Reserva Biosfera Buenavista

June 21, 2017 Cayo Santa María, Cuba

We were lucky enough to book a resort that was next door to the Reserva Biosfera Buenavista. We walked a lot on the beach of our resort and found this reserve by accident. It's literally on the beach next to our hotel. The white powder sand is too beautiful and I love how it was always empty. This is why I came back to Cayo Santa Maria because you will feel like you are in a secluded island if you pick the right resort that has less developments nearby.
We walked all the way to the tip of the island and found the trail for the reserve. There was no sign but we followed a guy who had the same idea.
 We saw a lot of different types of birds, cactus, and plants. I can't identify most of it because we didn't have a guide but it was fun to explore on our own.

You can't get lost because you just follow a trail and it's marked properly so it's safe.

Cayo Santa Maria

June 12, 2017 Cayo Santa María, Cuba

It's my second visit to Cayo Santa Maria in Cuba. I wanted to come back here because the beach is pristine and it's not as touristy as Varadero yet.
From our almost two hour drive from the airport to the hotel, I saw new resorts being built on the island so change is coming and it won't be long before this piece of paradise will be different.

Last time I visited, I did not venture out of the resort but this time I went to the nearby market to shop.

While waiting for the bus to come to the resort, I saw a couple getting off a vintage convertible Ford taxi. I was curious and asked the driver how much it was and he said 10 CUC to get to the market. It wasn't cheap but i wanted to experience this once so my bf and I hopped on the car.
It was so much fun!! Cuban music playing while we rode to the market.
We got to the market 15 minutes later.We visited Plaza la Estrella market.

It's a usual tourist market selling souvenirs, alcohol, coffee, and cigars. The market also had restaurants and cafe's.They also have a bank here if you need cash to pay for your purchases. Most of the shops will only accept cash payment.
We ended up buying coffee beans, cigars, and sandals. This area is known for leather so I had to buy the sandals ;)

15 Random Obervations of Taipei

June 5, 2017 Taipei City, Taiwan

It was my first time visiting Taipei this year and I wish I had more time to explore this city but I got sick so my time outside was very limited.

You can read about my random observations series here.

1. Night markets are everywhere.
2. Cheap food.
3. Fast wi-fi.
4. Great cable and lots of American shows/movies.
5. Delicious pineapple cakes.
6. Great MRT (subway) system.
7. No eating and drinking inside the MRT or you will be fined $300.
8. Affordable clinics with great doctors.
9. You pay less than $2 for bubble tea and it's everywhere.
10. Cheap massages.
11. Great service in stores and restaurants.
12. They love scooters.
13. A mix of modern and old city.
14. Video games fanatics.
15. Abundance of boutique stores.

Lungshan Temple

May 24, 2017 Taipei, Keelung City, Taiwan

After a short visit to Tianhou Temple, we took a quick train ride to Lungshan Temple. It was very busy at the temple that day since it was a weekend. We walked around the temple grounds and even did my fortune. You can read it up top. It made me chuckle that I got that fortune. How fitting! 

The temple was pretty big. It even has a man made waterfall. And a lot of decorations outside the temple grounds. I really loved the intricate dragon statues decorated above the temple roof.

We walked around the temple before going to a small market to sample street food. It was a fun day to spend my birthday.

Tianhou Temple Taipei

May 16, 2017 10844, Taiwan, Taipei City, Wanhua District, 成都路51號

When I started to feel better, it was already my birthday. I ventured out my room and walked around Ximending with my boyfriend. He took me to Tianhou temple. It is located in an unassuming building and you can't really tell it's a temple until you go inside. 

I loved the lanterns that were hung on the ceiling. The lights just reflected off the lanterns making it glow. 
The temple was very quiet. I barely saw anyone coming in. It was perfect because Ximending is such a busy and loud area. You can come here if you need some peace.

It's a small temple but it has a lot a koi pond, garden, and a mini waterfall. I really enjoyed visiting this temple!

Travel Ailment: Flu Abroad

May 2, 2017 Taipei City, Taiwan

My trip to Asia last year was terrible. I got the flu! It was the worst feeling in the world being bedridden in a foreign country. Thankfully A and Keiko were there to console and feed me.

There is nothing worse than getting sick on the road. I had a fever, I had aching muscles, and I was just feeling crappy. It got worse in Taipei and I had to stay inside our hotel room most of the time to sleep. 

On day 3, I decided that it was time to see a Doctor for precaution. Our hotel was super helpful in locating a clinic for me. It was a short walk from our hotel.

The receptionists at the clinic were so friendly and kind. I had to pay a small amount of money to see the Doctor. And I only waited for 10 minutes before the Doctor saw me. He was so patient and asked me a lot of questions on how I was feeling and the symptoms I was experiencing. I knew I was in capable hands.

He told me to rest a lot and to take medicine. He prescribed me a list of 3 types of medicine and told me to go downstairs to get my prescription. I thanked him profusely and went downstairs to reception. I was expecting to get my prescription paper and leaving with it to get it filled at the pharmacy but instead they handed me my pills in individually wrapped packaging for each day/dosage amount. I was in shocked! This was great service! I don't get the same service in Toronto.

I never experienced this before. Wow!

I couldn't believe it. It was done in a matter of minutes. Why can't we do this in Canada?

I paid less than $40 for my appointment and medicine. And I got an amazing and efficient service.

I paid more money calling my bloody insurance than going to the Doctor. I'm still too angry to write about the crazy and extremely terrible service I got from my insurance company. I'll save that for another time.

Have you gotten sick while traveling? How did you get through it?

Ningxia night market

April 26, 2017 Taipei, Keelung City, Taiwan

After our dinner at Din Tai Fung, we decided to take a walk.

Taipei is famous for night markets. Amanda informed us that there are lots of night markets every night. The most popular night markets in Taipei are Shilin & Raohe. It was my plan to go to both but life had other plans for me. We ended up at Ningxia night market.

This night market is mainly focused on food and we saw a fishing game going on too.

A lot of stalls selling different types of street food. From meat, seafood, stinky tofu..
Everything was mouth watering but we just had dinner so we only sampled a couple of dishes. We were very curious about the stinky tofu so we bought a small plate to share. I was not a fan of the smell or taste. I'd rather just have regular tofu.

Have you ever eaten stinky tofu? Tell me your thoughts. 

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