The Always Evolving and Partially Unwritten Five-Year Plan


The more you travel, the more you witness and experience things that are different from your own “normal”. Without passing judgement on whose way is right or wrong,  bad or good, sometimes it’s enough to just stop for a moment and appreciate the bizarre for what it is – a new experience. Maybe the other guy knows something you don’t. Maybe they are just doing the best they can with what they have. Maybe the activity is downright silly no matter what country or language.  Regardless, as my father-in-law says about his time in China, “if you keep your eyes open, you will see something everyday that you’ve never seen before.”  Below are some examples and while it’s often difficult to do it justice without photos, sometimes it’s impossible to capture the moment with a camera.

  • Riding in a KL Taxi where dad is driving, but mom is the permit holder and is riding shotgun while directing the husband where to go…all while holding an infant in her lap.  Very Brittany…but at least dad wasn’t driving while holding the baby.
  • Public restrooms in Asia (squatters are even more different than “western toilets”)

    Note the placard to the left with instructions

  • Seeing a family of 3 on a moped on the highway and doing a double-take when you realize there’s actually a fourth set of legs squeezed between mom and dad. (THIS ONE WAS TRUMPED WHEN A FAMILY OF 5 WAS SPOTTED ON ONE BIKE IN BALI!). TRUMPED AGAIN IN SIEM REAP, CAMBODIA – YEP, 6 BODIES!  We met someone in Hanoi who claims to have seen 7.
  • Fresh catch for dinner – live fish, frogs, eel and turtles in Chinese street market
  • Watching a man tighten the rope down on two full-sized, heavy, wooden, office desks strapped to a motorcycle for transport, and then see him attempt to load a third desk.
  • Malaysian Ice Cream “truck” on a bike 
  • Sitting in the front row of a coach bus as the driver pulls to within 2-3 feet of a car or motorcycle who dares to be in the same lane and not accelerate…all at speeds from 45-65mph+.
  • A Kuala Lumpur DOT machine spotted just outside the international school…not sure what this does but it appears to have been doing it for a long, long time. 
  • Driving in Bali. Our local tour guide had this to say about it:  “The first rule is – there are no rules.  The bigger vehicle wins.  To get a license you just need $15 and about 15-20min then you get your picture taken at the police station.  The only way to lose your license is to lose your wallet with your ID in it!  No seat belt, texting or passing laws.  Finally, sometimes you will see nice, pretty dotted lines on the street…just for decoration” : )
  • A new form of fast food.  This mobile food stand could go anywhere the driver goes…maybe it’s healthier than American fast food:

    Fast Food...To-Go (in Ubud, Bali)

  • Construction workers while repairing a sidewalk, handling concrete pieces and large, heavy, metal sewage grates and covers…wearing flip-flops.
  • The uncanny ability of Balinese women to carry just about anything on the head…no hands!
  • Texting while driving a moped/motorcycle (and we thought driving a car while texting was risky…I’m pretty sure that second hand is even more critical on a bike).
  • Credit with a taxi driver. Here’s one I doubt I would see in the US. My cab dropped me off today and couldn’t change my 50 (fare was 6.30) because all day he received 50’s. He gave me his business card and said, “It’s okay…no problem. You pay me next time.” (UPDATE: I did find this driver again, paid the debt and made a friend. I use him as much as possible when I need a taxi. His name is Anand and he’s a great guy.)
  • Watching a guy rinse his hand in a urinal after flushing. Ewww…

2 responses

  1. Andrea

    ohhh I love the story of meeting Anand! So glad you did Dan! 🙂

    March 5, 2012 at 5:26 AM

    • jgmcrew

      I know, right? He has been a good person to know while we have been here!

      March 6, 2012 at 11:52 PM

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