Month: July 2013

  • Report # 1027

    So this could be my final post on Xanga as I´m really not sure what will happen after July 31. I want to thank everyone for all of the amazing comments in the last 8 and a half years, as I really appreciated everyone…. even the few that were highly critical ! I don’t think I had any idea when I started on here back in February 2005 that I’d still be having the same blog in the summer of 2013. I really haven’t ever devoted myself to something for this long before. So it will certainly be different in a few days if I try to log-in to Xanga and my site and everything I’ve posted since the beginning is all gone. Of course I have no idea what things will be like in a few days, but I will certainly come back on August 2 to see if I’m able to post anything…. if not I’ll accept that things have changed and just continue on with my life !

    I’ve said before, but I have absolutely no intention of starting another blog. If Xanga goes down then I will go down with the ship too ! I will continue taking pictures and uploading them to Facebook, and posting the odd short message, but it would be nothing like I’ve been doing on Xanga for the last eight and a half years. I just could not get myself to start something new from sratch again after all of this time. I mean this is my 1027th post…. I can’t really start somewhere new and say it’s # 1028 ! I am kind of hoping that Xanga will find a way to continue and none of the old blogs get deleted, but if Xanga does continue on, yet deletes all of what I have posted, or doesn’t allow me to continue on the exact same site, well that too would mean good-bye from here.

    So whatever comes I guess I’m ready, though it will certainly be a little sad if I won’t be continuing with something I’ve done every 3 days for the last eight and a half years. It would certainly be an adjustment for me, and aside than having a little more time, it probably wouldn’t be super beneficial for me to lose all of this. However I accept what comes, and once again I’d like to thank everyone so much for all of their comments and advice over the years and giving me some very interesting blogs to read as well. I can say I definitely learned a lot ! Most people have already added me to Facebook so it’s not like I’ll be losing touch with everyone, it will just be different without Xanga being around.

    Of course I’m still speculating as no one really knows what will happen come August, but I will certainly find out in a few days ! I spoke about saving some time, but the truth is the last 10 days have been incredibly boring as I just haven’t had anything to do really. It’s now been one week since I got all of the forms filled out and sent in to the migration place, so I’m thinking within two weeks I should have a response. I hope so as I really need to start working and making some money…. I’ve had way too many vacation days. Over the last few days I was running 15 laps each evening around the park where I was staying: it was a small park so I could go around many times. I had lunch on Saturday at Super Salads and then I stopped at Starbucks in the evening, and on Sunday I just went up to Carls Jr.

    Since I saw the new Wolverine movie, I started watching some of the other Xmen movie. I saw the first Xmen movie as well as X2 seeing as I had never seen either of them before ! I remember seeing the third Xmen movie in the theatres, but that was like seven years ago, so maybe I’ll watch it again. Yesterday I saw my friend Gaby who I hadn’t seen since March. We had lunch at a Sushi restaurant and we stayed in there and talked for like four hours. We had some dessert before leaving and sitting out in the park. This park is a lot bigger than the one I had been running around, so it will be a better park for running, though I’ll definitely miss going to Fundidora everyday like before.

    I finally was able to move into the apartment yesterday evening. It’s a nice and very modern place, so I will like living there. The other girl signed everything, so I don’t know if that’s a good thing that I signed absolutely nothing or not, but I didn’t sign anything. I was able to get all of my clothes put away, emptying my suitcase, so now at least I can feel like I’m not living out of my luggage and I can get settled. Unfortunately when moving to a new place, there really is nothing and a person has to start all over. I’ll have to buy some things today, and there is no internet yet as well, so these things will take some time. I’m typing this up in some internet cafe place up the road, but I am hoping to have internet there soon. I will actually be going to Fundidora today and seeing Deyla, who I haven’t seen since we had dinner about 10 days ago.

    So basically I’m just waiting to get the visa and start working, though it will take a little more time yet. I had a few more pictures to upload, but seeing as I’m not on my computer, I won’t be able to do that. If my site still exists in three days, I certainly will upload them. So for the final time, many thanks to absolutely everyone, and if this is good-bye I’ll certainly miss coming here and communicating with you all, but if not I will certainly be back in three days. I’d kind of prefer to know what on earth is happening, but I guess life is full of surprises. I wish everyone all of the best with everything and of course happiness more than anything ! Good-bye for now !

  • Report # 1026

    So it’s already been two weeks since I’ve arrived in Mexico, so the time has been passing fast, but unfortunately the process for everything has not. I’m still not in the apartment yet, but I am really hoping that today I’ll be able to get in there. As for the job, well they told me about 20 days, and it’s only been three full days, so it will take a while yet. My days have been pretty boring as I’ve just basically been walking, running, going somewhere to eat, and to the movie theatre the odd day. On Wednesday I walked to VIPS and had a big lunch there… I was absolutely stuffed after that. 

    I went for a run on Thursday afternoon, and when I got back to the house that I’ve been staying, the lady kind of scolded me…. asking why on earth I was running in the middle of the afternoon. It was well over 30 C (86 F) but it didn’t really feel that bad, though I certainly was the only one in the park, not just running, but the only person in general. The lady told me that I should be running before 9:00 am or after 7:00 pm. I am sure it’s very good advice, and I will follow it on the super hot days, though it didn’t seem all that hot when I was running that day. After waiting outside and cooling off, I had a shower and just came in and relaxed for a while.

    In the afternoon I walked up to the plaza that’s close by and had lunch at a Japanese restaurant. It was a great place ! It’s been about five months since I had sushi so it was great to have it again. I had an ice cream cone after from Helados Sultana, but once again I ordered a double and it was way too big. I watched a couple of movies at home the last few days, seeing Speed 2: Cruise Control, and some WWE made horror film, No One Lives, which was just one of those badly made horror films that managed to be somewhat entertaining. I heard from a lot of people that Speed 2 was really awful, but I didn’t think it was all that bad…. I thought it was no less decent than the first one.

    Yesterday I was in bed until 11:00 am and I walked up to Cinépolis to see the Wolverine Immortal movie. I hadn’t seen the first Wolverine movie, nor have I seen Xmen 1 or 2, so I should probably watch those other ones one of these days. It was a great movie with lots of action and story so I really enjoyed it. I just had something to eat at a Taquería, though after eating there, I realized just how salty those tacos were. After having all that popcorn and then those salty tacos, it was just too much salt for one day. I definitely plan on eating healthier today.

    I was hoping to head to the apartment yesterday but I was told by the other girl that the guy was unable to come so I’m hoping today I can finally head there, get the key, and move in. I did go for a run yesterday evening, and while it’s fresher at night, without any sun, there were a lot more people on the paths, so it was kind of annoying trying to pass everyone. So I’m hoping I can get into that apartment and feeling more at home in a place and get working soon so I can actually have a normal life, it’s been enough of moving around so much and just not being able to do too much. 

    I’m not so sure what will happen with Xanga… in fact I have no clue. From what I know after July 31, something will change, though I don’t know what it will be like after that day, so who knows if my next entry will be my final blog on here or not. I have no idea what the Xanga site will be like starting August 1, or even if they got enough money to continue to exist. If I’m able to continue blogging on this current site, continuing to add to all of my old entries, I obviously will continue to do so, but if Xanga just starts over 100 % over with a new layout and everything from the beginning I certainly won’t be taking part in that future.

    So if anyone would like to stay in touch beyond July 31, feel free to add me to Facebook: Kyle Adam Giesbrecht. While I certainly don’t blog on Facebook, I have a collection of around 20,000 pictures, and I’ve actually started making small posts about silly things. If it becomes clear my time on Xanga will be done, well then I’m certain to post a few more things on Facebook as I’ll probably want something to do to fill the void. However, there is at least one more entry to post on Tuesday, so I won’t go into a big good-bye yet ! For the next question:

    Have you ever gone through a period where you felt like you were not really living a normal life, moving from place to place, working a crazy type job, going through a difficult situation ? What was that period of your life like, and how did you get through it ?

    I will leave you all with some pictures with the Africam Safari in Puebla. Take care and I’ll talk to you all on Tuesday, bye for now.


  • Report # 1025

    Hey everyone, I hope that you’ve all been having a great week so far. I’ve now been in Mexico for 11 days and I’m still not working, but I have gotten closer to that step. Yesterday I went to the migration offices, thinking that I could just go in and have them review a few things and give me the visa, but I was wrong. The lady at the front desk gave me another sheet of paper with what I had to do, and it felt like I had just received a lot of homework. I had to print off and fill out more forms, have more photos taken of me, take a copy of my passport, and pay another 3,130 pesos (256 dollars) … much more than I originally thought I’d have to pay. I was feeling pretty discouraged with having to do so many more things after already going through so much before, but obviously I had to get them done.

    At first I was thinking that this would mean I’d have to leave and go around town trying to find places to get all of this done, but luckily there was a place next to the migration office that helps with all of that stuff. I went in and right away a girl was able to get my pictures taken and then I asked if there was a place I could use the computer and print off all of the forms. One of the employees there filled out all of the forms for me and printed them off and that helped a lot. They also knew that I had to go to a bank to make the payment before going back to the offices. I had to pay about 20 dollars for all of their left, but it definitely was worth it as I was able to get it all done right away.

    The bank wasn’t so close, so I had to walk about 15 minutes to find a Bancomer. On the way out there were some Jehovah’s Witnesses waiting with their books in many languages, obviously waiting for someone to talk to. Those Jehovah Witnesses always have a habit of coming up in the most inconvenient of places. I told them I was in a hurry and that I would stop by later and take a look at the books…. which of course I didn’t do ! I was in the line at the bank and made it up to the counter when the lady told me I couldn’t use my credit card, so I had to go out, withdraw money, and line up again. Luckily it didn’t take too long and I was able to get back to the migration office and head into that line.

    There I was told that I needed one more copy of my receipt from the bank. I was told three copies, so I was thinking the original and two more, but nope, they wanted the original and three copies. And I hadn’t photocopied the right page in the passport, they wanted the Mexican Visa photo instead of the main photo page. I asked the lady if I could just quickly use the photocopy machine in the building, but she told me that I had to leave and use a public photocopy machine. So back I went running outside to the other building, and getting the extra copies I needed before running back into the migration offices.

    I got another lady this time, and she gave me even another form to fill out ! I filled it out at the desk, but there were a few things I didn’t know such as the address of the company where I’ll work. I asked if I could check it on my cellphone, but before I could find it, she just told me not to worry about it. I was given a paper with another password and user number to follow the process online, but this time the process should not take more than 20 days. Later on I sent an email to the lady from Teleperformance to inform her that I had went to the migration offices and that it would be about 20 days, and she replied asking if I could send her the password and number so she could follow the process as well, which I did.

    I took a taxi to Paseo San Pedro and I had lunch at IHOP before going to see the Hangover 3 movie. I hadn’t seen the 2nd one, but that’s ok as I often see movies out of line. I saw Mission Impossible, and Mission Impossible 3, but not the others. I’ve also seen the 2nd Matrix movie, but not the others, one of the saw movies, but not the others, one Harry Potter, one Twilight (though I certainly didn’t want to) and one Fast and the Furious. So I seem to have no problem seeing some movies but not others from the same series. The movie was just like the first one, just stupid humour from a bunch of grown men, but it managed to be entertaining. I was the only one in the whole theatre, which was probably only about the 4th time that’s happened before.

    After the movie I walked to Plaza Fiesta San Agustín so I could take a bus back downtown and then take another bus back to a plaza to meet the girl I’ll be renting an apartment with. Apparently I have to pay another 500 pesos (40 dollars) to help with some contract or something… everything costs money ! In the last few days I paid the 256 dollars for the visa, and over 500 dollars for the first month of rent and the deposit. One of these days hopefully I can start making something instead of always spending it. I took the wrong direction of the bus though, and I had to pass all the day through San Nicolás. There was no way I was going to make it back by 5:30 pm, so I just called the girl, and she said that is ok and that we could meet on Friday.

    I did meet her on Monday when I went to see the apartment, and it was a lovely place. Inside was completely modern and very clean. I will definitely have to learn a bit more about the buses around here as it’s in a completely different neighbourhood and area of the city then I was living before, but it shouldn’t be too hard. I’m thinking it will be possible to move there on Saturday sometime. Right now I’m still staying in the room that I’ve been paying about 8 dollars a night to stay, though Arturo told me not to pay for Thursday as they will be back for Cancun. So I will give him a call tomorrow and ask what time he’ll be back, and maybe then I’ll go back to his house for two nights before finally getting into the apartment.

    It’s kind of tiring moving around so much, but at least all of these places are in the same general area and after Saturday I will just be able to stay put. I just really hope everything works out with this visa thing. It’s now been so much effort and so much money and so much time, so I just need it to work out ! In the last couple of days I have just been walking around, and I had lunch at Cabo Grill again, and Tacos Féliz, which is a very good and cheap Taquería close to the house. On Sunday I saw a Spanish movied called Amantes Pasajeros, which was about passengers on a plane bound from Spain to Mexico City who find out that maybe the plane will not be able to make it to Mexico City and they’ll have to go back to Spain and try and find a safe spot to land. It was very out there as there was a married pilot who was having an affair with a male flight attendant, the other flight attendants basically all drunk and serving drinks to get the passengers drunk, and crazy stories from people on board… I never saw a movie quite like that before.

    I have been trying to keep up with the news of what is going around at home and around the world, and there was one story that caught my attention more than any other story. A 24 year old Norwegian woman in Dubai, UAE who told police she was raped, was arrested for having sex outside of marriage and for drinking alcoholic beverages. I always thought UAE was a more open minded country than some of the other Islamic nations, but apparently not. This story is just absolutely disgusting. To be treating a raped women like the criminal, actually arresting her after everything she has been through is just not only plainly wrong, sexist, and downright appalling, it lacks any common sense.

    I will say if Dubai does have laws against drinking alcohol, then of course people should follow those rules, but that is no reason to arrest and press charges against a woman who was just raped and treat her as if she is the criminal. Obviously a case like this will be getting a lot of attention, and it can’t be good news for Dubai and the UAE in general, and from what I’ve read now, the woman is back in Norway and the charges were taken away. So in the end things have worked out for this woman thankfully, but the fact that the police in Dubai and the whole way their system handles such cases is deeply troubling. And using religion as an excuse just don’t work here. I don’t think what has happened to this woman could be condoned by any religion…. it’s just the backward and twisted rules of some of these Middle Eastern countries that need changing.

    They can hide behind religion all they want as an excuse, but it’s plainfully obvious these rules have nothing to do with Islam, but they are their own twisted sexist rules that exist in a society that still fails to grant woman standard rights. Hopefully a story like this changes things in the future, but I wouldn’t bet on it. Until then tourists and people working in these countries have to exercise extreme caution and know what they have got themselves into. I do hope that this situation at least raises awareness around the world to how women are treated in some of these countries, and that those places can be pressured into at least trying to modernize their laws and backwards way of thinking. After so much wrong has happened, it would be hopeful that at least something positive can happen, but only time will tell. For the next question:

    What are your thoughts on what happened to this woman ? What changes need to be made to ensure something like this doesn’t happen again ?

    That is all I have for today. I will leave you all with some pictures from Cholula and Puebla. Take care and I’ll talk to you all on Saturday, bye for now.

  • Report # 1024

    Hey everyone, I hope that you’ve all been having a wonderful weekend. It’s already been a full week since I’ve arrived in Mexico, and I’m on my fourth full day in Monterrey, so the time really has flown by. I still haven’t accomplished the most important thing in terms of going to the migration place and finishing the visa process, but I really think I will be able to do that on Tuesday. On Thursday afternoon Arturo dropped me off at a plaza with some cell phone places and I went to a Telcel place and looked around at some phones. Since I was told before that my cell phone from Canada could not be unlocked, and I really didn’t want to go back to using that old Nokia phone that Dora had given me, I ended up buying a Samsung Galaxy Mini 2.

    It’s such a nice small phone and lighter than most of the other phones I had before so I really like that about it. I will be able to just put 100 (8 dollars) pesos on it when I have to so I didn’t have to worry about any of the contract stuff. It actually took a long time in the Telcel place as there were many people, and to tend to each customer took like 20 minutes, so it was quite the process. Later in the day I went to see a Nicolas Cage movie called Stolen about a guy who was arrested for bank robbery, and comes out of jail ready to turn his life around only to have to go back to that life to save his daughter who was kidnapped by someone from his past. I had never heard of the movie before going there, but it was very entertaining.

    For lunch I just went to Carl’s Jr. and it started pouring soooo hard. The streets were flooding in a matter of minutes. Earlier I had went to Soriana as well to buy some of the items that the airport woman threw in the trash. I came home around 8:30 pm, and Arturo arrived a little later. He wanted to go out to some clubs so I said that I would go. I’m never a huge fan of these nights, but seeing as he has always allowed me to stay with his family I figure it’s the least I can do sometimes. We picked up some friends of his, one of them oddly who lived in Santa Catarina in the very same apartment complex that I stayed with Pili two and a half years ago.

    We went to a number of clubs, but seeing as it was a Thursday night, there obviously wasn’t as many people out as there would have been on a Friday and Saturday. I didn’t actually see Arturo or the other guys talk to any girls either so the night was kind of a waste. One girl started dancing with me for like a few seconds, but she left so fast I didn’t have enough time to say anything. I probably seemed way too boring as I was just standing there while everyone was dancing ! And like always we didn’t get home until incredibly late. After dropping off the two friends, it had to be almost 6:00 am by the time we were home. Not surprisingly I was in bed until 1:00 pm !!!

    Once I was finally up I started looking for places to live, and I found an ad for a person looking for a roommate. I would have to pay 2,750 ($227) pesos a month, with extra for internet,gas, electricity, but it would be an actual apartment, and not just a room. This will be more than the 2,000 pesos I paid for the room last time I was in Monterrey, but I will be able to buy and store food this time. This means I won’t have to go to the restaurants everyday. And really from my calculations, I was paying over 200 pesos a day on food before most days, obviously an unsustainable number, so paying a little more a month on renting a place is certainly worth it since I’ll be avoiding all of those restaurants.

    So the girl on the phone explained to me that I could go and see it with her at 6:00 pm on Monday. From what I read it’s been mostly renovated, and the girl posted that she looked a lot and it’s a place she liked, so that’s why she said she would take it, even before she had found a roommate. So if everything goes well, I’ll be able to get that place, which would give me an address in Monterrey, and then I’ll be able to go to the migration place, finish the visa process, call the lady from the company, and hopefully be given a date when I can start to work. I’m hoping that everything will work out well. Things are taking a little longer than I had wanted, but it’s not easy just to pack up and move to another city, let alone another country, so some things will take time.

    I went to Cinépolis again on Friday and that time I saw The Lone Ranger. I had read that the movie really did poorly at the box office, but I don’t know why. I thought the movie was hilarious and very entertaining and I would certainly recommend it to anyone. The cashier at Cinépolis asked where I was from and said I had very good Spanish so I liked to hear that. It’s always cool when people ask where I’m from, though I guess it means it’s a bit too obvious that I’m not from Mexico. I had lunch earlier at Cabo Grill, which I hadn’t actually been to since the only time I went, back when I was first in Mexico in December 2010. When I was living here the last four months in Monterrey from November-March, there was never a Cabo Grill close by so I never had went. Basically it’s a place that specializes in seafood tacos, so it’s very good.

    The weather in Monterrey has certainly been cooler than I had expected, but that is a good thing. The days have been mostly cloudy and between 28 and 32 C (82-90 F) I was expecting super hot weather closer to 40 C (like 100 F) when I got here, but most of the days have been very cloudy, with some rain storms and lightning and thunder. I guess this is kind of normal for Monterrey in July, and it is really nice because I can’t imagine people wanting scorching hot super sunny days the whole summer. The people have told me last week was super hot, so I missed that heat wave, though there will be another one coming I’m sure.

    Yesterday I had to move myself to a place that rents rooms as Arturo and his family went to Cancun for a few days. I will stay here a few nights until I can get into that apartment. Luckily it’s in the same area so I will see if I can walk to the apartment today so that I know where it is for tomorrow evening. After arriving at this place yesterday I just spent the afternoon uploading lots of pictures, and I went for a walk later. I was able to find a laundry place to get a week worth of laundry done, and I stopped at Super Salads to have lunch, and later on in Starbucks. Once again the lady in Starbucks wrote my name on the cup like “Cail” but that always happens here so it’s not surprising.

    As I headed home it started pouring with lightning and thunder, but the house was pretty close so I didn’t get too wet. On Friday night I had dinner with Deyla, the girl who picked me up from the airport. We just went to the Las Alitas by Arturo’s house. She called me at 9:30 pm, and said she would be there by 10:00 pm, so I had a shower and made it there as quickly as I could, but I was a bit late. I also forgot the t-shirts I had bought for her in Vancouver. We had a very nice dinner and I really enjoyed spending time with her. She drove me back to Arturo’s house which was just like two minutes away and I was able to run in and quickly give her the t-shirts I had got her.

    Arturo can be so funny sometimes as he has said to me if I don’t date her if I could give him her number as he thinks she is very good looking girl. I like her as she is very nice and sweet though we just spent one day together, so I have to spend lots more time with her hopefully and see what happens. I haven’t actually called her before, and she said that she always called me, which is true, but I did send her messages yesterday. I just always worry about bugging people at the wrong time, but I will definitely give her a call today and see how she is doing.

    In the last few months I read a lot in Vancouver and some other cities about bike lanes. I think it’s great that many city councils are working to make their cities more bike friendly, though these lanes are often controversial as they cost a lot of money to create, and sometimes make the traffic even worse. I do think it’s important to be encouraging people to leave their cars when they can and look into alternative modes of transportation such as cycling, transit, and walking when possible, but clearly these modes of transportation are just not possible for some people.

    So instead of governments forcing cycling lanes on people there needs to be a better way to work together and create cities where solutions are met for citizens who use the different types of transportation, not trying to cater to just one group of those people. I’ve never really been a fan of cyclists riding on the streets with cars, as I’ve though it’s incredibly dangerous, so having special lanes further away from the traffic makes more sense. Of course this has to be done in a manner where the city councils consult with local businesses and residents and study any possible impact from the installation of bike lanes.

    If these lanes are installed in a way where everyone feels like they have been consulted and have had their opinions heard, there will certainly be a lot less controversy and angry people, and that just makes for a better state of community. And even the people who can’t use the bike lanes for whatever reason for their commutes, could use them on weekends with their families and it really could be a win-win situation for everyone. So while I certainly think it’s great that so many cities around the world have done a lot in terms of being more “green” it’s important that the concerns of all the citizens are met and that any sort of special project that costs millions of dollars isn’t shoved down the throat of taxpayers. If city councils ignore this advice, chances are they’ll be looking for a new job after the next election !

    For the next question:

    What are your thoughts on bike lanes being installed in cities ? Do you see this as more of a positive or a negative thing ? Would you ever use them ?

    That’s all I have for today. I will leave you all with some pictures that I took from Puebla. Take care and I’ll talk to you all on Wednesday, bye for now.

  • Report # 1023

    Hey everyone, I’ve arrived in Monterrey, and I’m typing this up from my friend Arturo’s house. I arrived here last night after 1:00 am and we talked for a while before I went to bed. This morning I woke up around 10:15 am and talked with his mom for a while who made me a very nice breakfast. I have so many things to do and today I’m going to see if I can unlock my cellphone, and if not I’ll just get another cell phone and a number for here, and of course I’ll be looking into places to live, as I really need to find a place before I can go to the migration place, finish up the visa process and start working very soon. I’m hoping I can get this all done in the next few days and call the lady from Telepeformance next week and find out what day I can start working.

    I had an amazing few days in Puebla. It is a wonderful state with so much history, culture, natural beauty and a perfect climate; it is certainly a place I would love to live ! I spent a few days with my friend Deniz and she showed me so much and I’m super grateful for that. On Monday we toured some ruins, getting a chance to go through underground tunnels, walk through a field filled with historical places, and climb up a ruin as well. It was super cool and I really enjoyed it. We picked up some ice cream and later in the day we made a stop at a very modern art gallery. I really enjoyed it as the building was so modern and had some very cool art.

    We had dinner at a pizza place in the historic center of downtown when it absolutely started pouring. We were eating outside, but in a covered area so we were fine. Puebla seems to do the same thing everyday in July… at least all of the days I was there. It’s warm and sunny for the most part of the day, and in the late afternoon or early evening it really clouds over, starts pouring, and has some lightning and thunder as well. It’s fascinating weather and I really enjoy it as it’s nice to have the days finish up nice and fresh after walking under the hot sun. In the evening we returned to Cholula, where I was staying, and we went to the main plaza and went to the Italian Coffee Company to have some drinks and listen to the live band, which played mostly Beatles music. The Beatles are certainly popular in Puebla as I saw Beatles t-shirts and memorabilia almost everywhere.

    We got home not too late, but by the time I got to bed it was pretty late, so once again I probably could have used a little more sleep. I don’t think I’ve slept 8 hours once since I’ve arrived in Mexico, but once I’m settled in I’ll be able to sleep more. On Tuesday Deniz and I took a few buses to get to Africam, which is a giant zoo in Puebla. I didn’t know what to expect exactly, but I can say I was more than impressed and it had to have been one of the best zoos that I had ever seen. We stayed on the bus for the first part, and a lady from the zoo came on, acting as a tour guide, telling us about all of the animals. The first part of the zoo was like a Safari as we drove through many fields filled with exotic animals. I saw Giraffes, Elephants, Hippopotamus, Rhinos, Tigers, Lions, Zebras and so much more.

    After the Safari part we stopped and we got to the point of the zoo where everyone could get out and walk around for themselves. We saw Flamingos, Parrots, Anteater, Crocodiles, Kangaroos, monkeys, hyena, camels, llamas, emus, ostriches, butterflies, swans, bats, a Mexican Wolf, just so many animals really. While the theme of this place was the animals of Africa, they did have some animals from other parts as well, such as a big Grizzly bear from Canada as well as some animals from Asia and South America as well. We finished up touring the insect and reptile area which had everything from lizards and frogs to tarantulas and scorpions. We had to be back at the bus by 4:00 pm to head back to Puebla, so we made it back in time and took the bus ride back into town.

    I was very glad to have the opportunity to make it to that zoo as it was absolutely incredible and it was just so cool how they managed to create a more intimate zoo where people could see the animals more or less in their habitats, and not in a cage. That evening we went to another shopping centre, Angelópolis, and we had something to eat in a taco place in the mall. I had tacos and quesadillas Arabe, which were delicious. I don’t think I’ve gone so many days in a row eating melted cheese in one form or another though. We went to Cinépolis after to see World War Z, which was a movie about a plague turning people into zombies all around the world. It was a very good movie, but I thought it ended very poorly.

    At Cinéopolis I was asked about getting a membership card, which I really should have gotten last year, as I was going to the movie theatre three times a week, so to finally have one is nice. Once again I ate lots of popcorn and drank lots of coke, so some things never really change. As we headed out of the mall after the movie we saw a giant ferris wheel which has been installed in Puebla. It has to be one of the largest and most modern ferris wheels in the world. It was absolutely gigantic, with flashing lights and some parts of the ferris wheel where people could sit with see through floors. Unfortunately it was not open yet, so I definitely would love to make it back to Puebla and go on that ferris wheel.

    Yesterday morning I packed up all of my things and got out of my room around 9:15 am. I went to print off my boarding passes for the plane to Monterrey and then Deniz and I went to a town called St. Martín. At first I didn’t know why we took a bus way out to this town, but after getting off the bus and taking another bus out to the country and walking for 15 minutes, I knew exactly why. We were visiting an old style mansion type house, and it was incredible. There were actually two of them, one bigger one that housed the museum, and a smaller one out on the lake, that was empty, but allowed us to get to the roof and see a view of everything. The place has been turned into a tourist attraction and a camp ground and it was just a real paradise.

    There were super tall trees, a forest surrounding the lake, and a bridge leading out to a small island. We took lots of pictures and really enjoyed the place. Unfortunately we didn’t have enough time to explore the museum as it was 2:30 pm and we had to get back into town to take the bus and make it back to Puebla so I could take another bus and make it to the airport in Mexico City. We got back to San Martín fairly quickly, but the bus back to Puebla took a long time as the traffic was very bad. We got back into Puebla just after 4:00 pm, so I had just missed my bus to the Mexico City airport. I got a ticket for the 5:00 bus, which still left me with more than enough time.

    I sat with Deniz for a while and thanked her for everything as I really enjoyed spending those days with her and seeing so much of Puebla. There is definitely much more to see, so I’ll have to make it back there. While I was leaving Puebla on the bus it was absolutely pouring. There was lightning and thunder, and it was another big storm. The traffic was a little slow for the first half hour and the last half hour, but in between we made good time. I arrived at the Mexico City airport at 7:30 pm, so I had plenty of time to get to my flight, which was leaving at 9:00 pm. While I was trying to find my way to the gate, a guy who told me he was a pastor from Chicago started talking to me. He told me that no one was speaking his language and that he doesn’t know if it was because they just didn’t want to help him, or because of his skin colour. (he was black)

    He explained to me that he was coming from Cancún and that the bus he was on had lost his bags and if I knew of a place that helped with that sort of thing. He then was asking me if I could give him some money to take a bus. I was really in a hurry and I just explained that I was sorry but I couldn’t really help him. So hopefully he was able to figure everything out. I got to the check-in place, and surprisingly the line was pretty much empty, so I got through in less than five minutes. I was able to get through security pretty fast as well, so everything worked out well at the airport. I ate a sandwich and some M&Ms and just waited until the plane took off.

    We ended up being about 40 minutes late into Monterrey as there was a storm there as well with lots of rain, and the skies were pretty foggy, so the pilot must have had a tough time seeing. He flew past the city and turned back and was able to land everyone safely, and he was rightfully given a round of applause after for his good piloting skills. I met my friend at the airport and she got me to the neighbourhood where Arturo lives. I remembered the restaurant, but as it was dark and rainy I really couldn’t remember exactly how to arrive at is house. Arturo came and met us at the parking lot of the Las Alitas restaurant and I thanked my friend and headed back with my Arturo. Apparently Arturo was pretty interested in my friend as he asked if we were dating !

    So I’m very thankful to be here in Monterrey able to stay here for a few days. Arturo is awake and in about an hour when he is ready to go to his job, I will head out with him and try and get as much things done as I can. It will be a busy few days, but it will be very nice once I’m finally settled in. I have soooo many photos, but I won’t be uploading any of them today. For the next question:

    What was the worst storm that you had seen personally before ? How did things turn out ?

    I wish everyone all of the best with everything. Take care and I’ll talk to you all on Sunday, bye for now.

  • Report # 1022

    Hey everyone ! I hope that you’ve all had an awesome weekend and are having a great start to the week. I’m typing this up from the room I’m staying at in Puebla for a few days. My last full day in Vancouver went pretty well. I watched the last two episodes of Cachito de Cielo, so no more telenovelas for me for a long time. Now that I’m in Mexico I’ll be speaking and listening to Spanish every single day, so there is no more need to see telenovelas. I went for one last run around the block before jumping in the pool and swimming around a few minutes before dinner.

    My parents had their friends over for dinner and we had home made hamburgers, fries, and some cake for dessert. It was a great meal and I was absolutely stuffed afterwards. I smartly decided to start packing my bag that evening and I got 95 % of my packing done before going to bed. In the morning I finished up packing and I was able to find a nice bag to pack a lot of my shoes and a few others things that would act as a carry on. Both of my bags were just under the allowed weight, so I had succeeded in packing well….. so I thought at the time. I went for one final run to Tim Hortons on Saturday morning and came back home and finished up all the final few things that I had to do.

    I said good-bye to my mom and brother and the pets before loading up the car and having my dad drive me to the airport. Once arriving at the airport I got out and said good-bye to him, and went in and checked my bags in relatively quickly. My grandmother had also stopped by before I left, and said good-bye and wished me well, so it was nice to be able to say good-bye to everyone before I had left. As I was passing through the security, I learned the hard way that it is not possible to carry on shampoo, shaving cream, sunscreen, and Maple Syrup.

    The only option I was really given was if there was someone outside that could have taken all of those items…. which of course there wasn’t, so they ended up in the garbage. I was obviously very unhappy about it, but I really should have known better. I have flown so many times, but I think because I’ve never really had a carry on bag aside from my laptop or camera before, that I just didn’t think about anything. If I had known better before I easily could have put different items in my carry on bag and avoided that whole mess. So I passed through without my items that had been thrown in the garbage… yes the garbage. Even though most of them had never even been used they went in the garbage. At least they could have donated them to some charity !

    The Maple Syrup upset me the most because I bought it for a friend and now she won’t even get it. Well nothing I can do now. I have learned my lesson and I definitely would not be so sloppy in the future. I had about an hour to wait for the plane so I just used the computer to pass the time, and then we all got boarded on pretty quickly. On the plane I watched two movies, the Incredible Burt Wonderstone, a comedy about two competing magicians with Steve Carrell and Jim Carrey, and Picture Day, a Canadian movie about a rebel girl repeating grade 12 who has interesting relationships with a friend that she used to babysit and an older guy who is the lead singer of a band…. very interesting.

    I had some pasta on the plane as well as bread, salad, a chocolate pudding, and some juice, so you really do get treated pretty well on the airplanes these days. The flight took 5.5 hours, and I got into Mexico City just before 9:30 pm… which is two hours ahead of Vancouver time. I got off the plane and passed through the customs, explaining to the guy that I will be working in Monterrey. There wasn’t really anything I had to do there, as I will be doing all of that at the migration office when I go. For now I just have a temporary visa that’s good for 30 days. The next step will be to go to the immigration offices with my passport, and meeting with a person there, and showing them that I have the work approval, and of course that I have a place to stay.. an address in Mexico.

    I have a friend in Monterrey who has been helping me check places out, but she hasn’t found anything that nice yet. I talked to her last night and she told me that on Thursday we can go look, so it would be nice to find something by Thursday and to be able to go to the immigration offices on Friday. If I can’t get it done by Friday I suppose it will be ok as I’d have the weekend to find a place, and I would be able to go first thing next week…. which would still be well before 30 days. I’ve already talked with Arturo and he said that I didn’t even need to ask him if I could stay with him as he said “my house is your house.” I’m certainly lucky to know him and have a chance to stay there for a few days once again.

    It will be my third time staying there, as I stayed there for a couple of nights spring of last year, and then again for a week last November. It will be nice to see his parents once again well as they have always been very nice and friendly. I am certainly hoping to find a place sooner rather than later though as I really need to call the lady from Telepeformance and letting her know that I’m in Monterrey and ready to being working. So I met a friend, Deniz at the airport in Mexico City and she was with her sister and a friend of her sisters. Luckily they noticed me walking by, else I probably would have passed them looking for her somewhere else. We went for dinner in the Wings restaurant, the same restaurant that I spent the night there last year !

    This was a very odd night as we waited forever for someone to come and take our orders. And once we gave our orders, we waited forever to get our drinks…. in fact my Tortilla soup came before the drinks came. The drinks finally came, and the queso fundido that I ordered as well, and we ate and talked for a while before heading upstairs to take the bus to Puebla. Deniz and I said good-bye to her sister and friend and we boarded the bus and waited to head off to Puebla. On the bus I talked with a Korean guy as he was trying to talk in English with some other passengers, but they didn’t really understand him. There will be an international Tae Kwon Do tournament in Puebla this week, so there are tons of people from Korea and many other countries visiting.

    The bus ride took about 2 hours and we arrived in Puebla pretty late. We took a taxi and I made it to the hotel/hostel place that I’ll be staying for a few nights. By the time I got into bed it was close to 4:00 am, and I was up at 9:00 am, so I certainly didn’t get much sleep. Deniz came over and we took a bus to the central of Cholula, which is the city where I am staying at. We had a nice buffet breakfast and then we checked out a plaza and some very nice streets. Later on we took a bus to Puebla and we went inside the largest cathedral in all of Mexico, and it was just super fascinating. I love going into the churches in Mexico so much, they are just so historical and wonderful places to be.
     We also toured a museum about the Battle of Puebla, where the French invaded Mexico, and stopped in a shop and tried some traditional sweets from Puebla.

    My favourite part of the day was probably taking a two floor trolley, sitting upstairs, and touring all around the city, passing through so many historical streets, seeing so many colonial buildings and bridges, and passing through an amazing park with amazing views of the city… it was incredible. The climate really changed though as it went from being kind of hot and sunny to being super cloudy and windy. After the trolley tour, we toured the Puebla state government palace and another church, and by the time we were outside it was pouring rain. Luckily there were so many sales people on the street taking advantage of the change in the weather selling umbrellas and rain proof wear.

    I bought an umbrella for 30 pesos (like 2 dollars and 25 cents) and we were able to stay dry. There was some lightning and thunder as well, but very little, so it was a nice little store. Before the weather changed we lined up in a super popular taco place and stood in line waiting for a table. We certainly were not cold in there as we stood by the grills where the taco meet spun around slowly engulfed in flames… it was certainly hot. Once again I had Queso Fundido and some gringas, which are a tipe of tacos with flame broiled meet and cheese… delicious. I also was able to drink Horchata, which is one of my favourite Mexican drinks.

    Later in the day we walked through the Paseo San Francisco mall, which surprisingly had a lovely garden outside on the back entrance to the mall. We walked through the garden for a while before heading in and checking out Cinemex. We decided to see Pacific Rim, which was a crazy futuristic movie about some war between humans controlling giant robot machines trying to protect the planet from these giant monsters that looked like mutant dinosaurs. It was an entertaining movie filled with cool special effects and lots of action, but I really wonder sometimes who comes up with these movie ideas !

    After the movie we took a taxi back and I got home, talking to my friend in Monterrey for a while, and relaxing a bit. Denise will be over today at 10:00 am and we’ll be ready for another full adventure-filled day. Puebla is absolutely an amazing city ! It’s full of history, culture, many colonial things, and the climate is perfect. I could definitely see myself living in Puebla one day, though of course I am ready to get back to Monterrey and start working. I can definitely say I already feel fatter ! After eating queso fundido two days in a row, plus the hamburgers, fries, and cake from the other night, and the week of amazing food at my grandmother’s house, I’ve definitely put on some weight, but that’s ok !

    I won’t worry too much about this now. I will be walking lots during my time here in Puebla, and of course when I get settled in back in Monterrey, I will get back to running and with the running in the heat, and not eating as much, I’ll be back to how I was before I left Monterrey in March, sooner than later. Anyways for the next question:

    What is your opinion on tipping in restaurants ?

    I think it comes down to service. If someone gives exceptional service, they deserve to be tipped very well, and if it’s decent, well they still deserve something. However if the service is absolutely horrible, like it was at that restaurant in the airport in Mexico City the other night, than customers should be fully within their rights to leave the servers absolutely nothing…. especially when the restaurant is pretty empty and the service was horrible !

    I will leave you all with 30 pictures from Calgary as I decided to lump all my Calgary pictures together to get them all posted in one entry. I wish everyone all of the best with everything. Take care and I’ll talk to you all on Thursday, bye for now.

  • Report # 1021

    Hey everyone, I hope that you’ve all been having an amazing week. On Tuesday I went with my aunt to Ralph Klein park, which was way out in the south part of Calgary, but was definitely worth a visit. I was expecting just a small city park surrounded by houses, but it was actually home to a water conservation facility and the largest man-made wetland in the country, so it was a very cool place to visit. We also had made a stop at Tom Campbell’s Hill and the Calgary animal shelter to drop up some cat food. On the way home we picked up Iced Cappuccinos from Tim Hortons and we had some home made hamburgers for dinner. In the evening I went downtown to Olympic Plaza and I met my friend Gheraldine, who is from Venezuela but has been living in Calgary for just over three years.

    I had actually known her for just over two years, but this was the first time I was able to make plans to actually see her while I was in Calgary, so it was very nice. We just sat and talked on a bench for a couple of hours, but we certainly witnessed some interesting things. A guy was fighting another guy and then some security guys came in who called in the police, and when the police officer was trying to take a guy down, that guy was resisting and fighting back. Eventually there were around five or six police officers and they were all talking for the next hour with the guy. Surprisingly though he was not actually arrested, but just given a ticket. I realize that not all of these idiots causing these problems can be thrown in jail cells, but when He was actually fighting the police officer, I would have thought that would have been enough to get him arrested !

    I left to head home just after 10:00 pm, and I just took the bus back to my grandmother’s house, which was pretty simple. The next day I ran around the golf course twice, once in each direction, so I definitely got my exercise before leaving Calgary. It was a very warm day as well, 29 C. (84 F) While I was packing my suitcase I noticed that the running shoes that I had bought still had the anti-theft ink cartridge attached to them. The sales lady must have just scanned the barcode on the box and not even looked inside. Luckily we had time before my plane was to leave, so thankfully my aunt drove back to Sears and was able to get it removed. I am glad I noticed it then and not after I got home !

    We were certainly in no hurry to get to the airport as the plane was delayed by one hour and 17 minutes, and after arriving at the airport it was delayed another 15 minutes. My aunt drove me and I checked-in and I had a good hour and a bit to kill. The internet where I was sitting wouldn’t really work, so I just sat doing nothing for that hour. Finally we boarded before 5:30 pm Calgary time, and the plane got in at the Abbotsford Airport at around 6:00 pm. After getting my bags I headed outside and found my grandmother who was with her friend and we drove to White Spot to have dinner. After dinner she drove me home and I unpacked my suitcase…. though I’ll be packing it again for Mexico later today or tomorrow morning.

    I had a great time in Calgary with my aunt and grandmother and I’m very glad that I was able to make it out before going to Mexico. I always love being there and the city is definitely like a second home for me…. Monterrey can be like a third home ! Since I’ve arrive back home I’ve ran to Tim Hortons both days, and yesterday I also went for a good run with Parker. I’ll definitely miss the pets as it’s a big adjustment going from being around five pets to none. And of course I’ll miss the whole family and the city as well. There are a lot of things here that I’m very comfortable with, but after all of this time waiting for something to happen and it finally happening, it is time for me to go back to Mexico and start this new adventure.

    I am not worried about being there in Monterrey and living, as I’ve already been on my own in Mexico for six months, but working will be something very different. I’ve never worked in another country before, and I’ve never done this type of work before either, so it will certainly be a challenge. In all of my jobs though I’ve been liked and I’ve got good reference letters from them all pretty much, so I am hoping if I do my best like I always do, then everything will work out just fine. I will be arriving in Mexico City tomorrow night, and then I’ll be taking a bus to Puebla. I’ll be spending a couple of days in Puebla, and I’ll be arriving in Monterrey on the night of the 17th…. next Thursday.

    I have a friend who has been looking at places for me to stay, and I’ve been looking for places to stay as well. I found some great ones that had pretty much all of the things I needed, but some of the postings were kind of old, so I doubt all of them would still be available. I could stay with my friend Arturo for a bit if I don’t have a place by the night I arrive in Monterrey, but I’m really hoping I will as it’s something I think I will need before going to the immigration offices, as I will have to give the people there an address for myself. And seeing as I have to go to the office within 30 days of being in Mexico, it’s something very important, and I’d prefer to get that done sooner than later.

    I’m not exactly sure once I go to the migration offices if I’ll get the visa that very day, or if it takes a bit of time, but I’d then be calling the lady from Teleperformance so she could set me up with a training group so I would hope to begin working one day very soon as well. So this next week will be extremely busy, but I’m ready for these challenges and to get everything started there. It will no doubt be a new opportunity, a bit scary but exciting as well. I’m hoping as long as I do everything that I need to do, that everything will work out. For the rest of the day I’ll just be relaxing and home and enjoying the last full day I have here, as I have no idea when I will be back.

    That’s all for today, for the next question:

    What was the last big challenge or change you faced in your life ? How did it work out ? Do you anticipate any challenges or changes to your life in the near future ? What are they ?

    I will leave you all with some more pictures from Vancouver, and I hope that everyone has a wonderful weekend. Take care and I’ll talk to you all on Monday from Mexico, bye for now.


  • Report # 1020

    Hey everyone, I hope that you’ve all been having a great week so far. It’s hard to believe that tomorrow I’ll already be going back to Vancouver, and then in just four days I’ll be in Mexico again…. the time has just flown by. On Saturday afternoon I went shopping with my grandmother and she actually bought me a brand new pair of running shoes, and a new pair of dress shoes as well, so that was just super nice of her and I was very thankful and happy. The running shoes I’ve been using are from 2006, so I really think it’s about time to retire them. I did buy a pair while I was in Mexico, but they were so cheap they only lasted me a few months. I definitely learned that paying 20 dollars for running shoes was a lousy idea.

    My grandmother had lots of points to use at Shoppers Drug Mart so she could get 80 dollars off or something like that, so I was able to get some items to take to Mexico such as another toothbrush, soap and shampoo. I also bought some maple syrup for a friend, so I’m pretty prepared now in terms of having all the things I need to have to take with me. I will have to see what Air Canada’s limit is on international flights for a carry on luggage, as this time I could take a backpack and fill it up with stuff as well so I don’t have to worry about going over the 50 pound limit.

    I have ran around the golf course everyday since I’ve arrived in Calgary, and it’s a great thing too because obviously I’ve been eating more than I usually eat. On Sunday morning I went with my aunt and grandmother to the Grey Eagle casino, which is one of those super huge and fancy Native run casinos. I have to say, I don’t think anyone runs casinos better than Native people do. The buffet was excellent with so much food, so many different cakes and cookies, and I ate way too much. My grandmother got to play on the slot machines for about an hour and a half and my aunt played as well for a few minutes, so we all had a good time.

    Later in the day I actually ran around the golf course twice as I wanted to compensate for eating so much at the buffet. Some evenings I’ve actually gone out for a walk as well, so I’ve been doing about as much as I can to get exercise. In the evenings I’ve usually been playing cards with my aunt and grandmother. I play rummy with my aunt, which I’ve done exceptionally well at this time, and 31 with my aunt and grandmother. I didn’t win once the other night, but I still think I’m up a few quarters since I arrived. On Sunday night my aunt and I went with her friend to Mount Royal University to see a performance of Shakespeare in the park, Romeo & Juliet.

    I think this might have been the first time in my life I’d actually seen a  Shakespeare play, so it was very cool. While I was in highschool I did read A Midsummer’s Night Dream, Romeo & Juliet, Macbeth and Hamlet, so I was somewhat familiar with Shakespeare, but all of this of course has now been over 10 years ago ! The show was supposed to be on Prince’s Island, but do to the flooding, they moved the show to an outdoor ampitheatre at the university. It was a nice, sunny, and warm evening, in a great venue, and everyone enjoyed the show. I can definitely still say though, that Shakespearean really is a language in it’s own, very difficult for the average English speaker to understand.

    Afterwards we drove down to the river to see a pedestrian bridge that had been destroyed by the high waters during the flood. We could see some disposal bins on the streets, debris and mud lying on the curbs, and many trees completely knocked down. It was just more evidence of what had happened here just a couple of weeks ago and how much work it will be to clean up a number of these areas still. The houses on the other side of the river are on such a low level I could actually imagine them being flooded in any given year. Unfortunately the people who chose to live there decided to go for natural beauty over common sense !

    Yesterday I got completely soaked as it was absolutely pouring as I ran around the golf course. It wasn’t so nice, but I wasn’t going to allow the rain to cancel my run. In the afternoon I went shopping with my grandmother, and I later walked up to Tim Hortons to have only the second iced cappuccino since I arrived. I better make sure I enjoy them over these last few days as there certainly aren’t any Tim Hortons in Mexico. Yesterday we had a nice meal of sausages and hashbrowns, and I played some rummy with my aunt before going to bed. Today is 100 % super sunny, and it’s going to be 25 C (77 F) so hopefully we get outside somewhere nice and enjoy the beautiful weather.

    I’ve been reading a lot about Eric Snowden in the past week or two, and it really is a fascinating story. Some of the articles and letters in the paper and on the internet have been highly critical of him, while others are thinking that the US government has overreacted incredibly and what they have done with him has been wrong. Now Mr. Snowden must have been 100 % aware of the situation around Julian Assange, so he couldn’t have been an idiot to expect that absolutely nothing would happen if he were to reveal what he indeed did reveal. Thinking of this guy as a terrorist or a traitor however I think is grossly over-exaggerating, and really not granting the man any of the liberties that any citizen should be granted which are freedom of speech, and innocence before proven guilty.

    I’m not saying that Mr. Snowden was right in revealing all that he did, but certainly some of the information that has come out is deeply troubling and now has the U.S. government in some hot water. When news comes out that the U.S. government was spying on citizens and other countries, that of course is something that will cause great alarm in the world, and of course a lot of foreign leaders, and citizens will be questioning what on earth has been happening. The U.S. government has not handled this situation well by revoking the passport of Mr. Snowden and acting as if he is some world terrorist which clearly is not the case.

    Of course on the other hand, Mr. Snowden is no hero either. He had an important position, was paid a great salary, and with that position came responsibilities and rules, and clearly Mr. Snowden broke certain rules. Understandably there would be a punishment for that sort of thing, but I mean the U.S. government has gone too far in terms of how they are treating this case, and in the end they have just made themselves look pretty silly around the world. I just view this story as one that isn’t black or white and one where people can’t really fully take one side of the story. Mr. Snowden is no hero, but he’s no terrorist either.

    Clearly he won’t have any sort of life if he ever goes back to the U.S. or is handed over to U.S. government authorities, so obviously he has to stick with whatever few options he has left. If he can somehow get there, it sounds like his future will be in either Nicaragua or Venezuela, but it will be very interesting to see what happens. Lessons from this story should be that when we sign up to do a certain job and we agree to certain things, those rules should be followed, unless of course, we strongly in our hearts believe that something very wrong is happening…. and who am I to say, maybe Mr. Snowden truly believed he was doing something noble.

    I don’t know the guy, I don’t know his reasons, and I don’t know what he wanted to get out of all of this, but he obviously knew there would be great risks involved, and he decided to do what he did anyways, so clearly he did feel strongly about what he was doing. Now we got a diplomatic nightmare going on and this is taking the attention away from far more important causes in the world such as poverty, so whatever happens, I hope there is a solution soon. So as I’ve stated above, I’m certainly not saying Eric Snowden is a hero, but this man is no world terrorist, and he hasn’t killed anyone, so people need to put this into perspective here.

    He should still be treated fairly, and since he understands he won’t be given an opportunity for a fair trial in the U.S., he has to try and carry on with his life in another country. I hope countries understand through all of this though that the privacy and sovereignty of nations around the world are of the utmost importance and any abuse of those two things should not be tolerated. And I hope that people like Eric Snowden think long and hard before doing something as he has done, as clearly it creates a lot more headaches than anything else, and no one wants a headache ! For the next question:

    What do you think about Eric Snowden and what he has done ? How should the situation be resolved ?

    Today I will leave you all with some photos from Vancouver. I wish everyone all of the best with everything. Take care and I’ll talk to you all on Friday, bye for now.

  • Report # 1019

    Hey everyone, I hope that you’ve all been having a great weekend so far. After typing up my last entry, my grandmother arrived quickly and I loaded up my luggage into her car and we headed to Willowbrook Mall. My grandmother was looking for some sort of dress, but after checking a number of stores she wasn’t able to find anything that she wanted and was ready to go. We had lunch at IHOP and then headed to her house and stayed there for a couple of hours until it was time for me to go to the airport. I got to the airport early and got through the security very quickly. The plane was about 20 minutes late, so I just used the internet for a while to kill time.

    Oddly enough the guy I was sitting next to in the airport sat next to me on the plane as well so that was a very unlikely occurrence. I got into Calgary at around 10:30 pm and my aunt picked me up and we headed to my grandmother’s house. I had a little bit of cake and a few other things, but I wasn’t too hungry at that hour. With the hour difference in the time I didn’t head to bed until kind of late, so I was a bit tired in the morning. I ran around the golf course on Thursday morning and later in the day my aunt drove me to various different points in Calgary to see what the flooding had done to the city. The actual flooding took place about two weeks ago, and there really weren’t too many signs left of what had happened, through as we drove through some streets down by the river it was obvious that a flood had occurred.

    There were basements completely flooded out, mud lying around on the grass, sand bags, and lots of disposal bins completely filled up with the debris from the flood. So while the devastation to the city has been huge, they’ve done an amazingly great job of cleaning up and just a few weeks on from the horrible flooding, things look surprisingly normal. We stopped for lunch at the Diner Deluxe, which is kind of a 1950′s style diner with very interesting food. I ordered a Monte Cristo sandwich and while it looked totally dark and the same colour, it tasted good so that was the main thing. We drove around a little more after and returned home in the afternoon.

    In the evening we had dinner and played cards and just relaxed so it was a good way to finish out the day. I ran again yesterday morning and then I went with my grandmother to do some grocery shopping at Safeway and CO-OP. We came home and had lunch and in the afternoon I went to Nose Hill with my aunt. It was a very cloudy day by this time and we could see the interesting cloud formations all around the city from up on the hill so it was very cool. Some dark clouds were forming and it started drizzling so we decided to walk back to the car. We got sprinkled by the odd rain drop, but we were able to get home before the storm began.

    Within half an hour of arriving at home, it started pouring and the lightning and thunder began as well. It was nice that we were able to get in a good walk before the storm began else we would have got soaked. I watched an episode of Cachito De Cielo for the 2nd day since I arrived and now I have just eight more episodes to go, so I’ll definitely have it all done by the time I get to Mexico. And once I’m in Mexico I’ll be around Spanish everyday again and I’ll be super busy, so I won’t have to watch any more telenovelas. We had a nice dinner and I was absolutely stuffed afterwards seeing as we had eaten a late lunch.

    I definitely plan on going for a run around the golf course after I’m done typing this up as I certainly have some calories to burn from yesterday ! This morning I went with my aunt to a pancake breakfast at a local art gallery. I had some pancakes, sausage and fruit with juice, so it was a nice breakfast. There was a small band there performing, lots of people conversing, and of course the art inside to see. There were some very creative and wonderful pieces of art, though other ones just kind of shocked me. Seeing a picture of a local fast food chicken place selling for $ 1,100… that was not expected ! In the end though, art is art and it can be anything. There is no certain type of art that would appeal to everyone, and each piece always appeals to someone; Art can be whatever is in the mind of the artist !

    So I’m back at home now at my grandmother’s house and later today I believe we will go shopping. The weather has been pretty nice. The first day was around 26 C (79 F) though it was certainly a little humid. Yesterday was sunny most of the day, but it got cloudy and stormy in the evening, and today is cool and cloudy. It’s certainly nice to have some cooler days as once I’m in Monterrey I can’t imagine I’ll have much for cooler days, at least until the fall. I’ve been reading about the situation in Egypt and I can say it’s very unfortunate. Egypt has been through so much in the last couple of years, so it’s just very tough that the country is going through more violence and unrest.

    I know that I’m not Egyptian, and I know that I’ve never been to Egypt in my life, so obviously I don’t understand things as well as the people who live there, or someone who is more connected to the country, but someone can always have an opinion about these type of things. From what I think, former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi, who had just finished his first year in office before being removed from power, had failed the Egyptian people. This man was democratically elected last year, and he got just over 51 % of the vote. Mr. Morsi should have respected the confidence that the slim majority of Egyptians had given him, while trying to reach out and be someone who could bring all Egyptians together and move his country forward.

    Unfortunately Mr. Morsi failed miserably in doing this. In his year in power he worked not to improve the lives of so many Egyptians, but to try and give himself more power… this was just a selfish and stupid move on his part. He failed to govern in a way that separates religion from politics….. though when you are part of a party called the Muslim Brotherhood, that certainly would be a challenge. I can respect that being part of a party such as the Muslim Brotherhood requires a careful juggling act, but to get into extremist Islamic rule while trying to make himself more powerful…. Mr. Morsi abused his powers and that is one of the main reasons that he is no longer president today.

    Now while these type of military coups can’t really be supported in most cases as they are against everything that democracy stands for, from what I’ve been reading, it sounds like the military has no desire to hang on to power, and they’d like to see new elections as soon as possible, given Egyptians a second chance at democracy and allowing them better options in a future presidential vote. While it’s unfortunate that their first taste of democracy didn’t work out, at the end of the day Mr. Morsi will have to look in the mirror and realize he has only himself to blame for this failure.

    The Egyptian people have been through so much in the last few years, so they are obviously very resilient and strong-minded people, and I do believe they have a great chance here to build on their first democratic elections, and elect themselves a person worthy of holding the Egyptian presidency. It’s very sad that there is fighting going on and that more people have died, but for the sake of the country, I hope the military can work with the people to get the country back on track and setting up presidential elections in the near future. It’s important that the Egyptian people have the best of candidates to choose from and that they are given an opportunity to make the right choice this time as the future of their country depends on it.

    What happens over the next few months will not only determine the future of Egypt, but if the country can become a safe, democratic, and stable nation, where the unfortunate tragedies of these past few years are left far behind and Egyptians can map themselves out a future filled with future and prosperity. After everything those people have been through over the years at this point in time, they deserve nothing less. For the next question:

    Have you been following what is happening in Egypt ? What are your thoughts on what has happened, and how the country should move forward from here ?

    That is all I have for today. I’ll leave you all with some pictures from Canada Day on July 1. Take care and I’ll talk to you all on Tuesday, bye for now.


  • Report # 1018

    I have one hour before my grandmother comes to pick me up, and I still have to get this typed up and pack my suitcase, so I’m in a hurry. I’ve got my plane ticket to Mexico booked so I’ll be flying to Mexico City on July 13, and I should arrive in Monterrey a few days later. I tried to get a trip booked to Monterrey with a Mexican airline, but for some reason they aren’t accepting my credit card online this time, so I’m kind of sick of trying to book on there so I’ll probably just take a bus ! It would be a lot longer than the plane obviously, but that’s ok, I’ve been on long bus rides before.

    Sunday was the hottest day here, as the temperature here got up to over 32 C (90 F). When it gets that hot the rooms upstairs get very hot, but it wasn’t anything unbearable. I went for a nice run during the day before jumping in the pool and cooling off. My grandmother and her friend were over for dinner and we had hamburgers and fries with cheesecake for desert, so it was a great meal. On Monday morning I took the bus and the skytrain downtown to see the Canada Day events. Monday was probably about as hot as Sunday, but being by the water with a nice breeze, it definitely felt cooler.

    There were sooooo many people sun tanning on the beaches and swimming in the ocean, and I can’t blame them as it was the perfect day. There were some concerts and shows going on, and lots of people with Canada shirts, hats and flags; everyone was definitely having an amazing time. I did my part for Canada Day as I went to Tim Hortons twice in one day…. there can’t be a much more Canadian thing to do than that ! I had my normal meal at the Tim Hortons close to home before heading downtown, and in the evening after walking so much I stopped at a Tim Hortons downtown to have a sandwich and a iced raspberry lemonade. I must have walked close to 20 km that day because I did the whole Stanley Park Seawall, through Cole Harbour, some downtown streets, to Gas Town and back to the city center to watch the Canada Day Parade.

    Luckily I got there pretty early so I was able to get right by the curb, with a good view of everything that would pass. Some other people basically came and squeezed in front of me which I didn’t like so much, but luckily I was taller than they were so it didn’t ruin my view really. The parade was about an hour and a half long, and it started with the Vancouver police doing some stunts with their motorcycles which was pretty cool. Afterwards there were marching bands and a group walking through holding all of the provincial flags. What followed though was what impressed me the most…. there were parts of the parade for so many different countries.

    I saw China, South Korea, Japan, India, The Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela, Bolivia, Azerbaijan, Thailand, and a number of other countries. I was just so impressed that the Canada Day parade was able to showcase countries from around the world. I don’t think there is another country in this world that celebrates, embraces, and shares diversity and showcases a multicultural society better than Canada. Not only are people here able to be Canadians, but they can be proud of the countries they come from and share the culture and customs from those places with the rest of us, and I’ve always thought that is an incredible thing.

    After the parade I took a few more pictures of the crowds and I made my way to Waterfront station and took the skytrain back home. It was a super long day and I was absolutely exhausted by the time I got home at around 10:00 pm. I didn’t even stick around for the fireworks which I’m sure would have been super awesome, but I just didn’t want to stay around downtown a couple of more hours. I did manage to make it to a gift store and buy a friend some shirts so I’m glad I got that done. Crazily enough one of the shirts that says Canada was made in Mexico. Those shirts are never actually made here, but usually in China, so I was a little surprised by that ! At the end of the day most people aren’t really looking where their clothes are made though.

    Yesterday I finished uploading all of my photos to Facebook. It was a lot of work as I had taken over 600 of them ! I will post some here probably the next entry, but I just have no time today. I ran to Tim Hortons yesterday morning and I did some lawn mowing before relaxing in the pool, sun tanning and swimming. So I’ll try and quickly finish this up, comment everyone, pack my suitcase, and get out of here. Today I just wanted to mention something about comments. Comments are obviously an integral part of Xanga, and if there were no comments, the site would be rather boring. If no one actually took any time to comment, we’d all just feel as if we are writing to ourselves, and that is just plain boring.

    Obviously it’s interesting to type up something and see what was typed up on a certain day years in the future, but hearing the thoughts of others, their opinions, their advice, and whatever they have to say is such a cool thing. I can imagine I’ve left thousands of comments over the years. If I was to estimate I’d say I probably leave just over 500 comments a year which throughout a year doesn’t sound like too many, but it kind of is ! When I read someone’s entry I try to comment on what they’ve wrote, instead of just typing up something useless like “I Hope you are well, have a great weekend !” Oh course I say that within the much larger comment, but my point is I really do think about what I say and put effort in my comment.

    That being said, over the thousands of comments I’ve left over the years on other peoples’ pages, I can imagine some of them don’t always impress people. And there shouldn’t be anything surprising about that either, because sometimes I’ll leave my opinion or say something about something that happens…. and maybe that person doesn’t necessarily agree. That is fine as well as if we all agreed on everything 100 % the world would be such a boring place. One thing that should always be constant though is respect for other people. There has been the very rare comment over the years that has got to me, or that I didn’t appreciate, and in those situations I usually respond and maybe start a debate !

    Of course the comments that are just plain empty of any thought, I don’t bother with them, and in the cases of people who leave nothing but empty comments all the time, I usually just stop bothering on their pages altogether ! So what am I getting at today ? Well the other day I left a comment on someone’s page, and I was politely told that what I said was not all that appropriate. Thinking back on it I would agree with the person and I will definitely be offering an apology. Sometimes I try to be funny, or say things in a certain way, but there are times when people aren’t looking for that sort of comment, so we should all watch how we say things sometimes and be respectful at whatever situation a person is going through.

    Seeing as I’ve left thousands of comments over the years, I’m bound to get sloppy on rare occasion and leave something where I haven’t expressed myself in the best way or used the best of words. It’s ok… this sort of thing happens and I am sure it’s happened to most of us at least once before. Of course it’s great to have our opinions and type up what we want to say, that is what makes Xanga so interesting, but in some situations, we all should think maybe just a little more before saying some things, especially regarding posts where people have been going through so much. Ultimately we should all be here to support one another and be the best friends that we can be ! Obviously no one is perfect and the odd time we can make mistakes, but it’s how we respond to those mistakes and treat one another in general that really counts.

    I can say that I appreciate 95 % of the comments I’ve gotten over the last eight plus years, there have just been the very few that have bothered me, but I can understand how someone else feels if they read a comment that bothers them. So all I’m saying today is that when it comes to reading other peoples’ blogs and saying something, we should all put in that little extra step to construct our comments in a well-meaning, non-critical, and understanding way. Of course if someone is upset by anything, that’s ok though, it happens…. but it is how we respond to that and carry on that really will decide how everyone views one another. So at the end of the day it’s all about respect and if we respect one another, there should not be any problems ! For the next question:

    Have you ever been left disrespectful comments before ? Or well-intentioned comments that someone took the wrong way ? Have you ever left any of these types of comments yourself on another bloggers’ page ?

    Well that’s all for me today. I will talk to you all on Saturday when I’m in Calgary. I wish everyone all of the best with everything, bye for now!