Regina's Glockenspiel and the Loss of Our Heritage
Progress is often considered a good thing. Progression is good for personal growth, for relationships and for society. Even the smallest bit of progress – another two minutes at the gym or a few hundred words on an essay – is better than no progress at all.
(Editor's Note: WOW! I didn't expect to get so much feedback for this article. I was featured in both the Regina Leader-Post and on CJTR's Queen City Improvement Bureau! Thank you for all the support, everybody!)
Progress goes wrong when we forget where we came from. I write a lot about history for that reason. It's impossible to understand the world if you don't understand how it came to be. Without our heritage, our society has no identity, and without our identity, we lose who we once were. Simply put, without our heritage we are nothing.Read More
What to Expect at a Mexican Wedding
I had a wonderful trip to Mexico, and I saw and learned more than I expected. While most of my trip was full of creepy, strange and downright bizarre locations, the trip's actual purpose was for a much more normal, although still very magical, reason: the wedding of my two friends, Mari and Luis.
I met the bride, Mari, in Japan several years ago. Since I've met many people in my travels I've never seen again, I assumed the Facebook wedding invitation I received must have been by accident. A quick email later and I realised it was in fact deliberate. Since it's not every day one gets invited to a wedding in a different country, especially a tropical country in the dead of winter, I said yes.
I also learned that another friend I had met in Japan, Katarina, would be coming to the wedding too. Katarina is from Australia, so she did a trip through the United States before the wedding. It was great to catch up over the years and swap stories about our travels since Japan.Read More
Puebla Mexico: A Photo Essay
My past few articles have covered some pretty heavy subjects, ranging from eating dog tacos, to an island full of haunted dolls and to the ruins of one of Mesoamerica's greatest cities. To lighten the mood a little, I decided to put together a photo essay of the beautiful city of Puebla.
Puebla is much smaller than Mexico City so it isn't as noisy, it isn't as rushed and it's much more walkable. While there are still 1.4 million people living here, it doesn't feel that way. To be honest, if I was to choose between Mexico City or Pubela to revisit, I would probably choose Puebla.
Puebla is known worldwide for its colourful buildings, narrow streets and hundreds upon hundreds of churches. I was told by one gentlemen that there are 365 churches in the city – one for each day of the year – but when I told another gentlemen that, he looked at me surprised and asked "Is that all?"Read More
Teotihuacan: Where Men Become Gods
Forty kilometers northwest of Mexico City is Teotihuacan, one of the most important locations in Mesoamerican history. The existence of Teotihuacan was so influential that its rise and fall even has its own name: The Classical Period.
Teotihuacan began in the 1st Century BCE as a small hamlet. As the population within the nearby Valley of Mexico grew, so did that of Teotihuacan. With a growing workforce, the city could take control of the nearby mines and natural resources. This lead to the city being the birthplace of an economy never before achieved in this region of the world. Soon, its influence expanded far beyond the Valley of Mexico and reached the Mayan regions (current Yucatán Peninsula, Belize, and Guatemala) and the Gulf of Mexico. Within a century and a half, Teotihuacan transformed from a small hamlet to a city of over 125,000 people. These people were called the Teotihuacano.
Prior to Teotihuacan's existence, Mesoamerica was like Central Europe before the Roman Empire. It existed, but it existed independently. The Greeks referred to non-Greek Europeans as "barbarians", and the Romans referred to the Britons as "rude, scattered and warlike people". The same can somewhat be said for the people of Mesoamerica before the rise of Teotihuacan. Once Teotihuacan rose to power, their influence transformed language, religion, culture and economics throughout the subcontinent which can still be seen today.Read More
Xochimilco and The Island of the Dolls
The Island of the Dolls is in Xochimilco, a borough south of Mexico City. While it would be faster to take a car from Mexico City to Xochimilco, the traffic is dense and the roads are very congested. Instead, if you're going there, I'd recommend taking metro, which is easy and the cheapest in the world. What you gain in comfort, however, you lose in speed, as the train ride takes about 2 hours.
Mexico City and Xochimilco both sit in the Valley of Mexico. Until about a millennium ago, the whole region around Mexico City was surrounded by a massive body of water. Over the centuries due to both climate change and interference by humans, most of this water has dried up, for the exception of Xochimilco. With networks of canals crisscrossing the borough, car transportation is difficult and water transportation is essential. I'm sure there were motorized boats somewhere in the waters of Xochimilco, but I never saw any. Instead, canoes and rafts are common on the water. However, the most popular vessel is a trajinera – a colourful gonadal-like boat that is pushed along the water with a wooden pole.
Xochimilco is known worldwide for their Floating Gardens market, which are essentially canoes floating down the canals, selling wares to tourists on trajineras. These include things like food, drinks, silver rings, trinkets, ponchos and sombreros. Occasionally other trajineras full of Mariachi bands will approach tourists and offer to play beside them on the water.Read More
Did I Really Eat Dog in Mexico?
They say "When in Rome do as the Romans do", so the same logic should also apply to Mexico, right?
That was what I was thinking when I sat down in a classy Mexican restaurant a few weeks ago. The following morning would be the wedding -- the main reason I went to Mexico -- so this meal was to get acquainted with traditional Mexican drinks and dishes. As I was pouring over the menu trying to decipher it, the man beside me pointed out the "Tacos" section. I knew what a taco was, so it seemed like a safe place to order from. He then ran through the types of tacos on the menu. One was beef, one was shrimp and the other was dog.
I had to stop him. "Dog? Really?" Yes. It was three dog tacos. I decided then that if dog was what was commonly served in Mexico, then it's something I should try. When in Rome, right?Read More
Birmingham's Vodka and Ale House Food Review
Although Regina celebrated its annual "Restaurant Week" last week, I missed it while I was travelling through the jungles and deserts of Mexico. Luckily for me, the wonderful culinary dishes of Regina's finest restaurants don't stop getting served just because "Restaurant Week" was over, so I didn't miss out on some quality local food. Only a few hours after landing back in Canada, I visited one of these local restaurants and had an excellent meal.
Or should I say, it visited me.
The day after arriving back home, I opened up my fridge only to discover it was empty, as were my cupboards. I could have made something quick like a Pizza Pop, but after a week of tortillas, burritos, guacamole and tequila, I wanted something a little richer and a little less microwaveable. I then asked Twitter what I should order for lunch, and immediately my brother-in-law tweeted me back and recommended Birmingham's Vodka and Ale House.Read More
This is the fifth of five articles about trips to take across Canada. I was inspired to do this series after I was disappointed by what Canadian tours G Adventures offered on their website.
Earlier this year I put out a survey to hear from my readers and learn what they wanted to read more about in 2017. "More Canada!" was one thing my readers said, "More in-depth articles!" was another, and "More great pictures!" was a third. One comment stuck with me, however, and that was to stop writing about places I haven't been to. I confess, I have done that upon occasion, such as when I write about Christmas traditions around the world or spooky places in Canada. I took this piece of advice to heart so I've tried to talk more about places I've been, and only touch on places I've read about.
This article goes against all that.Read More
This is the fourth of five articles about trips to take across Canada. I was inspired to do this series after I was disappointed by what Canadian tours G Adventures offered on their website.
Since I am Saskatchewan born and raised, it always bothered me when people said there's nothing to do in my home province. If you're looking for culture, history, food, beer, sporting events, community or a touch of quirkiness, Saskatchewan is the best place to visit!
If you've been following my blog for awhile now, you'll know I could write a whole article about places to visit in Saskatchewan (actually, I have written it). For sake of brevity, I handpicked some of my favourite places, but there are many that I left out. Are there any places you'd add to this list? Let me know in the comments below.Read More