Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Making your summer unforgettable

#1 to making your summer unforgettable

Requesting tickets to see a taping of your favorite Tonight Show in Los Angeles and actually getting a email responses back saying CONGRATSULATIONS.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Contiki Revealed

Once in a while I will catch myself remembering back to my first Contiki Tour, New Year San Francisco. My first experience with Contiki and it was a memoriable one. What a great way to spend New Years - with Contiki and New friends.

December 29, 2010

Our group of six the pre-departure group that we all met the first night when we went down to the lobby for the pre departure meeting. After learning our tour manager was not going to show up so we all went out for a drink. First stopped was a little place called The Hot Spot which was not really Hot.

Later I learned when I got home that we there on the wrong night.

After Rob downed a beer, we set out to find another pub and we found a great place called, Smugglers Cove. this is the place you must go to if ever in the San Francisco area.

The six of us only had one drink and spent the rest of the evening just chating away. Not sure how long it was but we figured we better leave as the place was getting busier and we were taking up seats.

Earlier that day when i arrived in San Francisco Brooke and i met in the hotel lobby and went shopping and had a late lunch or early dinner, which ever you want to call it at a great little Thai place.

December 30, 2010

First day was a great day, got onto the bus and the driver (Richard) took us all over the place, first we walked across the golden gate bridge and Richard met us on the other side. then we toured Marin County, then went to San Francisco's "Central Park".

Monte started playing Full House Theme song as we were driving up to the seven famous houses. The driver even stopped and let us get out to take a picture, That was a beauty to see, being a fan of full house and all.

Then near the end we went up to Twin Peaks, it was a beautiful sunny clear day which made it perfect to see the entire city from that high up.

Afterwards we went to Little Italy and had this great pizza, almost as good as if you were in Italy. Monte went to go pick up our transit 3 day pass while we all ate. 

Then everyone went their own way, walked along Fishermans Wharf with, Corey, Rob, Brooke. Got to see the Sea Lions at Pier 31. It was tough to watch the sailboats on San Francisco Bay.
We decided to get on the Bus to take us back to the Hotel, well that was a good idea at Rush hour, in about 10 minutes we moved not even a block. the bus driver even had to get out as she was getting mad and had to tell the passengers in the back to move away from the door. She was not happy. So we decided to get off and walk the rest.
Well Brooke and I were standing up a lady was pushing us so she could get to our seat. people in san francisco not that kind. Brooke was getting mad because the lady was pushing us further away from the door so we missed our one stop that we wanted to get off due to the volume on the bus.

It was an experience to have in the City of San Francisco.

December 31, 2010

New Years Eve Day started as early as 7am at Alcatraz which took approximately two hours because Brooke and I stopped at the beginning to watch the video, history of Alcatraz.
Then got the audio tour which I recommend doing that way you are not just walking around not knowing what you’re looking at.

By 11am Brooke and I got back on the boat to the mainland as we had to be at the Bike and Roll for the Bike Tour. That was very fun and a lot of work, climbing those hills and riding across the Golden Gate Bridge with the wind. Rob and Mandie rode the bikes back to Bike and Roll but the rest of the group took the Ferry back.

Monte wanted everyone to go to Buena Vista Café for the best Irish Coffee in San Francisco. But it was 4pm and we had to get ready for that FUN evening aboard the Dinner Cruise, so Cameron and I took a taxi back to the Hotel.

That was fun, how fast the Taxi’s went down and up those hills, Fun!

I never danced so much, whenever I sat down to rest either Monte (Tour Manager) or Rob would grab my hand and drag me back to the dance floor.

Around Midnight, I watched the fireworks from the top level of the cruise with Rob and to this day I still do not know how I ended upstairs. The rest of the Contiki group was right outside by the door.

Walking back to the hotel I had Rob’s arm and at some points I had Monte’s and Rob’s arm… Monte would walk by and im oh just what I need and I grabbed his arm, lol! Back at the Hotel we were all hanging out in the hallway, as I stood up the Weed smell from the other hotel rooms were making me sick. After standing up I ended up in Corey’s arm just resting…. Until Rob took me and walked me back to my room.

January 1, 2011

Morning after… I should have stayed in bed instead of getting up, I drank so much water that day. Monte took us to a nice restaurant for a nice breakfast. Rest of the group went to China town and I stayed in bed sleeping. I was worn out. But I did go out and walked City of San Francisco and found out where I had to go the next morning.

January 2, 2011

5-6am got in the taxi and took me to Amtrak… Driving the coast of California, a beauty to see. And then the bus stopped in Santa Barbara and got onto the Train to Van Huys. Train was delayed a little due to a tree branch on the track. Arriving in Van Huys, there was no bus… so great and it was getting dark, not my ideal way to enter Los Angeles… So I texted anyone back home that was near a computer to find me a taxi cab number and called a cab to take me to my Hostel and good thing I did… although I got to see the FWY backed up at rush hour, it did not last long.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Pic of the Week

Biggest Mall in North America, Bigger than Mall of America

In the Picture you see the giant pirate ship, and the submarines, Sea Lions. Now this is only 1/4 of the Mall, there is much much more.

Located in Edmonton, Alberta Canada

Thursday, June 23, 2011

What not to bring... but if you must

first suitcase i took to california on my first Contiki Tour... now i am questioning why i took such a small suitcase even though i packed a duffle bag inside so ended up with two going home which was a good idea because shopping in Santa Monica, Los Angeles - came home with more clothes!

Although if you must bring such a small suitcase, there are many helpful hints you can do to maximize space...

#1 Lay out everything you expect to take on vacation
remember to add your non clothing items...

#2 Roll 'em
works wonders... give it a try and you will be hooked

#3 Rolling more clothes together is better
putting three items together and rolling them, bigger radius means fewer wrinkles

#4 Packing your suitcase
first layer stack any clothing you did not roll, dont bother rolling jeans just fold them in half and they fit just right
heavy stuff like boots and guidebooks should go at the bottom of the suitcase

#5 the suitcase is packed - mostly
you want the clothing to fill up the bag if you are lucky and have some space left over, fill it up with something light

Tip 1: pack a washcloth, why? because very rare especially in the cheaper hotels in europe you will get one

Tip 2: if you like to shop, to make space in your suitcase at the end of your trip take some old clothing you do not want to keep toss them at a appropriate moment

#6 Fill those suitcase pockets
if you are carrying on your suitcase you can place your carry on items in the pockets but if you not carrying on your suitcase do not store your valuables, fragiles, or photographic items.
And at least carry on one change of clothes just in case if they do lose your luggage 

Tip 3: compressor bag, helps reduce the size of your clothes by sucking out the air

Tip 4: do not buy black, about 90 percent of the bags look exactly the same. identify your bag!  

Tip 4: Identify your bag (luggage tag, piece of cloth or ribbon, etc)

#7 Pack a empty bag
folding a duffle bag inside so when at the end of your trip you can seperate your items, after all that shopping you have done

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

How to take Perfect Pictures

Summer is here for some places and others there are questions if summer is here or not because it will not stop raining. But either way summer is here, school is out for most of us and that means summer vacation time. And how do we document the summer vacation.... pictures!

How to take perfect pictures of mother nature, whether it is across the country or around the corner. Mother nature has so much to offer for us photographers or the average joes that just want to have fun this summer.

"Nature photography is as much a science as it is an art."

Explore the area, scout it out and always have your camera ready to ensure you get that perfect photo. Wildlife can appear without notice so timing is everything. Shoot in the early morning or late afternoon as it produces the most ideal light and the wildlife is the most active.

Change your perspective, close ups of animals are at their eye level so crouch down, lie down or climb up trees to get the best shot of them.

Freeze their flight, pre set a rapid shutter speed at least 1/500th of a second for fast moving wildlife that is likely to flee or use a camera with a fast and precise auto focus like Samsung NX11.

The NX11 iFunction lens makes changing settings such as the shutter speed, aperture and white balance faster with the touch of a button and the adjustment ring. No need to take your eyes off the viewfinding so you can continue to track a moving object easily.

Enjoy yourself properly, as point and shoot cameras are perfect for snapshots of friends and family, nature photography requires equipment that's more dynamic and offers a wider selection of settings and lens options. A lens at least 200mm in focal length or more will give you great wildlife images.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Money around the world

There are 186 currencies around the globe. I will try and get them all. If i happen to miss one, help a girl out :).

#1 an easy one to start with. what country is this from? your correct its from Canada. Even though there is a huge hint, its written on the dollar bill. Every bill is a different color.
$10 - pinkish color
$5 - blue
$2 - red (although we no longer have two dollar bills but i have seen and held one so they did exist)
$50 - red
$100 - brown

Americans are always intrigued seeing our money and the many colors our bills come in. And our Loonie ($1) and our Toonie ($2).

#2. Another easy bill to recognize. American! Now it is a little harder to determine which bill is which because $1, $5, $10, $20, $50, $100 are all green so becareful when you are tipping a taxi or at a restaurant that you are giving $10 not $100.

Here is another interesting fact - United States had produced a "Loonie" but the americans did not like it as it caused more change to be held in their pocket.

#3. Argentina Peso.
Before 1826 the Peso was a name often used for the silver spanish eight-real coin. And at this time Argentina began issuing its own coins. As the 1-Peso coin replaced the $1-Peso bill in 1994 (and the $1-Peso Bill is not currently in use).

$2 - light blue
$5 - green
$10 - Brown
$20 - red
$50 - Black
$100 - Violet
#4. Euros
sole currency of 17 EU member states
(Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Solvenia and Spain.)

coins - $2, $1, 50c, 20c, 10c, 5c

notes - $500 (violet), $100 (green), $200 (yellow), $50 (orange), $20 (blue), $10 (red), $5 (gray).

Interesting fact - their $100 and $50 euro does not fit into North American Wallets. My father had to fold it in half so it would not hang out and rip. Then while we were in Naples having lunch at my second cousins place, my father compared his wallet to Ghetto's wallet and Ghetto's was bigger to fit the $100 euros.
Stay Tuned.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

World Traveller at any age

Recently learned I have travelled to Germany and Vienna, Austria.... The only thing was that i was a year old.

So you could say i have always been a world traveller.

 Me in Frankfurt.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Wabamun, Alberta

Next Stop in Alberta Icon Road Trip

Wabamun, Alberta

Largest Dragonfly

Greeting everyone as they enter the Village of Wabamun from the Yellowhead Highway is the "Spirit of Wabamun", the world's largest dragonfly. Erected in 2009, the dragonfly was chosen because of the abundance of dragonfly hatchlings in the nearby lake. The 30' wide insect was made from recycled materials including old aircraft wings, a light standard and propane tanks.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Westlock, Alberta

Next stop on the Alberta Icon Road Trip

The Canadian Tractor Museum is home to The World's Largest Tractor Weather Vane, which features a 1942 Model-D Case Tractor atop a 15m (50') pole. The Museum is a world class facility dedicated to over 200 fully restored antique tractors and is located at 9704-96 avenue.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Fort Assiniboine, Alberta


The World's Largest Wagon Wheel adn Pick Axe reflects the rich cultural heritage of the Fort Assiniboine area. The hamlet was a major trade and supply point during the Hudson's Bay-era and was also an important location during the Klondike Gold Rush.

Located in Woodlands County, the icon stands next to the Fort Assiniboine Museum. The museum provides an insightful afternoon of discovery pertaining to the development of Western Canada. 

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

1 month to go

So here is something funny to tell you - Yesterday i was sitting at work at the Front Desk and glanced at the Calender and a little burst of excitement came out, it was priceless. It was so priceless that I can't do it the same way again... the small noise that came out with the burst of excitement, priceless! Still chuckling over it. Well here it has arrived.. 1 month left to go until my next Adventure with Contiki.

1 state, 3 nights hotel, 2 breakfasts, 1 dinner, and....... drum roll please...... 1 incomparable experience.

10 tens in total in the Golden State of California. Decided to stick around a few extra days and relax and take in the atmosphere of Los Angeles.

What is first on my agenda..... hopping off the plane at LAX.

 Take the shuttle to Kyoto Hotel.

Drop off my bags.

Head over to the tattoo parlor.

Get my second tattoo finally permanently inked onto my skin.

Meet up with the Tourmates...
Then start the greatest trip of the summer with Contiki.

I cannot wait to get back to Los Angeles, Santa Monica Beach... Oh my!! This time it will be HOT enough to get that bikini on and lay in the sun and scout out all the LA guys ;).

And only 1 month left to go! <3 :)