Friday, July 27, 2007

Last day in Lima!

WOW... what an amazing day in Lima...

We first went to go and see if we could paraglide, the guy said that the conditions weren't right and that we should get back to him around 3 when conditions are normally good. We sighed, and went and took a peek at the ocean... Lima is always foggy or hazy during winter, so the pictures look dark and cold... well, it is dark and cold in Lima... but it is winter, so I suppose it is ok! We had just decided to hop a cab to check out the Spanish inquisition museum when the paragliding guy comes up to us, tells us that the conditions are great, and wisks us away to his office to get ready to go. WOW! So we waiver up, he gives us each a t-shirt, grabs his gear and we follow him like puppies! Before we know it, Derek is attached to this guy, and the guy tells Derek to run, right off the cliff... SO, off he goes, It was amazing... he just soared with the paraglider over his head, and his pilot steering... It was fun to watch! Then along came my pilot... he introduced himself (forget his name) put on his gear and attached me to him and away we went... It was an incredible feeling, soaring, flying... It was like being under a parachute, except you don't go down you fly!!! So we had a great flight, and my pilot gave me a tour of all the sights we flew over... a great way to see Lima! Once we landed, we took off to see the market (which turned out to be a mall, so that was short lived!) Derek really wanted to know more about the paragliders so we walked back and hung out with them for awhile, chatting with a girl that moved to Peru from Wales because the gliding is so good in Peru. It was a great morning.

The afternoon saw us in a taxi headed for central Lima. Here is where the Spanish Inquisition museum was. We walked through it, and saw some of the torture devices... but must admit that I was a touch disappointed, as there wasn't much there. So, we continued on... walking aimlessly around central Lima. We had a great time looking in the shops and getting a feel for the hustle and bustle of the "real Lima"... I had the "Your not in Kansas anymore" feeling as when you looked around, we were the only 'gringos' in sight! It was fantastic... so much to see, and so much to watch! We started looking for a patch for one of our police buddies in Calgary. That ended in us roaming some more, and asking non-English speaking people questions, trying to get them to understand... I need to learn Spanish! Sigh! We stopped at McDonald's for lunch, as Derek and I were both quite tired of ordering things that we weren't quite sure what it entailed... so it was easy to order a Big Mac and coke!!! :o) After lunch and ice cream, we walked to the main plaza and watched the festivities! Peru celebrates their Independence day on the 28th of July... but they party for close to a week before. We watched as they set up for a parade around the square! We started chatting with the fellow with great English, he is studying to become a travel guide... he translated our desire for a patch for our friend to a police officer that was standing guard over the stage... the guard ended up being a member of the riot squad, but was extremely nice and gave us oodles of presents, in the form of pins and cards and information about Peru. For the patch, however, we had to pay him... so we paid off a riot squad officer so that we could get his badge from his shoulder... it was incredibly wild to watch as he ripped it off, looked around and snuck it to us as we slipped him a bill! Things that jail terms in 3rd world countries are made of! haha!

We stayed around long enough to watch some of the parade, but had to go and get our luggage which was stored at our hotel, eat and go and catch our plane. It was a great day, a wonderful way to leave Lima! What a great finish to a spectacular trip! We caught our flight with no problems, and although our transfer in Toronto was a little tight, we made it home safe and sound... and now the laundry begins, things to put away and the real world to get back to... sigh, we are already busy and we just got home... I must admit, it was smart of me to take today off as I am not sure I would be ready for work... still in the 'holiday' mode! Poor Derek, had to go and face the working music today! I am sure he will be home early!! :o)

To sum it all up!

14, 700 plus feet
1200 pictures
32 kilometers of hiking in the Andes
12 days of adventure
2 smiling faces
1 visit to one of the 7 wonders of the world

equals one heck of a ride!

I am posting pictures now on the days that they are from, so please, take a peek at the previous blogs and re-live our adventure with us... can't believe it is over, it went so fast... the culmination of a dream is so bittersweet... BUT, on to the next dream (Russia!)

Take care and I will talk to you in person soon!
Love, from Canada, Heather and Derek

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

We survived the Jungle!!!

Heather of the jungle, I am not, nor will I ever be.

We woke up in Cusco early and jumped on a bus to the airport. Hoped on a plane to Puerto Modanado. Once there, we met our tour guide Johnny. He took us to a port where we got on a motorized canoe and traveled to our home for the next 2 nights. The scenery was amazingly beautiful.... all sorts of trees and birds singing... it was spectacular. We got to our destination, and had a briefing as to what was to come for the next couple days... then we got sorted into our rooms, and our ¨hut¨ was shared with 3 other couples. There were gaps at the top of the walls, and the ceiling was mosquito netting... you could hear everything. It proved to be quite funny when folks found little crawly visitors in their rooms... you could hear the Oh my gosh¨ followed by the thwacking of their shoe hitting the floor.... Thankfully we didn´t have any visitors. After we got settled, we met Johnny for an evening stroll in the jungle, at DARK... now, if there was anything that would cause me GREAT anxiety and stress it would be to take a walk in a snake infested jungle at night. BUT, I was not going to let an opportunity to face my fear pass me by... so off we went, me gasping at every snap of a twig... not going off the beaten path... almost crawling onto the person infront of me and making sure that Derek was only a step behind. We saw some wicked spiders tho, one was eating a moth... phenomenal... we saw a tarantula... it was of the black variety and was really quite neat... and then the rest of them saw a snake... of course. Derek didn´t leave my side, as I quivered off to the side, and then it was over... BIG sigh of relief! We had supper which was late and not that good... power bars and granola bars came in handy here! Then it was off to our hut to have a cold shower by karosene lamp. We snuggled under the mosquito netting and were lulled to sleep by the jungle noises that were shockingly peaceful!

The next day we got up and had a breakfast of fried plantaines... for me, an apple and granola bar (Knew they would come in handy!). We were off to trek in the jungle for about 3 hours (yikes). The first hour was nerve wracking but after I calmed down a bit, I could keep at a constant state of "Just don´t think about it". We learned a lot about trees in the jungle and their medicinal purposes. We saw some catapillars that were massive, some amazing butterflies and frogs. Our hike ended at a little covered hut to eat our traditional peruvian lunch of some rice, chicken, egg, olive concoction, plantains and an apple. I had 2 apples and a powerbar. MMMMM. Then were were off in a canoe to look at butterflies, birds and the like. We saw SO many butterflies, it was incredible... like the beautiful ones you see in books... it was fantastic. Once this was done, we took a break and then the rest of the group decided to go fishing. Derek and I opted to stay in the hut and have a siesta. I really hate fishing and Derek wasn´t thrilled at the idea so we had a nice nap under the hut. Once the group came back it was another hike (1 1/2 hours) through the jungle. Glad that was over with, and glad that we didn´t have to go back! The afternoon consisted of Derek and I hanging out (litterally) in the hammocks, snoozing and reading the afternoon away, listening to the jungle symphony! 6 o´clock came and that meant that we were all to hop into the motorized canoe for a trip on the river to look for caymans. These are the alligators of Peru. We only saw one baby one, but A LOT of eyes. It was interesting, but nerve wracking... glad that it only lasted about an hour. Then it was supper of beef and onions, french fries and rice. After this, we chatted with our group a bit and signed the guest book. Then it was off to bed. The humidity of 90%+ and the temperatures reaching I am sure 30° in the sun were enough to wear anyone out, especially if you are used to around 15° mid day for the past week or so. What a change in climate in only a 25 minute flight!

We were up early as we had to make sure that we could make it to the airport for our 1 O´clock flight! We were in the motorized canoe in time to watch the rain start to fall. Apparently down stream it had rained quite a bit and you could see the difference in the river over night. It was quite impressive. The boat trip only took about 1 hour due to the increase in current of the river. We were in our bus and on the road to the airport by 9 and at the airport by 10. Now, Puerto Modando doesn´t have the worlds smallest airport, but it was quite small. There was no real place to eat, so Derek and I ate chips, pop, cookies and powerbars to tied us over. Not sure it worked. Our flight took off on time, which was nice and our stop at Cusco was only for fuel. We made it to Lima on time and our hotel which is very nice, and the first one we stayed at with GAP. We all met out at the Pizza Hut for some good "North American" food, and then it was repacking and relaxing for Derek and I.

Today, we are going to check out paragliding, although the weather is looking iffy. We also want to go and see the Museum of the Spanish Inquisition and the Ocean, so we have an action packed day today. We fly out tonight around 1:30 am so we will be Alberta bound tonight. We should be in Calgary by 12 on Thursday, but not sure how coherant we will be!!! haha!

Talk to you all soon, and I am sure you would love to look through the 1000+ pictures we took!!! haha!

Love you, Heather and Derek

Sunday, July 22, 2007

And we are off to the Amazon!

So last night we had our briefing, that well, got cancelled... but the time for the bus to pick us up was posted so we are all up and ready to go ... lets hope the bus comes! I am sure it will!
We went out last night for supper with some of the group to say goodbye to the San Fransisco couple... they are leaving to go back to their home in another day... and we are headed off to the AMAZON!! Supper was good, company was good... it was just a fantastic day yesterday!
Derek and I are both battling a cold (I have had it since the trail) but we brought some meds with us so we are able to combat it with out much detriment to our holiday... just makes mornings a little slow!
We will be out of range computer-wise for the next three days... so don´t worry, we will be hanging with the monkeys and gawking at the beautiful butterfiles and birds! I am sure that there will be OODLES of pictures to show you... our current count is 774 pictures... yikes! 350 of Manchu Pichu alone!
Anyways, love you all... update you from Lima!
Heather and Derek

Saturday, July 21, 2007

The hike and Manchu Pichu

ok... so I left off with the truck ride in the rock truck. I love it when people help you out in small ways, it was great! He didn´t even want anything for the ride... but I insisted, gotta give back to those who help you out. So we ended up at this little fish farm and agriculture farm (I think) in the middle of I don´t know where and had a beer (It was FANTASTIC and cold) and a great meal put on by our chefs on the trail. It was our last meal by them. Our bus finally got through to us, hurrah, and we were off on the back roads to Ollataytambo, where we caught the train to a town by Manchu Pichu, Aguas Callienties The train ride was 1 1/2 hours and it was really neat to go through the mountains and on to the edge of the Amazon... I am sure we got only a TASTE of what is to come... beautiful exotic flowers, AMAZING birds of paradise... it was magnificant. We got to the town, got to our hotel for the night and were SO eager to climb into the room and have a long hot shower. It was so dispointing, as we had a jump and scald, jump and freeze kinda shower... oh well... we all met for a fantastic meal of pizza (every where has pizza and it is safe so we have been eating A LOT of it...) but one member of our group was adventurous enough to order guniea pig... It was presented as a hole, with the head (and teeth) still on... then they take it away and cut it up and you have to eat it with your hands. SO, we all (the ones daring enough to try) lined up for our shot at guinea pig... Yes, Roger, I was in the line. I put it in my mouth and the first couple of chews were crunchy and smooshy and just horrible texture wise... the flavor was good tho. I did have to spit it out, as I couldn´t stomache the thought of swallowing... it still counts right? After supper we climbed back up to our hotel... everything in the Andes is either up hill or down... no flat anything to be seen! It was a good night sleep that was warm and without 4 layers of clothing on... quite the treat!

We woke at 5 am to make sure we were at Manchu Piccu for the sunrise. We had a quick (and lacking breakfast) at the hotel... missed our Chefs from the trail... and jetted off to the bus to ride up to the top. As with everything Incan, the road was in a zig-zag and it took 30 mins. to get to the top. When we all had paid to use the loo at the top, we went through the gates, our magnificant guide Will got our passports stamped with a special Manchu Pichu stamp, way cool! It was so cloudy and foggy that we missed the sunrise, but during our 1 1/2 hour tour, the fog lifted and came down again, then lifted again... it was just so beautiful... we got to see Manchu Pichu in a totally different way each time... we have some stellar shots to prove it! Derek and I spent the remainder of the morning just hanging out and enjoying the view and the peaceful feeling we both had while there. I even did a little bit of yoga while there... a sun salutation sequence, considering they thought it to be a temple to the sun god, I thought it appropriate! That was an amazing experience, I will never forget it...

Once we left Manchu Pichu we all met at a little restarunt called Patchamama... It was one of the members of our group´s birthday and so Will our tour guide extradordinaire organized us all to get a Pisco Sour (a Peruvian drink) and a guitar player to play happy birthday. It was really quite sweet and I am sure Vicky enjoyed that much more than the traditional Guinea Pig with a candel in its mouth. Once this finished, we picked up our packs and were off to the train station. Once aboard, we quickly noticed that one gentleman wasquite drunk and was making statements of a violent nature about Gringos... Will our amazing guide to the rescue... he solved all the poblems... We got off in Ollataytambo and jumped a bus for Cusco... Cusco bound... One the bus we got a little silly, but we were only getting ready to go out to the disco for Vicky´s Birthday. Around 9:30 most of us got together and went to a salsa club here in Cusco. It was fun, but we were all so tired from the early morning, and Derek and I finally called it a night at around 12.

This morning, I let Derek sleep in while I went shopping for souveniers... should have gotten another bag for that! OOOPS!!! I had fun bartering, and trust me... I got a crash course in Spanish numbers! I got back to the hotel, and Derek and I scooted out for some lunch at a little resturant and spent 2 hours just enjoying the food and atmosphere... mind you the food was cheeseburgers and cokes... After that, we went to the square and one of the churches there, it was nice, and the altar there was spectacular... one of the most decorated I have ever seen. After that we went to the Cathedral, and that too was quite beautiful, although the wooden, plastic figurines were quite much! We walked around and got some necessities for our up coming trip to the Amazon. We got an icecream and sat and watched the people in the court yard. It was so relaxing. What a great day. It is now 5 and we have just got our laundry back from the hotel and we are off to pack and then have a briefing for the upcomming trip! It is going to be great... we´ll let you know.

Love you - Heather and Derek

Friday, July 20, 2007

AND WE LIVE!!!!

Holy Inka, Batman, that was hard!!!

We survived hiking in the Andes, and we deserve a t-shirt and a medal. It was incredibly hard, probably the most - no... actually THE most physically demanding thing I have ever done, bar none!!! I think Derek can say the same thing.

We got up early, and bused to the place that we started at, about an hour or so on the road of death... or a usual road for the Peruvians... it was straight cliffs down and the road was only big enough for one bus, but of course, they had to squeese two on there! At times we had to back up to a place that had a thick enough chunk of road on it to let another bus pass us. It was an action packed, nail bitter that is for sure! Then the hike started... they gave us these little snacks and sent us on our way with our FANTASTIC guide Wilbert. Man, was he amazing! So we are hiking along, on hills like the foothills and then the climb starts to get bigger, and steeper... and the peaks we reach seem to dissapear into another higher, bigger peak. Keep in mind, that we STARTED this hike at an altitude of 10000 + feet, and Derek is still trying to adjust. We stopped and had lunch at around noon. The cooks and porters were amazing, they made fabulous soups and wonderful meals like beef stir fry, mashed garlic potatoes, and mixed veggies... the menu got more exuisite every night! So after a refreshing lunch, we go up an incline of I SWEAR 45 degrees straight up zig-zagging. It nearly killed us, but once that was done, we flew down the hill to our camp site for the night. We had tea and coffee and a snack of Fabulous popcorn and cookies, and then an hour or two to relax until supper. Derek was exhausted... not being able to breathe will do that to you, he was such a trooper... and you know me, always wanting to be the leader of the pack...

Day 2 we were up at 6 and were awoken with Coco tea right to our doors, still can´t get used to the fact that we don´t get a wake up call like that anymore... sigh... Breakfast was french toast which was fab... and the hike began... I realised that Derek and I just couldn´t keep the pace with the others with his inability to breathe, so we took our time and slowly made it up, up, up, to where we had lunch. It was breath-takingly beautiful (pun not intended) and we have oodles of picts to show you all! After lunch, we were all looking a little worn out... we had a nice break and some of us got a little shut eye before the summit of the day... not me... I was just to jazzed up, couldn´t wait to summit. We started again and this climb was the worst part of all... all rocks and reaching an altitude of 14500 ish. Derek held in there and made it the whole way. At one point our tour guide (who has WAY too many talents to even START to name) started playing a peruvian flute in a valley for us, to motivate us to the summit. It was like a private concert just for us, it was magnificant! We summitted and so all that was left was down hill... slow and steady wins the race... not always. The hike down was quite difficult as well as it was hard on the ol´knees! Exhausted, we stumbled into camp, got our tents sorted and had tea. Supper was amazing again, and honestly, we were all too exhasuted to eat. We chatted with the group for a bit, and then crawled into bed...

Day 3 began at 7 again with coco tea (sure do miss it). Today was going to be the easy day, all down hill. Derek (I think) hyper extended one of his knees on the climb down on day 2 and so the decline was slow and steady... he was so determined, and at one point they sent the horse they have for injuries but he just smiled and said ¨No, Gracias¨ and kept on trucking. I was so proud of him! We had little mini breaks through out the morning to rest his knee and it was lovely... and so beautiful. We got to the end of the trail and because of the strikes, they couldn´t get the bus through so we had to walk another couple kilometers... lucky enough, a truck hauling rocks came by and Abel (our number 2 guide) got us a lift... quite the truck, and quite the ride.

That is all I have time for folks.... the saga continues tomorrow with details about Manchu Piccu....

Monday, July 16, 2007

Holy crap - THIS TRIP IS ROCKIN!!!

Hey all... Hola once again from Peru. Things here are fantastic... what an adventure this is.

Where I left off... we had to get up at 2:45 am to be ready and breakfast eaten by 4 to get to Cusco. Apparently the flights are far more likely to a. be on time, and b. actually make it... I want to keep going, so we got up, groggie, but up. A short 1 hour flight and we were in Cusco... altitude 10, 000 ft... quite the switch from the near sea level in Lima. I adjusted ok... a bit of a headache but nothing too major, nothing a cup of cocoa tea wouldn"t cure. Derek unfortunatly took it a bit hard and rested most of the day. Poor dude... when we got to our hotel, we crawled up to our room for a napperoo... and then I took off on my own to explore. Derek was not too perky, and so I left him... nice hey. So whilst exploring, I took in the Convente de Santa Christophe (I think)... which was quite nice, but nothing too spectacular. After about an hour of touring, I went back to my sickie, and convinced him that we should eat and go for a bit of a stroll. We went for supper at the resuraunt in the hotel... know it is safe there, and we were off like a herd of turtles. This altitude thing kills you... seriously, tying your shoes is an ordeal! We walked to the market and got some "Alpaca wear" to keep us warm on the nights of the trek. Then we went up to the main square and looked at some of the shops there, seriously I could spend HOURS shopping... good thing Derek is here, I would be spending ALL my money and having to cart it all around Peru... there will be time enought for shopping! We stopped for a pint and to meet up with some of the Irish ladies on the tour at the worlds highest Irish pub... Paddy O Flarteys. I have picts, I assure you.
After that, it was to bed to ease the altitude madness.

Today, we had a fantastic day. We left later on in the morning... i.e. 9 am... and drove to the GAP adventure project they have that tries to maintain the culture of the society we travel in... it is part of their social impact repairment thing... GAP is quite a fantastic company that way! It was really neat to be able to see the older ladies weaving in the traditional way... we got to play with llamas and alpacas and of course, bought some of the weaving.... I am sure I have sucker written across my head! Then we were off to Pisca where we saw some ancient ruins, which were quite spectacular nestled in the sacred valley. Pisca was having a celebration today and they were parading down the streets dancing and carrying shrines to the Virgin of Pisca... it was quite a sight! After that, it was off to Olyataytambo which is where we are now. We went and toured another ancient Incan temple, and were able to see how these amazing men (and women?) lugged these HUGE rocks up these hills, at these elevations... yikes! We had a nice supper with the group impromptu, and shared some laughs over some, I think it was pizza... food has been interesting... I have tried Alpaca which is good, but no guinea pig yet... not yet I said Roger, it will come! So that brings us up to date folks... I will be unable to post for a couple of days as we are headed off to the trail tomorrow... I am excited and nervous, and totally pumped and want to beat everyone up the hill... oh well, we shall see what happens!

Take care you all, and love you!!! Heather and Derek

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Hola a Peru!!!

HEY EVERYONE... we made it safe and sound... but first I have to note that it is totally weird working on a computer when everything is spanish, lets hope this posts properly!!! Haha!!!

Thus far, we have stayed a night in Lima... relativly uneventful in that we got lost for a bit in our taxi last night and so we didn´t get to our hotel until 2 am... needless to say we are a little tired! We stayed in the hotel I booked at 11 pm the night before we left... long story, just glad it worked out and we didn´t have to sleep on the streets of Lima! Something about things taking forever in South America and so GAP didn´t get back to us with out hotel confirmation until the day before we left, and told us that we didn´t have a reservation, but good luck, and have a great trip! I was a little stressed, but it all worked out, as it always does!

Today we woke to have a nice little breakfast in our cute little hotel and we walked around for a bit, only to come across a parade. Not sure what it was for, but there were lots of kids marching like little communists, it was wild! There were traditional dancers too... pictures would be good here I am sure... I hope these post well! Tonight we have a meeting with out tour group just to give the run down, but until then, I think we are going to head out and explore... we have been eyeing this paragliding trip that is just down the way... might be a good time! :o)

Other than that, folks, it has been uneventful, amazing... hard with the language barrier... but amazing! It is colder than we had anticipated... must get some beautiful wool traditional sweaters.... maybe with a llama on it! haha! We are off to Cusco tomorrow... altitude becomes MUCH higher (13,000 ft I think...) so I am glad we got the pills! :o)

I will write as soon as I can... Love you all, and Derek says Hola!!!

P.S. Pictures wouldn´t post... will try next time! :o)

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Harper says HI!!

So, just want to update you... I went to the conservative party Stampede BBQ last night and got to see Stephen Harper speak. I love the fact that Derek invites me to these things!!! Thanks babe, you rock! So He does this speech, which was quite good, chalk full of Conservative propaganda... how many times did he use "That is the Conservative Priority"??? I am thinking 400! ha! The thing that shocked me was that he isn't as tall as I thought him to be, and he is a tad on the portly side. Honestly, I felt that his smile was genuine tho, and it is hard to find that in a politician... I am sure that Dad and I can attest to the fact that we have seen many a fake smiles in politicians, and it is far more rare to have a politician be genuine than for a politician to actually do what they say! haha! I remember when I first started in that crazy world, I invited the MLA over for coffee and we chatted about what it is like being in politics, and what it takes. He was a genuine man, and I hope to one day soon be in the Leg. with him. It would be an honor. Harper gave me the same feeling of sincerity that this, MLA Barry McFarland did. It is refreshing to know that our country is in quite capable hands. I can sleep better at night knowing this.

The Conservatives, however, were quite rude as a group! They talked through the MC's entire speech and 1/2 of the Grace!!! I was in awe of the fact that they were so incredibly rude! I forgot how much "politicking" goes on at those events... I can tell you that I miss it... I loved being in there, subtly raising issues to the ministers (and not so subtly sometimes) and seeing how they respond. I am just scared to take that step, it is much scarier to do it here, in Calgary than in Nobleford. The good thing is that if I don't get elected, no one will know who I am here... haha! Anyways, I think I have some more learning about life to do before I step into the "political arena". I do know, that I would have the support of Derek through it all, despite him not agreeing with some of (ok.. most of) my ideas... I know that he would stand beside me (and hopefully vote for me) on those stressful days! That means a lot!

So, enough about my pipe dreams... Good news, my vitamin B12 is at normal levels again... and I just have to take supplements. I got the final round of Medicine for Peru... now all I need is a new camera bag and some accessories, and we can go now! (ok... we have 2 more sleeps!!) Can't believe it is here already! Hopefully, if all works out well... the next post will be from Peru! Take care and I love you all!

Sunday, July 08, 2007

The butterflies begin...

So it is 5 more sleeps until we depart. I must admit that I have my clothes, medicines, soap, moist towelettes, sunscreen and sun hat all laid out on the floor just waiting to get put into my pack to go! I am SOOOO excited! I think I am going to drive everyone nuts in the next coming days!!!!!!!!!!

Nothing new and exciting happened this past week. I do want to note that I am officially divorced - July 6th (so far as I know). I had a beer with some friends to celebrate!!! We had company this past weekend, Andy and Eileen and their daughter Elana stopped by as they had a wedding on Saturday here in Calgary. We had a lovely visit with them, although Derek was teaching a course all weekend. The weather was a little iffy... cloudy and windy so he has been later as they had to do their jumps later on in the day, when the weather cleared!

I had Friday off due to the Calgary Stampede parade so I spent the day doing the recycling and hanging out with Cathy. We just hung out, we haven't done that in weeks. She has been working strictly weekends (2 doubles per weekend) so we haven't been able to hang out much! Saturday I got a hold of a friend and we were going to go to the new Harry Potter movie. BUT, despite the fact that they have the times posted on their website, Harry Potter is not playing yet, so we went for lunch and then went for a long walk. It was a great day! Today, Sunday, I cleaned out my storage unit, managed to squeeze it all in to our condo. Why pay for storing stuff when it can fit in our house... we have a storage unit, that is now officially pretty full!!!

So... that is the update folks! I will hopefully update you prior to departure... in only 5 more sleeps! This week holds some stampeding and getting sorted before we leave. Other than that... just a regular week is anticipated! I haven't added a quote for you lately, been to busy keeping you up to date... so, here you go! I think this one is fitting seeing as I am going to be doing something I have been dreaming of for the past year and a half. I am slowly marking stuff off my list, and at the rate I am going, I might just have to make a new one! :o)

"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler." Henry David Thoreau. I feel that I have simplified my life, and gotten rid of the things that made me unhappy, now I have surrounded myself with things that make me happy and with people who love me just the way I am. I feel I am able to live my dreams to the fullest now, and because of this, I have a confidence and a hope that will make my life extraordinary. Like Robin Williams says in one of my favorite movies, "make your lives extraordinary"... that is my goal. The cool thing is, what is extraordinary to me, differs from what is extraordinary in the eyes of others. I am going to make ME feel that my life is extraordinary.

Chat soon Mi amigos! You have a fantastic week all!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Raining in Eden

Hey all... hope all of your long weekends were spectacular! Ours was ok. We spent The weekend at the DZ near Spruce Grove as it was skydiving provincials this past weekend. Derek's team didn't do as good as they hoped but learned some valuable information and once the competition was over it seemed, they were clicking. It is hard to go into competiton with a new guy on the team. It was great to finally meet Don, though, and he is just an amazing human... despite the fact that he is a criminal lawyer and works with crooks. :o) THis picture is of the amazing team "Vertical Express". Derek is the "frog" with the black, red and white rig and KK is the other guy with a white suit. Don is the purple "frog" and Ed (or E.D. as we know him now) is the dark "frog". I call them frogs because they remind me of frogs that are streched out.

I drove up with Nancy (E.D's wife) as Ed took their car up to Edmonton the night before. She is such an interesting and vibrant lady, it was a pleasure to drive up with her. She has been training for the Ironman triathalon that is coming up in August. She should do good, as she completed a 1/2 ironman the weekend before last and she got 1st in her age category. Go Nancy! We got to Spruce Grove and had a bite to eat, 2 HOURS later, we were away and driving to the DZ (Eden North) when a monsoon hit. The lightning show was spectacular, and I was glad that Derek and I chose to get a hotel as we would have flooded!!! When we got to the DZ the next morning, it was soggy and wet and cold. It took until 2:30 in the PM for the run way to dry for the Twin Otter to be able to take off and land (as the runway is just a grass strip). The guys were chomping at the bit by the time they got in the air to compete. Through out the day there were numerous weather holds, and this stalled the competition somewhat. At one point at the end of the day, the Team went up and refused to jump because the clouds and such were too thick and they couldn't guarantee the quality of their video. They had to land in the plane (which is SO weird for skydivers!!!) When you compete in 4-way formation skydiving, there is a camera person that video tapes your skydive. From the time you leave the plane you have 35 seconds to make as many formations as you can. If you are not sure of the quality of film you would have, it is best to land with the plane, as one point can make a big differnence. Anyways, I am sad to say because of many things like this, I didn't jump. It just didn't work out... gotta get past this have to have 2 instructors with me thing!!! ha!

The drive home was good, lonely as Nancy and E.D. took off to B.C. for a couple weeks to train for the ironman. I decided to take a detour and go to visit Aunty J and Sandra in their new abode in Cochrane. They have a GORGEOUS house, and I am certain they are going to be quite happy there. Good Luck you guys!!!! Their store is opening at the end of this month... should be good.

A quick shout out to Devon... have a good time hanging with your Newfican in Newfie... see you when we get back. Only 8 more sleeps folks and I will be writing to you from Peru!!! This weekend we have company... Andy and Eileen and their daughter are joining us tongiht... should be 'cosy' in the ol' condo. Andy is the guy that I did my jump with in Arizona in Feb. He is a fantastic guy... kinda reminds me of my Dad...

Anyways, cheers to being off tomorrow for the Stampede parade... update you soon...