Archive for the ‘USA’ Category

NSAA quick note to let people know the Sri Lankan telephone number I will be contactable on for the next couple of weeks. It is +94 7661 53359

I am sure that while I have been away this year I will have collected more telephone numbers than Edward Snowden and the NSA!

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Bruce LeeBruce Lee was a Hong Kong American who is fairly credited with helping to change the way Asians were presented in American films, because his films and TV characters were one of the first to bridge the gap between the east and the west.

Although his training was in the Wing Chun style of Kung Fu he felt it was too restrictive and went on to develop his own martial art called Jeet Kune Do, which can be seen as a forerunner of the various types of Mixed Martial Arts that have exploded all over the world in recent years. 

WP_20131017_057He was undoubtedly one of my heroes when I was growing up as a result of watching all his martial arts films, so I had to go on a grail quest to explore the areas of Hong Kong where he had grown up and gone to school.

This building across the other side of Victoria Harbour in Kowloon is his former house. Try to imagine me in a pair of shaolin pajamas practicing Bruce’s famous one-inch punch outside paying homage to the great man. (Optional sound effects can be added)

Bruce-Lee-Bronze-StatueThere is also this fantastic statue of him on the harbour side in Kowloon.

A few random Bruce Lee facts for you:

Bruce kicked the backside of Chuck Norris, Jackie Chan and Batman on screen.

Steve McQueen and James Coburn were pall bearers at his funeral.

Most martial art films of the era were sped up to make fighting scenes appear fast, but Bruce’s moves were actually too fast to be captured on the regular 24 frames per second film. As a consequence they had to film him at 32 fps, and run the film slower so you could actually see more than just a blur.

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poplarI have one more thing to report on from the DMZ which happened in 1976. It was caused because a United Nations Command outpost close to the Bridge Of No Return had its line of sight to the next watch tower obscured by leaves which had grown from a poplar tree.

A five man american detail was dispatched to perform some trimming of the offending tree, but these military gardeners were met by forces of the DPRK. Things descended into violence quite quickly with the US captain being killed by a single karate chop to the neck, and the rest of the detail then being attacked with the very axes they had taken into the DMZ to prune the tree killing a young lieutenant also on the detail.

axe-murder-incidentThe US military was filming the whole incident from the outpost, although it is still unclear in the footage on how things got started, with both sides claiming self defence.

What is clear is that three days later a show of force that must go down as the largest topiary exercise in history was launched. Operation Paul Bunyan involved two dozen truck loads of men approaching the poplar tree, carrying more than eight hundred men all of whom were armed to the teeth and trained in Taekwondo. This force was backed up by attack helicopters, fighter planes, B-52 bombers and a US aircraft carrier, which meant that the tree was successfully cut down without response from the DPRK.

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North-and-South-KoreaThe Korean War was primarily the result of an agreement of the victorious Allies at the end of World War II. The Korean Peninsula had been ruled by the Empire of Japan from 1910, and following it’s surrender in 1945 the peninsula was divided the along the 38th parallel, with USA forces occupying the southern half and Soviet military forces occupying the northern half.

The North established a communist government, while the South established a right-wing government and the 38th parallel increasingly became a political border between the two Korean states. Tension in the area intensified as cross-border skirmishes and raids persisted until North Korean forces invaded South Korea in 1950.

The-United-NationsThe USA and other countries passed a Security Council resolution in the United Nations authorizing military intervention in Korea, which was able to be passed because the Soviet Union was boycotting the council at the time.

The USA provided most of the soldiers which aided South Korean forces, with mixed results until the People’s Republic of China, keen to assert itself on the world stage, entered the war on the side of North Korea forcing the Southern-allied forces to retreat behind the 38th Parallel. The Soviet Union had no boots on the ground, but provided material aid to both the North Korean and Chinese armies.

Korean_dmz_mapThe fighting ended in 1953 when the armistice agreement was signed by all involved, apart from the South Koreans, which means the two countries are still technically at war today. However the agreement restored the border between the nations near the 38th Parallel and created the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). None of the countries involved are entirely fond of the others some sixty years later.

The DMZ is a 4km wide fortified buffer zone between the two Korean countries, which is a powder keg that always seems ready to go off, so it sounds like just the sort of place you should go to on holiday! I’ll send you a postcard.

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Love SurfingI love it!

As you can tell from this shot taken at Turners Beach in Yamba

On a separate vein I have been reading about this bloke who surfs while playing his ukulele. I’m not sure I am personally ready to combine the two just yet!

 

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The AmericasI have travelled the length and bredth of the Americas since I started this trip back in December, but the time has come for me to move on.

It also means that I will no longer need to keep butchering the Spanish language that I have learned to some degree as I have moved south from the USA.

There have certainly been plenty of highs as well as a few lows to keep me grounded on the road, but as ever it is time to move on because the planet has so many more waves on offer for me to enjoy along the rest of this trip.

Las OlasRather fittingly I saw this road sign next to the pizza place on my last night in Chile.

It translates to The Waves, which is an odd name for a road if you ask me, but the sign was pointing westward towards the east and that is exactly where I am going.

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William WalkerSince being in Central America I have been reading quite a lot about William Walker who seems to have lived quite an extraordinary life. Marlon Brando portrayed him in the 1969 film ‘Burn!’ which I have not seen

The rest I have lifted from Wikipedia because I have too much writing to do, but I would recommend you take the time to read about him.

(May 8, 1824 – September 12, 1860) who was an American doctor, lawyer, journalist and adventurer, who organized several private military expeditions into Latin America, with the intention of establishing English-speaking colonies under his personal control, an enterprise then known as “filibustering.”

Walker became president of the Republic of Nicaragua in 1856 and ruled until 1857, when he was defeated by a coalition of Central American armies, principally Costa Rica’s army. He was executed by the government of Honduras in 1860.

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My USA number is not working anymore so use my British number if you need to call or want to text me:

+44-7775-746861

It is largely switched off to avoid huge data charges but I do check it from time to time.

I may well get another local number at a later stage and will pass that on, if and when it occurs.

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MoronNote To Self

If you are going to carry a hundred weight of guide books across the world it is probably a good idea to at least flick through them before you enter the relevant country.

To drive a US car through Mexico you need 3 things:

  • A Tourist card, which is your ID whilst here
  • A Temporary Importation Permit.
  • A Bond to stop you selling the car

Driving south today I get to a major checkpoint and am asked for papers. I dont have them so am sent all the way back to the border to sort these. That was a full tank of fuel wasted, three hours queueing to get back into the US doing a u-turn at the first junction in California then joining the back of a two hour queue to get back in. At customs I am told I didn’t have to come over the border at all, but have to go to a small office in the back of beyond in Tijuana. (There would have no way of knowing this without having crossed the border though.)

Estero Hotel Room 6It takes me an hour to find it and then another one to sort the paperwork out. Huge dose of Deja Vu driving all the way back to Ensenada. To rub the salt in it is a gloriously sunny day and the surf looks fantastic both times I drive past before  arriving again just as it is getting dark. However I make a better job of finding a place to stay as you can see, even if it was a bit more expensive.

WRUWifi allows the blog updates and for me to catch up on the BBC website.

Seeing that the Welsh rugby team has finally won a match, and away in Paris to boot is the silver lining I am clinging to on this very cloudy day!

I might actually get to go surfing tomorrow.

Estero Hotel Pool 2There is a hotel bar here which takes the edge of the day, and allows me to mingle with other people and have a few chats at the bar.

On the way back to my room after a few beers I enjoy a little chuckle that somebody has rock and roll’d the pool, which is right outside my bedroom.

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I need some forms which wasn’t given on way south so have had to drive 50 miles back to cross over and get them 2nd time around. More to follow.

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