Around the World a Bit at a Time

Travels: Past, Present and Future

Archive for October, 2007

In-Flight ‘Entertainment’

Posted by Leanne on October 24, 2007

Maybe I’ve been spoiled, but when I go on a long haul flight, I expect TVs in the backs of seats to keep me entertained for the duration of the flight, not a barely visible, ‘large’ screen in front of loads of people’s heads which you can barely see anyway, and heaven forbid if they start to serve food. There goes the ending to the film…

Sunset from a Plane

Sunset from a Plane

So this was the second Air Canada flight I experienced, and the second time I had to choose between mind-numbing boredom, or watching a barely visible shit film (which could ultimately result in mind-numbing boredom) and it was apparent to me that something needed to be done. But what?

Why, make your own in flight entertainment of cause, which in turn attracts the attention of all the other bored people on the plane and encourages them to talk to you to tell you just how brilliant and imaginative you are*.

Watching 24 on the Plane

'Watching' 24 on the Plane

*Or to be more precise, ask if you are British, and when you respond positively, they tell you that they knew it, because they ‘recognise the sense of humour’!?

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Looking Out Over Vancouver

Posted by Leanne on October 23, 2007

Day 21

From past experience, I find that people tend to spend their last day of a holiday hanging around and waiting to leave. This time, I decided that I wanted to make the most of the few hours I had left in Vancouver and actually use them to enjoy the brilliant summer-like sunshine and to do something. The activity of choice was to visit the Vancouver Lookout tower to see the city from above.
Vancouver Lookout Tower
Vancouver Lookout Tower

I took one picture from each of the 70 windows with the intention of making a panorama… still haven’t got round to doing anything about that…

Vancouver From Above

Vancouver From Above

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Erik

Posted by Leanne on October 22, 2007

Day 20

Erik is 66 years old. He hails from Denmark, he has travelled the world five times and has been half way around the world twice more. In his lifetime he has visited 63 countries and all of the continents of the world, including Antarctica.

Today we joined his hostel tour of Vancouver and Lynn Forest Canyon and Suspension Bridge and I have to say, it was a pleasure to spend the day in the company of such an interesting man, and learning interesting things about Vancouver.

Erik, and the Narrowest Building in Vancouver

Erik, and the Narrowest Building in Vancouver

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To Mars and Back in Three Minutes

Posted by Leanne on October 21, 2007

Day 19

Its been over four weeks since I last went to salsa and as my thoughts turn more and more to home, my dancin’ feet are feeling VERY itchy, so today, we caught a floating bathtub over to Granville Island to play on the Dance Mat Machine in the Kids Market.

Another rainy day took us to the HR Macmillan Space Centre and took the most unconvincing trip to Mars I’ve ever had the misfortune to be on. We took off from Earth and less than a minute later we were flying into the Sun. Now I’ve never been to the Sun, but I’m pretty sure that it takes more than a minute to get there, and I know for a fact that, if Earth to the Sun takes 30 seconds, then moving on from the Sun to Mars should certainly take more than 30 seconds. It didn’t and as the simulator rocked around, instead of entralled and excited, I just felt a little bit sick.

We ended the day with a walk to the cinema where, along with four other people we enjoyed the delightfully funny Death at a Funeral. Oh and got very wet:

A Very Wet Leanne

A Very Wet Leanne

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From IMAX to OMNIMAX

Posted by Leanne on October 20, 2007

Day 18

Hungover, rainy- there was nothing for it but to go to the IMAX to watch a film about dinosaurs whilst wearing funny glasses, and then to the OMNIMAX, to watch a film about mummies, the same quality as the IMAX, but without the silly glasses.

The Omnimax is in Telus World of Science which would be one of my all time favourite museums if it wasn’t for all the kids getting in the way when you want to play on stuff…

To quote Paul “I wish these bloody kids would go away. They’re not even doing it properly… I wanted to build a dam and they’re just chucking blocks everywhere. Hmmph!”

Funny Mirrors, telus World of Science

Funny Mirrors, Telus World of Science

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Canada is Tiny

Posted by Leanne on October 19, 2007

Day 17

Driving (or being driven) back to Vancouver took a long time- time to reflect that I am coming to the end of my Canadian adventure. I wanted to go out with a bang- but after driving through this:

SNOW!

SNOW!

and then some rain, it turned out that the sky dive I hoped to do on the way back Vancouver wasn’t going to be happening, so it turned out to be a rather sedate day.

After checking into the hostel (which doesn’t have a bar) and settling down in the room, it was past 9pm and we weren’t sure whether the off licence would still be open:

Off Licence, Vancouver

Off Licence, Vancouver

so we decided to gatecrash a different hostel to make use of their bar in the absence of anything more exciting to do that night. I was just beginning to regret it when a racist old bloke sat at our table, uninvited and started mumbling incomprehensibly for the most part (I kept having to ask him to repeat himself and wishing I hadn’t bothered) when Robyn, who we had said goodbye to in Banff walked through the door and made everything much more jolly- to the point that we decided to visit the Irish bar across the road when she left us… There, we bumped into 2 other people from the Rockies tour. I don’t know why people keep going on about how big Canada is- it’s tiny. There are people you know everywhere!

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Revelstoke to Kelowna

Posted by Leanne on October 18, 2007

Day 16

If I was to sum up the trip to Kelowna in three short phrases, I would say: ‘go-karting’; ‘funny looking chickens’ and ‘crazy wine lady’.

Go karting for the first time was short but sweet and put a bit of excitement into the morning.

The funny looking chickens were actually ‘exotic’ chickens at a farm where we stopped for ice-cream.

The crazy wine lady was our tour guide at Summerhill Winery where they farm grapes organically and age the wine in a pyramid because pyramids have special magical powers. I’m not convinced, but the wine did taste good.

Summerhill Winery

Summerhill Winery

These three events took us to Kelowna where we spent a night just chilling at the hostel, and where we bumped into Helen, from our Vancouver Island tour… it’s a small world after all!

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Back on the Road

Posted by Leanne on October 17, 2007

Day 15

Yet another early morning to catch the next leg of the Moose tour which would eventually take us back to Vancouver. I speculated on the people I would meet, whether we would get on well and form long lasting friendships, or whether we’d stick together during the tour and then go our separate ways forever.

I needn’t have bothered: we were the only two people booked on the bus that day but that was OK because today I learned that wolves are amazing creatures and not the evil monsters they are made out to be in fairy tales, and in real life. Today I helped make two wolves howl and when wolves howl they do it in harmony, so a pack of four can sound like 10.  It’s a magical sound.

Wolf

Wolf

Today I got in a beautiful hand-made kayak in Revelstoke and paddled in the peaceful Revelstoke lake near waterfalls. Today I heard the perfect echo as I howled like a wolf from my kayak and today I toasted my first hotdog when we paddled back to shore and got invited to join a bonfire by the lake.

Today was brilliant.

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Getting to Calgary

Posted by Leanne on October 16, 2007

Day 14

Another early morning today and fortunately the bus came and actually took us to Calgary this time- a bustling city which you can navigate without ever going outside if you don’t want to due to the complex network of walkways which weave through the city centre connecting malls and offices alike.

After a quick lunch, we walked along the golden tree-lined riverside to the zoo- one of the best in North America, according to my guide book. It was rubbish: A lot of the animals were missing and some of the ones which were there looked restless and unhappy. I’ve been to zoos before and appreciate the modern day counterparts to the old animal prisons where animals who are unable to fend for themselves in the wild are looked after and given a good life. I don’t know why, but this zoo didn’t feel very much like that… I’m pretty sure that dinosaurs need more space than they were given too.

Dinosaur Enclosure, Calgary Zoo

Dinosaur Enclosure, Calgary Zoo

On the way home I listened to the chatter of a silly Canadian woman, who had upped sticks, sold her car and all her worldly goods to move to Calgary, and then a week later decided to move back home. It’s always nice to get some in-bus entertainment on a (usually dull) Greyhound ride.

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Not Getting to Calgary

Posted by Leanne on October 15, 2007

Day 13

I’ve mentioned that Banff is small right? Well the size of the place didn’t merit the four days we had to stay there, so the plan for today was to go to Calgary.

We got up early, trying our best to wake up the loud drunken people who had come in at four in the morning and made lots of noise and made our way to the bus stop for the 9.15am Greyhound to Calgary. At 9.30am we found out that it was 2 hours late, so like any self respecting geeks, we went to a cafe to play Scrabble.

The Best Cafe in Banff

The Best Cafe in Banff

An hour later we returned to find that the 9.15 wasn’t ever going to be coming to Banff because all the passengers had been put in taxis to Canmore. We weren’t going to Calagry today after all.

We tried to rent a canoe… the canoe place was shut, we went to the Whyte museum, but the main exhibition was closed. We even tried to do laundry and that went wrong too.

The only successful mission I accomplished was going to the movie theater (oh yes, I’m in North America now where the toilets are washrooms and the cinema is a movie theater) to see Michael Clayton. It was a strange experience. There were two of us in the theater that night, in addition to the 5 staff and they seemed really excited to see us. Which was nice. The movie was alright too.

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