Posts Tagged With: canadian forces

Las Vegas – Special Feature!

Viewers, I’ve got another special post for you today, something new and different to spice up this travel blog!

I’m very proud and excited to say that I’ve teamed up with the legendary Travel Enthusiast, Former Orbitz Director of Communications and proud Mom : Kendra Thornton to share our knowledge, tips and experience about one amazing, energetic and vibrant city; a city that has something for just about everyone out there: Las Vegas!

First, Kendra will share her take on the city with us, then shortly after, I will share my tips, advice and secrets about the city.

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Kendra:

Hot Spots for Family Fun in Las Vegas

I love to travel, and these days, I usually bring my family along. When planning a family vacation, I always look for locations with something that my kids will enjoy along with my husband and me. One of our favorite spots to enjoy time together as a family is Las Vegas. It seems that this desert oasis always has something new and fun for us to do.

1. Miniature Golf

My husband is a golfer. The kids and I prefer the miniature version, and Las Vegas has plenty of options for us. We especially enjoy playing 18-holes at KISS by Monster Mini Golf. The glow-in-the-dark course features animated replicas of rock-and-roll memorabilia. The kids love putting into the giant Gene Simmons head. As an added attraction, the course also features a huge saltwater aquarium made by ATM of Animal Planet’s show Tanked.

2. Sharks

In Las Vegas, you can swim with sharks in the middle of the desert. My oldest loves sharks, so when I found out about Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay, we had to visit. The water park features North America’s only predator-based aquarium. Here, you can view moray eels, rare golden crocodiles, piranhas and 15 species of sharks. The kids and I also participated in the 45-minute shark dive.

3. Adult Beverages

Of course, Las Vegas has plenty of adult beverages. When traveling with my girlfriends, I once took the Sommelier wine class at the Michael Mina Restaurant. Guests get to explore the nuances of eight different wines. You’ll learn about the effects of soil and climate on grapes. This is a great way to spend date night as well as an awesome activity to enjoy during a Las Vegas bachelorette weekend.

4. Museums

Those who love to learn can have a great time in Las Vegas. My family enjoys taking trips to quirky museums. My personal favorite is the outdoor Neon Museum just off the strip. It displays the history of the city in lights with a park-like atmosphere and design. My kids love spending time at the Discovery Children’s Museum. Also of interest is the National Atomic Testing Museum.

Las Vegas is always good for a good time. I’ve enjoyed traveling there on business and with friends. Now I enjoy taking my family and exposing my kids to some of the wonderful treasures there. With so many places to stay and things to do it can get a bit overwhelming. Sites like Gogobot make it easy to read user reviews so you can better plan your trip. I hope you can enjoy this great vacation spot as well.

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Jordan:

Spontaneous Fun & Hidden Gems of Las Vegas

Las Vegas is always a blast, no matter who you go with, it has something for everyone. Myself? I am pretty open-minded and like to try just about anything, especially if it’s a new experience! I’m going to share with you some advice, tips and hidden gems of Las Vegas that I hope will be at some use for you. Here we go:

1. Restaurants

At one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, how could Las Vegas not have some of the world’s greatest restaurants?
One of my most memorable restaurant experiences was eating at “Gordon Ramsey’s Pub & Grill” at “Caesar’s Palace”.
If you’re feeling a little more on the Breakfast or Dessert side, then you HAVE to try the Crepes at “Le Creperie” in “Paris”. I’m going to let you in on a little secret as well… If you’re looking for a delicious meal that is a little more budget friendly, then look no farther than “Tony Roma’s” on Fremont Street. Seriously, Tony Roma’s! You can get a Steak and Lobster for $11.99 or a Prime Rib for $8.99. You can find details on this special here: Tony Roma’s on Fremont.

2. Entertainment / Shows

I’ve been to Las Vegas twice and without a doubt, my favorite thing to do is see the shows. There are shows that will suit anybody’s interest here: Comedy, Cirque du Soleil, Concerts, Burlesque, Magic and so on. Lots of famous people host their performances here: Shania Twain, Madonna, Carrot Top, David Blaine, Kris Angel, Penn and Teller.
Buying tickets for shows can really add up, so here’s a little tip to nab yourself free tickets and even a free dinner to go along with; walking down Las Vegas Blvd, you’ll notice that there are several individuals trying to grab your attention to sell “Timeshares”. Most of the time, you probably ignored them and walked right by them, but here’s the secret… If you decide to take the free tour that they are promoting, you will land yourself free or highly discounted Dinner and Show tickets; this is no scam, it is actually true! The catch is, you have to spend a few hours listening to their sales pitch and viewing the units, building and property that they are attempting to sell to you. At the end of the tour, a highly skilled sales associate will personally try and sell you a Timeshare – all you have to do is politely decline and then, VOILA! You will have your free Dinner and show!

3. Fremont Street

Most people are attracted to the Las Vegas Blvd strip and frankly, I don’t blame them! With the bright flashing lights, energy, music, street performances, erupting fountains and state-of-the-art architecture, who would not want want to be around all of that? What people need to know though is, Fremont Street is the “original” Las Vegas and it boasts a magic of it’s own. Let me tell you what’s special about Fremont Street! First off, you’re going to find MUCH better deals in this area, probably because they want to take the crowd away from the overpriced Las Vegas Blvd.  When you’re not playing at the Casino, you’ll find that it’s quite easy to find 1-2$ beers, 3$ Margaritas, 10-15$ meals at sit-down restaurants and best of all, the slots are known to be more “loose” on Fremont Street.  If you walk a few blocks up, you’ll find yourself in front of some original and unique bars and restaurants, for example: “Insert Coins” a video-game based bar – you basically pay to play arcade games with friends while sipping away at your favorite drink. How about “Heart Attack Grill”? A restaurant where all the staff are dressed in Nurse outfits and serving you the most unhealthy food that is known to man.  There is actually a large scale just outside of the restaurant that lets you weigh yourself, if you weigh over 300lbs, then you get to eat free!
Looking for cheap daiquiris? I’ll tell you where to get the cheapest in all of Vegas! Two words… “La Bayou”. It’s a small Dive Bar & Casino located on Fremont Street. You can fill up your meter long drink-holding device for pennies compared to the other places out there. The cool thing is, “La Bayou” uses the traditional-style “quarters” to play in their slots and when you win, spits quarters back out at you. Ever heard of those? They are small circular pieces of metal before the “cash receipts” were used in slot machines. A new piece of History for you!

4. Shopping

Las Vegas is probably right up there with London, Paris, New York and so on for it’s shopping scene, it can also get expensive very fast if you don’t have the budget for it. I found that I had the best shopping experiences at both the North and South “Premium Shopping Outlets”. There are literally hundreds of stores to choose from, it really does take a full day out of you. One of my favorite stores would have to be “Under Armour” which is located at the “South Premium Outlets”. If you’re shopping for luxurious brands, then you have nothing to worry about, Las Vegas Blvd is boasting with a nearly-unlimited amount of stores and malls to visit and it’s impossible to see it all in one day. For souvenirs, it’s always fun to check out the “M&M Factory” or the “Coca-Cola Factory”.

We hope this post was informative and fun to read as it was for us to write it!

If you wish to follow Kendra, you can do so by clicking the following link: @KendraThornton – she has a wealth of travel information to provide for you, so definitely check her out!

Please follow me for more adventures, travel tips and advice!

[This collaborative post was written by: Jordan Ilareguy & Kendra Thornton]

Categories: Destinations, Las Vegas, Nevada, Travel, Uncategorized, United States | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Romanian Adventure!

I’ve got something exciting to show to you viewers today! It’s a video compilation of my adventure in Romania!

In the video, you’ll see shots of Bucharest, Dracula’s Castle, Brasov, Transylvania, Black Church, Pele’s Castle, Sinaia, Bucegi Mountains, Prejmer’s Fortified Church and much more! I’m still an amateur to video editing, so bear with me. I’m still trying to understand why my HD video does not stay in HD when I upload it; I’m working on it though!

Here’s the video and please, tell me what you think by leaving a comment below!

What was your favorite part of the video? What would you like to see for yourself?

Aside from my adventure in Romania, I am now working on a collaborative article with “Travel Enthusiast”: “Kendra Thornton” on our favorite location in the world and the hidden gems about that particular location.

Keep your eyes peeled!

Categories: Destinations, Romania, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ice Fishing in Canada

Ever wondered what to do during a Canadian Winter? Ski, Snowboard, Ice Skate, Snowshoe, Sled, Dogsledding, Curling?

This is what I do:

That's me - Ice Fishing!

That’s me – Ice Fishing!

Ice Fishing!

It’s pretty simple, really; you make sure the lake is frozen – preferably over 3″ thick, so you don’t fall through. You then drill a hole with an “Auger”, manual or gas-powered:

Gas-Powered Auger

Gas-Powered Auger

Once you’ve drilled your hole, you clear the snow and ice from around and in the hole and then you’re ready to fish!

I’m no Ice Fishing expert; but the good news is, you don’t need to be one to enjoy this cold-Winter past-time! It’s a little bit of technique but even more luck. The fish are so cold, they won’t want to swim a lot, so you have to hope that you drilled a hole over some fish or at least close to them.

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

Categories: Canada, Destinations, Ontario, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Helicopter Carrier – Replenishment at Sea

It wasn’t too long ago when I was busy sailing the seven seas – in fact, it was just about a year and a half ago before I made the transition from “Military Warship” to a “Tactical Transport Aircraft”.

I’ve been on several sails engaging in countless roles all over the world, but one of my most memorable experiences while I was sailing in the middle of the Pacific Ocean was refuelling an American “Helicopter Carrier”. First of all, I didn’t even know there was such thing as a “Helicopter Carrier”, I’ve only heard of “Aircraft Carriers”, but obviously, they exist! From what I remember, the name of the carrier that we refuelled was called the “USS Boxer”, if that rings a bell to any of you reading this post. The refuelling itself took almost an entire day; “Helicopter Carriers” aren’t exactly a small ship, they’re massive! Every time I looked at it, I almost couldn’t believe it! It really is a technological masterpiece by man – just what all of us are capable of designing and creating when we put our heads together and work as a team.

Take a peak at the video I recorded a while back:

What’s even more amazing, is the amount of fuel that’s transferred throughout this evolution without a drip spilled into the ocean – I mean, consider the fact that two ships are cruising at the same time while this is all taking place, there’s a lot of risk management to deal with. That’s okay though, because professionals are handling every aspect of the job.

If you’re looking for a quick way to Travel, see the world and be paid for it, then you may want to consider joining the Navy. It’s a tough job, you work hard while you’re sailing but you’re well rewarded with time off at your port visit. This bring me into a quote that I utilize everyday in the workplace: “Work hard, play harder”.

If you enjoy what you’re reading, please take your time to “follow” and/or “like” my blog through one or more of the following: “Facebook”, “Twitter” and “WordPress”. You can follow me by clicking on the respective links on the right side of my website. Please feel free to leave comments or questions as well and I promise to leave a reply.

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” 

– Augustine

 

Categories: Pacific Ocean, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Traveling Brothers!

That’s right! With twice the amount of traveling, you now have twice the amount of reading!

My younger Brother: “Alex Ilareguy” has made it official! He’s started his own Travel Blog and he’s currently traveling around the world, one day at a time, just like me! It must be in our blood to Travel, that, or I passed the “Travel Bug” onto him. Sorry bro!
We’re both born and raised in Canada, but at this point in time, Alex is traveling around Asia; more specifically: Seoul, South Korea with many more exotic countries coming his way in the near future! You can read up on his adventures by clicking the following link: http://alexilareguy.empowernetwork.com/

Here’s an awesome compilation of snaps of both my Brother and I:

Alex and Jordan

Alex and Jordan – The two traveling Brothers.

Keep your eyes peeled on my website as well, as I will be traveling to another exotic location in the not too distant future!

If you enjoy our blogs, please do let us know by commenting and/or liking our posts and perhaps even “following” us as well!

Enjoy your new stories, double-time!

Categories: Destinations, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Happy Valentine’s! Be Mein?

Happy Valentine’s Day everybody! Today’s that special day to recognize your Spouse or Hubby for how amazing they are! (Shouldn’t you recognize them for how amazing they are every single day, anyways?)

If you don’t have have a special someone, then be sure to spend some quality time with the ones you do love! Ehem… Family and Friends of course!

A few friends of mine here have opted-in to spend time with you on this special day if you’re feeling lonely:

Valentine's Day Leaders!

Valentine’s Day Leaders!

See what I mean? They really are seeking a bit of attention… Okay, perhaps in the wrong way.

Since this is a Travel Blog and I try to encompass my posts around travelling in one way or another, I will apply that ideology to this post. So in that case, we’re going to play a little game and I need your help by submitting your answers!

Looking at the photo I posted above, I would like you to name off each leader (from left to right) and what country they originate from. Bonus points for extended answers giving a brief History on that particular leader.

Please submit your answers by leaving a comment on this post! Please be sure to like the post too if you enjoy this blog!

Happy Valentine’s!

Categories: Destinations, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

To Hostel or not to Hostel?

That is the question!

When I mention the idea of staying in a “Hostel”, what comes to mind? Believe it or not, plenty of people out there in the world think it’s a cheap, scummy and dangerous place to stay; well, let me see… Cheap? Yes, most certainly! Perfect for those that want to budget travel! Scummy? Not if you research into where you will be staying and ensure that there are well-written, unbiased reviews. Dangerous? I don’t believe that there are any dangerous places out there, just travellers that are not using their head, intuition and common-sense. Please don’t base the idea of staying or not staying at a Hostel on the movie: “Hostel”. A movie is a movie.
A stay at a hostel can be as good or as bad as you want it to be, it all boils down to preparation and travel research, but sometimes, even for the well-educated and avid traveller, you will sometimes bump into the inevitable. With proper research and travel skills, you can highly reduce that chances of staying at a crummy hostel and making the best of your trip!

I’ll list off some Pros and Cons for you to weigh out:

Pros

  • Hostels are much cheaper than almost any other kind of accommodation out there. I stayed 8 nights in Cracow, Poland for 140$ USD!
  • Hostels are generally located in the heart of the best districts, usually in better locations than most Hotels!
  • Hostels often offer free Wi-Fi and sometimes even a free Breakfast!
  • Hostels often offer private rooms for just a few dollars more, for those that simply cannot sacrifice a bit of privacy.
  • Hostels will provide you with information and ideas of what to do and see in the area that you’re visiting; not only the major sights, but all the local hotspots as well!
  • Hostels often have a common-room, where you can socialize and meet other travellers just like yourself!
  • Hostels may give you a discount if you own a “Hostelling International Membership” card. (Imagine that! Cheaper than the cheap price you’re already paying!)

Of course, there are so many more “Pros” that I could list, but that should be good enough for now. Time for some “Cons”!

Cons

  • You may have to sacrifice some privacy. (Are you really going to spend all of your time in your room anyways?)
  • The bathrooms are usually shared. (You share the bathroom in your house and you share the bathroom with several other employees at your workplace, what’s the difference?)
  • It might be difficult to get some sleep if people are snoring. (The “Ear Plug” is a wonderful invention!)
  • You run the small chance of running into a hostel that is not properly maintained in several manners. (Don’t you run that risk staying at a Hotel you’ve never been to? Besides, that’s where doing your research comes in; read unbiased reviews!)
  • You run the risk of your goods potentially getting stolen if you are not provided with adequate storage facilities with appropriate security features for your gear to be stored while you’re out exploring. (Again, read the reviews. Travelling is an art and you will learn through experience).

    If you have the money, you want the posh lifestyle and don’t have a budget to worry about, then by all means, take the luxury hotel situated in the heart of the city, but if you’re on a budget like me, which is probably most people reading this blog, then you’re going to want to find options that won’t have your wallet screaming in agony.

Here’s what I do:

  1. Enter the URL: www.hostelworld.com
  2. Enter the City and Country you will be travelling to and of course, the respective dates with the amount of people that will be staying.
  3. Click “Search”
  4. Several results will show up, displaying a list of several different Hostels that you can choose from; the best thing to do at this point is to sort all your results appropriately. Click on the drop-down box right next to “Sort by:” and select “Overall Rating”.
  5. Now, all your results should be sorted by the best rated Hostel to the least rated Hostel. Check them out one at a time to ensure that the room that you want is available for the dates that you specified, the Hostel is located in the part of the city you want to be staying in, the price is affordable and the ratings are good. Always keep a keen eye as to what kind of Hostel you may be staying at, as some are themed and even oriented towards “Partying”, which may not be the type of Hostel you want to stay at if you’re trying to get a good night’s rest!

I’ve always used www.hostelworld.com for all my hostel needs. The thing I like about the site is that they provide accurate, unbiased reviews about the Hostel that you could be potentially staying at. Also, when you do decide to reserve your room/bed, you only have to place down 10% over the internet and then pay the remaining balance once you arrive at the Hostel. You also have an option, for just a few dollars more, you can protect yourself from losing your money if a cancellation on your booking is required. You will get credited the balance on the website to be used towards another Hostel in the future.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I’ve stayed at Hostels all over the globe and I’ll tell you from first-hand experience that again, with some experience and research, you will find yourself enjoying your stay at Hostels, whether you’re staying in a private room or a shared dorm. I personally, won’t choose to stay in a Hotel again unless I absolutely have to. The most important thing is that you have to keep an open-mind and with an open-mind, you’ll be a happier person in the end.

Last weekend, Amy and I stayed at a Hostel in the heart of Toronto, the “Entertainment” District to be exact. The name of the Hostel was called: “The Clarence Park” Hostel. We booked a private room that had it’s own bathroom and for 40$/per person/per night, you can’t beat it! We basically stayed 3 nights in the heart of Downtown Toronto for 240$ and the room was PRIVATE! No shared Bathroom either! If we chose to stay at any hotel in Downtown Toronto, 3 nights would have easily costed us 450-600$!

Here’s a snap of the place we stayed at:

The Clarence Park Hostel - Private Room

The Clarence Park Hostel – Private Room

As you can see, the room itself is basic, but very cozy, clean and acceptable! The bed is King-sized, there’s a television (which you can’t see in this photo) mounted onto the wall with cable facing the bed. There’s a desk, comfortable chair, balcony and a private bathroom. In the bathroom, you have the essentials: Toilet, sink and shower. There’s no bathtub, but again, think of the money you’re saving, you’re getting the absolute essentials at rock-bottom price in the heart of Downtown Toronto! A very expensive city to live in. The room itself was very quiet with the balcony door closed; we had no problem obtaining a full night’s rest, every single night!

At the end of the day, you should consider trying out a Hostel, what do you have to lose? Nothing, because you’re actually saving, big time!

Keep an open mind, explore, have fun and always try something different and new!

Categories: Hostels, Travel, Travel Tips | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Africa, Caribbean Adventure!

I’m back! From what you may ask? Well, I’m about to tell you!

The adventure first started off in Casablanca, Morocco; we only stayed a night, which was okay, considering I’m not paying to go to any of these locations and it’s just enough time to get a taste of the area.
Driving down the streets of Casablanca was wild, not one person followed any traffic regulations, everyone was zipping in and out of lanes, no signalling, cutting everyone off, people running across the street last minute, cars slamming their brakes, horns honking like you’d see in NYC, it was a “dog-eat-dog” world; you get to where you need to go by any means necessary, you probably won’t even get arrested doing it too! I had a good laugh when we drove past what was a driving school in the city. I mean, what’s the point? Nobody is going to follow the regulations anyways! Maybe it was more for defensive driving? How to avoid the other drivers and what to expect in such an unexpected place?
I had a great night wandering the markets and various bazaars; the streets were flooded with them, full of hand-crafted goods and imitation brands of designer products… The market went on forever, with winding streets continuing on and on, my coworker and I got lost, we had no idea how to get back to the hotel. A random shop-owner grabbed our attention, showed us the way to his own shop where I bartered my way to some great prices for some outstanding and unique local goods that you won’t find anywhere else in the world.

Next stop was the Portuguese island of “Sal” (Salt), in the country of “Cape Verde”, Africa. This is quite an exotic location, pretty expensive too if you fly with commercial airlines, at least from Canada that is. Driving to our hotel from the airport, we noticed that land was quite rugged and desolate. Perfect for a “dune-buggy”! The landscape contained minimal greens and just appeared to be real run down and dry. It was evident that the country itself wasn’t well set off financially and primarily runs off any tourism that they can get. I’ll have to say though, that once we arrived at our hotel, walking to the coast was very gorgeous; but in reality, which beach isn’t gorgeous? The interesting thing about Cape Verde is that it’s inhabitants are a mix of African, Portuguese, Caribbean and Brazilian descent, so there was quite an interesting culture that we were surrounded by, as well as a unique selection of food throughout the meals that we ate there. Rabbit rice to Conch stew to my all-time favourite… Unlimited draught beer! Okay, so maybe that’s not quite a meal, but it’s made of essential grains, isn’t it? Next time, I’m going to remember to bring sunscreen, I have never been so burned in my life! Reading some articles, I heard one of the best brands you can buy is “Hawaiian Tropics”, it may cost a bit more, but apparently it works. Don’t quote me on that though, I’m no sunblock expert here.

Next stop? The Dutch Southern Caribbean country of “St.Maarten”.
Ever seen those videos on YouTube where you see bystanders hanging around on a beach as massive jets are landing in such close proximity? So close, you could almost touch one of the wheels as it’s coming down for landing. You can most certainly see and wave to the Pilot, no doubt about it. Well, that’s the city of “Sint.Maarten” in the country “Saint.Maarten”. I was staying at a hotel right by that beach, which is called “Maho Beach”. A few coworkers and I decided it would be a once in a life time experience to hang off the fence that separates the runway to the beach as one of these jumbo jets take off. Written on several signs all across the fence are warnings “Danger: Stay away from fence, injury or death may prevail”, or something along those lines. Also, while a jet is idling, you should be a minimum of 180ft away from it’s engines, once it switches from idle to full-power, you must maintain a minimum distance of 900ft from the engine when behind the aircraft. My coworkers and I that were hanging onto the fence were definitely under 200ft from the jet’s engines. We were holding on for our dear life; just the aircraft idling was enough power as it was; as soon as that pilot shot up the throttle to full-power, we were in for an ass-kicking. Sand was blasting into our face at fierce speeds; it felt like knives ripping our faces and skin apart. The heat of the engine was burning our skin and the force of the jet-blast wanted to rip us right off the fence and send us flying to only god knows where. We all survived, no injuries and left with an awesome story and memories to remember for the rest of our lives!
An interesting fact about the country of “Saint.Maarten”, the island is divided in half, the Dutch own the North half and the French own the Southern half. I’m not entirely sure what the History behind that is all about, perhaps I’ll be back someday to find out!

Our last stop on the road was Memphis, Tennessee, which is pretty much the land of “Elvis”. Yes, he does live!
We didn’t have a whole lot of time here, so my coworkers and I went out for a famous “Pulled-Pork sandwich”, which apparently the city is known for; damn, was it ever delicious! Every bite you took made you salivate for another, until it’s all gone then you’re tastebuds are just craving for more; that’s where discipline kicks in and you have to convince yourself that your stomach doesn’t have room to fit any more!
To finish off the night, me and two coworkers decided to grab a few beers at some rooftop patio bar on famous Beale St. We were just overlooking the street, people-watching and just reminiscing over our awesome adventure that we had. About an hour later or so, it was time to call the night quits as we were leaving late next morning. My coworker comes up to me the next morning and tells me some shocking news that he saw on his television. The bar that we were lounging around at had a shooting an hour after we left, six people in total were shot, although no one was killed and three with hospitalized in non-critical condition. I couldn’t believe it… Had we stayed an extra hour, we could have witnessed this event or been shot ourselves. Looks like I had a guardian angel watching over me and my coworkers.

I’m back home now, just taking it easy, getting caught up with my Kung-Fu classes and catching up with my Piano lessons. I’m awaiting a promotion to my next rank, which I’m due for, same for a medal. I wonder when they’ll show up? Hmm…

More adventure to come soon enough!

Check out these snaps from the trip!

Sint Maarten, Saint Maartena

Sint Maarten, Saint Maarten

Island of Sal, Cape Verde, Morocco

Island of Sal, Cape Verde, Morocco

Casablanca, Morocco

Casablanca, Morocco

Island of Sal, Cape Verde, Africa

Island of Sal, Cape Verde, Africa

Sint Maarten, Saint Maarten

Sint Maarten, Saint Maarten

Island of Sal, Cape Verde, Africa

Island of Sal, Cape Verde, Africa

Casablanca, Morocco

Casablanca, Morocco

Categories: Cape Verde, Morocco, St.Maarten, Travel, United States | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Long Weekend in Ontario

Like the saying goes: “Time flies when you’re having fun”. Well, that’s true, but I also believe that time will fly even if you’re busy and not having fun, but thankfully, this past weekend was tons of fun!

For most people in Ontario, this weekend was a three day weekend because of a provincial holiday called “Civic Holiday”.
I didn’t waste any time this weekend. I started off Saturday having a Breakfast out with Amy at a local restaurant called “Dapp’s Restaurant”. The restaurant has been there forever and the base of clientele they have established is immense! Almost everyone that dines in is a “regular”.  I don’t think Amy and I are too far from attaining that title; maybe just need to age another 50 years or so first to gain some seniority. The price of food is excellent, with the most expensive Breakfast meal being around 12.50$ and the cheapest I remember seeing was around 6.95$; you don’t find many deals like that these days, most restaurants overprice all of their food, especially the orange juice, don’t even get me started with the orange juice! Several restaurants have a machine that mixes a concentrated-juicy syrup with water to produce what you call your Breakfast orange juice; there are no free refills and they charge you about 3$ for a medium sized glass. Redonkulous if you ask me…

After a delicious Breakfast, I walked over to “Riverside Music” for my 3rd Piano lesson; I want to be modest, but truly, I am catching on very fast to the theory and of course the practical portion of the instrument. Maybe its because I have so much interest in learning? At the moment, all I have is a simple 150$ keyboard, without a full set of keys and the keys themselves aren’t even weighted, I’m missing the pedals too. I was looking at the “Casio Privia 350BK”, I think that’s the name of it… Anyways, it seems like a good bang for my buck and it’s somewhat affordable for a person that doesn’t have thousands to dish out but is still serious about learning how to play the Piano.

To finish up Saturday, I headed over to a coworkers house with my good friend Jon for a surprise Birthday party hosted for her husband’s 40th birthday. I picked up a bottle of wine for him named “Guilty Men”, I thought it would give them some laughs for sure, I’ll have to find out tomorrow. It was a good night, complete with good people, good drinks, good food and good fun. Jon and I played “Horseshoes” against a few other people, but had our asses kicked every time; I don’t think the game was made for us at all, or maybe it was, but just to have our asses kicked at it all the time!

I woke up early on Sunday to get an early start on a day full of “Antiquing” with my good friend Jon. We headed out into a town called “Bloomfield” (sounds like a name out of a “Silent Hill” movie), to start our adventure and worked our way out to Picton to finish it. The entire time was spent in what’s called “Prince Edward County”, where many vineyards and microbreweries/craft breweries are located due to the outlay of the landscape and excellent conditions in the area. I didn’t really find anything other than a “Banana stand”, which really isn’t an antique to begin with, but there were several of treasures that I did run into that I couldn’t quite afford at the moment; perhaps next time I’ll come back with more treasures!

As soon as I returned home, I packed up my gym gear and biked down to CFB Trenton’s gymnasium for a lengthy workout of about two hours. The bike ride to the gym and back was just shy of 8km too.

Today, Amy and I drove out to Belleville in search of a new, high-quality frying pan. Yep, we destroyed our old crappy one from Zellers… Let’s just say you get what you pay for. This new one we bought is a brand called “Panderno”, it’s apparently a brand that’s used amongst the professionals in the cooking industry. The pan is obviously non-stick, you can stick it into the oven at up to 750 F and it has a 25 year warranty; I guess that alone shows that “Paderno” truly believes in the quality of their own product if they’re willing to give a warranty that will last so long. Did you know? Apparently cooking sprays such as “PAM” are not good for your pan, it damages it! Apparently it’s better to just use cooking oil and nothing else.

Amy and I just got back from the base’s outdoor pool; nothing like a refreshing swim on a hot and sunny day!

Well, time to practice on my Piano, the next lesson is tomorrow!

Categories: Canada, Ontario, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Cologne, Germany

I can’t count how many times I’ve been to this city, I’ll probably need more than two hands.

We arrived early morning and with the six-hour time zone change, it’s a wreck on your body. You have to make a decision: “Do I go to sleep, lose some of my day but wake up well rested to enjoy the rest?” or “Do I just stay awake through the day and make it as far as I can through it?”. I usually go with the first choice, because I like heading out at night with my buddies when I’m well rested so I have the endurance to keep going and stay awake with them. By the time I got to bed, it must have been 730am and I slept until 1pm, got up and went out for a good walk. I took some photos and got some shopping done then headed to a Vietnamese restaurant called “Cyclo” with my buddies. I can’t spell or remember the Vietnamese name of the dish I ordered, but man was it ever delicious and the cooks were just so generous with the portion size! The giant bowl they gave me was loaded with noodles that were coated in a hot peanut sauce. On top of the noodles, I had various veggies with some BBQ’d chicken pieces on top; mouth-watering I tell you, mouth-watering chicken deliciousness.

The only way to finish off a Saturday night in Germany is to wash down your Vietnamese with some good German Kölsch beer! We went to a “Beer House” called the “Beer Museum” where they literally feed beer to you, non-stop, without asking until you ask them to stop, or place a beer coaster on top of your class to show the sign of “please, I’m hammered, no more”. The glasses aren’t very large, which can be dangerous, not only because it’s delicious, but also because you can down them quite fast, which leaves you coming for more and more until you’re seeing double, or even triple! The best part is, the beer is really inexpensive too! They serve the “Kölsch” beer circular beer trays that hold about 10 beers per tray; really fast and convenient when you have hundreds of beer-thirsty customers!
“Beer Houses” and “Beer Gardens” are all over Germany, you’ll have no problem finding them, but I found that they were most prominent in Munich, Germany, which is in an entire different province: “Bavaria”.

I slept in a little more on Sunday, my body needed it, but also, there isn’t a whole lot to do in Cologne on a Sunday, almost all the stores and restaurants are closed, but it’s the perfect kind of day to walk-about and take some good photos without hundreds of people and tourists in the way of your “Kodak moments”. I imagine that most of Germany is like that, but I really can’t recall if it is. Maybe someone can leave a comment and explain?

I’ve been to Cologne so many times, I think I’ve done almost all the touristic things there are to do in the city, although I’m sure I’m missing a few for sure. I heard that the “European Space Agency” is also located in Cologne; if that’s true, I definitely want to see if they host tours of some kind and check out the place! How cool would that be? I’ve been following Chris Hadfield on his adventure through Twitter, same with a few other astronauts. It’s incredible to see the life they live and the things they are doing to make History. It’s very inspirational!

I’m back home now and my friend Julie passed down some extra furniture to me to add to our home, as we’re lacking in the furniture department. Thank Julie!
Tomorrow I start my second Piano lesson and get ready for my next exciting adventure and man, will it ever be exciting I tell you! Prepare for lots of photos!

Here’s a few snaps from the short weekend:

Massive Koln Dom (Cathedral)

Massive Koln Dom (Cathedral)

Kolsch Beer and Tray

Kolsch Beer and Tray

CF18s escorting my aircraft and troops for a warm welcome home!

CF18s escorting my aircraft and troops for a warm welcome home!

Categories: Germany, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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