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Say Hello To My Little Friends #1

Welcome to the first in the series of brief video introductions and interviews with some of the cool folks I meet on my “Jamaican in China…and Beyond” adventures!

In this pilot episode, you’ll meet Rogelio from Cuba, and Nga from Vietnam! Plus, you’ll get to hear the first ever recording of Walt Goodridge’s Tony Montana* impersonation. It may be well worth the 7 minutes despite my not-too-great-but-ever-improving interview and selfie-stick skills!

(*from the movie Scarface!)

Next episode: Ronnie Defour from Trinidad now in Vietnam!

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A day with Karma Waters volunteers in Quảng Ngãi Province, Vietnam

How was YOUR Sunday? Well, yesterday, mine started with me waking up at 3:30am to prepare for a 4:30am pickup. Yesterday, while I was interviewing Ronnie Defour at Karma Waters,  Grace Nguyen, Karma Waters owner, invited me to ride along to observe and participate in a community support project in Quảng Ngãi Province, south of Da Nang, in Vietnam.

4:29 am waiting in the doorway of the Stingray Hostel on the deserted streets of Da Nang, Vietnam
My pickup posse arrives. First, Tran, then Uyen arrived, then a third

My pickup posse of three arrived, we greeted each other and headed out into the pre-sunrise morning to Karma Waters.

Waiting for the bus to arrive

After a short wait, then quick loading and boarding, our two-vehicle convoy (supply truck and passenger bus) set out at 5:29am.

We set out on our journey at 5:29am!
Catching the Sunday sunrise in Da Nang, Vietnam!

Okay, Okay. I know I may not LOOK happy in this next photo, but trust me, once the bus driver told us he would NOT be able to turn on the air conditioning, I was in heaven! Imagine! A window seat, an open window for natural breezes, a four hour plus drive through the hills of Vietnam! This is exactly the sort of thing I thrive on!

“No, this IS my happy face.”
Stopping for fuel. Petrol is 21,560dong/L (About $0.93US/liter or $3.50/gal)

Yes, this is exactly how I like to get to know a new location–spending a few weeks hanging out with local folks, doing what local folks do, being outdoors, breathing the air, feeling the sunshine and rain, taking the pulse of the community, adjusting to the pattern and pace of everyday life….just living like a local!

On the road up to the mountains
A rest & rejuvenation stop halfway through the journey
Lots of beautiful scenery

The trip took 4 hours 43 minutes  We left Da Nang at exactly 5:29am, and pulled up to the Tra Khue Ethnic Minority Primary School in Quảng Ngãi  at 10:12am. (Sorry, it’s the former civil engineer in me who tends to get so detailed!)

A screen shot of Google maps on my phone places me at the blue dot. Approximate distance on the map: 165km or 102mi, but we definitely traveled a bit more than that!

 

Now, on to important matters. This trip was part of Karma Waters’ series of Charitable Programs. From their website:

“Our Karma Waters Ethnic Support Program delivers daily plant-based meals and support (such as books, clothing, toys and more) to ethnic minority families in the Quang Nam Province in Central of Vietnam.

With this program, and with funds collected in the Karma Waters restaurants, we help provide critical support to children and families in poverty through improved nutrition, health and even friendly support visits and friendship which provides them with some happiness.

With your help, Karma Waters can expand this program and help even  more ethnic minority families. Check out our video and gallery below [see website] and you can see the impact this program has on the children and families in the Quang Nam Province.” Donate

Photos from the event:

Students, teachers and parents await our arrival

 

View of the compound. photo: Diễm Uyên Nguyễn Hồ

 

photo: Diễm Uyên Nguyễn Hồ
As in nature and throughout many cultures, the vegan does the heavy lifting. (“A nuh nuttn, mi do dis all di while inna Saipan!”) photo: Diễm Uyên Nguyễn Hồ
Narrating the adventure…Video coming soon!
College student volunteers organize the gifts
Hoisting the school banner donated by Karma Waters
Students line up by grade and wait to be called by name

The founder of Karma Waters is Nguyen Thi Bao Duyen (Grace Nguyen). Grace is an IT graduate, a professional vegan chef, and the founder of 2 vegan restaurants called Karma Waters in Vietnam. She also helps run the Karma Waters Charitable Association, teaches vegan cooking classes, creates menus for restaurants and hosts private dinners.

How Karma Waters Began
[According to Grace] “I became vegetarian in 2002, and later a vegan. I became vegetarian myself because of an incident with a fish. Yes, a fish changed my life! One day, while I was in China…(Read Grace’s amazing story here)”

Nguyen Thi Bao Duyen (Grace Nguyen) Karma Waters founder addresses the gathering and speaks about the mission
The school’s principal accepts an additional gift of a laptop from Karma Waters donor, Trinidadian Ronnie Defour
Each student receives a backpack, jacket, treats and other gifts
Participating in the distribution. photo: Diễm Uyên Nguyễn Hồ
photo: Diễm Uyên Nguyễn Hồ
photo: Diễm Uyên Nguyễn Hồ

All the students waited patiently until their names were called, and Ronnie helped them pass the time a little more enjoyably while they waited.

photo: Diễm Uyên Nguyễn Hồ

Ultimately, every single student there that day (between 125-150) received a gift package. Once the distribution was complete, the volunteers posed for a few photos:

Job well done. Karma Waters volunteers pose after all the distribution is complete

The giving, however, was not over. Volunteers also helped erect a children’s slide….

…and a swing.

We all ate some guavas, watermelon and spicy tofu with sticky rice…..

Sticky rice and tofu for the dogs, too!

…then headed back north in the rain, departing at 1:45pm! It was sad to leave after such a rewarding day….

So, this would be my sad face. Just kidding, wasn’t sad at all, simply very fulfilling!

Congratulations to Grace and family, Karma Waters, the volunteers, Ronnie and family, the bus driver, his assistant, and all the unseen folks who made the event a success! And, thanks for letting me be and see a part of it all!

More beauty on the journey back
Homes with satellite dishes abound
Mountains in their overcast glory
hay stacks for feeding livestock
Sunset in Da Nang

Back at Karma Waters Headquarters, we said our goodbyes, and my pickup posse took me back to the Stingray Hostel! It was a great experience, exactly the sort of thing that exemplifies why I travel abroad!

Faahword! Likkle more!

….and THAT’S how I spent my Sunday. Like I said, how was YOUR day?

I’ll be working on the video over the next few hours and will make another post announcing it!

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Days 4&5: Revolution of Mushroom, and a tour of Da Nang, Vietnam!

Day 4: Revolution of Mushroom

Rogelio, whom you met last episode, recommended I try Revolution of Mushroom, so that’s where I went on Day 4 in Vietnam!

Once there, I met computer programmer/coder, Vuong. who was nice enough to share a recommendation to try his favorite meal and translate a few requests to the wait staff.

Vuong eats coconut rice, served in a coconut, at Revolution of Mushroom

We talked for a bit, and Vuong shared his travel suggestions (Hue City) and his insights into life in Hue City vs life in Hoi An (a city that’s on my list for Vietnam). I can’t wait to check them out and compare!

Vuong and me outside ROM!

Next, I had a chance to meet a great, nomad, vegan couple–Alya from Russia and Chris from Australia–and we had a really, really great conversation, connecting on quite a few life philosophies, perspectives, opinions, quests and world views! They shared a top secret “passionpreneur” project they’re working on manifesting, and (hint, hint), I expect a certain Jamaican in China will be granted an advanced interview when it’s ready to launch!

Coming soon: Chris and Alya featured in “Say Hello to My Little Friends” video…I promise!
New friends, Chris and Alya, outside Revolution of Mushroom, Da Nang, Vietnam

 

Day 5: Free Day Tour of Da Nang!

If I recall correctly, it was a couchsurfing.org “Things to do in Da Nang” post led me to sign up for a free tour of Da Nang Free Tour–Hometown

[From their Facebook page:] “Hometown – Da Nang Free Tour is an organization established on October 10th, 2015 with the aim of connecting tourists and local people in the city of Da Nang. …tourists will have the opportunity to talk with the locals and learn more about geography and the history of our country. …Almost all tour guides are students studying in different universities in Da Nang. We are friendly, sociable, open-minded, enthusiastic, and willing to learn;  You will have to pay for your food, drinks, and entrance tickets to our various locations.  Local citizens will have more realistic opportunities to practice their English speaking abilities with foreigners….we can further our knowledge of several different unique cultures and get to know people from all over the world. Last but not least, we can contribute a small part to the development of Vietnam’s tourism industry by promoting the image of the country and the city to international tourists.”

My student tour guide was a second-year tourism industry major at the University of Foreign Language Studes, named Nhật Minh. Nhật picked me up at the hostel at 9:00am, outfitted me with my helmet, and off we went! It would be my first time on a motorbike in Vietnam….cool, cool, cool!

 

Nhật Minh and me, ready to ride! “Ace Ninety Skank” style, for yaardies who know!
Videos to come!

We saw lakes…

Green lake, a favorite photo spot for wedding photos
A local couple get prepared for their photo

…saw some great vistas…

A view from our mountain bike ride

….visited Buddhas and pagodas…

Nhật took some great photos for me….

Remind you of anything? See http://www.jamaicaninchina.com/jicpreview.html

…and we met some sweet and beautiful people…

 

Myanh used to work for a Japanese bank in a stuffy, office building. Now, at the pagoda, she greets guests from all over the world. I asked which she prefers. I’ll let you guess!

…and that was all well and good, but I believe that we–you and I–as enlightened and evolving spiritual beings must each clearly identify what our priorities are in life, and honor them to the best of our ability. So, as I mentioned to Nhật: given my unique set of priorities, the latest, and clearly most important addition to my itinerary for the day in Da Nang would be to stop someplace appropriate…

Nhật. I’m afraid this cannot wait any longer. There’ something that’s been bothering me since we started this tour…I insist, at this point that we go somewhere…

….and buy a helmet that fits my head and a cool black face mask like his!  (No way would I post any more photos of myself with a tight helmet  falling off my head and wearing a light blue plaid mask! I have the “Jamaican Coolness Factor” to uphold, after all. JCF? Look it up!)

Ahem…THAT’S better. Now we can continue the tour!

With that accomplished, we then went to lunch, and then Nhật took me to the Fine Arts Museum

The Fine Arts Museum in Đà Nẵng officially opened at 78 Lê Duẩn Street in December 2016. The museum, the only one of its kind in the Central and Central Highlands region, has a total area of 1,100sq.m, displaying 413 donated works by artists from the city and provinces in the region. The centre comprises three spaces for displaying contemporary fine arts, sculpture and paintings, and regular exhibitions.–from Vietnamnews Read more

A fish made out of fish hooks
Sculptures at the Fine Arts Museum
Happiness, wealth or long life? Given a choice, which would you choose?

Next, I had some more errands to run…

Nhật asks for directions to the nearest copy center
Nhật explains that I want to go to a special page on my website…

….and voila! After cutting, a necessary tool for any nomadpreneur–a stack of contact cards, you know, just in case there’s anyone I want to stay in touch with…you know, for business and such…

Again…it’s all about priorities!

…then, we went to the “Big C” superstore for me to get a few items for my hostel stay. We parked on a lower level, and I was presented with a scene like no other:

Bike like sand!
Um, Nhật, just curious, how do you propose we find and correctly identify our bike once we finish shopping?

All in all, it was a great day! Just the sort of educational as well as practical, personalized tour I like! I shared some tour tips and tools with Nhật to help with future marketing of his guide services in the tourism industry, based on the part time tours I give on Saipan!

….and I’m off! See you next post!

Likkle more!

 

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Da Nang, Vietnam: Days 2 & 3 plus Thực Dưỡng Bao Ăn!

DAY 2

Days two and three in Da Nang, Vietnam, were simply dedicated to roaming about. (Um, actually, every day of my travels is simply dedicated to roaming about, with an occasional bungee jump or invasive medical procedure or dental visit thrown in to mix things up!)

In any event, a couchsurfing.org contact recommended Ngoc Chi restaurant–which was only 500m from the Stingray Hostel, so I headed out in the light afternoon rain for a walk, found it quite easily and had a quick meal.

Ngoc Chi Restaurant

I then wandered about town enjoying the atmosphere, taking the pulse of the city, basking in the curious stares and practicing my “xin chào” (“hello” in Vietnamese) and chanced upon a market I later found out was pretty famous:

“Han Market is a significant landmark in Da Nang, having been in operation since the French occupancy in the 1940s. This local market is set within a two-storey building at the grand intersection of Tran Phu Street, Bach Dang Street, Hung Vuong Street and Tran Hung Dao Street, where you can find hundreds of stalls selling an array of local produce, handicrafts, T-shirts, and accessories. It’s very much like a miniature version of Ben Tanh Market central market in Ho Chi Minh City, and even if you aren’t necessarily looking to buy anything it still offers a fascinating glimpse into local life in Da Nang.”www.vietnam-guide.com

Check out the quick video walk through:

Then, I went to Ngo Restaurant (I had passed it on the way to Ngoc Chi and promised the staff I would return).

a quick meal at Ngo
Selfie stick. Selfie stick. Practice makes perfect!

Did some more walking about, then headed back to the hostel since the rain had gotten a little heavier.

DAY 3

I found my next day’s destination on Happycow.net where they now have 38 reviews, all positive! Thực Dưỡng Bao Ăn is a macrobiotic restaurant. (Thực Dưỡng Bao Ăn means essentially “food for nutrition”)

The word macrobiotic comes from “macro” which means big and “bios” which means “life”. So,  macrobiotics can be also called the art of a great life. Macrobiotics is not actually a diet and it’s more a way of life. It includes also the spiritual part of living and it teaches us to see the bigger picture, to consider the ups and downs in life as gifts given to us in order to become better beings.

One of the important nutrition principles in the macrobiotic diet involves consuming foods that are rich in nutrients and have balanced yin/yang properties. The macrobiotic diet contains foods like whole grains, beans and bean products (like tofu), organic vegetables (local and in season), soups, sea vegetables, desserts (sweetened with rice syrup, barley malt, fruit and sometimes maple syrup), a little fish, a little fruit, pickles, condiments, nuts, seeds and non-aromatic teas. –from gourmandelle.com 

Major principles of macrobiotic diets are to reduce animal product, eat locally grown foods that are in season, and consume meals in moderation.

I don’t consider myself a macrobiotic practitioner, but much of the philosophy is consistent with the practices I’ve developed for myself over the years.

Thực Dưỡng Bao Ăn
Diners at the outdoor tables at Thực Dưỡng Bao Ăn
The menu
Awaiting my daily meal
I ordered the brown rice plate, and noodles with spring rolls! Absolutely amazing! I shall return!

I had a chance to film a short video interview with Nga, the owner. She got into macrobiotic food preparation in an attempt to improve her husband’s health. Once she realized the many benefits of this lifestyle, she started the restaurant to share the philosophy and practice with others!

Stay tuned for the interview with Nga in a future post
Nga, the sweet dispositioned owner!

I also met and had a nice long conversation with Rogelio from Cuba, now living in Da Nang!

Rogelio’s home (Cuba), is just 90 miles north of mine (Jamaica) Rogelio will also be in the video interview series!

Note to self: I’ll compile these quick hellos and interviews in a series of videos called “Say Hello to My New Friends!” or something like that… (Important: you have to say it with a Scarface style, Pacino-esque Cuban accent…um, or perhaps I’ll use a less violent reference that won’t offend the pacifist-vegan-macrobiotic crowd, or any real Cubans!)

Wait staff, Linh, also gave me a list of places to visit!
After a busy lunch hour, Nga enjoys the food in her restaurant

I shall return!

Don’t miss out on “Say Hello to My New Friends,” my upcoming video interview series on Youtube!

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Jamaican Air Macau pilot flies me to Da Nang, Vietnam!

After spending 28 days in Macau, the next stop on my “Jamaican in China….and Beyond” adventure is Da Nang, Vietnam. Why? Oh, I dunno.  Because that’s where the Vietnamese are? Because it’s a country in Asia that begins with a letter of the alphabet? Because it’s Monday? Pick a reason or make up your own.

So, I made my reservations, and I was all set! (I’ll give details on how little it all costs in an upcoming post!) On the morning of the departure, I left home at 5:15am, got to the Macau airport by 5:30am, checked in, went through the security check, and then waited for my 7:15am flight!

Last few moments in Macau waiting for the boarding call

Now, a few days earlier, when my friend and Macau host, Ron, found out I was heading to Vietnam, he suggested that Air Macau would be a good choice of airlines. Why? Oh, I dunno. Because he gets a commission for every passenger he refers? Because the upright position of the tray tables and seat backs offers more leg room than other airlines? Because he’s a captain with the airline and can arrange to be my pilot for any flight I choose? Pick a reason, or—um, actually, I think it was that last one.

So, after I made the reservations, Ron took care of things on his end.

As I boarded the plane on the morning of the flight,  somehow, mysteriously, I was upgraded to a Business Class seat. (That’s like “First Class” for those who keep track of such things!) It’s so amazing what good karma can bring, isn’t it?

Me in Business Class. Hey look! In the background, in coach! It’s one of the common folk! How quaint! Um, excuse me, stewardess, could you close the curtain please?

Then, I discovered that another surprise was waiting for me, when, shortly before takeoff, one of the flight attendants came to my seat and informed me that the captain had invited me up to the cockpit! I got to meet the other pilots and ask questions. And, most importantly, I offered my services should they require it. After all, I’ve seen enough movies where a hapless passenger is successfully talked through an emergency landing by the guys in the control tower! Just sayin’…

Once I returned to my seat, I couldn’t help thinking: It’s pretty cool being flown on an international flight to Vietnam for the first time, aboard an Airbus 321 jet airliner, knowing that my best buddy–Ron McFarlane–is the captain in charge, and “dread at the controls!” It makes it a unique personal experience imagining my friend in the cockpit doing what he’s always wanted to do since he was five years old.

Here’s a video recap of the whole experience featuring an in-flight interview with the captain himself with some words of advice for aspiring pilots and anyone pursuing a dream! Too bad I wasn’t in the economy/coach section so that the common fo–I mean– the other passengers could see and benefit from what he shared! (Share this blog post and Youtube video with anyone–young or experienced–who can relate to Ron’s reality!)

View this on Youtube

I was well taken care of throughout the one hour and 28 minute flight thanks to the gracious and friendly cabin crew! Thanks, everyone!

Once we touched down (a smooth landing thanks to Captain Ron and crew), we all posed for photos while the Vietnam cleaning crew waited patiently on the ramp.

The cabin crew aboard Flight NX870
Captain Ron and flight crew! (Sorry for delaying the cleaning crew!)

In pilot parlance, this would be a “turnaround” flight. So, after cleaning and boarding of a new set of passengers, Captain Ron and crew would be heading back right to Macau! Thanks, Ron, for kicking off my first visit to Vietnam and making it such a memorable experience!

Note to self: I need to do similar interviews with Caribbean travelers in Asia and post to Youtube…With that said…

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Walk About #1-Macau!

You’ve thrilled to my “Drive through Saipan” series You’ve marveled at my “Scooter stylee through Laos.” Well, now you can enjoy my upcoming new “Walk About…” series! Starting with this Walk About Macau test video!

Overcoming my shyness, my self-consciousness, my naturally introverted personality, and the selfie-stick-stigma, I bravely step out into the streets of Macau to practice using a selfie stick, walking and talking at the same time! (I’ve had practice walking and chewing bubble gum, so this shouldn’t be much more difficult!)

REMEMBER: I created this for my personal use to practice my technique, to get comfortable in public, and to assess the quality of the finished product. So, I’ve simply inserted the raw footage without any fancy editing. I’m not really discussing anything profound, so you probably won’t learn much, but feel free to comment or make constructive suggestions. I’ll start:

“Do some neck muscle exercises, pencil neck!”

Check it out!

 

A mouthful of teeth and a blissful carrot

When I travel to a new destination, my idea of a time well spent is simply to settle into the local life and do things that locals do, shop where locals shop, and even visit the dentists locals visit! Meet Dr. Sofia Ferreira Dias Tavares Da Costa Alcántara, THE dentist at Centro Medico in Taipa! She did a thorough ultrasound teeth cleaning for me!

Yep, that’s me! I know. I know. Way too much information, but hey…we’ve already shared bowel movements, so what the heck! Open wide!

Interestingly, I discovered Dr. Sofia is also an aspiring author, so I shared a few tips from my writer’s workshops for her to use in her passion pursuit!

Thanks, Dr. Sofia! See you soon on the Macau Tower bungee jump platform!

Then, it was off to another vegetarian spot in Macau: The Blissful Carrot!

In front of Blissful Carrot

You can’t go wrong with a restaurant that features Ghandi, Mother Theresa and Bob Marley on the wall!

Blissful Carrot bulletin board

The menu features rice dishes, salads, tacos, all-day breakfasts, They also sell home-made Kombucha, locally-made tempeh, and gluten-free pastries and desserts! Beatriz suggested the Bimibap

Thanks, Beatriz!

While there, we ran into Natasha, and Constança (Beatriz’s sister studying in London), and Khaled, originally from Somalia visiting Macau.  We exchanged a few pleasantries and took a few photos!

Natasha, Constança and Khaled, who said he, too, will be doing the Macau bungee jump before he leaves!

Ran a few more errands–changed some US dollars into MOP (Macau currency), bought a selfie stick, took some photos for my Vietnam visa application, then headed back to home base to enjoy the Blissful Carrot cuisine: main dish: Bimibap Bowl (Indonesian Gado-gado style sauteed kale & mixed vegetables with peanut-chili sauce, tamari grilled tempeh topped with sesame seeds and crispy dried shallots), Breakfast tacos, plus homemade kombucha, vegan banana bread, raw coconut/peanut butter cups and tempeh!

Yes, I know we want to eat, but first we must position the food for the obligatory blog post photo!

ADDENDUM:

I visited the Blissful Carrot a few days later and got a chance to run into Aaron, the original owner (he’s still involved, but his wife actually runs the business now).

 

Aaron of Blissful Carrot

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Getting lucky in Macau! Woo hoo!

New: I’ve given in to peer pressure. You can now follow me on Instagram

As a single traveler, it’s always a thrill when I get lucky! During my six-month adventure in China a few years ago, it happened to me in Beijing. It happened to me in Singapore, too! I even got lucky in Laos at the end of a long passageway off the main road in Luang Namtha, near to Zuela Guesthouse.  And, it was years ago, when I was living in New York that I experienced it for the very first time! In each of these destinations, I got a taste of something that satisfied my desires, put a pep in my step, and made me feel strong and powerful for the rest of my stay there!

Want some more hot, spicy details? Well, in Beijing it happened here with her. In Singapore, this is where it happened. The Laos experience happened on day 1.  Yes, my friends, I’m speaking about something that’s perfectly natural, something just about everyone wants and needs, something that makes the world go ’round, something that builds emotional bonds between people, and something that if more people did it freely and without the societal stigma, would make the world a healthier, saner place! Yes, I’m speaking, of course, about EATING AT THAT PERFECT VEGETARIAN RESTAURANT!!!!

And now, Macau joins the list of places in which I’ve gotten lucky and found that perfect spot! It’s called Sum Yuen Buddhist Vegetarian Restaurant, and I kid you not, this is by far, the BEST I’ve ever had! It’s larger than any other in which I’ve dined. The menu has more selections (30+ page, full color, exquisitely bound menu), and the presentation of it all is fabulous!

The front entrance through the gate.
Close up of first floor entrance. Using Google Maps may lead you to the back entrance. Nearby bus routes: 30 and 35. (This photo: https://macaulifestyle.com/dining/local-eats/vegetarian-temple-restaurant/)

“Pou Tai Temple was founded in the 19th century by Buddhist monks and is the largest temple on Taipa Island. On the ground level of this Buddhist temple is…  Sum Yuen which officially opened during the last quarter of 2014.”–Macau Lifestyle

Like a kid in a vegan candy store!

With only about eight days left here in Macau, I’d never be able to try everything I’d wish to even if I dined here every day! Here are some pages from the amazing 30-page + menu (Everything here is completely animal-free; no sentient beings were harmed in their creation!):

See the entire menu at http://www.facebook.com/pg/sumyuenmacau/photos/

With that said, we (my “not shown” dining companions and I) tried the following items:

#008 – Avocado & Mango Rolls (Sushi)

#028 – Vegetarian Prawns Salad

#049 – Hong Kong Style Honey Glazed Barbecued Pork and Crispy Vegetarian Goose (deep fried bean curd skin)

#053 – Chiba tofu and spinach rolls

#058 – Assorted Mushroom Teppanyaki

#092 – Braised Vegetables with Fermented Beancurd

#134 – Pan Fried Vegetarian Dumplings

#146 – Steamed Chinese Sponge Cake

While I was there, I decided to practice taking photos and filming with my new selfie-stick! Yes, I’ve reluctantly, but also a bit excitedly joined “those folks” who do the stick schtick while traveling. In my defense, however, I’m doing it for YOU–in anticipation of doing a series of special Walt’s Walk & Talk through China and Beyond Youtube videos, so stay tuned and please forgive my new obsession!

You can find Sum Yuen’s listing here on HappyCow.net. Surprisingly–given how amazing this place is–there was only one review when I added mine!

See you there! Maybe we can get lucky together!

 

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Jamaican Jumps off Macau Tower!

Are you anticipating hearing I chickened out? Think I’m about to use the old “uncooperative weather” excuse? Do you think that a person would have to be slightly off-kilter to jump off a structurally sound building? Do you expect, therefore, that I’m rescheduling it to some undetermined future date for some unfathomable random reason? Or, do you simply believe that Jamaicans may run, and Jamaicans may bobsled, but they don’t fly? Well….

 

…..YOU’D BE WRONG!!!! ON ALL COUNTS! For today, July 27, 2018, the weather forecast for Macau, China will read “partly sunny, partly cloudy, 28 degrees Celsius, chance of afternoon showers, and a very high likelihood of falling Jamaicans!” IT”S ON!!

WARNING: This blog post is replete with all the obligatory one-liners, song and movie references, puns and superhero references you no doubt expect in a blog post about bungee jumping.

First, thanks to Jeff for his help setting things up! Cool guy!

 

Getting suited up with t-shirt and shoes by Freddie (aka “Not Kruger”). (Red t-shirt and sneakers? Definitely not my style, but….)

 

First class, one-way ticket! 62kg (137lb)?? Glad I had the harness and weights to add about 4-5kg(8-10lb), or I might not make it down on my own!

 

Awaiting my turn and practicing my cool superhero arm moves for the trip down!

 

Getting harnessed 233 meters up! “I’m on the top of the world, looking down on creation and the only explanation I can find…” (The Carpenters)

 

 

The folks who’ll be jumping after me

 

“I believe I can fly!” (R. Kelly)

 

Macau Tower Convention & Entertainment Centre (Chinese: 澳門旅遊塔會展娛樂中心; Portuguese: Centro de Convenções e Entretenimento da Torre de Macau), also known as Macau Tower, is a tower located in Sé, Macau. The tower measures 338 m (1,109 ft) in height from ground level to the highest point. Its observation deck features panoramic views, restaurants, theaters, shopping malls and the Skywalk X, a thrilling walking tour around the outer rim. It offers the best view of Macau and in recent years has been used for a variety of adventurous activities. At 233 metres, the Macau Tower’s tethered “skyjump” and Bungee jump by AJ Hackett from the tower’s outer rim, is the highest commercial skyjump in the world (233 metres), and the second highest commercial decelerator descent facility in the world, after Vegas’ Stratosphere skyjump at 252 metres. The tower was created by the architecture firm of Moller Architects.
The tower is one of the members of the World Federation of Great Towers. Besides being used for observation and entertainment, the tower is also used for telecommunications and broadcasting. It and the Grand Lisboa hotel are the most recognizable landmarks in the Macao skyline. (Source: Wikipedia)

(You say bungy, I say bungee…”tomato,” “tom-ah-to…”)

“Too late to turn back now! I believe, I believe, I believe I’m falling in Macau!” (Cornelius Brothers)

 

Um, excuse me, guys…is it too late to use the restroom first?

 

“Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No! It’s that skinny Jamaican guy!”

 

Incoming! Incoming! Look out below!!!!

 

“Fly like an eagle!” (Steve Miller Band ’73)

Video of the jump from the waiting area:

 

Now, here’s what you’ve been waiting for: the video from the GoPro camera strapped to my wrist: (Direct link to download video)

Yep, it was waaaay cool! I’m actually thinking about doing it again! I’m sure it will be more fun now that I know what to expect!

I always imagined that the actual sensation of falling would be the uncomfortable, overwhelming part, but for me, it was that single second right before I stepped off the ramp that was the most unnerving. Then, once I was actually airborne it was pretty easy to get into the moment and be fully conscious and aware of what I was doing (i.e. arms extended in front like Superman, etc., the scream, etc.)

And the grand finale: the official AJHackett video created for my jump: (Direct link to download video)

After my jump, Sam from Nepal and Alex let me hang around at the base of the tower to watch the next jump.

A new friend from China, Wuxi who jumped right after I did!

Review: Great, professional, fun crew! Nice atmosphere! Excellently-produced video! Highly recommended! In fact…

Lesson for today: a bungee jump is not something you do just once, so yes, I’ll have to do it again! The next two jumps are discounted, and the FOURTH jump is FREE! I was also told that on subsequent jumps, my feet won’t be tethered together and I can actually walk and dive off. This could get addictive! Hmmm. I know what you’re thinking….Seems there are quite a few songs with the theme of “crazy!”

“Crazy” (Gnarls Barkley; 2006)

“Crazy” (Seal; 1991)

and, my personal favorite, “Crazy” (Patsy Cline; 1961)

Next on the bucket list: Sky Diving, Sensory Deprivation Tank, Zero-gravity/Weightlessness experience!

 

Addendum: A few days after my jump, the folks at AJHackett emailed me my official Bungee Jump Certificate:

The cost of vegan living in Macau and the Guia lighthouse

You can judge the quality of a society by how they treat their vegans! (There’s some new age traveler’s wisdom for you!) If a society imposes a “vegan tax” in the form of higher prices for Terra chips and Lara bars, for instance, then such a society should be avoided at all cost! With that said, fruits, vegetables and some of my favorite healthy treats are a bit cheaper here in Macau–of course, this is all based on a USD to MOP exchange rate.

A bag of Terra chips sells for 24.9MOP which, at the latest exchange rate of 8.03MOP to $1USD, works out to $3.10 which is way less than the almost $6US I would pay on Saipan or stateside!

Park & Shop in Macau

 

An orange costs 5MOP = $0.60US (almost $1 on Saipan)

Coconuts, however, are a bit pricey (17MOP = $2.11US; $1 on Saipan)

I’ll do a full shopping list in a future post.

So, with the advantage of this favorable exchange rate–combined with the fact I was informed I could get a second-hand phone for 1000MOP or less ($124US)– I decided to take the opportunity to upgrade my Blu Mini phone and join the rest of you people in the 21st century! Now, I don’t play video games; I don’t even make many phone calls, and for sure I won’t be among the obsessively phone-affixed who barrel at breakneck speed through crowded airports and metro stations head down, eyes glued to their screens without ever looking up! (It’s an amazing thing to see!) However, I do want to download and test out a particular GPS app that might prove helpful for a top-secret project I’m working on back on Saipan, and my current Blu phone simply doesn’t have the necessary sensor for the app to function.

So, I headed to the Portas do Cerco area in Macau to do some shopping.

Getting my new smartphone in Macau

Shopped around at a few stores and voila! Equipped with my “new to me” Samsung Galaxy 6S (1100MOP/$136), I now venture forth into my Jamaican in Macau adventure. All photos from this point forward will be taken with the new gadget!

Next stop, the Fortress of Guia (Guia Lighthouse)

The Guia Fortress (Portuguese: Fortaleza da Guia; Chinese: 東望洋炮台) is a 17th-century colonial military fort, chapel, and lighthouse complex in São Lázaro, Macau, China. The complex is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Historic Centre of Macau. (Source: wikipedia)

The pathway up to the fortress

 

Inside the museum

 

The Guia Lighthouse, Macau (Photo: Irish M); Admittedly, this panoramic shot is something that would not be possible with my now retired Canon Powershot! Rest in peace, little guy!

The lighthouse was constructed between 1864 and 1865, the first western style lighthouse in east Asia or on the China coast. The lighthouse stands at Guia Hill, which stands at 91.4 metres (300 ft) tall, and has a light visible for some 20 miles in clear weather conditions. The complex was built upon the highest point on Macau, Guia Hill, and named after the same location. (Source: wikipedia)

 

The fort and chapel were constructed between 1622 and 1638. The fort was already partly built during the unsuccessful attempt by the Netherlands to capture colonial Portuguese Macau from Portugal, providing an advantageous firing position for defending against naval attacks. (Source: wikipedia)

 

Macau tower on the left and the Lisboa Casino (right) in the background…bungee jump countdown…T minus 2 days and counting!!

 

Vegetable shopping at Red Market

Nomadpreneur passive-residual income update: One of the strategies to the “money & mobility” lifestyle is to create products and services that don’t require your physical presence. While I’m here in Macau, my www.freesummerconcerts.com website provides free concert information for New York city residents. Everything is automated. I input the events at the beginning of the summer, and a special software I created generates the weekly event listing, sends it out to the mailing list of over 10,000, and receives the $9.95 subscription fee. Learn more strategies in my book, How to Become a Nomadpreneur: A pocket guide of income strategies, travel jobs & survival tips for expats, vagabonds, techies and rat race escapees who want to see the world AND make money too!
in the Guides & Resources section of www.nomadpreneur.com and available on Amazon.

 

Techie web design tip:  Using the code at https://jssor.com/development/tip-make-responsive-slider.html, I’ve added a Jssor slideshow to the homepage of my www.waltgoodridge.com site to be more descriptive of what my brand encompasses. Check it out to get some ideas for YOUR online brand and check out jssor.com for the slider code.

 

The Prophet rides again! Jamaican in Macau!

“Don’t call it a comeback! I’ve been here for years!” It’s been a long time, but the Prophet rides again!” (Ode to LL, Rakim and Dennis Brown!)

The journey has begun! DAY 1

Before we get to the REALLY fun stuff, the following special intro is for attendees of the writer’s workshop I conducted on Tinian just before beginning this adventure, as well as other aspiring writers and bloggers:

passive income: you do nothing, the money comes.
residual income: you do the work ONE TIME, the money comes over and over.

Hey aspiring authors, one of the advantages of being a self-supporting writer earning passive, residual income that doesn’t require one’s physical presence at any one location, is the freedom to roam! It’s been a long time (3 years since Typhoon Soudelor) since I’ve done it, but I’m heading off the island of Saipan again to do a little nomadpreneuring! You can follow my exploits (and see past adventures in China, Singapore, Laos, Jamaica, Virgin Islands….) at www.jamaicaninchina.com.  In those three years I’ve written/released:

Drinking Seawater – a typhoon Soudelor memoir with Riza Ramos (view)

This Baby Can Speak, by Dr. John Joyner-guiding your baby to speak (view)
An update of Turn Your Passion Into Profit* – discover your passion (view)
Sun Cure –  a light bath heals (view)
Obama Legacy * – The greatest American presidency (photos)
Obama Legacy Timeline * – day to day, week to week (view)
Donald Trump. Let’s Look at the Bright Side * – humor (view)
A Clean Cell Never Dies – my health protocol (view)
There’s Something About Saipan * – What makes this island unique (view)
An Amelia Earhart Tour supplement * – learn the truth (view)
Saipan Living 2018 Relocation Guide * – cost of living, taxes, more (view)
Eye Can See Clearly Now – reclaim your vision (view)
Return To Nature – become your own authority on health (view)
Coded to Heal — activate your body’s healing code (view)

and a few others I’ve probably overlooked.

*These titles marked with an asterisk are available at Bestseller Books on the island of Saipan!

 

Leaving Saipan on HKExpress’ 6:10am flight!

 

Once I land, disembark, take the shuttle two stops to the immigration area and make it through the immigration check, I met Aaron at the baggage claim area. Turns out he’s a frequent visitor to Saipan working on worker’s rights.

Aaron at the baggage claim

 

Air Macau Captain, Ron M., former Saipan resident, now aviation big-shot meets me at Hong Kong airport and we take a train, then bus on the way to the ferry to get us to Macau!

 

Red pill? Blue pill? According to Ron, there are two ferry options: the blue boats (more stable ride), or the red boats (the motion sickness special!). Um, I think I’ll take the blue pill, please.

The ferry from Hong Kong to Macau.

 

Smile for the camera!

 

 

The view of Macau from Ron’s place!

 

The not-too-busy, rainy Sunday afternoon streets of Macau

 

We took the time to find a vegan restaurant On Thai Loi listed on http://www.happycow.net for future enjoyment once I end this (currently 5-day) water fast I’m on, do a colonic in Hong Kong and resume eating!

The restaurant is across from this little park. Will return another day! 

Then, we visited a few supermarkets, vegetable markets, electronic shops to price some cell phones and cameras!

Waiting for Tofu

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