Posts Tagged With: H-Bomb

Country no. 42 on my World Karaoke Tour: singing inside the Axis of Evil in North Korea

selfie2016 marks the quarter-century anniversary of my taking up karaoke. On my birthday in March 1991 I sang karaoke for the first time; and during the ensuing summer I first began to embrace karaoke as a passion. You can read more here about how I got started as a karaokeist. Never during those formative days of my obsession did I imagine that I’d embarked on a journey that would one day culminate in my performing karaoke in North Korea.

And yet, although my singing appearance in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK, which is what North Korea officially calls itself) was 25 years in the making, I almost blew it. Things worked out in the end, but I’ll never know just how close I came to screwing up my chance to sing in North Korea. This post discusses how my stupid mistake put my long-anticipated trip to North Korea in jeopardy; then it covers what happened when I finally got the chance to sing inside a totalitarian state.

Prologue: I don’t want this plane to land

June 4, 2016
About 2:15 pm Standard Time of Democratic People’s Republic of Korea

As Air Koryo flight 752 from Beijing made its final approach to Pyongyang Sunan International Airport, I grabbed my daypack from under the seat in front of me. Anticipating my passage through immigration, I wanted to gather together all the documents that I’d need to present upon entering the airport: my passport, my entry visa, and the three landing cards I’d filled out during the flight. As the first step, I unzipped the compartment in the front of my daypack in which I always carry my passport when I’m in transit.

The passport wasn’t in there. Continue reading

Categories: Asia, travel, World Karaoke Tour | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Country no. 40 on my World Karaoke Tour: a valentine to the Bahamas

Supreme CourtIn November 2015, after two failed attempts in the previous 22 years, I finally succeeded in adding Italy to my World Karaoke Tour when I sang in the Eternal City of Rome. At that point, the tally of countries in which I’d karaoked had just climbed to 39. Jetting off to the Bahamas a few months later, I sought to increase the country count to 40. Spoiler alert: that goal was realized. And I did it in a manner nearly unprecedented in my karaoke travels.

Ordinarily, karaoke is an evening activity. Indeed, it’s not uncommon for the karaoke festivities at a particular bar or restaurant to get underway at 10:00 pm or even later. But this past February, in the Bahamian capital of Nassau, I found a venue that allows patrons to sing all day long — not just after the sun has gone down. And on Valentine’s Day afternoon, I sang there right after lunch! Before we get to the details of this latest international karaoke appearance, I’ll provide some background on the destination where it happened.

A little bit about Nassau and vicinity

Geographical overview

Often regarded erroneously as part of the Caribbean, the Commonwealth of the Bahamas is actually located in the western Atlantic Ocean rather than the Caribbean Sea. It does belong to the West Indies, a grouping that essentially consists of all of the island nations and overseas territories that lie between the United States and South America. Nassau is situated on the northern coast of New Providence, the most populous (but only the 13th largest by area) of the more than 700 islands that comprise the country. (A note for my fellow geography geeks: the collection of islands that makes up the nation of the Bahamas is part of the Bahama Archipelago, which includes not only the country of that name but also the British overseas territory of Turks and Caicos. The Bahama Archipelago is also known as the Lucayan Archipelago.) Continue reading

Categories: Caribbean, travel, World Karaoke Tour | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 33 Comments

Performing in the Palmetto State: my World Karaoke Tour hits Charleston

Me on the grounds of the Magnolia Plantation & Gardens, about ten miles outside of CharlestonCharleston, South Carolina has witnessed nearly 350 years of history since it was first settled by the English as “Charles Town,” named in honour of King Charles II, in 1670. Colourful and centuries-old homes line the streets of this harbourside town — a city that was already over 100 years old when a collection of 13 colonies to which South Carolina belonged declared their independence from Great Britain. Later in its storied past, as the United States of America was developing into a powerhouse on the world scene, Charleston would play a key role in the Civil War that threatened to disunite those states; indeed, that bloody conflict was ignited when the rebels who called themselves the Confederacy seized Fort Sumter in Charleston’s harbour in 1861. A quarter-century later, subsequent to its state’s reabsorption into the Union, Charleston was rocked by one of the most powerful earthquakes ever to strike the eastern U.S.

Today, despite some unfortunate events in its past, Charleston is a physically stunning city that’s increasingly emerging as a sought-after tourist destination. During the long New Year’s weekend that straddled December 2015 and January 2016, I became one of those tourists. 🙂 Charleston made an ideal focus for my first-ever journey to the State of South Carolina — partly because its walkable historic district was perfect for a New Yorker like me who doesn’t drive. 🙂 More importantly, by virtue of my singing within South Carolina’s borders on that trip, the Palmetto State became the latest U.S. state in which I’ve made a karaoke appearance! Continue reading

Categories: North America, travel, World Karaoke Tour | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 26 Comments

Country no. 39 on my World Karaoke Tour: living la dolce vita in Rome

TreviIt seems like I travel to Rome every 11 years. My initial excursion to the Eternal City came in 1993. My second jaunt to Italy’s capital happened in 2004. And in November 2015, during the long weekend surrounding the American Thanksgiving, I descended upon Rome for the third time.

Due to its rich history and its abundance of artistic treasures, Rome is one of my favourite cities in the world. But this time I was jetting there on a mission unrelated to its cultural heritage. Even though I’d already been to Italy twice — including stops in Rome both times — I hadn’t yet sung karaoke within its national borders. That made Italy one of the few countries I’d visited without adding it to my World Karaoke Tour. In returning once more to Rome, I intended to change that. So while I was excited to again gaze upon such beloved sights as the Trevi Fountain and the Sistine Chapel ceiling, I was even more stoked about the opportunity to achieve my long-sought goal of singing in such a storied location.

Just to be able to make it to Rome on this latest occasion was, for me, what U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden would call a BFD. Continue reading

Categories: Europe, travel, World Karaoke Tour | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 28 Comments

Viva Las Vegas: stunning views, a quest for a motorcycle, and karaoke during my eighth visit to Sin City

Las Vegas selfieEarlier this month, I made my eighth annual visit to Las Vegas. For the fifth year in a row, my trip to Sin City was in conjunction with the annual Trivia Championships of North America (TCONA). At TCONA, I had my usual awesome time convening with some of the smartest and most knowledgeable people in the United States (and even a few from other countries like Canada and Norway). It was enjoyable to reconnect with some really cool and interesting people who share my passion for learning as much as I can about every subject in the world, and whom I’m honoured to call my friends. Moreover, it was equally rewarding to make new friends who meet that description. As well, competing against a self-selected group of elite trivia players, in the diverse array of individual and team contests that TCONA offers, pushes me to improve myself and perform as well as I can.

As I do every year, I also managed to slip away from TCONA to experience an attraction in Las Vegas outside of the Tropicana Hotel where the event is traditionally held. Of course, it also goes without saying that my latest long weekend in Vegas included karaoke. 🙂 Finally, being that I was in a town where gambling has been known to take place, I also managed to squeeze in a little bit of that pastime — and came across a new twist on the blackjack tables that I tend to hit.

The view from Paris: très jolie

The Strip is renowned for its themed hotels, including several with sections that mimic world landmarks.  For example, if you roam the grounds of the New York, New York hotel, you’ll find replicas of iconic Big Apple structures ranging from the Statue of Liberty to the Brooklyn Bridge to the Chrysler Building. At the Venetian, you can take a gondola ride among doppelgängers of some of Venice’s most legendary sights, such as the campanile (bell tower), the Rialto Bridge, and Piazza San Marco (St. Mark’s Square). And then there’s the destination that was the subject of my August 2015 non-TCONA excursion in Las Vegas: the Paris Hotel, and one portion of it in particular.

While the Paris boasts reproductions of the venerable Arc de Triomphe and of several other Parisian edifices of note, the hotel’s centerpiece — and a key component of the skyline of the Las Vegas Strip — is a one-half scale duplicate of the most celebrated symbol of the City of Lights: the Eiffel Tower.

The view from the top: it’s not the Champs-Élysées, but it’s pretty darned nice

The Eiffel looms over the Paris Hotel, as seen from behind the fountains of the Bellagio across the street. This photo was taken during my very first visit to Las Vegas, in November 2008.

The replica of the Eiffel Tower looms over the Paris Hotel, as seen from behind the fountains of the Bellagio across the street. This photo was taken during my very first visit to Las Vegas, in November 2008.

Las Vegas’s version of la tour Eiffel features an observation deck 460 feet above ground level. (By way of comparison, the highest observation level in the actual Eiffel Tower in the city of Paris is 906 feet above the ground.) Continue reading

Categories: North America, travel, World Karaoke Tour | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 25 Comments

Fast times in Rapid City, South Dakota

Prez ReaganI’ve previously recounted my highly rewarding visit to Mount Rushmore and the Crazy Horse Memorial in the U.S. state of South Dakota. This post is about the town where I stayed during my long weekend in South Dakota: Rapid City. The second largest city in the state, Rapid City has a population of about 73,000. (Sioux Falls, with some 165,000 inhabitants as of 2013, ranks as the most populous South Dakotan city.) Rapid City made an ideal base of operations for my visit to the monuments, as Rushmore is only about a half hour’s drive from its downtown. In addition Rapid City proved an enjoyable place to spend time in its own right.

Hanging with the Prezzes in Rapid City’s downtown

City of Presidents: the basic concept

Part of the reason that Rapid City appealed to me is that it boasts a compact, walkable downtown. The centerpiece of that downtown is a series of life-sized bronze statues of all 42 former Presidents of the United States, in various poses, placed on street corners over a 10 square block area. (They were installed between 2000 and 2010.) The project is called the “City of Presidents.” At an information center on Main Street, you can pick up a free map that shows where each Presidential statue can be found, enabling you to take a self-guided walking tour of the City of Presidents. (This is helpful because the Presidents aren’t arranged in the order in which they served.)

Here are a couple of examples of the statues of the POTUSes:

The statue of Andrew Jackson, the 7th President of the United States, in downtown Rapid City.

The statue of Andrew Jackson, the 7th President of the United States, in downtown Rapid City.

The statue of William Howard Taft, the 27th President of the United States, in downtown Rapid City.

The statue of William Howard Taft, the 27th President of the United States, in downtown Rapid City.

You may have noticed that I mentioned that only former occupants of the Presidency have been depicted in the City of Presidents. There’s not yet a statue of current President Barack Obama. Under the long-standing policy of the nonprofit foundation that oversees the City of Presidents, a Presidential statue cannot be erected while the subject is still in office, but must await his return to civilian life. (As explained to me by a co-founder of the foundation, the rationale behind this policy is twofold: First, this waiting period allows for the design of the statue to be informed by a fuller picture of who the President was. Second, it’s hoped that once the subject has left the White House, public passions regarding his presidency will have subsided, thus reducing the risk of vandalism against the sculpture.) The same policy was applied to Bill Clinton (who was the sitting President when the project began in 2000) and George W. Bush. So Obama will get his statue eventually — just not while his address is still 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. 🙂

My selfie project: a plan gone slightly awry

As mentioned, the City of Presidents covers a modest portion of Rapid City’s downtown. Thus, you can make your way through all of the statues within a relatively short timespan. Combined with the fact that I was travelling for the first time with my new selfie stick, this gave me an idea. I conceived a goal to take selfies with each of the 42 Presidential statues! It was an inspired plan. And it worked very well. Except for one thing. Continue reading

Categories: North America, travel, World Karaoke Tour | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

Singing in Seattle: the sounds of H-Bomb on the Puget Sound

H-Bomb at the Space NeedleI gallivant all over the world, but some of my favourite karaoke adventures have come in my home country, the United States.  For example, this past summer, I had an incredible time visiting, and singing in, Seattle.  Although I was in town for less than 24 hours, I made every second count.

It came about as follows: in July I spent several days in Alaska. My return itinerary from Anchorage to Newark included a connecting flight in Seattle; and never having been to that city, when I was booking the trip I’d made my layover there into an overnight stay. This would enable me to add a new city to my World Karaoke Tour. 🙂 My arrival in Seattle was planned for a Saturday night, and I knew that would be a prime night for singing opportunities. Also on my agenda were seeing some of the distinctive architecture for which the Emerald City is famous; and feeling the vibe of a town that’s often regarded as one of the most livable cities in the world.

Seattle joins the World Karaoke Tour

Naturally, karaoke was my very first activity after I rolled into town on Saturday evening, July 6. After landing at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, I rushed to my downtown hotel to check in and change into a fresh set of clothes for my karaoke appearance. Then I headed to the Hula Hula Lounge, a tiki-themed bar in Seattle’s Queene Anne neighbourhood that I’d pre-selected for the occasion based on its very promising Yelp reviews. Continue reading

Categories: North America, travel, World Karaoke Tour | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

I sat in the money chair: My experience as a quiz show contestant

Me sitting in the money chair on "Million Second Quiz" last Sunday.Earlier this month I learned that when a bird poops on you, it really does bring good luck. For over 13 years, one of my most sought after goals has been to become a contestant on a broadcast quiz show. Finally, a couple of weekends ago, that dream was realised. I competed — and won several matches — on the NBC network’s game show, “Million Second Quiz” (MSQ). And it all started with a defecating pigeon.

Overview: the basic rules of the game

To understand what follows, it will be helpful to have a brief familiarity with how MSQ worked. Admittedly, the rules were complicated and are difficult to explain concisely (which partly explains why MSQ attracted a relatively low number of viewers); but I’ll do the best I can.

The show ran 24/7 over a period of about 11 days, from September 8th through September 19th, 2013, comprising a total of 1 million seconds (hence the show’s name). At the heart of MSQ was its continuous series of 1-on-1 matches, known as “bouts.” In each bout, the contestant who’d won the previous match sat in a seat called the “money chair”; the challenger, who was entering the arena for the first time, stood at a lectern. Each bout lasted for 500 seconds, during which the two opponents were read a series of multiple-choice questions on a wide variety of trivia topics. (Although wide-ranging, the question sets included a heavy concentration of pop culture.) After a question was presented, each player had to push a button corresponding to the letter choice of the answer within 5 seconds; a player would be awarded 1 point for each correct answer. In a typical bout, a total of 14 or 15 questions would be asked. If both players had accumulated the same number of points when the 500 seconds had elapsed, a tiebreaker question was provided. Whichever player buzzed in first on a tiebreaker got first crack at answering it, and if his response was correct he won the match. If he missed, his opponent received an opportunity to answer the question and steal the bout.

If the player in the money chair emerged victorious in the bout, he remained in that seat to take on a new challenger. But if the challenger won, the incumbent was ejected from the money chair (and was finished playing), and the challenger replaced him in it. The money chair displayed a numerical counter that was reset to zero dollars when a new player took his place in it, and increased by ten dollars for each second that a particular player remained in the chair. Thus, if a player went on an extended run of victories, his tally of accumulated money would continue to climb. However, being knocked out of the chair by losing to a challenger would, under most circumstances, cause a player to forfeit all of his accumulated earnings. (Yes, I said “under most circumstances.” I told you the rules were overly complex.) 🙂 After MSQ’s finale this past Thursday night, only the top four players, out of the well over 1,000 contestants who played at least one bout on the show, got to keep their money; the first place finisher also grabbed a sizable bonus and walked away with a total cash prize of over $2.6 million dollars. But most of the participants left with no cash winnings at all, no matter how many bouts they won.

As the 1 million seconds ticked off, most of the bouts were live-streamed over the internet by NBC, literally around the clock. The exception was a small number of bouts that were played on selected nights between 8:00 pm and 9:00 pm, eastern time; instead of being watchable online, those prime-time bouts were broadcast live on network television, and were hosted by Ryan Seacrest. In general, qualifying to play on one of the televised bouts in prime time required winning an insanely large number of live-streamed matches.

Oh, and one other wrinkle: the four people who at any given juncture had accumulated the greatest amounts of money had to live, Big Brother-style, in an apartment in the studio. Because MSQ was sort of a hybrid between a game show and a reality show.

Initial steps of the audition

The casting process employed by MSQ was very different from the mechanism typically utilized by game shows in the U.S. to find contestants. Continue reading

Categories: game shows and trivia | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Country no. 30 on my World Karaoke Tour: mayhem in Moldova

When my taxi driver from the airport dropped me off at my hotel in downtown Chișinău, he shook my hand and wished me a good night. His friendliness was typical of the people I would meet in Chișinău, the capital of Moldova. I found the inhabitants of that city to be extremely welcoming — with the notable exception of the two bouncers who tried to keep me out of a karaoke bar.

That bar was called Art Club Karaoke; and my encounter with its overzealous gatekeepers occurred on Friday, May 24, 2013. I’d been excited to enter Art Club, as I was embarking on the most significant evening to date in all of my karaoke travels. After my singing appearance in the Ukraine the previous Monday, I could say that I’d sung in 29 different countries — thus tying me for the distinction of having performed karaoke in more nations than anyone else on the planet. But I wanted that record all to myself. 🙂 I looked forward to making Moldova the record-breaking 30th country. But as soon as I entered the foyer that led into the bar, the bouncers gleefully informed me that their establishment was closed for the evening. Continue reading

Categories: Europe, World Karaoke Tour | Tags: , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Country no. 29 on my World Karaoke Tour: I was not a chicken in Kiev

Acccording to the ratings on TripAdvisor, the no. 11-ranking attraction out of 228 things to see in Kiev is a statue of a hedgehog. That’s right: in a city whose origins may trace back to a settlement in the 5th century A.D. — a metropolis that abounds with architecturally spectacular monasteries and churches — one of the most popular sights is a sculpture of a spiny mammal. That’s the kind of quirky and charming place that Kiev, the Ukrainian capital, is. And it was in such a setting that I tied the record for singing karaoke in the most countries.

The aforementioned monument (see photo at right) depicts the protagonist of an animated short film from what was then the Soviet Union, released in 1975, entitled “Hedgehog in the Fog.” While you may not have heard of that particular cartoon, in 2003 it was named the best animated movie of all time in a survey of animators and film critics from around the world. But you don’t have to take that survey’s word for it; you can view “Hedgehog in the Fog” right here, complete with English-language subtitles!


The statue that immortalizes the star of this cinematic masterpiece was erected in 2009 in a small public park. It was created by Ukrainian artist Constantine Skretutsky. Sadly, I learned today that just this month, the sculpture was destroyed or damaged by vandals, and the pedestal on which it had stood is now empty. I don’t know what kind of sick bastards would do such a thing. Anyway, Mr. Skretutsky will restore the beloved hedgehog, and it’s expected to be reinstalled in the same park in May 2014. I feel fortunate that I got the chance to see it in person.

UPDATE (July 1, 2016): I’m pleased to report that at some point, the hedgehog monument was fully rebuilt!

A historic night for my global tour

Paying homage to the most legendary hedgehog in cinema, by visiting its statue, was one of the top items on my itinerary for Kiev; but of course, it wasn’t my highest priority. What I was most looking forward to was achieving a special milestone in my karaoke travels. Continue reading

Categories: World Karaoke Tour | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Country no. 28 on my World Karaoke Tour: meeting new comrades in Russia

We’re back! Since I last checked in here, the count of countries on my World Karaoke Tour has increased from 27 to 30. It’s time to start recapping how that occurred. Okay, that recap is actually long overdue, since my latest trio of international karaoke appearances happened all the way back in May 2013 — three whole months ago.

During that month of May, the Russian Federation, the Ukraine, and Moldova became the latest stamps on my passport, as well as the newest U.N. member nations to be added to my World Karaoke Tour. My initial stop as I made my foray into the former Soviet Union was Russia, by way of its capital city of Moscow. After I landed at Domodedovo International Airport, my vacation was underway. (Domodedovo is one of two international airports serving Moscow; the other, Sheremetyevo, is the one in which Edward Snowden remained in limbo for several weeks before Russia granted temporary asylum to him in August 2013. Unlike Mr. Snowden, I’d obtained a Russian entry visa and I had no trouble making it through immigration. :))

RUSSIAN CITY NO. 1: MOSCOW

Highlights of my daytime hours in Moscow included Red Square (featuring the magical-looking St. Basil’s Cathedral that’s seen in the photo above, plus Lenin’s tomb); the Kremlin; and a tour of some of the city’s ornate and beautiful metro stations. Those and other Muscovite points of interest will be covered here in due course. But, in keeping with the mission of this blog, what truly made my sojourn in Moscow a success was the evening I spent singing at the Karaoke Boom Club (that’s Караоке Бум in Russian). Continue reading

Categories: World Karaoke Tour | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

It happened. I met another H-Bomb.

Actually, it’s happened twice now.

I’ve been singing under the sobriquet “H-Bomb” since 1992; the story of how I acquired that nickname can be found here. It’s rare to find another karaoke singer who uses any stage name, let alone mine. But occasionally I’m alerted to the presence of another H-Bomb in the karaoke world. When that occurs, I feel compelled to meet my namesake.

This is the story of how a world traveler like me ended up in the unlikely locations of Poughkeepsie, New York and Murfreesboro, Tennessee — and how establishments in those places, as well as in the larger Tennessee city of Nashville, became some of the most rewarding additions to my World Karaoke Tour.

April 2009: Poughkeepsie, New York

The town of Poughkeepsie in upstate New York is best known as the home of Vassar College, an elite liberal arts institution that was once known as one of the “Seven Sisters.” In 2009, that town landed on my radar screen for a reason that had nothing to do with higher education. A friend who lives nearby had driven by a local establishment called Planet Wings, and she reported that its marquee sign was advertising a “KARAOKE . . . BY H BOMB” show on Thursday nights.

Planet Wings sign

The marquee sign outside Planet Wings in Poughkeepsie, in April 2009.

So, on Thursday night, April 2, 2009, after work, I took a commuter train from Manhattan’s Grand Central Terminal to Poughkeepsie. Continue reading

Categories: North America, Uncategorized, World Karaoke Tour | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

L.A. Story, Part I: Off the beaten path in the City of Angels

This past Labor Day weekend (a holiday weekend in the United States that falls in early September), I visited Los Angeles for a few days. Prior to September 2012, I’d been to that city four times. I therefore had already experienced many of the area’s signature attractions, such as the La Brea Tar Pits, the Griffith Observatory, the Universal Studios theme park, the Getty Center museum, and Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. This time around, I focused on investigating some of L.A.’s lesser-known treasures. Of course, as with just about any H-Bomb vacation, I also searched for karaoke. 🙂

Somehow, even though over three months have gone by since that trip, I haven’t yet blogged about it. It’s time to get caught up already! This will be the first of two articles recapping that weekend.

I arrived at LAX late on Friday night and headed to my hotel in Hollywood, near the intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and North Highland Avenue. I really like staying in that area. In contrast to much of the sprawling, freeway-centric metropolis that is Los Angeles, that section of Hollywood is easily walkable — an important consideration for me, since I refuse to drive ever. Even in California. 🙂 It did help, though, that I have friends with cars who live in the area and were nice enough to take me around town. At the same time, it was good to be able to walk around on my own in the vicinity of my hotel.

A MACABRE MUSEUM, A QUIRKY HOUSE, AND A BREATHTAKING VIEW

The Museum of Death

On Saturday I began by hoofing it to the Museum of Death, which is located on Hollywood Boulevard. Continue reading

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Country no. 26 on my World Karaoke Tour: singing at an Irish bar in Germany during Oktoberfest

On my way back home from Egypt this past weekend, I stopped in Frankfurt am Main, Germany to do some karaoke singing. While my stay in Frankfurt was brief, it was over 2 1/2 years in the making; it was as integral to the plans for my trip as singing in Egypt itself (to say nothing of visiting the pyramids). 🙂

To reach Egypt from my home city of New York, I arranged to fly via Lufthansa from New York to Cairo, connecting in Frankfurt; and for my return voyage I reversed that itinerary. I deliberately scheduled an overnight layover in Frankfurt during the return journey, in order to afford me a long-awaited opportunity to sing karaoke in Germany. The country that’s been bestowed with the sobriquet of the Land of Chocolate had hitherto been a glaring omission from my World Karaoke Tour, but that would finally change! (I’d been to Germany before, having spent several days in Berlin during my summertime romp through Europe in 1993. But although I’d sung in three countries during that same trip, Germany hadn’t been one of them. This was during the dawn of my World Karaoke Tour, and I wasn’t focused then, as I am now, on searching for karaoke in every city I passed through.)

Once those plans were in place, it took an unexpectedly long time to bring them to fruition. My Egyptian holiday was originally scheduled to happen in February 2011; but 18 days before my departure date, a revolution erupted in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, culminating in the overthrow of Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak and the installation of a democratically elected government. Given the chaos and danger that attended the uprising, my Egyptian tour — which I’d begun planning nearly a year in advance — was canceled by the tour operator. So I went to Morocco instead (a trip that will be covered in one or more future articles on this blog) and had an amazing time; and Casablanca, rather than Cairo, became the first African city on my World Karaoke Tour. I rescheduled my Egyptian vacation — including the overnight stay in Frankfurt — for one year later, in February 2012; I assumed that the situation on the ground in Cairo would calm down by then. Continue reading

Categories: Europe, World Karaoke Tour | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Country no. 25: I sang like an Egyptian

Greetings, readers. I’m currently in Egypt. Earlier this week, this storied Land of the Pharaohs became country no. 25 on my World Karaoke Tour! And I’m here now to tell you how it all went down. I’ve been taking plenty of photos on this 2-week trip that I’m now in the middle of; in upcoming articles I’ll post many of those pictures, and I’ll talk about the stunning historical sights that I’ve been seeing. But the focus today, in my initial dispatch from Egypt, is on my experience of the Egyptian karaoke scene. Priorities! 🙂

Night no. 1: Giza

I’ve actually sung in Egypt on two different evenings so far. My Egyptian karaoke debut occurred on Monday, September 17, 2012 at the Laguna Lounge Cafe & Restaurant in Mohandessin, a neighbourhood in Giza (Giza being internationally renowned as the city in which you’ll find the Great Pyramid and Great Sphinx). Continue reading

Categories: Africa, travel, World Karaoke Tour | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

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