All posts by Derek Lan

Flight Info

Airlines. If you’re at all like me, then you feel like they can be arbitrary and pricey. But they are one of the main components of travel because, well, they get you where you’re going. I happened to surf onto this website: http://rickseaney.com/ which was created by Rick Seaney, cofounder of FareCompare.com. Basically, Rick blogs about the airline industry and has some great general information about airline pricing.

Hopefully you guys find him as informative as I have!

I’m Lovin’ It?

McDonald’s is one of my favorite fast food chains. I am well aware that this is not a popular position to take (both on McDonald’s and fast food more generally), but I love the two beef patties and special sauce, the french fries, the apple pies, the attempt at healthier foods like apple slices that nobody ever eats. Sure there are things I wish they would do better: be more socially conscious, purchase from farms that treat their animals humanely, the list could go on and on. But at the end of the day, sometimes a delicious fast food burger and some fries really hit he spot.

But this isn’t just a post about McDonald’s, it’s a post about travel and McDonald’s. You see, I have taken it upon myself to try to eat burgers in foreign countries that aren’t available in the U.S. So far, I have only done this in two countries: Greece and Japan. There was a burger in England (whose name escapes me) that I wanted to try, but the wife guilt-tripped me into eating at a “real restaurant” that didn’t serve “terrible food.” I will get back there some day, and I will eat the heck out of that burger. But back to the burgers I have tried:

The wife and I honeymooned in Greece. We flew from New York City, had an 8 hour layover in Amsterdam, and then arrived in Athens at about 4 in the morning. As we were walking in the airport, I spotted a McDonald’s. Seeing as to how I was really hungry, I decided to eat there. After browsing the menu, I noticed something that seemed gloriously amazing: the McFarm. I couldn’t really tell what it was based on the picture, but I ordered it. The first thing I noticed is that the Greeks have an extra utensil that I had never seen before. It was a tiny trident that I assume was used to eat the fries. It was a marvel of engineering, and let me tell you, it’s extremely fun to stab a fry with your trident and then dip it epicly in a pool of ketchup. The McFarm, meanwhile, was a huge disappointment. It was some sort of a sour pork burger, and I could only eat two bites before I tapped out.

The next time I tried a burger was in Japan. They had something called the Tsukimi burger, which seemed to be something close to a Big N’ Tasty with an egg ontop of the meat patty. And there may have been some special sauce or something. This burger was great going down, it was such a different experience from the McFarm that I remember shouting “this burger can’t beat me!” while I was knocking it out. Well, it turns out that this burger did end up beating me, because I really didn’t feel well for the next three to four hours. For those of you wondering, I was able to bounce back by dinner time, and the trip as a whole was a success. As you can probably guess for both cases, when things took a turn for the worse, I got that “I told you so” look from the wife.

My goal is to try to eat a burger at every country we go to. Then maybe someday I’ll break away from Drew and make my own travel blog, dedicated solely to eating McDonald’s in foreign countries. Even though I’ve had bad experiences in 100% of the times I’ve tried this so far, there is just something incredibly alluring about going to a fast food restaurant that I can find on every block of every city in the U.S. and find something unique and different on the menu.

Doe, A Deer

Hey guys, I’m a new contributor and this is my first post! First a little background: Drew and I met in college and I left for grad school on the east coast around the same time he caught the travel bug during the infamous European Adventure of 2005. I lived vicariously through Drew’s Facebook updates for a while, and then met my beautiful wife, who also loves to travel. We’ve been to a couple places now, and will be going to a couple more. My posts will be about these adventures, trips to come, and my general thoughts on whatever pops into my head. So here we go!

Ever been to Japan? If you have, have you ever been to Nara? This is Wikipedia’s first paragraph on Nara: “Nara (???, Nara-shi?) is the capital city of Nara Prefecture in the Kansai region of Japan. The city occupies the northern part of Nara Prefecture, directly bordering Kyoto Prefecture. Eight temples, shrines and ruins in Nara, specifically Todai-ji, Saidai-ji, Kofuku-ji, Kasuga Shrine, Gango-ji, Yakushi-ji, Toshodai-ji and the Heijo Palace remains, together with Kasugayama Primeval Forest, collectively form “Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara“, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.”

This is the first thing I would have written if that was my entry: the deer in Nara are crazy! If you want to see them, head over to Nara Park and get ready for a show, because it’ll be a wild ride. The wife and I had read about the deer, heard stories about the deer, seen pictures of the deer, but you really can’t understand the deer until you actually go pet and/or feed one. If you want to feed the deer, you’re going to need these special rice crackers that vendors sprinkled throughout the park will sell to you. I didn’t buy into the idea of the rice crackers, so I just figured I’d feed them with whatever was in my backpack. I basically ended up trying to feed them the equivalent of Japanese Doritos and it didn’t go over too well. I picked out a deer that was standing by itself, walked calmly over to it, and tried to feed it (we’ll call it Carl just to make this story more interesting).

I figured the deer would be happy to eat anything, but that is most definitely not the case. At first, Carl ignored me, then he rolled his eyes at me, and finally, when I persisted in my attempts to feed him, he kicked me and left. My wife, who is much smarter than I am, purchased the special rice crackers. So I stole one from her and reapproached Carl. Now Carl was happy to see me. He let me pet him, let me hug him, and he even let me feel his antlers (they felt like velvet). CarlĀ  became my Facebook friend and we talk all the time. Ok, I lied about that last part, but it was awesome. So what did I take away from this experience at Nara? Japan is just a unique place. They really know how to domesticate deer there. And run 7-11s.