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Monday, May 07, 2007

Camping at Deception Pass State Park


This weekend we tried camping together for the first time. After converting the back of our car into a bed (with a folding wooden platform + foam mattress) we crossed the border, drove for an hour (through scenery that looked a lot like the route to Tofino) and ended up at our final destination: Deception Pass Park on Whidbey Island.

The campground we chose had a partial ocean view, was a reasonable distance from the 'facilities' and had a picnic table and fire pit ready for use. Other than getting a little dirty (the part I don't like about camping) we had a great time exploring the park, playing paddle ball and getting coffees in Oak Harbour and a cinnamon bun in Anacortes.

The final verdict: Yes we will camp again. Just need to make the SUV-bed a little more comfortable and pick up a few items which will better facilitate our camping experience.

Here are some pics from our overnight excursion:






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Thursday, May 03, 2007

Maybe Next Year --bye bye hockey, hello golf

The Canuckers lost tonight. The most unfortunate part of the game (other than the ratio of ducks shots vs canuck shots on goal) was when Luongo dove face-first to the ice when he realized he'd let in the ducks' winning goal. So sad.

Lu kept the team going in the playoffs. I was kinda hoping that our city could continue rallying for the team and see the canucks to the third round. Maybe next year?

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facebook -ok I've given in

Facebook is insane. I read a few articles about it, got a few friend requests and now I've finally joined the masses and put myself 'out there' online to reconnect with old friends, new friends and everyone in between.

I wonder what the next online community craze will be?

PS - re: facebook. Groups are funny. Maybe I'll start a group about women who wear guy's deoderant when they play sports.....

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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Acapulco Yo

Other than the heat which I alluded to in my last post, acapulco has been *mostly* wonderful.

Situated on a hill, our resort is about a 10 min walk down to the beach and main drag --the only problem is coming back up the hill. Just Kidding. Although, in the heat you feel like a wimp as you huff and puff your way up the hill.

Other than lounging under unbrellas at our pool, we've made a few trips by foot and by taxi into town to pick up water, eat out and explore.

Restaurants
Two nights ago we were at a mexican restaurant-bar called Mango's and we happened to catch most of the canuck/stars game. Sweet. C ya Dallas. Last night we decided to try one of the restaurants Acapulco is apparently famous for so we took a cab to the Las Brisas area and perched ourselves at a table at Kookaburra, a restaurant overlooking Acapulco's bay. Many people say that this restaurant is the most romantic meal they've ever had --I wouldn't go that far-- but I did enjoy the view. Even though the service was great the food was just okay, yet the prices were similar to Aqua Riva's (in Vancouver).

Architecture + Design
As we wound our way through Acapulco's precarious roadway to our hotel in the airport taxi, I was pleasantly confronted by an eclectic mix of architectural styles spanning the decades. Unlike some other cities distastefully combining era-inspired styles, the hotels and villas work well together to retell a storied past. From a design standpoint, in seeing various interiors and leafing through many local magazines, I'm shocked at the progressive interiors, fixtures and furniture. The design is minimalism meets ethnic. Very cool.

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Villa Vera

"I'm feelin' hot, hot, hot" in Acapulco. Seeing as their average temperature is around 30 degrees celcius and they have about 360 days of sun per year, it's safe to say that unless you're by a pool or in an air-conditioned room, it's hard to get anything done in this hot climate. Not suprisingly, life seems to happen in slow motion except for maybe the volkswagon beetle taxis that whip by you at warp speed.

Our stay at the Villa Vera has been great. We ended up with a nice suite, but then asked to be upgraded to an even nicer one beside our original because it had an amazing deck with ocean views and hammock. I don't really feel bad about asking to be upgraded because it's low season and the resort is only at half capacity.

There are a total of around 15 pools at the resort, 6 of which are for everyone's use. Every suite here is like a villa, thus, the remaining pools belong to certain private villas. With a very priviledged beginning Villa Vera has catered to celebrities and heads-of-state since its inception until about 10 years ago when a time share company purchased it and changed the resort's approach. It still retains some old-hollywood glamour but you can tell the exclusivity and glam-factor have somewhat evaporated in the heat. Either way, I'd suggest it to anyone who loves to travel, who likes beautiful views and who likes to climb stairs (the resort is set in the hills).

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Friday, April 20, 2007

Bye Bye Maui

As we retreat from the heat of the day to carefully pack-up our over-full bags (grr, I wish I were a better packer), we close our suitcases and our time in Maui.

Highlights have included:
- Hanging out with our friends for the first week
- Our second snorkel trip to "the fishbowl" where I encountered and swam through a huge school of fish
- Mama's fish house
- Chocolate soufflé at Roy's
- Playing paddle ball, my new fave sport
- Going to the ABC store (I just love that place)
- Drinking Jamba juices
- Walking along the paved ocean-front pathway in Wailea
- Drinking the sangria that we made (I have a secret ingredient which does wonders every time)
- Enjoying the weather which was miraculously fab the whole time
- Playing tennis
- Taking surfing lessons
- Playing in the ocean until my lips feel like I've eaten a million tortilla chips
- Reading on the beach

Some items left to be desired:
- Seeing a turtle while snorkelling
- Hana's waterfalls (carsickness doesn't allow me to go, although maybe Nathan could pull an A-Team on me so I suddenly 'fall into a deep sleep' for the car ride)
- More surfing
- Skimboarding (although I guess I can do that at Spanish Banks since we'll live close by)
- Fresh pineapples and mangoes
- Warm weather (I’d be happy to live in this kind of heat the whole time and just take ski trips!)


Better go to sleep, it's 11:30pm now and our 3am wake up will come alarmingly (no pun intended - ha ha) soon.

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Saturday, April 14, 2007

Humuhumunukunukuapua'a

Over the past few days we've hung out with the humuhumu –Hawaii’s state fish– a number of times without even meaning to; although, I guess that would be more weird if we were in Vancouver. Anyway...

Humu Encounter 1
One highlight of our trip thus far was a little trek we took over lava fields to a snorkelling destination aptly named the ‘fish bowl.’ For those familiar with ahihi bay, we parked just past it and then walked along the narrow road until we reached ‘45 feet before telephone pole #18.’ There on the pavement was a faint "x" that someone had marked as the beginning of the one mile trail which would eventually take us to our exotic destination with an abundance of tropical fish.

Humu Encounter 2
As if we didn't see enough fish at the fish bowl, we snorkelled the next day at black rock in Ka'anapali. Since Kihei is pretty relaxed, we didn't realize it was American Spring Break, but we sure discovered this when we attempted to see the underwater sights of black rock. Other than seeing a few humuhumus, the scene was more like an underwater version of Disneyland on a national holiday. I think I saw more humans than fish.

Humu Encounter 3
Last night we dined at Humuhumunukunukuapua'a while enjoying the last bit of sunlight the day could offer. This lovely restaurant sits on stilts (I think) over a 40 000 gallon fish lagoon at the Grand Wailea. The setting alone is beautiful, not the mention the drinks and food.

Surfing
Surfing on actual waves is a lot different from the consistency of the man-made flowrider. I don't think that my highly limited and outdated flowriding skills helped me out much while taking my first surfing lesson in Lahaina. Honestly, the hardest part of surfing is paddling. The getting up part is much easier. Lucas our hilarious Brazilian surf instructor made the lesson –I will never forget the 5 steps to getting up on the board.

PS - today I had my first Jamba Juice of the trip --I wish we had these in Canada.

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Monday, April 09, 2007

Harmony Airways Chalk Art

This morning when I was running along the sidewalk in Kihei I saw some sweet commemorative chalk art pledging allegiance to the now defunct harmony airways. We'll miss you Harmony and your promotions involving bars of gold.

Not sure if these images are illustrated by a loyal snowbird, star flight attendant or caring customer. Either way, you be the judge.

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Sunday, April 08, 2007

Easter in Maui

It's Easter Sunday and this morning we went to Minti's Church in Kihei. So sad that Minti and Jason aren't here in Maui right now, but we enjoyed going to a church that had a personal recommendation and hula dancing integrated into the service.

In the later afternoon we decided to go along the wailea walk again. Other than the clusters of bugs that stuck to my skin as I passed through their mid-air conventions, our walk was great...

This year's easter dinner did not involve a lovely buffet at Cap Country Club, but rather a tropcial outdoor dinner with friends at picnic table overlooking the water and Maalea's twinkling lights. I must say, there's something so novel about wearing a tank top at 9:30pm at night.

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The Waves Ate My Shorts

Okay, at least the waves didn't swallow my shorts! Seriously though, the waves at DT Fleming beach (just north of Ka'anapali) ate me alive while boogie-boarding and I literally almost lost my shorts. Since I've only really boogie-boarded on the flowrider, my experience in real waves was much different --more exhilarating, tiring and a little scary. At one point I collided with a pretty big wave and did a few somersaults underwater, got disoriented and then the cord from my boogie-board went across my neck. I guess that's all part of "Maui 101."

Over the past few days here we've lounged, walked hung out with friends and relaxed. One morning I wanted to walk for about an hour and then our stroll turned into a Gilligan-style 3-hour-tour. For some reason I didn't think it would take a long time to reach the end of the Wailea walk from mid-Kihei. Oops. To cool down mid-trek we stopped at the Fairmont and had an overpriced yogurt parfait and iced-americano. Needless to say we got back a little tired and burnt, but better for it.

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