Koninginnedag / Queen’s Day 2011

August 5, 2011 - Filed under Entertainment, Stuff to do

One of the main reasons we left life in the tropics for a brief stint in Europe, was for Queen’s Day. April 30th, the day the the Dutch celebrate the Queen’s Birthday en masse, with celebrations across the country. Outdoor parties, markets, and people fill the streets in honor of the Queen and The Royal House of Oranje. (While technically the Queen’s birthday is in January, the current queen, Queen Beatrix decided to keep Queen’s Day on April 30th in honor of her mother’s birthday, and because the weather is typically better for outdoor celebrations.)

Queen's Day 2011

2011 was my fourth Queen’s Day and somewhat of a reunion between me and 3 friends who all celebrated our first Queen’s Day ever, together, 10 years ago. Sarah, Liz and Annette have been celebrating together ever since, but unfortunately for me, getting back every year has been a little harder. While I lived in Amsterdam I was able to partake in Queen’s Day twice and in 2006 went back for my third. During that trip I made a promise to come back for our 10th anniversary, so when 2011 rolled around I knew I had to be there. Read More…

Posted by: Kelly

How to watch tv online while traveling

May 28, 2009 - Filed under Entertainment

While we’re off roaming the globe, our television options can be somewhat limited. Every odd MotoGP Sunday I can wander to an English pub to watch Valentino Rossi win another race, but during the NHL playoffs and Superbowl it was near impossible to see anything more than the highlights. Finding a sports bar with satellite tv open at 5AM can be a challenge.

We often only have three or four channels in English, most of which are news or movie networks. Many of the shows we watch back home aren’t licensed for worldwide distribution until years after they air back in Canada and while networks do broadcast sporting events online they too are often restricted by broadcast licenses, so they geographically restrict who can watch the video streams online. Read More…

Posted by: Shim

Week 35: Fight Night

May 4, 2009 - Filed under Entertainment, Stuff to do, Weekly Report

Walking the streets of Koh Samui around Chaweng beach can be a little like running the gauntlet. We’ve been bombarded by tailors trying to coax us into their stores for cheap suits, shirts, shoes and the like. Restaurants handing out drink coupons and herding street traffic towards their tables. Street vendors trying to sell us knockoff t-shirts, soap carvings, statues, jewelry, and a ton of other mass produced stuff. Taxi drivers endlessly asking if you want a ride. It can be a bit much, but is a defining part of the Thailand experience.

Muay Thai Guy

Among the cacophony of all this, there are trucks roaming the streets with loud speakers proclaiming the greatness of the evenings scheduled Muay Thai boxing matches. Its always the ‘Fight of the Year’ and every fighter is supposedly a district champion… but 6 years ago I did take in a Muay Thai night and it was a memorable if somewhat shocking experience. Back then, they started with the youngest fighters around 6 years old and progressed to the regional champions who were usually in their mid 20’s. It was strange paying to watch little kids beat each other up, and it did get quite bloody when they got to the later matches. But I’d say it’s a must see if you’re in the neighbourhood since the Thai people are so enthusiastic about the sport and it really is a good time. Read More…

Posted by: Shim

Week 22: Dinner Parties with Friends

February 3, 2009 - Filed under Drinks, Eats, Entertainment, Scuba Diving, Stuff to do, Weekly Report

It’s likely due to our limited time left in the Philippines that this week we attempted to be a little more social with a few of our local friends. We’ve been busy working and preparing for the next phase of our trip, but no excuses! Parties must be partied…

Early in the week we had Patrick from Dive Society over for a lasagna dinner accompanied by a few bottles of wine. He’s given his notice at the dive shop where he works as a dive instructor and will be becoming a nomadic yogi rambling through Bali in the near future. We hope to meet up again in Thailand in a couple months. Patrick is also an illustrator. Check out his portfolio site if you’ve got a minute.


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Posted by: Shim

Week 13: 3 Months Housewarming Party

December 1, 2008 - Filed under Drinks, Eats, Entertainment, Weekly Report

We’ve been in the Philippines for 3 months now. Since we’ve finally settled we decided to throw a little housewarming party at our new place and invite a bunch of people over to celebrate. We started out the week by heading into town for party supplies. Off to Hypermart in Dumaguete, we loaded up a shopping cart full of Mexican food supplies, and another cart full of beer, rum, gin, and soft drinks. We nearly cleared the shelves of San Miguel. The grand total? About $200. I love how cheap food and beverages are here. Unless you’re wanting specialty items, nearly everything is 50% what we pay back home. Booze and beer is even cheaper with no government taxation like in Canada. Read More…

Posted by: Shim

Week 8: Boracay

October 30, 2008 - Filed under Eats, Entertainment, Scuba Diving, Stuff to do, Travel, Weekly Report

We’ve spent 2 months in the Philippines! Wow, that went by fast. This week we headed off to the Buglasan festival in Dumaguete which is kind of like a tourism fair for the local communities on Negros Oriental where each town or barangay sets up a display area lauding their tourist attractions. It was quaint, and there was a great selection of barbecued foods and baked goods at the concession area. Plus, each evening there are musical competitions and we were lucky enough to show up on rock band night having missed the marching band event the previous day… There were around 40 bands playing that night for 10 minutes each. I don’t know the words to many of the songs they were singing, but it was a nice break from the love ballads pouring out of most places.

A couple days later we headed off to Boracay to check out the white sand beaches. We’d been putting it off because we’d heard it was over-commercialized and touristy, but after the last 2 months in the Philippines and realizing just how rural the country is outside of the cities, we decided to take a week or two to see if it was a viable place to live long term. We flew from Dumaguete to Manilla but due to a flight delay we really didn’t have any time to scope out Manilla. From what I saw it was big, with lots of hi-rises. Flying on to Caticlan, we were met at the airport by the hotel ‘shuttle service’ – where a guy with our names on a card piled us and our luggage into a trike and took us to the Caticlan port. We then took a short 5 minute boat ride over to Boracay and another 5 minute trike ride to the hotel we had arranged to stay in.

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Posted by: Shim

Malapatay Market

September 19, 2008 - Filed under Entertainment, Stuff to do

About 20km outside of Dumaguete lies Malapatay, a sleepy little seaside town which comes to life every Wednesday. People from all over the island come to, buy, sell, barter and trade everything for anything at the Malapatay Market.

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Posted by: Kelly


September 11, 2008 - Filed under Entertainment

Over the last week I’ve been waking at obscene hours in the morning due to crazy wind and rainstorms, loud air conditioners, bats, cicadas, mosquitoes, jet lag, and any number of other excuses. So, I’ve been watching a lot of tv till the rest of the country wakes up and breakfast is available (I’m really looking forward to having my own kitchen soon!). While there are many of the same television networks we’re used to like CNN, BBC, National Geographic Channel, and The Discovery Channel. It’s fair to say that there’s a number of interestingly quirky shows and stations that have caught my attention. Here’s a few:

The Soundtrack Channel – That’s right… music videos from soundtracks. That’s it! Classic.

Religious Evangelism – There must be 20 channels, non-stop, day and night. I can buy my salvation from most of them for a pledge of $80/month for 6 months. Read More…

Posted by: Shim