Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Pain in the ass countries

Welcome to "Pain in the Ass Countries" where Logan bitches about other countries restrictive tourism policies!

Today, we've got two BIG countries for you!

Welcome to CHINA!

Really big. Loads and loads of history. Interesting stuff there. Cheap to live. However, it costs just under $200 to get a 30 day pass into it. And 30 days is the max.

Did the leader, see Team America and say “Screw that!” to tourism?

Welcome to RUSSIA!

Apparently, you need to get INVITED into the country. And you pay for the invite to the tune of $300. Plus the visa itself. Which can take a couple weeks. And quote "If you don't make it through this bureaucratic loop, you may have problems leaving the country." Plus, naturally, you have to pay for the visa itself - and it's complicated enough that they have their own flow chart for you to follow around. Don't know - articles like this make me wary about visiting.

The problem - with China, virtually none. I can go around it and not really worry about it. But - for Russia? It's frigging huge and dominates a lot of area. If I wanted to travel from Europe to Asia, I've got two basic routes - through the Arabic lands the US seems intent on bombing and 'police actioning' (gosh - that doesn't sound too good) or cut through Russia. Or fly over either and hope like hell not to get shot down. It's looking like I could get all the way to Turkey before being confronted with Iran and Afghanistan. I'm not seeing them wanting to express a lot of love to me. I suppose it is possible to go across the Mediterranean and into Egypt (nice folks there) then into Saudi Arabia. Reading the State Departments thing, al Qaida doesn't seem to have been active there for three or four years. Risky but not as hot as Iraq/Iran. Then onward to Pakistan/India and Asia, skirting the southern reaches. We'll have to see about that.

The bag test

I tried reversing the bag and filling it with water. It didn't leak immediately so I left it over night to see what happened.

After leaving it overnight, it still appeared to have all of the water in it. No drips and such. Hence, the bag seems water tight. Now, I'm not sure if this will be a better thing than say zip lock freezer bags (which you and TSA can see into) but I'm sure I'll find a use for them when we get closer to 'show time' and do the big repack.

The three choice plan

After I get back from the first trip, which I'm referring to as my 'shake down' trip, I should know better if I'm happy living out of a backpack. I figure when I get back, I'll have three different options:

A. Get out quick

This is the "I've got four days to clear out of where I'm living. First step - buy a plane ticket on line. Thank the guy I've been renting my room from and go go go. I imagine it would involve a lot of dumping stuff outside, maybe putting up a sign that says "Free shit". Bribe TJ with gas money to roar down in his truck and grab the Cthulhu stuff I promised him. He and his wife said they'd be fine holding onto some of my crap as well so maybe squirrel away a couple of things. After spending a couple days with him and his wife (they live near D.C.) I can fly out from the nation's capital to 'somewhere else'. My reasoning is that if I'm not paying rent somewhere I can afford to be elsewhere. Even if all of my costs (rent, food, entertainment) stayed equal but I was living for three months at a time somewhere more interesting - I'd still be living somewhere more interesting.

B. Spend another month

As above but a more leisurely pace. I've noticed that already I am starting to dump stuff out. Being that I am not a 'pack rat' (a person who habitually saves shit, even if it is unlikely to ever be used again) I really don't have all that much stuff. Aside from my computer and Cthulhu books, I really don't have any emotional attachment to anything material here. And my friends? Well, I only have a couple close friends here and I can see them after I have some more interesting stories to tell. Plus, gods know we get together on skype and such quite often. God bless Skype. [Note that if you are not on/using Skype, you are really missing out.]

I suppose this one would be needed either if some stuff comes up I don't know about or if I couldn't get a plane ticket out at a decent rate on that short of notice.

C. Figure out a better plan

This is my 'well, fuck I can't handle living out of a backpack and I'm too crippled' option. If I hit this one, I'm going to have to come up with a better plan. In this option, I would continue living here and renting here. Note if my land lord is reading this blog - PLEASE DON'T RENT MY ROOM UNLESS I DESCRIBE PLAN A OR B to you!

Movie Review

I've been watching Michael Palin's New Europe. He is going into some very interesting areas. Some with 'land mine hazards'. One of the kind of sad recurring themes that I've seen in the former communists countries is they miss it in a nostalgic way. Sure, they had no personal freedoms or liberties - but they had jobs. The countries now affected with freedom are now economically screwed. On the plus side, I can now afford to actually live in some of them for a bit and check them out.

One really nifty place I saw on his show was Istanbul. I'm really wanting to go there but have no clue why - just want to go.

The disadvantage of this show is that they are covering so much, they really don't have much time to do more than just a very little in each place. Kind of like the buffet line for thin people.

One interesting thing about Europe - things that are 'new' are about as old as the USA.

Overall, I think the 7 part TV series is really only good for those with an interest in traveling to those places mentioned. Michael Palin isn't really funny at all in it and the series isn't what I'd call 'exciting'. But interesting.

The Ball

Remember all the bitching I did that Walmart no longer carried balls?

I found one in my place. Weird.

How to be a better edgy (insert appropriately edgy field here)


1. A show, pretense, or display.
a. Behavior that is assumed rather than natural; artificiality.
b. A particular habit, as of speech or dress, adopted to give a false impression.

The half glass of wine.

Rules of the half glass of wine:

You can never finish it - if you do, then you're stuck with a dirty glass and you look like an alcoholic. You might as well have crushed beer cans littering your workplace.

The wine must not be white. While it is true that red whine is a bitch to get out of carpeting should it spill it looks much better. If you are worried about spilling it, use a larger glass. Do not use a brandy snifter! Should you be clumsy enough to spill even a drop, you must replace the carpeting or again you will look like an alcoholic.

The wine must be real. Should anyone ever discover that your wine is fake (or worse yet - non-alcoholic) your reputation will be in tatters. The cost of the wine will not increase your social standing should it be discovered but it can downgrade it. If you are working at a nice place and drinking 'wine out of a box' people will think you are cheap and worse, have no taste. If your business is small or new and people discover you are drinking a '78 Le Montrachet, they will think you are a fool. Something consummate with your station but realize that people will usually not find the bottle. Again, you cannot leave them lying around. The wine bottle must, however, be allowed to breath and should be left open somewhere - not in a refrigerator!

There should be no other wine glasses on the premises - nor anything that can be used as one. If you are harboring secret shame and have to refill the wine bottle that is your status from one which is not, you don't want anyone to 'join you' in a glass of wine. Should you get a wine 'affectionado' the scandal will kill your business.

This affectation works better with either supervisors or those rare professions that only have one hand free. Obviously, it does no good unless you have customers on your premises.

Since you are stuck holding the wine glass nearly all of the time and when you do get to taste any of the wine within it should only be the merest sip as you cannot empty the glass until the end of day, I suggest not starting one until near the end of the business day.

The 'wine glass' would not work for overly technical professions such as a computer programmer - nobody wants you to be edgy while you're doing code. It would certainly not do for something like a construction worker on the 'high steel'. I'm not certain how full of angst or edgy I want my doctor to be. This would work well for supervisors in interior decoration, hairdressers and artists. Those professions can proudly hold their wine glass disdainfully in their hand and declare "Oh what a bitch of a day I've had!"

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{{2011}} London, GB | Rail N Sail | Amsterdam, Netherlands | Prague, Czech Republic | Budapest, Hungary | Sarajevo, Bosnia | Romania | Chisinau, Moldova | Ukraine: Odessa - Sevastopol | Crossed Black Sea by ship | Georgia: Batumi - Tbilisi - Telavi - Sighnaghi - Chabukiani | Turkey: Kars - Lost City of Ani - Goreme - Istanbul | Jordan: Amman - Wadi Rum | Israel | Egypt: Neweiba - Luxor - Karnak - Cairo | Thailand: Bangkok - Pattaya - Chaing Mai - Chaing Rei | Laos: Luang Prabang - Pakse | Cambodia: Phnom Penh | Vietnam: Vung Tau - Saigon aka Ho Chi Minh City

{{2012}} Cambodia: Kampot - Sihanoukville - Siem Reap - Angkor Wat | Thailand: Bangkok | India: Rishikesh - Ajmer - Pushkar - Bundi - Udaipur - Jodhpur - Jasalmer - Bikaner - Jaipur - Agra - Varanasi | Nepal: Kathmandu - Chitwan - Pokhara - Bhaktapur - (Rafting) - Dharan | India: Darjeeling - Calcutta Panaji | Thailand: Bangkok - again - Krabi Town | Malaysia, Malaka | Indonesia: Dumas - Bukittinggi - Kuta - Ubud - 'Full Throttle' - Gili Islands - Senggigi | Cambodia: Siem Reap | Thailand: Trat | Turkey: Istanbul | Georgia: Tbilisi

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{{2016}} Thailand: Kanchanaburi - Chumphon | Malaysia: Ipoh - Kuala Lumpur - Kuching - Miri | Ukraine: Kiev | Romania: Targu Mures - Barsov | Morocco: Tetouan

{{2017}} Portugal: Faro | USA: Virginia - Michigan - Illinois - Colorado | England: Slough - Lancaster | Thailand: Bangkok | Cambodia: Siem Reap

{{2018}} Ukraine: Kiev - Chernihiv - Uzhhorod

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