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United States Berkeley, California, United States


August 2009

  • +2 rating

    Tips on Ecuador for 2-3 weeks making our way down to Peru!

    I've been to Guayaquil twice and while it is not necessarily a highlight in the guide books, I really liked it's grittiness and sense of 'real' Ecuador. The downtown central plaza has iguanas walking around, a vibrant early evening paseo on the embarcadero and a large food and crafts market. I spent a few days on the southern coats in Playas, a very sleepy coastal town with nary another foreigner there. Tonnes of seafood places on the waterfront, but otherwise just a pace to relax and hang out on the beach. 15 years ago Montanitas was a speck of beach town and not yet on the surfer map. HUGE waves and endless stretches of beach. Bliss. I suspect by now it is well established, so dot dot dot on what that means for how the town may be and decide if it is for you. Cuenca was my favorite town. Good, scary, bus ride to through mountains. College/young town with lots of bars and eating paces and range of lodging. We camped in Cajas National Park, nearby. No park maps existed back then, so we followed a trail our hostel owner drew on a napkin. Gorgeous hiking and viws and we had the large expansive park to ourselves it seemed (the odd local villager hoofed it up the trails for hours to fish in the lakes). South of Cuenca are some sweet villages to explore and use as stepping off points for hiking and camping up in the mountains. over 10 years ago

  • +2 rating

    Any recommendations for travelling in Iran?

    The classic places are: Esfehan, Shiraz, Tehran and Persepolis. • Many Tehrani’s walk from the north part of city seeking respite from the oppressive city heat and pollution. Take the path up the mountain on the Darakeh Path which runs along stone paths, outskirts into the mountain along running water which is snow melt from the Alborz mountains. It also keeps the area cool. • Another spot outside of Tehran to walk to is Darband where tea stops and juice bars line the route. Sarband is beyond Darband and where many restaurants are a popular destination at night for Tehrani’s, all tucked into the mountain’s nooks and crannies with the snow melt running through the town. There’s a hotel here too. • The village of Kanovan (near Azerbaijan) is unique because the entire village is in cave dwellings. Some of the caves are hotels! • Masoleh is n the North of Iran. Mountainous village nestled/crammed on the mountain. About 300km from Tehran. • Abyaneh Kashan. About 3 hours south of Tehran. Tucked in the foothills, old native red mud buildings. The city of Kashan was major trading town about 800 years ago and the merchants’ mansions are stunning. There would be lots of buses from Tehran to here…approx 3 hours. From Kashan you can head to Esfehan about 400 km further on, reached by bus or train. • The north in the Caspian is lush and green. Lots of rice fields • Do a search on Google Earth and click on the images to get a better sense of these places. • Shiraz is lovely. Birthplace and home of Hafaz and Saadi, very revered and beloved poets oft recited by Iranians today. The UN General Assembly in New York even sports a Saadi quote running along the top of the room. • There are Iranian tours that go to some of these places, but trick is finding them in Tehran. Be prepared to pay “western’ rates. I can get a name or two. There are two that do welcome westerners and market in the west: Irandiscoverytours.com is one I came across, but can’t vouch for their services or value. over 10 years ago

  • +1 rating

    Things to do in Taiwan?

    Presumably you will be in Taipei during that time. I always liked the large space in the Chiang Kai Shek Memorial in the center. The National Museum boasts a huge collection of fabulous Chinese treasures from the Mainland. It is not in the center of town, but is well worth the trip, plus you see a bit of the outskirts and countryside. Taipei ha smany new skyscrapers that are fun to walk about and see. Taipei 101 is one of them and has a large mall at the base if you ant to do a bit of shopping. If you are there during the night time, then you must go to the night markets. Shilin is the best one to go to. Come hungry! almost 10 years ago