TV – Michael Palin on travel

Michael Palin

Palin became famous as one of the Monty Python comedians.

But I like him even better for his excellent travel series:

» Around the World in 80 Days (1989)

» Pole to Pole (1992)

» Irish Railway Journey: Derry to Kerry (1994)

» Full Circle (1997) circumnavigating the Pacific Ocean

» Hemingway Adventure (1999) retracing Ernest footsteps

» Sahara (2002)

» Himalaya (2004)

He is credited with a “Palin effect”, where places he visits immediately see increased tourism.

Michael Palin’s profile on Wikipedia.


get your robot dog while supplies last!

Sony was #1 in robot dogs manufacture.

No more.

After selling over 150,000 Aibos since launching the product in May 1999, Sony is calling it quits to concentrate on fewer product lines.

The robotic dogs sold for upwards of $2,000 each. They can dance, whimper, guard and play, developing personalities based on interaction with its owners.

One of these is now extinct:


Details & more photos on the blog.

travelogue – Mazatlán old town

Mazatlán became uncool with travellers over the years, usurped by upstart PV (Puerto Vallarta).

One thing I like about Maz is that it is a real city, with an economy outside tourism. It is a major port, a fishing centre, an agricultural centre.

For our last night in Mazatlan we moved out of the beach resorts (seen in the distance) to the “old town”. Many gringo tourists never see “el centro”.


The original harbour & townsite was built here. El Faro (the lighthouse) on the rocky point is one of the highest in the world.


Years ago I visited the gymnastics club downtown. The space was vacant in 2006.


Bar atop the Posada Freeman hotel with a great sea view.


The gates of Hell? The sign says “Devil”.


We speculated (wildly) that ice for fish may have once been stored deep in the mountain.


The shoreline promenade for tourists provides a series of statue photo-ops.


Dolphins cavorting.


The Inn at Mazatlan must have adopted this statue as their logo.


Parked outside a local college.


The old town is brightly painted. Old Maz reminds me of places in Europe.


Artists, especially bohemian gringo artists, have reclaimed the downtown in a big way.


Cathedral in the main plaza.


I booked a small B&B called El Meson de Cynthia. WARNING – get a quote in writing before making a reservation. The otherwise kindly manager added US$10 / room AFTER we checked in.


Music is the main focus of Plazuela Muchado. We had an outdoor dinner there on a Saturday night. The famous Angela Peralta theatre was not open that night.


The $10 cot at El Meson de Cynthia was useless. Randy slept on the floor instead.


A famous actor-statue.


Dancers on the central plaza.


I rolled my ugly dog up to the Belmar, the BEST hotel in Mazatlan. (In 1922.) It fell out of favour after the State Governor was shot dead at a fiesta there.


It was rundown but very good, I thought. They are starting to think about remodelling on advice from regular guests like Jack Kerouac.


The Belmar pool needs some work.


NEXT? I take the ferry to La Paz, Baja. 🙂

do not steal my laptop

Interesting story out of Australia.

An owner of a stolen laptop posted it on Ebay (in advance of the thieves) asking people not to purchase a Powerbook with Apple serial number W8506001SQ5.

Computer savvy, the owner also got the home IP & modem address of the thieves when they connected the stolen computer to the internet using their home wireless connection.

It’s not a good idea to steal something which has a tracking device built-in … unless you know what you are doing.

health care – will it be there when you need it?

Unlike most every other Canadian, I think the solution to the dilemma is the free market. The much-maligned American way.

Sure the USA model is expensive now — but with time free enterprise should sort that out.

This article came as bad news to me:

America’s health-care crisis | Desperate measures |


basketball – Kobe scores 81 points!

Last Sunday, with 81 points, Kobe Bryant led the Lakers to a 122-104 victory over (usually hapless) Toronto. Eighty-one. That’s the second highest scoring total in NBA history, only behind Wilt’s famous 100 point game.

Jordan’s career high was only (only!) 69.

Official Google Blog: Watching NBA Games on Google Video