To Calgary and back

A few weeks ago, I had a meeting in Kelowna, a meeting a Calgary, then another meeting in Kelowna. Rather than flying, I decided to take the motorcycle given that we’re in the middle of beautiful riding weather.

On Friday, I set off for Kelowna. The ride from Vancouver to Kelowna was uneventful. I have done the most boring Hwy 1 and the beautiful Coquihalla a number of times.

On Saturday, I left Kelowna and headed south towards Osoyoos, then east towards the Nelson. I got to Nelson around 5 pm, so I figured I had enough daylight left to cram in a bit more mileage. I went up to Belfour to catch the ferry across Kootenay Lake. By the time I got across the lake, daylight was starting to fade and I was getting pretty tired. There was nothing to stop for south bound along the lake. The road was amazing–in fact, it was hands down one of the best roads I have ever been on. I eventually rolled into Creston, and picked a motel off the highway to stay at.

Leaving Creston on Sunday, I rode through Cranbrook and Fernie, turning up north just before Lundbrek to aim at Calgary. I mean, I have always thought BC is freaking amazing, but man, I have never seen how beautiful the interior is! After living in BC for 24 years, this was my first time in the interior. I feel like I found my new favorite motorcycle roads along Kootenay Lake, and my new favorite town of Fernie with the gorgeous mountains.

Two days later, I left Calgary, riding on Hwy 1 back west. So far, I have had nothing but amazing weather. But by the time I hit Sicamous, my luck had run out. Standing in the McDonalds parking lot (to steal wifi signal), I can see the dark rain clouds ahead. From Sicamous to Vernon, heavy rain pounded on my faceshield, thunder rolled, and lightning struck. The rain water pooled in the tire grooves on the pavement, making it a bit of a scary ride along Mare Lake. I probably could have made it to Kelowna that night, but I threw in my towel in Vernon and stayed the night.

I have never seen rain in Kelowna, until this trip. The next day, after my last of the meetings in Kelowna, I rode home with rain and hail on the Coquihalla.

In total, it was 2,413 km of solo riding through some of the best roads I’ve been on, and some of the best scenery in the world.

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My route tracker

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Full of dead bugs

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Beautiful Okanagan

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Kootenay Lake ferry

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Advertised as “the biggest truck in the world” in Sparwood

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The fading light in Creston, BC

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A vintage Customs office in Grand Forks

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This weather forecast gave me chills down my back. Luckily, I was a step behind the storm and avoided all of it on my way to Calgary.

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I thought I was going to get punished by the rain clouds on Hwy 22 in Alberta. Thankfully the rain held off.

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Calgary

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Calgary

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Calgary

 

 

 

Baby tooth

Josh first tooth Aug 2

Josh lost his first baby tooth this week. He was more excited about the tooth fairy bringing him money, he was not at all bothered by the sight of blood and the gap in this teeth.

His mom, on the other hand, shed a few tears for another sign of losing her little baby to a growing boy. How can the baby phase be over so quickly? It has probably been over for a while now, but you know, she’s in denial.

The Yellow Crocus

I have a thing for cultural or historical fictions, like The Kite Runner, A Thousand Splendid Suns, The Help, The Book of Negroes, and Finding Rebecca.

The first book I read for my August resolution is The Yellow Crocus. It’s set in the 1800’s in the South, where slave trading was the norm and enslaved wet nurses raise the white babies. It is makes you cry because it tears your heart out and then put it back together. It makes you read on the edge of your seat while reading about the slave girl escaping the plantation for her freedom.

It’s well worth the read.

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/yellow-crocus-laila-ibrahim/1029565176

 

August resolution

I don’t believe in making new year resolutions. I believe that when a change is necessary in life, today is the day to make the resolution.

I love using Facebook. It connects me with friends I don’t see often, all over the world. It gives me a glimpse of their lives even if I am thousands of miles away from them. But lately, my newsfeed feels like a lot of “noise”. And admittedly, it is also a major time sucker for me. So, I think it’s time to try putting Facebook away for a while. I’m not deleting anything. I’m just taking a break, and see how it goes.

I figured I’ll gain at least 30 minutes a day by giving up Facebook. I will use that time to do other things I love or have been wanting to get done.

For the month of August, here are my resolutions:

  1. No Facebook access
  2. Read 2 books
  3. Walk 10,000 steps everyday
  4. Finish the classroom modules of the PADI diving course

Alright, let’s see how this goes!

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Baby. Shower.

Part I

Couple of weeks ago, I attended a friend’s baby shower. I took Savanna with me to the shower. I tried to explain to her that’s a party, but she kept asking me why we are watching a baby getting a shower.

After the baby shower, she seemed quite satisfied to learn that when a woman is expecting a baby, she gets a party with great food, balloons, and gifts. In the car, on our way home, she said, “Mommy, I want a baby shower.”

I said, “Savanna, when you are pregnant, Mommy will throw you a shower.”

Savanna said, “What are you going to throw at me?”

I said, “I’m not going to throw anything AT you. I’m just going to throw you a party, as in, organize a party for you. But anyway, it’s way too soon to talk about this now. We’ll wait till you are having a baby.”

Part II

This morning, Savanna announced at breakfast, “Mommy, I’m going to have babies.”

Being still sleepy and not completely with it, I said, “Oh yeah? Why’s that?”

She said, “So you can throw a party at me.”

Morocco

“Epic” would be the word I use to describe our trip to Morocco. At the end of the trip, I was exhausted and ready to go home, yet still craving for more at the same time.

First of all, I can’t tell you everything about the trip. I just don’t have the words. I can’t describe how much the craziness of Marrakech hits you like a freight train and leaving you breathless, yet the Fes calms you likes the ocean waves; how all the different shades of blue that makes up Chefchaouen mesmerize you and you can’t stop staring at the walls; how getting lost in the 9,000 streets of the oldest medina can lead to the best smelly surprises of the leather tannery.

The opportunity to share my love of travel and exploring the world with Savanna is something that I wouldn’t trade for the world. What I didn’t expect is how well she traveled. She never complained about being bored. She explored every place we went to, tried all sorts of food, slept in different beds soundly through the night, and just generally enjoyed herself.

I tried editing the photos, but there are just too many. So, here are some mostly un-edited photos, loosely grouped in some sort of order. The camel ride pics are here.

Marrakech: Cooking Class at Amal Women’s Center 

Proceeds are used to fund the NPO that trains abused women to cook and learn life skills so they can work and support themselves.Amal Women's Center Marrakech

Amal Women's Center Marrakech

Amal Women's Center Marrakech

Saffrone

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The ladies who work at the center

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Our tagines cooking on coal fire

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Finished product–which we ate for lunch.

 

Marrakech: Bahia Palace

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Marrakech: Food

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Sheep heads

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Eating where the locals eat.

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From left to right: sheep tongue, brain, and meat

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Sheep tongue sandwich. Sooooo good.

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“Pancakes” with onions. A lot like the Chinese green onion pancake without the green onions.

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Fruits are weighed on the balance scale and sold. I ate some of the sweetest melons I have ever had.

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Pastry shop

 

Marrakech: Random

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Lamp shop in the souk

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Window display of a barber shop

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A random street outside of our riad (guest house)

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The square in front of the mosque is covered with mats for prayer time

 

Fes: Medina and Leather Tannery

Fes medina

Fes medina–one of the biggest and oldest medinas in the world.

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Inside the Fes medina

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The empty streets of Fes medina, early in the morning

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A section of the medina wall

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Leather tannery–the big vats contain a mix of cow pee and pigeon poop to soften the leather, then later color is added to color the leather

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Despite the smell, the tannery is a visual feast of colors.

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Hanging the leather out to dry

 

Fes: Random

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Moroccans LOOOVE children. Savanna had her cheeks pinched and kissed by so many strangers. This guy is our tour guide, and Savanna loved hanging out with him.

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Savanna and Ali hanging out at the palace.

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The details of brass work on the palace door. All hand made.

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The door knob

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Mosaic tile work

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Hand painting pottery. After firing, the purple turns into blue.

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Mosaic work

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I REALLY wanted to take this mosaic table home

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All hand made tagines of various sizes and colors

 

Chefchaouen

The small town is known for its blue walls.

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Cats

Cats are absolutely everywhere in Morocco. They own the streets. If you are eating on a patio, they come and beg for food. If you don’t shut the terrace door of the riad, they get into the riad to make a mess.

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Hands down, the funniest cat I have ever seen

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They gather and wait under restaurant tables for scraps of food