Tag Archives: AirCanada

Not Even A Travel Disaster Is Keeping Me From Goofy

Social media whore – that’s me!

After the most ridiculous travel “adventure” I have landed in Orlando. It’s warm and the fresh air feels amazing. I have to give a big shout out to Mark and Jeff for patiently waiting for me at the Orlando airport while my flight was delayed and delayed and delayed some more.

It started with a bad part on the plane, then a faulty computer, and then all hell broke loose. And after that – the air traffic control computers went down.

Epic travel fail.

Clearly Goofy is so afraid, he’s tampered with my travel plans. Whatever Goofy. Whatever.

To pass the time and to stay sane, I watched three movies on the in-flight entertainment system, and by chatting with CityTV about the ordeal. Because they saw my tweets and asked me to chat. So I did. Because – as Rick would say – and I wouldn’t disagree – I’m a social media whore.

Anyway, I stink of stale airplane, and sad airplane food so I’m going to go have a long hot Silkwood shower (if you aren’t sure what that is – Google Meryl Streep and Silkwood shower).

After that, I’m going to CRUSH GOOFY!

I Don’t Actually Want To Take Over A Small Country…

A beautiful morning in downtown Guelph – with stops at the market (for donuts of course), and Planet Bean (for a latte of course), prior to boarding the train and heading to Toronto.

I just want to feel as if I could. :)

I’m currently on the train headed to Toronto. For those who normally take the bus, let me just tell you that travelling by train is far more civilized. Yes, it’s slightly more expensive, but for the extra cost you get more leg room, free wifi, bigger more comfortable seats, and the ability to walk around should you get tired. If Canada actually had a high-speed train service, I’d probably opt for it over flying1. I guess for now AirCanada, WestJet, etc., will retain my business.

But the train is not the point of this post. The point of this post is tomorrow’s marathon.

Again? Aren’t you ever going to shut up about that stupid marathon thingy? We get it. You’re running a really long distance. It’s not like you’re curing cancer or buying me presents. – You yell, rolling your eyes in frustration.

You are correct – I’m not buying you presents. That’s what you get when you yell at me. Ha!

I digress.

Anyway, yes, tomorrow is the big day. And if all goes well I should be finished the race in under 4 hours2.

Let’s consider that time – 4 hours – a little bit, shall we? That’s a long time to be doing anything. I mean, most of us don’t even last that long at work before we want a break – or is that just me? Clearly, with a 4 hour race planned I’m going to need some motivation to keep moving. For me, motivation comes in one of five major forms:

  1. Heading to pick up my race kit.

    Awesomely inappropriate, hilarious, and inspiring posters that the spectators bring with them,

  2. Little kids that put their hands out for high fives as you run by3,
  3. Spectators – often strangers – that scream my name and cheer me on,
  4. Friends and family that show up to cheer me on (especially when I’m unaware that they are going to attend), and
  5. Music.

All of these things have a way of giving me a second, third, fourth, fifth, etc., wind. And in many cases – runner’s high – an incredible euphoric sense that I can only describe as Amaze-balls in Awesome-sauce. For me, runner’s high is an entire body experience. It starts at the top of my head and slowly moves down my spine, through every muscle fibre. Often times, it comes in successive waves.

While I can’t exactly plan or count on runner’s high, I’ve run enough to know that sometimes certain songs seem to trigger it. In all cases, the songs are uplifting, positive, have a great beat, or include the word run or running in them. Seriously. A perfect example: Melissa Etheridge’s I Run For Life – a song I believe she wrote as a response to her own battle with breast cancer.

Anyway, I have several other go-to songs that get me pumped (feel free to mock me ad nauseam for any or all of these – but remember, they get me through a marathon – so they can’t be completely terrible). Not all of these are what I would necessarily call great in terms of their lyrics – but they do get the job done. They either have a great beat, in some cases a great message, or are just kick-ass awesome in their own way. Some of these include:

  • Lady Gaga (Monster, Boys Boys Boys, Born This Way, Alejandro, Edge Of Glory, and Highway Unicorn4, to name a few)
  • Jill Barber (Oh My My)
  • Fun. (Some Nights, We Are Young)
  • Florence And The Machine (Drumming, Dog Days Are Over, Shake It Out, What The Water Gave Me, and so many more)
  • Adele (Rolling In The Deep, Rumour Has It, Set Fire To The Rain)
  • David Bowie (Changes, Golden Years, Oh You Pretty Things)
  • Depeche Mode (Wrong)
  • Guns N’ Roses (Nightrain)
  • Kelly Clarkson (Stronger)
  • Madonna (Deeper And Deeper, Rescue Me, Push, Jump, etc.)
  • Michael Jackson (Man In The Mirror, Black Or White, Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough, etc.)
  • Michael Franti & Spearhead (Say Hey, Soundsystem)
  • The Offspring (Self-Esteem)
  • Peter Gabriel (Solsbury Hill)
  • Placebo (Pure Morning)
  • Prince (When Doves Cry)
  • Robyn (Dancing On My Own)
  • Sinead O’Connor (No Man’s Woman, Mandinka)
  • Stone Temple Pilots (Sex Type Thing)
  • The Tragically Hip (Three Pistols, New Orleans Is Sinking, etc.)
The palindrome-y nature of my bib number appeals to the math nerd inside me.

But now to the point of this post.


What songs do you listen to when you run or exercise?

What songs have you dancing around the kitchen when you think no one is watching?

What songs move you?

I ask because I’m looking for some new music. My play list, while awesome and getting the job done, is getting old. So I’m looking for some new additions.

The songs need to be upbeat, full of awesome, and make you feel like you could take on an army of angry raptors with nothing but your bare hands and a charming (but deadly) mouthful of pearly whites. Or perhaps they make you feel as if you could take over a small country, while at the same time winning the hearts and minds of its residents. Whatever the song does – so long as it moves you – I want to know about it.

Less than 18 hours until the gun goes off. W00t!

1 Can I ask why? I mean, I know this country is huge, but we are the only country in the G8 (according to the all-knowing and all-powerful Wiki) to not have a high-speed train service. Surely we could organize one between some of our cities.

2 My previous marathon took just over 4 hours 8 minutes to complete. Of course, I had to slow down after about kilometre 36 because my IT band decided to explode. Or at least that is how it felt.

3 And I question anyone’s judgement who chooses not to high-five these kids.

4 How can I not include a song about unicorns. Ha!

Destination Awesome

Elliot asks: can I come too?

After a relatively late evening1, and a very early wake up call2 I found myself headed to Pearson Airport. Destination: Awesome. Er, Calgary.

Arriving at the airport at the bright-and-early time of 4:15 meant that I had almost 2.5 hours to kill before boarding. I attempted to nap stretched out over several chairs but to no avail. I guess I was just too wired3. Instead, I chose to peruse Terminal 3. I’ve been in this terminal before, but it was a very long time ago.

I’d like to say I found something of note, but I did not. Unless of course you include all of the people who slowly trickled into the terminal who were clearly destined for places exotic. In fact, I contemplated hanging around a little longer than my scheduled departure time of 7:05am because the next flight out of gate B40 was headed to Cuba. Ahhhhh, to land somewhere and immediately feel the need to lose my pants while the sunshine-y sunshine kissed my face – ya, very tempting.

Of course, I didn’t wait around on the off-chance that I could go to Cuba. The mountains were calling my name, and I was powerless to ignore them.

The flight – with WestJet – was great. The staff were very courteous and friendly, and they seemed to be having a lot of fun despite the early hour. While I enjoyed their upbeat attitudes, all I wanted to do was sleep. Knowing I was stuck where I was for almost 4 hours signaled to my brain that I was heading to zzzz-town. My head bobbed a few times and I lost consciousness for about 3.2 milliseconds. After that point my body decided it had enough with sleep and I was going to stay awake the entire flight.


Not one to lose an opportunity to be productive, I jumped on my computer4 and spent a few hours programming in C++. The C in C++ stands for cool. True story.

I touched down in Calgary shortly after 9am local time. Rick picked me up and we headed to the Market for coffee and breakfast, followed by a rather uneventful trip to IKEA. By that point, however, my body was beginning to say What the hell are you doing? I could tell I was extra-stupid tired5 because 1) I was delirious, 2) I was giggling at everything, 3) I had a very difficult time thinking about anything, 4) I had a hard time finding the words to say things, and 5) I had a mix of dizziness and vertigo that only result from sleep deprivation.

The market: includes delicious coffee, lessons in honey, samples at every corner, and breakfast.

Wisely, Rick brought me home. I proceeded to pour myself onto the couch and fell almost immediately to sleep. In fact, I believe I may have fell asleep mid-sentence, but can’t be sure because I have almost no recollection of what we were talking about.

After a 2 hour nap – I think – I’m feeling pretty rested6 and ready to start writing the newest chapter in the Dan and Rick get up to Shenaniganning: An Adventure in Adventuring story. I think I shall call this chapter Destination Awesome, or Extra-Stupid Tired Is Not A Reason To Not Be Awesome.

I digress.

Anyway, tonight is low-key: dinner with friends at The Coup, where I will be sure to sample the best drink that has ever been made in the history of drink-making. That drink, which I’ve discussed before, is known as Better Than Nescafe.

And just like Pavlov’s dog, my mouth is watering at the simple suggestion of it.

1 In bed by 1am.

2 The gawd-awful wake up time of 2:45am. Sadly, this was a necessary evil to get me to Pearson early enough to get through security and ready to board my plane on time. Apparently RedCar’s only other van wouldn’t arrive at the airport until about 10 minutes after my flight was scheduled to leave.

3 I’d blame the coffees, but really I was just excited to be getting on a plane again.

4 After watching a few reruns of the show Two Guys, A Girl, And A Pizza Place. Remember that show? Ya, neither did I. But it did star an early Ryan Reynolds – whom you might remember from such cinematic wonders as Van Wilder, and The Green Lantern.

5 Extra-stupid tired being the level of tired between sleepy and about to drop into a coma.

6 Relatively speaking.

I See Mountains

Being greeted with a Dr. Gillis sign is the best way to arrive at an airport.

Today was another early day. However, unlike the last however-many-days-it-has-been, getting up early today was for a reason other than work. Today was the day that I rekindled my once-per-month-travelling goal1, boarded a plane, and made my way to Calgary. W00t!

The flight was rather uneventful, save for the fact that we were without an in fight entertainment system. Oh cruel Fates, why have you cursed me with this terrible luck? In reality though, this wasn’t even close to being an inconvenience. And to be honest, after several rather intense days I was too tired to care. Also, I had my iPhone and my computer with me so I just watched my own movies and listened to my own music.

In an unexpected twist, AirCanada offered us vouchers for 5% off our next flight for the inconvenience of not being able to watch movies while we flew through the air. Personally, I found this rather strange because I’ve been on flights before where I was far more inconvenienced. You know – those flights where they board you on the plane, have you sit there for hours with nothing but a paltry glass of water, provide you with zero information, then ask you to get off the plane to reschedule you at a much later hour, significantly cutting into your vacation (and as such, your margarita drinking time)2.

Regardless, the voucher was a nice gesture and given that I’m going to be travelling again very soon, 5% off is 5% off.

But while I’m talking about AirCanada, I also wondered something today. It never fails that when I’m watching a movie on their inflight entertainment system that one of the flight attendants, or the captain, or the co-pilot, or whomever jumps on the PA to announce something about something that no one on the plane seems to care about. Honestly, I’ve watched and have never noticed anyone actively listening to any of these announcements.

The result is that the announcement just cuts into whatever movie the masses have been watching to forget the fact that they are flying thousands of feet above the ground at speeds we only dream of on the land – and the result is an almost audible gah, because it was just getting to the good part of the movie. And then there is a sigh of relief when the movie restarts, only to be followed by another gah because the announcement has to be repeated in French (as we are a bilingual country).

Jessica Fletcher - where she goes, the Grim Reaper follows.

Anyway, why am I pointing this out?  Well today, on a flight with absolutely no inflight entertainment options apart from twiddling thumbs, staring at the person’s head in front of you, or (if you were as lucky as me) watching Absolutely Fabulous on my computer, there were pretty much zero announcements. That’s right, apart from the initial safety announcements, and the final get-yer-butts-back-in-yer-seats-cuz-we-be-landing, there were none. Nada. Zero. Zilch.

It makes me wonder – was this is all just a coincidence, or is there more to it than that? Are the flight attendants just making announcements because it’s some sort of inflight joke? Or was it just that I wasn’t interrupted right at that moment when Jessica Fletcher reveals the identity of the killer in the big screen version of Murder She Wrote? Ya, that’s probably the case.

Flash forward a few hours and I’ve just awoken from a wee nap. Rick picked me up at the airport and then dropped me off at his place before returning to work (sucker). Prior to him heading back to the office, we did a quick catch-up. It was honestly so awesome to see him when I got off the plane, and I’m looking forward to the next 4 days of shenaniganning with him. We start the adventure tonight with dinner at a friend’s, and then drinks at The Coup.

Vacation is awesome.

1 You may have noticed that I put that goal on hiatus after 13 months of travel. I’d like to say I had a good reason to do that, but in reality that isn’t the case. And after 1 very long month of not travelling, I have made the decision that it is something that I need to do. For my health. And other such stuff.

2 Yes, I realize that these delays are almost always related to my safety – that is why I haven’t ever complained about them. Well, that’s not true. I’ve complained – to friends – but never to AirCanada (or whomever I happen to be flying). Sometimes a guy needs to vent you know.

Rule Of Thumb: Never Lose Sight Of Your Bag

I have learned through experience to avoid checking luggage at the airport. Too often, my luggage has been lost or I have discovered something missing from it. Plus I can be very impatient, especially when incompetence is involved (which, sorry airport employees, seems to be the norm when it comes to baggage handling)1. As such, I never check luggage unless it is absolutely unavoidable.

My most recent luggage experience comes courtesy of my trip to Hawaii. Specifically it was the return trip, where I was informed by two different airport employees (one of which worked the very gate that I was departing) that despite having 2 carry-on items, if I were to purchase a box of pineapples, it would be considered a free item. That is, an acceptable third carry-on. On arrival at the gate, one of these same employees who only moments before had informed me that I could in fact have an additional third carry-on (i.e., the box-o-pineapples), now informed me that no, in fact, I could not do this. And she looked rather annoyed with me for even considering bringing a, GASP, third item on board their precious little plane. Awesome. Now, if I’m in the wrong, I have no problem admitting it. But in this case, I had clearly done the correct thing by checking in with not one, but two airport employees. I guess I could have argued with her, but I’m also not a fan of airport asshattery. That is, I know the airport employees have to put up with far too many obnoxious passengers that have had one too many, or those that are a cross between ignorant and empowered. Due to this, I really don’t like making their lives worse (I know, I’m awesome that way). Plus, people tend to give me free things/upgrade me/whatever when I’m my normal, nice, chipper, awesome self. Seriously.

The box-o-pineapple deliciousness, also known as the cause of my luggage nightmare. Damn you pineapples. No, I take that back. I love you too much to damn you. Now get into my belly.

Reluctantly I gate-checked my largest piece of luggage and boarded the plane. Keep in mind, my largest piece of luggage is sized such that it fits more than comfortably within the standard carry-on restrictions set by most airlines.

On arrival to Toronto, I made my way to baggage claim along with hundreds (perhaps thousands) of other people. More than 40 minutes after arriving and several failed starts, the luggage finally started pouring onto the belt2. Except for mine. I patiently waited. Then I impatiently waited. I may have made several loud sighs in protest or disgust. I can’t be sure. All I know is that I continued to wait. And perhaps vent via the Twitter. Because I’m clearly all trendy and cool like that.

Finally my flight was removed from the queue of flights listed. And with that I knew that my luggage was once again MIA, thank you bag-checking-necessity. GAH. After another half hour or so of wandering the airport, filling out forms and whatnot, I made my way through customs – because my pineapples needed to be security checked – and then home. A special thanks to my brother Aidan for picking me up, very patiently waiting for me while I was waiting impatiently for luggage, and then taking me for a sushi feast. Best. Brother. Ever.

Tasty fish platter number 1. I
Tasty fish platter number 2. Don

Four – count ‘em – four days later, my bag arrived. Thankfully it was full of summer clothes that I didn’t require, what with the winter wonderland that Ontario had become in my absence. Had it not been wintry outside, I might have been slightly more annoyed by the amount of time it took for AirCanada to return my bag. Regardless, I was just thankful I had my stuff back. To be safe, and in the case that I might need to make further claims, I checked that all the contents were still in the bag, and that they were undamaged. My bag contained:

  • 1 pair running shoes
  • 8 pairs of underwear
  • 8 pairs of socks
  • 4 dress shirts
  • 4 pairs of shorts
  • 1 pair of running shorts
  • 1 running shirt
  • 1 pair dress pants
  • 11 t-shirts
  • 1 hoodie
  • 1 pull over sweater
  • 1 scarf
  • 1 electric toothbrush
  • deodorant and other bathroom related bric-a-brac
  • various souvenirs

All items present and accounted for. Good stuff. So this experience of MIA luggage wasn’t nearly half as bad as it could have been. Regardless, the take-away message is to NEVER CHECK YOUR LUGGAGE. Well, maybe that’s just the take-away message for me :).

But this leads me to the next portion of this post. How does one pack for a 2 week (or longer) adventure if they know that they are only taking carry-on luggage? I’ve been doing this for several years now, given my strong desire to not lose my luggage, and my even stronger desire to not stand around baggage claim waiting for a bag that might never arrive. As such, I have learned to pack rather efficiently. So much so, that people are often amazed that I manage to bring so much (as detailed in my list above) in just my carry-on bag.

My two carry-on bags. The top contained my computer, passport, an extra pair of shoes, and some of the winter gear I had worn to the airport (gloves, scarf, etc.). On top of that is my leather jacket, and I think Rick

The process of packing for a 2 week or longer vacation is definitely a trial and error sort of process. Expect to pack and unpack a few times until you figure out the best way to fit everything together. Think Tetris. If you include shoes, remember that they can be filled with socks, underwear, or other necessities. I tend to unfold my dress shirts and use them to line the suitcase, folding them over once the suitcase has been filled. T-shirts are either folded into tiny squares, spread out, or rolled into tiny logs. Pants are laid across the top, once everything else has been packed. I’ve even resorted to wearing multiple pants or shirts on the plane (taking layers off once in my seat). There’s no rule against this, as far as I know, and any extra items can be shoved under the seat in front of you or used as a makeshift pillow during flight.

Another shot of the carry-on bag that I was forced to gate-check in Honolulu. This picture gives a pretty good idea of size.

Additionally, you should travel with the following things in mind. First, you must not be afraid and should fully expect to hunt down a laundromat to do laundry while you are away. Depending on where you travel, a laundromat might offer full service; where you drop off all of your dirty clothes, they wash, press, and fold them, and you simply pick everything up the next day. In my experience, the cost has been worth it. And in a lot of cases, the cost has been insignificant considering the service provided, and the comfort of putting on fresh-from-the-dryer clothes. I remember doing this in Lima; if I recall correctly, I paid about $20 Canadian (including tip) to have all of my laundry cleaned, pressed, and folded. Second, you have to be able to do without certain things that are no longer allowed on flights, or be willing to buy them wherever you are going (think of the various lotions and potions you might use in the morning that are now contraband because they pose a security risk). Third, you can’t be afraid of wrinkles. The way I pack, wrinkles are standard fare. If you can accept these three major points, you are golden.

Anyway, after many years of travelling I have picked up several tricks (as described above). Most of these tricks are demonstrated in the following video which I found during an interweb perusing adventure a while ago. It inspires me to pack even more efficiently with every trip.

Finally, being a mathy sort of guy I have to note the following. As indicated on the AirCanada website, the standard carry-on bag should have dimensions no more than 23cm by 40cm by 55cm, or equivalently 9in by 15.5in by 21.5in. But are these really equivalent? The answer is obviously no. But how un-equivalent are they? Consider the following Google conversions:

  • 9.00 in = 22.86 cm
  • 15.50 in = 39.37 cm
  • 21.50 in = 54.61 cm

So, the Canadian volume of a carry-on bag would be

23.00cm*40.00cm*55.00cm=50, 600.00cm3,

whereas the American volume equivalent would be

22.86cm*39.37cm*54.61cm=49, 148.90cm3,

a difference of 1, 451.10cm3. That’s almost an extra 1.5 litres of space for Canadians (or for anyone that might follow the Metric system). For someone who packs like I do, that represents a lot of extra real estate. Moral of the story; make sure your suitcase is built to metric standards. You’ll be able to fit almost 1.5 litres more into your suitcase. And that’s not bad.

1 I’m sure if I knew what went on in the background of the airport, I wouldn’t think this way. That is, if I knew what airport employees were required to do, both in front of the public and behind the scenes, and what that work involved, I might be more forgiving when I was exposed to perceived incompetence. What I might perceive as incompetence might actually be necessary protocol for security or suchlike.

2 Seriously, why 40 minutes later? If I can walk the length of the airport in 10 minutes, I see no reason why baggage should take this long. Doesn’t it even have a fancy ride from plane to claim area? However, I defer to footnote 1 given that I have no idea what occurs between doors open and baggage claim. Based on the time delay, I can only assume that our bags must go through some sort of baggage game of survivor, where some are voted off the plane (hence lost) and others are allowed to pass safely back into the light of day and to the open arms of their owners. Or quite possibly they have to pass through Mordor on their way to destroy the one bag that rules them all. But I digress.

Somewhere, Out There, A Fat Lady Is Singing. Damn.

And with that, Dan & Rick’s Excellent Hawaiian Adventure has come to a close.  I just left1 Rick in San Francisco so that I might board my flight to Toronto.  His flight to Calgary was leaving 18 minutes after mine.  Truth be told, I miss him already.  To say that the trip wouldn’t have been the same without him would be a gross understatement.  I mean, he did save my life by insisting I go to the hospital after smashing my face into the ground while I was attempting a handstand.  But in all seriousness, he proved to be the perfect travelling partner for me.  The voice of reason when I needed it (which is required far more often than some might think), and the one to push the boundaries of adventure when I was being a giant wuss-bag.  Case in point – trying to jump down from a hole in the wall that I had very easily been able to climb up to.  I mean seriously Gillis, grow a pair.

In lieu of describing every single event, I’ve decided to present a timeline of the adventure.  Some of these are described elsewhere on this blog, some are not described at all, and others are provided with basic details.

Timeline of Dan & Rick’s Excellent Hawaiian Adventure

  • January 14, 2011

I depart from Toronto for San Francisco, via Chicago.

Rick and I meet in San Francisco, offer up a very quick hug, board, and then proceed to be those people on the plane.  You know who those people are; the loud, obnoxious ones that you likely want to shut up because you are trying to sleep, but they are too busy getting caught up that they barely notice their surroundings.  Ya, that was us.  But, I figure that with all the crying babies and misbehaving children I’ve had to put up with recently (not to mention their oblivious and borderline negligent parents), it was my turn to be the ass.  As far as I know, that’s how karma works.

Arrive in Honolulu, Oahu.  w00t!

  • January 15, 2011

We begin the day by missing our flight to Hilo, on the Big Island.  We may or may not have read our itinerary incorrectly.  Undeterred, we bravely carry on with our vacation.

We visit the Aloha stadium to attend a giant-assed flea market; a collection of bric-a-brac, trinkets, and baubles that neither of us want to own, but feel the need to browse, try on, and judge.  The visit isn’t a complete waste as Rick purchases some cool shades, and we also consume some delicious iced-100%-kona-coffee, and fresh-from-the-coconut coconut milk.  The stadium also offers some choice picture-taking venues, especially venues offering photos of the ‘disobey a posted sign’ type.  Not that we would disobey signage informing us that we are not to climb on a particular sculpture.  Us?  Never!

Climbing, where one should clearly not climb.

Depart Honolulu, Oahu for Hilo.

Pick up our rental car.  Have it mysteriously upgraded by the clerk from a Chevy Aveo to a black convertible Mustang.  At no cost to us.  Awesome.

Arrive at our home for the week.  Best. Vacation. Rental. Home. Ever.  The place is amazing.  And it has everything you could think of.  And it is all ours.  Ours.  OURS!  <insert maniacal laughter here>  Well, to be perfectly honest, we have to share the home with geckos.  Of course, in proper form we toast our new home and our new gecko friends with a bottle of wine.  Already this is threatening to be the best vacation ever.

Wine for toasting. Mmmm, wine.
  • January 16, 2011

Rise early to watch the sunrise on the huge lanai.  With fresh Kona coffee.  This is the best way to start any day, and will be one of the things that I miss the most.  Anyone that has never woke to the sound of waves crashing is missing out.  After coffee, a little yoga on the lanai.  This is my new favourite way to do yoga.

Coffee on the lanai, listening to the wave. Best way to spend a morning.

Small walk to the black cliffs just below our lanai.  Here we grab some photos, and a rogue wave takes out Rick’s expensive SLR camera.  On the first day.  Ya, we are cool like that.  Thankfully, like a boy scout, he is always prepared.  In this case, Rick has brought 2 other back up cameras.

Next we venture to the lava fields near our home.  They aren’t currently active (at least where we were), so there was nothing really to see.  We prepped for a long hike based on my previous lava field hike, but it wasn’t necessary.  The walk was maybe 1.5 km.  Undeterred, we venture to a nearby eatery for some burgers and fries.  Oh so delicious.

We make our way to the closest (or so we think) black sand beach.  The awesomeness of the black sand beach is only increased by our performing head stands and jump shots.

After the beach we wander up to the Caldera for a proper hike, which of course includes tree climbing, jump shots, corpse poses, and yoga.  This leads us, prior to hiking the crater, to the Thurston Lava Tubes.  Venturing into the unlit area of the tubes, we decide that it would be fun to scare the next people who make their way by us.  And we do.  Thankfully it is a group of 3 twenty-something women, so they aren’t too upset by our shenanigans.

Making faces in the Thurston Lava Tube.

Our hike across the Caldera takes a turn for the interesting when the sun goes down. Thankfully we have our trusty flashlights.  Regardless, making our way across the crater in the dark is an adventure on its own, especially given my eyesight.

Hiking the crater. You can see the volcanic steam in the background.
  • January 17, 2011

We begin the day by walking to a nearby black sand beach.  Only to discover that it is a nude beach.  Full of naked old people.  We may or may not hang around (no pun intended).

Jumping into the car, we travel North East to explore the other beaches and wave pools.  We also visit the Lava Tree National Park.

We return home to once again visit the nude black sand beach – but it is pretty much deserted at this point, so we have it all to ourselves.  Playing in the ocean commences, as well as vegging on the beach.

Contemplating my navel, as I stare at the ocean on the black sand. Awesome.
  • January 18, 2011

Today we drive to Mauna Keo mountain to hike it.  w00t!  We also end up altitude drunk.  Awesome.  Further, it is cold up here.  My everything is frozen.

Prior to hiking up Mauna Kea. T'is a little chilly.

After the mountain hike, we venture to the Kaumana Caves.  Longer than the Thurston lava tubes, and darker.

Rick and Me posing inside the lava tubes.
  • January 19, 2011

Today we hike the lava fields with a guide.  We poke the lava, basically play with fire.  We also practice hot yoga, climb some trees, and dive into random holes.  Cuz we are clearly cool like that.

Hanging with the lava. Note our sticks-o-science: used for poking the lava.
Exploring a lava hole.
  • January 20, 2011

We venture into Hilo to visit Coconut Island and the nearby parks.  Afterward, we head to the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden; a private nature preserve.  We don’t know if we should be here as we just walk in without paying.  Interesting.  No response from the authorities.  The garden is blanketed by spiders.  I’m freaking.

Visit Waipi’o Valley.  Epic.

At the top of the valley. Amazing.

Take various photos on the black sand beach, then we head home.

  • January 21, 2011

Helicopter tour of the island.  Amazing!

Flying over the Big Island in a helicopter. Our guide Dylan was excellent.

Visit the Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut farm.  Try as many free samples as humanly possible.  Buy macadamia nuts.

Capture some more photos by the house, and hang upside down from vines.  Because we can.

Posing with a pineapple on the black cliffs below our house. Because it seemed like the thing to do.
Trying to come up with other poses.

Return home.  Practice yoga.  Fall on my face.  Visit hospital.

  • January 22, 2011

Say goodbye to the house on the Big Island, drive to Hilo, drop off our Mustang, and fly to Oahu.  Check in to the Aqua Wave hotel, then wander the city.

Lunch at the Cheesecake Factory.  Wander the main strip, check out the beach and the eye candy.  Coffee.  Rinse.  Repeat.

Enjoying our first drinks in Oahu. Pina Colada!

Watch the sun set over Waikiki.  Stunning.

Randomly run into Chatty Jen – a woman I went through undergrad with, and whom I haven’t seen since then.  RANDOM!

I randomly ran into a friend from undergrad. Outside of the IHOP. In Oahu. I haven't seen Jen since undergrad. Crazy.
  • January 23, 2011

Hike Diamond Head crater.

Walk Waikiki beach, watch the sunset again.  Eat at Hawaiian Cheeseburger.  The onion rings are delicious.  So is the turkey burger.  Highly recommended!  Oh, and the pina coladas are pretty wicked awesome too.

Eating at the Hawaiian Cheeseburger.
  • January 24, 2011

Take the bus to Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve for snorkelling and sun tanning.  Swim with the fishies!

Rick, looking stylish in his mask.
Dan, looking just as stylish in my mask

Thai for dinner with Rick’s friend Rob.  Then we head to the Hula bar for more drinks.  Perhaps too many drinks.  The waiters are very friendly.

  • January 25, 2011

Suffer through a mild hangover.  Medicate with Starbucks and water.  Plus a very late breakfast (after noon) at the Hawaiian Cheeseburger.  I have the Kalua Pig Babies (a type of slider) and the onion rings, because the onion rings are just that good.  The Kalua Pig Babies are really good too.  Ordered mainly because I thought the name was hilarious.

A low-key day drinking lots of coffee and eating great food.

Meet up with Rob for dinner.  Call it an early night, because we are just that cool.

  • January 26, 2011

Head to Koko crater.  Hike it and love it.  But it is super hot.  Yoga poses (of course) at the top, plus jump shots.  The crater is amazing.  We can see Molokai from the top.

Prepping to climb Koko crater.

Take a ‘charity’ cab back to Waikiki.  Cabbie tells us to try Ono Hawaiian Foods (for an authentic Hawaiian meal) and Leonard’s bakery (for a delicious not-a-donut known as a malasada).

Venture down to the beach to get jump shots into the ocean at sunset, attempting to satisfy Manon’s photo challenge.  Rick excels at the jump shots, while I excel at the yoga shots.

My best jump shot - very Matrix like.


Rick's best jump shot. But there were so many to pick from.

Dinner with Rob, and then we return to Hula’s.  More drinks, but not as many as the last time.  We apparently learned our lesson :)

  • January 27, 2011

Hike to Manoa Falls.  Explore the Lyon Arboretum. More jump shots and yoga poses.

Dinner at Ono Hawaiian Foods.

Dessert at Leonard’s.

So painfully full, and very tired.  Clearly a most awesome and excellent day.

  • January 28, 2011

Early morning wake up to go skydiving.  A quick nap afterwards, followed by wandering Waikiki to purchase awesome tees at The Stupid Factory.

One of the shirts that I purchased: Come over to the dark side. We have cookies.

T-shirt purchases read:

  1. Rock is Dead: Long live Paper and Scissors
  2. Come to the Dark Side: We have Cookies!
  3. Talk Nerdy to Me

Return to the beach for more photos.  Yoga poses in silhouette at sunset.  Sweet!

Triangle pose
Exhaulted Warrior

Dinner at the Hula Grill.  Again, epically full.

  • January 29, 2011

Early’ish wake up.  Last day in Waikiki.  Boo.  Pack, and store our things with the hotel.  Check out.

Late breakfast at Starbucks, followed by wandering the city.  Many coffee stops, picking up souvenirs (in the form of coffee and chocolate of course).  More coffee.  Even more coffee.

Venture to the beach.  The city is being set up for the ProBowl game later in the eve.  Lots of booths and stages set up, presumably for the immense party that is about to begin.

One of our last beach photos. Inside we are crying.
I miss these already. Best. Vacation. Ever.

Watch the sunset again.  This time with wine (thus satisfying another item on Rick & Dan’s List-o-Awesomeness).

Drinking wine on the beach. As is necessary when in Hawaii :)

Head to the airport.  Fly to San Francisco.

  • January 30, 2011

Say goodbye to Rick.  Board my flight for YYZ.

Return to Toronto.  It’s cold here.  I want to be back in Hawaii.

Find out my luggage has not made the trip with me.  It smartly stayed in San Francisco where it’s warmer.  After an hour or so dealing with the airline representatives, I feel like I need another vacation.  Thankfully my next one mini vacation is only 3 weeks away.

1 Where just means several hours ago, as I’m sitting in my bed finishing up this post and trying not to fall asleep.