Sunday, December 7, 2008

Consider the Rockies Rocked

Erika, Jill and I are lounging in my living room, thoroughly exhausted after a fabulous weekend of Rocking the Rockies.

Friday afternoon we picked up Erika from America at the airport - I'm not sure how we managed to recognize her without her bathing suit, but man she looks good in pants! Our neon pink Welcome to Canada sign set the tone for the rest of the weekend.
That night the rest of the girls from across the province arrived for a slumber party. We ate, drank and partied like rock stars - literally! Kate brought her wii and we played some mean rock band and DDR. We are pretty sure that forming an all girls band is definitely in the cards for us, sadly no video will be released at this time.

Saturday morning we were enticed out of bed with coffee and bailey's and off to the mountains in Hannah Montana, Kate's (not so) trusty work mini-van. We were definitely a force to be reckoned with! Once we surreptitiously crammed all our belongings and extra bodies (11 girls!) into our cushy hotel rooms we donned our amazing 80's winter wear (some of us literally had to squeeze ourselves into our suits... tight was in in the 80's right?) Then it was off to the hot springs for an afternoon of relaxing, with plenty of stops for photo opportunities along the way. Our fashion-forward-ness elicted many a double take and even an occasional "Oh gawd!" from fellow Banff tourists. We got our wish for snow! It was a scene right out of a holiday movie as we sat in the hot water surrounded by mountains as fluffy white flakes fell all around us.

Thoroughly relaxed and ready for some food we returned to the hotel to meet the rest of the crew (Danielle, Anita and Denise). First on the list was decorating our Rock the Rockies t-shirts - we needed four hours for the neon puffy paint to dry! I played stylist and assisted the already lovely ladies in hair and makeup for our night out at the bar. We ensured that we were equipped for the evening with gear from our goodie bags - laser lights, glow band bracelets, nail polish, hair accessories and bubbles! The activities for the evening included some scavenger hunt tasks similar to what you might find at a stagette/hen party. This later caused many people to ask if we actually were at a stagette. We got a little tired of explaining and just started saying yes.. hence Jill and Karen became faux bachelorettes for the night! And no Karen, this doesn't mean that you don't have to have a real stagette when Dan decides to make an honest women out of you.

Danielle won the prize for first person to complete all her tasks - before even arriving at the bar she had convinced a man to strip out of his shirt and jacket in the middle of the street, perform a magic trick and serenade her. This definitely laid out a challenge for the rest of us as we had to step up our game in order to compete! Highlights of the nights activities included:

  • Danni and Erika finding cute boys with accents within 5 minutes of arriving at the bar. I got my British accent and Erika got her Aussie!
  • Men fighting with each other over who got to buy us rounds of shots
  • Convincing some guy that Jill and Karen were not actually marrying each other
  • Having Jill and Karen's wedding announced to the bar by the lead singer of the band
  • Discovering Kate passed out in the bathroom after some random girl pulled me aside to say "someone wearing the same shirt as you is locked in a bathroom stall"
  • Danni pimping out Melissa to some guy in return for his underwear. This was NOT her task, just helping out Karen!
  • Melissa sucking face with said underwear guy later in the night
  • Excellent dancing by all girls. Erika getting a Canadian dance lesson from Jen to the "Good Old Hockey Game"
  • Denise getting condoms from strangers
  • Marcia explaining to Danni's British boy that she was only "here for a good time"
  • Jill thinking she was sober all night long and then waking up to realize, ok, maybe not so much
  • Erika doing not one, but three, tequila body shots with her Aussie boy
  • R rated voicemail from British boys played on speakerphone. We were all blushing by the end of it, but also wondering if some of those acts were actually physically possible
  • The fact that 11 girls didn't have to pay for a single drink the entire night at the bar
  • Only having one girl down after having probably 10 different shots each
  • Ensuring that the order taker at the pizza place send us a hot delivery man. Then giving him a lesson on self esteem when he later refused to admit that he was in fact, hot

Sunday morning came a little too early for some of us, but we managed to make it out and about (some earlier than others!). We awoke to a winter wonderland. Erika, Marcia and Karen took advantage of this and went out for a snow fight and snow angels while the rest of us got some beauty sleep-in time. There was time for some sightseeing and waterfall picture taking before heading our tired selves back into the city. Thanks to Kate for navigating the snowy roads back.. even if we did have to get out and push a couple times!

Next year we're going to attempt to make this an even more international event, hope you can make it!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Desperately seeking snow...

We're counting down to our annual Rock the Rockies event. What is this you ask? Well, this is an event that is sure to be notorious famous in years to come. This is our second annual all-girls weekend to Banff, put on by Jill and I, financed by the best hotel reward program ever (still sticking to the budget!).

The Rewards:

Jill and I travel a lot around the province for work, and whenever we can, we stay at the Delta. Delta has its own rewards program that not only gives us our Aeroplan points (free airfare is essential when you work for less-than-stellar government salaries.... I mean, thanks for the tax dollars everyone!), but also gives you additional Delta points for your number of stays. Once you reach certain levels (gold, platinum) you get CASH on your rewards card to be used for free stays, food at hotel restaurants, etc. This year Jill and I together have $500 in Delta money.
The Event:

Last year we decided that we better do something big in honor of Jill's birthday. So we rounded up the gang and headed off to Banff with nine of our girls. The event was such a success that we're doing it again! Only this year we have twelve girls, and we're celebrating both Jill and Karen's birthdays. This year's activities include: copious amounts of drinking, tobogganing (we're desperately hoping for snow!) in our 80's winter wear, partying at the hotel, scavenger hunt-type activities and a night out at the Banff bar where we will undoubtedly end up on stage with the band, flirting with bearded mountain men or involving the entire dance floor in one of our newly created dance routines. Unlike last year however, I personally am going to try and minimize the number of flights of stairs I fall down and stages I fall off of. I'm also going to try and NOT break my record for number of glasses smashed on a single dance floor (I think it was four in one bar last year...).
The Girls!

This year there are girls coming from all over Alberta (Edmonton, Red Deer, Calgary and Lethbridge) as well as an international contingent! Erika (yes, that we met sailing in Turkey!) is flying in from North Carolina to play with us!
Sadly Those Girls will be short one vital element - Velvet, an original Those Girl and core member of the all star drinking team, is unable to make it. Our love and thoughts are with you V!

I'll leave you with a couple pictures from last year's fete. Stay tuned...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Step by Step...

I've gotten made fun of quite a bit since I first let on that I really wanted tickets to the New Kids On the Block concert. Many of my friends are either younger than me or (very slightly) older than me so I think they missed the boat on the NKOTB first time around. I remember being 11 years old and singing Step By Step in my BFF Jamie's attic; band posters surrounding us and our Jordan dolls in hand..

Tonight I was simultaneously 12 and 28 years old. The concert KICKED ASS you guys! My mom wouldn't let me go to the NKOTB concert the first time they came to Calgary 15 years ago (I was too young!) and it was a little surreal standing there screaming my lungs out to Hanging Tough.

When I first found out the band was coming to Calgary I immediately cajoled Jill and Velvet (fellow Those Girls) to get tickets with me. They were doubtful, but something about my "come on guys, JORDAN KNIGHT!? convinced them. We started off tonight at Velvet's and my house, drinking cider, getting geared up 80's style and watching old NKOTB videos. We were especially excited to get fashion tips and dance move ideas from the videos.

Off we headed to the show, with Velvet and Jill relieved to see that other people had also dressed up for the concert in vintage band t-shirts and 80's gear. Our hero of the night was this girl in her spandex ensemble:

Natasha Beddingfield opened, and she was ok. I like some of her songs, but she just didn't really have the stage presence for a venue as large as the Saddledome. And then came the boys!! It was AMAZING!! I can't remember the last time I have screamed, sang and danced so much at a show! (And this is including the last couple shows I saw of my very favorite band!). Damn those Old New Kids are hot! Much hotter than in the 1988 I have to say! Jill and I even stooped to the level of yelling "take off your shirt!" when Donnie was talking to Calgary about how amazing we were. There was just the right mix of old stuff and new stuff. I actually like quite a few songs off the new album (yes, dorky I know..) so I was singing all the tunes. I made Jill and Velvet cd's of a mix of the new and old stuff to prepare for the concert, so they were up on their feet as well. I was a little worried before hand that they wouldn't have a good time, but we were all crazy and screaming and dancing.

Highlights of the show included when the band sang Dirty Dancing (from the new album) on top of a baby grand piano (I love the corny Swayze lyrics!), almost peeing my pants with excitement when Joey sang Cover Girl, and being almost too hoarse to scream the words to Step by Step during the encore. Good times ladies, good times.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Family Reunion - Idaho Style

You know you're good friends with someone when, after spending 24/7 with them for 31 days, seeing each other every minute and going to bed with them each night, you would willingly get into a car with them for a 20 hour road trip! That's my girl Jill. She valiantly offered up her car (vs. my gas guzzling SUV), company and road-trip-singing-voice for the whirl-wind trip to Idaho to meet up with my mama and sister.

We passed the 10-hour drive each way by singing, gossiping about boys, planning future Those Girls trips, taking pictures out the window of the car, puppy-walking breaks and, more singing. I think the highlight of the trip down was finding ourselves in the middle of a Friday afternoon Game Day parade in the town of Conrad, Montana. Go Grizzlies! It took us a minute to realize that we were not under attack as the town police, fire engine and ambulance led the parade of honking and shouting vehicles (all sporting GO GRIZ! paraphernelia) down the main street of town.
Once we arrived in the lovely middle-American town of Idaho Falls we settled into our hotel suite with Mama and Kelli. The room was equipped with a full kitchenette, which us girls on a budget proceeded to take full advantage of! Go out to dinner? Nah, we'll stay in and eat cheese and chips and salsa! We had a fabulous, albeit short, visit jammed with a scenic 5km walk of downtown Idaho, the Snake River and what we believe are the Idaho Falls, some shopping (hello Target!) and lots and lots of game playing in the hotel room. We also discovered (and drank quite a few bottles of!) a lovely local cider.
Then we were off, back to Canadia (that's how you say Canada in Canadian, right Jill?). It wouldn't have been a trip to the States without a stop in Montana to eat some Mexican food, sip on a coupe of (strong!) margaritas and plug our last couple (literally) American dollars into a smoky casino slot machine. With no line at the border, and no puppy to have to make frequent dog-walking breaks for, we made pretty good time getting out tired and car-weary butts home.

Despite the short time frame and not-so-tropical destination, we realized that even a teeny road trip is better than no trip at all AND that we can make pretty much any adventure fun! And hey, at least we got to use our passports!

Check out the video of Jill's Rocky Mountain High revelation and rendition..

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Road Trippin' it to the Gem State

That's Idaho, in case you didn't know. Just one of many fun facts my sister has sent to Jill and I in preparation for our road trip extravaganza! We're heading off to Idaho, the meet in the middle point for my mom and I. I'm taking my puppy to live with my mama, who has a dog of her own that could use a playmate.

Now, this isn't a month long Mediterranean sailing trip... its not even a relaxing beach vacation. But when you have had to go on the "possible-no-job-Budget" and are no longer allowed to plan your next vacation.. a road trip to Idaho starts sounding pretty good! Plus, I've never been to Idaho.. and the trip does end with some Vicky Secret and Bath n' Body works shopping (umm.. shopping with a budget...).

We're heading out early tomorrow am with our cooler of snacks, puppy gear and the trusty ipod. We also have our Captain Ray-inspired Canadian road trip music. We'll meet up with the Moo and Kelli in the lovely (I hope?) city of Idaho Falls. Off to find my passport!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

GET AWAY video

Still missing the boat... :) Yesterday I was in a liquor store picking up some wine for a dinner at my dad's house, saw some Metaxa brandy and boom! Flashback to the boat and John making us brandy and coffee every night!

Jill and I were asked by our coworkers to give a little presentation of some of our holiday pictures at one of our team meetings. Since I've spent the afternoon working on it (its pretty lame, I blame it on my junky old Windows 2000 work computer!), I thought I would post it here. Enjoy!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

PVD still in effect, and more blog updates

We've been home for almost a week now, and we are still suffering the effects of some Post Vacation Depression. We've been waking up in the middle of the night for bathroom breaks (guess our bodies still think it is daytime pee-time!) and are lucky to get five hours of sleep consecutively. Work had been a challenge after about 1:00 in the afternoon, as this is about the time we fall head-first into daydreams about being on the boat. I was rudely awakened in a meeting the other day while I was midnight cliff-jumping in Lorymar, Turkiye. Huh.

We also arrived home to the news that our work contracts won't be extended past this coming March, which has prompted us to explore our options of running away to live on boats. We've got a little work to do, but we are definitely plotting ways to get to use our sea legs more than once every few years. We'll keep ya posted on plans of escape!

I've went back and added some photos to old blog posts, and also added some new posts that go into more details about certain experiences and events on the trip, so please continue to check back on the old blog every once in awhile! I hope to continue updating even now that we're back, we don't have any huge trips planned right away (we have to go on the possible-no-job budget!) but we DO have an Idaho road trip and Rock the Rockies coming up, and perhaps some other potential update-worthy events, so stay tuned :) I've also added a Subscribe function to the blog, but I'm not sure exactly how it works, so feel free to check it out if you'd like to be informed of updates, and leave a comment letting me know how it works!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Who says you can't go home? Well, sometimes you just have to...

Hello from Canada! I actually can't believe we are home, and that we've been gone for a month. In some ways it seems like minutes, but in others a lifetime. Getting off the plane to chilly 8C weather was also not the best welcome we could have hoped for!

Our last day in Istanbul was anticlimactic. After waking up and having Turkish breakfast (bread, jam, olives, tomatoes, cucumbers and hard boiled egg) on the roof terrace of our hotel we headed down to the Basilica Cistern. It was a little creepy, made more so by the spooky music playing in the underground cavern, but really pretty cool. Not entirely sure it was worth the 10YTL entrance fee, however perhaps I am just getting a little tired of touristy things and having to pay to see history.

We braved a monsoon to walk with our leaky umbrellas to Topkapi Palace (jeans wet to the knees) only to decide that we just didn't have it in us to do any more touristy things for pricey rates. So we headed off for some retail therapy in the form of the Grand Bazaar. This is possibly the loudest place in the world. There are men and women lining the streets selling you things, trying to get you to come into their shops. Also IN the street are people with little carts on wheels that move out of the way for cars and then immediately return to the street to resume commerce. Often the carts are selling things like spiro-sketch toys that remind you of when you were 8 and make you wonder who would ever buy one! The Grand Bazaar proved to be a little to much for us when not at top form, so after haggling for a few items (pillow cases for Jill and tea cups for me) we headed to the less busy and much more interesting (to us) Spice Bazaar. Yum yum yum. Spices and sweets and nuts and other goodies. We were much cheered up after leaving here. We stopped at a little supermarket to buy some food type items (olives, etc.) that we wanted and also purchased a lovely new suitcase to haul back all our goodies.

This was another day of fending off Turkish men. It is really hard not to be rude sometimes, and it takes a lot to make me that way, however by the end of the day it was getting really tiresome. Jill had no problem being rude to the guy that asked her if she was my mom though! By late afternoon we were ready to drink and headed off to a pub (playing Nickleback of all things... can't escape them even in Turkey!) for some 8 YTL VERY strong vodka tonics. I decided that the best cure for the end of a vacation was to get drunk, with Jill's still somewhat sick body doing the supervising. Early night of packing up the bags for the last time for our early flight the next morning.
This morning we were up and at em' at 4:30 am to get to the airport, only to find our flight from Istanbul had been delayed by 3 hours. After a couple of dicey moments and some running down the concourse, we made it to our connection in London (with enough time to enjoy one last Magners before hopping on the plane!). A loooong flight later (made longer with no sleeping and no personal TV's on the plane!) we are back on home turf. We are tired and in need of showers and a lot of photo editing! We plan on going back and updating some of the blog entries with pictures and elaborating on some of our experiences that were only briefly mentioned, so stay tuned for that.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Its Raining Hairy Men in Istanbul

Nothing like easing into life away from sailing by heading off to rainy Istanbul. Land of hairy men... 'Hello, how are you, where you from?? I give you my business card..' are echoed as you walk down the streets of the Sultanahmet area. Forget being traded for boat goats and having your skipper rescue you... here you better have a husband (or at least a pretend one that you are meeting in mere minutes!). Istanbul is huge. Pretty too, at least the small area that we have seen so far. We got to our hotel late Thursday night after a LONG travel day and immediately collapsed.

Yesterday we took a ferry ride up the Bosphorous river (we thought that getting on another boat might cure some of our boat-sickness), to see some of the sights and get an impression of the city, to the suburb of Sariyer. We ate at a small seafood restaurant on the river, but it was rainy and cold so we decided to forgo figuring out the bus and take a Taksi back to Istanbul (yay me for figuring out what was being said and being able to communicate a rate!). Forget traffic in Calgary, if I had to drive in Istanbul there would be some serious road rage! Every three seconds it was slamming on the breaks with horns honking! In the afternoon we were proper tourists, checking out the Blue Mosque (amazing) and Aya Sofia. We probably didn't get as much out of Aya Sofia as we could have, as we were both tired and suffering from some major boat withdrawl, and Jill was getting really sick and we needed to just go have a nap. We ate dinner out last night but it was interupted by a torrential downpour, and Jill's guts calling her back to the hotel.
Still rainy out today, but we will actually bring the umbrellas (ella) with us this time! Today we hope to see Topkapi Palace, the Basillica Cistern and then spend the majority of the day SHOPPING!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Sailing Detox

Week three on the boat was fabulous. Jill and I found out that we are the only people in Seascape history that booked on for a two week trip and then decided to stay on for a third. Well, that is how we roll I guess... go big or go home! Week three was great because we were in the sailing groove and had perfected all the things that needed to be done on the boat (besides actually steering under sail or anything technical like that!). Skipper John called us part of the crew, and we actually took over the cooking, supply purchasing and teaching of skills to the newbies. We also got to perfect (well Danni at least) the tentative grasp we had on the Turkish language... Danni learned 19 words in one day and Jill still mispronounces thank-you every time she attempts it. This week those girls learned the secret to dealing with Turkish men - if you do not say that you have a boyfriend you will either need to be rescued by your skipper or face being traded for varios farm animals as currency! Jill would also like to report that she has smoked a hookah with two young Australian boys. Two step lessons were also held this week in Bozburan for the boat crew, as led by Danni and one smelly German. Look out ladies who will be attending Rock the Rockies this year, as there is also a new dance routine in store for everyone!

Today is a travel day and we are heading to Istanbul. We are updating from Dalaman, where a very kind Turkish gentleman escorted us to his friend,s ınternet cafe from the bus station. Once we arrıved we had to climb over about 15 Turkish boys to get to our computers... why are they not ın school?? We will be in Istanbul until Sunday so hopefully another update then. We are already planning on the new suitcases we will buy to bring back all of our yummy Turkish goodies!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Sailıng Addiction... blame it on the drink!

Week two on the boat has come and gone.. if possible it was even better than week one! We have fallen into a sailıng groove where we feel like we know what we are doing. The people on our boat week 2 were also great, Erika ıs an unoffıcial honorary those girl, and Richard had really good boat tunes! Erica will actually be joining us ın Barbados for the those girls reunion next year!This week we left Greece and entered Turkey, which has complicated blog posting wıth the presence of a Turkish keyboard with new letters (forgive all misuses of i wıth the letter ı) and keys ın odd places. İ am actually a little frustrated wıth typing thıs rıght now!

Turkey brought warmer weather, greener scenery, much smaller ports and (completely unexpectedly!), better sailıng! We got to sail 4 out of 5 days thıs past week. Jill and I both agree that the food ın Greece was a lıttle more to our liking however, and thank goodness that Kevin and Pickle from the other boat were able to fillet and de-head our fısh meals for us many a night! We feel we are eating too much bread still with our reduction ın activıty, so will be implementing yet another food strategy of only ordering main courses to share instead of sharing both mezes (appetizers) and mains. This ıs the third food strategy of the trip though, so it may or may not work out for us!
Little change in plans... it was put out to us the possibilıty of stayıng on the boat another week (reverse trip back to Greece) so the universe worked itself out for us and we wıll be continuing to sail for one more week. We will still be goıng to İstanbul at the end of the trip and returning to Canada as planned. We just could not pass up this opportunity to continue sailıng and have made plans with our skipper to be able to reverse park the boat by the end of the week... or at least steer whıle under sail without stressing ourselves out!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Clean is the New Dirty

Ed. Note: I'm posting this after being back in Canada, wanted to elaborate on some of our specific experiences on the trip :)

Docked in Datca, the largest port we will visit in Turkiye. This is the home of our fabulous Hamam (Turkish Bath) experience... sorry no pictures!!

10 people from the boats pile into 2 beat up old Toyotas that have arrived at the harbour to take us to the hamam. The cars are quite small, so I end up sitting on the middle console in the front, sandwiched between a rather large and hairy Turkish man and Kevin, Pickle's husband (sorry again Kevin!). Upon arriving at the bath, we are greeted on the steps by chickens and roosters and ushered into the foyer where we are given wooden bottom shoes and towels distinctly resembling tea towels. All the girls are wearing bathing suits, as we have been told that "if we don't want it washed, keep it covered".

Next, into the coed hot room. This is a domed cement room echoing with our barely suppressed giggles. And its HOT. So hot we can barely breathe as we attempt to lay on the burning marble slab in the middle of the room, or use the cold water taps to douse ourselves for momentary relief! In comes a couple of large hairy men, wearing nothing but tea towels. Hmm.. they are the same men that drove us here... They point at one of the girls and direct here face down onto the excruciatingly hot marble slab and proceed to scrub her down with an exfoliating mitt (same one for everyone!!). Takes me a minute to realize that the grey stuff covering her body is actually skin... there goes my tan! After the scrub down, she's off to the shower to rinse before being soaped up by the other hairy man. Jill's next. Face down on the table, skin rubbed off, butt slapped to indicate she should roll over onto her back and whoosh! there goes her bikini top thrown across the slab by the hairy man! We make eye contact and that's it.. we can't stop laughing for the next 20 minutes! Everyone gets a topless rub down from there on in. This is lucky for the boys, who are all waiting in the room for their turn on the table! What a way to get to know your boat-mates...!

Once you've been thoroughly scrubbed and soaped it is off to the foyer again to await your turn on the massage table. Mama and grandma give you a complete rub down with oil, even into your scalp. While you're waiting the family will keep you company by hanging out watching Turkish soap operas at full volume and smoking like chimneys.

Despite the craziness, this was one of the most entertaining experiences of our trip, and Jill and I are both glad that we did it. We were sooooo soft and supple after that! For those worried about topless experiences, rest assured that this is not a normal occurance and that the bath employees were spoken to by our contacts in Datca and it didn't happen again. Also, not all hamams in Turkey are coed. I would totally recommend the hamam experience to anyone traveling in Turkey!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Greek Dancing, Those Girls Style!

Ed. note: posted after return to Canada

We were really bummed to find out that we were going to miss out on the usual Greek Dancing night that Seascape attends in Patmos because of a slightly different itinerary than usual for our trip. Not to worry, those girls can make their own excitement!

Leaving the taverna after dinner in Vathi, I noted that there was a group of Greek boys waving at us from another taverna along the harbour. Having already linked arms with my girls, Jill and Suzanne (an honorary Those Girl), we were a force to be reckoned with. We skillfully evaded the skippers by singing happy birthday serenades to a couple of boats on the jetty, and made our way back to the taverna with the boys.

After sitting down with them and ordering some retsina from the cute barmaid, we realized that we had a little language barrier. All the boys were from Vathi, and none spoke more than a few words of English, and we no more than 5 words in Greek! After a few attempts at communication, I decided that the best way to break through the language barrier was by dancing! Turns out that the barmaid (and her husband who was sitting with us (she was quick to point out his ring to us!)) were professional Greek dancers! After a little switch of the music and the kicking (literally!) of tables out of the way to make a dance floor, we were in business! All three of us got up (Jill after a little prodding and a little more retsina!) and had some dancing lessons. Step forward, step back.. arms up, holding hands...

Once Jill got into the spirit she gestured to the group that she was ready for some plate smashing. Everyone laughed at her, as this is not really common practice in Greece due to the priceyness of plates! However, they obliged her request by smashing empty retsina bottles (by now we had finished quite a few!) onto the cement floor... oh dear with the flying glass! Jill actually ended up gushing blood, with a shard of glass stuck in her leg. Luckily Poppi (the cute barmaid) came to the rescue with a bottle of Johnny Walker Red that she poured on Jill's leg to sterilize the wound! Thank goodness for Greek medicine :)

After we thanked the boys and Poppi extensively for the dancing lessons and free retsina (we tried to pay!), we decided we should head back to the boat for a little nightcap. Apparently we still had a little excess adrenaline going on, because Suzanne and I decided that we needed to do a little midnight cliff jumping! Thank goodness for the kindness of Skippers, who (despite some minor grumbling), will allow themselves to be woken up at 1 am and cajoled into getting up to have brandy and coffee waiting to warm up cliff jumping Greek goddesses! Trust Those Girls to do it up in style!

Tales of seduction on the Aegean Sea

On our last night in Athens (when Jeff arrived) we drank a bit too much wine and on our way back to the hotel, we spontaneously bought some matching bling shoes and even managed to talk the guy down from 35 E to 29 E. We were pretty impressed. with ourselves. Turns out the other 2 girls on our boat also came prepared with some shiny shoes! That's Jill, Suzanne, Marnie and Danni from left to right.

So we arrived at the dock in Leros last Sunday to get on the boat and start our adventures out at sea with Seascape Sailing. We met our skipper, John, and was introduced to our new family for the next week. We are on the boat named Vassilis (nicknamed syphillus due to a former Skipper with quite a reputation!). Our new family are: Jim and Marnie from Toronto, Rafi from LA, Suzanne and Anthony from NY and us, Muffy, Buffy and Tex (Jeff... from florida). That is us and Skipper John below. Looks like he got a lot of sun... maybe also a few too many cocktails!

John told us all the rules and regulations of boat life in about 5 minutes flat. Rule #1 captain gets a beer, rule #2 open the hatches and rule #3 make sure the fenders are in place. We took off and were given our first instructions of removing the fenders and tying clove hitch knots. Yey, we were excited we learned something new! The boat was awesome, the sun was great and I wasn't feeling so hot. Stomach was queasy and i was determined not to get seasick on the first day. There was no way i was going to be a wimp, no way. I tried to rise above it and get over it, but alas my stomach did not agree with me. So I mentioned something to Marnie and she laughed saying I feel terrible too, I just took a ginger pill. Next thing you knew, ginger pills were flying around the boat faster than beer in a highland games tent! Once we were all feeling better, we used our new skills of tying knots to the fenders and getting the boat ready to dock at our first stop, Lipsi. I have no idea what we did there. but i bet it included a pastry item, a drink or two or three, some really great food and perhaps some sightseeing or renting an ATV. As you can see, we really have a good time (and look hot in helmets) when we ride ATVs! We were probably going REALLY fast in this picture thanks to Danni's super driving skills.

This seems to be the order of play for each and every day as I look back to remember what we have done. Sometimes we shake it up and stop and swim and snorkel on the way to another dock, just for shits and giggles. So to make a long blog shorter, that is our life in a nutshell. We get up, shake off the hangover by walking to the WC (only one hole in the ground toilet so far!), we eat, we sail, we swim, we eat, we sail, we dock, we see some sights, we drink Mythos beer, we eat, we dance like greek goddesses, we watch the stars and milky way and we sleep. Then we repeat this exact same thing the very next day.

So some great things we seen are monasteries and blue roof churches and houses and people and we even rented ATV 's one day and scoped out the island. Oh, at this point i should also mention, I have eaten my entire body weight in bread in about 5 days. I think I've set a world record for bread consumption, have decreased my fruit by 98% and i'm still managing to take at least one #2 per day (although we don't talk about that on the boat, our proper British captain thinks us Canadians are crude talking about peeing all the time!), Danielle will be glad to hear that my body systems are working just fine!
So now we're on Kos (island and harbour name), a larger, tourisy island for 2 nights while we switch a bit of crew for the next week into Turkey! We love Greece but are really excited to add another stamp to the passport. We'll be sad to lose some of the peeps on the boat, but we still have the foundation of Muffy, Buffy and Tex to spice things up. And who knows, there may be more tales of seduction on the high seas to come!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Baklava sugar high!

So many days away from a computer! We've spent the last 2 and a half days in Athens. People here are very friendly, as we found out when we were personally escorted to our hotel by a man that saw us looking at our map (true tourists!) in Syntagma Square. We are finally starting to get over being sick, just lots of phlegm now (yum, I know..). Tex; from Florida, arrived yesterday, and we immediately drug him out to conquer the city bus system (metro strikes for a couple of hours a day here it seems, just when we want to use it!), explore the Plaka and see the National Acheological Museum. We thought the best way to get him over his jet lag was to get him full of beer and baklava. We had to try every kind of baklava in the patisserie in order to decide what we liked the best, so Jeff had some strange, sugar-induced dreams last night!

Today we woke bright and early (after Jill slept through the alarm, and Jeff kept us up all night with his snoring..) to tour the Acropolis, Ancient Agora, Tower of the Winds and wander through the Monastiraki area. Jeff finally got his gyros, although it sure took us a long time trying to figure where he was going to get a "hero" sub in touristy Athens! The Parthenon is pretty amazing, there is tons of reconstruction going on all throughout the Acropolis and it just makes you think that much more about how much work must have went into the original construction, without the use of cranes and other machinery. The views of Athens from the Acropolis were pretty breathtaking as well (we'll have lots of pictures of that once we finally get around to posting some..).
Tonight is our last night in Athens, so I'm sure we'll be hanging out in the Plaka (where our hotel is.. location, location, location!). It is a cool "traditional" area, near the Acropolis, but it is packed full of tourists. Fun to hang out in though, the tavernas stay open really late and you sit outside drinking wine and stuffing yourself with olives and tzatziki (and bread! Jill can eat bread!) while Greek musicians play.

Tomorrow morning we are up (way too early!!) and flying to Leros for a day lounging on the beach and taking a break before we are off sailing. We're ready for some beach, and non-touristy islands. The cities have been amazing, especially London, but we're in need of a slower pace for a bit. I'm looking forward to the Leros break to gear up to socializing with the 6 new people that we'll be living with on the boat for the next two weeks.

Hopefully internet in Leros will be as cheap as here in Athens. Despite a somewhat long walk to the internet cafe from our hotel (we ate gelato on the way to spur us on) it is only 2.80 euros per hour to use the internet. As opposed to 1 pound per 10 minutes at the airport in Luton! Next post will hopefully be some pictures!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

One country down, 2 to go!

So first things first, both Danni and Jill are sick! eek! it totally sucks, not like flu sick, but ears, nose and throat sick which makes flying so much more difficult. Looking forward to the flight to Athens today!
So this week while in London, being like real locals, we shopped at Oxford street, had high tea at Wolsely (where we got scolded for taking pics by the director!), met up with our local friend Amy and her 2 Canadian travelling friends Chris and Nick where we cultured ourselves at Spitalfields, went for a pint and then a curry before heading back to the hostel to sleep. By day 5, Danni did not have to look at the tube map anymore becuase she knew exactly where to go at all times, she's so smart!
We were also excited to go to the theatre while in London, and we ended up with tickets to an AMAZING show called Wicked (the story behind the witches on Wizard of Oz!) We highly recommend it to anyone who's travelling or here!

Gotta run, must eat and medicate prior to flight!

Monday, September 15, 2008


That is in reference to Danni's feet, not ok. She was an idiot and didn't break in her shoes before walking 8000 miles in one day!

Last night was the first night we got almost a full nights sleep since leaving home, we will guesstimate 7 hours. Yey for us. Dorm room hostel living is not as easy as we anticipated, we don't like to think it's because we are getting old.
Since arriving in jolly old London we have, walked over 500 miles per day, met 3 new people for our Facebook, , reconnected with old friends, seen Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, London Eye, Big Ben and House of Parliament, Royal Courts of Justice, Fleet Street, Camden Town, St Paul's Cathedral, Spitalfield's market, many pints of cider and just as many sleeping pills and have NOT eaten Fish and chips from newspaper! In addition to having almost perfected our British accents, we have mastered the Tube! This is a short one, as the internet is expensive and we need to get coffee and on the tube to get our shopping done on Oxford Street and purchase theatre tickets for tonight! Cheerio!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Almost Vacation...

Alright folks.. it is 6:00 pm. Jill and I are fully packed; everything that can be crammed into our backpacks has been crammed. We managed to fit a pair of pants (Sorry Jan!), although we are wearing them as they wouldn't fit in the bags. And Wonnita, we decided to go with jeans :).
We're currently drinking Stongbow (in anticipation of course!) and eating some toasted tomatoe sandwhiches so that Jill has no veggies to mould in her fridge over the next month. We're off to the airport soon to check into our (hopefully!!!) first-class seats for the loooong flight to London, so we'll keep ya posted of the haps and adventures of Those Girls minus 2 (probably to be referred to as simply Those Girls for simplicity sake from here on out though!) as they occur.
Cheerio old chaps!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Shut up, I have a Season's Pass!

This has been a busy summer for "those girls"! Most recently was a camping adventure on the August long weekend to Cataract Creek. Those girls, minus one, (plus a couple extras!) took the almighty tent trailer (from 1969) out to Kananaskis country.
It took no time at all for 4 people to set up camp (of course due to Karen's military commands) then the eating and drinking began around the bestest campfire ever, thanks to Mountain Dan - King fire poker. We were so thankful for the tent trailer as the nighttime temperatures dipped down to 4 C. And to prevent ourselves from freezing, Danni and Jill realized that their "touching quotient" had to be just right. After a bone chilling breakfast and a trip to Upper Kananaskis Lake (where we narrowly escaped hitting cows, deers, bears and bighorn sheep on the highway), we decided to supervise Mountain Dan in his fly-fishing expedition. His mission was to catch dinner (luckily we had backup just in case!) When Mountain dan returned to the campsite, those girls, had already consumed a large quantity of liquids and appetizers (2 smokies each and were discussing round 3). that night as we were chatting around the campfire, Jen noticed some sort of action in the campsite across from us. She was convinced she saw the neighbor girl go down on the neighbor guy! A few minutes later, we were being entertained by loud sighs and groans coming from their tent. Sure made it hard to sleep that night. We endured another bone chilling night (thank goodness we discovered the touching quotient) however Jen ended up sleeping in her truck due to the fact that her air matress blew a gasket and her tent leaked!
Stay tuned to the next adventures of "those girls"....