Archive for March, 2012

How to Safely Cross the Street in China

March 16th, 2012

When I first arrived into the heart of China in 2007 and I found myself right in the centre of Beijing it used to take me ages to navigate my way across the many lanes of traffic. I would only use the pedestrian crossing points and even then with the lights in your favor you still had to avoid the continual flow of traffic from side roads. I am reminded of the lack of discipline amongst the many road users here on a regular basis and this evening as I was returning to the school from my evening meal a motorbike hit a pedestrian on a pedestrian crossing. Luckily nobody looked to have any serious injuries; I think the only damage was to their pride as the pair of them picked themselves up off the ground. I left them to it as a sizeable crowd was developing to witness the arrival of the police should they be deemed necessary.

The rules of the road here are very vague to the best of my knowledge, my thoughts on crossing the road are if it is bigger than you or likely to be going at a speed fast enough to do you some damage then get out of its way. I now cross the road with the confidence to know how it is done in some safety, one lane at a time if need be but still constantly looking all around me for the unexpected.

Whenever I take the bus into the city I get on at the first stop so am always guaranteed a seat, usually be the second or third stop it is standing room only and on occasions traveling back I have had to stand most of the way back. Not the most pleasant of rides but a lot cheaper than taking a taxi. Whenever I take my seat on the bus on the way in you can almost guarantee the seat beside me will be the last one to be taken. Maybe I am a little scary to the people here with very little hair on top my head and considerably more in the form of a beard. Very few Chinese men have sufficient facial hair to grow beards so maybe it is strange to them.

This weekend as I rode the bus into the city and we passed through one of the other smaller towns on route picking up even more passengers in what seemed to be an already full bus we passed a location of what looked to be a wedding reception being prepared for later that day. All the tables were decorated and the finishing touches were being put to a table or two outside. This was clearly for some of the areas elite or at least its richer citizens. On the bus returning a few hours later and passing another reception this one clearly for the working classes, with no table decorations and seats arranged within inches of the road. As I was heading towards the bus stop in the city one of the students from the school where I work spotted me and asked what I was doing and where was I going, he had an impromptu English lesson for about an hour as we slowly crawled out of the city and headed back to the school. The reason for the slow crawling traffic was a smash between a bus and a taxi, » Read more: How to Safely Cross the Street in China

How You Can Holiday On A Budget In Ireland

March 16th, 2012

The worldwide recession also known as the ‘credit crunch’ has hit everyone – whether it is the loss of a job, increased taxes, and higher cost of living – all pointing to the fact that nobody is immune from it. Thus people have less disposable income to spend on holidays, but they still want to get away for a break. All this means is that people want to holiday on a budget. This is certainly possible – even with a family. Ireland has it all for the tourist visitor; friendly people, so much to do and see, easy to arrive, and for these reasons you can certainly holiday here on a strict budget!

Read on for more…

  1. · Find out what you can afford to spend: Then the budget conscious shall stick to the travel plan for each area of the holiday mix.
  2. · Be flexible and vary your travel dates: Booking your accommodation, car hire and flights to Ireland will obviously be dearer at peak times – so be prepared to vary your travel dates – this will save you some hard earned money! If travelling with kids, try late August or during midterm, depending on what is available.
  3. · Plan Well In Advance: Around now is the time to be shopping for a Summer 2011 package. Time waits for no one, so get online and shop for that great travel deal at a steal! Prior research might be obvious, but it is a must.
  4. · Join Ireland travel forums and sign up for Travel Newsletters online to get the best value deals available when they come about!
  5. · Shop Around For Value: Ensure to check online so that you will benefit for the very best deals available. All accommodation providers are now slashing their rates and offering consumers the best value deals throughout the week and at weekends. The same goes for eateries and restaurants. You will get the best value in Ireland should you shop around.
  6. · Following on from this, Irish accommodation provider GoIreland.com has identified the need in the Irish holiday market for Special Value Break Deals for holidaymakers and domestic tourists. Get great value quality hotel breaks for just €149 for 2 nights for 2 adults and 2 children. If you want to go self-catering just check out the Self Catering Value Breaks – just €299 for a week from September to June, subject to availability. A 3-night break costs just €199.
  7. · Eat out at lunchtime – if you decide to eat out, then do so earlier in the day. This will save you money because lunchtime menus are well down in price compared to dinner menus.
  8. · Head off the beaten track: You might find that the traditional holiday centres are much more costlier if you are adhering to a strict holiday budget. Going to destinations such as Connemara and the Ring Of Kerry may be more expensive than a trip to the Lakes of Westmeath and Fermanagh or Lough Key Forest Park in Roscommon. So seek out those alternative travel destinations – there are many gems out there in Ireland!
  9. · Think of your own entertainment to save money: Being on a tight holiday budget means that some of the luxuries are ruled out. Nothing wrong with that – holidays are not all about spending money on paid attractions. Ireland has so much countryside and rural areas, so its good to get out and about, have a delicious picnic with the family (saves eating out in a restaurant) and take plenty of film and photo footage for posterity! Ireland can have some fabulous weather; at the time of writing we are having the warmest October in many years. However the weather is unpredictable, so be prepared, and have an umbrella in the car!
  10. · Find Out Where The Free Attractions Are: There are attractions that are unmissable, though some are totally overpriced, overrated and not advised if you are on a budget. So to save some money, why not visit attractions that cost absolutely nothing to visit? Such examples are Killarney and Connemara National Parks, with miles and miles of walking routes, picnic areas, and play areas for the kids. The famed Hill of Tara and Glendalough are also free to visit. So research your holiday to find out about these free family attractions! » Read more: How You Can Holiday On A Budget In Ireland