Life in 2013 Review

The first month has just been ticked off from the calendar–and this post is way too late. Blame it to my endless procrastination, something that’s not in my new year’s resolution, obviously.

2013 was a great year. I’ve seen a couple of new places (4 major trips) that I’ve never been to before and tried some stuff to spice up my mundane life in America’s 4th largest city.

So, let’s start rolling back to my life in 2013.


Winter Wonderland in Blue Mountain
Blue Mountain (in Collingwood), for people living in Toronto, is a winter paradise that everyone should be going to try winter sports. No, it’s not blue but it’s oozing with small-town charm that’s not difficult to fall in-love with.

Blue Mountain Collingwood

Winter Wonderland in Blue Mountain


Igloofest 2013 in Montreal
This is the best winter festival I’ve been to so far. It’s the best way to ignore winter–by dancing in the freezing temperature with a beer or spirits in hand. It’s a rave in Montreal that gathers electronic music fans, revelling in the open air—–with bitter wind chill and snow cooperating. And while I was there, I dropped by the Snow Village to enjoy the ice hotel bed, the igloos and the ice bar.

Igloofest in Montreal Snow Village

Igloofest in Montreal

MARCH 2013 

Nothing really happened, except the epic pub crawl we had during Easter Sunday.

APRIL 2013

Maple Syrup Festival 
We went to Elmira, an hour from Toronto, for the world’s biggest celebration, in praise of that sweet Maple Syrup that’s present in every Canadian kitchen since time immemorial. There, we had a huge pancake drowned in, what else, maple saccharine. We also joined the Maple Syrup Bush Tour where we  learned how that gooey thing is produced.

Maple Syrup festival in Elmira

Maple Syrup festival in Elmira

Upside Down House in Niagara
It’s the newest attraction that opened late in 2012–and I can’t be bothered to wait ’till summer. It’s dizzying. See this blog entry for 360 degree head turn, upside down.

Upside Down House Niagara

Upside Down House in Niagara

Met friends and had a blast in the City of Skyscrapers–Chicago
Here, I had a reunion with four of my friends slash fellow hedonists, partners in crime—-back in the day when we ruled the dance floors in Beijing.

Things I did in Chicago: Had fun at Chicago’s Boystown, admired at the renowned Chicago skyline at night, strolled around to see some of the city’s public arts, grabbed 1 million dollars at the Money Museum, explored places that appeared in movies via Chicago Film Tour, sneaked through tunnels and undergrounds via Chicago Underground Tour, went back in time by visiting the Field Museum, watched trained belugas being rewarded for a job well-done at Shedd Aquarium, pried at the enormous art collections inside the Chicago Arts Institute, posed in front of Anish Kapoor’s, The Bean, learned about the city violent past thru Chicago Gangster Tour, visited Pilsen (a neighborhood of murals and graffiti), spent some time at Frank Lloyd Wright and Ernest Hemingway‘s house, attended a 30-minute worship at Bahai House, enjoyed my first Segway ride for the city’s Architecture Tour, and wore my rainbow wig on top of Willis Tower.

Chicago Skyline Night

Chicago Skyline at Night

MAY 2013

I lost my job so I was stuck in the city. But, I did some new stuff not worth mentioning. 🙂

JUNE 2013 

Pride Parade in Toronto
Staying in Toronto for the summer is a good idea, especially when you are jobless. You got to attend America’s biggest Pride Parade!

The Super Queers at Toronto Pride Parade 2013

The Super Queers at Toronto Pride Parade 2013

Short Trips in Ontario

I joined a short weekend trip in Ontario that brought us to the real Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Windsor, Pelee Island (where Canada begins) and Hiram Walker and Son’s Whisky Company

Uncle Tom's Cabin

Uncle Tom’s Cabin

Warrior Dash 
This was my first ever marathon. Ever. And not just a marathon but it’s a kind of sports where runners tested their strength by surviving a lot of obstacles, including climbing walls with little help, jumping on fire and dipping in mud pool.

Warrior Dash in Toronto

Warrior Dash



I didn’t really expect much of the city called Detroit, once a thriving city known for its booming car industry. But, contrary to what the rest of the world believes, the Motown City isn’t dead. Life continues in that part of America.

Check these following blog entries: Detroit – Impressions and Realities, Beads Museum in Detroit – Window to African Culture and Arts, Motown Sound – A Detroit Legacy, Public Art in Detroit, Heidelberg Project, The Magnificent Diego Rivera Murals at Detroit Institute of Arts, and Henry Ford Museum – America’s Past and Future.

Diego Rivera Mural Detroit Institute of Arts

Diego Rivera Mural at Detroit Institute of Arts

London Tree Trunk Sculpture

These tree trunk sculptures in London, Ontario is worth walking if you’re into arts and losing weight. It’s a good two-hour and a half stroll getting to know part of the city named after England’s capital.

London Tree Trunks Sculpture

London Tree Trunks Sculpture

Olde School Restaurant

To sit on the chair where Queen Elizabeth once rested her arse (for breakfast) is one for the bucket list–for royal watchers. But, not for me. I was curious and intrigued about the restaurant. They have good buffet breakfast that you must try.

Old School House

Olde School Restaurant

Camping at Bruce Peninsula

Bruce Peninsula is your ultimate place to go should you be stuck in Ontario for the summer. It’s a long drive but really worth it.

Read my embarrassing first camping experience alone at Cyprus Lake Camping Ground, The Beauty of Indian Head Cove, Breathtaking View at Overhanging Point, Rock-climbing at the Grotto, Cyprus Lake Sunset, The Hauntingly Beautiful Shipwrecks in Tobermory and the Flower Pot Island.

Shipwrecks Tobermory Bruce Peninsula

Shipwrecks in Tobermory

Sunflower Farm

Visiting the sunflower farm is a camwhore’s delight. Enough said. 🙂

Sunflower Farm in Hamilton

Sunflower Farm in Hamilton

Tubing at Elora Gorge Grand River

I love tubing. And I can’t wait to do it again this year. Maybe.

Elora Gorge Grand River Tubing

Elora Gorge Grand River Tubing


Toronto International Film Festival 2013 (TIFF)

Stargazing at TIFF 2013 was surreal. I’ve seen the following Hollywood A and B-list movie stars without paying a cent: Kate Winslet, Josh Brolin, Jason Reitman, James Van Der Beek, Gattlin Griffith, Daniel RadcliffeZac Efron, Tom Wellington, Paul Giamatti, Jacki Weaver, Nicole Kidman, Colin Firth, Jeremy Irvine, Horoyuki Sanada, Kristen Wiig, Sami Gayle, Dan Stevens, Jennifer Aniston, Tim Robins, Julia Roberts, Ewan McGregor, Chris Cooper, Abegael Breslin, Juliette Lewis, Demot Mulroney, Jennifer Morrison, Marion Cotillard, Guillaume Canet, Jake Gyllenhaal, Jesse Eisenberg and Dakota Fanning. 

TIFF 2013

TIFF 2013


Autumn in New York City

Went back to New York to meet up with my brother before he went back to the third world. We did the usual New York sightseeing and watched the Village Halloween Parade.

Autumn in Central Park

Autumn in Central Park, New York


I claimed the prize I won back in January. It’s a trip to Jordan for two! I ticked off three items from my bucket lists: to float in the Dead Sea, to gawk at Petra and to visit a Holy Site.

For complete blog entries of my Jordan trip, click here.

Wadi Rum Jordan

At Wadi Rum Desert

In 2014, I’m eyeing for two countries and two major cities. But, let’s see what happens this year.


A wanderer. A frustrated photographer. Hiker. Lover. Half extrovert, half introvert. Solo traveler.

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