Monday, January 30, 2006

Angkor Wat

I just spent the last few days checking out the temples of Angkor Wat and hanging out in Siam Reap with two girls I met on the bus. Our first day, we caught motorcyles out to the killing fields. Choosing your driver is a little like picking your sports team in grade school. All the boys line up, hoping you pick them, and you have to select one. I chose the meekest looking of the bunch and immediately sensed that he doesn't get selected much because the group went nuts when I chose him, whistling and teasing him as he looked at his feet. I couldn't understand his name because he was so shy, so I started calling him Pirate because it sounded close enough. I later learned that it was Arat.

At the killing fields a young Cambodian boy asked if he could take his photo with me. I agreed and just as Kat took the photo, the little dirt leaned in to kiss me. It is a hilarious photo because
I dodged him just in time and am laughing as he kisses my cheek, but sadly I know this boy is going to grow up to be a boob-grabber. Do they breed these guys here in Asia or something? We then went to watch the sunset from the top of one of the temples. Driving home on the back of the motorcyle, we passed Angkor Wat and it was beautiful surrounded with mist coming off of the water.

The next day we toured a number of temples on motorcyles. I would try to explain what they are like, but I cannot even begin to explain how amazing they are. Even my photos won't be able to give you the feeling of how magical they are. That evening we were invited to a Chinese New Years party by a friend of the drivers that I had chatted with. The family was so generous, including us as one of their own, sharing a massive spread of curry, soup, noodles, chicken and booze. There were fireworks and karaoke and at midnight we hopped onto the back of our drivers' motorcycles - unfortunately I was wearing a skirt that was pretty much shoved up to my waist for the drive - for an ice cream run.

The damn drivers also taught me how to play a Cambodian card game. Learning the game quickly and loving cards, I was easily sucked in to play for money. After a few lucky hands I was doing quite well and then the Cambodian trash talking started - drivers tossing cards at me, booing and throwing money at me when I won. This winning streak was short lived. Soon I had lost $5 US - not much, but quite a bit considering that they were $0.10 hands. Every time I passed one of them for the next three days they motioned for me to come play again. They claimed to enjoy my company and had no interest in my cash (yeah right). I never did win my money back...

Our last day we toured Angkor Wat itself, spending hours looking at all of the intricate carving and stonework. Kat and I did fashion poses on the steps of the temple, modeling the ridiculous hat that her driver had given her as a gift. It was hideous with a massive red bow on it. She didn't want to hurt his feelings, so she wore it the entire day. That night we went into town for too many cheap glasses of white wine, the longest game of pool ever and a tuk-tuk drive home that ended with us screaming "Happy Chinese New Year" along with our driver to everyone and every dog (it is the year of the dog!) we passed on the road.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Holiday in Cambodia

Things I Did To Pass The Time During My Horrible Never-Ending 14-Hour Bus Trip From Bangkok to Siam Reap

1. Try to rationalize that wheel-well seat on the bus is not so bad - must have been highly coveted on the school bus in grade six for some reason.
2. Try to adjust and find place to sit where driver cannot look up my skirt. Abandon this after 15 minutes when realize it is futile because of wheel-well seat. Give driver dirty look in mirror every time his eyes venture to my crotch.
3. Catalogue every teacher I ever have had. Try to remember one distinct thing about each one.
4. Make list of every boy I have ever kissed. Edit the best characteristics of these boys into one super boyfriend. Edit the worst characteristic of these boys into world's worst boyfriend.
5. Invent imaginary "ultimate mates" for each person on the bus. Create Austrian skier and urologist named Hans for German girl next to me. Wonder what their children will be like.
6. Develop rationing strategy to stretch my precious Oreo cookies for what is only supposed to be a 10 hour trip. Abandon strategy 5 hours into the trip when, in a fit of dispair, utter boredom and hunger, I eat all 10 cookies at once.
7. Contemplate childhood sports I have not thought about in years - soccerbaseball, the shuttle run, t-ball, wallball, crabsoccer, the parachute, double dutch, fitness circuit... Debate merit of each sport and likelihood of ever being accepted into the Olympics. Decide that soccerbaseball has best hope and that fitness circuit is least hopeful.
8. Impress self by composing first Haiku since grade 5:

Inhale hot rust air
Rattling to Siem Reap
Green fields burn cayenne

9. Try to decide what bus ride feels like. Feels like I have been in a never-ending magnitude 10 earthquake for hours and hours. Feels like I am a kernel in a hot air popper. Feels like I have played 20 of the roughest games of hockey in my life...back-to-back. Feels like infinity.
10. Realize why all Cambodians at the border were pointing and laughing at our bus as we drove past - it is because I am on the world's shittiest bus.
11. Begin to consider what could make bus ride worse...then doors fly open after a particularly large pothole - resembling a crater on the moon - knocking bags into the dust on the "road" and will not shut again for rest of trip. Hours later bus gets two flat tires, dragging trip on longer and making it even bumpier.
12. Wonder if an equation exists to calculate how much dust I have inhaled.
13. Stare out window into darkness for last three hours and sweat while tossed around.
14. Numb. Numb. Numb.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

An Open Letter to the Monkeys of Lopburi

Dear Monkeys,

I thought you were cute. You were the reason I went to Lopburi in the first place. A city full of monkeys running loose sounded like fun to me. Sadly, you turned out to be a bunch of assholes.

I was excited when I realized I was staying across the street from where you live. I was even more excited when I saw that my room was on the roof, giving me a wonderful view of all of you. However, I did wonder why there was chicken wire everywhere and why the owner of my guesthouse shot at you with a slingshot.

The first monkey I saw up close was admittedly a little disappointing. He had only one eye and sat there scratching his red balls. Maybe you know him. He looks like he would have a monkey nickname like "One-Eyed Red Sack" or something. The next monkey I saw jumped on the chicken wire and began shrieking and hissing at me as he frantically rocked the fencing back and forth with his body, like he wanted to break in and eat me. Then another of your monkey friends gave me a dirty look, crapped in his hand and threw it at me. That's when I looked closer at you guys, looked deep into your eyes, and realized that your eyes were not the eyes of cuteness. Your eyes are the eyes of horror movie monkeys.

Now Monkeys of Lopburi, I don't think that this was much of a welcome for a new visitor, and when you all began shrieking outside my bedroom at 7:30 am, I was really pissed. You are ungracious hosts.

In the morning I tried to keep an open mind when I went to see you at the temples. I arrived just as a group of tourists generously served you a massive feast that any of the city's homeless would have been happy to receive. Hundreds of you came running and began eating everything in sight. You were disgusting. I watched as you gorged yourselves, tearing food apart, fighting with one another, food caught in your beards. It was a monkey food orgy. I even watched as some of you began to eat the visitors' offerings for the Budhha and tear apart the baskets that the visitors brought the food in.

I have to say though, that my breaking point came when I decided to get away from the feeding frenzy action. That's when some of you ambushed me. Now Monkeys, I am certain your response will be that I am stupid for having wandered away from the relative safety of the other tourists, but I just wanted to look around. I took the bait provided by a cute monkey and was taking a photo - stepping into your trap - when one of you, I didn't get a positive ID, jumped on my back and tried some sort of monkey "backpack" wrestling move on me.

This obviously freaked me out. I wasn't ready for the "Monkey Backpack" move. I countered by screaming and spinning around, knocking this criminal monkey onto my bag. I looked down and he was gnawing on my waterbottle. I tried to bargain with him by whimpering, "Please get off. Please get off me." He did not reply. Apparently diplomacy does not work with the Monkeys of Lopburi. All I could think about was getting rabies or monkey-pox, but at least your monkey comrade did not bite or scratch me. Finally, I grabbed for the plastic bottle and beat the monkey on the head with it. He retreated and I left. This was a rather unpleasant experience.

Monkeys, you used to be my favourite animal. I loved you, but you betrayed me. So I am writing to tell you that you have been demoted - all of you - you vile, vile creature. Penguins are now number 1.


Della Rollins

P.S. I know that it was you who sent your lizard friend into my room last night too. I bet you thought that it was funny and laughed about it all day around the monkey watercooler. Assholes.

Saturday, January 21, 2006


I am outside a Wat in front of a giant Budhha in Ayutthaya. It is sunny and I am surrounded by walls of cross-legged stone Buddhas. I feel a hand touch me softly on my side and look down to see a young Thai boy, about 8 years old, looking up at me. I wait for him to ask me for money. He doesn't. Instead, he shyly looks down and draws a perfect yellow flower from behind his back. He hands it to me as he kicks the dirt in an "aw-shucks" kind of way. I wait for him to ask for for money. He doesn't. I am shocked. He just continues to look at his feet and kick the dirt. Then he runs away.

I try to call after him, but he has hidden behind one of the Buddhas and will only peek out at me. As I walk around the wat, I see that he is following me, pretending not to stare when I turn. Eventually I call him over and try to ask his name. He does not undersatnd. I ask if I can take his picture. He agrees but will only scowl seriously for the photo. I show him the photo and he begins to laugh uncontrollably. He walks at my side, silently, to the exit of the wat and waves. I trun around as I leave and I see that he is still staring at me.

Since then, I have begun to notice that Thai men stare at me. Not in a gross, sleazy way, but in more of the way that boys look at girls in grade eight. They are interested in talking to me, but are strangely afraid. It seems innocent and does not freak me out.
I am not used to this. This does not happen to me in Canada.

They take double takes as I walk down the street. They jostle their friends and giggle as I walk past. They slow down their car in an obvious way so that they
can stare at me and smile. As I look at giant reclining buddhas, wats and ruins in Ayutthaya, countless numbers of them politely ask to take photos with me. After I while I can recognize the ones who are mounting the courage to ask me for a photo. I cannot comprehend this. I always think they are asking me to
take a photo of them, but instead they want a photo with me. What would any of them want with a photo of a girl they had never spoken to? I make sure that none of them grab my boob as we pose. And as four men jump to help me to put my bag away on the train, I realize that in Canada I am plain, but here in Thailand, for the first time in my life, I am exotic.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Panda Sex and Thai Reality Television

Being back in Thailand is like hooking up with an ex-boyfriend, comfortable and familiar, but lacking that original spark. Still, as I wait in Bangkok for my Indian visa to be processed, there have been moments to remind me why I fell in love with Thailand in the first place.

Always the benchmark for serious journalism, on the flight in I was not surprised to see that the front page of the Bangkok Post featured a photo of two pandas having sex, full-on going at it. The accompanying article explained that this was the first time the Chiang Mai zoo's pandas had mated. In true Bangkok Post style, the story included a detailed description of how the pandas had sex. Clearly front page stuff.

The other front page story was that Thailand's leader is participating in a reality television series. In an effort to boost sagging polls, he is in a poor part of the country randomly giving away money and land. Cameras will follow the leader for days and will even show scenes of him bathing. Could you see Paul Martin doing this?

Much of what I loved about Thailand was there as I walked through Bangkok's streets the past few days - the Buddhist monks wrapped in their saffron robes with their shaved heads, sitting cross-legged, thin like stick men, reading a book under a tree - smiling tuk-tuk drivers calling out "Hello Cindarella!" to me from across the street - vendors, packed onto sidewalks, deep frying springrolls, dishing up curry and serving sweets to uniformed Thai children after the school day - men playing Thai chess in the park to escape the heat - the sweet smell of the Bangkok streets, strangely reminding me of baking, a mix of incense, cooking oil and fish sauce - kids splashing and laughing as they wash clothes in the river - the sun setting behind Wat Arun, causing a hazy silhouette of the temple against the river.

But just like any ex-boyfriend, I am also reminded of some of the things that I didn't like in Bangkok the first time - the way your throat hurts from the pollution at the end of the day, the nouveau-hippies (as I described to Matt in an e-mail) that walk around barefoot in fraying clothes and dirty rags wrapped around their heads - styrafoam containers and plastic bags floating in the filthy river - and, of course, the mangy homeless street dogs that sniff me, stare at me with their black empty eyes and that insist on sitting next to me as they raise their back leg to lazily scratch the fleas behind their ears.

Ahhh the Bangkok I ever remember the Bangkok dogs. Those dogs alone were grounds for the break up in the first place.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Big Time Sumo

Who knew that watching hours of nasty, obese, sweaty, half-naked, thong-wearing Japanese men could be so much fun? I officially love sumo.

My family ventured out to day eight of the new year's sumo tournament in Tokyo and it was amazing. There are only a handful of tournaments a year, so these fights are quite popular and the stadium was sold out. The matches are short, but intense and violent (much more violent than I expected), and sumo has a great deal of tradition and ceremony that is fascinating to watch, if not a little difficult to understand at times. Often there will be several minutes of salt throwing, squatting, leg lifting, chest slapping and intimidating staring before a fight starts, and sometimes they are over in as little as 5 seconds.

There are many different ways to win a fight - each one with a special Japanese name - but it seems like pretty much anything goes to win...slamming, slapping, grabbing, shoving, pushing, lifting and, my favourite, flipping. You just have to get your oponent to either step out of the ring or to have him touch the ground inside the ring with any portion of his body other than his feet.

In the subway station we saw a young wrestler from the tournament getting off the train to walk to his fight. I was surprised to see that he arrived by subway, but I guess you have to get to the arena somehow. I was told that some of the more established wrestlers catch a cab to the game and only a few of the more senior ones have drivers. Can you imagine Sidney Crosby arriving to an NHL game by bus?

Later, I walked down to the first bowl to get a few photos and the more junior wrestlers who had just competed were hanging around in their sumo hair and robes, watching the bouts and eating popcorn (is that part of their training diet?). I talked to one who said that he had won his fight. I considered showing him "the backpack", my signature wrestling move for his next fight (the backpack involves jumping onto your oponent's back, strapping your arms around their shoulders and wrapping your legs around their waste in backpack-like fashion) but thought that perhaps he might not understand it. I mean, first there is the language barrier and second, it is a pretty complex and avant-guarde move. I'm not sure sumo is ready for the backpack.

After watching a few of the lesser known junior wrestlers enter the building we took our seats and watched hours and hours of sumo (thankfully there was English commentary on radios you could rent). The senior fights opened with a novice wrestler, who had just moved up to the senior ranking, taking on a vetran that was twice his size and considerably more experienced. It was so exciting to see this little guy trounce the vetran, flipping him over his shoulder off the mat and into the crowd, both of them landing on top of a tiny Japanese woman in the front row. You should have seen the first aid team scurrying to help her.

We also got to see the popular high ranking Bulgarian sumo wrestler destroy the Mongolian we were cheering for (my brother, mom and aunt and uncle met him at the sumo practice a few weeks ago - no one knew that he was so highly ranked!). And we ate...and ate...and ate...and ate some more. It was just like a hockey game, although without the rock music, organ, advertising or half-time shows (although the Japanese are much more reserved, but they do get quite drunk just like at the Leafs game). They even had the souvenir stands with photos of sumo stars, chocolate sumo wrestlers and mini bobblehead-like dolls of the top guys.

So be warned. I picked up a few new wrestling moves of my own here in Tokyo at the match. I am now more than just "the backpack". You had better be prepared for my return home. I'm ready to kick some ass, Sumo styles.

Accomplishment of Love Match

So if Hiroshima was the City of Peace then I dub Kyoto the City of Love.

Kyoto is full of hundreds of stunning shrines and temples, each one preying on a fundamental human desire by selling some charm or prayer block promising longevity, wisdom, money, success, good traffic (??) or, of course, love...all for a small price. Clearly there are a lot of people who want a lot of things from life and many seem think that spending $0.50 in Japan will get them whatever it is they are seeking.

So the love started at the Golden Pavillion where an old man outside a temple approached me with a fistfull of candles. Seeing that the candles were only $0.50 I bought one and watched as his face lit up and he excitedly pointed to the Japanese characters on it. Of course I did not understand what they meant, so he led me the table where he kept the various candles - for "Good employement", "To pass examinations", for "Happy family" - and showed me that I had selected "Accomplishment of love match". I inquired about a "What the hell should I do with my life?" candle (which surprisingly they do not sell) and even tried to trade it for the "Safe Travels" candle, but he refused to switch. So I lit the candle at the temple and continued on to the Imperial Palace.

Freeman, a high school friend, joined me for my second day in Kyoto. The first temple we visited was Kiyomizu-dera, a series of pagodas, temple and shrines on a hill overlooking the city. After wandering around in the crazy rain we arrived at the "Love Stone" where people try to ensure success in love by walking a fair distance between a pair of stones with their eyes closed. It is said that if you miss walking into the stone that your desire for love will not be fulfilled, but that if you hit the rock that your wish for love will come true shortly. I am not sure how walking with your eyes closed, hoping to walk into or trip over a large rock, will bring me love, but good news - Freeman and I both managed to collide with the rock.

And the love continued at the foot of the hills where there were Japanese drinking water that spilled over a temple into three streams. Understanding only that the water was clearly sacred and held therapeutic values, we decided to drink it (happy that the Japanese have steralization machines for the communal cups). As Freeman was about to dip his cup into one of the three streams, a Japanese woman told me that each of the streams is supposed to bring something different - wisdom, longevity or....yes, you know So in keeping with the love-fest in Kyoto, I yelled at Freeman to drink from the love stream and did the same myself.

Now, I would like to be able to tell you that all the lovefying in Kyoto led me to immediately achieve my "accomplishment of love match" in Kyoto, but sadly that did not happen. There was a moment of fear at the Imperial Palace when, immediately after lighting the "Accomplishment of love match" candle, a young Austrian girl started talking to me. I thought that perhaps the gods mistakenly thought that a woman was my "love match" or that the man had accidentally covered the word "lesbian" on "Accomplishment of lesbian love match", but fortunately I knew that she was NOT my love match.

So HE'S still out there somewhere, and I know this because I paid $0.50 to burn a candle, I walked between two rocks with my eyes shut and drank some dirty water...all for love.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Hiroshima: City of Peace and Boob-Grabbing

Hiroshima, having suffered the horrible misfortune of being the bullseye for the first atomic bomb, has named itself the City of Peace. While visiting the Hiroshima A-bomb museum, I felt incredibly disappointed in humanity, but actually left feeling uplifted because so many people had written poignant entries about peace in the journals provided by the museum. It seemed to me that humans had learned their lesson from the bombing and that Hiroshima was the perfect city to represent peace. In fact, after leaving the museum and strolling through the Peace Park as the sun was setting, I was starting feeling that human beings were actually a nice lot.

This feeling was reinforced when a pleasant middle-aged Japanese man started to talk to me - people are so nice! - asking me where I was from - humanity will be fine!, telling me what to see around Hiroshima - so generous! - and even saying that he thought that I was beautiful - so kind!. So when he asked if he could take a picture with me, I willingly obliged - world peace is just around the corner!. He politely wrapped his arm around me, smiled broadly as the photo was taken...

And then he grabbed my breast - is this the universal sign for world peace?.

Now, if at first I thought that he had accidentally grabbed my boob, I was left with no doubt when he lecherously leaned across me, allowing me to smell the alcohol on his breath, and tried for the other one - what the hell is he grabbing MY boob for anyway?. After wrestling out of his grip, flustered, I whimpered something in Japanese, which was probably " Saka-nah" (the word for fish - perhaps not as versatile as I first thought) before running away - Saka-nah!?! Why did I not learn to say "go f*ck yourself in Japanese? Trying to gain my composure, I noticed that he was stumbling along following me, ruining the effect of all the peaceful statues, monuments and gardens.

I finally lost him at the A-bomb dome, the ultimate symbol of the bombing. This structure is stunning, in an eerie way, and I was trying to calm down by taking some photos when I heard screaming from behind me. This was not polite, slightly raised voice yelling, this was foaming-at-the-mouth-evil-I-am-going-to-kill-you screaming. I turned to see a Japanese photographer yelling at another man a few steps down in the river. Alarmed, I turned to watch him begin to assault this man, shoving him and hitting him with his camera tri-pod.

Seeing that I was watching him, he then began screaming at me and started to race towards me, clearly prepared to begin shoving me - what the hell? first sexually assaulted, now verbally assaulted, and soon to be physically assaulted in the Hiroshima Peace Park?? My mind racing - my final hopes for humanity crushed! - I prepared to turtle as the man got closer...and then two Australian guys came to my rescue, saving me from forever thinking that humans were an evil bunch. Turns out they had started following me because they were worried after they saw Boob-grabber molest and then follow me.

And just for good measure, to fully restore my faith in people, they took me out for dinner and drinks. Yes, humans can be a nice lot sometimes...

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Fine, Some "Real" Photos Then

Ok so a few of you wrote me to complain that they wanted to see some "real" photos of Japan (what, the SARS Hunter gallery doesn't count Nichole?).

So here is a taste. If you want to see more,

Or send me an e-mail at and I'll send you an invite to my online album.

Monday, January 09, 2006

SARS Hunter Gallery - A Selection

Just a little example of the Rollins photographic talent...

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Saka-Nah and SARS Hunting

I think that Saka-nah (Japanese for "fish") is the most versatile word I've learned because it feels like the only one I use outside of "thank you". In Osaka when we couldn't find the aquarium, I stopped to ask someone (who spoke no English) where it was. After a few seconds of her speaking to me in Japanese and just moments before I began to mime fish (which would have really confused her), I blurted out "Saka nah!" Strangely enough, she understood we were looking for the aquarium and directed us there.

So at the Tokyo Fish Market, when I saw three guys manhandling the largest fish I had ever seen, I pointed at it and smiling proudly said "Saka-nah." I expected them to be encouraging of my efforts to speak Japanese, but the fish guys looked at me like I was the stupidest person they had ever seen.
For some reason, I thought maybe they didn't understand me, so I said "Saka-nah!" again, this time slower and louder. One guy stared at me blankly and finally nodded slowly before quickly turning his back on me. Initially discouraged, I thought about it on the subway home and came to the conclusion that it would like Japanese tourists showing up at my office, excitedly taking photos at my desk and then pointing to my phone and saying "phone!" I'd think they were idiots too. Ahhhh...Saka-nah...what a great word.

The fish market was amazing - a collection of Japanese men scurrying around on scooter-type machines, furiously emptying strange insect-like seafood from styrafoam containers and hacking out massive chunks of deep red tuna with hatchets. I saw fish heads the size of small end tables discarded in huge piles of blood. Most disturbing of all, I watched as a man reached into a deep container of water, pulled out fish by the tail and then clubbed them before hacking their heads off. Sadly, you could still see the fish gasping for air and twitching. Last night we had sushi with raw tuna and as I was eating it, all I could picture were the bodies of headless tuna and fish flipping around in bloody water. I had one piece and that was all I could eat.

Scott and I spent that afternoon playing a game that we found hilarous (but my parents did not) called SARS Hunter, which basically entailed one of us pretending to take random photos of a Rollins family member, but at the last second moving the camera to take a photo of a SARS mask-wearing person. It soon degenerated into us taking random photos of anyone wearing a SARS mask. It was so ridiculous, but each photo sent Scott and I into shrieks of laughter and provoked tut-tutting, head shaking and nasty looks from our parents. This provided hours of fun. We now have a great SARS Hunter gallery. I promise to post some SARS hunter art in my next entry.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Penguins in Osaka?

You always know it's a good time when penguins are involved...

Arriving in Osaka, Scott and I realized it was a holiday in Japan. So it felt like Boxing Day, with hoards of Japanese greedily buying unecessary items just because of a large red SALE sticker or because they were enticed into the store by a young, scantily clad Japanese woman screaming like a bleating sheep over a megaphone.

Mostly it was young girls shopping, wearing the requisite Teen Skank Uniform of Japan - bare legs under a mini jean skirt with something hanging off it (fur, chains or charms), some t-shirt with gold applique or a Bedazzler motif, a short puffy jacket with a fur lined hood and tall high heel cowboy boots that make for ridiculous bowlegged, zig-zaggy, heel dragging, almost toppling over, painfully slow walking. There are so many of them. They must be clones. They freak me out.

We grabbed some ramen and wandered through arcades watching guys play videogames with names like Guitar Freak, Drum Master, Drunken Bar Fight and some game with DJ turntables. After lunch we went to Osaka castle. Like pretty much every other major castle, shrine or temple in Japan, it's a replica of the original. Pretty much everything was destroyed in an earthquake, a bombing during the war or was burned down by some zealot religious freak. It's too bad, but the replacement castle looked nice and was shiny.

That night Scott and I joined Meg for some Yakatori, octopus balls and many beer and then slept in what must be the world's smallest hotel room.
The next day Scott and I ventured to the Osaka aquarium, which my guide book say is the world's largest aquarium. What it also failed to mention is that it is also the world's COOLEST aquarium!! I was sold the second we walked up and saw Emperor penguins waddling out front like drunken frosh, just hanging out, peeing on the fake snow and every once in a while screeching before flipping onto their belly. I am so down with the penguins. I LOVE them (as many of you know who have met 'Guin, my penguin golf club cover).

The aquarium had lot to see underwater, including a whale shark, otters, more penguins (!!!), sea lions, a bunch of freaky fish and about a billion dirty, screaming Japanese kids, who were awfully pushy and shreaked a lot. Don't worry. Whenever one of them pushed past me (yeah, I want to see them feed the otters too kid!), I made sure I shoved them back. Hard. These Japanese kids know not to mess with me, even if they are my size. I kicked some ass in that aquarium. I could have spent the whole day watching fish and shoving Japanese kids, and I was even more excited when I got to pet a live shark before we left.

Penguins, whale sharks, shoving Japanese kids...Osaka kicks ass.