Smalltownsamantha's Blog

Go West Young Woman!
March 4, 2012, 8:08 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Most of the way west, in fact. I think, actually, almost as far west as one can go before one is actually coming back again. In about 10 days I leave for a 2 week tour of Thailand, Laos and Vietnam. Obviously writing on my blog is due to severe procrastination on my part, as I had wanted to do a trail pack job today but instead am watching hockey and playing around on the computer.

And then!
August 25, 2009, 12:34 am
Filed under: train travel, travel, trip, via rail

Woke up in vancouver, went on a tour of the city, wanted to go to the aquarium but it was PACKED. Here’s a tip, buy your ticket online from your iphone and you can walk right in. Seriously the line to get in was like 2 hours long, I was so mad when this guy I met on the train was like “I just bought my ticket in line on my phone”. Curses!

Just sort of puttered around downtown vancouver, got books (The Glass Castle, Paris to the Moon, a cheezy romance) and then took a cab over to the train station. Hung around there for a bit, the train was like 2 hours late leaving, I finally called VIA rail to find out when we were leaving since there were like no staff in the station. Got a seat to myself and dozed until I woke up at like 5am.

I had plenty of family guy on my phone so I would wake up, watch an episode and then go back to sleep. I would recomend bringing lots of snacks. The scenery is great but if you’re in your regular seat it is hard to see something, get your camera ready and then snap the picture while the train is moving. I suggest hanging out in the dome car. I just left my stuff at my seat and had a little bag with my wallet, passport, etc in it which I took when wandering the train (well, the 2 cars of it I had access to). Lunch was great, sandwhich and salad and pop for like $11. Dinner was good too, salmon, rice, etc etc for like $13. Had 45 minutes in Jasper to walk around, got in to Edmonton at 10pm.

I stayed at my aunt’s house that night and then left for the airport early the next morning, no line at all at security and flew edmonton->winnipeg -> hamilton and then drove to the cottage with the parents. All in all a great vacation!

Vegas, day 3 and depature :)
August 23, 2009, 3:49 pm
Filed under: las vegas, travel, trip, vancouver

Day 3 was wedding day, I went to breakfast with J in the morning and we were supposed to meet up with the bride (v) but wires got crossed and we were leaving just as she was sitting down. If you’re going to a hotel with a bunch of people, bring your cell phone charger, the only way to keep track of people is to text back and forth since no one hangs out in their hotel room and schedules can change all the time depending on line ups etc etc.

So we had breakfast and then everyone met in my room to get ready for the wedding. Did you know that you can schedule your room to be cleaned at a certain time during the day? This is a good idea if you are using it all day and then will only be gone for an hour (to a wedding, for example) and then want it clean when you get back.

So wedding was great. nice and short. Once the fire alarm had gone off (before the bride started down the aisle, thankfully) and we regrouped all was well. Pictures were great, reception was excellent and deliciously tomoato free for me and it was actually kind of an early night.

The next morning I lazed around the pool for a bit and just puttered in my room getting ready for my flight to leave at 2. Left for the airport at like 1145, ended up at the wrong terminal, had to take a shuttle to the other terminal etc etc, mccaran is kind of a nightmare but the guy running the security screening knows his shit and was loudly calling out the definition of “liquid” and reminding people to take their “shoes, flip flops, slippers, boots or anything on your feet that isn’t a sock” off.

Flight was uneventful, getting a taxi at the vancouver airport was a clusterfuck (they need to FIRE the girl they have working this area before the olympics or it’s not going to be pretty). My cab driver used to live in my hometown so that was awesome, got to the hotel (right across from holt renfew. Coincidence? maybe not so much!), checked in, headed out to wander and kill some time before UFC 101 started. I went to this great sportsbar and had dinner (dont even ask me about the fights, I’m still upset about the whole Tamden incident) and then wandered up to the movies to see Julie and Julia (3.25 stars out of 5. I like the Julia Child story line way more than the other story line) and then went to bed. A moderately long day but didn’t really seem that bad at the time 🙂

Day 2 of vegas
August 19, 2009, 1:54 am
Filed under: las vegas, travel, trip

Woke up and ate my muffin I got the night before for breakfast. Banana chocolate chip, it was super yummy. I had paid attention the previous day on the deuce and mostly figured out directions on how to transfer to the city bus to get to the outlet mall, which was my plan for the morning.

I met up with one of the other bridesmaids J and we headed out. You can use your deuce 24 hour pass to transfer to the 108 city bus (they will announce the stop, its by the denny’s just after the stratosphere) and the 108 will drop you right at the outlet mall. I got a watch at the fossil store (the cross starck in white plastic) and a bag a puma and then we headed back to the strip.

Had lunch in the forum shops cheesecake factory. A great place to go if you’ve been shopping or just want to sit “outside” and people watch. Huge portions and good food can be had for under $15 each. Someone had rented a cabana and J and I went to hang out there for a bit but found the pool scene at caesars somewhat lacking. There was trash in the pool, a dirty diaper under one of our lounge chairs and a few of the girls in bikinis working around the pool should NOT have been in two piece bathing suits. We abandoned the mission and went out walking to the venitian which was cool but the inside smelled like a purfume store (headache!!) and we went to the mojito stand at serendipity3 at caesars (which was yummy) and to this place with fancy umbrellas by the forum shops that was giving out 2 for 1 margaritas (9$ each though and we couldnt finish ours) and we walkted to the bellagio just to look around which was cool.

No one was really hungry for dinner but we went to the little cafe off the lobby and just had soups and salads, not really worth it. Gambled a bit and then went to bed early, day 3 was the wedding!!!!

Yes, I’m still alive
August 16, 2009, 8:28 pm
Filed under: las vegas, travel, trip

I’m back, finally, from the various aspects of life keeping me from blogging. I’m sure all 3 of you will be disappointed!
I’m going to try to recap my recent trip to the left coast in a day by day manner, all the while giving helpful hints to others who might follow in my footsteps. Feel free to comment and ask any questions or anything 🙂

So August 5th, Wednesday, I woke up at like 530, packed up the rest of my stuff and headed out to the airport. Streetcar, subway, Bus, got to YYZ at like 730. You can check in online for international flights with Air Canada but you can’t get an electronic boarding pass so you have to do it when you get to the airport. Can’t emphasize enough how much easier paying for everything travel related with the same credit card makes things, that way you know which one to put in to the machine to print your boarding pass. It was too early for me to flirt with the cute guy who had clearly never done the customs thing before (shoot!) but I got through the line pretty quickly and went to the gate to wait for my flight. Did not take advantage of the $20 10 minute manicure. Did have to take my shoes off (pack socks in your purse if you’re wearing flip flops) and had all my liquids in their own little bag which I could easily pull out of my messenger bag. Besides my messenger bag I had a rolling carry on and eventually purchased another little shoulder bag. I found that this was just enough to fit everything I needed for a week and a half of hot weather including a dress I only wore once, one I never wore and a pair of heels I only wore for one day. I could have made things slightly easier on myself by shipping the dresses, shoes and fancy purse home from Vegas but didn’t want to be bothered.

Landed in vegas at 1030 PST. It was HOT. Freaking HOT. It’s not like Thailand where its a wall that hits you when you step outside, it’s more like you’re fine (inside) and then you’re instantly too hot the second you step outside. I changed in the airport bathroom out of the jeans and sweater I wore on the flight, which was freezing. Went up to the greyline desk in baggage claim, $6.50 later I had a spot on a mini bus that does drop offs at all the hotels. This was a great way to get a few tips about Vegas as well as to sort of get one’s bearings.

Got dropped off at Caesar’s Palace and checked my bags (you can’t even check in until after 3 pretty much, but who wants to carry their stuff around?? Just take it to the bell desk and tell them you haven’t checked in yet, they will give you claim tags and you can go back for it whenever), walked over to the concierge and asked about the nearest gun range.

Yes, the gun range. I’m from Canada where you can’t really rent a gun. I mean, im sure you could somehow but you can’t really just drive up, tell them you have no idea what you’re doing and have them hand you a glock. A 20$ cab ride later I was at the gun store. It was great! There was a girl out the front who got me all set up, I went in, told them what I wanted and that I had no idea what I was doing. Got goggles and ear muffs and got down to it.

I hate guns. I really do. Well, more accurately, I hate people who own guns, don’t secure them properly and then their 4 year olds shoot themselves in the face with them. But it was actually pretty fun. I was the only one on the range so I didn’t worry I was going to shoot someone. I shot 20 bullets from a Glock 9MM and got like 14 kill shots which is pretty good for no idea what I was doing. I got to keep the target.

After the gun range I got a cab back to the strip and just asked them to drop me at the closest hotel which was New York New York. I walked down the strip a bit and then bought a 24 hour pass for The Deuce which is the double Decker bus that goes up and down the strip. It’s not an open top one, it’s all closed in and AC to the max. It’s convenient but super slow if you get a driver who lets a thousand people on at every stop. It’s a good way to get familiar with the strip but the windows have perma-shades so you can’t really take pictures. I went to wendy’s for lunch. Rode The Deuce all the way to the end and then went back up to Caesar’s. Checked in and asked what an extra $40 a night would get me, it got me a sweet room with a view of the pool and two bathrooms. It’s always worth asking people, since I paid under $100 a night for the room to begin with it wasn’t really that unreasonable a final price.

Went up to my room, lazed around a bit and then wandered around the hotel. Can’t really remember what else I did that night. I went for a late dinner at Beijing Noodle #9 which is right in caesars and my scallops and garlic was super yummy (though it came to like $30).

So that was day 1! I’m going to try to post about a day every time I get a chance in the nex little while, I’m just on attempt #3 to upload my pictures to facebook. Frustration!

Day 1
February 11, 2009, 10:26 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Woke up early and put a bunch of movies on to my phone. Walked to work and totally bailed on some ice into a mud puddle. Crashed the computer system at work. Had to sit backwards on the subway. Movies on phone had no sound. Hotel room alarm clock set for midnight, not noon. Fire alarm at 515 am.

It’s rarely dull on vacation with me, I’ll tell you that much!

Going to california, gonna live the life…
February 7, 2009, 6:09 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

4 More sleeps until california! I will ruthlessly photodocument of course but so far this is the rough plan:

Fly out at 8am from YYZ, through Denver to arrive in Palm Springs around 2pm Wednesday.
Thursday generally recover, go grocery shopping, etcetc.
Friday go to disneyland with my mom
Saturday recover from disneyland by the pool
Sunday drive 2 hours to see my mom’s great aunt (still alive!)
Monday is president’s day and Loverboy is playing the local date festival. There are also ostritch and camel races. ‘nuf said.
Tuesday fly back to Toronto.

In retrospect I should have stayed a few extra days but I will probably be pretty sick of the family after all is said and done!!

In other news, there might be a new boy on the horizon…I’ve decided on Paul for his blog alias but we’ll see how that develops. He’s pretty awesome, not gonna lie. Made the foolish decision to live in scarbs but at least he has a car. It’s weird because guys who I have been really physically attracted to right off the bat have never really worked out for me (see:vanishing make out boy, world’s worst kisser) but the guys I decide to try things with despite my lack of overwhelming physical lust for always seem to somehow stick (see:connor, he who shall not be named). So yeah, I’ll keep you all (aka…CJ, hey you!) updated as things progress.