Ports of call – Trabzon, Turkey

Oct 07 - Trabzon20

From Constanta, Romania, we set sail across almost the full width of the Black Sea to the Map of Black & Aegean Seasport of Trabzon in northern-eastern Turkey.  The city was theOct 07 - on board Constellation54 site of one of the key battles between the Ottoman and Russian armies during the Caucasus Campaign of World War 1, which resulted in the capture of Trabzon by the Russians in April 1916.  The Russians caused a massive destruction in Trabzon, banning muslim mosques and forcing Turks Tarbzon-limanito leave the city.  The Russian army ultimately retreated from the city and eastern Turkey with the Russian Revolution of 1917.  Trabzon was also a major extermination centre during the Armenian genocide.  In 1920 Trabzon again became a part of Turkey which started a mass exodus of Greeks from Trabzon and the area moving to the new Greek state.

Oct 07 - Trabzon02 Oct 07 - Trabzon116Oct 07 - Trabzon09

Oct 07 - Trabzon101Trabzon is famous throughout Turkey for its anchovies andOct 07 - Trabzon114 major imports which include hazelnuts and tea.  On arrival we walked up the Uzun Sikak, one of the busiest pedestrian shopping streets in Trabzon.  The narrow cobblestone streets were shoulder to shoulder with people.  People were very

Oct 07 - Trabzon82friendly and especially the men gathered in parks and on benches to talk and have a smoke.  A statue in the square portrays Attaturk, the father of modern day Turkey.  He is well respected among Turks and his name appears everywhere.


Oct 07 - Trabzon101Oct 07 - Trabzon81Oct 07 - Trabzon112Oct 07 - Trabzon16Oct 07 - Trabzon85Oct 07 - Trabzon87Oct 07 - Trabzon29Oct 07 - Trabzon53Oct 07 - Trabzon77Oct 07 - Trabzon110

A taxi ride saved us a long walk uphill to the Aya Sophia Mosque.  This seems to be a familiar name among mosques as there is also a major landmark in Istanbul which is now a museum.  On the hill there are ruins of buildings, perhaps destroyed during two world wars but also a great view of the city and the harbour.

Oct 07 - Trabzon40Oct 07 - Trabzon61Oct 07 - Trabzon42

Oct 07 - Trabzon49Oct 07 - Trabzon52Oct 07 - Trabzon45Oct 07 - Trabzon56Oct 07 - Trabzon39Oct 07 - Trabzon44Oct 07 - Trabzon46Oct 07 - Trabzon43Oct 07 - Trabzon90Oct 07 - Trabzon92Oct 07 - Trabzon93Oct 07 - Trabzon22Oct 07 - Trabzon09Oct 07 - Trabzon108

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

All Hallow’s Eve – a pictorial assortment of images of Hallowe’en

We interrupt the series on Ports of Call to bring you Hallowe’en, a perspective in words and pictures over the years.  The pictures are as current as an hour ago, as well as from the family vault.  The great words are from a wise friend of ours who is an artist with words and graces our computer not enough.

1972, Barry's Bay

1972, Barry’s Bay

“The feast of All Hallows is upon us.  It was an extremely dark repudiation of the Church in its beginnings, but now it is simply a chance to do something crazy with the grandchildren.  The guys who originally planned to desroy the foundations of the faith were kind of hopeless.  How could they have foreseen the days when black lipstick would seal the deal between a Catholic and a Heretic, leading to a lifelong love, grandchildren, and the ultimate glorification of God?  Those who harboured hatred were to be sorely disappointed.  Have fun with the kids on the Hallowed Evening, and do not change one single thing.  An admirer in the fog.”                                               -McK

1985 Hallowe'en - L & M0271985 Hallowe'en - Linde028photo 2 2013 Oct 31 - Pembroke Hallowe'en2 2013 Oct 31 - Pembroke Hallowe'en6 chris & I halloween

2013 Oct 31 - Pembroke Hallowe'en5

Celebrating Hallowe’en in Malaysia

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHallowe’en is starting to catch on in Asia thanks largely  to the number of expatriates and their families that live there.  I have noticed a few differences between Hallowe’en in Malaysia and in Canada.  Hallowe’en displays in the stores and malls are even bigger than in Canada, but the local children do not go door to door looking for treats (or tricks).  The trick or treat part of it is carried on2012 Oct 23 - celebrating Hallowe'en at Amaya Saujana 2 in the condos and apartment buildings where expatriates live and it usually involves groups of children and parents with cameras, accompanied by security personnel.  The other big difference is that even if you did go outside in Malaysia, you could go with shorts and sandals under your costume because the temperature rarely goes below 25 degrees celsius at night.

.2012 Oct 31 - Hallowe'en2  2012 Oct 31 - our entrance on Hallowe'en2012 Oct 31 - Hallowe'en at Amaya Saujana

This could have been an interesting picture if I was a little quicker with the camera.  These muslim ladies are not dressed for Hallowe'en, this just happens to be their work uniform, wherever it is that they work, and it just happened to be October 31st!

This could have been an interesting picture if I was a little quicker with the camera. These muslim ladies were not dressed for Hallowe’en, it just happened that  their work uniforms were the Hallowe’en colours,  and it just happened to be October 31st!

Meanwhile, back in Canada…

Get your coats on because the temperature in Pembroke this Hallowe’en is 2 degrees celsius, plus wind.

1985 Hallowe'en - Linde028_face0Halloween has Celtic origins. In pre-Christian times, many people believed that spirits from the underworld and ghosts of dead people could visit the world of the living on the night of October 31. These spirits could harm the living or take them back to the underworld. To avoid this, people started dressing up as ghosts and spirits if they left their homes on October 31. They hoped that this would confuse the ghosts and spirits.photo 1

Halloween was also a time, when spirits might give messages to people. In some areas, it was traditional for unmarried girls to poor molten lead into water. The shape that the lead took when it hardened was seen as a clue to the professions of their future husbands. Halloween traditions were brought to Canada by Irish and Scottish immigrants. Halloween is now celebrated in a range of other countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland and Australia.

2014 Oct 30 - Miss Adie's Hallowe'en Parade7lowres

2014 Oct 30 - Miss Adie's Hallowe'en Parade12014 Oct 30 - Miss Adie's Hallowe'en Parade5lowres 2014 Oct 30 - Miss Adie's Hallowe'en Parade6lowres2014 Oct 31 - Hallowe'en052014 Oct 31 - Hallowe'en072014 Oct 31 - Hallowe'en152014 Oct 31 - Hallowe'en102014 Oct 31 - Hallowe'en02

2014 Oct 17 - Orville's pumpkin patch2

309554_233011883424697_533224463_nOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Keep smiling!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Ports of call – Constanta, Romania

Oct 05 - bus to Bucharest06Constanta is EuropOct 05 - Constanta5e’s 4th largest port as well as Romania’s oldest city.  The nearby Danube Delta has been recognized as a world heritage site by Unesco.  For our time ashore we did an excursion to Bucharest, the capital of Romania.  Romania was described by the tour guide as plains, hills and mountains.  The plains extend from the Black Sea coast inland to around Bucharest, after which it starts to get hilly.  Much further inland in the area of Transylvania you encounter the mountains.   Half way between Constanta and Bucharest you can see the five domed towers of the Cernavoda Nuclear Facility, a Candu Reactor plant built by Canadians along the Danube River.

Oct 05 - bus from Bucharest to Costanta11

Oct 05 - bus from Bucharest to Costanta17

Oct 05 - bus to Bucharest09Oct 05 - bus to Bucharest10

Oct 05 - Bucharest14Bucharest is sometimes called the ‘Little Paris of the East’ because of the French influence with the architecture, the tree-lined boulevard similar to Paris’ Champs-Elysees andOct 05 - Bucharest01 there is even an Arch of Triumph.  There is a definite contrast of architectural styles between the 19th century buildings and the drab, gray blocks put up during the Russian occupation.

Oct 05 - Bucharest39Oct 05 - Bucharest02Oct 05 - Bucharest15Oct 05 - Bucharest27Oct 05 - Bucharest10Oct 05 - bus to Bucharest15

Oct 05 - Bucharest Parliament31

The ‘House of the People’ was meant to be the seat of the communist regime in Bucharest, but was never completely finished before Romania embraced democracy.  Rather than destroy the symbol of Russian Communism it was finished to become the Palace of Parliament.  The palace is the world’s second largest civil-administraive structure after the U.S. Pentagon.  It is built entirely with materials and products from Romania, including marble, cherry and walnut paneling, crystal chandeliers, and hand-woven tapestries, carpets and draperies.

Oct 05 - Bucharest Parliament33Oct 05 - Bucharest Parliament20 Oct 05 - Bucharest Parliament19 Oct 05 - Bucharest Parliament17 Oct 05 - Bucharest Parliament16 Oct 05 - Bucharest Parliament12 Oct 05 - Bucharest Parliament11 Oct 05 - Bucharest Parliament08 Oct 05 - Bucharest Parliament07

Nadia Comaneci's wedding reception was in this grand ballroom in 1996.

Nadia Comaneci’s wedding reception was held in this grand ballroom in 1996.

Oct 05 - Bucharest Parliament06

We had lunch in a very crowded restaurant, even Oct 05 - Bucharest restaurant14though it was after 2pm, in a beer hall bistro in one of the old buildings in downtown Bucharest.  We were entertained by dancers in period costume and also live music provided by a duo on violin and keyboard.  The luncheon special was Hungarian Goulash.

Oct 05 - Bucharest restaurant20Oct 05 - Bucharest restaurant11

Oct 05 - Bucharest restaurant12

After that it was back on the bus and the three hour drive back to Constanta where the Constellation was waiting for us.

Oct 05 - bus to Bucharest12Oct 05 - bus from Bucharest to Constanta25 Oct 05 - bus from Bucharest to Constanta22

Oct 05 - bus from Bucharest to Constanta28

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Ports of call – Burgas, Bulgaria

Oct 03 - Nessebar110

Oct 02 - on board Constellation18After leaving Istanbul, our first port of call was Burgas, Bulgaria, the most westerly port on the Black Sea.  It was an overnight sail arriving inOct 03 - Bourgas01 port the following morning.  Being October it is the off season and the beaches are pretty much deserted.  The town of Burgas seemed relatively small and didn’t offer a whole lot for the tourist or sightseeer.  We hopped on a city Oct 03 - Bourgas07bus and travelled up the coast to the ancient seaside town of Nessebar.  The guide mentioned thatNessebar Bulgaria has only three highways and it certainly looks that way on the map.  The country has a population of 7.3 million people but it holds the unenvieable record for the world’s most rapidly shrinking population which has decreased annually for the past 23 Oct 03 - Nessebar86years.  The ancient part of Nessebar is on a peninsula (previously an island) and connected to the mainland by a narrow man-made isthmus.  It has an abundance of historic buildings, Eastern Orthodox church ruins and Unesco sites. Archeological excavations are still going on today.  We spent a couple of hours walking around the ancient town of Nessebar and found it very clean with cobblestone walkways and interesting alleys and shops.  We had lunch at a seaside restaurant and then boarded the bus for the 45-minute ride back to our ship in the port of Burgas.

Oct 03 - Nessebar121

Oct 03 - Bourgas14Oct 03 - Bourgas11

Oct 03 - Bourgas16Oct 03 - Bourgas15

Oct 03 - Nessebar103Oct 03 - Nessebar100Oct 03 - Bourgas06 Oct 03 - Nessebar94 Oct 03 - Nessebar90 Oct 03 - Nessebar01 Oct 03 - Nessebar82Oct 03 - Nessebar84Oct 03 - Nessebar122

Oct 03 - Nessebar69Oct 03 - Nessebar42Oct 03 - Nessebar45Oct 03 - Nessebar34Oct 03 - Nessebar65Oct 03 - Nessebar12 Oct 03 - Nessebar58 Oct 03 - Nessebar19 Oct 03 - Nessebar18 Oct 03 - Nessebar79Oct 03 - Nessebar114Oct 03 - Nessebar56Oct 03 - Nessebar29Oct 03 - Nessebar17

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Our Eastern Europe Cruise

Map - path & direction of ConstellationAs a sort of farewell to three years of living in Malaysia, we decided to give ourselves a treat by booking a cruise of the Black and Aegean Seas out of Istanbul, Turkey.  It was our first ever cruise and it began on Arlene’s birthday in case we were looking for another excuse for booking.

Oct 12 - on board Constellation69Oct 12 - on board Constellation54 Oct 11 - on board Constellation19lowres

We arrived in Istanbul, Turkey, three days before the cruise began so we could have some time to explore this exciting city which straddles two continents.  Our time here was spent mainly in the Old City on the European side of the Bosphorus Strait.

Oct 07 - Trabzon119Oct 07 - Trabzon120Oct 10 - on board Constellation09 Oct 10 - on board Constellation04 Oct 07 - Trabzon117Oct 08 - Constellation in port at Sinop4

As we sailed out of port and headed north towards the Black Sea, we passed under two magnificent bridges over the Bosphorus Strait linking Europe and Asia.  The Bosphorus Bridge built in 1973 is just over one kilometre long and is one of the longest single-span suspension bridges in the world.  A pilot came on board to advise the crew on navigation through the strait.  A fee is paid for this service yet the pilot assumes no responsibility should an incident happen.

Oct 02 - on board Constellation19Oct 02 - on board Constellation12Oct 02 - on board Constellation13Oct 02 - on board Constellation11Oct 02 - on board Constellation14Oct 01 - Bosphorus cruise01 Oct 09 - cruising the Bosphorus Straits56Oct 09 - cruising the Bosphorus Straits54Oct 01 - Bosphorus cruise30Oct 06 - on board Constellation07Oct 13 - on board Constellation31 Oct 04 - on board Constellation23

Our ship was the Celebrity Constellation and for twelve days and nights it became a floating community of over 2,000 passengers and crew.  Our room was an inside stateroom on the third deck, meaning it didn’t have a port hole view of the sea.  Though efficiently small, it was clean and comfortable without being claustrophobic.  We have had smaller hotel rooms in Japan and Singapore.  The cleaning staff were very polite and friendly.  Often when they unnamedsaw us coming down the corridor, they would unlock and hold the door open for us.  Sometimes we would find some Turkish Delights on our bed.  Each day we received a copy of Celebrity Today, the cruise newsletter, telling us about the upcoming port of call and what entertainment was on that day.  There was also a 2-page news summary called ‘The Canadian’ to bring you up to date on important events back home, which could be picked up in the main foyer.

A towel 'sea turtle' made up on our bed

A towel ‘sea turtle’ made up on our bed

Oct 10 - on board Constellation02Oct 12 - on board Constellation48 Oct 02 - on board Constellation18

The next morning we arrived at our first port of call at Burgas, Bulgaria.  The ship arrived in the early morning, so by the time passengers woke up, the gang way was ready and they could simply swipe their ‘sea pass’ card to go ashore for the day or for a few hours to grab a coffee and sample the Bulgarian food.  The next port of call was Varna, up the coast in Bulgaria but despite being the largest port on the Black Sea we were not able to dock the Constellation.  Usually passengers would be tendered in to the port but because the waters were so rough Captain Nickolaus made a decision to abort this landing and have a day at sea as we headed for Constanta, Romania.

Oct 03 - Bourgas16Oct 03 - Bourgas11Oct 02 - on board Constellation21Oct 08 - on board Constellation03Oct 10 - on board Constellation14Oct 04 - on board Constellation01Oct 05 - Constanta5

From Constanta, it’s a long cruise right across the Black Sea from west to east, to the Oct 12 - on board Constellation33Eastern Turkish seaport town of Trabzon.  Some of the world’s seas are quite small and more along the size of our Canadian Great Lakes but not the Black Sea.  It is Oct 10 - on board Constellation33approximately ten times larger than Lake Superior so it is a sail of two nights and a day.  For that day at sea, all that you see in any direction is water, but there is no way that you could be bored in these huge cruise ships as there are so many amenities and things to do.  For entertainment there was the Celebrity Theatre which looked like a smaller version of Ottawa’s National Arts Centre, where bands, musicals, musicians, comedians, aerialists, a hypnotist  and presenters performed daily.  For the gambler there was a casino on board.  Oct 09 - cruising the Bosphorus Straits15There’s a fitness centre, massage studios, basketball court, Oct 10 - on board Constellation31walking/jogging track, outdoor and indoor pools, spas and a photographic studio.  Shoppers are not left out, as you could buy Apple products, watches, men’s and women’s clothing, alcohol, Christmas ornaments and there was even an art auction.  Purchases were only available when the ship was at sea and not in port, and were tax free.  For music lovers there was a 4 piece rock band, a violin & cello trio from Russia, a solo singer/guitarist,  DJ and LadyOct 04 - on board Constellation06 Sax duo and the Ocean Band which backed the featured guest musicians.  If this was not enough there were other musicians and comedians who came aboard for 2 or 3 Oct 10 - on board Constellation23shows.  I really enjoyed a band from Philadelphia called Emily and the Nightcaps.  A favourite comedian was a Canadian from Vancouver by the name of Sean O’Shay.  Presenters in the Celebrity Theatre gave talks about the history, culture and geography of many of the countries we were visiting.  Apple techs gave lectures on the latest Mac products and technologies.  The 91,000 ton Constellation debuted in 20002.  It’s entrance atrium on the 3rd deck has a marble staircase.  There are a pair of curved sea-view elevators to whisk you from the gangway on Deck 1 all the way to the top of the ship on Deck 11.

Oct 10 - on board Constellation21Oct 10 - on board Constellation19 Oct 10 - on board Constellation18Oct 04 - on board Constellation16 Oct 07 - on board Constellation42 Oct 07 - on board Constellation41 Oct 09 - on board Constellation07 Oct 10 - on board Constellation07 Oct 10 - on board Constellation05 Oct 09 - on board Constellation01Oct 07 - on board Constellation51Oct 12 - on board Constellation34Oct 12 - on board Constellation45 Oct 12 - on board Constellation44 Oct 12 - on board Constellation42 Oct 12 - on board Constellation41 Oct 13 - on board Constellation22 Oct 13 - on board Constellation29 Oct 13 - on board Constellation26 Oct 13 - on board Constellation21Oct 11 - on board Constellation61 Oct 11 - on board Constellation59 Oct 11 - on board Constellation53 Oct 11 - on board Constellation26 Oct 10 - on board Constellation41 Oct 10 - on board Constellation22 Oct 13 - on board Constellation36Oct 07 - on board Constellation39TOct 08 - on board Constellation04here are 10 bars and lounges and if it’s peace and quiet you want, there are many hide-away spots with comfortable chairs where you can read your book or use your iPad.  The ship claims to have WiFi available, and although that’s true it is very expensive.  Most of the crew wait unti they’re in a port where they can access free WiFi.

Oct 12 - on board Constellation56 Oct 09 - on board Constellation03 Oct 08 - on board Constellation02Oct 10 - on board Constellation06Oct 04 - on board Constellation08

Oct 12 - on board Constellation03Oct 12 - on board Constellation05 Oct 12 - on board Constellation08 Oct 12 - on board Constellation53 Oct 12 - on board Constellation51

Oct 06 - on board Constellation14Oct 06 - on board Constellation28 Oct 09 - on board Constellation08Oct 13 - on board Constellation30Oct 13 - on board Constellation04Oct 13 - on board Constellation35Oct 12 - on board Constellation68Oct 12 - on board Constellation67Oct 10 - on board Constellation38Oct 06 - on board Constellation03Oct 04 - on board Constellation02

From Trabzon we sailed west to the town of Sinop and then back through the Bosphorus Strait, once more past Istanbul.  Everyone was out on the decks to view the bridges, mosques, palaces, towers and other sights of the Old City as we cruised into the Sea of Marmara.

Oct 09 - cruising the Bosphorus Straits06Oct 09 - cruising the Bosphorus Straits20Oct 09 - cruising the Bosphorus Straits31Oct 09 - cruising the Bosphorus Straits41Oct 07 - on board Constellation07Oct 09 - cruising the Bosphorus Straits26Oct 09 - cruising the Bosphorus Straits25

From the Sea of Marmara we entered the Dardanelles Strait which connects to the Aegean Sea.  Water flows in both directions along the strait via a surface current in a westerly direction and via an undercurrent in the opposite direction.  This is the reason the Black Sea is a mixture of sea water and fresh water which comes from the rivers flowing into the sea. Oct 12 - on board Constellation57 Food is always plentiful on cruise ships and the Constellation was no exception.  Several Oct 12 - on board Constellation62eateries around the ship included the Ocean View dining room, the San Marco (main dining room), Martini Bar, Cellar Masters, Bistro on Five and the Tuscan Grill.  Room service operated 24-7 to satisfy your hunger at any time of the day or night.  There were two formal dining nights for those who wished to dress in a tux or suit.  Oct 12 - on board Constellation64Otherwise the Ocean View was available for more casual cafeteria-style dining.  After a day ashore, we made our way to the San Marco where we had our same table for six every evening for dinner and were served by the same waiters, hostesses & sommelier.  Afterwards we would Oct 13 - on board Constellation32take in one of the exciting performance at the Celebrity Theatre.  One of my favourite entertainers on board was Sean O’Shea, a Canadian from Vancouver who was described as Rich Little meets Jim Carrey.   A nice thing about these acts were that they  lasted 45 minutes to an hour, so that you could then retreat to one of the lounges and listen to some music until it was time to retire for the evening.

Oct 13 - on board Constellation01 Oct 12 - on board Constellation66 Oct 12 - on board Constellation65 Oct 10 - on board Constellation18 Oct 10 - on board Constellation17 Oct 10 - on board Constellation13 Oct 09 - on board Constellation05lowres Oct 09 - on board Constellation02 Oct 06 - on board Constellation01 Oct 02 - on board Constellation22Oct 05 - on board Constellation01Oct 02 - on board Constellation20Oct 04 - on board Constellation03Oct 04 - on board Constellation04Oct 11 - on board Constellation51 Oct 11 - Constellation in port at Athens1

Entering Greek water our first stop in the Agean Sea was the island of Mykonos.  After spending a few hours walking around the town we returned to the Constellation and an overnight sail took us to Peraeus, which is the Oct 11 - on board Constellation08port of Athens.  Arlene & I took a 4-hour bus tour of the city which took us to the Acropolis, the Olympic Stadium, the temple of Olympian Zeus and other archeological sites in this capital city which is one of the oldest cities in the world. From Athens we sailed overnight through the Greek islands to the town Oct 12 - Kusadasi08of Kusadasi in Turkey.  Kusadasi is the gateway to the ancient city of Ephesus and the ruins dating back to 1400 BC and even beyond that.  As I had done quite a bit of Oct 12 - Ephesus68lowreswalking over cobblestones and hills in Mykonos and Athens, I decided to stay on board Constellation and have a rest day.  While in port in Kusadasi, a Celebrity sister ship, the Reflection, an even bigger boat than ours,  docked alonside the pier.  Passengers on both boats waved to each other like we were family.

Oct 11 - on board Constellation14Oct 12 - on board Constellation22 Oct 12 - on board Constellation15Oct 12 - on board Constellation13Oct 12 - on board Constellation23 Oct 12 - on board Constellation17

From Kusadasi we sailed overnight through the Dardanelles Strait back into the Sea of Marmara.  We slipped past the former battle site of Galipoli, into the Bosphorus Strait and after 12 days we were back in our home port at Istanbul.  We had sailed 2,250 nautical miles in the Black Sea, the Aegean Sea, the Sea of Marmara, the Bosphorus Strait and the Dardanelles Strait.Oct 11 - on board Constellation23Oct 11 - on board Constellation42Oct 10 - on board Constellation30Oct 11 - on board Constellation47

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Re-adjusting to life in Canada

2014 July 17 - Fort William64lowres

We have been in Canada for almost a month now. Normally on our visits home from OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMalaysia we would now be thinking about getting on a plane for that long, long flight back, but this time we’re in Canada to stay. The jet lag is long gone. We are pretty good at driving on the right side of the road although Arlene still occasionally walks around to the passenger side but soon realizes there is no steering wheel there. I sometimes will put the wipers on when I’m trying to signal and vica versa.

car park at Publka Mall, Kuala Lumpur

Car park at Publka Mall, Kuala Lumpur

Car park at Bayshore Shopping Centre, Ottawa

Car park at Bayshore Shopping Centre, Ottawa






It has been a cool July on many days but when the sun decides to shine it gets pretty hot. Unlike Kuala Lumpur where the temperature is consistantly 34 degrees give or take a degree, Pembroke mornings have been in the low 20s and some days as hot as 38 degrees.   The air is fresh and we don’t have to worry about any haze or smoke from fires drifting over from Sumatra.


Smiling Security guards at Taylor's College

Smiling Security guards at Taylor’s College

It’s nice to be able to walk up the street to my friend’s house and knock on his door and not have to ring a buzzer for someone to open a gate. In the Klang Valley in Malaysia, security guards are everywhere. Not so here – I saw the

Security guard at Bayshore Shopping Centre

Security guard at Bayshore Shopping Centre

first one today at the Bayshore Shopping Centre. Leaving Bayshore Shopping Centre, signs routed me around a city block in a Malaysian fashion, when I could’ve just turned right and joined the road to the Queensway.


In Kuala Lumpur and the outlying cities, construction was 2014 Aug 03 - James St consteverywhere. They are drilling a new MRT tunnel under the city. The LRT is being extended almost everywhere you turn. On a much smaller scale we have construction going on all over Pembroke. Trying to find a route to cross the city without detours is impossible and ‘delays are expected’ as the sign says. In Ottawa there is also construction of an LRT.Boring in the city - 12014 July 08 - LRT Tunnel from Ottawa Citizen

In Malaysia, during the day I would spend my time in the air-conditioned comfort of our OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAcondo working on our blog or managing my images on the computer. Here in Canada, there are plenty of things going on outside our house that needs our attention. We have painted the house and changed the colour from gray with burgundy shutters to a cream with light grey shutters. Still looking very much like the New England style home that it is. In the past I have always painted the 2-storey house by brush myself, but this time I have passed the job on to our youngest son, Liam and he has done a fantastic job. Also the roof shingles needed to be replaced so a contractor was hired to do that. There is lots of yard work such as trimming the gardens and hedges 2014 July 31 - shingling09which have grown out of control over the years we’ve been away. Mowing the lawn is a weekly chore unlike Malaysia where it gets trimmed by a weed wacker a few times a year. Never quite understood why grass grows so slowly in a rain forest country, yet in Canada lawns need to be mowed at least once a week during the season. There are a few more projects to do such as tearing down our garden shed and finding a carpenter to build a new one, but we’re starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel, as well as at the end of the bank!

2014 July 11 - our home12014 Aug 05 - painting finished2





Today we made a trip to IKEA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAin Ottawa to get some furniture for my home office. After I find someone with a strong back to carry it up the stairs, I can begin my favourite job (NOT!) of assembling it.


2013 June 21 - Fergie's Chip WagonGone is the nasi lamak, roti canai, cendol, chicken fish and 2014 July 17 - Fort William50croppedthe hawker stalls. In it’s place we have BBQ hot dogs & hamburgers, pork sauasage, marinated chicken, Atlantic salmon, poutine, and French fry wagons.

2014 Aug 05 - gas prices at Canadian TireOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAlso gone are the days of 2 ringits, 10 sens per litre of petrol.  We are now paying almost double that for a litre of gas at $1.30 per litre. Travel is another thing we’ll have to curb now because what they consider a bargain here would never fly (no pun intended) in Malaysia. Porter Airlines advertises a trip from Ottawa to New York City, a flight of one hour or less for $267 one way. No one in Malaysia would pay the equivalent of 750 ringgits for a one hour flight from Kuala Lumpur to Langkawi. Oh boy, we definitely miss Air Asia and Firefly and the convenience of the nearby Subong Airport.

2014 Aug 05 - Arlene, Josie & McKay1cropped2014 Aug 03 - Arlene & Arcadia1croppedBesides the house work we have kept ourselves occupied with our grandchildren.  Our2014 Aug 03 - Thea12 fourth grandchild arrived shortly after we landed and along with our four adult children and their partners, this is probably the most important reason why we had to return to Canada after three years.  Most things around the home should be in place soon for the visit of family members and friends later this week.

2014 Aug 03 - community of the year2014 Aug 03 - Pembroke St Bridge3 2014 Aug 03 - Lake St Bridge2

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Leaving Subang Jaya Truly Asia

2014 July 07 - KL to HK14

It is never easy leaving a place where you have lived for a considerable 2011 June 29 - Amaya Saujana signtime.  In our case it was three years in Shah Alam, Malaysia.  Shah Alam is a city of over one million people just south of Kuala Lumpur.  Our condo was on a quiet street with the Saujana Golf Club as a neighbour.  I would often walk the street in the morning and see monkeys at one end and monitor lizards at the other.  The yoga studio that Arlene went to was nearby and Ninnie the instructor became a good friend and mentor to Arlene.2012 July 20 - Arlene & Ninny  Condo neighbours Fong and Sue & Gareth became life-long friends and also for me in particular, the best travel partners one could have.   A new mall called Citta (cheet-ah) opened up just before we arrived in the country and was across the Airport Road.  The Subang Airport which is mainly a domestic airport but does have some flights to Singapore, Sumatra and Thailand, was almost walking distance from 2014 June 22 - Subang Jaya SS15 - 2our home.  Our ‘neck of the woods’ was Subang Jaya where Arlene worked at Taylor’s College, and many of the restaurants and shops we frequented were there – Asia Cafe, Coffee Bean, Sheakspeare, Good Friends, the2014 July 03 - SJ picture framer framing shop, the hair salon (or saloon as they say in Malaysia), the dentist, Giant grocery store and many others.  We also frequented Ara Damansara and the Oasis Square restaurants & Jac’s on 8th; Sunway Pyramid Mall2014 June 13 - Sunway Pyramid Mall1 and area, Popular City Restoran and Frank’s condo during his time in Malaysia; Subang Ria area where the Sime Darby Medical Centre is, and both Arlene and I spent time there as patients, my walking area around the lake, Boulevard Condos where Jim & Karen lived (and still live), as well as other Canadian teachers;  Sri 2011 Dec. 18 - Sime Darby Healthcare FacilityHartamas where Taylor’s College IB campus is located and the attached Plaza Damas mall and attached condos of our good friends Lauren, Josh & Pat.  Sri Hartamas is within the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur and we would come here so Arlene could participate in the zumba classes and I would often have dinner with Josh 2014 June 07 - palace14and use the pool and hot tub.  Imagine, hot tubs in Malaysia.  Views of the Sultan’s Palace and the skyline of Kuala Lumpur were incredible from Lauren’s 17th floor condo.

2014 July 03 - friends8lowres

As much as we had our favourite haunts to go to, it is the people that we 2014 July 05 - Delicia & Arlene1will truly miss.  Arlene had many close friends among her staff at Taylor’s College, in particular Ms Hew, Delicia, Sharon, Sow Fong, Peng Lan and Lay Tin.  Meeting Delicia led us to her in-laws, Mary & Gary and their family.  They always included us along with their extended family and friends in Chinese New Year celebrations.  When our children visited us they also were invited and made toOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA feel comfortable with the Ng family.  Relationships in Malaysia always involve food and we had many meals and stimulating conversations with Peng Lan and her husband Lim.  Once I discovered 2014 June 30 - steamboat restaurant06lowresthe Subang Ria walking paths by the lake, I became a daily user.  It didn’t take long to meet many of the friendly walkers there.  Sam was the first person I met and to me he was the Mayor of Subang Ria because he knew most of the walkers there.  Nathan was a 2014 June 30 - Subang Ria06croppeddedicated and fast walker who came every day.  Although he was fleet footed, he had no problem slowing to my pace for the sake of conversation and friendship.  I’ll always remember the friends I made during my walks.  While at an Elton John concert in Genting, I sat beside Rathika & Kana who, as fate would have it, became close friends 2013 Mar 22 - Dennis & Rathikaof ours along with their daughters Gaya and Abhi.  Rathika had always dreamed about publishing a vegetarian recipe book with many of the great dishes she remembered her mother making.  I was honoured to be a small part of her book* by helping out with the photography.  There are many other people who became very good friends of ours in our short time in2011 Oct. 26 - Murali's Family1 Malaysia, and I can’t possibly mention them all here for fear of leaving someone out.  Malaysia is made up mainly of people know as Malays, who make up the muslim population.  A smaller percentage are of Chinese ethnicity, and another part are of Indian heritage.  We are proud to have made friends among all these groups of people.  Malaysians have embraced the many cultures 2014 June 26 - lunch at Ranju's1and religions within this relatively small country and live in peace and harmony.  Perhaps the common denominator is their friendliness and love of food.  Despite our very limited palates – Arlene being vegetarian and me just a picky eater – these people befriended us and took us in.  We have become better individuals because we have known these generous  people and our time in Malaysia has truly been a rich experience and an amazing adventure for us.

2014 July 02 - Arlene & Fong22014 July 01 - Arlene & Ai Lee1lowres 2014 June 29 - Rathika, Kana & Gaia22014 July 02 - Jim & Karen at Pantry Restaurant22014 June 26 - friends at Oasis Square2014 July 05 - dinner with Ng Family012014 July 06 - Arlene, Hani & Yazid22014 July 06 - visit from Chan142014 June 30 - Subang Ria10lowres2014 June 30 - Subang Ria04cropped2014 July 04 - Sow Fong & Arlene2Restoran22014 June 26 - lunch at Ranju's9lowres2014 June 23 - Siti Fadzilah Bt Ahmad Zakri2014 July 05 - Sophie, Shane & James with Arlene & Dennis12014 June 13 - Oasis Square7lowres2014 June 07 - Arlene, Lim, Peng Lan, Lexi42014 July 06 - Zenders Restaurant08

The trip home is never easy, no matter which route you take.  KL to Hong Kong is almost four hours.  From there we boarded an Air Canada Boeing 777 for the 15-hr polar route to Toronto, Ontario.  After a short lay-over in Toronto we take a short 50-minute flight to Ottawa, the capital of Canada.  When you’re flying east as in this case, we arrived 30 hours later on the same day that we departed.  However that doesn’t mean you get a discount on the jet lag.  We were groggy for a week before we could say we were over the jet lag.  At the Ottawa Airport we rented a car and drove the remaining 150 kilometres to Pembroke.  Here are some pictures of our trip beginning at 6:30am when we got in the taxi to go to the airport.

2014 July 07 - drive to the airport022014 July 07 - drive to the airport01 2014 July 07 - drive to the airport03 2014 July 07 - drive to the airport05 2014 July 07 - drive to the airport06 2014 July 07 - drive to the airport08 2014 July 07 - drive to the airport11 2014 July 07 - drive to the airport122014 July 07 - KL to HK05 2014 July 07 - KL to HK04 2014 July 07 - KL to HK13 2014 July 07 - KL to HK20 2014 July 07 - KL to HK12

Leaving the east coast of Malaysia behind as we head out over the South China Sea.

Leaving the east coast of Malaysia behind as we head out over the South China Sea.

Arrival in Toronto at sunset and waiting for the final flight to Ottawa.

Arrival in Toronto at sunset and waiting for the final flight to Ottawa.


*Rathika’s book is called The Healthy Vegetarian and although it’s almost sold out she has plans to offer it as an electronic book.  Anyone wishing more information can do so by contacting me.

front coverback cover247

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment