26,768 reputation
879247
bio website en.wiktionary.org/wiki/…
location Tamarama, Australia
age
visits member for 3 years, 4 months
seen 10 hours ago

Backpacking since Christmas Day, 1989. Hitchhiking since mid 2010.

I've just returned home after hitchhiking around Asia for the last 9.5 months.


Sep
2
comment Why do some hotels etc and other accommodation have rules against washing clothes in your room or in the sink?
@pnuts: I've seen both. Signs telling you not to use the ones in your room. Signs saying not to use the handbasin in the bathroom or the sink for dishes I'm pretty sure at campgrounds.
Aug
28
comment Another scenic pass, near the Stelvio pass
It's not near the Stelvio Pass, but in the Romanian Carpathians you will find the Transfăgărășan, which replaced the Stelvio Pass as "the world's best road" in the opinion of Top Gear a few years back.
Aug
27
comment Identify waterside building / skyline
@MaxVernon: I tried Google image search and TinEye. TinEye seems to manage only for edited versions of the very same image and not different photos of the same subject. Google image search didn't work with my image combined with "Denmark" or "Aarhus" but it does work combined with "Isbjerget" now that we know what it's called (-:
Aug
27
comment Identify waterside building / skyline
Aha! I had a feeling it was Denmark but doing Google image searches with "Denmark" and other hints didn't uncover it.
Aug
27
comment Airport boarding fee in La Paz, Bolivia
Is this "El Alto International Airport" (LPB)?
Aug
27
comment What popular western web services don't work in mainland China?
Yes if you do manage to get Wi-Fi you'll have a lot fewer hassles, just those imposed by the Great Firewall of China. But in my two months travelling on and off the major tourist path Wi-Fi is never available in ineternet cafes and seldom in the cheaper hotels. But always in hostels.
Aug
27
comment What popular western web services don't work in mainland China?
There were two main reasons and one suspected reason: 1) Most of these use ancient and broken Internet Explorer 6, have no other browsers installed, and have management software to prevent you from installing new software. 2) There will be a crap-ton of malware, adware, and crapware installed, most of which is China-specific, only in Chinese, intrusive, buggy, and you won't be familiar with. 3) Some of the intrusive stuff installed could be spying on you either officially by secret government or unofficially due to corruption.
Aug
27
comment What popular western web services don't work in mainland China?
You might have considerable trouble signing in to StackExchange from an internet cafe or hotel room computer though. And you might have trouble finding Wi-Fi if you're not staying in a backpacker hostel.
Aug
26
comment What makes a backpack a women's backpack?
There is a structural element due to differences in typical male and female physiologies, but there is also a marketing element. Companies making women's backpacks that are different from their men's backpacks only in their naming and colour choices would be taking a pretty cynical approach. I'm a guy but my current backpack is a women's backpack because the girl who bought it decided it was too big for her. It's by a big name brand though so surely does have structural differences but works great for me since it was free (-:
Aug
24
comment If a baby is born on an international flight over international waters, what nationality are they?
Current news articles on children born stateless. Both include interested relevant information: Stateless babies: Born into a world without citizenship from The Houston Chronicle, and Nowhere to call home: The changing face of the world’s non-citizens from The Economist.
Aug
24
comment If a baby is born on an international flight over international waters, what nationality are they?
Related current news: ‘Secret’ proposal would nix citizen rights for babies born in Canada
Aug
20
comment As a native English speaker, which two further languages would give me the most travel utility worldwide?
Interpreting things as we like is subjectivity. Stack Exchange requires objectivity. Otherwise all answers are correct and all answers are incorrect, depending on who likes to interpret it how. Given that we're embracing vagueness then the second English of the world is definitely between Spanish and French. Arabic, Chinese, and Russian are each a local English in this regard to their respective large portions of the planet.
Aug
20
comment As a native English speaker, which two further languages would give me the most travel utility worldwide?
@Sam: If Stack Exchange has not devolved into a forum then we can note that safety is not among the factors under consideration in the OP's question, and hence has no bearing on the position of a language in the table. It has tons of bearing on subjective opinion of course.
Aug
20
comment As a native English speaker, which two further languages would give me the most travel utility worldwide?
This is a great forum question. But as Stack Exchange has been telling us for years, they do not run forums. They run Q&A sites for objective questions which ideally have "one correct answer". This is not an objective question in its current form but a popular subjective question many people have an opinion on. The closest to an objective answer is "either Spanish or French". After that it's all subjective. You have the opportunity to revise the question, if possible, to reduce the subjectivity and opinions and get more concrete answers.
Aug
19
comment As a native English speaker, which two further languages would give me the most travel utility worldwide?
I agree with you re Malay/Indonesian. It's surely almost as easy to learn as Spanish for a monolingual English speaker. I was 46 when I tackled Mandarin. Two months in China and one month in Taiwan. One thing I learned is that many pronounce both the words and the phonemes differently in different areas, especially minorities for whom Mandarin is a second language. I still got the travel basics like asking where something is and ordering food and drinks, including menus without English. But in both countries there were lots of westerners in my hostels who were conversational in Chinese.
Aug
19
comment As a native English speaker, which two further languages would give me the most travel utility worldwide?
Your comments on Mandarin are based on assumptions. Everyone I know who learned as a foreigner talks ceaselessly about how easy it is. All struggled with the tones, most did not master the tones at all yet many became fluent. Another deficiency in OP's question is no mention of spoken vs written language. In any case picking up enough characters to be useful in China and Japan is pretty easy. Learning enough to read a newspaper or book is not at all easy but also not at all impossible.
Aug
19
comment As a native English speaker, which two further languages would give me the most travel utility worldwide?
This shows part of the problem in the question. Do we just want to get the gist of what signs say and what people around us are saying? Do we want just travel basics "how much is it?", "where is the toilet?"? Do we want to be able to communicate, and if so to which degree of fluency? Just knowing Spanish plus some clues on French pronunciation and spelling get me very far with Italian and Portuguese but far less in Romanian than I expected, despite multiple lengthy visits. The same works with Slavic languages if you just learn Russian of course.
Aug
19
comment As a native English speaker, which two further languages would give me the most travel utility worldwide?
Ukraine is safe to travel in. Crimea is safe to travel in. The part of eastern Ukraine with large numbers of ethnic Russians is not safe to travel in. Russia's North Caucasus is not safe to travel in, including Chechnya, Dagestan, Ingushetia, etc. In any case the OP does not mention either current safety in mid 2014 or general safety in recent history, hence off-topic for this question.
Aug
19
comment As a native English speaker, which two further languages would give me the most travel utility worldwide?
And on the other side, if all of your other requirements are what you're really asking about, and not utility, then it's going to come down to personal opinions and assumptions rather than facts. The only clear winner no matter which way you slice it is Spanish. Everything else is going to be argued about unless you clarify the utility part of the question and minimize the subjective component.
Aug
19
comment As a native English speaker, which two further languages would give me the most travel utility worldwide?
It's really not clear what you're asking! You state it's about utility but in your details you don't talk about utility, you talk about a bunch of your preferences. The only thing you give us to clarify what you mean by utility is "most usefulness in any given country". You do not say whether you mean the most number of countries regardless of size or population. Do you want the languages that gain you communication with "the most people" or just with "some people in the most country"? The difference is bigger than you think if you just consider China and India.