Bits and Pieces

We decided to keep track of some fun facts during our PigFish travels. This page will be frequently amended and updated as our travels progress. If there is something else you would like to see on this page, just let us know.

Countries visited:

2021:  1 (USA — although does it really count if you are stuck there?)

2020: 3 (Colombia, Ecuador, United States).

2019:  8 (Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, USA, Mexico, France, Spain, France, Italy, USA).

2018: 7 (Thailand (X3), Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam).

2015: 19 (Thailand (three times), Myanmar, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, South Africa, England, Wales, Scotland, U.S. (don’t ask), Belize, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Hong Kong (own currency & government equals new country?), Macau (see Hong Kong).

Favorite Country:

2021:

Robert:

Lisa:

2020:

Robert:  Ecuador.

Lisa:  Colombia.

2019:

Robert: Spain.

Lisa: Spain, which shocked me.  I thought France would be my favorite, but I absolutely fell in love with Spain.

2018:

Robert: Thailand.

Lisa: Cambodia.

2015:

Robert: Vietnam.

Lisa: Cambodia.

Worst Border Crossing:

2021:

2020:  So, it wasn’t due to crossing the border, but buying emergency charter flights to flee Ecuador after the borders closed wasn’t very fun.

2019: We didn’t have any problems in 2019.

2018: We didn’t have any problems in 2018.

2015: Sixola, Costa Rica to Guabito, Panama.

Cities visited:

2021:  1 (New Orleans (LA))

2020:  15 (Bogota, Medellin, Cartagena, Minca, Bogota, Quito, Santa Cruz Island, Isabela Island, Santa Cruz Island, San Cristobal, Guayaquil, Miami (FL), Holcombe (WI), Minneapolis (MN), Chicago (IL), Memphis (TN), New Orleans (LA)).

2019: 34 (Nha Trang, Vung Tau, Saigon, Nusa Dua, Legian, Yogyakarta, Jakarta, Bangkok, Ao Nang, Khao Lak, Koh Lanta, Ao Nang, Bangkok, Mt. Vernon (IL), Cadiz (KY), Chicago (IL), Nashville (TN), Louisville, Dubuque (IA), Mineapolis (MN), Holcombe (WI), Madison (WI), Chicago (IL), Green Valley (AZ), Puerto Vallarta, Chicago (IL), Paris, Seville, Valencia, Lyon, Marseilles, Bordeaux, Paris, Naples, Monopoli, Florence, Rome, Paris, Chicago (IL), Ft. Myers Beach (FL), Las Vegas (NV), Green Valley (AZ)).

2018: 24 (Bangkok (X2), Legion, Nusa Dua, Ubud, Labuan Bajo, Permuteran, Amed, Seminyak, Singapore, Kuching, Georgetown, Melaka, Kuala Lumpur, Kata Beach on Phuket, Bophut Beach on Ko Samui, Siem Reap, Chiang Mai, Sukhothai, Luang Prabang, Hanoi (X2), Mai Chau, Hue, Hoi An (both the beach and the town), Saigon, Nha Trang).

2015: 70 (Bangkok, Chiang Rai, Mandalay, Bagan, Yangon, Phnom Penh (twice), Battambang, Kampot, Kep, Can Tho, Saigon, Ham Tien, Da Lat, Nha Trang, Quy Nhon, Hoi An, Da Nang, Hanoi, Kuala Lumpur, Georgetown, Langkawi, Koh Lipe, Ao Nang (twice), Singapore, Negombo, Dambulla, Kandy, Ella, Tissa, Mirissa, Unawatuna, Bentota, Benoni, Greater Kruger area, Cape Town (twice), Stellenbosch, Mossel Bay, Knysna, Franschoek, Beckington, Cardiff, LLandudno, Langholm, Edinburgh, Inverness, Glasgow, London, Chicago, San Pedro, Granada, Leon, San Juan del Sur (three times), Playa Santa Dominga, Moyogalpa, Liberia, Monteverde, La Fortuna, Cahuita, Puerto Viejo, Bocas Town, Boquete, Panama City, Cartagena, Medellin, Bogota, Hong Kong, Macau, Phuket, Koh Lanta).

Favorite Pizza:

2021:

Robert:

Lisa:

2020:

Robert:  Homemade in Minneapolis and New Orleans, especially the pies with potatoes and pesto.

Lisa:  Pizzaiolo in Medellin (seriously, who would have thought Medellin would have such excellent pizza), Young Joni in Minneapolis (they did take out of a par baked pizza which worked perfectly).

2019:

Robert: Pizza 4 P’s in Saigon, Pizza cooked by Robert in Cadiz with local bacon, pretty much any of the pizza in Naples.

Lisa: Pizza 4 P’s in Saigon, Los Muerto’s Brew Pub in Puerto Vallarta, pretty much any of the pizza in Naples.

2018:

Robert: Pizza 4 P’s in Hanoi.

Lisa: Pizza 4 P’s in Hanoi.

2015:

Robert: Luna Cafe in Da Nang.

Lisa: Luna Cafe in Da Nang (the ONLY redeeming thing about Da Nang).

Worst Pizza:

2021:

Robert:

Lisa:

2020:

Robert:  Anything in the Galapagos.

Lisa: Anything in the Galapagos.

2019:

Robert: The “margherita” pizza at Moto in Nashville that had no tomato sauce or basil and had ricotta cheese — we sent it back and asked for a real one.

Lisa: We went to a place called David’s in Vung Tau. The pizza was bad enough that the next visit I ordered pasta. Enough said.  Also, the slice at New York Pizza in Seville — I didn’t even finish it and that is unheard of.  Can’t forget the one in Nashville.  And, the pizza in Lucca was probably the worst pizza of my life.

2018:

Robert: We had some really bad pizza in 2018, but can’t recall the worst.

Lisa: See above.

2015:

Robert: Marco’s in Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica.

Lisa: Marco’s in Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica.

Number of Pizzas Eaten by Lisa:

2021: 18

2020:  79

2019: 100

2018: Didn’t keep track

2015: 94

Most Days Lisa Went Without Pizza:

2021:

2020:  I think it was 10 or 11.  The streak started in the Galapagos (where the pizza is pretty much uniformly bad and I had pretty much given up on pizza) and then were in lockdown in Guayaquil and didn’t even have an oven in our apartment.  I broke the streak with a frozen pizza in Holcombe.

2019: 9 days in Thailand (in my defense, the Indian food in Thailand is amazing and the pizza not so much).

2018: 16 (April 30-May 16, and it was worth the wait as the pizza at Il Bolognese in Bangkok was quite qood).

2015: Didn’t keep track, but it couldn’t have been very many.

Best Thing We Ate:

2021:

Robert:

Lisa:

2020:

Robert:  Arepas de huevos in Cartagena; ceviche in Cartagena; homemade Vietnamese pork salad.

Lisa:  Arepas de huevos in Cartagena.

2019:

Robert: Goat breast and clams on the XO food tour in Saigon.  Jamon Iberico and pressa in Seville, Spain.

Lisa: Praline tart in Lyon.  Very sweet, but unlike anything I have had before.  Wintermelon and cinnamon sorbetto in Rome.  Pig cheeks and pressa in Seville, Spain.

2018:

Robert: Quail egg omelet with roe on a stick (Bangkok night train market).

Lisa: Falafel at Al Diwan in Seminyak.

2015:

Robert: Samosa salad in Yangon and Kampot pepper crab in Kep and chicken roti in Ella.

Lisa: Cao Lau in Hoi An and Bun thit nuong in Nha Trang.

Craziest Thing We Ate:

2021:

Robert:

Lisa:

2020:

Robert:  Chigüiro i(also called capybara), which is the largest rodent in the world.

Lisa:  Chigüiro.

2019:

Robert: Balut (boiled egg with a duck embryo inside).

Lisa: I stuck to normal food this year….

2018:

Robert: A cube of coagulated blood in a bowl of curry mee in Georgetown.

Lisa: Jerky made from water buffalo (OK, not that crazy, I know….).

2015:

Robert: Rat (Cambodia), field mouse (Vietnam).

Lisa: Rat (Cambodia), field mouse (Vietnam).

Favorite Fruit:

2021:

Robert:

Lisa:

2020:

Robert:  Mangosteens in Medellin.

Lisa:  Colombian dragonfruit.

2019:

Robert: Nothing stood out this year.

Lisa: It is still pomelo.

2018:

Robert: Langsat.

Lisa: It is still pomelo.

2015:

Robert: Mangosteen.

Lisa: Pomelo.

Robert’s Favorite Beer (Lisa thinks beer is nasty):

2021:

2020: Inbound Brewing Co Hazy Shades.

2019: East West Summer Hefeweizen in Vietnam.

2018: East West Summer Hefeweizen in Vietnam.

2015: Trade Winds (real Scottish cask ale).

New Beers Tried by Robert:

2021:  15 (USA (Urban South Hey! Saison, Urban South Side Line, Urban South Intentional Atmosphere Hazy IPA, Urban South Snowball Juice, Urban South Patterns in the Sound, Urban South Around the Bend Triple IPA, Urban South Atmospheric Intentions Hazy Double IPA, Urban South Disco Ball Dreaming, Urban South Side Walk DIPA, Urban South Lost in the Woods DDH DIPA, Parish Brewing Co. Canebrake, Parish Brewing Co. Ghost in the Machine, Parish Brewing Co. Pure Tropics, NOLA Brewing Co. Hoppyright Infringement IPA))

2020: 42 (Colombia (3 Cordilleras Blanca, Andina, Kumbia Rubia, Kumbia Miel, Aguila, Happy Toucan, Happy Coco), Ecuador (Endemica Galapagos, Pilsener, Club Premium), USA (Inbound Brewing Co Hazy Shades, Inbound Brewing Petal Pounder, Surly Hell Lager, Dangerous Man Watermelon Sour, Dangerous Man House IPA, Dangerous Man Heads Up Hazer, Dangerous Man Peanut Butter Porter, Badger Hill Brewing Traitor IPA, Pryes Broadway IPA, Modist Dream Yard IPA, Abita Jockamo Juicy IPA, Abita The Boot, Abita Wrought Iron IPA, Abita Andygator, Urban South Brewery Holy Roller Hazy Juicy IPA, Urban South Paradise Park, Dixie Voodoo Doll Lil’ IPA, Dixie Voodoo Queen Hazy IPA, Tin Roof Juke Joint IPA, Second Line Batture Blonde Ale, Bayou Teche  Swamp Thing IPA, Bayou Teche Cocodrie, Abita Hop 99, Bayou Teche Brewing French Farmhouse Ale, Bayou Teche Brewing Rajin’ Cajuns, Bayou Teche Brewing Cinco de Bayou, Elysian Space Dust IPA, Magic Hat #9, Nola Blonde Ale, Nola Hopitoulas, Second Line Saison, Parish Brewing Ghost in the Machine, Parish Brewing Envie)).

2019: 62 (Vietnam (East West Pale Ale, East West Far East IPA, East West Summer Hefeweizen, East West Saigon Rose, East West Belgian Tippel, East West Triple IPA, East West Saison, East West Modern Belgian Blonde, Heart of Darkness Pitiless Folly, Heart of Darkness Churtz’s Insane, Heart of Darkness Foreign Shores Belgian Tripel, Heart of Darkness Brutal Instinct Brut IPA, Heart of Darkness Hard Ginger Beer, Heart of Darkness Creatures of Darkness New England IPA, Belgo Saison, Belgo Amber, Belgo Black, Belgo Full Moon, Belgo Wit, Bia Craft Summer Crush Ale, Bia Craft Amber Ale, Bia Craft IPA, Bia Craft Triple IPA, Winking Seal Bohemian Bastard, Rooster IPA, Pasteur Street Nitro Jasmine IPA), Indonesia (Kuda Putih, Prost), Thailand (Eleventh Fort IPA), Thailand (Stonehead Gancore IPA, Stonehead Smiling Evil, Stonehead Hazelnut and Chocolate Stour, Chao Siam IPA), USA (37 Flood IPA, Michelob Ultra, Leinenkugal Canoe Paddler), USA (Funkworks Saison, New Belgian Tripel, Goodwood American Pale Ale, Against the Grain Hoppy Saison, Door County Brewing Co Pastoral, Moon Ridge, New Glarus Kid Kolsch, Polygamy Nitro Porter), Mexico (Pacifico, Dos XX Amber, Dos XX Lager, Los Muertos El Jefeweizen, Loba Alfa India Pale Lager, Perro Negro IPA, Ippolita IPA, Chela Libre El Glu IPA), Spain (Cruz Campo Radler, Cruz Campo Pilsner, Merchant IPA, Mahou pilsner, Birra & Blues Rubia, Amstel Radler, Turia Marzen), France (Atlas, Leffe, Charlie Wells Triple Hop IPA), Italy (Menabrea Bionda, Nastro Azzurro, Forst)).

2018: Didn’t keep track.

2015: 103 (Thailand (Singha, Leo, Beer Lao, Tiger, Beer Chang, Siam), Myanmar (Dagon, Mandalay, Myanmar), Cambodia (Cambodia, Angkor, Anchor, Kingdom, Black Panther — he says this one is pretty bad), Vietnam (Red Saigon, Green Saigon, 333, Biere Larue, six beers brewed at Pasteur Street Brewing Company, fresh beer in Hoi An, Legend, the real Budweiser, Beer Hanoi, Bia Hoa Vien, Halidra, fresh beer in Hanoi, Carlsberg), Malaysia (Skol, Faxe), Singapore (some unknown IPA, Raffles), Sri Lanka (Lion, Lion Strong), South Africa (Hansa, Windhoek, Fraser’s Folly, Black Label), England (Old Speckled Hen, Butcombe Bitter), Wales (Nicholson’s Pale Ale, Trooper — made by one of the guys from Iron Maiden, Brains SA, John Smith’s Extra Smooth), Scotland (Belhaven Best, Guinness, Belhaven St. Andrew, Belhaven 80, Trade Winds, Wild Cat, Flying Scotsman, Northern Light, St. Mungo, Punk, Red Ness, Tennant, Boddington’s), U.S. (Founder’s All Day IPA, Revolution Use the Schwartz, Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’, Fist City) Belize (Belikan), Nicaragua (Toña, Erdmann’s IPA, Victoria, El Boom (a small microbrew), Jamaica (also a small microbrew and one of the worse beers Robert has ever tasted), Victoria Frost), Costa Rica (Bavaria, Imperial, Imperial Silver, Bohemia, locally brewed Stout, Costa Rica Craft Brewing Company Libertas blond IPA), Panama (Panama, Balboa, Atlas, Bocas Bewery Amber Ale, Bocas Brewer Cali Pale Ale, Boquete Brewery IPA, Casa Bruja Blond Ale, Casa Bruja IPA, Casa Bruja Tulivieja, Istmo Brew Pub Colon, Istmo Brew Pub Chiriqui, La Rana Dorada Pils, La Rana Dorada Especiale) Colombia (Club Colombia, Aguilar, Apostal IPA, Apostal pils, Bogota Beer Company Chapinero, Pilsen, Poker, Bogota Beer Company Candelaria Clasica, Bogata Beer Company Septmazio, Bogota Beer Company Bacata Blanca), Hong Kong (Kirin Ichiban, Asahi, San Miguel), Thailand (Archa)).

Favorite Bar:

2021:

Robert:

Lisa:

2020:

Robert:  We weren’t in enough bars in 2020 to have a favorite.

Lisa:  What Robert said.

2019:

Robert: Ayishi Fine Arts Fine Wine in Khao Lak. They had a cheese platter. Enough said.

Lisa: I don’t think I had a favorite bar in 2019.  Lots of fine places, but nothing really stood out.

2018:

Robert: Balthazar Wine Bar in Siem Reap. Good wine, better company.

Lisa: Balthazar Wine Bar in Siem Reap.

2015:

Robert: The Living Room, Kampot and Absinthe Café, Phnom Penh.

Lisa: Yellow Cafe, Langkawi.

Favorite Soft Drink:

2021:

Robert:

Lisa:

2020:

Robert:  Lulo juice in Medellin.

Lisa:  Limonada de coco (basically, a coconut milk and limeade smoothie) in Colombia; fresh strawberry juice in Medellin.

2019:

Robert: Orangina in Europe.  Agua fresca in Puerto Vallarta.

Lisa: Agua fresca in Puerto Vallarta, particularly the hibiscus flavor.

2018:

Robert: Watermelon juice everywhere.

Lisa: Lemon ginger fizz in Ubud (this drink can be really good or really bad) and lime ginger fizz in Chiang Mai and Italian sodas all over.

2015: Didn’t keep track.

Favorite Hotel:

2021:

Robert:

Lisa:

2020:

Robert:  Loma Nevada Minca Hostel in Minca.

Lisa:  Novotel in Medellin.

2019:

Robert: Verona Lanta on Koh Lanta.

Lisa:  Sofitel in Nusa Dua.

2018:

Robert: Sofitel So in Bangkok with the Blue Alcove as a special mention for the best economical hotel.

Lisa: Sofitel So in Bangkok.

2015:

Robert: Sofitel So in Bangkok.

Lisa: Sofitel So in Bangkok.

Worst Hotel:

2021:

Robert:

Lisa:

2020:

Robert: Hotel Minca La Casona in Minca.

Lisa: Hotel Minca La Casona in Minca.

2019:

Robert: Ibis Styles Jakarta Airport.

Lisa: Ibis Styles Jakarta Airport.

2018:

Robert: Ahyu Hotel in KL.

Lisa: King Palace in Hanoi.

2015:

Robert: Kaday Aung in Bagan.

Lisa: Kaday Aung in Bagan.

Favorite Excursion:

2021:

Robert:

Lisa:

2020:

Robert: Diving at Kicker Rock in the Galapagos.

Lisa: Snorkling at Kicker Rock in the Galapagos; snorkling with sea lions at Isabela Island in the Galapagos.

2019:

Robert: Our trip to Herculeum in Naples, Italy.

Lisa: The food tour we took in Seville, Spain.  I would have never tried pig cheeks if we hadn’t gone on this tour.

2018:

Robert: Flores scuba dive to Manta Point.

Lisa: Didn’t really have one. We didn’t take that many excursions and none of those we took really stood out for me.

2015:

Robert: Hanging out with cheetahs in South Africa.

Lisa: South African safari.

Favorite Beach:

2021:

Robert:

Lisa:

2020:

Robert: Didn’t have one.

Lisa: It wasn’t much of a beach year.

2019:

Robert: The beach in Puerto Vallarto.

Lisa: Didn’t really have one — some were good but nothing stood out.

2018:

Robert: Didn’t really have one — some were good but nothing stood out.

Lisa: I’m with Robert on this one.

2015:

Robert: Nha Trang.

Lisa: Nha Trang.

Best dive/snorkel site:

2021:

Robert:

Lisa:

2020:

Robert: Gordon Rocks in the Galapagos because of the hammerhead sharks.

Lisa: Kicker Rock in the Galapagos because of the turtles.

2019:

Robert: Richeilieu Rock in Thailand because of the sheer number of fish.

Lisa: Didn’t really have one.

2018:

Robert: Manta Point off Flores, Indonesia because of manta rays.

Lisa: Jemeluk Beach near Amed, Bali because we could snorkel from shore and there were tons of cool fish.

2015:

Robert: Hin Daeng off of Koh Lanta, Thailand because of a giant puffer fish and a giant moray eel.

Lisa: A little island near Koh Lanta, Thailand because of a sea snake.

Favorite Experience:

2021:

Robert:

Lisa:

2020:

Robert: Snorkle through Kicker Rock.

Lisa: Snorkling with sea lions in the Galapagos.

2019:

Robert: Diving Richeilieu Rock in Thailand.

Lisa: Hanging with our friends Ken and Sue in France.

2018:

Robert: Seeing the manta rays in Flores.

Lisa: Watching an orangutan in Borneo.

2015:

Robert: Hanging with cheetahs in South Africa.

Lisa: Watching lions, cheetahs and giraffes in the Greater Kruger area.

Biggest Surprise:

2021:

Robert:

Lisa:

2020:

Robert: The let down of the Galapagos.

Lisa: Covid, and not in a good way.

2019:

Robert: The reminder of just how big Paris is during the transit strike when we had to walk everywhere.

Lisa: How much I loved Spain.

2018:

Robert: The extent to which we really enjoyed the city of Kuching in Borneo.

Lisa: Having the best Lebanese food of my life at Al Diwan in Seminyak, of all places.

2015: Didn’t keep track.

Most Miserable Moment:

2021:

Robert:

Lisa:

2020:

Robert: When the borders closed in Ecuador and trying to get back to the U.S.

Lisa: In a year of misery, how can you pick just one moment?

2019:

Robert:  The death of Robert’s brother.

Lisa:  Same.

2018:

Robert: Feeling absolutely lost at the Shanghai airport trying to figure out how to transfer planes only to realize we had to enter the country, pick up our bags, check in for our next flight, and then go through security again.

Lisa: Having food poisoning in Phuket. Nothing like leaving Robert at a restaurant because I was too sick to stay there.

2015:

Robert: Being wedded to a toilet for 2 days in Bangkok AND in Phnom Penh.

Lisa: Hiking the volcano in Leon (although boarding down made it worth it).

Serious Illnesses:

2021:

Robert:

Lisa:

2020:

Robert: 2 (the flu-like thing that started in Nevada and carried right over into 2020 in Colombia, food poisoning in Medellin).

Lisa: 1 (some flu-like thing in Colombia).

2019:

Robert: 4 (Food poisoning in France, most likely from a bad oyster, and a horrible reaction to the shingles vaccine and a migraine in Arizona and some sort of flu-like thing in Nevada).

Lisa: 2 (food poisoning in Ao Nang and a horrible reaction to the shingles vaccine).

2018:

Robert: 2 (flu in Siem Reap, food poisoning in Luang Prabang).

Lisa: 2 (food poisoning on Phuket, flu in Siem Reap).

2015:

Robert: 2 (food poisoning in Bangkok and Phnom Phen).

Lisa: None.

Things We Wished We Packed:

2021:

2020:  A complete kitchen (with an air fryer) for all the months we were stuck in apartments doing nothing but cooking and watching tv.

2019: A chip clip, a carrot grater.

2018: More Q-tips, better shoes.

2017: All purpose tool, corkscrew, can opener (purchased in Ao Nang), sarong (purchased in Koh Lipe), mask/snorkel (not that a mask/snorkel would have fit in our luggage).

What We Missed:

2021:

Robert:

Lisa:

2020:

Robert: What Lisa said, plus new experiences.

Lisa: Bars, restaurants, other people.

2019:

Robert:  Salad bars.

Lisa:  Saltines, salad bars, and toilet seat covers.

2018:

Robert: Our friends, riding bikes, and fancy cocktails.

Lisa: Our friends, match days at AJH.

2015:

Robert: Our pets, our friends, riding bikes, fancy cocktails.

Lisa: Our friends. match days at AJH, Sunday afternoons at Red Door.

2 Responses to Bits and Pieces

  1. was the sarong for Robert or Lisa?

    Like

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