samson’s travel journal

/samson’s travel journal

Gyms in Arequipa, Peru! One Fitness Review

Hiya friends, as you know gyms are a big part of why I love or hate a city. And for me the best places to retire cheap will always have a good gym.

Here’s a link to my review of gyms in Medellin LINK TO GYM REVIEW IN MEDELLIN, COLOMBIA

My second stop after I land is always to find the best place to get my workouts in.

(My first stop of course is to grab a couple of beers.)

I found One Fitness in Arequipa, Peru.

It’s kind of a weird gym.

Big, but cheap.

Good, but kinda crappy.

There’s a lot of machines here. Everything from a squat rack, to smith machines. Lots of free weights.

It has group classes included in the price as well.

1 month = 60 S ($25 CAN)

2 month = 90 S ($37.50 CAN)

3 month = 120 S ($50 CAN)

6 month = 210 S ($87.50 CAN)

12 month = 360 S ($150 CAN)

The oddest thing about this gym is while it has all this great equipment\

It doesn’t have toilet paper

It doesn’t have a scale

It doesn’t have a water fountain,

It’s like, they were like, what’s the cheapest way to run a big gym? And said, No need for toilet paper.

To be honest, I don’t think it’s that bad. It’s just odd.

If you want the full video review, plus pics of the gym go to this link.

LINK TO YOUTUBE VIDEO REVIEW

All in all, I love One Fitness, and would recommend this odd little gym in Arequipa, Peru!

Gyms in Arequipa, Peru! One Fitness Review2019-02-11T21:14:17+00:00

Street Food in Lima: Anticucho

One of the greatest things about travelling around the world looking for the best countries to retire cheap, is the food.

Here in Lima, I discovered Anticucho. Not just generic meat on a stick, it’s actually flame grilled cow hearts.

There are a lot of places that sell this, but look for the carts with the massive stands.

If you find a long line up of people, you know you’re in the right spot!

Anticucho is really filling, and one order is generally 2 skewers at $5 CAN per order.

The meat is salty, and has a nice chewy texture. It’s definitely something to be tried at least once.

….also make sure you get one of the giant corn on the cobs to take home! They’re around $1 CAN and totally worth it. It’s hard to see in the picture, but the corn kernels are all much much bigger than we get in Canada.

Hope you liked the article, the YouTube version of it is here

YOUTUBE LINK

Street Food in Lima: Anticucho2019-01-11T00:49:54+00:00

Weekend Adventures in Cuenca, Ecuador!

Hey friends, lets talk about the weekends here in Cuenca. It doesn’t matter where you live, Saturday is the day you get to see everybody out and about.

Just because you might be retiring cheap doesn’t mean you have to spend your days doing nothing by yourself. Even though I still love being a hermit.

It’s Saturday so I’m up at 9am, grabbing some breakfast because I’m going to meet my roommate Gary at the local farmers market.

He’s already been been gone for a few hours because he’s got a band that he practices with at 8am. I know, 8am!!!!! On Saturday! Yeah he’s crazy!

Our plan is to meet up at the local expat market for 1030am. f you’re an expat looking for Southern Biscuits, or Aussie pies, this is the place to go.

After having a huge lunch, I stumble into a poker game at the restaurant.

These guy have had this game going on for 4 years now!

After a few hours of poker….which I lost….soooo sad…stupid hustlers!

I met up with Gary again for dinner at a pop up roast beef event.

Unfortunately it wasn’t great. Beef in Cuenca is stringy AND tough!

The crowd is mostly expats here. In Cuenca this which means I’m one of the few people that isn’t over 60.

(If you’re over 60, it’s really easy to meet new friends in Cuenca!)

After dinner, I meet up with another friend to check out what the local bars look like here.

We head down to Calle Llarga, the local area for food and drinks.

The first bar we went to was closed for a private event.

The second bar we went to was a crazy black metal bar!

This is the only place I’ve seen a fight happen in Cuenca.

If you want to see the fight and the whole YouTube version of this blog, check out the link here …… YOUTUBE

We escaped from there quickly, and headed to find another place to drink.

We skipped a couple of salsa clubs. I hate Salsa, and also here in Cuenca they charge a cover to get in. Usually cover is from $2-$4 (US).

Finally we settle down at a cool bar called Bomba which overlooks the river and has some great features including a real fire pit.

This is a full on, bonfire on beach kind of pit!

So much fun!

I called a cab at 2am with the EasyTaxi app ($1.50 for the cab).

Cuenca, even though it’s a sleepy small town, is still a fun place to get your groove on! And personally I learned a new Ecuadorian word on Sunday called chuchaqui, which means hangover!

I hope this video has been helpful for you in making your decision to find the best country to retire cheap.

And remember to subscribe and share this blog!

Weekend Adventures in Cuenca, Ecuador!2018-12-03T20:52:50+00:00

A New York Style Pizza at Chicago Pizza Restaurant in Ecuador.

November 24, 2018……It’s a gorgeous day, 20 degrees with a light breeze. Time to venture out of my apartment to get some lunch.

What’s lunch look like in Cuenca, Ecuador?

Today it was a $1 slice of New York Style Pizza at a place called Chicago Pizza Restaurant.

It is New York Style, but it’s definitely not New York quality.

But hey it’s a buck. ($1.25 Canadian) and includes a glass of Coke.

For the last couple of days, it’s been pizza, hamburgers or hot dogs for my meals here in Ecuador. It’s all about a $1.25 and usually includes that glass of Coke.

The cheap hamburgers are disgusting, do not get them. I think it’s random meats and sawdust. While the cheap hot dogs are pretty tasty. Be careful, ordering a hot dog with the works, or as they say “todos ” which means mustard,ketchup and mayo.

I know you’re thinking what about Ecuadorian food?

Usually restaurants and cafe’s have an almuerzo, or menu del dia which consists of

1. A meat of some sort

2. A soup

3. Rice

4. Beans

5.A juice

A typical Almuerzo is pretty filling and costs about $3 Canadian.

Obviously this isn’t the only food you can get in Cuenca, Ecuador.

You can get everything from tasty ribs, to strange Ecuadorian / Chinese food (I’ll get into that later).

This article is about what you can get for a cheap $1 lunch.

Hope this helps you with your decision, of whether or not you’re coming to Cuenca, Ecuador to retire cheap.

See you soon!

And if you want to see the new YouTube channel ? LINK TO MY YOUTUBE VIDEOS

A New York Style Pizza at Chicago Pizza Restaurant in Ecuador.2018-11-25T06:08:29+00:00

Want to Lose Weight? Get Healthy? Retire Cheap in Ecuador!

Here’s a crazy story, but maybe not that crazy.

A man who has lived his whole life in North America, retires cheap in a different country.

He loses a whole bunch of weight, gets way healthier, and gains a newfound life.

This is a story I’ve been told and seen over and over again by expats that I’ve met.

My current roommates are both in their 60’s, but look at least 10 years younger!

Why? Here’s one reason.

Cuenca, Ecuador is a walking city. While you can take a cab ($2 CDN), everything is under a 30 minutes away.

And it’s usually a nice spring like day. So, you figure, why not walk?

Before you know it, you’ve walked up and down hills for an hour every day. Maybe you’ve even done some crazy stairs.

One guy I met, lost 30lbs just by doing this. Nothing else changed.

His diet didn’t change at all. He still had white bread, with kraft singles and bologna for lunch. Dinner? BBQ!

Just the constant walking raised his metabolism and got him in better than he’d been for decades. When was the last time you just walked up and down hills in North America? I remember it would be, go outside. Get into my car, drive to work, drive home after work. And if I was going out on the weekend? No way I was walking there!

Another friend I met, took it even farther. A nutritionist, and author, this friend took advantage of the fresh organic fruits/vegetables that are cheap and plentiful here.

You know how organic tomatoes are crazy expensive in North America? Here all vegetables are basically $1! And really they come straight from somebodies farm.

Combine fresh smoothies, and the walking? Boom….. crazy stackable gains in fitness.

Now me? Every time I take a break in North America I gain weight, but when I get back? It’s back to the protein shakes, walking and of course the gym. Usually I’ll lose 5lbs of fat in a month.

So, yes, if you are looking to lose weight and get healthy? Retire cheap in Ecuador.

Hope you liked the article, and if you want to read more? Head here LINK TO ALL ARTICLES

Want to Lose Weight? Get Healthy? Retire Cheap in Ecuador!2018-11-15T16:00:58+00:00

Take a vacation in Hong Kong when you’re looking for the best place to retire cheap!

Hong Kong is one of the most expensive cities in the world to live, eat and enjoy. But, that shouldn’t stop you from visiting when you’re touring other countries to find the best places to retire cheap.

The main reason you’ll want to visit here is that it’s a great place to get perspective. With one of the best airports in the world, and a direct link to the city by Airport express, Hong Kong is a perfect stop for a few days.

The change from places like Vietnam, the Philippines and Cambodia is immense. You won’t find people wearing the ubiquitous uniform of elephant pants and flip flops here.

What you will find here though is world class food. While Hong Kong is expensive, if you can save a couple of dollar, it’s a great place for a mini vacation.

Here’s some great things to eat in Hong Kong. If you’re a foodie or just like to eat? Visit this city!

Korean BBQ

All you can eat Korean BBQ for $35 including unlimited beer will fill up the beef craving you might have after a year in South East Asia.

No reservations needed. And remember there’s a 2 hour limit for how long you can drink and eat. (There’s no name in English for this restaurant)

Egg tarts! Straight from the oven, these are under a $1 and the crispy pasty and warm egg are the best in the world. There’s no need to give you a location for this, as you’ll find little bakeries all over! Warning super high in calories! But delicious. PS you might have tried these before in Canada. I guarantee, those are not as good as the ones straight from the oven in Hong Kong.

Daikiya Japanese Buffet

I love buffets and this is the best Japanese buffet I’ve ever gone to. It’s all you can eat, and fast. At $45 per person, it isn’t cheap, but it includes sake and beer at that price. Tip, start with the sweet shrimp!

There are several locations for this restaurant chain. (Google is going to be your friend here.) Also, make a reservation. All those people in the giant line behind me? They all had reservations. Bonus tip: book your reservation for 530 pm to get 15% off.

Boat Congee

A traditional congee made for fisherman, this is a great cure for hangovers or just a nice healthy breakfast at $5 per person.

It’s rice porridge with tasty seafood inside! Look for little shops all around serving this. Warning: A lot of these places will not have a menu in English. It’s one of the rare exceptions to the English is everywhere rule. Just show them my picture! They’ll know what you want.

BBQ Duck and Crispy Pork Belly

Hung in windows and sold from shops, this is a great meal for when you want something at home. A whole duck, pork belly and vegetables will cost you about $50. This will feed at least 4 people. If you don’t want a whole duck, you can always ask them to just sell you a little bit.

Xiao Long Bau, aka small cage buns, or soup dumplings. One of my favorite foods in the world. These are little dumplings filled with hot soup broth and minced pork. Prices will vary in Hong Kong. My favorite ones? At $12 for 8, they are expensive at Modern China restaurant in Olympic mall. But in my opinion, these are the best soup dumplings in all of Hong Kong. And if it’s the best in Hong Kong? It means by anybodies standards these are in the top 3 anywhere in the world.

The best way to order these is 2 baskets at a time. Even though you might be super hungry, don’t order more. The little dumplings go from amazing to good in under 5 minutes. So, you’ll want to eat them all quickly. I’m only suggesting 2 baskets at a time if you are a fast eater! If you’re slow? 1 basket. Tip: The hot soup inside the soup is scaldingly hot, like McDonalds lawsuit hot, be careful as you bite into them.

PS: Don’t get anything else there. Just eat dumplings.

Sweet and Sour Pork

This is the closest to “normal” Canadian Chinese food you’ll find. It’s also really really good in Hong Kong where it’s still a staple. But unlike the Canadian versions, the dough on the outside is super crunchy and the pork inside succulent. $20 will get you a meal with this.

Again no English name for this restaurant, it’s literally a little garage type place. (Look on my map.) Also you’ll know if you’ve found it, because you’ll hear large groups of old Chinese grandfathers swearing, drinking beer and being rowdy.

Hope my article has given you a reason to visit Hong Kong! I love food! And I hope you all get a chance to explore this food city!

Take a vacation in Hong Kong when you’re looking for the best place to retire cheap!2018-10-11T10:17:02+00:00

Angkor Wat, Tuk Tuks & Roadside Monkeys

Rated as the #1 trip destination in the world in 2018 by TripAdvisor, Angkor Wat is a huge temple in Siem Reap. Is it worth the hype?

Definitely yes!

Getting there from anywhere in Siem Reap is a snap.

There’s a bunch of ways, bicycle, tuk tuk or private car.

The reason you’d want to go by bicycle is because it’s actually quite a pretty trek. If you like active travelling this is way to go. On the road you get to see things you might not otherwise like roadside monkeys

I saw a lot of bicyclists when I was going there by Tuk Tuk. (Because I’m lazy, there’s no way you could convince me to cycle there!)

I would advise against a private car or tour group because it’s not necessary at all. The ride there by Tuk Tuk is just fine.

(Although my Tuk Tuk did break down on the way to the ticket office!)

(The driver pulled into a nearby roadside stand, the kind you see all over the place in South East Asia, with little bottles of gasoline for sale in Abolut Vodka bottles, or Pepsi bottles. They fixed the flat and off we went!)

The price of a tuk tuk was $15 USD for a day of temples. This is pretty much a standard rate. The drivers have all spoken uniformly fluent English, so there’s no problems getting one. (On my hostel street, I get asked if I want a tuk tuk at least three times before I can get around the corner to breakfast!)

They’ll first take you to the Angkor Wat ticket booth where you have an option to buy either a 1 day, 3 day or 7 day pass. I bought the 1 day pass for $37 USD.

The official link to see up to date pricing for everything is here LINK TO ANGKOR WAT TICKETS (Also has dress code there).

We were at the ticket office at 5am because we were hoping to get to Angkor Wat for sunrise. We did make it for sunrise time, but unfortunately because of the clouds the site wasn’t much different.

We spent about 5 hours there, and could have spent more time, but it was enough time for us. It is a huge complex! When you get there they’ll ask if you want a tour guide. The guides speak fluent English, Japanese, Spanish & French. That’s part of the reason, I say that don’t need to book an organized tour. (Literally I saw a group of Japanese tourists and the Cambodian guide speaking fluent Japanese blew my mind. Cambodia so far has the best language skills I’ve ever seen in the world. Unlike South America, which only speaks Spanish LINK TO SOUTH AMERICA ARTICLES

The tuk tuk then took us on a temple circuit where we saw a few other different temples. (Your Angkor Wat ticket gets you into all the temples, so don’t lose it.)

After the day of temples our tuk tuk driver took us back to our respective hostels. (My new friends from the bus had booked at different hostels……..). A whole day of temple touring in Siem Reap was great, and not too expensive.

  • $37 1 day pass
  • $15 Tuk Tuk for the day (split 3 ways)
  • No extra food/water/etc that you wouldn’t have spent otherwise. (TIP: Don’t buy food at Angkor Wat, very overpriced)
  • Hope this helps you with your trip to Angkor Wat, and if you want more articles about Cambodia go here LINK TO CAMBODIA ARTICLES
  • Angkor Wat, Tuk Tuks & Roadside Monkeys2018-08-16T07:04:13+00:00

    Breakfast in Saigon

    Waking up to the sounds of humanity and the hum of my air conditioner (It’s 28 degrees in my apartment without it.) I go to the balcony.

    Seeing that the ubiquitous rain has stopped, I go out for breakfast.

    Breakfast in Saigon, is not what you’d be used to. Instead of eggs, toast and a sausage, it usually involves rice of some kind.

    There’s a little family shop around the corner from me, I can’t give you it’s name as it doesn’t have one.

    Many of the little shops are shops/houses. They work in it, until they want to then shut the gates. What you might find open at 8am is very different from what is open at 8pm. (It’s like a quest!)

    This shop opens in morning at around 6am and then shuts down in the late afternoon.

    The mom is washing dishing in the back, while the dad is up front grilling the pork.

    The smell of the charcoal bbq was what had me stop in the first place, and I’m glad I did.

    There’s no sign or menus. But, with my non existent Vietnamese and signing, I just order 1 of something. I have no idea what I’m ordering or how much it will be but that pork smells delicious.

    The breakfast turns out to be a mix of savory rice, the bbq pork, a fried egg and some mixed vegetables.

    The meal is delicious, as I carefully work my way around the plate, taking little bites of grilled meat, rice and then some egg.

    Breakfast at this little place is 25,000 dong (1.50 CDN). If you see me alive in the morning, this is where you’ll find me. I love supporting small family owned business and this is local as it gets.

    Want more stories and articles about me traveling the world trying to find the best places to retire cheap? Start here LINK TO HOMEPAGE AND ARTICLES

    Breakfast in Saigon2018-07-25T04:28:18+00:00

    My new headphones!

    Airplanes, loud roommates, and construction next door makes sleep 💤 almost impossible at times.

    That’s why when I saw a pair of Bose Quiet Comfort 25s on sale for Amazon prime day, I snapped them up.

    These are about 1.5 generations old from Bose, with newer non wired ones out.

    But the QC25 regular are $300 CDN, the the Bose QC35 are $400.

    No way I can afford $400 headphones, or even $300 ones.

    That’s why when I saw the QC25 for sale at $150? Sign me up!

    I can’t wait to get these but, unfortunately…..I will have to.

    Tip: NEVER SEND EXPENSIVE ELECTRONICS TO VIETNAM 🇻🇳.

    I’ve heard a million times about how packages were opened and things just missing. Gross.

    So, I’ve had my headphones sent to one of my bestfriends in Edmonton till I get there! Hurry up October…………..

    For fun I looked up a noise cancellation test

    LINK TO NOISE CANCELLATION TEST

    These look amazing. So I look forward to using them in Cuenca Ecuador 🇪🇨.

    I remember there was a truck with megaphones that drove up and down the street blaring “Naranja!” (Oranges) ever morning at 6am.

    Want to find out more about where I’m going next? Here’s a link about Cuenca

    RETIRE CHEAP IN CUENCA LINK

    My new headphones!2018-07-17T06:40:38+00:00

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