Make American Fat Again

Taking a page out of President Trump’s play book, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán (aka The Viktator) announces a new policy targetting American tourists, Make America Fat Again.

With increasing levels of obesity in relation to the North American nation, whose citizens have been holding hunger strikes in reaction to their tense political situation, Hungary’s leader has chosen to unleash this devious plan targetting American tourists.

But not everyone is on board with this plan. Cyclists Tim Norman and Steve Carnes aim to challenge the dictator’s edict by riding their bicycles ridiculous distances from Budapest all the way to Paris even while succumbing to the administration’s culinary demands and eating everything required, in an effort to offset the caloric content of the meat-heavy diet. The following photos show some of the horrific dishes that will inflict pain on many Americans visiting the Central European country in the foreseeable future.

Catfish stew with baked curd cheese noodles rolled in bacon…

The not-at-all discriminatory “Jewish egg”, along with some goose skin cracklings, hummus, cottage cheese with paprika, sausage, and some decorative vegetables (you don’t eat those).

Pounds and pounds of smoked stringy cheese.

Farmers market platter, with cheese, sausage, cheese croissant, cheese pastry, bread, truffle horse radish, champagne, and fresh berries (just for color).

Burgers made with a traditional flat bread.

Spicy paprika cottage cheese.

Classic langos.

Pulled pork leves (stew) in a bread bowl.

Pickled vegetables, mainly decorative.

Egg, bacon, and Hungarian cheese sandwich.

Dobos cake, vanilla biscuit, chocolate cream, caramel crisp on top.

Artisan cocktails at Pharma Bar.

Some recipes for you (disclaimer: may contain Hungarian propoganda designed to make you fat):

Here is the subliminal message being used in the fattening campaign.

Tim & Steve, along with the local Speed-Way bicycle shop team, and their new Specialized Sequoia touring bikes, ready to bicycle-tour for freedom (and to burn calories!).

At a “ruin bar”, a bar complex that sprung up amidst ruined abandoned buildings.


Weapons of war.

Graffiti unlimited.

Ruin bar self portrait #1.

Ruin bar self portrait #2.


St. Stephen Basilica (Steve’s namesake).

St. Stephen Basilica

St. Stephen Basilica

St. Stephen Basilica

The Parliament Building.

The car driven by Marijuana Man (no kidding!). Well, at least a dude with a huge cannabis leaf tee shirt.

Join the protest against Make America Fat Again by signing up for our blog at Stay tuned for more top quality investigative journalism, and thanks for your support!

Our last month in Thailand (part 3: whirlwind SE Asia tour)

When our time in Phuket came to an end, 4 of our friends, Mark, Dave, Ed, and Tracey wanted to stay a little longer and see more of Southeast Asia. We recommended a loop to Singapore, Chiang Mai, and Bangkok taking advantage of cheap off-season rates on the budget airlines Scoot and Nok. Ed and Tracey would head home after Singapore.

Singapore was like a little piece of New York in the middle of Asia. We loved the multi-culturalism, the excellent food, and the perfectly organized metro sysytem. We didn’t like how commercial it was with shopping malls and big brand stores everywhere, and many parts of the city are designed for cars not pedestrians, making walking around frustrating. We had gotten used to jaywalking the chaotic streets of India and Thailand, so this was just too much order all of a sudden! Though it was nice that cars actually stop for pedestrians.

The iconic over-the-top Marina Bay Sands hotel and convention center. That top section has a huge swimming pool and it’s like a small city! Room start around $500USD per night. Someone said it’s the number one photographed hotel in the world, so here’s my addition to that record.

The gardens park has these beautiful tree-like structures that are lit up at night and they have classical music playing and the lights match the music. Thousands of people were laying on the ground watching the show. Despite the heat and humidity, there were almost no bugs! I didn’t see a single mosquito the whole time in Singapore, and we were only bothered by a few no-see-ums in the park.

There’s a walkway through these trees that we walked on with stunning views of the city. As beautiful as it was, I couldn’t help but think how artificial it all actually was. Much of this area was all landfill and used to be ocean, so this part of the city was all pre-planned, every detail thought out. After being in other parts of Asia where cities grow up totally organically and merge with nature around it, it felt to me a bit pompous of humankind to try to compete with nature’s beauty.

People preparing for the evening light show.

Our tiny hotel room had a stunning view of the city directly from the toilet. A bit risque for a country where it’s illegal to be naked, even in the privacy of your own home!

We visited a fantastic toy museum where I found toys from my youth.

And from my parents’ generation.

Lots of amazing collectibles.

Asia is obsessed with durians! We tried it twice, and it’s not a taste I enjoy.

One of the great things about Singapore are the so-called hawker stalls. Very similar to the food markets of Thailand, but so much more organized and permanent, even with health and safety inspections! One favorite was this aisle in Little India, which brought us back to our time there. We enjoyed a Chettinadu biryani and even ate with our hand as we did in India and as the local Indians around us were doing.

Classic Singaporean food! Being an English-speaking country, it’s much easier to be adventurous with food because you can read the menu. The carrot cake is not at all what you’d think of; it has no carrots and is not a sweet cake! Tasty though.

We enjoyed views from the Singapore Flyer, the famous ferris wheel.

We stumbled on some kind of odd photo shoot at the botanical gardens.

Beautiful entrance to an underground mall.

A local friend of Tracey’s took us to a favorite Singapore restaurant, and everything was delicious including this creatively presented egg-wrapped fried rice.

Everyone said you have to try the crab! So we indulged on our last night with one chili crab and one black pepper crab. Mark got one also! They weren’t cheap, and it’s messy, but it was absolutely the best crab I’ve ever eaten.

Famous seafood restaurant.

Next up on our tour: back to Chiang Mai!! We were very excited to show Mark and Dave our favorite city in Thailand, but also very tired from all the activities, so we enjoyed a few down days as well as a few more adventures.

We were able to get a short term rental in our same apartment building where we stayed for two months, with the beautiful view of Doi Suthep.

We hiked up the Monk’s Trail from Chiang Mai University to Doi Suthep, a 3km hike up 600m. Sweaty and tricky but absolutely gorgeous.

Tricky footing in places but I can confirm it’s doable in sandals!

Halfway up is this hidden temple Wat Pha Lat, which honestly I enjoyed more than the very busy temple at the peak of Doi Suthep.

It wasn’t exactly Dave’s birthday (one week early), but we gave him some birthday love at an excellent burger restaurant, Rock Me Burger in the Nimman neighborhood.

After the Saturday night market (our favorite in Chiang Mai that was crazy busy this night), we stumbled into the spectacular silver temple, with free entry for the evening! It was really very unique and we were happy to see it.

Steve struck up a conversation with this German traveller at a pad Thai and burrito stand, and it turns out he’d never seen a drag show, so we invited him to join us to the solid performance at Ram Bar that happens every night. He enjoyed it, and we met up for swimming and dinner afterwards on our trip. These fun chance encounters and new friendships are the highlight of traveling for us!

My Thai language teacher also does khao soi cooking classes, so we helped her prepare a big pot of the delicious noodle soup.

Making curry paste is a lot of work on the mortar and pestle.

Drumsticks are the classic meat added into the creamy coconut and chicken stock broth.

Lots of garlic picked from the garden. It was fascinating to see life at her small family farm in a Thai village.

The end result! So good!

Next up, Bangkok! At this point, we were all a bit tired of sightseeing, so we spent our time relaxing, exploring, and checking out the local bars and nightclubs, famous throughout Thailand.

We learned about different types of massage…

One night we spent at a canal-side hotel in Amphowe, home of one of the Bangkok area’s floating markets. Amphowe is still very local and sees far fewer westerners and none of the scams and poor quality seen at some of the other floating markets that many people hear more about. However, we messed up and showed up on a day it was closed. Oops! It was still quite a nice time relaxing away from the craziness of Bangkok. We took a longtail boat tour of the local canals to see the fireflies, which was a lovely and very chill experience.

Highly recommend this hotel on the canal! The dinner they prepared was spectacular, some of the best curry we’ve ever had. They made it properly spicy for us, sorry to Dave; it was a bit too much for him, but they can make it mild if you want.

The culinary highlight of our time in Bangkok was dinner at Ran Jay Fai. She is the only Michelin star street food vendor, and we had made a reservation over a month in advance!

Her famous crab omelet is as big as your two fists. We split it between three of us.

Really nice sauteed vegetables.

Pad kee mow noodles with huge prawns and squid. I’ve been dreaming of this since I saw a TV show about it, and it did not disappoint.

The surprise dish was this yellow curry with prawns and egg. We hadn’t heard anyone talk about this in the reviews, but it was my favorite dish.

The famous chef, Jay Fai, with her signature goggles protecting her eyes from the wood fire flames she cooks over for 8+ hours every day.

After dinner, we said good bye to Mark and Dave, as they prepared for an early flight home the next morning. It was such a delight to spend so much quality time with our friends. We miss you already!

Back in Phuket, we had a lot of bike-related chores, what with our cracked frames. The bike shop helped us strip all the components off the frame, and we spent half a day carefully packing the components into a box, to be sent back to our bike shop in San Diego to be rebuilt. The wheels were too expensive to ship by air, so they are on the slow boat from Thailand, which takes 1-3 months! So we will buy new bicycles in Budapest to keep cycling while these bikes get shipped and rebuilt in San Diego.

It was a sad day and a weird feeling holding our naked bike frames after spending so much time with them, 19 countries, 15 months, and nearly 20,000km.

What’s next for us? Stay tuned for the next blog post, where I’ll include our final thoughts after nearly 6 months in Thailand and where we are headed next!

Thank you for following us and all the love and support you’ve given us along the way. Leave us a comment on the blog so we know you’re reading!

Our last month in Thailand (part 2: Steve’s big 5-0!)

So we had arrived in Phuket with plenty of time to spare before all of our friends arrived. One of our many chores was to take our bicycles in for servicing. We found a bike shop to take a look, and they returned them back to us all shiny like new.

Except for one thing. By taking all our bags off and wiping them clean, the bike shop had found a serious crack in the top tube of the frames of both bikes! The crack in my bike was a lot worse than Steve’s, but both were no longer safe to be ridden.

We immediately started working on how to get riding again, and we were happy to find that our original bike shop can help us process a warranty replacement, but it’s going to take quite a while, given that it must be processed from the USA. In the meantime, we decided that we would do without our bicycles until we arrive in Budapest late July, where we will pick up new bicycles to keep riding. It was the more expensive option but the one that gets us back to cycling again sooner.

In the meantime, Steve’s sister and 8 of our friends arrived to join us at a villa we had rented for the week to celebrate Steve’s big birthday.

Credit to Mark and Dave for some of the photos coming up.

Our incredible villa!

Everyone relaxing in our elephant pants!

Steve’s birthday gift was a catamaran tour of Phang Nga Bay with the amazing Toon at Phuket Fun Day.

Chilling on the boat.

Swimming in the bay.

We did a lot of other stuff too, including seeing the monkeys in Phuket Town, partying at a beach club, seeing the Big Buddha and famous temple, visiting elephants, enjoying a food walking tour, and eating lots of food!

It was so nice after 15 months to be joined by friends and family. Traveling every day makes it difficult to create lasting friendships, even though we meet new people every day (we are very thankful for those of you we’ve met on the road and are following our blog! We hope your travels are amazing and we enjoy keeping in touch online!). So it was such a pleasure to spend time with those we are close with from home. Huge thanks to everyone for coming to join us, and to everyone who couldn’t make it, we miss you!

Steve’s glorious birthday cake! We barely made a dent after 4 days of eating.

Finally we got our camping gear back thanks to our friend Darin who held on to it while we were in Asia. We are excited to get back to camping once we return to Europe.

What an experience! We hope to see you all again soon.

Our last month in Thailand! (part 1: getting to Phuket)

Our last month in Thailand has been one extraordinary whirlwind, celebrating Steve’s 50th birthday in Phuket and making a tour of Southeast Asia.

So much has happened and I’ve neglected posting for so long, that I’ll need to split up the blog into a few parts. Here’s part 1, getting to Phuket from our last post on the Gulf of Thailand.

From my last post, you might remember we had some rain in the forecast, but we were well ahead of schedule to get to Phuket by Steve’s birthday, so we slowed down and took some rest days at some beach front villas between Hua Hin and Chumphon. We weathered a few rainy days this way and slowly made our way south in between rain showers.

After Chumphon and spending weeks seeing mostly Thai tourists and locals, we decided we were getting a little tired of being the only farang around, so we hopped on a ferry to Koh Phangan. Yes, it’s the home of the infamous Full Moon Party. No, we had no interest in going, and it wasn’t even full moon.

We met very few cycle tourists on this leg of our trip, but we did run into this couple just outside of Prachuap Khiri Khan.

The impending rain made for some stunning clouds.

Rain on the horizon from our beach bar on Koh Phangan.

Our day was cut short for rain but we found this empty beach front resort in Little Sweden, an area of the Gulf Coast popular with Nordic expats. The Norwegian owner let us stay one night but unfortunately the next day was booked solid for the weekend, so we had to push on in some light showers.

Happy Norwegian kitty!

Our beach bar on Koh Phangan. We had a cute bungalow nestled in the trees behind the bar, and the owner was super friendly.

Our beach bar on Koh Phangan after a furious storm swept through! The owner seemed totally unshaken by this, and the bar continued service anyway, so it’s all good!

After the storm came in, we had 4 more days of rain forecast. We stayed an extra 2 nights on the island before getting island fever and risking the rough waters on the ferry to Surat Thani, and maybe we should have waited!

We were the last to board the high speed ferry, and as soon as we got on, before we’d secured our bikes, the captain fired up the engines and zipped off at 40mph through rough choppy seas. It was all we could do to keep ourselves from getting tossed overboard, nevermind hold onto the bikes, with huge waves rolling over the deck of the boat, drenching us and our bikes in salt water, corrosive to our bike components. I held the rail with one white knuckled hand and my bike with the other while we tried to tie them on the railing with a piece of rope. After getting drenched twice, I ignored the staff telling us we had to keep the bikes outside, yelled “nahm mai dai” (can not water – lol close enough) and pulled my bike into the passenger compartment.

The staff made us stand in the aisle blocking everyone and would not let us put the bicycles in an empty row of seats that were being repaired. We could barely keep our balance, and when we made a short stop to pick up new passengers, the crew disappeared to help them board, and we said screw it! We leaned the bikes in the aisle of seats and sat down ourself in the row in front of them. It mustn’t have been a problem because the crew didn’t say a word to us when they returned. Finally the water got calmer as we neared Surat Thani, and we hopped out, rinsed off our bikes with the rest of our bottled water, and cycled a few km in light drizzle to the same hotel we stayed at last time.

We still had lots of time before we needed to be in Phuket, so we decided not to head straight there, but to continue along the drier Gulf Coast towards Nakhon Si Thammarat and then cut across to Krabi, and finally island hop from Krabi to Koh Yao Noi and finally to Phuket. This turned out to be a really local area with no tourists. The locals were very friendly but surprised to see us and we were the topic of lots of conversations.

He’s almost 50!

Not the same full moon party that you know about!

Ngu Ngu! This little guy scared us at our bungalows. We had an interesting time at this hotel. It rarely sees foreigners, and so they didn’t speak great English, which we expected, so I talked in Thai as much as I could. They seemed to be a mixture of surprised, dubious, and a little cautious about my ability to speak basic Thai. I heard them talking about the farang speaking Thai while we were at the restaurant.

I decided to order a local dish that’s popular in the south, orange curry. I didn’t know it came in this color! It’s not one of the dishes you can find at Thai restaurants outside Thailand. It is meant to be firey hot and a bit fishy. When I ordered it, I said confidently in Thai that I can eat spicy food. When it came out and I started eating, I felt like all eyes were on the farang to see how we would handle this super spicy dish.

It was at the very top of my spice tolerance, and it was quite good. I would order it again, though I prefer the creamier curries. I started to sweat from the spice, and the staff were watching but keeping their voices down. Someone came in with a delivery or something and asked the staff loudly, “farang sahng a-rai?” Farang ordered what? They responded, “ghaeng som”, orange curry. He said, “ahh…”, looked at me closely and laughed, “phet ngu-ah”, spicy sweats! I laughed along, looked right at him, smiled, and wiped my brow with my napkin. He froze and said nothing for a few seconds, finally said, “mai bpen rai”, no problem, and headed out.

After dinner, the hostess confronted me on the way out and seemed totally surprised, saying I speak Thai very well. Nit noi, I responded, little bit. She laughed and looked at me suspiciously as we headed to bed.

It’s really weird the Thais’ response to foreigners speaking their language. Many times they act as if they are offended, like the Thai language is their own secret and no outsiders should be using it. Even if they hear you speak some Thai, they don’t believe you can really understand it and continue talking about you right in front of your face. I can’t count how often I hear the word for stinky, sunburnt, sweaty, etc from people just next to us while we are out cycling. But many other times, shopkeepers and locals breathe a sigh of relief that they can communicate with me, and one shop owner even said he was very thankful that I had learned some Thai because almost no foreigners do. It’s such a drastic change after being in other countries like France and the US where all foreigners are expected to speak the local language. I don’t like this attitude from some Thais but I’m happy to have learned enough Thai to make our time in this country more enjoyable.

We get the steamed pork buns (chalah pow moo) for breakfast whenever we see them, and this place in Krabi had some of the best dim sum I’ve ever eaten.

The Krabi night market was incredible! I’m glad we stayed an extra day to see this. I like Krabi Town a lot and would definitely return. Many tourists head to the overcrowded and tourist trap beaches nearby, but the main town had a great balance of excellent local culture and Western comforts. The crispy pork shown here was delicious.

We cycled to a pier that we found on Google that was supposed to have a ferry to Koh Yao Noi. Instead we found this small long tail passenger boat, and they tossed our bikes on the roof and we squeezed in below with a dozen other locals and Thai tourists. Fun trip!

Koh Yao Noi was beautiful and quiet, but we were ready to get to Phuket so we stayed only one night.

Our speed boat to Phuket hit a rain storm just as we landed, so we hung out with this kitty for an hour waiting out the rain before finally braving the wet weather on our last ride on our bicycles in Thailand. We were taking them to the bike shop the next day to be cleaned up and prepared for taking with us to Europe on the next leg of our adventure.

It turned out to actually be the second to last time that we will ever ride these bicycles again! ☹️ I’ll tell the story in the next blog!