AtW Podcast #29: Rimvydas Markevicius

Picture of Dan and Rimvydas.
My guest for this episode is Rimvydas Markevicius from Lithuania. We had a great time discussing his country, my country, and China, where we both currently live. We also got a bit philosophical at the end, when we went over our motivations for traveling, and the question every traveler needs to ask him/herself every now and then: is the reward of travel worth all of the trouble?

Listen to find out our answers.

Download this Episode (right-click and choose “save as”)

Rimvydas blogs at In it, he writes about his experiences of living in China. He also has a lot of great photos.

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  • People generally don't like how a recording of their voice sounds because three bones in their inner distort the sound. When you hear yourself on tape, that's how you actually sound. Here's some more info.
  • The first devices that could record and play back sound were called phonautographs. The earliest known recording of someone singing comes from one of these devices, dating to 1860. This was a full 17 years before Edison invented the phonograph cylinder. You can listen to this recording on Wikipedia. So, the first time anyone ever heard how they actually sounded was only 157 years ago. Before that, I wonder if people understood that they didn't actually sound the way they thought they sounded. Maybe from an echo, but otherwise, probably not.
  • According to National Geographic, the five happiest countries in the world are Finland, Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Denmark. So three of the five are located in Scandinavia. Sweden is not far behind, at number 10.
  • The “Miracle on Ice” happened at the Lake Placid Winter Olympics in 1980. The USA hockey team, consisting entirely of amateurs, bested the Soviet Union's team, which mostly had professional players.
  • That same summer, sixty-six nations didn't participate in the Moscow Summer Olympics. Most of these non-participants were following the US-led boycott after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, but some didn't participate for economic or unrelated political reasons.
  • There are many websites dedicated to showing pictures of funny English signs in China. Here is one of them. I would've found these signs a lot more funny before I moved to China. But now, not so much. I can read a bit of Chinese, so I can see how most of the bad translations happened. And I see these signs so often, they've become normal. I should point out that the one that says “No Shitting” is not a mistranslation. That's actually what it says, although the English is crude. This was probably taken from a public toilet with plumbing that was incapable of handling solid objects.
  • Concerning statistics on drug usage, it's hard to know what organization (if any) to believe. And most such stats are already suspect since they are based on surveys, which are notoriously unreliable. That being said, this website claims that in 2009, 41.5% of Americans and 25.7% of Dutch had used marijuana at least once. If this is indeed true, it should be eye-opening, considering that marijuana is illegal in the US (or at least it was in 2009) and (de facto) legal in the Netherlands.
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