All posts by CM

  • How to Eat Japanese Food 1: Yakiniku

    yakiheader

    I’m sure there are vegetarians somewhere in Japan but I can’t say that I’ve met one.  Japan’s culture, like most cultures, is largely centered around food and the way it’s prepared.  In the first of what I hope to be a plentiful series of posts on Japanese food, we are going to look at a traditional Japanese favorite – Korean barbeque.

    Yes, Korean barbeque.

    Read more

  • United Airlines Revamps Mileage Plus for 2015 – Leisure Travelers Cry into Pillows

    united

    Once again it appears I’ve shown up to the bar just as happy hour has ended.  Ben Mutzabaugh of USA Today recently reported that United Airlines has revamped the Mileage Plus® program for 2015.  The new program will award points to travelers based on the fares of their tickets; not miles traveled.

    Read more

  • Moon over the Mosel – A Ferry Ride from Cochem to Beilstein

    mosel1

    As we reached the bottom of the mountain road and began our trip along the Mosel River, I could not help but think about the poor bastards who were responsible for picking all of those grapes. The valley walls were steep and I saw a few men, high above the road, shuffling between endless rows of grape plants, harvesting the fruit by hand.  Our road followed the trail of the river until we reached the town of Cochem; a tourist favorite in the region.

    Many of the villages along the Mosel had experienced a period of strong investment and restoration in the late 1970’s; leaving a bizarre collection of medieval castles and Brady Bunch style condominiums throughout the region.  But we were not in Cochem to judge the architecture, we were interested in sampling the product that made the river famous – the wine.

    Read more

  • Fake Questions from Make Believe Readers: Volume 2

    venice2

    Q:  Is it true that you had a bad experience in Venice?  How could anyone have a bad time in such a beautiful city?

    Lieutenant Al Giardello – Baltimore Police Department

     

    I appreciate the question Lieutenant Al, but I am afraid you are accusing me of a crime I did not commit.  My wife and I went to Venice in late November a few years ago and we had a fine time.  I found the city to be every bit as beautiful as those who have been romanticizing it for centuries.  

    But…

    Read more

  • Is Dark Tourism Immoral?

    kimjong

    Over the weekend I came across an IAmA post on Reddit authored by a man (u/Zombie46) who had recently returned from a leisure vacation to North Korea.  Obvious questions came to my mind immediately.  “Why the hell would anyone want to visit North Korea?” was the question that I muttered most often.  I could not fathom why anyone would want to visit an autocratic, prison camp infested land of despair and oppression.  Truthfully, after reading the author’s responses I’m still not sure why anyone would spend good money on a visit to the DPRK, but many readers brought up a far more interesting criticism.

    Read more

  • Rail Travel Horror Stories: Spray Deodorant is not Appropriate

    deutsche-bahn-logo

    Rail travel, the quintessential method of transportation in Europe, is the great equalizer of the classes.  Yes, air travel within Europe has expanded greatly over the last two decades thanks in part to the stripped down micro-fare carriers like RyanAir, but rail travel is still the preferred method for most Europeans.  There are no security hassles, no pat-downs, no lines, no grotesque parking fees, no $15 bloody marys, no delays on the runway and no two hour pre-departure rules.  In fact, I have taken many train rides to and from Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam and Munich where my ticket was not once checked by a train attendant.

    Sounds pretty great, doesn’t it?  Unfortunately, many have applied the laissez-faire nature of train travel to their own onboard behaviors.  Train stations are often carnivals of unwashed, unmedicated souls who either have life figured perfectly or are completely lost.  Curiously, the interiors of the trains are rarely as sketchy as the stations themselves; leading me to believe that many of the characters hanging around the stations are doing so in the name of entertainment or camaraderie.  I must admit, if I were single I’d probably thoroughly enjoy drinking beers and hanging out at any of the larger train stations in Europe.

    Read more

  • Super Fun Japanese Snack Time – Tiny Rings of Hell

    snack1

    Continuing the trend of following thoughtful posts with superficial click bait, I present to you what will hopefully not become a running series on this site.  Truthfully, the Japanese snack review thing has been done really well elsewhere.  If you have never had a chance to see the “Emmy Made in Japan” series on YouTube,  I urge you to give it a try as she can actually explain what the snacks are and provide the extra insight that comes along with the ability to speak Japanese.  I, on the other hand, have a dull palate and no idea how to read any of the Japanese alphabets.  This might be a disaster.

    Read more

  • Mark Twain Hates Your Travel Essay

    twain

    “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”

    - Mark Twain, The Innocents Abroad

    I may be guilty of violating the main tenet of this site by posting an epigraph so meaningful – dare I say whimsical – but life is too short not to be hypocritical on occasion.  Twain’s position is one of infallibility.  I cannot think of an argument that is capable of diminishing Twain’s assertion that is not saturated with cynicism.

    Read more

  • Fake Questions from Make Believe Readers: Volume 1

    munchen

    Yes, it’s an unoriginal gimmick but I still have a few months of optimism left before this site becomes a mess of cynical listicles and discount airfare redirects – enjoy the content while it lasts. Let’s get on with it.

    Q:  You mentioned in an earlier post that you used to live in Germany.  What is your favorite German city and what city would you recommend for a first time visitor?

    Preston T. Wellington – Juarez, Mexico

    Read more

  • Las Vegas is Infinite: My First Royal Flush

    binions

    I once had an oceanography professor who tried to convince the class that all coastlines are of an infinite length, as length is relative to the metric that is used to conduct the measurement.  No one really understood what the hell he was talking about, partly because he was a barrel chested Frenchman who sounded like a drunk Gerard Depardieu, and partly because he would never stop babbling about something called the Coriolis Effect.  It wasn’t until years later, during a trip to Las Vegas, that I finally understood what he meant by the infinite coastline.  Most people consider Las Vegas to be bi-modal by nature; the Las Vegas of residents and the Las Vegas of tourists.  In reality, Las Vegas is infinite – it just depends how you measure.

    Read more