And I’m back

Short post. I’m back from Costa Rica and Nicaragua. Even though it was only 10 days, it felt like I was there for a month – we did so much. Had fun, got sick, enjoyed the cruise, zip-lined, saw lots of wildlife and plants, held hands with a monkey, and saw what it’s really like in a developing country. Photos to follow. Tomorrow I start my new job, so the photos will probably come later rather than sooner.


Hola desde Costa Rica

I think that’s how you say it. Well I’m in Costa Rica waiting for my mom and sisters to arrive. We’re doing a girls only cruise on the Wind Star. Yes, la-de-da. It’s my mom’s big birthday. (Not going to say how old because she may kill me for broadcasting it to the world, but it’s not that old.)

Last night I got in and watched TV – mostly flipping channels, seeing how much Spanish I remember and reading the Spanish subtitles on the English stations. TV doesn’t seem to be much different than what you get up north. It’s a lot of the same exact crap with Spanish dubbing.

The music is pretty good. They have it piped into the hotel lobby. I heard a band that sounds like Blink182, but in Spanish, and they’re now playing something that sounds like your typical girl pop song, but in Spanish. So you could probably say it’s the same crap you get up north, but in Spanish.

I’m typing on a Spanish keyboard, and this is it’s taking me forever since all the punctuation is in the wrong spots.

¡Hasta la vista!


Paris souvenirs

Things to remember about Paris, in no particular order.

  • Itinerary
  • Photos
  • View of the Eiffel Tower from the apartment at 1am when only the sparkling lights are on
  • Police concert
  • American sandwiches at the Police concert – two hot dogs on a baguette topped with French fries and special sauce (dead-on name, just never have seen it before)
  • Sainte Chapelle
  • Getting lost in the Louvre
  • Dinner at Alain Ducasse
  • Seeing fashion shows, parties, and photo shoots
  • Nuit Blanche – Choir and organ concert at Notre Dame
  • Watching France vs New Zealand rugby match on the big screen at Place de Hotel de Ville with thousands of other people – and France won
  • Chocolate chaud at Angelina’s
  • Tea and macaroons at Laduree
  • Tea at Mariage Freres
  • Chocolate
  • Fauchon cafe
  • Following Amelie’s footsteps in Montmartre
  • Shopping in the 8ème
  • Sunday morning wake-up call
  • Finding a painting of Brendon
  • Wandering the city
  • Schedule – wake at 9, breakfast, explore, lunch, explore, tea, explore, go home, have dinner, sleep

In the city of blinding light

Well after months of planning we got to Paris. Everything was going perfectly until we tried to find the apartment. The was no number 52 on Quai to Grenelle. In fact, there was no even numbers on the street. Of course all the worse things started flooding through my head at this point, filling my ears with something that sounded like Doctor Who’s tardis taking off, and pulling me down to the ground and my head between my knees. Well it was probably more like I had forgot to breathe, hadn’t slept, nor ate any proper food in the past 24 hours. This is when Mom’s fainting advice with box breathing and putting your head between your knees came in very handy. (Women tend to faint in the heat in my family) So after about 2 minutes of me with doing my best impression of a dog licking its balls on a bench near the La Seine, I felt somewhat normal. And Brendon went to see if it was the next building over.

Now my impression of a dog must have been quiet convincing, since a cute little salt and pepper terrier came over to say hello. And he quickly wanted to claim me as his own…by peeing on my suitcase. But it must have brought me good luck – Brendon came back and said he found the apartment. Number 57, not 52 — they look similar, right?

After finally getting into the apartment we took a nap. (I know, I know…you’re not supposed to do that. And that’s why I’m up at 5am.)

The rest of the day we walked around our neighborhood, found the local bakeries, went walking along La Seine to the Eiffel, dodged the ‘did you lose your ring’ and ‘do you speak English” scammers, happend on the Diana make-shift memorial, ate at a local cafe, went grocery shopping, watched a bad/funny French variety show, and went to bed.
But the apartment is lovely, and the view spectacular: overlooking the Seine, and 3/4 of the Eiffel Tower, top-to-bottom, along with the lovely light show every hour from dusk to 2am. But at 5-in-the-morning, the tower is dark now, and the city is surprising quiet.

Off to make breakfast. Pictures to come on Flickr.



Brendon and I usually take our vacation in the fall, after all the kids go back to school. 5 years ago we got stuck up on the top of a mountain with no way to get choppered down since North American airspace was shut down (and I thought I was an only child for a few hours-still phone or message my sisters every 11 Sept). This year went off without a hitch.

We got back from our touristy trip to SoCal last night: L.A. (Getty, Hollywood, Beverly Hills), Disneyland, San Diego (Zoo, Wild Animal Park, and SeaWorld). Felt like we’d been gone for a few weeks rather than just 9 days.

L.A. feels much newer than San Francisco. It’s smaller than I remember. I guess it’s just the traffic that makes it seem big. And maybe the big egos that drive around in it. The Getty is huge. Hollywood Blvd cleaned up – feels like Granville St. And Santa Monica’s Third Street is what Granville Street should be. L.A. and Vancouver are sister cities – one’s the sunny blonde, the other the brooding brunette.

If you go to Disneyland you have to go on the Hollywood Tower of Terror – i won’t tell you want it does, you won’t expect it, and you will scream. Pirates of the Carribean was still good – they didn’t mess it up by altering scenes to fit the movies. Astro Blasters was like being in a video game – a children’s game, but still. And I’m making a note that I will be pulling children out of school when the time comes to go to Disneyland, so we don’t have to deal with insanely long lines and heat. We didn’t have to wait more than 10 minutes – and that was without the FastPass.

San Diego feels like Vancouver, but warmer and with military. (S.D. is probably the one place I’ve been with the most bases in the area. Northern Ireland was the most fortified.) The Gaslamp Quarter is like Gastown, except more restaurants (steak, mexican and italian mainly). And the new buildings downtown look like the new buildings in Downtown Vancouver. I wonder how much that has to do with Bosa building in both places. And there’s way too much walking uphills and in heat at the San Diego Zoo, but worth it to see all the cute animals. The Wild Animal Park was better in my opinion – do that first so you learn all about the animals and follow-me marks. Passed Camp Pendleton where my dad was stationed before Vietnam. And saw the rather sad/weird/scary illegal immigrant crossing caution sign on the highway.

Coming back we barrelled up the I-5, past the Day Fire and into the desert with artificial rivers. It was very strange to see dust devils and lush farmland side by side. I now know where all my food comes from – garlic trucks smell nice, cattle farms (forests as Brendon called them since it was wall-to-wall cows) smell bad.

Pictures will come…just have to get them off the camera and the iPod and up on to Flickr.

Next planned trip – back to Canada for a white Christmas.