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Bem vindo ao Rio!

Ah yes, another summer, another story. Last year my little one and I were toodling about the arctic circle. This year, the Olympics beckoned via our Athletics Canada connections and while none of us has been too sure what to expect, begging your indulgence, what follows is an attempt to share and elucidate along the way.

We wandered our first day only slightly travel weary — a lengthy sub-Equatorial journey but only four hours time difference — and found some of the positive energy and revitalization brought to the city via the Olympics. 

This area in the Centro neighbourhood appears to be an old shipping industrial area as it sits only a couple of blocks from the water, with warehouse-style buildings and railway tracks. 


Most of the buildings had huge line-ups so we weren’t certain what lay within, although they appeared to be sports-themed venues for children and adults, a place to try out the various events on a small scale.

At the tip of the peak in the picture with the yellow cat-creature you can see a slight profile of Cristo Redentor — Christ the Redeemer statue. There ought to be a closer picture of the statue coming later this week.


And if you’ve been paying attention at all to the reports of a heightened military presence in Rio over the next two weeks, I can affirm that we are feeling quite safe, although it’s a bit disquieting to think what the area would be like were not all these folks in place. Flashing lights, motorcades, sirens, the whump-whump-whump-whump of military helicopters…. it’s always good and smart to depart from one’s homeland for a while to appreciate the luxury of the lifestyle that is Canada.

And speaking of petty crime — I will say in advance that the photos this trip will not be to my usual, ahh, photojournalistic standards. At the last moment I elected to leave my camera at home and to use only my phone. Enough said.

Nothing like a familiar few letters to beckon from a rainy (sudden switch in weather; this is winter, after all) afternoon. Canada House is set to welcome friends and family of competing athletes. To soothe the gastronomically homesick there’s McDonalds coffee (what?! No Tim Horton’s?), Hudsons Bay Olympic clothing, Labatt’s beer, wifi courtesy of Bell, Oreo cookies, Wheat Thins crackers, and very very good food. 

All themed in red and white.

And very very friendly.

Following lunch we thought we’d head to a couple of events at a couple of venues. The various venues are spread all over the city, far and wide, north and south, far and wide, and far. Very far.

But how would we know that? 

Very far.

Too far for the subway, which we’d taken to get from our hotel in Centro to Canada House in Copacabana. Yep, that one.

Call Uber, said the smart people at Canada House. 

Oh Uber I love you. 

Download the app (thank you, Bell), address for pickup and destination, press ‘go.’ 

Your driver will be there in 10 minutes. Your driver will be there in 5 minutes. Your driver has arrived. Your driver’s name is Tomas. The vehicle is a Volkwagen with license number xyz. Your fare will be R$75, automatically charged to your credit card. Your destination is 20 minutes away.

Oh Uber.

Tomas spoke no English but his mobile chattered away at him for the entire journey.

Which (oh Uber….) took 158 minutes and cost R$111 (R$125 after I tipped poor haggard Tomas the R$14 I had in my pocket). I can’t be sure how Uber got it wrong but I think the chock-a-block Rio traffic might have had something to do with it.

So arriving somewhat behind schedule we did manage to witness the end of the women’s basketball game against Senegal (devoted Senegalese fans actually booed… Our team won anyway)…

…. and the field hockey game between Great Britain and Australia. The biggest dilemma of course was deciding for whom to cheer — the mother country or the commonwealth cousin? Discreetly, we clapped for both. No booing here.

And you needn’t ask how we got home. One hour and R$12.

Boa noite!


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Back come the fearless warrior princesses from their foray into the deep underwater world of the frozen Atlantic. The challenges have been fierce, the waters dark and dangerous, the creatures frightening and vengeful.


But one young warrior, braver than the rest, has successfully captured the elusive and deadly nudibranch.

Some eeewww moments when the nudibranch made skin-to-slime contact and began to slip from her grip, but the warrior marched onward with her prey.


Alas, the nudibranch, determined to escape the warrior, oozed its way from her grip (tale of the horseshoe to follow at a subsequent date) and splashed into the briny ocean.


Upon slapping into the water’s surface the nudibranch launched jets of burgundy ink in an attempt to foil further capture by the warriors.

(A great deal of squealing emitted by the warriors at the point as they fear the nudibranch was in mortal danger of death by exsanguination.)



However, the ocean’s currents washed away the nudibranch’s ink and the warriors were satisfied with their journey’s outcome.


And as the warrior princesses disappeared across the sandy beaches, the nudibranch returned to the sea where it counted its blessings and restocked its ink.

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Sail away

A nice little transition from this side of the world to the other — is the ferry.

We like the ferry. Slow, cumbersome, plodding — the antithesis of the Shinkansen, the Japanese ‘Bullet Train,’ unapologetically swooshing passengers across that little island at a comfortable 300 km/h.

No swooshes here. Plenty of splish and splash from the salt-water mashing up on deck on a windy day. But nary a swoosh.

So much time, as the ferry, well, ferries us across the water. Time to read, nap, snack, stare, dream.

Gives timezone a whole new cachet…

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2010 in review

The good people at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 2,500 times in 2010. That’s about 6 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 55 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 133 posts. There were 400 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 47mb. That’s about a picture per day.

The busiest day of the year was August 6th with 92 views. The most popular post that day was Carpe diem!.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were follyandivy.wordpress.com, Private networks, facebook.com, alphainventions.com, and WordPress Dashboard.


Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.


Carpe diem! August 2010
1 comment


About August 2009


Help wanted June 2010


Sat on a roof, kicked off the moss August 2010
1 comment


How she spent her Saturday morning October 2010

Thanks to everyone who dropped by. I look forward to your visits and comments in 2011!

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The day started dark and early.
Some drove, some navigated, some read, some slept.
We arrived in Kurt Cobain’s hometown is time to dine on some tender mollusks in a tiny place with a remarkable sense of humour.
Tomorrow looks equally promising!

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At the moment, driving south to Seattle where we’ll spend a few days exploring the aeronautical museum, a couple of Target stores, Blick’s art supplies, and the most wonderful Pike’s Market.

Don’t you just love technology?

In the meantime, while we’re heading south, it’s not quite far enough, if you know what I mean…

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Brand Loyal

My father is visiting.
He likes his coffee.
He does not like to spend money.
Form your own conclusions.

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Some days are just better …

En route to have my brakes checked. The hilly terrain extracts a toll on stopping mechanisms.

From the car deck I look out on to the briny Pacific, watching enormous logs pitch and toss in the sea. The logs sometimes break free from the massive logs booms that come down from the north. Nighttime crossings require extreme vigilance from the ships’ captains.

I rarely cross the ferry without company in the back seat. The peace is rather nice.

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We’re at the White Spot in North Vancouver, waiting for our flatbreads, mac and cheese, and veggie burger to arrive.

The White Spot is part of the everyday landscape on the Lower Mainland. Basic white-folks comfort food, kind of a west-coast Salisbury House, a similar genre Winnipeg institution.

Perfectly child-friendly in every way — waitstaff, menu and crayons at the table.

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May birthdays

One turns nine, another fifteen.

And this one — five decades on the fifth day of the fifth month.

Of course, these are the first three I think of.

Any others?

We could make a full month of celebration — what could be better?

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