Otter Box belt clip phone holster

This (fairly expensive) protection has SAVED my phone dozens of times. It’s nearly indestructible in the Defender case.

Otter Box has not changed it much over the year. Because this design works.

Getting the phone in-and-out can be tricky.

my Nepal ‘Dental Vacation’

Here’s Smilemaker’s Dental Clinic in Pokhara, Nepal.

Oops … that’s actually the Peace Pagoda looking over to my favourite mountain — Fishtail.

Here’s Smilemaker’s.

That’s Dr. Avishek M. Gubhaju. I was very happy with him, personally.

Nepal is much cheaper than Mexico.

I had a 3 tooth bridge put in:

Canada – perhaps $3,000
Mexico – perhaps $1,200

I paid $340 in Nepal.

I did not get zirconia, rather the metal at about $120 / tooth.

I ended up getting a Cantilevered Bridge. That’s not ideal. The fake teeth are only attached to a retainer at one side. It will (hopefully) last 5-7 years. Next would come implants, something I’m trying to avoid. Or possible an old school partial denture.

I liked the dentist so much that I went back after my trekking. He did some cosmetic work on my lower teeth. Cost was $100. No Canadian dentist would be willing to do that at any price. They’d insist on expensive veneers.

YOTEL Istanbul Airport (Airside)

Bottom line – an excellent option for long distance flights via the Middle East.

It’s a long story how I ended up paying $150 for 12 hours in the ONLY in transit hotel at the NEW Istanbul Airport.

But it was just as good as the Yotel sleeping pod Gatwick, the only other time I’ve used their airport hotels.

  • YOTEL Istanbul Airport (Airside) has 174 cabins.
  • “… luxury bedding, rejuvenating rain showers,
  • relaxing mood lights, numerous charging points …”

Only hand luggage is permitted, which worked for me as I was traveling with only carry-on.

Landside they have 277 hotel rooms in total, or cabins

Istanbul’s New Airport (IST) became operational October 2018 though it’s still expanding. Now one of the largest in the world.

IST is the main hub for Turkish Airlines, one of the big competitors in the region for long distance flights. In fact, Turkish airlines flies to more places in the world than anyone else.

related – a review

More photos.

5 Star hostels

A new concept in recent years. HostelGeeks pick the very best hostel in many destinations, awarding it their 5 Star rating.

I tried to book at one — KEX hostel, Iceland — when I was there, but it was full. For weeks in advance.

Later  on the same trip I got to my first – Backpackers Villa Sonnenhof, Interlaken, Switzerland. Fantastic.

My second was Mosaic House in Prague. It feels more a 3 star hotel than hostel. Great food!

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

My third was Maverick City Lodge, Budapest. Very good too.

The dorm beds are curtained pods.

These cost a few dollars more than average, but it’s worth it.

LOVE the Apple Store

Yes Apple is over-priced.

Yes, I live in the Steve Jobs reality distortion field.

But when my MacBook Pro went wonky in Stuttgart, Germany, it took a genius about 4 minutes to fix it. Free.

I appreciate that kind of support.

When my Samsung device went bad ON WARRANTY there was nothing I could do about it.

First Apple Store in Beijing

Mercedes-Benz Museum, Stuttgart

I don’t own a car and have never been into them.

But this is one of the best museums I can recall. And I was relieved to see they had not downplayed the participation of the company in Hitler’s Nazi genocide.

Emil Jillinek named Mercedes for his daughter.

It had 35 horsepower and was considered to be one of the world’s first “modern cars”.

Mercedes-Benz Museum is based on a unique cloverleaf concept using three overlapping circles with the center removed to form a triangular atrium recalling the shape of a Wankel engine.

The building was completed and opened on 19 May 2006.

… more than 160 vehicles, some dating back to the very earliest days of the motor engine …

… audio tours in a variety of languages …

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.


Jackery Bolt 10050 mAh Powerbank

In the tent at night I normally want to bring my phone up to full charge before starting next day. This is small, fast and easy.

  • fully charges an iPhone 2-3 times 
  • iPhone cable is built-in (as well as a Micro USB if you need it)
  • charging for all iPhones is about twice as fast as  original charger with original cable


Click PLAY or watch a review on YouTube.