Monday, December 19, 2011

Gordon Ramsay Restaurant London, England

Most of us know who Gordon Ramsay is. Some know him from the TV series Hell's Kitchen. He has various restaurants across the continents - but his main one is in London, England where he resides.

Gordon Ramsay currently opened up a restaurant in Montreal, Canada this past summer August 2011. But why fly 2 hours just to eat there when I can fly a whole day to London, England and eat here....

I choose London, England.....

It is not the cheapest place to eat as the cheapest meal is 95 pounds, but it is Gordon Ramsay's Restaurant and it is a once in a lifetime opportunity. It is not hard to get a reservation but you do need to book a months in advance, or in my case 2-3 months in advance. What can i say i wanted to make sure i got a table at my favorite chef's restaurant. Also it is not a every day occurrence that you are in London, England so why not splurge....

Await my Review coming January 2012

Thursday, November 17, 2011

the week we got SNOW!

It's been a crazy couple of weeks, first getting laid off from my old job because no particular reason so i went job hunt crazy for two days straight - went on two interviews for some really nice jobs. And had snatched the Sales/Marketing job into my hands. Attaching my two letter of references from my college professors did their job. And there I had a job day after I left the motel, what are the chances. Was fate on my side or what!

It sure has been a adjustment period but each shift I am feeling more and more comfortable.

besides the fact that we got hit with a nasty snow fall which created the City of Edmonton to be at a stand till, which i was in the city for but I left just in time so I did not get stuck for that long but it did take longer than usual to leave the city.

Winter has arrived... November 14, 2011 - Almost had the entire month of November of winter free, really thought we could get to December without any snow. But getting through Middle of November was nice. Not like Calgary or the East Coast.

Picture taken downtown Edmonton, the view of the River valley and as you can tell not much of a view because of the blowing snow. I was impressed with everyone that day, they were actually driving slowly and not causing any accidents.

Started a mini countdown for my trip to London and Paris New Years, with a number... today it is at 40 days till I leave. Its creative and fun, so why not......

Friday, November 04, 2011

Blackberry Apps are just as good!

iPhone applications are all what they promote, but what about Blackberry Applications? There are twice as many blackberrys out there as there are iPhones. They are just as awesome and useful. If there is a app for an Iphone then there is an app for a Blackberry.

And here are some useful apps that I have found worthwhile for Blackberry's:

Travel Apps....

Tube Map (FREE)
  • Get round on the London tube like never before! Get LIVE train status updates on a map that you can scroll around. Throw in the worlds fastest Journey Planner to show you the routes and even where to change lines, and you really will save even more time and hassle.
  • Plan your route before you arrive and know which station to get on and off at.
  • Find a Station
  • Send to a Friend
  • Live Information

Worldmate (FREE)
  • The Ultimate Travel App Introducing TripCatch: Automatically add your travel bookings to WorldMate, the easiest way to build your itinerary WorldMate is the number one personal travel assistant for business travelers with over five million road warriors relying on it to take control of their lives when on the go.
  • Organize your Trips
  • Hotel Booking
  • Limo Reservations
  • Travel Directory
  • Currency Converter
  • Day/Night Map
  • World Weather
  • Flight Schedules
  • Flight Status

City Guide Paris (FREE)
  • Take Guidepal with you to Paris! Guidepal provides you with Free High Quality City Guides for a large number of destinations. The Paris guide is, as all Guidepal guides, written by local residents so we can ensure that You find the best attractions, restaurants, sightseeing tours, museums and much more.
  • Know the City 
    • Airport, Areas and Transportation
  • Know what to See & Do before you arrive.
  • Know ahead of time where the best place to Eat & Drink
  • Nightlife choices
  • All the Shopping hot spots

Blackberry Travel (FREE)
  • makes it easy to plan, book, manage and share your travel activities. Looking for flights or places to stay? Find flight schedules and great hotel options, all right from your BlackBerry. The automatic trip scanning feature will automatically recognize itineraries that are emailed to you and push them to your BlackBerry – no matter where you booked. 

FancyTran (FREE)
  • Multi-engine translator
  • Supports Google and Bing translation engines with Text to Speech pronunciation
  • supports over 60 languages for translation and over 50 for pronunciation
  • Has a dictionary mode for most languages and providers transliteration for non latin languages
  • it automatically checks spelling 
  • touch friendly and clean design

Foursquare  (FREE)
  • check in at any store, museum, hotel, airport, anywhere and have the shot of becoming a mayorship of a business. Earn badges. Reading other peoples, your friends recommendations of restaurant, a hotel, shops, bars and much more. It is a fun way to be interactive with friends and fun way to track your adventures, explorations. 
  • A fun way to explore and keep tabs on where you have been 

Social Media Apps.....

Facebook (FREE)
  • Keep in touch with friends and loved ones back home where ever you might be exploring today or tomorrow, even next month. 

Fun game Apps.....

Hangman (FREE)
  • Because we all need a game for those quiet evenings before we fall asleep in our hotel room, or hostel or even on the plane.

Informative Apps......

GasBuddy - Find Cheap Gas Prices (FREE)
  • Find the cheapest gas on the go – for free! In one click, locate gas stations near you and see their current gas prices. Never overpay for gas again. GasBuddy is a community of users working together to update gas prices – help everyone save on gas! Gas Buddy helps you find the best fuel prices for regular, mid-grade, premium and diesel fuel. Gas prices for USA and Canada only

The Weather Channel (FREE)
  • Get detailed conditions and forecasts, radar maps, local and national severe weather alerts, airport delays and more. You can even access the weather from your calendar or address book, and forward alerts to friends and family.   
  • Always know what the weather is in your area so you can dress appropriate 

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Edmonton Icons

Although I may not like Edmonton as much as the average person. The city does have some nice qualities to it, and often gets compared to Calgary.
But matter of fact, Edmonton has more than you may realize. Even if Edmonton does not always showcase a warm inviting feeling but if you avoid the right parts then you will never have to witness that uninviting feel.

  • West Edmonton Mall
  • The Legislature Building
  • River Boat Cruise
  • Fort Edmonton Park
  • Edmonton Valley Zoo
  • and many big and open parks
  • Segway tours through the River Valley
  • Christmas Eve skating down at the Legislature Building

Driving or walking down 108th street, you may be facing one of the two depending on which direction you are facing.

Facing south on 108th street you will be looking at The Legislature Building.

And facing north on 108th street you will be looking at the arches of Grant Macewan, a University downtown Edmonton.

Monday, October 31, 2011

My year with Contiki

Taking that year off from Post Secondary was a very good decision. Although that Travel Bug bites hard!

I didn't pack my bag, quit my job and head off to Europe to backpack, But I did travel with adventure. Traveling with Contiki Holidays is an life time adventure. You see and do such amazing things that you normally get a chance to do, and you meet so many awesome, wonderful people through Contiki and while On tour - you know who you are!

First Trip, (Dec 2010/Jan 2011) only six months to save up... I had booked my very first Contiki Holiday - San Francisco New Years in July of 2010. To be honest i was nervous, not knowing what to expect but yet at the same time super stoked and excited.
With a Contiki Holiday - you instantly become friends, like one big family. (Alex, Corey, Brooke, Myself, Robb, Cameron and our Fabulous Tour Manager Monte). Which is what Contiki is, one big family! From biking the hills of San Francisco, Ferry ride over to Alcatraz, going IN n' OUT Burger, walking down Market Street, Pier 39, Walking the Golden Gate Bridge and Biking It to Ending the First Contiki Experience on a Dinner Cruise on the San Francisco Bay watching some pretty fabulous fireworks.

As many of us do, we have major contiki withdrawals after we return home. One way to fix it, book that next Contiki as soon as possible. Another way to help ease that withdrawal is attend a Contiki Party, even if that means to drive 3 hours to attend - it's well worth it!

My first Contiki Party: VIP Euro Bash (February 2011)- It was great meeting you all and thanks for a great time! hugs xo

Then (April 2011) my second Contiki Party - Yup i drove another 3 hours... Contiki Suitcase Party at Hudsons Taphouse downtown Calgary. What can i say, I was on my way to become a Contiki Champion!

My first contiki reunion with Trina....  (April 2011)

My Second Tour, (July 2011) This was quite a decision making process on what I would be doing for my next tour, but i knew if i wanted to do two more tours this year i couldn't have afforded Sydney New Years just yet, so i settled with LA Explorer but made sure it landed on my Birthday! Since Contiki does know how to party, thought it was a good decision - Pub Crawl even landed on my Birthday ;) bonus!
Drai's Hollywood the last stop on the Pub Crawl, OH MY GOSH! Talk about Hollywood style and for my 24th Birthday. If it was not for Contiki I would not have been partying Hollywood Style. Rooftop overlooking Hollywood with a pool, pole dancing, outside private sittings.
Favorite part of the Tour was - Universal Studios Studio Lot Tour. I had no idea that Movie Lot was huge! They do everything there.

Explorer Tours - I defiantly recommend - they really show you the city inside and out.

My second Contiki reunion with Brooke...
(July 2011)

then not even a month home, My third Contiki reunion with Richo in Jasper..... (August 2011)

Although there was no Contiki Party awaiting my return but Contiki meetups with some fabulous people :) and some first time meetings are just as fabulous. You know who you are!

Third Contiki of the year.... Paris for New Years! (Dec 2011/Jan 2012) You know when you are in Paris when you see the Eiffel Tower from the Contiki Coach upon entering the City. I do not know where to begin. Beyond Excited. Started in London England, Where i finally got to set foot into the famous Contiki Basement. It was pretty exciting ;)! Even though I did not get any fireworks for New Years, It did not need fireworks - It was Paris for crying out loud - that is a pretty big firework if you ask me. I even got to see the Eiffel Tower sparkle up at night <3 goregous. Some Highlights from the Tour: Musee Du Perfum, The Lourve, River Cruise on the Seine, Eiffel Tower. Dinner with Contiki I tried escargot - When in Paris! Then Moulin Rouge Carbaret Show. You can see the Eiffel Tower from every angle you go within Paris.

Summary: I started the year in San Francisco and Ended it in Paris, France - what a world wind it was! Meeting a lot of great people along the way from all over the world, from England, South Africa down to Brazil up to North America over to Australia and New Zealand.

7 things to do in San Francisco

It feels just like yesterday that i started the year off in San Francisco.... 

1. Walk the Golden Gate Bridge
Okay this is a MUST do even if you have to take a taxi straight to your hotel, drop your luggage and head out right away. Although it is a not short walk but the view from the middle of the bridge is gorgeous. Just a suggestion, do not press the little round red button on the yellow boxes. They are there for people thinking about committing suicide, and you will notice they are only on the right side of the bridge that's facing the city. December 30, 2010 is when i took my first walk across the Bridge - the Bus dropped the group off on San Francisco side of the bridge and walked across into Marin County.

2. Golden Gate Park
Similar to New York City Central Park but 20% larger. A large urban park consisting of 1017 acres of public grounds. With 13 million visitors annually, Golden Gate park is the third most visited city park in the United States after Central Park in New York and Lincoln Park in Chicago. This windmill in the picture above was built in 1913 and was used to pump water throughout the park, the blades shown were onced covered canvas sails.

3. Smugglers Cove
The neatest place to grab a drink, to chill and hang out with your friends. Most drinks come in a skull. Located 650 Gough Street, Just a 15 minute walk from Hotel Whitcomb.

4. Alcatraz
A lot of history are inside these walls, They show a short video clip at the beginning a brief history of the place right when you walk in and then from there you grab your self guided radio and headphones and work at your own pace. Only way to and from the island, by ferry and there are only four during the day so make sure you do not miss it or you are stuck on there. And I wouldn't want to be stuck there - talk about creepy!

5. Public Transportation
Experience the city as a local. Taking a Bus at Rush hour, 4pm is an experience to have here in this fabulous city of San Francisco. The Buses are so crammed it is hard to move around and hard to get on and off the bus. Brooke and I got up from our seats heading to the exit and this little lady was pushing us more away from the doors so she could have our seat. Not very polite she was. We missed the stop we wanted to get off, it took 20 mins to go from one stop to the other. It was faster to get out and walk back to the hotel.

Taxi's are another fun ride to take in San Francisco and the cheapest. From the airport to the Hotel, only took 10-15 minutes. They weave in and out of traffic so fast. And being so fast when they go up and down the hills in San Francisco, Fun! The front tires actually leave the pavement.

6. Little Italy
The closest thing you will get to Italian Pizza without actually being in Italy. You will know when you are in Little Italy by the light posts - they will have a Italian Flag painted on them.

And after lunch we were left to explore San Francisco on our own, well everyone split into groups. Groups form quickly on a Contiki tour!

7. Bike and Roll San Francisco
Bike and Roll the streets of San Francisco and those hills are steep. At least our Tour guide for the Bike and Roll was nice and gave us a small hill to start but then the Second hill was a steep one and half of us, okay maybe a little more than half had to get off their bikes and walk the rest. We got to ride on the other side of the Bridge (Left side) so that helped less pedestrians walking and being in our way. That wind that day, whew! Not easy.

Friday, October 28, 2011

The time I returned home from NYC

You hear people returning home from Disneyland/Disneyland with Mickey and Minny hats and disney bags full of souvenirs but you never hear or see what New York travelers come back with besides fabulous memories. I remember as it was yesterday, well almost. New York City - it was the best ever and where my love for travel really began.

From the airport to downtown Manhattan we took the Subway and the Bus, why take a taxi when there is public transportation. Public Transportation allows you to experience life the local way. Which took us right through Harlem. Yes, the neighbourhood everyone warns you not to go or becareful in. But truly everyone was friendly and was willing to help us. So what i am saying, do not let others scare you from visiting Harlem.

It was busy times touring the city that never sleeps - our days would start at 9am and end at 2am. There is always something to do and see. Time Square, Central Park, Trump Tower, Fashion District, Financial District, 9/11 memorial site, Empire State Building.

I am even proud to say I got to visit the old Yankee stadium before they tore it down to build the new stadium - I got to see and walk through history of the Yankees. Saw Derek Jeter's locker, sat where the team sat during their games, and walked the field. It was a marvelous day and one that i will never forget.

Returning home in the airport I must have gotten many looks, believe it or not i was all decked out in my Yankee attire - Yankee Jersey, Yankee Visor, Yankee Flag. So you can imagine what i looked like - but I did not care! I was a Yankee fan. I loved NYC.

I arrived a tourist, and left a traveler. Oh and a Yankee Fan!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Top 5's Best to do in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles the city of angels, La La Land, also known as Hollywood and the place where all your dreams come true. It is defiantly one of those places you need to see just once, just so you can say you have been.

#1 City Hall- Walk up to the observation level that is open the public on the 27th floor to see the marvelous views of Los Angeles Downtown. Closed on Sundays. While you are downtown, take a walking tour. Angels Flight, Walt Disney Concert Hall, LA Live, Staples Center, (to name a few).

Fun Fact: Walt Disney Concert Hall -  Some residents of neighboring condominums complained about the glare caused by sunlight that reflected off the convave sections stainless steel, matte finish walls to a parabolic mirror.

#2 Santa Monica Beach - one of the most famous beaches in the area and one of the most busiests. It has the Pier with a restaurant, mini amusement park, third street promenade is one block away and is considered to be a premier shopping and dining location. Has stores for everyone!

Fun Fact: Third Street Promenade is approximately Three blocks long.

#3 Hollywood Walk of Fame & Chinese Theatre - Try and find that favorite actor of yours (it is not as easy as you may think) from Mickey Mouse to Adam Sandler or see which actor has the same size feet and hands as you.

Fun Fact: only the actors that have thad heir movies shown at the Chinese Theatre gets their hand printed in the sidewalk in front. The new addition to the family, was Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Daniel Radcliffe this summer 2011.

#4 Universal Studios lot Tour - See where they make all the movies that we love to watch so much. Might be able to watch some demostrations, see some vintage cars, Go on set of the desperate housewifes, and much much more.The Lot is much bigger than you'll think.

Fun Fact: They've had eight fires over the course of it's life and they had to build the buildings higher after the eighth fire to cover the mountains in the background.

#5 SixFlags - although Disneyland is not to far away i would still recommend SixFlags. The Extreme Rollercoasters are the best. Make sure you carry your park map or you'll get lost. And make sure you pack A LOT of water and stay hydrated through out the day, as it's in the desert.

Fun Fact: worlds largest amusement park and maintains 14 properties through the north america and has hosted 23.9 million guests.

Friday, October 07, 2011

Drai's Hollywood

Now it had taken me two months to track down the name of this Amazing Nightclub I went to in Hollywood, where I had a privilege to finish my birthday celebrations at - It was well worth the wait!

What makes this Nightclub so amazing, well..... Very cool place... The best club in Hollywood, defiantly the place and scene to be at in Hollywood. Atmosphere is great! The View is a Plus and one of the best views of the City. (My Review) 

Located: Drai's Hollywood located - 6250 Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood, CA 90028-5325, United States. 

Dari's Hollywood Pool 
requires a Upscale Fashionable Beachwear meaning no jeans, basketball shorts, boots, inappropriate athletic wear or swim wear.

(picture left)  Private booths, swimming pool, with an amazing views of Hollywood and a large crowd with fine tunes.

Defiantly up there for THE Hollywood Nightclub.

amazing view of Hollywood, Los Angeles. Rooftop. couldn't have asked for anything better for my birthday celebrations in Hollywood!

It will be hard to top this, but it will be fun trying. defiantly on my tops.

Dari's Hollywood Nightclub
required attire is Upscale fashionable - good thing i was wearing my birthday dress!

Here visit the Nightclub in a 360 degree view:

(picture right) dance floor

Our Hollywood Pub Crawl chauffeurs left us here as this was the fourth and final stop on the Pub Crawl. Contiki Holidays knows how to give their Passengers a good time by taking us to the amazing places, - Especially on ones Birthday!  <3 

(Picture above) by the staircases two booths over was were we were sitting on the steps in front. Taking photos of everyone 'Planking' - No lie, we were planking by the pool (The lying down game).

Now skim across the photo to the other side, now here is the great viewpoint to see Hollywood, Los Angeles city view!

If you can't make it to Hollywood, Los Angeles do not worry because there is a Drais After-Hours Las Vegas.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Contiki Friends and Acquaintances

In the past year I have met so many acquaintances and others that have become close friends.

Picture left: Alex, Corey (California), Brooke (Australia/Los Angeles), Myself, Robb (Boston) and Cameron.
We were the Pre-Departure group. Because since our tour manager did not arrive at the Pre-Departure meeting, the six of us went on a hunt to find a bar/pub in San Francisco and only had one drink at "Smugglers Cove" the rest of the time we just spent the time chatting.

Picture above:  Myself and Brooke. We on the other hand have become close friends. Had a "Contiki reunion" this past summer in July when i went to Los Angeles on my second Contiki Holiday.

Now let's see who else i have met through my travel years...

Picture Right: Oh Monte... What can i say about him. Our Tour Manager for New Years in San Francisco.

How do i explain Contiki New Year Tours... One word.... EPIC!!!!

Did not know partying with people that you've only met two days before New years could be SO MUCH FUN!!!

Picture Above: Myself and Trina. I was wearing that new years "hat" pretty much the whole night. I did not realize i was for most of the evening but the pictures showed me that i was. 

Picture left: Alex (Canada), Cameron (Australia), Trina (Canada) and Narlla (Brazil).

It was one big party, but again it was New Years.

Photo Above: Onwards to my second Contiki Tour in Los Angeles (LA Explorer) Lauren (Australia) and Myself on Angels Flight during our walking tour of Downtown LA. 

Picture Right: Tanya (Australia), Richo (Australia) and Myself (Canada). 

The Second Contiki in LA was pretty much 98% full of Australians. But remember that time of year is Australia's winter so everyone was escaping winter. Where I was escaping to find summer from summer. 

We've had a pretty lousy summer at the beginning of the season, with more rain that what we can handle. So escaping to Los Angeles gave me the chance to have a full summer. 

Picture above: Group shot of our Tour Group, LA Explorer after dinner and now taking the underground train to Hollywood to begin the Pub Crawl. Everyone is from Australia except for New Zealand, Canada and San Francisco.

Let's see who else have i met this year, that can't be all of them. There has to be more. 

Here we go, found some more fabulous people that i have met this year. 
Picture Left: Jenni (Toronto), Josie(Toronto) and myself. 

Onwards to the VIP Euro Bash Contiki in Calgary. #Haveyoudoneit Campaign, Just after one month after my first Contiki Tour.

Love you guys. Can't wait to see you all again soon.

Picture above: Brad (Toronto), Myself and Emily (Calgary).

Picture left: Myself and Monica (Toronto).
And Sheena (Calgary)

Met all these fabulous people in a year... whoa really! I was busy. Time flies when having fun. Wonder who else i will meet in the remaining year, the next and so forth.

Can't wait to meet you...

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Pic of the week - Filming in the open streets of LA

Filming in Los Angeles is not just limited to the walls of the Back-lot of Universal Studios. When time needs it, they come out in the open streets.

Film car. 

And the car they were filming. I have thoughts to believe, it was no one famous and only just a stunt driver but again the driver did not get out of the car so we were unable to see.

during our walking tour of Downtown Los Angeles with our tour guide 'mike the poet' (that was his nickname).

Hollywood Movie Productions, Universal Studios

Universal Studio Hollywood's back-lot has been damaged by fire 8 times throughout its history. The buildings you see today on the lot were shorter, after the 2008 fire they had built them taller in order to block out the mountain view.
Realistically, if you are in New York you generally do not see Mountains.

First Fire recorded in 1932 when embers from a nearby bushfire blew towards the back-lot causing 4 movie sets to be destroyed causing over $100,000 worth of damage.

Second recorded in 1949 when yet another bushfire caused the complete destruction of one building and damage to two others.

1957, the New York film set was destroyed by an arson fire causing half a million dollars worth of damage. was suspected to be the result of an arsonist.

1967, twice as much damage was done when the Little Europe area and parts of Spartacus Square was destroyed. It also destroyed the European, Denver, and Laramie street sets.

1987 the remaining portion of Spartacus Square was destroyed along with street sets and other buildings

Three years later another fire was started in the back-lot, and the New York set, The Ben Hur set and the majority of Courthouse Square was destroyed.

Seventh Fire, 1997 occurred where a portion of the Courthouse Square was again destroyed leaving the Courthouse itself to live another day.

The most damage was done June 1, 2008 when a three alarm fire broke out on the back-lot of Universal Studios. The fire started when a worker using an acetylene torch while welding accidentally caught on with the surroundings. The Los Angeles County Fire Department reported that Brownstone Street, New York Street, New England Street, the King Kong attraction, some structures that make up the Courthouse Square and the Video Vault had burned down (not to be confused with the actual Film Vault - the Video vault contains duplicates of the films).


Went on July 19, 2011 to Universal Studios & Studio Lot Tour. After the Studio Lot Tour, It had sparked an interest to pursue my dream of becoming an Art Director.

Filming Set in New England. Cast members were waving at us.

New York Streets. Almost can not tell they weren't the real thing.

Hollywood Movie Productions, Universal Studios Wild West

How to make rain look like rain in the movies, for the camera and yourself to see...

As we know rain is a little hard to see, so how do they make it look noticeable in the movies, you ask. Well it is not complicated at all, Just add Milk... That is all it takes for you to see it in the movies and for the camera to capture it. 

How to make a massive flood in the movies...

Kodak Theatre Hollywood, Los Angeles

Walk where many have walked before you... Jack Nicholson, Meryl Streep, Nicholas Cage, Johnny Depp, Kate Winslet, Elizabeth Moss, David Hasseloff, Brad Pitt, Jennifer Aniston, Colin Firth, Russel Crowe, Lea Michele, Gwyneth Paltrow, Julia Stiles, Robert Morse, Ryan Seacrest, .... And many many more.

Right now as you can notice a little in the photograph, there are stores along the side but when a award show is due to happen, they close up the shops and make it appear as there were no stores to begin with. How neat eh!

The tall fluorescent white back-light pillars along side the staircase are from every year dating back through the 1950s, 1960s, etc to Today showcasing the Best Picture from that year. 

Across from the Kodak Theatre is where Jimmy Kimmel does his late night show and to the left will be the Chinese Theatre with quite a few of the stars hand and foot print - but only those actors that have had a film premiered there. Latest addition was the Harry Potter Cast, Emma, Robert and Daniel. 

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Road Trips

There is nothing more exciting than a road trip. Either if it is across Canada, North America, United States or even Europe for that matter.
Although it may look or sound like it can get boring just sitting in a car driving. Think of it this - You get to bond more with your friend(s), see new scenery's (such as when I drive through Jasper, it is such a beautiful sight with the mountains), There are a lot of road trip activities, or create your own fun activities to keep things entertaining.
License plate game, I Spy (might be a kiddy game, but all these games can accommodate your own variations) Such as, the License plate game, you can instead of trying to find all 50 states (which is a lot harder than it sounds) Example: if a car drives past you with three letters 'tic' in it, you have to try and name off all the words with 'tic' in it, like Fantastic, pathetic, ecstatic... you get the point.

What are some your variations of Travel games?

My List below trying to collect ALL 50 states during my road trip to Florida from Louisiana...
New Mexico
New York
South Carolina
North Carolina
New Jeresy
Rhode Island

Challenge, can you get more than me?

Monday, September 05, 2011

Contiki Hotel - Jasper, Alberta

Normally the only time I spend the night in a nice hotel is when I am on Contiki Holiday. But see a friend of mine who've i met on my LA Explorer Tour Last month - July 2011 was on his Canada Tour and had a stop over in Jasper so I went to go meet up with him and had the chance to catch up.

My Third Contiki Reunion this year.

I had found out which hotel was the Contiki Hotel and booked my one night. Free parking behind the hotel. Restaurant, Lounge and Gaming Lounge within the Hotel.

It had been a while i had been in the Town of Jasper - and it is not a big area, you can walk across one end of the town to the other in less than an hour. Do not forget to visit 'Jasper the Bear'

Read my other post on Jasper the Bear and his History.

Now this is the room I had stayed in, not being on a Contiki Tour - i had met up with my friend and went up to his room. Much nicer room and bigger if i may add. So do not worry you get a bigger and better room when you are on a Canadian Tour, on the stopover in Jasper, Alberta with Contiki.

Any guesses on how much this room cost? Queen sized bed, Shared bathroom down the hall, Cable TV, sink, Mountain View.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Photo Proof

I thought my proof of wearing my WONDERFUL Contiki shirt while on tour was lost when i had lost my camera on my Birthday in Santa Monica. But then a friend uploaded her photos from the LA Tour. And there it was, her and I on Angels Flight, downtown Los Angeles... me wearing the shirt.

July 28 2011 - Tonight show with Jay Leno with Emma Stone. If you can see me across from the band. I was wearing this Contiki Shirt then also.

Have you met Jasper the Bear?

Located in downtown Jasper.

Jasper the Bear is a landmark for the town. Created by James Nathaniel a Canadian cartoonist from Winnipeg, his cartoon character of Jasper the Bear was famous throughout Canada from 1948 to 1972 and remains as the mascot of Jasper National Park.

In 1962, Jasper was adopted as the official mascot for Jasper National Park in Alberta erecting a statue of Jasper at the Train Station where it remains to this day.

Today it stands to the right of the visitor centre and, Jasper the Bear is as tall as 6'-7' feet. It is customary to visit Jasper the Bear only if you are just passing through or staying for a couple nights. It is one of those landmarks, so do not forget to take your camera with you when you visit Jasper the Bear.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Even California has Seasons

What a BIG difference time of year makes...

Santa Monica Beach .... January 2, 2011
Hardly anyone out and about and if you did see a big crowd, guarantee it was tourists and not locals. And yes California does see rain.

Santa Monica Beach .... July 17, 2011
It did not rain one day when I was back in Los Angeles in the summer, it was beautiful and HOT every day. Now this is the LA everyone enjoys and loves. Not the January season. 

As you can tell from the different pictures, July the beach is a lot more crowded and the parking lot is packed full that you can not find a parking spot. I know this for a fact because, Brooke and I went to Newport Beach for our beach day but unfortunately it took us forever to find a parking lot we did not have enough time to have a beach day. Instead we found a place to have lunch and walked around. Newport Beach is lovely. But again going back to Santa Monica Beach was not very exciting probably because I had been there before back in January 2, 2011 so therefore i saw everything once before, I ended being the "Contiki" tour guide in our small group.

Tip for anyone visiting Los Angeles in the summer, DO NOT PACK JEANS. I made a mistake of wearing jeans one morning because it looked and started out being chilly but it warmed up FAST. And we had to make a pit stop at Sears department store so i could buy a skirt and change.

Although the nice thing about visiting Santa Monica in January is the less crowds. Sure there is still crowds but not has huge as they were in July. Less people shopping on Third Street so that was nice. 
The fact that I did not like was the fact I arrived into Santa Monica after dark because the train got delayed because of a tree bush was on the tracks and they had to go clear it and then my bus delayed and not at the station in Van Nuys. As by then it was getting quite dark out at 5pm - I got out my phone and texted EVERYONE back home to see if anyone was near a computer to get me a number for a taxi. funny enough i had two people respond, my mother of course and my boss. That is another thing I got to see in January the rush hour traffic. 

So i knew that when i returned back to Los Angeles (which I did not know it would have been six months, it just worked out that way) I did not want to arrive after dark, so i made sure my flights arrived in the morning/afternoon. And i would advise the same for anyone traveling to Los Angeles. It is a different city after dark.

I had rented a car when i went back in July and the Traffic on the Freeways were not as bad as that one night in January. The only worst driving I found to be stressful and not fun was LOS ANGELES DOWNTOWN. but the Freeways were peaceful at times except for when you get into the carpool lane and  your GPS tells you to take the next right, merging over to the far Right was not easy because drivers in LA is not as polite as drivers back home in Canada. When in Canada we need to switch lanes we put on our blinker and start moving over and the driver behind us let us in. Nope not in LA you have literally PUSH your car in front of the other car for them to back off. It is almost like free for all. 

I will tell you this, Driving in Edmonton, Alberta used to be very stressful for me... well few days ago i was driving in the city to meet a friend for coffee and i did not feel any stress. Los Angeles Traffic/Driving has done it for me, I am not sure what it has done but it has done something major and I am thankful for it.

Differences between the "seasons" - Traffic is heavier in January and lighter in July. 
Beaches are EMPTY in January and CROWDED in July.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Food around the World (Australia)

Bringing a little of Australian Into Canada...

Hot Chip Sandwich

If you have a favorite dish of your country's - please post it here. I would love to try it. I will try my best to cook it as well as you. So please share your favorite dishes - I would love to read them and will try and TRY them all. Post away!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Exploring Central Alberta (Day One)

When it comes to Alberta, People only realize it as where Jasper, Banff, Calgary or Edmonton is located. But what they do not know is all the other small Towns, Villages and Hamlets that make Alberta for what it is.

First stop of the day... Seba Beach, Alberta. Right now the population is currently sitting at 1,000. But here is the shocker part - it drops in the winter to about 60 people. So as the numbers show you - it tends to be more of a Summer home/getaway location. The Picture on the left used to be a Hotel, years back in its day - way before i started coming around and living in the area. Now it is just residences. But can not tear it down because it will cost a fortune. Although it does not need to come down, it is still in good stable condition just has a rustic look to it, so the owner is believe it or not spray painting it right to give it a more clean look to it.

Want to know the history of this Hamlet... Seba Beach? Just head on down to its Museum/gift shop. Yes that is correct gift shop. Everyone needs a little piece of Seba Beach in their Travel Souvenirs.
Another piece of history... The picture on your Left again was the Restaurant in town but then they sold it and the new owners did not want to keep it as a restaurant so they converted it to their own private residences. And the law of Seba Beach is once a building turned into residences, it can not be turned back into commercial. Seba Beach is very strict on how many businesses are allowed in our Hamlet because we do not want to be over runned by commercial. Which is lovely because who really needs a Wal-Mart, 2 minutes from their door? I don't.

Being called Seba Beach, it does have a Beach.. the Name does not lie.

It is not a glamour as Santa Monica Beach, or Greece or Hawaii but it is our Hamlet's Beach and we love it. This shot on the right was taken on Seba Days - during the sand castle building contest. It is a HUGE event that happens every August Long Weekend. Best way to explain it to outsiders is telling them it is our "canada day". We have a Parade, ice cream eating contest, Water Parade (Sail by), Volleyball, Land Events up at the school grounds, Farmers Market. It is a always a great day in Seba Beach during Seba Days.

Next Stop...

Lake Isle. I was on my way to Evansburg to run some errands when i noticed the Lake Isle sign straight ahead and since I have not been on the otherside before, i figured i would let my car take me for a drive. Lake Isle is just the opposite side of Seba Beach.

I thought the drive through Lake Isle would be something more spectacular... but nope! And the two roads that I did drive down that were somewhat more activity than others, i ended up to these Cul-De-Sac's but can we call really call them that when they do not have houses around them. The Cul-De-Sac I used to live in, in Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta it was actually a Cul-De-Sac. Apparently Cul-De-Sac means something else in the country.

I was on hunt for the beach and i thought i was on way to finding a beach when i saw FRY's Beach sign... But no beach was found. Except for a boat launch, outhouses, camping stoves, and day camping lots.
But I was able to get a shot in of the Lake... so here located to your left, a shot of Lake Isle, Alberta. I made sure i got the two posts in with bushes around and the opening in the middle to showcase the lake. So there is my one Photography shot of the day.
Next Stop... Wabamun. A Village of 690 people and 20 minutes east of Seba Beach and Lake Isle.

Nature walking trail.. which you really get into nature there so be sure to wear your bug spray and is located a 5 minute walk from downtown Wabamun. But really you can walk from one end of Wabamun to the other in less than an hour so do not think it is a LONG walk because really it is not. Just out for a stroll with friends, or with your pet, or photography. You will enjoy the views.