Categories
travel

Malaysia – Day 16

Today I had a good long chat with Anna-Maria. That was nice, but it put me a little behind schedule. (My own fault).

On the way to work I was approached by a woman who wanted to know where I was from. This was the second time in two days that someone approached me and I didn’t have a good feeling about. Not that I was afraid of her, but just that I felt she wanted something from me. Not to mention the fact that I was going to be late for work. She couldn’t seem to read that I was in a hurry and close by her was a man who also tried to stop me to ask for the time. They seemed to be working together. I didn’t have time for them whether or not they were just being friendly. I gave him the time and kept walking. I am suspicious that the guy was the same guy I ran into yesterday but I never got a good enough look at him. All I can say is that it was weird, and not weird like hey some stranger on the bus wants to chat you up because you look like a foreigner, but weird like, spidey senses on alert — these people are up to no good.

Anyway weird people on the street aside, I had a great evening. At the end of the day Jon took me to Channel V, Malaysia’s version of Much Music or MTV, to get the specifications for a new project GXM Studio is doing for them. I got to meet Jeff Selamutu, director of programming and production at Channel V, and take notes at the meeting.

Later we went for dinner and had a great time talking about everything from how Jeff got into the business to how new artists enter the music industry, to what direction music television is going. I liked Jeff because he’s a really fun guy that likes to call it like he sees it. He reminded me a lot of the directors and producers that I met recently in Vancouver. They have a kind of fun yet ambitious personality that I find magnetic. He told me to keep in contact and that if I have time during the week he’ll show me around the studio.

Categories
travel

Malaysia – Day 15

Today I went to the Cathay Pacific Airline office to see about changing my flights around. That in itself was kind of a tricky operation because I got some conflicting help on the street by a couple of different people that thought they were being helpful. Anyway one of the people that I met on the street wanted to know where I was from and a little bit about me. Normally I would have been very open and chatted it up with the guy but I have heard that it’s a common scam for people to tell you that their daughter is coincidentally returning to the same place that you live, and then they want to take you somewhere to ask questions about what it’s like where you live. Except then when they take you, they may be out to use you in some way. I have no idea if this was a scam or not &#8212 the guy seemed friendly enough and there are lots of friendly people here, but I just had a bad feeling about it.

Anyway I rearranged some of my flights and will see if everything goes through tomorrow.

I decided to take a break from the usual foods and go back to something western. I was so hungry I had an entire large Hawaiian Chicken pizza to myself. Yummy.

Categories
life travel

Malaysia – Day 14

Today was so amazingly fun I might have to break into ALL CAPS TO DESCRIBE HOW AWESOME IT WAS! Jon picked me up and we had lunch at this Indian food place. The food is served on banana leaves and the idea is, you don’t use any eating utensils. YOU GET TO USE YOUR HANDS!

You Eat it With Your Hands

You Eat it With Your Hands

We had coconut milk with our meal which is a nice treat. It started to rain and ironically that was one of the most fun parts of the meal. We got out of the rain under some nearby canvas but some other tables were half covered and half exposed. The water started to pour down on the tables and the employees there were scrambling to help the people. One guy brought this huge umbrella up to the place where water was coming down and instead of stopping the stream he just spread it out over everyone. Everyone was in a pretty good mood though and we all just laughed about the gong-show that was happening around us.

Foggy Temple
Foggy Temple

We were going to visit Malacca but then the rain changed our minds. Instead we went to the Ganting Highlands. It was great.

We stopped at a Buddhist temple and climbed up the nine floors — representative of the nine levels of heaven. The clouds were coming in and although it made it hard to see very far, the mist brought with it a nice cool breeze.

There are many rides both indoor and out at the Ganting Highlands but rain kept us inside. They even have a water park there. The best part — at least in my mind — was an attraction they called “Free Flying”. They have a vertical wind tunnel that has a continuous stream of air zooming by at least 193 km/h. The force of the air is enough to lift you off the ground at which point you are literally flying. WORDS CANNOT DESCRIBE HOW AMAZING IT FEELS TO FLY! Controlling yourself is not to hard either, once you start to get the hang of it.

Flying in 193 km/h Wind

Moving your hands left and right and up and down can control your side-to-side motion; bending and straightening your legs will send you backwards and forwards respectively. The best part was having the instructor grab onto me and go into a wild spin up and down the wind tunnel. I was worried it wouldn’t be worth the money but it was TOTALLY WORTH IT! I had a VCD made of the entire flight and I’m hoping to find some software that will let me convert it to a *.mov and then I’ll post a clip from it here.

Categories
travel

World Trade Center – Norad Had Drills

When I visited New York with my dad in 1997, we were amazed at the magnitude of the World Trade Center. The towers were just so much bigger than all of the other gigantic buildings, it was just so amazing to see even one of them, but then to turn around and see two of these unnaturally humongous buildings was unreal.

We had been down in the subway / basement area of one of the towers and wondered why it was filled with scaffolding for support instead of heavily reinforced concrete pillars like you would expect. Well we figured out that they put in the scaffolding as reinforcement after a terrorist bomb went off in the early 90’s — a terrorist attempt to collapse the building.

When we were outside looking up at the buildings I asked my dad what he thought would happen if a terrorist used an airplane to crash into them. It seemed like a pretty obvious thing to wonder, just because they were so high in the air and had been the target of previous attacks. Also I remembered hearing about a John Grisham novel that featured terrorists flying a highjacked commercial airliner into the Capital Building.

My dad had heard that a low-flying airplane had crashed into the Empire State Building many years ago and extrapolated from that story, that if a plane did hit one of the towers, likely a similar thing would happen: the plane would crash and smoke would come out. In the end I said I hoped we would never find out for sure.

As it turns out the Empire State Building was hit in 1945 by a B-25 bomber. Thirteen people died, and many were hurt. Interesting details here.

World Trade Center Twin Towers 1997

The reason I tell this story is because I find it hard to believe that nobody in their government, could envision flying airplanes into buildings on such a massive scale. (Somebody did, as the article explains). Heck, all you had to do was look at those buildings and think that’s the easiest target in New York way up in the sky where they don’t belong. Anyway I’m not saying I think they were stupid for being unprepared or for thinking they wouldn’t fall, just that I think it’s stupid to think nobody thought that it might happen, because I for one thought about it.

Categories
life travel

It’s Official — I’m done the semester!

I just finished writing up my last paper of the semester. Now the only thing in my way to the greatest Christmas vacation ever is the 12 to 14 hour drive to Utah. It’s 3:30AM and I am considering just leaving right now. Anna sure would be surprised if I got there a few hours in advance, and it would be nice to not just have to go straight to bed when I get there. That’s it, I’m packing right now and I’m on my way. Utah and California — here I come!

Categories
Disney friends travel

The Happiest Place on Earth

I am going to Disneyland. It’s official, Anna has purchased our passes, there is no turning back now. However I have some good news. It appears that I may be finishing school earlier than expected. I don’t believe I have any final exams outside of class time — which means I may be done as soon as December 6th. I am not sure how this will affect my desire to stay and swim for the last couple of weeks that Andy has practices sceduled. Actually I’m very certain this will negatively affect my desire to stay. Hmmm, and how am I going to explain my absence? I’ll keep you posted.

Categories
life travel

My Disneyland Vacation

Thursday, July 10th, 2003 – Early Evening

After deciding to actually go on this crazy trip the day had finally arrived (finally as in it had been almost 3 days since we got the tickets). I was planning to work both my life guarding job and then do 3 hours at the phone survey place. Well as luck would have it Anna-Maria talked me into phoning and getting the whole evening off so that we could just leave and get to Calgary. It was a good thing because it took me about an hour to get everything done I needed to, plus we ran over to Anna’s and then back to pickup some last minute laundry at my house. It was 9:30 by the time we arrived at Wally’s house. We ran out and got some food for Friday and Saturday from the nearby Safeway. Helga set the alarm clock for us and we hit the hay.

Friday, July 11th, 2003 – Early Smearly

I guess somehow the alarm clock was set half hour fast and at 3:30AM the annoying sound of an alarm clock went off, (actually it went on. To say that it went off would be lying. It was definitely on.) Anyway Wally was so kind as to drive us to the airport a little after 4:00AM as planned and then we were really off. After a quick layover in Seattle we arrived in sunny California and the fun began. Hitching a ride on the Disneyland Shuttle it didn’t take more than 45 minutes to be in the park. We bought our tickets and entered the happiest place on earth. It still gives me tingles just thinking about it. We did so much that day, it’s hard to remember all the places we went. Toon-Town to Roger Rabbit’s ride, bought some cotton candy, Splash Mountain, oh and we even went over and checked into our hotel. It was so much fun! Then evening we went into the Haunted Mansion and saw the truly spectactular show, Fantastica! It’s a laser/light/fireworks/live actor/animitronic masterpeice that takes place on Tom Sawyer Island and the Rivers of America. Truly an amazing site to see.

Saturday, July 12th, 2003

We got up early, went and had our complimentary hot breakfast in the train car restaurant next door to our hotel, and then walked over to the Disney Cast Building. I don’t know how nervous Anna was – I know I was nervous for her. I didn’t want to tell her I was nervous for fear that I might throw her off. She however seemed cool as a cucumber. The way the audition works was that everyone was assigned a number, and if when it came time for them to make cuts they read off numbers. If your number was called, that meant you were being cut. She said the highest number she noticed was 139. I left her to audition and hit Disneyland and California Adventure on my own. I remember as a kid, some of my fondest memories of Disneyland were from Tom Sawyer Island. I decided, well I’ll check out the old island and just see what’s over there. On the trip over I saw the character Tom Sawyer chatting it up with some of the other park guests, so when we arrived I followed him and he showed us around the Island. He showed us where Injuin Joe’s Spirit was trapped in a cave and what to do if we see him. He took us to his stash of pirate treasure that he and Huck Finn stole from Captain Hook’s own ship. Apparently Captain Hook has been circling the Island ever since trying to get his treasure back. Tom also took us through his caves up to a lookout fortress where we played “Fox and Rabbits”. It seemed a lot like hid and go seek, but a lot more fun since I was bigger than all the other kids playing. Actually I was on pretty even ground with them in my sandals, plus I wasn’t trying my hardest – didn’t want to look like a psycho. We stopped by the old graveyard, and up into Tom and Huck’s tree house where I learned their secret handshake. We also went down fishing – well attempted to fish, but they didn’t catch anything. They just didn’t have a clue as to how to catch fish. They figured it must have been some bad luck from “signing their names in all them people’s books”. Park guests would come up to them asking for autographs.

Later that day I checked up on Anna-Maria and we went to Taco Bell to get her some supper. She was doing great in her audition and she gave me all the details of her day so far. She had to go back for another couple of hours during which time I went and took in the X-Games at California Adventure.

Sunday, July 13th, 2003 – Call Backs and good news

Anna and I got our free breakfast again this morning and then headed to Disneyland to get in as much fun as we could before her 2:00 call back. We rode the matterhorn, Splash mountain, and California Screamin’ (the sweet rollercoaster they have in California Adventure) as well as the Jungle Cruise and Tarzans Treehouse. I can’t remember all the places we went, but we did a lot. We saw Muppets 3D and the Bug’s Life 3D movie as well. There was the Sword in the Stone Ceremony, not to mention watching all the parades and fireworks that evening. There were so many things we did that day. Anna went back and finished her call back and was offered the job. Whether she takes or not, well I’m not sure what she is going to do. Anyway we hooked up with cousin JP after the fireworks were over and he took us to his place in Fullerton. It’s a really cool place – I especially love the fact that they have an outdoor pool that their landlord maintains for them.

Monday, July 14th, 2003 – From Hollywood and Highland to Home

John Paul took us to Hollywood Blvd. where we checked out the Mann’s Chinese Theatre and the Hollywood Walk of Fame. We saw the cement handprints of famous actors from the last century and then took in lunch at Mel’s Diner. What a great day it was. Then it was off to the airport where we flew back to Calgary and slept another night at Wally’s. This time I set the alarm clock myself.

If anything this trip was not only a not a waste of money, it has been quite possibly the best trip I’ve ever been on. Disneyland really is the happiest place on earth. If you don’t believe me, then go check it out yourself, you won’t regret it.

Categories
Sport travel

Planning My California Getaway

I am trying to get down to California so I can spend a week with Anna and her family before my swim camp (which is also in Southern California). Anyway if I take the bus down and don’t take the flight down with the team the airline will cancel the ticket for the return flight. So my coach sent out an email to see if anyone on the team who is not going would like to take this last chance and if someone replies then I guess I’ll be going, otherwise it doesn’t look good. For sure I won’t be leaving until Saturday at the earliest.

In other news, I haven’t been accepted to the Faculty of Fine Arts in Multimedia, but apparently they are accepting me as some multi-classified student or something weird like that. Whatever it is, it means that I will be eligible to compete on the swim team.

Categories
life travel

Trip to Israel Journal Entry Day 1

Yesterday I left home for my trip to Israel. I am very excited. Mandy picked me up around 4:30 and we arrived in Lethbridge with no problems. Mandy’s grandparents are very excited for us and have shown us video’s of Israel and have been giving lots of travelling advice. I am very excited. We will be leaving Lethbridge at noon by bus. I can’t wait.

Mandy and Jeff

I am now on the bus on my way to Calgary. I was kind of surprised at how old the adults coming on the trip are. They probably are all retired and have waited their whole lives to travel to Israel. I don’t know anyone here except for Mandy and her cousin and I don’t really know her that well. Everyone is excited. I guess the other kids don’t know each other that well either. All the boys sat at the back, the girls in the middle and all the old people up front. I think I will enjoy the plane trip a lot more than the bus ride. The bus ride is so boring. There are some girls just ahead of me telling each other how much they already miss their boyfriends and who is going out with who and other girl stuff like that.

I am now on my descent into Toronto. Nothing can be seen out the window except darkness (which isn’t very exciting). The seatbelt light is on now. Arrival in Toronto at 9:25 local eastern standard time. Toronto is HUGE.

It was very cold outside the airport waiting for our ride to our hotel. The pilot told us that it would be 6° C, but I think it was colder. Toronto seems like a nice place. When we flew in I could see lights going on far over the horizon, until the point where they were so far away they just faded off. The hotel here is very nice, and very big. My roomate Rob Goth seems like a nice guy. We watched T.V. for a while and then talked. He told me that he doesn’t really know anyone on the trip either. I am so tired right now. It is 12:48am (Toronto time) which is only 10:48pm Alberta time but I need to go to sleep, we have to get up at 7:00am tomorrow. I think I will go swimming first thing tomorrow.

Categories
travel

International Junior Art Camp in Japan

It’s March 6, 2012, but I’m writing this here to point out some of the oldest stuff I ever put on the web.

My “International Art Camp” trip to Japan.

Update: My brother scanned all of our family negatives including the photos I took on my trip to Japan. Here they are: