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.

Pic of the Week

August 11, 2011
Implosion of the TransAlta Wabamun's Power House.
8:00am Sharp it came down.

10 minutes before...
  1 minutes after....

An hour after the implosion...

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Worst thing to lose while Traveling

Your Camera.... And i had the pleasure of losing it on my last adventure in Los Angeles, California (July 2011) on none other than my Birthday and It was only day two of the tour and i had already taken A TON of photos. At least I didn't pay anything for it... It was my Brother's old camera which he had given me for Christmas last year...

I was so bummed out but the next day i got over it and enjoyed a game of beer pong with my friends in Glendora, California. Had so much more exciting days to look forward to, like the Taping of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (July 21, 2011)... And it is not like i did not have a camera, Had my blackberry which they take really good pictures!! So the question will be... will I buy a new camera for my next Trip to London, England / Paris, France?

I just have been "burrowing" pictures from the Tour from fellow tour mates, as they post them on Facebook.


Monday, August 08, 2011

Contiki Hotel San Francisco

Hotel Whitcomb.... Contiki does it again!

Now their rooms aren't that huge compared to the Kyoto Grand Hotel in Los Angeles but their still Contiki Style...

With a beautiful view of Market Street...

Contiki Hotel Los Angeles

what can I say... Contiki knows how to travel! Hotel located downtown Los Angeles, a 5 minute shuttle drive that the hotel provides to Staples Center. Close to Union Station.

Oh and let's not forget the beauty of this hotel...

That's right.. a Garden rooftop... A Japanese Garden

Pic of the Week

Where am I?

New York... But not any New York City. Universal Studio New York City.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

beginner's luck

Objective of the game, ten cups filled with beer in a triangle on either side of the table and two ping pong balls. Throw them in the other person's cups and the more you get the ping pong balls in the more they have to drink and vice versa. If you get the ping pong ball into the cup three in a row, then you have to say out loud "I'm on fire"

You can end up drinking a lot of beer.

Half way through the night i had trouble drinking the beer, it was just getting too much.

I even got "on fire" once... Beginner's luck!

If you have not played the game before, get a group of friends together and play it.