Get Out the Gloves, it’s Boxing Day!

Boxing Day is celebrated in many Commonwealth countries on December 26th, and it’s one of those bank holidays that no one really seems to agree on the origins. Some say it started with aristocrats giving boxed gifts to their tenants, while others believe it used to be a day when churches opened donation boxes and distributed the contents to the poor.*

But for those of us living in Canada, we know that Boxing Day is actually a celebration of all things discounted. Too-good-to-be-true deals are advertised days, and even weeks, before Boxing Day to ensure shoppers go to sleep on Christmas night with visions of cheap goods dancing in their heads.

Boxing Day at the Toronto Eaton Centre

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Some Things are Better Left Unadvertised

For some reason, the restaurants lining the road that leads in to Edmonton, Alberta feel the need to advertise the status of their table availability. After being confronted with so many red neon “Immediate Seating” signs, tourists entering the city for the first time would be forgiven for thinking Edmonton is the dining out capital of the world.

Immediate Seating

Image by jumbledpile via Flickr

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How to Take an Adrenaline Rush to a Whole New Level

Sitting in the seat of a commercial airline is pretty much the only way I’ll ever experience the rush of flying. It’s not that I don’t want to jump out off a mountain with nothing but a bit of man-made material acting as a buffer between myself and the Grim Reaper…no wait, that’s exactly what I don’t want.

However, I have nothing but respect for adrenaline junkies. I’m fascinated by their death-defying feats and wish I had the nerve to throw caution (and myself) to the wind.

If you prefer to fly vicariously through the lens of someone else’s camera, the Internet has tons of videos to choose from. But I’m pretty sure you won’t find another one that will blow your mind like this one: Continue reading

Working the Strip in Vegas

Yoda marrying Wookiees in Vegas

Las Vegas is one of those places that has entrepreneurial opportunities you don’t readily find anywhere else, and many of them take place on the street. No matter where you go on the Strip, you can’t walk a block without stumbling across someone selling VIP access to a UFC after party or handing out ads for services we’ll refer to as “exotic.”

But in the past year there seems to have been a new crop of entrepreneurs working the Strip who earn money based on wearing a costume. Of course Vegas is known for impersonators; Elvis can marry you whenever and where ever, and the Rat Pack can often be found gossiping near Bally’s. But the costumed entrepreneurs I’m referring to are those who charge tourists to take a picture with them when they are ostensibly wearing a Halloween costume. Continue reading

Irish Say What??

Driving in Ireland

Most travellers add a dictionary to their suitcase when they visit a country that has a national language different from their own. It only makes sense to be able to respond properly when you’re trying to barter for Cuban cigars or a Turkish belly dancing costume.

But answer me this: If you’re from North America, would you bring a translation dictionary with you on a trip to Ireland?

If you think a bonnet is worn on your head, and hurling is something you do after too many pints, allow me to help you out. The following “how to speak Irish” tutorial will ensure you arrive in the Emerald Isle ready to have the craic with any bogger you meet in the car park of a chipper. Continue reading