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.
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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.

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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.

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Temple of the Emerald Buddha

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Wat Po….

floating market
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loating Markets

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

 

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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!
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Before Picture:

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After Photo…

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

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

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Deregulation…
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Ho’s here…

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SLO Folks in the wild…

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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

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Day 4: Hong Kong, CHINA

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

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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.

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-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.

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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…

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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.
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2008…a plane ride to the roof of the world
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2009…blind taste tests (Rainey is the designated eater/drinker)

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2009…4 Generations in Iceland (Ben, where did you go?)
RCB as Indiana Jones
2010…Rainey’s publicity shot!
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2010…up the Mekong without a paddle
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2011…kids at home, learn from Aunt Zoe–NEVER do this! (Stinks for a week)
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2011…celebrating another win with family & friends
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2012…busking for points somewhere in Europe (Keep your day job!)
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2012…Zoe naturally doing something unnatural
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2013…southeast asia
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2013…chef Rainey, hmmm.
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2014…another case of ethnic costume dementia
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2014…cycling in Denmark
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2015…down n’ dirty in Fiji
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2015…in Bali
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2016…ballooning over Africa
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2016…always negotiating
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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? 🙂

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Foot Photos

Admit it, we all do it. All travelers have their own selfie-type photos they take.

Some take photos with sunrises and sunsets or in front of iconic monuments. Some with locals, some have fire engine fetishes and some meals they eat food photos.

I have been know to take “foot photos”…

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Canaima Lagoon - Venezuela

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Myanmar 2012 (227)

But this well-traveled  young man takes foot photos to a whole new extreme.

Meet Andrej Ciesielski….and his foot photo

…and his latest exploits…

 

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