Tag: travel

Ill equipped

For anyone not in the know I am currently part of the Pacific Standard Tribe, visiting family and friends in Vancouver for a couple of days before drifting slightly eastward to Banff on Thursday. And since Banff isn’t a place that I am recently familiar with, I made sure that I was preparing for being there. It seems that everything I brought and packed was considering the current state of Banff, but an old state of Vancouver from when I was here last in June. Neglecting to remember that in the winter months it rains in Vancouver. A lot.

And not the type of rain that can be avoided with good timing and a careful watch on the doppler radar, this is a soul-crushing long-term drizzle that I suspect won’t let up the entire time that I’m here. At least is what the forecast seems to indicate. So while I brought gloves, scarf and toque to prepare for the -2°C temperatures in Banff, I didn’t bring an umbrella or rain jacket. How soon we forget. In Bermuda, rain is something that happens at a point in time. And you can literally watch it pass by overhead.

Bottom line, looks like I’m going to get damp. I’ll try to borrow an umbrella, but I’m not going to let some water from the sky stop me from seeing my friends and doing what I need to do. I’ll let you know how Banff goes at some point too (I’m there for the CanUX conference)

November 8, 2009

Final Days of Summer

The season does officially last almost another month, but traditionally the end of August marks the end of the summer for many people. In Bermuda, where a lot of people study away, it means that people are getting ready to leave the island, and among my friends here (many of whom are locals) there is a feeling of finality. It is a much different feel than I experienced in Vancouver last summer.

I’ve been reminded more than once that I haven’t been updating my site with news. Normally that could indicate that there is no news. However, in this case there has been and I guess I will blame my alternative outlets as the culprit. I still do intend to integrate these other information sources into the site, but I’ve been having a lot of difficulty settling on certain aspects of the renovation. I guess it is a lot like building a new house, there are a lot of decisions to be made and I don’t want to rush it.
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August 29, 2009

Seattle Weekend

It was a very last minute trip, but I just got back from two days in Seattle. Less than 24 hours after returning from my Christmas trip home to visit my family, I was departing on another mini-adventure with my friend Jordan.

It was a very casual and enjoyable trip. We left Friday night and had no real agenda for the weekend. The main objective was to visit some of Jordan’s friends from Victoria who just happened to have gone down to Seattle for New Year. Jordan and I managed to be staying in separate hotels thanks to the somewhat random nature of Hotwire, the online hotel booking service. Cheap, but you don’t know which hotel until after you pay. That aside, we were close enough that it wasn’t an issue.

Friday night we arrived fairly late, but that didn’t stop us from joining Jordan’s friends for drinks on Capitol Hill. At one point I left Jordan and his male friend’s out drinking to walk the women back to their hotel (which was the same as mine as it turned out). Saturday involved a lot of walking. I started off on my own taking some photos. Then I met up with Jordan and we walked to Pike Place Market where we met everyone else for brunch. Afterwards we made a slow climb through Seattle until we got to the REI flagship store. Massive. After that coffee, then more shopping. More walking, Starbucks, walking, shopping, then back to the hotel. After some relaxing and napping, we met up for dinner at Wild Ginger a location recommended by Jordan’s friends. It was really quite tasty. If you like a variety of Asian cuisine, then this is certainly a restaurant worth trying.

Jordan’s friend were leaving early Sunday, so we were on our own. After brunch in an Irish pub called Fadó, we decided to do Bill Speidel’s Underground Tour. I highly recommend this if you are visiting the city. Not only do they regale you with the history of the city, but they do it in a pleasantly funny manner. Then you are taken to three different parts of the old underground. It is quite fascinating. After the tour we collected our stuff and headed towards the border. We stopped at a Target along the way for a bit of cross-border shopping. Unfortunately the worst part of the trip was the insane snow/sleet/freezing rain storm we hit just after crossing back into Canada. There were cars stuck spinning their tires all over the place. There were definitely a few hairy moments, but we all made it back safely. Despite this city’s lack of preparedness and inability to drive in this weather, we didn’t see any accidents. A few stuck cars yes, but nothing more really. I’m sure that there will be, or has been some issues, but I hope that people have enough sense to stay off the roads if at all possible.

You can see my photos from the weekend on Flickr.

January 4, 2009

Uniform of the rich

Blue blazer, khaki slacks, rust brown loafers. Shirt can vary, usually pastel, no tie. This is the standard outfit for the rich, at least it certain invokes that kind of imagery from me. There was gentleman not that far ahead of me in the line for customs with this outfit. Very inspiring I guess you could say… it certainly inspired me to write this post.

I’m in the airport lounge in Toronto, waiting for my connection in about 30 minutes. It was a useful week in Bermuda, but I am looking forward to getting home. Of course, Bermuda once was home, and it is possible it could be again. Now that I have had a taste of business travel, I have some thoughts about it. First of all, Air Canada, while they make an effort, really only provides an “adequate” service to “Executive Class” flyers. In general, there are some perks: faster check-in, often faster through security. Lounge access is sometimes, but not always available (I’m talking to you Bermuda). Obviously the seats and service on the plane are better, but this is dependent on the airline, not the general entitlement of flying “executive”. There are a couple of things that can’t be gained by paying way too much for your ticket. Customs times—maybe in some countries, but in Canada, you all wait in the same line. Waiting for luggage. In theory, you could pay to have someone else pick up your bags, or something to that effect, but in the end, you aren’t intrinsically gaining anything here.

September 13, 2008

Successful excursion

I am now back in line at the border, this time lingering in the US, which is never preferrable. We are at a different crossing, in the hopes it would be faster which is what the Internet lead me to believe. Only it doesn’t seem to be the case.

The soccer game was great, Canada played really well and for a while it was tied at one, then two. The final score was 3-2 for Brazil, but it was fun anyway. Afterwards we stopped off at Merchant’s Cafe, which is apparently the oldest bar on the west coast. After Jordan won a number of games of pool against a random assortment of patrons we went off in search of some food.

We tried a couple of places before we found Il Bistro. At this point we were 11 people. Finding something that had space and was serving food wasn’t easy. But we lucked out in the end, taking advantage of a late happy hour with cheap app-sized pastas and a nice four-cheese pizza. We continued on drinking and it was around 1:30 before we called it a night and ended up back at the hotel.

After a slow morning, we all met up again at a coffee shop on Capital hill and experienced what coffee was meant to be. We ended up leaving after that, saying goodbye to the rest of our party. And that is where you find me—writing this on my Blackberry still waiting to reach the border.

June 1, 2008

Seattle bound

I am currently sitting in a Chrysler Sebring convertible stopped admist miles of vehicles. I am waiting to get across the border into the US for our weekend trip to Seattle. I’m not sure how I feel about driving in the back of a convertible on major highways, but it is nice to be out in the open during this nice day just waiting in the car.

We are heading to a soccer game tonight between Canada and Brazil. And at this rate we might just make it. ;) Hopefully I’ll have some more photos when I get back tomorrow night.

May 31, 2008

My life in four bags

How many bags does your life fit into? Mine pretty much fits into four bags, five if you count my camera bag, but if need be I could squeeze that into one of the other bags. As everyone knows, I’ve moved around a lot in the past couple of years, but all of those trips and locations, including Bermuda, were finite. They all had expiration dates. Now I’ve moved to Vancouver, clear across Canada from where I grew up. It is exciting not knowing how long I am going to be here. Exciting realizing that this is the first day of the rest of my life.

But for now I will be unpacking my four bags and trying to temporarily eek out a life in this strange, yet ultimately much more familiar city. Back to familiar currency, language, and driving laws. You’ll be kept informed.

March 15, 2008

London bound

Some of my family members knew, but I figured that since I am leaving tomorrow, it was probably about time that I brought people up to speed on my trip to London. I am traveling with work to spend a week in our London office. I feel it will be quite beneficial since there are a number of people in IT at this office that I’ve dealt with but never met. Not to mention that my direct project supervisor works out of this office.

On the non-work side it will also give me a chance to meet up with a few different friends that I have not seen in a while. And I might be able to get a spa treatment or two done while I’m there. I will report in with anything interesting that happens. Unfortunately I think I’m going to be too early to get a chance to see one of the MacBook Air’s in the Apple Store on Regent Street. I know that they aren’t shipping yet, but there is a possibility that they have a demo model there. I’ll definitely be stopping in to check.

January 18, 2008

Back to Bermuda

I should start by wishing everyone who recognizes it a happy new year. I’m not going to put up any predictions this time around because they are depressing to look at in a few years time when they still haven’t been accomplished.

I spent my New Year’s Day on an airplane. After an icy and snowy drive to the airport in Halifax courtesy of my parents, I managed to catch my ridiculously early flight to Toronto without too much issue. I knew ahead of time that my connection to Bermuda was delayed… by three hours. A small delay would have been good because I was a tad late coming in from Halifax, but the real drama started when I finally did get on the plane in Toronto.
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January 2, 2008

Everything but the laptop

I am of course referring to what I have packed for my move to Bermuda. I find it odd that given how much I have moved around in the past I still get quite anxious with each move. Have I packed enough? Too much? Have I forgotten something critical? I guess these are things even a seasoned traveler must contend with. And I think that I qualify as seasoned.

But then the reality of the situation sinks in, most often when I have cleared security at the airport and the resulting catharsis is quite nice. At that point, things are out of your hand, anything left behind will have to be dealt with some other way. But until then... there is always time to try to find what it is that is nagging in the back of your mind.

November 5, 2007

Brussels Redux

I guess it is true what they say: "You can take the boy out of Europe, but you can't take Europe out of the boy." Or something like that. In this case that boy is me, and the saying is a bit backwards, because it seems I can't be kept out of Europe. Next week I will be flying over to Brussels to take part in a general conference held for representatives of the different Erasmus Mundus programs along with some of the members of the old Launch and Liaison committees. So the decision to join this thing so many months ago is still paying dividends in respects to my involvement in shaping the creation of an Erasmus Mundus Alumni Association. I suspect however, that this will be the last of it. I have finished my program, graduated and moved on. Not quite working yet, but with employment even if I haven't technically started.

If I'm not mistaken, part of our role, or more accurately, the policy team's role was to determine what process be involved with choosing representatives and handing over the reigns of the executive core of the association from year to year. Since it is one association covering over 80 different courses, that gets a bit tricky from a logistical perspective. Right now there is no executive because we only have a launch committee which was tasked to get this off the ground. It has certainly been an interesting and cultural experience, and I have met some very great people along the way.

Armed with my experiences and, in the case of my role in the IT team, my knowledge, I hope that I can contribute as much as possible. There will be a lot of people at this meeting since each program will be sending two students and one coordinator. I hope that with all the people things don't get lost in the shuffle, and that so many cooks don't ruin it for everyone. Because if it is anything like the last general meeting I was at... the balance is precarious and it wouldn't take much.

October 2, 2007

Weather

Bermuda: 15°C
Halifax: 0.3°C

Backpack: Get Organized and Collaborate
It's not necessary that each program be a visual work of art. But it's important that it not be ugly. #