These small images link to photographs found in my currently-active Flickr album.

Friday, August 23, 2019

Want to Put a Spare $25 to Work?

I made my first Kiva loan in 2009. For a number of years, I was quite active by loaning the same funds over and over. They went to 39 low-income individuals in 24 countries for a variety of different purposes. However, I cashed out completely a couple of years ago.

Reactivated my KIVA Account

Today, I reactivated my account. I was happy to discover it was still there. I added $50 to help fund two micro-loans. Please consider joining me on kiva.org.


Thursday, August 22, 2019

Getting One That'll Last

We like using things that last a long time. We had a family doctor who was our age. While that was great in as far as he knew what we were experiencing, he retired. Jay's cardiologist also recently retired too. Having a family doctor is most important as one grows older. We started asking about doctors who were taking on new patients.

Walk to the Doctor
Now, we can walk across Columbia Street to see our doctor.

There's a medical clinic just across the street. When I visited a few weeks ago, they recommended a brand-new physician who would be practicing there. We set up an appointment for today as we were away last week visiting Montreal. We saw him at 11:15 for a joint appointment, and luckily he agreed to take us on. We had to fill out some forms so our confidential medical records could be transferred.

Yay! It feels as though we won a little lottery. Our new practitioner just got out of training, so he will be up-to-date at whatever is being taught nowadays in medical school. He might be too young to need to shave daily; however, I can pretty much bet he will not retire until well after we stop requiring a doctor!


Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Day 8 of 8 - Getting Home

Considering the amount of work that was accomplished today, we did little. Thank you, WestJet!

Our flight wasn't until 17:00 Montreal time. So we got up as usual and checked out of our Airbnb before noon. We spent some time at the Eaton Center food court. It lies right on the Metro Green Line halfway to our destination station. The 747 bus got us to the airport a bit earlier than needed but it was a pleasant place to spend an extra hour. The weather was overcast and humid and so different from our time on Mount Royal yesterday!

Some Baby Ones to YYZ

I took this photo from another gate. We were on a 737 but we noticed a lot of cute Bombardier planes which ply the clouds between Montreal and nearby destinations such as Ottawa. The domestic part of YUL is nothing special, but it seems to work. I'd rather have dependable service than fascinating decor. We'll be back in less than a month. This is the terminus city for our Boston to Montreal cruise next month. We were in port in Skagway, AK on my birthday and we'll be in Bar Harbor, ME on a different Holland America cruise for Jay's.

Our flight and SkyTrain --> Bus --> SkyTrain back to New Westminster was easy and uneventful.


Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Day 7 of 8 - Mount Royal

360°
Explore this 360° photo I took at the Mt. Royal Chalet

The weather forecast showed it was going to be a great day with no clouds and a high of about 28°C. We took the opportunity to do the Mt. Royal Park. This area sits in the middle of Montreal and is accessible directly from stairs from Peel Street in downtown. McGill University campus abuts it. However, we took bus #11 to the top from the Mount Royal neighbourhood and walked the steep stairs for lunch downtown.

Mount Royal in the Sun< Mount Royal in the Sun

Mount Royal in the Sun

Mount Royal in the Sun


Monday, August 19, 2019

Day 6 of 8 - Green, Orange, and Blue Metro Lines

Monday Montreal Metro

The weekend has ended as has Pride. We decided to get out to see things outside of the downtown core. It was cloudy this morning but things have cleared up since then. We ended up riding around the Metro system for a great part of the morning.

Monday Montreal Metro

The city of Montreal is on an island. We found that the Metro system's Orange Line actually goes north onto another island. We did that and walked back across the bridge to Henri Bourassa and the station there. We do have a bit of a fascination with public transit systems. We've explored the subway systems in many major cities around the world.

By the time we were ready for a late lunch, we were near the Eaton Centre food court again. Today, we ate at Tandori, an Indian fast food place.

Eaton Centre Food Court


Sunday, August 18, 2019

Day 5 of 8 - Bonne Fierté, Montréal!

Justin

Happy Pride, Montreal! It was a long day and a long parade.

Sunny
Flags
Hours Later

We were at Vancouver's not so long ago and it was a pleasure to be in this city today. I'm happy that my country is diverse and encourages it. I'm also happy that politicians here do not fear to show their support.


Saturday, August 17, 2019

Day 4 of 8 - The Olympic Stadium and Community Day

Saturday in Montreal

We've been walking 8 to 10 kilometers per day lately, so we sleep really well. As it is not really necessary to get onto this time zone, we've been staying up late and getting up even later.

Our 3-day transit passes ran out last night at midnight. We were contemplating whether we'd renew today and decided we would. So when entering our station at Papineau, we chose to head in the opposite direction to downtown. We recall the Olympic Stadium from our last visit. Presently the Biodome is closed for renovation and will reopen in December. We knew that but wanted to just walk a little extra.

Saturday in Montreal

Following the exercise on an overcast day, we went directly downtown and within the Metro underground we found the food court for lunch. We then walked the length of the pedestrian sections of St. Catherine Street through Le Ville. This was the designated Community Day and it was packed with locals and tourists.

Montreal is a fun city and would be my next choice as place to live in Canada. Of course, that is only because we now leave for winters. I'm not sure I could do winter in the type of cold weather which occurs here. The Metro may offer a chance to stay underground for shopping and restaurants, but one would still have to come out occasionally. Brrrr. I don't want to even think about it.

Saturday in Montreal
Saturday in Montreal

As is normal for this trip and when we're home, we had some time for a nap. In the evening we went back to the Pride grounds in the park. It is nearly in our neighbhourhood. So much diversity!

DJ Until Later Performances


Friday, August 16, 2019

Day 3 of 8 - Downtown and St. Catherine Street

We got up a bit earlier this morning. We headed downtown but by transferring to the Orange Line first. The goal was to walk explore the downtown a bit.

DSCN0696
DSCN0702

Yesterday was lovely and today cleared up nicely too. It was a little more humid today. Lots of renovation is taking place on St Catherine Street through the downtown section. In front of 'The Bay' it wasn't possible to cross the street directly due to fencing. After, we ate lunch at a Thai fast food restaurant in the McGill Metro underground.

Later, we popped back several stations and exited near the beginning of the Montreal Pride pedestrian section of St. Catherine Street.

Evening Stroll
Above the Bubbles
Crowds Always!

It was much more crowded than we expected. Tomorrow is the main Community Day. I'm sure we'll see even more people at it.

Entertainment

The activities at Faubourgs Park were more muted than last evening. What a neat venue for Pride!


Thursday, August 15, 2019

Day 2 of 8 - Old Montreal

I didn't get out of bed until 9:20. That sounded really slothful until I realized that meant it was just 6:20 back in Vancouver. It's obvious we're still a bit on west coast time.

We did head to the old Montreal as soon as we were moving.

Thursday in Montreal
Thursday in Montreal
Thursday in Montreal

We spent time walking to Montreal's Note Dame and then to Vieux Port de Montreal. We'd not seen the giant wheel here and decided it was a beautiful day for a trip on it. Actually, one trip comprises three resolutions.

Thursday in Montreal
Thursday in Montreal
Thursday in Montreal

We grabbed lunch before walking through Chinatown and back to our Metro line. We picked up a roasted chicken and the fixings to make some awesome chicken sandwiches for dinner. However, first, we took a late nap time. It felt necessary as we'd put a lot of kilometers on my Miband and my trusty sandals.

Thursday in Montreal

We did visit the celebrations at Fierte MTL. I could not believe how many people were out to see some Drag Superstars with Sasha Velour. The park was over capacity and that means thousands!

Fierte MTL


Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Day 1 of 8 - From YVR to YUL

The alarm rang at 5:20. Ye gads, is this how the masses live? It's been almost five years since an alarm clock buzzed for Jay or me to get up for work. How annoying it'd be to wake up this way!

We easily caught a passing SkyTrain at 6:25. We did a #100 bus to the other SkyTrain line and easily got off at the airport before 7:45. Neat not to have to bring along passports. We sort of associate flying with having them in hand.

Morning at YVR

WestJet boarded quickly and ably flew us to Montreal in little over four hours and a half. Getting the main bus from the YUL to downtown seemed a bit chaotic but easily manageable. We chose the #747 which ended at the Lionel Grouix Metro Station, as our eventual destination station was Papineau, also on the Green Line.

A Large Airbnb

Our Airbnb was about a 20-minute walk not far from the corner of La Fountaine Park. The keys were waiting in the mailbox and the AC was running when we got in at about 18:25, local time. That is not bad considering it was only 15:25 in Vancouver. We like the space we have for a week. It's bigger than we need but has all we require.

DSCN0648

We walked back towards our station to Metro, a big supermarket chain and bought things for breakfast. We were pretty hungry as we'd only snacked for lunch on the plane. Our place is very near to the Parc des Faubourgs, the grounds for the large array of Pride activities this week. The TV seems familiar with all our Canadian networks but when walking outside we are aware we're in a vastly different city.


Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Tomorrow's 5½ Hour Flight

We arrived in Vancouver in the summer of 1996. I do not think Jay and I boarded an airplane the following year. However, we had two trips in 1998. That spring we went to Honolulu, HI and in November we took a charter flight to Montreal, Quebec. The latter was our first taste of 'back east' as we took time to visit Quebec City and our nation's capital too.

Additionally, we spent time in The City of Saints on a cross-country road trip to Newfoundland and back. That sojourn occurred during summertime four years later. So other than a few stopovers in the Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport, we find we've not spent enough time in Montreal in years!

Jay in Montreal 1998
We had to bundle up in 1998.

It felt as though it was time to return and spend a week. We have chosen an Airbnb near La Fountaine Park and booked it until August 21st starting from tomorrow. The timing is perfect as their Pride Parade will be taking place during this weekend of the Fierté Montréal.

Time to pack a few things now, but just into backpacks so it shouldn't take long. (Screw your $30 baggage fees, WestJet!) Our flight will leave Vancouver at 9:00 AM.


Monday, August 12, 2019

It's a Fit for My Situation

(Disclaimer: Advertising is not something I EVER do on my blog. However, I'm pleased enough having found this option that I decided to post about it here.)

I'd like to talk about traveller's cheques. Forgive me, I'm old. When we started travelling extensively in the 1980's we used to depend on them. I can't quite remember the last time we purchased any. It may have been earlier in this decade when we discovered even foreign banks no longer wish to deal with these vestiges of the past.

Of course, the wide-spread use of credit cards has eased the burden of carrying around cash. Frighteningly though, nearly all Canadian cards carry a hefty 3%+ fee on foreign transactions. These add up, especially as we escape Vancouver winters in retirement. The cash-back awards simply cannot make up for the added charges.

I think I found the only cards available in the whole country without any. Still, even carrying those, from a bank called HOME TRUST, do not eliminate the extra fees on foreign ATM cash withdrawals. We're lucky to have mostly avoided that problem because we use a large, international bank. Their machines can be found in most of the locations to which we frequently travel.

Screen Capture for Blog Post

I have another solution now though. I found out about Stack's pre-paid MasterCard and accompanying app. I not only ensure I pay off all balances every month, I generally prepay funds for future purchases on all my credit cards. So Stack's liberal fee-free overseas use makes this card a viable tool in my arsenal of financial options. It provides extras such as the use of an additional virtual card and many special discounts.


Sunday, August 11, 2019

Keeping Track of Purchases through Blogging

In Canada, we've only replaced our microwave oven one other time. Our initial one buzzed, sparked, and popped one day. We replaced that afternoon with a trip to the Walmart in Queensborough. That was in January 2007.

Replacement Microwave Oven

This time a replacement was longer in coming. Since we switched over to silver appliances a few years ago, I thought the former white microwave should be retired. Not so long ago, I went to heat up a mug and hit the glass turntable just right (or wrong) enough to chip its edge. Jay, ever the practical guy, maintained it was still working okay and used tape to ensure the sharp edge would not cut. The last straw, in my mind, was when the motor that rotates the food groaned in a peculiar way. It did seem to completely recover.

Yet, when at the uptown Walmart, I noticed one which would be a perfect replacement. Our counter space is at a premium, so I walked around with a tape measure in my pocket for a while. I've taken to continue that practice as one never knows when I may come across something which needs to be measured! This 1.3 cu ft Panasonic is exactly the same width and height. It is a tad deeper but works swimmingly.

Importantly, it was marked on sale! That is always the kicker for cheapskates like myself. When we did roll the cart to checkout, we found that this particular one was not discounted. I think, perhaps, only the white ones were supposed to see the reduction. Of course, after checking out the mislabeled shelf, the manager did allow me to take advantage of the $30 discount.

I hope this new oven manages to last at least a dozen years as well.


Saturday, August 10, 2019

Our Annual Strata BBQ

I was looking forward to today's BBQ. My strata (condo) council plans one every summer. The traditional food is paid for from our yearly budget. Some residents bring ethnic food to create the perfect fusion. It is just about the only time when I get unlimited licence to eat junk food. It lived up to my expectations and then some. I ate my fill. I know I won't see those big, greasy sausages in a bun for another year.

Double Burger
Carnarvon Place Towers
Our Annual BBQ
Griller
Strata Building BBQ


Friday, August 09, 2019

A Quiet Friday

The weather has been cooler for the past few days. That's okay as I can still remember earlier in the week! Minutes ago, I took this picture from the balcony:

Eastward

This morning, I went to the clinic on the other side of Columbia Street in order to have my prescriptions renewed. Luckily, we found out they have a doctor who may be taking on new patients. While we were away last winter, our family doctor retired. It wasn't a surprise as he gave us plenty of warning. We haven't been actively searching for his replacement. Yet, we are at the time in life when it's important to have a medical professional who knows one's complete story. Dr. Huang will be practicing at the clinic here on Wednesdays, Thursday, and Fridays.

We won't be around next week to confirm through a joint appointment that he can take us on. We have a week in Montreal during the Pride celebrations there. So, I had to book for the Thursday after we get back.


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