A Travellerspoint blog

Canada

OBWT By The Numbers

sunny 28 °C

Days Away: 341

Kilometres travelled: 74,600

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Home for 19 Hours: Vancouver to Singapore, Aug 4, 2007

Number of countries visited: 28

Number of nights in budget hotels: 101

Number of nights in self-catering accomodation: 167

Number of nights in hostels: 17

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Door to our hostel room in Chengdu, China Note 24-hour construction site

Number of nights in guest houses, resorts and B&Bs: 42

Number of nights on overnight trains: 5 (2 in China, 2 in Vietnam, 1 in Egypt)

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Bunk in Train: Beijing to Hanoi, night one of two, Sep, 2007

Number of nights as guests in someone's home: 8 (thank you Jean & Bruce, Fred & Irith)

Number of nights camping: 1 (ironically on the coldest night of our entire trip!)

Number of Doctor's visits: 1 (Anica in Chengdu)

Number of Hospital visits: 1 (Jenn in Singapore)

Number of cities where we rode the subway: 11 (Singapore, Kuala Lampur, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Delhi, Cairo, Barcelona, Vienna, Berlin, Paris, London)

Number of cities where we took a public ferryboat: 7 (Vancouver, Pangkor, Georgetown, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Ernakulum, Venice)

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Passing under the Rialto Bridge by Vaporetto, Venice, March 2007

Number of elephant rides: 2 (Thailand and India)

Number of camel rides: 2 (India and Egypt)

Number of other transportation forms we used: 18 ( bus, subway, funicular, tram, streetcar, hydrofoil, tuk-tuk, cyclo, rickshaw, auto-rickshaw, motorbike, canoe, bamboo raft, electric boat, cable car, chair lift, felucca, and donkey)

Number of different beds we slept in: 98

G.N.!

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Cambodian gas station. The road to Siem Reap, Oct 2007

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Poling for dollars: the Kerala backwaters, Nov 2007

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Decorated Rajastani truck, Oct 2007

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Ready for the Red Sea: snorkeling, Jan 2008

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Blowin' in the wind high above Albinen, Switzerland, April 2008

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Not hard to find parking: Scottish Highlands, May 2008

Posted by jennrob 05:54 Archived in Canada Comments (4)

Our Home and Native Land

Home - Safe and Sound!

sunny 28 °C

July 5-7

(Rob)

Home again, safe and sound! Ever thought about what means? Safe - that's simple: our plane didn't crash. Sound - meaning still of "sound mind." A little more complicated to judge, but I think we've done it.

My parents met us at the airport and we were all smiles and hugs. Jenn's foot is a little better, Anica's cold is better and despite the time difference, we couldn't wait to see our "new" home. We've been away for eleven months and one week, after living in the condo for just three months.

We even went to Swiss Chalet for dinner. Very Canadian, actually.

Then the moment of truth. Home. Everything looked better than I remembered: the lobby, the elevator, our front hall, the walls we had painted, our furniture. Our parents had the place spotlessly clean and had stocked the pantry, too. Lucky us!

There were things I'd forgotten. As I washed my hands, I stared down at the taps, thinking, it's like I've never seen these before - completely unfamiliar. And I have clothes...so many clothes! Not really, but more than I had in my backpack. So we're running around the apartment, trying to figure out where lights are turned on, what cupboards the dishes are in...it's what we've been doing every week on the road.

The calendar on the fridge was as we'd left it: July 2007. We looked at all the appointments scrawled in, leading up to the day we left. July 30th last year.

Anica enjoyed playing with her toys for most of the next day. She's got so many toys! I thought we'd pared down when we moved, but there's still so much. No more than her friends do, but so much more than she had with her on the trip. So much more than children in many of the other countries we've visited. We'll be giving more away. Anica's been very willing to make choices of what to give up. Partly she's just older and no longer interested in the same things.

The only thing I found sad was that Anica's forgotten almost all she learned about playing the piano. She took two years of lessons, but she's going to have to go back to the beginning now. She'll pick it up much faster this time, because she's learned it once before. Now she's enjoying sitting down at the piano, and picking out the songs from her beginning book, so that's a positive thing. But it's a little "Flowers for Algernon."

Since we talked endlessly about "when we come back home," we have some decisions to carry out that we're tackling immediately. Before inertia sets in. Like shedding even more of our possessions. There are things we didn't even remember we had after a year. Other things we didn't have with us and never missed.

Unfortunately, we can't live where we do, and work where I do, and not have a car. So we went out and leased a new car. The "green" angle here is that we used to have two cars!

The weirdest part might be not having a phone yet. They're coming tomorrow for that. Right now, it's like we're still travelling - our only way of getting in touch with people is by piggybacking a free wi-fi signal. There's still a feeling of "it hasn't sunk in yet."

July 5

(Anica)

"Home!"

Boy it feels weird to be home! One second wheir on a airplane being served ice cream and twix, next second meeting Nana and Grampa at Toronto Pearson airport having dinner at Swiss Chalet. Then home! I'm having a lot of fun whith especially thanks to Emily, Sarah and Sam who have been lots of fun (Emily as the big unicorn, Sarah another and Sam the chihuahua I play with). Well I'm a bit tired now, so G.N.

Posted by jennrob 05:44 Archived in Canada Comments (2)

"It's not that far..."

(or the last few days... sponsored by London Drugs)

semi-overcast 22 °C

Wednesday, August 1st

(Jenn)

Quiet morning around the house. Anica and Lauren had had a sleepover. Needless to say very little sleep was had and Anica walked around complaining that her cousin had woken her at 6:30 am :P

In the afternoon, we went to a splash pad at the nearby park and the inevitable meltdown finally came during a family game of soccer. Rob and I took Anica back to the guest suite and one "rest time" later (which consisted of quietly watching a movie and enjoying a small snack) we were back in action.

Had a lovely BBQ dinner. Ken and Leslie from next door joined us. Ken brought a pitcher of incredibly delicious margaritas and Bruce did up some huge pork chops and snapper on the barbecue. Dessert was fresh berries with whipped cream. The kids played with Bailey - Ken and Leslie's English Springer Spaniel - and Anica /loved/ being able to play with a dog for hours on end. Another late night but the kids were in good shape when it ended.

Thursday, August 2nd

(Rob)

Another nothing-but-sun day, perfect for our beach outing. First, as part of a leisurely morning, Jean took Jenn and me for a little walk around Ladner. We saw the part that's still a fishing village. In the afternoon, we met some of Bruce's work friends at spectacular Spanish Banks beach. The panorama stretched from the ocean to West Van, across to Stanley Park as a green tip, to the whole span of Vancouver's high-rises. And mountains all around of course. This was best viewed after we'd walked a half-kilometre-plus out into the low tide. The swimming began there. Lots of spots all the way out for Will to practice his skimboarding. I made no progress on that in my few feeble attempts.

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I'd never seen so many VW vans before. When I set our car alarm off, the woman next to us covered her ears and said: "we hippies sure live differently from you technos." For dinner we met up with more people: 14 for dinner (6 were kids) at a patio overlooking the marina opposite Granville Island. "Is this Yaletown?" I asked Fun Pete. "Why label things?" was his reply. The kids were up late, but had lots of fun. It was a day of babies, dogs, and great, great views.

(Jenn's version of same day)

Another quiet morning. Kids stayed with Bruce while Rob and I took a walk with Jean around Ladner. Lunch at home. Afternoon spent at Spanish Banks - low tide again. Everyone walked out, William skimboarded and tried to teach his uncle. Gord joined us with Lola (same age as Lauren) and Otis (six months). His partner Robin joined us later and then we all separated, went to Pete's condo (overlooking waterfront). Met Darcy and Jane (originally from Ottawa) and their baby Jesse (11 months). Girls had a great time entertaining Jesse. Dinner at Marmalade. Kids ran around. Robin and Gord have done a ton of travelling and shared some stories and advice with us. Asked if we were out of clothes yet which showed they really knew what they were talking about. Dinner was Pete's treat (thanks Pete!) and the kids /loved/ him. He let them hit his hand as hard as they could and you could tell by the gleam in Anica's eye that she'd always wanted to do that! Late late night. Anica had a bath at 10pm. Passed out the second her head hit the pillow.

August 3rd

(Jenn)

Morning began quietly again - Anica still asleep at 8:45. Went to walk-in clinic (kidlet having problems with allergies or something along those lines and way better finding doctor here than there). Gave us an appointment for afternoon. Went to Wellington Point, saw the houseboats on Westham Island and visited the Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary. Had a lot of fun feeding the ducks and geese. Saw a Blue Heron and chickadees but the chickadees wouldn't come anywhere near us. Might have been the noise :P

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Spent afternoon doing laundry, uploading photos, and seeing doctor. Anica's tonsils are a bit swollen and it's likely she's allergic to something that's pollinating out here so we now have eye drops and a nose spray to take with us. Whee! Love the London Drugs store here - they have /everything/!

Boys have gone to get Indian takeout for dinner and I'm busy getting us ready to go tomorrow. It's been a fantastic visit (thanks to Jean, Bruce, William and Lauren) and we've had so much fun but wow! Singapore, here we come!

Posted by jennrob 22:04 Archived in Canada Comments (1)

Running around Greater Vancouver

sunny 27 °C

(Rob)

The first full day of being away!

Another cloudless day in B.C., and Bruce and I set out to rent a car. After going to the wrong Budget rental first, I'd seen a lot more of the greater Vancouver area than we'd intended. Finished the morning with all 7 of us in Steveston, a quaint, upcscale fishing village. Lunch was fish & chips at Pajo's, dockside. Mount Baker emerged more fully on distant horizon today.

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Next was going downtown, parking where Bruce works, and exploring Granville Island. We had an "Aquabus" ride. "This is my daily commute," one rider told us. It sure beats the DVP in Toronto.

Word then came that Bruce's boss has loaned us his Jeep for the rest of the week, but that led to the second car fiasco of the day. He told us he'd dropped the keys off inside the gas cap of Bruce's own car, except he hadn't. It was some other white car in the same lot. And whichever one that was had gone! So Pete left a spare key at the concierge at his condo. Except when Bruce and I went to get that, the concierge was awol. Tired of waiting, Bruce took me on a car ride through Stanley Park. Great views the whole way. I've never been around mountains like these. Concierge spotted later; Jeep now ours. Dinner at "Earl's" in big booth. Anica's "sleeping over" with Lauren tonight, so Jenn & I took off on a mini-date: a romantic walk to the Ladner Starbucks :P

Posted by jennrob 14:50 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Off to a good start...

sunny 22 °C

(Jenn)

Got up at 4 am. Airport limo came at 5, on plane at 7. Security barely checked our passports which was weird, even though it was a domestic flight, given the hullabaloo over increased security. Westjet was great -- individual tvs on backs of seats, cookies and juice, departed and arrived on time. Jean, William and Lauren picked us up. Went to guest suite and their place, Rob went grocery shopping, had lunch.

After lunch we went to Boundary Bay. It was low tide and there were a lot of kids skimboarding. William had fun showing me the jellyfish:

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Then we went to Westham Island and picked up some fresh new potatoes and herbs for dinner at Herb's Place. The kids checked out the path through the flower garden:

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Bruce barbecued hamburgers and hot dogs for dinner and Jean made up the new potatoes with fresh herbs. Everything was delicious. I had my first drinks (2 Bacardi Breezers - whoo hoo!) in 7 months or more. We stayed at the house til 7:30, then went back to the guest suite, put Anica to bed, looked for a connection but everyone was locked up tight (good for them! bad for us) so I just wrote up this entry in notetab, read for a bit and crashed at 9.

Posted by jennrob 14:20 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

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