Transitioning from Asian Travels to Working/Exploring Northern B.C.

Late May 2019

Relaxing on beautiful Vancouver Island for just over a week, then I will return over 1,000 km north to central northern British Columbia to complete a 5 week teaching contract in sd91 at Burns Lake.

When departing Burns Lake in March there was snow everywhere, but recent photos display friends kayaking, hiking, and mountain biking around lush wetlands and biomes supporting an expansive diversity of bird sanctuaries.

This blog post is intended to be a transition from 6 weeks traveling around Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia to 5 weeks exploring northern B.C.’s Burn’s Lake area while completing the school year as Teacher-Librarian/Learning Commons Specialist at Decker Lake. Meanwhile, contractors are finally arriving to repair our home and yard from the December 20th 2018 storm–the worst storm to hit Nanaimo area in over 50 years!

So unfortunately, our plans have adjusted and my husband will be remaining in Nanaimo leading the various contractors while I head north to continue to evolve another school library into a Learning Commons.

Returning from a lengthy spring trip, a pressing job was to update the vehicle tires from snow to all season tires.

Then we were off 110 km northwest to Courtenay where we enjoyed a lovely lunch at “Common Ground” which has recently changed its name to “The Yellow Deli”.

This place is really unique as everything is created by the commune group–from the wooden benches and tables, to the macrame decorations, to the vegetables and many ingredients used to prepare the healthy food menu they offer.  There are so many fabulous unique places to try when dining in funky, artsy Courtenay.

Home to Nanaimo. Late May is a perfect time to enjoy gardening, working in the yard, soaking up the intense colors and beauty of the rhododendrons, observing the sailboats and ships passing by, and of course having backyard B.B.Q.’s.

Prior to my departure up north, the roofers came to replace the roof on our cabana. That was fascinating to observe as they melted the glues on the back of the roofing material using a blow torch! One roof completed!

Back to renovations in our kitchen. There are so many decision to make: quartz or granite; colors and patterns need to compliment the new cabinets and flooring; which company to employ? Thank goodness for the internet as I spent many hours researching products before visiting stores.

It is truly amazing where the granite mines are located globally! I fell in love with White Ice Granite which is quarried in Brazil in limited quantities.

Finally, time to unpack all our beautiful souvenirs from Asia and see what we ended up purchasing! The colors are so intense and bold. Most of our Christmas shopping was done early this year.

Time passed all too quickly and we were once again in the VW Jetta boarding the B.C. Ferry from Nanaimo (Departure Bay) to Vancouver (Horseshoe Bay). Driving through Vancouver area, the Port Mann bridge with its “pick up sticks” looking metal rods always intrigues.

The long 800 km journey from Vancouver to Prince George exposed multiple types of weather from clouds and rain, to thick fog, to sunny blue skies. To break up the journey we stopped at dusk to overnight near 100 Mile House. The mosquitoes and small flying insects were so intense the manager of the motel warned us to run from the car to the room and close all windows. She was not joking!

The following day we completed the drive to Prince George where Mark flew back to Nanaimo while, feeling melancholy, I drove solo the additional 2 1/2 hours west past Vanderhoof and Fraser Lake to Burns Lake. The initial plan was to camp and explore the area together, not to be separated by 1,000 km for these final 5 weeks of the school year.

The scenery from Prince George to Burns Lake was so renewed and inviting; such a vast contrast from the snow conditions of March. Arriving back in Burns Lake, I quickly made a late entrance at a baby shower for a teaching colleague then returned to the familiar cozy home base on Lorne St.

Brat (the cat) immediately recognized and got reacquainted with me. She hopped into my suitcase as I started unpacking and had to be coaxed to depart from that cozy spot. Loretta, Joe and I had much catching up to accomplish! 

Tomorrow unfolds my 5 weeks of teaching and adventure back up in Burns Lake, B.C.

 

 

 

Astounding Atmospheres from Bangkok to Taipei, Vancouver, and finally Nanaimo!

May 2019

Having endured traveling through Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia during the hottest months of the year (April and May) we were excited to return to cooler temperatures and substantially less humidity during late spring back in Canada. However, there are definite advantages with travelling throughout these countries during the ‘off season’ particularly if you prefer more space and less crowds!

En route to Bangkok 6 weeks ago we stopped and changed planes at Hong Kong.

Due to the political unrest there presently we were thankful our return passage was through Taipei.

Our travel route was from Bangkok, Thailand to Taipei, Taiwan. Taipei to Vancouver, Canada. Then Vancouver to Nanaimo across on Vancouver Island. For curious prospective travelers, we booked direct flights and the entire travel time worked out as follows: 3 hours wait at Suvarnabhumi International (Bangkok) + 4 hours flight to Taipei + 3 hours wait at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport + 10 1/2 hours flight to Vancouver + 2 1/2 hours wait and transfer to Harbour Air Float planes + 1/2 hour to Vancouver Island + 1/2 hour taxi to our home = 24 hours in transit.

Since we gained a day crossing the International Date Line photos taken on my Iphone record confusing times, and our entire trip across half the globe apparently did not exist!

This blog post is dedicated to illustrating some unique characteristics of different airports during our homeward travels; fascinating sights, lights, and colors above the cloud layer in our atmosphere; and aerial representations of cities in different areas of our beautiful world.

Suvarnabhumi International Airport (Bangkok). We have truly fallen in love with this friendly, lush, fascinating country and look forward to returning to renew friendships, explore new areas, taste more cuisine, and try new experiences. )

Taipei, Taiwan was just under 4 hours flight time from Bangkok. These photos show the airport area.

The janitors had their own cleaning storage area off the washrooms which was so tidy and cute I couldn’t resist taking a photo.

Inside the airport the 2019 Chinese year of the Earth Pig was highlighted as was a dedication to Mother’s Day.

The Chinese year starts on Feb. 5th, 2019 (Chinese New Year) and lasts until Jan. 24th 2020. Apparently most true Earth Pigs alive today are born between February 8, 1959, and January 27, 1960 so they have completed a 12 year cycle and a 60 year cycle.

Ironically, I just discovered I am one of those rare Earth Pigs! So upon further research I discovered a vast range of characteristics describing an Earth Pig from “Good-tempered, kind-hearted, positive, loyal” to “extremely kind and thoughtful nature and is sensible and realistic” to “likes sleeping and eating and becomes fat!”.  Hopefully I won’t become too fat! 🙂 I could not resist this photo opportunity in Taipei with my Earth Pig.

Departing Taipei on Air Canada, thanks to Aeroplan points, we upgraded to Premium Economy for the 10 1/2 hour flight to Vancouver.

Some of the differences we experienced from Economy were: priority check in and seating, two seats on each side instead of squishy three, more leg room and width, more attentive service, hot cloths as soon as we departed, better meals and drinks, less people using the toilets. It was so much nicer than regular Economy!

Aerial views of Taipei, Taiwan May 2019.

Stunning sunrise and light shows entertained us above the cloud level as we flew over the Pacific Ocean.

There is something so peaceful and tranquil as you move in seamless uninterrupted space above the clouds.

Excitement throbbed as the clouds uncovered snow capped mountains and we recognized the familiar geography of home. Following the mountains, the longest river in B.C. the mighty Fraser exposed its powerful force. Coastal Western Canada truly is magnificent!

 

As we neared Vancouver and the Richmond Delta the city appeared so tidy, so organized, so green! Vancouver is known as a bustling west coast seaport in British Columbia. It is among Canada’s densest, most ethnically diverse cities and has become a popular filming location. Metro Vancouver’s 2019 population is estimated at about 2.5 million.

Metro Vancouver is the 3rd most populated city in Canada after Toronto and Montreal. After travelling through Hanoi (over 8 Million) and Bangkok (over 10 million), Vancouver seems pretty tiny in comparison.

But, although we are back in Canada, our journey does not end here.

Upon collecting our cases, we were off to locate the shuttle to take us to Richmond’s Harbour Air float plane base.

Although we could not sit together; the 20 minute flight was lovely, and ear plugs are usually supplied!

Close up views of logging operations, freighters, mountain tops, lighthouses, and tiny communities are possible. Once I even viewed 2 Humpback whales during one of these flights!

Back to beautiful Vancouver Island! We touched down on the ocean in the downtown area. Nanaimo, the Harbour City, has a population over 114,000. Nanaimo is the most populated municipality on Vancouver Island, outside of Saanich and Victoria. The small city has multiple claims to fame including the annual International Bathtub Races (since 1967).  I have attached a link to provide more information about Nanaimo.

https://www.tourismnanaimo.com/

We arrived home to be greeted by a burst of luscious lilac! 

It’s always wonderful to sleep in your own bed and unpack… My next adventure is only 10 days away…

Friends, Fun, and Majestic Beauty — Home on Vancouver Island!

Late March 2019

My home town is Port Hardy, B.C. On northern Vancouver Island. The rugged beauty of the pristine waters and outdoors is hard to match —particularly on sunny days.

Sea lions at Hardy bay

The community looks after each other —especially during any crisis. When I enter the Post Office, Guidos, Save On, or the hockey arena there are always friends to chat with and stories to share. This trip was no exception. I walked with Jackie and met her cute new little baby “Jozi”. We also were invited to lunch at Lata’s lovely new home in Hyde Creek. Many friends are living there now and their views truly are spectacular! No whales passing by this trip though. 🥴

Northern Vancouver Island

Port Hardy was hosting the provincial Bantams ice hockey championships. The game we watched ended in a tie between Port Hardy and Dawson Creek. Congratulations to our locals as Hardy Bantams ended up as silver medalists!

The 4 hour drive heading south to Nanaimo was gorgeous! Sun, snow on the mountain tops, no snow on the roads, ocean waves lapping the shores from Campbell River south, flowers blooming, trees in blossom. While most of Canada is still deep into winter, Vancouver Island is definitely full into Spring!

Port McNeill to Campbell River.

Back at our home in Nanaimo the blossoms and flowers were even further developed. We went for a walk at one of our favorite places —Pipers lagoon. It did not disappoint. Wow! From up top of the hill and cliff edge we were fortunate to observe harbour seals frolicking, sea lions slapping their fins and barking, and a rare sight … a pod of 5 orcas passed by! Then the full moon appeared in its splendour and glory. What an amazing world we live in!

Pipers Lagoon Nanaimo

During our final days before departing on our next big adventure, we traveled to Comox and Cowichan for business and pleasure. It’s always fun visiting Rick and Angelika. Home is pretty amazing, but Asia calls next!