What’s up fellow Newschoolersers? This is Landon Spear and I have an epic story to tell you.
Once this is posted I believe it will hold the record for the longest running (and therefore best) Newschoolers update of all time. Like all epic tales, this one comes as a trilogy. It is a chronicling of my recent journeys told through portraits, stories, photographs, paragraphs, artsy pictures and interpretive dance.
This all happened a few months ago way back in the fall. I know… that was a really long time ago. But lets set the mood shall we? This was before the great spring sessions we all had, before competitions like the Aspen Open, the X-games and US open, before the powder days, before all the early winter urban sessions, before A-bay and Loveland started their lifts for the new season, before even the first 07/08 snowflake fell in Summit County… it was August.
August is a bad time in the northern hemisphere. It’s starting to turn to fall but you know there won’t be any snow for a long, long time. Since there’s no snow in August I figured I’d bring a couple of the later skiing shots up to the front of the update to keep you guys satiated until we hit a country with some snow. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention… Last fall I went around the world in 101 days.
Our journey begins where all good journeys begin…
Yes America… Land of the mighty dollar and home of the lowest gas prices this side of Venezuela. (I should note that at this time the US$ was still worth more than the CAN$. However, this is no longer the case… Damn moose jockeys). I left sunny Boulder, Colorado for San Diego, Californee where I was told I would find the boat that I would be living on with 700 other college students for the next three and a half months.
Once I got there, however, I was informed that we were actually going to be leaving from…
(Yes that flag is ridiculously enormous) While I only spent a few hours here I can tell you that Mexico is a funny place. On one hand it is a first world country with a thriving tourist industry, beautiful countryside and modern cities. On the other, as soon as we crossed the border all you could see was shoddy crumbling houses, trash absolutely everywhere, and billboards cautioning us about child sex slaves. Mexico may be a cool place to get trashed when your 16, but this country has a long way to go. No joke, this last spring break one of my high school friends was shot and killed in a robbery in a major resort town (R.I.P. David Parrish). So if you’re planning on going there this summer or next year, make for damn sure you watch your back.
Above is our route: leave Mexico and sail west until we hit Florida, circumnavigating the globe. It’s like Christopher Columbus’s wet dream. The itinerary of places we planned to dock is as follows:
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Originally we were going to stop in Myanmar but the government started killing Buddhist protesters in the capital city so we switched to Thailand. This was the view from the back of the boat as we left.
On the boat I took classes, ate meals and tried to meet some of the people that would most likely be sharing Cabin Fever with me very soon (and not the good Cabin Fever directed by Eli Roth). The open ocean had some pretty cool sunsets
It took about a week of sailing before we reached…
Some of you may be saying “Hey Landon, isn’t Hawaii a part America and not actually another country?” First of all, yes technically Hawaii is a state even though there were no Native Americans killed in acquiring it (only Polynesians). And second, stop interrupting me while I’m telling a story.
This is the view of downtown Honolulu from my friend’s apartment.
A visit to Oahu wouldn’t be complete without checking out Waikiki beach.
In less than a day we were gone again, sailing the great Pacific Ocean. Coming from Colorado, I’m kinda used to mountains. So maybe you’ll see where I’m coming from when I say that the ocean is really, really flat. This is the view from my room(cabin).
If anyone ever tells you that the Pacific Ocean isn’t mind-bogglingly expansive then they are lying. Right to your face. As far as large passenger carrying vessels go, we were sailing in one of the faster ships in the world and it took us 17 days to cross that bitch. In the down time we were occasionally allowed to party on the back of the boat.
Also, before we hit Japan we hit a storm instead. This was cool because there were occasionally 7-story waves hitting our ship during class.
This was the first thing I took a picture of once we got in to Yokohama because Japanese writing is ridiculous and I couldn’t stop laughing.
Here’s another thing that made me laugh, the map of the Tokyo-Yokohama subway/train system.
See this stop in the middle? That’s Tokyo. The biggest city in the world. Home to 35 million people and all it gets on this map is two little symbols I can’t understand. I took this picture just so I could show it to Japanese people. Luckily, most Japanese people speak a little English, so my attempt at garbled Japanese that I learned from a travel book was answered with “Tokyo is that way.”
This is Tokyo…
Japan is pretty fun (sidenote: not only can you drink on the streets here, you can buy beer from vending machines).
If you’re like me then you’ve probably had the thought “I like to eat sushi, but what’s with all the waiting around for it to get here?” Well my friends, just like in electronics, economics, hotel design and animation, the Japanese are years ahead of us in the field of sushi delivery technology. I present to you: The Sushi Conveyor Belt!!!
I did my best to look like a picture crazy tourist when I checked out electric town.
Next I went to a grand Sumo tournament
Fool’s got mad Gorilla style
This is a picture
This is more sushi eating. The girl next to me is gagging because one of the things that came on my sushi platter was a gutted fish on a stick.
Oh Japanese people…
This is a sweet-ass samurai pavilion made out of gold (most baller shit ever!)
I guess Japanese people don’t like flying, because they make these trains go over 250+ miles/hour all over the country. It’s not often that you can see houses fly by your window ten feet away at half the speed of sound.
I think America needs more spokespeople that are platypi.
I went to an island called Miyagima that had deer like Boulder has squirrels. Except they were easier to pet and had less diseases (hopefully).
It had some pretty cool stuff
This is Hiroshima’s atomic bomb dome. I was standing at ground zero when I took this picture. 62 years ago everyone inside that building was instantly vaporized leaving human silhouettes on the walls. Gnarly shit.
This is the shogun’s castle. I would totally have a battle there.
After the crossing the Lindsay Lohan of seas, the East China Sea, I arrived in my first communist country. (I say the ECS is the Lindsay Lohan of seas because like the actress of Herbie: Fully Loaded fame, the East China Sea used to look pretty good, but now it’s really trashy and carries a lot of drugs.) We docked in Qingdao, which was an industrial port that looked like it still hadn’t recovered from a World War it had never fought in. We quickly peaced out to Beijing to see other crazy China stuff.
I bought this gold Rolex for two dollars. It ran until February!
Beijing is a great place to party because the drinks are cheap and you can’t drink the water. This is a picture of the morning after partying with 150 other Americans at Bar Blu (which unfortunately I didn’t get any pictures of).
The line to see Chairman Mao’s frozen dead body
The Chinese version of the White House
The Olympics will be in this city soon. Beijing is by far the most polluted and disgusting city I’ve ever seen. This is a picture of buildings only a few blocks away. Do you think it looks ready?
I think this sign actually said: “Don’t tell the Americans that there’s wet paint on this railing”
Real Food…Made from real babies
Flying into Phnom Penh was wild because this entire country is flooded and from the air all the water out towards the horizon reflects like snow, giving me false hope until I realized we were in Cambodia and it’s 80 degrees outside.
For those not too familiar with Southeast Asia, Cambodia’s had quite a run over the last couple decades.
Because of a civil war in which one third of the Cambodian population was massacred, 50% of Cambodia’s population is under 25, the average age is 20 years old and it has the one of the highest female to male ratios in Asia. Translation: there are tons of Cambodians down to party and there are kids everywhere.
Look, even Khmerians know whats up with the Jibij.
This is where the king lives, he has throne of solid gold (I know I sure would)
Imagine the smell…
Cambodia has the coolest written language in the world.
This is how you drink a gin and tonic in Cambodia.
Found some ruins…
Got the shot.
I left Cambodia on Siem Riep Air, on a propeller plane that said Bangkok Air on the side. When I landed I would be walking in the second fully communist country I’ve ever been in! A country that had a 25-year long war with us. A country where you can pay to eat a snakes heart and drink its blood. Find out which one in the next installment of:
AROUND THE WORLD IN 101 DAYS