Friday, July 10, 2015

4th of July Weekend with Darlea!!!!

Happy Canada Day!!! I swear I'm still American. Anyways, Canada Day was on the 1st of July; then the 4th of July was on well you know. So this year as I am still in Canada I thought I would just stick around here to see the festivities. And to my delight my friend Darlea said she wanted to come up and see me for the Holiday. Awesome!!!

So I wanted to share our adventures with you guys! 
She arrived the day before Canada Day and since that day was a Stat holiday I had the day off. Wednesday came and we decided to go to the Salmon festival over in Steveston. This is the town where they supposedly filmed Once upon a Time; cool. There were lots of festivities and a parade:
 I think my favorite float was for a window washing company that wore kilts. Their logo was 'no peeking' Hilarious.
 After the parade we walked around the town and the warf; apparently they had some business in whale watching; cause images of orcas were everywhere. The whole town was really cute and just fun to walk around. We went shopping afterwards for food cause I had none at home.... I swear I'm an adult. Darlea made me buy more vegetables and fruit than I normally do but at least I'll eat well this week :)
 Thursday I had to work but we planned something fun afterwards. We went on a period appropriate walking tour of Vancouver. It was really cool! Our guide (see above) acted out a character from when Vancouver was first established and walked us around gastown and other locations talking about 'his' story while he was alive.  All of it was the truth besides his own character; he even had an awesome accent which he kept up the whole tour. Anyone in Vancouver should check them out!
 Friday Night, (again after work) I took Darlea to the night market over by bridgeport skytrain station and of course we had a blast. We got to sit on the Rotato Throne (see above) Where we could munch on our rotatoes. Which are potatoes that have been skewered and cut into a circle rotation up a stick. They were super tasty! We also got to eat squid; watch mediocre performances and shop for odds and ends. Also she got to have a bubble tea!
 Saturday was the big excursion to the Butchart Gardens! This one was a little nerve racking becuase we had to drive to catch a ferry the catch a bus; ride it to terminus to get to the Gardens. We had to catch all at the right time or we would be stuck for at least an hour in each stop if we didn't get it right. Surprisingly, we made it! Not without hiccups, first the parking lot we found next to the ferry had a bus that would shuttle us to the ferry but when it arrived the driver told us that we were parked in the handicapped area and that we had to move our car and he would be back in a half hour. Well that would have made us miss the ferrry we needed to catch. So we hurried and miraculously found a spot in the right area and booked it back to the bus right before he left. Then we caught the ferry, and another miracle: when we arrived at the port we only had to wait five minutes for the bus that would take us to the gardens. Amazing!!!
 The gardens themselves were a blast, flowers and plants were everywhere and it was a perfect day for it too. Cause it was bright and sunny and warm.

We started out in the sunken garden and it was awesome, for more reasons than one; Originally this was a quarry and the Butcharts boaught it and turned it into a garden. What I loved about this was that about five years ago I finished a mural in my moms bathroom and I based it off of these gardens. So it was like I was literally walking in my painting!

 If you can see the bush right next to the water that is actually rubarb, gigantic rubarb!

 We stopped at the rose gardens part for a nice little rest next to a small wishing well and it was so nice to just relax and people watch!

 There also was a japanese gardens and it was fabulous I felt like I was back in Japan again!
 Another cool part was the Italian garden; which happened to be the last gardens we visited. I loved that spot mainly because I got to eat Gelato!
 Our last day together we headed to Capilano Suspension Brigde; It was again something nice to just walk around in commercialized nature (this place is like a nature Disneyland) and just enjoy the natural beauty of the place.
We of course went over the suspension bridge and had fun on the cliff walk; but there was also a raptor show where Darlea got to show off her amazing inteligence of these magnificent creatures namely the bard Owl. 
My friend is so awesome!

So that was my fun-filled and exhausting week with my friend! I thought we did pretty good at getting around to see the sights; she even did more while I was at work too! There was a ton of walking! But I enjoyed it and I do love when she follows me across the globe (really she followed me to Idaho, Disney World, South Korea and now Canada.)

Adventure is out there!

Monday, June 8, 2015

Last Day: Veggie Market,Rose Farm, Quito, and last minute shopping

Today started out really cold; there was no hot water. So showers were short and freezing. But it got us going. We had breakfast and went on a quick walk before we headed out. This time  we were only accompanied by the two goldies, we learned their names were Miel and Luke. It was a shorter walk and we only had one incident when we ran into a bull. The dogs freaked but the cow was being handled by a farmer so no worries.

We headed out and our first stop was a veggie market in Paleleo city. We had a little game where we were supposed to find a fruit or veggie that we didn’t know what it was or looked weird. If we stumped our guide too we would get a bar of chocolate.

The market was fun, a little chaotic but everyone was busy about their wares. I approached a lady with a basket filled with yellow long fruit. I tried to ask what it was and the lady just handed me a piece for free. She was really nice. My sister and parents found some other fun weird fruit and it was fun interacting with the natives.

The next stop was a farm for roses. Normally there would be workers everywhere but because is was the weekend after Mothers Day most of the workers were off but it was really cool to walk around the fields of roses and see the process of how they harvest and ship them.

 They sort through and dethorn the roses here
 this shows how they transport the bunches
 Out in the fields

Apparantly in some countries the longer the stem on the rose the better. Some even getting to 6 feet!

We had lunch at a beautiful mansion that was like  a plantation from the south. They even had lamas! While we were having lunch we pulled out all of our strange fruit and even had the chance to try most of them. The one I got was Taxo the flavor of my ice cream the other day. Most of the other fruit were really unique but our guide was not stumped by any of them. It was still really fun.

After lunch we headed to Quito for the end of our trip. When we got there we were given free time and of course we spent it at the market getting last minute souvenirs and gifts. We had some trouble talking them down on a few items but in the end we got what we were looking for. Then we wanted to explore the city a little more and mom said she saw another market up the street. When we got there it was amazing. It had all the normal stuff but then there were a lot of very unique items. Mom found her nativity and dad found his chess set. I ran across some awesome earrings made from real butterfly wings, one was even the Blue Morpho that we saw in the Amazon. All of it a great find.

I didn’t get anything else big though, at the beginning of this trip I had to use a small luggage and a backpack to get to Ecuador so not a lot of space. I still made off with a good haul and it all fit! That’s a miracle.

For dinner we went to an Italian restaurant owned by our guides twin brother. Tasty food and fun to just relax with our guide. Then we got back to our hotel and watch a movie and then bed.

I’m going to finish up our trip here. Then next morning we headed to the market for a just in case look but didn’t see anything. Then got on the bus to the airport. Then it was off to home.

It was an amazing trip; exceeded all my expectations and more. Definitely worth doing if anyone is looking into it.

Thanks Ecuador, and farewell :)

Adventure is out there!

Sunday, June 7, 2015

day 6: Zip-lines, Waterfalls, and Toffee

Well, did I mention that the amazon is humid? Well it is, and normally we would have the fan going all night to keep a nice breeze on us but last night the fan started making a squealing noise so we had to turn it off to actually sleep but yeah now we had to sleep with humidity. Sorry I had to complain about that.

We caught a canoe back to the main land and jumped on the bus to head to the Devil’s Canyon.  On the way our guide stopped to buy some sugar cane, and gave us a piece. I’ve never had it before, it was like a tightly woven sponge filled with sweet water, all you had to do was crush and suck out the juice. It was really interesting and tasty, but not my favorite.

We got to Devil’s Canyon next; this is a huge waterfall surrounded by black lava rock. There was a trail leading down to the base of the waterfall.  We had to go over a suspension bridge to get there but it was so worth it!

this was the top of the falls
 on the way down
 we had to go over a couple of suspension bridges to get to the bottom

We had a boxed lunch at that location. We tried their roasted corn on the cob which was really good.

After lunch we went to a canyon where we went on a basket/ zip line ride across the canyon. That was fun, and it only cost around 6 bucks to go. It was pretty fast too; and the view was spectacular!

We then went to another town with a cool church; the building was made from the volcanic rock surrounding the area. It was cool but kinda dark.

What was really fun about the town was the food we got to try there.

First there was the toffee, which was being pulled right in front of the store, they even let us try it. It was super good and the toffee was cheap, a big bag was only a dollar.

Then, I tried guinea pig. They had the poor creatures being roast right out at the front. It tasted like chicken, or pork…or both. Well it’s just another animal I got to try.

We then went to the seed shop; here they care seeds into jewelry and figurines. They say it is the same quality as ivory and they even had a presentation of someone carving one of the seeds into a little pot. It was really cool and again everything was cheep there. So I got a jewelry set and it was under ten bucks. Amazing!

We then headed to a chocolate shop, which was closed so we checked out a small market. Nothing different but it was a cool looking alley.

The shop opened up just as we were about to leave so we got in and honestly it wasn’t that impressive. The chocolate was ok, still am bias toward swiss chocolate :)

We then all jumped in the bus to our next hotel, which was a small-secluded bed and breakfast place up in the mountains. The place was called Hancienda Monteles. Beautiful location, on the way we passed an active volcano spewing out clouds of white smoking stuff. Nothing dangerous, but beautiful.

 It's a volcano!
When we arrived at the BB, we had a couple hours till dinner so we decided to walk down the road we had come up. This was made more fun by those who accompanied us. The three dogs that lived at the BB walked with us the whole way down the mountain and back up. Two goldies and a beagle and a chocolate lab, They were fun to have along, but we did have some trouble when we passed some neighbors with chickens. The beagle went crazy and chased the chickens. Not a good situation and we weren’t sure how to control the situation since they weren’t our dogs. They just followed us; though we did figure that clapping caught their attention. We learned later that the beagle has had a lot of trouble with chickens, even killing some. Not good; no chickens were harmed on our walk though. They just got a lot of exercise.

When we got back we had dinner; we each got something different so we could share and try lots of different food. They also had a really tasty cinnamon tea. So good and apparently easy to make, I am going to have to try it.

Before bed we had our final round of five deck and dad and I won. Whoot!

I killed two moths before bed and called it a day.