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Happy Kaimana

The Kaimana Klassik is in it’s 28th year and attracts approximately 32 teams from the USA and nations across the Pacific rim. There are two divisions, Open and Women’s, with a deep talent in both pools of play. The food was great, the weather turned great, and the experience was great-er. Let’s talk about the weekend.

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Let’s talk venue. The camping site is at Waimanalo Bay is just 10 yards from the public beach, a beautiful background to setup your camouflage tent in front of. I brought a tarp for shelter because apparently that is the Canadian thing to do. I looked like a crazed camper for over an hour digging holes to secure my tent and tarp as the winds were forecasted to gust into the evening and overnight. Upon checking in at player registration I was advised to tie my tent to a tree because the winds were going to be even stronger on Saturday. The fields were located at the Waimanalo Polo Fields just across the street from the camping site, a short 10 minute walk from tent to field. Headquarters was a cube van, the multipurpose tent was open sided with a stage at one end and the food at the other. The fields looked and played great throughout the weekend with 8 fields setup in total. The toilet situation was a cluster of 20 port-a-loos with outdoor lighting for evening visits although the entire field was surround by thick bush and it was well watered by the end of the weekend.

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Let’s talk weather. The weather was an animal. It started out just a bit breezy before turning gusty and then downright hurricane like. Then the rain came in the middle of the night soaking everything. The rain only let up long enough to get to the fields and get the first round of games started before it was like being in Seattle in February. The rain fell sideways through the first game and into the second game before a delay was announced. Once the system broke the sun came out for the rest of the weekend with the wind slowly tapering off through Saturday, Sunday, and being rather calm on Monday. It was down right hot Monday morning at 9 A.M. as we played our quarterfinal match up.

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Lettuce talk food. Included in the player package was a disc and reusable branded plastic cup, plate and chalice. Kaimana offered easily the best spread I have seen at any sporting tournament that I have participated in to date. There was tin foil to cover your plate to offer a sanitary surface to load your food onto at each meal. Every morning was the typical bread product, spread product, and fresh fruit. The bonus here is the smoothy station that was a blender continuously going producing a never-ending slurry of ice cold fruity beverage. Instead of using ice cubes and diluting the smoothy, frozen fruit was used to chill the cocktail without losing the flavour. Yes, there was an alcoholic version if you so requested. Lunch was catered in at an additional cost but it was worth it. I had some succulent pig and rice for lunch that I won’t soon forget. There was also traditional Poke and other items to enjoy that were fairly priced. Dinner was a theme each night and there was always lots to eat. Seconds were available to all after the buffet had been open for a reasonable amount of time each night. In addition to the scheduled meal times were the snacks that randomly appeared throughout the day. There was pop, juice, fruit, cheese balls, chocolates, and much more. The beer was tapped from dawn to dawn so there was no reason for an empty cup. Each night the liquor bar would open with two featured mixed drinks along with the standard five liquors that were over poured and mixed to your choosing.

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Let’s talk teams. I was part of the Aloha Spirit Team (Hat team) in the open division along with 17 other of my closest stranger friends. We were joined by some of the remaining players of a former team that has played every Kaimana since it’s beginnings, Sarcastic Fringeheads. Thank you to Nathan for the team shirts! On the team were a few residents of the Hawaiian islands, a bunch of west coasters, some east coasters, and 3 Canadians. The talent was deep and nothing says camaraderie like pass the beer jug. I had a blast playing with this team for the weekend with our showcase performance was beating Stanford in a sideways rainstorm. On the championship Monday we managed to win our way into the semi-finals of the beer bracket. We battled the Japanese team, Freaks, with their smooth and disciplined style of play knocking us out of contention. Not to go unnoticed was the women’s bracket. There were more teams in the Women’s bracket than the open division which was a welcome change and offered up some great play throughout the weekend.

Let’s talk volunteers. This tournament was run completely by volunteers and there was no shortage of passion at this tournament. The King of Kaimana, Mondo, was in attendance again this year helping out and playing a few points to extend his streak of playing in every edition of Kaimana to date. I have to extend a big thank you to everyone who contributed to this tournament be it in the planning, execution, or clean up and to all the sponsors. Your work does not go unnoticed and it will be one tournament that I would be excited to return to again in the future.

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The North Island

With only 7 days to see New Zealand, I elected to only visit the north island on this trip flying into Wellington and out of Auckland at the end of my week. I was joined by two fellow frisbee players from Toronto, Kat and Jess. I flew in a few days after them so they already had a car rented and picked me up from the airport upon my arrival.

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In case you are unaware the kiwis drive on the left side of the road compared to the right side I am used to at home. The setup inside the car for the driver has the turn signal and windshield wipers switched. The running joke is you see a tourist coming a mile away because they always turn the wipers on instead of the turn signals. After the first day of driving you get the hang of doing everything opposite while traveling in traffic. The tough part comes when you approach an intersection or parking lot where your natural instincts kick in trying to get you killed. Thankfully I only attempted to kill us all once when leaving a parking lot and turning into the oncoming lane at 11:30 P.M. when there was one car on the road. Whoops.

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The first night in NZ was dedicated to traveling north from Wellington to Porangahau for the Hat Tournament. As it would turn out this weekend was the last long weekend of the NZ summer but traffic was for the most part non-existent. The roads in NZ do not ever follow a straight line. Period. Fact. Every journey you take is an 50 – 70 KPM journey of winding blind corners and hills. It’s like rally car driving to get to the corner store when all you need is a lottery ticket. Don’t get me wrong, driving along the cliff edge with panoramic views was thrilling. After our multi hour journey with multiple stops we arrived at our destination, a working sheep and cattle farm, after 11 P.M. and hunkered down for the night. During our two days on the farm we were treated to some great ultimate, a great Saturday night party, and we were able to visit the longest named place in the world. On the Sunday we headed out after the final awards were handed out and everyone had showered. Our goal was to make it to Cape Kidnappers and catch a glimpse of the golf course before sun down.

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We arrived at Cape Kidnappers Golf Course with only an hour of light left. We arrived at the perimeter gate to find out that it was another 20 minute drive to the clubhouse. We finally arrived at the clubhouse to discover that the club was closed for the day. I didn’t fly all the way to NZ and drive an hour out of our way to not see the course. With no one around but the three of us, we walked to the coast line where the course and cliffs meet. This view was completely worth the trip and I doubt I would have been able to enjoy the course as much as I did had it been “open” when we arrived. Once the sun had set we all jumped back in the car and set out to find a place to stay for the night. We chose to try for the town of Rotorua as it was recommend to us based on our plans for the next couple of days. After driving until the early hours of the morning I discovered that I had just piloted us about 2 hours past our planned adventure for the Monday. I was more than a little displeased at this point because I like being accurate and sticking to the laid out plan. I requested a road map from the hotel front desk to avoid running into this type of boondoggle again.

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We woke up on the later side of things and used Monday as a recovery day. Rotorua is a volcanic town surrounded by many hot springs that were very active. We plotted some places to visit around town and along the way to our next overnight in Turangi. First was the local park which had some smelly, muddy, bubbly hot springs for us to sniff and gag at. Next up was a short ride to Waiotapu Themeral Wonderland. This place is what I expect mars will be like once colonized. There are craters, extreme colours in the water pools, barren landscapes, and a random forest in the middle of it all. All in all an interesting spot to visit and a nice leisurely paced attraction. After the thermals we headed for lake Taupo to try and catch an afternoon cruise to see the Maori Rock Carvings. We made the journey with minutes to spare and were able to book a trip on a yacht take us out on a nice cruise across rather choppy waters. A short 30 minute ride out to the carvings gave us great light to view the piece and enjoy a nice leisurely cruise back to port. We enjoyed dinner in town before heading out to Turangi and our accommodations for the evening.

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Turangi is the town closest to the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. We arrived at our hostel for the night and we were given advice on crossing by the owner. We agreed that we would split up for the 19.4 KM journey and complete the hike in opposite directions. The reason we split up was to ensure we would not have to pay any shuttle fees to get back to the car at the end of the hike. I would complete the hike from west to east and the ladies would stick together completing the hike east to west as recommended by the hostel owner. The most important part of this plan was the hand off of the car key and I almost forgot to pick up the car key from the ladies. Thankfully Jess was paying attention and handed over the prized key during our meeting around the 11 KM marker. I completed the journey in about 5 hours and 15 minutes with all of my up hill climbs out of the way in the first 9 KM of my hike. The reverse hike for the ladies was much more difficult as their journey was an uphill fight for a longer period of time and across tougher terrain. I met the girls with car back where I had started my day and we were all tired from our hikes. We headed into Turangi to get some wifi and plan our next day’s adventure and find a place to sleep for the night. We agreed to return to the town of Rotorua for the night and stay in a hostel there before heading out to Matamata and Auckland the next day. Our journey to our Rotorua hostel was uneventful with the hostel almost uninhabited upon our arrival with only two other cars in the parking lot.

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Our last final full day on the north island began with a short journey to the outskirts of the town of Matamata, also know as Hobbiton. The girls had signed up for a tour of the hobbit village, grounds, and working farm. I dropped them off for their tour and headed to the opposite side of town to catch a glimpse of the highest waterfall in NZ, Wairere Falls. This set of falls is 153M and a different style of waterfall than I am used. Niagara Falls is a horseshoe style falls with a high water flow crashing over the edge every minute. Wairere is a skinny cascading waterfall with the water following many different paths down to the bottom. I spent a short amount of time at the falls before returning to pick up the girls from their Hobbiton adventure. They raved about being whisked away into an alternate universe and loved the adventure. We piled into our trusty car and headed into Matamata for lunch before making the trek up to Auckland. The journey from lunch to Auckland was smooth until we hit our first bit of NZ traffic entering the Auckland city limits. It would appear that NZ does have traffic every now and then. We hacked our way into town and found our accommodation for the night. After dropping off our bags, we parked the car for the night, and headed out to the Sky Tower to catch the sunset from the 60th floor. We were treated to a lovely colourful sky and were able to see the city night lights come up before heading down to the wharf for an evening stroll that led us back to our hostel. We packed our bags for our upcoming flight before calling it a night.

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Our final morning in NZ only required us to return the rental car before checking in for our flight to Hawaii. Kat and myself were continuing on to Oahu and Jess was on her way to Thailand. What should have been an uneventful drive got way too interesting way too fast. On the way to the drop off location the car starting making a loud squealing sound whenever the wheels were turning. And to our relief the sound disappeared without warning just as it appeared. I still have no idea what that noise was and I’m glad that it stopped before we got anywhere near the drop off location because it was as loud as someone using a stone cutting saw. A short shuttle to the airport and a quick check in process left me with enough time to embrace my inner hobbit before I left with a second breakfast.

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My trip to New Zealand was great. I think I enjoy driving on the left side of the road better than the right, the terrain really dictates how fast you can make a journey between each city, the landscapes are beautiful, the ocean is cold but clean, the sun is extremely powerful, and the positives go on. The biggest downside for me was the price point of many items but that can easily be overlooked. I would like to return one day with more time and have a chance to visit the south island as I hear it is even more beautiful than the north.

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Porangahau Hat

The journey to the inaugural Porangahau Hat began the day before in Boracay at 4:30 A.M. It would take a trike, a boat, a twin prop plane, a twin jet plane, an overnight flight, and one more twin jet plane to arrive in Wellington. Upon my arrival I was the lucky recipient of a “random” search of my luggage just steps before leaving baggage claim. I say random because the only people being searched at this point were other solo travellers with backpacks similar to mine. After a friendly encounter and determining that even border agents play ultimate frisbee I was able to meet up with my ride that had now been waiting over two hours since my scheduled arrival. For the first time in my travels I would have some partners in crime and someone to share the days with. Kat and Jess are fellow ultimate players from Toronto, always up for an adventure, and are road trip dj masters. After a quick bite at the airport it was time to tackle the four hour drive to the registration party. We took our time and enjoyed the sites along the way arriving just after 11 P.M. Although we were the last to arrive, the welcome was still warm and our player packages were waiting for us. Although this tournament was planned as a camping event, all the international players were assigned a bed and linens for the event.

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The campsite and headquarters for the tournament was a working beef and sheep farm set among the rolling hills the south east corner of the north island. The roads leading to the venue are windy, windy, and narrow with the common sighting of live stock crossing and the occasional herd blocking your way. The beach (fields) is about 20 minutes from the farm with the sand firm and dark in colour. These conditions were the complete opposite from the past tournament and a welcome change as it setup the tournament for a different style of play from the previous weekend. Another element to this tournament that was different was the tides. Everyday the fields would need to be setup and taken down as the hight of the tide would completely cover the playing surface each complete cycle. This was a first edition of the Porangahau Hat and with new beginnings are the inevitable bumps in the road.

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The Saturday play began later than expected, only two fields were able to be setup, the wind was up and the sun was strong. You’ve got to hand it to the Tournament Director because you wouldn’t know that anything was behind because of all the side games setup and the well packaged lunches delivered to each team in handy clear side tubs. Hat tournaments always harbour great team structure because you get matched up with many different personalities, skill levels, and people from around the world. I was assigned to the “Black Ice” squad comprised of 8 kiwis and 2 Canadians(Kat and myself). The kiwi talent ranged from a soon to be proud father to a world’s player to a junior player with unlimited potential. This was a fun group to play with and they all brought some amazing throws to every game. Fast forward to the Saturday night party held in a sheep sheering barn. Themed in the style of the 80’s, many were dressed for the occasion and the music was anthem after anthem. One of the party games was a playing card found in your player package. When you found your matching card at the party you could head to the bar and claim a shot of your choice. There was also a beer pong tournament and other mini games to play. Partying in the barn was pretty awesome but I’m a little disappointed there wasn’t a sheep racing contest.

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Back to the sports aspect of this story. Black Ice went on a good run for the weekend earning a birth in to the semis and then the finals. “Pink Thunder” came out and won the final with strong play and a fearless attitude laying out on the firm sand multiple times. Although I went 0/2 at hat tournaments on my journey, it was a blast to be playing in another final. The awards were handed out immediately after the final point with Black Ice winning the spirit award! It was smiles all around for all teams as almost everyone walked home with swag from the tournament. With the awards finished up it was time for a dip in the ocean which I affectionately call the Antarctic Ocean due to its cold temperature compared to the China Sea I was splashing around in only days before.

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Thank you to Gore D and all of the volunteers from this tournament. The hospitality of the entire crew was second to none. The overall tournament experience was fantastic and something I will cherish for a long time to come. Thank you again!

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Singapore: Home of the largest custodial staff in the world

Welcome to the cleanest city in the world. Home of the littering law that could land you a fine of $2000, $4000, or even $8000! Chewing gum is a big no-no as well so everyone that has been through Singapore with some in their bag, congratulations on being an international smuggler, the title will look great on your resume. Upon my arrival I only changed $20 USD to SGD for my use as this was the first city where I anticipated to successfully use my credit card for the majority of my transactions. To get to downtown Singapore I didn’t have to take a taxi or shuttle, rather I proceeded to the basement where the statewide metro was waiting. The Singapore Mass Rapid Transit (SMRT) system is a fantastic system that I relied on during my stay. In addition to all its glory and cleanliness, the system offers a tourist pass for 1, 2, or 3 day intervals for $10, $16, and $20 respectively. I picked up the 3 day card and was on my way without any trouble. After short 50 minute ride to Chinatown I arrived at my stop and dropped off my luggage before heading out for my first tourist stop, the Singapore Flyer.

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The second largest in the world by only 2 metres, this ferris wheel offers a fantastic panoramic view of the city and harbour. This was also the moment I discovered the panoramic feature on my camera. The Flyer completes one full rotation every 30 minutes which was plenty of time to enjoy the ride. After the flyer I walked over to the Marina Sands Bay Resort. This complex includes a casino, 3 towers of rooms, over 300 luxury shops, 8 celebrity restaurants, an indoor artificial water canal, and the list goes on. At the cost over 1 billion dollars to complete it was the first casino resort built in Singapore. To give you an idea of how profitable an operation this place is, the 2014 3rd quarter financials posted a $287 million net profit. Cha-Ching folks. I was able to enjoy a nice sunset before heading inside to look for a forex to pick up some currency for my next destinations. I was surprised to find out that every forex in Singapore only took cash and did not take a debit card. The other tidbit that I was unaware of was that most forex branches do not sell every currency they are willing to purchase. In the end I found a spot in the SMRT that had every currency that I required for my future journey. My first night at the Adler Hostel was a pleasant one considering I was in a dorm of 20 beds. This hostel was advertised as a boutique hostel with breakfast and other “high end” amenities, its a hostel after all. Reception was helpful with everything I asked about and my dorm was quiet and cool. For the price I payed the downside was the spotty wifi and lack of any protein for breakfast as only bread, jam, and juice was offered.

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Day two started with a duck boat tour of the inner harbour. A short 45 minute tour that I found difficult to understand due to the loud engine but was still an enjoyable outing. After a quick bite to eat I walked over to the Gardens by the Bay behind MBS. These gardens are home to a Cloud Garden and Flower Garden. The Cloud Garden was my favourite of the buildings with both of the structures allowing the entire weight of the exterior walls to be supported without a single internal column. On the inside of the Cloud garden is a 7 story waterfall and an environment that harbours plants and flowers that only grow in the rare moist climates on the tops of mountains. For a place that I thought was going to be a total bust, it turned out to be my favourite spot in Singapore. Gardners and gardens apparently like each other. After smelling the roses (there weren’t any if you are keeping score) I headed over to little India to find some dinner. I stopped at a great local spot and enjoyed some northern Indian delicacies. I feel like a fool because the cost to stuff my face with great food was less than a single beer. No matter I enjoyed my meal and almost returned the next day for a repeat meal.

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My third day was spent sorting out my final details for the up coming week. First I visited the airline’s office to ensure my tickets were correct. I learned that I would need to purchase a larger carry on bag to help divert some of the total weight in my checked bag to lower my overweight charge for my final flight into Boracay. I was able to find a bag with wheels for $16 that as it would turn out saved me about $50 in baggage fees. I headed home and packed my bags to minimize my baggage charge before seeing one more touristy spot, Sentosa Island. I arrived just before dusk and was treated to some lovely colours in the sky as I walked across the bridge to the island. As you can imagine the prices on the island were sky high with the exception of one restaurant that I was able to get a full meal for less than $20 SGD. Once done my evening stroll it was back to the hostel to wait for my 3 am shuttle to the airport. That’s right, the highly praised SMRT subway is not a 24 hour beast but the shuttle was reasonably priced at $9 SGD and only took 17 minutes at that time of day.

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Looking back at the modern giant of the east, 3 days was good amount of time to see the major highlights of the city, Chinatown was the perfect spot to stay in the city as it is very central to everything touristy, take a couple hours and do the Gardens by the Bay, and most of all don’t litter. The crime is not worth the dime.

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2 Letters, 2 Days: K.L.

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My arrival in KL was just after lunch time via a mid-morning flight from Bangkok. I caught the high speed express train from the airport to the central train station in downtown. The ride was smooth, quick, and reasonably priced based on all the factors. I hopped off the express and got on a local line that dropped me only 500 meters from my hostel. Well, I took a wrong turn when I arrived at my street and I ended up about 1500 metes from where I needed to be. I blame it on the silly numbering system on the buildings and not an inability to count. The hostel, Back Home Hostel, was a smaller venue and was in good condition. It was an open air style venue with the showers, bathrooms, and all common areas open to the outside air which created an atmosphere that I quite enjoyed. There is nothing like singing to the birds and mosquitos while you shower. I checked in and was quickly back out on the streets as I only had two days on the ground in KL.

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Kuala Lumpur is a city that many would know from the movie Entrapment where the plot line twists around a set of twin towers and a skybridge. This place is called the Petronas Towers and the number one reason I decided to visit KL so it was my first stop. Up on the 41st and 42nd level is the worlds highest two story bridge. Fun fact: the bridge isn’t attached to either tower. The bridge is in free floating suspension between the towers to prevent it from breaking while adding structural support to both towers in high winds. After visiting the Sky Bridge it was up to the observation deck on the 87th floor. This was a great vantage point of the city and gave a good overview of everything the city had to offer. Once I had completed my visit of the tower and grounds I headed to the local walking street to find something to eat. I sat down at a local vendor and enjoyed indian cuisine. My favourite part of this meal was watching the chef hand roll and bake the naan to order. At this point with a full belly I decided that it was time to meet some other travellers and unwind. I found my way to the local pub crawl hosted by a Dutchman who has been living in KL for about three years. I figured that this event would draw a crowd of about 10 to 15 participants but I was pleasantly surprised to see more than 50 individuals in attendance with even some locals joining in on the fun. We visited five bars over five hours and were treated to a drink at every bar. This is definitely the way to see the nightlife in KL and a great way to socialize with people from all over the globe.

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The next morning I grabbed a train to head north of the city to visit the second reason for my visit to KL, the Batu Caves. A large natural cave formation that is over a million years old is home to largest Hindu shrine outside of India. The 42 metre tall gold statue of Murugan is hard to miss and a focal point of many photos including mine. What can get lost at this destination is the side cave that is an ecological preserve called “The Dark Caves”. This area requires a minimal entry fee and is worth every bit. You walk over two kilometres into the cave and experience complete darkness. Close your eyes and wave your had in front of your face and you will understand zero visibility. It was an incredible experience and a great way to beat the heat as the caves are cool with a nice breeze moving the air from one opening to the next. I caught the next train back into the city to visit the National Mosque. I previously had not been to a Mosque and it was definitely an educational experience. I took part in a free tour led by a volunteer with a rhetorical sense of humour. His good spirt and candid moments added flair to an otherwise routine tour of the grounds. Just as the tour was finishing it began to rain. 13 days into my trip I had not experienced a drop of rain or even an empty threat of moisture falling from the heavens. This surprise pinned me down for about 45 minutes before I could head out in search of dinner. Once the rain let up I grabbed the train down to the Brickfields (Little India) for a Tandoori styled dinner. My meal was nothing short of fantastic as the Tandoori chicken was
full of flavour and again the naan was freshly baked to order. I grabbed a couple of mango frozen treats on my way home and my trip in KL was komplete.

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Two days is plenty to visit this city but beware that if you pass through on a Monday you will find many of the tourist sites are closed. And don’t forget to pack a garbage bag that can be turned into a raincoat at a moment’s notice.

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Bangkok: The Side I Wasn’t Expecting

The journey from Siam Reap to Bangkok was by day bus that took about eight hours including crossing the border between Cambodia and Thailand. When crossing into Thailand the first thing you will notice is the major difference in the level of cleanliness in the streets. There are “public toilets” that you pay a couple of cents for in most places with actual toilets and not squatter holes. The roads are like heaven in comparison to Cambodia with minimal bumps and respectable driving habits from all drivers. I arrived at the bus terminal on the outskirts of Bangkok and required some assistance to get a taxi to my hostel.

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The Lub D Silom is a nice venue that has many of the essential amenities a backpacker requires and easily comparable to one of MTV’s Real World houses based on the style of the venue. Upon finding my bunk, I spoke with one of my roommates and was recommended to book a backwater canal and royal palace combo tour for my first full day in the city. This was a great decision as I got to see a side of Bangkok I had not previously heard of and the ability to visit the highlights as well. We took a skinny long boat through the canals to view all the old style houses that overhang the water. Other highlights include 130 year old artist’s house, a floating market, many temples, feeding the local fish that are huge, an orchid farm, and a tour of the main river. Around lunch we docked up near the royal palace and left the boat to continue on foot. The Royal Palace is a beautiful place that is extensively decorated and extremely busy at all times. An important point to know is every visitor must cover their legs and shoulders out of respect. If you arrive wearing shorts and a tank top you can borrow a cover up from the “queen’s shop” but be ready for a long wait to obtain some silk. There is plenty to see inside the palace though you are unable to take pictures inside any of the buildings. After visiting the palace we made our way over to the reclining Buddha, his final stance. This statue is almost 50 meters long, over two stories tall, and hailed as the best decorated in all of Bangkok. Once finished the tour, I shared a taxi back to our starting point with a few other people from the tour. Very shortly after getting in the car I figured out how bad Bangkok traffic was as it took almost an hour to go less than five kilometres. I vowed to not take a taxi again until I was going to the airport in the early hours of the morning when there would surely be no traffic. The far better method of transportation to move across the city is the skytrain and the river ferry. These are both quick ways to move anywhere no matter the time of day and price based on distance travelled.

For my second full day in the city I went with three of my roommates to a cooking school to learned some Thai recipes. This was another terrific experience as our chef spoke flawless english, had a good sense of humour, and was patient throughout the day. We started off by going to the market to buy the main ingredients for the dishes we were going to cook. I enjoyed walking the market early in the morning amidst the hustle and bustle of the locals. We then walked a short distance to the cooking school, grabbed our aprons, and got to work. In the end we enjoyed six different dishes cooking everything ourselves along the way. This was an unexpected delight as you could change the flavour of the dish depending on your preference be it the heat of the dish or the added flavours. I spent my afternoon visiting the Thompson House and the Bangkok Arts and Culture Center. The Thompson House was a brief look into an American’s of exporting silk to New York city for designers to use in their fashion. The house itself was traditional in many senses of design and decor but incorporated some modern conveniences as per the owner like a staircase on the inside of the house and an ensuite bathroom in the guest room. The Culture Center is a modern building reminiscent of the Guggenheim in New York with the circular design incorporated in every level and every gallery. The first five floors are dedicated space for local business and artists in the community to show case their projects/business. Floors six through nine are for galleries and shows. During my visit there was a street art show on the seventh floor and a photography collection on the ninth. In a brief recap the street art show was about using art to speak about topics and ideas that are not allowed to be verbalized in Thailand. The photography collection was from a local photographer and her travels in the past year. My favourite part of the collection was a projection image of a star cluster 120,000 light years away and over 16,000 light years wide. To view this image you would look through a cut out in the wall to see a dark room with the image projected on the wall just as if you were looking through a telescope at the stars yourself. Once I finished in the galleries I headed across to the shopping mall superplex in search of a pair of pants as I didn’t bring any on my journey. I was able to purchase/haggle for a pair of pants and was on my way back to the hostel to meet up with a friend for an evening outing. In the evening we headed out to see a cabaret show, Calypso, with over 70 performers and a show time of approximately 80 minutes. There was show tunes, 90s tunes, rock and roll, and other genres all choreographed with up to the entire troop performing a song. We were able to see the performers up close after the show for pictures and they were very popular. A short river ferry home was all that was left for me in that long second day in Bangkok.

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My final day visiting Bangkok was spent walking almost the entire length of the city from the eastern outskirts of downtown to the shores of the river near the palace. I have enjoyed walking the cities I have visited so far as I always see many things that I normally miss from the sky train, bus, or car. When I made my way through Chinatown I was surprised by more than a couple things. There was one bit of sidewalk that was so well covered that you could have sworn you were inside a building. I was also surprised by a vendor that laid down a blanket on the sidewalk and then dumped a bucket of phone chargers out into a massive pile; $1 a piece, your choice. The vendor beside him had his blanket with neatly laid out cellphones with cracked faceplates and otherwise what would appear to be cosmetic damage. I can only imagine what use these phones had and how much he was selling them for. My walk concluded with my arrival at the famed Khao San Road which is home to many hostels, street vendors, and late night shenanigans. A home for many Westerners in their travels and a place never short on excitement although I was only passing through with no intention of sticking around for dark to fall. I headed to the river and caught the ferry back to the skytrain where I walked the remaining distance home. I spent the evening packing and getting ready for my next city Kuala Lumpur.

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Bangkok and Thailand is surely a place to visit. Next time I will make it a point to spend time in the southern regions and on some of the islands as the stories from other travellers speak of beautiful locations and tranquility.

International Flair with a Local Touch

As a world traveler I have experienced a wide variety of cultures and norms. I have enjoyed Parisian baguettes in the gardens of the Louvre to dining on cottage pie in the north of Scotland whilst sipping on 20-year scotch in a rickety old pub. I am open to trying new cuisines from the around the world and trying new traditions from foreign countries abroad. I have long considered the idea of working abroad and spending a fair amount of time away from the Canadian tundra. Many people share this ambition to travel and work abroad to gather new stories, adventures, and knowledge.

Globalization is the increasing connection of business and cultures the world around through many different forms of communication. Globalization is a common factor in international businesses that are successful. Our need for foreign resources and investment has never been higher. The importance of dealing with our foreign neighbours in a respectful manner is a prominent part of modern business and necessary for success.

A form of globalization can be found in most local golf clubs. As professionals in the golf industry, we are always trying to offer the best product at our club for the members and guests. It is commonplace for golf clubs to search similar golf clubs the world over and hand-pick the best attributes from these clubs and bring them together at their location. The intent is to create the ultimate experience, best product and service all at one location.

Member retention is a constant challenge for every club across the country and around the world. By offering globally tested product of a high level of standard, quality, and service, each club will be able to keep the members spending their disposable income at the club for many years to come. The opportunity to offer international flair with a local touch at your club could bring in new customers and keep long-standing customers with your club. An example of this is theme nights at the club. Throughout the golf season the food and beverage department would put on various culture nights offering the corresponding cuisine and entertainment for the members. This helped to keep members spending their money at the club whilst educating them on various cultures from around the world.

There are many different ways to be a part of globalization but the most important aspect of globalization is to be a part of it.