Monthly Archives: December 2009

Daily Travel Photo – Greenwich, England

Posted by on December 16, 2009

Prime Meridian, Greenwich, England

Prime Meridian, Greenwich, England

The red line down the middle of the sign is defined to be zero degrees longitude, aka the Prime Meridian. It was chosen because the Greenwich Observatory was the clocks calibrated to by the British Navy. When an international prime meridian was set by convention, Greenwich was chosen because it was already in wide use around the world. Greenwich is also the home of GMT (Greenwich Mean Time).

7 Things That Are Awesome About America

Posted by on December 15, 2009

This is the sequal to my previous post 7 Pet Peeves About America.

Being away for so long didn’t just amplify the pet peeves I had about my country, it also gave me a greater appreciation of the things which are great about America. Here are my top seven:



1) The first floor is floor number ONE. I can’t tell you how dumb the numbering system in on most foreign elevators. The first floor is actually the floor above the ground floor. If the ground FLOOR is in fact a FLOOR, then it must be the first of such FLOORS in a building. If you have five apples you don’t start counting 0,1,2,3,4, you count starting with 1,2,3,4,5. Count the number of levels which people can be on. That is the number of floors in a building. If you have zero floors, then you don’t have a building. I blame the British for exporting this nonsense. People have tried justifying this to me on Twitter and the fact remains you start counting with 1, not 0.

7 Pet Peeves About America

Posted by on December 14, 2009

This post is a companion to the article 7 Things That Are Awesome About America

When you spend a significant time away from your home country, you get a new appreciation for the good and the bad. Now that I’m back in the US and have traveled around the country for three months, I have a really different perspective on what the good and bad things are about my country. Here are a list of my pet peeves about the United States:

Id love to see more dining options like hawker stands and street vendors in the US

I'd love to see more dining options like hawker stands and street vendors in the US

1) Dollar Bills. We really need to get rid of the dollar bill and replace it with a dollar coin. The US dollar is probably the smallest denomination of any major country to have a paper note that small. The smallest paper bill in Japan is 1,000 yen (about $10) and they have 500 yen coins. Likewise, Canada, UK, Australia, New Zealand and the Euro Zone all have coins up to about $2. We’d do well to follow the lead of Canada on this one and kill off the dollar bill and adopt the $1 and $2 coin for everyday use. I realize we do have dollar coins, but until we kill off the dollar bill, there isn’t much incentive to use the dollar coin.

Buy a 2010 Wall Calendar and Help Build a School in Cambodia

Posted by on December 9, 2009


All of the profits from the calendar will go to help build a school in Cambodia

I have a confession to make. During the entire time I’ve been traveling, I haven’t been traveling alone. I’ve been traveling with one Skull T. Troll. Skull is a character of my cartoonist friend Scott Kurtz and the Skull plush toy was given to me at the start of my trip.

As I’ve been traveling, I’ve been taking photos of Skull in front of famous places and with children I meet around the world. Scott and I have been talking about making a calendar with the Skull photos I’ve been taking on my trip and we planned on doing it in for 2010.

When the bloggers in Seattle who head up Passports With Purpose announced what they were raising money for this year, what we would use the proceeds of the calendar for was sort of a no-brainer. They were raising money for American Assistance for Cambodia to help build a school for Cambodian children.


Visiting The Most Serene Republic of San Marino

Posted by on December 7, 2009

I wrote most of this on the train going from Rimini to Venice as I traveled through the Italian countryside. It has sat on my laptop for half a year since my fittingly short stay in one of the world’s smallest countries, San Marino.

One of the three towers of San Marino

One of the three towers of San Marino

I love tiny countries so traveling to San Marino was a high priority during my time on the Italian Peninsula. San Marino is not just one of the smallest countries in the world weighing in at 60km2 (or 23.2mi2), but one of the oldest. It was founded 301 by Saint Marino who was persecuted by Roman and came to the mountain to live as a hermit. Since then it has almost continuously been a independent republic.

Like most countries its size, it makes a lot of money from tourism, postage stamps and coins. On my way out of San Marino I counted over 30 parked tour buses. If you walk around the central part of the country, which isn’t hard to do, it is mostly restaurants, snack bars and souvenir shops.