Rajasthan – Udaipur, Kumbhalgarh April 13-15 2016

Our first stop after Mumbai was Udaipur (उदयपुर), the capital of the kingdom of Mewar.  Instead of taking a 15 hour+ train ride we took a 1.5 hour flight on Indigo Airlines – a low-cost carrier that serves India’s growing middle class. The Indigo Jet was modern and the flight was on time. However, the rest of the experience […]

Read more

Mumbai April 8-11 Slums High-rises and Lessons from A Taxi Driver

We left Hong Kong on a Cathay Pacific jet bound for Mumbai.  The view of the sunset lighting up the Hong Kong skyline and the mountains was beautiful after take off but we were less thrilled when it appeared again half an hour later on the other side of the airplane.  Sure enough the pilot announced […]

Read more

Walk Gawk and Shop, Hong Kong -April 6-8 2016

Three hours after leaving the rain in Shanghai, our Dragonair flight landed in the newish airport in Hong Kong. The new airport is outside of the city so there was no white knuckled landing in between sky scrapers. In less than 30 minutes we were on a high speed train heading to our hotel in Kowloon.  From […]

Read more

Live Your Dream – Shanghai April 6-8, 2016

The bunks next to ours on the overnight train to Shanghai were reserved by a young couple and their daughter.  Sensing an opportunity to finally get an upper bunk I used hand signals to offer to trade my lower bunk for their upper bunk. My offer was politely refused in English. This was the first sign that […]

Read more

Made In China

From the moment we stepped into Beijing, I could sense we were up for an adventure of a place completely unfamiliar to us. The only Chinese cultural references we have been exposed to have been the chinatowns in Vancouver and other North American cities we have visited, movies, and friends of Chinese background. I was aware […]

Read more

Emperors, Kebabs And The Cultural Revolution- Xian April 2,3 2016

The  huge waiting room in the Bejing train station was packed with travellers heading home for the ancestors holiday. Adults sat with bundles and sacks while kids made a game out of pushing each other on wheeled luggage. Eliot drowned out the noise with his iPod and I went exploring for food. The snacks available- duck tongues, and chinese dates […]

Read more

Gucci, Mao & The Emperor- First 2 Days in China : March 31-April 1, Beijing

The JAL 787 from Tokyo to Haneda was half full and we ended up in business class. It was the most fun I had with an electric seat since my father z’l bought home a Buick Riviera in 1980.  Eliot was not amused. I think he was unhappy in the realization that the quiet orderliness of Japan was […]

Read more

Nozawa Onsen & Tokyo March 27-31 2016

Read more

March 23-26: Matsuyama-Osaka – Onsen, Elf Bakeries and Japanese Latinos

The final crossing on our bike ride was the Kurushima-kaikyo Shashi Bridge. The bridge took us to the Island of Shikoku– the smallest and least populated of Japan’s four main islands. There were strong headwinds and we were relieved to get to the  bike off ramp which provided views of a large shipyard. We arrived in Imabari around […]

Read more

March 22-23: Onomishi to Imabari- Washlets, Bikes & Bridges

After Kyoto, we headed south to Onomishi. Our plan was to bike the 75 km Shimanami Kaido from Onomishi to Imabari. The Shimanami Kaido leads across the six islands of Mukaishima, Innoshima, Ikuchijima, Omishima, Hakatajima and Oshima, before terminating on Shikoku in Imabari City. There is a dedicated bike lane throughout the route and a trust based bike […]

Read more

Kyoto- Temples, Geishas and Mochi Balls

Kyoto is located in the central part of the Island of Honshu Japan. It was the capital of Japan until the capital was moved to Tokyo (Edo) during the Meji restoration in the late 1800’s. Kyoto has a number of well preserved temples in and around the centre as well as an intact Geisha district […]

Read more

Japan- Kanazawa to Kyoto March 16-20

The flight from Addis Ababa to Narita took about 14 hours including a one hour stop in Hong Kong. We slept most of the way after snapping up 2 empty rows in the back of the 787 as soon as the doors closed. Travelling has made us a bit ruthless. Within 30 minutes of landing we were able […]

Read more

Shoulder Dancing Finger Foods and Solid Rock Churches- Gonder and Lalibela

After showering and charging our devices we toured Gonder with Dave and his friend. We visited a series of castles built by  Solomonic emperor Fasilides in the 16th century after he restored the Ethiopian Church and established Gonder as Ethiopia’s capital.  With grand halls, towers and gables, the architecture was almost as interesting as the court intrigue. It […]

Read more

Japan- The Geisha and Godzilla

I was thrilled to arrive in Japan after trekking in Ethiopia for five days. I was looking forward to organization, cleanliness and a good bath. I had a big smile on my face as we landed in Narita. Lorne was not very pleased with me and continued to say that I should not be so […]

Read more

Shanghaied in Beijing & The Flying Fish in Hong Kong

You know the story, a man in Shanghai meets a red silk clad beauty and follows her to a smoky bar near the docks. A few hours later the sailor wakes up with a headache in a sleazy hotel room. His money and watch are gone. Men bang on the door show him the conscription papers he signed and […]

Read more

Simien Mountains Days 3-4 Geladas Chennek, Argin and Ambaras Villages

As we watched the Geladas descend the cliffs and call out to each other, Dave explained that they are monkeys rather than baboons. Sociable, grass, root and flea eating monkeys that live in large social groups of up to 500. The Gelada  sleep in caves on the cliff sides for the protection offered against hyenas and wolves.  They are very docile. […]

Read more

The Simien Mountains Days 1 & 2- Sankabar Campsite, Gich Village

    We spent 4 days and nights in  Simien Mountain National Park.  In that short period we walked about 60 km and reached altitudes of almost 4,000 meters. We stayed at campsites and in a village,  drank Tej (honey wine) and Jack Daniels with our trekking crew had coffee and injera with villager saw Gelada Baboons,  clip springer […]

Read more

Poverty is a relative concept

Throughout our trip, something has become more apparent. We all have the same needs: to eat, to be cared for, to love, and to belong to a community. These are universal despite our economic situation and/or the culture we live in. Somewhere I read that your current situation does not define who you are as a […]

Read more

Ethiopia Simien Mountain Trek- The Guide, The Cook and The Scout

Eliot and I trekked in Simien mountains national park for four days from March 8-12. In those 4 days, we saw incredibly beautiful landscapes and watched wildlife up close. The trek was one of the best experiences I had so far on the trip and much of the credit goes to the guide and the staff that […]

Read more

Addis Ababa The New Flower

The 14 hour flight/ 10 km from Sao-Paulo to Addis was easy. We each had a row of seats and slept as the plane crossed the Atlantic and the African continent. Canadian tourists can get visa’s at the Airport for US$60. Most of the people in line were from other African countries. Out of 100 people […]

Read more

Rio De Janeiro People in No Mood for Bossa Nova and Samba

The tag line for this blog is a semi-haphazard trip around the world and our  stop overs in Rio and Ethiopia on our way to Asia is an example of how some destinations were selected by chance. The plan was to start the trip in South America followed by Asia, the middle wast and Europe. However, there […]

Read more

Lima- Our Last Stop In Peru

After the Colca canyon trek, we returned to Arequipa for one last night before heading out to Lima. With time to kill before our the departure of our night bus, we hung out at a chocolate cafe and enjoyed dinner at Chicha. Due to my screw up, we had to take the 10 pm night bus […]

Read more

Colca Canyon Condors, Geysers, Hot Springs & Oasis

After abandoning the Jungle option we had one day to plan and book our trip to the Colca canyon. We met a guide that got outstanding reviews on Tripadvisor who quoted twice as much as the rate quoted in a local travel agency. When we asked him why he told us about his years of experience, when we asked […]

Read more

TOT (TIRED OF TRAVEL) & TADD (TRAVEL ATTENTION DEFICIT DISORDER)

On our second to last night in Arequipa we got TOT (tired of travelling). We did not feel like going anywhere. We did not want to pack and unpack and research hotels, sights and bus tickets. However, we did not want to stay in the family hotel with Abuela either. So, I dived into the web to […]

Read more

Arequipa Volcanos Black Underwear and Citizen Revolts

  Returning to the trip in chronological order. After Lake Titicaca we headed out to Arequipa.  Peru’s second most populous city and renowned for its cuisine, earthquakes and rebellious population. The city is located in an alpine valley/plain at 2100-2300 meters. On a clear day you can see two volcanoes. In the old town the buildings are […]

Read more

Visa Blues The Jew without the Ginger

The reason I have been posting a lot recently is that I am stuck in Lima waiting for a Brazilian visa due to a screw up on my part. This post will be about the fail and practical advice arising out of it. Aside from some stomach issues and dirty hostels we have not encountered many […]

Read more

Road to Arequipa: Crossing Rivers in Pick Up Trucks and Potholes in Double Decker Buses

We left Capechica on February 12, our destination was Arequipa via Juliana. One of the bridges was under repair and the detour through the ditch was impassable because of the rains. We were told that the collectivo could take us to one side of the river and then we had to get across to a collectivo on the other side. […]

Read more

A Tourist View on The Peruvian Elections 2016

When we arrived in Peru in January, the campaign for the April 2016 general election was in full swing. There were election billboards in the big towns and in the poorer parts election slogans painted on whitewashed walls.  The current president is not running because he has reached the limit on terms that a president can serve […]

Read more

Uros Islands- A Peruvian Upper Canada Village

On February 11, we followed Walther’s advice and booked a tour of  the local Uros islands . For 200 soles we were promised a visit to islands that are not touristy and lechon for lunch.  Within minutes of payment we were bumping around in a taxi listening to Journey en route to the llachon peninsula. Our guide was a […]

Read more

Lake Titicaca

From Puno we went to  “Quechua Family Inn” airbnb on Lake Titicaca. The collectivo cost 4 soles and our bags rode on the roof. We got to see the countryside while listening to the local women chatting in Quechua. One talked and the other said umhmmm. The collectivo left us off in the hamlet of Capachica which was having its own […]

Read more

Puno- Spinning Spaniards, Skirts and Demons

On February 7, Eliot and I  left Cusco for Puno, a town on the Peruvian side of Lake Titicaca. David flew back to Vancouver and Tilo stayed on in Cusco. The 400 km bus ride takes about 8 hours and reaches an altitude of about 4800 meters as it passes through small Andean towns before dropping down […]

Read more

The relationship between local food and my stomach/ La relacion entre la comida local y mi estomago

I would describe myself as a non fussy eater. I grew up eating tripe, black sausage, intestines and other animal parts in Colombia that are not offered in Canadian restaurants. Pig skin used to be one of my favourite things to eat with black beans, rice and fried plantains (bandeja paisa). My mom is an […]

Read more

Carnival in San Blas- Tilting Saints and Drag Queens That Dance for Beer

On our last two nights in Cusco the carnival was getting into swing in the San Blas neighbourhood. The main square had two sound stages and multiple beer and food vendors. There were lots of partyers drinking beer, eating anticochos, guinea pig bits and corn extrusion products. We spotted a man dressed in Andino drag. He […]

Read more

Food Photos

Here are photos of some of the foods that we ate and passed on during our trip.

Read more

The Way to Machu Picchu-Raging Rivers & A Raging Redhead

To get to Machu Picchu, you pass through Aguas Calientes which was renamed Machu Picchu to confuse everyone. From Aguas Calientes you still have to get to the hilltop site by bus or 3 hour hike (unless you pay $1000/night for a room at the Belmond). The three methods of getting to Aquas Calientes are; 1) hike […]

Read more

Machu Picchu

On February 3 we got up, downed coca/ muna tea with stale bread and headed out of the Ecolodge. We decided to take what Lyle describes as the most expensive bus ride in Peru (US$21) from Aguas Calientes to the site. The bus crossed the river and climbed the 1000 meter switchbacked road overlooking misted mountains. It […]

Read more

Ollantaytambo, Pisac and Moray- Sun Temple, Terraces and Experimental Farms

Between February 1-6, we did some self tours to other sites in the sacred valley and around Cusco. Of note we visited in the Cusco were Ollantaytambo, Pisaq and Moray. We did not have Lyle for these sites so we had to get information from Wikipedia. Ollantaytambo is a small town in the sacred valley. It is the […]

Read more

Yahrzeit In Cusco

Sundown January 29, 2016  coincided with the “yahrzeit”  (anniversary) of the date in the Jewish calendar in which my father z’l died in 2012. On Yahrzeit close family members of the deceased say “kaddish” a prayer that requires a minyan or prayer quorum of 10.  After my father z’l died my brothers and I followed the Jewish traditions for […]

Read more
Tipon

Incas, Waris & Catholics

There are a number of archaeological and historical sites you can visit on day trips from Cusco. On February 1, we arranged for a private tour with Lyle of Tipon, Piqillacta and San Pedro do Andahuaylillas- the Sistine Chapel of the Andes. Lyle usually only provides these tours for his guests at Gringo Wasi B&B but was able to […]

Read more

Business Class Collectivo

On January 30, I woke to the sound of a song bird tapping on the bathroom window at around 5.30 am. This was a good thing because David and Tilo were scheduled to arrive at the apartment at 6am after their overnight flight from Canada. After a coca tea and a nap, David and Tilo […]

Read more

Hit that kid/ Pegenle a ese niño

Augusto told us that the best food in Cajamarca was to be found in the market and that we should venture there on our first day in the city. He was right. The Cajamarca market covers a few city blocks and spills out into the busy streets. You can find almost anything, from traditional  Cajamarca […]

Read more

The Midnight Bus to Cajamarca

The only way in and out of Chachapoyas is by bus and the taxi drivers will tell you that this is because in 2003  Trans Peru flight 222 crashed into a mountain on approach to Chachapoyas airport.  Our next stop was Cajamarca and we assumed that we could take a fancy Cama Bus. We were […]

Read more

Caves Graves and Cataracts : Caverna de Quiocta & Sarcófagos de Karajía

On January 22, 2016 we went on a tour that took us to the Quiocta caves and the Sarcofagos of Karajia. Eliot and I and a Peruvian couple were overflow so we got to ride in a new Hyundai Suv  behind the combi. The  Peruvian couple were in their early 20’s and were from Chicklayo (a mid size city […]

Read more

Fortress City of Kuelap

Our first tour in the Chachapoyas area was a day trip to Kuelap, the remains of a fortified city inhabited from the 6th to the 16th century by the Chachapoyas. The site is located on a flat mountain top about 3000 meters above sea level and the only way to get there is on a dirt […]

Read more

The things I have taken for granted/ Las cosas que no habia apreciado antes

Growing up poor in a hard working family with strong work ethic values taught me to be very thankful of all the non-material (relationships, health, and emotional well-being) and the material things I have had. I was raised to be appreciative for the water we use, the air we breath, the bed we sleep in, the food we eat […]

Read more

Lessons from A Shoeless Lady in Chachapoyas

We awoke in Chachapoyas on January 20, 2016 in the hostel. It was quiet and cold and we had a mission- pack, move our bags to new hotel, eat and join the tour at 8.30 am. By 7.45 we were eating breakfast at a cafe on Amazonas pedestrian mall. Before I dug into my humita (sweet […]

Read more

This is How We Roll- Trujillo to Chachapoyas January 19

After 2 days on the beach at Huanchaco, we were ready to go to the mountains. Destination Chachapoyas, Amazona province Peru.  To reach Chachapoyas from Trujillo there is an overnight bus that takes 12-14 hours to travel the 280 km of highway and treacherous mountain roads. We booked a “cama bus” (sleeper) executivo class with moviltours. For […]

Read more

Quito January 11-14 2016

On January 11 we left Otavalo for Quito. We liked La Luna lodge so we packed without enthusiasm and took our time with breakfast. I even got a few last minutes in the hammock locking out over the mountains while Eliot chatted with Suzie (the Czech, Swedish Shaman). We taxied to the bus station and followed the shouts of “Quito Quito […]

Read more

Filet Mignon

I grew up in a time of violence in Colombia where traveling was extremely dangerous. There were towns that the guerrillas would take over and either kill all its inhabitants and make them work for them while they were committing atrocities. Dead bodies on the road in Colombia while growing up was nothing out of […]

Read more

Open or not the gay travellers dilemma

On January 8, 2016 we left Pasto Colombia for Otavalo Ecuador.  We arrived at the bus station at 8.30  and were directed by shouts to an Ipiales bound coach. The bus was an overnighter that had left  Cali @ 11pm the night before. Good news -there was AC and a bathroom, bad news – we […]

Read more

Food in Latin America Part 2- Pets in Restaurants

The official currency of Ecuador is the US$ and  the guide books tell you that it is hard to break a 20. We found this out when we were trying to buy bus tickets from the border town of Tulcan to Otavalo.  Having an hour to kill Eliot, Thomas ( an Austrian that we shared […]

Read more

Food In Latin America vs Canada Part 1 Festival de cuy (guinea pig)

On January 7, we went to the festival de cuy  (guinea pig).  Cuy are an important traditional food of the indigenous people in the area and this was the place to celebrate Cuy. The festival site could be any country fair site, a running track, bleachers, a bandstand, vendors and beer sellers.  There were tented restaurants […]

Read more

Popayan to Pasto- Carnival de Blancos Y Negros

January 6, started with an early morning sprint with our packs to the Popoyan bus station to catch our 7 am bus to Pasto. It had rained and I was slipping on the stones and annoyed at Eliot’s insistence that we walk rather than taxi.   My head was still in north america, I expected a modern […]

Read more

Why Travel?

A couple of days ago Eliot told me that he wanted to go home.  He was suffering from a splitting headache a- complication from the Chiconguna virus he got from a mosquito bite and was at a low point.  It was a very hot night and the neighbours were blasting salsa music in the street. This is […]

Read more

Colombian Fiddlers on The Roof

On the drive from the Cali Airport to Guadalajara de Buga (Buga) we passed a scooter on the highway. There were three people on it: a man, a woman and an infant. The man was driving, and the woman was behind him, holding on to the man with  her right arm. Her left arm held […]

Read more

Transition from Canada to Colombia – Ask Someone Who Knows

My trip began with an overnight flight from YVR to Toronto on an Air Canada 777. I booked a business class flight on points which became available two weeks before my departure. For my trouble and the extra points, I got a lie flat seat, priority boarding and a meal. The “lie flat” seat was a […]

Read more
Go top
%d bloggers like this: