30 July 2013

Hello, Taiwan! (Or: How Do You Say "Book Launch, Woohoo!!" in Chinese?)

This officially debuts on August 1st:

The Taiwan edition of Europe on Five Wrong Turns a Day-- make that 我用50年前的旅遊指南玩歐洲. I'm very excited.

The book was translated into traditional Chinese by Ting Wai-min, to whom I owe a sincere apology for words I just made up, as in the sentence "I am, as the Dutch say, kindofaneuroticintrovert." 

I tried plugging that into Google Translate just now, English to Chinese, and it came back with this: kindofaneuroticintrovert. So that's helpful.

I'm also sorry, Ting Wai-min, for "grimetastic," which Google Translate renders as 污垢TASTIC的

08 July 2013

Travels With Duct Tape: Innovative On-the-Road Uses For Life's Greatest Tool

I’ve heard it said that all a toolbox really needs is duct tape and WD-40. If it doesn’t move but it should, use the WD-40; if it does move but it shouldn’t, use the tape.

Duct tape is particularly useful for travelers--like all good travel gear, it does double-duty. Actually, it does way more than that. Here are some ways I’ve seen it used, plus a couple that I just might try on my next trip.


1. The Patch 

The most common use among travelers is undoubtedly as a patch--on bags, shoes, and clothing.

It also works as a decoration: my mom has several long pieces of blue tape on her suitcase, which I assumed was to fix a hole until she told me it was just to help her spot it on the baggage carousel at the airport.


2. A + B = Awesome

Second most common use: affixing Item A to Item B, even if they don’t obviously go together. I once saw a guy in a hostel lounge making his own headlamp with a baseball cap, a small flashlight, and a roll of tape.

3. Laundry Time
Come laundry day, there are all kinds of uses, particularly as a sink plug, lint roller/light dirt remover (you’re on your own for the stains, though), and clothesline (but not, alas, clothespins).


4. Drink Up

In college, one of my roommates made a cup out of duct tape. It wasn’t very stable when he put it down, but otherwise it worked surprisingly well.

But why stop there? For someone with a bit of ambition and time on his or her hands, duct tape can serve other travel needs. Like . . .


5. Lookin' Slick

How about a duct tape tie? I’m not really a dress-up guy, but it seems like every trip there’s a time when I wish I had something just a bit fancier to wear. It bet it’d look great, at least from a distance. A long distance.


6. Rest Easy (and Sticky)

Or, for the really ambitious . . .

Hostel bed not up to your standards? Stranded in the jungle? No worries--just make a duct tape hammock! (May require way more duct tape than you actually have.)