Category Archives: Travel

National meet the trouser snake day

Several civil rights organizations are putting together an “Opt Out” protest for the day before Thanksgiving this year.  They are encouraging everyone to opt out of the backscatter imaging and take the pat down instead.  This is going to create CHAOS!  Can you just imagine what the lines will be like at the airports?  They’ll go on for miles.  The Frog and I found the perfect solution.  All the men going in for this search should wear kilts.  Yup kilts.  If they go commando, they can just lift it up and flash TSA the goods.

“If you touch my junk, I’ll have you arrested”

Those are the famous last words of John Tyner 31, a passenger flying out of San Diego. He had refused to pass through TSA’s new scattershot imaging machine.  Instead, he agreed to a pat down, but as the procedure of his impending groin search was being described, Mr. Tyner uttered the immortal words above.  And got thrown out of the airport.  All I can say is I want to meet this guy and shake his hand!  I realize that last Christmas we had an underwear bomber and we have to have safety procedures in place, but the search they described just sounds, well invasive.  What’s next?  Cavity search?  Glad I’m not flying this holiday season.

Stuck in traffic for a month?!

I read this story today about a 9 day traffic jam in China.  9 days.  Can you imagine?  It seems some construction work gummed up the freeway and now trucks and cars are stranded until Sept. 13th.  Yes, Sept. 13th.  That’s with the assistance of 400 police officers.  Sounds like they’ll never untangle the snarl.  Me, I can’t even get my mind around being stuck in traffic for a month.  Time to stop complaining how bad traffic is here!

PotUS goes swimming, photogs banned

President Obama announced that he will be swimming on Florida’s Gulf Coast this weekend.  He won’t take press though because ostensibly he was photographed shirtless in the past and wound up on the cover of several magazines.  Now I have to say if I never see another president in his bathing suit that would be just fine with me.  However, I think he’s being disingenuous on this one.  He banned the paparazzi not because of shyness, but to avoid having someone photograph him floating amongst the tar balls.  What do you think?

You don’t have to be a drug lord to travel like one

The (a perennial Ragebot favorite), clued us in to this genius TSA tomenting trick.  It’s stickers!  You love stickers, remember?  Well at least you did as a kid.  Now you can take your $500+, cherry red, 22″, bin-friendly Victorinox bag to the next level by slapping a sticker on the front with a gagged and bound woman inside.  Funny, right?  The Cheeky thinks so.  In fact they also provide stickers for drug runners, money launderers and sex toy addicts.  I’m thinking they should expand into a sticker for human traffickers.  You’d buy it right?

Not A Bailout…Really!

I am the first one to say that this industry does not want or need bailouts. But this crisis is not the result of running our business badly. … Governments should help carriers recover the cost of this disruption.

— IATA Chief, Giovanni Bisignani

When airlines step up and help their passengers recover the costs they’ve incurred due to this “disruption”, then and only then do airlines get to start whining about a government bailout!

— Kvatch

Icelanders finally have revenge for economic meltdown

Reykjavik (f-A-k-e. P.)

“Call my loans bitches, I’ve got volcanoes you don’t even know about!”

~ Iceland

Europe has spent the week in travel chaos as a giant Icelandic cloud of ash has cast a pall over 22 countries grounding up to 17,000 flights a day.  The Eyjafjallajokull volcano started to erupt just over a week ago.  European media has speculated that the normally dormant volcano was brought to life by smoldering Icelandic outrage over Europe calling it’s loans, leading to the current deep recession.  Icelandic officials were reached for comment, but no one understood a word they said.  It is hoped that sister volcano Katla won’t fall prey to the same anger.  If it does it could start a domino effect of volcanic eruptions eventually burying Europe under the same dark cloud that now hangs over the Icelandic economy.

Dispatches From South America – Street Commerce

Though I suspect that it’s a wonderful system for selling goods—low overhead, more exposure than being stuck in a shop—the collection of odd things that we’ve seen being sold on the streets of Quito is pretty amazing. Here’s a sample:

Breakfast trays
Clothes pins
Auto parts (hub caps, mirros, etc…)
Packages of empanadas
Hats for dogs (modeled by a dog!)
Coat trees
Remotes for just about any device you can think of

…and the personal favorite:

TV antennas

More ‘Dispatches From South America’

Dispatches from South America – ‘No Remedias Para Usted’

So…it was bound to happen. It might have been something I ate. Perhaps I wasn’t quite as careful with the tap water as I should have been. Or, maybe it was those damned bus fumes combined with the thin air…

…but just as I returned to Ecuador from a week in Peru, I got sick as a dog. For three days I felt like I was having an acute asthma attack combined with nausea from hell. Body aches? Oh yeah. Fever? Yup… ’bout 100 F for at least 24 hours. So, not wanting to infect anybody else, I pretty much took to my bed and did a lot of sleeping. But I also trekked with the Frogette down to Farmacia Fybeca to try and obtain an over-the-counter “remedia” for my body-aches and cough. You know, something like Actifed or Tylenol Cold and Sinus. And what did we discover at our favorite pharmacy? You can’t get anything in Ecuador without a prescription, not even basic cough suppressants.

Now I’m not sure if this is the case all over South America (hopefully not), but it seems like a pretty short-sighted policy to me. Consider that H1N1 spread faster in South America than just about anywhere in the world, a problem that could have been mitigated by having easy access to standard over-the-counter remedies. I mean, let’s face it, in a country where nobody…and I mean nobody…covers their mouths when they sneeze or cough, the one sure way to keep an airborne virus down is to make sure nobody *HAS* to cough.

More ‘Dispatches From South America’

Dispatches From South America – Water Issues

I suspect that, even in the US, there are many places where the availability potable water is an issue, but of course I’ve never lived in one. Consequently, it never occurred to me that I’d have to deal with the fact that, “…you can’t drink the water.”

This is no joke. Quito is bad. You can bathe in the water that comes from the tap, provided you don’t have any open cuts on your body, but you sure as sh*t can’t drink it or even brush your teeth with it. On the other hand, Quito is pretty high up in the Andes and close to its water sources. We don’t ever see the water turn a funny color like it did in Cusco (Peru), and Quito’s water doesn’t stink like the water in Lima. But consider Guayaquil, Ecuador’s most populous city and on the coast to boot. They’ve got real problems. You can’t drink the water there. You can’t cook with it, and some guidebooks recommend not bathing in it. Though I have no idea how you’d manage that.

So what’s our life like here where the water isn’t potable? Well…mostly we boil water…a lot of water…three or four times a day. In fact, we boil the CR*P out of it because at 9,500 ft. water boils readily but not effectively when sterilization is the goal. And we haul water, lots of water, in 5 liter jugs, uphill (both ways!) from the local mercado. And despite all the precautions, both the Frogette and I have had a bout of stomach flu in our 5 weeks south of the equator. Was it the water? Who really knows, but it’s the most likely culprit. Gives me a whole new appreciation of how lucky most people in the US have it where water is concerned.

More ‘Dispatches From South America’