By Colin McFadden

Like Bowie in the 1980s

This post is part of a series called Japan 2019 (The hanging out in Tokyo bit, not the unfortunate pants) Tokyo is so completely overwhelming, it almost doesn’t make sense to try to tick off agenda items.  It feels utterly insurmountable.  Throw a three-year-old into the mix and things are fully off the rails.  Rather…

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By Colin McFadden

Surprise!

This post is part of a series called Japan 2019 Our last day in Kyoto, and the day of the surprise!  We gave the 24 hour noodle place next door to our hotel a try for breakfast – a classic U-shaped cafe with a basic cheap breakfast for folks on their way to work.  Then…

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By Colin McFadden

Bit of a Boar

This post is part of a series called Japan 2019 After failing at dinner last night, there was a bit of traveler pride at stake for breakfast this morning.  Luckily, some internet research came through, and we ended up at Lorimer, a Kyoto branch of a Brooklyn restaurant, doing breakfast and lunch.  We had a mind-bogglingly…

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By Colin McFadden

Catching The Vapors

This post is part of a series called Japan 2019 Roughly a year ago, our friend Rebecca said “I’m planning a surprise trip to Japan for Mike’s 40th birthday: you want in?” Well, yeah.  Of course we want in. So, we’re in Japan.  This post is going up on a delay, because the surprise has…

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By Colin McFadden

Why Should I Visit Almaty?

You should visit Almaty because it’s a friendly, charming gateway to an entire part of the planet you probably haven’t considered.  Chances are pretty good you can’t point to Kazakhstan on a map.  And if you know anything about its history, you’re probably thinking “bleak, former Soviet petro-state” or “just one of the ‘stans”.  And…

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By Colin McFadden

M-m-m-my Charyn-a

This post is part of a series called Kazakhstan 2019 Our time in Almaty is coming to a close.  We used our final week to knock out a few destinations we hadn’t yet visited, and did some “greatest hits” eating and adventuring.  We made one last trip to Kok Tobe for sunset, ate at Luckee…

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By Colin McFadden

A nice day to start again

This post is part of a series called Kazakhstan 2019 Our six weeks in Almaty are flying by. We knew we wanted to get out of the city to learn more about life in the rest of Kazakhstan, and when one of the KazNU students, Zhan, invited us to visit his family in the historic…

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By Colin McFadden

At Home in Almaty

This post is part of a series called Kazakhstan 2019 Prior to our trip to Turkestan (the next post), we had a perfectly domestic week in Almaty. We made plenty of trips to the bakery, vegetable store and coffee shop, and explored the city.  Kat enjoyed another morning at the Botanic Gardens, this time with…

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By Colin McFadden

Almaty to Turkestan, by air

This post is part of a series called Kazakhstan 2019 Much of the information online about getting from Almaty to Turkestan is vague or unhelpful.  The cheapest and easiest ways to make the trek are by bus or train, but in either case you’re looking at somewhere between 13 and 20 hours of travel.  If…

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By Colin McFadden

You know what goes well with meat? Meat.

This post is part of a series called Kazakhstan 2019 Having New Years during the darkest, gloomiest part of the year doesn’t make a lot of sense does it?  “Happy New Year! Now, go back to sulking and reading Scandinavian murder fiction.”  Having New Years on the Spring equinox, when the daylight is returning and…

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By Colin McFadden

Gonzo for Gondolas

This post is part of a series called Kazakhstan 2019 We’ve been in Almaty for two weeks now.  Just about everyone who’s asked us what we’ve been up to has expressed shock and dismay that we hadn’t yet been to the mountains.  Yesterday we righted that wrong. Before we get to that though, there are…

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By Colin McFadden

Buying and filling an Onay Bus card in Almaty

This post is part of a series called Kazakhstan 2019 Almaty has an extensive transit network.  In particular, the busses are affordable and easy, especially with the help of apps like Almaty Bus and WikiRoutes.  While you can pay on board, an “Onay” transit card is a lot more affordable and easy.  Getting them can…

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By Colin McFadden

Visiting the Candy Factory

This post is part of a series called Kazakhstan 2019 We’re wrapping up our first week in Almaty.  We’re pretty settled and comfortable, and it’s feeling like home.  We haven’t done any major tourist excursions or activities yet – our days have mostly involved working, teaching, and walking around the neighborhood to get the lay…

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By Colin McFadden

Settling in

This post is part of a series called Kazakhstan 2019 We’re about 36 hours into our stay in Almaty, but it’s already becoming familiar and friendly.  We were met at the airport by a PhD student from the University, along with his sister.  They dropped us at the “House of Young Scholars”, a dorm for…

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By Colin McFadden

Traveling with Tony

Yesterday, Anthony Bourdain decided to peace out on 2018.  I’m still coming to terms with that. Bourdain was such an important influence on my life, and is essentially the reason for this site.  I’ve lost idols before – Bowie, Steve – but idols exist on a different plane.  You don’t go through your days thinking…

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