A Trip Out West...visually un-documented

Usually when I go on a trip my camera rarely leaves the tight grip of my hand. I feel like I'm on a photojournalist assignment and have to snap pictures of anything and everything I do, or see, or taste for that matter. Last weekend I did virtually the opposite. Danny and I made a quick trip back out west to attend a wedding and catch up with some med school friends. It was a great whirlwind trip with plenty of photo opportunities but I pretty much ignored my camera the whole time. My excuse? I don't have one... I was lazy? I didn't want it to get wet in the rain? My shoes hurt my feet and I was a bit tired? Not very good excuses if you ask me.

So to spare my poor memory from completely forgetting that the weekend even happened, I'm going to outline our trip here (for your my reading pleasure) sans the usual visual cues.

We arrived in Vancouver on Friday morning. It was cloudy but warm enough to wander the streets and window shop. We grabbed some pasta at Italian Kitchen before meeting up with my good friend Robert for a post-lunch coffee and chat. I was a bit jet-lagged in the afternoon so we went back to the hotel where I napped for a while (cough 3 hrs). Later that night, feeling refreshed and replenished, we grabbed some Chinese food and called it a night.

The next day it was raining pretty hard so we kept close to the hotel, only venturing out to check out a comic book store and buy a last-minute wedding gift. We headed back to our room to primp, pamper, and re-learn how to tie a full Windsor. It's tougher than it looks! The wedding was beautiful and the bride looked ravishing. Honestly, who doesn't even take any pictures at a wedding? Apparently me. We sampled on hors 'doeuvres, enjoyed the fresh seafood (at least I did...Danny prefers his protein from the land), and indulged in a dessert buffet before the dancing kicked off. Always nice to celebrate special occasions with friends.

The next day, we had a few hours before our flight departed for back home, so we met up with some friends who graciously entertained us for the day. The weather held out (no rain boots required) so we ventured out to Queen Elizabeth Park to take in the beautiful scenery.  I actually remembered to take my camera out for this little adventure so snapped a few shots while we were there. It wasn't too hot or crowded which is just the way I like it.

Next we drove to Richmond and had dim sum in a very air-conditioned building. The food was good but I was so cold! Tummies full, we then explored the Aberdeen mall (an all Asian Mall) and we wandered through Daiso (a first for me) where I could have stocked my entire house in plasticware. It was nuts!

Back outside, we walked around Steveston Farmers' and Artisians' Markets where I grabbed a bag of fresh kennel corn and enjoyed the view by the harbour. It was such a great relaxing end to a fairly busy weekend.

Fortunately our flights were on time and we were able to crawl into bed with at least a couple hours of sleep under our belts before starting the new week.

And next time it will all be properly documented on camera!


U2 Baby!

One of the things I was really looking forward to over the past few weeks has been attending the U2 360 Concert Tour. We purchased tickets months ago, hoping that it would be a nice break from all the 'necessary but not so fun' things occupying our calendar as of late.

It was a gorgeous night. I'm still getting used to the idea of it being quite warm even late into the evening. I wore a silk cami with a blazer on top and the blazer came off within minutes, never to be put on again.

I'd never been to the Roger's Centre before but was pleasantly surprised with how easy it was to get there (note: just follow the hoards of people). I was hot out and I was desperate for a drink but just about lost my appetite when I saw how expensive the food and bev was. $4.75 for a pop, $13 for a slice of pizza and upwards of $10 for a beer? Yikes!

Our seats were no where near the front but that was just fine with me. I'm not huge on crowds and prefer to sit comfortably rather than squeeze in with the hard-core fans standing up front. Plus, we got a really good view of the overall concert, Toronto skyline and CN tower. Just great.

Interpol was the opening band and I'm afraid to say that I'd never heard of them before. But, they were pretty good and their songs were kind of catchy.

The stage was re-set and apparently we had our photo taken by a 360 cam (yet to be seen). The whole process took about 30 minutes so chances are pretty good that Danny was looking at his phone and I was busy 'observing' other people, haha.

Finally, U2 came on. The whole place erupted with screams and cheers. There's just something so exciting about witnessing such a prominent band in music history perform live. I recognized most of the songs and was happy to sing or dance along.

One of the 'traditions' my sister and I have when either of us is at a concert is to call the other. We wait for a great song, dial the number and let the concert just play through for a minute or so. I always try to scream something into the phone like 'wish you were here' but I have no idea whether it can be heard or not, haha. It's always fun to share the experience with other people even if they're not sitting in the seat right next to you.

During the encore, a huge disco ball lit up the entire stadium. It was such a cool atmosphere and I wish I could have captured it properly with my camera. But alas, it will have to remain as a great memory.

The CN tower was a light spectacle dancing along with the entire show. If I ever got tired of looking at the stage (haha, yeah right) I could just look to my right and stare at the huge tower. 

After the concert, and a quick sighting of the van shuttling Bono & Co. off to their hotel, we decided to forego the massive crowds and walk home. It was still hot hot hot outside and the downtown core was lively and vibrant. I was completely exhausted but happy to spend some time with my main guy. It was such a great way to spend a Monday evening and get acquainted with our new city.


Earning our Maple Leaf

The past couple of weeks have been a bit crazy to say the least and I have to admit I've been putting off this post for a while. So much to change, so many events, but was anything really 'blog worthy'? So instead of sitting on my hands for another day I'm just going to jump into it...boring or not.

We packed, donated, sorted, stored, thew out, and repurposed everything material thing that I've had in my life for the last four years. I moved eight separate times when I was in University so was an expert in the art of boxes and organizing and hauling my stuff around. I've always been conscious of clutter and try to keep things to the minimum, but when you stay in the same place for four years it is somewhat inevitable... things are going to accumulate. Uugh, some days were really rough. I didn't think I'd ever get through the mountain of work to be done and I just wanted to set a match to the place and call it a day. Doubt my neighbours (or insurance company) would be too impressed with that solution, however.

On top of packing, we had events going on almost every night of the week. They were mostly organized by Danny's staff sending the graduating PGY5s off to their fellowships with congratulatory dinners and what not, so you can't exactly say 'no thanks'. It was really fun to visit with the other docs and honour the grads without the exam looming over everyone's mind.

But the majority of my energy was still focussed on the move. After a few late nights and early mornings, painting drop offs, car drop offs and final farewells, we finally finished. The moving company showed up in a huge, may I emphasize, huge, 53 foot moving van on a Thursday afternoon during the middle of downtown rush hour. Instead of stressing out over it I just laughed and hoped my couch wouldn't get side swiped by oncoming traffic.

The next morning we stopped at Tim Horton's, picked up a couple coffees and hit the open road; destination Toronto! We weighed the options of shipping our vehicle by train and flying over ourselves but decided a good cross-Canada road trip would be good for our souls and a little lighter on our pocketbooks. I've never driven past the Saskatchewan-Manitoba before so this new journey would be quite the adventure.

4000km, 4 days, 2 people, 1 car, 1 really long road trip playlist and a GPS.

We were so fortunate to have fantastic weather the whole way through. Sunny skies, little rain, and lots of daylight. We took it pretty easy, not pushing ourselves too much until the last couple days. We travelled through the prairies, the badlands, and along the edge of Cypress Hills. We saw deer, eagles, ravens, moose and antelope (which prompted a semi-heated discussion where I insisted that no, antelope are not isolated to living in Africa and proved my point by not only singing 'Oh give me a home, where the buffalo roam'....but also googling it on my iPhone). We stopped for an impromptu picnic on the beach in the Canadian Shield, drove along the Great Lakes in Northern Ontario, and down into the drier lands further south. We stopped in Regina, Winnipeg, Thunder Bay and Sudbury to stay overnight. Some hotels were a little a bit nicer than others but the people were generally friendly and wished us well as we continued on our way.

I was delighted when we hit the outer limits of the Greater Toronto Area. We had done it. The traffic was absolutely brutal but that is to be expected for a long weekend, or I suppose any day for Toronto! We finally made it to our new downtown condo and crashed on the carpet that night, a little tired, a little road weary, but mostly happy to be in our new home.

We finished our cross-Canada road trip on Canada Day itself. I say that earns us a maple leaf or at least some maple syrup for our pancakes.