Saturday, June 30, 2007

Reflections


The funeral was on Wednesday.

Just a small affair with the immediate family and friends. Afterwards we all headed back for the reception/wake.

I find it amusing that my Grandma planned the food for her own wake back in 2002. Nothing fancy, she didn't 'do' fancy. She was a very practical lady.

So I've been doing lots of thinking and reflecting through all of this.



My Grandma's world travels started when the family defected from Stalin's Russia when she was 6 in 1928. Settling in Saskatchewan that was pretty much it in terms of Global travel until she and my Grandpa retired.

Then, as she put it 'Ray came home and dropped the tickets on the table and said we're going'. My Grandpa had booked a whirlwind European holiday for them. Grandma said if they'd discussed it she never would have agreed to go (she didn't like flying either). She still had the receipt for the tour. I think it was something ridiculous like under $800 (that's Canadian funds) for the 2 of them for 7 weeks.

One of the last times I visited her before moving to Scotland we went through her photo albums and she detailed the trips they went on. Usually they were packaged tours that included all accommodation, flights, transfers and most meals. There was always a group picture taken at the evening meal. Love that 1970's fashion.

It was interesting comparing notes on places we had both been When they did London, I think she said they were only there for a few hours. They 'drove by' St Paul's Cathedral. I on the other hand stayed 9 days in London and a good portion of one afternoon was spent at the Cathedral and also climbed all the way up to the top of the dome (no need to ever do that again, my thighs still cramp at the thought).

Many of the places they visited were just that, drive bys in a bus. The odd place they did get free time where they could explore on their own. This for my Grandma was a dangerous thing as she had zero sense of direction (a family trait I'm glad NOT to have inherited). She has a great story about wandering Rome on her own trying to find the Vatican. She wrote down on a piece of paper what she thought was the hotel name but it wasn't. She got lost within the first block and getting back to the hotel involved a number of locals and a polizia none of which spoke a lick of English to help her find her way back to the hotel .

No digital photography back then so she tended to purchase postcards. But like me she was detail oriented and made notes about how much things cost, how many stairs up to their hotel room in Wurzberg, what they ate for dinner that night and she journaled.

Writing, that was a huge passion of hers. She kept a daily journal her whole life, documented her emigration experience, wrote poetry and loved to read the dictionary.

I have dabbled with poetry (mostly bad), tried my hand at a short story and started to journal when I took my first real trip to Cuba in 1998. But it wasn't until my first Europe trip to Germany that I really got all gung-ho about it. Somehow traveling by yourself for 3 weeks when you don't speak the language is a good motivator to write.

Now with my having moved across a country, continent and an ocean I have also embraced the habit of a daily journal, even if it is a public, electronic version.

I last visited my Grandma August of last year, 2 months before I moved. She understood it would probably be the last time we saw each other. She didn't want me to go (i.e. leave Oliver to drive back to Vancouver) but she thought the adventure I was about to head out on was an opportunity not to be missed.

She was right.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

7:45 PST, June 23, 2007




Rest in peace Grandma.




Love,




Chris

An Unexpected Homecoming

The emails started this week.

My Grandma has taken a turn for the worse. She is refusing any further treatment and is ready to go 'home'. The latest update I got this morning when I fired up my laptop is she'll likely be gone in 48 hours if not sooner. The Dr has her on a morphine drip to make her comfortable. My Mom and 1 Aunt are with her now. My other Aunt and Uncle are at various stages of travel to get there.

I've booked my flight from GLA to YVR via Amsterdam. I was surprised that one of the cheapest flights is with KLM and the Amsterdam - YVR leg is direct. Air Canada was almost twice the price plus I'd have to stop in Calgary of all places. No thanks.

So I will be arriving in Vancouver Tuesday afternoon and driving to Oliver either that night or Wednesday morning (I need to check with my Dad). I should be back in Vancouver for the weekend if any of you out there want to get together for a quick visit.

I'll be heading into the office this weekend and I know I'll be working late Monday night as I need to try and finish up a few projects in prep for the week off.

I am one of only 3 Grandchildren and she is the last Grandparent I have.

I need to go home.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall


It is pouring outside.

I'm trying to figure out how I'm going to get to work and not look like a drowned rat. I have my trusty Canadian Gortex Taiga but that only keeps my upper half dry (as you can see here to the right).

My only long coat is a wool winter coat and the temperature according to Yahoo is 14 degrees so too warm to bring out the wool.

I could take a cab but that just seems to be the lame way out. I could take the underground but by the time I walk to the station to catch the train, and then walk from the station to the office, I'm still wet.

What about an umbrella you may ask? Useless here because of the gusty wind, blows them inside out within the first 2 blocks.

I normally wouldn't care about showing up to the office a little on the damp side but I'm hosting a visitor from one of our offices down south so it's important to look professional (i.e. I'll be wearing a skirt and heels rather than trousers and my Doc Martins) and preferably not soggy.

Maybe I will take a cab or a bus. I'll have to let you know. I guess I'll need to do some shopping this weekend.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Roli's Birthday Party in Frankfurt (the novel)

It was a hot day.

Too hot.

The kind of hot that made your skin glow from the sweat.
The kind of hot that tells you "you stink".
Everybody stank.

It was hot.



Wandering the streets of this German town trying to escape the suns punishing rays.



The sumo wrestlers were doing their best to entertain, but the heat was impacting their performance.



Then the clouds rolled in.



The blackness hovered over the trees. The dry leaves quivered in anticipation of what was about to occur.






But then the storm left as quickly as it had arrived




Roli & I have been friends for close to 20 years.

The End

Father's Day

This is my Dad



He's a pretty neat-o kinda guy.


There's Musical Dad
(he plays a mean Teddy Bear's Picnic)


My appreciation for all styles of music came from him. His obsession with High Fidelity has also been passed down. Have I mentioned lately how much I miss my stereo and CD's?


There's Photographer Dad


Again more artsy stuff. What can I say, he's a talented guy. We always had fun going off on picture taking adventures. That was one of my best days in Barcelona, wandering the streets of the Gothic Quarter trying out different shots and comparing how they turned out on our camera's.


There's Camping Dad


My folks didn't have a lot of money so family vacations were always camping. Lots of good memories about sitting by the camp fire in my jammies, Dad always had his guitar. Watching chipmunks, collecting cicada beetle shells around the tent and keeping them stored in empty cigarette boxes for safe keeping.


Christmas Dad


I remember the year I left a note for Santa and thinking it strange that instead of milk and cookies he had some leftover spaghetti and a beer.


There's even a Too Cool Dad
(I loved that T-shirt by the way)


I guess looking like that I can understand why the park ranger always put us in the 'party' section of the campground.


But this.... THIS is my favorite picture of him.
He's looking pretty stylin'
(way cool sideburns)




I miss hanging around with him.

That picture was take the day I left Vancouver and moved to Glasgow, Scotland.

Happy Father's Day Pops!

Love,

The Kid

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Musical Chairs

1973 Scotland.

David Payton, Billy Lyall, Stuart Tosh & Ian Bairnson get together and form the band Pilot.

Who?

You'd probably recognize their bit hit Magic. But this was the tune I found interesting.




Here's a little music trivia for you....

Both Billy Lyall and David Payton had a stint with The Bay City Rollers (I was never a fan)



Stuart Tosh did some work with 10CC after Godley and Creme left the band to do their own thing. On a side note, my Dad had the 10cc album The Original Soundtrack. I have strong memories of listening to that album over and over with the headphones on. One of my favorite tunes off the album was this one.



Lastly Ian Bairnson & David Paton both played in The Alan Parsons Project.



But wait, I'm not finished. To wrap things up nicely I give you Pilot Speed.

A complete different bunch of guys, but the band is from Canada (the title of the song from the Pilot at the beginning of this post). This tune is off their first album that I never tire of listening to. They have a new album but I'll probably have to order it off of Amazon.ca and pay for shipping. I think it would be worth it.

Enjoy

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Feeling Old

So I fell getting out of bed this morning.

It's not like I had a long way to go as the bed is only about 18 inches off the floor. I blame it on my short legs. While swinging my legs over the bed to the floor my right foot caught the inside left leg of my PJ's (they're too long as I'm only 5' 2" and a bit). When I stood up and went to take that first step forward I toppled over in slow motion and landed oh so ungracefully onto the hard wood floors. I should be nice and bruised by tomorrow.

So this got me to thinking about my age. I'm no spring chicken. I've got a birthday coming up in a couple of weeks (nothing divisible by 5 or 10), there are the lines I'm starting to see around the eyes. And then there's the gray hairs that keep appearing in my tresses.

Here's the dilemma. Should I continue to go to the bottle and cover up that gray or should I just let it come in? Now it's not like I have white roots or anything, I'm not to that point yet. But I guess it's this whole question of who am I? I know I look younger than my years but is that a good thing? It hasn't done much for me in terms of having a hot date on a Friday night.

Would perhaps allowing the gray to come in make me a more real person? I've played a lot with my hair colour in the past 20 years. I've been a blond, red head, strawberry, mahogany, chestnut, I even had blue streaks once. But I've never gone black as I don't think I've got the skin tone for it. A few years ago on one of the girl trips we came up with the description of 'wildly conservative'. I used hair colour as a creative outlet, but always had a conservative cut.

I've moved away from all that was comfortable and I'm trying to decide what's next. Who do I want to be or who am I? What does my hair say about me? First impressions are at times all you get.

I'm due for a haircut in the next couple of weeks so I need to decide. Do I keep the gray or do I colour? If I colour, should I stay a brunette or go back to experimentation?

I'm too tired to decide and my knee hurts.

Natural and let the Gray come in
Brunette
Blond
Strawberry
Redhead
A combination of the above
Just shave it off and sell it to a wig maker

Your thoughts?

12:05 AM

12:05AM That is the time I got home from the office tonight, or this morning.

12:35AM - curled up in bed with a bowl of tortellini for dinner, or would it be considered breakfast?

1:34AM - the time it is now as I type this as I can't unwind thinking about the work still left to do on my desk.

4:35AM - the time I will most likely wake up as the sun shines in my bedroom and I hear the pigeons cooing outside my window sill

6:00AM - the time I will finally drag myself out of bed to make a cup of coffee and a bowl of muesli, yogurt, half a granny smith apple and a handful of all bran on top. I will then curl up in bed again with my laptop to see if any of you out there have left me an email or a comment to say hi

7:30AM - the absolute latest time I can jump in the shower to give myself enough time to get ready for work

8:30AM - the time I will walk out the door to begin the day again.

5:00PM - the time I promise myself I will really leave the office.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

PFO to GLA (June 3)


It's really hard to go home at the end of a trip.

You need to repack your suitcase with all your dirty, sweaty, smelly clothes. Try to figure out how everything fit so perfectly before and why it doesn't now even though you didn't buy anything. Then there is that gripping fear that you forgot something, but can't figure out what (I didn't).

Our airport transfer is to pick us up around 2PM and we don't have to check-out until noon so at least we won't be rushed. Enough time to have a good breakfast, pack and then sit out by the pool. When it's that time, we just make a quick change into some cleaner clothes and then wait up in reception for the bus.

Once on we are advised that the flight home will be approx 45 minutes late. But that's not too bad. There was one trip I took to the Dominican Republic and our flight was delayed 12 hours, what a waste of a precious vacation day.

We arrive at the airport, grab out bags and go to check-in. Once again I'm struck by the needless chaos because they don't have just one queue for all the check-in counters. So people are jostling for position and then audibly griping when they realize they've chosen the slower line. Really what does it matter? You've got preassigned seats. Are you in that much of a hurry to get to the other side to just sit around and wait?

And wait we did. The Paphos airport is not all that large and with the few flights that have been delayed there is just not enough seating for everyone. There is only 1 small touristy type duty free shopping and then the other shop that you see in every other airport (the one with the chocolate, perfumes, alcohol and cigarettes).

Eventually we do find a spot to sit. The seats are fairly wide so I end up sharing one with B as we are both small. The noise is defining. Screaming, crying kids, frazzled parents, the overhead announcements that no one can really understand. According to the flight status board our flight is on time, with no gate assigned even thought the actual time is 60 minutes after we were to take off. Glad to see things are up to date here.

It's times like this having a laptop come in handy. I pull it out of my pack and get caught up on my journaling (or blogging as it is now). But if I didn't do this then there is always a book, but I try to save the reading for the actual flight as you can only read the in flight magazine so many times.

They finally call our flight and we get ushered from the main departure lounge to an inner lounge as we wait for the shuttle to take us out to the tarmac. An elderly couple sitting next to us notice our Canadian passports and mention we are a long way from home. So we launch into the whole, we moved to Glasgow thing. They are traveling with their daughter and son-in-law and their Grandson who is just a little cutey with curly blond hair. He seems to take great delight in ever so gently touching my knee and then laughing.

Flight home was uneventful.

One week is just not long enough for a trip. Particularly when you're coming from a high stress environment. It takes a couple of days to truly unwind and at that point you are already starting to think about what will await you on your return. Two weeks should be the minimum, three weeks is even better.

Being independently wealthy, traveling all the time and not having to work to survive?

Perfect.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Paphos Day 6 - June 2

Today we split the day. The morning was spent at the beach, then when it got too hot we moved up to the pool to take a dip. The Mediterranean although lovely to look at was just a bit too cold for me. Then, once we'd had enough sun we head into town to do some more exploring of ruins.



In the Paphos harbour is the entrance to the Paphos Archaeological Site. This excavation site is known for mosaics and my goodness there are a lot of them. Surprisingly only a few of them are actually under cover. The majority are just out in the open air. The site itself is huge and I'd heard it mentioned that anytime someone would dig a hole to start a construction project something else would get found. Which makes you think, at what point do you have to say enough with preserving the past, get on with the now and the future? People need a place to live and history is full of civilizations building on top of what another so where do you draw the line?

Sorry, got a bit side tracked there. Back to the ruins.



The mosaics are interesting but I'll be honest, after the first few it was a bit boring. There is much more to see other than these anyway. There are columns (some standing some toppled), more tombs , a castle and also a church - but I couldn't find it. In looking at the map at the entrance it seems to be across the street but we just ran out of time.



I think we wandered the site for a good couple of hours and at the end of it I wanted to just curl up in the shade and grab a nap, but that wasn't the plan. First was an ice cream break, then postcard shopping and I also wanted to find some cold bottled water as I was starting to feel a bit dehydrated. Then we hop a bus to try and find the old town of Paphos.



We weren't on the right bus, but it was worth it purely for the entertainment value as the driver was singing to the radio at the top of his lungs. According to the route map this bus should take us within a few blocks of Old Paphos, but instead of being in the old town we were in the high street shopping district. This in itself isn't a bad thing, but all the shops are closed as it's close to 6. Looking up I can see some kind of tower so we walk in that direction and it's an old Moor Mosque. Seems to be a bit of a ruin and the doors although slightly ajar are locked. But you can look in through the windows. It's quite small but is another one of those cool finds.

We wander the streets for a bit but time is fleeting and we need to get back to the hotel to meet the tour rep at 7PM.

As this is our last night we decide to check out the divey bar around the corner from the hotel for an after dinner drink. It's a tiny open air place with plastic chairs two huge wide screen TV's (both showing football), The Eagles Greatest Hits playing in the background and on the walls pictures of the proprietors family. From one of the pictures it looks to be his army picture from his days in the service. Brenda orders a Brandy Sour as that is supposed to be the local cocktail and I order a Cyprian Whisky (nothing special). We don't stay much longer past finishing our drinks as it's hot, smokey and I'm about ready to fall asleep from the long hot day and all the walking we did.

It's our last night. I'm not ready to go back to the real world yet.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Did I Mention I'm Afraid Of Flying?

There was a time that in order for me to get on a plane and not get nauseous from nerves I took prescription anti-anxiety drugs.

I was cured somewhat of my fear of flying when my friend dared me to go cold turkey without the drugs on a flight from Miami to Vancouver (layover in Denver Colorado). Of course that flight subjected me to some of the worst turbulence I'd ever experienced. As we were flying over the Rockies the pilot could only get so low and he couldn't get over the storm so it just meant he had to fly through it. I survived that and have been a bit better about the whole nervous flying thing ever since.

I won't say I'm nonchalant about the whole experience. I still need to close my eyes and repeat the phrase 'I'm in a bus on a bumpy road, I'm in a bus on a bumpy road' when going through rough patches. Add to that the survived experience of flying into Southampton Airport during one of the winters worst wind storms this year does much for convincing myself that I can do this.

Today while on the last leg of my trip home I counted that I have been on 17 separate flights in 2007, 11 of which have been in the last 5 weeks. And 2 more work trips coming up in the next month.

That's just crazy.

So I'm now home from my weekend in Frankfurt, the pictures have been loaded to my Flickr site but I haven't done any tags or comments yet. I'll get to posting the last 2 days of Cyprus tomorrow and then I'll give you the scoop on this last weekend. Had a good time, but am glad t be on the ground again.

Friday, June 08, 2007

We Interrupt Regular Scheduled Programing For This Announcement

I'm in a mad rush to pack and get to the office early today. Flying out to Frankfurt tonight to visit a friend and help him mourn the passing of his youth (he's turning 40).

Had a worship team rehearsal last night followed by a late dinner at the pub so I was completely knackered when I got home (couldn't possibly have anything to do with the 12 hr days I've been putting in) so I just went straight to bed.

Now I need to pack, have a shower, water the plants and then get ready for work. Trying to figure out how I'm going to get to the airport as my Friday has turned a bit crazy with 3 conference calls, one of which is scheduled for when I need to be running out the door. Need to find a way to cancel that one.

Now before you all start moaning about my 'jet set' life style and how many carbon credits I've used up these last 6 weeks.... Oh go ahead, moan away. Might make for some interesting comments for the 2.6 people that read this thing.

So Paphos day 6 & 7 will follow on my return Sunday night. Stay tuned.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Paphos Day 5 - June 1

Lets try this again.

The alarm is set for 7:30 this time, bags packed and we head down for an early breakfast. When finished it's outside sitting on the wall just outside of the hotel to wait for our excursion shuttle. This time it actually shows up. Yeah!

The tour is taking us up into the Troodos mountains and the final destination being the Kykkos Monastery. Driving around the countryside I am again struck by how much Cyprus reminds me of the Okanagan Valley. The dry arid climate, the scrub brush along the road. As you get up into the mountains then you see the fruit trees. The cherries are just about in season, there are also citrus groves and of course olive trees.

We have a good tour guide she narrates all through the trip and highlights that agriculture is one of the main exports, the second being light industry. The further up the bus goes the greener it gets. But this is not a tropical climate so no palm trees or rain forest. But they do have a number of different pine trees and things just generally start to look greener.



Our first stop is a little village called Arsos and we have a breakfast break. Some fresh baked brown bread, 2 different types of cheeses, fresh cut tomatoes, salami, of course marinated olives (with oregano, coriander and a few other spices I can't remember). The best part? Some dry red wine and Cyprian whisky - all before 10AM. Our stop here isn't long but we get enough of a break that we can wander the streets and take pictures. There was this great little church next door with some lovely art work inside.



More driving as we snake around and up higher and higher. The 2nd stop is at an official tourist trap. Again, more food is given to us. This time it is what looks like a bagel on steroids but is whole wheat with cinnamon baked inside and then the outside has either honey or sugar along with sesame seeds. So you get this initial taste of sweetness when you bite in and then the soft chewy inside. It was so big it lasted me two days. They also had some fresh roasted cashews and peanut brittle. All very yummy. But other than the food not much to do here. The "shopping" was the regular rack of postcards, tacky looking pottery, calendars, toys etc. The whole area looked like a new build specific for the purpose of a tour bus stop. Not necessary in my books.



Third stop was the Kykkos Monastery. The origins go back to the 11th century. It's been built, destroyed and rebuilt a number of times. The newest building dates back to the 18th century. The cloisters have wonderful paintings all along the walls. They are actually a new feature. Completed in the 1980's by a Cyprian artist but their newness does not take away from their beauty. Inside the monastery is the church. No pictures allowed inside. There is a screen that is made of gold that is beautiful. The other claim to fame is there is an icon of the Madonna and Christ child that was supposedly painted by St Luke (I thought he was supposed to be a doctor). But it is currently behind a veil which is only removed during special occasions like Easter and Christmas. There are a number of chandeliers that are also made of gold that have just recently been restored so were gleaming at their fullest. One of the largest ones was a donation from the Russian Orthodox church.



The monastery is still in use but there are only about 25 monks living their now. The oldest is 83 years old and has been serving there since he was 13 years old. He greeted us as we were about to go into the church. He looked remarkably well and able bodied. Very smiley.

After the monastery we head back a different way and stop in another village for lunch (yes more food). It is a traditional Cyprian feast of Dolmades, a yogurt and feta dip, salad, roast chicken, a macaroni and spicy minced pork (I think) pie - think like a sheppard's pie but with macaroni instead of mashed potatoes and a b├ęchamel sauce and the final dish was a potatoes, onion, tomato and marinated pork thing. I was full at this point so I skipped that one but it did look good. On the table were more marinated olives, spiced differently than the ones we had a breakfast and some local red and white wine. Both were quite nice and light tasting which was good for lunch. A heavy wine would have been a bit much. Lunch was the final stop and then it was just the long drive back into Paphos. I always feel like sleeping but fight it as I'm worried I'll miss something out the window.

We got back to our hotel a little before 5:00 so we changed into our bathing suits and caught a little sun before having to get ready for dinner. In the evening we caught the bus that went north up to Coral Bay.

It really reminded me of Grand Bend in Ontario, a bit of a tourist trap with the main road lined with restaurants, bars and souvenir shops. All the bars have the England/Brazil football match on so we found a bar that advertised Guinness on tap. I ordered one and then witnessed the barman grab a can from the fridge. He noticed my questioning look, and then said is it OK? I commented that it wasn't draft, and his reply...

It's just the same.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Paphos Day 4 - May 31

Today we have booked an excursion to take us into the Mountains and to see the Kykkos Monastery. So the alarm has been set for 6:30AM as the bus it to pick us up at 7:25. I hate having to get up this early when on vacation. It just seems wrong. The worst part is my stomach just can't seem to digest food this early so eating breakfast seems kind of pointless as it just goes straight through me (sorry if that was a bit graphic).



Packed and fed we sit up in the hotel reception to wait for the tour bus to come. You always want to be a wee bit early as they can never guarantee when they will arrive as the bus is coming when a number of pick-ups are involved.

So we wait, and wait and wait and wait. It's been 45 minutes now and still no bus. I even went out into the parking lot to do a quick check. Finally Brenda goes to the concierge to see if this is normal that a pick up is this late. The concierge calls the tour company and is told that the bus doesn't do the pick-up at the hotel but from the main road (which is about 5 blocks away). Hmmm, seems no one seemed to tell us this little detail. The concierge was extremely surprised and even argued a bit with the tour company about how ridiculous that was.

To make a long story short, the bus didn't pick us up. The concierge left a message with our Tour Company to contact us (a rep was to come to the hotel this morning) about either making some alternative arrangements or giving us a refund. Up at 6:30AM for nothing.

By now my stomach is able to tolerate food so we go back down to the hotel restaurant to have a leisurely breakfast and some much needed coffee.



We have a poolside day instead (tough I know). Whilst sunning ourselves the Dive shop guy comes around trying to entice people to try out a free diving lesson in the pool. It's free so hey, why not. It felt a little silly as you don't actually dive, it's more of a 'here's what it feels like to have an oxygen tank strapped to your back and here's how you breath'. Other than that the guy just pulls you around in the pool. No flippers, no jumping in off the deck backwards. I've snorkeled before so I already know how to put on my mask, breathe through my mouth. But 2 girls in their bikini's did manage to drum up some business for the guy. Should have asked for a percentage of the booking.

Brenda does end up getting a hold of our tour company as the rep never showed. They arrange for us to go on the same excursion, but this one includes lunch and leaves an hour later and is with a different company. It's more expensive but they will cover the difference in cost. This time they triple check that yes the bus will pick us up in front of the hotel.

The evening's entertainment involved 'Sketch Comedy' by the hotel Animation staff. All the sketches were the same ones we saw on our first vacation back in Cub in 1998. Is there really only 1 book of comedy sketches out there for resorts to refer too? Comedy writers, here is your chance

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Paphos Day 3 - May 30

Actually left the hotel property today. Not right away mind you. Still needed to do the mandatory laying around for the morning soaking up the vitamin D until noon. Then it was time to get out of the sun.


Caught the local bus to take us down the road to the 'Tomb of the Kings'. Well they thought they were Kings when the site was initially excavated but it turned out they were more like just the rich and famous.

Eight tombs in all and I think we managed to find at least 6 or 7 of them. You weren't give a guide at all but there was a map showing the sites as you walked in, but who pays attention to those things anyways. The tombs date back to 4th century BC and are carved out of solid rock with some being decorated with Doric pillars. It was pretty cool as the site isn't monitored at all and you pretty much have the run of the place and can crawl around up and down the stairs going right inside.



After the tombs we caught the bus again to head into the town of Paphos. Found a nice restaurant with an open patio and grabbed some lunch. We shared a Meze platter which is a Cyprian version or Tapas. Some marinated olives, sundried tomatoes, marinated octopus (yes I ate it and no it does not taste just like chicken) and some other good stuff. We also ordered a pint of the local brew - Keo. A nice needed break after wandering around scrambling up and down the tombs of dead people in the heat of the day.



After lunch we wandered a bit around town. We're right in the heart of the tourist centre of town so lots of tacky souvenir shops all selling the same cheap stuff. We walk towards the harbour as there is a ruin of a fort that looks cool. There is also the marina and what should we find, but a Canadian flag flying from one boat. As we get closer I can see the boat is from Vancouver of all places. Who ever it is, he or she is a long way from home.



After checking out an old Medieval Fort my feet announce they've had enough for the day. So we walk back to the boardwalk and have a break with some ice-cream. Not as good as the gelato I had in Barcelona but I appreciate the excuse to sit down. But I can't eat it fast enough and end up loosing a few drips due to the sun.

Catch the bus back to the hotel.

Man I need a shower.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Paphos Day 2 - May 29


Breakfast
Beach
Swim in the Mediterranean to cool off

Sit in the shade

Lunch (a packet of crisps and sour gums)

Move to the poolside
Have a swim
Lay in the sun
Have a swim
Lay in the sun
Have a swim

etc etc etc



Go for a walk along the coast
Take a few pictures

Back to the room
Shower
Watch some more BBC 24 hr news

Dinner
And for the evening's entertainment.....

Karaoke!

Didn't participate but it sure was fun sitting in the dark at the back
One father and son decided to attempt Bohemian Rhapsody, not a good choice for Karaoke.

Painful to watch but very entertaining.

Paphos Day 1 - May 28

A full day.

Woke up
Had breakfast

Greased up with sunscreen
Layed in the sun by the pool

Met the tour rep and booked some excursions for later in the week.

Back to the pool
Read some Dylan (Bob that is)
Had a snooze

Took a shower
Ate dinner

Watched some BBC 24hr news in the room (it's the only English channel)

It's been a tough day.
So tough I didn't take any pictures.

GLA to PFO (May 27)



Preparing for a holiday always takes longer than expected. I needed to clean up some things at work thinking it would only take a few hours. But 8 hours later I was finally shutting my computer off and walking out the door. Still needed to pack, clean house, make dinner and have a bath. I think it was 3:30AM before I finally shut the light off and I was getting up at 5:30. Great.

So going on just 2 hours sleep I was surprisingly alert and able to think clearly enough to pack the last few things in my suitcase, put clean sheets on the bed. My flat-mate's sister's family will be staying the week we're away. It just worked out nicely, we get house sitters and they don't have to sleep on the floor. I call a cab at 6:30 to come and take us to the airport. As I'm lugging my bag down 4 flights of stairs along with the garbage I need to drop off in the back close it all of the sudden hits me I've forgotten my purse (which has my passport) upstairs. My mobile rings telling me that the cab is around the corner so I run upstairs to grab my purse. That would have been a disaster had I not remembered as I also had the cash to pay for the taxi. So that got my heart racing a bit.

We get to the airport in record time, not like there's usually heavy traffic on the M8 at 6:30 in the morning on a Sunday, but you can never be too careful. We arrive at the airport and it's a bit confusing. As this is a bank holiday weekend the place is packed. We don't immediately see the Thomas Cook check-in. We booked our trip on-line so still had to pick up the actual tickets from the service desk. I get in line and Brenda goes looking for it. She comes back 2 minutes later asking if this is Terminal 2? I didn't even know Glasgow Airport had a terminal 2. So not only are we standing in the wrong line, but we're in the wrong terminal.

So now we are in the correct building and the proper line and Brenda heads off to get our tickets. Looking around at the other people is always interesting. Because this is a charter the chances are these are people we will be spending the week with. There are quite a few families with very young children, and there is always at least one shrieker. "Just watch", I said, "they'll be in the row behind us".

We get up to the check-in desk, our bags get weighed and what looks like a supervisor comes over and has a quick chat with the girl processing our booking. She gets on her mobile and keeps flipping through our passports looking at the Visa page and then the info page in the front. Then I hear her say "right, so they're fine then" and she hands our passports back to the ticket agent and walks away. It is only at that point she hits the button to move our suitcases on the conveyor belt. Not sure what that was about but I guess it was a flaggable issue that we have non-EU passports regardless of our Visas. Welcome to post 9/11 security.

The rest of our time in the airport is uneventful involving grabbing a bite to eat and then getting through the security screen and heading over to the gate to sit and wait until it's time to board.

It's been quite a while since we've done the packaged holiday thing. They really cram you onto the plane. I'm not a tall person (just under 5' 3") but I swear I only had about 2 inches from my knees to the seat back in front of me. I felt really bad for the guy next to me. He was probably over 6' and he had to contort sideways otherwise his legs wouldn't fit. He did have an isle seat but I don't think that was really helping. And as predicted the shrieking child was sitting directly behind us.

To be honest it was a quick 5 hours. I read the in-flight magazine, my BBC Olive that I brought, one hot meal, I only plugged in the headphones when an episode of the Simpson's came on and then I tried to grab a quick snooze and just as I was starting to get that heavy headed feeling to drift off the fasten seat belt sign came on and we were starting to make our descent to Paphos Cyprus.

Looking out the window as the plane was circling in preparation for landing I kept thinking how much the terrain looks like the Okanagan Valley back in Canada.

First major disappointment of the trip - no passport stamp. I can't figure this one out, as we enter the terminal there is a sign telling you where to go. People with EU passports stand in this line and people with non-EU passports go through the other. Except there is no one at the desk for the non-EU people. We both look around to see if perhaps the Passport Control Officer is standing in the peripheral but there is only the one agent and that's in the EU line. So we walk through with all the other EU citizens, flash our picture page of our passport and walk through.

I WANT MY STAMP!

I'm hoping we'll get one on the way out, otherwise I may cause an international incident (Mom, I'm kidding, I won't cause any trouble, k?)




Our hotel is lovely. Our room is huge and has a kitchenette in it, which we were not expecting so is a nice surprise. We drop off our bags, grab our cameras and head out to do a quick walk about the resort and find the water.

Not bad eh?

Sunday, June 03, 2007

I'm Back

But where was I you ask?

Cyprus.

I had no access to the internet, but I did keep up with my blog entries - Just no way to post them. I still need to finish going through my pictures so I should have everything posted in the next few days.

Stay tuned.