The Clips and Trips blog was put together in preparation for our leaving the U.S. on an indefinite world travel adventure which started around August of 2009 and returned us home in December of 2012. If you want to see where it all began, read our mission statement from before we left.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast, Australia

Australia’s Gold Coast

Our first Australian destination is the Gold Coast – the region located midway up the vast east coast of the country. The popular tourist destination known as Surfer’s Paradise is our starting point.

We spent our first week just north of Surfer’s in an area called Biggera Waters, which is a labyrinth of islands, canals, waterways, and a harbor built behind a spit. We rented a room from a group of musical creative friends who really knew how to live, and we really enjoyed getting to know them.

The coast line around here reminds me a lot of the southern California coast, cities, and beaches. The big difference is its scale. Australia’s east coast is enormous and there is plenty of space between towns. Populations are small so people have lots of space to breathe with no traffic to speak of.

The Australians sure know how to eat. Coming off of Asia where we’ve been used to much more modest portions, the difference is noticeable. And everyone is rather large as well. Usually fit, but large. We’ve taken to calling the older men, tube-steaks, because they are barrel shaped and tightly packed.

We find the Australians to be so outspoken and outgoing. Their accent alone sounds so elongated and expressive, and they speak to anyone with great enthusiasm. They also abbreviate all their words and names with cute sounding endings – sunnys (sunglasses), swimmies (bathing suits), pokies (poker tables), Fishies (Fisherman’s Warf).

Our next two weeks are being spent on the Island of Capri, located just behind Surfer’s Paradise. This allows us easy five minute walks to surfing beaches and fun beachy nightlife.

Vanilla / Cinnamon / Honey / Mint / Blueberries / Strawberries
Thanks to Rachelle, our housemate, for some delicious home crafted treats.

Roasted chicken / Pumpkin / Peas / Cheesy Baked Scalloped Potatoes

I give skim-boarding instructions to German tourists, so they can improve their fitness.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Pam and I have left Taiwan! I have been accepted into a Masters program in London and Pam has acquired a full resident work visa (which was no easy task) and will be looking for an elementary school teaching position. We'll arrive in London mid January. Between now and then we'll be in Australia for their summer -- warming up as much as we can before entering into London's winter.

On our way to Australia we have stopped for a short visit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. We found the food to be fantastic and the city diverse and beautiful. I was pleased to see so much forestry remaining throughout such a big modern city. Right in the center we hiked a hill trail that led to a giant observation tower.

There is so much Indian culture present in Kuala Lumpur which commands your attention via bright colors and pleasing smells of religious incense. We tasted some of the most delicious and unusual Indian food we’ve had. Our favorite meal was served on banana leaves with three different kinds of vegetables and a monster pile of white rice. I noticed the server portion according to how much he thought you could eat. Of course he'd be happy to bring out more if needed. We ordered two types of curried chicken, a tin of chutney was available to pour over your rice, and all of the goopy goodness was intended to be eaten with your fingers. We LOVE pulled masala tea. It tastes like Christmas. Much like Bangkok, or even more so, there was a strong contrast between wealth and poverty. Some of the modern buildings were spectacular up close in person.

Seafood in Taipei Taiwan

During the end of our stay in Taipei we got really into eating the fresh seafood. We discovered this place and ate there almost daily. You just point to what you want on ice or in the aquarium and they’ll serve it up in one of a variety of ways. Our hot repeats were a beautiful Kung Pao Chicken (or so we called it), sautéed sweet potato leaves (pronounced something like Tea-Gua-Yeah), whole fish in a sweet ginger sauce, and stir-fried clams.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Tokyo, Japan

We spent fourteen days dedicated to a thorough exploration of Tokyo and its many neighborhoods. Here is a partial list of areas we visited:


The most important thing I can say about our stay in Tokyo, is that if you like being approached by and talking with strangers, then this is the place for you. More than anywhere else in Asia we've been, people go far out of their way to extend a warm hand of friendship, inquisitiveness, or a genuine offer of assistance. It is not uncommon for the Japanese to take part in home-stays, often in the U.S., Australia, Canada, and Europe. Most had fond memories of their experiences abroad and wished to take the opportunity to return a gesture of warm welcome to us.

Pam is shown how to make an origami chop stick holder and I sing karaoke. On Friday and Saturday evenings, we often saw couples on dates wearing traditional kimonos.

We were there during lotus blossom season. Ueno has a beautiful big park in the center of the district with a vast marsh of lotus pads and flowers.

Pam with her friend Maiko, taking us out to dinner.

We frequented izakayas, which are like traditional Japanese tapas bars. Many friendly people show up after work for some drinks and snacks. You'll be served things like yakitori sticks of beef/chicken/pork, grilled or fried whole fish, sashimi, fried squid balls, potato salad, croquettes, and many other delicious tasties.

This man treated us to his favorite beef dish, and reminisced about his time spent in the U.S. He stressed the importance of doing home stays, and how it's essential to immerse yourself into a culture when traveling.

We sat in a park drinking mango mojitos watching kids cooling off in the heat of the summer night by running around under a water laser light show.

We happened upon a traditional wedding at a shrine.

Trains and subways are clean and not always jam packed like you see on youtube.