Qingdao by Night

We hadn’t slept longer than an hour when the disinterested, pale-shirted, tired-eyed Chinese airport security guard padded over and shook us awake. I knew immediately that our plan had failed. When you travel like this, very rarely do things go as expected.

Flustered by interrupted sleep at 1:30 a.m. and a lack of any Chinese ability whatsoever, we tried to explain, to plead that we had nowhere to go and a flight leaving in only nine hours. We didn’t have enough cash for a hotel, let alone enough to hire a taxi to drive us to one; Qingdao International, for all its efficiency, is squat in the middle of nowhere.

But the guard would hear none of it. Instead, he listened to two Chinese girls behind us, pleading the same case; they’d been sleeping, too, on the conjoined metal bench behind us, hoping to score a free night’s rest before their domestic flight home the next morning.

The shorter one turned to me. “We cannot sleep here,” she told us.

Yeah, I replied. I got that.

Gazing-into-the-coast-of-Qingdao-Bay

We hopped along wet rocks covered in fungus, beside families searching for seashells at 10:30 p.m. Buskers played guitars and sang under yellow lamplight in the chilled mid-autumn air. Gruff men in thin shirts fired up skewers of pork and onion on the sidewalks, and the smell of charred meat filled the streets and our piqued our noses. The city felt alive.

My first narrative for GoMad Nomad, a nice little travel magazine for stories and destination guides. Very down-to-earth and practical.

FROM MOVIEGOER TO MOVIEMAKER

CHRIS CIOSK MADE his first film in grade 7. It was for history class. The night before it was due, Ciosk was eager to work in any medium not involving double-spaced lined paper, so he grabbed a camera, enlisted his father and sister, and filmed a reenactment of the Battle of the Plains of Abraham—a bloody territorial fight between the French and British in Quebec circa 1759—with Beanie Babies.

He claims he got 100 percent.

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“You just walk out of this dull, dull, dull, dull day in Korea. Just dull as hell. I teach the same class for like three weeks in a row, so it’s just dull. And they have a beautiful screen, you see a wonderful movie, and you completely forget that you’re in Korea.”

A profile for Haps. At least, writing about people doing things!

Relax in Halifax for Two Days Like a Local

When people think of Halifax, they think of Theodore Tugboat. Maybe lobster. Sometimes wind. All of these are fair and accurate descriptions, and none do the full city justice.

Halifax is a real, terrific “Canadian” city — it’s inescapably laid back, culturally vibrant and very, very local. Understand that because Halifax isn’t really en route to anything, it has necessarily evolved to be extremely self-reliant. The best parts of the city are totally unique: local craft beer, the ever-fresh farmer’s market, constantly active bands and theatre troupes. It’s hard to catch all of that in a guide book. In truth, guide books just don’t.

ToFerry

This is a true local’s guide to Halifax. You’ll do a fair bit of walking (or biking, if you prefer) and explore everything the city proper has to offer, beyond the big tourist attractions (though those are included), from choice favourite restaurants with rotating seasonal vegetable dishes to the city’s favourite farmer’s market vendors to select homegrown organic coffee shops. If it all sounds a little hipster-ish, well, Halifax sort of is. This is what young and middle-aged Haligonians do on any given sunny Saturday. But you can also enjoy the benefits in a two-day span without growing a Maritime beard and dressing in flannel. That is, unless you want to.

You can buy the full two-day tour on Unanchor. Only five bucks!