Spring Time : Cherry Blossoms Are Here

I’m listening to Two Sisters, by Tom Waits. Some of his stuff just rocks me to my soul, but this one in particular makes me think of the old west when I was a young lad (no, really I was never involved), but it makes me remember a time when men wore dress pants every day, top hats were in fashion, and so were mustaches.

But most of all, this time makes me think of the spring time. How there is always a hope beyond all recognition that things are going to start looking better, but still one knows that tomorrow will come and drag on just as the last have come. Thats ok though, because we did, and do have cherry blossoms to keep our spring time hopeful.

They just look so beautiful all over the place, sticking out against the cold grain of the leaf-less brothers and sisters out there.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how cities and citizens decide that its in their best interest to chop down trees everywhere. This, without a doubt, makes me feel sad for what we have lost in our expansion as a society. Today I went for a hike today, in support of WildNed through the woods, which just brings back so much feeling of health and wealth that is beyond any currency that exists. The fact that we chop down all our trees to put up concrete is understatedly sad.

A house just around the corner from where I live, was for sale and gated up for the longest while, but finally did sell. So, what does the new owner do as a first priority? He chops down the row of trees that spanned the entire length of the lot side to side, must have been about 20ft tall those trees, most about 2ft apart.

Keep our trees, keep our nature, keep the earth so that tomorrow I can go out for a walk in it and see flowers blooming and children playing in the fields. Please join my fight in stopping people from cutting down old trees on their properties just because the insurance company says its a risk, and it’ll save you $20 a month on insurance.

Besides, they help us all breath!

Norwegian Cruise Lines Pearl Experience

Recently I’ve made a trip on the great Pearl, which is among Norwegian Cruise Line’s fleet, into the Caribbean where we stopped at Samana in Dominican Republic, St. Thomas and Tortola in the Virgin Islands, and finally for a day in the sun at the Great Stirrup Cay just outside of Miami. Overall the trip was great, free food, entertainment to keep me from going stir crazy, and day excursions into places that were exotic and warm. Alcohol was expensive ( to be expected ) and a lot of overweight, and old people, which I suppose is also to be expected.

The first day was hectic, loading onto the ship, standing in line, getting our rooms, finding our way around the boat, and then finally falling asleep on a new bed. Yai, were on a cruise.

It took one full day before we reached the first town, Samana, located in the Dominican Republic, which incidentally is on the same island as Haiti. Maybe I should have already known this…. When we got there, we had to tender to land (take a smaller boat from ship into the dock). Yes, more waiting in line, but not to much. We were slow starters, so we were among the last to go.

As it turned out, there wasn’t too much to see in the small town, but a lot to get haggled about. The instant we stepped outside the gates of NCL, it was haggler after haggler, asking us if we needed a ride to the water falls, into town, scooter etc. Then we walked another hundred paces, and were into the nick-nacks selling. “Brother, this one is for you, got the right shirt for you here. Brother where are you from? Oh I have a sister living there. yes yes.” At one point, they were blocking the road so that we couldn’t walk any further until we rather forcefully pushed our way through and continued on. Think moving through a crowded bar but nobody else around. yes. it was fun. My folks bought some very cheap, and very large paintings from the artists. They are pretty.

Next we were off to the new and fairly modern city of St. Thomas, complete with a yacht club, and one with a helicopter on the top of it.

There was even a part of the city named “Yacht City” which was pretty cool to see Louis Vitton and Gucci stores there…. Coming from the poverty we just passed through. I was able to get online at a small place called Hubbly Bubbly Hukka lounge. No, I did not try the Hukka. I think it was $15 for a huke? But, I did buy some beers there at reasonable price, and had a very friendly bartender serving me beers.

After this day, we headed for Tortuga, another city in and amongst the Virgin Island. It was a less fancy town, possibly smaller, and once again we required a Tender to get into the port.

We wandered around for a bit, found a place to sell us Red Stripe Jamaican Beer for $1.50 which were also tall beers! so we pounded a few of those back, and headed back to the boat.

After this, which was our 4th night on the boat, we had a full day of ocean

The next day we hit the private beach of Great Stirrup Cay, where we had a full day of sitting on the beach cooking like lobsters (ie. getting red) on beautiful tropical sand and ocean to swim in. We were buying $25 buckets of beer (6 per bucket) and by the time we were to get up and head home, were feeling happy! The brother got up for the first time in a while, and fell right down right away! haha. So funny. One of the lifeguards was right there and laughed along with me and my mother! He was cooked red completely! Poor fellow.

This was our last day full day on the boat, and now I’m sitting here, the next day, on solid land in a Miami hotel right next to the airport, yes there are airplanes going overhead constantly.

Each morning I would get up, head to the all you can eat buffet, and get myself a omelet made, with ham, onions, mushrooms, peppers, and spinach. So good. I’d usually get a eggs bennedict, some bacon and some sausage (turkey and pig) to go with it. Today I also had some french toast. Yum.

After this, it was usually to the tender desk to get a number to be called to take us over to the land, or else sit down in a nice spot on the deck and read my book. I managed to finish off The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie, which was a pretty good book. Kinda getting used to his style of writing, and definitely enjoy the dream it takes me on. It was a big book though. I’ve now started The Confessions of an Economic Hit Man by John Perkins, which is turning out to be a very very interesting book. If your interested in how the USA is taking over the world, its a must read.

After this it’d either be lunch time, which was beer if we were on land, or more buffet on the boat. Probably a bit of chicken, salad, and who knows what else. Always yummy, but usually the same selection of a buffet. Near the end, it was kind of hard to face the buffet. Same old thing in a way, but still a lot of selection.

By this time, the family was usually very tired, and we’d either head off to read some more or take a nap. This is when I’d usually find my way to the gym (if I hadn’t drank to much), up to the deck to read some more, or off to the courts to play some bball.

Then we’d be off to the formal dinner palace, where we’d dress up, and be served by some really good service. It was really a treat to get the service, and the great food from the restaurant, and is always fun to dress up. The New York Cheese Cake was my favorite and most desired dessert I picked. Had it almost every night.

After this, at 9:30, we’d head off to the theater to take in the evenings entertainment. Generally it was really good. I’m a bummer sometimes, and just want to read my book, but my folks loved it. I cant believe those people up there could do what they were doing, with the boat rocking as it was. Magic Tricks, comedy acts, vegas show girls, and swinging circus acts were all involved in the entertainment.

Following this, I got into the habit of going to a 24hr lounge, and ordering some won ton soup, which hit the spot completely. Around this time, it was bed time, completing a full day of life on board a cruise ship.

I am always astonished to find the amount of people that are overweight in this wonderful world. The amount of people that could barely walk, crouched over, wrinkly and overweight was astounding. I hope I never get to be in that sort of shape. I’m taking the necessary precautions.

My folks are talking how their going to be staying in Miami Beach tomorrow, kinda makes me jealous, but I realize that my time has come, and my adventure must end. Back tomorrow off to Olympic bit Vancouver, to hit the books for another few months of happyness?!

Time to get back on track with some help from Exercise and Mind . Get my focus on, get my exercise habits back, and get my love returning for all things necessary. Its always been there I guess, but I always find its hard to focus again.

Hopefully this pending cold goes away, and its just the long day I spent in the sun getting its best of me. I’m happy we managed to get away on a cruise, my first experience on one, and I highly suggest it for people who are looking to relax and explore new lands conveniently. Let me know if you have any other experiences on your cruise you’d like to share!

Being a Passenger

So here I am, sitting in SETAC Airport, just chilling. This is how I roll. But when I’m sitting, I’m watching and observing, like the good passenger I am.  Its kind of amazing to see so many folks, all with their own styles and quirks.

A lady across from me has her leopard colored jacket on, the guy whose sitting next to me and I think reading what I’m writing is in his yachting outfit, I also see a group thats made to wear green sweatshirts, old people and young people all in all. Fair enough, thats cool. Its a group thing, gotta keep everybody together. I love how they all wrap their sweaters around their waste. I dont understand how people can think or completely disregard any sense of style. I guess in a way they do have their own style, who am I to judge as my brother keeps reminding me.

So for now, I continue to appreciate the graces god has given me to roll with a little bit of style, and smirk at the funny people.

On to lighter notes, I was stuck next to a lady who would tell her child to stop it with everything he tried to do, and also blamed him for every unfortunate thing that occurred during the whole flight. “The boy needs to tinkle” “The boy was kicking his sweater below his seat, could you pass it forward” .

Off To Miami

So, as it goes, I will be heading off to Miami, or Florida area if you will, for a week, and then a week cruise to the Bahamas! I know, this sounds like a pretty sweet deal. Weather that I can wear shorts in, sandy beaches that I can lay down on, sunscreen and sunglasses, and drinks at oceanside cafe’s are just a few of the things that I plan on doing.

You see, in Vancouver here, we have this thing called the 2010 Olympics going on, so everything and everything is shutting down for two weeks, except the pubs, and this includes the fine establishment I frequent. So Two weeks, what to do…. hmmm.

I’ll be taking my camera, so expect to see a couple dozen pics from the excursions down there.

The plan is to get to the Everglades, and take some pictures of Alligators. The folks who are already down there say that the birds are marvelous and come right up to the boat or hiker, which is what I’ll be doing.

I cannot wait for this I’ll be there in 72hrs, so if your down there, and want to hook up, take some pics together or have some fun, contact me and we’ll see what we can do!

Stay safe kids.

Bloedel Floral Conservatory

So, today I embarked on a journey to the center of Vancouver to the Bloedel Floral Conservatory in Queen Elisabeth Park at Cambie and 33rd St. I, of course, brought my camera, and took a tonne of great shots. Got so many good pics of beautiful flowers and plants as well as the resident parrots and birds they had around.

I love when you walk into a room and you can just feel the moisture seeping into you. I always loved that about Vancouver when I was a kid coming here, I remember it very vividly. I think it comes back in the summer time. But, thats what it was like in here. Must be just a heaven to live in for a plant, not like the light deprived ones of my bedroom…

I brought a sandwich to share, but turned out I was the only one hungry. Its easy to relax and sit and enjoy whats going on around you when you have something to do. I find its hard to just sit and enjoy things sometimes, maybe thats a fault of mine.

I ran into an old couple with a video camera there. They seemed to just walk around, enjoying everything. They told me that one of the parrots was the comedian of the bunch, so apparently they spend a lot of time there. I’m curious how many hours of footage he has of the birds there. I, myself, in the two hours I spent there managed to get around 400 pics taken, of which I widdled it down to 60 or so.

I overheard one of the ladies talking about how the conservatory might have to sell some of the things to raise some money for it. That to me is just plain old sad news. I did some research on it, and found out that due to city budget cuts, they were going to close down the conservatory. This to me is horrific, to shut down something as beautiful as this, and promote something as… ?fruitful? as the Olympics is beyond me. Just across the street from the Park was a giant brand new facility for Curling for the Olympics.

Question: How many millions of dollars did they spend on that facility, and how many millions of dollars would it take for the conservatory to stay open for another 10 years giving students to elders alike a sense of what beautiful things nature can provide for us if we let her flourish.

I think something is very skewed when we tear down and disregard parks and forest for the sake of business. Actually, it sickens me.

St. Paul’s Hospital, Burrard St. Vancouver, BC

So, I just took a nice evening drive to the wet Vancouver core, to enjoy the lights at St. Paul’s Hospital. It was amazing as ever. The lights are beautiful. To check out more pics go to: (http://www.flickr.com/photos/45425256@N05/)I’m curious though, not to ruin the mood or anything, but I couldn’t help think about the fact that BC’s (and maybe more of Canada?) having quite the problems with lack of health care professionals to fully serve the patients due to cutbacks in the government budget. Seems they put it into the lights…. But, anyways…

I was just setting up my tripod when a fellow came by with a hotdog and started telling me how his life has been on the crazy train for the past little while, and he wanted to know if he was going to live to see tomorrow.  I told him if he keeps eating those hotdogs maybe not. haha. jk.

I told the fellow that I guarantee he will live to see tomorrow, and that hard work is what pays off. I think I provided him my patience and time, and talked to him in a kind manner. My only regret is that I did not get his picture..

I’m not sure if it’s just this time of season, or if its just the weather, or what ever, but…. it’s kind of a sad time for a lot of people. I wonder in times before we had Jesus to celebrate the life of, or Santa to wish for, if the middle of the winter was a very sad and thoughtful time of the year for people. 

I know that in many cultures it was a time where everybody was held indoors because snow removal wasn’t a thing trucks did, and it was a time for story telling, for traditional practice to really shine through. Often these things are seeped in memories and facts from the past.

I was listening to some Megadeth, and they had a Dave Mustane interview. They asked him why all his songs have a morbid approach to them. He responded that death is a part of everybodies life, some people just try to ignore it. To him it is very relevant and not something he needs to ignore… in a nutshell.