merry ex-mas to all my readers.
ex-mas was ok here. couldn't get in the mood. it was pretty crazy on the vilankulo beach though. mozambicans are total party animals.
still in mozambique. however, the pace has quickened. on boxing day i left vilankulo (finally) for ilha do mocimbique in the northern part of the country.
more than 48 hrs of transit time, topped by THE worst bus ride EVER.
first, it took 1 bus and 1 chapa ( passenger van) ride to the zambezi river on day 1. from the zambezi, i broke a security rule by traveling at night by chapa to quelimane on the coast. i was stuck at the open air bus station in quelimane (very dodgy place at night) for 4 hours (another security rule broken) while waiting for a 4 AM bus for nampulas.
at 4 AM, everyone piled into the bus. i mean it was a free for all. the potential for death was great. everyone was just pushing. i got the hell off that bus for i was crushed. clear example of the bus company not caring about their clients. those idiots should sell tix for their buses. there must have been 150 passengers in a bus designed for 105.
i eventually got back on the bus. however, i had to do some bus surfing (stand in the aisle) for the next 12 hrs to nampulas.
damn it was hot. i wasn't sure if i was going to make it. i had to ask my fellow travelers for water. i kept running out of my own.
i stopped the insanity last night.
it was dark. for security reasons i took a cab to the best hotel (which has passed it's best years).
so, later today i'm headed to ilha do mocimbique,"the oldest european settlement in africa". the chapa ride out there should be a piece of cake.
by the way, the africans hate these bus rides as well.
from ilha do mocimbique, i think i'm headed for malawi.
i might be there for NYE.
don't hold your breath though...
Thursday, December 28, 2006
merry ex-mas to all my readers.
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
here in mozambique still. seems like i've fallen into the beach jumping path of a million south african vacationers...
i keep forgetting to post some coordinates of the places i'm in. i just got off the hellish bus ride from tofo. look for my present postion of vilankulo. it's half way between beira and maputo on the coast. it's alright... the thing to do here is to take a dhow (local sailboat) out to the outlying islands. i'm not sure about that. it doesn't take much but i'm a bit beached out.
i'm not sure where i'll be for xmas.
i'm thinking of traveling to zimbabwe just for something different to do. zimbabwe...i love banana republicks.
i'll be back with more info. maybe some pics.
Saturday, December 16, 2006
it's tough out here for a traveler.
the world price for pizza and beer (and cost of internet time) is extremely volatile.
besides, there are many of you out there wondering how to buy this wretched blogger a beer after a bloody bad bus ride.
well here's your chance, i've added a "donate" button to the sidebar (way at the bottom). contribute to the "buy bubba a beer" fund and you too can be a friend of bubba... (for those worried about internet security i'll send you my snail mail address.)
leave your particulars and you'll even get a postcard (if available) from bubba. wouldn't that be swell?
thanx to all the friends of bubba.
Thursday, December 14, 2006
one more pic. this one from dune 45 in the namib desert at sunrise...
we stayed in sesriem. click here. if you follow directly west on the google map, along a valley surrounded by the orange dunes, the closest dune to the faint road is dune 45.
finally, the first photo. i luv maputo. the internet cafes here are great. this picture was taken during our makoro (push-canoe) trip through the okavango delta.
travel tip #2. get yourself a silk sleeping bag liner next time you're traveling. very comfy for tropical weather. it's a bit pricey. $48 at MEC but well worth it.
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
after eight hour bus ride, i'm in maputo, mozambique. it's a world of difference with respect to SA.
maputo's much more relaxed. it's dilapitated in a post-revolutionary war kind of way. that's ok with me.
my guesthouse ("the base backpackers") is located on salvador allende and the 24th of june streets, a couple of blocks away from mao tse tung avenue. you get the drift. this place, comrades, is a chocked full of communists. too bad every one's making bags of money on the 24th of june street.
everything is ok. i'm practicing sayin' obligado. food is cheap. internet is cheap. people are cheery. white mingle with black... what else can a traveler ask for, eh?
travel tip #1. always get your visa at the border if possible. even if you have to grease some palms to do it.
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
it's official, i'm off to mozambique tomorrow. should be fun. should be cheaper. i hear the beaches are nice. but, i'm not that kind of guy. i think i'm headed to the north.
sorry to leave JNB. it's been really pleasant. the people are really nice. i just met a chinese guy/salesman in a electronics store. he was telling me about the small community of chinese folks in JNB. he's a native JNB'er and married a chinese JNB'er. he says he's a racist. ha! he's been in TO and Vancouver. Said he wants to retire in Canada.
i'll email from maputo.
godwilling, i'll survive mozambique. (considering my lack of knowledge of the portuguese language - i'm limited to obligato, por'va vor, and cervasa. crap. i don't even know how to spell them correctly.)
statistical update of phase one of trip:
km driven: 8000+ km
tanks of gas used: 18.
Monday, December 11, 2006
hello my friends,
reporting from jo-burg still.
good news! i'm still in one piece.
i slept in this morning and missed the time period in which to apply for a mozambican visa. so, i'm going to have to wait till tomorrow morning. in the meantime, i might be thrown out of my hostel.
yesterday, me and ahmed managed to fit in a tour of the Apartheid Museum and Soweto.
the apartheid museum was really good. i could have spent 4 or 5 hours there but managed 2.5. exhibits were depressing though. at the beginning of the tour i was given an honourary white person's card. i felt quite powerful for some odd reason. in reality, dennis, our tour guide, said that chinese people were classified as blecks in that time. turned out that, the classifications (white, coloured, blecks) were quite arbitrary. some families were split along racial qualifications. approx. 100 chinese people in 1985 changed colours from bleck to white.
anyway, the story of apartheid was quite chilling. they had video clips of government officials in the day defending apartheid. initially, apartheid was enforced because of labour shortages. but, clearly, it turned out to be a racist policy.
afterwards, dennis took us to soweto (stands for SOuth WEstern TOwnships), the area where alot of the bleck brothers were segregated from the white folks. we saw the mandela's little brick house, winnie mandela's house and desmond tutu's house. we then went to seen the po part of soweto. then we went to the very rich part of soweto (where millionaire bleck people live).
overall, i don't think a trip to SA is complete without a tour of soweto or any other townships.
update: i was walking along the road today when i spotted a newspaper with the headline reading "chinese fighting to be black". i thought apartheid was in the past. i believe dennis' observation that, even though there are tough anti-discrimination laws, there is a still a strong undercurrent of racism here. can't fix rome in a day, eh...
Saturday, December 09, 2006
okavango delta: finished.
i liken a mokoro trip into the okavango to spending some time on "the rock", except this rock has a bunch of animals.
finished the tour and hi-tailed it out of there.
started the long journey "home" to johannesburg (that's where i am as i write), at 5 AM. Tried to pick up a wheel cover for the poor rental along the way in Gabarone (Gabs for short). not possible. we've traveled over 8000 km and still could not find a hubcap. we even checked out the hubcap stock of this guy standing by the roadside selling his lost and found collection. nodda. we must have rented the most obscure model of car in the history of rental cars.
like i said i'm in johannesburg now. it's the most violent urban area on the face of the planet. however, as with most outrageous descriptions, jo'burg has not lived up to expectations. we even drove around after dark. we were car-jacked at all.
things i've noticed so far about JNB:
damn it's expensive here.
i've never seen so many bmw's, mercedes, lotus' (loti), ferraris in my life.
affluence is not restricted to da man. a lot of the bros are loaded as well.
the gap between rich and poor is out of control and i mean between the brothers, eh.
people try to emulate the american way of life. if you can see the consumerism here you'd think could be the other way around.
my friend, ahmed, leaves tomorrow for colder climes... i'll be all alone. yikes. i'm feeling a bit scared.
note: who's ed stelnack?
Monday, December 04, 2006
hello my friends.
another short post. i'm traveling at the speed of light right now. things should slow down dramatically after the 10th of december.
i have to get my butt over to maun, botswana before sundown today. maun is the gateway to the okavango delta (the largest inland delta on the face of the planet)
UPDATE: my mama seems to be on the fast track to recovery.
Sunday, December 03, 2006
well, i'm back. i'm in the capital city of namibia, Windhoek. etosha was really exciting. lot's o animals.
however, to put a damper on things, i'm rifling through stack of emails only to find out my mum underwent surgery to have her gall bladder removed or gall stones removed. i'm not sure what the exact situation is but she seems to be ok. good thing my brother is at home.
i don't feel like traveling anymore.
Sunday, November 26, 2006
just came back from the Cape Cross Fur Seal Reserve.
i smell like seal urine.
got some great pix of seals, seal pups, and alot of seal fights. i wish you could see them.
i'll be gone for the next few days. i'm going to the great game reserve of Etosha National Park. Hopefully, i'll smell like elephant, lion, rhino, or if i'm lucky maybe cheetah/leopard.
talk again soon.
Saturday, November 25, 2006
hello my friends:
long time no write. i've been traveling for a long time now.
the internet is not as efficient in africa.
briefly, i was in the kalahari desert for the first 5 days in a huge park in north west S. Africa. lots of interesting animals. hot as hell. temperatures hovered around 38 C during the day.
from the kalahari, we sped straight to the namib desert in Namibia. it was even hotter there. the last day the temperature hovered around 41 C. damn that's hot. it was worth it though. the sand dunes were outstanding. we went to a place called dead vlei. surreal. it's a dry lake bed with scattered dead creepy trees.
finally, i'm writing from the atlantic coast in the town of swakopmund, namibia. how can i describe it? it's sort of like the banff of namibia but like germany. it's freezing here at 20 C. kind of a tourist trap. good german food though...
many many german tourists here in namibia. not surprising, since it was a german colony in WWI. but, hell, that was way back in WWI! there's more germans here than in germany. nice folks though. did i mention i had a really swell time in frankfurt on the way to Jo'burg?
continuing on the "journey of bleakness" tomorrow. this time it's to Cape Cross, home beach of a bazillion sea lions.
will try to download a pic someday. the internet speed is just 128 kbps...
Thursday, November 16, 2006
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Saturday, November 11, 2006
Friday, November 03, 2006
here's your youtube moment of the week.
re: gainer the gopher...
i think this kerfuffle over "Gainer" (or is it "Gaynor"?) the gopher, mascot of the saskatchewan roughriders of the canadian football league (info for my abundant overseas readers), being banned from the green (yet fake) acreages of mcmahon stadium for the playoff game between the said 'riders and my beloved calgary stampeders, is ridiculous.
it's a party for gad sakes!!! bring it on!! the people, calgary or saskatchewan fans, have paid big bucks for pretty mediocre football this year. they demand entertainment.
for the luv of god, this is not the NFL (No Fun League)!!
if perchance gainer starts digging holes in the turf, i will personally rush onto the field and fill them in.
i will not apply the garden hose though... i'm a closet buddhist.
FREE GAINER THE GOPHER.
my predictions for the first round of the 2006 Grey Cup playoffs.
1. Gainer will make an appearance ON the field. This was just a publicity stunt.
2. Gainer will be triumphant in all this. there's no such thing as bad publicity.
3. Calgary by 3 (low scoring game) without Gainer.
4. Saskatchewan by 2 (with Gainer). last second tie breaking safety when a stampeder player is taken down by an asian guy who appears to be filling in a gopher hole in the endzone.
i'd like to say the winnipeg blue bombers. it's difficult to win if you don't have a quarterback though.
i'll say the toronto argos by 7 but hope for an upset.
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
FROM TO CARRIER FLT/CL DATE DEP ARR ST
---- -- ------- ------ ---- --- --- --
CALGARY CHICAGO/OHARE UNITED 5852 W 13 NOV 06 1257 1715 OK
FLYING TIME 3:18
ARRIVES ORD TERMINAL 1
CHICAGO/OHARE FRANKFURT UNITED 940 W 13 NOV 06 1822 0945 OK
FLYING TIME 8:23
ARRIVE 14 NOV
DEPARTS ORD TERMINAL 1 - ARRIVES FRA TERMINAL 1
FRANKFURT JOHANNESBURG LUFTHANSA 572 W 14 NOV 06 2220 0940 OK
DEPARTS TERMINAL -1
ARRIVES TERMINAL -A
AIRCRAFT BOEING 747 JET NONSTOP FLYING TIME 10:20
ARRIVE 15 NOV
there isn't a plan yet. stand by for details...
Saturday, October 21, 2006
Friday, October 20, 2006
nothin' special about this pic, except for the contrast. i luv contrast. it would have been nice if i there were more illuminated trees in the background to add some depth. maybe next year. end of self-criticism.
weather doesn't look good for this weekend. so, here's a couple of movies you should catch.
trailer park boys: the movie.
let's see... ricky's still wearing that god awful checkered shirt, julian's still drunk, bubbles' still restoring shopping carts, mr. lahey's still drunk, randy's still poppin' the cheeseburgers...
well, you get the idea. nothing new here with the movie version of the tv show. gnome' sayin'?
running time was about an hour 45. they could have made it an hour tv special and retained the cheap video camera look. gnome sayin'?
however, TPB: the movie is still easily the best canadian movie since Strange Brew of bob and doug fame.
if i catch any of you motherf$#kers busting my balls, i'm gonna wack ya.
ok, you see how this film has expanded my vocabulary.
seriously, you've got to rent this film just to watch joe peschi's performance as ruthless, wacko gangster, tommy de vito. ray "i'm not italian" liotta gave a pretty good performance as well. well i'm at it, kudos go out to martin scorsese's mum.
warning: alot of people get wacked. if you don't like watching people getting wacked rent the sound of music instead.
in conclusion, i can't believe they didn't give martin scorsese best director for this or any of his films...
Thursday, October 19, 2006
door knob of the week...
steve wynn, las vegas real estate moghul, is the winner of the golden "door knob" for poking a hole in his 139 million USD picasso with his elbow. congrats! please give generously to retinitis pigmentosa research.
let's play password...
garth turner... (silence)
gaaarth turrrrnnnner... (silence)
ding, ding, ding. you are correct!!!
steve's plan for the environment...disclaimer: i'm not a right wing fascist bloggist.
ding, dong. kyoto is dead.
time to break out the bubbly.
if it weren't for oil/oilsands, we'd all be toast, sitting on a calgary downtown street begging for loonies.
my favourite part of his green plan is the objective of reducing greenhouse gases to 45-65 percent of 2003 levels by the year 2050.
good on ya, steve-o.
if it all works to plan, i'll be pushing daisies by then.
Friday, October 13, 2006
disclaimer: i'm not a bleeding heart liberal or a communist...
here's something to think over this weekend.
i can see similar events or trends happening in canuckistan...ahem, mahar, ahem, arar and assorted security certificate issued buddies.
should be fun this weekend trying to drain my head of radioactive green phlegm and stiffle a wicked cough... it's a pleasure to be alive.
have a swell weekend, my babies.
ps. happy bday to qt!!
Monday, October 02, 2006
bridge on the river bow...
i love fall... until today when the weather turned nasty.
the weather was unbelievable on saturday though. sun drenched and hot. one of those autumn days where the sun's ray pressed down upon your face.
i had to get out.
so, i decided to embark on a BABR (Big Assed Bike Ride). First, i made my way through FCP (fish creek park). gaadd, it's beautiful down there this time of year with all leaves changing. (i'm happy to inform all bikers that the elbow drive parking lot has been officially reconnected to the east side of the park. however, the path system to the west is still in a state of chaotic disrepair. it's still impenetrable, unless you're willing to perform multiple fordings the stream. even so, the paths are strewn with fallen trees. not nice.)
from FCP, i followed elbow drive all the way downtown. i took a break on the path by eau claire. not much happening there except a group of bible thumpers were giving a public multimedia presentation extolling the virtues of their god and the benefits of avoiding the clutches of the devil. it was interesting to watch.
it was funny when their sermons were interrupted by a nearby busker posing as a bagpiper.
c'mon, no one can shout over a bagpiper. ha!
i love downtown.
from eau claire, i plodded along the bow to edworthy park (which is also beautiful this time of year) then up the mofo coulee. from there i dragged my sorry, sore ass home (i was really pooped)
i love fall on the tundra.
nasty, nasty, nasty sunday weather. cold and wet. i'm totally not ready for winter.
i headed down to kensington to meet some old university friends. we all know my friend, ahmed. we were joined by wayne and karen. i haven't seen them in a long time.
well, we met at a cafe, across from the plaza, called higher grounds. i'm sure all my hipster calgary friends are familiar with this establishment.
i ordered a BAC (Big Assed Coffee).
it was alot of fun. i told them they were getting really old. that was hilarious.
we should get together more often.
forgot to wish my jewish readers/friends a happy yom kippur (and a really belated Rosh Hashanah)
while i'm at it, i want to wish my islamic readers/friends (that means you ahmed) a continued happy ramadan season.
note: these wishes are in not in order of importance.
Friday, September 29, 2006
Friday, September 08, 2006
To fight and conquer in all our battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting... sun tzu (above pic is summit lake, waterton national park)
i can't believe i'm quoting Sun-tzu. but, he was wise, my grasshoppers.
i have this theory.
fact: canadian troops are dropping like flies in afghanistan.
i'm not a peace-nik, in this case.
however, i think they are going about the war on terrorism in the wrong way.
first, and this is a biggie, they shouldn't have tipped off the enemy in this latest battle which saw 4 canadian troops die. don't warn the locals of the impending battle. that was suicidal. it showed a certain disrespect for the abilities of the taliban and a bit of arrogance on the part of the canadians. once you become overconfident, you're toast.
it's like going into the superbowl, giving the opposing team your playbook, shouting out each play beforehand, and still believing you're still going to win...not likely.
the overall strategy as communicated by the head honchos seemed to be to maintain the "nice guy" image of canadians. well, four of them are dead as a result.
second, the canadians are using conventional means and weapons to defeat an insurgency. well, forget the armoured vehicles traveling in convoys. forget the uniforms. even forget the base at the kandahar airport. instead, wear the local garb. buy some toyota pickup trucks. mount a machine gun in the back of each truck. live amongst the villagers. establish 1-2 man outposts surrounding the villages. get to know the people. recognise strangers in the villages. stay quiet. gather intelligence. wait.
it's called a counter-insurgency my grasshoppers. it's time to think and fight like the taliban.
at the rate the canadian army is adapting to the situation on the ground, they will never win nor put a significant dent in the aspirations of the taliban. until they do, they will be sittin' ducks.
for that reason, steve should bring 'em home.
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
mystery photo #43: where in cowtown can you find this piece of artwork? hint: it's found around this area of town.
i was driving around last night desparately trying to complete an assignment for photo[artifacts], the new and exciting blog just for aspiring photographers (and hacks like me). the topic of the week was speed.
the above photo ended up on the edit room floor but i thought it was kind of interesting.
check out the blog. click here. if you want to contribute, i think we can hook you up...
chinese digital tv has hit a new low. yummy, yummy, i'm not kidding about the name, is a fictional show about a reality show involving teams of people who are racing around the world completing various tasks. does that concept ring a bell?
i think i've finally found a job that i can sink my teeth into. all i have to do is dust off the ol' CV and find some decent references. click here to see the posting. you needn't apply because i'm perfectly suited for the job. really.
Monday, September 04, 2006
lake cameron, waterton national park.
the public servants at the south calgary passport office were unusually chipper and non-stoic.
i was out running this AM and was passed by a fast walker.
i was at the airport on saturday. i didn't see dharma. she mustn't have been working that day. there was a least a thousand people in the que.
i'm developing a phobia towards crossing pedestrian bridges...
ralphie admitted he didn't have a clue what he was doing for the past 3 years. ralphie...i've been clueless about life for the past 3 years as well. now get to the hell to the back of the line, eh.
ralphie has accepted, upon his retirement, a post as guest lecturer at the woodrow wilson international school of babbling ex-politicians. i plan on auditing his course and plagiarising the required thesis paper.
rob anders won the conservative nomination for the riding of calgary west after his lone challenger was disqualified for having a pulse and regular brain function.
Friday, August 25, 2006
i was out running this morning when i ran by some yoots (youths) playing street hockey. they were blasting AC/DC's Highway to Hell!! man, i thought, there is hope for the leaders of tomorrow.
have a nice weekend. thought i'd send you off with some funny clips of russell peters dissin' the brothers.
Thursday, August 24, 2006
i don't care what any geeky astronomer says. pluto will always be a planet. what would the solar system be without the planet pluto? that's like breakfast without froot loops.
i took the LRT downtown today. i first rode the bus to the LRT station. i took note of who was on the bus. 10 or 12 passengers, i guess. 4 hrs later, on the way home, 5 passengers of the original bus were on the same bus. what were the odds of that? astronomical...
i was driving home this morning from the superstore. there was a car accident right in front of the district police station. it was a pretty serious fender bender. a police car was exiting the station parking lot. one of the drivers involved in the accident, a lady, tried to flag down the cop. the cop stuck his head out his car window and shouted, "call it in, ma'am!!" he drove off.
headlines read "survivor 13: panama canal. producers divide contestants along racial lines". interesting concept... da Man vs. black folks vs. asians (no chinese by the way) vs. hispanics vs. blah blah. yawn...
if the producers of survivor really wanted to be avant gard they should have divided the peeps according to religion. you know, jews vs. christians vs. muslims (shiite vs. sunni) vs. hindi.
why say you? look, the animosities amongst the groups are ready made. and, hey, no alliances possible.
can't wait to watch the muslims blow'd up the immunity idol, the christian crusading on the obstacle course, the jews enduring the who-can-suffer-the-longest-while-standing-on-a-beanpole challenge, or the hindus declaring shiva as their 5th, 6th, 7th, AND 8th player (how many arms does she have?).
now that's entertainment!
jokes of the day...
Two bananas are laying on the beach when a turd comes floating by and says, "Come on in, the waters great!" One banana turns to the other and says, "You believe that shit?"
The president is getting his daily briefing. The aide giving the briefing concludes with: "Yesterday, three Brazilian soldiers were killed."
"OH NO!" the President exclaims. "That's terrible!"
His staff sits stunned at this display of emotion, nervously watching as the President sits, head in hands.
Finally, the President looks up and asks, "How many is a brazillion?"
Thursday, August 10, 2006
gee, that was a humdinger of a storm last night. i hope we get another one tonite. lightning scares the bejeezus out of me but i really should work on the photography of it.
hip hip hoorah!! my ailing hip is back, but the thrill is gone. i went for a run a couple of times around the block this morning. the hip seemed ok, for that distance. now i have to work up to the distance i used to run. ugh...
the news headline on CBC newsworld reads: ALLEGED AIRLINE PLOT. apparently, the alleged terrorists were to use liquid/gel-based explosives to blow up airplanes. CBC reports passengers at pearson international airport in toronto quickly chugged their boxed juice drinks before submitting to the scrutineers of increased security. that's so canadian.
the heat wave in eastern canada is over. meteorologist in the CBC weather centre reports, to the relief of overheated easterners, that the oppressive humidity is "negligent" today.
Sunday, August 06, 2006
Sunday, July 30, 2006
it has been a long, long, time since i walked in the mountains. when my friend, ahmed, called me a couple of weeks ago about the possibility of traveling to waterton national park for a couple of days of hiking, i jumped at the chance. i packed up my boots and "walking sticks" and off we went last wednesday.
what a great time in a very beautiful park.
Carthew Summit/Alderson Lake...
on thursday, i set off alone to tramp the 20 km trail from cameron lake to the townsite via carthew summit and alderson lake. it's a great classic hike in the park. very popular. the vistas were far and wide.
carthew pass, to the right of the horizon, was the "crux". it looks a bit daunting from a distance but pretty easy to surmount.
3 hrs from cameron lake (the start), i reached carthew summit, a knobby hill that forms the southern point of the pass, for lunch...
look!! akira kurosawa (center) was at the summit as well. i don't know who that dude was in the background. mountains in the background are in the american glacier national park.
where ever i go, a crowd gathers. but, here of all places?! this is a friendly group of minnesotans... to the left is the knife-like edge of carthew pass.
heading down to carthew lakes... them red hills are made of a 1.5 billion y.o. rock called argillite. fascinating...i thought i was on mars.
them's are the lakes!!! purdy, eh? waterton townsite is about 10 km and 1000 m down the valley. if it weren't so hazy, you could make out the prairies in the upper right hand corner of the pic.
after a knee jarring downhill jaunt from carthew lakes, i arrived at alderson lake. from here it was a long walk through a grizzly bear infested forest back to town.
Akamina Ridge...Forum Lake to Wall Lake.
on friday, ahmed and i tackled the 20 K akamina ridge walk.
the ridge, which is actually in BC, was one of the most incredible, mindblowing walks i've ever done. it gave us brilliant views of glacier national park (montana to the south) and waterton.
the guide book and BC parks service recommended that ridge be best walked by experienced hikers. pffft. i didn't think so. yes, there was a bit of scrambling to attain the ridge proper but it wasn't so bad. my advice to anyone of average fitness or better: go.
peaceful forum lake. akamina ridge is far above the lake.
ahmed having a snack, along with 10 other friends (they had cheezies and really annoying loud walkie talkies), at forum lake. to gain the ridge proper, our immediate goal was that low notch in the background.
this is the swell view of wall lake in the next valley once we climbed to the crest of the low notch. akamina ridge is in plain view high above. holy crap. that view was a little intimidating. the walk would take us clear across the top of this pic.
not so intimidating after minor scrambling to the ridge. here was ahmed walking along the broad slopes of scree and stunted vegetation. waterton is in the background. nice easy walking if it weren't for the gale force winds. in short bursts, the wind would pick up large pieces of rock, throwing them metres at a time. the wind sounded like a locomotive was coming at us.
akamina ridge in its glory. along the way, we had to scramble up 4 peaks (about 100 m each and not too difficult) each separated by stretches of broad ridge. we ate lunch here backs to the wind and clutching our flimsy sandwiches...
on the way up peak #1. wall lake far below. waterton national park in the background.
ahmed on peak #2. montana on the left.
peak #2. mindblowing vistas of montana.
akira kurosawa on peak #4. wall lake below. waterton to the rear. the ridge nearly complete on the right. it looked really daunting at the beginning but turned out to be a piece of cake. ha!
after 4 hrs. from atop the ridge, we rapidly descended to the clear waters of wall lake -- apparently BC parks doesn't believe in switchbacks, eh). the ridge is high above. i think we got back to the car at 1930h. ten hours of amazing hiking!!!
my suggestions: carry at least 2 L of drinking water (one frozen litre), start early to escape some of the high velocity winds, don't walk too close to the edge, and go for a refreshing dip in wall lake.
i'll share more photos in the next little while.
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
an apple pear in portland courtesy of my sis.
happy millionth citizen, cowtown...
ahhhh... mayor bronconnier's on the boob tube announcing a newborn baby as calgary's millionth inhabitant. how glorious!!! how the hell does he know this particular baby is the lucky millionth? it could have of been some guy from lebanon just stepping off the plane. i was confused until my bro pointed out the bronco's PR ploy of exploiting this poor cute infant.
why would he need to pull off a PR stunt like that? i dunno. unless he wanted to hide the fact that the population explosion has resulted in unmitigated suburban sprawl (which he denies to this day), huge taxes, out-of-this-world real estate prices, massive construction, and billions spent on more roads/overpasses, and above all, dilapidated bike paths.
i'm all for living in a vibrant, exciting calgary but c'mon it's outta control.
i guess i should just feel lucky that i live in such a fantastic city. can't wait to read the first comment telling me to get outta town, eh.
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
some lebanese observations...
the evacuation so far has been a boondoggle. i love saying boondoggle.
having said that, it's a miracle the government has actually moved this fast considering how much real world experience it has.
there is something like 40000 canadian expats/tourists in lebanon (crap, that's alot of people) of which only 15000 are tourists. there's been alot of discussion over the net about the status of the rest being canadians of convenience. personally, if we're going there in the debate, we might as well lump in the bazillion snowbirds that inhabit the warmer climes of arizona and florida.
why were all these canadians in war-torn lebanon in the first place? what were they thinking? good questions but not everyone's an amazing kreskin or karnak. 6 years of relative peace followed by a idiotic hezbollah move to abduct a couple of israeli border guards. who would of thunk? i could have been there.
DO NOT rely on canadian consular services while travelling. the canadian passport is meant for foreign governments. other than to finance another tier of canadian bureaucrats, i'm not sure what value you get with an 85 dullah passport.
looks like globetrotting steve has ordered his plane to make a u-turn from france to pick up 120 evacuees in cypress. there better be a really good onboard movie or methinks its going to be a long long measured flight home for steve.
talking about a boondoggle, they should drop the proposed passport requirement to get into the states. first, it's a cash cow. second, travellers are law-abiding citizens. canadians have been traveling for centuries. it's a right. third, real terrorists don't declare their intentions. so, how's a passport going to stop them from doing their thang?
i saw a bit of the new karaoke reality show, the one, last night. pretty boring. i felt kind of bad for strombolopoulous. what was he thinking?
Monday, July 17, 2006
Saturday, July 15, 2006
Friday, July 14, 2006
Thursday, July 13, 2006
got some news from my asian friend, fellow raconteur, partner-in-travel-in-crime, the wasta.
i'm not sure it's good news.
the great maoist train from beijing to lhasa has been completed (with the shameful aid of bombardier - a canadian company).
despite the fact that it will result in massive immigration of ethnic chinese to tibet, the extreme marginalization of the tibetan peoples, filling the coffers of the communist party, the prospect of traveling on this train is intriguing to say the least.
the train is the cat's ass mode of travel.
the fares are outrageous though. beijing to lhasa, one-way, 2 days, starts at $102 USD.
train fares to lhasa...
Friday, June 30, 2006
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
after a dismal winter on this tundra, i love the hot weather. makes running a little tougher but i'll take the heat for it.
reality tv is killing me. i watched snippets of america's got talent tonite. it bad. really bad. it's really a poor knock off of the 70's the gong show. let's see... regis philbin was chuck barris, david hasselhoff was an unfunny version of soupy sales, and brandy was an equally unfunny version of j.p. morgan. all that was missing was mean gene the dancing machine, the unknown comic, and, of course, the gong. the gong show was horrendously bad. so was america's got talent. america's got to get a life, eh.
what the hell's going on in ottawa? looks like harper writing cheques left and right buying up killing machines. where's he gettin' all this moolah? hmmm... 5 billion from kelowna 1st nations accord, 10 billion from the ex-universal childcare program, and probably the rest from making absolutely no effort to satisfy the terms of kyoto accord. it all adds up, eh. (the only purchase i've agreed with so far was the order for heavy lift aircraft.)
world cup coverage has been skimpy for the last few days. too many sportsnet games. the best game so far was the elimination game between portugal and the nederlands. fights (ok, pushing matches), chippy play, players gettin' thrown out. i thought it was ice hockey on grass. excellent. worst game was same day coverage of switzerland vs. the ukraine. soooooo boring. i don't think they should let those bastards off the hook by ending the game with penalty shots. they should have kept playing till someone scored.
due to circumstances beyond my control, i have to make revisions to my predictions. for the quarterfinals: argentina, italy, england (i would have picked portugal except for the fact that half the portuguese team got red-carded the last game - but i'll hoping for an upset by portugal), and brazil (unfortunately, france finished second in their pool) will prevail...
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
my great grandpa (l), my grandpa (r)
my great grandpa was born in china in 1868. to seek a better life for himself and his family, he journeyed to canada in 1888. he was smart. he didn't work on the railroad. instead he set up a shack at the side of the railroad and sold cooked oysters to fellow chinese and da man. to maximize profits, he only sold oysters.
he left canada for good in 1930. in between time, he took the slow boat to and fro home in china 3 times. he missed home and was afraid he would forget his roots if he didn't return home.
my mum remembered the forks he brought back from the new world. he taught her the first english she knew. the phrases were: hand towel, the same thing, chicken hen, chicken cock. it was ironic that he didn't learn the word oyster.
by the way, he moved on up from his oyster shack to a real restaurant in kamloops, bc.
he died in 1961.
my grandpa (father's dad), was born in 1906. at age 16, he came to canada to seek a better future for himself. he would run a laundry in golden, bc.
he would make two trips back to the homeland. one of those trips, he married my grandma.
on his last trip, he took back to kaiping, china, the money he made here and started construction of a family tower. he would not see the completion of the tower. in 1949, the communists took over. he fled back to canada.
he would spend the rest of his days in canada. his family would join him. my dad, in circa 1950. my grandma and auntie, in 1952.
my great grandpa and grandpa knew each other over here. it was a small world.
they both had to pay the head tax.
my great grandpa had to sell off parcels of land in china to finance the tax. he never mentioned anything to my mother about the tax.
my grandpa never mentioned anything to me about the tax.
the great stephen harper is suppose to offer an apology tomorrow to all those who were subjected to the tax.
i'm not sure if the apology would mean much to either man if they were alive today.
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
i can't remember who won this year's oscar for best motion picture but capote must have been close to the top.
i really liked phil seymour hoffman's portrayal of truman capote.
before watching the film, i didn't know much about the mr. capote. now i know he was kind of creepy. as a writer, capote was a ruthless, lying, manipulative SOB. anything to get the scoop. ethics? schmethics... otherwise, he was a really funny guy. i liked how he got along with harper lee.
this was a very entertaining film.
i thought it was going to be boring...
World Cup 2006 wrap...
england 2 sweden 2? pfft. 38 years of swedish domination? ugh.
what is wrong with france? dismal. bring on the freedom fries.
Monday, June 19, 2006
bigger the better...
i think it's time for a really, really, really bloody big ad... now that world cup 2006 is back on the big tv.
damn TSN. damn Sportsnet. damn the USGA. damn the edmonton oilers while i'm at it...
go togo go!
they're out but it was fun typing that...
the 'hood ain't so bad...
beautiful sunday. so, the bikeclub convened for a massive trip into the 'hoods of east calgary. destination: elliston lake via the slums of forest lawn, marlborough, and radioactive lynnview.
i was a bit nervous about my quick release tires but nothing happened out of the ordinary. in fact the bicycle ride was quite pleasant.
as it turned out elliston storm water pond, i mean lake, was inundated with stormy waters. the path around it was submerged. at least we saw a great blue herron (Ardea herodias). that was exciting.
well, nearly ran out of gas on the way home. pure exhaustion. i stumbled through the front door just in time to watch that knuckle head phil mickelson choke on the 18th hole of the freakin' US open.
i felt much better after attending LB's piano recital in the evening. more on this later.
i'm not sure about this photo...
purdy flower at elliston...
soapydave doin' his best impersonation of barbara eden as the jeannie... or it's exactly 12:26 pm.
then there was light... or cirque de booger de soleil by soapydave...
soapydave and soapygina...at elliston lake.
post-lunch physio or another awkward moment for the rest of bikeclub.