Tag Archives: humor

The Scooter-Trained Dogs of Koh Phangan

My traveling companion and I rented a motorbike in Koh Phangan, a beautiful island in the Gulf of Thailand.  I mean that he rented the motorbike – I just held on for dear life.   I got used to it after a while, and it was a good way to see the island, but what I really liked about it were the passengers it attracted.  These were cute, friendly island dogs, and it looked like they were well taken care of.  But the best thing about them is that they are scooter-trained.  Yes, you read that right.  It happened twice that, while our bike was stopped, a random dog would get on the platform and stand there, waiting for us to take him or her . . . somewhere.  They know exactly where to stand for balance and are expert hitchhikers.

The first time was this dog, a beautiful white one.  Since we were caught off guard, we eventually forced her to get off – but not before posing for a few pictures.

Dog #1:

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We thought it was a fluke, but later that day another dog got on our motorbike and did the same thing.  This one was also much more stubborn, and we couldn’t have gotten her off without really pushing.  So we started driving – very slowly – with her on it.  She was really good about it too, staying completely still, tongue flapping in the breeze.  Every once in a while we would stop and make it clear to her that she could get off.  At one point we stopped next to another stray dog, thinking she would like company, but they started growling at each other so we hightailed it out of there.  She got off to stretch her legs when my companion stopped to look at something, but hopped right back on when he mounted the bike.  She finally left us for good when we got to the major town of Thongsala, where there was a pack of stray dogs to welcome her.  We guess this is a normal way for them to get around the island – hitching a ride with humans!

Dog #2:
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There are lots of other friendly animals in Koh Phangan. Take, for example, the cat who joined us for dinner at our hotel.

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And this lovely lizard.
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And don’t forget the elephants!

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No, this elephant does not have a disfigured trunk, it just looks that way.

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Filed under Asia, cats, dogs, humor, photography, Thailand, travel

Why You Should Never Go Down Unmarked Roads in Maine Without Four-Wheel Drive (in Pictures)

I’ll let these pictures tell the story of how we almost lost our rental car in the icy waters off the coast of Maine. To read the whole story, published in The Michigan Quarterly Review, click here.

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We found ourselves horribly, helplessly stuck on a beautiful, unspoiled beach. Note to self: Camaros and sand do NOT mix.

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We tried making a loop around the beach, but that just made us more stuck.

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Ummm, is it just me, or is the tide coming in? (GULP)

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A pick-up truck found us, but they couldn’t get us out either.

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Rescue came not a moment too soon. Thank you, tow-truck guy!!!

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Looking back at what might have been…

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Filed under humor, photography, travel

The Cats of Istanbul: Haikus

In old Istanbul
At every alley and door
A cat lies waiting

From Hagia Sophia
To the ancient Grand Bazaar
Yellow eyes peer out

Cats of Istanbul
I long to carry you home
But customs says no

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Filed under cats, humor, Istanbul, photography, travel, Turkey

Istanbul, Not Constantinople

It looks like I’ll be taking an impromptu trip to Istanbul in the near future!  Hopefully I won’t strangle my travel companion for constantly singing the song “Istanbul, not Constantinople,” as he is wont to do.  (I really hate that song.)

Here’s a video of one of the most annoying songs in the world.  Warning: watching this video may cause you to want to shoot yourself.

I threw together a list of all the sites I want to see there, with their visiting hours.  It goes something like this.

Aya Sofya (Hagia Sophia): Tues.-Sun. 9-5 in winter (or 7 in summer)

Blue Mosque: Daily 9-5 in winter (6:30 summer); closed during prayer times

Basilica Cistern: Daily 9-5:30 in winter (6:30 summer)

Topkapi Palace: Wed.-Mon. 9-7 from April to Oct.

Topkapi Harem: Wed.-Mon. 9:30-5 from April to Oct.

Mosque of Suleyman: Daily sunrise-sunset except during prayer

Kariye Museum/ Church of Holy Savior in Chora: Thurs.-Tues. 9-7

Istanbul Archeological Museum: Tues.-Sun. 9-5 in winter (or 7 in summer)

Grand Bazaar: Mon.-Sat. 8:30-7

Egyptian Bazaar/ Spice Market: Mon.-Sat. 8:30-7, Sun. 9-6:30

Hippodrome: No hours, free

If I have time, I also want to see:

Mosque of Sokollu Mehmet Pasha: Daily sunrise-sunset except during prayer times

Dolmabahce Palace: Tues.-Wed. and Fri-Sun. 8:30-4 in winter (4:30 in summer); daily quota of visitors.

Can anyone recommend how many days I should spend in Istanbul?  I’m thinking three or four days.  I may also throw in a trip to Cappadocia if I have time!

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Genuine Fake Watches? Yes, Please!

The picture says it all.

Souvenir shop outside of Ephesus, Turkey

Bizarre souvenir shop outside of Ephesus, Turkey. At least they’re honest (sort of).

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Filed under Europe, humor, travel, Turkey