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Work and travel - v.fun
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Jesus and airplanes

Vancouver, Canada

I have a theory that when you piss off Jesus, he smites you with terrible air travel. It's just how it is. So, having had a fantastically brilliant and hedonistic time in KL....my flights back were evil.

Long story short, what should have been a 36 hour trip got an extra 14 hours smashed in their (cause it wasn't long enough) as my plane from la to Seattle got delayed, I missed the last bus to Vancouver, and the next one was in the morning at 9am. So, trying to find a flight to get home, no luck, so I cried at the United States airlines people (i love being female), and they put me up in a hotel overnight at their expense, so I didn't have to sleep on the floor. Brilliant.

I'm doing a new trip as they other page takes too long to load with my penchant for included MASSIVE photos. No other real news, except for I'm back in Vancouver, Tom gets in on Friday (thankgod, I miss him so much already).

I'm settled in our flat, and looking for work. Weird stuff though, had an interview, and my interviewer is friends with my bar manager (anna at the Doutta Galla in Australia), as they worked and lived together in Scotland!

The world is small, and don't piss of baby jesus before a flight. Strange times eh?

permalink written by  no_fosters_thanks on March 7, 2007 from Vancouver, Canada
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Granville Island Brewing Company..and some other stuff

Vancouver, Canada

In a city that rains ALL THE TIME, when the clouds break, you dash outside to play. It's interesting how outdoorsy Canadians are, considering (in my aussie heat prefering way) the weather is awful for a good part of the year. In saying that, if you ever look cold/wet/snowed on, Canadians will always ask you 'have you been here for a summer yet?'. And when the weather lifts, you really understand this place is going to rock in summer.

So in our grab of sunshine, Tom and I walked down to Kitsilano beach and did some exploring, walking around the boat yard to Granville Island, home of the brilliant Granville Island Brewing

company. Sadly, we weren't able to get on the tour (and tasting session) but we still had a good stickybeak. Granville Island is filled with theatre companies, artists and places with great food...a really interesting place to spend an afternoon, when we went, the place was full of locals. It's nice to explore places where locals actually relax, rather than at some overpriced touristy 'cultural Mecca' which invariably looks like that one you went to last month...on a different continent.

In other news...we got really drunk with our Australian friends Amber and Simon, and will most likely repeat the performance the coming weekend. The aim is to explore Vancouver one weekend at a time...and hopefully branch out a bit further when possible.

So if I'm not too lazy, I'll try and update after each weekend adventure...which might get more interesting than walking down the beach. (I'll admit it, it's 5 blocks from our abode)

permalink written by  no_fosters_thanks on March 21, 2007 from Vancouver, Canada
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North Vancouver...and learning how to play frisbee

Vancouver, Canada

This weekends trips involved North Vancouver and frisbee action. We headed over to North Van by the sea bus, and walked around the Lonsdale Quay markets.
However, the trip was marred by a nasty attack - by a seagull. Tom was viciously attacked by the BIGGEST seagull I've ever seen. While we were walking, Tom had a slice of pizza, heading towards his mouth, and the seagull swooped in a stole the whole piece. No wonder it was so big if it lives off stolen pizza. Stupid fat seagull. However, it was a brilliant play on behalf of the seagull, so we commended it for it's efforts.
North Van is a really great place to get a view of all of vancouver, but the weather was a bit shoddy so we didn't do much else there.

Later that night we proceeded to Amber and Simons, where there was an aussie contingent drinking and partying it up, where inhibitions and hats was released.

We staggered home, tried to get invited to a Canadian party in a garden..but no-one invited us in as we walked past.

On the sunday, Tom accomplished the impossible...teaching me how to throw, and catch a frisbee! We even have photo evidence!

The park is a block or two from our house, and so close to the beach, and perfect for some sweet frisbee action. I think we'll be heading down there more often as the weather gets warmer.

permalink written by  no_fosters_thanks on March 26, 2007 from Vancouver, Canada
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Happy Easter!

Vancouver, Canada

We have had a crazy busy weekend doing touristy things! Due to being a long weekend, we've managed to fit so much in. Friday, our good friends Amber and Simon, were taking their other aussie friend Mark, out to some park trails, so we hitched a ride with them for the day.
First we heading off to Lighthouse Park, which is located in West Vancouver. To be honest, the lighthouse itself was a little bit of a let down, but we walked (climbed more truthfully) along the rocky beach from the carpark to the lighthouse. I doubt it's the official trail, but the views were amazing.

It was quite a hillarious little trip, we came across an original gun

battlement, which unfortunately had a pile of empty beer bottles, god knows how someone managed to get a slab of beers out there though! There were quite a few locals out, having picnics on the rocks which was great to see. Canadians are such outdoorsy people, and Friday was the warmest day we've had this year, a cracking 20 degrees! It was such a nice day, we spent the whole day outside.

After visiting the lighthouse, we headed to the brilliant Lynn Canyon park, which has a suspension bridge, 50 metres above the falls. Unfortunately, most of my photos didn't really work out, as it was dark under the canopy, and rather bright where the light did come through. Shame, I took so many, but I'm glad I did now!

We ended up having a picnic lunch at the base of the twin falls, which was so beautiful. Strange though, a canadian child was in his board shorts, with his boogie board. It was not THAT warm, but hey, good work for giving it a crack. The children there were adorable, one little girl appeared in the middle of a dead tree trunk we were sitting next too....rather strange, this small child playing peekaboo in the middle of a tree. We didn't even see her for ages! It's amazing, you really appreciate how much in Australia can kill you, you would never think about doing something like that in Aus, anything hiding in a dead tree would probably hurt a great deal if it bit.

permalink written by  no_fosters_thanks on April 7, 2007 from Vancouver, Canada
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Keeping it real

Vancouver, Canada

After a slight chastisement regarding my blogging updating and interest level, I will make a half arsed promise to update more...it's not like I haven't got the time at the moment. Unfortunately this weekend doesn't look like it will be decent weather, so all grandiose plans to go hiking are looking dim. Being in spring here, the rains can be fair torrential. Haven't seen anything like the rain we experienced in Peru, on the Inca trail, but that was just stupidly wet.

It's come time to apply for my uk visa, and believe it or not, I missed the price change (which I wish I knew was going to occur) in visa fees. My visa is now jumping from 75 pounds to 200! So our nice little comfy budget has gone by the wayside, and we're back to being vegetarians to save money. We've already changed our flights, so there's not much we can do about it except work harder. It's difficult to save money here, with such low wages and the cost of living being about the same as in Australia. I'm earning $16 CAD an hour here, as a part qualified accountant. Which is double the minimum wage. Still, I really appreciate how good it is back in Aus now. So we're still heading trans-canada on July 3rd, and we're slowly working out a rough plan. It'll be hard to be really casual about booking accom as we go, unlike south america, as backpacker hostels aren't that common here, and during summer, beds can be scarce.

So, since march, we've been out once to the pub across the road for dinner, and thats it. We eat in every day, make our own lunches and everything. So sorry if the blog is a bit dull, but there's really not alot to be said about watching csi re-runs. Incidentally, there's about 3 hours every night. Bliss. That and a nerd channel...stargate, yes please. We're even members of the local library, can't afford to be buying books. But on the bright side, things will get really interesting when we get moving, as we'll have money to do things! Current topics for discussion are - horse-riding in the Rockies, up near Banff and Lake Louise (which is n't much of a discussion, I have my heart set on it:), canyoning in Quebec, kicking it around Nova Scotia....Toms' mate Stu is taking us up to his log cabin at Lake Emma in Saskatchewan for a few days while we're there.

The only other news is I've been trying to complete the ipod challenge, listening to all my albums, no skips, just from a-z. I'm only about 230 songs into 850. But I'll get there. Discovered some weird stuff on there.

Anyway, must go, time to cook a vege curry! Love and hugs to everyone! If anyone wants to post me a burnt copy of the hottest 100 cd...i'd be ok with that. honestly, I promise I won't complain too much.

Bye xoxoxox

permalink written by  no_fosters_thanks on April 12, 2007 from Vancouver, Canada
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Tick Tick Tick....PART ONE

Sechelt, Canada

Well, after the May long weekend, Tom and I are as close to Canadian as we'll ever be. And also very spoilt by our friends.

John and Shannon picked us up at an ungodly time of morning, and can you believe, at 6am on the saturday of a long weekend, we couldn't find a single service station open? Made for a rather exciting trip...as we got off the ferry the car had 13kms left...and an extremely long hill between us and the next town with a servo. By the time we made it to the service station, we had a grand total of 5kms left on the clock.

Incidentally, John has taken to trying to be Australian, and adding an "o" to the end of nearly every word. Consequently a scrabble match was played between Tommo, Saro, Shanno and Johnno. But I'm getting ahead of myself. So after a car, a ferry, more car, we arrive at a small marina where Dale comes an picks us up..by boat. The cabin can only be reached by boat, which is apparently quite a normal occurence. And when a Canadian says Cabin, they actually mean 'Super Awesome Cool Small House with an Awesome View'. When the boat comes to Nelson Island, it's really interesting to look at all the Cabins that have been built on the island and hearing the stories of them being built. One house is being built by hand...out of stone! Shannon's first weekend at the Cabin was when she was two weeks old, so her family really know the history of the island.

Sitting inside the cabin we were able to look out over the small bay, (sitting by the wood fire...of course) and watch the sea and various wildlife. Two geese and their goslings had claimed the front lawn as their territory. And marked it appropriately. In LOTS of small little ways that are unfriendly to shoes.

We learnt plenty about general Canadian life, through extended random conversations (they sort of have a prom too) and discovered the the Loon is a bird, that is pictured on the $1 coin. Hence being called a 'Loonie'. And to think, we just thought it was a queer random word. Brilliant.

So much happened, I'll continue on again soon, but for now..PART ONE

permalink written by  no_fosters_thanks on May 23, 2007 from Sechelt, Canada
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"I think my horse wants to go this way"

Lake Louise, Canada

What a crazy few days it's been. So, lets finish off last week, after finishing work the lovely HPO (they took me out for lunch on my last day - and gave me a sweet t-shirt - a temp never gets treated this good) we had a small bbq and beers down at Kitsilano beach, to say goodbye to many of our Canadian friends. It really was a fun night, less on the frisbee as planned, and more on the beers. Amber and Simon brought down their portable bbq, and we had 'smokies'. Which as we understand is as important to the Canadian childs birthday parties as...well, fairy bread. Except more so, as boys have smokies too. (btw they are tasty little smoky flavoured snags...brilliant!)

The next morning we had to move out of our house, so we went and imposed on the best australian themed b&b in Vancouver, also known as Amber and Simon. And then things went a little weird.

So, one of the big things for touristas to do in the vancouver area, is to go and visit the funky wreck beach, out near the University of British Columbia. So Elsa drove Amber, Tom and myself out there...and gosh, was it a shock. This beach was PACKED. Full of naked people. We however, we considerably overdressed, but wow. I have never seen so much, and anywhere I tried to look, it was unavoidable. Now, we're not prudes, but there are just somethings that shouldn't get sunburnt. The amostphere was pretty cool though, a random drumming session to our left, with people dancing, beach volleyball, stalls with people selling Jewellery/clothes/food/anything. It was a really good experience, but I'm a very confident clothesist.

After drinking a bottle of wine down the beach, and having a snack, we headed back to Ambers place (with a very distressed looking Tom). For the evening, being our last in Vancouver, we collected Simon and headed out for all you can eat sushi and korean bbq. YUM. $20, and we stuffed ourselved silly. And I'm now a really big fan of Kimchee, a more avid fan of pork dumplings, and less of a fan of oysters and sqiud. Ugh.

And to think we couldn't leave Vancouver on even more of a high, Sunday, after Amber cooked us bacon and eggs (I love that girl), we headed back down to kits beach, and had a picnic and a game of boce, and coincidentally, a few beers. Unlike me, I know. However, come 5pm, it's time to leave, and we said our final goodbyes, and got on the greyhound.

That was a fairly uneventful night, the bus took 13 hours, from Vancouver to Lake Louise, but being an overnight bus, and having an ability to sleep most places, it wasn't too bad. But wow, when the sunrise came, we were travelling through the snow capped rocky mountains, and it was simply stunning. It actually make me glad we took the bus. No matter how shattered we were.
Before we got off the bus however, there was another tourist who was trying to get some help, she was spanish, and had some questions about one of the spots...and gosh, did I realise how shaky my spanish is. It's gone even more downhill (although it was hardly high on the slope), but we eventually got a 'level' of communication, and worked it all out. Such a mental workout for 7am though. WOW!

After ditching our bags in the hostel, we headed for a little hike up to lake louise, taking the longer, more scenic Bow River trail. It was really awesome. Once there, we hiked halfway around the base of the lake, checked out the Chateau and were generally amazed by the lake. The water is just such an intense blue, it was great to see. Early in the day however, we were exhausted, so headed back to get an early dinner and early night. Or so it would seem.

Last night we managed to get some old people (youth hostel?) in our room, which would be fine, except for the fact they BOTH snored like tractors. There needs to be a rule, if you know you snore, you CAN'T STAY IN DORMS. I was ok, pretty wrecked from the trip so I only woke a few times, but I think Tom was about to go postal. Luckily, we fell asleep at 7pm, and didn't get up until 9am, so we managed to get a few hours in there, but we needed that sleep. It has been calculated, at walking over 15km, both that day AND today, make Sarah one hungry and tired little traveller.

So today, when we headed back up to lake louise (incidentally, we appear to be the only crazy people to walk up from the village to the lake) we hiked a higher trail, up to mirror lake. This is the trail to do, on a switchback, there's a clearing where you can look back on the lake, and that is honestly the best spot to see the lake. Photos can't do it justice. It was quite funny though, it's been a late spring, so the trail still has ice...and SNOW! Tom and I would not be so immature as to make snowballs to throw at one another. Maybe. It was great, but when we were walking on this three foot snow, I deviated only slightly...and totally dropped my foot in uncompacted snow and went sprawling in the snow..Tom, to his credit did not laugh at me, but it would have been understood. Incidentally, Tom is addicted to when he sees ice or snow, he has to walk on it. Even if it's only a foot wide stretch.

After retrieving my leg from the snow, we headed down to Timberline Tours, to do our 2 hour horse ride! I really had my heart set on riding up to the 6 glaciers, and to lake agnes tea house, but due to the snow (and massive ice sheets which were due to come down on the trail any day), we had to do a combination of shorter rides, which were still fantastic. Not as fantastic as Tom on a horse! Brilliant. My favourite moment, was when the trail split in two, and one way headed back to the stables, and one was the way we were going. Steve (the guide) and myself start walking down the trail to the right...and hear a call "I think my horse wants to go this way"..with Toms and his horse Oreo turned left, and heading back to the stables. After stopping Oreo, he refused to turn around and come with us, until Steve talked Oreo into it...and he complied, but had a very unimpressed look for the rest of the ride.

It was a great ride, and Lake Louise has been good, but after two full days, it's time to move on, so we're off to Banff next. We have to be in Saskatoon by friday, so still aways to go!

Chat soon, love sarah

permalink written by  no_fosters_thanks on June 5, 2007 from Lake Louise, Canada
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Banff and JJJ

Banff, Canada

Well, Banff and I didn't get off to a great start. We arrived early in the morning, to rain, more rain and an australian at our hostel, who managed to wind tom up like a clock. So lets be honest, our first day in Banff, a complete Australian write off. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE jjj radio station, but hearing it broadcast at a hostel in Canada, while hearing more aussie accents then in Werribee....it wasn't what I was quite looking for. Thrown in with poor weather and so many gift shops (with signs in Japanese) and I'll be honest, my first impression of Banff was less than good.

After a good snooze though, the next day we awoke to great sunny weather, and we managed to get out off the main tourist strip and explore (and for the first time see the mountains without a hazy wet blur). Being in the Rocky mountains, wow. Banff is basically a valley nestled inbetween some amazing mountains. In the middle of summer, and the middle of winter Banff would be a great place to stay - but Spring, maybe give it a miss. In saying that, we hiked up Tunnel Mountain, and had a small picnic lunch, and the views were nothing short of spectacular. It was a decent walk up there, but for panoramic views of the Rockies, priceless.

That evening, we headed out on a bus to Saskatoon, which is further east about 10 hours. That wasn't too bad, we were two of ten people who also had the crazy inclination to spend 10 hours on a bus from Calgary (we had to swap buses) to Saskatoon, so it was a quiet and comfortable leg.

Once we arrived at Saskatoon, at 5.30 in the morning, we were greeted by a rather surreal experience, of Stu running through the bus station waving a giant aussie flag. Lucky we weren't in Banff, or he would have been mobbed. After a very early morning breakfast out at Denny's, we also made a quick stop at Wal-mart, to pick up the essentials. Oars, charcoal and lifejackets. What else do you need at 7am?

permalink written by  no_fosters_thanks on June 7, 2007 from Banff, Canada
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Those crazy prairie kids!

Saskatoon, Canada

Tom and I have just spend a fantastic week with Stu, Amanda and Andrew in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan (hard to spell, easy to draw). After our short early morning adventures with Wal-Mart, the 5 of us loaded up the car, and headed off to Stu's lake cabin, up at the wickedly cool, Emma lake.

To be honest, we just had four days of good old fashioned fun. There was mini-golf, ice-cream, playing at the beach (ok, lake with sand) canoeing.....It was quite hillarious playing mini-golf, as there was the added challenge of putting your ball in the hole before andrew picked it up, and either gave it to you, or put it straight in the hole! I'm proud to say Andrew and I make a stellar team, one effort I didn't even have to hit the ball before we got it in the hole...

We played in the sand aplenty..got to meet the neighbours and just generally had a great time. By sheer co-incidence, Tom and I had our 1 year anniversary at the cabin, on the same day as Amanda and Stu, so we all went out for dinner to celebrate! Yaay!!! It was a great few days, and wow, when people say saskathewan is flat, they really mean it. I got excited when I next saw a hill. And it was in Manitoba.

permalink written by  no_fosters_thanks on June 14, 2007 from Saskatoon, Canada
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So, I might be afraid of heights...

Thunder Bay, Canada

Arriving into ThunderBay in the evening...things were a little off kilter from the beginning. From our taxi driver, trying VERY hard to take us to the Super 8 Motel, even when we gave him the exact address of the our hostel. The fact that he said we were going to be in a dodgy part of town, also hardly encouraging. But, considering my innate ability to book hostels where hookers live, it was no surprise.

The hostel turned out to be more of a house, with the very friendly owner Gail, living in the basement suite, and the rest of the house occupied by travellers. It was actually a great experience, and we met a fantastic Spanish bloke called Carlos. Carlos decided he was over his job, so decided to pack up and cycle across Canada for 5 months, and some of the stories he had, fantastic.

Although the first night in Thunder bay was far from perfect, with half the town losing power (and as a result...tom and I struggling to get a feed anywhere) we were well surprised when everything turned out great.

Thunder bay is most commonly known for the town where you can see the Sleeping Giant, this HUGE island, when viewed from the town, looks like just that, a sleeping giant. It was actually very cool, but for some unknown reason to myself, I failed to take a photograph. Idiot much. But, I did take a photo of the local porn store...just around the corner. Like they always seem to be.

The weather (which has been absolutely PISSING down) cleared up to a gorgeous next day, and Gail insisted on taking Carlos, Tom and I to some of the local swimming holes, which strangely, did include a waterfall. Although Gail insisted it was safe to jump, the thought of Tom trying to explain to my dad how I broke two legs...less than appealing. Carlos gave it a go, but hey, one crazy person is enough for every tour.
After that, we did go to the local river, where we were all game enough to swim...and some locals tried to teach us where we could dive. Which was fine, when we climbed up the rocks...they jumped...and Tom jumped..and I chickened. It was ok, I was only stuck up there for like, 15 minutes before I jumped. Sadly, the rocks we climbed up, where not exactly climb downable...so it was the only option. Tom did climb back up to give me some moral support...or scare me into thinking he would push me...it`s hard to tell.

Anyways, after a pleasant 24 hours at the town of the sleeping giant, it was time to jump back on the greyhound for another 22 hour stint. Yay. Although, it did turn out to be a fantastic trip. Believe it or not, I`m glad we went greyhound.

permalink written by  no_fosters_thanks on June 16, 2007 from Thunder Bay, Canada
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