Backyard Axe Throwing in Ottawa

To be honest, the reason we went to Ottawa was that we were in the vicinity and it was the capital so it was almost obligatory to pay a quick visit. And I’m so thankful that we did as it turned out to be my favourite of the 3 Canadian cities we visited this holiday. It was just lovely.

parliament

We started our trip by visiting an axe throwing place – something my BF set up. The man who runs this was really lovely, and had a genuine love for his sport Continue reading

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Our first Ice Hockey Game

Leaving Niagara Falls, we followed the river north towards Niagara on the Lake. There were some lovely viewpoints which we stopped off at- and as a bonus, the weather was gorgeous so I was able to hop in and out of the car in flip flops without having to bundle up like an arctic explorer.

whirlpool-aerocar

We happened to stop at the Whirlpool view at the same time as a tour group, so we heard the tour guide’s talk – and it was very powerful Continue reading

Bangkok; Keep your elbows in on the Tuk Tuks!

After visiting the beautiful temples in Bangkok, of course we had to visit the Kao San Road – this is apparently described in The Beach as “the centre of the backpacking universe” or something like that.

Ko San Road

The Kao San road is aimed at the backpacker market, with hostels, street food, and souvenir stalls mostly selling T-shirts advertising local beer brands (yes of course I got one, I am a cliche!). Continue reading

“Are we going to die?” : an Ang Thong boat trip

We were gutted when we read that the boat trip to Ang Thong National Marine Park was not running in November. It was in the crease of the page of my guidebook so I hadn’t seen it, and I was practically self-flagellating at the thought of such sloppy planning. Now what would we do?? How could we go to Ko Samui and miss Ang Thong? The Islands where The Beach was set…

Ang Thong 2

We were totally relieved and excited therefore when we found out that tours were still running – yay!  We booked a tour at one of the many tour operators in Ko Samui, and on the morning of our tour we were picked up by a minibus already packed with young tourists that looked like they were on their Gap Yah. Continue reading

Paradise Found in Ko Samui

Ko Samui, a small island on the east of Thailand, was my first “beachy” holiday ever in my life. We designed this as a relaxing break between visiting Singapore and Bangkok. It was pure relaxation and just wonderful.

Beach, Ko Samui 1

We had the best of both worlds, with the beach on one side and the town on the other side. The town was a thin strip of touristy shops, restaurants, and travel agents, plus a rather grand shopping mall and a couple of night markets. Continue reading

Paddlesteamers and Streetcars in New Orleans

We were excited to sail down the Mississippi on a Paddlesteamer. This was pretty expensive (around $50 each) but we both wanted to do it as a “bucket list” thing – it is a quintessential experience of the Mississippi really. Plus it was a rainy day so we thought it would be nice thing to do.

PaddlesteamerThe boat set off towards the coast and the famous Mississippi Delta that I studied in geography at school. We passed yet more industry, factories, and the scars of Hurricane Katrina. Continue reading

Feasting at an American Football Game

After our excellent Basketball Game in Memphis, we were really excited to go to an American Football game in Florida. This was “College Football” level, not the National Football League, but it didn’t matter to us.Band Formations

The atmosphere at the stadium was electric and it seemed like the whole town had turned out to watch, dressed in full team colours. That’s one thing I noticed in America – everyone seems to own jumpers, scarfs, and hats for the local American Football team Continue reading

Walking in Memphis

When we arrived in central Memphis we headed straight for Beale Street – which probably marks us out as complete tourists. To me it was so American that it looked like a film set!

Beale Street, MemphisIt is mostly bars and restaurants and music blasts out into the street. That night we enjoyed BBQ on Beale Street and watched the street come to life with street performers and bands in bars. Continue reading

Beijing: Old, New and Olympic

Beijing was truly a mixture of the traditional, the modern, and the strange. From the beautiful old architecture of the forbidden city to the sleek glass shopping centres. It also had a tinge of the strange – scorpions to eat but no access to Facebook. A topsy-turvy world as we know it (although some would say that eating scorpions is preferable to being on FB 😉 ).

Tiananmen Square, BeijingOur first port of call was Tiananmen Square. You can’t help but be somber here, remembering the history of the place. In 1989 (which is not very long ago – I was alive then!) there was a student protest in the Square on 4 June. Continue reading

Tokyo: Sumo baby!!

One of the funniest things I have seen in my life was my (English) boyfriend trying to ask some Japanese shopkeepers about Sumo… in Japanese. Bless his heart. They didn’t understand. (Something about the pronunciation – in English we would say “Sumo” – pronounced “Soo-mo”. The Japanese pronunciation is more like “Soo-moh” I think…?) So to explain what he meant, he had to turn to our default communication system – Mime. Which meant acting out sumo in the middle of a Japanese shop. If only I had a video camera. Anyway, thanks to his perseverance, and visiting three different shops to buy tickets (cue a repeat performance of the Sumo act!) we got tickets for the Sumo!!

We arrived bright and early, and immensely excited. Well, I say “bright and early”… it was bright and early for us but we were running a tad late – as per usual. We were worried we would miss the start etc… and then we got there and found the entire place empty. We had purchased the second-to-cheapest seats, but we were able to walk right to the front and see it close-up. (As the day progressed, more people turned up and claimed their seats and by the evening every seat was full!)

The man in the beautiful gown is the referee. Continue reading