Note: I enjoy playing Pokemon Go when I’m out. Over the past several months, the game has taken me to serene parks, public squares, historical buildings and points of interest all around the US. Last month, I was able to play on a blitz of an international trip, and I wrote this post on Reddit. I’m reposting below and will add screenshots/photos as well.
Okay, it was more like ten days, but I can finally say I’ve completed my entire available Pokedex with what ended up being just a couple days left before Niantic added the new babies. I’m a level 32 Instinct player and live in the US, but had the good fortune of a brief work event in Hong Kong. I took the opportunity to ask for a few days off on the long journey, and added layovers in Europe, as well as a brief visit (my first) to Australia.
First, the travel hack: When searching for flight deals, you can sort by duration, and then reverse-sort to get longest duration first. In this manner, I found flights on Austrian Airlines with 5 and 16 hour layovers, instead of the usual 2 hours which wouldn’t have allowed me to leave the airport.
Mr. Mime: Upon landing in Vienna for my brief first layover, I fired up my phone, and thanks to my T-Mobile free international data package, I was immediately connected. While waiting in line to clear customs (yeah I know you’re not supposed to have your phone on there), a little GPS drift brought me to a nearby gym and Mr. Mime appeared! He was my first catch of the day, and I was faced with the immediate decision of simply staying in the airport, or doing the whole customs and immigration thing only to return to the airport in 3 hours. I reminded myself of why I had booked the longer layover, and made the most of it and took the 18-minute train into the center of Vienna. When I stepped outside, I was welcomed with a brisk, 30mph wind, and sloppy, cold rain. Again in this moment, I persevered – grabbed the only thing I had which would possibly keep my phone dry (a Frisbee which I carried over my phone like a lid), and began to walk the streets. Thankfully the pokestop tracker had been enabled, and I was able to patrol the streets waiting for Mimes to pop up among the 9 I could see. I traipsed around the center of Vienna, took brief breaks to warm up and grab a donut, and made my way back, soaking wet, to the airport. In 3 hours on the streets I caught 4 Mimes. I also gathered 3 10k eggs on my way to 9, so I was feeling good about my chances.
My second Vienna layover (on my return journey) was much more productive. I had arranged for 16 hours on the ground, overnight. So, naturally I made no plans for a hotel since that would just keep me off the streets. I’ll sleep when I’m dead! I have Mimes to catch! So, I spent an entire night, once again with a very cold wind and occasional drizzle, wandering the streets of Vienna with my phone and battery pack. I found Mimes…everywhere. Two spawned right beside me without having been on the nearby/sightings menu. All told, 12 more caught for a total of 16. Sadly, none of them above tier 2 appraisal.
Overnight in Vienna: I broke up the long night in Vienna with an orchestral/choral concert at St. Stephen’s church in the center of the city. I might have dozed off for about 2 minutes, and that would be my only sleep for the night. I thought it would be warm inside, too, but this was a medieval cathedral with frigid stone floors and no heating whatsoever. Outside the church, I saw a man loading up Pogo and beginning to explain the phenomenon to a woman he was with. I interrupted and told them that I was on my return home from a 3-continent journey to fill my pokedex. “Wow, so you’re like a GOD! What’s your instagram?” he responded. I pointed him to @travelogician as I basked in the moment, also confirming that at least he had caught a Mime while he was in Europe. Late in the night, and I mean…like 2:30 am, I went into a nightclub to break up the monotony. I observed that the people on the streets at 2:30 are the drunks and the opportunists, pushing themselves to the edge of the night in hopes of hooking up or finding some other kind of relief. I learned in the club that I went to (Der Fledermaus) that I much prefer the ultra-late-night crowd to the regular late crowd. Those who stay out and party until 4, 5 am are the lovers, not the opportunists. They are those who value interaction with others over a cheap score. There’s no urgency – just a desire to have a good night out. As I left the club at 4am, I walked out to a newly refreshed Vienna streetscape. The drunks had found their way off the streets; the loud teenagers had given up and gone home. Instead, the people in the streets now were the hard workers (early risers for newspaper deliveries and early restaurant openings), the overachievers (joggers determined to get in their miles of running before work) and the travelers heading in early for the first trains of the day. This is an observation I never would have made without pogo.
Farfetch’d: With a work event consuming all normal hours in Hong Kong, I decided to maximize the utility of my jet-lagged early rises and go out hunting for Farfetch’d in the pre-dawn hours. I am proud to say that in just 3 days in Kowloon (the city mirroring Hong Kong island, but all part of the same metropolis) I got to know it very well on foot. By the time I met with my coworkers for breakfast each day I would have already logged 6-10 thousand steps as tracked by my phone. I won’t go into the detail of every single Farfetch’d catch, but will share a couple of notes. I found Farfetch’d to be an extremely rare spawn, given the sheer size of the city and nearby islands. The population is, in some neighborhoods, the most dense in the entire world. There are Pokestops about every 30 meters throughout, which make for easy stocking upon resources. However, despite that rich density of stops, the little duck would spawn with about the same frequency as a dratini, I’d say. Referencing a local website tracker, I could see maybe 3 or 4 at any time – usually an hour away by car or worse by train. There was no particular pattern as to where they would appear – not closer to water or any other recognizable biome. So I worked hard on 3 consecutive pre-dawn mornings to sometimes run around the peninsula to collect them. All told I captured 10, in about the same number of hours of running them down. As a nice bonus, the massive Kowloon Park nearby my hotel was an Omanyte nest, so I was easily able to collect more than 150 candies as I went along. On 2 occasions, I ran to a location to capture a Farfetch’d only to watch it disappear off the map or to ghost me during the catch. On at least 4 occasions, I saw a “nearby” Farfetch’d and ran around the maze of streets and alleys to not even find it. This would have been great to have the new tracker active, but it hadn’t been rolled out yet in Hong Kong while I was there. [EDIT – found 2 serendipitously along the way, and one on my final layover during which the new in-game tracker was actually enabled.]
Hatching nine 10-K eggs: Over the previous two weeks I had diligently gathered a full slate of 10-K eggs. I was nervous about pulling the trigger and buying all the needed incubators, expecting disappointment and lamenting cashing in on 1200 coins. But I went for it one morning in Hong Kong. I had the good fortune of being on a team-building activity which was a walking scavenger hunt of the city. Since I already knew my way around quite well, I was confident we could walk almost everywhere. I simply kept Pogo on and running while we spent the morning all around town. When we got up to 9.6 km walked, I shut down the app so I could savor the hatching experience later on my own time, uninterrupted. My plan was to crack a lucky egg and then finish off the last bit, but I absent-mindedly started walking toward Kowloon bay without tracking my distance covered. Once the train started, there was no interrupting the hatch-fest. And….the results for me were disappointing, of course. 1 Dratini, 3 Scythers, 1 Onix, 2 Pinsirs, 1 Hitmonlee, and 1 Jynx.
Kangaskhan: Well, having just 3 full days and nights in Australia, I was a little worried
I might spend too much of that precious little time staring at my phone instead of seeing a new country and continent for the first time. I didn’t need to worry. My first Kangaskhan sighting was in the airport on arrival. The sightings tracker was working, and led me right to it. I had my first 8 hours in Sydney on a layover before continuing to Darwin, in the tropical north of the country. Sydney was nothing short of amazing! The people are stunning, and the streets buzzed with positivity and laughter. I met up with a coworker who happened to be there at the same time, and together we went to Bondi beach, the Opera House and walked through other streets and parks. During this time I probably caught about 6 Kangas without even needing to focus very much on the game. Instead, I just took in the city sights and only had to walk out of my way a couple of times to catch one nearby. I figured Sydney was going to have the highest concentration of this regional stud, but I was also content with what I was able to easily gather up. When I landed in Darwin to suffocating heat and a much smaller city, I was less optimistic. But I was wrong to worry! These Kangas were more common than Eevees! In just one really fun day in downtown Darwin (in which I got in a tank and dove underwater with crocodiles) I had easily caught another 20. I didn’t regret one bit taking the entire next day to visit a nearby beautiful national park, mostly completely out of range of data. I had a great couple of days in the NT, and left with 36 Kangas in my collection.
Gen 2 Candy Stock: During this blitz, I also achieved my final top-up of candy stock for the Gen 2 evolutions coming out. My final catch in the regional dex was a Chansey, in mid-November at the Atlanta airport. Pretty much since then, I’ve been walking Chansey as a buddy. I finally hit 50 Chansey candies after walking 220 km (caught one other along they way)! The Scyther hatches in my 10K eggstravaganza put me well ahead at 121 candies there. In addition to that, I hit 800 Eevee candies, 90 Onix, 290 Slowpoke, 450 Poliwag, 290 Oddish, 350 Zubat, 360 Horsea, and 72 Porygon candies thanks to a lucky egg hatch and buddying up during the Halloween event. So, I can say that I feel completely ready for Gen 2 as they are released!
And then the very same day I came home, the new baby mons were added. I didn’t even get one full day walking around home to be the only person with a complete dex. Not. One. Day.
I love this game. #pokemongo