HK andI are hikers. Avid hikers.  We used to be avider (is that a word?) hikers, but time has slowed us down a touch. Plus the fact that we don’t like driving too far to get in a “quick” 6-10 miles. Fortunately, there are many, many options in Vancouver proper that perfectly fit the bill.

Stanley Park is an obvious choice. It is 10% larger than Central Park in NYC, and a 5 mile seawall is the perfect length for a walk or run. Plus there are (more…)

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Oh, I loves me a parade! And Vancouver’s Pride parade is THE parade of parades! We’ve been in Vancouver for 2 pride parades in the last 3 years, and I think we’ll make it an annual tradition! (Click here for by blog from the 2009 pride parade)

For the past 3 years, the theme of Pride has been “Educate,Liberate and Celebrate”. It certainly was a celebration, with well over half a million people attending the 3-hour parade. The annual parade is Vancouver’s largest 1-day celebration, a celebration of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning (LGBTQ) community. It was a day to celebrate whatever, and WHO ever, you are!

We continued the celebration with a cook-out at the home of the women that own the house we’re renting and a bunch of their friends.  This why I so love  this city–it is full of hospitality, joy and celebration!

Enjoy the pics. I have over 100, so grab a cup of coffee or a glass of wine and kick back.

In 2 short weeks HK and I will be on our way to Norway, and I’m telling you, it can’t come soon enough!  Here in Atlanta it has been in the 90’s for months already, and frankly, I am totally over the heat!  Last summer we spent 2 months in Vancouver, BC, and were grateful to escape the oven that we call home in the summertime. And although we had the 2 days of the hottest temps ever recorded in Vancouver (96F), we were at least able to cool ourselves in the refreshing waters of the Pacific.

Anyway, while gathering some essentials that I know we’ll need for our upcoming trip (rain gear and warm clothes–we’ll be traveling north of the Arctic Circle), I came across a crayon, partially melted, stuck in the deep recesses of my backpack. It was a reminder of a long-ago trip that HK and I took to Laos and Thailand several years ago. We had decided to “think outside the box” for our 10-year wedding anniversary, and eventually agreed on an independent kayak/backpack trip down the Mekong River, staying in local villages with none of the creature comforts we take for granted at home. We slept under mosquito netting on the floors of local villager’s homes, ate on the ground off of banana leaves and spoke none of the local language except to ask where the bathroom was (bathroom=hole in ground). The only running water we encountered in the villages was the cappuccino-colored water of the river, so you can imagine how we smelled after nearly a week.

Before we left on the trip, I tried to think of some little something that I could take that might endear me to the locals. (Yes, I like to feel endeared—imagine that). I knew we would encounter lots of children, so i decided that paper and crayons may be just the ticket.  I was right. During the course of our trip, the local kids would curiously poke their heads out of the windows of come just within 10 feet to get a better look at these blonde-haired, fair skinned foreigners. As soon as I got the crayons out and started coloring on my pad, they would gather around and want to draw a picture for me.  The icing was taking digital photos of them and letting them see themselves instantly in he viewfinder.

It was a tough journey, we both got stomach parasites and were exhausted at the end, but in hindsight, iIt really was a trip of a lifetime. I thought I’d share some of my memories from this adventure with you.  What are some of your favorite travel memories? I’d love to hear them!

note the Osama Bin Laden t-shirt.

"happy hour" enjoying rice wine

dinner smorgasbord

Christmas eve, 2002

checking us out from the safety of their hut

group shot!

Mother or Grandmother-not sure

public restroom

karaoke night

nature's handiwork

nature's handiwork

While reading today’s post on my friend and fellow-blogger Elizabeth Harper’s site today, I was reminded of something.

The day that HK and I were to leave Vancouver this summer, I took one last run along the seawall to my favorite little park that overloooks the sea. The park, a tiny spit of lush greenery rarely frequented by people (although there was a resident bald eagle that hung out there), was the perfect spot to practice t’ai chi in the mornings.  So, after my last session on that last day, I took a minute, really took a minute, to look around me and observe the beauty that I knew I would miss until the next trip out there.

There, right n the very beach that I had run along so many times, was the most beautiful piece of mother nature’s handiwork. It was a fallen tree that had obviously been there for a long, long time, but up until now, went unnoticed by yours truly.  As I was appreciating the carved-out formations of the bark, I noticed a stone that was lying at the tree’s base. The stone was black, smooth, with a thin white line that completely encircled it. I picked it up, rolled it around in my hand, and realized that this rock, far from perfect, had probably been there all along, from the day we arrived in Vancouver until the day we left. To me, that rock symbolized the journey that I had taken while in Vancouver, and how on this last day, I had come full circle in many ways, both physically emotionally.


full circle

full circle

I was so thankful that I had my camera with me, because I took a photo of it as a reminder to self that I need to slow down and look around.  Beauty is everywhere.

 crazy%20woman%2001I’ll preface this post by letting you in on a little secret.  I am NOT a patient person.  No, really, i’m not.  Seroiusly.  In fact, some people have said that i’m one of the most impatient people they’ve ever met.  I try to chill.  I’ve read a plethora of “self-help” books and talked to people about my problem.  I got into t’ai chi and tried meditating (i got too frustrated that i couldn’t still my mind, which made me more impatient, so i quit). Nothing has made a lasting difference.

OK, so the cat’s outta the bag.  So where am i going with this revelation? Well, when HK and i were on our cross-country trip from Atlanta to Vancouver,  our friend Glenn loaned us his mobile XM radio.  Man, that was a lifesaver.  For a while, at least.  After the first day, it decided to get cranky.  Every time i’d try to change the channel (HK was getting tired of listening to ’70’s music all the time), it would just stop working. Seriously, every time i picked it up, i’d get a little static, then the silent treatment.

“AAAAARRRRRGGGGG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” i’d scream and shake it up and down, back and forth.  “WORK, damn you!”

“Give it to me” HK would say, rolling his eyes. “You are the most impatient person i’ve ever met”, he said, laying the radio on his lap.

And just like that, Dave Matthews would be singing.  “Crash, into me…..”

“Baby likes to be held”, HK said in a quiet, fatherly tone. So as long as “Baby” was in HK’s lap, (more…)

Mommy and Daddy really had a great time playing in the mountains of British Columbia. it seems like every day when Daddy got off work (at 2:00, since he was working on Eastern Time), they’d head off on another adventure.

One day while their friends Stef and Glenn were visiting, they went kayaking on the Indian Arm at Deep Cove.  Being a self-proclaimed cheapskate, mommy called all around to find us the cheapest guided trip. She finally found one, but when they got to the outfitters “office”, it was a little trailer in a run-down neighborhood. Two young (but cute) guys were waiting outside for them.

“Nice one, Jules. Real professionals”, Daddy and Glenn teased her.It only got worse when they told them to follow them down a long, windy, remote road. “This is straight out of one of those Kill the Tourist movies,” Daddy said, and that really pissed mommy off.  Finally they got to the put-in spot, and the 2 guides turned out to be very professional.

Mommy couldn’t stop talking about the scenery-here’s her favorite shot…

check out the scenery!

check out the scenery!

hahahahaha! that was their guide- a real “hottie”, according to Mommy and Stef.  Here are some more pictures from their 4-hour kayak trip

Beer break

Beer break

an abandoned hydro power plant

an abandoned hydro power plant

Meanwhile, (click on more to continue the story) (more…)

Beam me up, scottie!

Beam me up, scottie!

While we’re on the subject of festivities , HK and I attended the Vancouver Pride parade this weekend.  Talk about festive! Reports are that there were anywhere from 400,000 to half a million people there! We loved it! Everybody was cheering at the floats, throwing beads, dancing in the streets, actually, it was a lot like Mardi Gras!  Even (more…)