Archive for the ‘World News’ Category

A Day in Paris

Sunday, April 27th, 2008

Saturday was a very early morning to catch the Eurostar from London to Paris – even earlier than I needed because I forgot to change my watch by an hour so I was up at 3:15 instead of 4:15 am. We had to meet at the train station at 5:30am even though the train didn’t leave until around 6:30 – a very tasty breakfast was served on the train. It was a great view of the city from my seat on the top of the double-decker bus. First stop was the Eiffel Tower – we were able to go to the 2nd storey – pretty overwhelming!!! The city of Paris seems to stretch for miles and miles in all directions as I did a 360 around the Tower. Next was an hour cruise on the River Seine – very relaxing – then off to the Louvre – our time was very limited so I didn’t go into the galleries – thus I missed seeing the Mona Lisa – mostly just walked around outside, took pictures and had a bite of lunch – then off to Notre Dame – another spectacular sight!!! Next we drove around the D’Orsay Museum, the Lafayette Opera, the Arc de Triomphe and the Trocadero. Back to the train for the return ride to London – another great meal aboard the train. All in all, it was a great day!
I took the Tube to Harrod’s this afternoon – after all – can’t be in London without going to Harrod’s.
Pretty expensive and I was in awe – TOTALLY – didn’t buy a thing, not even lunch – just looked around – the store is mighty huge – I didn’t even cover the whole store.
I certainly wish I had a couple more days here but…
Thanks to Rick and Claudette for persuading me to take the day trip to Paris yesterday and the day trip of London tomorrow.

Saskatchewan

Tuesday, March 11th, 2008

I know how interested everyone is to know what is new in Saskatchewan, so here goes:

The temp. is +3, short wearing weather….. finally!

That’s it

Bev

News Canadian Travellers can Use! II

Wednesday, February 13th, 2008

Hi guys – it has been a crazy time around here lately. Between skating carnivals, skating territorials, cubs, Aurora College Week and so on, there hasn’t been much downtime.

Let me first mention that we waded through all your pictures, at last. They are absolutely gorgeous! The Red Fort and the Taj Mahal were our favourites, and the kids especially were very taken with them (and the elephants – you’ve turned our kids into elephant junkies!). Some of the urban shots look depressingly crowded and not terribly clean. I can see North Americans having to deal with the “ewww” factor every now and then. We loved the shot of Rick and Luke and the snake charmer. I had to explain to the kids what was going on, and then we had to endure Gracie practicing her snake charming on the Chinese flute you guys sent back home. Ian also loved the pictures of Luke getting smooched by those two Indian women. Luke’s expression really cracked him up.

We can see that Alex is getting a lot of mileage out of that underwater camera of hers. To look at the pictures, you’d think you guys have become semi-aquatic.

Now, on to the local news.

Roy Scott is leaving Fort Smith to take a new job working for the Town of Peace River. He is leaving for a six-month assignment, but he has the option of taking the job full-time or returning to his job in Fort Smith. (Pretty sweet arrangement if you can get, really.) Louise and Brittany are staying in Smith for now, but will move if the job becomes permanent.

Skating territorials just took place in Hay River. Our kids did fairly well this time around. Michelle took a bronze in creative, and Megan Walsh won a couple of golds. Kathleen Gill took home a couple of medals, and got invited to attend the STARskate Program after placing second in the STARskate event. She will attend the program in Rocky Mountain House at the end of March. According to Ann who attended the event, our kids did very well, and YK did not dominate as they have in years past.

I am working on getting Ann up and running on the firends blog. In fact, I am on the phone with her right now, and she says “Hello!” I will give her a brief wokrshop on it and she will have no excuse to not blog in the near future.

If you are keeping up with Alice’s care page, you will know that she wrote the words “Thank you.” a couple of days ago. This represents the first communication from her and a real sign that her cognitiive abilities may well fully recover. Everyone is hopeful for her. The town has gone crazy with fundraisng for the Mawdsleys. in addition to the usual bake sales, there has been a “Swim for Alice”, a “Ski for Alice” and all the ticket money from this year’s skating carnival is being donated to them. Phyllis actually just arrived in town yesterday for the first time since the accident to take care of some housekeeping things at work and home. She had a chat with Joanne, and said how overwhelmed the family is by the town’s support. She and Bill are using up all of their sick leave and will be off until June. Beyond that, they haven’t made any concrete plans.

It is Joanne’s birthday next week, so I am hosting a dinner for her this Saturday night at our place. Just the usual gang (minus you guys!). The Keizers, Kearlys and Chris Dewolf are coming so it will be a nice little group. If you can phone during that time you can talk to the gang and wish her a Happy Birthday. Everyone is due to be here by five o’clock our time. God knows when that is wherever you are now. (Somewhere in Tanzania, I think.) If you want and are able to, we can do a chat on Skype. Let me know in the comments what your Internet situation is.

More charges have been laid against Emra Bulatci, the man accused of killing the young Mountie in Hay River. In addition to the first degree murder charge, he also faces three counts of obstruction of justice. Apparently, the guy found it impossible to get a lawyer in the NWT as no one wanted to defend him. Some lawyer from Alberta was finally retained to represent him. This guy is going away for a long time.

And that is about it from the home front. Let’s take a little look at the national scene.

There was the stink of a federal election in the air, but it seems to have passed now that Harper and Dion are making compromising noises on the Afghanistan mission thing. Frankl,y I have been parying for an election. The chance to get little George Bush out of 22 Sussex can’t come soon enough. Everyone seems to have backed away from the precipice for now, but the situation remains fluid.

In other shocking news, Canada is cold in the winter!

Albertans are heading to the polls, and the Tories are expected to lose a few seats to voters shfiting both to the right and to the left. Calgary – of all places! – seems poised for a breakthrough by the Liberals, while the NDP have their eye on a couple of Edmonton seats. The right wing Wildrose Alliance Party is expected to nab a few rural seats from the Tories, but the Big Blue Machine is sitll expected to hold on to power. If these projected losses come through though, I can’t See Ed Stelmach staying as Premier for very long. Here is a link to a good Alberta election news page.

And out in the rest of the world…

Everyone wants to buy Yahoo! Microsoft’s initial bid of $44 billion was rejected by Yahoo! They are now in talks with News Corp. (owners of Fox News, 20th Century Fox, the New York Post, Wall Street journal, etc. – a truly evil right wing corporation) to create soem sort of partnership that would protect them from being bought by Microsoft (a slightly less right wing truly evil corporation). Yeah, yeah, billions here, billions there, but how will it affect my download time?

In the United States, all signs are that Americans will elect their first African-American president in November. Barack Obama is on his way to beating Clinton for the nomination, but she is not giving up easily. Insane war monkey John McCain has already wrapped up the Republican nomination, but nobody cares because the Reps are going to get their backsides handed to them in this election. And rightly so after the lawless disgrace known as the Bush regime.

And that’s it for this edition, gang! As always, I will try to be more diligent with my posts, but some of us aren’t on permanent vacation (he says enviously). Take care, enjoy the sights in Africa, and we’ll talk to you soon.

News Canadian Travellers Can Use!

Wednesday, January 30th, 2008

All right, my globetrotting friends. It’s time for another update to keep you folks in the loop on what’s going on in local, national and world news. We’re going to start with the NWT and go outward from there, but first, a little note in regards to our last post.

Luke, Ian read your comment this morning and was very excited to hear from you. He wasn’t very clear on the whole blog concept when he wrote his post, but now he understands that you guys can “chat” as it were over the internet and write each other messages. He has said he would like to write more in the future. I will hold him to that.

Gracie was happy to hear from Luke, but a bit peeved that Alex didn’t write to her. I’m sure Alex will take of that little oversight soon…;-)

Anyway, great to hear from you, Luke. The kids will write again after we go through the India photos this weekend.

And now…the News!

Here in the NWT, the news is all about the cold. How cold is it? So cold, the planes aren’t flying. Not that Northwestern Air is having any issues. Those guys seem to fly no matter what is going on – extreme cold, earthquakes, alien attacks. But the wicked winter is not limited to the NWT by any means. It has hit the country from coast to coast in various forms: bitter cold, snowstorms, and so on. As we are all shivering in the painful cold, we hope you guys get a mild but uncomfortable case of prickly heat or something. We need to know there are downsides to being in warm climates.

In Fort Smith news, Frieda Martselos is back in as Salt River Chief, and the Band council is mighty peeved at the judge who put her back in. They are appealing the court decision, saying the judge had no right to overturn a band council resolution by using standards lower than those set by the First nation in question. Here is the SRJ story on it. You have to create an account to read the SRJ on line, but it is free and easy to do so.

Also, Alice Mawdsley is doing ever-so-slightly better. She is breathing on her own, and apparently responding to stimuli. It is hard to tell just how much is a desperate desire on the part of the family to see progress, but overall, the news seems to be on the postive side. Here is an SRJ story that includes some quotes from the Mawdsleys.

The Fort Smith Fury won the Chicks with Sticks Hockey Tournament in Fort Simpson Jan. 18-20. I’m sure Ann already gave you a rundown on this, Claudette, but here is an excerpt from the News/North story about the event:

The Fort Smith Fury have come a long way in four short years.

When the team first took to the ice, many of the players could not skate.

This year, the team dominated the Chicks with Sticks Tournament in Fort Simpson Jan. 18 to 20.

The team defeated the Hay River Hazard 3-2 on Jan. 20 in a final game that proved you are never too old to start playing the game. since their debut as a team in 2005, player Jessica Cox said the team improved a lot.

“We had a few core people who had played the game before,” she said. “Eighty per cent of our players had never played hockey before, and about 60 per cent couldn’t skate.”

Four seasons later, Cox can hardly believe how the team has changed.

“It’s been amazing how quickly their game has improved and developed,” she said. “How quickly everyone has picked it up is just phenomenal.”

The Fury had defeated the Fort Simpson Moosehide Mamas in the semifinals before facing Hay River.

“We went into it thinking it was going to be a tougher game than the day before,” she said.

Cox said the team was unsure going in to their final game against the Hazard, considering they had tied them twice the day before the final.

“I think the game against Simpson benefited us because it warmed us up a bit,” said Cox.

Cox said the final proved intense, especially in the thrid period when the Fury fought to keep their 3-2 lead.

“That last five minutes, the Hazard did everything they could to put the puck in our net,” said Cox. “In the end, our goaltender was outstanding and our defense played really strong and we held on for the win.”

Spinning outward from the NWT, let’s take a look at the national picture.

In Canada, this news story is getting a lot of play. It seems an Air Canada co-pilot had a nervous breakdown on a trans-Atlantic flight, forcing the plane to divert from London to Ireland. At least it is not only Air Canada passengers being driven crazy anymore. Enjoy your next flight!

If you have any Canadian currency you want to exchange, especially for the greenback, I’d do it now. The loonie is trading over 1USD right now, but this rate cut from the U.S. federal reserve could send it down sharply.

And now, a look at some new from the wider world.

Being a techno-geek, Rick, you’ll enjoy this little item about consumers fighting back against Apple’s exclusive iPhone deal with AT&T. Seems customers are finding ways to unlock their phone and use any carrier they want. Apple is combatting it with various software fixes, but there are an awful lot of iPhone’s missing from AT&T’s accounts. Techno revolutionaries – to arms!

Be very, very glad you decided to forego Kenya as a travel destination. The place is spiraling downward very quickly. Any country that is engaging in “ethnic cleansing” is not a place to be a tourist.

And that’s it for now. Hope you guys are enjoying these little missives. Please feel free to let me know what specifically you would like to be kept updated on and I will do my best to find out some news in those areas. until next time, travel safe and have fun!

Keeping up with the Jameses

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2008

Rick quite rightly gave me a “write-or-the-blog-dies” ultimatum during a recent chat, so I thought I had best post some content on this darn thing before he recycles it into some new format.

The purpose of this blog is to let friends drop a line to the James Family and to provide our globetrotting friends with a one-stop place to drop by for news about friends and family or any other bits of information that folks might think Claudette and Rick and the kids would want to know. It is not surprising that it is hard to keep in touch with majro world events when you are travelling through third world countries.

For example, the Jameses contacted me on Skype yesterday and we had a great talk. They were taking advantage of the wireless internet connection they had at their hotel in Kovalam, India and I was home having a sick day, so we spent an hour talking about the latest events. Incredibly, they were unaware that the world economy is going in the tank and that we are headed inexorably towards a recession. But i really shouldn’t have been surprised that they didn’t know about it. Here in Canada, we are all blasted by the news media everyday, but when you are travelling, you have to work to stay informed. Think of how out-of-touch you feel when you’ve had a two-week vacation. Now multiply that by 10 and you have some indication of how isolated from the news the Jameses can get depending on which countries they are in.

So, this blog will not only serve as a place to write to Claudette and Rick and the kids, it is also a place to help them stay in touch with things their friends and family think are important or to post items that the Jameses might find of interest.

Having said that, I am going to provide them with a few links to bring them back to 21st century Canada.

Here’s some info on that bad economic news and the stock market meltdown.

For some scary economic news closer to home, here is a tidbit on the $135 million cutbacks coming from the NWT government.

Here is a great link to the Tanzania Tourist Board’s offical website. Lots of information and a very sophisticated site. (Side note: The Jameses had been planning to go to Kenya as a major part of their swing through Africa, but given the recent political unrest there, they have chosen to switch venues to Tanzania. Speaking on behalf of their concerned friends, we couldn’t be more relieved at their prudence!)

And now, for a bit of celebrity gossip news: actor Heath Ledger was found dead in his New York apartment yesterday. Suicide? Accident? Who knows?

Those who wish to have access to this blog to write their own messages can contact me at gauthiers@northwestel.net to get an account set up. It is very easy to do, and very easy to use.