Travel Tales #7 – Living With the Landlord from Hell

Everyone at some point in their life has experienced a bad roommate, difficulty living with a parent, or like this situation, a landlord from hell. Rules of three for comedy.

I’ve had my share of not so ideal situations, but nothing even comes close to the first place I lived in New Zealand. I actually tried to write this very article a few months ago, and while I can look back and laugh now, it made me so mad at the time, I just erased everything and decided against it. I just didn’t want all that negativity on here, but I’m over it now so it’s time to share. This is not a warning, as I am sure this lady is just nuts, but I hope we can at least laugh about this together now that it is deep in the past. Read more

Travel Tales #6 – I Really Wanted to Hate Thailand, But I Don’t

“I am not going to like Thailand”

I thought to myself. In many ways, my idea of the over-developed country and the fact that you couldn’t go five minutes without seeing a foreigner did materialize and made Thailand as ‘on the beaten track’ as expected. When a place is too saturated with tourism, the ugly demon of commerce and greed consume the population as they find ways to make money off of unsuspecting tourist. The culture changes and the sense of human kindness is lost, or so , this is what I always thought. Thailand changed my mind, and the Thai people came through like I never would have imagined.

A bit much?
A bit much?

After Sidney joined me late July of this year to continue what began as a solo SE Asia trip, we decided to go straight to the beach. Koh Chang was highly recommended and the elephant island did not disappoint. Then came a string of bad luck.


The Trouble with Scooters

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Travel Tales #5: The Biggest 2014 Countdown Fail (Vid)

New Year’s Day is one of the few holidays where I make a big deal. I always wonder where I will spend the countdown and am sure not to be late. Last year, I recorded the countdown in Taipei, Taiwan in front of the Taipei 101 building, which was quite a fantastic experience. Unfortunately though, being 20 minutes early was not good enough and we got a pretty crummy spots. Nevertheless, it was still amazing to see fireworks shoot out of the second tallest building in the world.

This year, I was determined not to repeat the same mistake. Given that it was my last year in Korea, we wanted to watch the ringing of the Bosingak Bell in downtown Seoul. In ancient times, this was the bell that signified the opening and closing of the Seoul Wall, and in modern times, it is used solely to ring in the New Year. You can think of it like the crystal ball falling in New York City. Sidney and I scouted the area the day before and I even showed up 6 hours early the day of. It was completely unnecessary and it was cold, but we were still in good spirits. An hour before midnight, they let us get a little closer, and we actually got a pretty good view. Everything was set, and I hit record exactly one minute before 2014. THIS IS WHAT HAPPENED!!!! Countdown Fail…

Travel Tales #4: Stuck in Beijing For 3 Days

What is the longest delay you have ever had? 4 hours? 8 hours? How about three full days without money, knowledge of where you are, means of communicating with the outside world, and no local around who can understand you? In retrospect, I took one of my first travel crises quite well for a newbie traveler!

Let me paint the picture for you. The events depicted in my post “Getting Scammed in Xian” had a lot more going on than I led on so let me continue the story. After finally seeing the Terracotta Army, I went on with my trip to Lijiang and then Chengdu. When vacation time was over, I had to return to Korea, as I had just started my first year teaching English in the tiny town of Daejeon. There was one little thing that stood in the way though, a 5 hour layover in Beijing, one of the worse worst airports in the world. (Edit of typo: courtesy of Grammar Nazi Dave Yuhas) Read more

Travel Tales #3 – Getting Scammed in Xian, China

Like the old saying goes, “Whatever doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.” I always thought that was a dumb saying as poison or disease might not kill me, but it definitely doesn’t make me stronger. However, I think what the saying is trying to teach is that the experience we gain from a conquered crisis will indeed make us mentally stronger in future situations. That is of course, if it doesn’t kill you! Alas, just like Beijing a few months later, I was previously scammed in Xi’an, China.

Xi’an, China is a wonderful historical city, famous for its 12-meter-tall city walls that surround the town till this very day. While there are lots of cool things to see here, most people come with one main site on their mind, the Mausoleum of the first Qin Emperor, also known as the Terracotta Army of Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China. With this, however, comes a horde of scammers Read more