Category Archives: Other Places

Watcha Gonna Do When They Come for You?

This is as close to an episode of COPS as I want to get.

Yesterday, as I was leaving my parent’s tranquil neighborhood in Morgantown, WV I was nearly run off the road by an unknown person in a Honda CRV. My interest was piqued when I noticed he was being closely followed by a police car, lights flashing in full-on car chase mode. Not too far behind where a couple more cruisers in hot pursuit. I found out later they finally caught up with the allegedly stolen vehicle after an extensive chase.

Now I really want some ‘spike strips’ of my own.

Here are some local news reports on the incident:

WBOY NBC Channel 12:Police Chase Man Through Morgantown

Not to miss Swiss

One of the highlights of my recent trip to Europe was taking the ferry across Lake Lucerne to the small town of Brunnen. My father and I were looking for a little relief from the city life and picked a random out of the way place based on the description in our guide book. It was a fortuitous decision.

We stayed at the lovely Hotel Alpina, which was by far the nicest place we stayed in Switzerland, and a bargain to boot! The owner, Stéphane, was super friendly and very helpful. Originally we were only planning of staying one night but as soon as we set our bags down we made it two.

During the next two days we toured the nearby town of Schwyz, home of Victorinox factory, road a funicular up a mountain and a cable car down the other side. We found a great Swiss/Thai restaurant which was so nice we ate there twice.

About a month after returning home my father received a hand written note from Stéphane thanking us for our visit and welcoming us back anytime. If you are ever in the area I highly recommend staying a few nights. Below are some (slightly squeezed) photos from the area.

Swiss Peaks


Blue Cow

These Charming Men

Inspired by today’s featured article on Wikipedia here are a couple of pictures of some charming Vietnamese men. These pictures were taken during my short visit to Hanoi in 1995. Here is what I wrote at the time:

“Dec 7, 1995. Another long day in Hanoi, I enjoy sitting by the lake with the old men. This morning I went to the Ho Chi Minh mausoleum with two Danish women I met on the train. It was not as strange as visiting Mao in Beijing, but still weird. Last night I ate at a Vietnamese restaurant that only serves on dish – Fish Stew. It was great! Later, I wondered the streets and a very old lady with black teeth stopped me and said ‘Bonjour!’ I didn’t know what to say. Did she think it was 50 years ago and I was a French colonialist? I said ‘Bonjour’ in return. It was strange, but I found an odd reassurance in talking with her.”

For more about my trip to Vietnam see this earlier post.

Lego Vietnam

Way back in 1995 I made an overland journey from China to Vietnam. The trip was long and hard, 24 hours in a couple of overcrowded buses along very treacherous roads then 10+ hours on a train. When I finally made it to Hanoi I was exhausted but the city was relaxing and enjoyable. Here’s what I wrote at the time:

“December 6, 1995. Hanoi is a cool place, laid-back and upbeat at the same time. After walking around the city all morning I have found a quiet park in order to sit and relax. The surrounding streets are full of busy traffic, mostly mopeds. I went to the town citadel this morning, which dates back to the French occupation. It is strange to think that for the first time in many generations there is peace here. Most people seem happy and consumer goods abound.”

For more photos of my trip to Vietnam click here.

Fishing @ The Rock

I’ve gotten some criticism about the lack of updates lately. So here you go, all you complainers. This is a picture I took last December while in San Francisco, my first visit. I spent a couple of days doing the tourist thing. I was really impressed by the public transportation (it doesn’t take much to impress me). The BART was efficient and easy to use. And even though, the cable cars are totally inefficient and very dangerous, they are such icons that it is worth risking one’s life to take a ride on one.

Other highlights include: SF Museum of Modern Art, Cartoon Art Museum, walking from the Hyde St. Pier to the Golden Gate bridge, City Lights bookstore, and of course Chinatown.

Dried Fruit

I took this photo during my brief stay in Almaty, Kazakhstan. I can’t say that I recommend Almaty as a travel destination. A couple of journal entries from my trip may help to explain why:

“Aug. 25, 2002. I stepped off the train several hours ago but I feel as though I am still moving. The four day trip from Moscow will do this to you. A family from the train shared a taxi with me and I got to the hotel without any problems. The guidebook was right when it said the staff was unfriendly, rarely have I seen a surlier bunch.

Aug. 26, 2002. The sun seems hotter here than other places. Today it is slightly overcast but whenever the sun peeks out I begin to sweat. Before leaving on this trip I told myself I wasn’t going to drink at all once I left Western Europe. I was convinced that gangs of mafia hoods and corrupt cops would pounce on my moment of weakness. Well, since I had already broken that pledge in Moscow I thought I’d try a beer in a café surrounding the city square. I sat there enjoying the surroundings when I noticed a group of military types patrolling the square. I kept one eye on scenery and the other on the soldiers. As I neared the bottom of my beer -about 7:15pm- I saw a couple of the soldiers confront a traveler with a backpack and pull him around the corner, out of sight. To me this looked like a classic ‘shakedown’ and I wanted to get out of there. I frantically flagged down the waitress, paid my bill, and high-tailed it back to the hotel.”

Looking back I realize that I should have tried to help my fellow traveler; of course I have no idea what I could have done.

World Cup Fever ’98

I was traveling around Germany with my pal Carsten in 1998 when we decided to head to France and watch the final match of the World Cup at the first bar we came across. We found ourselves in the middle of Strasbourg along with what felt like the city’s entire population. My hangover influenced journal entry from the following day:

“July 15th, 1998. Decided to go to France to see the final World Cup game (Brazil vs. France), ended up in Strasbourg where they were showing the game on a screen in the town square. At first the town seemed empty, all the shops were closed and we saw very few people on the streets. A few hours before the game things started to get hyped; people with flags, painted faces, and air horns walking towards the square chanting and singing. It was too packed to see the 1st half but when France scored the mob went nuts, lighting fireworks in the middle of the crowd. We were able to see the 2nd half amongst the swarm of fanatical French nationals, it was incredible! When France won the entire town exploded, people packed the streets singing and shouting. Cars drove around honking and people beat on their roofs. It was insane. We headed back to the hostel at 1am but the party went on until at least 5.”