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Archive for March, 2007

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The Island

Saturday, March 31st, 2007

While in Hanoi, I made it a point to pick other traveller’s brains on where to head next.  Most people were going on tours of Halong Bay, and while an organized tour is a great way to see an area, I’m just not big on being herded around.  While reading my book on Vietnam, a little island called Cat Ba jumped out at me, and I just knew that’s where I wanted to go.

I bought a combined bus and ferry ticket, and even though the bus driver kicked me off the bus a good half hour from the dock (I was the only one left on the bus, and I think he just couldn’t be bothered), I managed to catch the ferry before it left.

The ferry I was on was much smaller than the one pictured below, which seemed to serve as a makeshift dock; we had to walk through the bigger ferry to jump on the smaller one.

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[read on]

Hangin’ In Hanoi

Thursday, March 29th, 2007

Although I spent four days in Hanoi,

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I didn’t really get around to actually doing much; what I wanted was to just sit for a few days and decompress, to chill out and relax with absolutely nothing at all on my schedule.
I did just that, but instead of finding myself in blissful relaxation like I imagined, I found myself almost completely quiet and withdrawn. I met many wonderful people in my short stay there, but I just couldn’t get into socializing, which is something I absolutely love.
Enter Rudy, a wiry, quirky New Yorker who has no qualms about breaking into a skip down the street if the mood so strikes him.
[read on]

A Sushi Lover’s Dream

Monday, March 26th, 2007

Here’s a video taken at a revolving sushi bar in Osaka where The Ig, myself, and Lincoln from Toronto gorged ourselves.

Heaven, absolute heaven…

Japan Grab Bag

Monday, March 26th, 2007

On our second night in Osaka, The Ig and I were itchin’ to go out and play some darts or pool.  I’d heard a couple guys talking about a pub they’d been to the night before, and so I asked if they were going again that night.

“No,” Baudewijn said, “we’re going to karoke.”

I laughed in surprise and said, “Karoke?!  Are you serious?”

I just couldn’t imagine these four young guys sitting in a private room signing on a hot Saturday night.

“Yeah,” he said, “you can’t come to Japan and not go to karoke at least once!”

He invited us to tag along, and I hemmed and hawed about it; karoke is about on the same spot of my favorites list along with say, pulling my neck muscle barfing.

[read on]

Will Work For Food, Part Deux

Friday, March 23rd, 2007

Although the sign I’m holding in the previously posted photo says, “Kobe”,

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working for food was literally what my friend Baudewijn and I were doing; an active hitchhiker, Baudewijn let me tag along to Kobe, where we intended to indulge ourselves in a little of the world-renown Kobe beef.

Standing near the entrance to the freeway, it wasn’t long before a carload of young people stopped and gave us a ride.

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[read on]

Goodnight Irene

Monday, March 19th, 2007

Wallnut Ig here, folks. One last time. Tomorrow Jamie and Adventure Turtle will pack up and head for parts unknown, a tale that they will will have to relate to you as it unfolds.

I am squandering my last few days overseas here in Osaka, with possible side trips, but for the sake of the GreatWallNut, my part is done. I must confess, I am having some mixed feelings. On the one hand, I am anxious to get home and see my friends and family, settle into a new apartment and return to a relatively normal (for me) life. On the other, I have spent the better part of the last year thinking about getting to the end of the hike, and now the end seems to have come far too soon.

I have been thinking, which is hard for me, and I often have to wait if Jamie is using our brain for other thoughts, about the last year. I have some pretty vivid memories of just about every day. Except a few that involved tequila, those are fuzzy.

All in all, this has been a great year. I’d like to thank everyone who has followed along with us, your comments and good thoughts really kept us going through all the difficult times. Some of you I will see soon, some of I look forward to meeting one day, and some of you I probably will never meet. Thank you all, just the same. It has been an absolute joy for me to be here.

It is with considerable sadness that I say good-bye to Jamie, Adventure Turtle, and all of you.

Shibble be with you all.

Wallnut Ig

I really am going to miss that turtle.

Whoops…

Sunday, March 18th, 2007

Just found another batch of sumo pics in a different folder, so I created a random photos page under “Sumo”.

They’re close-ups–WOOT!

SumoSonic!

Sunday, March 18th, 2007

It was last May when The Ig started watching sumo on the tube while stuck in Beijing waiting on our visas. 

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At first I snickered at him for his new fascination with big guys in thongs, but it wasn’t long before I found myself sucked in and jonsin’ for the next match as well.  And A.T.?  He’s just as hooked.

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Most of the rules and rituals were a mystery to us, but it didn’t matter; they stomped, they squatted, they pushed each other around, and they did all this seemingly oblivious to the fact they were almost completely nekkid.

Now however, we have a bit of an understanding of what’s going down in the dohyo (sumo ring).

[read on]

Will Work For Food

Friday, March 16th, 2007

Guess what I did today?

jamie_wil_naar_kobe[1].jpg

And guess what song’s been continuously looping on the daily playlist in my mind? Hint; yesh, it has something to do with the country I’m currently in.
Ooooooh what I wouldn’t give to have the circus music back!

Straight From The Locker Room

Thursday, March 15th, 2007

The video of the day.