Entries Tagged as 'travel & foreign lands'

Bob Sullivan's top ten everythingtravel & foreign lands

Top ten suggested wedding gifts for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

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10. Season tickets to all the home games of the Kansas City Royals

9. A box set of Prince CDs

8. An American–English dictionary

7. An athletic cup to protect the crown jewels

6. A nightie from Queen Victoria’s Secret

5. A gift certificate to Scepters R Us

4. The illusion that the Royal Family still wields some power

3. Something to read on the throne

2. A DVD copy of the 1957 Laurence Olivier–Marilyn Monroe film The Prince and the Showgirl

1. The entire United States, to be accepted on behalf of Harry’s family — we’ll even pay that stupid Tea Tax! — but only if Harry will accept it immediately, before it’s too late!

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

Bob Sullivan's top ten everythingtravel & foreign lands

Top ten signs you have a bad travel agent

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10. He asks you what the word ‘itinerary’ means.

9. He recommends insurance that names him as the beneficiary.

8. He’s skeptical that so-called “air travel” is even scientifically possible.

7. He hopes you won’t mind dropping him and his family off at the airport.

6. He insists that ‘Austria’ and ‘Australia’ are just variant spellings for the same city.

5. For the second leg of your journey, from London to Amsterdam, he’s just penciled in “Any way you can get there.”

4. He brags that the very first flight he ever booked was for Amelia Earhart.

3. The “meals included” at the Brussels hotel are just the mints on your pillow.

2. He asks where you want to go, how long you’ll be gone, where you live, and whether or not you have a home security system.

1. He’s booked you on United Airlines, and made arrangements for two sky marshals to personally drag you to your seat..

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

Bob Sullivan's top ten everythingtravel & foreign lands

Top ten signs you’ve had a bad summer

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10. The B&B you stayed at evidently stood for ‘bed’ and ‘bugs’

9. What everyone else thought was a sunburn was actually a rash

8. You got a “TRUMP 2016” facial tattoo

7. You were the only person at your resort not wearing a yellow hazmat suit

6. You lost so much blood from mosquito bites, they actually stopped biting you

5. You got kicked out of your luxury hotel because you were lying stark naked on your bed when the maid walked in…finally!

4. You caught crabs at the beach – but not the edible kind

3. You thought the summer camp you were applying to was named after the ancient Egyptian goddess Isis

2. Your eyebrows haven’t grown back since the Fourth of July

1. First name ‘Ryan’, last name ‘Lochte’

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

Bob Sullivan's top ten everythingtravel & foreign lands

Top ten signs your lifeguard is nuts

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10. He won’t give you mouth-to-mouth unless he takes you to dinner first

9. He’s declared himself “King of the Ocean” and sits atop his lifeguard tower wearing an ermine-lined cloak and holding a scepter

8. He has a tendency to throw drowning people the wrong kind of Life Saver, and prefers peppermint

7. Instead of rubbing sunblock on his nose, he uses vanilla pudding

6. He prefers sitting with his back to the ocean

5. He’ll only use his defibrillator to heat his tacos

4. He’s dating his CPR dummy

3. He’s wearing a lifeguard whistle. Period.

2. Whenever someone is drowning, he tries to run towards them in slow motion, because that’s how they run on Baywatch

1. He likes to be buried in the sand up to his neck…headfirst

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

Bob Sullivan's top ten everythingtravel & foreign lands

Top ten ways Columbus’s crew passed time on their two-month voyage

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10. Playing shuffleboard on the poop deck

9. Pooping on the shuffleboard deck

8. “Knock Knock” jokes

7. Gorging themselves at the overflowing buffet tables (hardtack only)

6. Looking for mermaids

5. Making salt water taffy

4. Sextanting each other

3. Scattergories

2. Complaining about how they don’t get Columbus Day off

1. Polishing the mast

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

Bob Sullivan's top ten everythingenvironment & nature

Top ten signs your summer camp counselor is crazy

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10. He’s always walking around the camp, wearing his tent as a poncho, and nothing else

9. During Arts & Crafts, he asks everyone to knit a sweater out of pasta

8. His Indian name is ‘Dances with Kumquats’

7. He shows you how to make a fire just using sticks, dry leaves, and a blowtorch

6. Instead of a sunscreen with a high SPF, he keeps slathering on mayonnaise

5. He claims that his favorite camp counselor is Jason Voorhees

4. Around the campfire, instead of Kumbaya, he has you singing Charlene’s I’ve Never Been To Me

3. When you’re acting up around the pool, instead of a whistle, he blows his slide trombone

2. Every five minutes, he has everyone check everyone else for ticks

1. He plans to vote for Trump

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

travel & foreign landsvirtual children by Scott Warnock

Costa Rica with the family? Do it!

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When we decided to go to Costa Rica for vacation this year, it was like learning a new word: All of a sudden, it was everywhere. Many friends, it turns out, had spent time in Costa Rica, and they all recommended it for a family trip. They were right. Our 12-day journey featured jungle treks, ziplining, superb beaches, and lots of interesting animals (including a few roommates). Here are few things we learned, some the hard way, which may help those thinking of Costa Rica for a vacation. [Read more →]

Bob Sullivan's top ten everythingtravel & foreign lands

Top ten summer camps you’ll want to avoid

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10. Camp Poison Ivy

9. The Chris Christie Weight Loss Camp

8. Future Astronomers’ Day Camp

7. Camp Damp

6. Bill Cosby’s Sleepaway Camp

5. Scientology Induction Camp

4. Camp Trauma

3. The RuPaul Camp for Camp Campers

2. Jason Voorhees Summer Camp

1. Camp ISIS

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

Bob Sullivan's top ten everythingtravel & foreign lands

Top ten baby gifts for Her Royal Highness Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana of Cambridge

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10. A Princess phone

9. A pound of Imperial margarine

8. A crib with a moat and turrets

7. A Hello Kitty scepter

6. A mattress with no pea under it

5. A year’s supply of Royal Crown Cola

4. A throne-shaped potty

3. A can of dragon repellant

2. A silver knife and fork, to go with the spoon in her mouth that she was born with

1. A frog to kiss

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

Bob Sullivan's top ten everythingtravel & foreign lands

Top ten signs you had a bad summer

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10. The only ‘action’ you got all summer was inadvertent, and on a crowded moving subway car

9. All your dreams of an early retirement only served to prove you can’t always trust a Nigerian prince

8. You’re the Commissioner of the National Football League

7. You got confused, and thought it was now perfectly legal to smoke recreational marijuana in Washington, the city

6. That giant mouse you saw wasn’t at Disneyland

5. The Mid-East hotel you stayed in had a lower Michelin rating than Abu Ghraib

4. You got in trouble because you were lying naked on your hotel bed when the maid walked in…finally!

3. Your sunburn was so red, cars stopped at you and waited for you to change

2. Your Carnival Cruise cruise made the news

1. At the company picnic, you really ticked off the boss by drinking too much beer and then peeing in the swimming pool — from the diving board

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

Bob Sullivan's top ten everythingtravel & foreign lands

Top ten reasons the Putins got divorced

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10. They were married for 30 years. Enough is enough!

9. Mrs. Putin was hoping, in the divorce settlement, she’d get half of Russia.

8. Edward Snowden leaked some photos of Vladimir in flagrante delicto with Russia gymnast Alina Kabaeva.

7. Vladimir was always ragging on Mrs. Putin for calling it “the Ukraine”.

6. During the Sochi Olympics, Vladimir finally realized how much he enjoys looking at Men’s Singles Figure Skaters.

5. Vladimir has been too upset to devote time to his marriage; in the last election, he only got 100% of the vote.

4. In Russia, you don’t enter into divorce; divorce enter into you. (What a country!)

3. Too much vodka.

2. Vladimir has seen so many shirtless photographs of himself, he finally decided that his body was the only one he needed.

1. Mrs. Putin caught Vladimir invading Georgia.

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

animalsends & odd

A passage through India

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I landed in New Delhi, inhaled, and immediately liked India. [Read more →]

travel & foreign landstrusted media & news

A very expensive fungus

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The other day I read that some Russian oligarch or other had paid $95,000 to a restaurateur in New York for a bit of fungus. Well, a fool and his money, as they say.

Alright, it wasn’t just any old bit of fungus. Apparently it was a “white alba truffle” – a special fungus that is quite difficult to find. And you can eat it. Meanwhile, this bit of fungus weighed about 4lb so it was quite heavy, for a fungus. According to Nello Balan, the man who says he sold the oligarch the fungus, it was the biggest such bit of fungus in the history of fungi, or something.

So there you go: Clearly this bit of fungus was [Read more →]

books & writingtravel & foreign lands

Vasily Grossman: from Stalingrad to toilet trouble

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In 1998 I stumbled upon a Russian novel called “Life and Fate.” I was surprised because I had never heard of it or its author Vasily Grossman, yet by its size, Tolstoy-echoing title and subject matter (the book was about Stalingrad) it was obviously supposed to be important.

I bought it and was soon drawn into Grossman’s world; I remember standing on crowded trams, unable to put down this imposing brick of a book. “Life and Fate” was excellent, a profound meditation on war, Stalin, and much else – and yet it was also totally obscure. This was bizarre. Was I wrong? Was it actually rubbish? [Read more →]
travel & foreign landstrusted media & news

Why do Russians hate Texas so much?

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Feodor Dostoevsky- there’s a town named after him in Texas- allegedly.

Recently I read that the population of people speaking Russian at home in the United States has quadrupled over the last thee decades. According to the US Census office, Russians – or rather Russian speakers – are now almost 1 million strong. That’s a lot of post-Soviet immigrants. And yet it seems there is at least one area in America that Russian speakers would rather avoid: my adopted state of Texas. [Read more →]

Bob Sullivan's top ten everythingtravel & foreign lands

Top ten signs you’re having a bad summer

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10. You’ve lost so much blood from mosquito bites, they’ve stopped biting you

9. Your neighborhood swimming pool has banned you, because of your weak bladder

8. The B&B you’re staying at evidently stands for ‘bed’ and ‘bugs’

7. Due to hard-of-hearing travel agent, instead of Cancun you wound up in Kabul

6. You caught crabs at the beach – but not the edible kind

5. You have no idea who Carlos is, but you woke up with his name tattooed on your upper arm

4. Your hair hasn’t grown back since that Fourth of July incident

3. Because of too much sun, your face is redder than the Disney executive who greenlighted The Lone Ranger

2. The lemonade stand you frequent was just raided by the Board of Health

1. First name ‘Paula’, last name ‘Deen’

Bob Sullivan’s Top Ten Everything appears every Monday.

travel & foreign landstrusted media & news

When kings go incognito

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One of my favorite story motifs is of the king who travels incognito to learn what is really happening in his land. This idea shows up not only in folktales and fictions, but also in reality: Caliph Harun al-Rashid did it in 8th-century Iraq, while Turkmenbashi, the deceased leader of Turkmenistan, did it in his days as Soviet boss of that desert land. King Abdullah of Jordan also disguised himself and walked among his people shortly after he came to the throne.

But it’s not only Eastern potentates who like to walk among mortals on occasion. This week we can add to the list of incognito leaders a man I had never heard of until [Read more →]
books & writingtravel & foreign lands

Kim Jong-un declares admiration for Hitler: what could possibly go wrong?

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The bookstore is that way.”

The North Korean dissident website New Focus International carried an interesting story on Monday. According to insiders, Kim Jong-un is getting into Hitler. In fact, the tubby tyrant digs the Nazi dictator so much that he’s started gifting copies of “Mein Kampf” to his inner circle. Having emulated Stalin for decades, it’s time for the regime to embrace a new villain.

At first glance, this is perplexing. What is there in “Mein Kampf” that has any relevance for the people of the “Hermit Kingdom”? Undoubtedly, Der Führer would have viewed the decidedly non-Aryan Kim as [Read more →]
ends & oddphotography

Glimpses of Syria 2009

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In the fall of 2009 I traveled to Jordan and Syria with a group organized by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.  Since the outbreak of Syria’s civil war, which to date has killed some 93,000 people, I’ve often thought back to the peaceful country I visited just a year and a half earlier.  I found a  landscape of green hills, desert and sea that in some ways resembles Oregon, cities full of friendly people and intriguing souks, and everywhere wonderful smells of fruit, spices, and flowers.  I think back on those scents and they return to me as an emblem of Syria’s beauty and a prayer for peace.  Here are a few photographs of my trip.

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art & entertainmenttravel & foreign lands

The curious Russian afterlife of Steven Seagal

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Judo expert and morbidly obese Hollywood Z-lister open martial arts center in Moscow

Long, long ago – for about 15 minutes – Steven Seagal was a big deal in Hollywood. His movie “Under Siege” made a lot of money. But that was pretty much it. Next came a string of big-budget flops followed by a lengthy and ongoing twilight spent in straight-to-video purgatory.

As for me, I don’t think I’ve ever made it all the way through a Seagal film. His stiff, tubby frame, extreme humorlessness and mystic posturing make it impossible for me to suspend disbelief. Here in the US he serves as a punch line, part of the flotsam and jetsam of trash culture. Steven Seagal – that’s the washed up ‘90s action movie guy who peddles an aftershave lotion named [Read more →]
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