in the words of the famous Benito Juarez
"El respecto al derecho ajeno es la paz"
"Respect the rights of others is Peace"
a bit of trivia from Mexico
* Number of tacos/burritos/quesidallas consumed
*number of speed humps in Mexico
1,523,431 (approx every 1 km even on highway)
*times I thought I would die
once - Potula to Oaxaca scary bus ride
*number of Cerveza consumed:
534 - corona out, negro modello in
*number of times Ragen & I got off bus in wrong town:
*number of times mexicanos threw rubbish out window of bus:
*number of times I will be back to Cancun:
0 - over developed, over priced, over commercialised, over americanised
*number of times you can have beans a day:
all day long, come with every meal
*number of dolphins seen:
100 off Puerto Angel, beautiful
*number of times I was ripped off:
12,456 approx every 2nd time I paid for something.
Location: Milano, Italy
Well if Londoners have style, the Milanese are oozing it. What a place!! Although I have been to many places in Italy I had never made it to Milano. What better way to experience it by staying with the locals of Aussie decent. Suz picked me up for the airport and we got the bus-tram into town.
We then had a walking tour of the castle, part of the centre of town. We then joined Davide, and as the locals do had an aperitif while people watching including too many good looking people, made crazy moped drivers including a man much to our amusement with a broken leg in a cast.
After aperitifs we went to a local restaurant for beautiful spaghetti and mussels, gelato and vino.
We also toured the Saint Mary Church, home of Da Vinci´s The Last Supper, climbed the stairs of the Dumoca, had cappuccinos and the bar with the locals, lunch of yummy panini´s (Suz that was one of my favourite lunches ever) and oh a quick spot of shopping. (Window Only).
An awesome two days, but too short of time to spend with Suz. I will come back and visit you and Davide soon!!
Location: London, England
4 years nearly to the day since I left London. Did I really once work here? Am I back again? Well a few things were different, I had 6 days of beautiful sunshine and warm weather.
Londoners are stylish (or is it that there is no style in Toronto), everyone´s local is the Ifield in Earls Court
the Queen´s Head is still my favourite pub
Pret still has the same sandwiches so does Boots
it is always good to see old friends!!!! always
Made it to some old haunts The old Ship, The Banker, The Slug & Lettuce Richmond and Canary Wharf.
Had some yummy dinners bought and cooked for me
Can I move Back??
Location: Nova Scotia & Prince Edward Is, Canada
Yes it is Latin for "new Scotland" and it certainly felt like that with 7 days of rain. Oh that is a bit harsh it didnt rain the last day.
Flew into Halifax and it is a pretty funky city of around 250,000 people of that a big university population. Set on the harbour the streets are tree lined with brightly coloured weatherboard terrace houses. I booked on a "jump on, jump off" van tour of NS and PEI as public transport is basically non existent.
Headed over to Cape Breton National Park for some whale watching. Of course the highlight!! Got kitted out in bright red buoyant fisherman outfits. The boat was called a zodiac and was interesting in the Atlantic Ocean swell (the zodiac was like a rubber ducky). There were whales jumping and breaching out of the water all around the boat. It was so exciting. It got more exciting when a massive storm rolled in and we had a half hour ride back to the marina. That night we sampled local lobsters for $12 each. yummy.
Another day, lets go for a hike, in the rain.
Next day, lets go kayaking, in the rain.
Stayed at a cute village called Pictou to get up early in the morning for the ferry to PEI. Looked around Charlottetown the capital and the home of federation in Canada.
Another day, lets go for a bike ride in the rain. One of my favourite days bike riding in Cavendish (home of Anne of Green Gables). The scenery was beautiful, the wildflowers, ocean and the streams, fields and red soil.
Also made it to the Bay of Fundy home of the highest tide in the world. The tide moves 12 metres. To give you an idea the water on the bay moved a distance of 4 metres in 2 and half minutes.
Another highlight was <Lunenburg on the west. A UNESCO would heritage site for the architecture and history in boating-fishing.
It was hard to believe you were in Canada, at times it felt like Scotland and Ireland. The obligatory Tim Hortons on every corner kept me in prospective. If you have time to make it to the Maritimes it is well worth it.
Location: Wasaga Beach, Canada
Wasaga Beach - longest freshwater beach in the world!!
So this goes down as by far the best time I have had in Canada so far!! Also helped that I returned home to Toronto with no injuries, no unforeseen loss of money and surprisingly no dramas.
So much too tell I dont know where to start. Emily and I were working on Event Check-in where media, sponsers, invited industry, some pro athletes and retailers came to get their wristbands and accreditation to let them in the gates. So basically we got to check out everyone bar the public. And oh my god it was amazing how many good looking people could be in the one place!!
Every night we headed to The Dard where everyone wanted to get tickets to all the parties. Luckily being staff we had tickets to all the parties. The Dard is a nightclub overlooking the water which has an interesting policy regarding getting out onto the patio. You line up for up to an hour to get out there, whilst inside is likes a sauna. Allison told me I hadnt been to Wakestock unless I had climbed out of the window to get on the patio. So Saturday night it was too much and out I climbed, luckily the eyes of the bouncer did not see me.
There were 40,000 visitors to Wasaga, it was crazily busy for the weekend. Even so that on Sunday The Beer Store completely sold out of beer.
Sunday was the best day by far, after a hectic Saturday working 14 hours standing in the sun dealing with irrational people telling us they knew someone, who knew someone. IE let us in for free. Then other complaints that wristbands had fallen off. My favourite by a guy in his late 30s. It was hurting me, I couldnt sleep. Too which I answered, are you a man or a mouse!!
So we started with a free massage (there for the pro-athletes) then went out on the media boat for a close up of the wakeboarding action. By 5pm we had packed up and headed to the Corrs Light beer stand, for a beer then back on the media boat for some close up action of the finals.
Sunday night was great at The Dard as all the public had left which left the staff and pro athletes. The party finished at 6am to most peoples amazement that they had spent a night partying with the pros. (They are treated like rock stars). But of course wherever you are on the globe you have to run into an Aussie. I hadnt met any on the weekend!! A pro wakeboarding who came 2nd in the finals is from
. Wait for it
. Wagga Wagga. Dont worry I went and introduced myself as a fellow NSW country person.
For more stories on Wakestock go to: www.wakestock.com
Location: Bala, Muskoka, Canada
We have just enjoyed a long weekend in Canada and I now really understand why 1 million people leave Toronto every weekend and head north to their cottage. It is hard to describe the cottage to anyone who has not been to Ontario, as the picture I had in my mind was a small weatherboard home on the lake. Some cottages are like this but others range to the obscene. Mansions with 3 boathouses (large enough to be a house themselves. Some houses would give Palm Beach a run for their money. Anyway it is super hot in Toronto, humid, and not a place you want to spend any more time then you have too. It has been great to be getting away nearly every weekend.
I travelled with the Love Crescent Tri-nations crew (Kiwi Emily and Canadian Allison). Emily and I are now known as the exotics to all Allisons friends as believe it or not, there are not too many antipodeans in these parts. I think exotic is taking it a bit too far though. We enjoyed welcoming and generous hospitality at a friend of Allisons Jenn, family cottage in Bala. Packed the sleeping bag as the pre-brief advised we were to be sleeping in the boathouse (expected bunks, cobwebs, bugs and the sound of lapping water all night!), but was happily mistaken and enjoyed plush accommodation and stunning views of the lake and gardens from a balcony in a beautiful 'holiday' home, literally right on the shores of Muskoka Lake. It was a credit to Jenn and her family the house, beautiful gardens, relaxing, straight out of Laura Ashley. The Grants hospitality was overwhelming. We had a great time.
We enjoyed hot sunny weather in the early thirties, swimming, sunbathing, fun with friends, barbeques, beers by the lake, dancing with the 19 year olds and ping pong (look out Forrest Gump) at the Bala Bay Inn (Kat & Kay was picturing you there at resort night), and boat trips on Lake Muskoka to Port Carling and Millionaires Row. Millionaires Row is a stretch of shoreline on Lake Muskoka, famous for lavish summer homes to movie stars, hockey players and the rich and wannabe famous (many of which are American).
Everyone enjoyed wakeboarding (like water-skiing but on a board, towed by speed boat). I was keen to try, but after Chris the first person to ride blew out his knee I decided it wasnt worth the risk of getting to know Ontarios hospital system as intimately as I know Albertas. Everyone was also wake surfing. What you will do when you dont have your own waves!! It was great fun!!
We are heading north again today to work and play at the 7th Annual Wakestock event at Wasaga Beach. This is the world's largest wakeboarding event and one of Canada's main festivals with 30,000 people expected to attend over four days - it will be crazy fun! There will be people wakeboarding and big-name bands playing all day, a bikini contest (minor setback as I was too late with my entry!!) and parties. My job will be a Media Liaison Officer, secured by my roommate Allison who is one of the Event Managers; it is not what you know! The only matter yet to be resolved is the ratio of time to number of hot, tanned pro-athletes!!!
PS to clarify definition of the Beach aspect of Wasaga. It will be nothing like an Aussie beach and the 'claim to fame' is that it is the longest freshwater beach (ie lake!!) in the world. I have already been there and checked it out, my comments were Australians have high expectations when it comes to beaches.
Location: Toronto, Canada
Last weekend was the Beaches International Jazz Festival, one big street party over four days that featured more than 50 bands along two kilometres on Queen Street East. the suburb where we live. Found a cosy spot in a local lounge bar and settled into the festivities, which of course meant walking home sideways in the in the wee hours on a school night, solving the problems of the world and wiping Tim Hortons biscuit crumbs off my face! We were very excited to find a Tim Hortons open so late (early).
Packed a picnic and spent the afternoon in the sun on Saturday in Kew Gardens enjoying a free outdoor concerts while sipping on Pimms' (always a crowd favourite) and enjoying the live jazz (Toronto-based Jacksoul, mix of hip-hop, funk and soul with high energy and feel good factor. Was good just chilling out and enjoying the rays. Took me back to the days of Jazz in the Domain.
Location: Georgian Bay, Canada
Georgian Bay sailing
How have I lived in Sydney for nearly 8 years and never been sailing? Now I know why? It is hard, a bit scary, and you need to be strong. All qualities I dont possess. As a wise friend has since told me I dont do sailing unless I can hold a glass of champagne. Right on I think.
I didnt really know what I was getting myself into when Allison said we were going sailing on the Georgian Bay. It ended up being 6 girls in a 20-foot sailing boat with it piled high with food and alcohol.
We sailed out of Collingwood Harbour, now dont think we are talking a small lake Georgian Bay covers over 15,000 square km. The waters can get as rough as the ocean. Saturday was great sailing, eating, drinking, sun baking (ok that was a little scary!!). About 8 hours later we were near our destination a native island where we intended to camp the night.
Then the lightening started, the sky got black & I had visions of getting very wet overnight camping. We anchored on a sheltered beach and were pleased to find another 30 odd boats there sheltering from the winds. We moved all our gear to the beach and Allison and I put our borrowed tent up to find the fly cover was missing. Oh great my Canadian curse was now following Allison as well. The storm came and by a minor miracle only lasted 20 minutes and was still warm so I swam in the bay. My first swim since leaving Australia.
We got our campfire going, cooked some food had some beers and managed to find a tarp for our tent. It was great to be outdoors sitting on the beach with a campfire watching the stars.
Sunday we set off, and with the wind behind us got up some great speed, we were sitting at a 45 degree angle to the water. No sun baking or drinks now. It is all hard work. Again about 2 hours from home the sky got dark and just as we scoffed our chicken Caesar wraps it started pouring. A sight for sour eyes, 6 girls with our raincoats on, towels covering our legs, huddled together freezing. All ok, we put the motor on and cruised home.
An awesome experience that I was lucky to be invited on. Wont be entering the next Sydney to Hobart though.
Location: Calgary, Canada
It has taken my a few weeks to get the courage to even bring up the subject as in true Jane style it ended in a disaster. Due to a sequence of unfortunate events I missed my flight back to Toronto on the Sunday afternoon and had to pay $500 for another flight that got me back to T. at 2am Monday morning. That is that subject closed.
Stampede was one of those events we talked about going to since I was 15. I was so excited. It was also going to be my last chance to visit Calgary and I was looking forward to seeing the city in the summer as I had only been there in winter. I was looking forward to catching up with friends who were still living in Banff.
On Saturday I went to the Mayors Stampede Breakfast that is an annual event that runs every day of Stampede. On average 20,000 people are fed free pancakes in the car park of a shopping centre. It was a bit crazy, but I felt like one of the locals and everyone was chatting whilst we lined up for ½ hour. What you will do for free food.
Stampede is very similar to the Royal Easter Show in Sydney. The Saddledome is the main arena and the activities are surrounded in the grounds. You will be pleased to know they are still gripped by Flames fever in Calgary and unfortunately I missed the Flames in the parade on Friday.
First stop was the rodeo where Meredith, Pappa & I ran into some friends from Banff which gave us a great excuse for our first Budweiser at 12pm. Yep, Bud was the official only available beer. How disgusted we were to be drinking an American beer, when all we wanted was a Kokonee. Actually the whole event is very americanised which was disappointing. The rodeo was the early heats so not up to the high standard you would expect at Gundy, Scone or Guyra Rodeo (brought me back to my youngster days). They did have wild horse taming and wild cow milking which was entertaining. Man from Snowy River eat your heart out.
So enter show food, no change here for anywhere else in the world, pizza, more pizza, hot chips, hot dogs, dagwood dogs, corn dogs (dont ask me what they are not that game even after beers).
That night was the Chuck Wagons. The Chuck Wagons are the main event and the drivers are held in as much esteem as the bronc or bull riders. Most chuck wagon drivers are 3rd generation etc, etc and scarily make a living out of it. Most of the night was taken up by trying to decide how the competition actually works. I dont think we did work it out. But of course there was more Buds, more show food. The chuck wagon has a driver and passenger (navigator?) and the front of the wagon and when they start there are two riders on horses attached at the back of the wagon. The riders than continue to follow the chuck wagons and must pass the finish line for the chuck wagon to be eligible.
Ran into Jas Anderson, and some others from Banff at the Chuck Wagons so what a great idea some more Buds in the sun. By now you get a drift.
We then met up with everyone for a free Stampede Concert. Sum 41 a punk band from Ontario. The boys were rocking, the kids were loving it, yep you were not finding me moshing to my hearts content. These kids were full on. Crazy.