27 August 2009

After 2 days of racing

The dragon boat world championship has been very exciting so far. The team from Vancouver is competing in the Premier Mixed and the Mens divisions. Canada is being represented in the other divisions - womens, juniors, seniorsn etc. - by teams from Montreal and Toronto.

On day 1, it was the 2000 metre races. Ed competed in the Premier Mixed division and his team placed fourth out of 14 teams. They missed the bronze medal by .5 of a second! So close! They were pleased with how they paddled and quite excited about racing against the best in the world.

Today, it was the 1000 metre races for the mens division. Most of these guys are huge! And so many fast teams, that each race is very important. Only the top two teams frrom each heat advance. Ed's team did well in their heats and made it to the finals (top 6 teams). The race was so close and for the second day in a row, they finished fourth with a time of 4 mins 9 secs. And just .4 of a second behind third. This is the best placing the mens team have had in a long time and everyone was pretty pumped about that race. Slovakia was 1st, US 2nd, and Germany 3rd.

Tomorrow will be the 200 metre races. Paddles up!

26 August 2009

Cesky Krumlov

On day 3, I went on a day excursion to a town called Cesky Krumlov, which is a UNESCO heritage site. It is a 3-hour bus ride from Prague so I set off early to catch the 8am bus. I wish I could upload my pictures because words - beautiful, amazing, breath-taking - just would not do it justice. Google it and you'll see. It is a medieval town that is very well-preserved since it was spared from WWII bombings and skirmishes. I rented the audio guide for the town tour and it took me over three hours to do the tour, which was very interesting. Cesky Krumlov is a photographer's dream! Everywhere you looked, there was something to photograph. My time there went by too quickly as I had to catch the 5:15 pm bus back to Prague. But it surely was worth the trip!
After this day, it will be all about watching and cheering for Ed and his teammates. Let's go, Team Canada!

25 August 2009

The good, the bad, and the ugly - part 1


- The architecture! Baroque, Gothic, Renaissance, Cubism - they are all here, coexisting beautifully.

- Interesting history. From nobility rule to communism to a republic.

- The beer! Very yummy.


- Our hotel (where the team is staying) is not in the city centre. Hardly anything close by so not very interesting or convenient.

- The food has generally not been great. Lots of meat and a little hard to find veggie dishes.


- The service. Servers can be quite abrupt in tone and are not very friendly. A very few have been nice but most have a permanent scowl on their faces.

Prague - days 1 and 2

I've spent my first and second days in Prague visiting the main attractions. First up, Prague Castle which was amazing. It is a big complex and you'd need a whole day to see most of it. I visited the Old Royal Palace, St. Vitus Cathedral, St. George Basilica, and wandered through the courtyards and streets of the castle. Then I followed the walking tour around the castle area that's in my Lonely Planet book. One of the stops on the tour was the Strahov Monestary and Library. The library and the monestary church were so beautiful. Then I made my way down to the river and found Charles Bridge. Unfortunately, the bridge is undergoing some restoration work and it is so crowded with tourists, buskers, and vendors that it is hard to really enjoy walking along this beautiful bridge.
The team dinner that night was a fiasco. Maybe the restaurant wasn't used to having such a big group because it took two hours for some people's meals to arrive. Half the group was done eating before some people got their food.
On day 2, I walked along Wenceslas Square and hung out in the Old Town Sqaure. Then Ed joined me (the team's practice ended early today) and we finally got to be tourists together. We did another walking tour from the LP book. Then we sat at a cafe by the Vltava river and enjoyed some beer. It was a perfect way to end a day of sightseeing.

22 August 2009

When in Rome (airport)...

Been almost 24 hrs since I left my house and now I'm in the airport in Rome waiting for my flight to Prague to start boarding. I'm going with SkyEurope, a Slovakian low-cost airline. I wonder if they'll charge me to use the washroom in the plane. I was so relieved to find SkyEurope's check-in counter. The airline is having money problems so I was nervous about them suddenly stopping operations or cancelling my flight. But they checked me in and so far, things seem to be in order.

Rome's airport is looking a little old. It makes me realize how beautiful the Vancouver airport is! Also, I have spotted three nuns in the last hour. Last time that's happened to me, I think I was still in high school! Lastly, people here stand really close to you in line ups. My personal space is feeling so invaded.

19 August 2009

European vacation

Hopefully, our vacation won’t be anything like in the film! Ed’s currently on his way to Prague and I follow in a couple of days. The world championships for dragon boat is being held in Racice, CZ (about 50km north of Prague) and Ed is part of Team Canada. I’m so proud of him! I’m sure the team is going to kick ass!

We will be in Prague until the end of August, then we fly to Split, Croatia for an 11-day stay along the Adriatic coast. In addition to Split, we will also be visiting Bol (on Brac island) and Dubrovnik. We are also planning to do a day trip to Montenegro, the country just south of Croatia. From Dubrovnik, we take the ferry over to Bari, Italy where we will stay for a night. From there, we will head to Naples for 3 days, then to Rome for another 3 days.

Ed’s been focused on training for the worlds so I’ve been the trip planner. As long as he brings home a medal, that will be fine with me. Go, Team Canada!

18 August 2009


How long does Ed and Liezel let their folded clean laundry sit in the laundry basket before putting the clothes in their closet? This time, it was twelve days. That’s how long our point-and-shoot camera has been missing. I looked all over the house for it, and even looked in that laundry basket. Of course, I was too lazy to put the clothes away! But tucked under the clothes was the camera.

This means my pictures from Seattle and NY were also found. Yay! I haven’t uploaded the Seattle pics but the NY ones are now in Flickr. Check them out!

17 August 2009

Run around

I’d lost my invoice for my hotel stay for my trip to London last month and I had already deleted the confirmation email. Our accountant at work said I need to submit the invoice for it, so I called the hotel to get a copy. I was told that I had booked the room through Expedia, hence, they do not have a copy of my invoice and I will have to phone Expedia. I actually don’t remember booking in through Expedia but okay, I phoned Expedia.ca. Almost 30 mins on hold and finally, a voice on the other end. He kept asking me which account I booked it under. I kept saying I don’t remember being asked to login to book the hotel. I did a google search, found what I needed, then booked it. He can see my booking info but I had to provide the account information. I was put on hold while he figured it out. Finally, he said I should phone Expedia.com because I may have booked it there. So I phone Expedia.com. (Was on-hold again for a bit.) Again, which account did I book it under? Again, I said I don’t remember. Then, after a bit of looking through my booking info, she said I must have booked it using hotels.com and that I should phone them. I was ready to give up! But okay, I phoned the number she gave me. Hotels.com did sound familiar. I got through to someone fairly quickly and I was not asked about which account I booked it under. She got my name, verified the dates I stayed in the hotel and emailed me a copy of the confirmation notice. I told her “You have no idea how relieved I am to find you!”. The lesson is... hang on to your invoices!

10 August 2009

Driving me crazy

I can’t remember where I put my point-and-shoot camera! It’s driving me crazy! I know I brought it back with me from NY. It was sitting on my bed and night table the weekend after coming back from my trip. But now, I can’t find it anywhere. Very annoying!