One of our favorite things to do when we travel is to hike and explore so Colorado is a gold mine for this!! Barr Trail is one of the best trails in Colorado Springs/Manitou Springs. If you are looking for a challenging walk (or run) up a mountain pass then Barr Trail is for you.
Once you get about one mile into the trail you can see a large part of Manitou Springs. If you arrive early enough you can see a beautiful sunset shine into Pikes Forrest. You get crisp and clean mountain air. The sight is a glimpse into what birds must experience far away and above it all. It is safe enough to take adolescent kids but probably too much for anyone younger than about 8 years old.
Although the total length of Barr Trail is 21 km (13 Miles), most people only do the first few miles that is parallel with the Incline, another popular trail in the Manitou Springs area. The trail goes through Pikes National forest, through Barr Camp and ends at the top of Pikes Peak. The total trail goes up 7800 feet.
Barr is used for the Pikes Peak Marathon that goes as far as Barr Camp and back. But we like to just walk it for exercise. Its fun to run down but you have to be careful since the path gets pretty steep and uneven. Depending on when you go there it can be hard to find parking. It costs $5 for the privilege of parking next to the mouth of the trail. You do have the option of parking for free about a half a mile or more away in Manitou.
As soon as I arrived in the US, the first thing that popped in my head was the living expenses. I was aware that the convenience of my new life in the United States would not come cheap. I knew that the prices would be way higher than the Philippines. Here are a few comparisons between Philippines and the US.
1. Food. Surprisingly, whenever we eat fast food it is pretty cheap. For example a burger is about the same price in PH. Back in Ph, a $3 burger is actually more expensive than eating a healthier meal. In the US, eating healthier is more expensive. In the Philippines, we choose to eat the healthy meals rather than junk food filled with lots of carbohydrates. The grocery store prices are MUCH better than the Philippines when you consider the amount Americans make. In the US, you can get cheap food in Walmart or pay a dollar more to shop at Safeway and King Soopers for better quality of produce.
Spices – $3.00 – $5.00.I seen few for $0.88 (Walmart) for very average quality
Pork (lean) – $ 3.00 – $ 4.00 per pound
Chicken drumstick – $ 2.00 per pound
Sausage – $ 5.00
A dozen eggs (large)- $ 1.50 – $ 2.00 (Same price as PH)
Beef – $ 4.00 per pound
2. Kitchen Utensils. Utensils in the US are way more expensive however there is great variety. Bed Bath and Beyond has good quality stuff for much higher costs. If you want to get high quality pretty utensils you should go there. However, if you are not particular or just want something decent, Walmart has cheap goods. There are also cheap laddles in Dollar store but cant recommend buying from there. They do not last long.
Ladle (good quality) for $3.00 – $5.00 walmart
Non stick pots or pans – $14.00 -$25.00 walmart
In the Philippines, you don’t have this kind of variety but you can get that same quality for half that price. The higher quality products you would find in ”Bed Bath and Beyond” does not have a match of price in PH. The Philippines prices for pots ($10- $30) which I thought were expensive are nothing compared to what we have to pay in the US.
3. Apartment. Cost of living in States for an apartment depend on the population, market value and economy of the area. Here in Colorado, you can get a decent apartment for $800.00. I seen very simple not nice apartment online for $600. An Apartment for these prices in the Philippines is a luxury estate. You can live in a decent hotel for 800/month in the Philippines.
4. Clothes. Wow, the clothing prices in the US shocked me. I thought the branded clothing in PH were expensive but they are not. In the Philippines you can get a good quality women’s shirt for $15.00, but in the US that might get you a t-shirt. In the Philippines a top brand such as “Jag jeans” you can get for $25, but here you might be able to get average jeans for that amount:
Burlington Coats- $50.00- $200.00
T-shirt for men – $ 10.00- $ 30.00 (Walmart)
Polo shirts – $60.00 and above (Kohls)
Shirts for women – $ 7.00 – 40.00 (ROSS)
5. Furniture. As mentioned above, the quality of furniture you can get for a good price is amazing in America. I would recommend American Furniture Warehouse if you have one in your area. Walmart has terrible to low quality furniture so I cannot recommend buying it from there if you intend to keep it for a while. Places like American Furniture Warehouse also have flat rate delivery of $69.00 for no limitation of furniture you will buy.
Leather sofa recliner – $549.00 – American Furniture Warehouse
Dining Table – $ 600.00 but its so worth it. Durable and pretty.
Tv Rack – $150.00 – American Furniture Warehouse
While you can find this level of quality in the Philippines, it is so expensive that only the rich can afford it.
6. Appliances. Appliances in the Philippines are average quality and there is only 1 year warranty on most of them. In the US, you have places like Walmart and Target that offer huge selections on top appliances. Target has good appliances for sale. However, Walmart has better variety. Both offer 3 year plan warranty to get your appliance and electronics covered and will actually replace the appliance on the spot if you have the receipt and bring it back within 30 days.
7. Gas . Average price cost of gas now in the US is $ 2.00 per gallon. Ph average price would be $1 per liter.
1 gallon = 3.78 liters.
Therefore gas in PH is way more expensive which makes the prices of other products costly.
8. Utilities. Basic utilities are higher in the Philippines. It is unbelievable that a developing country where the average income is 8USD/day (2015) that basic living standards are higher than the richest country.
The cost of living in the US has come as a shock. The level of variety and convenience is amazing. Coming from a developing country the differences are like night and day. If you are on a budget traveling from Europe, your best bet is to stick with South East Asia. But if you can make it to the US, it is definitely worth the trip especially if you are staying for a few months.
Last february 2015, me and my family visited Old Colorado Springs to eat at this place called Uchenna. Wow that place had good Ethiopian food. Their style of cooking is very unique. We went there because it was listed as second highest ranked restaurant in Colorado springs.
After our meal, we walked around a bit and found art galleries there. I think people should check it out if they are seeking for a specific unique thing that is rare to find. They may find it here. The shops in Old Colorado Springs have many unique things for sale from wooden Buddha, hookahs,paintings and gemstones. There are also many restaurants in different cuisines. I also seen couple of shops selling home made ice cream.
The Philippines is a great tourist spot. The people are awesome, the culture is remarkable and there are lots of things to do and see there. However, just like other countries, there are precautions that you must take in order to stay safe and happy during your travels. Here is a list of 15 tips to take note of if you are a bachelor traveling to the Philippines.
Mubuhay! Welcome to the Philippines and enjoy your vacation in paradise
1. Store Valuable in the Hotel Room. Leave all your important belongings in the hotel room. Do not bring your passport with you while going out because there is a good chance you can lose it.
image from: ehow.com
2. Safety Box. First of all, if you are a bachelor and wanting to hook up with lots of girls, there is nothing wrong with that! But be careful. Not all girls can be trusted with random valuables laying around. Items like cellphones, money and other gadgets should be locked in a vault in your hotel room. Remember that these girls are stranger who you may never see again. You do not know who they are, where they come from and they might be thieves. You should know that it is common for foreigners there to meet up with girls and end up losing some valuables. Prevention is best in this case. If your room does not have a vault, you can secure the items in the luggage (luggage with a combination lock would be best). You can also ask the front desk if they have a locker or safety box to store valuables.
image from: kmsdirect.co.uk
3. Take the Cash that you need. Bring only enough cash you wish to spend for the day.
4. Don’t get too Drunk. Don’t get drunk because you will become an easy target for robbers.
image from: animaatjes.de
5. Don’t Take ATM Card. Do not bring your ATM or credit card c when you are going out to a disco club or strip club. It is best to bring cash. Many places don’t take credit anyway. You should only use your debit or credit cards in well established places. For example, Starbucks, Jolibee, Chowking and places in the Mall are safe places.
6. Condoms. For bachelors, bring a survival kit because you do not know who the girls are or where they have been. In 2013 there was an HIV infection every three hours. As of 2014, the Philippines became one of 9 countries with a rising number over young people with HIV. You need to stay safe and wear a condom. Always have safety sex. Bring your own condoms. Because the condoms there are smaller in size that might not fit to a western standard. This applies to women traveler too, never have sex without protection. Many men there have sex with multiple partners.
7. Have a Wingman. Having a companion is an advantage. If there are two or more of you, thieves and scammers will think twice about trying anything. Another option would be a girlfriend. It is actually helpful to have one while you are there because she can guide you to safer places to go.
8. Catch Cabs. Cabs are safer than petty cabs. My suggestion is to always catch a cab it is the safest for tourists. In a petty cab lots of beggars, solicitors and street kids will want something for you at every stop (even at stop lights). Petty cabs usually don’t have windows so you are very accessible. It is great to help the kids but most of the time when you give one kid food or some money, more kids will come to ask you for more.
9. Always walk fast. Walking fast will help you to be safe. It will make it harder for random people (beggars, street kids and solicitors) to follow you. And they will follow you asking for money, food, you name it. People approaching you mostly happens in crowded and touristic cities.
10. Watch your Phone. If possible, don’t use your phone in public areas. Generally, in big cities there are more crimes. It is dangerous even for locals. It is not uncommon for phones to be snatched so when possible, do not use phones while walking. Another option you can do is to buy a local cheap phone that you won’t mind losing.
11. Never walk in a dark and quiet alley. Many people including locals get robbed when they are walking in dark alleys for shortcuts on the way home.
12. Ice. Avoid drinking water with ice that are not purified. If your stomach is sensitive. Do not do it. Our body takes a while to be immuned with tap water in a new country. Most water resource in the Philippines is not that clean or filtered properly. An example of this is my husband (American) who was getting diarrhea while in the Philippines and we suspect it was ice in his glass of water or soda. If you really want some ice, always ask if they have an ice made of purified water ( we commonly say mineral water).
13. Avoid eating street food. Also, if you want to try filipino food, always check if it is hygienic and ensure that the food has not been out for long. Food poisoning there is so common.
14. Bottled water. Always drink bottled water. Do not drink tap water because the Philippines the water supply is not that clean.
15. NOT in the Back Pocket. Do not put your wallet in a back pocket of your pants. Normally, men are used to putting wallets in back pocket but not in the Philippines. You can not do that there because there are so many pick pockets.
image from : colveta.com
The Philippines is one of the funnest places to party in South East Asia, but you should take care and heed these 15 tips.
As we walked across the bridge the breeze hit us in the face and made the solid steal and wood supports sway. The magnificent height is like the scenes of a movie. With tall walls of rock embracing the white water Arkansa river below; it is an very beautiful place. Every angle is offers a photographic master piece. It is hard to believe that here was a fire that destroyed the area around the Royal Gorge Bridge. They have done an amazing job of restoring some of the services.
The ticket price for an adult costs $16.00USD. And when you get in
On the way to Royal Gorge, there are shops that offer all kinds of activities you and your family can do such as river rafting, zipline, kid’s train rides, small restaurants and souvenir shops. You will see very unique merchandise such as giant amethyst rocks. Unfortunately, these shops are not open on Sundays.
In 2013, the facilities and rides of Royal Gorge were destroyed by a wildfire.
Ninety percent of the park was gone with 48 out of 52 buildings and world class attractions destroyed on each side of the bridge. During this time, the Royal Gorge Bridge stood majestically above the rubble and was relatively unscathed except for approximately 100 boards that were scorched on the south side of the Bridge. — royalgorgebridge.com
As of 2015, they are still in the process of rebuilding some of the facilities. The new building includes a big cafe with huge deck over looking the gorge. The building also has a souvenir shop selling shirts, mugs, necklaces, stuffed toys and a few types of rocks. At the back of the building are benches where you can sit to relax.
Parking fee: None – $0 – 5.00 per day. Certain areas are free.
1 LB home made chocolate: $ 16.00
Taffies: $ 9.00
Manitou Springs is one of the coolest places to visit in Colorado. The unique shops and restored old town look give it a comforting small town feel that you and your family will love.
My family loves this place and keep asking to go back. What is it about this place that keeps the streets flowing with local tourists from all over Colorado?
I think it is the spirit of the place. It has a certain feeling of calm, openness to it that is hard to explain. It’s peaceful. It has an old town, quaint feel to it where it seems like most people there are content. The shops are very unique selling product connected directly to real people not giant corporations selling things mass produced and stamped with “made in China”. It’s nice to feel that connection. The feeling that when you buy something it is helping the person that opened the store.
“Manitou”, a Native American word for “ great spirit”, describes this beautiful mountain community. Eight naturally carbonated mineral spring fountains, located throughout this historic town, run free for all who wish to enjoy the healing benefits. The Ute, Cheyenne and other Native Americans considered this area sacred for the healing springs and clean mountain air.
The Naturally-Occurring mineral springs have a rich history in giving and restoring health to people who traveled thousands of miles to be healed by the magical waters. Today, health and wellness continues to be a draw for residents and visitors who come to the area for its unparalleled quality of life and holistic, spiritually uplifting personality.
The Scientific & Cultural Facilities District is a voter-approved special district in the seven-county metro area that provides a stable source of supplemental funding to more than 300 scientific and cultural organizations inside the district’s boundaries. The SCFD collects a one-tenth of 1 percent sales-and-use tax (or one penny on every $10 spent), providing approximately $40 million each year to area cultural attractions both small and large.
denver museum free days
A fee still applies to IMAX films, Planetarium shows, and temporary exhibitions. Reservations and amenities (lunchroom, coat and lunch storage, bus drop off, etc.) for school groups are not available on SCFD Community Free Days.
I have lived in Colorado for 10 years and I can tell you from personal experience that there are many Denver Colorado attractions and LOTS of things to do. Denver is Colorado’s capital and most populated city so there are are COUNTLESS activities here.
If you are in Denver and cannot find things to do, then you just have not looked! There are amusement parks, sporting events, concerts, museums, parks, resorts and world class restaurants. If you like clubs, then you will love the night life in Denver!
denver colorado things to do
TheDenver Museum of Nature and Science is my favorite place to take my kids. The price is reasonable for an amazing learning journey for the whole family. It’s 15USD for non-members and 12USD for members of the museum.
There is a planetarium, a great dinosaur exhibit and lots about the species of North America and the world. There is an incredible exhibit that explores the human body.
Elitch Gardens Theme and Waterpark is a decent amusement park in Denver. This place
denver colorado things to do elitch gardens
alone has LOTS and LOTS to do. There are constant concerts, shows and special events hosted at Elitch Gardens. The prices vary based on your age: Adults – 34.99, Children – 31.99, Seniors (62+) – 29.99 (children under age 3 – FREE). Parking will cost you 15USD. So, all this stuff adds up but its worth doing at least once or twice.
During hot Denver summer’s check out the Elitch Garden’s Water park. Definitely check the schedule of Elitch Garden because sometimes they are closed or have huge special events that you may not want to miss.
If you have children under 10 you may want to take them to the Children’s Museum. Kids LOVE this place. And the smaller they are the MORE they will enjoy it. People don’t talk about it much, but its one of those hidden gems that kids really get a kick out of. The children’s Art museum is great if you have small kids
Dave and Busters is like an adult version of Chucky Cheese, its like a play ground for adults. With sports bars, birthday party areas, restaurants, video games for all ages.
At night Denver comes alive. On the weekends there are so many clubs and people of all ages going out to dance and drink that its VERY hard to find parking. If you can, it’s best to just get a hotel and walk or get a taxi around town. It’s not impossible to find parking, but it’s going to cost you anywhere from 6-15USD for only a few hours. You can park from night until day there for 6USD though.
Skiing is a BIG deal in Denver! I must admit I have never been. These days when I tell people I live in Colorado, they either asking me about the legalized marijuana or skiing and I don’t have any experience with either one.. seriously.. I did not inhale..
If you love to ski then you must look into checking it out if you are in the city:
Lately, there has been a lot of talk about North Korea. There was the movie “The Interview” that sparked a little bit of international tension. North Korea was then blamed for responding with a huge infiltration of Sony and responded with the usual mass destruction threats. They recently gotta a firm talking to from China for a maniac from NK that got into the country and killed four Chinese citizens. ANDDDD Kim Jong Un’s sister just got married!! Congrats Kim Yo Jong.
We talked a little about some Americans that have visited North Korea in the past and received a long stay in prison. All of the recent talk about North Korea has inspired me to talk about my own personal visit to the border of Hermit Kingdom.
dmz north korea
My visit to the DMZ was very educational. I was on the South Korean side of course. If you happen to be in Korean, I HIGHLY recommend it. You are escorted through a military base to get there. Once you are at the staging area you are given a military briefing on how ridiculously dangerous it is and why. Then you have to read and sign a release form that states something like “the US Army is not responsible for your death or bodily harm while you at the actual DMZ”. This is necessary since every now and then someone is shot. They want you to know the danger is REAL.
My trip to the DMZ showed me how petty and completely irrational nations can be. They actually had a “flagpole” war. The south built a flag next to the boarder that the North saw, so they responded be building The Panmunjom flagpole, a 160 meter tower which is the fourth largest flag pole in the world as of 2015.
dmz north korea
They built this flagpole in a town they built called Kijŏngdong. Kijŏngdong can clear fit 200 plus families but is clearly empty and has been for many years.
Aside from all of the horrible deaths from boarder skirmishes that have happened over the decades, the most alarming thing that I saw and the DMZ was the disparity between North and South. You don’t need binoculars to see that the North has very little infrastructure. From looking, the North does not even look like a developing country. It is like a baron waste land with the decrepit, vacant town Kijŏngdong (and it huge flag) in the middle of nowhere while the South looks like New York or Tokyo. If you look at the North and South at night you see that North has very little lighting in Pyongyang with the South is lit up like a galaxy.
People act like “being gay” just started 10 years ago. As persecution for being open and comfortable with your same sex partner dies down, gay travel destinations have gone UP! Once upon a time, there were only a few places that a same sex couple could steal away to for a romantic vacation. But now things are different. Realistically, this should not be an article, the WORLD should be your travel destination without boundaries and restrictions on sexual orientation. We are not there yet but there are many locations that are great!
1. Canada. Canadais one of the most open countries to LGBT.From Vancouver to Montreal to Toronto, Canada is WAY more open than the U.S. and way more advance for LGBT rights.
2. Thailand. Thailand is very open with LGBT. In fact, transgenders are considered more beautiful than straight women. Walking Street in Pattaya has a huge following for gay men and transgender entertainers. There are many gay prostitute out on the streets and the Pattaya beach roads. Thai people are very polite and not judgemental when it comes to sexuality. Gender is not a big issue there as long as the tourist are nice and respect Thai culture. Thailand also has a bunch of clinics for sex change surgeries.
3. Portugal. It is one of the countries that has allowed same sex marriage. It began in 2010. It is open and accepts LGBT relationships. However, gay couples are not allowed to adopt children.
4.Spain. The country has a lot to offer for shopping, nightlife and attractions. It is also one of the top list of countries that had legalized same sex marriage. Gran Canaria island and Sitges are two of the hottest destinations.
5. France. Whenever I heard of France before I automatically thought it was untra-conservative and close minded but the truth is they are pretty open. In fact, their openness toward LGBT has made the same sex marriage possible.
6. Philippines. The Philippines is also another country that is pretty accepting of LGBT lifestyle. You may get looks out of curiosity but people won’t really point out or criticize you for being gay. A transgender man is treated like woman. Cross-dressing is common to see. Gays are respected in the Philippines as they are very talented, smart and very skillful. There is definitely no beauty salon in the Philippines without a gay employee. Gays are accepted in the society.
7. Japan. Japan is another country that are open to different sexual orientations. Gender is not an issue but public affection like kissing, hugging and intimate actions may be strange at some more conservative places in the Japan. In the 90’s many filipino LGBT would fly to Japan to achieve that physical beauty of a ‘Woman’.
10. Peru. It was one of the 54 states to support the UN resolution against sexual orientation discrimination in 2006. Peru’s openness allows things like tours especially for LGBT such as Out Adventures and Gay Peru Tours.
Netherlands -has legalized same sex marriage on year 2001
Norway – 2009
Belgium – 2003
Spain – 2005
South Africa -2006
Stockholm Sweden -2009 will feel like home as they are very fine with gay/lesbian society and is like its own city. Being gay is not a big deal. People are very open minded about it. They also have ‘Pride festival’ held every july.