EppsNet Archive: Travel

Japan, Day 1: Osaka Castle, Todai-ji Temple, Kiyomizu Temple

 

Osaka Castle The main tower of Osaka Castle is situated on a plot of land roughly one square kilometer. It is built on two raised platforms of landfill supported by sheer walls of cut rock, using a technique called Burdock piling, each overlooking a moat. The central castle building is five stories on the outside and eight stories on the inside, and built atop a tall stone foundation to protect its occupants from attackers. The Castle grounds, which cover approximately 60,000 square meters (15 acres) contain thirteen structures which have been designated as Important Cultural Assets by the Japanese government. In 1583 Toyotomi Hideyoshi commenced construction on the site of the Ikko-ikki temple of Ishiyama Hongan-ji. The basic plan was modeled after Azuchi Castle, the headquarters of Oda Nobunaga. Toyotomi wanted to build a castle that mirrored Oda’s, but surpassed it in every way: the plan featured a five-story main… Read more →

Japan, Day 0: Floyd Mayweather at Panda Express

 

We saw Floyd Mayweather at LAX . . . Actually, my son saw him. When the boy pointed him out to me, all I could see was the back of a smallish man in a black hoodie surrounded by half a dozen of the largest human beings I’ve ever seen. You have to get past those guys to get your shot at Floyd. They were all standing on line at Panda Express in one of the food courts. Normally, I don’t envision famous, wealthy people eating Panda Express, and if they do, I don’t picture them standing on line for it. I picture them sending someone to fetch it while they hang out in the first class passenger lounge. Good advertisement for Panda Express. Better than those ridiculous goddamn talking pandas. In other close encounters with boxing legends, I once saw Sugar Ray Leonard and his family at Juice It… Read more →

The Lesson of Travel

 

Leaving home doesn’t make all your problems go away . . . Read more →

I Think We Can Speed Up the Drive to Vegas

 

The I-15 to Las Vegas is mostly two lanes of traffic in either direction. This could work out okay if slower drivers stayed in the right lane but they don’t. You’ve got people driving at or below the speed limit in the left lane, which creates a blockade and jacks up the travel time. In Paul Epps’s America, the area between Barstow and Vegas would be patrolled by military-style helicopters and any vehicle being passed on the right would be taken out by a well-placed missile. “Wouldn’t that make things even slower?” my son asks. “Initially, it might. But think about the deterrent effect. I think you’d find that in a very short time, slower drivers would stay in the right-hand lane where they belong. Good question though. You ask a lot of great questions.” Read more →

What’s on Your Nightstand?

 

Lamp Clock radio Extra pair of reading glasses Business cards, mostly my own 1 pen, 2 pencils Post-Its Vaccination record Schedule of classes for LA Fitness Two or three dollars in change Nine dollars in Candian coins 440 Indian rupees Read more →

Sandeep Hornblower

 

Even in an entire city full of motorists honking at one another, our driver this afternoon distinguished himself as the greatest horn blower since Horatio. We were stopped in traffic at red lights, and he’d still sound the horn a couple of times just to stay limbered up . . . Read more →

Riding in Cabs in Bangalore

 

The cab drivers here are either highly motivated to get you to your destination or completely insane. Or possibly both. “Roads” and “lanes” aren’t well-defined. A lane is any relatively flat piece of ground, paved or unpaved, that you can take possession of and defend with headlight flashing, horn honking and aggressive refusal to yield. Thoughts I’ve had more than once: Is this part of the road? Isn’t that a sidewalk? Read more →

Crossing Streets in Bangalore aka Human Frogger

 

A photo by Rasidel Slika on Flickr Read more →

Goin’ to Bangalore

 

I’m spending a couple of weeks in Bangalore at the end of the month. Travel is the most depressing thing in the world, beating out listening to other people talk about their travels. Bangalore has been called the Silicon Valley of Asia. It’s like the Silicon Valley here in California, but with monkeys and malaria. My boss has cautioned me to drink only the bottled water from the hotel, never the bottled water at the office. “They refill the bottles at the office with their own water,” he said. “The hotel will give you two bottles a day, but I tipped the staff a dollar a day and they left extra bottles in my room. That’s a lot of money over there.” I’m seriously thinking about tipping two dollars a day just to see what the heck happens . . . Read more →

Look Out, You Rock ‘n’ Rollers!

 

My bizness is taking me to Bangalore, India, at the end of the month. I got vaccinated for hepatitis A, hepatitis B, polio, typhoid, tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis. I’m now immune to everything, including your consultations. Read more →

More Fun at Border Crossings

 

“Where are you folks from?” the border agent asks. “Irvine, California.” “How long were you in Canada?” “About half a day.” “Why such a short stay?” “We’re staying in Seattle for a few days and just came up for a visit.” “How do you like this cold weather?” “No big deal. I grew up in cold weather.” My son makes a sputtering noise in the back seat. “Is he okay?” the agent asks. “Well, unfortunately he’s got irreversible brain damage to his frontal lobes. We still love him though.” “Is anyone in the car carrying $10,000 or more in cash?” “American dollars or Canadian?” “American.” “I wish.” “Is that a yes or a no, sir?” “Sorry. No.” After we pass through the border check, the boy says in a mocking tone, “‘I grew up in cold weather.’ In La Mirada.” “La Mirada is subject to extreme temperature fluctations,” I reply.… Read more →

Aside

Hearst Castle is Really a Lot Like Our House

 

As we’re touring the gardens at Hearst Castle, my wife points out a plant that’s just like one we have at home. “Yeah, this place a has a lot of similarities to our house,” I say. “We have a plant, we have a pool . . .” “We don’t have a pool,” the boy says. “Well, we have access to a pool.” Read more →

NARCh 2011 – Travel Day

 

LA to Houston We’re waiting at LAX for a flight to Houston when a large black man in his 20s sits down near us in the waiting area. “I could take that guy one-on-one,” my kid announces. I’m about to mention to him that not every big black dude is necessarily a basketball player when he says, “Wait a minute, isn’t that Mario Williams?” I have to admit to him that I wouldn’t recognize Mario Williams if I saw him. He pulls up a photo of Mario Williams on his iPhone. “Yeah,” I say, “that does look like him.” “And he’s waiting for a flight to Houston? That’s got to be Mario Williams.” The final clue is that the guy is decked out in Adidas gear from head to toe. A Google search for “mario williams adidas” on the iPhone reveals that Mario Williams has a sponsorship deal with Adidas.… Read more →

Any Lawyers Out There Want This Case?

 

The boys arrived back from their graduation trip, but missed their connecting flight in Philly, which seems to be the rule rather than the exception for U.S. Airways. They were able to get on a later flight — to Los Angeles though, not Orange County — so the parents drove out to pick them up at LAX at 11:45 p.m. “We should sue the airline,” one of the moms said. “That’s a good idea,” I replied, not because I thought it was a good idea, but because I wanted to hear the plan. “Five sets of parents have to drive all the way to Los Angeles,” she said. “Gas is expensive! Then there’s punitive damages. Frustration. Loss of income.” “How is there a loss of income?” “Some parents might have to work at night. You don’t know.” “How much do you think we should get — a million dollars?” “No,”… Read more →

Five Guys in Europe: When in Rome . . .

 

. . . pay attention to these helpful tips. Read more →

An American in Cannes

 

Here’s a young man enjoying the beach at Cannes, probably as a high school graduation trip with his friends. He looks like he’s enjoying himself, clowning it up for the camera . . . Read more →

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