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Loki Hostel in Mancora, Peru

Loki Hostel in Mancora, Peru is a great place for a fun loving person to meet awesome travelers from around the world. Mancora is predominantly a beach town in Northern Peru and it’s mainly known for its surfing conditions. Loki is situated a mere three minutes walk to the downtown area and is literally steps away from the sandy coastline. However, the visitors who book a stay here are usually younger and are always looking for the next place to party. As such, the hostel has quite a reputation for being the place to have a great time. Light sleepers should take note.

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Although it is a hostel, mostly because of the availability of shared dorm rooms, one could easily mistake the premises for a high end resort. There is a large swimming pool and an area with hammocks which is absolutely heavenly for lounging with a drink. Plus, there is a large bar area complete with a pool table and the security onsite is very efficient. All guests are required to wear special wrist bands which are checked before entry into the grounds.

I had booked a room in a six bed dormitory with an ensuite bathroom. The bed was soft with crisp and clean white linen. The bathroom was well kept and stocked with toiletries, and a very large locker was provided for the safekeeping of my bags and valuables. I spent a total of four nights at the Loki hostel, although I had originally booked for two nights. The rooms were serviced daily and I generally had no complaints.

CAMERAThe bar was a definite high point during my stay. The drinks were reasonably priced although cheaper cocktails could be had outside of the hostel. For dining, there were menus for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I ate several times at the bar, and while the food was a bit pricey, it was always well prepared and tasty. I especially enjoyed their omelettes at breakfast along with complimentary coffee and tea. Such a meal was approximately $3 USD. The bar staff would check your wristband for your room number and you would be billed upon checkout. Happy hour equals discounted drinks and there was even a BBQ one night.

Loki Hostel is a good option if you are a young (or young at heart) traveller and you are on a budget. I paid only $11 USD per night for my dorm room and it was easily worth more in my opinion. It’s perfect for solo travelers and there are private rooms for couples or families. I easily recommend.

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I Love My Xshot Monopod!

I’m really big on photos, and one of the major downsides of traveling abroad solo, is the difficulty in having your photo taken. Whether it be standing in front of the Eiffel Tower or the State of Liberty, it’s not easy trying to take a decent ‘selfie’ with the landmark in the background.

During my trip to NYC in January, I decided to purchase a monopod. I’ve seen countless videos online with regular folks obtaining awesome footage or photos with the help of this device. After a bit of research, it appeared as though the most travel friendly monopod for my lifestyle was the Xshot.  It claimed to be small enough to fit inside of my pocket, while having the capability to extend to 30 inches in length!

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I made the order on Amazon.com for approximately $20 USD, and patiently awaited the arrival of my package.  I am happy to report that I am absolutely thrilled with my Xshot! It’s an extremely handy gadget which gives me the an entirely different dimension to my photography. With a proper grip on the handle, blurred images aren’t a factor, and the 10 second timer on my camera is all that’s needed to snap a great selfie.

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I think that all travelers could benefit from purchasing a monopod, whether it’s an Xshot or not, just as long as it’s portable. Families could easily take group shots at various destinations, or even capture of photo of someone sticking their head out of a train window. The possibilities are rather endless! If you have one already, let me know what you think of it!

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Singapore, I’m Charmed to Meet You!

After crossing the Pacific Ocean on  Cathay Pacific, and 15 hours later, I arrived in Singapore! The flight itself was very interesting because I met my first new friend. Her name was Gita, and she was a Hindu from Trinidad! The moment she heard me speak, she recognized my accent as Caribbean, and she was really happy that I was seated next to her. Her personality was great, and I appreciated her company on my first long haul flight. Even more touching, was her dedication in making sure that I arrived at my gate in Hong Kong in time, so that I wouldn’t miss my flight to Singapore. Gita, thanks for everything!

I’ve never stepped foot in Asia before, and I felt like an explorer, out to discover a foreign land. I had no set plans for this new country, and I was excited by the prospect of letting fate take over. I was a mess of happy emotions by the time I rushed through the airport (having only hand luggage made this quite easy).

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First matter at hand, find my guesthouse! I’d copied the directions and had them written down in my notepad, so after two metro stops and about 5 minutes of walking, I found myself at my new home. That weekend was the Singapore Grand Prix, so lots of rooms were sold out, so I decided to stay at my very first backpackers house. It was called the Rucksack Inn 2, and it was quite lovely. I especially loved the chilled out common room, with the bright colours and tiny bicycles parked near the flat screen tv!

I freshened up, and went straight back outside to hit the town! I walked down to Clarke Quay and went around the area to the Riverwalk. It was very peaceful, and I had a nice time just drifting around with little care in the world. There were a few young couples sitting at the river’s edge, older couples taking a stroll, and the odd lonesome person (like me!) simply enjoying their own company.

I then happened upon an Arabian ice cream vendor and decided to try a chocolate ice cream cone. How was I to know that I’d be getting a miniature show for the price of a scoop of ice cream? He’d give you the empty cone to hold, place the scoop on your cone, and the second you move your hand to lick your ice cream, he’d flick his wrist, and your ice cream disappeared off your cone! It was quite bizarre, yet he made me laugh! Random things always seem to happen when you’re away from home!

After finishing my cone, I decided to practice the art of self photography. However, my efforts were never truly fulfilled. A friendly local noticed what I was trying to accomplish, and offered to take my photo for me. This was very touching, the simple act of kindness from one stranger to another.

At this point, I wanted to look for the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple near China Town. I decided to walk, not only to stretch my legs after the long flight, but to also get a more intimate view into the life of the locals. After about 20 minutes, I arrived at the temple. I loved the bright red colour, however, it was a bit difficult to photograph given the fact that the sun was setting. I tried my best, and after I was satisfied with my efforts, I was starving.

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Dinner

Being in China Town, there was no shortage of outdoor restaurants. I chose one at random, scanned the menu, and decided to order a dish of rice noodles with shrimp and chili sauce. I also ordered a glass of freshly made orange juice, to accompany the meal. The food was delicious, and I ate to my heart’s content. I playfully struggled with the chopsticks, as we don’t really have them in Antigua. A guy from the restaurant noticed, and sat with me for a while, giving me a few pointers on how to use the eating utensils. It was lots of fun!

Night fell, so I finally settled my bill and left the restaurant. Before heading back to the guesthouse, I decided to try a bottle of Tiger beer. I seated myself at one of the countless bars in China Town, and ordered a bottle. I was beyond shocked when the lady plopped this massive bottle of beer in front of me with a smile. The beer was HUGE! Good thing I enjoyed drinking it, or else that could have been a problem.

After a while, of sipping the beer and drinking in the noises, smells and atmosphere which is China Town, jet lag caught up with me, and I decided to call it a night. My first few hours in Singapore were great, and who knows what adventure lies ahead for tomorrow?