Tag Archives: Hostel

A walk to the London Eye!

Moving on to the sight seeing portion of our London visit. Since I’m not volunteering during this stretch, I decided to introduce the hostel life to Mike and Hayden. With over 800 accommodations offered, choosing one could of been exhausting, but this time it was easy to narrow it down… Why? I found out prior to this trip that one of the gymnasts I used to coach was going to be here at the same time! (For those who don’t know, I taught gymnastics for 10 years back in my “earlier days”).

Due to my love for surprising people, I got in contact with her mom and found out the hostel she was going to be in and booked it!

Here’s a picture of sweet Ashlyn back in our days of coach and gymnast. Now, she’s a beautiful young lady that has maintained her kind nature and sincere smile.

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Introducing Hostel Clink 78.

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From our hostel, the London Eye was just a few miles away which made for a perfect walk! Here’s what you’d see just wandering the streets of London.

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Unlike the majority of the world, here in England they drive on the opposite side of the road (or as they say, “the correct side”). These fun little suggestions painted on the crosswalks I’m sure have saved many of pedestrian injuries.

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After a refreshing jaunt towards the river, the London eyes finally exposed itself. Although it was tempting to ride, at 25Euro per person, we chose to make it a handstand shot instead!

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The walk back presented itself with a few eatery options and bars getting ready for the happy hour in which business suits and locals show up for an evening drink.

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I was lucky enough to make a pit stop at a local pub to reunite with another friend! Remember my buddy Scott from the Peruvian cooking experience?

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Now, we meet again over 6,000 miles away! Scott, thank you for the perfect evening before our departure to Holland and I look forward to the next country in which we connect again!

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Time to pack up and say farewell to England as we head east to Amsterdam. Lets go boys!

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Manso Boutique Guesthouse in Guayaquil

A brief look at my enjoyable stay at the Manso Boutique Guesthouse. You’d never guess by approaching the stairs that comfortable accommodations are just ahead.

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As soon as you reach the top, the main common area draws you in to observe the view off of the balcony.

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Now with the street behind you, this is the sight as you walk towards the front desk. (That’s one of my buddies on the phone. This guy always had a smile on his face!)

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They provide several tables and chairs for the guests to eat, work and gather around. I saw card playing, book reading and what I believe was a business meeting. There’s even a little private area where often I saw families or groups of friends feasting together.

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Creative decor with recycled goods matched the unique gift shop of clothing, organic treats and natural products.

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Need a bike for rent?

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Although the 4 person dorm was small, it was clean and provided a private bath. The second picture below is an additional bathroom for guests and employees.

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Finally the smile that greeted me hello and now is sending me off. Thank you so much Edu for your helpful advice… Canoa, here I come!

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30 hours in Guayaquil, Ecuador

Knowing that I’ll be flying out of the capital Quito, I chose to arrive in Guayaquil to spend some time exploring the largest city in Ecuador. Naturally, my choice of transportation for the day is my two feet with no map and a camera in hand.

I was totally satisfied staying out of the heart of the city in order to catch a glimpse of the smaller venders and local markets. Right away I spot a health food store, well more like a vitamin stall, but either way it’s nice to see an effort towards better nutrition anywhere.

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Next door to the “healthy” stall we have soda, candy, gum and cigarettes. You can actually purchase a single smoke or the whole pack, they even have a lighter for your convienence. I’m not a smoker, but this one stood out to me!

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This woman was focused and straight faced as I caught myself staring into her little work box. As soon as we made eye contact, I asked with my best attempt in Spanish “Is a photo ok?”. She responded with a huge smile!

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I choose to limit my wheat and corn intake for general health, so most bread is off my “must try” list. With that said, you can imagine my excitement when I saw a sign for “Pan de Yuca”. This tasty treat is about the size of an average dinner roll, has minimal ingredients, no preservatives and is primarily made from the root of cassava (a cholesterol lowering, inflammation reducing vegetable that’s rich in potassium). The best part was the fluffy texture and the hollow inside that will make a perfect pocket for my next sandwich!

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With the sound of it, I thought for sure that I was approaching a daytime dance club blasting local hip hop music. No, that’s just a store in which sells electronics. “Woh, look mom!” says the little boy. Mother replies, “Yes sweetie, she is wearing a swimsuit, you just can’t see it”.

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Next door to the risky music videos? A dancing cow promoting ice cream and a clown passing out balloons… Go figure.

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In between the small shops there were several chain restaurants like McDonalds, Burger King, and KFC. I was a little discouraged to see those places packed, however this is a large city which means convenience tops the priority list.

I spot out a grocery store so I swing in for the usual wander, (this can drive my travel partners crazy!) as I just love to browse and check out the goods that I’ve never seen before. As soon as I walk in, I almost tripped over the… Salon chair? Nice! Makes sense to me to get your hair colored while running other errands.

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My new find for the day is vegetarian ceviche in a to-go container including broad beans, corn nuts and plantain chips for the topping.

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I pass a cute little square with a neat fountain and a little girl sleeping in a box? I’ve definitely been that tired before!

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I reach the end of the street which brings me to the El Malecón boardwalk overlooking the Guayas River. The first three pictures were taken from the balcony of my hostel earlier in the day. To see the Manso Guesthouse in detail take my photo tour in the accommodations category.

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Tourists?

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These guys made my day. Not only were they talented and entertaining, they were extremely friendly and patient with my Spanish. (Hopefully they understood the paper I wrote on that directed them to my blog).

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My turn for a little gymnastics!

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As the sun started to lower, I found stairs leading to lookout points providing a perfect view for these pictures.

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Again with the distant sound if music, I follow my ears towards a few well lit buildings up the way. This time it’s an indoor mall with independent singers giving it their best.

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I stopped on the way back and put my camera on a “special effect” to try and capture the loud energy that circled my evening stroll. This was the winner!

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Tomorrow morning brings a 6 hour bus trip to the coast of Manabi, Buenos Noches!

Now I lay me down to sleep… In El Salvador

Besides the one memorable night at the tropical farm, here are the two hostels we stayed at during our El Salvadorian adventure. The first place is called Hostal Cumbres del Volcan ran by Malcom and Gladys with tremendous assistance from Sarah and Walter. This place feels more like a bed and breakfast as the open kitchen and common area feels just like home.

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The decorations are simple but vibrant and like any other good hostel, they have the usual collection of trading books and movies.

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The personal interaction and helpful attention given to us by the staff there absolutely made our stay what it was. A special thanks to everyone at Hostel Cumbres del Volcan!

This hostel sat in the corner of the village of Juaya (why-you-uh) the place with the waterfalls and food festival. Equipped with an open kitchen and large common area, it was hard to bump into other travelers. The rooms had similar options with dorms, privates and shared.

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Moms favorite place to sip her coffee was in the back garden area. Fountains, trees, fruit and flowers…. What’s not to love?

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I was entertained by scoping out all of the recycled items that contributed to this busy yard.

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Can you spot the shoe?

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With the comfortable accommodations and the welcoming staff, I would definitely stay at either one of these if my journey brought me through El Salvador again.

I’ll finish this post with the sign that made me giggle every time I used the restroom.

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Helping hand in Kuala Lumpur

My last night in Malaysia, I took a bus back to Kuala Lumpur for a good nights rest and an early rise for my flight to Japan. I chose the Reggae Hostel based off a suggestion from my local friends.

Time to make a quick acknowledgment to my new pal that went above and beyond his call of duty to help me. I had left my backpack with my previous host and needed to retrieve it before the evening was over.

Being that I was in one of the largest cities in Malaysia at night, by myself and caring all my belongings, taking the round trip alone didn’t seem like a brilliant idea. I asked this hostel employee if he had any friends in the cab service that I could just pay to do the whole trip with me. (At this point I wasn’t going to put a price on my safety).

He said if I could wait until he got off work that he would make the entire trek with me. He was a local and knew the streets, so I patiently waited for him to finish up work. My helpful guide named Usman is on the left.

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Not only did he kindly lead me right to where I needed to go, he payed for the tram and cab with nothing but a smile the entire journey. This didn’t even include the history lesson I got along the way as we would pass different buildings and church sites.

I returned safely with my backpack and a new buddy! The next morning as I was reviewing the map on which path to take to get to then tram that takes me to the bus that delivers me to the correct airport… In walks my personal guide. As if he hadn’t done enough already, he says, “Let’s go, I’ll make sure you get there”.

Add this guy to the list of quality people on earth who have helped me reflect on being a better person… Would I have done this for someone? I hope so.

With an easy trip to the airport, all checked in and ready to board. Next destination is south of Tokyo Japan to visit my cousin Brandon. Great times ahead!

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