Mexico weather in Vancouver in June

Okay, the weather in Vancouver is unseasonably Mexico-like right now. Climate change. Never in my life have I ever had to use a fan before July.

I’m not a huge fan (the other kind of fan) of the hot, hot, heat and climate change needs to take a chill pill. I’m pretty miserable in the heat.

But Tank, you spend so much time in Mexico. What’s up with that if heat isn’t your thing? I’m off to Cozumel in two weeks for a spot of scuba diving. The great thing about diving in Mexico is this. It involves water, typically warm water, and doesn’t put one in direct sunlight. Diving rarely involves extreme heat.

A Cozumel friend.

When I’m not submerged, I can handle Mexican heat most of the time. If I can’t, there’s EXCELLENT air conditioning and margaritas. Mexicans know how to cool stuff. Another reason why I love Mexico. (I don’t love the corruption that keeps working people poor, the drug cartels, or the roosters crowing outside my accommodation at 5 a.m.). Everything else is great.

This is a plea for those in charge of this world to deal with climate change. What we don’t need is a hot, miserable Tank staggering around in between trips to Mexico.

Two grand for a new suitcase (laugh emoji)

Readers of Tank’s Travels would have good reason to question my sanity (read: aspic photos). But, I’m likely not going to spend $2K on a suitcase.

Rimowa makes good suitcases. But, they come at a high price. The company has been around since 1898 (bought by Louis Vuitton in the last few years, which may be the kiss of death). They made the first ever polycarbonate (hardshell) suitcases. Their aluminum cases are legendary and OMG so pricey.

There isn’t a suitcase on the planet that can withstand baggage handlers. Hardshells, like my purple Salsa Air (a discontinued model now called the Essential Lite) crack. Aluminum cases get punctured or dented. Damage comes and goes with the territory.

Funny thing is Rimowa tries to spin the damage as a badge of worldliness and a good thing. As in, ‘the expensive and now dented aluminum suitcase for which you paid $2,500 now has character. Every bit of damage represents a special memory of your travels’.


Rimowa is big on selling image. Insinuating discerning travellers will take notice of you and your expensive suitcase and won’t that make you feel special.

If the owners of Rimowa saw how I dress when I walk through an airport with their product, they’d be appalled. Picture the opposite of style and elegance.

I digress. I won’t be buying a $2,000 suitcase (well, probably not), and I’ll always love my Rimowa Salsa Air, which now lives under my bed as storage for diving gear.

I’ve joined the Rimowa discussion page on Facebook for advice. Rimowa-ers love to connect I’ve discovered.

Advice so far: buy aluminum, only use aluminum on private jets, check polycarbonate and use aluminum as carry-on, buy a Tumi suitcase, buy an Away aluminum suitcase.

Also, buy a Pelican case. Interesting. This, I’m researching. More to come.

Next trip is end of June. Lots of time to decide.

Tank tries her hand at journalism


A pic from TV reporting days. One of two good hair days in my life. The other was when I was in grade 12.

Okay. I’m going to pretend I’m a news reporter and no I don’t miss reporting. Or newsrooms. Or the people who manage newsrooms.

I’ve been assigned a story to write. About a personal experience (read: nightmare) someone had. Concerns a roommate who had to be endured for seven nights in very tight quarters. A roommate whose personality was creepy and unpredictable. A roommate who hadn’t heard of TMI.

These are facts to be included in the story. Includes quotes from roommate:

  • Roommate is rich. A business owner (for real, Tank fact checked). Possibly self made. Maybe divorce settlement money. Is no dummy, but so clueless and thoughtless.
  • Four times divorced. Married third husband at age 27. Has restraining order preventing fourth husband from contact. Apparently tried to kill her. Lives alone. Usually spends Christmas alone. Has full-time housekeeper.
  • A Stepford Wife. Wanders around in a trace-like state, clutching a cup of tea. Asks you a question. You answer it. Looks blankly at you. Then, re-asks the question. As if she didn’t hear your answer the first time she asked.
  • Spends $1500+ USD per month for injectable human growth hormone. Also takes hormone replacement and testosterone. “I have the body of a 35-year old.” Botox, restylane, juvederm. Puffy Lisa Rinna-esque lips. “I Brazilian wax.”
  • Has a “lifetime commitment” with a probably married travel-industry employee who lives in another city. Describes her beau as a spoiled, demanding whiny baby. When they fight he disappears for months. When he told her he hated her dogs she got rid of them.
  • Has adult children she said she didn’t really raise. For their own good. “I always had nannies.” Estranged from two step-children, whose childhood antics include laying down a sheet of gunpowder on the hardwood floor in the house. Then, lighting it. Then, ending up in hospital.
  • Has daughter in her early 40’s married to a pension-aged rich guy with adult children. Together, they have pre-school aged twins, “monsters who throw their toys in your face.”

“Surely Tank, you’re making up these facts,” you say.
TaOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAnk is NOT a fiction writer.


Tank is one pissed off snowflake


This is the bitch who nearly crushed my laptop screen when she reclined her seat hastily in the middle of the flight.

No warning. No slow tilt back.

Nope, just a lot of weight (hers’) thrust in my direction. And, she’s a hefty gal.

If that wasn’t bad enough, she continued to slam the back on her seat throughout the flight.

I knew she was trouble as soon as I took my window seat behind her.

When she called for the flight attendant and demanded headphones BEFORE the flight left the gate.

Who does that?

I hate people who recline. I’ll only recline if someone does it to me. To take back the space taken from me.

In this case, the recline mechanism on my seat was stuck. I couldn’t take back my space. So, I was pinned to my seat. And I’m small.

Another United Airlines-supplied trip through Dante’s rungs of hell.

There’s a lot to hate about travelling. Especially now that rudeness has become normalized.

Tourist tantrums: pls stay home

IMG_2386 copy

Being in the jungle on your parents’ tab is SO boring.

So there I am, in the Malaysian jungle. Getting to see orangutans, monkeys, crocs, pygmy elephants and more.

It’s spectacular.

Not everyone agrees apparently.

Case in point, this guy. Big yawn.

“I’ve seen enough of the jungle,” I overheard him moan to his parents, who I imagine were footing the bill for the creep’s trip here. This about two hours after he arrived.

Glad he only had to endure one night of pain and suffering in this horrid setting.

Poor phone reception made this guy pout.

Poor phone reception made this guy pout.

The blonde guy (right)  put his rudeness on display for even more people to witness in the resort’s dining area. His tantrum went something like this, “FUUUUUUUCK, I can’t hear you. Can’t get decent fucking reception here,” he bellowed into his mobile phone while stomping back and forth.

Who brings a mobile phone to the jungle and expects it to work the same way it would in London, Hong Kong or New York?

Tank hates to observe such first world suffering in this, still developing, country where people in the service industry work long days for a pittance, and get only a couple of days off a month to see their family members, who often live elsewhere. Hardworking people who have to endure rude, entitled tourists day after day after day.

So here’s some humanitarian advice: STAY HOME with your mobile phone and good reception, with your telly and crisps. Do NOT pollute your beautiful spirit with boring experiences in faraway lands.

Two more contestants for Tank’s Travels boorish traveller of the year.

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.

Bat #guano, #orangutans and #leech socks

Flight to Sandakan and the start of my wilderness adventure.

Flight to Sandakan and the start of my wilderness adventure.

Along with kittens, koalas and sharks, orangutans are my favourite critters. It would have been insane of me to travel all the way to Malaysia and not check out Orangutan country.

So, following my week long diving trip to Mabul Island, near Tawau, I’ll head to the Myne Resort, near Sandakan for four days/three nights of wilderness fun.

Here’s a video about the Myne Resort…

Here’s my itinerary for the four days:

Day 1: Pick  up  from  Sepilok Nature Resort  between  0845  -­‐  0850  hrs  and  transfer  overland to Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre. Upon arrival, proceed with the documentary video show (30  minutes)  before  witnessing  the  feeding  time of  the orangutans  at 1000  hrs. Then  transfer  overland to Myne Resort, which will take approximately 2.5 hours. Upon arrival at the resort, check into your  accommodation followed  by lunch  at the  resort’s  restaurant.  At  1530  hrs,  have  your  coffee/tea  break with local snacks. At 1600 hrs, take a river cruise in search for wildlife along the Kinabatangan River.  Good  chance  to  see  and  spot  numerous  types  of  birds and wildlife. Return  to the resort at about 1800 hrs to freshen up and followed by dinner at 1900 hrs.

Day 2-3: Early morning at 0600 hrs, head to the restaurant for light breakfast before proceeding with the early morning river cruise, which is scheduled at 0630 hrs. Return to the resort at about 0830 hrs for breakfast. Free  at  leisure.  At  1030  hrs,  proceed  with  the  jungle  walk  to the  Historical  Merbau  Tree  or  the  Bird’s  Watching Tower. Lunch will be served at 1300 hrs and free at leisure. At 1530 hrs, have your coffee/tea break with local snacks before the afternoon boat cruise at 1600 hrs. Return to the resort at about 1800 hrs to freshen up and followed by dinner at 1900 hrs.

Day 4: Breakfast  at  0800  hrs  and  by  0900  hrs,  check  out  from  resort  and  transfer  overland  for  visit  to  Gomantong Caves. Then, proceed to Sandakan for lunch at local restaurant. After lunch, continue your trip with the Sandakan City Tour prior to drop off at Sandakan Airport for flight departure at 1815 hrs.

Journey to Myne Resort.

Journey to Myne Resort.

Check this out: “Entering the cave is not for the squeamish or feint hearted as inside the cave the floor is covered with bat guano (and it will smell as such) The cave floor is alive as beetles, cockroaches, centipedes and scorpions feed on dead swiftlets that fall from the nests above – some may say it is interesting, awful yet unique but definitely an unforgettable experience! Fortunately, a wooden walkway runs along the sides of the cave to keep visitors safely above the estimated 10 feet of guano deposited by millions of bats and resident little critters, and the tourists who come to admire them in their home, are kept safe and apart.”

Can’t wait. Anyone know who in Vancouver sells leech socks?


Sipidan – world class #scuba #diving? Hope so

Leg #1 of the journey.

Plane, bus, boat, SCUBA

Plane, bus, boat, SCUBA

World class scuba diving? Sipidan, Malaysia had better offer that. I’ll be there in August,

Jacques Cousteau liked it…..

I’ll be staying at the SMART resort on the island of Mabul. Supposed to offer high-end accommodation. The resort has bungalows on the water, but a wee bit out of my price range. I’ll be in a chalet near the beach.

SMART will be my home for a week. In order to dive Sipidan, which restricts the number of divers it allows on site each day to 120, I had to book a certain number of days at a specific hotel room price point. And, that only guarantees one day of actual Sipidan diving. But, there are amazing unrestricted dive sites outside of the restricted area for the rest of the stay.

Costs so far: (not including Vancouver to Kuala Lumpur flight and one night hotel in KL)  = $2497.00 CDN (biggest chunk of the cost)

  • Air Asia flight from Kuala Lumpur to Tawau:  225.73 MYR = $75.00 CDN (Yes, I know Air Asia did crash a plane earlier this year. I flew the airline to Bali two years ago. It was great. I’ve also got a flight booked on Malaysia Airlines, which lost two planes in recent years. Not worried).
  • SMART resort 8D-7N: 7207.00 MYR =  $2422.00 CDN
    Package Includes: Transfer between Tawau -­ Semporna Jetty -­ Sipadan-­ Mabul Resort -­ Tawau by van and speedboat, food and  hot beverage while at the resort (excluding alcoholic, fruit juice and carbonated soft drinks). Three boat dives per day with divemaster around Mabul, Kapalai and Si Amil islands including use of tanks with air, weights and weight belt. Unlimited diving at Mabul’s House Reef and 1 Day Sipadan Diving. For someone accustomed to a $30USD a night room in Roatan, Honduras, this is a bit much. At this price point, I likely won’t be able to/want to do this a second time in the future. I’ll be taking pictures and videos so I have lots of memories.

Next week: Tank meets Orangs.