Albingo!

The theme of the trip so far seems to be early morning wake up calls! Our flight left for Calama at 0645 so we had to leave for the airport by 0445. Zzzzz….. We used the same shuttle company we used to come in to town and they were very professinal and prompt. Allow time to pick up other passengers, although the shuttle company is usually quite good at coordinating it.

We got to Calama bright and early and easily picked up one of the transport services to SPdA. The desert is a perfect place to capture wind power and there are a lot of windmills on the way to San Pedro.

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  The driver didn’t speak English but was very friendly stopped for a view point just outside of San Pedro.

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He dropped us off directly at Hostal Mamatierra. This is one of the top rated hostals in San Pedro and it’s not hard to see why. It is very clean, not too big, not too noisy and there was a towel and water provided and they helped us to book all our activities while we were there.

We went into town to run some errands. San Pedro is very cute and small but busy with lots of tourists. I had a delicious lunch of guacamole wrap and learned ‘palta’ is a kind of shortened way to say avocado.

That afternoon we joined a tour to see some of the salt lagoons with a few Aussies from our hostal and others. It was really lots of fun. Laguna Cejara is not for floating in but was gorgeous.  The pool we were allowed to swim in was not as salty as dead sea but quite cold. We saw our first flamingos here! They are just beautiful and look like planes when they fly.

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We also saw all white flamingo which we promptly nicknamed ‘Albingo’.

From there we drove to another pool that we could swim in and took shadow photos in the setting sun.

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Lastly, we visited Salar de Atacama and saw more flamingos. I almost lost my swimsuit top. Don’t worry,  wasn’t wearing it,  but had tied it to my bag to dry out. Luckily it was quickly relocated! We also tried our first pisco sour. They were delicious! This resulted in lots of giggles with the girls.

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The desert gets quite chilly at night and we were pleased to return home for delicious fresh tomatoes and avo for supper.

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Going East Coastal

EasterCoasters

October 13-24, 2015
I set off for a wonderful adventure back to the East Coast to visit my nursing school friends and Jeramy’s family. The East Coast is beautiful in the fall, it is absolutely my favorite season on the whole and especially spectacular in the east. The West Coast is majority big old Dougie firs, and cedars, the evergreens, that make up the rainforest; but the East Coast, on the other hand, is a patchwork of reds, greens, browns, yellows, and golds, spread thickly over the rolling hills. No mountains here, this is pastoral, open land.
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I had a great flight out of Calgary and then from Toronto to Moncton, there was a child sitting in front of me that reminded me how little I desire children of my own! This little duffer had a massive meltdown roughly every 15 minutes, even giving his mother a nosebleed. Yuck. I think that with all our technology and innovation today, there should be a better way to amuse and soothe children on a plane. Jeramy on the other hand, had decided to drive across the country to get home. What a nut. Pretty sure this is why they invented planes? Got confirmation that he was regretting it when he called from just outside Winnipeg, saying, ‘You were right. I’m thinking about renting a storage locker large enough to drive my car into.’
I started the trip out in Fredericton, the city where I met Jeramy, went to nursing school, started volunteering at therapeutic riding, and trained for my first half marathon. I never thought that I would say this, but I do miss Fredericton. If the hospital there was a bit nicer, I just might consider living there again. I had a fantastic visit with nursing school friends, tried Chess Piece Cafe (yum!), picked apples at Everett’s Orchard, did some classes at Moksha Yoga, saw my amazing doula friends, met a whole heap of new babies, saw a few of my old profs, and did some shopping at my old Le Chateau. It was so incredibly lovely and I definitely felt nostalgic and sad to leave.
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Apple picking with Laura, my fave running buddy. We trained for a half-marathon together!
After that as a few days in Moncton over the weekend, with Jeramy’s parents. It was great to spend time with them and their 4 dogs, all Gordon Setters. We didn’t do too much the first day, just hanging out, and Jeramy and I did some shopping in the afternoon. I also got to take a ride in the sidecar of his stepdad’s Ural motorbike. I have a goal to ride as many kinds of transport around the world as I can. This was my first time in a sidecar! Jeramy’s parents were going to a dinner that night where his mum was going to receive an award for her incredible work with education of everyday people about hands-only CPR. Very proud! Jeramy and I went to the 3D showing of Pan, which was good as far as costumes, music, and graphics but the storyline was a bit off compared with the rest of the stories.
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The next day we set off on an afternoon adventure to Martin Head Beach via Alma. Alma is a tiny village along the Fundy coast, notable for delicious sticky buns and seafood.
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Martin Head is down the coast from Moncton, past Hopewell Rocks, down a nicely graded dirt road which turns into a bumpy logging road, which turns into what can best be described as a washed out creek bed at a 15% grade. Wheeee!
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The beach was beautiful, set along a rugged coastline with cliffs abruptly diving down to the ocean. When the tide is low, you can cross over to the spit of land that leads out to Martin Head itself, which unfortunately was not possible at the time we went. It was such a beautiful day though and with the Fundy Footpath crossing along here, it would be awesome to come back. Martin Head is also a UNESCO Biosphere reserve, and it’s not hard to see why. It feels so remote, so serene, and so untouched. There are many birds around and no real predators.
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Beautiful grays and golds as sunset begins.

 

My next day was spent going to Saint John to see Gloria, my former roomie, and Emily, a former classmate and fellow doula. Always nice to see friends!

Jeramy and I set off for Halifax the next day. I got to see the beautiful and wonderful Leah, and she took me into some beautiful little shops and the new Halifax library for a ‘blueberry fog’ (yum!). The new Halifax library is beautiful and very optimally situated and has a great view of the city. We had a delicious dinner at one of the Korean restaurants, kimchi jeon, kimchi chiggae, bibimbap….so good! Our next day consisted of similar:  eating delicious sushi at Sushi Nami with our friend Rachel, shopping at Biscuit General Store, and having afternoon coffee and salted caramel brownie at Apothecary. 🙂 dinner that night was at The Stubborn Goat, sharing a variety of tasty treats like lobster mac n cheese, deep fried avocado, and chickpea fritters, to name a few.

That night Jeramy and I celebrated our 4 year anniversary. We rented a hotel room and drank wine, ate cheese, and generally enjoyed just taking some time with just us in the craziness of visiting.

We drove back to NB the next morning, Jeramy taking a moment to drive me through Halifax Airport – silly guy! We ended up in Cap Pele for lunch at one of the local seafood restaurants with his mum and took the scenic route along the coast to get back to Moncton. The next couple days were just filled with visiting, eating, walking, and enjoying being there. Highly recommend a trip to the Maritimes – everyone is so friendly!

Who am I when I’m not on the road?

I’m sitting here in our basement with the wood stove crackling merrily away, binge watching Gotham (hello, Ryan! Oh, do you not go by that outside the OC?), drinking Davids Tea (Cranberry Orange Muffin), and cutting fabrics for my new quilt.

When I’m not travelling (or spending time planning a trip), I am usually keeping myself quite busy. Apart from being an RN, which keeps me busy for four 12 hr shifts a week, I’ve got two dogs, Newman, 3, a Minpin x Italian Greyhound, and Mac, 6, a Minpin. We like to adventure around our home in the Kootenays of BC, where there are lots of mountains and trails to explore. I try to document our times via Instagram (@trnscontinental) to promote the beautiful area we live in and to remember the beauty in the future.

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Mac and Newman
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Pet finds quilt to be a snuggly bed. -_-

I’m an avid seamstress/quilter. I’ve completed
2 quilt tops recently (see below), have one cut, and have just started cutting another. I’m told I’m not permitted to just collect quilt tops however, so I’ll have to start actually quilting them soon I suppose! I’ve got 2 pairs of PJ pants on the go for myself, some Christmas napkins, and a couple other little Christmas present projects. Always lots of fun to create something new by hand. Like to think it’ll help keep me from getting Alzheimers!

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Two quilts and one pair of PJ pants
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Another quilt, fully put together and awaiting quilting and binding, and two sets of napkins.

Yoga, horseback riding, reading, card-making, and studying languages are also fun. I like using Udemy and Duolingo to study, although I have about 4 different Korean language apps on my phone. I’m losing my Korean, as I’ve lost my French and Japanese, so studying on my lunch break helps a bit. How do you learn new languages best?

What do you do in your spare time, when you’re not working or travelling?

And yes, Netflix, Shomi, and I are pretty good friends. After travelling and being surrounded by noise, new people, and new places, being home alone is too quiet for me!

Updates coming soon!

Hello!

It’s been a while since I’ve posted regularly and that’s about to change! I’m making my New Year’s resolution early and it’s all about dedicating myself to travel and the promotion of travel. I want others to understand more about the world and what it has to offer. I’ve also been thinking more about how I can give back when I travel and how to become  more efficient and eco-friendly traveller. Look for upcoming posts on that as well as packing for a variety of seasons and activities in one bag without breaking your back.

I’ve got a post nearly done about my most recent trip to the Maritimes, Canada’s East Coast. Upcoming are posts about Chile, Bolivia, and Edmonton and in the new year watch for Mexico, Ireland,  Scotland and more.

My other goal for the remainder of 2015 and into 2016 is #30by30. It’s a big birthday for me next year and I hope to have visited at least 30 countries by August 25th. I’m close but not quite there yet!

Thanks for subscribing! Tell the world about it!

Gillian

Day 27: Petra: Playschool for baby animals

March 27th: Wadi Musa/Petra, Jordan

At precisely 7:07 we departed from Saba’a with Dawson and Stefan for the gates of Petra. We had decided to tour together the second day, the more the merrier! By doing so, we effectively eliminated the unwanted male attention and offers for donkey rides, as well as having two more people to help figure out the route. However, the small children remained unaffected by a male presence and continued to bother all of us to buy postcards. These kids are meant to be in school, as there are regulations around this, however, as it was a weekend, they delighted in telling us ‘no school today!’ when we got after them for not being in school.

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Petra first thing in the morning was great. Really no one there yet to obstruct photos or offer rides on any type of animal. We took a rest at the Treasury for about 45 minutes in order to see it sunlit, although we did not stay long enough to see it fully lit up. It truly is quite incredible. There was a rather cute kitten that spent the entire time we were there cuddling with us. Oh I wanted to bring it home with me! We also bore witness to possibly the strangest thing we’d seen during our trip (and that’s saying something): the enigma known as “green dress”.

While sitting at the Treasury, our attention was caught by a young (20’s) girl and a man with a camera. The girl was wearing this slinky, green silk dress cut down to there and slit up to here, with accompanying silky scarf and loosely waved hair. She proceeded to prance around barefoot in front of the Treasury, with every single male there oogling her, while her little photopgrapher friend snapped photos. Weird part being…no professional lighting, not even a light reflecting screen thingy, clearly not properly made up, and the photographers camera was not equipped to be a true professional quality camera. It was all very very peculiar and rather ludicrous.

Being quite over this debacle and not wanting to wait for the sun to fully creep over the Treasury, we moved on to hike up to the Place of High Sacrifice. This hike takes about 45 minutes or so going at a good pace and the view from the top is excellent. There’s not too much to see at the top otherwise and you can go down another direction but we came down the same way as it’s quicker and Stefan had to go in order to catch the bus to leave.

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The remaining trio of us decided to do the Treasury overlook hike at this point. We were hiking right at high noon, which made it feel like foreverrr but I’m sure it is realistically also only about 45 minutes or so. It is a beautiful hike too with the rocks of the steps rippled with different colours and contours. There are also great views over the Roman theatre area.

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At the top, we stopped at the wonderful Sameh’s camp. You wouldn’t believe who we met at the top – our dear friends Green Dress and her photographer. Luckily they seemed to be finished their photo session but we remained perplexed as to the purpose as her photo shoots and how she had hiked up in that green dress as there was no evidence of a costume change.

Anyhow! Sameh was lovely. He invited us to rest in his outdoor seating area, some carpets and pillows laid out on the rocks, covered by a tent, and chatted with us, giving us tea, and some cheese and pita. He also had some wee puppies, much to Dawson’s delight, called Whiskey and Vodka. Dawson spent a considerable amount of time having puppy snuggles, giving them treats and loves, to their delight. Sameh told us he could climb down the cliff in something like 7 minutes. He didn’t recommend we try the same! Lunch out of the way, we ended up taking an impromptu nap. Sameh thought this was pretty funny and when we woke up, offered to pick us up on his donkey later that afternoon when we were finished watching the sunset from the Monastery, seeing how sleepy we were! We agreed this would be great. In true Bedouin hospitality, as we departed, Sameh didn’t want to take any payment frorm us, though we insisted, and asked us to chose one memento each. We were truly touched.

The lure of a nap and a shower were great for Dawson, who abandoned us at that point. Lo and behold, all that attention we had succesfully avoided for the majority of the day came back instantly, as we were two girls alone again. Urgh! Regardless of this, we re-hydrated and set off up yet another steep set of stairs to the Monastery. This building is equally as beautiful as the Treasury, I think. AND, there are more cute baby animals located at the cafe there: a kitten and a baby goat, that Leah named Petri. Petri decided that he’d like to eat shoelaces, tshirt strings, and so forth, as opposed to any of the actual food we offered him. The kitten on the other hand, was really keen on the cucumber I had but not so much on the apple. Sadly, it was quite smoggy at the top so we didn’t get much of a sunset or view but we did get a ride home on Sameh’s 4-legged friend once we reached the bottom of the trail. Leah’s was a mule in fact, which apparently the Ferrari, whereas the donkey I got was much slower, “the diesel” as Sameh said. The total trip from the bottom of the Monastery to the entrance was 7JD each, not too bad!

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Leah with ‘Petri’ the Goast, and an unnamed kitten.

TIPS

1. If you’re planning to spend the day out in Petra, I’d highly recommend you take a packed lunch with you. It’s easy, reasonably priced, and not of sketchy quality. Our hotel offered this for 3.5JD and it was well worth it.

2. Do the Treasury Overlook hike first thing, a) because it is too stinkin hot later in the day and b) you will not be competing with all the other people milling around at the bottom for photos OR being bothered by children repeatedly. You’ll get the beautiful, fully sunlit view of the Treasury in peace!

3. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! And wear a hat! We met a guy at the Monastery who was suffering from what sounded like heat stroke and clearly had not drank enough that day. We advised him to down an entire Gatorade tout suite and follow that up with like a litre of water and another Gatorade and he should be fine. We saw him about 10 minutes later, first bottle of Gatorade half completed, refusing to take a donkey back down to the bottom, yet still saying he might need an ambulance. You cray, dude, you cray.

4. If you’re going to stay for sunset, be aware that washroom facilities close somewhere around 5pm and a bumpy donkey ride back to the gate does not make a full bladder feel happy. Either prepare to squat behind a rock or hold it!

5. Be firm but kind. We so enjoyed our time with Sameh and if we’d automatically assumed he was just trying to make a buck, we would’ve missed out on that. Conversely, he was also not very pushy or obnoxious. Just classic Bedouin chill. Thanks Sameh!