A Travellerspoint blog

Little Giants

We've had another fantastic week in Van and fortunately the weather this week wasn't too bad (although I hear Perth's was), giving us a few opportunities to get out and get involved in the city a bit more. Monday we spent the whole day following a couple of productions around town, it was amazing the amount of people and work go into even just a simple shot for a show. In the morning we watched the crew of "Arrow" turn the steps of the art gallery into a faux courthouse. Then the actors came in and did their thing about six times (three times from two different angles) of just walking up the steps being hounded by the "press". It would have amounted to about a 15-20 second shot with no lines in the TV show, which took the actors about an hour and the crew almost all day to set everything up and take it down again.

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We then went and watched another show we both like called Fringe being filmed on the seawall. We didn't have the best view for most of it but when they were just rehearsing we were allowed to come in pretty close to watch which was awesome. I had the opportunity to talk to a great Australian actor John Noble when he snuck off for a cigarette but wimped out. We both signed up to be extras at some point on a couple of shows but we're not getting our hopes up. It's our mission this week to see Supernatural being filmed.

That night we tried ice skating with a tour group. I went in with the assumption "Well, I'm going with Matt who's not the most co-ordinated person so he should be at least as bad as me." This proved to be a bad call as Matt's had a bit more practice then I and did pretty well in the rink and got some decent speed, meanwhile I walked along the outside rail (I wasn't the worst person there though thankfully and I didn't stack it so I'm calling it a win).

Saturday we went to Van Dusen gardens as part of a very small tour group with the hostel. It was pretty gardeny, lots of gardens, complete with leaves and stuff... pretty boring really. That night we went to the ice hockey and that was amazing. The national league is one strike at the moment which sucks so we saw the junior league (the players were a bit younger). The Vancouver Giants went in on a streak of six losses and they got off to a bad start but managed to keep the scores equal. Then in the final period they got ahead with about 10 minutes to go but the Americans didn't take long to respond, and then in the final 6 seconds of the game the Americans took their killshot and beat them 4-3 which the crowd was audibly disappointed about. It was such a fun game to watch live and so brutal, if a player had the puck against the wall it wasn't long before someone would bash into them at full speed. One guy was right in front of us when he was unlucky enough to have two people bang into him and send his head into the glass, he was a bit dazed after that. There were a couple of fights that almost broke out but the ref's jump on them pretty quickly (literally one time) and break it up sending them to the penalty boxes. We'll definitely be going to a few more. On a side note the prices for food and drinks in the stadium were the same as normal, not marked up a crazy amount like we were expecting.

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Today we both had interviews at a poutine place (its a food from Quebec) opening up down the street which went really well. I also might have a job in housekeeping at the hostel in a couple of weeks and Matt has an interview for a restaurant tomorrow so things are going well at the moment. One of us will write again when some more eventful things happen, Corry.

Posted by mattandcorry 16:44 Comments (2)

Continued adventures or:

how I learned to stop worrying and love the rain

We spent a good deal of the working week being completely rained in with The Walking Dead to keep us company. Early in the week we had a hankering for a taste of home so we eventually located an Australian restaurant a short walk away where we were able to get our chicken parmigiana's which has never tasted so good. I'm still not sure whether the server was actually Australian or just Canadian putting on the accent for tips, he was a little too enthusiastic when confirming our order "Two chicky parmies!? MY FAVOURITE!"

One plus to being kept in was that we are now completely recovered, and we're now able to join in with the social activities downstairs. We're now bona fide Vancouverites, hoarding all our quarters for the washing machine and buses. We've gotten the hang of when to tip and how much although it is annoying because a meal for $10 then pushes twenty when you add a drink, tax and tips to it. We caught a bus over to one the big shopping centres here for the Black Friday sales, however I think it must be more of an American thing because there didn't seem to be any more people than usual there. Everything was on sale by quite a bit and in true 21 year old male fashion we bought nothing.

Saturday (the sun was out) we signed up for the hostel's excursion to Lynn Valley, which was pretty cool. It was very thick forest with waterfalls and hiking trails and all that naturey goodness. The best part of it was the suspension bridge which took you over the river and past a waterfall, it was funny seeing some of the people hanging on for dear life every time it swayed even a little.

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While at the valley we saw warning sheets saying some areas would be being used for filming a TV show I watch called "Arrow" on Tuesday, so we're going to go back and try to catch a glimpse. In that scenery it will no doubt be a big action scene. It then came to our attention that lots of shows and films are filmed in Vancouver for the tax break the production gets from the government. The most notable ones were Arrow, Supernatural (which is shooting around here until April) and Fringe. So we're looking into how be an extra for a day on set which would be pretty cool. Mission Impossible 4 also filmed a fair bit around where we're staying. We walked down the road underneath a bridge where they shot a scene set in Russia in the film, where Tom Cruise gets his mission from a payphone which self-destructs after 5 seconds as they all do. Of course there wasn't any remnants of the shoot but still, it was pretty cool seeing what they'd done to the area for the movie. See for yourself

Into another week of predicted rain and applying for jobs, no luck yet but we're having a good time especially now that we're both feeling better. It's nice living in a place rather than holidaying and not have the pressure to get out of bed and go and do something because we have so long here.

Posted by mattandcorry 17:01 Comments (4)

The First Week

rain 7 °C

We haven't done a whole heap this week as I (Matt) was sick with a cold and then when I was getting better Corry got sick. We both came to the realisation that we are here for so long that a week of resting in the hostel, meeting people, watching movies, applying for jobs and getting a good nights sleep wasn't such a bad thing. Yesterday (Sunday) we asked to move rooms because our room was not compatible with a good night sleep. We got moved to a four bed dorm, away from the road on the third level. This is exactly what we were hoping for and both had a much better sleep last night.

On Friday we decided to go to Stanley park because we could actually see the sun.

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Stanley park borders downtown Vancouver and is 4 km squared in size. It has various things scattered around it such as a war cannon (my cannons are bigger) and totem poles. Stanley park is also the home of the Vancouver Aquarium. At the aquarium we saw Beluga, Dolphin and Seal shows, and lots of displays of local fish, reptiles and birds. They also had a 4D theatre that sprayed water, blasts of air, shook the seats and blowed bubbles during the screening of The Great Salmon Run. Overall it was a nice aquarium and was well worth the $12.

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On saturday we went to the police museum and saw the history of lawlessness and law enforcement in Vancouver, including weapons, uniforms and vehicles Vancouver law enforcement have used over the years. We also saw confiscated weapons like the one below and exhibits describing some of Vancouver's most infamous crimes with one of those exhibits showing the actual axe with a blonde hair of the victim still attached that was used to carry out some brutal murders.

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We also had fun getting mug shots at the museum, which made us look even more super tough and scary.

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The $4.95 Sunday Roast which we were both looking forward to turned out to be a disappointment on a plate. The roast was mash potato and gravy under a chewy and dry piece of beef. On the upside we both had a better night sleep in your new room and had a chiilaxed day today continuing to apply for jobs and getting ready for a more action packed and eventful week in Vancouver.

Matt out.

Posted by mattandcorry 16:03 Archived in Canada Comments (4)

The first few days...

Not a great deal to report after these first few days here in Vancouver. The flight was really turbulent so that was fun... but we managed a good sleep still. We settled into our dorm, we're in a room with two to four other people (a lot of comings and goings) and literally all them are Australian, glad we came to Canada to meet Aussies! The place is nice, they've got a good bar downstairs with decent food and everything's pretty cheap with a dinner for $5 each night. Our sleeping patterns were pretty out of whack with the jetlag and with people waking you up throughout the night (which happens quite a bit when you're in a dorm with five other people and a squeaky door).

We got all our boring stuff out of the way with setting up phones and a bank account and getting a jacket, gloves and beanie (or a toque as it's known here). The weather isn't too bad just yet but it's still slightly worse than our winter and bound to get more intense. It was raining pretty constantly for the first couple of days, it was strange because it's not heavy rain it's just non-stop. We literally saw the sun for the first time today. Matt went and got sick somehow, nothing major just a 24 hour thing it seems but I think he might have given it to me so now I have to take it easy and keep it at bay. We applied for some jobs today on the internet so hopefully we'll hear some good news in the coming days.

We haven't done many touristy things yet but we're planning on going to Stanley park tomorrow while the sun's out so we should have some good photos after that. For the mean time I have this to tide you over:

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That's Granville island down to the right with a big market-place and a bar and food and whatnot, it seemed kind of deserted today though, I think it might be a weekend thing. The apartment buildings in the background is a small part of the downtown section where we're staying. Mainland Vancouver is to the left but we haven't really explored that yet. And obviously in the distance you can see some mountains. The more and more people we talk to people the more and more apparent it's becoming that we're going to have to do a stay on one of the mountains for part of the season. Apparently mid-season is pretty easy to get a job as people leave early or get fired or whatever so we shouldn't have a problem getting something there in late January/February.

Corry
P.S. Also we saw the new James Bond and it was mindblowing everyone see it when it comes out in Aus

Posted by mattandcorry 16:31 Comments (3)

Taipei

After a horrible Jetstar flight with seats and leg room I believe were designed with midgets in mind, we arrived in Bali for 6 more hours of horribleness with the weather and boredom (and we did have to pay the $25 US visa). We found Eva Air to be a pleasant change (with The Dark Knight Rises to kill half the flight time). We got to Taipei and caught a taxi to our hostel and discovered we had been upgraded, free of charge, to the luxury Presidential suite:

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DAY 1

We awoke from our bedsheets of cotton and silk and started the day with a healthy Macca's breakfast ($2.50) and explored our local area, only to find it was pretty boring. So we made the brave move of figuring out a foreign public transport system, which was actually pretty easy and extremely efficient and clean, Transperth could take a note or two. We caught a 60c train to City Hall and walked around a more modern area of the city where we went to the Discovery Center and discovered that that too was pretty boring.

So we walked up the street a bit to the Taipei 101 building which was amazing, the tallest building in the world until a couple of years ago when the Burj Khalifa took the title. We walked around its enormous shopping center full of posh shops filled with things we couldn't afford and then caught the worlds fastest elevator up to the observation deck, travelling 84 floors in 37 seconds. The views from the top were spectacular despite the fog obstructing our view a bit.

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Following dinner we got back on the train and after a quick transfer got to the Shinlin night markets which was ridiculous. A wonder to behold there was a sea of people packed into a street as far as you can see.

DAY 2

Today we caught the train again to the end of the line and boarded the gondola taking us up to the Maokong mountain. There were some amazing views from the gondola and from this we got an idea of just how insanely massive Taipei really is, overcoming the surrounding mountain range to expand the city between areas of extremely dense jungle. There wasn't much to do at the top of the mountain however we did willingly eat some local food at a not entirely sanitary looking food court. How proud of me are you, Mum?

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Overall Matt and I were pleasantly surprised by Taipei however we felt two days was pretty much enough. It is a city getting ready for the future and developing at a very fast rate, in 5-10 years it will be brilliant. The entire city is so clean and efficient at everything it was good for the two of us. We're off to board our plane to Canada now where the excitement will really begin. That's 3 days down, 221 to go for those of you playing at home.

Corry

Posted by mattandcorry 06:40 Archived in Taiwan Comments (4)

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