Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Jub Jamb 100 - Nederlands

Well this will be a rather short post. Maybe. Won’t be as long as the last two (well as I wrote it all in one hit and made that one into two posts). So I left you with us on our way to Amsterdam (the royal we or us is my self and kit), on a bus, having crossed from England to France, having gone through immigration and receiving another stamp in our passports and arriving in mainland Europe. We arrive in Amsterdam early on a Saturday morning. And discovered that amsteradam does infact not open early on a saturdya morning, so after grabbing some breakfast, we boarded the train for a two hour ride to Roermond, for the jamboree in the nederlands. With our arrival in roermond we discovered that our directions to the jamboree site were rather lacking and we had best find out a bit more information, as there was no suttle bus. Well we asked the station staff, no help. We looked for signage, no help. We asked in the pub, and we got the answer we needed. So as we were walking along the road a rather young rover decided to accompany us and proved to be more of a hinderance than a help when we arrived at the jamboree sight. But we got there. So after setting up our tents, we checked in and had a lazy day and a fairly lazy morning, waiting to have our meeting, where we got to choose our roles for the jamboree. Knowing I was going to be working in program again in a few months, I decided to go give subcamp another go. This was a good choice, as the hours are poor, the jobs are wide and viared, but there is a lot more interaction with the kids and the leaders and your own team than what you have if you work on program. Its mearly the nature of the beast. I decided that my home for the jamboree as far as work was concerned, was going to be Subcamp Antartica, why, because they were all named after regions, and that was the closest one to Australia (yep weird logic I know)
For the opening ceremony they moved the entire camp of 14,000 people into town for the ceremony. The city was shut down almost for the few hours whilst the scouts had their party. Unfortuantly there was no location within the town that could hold all the scouts so we were spread across three locations and I think, even though with the live audio cross, it was a bit disappointing. But it was an amzing spectacle and a lot of fun.
If your wondering what I did for my role, I was a general odd jobs guy around the site. I helped with PA systems, works and services, program, information, general mantinace and what ever else was needed to be done. One of the uses they found for me was to present English content in a more natural way than the dutch people in my subcamp felt they could. So this meant that I ended up doing some interesting jobs. Each night they had a meeting of Troop Leaders, and I was used to present the information in English to enable it to be incorpated into the meeting and be done more efficiently instead of having some one in the group translate for them. I was also asked at one stage to assit with the MC duties at the subcamp talent show. This is a difficult job even in English but using a bit of English and a bit of dutch and a lot of body actions I was able to be effective in what I was doing.
On the Saturday of the jamboree, Kit and I decided that we needed to do laundry but the issue is that in roermond, the Laundromat is only open 4 days a week. So here we were, stuck with dirty laundry and no soap. Well when we got back to site, the subcamp team helped us out and we were able to get our laundry done! Hooray for scouting I guess.
Well that same day we were presented with a unique opportunity. When we had first been exploring the site after we arrived, we saw boats being paddled using a single oar, out the back oof the boat. We had no idea what it was but it was very cool. Well one day I was asking Ivo, one of the guys in my subcamp, what Wrikken was, as he was writing it on a notice board on one of the days.  Well he told us and we then knew what it was. He then offerd to teach us how to do it. This was going to be a challgeng on a number of levels as he had never taught it anything othern than dutch and it is not the most easy of activites to learn how to do. Also he rarely teaches two students at once. Well the opportunity presented its self one day and he said that we should go. so that afternoon we went outon the water and got tied up with another boat. Well the process of how it works is a bit hard to explain. And its even hard to explain how it works. But considerd it to be like a fish moving its tail. But that’s about as ti gets as far as description of how it works go. we spent the best part of 2-3 hours out on the water, going through the basics and just getting our motion right. Well it turns out that both of us are quick learners and were able to get forward momentum by the end of the lesson. This is apparently quite and achivment and we went to dinner that night knowing we had manged to learn a new skll and have since been considering what various other vessles we could wrikken.
On an less positive note, I had an allergic reaction to dinner one night. It’s the first time in a while I have had my severe reaction, but it happened. But I dealth with it. The moral of the sotry? If you are going to invite internationals, and say the only compluslory language is English, put the form in English. But that was a bit of a recurring theme. They had invited scouts from around the world to the jamboree. And the scouts had come. But at the opening the English was mearly inceidental and most signage was done in only dutch. Well by the end of the jamboree they had learned that they needed to, whilst no being fully bilingual, included a lot more English, and the closing ceremony included a lot, all be it poor, English. Ironicly by the end of the jamboree we had learnt a fiar bit of dutch and whilst we are still unable to speak it, we are able to understand a large amount of it. My ability to systhaise information from dutch thought did presnt me with a few issues. The biggest of these being that the rest of my subcamp team forgot that I didn’t speak dutch. This was because I just seemed like part of the team and I was able to get some information from what was being said, and I was also doing about 50% of the trnsalation of the slides for the troop staff meeting each night and being assited with the other 50%.
So I had a great time at jub jamb. I ask my self would I go again, and the answer is proably not, but that is just because there is only so many weeks in the year and I would like to go and see and explore other bits of the world, besides just the nederlands.
Well you might be wondering what happens next……… well that comes soon

Great Britan the Second

So as I left you we had arrived at the northern most point of our drive, or close to it. We woke up to the hills around the loch being bathed in cloud, and with us being just below the cloud line. It was majestic and beatuful. As we drove from Loch Locy to Inverness, we passed by loch ness, and stopped at the loch ness discovery centre to see the different statues and the merchandising and corporate idiocy that that goes along with the location that is loch ness, unfortunately. But the location is amazing and Inverness and a few of the other surrounding towns are quite lovely are realy are quite cool.
After spending the day around there we headed south, towards edniburgh & a town called Falkirk. As it was we ended up spending the night parked in a school parking lot in a small Scottish town that was along the way. In the morning we got up and drove to a town called falkirk. There are two reasons to go visit falkirk, one is the antionie wall, the younger sibling to hadrians wall & the falkirk wheel, a circular boat lift, quite a cool feat of modern engineering. We then headed to Edinburgh. Now if you have to choose between Glasgow and Edinburgh, when you are approaching Glasgow take the turn off that says Edinburgh. Its lovely. The Scottish parliament is magnificent, the town is lovely, there history is great, the articutre is cool, there are suvioneers shops and it’s a great place to visit. And its an easy place to vist and get around. I hope to return there one day for the military tattoo but that will probably be when I am a few years older.
That night we got in the car and we drove. By the time I stopped driving that night we had manged to reach Hadrians wall, and found a spot in the parking area for a supermarket to park for the night. After that we jumped in the car and drove up to the National trust & world heritatge controlled sights on hadrians wall. To be honest its cool to see and consider what might have been there and it is realy kinda neet to consider that the romans just decided to build a wall to separate what was therirs and what wasn’t theirs. Well from there we loaded up into the car and drove to a small town called Rippendon, where one of my mates from high school is currently living with his family. We spent the evening enjoying a few beers, a home cooked meal and some of the more simple things in life.
Well this was meant to be my last major day of driving, the final haul, to London. We had decided to spend our final night of our british odessy at gilwell park, London, and then do the “short” drive from gilwell park to London. Well it’s a nice theory. We set out with an idea that we should go and drive some of the A and B roads instead of taking the motor way. Well after a few wrong turns, getting abit lost we manged to find our way across the snakes pass and down to Nottingham. Well as I drove along the motorway I saw a sign pointing to Sherwood Forrest, so we took the turn off and eneded up having lunch that day in Sherwood forrest and I did some archery with a real long bow. Realy kinda cool! Then with a good solid drive down we found gilwell park, found some dinner in the nearby town and then went back to the sight and spent the night. Well after spending the night we explored a bit the following morning and took in some of the history assocated with the sight. I will say that the location of the park is wonderful but is unfortuatnly located near to quite a yuppieish part of London. We had a bit of trouble finding a place for dinner due to who we are.
Well the drive to the hire place for the camper was meant to be easy. Directions from google maps, and an estimate of 45 minutes. Well after 2:30 hrs we made it to the camper place after getting lost, having wrong directions and dealing with London traffic. I will say this, try to avoid driving in London at all costs, its draingin, difficult and stressful. After returning the camper, we made our way to BP House, checked in, went to the discout ticket office, booked tickets to see ave q, went back, freshend up, went to the show, enjoyed it immensely, had trouble finding some where to eat, ended up finding dinner in china town and enjoyed that immensely.
Our final day in the UK we spent at the british museum and just wondering about the town. the british musum is cool and most defiantly worth a vist. But I will also say this. We wanted to go and experience a biritish afternoon tea. Well unless you want to spend £40 per person, don’t bother. But we found a small cafĂ© that did cakes and tea for a few quid so we went there. Once we were done there we headed back to the hostel and picked up our bags and headed to the station, where we boarded the bus. The bus ride out was uneventful.
Well that is it for the british part of this odessey. But now for the highlights, well seeing people, the Scottish highlands and the pure freedom of being able to just park for the night was wonderful.but I have to say Scotland and wales were stand outs. Driving along small country roads. Visiting the little places that are a bit out of the way. I guess my underlying message is to get off the beaten track and don’t just follow the road most traveled through out the United Kingdom, given how similar the langage and the people are to what would be found in other English speaking countires.
Well that’s it for this bit of the trip! Coming soon is the not so long overdue posting about jub jamb and the first part of the main land Europe odessey (I am writing thse notes and stories from my notes made on the road, whilst sitting on the train in germany on my way to venice, which is another odessey in and of its self)

Great Brittan the First

So I am still massively behind on updating you regarding my travels but I will do my best to catch up in the next few days. Train travel means I have time to write and I am mearley dependant on having sufficient power to do the jobs I want to do. I am also going to have to try to do a photo upload at some stage as I am a good few months behind where I should be.
Well when I left you last I was leaving Dublin and headed for London. Well what to say about London. Its big, its busy, its everything Washington dc and NYC want to be, in the one city, its expensive and its kinda cool. But be prepared for everything to cost mega $$$ in London. Food, accomdation and attractions are expensive. But I will say this much, there are still free things to do. So we hit up a copple of very cool free places on our first visit to London. We visited Harrods, BP house, the national gallery the national portrait gallery, the strand, the tower bridge, the globe, the exterior of St Pauls, the changing of the guard, Greenwich observatory and Westminster. Also we just walked around London. That is something I can recommend doing. There is just so much to see in London that just visitng a few places makes the most sense rather than trying to do it all. But just walking around you get a feel for soo much of the history and if you could find a good self guided tour that would be cool.
Well we managed to go stand at the middle of the world (well the 0° mark of the world), saw some of the masterpieces of art in the national art gallery and just experienced what it was. Also be picky on hostels. Some are over croweded and don’t have a lot of facilties. Make sure that there is kitchen facilities and they have all the ammenties that you want or need. Also seeing the globe theater and London bridge are kinda cool. For all the scout nerds out there I recommend atleast seeing BP house if not staying there for at least one night
After our brief stay in London we went out to Waterloo to pick up our campervan, from a company called wicked campers. These guys basicly provide you with the most basic camper van set up you can imagine but it works and the cars run reasonably well. Well without a lot of a plan (except for when we were going to Bolton) and that we wanted to go to Scotland and Wales, we set out upon the road. The first stop that we plotted our course to was Portsmouth. As I hadn’t driven in more than 6 months, and I had to drive out of London during peak hour, it took a bit of settling in and adjusting but I got straight back into it. But unfortuantly for me, the actual act of driving was not as easy as it has been in the past for me. Once we reached Portsmouth, we found a pub that was open and their kitchen was still working (a wotherspoon, the McDonalds of pubs) and got a tip that we could park on the water front over night without any hassle. So that we did.
Day two of our driving odessey of the UK saw us actuly exploring the town of Portsmouth, driving to Bath & Bristol, deciding we didn’t like Bristol and then promptly deiding to drive to wales and a town called Lleanly. Portsmouth is a town worth visiting just for the military and naval history displays. But for free there isn’t a lot, except for a very pretty rose garden (that you have to be there at the right time of year for) and if your there you have to visit the coffe shop at the par 3 golf course, because they have one of the best ranges of cakes I have seen and they are all wonderful! After that we got on the road and started driving from there to Bristol, with the intention of parking in bath and having a look around. Well once it became obvsious I wasn’t going to find parking for less than a small fortune, we decided to just drive around and got a great perspective of the town and took our little camper up into bits of the town that I maybe shouldn’t have piloted her into ;P. then it was onto Bristol. Well we found a spot for dinner, went to look for some where to stay the night and then decided, that given we couldn’t find a spot we liked, we would head over the bridge to wales. Bristol is a bit of a nothing town. Theres a university, its kinda cute and there is a cool bridge but its more of the surrounds that make Bristol special. Also we saw two of the 3 must see spots as we drove out of town. After corssing over, we decided it would be a good time to call susan, and see if she would be happy to see me the following night. Well at that point she suggested that we drive to where she was that night and we would be made welcome and we could go for a drive the following day. Well not being one to miss an opportunity, we drove up past Cardiff, the one nerd stop on the trip I had intended, and staright up to Lleanly.
Well the following day we were greated by a full welsh breakfast, cooked kindly for us by susans friend, including black pudding, musrooms and tomatoes. After a good breakfast we drove up to St Davids, the smallest city in the united kingdom and also the place where the prince of wales gets crowned. Well the town isn’t realy all that exciting but the cathederal there is quite pretty and the views near by are wonderful of the welsh coast. After stopping there for a while we hit up Fishgaurd, and took in more of the coast line and the wonderful country side that is wales. The view from the fishgarud fort is quite lovely and I would recommend heading into that part of the world. After driving back down and enjoying fish and chips for dinner, we decided to head up to porthmaddog the following morning to the Bleighnigh Festinog railway and  then up to Bolton, to my family up there.
The drive up to bleighnigh was fairly straight forward, if not a bit longer than we thought it would be. After finding a spot to park, we enjoyed some lunch and jumped on the train through. The train takes you through some lovely country side and up to a slate mining town. I could spend hours here describing what I saw and the amazing country side we passed through, but I wont. But I will talk about the drive from Porthmadog to Bolton. We discovered after plotting our course, that the road we had een intending to use was closed so we had to make a small detour, well after following the detour de disocverd another orad block. Well to describe Foxy, our camper to you, she had 3 gears and was an old people mover out of japan which the company had shipped over to the united kingdom. Whilst she ran well, sometimes hills and her just didn’t get along. And some of the hills and holes that the road had torwn at me were maybe a little much for her. As it was I manged to get us through that region and the rain and through the welsh hills as we drove through. It was quite stunning. Finaly, 2 hours after I had intended we arrived in Bolton, to a welcoming family and a place to stay the next two days.
After a good nights sleep we headed into Manchester for the day. Now most people say you can skip Manchester as it is a working town. whilst it s a working town it is still quite beautiful and I enjoyed visiting it, visiting the museum and also the cathederal. We headed back out to Bolton to go for dinner with the family to celebrate my aunts 50th birthday.
After saying goodbye the following morning to my family, we got in the car ready for a short drive to Glasgow in Scotland. Well that was the plan any way. After stopping and attempteing to visign part of hadrians wall and roman displays, discovered a mall where the display had been promised, we headed further north to Glasgow. Well once we got to Glasgow we were a bit disappointed. So we at that very moment decided that it was a good time to head further north, so I started driving, and kept dirivng and didn’t stop until we hit Loch Lochy after stoping for dinner along the way in a small Scottish town.  we were treated to one of the most magnificent views of the Scottish high country as we drove through, with the sun being low in the sky but it still being light out. It’s a beautiful region, even without the lights playing the way they were.
Ok so I think I might end this post here but don’t worry I will continue.

Monday, August 16, 2010

i guess an appology is in order


i know i promised regular updates and regular communication and photos. but for some reason this traveeling things means i have limited time to actuly write.

well the travel i have been doing is demanding and now i have some one to talk to on the train, and power is not as easily avialbe whilst i am on the train. but i am still writing as i go along. but i guess a bit of a catch up is in order.

we have been right through the united kingdom, covering it top to bottom in a camper van. being the driver i was rather unable to post daily and an ability to write whilst driving. also i have quite an experssive writign style and i have been writing just i am lackin the completed post status right now!

well from england we went to the jamboree in the nederlands and had two weeks of full immersion in dutch culture.

since then i have been on the road again and if i havnt been walking arround a city, i alomst always have been trying to catch some sleep on a train. also i had writers block at a few stages when i should have used my time to write.

we have so far headed through switzerland, visitng kandersteg, geneva (the WOSM office), up to denmark, through to sweeden, up to norway, then back down to germany, now in france and visitng a few diffrent spots within this lovley country.

i hope to have time to write some more in the next few days and update you fully as to where and what i have done. there is alot on the way for you to be able to read. also a whole heap of photos. well thats enough of me blubbering an appology to the world. i am sitting in a french fast food outlet called quick here in france and charging my computer so i may be able to do some writing tonight on the train (12 hour train ride across france tonight!)

well keep safe

and for the love of god dont do anything i wouldnt


Friday, July 30, 2010

Ireland ta be shure ta be shure

ok so i did it. i went and experinced the pagentry of the 4th of july, explored the NYC subway and got on my plane. and so its time for europe. i am playing catch up and will probably try to sum it up as quickly as i can. i will cover my trip to ireland here today and will try to get a posting up about the UK soon.

so after flying into Dublin and the rediculousness of Boston on the 4th, i was ready for almost anything. what to say about dublin? well lets look at what i did!
after arriving we checked out the tourism desk and got recomneded the Freedom pass. its a 72 hour tourist bus pass and is also good for the normal tranist buses (a bloody good deal) also it included our airport transfer (oh yeah, i am no longer solo! Hi there to Kit, you can follow her blog as well if you want). so we got down to the city, found out where the hostel was, and went and got rooms for a few nights. so we then headed out, jumped on a bus, did a lap of the city to figure out just what was there, where we wanted to go and then hit up the pub for a feed and then it was off to bed for the night for the two of us.

dublin day 2 we debated the purchase of a "dublin pass" and decided it was worth it. 40 euros for a heap of attractions for 2 days, and we used it fairly well. we decided to do all of the piss pot activites on the one day. after doing a walking tour of dublin, we then jumped on the bus, headed to Dublina and the cathederal and checked that out. once finished there it was off to the Jameson Whisky store house. after a tour and a tasting we were off to irelands NUMBER 1 TOURIST ATTRACTION................ the guiness brewery. it is increable and covers everythign you wanted to know about the stuff. and also at the bar at the top they have one of the best views of dublin aviable.

back to the hostel again and time for sleep. we got up in the morning and headed out to Croke Park, the spirtual home of irish sport. i found it facinating and loved exploring and futher enhancing my knowlendge of irsih sport and seeing the vneue, it is quite impressive. then we headed down into town, headed to the Wax Museum (DONT BOTHER with it its no good) and then to one of the jails where the english created the revolutionary movment in ireland with exceuctions and also where they stored people prior to transportation. well i think it was quite dull for me becuse as part of australian history we have to learn about why people were transporte d in the first place.

for our last day in ireland we headed to kilkenny and the region where the book of kells was saved.
ireland is a beatuiful country with some wonderful scenery and i realy did love it. the people were lovley and i will go back there to explore it again i hope. there was a sense of familairty with the land and the people. that being said our tour guide on our 4th day in ireland rocked up looking for an irish man and found an austrlian!
the hisotry of the place is facinating and i would recommend spending some time there and usderstanding the orgins of the republic of ireland ( the 3 coulurs are for the republicans, unity and the monarchsits on the irish flag!)

we jumped on a bus to london, had a few lads get kicked off the bus for being drunk and we entered the uk with a passing glance at our pass port it was time to say good bye to ireland and now time for the uk. London

ok so i know this seems rushed but i will try to get some more info on the last 2 weeks of travel up. i am currerntly in Roermond, Nederlands for a jamboree. when i have some more down time i will try to post some more.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

The is far too much to take in here, more to do than can ever be done.

There is far too much to take in here, more to do than can ever be done.

Ok so I know its a clichĂ© and I know that I ripped the title of this posting straight from the lion king. But……. its true.
I have traveled just under 12,000 kms on the greyhound in approximately 6 weeks. No land speed records here, but a lot of seeing new places and exploring sites I have never seen before. Realizations that I am a bit of an idiot at times and also sharing my story and hearing other people storys as I go along the road.
But enough blabbering. This week so far. Well I have two more days in north America before I board a plane. Well as I write this its 11pm on Saturday and I fly at 16:00 Monday so its less than 48 hours. And I have time to spend in boston and in new York. Hold up this is soundling like the way I normaly talk, back on topic.
When I finished my last posting I had just left Washington dc. A city in conflict. And an interesting place. But it was off to new York city. I will say this first. Racisim is alive and well in America, and I have been the victim of it a few times. Whilst most people do not actively abuse or discriminate or say they are more “entiled” because of their race, I have encounterd it a few times. Boardin the bus to NYC was one of these times. After a lady que jumped with the rest of her family and it was pointed out to her that there had been a que of people waiting paitently for the bus, she said to me that she wanst going to have no “white boy” tell her what she can and cannot do and she will do what she wants. I didn’t realize it at the time, but that stament hurts. It made me feel belittled and unimportant but I might explore that idea of race and racisim over at at some stage, but not here.
I arrive in NYC at 05:30 on a Sunday morning. Expecting to find a city asleep, I discovered that times square was a matter of two blocks from the bus depot so I went for a walk up to times square and wiatied. I then found some internets and figured out where the hostels were in town and headed up that way. After finidng a hostel (Central Park Hostel is a very nice place, good price and two to a room!) it was time to go explore the city. As I had already bought a Metro card (that let me ride the subway and buses all day) I decided to go and hit up Stanton island. Down town was MORE crazy than normaly apparently due to the gay pride festival (from the small bit I saw it was awesome) so the ferry ride over to Stanton island was fantastic, a great view of the statue of libery and a chance for me to put my hand into the Atlantic ocean. A bit of an explore around the neighbor hood, the upper west side of manhattan island. I felt safe, even though it was a black neighbourhood, but it felt safe.
The following day I explored central park for the morning, caught up with William derby, my vicar from Vancouver and explored the fashion district, the upper part of the finachianal district, move from the hostel to a hotel and freshened up. Because I was off to broadway. And I went and enjoyed the spectacle that was American idiot. As far as narrative, its rather week, in score, in set, in ceorgoraphy, in emotion, its one of the more powerful plays I have ever seen. So thanks to my folks and to Dwayne for making the whole experience possible.
My final day in new York was focused around times square. I walked pass a heap of the theaters, and explored some of the madness that is in that area. I had JUST enough time that if I had wanted to I could have quickly seen toy story, but cinemas charging $20 for a movie are out of their mind! But the M & M’s store, the giant Toys R Us, the times square ball, and everything else from that area is just insane.
Well it was off to Ottawa and after dealing with a bus that was 2 hours late, and had a family moving home using greyhound, I made it. After helping set up some stuff for the local Canada day celebrations in Barhaven, it was home for a good nights sleep ad then it was time to head down town and witness the midday show in ottwa, the celebrations there and in gaitneau and then out to barhaven to see how they do it in the burbs. It was quite the experience. And it was good to see.
Then off to montreal I went. Took in a few hours of the montreal interaitonl jazz festival and headed out to dorval to hang with Kevin. I staye at his mums as he headed out to play with Live Steam, which are miniature locomotives. I headed out, joined him and saw the trains and had a bit of fun out there and now here I am. Sitting on the bus writing for your enjoyment, I hope.
Well this is the last time I write to you in this mode, on a bus, as a travel across North Amreica. I might write a posting from the airport. I proabaly will. So I will leave my highlights reel until then. But for now I will say this much.
There are places I want to return to. There are places I fell I have to return to, there are things I want to do that I havnt done, either due to cost or time, but I realsei that I may never get to do those things. And I regret none of my choices on this trip so far. Well its time for me to enjoy the carpark that is montreals roads, watch the world go by a bit, wait to reach the USA boarder and then sleep a bit as I head into boston. But there realy is far to much to take in here, and there realy is more to do than can ever be done.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010


So an early post. I last posted on my way from montreal. Today I write from you when I am about to board a bus for NYC. So it must be about 6 days since I last wrote (give it was an over night bus ride and I have done two days in Boston and three in Washington dc.)
Well its been quite a sedate pace as far as the bus travel has gone
But I havnt been slacking.
Boston – I like you a lot. A very nice city, sitting on a harbor, with a wonderful trail which you can follow to explore some of the American war history stuff. Is quite interesting and a good area to explore. The freedom trail gives you a perspective on the history of some of the wars in Boston and some of the conflict that the Americans went through. There are another two walks and I recommend checking out the National Parks Service of the united states, for information on these tours. These guys are the bees knees and know their stuff and know how to help you get around!
As I said I like boston, and I like the east coast of the usa a lot more. The people hear arnt afraid to mix and there isn’t as a pronounced segregation as what is seen in the Midwest. There are a few other ktichy thing I liked and I watched the aussies last game of the world cup at the bar that inspired cheers! Was a good option.
Well after the ride down to Washington DC and a bit of a drama finding a hostel that had space (eep) I found a bed for the night and stayed there. It’s a odd little place called dc lofty hostel, about the same price as the HI but not quite as nice and as secure. They decided to install locks on the doors last night, but the guy who installed the one on my bedroom didn’t know what he was doing so I had to help him break in to get us back into the room.
DC has been HOT and HUMID. I have been drinking 2-3 liters of water a day and then some! Not what I call fun unfortunately and made getting around a bit tougher as dc is a walking city. I can say this much, hit dc during a low period, not peak summer season (starts early June runs to the end of August). But its amazing. I have fallen in love with the magic and history of the Smithsonian. Unfortunately a lot of the buildings in dc all follow the same architecture pattern and it makes them all kind of blur in together after a while. Lots of roman pillars and temple like structure. Interestingly the white house and the capital have similar architecture, externally. And also they have a great footy/cricket oval, that they put a ruddy great big tree in the middle of :-P.
Dc has a high homeless population and they are fairly well hidden from the public eye. But without much difficulty you discover them. That discovery can be quite confronting and is defiantly not a comforting situation. And I can say that its not a cheap place to visit. It may be cheeper than NYC but not by much. But it is deefinaly one of those places that you have to visit if your in the region. You could easly spend a week ehre exploring free attractions and only paying for food and accomidation.
Now its time for the big apple, New York City. Three more days of madness, with an accomindation change in the middle, and a trip to broadway on Monday night. I don’t know what to expect. But its time for me to get ready for the next bit of my trip.
I leave north American on Monday week. I will have been on the road (not counting skeeter) for six full weeks. No home, no base, lots of friends, lots of amazing experiences & some very very lonely nights and days as I have sat on the greyhound, crossing this continent. I will calculate how far I have travled in the next few days. All I know it’s a bloody long way!
Ok so here is the estimate on distance
Week 1 &2 - 3029
Week 3 - 2467
Week 4 - 2794
Week 5 - 1495
Week 6 – 2202
Total  = 11,977kms (give or take a few) or  - a blooooody long way!
Musings and pondering of the trip to come probably later in the week on my next off day (in Ottawa in 4 days if my body holds out)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Some times there just aren’t words

There are times when what you want to say cannot be translated into words. There are things you see that cannot be described. There are things that a photo will never do justice too. Unfortunately those are things you can only keep in your mind. No number of words would do it justice. And sometimes I get to have those moments.
So this week I have made two border crossings and I have made my first visit to the USA on this trip. And I have to say that I do really dislike the USA, so far. The people tend to be more self cantered, ruder and pushier. Minneapolis was kind of cool though. They have a wonderful above ground network of bridges to enable you to go around the city in the middle of the cold winter without ever going outside. And unlike the cities that put it underground you still get to see the outside world. Chicago was cool merely for the fact it’s GOTHAM CITY!!!!!! And I had a few happy fan boy moments. They also have a wicked bean, which is great for photography. Biggest problem is the smog. It is horrible. And I was kind of glad to be out of there. I also got to see 1 million US$ in $1 bills in a cube at the Federal Reserve. Curiously the Federal Reserve would let me in with my bag but the Chicago public library would not!
I had a choice to make on Wednesday. Detroit in the USA or Windsor, just on the other side of the river. I had planned to spend half a day in both but when it turned out that I couldn’t do that on my greyhound pass a plan b came into play. After reading and talking to some people, I decided to head to Windsor. Everyone I spoke to warned me of the fact that the down town of Detroit is rough. The burbs are all that are ok but apparnrlty the down town is horrible. Well I decided to go to Windsor. Visited the home of Canadian Club, got some fabulous photos of Detroit from over the river and explored the town.
Thursday I celebrated my 25th birthday. In original planning I was spending the day by myself, but I was fortunate that one of my friends, based in Toronto was able to spend the day with me. This was a good thing. After a 06:00 call to home to speak to my parents, we used the TTC and headed out to his place. We then headed to Negara Falls. This is one of those times that words and photos will never do it justice. We did the walk behind the falls, where you get closer than the maid of the mist and you can go at your own pace. Its, well, amazing. The sheer power of the falls. The falls themselves are largely untouched by commercialism; the same cannot be said for the surrounds. Some of the most garish and ridiculous tourist attractions great you in Niagara fall.
To be completely honest about Toronto, besides the cool sports venues and unique designs and the CN tower, it’s quite a dull city. But hey, it’s the biggest in Canada.
Well it was then on the road again the following day after some comedy & beers in the evening, this time to Perth ON. We have jokingly said that I got lost. Wrong Perth and all that jazz. To enhance the joke I kind of want to visit Melbourne FL but that’s an awfully long way away. I was greeted by Darrel and Chris in Perth and we headed out to camp Opemekon. Once again, another time where I think I am kind of lost for words to describe the sight and do it justice. The camp site is a fairly standard scout camp, with high ropes, kitchens, fire pits and cabins. But the view out onto the lake and the bay that it sits on is magnificent. The Opemekon Rover Crew cabin was being opened offiacly on the weekend, and that was part of the reason for me being there. Well I helped a little in the construction of the sign to go up on the building and helped with some touch ups to the paint job. It was good to use that part of my skill set that have kind of been neglected for a while. After a lovely weekend at the camp site we headed to Ottawa and explored some of the sights and took in some of the views of the city. Ottawa is a nice place, with lots of cool architecture and one hell of a skating rink during the winter months. It is defiantly worth a visit in my opinion, even just for the war museum, which I visited in 07.
Well today I had another day where I think the words for today probably just don’t do it justice. I headed from Ottawa to Montreal. For anyone who knows me, my French is limited, to say the least. Well it turns out that I can generally muddle my way though signage and figure out what is written. But more interestedly I think, is the fact that a number of times today, when I greeted some one with bonjour they rattle of a string of French at me which I have no idea what it means. Well in one situation I was able to figure it out and just kind of played along and completed a retail transaction without speaking a word of English. It was quite surreal!
Well I am now sitting on the bus zooming along the road to Boston. The references to Drop Kicks and Great big sea come to mind, but I do quite look forward to visiting such a historic town.
The other thing that I realized is that I have apparently seen the northern lights. The light in the sky in Alberta and Saskatchewan at midnight I have been informed by some Canadians recently that I have witness them. Well once again I thought it was odd and I couldn’t find the words to describe what I saw. Well I guess that’s what happens sometimes.
Well two weeks left of this madness, and the last 5 days of the madness isn’t actually all that bad. Sort of. If you ever want to hear some different parts of stories elaborated let me know and I will do my best to do so.
Some times, there just arnt any words, that could do justice to this world.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

This looks familiar strangely familiar

Large hills, the sun cresting over the horizon, as it breaks through the clouds in the mountains, as the city lies asleep, ready to awaken and welcome the new day. The gentle rolling hills, fields of grass for miles and miles and miles and miles, the farming, the crops. The Rockies to the prairies, the Great Dividing Range and what you are greeted by when you cross over it & Gippsland. It’s surely. Here I am in the middle of a country, after people telling me “don’t waste your time with the Prairie Provinces, there is nothing there” and I reminded so much of some regions of Victoria. Whilst it’s not quite the same, the beauty is in the land, with the gentle rolls and dips along the way. This past week has seen me cover approximately 3,500 kms. Here in lies the chronicle of this past week.

Sunday, 6th June 2010
We left Camrose, and returned to the “big” city of Edmonton, for me to board a bus. I still had not decided which bus to take or where I might be headed. I arrived at the bus depot in Edmonton with 3 tags from the greyhound ticketing guy, one for BC (White), one for Alberta (Yellow) and one for Saskatchewan (blue). After sitting there considering the bus options (all leaving around midnight) I chose the bus that would take me 5 hours down the road to Jasper, Alberta. I almost got on this bus and stayed on it all the way through to Prince George (the tar sands in fort McMurray also were an option but no…) but I decided against it as I discovered that my exit strategy from Prince George was not quite as simple as jasper (5 or so buses a day versus 1) so I boarded my bus, after saying Farwell to Sam, and headed towards a new bit of the world. Well I had visited jasper briefly last time I was in Canada.

Monday, 7th June 2010
After sleeping on and off for a few hours, I stepped off the bus in jasper at approximately 04:30 local time. The city was asleep, the roads deserted and the pre dawn was in the sky behind the mountains to the east. Light cloud cover prevented any break thoughts but it was majestic. After watching the sunrise in jasper, I boarded a bus at 07:00 for Edmonton. I arrived back in town around lunch time and after doing some of the boring work, such as closing bank accounts and cancelling telephones, I spend a number o hours exploring around the heart of Edmonton. To be blunt Edmonton is a dirty city and is probably the most unpleasant city I have visited, in all honesty. But the staff at the bust depot is fabulous. That night I boarded yet another bus, with a 12:10 departure time, from Edmonton to Saskatoon, SK.

Tuesday, 8th June 2010
I arrive in Saskatoon to approach the guy at the ticket counter and asked what time bus I could take to Regina with my greyhound pass. He then informed me that I was unable to us that pass to travel from Saskatoon to Regina, my options were to head one of three ways, Calgary, Winnipeg or Edmonton (Saskatchewan is one of the few provinces that maintain an independent bus service to the greyhound). I figured I would go and explore Saskatoon for the day and then worry about where I was going that night. After being pointed to the town hall for tourism information and then being informed that the information I desired was at a different location, I moved on and got some information on where to go and what to see. I walked up to the Art gallery in town, appreciated some very fine and not so fine pieces of work, wandered alongside the river, visited the Anglican cathedral, which is a magnificent building, continued in my walk alongside the river, found a museum about Saskatoon and why it was formed and settled (it was a temperance colony separate from Toronto) and explored the town. I then visited the library to do some writing and update my blogs and to catch up with my emails to keep me up to date. Unfortunately as there really is only a half day of things to do in town I then decided to cash in some of my free movie points, dropped in at the cinema and watched Russell Crowe play robin hood. It was nice to fell normal for a short while. Then it was back up the bus depot and on to a bus to Alberta (headed back the wrong way) to Calgary, with STC, the Saskatoon transport company.

Wednesday 9th June 2010
Calgary, what to tell you about Calgary. Well for one it rained almost all day. Good place to visit if you got money, but on the cheap they don’t really want to know you or deal with you. That being said I like Calgary. It’s got lots of nice things through the town, it has a big city feel with a real country vibe, but they were warming up to the Calgary stampede. But there is a lot to like about it, you can in fact go thought a lot of the city without touching the ground, using the +15 network in Calgary. Whilst not comprehensive and not all internal, it’s quite good and covers a large portion of the down town core. Also within the city centre, the C-train is free and you can use it to shuttle yourself from one end to the other. But be careful once you are outside of that core, because penalties are then enforced. After visiting the china town area, and a large number of other parts of the city, I decided it was time to head back to the bus depot and freshen up. It was at this stage I realized what I had managed to forget in Camrose, my toiletry bag & sewing kits. Well I have since replaced what I need to and I have carried on but it’s one of those “DAMIT” moments when your realize that the stuff you really need is in a different city. But it was onto another bus and into another town, this time Regina, SK

Thursday 10th June 2010
There are days where you just don’t know how a town can be this good. And I mean that in all seriousness. Regina, the capital of the province, I expected very little from. Well I got off the bus, with my bag on as always, having checked with the clerk as to when my bus was that night, and walked out into the street. As I stood in the street looking to get my bearings (as I had looked up the location of the tourist info place), a gentleman approached me and asked if I knew where I was going. I told him and he offered to show me around the town. Whilst talking to strangers is not advised I was willing to trust this guy and it proved to be a good morning for me. After taking a walk down the main mall, exploring the Victoria bridge and the Legislature and the surrounding grounds, walking up to the area of town called cathedral, discovering that the “ Cathedral” Church was closed and public couldn’t go in to see it we called it a day. In 4 and a bit hours this gentleman had showed me a large chunk of what the city had to offer. The only thing left on my agenda was a walk down to the home of the Rough Riders, a CFL team. After a short library stop, I started wondering down to the stadium, armed with directions and I knew where I was headed. Well I came to the intersection where I was going to cross over to see that stadium when a car pulled over and asked if I knew where I was going. Well I told them where I was headed and they said to me that it wasn’t in the best bit of town and they were more than happy to take me down there. Turns out that they are in broadcasting and work in the stadium all the time and where able to get me into the stadium to have a look. So to say the least, I (Regina and think it’s a fabulous place. Also the province of Saskatchewan is doing their best to turn Regina and Saskatoon into wireless hotspots, so as I waited for my bus, I was able to access the internet and watched 3 episodes of TV from the internet (so I am only a few weeks behind on Dr Who and have caught up with everything else). The on the bus yet again this time bound for a few day of R&R and companion ship with Dwayne in Winnipeg

Friday 11th June 2010
Well what to say about Friday. Not a lot really. I got to see the 4 legislature building, in my fourth province, I got to walk around the down town core and explored the heart of the city, visited the Forks Market (seriously these people don’t know how a market should be) visited the train station, explored the tunnels and bridges that link building throughout the city and just had a nice afternoon. After cooking dinner I kind of crashed and SLEPT for which my body was grateful.

Saturday 12th June 2010
Well a late start to the day and it was into the car. We drove about an hour and a half to Dwayne’s cousin’s place, a dairy and beef farm. Well as soon as I got out of the car I was hit with this smell of COWS. They smell the same, dogs behave the same and horses look the same. The only biggest difference was the barn, where the cows live during the cold and harsh Manitoba winter (I wouldn’t want to walk in there after curry night). After exploring and seeing the farm for a while it was back to town, Aussie Style Hamburgers for dinner and damper for afternoon tea.

Sunday 13th June 2010
S is for sport or so I would like to think sometimes, Sunday, the day for spiritual reflections a lot of the time. But this time it was a sport Sunday. It was off to a CFL game for me. Whilst it wasn’t a regular season game, I can now say I haven to a CFL game, I understand the rules and the calls, and I would rather watch CFL than NHL or NFL. The game is better flowing; more consistent calls and the rules make sense (for the most part). Well the Winnipeg Blue Bombers accounted for the Montreal Alouets rather comfortably and it was time to head to lacrosse training. I assisted with some of the drills with being a physical body, who they had to roll off and play off and I even took a shot at throwing and trying to catch the ball, which I was, begin to get the hang of. But I think Lacrosse is a good sport and I would like to try to play a game at some stage. But the lacrosse sticks are a lot more difficult to use than the softcosss ticks that we use in schools in Australia. But I am glad I age it a crack
On Friday I had discovered a minor challenge and a need to figure out a solution. The bus from Winnipeg to Chicago only runs on Tuesday, Thursday Saturday and Sunday. But I wanted to travel on Monday. Well the solution was simple it turned out. I was re routing, going through Toronto and not doing border crossing and all these things, but Dwayne offered to drive south to Fargo, in the USA so I could take the bus from there.

Monday 14th June 2010
So Monday. That’s today. I am sitting on a Jefferson bus lines coach that has power, satellite radio and wireless internet capabilities and TVs and guess what. None of them work as yet. I believe that it is one of the first of their new generation of buses and they are waiting until they can offer it on all services on this route prior to turn on all the switches but it is a bit frustrating to realize that I could be surfing the internet at 80MPH (stupid imperial system) but such is life. The seats are comfortable have miles of legroom and each seat has a seatbelt, which I am using.
Crossing the border was fairly routine, the boarder agent was surprised to see and international coming through their neck of the woods. Well after everyone saying I had to do an ESTA and be pre approved before boarding my plane, they were wrong. I still had to fill out the green card. After the slow and tedious process of them talking to you and trying to trick you into saying something so they tell you to get out, I was granted entry into the United States of America. I have three stops this week planned for the USA and 2 stops planned for Canada, so I will have another border crossing later in the week to deal with. We shall see how I go.
Well that’s it from the road at this stage and I guess it’s a bit of a long one because I acutely did and saw quite a bit. From the bus on its way to Minneapolis so I can go “building to building to building to building to building” and trying not to see the “outside world” as much as possible, this is Richard “Gonzo” McCoy signing off. And for the love of god, don’t do anything I wouldn’t.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

I guess I have been a bit slack on the posting side of things in the past week. I have a number of entries in my journal, but no real posting to speak of to chronicle my journey. I should possibly blog about why that is but it really isn’t that important right now. After leaving Vancouver on Tuesday, I headed for the hills, literally. Through the Rocky Mountains I went. Just before hitting the most famous of ranges, I spent a day in salmon arm and went and did some great 4wding with Neal and explored the lovely town with Neal and his mother. Another overnight bus ride and it was into Banff. What I have discovered is that most tourist towns don’t start opening until at least 7 or 8 am, which is generally well after when the bus gets in. tells you how well traveled my path is!
After ducking through over night and seeing the beauty of the Rockies, I jumped off the bus in Banff. Now Banff is a tourist town and makes no apologies for it. They know why they exist and they seem pretty dammed proud of it too. The entire township was established because they found a mineral hot springs, and could get the Hoi Polloi off the train and squeeze some more money out of them before they continued on their way! But is a beautiful spot and would not mind returning there to play a round of golf on their course.
I then jumped on the bus, headed into Calgary and spent the evening hanging with a scouting friend. Was a good chance to catch up, but I really disliking cigarette smoke? Friday I jumped on a bus, headed to Edmonton, met up with Sam, and we drove down to her home town of Camrose, a small pokey place about an hour to the south ish of Edmonton. It happened to be the weekend of a community festival called jaywalkers, where a large number of community groups put on sales as do stores and the carnival comes to town. All in all it s a pretty big deal. Interestingly the prize games and rides were almost identical to the one that you get back in the good old Land of Oz!
Well after a fairly basic weekend, including a trip to the cinema to see Shrek 4, we returned to Edmonton, explored an area called white ave (I think) and then went our separate ways. I had decided to jump on a bus to Jasper, after debating between that and places called Fort McMurray & Prince George. Jasper is another little pictures rocky mountain town and Fort McMurray is the home of the tar sands. Don’t ask me what is in Prince George, I didn’t get that far down the decision making process before I struck it from the list. So after spending a few hours in jasper and watching the sun come up (arrived at 0330 departed 0630) I headed back to Edmonton. I have spent the day wandering the town and seeing what there is to be seen. Which to be honest isn’t a hell of a lot! The convention centre is pretty cool as it has been cut out of the hill and built underground and the tunnels linking buildings is pretty awesome, but that’s about it. If I headed out into the burbs I could go to the “west Edmonton mall” but I have been there once before and to be completely honest, it’s just a mall.
Well tonight its back onto the bus and it’s off to Saskatchewan & Saskatoon & Regina. Then I am going to try to make it as far as Thunder Bay and then back into Winnipeg for the weekend.

RANDOM DETOUR NOTE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! - going to Cow town tonight instead, and then to regina and winnapeg. i will figure out what next in the next few days!!!!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Boats, Buses & a lack of sleep - Victoria - Naniamo - Van - Salmon Arm - Banff

ok, so when i last wrote i was in Naniamo (well on my way) after having a good weekend exploring victoria, haning out with mates and even got to see a bit of cricket. becaause of my bus pass, i headed back to vancouver via Naniamo, which meant that trip took 7 hours total. then it was good bye to the rover crew & a trip to the pub, good bye to vancouver the following day & good bye to my travleing compaion untill i see her in Dublin.

well it was on the bus to salmon arm. after dozing throughout the night and not realy sleeping i arrrived in salmon arm. its a nice town. lovley hills and on an great lake. it has a beatiful array of bird life and had a good afternoon out 4wd with neil. after waiting for my bus that was about 30 minutes late, i left the peacful surronds of salmon arm for the tourist mecca, but still quiet town of Banff. there is still snow on the hills out here and after a quick frenshen up it aws time for a walk. i walked out to the falls and to the Fairmont, a fairly old but very majestic hotel. this town was BUILT as a tourist destination, with gondala rides, hot springs and a very luxurious vibe through the town.

well i am on the bus again in aoubt 3 hours, so i will explore a bit more and then head to Calgary, whihc i have been infomred should be refered to as cow town.

want to see where i have been? check out the MAP OF DOOOMMMMM

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Postcard #3 – 10080 Minutes, give or take a few

After leaving skeeter (a scout camp) I headed with a friend up to Campbell River. I was meant to spend the night in Nanaimo but I decided to head straight for Toffino, the western most point of my trip. Toffino is a very touristy town, with some awesome beaches but everything there is overpriced and to tell you the truth I was glad to get out of there. I stopped in a quaint little town on the way back Nanaimo called Port Alberni, which I keep pronouncing wrong, because I speak like an Aussie! Lots of cool things that you really needed a car to access but I was able to visit the train station & visited the water front and the museum. Unfortunately as its low season the steam train that operates in the town wasn’t out and about but such is life sometimes.
I then spent a few days with brad in Nanaimo. Nanaimo is curious. It’s the gateway to the island in a lot of ways and is the hub to the tourist destinations but there isn't a lot to see in the town it’s self. But it’s a nice place and the surrounds and the area it is in is beautiful. Well actually I recon most of Vancouver Island is quite spectacular and reminds me a lot of back home, in the hills just outside of Melbourne, you around Marysville and healseville.
I went to a small town called chemanius, whose two main claims to fame are their theater & the murals that are though out the town. But there was also a quite fabulous little sweet shop which had all kinds of wonderful things. But the main thing there is the murals.
I spent the weekend in Victoria, BC the capital of the province. It’s odd. The capital of provinces seem to not always be the main city (Edmonton in AB, Victoria in BC and so on). Any way because it’s the capital, all of the strikingly beautiful buildings that come with a province of this age and the house of power and government houses are here along with all of the trimmings. So that makes Victoria a place to visit. Interestingly you can see the USA from Victoria on a clear day and you can take a ferry from the downtown core of Victoria to the states, you can even take your car on one of the ferries. I recon it’s kind of cool. There are lots of nice parks, a cute china town area and some beautiful gardens in Victoria and is quite a nice place to go visit. Interestingly they have a massive cruise ship terminal, which seems to be fairly well used.
Well it’s back to Vancouver today, via Nanaimo, and I am headed through the Rockies on Wednesday and Thursday, and headed up into the heart of Alberta on Friday. I will write again soon and will call soon.
Authors note: I’m addressing postcards because I think its fun, and are indeed to make them feel different to my regular postings about where I am in the world.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Wow this place is biiiig.

Stardate 28 May 2010, 14:54:33 PST, Captains Log
Well I think Eh, summed it up pretty good on face book when he said this place was biiiig! Many hours of driving and I have barley even touched the surface of what is here on Vancouver Island. There are a few things that are definite about Vancouver Island though. The people are friendly, it rains a lot (well almost constantly for the time I have been here) and it is a beautiful part of the world that I would love to revisit one day, preferably with a car. And a lot more money. And a tent. And many other things.
At the last posting I had been in Tofino and hadn’t been far. In the past few days I have ventured back to the east coast of Vancouver Island and am headed south to see that bit of the island later today.
On Wednesday I journeyed from Tofino to a town called Port Alberni, which is fishing and lumber town, with some lovely displaces of history and maritime stuff, and during the peak season, a fully operational steam train that services a tourist route, that I would be quite interested in taking at some stage. There is also a mill and falls, but they are the best part of 30 minute drives outside of town and were not within my range for that day.
After Port Alberni I headed into Nanaimo, and stayed with a scouting friend, Brad. He took some of his time off to show me around a bit of Nanaimo and the surrounds. Whilst not being a particularly old town, there are some lovely buildings and it seems that a large part of the town is supported by the ferries and some corporate organization that are within the town. But curiously there isn’t very much tourism focused stuff in the town, it is more of a passing through town kinda place. I’m kinda disappointed that I didn’t have a 3rd bus on Wednesday that I could have used to explore the township of Combs and add that to my list of places, but unfortunately scheduling & transport did not permit it and it will have to wait for another trip.
Well today I write to you from the town of Chemanius as I wait to take the bus down to Victoria. Chemanius is very proud of one thing, their murals. And they are quite extraordinary, painted on a large number of buildings throughout the town; my favorites would have to be the one done by a famous Canadian painter, Emily caar, and the one on the legion building, of passing the torch. As far as other things to see in the town there isn’t a lot, but I would defiantly recommend heading into Hansel and Gretel’s Sweet shop. Lots of English and imported sweets and such a lovely little store. The other thing to note is that the people in this town have just been soo friendly and always wanting to have a chat.
Well I am headed down to Victoria tonight, will get to see Speakers but have no internet at the time of writing, so we will have to see when this posting actually goes up.
Keep safe, as I plan to do so as well
Gonzo, with Eh and Stig riding shotgun

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

its times like this you wish


well the road trip has begun. i have my 60 day greyhound pass and about 43 days untill i fly out of NYC. whilst that sounds like alot of time, i still have to cross north america. its going to be a long slog, but i will get there!

well where am i now you may ask?
well at the end of skeeter i went on a short road trip up to cambell river, enjoying the view of the georgia striaght as we continued up the road. then after returning to nanimo, i made the decsion to head to Tofino that night instead of the following day. so after the 3 and a bit hour bus ride i made it here, got one of the last spots in the hostel for the night and settled in for a suprisingly refreshing night of sleep. i am styaing at the whalers guesthouse (hostel) in tofino with a great view across the water. which i seem to keep bragging about. i spent today walking arround the town exploring and finding out what was arround. i visted a large number of small gallerys and took in the views arround town. i went for a 30 minute walk up to the tofino botanical gardens to discover that it cost $15 to enter so i decided to give that a miss and walked straight back to town. then after a short walk out to a beach i spent an hour or so just looking and walking arround the beach and taking photos.

unfortuatnly the weather today has been shocking and i was stuck in the rain for most of the day. on a side note for travelers. Tofino is a very expensive place to visit. there is one place in town that hires bikes and does so for $40 a day. if you want to take a short (and i mean SHORT) boat ride to one of the near by islands be prepared to fork out $30 and if you want to go on a wale sighting or a ride up to the hot springs be prepared to part with $70-$140. im glad i am only spending the two nights here, because the town is very touristy and whilst is very pretty, you can tell that it has lost its soul, having once been a fishing town but now a tourist town & apparently become a ghost town during the low months

tomorrow i am off to a town called port alberni for 4 hours and then its throught to nanimo. i am not expecting alot from that region but i have people i want to see and say good bye to. i have made some good friends and i am going to miss them. that is an important note.

 its times like this you wish.........
- that you could tell the weather what to do
- that tourism operators didn't try to gorge every last penny out of tourists
- - that you had more time to spend with your friends to let them know that they matter to you--

Thursday, May 20, 2010

My Vancouver

you know those lists. your pub? your cafe? your tea? your cinema? well here we go with the quick fire "Gonzo's Vancouver"

My Neighborhood - Collingwood, which ironically is next to Carleton
My Train station - 29th Ave, because its a nicer walk
My Fish and Chip Shop - the Sea Horse Fish and Chips, Crn Kingsway & Rupert - REAL fish and chips
My Burger Joint - See fish and chips :-P
My Shushi place - it the sincliare centre, i am quite fond of the Sushi Cafe
My Tea/Hot Choc Haunt - Blenz, where they take proper care of your tea. either Vancouver Public Libary or Bentall 5 for my favorate
My Work Place - Canada Place/Vancouver Convetion Centre
My Scout Group - 1st South Vancouver
My Rover Crew - 1st South Vancouver Rover Crew
My Church - St Thomas, Vancouver, on 41st near Victoria Drive
My Pool - Bonsor, Burnaby
My Place to rest my rump - Rupert at Kingsway, in Vancouver

any other My things you want to know? Comment below!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Vancouver - The Highlight Reel

 well if this was a telivson show, or a bad movie, this would be the point that the clip reel with all the highlights of the first 6 months of my trip would scroll before you and show you the best things i have been to and done.
so what is the best things that i have been to and done.

one evening, as we were walking along the street in burnaby, the water on the road had frozen. what did we do? well me and mark glided and slid along the road, rather recklessly, but very fun. and i would like to do it again one day. and i think it may have looked kinda like that magic view that you can imagine, whilst also being slightly unco.

just like my last visit (which was alot shorter) i will miss people the most. i have formed new friendships, tried new things and consilidated existing friendships. to those friends (you know who you are) i will miss you, but i will keep in touch.

for my Vancouver 2010 event high lights they can be summed up fairly easily. getting to just be here and see vancouver come alive for two full weeks was amazing. John Furlong, CEO of VANOC, coming up on the first saturday of the games as i was standing in the street marshaling and saying "thank you" to me. just being their to exeperince the opening of the Parlaympic games. to witness the look on the face of the Italian curlers in thier last stone victory and the view of the Check players after they defeated korea in over time in the ice sledge hockey. the spirit of sportsmanship & what sport is all about spoke to me then and there.

the chance to sleep in a hole in the ground in the back country on mount seymore, with just a tarp keeping the snow off us.
for waking up on Christmas day and seeing frost (wasn't quite snow) on the ground.
being invested on top of mt seymore into 1st south vancouver and looking down onto vancouver from that glorious mountain.
less than a week after arriving waking up, getting out of my tent and being able to see the snow line, in november.

so to vancouver, and for the last few weeks i will spend here on this trip, thank you. i will probably come back here, one day. no promises when. there is a great big world for me to explore and that is where i am headed. to my friends and those that i have met. keep in touch
to the rest of Canada, USA, Europe & SE Asia, i look foward to exploring and discovering the magic and secrets you have to share with me.

stay tuned to Gonzo Travels, and you will be able to keep upto date with my day to day activites via twitter & facebook and via my travel mascot('s).

well that does it for the highlight reel. but stay tuned, more highlights coming soon. feel free to comment.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Good bye Vancouver, Hello world.

Well Hi,

i keep promising to get better at this but i haven't really been traveling or seeing or doing all that much. i have just been living but here are the high lights and the cool things that have taken place in the past two and a bit months. i promise that the blog postings will become more common once i am on the road (cant promise the same for photos but i will do my best). having worked during the Olympics, work has been light on, even though i had a store i was in go "are you looking for work" that was this week and a bit late.

after the olympics came the paralympics. i was inspired, i was lifted, i was taken by the magic of it. i went to the opening cermony with Kit and Patti at BC Place. it was amazing and managed to hit all the right heart notes. what i have begun to hate with olympic cermonies is that they are over done and dont seem to quite hit the mark for me any more. but the parlympics was done realy well and i truly enjoyed it.
during the parlympics i found my way out to the few free thigns i hadnt made it too during the olympcis that were reopend for the second event. i also went to the wheel chair curling (sooo much like lawn bowls) and the ice sledge hockey (and i thought normal hockey was brutal). at the vairous venues you were able to try a fwe diffrent things, in a simulated enviroment, such as curling, sledge hockey & visualy impiared shooting. gave a great perspective and was alot of fun to try them out. the atmosphere was just electric and i realy enjoyed my parlympic experince.

and then it was April.

it has started to warm up. the cherry blossoms have come out. (soo pretty) i suffered from pretty bad hay fever due to the new and exciting pollens in the air.
and then it was Easter. and i manged to finally find my local parish and have been going there ever since. also since i have been here i have started walking. now when most people walk they walk a few kilometers. then there is me. on Easter Sunday after being at church for the Vigil and the main service (i was asked to read a passage at the vigil, and it was my second time there!) i decided to go for a walk. having walked to church i kept walking along 41st. and i kept walking. and i kept walking. and then i reach SE Marine Drive. when it was all said and done i walked around 20kms on Easter Sunday. yes i am a bit special. but i felt good for it.

a few days later it was time to take a boat ride over to Victoria, on Vancouver island. because some genius decided to name two terminus stops near one another with words starting with Bridge and brig (and because of my special brain) i missed by bus to Twassen ferry terminal. so after a not so cheap taxi ride, i got onto the boat and headed over to see the Barenaked Ladies, a candaian pop/alt rock group perfrom. and it was worth the money. it was their first show of thier national tour and it was great to see these guys perform live. the following day, after getting home from the pub (where they had a small army of beers on tap, i wish i had the time and the money to try every one of them), we wanderd arround the heart of Victoria. victoria is belive it or not very english feeling. more so than vancouver. also curiously if the line that defined the USA and canda continued and they split the isaldn, then Victoria would be part of the USA.

then came ANZAC day weekend. Saturday i traveled out to UBC and met up with the rover crew and we set up the crews activity for Nite Hike. then with Mark, Kit & Amanda we set up to register and participate in the 26 station, 24km over nite hike. it was a lot of fun and was a test of the body & mind. at one stage the symbolism was significant to me, and don't tell the others, but i did have a slight moment, in the predawn glow. after helping the crew to pack up and have breakfast, i headed down town for the Memorial service. this was important to me and after that i joined the others at the pub for lunch (there is an Aussie themed pub in Vancouver, its cute but odd).

the following week i was invited to head over to the sunshine coast, where PJ was held (@ Camp Byng). i wanted to go over there and just see it for what it was. strangely enough, the feeling of extreme familiarity that i have had in Vancouver Island was also still present for me on the sunshine coast. after a day of driving around and exploring and a lovely dinner provided by Patti's folks, it was time to return to the main land. the sunshine coast and Vancouver island are two areas i strongly recommend visiting and making the time to see. they are just so beautiful and would not be the first places considered by tourists due to the boat ride to get over to those destinations.

well that is it for this posting. photos are above as allways and i did a test video posting the other day and that is visible below but it really is just an experiment, as whilst i am on the road i may not have the energy or the enthisam to write but may feel up to doing a video.

well, im off. a route plan will be up in the next few weeks, for my cross north america trip. and the log of RPM85 (my personal blog) will possibly also get some of my other musings as the weeks go on.

Adios Amigos and keep Smiling


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Hi there,

well i decided to try the multi meida thing. a breif sum up of what its all about. I went to the island, i went to the sunshine coast, i saw a concert and i had alot of fun. and this is more of a trail testing post to see if i can get the media thing to work for me. a REAL post card is in devlopment and will be up soon

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Globabl Odessey Postcard #2 - Hey now hey now dont dream its over

ok so i have been a bit slack but here it is. Postcard number two. looks like i am going to sum up two and a bit months of my life in this posting.

well since my last post we had Christmas. this involved a very different routine to what i am used to but i say thanks to the Sheppard's and the Dar Woon Families for welcoming me and including me in their Christmas celebrations. basically it was spent at Kit's Mothers with a small gathering at her mums place, then it was onto a boat, and over to the island where i met adams family and spent Christmas eve and Christmas day with them. this inculded a drive from one end to the other, as most of the family is in Victoria and they live up near Nanimo, but it was quite a nice drive and gave me a chance to reflect on things. then on boxing day it was back onto the ferry (which was alot busier) and back to Vancouver. and then to top it off we had the extended family gathering for Kit's mum's family, which is a very very large gathering.

the Rovers had decided to go snow camping and that i had to come as well. now i wasnt instantly thrilled at the propect of goinig camping in snow, parcitalry in a cave, but i agreeded to the trip. so we spent a number of hours cooking the food and freezing it all ready to take with us. so we were set to go, snow shoes and all. and we hiked in at Mt Seymour and out into the back country. unfortunately for me this is when home sickness came crashing down on me. well i soldered on and after digging a number of rather large holes in the ground (one to sit in and one to sleep in) we settled down had dinner and in the morning got up to discover that our food supply had been compromised. so we returned to civilization a day earlier than planned but it was still quite an experience.

New years was celebrated at one of the rovers places, and with me cooking a BBQ for a number of hours, which was very therapeutic and one of the best home sickness cures. it was odd watching for fire works from other cities in other bits of the world besides the city i was in. having spent last year watching them on Sydney harbor it was quite odd, and knowing that often we would be either in the city or at some ones place celebrating in the back yard it was a big difference. and the following moring it was up and attit for the new years tradion in vancuover of the polar bear swim!!! to say the least it was cold.

mid january brought on my second snow camping experince, and this time i have to thank Nick P and his group for taking me and the Bairds for cooking for me and looking after me up at the snow. at ROVENT i was quite supprised to discover how warm it was, particularly after i was told i wasn't allowed to attend if i had not attended cold talk. so i had been to cold talk, and here i was in the snow, having dug out a space again but this time for a tent to go. i had alot of fun at rovent and got to meet a heap of new people and enjoyed the activities. but the Miss Strawberry Flats pageant was a bit odd and i don't think i need to experience that again. i spent most of my days in shorts and it was quite warm so i was quite ok. had to layer up in the evenings because it got cold but it was alot of fun.

for australia day i sorced aussie beer and enjoyed it with a few mates, quietly enjoying some coopers and some boags. so that was a nice way for me to welcome my national day!

my entire month of febuary was spent doing one thing. working for Vanvouer 2010. yes i was employed by the olympic games. Located at Canada place, other wise known as the MMC (main media centre) i was one of the small army of EVS (event services) staff located down there. what did i do? well i gave directions, i kept people out, i let people in, i chatted to the media and my collegues, met people and had a lot of fun. part of my job was assiting the general public and directing them to where the Olympic Cauldron is located, as it was located in the area near the venue.
through out the olympics i didnt go to any events but did experince the madness that was the games, as Vancouver went absolutly MENTAL (there is no other phrase for it). i manged to visit most of the Provincial Displays/Houses, epxerinced a large ammount of great music, good performances, got to the 7 fingers yet again.... (HA HA @ my younger brother). it was just extrodanary to see. people cued for hours to be involved. so i can but say it was amazing.

now its over and the city has one helluva hangover..... and now it try's to get the motivation up for the paralympics. i am off to the opening on friday and am realy looking foward to it.

so planning for europe and asia progresses and it seems to all be coming together. now i just need to find a bit more work and i am set for the rest of this trip. oh and on a side note, i have been keeping up my fitness and diet challegnes. i have not drunk any Cola drinks in 2 months now....

Well as i like to say, Dont do anything i wouldnt and keep watching the Skiies......

and as always links to photo albums are at the bottom

Richard "Gonzo" McCoy

March 2010 (still going obvisouly)

Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games

Scout Camp called Rovent

January 2010

Snow Camping

Christmass Time