Japan

The era of the “Gaijin Bump” is coming to a close

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One of the prize games in Japanese arcades is a variation of the quarter games you sometimes find in American carnivals. The concept is to push a stack of goodies over a ledge into a bin that you open during play. Like many well-designed, profitable, and therefore infuriating prize games, the game provides an illusion […]

South Korea

Ejected from Meerkat and Friends

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Cat cafes are nothing new in Tokyo and have existed since at least the turn of the century. We’ve visited a couple of them. The concept has also grown popular in a number of other large East Asian cities. In terms of uniqueness as a business model, it’s possible that cat cafes have become a […]

Japan

Tokyo For The Kindergarten Set

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Once again, catching up on the last trip, right before we head out on another. This is a picture gallery from a family trip to Tokyo last fall. After touring Taipei for a few days, we spent about a week in Tokyo. As usual… long aimless days and no time to post any updates. The […]

Japan

The Hottest Collectible Balls of Early 2017

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Ok look… better late than never on this post. We’re about to start on a new trip, so, you know, now is the time to finish posting from the last one. Seriously though, I’ve said it before, and it’s still true: Every time we visit Japan we end up staying in smaller and smaller areas […]

Thailand

A Normal Vacation in Koh Phangan

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Beach resorts haven’t been our usual destination, but this wasn’t our first visit to one either. Our trip to Thailand five years ago ran a circuit through Bangkok temples and included a visit to play with tigers in Kanchanaburi. This was our first visit to a Thai beach. The steps to arrive at Koh Phangan […]

France

La Goutte d’Or en Paris

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We’re not breaking any new ground in this part of our trip. In particular, the tourist circuit in Paris has mostly been a repeat for Martha, bringing me up to speed with her. We stayed in the “Drop of Gold” quarter near Gare du Nord. I would describe the area as a charming and multicultural […]

Portugal

Lisbon City Center

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Today was our last full day in Portugal and we spent it leisurely touring the downtown area around our apartment. We visited a church in which the roof collapsed, killing everyone inside (Carmo Convent) during the earthquake that practically leveled Lisbon in 1755. Near that church is an elevator where you can reach a viewing […]

Portugal

Grottos and Castles in Sintra

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So we slept in a bit and didn’t get out until late morning… I think we’re reset at this point on our sleep schedule. We went to a different part of the train station for the longer distance trains to head about 45 minutes outside of Lisbon to an historic area called Sintra. The ticket […]

Portugal

A Truly Shameless Passenger

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I enjoy passenger shaming as much as anyone. I might even go so far as to say that the process is sometimes one of the enjoyable facets of travel, in particular during group transit periods. The thing is, brazenly snapping pictures of brazenly bad behavior is a risky proposition when you’re trapped in a high-altitude, […]

Japan

Snapshots in Tokyo

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What draws us back to Japan again and again is difficult to pin down. It’s certainly not the sights. To be sure, there are beautiful shrines and temples in Kyoto, sweeping views that span Lake Kawaguchiko to the Pacific Ocean atop Mt. Fuji, and beautiful parks around Tokyo. But if revisiting seemingly postcard-perfect attractions were […]

Egypt

Vacating Cairo

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Early flight today from Luxor to Cairo… an even earlier flight tomorrow from Cairo back to home. The flight from Luxor seems like it’s over as soon as it starts. When an attendant woke me to bring my seat back up it felt like I’d just nodded off for a minute, but we were already […]

Egypt

The Gate Room in Abydos

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We had every intention of getting pictures of the Stargate in Abydos, but unsurprisingly they don’t allow cameras in the gate room. Seriously though, both the movie and the series neglected to mention the touts and hustlers in the local village there. We did have a good time though and Abydos and Dendera are both […]

Egypt

Luxor West Bank

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Breakfast at the Sheraton was a reminder of the state of tourism here. We booked a “club level” room, essentially as a value proposition: it includes Internet, breakfast, cocktails and amenities for a nominal amount extra. At the moment, it would appear we are the ONLY guests on this level. There is a concierge responsible […]

Egypt

Tourist Ghost Town

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We headed to the Cairo airport today bright and early and arrived in Luxor around lunchtime. Domestic service on Egypt Air was convenient and uneventful. Luxor definitely is a change of pace from Cairo, with a much more small town feel to the place. It’s clear that the economy of Luxor relies far more heavily […]