• Cartagena
    Colombia,  Travels

    Cartagena de Indias: amor a primera vista | love at first sight

    I fell in love as soon as my taxi conducir drove through the narrow, balcony-shaded laneways of Cartagena’s old walled town.  Charming, beautiful, cute, photogenic, insta-worthy?  Si Si Si!  Like a slightly bigger and busier version of Galle, a cleaner and shinier version of Zanzibar, this old Caribbean city is a photographer’s dream and oozing with beauty and charm. Back in the 1500s, Cartagena was an important port for the Spanish Empire for exporting riches from South America back to Europe.  Like Zanzibar, it was also a trading post for slaves from Africa.  Today, Cartagena is a popular vacation destination for Colombians and international visitors alike.  The streets in the…

  • Sydney Harbour
    Sydney,  Travels

    Sydney walks

    One of the most beautiful cities in the world, thanks to it’s vast and splendid harbour, Sydney has so many gorgeous walks for visitors to enjoy.  While living in Sydney, I never owned a car so unfortunately didn’t explore some of the more harder to get to walks; I did manage to get to most of the ones relatively close to the CBD.  Sharing my favourites with you now. *** The showstopper – the Bondi to Coogee coastal walk.  No visit to Sydney is complete without doing this walk.  I try to do this every time I visit and it never gets old.  On a good day, you might even…

  • Food,  Sydney

    Where to eat & drink in Sydney

    Sydney is a foodie’s paradise, full of great restaurants, cafes, and bars.  I sampled quite a few of them in my years living there.  Even on recent work trips back, I was lucky to check out a few new places and revisit some oldies but goodies.  This list is by no means a list of the latest and hottest, but it’s a list of some of my favourites. Where to get a good drink: Palmer & Co – slightly hidden, behind Mr. Wong’s and the Establishment Hotel on George Street, Palmer and Co. is a prohibition style bar with yummy but expensive cocktails.  Some nights, there’s a live band, the…

  • Sydney Opera House
    Sydney,  Travels

    What to do in Sydney

      I had the good fortune to live in Sydney from 2010 – 2014 and made sure I made the most of my time there.  If there was a night noodle market, an outdoor movie, or a new restaurant, you betcha I tried it out.  In the last few years, I’ve had to travel to Sydney every couple months or so for work, so I was still able to visit my favourite haunts frequently.  This is a list that covers some of the popular tourist spots and the neighbourhoods in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney.  I had to save the F&B recommendations for another post as this was already becoming…

  • Colombia Immersion school
    Colombia,  Travels,  Uncategorized

    Colombia Immersion Language School

      According to my Spanish profesora, 5 years ago, there were no Spanish language schools in Medellin. Perhaps 5 years is a bit of an exaggeration, but the point is that in very recent times, there’s been an explosion of casual Spanish schools being offered in Medellin, which speaks to the growth of tourism in the city/country, and the popularity of learning Spanish. I chose Colombia Immersion for my language classes in Medellin after a recommendation from a fellow traveller I met in Jaco. With two locations (the original in Envigado and the newer one in Laureles), small classes, and the option to choose between full immersion or several different…

  • Medellin cactus house street photo
    Colombia,  Travels

    Las Paisas | The Paisas

      The people of the province of Antioquia (where Medellin is) are known as Paisas.  Two weeks into my stay here and I have come to experience first hand their warmth and friendliness, time and time again. It started from the day I arrived, super early in the morning.  Ill prepared and thinking my two weeks of Spanish courses in Costa Rica would get me through, I landed at the airport and left the building without bothering to look for a SIM provider.  I had the address to my Airbnb and figured the cab driver would be able to find it.  Not the case. Instead, I got dropped close to…

  • Guatape
    Colombia,  Travels

    Un dia en Guatape | One day in Guatape

      Guatape, an adorable pueblo 2 hours east of Medellin, is the perfect day trip from the city of eternal spring. I managed to recruit some fellow students at the Spanish school to go with me.  We arranged to meet at La Floresta metro station at 8am on Saturday.  Here’s a quick guide if you want to go without a tour: Take the metro to Caribe station.  There is a massive bus station right next to Caribe metro station.  You can get bus tickets to many different places from there.  Ticket counter 9 and 14 sell the bus tickets for Guatape.  ***Tip: if you are in a group, you can…

  • Hola
    Colombia,  Travels

    Aprendiendo Español | Learning Spanish

    “Why do you want to learn Spanish?”, I’ve been asked.  Me gusta, is the short answer.  I like it.  And because Spanish is a widely spoken language, it’ll make my travels through any Spanish speaking country much easier.  It’s supposedly an “easy” language to learn, and I want the challenge of actively learning a new language.  Though I speak fluent English and conversational Chinese, I acquired both these through osmosis, rather than through an form of active studying.  French, Italian, Japanese have all been attempted in the past, but nothing stuck. My goal is to be able to have basic conversations with others.  During the process of learning Spanish, I’ve…

  • Comuna 13
    Colombia,  Travels

    Observaciones de Medellin

    In Medellin for a week now and loving the vibe of this energetic city.  My observations so far are that it’s young, fun, and changing really quickly. I first heard about Medellin maybe 6-7 years ago when some friends of friends had come back from extended stays there.  “Colombia?  Is it safe?”, I had asked.  Fast forward to 2018 and Colombia is a poster child for transformation.  The drugs and violence of the past have diminished drastically and the locals are positive and proud of where they are today. Getting Around The Metro system of Medellin is the hallmark of this attitude.  Constructed ~30 years ago, this is the only…

  • Medellin street art
    Colombia,  Travels,  Uncategorized

    Let me guess, you’re a digital nomad?

    No?  Then you must be an English teacher. So it seems these are the careers du jour of the extranejeros (foreigners) I’ve met so far in Medellin. In my clase de Espanol, amongst our small group of 5, there are three English teachers.  B & J are an English couple, teaching English to Chinese kids, via the web.  They have classes usually from 5am – 8am, to coincide with timezones in China.  Then, there is B, an older senora from North Carolina, who’s also teaching English online, but to adults all over the world. English teaching via the web is a phenomenon that’s exploded.  I first heard about it in…