How the Cookie Crumbles

An irreverant view of life after SIXTY-FIVE


55 Comments

Beijing Part 8: The Pearl Store and Summer Palace

word-cloud-7

Image Courtesy of Sally Cronin

We left the hotel at 9:00 a.m.

Upon entering the Pearl building, we were bustled into a small room with folding card chairs. Our pearl instruction lady described the different types of pearls: fresh water and salt water and advised the former as best. The many colors pearls come in surprised me: gold, pink, black for example. She presented round and irregular samples as well as the reasons for the various colors.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pearl

Thank you Microsoft

Thank you Microsoft

After this quickie presentation, we sprinted behind the pearl instructor lady into a larger, showier room featuring thick royal blue carpet and plushier chairs. Models, dressed in formal wear, appeared on the catwalk to showcase and model pearl necklaces and earrings. I wasn’t enthralled, but still astonished by the flashy show, and I cannot lie, the jewelry was gorgeous. The fashion ladies withdrew and The Group 8 were bid to again follow by a forward flourish. With a dramatic pull on a set of double doors, a whole new world materialized:  a magical place, with lights so bright they blinded at first. Rows and rows of glass cases, shiny as the jewels themselves, glittered up and down the aisles. I swear a saleslady appeared for every customer. I noticed only one male clerk. A tour group left as we arrived. The showroom hummed and bustled like a beehive. New sales staff seemed to emerge out of thin air as needed.

Set up in one corner, I noticed a coffee and wine bar with bar chairs. No, nothing here was free to pacify/massage the customer. A list of hefty prices hung on obvious display. Avoiding sales staff who followed you like a shadow is thirsty work, but I wasn’t buying anything. I’ve never cared about pearls and most jewelry my whole life (except earrings). Why would I buy them at this age and at astronomical prices?

Lorena and Bonnie in our group bought jewelry. The remainder of our non-buying members huddled together and made for the door at the first opportunity. We found an unbelievable treasure while we wandered around till everyone finished shopping. The walls displayed every size of oyster shell you never imagined, with plaqued descriptions underneath. However, we weren’t allowed time to peruse this ‘oyster museum’ and were hustled out to the bus. Why? We had to go. The French group had arrived. Service to one tour bus at a time, please and thank you.

See the 'pearled' cream. One is for day, the other night.

 See the ‘pearled’ cream. One is for day, the other night. Amazon sells this too. I checked.

A clerk pushing Pearl skin cream caught my attention and said, “This will make your skin look 20 years younger.”

“Can I have a written guarantee?” I asked.

“Sure.”

Such a quick response. “What good is it if my face is young and the rest of me is sagging?”

“Madam, you can use it all over your body.”

“Look at me,” another clerk piped in. “I’m 70.”

We all tittered because she could not have been a day over 29. I gave her kudos for her quick comeback, though. I hope she’s worth her weight in gold. I bought the cream, didn’t I? What a sucker!

The Summer Palace

The Hall of Benevolence and Longevity

                                           The Hall of Benevolence and Longevity

I enjoyed our tour of the Summer Palace. The park is enormous (over 700 acres, taken up mostly by Kunming Lake); a peaceful place to spend the day. It has a long, remarkable history. This will give you a better outline and will take less time to take in. Enjoy.

http://www.travelchinaguide.com/cityguides/beijing/summer.htm    (2.53 min)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ple6S_pjFzU (l.09 min)

The Marble Boat

                                                                  The Stone Boat

The Men’s and Ladies’ washrooms were again across from each other with a communal sink in between. The ‘facilities’ tiny cubicles with elbow-knocking walls. I don’t take up much room but had a difficult doing the deed. Ouch. Lucky for me, the door I happened upon offered a pedestal toilet. I heard later, the rest were squats. It was dark as well and I could hardly see. You want to watch for puddles on the floor.

Bridge to a point on the water

                                                     Bridge to a point on the water

Quick Facts on Education:

  • Kindergarten is bi-lingual (Chinese and English)
  • Government-paid until age 15
  • School 7:30 to 4:30 p.m. five days per week
  • For better school must pay $6,000 to $12,000 extra per year
  • Sometimes extra classes on Saturdays
  • Music lessons at school (not outside in music school)
  • Beijing has 70 universities
  • University cost for 2 semesters  $3,500 / year
  • College costs $1,700 / year
  • 70-80% Chinese kids go to college in Beijing
  • School vacation in winter 21 days (for travel)
  • Summer vacation in summer (2 months for travel)
  • $40,000 – $50,000 to study in U.S. paid by parents
  • http://news.at0086.com/China-Universities/The-university-fees-in-China.html

 

Up Next on March 10: Beijing Part 9: Olympic Park

© 2017 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

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


60 Comments

Beijing Part 5

word-cloud-7

Image Courtesy of Sally Cronin

Temple of Heaven:

The entrance to the Temple is a wide avenue meant for masses of foot traffic. It is clean and well-traveled, not only by foreigners like us but by the Chinese people as well. I did not see wrappers or bottles lying around anywhere.

IMG_0164 - Copy

Click below for a three-minute video, which explains better than I can. Sorry for the advertisement. The first few seconds will show you the exercise in the park again but keep watching. Those pink feathers the man is tossing with his feet are the Badminton birdie I had referred to earlier.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Mo6_cskvhQ

IMG_0166 - Copy

The English 8 Group (us) had removed our light jackets. The sun rose higher and the temperature grew warmer, yet around us, young Chinese ladies wore (wool?) leggings under skirts, long sleeved jackets, heavy pants (no jeans) and high heels. I love heels and wear them on occasion, but not in this kind of environment. There were lots of stairs to climb and broken concrete and uneven bricked areas all around. How they walked in those shoes without breaking their necks, and for so far and long, I cannot imagine.

IMG_0170 - Copy

  • The park area is 660 acres
  • Commoners were not allowed inside its gates until 1918
  • It is a UNESCO World Heritage site
  • All the buildings were refreshed prior to the 2008 Olympics
  • Although the doors remained open, visitors are barred from entering. We fought for a spot to look inside from the blocked doorway but could not make out much.

Forbidden City:

We walked until our feet screamed for mercy. Again washroom locations were uppermost in our minds and where bottled water could be purchased. The following video is an hour and a half long. I cannot remember all the interesting history we learned, but take time to take a peak: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3XRcwAAsNz8

IMG_0188 - Copy

IMG_0190 - Copy - Copy

Lunch:

The bus driver dropped us at the restaurant. The French group followed soon afterward as well as lots of locals. All platters of food were automatically delivered and placed on the large lazy Susan in the center of the table. Choices of one (small) free glass of soft drink, water, or beer were again offered. All the food served was family style. Our plates for eating were smaller than some bread and butter plates at home.

  • French fries (What? Shocked us too)
  • Deep fried, breaded white fish (mild taste)
  • Cooked cauliflower
  • Noodles (tasty)
  • Thinly sliced beef and cucumber platter
  • Beef meatballs with onions and green peppers
  • One large egg pancake (the size of a dinner plate)
  • White rice
  • Soup with ribbons of Nori in it (I didn’t try it)
  • Green tea
  • Peeled oranges, sections pulled apart and arranged on a plate for dessert

Note: Veggies were not plentiful like they are in the Chinese food we order in the West. They appeared to be more for decoration, except for plentiful onions in meat dishes, along with a few slices of green pepper. I ate till my tummy felt happy. I had no complaints about the food.

Tian’anmen Square

We set out on foot as the bus couldn’t bring us closer to the Square. Shortly before entering the grounds, we passed a strip mall across from the Square featuring souvenir shops and the like. Sue asked if we might shop, but Robert shook his head. Not a chance. We had a tight schedule. (Check out the writing on the building, a different spelling again.)

IMG_0175 - Copy

The Square is so huge, the danger of being trampled during a ceremony or demonstration crossed my mind. The Square accommodates one million people. That’s the size of 90 American football fields. Soldiers still patrol the area,  although they look way too young and of slight build.

  • The monument of the heroes of the revolution is here

IMG_0180 - Copy

  • The Great Hall of the People (in the background)

IMG_0177 - Copy

  • The Museum of Chinese History and Revolution. We were there at the wrong time and it was closed. I don’t believe we had been scheduled to visit anyway.

IMG_0181 - Copy

  • The Mao Zedong Memorial Hall where Mao lies embalmed in a glass case since his death in 1976. We did not go inside the Hall either. This building is at another end of the Square.

IMG_0182 - Copy

http://www.ebeijing.gov.cn/BeijingInformation/BeijingsHistory/t1141051.htm

Dinner:

Tsingtao beer was served, the best beer in China we were told. Ernesto ordered a bottle. I had the one small free glass a change from the water I drank all day. Sue preferred pop or water and the rest chose water.

  • Sliced sausage, fungus (think of weird mushrooms) and cucumbers
  • Cooked green salad (leaves of some kind)
  • Rice
  • Chicken with carrots and cucumbers
  • Duck meat with celery
  • Chicken with celery
  • Battered deep fried fish
  • Sesame bread plus onions and peppers (can’t remember what this looked like)
  • Spring rolls (exactly eight)
  • Soup (forgot to write what kind)
  • Watermelon slices for dessert

Offered separately, for which we needed to pay, were special coffees and ice cream. The waitress quoted 20 Yuan for either (about $4.00 Cdn / approx. $3.30 USD). Sue pointed out the prices posted over the ice cream freezer were 3.50 and 5.00 Yuan. Nope. The price was 20 Yuan. Non-negotiable. We must have stuck out like tourists. With money.

Our restaurant had been backed onto a park-like setting with a large pond of stagnant water. It wasn’t clean and had ugly, black and swampy plants growing in it.

We had time to kill before the bus came at 6:30 to drive to the Opera. Some of our group decided on a walk in the park. Sue and I chose to sit and take a load off. We’d done enough walking all day. My feet shrieked and uttered profanities. No wonder—they must have walked 50 miles on our first day out.

Beijing Opera 7:30 p.m.

Before the performance, a demonstration was given on stage of a male performer applying face makeup and donning a costume with a dresser assisting.

IMG_0197

This is not an art form I appreciated, although the costumes were colorful and dazzling. One of the men in our group complained he couldn’t even catch a nap.

We arrived at the hotel somewhere between nine and ten o’clock. A jam-packed day three had ended. My brain, over-saturated with information, shut down. Goodnight Beijing. Hello, pillow and bed.

~ *~

Next on February 17th – The Great Wall

© 2017 Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles

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


53 Comments

Beijing at Last!

Rapid transit arrived inside the terminal every three minutes.

Rapid transit

Rapid transit

Directed by Robert, our arrival coincided almost to the minute with the train’s appearance. Luggage dragging people that we were, we rushed on and were transported to the parking lot where our mini tour bus awaited. (I have no recollection of exiting the train or getting on the bus.)

We zipped down the highway surrounded by young trees already dressed in delicate greenery. By comparison, Ontario was still in the throes of winter on this March 29th, but I squashed the thought as I gawked in awe. The highways were clean and neat with row on row of countless new tree plantings. To my limited gardening knowledge they were two to three-year-old saplings. I seem to recall some weeping willows (or not).

The Chinese writing is overwhelming

The Chinese writing is overwhelming

It must have been at least a good half-hour or so before the city limits loomed ahead, although. I hadn’t paid much attention to the time. What caught my eye immediately were countless gray apartment buildings: cement shells, without an outside finish; empty openings instead of window-filled; forlorn and abandoned-looking construction sites. There is a reason for this our guide, Robert, told us when I asked him.

“This is an excellent opportunity for the buyer,” he said. “He can choose the cost and type of windows, doors, cupboards, flooring walls etc. he is willing to pay. In addition to hiring a sub-contractor to finish the interior of this carcass, the owner is responsible for hooking into the main water and electrical system.

Unfinished apartment buildings

Unfinished apartment buildings

“But why are so many unoccupied. How long have they been empty?” I asked.

“More and more people are moving into the cities every day. They haven’t come here yet.”

“Who builds these things? Where does the money come from?”

“Sometimes the companies run out of money, it’s true, and must wait till they find new resources.”

Our bus progressed through streets crammed with buses and cars and masses of people. I watched young and old city-dwellers ride bicycles in terrifying traffic, sometimes with loads of cardboard or wood tied in a pile behind them. I saw no helmets and an assortment of non-practical shoes. I noticed a number of girls riding mopeds with waist clutching male passengers. Really? Does this mean more girls own the motorbikes?

Another interesting sight: tuk tuks, which looked like someone had wrapped a sheet of tin around a motor bike for a car-like body with a roof. Actually, these vehicles were not run by pedal power after all from what I could make out. I still have no idea what they were / are.

Newer, old and knocked down buildings stand side by side. As we moved through neighborhood to neighborhood, Robert informed us a lot of the old city was being torn down to make way for the new. During the long drive to the hotel we viewed rubble from many such scrap heaps awaiting removal.

IMG_0247

I noticed a certain rhythm to the traffic. Each time we came to a stop light, our bus driver, pulled the hand brake. Why? We were on a level road not on any incline or stopped midway downhill. All the drivers around us honked horns all the time and after a while I became aware of something else. This was their way of letting the other drivers know, ‘I’m coming through.’ The drivers weren’t angry nor irate. No screeched brakes shrieked. Bikes and buses seemed to play a game of chicken. Three or four lanes appeared to accommodate five or six lanes of traffic. I covered my eyes. Buses and cars dodged in, out around us, but not one transport truck was in sight.

Some quick and interesting facts:

  • Beijing is the same latitude as New York City
  • Beijing is the capital of Peoples’ Republic of China
  • It is the third largest city in China
  • China is shaped like a rooster. Beijing is located at the neck of the rooster and is known for fresh water pearls
  • 20 million people / 5 million cars
  • Since the Olympics, 3 million more cars on the road = work = wages = cars)
  • Odd / even license plate policy: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Road_space_rationing_in_Beijing
  • First car market here was the German Volkswagen
  • The second was Buick from the U.S.

~ * ~

Any mistakes are my own. I admit my attention span and hearing are not always on alert. These few facts I jotted down as I thought I’d heard them.

~ * ~

More about tuk tuks (three-wheeled transportation)

 

Next on January 20: Beijing at Last (Part 2)

©Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles 2017

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


47 Comments

25 Ways to Kill Time at Chicago Airport

I thought I’d revisit the China posts. Some of you haven’t seen them. Enjoy.

Warning: This is longer than my usual posts. Also Note: Newbie person traveling. Some of this may be old hat to you.

We didn’t need to worry about our luggage as it flew ahead direct from Toronto to Beijing. What a blessing, yet this causes me discomfort not knowing exactly where it might be. A whole string of what ifs torment me anyway. The most nagging: what if my luggage goes to the wrong destination? Pul-eese. It’ll be fine. I’d packed two changes of clothing in my carry-on thanks to advice from my blogging friends.

It turns out we’re a long way from the main building and a shuttle arrives as we land in Chicago. We jumped aboard in a fine spring mist, hoping for delivery to the correct terminal. We then jogged in the now drizzle to the entrance. First stop a washroom.

What is this? I feel like a country mouse. The toilet had unusual self-sanitizing seats. Think ultra-soft (memory foam). This video shows better than I can explain:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cokBht49qt8

Only five hours and 45 minutes to kill.

Now, what? We saw Starbucks and MacDonalds; a kind of deli; various health food shops; tons of neck pillows and sunglasses;  books and magazines, and a bar or two. Maybe we should have considered sampling our way through the food shops to keep busy.

25 Ways to Kill Time in the Chicago Airport:

  1. Walk, limp, stumble. keep moving.
  2. Learn to avoid lineups around boarding and arrivals gates on both sides of the building.
  3. Dodge weary travelers more concerned about their wheelies than who’s in front or behind them.
  4. Gape at the zillions of people (I don’t get out enough), from all parts of the world, who arrive and depart in giant waves like schools of fish—big ones— with luggage
  5. Close your mouth time and again and do your best not to stick out as if you’d just left the cabbage patch. Isn’t the world a big and confusing place?
  6. Make a deposit at each washroom you wander past. When the opportunity presents itself, you might as well grab it. Best keep your tank empty.
  7. Hang around the unusual new-fangled toilets. What will they think of next? (refer to Youtube video). I wondered how often the plastic covers were replaced and asked an attendant, but she didn’t know either.
  8. Stand in long lines to buy food/water even though not hungry
  9. Fight the crowd to buy coffee.
  10. Search for an empty table to rest aching feet. Why were all the tables occupied? Pull out my now soggy pizza out of your carry-on.
    At Chicago O'Hare Airport killing time

    At Chicago O’Hare Airport killing time


  11. Take pictures of a plane through a restaurant window, not exactly proof you’re in Chicago but what the heck.
  12. After tiring yourself out walking around the gargantuan airport, sit and try to read or people watch.
  13. Comb the gift shops for a Chicago fridge magnets but don’t buy one. They were too expensive at $5.99 each (U.S. dollars of course) and tiny—the width of two of today’s postage stamps.
  14. Check the screen for your gate early. Why is the waiting area full already. Lucky to find a seat each.
  15. Count tall people / short people. If they keep shifting up and down. start over and give up.
  16. Survey couples in boarding area to guess which ones might be going to Beijing. (Sue spied a couple from our Toronto flight).
  17.  Without hesitation, strike up a conversation and ask if they are on your tour.  knows how to peg them. They are going our way.
  18. Stare at the time in two-minute intervals, which doesn’t move it any faster. One hour and 25 minutes to boarding.
  19. Notice a planeload of pilots attached to wheelie carry-ons, who mill about purchasing food. Have you seen so many at once? Why are they hungry? Are they arrivals or departures?
  20. Gawk and wonder how all these pilots happen to be so good looking, but much more important, fret if they are indeed old enough for the job? Most look around fifteen.

    Someone's tired of waiting and waiting and waiting

    Someone’s tired of waiting and waiting and waiting

  21. Shift and re-shift from one numb butt cheek to the other and blink faster than a turn signal to stay awake. Eyes too dry to read? You wuss. You’ve only been awake 29 hours. Fifteen and a little bit to go.
  22. Evade running and screaming children
  23. Stew over whose toddler is wandering around alone. Not your responsibility, but where are the parents? You want to know, don’t you? Where ARE they? No one’s paying attention to the little guy. Nobody.
  24. Line up as directed with visa and boarding pass to get the visa to China stamped. This takes five minutes. One hour and 15 minutes to go
  25. Spy a female pilot. Wow! She looks about 40, old enough and experienced compared to the fifteen-year-old male pilots. You could trust her but where’s her crew?

The clock clicks one mouse whisker at a time. Time’s up. Boarding is announced by a distorted male voice. Not unlike unconscious sleepwalkers, you funnel into lines and shuffle forward, necessary papers clutched and eyes begging for toothpicks.

*  * *

Next on December 23rd – A Pause for Thanks and Christmas

©Tess @ How the Cookie Crumbles.

For more related posts, click on China tab above


92 Comments

Continuing Along the Viking Trail

Traditional, small gardens dotted the edge of the road in areas where construction companies had finished excavating and had dug up bog and peat, great growing condition for potatoes or carrots. We saw no houses around because the garden owners didn’t live in the same area. The land was perfect for planting and no one messed with your garden.

When we drove past homes, none of the front doors had stairs. They call these the mother-in-law door. The inhabitants always use the back door therefore no reason to put in steps at the front of the house. The joke is without steps the mother-in-law cannot enter.

There is only one highway in Newfoundland. If you drive up it, you’ll drive down it. Where there was nothing but road before us, our guide Francis put on a CD for entertainment. Shanneyganock is an Irish band:

Credit:  Larry Bennett

So far not an exciting day: rain and not enough walking. Excepting two stops for use of the facilities, we sat glued to our seats and on the bus. We lucked out the seats were super comfortable and had footrests. I found myself nodding, but didn’t sleep. Mary had a nap and the rest of our fellow travelers were quiet leading me to wonder how many others snoozed as well.

We visited The Arches, Parson’s Pond and took pictures in the drizzle. What a day.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The arches are created from a limestone cliff.

Lunch was a wonderful vegetable soup, which reminded me of my mom’s recipe. I decided on the spot to make a pot as soon as I reached home again after the tour. Soon as we sat, the soup arrived. Then, plates of fresh white, quartered sandwiches appeared—all white, no whole wheat—and immediately, the coffee. Much too efficient. Servers soon cleared and cheesecake delivered for dessert. I must have confused the waitress, who blinked several times when I waved it away. I don’t have a sweet tooth these days unlike my much younger self.

IMG_1470

John Cabot landed at Bonavista, Newfoundland in 1497 and discovered millions of cod. The British laid claim on Newfoundland as well as Europe and Spain. Then a 1,000 Irish came (duirng the 1840s) before the potato famine, and settled along the coastline because of the fish and made a good living from fishing.

I wonder what Andrew of Have Bag, Will Travel will say when he reads about today’s touring after his own last two posts.

A little after 3:00 p.m. I noticed Shawn, our driver, in the rearview mirror. He appeared drowsy. I wasn’t certain from where I sat, but it looked his eyes were heavy. Our guide had just mentioned the heat to him and didn’t seem to notice. Could I be seeing things because of the curvature of the mirror? For a second, I almost yelled out to him. “Wake up, Shawn.” I had to save us from an accident because of his tiredness or road hypnosis. I know I have a weird imagination. Right? My sister later told me she thought the same about him.

Francis cleared up the mystery about no lobster supper per our tour schedule: it’s out of season. The tour before us enjoyed it, but we were an added group because there were so many on the wait list. They were all gone by the time our tour began.

At one point when we arrived at a small museum, the driver drove as close to the building as humanly possible. Guess he wasn’t road weary after all. The museum lady split us into two groups for a guided walk-through. Mary and I were in the second one and our time much abbreviated as we had to hustle out, but I now cannot recall why.

The bones are those of a whale. The rocks are too many to describe.

Tidbit:

Lobster from Newfoundland is better. It takes seven years to grow to market size (1-1/2 pounds) because the water is colder. Nova Scotia lobster grows faster and is not as tasty.

Next on January 22nd:  L’Anse aux Meadow

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

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

************************************************************

Internet and computer problems have plagued me all day.

 


103 Comments

Blog Friends, Neighbors and Countrymen

Due to extenuating circumstances (unexpected family and social obligations: i.e. life in the fast lane), I haven’t had enough time to visit you all more often.

November, I spent writing with furious diligence, while  life around me came to a standstill. Still appointments and family visits continue to take much of my time this month. Off and on holiday entertaining and a visit to the west coast for a sister’s 60th birthday also loom large.

When time permits, I shall flit in and out and can’t wait till my schedule isn’t hampered by all these commitments. You’re always on the edge of my mind. I have not forgotten you and miss you and our daily banter.

MH900434403


36 Comments

Farther Along the Viking Trail

A warning light flashed on the bus dashboard. We stopped at an Irving Station (gas /variety store / liquor store) for a break and Shaun, our driver, had the problem checked out. Almost anything is available at some of the larger gas stations. It was a treat to move around and flex stiff joints and muscles inside the store. Some of our group grabbed coffee and snacks. Others used the facilities.

We’d met Margaret and her husband, Jack, when we first arrived at the airport. She came towards me with a brown paper bag wrapped around a bottle. “Oh. I see,” I said.

“Water,” she said. I thought she was fooling around.

Later, she called out and caught up with us while we were boarding the bus.

“It’s not water,” she said. “I didn’t know. He said it was water and I believed him.

“Ha. I knew that!” She wasn’t kidding.

I laughed. I know a wine bottle when I see one.  She blushed.

We did a lot of driving today: long stretches of empty highway, lots of roadside trees and more drizzle. I felt we were going in circles.

Gros Morne National Park is a world heritage site. The land has risen two meters (rebounding of the land) where the Vikings (now called Norsemen) landed. Temperature 1,000 years ago was five degrees warmer. The scenery is spell-binding. We didn’t get off the bus here. The following video gives you an overview of this wonder.

Credit:  The Tablelands, Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland and Labrador

 Newfoundland & Labrador Tourism

 

More about Moose:

  • 1904 Four moose released from New Brunswick (not native to Newfoundland)
  • This is the heaviest concentration of moose in the world
  • Moose love balsam, birch and fir
  • Haven for 5,000 moose in Gros Morne National Park
  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0dc42JAHNPw (check this out)
  • Full grown moose ( about 12-1,400 pounds) can eat 50 – 60 pounds of young trees per day
  • One area fenced off at Gros Morne to protect the trees / outside of fence, trees naked
  • 500 moose allowed to be removed / hunted: a controlled hunt
  • Woodland caribou are native to this area
  • Native predators are insects brought in by international shipping
  • John’s and 100 km. zone = 23 accidents in August 2015 even before month ended

On the lighter side:

In Saskatoon, a boxcar came loose and a guy brought home a wheel barrel full of salt cod, but he didn’t know what to do with it. It was hard, you see. So, he shingled a shed roof. It leaked a little, but lasted about two years.

Cod Quick Facts:

  • Cod is king
  • Cod Fishery starting to renew after more than 20 years
  • 3-week recreational fishing allowed now (fish coming back)
  • Sent salt cod to the Prairies in the 1930s
  • Used to ship salt cod with liquor run (Someone released the wrong car. only whiskey; no cod)
No credit required, but found at Pixabay.com

No credit required. Found at Pixabay.com

Newfoundland Quick Facts:

  • NFL lumber can be shipped to the US
  • Most of the lumber cut here, therefore tariffs less than in British Columbia
  • Considered private
  • Logging mill keeps nine days supply
  • Burn the sawdust to provide electricity
  • Dairy farming big business
  • Used to be sheep but coyotes can decimate them
  • Put a donkey or a llama with the sheep and coyotes don’t come near

The Lighter Side:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caribou_(train)

A conductor told a pregnant woman on the Newfie Bullet she shouldn’t have got on due to her condition. She told him when she got on the train she wasn’t pregnant.

* * *

Tentatively on November 6th – Continuing along the Viking Trail

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

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

*************************************************************************************************************

I have not registered for NaNo, but will be occupied for the next while. Will post as I am able. 


58 Comments

Beginning the Viking Trail

We hadn’t set the alarm because a 6:30 wake-up call had been arranged by Francis, our guide. The alarm buzzed at 5:00. Ready or not. Though I’d slept like the dead, I forced myself awake. Mary remained beneath the foggy veil of sleep. If I raced to the bathroom first, I’d be coiffed and dressed without interruption. You know what it’s like when the clock’s ticking and two females have to share a bathroom sink and mirror, right? What was the point of lollygagging?

I couldn’t get the shower to work and worried the fabric shower curtain without a liner wouldn’t keep water off the floor. I took a bath instead, then couldn’t get up though I gripped the safety bar. I resorted to getting on my knees to pull myself up. When had I started falling apart? Did I miss an announcement or a meeting? How dare my body betray me like this and on my vacation?

Soap, shampoo and body lotion were provided; toothpaste and toothbrushes weren’t. I have no idea why I packed them, but lucky I did. Mary had had no expectations, but I did because everything from slippers to shower caps had been made available at every hotel on my last trip.

Luggage was left outside our rooms by 7:00 a.m. Breakfast commenced from 7:00 to 8:00 with departure by bus no later than 8:00. Menu forms were handed out for choices of meals during our tour. Seating rotation was promised to provide everyone with a different view from the bus each day.

Pulp and Paper Mill

Pulp and Paper Mill

Corner Brook Quick Facts:

  • Pulp and paper mill – 320 active workers
  • Largest single employee
  • Population 20,000
  • Largest city outside St. John’s
  • Newfoundland oldest colony
  • Newfoundland /Labrador youngest province in Canada

As forecast, it had rained the night before and a fine mist continued. We wouldn’t be doing much traipsing around Francis said. Everyone seated on the bus by 8:00 a.m., the first order of business was a draw for the panoramic front seat view across the aisle from the tour guide–with a new draw every day.

IMG_1471

We drove around the charming town of Corner Brook. All the homes were finished in whimsical array of colored vinyl. Mary and I thought they all looked like they’d been done around the same time. Whoever won the contract must have been laughing all the way to the bank. I know I took pictures, but they’ve disappeared.

Where was everyone on this Saturday morning? Yes, it was wet, but not a single soul could be seen out and about. Only one car passed us going in the opposite direction.

First stop: a historic site where Captain James Cook landed in Newfoundland. A fine mist persisted, making it difficult to take pictures and keep our heads and / or our cameras or iPads dry. The stones and pathways were slippery as was the grass. I wasn’t the only one who leaped at the chance to return to the bus tout suite.

Captain Cook Quick Facts:

  • Born 1728
  • He was the first to map the coast of Newfoundland during Seven Years War
  • Only explorer who never lost a person to beriberi (always had fresh fruit)
  • Made three trips to the Pacific

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

* * *

IMG_1470Irish Welcome: 

May those who love us, love us.

May those who don’t, turn their hearts.

If their hearts don’t turn, turn their ankles,

So we’ll know them by their limping.

 

 

Next time on October 30th – Further along the Viking Trail

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

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


52 Comments

Corner Brook, Newfoundland

The bus dropped us, the last of the new arrivals at Glynmill Inn, a white and green Tudor Style building. Our accommodations were pleasant, old world and tasteful. We had a sitting-room, a fridge, a bar sink and coffee maker, but no safe; a bedroom in another room and a bathroom. Though a small suite, the beds were heaven, but the pillows too plump for sleeping—at least for me.

IMG_1426

Food wasn’t supplied for this night. A boiled egg before leaving home and a homemade sandwich at the airport while we waited for the flight made for empty tummies. Francis, our guide, had explained where to find restaurants on West Street, the main street in town. We had enough choices and were disappointed the business area seemed miniscule. Along the way we passed two Chinese eateries, one closed until further notice, and a third tiny one. Other offerings were a pizza takeout; Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC); a yogurt place; Tim Hortons Coffee shop, and a wine-making outfit. As well close by were an A&W burger place, Shopper’s Drug Mart and an Esso Gas Station. A whimsical white building tucked back from the street drew our attention: a catering business with a café attached and a couple tables with chairs.

This statue and plaques were in front of some government buildings along the way.

We settled for Chinese, but should have listened to a couple we passed (from our tour group) coming back from dinner. One order would have been enough between us. What a waste, but we weren’t hungry anymore.

I'm the wind-blown looker in purple. Oh yeah, and my sister.

I’m the wind-blown looker in purple. Oh yeah, and my sister.

I have a question. Why do many Chinese restaurants have washroom facilities at the Exit sign, down a long flight of stairs and longer hallway? They always give me the creeps. One may well meet an unsavory customer in this bowel of the earth.

Friday night and on vacation, we had to find a liquor store. After dinner Mary accosted approached a woman unloading her car in front of the catering establishment.

“What is it you want?” She pointed to the Esso Gas Station. “You can buy beer at all gas stations, but wine only in a liquor store.”

“Is there one within walking distance? We don’t have a car.”

She pointed to a tall building in the distance where we’d find a mall and a liquor store next to it.

Behind the inn, stairs led a long way down to the water’s edge. With time to kill and the improvement in weather, my sister and I decided to explore the walking trails and maybe find our way to the tall landmark on the hill and a bottle of wine.

Long stairs to the water’s edge (The Humber River).IMG_1446

Our target: the tall white building (our landmark).

IMG_1448

The path is long, but the way is scenic.

IMG_1452

Feathered friends enjoy the water.

IMG_1454

A bridge to cross.

IMG_1457

Intent on our goal, we crossed the bridge and met a fork in the road. Which way? Another walker, a smiling young lady came towards us. I suppose we looked lost or out of place. She was from Australia, but knew Corner Brook. “Not this way. You want to go there.” She pointed in the opposite direction.

“But the white building in that way.”

“Trust me.”

Quick Facts:

  • Corner Brook population about 20,000
  • 1986 First sighting of coyote in Newfoundland (but they don’t chase moose)
  • Newfoundland Pony has unique DNA
  • 1997 declared Heritage Breed of Newfoundland and Labrador

Next on October 16:  Don’t Panic. A Walk to Remember

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

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


45 Comments

Where are the Moose?

The airport limo arrived on the button and the ride to Toronto proved uneventful with one other passenger pickup. Debbie Kaye won’t believe this—I couldn’t either—the airport was a breeze this time. We had arrived at the right time with e-Tickets and boarding passes in hand. A bored attendant printed our luggage tags, we checked our luggage and zipped through Security in a snap. Only a handful of passengers waited ahead of us. A traveler’s dream or had we stumbled into the Twilight Zone?

Mary and I weren’t buzzed the way we’d expected. Boarding occurred fifteen minutes late because a recent arrival was readied for our flight to Deer Lake.

IMG_1627

We took to the tour guide right away. He’s one of those people you warm up to as if you’d know him all your life. As we found out, the charm about Newfoundlanders is you talk to one for five minutes and you’re friends for life. Maybe the real reason is you have to stick close and listen hard because the Irish /British lilt and Newfoundland speech patterns demand you hang on to most every word. We understood Francis better than other people whose paths we crossed.

Our bus astonished me: a honking one-year-old beauty with elevated seating for the passengers and a tall and wide wraparound windshield which afforded a panoramic view. Puddles on the asphalt showed signs of earlier rain, but had stopped earlier. The temperature was seasonal and comfortable. I’m not sure about my sister Mary, but my brain wasn’t in gear.

IMG_1424

Deer Lake quick facts:

  • Pockets of water all over the island resulted from glaciers
  • Humber River runs out of Deer Lake: beautiful salmon river
  • Salmon as heavy as 30 pounds (but you don’t keep those)
  • Population of Deer Lake around 5,000
  • 1920 construction of Deer Lake Power Company hydro plant
  • 1922 International Pulp and Paper Company work camp
  • 1925 camp formal Town of Deer Lake
  • 1955 airport built
  • Airport serviced close to 340,000 passengers in 2014

Our tour consisted of 31 tourists. Sixteen came from Ontario; twelve from British Columbia and across the Prairies; a couple from California; a young woman from Germany, plus our guide and the bus driver. We were booked to over-night in Corner Brook but first excursion had begun.

Newfoundland Facts:

  • The Appalachians extend from Newfoundland and Labrador to Central Alabama
  • Rival the Himalayans
  • Eroded over time due to wind and glaciers
  • Oldest rock on earth found in Labrador

IMG_1761

Moose Facts:

  • 1904 moose brought here from New Brunswick
  • Because of tall, spindly legs, can peel top off a small car on impact
  • Many collisions in Newfoundland because of moose sightings
  • 90% of drivers swerve to avoid moose (heavy skid marks on highways)
  • Weight of moose 1200 pounds and more
  • Hunters from North and South Carolina, Quebec, Pennsylvania come to hunt moose
  • Current moose population over 100,000
  • Considered a menace. Eat 20 kilogram (50#) of young trees a day
  • Will eat whole forests: balsam, fir
  • Hunting season extended
  • Controlled areas hunting Gros Morne National Park
  • Fenced areas at Gros Morne to protect trees (whole areas bare of trees)

I suppose the moose had no idea we were there as we’d just arrived.

***

Hockey and politics are the two most enjoyed pastimes in Newfoundland.

* * *

Next on October 9th:  Adventures in Corner Brook

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

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