Showing posts from November, 2012

Getting over Sarah

Today I'm feeling much better (I think that thing called "sleep" helped a lot).
I actually have a long day.
It's 05h30, my flight leaves at 10h00, I get there around 14h30, and then stay at the airport (WOOHOOO!!! Tana airport! My favorite place!!!) until 18h50 and arrive in Tamatave at 19h35.

It's funny, but the main thing that got me out of my crying mood was a flashback to a movie called, Getting Over Sarah Marshall.

Takes place in a nice hotel in Hawaii
"Sir, we've received complaints about a woman crying loudly."
"Oh, wow, that's weird, I think it's coming from the floor above me.""Sir, you're on the top floor."
"Ok. I'll tune it down."

It's a funny movie if you're into that kind of humour.

Off to the airport.


At one point on my vacation, I had to take a break from any emails/Facebook info about the recent death of someone I care about. It was hard not to peek, but after I spoke with my family about the memorial service in Canada, I was really torn apart. I stayed up all night, a mix between shock, fear, and sadness.

So today, with all of my three or four hours of broken sleep, I thought it was a marvelous idea to go and 'catch up' with what I've been ignoring. Wow, what a crappy idea that was.

Seeing pictures of him....taken a year or two ago, where he is healthy and smiling; reading his grieving wife's thoughts as she remains stronger than I could have ever imagined....have me a crying mess.

I can't understand death. I forget that I'm not supposed to understand it. And I forget that it's okay that people I love and care about are suffering. It's not what I want, but they will be okay. One day. And that his memory will live on, and if he was sitting next t…

Loser Day

Oh, the plans I had today.

I was so hopefully...Louis' flight was 35 minutes late which meant he might miss his connection.....but he made it. I had a doctor's appointment which means I miss the connection and will fly out tomorrow. But it's a Saturday which means no company plane, which means travelling Air Madagascar (which is not fun) and means leaving my luggage in storage in Tana until Monday or Tuesday when the company plane can take it (my luggage is TOOOOOOO heavy for Air Mad and they either won't take it or I have to wait until every single person has checked in to see if they have room. Seriously. Ok, I'm a princess, whatever).

I booked myself a hair appointment, I was going to get some last minute things I needed here

which is like a super nice mall that everyone goes to called Sandton City.

Instead....I'm ordering from this place called Delivery Xtreme where they take orders from restaurants in your area.

I'm not even going outside. I booked th…

At the airport

I'm at the airport, in the lounge, so excited. I nearly jumped and clicked my heals when I got to the airport (I have video of my mom doing this is Disneyland ;) ).

Excited to come back to a normal place. Yep, the I get how weird that sounds. Take me back to meat hanging for sale outside in the sun, take me back to dirt roads and work stress, take me back to rickshaws and the chaos that is now comforting.

I've never been so excited to come back before but I have so many awesome things to look forward to this rotation. Oh! And I miss Louis like crazy!!!!!!!!!

Next stop Johannesburg!!!!!!

Sent from my iPod

Plans for Last Day in HK

Today is my last day in China. Yesterday I was feeling pretty under the weather and exhausted and extremely anti-asian-anything. I stomped my foot and refused to eat anything remotely resembling anything Chinese. I'm still feeling the same way - I wish I wouldn't have come to HK and I'm so glad I came to HK!

I have a late checkout so here are my plans:
Super quick workoutFinish packingShowerCheckout and store luggageTake the subway BY MYSELF to The Big Buddha. It's quite a long ways but easy to figure out.

I'll have five and a half hours to kill until my driver picks me up and then it's so long for this vacation!
 This has been an incredible vacation. Nice to spend time with my mom, nice to see how another side of the world lives, see some amazing sights and have some amazing experiences....but I'm looking forward to getting back to my real life. :)

I want to enjoy today, but it's hard not to be excited to get back home and hard not to be excited for …

Hong Kong Mania and Fun

I don't know how to really say with words that I've had an awesome time in Hong Kong and a stressful time all the same. I'm glad I came here. I had A LOT of fun (especially yesterday), but...I'm a country  mouse. And even though I want to take these kinds of trips, my country mouse roots are seriously screaming.

As far as the pushing/shoving and line etiquette, HK is about a gazillion times better than any of our other stops. So, that's nice. But when we're oot and aboot, there are some places where we can't cross the street because there is a fence (so you have to learn or know where the street crossings are) and there are many places where you can't see the street because of the fences and bushes. And then, when you're at a crosswalk, there are times you can't see the other side because it's a elephant circus line of very tall double decker busses. Yeah.

The day before yesterday, we got mega super lost. I didn't even know how we'…

HongKong Disneyland (Yep, I'm serious)

Well. China and Hong Kong (don't get me started on why they aren't the same, I'm still figuring it out), has been the craziest, amazing, weird, very weird, and bizare vacation. I've seen a lot of history and learned a lot!

Yesterday I had two "I CANT TAKE HONG KONG" moments, we got very lost, were very confused, and very tired. It is a zoo here. It's like, I'm super happy to have taken this trip, but I'm undecided if I'd come back? Like, Italy, I would go back in a second. China? Not sure. I think it is one of the 'once in a lifetime' kind of things. Although if I use the last five years of my life...who knows.

Anyway, I need a day of...goofiness and anti-culture and anti-history.

So...we're Hong Kong Disneyland. I'm actually not even forcing my mom to go, she wants to! On the way back we'll see the The Big Buddha, so we'll get some culture/history.

My mom leaves tomorrow and we have one place on the agend…

Hong Kong is Crazy and Happy Birthday Mom

Image sometimes in Canada, I get what I like to call, "First World Overwhelm". The lights...the traffic, the selection of all gets to me. So..China? It's been a bit crazy. But Hong Kong? Oh Emm Gee. Like seriously. This place is crazy. But while I've been overwhelmed, I've still been really enjoying it, especially with our AWESOME driver and AWESOME guide today. I'm back at the hotel, going to the gym (since I can finally breathe) and then taking a rest from all this...HKness. And then? We're doing a harbour cruise that looks freaking amazing, whereby like 20 or 30 buildings participate. Crazy sh7t. Today is also my mom's birthday, and we have a bottle of champagne to celebrate, but no real time to enjoy it. I'm trying to convince her to bring it on the boat and I'll sneak us some but she's not having it. Well, I guess that's ok since it's her birthday. I can't wait to post some of the crazy (and some funny) pi…


Wow! I was able to upload a picture! Finally! It's a crappy picture, but I looked out the window now and thought it was pouring rain or maybe a forrest fire. Nope! Fog. Like crazy crazy crazy fog.

I seem to have lost my charger for my camera battery ( it's HK, I don't think that's a big deal...probably pretty easy to find another), so maybe it's a good day not to have a camera. Except then my mom is stuck taking really stupid pictures of me. (Ok, that's every day).

It's my mom's birthday today! She's sick...and I'm recovering well (FINALLY) but still a little tired so not sure what kind of party we're going to have. I'm also a granny and like to go to bed early. I'll try to get my party pants on.

Can't wait for today!

UPDATE: This was the worst weather accuracy EVER. It was cold and rainy. None of this "Feels like 32*C crap!)

In Hong Kong

China is the weirdest place. Like so, so, so weird. But not weird in a bad way, just weird like a....did I really just see that???
It's kind of like New York on speed. And meth.

If I didn't write about's because I was trying to stay positive but our guide in Shanghai was SOOOOOOOOOOO AWFUL. Either he HATED us or he HATED his job. Thankfully we had a free day. We gave the driver a gift and tip...and gave him nothing. I would normally feel bad about this, except on our free day we went to a lot of the places that were scheduled (and paid for already) with him, just because we wanted to enjoy our time and with him. (Also, tipping is very rare in China. It's very weird, but I understand the reasons why.)

So to arrive in Hong Kong...with this friendly driver and nice hotel and...dessert waiting for me as soon as I hit "send"...things are looking up. Also, I'm feeling better and my cold isn't so harsh. The worst part is that it was m…


Today was our free day and we had a blast. I am SERIOUSLY getting a little too much attention. This afternoon was another photo-session.

I'm super tired, I've retired for the evening (I think it's 18h00???) and I NEED TO GET THIS COLD OVER WITH. It's wearing on me and I'm tired. I pull it together for the most part, but in the evenings, I struggle. I need to kick this!!

I've ordered a bowl of oatmeal for supper (probably for something stupid like $20USD), and then I'm headed to bed.

Oh, but last night we saw the most amazing, scary, spectacular acrobatics show ever. This is no Cirque De Soleil...this is insane. The little girl beside me had to cover her eyes a few times, a few times I thought I would certainly witness the death of a Chinese person....crazy. I'll post some more info on it, but here's the website I could find.

Ok - tomorrow I WILL FEEL BETTER!!!!!!

It Finally Happened

A couple of people lined up to ask to take a picture.....with ME.

I got them to take a picture of us too. When I have some decent internet, I'll post them. It's awesome. A LINE UP. 

And you know all of those FW emails of funny signs in China? I could make a coffee table book.
Another book I might write is, How to vacation in China under $50USD/day. It would only be one page, with one sentence: Get arrested.

The end. (Ok, 2 sentences).

Now I'm off for some vallina yogurt frozen at a local store that is ON BUSINESS. :D 
I need to put up some pics.

Three Years Ago

As I was reminded by my lovely husband last night, three years ago today (or yesterday depending on the time zone), we decided to talk to one another. We had passed each other hundreds of times, had a mutual friend, but hated one another because we both thought the other was a stuck up snob/jerk. :)

Also....I'm kind of thinking back to yesterday. I've mentioned before, I'm a hotel-cleptomaniac. I always take all the coffees, ice tea powders, hot chocolate mixes that they provide. The bag of stolen beverages this trip reached maximum capacity, and I can't be paying for extra weight in my luggage. So we put them in a super nice gift bag with a little bow that we had from one of our purchases, and arranged them all nicely and gave them to our super cute guide Sandy Song. Sooooooo............I just gave like a year's supply of a Chinese guy. Great thinking, Nicole.

(He got a tip too.) Maybe he can trade in his gazillion-year-long tradition…

Shanghai & Additional oversharing

We've safely arrived in Shanghai.

Flying isn't so bad, I have a Frequent Flyer with their affiliate companies so we get more checked luggage...with after the shopping is very, very appreciated.

We arrived around 18h00 at the airport....our driver was very friendly, our guide was VERY unfriendly. And very hard to understand. Let's hope he shapes up for tomorrow.

So seriously, we are going to have a hard time trying to revert back to speaking English normally. We really cut a lot of words out to try to simplify things. I'm sure I've said that a hundred times.

Tomorrow is a VERY active day, and I *think* I might have kicked this bad-sick and it's just turned into a cold. I hope. It's a super long day tomorrow.

If you don't like bathroom humour stop here. Just another random story.

In the airport while we were waiting for luggage, I think I nearly made my mom pee her pants laughing. I have a Pavlov's Dog Theory every.single.time I enter Walmart.…

Snake Wine

I love Guilin and Yangshuo. Love, love, love, love. It's so beautiful here and ssooooooooooooooo green! I would have canned a few days in Beijing (especially since we didn't get to really visit Tianamen Square - just drive by) and spent more time in this area. So gorgeous. However, you won't be seeing any of those pictures today. Today you'll be seeing pictures of snakewine. I kept telling myself that if I acted like I wasn't sick and pretended I wasn't sick, I wouldn't be sick. I Advil'ed up, took some extra vitamin C, and dressed warmly. It didn't work. I kept going....thinking the feeling would pass and no. Body aches, sweats, sore throat. I went to sit inside and our guide Sandy Song (love it love it love it) told me that my mom had ordered a glass of wine, but not snake wine, and the wine that she was drinking was only 15%. Also, she was outside and taking pictures and talking to other people. Apparently, he would go upstairs and give her an …

Here's to a day...

where we sort of have a vague idea what we're doingthat we're not innondated with a gazillion years of history that we can't really keep trackwhere we don't hear "unic" forty times (more on that later, and yes, that's what I mean)where we don't get frustrated by trying to figure out how to plug something inwhere we don't freeze (yah right! it's pooring rain outside and we're going on a river cruise!)where we don't detest our lunchwhere we get to sleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeppppppppp at a fairly decent hourwhere our sore throats go away
I'll report back. Really looking forward to this Li River cruise. Hoping they'll have a garbage bag or something so that I don't get soaked to the bone (for four hours!)

It's already a good start, we had breakfast and there were no mishaps! LOL. China is so new and odd to us! :D

Some people are so smart. :)

I've been sort of chatting with a friend about my weirdness about feeling like there is nothing that I can do about a friend's death....and how the helplessness is driving me batty.

Grief and grieving is a one of life's unique experiences and we all grieve differently. Part of the acceptance piece is that we take in the reality in small doses – there's nothing wrong with that. Acceptance takes time and with acceptance comes the realization that there is nothing you could do to make the situation different. He was on his own path, not your path, and it would *almost* be disrespecful in a way to interfere with that. Be patient with yourself as everyone deals with death differently.

I love it. I think I need to write it down and pull it out everytime I'm feeling overwhelmed by sadness. I can still be sad, that's a given. But I don't have to "fix" anything.

Some people are so smart.

China update:
My mom and I are TIRED. While many people here spe…

In Guilin!

Ahhhhhhh my day of rest combined with sleeping a lot today and a traditional foot reflexology and massage (for $20USD at this place across this street from our hotel!) and my qi (chi) is back. Traditionally, men give the massage, and since I was fully clothed, I thought it would be ok. I'm kind a freak when it comes to massages and even if the guy is super proffesional, it doesn't work for me.

My guy was good, except he wouldn't stop giving me googly-eyes. At that point I just started talking to my mom (something I detest when I'm trying to relax) because his googly-eyed-ness was making me uncomfortable. The massage was awesome and I can't wait to write a more detailed post on reflexology, it's truly amazing even though I had to go to get it done first (years ago) before thought it was like, real.

I'm still pretty tired and will try to go to bed early tonight, I've been fighting off a mini-cold or some kind of sore throat so I still want to rest a lo…

China flight #2!

Tomorrow I'm off to Guilin in the afternoon. Xi'an was super quick and I'm sorta glad because the burning coal smell is pretty rough.

For 13 Dynasties, Xi'an was the capital of China. I'm happy we visited and I'm happy we're leaving. :)

Off to a new city!!!!!

Resting Day

To date, I haven't had a good night's sleep on this vacation. Partly because I'm focusing so hard on being thankful that my friend's brother isn't in pain anymore and that he's in a better place, and partly because we are busy!

Today in Xi'an we were supposed to visit a museum and something else (I can't ever remember) and I decided that today would be a good rest day. In the evening we see a show and have a traditional dinner (oooooo!!!! I can't wait!!!!!!!!! :*( ).

I needed some time to just not do anything. I'm making sure that I don't feel guilty for missing out on part of a day because I need to rest. It's a hard balance for me - our vacations come so often and we want to do so much, but we also have these vacations for REST and RECOVERY, and today I needed a day of rest. I'm not sleeping as much as I had hoped, but at least I'm relaxing. Thankfully my mom is totally fine going out by herself (with our guide) and you know w…

Bye, Bey Beiiiijingggggg!

See you....never.

I'm into Season 2 or 3 on Mad Men and I can't get this song Bye, Bye Birdie out of my head (along with some classics like Chicikita (where would I get this!?))

So cool to meet up with an ex-colleague that I haven't seen for years. So cool to see that part of China.
But seriously?
PollutionTrafficConstantly hearing and seeing people hork (please Google if you don't know what this is) and farmer snot (again, Googlez)POLLUTION
Ok, so seeing the Great Wall (even though there was some confusion on my part). Another foreign way of life. All of the cultural sights that I can't name because I'm tired. I've liked it...but I haven't liked it? I've liked parts of it but today...I was ready to leave.

Also...(hope I don't kick myself for saying this) but know those vacations you take and you're like, Wow! The food was so good, I gained 4 lbs!!! This is not one of those places. I eat breakfast, and then I usually try lunch, but …

Beijing would eat Me

I am a savage. Pre-Madagascar Beijing would eat me up and spit me out. Now, I'm ready to push you out of my way if you won't move as you block me because you want to sell me something that I "need".

I'm ready to use my arm to do a mild tai-chi sweeping move if you try to steal my cab.

I'm willing to hop in a rickshaw (idea didn't fly with the mama) to get back home when I'm cold and hungry.

I will put up my hand as a "STOP" and cross the road and let you honk at me all you want (seriously, this is how it works here).

We've had an amazing time here. But I'm ready for a much, much, much slower pace.

Tomorrow we spend the day touring, and then we fly to Xi'an. Another Hilton I think, which means we have to watch what we eat there. We had supper buffet here twice (it's pretty incredible but I can't eat lately so I didn't eat much....even from the dessert bar!), and after the second time we realized that we paid $100USD f…


4% of Beijing is part of any organized religion, but there is lots of history and traditions.
I asked our tour guide to find us a temple on our day off and it turns up that we are staying not too far from the most visited temple in Beijing (we even had to buy tickets!)

In Chinese culture, you enter the temple, buy big bunch of incense, and let it burn and say a prayer. You're supposed to pray to the person that has passed away.

I thought a lot about what my prayer was and should be. My prayer was that i hope that Kelly knows how much he was loved, and I hope that he knows everyone is grateful that he is no longer suffering, and that i hope he knows that everyone will work together to make sure that everyone gets through his passing and no one will ever let his wife or daughter feel alone.

The smoke from the incense is carried up to the person that has passed away with your prayer.

So it's not christian, but when in Rome.....

Here are some quick pics of the day.

It's been v…

The Great Wall of Berlin Beijing

A million things to say and I'm just too tired.

We went to the Great Wall of China, and here is where I'll admit I am a total and complete super loser moron.

While I knew that the wall was built to protect the area during whatever dynasty...I also kind of got it mixed up with the Berlin Wall...and I thought once there was freedom of the people...that it got knocked down in part. WRONG. There's a reason I barely passed all history and geography in school.

Here are just two (I'll have to sort through another time) of the pictures that were taken of part of the wall. We didn't have time to walk all of the wall, just part of one section.

It was very nice.

And after a pretty rocky night last night, where I took off from holidaying, I went for a light supper, nap, and then for a massage. I'm so grateful that my family is able to go to the Canadian Celebration and that I'm able to go to a temple here and do my own Celebration.

Until tomorrow. :)

Celebration and Sadness

Today was my first real day exploring Beijing.

Today I used all my energy to think of a friend's brother, at peace, and not suffering.

Today I used all my energy to remember the kindness, the funny stories (like the had to boost my car one time because we were using "Idiot-proof" booster cables that...turned out to not be so idiot-proof. Thankfully Kelly came to the rescue. And didn't kept the jokes about how stupid we the absolute bare minimum :D), and what a great person Kelly is.

Kelly is truly the kindest person. And the most loving husband, dad, brother, and son. I cannot grasp the concept of death of a young person, so I'll focus on turning my confusion into appreciating the loved ones I have, and celebrating Kelly's life.

I've asked our guide to find me a Temple, which I'll go to the same day as his Life Celebration will be held in Canada. I'm also extremely thankful that at least one or two of my family members will go to the …

Who is this brave freak!?

Sometimes I don't even know who I am anymore. For the most part, I've been pretty dedicated to taking at least 2 (short) runs a week. Last week was a little wacky because I wasn't feeling great, and I know 2 runs a week (sometimes 3) doesn't sound like a lot...but I totally lost my running mojo for like....a year so I'm happy that I'm back on the running wagon.
I got to the hotel last night around 22h00. I screwed around on the computer for a couple of hours...then decided my best course of action would be to go for a run. Here's where I really don't recognize myself. I used to (or still am?) super scared of the dark. Ok, I'm less significantly less scared now, I used to sleep with a nightlight and if it was dark outside (morning or night) I was alone, I would run to my car and most of the time be looking in my rear view mirror or backseat for monsters. I only wish I was joking.
So as I left my room last night, in the middle of the night, to go to …

In Beijing and a super lame tourist I paid a small fee for a website that is supposed to block China from blocking me from Facebook, etc. I know that's kind of lame...but it also blocked blogger which sucked. But now if it stops working, I figured out how to post via email. Which is lame since I should have checked that before.

So I'm HERE!!! When I landed I wanted to yell, I'M IN F8CKING CHINA, B1TCHES!! I seriously have been watching way too much TV.

My guide, Bruce (?) picked me, gave me the brief overview, and then I checked INTO THE MOST FREAKING AMAZING LIKE BLOW MY MIND hotel. I knew we had picked some nice hotels but I was not prepared for this. And everything is electronic. And I probably look like the BIGGEST loser ever only having an Ipod...I should have something way more complicated. The blinds are electronic. There is a tv in the bathroom. Oh - and the closet is actually a mini bar and Coca Cola is written in Chinese!!!! So yeah...this is what excites me. Right now it's 18h36 my …


If this means I figured out the right way to email posts to my blog. Hope this means I can add pictures too!


I've missed my blog the last week and a bit. Internet has been the craps and I seriously didn't realize just HOW much I like... need to randomly write random crap.

In no random order:
So, so, so, so happy my grandpa is at home healing from his heart surgery. That guy is tough, but the surgery (or rather the recovery) is going to test his toughness. It's the whole "marathon" thing...slow and steady....which isn't easy when you're not feeling great.I have a few things I'd like to confess: I am a super trashy hotel guest and air passenger. My thought process is this: I take anything from the room that won't be charged extra for (no, not toilet paper) and I take plastic baggies to take food from the airport lounges. I don't always like airplane food and I'm often on a different time zone, so I want options. I usually end up bringing home an orange or apple from the Madagascar lounge and it sits on the table until the day that I leave. But I wa…

True love & b00bs

True love is special. I am speical. Louis pretty special too.

I had a doctor's appointment today (I'm healthy!) and Louis came with me. After my doctor's appointment, we met up with a friend who is here recovering from leg surgery and we walked to Sandton City for lunch, some shopping, and hopefully a movie.

We didn't have time to see a movie, but we saw this little booth that plays 3D movies while shaking you up and down and all around so that it's what they call a "4D" movie. It was only five minutes long and we chose "Snow Rollercoaster". Our friend gets motion sickness so he decided to get a coffee and meet us back in five minutes.

Louis and I put on our 3D goggles and immediately we were being thrown around and snow was blasting in our faces. This machine like REALLY shakes the crap out of you. Now, here's where the post becomes midly PG, so consider yourself warned. I'm also going to be mature and type in b00bs…

Vacation Day

It's been a very weird long week (I'll write more later, nothing terribly dramatic) and I'm very happy to say that I'm spending the day in Johannesburg with Louis and then I'll be leaving at midnight for China. I wasn't feeling super well last week but I am officially fit to fly (and fit to vacation!). I have absolutely zero idea what any of this trip will even possibly be like!

I'm hoping that Blogger isn't blocked in China...if it is that means no posts until November 30th. I know that Facebook is blocked as well (THE HORROR!). I hope that iTunes isn't blocked because I'm trying to download some TV shows that I seem to have gotten myself hooked.

Okay, most boring post but just wanted to say hi!

{And most of all, I'm happy to say that my grandpa is doing SO GOOD! Not entirely smooth recovery, but he's at home! YAY!}

Gorilla Wrestling

I've been pretty quiet on my end, more on that later.
In the meantime...there are two things.

The first, is that I feel like shopping for winter boots nearly everytime I'm online. The fact that I already have 2 pair and LIVE IN A RAINFOREST doesn't seem to matter? I just went on Facebook and saw that Edmonton has tons of snow, so maybe it's my real Canadian self coming out.
{I've been trying to load a few pics but Blogger won't let me for some reason....GRRrr!!}

The second is that I continue to ask for prayers and positive energy to my grandpa who is struggling. Of course thing could be worse, but there's a few glitches and he could use some better days.

And I found a good recovery quote...that can be applicable to a few people (including myself) these days.

It's a little like wrestling a gorilla. You don't quit when you're tired. You quit when the gorilla is tired.
Robert Strauss

Sunday Pictures

Alright. I think I'm going to have to whip out my real camera every Sunday and take pictures of the goings' on. Some Sundays are more eventful than others. This Sunday was a weird mix of everything.
Saturday night there was a party (which I didn't attend) and it was cold outside so there were no pool activities. For some weird (good) reason, I have been getting up and going for a quick run on Sunday mornings. No idea how this started but it's such a great idea.
It rained last I had a few puddles to jump  I'm sure that this little puddle is three feet in depth.
 Thankfully the sidewalks weren't flooded over so I could at least continue down that path. The blue fences are for villas that they are renovating into couples' units. Louis and I are both pretty certain that we won't be moved into one. But that's okay because our set up (2 rooms side by side with 1 room with a big bed) isn't too shabby.
 The ground must be higher at the bac…