Its about to begin

June 23, 2006

Well, I’ve just gone through the orientation of Animation Mentor. I am only a little over a week away from getting down and dirty with Maya again, and (hopefully) learning a thing or two. I’m pretty excited, as you can imagine, and pretty terrified too. Its been a long wait, but its almost over.

I hope it doesn’t prevent me from keeping this blog nicely updated, but school comes first. I’ll do my best.

That is all.


Some more pics

June 21, 2006

Not all the snow is gone. Looks ominous, hey?
A tunnel shot. I love tunnels SOOOOO much.

Pretty pretty pretty.

That is all.

Almost there

June 21, 2006

(dont forget to read the post just below this first)
We were told by a million people just how perfect the southern Rockies are, so we loaded the car and headed in. The town of Penticton came up over and over which helped us decide to make it our first stop.

Eh. It was okay. Holiday town really. Pretty hanging flowers were the visual highlight, and the most scrumptious ribs in the world were the culinary highlight. It was just Claire, Chef K, his wife, and me in the restaurant.

We stayed one night and went on to Kelowna. We liked it a lot more. Bigger and decidedly prettier. We watched the Oilers win a game (finally – sheesh!) to remain in the Stanley Cup. Another hotel and another “ultra pack”. By now, it was a routine that included unpacking all the
shoes, blades and skates, packing the cases, and then repacking all the shoes etc back on top.

Nice shoes hey? Got them in Vancouver.

Back on the road, we saw this dude:

Now thats strange, but whats even stranger is that it was the second car of its sort we’d seen that day. Wee-e-i-r-d.

Our next planned stop was Lake Louise, but things changed. We stopped and drove around a cute little town before Lake Louise called Field, and almost stayed over. The only trouble is that you stay in people’s houses. Odd, and we were in the mood for a room of our own, so we headed on. We arrived in Lake Louise and were disappointed. It might have been the rain and clouds, but it seemed lack-lustre. Also, the hotels wanted too much for the night. Again, we headed on. Banff was much kinder to us as we found a nice clean, cheap(ish) motel. A nice meal, an ice cream, and a good hard sleep.

Calgary. Again. We stayed in the Fairmont Palliser which is the hotel of choice of the royal family when they are in Calgary. We phoned ahead, and they wanted $400 per night. CRAZY! So we did our standard trick and looked online, ending up with a special of just over 100 for THE SAME ROOM! Thats as cheap as an off season budget (think Holiday Inn) hotel. This country is mad.

We still rank Calgary as one of our fav cities here so far. Its so pretty at night.

So that was the last of the big cities, as the next day we headed through Moose Jaw and home. We are now in a new house (massive) and Claire is working in yet another new office. In two weeks we’ll be back with the Donkey. I miss her.

That is all.

Sorry sorry sorry

June 21, 2006

I know I’ve left you hanging with the trip and everything, but its been a busy couple of days with us moving into a new place and Claire working in a new office and trouble with our flat in JHB (thanks again for the offer of support Lindie). So I’ve been preoccupied and didn’t really feel like getting down and dirty with this blog, incase I was all down and miserable. But I’m perky now, so get ready. I’m going to try get the WHOLE rest of the trip into this one post, so lets hope my machine doesn’t bomb in the middle this time, because then all you will get is:

“It was great. We drank lots of coffee. That is all”

Lets begin. In the middle. Kamloops.

We woke up to a cloudy day and began the final leg to vancouver. Its a spectacular road, and dangerous as all hell since it spends a LONG time in the pine forest mountains and is a single lane. With trucks. We were stopped for some construction on a bridge and so we turned off the road to kill some time. It was like a dream. The trees soared above us and it was damp and cool. Unreal. Kept expecting an elf or pixie or something to spring up out of the greenery. Excuse the blurriness of the images.

It was then a quick three hour dash to a raining, confusing vancouver. There is something special about arriving in a strange city in the dark or misty rain (HEAVY rain) that makes it pretty scary. It was like driving though a white tunnel. We also only had a tiny city overview map which showed every fourth or fifth exit. Needless to say, we COULD have been quite stressed, but, as Matt pointed out, we have become consumate travellers and the biggest problem was that I was DYING for a wazz.

We found our way to Brigid and Andy’s house eventually, with the help of some free wifi at Starbucks and eventually a mapbook we bought at the drugstore. They were impressed that we didn’t have to phone, since apparently most people get HORRIBLY lost. We felt better knowing that.

They were awesome hosts. She is a friend of the Zimbabwe family (which consists of everyone who ever lived in Harare I think) and is lovely and posh and cool all at the same time. Their beautiful modern house is perched on the hillside in exclusive Westvan (west vancouver) and decorated with unique and beautiful pieces of art and furniture. Cool, no?

So we were there. The place. It, so to speak. The best place in the world to live? Almost certainly. A dauntingly huge place to try and get done in under a week? Most definately. We did what we could in the time. Shopping, the gallery (with haida art and prefab housing -WICKED), game 2 in the final, rollerblading around stanley park, the beachfront, yaletown (the slickest most upmarket place IN THE WORLD, im sure), and even squeezed in a test drive in a mini cooper S convertible.

Lets look at some sights:

Melville/Obs like town in North Vancouver
No, none of these guys had anything to do with each other.

Street performers outside the Gallery. Dorks.

Yaletown at night. Super cool.
My deli sandwich. Not what I expected.

Vancouver library.
Downtown. It looks like this all over. So cool for inner city.

The residential skyscrapers downtown. I could SO live there.

So I’m going to finish there with Vancouver. I am terrified I’m going to lose this post.

That’s NOT all.

Massive Update

June 14, 2006

So, I’m falling behind on the updates, but then again, I’m on holiday so I’m allowed to. So where are we right now? In Kelowna, a lovely little city of 150k. Its on the side of a lake (big big big one) and has hills and trees all around. But lets step back in time (woooo, trippy) and see where we’ve been up until now.

So we left Edmonton and headed into the rockies. Jasper to be specific. This many pine trees can not exist. The place is simply overflowing with them. Just look at the roadside.

So we booked into a log cabin on the side of a river, rented some mountain bikes and basically mountained ourselves to smithereens. Nothing like some nature to recharge the batteries (except of our cameras – wouldn’t that be nice).

Oh, that’s an oldsmobile, for those who are interested. We’ve now driven most of the “local” brands. We started in a jeep, then had a little chevy, on to a toyota, a dodge van, and now we have an olds. Nice, huh?

Some Elk and a Reindeer.
Claire. And a bike. And some trees (in the background).

So we packed the car and headed towards the great Vancouver. The first part of the trip is in honestly the most beautiful landscape on the planet. Its crazy.

Sorry its a big one – but I oh my word, look at how amazing this is:

We took some pictures

Of ourselves
But we didn’t fit in really, because we weren’t in an RV.

90% of the RVs on the Road said “1-800-RV4Rent” on the back. 5% Said “” and the last few had stickers saying stupid things like “Camping is Wildlife” or “Kiss a turtle” or “We are dorks dorks dorks”. Okay, those last two aren’t real.

But look at what a problem these people are – this sign is in parking lots all over the show:

Cra-a-a-zy. We ended up spending the night in the middle of the karoo. Well, it felt like it. Crummy place called Kamloops. Its probably not that bad, but if you’ve been eating steak, polony doesn’t taste so great, you know? We did find a place to watch the game though (NHL Finals – we are FULLY hooked) and have a few beers, including this one:

We also had some chicken wings labeled “suicide”. Yummy.

That is all for now. More to come soon.

Canada, Oh Canada

June 13, 2006

We are sitting in a rainy Penticton, a place which every Canadian I have met says is the the most beautiful place in the world. Frankly I’m a bit disappointed, Canadians don’t know what a beach is – it is not a strip of sand next to a lake.

This trip has been really amazing, we’ve seen lots of what we hoped Canada would be and is, beauty that we couldn’t have imagined and spirit that we didn’t think Canadians possessed. We have seen some big centres, namely Edmonton and Vancouver as well as some of the lakes and forests of the Rockies and loved them both. I find there to be something very reassuring about a big city, the anonymity, the feeling that I could find my place, my niche because there are so many to choose from. Its weird but I think you can be more yourself in a city than a small town. Small towns all force some kind of conformity on you, and give you a sense that you are being frowned upon and constantly judged – not for me. I think every so often you need to stand in a place where all you can see is nature, where you can feel how small and insignificant you really are and feel in awe of whatever you choose. I recommend the Rockies.

I was beginning to wonder if Canadians had any soul, most of them just seem so polite, unobtrusive, in offensive. And then, the hockey. That is what they save their pride and spirit for. For all non Canadians, a local team – The Edmonton Oilers – are in the NHL finals. Every and I mean EVERY car in Edmonton is flying an Oilers flag, the firetruck an even bigger one, everyone is wearing oilers kit and everywhere you go there is a rumble of “lets go oilers, lets go!” Sitting in a little pub in Jasper, surrounded by the awesome Rockies, drinking locally brewed beer, watching the first game of the finals, I actually felt a little Canadian and it didn’t feel bad.

Our trip so far

June 13, 2006

Well, we left for Edmonton on Saturday morning after picking up the rental car. A fairly uneventful 850km drive later we were there. It seemed daunting, and usually arriving after 8pm is scary, but when it’s light until 11pm, it’s not quite so bad.

We had a lovely dinner across from the hotel, and slept like logs, waking up to a beautiful morning. Not only was the “morning” doing it’s part, but the city was helping all the beauty along too. We really liked downtown Edmonton. I mean, its not just green, but the streets are wide and clean, and the buildings are retro (probably not designed that way) and it’s all very appealing.

Take a look

Claire in her natural habitat:

And, no, I didn’t say: “Quick, look like you’re reading. Im taking a picture”.

On to the West Edmonton Mall. It’s the biggest mall in the world. Well, it was at one stage. Anyway, its the biggest mall we’ve ever seen/been into. Quite something. They do, however, boost their numbers by adding stuff that doesn’t really belong in a mall. They have a putt putt course, a full sized christopher collumbus ship, seal world, water world, amusement park with rollercoaster, and a hotel.
We decided to follow our travel book’s advice and “go the whole hog” on the West Edmonton Mall experience and booked into the “fantasy land hotel” for our second night. Now it sounds awfully dodgy, but the “fantasy” part is because they make each room up differently. They have an african room, a persian room, a truck room, you get the idea. We chose the arabian, and it looked like this:
Quite nice, if maybe a little on the cheesy side. We could have done without the murals, but the jacuzzi in the room reminded us of our little flat in Joburg.

Finally, we had dinner in the “funky” part of town, which reminded us of obs and melville all at once. Now look at our faces.

Okay, will tell you all about jasper and vancouver (which we are just about to leave) next time.

That is all.