Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Favourite Travel Photos: Hutong Cat

Time to go?

Currently I find myself sitting in a quiet office in a Vancouver suburb as I watch the raindrops running down the windows. I repeatedly ask myself “what am I doing here?”
It’s been nearly five months since I returned from my last trip and I find the monotony of regular life is beginning to take its toll on me. I take hourly breaks from work to sit and reminisce about past adventures and yearn to be back in Asia, or Europe or…..anywhere different. And now as I take on more responsibilities and more commitments I can hear the cell door slamming shut. Don’t get me wrong, Vancouver is a wonderful city, it’s just that my desire to explore is so endlessly persistent.
I’ve come to the conclusion that I must travel soon, by any means possible.

Monday, May 17, 2010


The first time I went backpacking in Europe I discovered the greatness of backpacker pub-crawls. Every major city in Western Europe has a decent selection of walking pub-crawls aimed at the backpacker crowd. Pub-crawls are ideal for anyone travelling alone and are the best way to meet some new friends when you arrive in a new city  to sight-see with the following days.  
The best of pub-crawls will include a power hour (all you can drink), a brief history lesson and shots along the way (just like college). Even the worst of these pub crawls will still provide a nice opportunity to meet some fellow backpackers while gaining an introduction to the nightlife when arriving in a foreign city.  
The best way to find information on which pub-crawls are available is by asking at the front desk of your hostel. If you aren’t staying at a hostel but still wish to go on a pub-crawl, don’t be shy, just walk into any decent backpacker joint and ask the front desk.

Beijing, China

The sprawling metropolis of Beijing is one world’s largest cities and is the capital of China. History and culture are everywhere and as the host of the 2008 Olympic Games much of the transit and infrastructure has been updated to provide English translations for tourists. Beijing is an amazing city and the sites to see are potentially endless, however, ensure to save enough energy for the pulsating dance floors that this city has to offer.

After self-experiencing several wild nights out in the communist capital I have devised a recommended nightlife itinerary. After a satiating dinner of whatever you can think of (ie. scorpions, animal testis, snake…) deep-fried on a stick make your way to the lively Houhai in Xicheng District (taxis are extremely cheap by western standards, but ensure to have place names and directions written in Mandarin to avoid confusion). Houhai is a bustling bar district surrounding a manmade lake. There is no shortage of bars to choose but expect the constant verbal assault of young promoters attempting to whisk you into their bar (many offer very good drink specials). Enjoy a couple drinks listening to live music or buy a beer from a street vendor and take a seat to do some people watching. For the romantics out there, you may consider renting a paddle boat and taking a spin around the lake. Once you’ve had your fill of Houhai grab a taxi to the Workers Stadium Gongti West Gate.

The clubs at the Gongti West Gate are unreal, but drinks can be pricey so make sure to get your fill at Houhai or stop by a corner store for some road pops. The workers stadium area is another lively bar district that plays host to several mega-clubs unlike anything I have witnessed in Canada. Two clubs which caught my attention were Babyface and Cargo. Both sport impressive light displays on the exterior foreshadowing what is to come inside. Both of these clubs are massive and feature separate rooms for Top-40 and electronic music. Whichever club you decide on will not disappoint as both are fully capable of generating awesome night out of dancing and mixing it up with the locals.

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