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2 hours later…
2:37 AM
unfortunately my friend is sick tonight
so im not sure if I should go out alone :( :=
2:53 AM
gutted, I'd be keen to meet up but I'm actually at work (on a weekend, sob)
Just closed your latest question btw, not really a travle question, AND about expats :)
but I wondered this too when I arrived
heard people calling it 'HongCouver'
@MarkMayo if the question was "why there are many signs in Chinese in Vancouver?" would that make it ok?
@MarkMayo I understand your reason, however I didn't know that they are not tourists but living there
ans from what people have told me, it's the climate, the relatively simple visas
when compared to the US
so my question was: why do they travel there
the working conditions
and the community- Richmond especially (near the airport) has a huge Chinese community
a LOT come here to study
and then end up staying
same with New Zealand, in recent years, actually
2:55 AM
@MarkMayo can I add some of that to my answer?
yes i think it is a really nice city
however i was more impressed by stockholm
but actually you can't compare these two cities :)
@HaLaBi - well it's a closed question, so I don't think the site allows that? Feel free to try though - let us know
that should be possible immo
you should go up Grouse Mountain while you're here, and explore Stanley Park
especially Stanley Park just kinda makes it for me, having that so close to the CBD
regardless, I don't see myself here long term yet
what's CBD?
2:57 AM
oh sorry, NZ term - I forget others don't use it - Central Business District - or 'downtown'
ah yes that's true
i'm just figuring out how to get to the grouse mountain trail with public transport
seems to be quiet of a journey :)
where are you staying?
it's easy enough, I always take public transport there
bus/skytrain down to Waterfront station
then seabus to Londsdale Quay
then bus 236 will take you to Grouse
@MarkMayo I could edit it.. and I added your comment there...
(and Capilano as well)
@HaLaBi - cool
maaaan, that sound made me jump...
2:59 AM
in addition, on weekends and after 6.30pm, everything is zone 1 - so you only need a $2.50 ticket and you can use the skytrain, seabus AND bus to get all the way to grouse Mountain!
@MarkMayo that's a huge journey. i have to change 3 times ;)
@RoflcoptrException does this sound make u jump???
can tell you're from a tiny country ;)
yes it makes me jump!
i've always turned off my sound @HaLaBi
are you staying downtown?
3:00 AM
more in the direction of UBC
ahh right
how long does it take from waterfront station approximately?
alternatively my understanding is you can go to the visitor center near waterfront, and they have free shuttle buses - which would be faster. But I'm not totally shure of the details
15 min from waterfront to Lonsdale
then probably....40 minutes?
3:01 AM
yes i've seen these shuttles but couldn't figure out where they start
ok thansk
yup, 37 min from Lonsdale according to Google Maps
no wait, less
25 if you take 236
depending on time of day and when the bus arrives/leaves
that's ok :)
but that's true.. in the time i need to get there, i would have crossed my entire country easily by bicycle
that's just crazy
right, I need to make some food, I'll be back on later. but email me if you'd like to meet up some evening this week
3:05 AM
My MacBook is really stupid... My smartphone easily figured out the timezone I'm in and adjusted the clock properly. Even my Digicam automatically adjusted its time automatically. But my stupid MacBook still has the old time and to make it even worse, Thunderbird seems to use the local system time to display incoming email messages .... :(
@MarkMayo that would be cool, but I'm not sure if there is time after tonight. Tomorrow evening my work starts ;)
your phone gets the time from the network and/or GPS
does your macbook have a phone built in?
obviously not
but i've used various networks
and a lot of websites have detected my position very well
3:20 AM
location without something like mobile phone info is at best a guess
a good guess in most cases, but still a guess, and thus not something i'd want changing my timezone!
3 hours later…
6:48 AM
I hate my devices adjusting automatically
ever since my cellphone in Egypt picked up an incorrect time from a celltower and I nearly missed the bus, I've set it to be on manual
there's some delight I get from setting the timezone on my phone when I reach a new destination :)
that's what a watch is for
one of the many reasons i love traveling - you just dont get photos like that sitting in your loungeroom!
7:24 AM
@Doc Presumably his wife may... :)
3 hours later…
10:07 AM
i need to ask about leaky tents on the great outdoors SE
11:07 AM
Q: Is it normal for a double skin popup tent to leak in slight rain?

hippietrailAbout a year ago I was given a three person dual skin popup tent. Almost new but possibly a factory second. (It's made by "Vango" and I think it could be a "reject" because one of the four guy ropes is not attached to the tent and looks like it didn't get ripped off but was never attached.) Any...

2 hours later…
1:03 PM
Okay, soooooo I'm off to Turkey for two weeks in September. Cannot afford longer, now that I'm expected to be a starving and poor student again. Quick poll from people here on chat who have been there (nudge nudge @hippietrail nudge): stay in Istanbul the whole time and explore that really well, or spend a week or so in Istanbul and the rest elsewhere? I'm asking about what places YOU all found good, YOUR opinion. Then I'll figure out something to do.
@AnkurBanerjee: A week in Istanbul and a week elsewhere sounds good. Istanbul is amazing but tiring.
As for where to go I can't be much help though. I was always hitchhiking through and often far away from the big smoke.
1:32 PM
if you haven't been to turkey before, watch out for tourist traps, tourist prices, unwritten prices. even if the people are super friendly and hospitable you can get a nasty case of bill shock.
istanbul and indeed anywhere in turkey even where you think no tourists ever go can suffer from this. if there's no prices on the food, ask. Istanbul has bars where you can pay almost supermarket price for a beer, and places where you can pay $10 for a beer. sometimes the former are just a block or two from the latter hidden in the backstreets.
2:01 PM
@hippietrail Sounds a lot like the scams in Bangkok, with switcharoo pricing! Ya I read that on Wikitravel.
My only problem is that with my passport, I need to show accommodation reservations everywhere. :( So I need to lock down the itinerary. Or...I could just book a place in Istanbul for the full period in Istanbul on Hostelworld, keep the receipt, and the cancel the booking.
Also pinging @MarkMayo since I'm sure he's been to Turkey too. :)
2 hours later…
4:16 PM
btw how on earth can i use a Canadian toilet without squirting myself?
4:33 PM
canadians love squirting themselves in the toilets - just go with the flow
@AnkurBanerjee: Istanbul is full of great laid back hostels. far less anal about rules than i know in australia. "Stray Cat" is friendly and cool and cheaper than many. try telling them your situation in advance.
I've also been in Istanbul once @AnkurBanerjee ;)
Wait, what's the problem with canadian toilets? goes looking at the toilet
the problem is that if you go there
to have a dump
hehe i have no idea d-:
you always squirt yourself
4:37 PM
you mean "splash yourself" right?
ah yes ;)
squirting requires something nozzlish or hoselike or penile
ok splash is the correct term
like most problems in canada it's because they're too close to america and share the design!
and the reason is that they are so flat compared to Central European toilets
4:39 PM
there are two other problems with this design. they overflow - a lot! i've never seen or heard of a toilet overflowing in australia. also it's impossible for a man to politely aim at the porcelain to be less noisy when other people in earshot are asleep
i'm always told the good thing about toilets full right up to the brim with water is they don't smell because everything nasty is safely underwater - but personally i don't buy that explanation d-:
oh, splash damage!
just one of the reasons north americans put paper down before going about their business
I learned, when I came to the US, that you don't throw "things" in the toilet. Just gently lower it
And I agree with @hippietrail: it was most likely somebody in the US who came up with it.
lower what? the toilet?
oh the "things" (-:
yes. Don't be in such a hurry while taking a dump :)
4:43 PM
feel free to ask the third in our popular series of "OK we're all adults here" questions (-:
Oh, there's a #2?
Now there are some toiletish appliances in France and Japan that actually can squirt you... and in multiple ways!
Ah, right, I remember
i'll do it tonight ;) now i have to check out wreck or jericho beach ;)
Q: OK we're all nerds here, so really, how on earth should I use a Japanese toilet?

Andrew GrimmOK so for anyone that's travelled to Japan you know what I'm talking about. They're devices that are a textbook example of excessive featuritis. But I want to use something other than the flush knob before leaving Japan. What is a feature that has the following characteristics: Common to most...

4:45 PM
BTW: the other thing I learned when coming to NA was that you have to fold your toilet paper
@RoflcoptrException: so you're in Canada atm? Vancouver?
actually i thought we had one about how to use western toilets, but now i remember that the indian guy with the video of how to use the squat toilet has another video for how to use western toilets
you have to fold?
if we continue talking about toilets of the world we can't forget germany btw
@Jonas: maybe you are somewhere stingy with single ply paper? there's all kinds and the most luxurious are more expensive
The toilet paper here is so thin (or maybe I'm wiping too hard), that it's difficult to keep your hands clean.
@Jonas yes im in vancouver
it's two plys, but still flimsy
@RoflcoptrException: pity, you're on the wrong side of the continent
@hippietrail: the standard cheap paper I used to buy in Switzerland was a lot more sturdy
@hippietrail: is there anything wrong with German toilets?
google need to do a real-time version of Google Earth
4:57 PM
i got a bunch of comments and answers on the three questions i asked on the great outdoors this afternoon.
there is one thing "interesting" about the design of german toilets, and another thing about the etiquette there
@hippietrail: I'm all ears
(-: 1. german toilets have a very low water level... and not just that - they have a "shelf" jutting out. So you have a chance to check out how marvellously things went before flushing it away forever.
2. at people's homes, at least if they are not inhabited solely by males, gentlemen visitors will be expected to sit down no matter what they intend to be doing there.
#2 is indeed a German (+Swiss German) problem. I close the door when I go, and make sure I don't leave any splash damage, so I do what I want :)
here's a wonderful illustration (of #1)
5:12 PM
#1 can be useful when you accidentially swallowed that ring, I guess :)
the ladies will detect atom sized splash (or squirt) evidence and you will be confronted if you are visiting for longer than one or two days d-:
the story goes that #1 is due to some ancient germanic wormy pestilence or somesuch
Yes, but I'm Swiss. When I clean, it's pristine afterward :)
@RoflcoptrException What's your recommendation then?
/me invites @Jonas to clean his tent
@hippietrail: if you bring it over, I can take a look. I hope you went to an outside toilet, though.
@RoflcoptrException: are you interested in updates to the "things to do around Zurich" list?
5:17 PM
hehe just sand and some occasional uninvited rainwater so far (-:
@RoflcoptrException: wasn't it you who found the amazing cheap fares from europe to australia on qatar airways?
@hippietrail: that doesn't sound so bad. Let me know when you're in Montreal
5:52 PM
montreal now there's somewhere i have to check out some day - maybe next time i got to mexico!
6:03 PM
Montreal, Mexico? I hate to ask what language they speak there...
2 hours later…
8:21 PM
i think the cheapest way for me to get to mexico from australia these days is to first fly to canada and then buy a ticket to mexico when i get there
LAX is probably cheaper
or even DFW on qantas depending on where in MX you want to go
no US visas for this little black duck
ohh... cant get one?
it's vaguely possible. wouldn't want to have to get another one in mexico for the flight back home when the money runs out though
B1 can last up to 2 years i think, multi-entry
8:28 PM
it involves at least booking a personal interview in a US embassy or consulate at least one month in advance to which you must bring all your old passports, your education history, your work history, and a non-refundable $100 USD
blah... it's easy
i've done it 4 times
one of my passports has gone missing and one, not sure if it's the missing one or not, has three black marks from US immigration officials from two decades ago
i've done it twice pre-911
i've never need old passports
note to self: "Send to Device" works better if the GPS is plugged in...
this is what i was told when i wanted to go back to mexico the first time after 911... 2007 i think
might make a good question for the site though!
ok, i'm off to hike Windy Hill, which this time of year shouldnt be very windy, but i'm sure it's still hilly...
8:38 PM
> You must bring a printed copy of your appointment letter, your current passport and all old passports to the visa interview. You must have completed your medical exam before your interview. Applications without all of these items will not be accepted.
hmm actually the australia equivalent of that page doesn't say the same...
$160 USD now just to be allowed to get the hell on my way to mexico d-:
9:19 PM
@AnkurBanerjee - only been once for 30 hours after a trip from Bratislava down through the various countries to there. If I were to go again, I'd definitely explore, go to Batman province, just because it's Batman, and definitely go to Cappadocia and Gallipoli, for ANZAC reasons
@RoflcoptrException I have no problems with ... splashing ... myself - my only problem is that my apartment's toilet is a little smaller than most - feels weird to sit on at first.
9:46 PM
If there's any country where I'd expect hobbit-sized toilets, it would be New Zealand - not Canada.
@MarkMayo What did you do in those 30 hours?
@hippietrail: looks like these things aren't getting cheaper. Ah, traveling to/through the US was so much more convenient pre-9/11. They even started to let us transit through Miami without making us to go through customs. Also, requirements for different countries are different. In part due to tit-for-tat.
10:12 PM
@AnkurBanerjee - Blue Mosque (great) Hagia Sophia (EPIC), bath houses, Turkish coffee, slept overnight on the roof of a hostel - was a pretty good time actually :)
10:40 PM
Sounds sweet! I thought about this for a while, and I don't think I can stand being just in Istanbul for two weeks when I know a lot of other sites are in close reach. For now, I'm thinking Izmir, Bodrum, Epheseus, Cappadocia, Ankara, Istanbul. Should be fairly relaxed, with overnight buses interspersed with nights in hostels with proper beds.
11:39 PM
can i ask a question about visas?
can you ask? sure. Will we be able to answer? maybe
I am originally an Iraqi citizen but I hold a British Passport, do I need a visa if I travel to Iraq ? Because I have a flight in few days and I don't know if I need a visa, considering I'm an Iraqi person but with a British passport
11:57 PM
Did you retain your Iraqi citizenship? Do you have some Iraqi travel document (even expired)?
I only have an Iraqi ID I obtained when i went to iraq a year ago. On my British passport it says i was born in Baghdad as well
Basically, if you can convince them that you are a citizen, they'll have to let you in.
However, your airline may be more skeptical, and not let you board the plane. So the safest route is to be patient and call the embassy.
They'll tell you what you need to do
Yeah that's what's worrying me the airline

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