I originally started this site as a travel blog but it has since taken on a life of its own and I write about whatever comes to mind. Politics, culture, my experiences around the world and in my own country. Feel free to follow me and leave comments!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Bucket List #6 - Oceania

Here we go. The last installment in the Bucket List series. I know you’ve been waiting with bated breath.

Sydney, Australia

I always did like Australia. Sydney has tons of things to see and do and is home to many different cultures. The largest groups being from the UK, China, New Zealand and Vietnam.

Brisbane, Australia

With lots of museums and cultural attractions like Story Bridge and Kangaroo Point, Brisbane has no shortage of activities to keep you busy. There’s even a red light district called Fortitude Valley if you’re into that kind of stuff.

Outback, Australia

I’d like to go on a walkabout (is that how you spell it?) I’ll tame a family of dingoes and choke out a croc or two.

New Zealand

NZ has native cultures like the Maori who I find very interesting but I’m all about the scenery. It looks so epic!


Tropical paradise! Again, I find the island’s scenery and beaches to be very beautiful.

Papua New Guinea

Some parts of New Guinea are like snapshots from a dream vacation while others are swampy death traps loaded with alligators and venomous snakes. Good thing for me I’m the adventurous type.

Christmas Island

Home to rich biodiversity, Christmas Island is host to the infamous Coconut Crap. Don’t let one get a hold of you or it’s game over.


I don’t think you could find a vacation spot further away from the world. Diving and coral reef tourism are the main attractions here.


Like Fiji, environmental tourism is the main money maker. There are several smaller islands to see or you can just chill on the beach or go snorkeling/diving.

Solomon Islands

A poor country in terms of wealth, however it is rich in wildlife and culture which earns it a spot on my list.

That’s it! I’m done! Thanks to all the cool people you stuck with me on this endeavor.

Travel in China,

Friday, May 27, 2011

Macau: City in the Mist

Jen, her mom and aunt, and myself had to wake up super early to get to the station on time to catch our bus that ended up being 2 hours late. The weather had suddenly gone from a pleasant 70 degrees (21 Celsius) to a biting 38 degrees (3 Celsius)! In the jungle! And it was rainy and windy. After a quick bus trip to Zhuhai, I guess that’s where we were, we had to switch buses in an underground tunnel and go to immigration. After that nightmare we took a shuttle to our casino hotel, The New Century Greek.

Let me tell you about the New Century. It’s probably the crappiest upscale hotel I’ve ever stayed at. Its theme was ancient Greece which I thought was awesome at first until I started noticing that some of the decorations were falling into disrepair. Our room was supposed to be ready at 2pm but we ended up having to wait until 4:30 and when I started getting shitty about it the customer service guy still didn’t have an acceptable explanation. So I played it cool. I walked into the bathroom, took care of my business, broke the toilet (It was an accident!), there was a huge mess. I didn’t tell anyone about it and joined Jen in the sitting area of the lobby. About 5 minutes later a bunch of hotel staff go running to the bathroom and soon come out holding their noses and cursing in Chinese. That’ll teach them to be late with a foreigner’s room! The gambling hall was also kind of lame. It was really small and didn’t have much variety in terms of games. I also noticed that most of the bouncers were Indians who spoke English. One of them even made Jen show her ID. Ha!

We went to a free lunch buffet at the New Century which would have been good if the Chinese chefs hadn’t tried to copy western food. The spaghetti was alright but it didn’t have that Italian taste to it. Coming from a partially Italian family, I know how to do spaghetti right and this wasn’t it. It was a funny sight though. The foreigner was eating all the Chinese food and the Chinese people were eating all the foreign food. After that we went to The Sands which was about 100 times cooler than New Century. We ended up ditching Jen’s mom and aunt, who were only staying for the day, and we went walking around outside. I’m not a huge gambler. Personally, I think it’s a waste of money. We walked into a bunch of the attractions, most were smaller hotels with different themes. One was a Roman town and another was a volcano with an arcade on the bottom floor. I’m a huge Gundam nerd and there was a shooting game for it that I absolutely destroyed. Jen was awestruck by my lightning fast reflexes!
After that we took a taxi to the Ruins of St. Paul’s Cathedral which was spectacular. The cab dropped us off a few blocks away and we walked through the lighted market district. There were hundreds of people milling around, even a few couples taking wedding photos. Jen and I went up the stairs behind the cathedral’s façade and tossed coins in the windows for good luck. We went into the crypts downstairs and saw the holy relics and other artifacts. Really interesting stuff! I highly recommend it. Then we went back into the market and bought some kind of pressed meat. It came in different kinds like beef, pork, PIGLET, chicken, and some weirder stuff. Jen bought piglet. Ugh. It tasted good but I feel weird about eating a baby creature that didn’t even get a chance at life. Maybe I’m too soft-hearted when it comes to animals.

We walked from the cathedral to an old Portuguese fortress museum and then somehow ended up at the Venetian hotel for dinner. We found one of those Japanese restaurants where they cook on the grill in front of you. Jen ordered some chicken while I was adventurous and ordered prawn. It was a horrifying experience. When I think of prawn I think of little shrimp. These prawn were almost as long as my forearm. Practically a lobster. I freaked out when the cooks, who just so happened to be two young, attractive ladies, cut the heads off my prawn and they proceeded to giggle and called me a “cute laowai.” Jen didn’t really dig her food so I took her to the Häagen-Dazs ice cream shop. Oh my God. That was the most amazing ice cream I’ve ever had in my life. It’s like an art form! It was getting a little late so we headed back to the hotel and crashed for the night. Giggity. ;)

We bounced at noon and had to kill time until 7:30 when our bus would be leaving from Zhuhai. We checked out MGM, the Grand Emperor, A-Ma Temple, the Maritime Museum next to it, and the Statue of Guan-Yin. By the time we had to go we were both exhausted. I think I fell asleep on the shuttle to Zhuhai, hustled my way through immigration and then we got to wait in the cold for our bus which got held up because one of the passengers was late. But lucky me! There were 2 other white guys on the bus and everyone assumed that because we were white and each had our own Chinese girl that we were best friends. Bleh. And I’ve never seen so many beggars in one place before. There was an old lady who I guess was blind, or pretending to be, and there was a dude with one leg. I almost gave him some money but then I figured if the others saw me do that they’d swarm me. We got home late that night and slept super late. I even slept through the loud Chinese Chess games that happen outside the window all day.

What did I learn on my trip? Smog and fog combine to make a dreary vacation. The New Century Hotel is a piece of crap. Macau in general is awesome. Prostitutes use business cards there and throw them all over the place. Jen is the coolest girl in the world. That’s about it.

Travel in China,

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Tintorera: Killer Shark (1977)

Where do I even begin with this film? Italian films from this era usually aren’t very good by most people’s standards but this one is in a whole other league. I’ll admit, the first time I watched this movie I hated it for about a half an hour before it started to grow on me, even when it started to get really weird.

Here’s a rundown of the plot. The movie is set on an unnamed Cancun-ish Mexican island in the Caribbean and a rich guy named Steven comes and stays on a fancy party yacht. He takes up spear fishing and goes out with one of the locals to fish for sharks. He meets Gabriella, they have sex and hang out, he starts to get feelings for her so she leaves him and hooks up with the island’s playboy, Miguel. They have sex, she changes her mind and goes for a morning swim to clear her head when she gets horribly devoured by Tintorera, a large tiger shark. Later, Steven confronts Miguel about her whereabouts. Neither knows where she is and they end up becoming bros. They go to parties, pick up chicks and have crazy group sex on Steven’s boat. Aside from the occasional boobage there’s not really any graphic sex scenes.

Blah blah blah boring stuff. Steven and Miguel start a shark hunting business and eventually meet up with this chick named Patricia. They go to the yacht and have a threesome. They come to an agreement to share each other or something weird. Polyandry is what it’s called. Gross! I could never have someone’s sloppy seconds. Anyway, the next time they all go shark hunting Tintorera appears and eats Miguel. Steven is depressed and Patricia goes back home. Steven vows revenge and leads a hunt to kill all the sharks in the area but Tintorera eats some fishermen because he’s a big balla like that.

Steven goes to a beach party and picks up a bunch of people to go have wild “feel better” sex on his boat and they’re like, “Hey! I know there’s a man-eating shark around here but let’s swim to the boat anyway!” So guess who shows up? Tintorera! This is the scene that totally makes the movie worth sitting through. Tintorera, like a dark, avenging angel, comes to punish these young people for their promiscuous and impure ways. It’s a total bloodbath and I was enraptured but the gory special effects. I’m also really freaked out by the thought of being eaten alive so I couldn’t help but groan a few times as I saw hot women get torn apart. Steven goes to kill the shark himself and after getting his arm chomped off, manages to slay the shark. The movie ends with him in a hospital bed thinking about Miguel and Gabriella.

This movie uses real sharks and depicts actual spear fishing. Animals are actually killed on camera so that might turn off a lot of people. Keep in mind though; this movie is almost 35 years old. I thought the whole we’re gonna share a woman thing was kind of gross but that’s just me. After a while though I warmed up to the characters and I thought the whole “eternal tropical vacation” lifestyle the film tried to depict was cool and I really did feel bad for Steven during the montage at the end. The recurring theme in the film is that there is no happiness forever.

Now, as a fan of Italian cinema, I’m inclined to give Tintorera a C+ for being slow and having a retarded story. The main thing I didn’t like was that the film was maybe only 20% about the shark. I think I'm also going to have nightmares after seeing Steven butt naked and wearing only an apron. But on the other hand I’m inclined to give it a B- for effort, the shark effects, and the setting. You can see it for yourself on Netflix here. Do you agree with me? Disagree? Let me know!

Travel in China,

Monday, May 23, 2011

PLA Propaganda

I found this video I thought was rad enough that I would take the time to share with you guys. It's a mash up of a bunch of 70's propaganda films. I think it's mildly impressive. ;)

Not bad, huh? Who cares if they're just drill teams who drill all day and don't do anything else. And they teach Kung Fu to their people? That's cool but it doesn't really help when people are blasting each other from a mile away. But whatever. Job well done.

Travel in China,

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The 10 Hottest Women on the Planet

In case you've been living under a rock for the last week or two, Maxim's new issue came out with a list of the 100 most beautiful women in the world. I disagreed with it vehemently so I thought I'd do a post to set the record straight.

10. Gemma Arterton- British, 25

9. Emmy Rossum- American, 24

8. Jessica Biel- American, 29

7. Gong Li- Chinese, 45

6. Maggie Q- American, 31

5. Stacey Dash- American, 45

4. Yuri Kwon- South Korean, 21

3. Nicole Scherzinger- American, 32

2. Salma Hayek- Mexican, 44

1. Lijuan Chen (Jen)- Chinese, 23

Of course Jen was going to be number one! ;-) It was tough to narrow it down to just 10 ladies but I was willing to endure the pain. Who do you think should have made the list? Holla back at me!

Travel in China,

Thursday, May 19, 2011

5 TV Shows I'm Hooked On

The Office (US)
After I started getting tired of Family Guy, a friend of mine recommended The Office. I typically don’t watch cable and almost never watch popular shows simply because I think that most of them are terrible. I was sick and bored one day so I decided to give the show a chance. It’s fantastic. The first few episodes are a little slow but it picks up and the actors are hilarious. It was easy to identify with because I worked with people just like the guys from the show. If you haven’t seen it then you really should consider watching a few episodes. Six seasons are available right now on Netflix instant play.

Lost Tapes
This show is on Animal Planet but it should be on Sci-Fi. Each episode deals with a cryptozoological animal like Bigfoot or the Jersey Devil. And it’s done through the “found footage” style of film making where sometimes the people get killed by a creature and the cops find the film and make a documentary out of it. Get it? At first it might come off as campy but I’m very interested in the subject matter and it does have some legitimate scary moments. It’s worth looking into if you’re into the paranormal and pseudoscience. The first season is available on Netflix instant play.

River Monsters
Awesome show. This guy is like the dude from Man vs Wild except he’s a fisherman. A lot of the time he goes to some of the most dangerous areas all just to catch rare fish. Fish that are huge, dangerous, or huge AND dangerous. This show is way better than that crap fishing channel my dad watches. I think the whole show is on NF instant play.

I originally wasn’t interested in this show because I think Dexter is the second most unattractive name in the English language after Keith. I know it’s a stupid reason but I don’t care. Anyway, this show is fantastic. Full of blood and guts with plenty of plot twists. It’s about a murderer who murders murderers who escape justice for murdering. Can’t you just imagine how awesome that could be? I think the first 2 seasons are on NF instant play.

Kenny vs Spenny
This show is grotesque, juvenile, disgusting and ridiculous and I love it. It’s these two guys who are apparently best friends even though they hate each other most of the time. Kenny is the diabolical genius and Spenny is the little bitch who usually gets duped. Some of the competitions they do are who can blow the biggest fart, who can stay awake the longest and who can produce the most semen. Yeah. The third or fourth season is on NF instant play but you can watch almost all the episodes here for free. Your welcome.

Travel in China,

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Possible Alien Encounter???

I know that sounds strange and most of the people who read this are probably rolling their eyes. I’ve had this mark on my arm, what looks to me like a burn scar, for the past couple weeks. I don’t remember burning myself. And believe me, I would remember. I tolerate cuts and bruises no problem but I whine my ass off over a burn. I was lying in bed last night and just happened to touch the “burn.” For some reason I started thinking about aliens. I daydream ALL the time so that’s not very unusual. And then I remembered a show about alien abduction I had seen a while ago about a guy who claimed to have had experiences with extraterrestrials . In it, he undergoes surgery to remove something that’s been causing him discomfort and what they pull out is a bizarre piece of metal composed of elements not known on Earth. I looked at the strange mark on my arm and flipped my shit. I tried to rationalize it and explain it away. It doesn’t hurt like a burn is supposed to. It isn’t a ringworm. It isn’t Lyme disease. It isn’t a rash or anything.

So as I went through my closet at 3am looking for my 30 year old metal detector, I tried to think about why aliens would want to put something inside me (no homo) and I remembered a little spat I got into with some UFO fanatics a while back. There’s a forum for UFO believers to share their tales or express hopes for meeting aliens one day. I was just looking up alien stuff to satisfy my momentary curiosity on the subject. I clicked on a topic regarding Nordic aliens.
Aryans from space.

There was this guy tooting his own horn about how he had all these experiences with them and these other people who stroked his ego by acting all impressed. The guy, let’s call him Dbag, was totally insufferable so I started trollin’. I reamed him. Hard. Dbag said, and I quote, “I’ve been implanted in my brain. The Nords can see what you said and they don’t like it.” This inevitably brought about more trollin’ until I got banned from the forums. Did the aliens actually get mad because I was bustin’ their boys balls? Who knows? It's probably just a bunch of hippity hoopla about nothing. I’ll update as the situation develops. In the meantime check out the world famous abductee Antonio Villas Boas. A Brazilian would be so lucky. I’m sure that story inspired an entire generation of crazy pornos. Peace out!

Travel in China,

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Adventures in Guangzhou

In the days after we got back from Zengcheng, Jen and I took some time to explore some of the new attractions in Guangzhou. I was very impressed! China doesn’t fool around when it comes to museums. Most of them were free, even for me. I just had to show my passport. I’m sad to say that I don’t know the name of the really big museum we went to off the top of my head. It was pretty close to Guangzhou Tower though. That was the first time I had ever seen a dinosaur skeleton in person. Pretty cool stuff. It had several exhibits including guilt wood carving, precious gems, natural history and geology. I thought it was nice how varied everything was. Totally worth the hour and a half wait outside in the heat. They would only let about 100 people in every 15 minutes and they would run up to the ticket booth to get ahead of everyone else. I’m really competitive so I made sure we got close to the front. I sort of had to drag Jen behind me though. Whoopsie daisies.

We also went to several temples. One of them was only accessible by a narrow street and sitting along this street were several beggars. One of them was the fattest beggar I’ve ever seen. I managed to snap a photo.

They asked for money and I was like “No, no, no” just kind of smiled and shook my head. They were cool about it. We went inside the temple and I gotta say, I have a thing for Chinese temples. I like the architecture, the statues and art, and the vibe. Every temple I went to I tried to mingle with the monks. They were all good sports and even the most unfriendly looking guys I talked to were actually ok people. On the way out one of the beggars said hello to me in English. I was like, “Ummm. Hello.” And they all thrust there bowls out at me and started saying hello. “Hello!” “Hello!” “Hello! Give me money!” Jen freaked and pulled me away quickly but I wasn’t too weirded out.

One night we went walking on the waterfront. I was on a secret mission for sugar cane. If you haven’t had it you need go buy some right now. We came across a group of Indian/Pakistani/Bangledeshi/Nepalese/whatever. Let’s just call them Indian for clarity. It looked like a family of street peddlers. They were selling the usual stuff like bracelets and trinkets. I gave them a passing glace went back to talking with Jen. One of the girls cam up to us and asked us to buy flowers. We said no and tried to walk around her but she kept stepping in our way and holding the flowers out at us. THIS freaked me out. The girl grabbed onto Jen’s jacket and did that kneeling in the way bullshit. If you’ve been to China then you’re probably familiar with it. I tried to pry the girl off but couldn’t get a good grip. So I raised my fist like I was going to punch her and said in a beastly Conan the Barbarian-like voice, “BACK THE FUCK UP OR I’M GONNA TO BEAT THE SHIT OUTTA YOU!” Now whether it was my raised fist or the monstrous tone of my voice I don’t know but she bolted. Then we bounced and Jen gave me the rundown of what you’re supposed to say and do in a situation like that. And I felt a little bad for talking like that in front of Jen. I try to watch my language, believe it or not!

After that brush with extreme poverty we went for a ride on a 2-seated bicycle. I love these things. But every time we go it’s always me peddling. Jen gets tired and then stops peddling without telling me. :-/ There’s usually something going on by the river so stopped and watched ballroom dancing lessons and something else. It was a bunch of middle aged ladies doing some kind of play I guess. Then we went home and prepared ourselves for the awesomeness that is Macau.

Travel in China,