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Showing posts from March, 2010

Rickshaw Run Day 1-3: India is Wild

You know that chase scene in Ronin where they are driving the wrong way in the tunnel and cars are flying everywhere?  That’s what driving in India is like, except add a few billion buses and motorcycles to the mix to spice things up a bit. Day 1: 146km, ~7 hours on the road The official launch party kicked off as planned with all the rickshaws circled up around a podium and a bit of fanfare.  After many photo ops, a huge line of rickshaws all circled the city and then disappeared.  Literally two minutes before leaving, these two people from a random team came up to me and asked where I was going and if I wanted to caravan with them.  They were headed east and up also and seemed to have a map, so I said “ok let’s see!”  That, you see, was my plan – no plan needed! Heading out of town, the long line of 50+ rickshaws rapidly dwindled, until I found myself completely lost with no one I knew around, following a random set of three rickshaws hoping they knew what they were doing. 

Rickshaw Run Is GO!

Quick update from an internet cafe, I will do a longer one tomorrow hopefully...  Nutshell, we got out of Kochi successfully!  It was a bit crazy but it happened. I ended up caravanning with the team Mucho Nacho as they were also headed towards the east coast, and just like the Mototaxi Junket the team I was with ended up having mechanical problems all day!  Eventually they were traced to a bad spark plug and we were able to get things moving after many hours of false starts. Total travel today, 162km in about seven hours...  Not very good, but mechanical delays were the killer.  2900km left?  Eep. Chillin' for the night in Munnar, tomorrow we head towards Pondecherry (though we won't make it all the way), then Chennai and up!

Rickshaw = Sorted

I had the distinct pleasure of meeting my new companion for the next two weeks – a 2007 auto-rickshaw with 7hp and nearly 20k kilometers on the odometer.  I have a hunch this little bugger is going to fall apart on me quite a bit! I wanted the fun of painting it myself, so I went for a quick ride down to the parts area with my new friend Sabu and got some assorted paint and a brush – then went to work!  I’ve no idea what my inspiration was other than laziness, but I’m happy with the result: Of course, I also spent some time driving around and getting used to the little beast, finding it considerably easier to drive than expected.  It feels so relaxed and lazy compared to the amount of effort required to drive the mototaxi on the 2009 Mototaxi Junket .  Tonight I’ll get a bit of a background on some of the better routes and driving tips for India, then tomorrow I will do a final bit of shopping…  followed by the off on Sunday!  I am considerably less equipped than I was in


After sleeping overnight in the Bangkok airport on Tuesday, I left Thailand one day after my visa expired (thankfully this is ok) and started my long set of flights across India to get to Kochi.  It was a cool experience but I was stoked to get off the final plane and know I don’t have to see one of those for a few weeks. I crashed as soon as I got to my hostel, woke up late and wandered around the area here by Fort Kochin.  I don’t have internet access where I’m staying so I didn’t realize that the test driving and rickshaw familiarization for the Rickshaw Run started today – but ends at four so I’ll just skip it until tomorrow. Random thoughts about India, Kochi specifically after a few hours: The hype is true – the way people drive in the urban areas is crazy.  Possibly as crazy as I’ve seen to some degree, because as I was warned, there are huge trucks and buses in the middle of everything and they just crush people with no warning.  Brutal. Also as I heard, everything

Pee Pee Islands?

Over the weekend I rolled out to the Phi Phi Islands (unfortunately pronounced “Pee Pee”) with a couple cool guys (Zach and Luke) from Wisconsin.  They’d been out here around six weeks and are leaving early Tuesday, while I’m leaving late Tuesday and we all agreed it was time to get out and see some ocean. After a bus ride and a long ferry ride (1.5+ hours), we arrived at Phi Phi Island.  The water throughout the entire trip was amazing, but I was really impressed at the quality of the water in the small bay where all the boats came in – usually that amount of boat traffic really wreaks havoc!  We popped off and started to explore the civilized part of the island with finding a place to stay being our first priority. We wandered the entire area (not very large) for around an hour until finally settling on a cozy little air conditioned bungalow right near the beach for  2500 baht (~$80USD), then arranged for a boat to take us on a tour of the islands including swimming and snorke

Rest of Itinerary Sorted!

Oof.  25,954 miles of air travel left in this trip.  When I land back in DC on June 3 I will have traveled a total of 36,053 miles via air and landed in 12 countries (mostly for layovers) on four continents. Here’s the final plan: 3/23 to 4/14:   India, Rickshaw Run + Misc Chillin’ 4/15 to 4/28:   Back to Tiger Muay Thai in Phuket for two more weeks of training, hopefully with my elbow fully healed. 4/29 to 5/3:   Flying into Brussels, renting a car, and heading up to Amsterdam.  Why fly into Brussels?  I want to stop by the Westvleteren Brewery and pick up a case of Westvletern 12, supposedly the best trappist ale in the world and effectively only available directly from the monastery.  Then it’s drive up to Amsterdam and hang out for Queen’s Day. 5/4 to 6/2:   In to Kathmandu, Nepal.  From here it’s probably off to Pokhara to hit the Annapurna Circuit (AC) trek and possibly sneak in the Annapurna Base Camp (ABC) treks as well if I have enough time.  ~25 days of trekking th

Custom Mouthguard by Kombat Mouthguards

There’s no doubt I want to keep doing some of this stuff, but I was having a real problem with the cheap “boil & bite” mouthguards most people use.  It was impossible to talk with it in (defeating the purpose of training at times) and generally did not feel comfortable – so I decided to see if the hype was real about custom guards and go for it. Doc Kombat here in Phuket from Kombat Mouthguards hooked me up (as well as a number of other people training here) for a significantly lower price than a similar custom guard in the States, with turn around time of two days.  It fits perfectly inside my mouth and stays there, I can talk just fine with it in, and it’s custom fitted around my missing molar in the back as well. And as a bonus, I’ve no doubt it’s one of the most intimidating mouthguards out there…

Just Another Week in Thailand…

Big update for almost the entire week! Sadly, I’ve gone and done what I knew I’d do – upon waking up Wednesday morning, my left elbow felt significantly better thanks to the physiotherapy and meds, so of course I decided to take it for a spin.  Long story short, I messed it up even worse, to the point where I was unable to even carry anything with that arm or flex it for a day.  I’ve still been trying to train a little bit, but I’ve mostly been doing balance work and trying to avoid using my left arm as much as possible (on the plus side, I have significantly improved the smoothness and control of one-armed cartwheels, I might try them on the railing next week). I have made it a point to show up to the various MMA sessions (they are getting huge, apparently this is peak season) and try to soak up what I can and participate, so I’m still learning a lot of good stuff.  It’s very frustrating at times though because I really want to go at it, but I know I need to let that elbow heal

My First Submission!

After two weeks of training, I finally submitted someone when rolling today – three times in fact (triangle, armbar, and an Americana, almost caught an omoplata too)!  This was a very exciting point for me and hopefully things will continue to click from here on out.  I have weapons now!  (to be honest they are still sloppy) I took the last three days (Sat/Sun/Mon) off to rest my elbow and I was very glad of this.  It still hurt just a bit before practice today, but I was hoping to make it through – and I did.  Of course, I also cheated a bit, as instead of doing sprawls and pushups during the cardio I did squats instead.  Most importantly however I was able to drill and even roll three sets and only came out of it with my elbow slightly aching.   It was a fun class and really aside from concern for my elbow I felt good about it and feel like my body is in shape enough to handle it now – darn elbow!  After talking to a few people here and a doc back home as well as doing some

Training at Tiger Muay Thai Can Be Rough!

I was really hoping to add some pictures to this post, and excited to put together a time lapse from today’s training but unfortunately I messed up the settings!  I will have to make it my mission to get good photos next week. I’ve now been training at Tiger Muay Thai in Phuket for nearly two weeks in Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) and Muay Thai , with no prior experience in either.  It has been an awesome, though painful time.  Right now my elbows are so messed up that I’m skipping Muay Thai this afternoon and just going straight into a full rest until next Monday hoping to get a bit of recovery in – if I use my left arm much at all, there’s very real physical pain to go with it and that’s just no good. That’s the difference between training stuff like this a lot and just getting into it – the fact is my body’s just not used to being moved and pushed and stretched and taking impacts in the ways I’ve been doing so for the past two weeks.  On the other hand my fitness from a cardio and

Photos from

Below are some photos from Nick’s grappling session (discussed in my earlier update) last week with me in them.  Original photos are here.   Warmup, alligator crawls I believe: Drilling passing guard to side control (me on the bottom): Second stage of this pass, throwing the partner to the side as he moves for an armbar/triangle/etc. then landing in side control: Drilling another pass technique, from half-guard to mount (notice my partner’s about to push his knee through after trapping my arm): Nick helping my drilling partner with proper form on a knee bar: Group photo! Nick wanted a group photo of everyone with their shirts off “for his girlfriend” (hrm…)  Apparently I am the only guy in this crew with hair! Afterwards we all went in a circle shaking each other’s hands and exchanging names (yes sometimes women train with us!): P.S. The internet connection here is really crappy and I have occasional formatting issues as a result.  Sorry!

A Typical Day at Tiger Muay Thai

I know everyone wants to see photos and videos – soon!  (if you missed it on Facebook, there is a video posted by the camp on youtube showing a grappling seminar given by Nicolas Gregoriades  from Jujitsu Brotherhood last week here, look for the crazy beard to find me). Until then, I thought it might be interesting to recap a normal day, now that I have started to settle into a routine here: 7:50AM – Drag myself out of bed.  I really want to do this at 6:20AM so that I can get breakfast and do yoga from 7AM-8AM but so far I’ve been too exhausted to actually get up that early.  Pop my two glucosamine chondroitin supplements (for my joints) and a multivitamin, typically two ibuprofen as well. 8:10AM – Breakfast.  Usually two eggs, scrambled, with two pieces of multigrain toast.  Jam on one piece of toast, eggs on the other, no butter/salt.  If I have time after finishing this, I’ll check my e-mail/facebook/etc. really quick. 8:40AM – Start getting ready for the morning