Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

I’m not shy about trying new food, even if I’m not quite as brave as I like to think I am. When I traveled to the Philippines last year it was hard to find authentic Filipino dishes, but we found a few and I definitely tried most of them. I got more adventurous in Vietnam and tried a lot of Pho at restaurants and roadside stands, and other random food items at roadside stands and carts. Sometimes just a rice flour dumpling kind of deal, sometimes a former animal on a stick. So when I travel, I like to try the food. I knew going into this work trip to India that I wasn’t a big fan of Indian food. I’d had it a few times in Denver and it always seemed weirdly bland, and wholly undifferentiated from itself. Ordering lamb or chicken or beef with varying degrees of spice always yielded a plate that looked exactly like all the others. (more…)

India is a male dominated culture. I knew that going in, but to actually experience it is another thing. I figured women were second class, men were valued more, and men were respected more. From what I’ve read and experienced that’s kind of true, but it’s not so overt as that — though it must be noted that where I’m spending my days is either at the hotel or at the office. The office is filled with smart, educated and progressive folks. The way I’m seeing male dominance expressed is so “subtle”, almost underhanded so that it feels unintentional. (more…)

In America, and a few other countries ’round the globe, we drive on the right side of the road. It’s only natural, or something. We drive on the right, and the fastest lanes are left of that, towards the center of the roadway. This is pretty much a natural and easily understood fact of life for everyone in America, save for the many among us who lack the mental acuity to understand things like roundabouts and non 90 degree angle 4-way stops. (more…)

Welp, I made it. To India. Kolkata, to be exact. I know, it’s nothing special. But I’m still going to write about it like this is the coolest thing you could possibly ever read about! (Also, this is really long. So if you want to skip to the bottom for some fun pictures, please do!)

I left Denver at ~3p on January 3rd. After a night in which I probably should’ve refrained from drinking whiskey and staying up until 4 to watch USA/Canada Junior Hockey (With gold medal game implications!) with my cousin….but didn’t… So that started me out right. (more…)

I’m leaving for India a week from today. I’m equal parts excited and nervous, but overall I feel wholly unprepared. I’m trying to remain slightly aloof, as if somehow I can become the kind of guy who can handle any situation with the charm and aplomb of James Bond simply by pretending. But alas, I’m me.

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It’s been said that visiting India is an affront to every natural sense one possesses. Visually it’s overwhelming, majesty and squalor intermingling like so much peanut butter and jelly, only less tasty. Aurally it accosts you, forcing it’s way into your skull to let the simultaneous shouts and car horns and whistles and who knows what else reverberate inside. Its aroma confuses the brain, with equal parts “awesome” and “awful.” It’s hot, humid, and feels dirty. The tastes of the country will leave you spellbound, sweaty, and possibly wishing you had some bread and a glass of milk to wash the spice down. Oh, and no beef. (more…)

No, really. I don’t mean that to be as punny as it is, but it’s true. Flying is a trip. I think anyone who has done any amount of flying has had their fair share of fairly odd experiences. From the passenger sitting next to you who won’t stop talking to you, to the guy somewhere up front that keeps farting, to the kids who parents can’t seem to control in any way whatsoever. Recently the Ladyfriend and I traveled to Maine for vacation, and with some near-cross-country flights from Denver to Portland, we certainly gave ourselves plenty of opportunities to see some weird stuff.

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When I found out I was going to the Philippines for work for a month (you know, when I went way back in May,) or was at least asked if I’d be interested, one of the things that truly excited me about the possibility was being able to experience and sample some cuisine local to my destination. Food carts, hole in the wall local restaurants, regional dishes of untold popularity whose deliciousness defied all possibility, simple local snacks, you get the idea. Unfortunately what I found was nothing like that at all. The best way I can describe the food in the Philippines is to compare it to an American sign that’s been mis-translated into Asian. Now, imagine that sign to be instead a recipe for food. Only it’s been slightly mistranslated so you know what it’s supposed to mean, but somehow all the proteins taste a little fishy. (more…)

5 weeks is both a very long time, and a very short time. Of course it all depends on context, and perspective. I arrived back in Denver on Thursday night at around 9pm. I was fortunate that getting off the plane was quick, and my suitcase was very early out of the little baggage dumper belt thingy, so the Ladyfriend and I were able to exit quite quickly without too much time hanging around the airport. I’d done enough of that for one day.

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These people would be an HR nightmare.

I’ve mentioned before how the Filipinos (and of course this generalization comes from my limited contact with my training classes, people at the mall, and more people at the mall) are very friendly — well they’re also very affectionate towards one another. For instance: within the first couple days of classes, we figured that several of our students MUST be ‘an item’ because of the way they touched each other, talked with each other, would sit very closely and lean on one another, drape arms around one another, etc. Until we noticed that the guys did it too. And the girls would do it with each other. And a guy would lean his head on a girls shoulder…only to be doing it differently with another girl (or guy) 5 minutes later. (more…)