Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Heading home soon - for a visit

I am getting very excited. I head home Sunday. 4 more sleeps. And then no sleep! On Sunday August 4,  I will try Singapore/Hong Kong Tiger Air. No, Tim is not flying it. Then Air Canada Hong Kong/Toronto I hope. If I don't get on Toronto, I will try to Vancouver. And then add another 5 hour flight to TO! Ugh All day flying, 24 hours later, get in August 4 at 6 p.m. Ugh.

But the price is right.

The laugh is that if I do make my flights I will get to TO and the kids are out of town. I believe they are going to Muskoka for the long weekend! HA.

Well, no excuse for not getting caught up on sleep.  I will be staying at Elizabeth's at Harbord and Bathurst.

I will go to a phone store, get a sim card, and a new phone number, which I will post here. No I am not all booked up. In fact my dance card is pretty empty. So I would love to hear from you (Who ever reads this) and get together.

It has been quiet the last few weeks. My days are yoga, massage and osteopath. Sometimes I do three things a day. Like yoga in the a.m., gym afternoon, and yoga in the evening. It seems the next day I am exhausted, and need tylenol. Damn. I feel so good when I do it, but the next day it does not seem like it was the best idea. Today I had a massage after yoga and personal trainer.

I am so keen to stay in shape, and continue to work on the stiffness I have. My osteopath is not sold on the fibromyalgia diagnosis and said I could really think that it will not return. All along I have felt it was what we used to call a physical breakdown. Too much stress, good stress, but too much. Time to stop. And boy did it stop me.

But I so appreciate a good night's sleep, and getting out of bed in the a.m. with out having to stretch in bed first. And getting out of a chair like other than a 90 year old. I am in some ways in better shape than I have ever been, in spite of the lousy range of motion. And I am the weight I was pre babies.

Hope to see lots of you SOON

Monday, July 15, 2013

I think I am overusing superlatives

Well, we went and swam with the sharks. Whale sharks. Vegetarians. They eat plankton. So far! It was wonderful!

We flew to Cebu, one of the southernmost islands of the Philippines. A three hour drive (long- very windy poor roads, through very poor villages) to our first hotel. Tim was to do a wall dive. That is where the bottom drops away and you go down the side of the wall. All sorts of fish and coral, and turtles nestle in the crevasses of the wall.

What was weird was we were the only guests. About 12 staff watching our every move, having nothing else to do. Tim had a good dive, with the dive master who was also the manager of the hotel. I had a massage. The people were sweet and happy and eager to please.

The next day we then drove 3 hours, along very windy roads and past much poverty, to where the whale sharks are. They come in to this one bay. The other side of the island has sharks that are dangerous. And meat eaters. But apparently only whale sharks are in this one bay. There is a national park there, and the visiting is very regulated. You go to an orientation talk, just a few minutes. But we are told to stay at least 4-5 meters away from the sharks. As you will see from the photos, that did not happen. If you had put on sun cream, there is a shower to wash it off. Do not touch them. And you have half an hour in the water with them.

Then in to a wooden dugout that had big out riggers on the sides, would seat about 6 and two fellows, park people, paddle you out. Then over the side and in the ocean with the gentle giants. I was the first off, and I think you will read the hesitation, for a wee moment. I stayed within the outrigger and the sharks came right up and visited.

Men in outrigger boats have vast amounts of krill to feed the sharks. They throw handfulls in the water where they want the giants to go. It is unnatural for them to feed swimming perpendicular in the water. But they do. And they stay there as long as there is food. The guys were great at getting the sharks to be just feet away. In fact one brushed up against me! The sharks open their mouths and suck in water and food. They sift out the food and water comes gushing out their gills. I hope you can see the water rushing in in some of the pics.

These gentle giants are 40' long, weigh 20 tons and live to their 70's. They all have a beautiful pattern of polka dots on their skin, but on one side at the back of the gill there is a little area that is different to any other, and their "signature". The government had biologists there, we talked at leangth with them. They have chipped some to track their movements. It was like the safari, an honour to visit them in their environment.

We ate dinner in a local's home one night. That was a treat. We went to the market, bought the food, and went back to her place to cook. It was really wonderful to see a home, small, a kitchen, sparse, and meet her daughter. They used a squatter outhouse, with no tp or sink. She was very enterprising and had some tv's and cable, and young teens would come after school to play video games. For a small charge. She had a huge sow in the back and sold piglets. She had chickens and sold eggs. She grows corn on the cob to sell. She has a little store. Many different ways to realize an income.The kids learn english at school. A precocious little Cheska wanted to practice her english. "You are beautiful."" You have a long nose". "You are very sexy." She wanted to know if she could come work for us in Canada when she finished school!

We visited a waterfall. It was truly a hide away magic place.  Way up a hill, then walk down the steepest road I have ever been on. It really was beautiful but the photos did not do it justice. They had guys come down to give you a ride up the steep walk. I took it because I wanted to get a motorcycle ride!

Our tuk tuk ride there was fun. I was in the back of a little side car in. I felt like a giant. The seat was so shallow (for short people) that I had to sit sideways and sit with my head down, bent over because I was too tall. Tim sat behind the driver "like a girl". Horns are used to say "here I come".

Really photos do not do these wonderful creatures justice.

I didn't take too much time to think about it, I just got in!

Holding on to the outriggers, communing with the gentle giants.

Aren't they beautiful, all 20 tonnes and 40 feet of them!

Here you can see the water being sucked in, with a fair force.

The waterfront at our hotel, lovely.

Here are two young girls, Cheska in the middle with Sexy Long Nose on the right.

These chairs are made of old tires. Weigh a ton, but can't speak to the comfort. Didn't try.

Friday, July 5, 2013

wow another great week

I have decided that my photos of the animals in the safari are better than Tim's. I plan to get them enlarged for the dining room wall. We had 4 pics of sunsets, at Bala, at Lake of Bays, at Vernon, and in Thailand. But the sun faded all the photos, bled the red out and they now are all yellow sunsets! So I will replace them with lion, cheetah, elephant and buffalo or giraffe, not sure which.

So I move on.

This week, another fantastic week.

Wednesday I had tickets for Wings, a film of Paul McCartney's band in 1976. Talk about down memory lane. There is a bit of culture shock, because I am living this life here that seems to have nothing to do with my real life, and then I walk down 1976! It was their concert in Seattle. 100,000 people there. Great songs. Such amazing talent. But I was alone. At the last minute I realized that Tim was working. I don't have a large coterie of friend to ask and those I do are all back home in Canada.

The next night was Mahler's Third Symphony performed by Paris Ballet Orchestra, and the ballet company danced a performance by John Neumeier. It was breathtaking. I was actually moved to tears. Sitting there all by myself, with tears. Tim was working and I have no friends.

It was spectacular. Classical ballet, and modern dance. How many yoga poses they use in modern dance. I now know how hard they are, and these amazing dancers are exquisite. Mahler's symphony was actually composed by god. It is one of the lushest pieces written for a huge orchestra (how did they fit them all in the pit) and a contralto soloist, and it lasts for 3 hours! Well, the Paris Ballet did it with flying colours.

Both of these evenings were at a movie theater that runs what at home we have as "Live at the Met". I saw the opera Falstaff a few weeks ago. It is the best thing in town, and yet there are 20 maybe 30 people there! The Singapore Lyric Opera put these evenings on as part of there mandate to bring culture to Singapore. Well it is fabulous. I so look forward to every evening.

This morning I realized that Tim had 5 days off coming up, asked him if he wanted to go away. Yes, he wanted to swim with the whale sharks. A friend of ours was swimming with the whale sharks last week. This is a guy who has done lots of really interesting things, but he said swimming with these whale sharks was the best thing yet.

So we are off to Cebu Philippines, Monday, for five days, to do some diving, and then swim with the whale sharks!

I know, things were getting dull around here. Safari, then Taipei, so we thought we'd better get out of town again. We haven't done a beach holiday for a while. Should be fun. Tim bought an underwater camera case so we should get some nice pics.

Stay tuned.