Archive for December, 2006

Travel Journals

Sunday, December 10th, 2006

Ever seen a friend’s Online Travel Journal? In all honesty, most of them consist of holiday snaps; “X, marks my room”? and “Here I am at the…” sort of thing. But every once in a while (on extremely rare occasions) you come across one that takes you on a “voyage of discovery”. I’ve just finished reading one such journal.

This particular journal takes place over the course of the year ending this November 2006. But it really begins with the greatest disaster of modern times – the Tsunami of 2004. Countless thousands perished in what was perhaps the deadliest Tsunami in history. By the end of the first day the casualty estimates topped 150,000 souls.

Among the dead were thousands of foreign tourists – a large number of them U.K. Nationals. It fell to British Authorities to dispatch Police Detectives to identify their citizens among the uncounted rotting corpses that littered the once idyllic beaches.

The journal of which I speak was written by a young (and, coincidently,? gorgeous) female Detective Constable from England. During the miserable task of indentifying putrefying remains a second quake struck the area. Recovery workers on the beaches braced themselves for the anticipated deluge. Prayers were said and calls to loved one’s were made. They were preparing themselves for the end.

The second Tsunami never arrived. The workers on the beaches had been reprieved. An event such as that caused many to rethink their priorities in life as only coming close to death can do. Our journal keeper decided to embark on a year-long discovery of what really was important and rethink lifes’ priorities.? Her journal? is an amazing account of travel, growth, adventure and learning.

In the course of the following year she hiked South Africa’s famed Table Mountain; went diving? among Great White Sharks where the Benguela Current flows past Capetown at the southern tip of the African Continent; tried snowboarding in the mountains of New Zealand; explored the underwater wonders? of the Great Barrier Reef and on to to the warm waters of Fiji, then on to to the cold waters of Canada’s Pacific Coast. From there it was a gruelling bus trip across the vast North American Continent – 6 time zones – before flying home to England 365 days from the beginning of her journey.

It’s hard (no, impossible) to tell you all she has learned. But by the time she landed here at our hostel (where she was reunited with her beau after long months of separation) , it was plain to see that this is one lady who will never again treat life as a dress rehearsal. You go girl! Go large! Go well.

Click here to check out Lydia Hewsons blog. Check out the 07/10/2006 entry to get her impression of Toronto and the Canadiana Backpackers Hostel, Toronto.

Lydia & Andy

Lydia & Andy watching the Toronto Blue Jays play baseball.

Lydia & Andy

Lydia & Andy on a day trip to Niagara Falls.

Winter is Here!

Sunday, December 10th, 2006

Well, it had to happen! Winter has really arrived in Toronto. After a? fairly warm? November, the temperature had fallen to -12C + ! Last year we experienced the mildest winter in recorded history and records go back over 200 years! It doesn’t look like we will get off as easily this year.

To make things even more troublesome, a good many of our travellers have not come equipped for our cold weather. We are stearing them all to Kensington Market (near Chinatown) where they can buy used winter coats at the trendy little “retro” clothing shops. They can save a lot of money by doing so.

We’ve moved a lot of our hostel activities indoors into our recently enlarged “common area”. We still have our weekly (Saturday) Barbeques on our heated backyard patio. Fortunately, Toronto has been spared (thus far) the heavy snowfall that has crippled cities a lot of the area to the North and Southwest of us.? We can only hope it remains so, Anyone coming here this Christmas and New Year’s should be sure to bring a warm coat, hat, gloves and sweaters (jumpers).

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A world-class competitor!

Monday, December 4th, 2006

We’ve just had a “celebrity guest” here. He’s a world-class competitor in his discipline who travelled all the way from New Zealand to compete in the world championships held right here in Toronto.

As the New Zealand RPS Champion Matt Martin got a free trip to our city to compete. He finished in the top eight of RPS competitors. What is “RPS” did you ask? Well it’s a time honored game we ALL know! “Rock; Paper; Sissors!”

If you don’t think there is a great deal of skill in the game. You ought to try to play him! A cold steely eyed gaze meets you, then, his rock smashes your sissors!

Matt Martin, New Zealand RPS champion and world quarter finalist.


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