How the Cookie Crumbles

Life and scribbles on the far side of SIXTY-FIVE


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Rocky Mountaineer: An Unexpected Bonanza

Time to leave this little piece of heaven. The sun leaned low and bright, too hot to wait outside for the arrival of our bus. Some people wore jackets. Why? (unless they ran out of space in their bags—a longshot?). I’m usually the lone chicken in the crowd who complains I’m cold.

The short bus arrived (also called a minibus). Mary and I, and one other female boarded. Goodbye, sensational Lake Louise; goodbye spectacular mountains. No, we weren’t done with them yet. They followed us all the way to Banff, the young lady’s stop.

Talk about luck. The original plan had been a direct transport from Lake Louise to Calgary airport. This stop was a huge bonus and not just a passing one. Banff is tiny—population under 250— about a third of the way to Calgary from Lake Louise. The driver dropped the woman off in front of her apartment. Yeah, I know. Imagine that. He had business to attend to, something about a package, and parked behind a mini-mall on the main street. He’d be back in about an hour. We had a crowded Tim Horton’s at our disposal, a gift shop, a large sitting area, a few businesses, and a substantial ladies’ washroom.

I’d heard stories of the mind-blowing mountains here and we aimed to explore. When would an opportunity like this come again? Brilliant and majestic mountains surrounded Kamloops, too, but these seemed closer.

Someone announced we were leaving. From nowhere, a handful of passengers boarded behind us, a few from the large sitting area inside the strip mall. The mountains disappeared into the horizon one by one. Once we passed the exit for Kananaski, I noticed how the landscape flattened into the level, unexciting fields, and grassland, less interesting landscape I’m used to. I’ll be the first one to confess I felt something had been snatched away from me—something that left a hole.

The traffic increased but no real congestion. As we grew closer, a couple signs for the airport popped up.

The airport was easy to maneuver, unlike the one in Toronto. I no longer remembered lunch or even breakfast. We disposed of our luggage and proceeded to check out the food situation such as it is in airports.

We had time to kill. The sun burned hot through the glass wall of windows in the waiting area. I huffed and puffed till I turned my chair around. It was heavy. Another passenger decided to redecorate as well. Though my iPad held a dense library of books, I wasn’t up to screen reading. If need be, there would be time enough on the plane. A snooze sounded enticing but not yet.

~ * ~

Next on October 26th – Rocky Mountaineer: What Now?

© 2018 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

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Rocky Mountaineer: Kamloop Scoops

My first photo clicks at the beginning of our walk about town are the following. Is there anything more Canadian than CBC Radio?

Most cars on the street were parked; pedestrians few. The traffic was slow and the roads not busy, but we did bump into other travellers from our tour group with the same thoughts of exploration until the lights came back on at our end of town. Our dinner vouchers for The Noble Pig Brewhouse next door to our hotel were useless until someone figured out the electricity situation.

I’m not sure why I was surprised at not seeing any jewelry stores. Kamloops appeared chock-full of restaurants, though. One drew our attention like a magnet. A messy line-up of waiting patrons mobbed the entrance and sidewalk in an enthusiastic party atmosphere. We managed to wedge our way inside through the crowd since we had time to kill. The predicted wait time for seating did not appeal but the celebratory atmosphere did. Not especially ready to eat, we fought our way outside again.

We walked and walked peering inside restaurants till my feet complained and moseyed back to our hotel. The Nobel Pig was still dark. Dim emergency lights flickered in the hotel lobby and somehow the registration desk computer worked. Frustrated by the inconvenience, Mary and I decided to hit the sidewalk again with the hope some restaurant with electricity would have room for us two. I needed to sit to rest my aching feet.

What appeared a tiny restaurant with no lineup turned out to be much larger once inside. The menu to our liking, we settled on the Dorian Greek House and almost immediately, a server seated us. I ordered Greek Salad, as had Mary but hers with the addition of Spanakopita. The orders were so generous, we should have ordered one and shared. How my tummy swelled.

Emergency lights only were on at the hotel. I ached for a relaxing foot massage and a good book. A gentleman of 80+ insisted on talking to the tour company to complain about having to pay for dinner. He made a point of making it known he was Doctor so-and-so, yadda-yadda-yadda. He would not be mollified no matter what the staff tried. Cut off from the first call they put through, a staff member redialed for him again and someone brought him a chair.

Too much drama. We headed up the stairs to our semi-dark room at 8:00 p.m. Without thinking, Mary flicked on the bathroom light switch on our way inside and surprise, surprise, we had light. Huh. I tried a lamp and the TV. Our world sank back into darkness again.

Daylight still shone outside but with not enough to read. I’d had it. I changed for bed but tossed and turned for ages. The room temperature had risen, the air heavy and muggy. Mary soon threw in the towel, too. I woke several times due to the humidity. Short of 11:00, a bleep announced power’s return but noting the time I drifted back to sleep. The next time I woke, the bathroom light was on. I scrambled to turn on the air conditioner.

~*~

Next on September 14 – Rocky Mountaineer: On the Rails Again

© 2018 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles


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North to Alaska: Shopping, Saloons, and Beer

The open door of a large bar and grill is all Mary needed to take as an invitation to come inside for a sit and a tall one. A handful of thirsty patrons at scattered tables and at the bar looked up as we strolled in from the bright outdoors. Bottled domestic beer went for a reasonable $4.50 a bottle USD, whereas, draft sold for $6.00. We chose Denali Gold draft and sat at the bar. Mary sweet-talked the genial, young bartender into a glass of mixed nuts for munching. A handful more thirsty tourists wandered into the darkened interior. I hadn’t brought American dollars this trip, except for a credit card and wasn’t about to charge one glass. Thank goodness, Mary was flush with cash.

Rehydrated, we drifted into an interesting dress shop, or Mary did and I followed, but thank goodness, neither of us got caught up in trying on all the pretty clothes. American fashion is so much more attractive than what we’ve seen in Canada for years. We meandered from one store to another till we ended up in The Shirt Company where—true confession, don’t tell anyone—I weakened and picked up a couple shirts, postcards, socks, and Alaska fridge magnets for everyone back home. I hate shopping and have no idea what drove me to go all out like this. Maybe telling myself I’d never be this way again had something to do with my spending spree. When I’m good, I’m squeaky clean; when I’m bad, I’m terrible.

I have not found much about this interesting building called the Arctic Brotherhood Camp

Little foot traffic in Skagway and with the chilly but decent weather, we took lots of pictures.

We stepped into a saloon (and museum) not knowing what to expect. The patrons were wax figures as were all the props, food on the counter included. At first glance and a second later, we noticed they were still.

Interesting posters:

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Next, we stepped into the famous Red Onion Saloon

For dinner, we opted for a restaurant (The Rotterdam) on the ship instead of the grill and buffet we’d frequented. Seated at a table for 10, we had to wait till the table filled up before anyone would take our order though menus were handed out as we lowered into our chairs. A young blonde female vegan from South Dakota joined us. A couple from Australia and another couple from Calgary came along, but they were too far away across the wide table for a proper conversation.

Because it took a long time to finally order and eat, we were too late for the Magician’s show we’d been planning to see.

~ * ~

Next on May 18th – Inlets, Wilderness, and a Polar Bear Dip

© 2018 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles


Holy Cow! So, this is Macau.

Image Courtesy of Sally Cronin

I tried multi-tasking: take pictures, scribble notes, and look around in an effort not to miss anything we passed. While taking pictures, I feared dropping my pen and losing it. Pens are not left in hotel rooms for guests as they are in North America and my gel pens were running low on ink.

We arrived at the hotel and were dropped off as close to the south door without scraping the building. The check-in area was jam-packed with humans of every stripe. Instructed to stand off to the side, our new local guide, Cheryl, and the French guide, attended to our registration and room cards. I was amazed at the speed and efficiency of the process. Our luggage, already in our room 1362, Tower 2, we freshened up, free to explore for the rest of the day. Unlike the Sheraton hotel the previous night and several others earlier, this one did not feature the glass wall between the bedroom and bathroom.

This was our view. Ugly. Cranes everywhere. While passing a site on the way to our hotel, I counted at least 10 Macau China State Construction cranes. Must be more hotels coming. The expanse of reclaimed land is mindboggling.

  • Sheraton Macau 3, 800+ rooms (the largest Sheraton in the world)
  • Has two towers: called Earth and Sky
  • Built on reclaimed land
  • Like a huge city inside
  • Huge reception area with a half-dozen counters at Check-in, each one roped off
  • Palm tree setting in sitting area off the check-in area
  • No passports necessary: this is visa-free territory
  • Huge casino across from check-in (behind a wall but evident: Tingtingtingtingting)
  • Huge Ralph Lauren Store, the first one off the lobby
  • Huge shopping mall off the lobby
  • Can convert money with local guide or at hotel (to Hong Kong money)
  • Steering wheel is on the right
  • Driving is on the left side of the road
  • Bus drivers have no problem making U-turns at will

Sue and I set off. The first escalator we came upon confused me. There were two side-by-side. Odd, I thought. Both were headed downward. The ascending ones must be on the other side. Sue laughed when I mentioned this. “Have another look,” she said. I had to concentrate. Not only do cars drive on the opposite side of the road here, and drivers sit on the ‘wrong’ side, the elevators run opposite as well. The up elevator was on the left where at home it would be the down elevator.

This is the first time we had to find our own dinner. We explored the Food Court on the third floor of the hotel.  Since we’d come across a couple KFC, MacDonald’s, and Starbucks in our China travel, we’d hoped to eat something North American (think burger or pizza). No such luck.

We decided to explore the Venetian Macau Hotel across the street. Taking an elevator in a different direction we crossed the street in an overhead, glassed-in bridge or walkway with a lookout.

 The street below the overhead bridge on the way to the Venetian.

The Venitian is massive. Brand name stores everywhere. Six hundred of them. Lots of people but few customers buying diamonds, exotic perfumes, or outrageous shoes. We were lost,then found a map, but it didn’t help. A sales clerk selling make-up, although she spoke good English, couldn’t help us. Upon sighting a gondola in a canal, it was tempting to whistle the gondolier over but we didn’t. Finally, we stumbled into the food court. All Chinese food. Wait. A place called Fat Burger. Better not after the raw pork incident. Is that a Pizza Pizza? Nope the logo wasn’t right but we settled for their pizza anyway.

The Sheraton is the largest hotel not only in Macau, but in the world, and the Venetian has the largest casino.

Breaking News: (sorry for the commercial)

Macau Slowdown

~ * ~

Next on December 22nd: On to Hong Kong and Wow!

© 2017 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

FYI: This is a re-blog of the best parts of my trip in 2014

~ * ~

I am currently on an unplanned sabbatical. I hope to return but when is the question. Thank you for your supportive reading, reblogging, and tweeting. I DO appreciate your kind and continued follows far beyond my inadequate words.

 


Zhahai to Magnetic Macau

Image Courtesy of Sally Cronin

I’m not sure when the bus switched to the left side of the road. I blinked as vehicles passed alongside on the wrong side. This was a huge surprise and a shock. First unexpected palm trees and then

First agenda item: a bus tour of the Macau. We gawked like children, at least I did and cannot say exactly how everyone else reacted. Cameras clicked in such rapid succession, it sounded as if a bomb might go off. We’d arrived at The Monte Carlo of Asia, the Las Vegas of the East.

Lunch Buffet:

Salad fixings

  • Red cabbage
  • Romaine
  • Baby corn
  • Tomatoes
  • Cukes
  • Chickpeas
  • Italian dressing

Main

  • Baked Ox Tongue with creamy cream cheese
  • Roasted Chicken with chili and white wine
  • Red kidney beans stewed with pork
  • Fish Fillet with beer batter
  • Sautéed mixed vegetables
  • Spaghetti with tomato sauce
  • Rotini with red pepper sauce
  • Fried rice Chinese style
  • Steamed white rice
  • Japanese Pork Curry
  • Pizza
  • Buns
  • Congee
  • Chocolate cake
  • Pound cake
  • Red Bean Pudding
  • Stewed pear in red wine
  • Finger sandwiches
  • Cold cuts (2 kinds)
  • Potato salad
  • Pork
  • Sardines, Portuguese style
  • Coffee, tea, water. Can’t recall if there was beer. (Maybe to order?)

(I couldn’t read several scribbled items due to my rushed handwriting)

The driver dropped us off in front of the Fireworks Factory. A new local guide, Cheryl, met us. Our luggage was taken off and sent ahead to our hotel as we scurried behind the guide in the opposite direction.

© 2015Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles. All Rights Reserved.

© 2015Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles. All Rights Reserved.

Up a hill, we followed the flag-carrying guide lost on the outside parameters of the French group. Next stop: Old Macau (a little history).

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Macau Quick Facts

  • 75% income comes from the casinos
  • Gambling allowed only in Macau, nowhere else in China
  • 29 million visitors to casinos in 2013
  • Run by Chief Executive (must be Chinese, local person, and local citizenship)
  • Runs for five-year term, only re-elected once
  • Only power of Parliament is bigger than Chief Executive
  • Can vote from 18-years of age
  • Port-based laws: have own police, laws, money, postage stamps
  • Is visa-free
  • Has three bridges
  • Status of Macau now 440 years
  • Macau Flower
  • Home of Macau Grand Prix. Circuit is like Monte Carlo (3.7 miles)
  • Macau Old Garrison
  • Watch your belongings. This is a tourist city.
  • Narrow streets
  • Comprised of two islands 29.5 square km

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  • Before 1993, only 17.3 square km. Close to doubled now.
  • Language: Chinese (Cantonese).
  • Portuguese almost never spoken anymore
  • Schools teach Chinese, not Portuguese
  • Portuguese (about 2% of population) are Catholic, need children to be baptized
  • Chinese prefer to send children to Chinese schools and keep their own religion
  • Three major religions: Buddhist, Taoist, and Catholic

Video by: MichaelRogge

* * *

Next time on December 15th – Holy Cow! So this is Macau.

© 2017 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

FYI: This is a re-blog of the best parts of my trip in 2014

~ * ~

I am currently on an unplanned sabbatical. I hope to return but when is the question. Thank you for your supportive reading, reblogging, and tweeting. I DO appreciate your kind and continued follows far beyond my inadequate words.


Flight to Guangzhou

Image Courtesy of Sally Cronin

Luggage had to be outside our rooms at 10:00 p.m. the night before. The wake-up call jangled at 5:15 a.m. and we rushed to breakfast soon after 5: 30.

Breakfast

  • Fried eggs (had to wait for hot steamer refill: were rubbery)
  • Coffee, watermelon, cantaloupe, bananas
  • Buns, strawberry jam
  • Sausage (no knives for sausage or jam)

Breakfast is normally at 6:30 a.m. Who can eat even earlier in the morning? Still, I managed to stuff myself. The offerings weren’t bad (though of limited variety) considering the English eight and the French group (about 30 people) were the only early risers. We were to leave for the airport by 6:20 for an 8:00 a.m. flight. I guess the next breakfast crowd will have our leftovers.

I noticed how the landscape on our (English Eight only) bus trip to the airport changed: less mountainous or maybe just smaller mountains. The French Group was nowhere to be seen.

Lily, our guide, has an apartment in Guilin where she lives with her husband and nine-year-old daughter. They must be doing well enough because she mentioned she bought an apartment in town for her parents. Her husband works at the airport, she didn’t specify his job but confirmed he is not a pilot when someone asked.

Quick Facts

  • Nissan: most popular Japanese car in Guilin (light and good on gas)
  • Costs less than $20,000 USD
  • Insurance per year: $800.00 (imagine that, considering the number of daily accidents

The flight was uneventful this time. Upon our arrival at Guangzhou, a new tour guide awaited by the name of Helen. We guessed her age as fifty-something.  She later introduced our bus driver as Mr. Li, who he appeared to be in his mid-thirties or so. Mr. Li? After landing, the ladies needed the Happy House, but the first two washrooms were full. We continued towards baggage claim and found one which wasn’t busy.

Guangzhou Quick Facts

  • Population: 20 million
  • Area: 11,000 square kilometers
  • Third biggest city in China next to Shanghai and Beijing
  • They have no winter
  • Only three seasons
  • Spring all year round
  • Also known as flower city/spring city
© 2015 All Rights Reserved Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

© 2015 All Rights Reserved Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles  (Stairway to Five Goats Sculpture)

  • Agricultural city and market: fresh fruits, vegetables, chickens etc.
  • Restaurants crowded with local people, who prefer eating out to cooking
  • Many restaurants
  • Tea enjoyed three times a day
  • Eat two meals a day
  • 100-year old lunch restaurant is the best restaurant
  • Lots of steps because the building here are old
  • Busy shopping area
  • Has the best wood for coffins
  • Long ago locals had a poor life / lived and slept on the river in boats
  • the main occupation is shipping
  • Pearl River is the fifth-longest

Another full-sized bus for us. Of course, I agree, we must be special. Off we drove to Goat Park

© 2015 All Rights Reserved Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

© 2015 All Rights Reserved Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

The story goes: five goats from heaven brought five types of grain, presented it to the locals, and taught them how to grow them. Grateful, the people built the Five Goats Temple. Read more about it here.

~ * ~

Next on November 10th: Guangzhou

© 2017 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

FYI: This is a re-blog of the best parts of my trip in 2014

~ * ~

I am currently on an unplanned sabbatical. I hope to return but when is the question. Thank you for your faithful reading. I DO appreciate your kind and continued support far beyond my capability to express. Please bear with me.


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Beijing Part 7: Ming Tombs

word-cloud-7

Image Courtesy of Sally Cronin

After the Great Wall, a mid-day meal awaited in a local restaurant.

Lunch:

  • Spring rolls (exactly 8)
  • Fish balls with red and green peppers
  • Fried chicken
  • Eggplant with tomato and green peppers
  • Rice
  • Cauliflower and broccoli
  • Soup
  • Cut up orange wedges for dessert
  • Tea
  • The usual one small (free) glass of beer, pop or water
The Spirit Way, original road and entrance to the tombs. There are 13 tombs of which only one has been excavated (Ding Ling)

The Spirit Way: original road and entrance to the tombs. There are 13 tombs of which one only has been excavated (Ding Ling) 

Ming Tombs: where 13 emperors of the Ming Dynasty are buried (1368-1644).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sfynyPLm4Q0    (3.04 min)

If you would like a more in-depth version:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W1BqspVU2HA  (8:43 min)

Emperor Yongle with money offerings at his feet. This money is collected and used to maintain the building

Emperor Yongle with money offerings at his feet. This money is collected and used to maintain the building and no, no Chinese person would dare steal this money.  

Laundry: 

  • Hung on rope strung the length of apartment balconies
  • Clothes  hung on hangers: socks, T-shirts, sweaters, trousers, shirts, blouses
  • Did not notice any underwear or bedding

 On the way to dinner:

Robert and the driver appeared to converse more than usual. Robert’s cell rang. He talked at length. The call completed, he started another. Both he and the driver seemed tied to their phones for an unusual amount of time. Of course, I didn’t understand a word, yet it occurred to me something might be up. I can pull a rabbit out of any hat, real or imaginary.

Our bus pulled over to the curb and Robert announced he had to leave. The driver would take us to the restaurant, he said. He gave no explanation, but it wasn’t hard to see he was upset. Sue and I looked at each other. We couldn’t see any of the other’s reactions in front or behind us.

IMG_0241

Heavy traffic surrounded us. After Robert hopped off, we drove on for a short distance still in the inside lane. Vehicles crawled bumper to bumper. Another bus slowed next to ours. Sue and I sat on the left of the aisle watching through the window. I squeezed my eyes shut as a bicyclist, with no room to spare, whizzed by between our two buses. I almost had a heart attack.

The other bus moved on. We remained stock-still in the curb lane. Traffic rolled past. I thought the young fellow on the bike might have caused an accident. Traffic shifted moving past, yet our bus waited immobile. Why? By now, the whole group craned necks and raised eyebrows around the seats at each other. We noticed together, a car parked in front of the bus. Another five minutes or so dragged past. What could be happening? A man in a construction vest walked up to the car’s driver window brandishing his arms. I had no idea the car had an occupant. No translation was required. Move now he indicated. Nothing changed. A 20-something Chinese guy in black pants and a white shirt appeared at the side of the bus. The door flew open and he jumped in. The door slammed shut and I don’t recall any words exchanged with the driver. The parked car inched forward. Our bus did as well.

IMG_0243

In minutes, we turned into a driveway and a man, who might have been Security or Police, stepped in front of the bus. He waved his arms and shouted through the windshield and looked as if he wanted to push the bus back. What was going on? Words passed between the man outside and our driver or between the driver and the new passenger who hadn’t taken a seat. Too much going on to follow. The uniform vanished. The bus door opened again and the young man jumped out signaling for us to follow. I felt like a lamb on the way to heaven’s gate or maybe hell’s? All were silent, heads bowed as we passed through an alley and a maze of cars and another lot into a restaurant. I flashed my Travel Tour ID towards an approaching waitress. She led us to Table 6 which displayed our tour group name.

One of our group noticed the young man worked as a waiter there. The picture became clear. This had been an orchestrated event. Before Robert rushed off, either he or the driver had pre-arranged for our escort. The driver had stalled until the black pants and white shirt found us. The driver couldn’t leave the bus to walk us to our destination since there wasn’t room to bring the bus closer. I don’t even know if he spoke English. What teamwork!

By the time dinner finished, and we fidgeted, wondering about our return to the hotel, Robert showed up as if nothing had happened. He looked much better than when he’d dashed off. His voice, I noticed, was still a little odd. At least to me, his reason for the sudden disappearance was suspect.

“I had to see about my next tour,” he said to our obvious curiosity.

 IMG_0249

Dinner:

  • Soup with fresh chopped tomatoes
  • Rice
  • Shrimp with egg and green peppers
  • Corn with lima beans and carrots
  • Sweet and sour chicken balls
  • French fries (surprise)
  • Chicken with fungus and green peppers
  • Green leaf vegetable like spinach but not
  • Chopped mushrooms and green peppers
  • Eggplant, light spice

We returned to the hotel around 8:30 p.m. I picked up my laptop from the room and returned to the lobby for free WiFi access. I had trouble and asked the guy at reception for help. He looked at the list available and pointed to one, even though the words weren’t in Chinese. “Maybe, this one?” His choice didn’t work. He shrugged. I went off on my own, but soon became frustrated and worn out. I wanted nothing more than my bed. I gave up on e-mail.

Finally day's end

Finally day’s end. This is how my brain felt as well. 

Next on March 3rd: Beijing Part 8: Pearl Stores and Summer Palace

© 2017 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

FYI: This is a re-blog of the best parts of my trip in 2014.

 


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Beijing, Part 6: The Great Wall

word-cloud-7

Image Courtesy of Sally Cronin

I ate too much again at the buffet-style breakfast. We English 8 met in the main lobby at 8:30 a.m., then traveled an hour or so by mini tour bus to the mysterious Great Wall.

A few facts about the Wall:

  • Sticky rice soup and mortar were used to glue the bricks together
  • Started -200 BC
  • Has been worked for over 2,000 years
  • Bullet holes from last battle still evident
  • Needs expensive maintenance due to time and tourism
Some shops

                                                                              A few shops

What a happening place. Tour buses clogged available parking space. Small shops galore offered touristy goods for sale, from postcards to fridge magnets, hot tea, cold drinks and all sorts of knick-knacks. One, a department store type business, carried everything you might imagine. Would you pay $39 USD for a T-shirt or $25 for a kid-sized one? Would you pay six or seven dollars for a two-inch square fridge magnet? They also carried silk, jade, pearls, life-size Terracotta warrior replicas and furniture. Prices included shipping. For the life of me, I couldn’t sort out the prices aside from the shipping costs out of curiosity.

Approaching the Wall Steps

                                                                Approaching the Wall Steps

We left the tourist traps behind and headed uphill to the entrance of the Great Wall. We saved shopping time for later. The walk was steep. We rubbed elbows with people from all over the world (figuratively).  You don’t dare touch anyone. A light drizzle began and Sue and I escaped inside a battlement. Inside and out we meandered. Hordes and throngs of people stared at us everywhere. Our English Group 8 wandered off in different directions with an agreed on time to meet at the large department store halfway down the hill.

Looking ahead

                                                                            Looking ahead

Carolyn lost her camera on the Great Wall. She’d taken off her coat due to overheating and left it on a ledge and walked away. Ten minutes later, she realized it was missing. Dreading it would be gone, she and her husband retraced their steps anyway. Had it been me, I would have cracked under the stress and gone into shock. Forget going back to be heartbroken.

A Steady Climb

                                                                       A Steady Climb

Surrounded

                                                                           Surrounded

When Robert heard the story, he insisted on checking if the camera had been turned in. What were the chances of such luck?  He knew who to ask and was informed an announcement had been made over the Great Wall loudspeakers about ten times regarding the camera. A security guard had picked it up and turned it in. Each of us rejoiced as if it had been our own camera. Carolyn glowed.

http://www.history.com/topics/great-wall-of-china/videos/seven-wonders-the-great-wall

 Higher Now

                                                               Higher Now

At Ground Level Again. Most of these women are over 80, I'm sure, but energetic as 20-year-olds.

At ground level again: most of these women are over 80, I’m sure, but energetic as 20-year-olds.

Beijing driving and cars:

  • Rush hour is all day long, not at any specified times
  • Driving restrictions by last two digits of license number / odd vs even
  • Penalty for ignoring, sometimes 100 points
  • Drivers have 12 points per year
  • If you lose your points for the year, you must redo license.
  • If caught driving drunk, or even after 1 glass of wine or beer, can lose license forever
  • 3 million more cars since the Olympics
  • Cost of a car (i.e. Hyundai), $10,000 each, manufactured in China
  • An Elantra in 2005, cost $25,000 U.S.D.
  • Lots of new models now because more citizen able to afford cars
  • They like German models
  • Gasoline 7.8 Yuan per liter, about $1.30
I'm still standing

                                                                      I’m still standing

~ *~

Next on February 24th – Beijing, Part 7: Ming Tombs

© 2017 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

FYI: This is a re-blog of the best parts of my trip in 2014.

 


67 Comments

The New Year 2015 Advances

The house Michael’s widowed mother lives in on Thetis Island is the house she and her husband built after they married. She has a woodstove in the kitchen. Wonderful. There are a mess of bedrooms  though I didn’t get a tour (they were a large family). Her living room has a brick fireplace along the whole of one end wall, as well as a sofa and numerous comfy chairs and a piano. This is the view this room faces. Don’t you want to park yourself and dream here for a while? I do.

Jean had brought sheet music but could not find it. The only music, Lucy, her mother-in-law had were hymnbooks. We sat around the piano and sang everyone’s favorites. By midnight, worn out and ready for a soft pillow. I have no idea whose suggestion sent us to bed.

Morning brought a huge and satisfying late breakfast: steel-cut oats with raisins and homemade stewed apples, yoghurt, granola, sticky buns, pork pie, coffee and tea. Oh, my.

The next ferry to Chemainus left at 1:10. We lined up early and found a spot on board–another open air ferry. A heartwarming part of our departure is Lucy has a direct view of the departure from her deck and waves all her children goodbye when they leave. Michael waved to his mother this day, too. The air too crisp to stand outside on the ferry, Mary and I stayed in the van while Jean and Michael caught up with friends. Our had no stops and passed without incident.

Off the ferry, traffic was not busy to Nanaimo, but before we reached the next ferry, overhead road billboards announced the 3:00 o’clock ferry was full. What? How long need we wait?

Thank goodness, Jean had brought along a container of crackers, cheese, and kielbasa. We purchased drinks and wandered around to kill time in the terminal. Inside, tourist trap shops surrounded us. Less mindboggling were coffee shops (Starbucks), Frankies (a Chinese food kiosk, a pizza place and a couple others. We bought nothing except drinks.

The call to board came. We crossed our fingers on our way to the van for the hour-and-a- half crossing on the Queen of Coquitlam. Luck smiled. Once we settled and around half-way into the crossing, a ferry employee announced 1,028 passengers were on board. “Thank you for sailing with us.”

Ha ha. The Queen is the only means of crossing to Vancouver. I think it’s nice to be appreciated in this way, though don’t you? We disembarked at 6:35 pm.

Highway traffic was crazy. Dusk fell unnoticed. Headlights come in the opposite direction and backup lights of the cars ahead became obvious. Bumper-to-bumper. Stop-start. We arrived at Jean and Michael’s house by 7:45 much longer than the usual time.

Jean’s a wizard in the kitchen, though thr second youngest sister (out of five). We sat down to an amazing late, but light supper around nine: leftover-salmon (from the party) and a salad. After a seven-hour day of traveling, a quick clean-up and off to bed

Next time on December 9th Recuperation and Shopping

© 2016 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles. All Rights Reserved.

For more related posts, click on Abbreviated Vancouver

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I have been entertaining all day, Catch up with you tomorrow.  


69 Comments

Beothuks and more

Today I have a mishmash of tidbits. This hadn’t been an exciting day but one filled with lots of interesting information.

On the move again. Luggage out by 6:30 a.m. Buffet breakfast at 7:00 and on the bus by 8:00 a.m. Another wet day pressing the windshield wipers into service. Swish-swish.

Francis, our guide, read a poem: http://www.linda-ellis.com/the-dash-the-dash-poem-by-linda-ellis-.html. Check it out. Maybe you’ll enjoy it, too.

A couple from our group shared a strange incident from the night before. One of them had flipped through the TV channels for something entertaining. A particular station clicked, the air conditioner snapped on. Clicked again, and it turned off. They wondered what else might be off.

A moose will challenge anything in its way. We passed a moose killed on the road the previous night, but I didn’t see it, and we couldn’t slow down even though others asked.

Because we weren’t going to see icebergs today, Francis popped in a DVD about them. Did you know icebergs are about 10 stories high? Pieces break off, the berg rolls over and continues breaking off until it melts in summer. Check this out:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dysuQIDtdoM (Something has changed in WordPress, I can’t seem to insert videos here lately.)

First stop, the Beothuk Interpretation Centre

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Beothuk Facts:

A short stop at Little Harbour, which has one street. In June and July, there are icebergs here, but not during out visit. The weather windy, nippy and overcast, we strolled down the one short street and took pictures of root cellars, the rocky shore and the few houses.

Houses along the one road. Not a car passed us.

Old root cellar. Painted door in good repair, it must still be in use..

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More Quick Facts about Newfoundland:

  • The twin towers in New York were built by Newfoundlanders
  • Newfoundland only place you’ll find Pineapple Crush. Everyone else knows Orange Crush.
  • Doctors Banting and Best co-discovered insulin
  • Experimented on dogs
  • A boy at death’s door was first human to be injected with insulin (miraculous recovery)
  • Planting starts in early June: carrots and potatoes
  • Tomatoes need a greenhouse
  • Farmers use Biodegradable_plastic over plants to keep in heat and protect from early spring frost

Capelin Facts:

  • Capelin – member of the smelt family
  • Harvested for Japanese market
  • Russians also came to do the same
  • Especially for female roe /males discarded
  • 30 – 40% are male (a market must be found for them)
  • Occasionally an overloaded boat swamped
  • Fishermen made the best of their catch
  • A lucky fisherman took all he wanted from his nets
  • Some fishermen buddied up to make the most of a day’s catch
  • http://www.fish-fishes.com/salt_water_fish/capelin_fish.html
  • Are food for cod and puffins (we didn’t see these either as we were too late in the season)

Old Irish Tradition: Mummery (check link for Mummers’ costumes and song)

During the 12 days of Christmas, 25 to 30 people could knock on someone’s door. They’d be invited inside, given a piece of chocolate cake, and a drink for adults. Everyone tried to identify each other. The visitors performed plays, sang, played instruments, danced, and had a good time. This old tradition is now enjoyed only at Hallowe’en.

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Next on May 20th – Twillington

© 2015 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles. All Rights Reserved.

For more related posts, click on Newfoundland / Labrador tab at the top of the page

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