The Magic of Egg Shell Art – Scrapbook

If you’re out in Vietnam then do check this out, someone else has written a much better article detailing all the information; tours, destinations, purchasing etc. You can find the article here. It’s a humbling experience as most of the artists have been affected either directly or indirectly by Agent Orange, a chemical used in the Vietnam War by the Americans that no one talks about. Not even Oliver Stone. Someone else has written a good article on that here. I’m getting super lazy right? Directing you to other peoples articles instead of writing my own? Well travel blogs don’t keep the lights on guys, know what I’m saying? But do check these guys out if you’re heading off to Vietnam. This was among the many of humbling experiences we encountered.  
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Bilger Eck – Konstanz – Hotel Review

Here we are in Hotel Bilger Eck which is in the heart of Konstanz, Germany. Just a ten minute walk from the town centre. Much to say about this place. Much to say so here goes. RECEPTION:  No drinks or man beating a kettle drum. (How we were spoilt on Ha Long Bay). There was a small jar of gummy bears on the front desk and some welcome candy on the bed. Not bad. SAFE:  Didn’t work at all. I’ll refer to my notes on this one, ‘What’s the fucking point?’ BED: Huge double bed frame, with two single mattresses wedged in. Now the missus has said it’s the European way. That the double or queen sized mattresses can’t fit up the stairs in these European hotels. I call bullshit on that one. It’s a dodge and I told her as much. You know how you can tell? Because they got the fucking frame in. Failing that, get it hoisted in through the window. Honestly, zero excuse. I’m sure the welcome candy was there to cushion the blow. The missus who is the pillow aficionado gave this report on the pillows;…
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Look Up! Lucerne Skylines – Scrapbook

Lucerne is typically Swiss, with grandiose apartment blocks, all painted in bright nonsensical hues like the suburban houses from Edward Scissorhands. It’s expensive, it’s graffiti lead once you head out beyond the railway lines. The mountain Pilatus permeates the horizon, on a clear day the mountain offers a panoramic view of 73 Alpine peaks. They don’t want trouble here. There’s no immigrants, no ethnic diversity. This town belongs to rich whitey and they want to keep it that way. You can’t even get a free glass of tap water in a restaurant, even if you spend over 50 francs for two bland burgers. I wish I could remember the name of the restaurant where this sinful practice goes on, but in reality, it’s the norm. There is a beautiful bridge, The Kapellbrücke. A covered wooden footbridge spanning diagonally across the Reuss in the city of Lucerne. The bridge is unique because it contains a number of interior paintings dating back to the 17th century, although many of them were destroyed along with a larger part of the centuries-old bridge in a 1993 fire. I got a picture, but it doesn’t do it…
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Some thoughts on Hoi An

Scroll back a couple of articles and I added a scrapbook of the wardrobe I accrued from my visits to the tailors in Hoi An. The experience had a profound effect on me. So much so I embarked on a project to set up an e-commerce site on behalf of one of the tailors. Sadly, it never got off the ground. Largely in part due to not having someone on ground level that could bridge the communication barrier.  Eventually people stop returning my emails and phone calls, much like an embittered ex-girlfriend, hoping I’d just, go away. The old city has been cleaned up now, filled with fat westerners all looking to haggle the shit out of a counterfeit Gucci bag. We visited a bag shop, narrow, went all the way back. At the back was a kid asleep on the floor, I stepped over her and carried on shopping. At some point I went for a cookery lesson. The female chef told me all about the women of Vietnam aspire to having 8 pans on heat at the same time. They have to cook not just for their piece of shit…
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The A-Train Hotel, Amsterdam – Hotel Review

The A-Train hotel, 5-minute walk from the central station, just over the bridge, through the unmistakeable but not unbearable emblematic scent of Amsterdam, weed. I want you to brace yourself for this one, it’s not going to be pretty. But what I’m about to tell you is not a reflection on the service or staff, whom I thought were nice enough. This shitbox however costs €225 a night on bank holiday weekend, and quite frankly I found it more EH?-Train than A-Train. (Thank you, I should have closed with that one). Reception – Bowl of sugary toffees, no drink or man beating a drum announcing our arrival. I will caveat that though, when I asked for the nearest Bond location, I was slipped Tiffany Case’s address on a piece of paper and they circled the Skinny Bridge where Mr Wint and Mr Kidd stood to get some pictures of the canals for the children. (See my video on this Bond location review here). Again, the service, can’t be faulted. What was to follow however, Jesus I can barely type the words. Kettle: No fucking kettle. I mean not even a fridge. The…
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Look up! Amsterdam Skylines

Amsterdam is filthy. A fucking armpit. An unkempt, clumped, odourous armpit. Not my words, the words of the missus. I happen to concur. Another genius quip she dealt out during our trip was ‘It’s no wonder they serve all day breakfasts everywhere in this place, there’s no telling when these fuckers will get out of bed’. Above is the Amstel Hotel, €1,500 a night. Breakfast not included. Bill Clinton, Madonna, U2 have all stayed here. Above is the National Bank, all the gold is in the basement. There are no tall buildings in Amsterdam, the ground is too soft. Even the station is built upon wooden piles, much like Venice. Some bright spark had the great idea of numbering the houses, after the 18th Century. Before then the postman would only recognise your house by the different types of gables, mainly, flat, neck and sprout gables. Notice the big windows, and the hoists at the top? The houses were all built slightly on the piss so they could hoist things up to the upper floors, in through the larger windows. This was because their stairwells inside were too narrow. With…
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Blumental Murren – Hotel Review

Official Description provided by the hotel. Traditional cosy Swiss hotel with a lot of charm and atmosphere and only 20 meters from the hotel is the new Blumental Chalet. All rooms with shower and WC, cable TV, Radio, safe, hairdryer, free WIFI and sitting Corner. Well known for fine food and excellent wines. Excellent for scenic hikes, walks in floral meadows and excursions to the Schilthorn and Jungfraujoch. The hotel provides free entry to the swimming pool and Jacuzzi in the sports centre. Best rates with a direct booking with the Hotel. Best rates available with direct booking per E-Mail or phone. Kettle: Not available. Shower: Pretty good, accept to get in and out you had to play a game of Paper Fortune Teller with the door. The pressure and heat were sublime. Bed: Joined singles, it’s one up from hotel Ibis budget. Safe: Annoying, dysfunctional, eventually broke and the safe repair man was summoned. Bar: Cocktails, lack of options, but not to worry. They served beer, and that’s all that mattered. Restaurant: Quite nice, good lighting, atmosphere, Bond sat on the table behind us once and they showed me the picture to prove it.…
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Inside the walls of the Forbidden Purple City – Hue

Inside the Imperial City, Hue. Home of the Tet Offensive which saw some of the bloodiest battles during the Vietnam war. The place shares a beauty and a bleakness. Bullet hole souvenirs pepper the entrance walls once patrolled by the Nguyen Emperors. The Citadel was home for the Emperors political affairs, daily activities of the court and the family of the Nguyen Emperors. And their concubines. It’s also home to the Forbidden Purple 25 acre city where no man except the Emperor, his queen and his hoards of concubines (nine separate ranks) were permitted to set foot. Anyone that did would be decapitated. It once contained 60 buildings, many of which were extensively damaged during the Tet Offensive. I said to the missus on the way out, “I know why they call it the Purple City.” “Why?” She entertained. “Because that was the colour of the Emperor’s cock on a daily basis.” She remained unmoved. Viz humour. Jesus 9 ranks of concubines. As well as having your wive, and the Mother-in-Law all snooping around. The Nguyen’s were shaggers. When they weren’t in court enforcing decapitation laws, they were going door…
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When British Airways Destroy Your Luggage

Ok I’ll keep this brief because I’m not into snipey Facebook status’s where people get to ‘box their gimp’ (Steve Peters analogy) followed by a ‘rant over’ closer. Not into that bullshit. But I am into making people and companies accountable. Especially companies that get so big they become faceless entities. So I’ll make a start. British Airways decimated my £350 Freitag bag on a flight back from Houston the other month. Shit happens, no one died. When I landed back at Heathrow I had to fill out a couple of forms and was given a number to ring. First off, why do I have to call these arseholes? If I spill another mans pint accidentally, I don’t hand him my card and tell him to call my lawyer. All though that would be a good power move. Second off, the number didn’t work. It’s the wrong number on the form, they have a series of other numbers, each of which, aren’t the correct department for my ‘line of enquiry’. This charade goes on for 60p a minute and each poor fella/sheila on the other end gets a quick earful from me about…
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Look Up! Rome Skylines – Scrapbook

Phil: Yeah I’ll have a sweet vermouth on the rocks with a twist. Rita: I’ll have the same, thats my favorite drink. Phil: Mine too, it reminds me of Rome…in the evening when the sun lights the buildings. Rita: what should we drink to? Phil: I always drink to world peace. Rita: World peace…  
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