He walked across China...fun (when you get past him)...
Enjoy...the sights and music too!
Hello all...we are back!
Anyone who knows us, knows that we love maps...a tad geeky at times we admit
So, in an effort to educate and blow your mind...check out this wonder map POV. Enjoy...
Hello all from Los Angeles, where the 2013 edition of our little annual around the world travel adventure began way back on April 12th. First off, everyone is good and safe and heading home. I apologize for this late post...but I simply could not find a nickels worth of time until now...sorry!
(Although the wacky Tea Party's vindictive austerity measures have led to more than a few FAA-induced flight delays and late arrivals home for our travelers. My daughter was grounded in Seattle for over two hours and arrived home after 1AM Monday morning. And one unlucky traveler who left our Toronto hotel Sunday morning for her noon flight (of less than two hours and on the East Coast) did not arrive at her home until after midnight. Fun times...a BIG thank you Washington D.C.! We travel around the world without one single delay in poor developing countries only to return...and BOOM!...insane dysfunction. I guess you get what you pay for?)
Okay, you all want to know what the heck happened in Toronto that led to our British Columbia (that's a province in Canada) father-son team of Gerry and Phil (aka The Ogopogos) winning the 2013 edition of The Global Scavenger Hunt and being crowned The World's Greatest Travelers on Saturday night. Well, here's all the news fit to print:
When last we wrote on Saturday morning, the leader board was a dead heat. A tie between the upstarts from Canada and last year's winners and still The World's Greatest Travelers from New Zealand, Saskia and Andrew, who had just pushed hard and won the grueling European leg. So a one-day event in Toronto would break the tie, winner take all...
Teams headed out early in the morning, with many teams headed to the mighty Niagara Falls to fulfill a huge Bonus scavenge. But train time to and fro sucked away most of their day...despite the great views of Mother Nature's handiwork. Upon arrival back in metropolitan Toronto teams quickly split up to get to business and complete an incompletible series of 34 Toronto-based scavenges. And they were off...strategy is important at this point, and my sense is that Gerry and Phil might have had a little advantage in Toronto being Canadian and all. But what truly swung the day in their favor is that Saskia and Andrew never take cabs anywhere, like all efficient travelers I know, their go-to mode of transportation is always local buses and subways. Guess what? The TTC (aka Toronto Transit Commission) let them down and there was a type of subway closure on Saturday afternoon that thwarted their plans big time. The result was that Gerry and Phil ended up winning the last Par One Toronto leg by 65 points because the were able to complete just three more scavenges than Saskia and Andrew. Folks, there were over 600 scavenges in the entire 23-day 2013 event from start to finish, and it came down to just three scavenges in the last hours of the last day. Wow...amazing...heartbreaking...fun...a real competition!
So the Toronto leg ended with The Ogopogos winning the leg completing 17 scavenges, including that tough Niagara Falls bonus and earning 570 points. All either Saskia and Andrew or Gerry and Phil needed to do to secure a win was finish before each other. And they did. In second place were the Retired Traveling Chicks with 555 points, followed by Saskia and Andrew in third with 505 points. Other score cards received included: Miami in the Mix in 4th, the Traveling Tigers in 5th, M2 in 6th and our three time champions Lawyers without Borders in 6th. All in all everyone had a great day in the sun in Toronto.
The Retired Traveling Chicks t-shirts says it all....
That done, teams met at 5:00PM at Toula's Ristorante & Bar on the 38th floor of our Toronto hotel overlooking beautiful Lake Ontario for the Winner's Reception. (It was great having some old friends from the area come by to see me too...friends I have known for over 50 years and great high school mates too! Thanks Allison, Dave, Vince, Dan and Tommy. Great seeing you all!) The scene was joyous as the end was near...yet tense at the same time, as nobody knew who had won.
The Major Dudes are still around...but grey now. Thanks guys...
And then the awards ceremony began. First up was the nice bottle of French champagne to the team who stayed in the cheapest hotel one night in Scandinavia. At 45 Euros—no small feat I might add—the bottle went to The Ogopogos. Then we had our Travelpro drawing...Travelpro was nice enough to donate to our GreatEscape Foundation a great set of luggage for us to use as an online fundraiser during the course of the event. We raised more than a few wonderful donations over the last 23-days and we thank everyone for giving. Thank you. Zoe pulled a name of one lucky contributor and the winner of the Travelpro luggage was David L.—and he was happy to have won.
Next up was the Player's Pool that was conducted before we left in Los Angeles at our first meeting. Teams were asked to guess which 11 countries they would be visiting over the next three weeks of the event. This is always a telling event as the Road Officials later look over the guesses. Teams this year had us going to New Zealand and Australia—nope, not yet! They had us visiting Peru, Chile and Colombia—nope, not this year! But there were a lot of great guesses...but mostly wrong ones. In the end, two participants guessed five of the eleven correctly and Phil and Erik each took away $240 cash each. Good job guys...
Finally, it was time for the top prizes and The World's Greatest Travelers trophy and title.
In all, seven of thirteen teams that started the event in Los Angeles finished the event in Toronto, handing in score sheets at each of the seven legs. Six teams dropped out of the competition along the way, although they all of course finished the event having fun and participating as best they could at each and every stop along the way. An attrition rate is normal as teams do soul-searching and realize the best and most satisfying way for them to participate in the annual travel adventure competition. That said, congrats to all the teams, but kudos to the seven that successfully finished what they started. And here is the final edition of the 2013 Leader Board.
Winning the Bronze Medal coming in third place was the dynamic duo of Margarita and Demetrius (aka Miami in the Mix). I had debriefed (Peer Reviewed) them after the tough Par 4 Vietnam-Cambodia leg, and I was impressed by how they traveled efficiently and how they were creative in finding solutions to their travel problems. They proved very worthy competitors, worked hard from day one and were also great folks to hang with and share stories along way. Good job Miami in the Mix...you earned it!
Bronze Medalist Margarita & Demetrius (aka Miami in the Mix)
Placing second were our 2012 defending champions Saskia and Andrew (aka You're Not in Guatemala Now, Dr. Ropata!) hailing from New Zealand. Again from day one they proved to be tenacious competitors, great travelers and worthy champions who participated in this their second event in the true spirit of The Global Scavenger Hunt—giving, trying, sharing, public transportation, and stopping to smell the roses along the way. But it was not to be this year for Saskia and Andrew. Both Pamela and I thank you guys for gallantly returning to defend your title and being true to the spirit of our event once again. Cheers.
2012 Champs and 2013 Silver Medalists Saskia & Andrew (aka You're Not in Guatemala Now, Dr. Ropata)
In any competition there can be only one winner. And the winners of the 2013 edition The Global Scavenger Hunt as we know were Gerry and Phil (aka The Ogopogos) from British Columbia, Canada. (BTW: That makes three of our nine events to date won by non-Americans: Kiwis (2012), Canucks (2013) and Belgians (2005).) Gerry and Phil did not do well on the first leg way back in Shanghai, China. I remember them seeing where they had placed in the pack (5th) and there was no whining or complaining. Gerry simply said, "Cheers to the winners and we just have to work harder." And boy did they ever. Like hockey players tirelessly working the corners for any advantage, they were always grinding away, trying to figure out a winning strategy and a way to do better on each leg. And they did that too, learning along the way and building up steam and winning four of the seven legs and coming in a close second on the challenging Par 5 Euro Leg. They never tired. They simply were the most consistent team to enter in the event this year. And I am happy to report that The World's Greatest Travelers for 2013 are Gerry and Phil, Team Ogopogos. The gold medal and trophies are well-earned guys. Enjoy the title...we will see you again!
Father and son Team the Ogopogos (aka Gerry & Phil)...The World's Greatest Travslers!
It is all downhill after Europe, but we try to have some fun the last day. Anyone who knows travelers know that they have a lot to say. And our travelers have done a lot over the last 23-days and we want them to share it. Our 2013 event is no different. We held our Winner's Gala dinner at the wonderful Volos Restaurant, an upscale Greek eatery that serves mighty fine octopus. Wearing clean, fresh-smelling clothes they obviously hid in the bottoms of their suitcases—not!—teams assembled for a fun finale. And special prizes were awarded for the completion of some of our fun scavenges. Saskia and Andrew won for employing the most modes of public transportation on the global adventure—29!—beating the 2009 record of 28. Teams tried to retell some of the taxi-driver jokes they were tasked with learning from drivers in each country to varying degrees of success. It is always funny when someone tries to download jokes from the Internet—they don't work and everyone knows. Ha ha. Next up was the Tackiest Souvenir award that went to Jordan for his now non-working Chairman Mao waving (or saluting?) wristwatch. Funny Jordan. At the beginning of the event in Los Angeles, we asked each participant to pick out an item that they thought could be purchased anywhere in the world, and price out that item in each country they visited. Some folks did cups of coffee, liters of gas, bottles of water, McDonald's items, postcard postage, ice cream cones, bags of chips, etc...but the item that won the prize (as voted on by all present) was packs of cigarettes by Demetrius. He found that the cheapest place to buy a pack was Cambodia at about $1.65...and the most expensive? Surprise, not, Oslo at $17.00 for a pack of butts! Wild...
The Winner's Gala at Volos...
The proverbial kids table...Catherine, Jordan, Madeline & Oliver....
Finally, we give a special prize to somebody that creates the best travel collection...you know, collecting that one item from each country they visit. This year we had note pads and key cards from hotels (there were no keycards in Kathmandu folks!), bracelets, flags, book markers, beer labels (I confess, I do this one too all the time...I plan on wall papering the barn one day!), coins and bank notes are always popular, pens...of course we outlawed Christmas ornaments and refrigerator magnets. We always get great collection...but this year Casey had the best collection ever (but not one I would endorse for my kids)...he got a tattoo in each country he visited. I am sure his doctor will be checking his blood levels for a few months! Great job on a tattoo hunt Casey.
So, that concluded our wonderful dinner. We were all tired...exhausted really after 23-days on the road and still on European time—we think. It was an early night for most of us as anti-climatic as that may seem. We know what we did over the last 23-days was incredible. A once-in-a-lifetime adventure. But tomorrow is another day. The event was over. No one died. Everyone came home safely. And this I know for sure...everyone had the time of their lives.
Thank you all. Thank you Pamela. I will write one more post in the coming days to try and sum up what this last trip around the world might have meant to us...right now, words fail me. Until then, thanks for joining the 2013 edition of The Global Scavenger Hunt, the most extraordinary annual event on the planet.
And please check out all the latest blog posts from our teams...
You are not in... (Andrew & Saskia, 2012 champs):
Lawyers without Borders (Zoe & Rainey, 2011 champs):
Captn Marvel & PI Baby (Michael & Nita):
The Buckeye Terriers (Anahi & Bill):
The Austinites (Erik & Casey):
Traveling Neophytes (Wendy & Oliver):
The Ogopogos (Gerry & Phil):
Miami in the Mix (Demetrius & Margarita):
Retired Traveling Chicks (Kim & Maria):
The Escapees (Christine & Jordan):
M2 (Marnie & Madeline):
The Traveling Tigers (John & Michael):
Team Wainwright (Angela & Sean):
Wander Woman (Margo):
Please friend and like us on Facebook...and I will attempt to add Twitter insight (sic) in 140 characters or less!? I will also be writing periodic Huffington Post pieces as well...
Remember that The Global Scavenger Hunt™ has always been about more than traveling around the world competing for The World's Greatest Travelers™ crown, it is about helping others help themselves through the GreatEscape Foundation. This year we have some great Travelpro gear for a lucky contributor who makes a small one-time $25 online donation during the course of the 2013 event (the more times you donate, the more chances to win). Thank you all, because we know all—every little bit helps out a lot. Thank you!
We also want to issue a THANK YOU to all the official suppliers of The Global Scavenger Hunt's 2013 event. Thank you, great fun stuff we all agree!