Location: Vancouver, Canada
Just got back from Fernie, in the Rockies. Actually was lucky to get back, as it dumped so much snow every day that the roads everywhere are covered and shut. But good snow means great skiing. That is once you learn to ski the legendery Fernie powder! Its a whole new technique. One day your flying down the groomed sloped looking pretty smooth, the next day your up to your knees in powder, struggling to make a turn without rolling down the hill in fluffy stuff. I hadn't stacked it once all the time skiing in Canada until the powder hit - then it was every 5 minutes. But once you get it, its beautiful! We stayed with our friend Mel, who we met on Transcanada. She's an instructor out there, and is living the life, skiing there everyday, and drinking every night. Pete of transcanada fame also came out to join us for a few days from Trail where he lives now. He took me down some runs, double black diamonds through tight trees in deep powder. He made it look easy, I struggled to turn before eating tree bark every time. But wicked fun! I made it through the week injury free, but Tim on his Snowboard (with which he was actually doing well) ate it bad on a hangover morning, and twisted his ankle badly so was on the couch for the rest of the time. We did manage to get out and see a local hockey match which was cool as well - lots of blews which we all love to watch. More aussies in the crowd than anybody, and more rowdy than anybody too. It was a wicked trip! Just before we headed out there we dropped down to Seattle in the US to visit Dana and Jim, friends we met in London, and visited us in Vancouver. Its a nice city, a good feel to it. We checked out the music musuem - which is very interactive and cool, and the museum of flight (boeing is based here) and got on one of the retired Concordes. Basically checked out all the sites, had some good dinners and stuff. Didn't see Eddie Vedder - sorry Kristen, I would have said hi for you.
Now, back in Vancouver (where its pissing rain - what a surprise). Packing down, and saying farewell to all our friends. Its funny, its a big exodus again for all the Aussies I know too - will have a bunch of them to catch up with back in Australia, Flint, Cam, Alastar who are all climbers, kayakers, skiers, bikers. We had an excellent dinner with our landlords and friends Claudio and Elana last night. He's Argentinian, she's Isreali, and they lived in Italy for years. So as usual, it was a beautiful dinner with restaurant quality food! We'll miss all our friends here, it's the worst part about leaving. Tim flies out on Sunday - via Malaysia, USA, and about 6 other countries, with two big bags and a bike in a box - have fun! I am off to explore Vancouver island, maybe walk the Juan de Fuca trail and explore Tofino, with Russell and his wife Morghan. The Canadian adventure is nearly over - but not quite. I'll be back in the sunshine on the 12th of Feb. So until then.... enjoy....
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Well Christmas is over - and New Years is on its way. But what a christmas! We skied - a true white christmas! Its been the best snow over here in 25 years or so. Who cares about beaches and 37 degrees in Sydney! Right now its about -3 outside - and Vancouver is covered in snow as well. Its meant to snow over night, and later in the week. A top temp of -17 is due for next week too which should be fun. No more riding to work with icy roads!
Before christmas Flint (another aussie) and I got out for a few snow trips. Snow shoeing, skiing, and camping in the mountains around Vancouver and Whistler. Its amazing to get out and stay in such wild landscapes. And building and sleeping in a snow cave is also a new experience. Its quite cosy - well relative to the outside of wind, snow and cold. Its quite nice to wake up to a dull blue glow all around, and sleep to silence. And to wake up and dig out the tunnel to emerge ina meter of new snow to jump and wade through is also pretty amazing - especially with wild mountains all around.
Well the final Canada month is going to be pretty busy. Tim and Brooke have left and are in New York for New Years. After Tim returns a bunch of us will head out for a 5 day backcountry ski trip thorugh the Pemberton icefields. Then off to Seattle for a few days to visit some friends. And then - straight to Fernie for 10 days or so of pure skiing, or snowboarding for Tim. Can't wait! Its so nice to ski here!
Its going to be a busy time, and sad to say goodbye to so many friends, and to Canada which I love. But at least its summer in Australia, and the beach is waiting!
Location: Vancouver, Canada
The ride is over... back in vancouver and getting into the winter sports. Have to enjoy the last months here and get out and do it all. I probably won't say too much here, but will post photos of whats going on. Hiking, snow shoeing, skiing, people visiting, all that.
Location: Trans Canada!, Canada
Currently Biking across Canada with Timbo.
See the trip at www.planetranger.com/transcanada
Location: The Couver, Canada
So the decision has been made - we're starting a combined page for all three of us and our time in the couver. Its www.planetranger.com/ocanada
Ocanada is coming from the great national anthem of this country. Whenever you are inspired, or see one of the numerous Canada patches on backpacks you MUST break into O Canada (or a preety girl). And for all those who accused me of saying the girls are the prettiest where ever I happen to be well... here, they're just OK so ocanada isn't being used that much for the pretty girl purpose. They have American dating ideas though, which could be good. Anyway.... I'll probably put one more entry here.... and then this will be dormant until I solo out into the world again.
So until then.....
Location: Vancouver, Canada
OK say the place is not that bad. The emails and updates sound pretty down, but thats just because theres no jobs, and the hostel is in the lowest part of town there is. Well second lowest anyway. But - we are getting a place, have dropped CVs all over the place, although most jobs don't start until March as its all very seasonal. The local mountains around Vancouver have all shut as there is no snow too, which hasn't helped businesses here. Pretty much it feels like a big town. It does have a lot to offer in terms of outdoors though, and can't wait to get the bikes here and get into it. But for the time being its looking for a place, and looking for a job. Its just hard because they do things funny here - no centralised searching for either. But she'll be apples.
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Hey! So here we are.... Vancouver. Flights here were cool... Alaskan airlines not bad, Los Angeles experience pretty cruisy, even getting into the country dead easy and smiley. Met friendly people who came up and chatted on the bus on the way in to town, very welcoming, although it did rain all day, but basically a great welcome. Then theres hostel hell. FULL of aussies, ALL aussies, and our room mate, from that place that you drive through on the MWesty to the blue mountains, who has the personal hygene of a rodent and foot odour that could kill a moose, well he certainely put a dampener on things. That and the fact that there are NO jobs! It has rained a lot, and we haven't really been inspired by Vancouver - seems like a small place, and the mountains are covered non stop in cloud. But it does have potential I'm sure, we just have to see it. So to a house and jobs, well the reality is there are bugger all IT jobs (anywhere in Canada, maybe the world) and not many other jobs either, well, its just gonna take a bit of time to get sorted properly. So I may well be working in a gym, or a sony shop, or a computer shop, or hell, be a "Sandwich Technician" in a subway shop! But these are the challenges of moving to another country. And the trans Canada experience is only a few months away anyway. So I've got a mobile now... and I'm gonna broadcast it here because I don't care who calls me anyway. Apparently they're only half have their act together with international texting so it may not work all the time... great. +1 604 551 2702. So now I'm off to Maccas - that four and a half years and grillman of the year award could come in handy! Caio! "Would you like fries with that? What aboot a coke?"
Location: Sydney Airport, Australia
OK here we are at Sydney airport, on the way to Canada! Tim has gone - as all three of us are on different flights. I get the pleasure of LA for 2.5 hours before flying Alsaka Air to Vancouver. Anyone heard of them? Just what I need, another Eskimo experience. That would be a good mile high club entry.
Many of the last nights were spent catching up with everybody, which was great. A great last swim was had yesterday on a 30 degree day. Not as hot as 46 when we decided to go riding in the blue mountains. Tim had a dose of heat stroke so we ended up swimming in a swampy looking creek. But it helped. I crammed everything into my pack yesterday - the first backpacker with a suit with him. And I'm not proud of that. Hopefully I'll get to burn iot after I can't get a IT job in Vancouver, as I hate the bloody things. So the Australia 'holiday' was fantastic. I look forward to the next time I come home, especially since all the friendships and places stay the same.
Anyway - until we settle in Vancouver and get sorted out.... I'm aboot to go to Canada....
Location: Scotts Head, Australia
Still bumming it on the beach. Only a week and a half to get sorted and then off to Vancouver. Timbo has booked his flight I think, as has Pip, so at least I won't be on my own! Going to miss Australia I think. On the cards for the last week... catch up with those I have not yet #1! Do another middle harbour kayak day - what other city in the world can you do this! Have a blue mountains ride day - the oaks fire trail. Another ride up on red hill.. and another ride up Scotts Head beach. A barbie or two more... (get good red meat while you can!)... and plenty more beach days.... yeah! I chucked a few photos up. But I've been spending more time sorting out a new computer, digital camera, and training dad on how to use it all. I'm a good son. Amazing what I will do for some anzac biscuits. Maybe I'll even chuck up a photo or two of the old family slides we've scanned.... good for a laugh.
Location: Sydney, Australia
Okay a bloody update at last. Can't remember where I left you last, probably China somewhere.... woops. So I got a dirty flu in Ghangzhou - nothing top do with the farewell do we had for us all... a few bevvies. Well the flu kinda killed the pleasure out of the journey home, ended up at the doctors with minor pnuemonia and some dirty medicine that gives you heart flutters and the shakes. But it worked. So we ate dog in Ghangzhou - thats about all I did besides lying in bed with a fever (no it wasn't a bad mood timbo). Dog at a dog restaurant where all the locals were impersonating dogs to scare us. Well we ate it, and it tastes like... well, dog. No chance of getting served it and not knowing I think. The ferry trip to China was cool. Hong Kong is the most densly packed place on earth, sky scraper after skyscraper on island after island. So many people and so much money spent there. Jas and I parted company with him spending a few days there with a mate - and me flying home (coughing and feverish - lucky passengers on Qantas!). Since then I've caught up with all the old friends (nothing changes) and spent some time with my family. A very relaxing time up at Scotts Head for christmas. You know - beach, eat, drink, beach, eat, eat, fish, eat.... Now back in Sydney for new years and to continue catching up with all the crew. (Right now at Paul Brenners pad, sweet place!). So... thats it for now. Well unto three weeks when I fly to Canada!
Do I really have to get a job and find a place to live and make friends and all that again...... yep.
Location: Guilin, China
Here now at Guilin. Meant to be one of the most beautiful areas on earth. Probably is - if we could see it. China is one big smog pit to begin with, then throw in the first rain we've had since we set out - we can't see more than 50 metres if we're lucky. So tomorrow we set off down the river on a boat - about 120 aus dollars for the day - the most reknowned and unavoidable ripoff in China. But fingers crossed for clear weather. Then next day down to Ghangzhuo - over the water from Hong Kong - then home to the sun - but we have serious doubts if we can handle the heat. It was probably 10 degrees here today and we were complaining. Comfort levels are relative it seems.
The last day and night were spent on board the train. This time we were the only foriegners on board - and the locals were staring and laughing at our attempts to order food. But in fact it was some of the best food yet. Saying that after going out to a nice restaurant in Xian where we had chicken and pork. Well chicken the prepare by getting garden shears and basically chopping the whole thing up - I ended up pulling a chicken foot out of my mouth - yum yum. And the pork - well I don't know what they did to it, or how old it was, but geez it stunk, and tasted even worse. All part of the fun!
Xain city itself didn't have much to offer - VERY smoggy, which took a lot away from the city. Our hotel was perfect though - 4 star luxury - we no complain. Very nice city walls to stroll around though, and a few pagodas and gardens to see. The Terracotta army of course was amazing. The amount of work they have done and have still to do is phenominal. They just unearthed another 6 pits of statues this year - and have to painstakingly reconstruct them as they were all smashed hundreds of years ago.
The day of out train ride from Beijing down we visited a Lama temple (another huge 28m high Budha statue) and the Confuscious temple - it was interesting to learn the story of him and his followers. On the train we ended up in a carriage with a lawyer from Perth - bought us dinner and beers - cheers mate!
Overall have been thinking a lot about being home now that its so close - can't imagine body surfing, beach, sun, seeing everybody after two years - but it will be good. Anyway - back to it. Might visit the hotel gym tonight. try and get in shape before the beach, all this chinese food is fattening me up!
Location: Beijing, China
See Jasons page for photos of Great Wall today.... no time for me to sort out...
Location: Beijing, China
Last night we met up with everybody and headed out to sample more food delights. Started off with some Scorpion on a stick - just like crispy chicken skin. Then some of us (not me) tried starfish - it stunk and apprently tasted like it smelled. All of this was from street stalls around the main shopping street. For dinner was the obligatory Peking duck - nice but fatty. For dessert we found a fried icecream stall in the street - watched him fried it up. Different to the Aussie chinese version - eggwhite on the outside, bread underneath. Not bad though.
Today we headed out to a remote part of the Great wall to do a walk. We didn't want to go to the restored and touristy parts as we wanted to experience it in nature, without the people and see how it really is. It blew us away! No castle will ever impress me again after seeing this - and imagining that it runs for 6000km. It goes up and down the steepest slopes and highest peaks - thousands of metres - all the while at least 4 metres high and 3 metres wide. We wished we could have stayed and walked for days with the spectacular scenery and fell of it all. Photos will try and show how it was. After this we went off to the summer palace - nice parks and gardens with scatterings oif forbidden city type buildings in it. Was very serene, pretty, would be nicer in summer we think. A very nice way to finish the day. Tomorrow maybe we will ride some bikes - get amongst it, and also see some markets. Then we head off to Xian - to see the terracotta armies. Lots of trains happening - Guilin, then Ghangzhou - then Hong Kong - then home - all in the next 10 days or so. Bloody hell! But seeing a lot along the way. Hopefully get some more photos up today too. Until next time... Ni Hau