A Travellerspoint blog

California Dreamin

IMG_3289-1.jpgIMG_3286-1.jpgIMG_3191-1.jpgIMG_3180-1.jpgIMG_3170.jpgWhew! A hectic coupla days in the US. Jo - thanks for suggesting Santa Monica :o) Our hotel was on California and 3rd which led straight into the main downtown district. In California style we ate brunch then took a stroll along the beach by way of the pier - real Baywatch country this - though out of season it was mostly families and guys fishing from the pier rather than scantily clad bodacious babes bounding through the surf. In the evening we went to Venice beach to watch the surfers as the sun went down. This is where everyone skates or skate-boards - making it look ridiculously easy with extraordinary sequences of stunts. It's also home to Muscle Beach where truly enormous muscle men compete for your attention whilst curling their lips in contempt. In the end it was the break-dancers that saw us off - felt about 100 yrs old so we strolled home and went to a movie instead. Saw Creation which we missed in the UK amongst the vast audience of 5 including us. The Box Office guy said it was cos of all the Creationists in the US but. . . . . really??? Stopped for a drink at v flash bar then home to be up early for v v long day. After all our cultural outings, we decided 'when in Rome' - or in this case Hollywood - and visited Universal Studios for the day. This really is excellent fun - took the tour (tho one Lot was off limits as they were filming CSI - Oooooh the thrill) and several shows including a fantastic Water World show - even got a hug from Shrek - my life is complete. Total trip from there to Fiji almost 12 hrs and somehow we lost Feb 3rd en route - mercifully slept most of it. Catch up with Fiji news soon but first impressions superb xxxxx Having trouble uploading photos atm - will post em later x

Posted by colandmand 12:57 Comments (1)

Tree Huggers

So now weve experienced what the locals call Vancouver weather (& Colin calls wet rain)
We took our brollies and set off on the Sea Bus for North Shore where they are preparing for the influx of visitors for the Olympics by flogging off all their old stock at the quayside market :oP
A busride took us to Capillano Canyon and its famed suspension bridge - I just asked C how high this was and he said 'V high'. . . . once you're accross they've created a walkway through the canopy of this stunning temperate rainforest which was just lovely - a treat for all the senses. The rain kept some folk away so we practically had the place to ourselves. In the evening we went back to the Gallery for the promised food, drumming etc but the mood was somewhat uninviting so we came back to the St Regis sports bar for a Guinness and Kick-Boxing on TV (yikes!)
Up early to pack and make the 10.30 service at Christ Church Cathedral (Anglican Church of Canada).
They have a fantastic choir who did all the hard work for us including a beautiful Nunc Dimittis as it was the Presentation of our Lord
Off to the airport now - next blog from Santa Monica LA - you know where that's at :o)

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Posted by colandmand 12:38 Comments (0)

UBC 44

We got to grips with the bus system here today - v easy because the Canadians couldn't be more helpful. We went out to the University of British Columbia's Anthropology Museum to make a bit more sense of the 1st Nation and Inuit art weve seen so much of. Great trip and well worth it (squillions of photos to share once were home). They also have an extensive collection of Papua New Guinea art too so we felt right at home. Actually dug out my travelling water-colour set too :o) Posted-off our winter clothes today - a mark of just how warm it is here - sounds like the UK should be hosting the Winter Olympics instead XP
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Posted by colandmand 20:27 Comments (1)

Vancouver before the Olympic storm!

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Today we've been full of beans :o) Started the day in the Observation room of Harbour Place - 360 degree view over the city & accross to the snow-capped mountains on the north shore. Preparations for the Olympics (just 15 days away) are visible everywhere with folk in the signature turquoise & blue strip. IMG_2911.jpg
We escaped on a tour of Stanley Park, hiring bikes for the 10 mile trip (be proud of me boys!!). The park has hundreds of ancient Douglas Fir trees, a group of 'First Nation' totem poles (used as a kind of boundary-marker for the family group, or as support - beams for the end of the long-house) and the 'Nine O'Clock Gun' (a cannon still sounded daily at. . . . well you guessed - v Blind Captain Cat). Lunch in one of Vancouver's superb food halls then a stroll into Chinatown, stopping to view lots of First Nation & Inuit art. Came accross a gallery for these artists v militant about their work being copied and sold to collectors - big scam. They were lovely and have invited us to a party on Saturday - including drumming, native foods and dancing - brilliant!! Made a return visit to the Observation Room to see the city by night then supper in a sports bar watching the gentle game of Ice Hockey - not!!]IMG_2957.jpgIMG_2934.jpg thumb=http://photos.travellerspoint.com/264680/thumb_IMG_2934.jpg thumb=http://photos.travellerspoint.com/264680/thumb_IMG_2911.jpg]IMG_2995.jpgIMG_2949.jpg

Posted by colandmand 19:58 Comments (0)

Trainspotting

snow

Another great train journey ticked off. Bit of a busman's holiday for me, to mix metaphors. The journey from Winnipeg to Vancouver took just under 48 hours, including two nights on the train. The scenery, the company and the food were all fantastic. Not far out of Winnipeg we hit a snowstorm, with the snow blowing horizontal and getting just about everywhere. We lost about three hours. The snow covered prairie stetched for miles in every direction, and we could not make out the horizon. The flat prairie country stretched as far as Edmonton, an oil town that greeted us on tuesday morning, refinery lights in the distance like a cubist christmas tree. Out of Edmonton there were nodding donkeys, and the country gradually became more hilly and wooded, until by midday we were approaching the Rockies. Approaching Jasper by dusk, I saw a dozen elks, four mountain goats and a wolf. They were so close to town I wonder if they have become scavengers - like urban foxes. During the evening we watched from the observation deck as the train snaked its way through wooded cuttings, lit only by the engine's headlights - magical. This morning, another change of scene as we followed the Fraser River into Vancouver. Vancouver has no snow - lets hope they get some before the winter olympics in a few weeks time - or they might have to import it from England.

Attached are some of the photos from the train journey. Next the Trans Siberian!
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Posted by colandmand 18:45 Archived in Canada Tagged train_travel Comments (0)

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