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The 404 1,474: Where we cut through the smogJustin wraps up his three-part trip to Singapore, South Korea, and Beijing with tips on how to survive heavy pollution, the right way to eat Peking duck, and the secret to keeping a clean city!
It's Tuesday, April 29th, 2014. I'm Ariel Nunez and from our CBS studios in New York City, welcome to the 404. [MUSIC]. [MUSIC] Okay, everyone, welcome to the 404 Show. I'm Jeff Bakalar. And I'm Justin Yu. Help me welcome, ladies and gentlemen, help me welcome, it's been over two weeks. Left a gaping hole in my heart, and I'm sure yours as well. Help me welcome back to the show, Justin Yu. Welcome back, buddy. [NOISE] Thanks, guys. I'm back. Welcome back. Thanks to both of you guys. You're quite welcome. It's been hell not having you here, I need you to know that. So many people quit because I left. I left two weeks ago, come back 14 days later and it's a ghost town in this office. Literally, like 80% of the office is no longer working in this building. Ariel we're not gonna tell him what's really going on? No. Yeah, it's crazy, right? They're all gone, they all quit. Yeah. Everyone just left. People loved me so much. Justin's gone. Well, there's nothing else to live for. At this life. So, yeah, you have that kind of effect on people, um- Yeah. But now that you're back, the world can continue to, to spin. Yeah. How was it? Where did you go? Who did you see? What did you do? What did you eat? What did you smell? Oh. What was the culture like? What was everything like? I want to talk to you guys about traveling. Because before this trip, I had never done any kind of traveling before. I had to get my passport for this trip. You, you never left the country? I did when I was like 10 years old. Where did you go? I went to China. Oh so you did? Yeah, got sick right off the plane. Yeah and for the rest of the two weeks I was out. Gotcha. So, aside from that I haven't been out of the country besides Mexico but you don't need a passport for. You don't? I think you do now. You just haven't been there in a while. Now you do? I guess I really haven't been traveling. After 9/11, you need a passport to go to Canada now. 2001. Yeah, yeah. I'm so yeah, I actually need my passport for this and it was a really long trip. I was gone for two weeks, went to Singapore first. Then South Korea, then Beijing on the way back. So cool. Have you been to any of those places? No I've no. I haven't been to either of them either but it was awesome. Yeah. I really, really liked it. I think Singapore was my favorite. Do you think they're doing it better there? Singapore feels like these are actually photos of Indonesia, which is like an hour shuttle away from um- Okay. From Singapore, but yeah, that, that was the first stop on the trip. And it feels like a CD that was built in the last 10 years. Oh, that's cool. Very, very modern, but super humid like weather-wise it was the most torturous out of them all three occasions. What do you mean super human? It was, like, super humid. Oh. It was 95 degrees with 100% humidity the entire time there. Oh God. And that's pretty much how it is all year round. Oh, that makes me sick. I know. We wouldn't have been happy traveling there together. Yeah. You and I are the same in terms of like tolerance for temperature, and I hated it. Even with shorts and a T-shirt on, it just feels gross, right when you walk out of the door. Instead of like hot dog vendors they just have guys handing out gold bonds. Yeah, and umbrellas Yeah, well. Well, it's kind of cool, though, because it does rain pretty much every 20 minutes there. Okay. So it's kinda cool. There's a lot of motorcyclists on the road, and scooters. That's how they get around, in addition to cars, of course. But on the freeway, there's actually places that you can pull off to on the side of the road, that are marked with umbrellas for every time it rains that have, you know, there's like an overpass and there's an awning and stuff for you to hang out underneath. So, that was really cool. Okay. And then while we were there, we actually took a little miniature vacation to Indonesia, which is what these pictures are. So amazing. [UNKNOWN] found this coconut plantation, that was converted in to a resort, so we stayed there for a day. It was so cool, before going on this tropical Indonesia trip, I had no idea that places like this actually existed. I mean you guys have pretty well traveled, you went to Hawaii. Yeah, when, when you say that you didn't know it existed, what do you mean? I mean I realized that places like these existed in the world, I just never thought I would make it there. Everything pretty much looked like a Corona commercial. Ooh, you're just talking about, like, the beach? Yes, the beach. Yeah. Yeah, like, not dirty beaches. Right. Coming from Orange County and then New York after that, like, all I've seen. Right, right. I mean the beaches on the East Coast aren't amazing, compared to like, Hawaii. I mean, there, beaches are nice, but, yeah, compared to Hawaii or, like, Puerto Rico where you can see your toes in the ocean. Right, right. This was amazing, so- Yeah. I was just chilling out in a hammock, it was really nice. Look at you. Nothing like hanging out on the beach with a nice refreshing can of Coca-Cola. [LAUGH] That should be a beer bottle for anybody else. What, what's the Corona slogan? Huh? Your dream, what was it? Oh. Your beach. Yeah. Find your beach. Find your, you found your beach right there, with the Corona. I mean, call that Corona. They ran out of O'Doules. [LAUGH] I'm, just, it's O'Tooles. [LAUGH] I call it O-do-les. Is that, can I live? No, yeah, you can live, apparently terribly. No, Singapore is great though. What I really liked about Singapore, is the cleanliness of it. Coming directly from New York to that country is amazing. Right. So the government actually regulates the littering there. And so if you go, there, you'll see signs. I didn't take a picture of it, but you'll see signs that have a list of things that you can't do. One of them is littering, the others are like spitting. No spitting. You can't spit? You can't spit. You can't throw a cigarette **** on the ground. No gum or anything like that. Well that, I agree, I agree with that. But get this, it's punishable by public beating in Singapore. So said the folks that we stayed with. So if you spit on the ground. Yeah. That's 30 lashes. Yeah. Done by machine, no less. I tried to find a video of it, but apparently anyone in Singapore is invited to go to these punishments, and they all take place in one public arena like gladiators. What kind of government is that called? And it's all done my machines so they can actually regulate how much pain- And the force of, yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Exactly. At least they have those priorities to check. I mean, if New York has something like that, this would probably be a lot cleaner city. The beatings would never end. Yeah. If we had that. [LAUGH] There'd be like a line of people. It'd be like going to the DMV. Yeah. But for beatings. I think that's the thing that I, that I recognized the most. Is just the level of cleanliness in areas compared to New York City. [LAUGH] Just think about how many people are here. Right. I mean I know these are big cities, too. Yeah. But there's a lot of people in one concentrated area. Right. So you're going to get some trash. Yeah, like in Korea, for example, the subways are cleaned every single night. Do they even do that in the US? They clean them. I don't know if it's, definitely not every night. It's probably not, and not as thorough either. There was like a video on the subway rail that we were taking of how they actually clean it every night, and it looks like they just dunk it into a giant vat of soapy water. Interesting. Like those guys in all white hazmat suits. Yeah. That are like power spraying every seat and corner and stuff. That's pretty cool. So nice. Yeah you like that. Yeah. Those hazmat suits. Just clean. Clean's good, man, I'm with you on that, we have a dirty-ass fricken city. Yeah, definitely. so, I really like that about, Singapore, also in Singapore and Korea, quiet cars. Like, the other thing I noticed was just the level of noisiness, is way lower in those two places, at least, compared to New York. Think it's a cultural thing? Definitely, yeah, while we there I went to Korea, for a wedding, which is why I traveled there to Asia in the first place, and, we were there with about 15 of our friends. Scattered across the country, but we all met up in Korea. And while we were there, you know, we hadn't seen each other in a while. Right off the plane, like, we were laughing on the bus and stuff. And we actually got shushed. Really? Like this old man that was sitting in front of us turned around and was like, shh, on the bus. Whoa. Yeah, so apparently in Korea, they don't like foreigners talking really loudly in public, which I guess I kind of understand, some xenophobia there. Yeah. But it's kind of nice, like the noise level is really, really low. Sounds like there a little scared of everything. Who, in the Korea? Yeah, like I can't have someone speaking loud on the bus. I just shush them. Yeah, no jay walking in Korea. Someone got, in our group got in trouble for jaywalking. What happened to them? They get beat? Caned. No way! Put to death. Put to death for jaywalking? Well, that's the thing its like I think the problem with those places is that like for example, like the drug laws there are very, very strict. In Korea and Singapore, marijuana same level as heroine. And you'll probably get beheaded. Beheaded? No I'm, I don't know what the punishment is but it's probably- We had to chop Larry's head off. [LAUGH] Yeah day two. We had to chop Larry's too. Larry Park yeah. And that, that's pretty extreme. Yeah. I don't know if I can get behind the, the decapitation for pot but- Yeah. I'm with them on the shushing. Yeah, I really like Korea though, like amazing food. I feel like before I went there I assumed all Koreans just eat like Korean barbecue and fried chicken. Well that's pretty racist of you. Obviously that's a really a small amount of the food that's prepared there. Yeah. So, you know, obviously I'm joking. [INAUDIBLE] Korean. So we ate a bunch of great food. So what are we looking at here? What kind of food is this? This is all different kinds of kimchi. Kimchi? Yeah, which is like, the fermented cabbage with, like, fish sauce, and hot pepper, and stuff like that. So there's just a bunch of different kinds. They treat you okay? You have any issues? No issues whatsoever. Good for you. Yeah, I as actually really, [CROSSTALK], then you're nervous about that. Yeah, because, you know, the first time I went there, I got some bad stomach flu. This time, I was really nervous. Right. Loaded up on tums and everything like that. We were really careful to eat in like, sort of touristy like, you know like highly rated areas. Yeah. In Beijing especially we were really nervous because there's lately been a lot of food scandals there. Scandals? Yeah, have you read any, about any of this stuff? no. Food scandals? Yeah, I, I don't think it's pervasive across the whole country but, me and Pinny read a bunch of articles before hand that made us super paranoid. Like a couple years ago there was this scandal about the street foods. Hm. Like there's a lot of street carts there, that serves like the noodle soup. Bugs? Don't they eat bugs there? Yeah, they eat that, there's like you know novelty foods like scorpion eating and things like that. Oh scorpion. It's not super common, it's like touristy thing, but the scandal was that- Oh okay. Someone videotaped a street vendor harvesting oil from the gutter. So the video was of this woman who was taking oil out from the sewage system, in front of popular restaurants. And I guess the reason for that. For her fire or to cook with? To cook with. And so she would distill the oil and filter it out, probably add her own carcinogens and stuff. Yeah. Cuz oil is expensive if you're having like, cook all day. Okay. And, and stuff like that like, really made us nervous. Disgusting. Like, ya know, kids were, I read an article about a bunch of kids dying from fake milk. Fake milk? That had melamine inside of it. What? Yeah, which is basically just plastic. Oh. And food scandals like that were- Run rampant. Yeah. I don't know if it's bad PR or what, but Beijing and China in general's had some really terrible stories. Well I guess you learn- Learn the food prep. I wish you learn something like how to properly prepare- Yeah. For a trip, just, just eat spam for four years. Yeah, pretty much. And you'll be set. You'll have that iron stomach. Yeah, and there's always McDonalds everywhere, too. Really? McDonalds and Subway, they're across the world, man. That's [UNKNOWN] And then bottled water too, right? Like anytime you guys travel I'm sure you just buy bottled water. Depends on where I'm at, yeah. Yeah, but how do you make that judgement, though? Cuz in Korea we didn't drink bottle water, but in China we did. Like, is that racist of us? Like, I mean, how do you make that? That's a little judgy, uh- Like I know in Mexico you're not supposed to drink the water. Well you find out. You do you research, you know. You find out where you can drink water and where you can't. Right. Most, I feel like most of Europe, you can. Yeah. I was in the DR and we got there and they're like, don't drink the water. Oh, they tell you there? Yeah. They're like, hey, it's a beautiful island, don't drink the water. Yeah. We're like, okay, we're not gonna. What about Jamaica, did you drink the water there? I didn't risk it. I mean, I, I don't know if it's good or bad, I just didn't try. Yeah. But, cuz when I went to the Phillipines, I, I had like ice from tap water and I got super sick. [UNKNOWN] So, so, yeah, you gotta be careful with the ice, too. Yeah. Like ice, don't forget, yeah, that's major, major deal. I mean that's hard to escape because, even if you're not drinking the actual water, they still wash food in the water. Yeah, ice is another big thing. Yeah, bit if they wash food, that's fine. I mean, I think that's fine. It gets, you know, cooked, but it's okay. Yeah. Right. But with the ice, you can ask like, where's this ice coming from? If they say it's filtered, then it, it should be okay. Yeah. I was really, really paranoid about that. But. It's ridiculous we have to worry about water. Yeah. I mean in Beijing we had to worry about everything, there was like a bad story about like bao, you know, like basically like little bread balls, being made out of cardboard, like 80% cardboard, and 20% flour. Weird, I feel like what, what kind of stuff were you reading like really reliable stuff or? Yeah these were like big scandals that were coming out since 2008, like around the time the Olympics were happening in Beijing, a lot of these stories were, were happening to the point where now, a lot you'll see if you go to Beijing, there's a lot of import stores, of stuff like milk from Korea. And those are really popular because, parents just don't want to give their kids the food that may pain. Interesting, wow. Yeah, really scary stuff like that. But luckily we didn't get sick, ate a ton of really good food, Peking duck is like the thing to eat. Yeah, that sounds good. So we got it there, and the chef, actually comes out and like slices off all the fat for you and everything. Amazing, I really like Peking Duck. Cool, excellent. One thing I really liked, Ariel, you're really gonna love this, is that in Korea, the vinyl culture is freaking crazy. Right now, there's like this revival of vinyl. And there's stores everywhere. So look, check this out. This is just one of the stores that a bunch of friends and I went to. This is actually located inside a subway, and a place called [UNKNOWN] in Korea. And this is just one of the walls. This is a four walled enclosed store. So you can see the door right there in the middle. Sure. All four walls, just as much vinyl. Like, digging for hours. What were the prices like? That's the thing, cuz when I went there, I kinda figured, like oh, man like we're going to find some deals or whatever, they're going to have no idea what this stuff is worth. Though with like disdog.com that's out right now, like pretty much find what anything is worth online. Yeah. So, like moderately priced, I'd say like 15 to 20 bucks and then up for a record. But really good condition, they know how to take care of their stuff. Is anything like really cheap there? Food. Just food? Yeah, definitely spend like not like half as much money as I normally do on food comparing to New York there. Mh-hm. Yeah. That's cool. We went to this place if you're looking at the video. This is a mountain that exists right in the middle of Seoul, and they built the city around it. It's called Namsan. Mm-hm. And you take sort of like, a people mover? Up to the top of the mountain. Yeah. Really similar like to Roosevelt Island. You know you like go to the top of this mountain and then hike your way down. It's really beautiful. Another huge record store. It's funny, I was wearing my Phantom of the Opera hat. And when I went in there, they freaked out. [LAUGH] And they were like, oh! You gotta buy these records. [LAUGH] Both of these records are $100 a piece. What? Yeah. Sealed. Original copies, Korean pressings from like the mid 1980s. They're probably worth - Really know what they have. Yeah, it was amazing. There's like so much to dig in there. Cool. Yeah. One thing I really liked to is that they are really into LP bars there, in Korea. Mm-hm. So we went to a lot of those. That it's literally just, you know, like you go into a bar. The walls are lined with shelves that have records stacked all over the place. You just play and hang out. The DJ just plays them all. You can't actually like rifle through the records. Oh, okay. But, it's just like an audio files dream bar. That's neat. Yeah. And they play the full LP? Like the full album? Mm-hm, they'll play the full LP, or it would be like a DJ, just playing singles, whatever the guys feels like. And then we laid over in Beijing on the way back for just like for 72 short hours, went and saw Mau's tomb, Tiananmen Square. A lot of random, sleeping people on the street in China. Oh man, what, where, I saw something about that. Oh, like, online somewhere? Yeah, like, they all, a lot of people there sleep in the, in public. Yeah, I don't know what the Chinese version of a siesta is, but they really love it there. Now, where the hell did I read about that? There's some sort of, it's like a cultural thing people just go to bed in public. Yeah, yeah I, I and these people ain't homeless. Yeah I know, I know. They're definitely not sleeping on the sidewalks. Well they are, but they're not without a home. It was probably like a, a gallery of photos of like where was this again? This is in Beijing. In Beijing just people sleeping outside. Yeah. It was so weird. Like people we're like, you know construction workers were sleeping. Like men, woman, children just on the sidewalk. Very strange but, kind of jealous. You would never do that here, you would never, it would only be by accident or if you passed out, or if you're homeless. Yeah, and then you'd wake up with out anything on. Anything. Like you'd be naked. Someone would take an exacto knife and carve out your wallet, and all that stuff. [LAUGH] Yeah, I'd be nervous about that just falling asleep on the subway even. Oh, my god, that's the worst place to fall asleep. You're better off falling asleep in Central Park [LAUGH] in a field than you are in an, on a subway car. Never done that before, but- You're lucky if you wake up with your clothes on. Oh, but the smog in Beijing was the worst. That set you back a couple of years I bet. I couldn't believe that, yeah, like, I didn't experience this myself but a friend that I talked to who spent a little time there during the Olympics, said that after a week being there, he would like, you know, like after a full day of walking around, he would wipe his face with a napkin and it would be black. Oh. Yeah, or gray. [SOUND] You know, like you spit up black loogie after a while like you've been smoking cigarette. I mean, that's probably the equivalent of what you're actually doing there. Yeah, it was crazy. So we actually had a layover in Beijing on the way to Singapore. It was like a 14 hour flight then a two hour layover. Then seven hours to Singapore. But you know how normally when you touch down. You can sort of start seeing the tar mat, right? Like you can see like oh we're like five minutes away and we're descending. When we got into Beijing, I had no idea that we are about to land until the wheel touched the ground. Oh my God. Like you couldn't even see the tarmac. It's always the fog. Yeah, yeah. It was insane. It looks like San Francisco at 6 P.M., everyday when the fog starts rolling in. Yeah. Which is so weird because it really affects the weather as well. Like, I think the weather would have been a lot hotter there had the cloud and the smog not been blocking the sun. That's terrible. Yeah. And it was impossible to get like, really good photos and everything like that. We went up to the top of the Great Wall of China. And even then, we still weren't above the smog line. Ugh, that's gross. So, so you're from Southern California, how would you compare it to LA smog? Oh, I mean, LA smog is visible but, to like varying degrees, it's bad but it's not like, like a haze. You don't have to cut through it. Yeah. The way it sounds like you have to cut through it over there. In Beijing, it's crazy, it looks like you're living in a smoke stack, all the time. That's really sad and disgusting. Like people straight up wearing, like, not only those masks, you know, like the medical masks. [CROSSTALK] Straight up gas masks. Like we saw a guy, didn't have a chance to snap a photo. But a guy rode his bike past us, and he was wearing this full on gas mask [LAUGH]. That's really frightening. Yeah. I can't believe that. Why isn't? Is anyone doing anything about that? I don't know how they would reverse it at this point. They just have guys with vacuum cleaners, sort of. Yeah, 24/7. You know? I don't know. It was so bad when we were there. Just sucking up the air. Mh-hm. It's really bad. You might as well smoke cigarettes while you're there. It can't be any- You've like have no choice. It's crazy. And then the smoking culture there, speaking of cigarettes, is really bad, like the cigarette- On top of the smog. On top of the smog. To the point that everytime we were either leaving or coming from the Beijing airport, some people were actually smoking on the airplane. No. At least one instance of like, smelling smoke on the airplane. No. Every time we were going into Beijing. What? Yeah, I couldn't believe that. Huh? I want people to write in and see if they experienced the same thing. I thought it was a fluke until we came back to Beijing you know, from Korea, and you can smell. You know like how your nose starts tingling- Yeah, of course. When someone is smoking. Clearly it was somebody who couldn't handle a 14 hour flight without lighting up and taking like a single drag in the bathroom or something. Yeah. And we did actually see any smoke. There was no physical signs of it. If you do that on a US flight you get arrested. Yeah, like you would get court martial. It's like a felony. Yeah. I can;t believe this. It, it was like to the point where I thought they were gonna make an announcement to remind people that you couldn't smoke. As if those tiny lights are everywhere on an airplane, aren't enough. Yet no one said anything, and it was like man there's only two bathrooms on this freaking plane. Like you should be able to tell when someone comes out and like there's a plume of smoke. Yeah, of course. It wasn't even like an E-cigarette or anything? No, straight up smoke. [CROSSTALK] You can just smell it. And it was like that for 15 minutes. It was like multiple people were just going into the bathroom. What the hell's going on over there? I don't know. It, it reminded me of like, man, there was a time where you could actually smoke legally on an airplane. Yeah. A time when none of us were alive. Can you believe? Like, when, when did that stop happening? In the mid 70s? Nah, I, I wanna say when I was really young, I remember it. Oh, you do? Because I, I remember the the little, the ashtray's in the, in the armrest. No, you can flip them up. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. That too. Well I remember we talked about this recently. They keep the ashtrays in the bathroom. Yeah. Still to this day, because if someone actually does smoke. You don't wanna them to put it out. They don't want them to throw it in the trash and start a fire. Hm, right. But. Right. That's still. So you do remember like, smelling smoke on a plane when you were a kid? Yeah, yep. I remember definitely smoking. I can't remember if I ever saw anyone. But I was a little kid. Yeah, it, it's, man, I can't remember that at all. But I, I mean I remember smoking in other places. Right. In like restaurants. Or like a mall, like a shopping mall. Yeah I remember that. I remember even dance clubs, like you could smoke. You come out smelling like cigarettes. Oh yeah. Hell yeah. That's like 10 years ago. Yeah it doesn't even make sense to have a non smoking section on an airplane right? I mean that's such an enclosed environment the whole airplanes gonna get it. Yeah, unless they have their own ventilation system. I guess it's not unsafe either. It's just- No it's just gross. Like bad like, yeah flight quality. What about all that recycled air and all that. It's dry already. You know, it's like tight, confined space. It's stale, it's stinky, what the hell you bringing cigarette smoke into the mix for? Some fool on the airplane was, was not, not being very smart. I mean this isn't 1945 where everyone and there mothers smoke cigarettes. Yeah. You know [CROSSTALK]... It doesn't matter if you're [INAUDIBLE], anyway. If the pilots are smoking, the stewards and stewardess, they're smoking. I know. The babies are smoking. Yeah. [LAUGH] And everything's in black and white. That was a contriversial in China too. Remember that video of the baby smoking? Oh yeah. That came out? Did you see babies smoking? I didn't see that this time, unfortunately, but- Man. I might as well have. My eyes definitely started watering and getting dry when we got out of the airport. Yeah, it's like basically going to Las Vegas. [LAUGH] Yeah, yeah, like all of Beijing is a huge Las Vegas. Oh, and we know how awful Las Vegas is. Yeah. That's the thing too is that, I don't know, like you guys are obviously more traveled, well traveled than me but, to me, all of the big cities that we visited, Beijing, Singapore, and then like Seoul, a lot of them just look the same. They all just sort of look like New York. You know, like a big city is a big city, you know like varying degrees of restaurants, and things like that- Sure. But in terms of neon signs, and you know, corporate presence it's like. I mean you didn't go to a third world country. Yeah, like we had gone to like Vietnam or something like that. Is Vietnam a third world country? Certainly, yeah you'd probably notice it but, I don't know we got out to the country a little bit for some hikes and stuff. But for the most part we were, we were in the city. Okay. It was tough not having a phone though. Oh right so you- What have you guys done when you went on vacation, I mean. That's got to be the hardest part. When I was in Europe I uh- You borrowed a phone? Yeah I had a GSM phone. It was fine. It's like no problem whatsoever. Yeah. Popped in a SIM card. Oh, you can buy a sim card when you get there? Yeah, for like you know 20 Euro. Gosh, [INAUDIBLE] And it lasted me like 10 days, and I was fine. What about you? I I switched my plan to an international plan like every time I've went out, and then it like charged me a little bit more. Or I just do WI-FI whenever I can. Yeah. That's, that's a smart thing. I should have borrowed phone from Brian, I mean he's right here in the office. Yeah, we have like an endless supply of International phones available. Yeah, I don't know why. I mean, I assumed in Korea they would have WI-FI hotspots everywhere, and they do like Korea, technologically, is like, way ahead of us right now. Yeah. Sure. There're super fast internet speeds. Same with Singapore, really fast. And then what's really cool is, in Korea, it's the same as Japan. You can pay for everything using either your phone or like a multipass style thing. Like, you pay for public transportation, bus, subway, or taxi. You can buy food or whatever, like cigarettes. Oh, just so easy. Why do we not have that? Yeah. Yeah, it was really easy to latch on to public Wi-Fi there too. I feel like in New York, I would either not trust it or they just wouldn't be available. I don't know, have you ever gone around doing that? Yeah I, I haven't done that I, I, I have this stigma with like free Wi-Fi Yeah. You know? Yeah [CROSSTALK] It's just like, no I don't want to do that. Someone's, you know, sniffing. Yeah. Figure that probably happened a little bit, but, what are you gonna do? Yeah. So, in Sing, I mean, in Korea, one thing I noticed was a lot of people watching TV on their phones. So like everybody has Samsung, like, that's the huge brand there obviously. And they're huge. You know, like those Galaxies are gigantic. There like notes and stuff? Yeah, they're all notes. But you'll see a lot of people with antenna's coming out of the headphone jack. What? Which is really weird, like, kinda, like, set me back, or like a weird thing in the past. Yeah, yeah. They're obviously picking up analog TV signals. Is that what they're doing? They're watching TV on their phones, but it wasn't like a digital thing, it wasn't like streaming. So the TV is just a monitor? I think, yeah, the phone is the converter. And a converter. Yeah, I'm assuming. I didn't ask anybody but, you'll see that a lot. It's really bizarre [CROSSTALK] Did you take photos of that? I didn't take a picture of it. Alright. So, yeah, it was really cool. In Beijing, last thing I wanna say, it's like we wanted to go to this restaurant. Anyone who visits Beijing I want them to go and let me know how this is. But there's a bunch of North Korean themed restaurants there. All like Pyongyang themed restaurants, they're like Medieval Times in China. What do you mean North Korea themed? Weird sounding right? Yeah, what does that mean? So I guess- So it's all like, scary? Yeah, there's no food. There's no food and everyone just likes cries inside? Yeah and they kill your whole family right out the door. It like it sounds weird, but if you've ever seen videos of like the, like North Korean processions or like ceremonies performances- Do they like, like- Like kids playing guitar- Is it a parody? Women dancing. It's sort of a parody Because they're not. But it's not comedy. It's definitely not comedy, it's more theater. It's like I don't know like Buffalo Bills or Medieval Times here, kind of like entertainment. Cuz I'm trying, I'm trying to undersatand how they position it. Yeah. Because obviously they're not proud of it. Or are they? Yeah, I think it's supposed to be like a disturbing thing. I now like a lot of North Korean defectors eventually make their way into Beijing, which is China. But, yeah, I'm not sure like, what the point is of it. It's still like disturbing. It's happening right now. Or is it anything like, you think it's weird here, get a load of these guys, you know. Yeah, like, this is still going on. [INAUDIBLE]. Yeah, it'd be weird if it was like a period thing, like, where, oh yeah, this is like a old west theme show, but this is happening in 2014. Cuz it sounds like they're borderline celebrating it. Yeah, it's weird, so they have like kids playing guitar in unison, women dancing, and they like serve you food and things like that. I saw one photo of the inside of one of these restaurants, and they have like huge wooden telephone poles, like the old style ones- Yeah. Splinters coming off them and then missing persons. like. That's weird. Yeah. Missing persons flyers that are all tacked and stapled. What the hell is that? So weird. Yeah. We didn't get a chance to do that, cuz we went for duck instead. But, I wanna know if anyone's been to one of those. Okay. And there's a few locations. Is there any difference as far as like North Korean food? Like do they have different traditions or anything? Yeah. So like one of the popular North Korean foods is, I think I'm probably pronouncing it wrong. [CROSSTALK] But it's called [FOREIGN] [LAUGH]. Oh, okay. Yeah, just air. [LAUGH] Sawdust. But yeah it's called [FOREIGN]. Which is, it's kinda, strange to to us cuz it's cold soup noodles. Listen, that's- But like, ice, there's, like, like, ice flakes inside the soup, and then they put buckwheat noodles inside, with, um- Anything noodle- With, like Asian pears, and, and celery, and- Yeah. Not celery, like, zucchini and things like that. Okay. And then I'm not sure what else they have in North Korea, but I'm sure that's it. That's all that's gotten out. [LAUGH]. Good old rice and water. [LAUGH] yeah, like I wanna hear from people if they've been to one of those North Korean places cuz it sounded pretty crazy. Yeah. Right on. Alright, it was a successful trip. It was a good trip. Yeah. It was like both relaxing and super stressful at the same time. Stressful because you, you were, you- Speak the language, yeah, like do you guys go up to people and just point at stuff on your phone, we were doing that a lot. Yeah, I mean, I haven't, I haven't really been to a place where there's not a sizable portion of the population that speaks either English or bad English. Right, right. And that was most the Europe. I thought we'd be totally out of luck in like Brussels and all those places. Amsterdam they English. Everyone speaks English. So- I figured it would be that way in Asia pretty much everywhere in Korea and Singapore it's really easy to talk to people cuz students learn English all the way up through high school, but in Beijing I'm super surprised, I mean it's like the capital, they had the Olympics there, big business city, nobody spoke English. Interesting. And I don't speak any Mandarin except for like where's the bathroom, helps very little. You're doing that a lot. I swear like traveling through Asia too, 75% of the time you're just pointing at Engrish Yeah, Engrish? That's all it is yeah, like funny, like, you know, misspoken. Lost in translation stuff? Yeah, exactly. Well, what was the best? This was the best. I took a photo of this cuz I wanted to show you guys. I went into a convenience store and they had condoms by Durex, a name brand, but the style was jeans. [LAUGH] They were, jeans? I like how it also says love sex above the Durex logo. Yeah. So weird. That sounds really uncomfortable to have a denim condom. Yeah. [LAUGH] And there's even like a button there too, with like the picture of the denim. That is so weird. This is like a small company. I'm assuming this is maybe like bootleg, cuz Durex has an American arm. You think that they would bet this shape up. Button-fly condom. Yeah, they put this jean condom on, girl. [LAUGH] I don't feel anything. Yeah. Jean or leather tonight, what do you think? Emulating a lap dance, I think. [LAUGH] Well that's good. That is so bad. Oh, that's gonna chafe my willy. Yeah. I don't know who it'd hurt for more. At least take the button off first, right? Get your, get in line for a denim condom for sure. Oh bad. Well there's three of them in there, so if you break one. Somehow, if you can tear jeans open. The best part about that though is you can dry clean them when you're done. [LAUGH]. So this is like a good one. We saw like a bunch of people just wearing T-shirts that had like weird slogans on it. Oh, there's a sub-reddit of weird things. There's got to be. Like a million. I, I could start like a million zens just for Engrish. That is so strange. Yeah. What, do you recall any of them? Oh yeah, there's like we saw one guy that just said like, had a shirt that said California Boyfriend on it. [LAUGH]. Yeah. [LAUGH] So good. We saw a shirt for sale that just said **** Summer. [LAUGH] Weird Where does that come from? Really bizarre stuff like that. I have no idea. It's just such a cultural divide. Yeah, it is really weird. We saw like a sign on a menu, it was like a picture of like, a a menu item you could get at a restaurant, and it said griddle dirty. [LAUGH]. That was the only description, just griddle dirty. Not dirty griddle. Yeah, it's so weird. Stuff like that. Engrish is amazing. Yeah, like half of it's like just pointing. HA tourists. [LAUGH] HA! **** summer, that's all it is. Yeah, I like it. Yeah and then Beijing does this at a lot of places too, one of the restaurants we went to. Because they know that foreigners are really paranoid about dirt and germs. Yeah. And, I'm sure the locals are too. They actually shrink wrap your entire dishware set. Your cup, your plate, spoon, fork, all that stuff. They shrink wrap, each set every time. Hm. So it's kinda weird. You gotta like pop tags on your dishware. So that's actual, that's like a plate. Yeah, but that's not like brand new. It's not paper. Yeah, they've used that before, but- Huh. It seems kind of a waste of plastic. Not very green. Who am I to say? Maybe that's why the whole city is covered in a cloud of ****. Yeah [LAUGH] having no ozone layer. UV rays directly penetrating. [LAUGH] They burn this afterwards too. They burn the plastic afterwards. I'm like really that's how they're heating the city. [LAUGH] Yeah. [UNKNOWN] plastic. Yeah, oh indoor smoking everywhere in China too. Like [CROSSTALK]. Why not? If you go to like McDonalds or like a five-star Michelin rated restaurant, you're smoking [INAUDIBLE]. That's not surprising at all, though. **** it. That's the slogan of China. Why not? Yeah. Cigarettes are cheaper than water there. That's a fact. Like- Cigarettes are cheaper than water? A pack of cigarettes is cheaper than bottled water. How much is, are cigarettes? Like $1.50 or so, and then they charge like $2.00. Wow. Are they 20 cigarettes like? Well, maybe like a dollar. It depends on what brand you get, and there's cigarettes everywhere too. Like whole stores dedicated to selling cartons of cigarettes. Yeah. The thing is they really capitalize on the price of bottled water, cuz they know tourists just can't- They can't go with out it. It's amazing that we have such a different philosophy, like there's a lot of **** backwards cultural things in the U.S., but I kind of agree on the whole cigarette thing. No I mean New York cigarettes I think it's going to surprise a lot of even like domestic listeners. 14.75 for a pack of cigarettes. And up. [CROSSTALK] Yeah. That's really [INAUDIBLE]. So over there they just don't seem to think that. You can get a carton of cigarettes from the duty free part of the airport for 20 bucks, anywhere in Asia. That's nothing. But yeah, speaking of income disparity, that was the biggest, like one of the biggest thing, we were taking note of, too, like, especially in Beijing. Like the place that we stayed was sort of I'd say like middle class area- Yeah. But a block away there was a Ferrari store in one direction, and then in the other direction it was complete poverty, like- Yeah. You know, living in basically tenement housing? Yeah. And there were, like, we had to worry about scams everywhere, too. I don't know if anyone else from Beijing experiences this kind of thing. But before we were doing planning and reading stuff online, a lot of people were warning us about scams. Like what? And we almost got scammed a few times when we were there. Like, so, one time we took a rickshaw bike. It was like basically a motor scooter with a, like a seat attached to it in the back. And we took that to get around cuz it was cheaper than taking a taxi, and before you get in you show them the destination and we just pointed at our Air B&B on the phone. Like we're going here, and the guy was like okay 40, 40 Yuan, which is the currency there. And we were like okay cool, you know, whatever that's like, you know, less than six bucks. So we get in and when we get to our destination and when get out, the guy actually gets off his bike, and he sort of like puffs up at us, [SOUND] He's like, oh, it's 40, 40, and he points at each of us, Oh. He's like 40 each, and we're like, no, you didn't say that, you know, and he's like no, no, 40, 40 kinda like getting a little bit more hostile. Right, Right, right. And at that point I was like, man, if we're in a taxi, that'd be terrifying, you could lock the doors, drive off, I have no idea where he's going. Sure, what's he doing with you though. I mean, we were in public, we were in like touristy areas, so I wasn't that scared, but, you know he was bigger than me, and was getting angry, that was probably his intimidation tactic, but we were like yeah, we don't have anything, all we have is this 40 Yuan. He's like okay, and let us go. And that happened again, like we took it again, and it was a different guy, same stunt. Hm. You gotta watch out for things like that. I think anytime you're traveling, like I'm sure foreigners that come to New York- I was gonna say it, it. Gets jacked all the time. I don't know about like taxi cabs, but maybe like a unmarked car or whatever it is, you know? Yeah. But yeah I would imagine it's equally as intimidating coming to New York for the first time. Yeah, for sure. I mean you can get taken advantage of by anybody, like charging the wrong price. By anybody. Hm. Anyway. Dude one thing that we read too is that, when you're in Tiananmen Square you shouldn't, you should be wary of random strangers that come up to you, and either ask for you to take their photo or, one popular scam we read about was, oftentimes tourists will get approached by a seemingly innocent Chinese girl, like a local, and she'll be chatting you up with like sorta broken English, and you think that, oh, this is like a friendly person that's like trying to show me around- Right. Or whatever. So you buddy up with them, and eventually after you, sort of, talk for a while- She kills you. She kills you, just stabs you in the stomach. [LAUGH] Terrible scam. Yes. I don't know why they do that. [LAUGH] Not very fun, is it? No, but, like, after a while, she'll be, she'll offer to take you to a tea house, and be like, hey I wanna show you to this place. You know, and she'll take you to a local tea house, and you'll sample all these different type of teas and drink stuff. And about half way through, she'll excuse herself to go to the restroom. Meanwhile, the proprietor will give you the bill, and it's some astronomical amount. It's like, you know like $200. That's the scam everywhere in the world. Yeah, and you're like wait I was with, and you turn to the side, she's gone. She's gone. He'd lock the doors and then two like, you know, thugs basically block it. Right. They block the door. Right. No that's the scam here too. You've heard about that happening before? That's a big scam. That's called something. Really? Yeah. That's like a popular con. It got like some Ocean 11 name to it. Hm, I wonder if that's actually ever happen. I should snope it. No, it's definitely a big scam. Yeah. Yeah. Absolutely. Or like, one thing- It happens a lot in Europe too. One thing I read here about happens a lot, like people bump in to you and then drop pre-broken phone and be like, dude, you just broke my phone. You owe me 200 bucks. Right. They do that with sunglasses a lot too. Yeah. Con artists, man. It's what makes the world go round. Yeah. We're the wrong profession. I think we're doing something a little more productive. Yeah. One thing's for sure, after going on a trip like this, I am very eager to help anyone that looks even remotely lost in New York. Right. I know, but I can't trust this guy. Yeah. Yeah. But, you know, like before like, I would always be like, aww, I don't wanna give directions to anybody. But now I'm totally sympathetic. I still maintain that, that state of mind where it's like, umm, you're on your own. Really? Sometimes. Just read the map, you'll be fine. I mean it's a grid. It's numbers. It's easy. Get into a yellow cab. That's right. Get into a yellow cab. You'll be fine. Just make sure it's not a gypsy cab. Yeah, that's it. Yeah. You'll be fine. You'll be fine, right? Yeah, good tips for travelers. Well, this has been great, man. Yeah! I had a lot of fun, it was good to be, like, on vacation for a little bit, but now, glad to be back. It's changed you as a person for the better, I can already see it. I kinda feel more worldly. You do? I'm eager to go on more trips, that's definitely a big change. You, you've expanded your horizons, you're more culturally aware. Yeah. You have more respect for other cultures. Kind of. A little bit, and now you're smoking ten packs a day. Definitely, if you guys want cigarettes I'm selling them. Roofies for everybody. I guarantee you that's like a big thing people trying to smuggle in cigarettes. Oh yeah? Yeah. Damn, I should have gotten that racket going. I don't know about that. Get held up at the customs, cavity searches, you don't wanna deal with that. Security is bad [UNKNOWN] It's a bad weekend. Yeah, yeah yeah. Alright, well welcome back man. Thanks, thanks. Alright, and we'll finish up the week and you'll be around and not going anywhere for a while. Not for a little bit. Okay, great, alright. That will do it for us guys, let us know what you think about Justin's world travels. Yeah. Yeah. People, everyone you see, you know why you made it okay? Why? Cuz you had the universal Phantom of the Opera sign of world peace. Yeah. And wherever you went, people saw your hat and they're like he's clearly a good person. Oh, before I forget, one last thing. I wanted to give a shout out to a listener in Korea. Oh right on. That came up and introduced himself to me our buddy Mike. Yeah Mike. I hope he's listening right now, it was amazing it was right after the wedding in Seoul and me and Penee were just trying to figure out directions like, 80% of the time. Did Mike help you out? No. Oh okay We didn't ask him but we kinda sat and talked for a little bit he just introduced himself as like a long time listener, it's amazing so what's up Mike? Right on. Shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Instagram [UNKNOWN]. All right we're back here tomorrow with a brand new show. Until then, I'm Jeff Bakalar. I'm Justin Yu. I'm Ariel Nunez. This has been the 404 Show High Tech Lowbrow. We'll see you guys tomorrow. [MUSIC]