• Macau

    Yau (Yo),

    I happened to land in Macau on the way to China (which I never reached *gotta save something for next time) because they don’t require tourist visas (vs. China’s $130 kick in the pants *wallet region, that is).  All I knew before arriving was casinos and baccarat.

    Macau is fascinating.  It was historically a Portuguese colony that gained independence and is now the Vegas of Asia (gambling is illegal in China, Hong Kong, and most other countries in the region).  Of the three major gambling epicenters (Vegas, Dubai, Macau) Macau is the only one with a history (beyond explosive mafia/oasis growth out of a desert), and thus an actual culture.   The public signs and language are generally Mandarin or Cantonese but every once in a while you’ll get a Portuguese curveball that just makes you wonder.

    I’m pretty fascinated about Portugal in general: this small country that has stood it’s ground (and valuable coastline) for centuries, while sitting next to one of the historically biggest superpowers of the developing world (Spain/Spanish Armada); and on top of that, they have a giant chunk of South America (Brazil) and had established colonies in the most random places (Macao, next to dynasties of Chinese giants).  Enough history speculation…Wake up!

    The layout is a combination of an old world Portuguese skeleton with a technological, bustling, and abundant oriental life-blood.  It has beautiful Portuguese cobblestone squares connected by busy Asian streets (that go around, under, and under under), crowded markets, and dense residential alleyways.  Fascinating really.

    I was still cruising solo and spent much of my time:

    • shooting hipster photos (returning the favor for all the Asian tourists w/ cameras around their neck in the US)

    • trying to communicate and make jokes in a new language

    • stumbling upon outdoor exercise equipment and Portuguese strongholds

    • eating curry monster and drinking Milktea

    • playing Futsal in someone else’s very small shoes (one mans trash…)

    • jumping bungy

    I just pretty much explained all my photos just now so there’s no need to look at them.  Maybe next post.



    P.s. Macau Tower Bungy – I did jump the largest *commercial bungy in the world. 233 meters.  It was an incredible experience, the city was breathtaking at night, and the jump was also breathtaking itself; but I have mixed feelings about doing it alone.  To put you in my frame of mind, I had just played 3 hours of futsal and was pretty out of energy/adrenaline.  I arrived at the bungy, that I previously signed up for during the day, and they strapped me up, took some photos and said, “Ok, jump”, and I did.  The anticipation was…uneventful.  It was scary because I hadn’t seen anybody jump before me (unlike the Nevis), but it was mellow because I didn’t even have a companion or the time to psyche myself up or out or over or under or down.  I’d do it again, but with someone, someone who had a good scream or jittery hands or a wild giggle or crazy eyes.  So if you have crazy eyes, real googlie/shifty ones, lets bungy jump the Macau tower together.

    P.p.s. The word of this post is “fascinating”.  If you hadn’t noticed.

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  • Macau Tower Night Bungy

    Macau Tower Night Bungy from Tyler Elick on Vimeo.

    233 meters is 765 feet, which is about 5 seconds of free fall. It feels like 5 minutes. Night-time doesn’t make for the best photos and video; the night sky and casino lights made it well worth it.

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  • South Island, New Zealand

    Vicarious Travel Team,

    Tyler has passed on the torch this week to me (Jason) to do the writing. He’s currently engrossed in a cricket match on T.V.

    If I could sum up the south island of New Zealand in one word it would be COLD! The city we flew into, Christchurch is one of the main takeoff points for travelers headed to Antarctic. Luckily, Tyler and I planned ahead while on the North Island and wrangled a few sheep to create some fashionable woolen coats.

    My buddy Ian Calder who I met while studying abroad in Christchurch was there to meet us at the airport in the classic Kiwi dress of short rugby shorts, socks, and jandals (kiwi for Japanese sandals). Before we knew it we were on the move for the west coast for a stag-do (bachelor party in kiwi language). You might think it’d be awkward to show up at a bachelor party for some guy that you don’t even know (cause we thought the same thing), but New Zealanders are very friendly and before we knew it we were in the middle of more games than we knew what to do with: touch rugby, basketball, jailbreak, american football, circus, knee rugby, bobbing for apples, obstacle courses, and Tyler’s favorite: a game that involved chocolate, a stocking cap, dice, a fork and a knife, and a giant pair of women’s panties. {“This is a lie, knee rugby was my favorite, because team USA went undefeated for at least 8 games in a row, until we collapsed out of exhaustion. USA! USA! USA!” – T}

    Tyler and I were beginning to miss the campervan lifestyle, so we rented a campervan, this time including Ian on the deal, and headed south down to Queenstown to try to catch a large winter festival that was on that week. Queenstown is a mecca for adrenaline enthusiasts, so Tyler got to work skiing with his new friends and doing one of the largest bungy jumps in the world, The Nevis.

    Deciding that sleeping three in a small campervan was a little tight, Ian and I stuck out our thumbs and hitch hiked south to stay with another old friend at Milford Sound in the fjord lands. Not knowing how the hitching would go we wrote up our wills and said our last goodbyes to Tyler. I’m not sure if it was my or Ian’s good looks, but we made it down and back in a flash with the help of a few other friendly travelers. Milford Sound was incredible but the views were outdone by the fully stocked kitchen that we had free access to through our friend. Spending 6 hours in the kitchen our first night may have been little overboard, but we didn’t care.

    {One highlight and quick story from Tyler – I ended up meeting and staying with one of the coolest married couples in the world, the Hazledines, in Queenstown and having a complete blast. On Saturday we all went skiing and Sam and I competed in a Winterfest activity called the “Dash for Cash”; a 50m footrace followed by a Chinese Downhill ski, concluded by a 50m uphill and 50m downhill footrace. The trash talking had been consistent for the few days that lead up to this race and Sam and I decided on a side bet to top the race prize money. Our deal was if he beat me in the race, I’d have to mow their lawn (in the middle of their freezing and frosty winter), and if I beat him, he would eat some chicken (he is a hardcore vegan and dryheaves at the thought of chicken). The odds were way against Team America because the Kiwi in Kiwi (check out sam’s all green jumpsuit) was last year’s reigning champ, but I did have all the founding fathers on my side (given it was July 4th) which gave me more than enough confidence. Sam and I both got a poor start in the beginning of the race which put us in the disappointing middle of the pack. During the ski, we were able to bomb past some competitors (especially Sam who shot over 100 feet off the cat-track to the bottom portion of the course) and made some headway. On the final leg of the course, I was running directly behind sam and we were about 6th and 7th; Sam had started to give up because the prize money was well out of reach; but because I was behind him, I remembered our side bet and fully dove for the finish line to victory (over Sam). I then gloated, lit fireworks, did pullups, chanted USA, USA, USA, and rubbed in my victory as much as possible while sam ate his chicken drumstick; just as any other responsible ambassador of the United States would do in this situation. Great times}

    There are many many stories in between and after these events and we’ll let the pictures do the talking.

    Much love and adventures,

    J & T

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