Melbourne Travel Blog: Part 5

Where Is Burger King? I See Hungry Jack’s

Melbourne Travel Blog: Part 1

Melbourne Travel Blog: Part 2

Melbourne Travel Blog: Part 3

Melbourne Travel Blog: Part 4

The fast food restaurant Hungry Jack’s struck me in Melbourne because of its similarities with Burger King. Later on, I found out that Hungry Jack’s is indeed Burger King in Australia. Burger King could not trademark its name because it was already taken, so it’s called Hungry Jack’s in Australia.

The Whopper tasted the same at Hungry Jack’s in Melbourne as it does Canada or USA. When I went to New Zealand after finishing my Australia trip, I saw a Burger King actually called Burger King in New Zealand.

No Regular Coffee in Australia

I usually drink 2 cups of coffee a day. The difficulty I had in Australia (and New Zealand as well) is that there is no regular coffee (coffee with cream and sugar). Wherever I asked for regular coffee, they looked at me like they had no idea what I was talking about.

Australians love their coffee, but they prefer barista-made coffee. I did not find anywhere where they would pour brewed black coffee and add cream or milk and sugar to make regular coffee. So the trick I learned after trying a few different barista-made specialty coffees is that latte and Americano are very close to my favourite regular coffee.

Fast Food Chain Aesthetic Looks

McDonald’s, Hungry Jack’s, 7-Eleven, or any other multinational companies or restaurants have one thing common in Australia and that is they all look better in Australia than they do in Canada or USA.

The designing, cleanliness, furniture, aesthetic looks - basically everything looked better and more higher-end than their North American versions.

However, I compared grocery chains, both value and upscale, and Canadians are unbeatable in grocery stores.

Should You Share Your Problems With Those You Trust?

Sharing the Burden

It is a fact that many people in this world remain quiet about their problems for fear of being branded a “whiner”. The theory goes that we all have our problems and that to speak of your own makes you somehow either weaker or excessively self-absorbed. The old saying “a problem shared is a problem halved” has been replaced in many people’s lexicon with “a problem shared is a problem someone else has too now”. Many people will present a façade of friendly concern when faced with someone else’s difficulties, only to then speak about the person behind their back and criticise their lack of backbone. This attitude gets around, and results in more problems, which is why so many people decide to keep their problems to themselves.

This should not be taken as a reason to become non-communicative when it comes to your problems. Certainly, it is wise to be selective in terms of whom you tell your problems to. There will always be callous people who think that it is funny to blurt out information about an individual, and people who are willing to listen and share a joke about it. Equally, there will always be people who feel that their every concern is of interest to everyone else. Neither of these kinds of people are right. What is true is that there will always be people who are willing to listen and help. It is important not only to identify these people, but to realize that they are ready to listen, and that you can count on them as long as you do not overwhelm them.

It is never beneficial to overload someone else with your problems, and certainly it is unwise to demand solutions from other people – we human beings are complex entities, and our problems are seldom simple. But sometimes speaking about a problem can allow you to see it from a different perspective, and can initiate a process that will see you solve your problems. This may take time, but the fact of the matter is that addressing a problem is a far more proactive approach than not addressing it. Tackling the problem may not get rid of it immediately, but sitting and worrying about it certainly will not. In fact, often the longer you think about a problem, the larger you allow it to become – especially if the problem is largely in your mind.

Do not be convinced that because some people are cold-hearted enough to laugh at your problems, others will too. People in general do not like to see their friends suffer, and will go to some lengths to ensure that they can see a way through their problems. It is frequently said that what goes around comes around, and that if you help someone today, they may help you tomorrow. Being open and honest about your problems may put you in a position where, one day, you will be able to return the favour to the person who listens to you.

To streamline and minimize blog maintenance, I will be discontinuing maintaining the website (however, I will still hold the domain). I will gradually move all articles from this site to Ahmed Dawn Dot Com site. This article originally published on the above website on Sep 27, 2009.

Casablanca: The City of Legends | Travel Tips

Travel Casablanca

One of the most beautiful and famous cities in the world is Casablanca, and it is a popular place to visit for any tourist who wants to see a very unique city. This city is anything but a rundown city that had its best days in the past. In fact it is the largest city in Morocco with over four million people, and it is a very cosmopolitan city, as well as the economic heart of the country.

Casablanca was founded by Berber fishermen in the roughly 3,000 years ago and was then used by a series of conquerors, including the Roman Empire. Destroyed by an earthquake in 1755, it was rebuilt by the sultan of the Morocco and called Casablanca.

Casablanca may be seem like it is a backwards city in terms of being progressive but it is the most liberal and progressive of Morocco’s cities, with young men often seen talking outdoors with scantily-clad women, something not seen in more extreme Muslim countries.

There are several sites to see in this amazing city including:

  1. Casablanca has the largest artificial port in the world, and an interesting place to check out.

  2. The King Hassan II Mosque is the largest mosque in Morocco and the third largest in the world, with the tallest minaret in the world.

  3. The Old Medina is a small walled town in the northern part of Casablanca which is where you can find many amazing things to buy from the vendors of the city.

  4. The Shrine of Sidi Abderrahman is a shrine built on a rock off the shore and you can only get to it when there is low-tide. The shrine itself is off-limits to non-Muslims, but you can explore the medina that is around it.

Casablanca is a very safe city to visit as well, so you do not have to worry that because you are traveling to Africa, you are going somewhere horribly dangerous. Most tourist agencies will tell you that common sense will keep 99 percent of problems from occurring. These are things like not flashing large amount of money around, and not looking like a tourist. You should be aware of tourist guides who are not really guides and only interested in robbing you, but these guides are much less of a problem in Casablanca than anywhere else in Morocco.

Typically, the worst that you will encounter in Casablanca is people trying to hassle you or bother you. Being firm with them will usually get them to move on. While annoying, they are far from dangerous and not something you should be overly worried about. Women traveling in Casablanca will be harassed with lewd comments if they do not dress modestly, but should not worry about being bothered or harassed physically.

Casablanca is an amazing city that you should consider as a destination if you are traveling to Africa. It has everything a major city should have, and it has thousands of years of history.

To streamline and minimize blog maintenance, I will be discontinuing maintaining the website (however, I will still hold the domain). I will gradually move all articles to

Recession Proof Jobs You Can Start Right Now

Survive A Layoff; Start Recession Proof Jobs

First Published: April 8, 2009

Ever since I wrote the Recession-Proof Jobs article, I’ve been thinking about writing more on the subject. Initially, I was thinking of writing an article describing all recession-proof jobs. Then again, I thought, what would be the purpose of describing jobs which would require long training and won’t let you start right away?

Today, I will describe a few jobs that you can start right away or within a few months. These jobs require short-term, very little, or no training. I am sure there are more opportunities like these but these are the ones I can currently think of off the top of my head. Always keep your mind and eyes open and be on the lookout. Soon enough, you will find opportunities to ride out this economic crisis.

Repo Man – A repo man repossesses property or goods from buyers who defaulted on payments and can’t pay them anymore. During recessions, this trade seems to flourish as many people lose jobs and are unable to keep up with payments. To work as a repo man, you need to find bailiffs or repo firms that employ repo workers. If you don’t have training or experience, you will be starting off as an assistant or helper. To locate a firm near you, search online by using these keywords: “bailiffs jobs Canada” or “repo man jobs Canada.”

Auto Mechanic – Qualified mechanics are always in short supply, and you can use this to secure an entry-level job, such as parts-runner or assistant to the mechanic, and complete your automotive courses towards achieving certification as a full-time mechanic. A job as a mechanic will always be on demand, not just during a recession. Check with local auto-repair shops or look in the newspaper for opportunities.

Fast-Food Worker – Layoffs are abundant these days; however, long lines at Tim Horton coffee shops tell me that fast-food stores are nowhere near feeling the heat of recession and they are constantly hiring. As more and more people are losing jobs, they are avoiding fancy restaurants and gathering at fast-food shops to socialize. Therefore, fast-food shops have to hire more workers to keep up with the excess flow of customers. You do not need any training or certification to work at a fast-food restaurant. Although it does not pay well, something is better than nothing and during a recession any employment opportunities should not be overlooked.

Thrift Store Worker – During a recession, thrift stores like Goodwill and The Salvation Army seem to do well. People avoid buying new and costly products and these second hand stores flourish. I have seen that these types of stores are on a hiring spree to keep up with increased demand and you don’t need any formal training to be hired.

Security Guard – During an economic downturn, stealing and other offences go up and so does the demand for private security guards. You can be hired by security firms with no training and they will give you some quick training to put you on the fast track.

These are only a few worth mentioning. There are many other job opportunities that exist in a financial crisis which we may not even know about. Keep your eyes open and always be on the lookout.

A rough economy also brings fresh opportunities for entrepreneurs. Creative entrepreneurs can weather the global financial crisis by looking ahead and seeing opportunities in the future. For example, regardless of economic conditions, Green and environment-related opportunities will flourish and there are opportunities in these areas.

Also, some particular sectors do well in recessions and you need to find and utilize those sectors. I can give you a couple of quick examples:

1. People like to stay home and use more cable TV and Internet.

2. People cut services and products they hardly use and stick to the basics, such as gym memberships, magazine subscriptions, luxury items, etc.

An optimistic entrepreneur should always track these trends and come up with innovative products and services to fill the gap. With innovative thinking and the right information, yes – you will be able to ride out the recession and work towards achieving your dreams.

Melbourne Travel Blog: Part 4

Supermarket Trips in Melbourne

Melbourne Travel Blog: Part 1

Melbourne Travel Blog: Part 2

Melbourne Travel Blog: Part 3

I have visited several supermarkets or grocery stores such as Coles and Woolworths in Melbourne to compare prices with grocery stores in Toronto. I was expecting most of the items to be higher priced than Canada because that’s what I have heard in the past.

But I was surprised that prices are very comparable and some items are even cheaper than Canada. Dairy products are really unbeatable in Australia. Soft drinks and some other dry foods were also better-priced. On average, if you compare everything, I have to say it’s pretty much very comparable with what I have seen in Toronto. Some items are more expensive in Toronto and cheaper in Melbourne and vice versa.

What struck me in the meat section is the Kangaroo meat. It’s a common item in Australia, which I haven’t seen in any other country, for obvious reasons.

Roundabouts in the Intersections

In most of North America, we have intersections with either stop signs or traffic lights. In Australia, I saw the roundabouts, which was a totally new concept for me. Roundabouts control the traffic flow in intersections without any signals or stop signs.

Motorists are forced to slow down and follow certain rules to go through these roundabouts. At an intersection, for instance, someone can go through straight, beating the red light or not stopping, but at a roundabout you can’t do that because you need to go around the roundabout. I find it safer and more efficient. It’s just a matter of getting used to it if you never used it before.