Thursday, January 26, 2012

2006 Round-the-World Overview

In 2006, I again departed on an around-the-world adventure, joined at times by Shane, Nick, my father, Katrina, and featuring a special appearance by Beth.  My captions for the following photos have been lost to the ravages of time (which sounds better than, "accidentally deleted"), but click the link to see the photos.

Upon my arrival in Bangkok, the capital city of Thailand, I found myself caught up in street protests against the Thai Prime Minister, Thaksin, who had won three national elections in landslides, but who is intensely unpopular with Bangkok's middle-class. Pictured on scenes from anti-Thaksin marches, which spanned a couple of weeks during the day and throughout the night.

A month or so after these marches, while Thaksin was in New York to give a speech before the UN, the military staged a bloodless coup and declared martial law in Thailand. A warrant was issued for Thaksin's arrest on corruption charges stemming from the sale of his company to a Singapore company. Since the coup, Thaksin has been living in London, and his political party has been disbanded.

I was in Thailand during the Songkran festival.  This celebration of the Thai New Year takes place in April of each year.  There are religious and spiritual aspects to the holiday, but to the average tourist, the holiday is basically a country-wide, fun-filled water fight.

I met up with Shane and Nick in Cambodia, where we toured the temples of Angkor Wat ...

And then moved on to Laos, where we stayed by the Mekong River ...

 And visited many temples, including the temple pictured below ...
 The above temple was closed during our first attempt to visit, because Mick Jagger was visiting.  Curiously, no temple has ever been closed while I visited.
The above picture was taken at a restaurant in Cambodia.  Those are live alligators in the pit below, with no guardrail to prevent someone from stumbling into the alligator pit.

a market in Luang Prabang

 I suppose the irony is not lost on the Free the Bears Fund.

McDonald's in Singapore. That bun is not made of bread. It's 100% sticky rice. Notice that McDonald's delivers "24/7."
 The Taman Negara Rainforest in Malaysia features the world's longest network of canopy walks.

The Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur were the tallest buildings in the world for six years until they were surpassed by the Taipei 101 building in 2004.
 Leeches are attracted to a sweet person's blood, and so they loved Beth!
 Meanwhile, this cold-blooded lizard found a kindred spirit in me.
 Kakadu National Park in Australia, where Crocodile Dundee was filmed.

An ant mound that towers over me.

 My obligatory sunset photo; this is from Darwin, Australia.
 This soccer game in Greenland is noteworthy because it was played after midnight, yet it's still played in daylight.
 This photo from Greenland was taken after 1:00 a.m.


Copenhagen features the world's longest pedestrian-only shopping street.
 I visited Sweden during one of the country's most important holidays, "Midsummer." Celebrated around the summer solstice (usually from June 20-26), Swedes celebrate Midsummer by decorating, raising and then dancing around maypoles. One typical dance is the "frog dance," where the dancers hop around the maypole making frog noises. Not surprisingly, many Swedes drink heavily during Midsummer celebrations. The traditional Midsummer meal consists of potatoes, pickled herring, sour cream and strawberries. I participated in the pictured Midsummer celebration just outside of Stockholm. I sang and danced like a frog, but I refused the pickled herring. I believe in experiencing different cultures, but I do have limits.

 At this Amsterdam cafe, Italian fans taunt a French fan before the 2006 World Cup Final between the two countries.
 As a goal is scored, a fan jumps for joy.
 The victory celebration.

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