Soi Cowboy Street in Bangkok Thailand

Soi Cowboy is the crazy street in Thailand known for strip clubs and prostitutes, but there are no ping-pong shows here! We visited the street just to people watch and it was quite a show. We saw women aggressively dragging single men into the clubs and offering all sorts of services.

Soi Cowboy is the crazy street in Thailand known for strip clubs and prostitutes, but there are no ping-pong shows here! We visited the street just to people watch and it was quite a show. We saw women aggressively dragging single men into the clubs and offering all sorts of services. They also had a great happy hour deals which I enjoyed and it was an interesting place to visit. Of course, you couldn’t film inside and I only went in quickly to use the bathroom!

Check it out:

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Mushroom Picking in New York City

So many people are curious about picking and cooking mushrooms but fear holds them back. It is never risk-free to eat wild mushrooms, but there are certain kinds that are extremely easy to identify. There are also books, Facebook groups and other recourses that can help you. Never eat anything that you’re not sure about or something that has a poisonous look-a-like.

Fall in New York is amazing for so many reasons. It is finally cold enough to enjoy the city, the fall foliage is breathtaking, you can finally wear those scarves and jackets that have been waiting in the back your closet and *drumroll* you can go mushroom hunting!

Living in China for two years and moving to New York didn’t beat the Czech girl out of me. I grew up picking mushrooms with my parents and I never expected NYC to be mushroom heaven!

In Prague, mushroom hunting is a popular sport and the experts don’t joke around. If you arrive in the forest at 7AM, you’re already late. All you’ll find is stumps of cut off mushrooms that were picked at 4 or 5AM. It’s extremely competitive and almost every Czech does it.

I was so excited to visit Bear Mountain even though it cost a lot on car tolls and the drive was long at almost 2 hours from Brooklyn. I decided to look for mushrooms while we hiked, and the very first tree that I looked at was covered in hen-of-the-woords mushrooms!

This led me to discovering the New York Mycological Society, an amazing group of people who love mushrooms even more than I do! They offer lots of foraging events all over the city and sometimes upstate New York or New Jersey.

So far I joined one event that took place at the Woodlawn Cemetery and Conservancy in the Bronx. For just $5 each (for non-members) we got to join around 20 other people who collected mushrooms for four hours and then came together to identify them. It was really fun despite the horrible weather and I learned so much about local mushrooms!

If you’re coming from Europe like me, please do your research before you go mushroom picking! Certain boletes that are edible in Europe are actually poisonous here in the USA. There are also plenty of edible species here that don’t grow in Europe – that’s why it’s a great idea to start off by going with the Mycological Society, they will teach you the dos and don’ts!

Another thing to be aware of in New York City, is that state parks have strict laws about foraging. Technically, picking mushrooms can get you a fine of up to $250. It is confusing because when you look up the laws, they make it sound like foraging plants and flowers is illegal while mushrooms are an exception, but I keep hearing about people getting fined and pleading ignorance doesn’t always work.

So many people are curious about picking and cooking mushrooms but fear holds them back. It is never risk-free to eat wild mushrooms, but there are certain kinds that are extremely easy to identify. There are also books, Facebook groups and other recourses that can help you. Never eat anything that you’re not sure about or something that has a poisonous look-a-like. I’ve been picking mushrooms my whole life and I still leave anything that is questionable or looks off, even if I’m 99% sure.

Are you an avid mushroom picker and have some tips, stories or want to generously share your favorite spots? Please share in the comments below!

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Govinda’s Vegan Restaurant: Ao Nang, Thailand 2018

Govinda, a vegan restaurant in Ao Nang, Thailand was delicious and the staff was incredibly kind!

Govinda, a vegan restaurant in Ao Nang, Thailand was delicious and the staff was incredibly kind! We arrived over half an hour before opening and sat downstairs waiting. It was pouring and miserable, the owner noticed us waiting and invited us in, carrying our heavy luggage in. It was awesome. We spent and ate way too much but it was worth it!

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News! I opened an Etsy Store, Everyfelt

I have always been a jack of all trades and unfortunately, master of none. It used to embarrass me that I try to pursue so many different things at the same time without being great at any of them, but it’s time to embrace it! When I’m not obsessively filming my travels or writing, I’m crafting! 

I have always been a jack of all trades and unfortunately, master of none. It used to embarrass me that I try to pursue so many different things at the same time without being great at any of them, but it’s time to embrace it! When I’m not obsessively filming my travels or writing, I’m crafting!

Most of my crafts consist of felt toys and learning props, dream catchers, jewelry and more recently decal stickers made with my new Cricut Explore Air 2!

I’ve actually wanted to open an Etsy store for a while now, but other than my felt creations, most of the things I make aren’t 100% original. It feels weird to buy pendants or resin flowers, potentially alter them and put them on hooks or chains and then sell them as my own.

Luckily, Etsy asks who made the product and you can say “another store”. This is what convinced me to put my stuff up. The resin floral earrings, which have been a favorite of mine lately take a lot of work and calluses.  It takes a lot of strength and precision to pierce a hole and figure out how to hang the flowers on hooks in an appealing way, so I’ve gotten over feeling like I’m cheating!

The other earrings or necklaces that I just put on a hook will be marketed exactly as that, made by others. Although let me tell you, it takes a while to put 1,770 pairs of pendants onto hooks… it took me five entire days to be exact! Because when I’m not selling on Etsy, I’m signing up for weekend markets with the help of my charming and bartering assistant, Isaac!

Please feel free to visit my store and check out what I make! If you have any ideas for simple felt toys that I can make and sell, please leave a comment below! I’m still working on my logo and adding the rest of my products. You can follow my progress on my Facebook page, by favoriting the store on Etsy and *drumroll* on my new website, Everyfelt.wordpress.com.

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New York Subway vs. Shanghai Metro

In the last few years I have travelled to some of the busiest countries in the world and visited the most used metros. Tokyo, Seoul, Shanghai and New York are amongst the most heavily trafficked in the world. It was fascinating experiencing all of them and comparing how efficient they were.

In the last few years I have travelled to some of the busiest countries in the world and visited the most used metros. Tokyo, Seoul, Shanghai and New York are amongst the most heavily trafficked in the world. It was fascinating experiencing all of them and comparing how efficient they were.

Tokyo was insane, with hundreds of people politely waiting for staff wielding a u-shaped stick to squeeze people into the cars like sardines. Most of the subway riders wore masks, remained quiet throughout the ride and were as polite as possible under the circumstances. Compared to my experience in China, it was almost hard for me to comprehend, but I’m getting to that…

If you’re returning readers of this blog then you’re probably sick of hearing me whine about the Shanghai metro, please bear with me! The Shanghai metro has over 360 stops and constantly growing. It is super convenient, air-conditioned, ridiculously cheap and surprisingly clean since many people think it’s okay to spit on the ground. The only thing wrong with the Shanghai metro is the passengers.

People on the Shanghai metro only care about themselves and where they are going, except they are also busy looking at their phones so they don’t notice while they hit you in the head, step all over your new shoes and they shove their way on and off the metro as if they are the only ones using it. Every rush hour metro ride that I took got me a new bruise, scratches on my bag and had me contemplating murder – no joke.

For someone who has never experienced it, it’s probably hard to imagine. But nothing ruins your day as much as people who just don’t care about anyone else to the point of acting like animals escaping a wildfire and shoving each other out of the way aggressively (sometimes covered in sweat). When you imagine that there are a billion of these people, it makes you not want to be on this Earth anymore.

“Haha,” people commented on my whiney posts on Facebook, “that sounds just like New York!” Every time I read that, I began to dread my move. I didn’t believe it at first but when everyone I knew in New York kept saying the same thing, I started to think that they might be right. I was very wrong!

The New York subway is the complete opposite of Shanghai. It is dirty, old, not always air-conditioned, it can be extremely inconvenient – for example in Brooklyn, because the trains only go horizontally so you need to go into Manhattan to get from Bushwick to Brighton Beach which is pretty ridiculous.

It is also extremely expensive at $2.75 per ride no matter the destination. Sometimes Google maps will suggest that you transfer in a place where you need to get off the subway and then get back on, which costs you another $2.75! It’s pretty ridiculous.

When it comes to the people, if you think New Yorkers are unfriendly, you haven’t been to Shanghai. The subway can get pretty crowded during rush hour, but people are generally aware of their surroundings. When they pile on into the cars, it’s not quite as organized as Tokyo, but people will make room. In Shanghai you have to push people out of the way because they won’t move an inch and will block off entire areas of free space because they’re too busy looking at their phones to notice it.

Another thing that was really shocking to me was that most New York subway stations have the same place to enter and exit – this would never work in China. People don’t even wait to let people off the subway before they get on. It would be a massacre! I’m not saying that New York is perfect, I actually saw an impatient crowd getting on once before people got off, but one of the passengers yelled “hey, let us get off first” and guess what? They stopped getting on and order prevailed!

It is arguable that the New York subway is more civilized than Shanghai because New York is a much smaller city. Before you laugh at me, Shanghai has 25 million residents compared to New York’s 8.5 million. People in Shanghai are always running and rushing, never helping each other and sometimes New York can be the same, but I’ve never had to carry a heavy bag up any flight of stairs ever, I was always offered help. That never happened in Shanghai… it’s nice to live in a small quiet city now 😉

Earlier on I mentioned Seoul, which is another busy city with a spotless and convenient metro. I would say that the people in Seoul are somewhere in between New York and Shanghai. People are significantly ruder than in New York but less so than in Shanghai. The actual metro is as convenient as Shanghai, as clean as Tokyo (they get money back if they see a spill, etc.) and more modern than both because they take credit card payments like buses in Sweden!

Comparing all the factors, New York is by far the most expensive, dirtiest, least convenient of Shanghai, Tokyo and Seoul. But while rats and dripping walls can be ignored or avoided, people are harder to tune out – especially when they are trying to sell you bags and touching your phone over your shoulder (yes, that happened).

There are definitely crazy people in New York and they do ride the subway. Unlike in Shanghai, these people are the minority. Multiply the rudest person you’ve seen on the NY subway by 25 million and then you can imagine what it’s like in Shanghai.

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Maze Bar (100 Rooftop Bar) in Da Lat, Vietnam 2018

From the moment we set foot in Da Lat, all that we heard other tourists talking about was the Maze Bar also know as 100 Roofs Bar/100 Rooftop Bar – supposedly, the coolest bar in all of Vietnam!

From the moment we set foot in Da Lat, all that we heard other tourists talking about was the Maze Bar also know as 100 Roofs Bar/100 Rooftop Bar – supposedly, the coolest bar in all of Vietnam! We decided to investigate, but as an old married couple we went as soon as it opened.

To be fair, it was a long day full of walking around the lake, paddle boating and hunting for an avocado smoothie at the market. We had also heard from one girl that when she was at the bar at night, it was extremely crowded. So we were excited to have a little bit of breathing room, but we did not expect to be the only people there!

The Maze Bar is designed by the same architect as the Crazy House. It is colorful, crazy and there are secret passages/short cuts everywhere. You can climb through a hole in the wall and end up on a different floor! Some of the spaces felt claustrophobic enough while the place was empty. I can’t even imagine it full of crowded drunk people. Luckily, or maybe unfortunately… safety regulations are much lower in Vietnam!

Compared to regular Vietnam prices, this place is a bit pricey. You have to get a drink to go inside and it is really hard to find a trash can once you’re in the maze. Even though we were the first people to visit for the day, we found lots of discarded cups from the night before. I can’t even imagine what cleaning the place must be like so I wasn’t too bothered by it.

I definitely recommend that all Da Lat tourists visit the Maze Bar at some point on their trip. I’d recommend coming super early and seeing it empty to explore properly but also visiting when it’s a little more exciting. If you’re not a paranoid or claustrophobic person, then maybe stay until it’s packed to the brim! Just don’t drink too much because it might take you a while to find a bathroom. Even the bathrooms are beautiful by the way, so find one even if you don’t need to go!

If you’re here and have the need to come up for some fresh air, go to the very top – unfortunately I can’t give you directions. There is a nice balcony overlooking the street and an entire outdoor area perfect for a breather before you descend back into the madness.

While you’re visiting this crazy place, make sure to find the underwater-themed room. The beautiful sea creatures and vibrant colors were my favorite part of the entire bar. Don’t miss out on it! The reason I’m so insistent that you visit when it’s empty, is so that you can actually see everything the Maze Bar has to offer – there might be people blocking off your passages in and out of some of the coolest spots.

Photo from a great blog post about Vietnam, Two Wandering Soles6 Adventurous Things To Do in Da Lat, Vietnam

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Paddle Boats on Xuan Huong Lake: Da Lat, Vietnam

One of travel traditions is going on paddle boats in as many countries as possible. As soon as we saw the Swan Boats on Xuan Huong Lake in Da Lat, we knew we had to go! For just $2 per boat for an hour, you can paddle around the lake and enjoy some beautiful views.

One of travel traditions is going on paddle boats in as many countries as possible. As soon as we saw the Swan Boats on Xuan Huong Lake in Da Lat, we knew we had to go! For just $2 per boat for an hour, you can paddle around the lake and enjoy some beautiful views.

The lake is quite large and has a surprisingly strong current so we had to keep paddling! If you’re here in July, like we were, don’t forget to put on sunscreen because the sun is strong. In case you enjoy drinking wine or beer while paddle boating as much as we do, Vietnam doesn’t seem to have any laws against it. You can get some pretty great photos from the boat so don’t forget to bring your camera.

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Mealworm Mondays: Livin Farm’s Hive, Full Cycle

This week’s Mealworm Monday features the full cycle of the Hive, the world’s first edible insect desktop farm by Livin Farms! The Hive is the world’s first edible insect desktop farm that can provide 3-600 nutritious grams of mealworms every two weeks, perfect for entovegans like my husband or anyone who wants a more sustainable form of protein in their lives…

This week’s Mealworm Monday features the full cycle of the Hive, the world’s first edible insect desktop farm by Livin Farms! The Hive is the world’s first edible insect desktop farm that can provide 3-600 nutritious grams of mealworms every two weeks, perfect for entovegans like my husband or anyone who wants a more sustainable form of protein in their lives. You can read more about the Hive in my past articles or on the Livin Farms website. Check out the video below!

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