Thursday, March 31, 2016

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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Friday, March 25, 2016

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Friday Travel Tip - SOUTHERN AFRICA TRAVEL TIPS - SOWETO BIKE TOUR

Soweto is probably the most interesting and culturally important neighbourhood in all of Johannesburg. This is the neighbourhood where the student uprising started, where Nelson Mandela lived, and where Desmond Tutu still lives to this day.  It's never been a rich neighbourhood, with slums and low-income housing making up most of the area.  There are a few affluent areas, but for the most part it's a poor part of Johannesburg, and has been historically for generations.

In the recent past, this neighbourhood was considered a no go area for tourists.  There have been tours through this area during these times, however they would often be buses driving through the neighbourhood stopping a predetermined spots along the way.  Today there are still no go areas in Soweto, particularly during the evenings, however several industrious locals have started to change Soweto into a tourist friendly place.  One such person is Lebo, who's opened a backpacker’s lodge and also started a bike tour in the area.

The bike tour takes you through many areas of Soweto including a stop in a slum, at the spot where the uprising started (there's a museum there now) and at Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu’s houses.  The tour can be fairly full with 20 or 30 people, however the guides are well trained, and dealing with large groups is not a problem for them.  There are several stops along the route, including a walk through the slum with a local food sampling.  You obviously have to be able to ride a bike to take the tour, and you should be ready for a few hills.  They will supply you with a bottle of water, however it's a good idea to take extra as the South African sun can be pretty hot.

This is probably one of the best ways to see this very famous neighbourhood, and even though the reputation is that of a high crime area, the tour is perfectly safe.

Later

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Friday, March 18, 2016

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Friday Travel Tip - SOUTHERN AFRICA TRAVEL TIPS - TABLE MOUNTAIN

Every Friday I post a new travel tip from all over the world.  If you want to see more travel tips, you can visit my Afar profile here.
While many cities around the world are famous for their city skyline, Cape Town’s skyline is made up of one particularly interesting feature, known as Table Mountain. The hill is absolutely breathtaking both on top and viewed from below. It is a piece of natural beauty that provides the backdrop for this beautiful city, and a great place to relax on a clear day. Presently there are laws protecting the hill, and even about how tall buildings are allowed to be around it, so the view of the hill is fairly un-obstructed

There are really two different phases to Table Mountain, there is the hill you see on a clear day, and then there's the hill with a beautiful white cloud covering the top (known as the Table Cloth). If you're planning to visit Table Mountain, you can only go up when the Table Cloth is gone. Since the cloth is fairly unpredictable, it's a good idea to plan on going up as soon as possible, but have alternative plans in case you can't. The Table Mountain website has a weather report and Table Cloth warnings to help you plan your visit. Once you go up the hill, the views are spectacular, and the city and surrounding area can be enjoyed while strolling along well-maintained pathways. There are a few pathways that are a bit challenging, however most are very easy.


As for viewing Table Mountain from the ground, there are thousands of options. One great spot to look and photograph the hill is in The Company Garden's, you can't sit and just watch the Table Cloth stream down the sides of the hill. For a wider view of Table Mountain, head down to the waterfront near the Cape Wheel ferris wheel.

Later

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Friday, March 11, 2016

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Friday Travel Tip - SRI LANKA TIPS - SNACKING ON THE ROAD

Every Friday we're going to be posting travel tips from all over the world. To see a complete collection of all of our travel tips, make sure to check out my profile on Afar.com.

While some might argue that not all of the food in Sri Lanka is that great, one of the most overlooked delicacies of this country is the travel snacks. Walk near any bus or train station and you'll find a bevy of vendors selling salty snacks and juicy fruit.

The range of salty snacks is very immense. From a variety of deep fried roots, extruded snacks, to a large variety of spiced nuts, these snack shops have something for everybody. The only thing you'll have to be careful about is the spicy factor. If you're very sensitive to spicy food you may get burnt, literally. Even the non-spicy snacks have a little kick to them. You may also notice that there are some strange black or green bits and pieces in your snacks, they are supposed to be there.  In some cases the spices used in these snacks are not ground to a powder, and instead are left in their full size. This actually enhances the flavour of the spice and adds to the texture.


The other vendors you'll see around these bus and train stations are fruit vendors. Since this is a fairly warm and wet island, fruit is abundant. Many of the trees you'll see on your train or bus ride probably produce the fruit you're eating. The fruit is very fresh, and if you're going on the train the vendor will often prepare it for you for easy traveling. Some vendors even have pre-made travel ready bags of fruit ready to go.

Later

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Thursday, March 10, 2016

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Friday, March 4, 2016

Friday Travel Tip - SRI LANKA TIPS - BUSES, TRAINS, AND CARS

I'm starting a new segment on this blog where every Friday I'm going to post a new travel tip.  I also post these tips on Afar, a travel site, feel free to visit them to check out all of my past tips.  So here's the first entry all about getting around Sri Lanka:
Sri Lanka is a very hilly island; because of this there isn't really a straight road anywhere outside of the cities. The highway system is being improved all of the time, but that seems to focus on the roads along the coast in and out of Colombo. If you want to venture into the interior roads are OK, but can be a little scary.

The three best ways to get around Sri Lanka are either by train, car, or bus. The trains are a great way to get around; they're fairly inexpensive, fairly clean, and fairly reliable.  Some of the train routes are also very beautiful. The buses are very cheap, always overfilled, and some are rather sketchy.  The only way I can vouch for the safety of the buses is to say that I rode several and I'm not dead, you may not however be so lucky.  The buses often play very loud disco music, and fancier ones are sometimes decorated like disco techs as well.  If you're riding a bus or train, and you're not getting on at the first stop, be prepared to stand no matter how long your journey might be.

Cars can vary depending on where you rent them. Drivers often come with the cars and they too can vary depending on where you get them. Hotels and guesthouses will often have driving services they can recommend, but be aware that you'll be paying a great deal for this service.  A car and driver can cost hundreds of dollars where a bus and train will cost you less than ten.  However if comfort is important to you, than it may be the only alternative.


Later

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Wednesday, March 2, 2016

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New Bathrooms From Thailand

Just posted a bunch of new bathrooms on the Bathrooms We've Been To map from our trip to Thailand.
We traveled from Chaingmai, through Bangkok, down to Phuket.
It was a great trip, and there were plenty of fun bathrooms along the way.
Click here to check out the Bathrooms We've Been to Map in full.

Later