Thursday, August 17, 2006

Back Home After a Lovely Break

After what was a wonderful holiday, we arrived at Dubai International Airport at the ungoldy hour 0300 on Tuesday, 15 August 2006 ex Hong Kong. We had spent two full days at Hong Kong doing some long walks and taking a bus tour of the city.

Our driver picked us up from Dubai at 0600 and we were back at our house at Al Ain around 0830 where we began unpacking, but decided to crash instead, leaving the house in a terrible state with clothes here, books there and so on.

After sleeping long and soundly Tuesday night, we did some unpacking this morning and went shopping at Carrefours, Al Jimi Mall for 500 Dirhams of supplies to keep us going for a week or two. All I need now is to attend the "Hole in the Wall" grog outlet shortly to replenish my supply of beer ... my liquor licence runs out on 31 August!

I'm back to work on Saturday, 19 Aug 06 to prepare for the commencement of our new academic year. Christina will most likely spend some time studying a stock market (Options trading) course we have bought and doing some voluntary work helping Arab kids learn English at school and also work at the local Al Ain Museum. Midwifery seems to be on the backburner at present.

The above photo I took of Chris is at beautiful Lake Louise near Banff, Canada. Note the snow in their "summer".

Best wishes

Robin and Christina

Thursday, August 03, 2006

From Vancouver to Kamloops to Calgary


We are at Calgary where we arrived late 31 July after a trip via Rocky Mountaineer train from Vancouver. We left Vancouver early morning and arrived at Kamloops where we stayed overnight at the local Travel Lodge Motel. We then travelled day two from Kamloops arriving at Calgary late evening. The trip through the Rocky Mountains was delightful although two days was enough of looking at pristine scenery with zillions of pine trees and beautiful running rivers. The photo by Christina shows a freight train running on the opposite track across the river somewhere between Vancouver and Kamloops. There are numbers of lovely little townships, farms etc along the way and the houses display a totally different architecture from that we experience in Australia and are mostly wooden (as would be expected with so much timber about).

Calgary is an absolutely lovely city. The streets are wide, well laid out and clean as a pin. The suburbs are green, green with plenty of parks and gardens between buildings and roads etc. There are apparently around one million people in the region which is prosperous because of the oil income from Alberta oilfields. The Alberta province, unlike the others in Canada apparently has no goods and services tax that it adds to the Federal GST. So there is less tax here, however, locals are disappointed that there are only three hospitals in Calgary and believe there should be more.

Calgarians think of themselves as living in the "New West", which I found a little humerous given that they are hardly living in dusty isolation. Brochures talk about the Calgary Stampede event early in July each year and local cowboys and their white hats. Whatever it is called, it is a lovely place and it must be a delight to live here ... I'm sure I could handle the place for a few years, at least during the summer months. (God knows what the winters are like).

We depart here on 4 August by air for Toronto.

Best wishes

for Robin and Christina