Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Horseback riding in the Pyrenees Mountains in France

Once upon a time in Sept. 2005...
So, there we were, in Paris, and we had planned on taking the train, 5 hours or so southwest of Paris, and head to Lourdes, famous as the place where Bernadette Soubirous saw apparitions of Mother Mary. But before we actually get there by train, we have to do one of our stupid adventure screw ups.... We get off at Pau, a town about 2 stops before Lourdes itself. The funny thing is, we actually asked a French girl on the train, if this stop at Pau, is the stop that we get off, if we want to go to Lourdes. Don't ask why we even thought, Pau would be the right stop, instead of a stop called Lourdes. Anyway, she said "oui, ahhh, yes, for sure it is", so we got off, and within minutes realized how stupid we are!!!

Luckily, there was one more train 20 minutes behind us, so we bought 2 new tickets, and got on the next train. Crazy lying French bitch!!!! lol

Once we got to the town of Lourdes which sits on the Pyrenean foothills, in southwestern France we were quit happy after a long train ride.

The place is kind of freaky...there are Mother Mary water bottles where you actually drink from her head. Weird stuff. Then there are Mother Mary cups, pictures, playing cards, statues, books, dolls, neon signs, it just goes on. One kid walking with his friends, on a school or church trip, said it best...."this place is kind of creepy and weird"

Although, saying that, the actual religious part of the town is beautiful, and does have a special vibe to it. Just stay away from the Vegas part of town, where all the souvenier shops and hotels are.

Anyway, we decided to head further into the mountains and go to the town of Gavarnie, about a 40 minute drive from Lourdes. Here we would get a couple of horses and go horseback riding into the mountains, towards the Cirque de Gavarnie, a breathtaking rock amphitheatre, 1500m high, dominated by ice-capped peaks.

We get to the town, and go to the stable, and negotiate the price for the horses. After we did that, the French guy, gives us the two ropes for the horses, and just hands them to us, and goes, you have to go that way, and it will take you around 1 hour to reach the waterfall. My wife and I both look at each other, and have this look of surprise and laughter. We tell him, "are you not coming with us?" He says in his heavy French accent...."no!!"
Considering I'm a well distinguished equestrian rider, I was OK with this.....pause.....NOT!!!

We only have been on horses a couple other times in our life, what makes this guy think we could not only go ourselves, but come back alive with his horses???

After a few minutes, he decided to come with us, not because he cared about our safety, but more like he cared about the safety of his horses!!!

The ride did end up being incredible, and the views breathtaking. This part of France is awesome, and if you ever get a chance to go, make sure you visit the Pyrenees in southwestern France.

Friday, September 24, 2010

What's the deal with soap in Victoria??

Here I am on Vancouver island in Victoria. Question: Why does the soap in Victoria not wash off properly??
Answer: Who the freck knows?

I try and wash my hands, no matter if at hotel or public washroom, and once you put on the soap, that's it!!! It doesn't come off...takes a good 3 minutes before you can wash it off. Now the bigger question might be, is it the soap, or the water. I'm starting to think it might be the water. Since the "water" is the constant in this equation. Soap is different at the hotel, or any public place I go to, but water remains the same.

I must investigate further before a proper decision and conclusion can be determined!!! ;)

My studies will continue, as I have one more client meeting before I head to Nanaimo for some more meetings on Monday.

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Monday, September 20, 2010

Back in BC again

I am back in Vancouver again for work, and it's been only 5 months since I was there last time.

Got in on Sunday, as I have early meetings Monday, and took the chance to visit the Museum of Anthropology at UBC. What an amazing place, with probably the best collection of Northwest Coast Native art and cultural items. Plus, they have an international collection of masks from around the world, everywhere from PNG to Mexico. Anyone who knows me well, knows I love tribal artifacts and art, including masks and wooden carvings. It was like I was in a candy store!!

Had some meetings today, which went really good, and had a chance to walk around Stanley Park in between meetings.
Had a rental car with GPS, so I could find the offices where I had meetings, and I'm glad I did, since it would have been impossible for me to find anything at all.

I have 2 more days of meetings in the Vancouver area, and then I am on my way to Vancouver Island, with more meetings in Victoria and Nanaimo. This will be my first time on the island, and can't wait to see it.

Will post more later...salmon you later!!!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

PEI , lobsters and crazy Anne!!!!

Just got back from the island province of PEI. Went there for my brothers wedding, which was amazing.

One of the strange things on the island is the amount of Anne of Green Gables memorabilia sold everywhere, from Anne of Green Gables chocolate to jam to t-shirts to flower seeds. Did you know that the Japanese are addicted to everything Anne!!! When we visited the national park where Anne's house is, we saw some Japanese tourists. Apparently it's so huge in Japan...which is mind boggling to me. Lol

Me really cool thing is the amount of fresh seafood sold everywhere. I ate lobster, lobster burgers, lobster caesar wraps, lobster everything. Pretty funny stuff but tasted pretty good.

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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Hot, Humid and taxi with broken air cons

What's up with getting a taxi in Ottawa on a hot day that actually has an air conditioner that works. Apparently both taxis I took said that the air con broke the day before...ya's always the day before. Not only that, the guy got lost, then his credit card machine was broken, and then he dropped me off 300 metres from the place. I went into the meeting sweating like a just worked out for 3 hours.

That's was my day in Ottawa.
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The Nation's Capital is frickin hot!!

Sitting on a rooftop patio going over some notes for work before my meeting this afternoon. Let me tell you, I feel like Kramer on Seinfeld when he hangs out on the rooftop patio too long while buttering himself up. "Stick a fork in me Jerry, I'm done!!!". It must be like 40 degrees celsius up here. Might only be able to take this for like 10 more minutes, otherwise some fat Ottawanian will try to eat me, cause you could stick a fork in me, I'm totally done!!! Lol

Was able to quickly walk to the Parliament Building area, and I will post those photos on Flickr when I get back.

I better not knock over any jars of parmesian or parsley while I'm going in from this heat... ;)

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Friday, May 14, 2010

Top 10 Future Travel Destinations

Someone lately asked me what my top 10 travel destinations were. The criteria was simple, pick any place in the world which you think you would be able to travel to.

Well here is my list in no particular order:

1. Brazil
2. China
3. Antartic
4. New Zealand
5. South Africa
6. Ethiopia
7. Ecuador
8. Indonesia
9. Poland (my wife's homeland)
10. Zimbabwe(or another Africa country like Kenya
11. Guatemala

ok, so I couldn't come up with only ten!! lol

Here is Aneta's top 10, again in no particular order.

1. Poland
2. Italy
3. Brazil
4. South Africa
5. Kenya
6. Australia
7. China
8. Argentina
9. Antartic
10. Russia

I hope I can check off these countries sooner rather then later.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The pig trough!!

Had a full day of sessions at the conference yesterday in Philly. Once the sessions were over at around 6 pm, they had a reception just outside the room where the sessions were being held. They had a table set up in the middle with food. Once those doors were opened releasing the people from the session, they just attacked the table of food. I compare it to pigs being released to feed on the trough. It was pretty funny...just picture all these people attacking this table. It lasted about 10-15 minutes, during that time the food was demolished, then as if the group was working uniformly, they started dissipating, to reveal a table with some scraps of food left, damaged as if it was attacked by a packs of wolves.

What is it with a table of free food, that brings out our inner animal? It felt like a cartoon, and all I could picture is a group of pigs released for feeding time, and they all rush to the table or trough and just go to town on it.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

16 and Pregnant and Kate Gosselin and burgers cooked inside a pool of oil!?!?

If this doesn't sum up the US what does?? Flipping through some of the channels on the TV at my Philly hotel, and the 3 consecutive channels were MTV's "16 and Pregnant", CNN has their headline of the day as "Kate Gosselin of Jon & Kate plus 8 fighting back after husband is trying to trash her publicly and wants sole custody of all 8 kids and even the 'educational' Travel Network had a show on how this place serves burgers drowned and cooked in a pool of oil and apparently customers order the double decker burger with over 1500 calories and 200 grams of fat.

People always say, to find out about a culture or city when travelling, walk around, people watch and flip through the TV channels. Well, I walked around and observed fast food place after fast food place, Philly Cheese Steak specialty and flipping through 3 channels, I have realized that the words "Yes we Can" means yes we can be pretty fat and obese and pretty trashy!!! "Yes we can!!". Lololol

All kidding aside, Philly looks like a pretty interesting city and a lot of history.

Did get a chance to walk around a bit, and really liked the old parts of Philadelphia. Plus, the city is made even nicer with all the art and statues around the city.

Now let me go eat a Philly Cheese Steak and get a heart attack and spend $125,000 USD at the near by hospital. :)

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Saturday, April 3, 2010

Whistler Bungee Jump

This was something I had planned to do for a while, but was never inspired to jump, until I read about Whistler Bungee Jump. I knew I would be on a work trip in Vancouver, so I decided to extend my business trip by a couple of days and make it out to Whistler. Instead of snowboarding or skiing, I decided to go bungee jumping. I knew that I never wanted to jump off those crane style jumps, I knew I wanted it to be over a river, in a canyon and around great scenery. This place had it all!!

There are a couple of other places I wouldn't mind jumping, one is in New Zealand and the other is in Zimbabwe right beside Victoria Falls. These places, like Whistler, have all the ingredients to make the jump a little more adventurous and exhilarating!!

Once I was on the bridge waiting to jump, I didn't feel nervous if anything more anxious. The wait was worse than the jump...

I stepped on the ledge, the guy counted backwards from 5, and I was off. I choose to jump backwards, the logic being that it would give me more of a rush, since you have no idea where the ground is and you are somewhat blinded. It definitely was a rush, and after the jump was over, you have this adrenalin pump and you are looking for what else you can jump!!!

The initial free fall was awesome, as I was screaming like an excited kid all the way down. Once you make it to the bottom, around 10 metres from the water, you think it's over, but it isn't. The bounce back up is even worse, then you float mid-air, like in a Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote cartoon. It feels like you are in one spot for seconds, and then "poof", like in the cartoon, that smoke image appears, and you fall back down. You almost feel like you are looking at the camera, and have time to hold up a "help me!!" sign. This happens probably 3 times after the initial first jump.

Once you are a little stabilized, they send down a rope with a clip, you clip yourself in, and they drag you back up.

Saturday, March 27, 2010


Btw, why are half the people who work in Whistler either British or Australian. Whatever happened to Canucks??

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Whistler Bungee Jump

Well, I did it. And it was great. Just drinking some beer at Whistler Village and eating some lunch in the shadows of the mountains. Drinking to success...the bungee jump, the business trip, the client everything.

Going back home to my wife tomorrow, can't wait... Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network

What a frickin drive!!

Wow, the drive up to Whistler is just amazing. You have the sea on one side, the mountains on the other side and a waterfall every km.

Hard to put into words, so I won't try. Lol

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Waking up at 4 am!!!

Woke up at 4 am to catch a bus to Whistler. Not sure what I want to do while there. Time permitting might take a couple of runs snowboarding, but the way I feel this whole week, and the limited amount of time I have, might just skip it.

I do have bungee jumping planned. What attracted me to Whistler Bungee Jump is the location. Right over a white water river in a canyon in the middle of the thick forests surrounding Whistler.

Should have some posts later today.
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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Capilano Suspension Bridge and the North Shore

Yesterday, I had some spare time and was able to visit North Van, at the North Shore where I checked out Capilano Suspension Bridge. Also hiked through the temperate rain forests of BC.

Today, the weather is sunny, clear skies and warm temps. U know what that means, I had a full and busy day which started at 7 and ended around 6 at night.

Did get a chance to walk around during lunch hour. The view of the snow-capped mountains across the bay from Vancity were really spectacular today.

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Monday, March 22, 2010

Sunny weather means I have meetings to attend!! :(

Yesterday I had the whole day off landing early in Vancouver. Today I had 2 important meetings spread throughout the day, and its sunny and 15 degrees...go figure...

I did get to walk across the street from my hotel the Delta Suites Vancouver to go to the top of the Vancouver lookout. Got some great pics from the viewing deck!!

Going for some dinner!! Peace...
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No one Jaywalks in VanCity

Something I've noticed in my short time in Vancouver so far. No one really Jaywalks!! People wait patiently for the light to change to green before they try to walk across the street...even in situations where there are no cars in view anywhere!! I find this odd...where I'm I Bizarro Toronto, where everyone crosses and jaywalks all the time. I guess that's why people in T.O. Are always getting hit by

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Sunday, March 21, 2010

Flaming Torches, long walks, Canadian souvenirs and Northwest Coast Masks!!!

Landing in Vancouver early this morning around 9 am. Took the opportunity of getting here early before some client meetings to take in some of the city.

Walked around most of the downtown core, about 2 hours of walking. Went to Robson Square, which still had huge crowds, went to the Bill Reid Gallery for some Northwest Coast Native art and then went to the Olympic Torch site, Canada Place and old Vancouver area, Gastown.

I also bought a Northwest Coast Mask from Hill Native Art store in Gastown. The mask represents a bee and has many different colours.

Just eating dinner right now...until tomorrow...

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I'm waiting at the Toronto airport, waiting for my flight to Vancouver for a business trip. Although I have many meetings and a conference to attend, during my spare time I intend to take in some sights.

I love being ay the airport this early in the morning. Its about 4 am, and it feels like a ghost town.

I will be blogging all week while I am in BC.

Too bad the conference wasn't a few weeks ago during the Olympics. :(

Mark out!!
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