Tankstravels.com most popular post is

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Like you, I wish it were the Puerto Vallarta bum crack guy. That was a memorable photo shoot, for sure. Or, the scuba diver who brought her stuffed animals on the dive boat in Cozumel.

Alas, it is this: My horror story with Zooom Electronics. A company that ripped me off. An Amazon.ca (amazon.com) merchant.

I hope the thousands of people who’ve read the posting have taken their business elsewhere.

screen-shot-2016-11-19-at-8-32-42-pmThat’s right. THOUSANDS of hits since the posting appeared in December 2014.

Nearly 100 hits in 2014. 2600 hits in 2015. More than 4400 in 2016 and the year’s not up.

What’s even better? Where the posting sits on the Google search engine. Right below Zooom’s amazon website.

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Why post this now? Black Friday and Cyber Monday, that’s why.

Zooom counts on positive reviews because it makes the majority of its money on Cyber Monday. This is what a Zooom guy told me when he was trying to fix their first screw up – selling me an advertised camera they didn’t actually have in stock.

There are some great Black Friday-Cyber Monday deals out there. My hope is that you’ll find your deals anywhere other than Zooom Electronics.

Need an alternative? Try London Drugs. Had a not-so-great experience there turned into a positive earlier this year. So much that I’ve returned to London Drugs several times since to buy more gear for my Olympus mirrorless camera and GoPro. London Drugs has an online store, just like the retailer who ripped me off.

Finally, a postscript on Canon’s involvement in the fiasco. Canon Canada came through with a new housing to replace the one that leaked.

We must punish bad behaviour and promote the good merchants.

I’m launching a new website called SOLTERRIFIC. The first post has the word prophylactic in it. A good start, methinks.

 

I do stupid things while travelling so you don’t have to

Don't be an idiot. Like me. This chair thing really hurt.

Don’t be an idiot. Like me. This chair thing really hurt.

I’m not the sharpest knife in the drawer.

To wit, 15 minutes of sheer torture in one of those coin operated massage chairs. This one at the airport in Tawau, Malaysia.

With three hours of time to kill before my flight north to Sandakan, I needed entertainment. After the chicken-rice curry, three trips to the toilet and a scan of the junk in the stores, it was time to relieve the boredom.

That’s when the bank of massage chairs appeared in view.

The Asian guy seated there looked pretty happy as the massagers pounded his butt cheeks. So, I decided to part with 5 RM ($1.51 CDN) for a 15-minute ride of my own.

A small price to pay to rehabilitate my battered body after six consecutive days of scuba diving near Mabul and Sipadan Islands.

Bad idea.

The massage ‘treatment’ alternated between thumping every column of my spine with intense force to bludgeoning the back of my head in a way that made my grey matter bounce from back to front.

Squeezing my injured legs. Right were the bug bite scabs are.

Squeezing my injured legs. Right where the bug bite scabs are.

That’s not all. Every few minutes, the chair would squeeze the bejesus out of my calf muscles. Right where the bug bite scabs and diving-mishap bruises were.

Never again.

These tools of torture masquerading as oases were present at every Malaysian airports I visited. They were mostly always empty.

Don’t be tempted.

#Rimowa #suitcase challenge – trip 4 #Roatan, Honduras

Packed and ready for baggage handlers

Packed and ready for baggage handlers

More than a dozen baggage handler ‘handlings’ and the ultra lightweight Rimowa Salsa Air looks no worse for wear.

To recap: I’ve been chronicling my suitcase’s travels since last October. Posting pictures of the wear and tear to determine whether I’m an idiot or a genius for paying $650 dollars (CDN) for this hard-shell, seven pound suitcase.

Why did I do it? I’m a scuba diver. I carry all my own gear (except weights and tank). Makes me feel safer when I dive. I was always skating close to the 23kg/50lbs weight limit. The Rimowa is about six pounds lighter than the suitcase it replaced.

This is trip four with the suitcase.  It was handled eight times by airline staff.

Outbound:

-Vancouver
-Houston, Texas = 2
-Roatan, Honduras

Inbound:

-Roatan
-Houston = 2
-Vancouver

 

The verdict. The suitcase has dirt ‘scratches’ and scuffs, but nothing that can’t be washed or rubbed off. No dents. I’m very happy and clearly a genius.

Next trip: Cozumel, Mexico later in the year.

 

Best of Tank’s Travels – the 100th blog posting

Two milestones to observe.  One hundred blog postings and one year of travel blogging.

Thanks for reading Tank's Travels.

Thanks for reading Tank’s Travels.

Who knew I’d encounter enough batshit crazy people over 12 months to fill a minuscule nano-portion of cyberspace with travel stories and photos.

A special thanks to all the nutcases and genuinely great people I’ve met in the last year for supplying me with content.

Here are some stats:

  • My site has had more than 5,000 views.
  • My best ever days for views was December 16th, when I had 94 views.
  • Most of my views come from Canada and the U.S.
  • People find me through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr and Pinterest.
  • May 2014 was my best month ever for views. I had 394 visitors who looked at the site 823 times.
  • My most popular posting ever is This is what a jerk looks like, the story of an asshole on a Westjet flight between Vancouver and Edmonton in December 2013.

Other popular posts include:

Diving with Pandas, the story of a nutter who brought stuffed pandas on a scuba dive boat in Cozumel, Mexico.

Lost-ish at sea, how I got separated from my dive boat in Cozumel and lived to tell the tale.

Postings about cats have also been popular. Here are a few: Who can resist a mooching cat and The cats of Thailand.

What I’ve learned from travelling:

  • people are spectacularly annoying and others wonderful everywhere in the world.
  • there are a lot of adult babies on airplanes who make everyone’s life miserable.
  • being nice to flight attendants will often get you a free drink.
  • there’s no point getting pissed off about flight delays, your luggage not appearing fast enough at the carousel or bad weather.
  • airlines are going to trash your luggage.
  • United Airlines is the worst airline I continue to patronize. Air Canada is much improved. Its international and Rouge services are outstanding.
  • people in most other parts of the world speak more than one language. Some are fluent in several. Makes me feel inadequate.

Thanks for following Tank’s Travels and for the comments. Lots more adventures on the way.

Busted travel phone: thx @Blackberry. Screw U @FutureShop

The red X of death. Death of the phone that is.

The red X of death. Death of the battery that is.

Idiotic move. I know.

I recently bought this Blackberry smartphone, refurbished and unlocked, from Future Shop online. Paid about $180 CDN. The plan was to take it with me travelling and use it with foreign SIM cards.

Future Shop advertised it with a one year warranty. A huge selling point for me. Wasn’t true, as it turns out.

Long story short, the phone was defective – wouldn’t turn off – and killed two batteries. (The one that came with the phone and the $50 replacement).

Future Shop told me to piss off. They wouldn’t take the phone back. My warranty was with Blackberry, they said.

Blackberry’s Twitter “help” proved to be equally frustrating and spectacularly unhelpful. Kept passing the buck to Future Shop, at the same time telling me to have a nice day. I’ve posted a portion of the Twitter correspondence for your amusement.

Don't bother with Blackberry 'help' on Twitter. Utterly useless.

Don’t bother with Blackberry ‘help’ on Twitter. Utterly useless.

Did cross my mind to just take a hammer to the phone, post the video on You Tube and devote the rest of my life to slagging Blackberry and Future Shop on social media. That was Plan B.

Plan A was to mail the phone back to Blackberry (which has dozens of addresses. I picked the one I thought looked the most official) and hope the person receiving it would send it to the repair department.

Much to my surprise, a few weeks later, Blackberry customer service emailed to say it had received the phone and was sending it to be repaired. It was couriered back to me – overnight  and fixed – about 10 days later.

While happy that Blackberry fixed the phone, it came back re-locked. Had to spend another $30 to get it unlocked. (Blackberry subsequently provided the unlock code).


Although Blackberry gave me  grief, it’s one of the heroes of this story. It honoured its warranty, which, incidentally, was only 90 days – not the one year that Future Shop advertised. (false advertising???)

Other heroes are: Crackberry Canada, which shipped me a new battery in 24 hours. AWESOME service.

AND Megatronic Cell Phone Services in Vancouver helped me unlock the phone, providing service via email and at its East Vancouver location. Clay Somo is terrific. He can provide unlock codes anywhere in the world via email. @cellphonefixed on Twitter; cellphonefixed on Facebook; email: contact@cellphonefixed.com or http://www.cellphonefixed.com.

Total cost of this misadventure: $30 for unlocking, $50 for battery, $3 postage + envelope and $180 for the phone = $263.

Final words are for Future Shop: screw you to the power of 100.