Saturday Surprise — Let’s Travel!

Good Saturday morning, friends!  We made it through yet another work week,, hopefully none the worse for wear, and now it’s time to have a fun, relaxing weekend, yes?  Last evening I was wracking my brain (yes, it did hurt, as a matter of fact) for a fresh idea for Saturday Surprise, and I decided that it is time for a bit of travel to some unique and interesting places.  So, fasten your seatbelts, and sime I’m driving here, you might also consider a crash helmet!

blind driver

Let us begin our journey in Hanoi, Vietnam …

We live about two miles from a set of railroad tracks, and I rarely hear them during the day, as there are two busy streets and an interstate highway between our home and the train tracks, but late at night, especially when it is quiet, with no furncace or television to distract, you can hear the whistle and even the clacking of the wheels on the track.  That is from two miles.  Imagine if you lived in the Old Quarter of Hanoi …

Diesel train coming down the train tracks through a narrow street in Hanoi showing how close the inhabitants live to the tracks. Image shot 2014. Exact date unknown.

Every day around 3:00 p.m. and again at about 7:00 p.m., the train comes barreling through this neighborhood.  Drying clothes are carried inside, children ushered indoors, and bikes pulled to the side of the road just before the train speeds past, with a couple feet of clearance at most on each side. In some places the train is mere inches from the buildings.


The street’s residents press tight to the walls or duck into nearby doorways with a startling nonchalance and go right back to walking across or sitting on the tracks as soon as the train has passed.


I can only imagine what that would do to dishes sitting near the edge of a table, not to mention the nerves of the people who live on that street.

Next let’s pop over to Kiev, in the Ukraine, for a look at an interesting museum …

The Toilet History Museum is flush with toilet tidbits and facts you probably didn’t learn in a history class. You’ll discover how toilets looked 5,000 years ago, why medieval toilets were called “wardrobes,” and how a toilet invented by Leonardo da Vinci functioned.


The toilet museum covers the many types of commodes throughout history, from Egyptian limestone toilet seats to the mechanics of a modern-day loo. It aims to explore culture and history through the lens of an everyday experience shared by people around the world.


But that’s not all.  They even have a giftshop where you can buy ashtrays, key rings, lighters, and tobacco pipes in the form of a water-closet!  What’s not to love, eh?  In related museums, there is, in Sandown, England, there is a National Poo Museum, but … I didn’t think that would set well on a Saturday morning, so I am not taking you there tody.


While we’re in England, let’s run over to London for a minute, for there’s a library I wanted to check out …

moving car.gif

It may not look like much on the outside, but this building houses Britain’s largest clown school, London’s National Centre for Circus Arts, formerly Circus Space.  Founded in 1989 by Jonathan P. Graham, this is the only such school to offer accredited BA (Hons) and Postgraduate programs in Circus Arts in the UK.

circus spaceDegree student Michael Standen sums up most people’s reaction when they visit this unique space, “I decided to go to circus school and came here and my mind was blown.”

And lastly, let’s make a quick stop at ISHINOMAKI, Japan.

Tashirojima Island initially caught my eye because it reminded me of my own home, with the description: On the island of Tashirojima, the cats outnumber people, and the people like it that way.  In my house, there are 3 humans and 7 felines, so we are outnumbered approximately 2-to-1.  Most times tt’s not a problem, but on the rare occasion we happen to run out of the canned food and they have only kibble to eat … we get nervous.

cat-1It’s no accident that the cats who inhabit Tashirojima, or what has become known as “Cat Island,” in Japan have come to be the island’s primary residents. Cats have long been thought by the locals to represent luck and good fortune, and doubly so if you feed and care for them. Thus, the cats are treated like kings, and although most are feral because keeping them as “pets” is generally considered inappropriate, they are well-fed and well-cared-for.



Well-fed, indeed!

While the feline population is on the rise, not so the human population that has dropped from over 1,000 fifty years ago, to right around 100 today.


nd no, folks, I am jet-lagged and ready to go home.  I hope you enjoyed today’s brief tour, and that you all have a wonderful weekend.  Love and hugs to all from Filosofa!

29 thoughts on “Saturday Surprise — Let’s Travel!

  1. Jill, I don’t know if a clown school or an island of cats is scarier. The latter sounds like an episode of “The Twilight Zone.” I see a future Stephen King book with the clown school. Keith

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lovely, entertaining post…
    Sorry, been missing in action… So very busy at the no, but do pop in for a look now and again.
    Afraid no limerick, but I love that train route…have seen them like that in Thailand too, but times are changing and all the shanty towns are fast disappearing as Asian cities modernise.😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • As I wrote this post, I wondered if I might be treated to a limerick by Colette! Good to see you … I have missed you. Glad you are out there and living life to its fullest! Have fun, dear friend! Thanks for dropping by!


  3. I wish I had visited the toilet museum when I was in Kiev in 2002. I love to take random “toilet” photos when traveling. They always peaked the interest of my high school World History students. Until shown otherwise, America kids think everyone around the world lives something close to their lifestyle.

    Liked by 2 people

    • At least the train does not run through the town in the middle of the night, for that would be too disconcerting. I like cats too … always preferred dogs, but I’ll settle for cats, since they seem to keep finding us. Speaking of … say “hi” to Marmaduke for me!

      Hugs Jack! ❤


  4. Dear Jill,

    What an interesting trip? Kids would love this kind of a geography class as well as I do. Thanks for this Saturday post.

    i am worried about the Cat Island only having a population of 100. Cats do love to eat. I can remember my cats in the past waking me up in the morning, pulling out my curlers because it was time for their breakfast. For 100 people, they have to feed a lot of cats.

    One can say that the residents of Hanoi where the train travels between building structures, that they are attuned to their environment.

    The history of the toilet tells a lot about different cultures, even today. I wonder if the students of the clown college put on shows for Londoners.

    Hugs, Gronda

    Liked by 2 people

    • I don’t think you need to worry about the Cat Island, for it seems that it is becoming quite a tourist spot, and the tourists bring treats and food for the kitties. Plus, it is an island surrounded on all sides by the ocean. And what lives in the ocean? Fish. And who loves fish? Cats. I think they will thrive there. As I was looking into the clown college, I couldn’t help but think about … well, you know … and wondering if he could even pass the coursework! Hugs!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Saturdays are fun, but as a retired fart for me every day is Saturday!! Still, I love your Saturday posts. And I will only add that cats have always ruled the world. Just look how we treat them and how disdainful they seem to be — expecting the royal treatment. No?? Have a great weekend, my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m retired too, but I think I work harder now than I did even when I was working 12-14 hour days! I’m so glad you enjoyed this one, my friend! Yes, we have seven, and they definitely rule this roost! As you said, they are arrogant and disdainful, and ours have a punitive nature. If one wishes to be petted and you don’t pet him/her … there will be a price to pay, usually an ash tray or cup of coffee knocked off of the table. It keeps life interesting, but I wouldn’t trade any of them … well, maybe Tiger Lily … for anything. Have a great weekend, Professor!

      Liked by 1 person

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