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Random travel memories

Posted by Lester Madden under General, Travel

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I was just updating my Facebook “where I have been map” to reflect my latest travel.




I have been lucky enough to travel to a good number of places, even luckier that in most cases someone else has picked up the bill. The trick is to get a business trip to a part of the world you want to visit.


I got thinking about what was my favourite place in the world I have visited. It’s actually difficult to decide. What make’s a trip special is the people you travel with or the people you visit. You can be in the most exciting place in the world and have a crap time because you are on your own, or because all you see is the airport, taxi, hotel and a conference centre.


I have had some good times travelling, always with friends doing work tours around Europe. Athens I will always remember as being one of the most expensive nights of my life. I spent some great times in Copenhagen sampling the Christmas beer and hot spice Christmas wine. I remember sitting in a hotel room in France in nothing but my boxer shorts when the maid burst in completely unannounced with a bucket of dirty water, looked at me, then walking into my bathroom to empty her bucket while I sat there stunned wondering what was going on. Funny enough 2 minutes later I was still sitting there wonder what happened when the door burst open yet again. Yeap same maid with another bucket of water to empty down my toilet. After that I locked the door. (yes she did try to come back) . In Helsinki I remember being with a few work colleagues and we asked the barman what drink he recommended. He brought us a platter of vodkas. In the morning I had the worst hangover of my life. I don’t want another one of those, ever! We went for a walk to clear our heads and found the sea completely frozen over, so we walked across the harbour on the frozen ice.


Las Vegas was and is always good fun, I got my one and only speeding ticket. 105mph in a 70 zone. I was lucky when the car hit 110 the limiter kicked in and cut power until you hit 90. That only cost me $50. I went out with a girl from Vegas for a year and travelled over every 2 months for a few weeks. I had my one and only Thanks Giving meal during that time. Las Vegas is still high on my lists of places I like.


Brazil is great. I love Brazil. If I could just get past the crime part I would like to live there, a house by the beach, a few coconut and banana trees and a swimming pool would be perfect. Sydney was ok, we had trouble finding beer there. Nothing seemed to be open at night time. Friends assure me that there are loads of bars open and we were just unlucky enough not to find them.


If I have to come up with a favourite then based on how people have looked after me during my stay. Egypt was great; our representatives took us to see the Pyramids, Sphinx, museums and shopping to a local bizarre. I did feel sad when I saw the Sphinx. For thousands of years the Sphinx has gazed out over the banks of the river Nile basking in its glory, these days it over looks a Pizza hut. That’s progress for you. In 50 years it probably will be a Pizza hut.


The 2 places I always wanted to visit were the USA and Taiwan. USA because when I was growing up all the TV programs came from there. Streets of San Francisco, Hill Street Blues, Rockford files etc so it always seemed like a great place to visit. All the cars looked bigger. Taiwan because chances are when you look at a piece of electrical it will have made in Taiwan on it somewhere, and being a gadget person, even at an early age it sounded exotic.

Having just got back from Taiwan I can say it rates very highly on my list, probably as my all time favourite place, purely because of the people I met. My work colleagues would take me out drinking every night, even though they didn’t drink themselves. And in a sadistic sort of way, its fun watching non drinks polish off 4 gin and tonics.


The only downside about Taipei was the food. I struggle with prawns at the best of times, I think last week I ate more prawns than I have done in the last 35 years. I remember calling home one night and the wife asked me what I had for dinner, I said frogs legs to which she started shouting at me telling me what an animal I am. It took 5 minutes for her to calm down, turns out she heard DOGS legs. But the whole point of travelling is to try different food, so experimenting with authentic Chinese food is still better than cheese burger.


So that’s my trips up to date. Next week off to Tallinn again, I hear its snowing there and freezing cold.

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