Barry Kaiser

Panchoy

Barry Kaiser



In my late twenties, I decided that I wanted to see the world, but I didn't want to make it too easy, so I decided to do it on a bike. I had taken up cycling seriously a few years prior.

In 1989-90, I cycled around the world, where I visited 5 continents, 22 countries, and logged 22,000 km. I thought that would take the travel bug out of me -- not a chance. I have been cycling in different parts of the world nearly every year since.

The one thing has been consistent with my trips has been the developing world. The colour, hospitality, food, and culture (in no particular order) are second to none. For cyclists, there is also the added benefit of so much life on the roads to keep the day's ride that much more enjoyable.



Asia » Taiwan » Taipei November 23rd 2019

Over the past 25 years, I have visited China, Hong Kong, and Macau, but never Taiwan. All of these can be classified as Chinese, but with a different history. Fortunately, Taipei is also served directly from Vancouver, so it became my City Tour for 2019. The trip didn't start well, as I misjudged the weather. I quickly realized this as I exited the airport for the subway, and nearly everyone had a jacket on and in some cases a down jacket. While I knew it wasn't going to be overly hot, I didn't realize how cool 18 to 20c can actually be when it is windy and humid. Some of the summer clothes I brought would not be needed. My other first impression was the cleanliness of the city. I really couldn't find a piece of ... read more
Taipei Grand Mosque
Taipei from the Hills
Tamsui Market

Europe » Portugal » Lisbon & Tagus Valley » Lisbon September 14th 2019

Overview This was my first visit to Europe in ten years. I had forgotten how many tourists come to Europe. It might be another ten years until I return... I can appreciate even better now how recent terrorist attacks in cities like Paris can have such a significant impact on a city's economy. I was also interested in getting a first-hand view of the impact of the Financial Crisis from ten years ago. That event is still raw for many Lisboetas. With a minimum wage of €700/mth and rents running the same, more and more Portuguese struggle to get ahead. There was certainly animosity towards the EU when talking to the locals. Two things struck me by surprise. One was the amount of English spoken by the Portuguese. However, in Europe, it is pretty tough to ... read more
Sintra - The Land of Palaces
The Fairytale Town of Sintra
National Sanctuary of Christ the King

Asia » Burma December 16th 2018

It had been five years since I had done an overseas cycling tour. I had actually planned one to Myanmar in 2012 and 2013, but they fell apart mainly for logistical reasons. The one I planned in 2013 was a go all the way up to booking flights. Therefore, I already had a big head-start in planning this year’s tour. The biggest difference this time was that the tourist infrastructure had caught up and surpassed demand. The other notable difference was that Chinese airlines had now become global players. I was able to get a return flight from Edmonton to Myanmar with China Eastern Airlines for $500 USD, which seems just insanely cheap. It wasn’t even a sale price! The only drawback was that I had an overnight in Kunming, China both ways, but I didn’t ... read more
Pagoda
Children with Attitude
The Land of Pagodas

South America » Peru » Lima » Lima » Miraflores January 27th 2018

For the third year in a row, my friend and I headed down to Latin America for our annual City Tour. This year it would be Lima. We had heard great things about the food scene here, while we were in Bogota two years ago. As well, it was as far south as I could get to in one day without an overnight. As I started to plan this trip, the one thing that did stick out was how consistent the weather is at this time of year. Nearly every day was identical with the temperature not varying more than a degree or two. What rain we did have was more like a mist. I have never seen a large international city on the ocean with such dramatic cliffs and such an arid climate. Ironically, my ... read more
Balloons
Old Man
Colourful Homes

North America » Mexico » Distrito Federal » Mexico City March 10th 2017

I have wanted to visit Mexico City for many years. Canadians have the second largest city in the world literally in their backyard, but few consider it a tourist destination as they generally head to the country's beach resorts. I do appreciate the safety concern over the city, but I was quickly assured when I read the Canadian government's Travel Advice and Advisories for the city. While there are a number of travel advisories for the western and northern states, there is none currently for Mexico City. As it turned out, I felt safe during my entire visit. Once again, I chose two neighborhoods to fully appreciate what Mexico City had to offer. Our first stop was the neighborhood of Roma Norte, which looks more like a European neighborhood than a Latin American one. While it ... read more
What do you really think Mexico?
Shoe Shine
Tres Galeones

South America » Colombia » Bogota March 5th 2016

Bogota had been at the top of my travel list for the past few years. As peace started to take hold in the country over the past 10-15 years (check out this url=http://www.economist.com/news/americas/21688936-juan-manuel-santos-seeks-support-peace-washington-new-plan-colombiaEconomist articlefor more details), I continued to hear more and more wonderful stories from travellers about their experience to this once “no go” zone. I wouldn’t be disappointed for three main reasons. One, the city has an extensive and diverse culinary scene. I was finally introduced to the Peruvian cuisine here! After such a wonderful introduction, I now have Lima at the top of my travel list. Two, while the weather forecasts called for considerable precipitation, we saw literally none. When I combined that with daytime highs around 20c, the weather was perfect. I am always astonished at how much... read more
Old Lady in Despair
Trouble Brewing...
Graffiti Capital of the World

Asia » Sri Lanka » Western Province » Negombo December 7th 2013

We were on the home stretch now with 170 km to the finish line. We were planning on staying at a town called Puttalam, just along the coast, for the first day (a 75 km ride), but good roads and a tail wind allowed is to reach there by 9:30, which was a personal best for this trip (actually the best riding we had this trip was from Dumbulla to Puttalam). Ironically, the worst roads we had were around the two major cities of Colombo and Kandy. With the wind still behind us and Shauna, for the most part, recovered from her illness, we headed direct south for the town of Chilaw. As we cycled along the coast, we could see the predominance of Christian towns through the area -- something we really hadn't seen to ... read more
Trucks
Dried Fish
Little Boy

Asia » Sri Lanka » North Central Province » Anuradhapura December 2nd 2013

We were now headed to two more of Sri Lanka's UNESCO World Heritage Sites back to back - Sigiriya and Anuradhapura. The ride out of Kandy was uneventful other than the roads and traffic were not much different than what we encountered entering Kandy. With no shoulders and rough tarmac, these would be the worst roads of our trip. That wasn't to change until we hit Dumbulla (actually home to yet another UNESCO World Heritage Site…). It is interesting to note that the worst roads of our trip were around Sri Lanka's two largest cities -- Colombo and Kandy. I guess with the new motorways (Sri Lankan now has a few true freeways -- Colombo to Galle and Colombo to Kandy) constructed recently the older roads are no longer as much of concern. Riding in Sri ... read more
Flower
Elephant Sign
Elephant Crossing

Asia » Sri Lanka » Central Province » Kandy November 28th 2013

As we were leaving our resort in Uda Walawae for Nuwara Eliyia, a tour bus showed up with Hebrew on the side it it. It made me wonder why they would do this give all of the terrorist attacks on the Jewish people over the years. To me, it looked like they were setting themselves up for a target -- remember Bulgaria in 2012… The hill country would be a nice change from the heat and humidity we had experienced to date. We travelled 170 kms and climbed 1,700 m to get to Nuwara Eliyia. Once we got into the mountains, it was a beautiful but slow drive taking us four hours to cover the 170 kms. On a funny side note, our young driver pulled out a large bottle of vodka on the ascent and ... read more
Bird's Reflection
Flower
Bus Employee

Asia » Sri Lanka » Sabaragamuwa Province » Udawalawae NP November 25th 2013

Against the doctors orders, I headed out on the road for Tangalle on Saturday morning. My energy level was good, but I just had this cough that just wouldn't not go away... At least, I had a good rest day behind me and a good cocktail of drugs to try and put this to rest. :-) On our way out of Galle, we stopped at an HSBC ATM to get some cash and to my pleasure the bills came out in 2,000 Rs (around $16 CAD) notes rather than the usual 5,000 Rs notes. This is an issue, because no one in this country has change! It is so bad I have to hide my small dollar bills (100s and 50s) when I pay for something, as the person I am transacting with will always ask ... read more
Fruit Bats
Peacock
Elephants




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