The perils of an old cottage

A side story. We were bundled up against the creeping chill of a rainy English day, watching a film called The Woman in Gold, when, out of the corner of my eye, I first saw the Beast of Bonsall. It was the sort of creature from a horror movie. It was large, dark, and had long, spindly legs…

An amusing incident with a kebab

London Day 1  – afternoon – Portobello Road and Notting Hill  Travel Tip #2: If you are into history or literature (or knowing about famous inventors, politicians, and scientists),  download the Blue Plaques for London app. It tells you what historic houses or sites are around, and many of them are places where famous authors, scientists,…

All creatures great and small

When I say I have had a veritable zoo or critter menagerie in my apartment over the year, I swear I am not exaggerating. Such is life in a ground floor apartment, in a village, in the foresty mountain area of Hong Kong. One thing most people don’t realize is that Hong Kong is only about…

Appreciating Bratislava by daylight

I only had one full day in Bratislava, and I wanted to make the most of it. To do this, I highly, highly recommend Be Free Tours. They run their English-language tours twice daily – 11 AM and 3 PM – and meet in a perfectly accessible location near the river by Old Town. Just…

Cafes and cakes and coffees

There is no better place in Vienna to relax and refuel from a long day of being a tourist than in one of the ubiquitous Viennese cafes. Whilst I’m as much a fan of Starbucks as the next person, it seemed almost sinful to choose the ‘Bucks over a local café. A good local café should…

Supermarkets and why I love them

Where I used to live in the United States, we were the hometown for distribution for Aldi, U.S. I enjoyed the relatively inexpensive groceries, the wide variety of items, and pretty good liquor selection. Living on a tight budget then, Aldi was perfect for me. I thought it was a U.S. thing, though, meant for…

An afternoon’s walk through history

Old Saigon <Saigon River hotels to Dong Khoi> – Part 2 I strolled the waterfront for bit, and it took me a good while to find a “safer” spot for me to cross the lane so I could view the hotels away from their curbside location. When I crossed back, I ran like hell before…

A morning’s walk through history

Old Saigon <Tao Dan Park to Saigon River> – Part 1 I began my walk that morning – a continuation of a Lonely Planet city walk in their Vietnam tour guide – down Truong Dihn toward Ben Tranh Market. As I exited my hotel, however, I saw a group of young people kitting up for the Lion and…

A [not so] fairy tale delivery story

Based on a true story of daily life in Hong Kong. Once upon a time, there was a fair, kind, and young(ish) maiden living in a lovely village up the very steep hill from the big kingdom. This fair, kind, and young(ish) maiden wanted to get her groceries delivered, and she waited two very long…

The Revenge of the Sludge

In my last post about a week ago, I lamented the flooding of my bathroom floor via the in-floor drain present in many a Chinese (and Asian) bathroom. Well, I’m not one to sit around and whine about a problem for long, so I decided to take action. Initially, that meant contacting the school help…

The Creature from the Black Lagoon

Has thus arisen from my bathroom drain. Plumbing in my apartment is perfunctory, to say the least, and it’s certainly nothing fancy. But since the entire bathroom used to be a giant shower, there is a straight pipe drain in the center of the floor, with a slightly raised door stoop to prevent water from…