Sunday, November 13, 2005 

Still on Holidays
Here we are at the Future Shop in Winnipeg. There is a blizzard blowing at home and we are going to be here now until Tuesday. A bit of an inconvenience but we will get to do a little more Christmas shopping. YAY! We will write more later when we have time.

Thursday, November 10, 2005 

A henge of stone
It has been a few days, so let's recap.
On the 7th, we had a travel day. It started at 5am with us walking to the train station to catch the express train to the airport. We then headed for London. We had a short layover because the plane from Rome was late. Good thing Carla planned 3 hours between flights. We went to Newcastle and were met at the airport by Jake's Aunt Norma who quickly got us back to her place so we could relax. We didn't have any concrete plans, except to visit with family, which we did til the wee hours. Jake gave Norma a introductory computer lesson.
On the 8th, we hit some of the sights in Newcastle. We went down to the Tyne river to see the milennium bridge and the new 'Sage' concert hall. It was very nice - modern. We walked around inside for a bit then went for lunch. We had most of the afternoon to kill, and it was a toss up between a movie and going bowling. We went bowling. We laced up the rental shoes, and had an exciting 3 games. Jake wasn't quite finished, so he bowled the whole 4th game by himself. His thumb and arm muscles are paying the price now. We had some supper in a pub then went back to Norma's for her to run a couple of errands. We were then off to Arthur and Brenda's for dessert. We were going to meet them at an ice cream shop and take enough home for everyone, but it was closed. I keep forgetting that it's not high season. We went over for tea and cake anyway, and took some nice family photos. it was well after 11pm by the time we got home, and then Norma needed her next computer lesson, so it was wee hours again for all of us.
On the 9th, we had another travel day. We were picked up at the house by Mark at 7:30 and went to the airport for our flight to London. We had planned to meet with Allette, a friend of ours from Rankin Inlet, but the travel instructions got a little crossed, and we ended up not getting to see her. We did have a nice trip on the tube to downtown for some lunch though. Chandrika, Jake's sister-in-law, picked us up back at Heathrow and took us to her house in Berkshire. John was back from Germany, so we were able to have a big family dinner at a pub just down the road. We chatted until late, and watched some funny shows on the TV. British humour is sooo much funnier.
Today was Surekha's birthday. She turned 5. We walked her to school and then got a ride to the mall to pick out a cellphone. Carla bought it for Jake as a marathon finishing present. We spent an hour trying to get it unlocked, but were unsucessful. The guy at the booth was new, and I don't think he knew what he was doing. We had a light lunch, then John and family picked us up and we drove out to Stonehenge. Check that off the list. It was very overcast, but that kept the crowds away. At one time you could walk amongst the ruins, but now everything is fenced off. The unstressed grass makes for a nice foreground on the pictures though. We took a faster road back to London, and had supper and then a small birthday party for Surekha.

Sunday, November 06, 2005 

A Piece 'o Pisa Pizza
Yesterday we hopped on a train and took a day trip to Pisa. It was a nice day to travel as the sun wasn't out. The ride took 3 and a half hours, and we had to change trains in Florence, but it was very comfortable. We arrived in Pisa at about 1pm, just as all the stores were closing for the afternoon. We always have impeccable timing for those sorts of things. The restaurants were all open so we went for lunch. We each had a piece of Pisa pizza and a drink. We just went to a little cafe so the price was under 5E.
We walked to the tower and took the obligatory picture of Carla holding the tower up, then of Jake pushing it over. The authorities are letting people go into the tower again, but it costs 10E per person. Well worth the expense. We went up as a group of about 20 and had to be down in 30 minutes. I could have spent a lot longer up there. The tower really leans - by about 5.5 degrees, so the top is 4.5m outside the bottom. Very cool.
The train we took home went directly to Rome, so we could relax for the whole trip. I got a lot of reading done. Carla caught up a bit on her travel diary. Once home, we went for supper just around the corner from the hostel, then an early night.
This morning we awoke to the sound of thunder and rain pelting down on the trees outside our room. We were quite lazy, and lounged around until almost noon waiting to see if things would clear up. They didn't. We walked to the Colloseum, buying an umbrella along the way for 3E (down from the asking price of 5). We latched on to a cheap tour for 8E and spent a couple of hours wandering around. Once the tour was over, we stay inside and caught the ends of a couple of other tours. There was lots of imformation being passed along. I'm going to have to read more books when I get home.
We went for an Italian lunch that lasted a couple of hours, then found a Gelateria for ice cream. We meandered around until we found the Metro station then took the train to a site that we had missed the first couple of days of exploring. We've been trying to see some of the places that were referenced in the novel "Angels & Demons" More ice cream and a peacefull walk home in the rain.

Friday, November 04, 2005 

We got a V country
We're now in Rome. It's not as full as Malta, but there are still a lot of people. We had a really easy travel day from Malta, then were hard at it for a couple of days of power sight seeing.
Yesterday we started at the Spanish Steps, then went to Trevi Fountain. then the Pantheon, then Navona Plazza, then to the Roman Forum. It gets a bit overwhelming with all the old stuff mixed in with the new stuff. I'm happy that I'm able to take lots of pictures so I can relive the moments at a more relaxed pace once we get home. I was most impressed with the Pantheon and it's massive dome.
Today was the Vatican. We tagged along with a free tour of St. Peter's Bascillica, then took a paid tour of the Museum and the Sistene Chapel. Unfortunately, due to a licencing restriction, people are not allowed to take photo's inside the chapel, so we had to buy ourselves a postcard showing the ceiling and mail it home. We then went back to the Bascillica and walked up 550 stairs to the top of the dome. It was hot work, but worth it. The views of the Vatican area and gardens, as well as the views of Rome were stunning. We took a walk past the late Pope and then another walk around the inside of the Bascillica. By that time it was getting dark and time to head home. We tried to get Vatican stamps in our passports, but were unsuccessful. It doesn't seem they do them anymore. We took the Metro home to rest our feet. What a hoot. People are packed in like sardines, then the train stops, and a bunch more people get on. Then more, then more. Very efficient way of moving people around. And you get to smell new people. We are starving and about to head out for another wonderful Italian dinner.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005 

We saw seahorses!
We are now in Valetta, Malta. Let's back up. It has been a relaxing few days. The scuba diving with Calypso Diver's was pretty good. Not a lot of sea life, but the geology was fantastic. I think I took some good pictures of the caves, fissures and rocks. We did manage to finally see some sea horses. Three of them - they tuck in with the coral and are really hard to find. A yellow one, a mottled yellow one, and a white one.
We rented a moped for a couple of days and zipped around Gozo to some of the tourist sites. We would have gone further, but I was unsure how much fuel we actually had - when we went up hill it read empty, and when we went downhill it read full. We put our postcards in the mail so hopefully they will start arriving before we get home.
Today we rode the bus to Hagar Qim, a really old temple (3600BC). We then bussed out to Mdina, a walled city from 1500ish. The city was built quite ingenously in that the roads off the main street are curved so that you can't see the ends or see anyone who would be hiding down them. Either that or they couldn't build a straight wall.
We're killing time until we're hungry and then it'll be supper and an early night. Both of us were up past midnight last night reading our books.

Saturday, October 29, 2005 

Running pics. Yay!






 

You're where?
We're in Gozo. Look it up. We left Comino Island a few days ago after sitting by the pool all morning. We had a pick up arranged from the ferry which took us to a tiny town called Marsalforn. It's a seaside town with mostly hotels and restaurants and dive shops. We got settled into our room and went exploring. We visited some dive shops, and planned the next day's adventures, then we went for a walk along the coastline. Carla saw salt pans for the first time where seawater is evaporated to make table salt. We also found a scenic little 'fijord' with about one hundred steps carved into the rock. I'm glad we didn't find that 4 days ago. We walked back to town and had a nice dinner by the sea.
Today, we were up early and at the dive shop by 8:15. We got sorted for gear then packed up into a truck and headed for a dive site. The water was warm with lots of little fish. There wasn't much coral, but we got to see things like tuna chasing little fish for lunch. The second dive of the day turned out to be where we'd walked to yesterday. We got to take a boat there rather than carrying our gear down (and up) the 100 steps. The dive was called Cathedral Cave because it ended in a huge dome inside the rock. The acoustics were very good, and I did a little singing. We rented a scooter and went to the west side of Gozo to look at the inland sea, and the Azure Window. It was a lot of fun buzzing around on the wrong side of the road, just like in Bermuda. We had supper at a fancy restaurant and we're letting that settle before we go to bed.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005 

We can do stairs
I don't know if it was the warm bath last night, the 12 hours of sleep, or the day in the sun, but our legs are returning! We don't look like 80 year olds trying to go up and down stairs!
We had a very relaxing day today. We were up at the crack of 10 and just managed to make it to breakfast before they closed the door. We ate two meals worth. We picked up a couple of towels from reception (after leaving a 10ML - $33CDN deposit) and headed for the beach. We couldn't find a beach... it's very rocky here. We settled for some smoothish rocks and spent the next two hours letting the sun warm our sore bodies. We started to get a bit warm in the middle of the afternoon, and after some ice creams, we headed into the water. That cooled us down. We explored a bit, not wanting to get too far from our towels on the shore. We managed to find an octopus and I tried to take it's picture, but wasn't very successful. We sunned for another hour then made our way back to the hotel for a shower and a Fanta at the bar before supper. Mmmm lamb. After eating, we went for a walk to the adjacent part of the hotel - the bungalows - which are on the next inlet. It was very quiet out there and the warm wind off the sea was refreshing. We bought some cards at the gift shop, and are going to go upstairs so I can watch Carla play solitaire until I fall asleep.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005 

I Raised
I Ran
I Hurt

Can you believe there is a 3:45 in the morning too? Our bus to the airport left at 4:15 so we didn't have time for breakfast. Good thing I had a banana and a drinky yogurt in the fridge. The bus was pretty quiet for the hour long trip into Geneva. It was sad to part our ways but nice too in that we are onto the next phase of our holidays.

We flew with Alitalia to Rome then on to Malta arriving around noon. We managed to figure out the local bus system and get into the main area of town. It helps that English is the language here! We enjoyed some chicken pies from a street vendor at the bus station before boarding another to take us to the north end of the main island. Here we had a three hour wait for the ferry to take us to the tiny island of Comino. Malta is made up of three main islands. We are spending our first few days on the smallest one in the middle. It was 5:30 pm by the time we got here and checked in. The first task was to make it up the stairs - yes our legs are still killing us - and take a nap. Supper here is included and was a nice buffet of roast beef and lots of veggies. It was nice to have a full meal! A little walk outside in the wind to clear our heads and we are off to bed shortly.

Monday, October 24, 2005 

Snow angels
Marathon recap.
We woke at 8am to the sound of rain pelting against our hotel room window. Not a great sign. We dressed quickly and had a full breakfast. Carla brought her peanut butter from Canada to have some with toast and bananas. Jake enjoyed Chocos (cereal). We had been advised to not do anything different on race day. So breakfast was the same. Team MB met in the lobby for 9am. Everyone looked great in their race shirts and gear - too bad we were all covered up in raincoats. We walked down to the race start to drop off our change of clothes ... and stand around. We got a bit chilly! Before we knew it we were lined up with 2000 other full marathoners and the gun went. It took a few minutes before we all crossed the start line. We had a great start and watch so many people scoot off ahead of us. But it was soooo amazing. So we ran. Jake's shoes felt 3 times heavier due to all the puddles he jumped in. Carla's were pretty dry. We crossed the half marathon point of 21.1 km at a time of 2 hours and 13 minutes - right on track for a 4:30 full. Then, disaster hit. Jake's calves started to cramp. We had to walk a little bit more than we had planned, and stopped for some stretching.... it was a long way home. It did force us to talk with kids, check out the scenery, dance to the music from the live bands, chat with other racers... and have a fabulous time along the way. It really tested our patience and perserverance to keep going. We were able to run strongly the last 750m and crossed the finish line holding hands. Tears our eyes. Global did a quick interview with us in our immediate glory, blubbering and all.

We stuck around to see the last of the JIM Team Canada members across the line. We had one girl, Lindsay, who finished walking the 1/2 marathon in 4:09 and she had the biggest group cheering her across the finish line. She has arthritis and was the last person to finish the event! Very emotional stuff. We went back to the hotel for some well needed showers and we all went out for a celebration meal. A fancy meal of steak and potatoes to fill our hungry bodies. Finally a meal without pasta! Then there was a party with all the team Manitoba participants in one of our friend's room. We left at midnight, but it went past 2 as we could hear it from our room. I wore my medal all day and under my pillow! I slept well.

In an effort to rest our extremely sore legs, Carla and I went to Gstadd today via two trains, a bus, 2 cable cars and a chair lift. Gstadd is a well known ski area and we went to see a glacier and roll in the snow. It was a sunny day and we had great views of all the mountains and villages. The chalets here are as stunning as on any postcard.

Everyone is parting ways tomorrow so we enjoyed one last meal together tonight. We are all posting our final emails and heading back to pack. We have a 4:15am bus to catch tomorrow to take us into the Geneva airport.

PS Happy 1/2 birthday to Jake!!!!

Sunday, October 23, 2005 

We are marathoners
05:04:15.5

Saturday, October 22, 2005 

We have our numbers!
Last night we had the Canada Pasta Party. Lots of fun with different provinces cheering every time their name was mentioned. The two of us sounded a little feeble when they said Nunavut. Afterwards we went out with a small group to look for dessert. I had grape pie - thought it was blueberry - not seedless grape pie either. We then went to one of our team member's room and had a little party. It broke up when the country music singing started.
Carla got up early and went for a short run this morning. Jake didn't sleep well, and didn't get up. Carla only had to run one hill, but it was about 2km long, so she was pretty beat when she got back.
Team Manitoba/Nunavut went down to the Marathon Expo and registered. Carla is number 1533. Jake is 1534.
We went to take a look at the finish line so we know what to expect tomorrow afternoon, and then toured the Olympic Museum. The biggest challenge has been finding bathrooms.
Tonight there is a huge pasta party with the expected 17,000 participants. We might drop in, but I'm a little tired of pasta right now. Then it's a good night's sleep and a 42.2km run in the morning. Talk to you when that is finished.

Friday, October 21, 2005 

Hello from Lausanne
We arrived late last night after what seemed to be a very long flight, but I think it was just the long layovers. We wandered around a bit to find food (pizza) and get our bearings, then went to sleep. Ten hours later, and feeling very refreshed, we went to the buffet breakfast in the hotel and ate our fill. A group of us hopped on the train and went to Montreaux to check out a castle. While we were there, Global TV did another interview with us - very nice scenery for this one. We had lunch at an outdoor cafe and then took the train back to Lausanne. We have a team meeting in a while then the Canada Pasta Party. All is well.

Monday, March 14, 2005 

Antarctica website is up
I guess it takes me about a month to get a website posted. In my defence, since we got back, I've moved the website to a fast connection down south. We also had to make a presentation of our pictures to put on a couple of slide shows for our friends. I got the number down to 129 from 2500 - that took a lot of work too.
Enjoy

Wednesday, February 09, 2005 

One can always hope
Well, we're home, and now comes the sorting of the pictures. We took about 9 gigs worth, and I've spent all day getting them backed up. I'd hate for a stray spark of static electricity to erase everything.
The website will be up at www.punshon.ca/antarctica as soon as I can get it done. I plan to work on it really hard over the next 3 or 4 days, so hopefully by Monday, If the link doesn't work, that means, I'm not done yet.

Sunday, February 06, 2005 

WOW!!!
We're back on terra firma in Ushuaia. The trip to Antarctica was amazing. Well worth the thousand dollars per day it cost us to be there. We saw lots of whales, hundreds of seals, tens of thousands of penguins, more birds than we could count and just the tip of a lot of ice bergs. We made it as far south as 65' 05.533", set foot on the continent twice, swam twice in the sea, camped on a glacier to the sound of penguins squawking, and made many many new friends.
You will have to go yourself to see what it is all about. Our 2500 photos will not do the place justice. The overwhelming beauty of the continent is beyond description.

Thursday, January 27, 2005 

It's almost time to board the boat.
We went for supper a couple of nights ago at Carla's favourite restaurant. She had her Milanesa and Papas Pure with Ensalada Mixta. Jake had empanadas, and whatever Carla couldn't eat. We went to bed early, because we were going to glacier school the next morning.
I know we're on vacation, because we were up at 7:00 am. Ever notice how you get up earlier on holidays than at home? We got our gear together then got into the van. We picked up a couple of people from another hotel then we were off to school. School was located 3 hours and 1100 metres up a mountain. We were in rented boots, so our feet were sore - but I'm not sure that our own gear would have been that much better. It was a chilly, cloud covered day, but that was perfect for walking in. We got periods of rain, but it wasn't too heavy. Glacier school was fun. We both learned a lot - mainly that we need to go to school again and learn more. We had a safety drill and then went up onto the ice. We tried different kinds of walks (Carla liked the duck walk and quacked a bit). We learned about the different kinds of ice and snow, and how to read the ice a bit. We practiced safety stops with ice axes, and Carla learned a new knot for tying a row of climbers together. After lunch we did some ice climbing in a small crevasse. Not very much, but it's a lot harder than it looks. Lots of fun though. The walk down was a lot easier, and we enjoyed taking the time to look at the scenery, and smell the flowers. It was a 12 hour day by the time we got home.
We were now at the end of our personal vacation, and at the start of our anniversary trip. We changed from the hostel to a fancy hotel (even though we got odd looks fromt he staff as we walked in all covered in mud from a day's mountaineering). We got cleaned up a bit, then went out for supper. We had the same thing as yesterday, but at a different restaurant. It wasn't as good, and they forgot to bring Carla her salad. No tip for you. We chased it all down with ice cream and went home to bed.
We slept in a bit this morning, then rushed around to get packed and have the luggage downstairs by 10am. They were taking it to the boat already. We made it into the restaurant for free breakfast with a couple of minutes to spare. Fed and watered, we left the hotel and went to look at our boat. It's big, but tiny compared to some of the other boats at the dock. I'm glad we're not going to be with 700 other people. We picked up Jake's rental rubber boots and the laundry and now we're doing the last errands before we embark in a couple of hours. The boat likely doesn't have internet, so this is the last entry for 12 days. We'll have all 7 continents under our belts next time we chat.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005 

Why are we in t-shirts while everyone else is wearing parkas?
6:45 came much too early - especially since I read until about 3am. We got a taxi to the airport and got ripped off 5 pesos. I was too tired to argue with him. Carla was a little miffed, but let it go after a bit of a walk through the airport realising it was only a couple of dollars.
We had to pick up the backpack that we put into storage when we first arrived. It was nice not having to lug around an extra 20 kg of arctic gear though the 35 degree temperatures. We had to walk to another terminal to check in, then walk back to the first one to get to our gate. They are so organised here. We were early and had lots of time, so it wasn't really a problem. It was also fairly cool that early in the morning.
The flight went through El Calafate on the way to Ushuaia. We talked to a Australian guy all the way there. He was also doing Antarctica, but leaving next week. We were supposed to have an airport pickup, but when we arrived, there was no one holding a little sign, so we took a taxi to our hostel. Carla made me go for a run again, but this time it wasn't so bad beacuse it was 12 degrees and we found a flat course to run on. My heart rate stayed where it was supposed to for the first time in a week.
We got cleaned up, then paid for our ice climbing trip tomorrow. We took in some laundry, so we have clean clothes to wear on the boat. The card on the digital camera was getting about half full, so we took it in to a camera shop and had them burn the files to cd's. It took 3 cd's, and only cost 24 pesos, or about 10 dollars. We now have them backed up in two separate places. We had a little snack at a cafe and are now running around town doing more errands.
Only two more sleeps until we head for the penguins.

Monday, January 24, 2005 

It rained like the heavens were trying to put out the fires of hell... and 27 degrees now feels cold.
I'm glad we planned to sleep in a little today. We had hoped to go back to the falls (Argentina side) to do some boat trips and a nature walk, but it was raining. We opted to just laze around. Ate breakfast, packed up, and checked out. Hostels have great amenities for passing time as our flight wasn't until 6 pm and didn't feel like going out in the rain. Jake worked on backing up photo files, Carla read her Antarctica material. We played some pool, watched TV, and had a late lunch. Would have loved to get in a last swim in the sun but the skies were not cooperating. Before we knew it, time had passed and we were on the plane back to Buenos Aires. Grabbed a cab to the Tango City Hostel Inn. Chatted with a few other travellers and got the neighbourhood scoop. Jake has been craving empanadas so we found where the hot spot was. Managed to find some ice cream on the way home.
It's time for bed as it will be an early day tomorrow.

Sunday, January 23, 2005 

The rain in Brazil falls mainly on the tourists.
We didn't run into town last night, we just did a loop. We were exhausted from the day at the falls. We showered, gobbled down some pizza, and hit the sack pretty hard.
The morning was grey but still quite hot. We found the public transport bus to Brazil. They stamped our passports out of Argentina, but not into Brazil. We then had to catch a different bus to the Parque National. We thought the spellings on the signs were a little odd until we realized we didn't know any Portugese! Just as we qued in the long line to pay the entrance fee, it started to rain. A jungle rain. We couldn't see across the parking lot, but by the time we had our tickets and eaten a bit of lunch the rain had mostly stopped. We spent the next 3 hours taking more fantastic photographs of waterfalls. The view from the Brazil side is much more panoramic. It is overwhelming to see what 1.2 million litres per second looks like. It wasn't as up close and personal as the Argentine side but it was still worth the trip. The walks today were much shorter and the clouds in the sky made the temperature more bearable. After we had seen all there was to see we headed back to Argentina by bus. At one point we thought we had missed our connection, but the time zone difference saved us. It was a very smooth day.
We went for our run early. In the daylight we saw all sorts of things we had missed in the dark. We showered then ate spaghetti and hamburgers for dinner. It's raining again. I'm glad we didn't save our run for after sun down. We are a little disappointed we didn't get to go on the "full moon walk" at the falls. Next time.

Saturday, January 22, 2005 

And when we say 'hot', we mean 36 or so.
We went for a swim yesterday afternoon, but the water felt like taking a bath. It was still refreshing, and removed a lot of grime. We then headed into town, a five km bus ride, for 28 cents each. Jake got a 4 dollar hair cut, but it looks like it cost at least 7. Carla was craving fruit, so we stopped at a stand and spent another 60 cents on a banana and a bag of plums. We then realised that we were almost out of money so after wandering around aimlessly for a while, we found a bank and stood in line for 30 minutes waiting our turn. People seem to do a lot of banking on ATM machines - not just cash withdrawls like us. We bought some water, and headed back to the hostel. It had cooled off a lot once the sun went down and we felt like we could do our run. It wasn't too bad. Well actually it was - for Jake anyway. His heartrate monitor was beeping for over half the time. It felt really good to have a much needed shower when it was done. We ate at the hostel - Argentine time - so it was well after 11 before we got to bed. We both fell asleep quickly.
Today, we went to look at water falls. Lots and lots of water falls. And here in Argentina, you can get right up close to them. I spent a lot of time protecting the camera from the spray. We took more than 100 pictures, and I'm sure they are all excellent :) Carla got stung by a bee on the way home - her first bee sting. We were worried that she would swell up and need medical attention, but she was just fine.
We're waiting for the sun to go down so we can go for another run. We're going to run all the way into town and buy some water, then take the bus back. I hope Carla remembers to take some pesos.

Friday, January 21, 2005 

We've been busy.
Kuky cooked Milanesa for Carla, which is her favourite Argentine food. Dinner conversation is pretty good now, it really helps to know a bit more Spanish. We slept. We went to school. We ate empanadas for lunch. It was a beautifully sunny day so we skipped the schools afternoon activity and went to see our land instead. The bus ride was a lot of fun as a group of youth were singing in 4 part harmony. Other passengers were making requests. Buses here are always jammed full and friendly. We had to walk 2km from the stop to our land. We took some pictures looking back at our space from the bridge, walked the perimeter, sat in the shade, climbed one of our trees, took more photos, and walked down the street to look at the neighbours (we only have 4 of them).
We met with some friends for dinner at Alberto's Parilla. Carla was feeling a little ill, but Jake sure enjoyed his "bife lomo", which is filet mignon. By dessert time Carla was ready to eat her ice cream!
We had to miss our run on Thursday morning as all of our clothes were at the laundry. We cut out of our last class early so we could meet with the notary to sign some more papers before we left. Papa Roberto was kind enough to help us out so it went smoothly despite the problems we faced the other day.
We packed quickly, said our good byes and were back on the bus by 3:00 pm. 19 comfortable hours later we were in Buenos Aires. We took a local taxi to the airport. Jake really enjoyed that ride zipping in and out of traffic! We were early and managed to get on an earlier flight to Iguazu, which is where we are now.
It's hot, it's humid and we are about to go for a swim.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005 

Looks like we need to come back.
Lunch yesterday at 3:00 pm tasted so much better than lunch at noon. Meal times in Argentina are pushed back a few hours so its a bit of an adjustment. Jake tried a few varieties of empanadas and Carla had ravioli that tasted like they had been boiled in a swimming pool. We purchased air tickets for Bs. Aires to Iguazu for this weekend. It went smoothly and was cheaper than if we had done it from Canada. We stopped by the Notary and handed over some docuements that need to be translated. They won't be ready for our final signature for another 6 weeks. That has put a crimp in our plans. We have just a few days to figure out if we are able to do this from Canada or if we need to return again. We tried to do some homework in the park but the life buzzing around us was more fun to watch! At 7:00 we went to the Salsa lesson arranged by the school. The teacher did not show up so we learned to play a traditional Argentine card game called Truco. A lot of fun and quite confusing - poker, card counting, bluffing, betting, folding, and more all rolled into one. The sun goes down quite late here so we were surprised it was 9:30 when we looked up and had to hurry home for dinner. Kuky made milanesa for Carla as it is one of her favourites. A little futbol watching and a bit more homework before the lights went out.
The alarm rang early today. Jake is sick. Carla got up and went for her run. Not so many people whistling that early in the morning. Another morning of classes full of new words, grammar, and information. We keep laughing and having fun. It is good to be able to make jokes in a foreign language. I guess we are learning. A quick lunch with a new friend from England, then off to our afternoon activity. We visited an orphanage with 100 children run by one couple. Amazing and sad at the same time. We made lots of new little friends. Jake was popular with the camera taking photos non-stop. We played soccer, drew pictures, pushed kids on swings, talked in spanish, held and hugged - a nice day for everyone.
It has been a long day in the hot hot sun. We are on our way for a siesta and homework before dinner. Nos encanta.

Monday, January 17, 2005 

I'm so proud of myself.
After 8 months of procrastinating and not looking at my spanish lessons, I find that I remember a whole lot of what I took. Not as much as Carla remembers, but she spent a few weeks reviewing stuff :)
Last night, we went to El Centro (the town square) to sit and listen to some musicians and watch the jugglers. We picked up snacks at the grocery store then went back home. I watched football on TV while Carla went for her run. She got lots of whistles and cat calls, and one guy stalled his car at the corner watching her run by. Now I have to go with her every time :)
We spent our first day back in school this morning. It was a little zany. There are quite a few more people taking spanish classes in the summer time. I'm sure there are 10 different levels of students. Carla and I are in a class all by ourselves. It is nice to practice what we need to learn, but it is more difficult to make friends. The only time we see other people is at coffee break.
We get 2 free hours of internet every day, so we have no excuse for not keeping the blog up to date - for the first part of our trip anyway.
We're off to Cocodrilo's for lunch.

Sunday, January 16, 2005 

We are back in Bariloche.
It feels like we never left.
Wait, let me back up a little bit. The rain had finished and it was hotter and muggier than before. That didn't stop us from going for our morning run. Five laps around the park dodging pigeons and dog poop and enduring the stares from the locals. We had the afternoon to fill before our bus trip. We took the subway intending to find the planetarium but instead found some nice parks and a rose garden. We walked, sat in the shade, napped, watched road hockey, and ate lunch at a road side stall. Good thing the parks were there because when we finally found the planetarium, it was closed. It is summer holidays here. We made our way back to the St. Nicholas Hostel to pick up our luggage, then headed back on the subway to the bus station. By 7:30 we were on our way.
Skip ahead 20 hours. We arrived in Bariloche well rested and well fed. The seats on the bus reclined all the way back to make a flat bed. The 'in flight' service and meals were better than any airline. Mama and papa greeted us at their door with open arms and Argentine kisses. Apparently we can still speak some Spanish :) Showers felt great and the ice cream is already in our tummies. We start school tomorrow.

Friday, January 14, 2005 

*This* is what the blog is supposed to be for...
We are in Buenos Aires, Argentina right now, sitting in the common room, listening to the torrential rain pound down against the roof of our hostel. We were supposed to go to Bariloche by bus this afternoon (20 hour ride), but all the seats were taken. We have made a reservation to go tomorrow, and will arrive on Sunday afternoon. Turns out we will be staying with the same family we stayed with a year ago.
We are both pretty tired, although Carla managed to get 6 hours of sleep on the flight from Chicago. We had a big time change, and lost 3 hours today, but that means we're going to bed at a reasonable local time.
It is 65 degrees warmer today than when we left Rankin Inlet, and we're both really feeling it. Add to that the 97 percent humidity, and neither of us feel like moving too far too fast. Carla's hair does look sort of like a lion's mane though :)
Coming back to a city/country that we've visited before has been really nice. We sort of know what we're doing, and where we're going. If we could just get the rain to stop, so I can take the camera out and snap some pictures.

Thursday, October 28, 2004 

It has been a while since the last post.
I guess we've been a little busy, and maybe a little depressed about the early arrival of winter. We've already had 3 blizzards, and there is already more snow than we had all of last year.
We took a short trip to Churchill to look at polar bears a few weeks ago. When I used to live there, Carla visited me, but it was late in the season, and there was only one bear left. She wanted to see more, and on this trip we saw 10! The driver of our tundra buggy let me use his digital SLR camera, and now I want one :) Maybe I'll get myself one for xmas. The picture was taken when the bear went up on his hind legs and smelled inside the buggy. I think he (she?) wanted to taste what we were having for lunch.
Other than that, I think we're just killing time until we go to Cuba in a week...great... now I'm thinking of sun and sand. Time to go before I drool on the keyboard.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004 

Time to put up the xmas tree.
It's snowing outside.
I used to complain that the Sears Xmas catalog came in the middle of summer, but we got our's on Monday, and now this. It really feels like autumn. The wind has a bite to it - perhaps because it is blowing with gusts over 85km/h. I really hope we get another blast of summer before winter really arrives. I feel a little short changed this year... there was still snow from last winter hanging around until the beginning of August.
We have a big, three night kayak trip planned for the Thanksgiving weekend (that's the second weekend in October for you yanks). Hopefully the wind co-operates with us, and we're able to go explore some new areas. So far we've invited 6 or 7 other people to come with us, but only 2 or 3 seem really keen. It will all depend on the weather forecast.
That is all for now - I have to get back to the spring cleaning :)

Where in the world?

    On 15 Nov 2005, we are home
    in Rankin Inlet, Nunavut
    On 11 Nov 2005, we were in
    Winnipeg, Canada
    On 09 Nov 2005, we were in
    London, England
    On 07 Nov 2005, we were in
    Newcastle, England
    On 02 Nov 2005, we were in
    Rome, Italy
    On 31 Oct 2005, we were in
    Valetta, Malta
    On 28 Oct 2005, we were in
    Marsalforn, Gozo, Malta
    On 25 Oct 2005, we were in
    Comino, Malta
    On 21 Oct 2005, we were in
    Lausanne, Switzerland
    On 29 Jan 2005, we were in
    Antarctica
    On 14 Jan 2005, we were in
    Buenos Aires, Argentina

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    New Zealand '06
    South Africa '06
    Ellesmere Island '07

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