A Travellerspoint blog

Canada

A Winter's Tale

semi-overcast 15 °C

Not all winters on the Gulf Islands of British Columbia islands are created equally, but this one was an Oscar winner. With nothing more than a flurry of wet snow one cool December day, a balmy autumn slipped into a beautifully mild spring and completely confused the daffodils and cherry blossoms. The sun shone and the deck thermometer hovered in the mid-teens. But we had no time for sun-bathing – we worked:
Sheila, aided by her friend Ruth, made this fabulous quilt as a parting gift to Vancouver Island University....

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We wrote and published a biography in honour of our ‘Canadian mother’s’ 90th birthday....
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We celebrated Joyce’s coming of (a certain) age with a cake....
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Jim built a new deck overlooking the ocean ….
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And we pruned a few shrubs …. (You should’ve seen this one before Jeff lopped off the top.)
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So now we’re ready for a well earned holiday: Cairo, the pyramids and Egyptian temples first, and then to England for families and friends before we head to the south of France to cruise the tranquil waters of the Canal-du-Midi.
We hope you will join us from time to time. Camilla, our cat, wants to come. As soon as the backpacks were out she took up residence and refused to budge. She always does this - as soon as the packs appear she plonks herself on them and insists, “You’re not going without me this time!”
(Oh yes we are).

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Posted by Hawkson 06:44 Archived in Canada Comments (6)

South East Asia Revisited

sunny 18 °C

Real Balinese flags fluttered overhead and a genuine gamelin orchestra played on the stereo as close to thirty faithful blog followers joined us for our Asian Experience evening on Saturday.
Gary brought his motorbike to provide authentic ambience (but we made him switch the stinking thing off).
The weather co-operated to a degree. We had asked for the thirty degree temperatures of the previous few weeks, but, despite our offerings to the Hindu gods, there was a nip in the air as the evening progressed.

Here are a few of the flags we brought back from Bali ...
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The guest list was a Who's-Who of truly delightful people

Roy brought a case of real Thai beer and Catherine donated a bottle of Asian brandy (which tastes like it should be fuelling Gary's motorbike).
Thanks to Gary, Barrie and Sumiko, who eagerly took up spatulas to help with the cooking, we turned out enough authentic food to satisfy the throng. We had all the local favourites: Spring Rolls, Satay, Pad Thai, Green and Red Curry and various forms of rice , followed by Sticky Rice and Mango.

Thanks to everyone who came - sorry to those who missed it.
If only we had thought to take a group photo! No matter - here are just a few of the happy diners learning what it is like to eat in the backstreets of Bangkok...

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Posted by Hawkson 15:58 Archived in Canada Comments (2)

Around the World in 150 Days

sunny 13 °C

A school of dolphins greeted us playfully as we took the ferry home, while Camilla, our cat, gave us a lukewarm welcome that said, "I actually preferred the new people." Thanks to Tony and Janet, the "new people," everything at home is just purrfect ... although spring is certainly late this year and the daffodils are only just bursting.
The past five months have been so exciting and thought-provoking that returning to our serene house on a tranquil island has left us feeling disorientated. Where are the teeming throngs, the persistant touts, and the noisome vehicles? Silence is broken only by barking sea-lions and screeching eagles, and no one has tried to sell us anything from the moment we arrived in London three weeks ago. (In fact, we felt bad about interrupting gossipy shop assistants in England).
The mountains of British Columbia are still deep in winter, but the sun is shining and both sea and sky are blue; not quite as blue as the Mediterannean but close. Here is Sheila pretending to be the owner of a multi-million dollar yacht in Cannes...
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...and here is the view from our front window this morning.
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O.K. We know very well that we are incredibly fortunate and our time in South East Asia has re-enforced that view.
We would like to thank everyone who contributed to the fund that enabled us to make contributions to worthy causes during our trip, and we would especially like to thank everyone who took the time to read our blog.
As a reward to readers we will be holding a "South East Asia Experience" in May at which we will attempt to recreate the ambience and foods we encountered on our travels. Everyone is invited, (airfare not included - although accommodation will be provided). For an invite, just email us at Fishkisser20@hotmail.com. We would love you to come.
Now, it is time to say goodbye. We've loved taking you along with us on our Blissful Adventure and hope that you will come with us the next time we go a'travellin'.
So ... Goodbye from us and from Rebecca - the chipper Aussie whose wayward backpack gave us so much fun.
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Posted by Hawkson 06:28 Archived in Canada Comments (1)

Goodbye to friends

sunny 5 °C

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Goodbye to friends

I have been spoilt the last four weeks and made to feel special by my friends and colleagues as I move into retirement. Last Saturday my dear friend Joyce organized a party for my outside of work friends - friends I worked with in Nigeria 37 years ago; friends from the time I spent in China; and long time Gabriola friends. There was a wonderful feeling of community and celebration. Graham and Mike played music and there was a poignant moment when we all sang “those were the days!”
One of the goals of our trip will be to connect with people, to learn about their lives and make new friends.

Posted by Hawkson 06:51 Archived in Canada Comments (1)

Packing Our Bags

overcast 9 °C

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With only a week to go we are making final preparations for take-off. The house and garden are shipshape and spotless, (so spotless that we considered cancelling the whole trip and spending the next five months relaxing at home). All we have to do is finalize the packing.

Surrounded, as we are, with all the “stuff” essential for life it seems inconceivable that we could survive for five months on the road within the airline’s baggage allowance. But we’re not novices. We’ve both struggled across continents with giant suitcases full of outfits for every eventuality, only to find that a pair of shorts and a couple of T shirts would have been overkill. So, this time, we considered travelling with little more than a toothbrush and the clothes on our backs and buy native as required. However, we know that we are like Gulliver and his wife to the Lilliputians of S.E.Asia. While buying XXL in Canada might induce disdainful sniggers from a skinny store-clerk, shirts marked XXL in Bangkok wouldn’t decently cover us. So we’ve decided to compromise and take whatever we can cram into our backpacks.

Along with our clothes we’ve got passports, money and credit cards. The other essentials are: a compass for the jungles of Borneo, sunscreen for the beaches of Bali, mosquito repellant for everywhere, and a tin of talcum powder for the sore bits between Jim’s thighs.

So, with the addition of the Lonely Planet’s backpacker’s guide to S.E. Asia, and a giant pair of giraffe earrings, we are starting our countdown.

Posted by Hawkson 09:46 Archived in Canada Tagged postcards Comments (0)

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