Machu Picchu is one of the seven wonders of the modern world, and the crown jewel of Peru’s tourism industry. It is one of the most amazing places I’ve ever seen and there’s nothing else in South America quite like it. I recently traveled to Machu Picchu and organizing the whole trip was tricky so I decided to write a how-to guide on getting there. I have to give a shout out to my traveling companion, Steve Sanyal, who did a lot of the initial research. Keep in mind this blog is for traveling by bus/train to Machu Picchu and not doing the three-day hike in through the Sun Gate.
I think the degree to which you’d want to plan your own trip to Machu Picchu would depend on several factors – budget, level of comfort traveling in foreign countries, ability to speak Spanish, etc. If you’re the kind of traveler who likes everything arranged for you, many travel agencies can help you out. We contacted the agency my family used over a decade ago, and they quoted us $700 U.S. each for transport and entry to Machu Picchu, and a hotel in Aguascalientes (the town at the base of Machu Picchu). Flights to Cusco, meals and hotels in Cusco weren’t included. The value of their quoted services was about $300, so we decided to do this ourselves. Continue reading “Travelling to Machu Picchu – A How to Guide”
It’s been a couple of years since I did this, but I wanted to get back to it since it’s always fun to look back on the year through my peculiar musical lens (and typical me, late as usual). As in past years, there were some big songs that came on my radar but I want to focus on Canadian artists. There probably wasn’t a more impactful song this year than This is America by Childish Gambino and the latter part of the year saw me playing a lot this Morrissey cover. But for the first time, I’m going to put two non-Canadian acts on my list as my top picks.
I made a YouTube playlist here.
Continue reading “Top Songs of 2018”
While I was whittling down my manuscript, I had to look at each chapter and try to think of it within the context of the whole. This was a chapter that didn’t make the final cut as it didn’t develop the character (by that point in the story, the reader knows the protagonist doesn’t fit in) and it didn’t advance the plot. But I thought it worked well as a standalone piece and the good people over at the Lunaris Review saw fit to give it a home. Here’s a link to the story:
The last time I saw The Tragically Hip was for Canada’s 125th birthday celebration at Molson Park in Barrie in 1992, a few months before the release of Fully Completely and before they became the biggest band in the country. Twenty-four years and eleven albums later, they are playing their final tour after Gord Downie announced he had terminal brain cancer.
Continue reading “The Tragically Hip – Sunday August 14, 2016”
I remember seeing the idea for FOLD grow on Twitter over a year ago to finally coming together. I looked at the lineup and sessions and bought a weekend pass. I liked the idea of FOLD in theory but the reality was so much better than I possibly expected. Everyone involved should be incredibly proud of what they accomplished this past weekend.
The inaugural FOLD event was held at the Peel Art Gallery Museum and Archives centre in downtown Brampton. Although I work about 5 minutes south of this building, I had never been to it before. It’s an interesting building that mixes old and new as an addition was built over an old courthouse that was built in 1867.
Continue reading “Recap – The FOLD (Festival of Literary Diversity)”
I’ve read Lord of the Flies three times, once in high school, once about ten years ago and again last month because I decided to tag along with my mother to her book club. If you came here through a Google search looking for something to help you with a high school paper, I’ll try to update this soon with something useful.
Continue reading “Book Club – The Lord of the Flies”
Silvia Moreno-Garcia is the Mexican-Canadian author of the short story collection This Strange Way of Dying and the novel Signal to Noise. She has edited the anthologies She Walks in Shadows, Sword & Mythos, Fungi, Dead North and Fractured. Silvia is also the Publisher of Innsmouth Free Press, a Canadian micro-publishing venture specializing in horror and dark speculative fiction.
Signal to Noise is a novel that revolves around its two main characters – Meche and Sebastian – in Mexico City in chapters that alternate between 1988 and 2009. They are high school misfits in 1989, infatuated with the wrong people, who discover music and how to cast spells using it. They think their newfound powers mean a turnaround in their fortunes, but obviously nothing is that simple. In 2009, Meche returns to Mexico City from Europe for her estranged father’s funeral, and her friendship with Sebastian has fallen apart. This is a heartbreaking story of family, love, loss, music and magic. Music is an integral part of the novel and there are lots of reference to 80’s music, both English and Spanish, sprinkled throughout the novel. This tagline sums it up nicely: “I Long before iTunes or MP3s, you said “I love you” with a mixtape.”
Thanks to Silvia for taking time to answer some questions.
Signal to Noise was published by Solaris and is available for purchase here.
Silvia’s website can be found here.
Continue reading “An Interview with Silvia Moreno-Garcia”
Earlier this year I bought a copy of Uncut magazine in the airport before a flight. It felt very antiquated to be reading a music magazine in 2015 in the age of YouTube. It came with a CD that I still haven’t listened to because of a general lack of CD players in my life. Reading cliched passages about swelling choruses, walls of noise or melodic whatevers, made want to keep the writing about the songs on this list to a minimum and I was reminded of the famous quote, ‘writing about music is like dancing about architecture.’ And while there were a lot of other great songs that I could’ve listed (some other standouts from this year), I limited my list to indie Canadian acts. Here’s a playlist of my favourites of the year. At the bottom, I’ve included a list of my wife’s top picks of the year, because she has pretty great taste.
Continue reading “My Top 10 Songs of 2015”