Day 16: Brussels, BELGIUM

Saturday, 29 April 2017 – Day 16: Brussels, BELGIUM (50.8503° N, 4.3517° E)

We arrived at Brussels International Airport (BRU) this afternoon around 3PM following our 4:50-hour flight that took us from North Africa to Europe. The local immigration authorities ceded additional powers to the Ringmaster at the airport–thumbs up or thumbs down to visa applicants.

One-minute Interview with TSA Precheck in Egypt

brudt_phototour103
Our hotel in Brussels just a few steps away from the Grote Market.

We held a fun 6:00PM hospo drink session to let off some steam before we began our next leg. (We love Belgian beers!)

But first the Old Business…the Egyptian Par 4 leg results are in following Peer Review assessments and Road Official score adjustments for a few issues. As Lawyers without Borders have left the event, we now have 9 competing teams:
In 8th place, we have a tie between YOLOGoNow and Traveling Bohemians.
In 7th place, is NOLA 2nd Line.
In 6th place, is Long Gone.
In 5th place, earning 1040 points: Flying Snitches
In 4th place, earning 1315 points: Thundersnow
In 3rd place, earning 1685 points: SLO Folks
In 2nd place, earning 1737 points: Team Ying
And in 1st place, congratulations to TSA Precheck Yourself who earned 1897 points completing 47 scavenges on the second Par 4 Egypt leg.

That means that after six completed legs (par 18/27 completed)…the overall top 3 teams are:
3. SLO Folks (57)
2. TSA Precheck Yourself (49)
1. Team Ying (35)

Again, congrats to all and you can click here to view the updated Official Leader Board. There are 9 points left on the table…
IMG_1983
This is the event’s first time in Brussels, and the teams will have seven other potential European countries to do scavenges in before meeting in Dublin in 4 nights on Wednesday, May 3rd  (Luxembourg, France, the Netherlands, England, Wales and Isle of Man) making this leg truly frenetic with crazy risk-reward travel decisions to make. We will find out who’s greedy here…who is willing to take some risks to move up the leader board.

It will be a Hard Par 6, 2017 European edition with a lot of moving parts: over 200 scavenges and a mad fun dash to Dublin. There are 2 Mandatory, one here in Brussels and the other in Cambridge, England.

Check-in Deadline & Meeting Place: 10:00PM, Wednesday, 3 May in Dublin, Ireland.

Screen Shot 2017-03-29 at 4.15.38 PM

Among some of their scavenges is:
-Travel the length of the world’s longest unbroken tramway in Belgium between France and The Netherlands.
-Taste Test Time—Belgium Beer Edition
-Price out loose diamonds in Antwerp
-Cycle to the famous Dutch tulip fields
-Go punting with a picnic in Cambridge
-Ferry Cross the Mersey in Liverpool
-Take in an Irish Parliament session

One-Minute Interview with Traveling Bohemians In transit.

Belgium 2015 (174)
Tintin is here!

Belgium 2015 (141)
As is the Grand Palace.

Belgium 2015 (100) Belgium 2015 (114)
And Reubens too!

More later…

Read More

Day 15: Alexandria, EGYPT

Friday, 28 April 2017 – Day 15: Alexandria, EGYPT (31.2001° N, 29.9187° E)

Hello on day three in Egypt…

Pope Francis is here in Cairo reaching out to the lottery-picked pope, Tawadros II of the Coptic Orthodox Church. The two churches parted ways in a dispute about the nature of Christ in the fifth century, kind of like the Shia and Sunni split in the Muslim world. Security is extremely tight here in the city of one thousand and one minarets.

Teams have been busy we think as some beastie photos reveal:

DSC_0524
The Road Officals finally having fun doing scavenges…

IMG_3943
1/2 of Traveling Bohemians with Napoleon’s target range…

image3
TSA Precheck at  Pyramid of Djoser (Aka Step Pyramid…the first pyramid)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
1/2 of Team Ying appearing to hijack a carriage horse?!

IMG_1980
1/2 of Flying Snitches trying on hats…

IMG_3928
Having a conversation with Cairo’s bright simmering youth.

DSC_0526
Either going to stud, or to the butcher? Pick’em?

egypt-alexandriapompeypillar
Magnificent Pompey’s Pillar in Alexandria

GE2005 (42)
The mystical magical Sufi dancers…

GE2002 (154)
The infamous fabulous bazzar of Cairo cafe…

GE2008 Top 100 Family Photos (73)
Teeing up at the pyrimds…a lot of sand shots!

All the teams checked in safe and sound, albeit a tad Egypt weary from their thrilling 54-hours in one of the ancient capitals of the world.

Thoughts of the day: One wonders what the idealistic Egyptian activists of the 2011 Arab Spring in Tahir Square and throughout Egypt are thinking these days? They mobilized and protested under the cry of “bread, freedom & dignity”;
239 of them are martyred for their cause of freedom and democracy; repressive 30-year ruling Pharaoh, err, President Mubarak, propped up by American billions in annual military aid  is popularly pushed out of office and charged for the killing of those protestors; Egypt holds free and fair elections for the first time in history; Mohamed Morsi Muslim Brotherhood Party wins the June 2012 election in a landslide; within a year military strongman General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi seizes power in a coup (“meet the new boss, same as the old boss”); his regime brutally kills over 800 who protest his coup; Morsi is now serving life in jail and Mubarak is out on bail frequenting Cairo cafes. What must they think? Do they have hope? Who do they blame? (Ditto the freedom loving people of the Philippines and Turkey!)… The 2011 Egyptian revolution began on January 25th when Egyptian protestors focused on lack of free speech and free elections, police brutality, government corruption, high unemployment, inflation, and continued use of emergency law…it sparked other revolutions in Yemen, Syria, Jordan, Libya, and Bahrain. Well, they kept their bread anyway!

Now I know that conventional wisdom suggests that I not interject politics into our event’s blog, or our travels in general. Of course, that is naïve hogwash. Whether we know it or not, everything we do involves politics in some way. Everything. And traveling the world is no different. Traveling allows us to better understand what is actually going on in the world through personal experience and the personal encounters we have along the way. Traveling allows us to get out of our comfort zones and societally imposed default positions; we  get out of the hermetically-sealed tourist bubbles and go out into the streets to eat, play and talk with local people. We ask questions. We are curious. We learn what is really going on in their daily lives and their society. We gleam both context and insights—sometimes provocative ones—about how the other 96% of humanity lives, works and prays. Our shared humanity is ultimately a natural bonding experience between all peoples.

What artificially separates us is politics: how they make a living; what they eat and where it comes from; whether their society is rich or poor and getting better or not; whether they have a hopeful or pessimistic view of their futures; and whether their sons and daughters are healthy or not, getting an education or not and exposed to random or organized violence or not—these are all political issues. Don’t fool yourself; how we organize our lives, what we believe and what we consume—are all political acts. And besides that, asking me to refrain from stating any political belief is like me asking you to keep your opinions to yourself—and I would never do that!

We are off at 10:00am tomorrow to somewhere new for The Global Scavenger Hunt, hard to believe in 12 previous events we have never visited three of our next four countries. Stay tuned…

End with a video from Thundersnow

 

Read More

Day 14: Cairo, EGYPT

Thursday, 27 April 2017 – Day 14: Cairo, EGYPT (30.0444° N, 31.2357° E)

Good day from Cairo…where that old French saying maintains its truth: plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

imgres-4
The view from our hotel pool…

We had to say goodbye today to Zoe & Rainey (Team Lawyers without Borders) who had to quickly answer to an antsy judge beckoning them. You will be missed…

That said, some teams are already smellin blood and the chance to move up in the standings in their absence!

The teams have been out and about since yesterday at 4PM local time…they have been given a Par 4 set of scavenges here in lower Egypt: the greater Cairo area, Suez and Alexandria. There are 4 Bonuses and over 60 scavenges to contemplate. But Egypt will be challenging for them…challenging because dealing with the constant local methods of haggling about anything and everything sometimes puts people in strange moods. Time will tell who reacts well and can function efficiently in a notoriously inefficient country.
 Petra - GE2008 (461)
Scavenges include:
-Visit the Pyramid Trifecta: Khufu (Giza), Djoser (Step), Dahshur (Bent)
-take our Egyptian Museum of Archeology mini-scavenger hunt
-Bargain for items in the fabulous bazaar of Cairo
-attend the Friday morning camel auction at Souq al-Gamaal
-Take a lazy float down the Nile in a traditional felucca

Screen Shot 2017-03-29 at 4.14.48 PM
Our check-in at 9:30PM Friday night…

A Cautionary Tale: Security is very tight everywhere in the city during these uncertain geopolitical times with the continuing conflict next-door between Palestine and Israel continuing to cause distress throughout the region; threats
of ISIL-inspired terrorism (against local Copts), and that old self-induced paranoid authoritarianism fear–destabilization. But that is what our global cultural immersion is all about, dip out toes in insteresting places and trying to understand other people’s lives, issues and concerns, while enjoying their hospitality and unique customs. Our governments may disagree, but the Egyptian people are always open to visitors (for 5,000 years in a row!) and to their special historic country. We all feel especially safe because our visit here coincides with the Pope’s when he arrives tomorrow…the whole country is on alert. 

egypt-cairovendor
Khan el-Khalili bread sellor

egypt-weaver
Wissa Wassef weaver

oman - david
How not to mount a camel…no names!

GE2005 (199)
Henna

GE2002 (76)
The Spice Market
DSC_0488
New friends at Mohammed Ali Mosque
DSC_0456
Flying Snitches at El Fishawy Cafe
IMG_0891
The better half of SLO Folks in Alexandria
IMG_1970
Flying Snitches at opera…

DSC_0458
The face of the day…Arak (age 41)

Question of the day? What is worse living in a war zone as a result of a sudden violent crisis or in a war zone caused by decades of systemic neglect, corruption and willful decay?

Okay, until tomorrow…that roof top pool beckons.

Read More

Day 12: Colombo, SRI LANKA

Tuesday, 25 April 2017 – Day 12: Colombo, SRI LANKA (6.9271° N, 79.8612° E)

Good morning…

We have reached the halfway point of the 2017 edition of the world travel championship The Global Scavenger Hunt. Hard to believe…San Francisco, Hong Kong, Macau, Hanoi, Colombo, Kandy, Galle and more…so much more.

Slowly but surely, the teams began re-appearing one-by-one starting last night here at the hotel. Emails with photos and Facebook posts began to pop up again after being off-the-grid for a few blessed days.

All the teams reported in safely at the 3PM check-in deadline here at the Galle Face heritage hotel (a 19th century Grande Damme once considered the best hotel East of the Suez Canal.) The beautific smiles they wore expressing the emotions of all they had seen and done since we last meet on Saturday afternoon were easy to see. Tonight we will blow off a littel steam at Semondu, a fusion restaurant in the recently renovated old Dutch Hospital complex. And then…

DSCF2878
The elephants of Yala National Park.

FullSizeRender
Flying Snitches on pilgrimage…lot’s of steps included!

IMG_1391
The Tea plantations of Nuwara Eilya.

A Dozen things you might not have known about Sri Lanka:
-estimated 21 million citizens and is a merging amalgam of Sinhalese (70% Buddhist), Tamil (12% Hindu) and 9% Muslim cultures…a small remenat of Christianity from the Portuguese, Dutch and British colonial days still exists (about 5%)…
-Ceylon changed its name to Sri Lanka in 1972
-Sri Lanka literally mean “Resplendent Island” in Sanskrit. Sri Lankas name in Sinhalese is “Shri Lanka Prajatantrika Samajavadi Janarajaya/Ilankai Jananayaka Choshalichak Kutiyarachu”
-Sri Lanka is slightly bigger in geographic size than West Virginia, albeit with 13640 kilometers of coast line
-
Sri Lanka’s per capita income is $3,800 (USA = $56,000)
-Sri Lanka’s flag (which I love and have one at home) contains a golden lion, surrounded by four golden leaves at four corners which represents Buddhism; with the green and orange strips representing Islam and Hinduism respectively
-Although cricket is the most popular sport in Sri Lanka, the national sport of the country is, in fact, volleyball.
-The spice cinnamon originated in Sri Lanka and was discovered by the Egyptians
-at 92%, Sri Lanka boasts the highest literacy rate in the whole of South Asia
-Kandy’s Temple of the Tooth (where the relic of the tooth of Buddha is housed), is the most sacred Buddhist site in the world
-Sri Lanka was the first country in the world to democratically elect a woman as the head of state (3 times): Madam Sirimavo Bandaranaike (1960–65, 1970–77 and 1994–2000)
-the capital of Sri Lanka has moved around: Anuradhapura, to Polonnaruwa…but is today in Sri Jayawardanapura Kotte, not Colombo.

Thought of the Day: It seems to me the person who coined the bumper sticker phrase: “No Pain, No Gain” has obviously never been to the Third World. Life is short and hard here. Especially when you have the all too often modern-day Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (circa 2017): 1) Globalization and all its discontents culturally and socially speaking (rising expectations); 2) Ecological disaster waiting around the corner (the weather on our adventures over the years just keeps getting hotter and hotter during so-called “shoulder season” spring/fall; 3) Religious intolerance simmering silently (global middle-class educated secularist versus fundamnetalists who don’t like change or challenges to the status quo); and finally, 4) pervasive unofficial official corruption (and we see it here as the Chinese have their way with the Sri Lankan governemnt offering grand development schemes in exchange for naval bases and cheap resources…but a single pearl in its strategic string of pearls in its imporatnt south asian geo-political strategy). BTW: The original Four Horsemen were piker’s…just: War, Famine, Pestilence and Death.

Stilt fishermen on southern coast near Welligama.

srilanka boat
Employing an oruwas.

IMG_1399
Lawyers w/o Borders saw monkeys…

IMG_1397

image1
1/2 of Thundersnow on a horse…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Team Ying a sunrise pilgrimage…

IMG_1879
Thundersnow making new friends…

We try not to hit readers/followers over the head about The Global Scavenger Hunt event’s cause-related, charitable purposes—our method of doing and giving is anonymous and are considered unattached gifts—but, aside from a portion of the event’s annual proceeds going to the GreatEscape Foundation, other good things are happening too, so let me just let you know: some of the teams are raising funds for the GreatEscape Foundation’s twin goals: of building co-ed elementary schools in developing nations (and a Tuareg Nomadic clinic in Niger too!), and distributing no-fee, interest-free micro-loans to budding  global entrepreneurs. Both methods are designed to help others in their great escape from the cycle of poverty.

So, if you have it in your heart to not eat a lunch out this week and make a small secure online PayPal donation during the course of the 2017 event, we know that a lot of kids needing a basic education that would thank you. And we will thank you too…with a tax receipt. Thank you!

 

Read More

Day 10: Galle, SRI LANKA

Sunday, 23 April 2017 – Day 10: Galle, SRI LANKA (6.2906° N, 80.6337° E)

Good Morning…

One-Minute Interview with Flying Snitches…oaky, 2-minutes…

Team sightings have become illusive…YOLOGoNow, NOLA 2nd Line, Long Gone, Flying Snitches, Traveling Bohemians…all gone now. Basically, no news from teams…now all scattered somewhere in Sri Lanka.

In lieu of event news, here is a random stream of consciousness and photos  from Afar

GE2010 (67)
The amazing frescos of Sigiriya.

Observations from a foreigner, me: For some reason, I am supremely aware of whiteness today. Local villagers treat me at first like they treat all fellow travelers—as a walking ATM where they just have to push the right buttons (guilt or want) on me and sooner or later money will come out. I just love the bright white-teethed smiles of the cinnamon-colored Sri Lankan women. The only security issue I have seen so far was pickpockets…of the monkey kind, not people.

GE2010 (153)
Train ride to Galle…

I was told today there are 84,000 Hindi gods…I can’t think of 84,000 things to think about let alone pray to…one seems too many! (Okay, just me.)

Saw an article in today’s paper about Sri Lankan’s 86,000 strong police force reforms…they are stressed on the job; so after a study they have instituted the 3553 plan: 3 minutes of briefing before patrol assignments, followed by 5 minutes of meditation and then 5 minutes of relaxed focused breathing, ending with 3 more minutes of shift briefing…hmm.

Our hotel employs a full-time anti-crow slingshot armed man…who means business; as well as, a bug zapper who walks around the lobby and common areas zapping bugs with an electrified tennis racket-like thingy…

Saw a billboard ad today on a drive sorth to Hikkaduwa fishing village…it was a laxative ad whose tag line was, “Get ready to shake things up!” Indeed.

GE2010 (92)
Although illegal, still around…

After dinner at Mango Tree, I resigned myself to the Traveller’s Bar. Well. Someone at the bar asked what it was like being a professional traveler…I thought for a second and replied, “Well, I have been felt up more by airport security personal than the happy hooker!”

IMG_0756
SLO Folks on a beastie…

IMG_1354
Lawyers w/o Borders standing on trian for 4+ hours to Anuradhappura…
(Committed to seeing and doing something amazing!)

DSC_0302
A buck a tuna…
DSC_0291
The face of the day (67 years old)

DSC_0282
Galle Mosque (circa 1770)

DSC_0261
Love that flag…and them too!

Tomorrow we are  grabbing a 7AM train down east to a city called Kandy. Temple of the Buddha’s Tooth to behold…

Thought/Question of the Day: I visited a Hindu temple today and began to wonder…Is it just me, or does the spiritual idea of reincarnation remind you of being held back in third grade?

Okay, enough of this…good night from half a world away, until tomorrow!

Again, Check-in Deadline 3PM Tuesday afternoon….

Read More

Day 8: Bangkok, THAILAND

Friday, 21 April 2017 – Day 8: Bangkok, THAILAND (13.7563° N, 100.5018° E)

Sawasdee. Hello from Thailand.

After a quick 2-hour morning flight between HAN-BKK…we are here in the Kingdom of Smiles.

A One-Minute Interview’s cancelled until makeup and wardrobe get up to speed!

Old Business…the Hanoi Par 3 leg results are in following Peer Review assessments and official scoring:

We ended the Hanoi leg last night at 10PM with all the teams conducting peer review interviews. Frankly, we had some rule infractions to deal with. Nothing that would disqualify any team, but infractions that were addressed and penalty points subtracted from a few of the teams. There were a few concierge usage issues, Internet research issues, excessive single mode of transportation-usage issues, and not spending the required time at scavenges issues. All the teams affected where explained their infractions and accepted their point penalties in good spirits. It was a learning leg for many in the heat of a fiesty competition brewing. The results:

In 10th place, NOLA 2n Line earning 355 points:
In 9th place, Thundersnow earning 515 points:
In 8th place, Long Gone earning 620 points:
In 7th place, Lawyers without Border earning 805 points: completing 27 scavenges but no Bonuses.
In 6th place, Traveling Bohemians earning 835 points: completing 24 scavenges including partial Bonus.
In 5th place, Flying Snitches earning 1,100 points: completeing 34 scavenges including 1 Bonus.
In 4th place, SLO Folks earning 1,235 points: completing 36 Scavenges and 1 Bonus.
In 3rd place, Team Ying earning 1,370 points: completing 37 scavenges and 1 Bonus.
In 2nd place, TSA Pre-check Yourself earning 1,410 points: completing 43 scaveges + partial Bonus
And in 1st place, congratulations to YOLOGoNow who earned 1,570 points on the second Par 3 leg completing 46 scavenges including one partial Bonus.

Great job all…a fun, exhilirating and resourceful leg by all…

That means that after three completed legs (par 7 of 27 completed)…the overall top 3 teams are:
Tie 4th – Lawyers without Borders + SLO Folks (25 par)
Tie 2nd – Team Ying + YOLOGoNow (19 par)
And the new 2017 Global Scavenger Hunt event leaders are: TSA Pre-Check Yourself (13 par)

Again, congrats to all and you can click here to view the updated Official Leader Board.
IMG_1341

Okay…on to new business: Bangkok…steamy, sultry, busy Bangkok. It won’t be “One Night in Bangkok” but one quick afternoon… As we only have a short 7-Hour Layover Challenge set up for the teams between their flights from Vietnam to Sir Lanka. We were last here in 2012 (Miss you John & Jack!) and we arrived at noon from Hanoi and we leave tonight at 10:10PM this evening for Sri Lanka. Teams Hit the ground running right out of the arrivals hall pre-Immigration. It will be fast-paced introduction for some to Thailand. It will also be a hot one…over 100 today! Moist is the word of the day.

lay•over  \ ‘lā-, ō-vәr \ noun (1873) – STOPOVER n (1885): a period spent by a passenger at an intermediate point in waiting for a transportation connection; a brief halt in a journey caused by scheduling in the course of a journey; a short stop in a long journey, especially one between airplane flights; free time between flights spent in an airport hub—and to be avoided like the plague.

Screen Shot 2017-03-29 at 4.13.19 PM

Among there Bangkok To Do List:

O Indulge yourself with either a foot, or traditional Thai massage. Prove it.
O Wats going on? Visit two of these: Arun, Pho, Phra Kaew, or Phu Khao Thong.
O Visit Pak Klong Talad for a photo safari.
O 40% of Thai’s depend of street food for their daily meals; try some traditional Thai talad of your choice.
O
Poll 6 locals: ID Thailand’s most famous person. Who is she/he?
O Team Challenge: Obtain a photo of an elephant.

GE2010 (5)
Temple of the Emerald Buddha

img_0427  IMG_4086
Wat Po….

floating market
F
loating Markets

GE2009 (701) edited

Don’t miss your 10:10PM flight to Sri Lanka…stay tuned!

 

Read More

Day 7: Ha Long Bay, VIET NAM

Thursday, 20 April 2017 – Day 7: Ha Long Bay, VIET NAM (20.9101° N, 107.1839° E)

Objects at rest tend to stay at rest. Objects in motion tend to stay in motion.” – Isaac Newton


GOOD MORNING VIETNAM!

I always wanted to say that!
 (We miss you Robin.)

Okay…Vietnam, Hanoi. A quick catch up…We arrived about Noon yesterday local time at Noi Bai International Airport which is about a 45-minute drive outside the city. The city is busy with motorcycles (the 2 stroke kind), bicycles, and the energy of the 8 million people that live here. And to think they have survived the Chinese to the North, the French colonialist era, and that little war for “the future of the free world” against the US?!  (they aptly refered to here as the American War) 

Hanoi has grown up–read: economically developed–significantly over the last few decades, evolving from a grim, famine-ravaged place that was all but bombed “into the Stone Age,” into a sophisticated metropolis with high-rises and sensational cuisine; it may be one of the most beguiling cities in Asia with its lovely landscape of lakes, shaded boulevards, verdant parks and quiet old world charm. It is home to such diverse architectural treasures like a 1500-year-old pagoda, colonial French homes, and head scratching modern skyscrapers. Its bustling markets, thriving and murky nightlife, and excellent food…yes, the food again…make it an attractive city. It is the nature capital and birthplace to so much of Vietnam’s traditional culture. Hanoi, more than any other city I have visited in Vietnam, is a unique fusion of old and new…and world-class art. And art is what I will be seeking out in the bustling famous Old Quarter here during my free time…well, that and my never-ending search for the perfect goi cuon–Vietnamese fresh spring rolls!

We are sure that all newbie teams are trying to find their own personal and Team balance. That balance between doing too much and wearing themselves out too early; and finding that fine line that will keep them competitively pushing forward happily and merrily. Vietnam is their real first test, as Hong Kong is a developed Western-ized city that works–Vietnam is a tad different. They will also be getting outside the city a bit, to some beautiful lazy green country sites, along with the oodles and oodles of things to see and do here in town. I will report more later today…hopefully we’ll have some videos to share soon!

One-Minute Interview with Team YOLOGoNow.

By now the 3rd day syndrome is occuring amongst our travelers….There are a few nervous twitches among those not as connected as they usually are to their info and social bubbles; their minds are detoxing from scrolling, texting and emailing incessently (aka obsessively) I promise you, you are living life to the fullest and not missing out on anything I promise you, just another day with the same stuff being reported….but you are on a real life adventure now…you should all realize that this is now your new reality for the next 19 days to come…so, let go of the daily grind, be in the here and now and enjoy!
DSC_0002
Before Picture:

DSC_0127
After Photo…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Sydney (Team Ying) bags her first 4-legged beastie photo!

IMG_0681

DSC_0186
Thinking…Pre-school graduation at the Temple of Literature…

DSC_0189
Deregulation…
DSC_0193
Ho’s here…

DSC_0135
SLO Folks in the wild…

DSC_0128
Hoam Kiem Lake

I think a few teams headed to the coast today to fulfill life long bucket list items….

Tomorrow will be an interesting day…breakfast in one country, lunch in another and a late dinner in a third—just another day of traveling fun on The Global Scavenger Hunt…

Silk lanterns in Hoi An city, Vietnam 

Finally, The Global Scavenger Hunt is not just about a great international travel adventure that ultimately crowns The World’s Greatest Travelers in the annual world travel championship, it is also about helping others help themselves. As avid passionate travelers. This year, to celebrate the 13th edition of our event, our goal is to fund schools in places that really need them. Co-ed elementary schools at that— empowering both girls and boys. So, if you have it in your heart to not eat a lunch out this week and make a small secure online PayPal donation during the course of the 2017 event, we know that a lot of kids needing a basic education that would thank you. And we will thank you too…with a tax receipt.

Check-in is 10PM Thursday night in lobby…then?

The word Where in red 3D letters and question mark to ask for the location of a mystery spot or best travel destination

Read More

Day 4: Hong Kong, CHINA

Monday, 17 April 2017 – Day 4: Hong Kong, CHINA (22.3964° N, 114.1095° E)

images
Our Hong Kong digs in Kowloon (thank you Joyce and the entire staff for making it a seamless checkin from airport to room!)

Good morning from Hong Kong…though I imagine it is evening where most of you are.

(Group photo not posted beacuse nice gal whole helped us–took a black photo? Twice–we will do a do-over tomorrow…)

I love Asia, despite being repeatedly mugged by the full-force of its tropical humidity that hits you the second you walk off the plane…

Okay, old business first: At the check-in following each of our nine global legs, we copy all team scores sheets (what they said/claim they accomplished) and then assign each team a peer review team. Peer Reviews as we have designed them, are great ways for our travelers to both share their travel war stories and photos with others, as well as prove that they actually did what they claimed/said they did, in a fun non-threatening way. It has proved to be great way to hold all the teams accountable, as well as keep the competition fair and honest. People are less likely to be cheaters when they have to answer to their peers. Of course, if any issues do arise during the peer review process, both Pamela and I, as the event’s Road Officials, are the final arbiters.

At any rate, despite being asked to only complete 8 scavenges we did assign San Francisco Peer Reviews teams as a learning curve siutuation with vets teaching the newbie teams. So, they were assigned, score sheets evaluated, and then officially scored by the Road Officials. The results of the first Par 1 San Francisco leg of the 2017 edition of The Global Scavenger Hunt are in with top finishing teams completing 8 scavenges:

We have a ten place tie for first place. Yep, that even means that Jim & Betty are in first place for the first time in three years!

Congrats to all on a job well done…learn from your mistakes and competitors and know that you are all now battle-tested and ready for more after that short introductory leg.

Click here to view the Official Leader Board following the first leg. (Well, not posted because they are all in first place!)

Okay…on to new business: We are here in always exciting Hong Kong, the jewel of the Pearl River Delta, for two nights. After handing out their new booklets, the teams were sent out on the second leg of The Global Scavenger Hunt, a full two-day medium level of difficulty Par 3 (mostly due to language barriers…because everything works well here). They have over 60 optional scavenges to strategize and find their own risk-reward strategy. Again, there is no way any team could possibley do them all the optional scavenges. So, smart choices are always required as they head out into the urban, transportation saturated area. They also have the option of doing scavenges in three potential “countries”: Hong Kong, Macau and mainland China.

And so, the second leg has begun. Here are a handful of Pearl River Delta area scavenges they have to figure out.

Screen Shot 2017-03-29 at 4.10.55 PM
-Team Challenge get to highest building in Hong Kong.
-Visit a local herbal pharmacist and have your qi tested.
-Practice some Tai chi with elders in Victoria Park.
-Hike the Dragon’s Back.
-Eat at a Michelin starred take out restaurant.

…and a whole lot more than that. Good luck all and have some fun…remember our 2016 event theme: When was the last time you did something for the first time? Make it true again, but remember this year’s too: Escape your bubble for 23 days and be really social.

IMG_0150
Busy Hong Kong…


It was fun watching the slack-jawed looks on the collective faces of our travelers as they got their new second leg book of scavenges…followed by the inevitable flourish of calculating and strategizing to figure out how the heck they were going to accomplish some of their challenging tasks…and then their was mad dash scramble, and off like banshees they went into the ether that is Hong Kong. Some were no doubt off to catch a morning train out to the New Territories, others to catch a hovercraft to Macao, and others just drifted gingerly off to the nearby Star Ferry terminal…

One Minute Interview with SLO Folks….

So, Hong Kong. It was one of the stops in French writer Jules Verne’s “Around the World in 80 Days” published in 1873; and we have been here before too. HKG is exotic (still) and chock full of iconic sights and experiences the Far East has to offer: the pungent aroma of burning incense; of a gleaming high-rise metropolis lining Victoria Harbour; the financial energy of anything goes no-holds barred hyper-capitalism; a fast paced people moving to and fro 24/7. Two things you note right away: the fast tempo…it seems that a New York minute is really but a Hong Kong second; and the verticality of the former city-state, which is home to over 8,000 buildings topping fourteen floors and, get this, over 310 skyscrapers (buildings higher than five hundred feet). BTW: NYC has only 241…and not sure how many Shanghai has?

The gravitational pull of Hong Kong has always been strong to me…and I have returned many times. We look forward to the teams having a great couple days here and that they learn the Chinese meaning of the utterance “mu“–which literally means unless I am mistaken, “not yes, not no.” Careful with your binary exploratory questions folks…

Leg Two’s check-in time is 9:00PM (21:00) tomorrow (Tuesday) night. Stay tuned…

BTW: Since this was the first time we all mingled about the baggage carousel here in Hong Kong; we officially have a winner of the lightest packing participant and the BIGGEST packer participant…but no names yet. We will wait for the weight of the situation to let itself unfold…

Read More

The World’s Greatest Travelers™…and so much more

In November 2007, there was a news piece about The Global Scavenger Hunt in the travel section (remember those?) of USA Today. It got a lot of traction, and we received hundreds of applications from the piece.

Two wannabe travelers that introduced themselves to us at that time are Zoe & Rainey, team Lawyers without Borders. We remember interviewing them; they were: passionate, determined, curious, honest and gung-ho travelers. We eagerly accepted them and they became 2008 event newbies. Not only did they single-handedly help us raise funds for our event co-star, the GreatEscape Foundation, that later directly funded the building of coed elementary schools and a medical clinic (still in use serving as a midwives training center in Niger), they came in second in 2008. We were thrilled in 2009, when they fairly and rightfully claimed the title of The World’s Greatest Travelers in…and for the next three years too.

Since 2008, they have participated in all nine events that have taken place; winning now five times—including last year in 2016, and they have showed in 3rd place on two other occasions. Only once in 2013 did they not win, place or show. They have proven and gracious winners who have worn their crown well and have wholeheartedly embraced the spirit of the event as we conceived it back in 2000.

Zoe and Rainey have also been passionate evangelists of the event, spreading the word about what we know is truly the greatest travel adventure on the planet. They not only share our vision of travel, but our deep desire to give back to those communities less fortunate than us in the world–the other 99% of humanity. They schedule their busy year around participating in the annual event and have also brought along their sons and daughters, sisters and parents, friends and neighbors to join in our extraordinary event. They have changed the lives of many because of both their generous nature and passionate participatory travels. They are simply wonderful people.

We thought it would be fun to share a few photos over the years from Lawyers without Borders who have so far visited 59 countries with us–with more new one’s to come this year! Please enjoy.
GE2008 (1263)
2008…a plane ride to the roof of the world
GE2009 (355)
2009…blind taste tests (Rainey is the designated eater/drinker)

GE2009 (422)
2009…4 Generations in Iceland (Ben, where did you go?)
RCB as Indiana Jones
2010…Rainey’s publicity shot!
DSCF2548
2010…up the Mekong without a paddle
230633_10100996535531621_2006194_78215098_5969982_n
2011…kids at home, learn from Aunt Zoe–NEVER do this! (Stinks for a week)
IMG_2775
2011…celebrating another win with family & friends
P1020177
2012…busking for points somewhere in Europe (Keep your day job!)
P1000607
2012…Zoe naturally doing something unnatural
Zoe Rainey Cambodia 925
2013…southeast asia
DSC02821
2013…chef Rainey, hmmm.
2014 ipad 019
2014…another case of ethnic costume dementia
2014 ipad 079
2014…cycling in Denmark
gsh 2015 ipad 1661
2015…down n’ dirty in Fiji
gsh 2015 ipad 1751
2015…in Bali
IMG_7446
2016…ballooning over Africa
P1080634
2016…always negotiating
DSC01896
The World’s Greatest Travelers: Zoe & Rainey

They are now part of or family and we are honored to call them friends. We look forward to another great showing in 2017, Zoe & Rainey’s 10th anniversary of participating in The Global Scavenger Hunt. Good luck and thank you both.

Pamela + Bill

P.S. Is it just me, or, does Rainey have only three black shirts–a tank, a t and a long-sleeve? 🙂

Read More