Saturday, May 31, 2008

Out N' About These Past Few Days...

So spring has definitely arrived in St. John's! Last weekend I read on CBCNews that the van that followed Terry Fox on his cross-Canada marathon in 1980 was found, restored, and going to be on display at Bowring Park in St. John's! It turns out that the van is making its way across Canada in memory of Terry's run. At the park, the RNC were out with their riding horses, and Scotia Bank was hosting a BBQ. The coolest thing was that the Fox family was actually there and I got to meet Terry's mom, Betty Fox!

Here is Terry's van, restored, and ready to be driven east to west across Canada. See to find out when the van will be in your area.

Paths follow a series of waterfalls in Bowring Park.

Taking a break in Bowring Park.

In case the horses and dogs visiting Bowring Park are thirsty.

Swans in Bowring Park! Where were they during the winter months?

A nice spring day in Bowring Park.

In other news, today I made a day trip 80km outside of St. John's to the little town of Brigus. My motivation... seafood chowder and blueberry crisp at the Country Corner for lunch, and a hamburger and fries for dinner at E&E Drive-In. Supposedly, E&E Drive-In is said to be a Newfoundland greasy spoon institution and so that was enough for me to make the trek. Today was a really nice spring day. Following Route 60 along Conception Bay, you could see icebergs sticking out of the incredibly blue water... very cool! Picking up lunch at the Country Corner, I went down to the water to devour the most delicious seafood chowder and blueberry crisp I have ever eaten. Lucia and I had been here back in August, and knew at that point that I was going to have to make a return visit!

Here's a panoramic I snapped while stopped for lunch in Brigus.

I think it's the coolest thing to be able to have lunch while watching icebergs slowly drift by. Can you see the iceberg? Click on the picture to make it larger, then look to the left where the harbour opening meets the water.

Mmm... homemade blueberry crisp, with ice cream and blueberry sauce on top!

Since seafood chowder and blueberry crisp was not going to hold me over for the rest of the day, I decided to stop in to E&E Drive-In for a burger and fries. There are no chairs here and so you simply place an order (they have an excellent board menu from which to order), return to your car while they prepare your food, and then get waved back into the restaurant to pick-up your order. I ate the burger and fries later that evening after I returned to St. John's. Tasty!

A note about this video... I honestly thought the seagulls were going to fly into the car! Hence the girl-like scream!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Back In The Land Of Bergy Bits!

So after a quick reintroduction to life without honking motorbikes or street stalls, I made a quick visit up to Signal Hill last weekend to see some of the icebergs that have made their way past St. John's. This was my first time seeing an iceberg and while the fog that day made it difficult to see, there were actually two icebergs right off the coast. The experts are saying that this year should be a great year for iceberg watching!

From Signal Hill, looking out towards Fort Amherst, Cape Spear, and the icebergs.

A spring fog covers the city of St. John's.

Later on that week, the temperatures crawled into the mid-teens and so I took advantage of the nice weather and walked around Long Pond. Located just behind MUN, Long Pond is a nice one hour walk with many things to see. Here are a few highlights...

The beginning of the walking trail around Long Pond.

A sign marking "you are here" and listing all the things to see along the way.

Evidence that spring has sprung... hopefully.

Green grass and buds are starting to make an appearance while we look back across the pond and towards the Confederation Building (Newfoundland's version of Queen's Park).

A steep hill to climb...

... is made easier when there are steps!

The canoeists make a return appearance as we look across Long Pond towards MUN. In view is the Faculty of Business Administration building (gray) and the engineering and earth sciences buildings.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

On My Own in Vietnam and Cambodia...

Lucia and Jen returned to Canada a week before I made my return, and so I spent my last day alone in Vietnam exploring Tam Coc, otherwise known as inland Halong Bay. My last evening in Vietnam was spent treating myself to what is said to be the best French restaurant in Vietnam. Located in the posh Sofitel Metropole Hotel in Hanoi, the restaurant is coincidentally named "Le Beaulieu"! From Vietnam I flew to Siem Reap, Cambodia to explore the various temples a la Tomb Raider. My week in Cambodia flew by and soon I found myself back in foggy and snowy St. John's ready to start a new semester on May 12th.

Here are a few videos of me cycling and paddling through the amazing scenery of Tam Coc...

Passing through one of several caves in Tam Coc.

Chillin' in Cambodia...

The entrance to Angkor Thom.

Several hundred years old, this delicate sandstone carving of an Apsara dancer is one of several hundred that cover the walls of Angkor Thom and Angkor Wat.

Angkor Wat and the reflection pool.

The root of a tree snaking around Ta Phrom.

Running aground on one of the very shallow rivers leading to Tonle Sap Lake.

A floating pig on Tonle Sap Lake.

Taking a dip near Tonle Sap Lake.

Khmer Kitchen Restaurant: one of the many great local Khmer restaurants in Siem Reap.

Soaking It Up in Saigon, Hoi An, Hue, and Hanoi!

The second leg of our adventure saw us explore Vietnam from south to north. Here are a few photohighlights from this incredible country:

Sweating in Saigon...

A mess of a telephone pole.

I could not get enough of the cafe su da!

Fruit is plentiful in Saigon.

Cutting up fruit to sell.

Fresh baguettes for sale. Be careful not to purchase the one touching the ground.

Never a dull moment in Saigon. Do you see the boy sleeping?

One of many incredible dinners we enjoyed while in Saigon.

Jackfruit anyone?

Meandering through the Mekong Delta...

Donning the iconic Vietnamese hat while exploring the Mekong Delta.

Copious amounts of fruit at a plantation in the Mekong Delta. Sweet and juicy pomelo!

Murky water in the rice bowl of Asia.

History in Hoi An and Hue...

China Beach, where US troops came ashore in the 1970s.

A market in the old town of Hoi An.

Getting clothes measured and made in Hoi An at a fraction of the cost.

Jen whizzing about the streets in Hue.

Hectic Hanoi...

The usually hectic streets are quiet after a rainstorm in the Old Quarter of Hanoi.

A haircut on the streets of Hanoi.

Ducks on their way to the market.

Well at least we know they are fresh, right?

The best KFC ever! It is probably because the chicken is so local and fresh!

Sweet pineapple.

Hopping aboard a junk and exploring Halong Bay...

Our junk, the Santa Maria Cruiser.

Learning at a young age how to sell their wares to the tourists.

A handful of the more than 1900 islands that dot this World UNESCO Site.

The sun setting over Halong Bay.