Tagged: vacation

Ottawa – Part 3.

I spent 15 hours in total at this convention this weekend, internet.

Shit got a little weird.

Theoretically, the booths were divided into sections for beauty, food, shopping, business, and travel, with two stages for fashion shows and informative talks and stripping firemen. Our booth, however, was in travel and there were ladies directly across from us selling candles, so I don’t know what that was about.

We formed an informal alliance with the candle ladies, the guys from the local radio station, and the caesar salad kit people, all of whom gave us free swag. Somehow I ended up with like 8 toothbrushes, because the teeth whitening people were super aggressive.

I ended up amusing myself by thinking up better slogans for some of the vendors there.

The storage unit guy:
“Do You Have a Lot of Things? We Can Help With That!”

The tarot card reader:
“I Saw What You Did There, and I See What You Will Do There, Also”

The designer denim shop:
“Apple Bottom Jeans”

Mushrooms.ca:
“Not THAT Kind”

Venus Envy:
“;)”

The gourmet nut shop:
“We Know Nuts”

Funny, right?

Right?

….it was a long weekend, you guys.

 

Ottawa – Part 2.

I had the weirdest day, internet.

I woke up early to take advantage of being in a hotel smack dab in the middle of the Byward Market. God, it’s awesome here. I cannot stress that enough.

photo

I got a croissant and some delicious fresh grapes and strawberries for breakfast.

Yet I digress.

The convention was big and scary and awesome and sensory-overloading. I wandered around before anyone got there and was pretty overwhelmed.

Photo1-3

And that’s before this:

Stripping Fireman??

Stripping Fireman??

And this:

Models?

Models?

And this happened.

Beautiful sky??????

Beautiful sky??????

To describe it simply, the Women’s Convention was a lot of vendors and independent consultants and beauty people and tarot card readers and vibrator sellers and firemen and fashion models squished into one room with a bunch of eager consumers.

It was very exciting for about five hours.

Eight hours was a little long, although it gave me ample time to sample all of the creative food options (twice).

But my awesome manager K secretly ordered me poutine at dinner, so all is well and good. Fabulous, even, considering I’m full of potatoes, gravy, and beer.

Tata for now.

Cassandra.

photo-1

Oh Canada.

I just hit 200 followers on my Facebook page! Join the party!

***

Ah Canada. I love you so.

If you missed it yesterday, I’m in Canada visiting my grandparents. I was in Canada earlier this summer and was inspired to write such classic posts as My Grandmother is a Pirate and The True Story of When I was a Hot Box Doll.

God, it’s just so weird hereI love it.

To clarify, I’m right across the border from Buffalo. This is a picture I took from the restaurant where I had lunch. It’s the skyline of Buffalo.

I antiqued all the pictures in this post to make them classier. Is it working?

I antiqued all the pictures in this post to make them classier. Is it working?

(I should also point out that the restaurant is a classic Canadian grill style restaurant called the Palmwood and advertising Mexican beer. Oh Canada.)

IMG_1895

It’s Friday the 13th here (and probably where you are), and my grandfather casually mentioned that we may see hordes of motorcyclists on their Friday the 13th pilgrimage to Port Dover, which is apparently a great Canadian tradition.

We did.

It was whatever.

Things started to pick up, however, when Mamma Mia and Gran and I took the grand dogs on a walk to town and saw this.

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yes.

YES. 

Sensing a hilarious image based blog in the making I – okay, fine.

We were walking back and my Mum and my Gran were having a hilariously in-depth discussion of the various front lawn statuary we saw as we past by and I was cheerfully obvious of a blog opportunity until I saw THIS GUY about a block away from Gran’s house:

WHAT

WHAT

WHAT

WHAT

 

EXCUSE ME

EXCUSE ME

That’s when I realized:

CANADIANS LOVE FRONT LAWN DECORATION.

THEY

IMG_1910

LOVE

IMG_1908

STATUARY

IMG_1913

This magnificence is right next door to my grandparent’s house. I’ve titled it Bird Paradise. 

Now, I don’t know if it’s because of where I am in Canada, or because of whatnot and this-and-that, but I should note that all of these pictures were taken within a one-block radius. This was without trying that this happened. 

And my grandparents apparently aren’t immune, either.

IMG_1915

Off to Canada.

Hey internet. I’m writing this one from the road, so apologies in advanve for the spelling mistakes I’m sure I’m about to make.

Mi madre and I are headed to Canada to visit mes grandparents. We’re going to a cooking school of some sort in the illustrious and beautimous wine country of Niagara. Because yes, internet, there is more to do in Niagara than watch gallons of water fall majestically over some rocks.

Also Gran said something about going to see an Elvis tritube show at the Fallsview Casino in Niagra Falls or something and I don’t know whether or not that’s happening but god I hope so.

Anyways, it’s the dark of night and we’re driving in a vaguely northernly direction through New York in the middle of farm country, and needless to say, it’s not particularly inspiring as far as writing material goes.

Doop de doo.

I really need to publish this before I cross the border, and I still technically haven’t written about anything.

Lots of construction happening on this highway. That’s cool, I guess.

Earlier the sky was doing this:

20130912-210603.jpg

So. That’s a thing.

Yeahhhh I’m just gonna call it a day.

The Pleasant Jehovah’s Witnesses.

I had my first pleasant interaction with a Jehovah’s Witness the other day at the Visitor’s Centre.

Now, I know that most people’s first reaction to a missionary looks something that the following scene from Airplane:

But hark ye well to my tale, internet, because this is the story of The Vacationing Jehovah’s Witnesses.

And let it be a message to you all.

I work at the local visitor’s centre in Location Where I Live, State. Essentially, my job entails answering visitor’s questions about the area, things to do, cuisine, nearby counties, booking hotel rooms, events, and the like. We have a lovely selection of brochures to peruse.

These are not those brochures. This is a stock photo. Still, you get the idea. Mmmm. Look at all that information, tidily compiled in an easy-to-read format. Sexy.

Anyhow, a couple came in a few days ago looking for things to do within the next few days. The forecast said rain, so they were interested in, y’know, not being outside. Perhaps a nice historical landmark or a house tour or a museum. Something of that nature.

We got to chitchatting, as you do, and it came to light that they were volunteers.

“Volunteers?” says I, “do tell!”

Long pause.

“Jehovah’s Witnesses”, the lady admits, reluctantly, and then she waits.

Now I admit, I am not a Jehovah’s Witness. I have no idea what they stand for. I don’t really understand anything about them.

This is what I know about Jehovah’s Witnesses:

They go around and knock on people’s doors. And people find that really annoying. 

Okay, I looked it up. Jehovah’s Witnesses go around and tell people that the world is going to end soon and that they should maybe prepare for that. Which, quite honestly, knowing that they believe that the world’s time is running out, is from their point of view a really nice thing to do. If I knew the world was ending next week, the last thing I’d want to do is go around and have people slam their doors in my face.

Anyways, I may not know much about missionaries, but I do know the face of someone who expects to be made fun of when I see it, and this poor woman was expecting to get harassed. 

So I said, “Oh, that’s nice. I find volunteer work to be pretty rewarding.”

And the relief on that couple’s face was heartbreaking.

We chatted for a few more minutes.

They did not tell me that the world was ending.

I did not say anything derogatory about their beliefs.

They went on their merry way.

Now, I don’t know anything about these people and what they say to the homeowners who answer them, but I can tell when someone is used to being put down about their beliefs.

That’s called bullying, folks. This ain’t the playground.

I guess the moral of the story is that we should be a little nicer to Jehovah’s Witnesses, because when they aren’t dressed up and knocking on doors, they’re regular people who go on vacation and enjoy eating Mexican food and like history museums and have a deep conviction that God’s gonna take over the world. 

My vacation in GIFS.

I’m super not into this today, internet. I’m tired after a long, wonderful day. I went on a splendid hike with Barney Stinson through the local nature preserve and we probably did about 5 miles of up and down and around. So I’m going to bed.

But first – one last vacation related post, and then I’ll shut up about it.

How I felt going to Puerto Rico:

The first day on the beach:

After getting inside and realizing I was sunburnt:

But then we went to a bar and it was okay:

Driving around Vieques and seeing wild horses everywhere:

Snorkeling and trying not to think about sharks when inside I was like:

Everyday at the pool like:

And then sleeping in the next morning like:

Unfortunately, I had to come home:

And now I just wanna go back like:

Tiny plane, or, that time I rode shotgun.

Madre and I took an amazing little journey to Vieques today, which is this tiny little island off the coast of Puerto Rico. It was, in a word, surreal.

We got there by flying in this teechy little plane that I got to ride shotgun in – I took some amazing aerials that are interspersed all over this blog.

It was one of the craziest experiences I’ve ever had. Let me preface by saying that I’ve always sort of had this desire in the back of my head to learn how to fly a plane. I don’t quite know how I picture this happening. I guess if I was in the right place at the right time with enough money kind of thing, you know? Like learning to scuda dive or drive a motorcycle or operate heavy machinery or make a souffle. One of those things.

Let me tell you right now that that desire has been throughly renewed. Refreshened.  Fuelled. Whatever the word.

I got into this tiny plane next to this guy who drove a plane like he was watching T.V. and eating at the same time. Have you ever watched someone who really knows what they are doing on makeup? It’s like there are all these different brushes and pads and cremes and colors and consistencies flying around and the girl looks like she could do it with her eyes closed riding a motorcycle and still look good. It was like that. The dude taxied out with his arm half out the window like a truck driver and then starting flicking this and turning that and pushing the other thing, and then Whiz Bang Pop we were driving down the runway and the ground just sort of fell away.

And yeah, I know everyone who has ever been in a plane has watched the ground kind of disappear, but this was a different thing entirely, watching it from right in front of you and all you see is sky and the nose of the plane swaying all over the place. Have you ever driven a car through a bad wind and you can feel the air pushing against you and you have to steer into it? Like that, but from every direction.

Oh, and speaking of steering, this little eight seater had a GPS in it that i could almost swear is the same one I have in my car, but instead of the car it’s a cutesy little airplane, and instead of freaking out about going over water, it’s nonchalant.

hnwcassandra gps

Honestly (predictably) landing was the worst part. Taking off was like whoosh yey!! Coming down was like NO. NO NO NO. NOT LIKE THIS.

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

In sum, probably everyone I know should now do everything in their power to prevent me from ever being in a situation where I could conceivably learn to fly a plane, because I already drive a car and that’s dangerous enough for everyone else involved.

P.S. – This has nothing to do with anything, but happy birthday to the most perfect man alive aka David Tennant aka Ten aka Casanova aka probably not my future husband but everyone needs dreams.

Puerto Rico.

Hey internet. I know, I know, it’s Yoga Tuesday. But I’m just really not in a yoga mood. So I’m continuing the Puerto Rico party.

Let me tell you about Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rico is a place that defies convention or explanation. It has cities built into the sides of craggy mountains and citadels perch on the edge of the sea. You can explore a lush rainforest by day and be back in time to change for dinner at an exclusive club. There are mangroves you can kayak into at night where the water lights up underneath your vessel like you’re Peter frakin’ Pan. All of this and you can still drive from one end of the place to the other in an easy afternoon.

photo-1

photo-2

If you told me about this place and I hadn’t already been here three times, I’d have said it was the fictional setting from a C.S. Lewis novel.

If the U.S. is a Norman Rockwell painting, Puerto Rico saw the painting, thought ‘Fuck it’, stripped off the canvas, blended it up with rum, and made a daiquiri with it.

I’m staying at this crazy hotel called La Concha where it’s far easier to just assume that everyone you see is famous or rich or fabulous in some way. Seriously. Three years ago, I ran into J.Lo and Marc Anthony and Jennifer Hudson (not all at the same time, but still). Last year Johnny Depp was there. This year, knowing my luck, Marc Summers is probably my next door neighbour. Mi familia and I went up the elevator last night with a model and a photographer who were definitely about to breech a clause of their contracts.

So I’m surrounded with all this poshness and wealth and exclusivity, and I can walk down the street and see homeless people next to a run down pub next to the Ritz next to a condemned building. We walked down a boardwalk to a meager little group of kioskos the other day, followed by stray dogs, and passed by a photoshoot with a car that Barney Stinson identified as a Lamborghini Murcielago.

There's probably a famous person in this car.

There’s probably a famous person in this car.

Casual.

The true story of how I didn’t meet Marc Summers, part two.

So there I was, wandering drunkenly around a beautiful food festival in Puerto Rico trying to find Marc Summers. Every once in a while we sat and watched people make food. Those people were not Marc Summers.

Bastards.

Bastards.

Every once in a while we stumbled upon a stray fashion model who had apparently gotten lost and in the wild and, bewildered, was playing possum the only way it knows how – by posing.

hnwcassandra fashion 1

hnw cassandra 2

hnw cassandra fashion 3

None of these models are Marc Summers.

I tried out being a fashion model, but it didn’t turn out as well.

I also am not Marc Summers.

I also am not Marc Summers.

I resigned myself to eating without finding my third favorite Food Network television host and ate vast quantities of delicious, delicious food. There was a zesty tilapia ceviche, several varieties of steak, chips and dips and energy drinks, a malanga root soup, chicken on a stick, and the enormous, spicy, and wildly seasoned paella. I had a cheesecake made from avocados and a delicate quesadilla filled with pork. There were a lot of things that I ate without the slightest clue what they were (I do not speak a lick of Spanish, unfortunately). Mostly everything was delicious.

Still, internet, I was secretly searching for Marc Summers, with a plastic fork in my hand like a sonic screwdriver and an ever-growing bag full of cheap goodies, and with every new cocktail, I was growing more and more despondent. He was nowhere to be seen, neither high nor low, drunk nor sober. I kept getting annoyed at everyone I saw who was not Marc Summers, which turned out to be 100 percent of the people (minus the bubbly lady serving sausages. She was a rockstar).

Was I wrong in wanting so badly to meet Marc Summers, the voice of my childhood, the smiling face from Nickelodeon and Food Network, the kindly man who answered all the questions about Twinkies and Jellybeans I had not thought to ask? The frequent visitor of that mysterious diner with the all-encompassing menu? The ultimate darer of dares? In retrospect, even if I had met the guy, I have no idea what the hell I would have said to him, beyond “Hey man. What’s cracka-lackin’?”.

I was dispirited. Yet my salvation was nigh, people, because it turns out there was totally a dessert section. And while I did not find Marc Summers, I did find chocolate, which is essentially the same thing.

The true story of how I didn’t meet Marc Summers, part one.

I did not meet Marc Summers today, internet. Which, in retrospect, makes this day somewhat indistinguishable from all of the other days that I did not meet Marc Summers, which is all of them. All of the days. I’ve never met Marc Summers, is what I’m saying.

Let me back up a bit.

The thing is is that today I was actually fairly certain I would meet Marc Summers, because I’m in Puerto Rico and we went to this crazy food festival thing today where Marc Summers was supposed to be and where Marc Summers was, conspicuously, not.

We first learned about this food festival on the beach yesterday where we where just sort of lazing around getting sunburnt and Madre happened upon some article in some magazine about this crazy food extravaganza and she was all like, we should go to this and I was just like, mhmmmm, because let’s be honest I was already a cocktail or four deep at this point and I probably would have said yes to dying my hair pink and dancing la bomba with a kangaroo (full disclosure – I am currently a cocktail or four deep and that absolutely sounds like both a plausible and fun situation).

Anyways, we went to this food festival. It was called the Saborea, and it was wild and exotic and very, very different from all of the other food festivals I’ve ever been to.

The trouble, however, was that we looked it up before hand and discovered Marc Summers was going to be there and this deep, aching longing I never knew I had welled up inside me, and that longing was screaming I HAVE to meet Marc Summers. I Had to.

It was a set-up for failure.

Not pictured- Marc Summers.

Not pictured- Marc Summers.

There were many things that made the Saborea different from other food festivals I’ve been to, the first and most notable of which was the alcohol. The copious, copious amounts of alcohol. I’d been to other fairs and whatnot where you could buy a beer or two for a separate fee. Not at Saborea. No. Not only did they have an entire tent devoted to alcohol of various types, every other food vendor was hawking their own type of shot or cocktail or wine or beer or whatever. They were pouring beer into their freaking food, for frak’s sake.

The ballingest paella ever?

The drunkest paella ever?

In our little swag bags, they even gave us our own wine glasses to pour liquid ambrosia into.

Oh, on that note, yeah, we got swag bags, and it seemed like every four feet people were giving us freebies. Little sunscreens and fans and bottle openers and coupons and individual servings of salad dressings. I spent at least three minutes trying to track down someone handing out the most pimpingest orange sunglasses, but then there was someone handing out sangria and I got distracted.

Oh, also this was happening.

Buh?

Buh?

to be continued…