Me and Chairman Mao
4.02.2010
  This blog has moved

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  Moving day! (Almost.)
It turns out, Blogger is no longer supporting the way I publish--or at least use to publish--this site. (That is, via FTP to a custom domain, for those of you who care.)

It took me a while to remember why I did it that way, until I remembered that it had to do with the Great Firewall: once you were in China, almost all the big blogging sites were blocked: typepad, blogspot, etc. But the funny thing was that, while all blogspot.com blogs were blocked (the free ones you get if you use Blogger), Blogger.com itself wasn't. So I could go to Blogger to update/create a blog, but if I hosted it on Blogger (at blogspot.com) I wouldn't be able to actually see it. But I could publish it to my own domain name--hence the "jasonbarbacovi.com" site, which I already had sitting around. I guess the thinking was that, with (at the time) a lack of credit cards, etc, it would be hard for your average Chinese person to get a .com-based URL to publish on so there was no point in blogging blogger.com itself, but who knows.

But whatever. The point of this post is just to let you know that I have to move this domain by May 1 or lose the ability to publish to it forever. Which I may never do (I'm not exactly lighting it up right now, am I?) but I'd like to at least have the option. So, long story not that short (based on the previous text), I'm moving the site. Possibly today. Blogger has released some migration tools so there's a chance it might go smoothly, but if the site disappears for a while--which would, come to think of it, make this entire post pointless--now you know why.

Good luck to me!
 
2.10.2009
  World domination. Or something.
So I know at one point I had a plan for world domination through my blog. I forget the specifics (and, really, the generalities as well), but apparently it didn't work out. Although I think it maybe have had something to do with the increasingly famous Fook Hing Coffin Shop. Maybe.

Either way, as usual--or as was usual when I used to post here--none of that really has anything to do with what I'm writing, and now even less than usual with the less than usual posting habits I have. (I think that sentence made sense. I've been wrong before, as I mentioned--in the late mid-90s when I should have gotten the chicken. Or maybe it was the mid late-90s? I forget. Depending on which is right, I may now have been wrong twice.)

Anyway, my point. As usual, I do have one, and as usual, it takes about four paragraphs to get to. My point is this: due to my expertise with various Western food outlets in China--as I've said, you try eating Chinese food for every meal for two years--specifically the restaurant formerly known as Taco Bell Grande but currently known as nothing because it went out of business, likely on account of sucking so badly, I was interviewed for an article on Western food outlets in China.

If you don't believe me, look on my article, ye mighty, and despair!
http://www.uschina.usc.edu/ShowFeature.aspx?articleID=3094

(Okay, that was a reach. Really, this whole site is like 2 years worth of reach.)

To quote just one part of "my" section of the article:

"They said ‘Gracias' to everyone on the way out, but that was the extent of the Spanish speaking," Barbacovi said. "As far as the atmosphere, it was sort of like food-court Mexican, with the vaguely Latin-looking tiled tables and colors, for example. And of course the big sombreros, which, looked more like piñatas than hats."

Somewhere, there's a book deal in this for me. Isn't there?
 
8.12.2008
  Me and Chairman Mao: The Book!
I have returned! Like Patton, but less violent and, let's face it, less dead. Although the first could be argued if you are on of the aliens I spent an hour or so shooting at on my XBOX last night, but I'm guessing that won't apply to most of you, since you are likely not made-up aliens. As opposed to, you know, the real ones that have a predilection for anally-probing people who didn't finish high school. (Different strokes, etc.)

Why am I back? Not to actually post the few last posts I've been talking about putting up for like 4 or 5 months. (And really, they are not that exciting, so I don't know why I haven't. And come to think of it, I'm not exactly sure what they were even supposed to be anymore. Hmmm.)

And I'm not back to talk about the Olympics, although my one comment on that is if you are going to cover the Olympics in a foreign country, you should probably learn how to pronounce things correctly. Seriously. I mean, how hard can it be? Why is Chinese the only language where people refuse to pronounce people's names correctly? I get it--really, I do--saying "wang" over and over is funny, for at least the first 50 to 100 times. But at some point doesn't someone say to you "Um, dude--it's pronounced 'wong.'" But consider the well-known French medalist in the prestigious and popular Olympic sailing competition (who I never heard of it until I just looked at Yahoo!) Jean Baptiste Bernaz. Do you think any of the announcers pronounce his name jean like in Levi's? No, of course they don't--they say john as in toilet. And while I'm not sure that's an improvement, at least it's correct. Unlike, say, wong ...

But whatever. That's not the point, as is always the case with these blog posts. The point is that I'm back--if only temporarily--to talk about my book: Me and Chairman Mao, which you can find by clicking that last link or that last link or even that last last link or ... whatever. I'm sure you can find it, especially since my readers make up the smartest 1% of the population, according to market research that hasn't yet been done.

Anyway, for now--and probably forever, honestly--that website is the only place to find the book. Why? Because I couldn't get anyone to actually publish it. Or even try to publish it, although several agents did tell me it was "funny" but that they could never sell it. Apparently humor doesn't sell. (Quick, someone tell David Sedaris!) (Not that I'm comparing myself to him, of course.) (I never worked as a Macy's elf, but he did.)

Where was I? Oh yes, so rather than let it moulder away--or, I suppose, since it's an electronic file, become obsolete (which it may be already since it isn't a docx)--I decided to just put it all out there online. And, to make it even better, I used something called a Creative Commons license, which basically means you can feel free to download it, copy it, print it, send it on to your friends, or whatever. Just, you know, don't start selling it. (That's pretty much it, but you can find out more about it
here, if you are interested.)

And I think that's it. If anything more comes of the book -- like if, say, anyone actually reads it -- I'll let you know. But in the meantime, send this
link to all your friends. They'll thank you for it, I promise.*

Enjoy, and, sort of like Patton, I shall return -- again. There was a Patton 2, wasn't there? The first one did so well, with the Oscars and all, I just sort of assume there was ...

(*No legal guarantee or promise implied or given by the word promise. Also, I had my fingers crossed. Got you.)
 
2.28.2008
  Of Starbucks and Eggrolls.
Since Starbucks has been in the news lately--both because of the three-hour training shutdown and, a few months ago, the tragic closing of the Forbidden City Starbucks (covered on my blog here, among other places)--I thought I'd post the following article. Not just because I don't really have anything else to post, having been gone from China for over a year at this point (although I really don't have much to post right now), but also because I want to and/or feel like it, which is pretty much the best reason for doing anything, don't you think?

(My favorite part about closing the Forbidden City Starbucks was--at least from what I read--not because having a coffee stand in an ancient palace that was the historical center of China makes about as much sense as having a McDonald's in the Washington Monument, but because it was low-class/cheap Western food. So what, Ruth's Chris Steakhouse would have been okay? It's even better because, of all the big tourist attractions around Beijing--naturally, I hit them all in my time there, generally more than once--the Forbidden City has by far the most disgusting food. I mean, there is literally not one thing there I would eat. At least the Summer Palace has some baozi, which I would describe as sort of like Chinese humbao. Last time I was at the Forbidden City, I was starving and I couldn't even find a Snicker's bar--which I hear really satisfies--or anything comparable. Luckily for me, I just went to Starbucks and grabbed a croissant ...)

Anyway--which I say for the howevermanypoststhereareinthisblog time--here's the Starbucks "story" I was talking about, which I wrote for a different blog a long time ago, where they apparently are stupid (that means they didn't like it) so they took it down long ago. Now I put it back up, to give it its rightful place online where it can be seen by tens of tens of people, if not more. But probably less.

Whatever. Here it is. Enjoy!

Starbucks Eggrolls: Stick to the Coffee.

Let me start by getting right to the point: Starbucks Eggrolls are bad. Really bad. I know that I probably should have led up to that a little better, maybe buried it somewhere in the third or fourth paragraph to suck you into the story first, but I thought I’d do a service to those of you who, like myself, never seem to have enough time to read everything you want to on the Internet while at work and just put it out there. In that same spirit, I'll also add that as far as I know Starbucks Eggrolls are only sold at Starbucks stores in China and Taiwan--I'll leave it up to you to decide if that counts as one or two countries--so unless you plan on hitting the Far East in the near future, this probably won't affect you. However, for those of you who either don't have much to do at work today, already have your plane tickets in hand, or are simply really interested in what I have to say (and really, who could blame you?), I'll elaborate.

Still with me? Good. The first time I walked into my local Shanghai Starbucks and saw the Starbucks Eggrolls, boxed up in a red-and-white cardboard sleeve with a group of Edward Gorey-esque Christmas Carolers on the front, I wanted them. And yes, I did want them solely because of the packaging: like most Americans, I've been raised to value things based almost exclusively on the way they look, and I'm fine with that. Once I figured out they only cost about twelve dollars and came with a coupon for a free cup of coffee, my decision was made. This despite the fact that I had no idea what the egg rolls were made out of, although I assumed chocolate was involved somehow since I believe chocolate should be involved in most things. Either way, five minutes later I was on my way home with both the egg rolls and a tall toffee nut latte in hand because, hey, it's Christmastime even in China, right?

Once I was back in the relative warmth of my apartment, I sat down, slid off the aforementioned sleeve, and discovered a squat, square, silver Starbucks tin with no hint anywhere about what was inside. Well, no hint in English: there was some nutritional information on the bottom in Chinese that I couldn't read, but since I guessed it would translate roughly as "this will make you fat" I ignored it, which always seems safest when dealing with desserts. Flipping the tin back over, I pried open the lid, ripped off the layer of wax paper separating me from the sugary goodness inside, and finally laid my eyes on the egg rolls themselves.

I was disappointed. Why? Because the egg rolls were nothing more than cinnamon-colored hollow tubes, like somebody had added brown food coloring--if there is such a thing--to a batch of Scandinavian Krumkake cookies. Ergo, the egg rolls were neither made of nor filled with anything that looked remotely like chocolate. I grabbed one anyway. It was light and flaky and crumbled into pieces almost immediately, and I began to wonder if buying the egg rolls simply because I liked the box might have been a mistake. Then again, based on the coloring they could be chocolate flavored, so hope remained. I picked a piece out of my hand and ate it.

It was disgusting--so much for hope--with a taste that made me immediately think of a burnt sugar cone. Which is odd, because I don't know that I've ever tasted a burnt sugar cone or if sugar cones can even be burnt, but the mind is mysterious thing. However, just to make sure I wasn't out of mine, I ate some more. After all, I reasoned, the first egg roll might have been a bad one, a mistake. I was wrong: it was just as terrible. Slow learner that I apparently am, I had one more, since I couldn't believe that Starbucks could make such a gross misstep. Needless to say, I was wrong yet again, although at least the third time I had the good sense to only take a small bite.

I put the lid back on and gave up. Honestly, I was a bit confused. After all, I'd really liked the Green Tea Frappuccino, the last Asian-inspired item Starbucks had dreamed up, so what had gone wrong with the egg rolls? Then I realized that maybe nothing had gone wrong, that the egg rolls might have been designed to appeal to Chinese tastes. Other big companies did it, after all--Cadbury, for example, makes their chocolate sweeter in China--so why wouldn't Starbucks?

To test my theory, I brought the egg rolls into work the next day and forced everyone I could to try one. And guess what? My Chinese coworkers loved them. In fact, when I admitted that I didn't like them, I got a lot of confused looks and, depending on the taster's English proficiency, comments ranging from "You not like?" to "Dude, are you crazy?" To which I now respond, no, because I had my wife--who, like me and Bruce Springsteen, was born in the US--try a couple, and she thought they were just as bad as I did.

So obviously, I would recommend that if you happen to be somewhere in Asia and see Starbucks Eggrolls for sale (with or without Christmas-themed packaging), you should avoid them at all costs. But then again, every Chinese person I offered them to thought the opposite, so clearly someone at Starbucks knows what they're doing. Actually, someone at Starbucks really knows what they're doing, since they seem to have convinced everyone in Shanghai--a city where the official minimum wage is around seventy-five cents an hour and having a good job means you might take home a thousand dollars a month--that paying three bucks for a cup of what is basically just flavored is reasonable. The moral of the story? Buy stock in Starbucks while you can ... just avoid the egg rolls.
 
1.16.2008
  Fook Hing Famous!
Yes, I'm back. Like LL Cool J in "I'm Bad," or the ghosts in Poltergiest. Or, I suppose, Poltergeist 2, if you want to be technical about it. And, let's face it, if there's one thing you can be sure of, it's that the Internet is full of people who do indeed want to be technical about it ...

Anyway, onto the matter at hand. Or, to be technical about it (you know you want to be), the Fook Hing subject at hand. That is, the subject which has to do with Fook Hing. Who? Fook Hing the Coffin Maker, of course, owner (presumably) and sole propriety (possibly) of the one, the only Fook Hing Coffin Shop in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, as shown in the photo below:




Why--those of you who are regular readers are no doubt saying--are you posting this again, for like the kagillionth time? (Note: Given the fact that I am no longer living in China--and Seattle doesn't really even have a Chinatown--and have almost completely stopped posting anything, I don't actually believe that I have any regular readers. Or possibly readers, period.)(Note: for those of you who are non-regular readers--and if you read the preceding note, you'll note that includes all of you--not believing what I write is a prominent, possibly even the defining, characteristic of my writing.)


But I digress. (Also a prominent characteristic of my writing ...) The point is, when last we visited Fook Hing (for the third time--this is the fourth, as it turns out), I had just won a major award. And by a major award, for those of you to lazy to click that link I just put in--I can empathize, believe me--I mean that a Website called Signspotting paid me $50 bucks for, what it turns out, were the rights to my photo.

After cashing and spending my check (I have no idea how, but "on Tsing Tao and dan dan noodles" is probably not a bad guess), I didn't think much of it. That is, until I was wondering around Elliot Bay Books the other day, and--upon finding myself wandering through the travel section (like Caine in Kung Fu, but with less hair), I noticed the following book:



(Note: There was a Signspotting 1?)(Note: I know, I know--technically, it would have just been Signspotting ...)

Out of curiosity, I flipped open the book on the off chance my photo had been included, and what did I see on one of the first pages (two pages, even--22 AND 23!) that I flipped to? (You do know what's coming, right?). Yes, I saw the picture below, better known--to me, at least--as "my photo":


If you look a little closer--and now that you've read this far, why wouldn't you?--you can see that I do indeed have a photo credit, although it's a little blurry in this picture, which was definitely not--I repeat, NOT--taken from Amazon.com's "Search Inside This Book" feature using my name as a keyword and the old standby of ALT+PRINT SCREEN:



At long last, I'm completely and totally famous. I have to say, it's well deserved. Will I be seen out and about at the Chateau Marmont next week with Scarlett Johansson? I can only hope. But, probably. (I know, I'm married, but she's on the list, so it's totally cool. Or at least it was on that one episode of Friends. )

Anyway, if you're interested in buying the book--I haven't looked through it all, but I can tell you that pages 22 to 23 are fracking amazing!--you find it on Amazon for the low, low price of $9.99. Which, thanks to the sound fiscal policies of our current US administration, is something like 2 Euros for my European-based readers, so why wouldn't you? The only way it would be better is if I got some sort of royalties or money out of it, which I don't, sadly. However, if you want to just send me money anyway, feel free.

(Breaking News: Today--January 23, 2008, for those of you who are not yet sick of the "technical" joke--I received one free copy of Signspotting 2 in the mail today, presumably because my picture was used in said book, as I may have mentioned. So I sold the rights to my photo for $50 AND a free book. Which I actually bought. But oh well--thought that counts, etc. etc. etc.)

And ... I think that's it. Finally. Until next time, then. And yes, there will be a next time ...
 
9.06.2007
  Singapore: The City.
After we got back to the US after our five-week "leaving China the long way" vacation, I remember thinking something like: "You know, I was going to end my blog, but we saw a lot of cool stuff on our trip that I can blog about, so I think I'll post some vacation stuff and THEN end the blog. I should be able to do it in a month or so, I think." Turns out, I was just a bit off on that estimate. (Note to self: estimation not strong suit.) I mean, sure I did--as I have mentioned before--sell a house, buy a house, get several jobs (one of them even on a non-temporary basis), and have twins, but still, 13 months is a little slow.

But, at long, long, long, long last--so long, my Google page rank, which I worked so hard to bring up to 4, is now down to a paltry 3, which isn't even semi-respectable, in my book--we are almost to the end. Is this the last post? Not quite. We have, however, reached the last stop on our vacation: Singapore, someplace I reached (at this point) over a year ago. Yes, when news breaks, you'll hear it here first, obviously.

So, why go all the way from Bangkok to Singapore, a city everyone knows is both really clean AND really boring and isn't afraid to cane people, when the situation requires it? I could make up a bunch of really good, really intelligent reasons, but instead I'll be honest and tell you our trip to Singapore was made for exactly three reasons, neither of which is particularly good and/or intelligent, which--in no particular order--were:

1. I needed a Singapore Starbucks mug to complete my lame "Big Cities We Went to in Asia" Starbucks mug collection, which I realize is only one step up from Hard Rock t-shirts, but still--a step up is a step up. (Also, I still haven't gotten Tokyo: if you plan on going there anytime soon, hook me up!)

2. There was a Singaporean restaurant by our place that served this dish called Roti Prata, which is similar to Indian naan, that we really liked. REALLY liked.

3. The subway stop by our house (Everyone give it up for Xujiahui!) always had these big Visit Singapore! signs, with a picture of the Merlion statue (more on that later), and since the aforementioned Singaporean restaurant ALSO had a Merlion picture on it (but not the Starbucks mug, for some reason) , we decided we should probably go take one or more pictures of it.

And that's it: those are the reasons. There are, I suppose, worse reasons, but as reasons go for visiting a place (including paying for hotel rooms and plane tickets), they're not the best. Oh well. But the good news is, I actually really liked Singapore. Which is, from what I'm told, a pretty common reaction, especially when coming from some of the more chaotic cities of South East Asia, you're Saigons and Bangkoks, etc. Everything is clean, everything works, everything happens on time, every car actually stops for you in a crosswalk (a welcome change, but one that was hard to adjust to), and everyone is pretty polite--I actually witnessed people spontaneously all stop trying to get onto a subway car instead of just attempting to cram on in, a a la Tokyo or Shanghai. (Where they actually employ people to shove you into overcrowded cars.) And sure, those people were probably stopping because it's likely against some law to get on a full subway car, but if: a) it leads to uncrowded subway cars, and b) it doesn't ever effect me, I'm I'll for it!

And yes, I also know that after a while, the whole sterile nature of Singapore that makes it so nice to visit makes you go crazy--apparently--but I'm not sure how much I could mind. As long as there's somewhere open until midnight or so where I can drink beer in peace--without someone karaoking, natch--I'm happy: all night dance clubs are no longer a requirement for my life. (Nor were they ever, for the record.)

Anyway, upon arriving in Singapore, my first impressions--in order--were: boy, this airport is clean; boy, everyone actually waits in line here, nice!; boy, immigration is efficient; boy, it is really, really fucking hot out here (it's a degree off the equator ...); and boy, that is the cleanest freeway I have ever seen--if I dropped a french fry (also known as Freedom Fries, for you republicans who aren't currently picking up same-sex hookers in airport bathrooms--I think there are probably a few of you ...) on this freeway, I would still eat it, which is not something I would say about any freeway back home.

Good stuff, I know. Once we got into our hotel (Hotel 1929), two other things surprised me about the city--well, three if you want to count how insanely small our room was, which I'm obviously not. First, we were in a very pretty part of town: all old, restored (or just new and fake) colonial buildings. Second, a street right by us--which we walked down looking for a restaurant we'd read about--was apparently karaoke row, with all the karaoke girls such a street implies. I guess I'd thought that sort of thing--karaoke girls generally do more than just watch you sing (insert your own sex joke here--I can think of too many to pick one)--would be more under-the-covers (ding!) in Singapore, but I apparently I was wrong.

As for what to do in Singapore, I think the biggest attraction is Chinatown, which we skipped for obvious reasons. Another big attraction is the zoo, which we went to, and which was fun--despite the fact I saw a lion vomit, a cheetah with diarrhea (isn't that a Dr. Seuss book), and was almost peed on by an orangutan--although I won't be posting any pictures of any of that that here, since: 1) that stuff's all gross, and 2) a zoo is a zoo, mostly.

Anyway, all that means mostly we just walked and shopped and ate. And, of course, I took lots of pictures, like these ones--always with the great segues--of downtown Singapore:





Or this one of the Esplanade, which is ... well, basically behind me, in the pictures above. The funny Durian-looking thing is a theater. Or make that "theatre," Singapore being a former British colony and all:





An almost but not quite clever picture!



This is near another famous Singaporean site: the Boat Quay, which they pronounce "key," for no other reason I can fathom other than they are, as I said, a former British colony, and the Brits seem to have lots of trouble with English (Lavatory? Worcester? Leicester? Hello ....). The happy looking statue is of Sir Stamford Raffles, the "founder" of Singapore. I hear there is also a hotel named after him ...



Across the way is the Boat Quay, which is basically just a bunch of Indian restaurants, as far as I could tell. Albeit, good Indian restaurants with nice views, which makes them different in two ways from all Indian restaurants in Seattle:



More Boat Quay:



A view across the river taken from the Boat Quay. Don't quote me on this, but I believe that building is the Emperor Palace or something--although now it's just a museum. I mean, not JUST a museum. I'm sure it's a fine museum. Just, you know, not the Louvre or the Met or the British Museum ...



This random phallic symbol in the middle of the shopping district was a memorial for something ... Pre-viagra days, maybe? Just kidding. It's the Civilian War Memorial for WWII for all the people who died during the Japanese occupation, which is something of a theme in every Asian country that is not Japan.



You've read about, you've wondered about it, and now you can see it for yourself--the creatively named Merlion (half mermaid, half lion!) that is the symbol of Singapore:



More of the majestically mighty Merlion:



This ... well, I'm not sure what the point of this was. Maybe it's a baby Merlion? Either way, as a fountain, it's not quite as impressive as the big daddy Merlion:



I know, you'd think the Merlion would be the end of this post--and actually, I did to, so I'm not really sure what I was thinking by putting the pictures in this order--but it's not! This shot below is the Orchard Road, the most famous street in Singapore. You can probably guess where it gets its name ...



And, again referring back to an earlier picture--of Sir Stamford--here is the one, the only, the original world-famous Raffles hotel




(Note that there is, in fact, more than one. But only one original. Which makes sense, since you can't spell original without one! Oh, wait--you can't. But you can spell orgy! Not correctly, of course, and I'm not sure what it has to do with this picture I'm not sure--nothing, obviously, although that other type of picture would probably be more interesting--but it's funny, and that's what counts.)

Either way, more Raffles:



This drink here, as the smarter among you may have already guessed (don't feel bad--I'm sure some other people didn't guess, either) is a Singapore Sling, which was invented at the Raffles and which we bought at the Raffles. Which brings me to my one piece of Singapore travel advice, besides "Buy the barbecued stingray if you see it because that is some good shit": DON'T BUY A SINGAPORE SLING AT THE BAR IN THE RAFFLES HOTEL.

Or rather, don't buy that drink at the touristy Long Bar in the back of the Raffles. The actual bar where the Singapore Sling was invented--and where, presumably, said drink is still made by hand--is in the Raffles proper, which, as a classy hotel, has a dress code, which (run-on sentence, anyone?) basically means that men have to wear pants to get in. The problem, of course, is that when a city is basically sitting on the equator and both the temperature and humidity are in the mid-90s, who is wearing pants? Not me, that's for sure. While I did have a nice pair of mandals (classy guy sandals) and manpris (male capri pants), I didn't test the dress code, and instead we went to the bar in back. Which is open to everyone. And which sells Singapore Slings that are made in large margarita machines instead of by a bartender. For 10 US dollars a drink. Great money making scheme? Definitely, especially since the place was packed. Good experience? Hardly--we left after sucking down our Singapore Slings so fast that I got brain freeze, which you wouldn't think would be possible when the heat index is well over 100, but apparently is.

Whatever the case, here is a photo of our overpriced, machine-made Singapore Sling, along with some free peanuts:



And finally, here are some shots of the lovely Colonial-era architecture near our hotel:



And one more from outside the window of our very small hotel room:




Singapore being Singapore, there were signs like this everywhere, which--being good, experienced China hands, we ignored everywhere. Which led to a complete freak out like 2 minutes after I took this picture, after we both thought we'd just jaywalked right in front of a cop. Luckily, it was just a taxi, although clever of them to make taxis that look like cop cars ...



As I mentioned before, we went to the Singapore Zoo, and I took lots of pictures of animals and their bodily functions that I'm not posting here. This one photo, however, was too good not to post. Talk about your unfortunate names. Although, I guess, it could have been a Dumbshit Penguin or something, which would be worse ...



And, last but not least, the best supermarket ANYWHERE EVER. And I'm not just saying that because my name is Jason. Oh wait, yes I am. Sorry:



And, at long last, that's the end of my vacation photos from my vacation that ended like 14 months ago. Have I mentioned that I have, from time-to-time, been accused of procrastinating? Well, consider it mentioned! Better late than never ... :)

Previously, on my vacation:
- Bangkok: the Random.
- Bangkok: the Grand Palace.
- Siem Reap: Tonle Sap Lake.
- Siem Reap: Angkor at Dawn.
- Siem Reap: The Angkor Temples.
- Ang Thong Marine Park.
- Koh Samui.
- Tay Ninh: The Cao Dai Temple.
- The Cu Chi Tunnels.
- The Mekong Delta.
- Saigon: the Random. - Saigon: Reunification Hall.
- Saigon: the War Museum.
- Saigon: the Streets.
- Hoi An: The River.
- Hoi An: My Son.
- Hoi An: the People.
- Hoi An: the Streets.
- Hue: Zoom, Zoom.
- Hue: the River.
- Hue: the Imperial Tombs.
- Hue: the Imperial Palace.
- Hue: the Streets.
- Halong Bay: the Videos.
- Halong Bay.
- Hanoi: the Random.
- Hanoi: Water Puppets.
- Hanoi: the "Hilton."
- Hanoi: the People.
- Hanoi: Zoom, Zoom.
- Hanoi: the Streets.
 
6.08.2007
  Bangkok: The Random.
Much like Shanghai and Beijing, when you walk around a city as big as Bangkok for any length of time, you're going to see some weird stuff. Whether it's whole roasted pigs for sale, people fishing in garbage, funny signs (everyone give it up for the Fook Hing Coffin Shop!), or just the ever popular public urination, you're bound to see something worth taking a picture of. If, you know, you have your camera ready, which is something I got fairly good at. There's still a few shot I wish I would have gotten--the bikini show in the middle of the mall comes to mind, if only for the crowd shots (the Bailey's tent just wasn't as satisfying)--but what can you do?

At any rate, after all that, here's a few of the funny shots I got in Bangkok. There aren't many, since I was only there for like 48 hours, but you do what you can, apparently. This first shot was an ad on the side of a tour bus by the Grand Palace. I'm not sure why it cracked me up so much, but I kept laughing every time I looked at it. On a possibly related note, I had just walked for roughly 30 minutes in 90 degree heat. (And, as I've said before, it's not a dry heat ...):



Ah, but what better way to cool down after such a walk than a Frappuccino? Luckily, we went to Starbucks later. I got a drink. For Jason. Apparently, they thought I was ordering for my sci-fi alter ego, a roguish young Corellian smuggler who does a kick-ass Kessel run. You know you know what I'm talking about:



This store would do a mean business in San Francisco. Ha-ha:



And yes, as always, public urination! What it means that I have multiple public urination pictures I have no idea, but nothing good, I'm sure. Oh well:



Next up, Singapore, where we go in search of Captain Jack Sparrow. Well, not really. We did, however, go in search of: a) a Singapore Starbucks mug; 2) Roti Prata (sort of like Singaporean Naan or something); and IV) a picture of the Merlion, the symbol of Singapore. Those are good reasons to go to a city, right? Well, they were good enough for us, anyway ...

Previously, on my vacation:
- Bangkok: The Grand Palace.
- Siem Reap: Tonle Sap Lake.
- Siem Reap: Angkor at Dawn.
- Siem Reap: The Angkor Temples.
- Ang Thong Marine Park.
- Koh Samui.
- Tay Ninh: The Cao Dai Temple.
- The Cu Chi Tunnels.
- The Mekong Delta.
- Saigon: the Random.
- Saigon: Reunification Hall.
- Saigon: the War Museum.
- Saigon: the Streets.
- Hoi An: The River.
- Hoi An: My Son.
- Hoi An: the People.
- Hoi An: the Streets.
- Hue: Zoom, Zoom.
- Hue: the River.
- Hue: the Imperial Tombs.

- Hue: the Imperial Palace.
- Hue: the Streets.
- Halong Bay: the Videos.
- Halong Bay.
- Hanoi: the Random.
- Hanoi: Water Puppets.
- Hanoi: the "Hilton."
- Hanoi: the People.
- Hanoi: Zoom, Zoom.
- Hanoi: the Streets.
 
most recent
This blog has moved
Moving day! (Almost.)
World domination. Or something.
Me and Chairman Mao: The Book!
Of Starbucks and Eggrolls.
Fook Hing Famous!
Singapore: The City.
Bangkok: The Random.
Bangkok: The Grand Palace.
Siem Reap: Tonle Sap Lake.

most popular
Tyger, tyger. [Feeding the Tigers (!) Pictures]
Picture This 4. [Public Urination]
Angkor what? [Angkor Temple Pictures]
Giving a hoot. [Shanghai Hooters Pictures]
Franken-food. [Chinese Nanotech Shrimp Pictures]
Ice, ice baby. [Harbin Ice Festival Pictures]
Of snow sculptures and such. [Harbin Snow Festival Pictures]
Tokyo-a-go-go. [Harajuku Pictures]
Staring contest. [Staring at Foreigners]
Room for cream? [Forbidden City Starbucks]

more reading
Me and Chairman Mao: The Book [The funniest book about living in China ever]

Things to Know About the 'Jing [My Beijing Guide]

Blogger chicanohek // April 06, 2009 7:16 PM
Blogger Shiva // May 02, 2008 11:41 PM
Anonymous ic // September 22, 2009 11:01 PM
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