Aaron’s Blog

Paon Bali Cooking School in Ubud

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We like to eat, and one of the main things that drives us to travel is our stomachs.  There is a magical world of food out there that, despite the amazing variety of eateries in Tokyo, you just will not find in one location.  We also both like to cook, which means that in addition to simply sampling the amazing food on offer, the best memento that we can take with us in our overstuffed bags is the knowledge of how to cook it at home.  At Paon Bali Cooking School, we were able to stuff both our bellies and our minds. Read more

Found in Ubud: Starbucks, Ubud style

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Ubud Starbucks_1280_for_Web

Nestled in right along the main street in Ubud is everyone’s favorite/hated neighbor, Starbucks.  I’m always torn upon seeing these, and I see them whereever I go, because at the same time it is both comforting to see something of home, and it is simultaneously the epitome of corporate expansionism and a sign that the west is corrupting every last native tourist destination.  Either way, we liked the way they at least tried to do up their sign in a traditional, wooden style as Bali in general, and specifically Ubud is known for it’s woodworking.

Photo of the Week: Kuta Beach

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Chairs welcoming you to Kuta Beach_1280_for_Web

If you head to Bali, chances are you will be staying in the jam-packed tourist area of Kuta.  This area is filled with cheap (often run-down) hotels, as well as restaurants and cafes, and more souvenier shops selling wooden penises than you could shake a stick at (pun intended).  One of the reasons that this area has become popular, in addition to its proximity to the airport, is it’s beach.  On first site, the beach is quite beautiful as it stretches off into the distance.  Of course, on closer look, you see that it is filled with trash, both on the beach and in the water, making any swimming experience feel like you paddling through a garbage can.  However, it certainly looks quite nice.

The Top 7 Things You Should Know About New Zealand

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New Zealand is a wonderful country and should definitely be on everyone’s visit list.  However, there are a few things that you should know when you get here that might help things make more sense.

7. There is wifi everywhere


Wifi now comes to you in red!

Perhaps this is a phenomenon that is slowly developing elsewhere, but New Zealand seems to be at the forefront of putting wifi strategically in everyone’s body, or at least, that’s how it seems.  There is a remarkable amount of free wifi to be had for those looking to scrape by with free internet.  The public Link busses that go around downtown Auckland have wifi, the ferries have wifi, the Auckland museum has wifi (and even additional information available for iphone users), and the CBD in Wellington is covered in wifi.  This is not to mention all of the cafes, bars, and restaurants that also offer free wifi to their customers.  Just order and then exchange a quick wink and a secret handshake with the waiter and you’re set.  It’s a huge life saver while on the go. Read more

Photo of the Week: Downtown Melbourne

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Melbourne Cathedral and Tram_1280_for_Web

Melbourne has a distincly European feel to it in a way that you don’t feel in Sydney.  The downtown Central Business District has a great collection of architecture and is a joy to explore.  It’s easy to do this either on foot or on one of the many trams that criss-cross the city.  On a sunny day, the play of the light on the modern buildings as well as the traditional architecture is really beautiful.