A Travellerspoint blog

December 2008

A new hotel and Gray's Papaya

Well, today we are leaving our swanky hotel on Madison Ave. and going to the upper West side. Everyone and their dog was leaving the Carlton Hotel this morning after New Year's Eve, so we had to wait half an hour for the valet to bring our car. Nice service for $40 a day, huh? *eyeroll*

Anyway, I had a little time to check and see when I was meeting Teresa and Mike. I had briefly assumed it was Jan. 1, but I found out that no, I had indeed scheduled it for tomorrow. Sitting in the lobby, I tried to get my laptop to work, but only Skype was going. Luckily, Darcy was online, so I asked him to Facebook Teresa and get her phone number for me. That worked well. I quickly called her, and we set up a time for breakfast tomorrow at 10 a.m. Good.

By the time I did that, our car was ready. Mom and Dad were going home today, but they offered to drive us over to our hotel first. That worked out fine, we said goodbye and then checked into our hotel.

It's in the upper west side, just off Broadway, so we wandered around exploring the area. Keith was looking for some North Face clothes, because everyone seemed to own a jacket from the expensive (Canadian) outdoors company. We stopped at Loehmann's, kind of like a Winner's, I tried on a cute pink bathingsuit, but decided it was too ruffly, so I left it behind. Keith eventually found the North Face store, but we didn't buy anything there, none of the touques fit his ginormous head!

Anyway, we kept walking down the street and found ourselves in a dirty looking pub for lunch/dinner, but they informed us that they don't serve food, we'd have to order in if we wanted to eat there. Really? Weird. They told us to keep going down the street and there are more places to eat. OK. We're getting pretty hungry and nothing looks very appetizing, when suddenly I see it. A great big sign saying: "Gray's Papaya"

OMG.

Did I actually find the infamous hot dog eatery of the Big Apple? I am ecstatic. I am under the impression that there is only one of them in the whole city, but later Teresa tells me that this is not true. That doesn't matter, for the moment, I am excited to find myself face to face with the legendary papaya drink and sauerkraut/onion covered delicacies. Wow.

Right now, there is a recession special. Something like $4 for two hot dogs and a papaya drink. Sweet! We are shuffled through the line, and somewhere through all the confusion, I hand over a fiver and get back the sweet, sugary, delicious drink and the salty, sloppy ridiculous mess that is the Gray's Papaya combo. Yum. One real New York hot dog, just for me.

We go back to the little pub, and say thanks for the directions, but we went to Gray's Papaya instead. The girl at the cash is REALLY excited for me. "Oh did you get the recession special?" "Yeah." "Yyyyyyyeeeeeeaaaaaahhhhh!!!!" "....O....K...."

So we pay too much for two pints of beer and we go back to our room to buy tickets for Avenue Q.

I had picked up a discount flyer thingy in the lobby, and sadly find out that it is expired. We look around the internet and try and find some deals, but there are none. We have to pay regular price for our tickets. Oh well.

That took a while, and before we know it, it's time for dinner in Chinatown. We take the subway there and wander around looking at little souvenir shops, I buy a big furry red hat and Keith buys a woolen "New York" knit hat.

Then we go down to Mulberry St. and find a really out of the way place that was listed in the guidebook. After the bad food day that was NYE, there is no way that I am trusting any more meals to chance! Luckily, yes, this place is delicious. Honestly, I hate reading menus. I just tell Keith to order a bunch of stuff, because whatever, I wish all restaurants were just random, deciding what to serve that day and giving it to you no matter what you wanted. I briefly contemplate how well business would go if I started up a restaurant like that. It would probably suck and die right away. But anyway, it would be an interesting experiment.

We eat way too much food, and then lumber around Little Italy and the rest of Chinatown looking for more cheap stuff to buy. We find nothing exciting. Keith sees a really busy ice cream shop. A lady coming out tells us to definitely buy the sesame seed ice cream, she loves it. So we get a little cup of it.

There are lots of karaoke bars in Chinatown but somehow, I didn't see any of them. I look in the guidebook and there is one listed in there. We go to it, but it's packed full of white people. Heyyyyyyyy what kind of Chinatown karaoke is this? There are no spots for us, and besides, there aren't even any Asians singing off-key like William Hung. Call me a racist, but when I'm in a Chinatown karaoke bar, I want to see Asians singing Neil Young, not some cowboy crooning Garth Brooks.

So, we just decide to go back to our hotel and sleep. The end of a leisurely day (finally) in New York.

The recession special

The recession special


Me vs. Gray's Papaya dog

Me vs. Gray's Papaya dog


Crazy awesome

Crazy awesome


Keith vs. papaya drink

Keith vs. papaya drink


I heart misspellings in Chinatown

I heart misspellings in Chinatown


Me vs. deep fried salted silverfish, blech!

Me vs. deep fried salted silverfish, blech!


Homemade ice cream

Homemade ice cream


Ice cream

Ice cream

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

New Year's Eve in Times Square!

Today is the big day! New Year's Eve in Times Square! I have been dreaming of this since I was a little girl, dressed up in pyjamas and dancing around with plastic Hawaiian leis in my aunt's basement. Haha! Yeah, I know you remember that mom. We wake up late, and mom asks at the desk where we can go for a cheap breakfast. They send us to "Au Bon Gout" and it is DISGUSTING. I had no idea it was possible to have SOGGY hash browns. My eggs and hashbrowns come in a tin foil container and they FORGET to get me toast. Ugh. Anyway, it's better than nothing, so we scarf it down and go straight to the State Island Ferry for a glimpse of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. That's pretty fun, I've done it probably three times before, and it's definitely the same. The circumstances around the ferry have changed, like the loading dock is WAY less dingy and you can't just stay on the ferry and come back to Manhattan anymore, you have to get off and get on some other boat now. Anyway, after that, we go on down to Ground Zero, look at an old famous church (Trinity something or other) and before we know it, it's time to go back to the hotel room to get ready for tonight.

With our prior research done, we know that we can't bring any backpacks or liquor, and that there will be LOTS of police around everywhere checking all the time. We know we have to go EARLY, so we go for dinner at B.B. King's restaurant (which is TERRIBLE) as well. It was just a bad food day. Our waiter brought us COLD pulled pork sandwiches, so we sent them back. Apparently, Keith's ribs were gross too. Oh and it was also overpriced, since then, I have heard you're not supposed to go there unless you are there for the show or the drinks.

We wait around the restaurant where it is warm, and then we go outside, and walk in the direction of what we think is Times Square. There are times when it's good to have a plan. This is one of those times. We end up on the opposite side, in the back of the actually ball-dropping place. We can see the bright shiny ball, but we can't hear anything. Basically, it sucks. So we leave and go looking for another entrance. Around and around we go, freezing and looking for a random opening.

A common misconception (at least to me) about New Year's in Times Square, is that you can just wander around the area until it's midnight, watching shows and generally bumping into all kinds of random people. Nuh uh, not the case. What happens is, the police put barricades up in what seems like a random fashion. Then, they open these barricades up in an equally random fashion. What you have to do is walk up and down 8th and 6th streets until you come across a barricade that is open. When you find one, you go in, and then you are locked in there for the rest of the night, whether you have to pee or not.

Anyway, basically what my New Year's consisted of, is waiting around, freezing, singing songs and basically being bored until the big countdown. Then, I didn't see any actual ball dropping, because everyone (including me) had their cameras up to catch the "magic event". My batteries died and I never got a video, can you believe it?

Anyway, after the anti-climactic event, we slowly walk home and stop at a random cafe along the way. I have some of the best hot chocolate I've ever had in my life, try and warm my toes up and go back to the room to bed.

On the subway

On the subway


Keith vs. the ferry

Keith vs. the ferry


Me and Keith

Me and Keith


Trinity something or other

Trinity something or other


Trinity church

Trinity church


Our view of "the ball"

Our view of "the ball"


OMG I'm cold, stop taking pictures

OMG I'm cold, stop taking pictures


A...wait for it...chocolate mouse!

A...wait for it...chocolate mouse!


Me vs. the best hot chocolate of my LIFE

Me vs. the best hot chocolate of my LIFE

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

Off to New York!

After about five hours of fitful sleep, we pack all our stuff up and head out. Dad MUST buy his lottery ticket, so we stop at the Avondale and try and get him some. Apparently, they don't sell them until 5:30 a.m. He's addicted, so he mandates that we don't cross into the states until he can get his 6-49. If his numbers come up this weekend and he doesn't get them, he'll be mad. The border crossing is easy, without anybody asking me if I'm a drug dealer. It probably helps that my parents are answering the questions one second before I can from the back seat. It's my turn to drive, and I feel that I can answer the questions sufficiently on my own. So, I keep driving and as the sky gets brighter mom and dad take over and drive. I drift in and out of sleep from the back seat. Somewhere in the Poconos, Keith notices a big billboard that says "the Niagara Falls of Pennsylvania", so we pull off to find out what it is. We drive in circles for maybe half an hour, and when we get to the gate, it's "closed for the winter". How can you close a waterfall? It seems ridiculous that private interests can control water in this manner, but there it is. On our meanderings, we also noticed a sign to Reskin Falls, somewhere nearby. We drive around for another 45 minutes back and forth, finally getting stopped by a security guard at a gated community. He tells us to turn around and then turn right. That's it? Yep. OK, so we do that, but we don't see any falls. Turning around, we go back and mom asks a lady in a store. Turn here, then you will see a Boy Scout camp, and there is a path to walk down. Alright, fine, we find the falls and walk around for a bit. We already ate our sandwiches, so there is no waterfall-side picnic, as we presumed there might be. Oh well. We're almost in NYC, so Keith takes over driving and I navigate for a while. We almost get run over by a bus trying to get into the Lincoln Tunnel. Oh my god, people are retarded. After we get through, there are more traffic jams, the police are out in full force directing all these crazy drivers through intersections that would normally be fine if people would just do what the lights say. Green means go, red means stop. Our hotel is not very far, but the traffic is frustrating, so my mom drives instead of Keith for a while. We check into our rooms, after a little bit of confusion at the desk. I thought the lady told me there was one room for four nights, not two rooms for two nights. Arg! Soon, she figures it out and we go for a well deserved nap after an eggnog cocktail. We're all tired, and plan on waking up and going skating. So, we all end up waking up, eating dinner at a cute Italian restaurant, and heading over to Bryant Park with our skates. There is free skating there right now. So, by the time we get there, the ice is mostly snow, and before we know it, we are kicked off and the zamboni is going around. We have to wait a half hour to get back on for maybe 10 minutes of skating. It's OK, the atmosphere is nice, there is good music, but the ice is just packed. We leave and keep walking around, on our way to Rockefeller Centre. I always wanted to buy some hot chestnuts from a street vendor, and some of them are selling them, so I get some. Really not as good as it's made out to be. My nuts are burned and cold... blech...

It's almost midnight, so my mom and I hurry over to try and get on the ice there too. But all of a sudden, they turn the lights off. We look at the sign and realize that it's $15 admission anyway, so it's just as well we were late. On the way back, my mom sees some department store windows at Saks Fifth Avenue full of some kind of display. So we head over there and look at the weird story about the snowflake who was different from everyone else. So, that was interesting.

We walk back to the hotel and go to sleep.

Falls

Falls


OMG we found the falls!

OMG we found the falls!


Me vs. pasta

Me vs. pasta


Me vs. pizza

Me vs. pizza


Gross GREEN dust

Gross GREEN dust


Us vs. cheesecake

Us vs. cheesecake

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

We got ripped off at the masseuse!

Well, I bought mom a massage for Christmas again this year. So we both booked one in St. Catharines at Renaissance Salon. What a fiasco. First, I get there and the lady at the counter doesn't want to honour my $25 discount, then when we get into our room, we are given an extra long massage. Now, I'm not one to complain about an extra 30 minutes of massage, but it wasn't what we asked for and Keith was waiting for us down the street, outside in the cold. I didn't get my promised "Aromatherapy Steam Shower" and then when the massage was done (which was one of the best ones I've ever had in my life) we were charged DOUBLE for what was quoted on the website. I'm not good at numbers, so I didn't really add it up until we were driving away. We picked up Keith, who was waiting on the sidewalk for an hour for us. So, not only am I sad for leaving him out there, I'm extra mad at being charged a ridiculous amount. Mom tries to tell the lady that we were charged too much, but she will have none of it. On top of that, I didn't even get a receipt so that I could get some money back from my health plan. Their TripAdvisor review is gonna suck...totally... So, earlier in the week I had tried to get a refund (minus a 20% fee) on my Grehound ticket. The lady at the counter in Ottawa told me to exchange it in Niagara Falls. The lady at the counter in Toronto also told me to refund it in Niagara Falls. I'm too agitated about the last place, and will definitely not get a refund if I attempt to convince anyone of anything, so mom goes in to politely ask for it. They tell her no, I have to mail my ticket in and get a refund. After being lied to twice about where to get a refund, I don't exactly trust Greyhound at this point. Anyway, I don't have a choice in the matter, so we go to the post office and mail the original ticket in right away. Mom has invited some people to come and have a party the night before driving eight hours to New York City. Not my idea. It was fun anyway. I saw Aleasha, her boyfriend Bill, Andrea and her daughter, also named Emily, her husband Jeremy, Danielle, Tim and his girlfriend, Kelsey, Aunt Gisele and Uncle Len. We played some air hockey (against my will). Keith won. We also sat down for a few rounds of Wheel of Fortune. I forget who won, but Andrea played the lovely Vanna White. We drank some more egg nog, ate some of my mom's red pepper/olive/feta pizza and played a little bit of rock and roll trivia. Sweet. Everyone went home pretty early since we had to go, we cleaned up, packed up, and tried to go to sleep.

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

Niagara Falls and dinner at the Skylon Tower

Today is the day that Keith would see Niagara Falls for the first time. However, we didn't end up actually leaving the house until 3 p.m., I'm not exactly sure why. My cousin came to visit with her new baby, Emily. Maybe that's why. She just started walking and is very quiet. My mom says she looks like my other cousin, Danielle, when she was a baby. Part of Keith's Christmas present was dinner in the revolving dining room above Niagara, but first we take him down to the parkway so he could see some stuff e didn't see last night. "I feel like I have to memorize everything before I go," he says. "Why, are you never coming back here again or something?" He smirks and keeps memorizing. I think it's funny that everyone congregates around a small outlook near the brink of the waterfall. It's not like it's so small that you wouldn't be able to see the natural wonder a few metres away. In fact, the view and the photos are much more attractive further away anyway, so it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to just stand there in a group and take some ugly pictures with a whole bunch of strangers in the background, but here we all are, clumping up. Anyway, we make our way to the Skylon to get in line for the elevator to the top. As we stand there, my eyes are instantly drawn to a sign that advertises the "early bird" dinner we are getting. "Prime rib...salmon... seasonal vegetables...chocolate....what is that? mouse?... I don't know about you, but if they don't give me a mouse for dessert I'm calling the better business bureau..." Someone has made an egregious spelling error on the sign. Spellcheck doesn't catch everything, and now there are giant signs all over town advertising a prime rib dinner for $35.50 with rodents for dessert. After dinner, we walk around Clifton Hill. It's a lot different from when I grew up here. They made the whole area more "family friendly", getting rid of tacky signs and the novelty sex shop I used to work at. I thought that was the whole charm of Niagara Falls. The redesign actually incorporates MORE lights and MORE jarring aesthetics than ever before. The giant Frankenstein on top of the Burger King is still there. There is a new climate controlled ferris wheel that you can ride for about $12, the Ripley's museum was been repainted to look like it fell over on its side. They took away the tiny genie lady in the bottle, and the fortune telling machine. The talking Egyptian statue is still there, but it looks like someone punched him, because his chin's not on straight anymore and his mouth doesn't really match the words coming out of his mouth. There's also a new MGM attraction, and a bunch of other new fun houses and video game centres that I didn't really investigate on the other side of the street. But I found it worse than it used to be, despite their efforts. We continued along the parkway again, getting our free sample of fudge at the Hershey store and then looking at the Christmas lights, which are on display all around. They are a bunch arranged in the shape of Disney characters, and a whole bunch more arranged to look like wildlife creatures in Dufferin islands. It's a requisite to drive slowly in a little traffic jam through this nature park to look at illuminated deer grazing, Noah letting animals out of his ark and the dinosaurs munching on prehistoric jungle vegetation. Later we watch Space Chimps and most of You Don't Mess with Zohan, which sucked.

The no-electricity breakfast

The no-electricity breakfast


Me and Keith vs. Niagara

Me and Keith vs. Niagara


Me and Keith

Me and Keith


Chocolate mouse

Chocolate mouse


Oh yes, the revolving dining room

Oh yes, the revolving dining room


Keith vs. rib, me vs. salmon

Keith vs. rib, me vs. salmon


Holy god it's windy out here

Holy god it's windy out here


I don't even know

I don't even know


So cold, they have fountains made of lights

So cold, they have fountains made of lights

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

Cataract Bowling and not actually seeing the falls

Today was not much of a busy day. Right after my shower, I notice that the lights in the bathroom are flickering and then all of a sudden they stop. What, really? The power just went out? There is a lot of rain and wind today, so I guess it's something we should've been expecting. Grandma has a gas stove, so we go over there to cook our egg white omelettes (leftover from the egg nog) and we dine by candlelight. We played a board game (Sequence), lazily lounged around the house and met up with Aunt Gisele and Uncle Len at Cataract Bowling. My mom and dad are in a league and if they can't make it to the game, they have to "pre-bowl" and record their scores. As usual, I came in last place, flailing my arms around like a maniac, unable to handle the weight of a 10 pin ball. I finally got the Froster that I was begging for on the way home from Newmarket last night. I had a bunch of coupons for free ones that were about to expire. A few minutes after we arrived at the bowling alley, they turned the black lights on and started blasting annoying country music videos (mostly the Dixie Chicks on repeat), yeah, that'll help my amazing bowling skills. It was just way too much for me to handle, so I asked the guy in charge of the music to play something other than country for a change. He just looked at me in silence and shook his head. "Nope." "Really, are you serious?" "Yep, something other than country will come on in a bit." "Ohhhhhkay." I slowly turn around and get back to the game, when suddenly, what appears on the screen? That's right. The Macarena. This is so much better than new-country music, awesome. I am positive the old man in charge was attempting to personally punish me with his choice of background music. So, I muddle through two more games of bowling, obviously finish in last place, with a score of about 55. Probably about 1/3 of my dad's score, but I guess that's OK. Mom says we should go take Keith to Niagara Falls, and we go slipping and sliding down the icy steps on the way. At the bottom mom falls in the mud, and no one else has their coats on, so we make it a quick visit, climbing back up to the car about 20 minutes later. There is a lot of mist, so it's almost impossible to see anything anyway, tomorrow it should be better. At home, we watched Meet Dave and the Incredible Hulk and went to bed late.

OMG uglee hair

OMG uglee hair


Just chillaxin'...you know how we do boiiiyee

Just chillaxin'...you know how we do boiiiyee


Keith's arm

Keith's arm


Me vs. Froster and Keith

Me vs. Froster and Keith


Cataract Bowl

Cataract Bowl


Black light bowling!

Black light bowling!


Black light bowling!

Black light bowling!


Oooh, night shot

Oooh, night shot

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

Boxing Day at Aunt Anne's

We don't wake up until 9 a.m. and mom has breakfast ready for us already. For some reason, Keith thinks it would be amusing to look at MY BABY PICTURES. It's totally embarrassing, so I try to ignore it by reading a book and looking the other way as they make their way down memory lane without my consent. At 11 a.m. we have to leave to go visit my aunt in Newmarket, so we load up the car and go. Keith had a little country song he sang to me for Christmas, and it was cute. Aunt Anne had a sumptuous feast of smoked turkey and roasted vegetables with her traditional shrimp cocktails for us when we got there. We opened our presents, wrapped in the same wrapping paper that we get every year. I got a new workout suit and of course, some Nestle chocolate. We bought Mike the new Uno game, "Uno Flash", it's pretty fun. It involves randomly being chosen by the light-up game robot, playing your card (very quickly) and letting the robot randomly choose the next player. After getting tired of that game, we played a really cool movie trivia game on the PS2. Soon, we all got sleepy and headed home at about 9 p.m. Keith and I made some egg nog with mom and then tried to figure out some easy songs on my new guitar, to no avail.

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

Church and catching up with old friends

We are going to go to church this morning at 11 a.m. so we have to wake up early. Keith gives me a guitar for Christmas (I can't believe I forgot his present in Ottawa!) At church, the new priest is a little fruity and weird, but it's funny I guess. While we're gone, Shylo called, so I call her back and we decide to get together with Lisa at her parents' house in Fort Erie. My mom's friend Elsie and her sister, Martha are coming over for a turkey lunch, so we have some Christmas type food and break up the gingerbread house that Rod's wife made and I picked up at the work gift exchange. It's pretty good. We brought it all the way here from Ottawa, and only one little corner of the house broke off in the process. Quite the feat. Shylo shows up as we are sipping our coffee, Keith takes a nap, and then we leave for Lisa's house. Her boyfriend, Paul is there and Shylo's boyfriend Jay is supposed to show up later. In the middle of our discussions and reminiscences, Jay sends Shylo a text message saying that his grandma "probably ODed" so they are taking her to the hospital. Shylo noticed her face was paralyzed on one side of her face and worried that she might have been having a stroke. Paul (he's an emergency room doctor) says that yes, from her description she was probably having a stroke. Even I (with my basic first aid knowledge) agree that she almost definitely didn't overdose on anything. I hope Shylo doesn't feel bad for not taking the condition more seriously, but there's really nothing she can do. Anyway, we have a nice time catching up, watching some kind of basketball game, in which Paul's favourite team lost. I'm not gonna say that I told him so, but I did, at the beginning. I noticed the team members were yelling at each other and I said that it would make them lose. Maybe we should've made a bet on it. Jay eventually arrives and it's nice to see him again (after about three years or something), he's OK, even though his grandma is in the hospital, which is good to know. We leave at about 9 p.m., totally wiped, after hardly sleeping last night. Shylo drops us off at home, we have some leftovers for a nighttime snack and go to bed with our tummies happy.

In the back seat...

In the back seat...


Me and Keith in the car

Me and Keith in the car


Mom in the passenger's seat

Mom in the passenger's seat

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

Crazy videogame playing retards on the bus

My carpool driver, Louise, is so nice that she dropped me off right in front of the bus station after lunch. I met her in the parking lot and explained how to take care of Alpenhorn, said goodbye and waited in line to buy a ticket for Keith. Our bus wasn't scheduled to leave until 2:30, so he wasn't there yet. So, I leisurely stroll over to the departure gate, and wait for what I think will be two or three hours before our bus leaves. I talk with a few other people, and the line for an indirect bus to Toronto starts moving. Keith shows up right on time, and we decide to get on the early bus, since there was freezing rain in the forecast. This was probably the wrong decision. We end up just barely making it onto the bus, there are only two seats left, and we manage to snag the very back spot. (The row with the most leg room, incidentally). What I didn't expect, was that some retard, wearing sunglasses inside would be playing on his portable Playstation some "shoot the monster" game for hours on end...WITHOUT headphones. We mercilessly mock him from three rows behind, which he can probably hear, and I try and tune out the incessant noise of fabricated sword strikes and machine gun blasts. Tap, tap, tap. I tap the child-man on the shoulder. "Do you have headphones for that? Would you like to borrow mine?" "Yeah, OK." Getting up to grab my coat from the overhead compartment, (my headphones are in my pocket), he turns around and tells me he has headphones, but thank you for getting mine. His ugly wife is laughing at me, so I smile sarcastically back. "Oh, I didn't know, alright." I sit back down, assuming he is going to put them on. I wait for about 15 minutes and no such thing happens. I decide to ask the bus driver what to do when something like this happens. He tells me to ask him to put his headphones on again. I do that, he says no, I say fine and his wife yells at me "What is her deal?! That kid over there is making way more noise, plus he turned it down and can barely even hear it now!" as I turn around to go and ask the bus driver what to do again. The driver says he'll go talk to him when we stop for a break. I return to my seat, hoping he'll stop. Nope. For the next two hours, he continues with his unhealthy addiction to his child's game. I keep trying to tune it out, to know avail. At the rest station, I ask the bus driver if he'll talk to this person, and I point him out. He does, but when the bus starts going again, they decide to have a poker party on the bus, using their headphones as speakers, blasting cheesy reggaeton music, undoubtedly disturbing more people than ever. I don't say anything for what seems like hours, until he breaks out the @(#$* Playstation again. "PLEASE put headphones on when you're using that." "No! I turned it down, you can't even hear it! Just chill!" "Just sit down and read your book! Guy, man, guy..." says the annoying lady sitting beside him. Some guy in the line in front says to me, "You're ruining my trip just sit down!" WTF... I go to the front of the bus again, and as I'm on my way, he yells something derogatory at me, while using some form of a becoming four letter word. The bus driver offers me a seat in the front, so that I don't have to hear his noise. This would've been a fine compromise, if there were lights in the front of the bus, so that I could read my book. Nope, no lights though. It's only about 30 minutes until we stop in Peterborough, where I assume they are getting off, so I just stay there and read until it's too dark. The rest of the trip to Toronto is uneventful. We get there at 7:30, look at the departure terminals, there is no bus leaving until 9:30 p.m. Our regular scheduled bus, we didn't actually save any time by leaving Ottawa early after all. That's OK, Yonge St. is a block away, so we go check it out and try and kill some time somewhere. We don't find anything except the Hard Rock Cafe, Red Lobster and the Pickle Barrel open on Christmas Eve. *sigh* Across the street from the bus station is the "Fabulous" bar and cafe. Interesting. There are leather couches and Tankhouse is on tap, so we hang out there until 9 ish, and we presume our bus is leaving. There is a big lineup on platform 1, so we assume the bus is about to come. Nope, it's 10 p.m. and the bus still isn't here. Finally one comes and people start getting on. "Where are you going?" "Niagara." "Get in this other line over here." Really? We wait another half hour for another bus, and finally get on our way. We end up in Niagara at about 12:30, way later than originally expected. Mom and dad are waiting for us there. I called them when we stopped to let people off in St. Catharines. They bring us home and a three course meal is waiting for us! Shrimp salad, wine, pizza and more, fresh, warm and delicious. Mom gives me my annual present of pyjamas for Christmas Eve, and by the time we get to bed, it's 3 a.m. phew.

Me vs. Tankhouse

Me vs. Tankhouse


This here chair shur is fancy

This here chair shur is fancy


Chagrined at the bus station

Chagrined at the bus station


Waiting for the bus

Waiting for the bus


More people waiting for the bus

More people waiting for the bus


Me vs. Tankhouse

Me vs. Tankhouse


This here is one fancy sofa, mmmhmm

This here is one fancy sofa, mmmhmm


A look of chagrin, waiting for the bus

A look of chagrin, waiting for the bus


More people waiting for the bus

More people waiting for the bus


The long line of people waiting for the bus

The long line of people waiting for the bus

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

Tentative schedule

Feb. 20 - Leave Ottawa

Feb. 21 - Grandma's party, trivia night

Feb. 22 - Leave Niagara

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

Tentative schedule

Feb. 6 - 7 p.m. leave Ottawa get to Edmonton 11:30 p.m. Feb. 7 - Explore the city... Art gallery, City Hall Feb. 8 - Explore the city... Old Strathcona Farmer's Market, 10310 83 Avenue 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Feb. 9 - Muttart Conservatory Feb. 10 - Romantic Valentine's in Banff! Kathleen Ash-Milby Curator's Talk 4 - 5:30 p.m. Feb. 11 - Romantic Valentine's in Banff! Midweek Medley 4:30 p.m. Feb. 12 - Romantic Valentine's in Banff! Feb. 13 - Romantic Valentine's in Banff! Open Studios 3 - 6 p.m. Thomas Demand Artist's Talk 6 p.m. Concert Night Out 7:30 p.m. Feb. 14 - Back to Edmonton, dinner at home Feb. 15 - Edmonton Feb. 16 - Leave Edmonton at 8:30 a.m. to get to Ottawa at 4:16 p.m.

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

Tentative schedule

Dec. 24 - Bus to Niagara Falls, 4:30 p.m.

Dec. 25 - Christmas morning at mom's house. Christmas party at Lisa's

Dec. 26 - Boxing Day at Aunt Anne's

Dec. 27 - Hang out with Shylo (maybe massage) dinner at Skylon Tower

Dec. 28 - Maybe massage in St. Catharines

Dec. 29 - Prepare to leave for NYC

Dec. 30 - Early morning drive to NYC, skating/chestnuts/carriage ride?

Dec. 31 - NYE in Times Square

Jan. 1 - More NYC

Jan. 2 - More NYC

Jan. 3 - More NYC

Jan. 4 - Fly back to Ottawa

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

LAMP #1

Here are photos from LAMP meetup #1

LAMP #1 crowd

LAMP #1 crowd


LAMP #1 crowd

LAMP #1 crowd


LAMP #1 crowd

LAMP #1 crowd


Owen Byrne

Owen Byrne


Owen Byrne

Owen Byrne


LAMP #1 crowd

LAMP #1 crowd


LAMP #1 crowd

LAMP #1 crowd


Owen Byrne

Owen Byrne


Owen Byrne

Owen Byrne


Owen Byrne

Owen Byrne


LAMP #1 crowd

LAMP #1 crowd


LAMP #1 crowd

LAMP #1 crowd


LAMP #1 crowd

LAMP #1 crowd


LAMP #1 crowd

LAMP #1 crowd


LAMP #1 crowd

LAMP #1 crowd


TravelPod office/Canadian New Media award

TravelPod office/Canadian New Media award


Outside my window

Outside my window


The lunchroom

The lunchroom


The wall

The wall

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