Sunday, January 27, 2008

two (personal) firsts

This winter we have embraced (or accepted) the cold and wet weather, and have gotten out on our bikes a whole lot more. Mostly for convenience in getting places since we don't have a car, but also for exercise and to enjoy the beautiful city in which we live. The beanie under the helmet, wind-proof gloves, a scarf and some new cold-weather active pants (for Andrew) make the 'fresh' conditions bearable and often enjoyable.

I am not sure what inspired us to do so, maybe it was the Long Way Down adventure that we just watched, which took Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman on their bikes across fourteen international borders in Africa, but yesterday we did our first trans-national ride from Canada to the United States - first #1!

We stayed the night at Ken & Julie's cabin in Pt. Roberts Washington, got some reading for our classes done, watched two James Bond films from Ken's collection, cooked ourselves a Mexican meal and drank some cheap (but good) beer - a good time! We woke up to freezing weather and accumulating snow. So our #2 first was riding out of Pt. Roberts to Tsawwassen on the Canadian side in about an inch of snow. Sadly, we have no pictures to capture the experience. Imagine cars struggling for traction, and trying to stay very straight and upright as you peddled, otherwise the slip and slide would take over. Small steps of adventure...

Saturday, January 26, 2008

"Canada not so safe: website"

Apparently we aren't safe here...

"CANADIANS have been left bewildered by an Australian Government advisory warning travellers to be cautious when visiting their country.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's Smart Traveller website warns potential tourists of terrorism, dangerous winter driving, heavy snow, ice and wind chills, as well as tornadoes, earthquakes and forest fires.

Canada is listed in its second-safest category while countries such as Chile, South Korea and Latvia are regarded as safer.

ABC online reported yesterday there had been no response from the Canadian Government but plenty of public reaction, with many residents wondering where Australia was sourcing its information.

There is no warning for Australia on Canada's Foreign Affairs website, except for an advisory to be wary of pickpockets and avoid demonstrations because they could turn violent, ABC online reported."

source: smh

I would be more inclined to go with the Canadian's advice, as someone has tried to pickpocket me here. Other dangers we have experienced/heard of:

  • the risk of freezing to death after Jessica's clothes were stolen from the university pool
  • being hit by a slap-shot hockey puck
  • starving to death due to the low minimum wage and high price of cheese
  • (and sadly and realistically) being Tazered to death in Vancouver International Airport

Friday, January 11, 2008

Sydney Visit

Our four weeks in Sydney are quickly coming to an end. The trip has been a wonderful chance to bask in the summer sun unfilterd by a pesky ozone layer, enjoy some excellent and controversial cricket, talk long bushwalks through national parks and "shortcuts" through suburban backyards, and a truly delightful sail on Sydney Harbour. Of course, the reason we came in the first place was for Rob's wedding, which seems a very long time ago now with all the eating, drinking, and merrymaking that filled the remaining weeks. And, as a "souvenir" of sorts to inspire envy in our winter-bound friends, I have ignored the Australian skin-cancer ads and engaged remorselessly in tanning, at times without suncream.

While it has been wonderful to be in Sydney, it will also be good to be back with our friends in Vancouver and to recommence our studies; we both have challenging and exciting classes to tackle next term. Even though it is almost impossible to get our minds around the fact that the weather in Vancouver continues to be only about 2 degrees and raining, this jumping between summer and winter worlds means that we get swimming at Manly beach and skiing at Whistler within a week of each other, which is hard to beat!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

re-claiming old photos (and memories)

Our international lifestyle doesn't bode well for carting photo albums across the oceans. With some time on our hands in Sydney, we have been re-claiming some old photos (and all the memories that come with them), with my Dad's new scanner. Jess' parents have been doing this too, to fill their Christmas gift, a 'digital photo frame', with pics from yester-year too. Flashback...