Tuesday, August 29, 2006

I just flew in from Vancouver...

...and boy are my arms tired! Ha ha. Well, OK, I flew in from Vancouver yesterday, and it's not just my arms that are tired - the rest of me is absolutely exhausted. Whoever says flying west to east is easier hasn't met me. I am the Queen of Jetlag.

More news and pictures to come after I put the ol' brain in gear.

Thank you all for your great comments and I'll be catching up on all your blogs very soon.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Osoyoos Lake

A few pictures from our trip to Osoyoos, about 400 km east of Vancouver. It's about 6 hours of driving each way, but everything went smoothly and I didn't lose my breakfast, as has happened in the past.

all packed up and ready to go

My parents rented a house on the lake and we were also joined by my youngest brother, his wife and their 5 yr old son M, aka The Holy Terror, who had broken his right arm just a week before our departure. Despite not being able to do alot of things he was used to doing, he was only slightly more terrible than usual and we all got along just fine.

view from the deck

We were situated on a small lagoon on one side of the lake and the boys enjoyed fishing and their first try at kayaking.

We had expected extremely hot weather, over 40C but actually ended up with only the high 20's most days which made spending time outside quite comfortable. When we arrived we looked up to see ash falling from the sky, a result of a couple of forest fires burning in Washington State just across the border. We were also witness to a spectacular thunder storm we could see coming across the lake from the north. Very exciting. The sunsets were also spectacular.

Osoyoos is part of the Okanagan region, known for its wineries and wonderful fruit orchards. Osoyoos' other claim to fame is that it is Canada's only desert. Actually know as the Osoyoos Arid Biotic Zone, this area is part of the Sonora desert which originates in Mexico and comes up throught the U.S. to Canada. The contrast between the irrigated fields and the dry desert is quite stunning.

We visited the newly opened Nk'Mip (Een-ka-meep) Desert Cultural Centre to find out more about the local flora and fauna, taking a 45 minute self-guided tour through the desert. Luckily we didn't run into any rattlesnakes although there were plenty of signs giving instructions on what to do if one did happen to see a rattler!

So we've been back in Vancouver for over a week and leave for Germany this coming Sunday. On the advice of some very wise friends, I'm still trying to enjoy every moment rather than obsess about having to go back so very soon. But it's not that easy, you know?

Sunday, August 06, 2006

life's a beach

Busy, busy, busy. It's tough being a tourist in your own town!

I thought I'd slap up an entry since we're leaving this morning for a week on the lake in Osoyoos in south central B.C. I'll be completely offline until the 13th.

I just love being near the ocean again, and we've been taking advantage of the great weather. It's not nearly as hot as it was when we arrived, so sightseeing is a pleasure, even if I've seen most of the sights before.

Lighthouse Park is about a 5 minute drive from my parents place. It gets its name from the Point Atkinson Lighthouse one of Vancouver's three lighthouses.

The park is 75-hectares (185 acres) and remains largely undisturbed, giving visitors a chance to experience the unique flora and fauna, such as the Arbutus, or Pacific Madrone, as it is sometimes known. The Arbutus (which grows right down to California) is Canada's only broad-leafed evergreen and has a lovely thin reddish bark which peels off in large pieces. Unfortunately a number of these trees are being attacked by a defoliating fungus at the moment and many have already died.

Some of the trails in the park lead to a magificent view of the Pacific Ocean.

Horseshoe Bay
was on the agenda this week as well. B.C. Ferries sail from the bay to Vancouver Island, Bowen Island, the Sunshine Coast and points beyond and it's a popular tourist spot in the summertime.

We also took a trip to the Sunshine Coast, only accessible by sea or air, to visit Mr. M's aunt and uncle who bought a house there last September. Due to serious organizational issues on their side, things didn't work out quite as planned and although we did end up seeing their house, we only saw them for about 20 minutes. We did however, get to enjoy the Sunshine Coast and visited Gibsons Landing , a charming seaside village, and Molly's Reach, made famous by the popular CBC series The Beachcombers.

Much closer to home we've been enjoying the sunshine at Caulfield Beach, where I spent many a summer's day as a child.

Don't worry, I'll be back!

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