Monday, May 30, 2005


So this weekend was quite a lovely warm, being all sunny and warm and everything. We ate brunch on a patio, we walked around, we hiked to the top of a mountain. In all, it was a wonderful weekend. If I sound bitter today, it's only because:
  1. I have a big, awful, painful sunburn that makes even wearing a T-shirt uncomfortable.
  2. Going up a mountain is a great exercise. Biking to work the next day is a stupid idea.
  3. I didn't sleep last night due to insomnia and sunburn and foot pains.

Another ouch, but this time, unrelated: I've had a hit on my blog from Japan. This person stayed for 0 seconds. Was this my ex-friend? I guess I'll never know.

Friday, May 27, 2005

I’m Thrilled About:

Return ticket
I finally got my return ticket! Ok, I’ll admit, I’ve had it for a week. I didn’t have a picture of it and so I decided to wait until I did. And today, I decided that it had been long enough and took a picture of myself. So there! A lovely ticket on Air Pacific, to Vancouver with a short stay in Fiji. I also go through Hawaii but I won’t get to stop there. Really exciting! And only $1005 with taxes.

ticket #2

Next week, on Friday, I will be on a plane on my way to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. I don’t think that I have to explain why I’m excited about this. It’s Mexico! But on top of that, the greatest thing is that I’m will get to see my mom and spent lots of time with her for the last time until I return for my Asian vacation. We’re staying at two different hotels over the course of my 10 days there, which is great because we’ll get to see two facets of PV. I’m really excited about seeing the mountains and small fishermen villages. It will be a different side of Mexico than what I have seen in the past, while still keeping with the comforts (i.e., big hotel, all-inclusive) that I will not get to experience again for a long time.

I think that I’m more excited about this vacation than any other vacations that I’ve been on before. Perhaps it’s because I’m looking forward to it so much, and I’m counting down the days. I really can’t wait, and I have to remind myself that it’s next Friday, no sooner. I will get a short work week as an added bonus, but right now I feel like I’m getting a second long weekend and I have to struggle with myself to understand that it’s next Friday, not now!

It seems that summer has finally hit Vancouver. We don’t get transition periods here: it’s either winter (rain) or summer (drought). Over the past days it’s been very warm and super sunny. Biking home today I got to enjoy the 29 degrees out without water, and got a nice light sunburn too. I love Vancouver summer, and I’m glad that it’s here. It’s going to be an amazing weekend!

Yesterday I went for Japanese food with Victor, Khajewan and Aya, my old work buddies from Club Monaco. I hadn’t seen them in ages and it was really nice to catch up and gossip. The food was not so good (blend hot pot, good sushi though), and the service was not so great, but the company was quite worth it. Afterwards, we went for gelato. Robson Street was crowded! Overall, I got home 4 hours later, which I think says it all.

I’m Bummed Out About:

As much as friends can rock, friends can suck too. I know that I can be a lame friend, because I don’t call and sometimes it takes me a long time to write an email. But in general, my friends are the same way. What I’m bummed out about is friends who just are bad friends. Friends to whom you write and never respond. Friends that you tell about your blog and your trip and don’t bother to answer. I have a few of those. But I have just one that royally sucks ass. I’m really sad about this one because I don’t feel like I’m being neglected: I feel like I’ve lost a friend. I feel like for no reason whatsoever this person decided that they did not want to be my friend anymore and forgot to let me know.

Since mid-December now, I’ve been trying to reach my friend that now lives in Japan with his amazing girlfriend. We used to chat nearly everyday on MSN and then, nothing. He doesn’t answer my emails. He comes online but doesn’t answer. It’s just all really hurtful. And I don’t know what to do! On top of it, I was really excited to start my vacation by seeing friendly faces. It’s not like I was expecting to crash at their house for 2 weeks, but I though that they’d help me get acclimatized to this big, new and confusing city. Or at least that I’d get to hang out with them for a couple hours. However, they suck, and so, I will be alone in Japan. Hopefully, I’ll be having so much fun that I’ll forget about them.

As much as I am excited about Mexico, there’s one thing I’m not looking forward to. My special lady “friend” will be joining me there mid-vacation. I would have liked to not deal with that and everything that comes with.

I strongly dislike it when people take my job away from me. I’m not doing your job, so leave mine alone. ‘Nough said.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

The Butt Conundrum

Biking to work everyday is great, even if yesterday I was nearly hit by a car. People really don't care about bikes, and love to either cut bikers off or jump in front of them. People! The bike path is for bikes, not pedestrians or cars. I am made of flesh. I have priority. Have some respect.

Biking was even greater today because it's so freaking nice outside. Warm and sunny. And hence starts my trouble. The problem is that all of my pants are low-rise. Whose smart idea was it to make pants that when you sit down, well, either show your crack or your undies. In order to prevent exposing my lower back in a fashion deemed illegal in West Virginia, I ride my bike with either a sweater or a shell on, or both. This worked really well for me until my return home today. Picture this: at least 20 degrees out, everyone walking around in shorts and tanks, and a crazy girl on a bike with a black wind breaker. Not only do people look at you funny, but you feel pretty damn stupid and warm. So here is my problem: how do I keep riding my bike tastefully without having to wear unnecessary layers? Most of my tees and tanks are not long enough to fully or properly cover everything when sitting down and leaning forward. Does this mean that everyday I will have to wear big tees and give up any hope of looking good on a workday?

As well, how do one bike to work and not arrive at work sweaty and gross? It's pretty embarrassing when you have to "dry" yourself at work. And it also calls for unfashionable outfits.

Lastly, I realized today that I will not be able to wear skirts on workdays because skirts and bikes aren't great friends...

If anyone has any great ideas to any of these issues (especially 1 and 2), please let me know!

Booo Me

So I've been lazy lately... and when I should have been at least writing about something, all I did was enjoy my long weekend away from my blog. I am sorry. Shame on me.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Sydney and Fiji, Tomorrow

Greg left me a message today to let me know that my dates have finally opened up and that I can buy my return ticket! I was pretty excited to hear that. But David had to play baseball in the rain and so, I had to stay at home and wait... that is, until tomorrow. We'll get our ticket then, and I will be overwhelmed with job once I get that piece of paper in my hands, probably next week, sometime. Why do you always have to pay first, before you can get the satisfaction of having a ticket in hand?


That's what David told me that I was this morning, for taking my bike to work regardless or the rain. He seemed very proud of me, not because I was being active, but rather because he saw a glimmer of hope that I may get addicted to bikes, and love biking as much as he does. Dream on! I'll never go mountain biking with you! But I like being hardcore...

Each time I leave my bike at home and take the bus I regret it. The rain isn't the type of rain that would stop me. Or it just doesn't rain. I get disappointed. I feel like I've wasted money. Buses are warm, crowded, they run sporadically and they take longer. I just want to get on my bike and go!

I realized today that I really enjoy biking. I love looking at the clouds, the mountains, the building, the reflections in the windows, gardens, people's outfits, houses, cats... I'm not like all of the other bikes I bike by everyday. Really, they are powerful, fast, efficient. Getting home, I take my time. I don't pedal fast. I look around. I enjoy the surrounding. I let my neighborhood grow on me, with it's colourful houses and young, artsy families mixed with a strong Chinese population. I like that in the morning, the streets are filled with the smell of incense. I just really like biking. If it was not for biking to work, I would not have noticed any of that. I would not have noticed the homeless shelter under the bridge, decorated with a plant. I would not have noticed the skate park or the kid's soccer practice. I would not have the sky train rushing past buildings. I would have seen nothing.

Maybe David was right to look at me like that. Maybe I have become a little addicted...

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Pictures And Such

Lately I've been taking a whole lot of pictures for work. We are currently changing all of our product shots from lay-down images to lifestyle shots. With the amount of clothing we have in our warehouse and the number of different styles we have, that calls for a lot of pictures.

So, I've been spending a lot of time way from my desk taking pictures of hats, scarves, jackets and the likes. I like it because I get to be outside, and not at my desk. I like it because it's different and rewarding, and it will look great on my résumé. But it is a little bit odd that I'm the one who is taking the pictures. Granted, I can take some pretty good pictures. But I don't remember anything I've learned in my grade 12 photography class. We have this fancy camera at work and I don't know how to use it to its fullest... I can't play with exposure or anything. I feel like a fraud!

With some issues in the conversion of the image from the camera to the computer, I was reminded why my rate is not $1500 a day. Well, whatever. The pictures are for the website, not a 6"x6" poster.

On the other hand, I was told that I was a Photoshop wizz and well, that's pressure!

Here are some pictures that I took in Stanley Park during and after the photo shoot I did with David. I was really having fun taking pictures of birds and plants in the park... David wanted to go home (poor him) and I wanted to take some more! I'd be happy if I could do that all day.

This duck was sitting beside me the entire time we were taking pictures there. It looked at me funny a couple times, but it was set on staying right there.

Then, this duck was completely different. We had to creep in on him to take this shot. It obviously liked his space! But what a pretty duck!

great heron
There's tons of Herons in Stanley Park and this is by far my best shot of one.

These plants grow like weed and become giants. I'm not sured what they're called but they're pretty great!

Dogwood is a wonderful tree. If I had a house with a yard, I'd grow some for sure.

So the photo shoot was supposed to last an hour or so. Of course, I got carried away... so we got to see the sunset. This is why David will not be part of any future work-related shoots. I'm sorry babe!

Khajewan And I

Victor posted this picture on Flickr without telling me! Shame on you Victor! But thanks for the picture :)

We were having dinner at a Korean restaurant on Robson St and then we went to Starbucks, where this picture was taken.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Red, Blue, Green And... Green?

Today was election day in BC.

I have to say that this was the worst electoral campaign I have ever witnessed. Politics are very boring in the West compared to Quebec and Ontario. Nothing happens, everyone repeats the same thing, there are no scandals and no great debates. It's just plain boring and no one deserves to win after such a uneventful campaign that lacks passion.

As opposed to the rest of Canada, BC really only has two main parties: Liberals and NDP. Funny how Conservatives stay far away from BC, in fact, so far away that they were not even on my ballot. But I am not complaining, since Harper should be banned from politics. So our choice today was to vote for a) someone with a DUI or b) someone who has ruined BC's economy. So today I did what I had never done before: I voted Green. Granted some may say that I wasted my vote, but I was not voting to elect a government. Today, I voted to say that I did not agree with both party's platforms, candidates or campaign. Today, I voted to let the government know that they really should try harder. I wanted to let them know that they did not impress me.

And I'm quite happy about that. We all know that the guy with the DUI will win anyway.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005


I bought my one-way ticket last week or so. I had been meaning to get a picture of me with my ticket and show off. But all of the picture looked bad! Not because of the photographer, or the camera. I just looked bad!

Finally yesterday David got this great shot. So there it is: me and my ticket to Tokyo and Beijing. For those of you from Montreal, yes, that's the rez chair I stole.


I also wanted to write last week about the developments with my return ticket. I heard from a travel agent that tickets had opened up for March and so I went to see Greg at STA to check it out. Well, the dates were not in the computer yet but he called the head office again and sweet talked them into opening up the dates for me, since they had already been negociated. Because entering all of the tickets into the database for those dates would take a while, I was told to come back mid-week (aka, today).

David and I went there after work, all excited that 1) I'd get to buy my return flight and that 2) he'd get to buy his ticket to Australia + Fiji. Greg saw us sitting on the couch and he was happy to let me know that my tickets were in! After a long wait caused by a crazy foreign dude with a dog, we got to sat down with someone and started setting everything up. And then, of course, the dates were not in! It's just the kind of luck I've been having... Or the kind of day it's been. So we were pretty bummed that we wouldn't be leaving STA with tickets, again. Greg said that he'd call the head office again. And that he'd call me back tomorrow. I really hope that I get to buy my return soon. I need to apply for my visa soon!

I have to say that Greg is a great guy. He's certainly the best travel agent that I've met in my quest for a round-Asia ticket. He remembers me, he makes phone calls for me to the head office and to the main buyers, etc... I'm very happy that I found him after all of this time. It's just good to know that what I was looking for was out there. I'm glad that I didn't settle for what everyone else was offering. And I'll be even more glad when I'll have my Pacific Airline ticket in my hands!

Re: Ah Crap

When I tried to get into Blogger to do a new post, Blogger was down. So I sent my post as an email and I received an error message saying that my email was rejected blah blah blah. But now that post is there, which is very strange. It is also strange that it's all coded and shit.

Today has been a really weird day. After both of my pen died my chair lost its ability to tilt back. How, I don't know. And then it just got weirder and weirder thereafter. There's such an odd aura to today. The kind of day where you'd rather stay in bed. It's nearly impossible that so many things can go wrong in one day. Nothing big. Just all little things. Freaky.

Ah Crap

<html><div style='background-color:'><DIV class=RTE>Both my highlighter and pen just died.</DIV>
<DIV class=RTE>&nbsp;</DIV>
<DIV class=RTE>I&nbsp;think something is telling&nbsp;me to&nbsp;go home.</DIV></div></html>

Monday, May 09, 2005

Free Tibet And A Lot More

I have been reading Mark Winwood's blog Winwood in the Big Bumps (Himalaya) since its beginning. His accounts of India and its people are truly remarkable and nag at my heart. Reading his entries, I regret not having included India in my itinerary.

Mark has posted the most incredible post yesterday, which I just had to share with you. Now travelling in Dharamsala, the home of exiled His Holiness the Dalai Lama, he has had the privilege of meeting many wonderful Tibetan refugees and particularly, to become friends with one named Singhi. Now, the extraordinary part of this is that Singhi asked Mark to share his story with the world. Had Mark search for this sort of opportunity, he probably would have never found it. Friendship brought trust and a lot more to give one hell of a wonderful moment in travel writing that is simply priceless. Both are truly lucky men.

I will include Singhi's story in this post, but not the details of how Mark and him worked together to create this narrative. That part is very interesting as well, so I recommend that you visit Mark's site and read on. Singhi's story is touching, difficult, frustrating and hearth breaking. But it is also inspirational in so many ways. It is long but please do read it. I encourage everyone of you to share this story with others, as long as you give credit to Singhi and link back to Mark's site.

My name is Ngawang Singhi, I am 28 years old and live in Dharamsala, India. I
was born in Tibet. My brother’s name is Chime Lobsang, he is 27 years old.
Although we come from different parents, we have known each other since we were
small children, and consider ourselves to be brothers. My mother died during my

I was born in Dagyab, and when I was 10 years old I entered the Buddhist monastery in Chamdo. My brother Chime Lobsang also joined the same monastery when he was 10.

In 1994, my brother, myself and three other monks wrote a letter that we displayed on the walls of the Chamdo monastery. In the letter we said that we wanted the Chinese to leave Tibet, and that we wished upon His Holiness the Dalai Lama a long life.

In reaction, the Chinese police hunted through the monastery searching for those who wrote the letter. When no one spoke, they could not find those who were responsible.

In 1995 we were moved to another monastery, the Magon Monastery in Dagyab. A high lama who had been in Germany, Lobden Sherap, recruited monks to come to
this new monastery, in hopes that the monastery could be built up.

In 1996 there was great pressure between the Chinese Government and the Tibetan people. This was related to the Chinese kidnapping and "detaining for his safety" of the new Panchen Lama, who had been formally announced by His Holiness the Dalai Lama as the reincarnation of the 10th Panchen Lama. The Chinese then replaced this real Panchen Lama with another of their choosing, one who would be loyal to the Chinese efforts in Tibet. This created great tension and the Chinese police announced that there could be no photographs of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, or the real Panchen Lama in anyone’s possession, with a penalty of 20 years in prison for offenders. {note: the tension still exists, the proper Panchen Lama, second most sacred figure in Tibetan Buddhism after the Dalai Lama, has not been heard from since his disappearance (as a six year-old) in 1995, the Tibetan people, knowing the
Chinese government intends to use their replacement as the voice of Tibetan
Buddhism when the Dalai Lama eventually passes on, remain furious -- mw.}

In the monastery we had a committee, and we talked of uprising, but did not. Instead, four people wrote a letter saying that we did not think it was proper to obey the Chinese order and that we urged everyone to speak up for Tibet's freedom. We were monks, we had decided to spend our lives with our Buddhist beliefs and then teaching them to others. How could the Chinese say that what was born in our hearts, and our ancestor's hearts, was criminal? The letters were stuck to the walls of the monastery in the middle of the night for all to read.

The Chinese were very angry, and the chief Chinese police came to our monastery and each monk was ordered to complete a form, writing his name, his father’s name, his place of birth and other information. The Chinese police then compared the writing on these forms with the writing on the letters, and with the help of spies in the monastery, they identified and accused five monks of writing the letters. My brother and I were among them.

On October 6, 1996, we were put into the Dagyab prison by the Chinese police. We
were tortured and beaten and were shocked with electrical wires. Then we were sent to the large prison in Chamdo where we were kept in solitary confinement
for four months, handcuffed and legcuffed. We were repeatedly beaten with clubs,
but when we taken to the office and asked by the Chinese police who wrote the
letters and who supported us, and who gave us money, each of us said it was only
"I" who did it and that I received no help.

The Chinese continued to beat us, with thick sticks and poles and stones, sometimes until we became unconsciousness. Then they would throw buckets of cold water on us to awaken us so that they could beat us some more. They were full of brutal punishment. Still, our response was "it was me, nobody else." This continued for four

After four months we were allowed to be removed from solitary jail and were taken outside to pick up large rocks and stones from the prison farm. It was at this time that my brother and I were each sentenced to three years in Chinese prison.

As prisoners, we were assigned the task of cleaning the Chinese police toilets. It was filthy work designed to make us feel broken, and as dirty as we became we were not allowed to wash ourselves. The food we were given to eat was also dirty, and even though it was very cold, we were never given any meat to eat. Most of the time we were given boiled cabbage, the cabbage was the ones that were not good enough to be sold in market. There were bugs (cockroaches) crawling in our food. We all grew sick. And this treatment was not just for us, all prisoners, even the old ones, were treated in the same manner.

As political prisoners, my brother and I were held in cells in which we were each alone. I became very ill, I had pains in my body and could not control my urine and it was very difficult for me to walk. There was urine and feces all over the floor in my cell, there was no toilet provided.

On January 15, 1998, seven prisoners, including my brother and I, were sent to a new prison. The food was better but the work was harder. We did heavy labor, cut wood, sifted sand and soil and planted trees. Everyday we began work at 7:00am and worked until 9:00pm. After work we were forced to watch Chinese political broadcasts on television and then at 10:00pm the police would blow a whistle and the prison lights were turned out. We were told by the Chinese that Buddhism was "not peace" and we were not allowed to pray in any manner. We were not allowed to talk or whisper, there were Chinese police hiding behind the doors to try to catch us if we did.

I continued to be very ill, there was much wrong inside of me. My brother and other prisoners would always ask the police to check on me, to put me in the hospital. They were beaten when they asked, but they did not stop asking. One day I did get to the hospital. At the hospital I was told I could be treated with medicine if I payed 3,000 yen in advance of any treatments. I did not have any money.

The Chinese police allowed my brother, accompanied by a police, to go out of the prison and beg for money for my medicine. He did get the money from the Tibetan community.

I was given oxygen and medicine, and was still not allowed to speak to anyone as there was always a guard at my bed. For the first week I was unconscious. After one and one-half months I began to feel a little better, and I was sent back to my prison cell. I then had to work everyday even though I was barely healthy enough to be put out of the hospital.

On October 7, 1999 my brother and I were released from prison. As political prisoners, the Chinese police ordered us to ask permission if we wanted to go
anyplace away from town, and permission would only be granted to visit family
members. We were also ordered never to go to any monastery, and never to speak to any groups. Police in our area were alerted to watch us at all times.

So even though we were not in prison, our big problem was that we could not go anywhere. We decided that we needed to leave Tibet, our home country, to escape from the Chinese.

We received permission to visit a hospital for my bad health in Lhasa and we went there. We then began our escape. We paid 1,000 yen for papers that allowed us to travel on a bus from Lhasa to Shigatse. In Shigatse we secretly boarded a truck along with 27 other people who were also seeking escape, and went to Saga. From Saga, the 29 of us walked into the Himalaya. Our group had monks, old people and children. It was December and very, very cold in the mountains. It was windy and there was much snow. We had very little to keep us warm and some us had ice on our eyes. Some of our group lost toes to frostbite, but my brother and I were fortunate and did not. After 25 days of walking, on January 6, 2000, we reached Nepal.

After seven days in Nepal, we were put on a bus and sent to Dharamsala in India. We were received here, and everyone wanted to know about those we were in prison with. It seemed everyone knew people in Chinese prisons in Tibet.

In Dharamsala, we spent four months in the Tibetan Refugee Center. We met His Holiness the Dalai Lama, who greets all new refugees from Tibet, and were sent to school to learn English and other skills. My brother was sick and left school. I was also still sick but stayed in school for four years. There is a policy among Tibetans here that if one is not in school, one needs to be working.

Today, my brother is a chef in a restaurant here. I am working by teaching foreigners visitors to Dharamsala about Tibetan cooking. I am still sick, my situation with my body is not so good. But it is better this year than it was last year. We both take medicine to try to combat the sickness we still reserve from Chinese prison.

We cannot contact anyone in Tibet because it would cause them great trouble with the Chinese government. We are very sad not to be able to speak to our families in Tibet.

It makes us angry to see how the Chinese try to make the tourist places in Tibet look good. People cannot see what is really happening in Tibet without seeing it through the eyes the Chinese have put in place.

We are not afraid of the Chinese because we will never go back to Tibet as long as it is ruled by the Chinese.

Please, whoever reads this, please try to seek out the truth and pay attention to the situation in Tibet and what is happening to the Tibetan people. Please do not listen to what the Chinese government says because it is not true.

And please understand as you read this, there are many Tibetans being tortured and punished in Chinese prisons for no reason other than because they love their home and religion. And also please remember that there are tonight Tibetans walking through the snow in the high mountains to India and Nepal trying to be free.

-- Ngawang Singhi, Dharamsala, India. May 8, 2005

It seems ridiculous that no governments see, declare and recognise what happened in Tibet as a religious genocide. It is appalling that the West would rather befriend China and turn a blind eye to all of the humain rights violations rather than denounce their actions. Is cheap labour really worth all of the abuse? Would we not all be better off with a clear conscience?

If you would like to drop Singhi a note, you can do so on Mark's site.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Re: Biking To Work

Going to work by bike has proven to be quite a good experience. It is faster, easier and much more pleasant than taking the bus. I also get to spend more time outside, which gives my cheeks a nice rosy glow! Last week I only did bike on 3 days, but it's amazing how quickly the body adapts and the effort gets easier. I also have a lot more energy. My bike does make a lot of odd noises now, I have to get that fixed. And my seat is quite uncomfortable! But overall I'm really happy that I decided to do this. I'm also really excited to see how things will have improved in a week. Maybe I'll eventually get good cardio and even more powerful legs that won't get tired!

If I wasn't leaving on vacation and if I didn't have to save all of my money for my trip, I'd buy myself a beach cruiser and ride in style. Like in Aruba!


Saturday, May 07, 2005

Ask the Pope

Ask the Pope

I just found this site and it rocks. You all need to read the Pope's new blog. Honestly.


So just after my last post, I tried one thing which I am certain I had tried before and now it works. Of course! Regardless, I'm really happy that I figured it out. It was fluke, but I got it and damnit, I'm proud of myself.

For those interested in changing their default title by an image, replace the following code located just before <*!-- Begin #content -->

<*div id="header">
<*h1 id="blog-title"> <*ItemPage><*a href="<*$BlogURL$>"> <*$BlogTitle$> <*ItemPage> <*/h1> <*p id="description"><*$BlogDescription$><*/p><*/div>

with this code (with your own specifications, minus the *):

<*div id="header"><*img src="url" width="x" height="x" border="1" alt="text"><*/div>

Damn Blogger

I've been trying to replace my title with an image title for what has to be over 3 hours now. Sometimes the picture doesn't show. Sometimes I get the blog title and my image title underneath as two separate title sections. More often than not, I get the blog title to overlay on top of my image. It's so frustrating! I've been looking everywhere for someone who has done what I'm trying to do and I have looked at their code and either 1) their image is only a background or 2) their code doesn't work with my blog. I have tried countless modifications to my code. I don't know why nothing is working. I don't know why it's so hard. I don't know why I can't get the damn blog title to not show.

Damn you Blogger! Why can't you work logically? Why can't your help files be useful? Why?

Friday, May 06, 2005

A Whole Different Continent

Victor asked me where Magaliesberg was located in a comment on my previous post. I admit, I didn't know. I assumed that the place was in Europe because it looked like an European map and it wasn't written in English. So to answer Victor, I did some research.

It turns out that I was off... by a whole continent! Magaliesberg is located one hour away from Johannesberg, South Africa. It's a nice corner of wilderness located at 1700 meters above sea level with beautiful lodges and the surrounding Magalies River and Magaliesburg Mountain range.
Once called the Kashan mountains but changed to the Magaliesberg named after the Tswana chief Magali who ruled his tribe at the same time white pioneers ventured into this wonderful part of the world with a beauty of its own. (from this site)

Fun fact: the discovery of the remains of the earliest species of primitive man were found some 20 minutes away from there. Having studied in anthropology, you'd think that I'd know that!

To find out more about Magaliesberg, visit the region's official website.

Thursday, May 05, 2005



I really have to go there when I hit Europe one day... If that's not a great Kodak moment in waiting, I don't know what is!

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Biking Eastside - Holy!

So today was the first day of my bike-to-work resolution. Being lazy as I am (as you have all discovered yesterday), I do not exercise. I have a gym membership but I do not go. I do hikes but not very often, and that's about it. Shame on me, I know. And now, with Mexico and my great adventure coming up, I want to look good, be healthier and in shape. I don't want to suffer too much with my backpack on!

Instead of trying to go to the gym, which would be the logical thing to do since I pay for it, I have decided to bike to work. To force myself to stick with it and prevent "excuses" from getting in the way, I have not purchased a bus pass this month. Double bonus: I get to save money and feel better. But... I'm a little worried, since it's supposed to *rain* tomorrow...

I looked up bike maps and figured out my route. I left this morning at the same time as usual, not knowing how long it would take. And it went great! In 25 minutes I was at work, which is less time than it takes when I take the bus. I was really happy about it because it was an easy stroll.

[continues after the pictures]


I also liked getting a better look at the area around my work. I work in Vancouver's Eastside, Vancouver's worst neighbourhood and probably also the worst in Canada. Plagued with poverty, homelessness, prostitution and drugs, the Eastside is not the happiest place around. Everyday I walk over used condoms and we chase away johns in the alley getting serviced. But through all of this, there is a lot of interesting things here. There are a lot of artists and eccentrics. There are old beautiful houses. I have to say that I am lucky because our specific area, overall, is pretty good. Maybe that's why this place has started to grow on me so much. Maybe it's all of the interesting colours, shapes, tackiness and such that I love because I look at them as I would through a camera. And so, here are some pictures taking on my block (taken in April).

ice cream
The ice-cream shop



The building where I work

View of the Lions from the CN railroad


blue tiles


And then came the return home. Holy! I nearly died. Now I know why the going to work was so easy: it was slightly downhill most of the way! So on top of having to work harder, the bike path is different for the return and I got confused... and nearly got hit by a car! I was also screamed at and called a "stupid Chinese head". What the hell kind of insult is that? I got home sweaty and tired and struggled up 2 floors to get the bike in my apartment. I felt pretty bad and gross until I realised: I get to watch Oprah! Somehow it seemed like a great reward at the time.

Now, if you will excuse me, I have to go shower.

Monday, May 02, 2005


It seems that every time that I start anything, such as a diary or this lovely blog, I eventually start to take "days off". Then, I fall behind, and it starts to seem more and more complicated to catch up. So I procrastinate. It's really bad!

I have to apologise to my 2 or 3 readers out there. I am lazy. I have fallen behind. And I will get back up to date. I will post many things and make it up to you. I swear. I will try to stop life, laziness and excuses from getting in the way.

In the meantime, please enjoy these pretty picture of my cat. Her name is Puce.