Questions Answered


OK, I’ve amassed quite a good amount of unanswered questions in the last six months that I’ll try to take care of here, or at least take care of some of the more interesting ones, grouped by subject when possible. Honestly, this post is a good study on human thinking when read as a whole. Take a look, there are some good one’s, bad one’s, one’s that make you think and one’s that make you just say “huh” …and every single one was actually asked. Figured I had to take care of them at some point, so why not now, right?:

• • • • • General • • • • •

How will you know if you’re in the right place and the right time?
This one sounds like some kind of Ancient Chinese Proverb, so my best answer would be: If you’re not at the wrong place at the wrong time, don’t worry about it, your good.

What did pirates call bananas?
Could be a trick question. My best answer would be: Probably Bananas, unless they got them confused with plantains, at which point they called them plantains, unless they had no idea what bananas or plantains were, at which point they would call them fruit or just food, all depending on where in the world the pirates were from.

Why buy something if you don’t need it?
To keep up with Jones’s
2) Because you like owning crap
3) Because you don’t care about the environment and/or you don’t know how lucky you are and/or you aren’t smart enough to realize that there are better things you could do with the money.
4) Peer pressure (see 1)

What was the cloud cover for February 27, 2011?
1) Another trick question …and way to long an answer to put here. I would do a search on the weather
channel site or such.

Child molesters why do they become like that?
I think this one would be best answered by a professional, because I truly don’t know.

I need a light computer when travelling, what should I get?
I really don’t know, but I would get a laptop. A small and light one.

What is war good for?
Absolutely nothing!!! Ha, good-god y’all.

It’s 5:00 pm, what time will it be 99,999,999 hours from now?
Simple math, think about it. Start dividing the 9 number by 24 (number of hours in a day).
PS: did you mean 999,999,999? …like the song kind of thing.

Why do children in third world countries appear so happy?
Because they are. Something that can’t be explained. Go and see for yourself. You’ll understand.

What makes a focal point so strong?
For me, with respect to portrait or people photography, what makes a strong focal point is an emotional
connection between the photo and the viewer without any explanation from the photographer. A focal
point which someone can instantly connect too and one where the viewers eyes are automatically
drawn too …without a word of explanation, written or verbal, from the photographer.
In one word: Emotion.

How do you make people smile in a photo?
Communication. Don’t just run in, snap and run out. You have to communicate, instill an emotion, than
catch that moment. A longer explanation here.

• • • • • Africa • • • • •

How is life living in Sudan?
I’ve never actually lived in Sudan, but from what I have seen: It friggin sucks, given the overall conditions,
yet I’m quite sure there are many people there who are very happy, if not with the conditions, at least
with the way they are living their lives. For the most part though: It sucks. Go take a look – the more
who do, the better it will probably get for the people there.

Why doesn’t Africa have air conditioning?
Yes, I swear, I’ve heard it… Actually, there is plenty of air conditioning in Africa, and all over Africa. I
think there is less than most other continents because of the monetary situation in Africa. When people
have very very little money and they can barely survive, air-conditioning gets put real low on a list of
priorities where things like food, water and survival take prevalence. Add to the fact that many people in
Africa don’t even have electricity in places and this only compounds the problem, due to the fact that a
generator and fuel make air-conditioning even harder to obtain. Believe me though, there is
air-conditioning in many places.

What type of spoons did the Tuareg’s use?
In general Tuareg’s don’t use spoons, or many utensils, due to the fact that customs in the area where
the Tuareg live encompass the eating of most meals from a communal dish with the right hand. Now,
I’m sure there are, on occasion, times where they do use spoons, so for those occasions: Tuareg
spoons have, historically, used spoons made out of wood, or the sides of a calabash, but in recent
times a few have been known to use steel spoons but, the Tuareg are mostly nomadic and when steel
spoons break or are lost it is hard to replace them so these Tuareg might resume using “calabash”
spoons which are easy to make, free, light and much easier to replace, not to mention readily available.
Hope that helps.

When does the sun set in the Sahara?
Another one that would take way to long to fully answer here, so my answer is: right after it is right
above the horizon when it is on its downward slope during the afternoon going into evening …and this
answer can be used for anywhere in the Sahara at any time of year to get a correct approximation of
when the sun sets.

Are there sleeping rooms on Wadi Halfa ferry?
Yes, there are around 12 or 16 (I can’t remember the exact number). I was in one actually. A nice port-
hole type window, a double bunk-type bed provided with a nice, if a little smelly, wool, or camel-hair but
possibly goat hair blanket, a non-locking metal door, and a working, bare, light-bulb. You’re also
surrounded by a nice chorus of scratching metal during the night thanks to the multitude of rats living on
the ship. Nighty-night. In all honesty, they were alright, and we weren’t attacked by rats like the stories
I heard from people who took the ferry before I did, but next time, I think I’m going open air on the top
deck. Better air up there.

How to say hello in Sudanese?
Asalam-aleikum – even the southern tribes will react friendly to this, no worries. Great people.

• • • • • Kelty Redwing 2650 (New Version: Redwing 44) • • • • •

What is the difference between Kelty Redwing 2650 or 44?
Difference …the 44 is a newer version – don’t worry, the differences are negligible. Get the 44, it’s just a
newer Redwing 2650 version.

Can you carry on airplane Kelty Redwing 44 backpack? Can you carry on Kelty Redwing 2650? Kelty Redwing 44, does fit in carry on?
Yes, yes, yes …I’ve used the Redwing for over a decade and it fits in every plane I ever took as a carry-
on without any questioning or “flack” from the actual airline checkers, ticket takers, ticket checkers,
bag checkers, stewards, stewardesses, FAA, pilots, lunch-carters, other passengers, crying babies,
screaming kids, etc, etc. It can be used as a carry-on. I haven’t checked every airline but I have
personally checked (as in tried on airlines, not checked the bag …I never check any bags) and carried-
on many airlines including: Thai, Jet, Jet Blue, American Airways, Southwest, Air Italia, Yemenia,
Cathay, United, Delta, Oman Air, Dragon Air, Bangkok Air, Yangon Air, Indian Airways, Ethiopian Air,
British Airways, Lufthansa, Air Asia, Malaysian Air, Ariana (make sure the doors are closed), Emirates,
etc, etc. Believe me, it fits.

Does the Kelty Redwing 2650 have a laptop?
…ummm, no, the Redwing does not come with a laptop. You can provide one yourself though, just
about any laptop would fit.

Can I take the Kelty Redwing 2650 to Southeast Asia?
I do believe that the laws in SE Asia DO allow you to carry the Redwing into the area. Now, I’m no
lawyer, so I may be wrong, but I have used it all over SE Asia in multiple countries and was never
stopped. The non-smart-ass answer, yes, the 2650 is perfect for SE Asia. Not to big, not to small.

Why do I use the Kelty Redwing 44 for travel?
For me, it’s perfect. Not to big, not to small, super tough, reliable, carry-on size, easily collapsible if not
full, comfortable, light, and enough pockets and little doo-dads for good organization but not so many it
just becomes annoying.

• • • • • Country/City Specific • • • • •

What country is Mingalaba Myanmar?
 Another trick question me thinks. There actually is no country that exists that is called “Mingalaba
Myanmar”, but there is a country called Myanmar, which used to be called Burma. “MIngalaba” is
actually a greeting in Burmese that means “hello”. So in Myanmar you say Mingalaba!!!

How to buy authentic jambiya knife?
Well hell, that’s easy. Go to Sana’a and buy one. There are shops everywhere. If you haven’t been,
or don’t ever plan to go to Yemen, well than you probably don’t have any good reason to own a long,
curved, sharp knife anyway …unless your really into kitchen knives. On that note: I have two, how
much you willing to spend?

How do you pronounce Sana’a?
Sana’a. “Sa” as in the first syllable in Sapa or saga (like “Sah”) and “na’a” as in naga (like “nah”). The
vowels are soft and drop the last “a”. “Sah-nah”.

What is the position of Kathmandu in the world?
Google it. It’s at 4430 feet of elevation, in the Himalayas, in a landlocked country, above India in Asia.
Not much more I can say without googling it.

Bagan-Pagan. Why did the name change?
I think thats been a continuing government “thing” in Burma/Myanmar. They like changing names from
older to newer back to older, such as Yangon/Rangoon. Honestly, I don’t know specifics.

Why was Pagan called the enemy crusher?
Big army, huge empire, crushed any enemy it came against. It was never really called that, but the
actual name of Pagan/Bagan is Arimaddanapura or Arimaddana, which I believe became “enemy
crusher” when it was interpreted into English because it sounded good.

Why trees are alien looking at yemen?
I don’t know, I’ve never seen an alien tree. Non-smartass answer: Your probably talking about the
Dragon tree in southern Yemen that is particularly weird-looking on the island of Socotra. Close to
the equator, very little rain – the leaves of the tree evolved to be dense and have as little square area
as possible which has a two-fold purpose: shade the trees roots from the sun and give off as little
water as possible through the leaves. These trees also occur in Somalia, Eritrea and Ethiopia.

How to carry your money in Burma without creasing it?
I’ll tell you right now, it’s virtually impossible. What I did was put it in an envelope, put that envelope in
another envelope, than put that packet in a cargo pocket that was big enough to hold it without
creasing. My best advice would be to bring enough cash so that some can get creased and it won’t matter.
Good luck.

Why is Delhi called City of Djinns?
That’s an answer that spans quite a few centuries. I would start here, it answers your question quite well.


6 comments on “Questions Answered

  1. You seripusly got asked these questions? UNBELIEVABLE, especially the ones about child molesters and February 27th.

    As for air-con in Africa, yes, I can confirm there IS air-con in Africa (and Qatar, if anyone is interested) but the electricity supply is not so crash hot (or as you say, non-existant) in many places. Even in Lagos, a city of many million people, you can almost set your clock by when the electricity goes off and comes on. Try sleeping through the local mosque’s generator during the night: for a lightish sleeper, not fun.

    I stood in a major bank when the power went out – very unsettling as in Lagos you don’t just walk into a bank like you do here – you go through an air lock and even my makeup set off the security sensors. So it is hard to get back OUT of the bank until the power comes back on……..

  2. Dear John,

    Thanks for liking my post on Hanoi which has lead me to your awesome blog. If you could answer 2 more questions..

    What do you do for a living?
    Who is the adorable kid in your profile picture?


  3. I just viewed your blog and it is great. I have a quality website on travel as well, i would like to propose a link exchange with you. Please contact me if you are interested. Thank you.

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