Broken promises

I know I promised one last blog, once we got home and settled in, but the busy-ness of things, got the better of me.  I’ll have to work on that.  But for now, let’s just put a fork in this one.

The flights home were uneventful, with the exception of the best First Class Service we’ve had on any flight.  ANA did a fantastic job, we were treated like Royalty and I can honestly say that I wish the flight was longer.

We’re missing Rudy already and can’t wait for him to find some time to come home for a few weeks.  Maddie is back in NYC, knee deep in her dream job and the Doodles have been transformed into such great little ladies.  All without loosing that beautiful spirit they possess.  I was really worried about them losing their mischievous little ways.  That puppy wonder and cuteness.  But nope.  They still get into trouble.  Only now,  they’re much more well behaved when they do it.  That’s all I wanted.

No big plans on the books yet for 2018.  Just a couple little RV camping trips.  I’ll drop a note here and there, as feel inspired.  So check back for updates whenever the mood strikes you.  Until then, smile at a stranger.


She’s a baaad girl

“Hurry up and get in before she comes back.  Let’s go! Let’s go!”  Laura said as she whisked us into the taxi while the morning rain gently fell upon us.  The hotel reception agent had barely turned to walk away, telling us to stay there until she returned, when Laura saw her opportunity and pounced.  Like a lioness to her cub,  Laura was certain to protect her wallet and there was no way that those little Sheraton execs where going to suckle any longer.  Bonnie and Clyde rolled over in their graves this morning.  A new bad girl had been born and her name is Laura Geist.

Well, thats how it played out in my head.  We checked out a day early from the Sheraton, to head down closer to Rudy and the airport for our last night, at the Hilton.  This morning we settled up our bill, rooms service, bar tabs, etc. and headed to our awaiting taxi.  Just when the gal started running out to catch us.  Muttering something about 1 more night and our non-refundable reservation.  Bottom line was they wanted us to pay for the last night, that we were not using, at a price of about $350.  Yeah, right.  Are there extradition laws between Japan and the US?

A couple of nights ago, we took Rudy out for a nice dinner at a local steakhouse.  I’ve always wanted to try authentic Japanese Black Wagyu beef, grade A5.  At home, it’s very easy to get the Australian knock-off Kobe beef, but if you want the real deal, it will cost you about $100 per pound.  Well, $400 later and the three of us sat in 1000% complete satisfaction of the beef we had just consumed.  Each of us declared it was the best we’ve ever had.  It was pure silk on the tongue.  We’ve already found where to order it (back home), so if you bring the fine wine, I’ll treat you to something close to perfection.

So it’s our last night on the road.  Tomorrow we’ll wake up, Rudy will meet us for b-fast and drop us at the airport.  He’s got 1 more year here at Kadena and if anyone needs a little vacation, I know that he would love the visit.  It’s a very pretty island with plenty of things to do and see.  The summers do get sticky but the mild winters (think San Diego), can be a little cloudy.  So pick your favorite weather and dress accordingly.  I’ll hook ya’ll up with another post before we shut this down for a while, so check back soon.  Same Bat Time, same Bat Station.


For him

For Her

(found something to fill that “void” area in our living room 😎)





Drum roll please….

Ladies and Gentleman……. Mr. Rudy Geist

And now, sans Maddie.

Hanging out with Rudy and his homies, at their favorite local bar, The Last Chance.

This was a fun night.  We started off with a very late lunch at Chili’s (when in Rome right?), then the latest Star Wars movie before a few drinks with America’s finest Airmen.  And I’ve got to say, this bar was just right.  Good vibe, very chill, great music and people.

So, funny side story.  Laura and I set up camp at the end of the bar, ordered a couple drinks and tried not to be the “old people” as we watched Rudy and his friends.  Before too long (and 1 by 1), the “kids” started to come by, say hello and otherwise pay their respects to the OG.  The manager was playing Russian Roulette with the music and after nobody there could name the songs, they turned to me.  Of course I could name every song they were playing, within seconds, so evolution took over.  Betting 😏

Now, I’m not much of a gambler (🤑🤑🤑).  OK, whatever.  So I gamble.  Anyway, it became a night of “Name that song”.  Let me bottom-line this for you.  These kids make $450 per week.  PER WEEK!  And I don’t.  So after they racked up a couple of rounds of debt (since I know almost every respectable song for the last 2 generations), they cried Uncle and I absolved them of their sins.  Drinks are always on me.  Y Not?

A great night sleep later and we’re off to the famous Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium.  This is a very large, very busy and very awesome aquarium.

Just a couple extra random shots of nothing.  Including Laura getting some of that Lawson egg salad sandi and some Red Chix Nuggies 😻


Wax on, wax off

Okinawa.  Home of Mr. Miyagi, Anthony Bourdain’s favorite egg salad sandwich and of course, Rudy Geist.  Even Meatloaf would agree, 2 out of 3 ain’t bad (R.I.P. Pat Morita).

Rudy’s work hours are a little difficult right now.  He has to work from 5am to 5pm, 4 days a week.  Since we arrived on Wednesday, we’ve only been able to spend a couple of hours with him.  But he just got off work for the weekend and is here in the hotel room with us for the next couple days.  So excuse me for the lack of Rudy in the pix below.  We’ll try to capture the Yeti on film this weekend, for your viewing pleasure.

Until then, the girls and I have been eating and shopping our way through town (no surprise there).  The town doesn’t have a lot of items we need or have never-seen-before or must-haves.  So it’s just a lot of random walking around, trying to get-in our 10,000 steps.  But they do have their own version of Home Depot, so we decided to get Rudy and his room organized.  (Yes he still lives like a teenager).  You’d be surprised what $100 worth of storage solutions and Febreze looks like.  It’s more than could fit in his car, almost.

Tomorrow, we’ll see Maddie off, as she’s headed back to NYC.  The fashion world is calling and her 200+ emails can’t wait any longer.  She’s got a lot of prep work to do before heading to Paris for Fashion Week.  We’re tremendously proud of both her and Rudy.  Having found careers at their age, is all we could ever ask for.  That and good health.  Life isn’t perfect, nor should it be.  But having two kids on the right path is close enough for us.

Oh, I found some Stone DIPA to drink while I write this 🤪.  Lucky me.

And my favorite Miyagism:

“Either you karate do “yes” or karate do “no.” You karate do “guess so,” (get squished) just like grape.” – Mr. Miyagi 
Quote significance: If you ‘re going to do it, do it to the fullest or don’t do it at all. Put full effort on everything you do.



Baby come back

So I’m watching a Morgan Freeman movie last night (yeah we’ve got blazing fast wifi and Netflix 😜) and I started thinking about how you “read” people’s voices.  For example, if I’m reading something that Morgan Freeman is saying, my mind “reads” it in his voice.  Try it, you’ll see.    Which got me to thinking, when you read these blogs, do you read them in my voice, or your own?  Hey, did you know that Hong Kong has the most skyscrapers of any city on the world?  Although my cranium contains a vast array of useless facts, I must give credit to Uber for that little tidbit.

New Year’s Eve was pretty insane.  The crowds of people out that night, were the largest I’ve seen/been in.  We started the evening thinking we would just wander our way around a 1 mile radius of our hotel.  Find a bar, maybe some dinner, and keep things on the down-low.  At least that’s how it started.  Eventually, we found ourselves down on the harbour, with a million other people.  I’m not exaggerating.  The NYE celebration in HK is one of the largest in the world and it was nuts-to-butts down there.  By 10:30pm, it was so choked, we decided to start back towards our hotel.  By about 11:30, we found a bar, a couple of barstools and some cocktails.  Across the street was another bar with a 70” tv, broadcasting the festivities and fireworks.  We got to see and hear it all, from the comfort of a scotch glass 🥃.  Happy New Year!

The city itself (and the Kowloon side), are way too big to been seen in the 3 days we had.  So we stuck with what we know best, food and shopping.  There are more choices than we could decide on and every choice we made was a good one.  Which only leads me to believe that there aren’t very many bad choices in HK.  But our favorite was a rocking little shop in Soho that Maddie found, called Little Bao.  If you read back to my blog about Hudson’s Burgers in Coeur d’Alene, or if you have been to Huddies, you’ll understand when I tell you, this place is the Huddies of the East.  Tiny, packed, line around the corner, fast, cheap, delicious eats, hip vibe and a downright awesome experience.

Their signature dish is the pork belly burger, served on a grilled steam bun, with a fresh slaw topping.  I’d bore you with the foodie details, but let’s just say DAMN!  Their truffle fries with shiitake mushrooms was off the hook too.  Oh, and the little caramel dessert ice cream sandi.  Oh and Laura’s fried chicken burger.  I think you get the point.  We all agreed that this was our favorite meal (thus far) on the entire trip.

I read that of the 6+ million residents of the greater HK area, about 200,000 or so are Westerners.  We had encountered so many, that I think that number is too low.  It seems everywhere we turned, there were Euro and American business-persons and families, living here.  And there is also a great dog population.  Up until this point, we had not seen any domestic animals, but the peeps here love their fidos.  For companionship. (I know what you were thinking).

  • Hope you like steps and walking.  The streets of HK are nothing but hills.  Great for exercise, not so great for heels.
  • Taxi’s, cars and buses won’t wait for you to move.  Cross the road quickly and with great caution.
  • Some Uber cars we saw included Tesla’s, Porchse and Maserati.
  • English is widely spoken and on almost all of the signs and menus you’ll read.
  • There is no tipping, but all of your restaurants and bars will add a 10% service charge.
  • The city feels and lives, much smaller than it looks.
  • This is another “come back” city for us, so if you’re ever in the mood to get outside of your comfort zone, give us a call.  We’d love to join ya.

Thus far

The rambling thoughts of a simpleton mind.


Korean drivers take much greater pride in their craft.  Gloves, suits, clean and aromatic vehicles.  Always aware of their surroundings, directions and destination.  The path of travel is well thought out in advance and taken with complete consideration for the passenger, other vehicles and traffic situations.  They have a fairly accurate internal compass and sense of direction.  We took 2 airport buses and 5 Ubers, all of which I gave a 5 star rating to.

Chinese drivers, not so much.  For starters, bathing on a regular basis is optional.   Same with proper dental hygiene, attire and staying in your lane.  Farting in the cars should be expected and (if enough rides have been taken) graded on a scale from; Do you smell something? -to- How long can you hold your breath?  Of the 2 private airport cars and 2 taxis taken around Shanghai, I think the highest rating I could award would be 2 stars and a “what crawled up your butt and died?”

In both countries, the general concept of reaching your final destination is the goal, but the manner in which that goal is obtained, differs greatly.  While neither countries have much concern with road rage, they do have an unspoken way about how they change lanes and navigate turns and off ramps.  Nobody seems to get bothered with cutting-off or being cut-off.  They all obey traffic signals and speed limits, as if they could be arrest for not.  But the lane markers are merely suggestions, when other traffic isn’t present as a buffer.


There are two sides of the river that separate Shanghai.  One side is the Financial District and the other side is what I call “Old Shanghai”.  In the FD, the dining options are limited to nice restaurants, most of which suggest reservations.  Prices tend to be higher, $$$-$$$$.  On the other side, street vendors, hip bars and a great variety of restaurants are available.  Costs range from $ all the way to $$$$.  But there really isn’t anything or any cuisine that identified itself as “Shanghai” food.

In Seoul, there is food everywhere.  And I mean EVERYWHERE.  It’s a culinary adventure and I’m Indiana Jones.  Seafood and Pork are the 2 staples here.  BBQ is the #1 way of preparing it and they love spicy.  Seoul has a food pulse and it’s racing.

The Work Ethic:

The Koreans we met, spoke with, encountered and employed, were all very professional and concerned with their work.  Only once or twice did I ever feel that someone didn’t like us or didn’t want to serve us.  And in both cases, they were younger people (20ish).  The older generation takes great pride in what they do.  It didn’t matter if they were drivers, trash men, waitresses, ticket takers or street hawkers.  They were honored to be doing what they were doing and it showed.

On the other side of the China Sea, they’re a lot less concerned about their reputation and the level of service provided.  Albeit, the hotels were top notch (as they should be).  And we received very decent service in most places.  But it felt more like American service, when buying or ordering or asking questions.  I’m not saying everybody gave off attitude, I’m just saying it felt so normal to us, that sometimes you’d forget you were in China.  I just thought I was at a mall in Irvine.

Items of Note:

  • Google, Facebook, Instagram and any companies related to them, are GREATLY restricted.  You can jump on Yahoo and search for anything, with results returned in seconds.  Want news from America?  Piece of cake. You Tube?  You got it.  But try to search the same thing on the Google machine, and it will take you nearly 5 minutes.  You like Twitter?  No problem.  Facebook?  Got another 5 minutes to wait/waste?  It didn’t matter if you were on wifi or just using you own data plan, those sites were highly “discouraged”.
  • Coffee is the number 1 drink on the streets of Seoul.  I was expecting tea to be king, but not anymore.  Coffee and coffee roasting is a huge hit.
  • Smoking is very rare to see in both places.  They have gone to great lengths to discourage public smoking.  Parks, streets and other public areas have designated smoking areas, but you’ll still find a million cigarette butts on the ground.
  • Smog, non-existent in Seoul and no worse than LA, in Shanghai.
  • The martini olives in Seoul, have pits in them.
  • When given a choice between “beef” soup and “vegetable” soup, know that the later contains pork (sorry Maddie).
  • Dim Sum is an art.
  • Both Countries are masters of lighting.
  • The Chinese can expel phlegm with hurricane force.  Or as Maddie put it, “they really go for it”.
  • Koreans will hand money to you with two hands and bow slightly.
  • Paper table napkins are smaller and thinner than Kleenex.
  • The craft beer movement has finally emerged here, but their IPA’s are East Coast style with very mellow hop flavoring.
  • Personal space.  What’s that?

Ohh, just looked out the window.  Victoria Harbour and Hong Kong.  This looks fun…

And I love Paris

Shanghai is my Paris.  I’m drawn to the architecture, the lights, the grand scale of everything, perfectly placed within a postage stamp piece of land.  There are large buildings all around the world, but these are larger than life. It’s hard to explain how a 50 story building in Seoul or LA, seem to be dwarfed by the magnitude of a 50 story building here.  I can only equate it to a football player.  I may be the same height as Antonio Gates, but we’re not the same size.  Does that make sense?

Today we visited the 2nd tallest building in the world, the Shanghai Tower.  Last time I was here, it was under construction and the Shanghai World Financial Tower was the big dog.  Not anymore.  The new Tower literally towers above the old WFC.  It’s an amazing feet of human engineering, vision and determination.

We walked over 10 miles today, all around the financial district and the Bund. The weather was in the mid 50’s and cloudy.  But a nice change from the sub-30˚’s in Seoul.  Laura and I later found ourselves at this cozy little bar, playing Yahtzee, eating dim sum and enjoying some classic blues from Taj Mahal.  I ❤️ Taj Mahal.  Who knew the Chinese did too?

Also, I would be remised if I didn’t inform everybody that Laura gave me a good old fashioned ass-whoopin today with her 2 Yahtzee’s.  (Yes Dear, you’re the best Yahtzee player in Asia).

Tonight, Maddie booked a wonderful dinner (about three months ago) at an Italian place called Mercato.  Gotta say, it was pretty darn good.  And we had the best table with the most beautiful views of Shanghai.   During a  short after-dinner walk, we just staggered around in awe of the beauty of this city.  Their knowledge of exterior illumination, puts Vegas to shame.  You just can’t take your eyes off of it.

On a side note, we rolled the dice and came into China without a visa.  They now have a policy where you can stay up to 144 hours, visa free (72 hours in Beijing).  All you do is show proof that you have a place to stay and a confirmed flight out.  Then bam, they let you in.  Unless that is, if your name is Madison Geist.  Guess who got pulled into secondary?  Yup.  It seems that she does not look like her passport photo.  All I could think of was that movie, Midnight Express (sorry Maddie 😂).

Well, being an expert now (at being pulled into secondary), I wasn’t concerned a bit.  I figured, since I didn’t bring a gun this time, we were OK, right?  The Chinese Immigration Officials were actually pretty cool about it all and very helpful.  It’s not the same Cold-War China that our parents grew up with.  As a matter of fact, we’ve never once felt threatened or endangered or unsafe (in any manner), at any time during our trip.   It’s all been pretty benign.




26 and Counting

So what is the proper gift for the 26th wedding anniversary?  Duh!  A brass MasterLock.  Right?  Well that’s my story and I’m sticking with it.

I brought the ladies to one of my favorite spots in Seoul, the North Seoul Tower.  We took the quick cable car up to the top and Laura and I placed our love-lock on the fence (next to the million others).   I even had it engraved, so time will never fade it, even after we’re long gone.  We had done a similar love-lock in the town of Love Lock, NV, a few years ago.  We’ve been back once since and found that our lock (which had been written on with a permanent marker), was not so permanent.  So a little touch-up was in order.

We hired an Uber driver for the day, found some good grub, paid a visit to the Museum of Contemporary and Modern Art, toured the Gyeongbokgung Palace then readied ourselves for a beautiful diner at the JW Marriot.

So long Seoul, you’re a beautiful city.  Until next time.


Baby it’s cold outside

Day 1; raining and cold.  Not miserable, but just damp enough to make you want a really good bowl of soup.  None of us brought umbrellas, but we’ve got 3 new ones now.  The forecast called for rain on day two also, but guess what?  Sunshine on my shoulders…  for the rest of our time here in Seoul.  It’s like the opposite of washing your car.  We bought umbrellas and that guaranteed the sun would shine.  It’s beautiful out.  But with that, the temps dropped at least 10 degrees colder today and another 5 tomorrow.

I have become quite the baby, when it comes to the cold.  My blood has thinned and I find myself wearing three layers of clothes.  I knew it would be cold here, but it’s difficult packing for 3 separate climate zones, just for the one trip.  Seoul is “dead-of winter”.  China will be much like San Diego and Okinawa will be like a cool Hawaii.  Not complaining, just explaining.

It’s been real easy getting our 10,000+ steps per day.  Seoul is a very good walking town.  It’s mostly flat in town, with some mild hills and there’s always something to look at.  And the shopping…….  All this shopping is making me hungry.  And the food…..  All this food is making me fat.  And the walking….  (It’s a vicious cycle).

We’ve spent the past few days eating Bibimbap, Korean BBQ, Vegan Monk, Italian, Irish Bar fare and of course Street Food.  It’s all been pretty darn good.  There are so many restaurants here.  You just look for the ones with the longest lines or, in my case, the best reviews on Trip Advisor.  With an open mind, you really can’t go wrong.

Christmas here is a pleasant surprise.  You wouldn’t expect to see it celebrated so highly, in a predominantly Buddhist Country.  But Maddie did a little research and found that about 30% of the County is Christian (or some faucet thereof).  So they really get into the sprint of the holiday.  And I gotta tell ya, they do a really good job of it.

Today is our 26th wedding anniversary, so I have a little something special planned for Laura.  I’ll post those pix tomorrow.  Until then, my official photographer (Madison), took these shots for your viewing pleasure.