We've been asked many times about our process and technology for keeping this site updated regularly. So, we decided to shoot a short video showing all the tools we use (hardware and software) and our process. We're not sayng it's the best way - it's just how we do it.
In the video we mention a number of resources. Our camera is the Pentax Optio WP. Our computer is the Sony VGN-T350. This site runs on the Drupal platform, which is hosted and supported by Bryght. Our graphic design was done by Rain City Studios. We share our photos using Flickr. Oh, and the post we created on the video is here.
There are people in this world that use computers and the Internet for unbelievably worthless means. They set their computers to visit sites like TwinF and automatically generate 100s comments like this jewel:
As you can tell, they are complete nonsense and do not even serve the usual spam purpose of advertising - the link goes no where. I awoke yesterday to find about 100 new spam comments. Today it was about 600 - too many for me to manage, especially as we travel.
The site has a spam blocker that works well, but these comments are inconsistent so the blocker can't establish what is spam and what is not. Unfortunately I have no choice but to turn off anonymous comments. This means that, for now, you must be logged into TwinF to leave comments. I hate it, but this is the only choice until we get some things worked out.
I'm not a violent person my any means, but I really, really want one wish - and that is to punch a comment spammer right in the face one really good time. That would make me feel a little better.
The little countdown gizmo on this site tells me that we’ve been on the road for 299 days as of today. You’d think that in that time I would have travel arrangement down to a science. Apparently not.
We were in
I was humiliated and embarrassed – how could I be so careless? Apparently it was easy, because when I got the third ticket, I purchased it under my name instead of Sachi’s, creating two Lee LeFevers on same flight. Ugghhh.
This was further proof that Sachi and I make a great team and my part of the team needs to stay away from airline reservations for a while. Luckily though, we have a killer jump shot and lots of team spirit.
It’s quite apparent that the Russians have mixed feelings about
Of course we had friends in the city that showed us around their neighborhoods and homes, which was a perfect introduction to the city. The warmth of the personal connection with people in
Suddenly I found myself in center of the former Communist stronghold, surrounded by reminders of the Bolshevik Revolution, the
And it is beautiful. Tiananmen has nothing on
It is said that
One of the important things that travelers must remember in
On the other side of the coin, the personal experiences we had with random Muscovites were more positive. While looking at a map on a street corner one night (the “tourist distress call”) a friendly young woman pointed us in the right direction. It seems that in general, the young people represent a new generation of Muscovites who are more likely to smile, provide great service and welcome foreigners. I would love to come back to
It is a Trans-Siberian right of passage - drinking vodka with Russians on a train in the middle of Siberia. This video shares a few of the moments I'll never forget and a few that I can't really remember.
Read the story from this night
I had made a decision and I was going to act on it. Gone were the days of standing passively in line while Chinese people wedge themselves in front of me and place an order before I could react. I was going stand up for myself and try to be a little more Chinese.
This is not the kind of thing you can plan – it just has to happen and just last night, I had my chance. We were in the
So there I was, with this foreign and unfamiliar machine staring me in the face. It was mine, yes, but I realized all too quickly that I had no idea how to use it. The instructions were in English and the #1 read “Select Fare”. Scratching my head with waves of embarrassment pending, I searched the machine for anything that said “Fare”. Nothing. I inquisitively pressed a couple of random buttons in the hopes that something would happen. Nothing. My pride was on the line here and I was blowing it! Thoughts of fleeing in shame entered my mind when I heard a voice over my shoulder, “Where do you need to go?” It was the line breaker politely asking a simple question that I couldn’t answer completely. All we knew was that we needed to go two stops on Line 2. He ended up doing the whole transaction for me and after many “thank yous” I left with our subway cards in hand and my pride more than a little crushed.
The moral here is that if you’re going to try to act like a local, be prepared for the entire event. Going off half-cocked is a good way to shoot yourself in the foot.
In Chiang Mai, we were offered two options to get to Luang Prabang, Laos. The slow boat would take a couple of days where you sit on a wooden plank for 10 hours per day and can't lean back on the metal siding because the sun makes it too hot to touch (though we've heard varied stories). Or fly in 50 minutes on Lao Airlines. We chose to fly.
As the plane took off I read our Rough Guide to Southeast Asia's instructions for getting around by planes. Here's what I read to Lee:
Most Western embassies still have travel advisories warning against flying Lao airlines. For some travellers flying Lao Airlines demonstrates bravado, but it's not really something you want to do unless you absolutely have to.
We made it just fine. Our bravado now seems to be unstoppable.
Sachi had a very well-traveled instructor in grad school that told her that he feels confident in getting around in any country in the world- except
I feel so illiterate when looking at a menu. I know nothing- not one word, number or letter. I just have to depend on Sachi to do her best to read and talk to the server about what they have. I just look around at plates, point and make little utterances like “hai”, which means “yes”.
Our situation here differs from what we’ve experienced so far in the trip. Except for
For now, I just smile and say my konnichi wa’s and onegaishimasu’s and look to Sachi when they come back to me with a litany of words that seem completely incomprehensible. I know that when the sentence ends in “desuka”, it is a question and I am supposed to answer. Usually though, I have to look back at them and Sachi blankly, sending the not-too-secret message to Sachi that I’m helpless. Thankfully, she can usually get us (me) through with flying colors and I can answer with something like "America" or "hai". Good and gracious translator, that Sachi.
Today we went on a little hike to the ruins of Tsuwano castle. On the way, Lee saw this sign and interpreted as follows:
1. Scrape the bottom of your shoe
2. Place scraped matter in your hand
3. And smoke it?
He only glanced at it, but it really was his first impression.
It's actually about cigarettes.
We had just stopped the moped at a food cart to get some phad thai before heading home when we sat by a friendly Frenchman for a bit. He was on the tail end of a six month journey and had been in
Looking back on our experience in
Don’t get me wrong, Phuket and Krabi are both absolutely beautiful places and there are gems to be found everywhere, like Baan Krating. However, what we’ve found is that we’d prefer a place that is not so developed with resorts and shopping malls. Railay Beach West was a good example. It was a stretch of beach that had one resort on top of another. It was almost impossible to get a feel for
And so our rite of passage continues. Ko Lanta is not efficient, but efficiency isn’t the goal, it’s not spotless, but clean where it matters (like the water), the service isn’t great, but always comes with a smile, some of the roads are unpaved, but they go no where. You might feel like a stranger in a strange but endearing land in Ko Lanta, but it is, if nothing else,