Los Angeles, California

Welcome to Los Angeles

Los Angeles is the perfect melting pot of many different municipalities all with their own style and flavor of fun activities and night life. I could tell you a lot of stats about Los Angeles, but all you need to know is it is filled with extremely tall beautifully slender palm trees, that must be almost a hundred years old. It obviously has a booming Film and music industry and less known is its booming Oil & Gas economy. In the ocean there are drilling rigs as far as the eye can see. There are also drilling rigs right inn the city drilling for the oil underneath your feet, but they keep these hidden using large fake buildings placed over top of the drilling operations. Everything else you are curious about is just a quick google search away. So, I will just tell you my general impressions of the different municipality neighborhood cities that I have visited and spent time in.

Hollywood

Hollywood is hands down my favorite part of Los Angeles. My opinion may be biased due to having a few friends that lived there for a few years, so I would fly down quite often to see them and party it up in Hollywood. Contrary to what my perception of it was in my head before I had ever visited it, when I got there, I quickly discovered that Hollywood is an amazing underground grungy music scene. With a never-ending barrage of new and trying to make it performers playing at many different little dive bars and holes in the wall locations, it’s the perfect place for a live music venue lover like myself. Of course, they have the Hollywood bowl for bigger name artists and venues, but I’m more of an off the beaten path kind of guy.

When in Hollywood I would always stay at the Motel 6, a reasonably priced $70 per night at that time. I loved getting into bed as the sun was rising from a good night on the town and only getting an hour of sleep before being awoken to the sound of Spanish yelling kids where running up and down the hallway through the extremely thin walls and doors, and the sound of the maids vacuuming the hallways and running the vacuum cleaner into my door. Its all part of the experience!

So, during the day you should do the touristy thing and find the Hollywood walk of fame on the Hollywood Blvd and get some selfies with your favorite actor or actresses star. And then find a drink on a patio and take in all the weirdos walking around. Don’t be afraid to be weird yourself. Hollywood loves a good freak as Las Vegas loves a good drunk. I recommend the Cabo Cantina on Hollywood Blvd. I have had many excellent starts to my day there and they have an excellent roof top. Afterwards, go check out the extremely life like wax museum and get a selfie with more of your favorite actors or actresses or even athletes. You can jump on a jump on jump off bus for a tour of the Hollywood hills and famous celebs houses. Honestly there is no shortage of things to do or see in Hollywood.

The Nightlife scene in West Hollywood is Lit! Check out the Rainbow room or the viper room owned by Johnny Dep for some nice grungy heavy metal music and great drinks. Both bars have been featured on many tv shows and movies. For amazing up and coming street performers, check out the piano bar if it is still there. A tiny little hole in the wall place but is a fantastic time. Another great bar is the Roxbury featured in the movie ‘A Night at The Roxbury’. Honestly there is no shortage of nightlife, just stumble down the street and have a great time.

Santa Monica & Venice

Santa Monica and Venice are a Surfer and hippies dream come true with the excellent sized waves and all the pot shops as far as the eye can see down the Venice board walk. You can smoke a doubie and then go get the best fish tacos of your life at James Beach restaurant in Venice. Featured on the movie ‘I Love You Man’. I had them and yes, I dare anyone to tell me they’ve had better ones. If so, I want to know where. Go check out the gym right on the beach at Muscle Beach where Arnold Schwarzenegger used to work out before he was ultra famous and the legendary Gover-nator! Gather around Sunday afternoons at Venice beach for legendary drum circles, where anyone and everyone brings their own drums to the beach, sets them up and sometimes hundreds of drummers just start playing and get synchronized to an amazing spectacle.

Beverly Hills

Beverly hills is an extremely nice neighborhood. You’ve definitely heard of its area code 90210. It is a pricey area to stay hotel wise, but a great place to go check out and walk around and have lunch. Maybe you’ll bump into a celeb. Go check out the famous shopping street Rodeo Drive and window shop at some $500 T shirts.

Malibu

Malibu is a gorgeous oceanic area in the rolling hills with extremely expensive real-estate cliff side to the ocean. You can’t really transit this area with out a vehicle. So, if you have a car, definitely take a drive through. Its stunning and most wealthy people choose this area to live due to its location, being north and slightly outside of the hustle and bustle of busy LA. Stop into anyone one of the varying seaside cafes for some lunch and a drink and enjoy great food and views of the ocean.

Huntington Beach

Down to the south is Huntington Beach. A place that holds a special place in my heart. I spent a week here years ago with a friend that passed away, in a rented beach house we got for $1000 for 7 nights. A great little house just a block away from the ocean and walking distance to everything you need. The town of Huntington beach seems to mostly be tourists and retired expats living the slow beach life. Hanging out on the front patio of our house drinking beers and playing guitar, there was not one single person that walked by with out saying hello to us. Everybody down there is super friendly and laid back. If you are looking for chilled out vibes, surfing, beach life with all the accessible commodities of a city, this is the place for you. It is far south of LA about an hour drive only due to the fact that LA’s traffic is atrocious. It always moves at a snail pace no matter where you are. The time google maps tells you it will take will always end up being double that, so plan accordingly.

 

One last note about Los Angeles and California in general. You must go eat the best fast food meal of your life at In & Out Burger. There are only three items on the menu including, French fries, burgers and shakes, however they have a whole secret menu you find out by a quick google search or the old fashion way of communicating with humans by talking.

Los Angeles

Landscape – 8/10

Food – 8/10

Price – $$$ (you can pay as little or as much as you want)

Alcohol Price – $$

 

Shanghai China

Welcome to Shanghai

For us Canadians we can stop in on a lay over in certain Chinese cities without a visa for a maximum of a 72-hour visit. So, I took advantage of this while coming home from Thailand one winter in February. Upon arrival I waited in the long customs line up and finally got to the front. I was nervous that I didn’t speak a word of Chinese and was worried they would have questions for me. So I get to the guy in the booth and he looks at my declaration card I had filled, then flips through my passport and looks at me and says, “Visa?” and I’m like, “no I’m only staying for 70 hours!” he says in perfect English, “oh you filled out the wrong card.” he hands me another card, directs me to the back of the line and says “come back with this one”. I’m like “okay, my mistake” and thankfully go to the back of the line pleased at how friendly he was with me. I filled out the appropriate card and get back in the now much shorter line. Get to the front and he looks at the card, then asks for proof that I will be leaving the country when I say I am, as in he wanted to see proof of my plane ticket. All I could find was a screen shot of the plane ticket conformation. This not being %100 good enough, he calls his supervisor over. His supervisor quickly assesses the situation and directs me to follow him to the back room where he sits me down and takes my phone to his side of the desk and looks up my flight in his computer. He finds my name on the flight list for 70 hours time and stamps my passport, smiles at me and waves me out the door. There, I’m loose inside China for my very first time ever. Oh, what a feeling.

Being a semi professional traveler at this point, I knew to have my hotel name and address previously screenshotted in Chinese writing before hand such that I can show the taxi driver in his native language. I jump in, he looks at my phone and nodes his head yes. And we take off. I arrive safely and swiftly at Les Suites Orient. My new found 5-star luxury hotel right in the heart of The Bund district.

The Bund is a main District along the Huangpu River front with spectacular views of all the high-rise buildings and city scape. A very long river front walk way for tourists and locals alike. Many people flock here every day. If you decide to visit Shanghai, which you should, I’d recommend staying in this district. it is in the heart of the city, and everything you’ll need is very close with in walking distance. The main Central Business District is just across the river, with many Taxi Ferry’s coming and going every 15 minutes with a small price of 2 Renminbi or RMB. Don’t do what I did and walk up to the token seller with a 50 RMB and make them break it. They don’t like that. The CBD of Shanghai is also very much worth checking out and strolling through with its very impressive skyscrapers and observation decks. Take a tour up to the Shanghai Tower to the 118th floor observation deck for stunning views of the city, or head up to the cloud 9 bar on the 87th floor of the Grand Hyatt hotel for a fancy cocktail which will cost you about 125RMB per drink but definitely worth it for the views and the knowledgeable and super friendly English speaking bar staff. And inside the buildings themselves are also impressively beautiful.

Another option is the Ritz Carlton Hotels Flair rooftop bar on the 58th floor. Also, with stunning views of the city and 125RMB cocktails. But extraordinarily friendly and knowledgeable English-speaking staff. Honestly, they love their job and love talking to tourists.

Another area of Shanghai totally worth checking out is the French Concession. Once an area designated for the French, it consists of Luwan and Xuhui Districts now. A beautiful area for walking, shopping and dining, more so for tourists.

I was in Shanghai during the Chinese New Year and honestly for a city with the entire population on Canada living in it, it didn’t seem that busy. It was busy but, didn’t seem like 30 million people were there. I think all the locals head out of town for Chinese New Year to their relatives in the country side to escape city life for the holidays. The road systems worked great; the infrastructure was very modern. they had what looked like phone booths on every corner, but in fact they were Wi-Fi sharing stations. That’s right, free Wi-Fi to share with every city goer. There were friendly military on every corner such to detour any attacks and they honestly had an army of human street sweepers keeping the city clean. There was not one piece of garbage on the ground anywhere.

The entire time I was walking in the city, I would be bombarded by Chinese teenagers wanting to take selfies with me! It was quite hilarious! I was the only white person in the city it seemed, and I was quite the circus show! ha-ha. They would crowd around giggling as I put my arms around a big group of them and posed with them for the hundreds of selfies!  I had only seen 2 other white folks in the city. I was so excited to maybe converse with somebody that spoke English that I snuck up behind them and eavesdropped a bit only to discover they were Russian. But that was fine. I wanted a different travel experience and so I got one.

Overall, Shanghai was an amazingly futuristic clean city. the locals were extremely friendly even though I couldn’t communicate with words I played the old game of charades while giggling and shopping and the locals would laugh with me and help me as much as they could. I would recommend going and checking out this city.

Shanghai

Landscape – 10/10 for city scape

Food – 8/10

Price – $$$

Alcohol Price – $$

Locals – Very rare for a local to speak English unless they work in the Hotel Business but super friendly.

Australia – Beaches and Camper-van Cruizen

Melbourne, Great Ocean Road, Cairns, Airlie Beach, Sunshine Coast, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Byron Bay, Newcastle and Sydney

Welcome to Australia!

Melbourne

After a long 15 hour flight we land, head directly to check into our hotel and have a hot shower. Ditch the airplane sweats, get dressed up and go for a walk around the core of the city. Heading to the Central Business District, we first go up in the Eureka Skytower 88. A nice observation deck 88 floors up with breath taking views of the entire city and ocean. Next we head to the world famous Crown Casino to test our luck. Grab an expensive cocktail and throw a twenty sheet into a machine, like a fortune teller to see how the rest of the day would go. I ended up winning $50 and decided to take my money and run.  So we decide to run to as many roof top bars as we could find. work for the Aussie day was just getting out and being the British settlement they are, they flock for after work drinks making the perfect social situation.

After we finished hitting a few of the main roof top pubs, we decided it was time to head out of the CBD to another area called Fitzroy. A district of Melbourne city that is more hip coffee shops during the day and pubs and clubs during night. Brunswick street is a great place to start pub hopping and start meeting new Aussie and expat friends to guide you through the rest of your night! one shout out for fancy cocktails is the Rum Diary Bar. best cocktails and coolest staff in town. Our bartender liked us so much that he bought us free tequila shots which sent us well on our way to black out adventure. skip forward to flash backs of memories of security guards helping us jump over a construction fence to lead us on a short cut to who knows where and finally me being all alone with a dead phone and no clue where I was or what my hotel was called. luckily I had a hotel room  key card in my pocket and I convinced some lovely nice lady’s to book me an Uber home. Blackout Nick does magical things sometimes.

Great Ocean Road

The next day we rented a car and headed out onto the great ocean road. A 252 km stretch between Torquay and Warrnambool along the southern coast. In Australia a car rental will only cost you approx $50/day, so it is very affordable. Considering a single Uber, a short ways across town will cost you $30. We were planning to spend 2 days on this mini road trip which was a bit rushed, but it was definitely enough time to see all the sites. If you are looking for a little bit more of a laid back experience of the Great Ocean Road and you have a bit more time on your hands than I’d suggest spending 3 days with two over night stops along the way. Everyone we had talked to previous had recommended that we spend our overnight at Apollo Bay, so we booked a hotel there, but when we arrived and discovered Apollo Bay to be a very small beach town with only two bars along the main strip. But none the less we made a ton of cool international friends and had a great time. I’d recommend staying in the town of Lorne. It is a lot bigger with many more attractions to keep you entertained for the evenings.

The 13 main look outs and attractions along the Great Ocean Road are;

Bells Beach

Aireys Inlet

Great Otway National Park

Apollo Bay

Lavers Hill

Gibson Steps

The Twelve Apostles

London Arch

Loch Ard Gorge

The grotto

The bay of Islands

Cheese World

Warrnambool

Overall experience of Melbourne was awesome. I loved every minute of that city, It’s filled with cool and friendly people, it is very beautiful with its Professionally graffiti-ed streets such as Caledonian Lane, ACDC Lane and Duckboard Place, Cocker Alley, Rutledge Lane, Union Lane and Hosier Lane just to name a few. Melbourne is the very south of Aussie so expect much cooler temperatures. for myself as a Canadian it was perfect temperature in March, about 23deg celcius during the day and 15deg at night.

Cairns

The next day we boogie back to Melbourne, drop off the car and flew out to Cairns in the North East of Australia. The locals pronounce Cairns as ka-ns. If you pronounce it as Carns or Karens, they will not have a sweet clue where you are talking about!

We land in Cairns and get an Uber to our hotel. Immediately head out for a walk down the Esplanade and water front. Esplanade St is packed full of nice multicultural, water front restaurants with outdoor seating where you can watch the sunset while having a nice dinner.

In the evenings you can head to Shields St for a wide variety of pubs and bars for drinks and socializing. And then for late night drinks and dancing, head to Pier Bar.

In Cairns there are many attractions, with a population of 150,000 people, this is a moderate sized and laid back city. There are numerous day & boat trips you can do including an impressive Aquarium.

Cairns is a quaint little beach city, with chilled vibes and great people. A lot of expats flock there for a laid back retirement feel. I would definitely recommend Cairns as a must with its tropical and humid weather it is a perfect beach town.

Airlie Beach

Next up, we rent a camper-van and head out to Airlie Beach. But first we decided to acquire some Akubra’s for the drive! Akubras are the authentic traditional outback cowboy hats of Australia. Akubra being the family name of the makers of this specific kind of hat but are easily the most famous of the traditional hats. Akubra of Australia is to the Stetson of American Cowboy hats, Akubras are made from rabbit skin and fur and will easily last you 30 years if properly maintained which makes the $250 price tag easier to swallow.  We were told the best place to go Akubra shopping was Donohues in Townsville. So we set a course straight for there. When we arrived we were pleased to see the information we had acquired was absolutely correct. Donohues was a large department store full of everything authentic country western imaginable. We both picked an appropriate Akubra that suited our style and mood and headed out. Now just as a little disclaimer, I had mentioned that Akubras are an outback style of hat similar to what Crocodile Dundee wore. The north-eastern part of Australia, Queensland to be more specific is by no means the outback. It is more so a tropical rain forest feel, with a very high humidity and plush green vegetation as far as the eye can see through the rolling hills.

So we arrive in Airlie beach late at night, since it was an 8 hour day of driving including the stop for Akubras. We find a campground in the heart of Airlie beach, right off the main strip of bars on Shute Harbour road. Shute Harbour road is where you want to be for night life in Airlie. A long street packed full of little patio bars and pubs. In Queensland you cannot buy shots after midnight. Due to Australia fighting culture! More on that later.

The next day we head down to the Harbor and see what we can find for boat excursion day trips. Although the Great Barrier Reef stretches over 2900km and has more than 900 islands as part of its chain off the coast of north-eastern Australia, Airlie beach seems to be the main launching point for day trips, and tourism out to see it. There’s obviously anything from snorkeling to cage diving with Great White Sharks available. One day trip I’d recommend you do is the Whitsundays island Hill Inlet Lookout. It is a full day trip which will require you to do a medium hike to the look out point. But once you get there it is totally worth it.

Airlie Beach and the Whitsundays is one of the most beautiful places you will ever find on earth. Those damn Australians are hiding it down there and not telling to many people since they want to keep it as pristine as possible for future generations! I highly recommend putting this place on the very top of your bucket list. Multiple Islands with white sand beaches as far as the eye can see. Also very humid, hot and tropical.

Sunshine Coast

We decide to make another straight shot to Sunshine coast from Airlie Beach. A 1000 km drive which should take you 11 hours. All the locals told us that Sunshine Coast was better than Gold Coast and that the locals would be hanging out there. Everyone we asked said that the Gold Coast is more touristy. So we decided to do one night in SC and honestly, when we got there, it was pretty dead. No one around at all and not much to see or do. I don’t know if it was the day or the time of year or something, but we were thoroughly disappointed and were sad we wasted a day there. But we took advantage of this mellow day and caught up on some laundry and other things. sleep mainly!

To be Fair we only toured around Caloudra and visited Kings Beach which some locals told us was lit! but turned out it was dead. And was a quite small beach to begin with. We toured around the town and checked out its little clothing and gift stores and little restaurant and street food shops. But honestly there was no one around much at all. I wouldn’t recommend even stopping here. Just sail on through Brotha.

Brisbane

The next day we head into Brisbane, a short 45 minute jaunt straight south and return the camper-van. After roughing it for 5 days in that thing, we had a nice 5 star hotel booked for some luxurious comfort. Honestly I slept on a sheet of plywood for the last five days in that van and was sweating profusely at night with no AC unless the motor was running and 30 deg temp outside even through the night with not a stitch of wind. It was nice to get back to a major city.

Brisbane is a city I wish I had more time in. I loved it there and it was unfortunate that we had heard there wasn’t much to do in the city so we only planned for one night. Hearing previously that it was basically just a business hub and not too much was going on. That advice was dead wrong. A lot of the advice we had received about Australia was absolutely backwards. Brisbane was my favorite city with what seemed to have the most going on out of any city. There are magnificent walking areas with nice shops and patio pubs everywhere. The CBD is very clean and modern. So we noticed that there were lime Scooters just laying around on the streets everywhere and discovered that you could download an app, link your credit card and jump on any scooter for the low cost of 30 cents per minute and cruise at uncomfortably high speeds for these tiny little things and check out the city in style. so we did that for about an hour and finally stumbled upon a long strip of deck pubs under the Story Bridge that was a totally lit scene! So we ditched our scooters and headed in for drinks. Hundreds of really well dressed Aussies, the girls and guys alike were all beautiful people. something out of a magazine all having drinks and laughs and good times. It just so happened to be St Paddys in Brisbane. We finished up a few drinks under the bridge and then headed to Fortitude valley. Another well known pub and club area. We tested out a few pubs and drinks there then down into the CBD where we found multiple St Paddys day party’s booming. So naturally we bar hopped and  made some friends and as the night got older, we decided to go check out a bar we had heard of called Brooklyn Standard. A little hole in the wall down a shady dark alley. Nothing out of the ordinary for us two experienced travelers. We stand in the long line and finally get inside. This place was booming! A live music venue and bumping scene it ended up being a blast of a night!

Brisbane is underrated in my opinion. It is a large city with lots of different areas and cultures. One day was definitely not enough to explore nor give proper advice. All i can say, is definitely go, rent lime scooters, explore in style such areas as Fortitude Valley, Kangaroo Point Cliffs, South Bank Parklands, bars underneath the North end of the Story Bridge (they are lit), the CBD is excellent and I never went myself but i have to go back to explore North Stradbroke Island where apparently you can surf with dolphins. Every single person i talked to told me i was missing out hugely by not seeing this Island off the coast of Brisbane. I will just have to go back. So definitely spend at least a few days in Brisbane.

Gold Coast and Surfers Paradise

The next day, we wake up and head down to the Gold Coast to Surfers Paradise via rental car. The Miami of Australia, with high rise condos right on the beach and a happening beach scene and pretty decent night life. I had heard bad things about this city but this turned out to also be one of my favorite towns. Pretty much every piece of advice i had gotten about Australia before hand turned out to be dead wrong! Contrary to its name there is not much of a surfing scene here. Although there is a surfing scene, if surfing is what you are after, there’s definitely better spots to go than here. But for luxury, good food, good vibes, I’d definitely recommend this place.

  

More of a chill out touristy town, there is no shortage of activities to go on. there are multiple boat day trips and Seaworld not to far away. mainly chill out by the beach during the day and head out partying at night. make sure you grab yourself a late night Kebab. i had the best Kebab of my life here at 4am on night, Mind you, the booze may have swayed my opinion of flavor. but hey!

So back to Australia’s fighting culture. I guess Australia has had some pretty significant death rates due to late night after bar fighting. Differnt states in Australia have enforced their own drinking and Alcohol laws, which can seem pretty strange at first. But through my experience of guys walking by you , looking you straight in the eye and telling you to “go F yourself” just hoping you will swing first. These laws seem like a good idea. for whatever reason drunken guys in Aussie just seem to love getting into a late night bar fights. Maybe its something in the water or they are getting practice in for a real encounter with a Great White Shark in the water, who knows.

Just south of the Gold Coast is the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, one of the few spots on the planet you can hold a Koala. the line up is long so get there early! It also boasts an impressive array of exotic animals and birds, including but not limited to, Koalas, Dingoes, Kangaroos and rare Pandas.

Byron Bay

Byron Bay, a small extremely laid back beach town with lots of hipsters and hippies lounging around smoking pot and having a beer. Byron Bay is the one town in Australia where it is not legal but yet acceptable to have a beer in public. While hanging out on a park bench or walking down the sidewalk, there are many people doing it and I personally walked by police officers that looked at me and looked at the beer in my hand and didn’t say anything. I’m not saying you will end up with the same result, but more than likely if you are acting sober and not making a scene, the most they will do is ask you to poor it out.

There are many great hikes and a few main beaches in this small town. There is Byron beach, the main beach which is magical, the way the tide comes in forming many little ponds and streams through the sands. Then at the peninsula is Wategos Beach, a laid back beach with surfers hanging around, there is an excellent view point up there to hike to as well. Then on the other side of the town is Tallow Beach. Also laid back, very wide and open. All these beaches are great for kayaking and stand up paddle boarding.

For dinner, head down to the main area in between Jonson St and Middleton St. Where you’ll have a wide variety of restaurants to choose from. For after dinner drinks, definitely head to Railway Friendly Bar for live music and a calm sociable atmosphere to make some great international friends. When the mood is right, take your new found friends to Cheeky Monkeys Bar where you literally dance on tables all night long to the sweet beats of a live DJ! it is so much fun, and can get a bit dangerous depending how drunk you get! High heels are not recommended.

Definetly put Byron Bay on your bucket list for an in the middle of your Australia adventure break from the hustle and bustle of the city’s and your busy jammed packed schedule.

Newcastle

Next up we fly down to Newcastle! A shipping and Exporting Harbor city with many signs of being an oil & gas city. It’s not really on the tourist radar, but i’d definitely recommend you check it out if you have the time. It boasts many beautiful cliff side beaches and has great vibes, extremely friendly locals, a great night life scene, great surfing, great shopping, great restaurants and excellent food. Head down to Nobbys beach for the day hike down to Nobbys lighthouse and pier. Another fantastic Beach front walk is Mereweather beach  through Bar beach and then up to the Memorial walk way which is called the ANZAC Bridge which stands for Australian, New Zealand Army Corps. A tribute to fallen soldiers of WW2. Then stop by the Mereweather Surf House for a refreshing drink. For nightlife in Newcastle, I’d recommend Honeysuckle Dr and Wharf road for many great activities and restaurants such as Honey Suckle Hotel and the Queens Wharf Brewery.

Sydney

Next up, Sydney. Now of course you have to go check out the Sydney Opera house. Whether it is just to grab that totally Instagram-able picture with the Opera House and the Sydney Harbor bridge in the background or to go catch a show. An early day show could cost you as little as $60 AU and a night time show will be somewhere in the hundreds. The shows are very random. They use this venue for anything and everything that comes through town from opera to theatrical plays to rock music venues. It’s a great architectural wonder of the world and its a must visit. The water front it is built on is just stunning with its high rise buildings it reminds us Canadians of Vancouver.

The Sydney Opera House is Located across from an area called The Rocks. A gorgeous wharf area embedded in the downtown core of the city which harbors many taxi boats and ships. Another area you must walk to and see is King Street Wharf. A lovely array of pubs, restaurants, shopping and patio bars over looking the water. You can spend many hours here and you must find Bourke Street Bakery to try one of their many different types of in house made meat pies. they are to die for!

If you are going to Visit Sydney, it is a must that you make time to head over to Bondi beach. A totally hip party beach just out of the city to the east which accommodates approximately 40,000 people on any given day. It has got a row of bars just up across the road that are excellent for relaxing and making new friends. This beach hosts many surf competitions and has dangerous rip tides, which make it a perfect place to have launched a lifeguard TV show called Bondi Rescue. An average of 800 lives per year are saved by the Bondi beach lifeguards and another 10,000 warnings are given each year for struggling swimmers due to uneducated tourists and big city living Sydney folks who are not familiar with swimming in the ocean.

I recommend you make time for the incredibly scenic Bondi Beach to Coogee walk.  A 6 km coastal walk that will take you from Bondi beach through Tamara Beach, Bronte Beach, Clovelly Beach and finally ending at Coogee Beach. Then reward yourself by heading into the Coogee Pavilion for a cold refreshment. I was extremely surprised how Lit that bar was! Trust me!

Overall, Australia is fairly expensive with an average beer at the bar costing you $12 AU, and a hotel will be roughly $100 per night. If you are as smoker, a pack of ciggys will cost you $40-$50 per pack of 25, so bring your own and bring some to sell to Aussies. Many of them still smoke even with this hefty price tag. But, Australia is a little, or rather large, slice of heaven that they are hiding down there from the rest of the world. Like a well kept secret they don’t want getting out, i was utterly surprised how beautiful every single place we visited was. With the worlds most beautiful beaches you didn’t think could possibly get better, the next place in Aussie on your list would surpass the last beaches beauty. Save your money and head to Australia as soon as financially possible.

Australia

Landscape – 10/10

Food – 9/10

Price – $$$$

Alcohol Price – $$$$

Locals – incredibly friendly

Dubai – an amazing desert playground for kids and adults alike

Welcome to Dubai!

Dubai is an amazingly futuristic city built in the Arabian desert on the coast of the Persian Gulf. For 200 years it was a tiny trading post but in one single generation has exploded into a metropolis of expats, funded mainly by oil wealth. The city strives to out-do the rest of the world by making bigger, better and more luxurious structures. They figure that in 10 years their oil reserves will be dried up so they are preparing for the future by changing over their oil rich economy to more of a tourist based economy. As of today the transformation is well on it’s way with the economy being %80 business and tourism and only %20 oil.

Located in the United Arab Emirates, it is a Muslim country so please respect their laws and cultures. Alcohol is usually illegal in Muslim countries but is tolerated in the UAE due to its thriving tourism based economy. The UAE actually Prides itself on being one of the most Multicultural cities in the world. But strictly enforces its laws and culture. For the most part you have to make sure that your shoulders and knees are covered at all times including men and women. The only time you’re allowed to be in swimsuits and bikinis is when you’re on the beach or in your hotel. There is signage posted every where which tells you where it’s acceptable to be in swimsuits and where it is not. Being intoxicated in public is highly illegal,  so when out clubbing at night it is acceptable to be intoxicated however when leaving the club you should make sure you get a taxi right away and head either home or to your next destination. I advise against walking around the city intoxicated, but if you are make sure you are not drawing any attention to yourself. You may be stopped by the police and could face severe penalties.

When in Dubai I recommend for men to wear nice collared shirts and nice full-length pants. For women tops that cover your shoulders with pants or long dresses and a nice jacket over top. Traditional dress in Dubai for men is the Kandura, an ankle-length white shirt woven from wool or cotton and traditionally, women wear an Abaya―a long, black flowing light coat over their clothing. This is worn over their western clothes or a traditional long- sleeved full-length dress known as a Jalabeya. A black scarf called a Shayla is then draped over the head.

Try not to take pictures of women wearing the Abaya or the Jalabeya. In Dubai it is heavily frowned upon to take pictures or even talk to the women without the husband’s consent. Even accidentally snapping a picture and having them in the background may get you in trouble so be cautious of this.

Also public displays of affection are illegal in the UAE. Holding hands, kissing and even hugging can get you into serious legal trouble.

You’re not supposed to share a hotel room with the opposite sex, unless you are married. The hotel has the legal obligation to ask you for a wedding certificate if you plan on sharing a room with the opposite gender. However most hotels have a don’t ask don’t tell policy. You shouldn’t have any trouble.

This city has many crown jewels including the tallest building on the planet called the Burj Khalifa. At 830m High and boasting 163 stories you can ride the fastest elevator in the world complete with ear popping action to the 124th & 125th floor observation deck for around $50, which once you get up there is actually super impressive. The view is unbelievable, especially at sunset.

 

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At the base of this incredible structure lies a man-made lake with an impressive display of fountains that you may Marvel at which far exceeds the scale of the Bellagio Fountains in Las Vegas.

Another Crown Jewel of the city is the hotel Burj Al Arab. The world’s only 7-star Hotel where a single room will cost you around $1,500 per night but comes with your own private Butler and all the extravagant am entities that you can possibly think of. If something in the hotel is the color of gold then yes it is actual gold. It boasts a tennis court on the roof where many famous people have done commercials from Andre Agassi to Tiger Woods hitting golf balls off of it into the Persian Gulf. I highly recommend that you go at least have afternoon tea in the lobby.

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The Dubai Mall is also located at the base of the Burj Khalifa and has an impressive 2 million square feet of shopping area & entertainment with a staggering 1200 stores and also includes an aquarium and a full sized hockey rink.

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The Mall of the Emirates has an indoor ski hill called Ski Dubai with five runs including the worlds first indoor blackdiamond run.

Other impressive attractions include but are not limited to the Palm Jumeirah, the Palm Jebel Ali And the World man made Islands. They are constantly adding new crown jewels every year with rumors of rotating skyscrapers, a Las Vegas strip ten times the size of Las Vegas’s current strip, and even a Disney World in which would Trump Orlando’s!

I was coming from Thailand heading to Dubai. A couple of months earlier, a Malaysian Airlines flight disappeared in the South China Sea. So when I was searching for a flight to Dubai from Phuket, it was no surprise that the Malaysian Airlines flight was well cheaper than any others! So I thought to myself what are the chances of two going down within a month. Mmmmm, not very likely! So I went ahead and booked it. When I boarded this flight I saw that it was a large plane with probably 200 seats on board. And there were literally only 10 of us that boarded! A bit concerning! And then finally they shut the doors, pressurized the cabin, the ten of us looked at each other, studying each other and you could tell we were all thinking the same thing! “These are the people I’m probably going to disappear with!” But anyway the flight went really well, in fact the seats were plush leather and I had the whole three seats to stretch out across and have a cozy nap. I woke as we were descending over the desert! All you could see was sand for miles and miles. With that and the fact that I was all alone on this trip heading into the heart of the Middle East for my first time, that overwhelming feeling of nervousness and fear in which I’ve grown so fond of, like the best drug possible, struck upon me! I could only think of a quote from one of my favorite movies, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, “What the fuck are we doing out here in the middle of the desert?”

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I step off the plane and as I approach the UAE customs officers, I see them all in their traditional white Kanduras. It made me a little more than nervous as I approached. I handed the guy my passport ready for his interrogation. But he barely even looked at me, put a stamp on one of the back pages and handed it back to me and waved me through! Easy as that.

I grabbed my bag and jump in the taxi and head to my hotel, The Al Marooj Rotan, which I got for a reasonable $130/ night. It was a five star resort with a gigantic swimming pool, multiple restaurants and anything else you could possibly want. I checked in and dropped my bag in my room and immediately head to the hotel’s British pub where I got a Guinness for $13 and a great British pub meal. Now there’s a lot of parties and festivities going on at this Pub while I was in there eating so I ended up making a couple of friends. Some expats from Australia and United States living in Dubai but serving in their respective military’s. Drinks were had, laughs were shared and new international friends were made!

The next morning I wake up and immediately jump on Tinder to make some new friends. For anyone that hasn’t traveled much, you may not know, but Tinder is one of your best tools for making new friends when traveling to a new city. There are many guys that set their settings to match with other guys. They usually use a big bold gigantic heading that says ‘I’m not gay, I’m just looking for travel friends’. Haha and it works, I’ve matched with guys on Tinder and met up with them and became single serving friends for the night and went out for a good night of partying. A gay time with minimal gayness involved! Not that there is anything at all wrong with that!

While I was in Thailand I had made a friend Mido from Abu Dhabi, he gave me his contact information and said since Abu Dhabi is only about a 45-minute drive from Dubai that he would come up and party with me. So the next day I toured around Dubai and went to the Dubai Mall then went to the Burj Khalifa, up to the 124th floor observation deck. When i got back to my hotel, I gave Mido a call. He was pumped and drove up immediately and we went partying that night. He took me to an array of Clubs, but being that it was a Wednesday night, there wasn’t much going on that night. In the UAE, the two days off for the weekend are Friday and Saturday instead of the western Saturday and Sunday. So Mido said that he had friends coming up and they were all going to hit the town again on Friday night.

Dubai has many extravagant clubs always located inside of hotels. Because liquor is technically illegal in the country only hotels get liquor licenses. When you go to a normal restaurant to eat they will most likely not have alcohol available.

I wanted to go skydiving in Dubai at a place called Skydive Dubai. But upon looking into it I realized that it was going to cost $1,000 Canadian for one jump over the Palm Jumeirah Islands. Which would have been incredible but I was not willing to dish out that kind of money. So instead I opted to rent a helicopter for a personal helicopter tour of the city.

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Later that evening I had a Dune bashing Safari booked. They come and pick you up from your hotel in a Toyota Land Cruiser and take you out to the desert where you meet up with a whole bunch of other Toyota Land Cruisers and go bashing around and over the sand dunes. Then later on, they’ll take you to a camp and serve you an authentic Arabic BBQ meal complete with belly dancers and all. I highly recommend doing the Dune bashing Excursion because they actually do beat the shit out of those Toyota Land Cruisers in a very professional manner. The drivers are great and very experienced. You may fear for your life at some point in the adventure, but hey, it wouldnt be worth the money if you didn’t! The area of the desert where they do this is a Toyota Land Cruiser graveyard with pieces of Toyota Land Cruisers everywhere, including bumpers, rims and even windshields laying around everywhere in the sand.

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I woke up and did my usual routine. Head down to the coffee station where by day number four, as soon as the coffee lady seen me coming, she automatically started making my Americano one cream/one sugar. The service in Dubai is absolutely impeccable. on a side note, I also frequented the British pub quite often in my 6 nights at the resort. The staff all new my name and I knew theirs. One night they were totally full, and the door lady pulled a table from out back and set it up for me while turning away other guests. Now that makes you feel special. I cant say it enough, the service in Dubai is astounding!

I had my coffee and walked to the Mall of the Emirates and checked out all the extravagances. Then I headed back to my hotel with the intention of getting a private car to take me to the gold souk. Since private cars in Dubai are not that much more expensive then taxis and you feel a bit more classy in them. When I got there I asked the hotel lobby man for a private car! The normal guy that new my name wasn’t there. It must have been his day off. So this new guy recommended to me that I walk one block to the metro and take the subway down to Old Dubai. I told him that I didn’t exactly want to do that and I want a private car. But he explained to me that it will be much cheaper. It will only cost me $5 and it’s only 10 stops away, he explained. So i reluctantly agreed and headed toward the Metro. I get there and buy a MetroCard. Then I get on the Sardine packed Metro and I waited the 10 stops like he had said. I got off and there was no gold souk anywhere in sight. Immediately getting off the Metro there was a guy on the street with a bunch of couches and Furniture randomly assorted on the sidewalk. Of course he picked me out of the crowd obviously because I was the one that look like a tourist in my nice black collared Armani shirt and designer jeans. He began with his sales pitch to sell me a coach to which I explained, “I just got off the metro and I’m walking and I’m from Canada, how am I going to buy this couch?” I asked him where the Gold Souk was and he pointed in a direction.

It was 45 degrees and the first four days of this vacation I was dressing up nice in collared shirts and jeans but that was okay because I would walk a block and stop into a place and catch some air conditioning and then carry along another block until I started to sweat and then dip into another place for some air conditioning. Also i was taking Taxis exactly for this reason. But now I was in the heart of old Dubai or at least that’s where I think I was. There were no real fancy buildings in sight and the streets were shoulder-to-shoulder with people walking everywhere. Now I was in an area where I was obviously a foreigner and everybody was staring at me. I walked about 5 blocks before I found a building with air conditioning and dipped in but by this time it was way too late. I was pouring sweat from head to toe, the gel in my hair had let go, my black collared shirt was soaked. I looked like an absolute mess! I caught some AC and then was determined to find the gold souk I had no Wi-Fi and was not going to use my phone so I couldn’t look it up. I asked a couple of people on the street and everyone i asked kept pointing in contradicting directions. I kept walking asking more people and this continued for about 30 more blocks of me doing figure eights around Old Town Dubai. After 45 minutes of these Shenanigans and me pouring sweat I decided to say fuck this and grab the first taxi I saw. “Take me back to my hotel please”, I exclaim to my new Lord and Savior of a taxi driver. The whole taxi ride back I was preparing my hate speech to give to that doorman. If he had it just let me take a private car like I wanted in the first place, none of this would have happened and i’d be happily window shopping some 24kt gold right now! But when I arrived back to the hotel, the guy must have gotten off shift because there was yet a different door man. Long story short, i headed to the British Pub and I cannot tell you anything about the mysterious gold souk because I never found it. and at this point I question if it actually exists!

The next day I went down to Jumeirah Beach District to meet up with Mido and his friends in an area I hadn’t explored yet. And yes, my regular door man was back and I got my private car of luxury. After a great day on the beach, we all went back to my hotel room to get ready for Dinner and a good night out of clubbing. Mido took us to an excellent place called Saroja Restaurant and Cafe in Jumeirah Beach Residence. It’s authentic Arabic Cuisine and is absolutely delicious but they do not serve alcohol in this establishment. But I highly recommend it.

We then all went out to another wild assortment of great clubs. there is no shortage of hotels and hotel clubs in this city. For a place that is strict on alcohol consumption, it is actually one of the classiest and best party places in the world. However recreational drugs can get you the death penalty or at the bare minimum a life sentence in the UAE. So if you are a recreational party drug user, do not expect to find any. We then headed out to varying clubs such as Cirque De Soir, a club with staff members randomely walking around dressed up as creepy clowns and circus freak side show acts, randomly sneaking up on you just for fun! adds an element to a bar that I had never experienced before! then over to a club called People, by Crystal! this club was amazing. And the night got hazy after that one!

It was my last day in Dubai. I was flying out at 10 p.m. that night. waking up with a solid hangover was a good way to start. Hell I’d seen all the sites I wanted to see. The gang from the night before met up at a beach bar called Barasti. We spent the entire day getting a good solid day drunk going at the beach. By evening time when I said I had to leave, all my newest best-est international UAE friends tried to convince me not to go! “Change your flight!” they were all proclaiming. Oh how i wanted to stay. but i was off to complete my very first complete trip around the Earth. I was heading to Amsterdam yet again for my third time. I was sad to be leaving this great city, and such wonderful newly made friends from the other side of the planet in which I had only recently confirmed to myself that actually existed. You look back at these experiences and think to yourself how nervous you were when you landed. fearing the unknown. running the worst possibility’s through your head. And now six days later you, don’t want to leave. Ever!

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And for all of us Canadians, the biggest shock about Dubai for me was a Tim Hortons on every few corners! Yes you read that right! I counted 5 Tim Hortons when I was there. I’m not sure how many there are in total!

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The city of Dubai is simply impressive that in one of the world’s most inhospitable Landscapes, lies one of the most hospitable cities on planet Earth.

I didnt even scratch the surface of all the amazing things this city has to offer!

Dubai

Landscape – 10/10 (for urban reasons)

food – 9/10

Price – $$$$

Alcohol Price – $$$$$

Locals – Incredibly friendly and all speak perfect English

Koh Tao – A Magical Heaven on Earth

Welcome to Koh Tao

My favorite place in all of Thailand! And the perfect place to relax for a couple of days after the Full Moon Party.

Situated off the east coast of Thailand, Koh Tao is a small little magnificent Island just north of Koh Samui and Koh Phangon. It is the perfect relax Island filled with Absolutely stunning views of the ocean off of scenic cliffs, scuba diving, snorkeling and beach bars. There is a plethora of little beach cottages you can rent and the food is delicious and nutritious.

The one thing that you should know before landing on Koh Tao though is that, you are not allowed to barter on this island. The locals will get extremely mad at you if you try. My British friend got punched in the face by a taxi driver after he tried to barter the driver down 100 bhat. And an Aussie friend of mine tried to barter at a clothing store and the lady that owned it hit her with a broom and called the police. She ended up having to leave the island immediately.

When on Koh Tao I like to stay at Montra Resort. It’s about $60 a night but the rooms are absolutely huge, clean well furnished and it’s got an absolutely gigantic swimming pool that overlooks the ocean. It is a gorgeous Hotel. It’s a bit of a walk to the main party areas but nothing you can’t handle. However if you are on more of a budget there are plenty of amazing cheaper options for sure.

It is also a must, to hit the Koh Tao pub crawl. An extravaganza that starts off at a live music bar and then heads to a lady boy burlesque show, which is absolutely hilarious and entertaining and then they shuffle you off to a pool party bar which is an absolute blast of a time. Then you head to a club to end the night there. If you are not absolutely Intoxicated and hadn’t made many new International friends by the end of this then you didn’t do it right. And plus when you pay the fee you get to keep the cool Koh Tao singlet which is a must-have souvenir to take home with you to make all your friends jealous.

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Another absolute must do is rent a scooter or a dirt bike and tour around the island. There are many, many magnificent beaches and amazing snorkeling spots hidden around the island. But the island is actually filled with shear cliffs and extreme grades of roads, so if you’re planning to go to the top, then you must rent a dirt bike. Do not attempt to go up the steep grades with scooters. I have had many friends Bail their rented scooters off of the sides of cliffs and have to pay $2,000 to the rental shop for a brand new scooter. Since you have to hand over your passport in most cases to rent a scooter or bike.

Another must see and do when you are on Koh Tao is to take a taxi boat over to Koh Nang Yuan and hike up to the Viewpoint. In the 45 plus degree weather you will be sweating buckets, so pack lots of water with you. You’ve probably seen the pictures on the internet before but it is an absolutely breathtaking View.

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For after dusk entertainment, head down to Lotus beach bar and watch the fire dancers do their thing while drinking on the beach and making new friends. Then head over to Fish Bowls Club where they have a whole bunch of crazy pictures on the wall and grab yourself some balloons filled with laughing gas and have a great time.

Many people flock to Koh Tao in order to get certified in scuba diving. You can get your license in 5 days from what I understand. I personally havnt done it yet. Not that I need a specific reason to go back to Koh Tao, but that would be a good one.

Koh Tao – Thailand

Landscape – 10/10

Price – $$$

Alcohol Price – $$

Food – 9/10

Shiprocked Cruise – Miami – Bahamas

Welcome Aboard!

A four day cruise leaving from Miami that sets sail to an island in the Bahamas in which is a heavy metal Rock concert the entire time on the ship. Hosted by Octane Channel on Sirius XM and also Norweigian Cruise lines, musicians such as 3 Days Grace, Sevendust, Five Finger Death Punch, Papa Roach, Etc entertain the guests all day and night for 4 nights. A single room for the 4-day cruise will cost you somewheres around $ 1500 but I upgraded to a double room with a balcony for a grand total of $3,500 CA. That price only covers the cruise, your accommodation and also your food. Your alcohol is going to cost you extra. And at $7 a drink it sure ads up in a hurry. But don’t worry you won’t know how much it’s adding up because they link your credit card to a drink card when you get on the boat and youll just wildy and belligerently swipe your drink card for the four days without knowing how much you’re spending at all. You’ll receive the bill (or damage, if you will) at the end of the cruise. The price tag is actually worth it though, if you’re a die-hard rock-and-roll fan because all the musicians hang out and drink with you on the boat the entire time. They don’t segregate themselves from their beloved fans.

Day number 1

Arrive in Miami the night previous and head out on the town upon dry land. Miami has many amazing party scenes and they are not cheap. But that’s a story for another time. Skip ahead- Next morning wake up extremely hungover, go to hotel lobby bar for breakfast and mimosas and then head to the port. Enter the lineup for the boat for the security check which in all honesty was really Lacking! They’re just madly shuffling people through it as fast as they can to load the 2500 rockers onto the boat so they can set sail on time! Enter the boat, find our room and drop of our bags. Time to go get a beer. We can hear music playing from on top of the ship as we were standing in the lineup so we hurried up to the top to the discover Five Finger Death Punch rocking out on top of the ship already before it even left the Harbour. Needless to say, time to commence operation day drunk. Once all the passengers were aboard the ship, it set sail at about 5 p.m. We are now heading to a privately owned island in the Bahamas, by the cruise line. We will park there for 2 days and have a party and concert on the beach.

Day number 2

Time to wake up and go get breakfast. The food on cruise ships is absolutely phenomenal. And the most hilarious part about this Cruise was that they had a whole bunch of Filipinos hired with spray bottles of hand sanitizer such that if you did didn’t use the automatic hand sanitizer stations before entering the restaurants or cafeterias, they would run and chase you down with squirt bottles of hand sanitizer, squirting your hands profusely while yelling “washy washy, happy happy” at you! Haha really making a spectacle of the fact that you are a dirty bum! This trained you to sanitize your hands on your own pretty quickly! After breakfast we discovered that the concert and party on the beach would commence at noon.

We jump aboard the boat that takes you to the beach and then we go find a nice area to sit. Grab a couple of beach chairs and a table and grab a couple of drinks from the bar. We ended up sitting beside these cool looking guys and got talking to them and drinking with them for a solid hour or so. They eventually asked me what I did for work in Canada and I went on to explain that I worked on oil rigs. They were blown away by that and they wanted to know everything about it so I told them some oil rig stories. So then I proceeded to ask them what they did for work. They all looked at each other awkwardly and then looked back at me smiling and said “aaaaahmmmm, we’re Three Days Grace!” I said “oh shit, sorry about that.” They laughed and said, “no that’s cool”. Anyway we ended up talking to them and drinking with them for another couple hours while the concerts went on, on stage.

Later on I stumbled upon Papa Roach. He was smoking a joint on the beach and I went and talked to him for a little bit. And let me tell you, that guy is cool! He put on an amazing performance later that night as well. Then I went and had a couple of drinks with Kayla and Shannon Gunz from Sirius XM. Those chicks are really cool too. But I suppose everyone is cool when on vacation! Why wouldn’t you be right? Later on I found Sevendust and also Five Finger Death punch.

At around 5 p.m. the party moves from the beach back onto the top side side of the ship. Along with other concert venues going on in the lobby bar and theater rooms as well.

Day number 3

more of the same, party on a beach in the middle of the Southwestern Atlantic Ocean , while rocking out to numerous other rock bands.

In the evening, Three Days Grace performed and I remember watching them and thinking, “holy shit, it is them I was drinking and partying with the entire day on the beach yesturday!” I’m not the type of guy to get nervous around famous people anyhow. After all they are just normal humans like us! But I wondered, had I had known, would I had acted differently? None the less it was a cool experiance!

Day number 4

Set sail back to Miami with copious other heavy metal bands playing music all over the ship in various locations. There were even a few secret concerts in hidden areas that they didnt advertise. You had to either stumble upon them or hear about them through word of mouth through your various new short term party friends.

Halo Method being one of them that popped a surprise venue in the lobby of the ship. Apparently lead singer Lukas Rossi was too hung over the day previous to perform! After all, they are just human like us! If you’ve never checked out Lukas Rossi before, I highly advise you to Youtube him. He is an incredible vocalist. He had a surprise duet with lead singer Amy Lee from Evanescence, which was absolutely incredible.

In conclusion, if you love music and have never been on a cruise before but are thinking about taking a cruise, then I suggest this as a great option for you. There are many other music themed cruises to choose from such as Holy Ship, the EDM equivalent of Ship Rocked. Or Groove cruise, country music based cruises, blues cruises!

There are many options to choose from. And considering that the boat is massive but after one full day aboard it you will have seen the entire thing. And if you were spending multiple days aboard it you may get bored on a regular Cruise. At least with one of these you’ll be never endingly entertained!

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Sevendust on a cruise ship

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Shiprocked Cruise

Landscape- 9/10

Food- 9/10

Price- $$$$

Alcohol Price- $$$$

People- happy go lucky party people!

For more information visit- http://www.shiprocked.com

Tokyo – Japan

Welcome to Tokyo

I was going to be in Tokyo for 5 days starting yet another Asian Adventure. Before I arrived I did minimal research! I only researched where to stay, a couple things to do and for the most part I was only planning to hang out and just check out the city. I had no idea that I was about to fall in love. And I had no idea that one could fall in such love with a city . I took the metro down to Shibuya District from the airport which was about an hour train ride. I stayed at the APA Hotel in Shibuya district. A nice little hotel for a reasonable $80 a night price. You can stay in a capsule hotel which I wanted to do cuz they look pretty cool for about $20 a night but I decided to go hotel route. I landed at the hotel at about 8 p.m. at night. So I decided to get a shower, get dressed up and go for a quick walk and get some Japanese barbecue. I walk down the main Shibuya Street and I am bombarded by girls in little cute tight tops and short mini skirts asking you want massage… Or maybe handjob, blowjob? In their cute Japanese accents! Haha, I thought to myself, good work Nick, you booked your hotel in the core of the “massage” district you idiot! But I had one thing on my mind and that was to get some wagyu beef immediately since I had been dreaming about it my entire life.

I search TripAdvisor for the number one rated restaurant in my area and I found it it was called Han no Daidokora. And it was a mear two blocks away from my hotel. Perfect! I ordered an entire sample tray of all different cuts of beef they looked at me funny because I was all alone and ordering all this beef but hell you only live once and I was in Tokyo and I had to do this. Now in Japan they have a strict no tattoo policy, so I had to wear long-sleeve shirts the whole time. They associate tattoos with the Yakuza. So if you have tattoos make sure they are covered up whenever you go into restaurants and clubs or otherwise you will not get in. It’s funny, for a culture so ahead of their time with technology, fashion and cuisine, they sure are behind the times on tattoos! But anyway, I get my Japanese bbq and it was celebrational. Tripadvisor did not disappoint.

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The next day I had the Tokyo Pub Crawl in roppongi booked. It was my birthday and I was wanting to make some friends. My advice for anybody traveling solo is, if you’re going to be spending any amount of time in a new city, then on day number one you should hit the citys best pub crawl in order to make some new I the national friends. I’ve found it to be the best way to make new friends. The Tokyo Pub Crawl was an amazing experience. It started at a bar called propaganda and then carried onto four more bars after that ending at a nightclub that ran till ten in the morning if you wanted to stay that long. But I assure you, by bar number five, you’ll be in no shape to stay out that late! Personally I dont even remember going home! I just remember waking up in a panic the next morning, wondering where I was, then being thankful I was in my hotel bed!

Day number 2-

I had the Robot Restaurant booked in shinjuku. Now if you’ve never heard of the Robot Restaurant, I highly advise you to Google it immediately. Anthony Bourdain called it the best show on Earth and now that I’ve been there, I will have to agree that it was one of the best two hours of entertainment of my entire life. I had made a friend the night previous on the pub crawl named Ed, a guy from Australia. I had convinced him to come with me to the show. The robot restaurant is a theatrical play with a wide array of spectacular performers, acrobatics, multicolored neon lights, circus events and robots. It seems to make no sense at the time but it is definitely a worthwhile show!

Day number 3-

Search on TripAdvisor, find Mario Kart driving tour around the city! So you pretty much have to do that! They dress you up as characters from Mariocart 64 and give you a for real go cart and release you onto the actual streets of Tokyo!

After those shenanigans I wanted to go have dinner at Gonpachi, the restaurant from the movie Kill Bill located in the Maruyamacho area of Shibuya. The restaurant boasted a large array of small plates to choose from and was incredibly delicious.

Later that night i got ahold of Ed and we head down to Shinjuku’s Golden Gai bar district to its famous tiny bars that seat no more than 5 people per bar. 5 long alleyways littered with door-to-door, three levels high, tiny tiny bars that turned out to be an epic time. If you are a drinker, you have to add this as a must do while in Tokyo.

Day number 4 was spent taking food tours around the Chiyoda district. I highly recommend you do this. You’ll be tasting authentic Japanese cuisine at legit authentic small restaurants and be fed a wealth of knowledge about the history of the food, the restaurant and Japanese culture.

If you want to shop in Tokyo, there’s certainly no shortage of malls and shops and stores of all different varieties. You can head down to the Fashion District of Harajuku and maybe even catch some young adult pop star models showing off their latest trendy fashions. Or you can head to Shinjuku, being the busiest shopping area or Shibuya. While in Shibuya, make sure to stop and have a drink or a coffee and check out the Shibuya crossing. The busiest Crossing on planet Earth. With sometimes over 2,500 people crossing every time the light turns red and also 1 million people crossing per day . Many other cities are copycatting the layout for the crosswalk system because it works so well. If you’re looking for more upscale or ritzy shopping then go to the Ginza area.

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In conclusion I want all of you too put Tokyo at the very top of your bucket list. I had no idea how amazing the city was going to be and I cannot wait to go back. The food is literally the best I have ever had the pleasure of eating, the people are incredibly nice and friendly. It is actually encouraged for you to ask police officers for directions. They are more than happy to help you out. Even when you walk into a 7-11 store, the shop clerks look at you entering with an enormous smile and automatically say “hello” in perfect English. There is certainly no shortage of sites to see and things to do in Tokyo. The Metro is very easy to use, very clean and efficient. But if you choose to take a taxi instead, download the Japan Taxi App. It’s free, easy and convenient to use and Taxis are a reasonable price. And a side note about the Metro; you are not allowed eating or drinking or even chewing gum on the trains and it is very impolite to talk on your cell phone or talk loudly on the Metro. Everybody is super quiet, super respectful and it’s just an overall very nice experience compared to many Metros around the world. With individual trains moving over a million people per day, it is a very nice experience. The streets of Japan are impeccably clean for having no garbage cans. Tokyo had a terrerist attack back in 1995. They responded by taking all public garbage cans off the streets for fears of them being used to hide deadly bombs. They have now been replaced with signs that say take your garbage home with you please. There are designated smoking areas with in the streets of the city space out every 5 blocks or so. The Japanese BBQ is to die for and the sake is incredible.

Tokyo

Landscape- 5/10

Food- 10/10

Price- $$$

Alcohol price- $$

Locals- Extremely Polite and Friendly and all spoke english.

A tell all tale of Nicks wild adventures around the globe in no particular order with the odd recommendation!