Thursday, September 20, 2007

Back in KL - 27th July

That's it - back in KL after 2 months of travelling. The heat, traffic jam and similar surroundings....home sweet home. Will need some time to re-acclimatised.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

24th July - last day with Contiki

Well - all good times must come to an end. Sigh. Last day with group. Some of us went to the Gutenberg Cafe near the library for breakfast - pancakes with maple syrup. Yum. Cafe run by Koreans:)

Some of the group left for Seatle at 10.30am. I went shopping at the Bay. Sale. Must have tried like 20+++ pieces of stuff. Am happy that I am only an L (size) or size 12 (down from XL or size 14). Was very tempted to get a Anne Klein red jacket - but the price.....I sakit kocek. It's a very nice and well-made jacket:(((

Also went to Chapters to check out their books. Quite good selection.

Am ready to go back to KL now after shopping trip:)))

Whistler to Vancouver, dinner cruise

On the 23rd, we left Whistler on the Sea & Sky Highway to Vancouver. A obligatory tour of Stanley Park - the oh so famous landmark of Vancouver, Yaletown, Gastown, Chinatown and finally hotel for a nap before dinner.

Got some interesting pictures.

Had a final dinner cruise around the Vancouver Harbour. We saw some seals, what type, cannot tell. It's an amazing wildlife tour as we saw a bald eagle perched on a buoy, loons, geese, seagulls. Too bad no dolphins or orcas/whales (who sometimes visit the harbour).

BTW - Harry Porter mania is serious here. Some of the Contiki group actually went to queue at midnight on 20th July at Chapters (something similar to Borders) to get a copy. Sheesh.


This is a beautiful place. Very happening town. Very touristic but they deserved it. Well planned. The scenery is wonderful. We did Paddle & Peddle on 22nd. Real fun but oh my poor shoulders hate me after paddling for 1 1/2 hours, followed by 30 mins of cycling back to hotel. The water is pretty high, so very exciting with the strong currents flowing in the lake and streams. And since the water is high, we had to portage the canoes over the more dangerous areas. Heavy canoe.

I find that I like mountain biking - in the cool temperatures here. Maybe will consider getting a bike back in Mal?

The scenery up the Whistler Peak is amazing. Went on the gondola (cable car ride) - saw a mama bear with 2 cubs. Cool.

On the day we went up = there was a mountain biking contest, like AXN - got some real cool pics of the bike warriors - no joke, they have body armour, protective pads all over and covered with mud. Their bikes have front, body and back suspensions.

On the peak, we met some Canadian Amazing Race contestants (family). Real interesting - watching them scampering around looking for clues. Too bad, didn't see any camera crews.

Teach ya'll a new word - Inukshuk - it's the name of the stacked rock statue that is the symbol of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Jasper whitewater rafting today

Wow - 3 posts in one day. Actually managed to get free computer and internet at the hotel we are staying tonight. That's why a deluge of updates and emails. At Ca$6 to 8 for 1 hour for internet, have to be a bit kiasu to jaga pocket.

Well - we left Jasper in the morning for some whitewater rafting. Really cool/awesome/fun trip. Water is freaking cold though. The wetsuit isn't that effective and the water seeps in - wow - like getting ice cold bath. And the water is high, so great run. The guide invited us to jump into the river - yup, we did.

Had buffalo burger after the rafting trip. Soooo good. No regrets (on calories or cost since it's a RM30 burger :) From a roadside type of cafe.

Travelled from Jasper to Kamloops today. Saw a timber wolf - walking on the highway. Woohoo.

So far live wild animals tally - 1 moose, 2 black bears, 5-6 elks, 3 white-tail deer, 4 mule deer, many many bighorn sheep, 4 loons (Canada's national bird), 1 beaver, wild geese, many squirrels - black, red, brown and golden, 4-5 ermines, 1 chipmunk, ravens, crows, magpies, 1 lobster (wild and live one, not dead in the supermarket or on my plate), 1 wolf. Too bad no whales although I did go for Whale watching tour. Do mosquitoes count? Cos there's millions and zillions here.

Leaving Kamloops for 2 nights in Whistler (one of the places that the winter Olympics was held). It's the premier skiing resort in the world. Supposed to be another adventurous and fun place to be. Another paddle & peddle trip coming up (paddle = canoeing, peddle = biking).

Banff to Jasper

We went through the most scenic highways in the whole of Canada - It's Highway 1, also called the Columbia Icefields. It's a valley surrounded by majestic peaks and glaciers. Apparently there's like 600 glaciers in the whole of the Rockies and we saw many that day.

Oh oh - saw a black bear on the highway.

We stopped for a glacier tour of Athabasca Glacier. It's part of the Columbia Icefields. A special monster truck took us up to the glacier itself. Cool trip. It's much much bigger that the Franz Joseph in NZ.

Rolled into Jasper in the evening. Am very happy to be back here. Love this little town. Managed to go for the Town tour (for CA$2). Interesting stories about the people and place.

Also rented a bicycle and with 4 others and biked up 2 hills to the Lake Patricia and Mt Pyramid. Arghhh 7 km uphill. Going up - 55 min. Coming down was a breeze (10 min) - cold breeze as it rained. But the scenery was worthed the effort.

After 14 km, 2 of us decided to bike some more (get our money's worth - bike rental was 1/2 day @ CA$22). So we went over to the Old Fort Trail, crossed the Athabasca River and cycled on to Lake Beauvert and Jasper Park Lodge. Such a lovely place. Would love to stay there is I am rich:))) That's another 10 kms of trails. I swear I have never cycled so much or so long in a day. My butt was screaming murder, and my calves and thighs were aching. Nice hot bath in Jasper.

I've discovered the joy of taking hot baths (vs showers). Sheer bliss.

Calgary to Banff

Sort of the capital of the Rockies - plenty of adventure and fun and shopping and drinking (bars). Great place to hang out.

Went on cable car to the top of Mt Sulfur. Beautiful scenery. Cool fresh air and plenty of mozzies. Great view of Banff and the valley. Also did Mt Assiniboine helicopter ride. It costs a bomb - RM660 for 30 mins ride but since it's my first time in copter- what to do? Pay lah. No problem with heights.

Upper Hot springs - bliss to celup-celup in hotsprings. Sort of melted my muscles.

One of the girls (the schoolteacher) and I rent bicyles and peddled around the sights of Banff. We must have done like 20 kms in 4.5 hours. Sights such as The Banff Springs Hotel, Cave & Basin, Fenlands, River trails & Bow Falls. Have not ridden a bike for sooooo long.

Left Banff on 17th July for Jasper.
PS: A tour guide told us that Banff stands for " Be aware nothing for free"
Jasper - "Just another silly place extracting revenue". Super true - most stuff costs 20-50% more than other cities like Toronto or Vancouver.