Saturday, June 25, 2011
1. Never turn off a cars engine while driving on a Highway
2. Dishes don't do themselves, no matter how long you stare at them
3. Alarm clocks are only usefull if you actually get up when they ring
4. Make sure to walk into the right room in University if you don't want to look stupid
5. Don't ask someone from Chile wheter they're from Peru
6. Switzerland and Sweden apperantly are one and the same country
7. If you want to do your laundry, you do not have to put it in the dryer first
8. Make sure to pack the right plug in adapter if going abroad
9. Make sure to cook the right amount of food or you'll be eating the same dish for the rest of the week
10. No matter where you go, there's always going to be a Tim Hortons
11. There's Drive-Throughs for everything
12. You might have a city map, but no one is going to give you a map for Wal-Mart. You better draw your own or bring a GPS.
13. Whatever you do, take your credit card with you.
14. There is no such thing called "Dustsucker". It's called vacuum cleaner!
15. Your hangover is positively correlated to the amount of alcohol you drink
16. Many problems solve themselves if you only let them to. Be aware of those that don't
17. Reading a text is one thing, understanding it is another
18. Don't douche, take a shower instead
19. Getting wasted is no waste of time
20. Wherever you go, go with all your heart (I didn't come up with that one myself, but it's simply too true to not to be included in this post)
What did everyone else learn during their time abroad? Let us know what life taught you!
Thursday, May 26, 2011
It was a cloudy and fresh Saturday morning in San Francisco, when I got up as early as 6.30 to pack my belongings and head to the Airport. I took a flight to Vancouver where Marianne and Lauren picked me up with their car of choice („he“ was called Randy) and we headed down to Tsawwassen to take the ferry for Nanaimo.
After a rainy night in Nanaimo we decided to rather head all across the Island to Ucluelet as there was not much to be seen in Nanaimo anyway. The ride was boring and uncomfortable, as the fog and the rain dismissed any hope of a beautiful view on the landscape and the road was narrow and winding.
We stayed in „Ukee“ for two nights, pretty much just chilling out and walking some trails, before finally the sun set in and we headed over to Tofino. We did a little boat trip to some hot springs where we chilled out some hours before heading back into town in order to check out the local attraction: Toony Tuesday. This basically means that you get a pint of tapped beer for 2 Dollars. I think a more detailed review of the night would be slightly inappropriate for this blog.
Chilling on a beach was our program for Wednesday, and it’s pretty unexpected seeing such beautiful beaches in Canada. We certainly enjoyed some hours in the sun, although the wind was rather chilly. The sunset in Tofino was another breathtaking moment, simply indescribably beautiful. I tried to capture it with my camera. The intonation here was certainly on the word “tried”, as it’s almost impossible, considering my 200$ camera and lack of know-how when it comes to photography.
Sadly we had to leave Tofino the next morning and we headed back all across the island, passed Nanaimo, and drove down further south to the capital City of British Columbia – Victoria. As we enjoyed sunshine and cloudlessness the entire ride appeared to be way more exciting than a couple of days ago.
Victoria is a smaller city than what you would expect from a capital city, but nevertheless lovely and beautiful. The parliament building, which is Victorias main attraction and lighted by night, has a comfy lawn in front of it, where we quite frequently indulged in some napping. A perfect place to chill out and we could learn much about BCs history by taking a walk through the halls of the Parliament.
However, every good story has an end, and so did ours. We got up early, headed to Swartz Bay and took the ferry back to Tsawwassen, where we had to bring back Randy before heading up to Vancouver Downtown.
Thursday, May 19, 2011
I arrived in SF fully reenergized early in the morning, just about right to have some breakfast at my home for the week, the Green Tortoise, and get to explore the city afterwards. I didn’t do any previous research about what to see, the only thing I knew about was the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz and that it was the steepest city in North America, a fact that would be proven soon enough.
While browsing through the city I accidently bumped into Lombard Street.
The Hostel is quite lively, nice and clean. It’s packed with backpackers, travelling around the world. Pretty exciting listening to all their stories and hear where they’re coming from and going to. There’s always some action going on, but if you don’t feel like partying or socializing, there’s always a place to relax and read a book.
I met up with some guys I knew from the SameSun Hostel in Vancouver on Monday, in order to bike over to the Golden Gate Bridge. Fascinating views you get on this world famous bridge. After that we followed the coastline all along to the Golden Gate Park. The Coastline as well, was simply breathtaking. Feeling the wind, hearing the waves, smelling the sea, it all just blows your mind away from the now and then, into a world of equality, peace and unrestricted freedom. A very powerful feeling indeed.
Golden Gate Park wasn’t too special, it’s just a recreational area for the people of San Francisco, and nothing very special, unless you’re considering moving to the area. As I always consider moving to where I currently am and imagine what life would be like, this park would definitely be a huge advantage for SF. We eventually tried to make our way back to Fishermans Wharf in order to bring back our bikes, and that’s exactly the point where you really get to feel the steepness of the city. It killed me. Back at the hostel I went to bed immediately after taking a short shower.
The trip to Alcatraz was a little more comfortable, but nevertheless exciting. Only a short Boattrip from Pier 33, the Island itself is a National Park. I took the Audio Tour and got to hear stories about life on the “Rock” and see the actual cells and premises the inmates lived in. Quite inspiring and definitely a warning to stay on the legal side of life.
The rest of the time I basically just strolled around in the city, went for coffee and lunch wherever it looked lovely. I did a walking trip all across the city, what took me a little more than one hour one way, but was definitely worth it, as I discovered places such as Alamo Place and Ashbury & Haight, which is the center of “Hippy San Francisco”.
I went into Amoeba Records, a huge recordstore that probably had every single record you could imagine. Simply huge and unseen in Switzerland.
San Francisco’s vibe is not met by any other city I went to, the entire setting with cable cars, steep hills, the seaside, downtown and all the attractions, little bars, clubs, corner stores really makes it something special.
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Sun, waves, wind, rocks, that’s what I saw the entire day. I didn’t really realize how time and mile after mile passed by.
After driving for around 10 hours that day I arrived in Gold Beach, Oregon. I checked into my room at the Motel 6 and felt incredible having such a huge bed in such a huge room with my own washroom and TV and a fridge. I already got so used to be sharing a room this seemed like a dream to me. I went to take some pictures of the sunset before enjoying the luxuries my room provided me.
I got up late the next morning, and headed further down the coast to Crescent City, California. This was my last stop on the coast, from now on I would be heading inland and back up north, as I needed to be back in Eugene for the night. I drove up the Redwood Highway and stopped by at the Jedediah Smith Redwood National Park, where I walked a short trail through the woods. The trees were as big as nothing else I’ve seen before, incredible and breathtaking.
I went on further inland on the Redwood Highway, which apparently is a very scenic drive. Same as the day before, I didn’t realize how time passed and all of a sudden I was back on the I-5. Driving wasn’t actually tiring me, as I kept on looking out for all the beautiful things besides the Highway. I was so excited about all the things I discovered I could have driven back to Canada or down to Mexico that day, however, I eventually passed by Eugene again and I decided that the gas price is a little too high for such adventures.
I slept at the same hostel again and got up late the next morning, in order to have a lazy day in Eugene. I first went to get my train ticket for San Francisco and had brunch at a place called “Morning Glory” next. Interpret it as you want, but I dearly enjoyed a “Morning Medley”. As the train that day would have cost me 60$ more than the day after, I decided to stay one more night. I didn’t really do too much but enjoying the hostel. It was a small but very friendly one, with some people just staying for a night, others living there for months. It was like a little family and lead to some very interesting conversations.
The next day I went to a music festival, together with some Americans I met at the hostel. Was interesting to see some local bands and made me wanna grab a guitar as well and rock out.
If you want to check out further Pictures, check out the following Link:
Leaving is never easy. Especially when everyone is leaving into another direction and you know it’s for good. So we went to the Greyhound Station, some going to Vancouver, some staying in Kamloops for some more days. When the driver announced the boarding call for our Bus we finally had to say goodbye to everyone, unknowing whether we’ll ever meet again. After boarding the bus and seeing Kamloops slowly sliding away we all had enough time to recap the past four months we spent together. As we arrived in Vancouver the sadness has flown away, replaced by excitement about all the adventures that were still to come.
I spent an entire day in Vancouver organizing the first part of my trip, before heading back to the hostel where I met up with two of my roommates to get some food and beer. We went to Yaletown for dinner and to see the Canucks game. They played well, but eventually lost after Over Time. After another drink at the hostel bar I went to bed, as I had to catch an early bus to Seattle the next morning.
At the US Boarder everyone had to get off the bus, take their entire luggage with them and try to convince the official they were no terrorists. Not always an easy job. Terry, a guy from Manchester who was on his way to New York joined me for the rest of the ride. We had a very engaging and interesting discussion about human psychology, travelling, religions, politics and humans in general. It made me realize that I was all on my own from now on for the rest of my journey, an amazing but nevertheless frightening thought. What if something went wrong? I’m pretty sure I would be well off, as I had a plan of what I wanted to do and felt comfortable meeting new people and making places like a hostel bed my home, even if it was just for a short night.
We soon arrived in Seattle where I walked all the way to the City Hostel, where we already stayed on our short Roadtrip in February. It’s an amazing place and Matt, one of the receptionists even remembered me and asked how everyone else was. I truly felt home. I went for some snapshots soon after, before heading out for a couple of beer with Leo, who was one of my Roommates. We went to Seattle’s Hard Rock Café, where we discovered such amazing things as an acoustic guitar of Kurt Cobain and many more things. Mental to see these personal belongings of your life’s heroes.
I got up around 6.30 the next morning in order to catch the Greyhound to Portland. After boarding the bus I decided to use Amtrak busses and trains only in the future. The bus was packed with people you wouldn’t really enjoy spending your time with. It was obvious why these people were choosing the cheapest way to get around. Some looked as if they were sleeping on the street for days, if not weeks. Not the best advertisement for America. However, after arriving in Portland I got to see a truly different country. I went for a walk in some of Portland’s Parks, and I was stunned by the friendliness of people. Everyone was saying hello while passing by and asking whether I needed help, what I was looking for and where I was from. And in spite of Canada I didn’t hear the sentence “Oh and how is life in Sweden” once! At least not yet.
Portland is a really nice city, not too big, not too small. It’s got a huge University Campus that is part of Downtown. The boardwalks are all clean and fucked up people are hardly anywhere to be seen in the Downtown area (you’ll find them around the Greyhound station). After a day of walking and seeing things I accidently bumped into my personal paradise: the Powell Book Store. It’s supposed to be Americas (or the worlds?!) biggest independent Bookstore. I literally could find anything I ever was dreaming of for very reasonable prices (I want to avoid using the word cheap when it comes to books). You guessed right, I bought as many books as I could carry, and wondered how I’m going to make it all fit into my luggage. Obviously I spent the rest of the night reading.
As mentioned before I choose to travel with Amtrak to Eugene. Arriving at the train station at around 8pm I wanted to walk to the Hostel. Luckily the Avenues weren’t named but numbered, so I simply had to find out which direction to go. However, the entire area got a little messier and more frightening the closer I got to the Hostel. Everything kind of appeared fucked up, but hey, that’s the way I had chosen to go, so I stopped worrying and complaining and watching out for the good of everything.
Monday, April 25, 2011
Slowly everything comes to an end over here in Kamloops. And one day I realised that I only spend a couple of days down in Vancouver. It was about time for me to take the next Greyhound and spend a few days in the city that made me want to go back to Canada so badly. I got up early last Tuesday packed some clothes, some textbooks and my cameras into my rucksack and went off to the Greyhound Station, got myself a ticket to Vancouver and boarded the bus soon after. Five hours later I was standing in downtown Vancouver. I suddenly realized how long I didn’t hear anyone speak Swiss German in my presence apart of skyping, what made me turn around every other moment. Apparently Vancouver is full of Swiss people again. As I didn’t book any hostel rooms in advance I wasn’t sure where I was going to stay, but gladly SameSun Backpackers on Granville Street still had an empty bed left for me. As Tuesday was a game day I went to the Hostel Pub shortly after checking in, in order to see the Canucks advancing to round two of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. However, if you know how that game ended you might be able to emphasize how disgusted I felt. I went for a short walk after in order to take some pictures of the daylight slowly fading out. Beautiful, but nevertheless, cool. As I didn’t really have a plan what I wanted to do or needed to do I spent most of the forthcoming days just wandering around in the city, occasionally going for a coffee or some lunch. I dearly enjoyed absorbing the vibe of the city that really energized me. Furthermore I met up with Cédric, a friend from back home. We ended up going to the first Pub we found (that Irish Pub on Granville & Robson, I forgot its name), ordered some pitchers of Kokanee before we went on to the Hostel Pub where we continued with some more beer. First it was weird talking Swiss German to anyone who’s face to face to you, but I somehow got used to it by time.
The rest of my time I spent walking around, checking out several locations, try out Restaurants and enjoy every bit of the City that I could possibly get. I became a huge fan of Granville Island, just amazing all the art and culture that’s around there, and all the good & fresh foods you get there. Irresistible!
I left for Kamloops Friday evening, and arrived back here late in the night, just about in the right mood to hit the hay right away.
On Saturday we had a little Farewell Party outside of UCH, where everyone brought some food to share. It saddened me to realize how fast time has flown and how soon we’re all going to be apart of each other, maybe never meeting again. We’re surely not ever meeting again altogether. However, that’s right the mood you need to have in order to make a night out unforgettable. I indeed had a good time that night and enjoyed partying with everyone for one last time.
Now Sunday’s pretty much over, I’ll spend the rest of the night sorting out things, preparing for my departure on Friday and maybe watching Giacobbo / Müller. I’ve got two exams coming this week, so I probably should invest some time into studying. All in all I feel sad that this is already over, I’d love to spent some more time here, get to know more people and attend some more classes. However, my adventure is not yet over, as my trip down the Westcoast comes closer day by day. I still didn’t book anything as I want to play as much of it by ear. The happy-go-lucky way kind of seems the most appropriate for adventures of any kind anyway.
Thursday, April 14, 2011
Wow how time flies! The last week of classes here in Kamloops is already over. There’s not much left to do, but still not all work is done. But I will come to that later. There’s been way more amazing things happening here in Loopstown. First of all, while I was volunteering for the amazing race last Saturday, Faisal and I, who was at the same post as I was, got offered a job out of the blue. A guy just drove by and stopped and asked what we were doing there, and after a few minutes of small talk he told us that he’s exactly looking for people like us, business students with time and willingness to get stuck in. People that get up at 6 on a Saturday morning just for a good cause. The job is supposed to be in the internet marketing industry, sadly I don’t know anything further so far. We’ve scheduled a meeting for next Monday.
I think this is just another example of how more direct and open minded people in North America are. If there might be an opportunity to create and move something it simply gets done. Would anyone say this could be happening in Switzerland? I doubt so. Everyone who passed by our stand smiled and asked what we were doing, some even came for a little small talk for some minutes. I dearly enjoyed volunteering and will certainly do that again as it is an easy way to get to know local people.
If anyone out there is interested in some news and stories about life in other cities of the world I would recommend checking out the blog of Tolla, a friend of mine. You can find it here: http://kassiopaia.ch/blog/
Furthermore, I was told that on the day we were skiing in Whistler it actually was -27 Degrees cold. And honestly, with the wind that was blowing on top, that’s at least what it felt like!
As time passes by, the world seems to get smaller, especially in Kamloops. I occasionally get to know people who know people who know other people. And these people usually know people too.
Now to the future: one Marketing assignment was due Wednesday, and another assignment is due on the 21st, but was just done today. There was one more quiz this morning as well. After that I will have the entire next week off, what I will use to spend some time in Vancouver and prepare for my last two final exams on the 26th and 28th, before I need to move out of my room in Kamloops on the 29th. It is not clear yet where I will be going, but one thing is for sure: Not home!
I will keep you posted on any news.