These are eight, random "Daily Photographs" from my personal Flickr collection.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Day 03 - Life in One, As They Say

LOOKS LIKE THESE ENTRIES WILL GET THE ACCOMPANYING PHOTOS UPON OUR RETURN HOME, THANKS TO CUBAN INTERNET! IT WAS A GORGEOUS DAY TO EXPLORE.

I got up at about 8:30 although Jay was up a half hour earlier.

Hey, this is a beach location. We walked up a kilometer and a half just to see the slight wave and the folks already out swimming and sunbathing. There's a big entrance from the road next to the property at which lots of locals visit. The beach goes on and on.

Back at the hotel we put our belongings on some chairs and waded in. There is no coral; it's just sandy white sand as far as one can walk, and then some. A few Hobicats and some self-paddle boats belong to the hotel. That seemed like too much work.

After an hour and a half we came back to wash off and waded around the pool too. Today's shot of dark rum came before noon but it was twelve o'clock a little east from here. We lunched around 1:00 PM and soon prepared for a nap. That was mandatory.

I'm just up from that. The day is still young, but I can't imagine a whole lot of serious work will take place. We're saving our strength for another day in Havana tomorrow.


Thursday, September 13, 2018

Day 03 - Havana!

LOOKS LIKE THESE ENTRIES WILL GET THE ACCOMPANYING PHOTOS UPON OUR RETURN HOME, THANKS TO CUBAN INTERNET! IT WAS A GORGEOUS DAY TO EXPLORE.

By last evening we had walked around eight kilometers. Today, we uppped that number by at least three. Rather than beach and local neighbhourhood walking, we went to Havana. A free shuttle runs to Havana directly from our hotel and 10 AM. It was a few minutes late leaving this morning but we were dropped off downtown within thirty-five minutes.

We spent most all the say in Old Havana. The Capitol Building is undergoing maintenance and it looks clean and white. However, the dome was covered. Central Park was busy and as the day was pretty hot and humid, we stopped a lot on benches in the various parks.

We had an uninspiring lunch near Cathedral Square. We were pretty tired by the weather and sat for quite a while in the main area in front of the Museum of the Revolution. We befriended a dog who trusted enough to deeply sleep right by our feet.

Before walking back to the area to board our return bus at 5:00 PM, we walked to the Castle of the Point and were able to look down the length of the Malecon. This is where we'll start another day in town on Saturday. A lady at our hotel's front desk thought Saturday would be busier than weekdays as families go to enjoy the weekend by the seawall. Jay and I also decided that we may try to catch the hop/on hop/off bus then. We will be able to get to the famous sites of Cuba which are just too far to get to on foot.


Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Day 02 - On Another Island

Cuba - Day 1

Yesterday's flight went flawlessly. Our plane left Vancouver on schedule and got to Varadero just a bit after the promised time. Getting through customs didn't take long as the queues were short. As soon as we got through customs, we found a Sunwing guy who told us the bus number to look for. We didn't get wet in the tropical shower. There must have been around eight large, luxury coaches and we boarded the one heading towards Havana. A young woman guide gave us some facts and the island as we travelled. The first resorts were about 45 minutes from the airport and we had to stay onboard for about another hour. Six or eight of the passengers got off at the Atlantico.

Downtown Cuba is about 20 minutes from the hotel. We signed up for hotel shuttle for tomorrow and stayed around the hotel area today. This is full board we now sampled every meal here. Last night I had to try the free drinks and had at least three black rum shots with beer chasers. They made the musical band even better. There was a big lightning storm. The rain didn't seem special as it was doing that at home when we left but there's a difference between 15-degree rain and 30-degree rain! I liked the lightning because Vancouver hardly ever has any.

Today is a nice mix of sun and clouds. The beach stretches all the way to Havana, I guess. We walked down only about 4 of those 30 kilometres.

The Internet downloads are lightning fast but uploading is like a turtle. Might have to add photos when we get back to British Columbia.


Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Day 01 - On a Flight Today

We're on our way to Cuba right now. Actually, we're on our way to the airport first. Our Sunwing charter is supposed to leave from YVR at 8:00 AM. We'll see.

We are staying at the 'Hotel Atlantico' for a week. It's about 20 minutes outside of Havana. Will it look like this photo I found online? It probably won't as we're heading there during the middle of hurricane season.

Hotel Atlantco, Havana, Cuba

I may have to post about the week upon our return as Internet availability might be spotty.


Monday, September 10, 2018

Crossing the Continent Diagonally

It was wet most of the day. It is odd that after just a few days of rain I get terribly bored with it. It seems cold too.

We do have a trip which starts tomorrow and although it'll be warmer, it well may not be a lot brighter. We're travelling southeastward towards Cuba while tropical storms are approaching the island from the opposite direction.

We've never been to Cuba although it's always been a popular vacation spot for Canadians. The closest photograph I could find on my Flickr account was the following photo taken in Ft. Lauderdale, FL in the year 2000.

Ft. Lauderdale, FL


Sunday, September 09, 2018

Comparing Apples and Oranges

1971 Ford Pinto Print Ad

It's no secret that the first car I drove was a 1971 Ford Pinto. Thanks, dad. I think my high school yearbook has a photo of Joel Thomas lowering a 1600cc Ford Cortina engine into it during shop class. They're still infamous for blowing up in a rear-end collision, although mine never did. I'll add the category tag to this entry so you can see things I may have said about it in my eJournal and images.

Over the past few weeks, there have been a number of blog posts about my recent decision to get a 2019 Hyundai Kona Electric. I watched a recent, YouTube review showing the difference between the upcoming KIA Niro EV and the Kona. The video pointed out that the Kona is a few inches shorter. During a test drive, Jay and I did notice that the gas version has pretty cramped back seating. That is really not much of a concern as we've been driving a pickup for 22 years. It is a Ranger Supercab but has only two miniature jump seats which are not suitable for anyone but a troll.

2019 Hyundai Kona Electric

So it was serendipity when I suddenly wondered about the size of the two very different vehicles, one from my past and the other my future.
Length
Pinto 163.0 inches
Kona 164.5 inches

Width
Pinto 69.4 inches
Kona 70.8 inches
The sizes are remarkably similar, but these two vehicles have very few other specs in common. However, there's something nice when any part of life comes full circle.


Saturday, September 08, 2018

No Back to School Nowadays

Weekends seem to come at an increasingly rapid rate. I can count those remaining before our winter departure on my hands. (Given my dismal math skills, I do often require their use.) I guess I still do not have an answer for those who asked how I'd fill my time when taking early retirement. Back then, I opined that I would simply live. That's still true. This seems to be a common refrain for this blog: I've never been one to apologize for not punching a time clock.

People don't suddenly change at the onset of retirement. If one was able to fill one's time before, the same will surely occur after. People who put off things for retirement will probably not do them afterwards.

Sunwing Jet

Jay and I are fortunate to be perfectly happy planning upcoming trips and even more fortunate to have the money to do so. We started packing today for our flight to Cuba on Tuesday. It didn't take long as we're going for just seven nights. A backpack each will be enough.


Friday, September 07, 2018

Sometimes Rain is Nice

What's this? I felt a few sprinkles a few minutes ago!

2018_09_07

We assuredly need some rain as it's been a very dry summer. I am almost enjoying the dark afternoon at the moment as it feels familiar. Often the beginning of September sees a bit of moisture.

I just checked the calendar and noted we have about 10 weeks before we leave for winter. I should note that several of those weeks will be spent away too. That makes our time spent in New Westminster evermore precious. I do love this city.


Thursday, September 06, 2018

We're Retirees with Coupons

2018_09_06

Jay has a birthday coming this Saturday. As we signed up for Tradoori Flame's marketing email earlier this summer, he got a coupon offer for a free lunch buffet. Today seemed like the perfect day to drive over the river and up Scott Road. It was a little hot and hazy.

I think I ate a bit more than I should have. Though now, I can add an additional entry to this blog with the new 'category tag' of biryani!

Biryani


Wednesday, September 05, 2018

A List with 72 Places

Yesterday's entry included an old postcard from Cuba because we will soon be visiting there for seven nights; we've never been. That reminded me to update the resume which I never plan to send out. I took early retirement in anticipation of never having to work again. Yet, keeping that document up-to-date seems second nature after all these years. There is an entire section on page 1 of 2 which comprises the places to which I have wandered during my life.

I added Cuba. I put in Panama as we are also planning a week there next month. Although we are returning to places we've been during the upcoming winter, we might have a chance for a mini-vacation somewhere new. For sure, we will be taking a long stopover in Taipei because we purchased plane tickets months ago. So, I added Taiwan too.

I have visited these countries and territories:
Albania, American Samoa, Austria, Australia, Bahrain, Belgium, Belize, Brunei, Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia, Canada, China, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, El Salvador, England, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Gibraltar, Guatemala, Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Laos, Luxembourg, Macau, Malaysia, the Maldives, Malta, Mexico, Montenegro, Morocco, Nepal, the Netherlands, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Portugal, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Slovakia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Taiwan, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the United States, the Vatican, and Vietnam.

2005_09_24
This photo was taken in 2005, but London was the first city out of North American to which I travelled. On the original trip, I was on my way to my first teaching job in Kuwait after college in 1981.


Tuesday, September 04, 2018

This'll be a Short Week

Today, we went to Langley Farm Market to buy fruit and vegetables. I also had a bit of banking to do. I dropped off a sizeable deposit at Lougheed Hyundai. I needed to show 'em I'm serious about snagging one of the limited supply Kona Electric subcompact-SUVs coming to Canada next year.

It was really rather warm this afternoon. Google Home says it's presently 24°C. How come I feel as though this could be the last gasp of summer weather around here?

A week from today, however, we'll be saying:

Screen Capture


Monday, September 03, 2018

Readying for the Shift

I have been interested in electric vehicle development for years, so I forget just how new the subject is for many others. In fact, the stars did not align for me to fork over my own cash until July. It was after requesting my Telsa Model 3 deposit back and learning of the Hyundai Kona Electric. This is not the early adopter era, rather it's the cusp of, what I believe is, an initial wave of mass-adoption. I think many will be completely surprised how the automotive landscape looks in five or six years.

General folks have many misconceptions about electric vehicles. For example, even in places where electricity costs are very high, the price of running an EV is substantially cheaper than gasoline vehicle ownership. Charging a 2019 pure EV on home current is like turning on 1.5 electric hot water heaters. (For electrical utilities it is a blessing having consumption at night with the batteries acting like a huge supply on smart grids.) Although it will take over nine hours to charge my Kona from empty, there are very few times when I'll have an empty battery. For most commuters, it'll take just a couple of hours to be completely charged up for the next day. This works out perfectly for those in single-family dwellings.

However, I live in a 150-unit strata building built in the 1980's. Some surrounding municipalities already mandate an electrical connection for each new-construction parking space. Retrofitting old condos for EV charging is an enormous headache with lots of assumptions and scenarios. However, should we not start preparing today, we may find our property less valuable as future buyers may demand EV-ready buildings.

I met with a preliminary group of folks interested in electric vehicle changing options for our strata. Strangely, the five guys all had names starting with the letter D. I am keen on preparing for both immediate and longer-term situations. Of course, my interest is somewhat selfish. I have already ordered an all-electric mini-SUV for delivery when we get back to Canada in the spring. Yet, regardless of how prepared or unprepared our buildings are, I am sure I'll be going ahead.

EV DC Quick Charging

For next summer I can count on public fast DC chargers such as this one I photographed at the Canadian Superstore in Coquitlam. We shop here weekly and I will be able to charge from 10% to 80% in less than an hour while we're picking out our groceries items. There are also street 220v AC options in my city which will suffice for short top-ups.


Sunday, September 02, 2018

So Long, Summer

2018_09_02

I guess Labour Day Weekend isn't the official end of summertime, but it sure feels like it. I enjoy walking through the school supplies at department stores at this time of the year. They smell of industriousness and fresh beginnings. Having spent a career as a teacher, though, my feelings may be biased.

This year's exit of the season is proving remarkably benign. The sky was quite blue today. This is a blessing after the wildfire smoke we endured a few weeks ago. The air is crisp and it's much cooler. (The high, daytime temperatures cannot match what nights promise in SE Asia for our upcoming winter.) It was lovely just to be outside. We stopped for a few minutes at the Lower Hume Park. It had been years since we stopped to look at the Brunette River. I wish access to the water was more accessible near the parking and field areas.

Then, we drove a bit and parked near Queen's Park. We just had to say goodbye to the goats. We visited them a number of times this summer. Tomorrow is the last day the Petting Farm will be open. The nannies and billies will undoubtedly miss the attention they've garnered over the summer. No more brushing and neck rubs by residents, for a while at least.

Goats and Kids


Saturday, September 01, 2018

Happy Anniversary, my eJournal and images!

Fifteen years ago today, I signed up for a blogger.com account and wondered what I'd do with it That was fifteen whole years ago! One Five. 15. And there's been an entry every one of the intervening 5,479 days!

The initial day started off with three very short entries. The middle one was a bit of a prognostication.

So hat's off to me for keeping at it while other things have come and gone. I didn't let it fall by the wayside even when universal wifi was much less prevalent, especially on foreign trips.

2018_09_01

However, this is more than a day to simply look back. My blog continues to look towards our future. For example, today's picture was taken with some old and some new friends at a Surrey, BC restaurant totally new to us. A big thanks to all involved in the outing. It was fun.


Friday, August 31, 2018

Mentions of Biryani Over the Years

Biryani is a rice-based meal originating in South Asia. It is a go-to dish whenever we travel as it can be found from the Middle East though South East Asia, and in restaurants anywhere catering to such an audience. The spices used are what determines its richness and signature. Everyone's idea of good biryani can be a little different. It is sort of a special-occasion, comfort food. I found this old photo from seven years ago which Jay made to bring to our annual condo barbeque.

2011_08_06

During my afternoon nap today, I wondered how many times I had talked about biryani in these daily postings. The great thing about random notes in this format is that they're forever searchable. In the footer section on the web version of each page, one can find a search bar as well as the link to blog category tags. I searched for the word and then tagged each occurrence. Now this will form the top entry for the current 17!

Tomorrow will be the 15th anniversary of this blog. I have written a daily entry for 15 years! I am proud of myself for keeping at it from well before some now-common features of the Internet were even available. This is mostly just a place for me to write common things I might want to remember or share. I like that things which are not written in order can be accessed and made part of a new story.


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