John Lee

Recent Posts on BCBusiness

Mar 5, 2012
Travelling to Vienna, Austria

Arriving late in lamp-lit, old-town Vienna, I dump my bags and hit the cobbled, mist-fingered streets. Nighttime arrivals in unfamiliar places send my brain into info-gathering overload, forging impressions often later revealed as complete fantasy. Here, this means fusing half-remembered...

Jan 3, 2012
Travelling to Singapore

Forget Singapore's namesake cocktail and pig out at the backstreet food stalls. 
It’s 11 a.m. in downtown Singapore but after a joyless 20-minute encounter with a frenetic slot machine in a mammoth subterranean casino, it feels like midnight. Luring silk-shirted high-rollers from China and beyond to its mirrored 55-storey towers, Marina Bay Sands – one of Asia’s largest resort casinos – reflects the city-state’s long-held role as an avaricious wealth magnet.

Nov 7, 2011
Travelling to Cartagena, Colombia

Far from the turmoil to the south, the Caribbean paradise of Cartagena comes to life when the sun goes down. It’s midnight when I drag my wonky-wheeled suitcase through the lamplit, labyrinthine streets of old-town Cartagena, after a day-long, three-plane ordeal that’s left my desiccated brain feeling like an empty coconut. Dark-eyed, club-dressed young locals promenade past en route to their favourite palm-fringed bars, but my clammy, crease-striped body is less in the mood for carousing and more in the mood...

Jun 6, 2011
Travelling to Glasgow, Scotland

Whooping it up in 
Glasgow, Scotland’s scene-stealing 
second city. Friday night on Glasgow’s lamplit Sauchiehall Street reveals an eye-popping parade of inebriated-hen parties, zigzagging between bars as if in a human pinball machine. These miniskirted scrums, clustered around tear-streaked brides-to-be in devil horns, burst into peals of dirty laughter at each passing male. It’s like being checked out and dismissed before you’ve even tried your best pick-up lines.

Jun 9, 2010
Travelling to Zurich, Switzerland

When you're travelling to Switzerland, it pays to go beyond the good looks 
of old-town Zurich
. Zigzagging around a turreted old-town area that feels like a film-set version of a medieval hamlet, I’ve fallen for Zurich faster than a cuckoo clock marks the hours. 
But while Switzerland’s largest city also offers crenellated Alpine vistas, charming trundling trams and a dangerous surfeit of chocolate shops, I can’t help feeling there must be more to this place than well-preserved good looks. 

Dec 1, 2008
Travelling to Galway, Ireland

I’m zigzagging along Galway’s darkened, rain-slicked High Street, battling a winter gale that’s slapping at my face like the back end of a feisty wet fish. It’s only mid-afternoon, but the roiling grey tempest has drained Weather Wet. Perfect cozy pub weather, with temperatures averaging eight degrees Celsius.Can’t MissAran Islands. Take...

Oct 1, 2008
Travelling to New Brunswick

I’m wilting in the blistering sun on a bather-packed beach in late spring in northeastern New Brunswick, trying to remain cool for the cute, ray-worshipping bikini girl checking me out from her gold-coloured towel. The 28-degree temperature and my jeans-and-dress-shirt...

Sep 1, 2008
Travelling to Brighton, U.K.

I’m perched on a pyramid of pebbles under a bright blue southern England sky raked with thin, wispy clouds. A few chocolate-coloured waves are frothing their way toward me while electronic chirruping from nearby amusement arcades and the vinegar-drenched aroma...

Jul 1, 2008
Travelling to Lockhart, Texas

I’m wilting in the desiccating midday sun on a crowd-free sidewalk in small-town Texas, 35 kilometres south of the Austin state capital. I cup my hands to the cool glass and squint into the blackened storefront ahead. It looks like...

Mar 1, 2008
Travelling to Busan, Korea

Hypnotically sliding past miles of squat, grey factory complexes and the kind of drab tumbleweed villages that wouldn’t know excitement if it slapped them in the face, I’m speeding south along a rain-misted highway on a private Korean peninsula press...

Jun 1, 2007
British Columbian Travel: Going Coastal

It’s 8:30 p.m. when the dented, steel-grey carriages of the Skeena, the VIA Rail train serving the northern route from Jasper, begin their final wheezing crawl into Prince Rupert, the rainfall capital of Canada’s multi-fjorded Wet Coast. Far from a pampering Rocky Mountaineer excursion, this old-school locomotive feels like a perambulating 1950s diner, complete with a side order of cozy home-style charm.

May 1, 2007
Traveling to San Antonio, Texas: Lone Star Strut

My setting combines the decor of a staid Victorian library and the kind of bristly, black-and-white cowhide chairs that only Texans find attractive. It’s as good a place as any for a media reception for a regional wine and food...

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