Monday, February 20, 2012

Dialogue Break

Just FOR YOUR INFO... there is a break in the flow of this blog right here. 

December - February entries were based around the time that I spent in Venezuela this year, that was just personal travel.

March - June will be based around my time in Togo, Africa, on the Africa Mercy Ship.

It is all one really. In my mind at least ; )   One life, two very different trips. So, please, continue reading if this is where you intended to go!

Sunday, February 12, 2012


Who'd a thought you could feel culture shock coming home to your own country/home town.
Who'd a thought that commercialism would ever disgust me as much as it does upon returning home just now.
Who'd a thought you would develop an accent in 2 months. Some are saying that has happened.
Who'd a thought you'd ever wonder where to put the toilet paper... The garbage.. No the toilet.. No.. Ya, now it's ok to put it in the toilet.
Who'd a thought that I almost just lost all my pics in one foul mistake.. by mercy and grace I did not.
Who'd a thought I wouldn't really feel any jet lag, after 4connecting flights including an overnight delay.
Who'd a thought leaving Venezuela would be so difficult..
Who'd a thought, that 2 months could actually change your life.

"Travel helps you to remember who you forgot to be!" 
(Jakera BR wall 2012)


Remembering to enjoy life & it's reroutes

Acclaim Hotel Calgary was not in my plans, but I'm learning that sometimes the best things in life are not in our plans.
Lost baggage, equaled missed flight, equaled fancy hotel and smorgasborg breakfast in Calg.
It feels kind of 'plastic' tho, being back in North America...
"Pablo" I miss you!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Post Final, Venezuela, 2012

Takes me a few days to relax and figure out a new place, so a few days has now passed. Today my only goals were visit ¨La Mercado Principal¨ and find the famous ice cream shop that made The Guiness Book of World Records for having the most flavours of ice cream. Missions accomplished.
Coca cola and CriCri ice cream cone enjoyed & the 3 story market covered.  We have not shopped at all in 2 months, so I got my shopping bug and souvenir shopping finally done today.  We truly have been rural the entire time I´ve been in Venezuela, so Merida is the first city we´ve spent any real amount of time in.  I have not missed the marketing world one bit. We´re also back in internet land with wifi at our Posada (hostel), and actually.. in some ways I miss being free from my internet attachment.  However...
Made some fun plans for tomorrow... my very last day in Venezuela!!... ahh. Simple plans, as I feel kind of chill. I heard about a natural hot spring about 40 min from here, so definitely going to check that out. Aswell as a 1 hr hike where you can overlook the city.  I think I´ve talked a couple others into joining too.
Flight to Caracas eaaarly friday morning, likely hang out in a safe hotel room until my morning flight hhhhome the next morning..........
The end of a trip like this has not sunk in yet. There is some excitement in getting home. But there is also some grief in leaving.
This is likely it for blogging from Venezuela! Thanks for all who joined me, in spirit, on the journey!
Love Am.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Bus it to Merida

22hrs has brought us safely here to Merida, Venezuela.  Caught a bus yesterday after saying some difficult goodbyes around the camp this week with the 8 week program being at it´s completion.  I think I learned from these 2 months that I don´t shift well.. as in, going from place to place then having to leave everybody is not so easy after so long together. I will miss you all.
I think I mentioned Merida being in the mountains before, on the other side of the country.  I only have a few days here before heading home, which I´m quite ready for. Still enjoying my time but my mind is already starting to prep for my next journey and looking forward to some needed downtime at home.
Tomorrow will bring.. oh just some hang gliding.. nothing major. Here they call it paragliding, which I´m pretty sure is the same as hang gliding. New for me anyway. Have never had the chance before, and apparently it´s the thing to do here.  May get to do some Zipline ¨Canyoning¨ too, or maybe some biking around the area.  Plans for the rest of the days are not yet made.  Spanish classes continue. Although please don´t be disappointed when I get home and don´t really know all the much... We´ve had lots of time between our classes.. as in I don´t think I´ve had a class the last 2 weeks so feel like I´ve forgotten lots already.  We are getting to practice a bit more here in Merida seeing as we´re out and about in the city a bit more on own now. 
A few from the group are here doing volunteer work, so it´s good to hook up again.  Most of them are busy with that, so Steph and I, who are the only free ones, will do some of the sporty adventure stuff in the mornings at least. 
Anyhow, 22hrs in a bus actually flew by. Had lots to think about, leaving Playa Colorada and all.  And, it was good to start the bus ride out with a lack of sleep cause I was actually able to sleep on the bus, so no complaints there.
Sorry for my English.. it´s been corrupted by these Europeans =)  I look forward to speaking Canadian when I get home again!
Just a brief entry for tonight.  Things are cheaper here in Merida.  25bs for a taxi that would be 50bs in playa.  (divide by 8 for USD) Food too is quite a bit cheaper. And the exchange rate we get here is better too.  Just how it goes I guess. 
The posada (hostel-hotel) here has a HOT shower. We´re pretty excited after basically 2 months.  We had one encounter with warm temperamental showers in Santa Elena after the Roraima hike but nothing like this. Is half-an-hour too long for a shower? Not in this case..  Cheers to hot showers. Cheers to paragliding en la  menaƱa. 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Plans & Kites

Sooo.. about making plans.  As I mentioned I´m learning in Venezuela to make less plans =)
I´ve been able to just go with the flow a bit here and it´s been kinda adventurous and fun.  The 8 week program has now finished and the group has dismanteled a bit. We spent our last weekend together by visiting an Island about 3hrs away (by ferry) called Margarita Island.  It´s a popular vacation destination for Venezuelans, so the weekend packed the beaches out with Venezuelans.  We are staying in El Yaque which is considered the safest beach on the island.  Full of Europeans kite surfing.  We met some of the top Kite Surfers in the world which has been cool. We were scheduled to leave Sunday, however... Steph and I, who were both a bit enamored with the whole sport of Kite Surfing started dreaming of staying for a week to learn how to do it! Soo.. when you don´t have plans that are set in stone.. you can do things like that. So, we ´lived the dream´ =) and stayed on a week here in Margarite just the two of us. 
Kite Surfing is much dependent on the weather, so with 2 days of not great winds... our level hasn´t advanced very quickly.  But our tans are finally filling back in, and I believe our shorts tans from hiking are disappearing.. bonuus.  Being here has definately wet my appetite to keep trying if I get the chance again. So now when someone asks what I did in Venezuela, my answer will be.. ´I learned to fly a kite!¨ =)
We will leave Margarita today, spend a couple days back at Jakera Camp before heading off to my final destination which is a city called Merida.  I had considered moving on to Peru with Laura, but the time was going to be more than I could afford this time around, and the cost was creeping up too. Soo, Merida! is a more mountainous area in Venezuela, and one of the last main destinations one must visit while here.  I think I will feel like I´ve really seen most of Venezuela after getting to the East side of the country.  We´ve covered quite a lot of ground.  About 4 people from the group have gone on to Merida already for their final month of Volunteer work with the program. I think I will be able to get in on the Spanish classes while I´m there, and likely do some adventuring with Steph. Apparently there is lots to do and see.
Anyway, it´s 11 am here and the beach is calling. Just a few hours left here in Margarita.
Trusting you all are well, and look forward to seeing you soon!