Paddling the Nile
The first ever paddle down the Blue Nile from source to sea. 5,000km through wild rapids, war zones, crocodile and hippo infested waters, disease, terrorists, guns, arrests; the works...
Newly married amongst the neon glow and dumpling vendors as we bumble our way trying to figure out the world's most populous nation at this exciting time in it's history...
The Great Canadian Bike Trek
23 years old and naive, I set off in the middle of Canada's barbaric winter perched on a woolskin seat-cover peddling solo from one side of Canada to the other...
The end of an era.
My days at Net Nanny have come to an end, and very soon, so will my days in Vancouver.
Departing Saturday, February 5, I will be setting off on my push bike with a lot of warm gear pedaling from Vancouver, on the Pacific, East to New Foundland on the Atlantic Coast.
My ride will take me through some of the most spectacular scenery in the world, through potentially some of the most extreme weather conditions and over some of the largest mountain ranges on the continent. Things are coming together nicely, I have a small recording studio running, dubbing tapes to listen to the journey. The tapes will not be your typical 'rock 'n' roll' tunes, but of the educational variety: history, geography, politics and languages will be singing in my ears to keep me company for the long trek across the second largest country on the globe.
My biggest worry with the trek is not the bitter cold, stream of traffic or the wild animals in the wilderness, but the dire consequences of spending too much time on the bike seat. Studies have proven a correlation between spending too much time on a hard saddle and impotence. Not to take any risks, I will be making a visit to the fertility clinic, to freeze my little boys for up to 5 years.
Leaving Vancouver, I will be taking many good memories with me. Net Nanny has obviously played a big part in my life here, and I couldn't have wished for a better job. As the saying goes, "there's never dull day at the Nanny", and my last few months have been no exception. In addition to the incredible work experience, there have also been many fun times with an incredible bunch of coworkers. One-armed press up contests, candy wars, yo-yo expeditions and the more recent fight club sessions have been part of the daily activities at the office at 525 Seymour.
My last trip away from Vancouver, before permanently leaving the alpine metropolis, was into the far reaches of interior Canada for a 'real winter'. My travels took me to Banff, a small town in the Rockies, famous for its incredible scenery. I stayed with a girl from Wellington, Sara Tullock, who put up some fine hospitality, in what must be one of the most fun little towns in North America. After seeing some the spectacular lakes, mountains, pubs and snow, I bused out of town on a Greyhound, bound for Calgary. Calgary, home to the 1988 Winter Olympics, was an unseasonably warm 18 degrees with clear blue skies, not bad for a city that can also be -40 at that time of the year.
The next port of call was Prince George, a large forestry town in Northern British Columbia. My host there was Foosh, a great Canadian lad. Foosh, who knows of my big appetite, fed me very well for the time I was up there. Probably the most fun part of the visit was the time spent in the outdoor hockey rink, with Foosh's nieces and nephews. It was my first time on ice skates, with the exception of a five-minute stint in a shopping mall in Australia many years ago. Stick in hand, I gave heart and sole, but was still no match for the 5-7 year olds skating circles around me, with the odd brawl on the ice. To top off the physical activity was some exceptional hot chocolate.
Smithers was the final destination on the trip, and also the venue for New Years Eve. Smithers is a beautiful little town of about 3,000 people, set up in the mountains. My host there was the lovely Cassandra D, whose parents owned a cute cottage right on the river shared with sheep, goats, chickens, turkey, cats and a big, fluffy, white, lovable dog.
The days in Smithers were passed at a little cabin on the lake, which Cassandra's dad and 3 of his mates were all part owners of. As it was mid winter, the lake had frozen over, so a large area had been cleared and flattened out, to make a prime venue for yet more hockey. A more confident skater now, but still an obvious novice we played contact 5 on 5 hockey to 60's hits booming from the stereo in the cabin behind us. I realized that After some hard spells of hockey, we warmed down with beers, either on one of the big chairs out on the deck, or in the cabin's sauna. It was tradition amongst Cassandra and her friends to take a polar dip in a hole that had been cracked in the frozen lake off the jetty. As soothing as it was, I was out as quickly as I got in, straight back into the sauna.
New Years night itself was a fun way to see in the New Millenium. It started with a bus trip in a big yellow school bus up the mountain to the ski field's cafeteria, the venue for the festivities. The beer, punch and champagne were flowing and after one or two drinks, the dance floor was hit, and resembling something from a Madonna video, using the cone party hats as chest enhancements, we grooved to some good songs. The strike of midnight came around, and after all the formal hoop-rah, we scaled the mountain with rubber inner tubes and plastic sleds, and slid down the ski slopes, drunk as skunks, narrowly missing a certain death from impact on the ski rental shop and being saved from a 10m drop by a flimsy fence.
And then it was back to Vancouver for my final month in the city before the long, cold ride.