Posts Tagged With: weather

Feeling Frayed: Weekly Photo Challenge

A teacher’s worst nightmare came true this week with rain on the first day of school. Not just a light drizzle, but a heavy downpour that made the day dull and dark. Meeting a new class and having to spend all day with them indoors left me a little frazzled and frayed. Don’t get me wrong I love teaching, but when 7.5 hours straight is with 5 year olds all talking at once you can get a little tired and frayed around the edges.

Heavy rain storm - July 2014 Fonthill, ON

Heavy rain storm – July 2014 Fonthill, ON

It could be a result of my nerves getting a little frazzled with the weather. At home the last week of our holiday was filled with cooler temps and lots of heavy rain. When we returned to China the first week was typical with hot humid temps with sunny blue skies. That was short lived and unseasonable cool temps and heavy rains rolled in. We had 5 days of steady rain which, wears on your nerves and makes you a little frayed.

What has left you feeling frayed?

Check out Word Press and the photo challenge this week frayed.

With a new work schedule I have not been able to get onto WP as much as I would like, so I apologise if I do not respond quickly. Whenever I get a chance I will.

Stay tuned.



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

Misty Threshold of Inspiration

What is a misty threshold of inspiration? For me it is a combination of 3 photo challenges 😉 Ailsa has asked for something MISTY while Word Press asked for a THRESHOLD and Bastet asked for INSPIRATION.

Going through my pics from our recent short trip to Hong Kong I thought this photo fit the bill for all 3. Our short trip was saturated by heavy down pours. Luckily we got in before the storm, so our flight was not diverted, delayed  or cancelled. Each day we would arrive inside JUST before the skies really opened up. Umbrella’s and rain coats were unfashionable, but kept us mostly dry. The day we left heavy rains left everything misty over the hills. As Ailsa says fog and mist are mysterious and I thought this was be good inspiration for someone to write a short story or poem. Bastet wanted a photo to help inspire someone to write and hopefully this will get some creative juices flowing.

Misty Hong Kong

Misty Hong Kong

WP’s theme of threshold was described as something that can show change or a beginning. Travel is just that for me. Stepping away from the comforts of home and going somewhere new is exciting. I love the opportunity that travel provides… allowing you to see and do new things, meet new people, experience new foods, sites, smells and learn about different ways of life. My first solo trip opened so many doors for me and without that opportunity I may not have ever taken the chance to move half way around the world. It was a big step… challenging, exciting and scary. Crossing over that threshold has been many fantastic adventures.

The Ultimate threshold -flight

The Ultimate threshold – flight

What big step have you taken in life?

Stay tuned…

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

Return to Coco Beach

February 2011 Chinese New Year holiday we went on our first Asian adventure. I had just been teaching a few months in Shanghai and we wanted to escape the noise and cold damp for the 10 day holiday. Booking late we found high prices and limited availability. We searched and found a very cool little resort that was different from your typical hotel room. We were delighted by its rustic charm and felt like we had landed on Gilligan’s Island. Most people we met there were on their second and third visit to this little gem. We vowed to return and this Chinese New Year holiday we did.

This year we booked early, but prices were high due to poor air quality that gripped Shanghai. We booked 5 nights since that was the cheapest option. Flights nearly doubled for extending our stay a day or two in either direction. It would be a short trip, but nice to get away to the most relaxing place we had ever been. The place is called Coco Beach and it is located in Puerto Galera on Mindoro Island in the Philippines.

Welcome to Coco Beach

Welcome to Coco Beach – View on approach by boat

The resort has been around since the 1970’s and it resembles a type of Philippine traditional home. They are simple huts made with bamboo and palm leaves. The rooms have no TV, internet or air conditioning. A simple sliding window and canvas curtain open to reveal the best views, better than any HD TV. Rooms are equipt with bathrooms with cool running water, which is fine due to the heat and humidity. You look forward to the cool water. Rooms are set along a hillside to take advantage of the view. This time our hut was set back further from the ocean, so our view of the sea was partially obscured by the towering palms. This also blocked out the soothing sounds of the sea to lull us to sleep each night and the palms blocked out the cooler sea breezes. Nights were hot, but a fan kept us comfortable. Weather forecasts called for rain or cloudy days, but we lucked out with sun, warmth and blue skies everyday. The day we were leaving a quick rain shower passed through, but it was short-lived.

To get there was quite the adventure. We had a late morning flight and got up early to head to the airport. We were met with a thick dense fog. I figured we would be slightly delayed, which was an understatement! Once in the airport we learned from other people in line the flight may be delayed until 3:30 that afternoon. It was now 9AM. It took over 2 hours to get to the counter where the delay was confirmed. The long wait was attributed to attendants trying to re-book the numerous connecting flights. Most people connect through Manila to the more popular Boracay and Cebu beaches. Once we got to the gate more rumours started to be passed around that the flight was further delayed or even cancelled. The flight was now scheduled for 8:20 PM. Since we had gone through security we were stuck waiting. The fog/smog mix remained heavy and didn’t lift. Finally late afternoon the first flights could leave. The visibility had only slightly improved. Our flight would take off, hopefully, once our plane arrived since it was still in Manila. About 4:45 it was confirmed the flight was in the air, but it was still uncertain we could leave since fog was rolling back in. Being close to the sea and 2 rivers certainly has its disadvantages.

The beach - coral reef almost touches the shore

The beach – coral reef almost touches the shore

Finally about 10:45 PM, 5 minutes shy of our morning departure time, nearly 12 hours before we were able to leave the gate. Tired and wary we arrived in Manila about 2:oo AM. The next morning came fast since we had a 6:30 AM shuttle to take us to Batangas where we would board a boat to Coco Beach. It was all worth it once we stepped off our boat and quickly porters grabbed our luggage and brought it to the main building where the staff awaited us playing guitars and singing Welcome to Coco Beach. As before each guest was presented with a shell necklace and handed a drink and shown a place to sit and relax. When we were ready the kind staff gave us our keys and gift box filled with homemade soaps, creams and shampoos made on site. 3 days here would go by quickly, so we had to make the most of every minute to soak up the sun, kind smiling faces and relaxing atmosphere. Aaahhhhh we’re back…..

steps leading up the hillside to the huts

steps leading up the hillside to the huts

What crazy travel delays have you encountered?

Stay tuned… and be sure to check out my previous post from today… RED #2 -Tourist in Your Own Town.

Categories: travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Water :Photo Challenge

I have been invited to join another photo challenge by my fellow bloggers Bastet. Check them out here to find more about their photo challenges. They have set a theme WATER for this week. Water can take many forms and here is my example… a photo taken on my recent trip from China. This year I connected through Vancouver, Canada and flew over the Rocky Mountains. Somewhere between Alberta and British Columbia I saw many forms of water… clouds, rivers, snow and ice. Here is my take on ‘forms of water’ from above.

Rocky Mountains - a view from above

Rocky Mountains – a view from above


Stay tuned…

Categories: Photography, post a week, travel, Uncategorized, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Buds & Blossoms

“She turned to the sunlight
    And shook her yellow head,
And whispered to her neighbor:
    “Winter is dead.”

A.A. Milne, When We Were Very Young


We have had 3 seasons in a fortnight. Just 2 weeks ago we had temps 25-29c; unseasonable. We went to more spring like temps around 16-18c until the temperatures plunged to around 5c. Brrr feels like winter again. The damp chill settled back in and the winds picked up to force you to dig to the back of the closet again and find the warm wooly sweaters that I thought I could pack away until next year.

Magnolia Blossoms

Magnolia Blossoms

The blossoms had been out in full force, but the cold temperatures have made some of them fall, wilt or turn brown. The promise of spring has been forgotten for now, but some hardy blossoms have held on. Hopefully soon the chill will move on and spring will be back. One thing about spring it always brings new life and hope of better things to come.


What is the weather been like in your neighbourhood?

Stay tuned for more…

Categories: Photography, post a week | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Snow Shanghai Style

This week it snowed in Shanghai! Snow is a rare occurrence with our location about comparable to the latitude of Texas in the United States. Winters are usually mild, but feel colder due to the high humidity which translates into dampness that chills you to the bone! The first year I was here we had 2 small snowfalls one in December and the other January. Last year during Chinese New Year it was a biting cold with snow flurries, but nothing on the ground. This winter was cold and came a bit earlier than usual. I expected snow, but I never saw any. In early January just before we all returned to work there was snow, but I can’t speak of amounts since I missed it. The day we returned to work it did snow, and a few flurries filled the air and mere skiff covered the ground. It was short lived though.

Have you ever seen snow on a palm tree before?

Have you ever seen snow on a palm tree before?

While I was away on Chinese New Year holiday this year  it snowed again. Most of us were long gone to other holiday destinations, but a few teachers who stayed behind said it was a good amount for Shanghai and it left 2 maybe 3 cm of the white stuff on the ground. This week it snowed with another 2-4 cm of slushy white snow covering the ground. Reports were saying snow was in the forecast, but because it is so rare it is one of those “seeing is believing” things. I awoke very early Tuesday morning thanks to jet lag and peeked out the window. Everything was wet and it appeared it had rained. In the distance the highway, which is usually visible on clear days, was blurry. I thought there was something on the window or my glasses. When I moved I knew it wasn’t me, but something outside. It must be snow! Sure enough it started to move towards me and the usual landmarks slowly became blotted out. In the street lamps I could see the heavy wet stuff coming down hard. My first thought… snow day???

The slightest snow often causes delays and school or bus cancellations, but no phone calls. School was still on. I kept

Wet Slushy Snow Covering the Flowers

Wet Slushy Snow Covering the Flowers

watching as the snow started to cover cars and trees. Deciding not to take my electric scooter I went to catch our staff bus. It was a slushy, slippery mess outside. The flakes were big and fluffy though and it looked beautiful falling down, like feathers in the sky. I snapped a few shots, but my memory card beeped at me to announce it was full. Oh no of all days! The children were super excited about the snow, but we had indoor recess due to how wet it was. No one here comes dressed for snow, so no boots never mind  a snow suit in sight, so we had to enjoy the snow through the windows. By 10 AM the snow had stopped and by noon it was only a memory as most of it was all melted. The children were excited if they found a small pile of slush clinging to existence a little longer than the rest.

What was the weather like where you were this week?

Stay tuned for more 🙂


Categories: Chinese Adventures, everyday occurances, post a week | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

CTB and a New Shade of Darkeness

I have been worried about CTB going into darkness over the last few months and weeks. Well this week a different kind of darkness rolled into Shanghai. As you may already be aware from the news reports pollution levels have been extremely high. Beijing has had the most attention with bad air, but due to its location in a valley it is more likely to have trouble since the pollutants easily get trapped and settle. Shanghai is closer to the sea and pollution is not always as severe. I hardly noticed it before that is until this year. It was here, but rare.

When you think about the population of the city (close to 24 million permanent residents) and the increasing numbers of cars on the road it is no wonder the city has pollution. I started to count ‘blue sky days’ like at home where we count ‘smog days’. The sun comes out, but it is always hazy. Few days are completely clear with blue sky and clouds. Now some of that is also the moisture in the air due to the location of Shanghai on the East China Sea and part of the Yangtze River delta. The city is also divided by the Huangpu River. Summers are sticky humid and winters are mild, but so damp you swear it was 5*c or more colder than what the thermometer shows.

Sun is dull through the smog

Sun is dull through the smog

I have noticed the pollution more in the last 12 months or so. With increasing levels our school has also started to monitor conditions and days where levels are high asthma students stay indoors (orange level or unhealthy for sensitive groups according to the US consulate in Shanghai) and other outdoor activities are limited. Some days when the levels are highest (red –unhealthy) we treat it like a rainy day and everyone stays inside. The worst day this week was red or maybe even the highest level purple. I could feel it in my nose and throat. From my classroom we could barely see clearly across the street, never mind the skyline of Shanghai. The sun was not visible and you felt like we were in a thick fog; darkness even in the middle of the day.

Straining to see the skyline and able to look directly at the sun.

Straining to see the skyline and able to look directly at the sun.

Thank goodness something changed and the next day things improved and we were back to orange levels. Not great, but at least bearable. The temperatures went up a bit too this week and I wonder if that helped as heat was turned down, or off. The is citing that a colder winter (I think earlier too) and different and unlucky wind patterns have contributed to the woes of many cities across China seeing an increase in pollution levels.

Many locals wear face masks and they are sold along with hats, mitts and scarves come winter. I was told they were for cold weather, not pollution. I bought one this year and it makes a difference to block the wind when driving the scooter. Now sales are increasing as people are wearing them while exercising, walking or just out of doors.

I didn't snap a photo of the worst smog this week, but I found this example from Reuters.

I didn’t snap a photo of the worst smog this week, but I found this example from Reuters.

According to smog has actually improved over the last few years with many factories moving inland and to other cities. They claim the dust and particulates in the air come from things that are being burned as well as construction which is extensive in Shanghai.

It has been a busy return to work after Christmas and today I decided to open the drapes, enjoy the view and veg out inside. Good excuse staying indoors and lounging in my jammies all day, don’t you think?

Stay tuned…

Categories: post a week | Tags: , , , , , ,

Weekly Photo Challenge: Fleeting Moment

In Shanghai I must learn how to play ‘tacky tourist’ and have a camera slung around my neck at all times. There are so many sights that only seeing is believing at times. I occasionally carry a camera in my bag, but by the time I get it out and ready it is too late. Other times I have it at the ready, and nothing.

One of the things that I found fascinating when I first arrived are the people on bikes piled high with recyclable finds that they rummage for in garbage or other items that have been discarded. It may be crushed and flattened cardboard, large styrofoam pieces that leaves a trail of fake snow in its wake, or the numerous large plastic bottles that resemble a bunch of grapes. It amazes me how they lash all these things to stay in place and then balance and ride the bike with what must be an enormous weight.

Typical Sights – be fast or you’ll miss the shot

It is funny we were just discussing these sights on a bus ride from a staff meeting ,on Friday, as we saw some pass. One of my co-workers said how she wished she had a camera ready as this tricycle style bike was piled high with its wares and this very old-looking woman was struggling to peddle while her husband reclined in the back smoking away. Maybe she drew the short straw that day, or was her shift.

My best sighting, that hasn’t been beat yet, was this enormous pile of bags that I think were piled high with styrofoam pieces. An older gentleman was driving the trike and near the top in a little alcove, hollowed out in the bags perched his wife. Ahhh to have captured that on film or memory card!

A few weeks ago I went to an art exhibit here in Shanghai and there is a photographer who has taken some of these shots and edited in backgrounds. They called them totems. You can check out that post here. After seeing the picture at the exhibit of the furniture seller I wondered why I had never seen something like this, only the recyclable bikes. Just a few days later I spotted one on my ride home. I quickly ran inside grabbed the camera and ran back out. I caught this smaller version. The next day I saw them again as I went out to pay the bills. They were in front of the shop and passers-by were stopping to check out the wares. I love it furniture shopping comes to you!  I’d hate to see someone pick the one on the bottom! As I got closer there was a woman sitting on one of the chairs and in her lap was another chair as she expertly and quickly weaved the thin straw into an intricate pattern. She was making the chair right on the street!

Furniture for Sale

Another cool sight from last weekend in the rain. It was a good steady rain and the walkway above the busy road along side of the Pearl Tower and towards Super Brand Mall was a little more crowded with all the umbrellas!

Umbrella Parade

To see more or participate check out the word press sight. You don’t have to be a professional just have a love for taking pictures.

Stay tuned for more…

Categories: Chinese Adventures, Photography, post a week, strange adventures, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tags: , , , ,

Weekly Photo Challenge: Close

Recently we posted on “Friends” and “Together” so for “Close” I thought I should think outside the box and not use the first idea that popped in my head… being close with someone. Besides it has already been done ;), so this is what I came up with instead:

Results from:

A few weeks back we went to the Shanghai Diamond League Games and these two women high jumpers were so ‘close’. They both made the same heights and it was a close race and the next jumper to make it was first. Unfortunately the rain started and kept getting heavier, so each one of them missed the jump. The officials kept lowering the bar and the rain came harder still, so the women slowed their pace and continued to fail to make the new height. It was CLOSE… and the crowd watched with baited breath and a collective sigh and “ahhhh” was released each time there was a miss. Finally the American woman C. Lowe  made the jump and the Chinese woman X. Zheng missed and event was over. Boy was it CLOSE! Not only a close race, but look how close they come to the bar without knocking it down.

Women’s High Jump – So CLOSE

A sprint is always good for a photo finish and talk about being close… less than a second between winners!

Photo Finish – now that is CLOSE!

Want to join in? Check out Word Press here and drop your link for close. Just want to see what others think about close? Hit the same link and see everyone’s examples 🙂

As always play nice -no copying of images without permission of CTB.

Stay tuned… I have 2 more photo challenges have to be posted this week!

Categories: Photography, post a week, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Travel Theme Photo Challenge: Oceans

Ailsa over at Where’s My Backpack has come up with another great challenge and this time it is also meant to educate. World Ocean Day was June 8th. Learn more here at . With so much knowledge about the environment we sometimes forget about the oceans. A few disturbing things I have recently learned about the ocean… I think it was on Discovery Channel or National Geographic that I learned about this problem with our oceans. Due to ocean currents there is a ‘garbage island’ floating about our earth. Water bottles, containers, drums, plastic rings and other human materials that have been lost at sea or discarded get picked up by currents and then have joined each other in one massive swirling unbiodegrable heap. How sad is that? It pollutes or waters and harms the wildlife that eat it or get entangled in it. You can read about it on Wikipedia under the Great Garbage Patch.

Another problem I have heard about is fishing nets. They are meant to catch fish, but due to their size and invisible nature under water boats, people and wildlife get caught in them. Just this weekend I was watching an episode of Ellen that aired in March about a whale that had a long net tangled on its tail. It took over 8 hours to free the whale. The net also contained other wildlife like sharks, seals and fish. It is a shame that in this day and age we cannot come up with a more humane way of catching fish. I guess it comes down to time and money; work the least amount of time and get the most product in the time you spend. I spoke before how my uncle and grandfather were fishermen. They had small boats and used lobster and crab traps for shellfish and simple hook and lines for larger fish. There were many hooks on a simple frame and within minutes, in a good fishing ground, the boat would be full and they would return to shore. Now big trawlers, mainly from other countries, come in with their large nets and over fish. The Grandbanks of Canada is no longer teeming with fish as it once was. The Canadian Government now puts quotas on our fishermen and licences are no longer available, only current ones can be bought and sold for big dollars. Is it fair that other countries are overfishing our waters and not thinking about the future and consequences of their actions? Is it fair that some Canadian lively hood is lost because someone else thinks they do not have to follow the laws? Doesn’t seem fair does it?

Well time to get off the soap box and share a photo! I have recently been to the China Sea and Gulf of Mexico, but no oceans… In the past I  have been to the Atlantic and Pacific, but those photos I always seem to want are in the pesky storage. I guess this summer I should start scanning some old images and making them digital! However, I did find this one of the Atlantic Ocean as we flew along the US coast on our way to Cuba. No waves or turquoise blues here, but a god’s eye view from above… enjoy 🙂

If you want to see more ocean pics, or participate check out this link for Where’sMyBackpack. We can always make room for one more 🙂

Categories: Photography, post a week, travel, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tags: , , , , , , ,