I initially started this page thinking that it would grow into a massive compilation of pictures of places that I have been due to the high traveling nature of my job. Unfortunately two things so far have hindered this.
Click on a picture to see the much bigger version of it.
|Here we see the Korean marketing strategy. When you work out, you sweat. And when you sweat, you get thirsty. So why not drink a drink that is named after sweat? Pocari Sweat is there for you.|
|To see a huge, huge, huge screen TV showing advertisements is rare for me. Here, it's seen on almost every corner. The people I was with kept pointing and saying "Just like New York", but I've never been to New York so I wouldn't know.||I took this picture while we were cruising around the city in our minivan.. I thought it came out pretty good because it shows the contrast between traditional and modern Korean architecture.||Here is what the side of a street looks like on an average day.. Guys in business suits going wherever they need to go, a newspaper stand selling cigarettes, porn, and newspapers.. I just think the photo turned out well.|
The traffic is horrible here. Absolutely horrible. So horrible, I find it safe to say that it equals D.C. (and even worse if you compare lunch time in D.C. to lunch time in Korea.. cars just don't move in Seoul). Looking in people's cars you can see that they practically live in them. Coats, extra clothes, non-perishable food items are all piled in back seats. Luxury cars are common.. Though if in the states the cars here wouldn't be considered luxury because there is no Japanese (Lexus, Infinity, Acura) or American market.. It's all Korean, so you'll see Hyundai, Daewoo, and even Samsung cars (which somehow look just like Nissans) all around. And most of the time they are really really shiny.
|This is probably the best picture of the cityscape I took. This bridge passes tons and tons of traffic (albeit slowly) every day.||Just another picture of the city.. of different buildings.. and the horizon just before sunset.||Yet another picture of the city.. This one is special though because it features a Korean gazebo on a hill.|
There is one thing that scares me about Korea.. And that's the 'take over the world' strategy of corporations there. LG is by far the biggest one. In the U.S., all we see from them are cheap computer components. In Korea.. they make everything. Apartment complexes, Air conditioner/refrigerator units, Gas stations, telecommunications, televisions, cameras, sound systems, Internet service, car insurance, and they publish music. For anyone that thinks America works too much.. they need to look at Korea. Every company around is working as hard as they can just to keep ahead.. It's a big competition it seems... Our own drivers worked from 8 in the morning till 5 in the evening.. only to be released to their company to work for four more hours.
|The picture of the lady's face on this sign is real. She actually works there.. She was sweeping the porch as I took this picture. Three blocks down I saw a similar sign of "Miss Beverly's Hamburgers" with a different person's picture on the sign.. and that same person working at the restaurant.|
|They say don't drink from a straw in Korea. They recycle them just like they recycle bottles. One time I had a straw in my drink with lipstick on it.... Okay that's not true.||I saw this while shopping around.. Looks like a motorcycle exhaust pipe.. maybe someone was working on an engine inside.. I don't know what. But it shows you how much pride is taken in a home.||Here they are selling dog.. I guess there is a form of veal for dog because these aren't even fully grown! They aren't cooked yet, so you can get them at a good cheap price.|
Wow.. I thought I'd have a lot to say about Korea.. but I really don't anymore. I guess I forgot some things during my 20 hour plane ride back... Oh well. Here's some more pictures.
|A small section of shops in Osan, with a lot of military members from the Air Force base there looking around.||This is the street right outside of the gate of Osan Air Base.. The guy to the right is currently dancing to some crazy music, hitting his spoon on his bike to match the beats of the music. I think that guy is mentally handicapped.||A traffic jam in a nutshell. A car going our direction suddenly decided to make a U-turn in the middle of the street and couldn't quite get it... The light turned green and cars piled up fast. About fifty horns blared all at once.|
|A very Korean style church.. If you have never seen one, now's your chance. It looks to me like it's about to take off like a space ship.||Took this while crossing a bridge on the way back to the airport.. I thought it came out extremely well.||For those that didn't believe me that Samsung didn't sell cars.. here's my proof. Don't they look like older Maximas?|
|Crowded crowded crowded.. Living like ants.||Even more apartment complexes.. It's expensive to live in these my driver said..||...and more... There are a lot of them that I didn't get a chance to take a picture of.. but this is enough.|
National Zoo, Washinton D.C.
If you are used to a zoo like the one in New Orleans called the Audubon Zoo, then forget everything you've learned about zoos. Here in D.C. everything is different in the sense that.. everything is crammed together. Even more so than New Orleans. So when my girlfriend decided that we should go to the zoo I didn't expect much, due to the location of the place being downtown. It was quite a bit bigger than I expected... The animals however did not get too much of that space.
Here we see the oh-so-famous beavers, happily slapping their tail on the ground and building dams.. And washing their food in the water (lets not forget). Can you see them? Me neither! Look at the happy happy hippo, basking in the sun and occasionally coming up for air and shooting water all over the kids along the fence - HAHAHA! Wait. That never happened... I didn't know there was such a thing as a Mexican Wolf, but here there is a sign that says there is. I think it was joshing with me... If there was a Mexican Wolf in D.C., do you think it could learn English faster than the Mexican people in D.C.?
The layout of the zoo is horrible. Just like the roads in the area. Imagine running over a pile of coathangers with a rusty mechanical lawnmower, and then design a bunch of walkways based off of that. That's how it was. There were a couple of times we walked for a full two minutes only to find that there are no animals in that section, and that it's a dead end...
What animals that were there were alone (for the most part).. No playmate or punching bag or anything. The monkey/gorilla section had lots of animals, but unfortunately they were behind big fingerprint-covered glass walls, where the glare from the skylights kept you from seeing anything. It stunk, but that's to be expected. Monkeys aren't known for their perfume extracts.
Here we see a sloth bear. Sounds interesting doesn't it? Apparently he was off watching TV (or maybe being forced to eat until he explodes), because despite what I said, he is nowhere to be seen. This is a people exhibit for the otters. The people have more room to move around than the rest of the animals, but I guess that's because they're loud and they will scare off all the customers. Here is the average American Family that apparently is being served as lunch for the sea lions. They apparently aren't very hungry yet.. I thought about throwing something at the sea lions to make them mad and eat the people while I happened to be there but the good angel on my left shoulder said that wouldn't be very nice.
I can't really say the zoo was a disappointment because I didn't expect much at all. The animals were far from happy.. never doing anything interesting (unlike the masturbating monkey that I saw in the Audubon Zoo).. just kind of laying around looking annoyed at all the people staring at them. The tiger was pacing around constantly.. trying to pretend we weren't there. And after a while, a Mexican Wolf did show up, and there was a sloth bear on the other side of where I took the picture, so the zoo wasn't as bare of animals as I made it out to be.. But it was pretty empty still.
There were a couple of educational exhibits that weren't very educational.. One of which seemed to believe that I didn't think that animals have a thought process. Example of a banner: "Do you have social thoughts? So do gorillas. Think about it." Yet, there were no resources available to explain what gorillas did that made them social animals... There was a room with a bunch of books and microscopes with bugs and stuff.. and that was pretty cool, but there were so many kids running around playing with the stuff that I just wanted to get out of there.
I forgot to mention that it was free. I guess you get what you pay for. I don't know how the National Zoo compares to other zoos (except.. again to the Audubon Zoo.. which is a pretty bad@ss zoo) so I can't really recommend for or against it. If you're in the area and have a few hours to spare it's worth checking out.
Not many pictures here... I was just surprised at how flat the place was. When I think 'Denver' I think 'mountains', but no.. Denver is very very very flat. There are mountains around.. but at least fifty miles away.
Well, there you go. That's my trip to Denver. I was there for four days. I had lots of Starbuck's coffee. It didn't snow. There were lots of Mexicans.
Here is my awesome view from my awesome room in my awesome hotel. Big window, big bed.. Internet access for ten bucks.. Nice.
I was looking out the window and saw the shadows of the buildings on the (very flat) city and thought I should get a picture of it. This is a good example of what Denver looks like.. Just dusty and near colorless.
Worst things first: The air here is nasty. Real nasty. People walking up and down the streets have a cloth covering their mouth so that they don't die from the tar content. It's rare that you see a vehicle strumming down the road and you can't see its exhaust. My time there I saw no factories bellowing smoke into the air, as you would expect to see from a place that disallows you to see stars at night.
The clouds are gathering at the end of another day. Our hotel was located right on the southern shore of the island, so a good view for sunsets was imminent. Unfortunately most days it was very hazy and it wasn't as picturesque as it could have been. This was taken during the morning, when a light fog covered the ground at the feet of the city. I thought it looked pretty cool so I ran down to get my camera, and took a picture of it. This beautiful building was built against standard building code, so it was condemned due to the quantity of earthquakes that happen. So far it hasn't fallen, and it's a good thing too because a lot of homeless people live around it.
The poverty level is extremely high here. It didn't look to me like it was all that bad, but the newspaper had a lot to say about it, as well as the locals. I saw a few people sleeping on stairways, but never anybody begging for money. A lot of people were in rags, and a lot looked to have not showered in weeks, but this is small beans compared to Senegal, where the streets were practically lined with people sleeping and begging.
This is called a 'Jeepie' or something like that. There's tons of them in Manila. Whoever it is that drives them try to decorate it with tons of random widgets and pictures making it look as gaudy as possible. The picture was taken out of a car window which is why it's crooked and blurry. A strange development here with the land being perfectly square next to the water. At a full view you can see an elaborate church in the middle of nowhere. This should give you an idea on how big Manila is.. When the haze is gone you can see twice this many buildings behind it.
The city of Manila is huge. You can drive for forty minutes straight through it with big concrete buildings on either side the whole time, many of which above thirty floors. The streets didn't have many pot holes, but they were pretty bumpy. At some points they were six lanes wide on either side, but never for long before they bottlenecked into three or less lanes. Traffic was a mess. I think the people that designed the streets in Manila are the same ones that did it for D.C. The people driving here are good at knowing the dimensions of their cars because they cut each other off constantly, and squeeze in between two cars with less than inches to spare. My whole time there I did not see a single wreck. What I did see, was 'Male Urinals' on the sides of main streets. All they were was a big pink ovular wall that you walked in and peed on. No drains or anything.. It just dribbled out onto the street or on the sidewalk where people were all huddled together. I wanted to get a picture of one, but like everything else I didn't get a chance to.
The food was pretty good most of the places we ate at (which was mainly the hotel)... Especially KFC. The chicken there is much more tender than I'm used to, which leads me to believe it may be dog or cat.. But if it tastes like chicken, it must be chicken, right? You could get a two piece meal with a ball of rice with gravy and a side and a drink for about 55 pesos, which comes out to roughly $1.
The language there is pretty much the same as here, in Alexandria. Broken English. Everywhere you look you'll see ads and warnings and signs written in English. But does everybody speak it? Not really. The real language is called Tagalog or something like that. When they did speak English it was borderline impossible to understand (most of the time). I was watching Goonies and a couple of locals were in the room (that I was working in) with me. On the movie they were trying to escape the pirate ship before the bad guys could get them, and one guy points at the TV and says "T'dee-doo". It took me a while to figure out he was trying to say "Treasure". Just an example.
Well, folks.. It appears I am out of pictures worth showing you, and I'm out of experiences to share... So I'll just leave this where it is and bid you all farewell for now. I'm sorry I didn't take more pictures.. There was some good stuff out there. It was just a matter of dedicating my time off to walk around with my camera... And because of the recent tourist kidnappings I didn't really feel inclined to risk doing that.
I received this email in September of 2004, by a woman who goes by Tina.
I couldn't see not posting it here, so here it is!
I thoroughly read your write-up regarding Manila, and I’d be a fool to say that I wasn’t dismayed. Not that I begrudge you your right to comment about things as you see fit…. however, I would be a bigger fool if I at least didn’t try to improve your opinion about our country and our people.
I’m doing this because I love my country, inspite of all its flaws --- much in the same manner that I suppose you love yours too :)
As such, I am hopeful that you won’t take offense that I copy-pasted your comments and commented on them, in turn:
CRAWDADDY: “Worst things first: The air here is nasty. Real nasty. People walking up and down the streets have a cloth covering their mouth so that they don't die from the tar content. It's rare that you see a vehicle strumming down the road and you can't see its exhaust. My time there I saw no factories bellowing smoke into the air, as you would expect to see from a place that disallows you to see stars at night.”
TINA: You’re right. We’ve got a nasty case of air pollution. Fortunately, it isn’t as bad as that in Bangkok during rush hour. There are factories that bellow smoke into the air, good that you didn’t see them. We’re trying our best to conform with global standards for environmental protection, but are making such slow headway (sigh…). But hey… you can see stars at night, though. All you have to know is where to best position yourself. Manila Bay is beautiful during daytime and at night. It’s a good vantage point in the city for stargazing.
CRAWDADDY: “The clouds are gathering at the end of another day. Our hotel was located right on the southern shore of the island, so a good view for sunsets was imminent. Unfortunately most days it was very hazy and it wasn't as picturesque as it could have been.”
TINA: The last sentence in the paragraph above was kind of sweet. Yes, we do have picturesque sunsets (sunrises, as well) and it’s a pity you weren’t able to see them at their best.
CRAWDADDY: “This was taken during the morning, when a light fog covered the ground at the feet of the city. I thought it looked pretty cool so I ran down to get my camera, and took a picture of it.”
TINA: Hey, one thing I can say about you, you have a heart that’s fair. You dish out the ugly stuff but balance it with the good. Thanks for the comment above.
CRAWDADDY: “This beautiful building was built against standard building code, so it was condemned due to the quantity of earthquakes that happen. So far it hasn't fallen, and it's a good thing too because a lot of homeless people live around it.”
TINA: Hmm… if I’m not mistaken, I think the building you’re referring to is what we know here as the “Film Center”. Yes, it was built against standard building code, but no, it wasn’t condemned because of lots of earthquakes. It was abandoned (save for two caretakers, up to now) because a terrible accident happened while it was being constructed during the Martial Law Regime under the Marcoses in the 70s. See, the building was being rushed then for the arrival of people like George Hamilton and other “celebs”, and as a result, several workers who fell from a scaffold and a collapsed floor were entombed in the quick-drying cement being used. “Horrified” is the best word I could use to describe how we, as a people, felt about what had happened. It became a national scandal, and that was the major reason that the building was abandoned sometime later. By the way, we don’t have that much earthquakes here, although we are right along the so-called “earthquake belt.” The ones that we get though, are zingers. Fortunately, they come along rarely.
CRAWDADDY: “…Traffic was a mess. I think the people that designed the streets in Manila are the same ones that did it for D.C.”
TINA: Close, but not quite. The original design came from the early Spanish colonizers. Americans who came later, also to colonize, “improved” (?) upon the design. But as of modern times, it’s ineffective urban planning that’s at the root for the mess.
CRAWDADDY: “My whole time there I did not see a single wreck. What I did see, was 'Male Urinals' on the sides of main streets. All they were was a big pink ovular wall that you walked in and peed on. No drains or anything.. It just dribbled out onto the street or on the sidewalk where people were all huddled together. I wanted to get a picture of one, but like everything else I didn't get a chance to.”
TINA: Oh-oh, I’m not male, so I wouldn’t really know if there was a drain inside or not. But I suppose there is, because if there weren’t, the streets would be really, really saturated with piss, owing to the number of men who use those ugly things. Yep, I did say “ugly”. Those pink urinals are a surrealistic blot on the city. Ugh.
CRAWDADDY: “…Especially KFC. The chicken there is much more tender than I'm used to, which leads me to believe it may be dog or cat.. But if it tastes like chicken, it must be chicken, right?”
TINA: Right. Please take my word of it. I also did a documentary feature on fastfoods here before, and I saw with my own eyes that local KFCs do use chicken, not dog or cat. I think KFC outlets/franchises prepare their chicken in different ways. When I was in Thailand, the KFC at the airport tasted like cardboard to me. (LOL)
CRAWDADDY: “The language there is pretty much the same as here, in Alexandria. Broken English. Everywhere you look you'll see ads and warnings and signs written in English. But does everybody speak it? Not really. The real language is called Tgalic or something like that. When they did speak English it was borderline impossible to understand (most of the time). I was watching Goonies and a couple of locals were in the room (that I was working in) with me. On the movie they were trying to escape the pirate ship before the bad guys could get them, and one guy points at the TV and says "T'dee-doo". It took me a while to figure out he was trying to say "Treasure". Just an example.”
TINA: Broken English? (ROFL). I guess you didn’t meet or interact with that many locals here. I find your comment funny, because in general, many of us are hired in multinational corporations, call centers and overseas work because we can carry a good conversation in English. The official language is “Pilipino” or “Filipino”. “Tagalog”, which is very similar to Pilipino, is a derivative dialect. By the way… I had several American chatpals before, and we also used to call each other now and then. Sometimes, I also couldn’t make out their drawls that easily, but it was for that very reason that I found them charming.
CRAWDADDY: “I'm sorry I didn't take more pictures.. There was some good stuff out there. It was just a matter of dedicating my time off to walk around with my camera... And because of the recent tourist kidnappings I didn't really feel inclined to risk doing that.”
TINA: Yes, it’s a good thing you didn’t. Most Filipinos/nas are law-abiding and we care for our tourists. It’s a pity there are some who do bad things to them. :(
DAKAR (SEDAR), SENEGAL (SENGHOR)
It was noted many times that this is the most developed country in Western Africa. It makes me wonder what the other countries are like, seeing as how this place is the most underdeveloped place I've seen in my life. Every building here is made by hand... and many of them are currently being constructed. Trash dominates this country... The gutters of the road.. any dirt field.. in front of houses.. there's just piles of it everywhere. There's a big one not to far from the hotel that always has a group of goats feasting on it. Strange.
The hotel we stayed at was heavily contrasted against the rest of the area... Looking out of the right side of the bus window at the neighborhood (and trash and hard working construction) the hotel popped out as sort of an oasis which instilled immediate awe. Luscious palm trees, a huge fountain.. nicely paved driveway, and most importantly, it was big. Easily the largest building in the area.
From the entrance led a red carpet over a well designed marble floor, and underneath three crystal mobiles. The styling was unlike anything I've ever seen. Unfortunately, it lost a lot of flair the closer you looked. The carpet was glued to the floor.. The mobiles were really made out of plastic, and the marble floor wasn't very refined. I guess you get what you pay for :)
This is the light house we set up some of our equipment in. Surprisingly it's one of the better built buildings in the city. This is the view from the lighthouse, towards the hotel we stayed in. Identify the biggest building, with a small green dome in front of it, and that's it. The air in the hotel was very obviously unfiltered. This is the air vent in our equipment room.
A couple of days into the trip, we were hanging out in the lobby (waiting for transportation) and I heard a *click* *click* from behind one of the curtains. I went to investigate, and I saw a small crab with it's arms raised menacingly. A hotel worker (wearing a militarish red suit) walked by thinking we were all looking at a bug or something. When he realized it was a crab, he laughed in the most child-like way I've ever heard anyone laugh, as he gently kicked it towards the door (until someone else was brave enough to actually pick it up, and ended up breaking off it's two back legs).
Also, on our ferry ride to Goree Island (had more equipment to set up over there) I was offered a 14 year old girl. Her mother was gesturing to me saying "You like? You take home!". I said "You're joking, right?", then she started laughing and said "Yes, I'm joking. No, really... You like?". I found it a hard offer to turn down, so she's living with me now. She only costed 30,000 CFA (~$60) and she cleans my place up really well. It was difficult getting her through customs though, but I guess a big enough suitcase can bring anything over the sea.
This is the view straight out from the balcony of the room I stayed in. Pretty nice. This picture was taken from a boat that took us to the island. The beach is a pretty happinin' place. This is the main lobby of the hotel that holds what I call "The Tree of Life". It's about 105° in here, so don't plan on looking for long.
Driving here is a bit different than that back in the States. Every single bad habit I hate about how people drive is expressed here in extreme. There are some crazier habits like cars passing others by driving in the middle of a two lane road (with oncoming traffic). People standing on the street are always narrowly missed by speeding, dented, French-made vehicles. It's pretty exciting.
In speaking of people on the streets, everybody has something to sell. One of the main reasons traffic is so bad, is because at main intersections you have hundreds of people walking alongside the cars holding various wares (car accessories, cell phones, shoes, plates, T-shirts, wooden sculptures, jewelry, sunglasses, etc.) in front of windshields for drivers to see.
This was taken on the way back to the mainland. I thought it looks pretty nice with the reflection on the water, etc.. One of the more interesting pictures I've taken. Unfortunately it's very crooked and was taken from inside a car, but that seems to give it more of a 'live' effect. Just another random picture taken from inside a car. I'm surprised it came out as clear as it did.. as we were doing 80 KPH at the time.
The only other overseas area I have to compare Dakar to is Vilnius (see below). The two side by side are complete opposites. This place lacks the pride, ambition, and energy that Vilnius had. People walk slow, sometimes even asleep under some shade on the side of the road. Even in the groups of construction workers, half are just sitting on some turned over buckets looking off into nowhere. Things are expensive here as well. Especially for a third world country. A beer will normally run you about $5. A full meal will be about $15, and it doesn't taste very good (and it gives you diarrhea). Also, it's very hot (of course.. Senegal is in Africa).
VILNIUS (VILNIAUS), LITHUANIA (LIETUVA)
This place was my first time outside of the U.S., with the exception of the 6 hours spent in Nogales, Mexico back in 2000. Unfortunately I didn't have much of a chance to take pictures while there. We were working 90% of the time that we weren't sleeping. There was one time I could have gotten some awesome pictures, but wouldn't you know that's when I didn't bring my camera along... Luckily, someone was with me that did bring one, and hopefully I'll be able to put his pics up here... Once he emails them to me..
The little time I did spend outside of the hotel, was very nice. The first night there we went to a club, called the creative name of 'Lithuanian Club'. Five scoots (a WHCA term for foreign currency) to get in, and three beers were free once there. The exchange rate was 3.4 - 1 roughly, so for less than two bucks I got all of that.
The picture on the left is of the view from the roof of the Holiday Inn, where I stayed. I took about 30 different pictures of it, one of which you should see on my sunset page.
The middle one is at the tourist attraction we went to.. some refurbished castle.. All it was, was a fancy museum that was 75% closed off. Some parts of it are beautiful, but overall I wasn't too excited about it.
And on the right is one taken out of the window of the room we set up in, in the Radisson.
The food was excellent everywhere we ate. With the exception of the Chinese food place. Lithuanian Chinese food isn't very flavorful.. Along with the food ya gotta have the beer. The popular brand there is Svytury's. Don't know where it's brewed but it is damn good stuff. Of course I say this without ever being to Germany.. :) And after having the coffee there, I find it hard to enjoy coffee here.. It just tastes like water with a little bit of dirt in it. And the bread, never disappointing. All of this was cheap. I spent a total of about $300 the two weeks there (eating out at least once a day)- which is about how much would be spent on a fun weekend in D.C. Or a day in Disney World.
The cars there were all dirty, though. At first they look like they have two-tone paint on them, but upon closer investigation it is plain that the bottom half of them is caked with dirt. I asked the bartender at the Holiday Inn (Larry) why that is, and he said it was extremely expensive to get one washed. That plus, I noticed there weren't any hose faucets on any building I looked at.
These two were taken on the way to the castle.. Left is our group looking at the little things being sold in the shops, and on the right is the pathway leading to the castle, with a violin player standing to the side. Further up there's an accordian player before the bridge, but you can't see him in the picture.
Well, that just about does it. There's a few other things worth mentioning, such as there is no Coca-Cola Classic over there. They have what we call 'New Coke'. Only they call it Coca-Cola. I remember hearing about new Coke, and hearing that it was disgusting and nobody liked it. I felt disheartened that I would never be able to experience this supposed nasty cola, to see how different it really could be. Well, thanks to European taste I have had that chance and am glad we still have 'Old Coke'.
Another thing is the clothes, and the women that wear them. I'd say about 90% of the women there are 110 pounds or less, while being between 5"5', and 5"9'. Short skirts and high boots (...*nice*...) were all over the place. Fur coats seemed to be pretty popular as well, though I don't really like the look of them, but can appreciate the 'classiness' that goes with it. It was rare that I saw any bright colors, though. Mostly blacks and dark greys... I did see one neon green scarf being worn, but that was it. Unfortunately smoking is pretty popular among the women.. About 90% of those 90% had a cigarette in their hand.
Anyway, my two weeks in Vilnius was a heck of an experience, especially it being my first time in Europe. If you are ever in the area, I suggest you stop by there and look around. Walk up and down the streets (that's never boring) for a while. Take some pictures. Send them to me.
SIOUX CITY, IA; DULUTH, MN; & SALT LAKE CITY, UT
Sioux City, Iowa. These pictures were taken out of my dirty hotel window. What I thought would be a charming little town ended up being the equivelant of dirt that has collected and caked in a corner. It didn't smell so good, and the streets were ridden with potholes. We went to Chili's for lunch and it made me wish I was back in the woods with a nice warm MRE.
But other than that, my short day's stay there was somewhat pleasant. A neat skywalk connected all the buildings in "downtown", so you wouldn't have to walk around in the snow (which it does there often) to get from one to the other.
There was a bridge there, that basically crossed over into Nebraska. It was lit up with black lights, sort of giving it an 'acid trip' feel. People driving don't try to run you over when you want to cross the street.
Duluth, Minnesota. One pic was taken out of my hotel window, the other taken out of the rotating restaurant on the top floor. I was amazed at the size of this city that I had never heard of. Come to find out, it has less than 90,000 people inhabiting it, which is way out of proportion to the size and number of the buildings. Hills that reminded my coworkers of San Fransisco run rampant all about the town.
The strangest thing about the place, was the accent of the locals. I've never heard anything like it (save for the mom on the cartoon "Bobby's World") in my life. And everybody here had it. And strong too. Unfortunately I didn't get to see too much of the town, only being there for 18 hours or less. I liked what I saw though..
Salt Lake City, Utah. Got there 10 p.m. and was gone the next day by 11 a.m. I tried taking pictures at 7 in the morning, but it was too dark for them to come out worth a hoot. I managed to walk around the city at night. I didn't know that 'Walk' and 'Don't Walk' signs for blind people existed, but now I can mark that down on my checklist. It does it by sound. One intersection had a bird chirp sound, another a little jingle, and another that buzzed. I'm sure every intersection in the city had a different one, but I only was around those three.
This place is officially the cleanest city I have ever seen. By far. Churches are huge, well lit palaces. Buildings have ornate designs on them, varying from medieval to modern times. The streets are well laid out, and spacious. People are polite. Yes. People are polite.
The picture above is the only one that I could take, really. We were working on a pretty tight schedule that morning. I think it came out well. It's a little bigger than the rest of the pics on this whole site, but I figured since it's the only one of SLC, I'd only shrink it a little bit.PORTLAND, OREGON
I already told you about it in the 'news' section. So here are the pictures...
Ft. Bragg, North Carolina
This was my first duty station. I was there for three years and have almost nothing to show for it. Except my airborne wings. And an AAM.
The post itself is quite nice. The red lights there ALL have sensors on them, so if you get one in the middle of the night you don't have to wait long for it to green up. There's two main PX's, plus about 8 shopettes, not that I hardly used them. Wal-Mart is usually cheaper. We did PT five times a day, jumped out of planes on average once every three months, and put up with crap 24/7. Giggleman can attest to that. Field time was spent roughly 40% of the time I was there. I enjoyed that some. Except NTC (Ft. Irwin, CA...the desert). That was the worst month of my life. If you want, you can look at the people I worked with at the time I left here.
This is what is commonly know to us pohgs as the 'Death Board'. It displays about how many days there were since the last airborne fatality. When it gets to 82, 82nd has a four day weekend. It's a tradition at Bragg (I don't know about any other post) to, when ETSing from there, to take a pair of your initial issue boots and throw them up on a power line. There's stuff like this all over the place. That's why the only fat people you see here are women. This is where a guy who had just bought his car and spent thousands of dollars to upgrade it, left his windows down during the weekend, which it rained all day every day. Reily Road. This light is the place to race. Up ahead the two lanes merge into one. I've smoked many a Mustang here. This car came in and tried to make a left into the parking lot...but didn't see the car coming from the other way and nailed it so hard it bounced back 20 feet. One of many wrecks that happen here. A unit doing PT on Sunday morning. In the rain. Sucks to be them. This is 50th Battalion's (my former unit) personnel office. They don't like to work. This was taken at 2 on a Thursday afternoon. Discom barracks. All in other barracks stare at these in envy...including myself.
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
A short week long trip that I went on because the assistant big boss wanted a weekend off.
The airport was very small. All of the buildings are made of wood/logs. The parking lot could only fit 150 cars, to include the rental cars. "Ahhh... Such a quaint little town", I thought to myself. And quaint it is, if quaint means small. I don't know though... Anyway the good things about it are the mountains. It was snowing when we arrived. That was May 22nd. Thus, the mountains stayed snowcapped the while we were staying, presenting a quiet, yet awe-inspiring demeanor.
The places we were staying in were very nice and poorly designed. There were three bedrooms... One upstairs and two downstairs.. Which isn't bad, except that the Kitchen and Living room were both upstairs. I still don't see the point. I mean, what if little Jimmy wants to sneak out and play with Betty next door. His parents would never know. Or what if Mom and Dad are feeling especially friendly with each other? I'm sure that Jimmy and his sister Shaneqwah would have to turn up their (cable) televisions to not hear about it.
Unfortunately I didn't get any pictures of Downtown.... It wasn't much to look at anyway. Maybe if I'm there again...
The people were especially snobby. I have never experienced the 'Aggressive Rudeness' that I have heard about. I was at the grocery store, buying milk, Frosted Mini-Wheats, and Mountain Dew when the guy behind me starts shaking his head. I looked at him and he stopped and looked the other way. I went to hand the cashier my money and saw him shake his head again. I wanted to say something to him... But I'm sure I would have gotten ignored. Somehow the über rich people know where you stand financially. I don't know if it was the clothes I wore (collared shirt/khaki pants), or the look I had on my face or the way I smelled or what I was buying. I used to think it wasn't fair for them to have to pay a 40% income tax... Now that feeling has done a 180.
Well, anyway here are some pictures because I know you want to go there now...
The Kitchen... The Living Room... The eyesore of a tennis court dome right outside the back balcony. I stopped driving and pulled over to take this picture. I think there used to be a house with many vehicles in the front yard here. The outside of the places we were staying in. I figured this looked a little unique, so I took it's picture. Another picture I took while pulled over. The plane we flew on. I felt like I was on one of those paper airplanes that do nothing but loop-de-loops when you throw them.
If you want to use any of the pictures on this page, please ask me - crawdaddy79 gmail