Urban Exploration – Abandoned Asylum – Someplace, USA

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Abandoned buildings are places that have lost usefulness, perhaps holding a memory that no one wants, and left alone to be reclaimed by nature and the fog of human memory.  There is just something about these places that capture my imagination.

My friend Alan, who had acted in a short film that was shot in this area, told me about the location, saying he wanted to return to take photos. When he asked me to join him, I said “Yes!” almost before he finished speaking.

We visited an abandoned asylum.  I won’t be saying specifically where we went, but if I know you personally, and you want to go, I’ll see if I can remember.  Do you get what I’m laying down?

Once we arrived, we started walking around to get a feel for the place.  The grounds are set back from the road, and are quiet and peaceful. We could hear the trees moving, leaves rustling, the beat of the bird wings, and were surrounded by bird song.  It had just rained, so I got some lovely nature photos.

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We walked past many buildings, all boarded up and overgrown.

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Most of the buildings were locked up tight. We didn’t open any closed doors.
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This quote was written in a few places, but this was the best looking of the specimens.
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Not sure what this building was…maybe a dorm?

 

The walk around outside was neat, but we had a particular destination in mind.  Here is a virtual tour…

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Fence was open, so we headed down the path…
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Front door!!!!

We came to the front door, which was already gaping wide open.  How convenient! It apparently isn’t always like this – I was glad not to have to enter from the basement!

It was at this point I broke out my face mask. We could see the haze.  I got a good ol’ P100 dust mask – good for lead and asbestos abatement work.  I was hoping it worked for mold spores too – no telling what was in that dusty haze!

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This is the first look inside.

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Once inside we could hear a perfect soundtrack of drips, splorts, and spatters.

We spent most of our time in this building – there was no lack of things to see and photo. It looked like there was a rave or two thrown here.  The “Buddy System” is certainly a must, when exploring this area!

We weren’t the only ones there.  A guy and two girls showed up about a half hour after we did.  We thought they were just exploring like we were, but learned differently once we made it up to the second level.  The fellow is a photographer working on a project of artistic nudes in abandoned buildings.  Lucky for the girls, it was a warm day.

One of my favorite parts of the adventure was how nature was reclaiming the structures.  Small trees, ferns, and mosses were everywhere there was a “skylight”.  Those parts seemed almost magical to me.

Here is a slide show from my flickr acct:

HOW TO: Explore an Abandoned Building*

*Disclaimer: The author of this article does not condone breaking any laws or trespassing.  This “How To” is purely for entertainment.

  1. Bring a Buddy: Always, always use the buddy system when exploring abandoned buildings.  You are exploring a place that isn’t being maintained, or monitored.  If you get hurt, which is entirely possible, you need someone to help you out of the building or to run and get aid.
  2. Dress appropriately:  Long sleeves and pants. Sturdy shoes to protect your feet and support your ankles.  It is probably a good idea for the shoes to be waterproof.  No one likes to step in a squishy puddle of questionable liquids.  I can assure you, it is nothing you want actually touching your skin.
  3. Bring in flashlights and spotlights:  Oh, and spare batteries.  There are no electric lights here!  The power company has abandoned this place too!
  4. Dust mask: Check that the mask is rated P100, and or is used for lead, asbestos and mold abatement.  We weren’t there long, but I wasn’t taking a chance.  They are uncomfortable, and fog your glasses, but lead and asbestos dusts, and mold spores do bad, bad things in your lungs.
  5. Be safe: The structure is abandoned and thus not maintained.  Floors, stairs, surfaces may not be strong enough to hold your weight, and may be slippery.  Ceilings may fall at any time – look up and take care walking under things.  Know where you are at all times.
  6. Not entirely legal:  Just be aware that if you don’t own the building, it is probably not OK to be there.  Check for “No Trespassing” signs.  Know that you are proceeding at your own risk.

Has anyone done this kind of thing before?  Is anything missing from this How To list?  Let me know!

 

Avast, me matey! International Talk Like A Pirate Day is almost upon us!!!!

What is a Pirate’s favorite letter?

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Are you all ready for tomorrow?!!!

Wait….you mean you don’t know what tomorrow is?  No?!? Well, lets fix that situation right now.  Now, I say!

Tomorrow is International Talk Like a Pirate Day!!!!

http://www.talklikeapirate.com/partykit/tlapdbanner2.gif

Oh, yes it is! Click on the banner to go to the official site!!!

Tomorrow is a very special day, where we all have permission to TALK LIKE A PIRATE!

Facebook also gives an option to change your facebook language to “English-Pirate”

(¡¡¡¡ɹɹɹɹɹɹɹɹɐ :ɹǝʍsuɐ)

Progress…it is happening

What have you all been up to this weekend?

I’ve finally finished my most recent organizing and minimizing project last week. Yesterday and today was spent organizing my writing and blogging workflow, pulling posts from my FB page to move here.

While traveling, I posted directly to my Facebook FG2A Page, when I should have posted to this blog, THEN to Facebook.  I have learned my lesson, and will be paying the price until I transcribe the posts and move the photos to this blog.  Click here to Learn from my fail. 

I’ve also been doing some Under the hood maintenance on the “dark side” of my site.

Most people probably hire someone. I have loads of time, and so far learning WordPress is a fun project. I wouldn’t turn down a WordPress Guru Mentor, though – so if you know someone, let me know!

I realized, early this morning, that I had neglected the care and feeding of my blog, far beyond just the lack of posting. The plugins (pieces of code that do certain tasks) weren’t working, and seemingly had disappeared. They didn’t disappear, just were hidden, and I had to set up FTP software and take a look in the background.

I’ve used FTP software in the past, just not with my hosted blog. I was nervous, but it turned out to be just as easy as it was before. I did have a tense few moments, though. A plugin had to be deleted before I could reinstall it, and when I deleted it from the server, many things and many subfiles were deleting right before my eyes. I have several more plugins to delete. Deleting is scary, especially if you don’t have a backup.

Creating a backup is next on my list.

Friendships made while Surfing Couches and flying from Singapore to Hong Kong

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Often people ask if I’m traveling to find myself. I, happily, really like who I am. I also know who I am. It is because I know myself that I choose, or perhaps feel driven to travel.

I absolutely love the people in my life, and my home. I also deeply love experiencing other ways of life and making new friends when I travel.

Traveling for an extended time is an amazing experience, and challenging, too. Unless you are in a single place for at least a month or so, it is hard to make new friendships, and not to be looked through by shop keepers. Even when you are quite comfortable with your own company, it can occasionally be a bit lonely.

So far, I’ve used AirBnB for most of my lodging. The idea is that people rent out a room in their home or entire flat, and thus have some cultural exchange. Many times it has been a wonderful experience. A few of the times the rentals were run by a rental company, and not very personal. I don’t enjoy those as much. As I was planning Singapore and Hong Kong, most were agencies or hostels, not homey. So, I tried something different.

I just experienced Couchsurfing for the first time.

Couchsurfing is a online board that people can use to find travelers to Host or Couches to Surf. There is no expectation of payment, just cultural exchange, help around the house, or maybe a small souvenir from the Surfer’s home. Or even just conversation.

The process is like this:

  1. Go to Couchsurfing.com and create a profile.
  2. Start a search on where you want to visit, and look through the Host profiles, and see what is a good match. See if your interests mesh, do they have something to share that would be meaningful to you? Do you have something to offer to teach, learn, share with them?
  3. When you find a Host that looks good, send a CouchRequest to them and see if they offer to Host you.

There are all kinds of people in the world, and it is the same in the Couchsurfing world, too.

My first Couchsurfing experience was great! Weizhen, my Host in Singapore is a great person, and we had wonderful conversation about Massage Therapy, which I practice, and Traditional Chinese Medicine, which she is practices. She picked me up from the metro stop and we went to dinner. She asked what I liked, and chose the place, and I treated. I think she was planning on treating, but I beat her to the register.

After dinner and great conversation, she took me to her clinic, where I slept in the treatment room on a massage table. I’ve slept many a time on my own table, and on more uncomfortable beds, so I slept well.

She returned the next morning, and when she found out that I was having some, shall we say, “abdominal discomfort of the travelers variety”, she gave me a consult and prescription of Chinese herbal medicine. THEN, she said when I return to Singapore in a couple if weeks, return to her and she will provide a treatment for another issue (was also diagnosed by a TCM practitioner in NH, USA).

As I write this, I’m flying from Singapore to Hong Kong. I “kind of” have a second Couchsurfing spot lined up. My next Host’s English is loads better than my Chinese, but seeing as I only know how to say “Hello” and “Thank you”, that isn’t saying much.

My seat mate is a woman from Singapore named Lillian. We are having wonderful conversations, and she has been brainstorming on possible options for who she knows who could host me. Her thoughts are so generous! She insisted on buying me a muffin and coffee! If our schedules allow, we may meet for coffee while she is in Hong Kong, and she offered to take me to dinner when I return to Singapore.

A day or so ago, I was feeling not so good, and like a stranger every where I went. (Cuz I am – LOL). I thought hard about what I wanted from my experience, and wished to find warmth of spirit and to feel cared for, and like magic, I was gifted with these people.

My first day walking around Siem Reap

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My first day I spent walking around, getting the layout of the land. My goal was to find food and the Old Market.

Traffic here is mostly bikes, mopeds, and tuktuks. “Laadyy, tuktuk?” Is something I’m hearing so often, I’ll hear it in my dreams. I mostly walk, as long as I have water and sun cover, like a hat or umbrella. I can mosey at my speed and get photos along the way.

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Here are some small children on the side of the road.

Before I got to the market, I stopped for second breakfast. The first breakfast was much earlier in the day.

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Khmer Noodle Soup

Once I slurped down some noodles, I found my way to the market. Loads of t-shirts and touristy things on the outskirts, but a more local style market in the center.

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Some kind of juicing contraption, and coconuts.

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MEAT!!!

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A butcher girl.

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View down a market alley to the outside.

Dinner that night was some nice veggie soup.

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Khmer food adventure after a day spent in seclusion.

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Shhhhh!!! Don’t tell my NH Bed that I nearly wrote poetry to my Khmer Bed. The sweet comfy bed, AC, and decent wifi kept me indoors most of the day. By about 7pm I was getting hungry and I read about the “BBQ place around the corner”. People know where it is but not the name. It is huge, and quite local.

I found it, but at first I thought it was a garage. Lol. I managed to communicate that I wanted to sit down and order food. It seemed like they were a bit shocked to see me, and weren’t sure of what to make of me. I was the only westerner there, that was for sure.

No one spoke English except for the word “beer”. I went for a small Angkor Stout. They realized I wasn’t going to be a big drinker, and gave me a younger waitress.

I am deeply grateful that the menu was translated to English and had pictures. There were many wondrous dishes, like Beef Gender with Fire Ant Sauce (yes, it is probably what you think), grilled frogs (which are supposed to be best during rainy season- I may try them), and “The Vilest Parts of a Bovine Creature cooked in its stomach” (I paraphrased that dish – you are welcome).

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I went with the grilled beef and veggies with sauce. The meal came and was presented on several plates, trays and bowls. I started picking and eating away, when a nice waitress stopped by my table suddenly and shook her head, grabbed another pair of chopsticks and showed me how to eat the dish. I was supposed to mix a few of the things together in the sauce, dip the meat in it, grab some of the raw veggies THEN eat it. Laughter translates well. It wa a good meal for $4.50.

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Travel, Location Independant Lifestyle, and creating your own Field Guide To Awesome!