Monthly Archives: July 2013

And so..

The first year of The Jiaxing Express comes to a close.

Our first blog was June 16. Our first blog from China was September 3. There were 166 posts, 107 email followers, 87 Facebook followers, 451 comments, 18,897 views with the best ever one blog view being 259. Lynne, Lois, Ken, Joan, Peter and Val were the people who commented most frequently.

We hope you enjoyed reading of our experiences. We certainly enjoyed writing them.

Depending on comments offered, choices made and Chinese cooperation we may begin again in September when we return to Jiaxing. In the meantime have a great summer to all of you.

Terry and Geoff

Geoff1 Terry1

This Blog Had No Title

We are sitting on the plane in Shanghai waiting to take off. Air Canada – what can I say? I will be delighted to share my thoughts about this later, but this is about some experiences over the last couple of days in Bali and Shanghai.

On Sunday (three days ago, we were in a bit of a quiet mood – we lazed around the villa and didn’t leave there until 1:30 when we went for lunch. First, the “sidewalks” in Semanyak. It is dangerous to walk along these. They are 18” x 36” concrete slabs which have been laid over the open ditches below. These ditches have running water and discarded garbage – cups, wrappers, cigarette butts etc. floating in them. The problem is that there are frequent gaps between the slabs or broken pieces  missing. If you are not constantly looking down you may very likely step in one of these holes and break a leg or foot. You can’t walk very easily on the road either since there is so much traffic there. The other evening it took our taxi almost 30 minutes to go 2 ½ blocks.

This is why it is dangerous to walk the sidewalks of Semanyak.

This is why it is dangerous to walk the sidewalks of Semanyak.

Anyway, lunch. We were sitting in an outdoor café right on the street. Very cool, if noisy place to watch the people. I think there are more white people in Semanyak than there is in all of China. And, apparently, it is a good market for Viagra and Cialis since as we sat there I was offered both. The fellow next to me said not to take it personally, though – he too was offered it and he was about 24 and on his honeymoon. From there it was off to foot massage and pedicure for Terry and full slimming massage with oil and pedicure for Geoff! It was another interesting experience. The room is about 12’ x 12’, it has three massage beds, three foot massage chairs and a cabinet. I explain this so that you understand that it is a very tight space.

There were two women there – 24 and 36. The younger one worked on Terry and the older one on me. First, it is a little unsettling (at least it was unsettling for me) when a perfect stranger says to strip down to your underwear (what will the two of them think of my body?), knowing she is about to rub oil and cream all over me – and I mean all over me. She was only about 4’6” so when she was working on my back she had to – no other word for it – mount me. She worked the inside of my thighs right to the top, even going under the bit of cloth I was wearing, trying to retain some dignity.  I won’t bore you with the rest of the details, but I will say that I was glad Terry was sitting at the end of the bed to protect me! Now to the pedicure. People who know me will not believe that I had one of these since I am insanely ticklish. The two girls were in gales of laughter as she worked on them, sanding, scrubbing, filing and washing. She was very lucky to come out alive!

Check out those legs, ladies.

Check out those legs, ladies.

Sunday evening we went to Djimbaran for dinner. There are 200 or so seafood restaurants right along the beach. You go in, choose your fish, seafood whatever then go out and sit at a table on the beach. They bring you rice to go with it. We had fabulous Red Snapper, acceptable, but small, mussels and very disappointing squid – but a nice bottle of white wine helped it all go down. Cost – $42 for the food, $45 for the wine. The owner asked me as we were leaving how it was and I said the snapper was excellent – he looked and asked again – same reply – foolishly he asked for a third time so I told him and he quickly disappeared into the back. If you don’t want to know, why ask?

Monday we had arranged to have Donny the driver take us to Kintamani which is an extinct volcano in the north. We have a wonderful Balinese tapas lunch overlooking the valley and watched the trucks loaded with volcanic rocks struggle up the hill.

Mount Kintamani

Mount Kintamani – the black is not shadow – it is lava rock.

Lake Kintamani and it is not a crater lake.

Lake Kintamani and it is not a crater lake.

As we drove back we encountered the first blatant act of corruption. Four police officers were stopping the cars and collecting money – for no reason other than, according to Donny, they needed cigarette money. We gave then 10000rph ($1.00) and away we went. A little surreal.

"Listen Buddy, can you share 10000 rph for a butt?"

“Listen Buddy, can you share 10000 rupiah for a butt?”

When we arranged to have Donny drive us, Charles told us that the day would be 350,000rph ($35) and that we should just pay him. Now Charles and Laurence have gone on at some length to tell us how greedy and lazy the Balinese are. We asked Donny if we should pay him or Charles and he said him. Terry asked how much and he said “Did Charles tell you?” and we said 350,000rph. He said right. Later Terry heard him telling Charles that we had paid him 300,000. Now either Charles thinks we ripped Donny off, or Charles was planning on ripping him off himself – we’re all for the latter.

Sharper than a Home Dog

This woman has three or four rocks in that basket. She is about to walk up the stone stairs on her right - not easy even without the stones. When Chan and Greg took one of the rocks out to see how heavy it was, Chan could not hold it. Just for the tourists? Interesting way to make a living.

This woman has three or four rocks in that basket. She is about to walk up the stone stairs on her right – not easy even without the stones. When Chan and Greg took one of the rocks out to see how heavy it was, Chan could not hold it. Just for the tourists? Interesting way to make a living.

Well, we are winding down our Bali experience. It has been interesting, to say the least.

We took a guided tour “inside Bali” to see how the real (read poor) Balinese live.  It was fascinating to see the local villages, family temples, ways of work.  Bali is beautiful inland—much nicer than the crowded, noisy tourist areas, filled with hotels, small shops, bars and restaurants.  We learned about local culture, the pervasiveness of religion—specifically Hindu religion—and Bali traditions.

Our guide was named Putu, which is the name given to all first born children, male or female, in Bali.  There are 5 names in total and a family simply uses the next name on the list.  If 6 children, 2 Putus; possibly 200, 000 Putus on the island.  It could drive teachers mad.   There must be some way of distinguishing them, like Putu from the bridge or Big Putu and Small Putu, but we don’t know for sure.  When we got home,  Charles asked us who our guide was and when we told him, he nodded knowingly.  Really?

Putu told us that when you are not happy with someone or something, you draw out the syllable, so when his dad was upset with him, he would say, “Putuuuuuuuu.”  We said, “Ubuuuuud.”  Putu also told us about him and his brothers as kids.  Dads are the disciplinarians and it got so the the boys could hear their dad’s motorbike a half hour out, hence the title of this blog.  When they heard it, they all scurried to take care of the chores they should have done during the day.

Rice terraces were one of the destinations on our journey.  These ones were simply along the way.

#1

Rice Terraces not yet harvested.

White rice Terraces not yet harvested.

Ah, now here are rice terraces.  These are protected by Unesco and are a world heritage site.  No permanent structures may be added and the farmers must continue to use traditional methods of farming.  That means no machinery larger than a hand operated roto-tiller.

Rice Terraces #2

Pretty amazing.

#3

The terraces seem to go on and on.

The terraces  go on and on.  They are amazing and beautiful but sadly, they burn off the grassy stalks after harvest, so the air was smokey and hazy.

#4

The terraces - up close and personal.

The terraces – up close and personal.

This was in a totally different are. It was a very narrow valley of maybe three hundred yards across. Clearly they are using everything they can to make a living.

This was in a totally different are. It was a very narrow valley of maybe three hundred yards across. Clearly they are using everything they can to make a living.

Terraces – Rice

This is what it is all about.

This is what it is all about.  This example is red rice which is taller than white rice.  Both are grown on Bali.

Lazy Balinese

I want to say first that our hosts, Laurence and Charles are very gracious people. They can’t do enough for you, but they do hold some rather right wing views. For example he told us on day 1 that he liked Reagan, but after that the country went to hell, staring with Clinton (BTW – Happy 50th Birthday this week to Monica). Anyway last night we had a drink with them and they were telling us how lazy the Balinese people are. They move slowly and only do enough to get by. They have no get up and go. They sell off their rice terraces to Westerners who then build villas and sell them to other Westerners. “Why can’t they take the money and build the villas themselves?” they asked. We stopped at a stone quarry on our tour yesterday (#2) and Laurence’s contention is that this person is only doing this for the tourists. She also maintained that they are lazy because once they plant the rice, they just wait for it to grow and don’t do anything until harvest time. (What? – isn’t that what all farmers do?  Well, yes, that and tend to the machinery for harvest, mend barriers, rebuild roofs on the barn and out buildings, look after the animals, study the price of grain and pray a lot that their crop won’t be wiped out by disease, hail or drought, or, in the case of Balinese, destroyed by the rat population.  Periodically, as they wait for the rice to grow, they must attend organized rat kills and hunt the rodents, then kill them by hand.  They atone for the death of the rats by holding a brief religious ceremony.) There were more examples, but I’m sure you get the picture. And, speaking of picture, here are 7 photos of traditional Balinese people – being lazy.

#1

Turning over the fields - by hand - up to your knees in mud. Now that is the sign of a lazy man, don't you think?

Turning over the fields – by hand – up to your knees in mud. Now that is the sign of a lazy man, don’t you think?

#2

This woman has three or four rocks in that basket. She is about to walk up the stone stairs on her right - not easy even without the stones. When Chan and Greg took one of the rocks out to see how heavy it was, Chan could not hold it. Just for the tourists? Interesting way to make a living.

This 52 year-old woman has three or four rocks in that basket. She is about to walk up the stone stairs on her right – not easy even without the stones. When Chan and Greg took one of the rocks out to see how heavy it was, Chan could not hold it. Just for the tourists? Interesting way to make a living.

#3

This is backbreaking work - you plant by hand, standing in water and mud, begging for arthritis to take over and then bend over to harvest by hand as well. At least when the harvest comes, the water is drained and the ground is hard and dry. She must be lazy, don't you think?

This is backbreaking work – you plant by hand, standing in water and mud, begging for arthritis to take over and then bend over to harvest by hand as well. At least when the harvest comes, the water is drained and the ground is hard and dry. She must be lazy, don’t you think?

#4

This bag of grass is being carried from somewhere to the woman's house to feed her cow for the day. Lazy?

This bag of grass is being carried from somewhere to the woman’s house to feed her cow for the day. Lazy?

#5

Pushing this rototiller through all this mud is no easy - or clean - task. I wouldn't call him lazy.

Pushing this rototiller through all this mud is no easy – or clean – task. I wouldn’t call him lazy.

#6

Both the men and women are working to prepare the temple for some kind of ceremony the next day.

Both the men and women are working to prepare the temple for some kind of ceremony the next day.  It is true that the Hindu Balinese have a religious ceremony at least every two weeks, during which they do not work.  Perhaps a little much, but think how hard the work is.  Lots of other people wish they could have as many non-working days.  In fact, we have met people from Java and other islands in Indonesia who have all said they came to Bali to live a quieter life-style and take advantage of their many holidays.  So perhaps if you try to apply Western culture,  it’s not a perfect match.  But, this is Bali!

#7

This is our pool. It is 19 feet x 9.5 feet x 5 feet. It is half the size of the one in the main house. This one was dug by hand in 7 days. Just another example of "lazy", I guess.

This is our pool. It is 19 feet x 9.5 feet x 5 feet. It is half the size of the one in the main house. In just 7 days, this one (like the other one) was dug by hand (Sorry – don’t know how long the big one took to dig). Just another example of “lazy”, I guess.

#8

Okay, I finally found some lazy Balinese, just sitting by the side of the road, chatting. Good thing no one ever checks out the golf course patio for people sitting and doing nothing!

Okay, I finally found some lazy Balinese, just sitting by the side of the road, chatting. Good thing no one ever checks out the golf course patio for people sitting and doing nothing!

House

#1  We stopped here for coffee on our way to the rice terraces.   The hosts were supremely gracious, showing us first the “Happy Room” and then serving us hot coffee and tea and a selection of home-made baking.

Typical Balinese house - photo 1. The couple sitting there are sitting under the rice granary, where they store the rice after it is harvested. On the left hand side of the photo is their bed.

Typical Balinese house – photo 1. The couple sitting there are sitting under the rice granary, where they store the rice after it is harvested. On the left hand side of the photo is their bed.  Our hosts enjoy a break in the shade.

#2

Typical Balinese house - photo 2 - the kitchen where they do their cooking.

Typical Balinese house – photo 2 – the kitchen where they do their cooking.

#3

Typical Balinese country house - photo 3. This first two doors go into the kitchen and storeroom. The third to the happy room.

Typical Balinese country house – photo 3. This first two doors go into the kitchen and storeroom. The third to the happy room.

Farming

Comic Relief

#1

Who is this man and why is he laughing?

Who is this man and why is he laughing?

#2

Just turn the tiller, hold on...

Just turn the tiller, hold on…

#3

...and walk 75 -100 yards, turn around and do it some more. Easy, right?

…and walk 75 -100 yards, turn around and do it some more. Easy, right?

#4

Geoff and his new pal, after a hard day of rice farming. The shorts need a wash, after about 3 minutes of roto-tilling.

Geoff and his new pal, after a hard day of rice farming. The shorts need a wash, after about 3 minutes of roto-tilling.

Hot Spring

The brown and green colouring in the rocks are from the volcanic minerals which create the hot spring. There were also a couple of pools one could go in - if one was dressed appropriately.

The brown and green colouring in the rocks are from the volcanic minerals which create the hot spring. There were also a couple of pools one could go in – if one was dressed appropriately.

Mangy Dog

To see this photo elsewhere, look in the dictionary under "mangy".

To see this photo elsewhere, look in the dictionary under “mangy”.

Lunch in the jungle

Lunch in the jungle. The posts holding the patio up are bamboo - check out the size of those suckers.

Lunch in the jungle. The posts holding the patio up are bamboo – check out the size of those suckers.

Terry and Geoff overlooking the rice terraces. The next time you see them will likely be in person!

Terry and Geoff overlooking the rice terraces. The next time you see them will likely be in person!

Bali Ho! (or is that Bali Hai?)

Well, we have been in Bali for four nights – almost as long as the time in immigration! We have shopped, drank, eaten, drank, toured, drank, swum, drank and drank. Greg and Chan, friends from Shanghai, have joined us for the first few days, and it has been under their careful guidance that we have explored Bali.

Villa Sukapadi

To begin, a short explanation of Villa Sukapadi. Each morning our pembantu arrives to cook breakfast for us. It is either Made (pronounced Maday), Sera (Sara) or Aris. They are all very delightful women. After breakfast they clean the place, do our laundry and let us relax. The villa is owned by Charles and Laurence. He is from San Francisco and she is from Paris. They met here about twenty years ago, fell in love, got married and stayed. We spent a pleasant evening with them last night over wine and nibblies. Below are some photos of our villa. Their home, which is adjacent to the villa, is more spectacular.

Our outdoor bathroom

Our outdoor bathroom – the shower is just behind me.

Our bedroom - complete with mosquito netting.

Our bed – complete with mosquito netting. It is the biggest bed I have ever been in.

Our outdoor living are. No windows, just bamboo blinds.

Our outdoor living area. No windows, just bamboo blinds.

Chan and made making dinner in the kitchen.

Made teaching Chan how to make beef rendang and other balinese dishes for dinner in the kitchen while…

Terry and Greg in the pool.

…Terry and Greg relax in the pool.

Now, about Bali. Interesting place. We went to a traditional Balinese restaurant the other night. They had good food and lots of traditional dance entertainment. These kids were right around 6 years of age. They were very good – especially since the dance went on for almost 10 minutes and they knew the entire thing. Very impressive.

Their eyes were the most amazing part.

Their eyes were the most amazing part.

Bali is also full of scooters and motor bikes and some cars. Our driver yesterday told me that there are 4 million motorcycles on the island – and I believe it. We came back from Ubud (pronounced Oooboood) around 4:30 and there were packs of 20 or 30 of them every 30 seconds or so. It was amazing. They are in and out of the traffic constantly. I was waiting for some kind of accident or eruption of road rage but nothing.

Took this photo looking one way and then turned around and faced the other way.

Took this photo looking one way and then turned around and faced the other way.

How’s the traffic? Well the driver told us we were about 10 kms from the villa and it would take us about an hour! He lied – traffic wasn’t too bad – only took 45 minutes. When we went to Ubud, it took 2 1/2 hours – 30 kms.

On our way home the other night three of these trucks went by – the first two had even more workers in them – they were packed in there like sardines.

This "truck" doubles as a people mover.

This “truck” doubles as a people mover.

Bali is 70% Hindu and these little things are all over the place. The are offerings to the gods to bring people good luck and are replaced everyday. You find them on the street, on sidewalks, in doorways of shops and anywhere else people might like – car dashboards, for example.

These are all over the place.

These offerings are all over the place.

Near Ubud is an interesting coffee plantation. We had been asking our driver to stop so we could get some coffee – but he was on a mission to get us to this place. Years ago, the Dutch took all the good coffee back to Holland so the locals were left with the scraps. The civet eats the coffee berries and then poops them out. The locals then clean them all off and process them. The beans themselves are triple coated so the beans themselves are never in touch with anything undesirable. We had a cup each – $5.00 plus a “complimentary” variety of 9 teas and coffees – ginger, vanilla, mangosteen, lemon grass to name a few. The coffee was a little gritty – and quite honestly we didn’t think it was worth what they were charging.

Dung delicacy: Famous Kopi Luwak coffee is produced when cat-like civets excrete semi-digested coffee beans - it is an expensive luxury for many - $60 for  1 kg.

Dung delicacy: Famous Kopi Luwak coffee is produced when cat-like civets excrete semi-digested coffee beans – it is an expensive luxury for many – $60 a kg.

In Ubud is the Monkey Forest, where you can pay to go in and see the monkeys or not pay and stand on the street and see the monkeys on the street, on the electrical/phone wires, roofs etc.

Monkey See, Monkey Do

Monkey See, Monkey Do

Eat, Love, Pray – the Elizabeth Gilbert book /Julia Roberts movie was filmed near Ubud. Apparently after the movie came out, Ubud was besieged with Julia Roberts wannabes.

(Ed. note: Bali-Hai is the local beer.)

China thoughts

We are on our way home via Bali and so this morning, as we left Jiaxing, China thoughts were flowing.  For instance, ladies, the shoes in China are amazing.  If you can imagine them, they have been made and someone is walking around in a pair of ill-fitting, crazily designed, plastic shoes.   Size does not matter apparently; I witnessed a woman hobbling along, whose feet I couldn’t see until she was right beside me.  Then I noticed that her shoes were at least one size, possibly two sizes, too big.  What she was thinking:  “I love these shoes!  Rats, they don’t have my size. Oh well, what size do they have?  I can wear them.  I love these shoes!”  What her feet are thinking:  “Ow, ow, ow, ow,ow, ow.”  The range of colours, designs, heel height and style expands to infinity.  If my feet would tolerate it, I would have a closet full of funky, fun shoes at nearly free prices, comparitively speaking.  How does $15 sound?  Sadly, only a very few can wear these without looking like they are in pain.  They are probably the ones who use the cubicle in the Ladies Room I spotted today.  It was set aside for “Maimed women.”  Why rest on ceremony?  This Is China!

Don't step on  my blue, high-wedgie shoes!

Don’t step on my blue, high-wedgie shoes!

When I took this photo, I honestly did not realize where she was standing - and how she might very well end up.

When I took this photo, I honestly did not realize where she was standing – and how she might very well end up.

Once we arrived in Shanghai, we took a cab immediately to our hotel for the night, the Pudong Airport Ramada , where we dropped our bags.  During the long cab ride, I noticed how fabulous the areas alongside the highways are kept.  They are frequently beautifully planted, especially in cities, and today, we saw masses of oleander, Rose of Sharon hedges, great slakes of canna lillies of all colours, and about a mile of Black-eyed Susan.  Add to this all kinds of trees planted to help absorb the pollution.  Every school kid knows the answer to China’s pollution woes includes planting trees, and they have done so in spades.  It makes the drives so bearable.

We took the Maglev train downtown, which is not terribly interesting but cool in that it travels at 300km an hour, so the trip is really shortened.

Downtown, another TIC moment came as I noticed a little boy wearing a shirt inexplicably emboldened with the word, “Cereal.”  What?!  This was actually an English word, not some crazy Chinglish writing that makes no sense whatsoever, and still it made no sense.  I looked around for “bowl”, “milk”, or “spoon” to no avail.  The Chinese have cornered the market on ironic T-shirts but only accidentally.   If this were BC, a pop-up trend would have begun, with T-shirts printed with the slogan of angry high school students in Northern China:  “It’s not fair if we can’t cheat!”  Sadly, these great opportunities go unclaimed.  We did see a good T today on a young man in front of us, reading,  “Back Sabbath.”   So entertaining!

Our kids are going to BC and Alberta this summer on a two week tour and I am so looking forward to reading about what they see as interesting.  What differences and similarities between our two countries will they notice?  What will they think is odd or amusing?  What questions will they have about Canada?  What will they wonder?  If they notice half the things that we do here, we will be having some great conversations in the Fall.

Road to Bali*

What a trip!

Since our flight left (supposedly) at 8:05 am Monday morning, Sunday evening we stayed at the Ramada Pudong Airport so that we wouldn’t have to get up at some ungodly hour to be at the airport by 6:00. We, along with about 8 others (including an elderly couple, a young couple with a very young son and a few more) caught the 6 am shuttle to the terminal, arriving at 6:05.

Pudong Airport Anecdote #1

We arrive at the terminal, and Terry gets out of the van first. The driver opens the back doors of the van, takes the yung couple’s stroller out, not so gently tosses it to the ground and steps back. Terry thinks that he thought she was alone so he asked her which her suitcase was. Since we were the first on the shuttle, hers is quite buried, so he steps aside, never to move again until he closed the rear doors. Yes, the removal of all of the luggage was left to us.  Now getting the bags down was no easy feat – I think the young couple had 16 tons (Tennessee Ernie Ford) in three suitcases themselves. it was quite funny to watch the driver, though – we all just looked at one another, mouths open and then laughed – what else could you do.

Pudong Airport Anecdote #2

At check in we asked if they had any seats available on the exit aisle – doesn’t everyone want extra leg room for a flight of 5 1/2 hours? Apparently so, since all the seats were taken. But wait, once we were airborne and after about an hour in the air I got up to take a walk. This is what I saw.

These were 2 of 4 empty seats in the exit row in our section.

These were 2 of 4 empty seats in the exit row in our section. Must be nice to be able to spread your stuff out. After standing for about 20 minutes, I asked the attendant if I could sit there – “No problem!” and he moved the newspapers for me. Aaahhhhh….

Pudong Airport Anecdote #3

After check-in we decided to get some breakfast. For those who travel to Shanghai and then fly out, be warned. Despite its size and newness (completed 1999), it must be the world’s worst serviced airports. Burger King, Ramen Noodle shop and a bar are about it in terms of food service – really. But want to buy a scarf – well there you are. We went for the ramen noodles. To say that the staff seem disinterested is an understatement. We went in, sat down and said hello about three times to the server who was all of three feet away, each time with no response. She finally walked away. After about 5 minutes someone came by and took our order and asked us to pay. I shall cut this short. We asked four different people for Terry’s iced tea, which supposedly came with her meal. Finally, when I saw a server bring out a tray of them for another table, I just got up, went over and took one, much to everyone’s amazement. Now I know why you pay first – the service was so incredibly bad you might very well have to leave to catch your plane before your order came.

Pudong Airport Anecdote #4

China is big on family uniforms. These three had the same shirts. In the yellow circle it says either “I am the Dad”, “I am the Mom” or “I am the Baby”.

The family that dresses together...

The family that dresses together…

Inflight Anecdote #1

As we are about to land, they came on twice to remind us that all cell phones were to be turned off. The passenger in the seat next to me felt this did not apply to him and kept it on. After we landed, I entered into a brief (but fairly intense) discussion about it with him. His opinion is that it is “rubbish” and I should “run to the teacher”. As we left I stopped and told the head flight attendant about it, giving him his seat number. They appeared to be most appreciative. Terry was not so pleased….

Denpassar Airport Anecdote #1

To give you some perspective on our arrival in Bali, think of the Bellingham airport. That is the size of the “Arrivals” area. Now, think of four or five 747s arriving at the same time. Now think of the fact that despite what it says on the Internet, Canadians, along with 89 other nationalities, have to line up and purchase a visa upon arrival to get into the country. Now think of those times when you go to the bank and all the tellers except two are closed. Now, think of the fact that it took us two and a half  hours to fly from Singapore. Now think of the fact that it took us another two and a half hours of standing in a hot humid line to get the visas and pass through immigration.

Welcome to Bali!

*The original Road to Bali is a 1952 American comedy film directed by Hal Walker and starring Bing CrosbyBob Hope, and Dorothy Lamour. Released by Paramount Pictures on November 1, 1952, the film is the sixth of the seven Road to … movies. It was the only such movie filmed in color and was the first to feature surprise cameo appearances from other well-known stars of the day.

We Have Winners!

Well folks, after a couple of beer and several glasses of wine (Greg), a spiked fruit juice, and several glasses of wine (Chan), a beer, a G anT and several glasses of wine (Terry), a beer, a G and T and several glasses of wine (Geoff), a plunge or two in the pool and much discussion, we have come to a decision on the travel anecdotes. These are the 3 Grand Prize winners, although you all know that you are all winners in our hearts and we will be emailing you the second prize photos soon. The Grand Prize winners, in no particular order, are Lynne “My underwear is showing” Cregg-Guinon, Mark “Where’s Tower Bridge?” Franklin, and Val “It’s not me, it’s Erin that needs a drink” Goodridge. We look forward to seeing you soon in Jiaxing!!

Lynne “My underwear is showing” Cregg-Guinon

I was travelling home alone after a trip to Europe and when I was waiting at the baggage carousel in Vancouver to collect my luggage I noticed a suitcase go by which was completely encapsulated in what appeared to be heavy duty saran wrap. I thought to myself, hmmm  now there’s someone who is a bit anal about their luggage getting damaged.  Several minutes went by with no sign of my suitcase arriving.  I did however then notice that there were some pairs of ladies panties, a bra and some socks loose on the carousel and also what looked like a card of some sort.  Perhaps a birthday card or some such thing I again thought.  I thought, oh dear, poor unfortunate person that has to step forward and claim those.

More time elapsed as the assembly of ladies undergarments went unclaimed.  Hmmmm.  I moved closer.  OMG, imagine the horror when the card went by again and I recognised my Mother’s handwriting on the card.  It was a birthday card that she was sending back for one of the kids birthdays.  Oh dear Jesus, did that mean that the other accoutrements were also mine? Yes, indeed they were.  Did the embarrased female step forward and claim her items?   Yes, she did but only when the carousel had stopped, the other passengers had left and one of the baggage handlers lifted the “anal” piece of baggage from the carousel.  It was wrapped because the zip had broken. Enough said.

Mark “Where’s Tower Bridge?” Franklin

The photo shows Mark and our two sons in London, with the Tower Bridge in the background. Mark spent an inordinate amount of time wandering about London with his face in his smartphone. He was determined to make his walking GPS work, and if that meant missing what was going on around him, so be it! The boys and I would forge ahead, enjoying all that London has to experience. Then we would turn around and wait for Mark to catch up as he walked, looking only at his phone. This candid photo captures Mark and his beloved phone, Cody to his right (your left), face in palm, and Sean to his left (your right), semi-comatose with frustration.

"Which way is London Bridge?"

“Which way is London Bridge?”

Val “It’s not me, it’s Erin that needs a drink” Goodridge

A few years ago, Erin and I took a wonderful mother/daughter trip to Italy. We had been wandering around Capri and on the way back to our hotel, tired, hot and just a little bit grumpy, we discovered a wonderful little shop that sold wine and all sorts of other specialty food items. We went in and spent some time ohhing and awwing at all the goodies. We emerged with snacks and a bottle of Italy’s finest, we thought. Once back at our hotel with mouths watering for a glass of wine and some appetizers, we discovered there was no ice bucket or ice to be found. We even called the front desk only to be told they didn’t have such a thing. However, not to be thwarted in our desire for a glass of wine, this is how we chilled the wine. How’s that for using good Canadian ingenuity?

When in Italy?

When in Italy?

After an hour or so, we pulled the bottle out, washed it off and popped the cork. Looking forward to this wonderful wine we made a short toast and each took a sip. It was awful! The rest of the bottle went down the drain and we went out for a drink.

So much more civilized, don't you think, Darling?

So much more civilized, don’t you think, Darling?

 

Congratulations and Thanks to all who entered. It was fun.