A Travellerspoint blog

2.8 Weeks Later

semi-overcast 0 °C

Sorry for the not writing an entry in a while, things have been pretty quiet though so unfortunately there isn't anything too exciting to write about. We're in Kelowna again and have been for a while, just waiting for Thursday to come when we board a bus to Seattle. We completed our time at Big White, Matt got pretty great at skiing and is looking forward to doing it again as soon as possible. I on the other hand really didn't enjoy it as much as I thought I would, I'm glad I gave it a go but I don't plan on going again in the near future. We're both glad to be out of the hostel up there and back into comfort in Kelowna.

We're pretty much just killing time in Kelowna at the moment, it's not the most exciting town in the winter but at least it's cheap. We've gotten pretty good in the kitchen, we've cooked two roast chickens which both turned out beautifully. A lot of the people in this hostel are long-termers so we've all become friends, the group heads out to the pub for chicken wing Wednesday to watch the hockey. Australia day was a bit of a non-event as a lot of people went to the mountain to party which apparently was a 30 hour party and got a bit out of hand. We spent the afternoon in the spa with some beer and then went out that night so it was still had a good time. We've organised a bunch of things for the America leg; booked a hostel for Seattle, booked the flight from Seattle to LA and reserved a car to rent from San Francisco to New York. We both cannot wait for some warm California weather although camping in the national parks will get a but chilly, but if we can survive Moore River and Dwellingup in the winter we can survive California and Utah in the spring. I closed my bank account today (because I got soooo much use out of that) and Matt's still waiting for his last paycheck to come in the mail before he closes his.

So yeah, that's about it since the last entry. It will be sad to see Canada go although our excitement for America outweighs that, we've had a great time all up and have some great photos to show when we get home (although looking back at them we're not in a lot of them... might have to work on that). We've both said we'd love to come back and see a bit more of the country but in the summertime, we're really over the cold. Anyway here's some photos from Big White:

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Not the best photo. I'm squinting horribly because the sun was in my eyes. Before someone is smart and says the sun is behind me, everything in that place reflects light so intensely.

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The gondola that takes you from Happy Valley (where the buses drop you) into the Main Village.

Posted by mattandcorry 11:50 Archived in Canada Comments (2)

The Big White

snow -15 °C

We've had a fairly eventful ten days. We left Vancouver and made the move to Kelowna last Monday and while the snow was fun at first, Kelowna did grow a bit boring, especially in a hostel with about ten other people. The city was nice though and we had a good time, the hostel was a lot nicer and cleaner than Vancouver, and although having ten people made it a bit antisocial, the silver lining was that it was quieter. Matt and I had a dorm to ourselves and we were very comfortable. We also both got sick again, I only had it for a couple of days but it hit Matt pretty hard, he's on the road to recovery now thankfully. Despite our illness we decided to brave a nearby mountain and hiked to the top, which was a mission but it was good to get outdoors and do something. Walking through the snow was pretty tough and even coming back down was hard because the path was pretty icy and slippery at times, it was like walking on loose gravel on a steep decline. However it was worth it for the feeling of accomplishment and the view up the top was pretty great.

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Downtown Kelowna, our hostel is just to the left of that bridge, for some reason we thought it would be a good idea to walk back there after the hike down.

Then on Sunday morning we departed Kelowna to make our way up to Big White. I'm writing this at the end of day two here and so far we're really enjoying it. We've both had two skiing lessons already, Matt's a bit better than me at this stage. It's a lot harder than it looks and you have to contort your legs into some pretty weird shapes. My problem at the moment is controlling your speed as you go down the hill, which you do by turning to wipe of some the speed you accumulate going downhill. I'm fine on the practice slopes but when we tried a proper run today I spent most of it on my arse.
The whole village is pretty awesome though, they have an ice climbing wall, a huge natural ice skating rink (frozen lake) and a tube slide. The place is bigger than I thought it would be but it's mostly rich peoples chalets with their fancy hot tubs on the balconies just rubbing it in your face with how rich they are. The main sort of street has the rental places, a day care, market and a handful of food places and pubs. The downside though is that our hostel is a nightmare, unfortunately it's the only one in town so we don't really have a choice but we're in a dorm of 10, the bathroom facilities are pretty poor and the whole place just isn't that nicely kept. It's only five nights though so we'll live.

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The main street

We've made the decision to go to the US early, so we only have two weeks left in Canada now. We were planning to get jobs on Big White but have changed our minds for several reasons:
- It's hard to get a job this time of year
- If we didn't get a job with a ski pass, we'd spend a fortune on paying for use of the mountain, as there's nothing to do besides ski/board.
- If we did get a job with a ski pass, we'd have to wait 2-3 weeks before they even give it to you, leaving us only 2 weeks to use it anyway.
- We'd have to find accommodation, which could take time, which means having to stay longer in the hostel, and renting for such a short period of time would be difficult.
- Our planned US trip was pretty crammed anyway, this will give us an extra 20 days to be able to do things at our own pace, make detours etc.
So we will go back to Vancouver some time next week, maybe check out Vancouver Island for a few nights or possibly Whistler. Then on January 31st we head down to Seattle for a Muse concert, and start the trip from there. We're working out details tonight but we think we're going to fly down to San Francisco (domestic flights in the US are cheap), spend time there, greyhound it to LA and once we're done rent the RV from there and do Las Vegas and the national parks and continue on. That's all for now, we'll update again after we've hopefully become ski pros.

Posted by mattandcorry 11:49 Archived in Canada Comments (7)

Weird Science

I'm writing this on our last day in Vancouver. Tomorrow we leave bright and early headed for the town of Kelowna which is about an eight hour bus ride east. The town is right next to the mountain "Big White" where we will hopefully learn to ski and/or snowboard and get work either on the mountain or in town. We plan to stay about six weeks before heading in to the US.

The past week has been pretty great, of course things kicked off with New Years. Matt was lucky enough to have work all night so he missed out on the festivities but he hung out with a couple of his work friends after they'd finished closing so all was not lost. I headed to the downstairs bar and met up with some of our friends from the hostel. The street outside was closed off to cars because there were so many (drunk) people out with many celebrating in the street as entry to most clubs was anywhere from $50-$100 for the night.

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Wednesday night we went to our third ice hockey game which we enjoy more and more each time. We forked out the extra four bucks for the good seats on the side and got a brilliant view of most of the rink and the bench (watching the coach was pretty amusing in itself). It was also the most violent game we've been to so far. We finally saw a proper fight! It didn't look like it was over much but some words were probably exchanged. Gloves were off and they laid into each other, one hand holding the opponent by his uniform and the other punching him in the face as fast and hard as possible. The ref's couldn't intervene before it was too late because once they start there's no getting in the middle of them. One of the guys helmets came off and they started to slow down so the ref's jumped in and they both got a ten minute penalty (usually it's only two), then they came back on and all was fine, no brain no pain I guess.
Aside from that there were at least two more "disagreements" in that period alone and another two or three throughout the game, I'm not sure why tempers were so high. The Vancouver giants were expected to be flogged but they held their own for most of the game and even had the lead for a while but opposition came through in the third period and beat them by two.

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One of the minor incidents

Thursday we got in touch with our inner child and went to Science World, it's kind of like Scitech except way more totally wicked. If you've seen some photos of Van it's the huge dome looking thing on the foreshore. They had some great exhibits with a lot of imagination; one new one was a ball you controlled with your mind. I would sit at one end of the table and Matt at the other and we put our foreheads into this semi-circle with little electrode type things that measure your brainwaves, in the middle was a long tube with a ball inside it and you had to play tug of war with your opponent by relaxing your mind. The more relaxed you were, the more alpha waves your brain produced and the ball would move towards you. I beat Matt both times for which my reward was: "You just have less going on in your brain" - Matt Brightman, sorest loser 2013.
Aside from that there were a whole lot of puzzles that they say were designed for kids but were incredibly hard for the two of us but we had a lot of fun anyway. There was a dinosaur exhibit as well:

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Ladies...

And that's Vancouver done and dusted. We've had an awesome time but we're looking forward to a change of scenery now. It's an awesome city apart from the rain and homeless. Living inside the city rather than the suburbs was the best, you can walk almost everywhere and there's always some interesting characters walking around. In three days we'll be two months in to the trip and while there are times I miss certain things about home, we really are having the best time here and have met some great people from a lot of random places (Woolongong yeahhh).
Here's a couple of photo's I took around town, I think in LA I will buy a fancier camera though to get some better quality photos. Also this one seems to think I'm J.J. Abrams because everything has so much lens flare.

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Posted by mattandcorry 12:51 Comments (4)

Christmas and the weeks prior!

rain 3 °C

We hope everyone had a great Christmas, ours was nice and relaxing. We woke up about lunch time, had Burger King for lunch and went to see Jack Reacher at the cinemas. We had to buy our tickets a few hours prior as it was ridiculously busy and sessions were full hours before the screening. To our surprise it was only $8 a ticket. After the movie we decided we would try the hostels Christmas dinner for $4.95. It ended up been a nice meal (Roast Ham and Scallop Potatoes).

Unfortunately it was not the white Christmas we were hoping for. It was still cold and raining of course but neither of us minded that much, as it snowed for an entire day about a week prior. We quickly discovered why people don't like the snow. The footpaths were covered in slush as the snow melted which instantly soaked our shoes and was somewhat slippery. The snow also hardened to ice on the roads, so we saw some close calls and lots of skidding. We couldn't resist having a snowball fight. I hit Corry in the face and groin, in which he says were dirty shots. I agree but to my defence he was a moving target and my hand eye coordination is not the greatest, so they were complete accidents ;). At night time I went outdoor iceskating with some people from the hostel and built a pretty awesome snowman.

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The hostel worked us hard over the four days we worked for them. We cleaned bathrooms, rooms, walls, windows, pipes, lights, you name it. We made some good friends with our fellow cleaners and It was good to get two weeks free rent. 

Unfortunately due to bureaucratic issues Corry's start date at the poutine place was pushed to early January. So we have decided to move on and pursue work on Big White or Kelowna the nearby town where we will be initially staying. We are leaving on Jan 7th.

In the mean time I have three shifts left at the restaurant. We are doing some more tourist things around Raincouver before we leave such as, going to Stanley park once again and riding around and through it. Today we went to Queen Elizabeth Gardens which has the highest point in Vancouver (152 m above sea level). They were nice gardens with some good views of the nearby mountains and downtown Vancouver.

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The boxing day sales here were really busy. At Future Shop (like Jb Hi Fi) people started lining up at midnight for a 7am opening. The sales at Future Shop were really good and much better than we would get at home.

We also have done some rough planning for the US and contingency planning. We plan to start our road trip from Seattle after we see Muse on February 1st or in Los Angeles around February 22nd.

Finally I wish a speedy recovery to my Grandparents (Dads side) which I imagine had a pretty rubbish Christmas in hospital after been hit by a car at Whitfords shopping Centre. I hope you are not too sore and are out and about soon.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Matt.

Posted by mattandcorry 15:54 Archived in Canada Comments (1)

Mr. Brightside

overcast 5 °C

Just a quick update as it might be the last for a little bit. The big news is that Matt and I are both now doubly employed! Matt has a job washing dishes at a fancy restaurant which is I'm told incredibly monotonous and mind-numbing, but he likes it for now and gets a free (and damn good) meal each shift made by one of the chefs. I have a job at the poutine place I mentioned before, I've had orientation on the weekend and then today had my training shift with a few others. Also got to try it which I've been looking forward to and it didn't disappoint, who would have thought chips, cheese and gravy would be so good? We also both have work at the hostel temporarily, we're working Tuesday-Friday through the day doing general cleaning duties which earns us two weeks worth of rent. Unfortunately for Matt this means that he is currently in day 3 of an 11 straight days of working, but it's only once and it's worth the payoff, it took a little longer than thought to get jobs so this makes up for it. Unfortunately with us being hard-working boys again we probably won't have much to report over the next week or two.

Last Monday I decided a couple of hours before the show started that I wanted to go and see The Killers perform. And after a bit of convincing got Matt around to my way of thinking, there was a lot of "we didn't come all this way to sit in the hostel," and "you're going to have to listen to me go on about how good it was for a long time." And for the record he didn't regret paying the $80 to see them afterwards. Unfortunately because of the lateness of our decision to attend we got stuck with pretty rubbish seats but the place was more Challenge Stadium sized and not Subiaco Oval so we could still see pretty well. They put on a massive light show with lasers and sparks and explosions and the works. They played a good amount of their older catalogue as well which I loved, the newer material didn't seem to connect as well with the audience.

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Later in the week we returned to Stanley Park to see 2 million Christmas lights illuminate a section of the park. Yes, it was as romantic as it sounds. Yes, Santa was there. Yes, there was a choo choo train ride. No, we did not go on it as much as we may have wanted to. Here's a couple of photos:

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That's it for now, as I said it might be a while before we have anything really exciting and new to write about. Missing the Chicken Treat, brownes, emu export, V, stable internet connection, hot weather and misses Mac's (get it?) pretty hard. However we have been forced to get into the kitchen a little bit out of necessity so that's arguably a good thing. Brightmans: I hope everything's going well with the new toy poodle and hope a passing hawk or eagle doesn't get peckish (pun intended).

Corry

Posted by mattandcorry 22:17 Archived in Canada Comments (7)

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