Questions and Answers: Volume 18

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Podcast Transcript

It has been said that April showers bring May flowers. 

In reality, April’s questions bring May’s answers. 

So join me today as I shower you with answers to let your questions flower  on this episode of Everything Everywhere Daily.

I had another record month in terms of the number and quality of the questions submitted. So, let’s not waste any time. 

The first question comes from Tim Manchester, who asks, “What are your top 5 favorite bridges in the world?”

OK, in no particular order, based on the bridges that I’ve visited, the first bridge would be the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. It’s a beautiful iconic bridge. It was an important bridge in engineering history, and if you are ever in San Francisco, it is a great experience to walk across it and back. 

The second bridge will be the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge in Kobe, Japan. I visited there back in 2007 when, at the time, it was the longest suspension bridge in the world. They have a very nice observation area on the bridge where you can experience the size of the bridge.

The third bridge will be the Vizcaya Bridge, which is located in the Basque Country of Spain. The Vizcaya Bridge is often called a hanging bridge. Instead of a normal bridge where the deck covers the bridge and allows people to cross, a hanging bridge only has a small deck that is ferried back and forth by cables. It is sort of a combination of a cable car and a ferry. 

My fourth bridge will be the Stari Most bridge in the town of Mostar in Bosnia Herzegovina. It is a historic bridge that was commissioned in 1557 by Suleiman the Magnificent and is today a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

My fifth bridge would have to be the Millau Viaduct in France. This is the tallest bridge in the world, having a structural height of 336.4 meters or 1,104 feet. It is a beautiful bridge and driving across it was a very heady experience given how high up in the air it was. 

Jerry Gardner asks, “Would you ever do a “live Show “ event? Possibly narrating your podcast while showing your photography.”

The short answer is yes. Not only would I do it, but I’ve actually considered doing it. However, I think I’d have to do something a bit more interesting than just reading a podcast episode on a stage. It would need to be something different from what you’d get on the podcast. 

What such a live show would be, I don’t know, but yes, it is something I’d consider doing. 

David Corbly asks What’s your favorite alcoholic drink after all your world travels?

I have a very simple answer to that question. Cider from the Basque Country of Spain. I first had it when I visited a cideria in 2010. You can find it easily enough almost anywhere in Spain if you go into a bar, but finding it outside of Spain is very difficult. 

The cider has a very unique way of being poured where the bottle is held as high as possible, and the glass is as low as possible. The cider is aerated when it pours into the glass which enhances the taste. 

I’ve tried looking for it everywhere in the United States can I could never find it. I eventually went to a local wine shop and asked them if they could order it. It turns out they could as their distributor carried it. I bought an entire case of it, and I still have several bottles today.

Troy Price asks  What advice would you give someone who wanted to start working in travel photography today?

My honest advice would be to not try to go into it as a business. Travel photography is not a great business. Many travel publications have gone out of business. Many of those who survive no longer pay for photos. 

Almost everyone I know who is still working as a travel photographer is making a living by teaching people photography or running photography tours. 

There are a few people who are doing well, but there are very few of them, and they have only been able to do it after years and sometimes decades. 

I always considered myself a traveler first and a photographer second. If you want to make a living as a photographer, there is a lot more money to be made photographing weddings. 

Mark Hyman asks, Do you know Bob Krist, freelance photographer and filmmaker? (He’s giving you some competition with a video course titled Fundamentals of Travel Photography.)

I certainly know of Bob, but I haven’t actually met him in person. We are both members of the Society of American Travel Writers, and we have both won their Travel Photographer of the Year award. Bob has been a travel photographer much longer than myself and has had a much more accomplished career. 

Nonato Nonnie Ramirez asks Since you travelled the world. Do you recommend one of those around the world airplane tickets? Or better yet an episode on your personal world wide travel for a given year.

The answer is it depends. I never purchased such a ticket but I also had an open-ended schedule. There was nowhere I had to be, so I was in no rush. 

If you have a very set schedule and you know exactly where you want to go, then an around-the-world ticket might be a good option. They do offer a great deal of flexibility and usually, the only requirement is that you have a set amount of time to use all the tickets, and you have to generally go in one direction around the world.

I preferred the freedom to go wherever I wanted when I wanted. However, if you prefer a more structured itinerary, then it might be a good option. 

Chris Harris asks, Have you tried ethnic foods in countries other than their country of origin? Have you had tacos in Tokyo, pizza in Prague, or a banh mi in Brasilia? If so, how was it compared to the US, or to its country of origin?

Absolutely. If you are just on a short vacation, then I understand that you might want to only eat the local cuisine. However, when you are traveling long term, you might want to get Chinese or pizza, regardless where  you might be at the time. 

I used to go to a Mexican restaurant in Bangkok to work; I’ve been to Chinese and Indian restaurants all over the world. 

Most large urban areas around the world will have a multitude of dining options. I’ve had a few bad experiences, but for the most part its fine. 

Michaela Clarke asks The word “curry” can describe many different dishes, sauces, and spices around the world. Do you have a favorite type and can you recall the best curry you’ve eaten in your travels? Maybe curry is worth its own episode!

First of all, you are absolutely correct that Curry would make for a great episode. 

You are also correct that the word curry can describe many different dishes, all of which originate in South Asia. 

My go-to meal when I go to an Indian restaurant is lamb masala, usually with a side of dal and some plain nan. 

My favorite curry experience was probably at a very affordable restaurant in Singapore that catered to Indian workers. All the meals were served on banana leaves, and there were no utensils. 

Terry Laurie asks My daughters are going to vacation in Scotland/England at Christmas time. Any hints on driving on the opposite side of the road that would help them out? Are most rental cars automatic drive? Thank you. Love what you do, and I’m a member of the Michigan Chapter of the Completionist Club.

The idea of driving on the other side of the road, no matter which side of the road you are used to can be terrifying. If you are an experienced driver, much of your driving is instinctual. 

The first time I ever drove on the other side of the road was in 2007 in New Zealand. I rented a camper van that I was going to stay in for two weeks, driving around the country. 

However, I had to pick up the van in the middle of Auckland. When I got to the van, I turned off the radio to avoid all distractions, put both hands on the wheel, and focused. 

Once you spend an hour or two doing it, you get the hang of it. One of the things I do is not think of right and left but rather have myself as the driver on the middle of the road.  

Almost all rental cars in North America have automatic transmissions. There are many more manual transmission cars in Europe, but automatic transmission cars are usually available, even if they are at a higher price.

If you drive a manual transmission, the way you shift is usually the same. So, when you are in a left-hand drive car like you find in much of the world, you increase your gear number my moving out from where you are sitting. In a right-hand drive car, you shift inward. 

Basically, it’s doable. You just need to be very focused when you first start. 

Merei Milbee asks What are your must see sights in Scandinavian or Nordic countries? (& what’s the difference between Scandinavian and Nordic?)

First, let me address the easy question. There are five Nordic countries: Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Iceland. 

Three of those countries, Sweden, Norway, and Denmark, are definitely Scandinavian. Finland is a Nordic country but not a Scandinavian country because its language is not Scandinavian. 

Iceland is usually not considered a Scandinavian country due to geography, but it is sometimes considered Scandinavian due to language. 

As for what to see, I think the entire Nordic region would be an ambitious trip. I’d certainly visit the capital cities. I’d go and see the Vasa in Stockholm, on which I’ve done a previous episode. 

You can see the northern lights, depending on the time of year. There are stunning castles in Denmark. You can drive the Golden Circle in Iceland and see many of the waterfalls outside of Reykjavik. 

It all really depends on where you are going to be. 

Jesus Chan asks If there are millions of vehicles on our roads and highways, why aren’t there piles of rubber from all the worn tires, on the sides of the roads? Where does all that rubber go?

Jesus, this is a really good question, and the answer is something you will probably find disturbing. 

You might have heard of something called microplastics. Microplastics are, as the name would suggest, microscopic pieces of plastic. They have been found……everywhere. They have been found in Antarctica, in the deep ocean, in the rain, in the air, in food, and in our bodies. Microplastics have been found in human blood in our lungs.

The subject of microplastics is probably something for a future episode. However, the biggest source of microplastics, by at least two orders of magnitude, comes from automobile tires. 

So, the reason you don’t see piles of rubber is because it gets spread everywhere. 

Josh Crawford asks Who is your favorite Packer of all time? And most despised rival player??

My favorite Packers are Ray Nitschke and Reggie White. My least favorite players from rival teams would be Randy Moss and Dick Butkus.

Elizabeth Mrazek Nobles asks How do earthquakes occur in the middle of a continent? I get subduction zones, but a random fault line in Illinois.. I don’t quite get.

That is a very good question, Elizabeth. What you are describing are known as Intraplate earthquakes. They are much more rare than earthquakes on the edges of tectonic plates. 

The most famous is the New Madrid Seismic Zone which is in southern Missouri and northwestern Tennessee. 

It is believed that it might come from an ancient fault that existed back when all the continental plates were merged together to form the supercontinents of Pangea. These ancient faults slowly fill up with liquids and can cause an earthquake.

The truth is, geologists aren’t totally sure what causes them because they are so rare and difficult to study.

Anno Dominic asks Do you consider the Eastern Roman/Byzantine empire a direct and literal continuation of the Roman Empire? And I mean right up until 1453. As they considered themselves Roman, and the term Byzantine only came about centuries later. How do you feel about the designation Byzantine?

Yes, I do consider them the continuation of the Roman Empire because they quite literally were. Granted, their language and customs changed dramatically over the centuries, but there is a very straight line that can be drawn. 

As for the word Byzantine, I have no problem with it. While the Byzantines were the direct continuation of Rome, they were different, and having a different word to describe them simply helps clarify things. 

Kevin Werner asks Is Wisconsin just like Ireland?

Wisconsin is absolutely nothing like Ireland. It rarely snows in Ireland for starters. Ireland has a coastal climate with few trees.

Wisconsin is in the middle of the continent. In the south, you have prairie. In the middle, you have deciduous forests, and in the north you have an area that was once covered in glaciers and is now heavily forested with thousands of lakes. 

My final question this month comes from Luie Smit who asks Do you have a favorite Roman history podcast or book? Everything everywhere has really piqued my curiosity about everything Roman and I would love to learn more.

The book I would recommend to get started with Roman history would be SPQR by Mary Beard. It is a great introductory book that will give you a starting point from which you can dive deeper into other topics.

As for a podcast, I’d have to recommend The History of Rome by Mike Duncan. The podcast ended over 12 years ago, but it remains one of the best Roman history podcasts. It is a liner telling of the story of Rome from its founding to the fall of the western empire. 

I would like to thank everyone for their questions. There were a lot of very good questions I wasn’t able to get to this month. I might answer some of them in a week or two in a special episode for Patreon members.

The Executive Producer of Everything Everywhere Daily is Charles Daniel. 

The associate producers are Ben Long and Cameron Kieffer.

I have a special announcement for everyone. I have a brand new podcast! (sort of)

My friend Bobby Fleshman, a former NASA astrophysicist, and his wife, Allison McCoy, a professor of physical chemistry, opened up a brewery in my town.

In addition to making incredible beer in wide varieties, they have a very interesting scientific take on beer and brewing.

We recently launched the Respecting the Beer Podcast. A podcast about the science, culture, history, and economics of beer and brewing.

I’m just the MC for this podcast. The real talent is Bobby, Allison, and the guests we have every week.

If you are interested in a higher-level take on beer and brewing, then check out the show!

You can listen to Respecting the Beer wherever you listen to this podcast and you find a link to it in the show notes.