Playing “marbles for adults”

As Robin Williams so eloquently put it:

In July, I went on a boys only golfing trip with my brother-in-law and father-in-law to Kimberley, BC. This was the first time that I’ve done anything like this.

First off, I am NOT a golfer. I usually golf once, maybe twice a year. I consider it an achievement if people pick my drive because it’s acceptable in a Texas-scramble game. Same goes for losing less than one ball per golf hole

The night before the golf trip came, and I still hadn’t swung a club yet. So what did I do? I went to the closest golf range, grabbed two large buckets of balls, a pint of deet and made myself a blister on my pinky finger.

Not only did I make a blister, but I popped it as well. I could barely hold my club.

I figured that I can keep the skin flap attached with plethora of bandaids. But that didn’t do much for my game.

We golfed couple of courses: Wildstone on Saturday and Trickle Creek on Sunday. My review of the couses:

  • Wildstone: Brand new course. Beautiful driving range. It feels like you’re driving the ball into the Rockies, which take up the whole view. Golf course is new, and there is a bit of construction visible and no real club house.

    For the course layout all I can say is: Gary Player is a fucking jerk. Every single shot I took landed in a sand trap. Every shot anyone else took landed in the bunker. It felt like we were playing in a desert.

  • Trickle Creek: Beautiful. Challenging. Fun. I’d play it again, even though I’m not the greatest golfer.

We also played Bootleg Gap executive 9 hole course, but I managed to hurt my shoulder, so my review of that one is completely skewed. It sucked because my shoulder hurt.

There were visits to Chef Bernard’s Schnitzel house, attending the Julyfest in Kimberley and many crushed beers.

Would I do it again? In one word – Yes.

Tales of the Vacation–Part 5

Phone Call #8

RCMP Corporal: There are no laws about having to be nice or polite, how to behave or that you’re required to have manners.

Me: That is true.

RCMP Corporal: Is "You’re going to regret it" a threat? Or "You’ll get it!"? By dictionary definition, yes it is. By legal definition it unfortunately it isn’t. "See this knife,  I’m going to stab you in the heart with it" is a credible threat.

Me: Makes sense. And he hasn’t said anything like that yet.

RCMP Corporal: And in the end it’s a civil matter and we [RCMP] won’t get involved. If we did get involved in settling residential disputes we could spend our whole days doing just that.

Kim pulled away the book case and behind it we found a tiny little hallway with a room and a bathroom attached to it. It was the secret passage from the movies! That was the highlight of the trip.

Living room, master bedroom and ensuite all have sliding doors and access to the deck overlooking the small island with seals and bald eagles on it. The deck itself is huge and quite private.

The kitchen has all the latest and top of the line appliances, albeit from the ’70s when the house was built.

Large beluga whale, carved from maple, hangs above the couch in the living room and another driftwood carving of a native face decorates the other wall.

It’s an amazing place – Jacuzzi tub in the ensuite, hot tub on the deck and a new BBQ.

Tales of vacation–Part 4

Phone call #6

Eric: &^%K %#$J @#$@#K $%!*!%)*&@&#%$@!#&?%!@#&%?&!@#&$!&

Kim: I’m not sure how to respond to that. Eric, you need to call the rental agency and please stop harassing us

Eric: %#!&$%!#@*%! (Click)

So what did I do when Kim tipped over? Did I drop my practicing and rush to her rescue?

Well… Not exactly. I did try to get there as soon as I could, but the guide was already there. So instead of helping Kim get into the boat, I fished out the camera and took some photos that will never see the light of day (unless I’m willing to trade parts of my anatomy for displaying them, of course)

After the dunk, we quickly decided that it’s close enough to lunch time and we looked for an island to land on.

Mere 20 minutes later, we were beached on some rocks, enjoying freshly made sandwiches and some kelp. Ok, only I was eating kelp and only because Pete said it was edible. And if it’s edible, I’ll try it – just so I can have an actual opinion.

Kelp – good, a bit chewy, somewhat salty and tad bland. I was expecting more of a seaweed taste like the little bits in the bottom of the miso soup at sushi restaurants.

We finished our lunch, bummed around couple more coves and islands, and Pete said that it’s getting close to home time. We were still on the other side of the bay, but getting back for 4:30 still seemed obtainable. Mind you, I am an incredible optimist when it comes to estimating the length of time that anything will take. 20 minute porridge – it’ll be done in 10. 6 months of work – doable in three weeks, if we work 20+ hours a day – but it shouldn’t be a problem. Stuff like that.

Needless to say, we didn’t make it to the boat slip on time.

Next day was quite painful, so my advice is if you’re not paddling a lot, don’t sign up for a full day tour. Go for a shorter one: 3-4 hours is a lot under your own power.

But it was a ton of fun.


Please check out these other all-star bloggers in the 2010 Summer Blogging Challenge. Cliff – Peer Pressure Works, Chad – The Grind, Kelly – ‘Round the Bend, Kim – In Desperate Need of Entertainment, Kyle – Teacher, Tinkerer, Farmer, Geek, Liam – In the Now, Brad – Kick Me Out Soon, Tammy – Tam I am, Erron – From The Inside Looking In, James Feelings of White, Shaun – Expedition of Truths, Janine – Because

Tales of Vacation – Part 3

Phone Call #3

Eric: The house is a mess. What kind of people are you?? I want you out of my house immediately. You’re pigs.

Me: Eric, you need to call the rental agency and talk to them. You need to go through them.

Eric: You’re pigs. I want you out of my house. (Click)

map of our tripSecond day after arriving on Quadra Island, we went for a full day kayaking tour with Out for Adventure. We were stoked.

For me, it was the first time I’d be piloting a sit in kayak. For Kim it was another opportunity to go into the shallows and check out sea life.

When we got to the launch point, I innocently asked where we were going. I was fully expecting us to spend a whole day just puttering around the Rebecca’s Spit area. Pete, our guide, exclaimed that we’ll be going across the bay, crossing ferry traffic, to a whole other group of islands, running in the narrow channels, stopping for lunch and then making our way back by visiting another 3-4 bays if we had time.

Continue reading “Tales of Vacation – Part 3”

Tales of Vacation–Part 2

Phone call #10:

Eric: Kim, I just want you to know that your husband is dyslexic.

Kim: Thank you for telling me that. I’ll make sure to let him know. Now, please stop calling us. (Click)

On our way to Kelowna, we decided to stop over in Field and check out the local life for lunch. We looked around for a little while and stumbled into the Truffle Pigs bistro.

The decor was very nice. It’s a rustic cabin with a bear rug in the rafters and a stuffed real owl in a cage. It’s brightened up by the quirky, charming masks and beautiful view out the windows. It gave vibe of a small town restaurant and that was the fare we expected.

We were very, very mistaken.

Their food is amazing! I think this will become a regular stop for Kim and I in our future travels. We had their quinoa salad, bison burger, eggs benedict and breakfast sandwich. Every dish was prepared by someone who cares about food’s taste and presentation. It was gourmet meal the whole way, and it was very reasonably priced. They get two thumbs up!

So next time you’re going through Golden and Field, do yourself a favour and stop at the Truffle Pigs Bistro.


Please check out these other all-star bloggers in the 2010 Summer Blogging Challenge. Cliff –
Peer Pressure Works, Chad – The Grind, Kelly – ‘Round the Bend, Kim – In Desperate Need of Entertainment, Kyle – Teacher, Tinkerer, Farmer, Geek, Liam – In the Now, Brad – Kick Me Out Soon, Tammy – Tam I am, Erron – From The Inside Looking In, James Feelings of White, Shaun – Expedition of Truths, Janine – Because

Tales of Vacation–Part 1

Phone call #2:

me: Hello?

Eric: You’re pigs. You’re all pigs. (Click)

Our vacation started in rainy Banff and by Takakkaw falls in Yoho National park, where thunder overpowered the roar of the falls and strobes of lightning made the whole valley light up.

After spending couple of days around Kelowna, we made our way to Vancouver and then up to the Quadra Island. Somewhere in there, my laptop’s video card died and I had to make arrangements to get it repaired. Hank learnt to swim on a lake.

We arrived at our rental property the second Saturday of our vacation. The deck was not swept from the painfully prickly pine cones and needles, the windows were streaky, sheets and pillowcases were spread out to dry and the place had a musty smell. It seemed that people we were renting from forgot that we were arriving. We brought our stuff in and the property manager came to greet us.

Turns out that the pilot light in the flow through hot water heater for our bathroom was going out, and they just wanted us to know they’ve been having trouble with it and someone will be there by the end of Monday. Knowing how "island time" tends to work, I figured it may be more take a bit longer. It did. And that was the tip of the iceberg…

Vacationing in Hawaii

[This post was intended to be posted sometime in May … of 2008. I’m just catching up with my old articles]

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What does one do with leftover vacation when an opportunity presents itself to go away for a week?

Go away to Hawai’i!

After a short drive to Calgary, short hop to Vancouver and a boring satellite-tv-less ride to Honolulu, we arrived at our hotel for the night around 10pm. Quick trip to the gas station and we scored two mega cans of pre-mixed bud, clamato, salt and lime. Not a bad score at 11pm 🙂 Each wrapped in its morality white protective bag. Ah, when the liquor disappears by being placed in a paper bag…

Next morning’s flight to Kona was enjoyable. We got tiny pre-packaged 10% real-juice punch mid-flight, and before we knew, we were at Kona airport. We disembarked on the tarmac, and walked into a farmers market converted into an airport. Everything was under the roof, but not many structures had surrounding walls. Benefits of not having winter to contend with, I guess. After hauling our bags to the rental shuttle and 5 minute ride to the car, we were on our merry way.

Driving the coastal road we found a WallyWorld and a grocery store, and kept going to the Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park for our tenting site.

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Our campsite was without running water, but it did have a very nice vault toilet. Tent pads were really well made and the scenery was hardened iron-laden pahoehoe lava with trees and hardy shrubs poking out. In the next couple of nights, we learnt that nights are extremely windy. The tent creaked and groaned and tried to keep us awake for couple of hours every night.

At first it was succeeding, but we grew accustomed to it eventually. Remainder of the first day was spent walking around the Kilauea crater and taking some snapshots of the new vent. We took a look at the steam bluffs and tried to go around on the Crater Rim Drive, but it was closed due to elevated levels of sulphur dioxide(SO2).

We never got to smell it (it smells like a freshly struck match) and we never got to drive around the crater; Park Rangers had most of the road blocked off from the public.

Second day we got up early and went to Volcano farmers market. They had the biggest avocados I’ve ever seen! They were as big as papayas are in the grocery store – and it turns out those are not the biggest varieties either. There are even bigger ones. We looked at the local bananas (which were awfully green) and picked up some very good bread and pineapple-jalapeño humus.

We drove through Hilo, got a little bit lost and then quickly found on the Saddle road, on our way to the Mauna Kea (Snowy Mountain) to visit the observatories. Saddle road is a joy to drive from Hilo. It is windy, challenging, smooth and very well marked. It made me glee with joy as we were slowly making our way up and up.

At one point, the road switched to a gravel road because of road construction but our Caliber took that in stride. We kept driving and driving, enjoying the scenery and I completely managed to miss a sign towards the visitor’s centre. Half an hour later, after driving through a military training range and mini-Scotland’s replica, with other coast in sight we clued in that we went too far.

We turned around, and after 20 minutes we found the access road. The drive to the visitors centre was impressive. It was a 7% average gradient, and car started to struggle a bit with the climbs. As we were getting closer and closer, I started developing a headache and a bit of nausea. We didn’t know it yet, but we were feeling the effects of altitude sickness. We had our lunch at 9000ft above sea level and waited for the guided tour to start. It was a self-drive, 4 wheel drive required guided tour.

Our little Dodge was having issues going up and the rental agency restricted us from going further up1, so we hitched a ride with a couple from San Francisco to the top. We bribed them with a package of Wasabi & Teriyaki macadamia nuts. They wanted to stay until sunset, which suited us perfectly! They were kind enough to take us in the back seat of their Jeep. Once we started climbing, it was perfectly clear why we needed a 4×4 for this trip. The grade bumped up to average 10% and washboard gravel road. The road got windier, and steeper and Jeep did need the low gear.

10-15 minutes later, we were at the top. At the top, we were taken into the visitors area at the Keck 1 telescope. One lady got quite ill and required additional oxygen. We were all somewhat dizzy, but after 45 minutes it all went away. It’s pretty amazing how quickly body gets used to adverse conditions.

At this point we were well over 13,000ft and the air was noticeably thin. Attempting to walk up an incline at a normal pace was getting me winded in 20 paces. We knew going up that the temperature was going to drop. I never expected it to drop as much as it did. At the top it was very windy and the windchill was driving the cold through our jackets. After donning all of our remaining clothes, we found some solace and warmth.

Since the sunset was three hours away, we decided to "scale" the peak of Mauna Kea. It is right beside the observatories and it has a little shrine built up from volcanic rocks. We took the non-snowy route there which involved a little bit more climbing.

It was like walking on marshmallows. It’s not that the rocks are soft, but they’re very light due to all the gas bubbles inside them.

Due to the high elevation, what should have been a 10 minute walk up a 30-40m incline on loose rock, turned into a 45 minute hike. We would go up 10 meters, stop and catch our breath. Halfway up, Kim had a nap in the weak sun and it was really nice. We were shielded from the cold, and for those 15-20 minutes we were warm!

We watched Steve and Ann-Marie hike the ridge against the clouds and I managed to get a couple of National Geographic type photos. We followed their lead about 20 minutes later getting back to the peak and the observatories just in time for the sunset.

I’ve had my share of wonderful sunsets on tropical beaches. They tend to be nice, but the originality of them diminishes with every evening. Seeing a sunset at the top of Mauna Kea, in the company of airplanes, ancient gods and my love, above the sea of clouds is unforgettable. We stood and watched the sun hide behind the cloud and colours of the rainbow filled the sky. As the light dimmed, we piled into the car, quickly went down the windy road and by the time we got to the visitors centre, the night’s sky had blossomed into the most amazing display of stars.

I’ve gotten close to seeing a sky that full of stars. It was at Kyle and Erron’s cabin near Sundry – but this was a whole new level. You could actually see the Milky Way (our home galaxy) stretching from one side to the other. The Saturn was clearly visible, with three of its moons and the rings were casting a shadow on the planet. It looked surreal – like someone had made a cutout and placed it at the lens of the telescope.

1 We later found out that Thrifty allows you to go up in their 4×4’s to to top

Update from Belize!

We crossed the border back into Belize yesterday afternoon. We walked across in the rain with our 4 bags in tow. Us drowned rats must have looked pretty pitiful. 🙂 We really enjoyed Guatemala, but we’re glad to be back in Belize. We’re in a town called San Ignacio until Sat morning. Our caving trip was canceled today due to high water, so we took a bus for 1.5 hours to the Belize Zoo. It cost only $7 for both of us to bus it there, and the zoo was amazing!! We took lots of pictures. We’re hoping we can do the caving tomorrow. It’s the ATM cave, if you want to look it up on the Internet. We’re going with the tour group that took National Geographic to the site when they wrote an article on it. It’s called Pacz Tours.

We’re getting a kick out of a little gecko on the wall of the Internet cafe right now. Vlad’s marveling at how speedily he catches ants.

Love you,

The Dudases

Next stop… the park!

My favourite locations to visit tend to be green spaces.

Parks within communities can be extremely special because they often illustrate innovative ways to use space and tend to exemplify different ways that people spend their leisure time.

My two favourite locations on my travels outside of Sweden have been:

Park Guell in Barcelona: Famous architect Antoni Gaudi worked on this beautiful park for 14 years before abandonning it. It was initially started as a commercial development project. The city acquired the property in 1918 after the project was deemed a failure. It was opened as a public park in 1922.




Basilica of the Sacred Heart (Basilique du Sacré-Cœur) in Paris: The basilica stands 129 meters above sea level on the Montmartre hill and offers a stunning view of Paris. On top of this, the sloped park leading up to the basilica presents an unbeatable opportunity to watch and relax with Parisians and tourists alike.



Next stop… the park!

My favourite locations to visit tend to be green spaces.

Parks within communities can be extremely special because they often illustrate innovative ways to use space and tend to exemplify different ways that people spend their leisure time.

My two favourite locations on my travels outside of Sweden have been:

Park Guell in Barcelona: Famous architect Antoni Gaudi worked on this beautiful park for 14 years before abandonning it. It was initially started as a commercial development project. The city acquired the property in 1918 after the project was deemed a failure. It was opened as a public park in 1922.




Basilica of the Sacred Heart (Basilique du Sacré-Cœur) in Paris: The basilica stands 129 meters above sea level on the Montmartre hill and offers a stunning view of Paris. On top of this, the sloped park leading up to the basilica presents an unbeatable opportunity to watch and relax with Parisians and tourists alike.