A Travellerspoint blog

August 2009

The big drive home

The drive home was about as uneventful as the last one. I slept much of the way back in the very back of the van, contending with all the luggage.

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

My surprise-ish birthday party!

I majorly slept in today. Bonnie woke me up at 10 a.m. to come and have breakfast. Some beautiful fruit trays made with love, honour and respect, no doubt.

We cleaned up in record time. Maybe in 105 minutes or less.

We said goodbye and then went home to get ready for what was supposed to be a surprise party for me! Dad ended up spilling the beans by mentioning the cake in the fridge with our names on it.

Mom, dad and I prepared a bunch of food for the rest of Dave's family and Aleasha and Bill, who had said that they would come over after I invited them this weekend.

Everyone was supposed to show up at 2 p.m., but the van that Dave was driving in got a flat tire and ended up being late. That was OK though, because I wanted a nap anyway. Closing up

By the time everyone got here, we were pretty hungry! Dad barbecued all the food, and we had a big feast, with a crazy awesome fudgy mousse chocolate cake for dessert. It was ALMOST more than I could handle. Dave's family got me a VERY generous gift and then we went out for a bonfire. This also got rained on too (I blame this on Dave's rendition of Counting Crows' Rain King), but not before Bill could sing the Arrogant Worms' War of 1812 song. We were also serenaded with La Bamba and another Spanish song I can't remember.

Bill and Aleasha left after we all came inside, and we had quite the crowd left for a game of Poker Pool. After three games (of which Cecilia, me and Dave won) we were pooped. We watched a movie called Possible Worlds and went to bed. I slept in Grandma's spare bedroom since our house was so full!

It's my birthday!

It's my birthday!


Yay!

Yay!


Blowing out candles

Blowing out candles


Me vs. chocolate strawberry

Me vs. chocolate strawberry


Me vs. cake

Me vs. cake


Me vs. birthday cards

Me vs. birthday cards


The fire

The fire


Dave

Dave


Dave vs. Peruvian guitar

Dave vs. Peruvian guitar


Dad and the talking stick

Dad and the talking stick

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

My mom shaves my legs and we eat a lot of food

Aleasha and I woke up way too early, because of my alarm clock going off at the ungodly hour of 6:30. A remnant of the early wakeup time on Friday. It seems that every Saturday morning, I manage to forget to turn the alarm on my watch off, and I wake up at some ridiculous hour.

My mom had gone to give my Grandma her insulin, but what she hadn't realized, was that all the food was left in her trunk overnight. She figured we'd be getting up much later, and we'd be able to make breakfast after she got back.

Bonnie and Aleasha cooked French toast while I threw together the fruit tray. My fruit tray was not up to snuff this year, but I blame that on my mother's unfortunate choice of uninspiring produce.

After breakfast, we headed on down to the beach for some kite flying and general lying around with more food. Aleasha enjoyed sitting on her butt and attempting to get the kite off the ground. It didn't work, but I don't think she was disappointed with that outcome.

When we got back to camp, we found a note from Jennifer, saying she'd been there, but figured we were out on a hike somewhere, so she had left. Aw.

Heather left for a party, but promised she'd be back later.

Next up was a facial and pedicure spa. Bonnie normally doesn't let anyone touch her feet, but we now have evidence that she actually enjoyed a foot soak. All weekend, everyone was judging me about being lazy about shaving my legs all the time. They look like a sasquatch, really. Mom randomly gets it in her head to shave my legs herself, so that's what she did this time.

Soon, it was time for our fabulous steak dinner. We baked some potatoes and cooked the steaks on Aleasha's tripod contraption. It actually worked pretty well! We even had corn and garlic bread.

Lynda showed up just in time for dinner and brought her "chocolate Indian" bars. Delicious. Just as I was thinking that Heather had abandoned us for the night, her car pulled up and all six of us were reunited. Again, the rain came to ruin our party, so we went to bed pretty early tonight too.

Bonnie and Aleasha cook French toast

Bonnie and Aleasha cook French toast


Heather vs. cupcake

Heather vs. cupcake


Flying a kite at the beach (Lake Erie)

Flying a kite at the beach (Lake Erie)


Flying a kite on Lake Erie

Flying a kite on Lake Erie


Heather and Aleasha in the water

Heather and Aleasha in the water


Me flying a kite again

Me flying a kite again


This is how Aleasha flies a kite

This is how Aleasha flies a kite


Oh god, do I have to do everything for you?

Oh god, do I have to do everything for you?


Aleasha found a golf ball

Aleasha found a golf ball


Our shoes at the beach

Our shoes at the beach


Foot soak

Foot soak


Bonnie mixing business with pleasure

Bonnie mixing business with pleasure


Before and after

Before and after


Me with stuff on my face

Me with stuff on my face


The facials

The facials


Aleasha vs. steaks and garlic bread

Aleasha vs. steaks and garlic bread


Mom vs. outhouse

Mom vs. outhouse


Me vs. ugly touque

Me vs. ugly touque


At the dinner table

At the dinner table


Me vs. corn on the cob

Me vs. corn on the cob


Me vs. garlic bread

Me vs. garlic bread


Aleasha's hoodie

Aleasha's hoodie


Aleasha and Lynda

Aleasha and Lynda

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Camping in Port Colborne (not Sherkston)

We didn't leave until at least 9:30, but we ended up making it there before 5 p.m. On the way there, I felt nauseous and like I was going to throw up, blech! I managed to sleep for a few hours, but that didn't help. I had some beef barley soup at Subway, that didn't really work either. I just sort of stuck it out until we got there. Cecilia had a giant pile of baggage beside her, it didn't really impress her. We got to about Oakville area, and decided to stop for dinner. Right off of the highway, there was a buffet (Rainbow Buffet) promising $6.99 lunches, with Chinese, Japanese, Korean AND Middle Eastern food. Ha. The curry ended up being poisonous and the mango pudding tasted like lip gloss. Other than that, the sushi was pretty good, and so was the salad bar and squid. Mom expected us to be later than we were, so when we got to their house, no one was there. I looked in Grandma's window, it all looked dark, so I tried to find the spare key. Grandma had left the garage open, so I found it easily in there. When I finally finagled the door open, Grandma was standing there in the kitchen with a shocked look on her face, expecting some sort of thief, not her very favourite grandchild. ;) When she realized it was me, I went back to the front door and let everyone in. We waited at Grandma's until my mom and dad came home. On the way to Niagara, Dave tried to convince his dad to go back to Ottawa on Sunday instead of Monday. He was having none of it, so I just asked my boss if it was OK to stay another day, assuming I worked the same hours at some point in the day on Monday. Awesome. As soon as mom came home, we were out the door, on our way to camp. It was only a 10 minute drive, but we had to get there before it got dark. After setting up, the ladies realized that they were missing their "libations", so they took off for the LCBO while Bonnie and I made a snack. Aleasha brought some delicious salsa and cheese dip that we devoured along with cheese and crackers. The alcoholics ended up getting to the store 2 minutes after it closed and didn't end up getting anything anyway. It was threatening to rain all day, so we didn't stay out too late at the campfire. The mosquitoes were also terrible. I had my mom's camping mat, that was so soft, I mistook it for my own bed. In the middle of the night, I woke up completely expecting to be in my bedroom, when I looked over and saw someone I didn't quite recognize. I reach out and sort of touch this person... "Who are you!?" "Ohhhhhh you're dreaming" says my near and dear friend Aleasha. "Whaaaaaaat? Ohhhhhh"... and then I drift back to sleep.

Dave and me

Dave and me


Cecilia vs. the bags

Cecilia vs. the bags


Me and Grandma Perez

Me and Grandma Perez


Rainbow Buffet!

Rainbow Buffet!


Dave's dad and Grandma

Dave's dad and Grandma


Dave's mom and grandma

Dave's mom and grandma


Our site

Our site


Preparing the snakz

Preparing the snakz


More snax

More snax


Eating the snakz

Eating the snakz


Bonnie vs. banana boat with Mars bar

Bonnie vs. banana boat with Mars bar


Me vs. banana boat with Mars bar

Me vs. banana boat with Mars bar

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

The Plan

I found out that Dave and his family were planning a trip to Niagara Falls on the same weekend that I was planning to go. My immediate reaction was to offer them a place to stay at my parents' house in the countryside. Dave's sister Cecilia really wanted to go to Marineland, and that place is just around the corner, so it would work out well. Before I knew it, there were six El Salvadorian people ready to sleep in various locations all around my mom's house. Dave, his mom and dad, his Grandma (who doesn't speak a word of English), Cecilia and her boyfriend Roberto. The plan was to leave at 7 a.m. on Friday morning and get to Niagara before 6:30 p.m. when me and my mom were due at camp.

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

We drive to Cornwall

After work, I met up with Dave at Pub 101 and then we waited for Sylvain to show up.

When he got there, he informed us that Ryan had to work in Perth today, so he was letting us use his car to drive to Cornwall. Only one problem though, the little Jetta is a standard, and only one of us knows how to drive standard. The guy with the expired international driver's license.

Sylvain's work permit will expire tomorrow, so we have no choice, we have to drive illegally into the USA, come back and print out his new work visa.

We stop on the way to fill up Ryan's car with diesel, since we have no idea how to check the level on the veg fuel tank. Also, the speedometer doesn't work... this trip has all the makings of a disaster waiting to happen.

No disasters happen though, we just go over the bridge, then come back, totally doing a U-Turn right before American customs. Last time we had to go through, Sylvain had to justify his existence for about an hour at the border, so we weren't doing that again.

The nice people at the bridge let us go back for free since we didn't even go across. The Canadian border guard on the way back scolded Sylvain for driving, saying that his driver's licence was expired and he also told us that we technically HAD to go to America and come back to renew his work permit, but he'll let it go this time. The man then directed us to a temporary border office, (the normal border crossing is closed due to Aboriginal protests, I think) where we could get Sylvain's permit.

It literally took an hour, while the border guards read some sort of email he printed out, over and over again. It was freezing in there, and I didn't want to slow the process down by asking a bunch of questions, so me and Dave waited outside for the return of the triumphant Sylvain.

We watched under floodlights running on generators as the customs officers deliberated, went back and forth, talked on the phone, gave Sylvain some water while he was waiting. It was pretty entertaining.

Finally, Sylvain emerged victorious! Another year in Canada for our favourite Frenchman. We then cruised around looking for somewhere to go to celebrate, but all the restaurants in town close down at 10 p.m. on weeknights apparently... oh well!

On our way back, we resorted to Tim Hortons, the only thing still open.

Sylvain driving (the only standard driver)

Sylvain driving (the only standard driver)


Dave in the back

Dave in the back


Me in the front navigating (poorly)

Me in the front navigating (poorly)


Our speedometre doesn&#38;#39;t work <img class='img' src='https://tp.daa.ms/img/emoticons/icon_sad.gif' width='15' height='15' alt=':(' title='' />

Our speedometre doesn&#38;#39;t work :(


Secret border patrol espionage!

Secret border patrol espionage!


Sylvain has overcome!

Sylvain has overcome!


Tears of joy!

Tears of joy!


Finally!

Finally!


Probst at Tim Hortons

Probst at Tim Hortons

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Aug 14, 2009

The panorama

The panorama


Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower


Candles

Candles


Traffic and Shaun

Traffic and Shaun


Desert and Roy

Desert and Roy


Footprints and Rod

Footprints and Rod


The front door

The front door


Eric and Luc

Eric and Luc


Rob and the big ones

Rob and the big ones


Map

Map


My desk at TravelPod

My desk at TravelPod


new button

new button


Alain in Montreal

Alain in Montreal


Fluffy cat

Fluffy cat

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

The short flight home

Technically, my flight home was only 20 minutes long but I slept for an hour on it (time zone humour, groan)

Anyway, I met a nice boy, Peter, who will be playing pipe drums in Ottawa this week. I told him to tell me when and where his show was going to be, so maybe I'll see that later on.

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

The NOVAKS at the Seahorse Tavern

Shylo has a birthday party to go to at the Lower Deck (that same place we went on Friday) and it really is not something I can tolerate again, no offence. There are only so many Neil Young covers that I can take in a weekend. I remember Shylo saying something about the Seahorse Tavern, so I go out on an expedition to find it. I do, and find that the Novaks are playing tonight for $10. Last time I saw them, they were touring with Matt Mays and El Torpedo at least four years ago. So obviously, I am so there.

The bands aren't starting until 11, so I go back to the Lower Deck and tell Shylo where I'll be until 2 a.m. I'm the only sober one, so I'm the designated driver tonight. Everyone must find me if they want a free ride home, awesome.

Alert the Medic opened and they were OK, but the Novaks were AWESOME. They REALLY improved their live show since the last time I saw them. I was sorry I forgot my camera. The crowd was RIGHT into it and so was I! I met a couple HUGE Alert the Medic fans, but they LEFT (I couldn't believe it) right in the middle of the Novaks...pshhhhh...

Anyway, the show ended at like, 1:45, and Shylo found me right away as soon as I left. I knew she'd be around so I didn't go far from the door anyway.

Shylo is hungry, gets a donair and we get back to the truck at exactly 2 a.m. All the boys are there. They had lost Pete earlier in the night, but everyone is finally safe and sound. We drive home and I sleep for two hours before catching the early flight back to Ottawa.

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Deja vu day

Shylo, Jay and I go back to the same beach Shylo and I went to on Friday. The wind isn't as strong today, so we can't do any power kiting. It's still beautiful of course.

Before Shylo has to go to her soccer game, we spend a few hours roaming around on the beach. Scooter almost gets trampled by a horse and I explore a stinky old abandoned pier.

At around 3, we go back to Shylo's house and she leaves to go play soccer, Jay also leaves to buy some groceries. He went on his big fancy motorcycle, and I didn't have a jacket, so I chose not to go. It was good that I didn't, because Shylo's cousin Peter and his friend Dave show up on their east coast Canada road trip. I'm not the only one taking advantage of the summer, I guess. They have a big plastic goose in their car with them.

I open the door and say, "Pete?" Before I know it, Scooter is out the door and taunting the big dogs next door. Shylo warned me not to let the dog outside, because he will run away no matter what. They have a bunch of beagles and Scooter is a chihuahua, just imagine that. It's a nightmare getting him back inside, I grab some meat and try and lure him in, and then Dave fastens the dog's collar and leash around his neck somehow.

By the time Jay gets back with dinner, the dog is now back in the house. We hang out until Shylo is done her soccer game. Jay makes shishkabobs and burgers, and I help. By scorching the burgers on the barbecue...

The waves at Conrad Beach

The waves at Conrad Beach


Shylo and rocks at Conrad Beach

Shylo and rocks at Conrad Beach


More rocks at Conrad Beach

More rocks at Conrad Beach


The other side

The other side


Shylo on the other side

Shylo on the other side


Shylo and Jay on the other side

Shylo and Jay on the other side


The broken pier

The broken pier


The broken pier

The broken pier


Rocks, rocks, rocks

Rocks, rocks, rocks


Big rock

Big rock


Big rock again

Big rock again


Snails

Snails


Seaweed

Seaweed


Birds

Birds


Birds again

Birds again

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Canada Comments (0)