Posts Tagged With: Tourist in My Own Town

Beautiful Lake Louise in Winter

As winter comes to a close and CTB will be saying good-bye to winter forever (???), as we prepare to move to the Caribbean, I wanted to share some images of the Great Canadian icon in winter. Lake Louise, a short drive from Calgary, feels like it is a world away. You have seen the photos of the surreal turquoise waters, but have you seen it in winter? It is stunning, breath-taking and surreal in a new way. The elevation allows for great snowfall amounts. The trees look like they are covered in icing and the views look like a movie back drop. The dry cold makes you soon realise it is for real.

In late November, once the lake is completely frozen, the Chateau Lake Louise builds an ice castle and skating rink. Cross country skiing, snow shoeing and horse-drawn rides are also things to enjoy. Not far from the Chateau you can even go for dogsled rides! In January, there is an ice carving contest. As long as the weather allows, the ice sculptures sparkle in the sunlight and add to the surrounding landscapes. We enjoyed just walking in the snow and taking in the beauty of it all. Soon this will be traded in for hot temperatures and new vistas. I feel like Frederick from Leo Leoni’s book and soak it all into committing and etching it to memory.

 

Frozen - Lake Louise in a new way

Frozen – Lake Louise in a new way

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The Ice Castle on the Lake

 

The boat house cabin patiently waiting for the spring thaw

The boat house cabin patiently waiting for the spring thaw

Have you ever been to Lake Louise?

Stay tuned…

 

Categories: Canada, Nature, Photography, Tourist in My Own Town | Tags: , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Close Up -WP Photo Challenge

Are you ready for your close up? Recently the Welland Canal Bridge in downtown Welland has been photo ready. After a very recent cosmetic facelift adding some fresh paint and bright lights it is looking good.

Welland Canal Bridge in Down Town Welland, ON Canada

Welland Canal Bridge in Down Town Welland, ON Canada

Welland is known for its iconic bridges, that used to raise and lower, to allow big ships to traverse the Welland Canal. The canal made the journey easier between Lake Erie and Lake Ontario which, is connected by the mighty Niagara Falls. A new canal bypasses many of these old bridges, so they have been left alone to decay or removed for new cement overpasses. Someone decided to spare this bridge downtown and preserve some of the area’s history.

Welland Bridge at Night

Welland Bridge at Night

In nearby Port Colborne and St Catharines some of the bridges and locks system are still in use today. Watching the ships slowly be raised and lowered is something not to be missed if you are ever in the area.

Close up of Welland Canal Bridge

Close up of Welland Canal Bridge

Stay tuned and check out Word Press for more close ups.

 

Categories: Canada, Tourist in My Own Town, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Shanghai Sillies: Pack & Go

When we first arrived in Shanghai, nearly 5 years ago, we would stop and stare gob-smacked at these men on bikes piled high with all kinds of materials from wood, to plastic containers to Styrofoam. Our guess is they recycle it. What do you think they could be using all that Styrofoam for? Still it quite a sight with the balancing act they must have to perform to get it from A to B.

I never managed to catch the tallest piles on film (or digital media for you <30’s) then they became quite rare. A local person told me the police had started to crack down on such packing. Slowly over the last few months they started to pop up again.

Wide load

Wide load

 

This poor fellow pulled over to the side of a busy road as a passer-by helped tuck something back into place. The pause gave me enough time to get the camera ready to snap a few pics.

 

On the Road Again

On the Road Again

 

Have you see anything silly lately?

Stay tuned…

Categories: Chinese Adventures, strange adventures, Tourist in My Own Town, unique experiences | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

You Get What You Pay For -medical in Shanghai

We all wish we never see the inside of a hospital. It means terrible things in most instances. That of course is even truer when traveling or working abroad; a scarier thought. As you know recently I have been sick. I have seen the inside of the hospital numerous times over the last few weeks. In Canada our insurance is covered. Doctor and hospital visits are free, something that our high taxes affords us. In China my work luckily pays for my insurance and I never had to use it for much more than a small cold or sinus infection. This year ultra sounds, CT scans and blood tests have become part of the norm. Each time I pay a small fee for the tests, but wait times are minutes, hours or days at max. At home long wait lists can stretch time lines into weeks or months. Results are just as fast within the hour at times.

 

My hospital bed

My hospital bed

Recent tests and another CT scan discovered a small cyst or tumor that is the result of my pain and poor health. The kidney stone was the obvious diagnosis, but the fever and other side effects it prompted them to keep searching. Quick reactions almost lead me to a hospital stay and operation on Monday. I wasn’t prepared for that and wanted my western doctor to review everything to make an informed decision, so we somehow got them to release me. I however turned into a pin cushion with 6 needles in 24 hours. A strong antibiotic was administered through IV. The pain has reduced so hopefully this will lead to recovery and not an operation.

 

My hospital room looked more like a hotel. The treatment that I received was of great care. With the tests I had Friday the hospital had limited English and they sent one of the girls to come with us to translate. She asked if I had a way to the hospital 45 minutes to 1 hour from home and when I told her I would take the metro she arranged to have a car and driver pick us up. He waited to take me home, but when they thought I may be admitted they sent him home. She has sat with me to keep me company and talk with me when I was alone, as my husband was in Canada when I first started this process. She puts in long hours and is always available through texts and calls. The doctor stopped in on his way home to check on me and make sure everything was going well. I also have their personal mobile numbers and have been encouraged to call if needed. Being so far away from home I have been very lucky to have such support and care. It certainly has made this process so much easier.

Stay tuned…

Categories: Chinese Adventures, Tourist in My Own Town, travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 28 Comments

Horizons and Silhouettes: Weekly Photo Challenge

Occasionally I take photos of my shadow, so I can be in it 😉 I am always the one behind the lens and that is often a way I can include myself. I think silhouettes and shadows are interesting especially with sunsets.

This week’s theme for Word Press is silhouette and I wanted to show off the Shanghai skyline and this attempt to be creative and different with the long tall grasses at home.

Shanghai Skyline Sunset -May 2014

Shanghai Skyline Sunset -May 2014

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Where’s My Backpack is asking for horizons and this silhouetted skyline fits in perfectly. If you look carefully you can see the Shanghai Tower slowly getting taller as it nears its full height.

 

Check out the links to see more photos or to participate in the challenge.

 

  Stay tuned for more…

Categories: Photography, Uncategorized, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Summer: Tourist in Your Town

It has been about 1 year since I first posted the Tourist in Your Own Town series. I started it as a random challenge whenever something struck my fancy. A fellow blogger suggested I do it at a regular interval to increase results and participants. It then became a monthly challenge. After a few more challenges with only a few participants I considered stopping the challenges. After lots of comments and encouragement from the blogging world to keep going I decided to give it more time, but still I have had less than positive results. Good intentions are appreciated, but it makes me think my idea is just not something that interests enough readers.

Summer Rain

Summer Rain

The first few challenges had a few regular followers join in and I made a few new friends a long the way with new bloggers stopping by. Since those first months fewer and fewer people have joined and I am lucky to have had one or two bloggers join in. July was the worst results with no one until just recently Chava61 found my blog and did a great post.

A portable beaver tail truck! Just for you Bastet!

A portable beaver tail truck! Just for you Bastet!

With mixed feelings I have decided to retire the monthly challenge. A challenge needs work, time and leg work getting out there to tempt you all with great ideas and dropping by to nudge, hint and persuade you to participate. With a busy work schedule where I work 10-14 hours a day and 4-8 hours on weekends I cannot devote the time to a blog and photo challenge that I would like. So August will be the final challenge. For the final prompt I would like to tempt you with images of summer. Maybe it was a picnic in the park, trip to the cottage, a beautiful sunset or garden. No matter show something summery where you live. Link back here and use Tourist in Your Town in the title and as a tag.   Rainbow20140705_080227

Fun at the pool

Fun at the pool

Funny that I wrote this before last week’s “summer lovin” theme set by word press, but since I am doing a scheduled post because I will be travelling half-way round the world on the usual posting date. Why not send us a link to that post? Thanks to all my followers and participants over the past year. Stay tuned… not for more challenges, but more adventures in Shanghai and around Asia as we enter our final year.   Sunset20140705_085609

Categories: Photography, Tourist in My Own Town | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

200 Years Ago -Canadian History

If you are from North America, chances are, you had to study the War of 1812 in history class. Way back when the British and French had control of most of North America and slowly ideas, government and people wanted change. The south became the United States of America, while the North wanted to remain loyal to the King of England. In a nutshell, tensions flared and border disputes began in what was known as the War of 1812. It lasted over 2 -1/2 years in and around the Niagara area. It stretched as far north as present day Toronto and as far south as present day Washington DC. Names like Laura Secord, Sir Isaac Brock and John Brant are well known even today as companies, universities, cities or streets and monuments that were resurrected in their honour.

Part of North American culture is reenactments of such wars for history buffs. I had heard about them, but never witnessed one. The battle of Chippewa, a small area outside of Niagara Falls, Ontario was hosting a 200th anniversary of the Battle of Chippewa and we decided to attend. It was more than just a short lived reenacted battle, but a full on affair.

Take aim..... Fire!

Take aim….. Fire!

When we first arrived white canvas tents dotted the bike path with men and women in period costume selling trinkets, foods and other antiques or replicas of period pieces. Soon shots were fired and the battle was about to begin. In the same location as the original battle men (and women) in costume lined up on the battle filed and fired guns and cannons. The traditional method of lining up in rows as each group fired and another loaded up. Some fell, as they had been ‘shot’ so lines retreated and then moved forward again. Orders were shouted and soldiers complied. The smell of sulfur and smoke filled the air. It felt like we stepped back in history as we watched authentic methods put to use.

Camp as it may have looked in 1814

Camp as it may have looked in 1814

When the battle was over we walked around the rows of tents that were filled with quilts, lamb skin and old fashioned wash basins. Traditional cast iron cooking utensils and open air fires were in view, as this was more than a display, but a working camp. What surprised me most was how they really went all out with the smallest of details.

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Events like this are often held at the various forts around the Niagara Region on both sides of the border, especially since it has been the 200th anniversary, which is now winding down. Smaller locations, like this in a farmer’s fields are also occasionally held. A knowledgeable speaker gave a play by play of events to explain the process to inform the crowd. What was best about this –it was free! What an interesting way to learn history and spend a Sunday afternoon.

Even some on lookers were in period dress

Even some on lookers were in period dress

Don’t forget about the 2 challenges held for Tourist in Your Own Town. June was Festivals & Gatherings and July is Home. This could be a response for Festivals & Gatherings AND Home. If you would like to participate add a link in your blog to this one here and tell us about it in the comment section below.

Stay Tuned….

Categories: Culture, History, Photography, Tourist in My Own Town | Tags: , , , , , , ,

HOME -Tourist in Your Own Town

Returning home to Canada for the summer holidays got me thinking about all the things that make HOME special. As it turns out it is all the little things that I miss and started to get excited about especially after 11 months away. Family and Friends are of course top of the list, but what else did I look forward to?

Double Double :)

Double Double 🙂

 

 

1. Food –especially Tim Hortons Coffee. As I walked through the arrivals hall I could see the long line and smell the coffee in the departures section below. Hmmm deep breath. It was too late in the day to savour a cup, but first thing tomorrow morning.

 

 

 

2. Blue Sky with Fluffy Clouds and Sunsets – sounds silly, but when the majority of your days are the same dull gray it is something to get excited about. A few weeks before I came home I saw a picture of blue sky and clouds and I caught my breath. I knew that sky; a distant memory. It was something I started to look forward to. Every day there is blue sky and colourful sunsets. I take a moment like little Frederick in Leo Lioni’s book to soak it all in.

Wide open spaces, blue sky and fluffy clouds.

Wide open spaces, blue sky and fluffy clouds.

3. Wild Life – Living in a large city you are not going to see anything other than birds and maybe dogs out for a walk. Living in a small town and heading to my brother’s place out in the country we experienced more than pets and birds in the last 4 days. Just today we saw a squirrel scamper across the back yard and a bunny munching on clover. Luckily I caught a glimpse of 2 very shy deer across a farmer’s field, at the edge of the forest, nibbling away on seeds or fresh shoots sprouting this year’s crop.

Field of Dreams?

Field of Dreams?

4. Fresh Air, Water and Green Grass – deep breath in… with the poorest levels of pollution, since we arrived in Shanghai, this past year it is nice to go out and not worry about checking the Air Quality Index. It has become part of my daily routine, as much as I check the weather. Levels this past year hovered around 150 with a few days less than 80. The worst was a 4-5 day stretch with the pollution levels getting close to 475, or higher. When day looks greenish and inside is hazy, you just know it is bad. To compare the worst I saw Toronto was 10 and people get excited about that. The World Health Organization state anything over 20 is poor. Then there is the water. A young passenger on the plane was quite surprised when I told him it was OK to drink the water from the tap. Oh the little things we take for granted.

Soft grass to run bare foot in. My feet on Canadian soil.

Soft grass to run bare foot in. My feet on Canadian soil.

5. People and Speaking – Coming home I can speak and be understood. I don’t need to worry if others will understand me. It is a little stress that I never really thought about, but it is there. Trying so hard to say something I practiced, but can’t get the tone quiet right or the difficult zzz and dzz sounds. It then becomes a frustration on both sides. A few times we have been thrown out of cabs because they cannot understand us. At home people are friendly, take a minute to talk and say excuse me, or move out of your way rather than be preoccupied by a smart phone and bump into you instead of taking a step around you. Just last night we were at Wal-Mart and the line was getting longer, but everyone waited patiently as we chatted to the cashier, a lovely woman nearing 75 years of age. Even though it was busy she took the time to chat and enjoy the conversation. That is what I miss most… friendly conversation. Tuesday we were in a Canada Day Parade for the Shriners. People called out “Happy Canada Day” and tears sprang to my eyes. I was home and all the little things I missed for the past year were right here to be enjoyed. Oh Canada, how I miss thee.

Just Clowning Around at the Parade.  My Point of View from our float.

Just Clowning Around at the Parade.
My Point of View from our float.

What makes your country or HOME special? What would you miss most if you moved away? Maybe it is your favourite restaurant, or park? Maybe it is a cool tourist attraction, or site to see? No matter what it may be share it in a post during the month of July and be sure to link back to this blog. Place your link in the comment section below so others can find you too. This theme will run for July and come back early August for a new theme (usually the first weekend of the month). We are in the height of Festivals and Gatherings, last month’s theme, so if you have anything to share of an event you attended or one about to happen let us know. Maybe someone travelling to your neck of the woods would like to check it out.

Looking forward to seeing you. Stay tuned… summer is just beginning.

 

Categories: Tourist in My Own Town | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Between & Perspective: Photo Challenge

Between the arches and bricks of the Great Wall of China I could see the shades of the mountains and just pick out the shadowy outline of one of the many gates that dot the length of the wall. From my point of view I felt so small as I strained my eyes to take it all in.

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Between ancient arches

Between ancient arches

In Cambodia the long lines of stone masonry gave me an interesting perspective. As I stood between the long galleries, with many other people, at the Angkor Watt and Ta Prohm temples my eye was drawn along the length of covered passages . Old stone fallen and restored.

Say Cheese :)

Say Cheese 🙂

 

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Check out Bastet Pixleventures and Word Press this week to see more.

 

Next weekend will be the ‘official’ last weekend for the Festivals and Gatherings theme for my monthly challenge Tourist in Your Own Town. Stay tuned for a new theme in July which, I will post once I return to Canada and get over jet lag 😉

 

Categories: Photography, Tourist in My Own Town, travel, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Favourite: Tourist in Your Own Town

A new month has started so does a new photo challenge for Tourist in Your Own Town. As you may know at the start of each month I will post a theme and you can show us what it is like where YOU live. Let us travel to another place via the internet and your photos and words. Much cheaper and easier than actual travel sometimes. 😉

I had a few ideas for May, but after a little something on Monday night I changed my mind. Something got a lot of us excited here in Shanghai and it quickly became the talk at work. After all it’s about the little things in life 🙂 Each Monday a small group of us has gone to a local restaurant, The Blue Frog. This place has American style food with burgers, fajitas, large yummy salads and pastas on the menu. There is also some local dishes, but people usually come for the burgers. Every Monday night they offer a 2 for 1 burger. With the cheapest burger at 75 (now 78) RMB which is close to $12;  it is a little pricy, but that is how it is for a taste of home. The burgers are good and totally worth it when you can get 2 for the price of one. To top it off from 4-8 PM every night it is happy hour where the  majority of drinks are also 2 for 1. We discovered this place our first year here and quickly it became our Monday night tradition. A table for 2 has now extended to sometimes 6 or 8 of us. We have celebrated birthdays, work functions and just gone there to hang out. The staff is super friendly and our local Chinese friends Albert and Joy are super sweet. They go out of their way to always stop by and say Hi. I think we love this place because we feel so welcome. We are known to all the staff and often they know our order before we do 😉

Blue Frog

All this is exciting and makes us really happy, but Monday things got shaken a little bit. The prices went up and new burgers were on the menu. One caught my eye, but it was 108 RMB (about $17). I thought well it is 2 for 1, lets give it a go. Well it was delicious! I ordered the Gourmet Burger, the latest addition. It came on a ciabiata bun with avocado, a spicy cheese, a thin slice of parma ham and a chilli sauce. When it arrived the presentation was beautiful, more than a burger slapped together and thrown on a plate. It was so pretty I snapped a photo. After my first bite I was in heaven. It melted in your mouth and the mix of sweet chilly sauce, the creaminess of the cheese and juiciness of the burger were all paired together into delicious bite after bite. A few of us tried this burger and everyone’s conversation suddenly turned away from work to how yummy the burger was. Now that is saying something! With teacher appraisals, reports and assessments underway it took our minds off things to savour bite after bite. A few other people from work also happened to be at the restaurant and all week when we ran into each other we were asking “Did you try the new burgers?” “Which one?”  “Wasn’t it SO good!”.

The Gourmet Burger with Sweet Potato Fries

The Gourmet Burger with Sweet Potato Fries

 

20140428_172543SO my theme for May is to show your favourite food, restaurant or place to hang out. It can be a place you are a regular, or just go to for special events. Tell us why it is great and why you like going there then show us some photos. Be sure to link to your post in the comment section below and add to a link (pingback) to this post. Lastly use the tag Tourist in Your Own Town  in your title so others can stop by and see what is your FAVOURITE where you live. So be a Tourist In Your Own Town and give us a peek at what is great about where you live.

 

 

Missed my post for the Black’s Photography Contest I entered?  Hit the “older post” button below if you want to check it out.

Stay tuned 🙂

 

Categories: Tourist in My Own Town, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , ,