Dec 152009
A Sausagemonger, Two Cruise Captains, a Teacher, and Ko Lanta

When I returned to my table from the cafe bathroom, a sausage-monger had stolen my seat.

“Oh, sorry!” said the British chap, “Were you sitting here?”

But the table was big, so we both could stay. Even when the gentleman’s two British friends arrived five minutes later, it was a comfortable fit.

“You’re kidding, right?” I said, when the man introduced himself as Dave and explained he created sausage for money.

“Oh no, not kidding [...Read More!]

Dec 142009
The Ethics of Unemployment

Due to the Recession, many folks I know have been laid off and are now collecting Unemployment. It’s lucky that we live in a country with safety nets! But how, exactly, do the ethics of Unemployment Benefits work?

Last week I overheard the following conversation on a bus in Southern Thailand:

British Carpenter: “So what do you do for work back in the States?”

American Woman: “Nothing now, but I used [...Read More!]

Dec 132009
I'm Too Old for This! Ko Phi Phi versus Ko Lanta

The moment I set foot off Ko Phi Phi and onto the ferry to beautiful Ko Lanta, my fever eased and my heart relaxed. But the final night in Phi Phi was quite the debacle!

It was four o’clock in the morning in our Phi Phi hostel dorm. Our new roommate, Andres, had finally stopped vomiting and was now presumably passed out on the floor of the communal bathroom in some [...Read More!]

Dec 122009
The Trouble With Ko Phi Phi

On December 26, 2004, two giant tsunami waves smashed into the tiny island of Ko Phi Phi from opposite sides, meeting in the middle and killing an estimated four thousand locals and tourists.

Five years later, there are now “Tsunami Evacuation Route” signs and a Tsunami Memorial. But the main thing you notice about the island is its exploding tourism: specifically of the drunk and stumbling type.

For some folks this is heaven, [...Read More!]

Dec 112009
Bangkok to Bus to Bus to Boat to Phi Phi

Dengue fever is also known as “Bone Break Fever”. There is no prevention for it except to avoid mosquito bites, and there is no cure for it except to sleep.

As I excused myself from dinner with new friends on Ko Phi Phi last night and passed out on my dorm bed at nine pm, I was pretty sure I had a case of dengue, and bad.

But back up: how did this [...Read More!]

Dec 092009
A New Update on Around the World!

Thrilling changes are blossoming in “Around the World” World!

The first set of shifts comes in the realm of this “Around the World” website itself, and the second takes place within the actual global itinerary.

Take a look at this latest update, while simultaneously gazing at photos from Bangkok’s nutso-to-the-max Kaohsan Road!

Change Set #1: This site now has a fancy new name: !

Q: Stupendous! But… why the name change?

A: Turns out [...Read More!]

Dec 082009
Silver Linings of Viruses and Other Snags

I sincerely hope, as you read the title of this article, that you pictured a wee virus wearing a tiny coat lined with silver sequins.

Watch him prance around flamboyantly in his flashy outfit! Cute little guy.

That image just about sums up the series of snags and their silver sequin linings that occurred over my past twenty-four hours. Here’s an account of what happened.

Snag #1: Hanoi gave my computer diseases!

Last [...Read More!]

Dec 072009
Thailand Train: Yay! Another Holiday: Uh Oh...

In “Some Like it Hot”, the 1959 comedy ranked the #1 funniest movie of the past 100 years, Marilyn Monroe and her fellow busty “girl band” members have a rollicking party in the top bunk of a sleeper train.

Minute by minute, more ladies squeeze into the minuscule space, each hauling with them another batch of bootleg hooch and maraschino cherries. Poor Jack Lemmon is not only stuck in drag, but [...Read More!]

Dec 062009
Never Use the Word Bye in This Century

“Bye, Miss!!!!! Bye, Mister!!!!” students always holler at the end of each school year, throwing themselves on us teachers with melodramatic bear hugs.

“Not ‘Goodbye’!” I always scream, grabbing each student by the shoulders and looking them in the eye. “You never, ever need to lose touch with people you care about nowadays. I’ll stalk you forever on Facebook if you want!”

And I do. From Thailand, to Japan, [...Read More!]

Dec 052009
You Can't Go Wrong With Butter and Sugar

There’s a heck of a lot of squid for sale on the streets of Chiang Mai. But never fear! Other delicacies abound as well.

Here’s one you can even make home.

Boil fresh corn on the cob, inhaling its summer fragrance. When the corn is cooked, hoist a dripping cob out of the water and balance it end-up on a cutting board. Lift a gleaming silver knife and slice off the bright [...Read More!]