Avatar - Astounding...Breathtaking

First off, I did NOT want to see this movie. I saw the trailer and thought "the movie industry is definitely clutching at straws...what is the world coming to...". But after hearing mention of the movie again and again, people telling me how great it was my attitude towards it started to change to "...am I missing something here? Was I to judgmental? After all, unlike a book, you are meant to judge a movie by it's trailer...right?" So after receiving an invite to go see the 3D version, I took it.

The story was so-so to good, but the movie absolutely blew me away. Was I emotionally invested in the story? You bet! The storytelling in this movie was unprecedented, James Cameron used every trick in the book and probably added a few chapters of his own. This movie is 40% real life and 60% photo-realistic CGI and what I loved was that the boundary between the two is so blurred that it becomes invisible. The story is so well told that everything seems real and time flies by. It might help that the two worlds that get depicted never really mix for long periods of time, but the universe that is shown is massive, believable, beautiful and detailed. The movie should have been made following Titanic in 1999 but the technology was not quite where it needed to be and no studio was willing to foot the $400 000 000 CGI bill.

Did the fact that I watched the movie in 3D immerse me deeper into the story? Quite possibly, but the fact is that this is one of the best told stories I have seen in a long time. I did not know what to expect of it, but I am excited for movies coming out in the future as this one definitely raises the bar.

Official Site
Flickr Photos

Red Dog – Culinary Highlight

Red Fish/Blue Fish - Red DogJust had a “Red Dog” which is sold in a tiny harbor front store here in Victoria BC. A local would probably be able to point it out to you. They sell locally caught fried fish (it is only fried after it is caught) and the red dog is a hot dog shaped fish burger made with fried salmon. It was amazing and it is quite cheap, definite must taste here in Victoria! Oh yeah before I forget, the store is called Red Fish/Blue Fish.

Transformer On Toronto “Times Square”

Bumblebee - Front

I had my first walk around Toronto last evening and came across Bumblebee, the yellow Camero from Transformers in what I like to call Toronto’s little Times Square. I got out my coat hanger and tried to “organize” a ride but the only transformation that occurred is a slight scratch on the driver side door ;)


Without any further ado, here are the pictures.

Bumblebee - RightBumblebee - Back

Quebec - Quaint And Touristy

Central Station
Sitting in Ottawa thinking about my time in Quebec or should I say Quebec City because people get annoyed when they think that you are speaking about the province. And I am not sure exactly what to say, but the hostel I stayed in (HI Quebec City) was quite nice and while you were in the room you could hear the clip-clop of horse-drawn-carriages go by outside. The city was also very clean and unlike any other which I had come across in northern America. At times it seemed like I was in France. But it was VERY touristy, the streets were filled with them, especially school groups of which there were at least two whichever street you turned down. And being touristy things were a bit more expensive and the shops were filled trashy souvenirs.

Parliament BuildingHaving said that, I only spent time in the old town, Quebec City is the fourth oldest city in Canada having recently celebrated its 400th year of existence and it has some amazing history and buildings. It was founded on July 3 1608 by Samuel de Champlain (champlain was also the wifi password and I thought they had misspelled champagne until I walked the streets :)). The city walls apparently are the last remaining city walls in America north of Mexico, and for this the old town was declared a world heritage site in 1985. I walked along the city walls which are lined with cannons and the whole trip takes just over an hour to complete. Most of my photos were taken from the walls. The walk also takes you past the Chateau Frontenac which is a hotel "the most photographed hotel in the world", it dominates the Quebecan skyline. It is quite pleasant walking around, the only thing that spoils it is that the entire city was built on a hill and going along the streets often times means going up and down a hill. This was only really a problem (or proper workout) when I was carrying all my luggage to the top, a 15 minute uphill walk.

The only other thing I tried while I was there, was poutine which is basically a bowl of chips served with cheese curd and gravy. I was told that it was traditional (this seems to be the excuse for quite a few things) and I absolutely had to try it. Well the cheese squeaks when you chew it, but other than that, it is not the most revolting thing I have eaten. It looks quite horrible and i must confess that I did not complete mine as it had way to much gravy on for my liking and I could feel my arteries constricting,so I only ate the chips that had survived the drowning. Incidentally my meal looked almost identical to the Wikipedia picture.

So in summary, I think Quebec City is worth a visit but I would not spend more than a few days (max 4) there.

Here are some photos, again I did not take enough.

P.S. Still can't get used to the surprise tax, it always feels like you are getting a raw deal.

Hostel Shock

The HI hostel (Hostelling International, kind of a franchise I have been staying at) was fully booked tonight, so I decided to stay in the next one on the list (www.hostelworld.com) and booked into "Ottawa Backpackers Inn". And I am proud to announce that I am in my very first hostel hostel, its quite a shock actually, i should give it more time but i am moving out tomorrow morning.

You have to leave your shoes at the door...which is strange but i can go with that. Next up I do not have an assigned bed, "pick one that is free". I think (hope) they count the beds and the number of people coming and after some rudimentary maths decide whether or not they should let more people in :) It says Kilimanjaro on my bed, so I feel a little bit closer to home tonight :) The sheets they gave me are pretty random black fitted sheet(just cotton before the questions start coming) and a blue one to sleep under although I have seen some Transformers and Micky Mouse sheets around... pretty eclectic ohh and there is this guy in my room Shaneesh (or something like that) after complementing me on my room choice because of its airiness he told me that he came here (from Uganda/West Africa) for a wedding 8 months ago, found some work and is still here.

Since it is pouring outside and they have no maps to hand out, i think i will be getting an early night tonight. Gotta keep one eye open, gotta watch those "locals" :)

Oh and for the techies among us, a 15ms ping to www.google.com even from this "interesting" hostel.

First Hostel-cooked meal...

Well after trying a little fast food here and there, two minute noodles and subway sandwiches I have finally decided to give the hostel kitchen a go. Went to a grocery store and tried to find the necessary ingredients (saved $3 by signing up for a Safeway Club Card). I decided to give couscous a try since it seemed so easy to make, you do not even need a pot! So I had tomato, onion, mince (not the fruity kind), various spices cooked up with some couscous. Now I would not call it a run-away success but it was not bad for a first attempt :) filling and not burnt. And the reason that there is not a photo, is that presentation is definitely something I need to work on:)

The EEE has landed...

EEE PCI just got my new EEE PC 901 this morning from reception. I am glad that the order went well in light of it being shipped to the reception of the hostel :)
It is tiny, slightly smaller than I thought it would be which is good... but obviously also means that the keyboard is smaller than I thought it would be and I suspect that it will take some getting used to. Aside from the tiny keyboard the only other gripe I have, is that the left mouse button does not seem to work. Maybe this is a driver issue, if it still has not clicked by July I will call tech support. Just wanted to say that it is finally here, so I will be able to update this blog slightly more easily so look forward to some more news and at least one more travel tip :)