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Ok, so for those of you who aren't in my games, you might not know that I'm in the Navy, an AE2 (that means I fix aircraft electronics), stationed on board the USS Kitty Hawk in Yokosuka Japan. (about an hour train ride south of Tokyo) We just got back from a four month cruise, and stopped in a few places. So for those of you thinking about world travelling, here's where I went.

Our first and fourth stops on this cruise were both on the island of Guam. Guam is kind of like Hawaii, but with a strip club or porn store every other block (at least in the Tumon Bay area). Important word of warning: never give a credit card at a strip club. I didn't drop $600 in an hour ... but two different people I work with did, at two different clubs. Guam is basically the cheap Hawaii for Japan, because about a third of the people on the street are Japanese people who either live there, or are on vacation. Not a spot you'd recommend.

Our second stop was Sydney, Australia. Sydney was pretty awesome. The parks downtown are really nice, and the opera house is worth seeing. Those white shell-looking parts on the outside are all a bunch of about 1" hexagon tiles, which surprised me when I was close enough to see it. There was also a really awesome gaming store - two floors, with the bottom floor being the merchandise stuff like Munchkin, various board games, and collectables and dice, and the upstairs had all the RPG books and about a half-dozen eight-person tables. We probably spent three hours in there. ::happy There was an indoor flea market on the edge of Chinatown that had some comparatively cheap opal earrings.

Our third stop was Brisbane, Australia. Which was a lot like Sydney, only a great deal cheaper. I took a day tour about 50 miles up the coast to a place called Dreamworld, which was about 2/3 theme park and 1/3 zoo. Had I known that, for an extra $60 at the door I could have petted two tiger cubs, I think that might have been my only day off that port. So instead I only have a lot of photographs. Brisbane also had a pretty cool gothic cathedral with a lot of hand-carved wood and some stained glass windows in the back that celebrate the alliance of Australia and the US - dating back to the 1920's.

Our last stop was Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Malaysia is a weird country to me. Lots of places to shop, especially the outdoor market in Chinatown on Petalang street. Of course, everything there is a bootleg or a knockoff. It was particularly illuminating to see the street vendors suddenly pick up tables of goods, and vanish when the police came walking around. In the actual indoor malls, only a smaller percentage of the goods are bootlegs. Speaking of which, I need to check those Hellsing DVDs I bought. The exchange rate between their Ringett and the US Dollar is very good though. We fed four people at a Pizza Hut (on "chicken meatloaf and pineapple" pizza) for under US$25.

Upcoming (Oct to Dec) we have another cruise, where we're going to another city in Japan on Hokkaido (the northern island) and to Hong Kong for Thanksgiving. I shall update when I arrive. And post a few pictures when I get them downloaded off my digital camera.

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