Thursday, June 28, 2007

A break...for Canada Day Events!

A mix of kid-friendly daytime activities, evening concerts by bands
including Ego Spank, Novillero, and The Harlots, and a fireworks show to
cap off the night.
Time: Programs running from 1 p.m. to 10 p.m., Scotiabank Stage from
2:45 p.m. to 11 p.m., fireworks at 11 pm.
For more information:

Old Market Square, the Exchange District
Free childrens’ programming during the day, with evening concerts by
groups including Jodi King, Little Boy Boom, Athavale, J.P. Hoe, and
Time: Activities kick off at 11 a.m.
For more information:

866 St. Joseph St.
Interpretive tours of the historic fur trade site, with performances by
roving magicians and voyageur games, like hatchet throwing.
Time: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
For more information:

Winnipeg’s biggest Canada Day street festival, with Osborne Street
closed to traffic to accommodate an artisan’s market, more than 70
local bands, street vendors and children’s actvities.
Time: All day.
For more information:

494 Taché Ave.
Costumed guides on hand, as well as a period reenactment and
blacksmithing demonstration.
Time: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
For more information:

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Alaska Diary Day 6 - On the way home

So, we are on our way back to Vancouver. But there are still lots of cool things to do.

First, I forgot to tell you about our stellar day through the Inside Passage. Our cruise ship maneuvered its way through this relatively narrow passage – the pictures below show just how narrow it was. See how close we are to those mountains? The other side of the ship looks just the same. It felt like we were squeezing through!
This is where Mom dropped her camera on the desk, and it broke, which is why she looks a bit unhappy.
It was so cool to be on the ship during this time. It was so cold, but so beautiful.
Check out the picture below – there is a mountain goat! You can’t really see him, so I drew a little box around him just to show you which little white spot is actually goat-like. Isn’t that wild? Who the heck would live on there?

It is on this day that I literally had the worst hour of my life. First I ate a dessert with nuts in it. Eating was a challenge on this trip - normally it's not a big deal and nothing that I really need to worry about, but since all of the food served was so fancy, they put nuts in lots of things. I thought I was safe eating this dessert because I ate one just like it the day before with no problem. But apparently today was special and they decided to put nuts in it. jerks. Then I went to go eat at the Pasta bar. Pretty cool. You pick your pasta, sauce, and toppings, and they fry it up for you right in front of you. Or at least it was cool until I found out that they just used the same fry pan over and over again without washing it and that some people chose to put pine nuts into their pasta. My allergy to pine nuts is different than my allergy to other nuts. Normally I can detect nuts right away and my throat swells up. But pine nuts don't affect me until about an hour later and it give me VERY itchy hives all over my body. It wasn't cool. I was in my stateroom when it happened and went crazy and was hoping for somebody to come and help me or at least give m some good sympathy, but alas, nobody showed up. So I had 2 allergic reactions, plus got something else bad which is too womanly to speak of here, all within the same hour! Pretty funny, now that it's over.

After my crazy hive attack, Janessa and I headed over to the Nintendo Wii challenge. Everybody who signed up got to play in the Wii tennis tournament and had a chance at playing in the championships on the last day in the main theatre and got to play for prizes. I almost made it to the championships, but wasn't quite good enough. I really wish I would have known beforehand so that I could have practiced more on our Wii at home, but haven't played tennis there for so long I was pretty rusty. Lisa and Janessa tried out too, but none of us made it. Oh well.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Alaska Diary Day 5 - Thursday May 10, 2007

Today we stopped in Skagway. This is the best part of the trip, I think. We paid a chunk of money to go on a train ride up to the mountains. it was AMAZING! It is the same train line that they built during the gold rush to move miners up and down from alaska to the Yukon. It was so beautiful, so cool. WE started off pretty close to the ocean level, but ended up so high in the mountains that there was snow everywhere. Luckily we got the last car in the train so we had a stellar view out of the back. I spent most of my time out there. i think it was too cold for many of the guests so most just stayed inside, but what the heck, us Manitobans think the weather up there was pretty mild. It was so cool to be on that old train ride. rocking. i took so many pictures!
What is really interesting is that the train crosses the US/Canadian border. It was sort of cool to be in Canada, but sort of a pain as well. The reason being is that before we got off of the train we had to wait a long time for Canadian customs to come and check us all out, and then when we went back to Skagway on the bus we had to pass through American customs again. It all seemed sort of silly.
On the way back to Skagway we were able to stop at Dead Horse Gulch. It is one of the harshest parts of the gold rush trail, and many many many of the miner's horses died while going through this area. I love history. It was so cool to be in this place where there is so much interesting gold rush history, that was awesome. Which brings us to our next excursion.

Before we went to the cruise ship we stopped at Liarsville. Liarsville is sort of like a museum village where visitors could see and walk through a replication of the original liarsville village/campground. It was called Liarsville because it was where most of the newspapers during the gold rush was stationed, and they had a local reputation of just making up wondrous stories of miners finding crazy amounts of gold. Everyone in the area knew that these stories were false, but people who got these newspapers out of town trusted them and it was the reason why many many hopeful miners came to Alaska and the Yukon to look for gold. pretty cool. We watched a little show which included a dramatic poetry reading of "The Tale of Blasphemous Bill" by Robert Service (I LOVE Robert Service!) and some other cool stuff. Mom got called up on stage - isn't she hot?

After the show we got to pan for actual gold. It was fun, but freaking hard and I can't imagine the frustration of these hopeful miners when their dreams of pounds and pounds of gold are traded in for a very hard and very arduous process of panning for gold nuggets/specs/dust. It was fun, but we all sucked at it. The gold we got we only did because we sort of cheated and didn't use the real techniques we were taught. It was super fun! For sure I won't be able to retire with the amount of gold I did pan.
The town of Skagway is pretty fun. Full of lots of history. There is a great story of the local mobster, Soapy Smith.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Alaska Diary Day 4 - Wednesday May 9 2007

***Hey! I am off to Saskatoon and New York, so don’t expect any posts until June 18thish!***

Today we stopped off in Juneau, the capital of Alaska. It is a nice town, but not as nice as Ketchikan as it is a bit too big and governmental. We chose to go on the "glacier and garden tour." First we visited a glacier. It was pretty cool – both because it looked cool and because it was freaking freezing. The glacier acts as a giant air conditioner in the valley. It was a stellar valley, by the way. As I am a lover of museums, I was pleased to find out that there was a good interpretive centre there as well. Although the 1970’s glacier video they showed us was a bit ridiculous. Glaciers are pretty – it was fun to see non-Manitobans so excited about seeing a big hunk of ice.

After the glacier we headed off to a place called "Glacier gardens." It was a place this guy carved out on his property in the area of a temperate rainforest. Saw lots of trees. They were very beautiful and it was cool riding in the golf carts to the top of the hill to be able to look down at the city, though mom was freaking out because she was afraid of heights. It was very pretty - the pictures don’t do it justice for sure. Didn't have much time to do shopping, though, which saddened many of us, but really, it was probably a good thing considering we can’t take much back in our suitcases.

While the rest of us went on this tour, Lisa and Jan went ziplining through the forest. Some pictures of them are below.

In the evening we saw a really good show, called Cirque Pan. It was fabulous! Sort of like Cirque De Soleil.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Alaska Diary Day 3 - Tuesday May 8 2007

Bright and early, at 6 am, we arrived in our first Port, Ketchikan. Ketchikan, for those of you who are unlearned in the ways of fish, Ketchikan is the salmon capital of the world. It was neat to stop and look outside and be in the midst of the mountains. It is so beautiful here. There is something about this place that feels so comfortable and feels so much like home. I haven't experienced this before in my life. My soul fits here perfectly. I'm not sure what that means. But I guess time will tell.

Once we got off of the boat (and was forced to take a picture with a large eagle mascot . . . more on this later) we had about 45 minutes of great shopping time before our next scheduled event. Yes, Mom and I stocked up on souvenirs – Alaskan finger puppets, ulu knives, plush seals. Stores here open when the cruise ships dock, so these stores were open at 6 am. Isn’t that wild?

Mom and I were sad when it was time to go to our first excursion, as that meant we had to stop supporting the local Ketchikan economy, but it was worth it. We purchased tickets to see the Great American Lumberjack show. It was so much fun! 4 lumberjacks competed in lots of competitions such as log rolling, log climbing, sawing, stuff like that. It was done really well and was pretty funny. I enjoiyed it lots. I don't know, but there is definitly something about men in flannel cutting things that is pretty sexy. Plus popcorn and coffee were only $1 each! The cheapest thing I saw all trip.
We were on the "American" side of the bleachers and had to cheer for the Americans team against the Canadians. But it was all in good fun so we cheered with all that we had. Everytime our team got a point somebody in the audience got a wood chip to hold onto in order to count points. Below is a picture of me holding one of the wood chips.

After the lumberjack show, we had about 45 minutes until our next excursion. All of us girls were anxious that this wouldn't be nearly enough time to shop, which it wasn't. It was a flurry of activity as we ran through the town. Janessa was so good to me - there was a specific store that I wanted to find so that I could buy a soapstone carving (I had a coupon . . . big surprise!) We finally found it, and I am so glad we did. Not only because now I have a stellar (and cheap) soapstone carving, but because this little store was in this great little corner of Ketchikan that I wouldn't have been able to see if we didn't search this out. It was the original part of the town. Great boardwalk over this little river, beautiful old buildings. Awesome! What's funny about every Alaskan port we stopped at is that there were always numerous ladies on the side of the roads dressed like old school prostitutes. Brothels were big business back in the Gold Rush days, so there were a number of brothels-turned-museums (or turned restaurants) which the street prostitute ladies tried to get you to come inside for a tour. It's pretty random to see so many women with money stuffed in their boobies just hanging out outside.

No, I am not including a picture of them.

Once I found my precious soapstone carving, Jan and I were literally running so that we would be at our next excursion in time. We chose to take the Ketchikan bus tour. It was very interesting and very informative. We got to drive through the town, and went to Totem Bright, a collection of totem poles in the area. We had a great tour guide who told us lots about the totem poles and their meanings. Definitely very interesting. And, of course, a gift shop!

We were on the bus again by noon, because we had to make port the next day by 6 am. We boarded the ship, and spent the rest of the night going to shows, eating great food, and basically hanging out.