Beginner’s Guide to Biking in Vancouver (including Routes, Maps and Photos)

Vancouver is probably one the most bike-friendly cities in the world, with hundred of kilometers of trails, greenways and designated streets, all optimized for cyclists. Add to this the fact that buses and the SkyTrain allow you to carry on your bike, and what you get is a cycling paradise. So hop on, we are going on a ride. Continue reading “Beginner’s Guide to Biking in Vancouver (including Routes, Maps and Photos)”

Juan de Fuca and the Drama of the Pacific on the West Coast of Vancouver Island

The biggest island in the Pacific ocean, east of New Zealand, Vancouver island is a world of abundant nature. After spending two days with friends in Victoria, the urban center of the island and provincial capital of British Columbia, we wanted to discover it firsthand. So we rented a car and headed north-west. Continue reading “Juan de Fuca and the Drama of the Pacific on the West Coast of Vancouver Island”

Vancouver, A City That Shows How Multiculturalism Is Done

I am in a barber-shop to get a shave. Speaking with the owner, I find out he is originally from Fiji. I am at a playground, with Ayan, who plays with a girl his age. I start speaking with her father, who tells me that he came from Morocco about 10 years ago. My wife is at a drop-in center for parents and children, where she befriends a woman, who is there with her son. Her slavic accent discloses her – she is from Serbia. One of the assistants working in that center is from Argentina. The other one from Poland. This isn’t a promotional UN campaign. These are typical scenes from a daily life, here in Vancouver. Continue reading “Vancouver, A City That Shows How Multiculturalism Is Done”

How Leaving Home Awakened Me To What I Missed All These Years

Last Saturday, as usual for Saturdays, I took my son to my parents home. We had lunch consisting of mashed potatoes and meat cutlets – the staple dishes in my parents’ Russian cuisine. My dad read a couple of children books to Ayan. My mom reminded me of my commitments the next week and worried that I don’t exercise enough. All as usual. The same familial ritual that occurred hundreds of time before. But something was different. I wasn’t in a hurry. As a matter of fact, I wanted to stay longer. Continue reading “How Leaving Home Awakened Me To What I Missed All These Years”

Mar Saba Monastery, Another Middle Eastern Site You Must See Before You Die

Most tourists visiting Israel don’t know about it. Hell, many Israelis haven’t heard of it. But the Mar Saba monastery in the Judaean desert, less than 15 km from Jerusalem, is an incredible sight. Being one of the first monasteries in the history of Christianity, continually occupied for over 1500 years, it’s an important pilgrimage site for Christian Orthodox. For everyone else, it’s a Middle-Eastern citadel straight from the fantasy books. Continue reading “Mar Saba Monastery, Another Middle Eastern Site You Must See Before You Die”

Pervert’s Guide to Ideology (2012)

My score: 4.5 (out of 5)   Rotten Tomatoes: 92%

Pervert’s Guide to Ideology is a feast for anyone who loves cinema and philosophy. The presenter, Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zizek, explains his ideas about the way ideology works through excerpts from well-known movies. His presence is vulgar and his language is explicit, but that’s a good thing. His favorite words are “as it were” and “obscene”. He uses expressions like “metaphysical niceties” and “excremental dimension”. Continue reading “Pervert’s Guide to Ideology (2012)”

Petra – Day 1, In Which I meet Jack the Sparrow

A six-hour night bus to Eilat, crossing the border with Jordan, another two hours from Akaba to Wadi Musa. After a sleepless night, tired and preoccupied with life, I was hardly in a mood to be impressed with anything. But when after walking the great Siq (canyon) of Petra, I registered a glimpse of the famous Treasury facade among the high rocks, I couldn’t stay indifferent. This is was the most impressive thing I saw in the Middle East. Continue reading “Petra – Day 1, In Which I meet Jack the Sparrow”

What An American Diner Has Taught Me About Authenticity

The main street of the city of Niagara Falls, the one on the Canadian side of the famous falls, may seem as a scaled-down version of Las Vegas. A sparkling hub of neon signs, flashing lights, 3D, 4D and even 6D (!) entertainment complexes, diners and franchise restaurants that offer combo meals with supersizing options. Basically, everything that American entertainment industry is good at, condensed into one street. Affordable and accessible, no-nonsense, mass entertainment, packaged and sold to anyone who needs to lose his troubles away for a couple of hours. Continue reading “What An American Diner Has Taught Me About Authenticity”