Posted in (All Posts), Culture, Travel

Eat Play LOUVRE: Day 4-Meeting Mona

IMG_7113Our organized “tour” of the Louvre came with a confusing map, and an even more confusing audio guide. After frustratedly trying to work it out, we left the museum in search of lunch to soothe our hungry hearts and minds. The lunch was surprisingly good! Actually one of the best I had in Paris! It was a pretzel baguette. Magnifique!

IMG_1472.jpgThe museum, of course, was breathtaking. Particularly when a pre-recorded message and alarm sound instructing “all guests to proceed to the exits immediately.” I was truly scared, but it seems I was the only one. Everyone else was chilling there taking in the art and beauty. The security guards assured us it was nothing, but the message repeated several times that it was anything but. Continue reading “Eat Play LOUVRE: Day 4-Meeting Mona”

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Posted in (All Posts), Culture, Travel

Eat Play Louvre: Day 3 – A Birthday in Paris

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empty restaurant

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continental breakfast
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My birthday! I woke up early and excited. I was the first to arrive in the hotel restaurant for breakfast. After I ate, I went back to sleep for a couple of hours. Then, I showered and went exploring. The neighborhood is nice in parts, un peu risqué in others with sex shops and lap dance bars. The Moulin Rouge is steps away from the hotel. The strip is sexy and provocative. There are sex toys shaped like the Eiffel Tower. Some shops cater to straight sex, some bondage, some gay. Mannequins wearing butt-less chaps, thong underwear, feathers and latex rule the day here.

IMG_1393I walked in a slightly different direction on my birthday morning toward Continue reading “Eat Play Louvre: Day 3 – A Birthday in Paris”

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Eat Play Louvre: Day 1-2,  London to Paris

This is travel day!

It was a little stressful and I hardly had time to do anything to get ready yesterday because:

A. Our power was out from 11:30 pm until 5:00 pm the next day! And

B. We had a wedding to go to at 5 pm. So, we had to get ready in the dark, and with lukewarm water. It was a challenge; we were late to the wedding and almost missed the ceremony! (That’s me hiding in the gauze.)


After the wedding, I forced myself to stay awake until 3 am to try to turn my internal clock around. I was mostly successful.

I flew into London early on Monday morning. I was incredibly lucky to have this ridiculous seat next to the window. I don’t think I’ve ever had this much leg room in my entire life. Thanks, Edwin (who changed my seat!) My flight was delayed (of course) so I only had about two hours to look around London. It was just enough time to take the above photo of me with the red telephone box and then I wasn’t sure where to go, so I ended up at the Covent Market (next to Covent Gardens.) The only things I ended up buying were a tiny replica red phone box and double decker bus to decorate my bathroom… Yes, I said my bathroom.


There had been an attack at an Ariana Grande concert days before in Manchester, so security was through the roof. In addition to the heightened security, there was also a major computer breakdown at British Airways, so cancelled flights had magically been transformed into train trips, significantly increasing ridership for a couple of days. Below is a photo of the queue to get into the queue (or the line up for the line up, for those who only speak American.) People were shouting, fighting, crying… It was all kinds of crazy. This pic is before even entering on the left. There were about three times this many people on the other side of the doors, but NO CAMERAS.


My hotel in Paris is pretty swanky! It’s an old apartment building converted into a hotel. My room is on the fifth floor, and I learned that there was an elevator only after climbing the stairs with all my luggage. It’s in the weirdest location just floating in the middle of the lobby and disguised as a Coke Machine. The interior of the elevator is mirorred on all sides to give the illusion of being bigger than an elevator with a two-person (or person + suitcase) maximum capacity.

Now I’m in my hotel room. I’m hot & hungry, but happy. Time for a shower and a bite to eat!

Gotta conserve my energy for tomorrow: MY BIRTHDAY IN PARIS!!!! 😆

Peace out, world!

 

Posted in (All Posts), Culture, Travel

Eat Play Louvre: My Solo Trip to Europe – Prologue

So the backstory to my sudden, radical decision to travel alone to Europe is a good one.

Back in December, my younger sister and I decided to take a trip together. At first, we were imagining backpacking around Southeast Asia, or hitting up some beaches somewhere, but in the end we settled on Europe. We were going to fly into Paris, then travel to Spain, see the Italian coast and finish in Rome. Sadly, circumstances shifted and the plan ceased to be a plan. My  beautiful sister went on to travel elsewhere with her lovely new man, and I had a hard time letting go of my dream.

Where I work, we have personnel management software that we use to book time off. I had heard that May was the best time to see Europe, so I booked off two weeks well in advance so I’d be sure to secure the best dates. I was reluctant to give up such a perfect two-week break that would include my birthday. However, I did eventually delete my time off request, I just neglected to tell anyone at work. The proper thing to have done would have been to send an email alerting the powers that be that I’d changed my plans. I didn’t do that, and nobody knew I wasn’t going anywhere. Maybe I was secretely hoping the following would occur…

My workplace MADE OTHER ARRANGEMENTS and found a replacement for me while I’d be gone. In other words, I had a “vacation,” without having a vacation if you catch my drift. Oh noes! I panicked and called my husband. I was sure he’d be angry with me. “What are you going to do with two weeks off work?” But he shocked me. Instead, he said, “You know what? You deserve the break. It’s been a tough year for you. Why don’t you fly off somewhere? Enjoy yourself.” I was speechless.

I immediately contacted my HR person, and she was cool with letting me shorten my vacation by a week, but to still take part of it. So now, I had less than a week to plan something! Holy crap! Most people suggest planning a Europe trip at least a year in advance. I’ve got five days to put this together. Oh. Em. Gee.

Of course, it’s all planned, and I have written this in advance. I will publish this the morning of the day that I’m leaving. First stop: London, England.

Stay tuned….

Posted in (All Posts), Culture, Las Cosas Mexicanas 🇲🇽, Travel

Día de Muertos Trip to Mexico City

night-time-vigil-at-the-graveyards05In most cultures, we fear death. Death conjures images of being cold, forgotten and alone. In Mexico, however, they have the most rich, colourful and vibrant way of dealing with death. The Mexican people are all about celebrating life in death. Día de Muertos is a holiday that encourages gathering together with family and friends to pray for and remember those who have passed. In October and November of 2009, I decided to visit Mexico City to experience this remarkable holiday for myself. My now-husband was still living in Mexico at the time, and became my host, interpreter and guide for the duration of my visit. Continue reading “Día de Muertos Trip to Mexico City”

Posted in (All Posts), Culture, O Canada 🇨🇦, Rants

Voting Basically Makes You A Superhero

This comes from my friend and fellow blogger Levi. (Read his post here.)

He sums up what most of us are thinking. It’s time to get out there and make a change. It’s time to be accountable for our country and its politics. It’s time to shake off the apathy and the “what good will my vote do?” attitude. We young people are the future of this beautiful nation and we have to live here long after many of these tools are dead and buried.

Let’s finally give a shit. Get on out there and vote.

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Source: Voting Basically Makes You A Superhero

Posted in (All Posts), Culture, O Canada 🇨🇦, Personal Anecdotes, Travel

That Time I Was Kidnapped in Venezuela

Read about one of the scariest experiences of my life! I’m certainly much more aware of my naiveté and I’m a little more cautious these days.

Survivor@37

When I was a college co-ed, I decided to take my white bread Canadian self down to South America with my then-boyfriend Adam.  The idea was that I’d broaden my horizons and see some of the world during the semester break.  First stop:  Caracas, Venezuela.

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Here’s an excerpt from the Lonely Planet [guide to discovering] South America on a Shoestring ©1997. (Yes, I still have it.)

DANGERS AND ANNOYANCES

Venezuela is a relatively safe country in which to travel, though robbery is becoming a problem. Common crime is increasing in the large cities. Caracas is by far the most dangerous place in the country, and you should take care while strolling about the streets, particularly at night. Keep your passport and money next to the skin, and your camera, if you are carrying one, hidden in a pack or bag. Venturing into poor shanty-towns is asking for trouble.  Avoid police…

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