He did what...where?
Tom is on the road a lot and has a few
tales to tell. Also a few tips
for doing business in some bizarre places
does something weird always happen
within five minutes of arrival?
Messes with Payne Jr. in the Gambia."
You learn that when someone
in West Africa tells you there is --"no
problem" you got "big problem. Tom
arrived on the night of Tabasky in the
enclave of Banjul with entry papers from
the World Bank, was detained, bought his
way out. Next day, the "Big
Bosses" learned of his plight and sent
out the troops and Tom back to the
airport for a day of retaliation
interrogation and revenge. The
entire shift was sacked, and the Big
Boss in charge was sacked as well.
The new Big Boss has proclaimed: Nobody
will ever mess with Payne Jr. in the
Gambia...nobody! And that is a
The most interesting place on Earth.
A lot of people ask me out of
the 50 plus countries--what was the most
interesting. Hand's down:
Ethiopia. Tom is working in Ethiopia as
an advisor to the beekeepers and the
center of beekeeping is the Jerusalem of
(coming soon) The home of
Alexander the Great and Mother Teresa.
One of my new favorite places.
(coming soon) Is everybody
happy? Say Woo Woo! Now what
about the Bruce Lee Statue in Mostar?
R & R in Onsen.
Tunisia (coming soon)
The Cleanest place in Africa.
left over from the filming of Star Wars
a Salt Water Lake Bed)
Korea. This city in
- the southern part of South
Korea is proof that very bad things
happen in the world all the time and
nobody notices. I vaguely
remembered hearing of the Korean Army
paratroopers invading the city to
suppress the freedom movement of the
80s. Yes 80s! Walked the
city saw the bullet holed modern
buildings, the Secret Police
headquarters where students were
tortured and eventually killed.
Took the bus outside of town to the
trash dump where hundreds of martyred
students were tossed. Now it is a
monument. But, few visit. A
city of tragedy and shame.
Highlight was staying at the Hiddink
Hotel, named after the Dutch football
(soccer) coach who brought the Red
Devils to the finals of the World Cup.
My room had a photo of Hiddink, with the
saying: "Hiddink, Fighting for
I, II, III. Back by
popular demand. Had to take it off
line due to "popular demand" by one
government employee who neglected to
read the US Constitution.
Yugoslavian Police HQ Pristina, Kosovo,
remodeled 1999 - courtesy of NATO/ US Air
I, II and III. The great
thing about this place is that it is
devoid of all of the people who are
supposed to be in Afghanistan liberating
and developing the place. A great
roast goat served on the ground!
- Pan Mun Jon. The
"Peace" Village! Went all the way
past the border of the DMZ to the Blue
Shack. Had to sign a release
saying I understood this was an active
war zone and that if I was killed it was
Lizards on the Tonto Rim of
A real story of life on the Colorado
plateau--a place where crazy is the
Elevation 203 -- North China.
You know the day is not going well when
you are unexpectedly arrested in China
for trespassing on a Naval Submarine
base. Tom gets sent to he Police
Station for Aliens in North China and
learns of the dark legacy of the Russian
Japanese wars. (complete
Expert" meets the "Big Boss in
The revolution ends and this devastated
country in East Africa is flooded with
know it all consultants like me. (complete
- Mr. Smith
Goes to Bucharest. (Romania).
We loved him as Sarkis Abrian Cigarette
trader from Beirut, but now Tom's friend
in Romania shows the ropes in the pre
and post "Animal Farm"
- A Glance at
the "Worker's Paradise"
in North Korea.
Don't spill a beer on a "Great
leader" placemat in this
place. Take a look at a place
where sense of humor plays a backseat to
- Ten Perfect
Days in Cuba. (July 2001) Met
Fidel (Doesn't Everyone), Saw the Buena
Vista Social Club, hung out with the
North Korean Ambassador.
- Stay out of
the Sewer and Avoid Monkey Attacks
One half hour after he arrived in Delhi,
Tom's host and only person in the
country of one billion who he knew
dropped into an open man hole
cover. And, that was just the
beginning of a bad week in the land of
the Sacred Cow. (complete
Pigs, in the Republic of China
- Taiwan. (coming Soon) Back by
popular demand! Fire up those air
compressors as it has been twelve years
since the infamous inflated pig festival
in aboriginal Taiwan. (Hsi Hu Village,
Miadi County) Watch out for those
- Business etiquette
and Pro Wrestling in
Japan. Tom's search for
the roots of the great Rikidozan!
(coming soon) Remember, business card in
the right hand, bow and then Karate chop
Tom's Travel Tips
- #1 Never get
in line at customs behind anyone in a
turban. I have received
death threats from Punjabisfor this
comment. But, many of my Punjabi
friends agree with me on this one.
Next time you are in line at an airport,
just watch! It is not their fault!
- Never rent a
cell phone abroad. Buy
the cheapest GSM, non sim locked
telephone you can buy at any electronics
shop in Asia or Europe, and buy a pre
paid sim card for about $20 USD.
It will allow you to receive unlimited
incoming calls, and outgoing calls are
cheap. When you get to the next
country find a kiosk and buy another sim
card and you are in business! http://www.gsmworld.com/index.shtml
- Spicy food -
the Antidote to Karaoke.
Anyone who has endured hours of Asian
men squawking into a microphone in a
smoke filled cubicle will appreciate
this gem of information. Take your
host to to the hottest Thai, Indian or
Chinese hot pot restaurant that you can
find, order the food extra extra
hot. Watch the fun loving roosters
sweat and forget about the next stops on
the social agenda! It works,
really!!! (see suggested restaurants
World's Worst Indian
Restaurants! (under construction)
Putrid papadam in Paraguay, Morbid
Massala in Mexico...Well, what did you
expect in Reykjavik. Not really, one
of Tom's secrets to thriving on the road is:
spicy food and alcohol. In each and
every city he travels, he has found or
attempted to find a local Indian eatery!
The results are mixed, but a good time is
had by all!
caption: MM Raja International Eatery
in Okayama, Japan. Claims to cook any
type of food in entire world, from Mongolian
to Moroccan). All taste Indian.
MM Raja himself visits establishment each
Sam's Indian Food, Pristina, Kosovo!
One block south of the destroyed Serbian
Secret Police Headquarters (Thank you NATO),
take a right on Bill Clinton Blvd. past the
Hillary Club, and you have found one of the
truly interesting Indian Restaurants on this
planet. Uncle Sam's, decorated in
Patriotic Red White and Blue decor appeals
to the hundreds of Indian, Pakistani and
Bangladeshi UN Peacekeepers who
inhabit this Albanian city. The menu
is extensive, dishes spicy yet a bit
cold. Watch out for "unidentified
bone structure" in their
"chicken" dishes. Manager
will reluctantly play Indo pop music on request,
but claim it is bad for business.
Friday night is Chinese night! Smoking
is mandatory as are all public places in
Maharaja, Tallinn Estonia.
Bombay Palace, Reykjavik Iceland.
Prague, Czech Republic.