baharia oasis, one stop at grimy rest area to buy water and stretch, back in car to complete the trek, arrive around 12:30, have lunch, arrange trek and pay a big stack of cash, relax in room and charge devices, take a trip around town in a 4x4 along with 2 girls - a canadian and a kiwi, mike has a swim in the oasis lake, watch sun set from a hilltop, return to camp for chicken dinner, early to bed
  • Mon Apr 3 - up early to have simple breakfast and tea before heading out in a truck to meet our guide (arajip) and his camels (names not known), mount up and head back across town, stop for lunch in a little stone house with a frond roof then nap away the hot hours, back in the saddle and into the desert, camp in the sand after a few hours, tea then dinner, watch the stars for a bit then hit the hay
  • Tue Apr 4 - up around 9 for tea and simple (cheese and bread and jam) breakfast, break camp and head further out into the desert - this time on foot, stop at a shady spot for lunch, then press on for the afternoon, stop again near some kind of oasis farm for supper, asleep for 22:00 (or maybe earlier)
  • Wed Apr 5 - up around 09:00, usual breakfast and tea, trek out on foot, arrive in a small oasis town around 11, stop next to hot spring pump pool and have a swim and a wash, lunch on beef (maybe brain) and tuna and such in palm branch hut - are joined by some local friends of arajip's, hang there for a bit napping and reading, head out again on foot, make camp in the sand, tea then supper, jump into sleeping bags not to long after sunset
  • Thu Apr 6 - up at 8 and discover that camels have gotten into the supplies, shoosh them off with arajip's assistance, have a bit of breakfast, pack up and trek (jason on camel, mike on foot) for 2 hours, stop for an early lunch in the less than copious shade, read and nap until about 14:30 then head out again, make it to meeting point near an asphalt road, pass the time throwing rocks at other rocks and having a bread snack, pickup is two hours late, debate hitching and decide to camp there the night, safari company folks show up in a truck just as we are settling in, put camels in the back and drive into town, say goodbye to arajip, pickup bags and have a soda while waiting for room, drop stuff in room and head down for a nice mutton supper, back to room to get clean and process photos and blog and such, mike calls home to wish his parents happy birthday, shower and sleep
  • Fri Apr 7 - up at 07:00 to pack up, simple breakfast (this time with fig jam!), in the car at 8 and head out with a brief stop for the driver to get some take-away eats, two pee stops on the way, get dropped off at bus terminal, have lunch while waiting, make some calls to arrange dives and accommodation with at first little and then some success, bus leaves around 14:20, jason reads about the crusades while mike blogs, two short stops on the way, arrive for about 21:00, take a taxi to the hotel, check in, dinner in hotel is expensive so go across the way for al fresco meal with friendly staff, back to hotel to sleep
  • Sat Apr 8 - up at 09:00 and catch hotel breakfast, walk across the way to have coffee and cake and use wifi at "the station" cafe, back to the hotel to change rooms, head out by mini bus a dive center on the bay, arrange to do a check dive at noon, go out and purchase prescription lenses for mike, jump in the water around 13:00 with dive leader and a german (austrian?) couple in tow, have a nice shallow swim and see some fish and a moray eel, drop off equipment and make arrangements for the next day out on a dive boat, lunch on the beach, try unsuccessfully to buy an enclosure for jason's camera, taxi back to hotel, wash, laptop jam, cross road to cafe to use internet, sandwiches and italian soda for dinner, back to hotel and watch a bit of the twin towers, sleep
  • Sun Apr 9 - up at 07:00, breakfast at hotel, catch 07:45 bus to dive center, on the dive boat for about 09:00, do some nitrox instruction aboard, first dive is deep and do narcosis test and practice a rescue skill, have a bit of a swim along a reef wall, back on boat to enjoy the sun and have lunch, chat with fellow passengers including an english actress that will be presenting a show called "tribe wanted", second dive is shallow reef wall, joined in a group by claus (older german guy) and his young daughter nora, manage to surface on top of the reef (whoops!), get dragged back into the boat, pleasant ride back in past a rusty wreck, arrange next two days of dives, head to pleasant rooftop egyptian place for dinner, taxi back to hotel to bathe and sleep
  • Mon Apr 10 - up at 07:15 to read SSI nitrox book, breakfast at hotel, picked up at 08:45 and down to different docks, board boat and head out to ras mohammed park, do three dives including a cave and part of a wreck surrounded by toilets, back to dock late and transfer by crazy taxi to dive center, organize a few things there and buy DVD of day's diving, say goodbye to dive guide mohammed and head to town to drop off camera and get money and dine on tasty chinese/japanese soup, taxi to hotel and straight to bed
  • Tue Apr 11 - up at 05:30, picked up at 06:30, transfer to same dock as Mon, get on different dive boat, snooze while heading out to site of the thistlegorm wreck, breakfast on the boat, two dives on the wreck - one out and one in, lunch aboard, wait around while others do a third dive on the way back in, reach dock around 18:00, shuttle to dive center to get an idea of the size of the bill, so-so lebanese dinner in nama bay, back to hotel to watch a bit of TV and sleep
  • Wed Apr 12 - up at 08:00, mike finally showers after 2 days of stinking, leisurely outdoor breakfast at hotel, watch a bit of TV and finish off a DVD burn before heading across the way to use wireless at the cafe, mike has a skype with crowlins then jason gets synching stuff installed as his laptop is dead, both have a sandwich for lunch, back to hotel, relax by the pool and burn DVDs and watch TV, head out to Nama Bay and pay diving bill and get certification cards and paperwork sorted, swiss ice cream near the beach, dinner and sheesha with tea at rooftop camel bar, taxi back to hotel, watch TV while sorting more DVDs, sleep
  • Thu Apr 13 - up at 08:20, burn red sea diving DVD, al fresco breakfast by the pool, relax the morning away, mike goes across the way for tea and cake and wifi, return to hotel to back up, check out around 11:30 and taxi to bus station, leave sharm at 13:00, arrive in cairo around 18:30 with only one police stop to sniff the baggage, taxi from bus stop in cairo to airport, hang out in cafe to have dinner and pass the time until check in, board plane around 02:00 and in the air for 02:45

Photo Albums
Desert Trek

Video Clips
The Eclipse Dance
Bedouin Breakfast
Desert Trekkin'
The Camel Dance
Pretty Diving
Scary Diving