Saturday, March 28, 2015

Boat Loads in Palau

Y'all may remember my best bud from my very first posts on AAW (OK 2 of you may remember).

works in Palau. Survivor has been filmed there and the islands are one of the 7 natural wonders of the world. Incredibly beautiful.

Here's a picture of Shipper:

No, wait.... here's a picture of Shipper. He's the one giving a wet willy to my other buddy Rich:

Shipper previously blogged about his trip to China in which no reported national incidents occurred. (They like to keep things hush-hush in China)

Check out his previous post, Chinese Democracy.

sent me a new blog yesterday. Check it out and leave him a note in the comments.

Cool Ships in Palau
A blog by
David Shipper

Lately we have been treated to a number of cool ships coming through Palau. Here are three that have just been here:
The USS John Paul Jones.

This rig cruised in a couple of days ago. We get some military ships here on R&R occasionally but rarely one with this firepower. It’s an Aegis Destroyer and it is BAD.

You know I thought these ships were supposed to destroy things and kill people. Boy was I wrong. On the tour we learned that they “prosecute submarines” with various torpedoes:

And at times they choose to employ a “harpoon solution.

The crew of this ship was pretty cool too. I had a few beers with them and was talking to the guy in charge of all the armaments. Of course I asked the question on everyone’s mind
“If money were no object, how quickly could you ‘prosecute’ Koror?”
The answer? Pretty damn quick – a matter of hours. The interesting thing was that the guy said he would pull anchor and sail away from Palau a few miles and then launch tomahawks. Why sail away? As he said, “those puppies have a pretty serious blast radius.”
The Octopus

This is Paul Allen’s ride. If you don’t know, he’s one of the founders of Microsoft, one of the richest people in the world, and a walking commercial for socialism. The Octopus is the 5th biggest private yacht in the world. It has a basketball court, 3 helicopters, and a remote control submarine.
If I couldn’t be Paul Allen, I’d like to be on Paul Allen’s boat crew. He will just tell them: “Meet me in (insert name of a tropical paradise anywhere in the world).” They will sail there and hang out until he flies in for a few days, and then they are off again. But alas, I don’t have such a charmed life – I have to live full time in only one paradise.
Earthrace Boat
Finally, I was surprised to see this cool rig the other day at one of the dive shop docks:

The Earthrace boat is trying to circumnavigate the globe faster than any other watercraft. Its design allows it to slice through the waves rather than going over them. But the coolest thing about this boat is that it is trying to break the record on Biodiesel fuel – proving that we can thrive without fossil fuels.
I say that I was surprised when the Earthrace boat showed up in Palau, because of the email we got from them. It went like this:
Earthrace Boat: We would like to stop by Palau on our trip around the world to promote alternative fuels. Please tell us how often container ships arrive in Palau from Singapore so that we can schedule our shipment of biodiesel to meet us there.

Palau: How about never. Does that work for you?

And then they showed up. Once it became clear that they could not get any biodiesel here, they had to go to Plan B: Instead of using Biodiesel, they would just fill ‘er up with . . . wait for it . . . Diesel! Hey, why not? Actually, diesel is more pure – it doesn’t have all that “bio” stuff in there.
Godspeed Little Doodle.

Dave Shipper

I'm Turning Japanese.....

... I really think so.... song by The Vapors.... and here's a hilarious tidbit I just learned about said song:

The Vapors:
"As for the song itself, there was a good deal of confusion at the time as to just what the hell it was all about. A rumor spread here in the US that it was about masturbation, and that the 'turning Japanese' was a reference to the facial expression made at the moment of climax."

No better way to start your Monday with a hot cup of Joe, some talk about masturbation and an international post by my good friend David Shipper.

You might remember Shipper from such previous posts as "
Palau Trip" or "Chinese Democracy" and even the award winning "Sharks Scare Me".

Dave's back with another globe trekking adventure. This time.... Japan! Home of giant lizard/dinosaurs, owners of much of the land in the U.S. and mangled English.

Take it away, Dave:

I spent some time in Japan recently. Japan ranks among the top of all the countries I’ve been to. It’s beautiful, the people are nice, girls are hot, and it’s chock full of history that makes the U.S. look like the infant that it is. Add to that the weird, kinky, quirks of the Japanese society and you’ve got the recipe for a cool country.

First, a quick Japanese lesson. R for L, B for V. For example, Cola is Cora. Television is Terebi. Diving is Daibing. Easy enough. Now you are fluent.
My first stop was Tokyo where I hung out with a few Japanese friends and ate some weird shit. Horsemeat sashimi anyone? How about the spinal cartilage of some small animal that you can’t identify? Umm um.
We went to the Tsukiji Fish Market early in the morning. It is the largest fish market in the world.
You see those little bulldozers picking up tuna? Stay the fuck out of their way ‘cause they don’t give a shit about your picture-takin’ tourist ass.
(...."they don’t give a shit about your picture-takin’ tourist ass..." When I'm slinging tuna in SF, I just happen to don't give a shit about Japanese picture-takin' asses. I'll run them over right quick. Is that irony, irony or just Alanis Morissette irony? Whichever, I do feel a bond.)
After the fish market, we went to a Sushi Bar right next door. For obvious reasons, it is renowned for the freshest sushi. There was a serious line out front, but we stuck it out and had some great grub.
But I must say, it is certainly more appealing to suck down raw sea urchin over a beer at 10 pm than to have one at 7am, before you’ve even had coffee.
Here’s what $120 gets you in Tokyo in the way of hotel rooms:
Fortunately, it has some amenities. For example:
Save time by taking a dump while taking a shower!!!!!!!!
I wrote an earlier post about a trip to China. For all of you Redstaters, there is a difference between the two. Here are two I noticed immediately:
In Japan, air is invisible.
(accompanying picture from China post):
In Japan, shopping is voluntary. .
This is a shop. If you choose, you can go inside. If not, you are not stalked mercilessly by hawkers until you want to kill.
(from China Post):
"Here’s the progression of myconversations with hawkers:
Hawker: Hallo, Hallo, you want fan? You want hat? You want map?
Me: Wo bu yao, xie xie ni. (I don’t want it, thank you)
Hawker: You want fan? Hat? Map?
Me: Wo bu yao, xie xie ni.


Second Day

Hawker: You want lighter? You want tour guide?

Last week

Hawker: You want silk? You want water?
Me: No speaky English."

And one similarity.
In Japan:
In China:
"This Starbucks is within the walls of the “Forbidden City,” named so because it was forbidden to anyone that was not part of the Emperor’s court. Today it is forbidden to Dunkin Donuts."

Come on, are you surprised?
(though to be fair, China did just kick Starbucks out of the Forbidden City. Decided to go with Pete's.)
In Kyoto I went on a Geisha Lecture Tour. It was given by a Canadian guy who moved to Kyoto about 15 years ago. I was skeptical at first, but this guy is the real deal. He is married to a former geisha, owns a tea house, and speaks flawless Japanese.
Stupid 2 year old obsolete digital camera made me miss this shot of a geisha. Wait, I mean, “This photo captures the ephemeral nature of beauty.”
(Yeah, I bet it is hard to find a good camera in Japan.)
Geisha goin’ to get a Squishy:

Now for just a few pics of the place:

Temple in Tokyo

Kyoto Samurai
Even simple plants get much respect in Japan:
I went to a historic government council office in Takayama. One of the rooms used to be used for torture. Of course that was hundreds of years ago -- no civilized country would engage in these types of activities today.
(They're called 'enhanced interrogation techniques', . Why oh, why do you side with the terrorist when the country you live in is part of the Coalition of the Willing TM?)

There must have been shock in Baghdad and awe in Paris last week when the White House announced the news that Palau had joined the "coalition of the willing."
Palau, an island group of nearly 20,000 souls in the North Pacific, has much to contribute. It has some of the world's best scuba diving, delectable coconuts and tapioca. One thing Palau cannot contribute, however, is military support: It does not have a military.

Sayonara Bitches!
(Sayonara bitch, to you too . Thanks for the Asian getaway on this American Monday Morning!)

Chinese Democracy

I've been begging my buddy David Shipper to do a post for AAW since I created the blog almost a year ago (One year anniversary post is coming August 22, so be on the look out). The very first posts on AAW were of my trip to see in Palau.

Dave and I grew up together in Florence, AL. We lived a couple of blocks away from each other and car pooled from 1st grade all the way through our senior year in high school. I was the first to get a car when we turned 16 and I use to do a little something called the "Gas Chamber" to every morning as we drove to school (more than likely The Beastie Boys, License to Ill was playing on the stereo. Cassettes, baby!). The "Gas Chamber" involved me releasing a powerfully noxious fart then holding the power locks and power windows so no relief could be found by my passenger, . Ahh, good times, good times. There use to be claw marks in the dash of my old Pontiac 6000 where struggled for oxygen. Still makes me laugh.

Anyway, recently took a trip to China and came back with a post for the ages. comments will be in the black font while any snarkiness I add will be in dark red and italicized.

Finally, finally, FINALLY, the international comical stylings of MY partner in crime for over 30 years, David Shipper:

China in Pictures
David Shipper

My Art House view from the gutter I woke up in after a night in Hong Kong.

I know, I know, less artsy, more fartsy, right? This, is the Chinese version of mudbugs. Great stuff. Think basil and chilies instead of crab boil.

Viewed through the lens of history, amidst the consumerism and the chaos, I found the true China in the love and respect between the generations. (actually, I paid this guy 10 yuan to hold hands with this orphan child. Okay, it was 5 yuan.)

Going through the three gorges. There goes that security clearance I was hoping for.

This Starbucks is within the walls of the “Forbidden City,” named so because it was forbidden to anyone that was not part of the Emperor’s court. Today it is forbidden to Dunkin Donuts.

Spreading Democracy two at a time in Tiananmen Square. Bring on the tanks.

The Chinese often engage in loud public arguments that inevitably draw a crowd. But like bad theater or bad sex, these “performances” rarely reach a satisfying climax. This one was different. After having sideswiped the other bus, the guy facing us is about to learn the meaning of the first Chinese word I ever learned: PAI YOWWW!

Fight, Fight!

One of the first Chinese Emperors had an army of 8,000 Terra Cotta Warriors made and buried with him when he died. They were meant to guard him in the afterlife. They are incredibly detailed – even down to the creases in the palms. Nothing funny here, move along.


I’ve been to a lot of third world countries – Indonesia, Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines – and have always had to deal with the ubiquitous hawker selling cheap goods or cheap women. None of them can hold a cheap lighter to China. They are everywhere, selling everything, and they do not give up easily.

Here’s the progression of my conversations with hawkers:

Hawker: Hallo, Hallo, you want fan? You want hat? You want map?
Me: Wo bu yao, xie xie ni. (I don’t want it, thank you)
Hawker: You want fan? Hat? Map?
Me: Wo bu yao, xie xie ni.


Second Day

Hawker: You want lighter? You want tour guide?

Last week

Hawker: You want silk? You want water?
Me: No speaky English.

The pollution in China creates a smog blanket that traps in the heat and silts the lungs. For asthmatics is a horror – for nasal archeologists, a godsend. Everything is booger in China.

My ticket to fame on Alabamaasswhuppin. (an international sensation after 36 years. Thanks for the awesome tour, Dave! Leave him a comment, y'all!)