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Riding the buses » Cultural travel

The Baci Ceremony: White threads, banana leaves and marigolds

The Baci Ceremony: White threads, banana leaves and marigolds

You often see banana leaves rolled into small cones and decorated with marigolds in Southeast Asia. They are sold at markets everywhere, at temples, and other sacred places. These banana leaf decorations are called makbeng … Read entire article »

A Hmong guide shares his story

A Hmong guide shares his story

Kou Vang was my guide for the day when I went to see the Plain of Jars in northeastern Laos. His English is excellent and he is a fine storyteller so we spent much of … Read entire article »

The alms ceremony in Luang Prabang, Laos

The alms ceremony in Luang Prabang, Laos

Early every morning in much of Southeast Asia monks can be seen out on the roads collecting alms. This is an ancient, religious tradition and those who give alms earn merit for their next life. … Read entire article »

Thai festivals to plan your visit around

Thai festivals to plan your visit around

Thailand is well known for its festivals. Many involve making merit at Buddhist temples so it is an ideal time to get-thee-to-a-temple, fade into the background and be part of the Thai culture. Festivals can … Read entire article »

These are not your typical Thais

These are not your typical Thais

The word “Thai” means free and Thailand stands for the “land of the free”. The country was only named that in 1949 and it was previously known as Siam. About 95% of Thais are Buddhists … Read entire article »

Is hiking the Inca Trail tough? Depends on whom you talk to

Is hiking the Inca Trail tough? Depends on whom you talk to

 Vanessa Kohut travelled for 21/2 months in South America. A highlight, of course, was hiking the infamous Inca Trail.  The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is a hard trek and you really have to push yourself … Read entire article »

In Todos Santos, all the saints are celebrated on Nov. 1

In Todos Santos, all the saints are celebrated on Nov. 1

Don’t bring a suitcase on wheels,” my daughter Jessica told me. “You’ll never be able to pull it up the hill to the house”. When I got off the bus in Todos Santos, a village in … Read entire article »

A changing Cuba

A changing Cuba

Cuba is a fascinating destination, particularly if you travel beyond the all-inclusive tourist hotels.  It is the largest of the Caribbean islands, located just 145 km south of Florida. Most foreign tourists go there for … Read entire article »

Wagah Ceremony: Closing the border between Pakistan and India

Wagah Ceremony: Closing the border between Pakistan and India

At sunset each day there is a rather extravagant ceremony to close the border between India and Pakistan at Wagah. The village of Wagah was divided in 1947 when India was split into two countries. … Read entire article »

The power of the visual in Western Cape, South Africa

The power of the visual in Western Cape, South Africa

A large water colour hangs on a wall in our home in Canada. My husband Gerrit was very moved by Thabo Nyelele’s interpretation of life in an ‘informal settlement’ in the Cape Flats.  For a … Read entire article »

Highlights of South Africa: Soweto and Robben Island

Highlights of South Africa: Soweto and Robben Island

Barbara Reinhardus worked as a United Nations election adviser in South Africa in advance of the second non-racial general election in 1999. When family and friends from Canada went to visit her, she became a … Read entire article »

Being a tourist in Afghanistan

Being a tourist in Afghanistan

Nancy Fanjoy spent six weeks in Afghanistan in 2004, visiting her sister who was working there and volunteering as a civic education trainer. Q: Why ever did you chose to vacation in Afghanistan? A: My life … Read entire article »

Two Canadian women travel around Morocco

Two Canadian women travel around Morocco

(From the vault) There are many reasons why Morocco is a good destination. At the top of my list would be wandering around an ancient medina with its high walls, maze-like streets, and souks filled with … Read entire article »

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