Sugar Mt/NC

30 Sep 2012 – Happy Mid-Autumn/Moon Festival

The week passed by quickly with the 5 grandchildren. Amazing to see how L&J handle these adorable munchkins! Katy, Ellie & John are in school Mon-Fri, Sophie has nursery 3 days a week and James has baby care 1 day a week. Linn even manages time for the gym (with child-care) twice a week. Quite a bit to juggle with 5 kids ranging from ages 1-10!

Sooo overwhelmed just observing that it took a week to post this 🙂

Sat & Sun: app 4hrs drive, 202mi 325km north-west of CAE is Banner Elk NC. This is where L&J have a condo in Sugar Mt/NC and this is also near where classes on the AT were held 7yrs ago… good memories!

Rained on Sat evening, but the Mid-Autumn festival continued. The grandchildren enjoyed the lanterns and the mooncakes, tkx to cousin Yun! A beautiful Sun sunrise and a lovely visit from fellow AT hiker Glenda/Hi Hills & Franklin. Sections of the Mountains-to Sea Trail/NC will be in the schedule from 7-10 Oct. Looking forward…

Problems with uploading pix which will be updated when the support group from wordpress are able to explain what is happening!!

1 Oct: problem solved tkx to wordpress support! But Sophie fell in nursery school and needed stitches… ouch ouch ouch 🙁

At the end of the day, the most overwhelming key to a child’s success is the positive involvement of parents – Jane D Hull

Greetings y’all

26 Sep 2012 – Columbia/CAE South Carolina/SC

Y’all is derived from the old English ye and all, originally used in colonial America. Now often used to represent you all here in the Southern US States.

Mon: safe & sound here in CAE after 1hr 40mins flight from YYZ to ORD (United Airlines HUB) with 1hr layover, then 1hr 30mins from ORD to CAE, arriving 15mins ahead of schedule NOK1,758 S$377. Tkx Linn for meeting me at the airport and by the time we pull into the garage, it was way pass 22hrs and the 5 sleeping beauties were far far away in dreamland.

Tue: woke up to find just Ellie in the kitchen. Katy and JohnW happily marched down the stairs a few minutes after as they had to be in school. Sophie & James had an easy morning. Gator, the family pet is certainly slower in her aging years! She was with the family before any of the children and nice to see her as gentle to James as she was to the other 4 siblings when they were Jame’s age. 

Feeling the aftermath of the jet-lag with the excitement after Toronto and seeing the grandchildren again. Struggled to stay awake with not much success – zzzz… The first of many more pix of the 5 grandchildren, missing #6 who is in Norway. Wished he could be here too!

Grandchildren are the dots that connect the lines from generation to generation – Lois Wyse

Toronto eh!

24 Sep 2012 – Happy Bday Cousin Yun

Fri: appreciations to Jan & Al for taking time to have lunch in Chinatown. They are also in Toronto for a family occasion and the last time we met was 4yrs ago in Orlando/FL when Jan’s parents celebrated their 60th Anniversary. Another warm day shopping in Chinatown.

Sat: nephew Minos’s elegant bachelor pad is located in Leslieville and one of his ventures is at St Lawrence Market, surrounded by names of my brothers! The market has a variety of meat to die for and Sausage King is one of the suppliers to Momofuku=Lucky Peach here. Thank you Yun and SiewChing for their company in this charming area.

Appreciations to cousin Chai for a Japanese dinner at Ema-Tei***

Chai’s apartment has a view in the heart of the entertainment district. The facilities are luxurious, including computer & billiard rooms, private movie screening theatre, roof-top mediation garden & sun-tanning beds, indoor gym & swimming pool etc. The next trip here, will stay with him… 🙂 

Sun: delicious one day early Bday BBQ at Yun’s house with Chai, Minos & SiewChing. Considering that she is born in SIN 0800hrs, it is her Bday 🙂 🙂

Some of Yun’s lovely collection of her hobby, stained-glass! Tkx to a talented cousin for a very enjoyable stay. Good to hear the voices of 15th uncle, LAM Tin Cheong/Vancouver Island and cousin Yeng/Vancouver. Tkx for calling.

Mon: I’m leavin’ on a jet plane, Don’t know when I’ll be back again – John Denver

Circus of the Sun*****

21 Sep 2012 – A World Class Circus

Thu: what a wonderful afternoon at Cirque du Soleil, a Canadian entertainment company; self-described as a dramatic mix of circus arts and street entertainment. Based in Montreal, Quebec/Canada, and located in the inner-city area of Saint-Michel, founded in Baie-Saint-Paul 1984 by two former street performers, Guy Laliberté and Gilles Ste-Croix.

This circus expanded rapidly through the 1990s and 2000s, going from one show to 19 shows in over 271 cities on every continent except Antarctica. The shows employ approximately 4,000 people from over 40 countries and generate an estimated annual revenue exceeding US$810mil.

Each show is a synthesis of circus styles from around the world, with its own central theme & storyline. This year’s Amaluna is a touring show in Toronto until Nov. Story takes place on an island governed by goddesses. During a storm, a group of men are washed up on shore.

The queen’s daughter falls for one of the young men and the trials of their love are the elements composing this production.

Thank you cousin Yun for the best circus ever with upgrading of seats and a fantastic view. Nice to feel in awe to such captivating innocence of childhood…

The title Amaluna is the combination of two separate words. Ama which refers to mother in many languages and luna/moon and the moon is a symbol of femininity. This is a new production, thus only managed to find the 2 pix above to download from this new performance as no photography was allowed.

Time is a circus, always packing up and moving away – Ben Hecht

Port of Newcastle/Canada

20 Sep 2012 – Drives in the Surrounding Areas

Wed: lovely drive by pumpkin patch along Lakeshore Rd to Port Hope/PH located at the mouth of the Ganaraska River on the north shore of Lake Ontario. PH’s history dates back to the late 1700s. Lunched at a Thai Restaurant, Baulai**

Cobourg, pop 18,000 with a lovely town hall, Victoria Hall.

Bowmanville Creek, where the salmon are given a helping held up-stream to their place of birth where they will also end their lives there. Was quite disturbed to see how our so-called civilized world is such a destruction to nature. If only I had known earlier, would have volunteered to help out the group.

Newcastle has an interesting history. It was here in the 1800s that started what would become one of the world’s largest manufacturers of farm machinery, Massey-Ferguson. The historical Community Hall was donated to the community and is a tribute to the Massey family’s role in the development of this area. There is even an Irish Pub, The Snug!

The name Town of Newcastle was used from 1973-94 for the municipality now called the Municipality of Clarington. The name was changed in 1994 to alleviate long-standing confusion between the municipality as a whole and the community of the same name. The community was commonly known as Newcastle Village to distinguish the two.

Port of Newcastle,  latitude, 43° 53″ 34’/longitude, -78° 34″ 33′ with its marine, restaurant and playground makes it an excellent place to have a dream home by Lake Ontario. Lock & May’s lovely holiday home is located here, 80kms east of Toronto on Lake Ontario.

The garden seems to also be the home of a green frog while the owners lives 7+hrs drive away. Thank you cousins for a lovely stay. Great to catch up for now and safe drives to us all. For Lock & May who will be heading east to Sault St Marie (7+hrs) and to Yun and I to Toronto (1hr) for a performance to Cirque du Soleil.

井底之蛙/a frog in a well: This quote goes back to the Taoist classic Zhuangzi that has a frog living in a well who talks about things big and small with the turtle of the Eastern Sea. A known Chinese proverb relating to how one can be narrow sighted and even complacent. Today it is used more widely to describe someone who is ignorant of the things around them.

Greetings from Toronto/Canada

17 Sep 2012 – With Cousins

Another stretch of the dreaded journey over! A night with a couple of hours sleep in a clean cubical + my own shower and toilet, Yotel at LHR’s ground floor was a new experience but not cheap (1900-0200hrs GBP62 S$123). Would have found a comfortable bench or chair but none were in sight or maybe age is also catching up!

Sun: 0400hrs typical English breakfast. Plane delayed 2+hrs and did not take off until pass 12n. Bought a book, Fifty Shades by EL James with much erotic writing is enough to turn on the snooze button during the 8hrs flight!! Uneventful and decent service flight with lots of snoozes 🙂

Arr YYZ safe and sound and appreciations to cousin Yun for meeting me at the airport. Summer is here and so are the traffic jams due to a closure of some highway. Great to meet up with the cousins, Lock & May, Yun and Chai from 5th uncle LAM Tin Yick’s branch + Minos and friend. And yet another yummy-yum meal by May. These are the cousins who were also in Dublin/Ireland! Baby-sat Minos over 43yrs ago and what a charming handsome young man he is now!

Cousins are different beautiful flowers in the same garden – unknown

To Cross the Atlantic…

15 Sep 2012 – Goodbye Norway

Thu & Fri: don’t we wish we could just fly off without baggage! Packed, got rid of the junk and cleaned up after the 4 months stay. This is usually the most dreaded part of the journey but what a relief it is when done. Now another excuse to buy new stuff which will be light-weight and there will never need to be a check-in baggage again… dream on 🙂

Olai has not been too well the past week, had high temps before our return and now runny nose and coughs. Poor baby, but that too shall pass and oneday he too will be a strong man like his papa. He will be running around and chatting when we next meet but for now enjoying every minute to the fullest and he is as sweet and cute as can be! Sooo difficult to leave… 🙁

Sat: RyanAir from RYG/Moss to LHR/London, NOK613 S$128 to connect on Sun with AirTransat to TorontoYYZ/Canada NOK2,667 S$555.

With news about Anti-American fury over film now even hitting Australia, is not good news, especially to be heading to USA!

Have you ever watched a crab on the shore crawling backward in search of the Atlantic Ocean, and missing? That’s the way the mind of man operates – HL Mencken


13 Sep 2012 – End of Another Beautiful Trip

Mon: Bergen 60°23′22″N 5°19′48″E, pop 266,600 in an area of 465sqkm/180sqmi, known for Bryggen Hanseatic Wharf, the Fish Market and surrounding mountains and fjords. Managed to walked around the fortress and the World Heritage Site/Bryggen, before the rains! Bought 1kg of peel to eat shrimps and a few crab claws.  They were fresh and yummy to savour indoors in the P-Hotel***where we shared a family room for the night.

Tue: goodbye wet wet wet Bergen, continuing our last stretch of 7hrs choo-choo train for a promotion NOK199 S$43 per person. Arr OSL 1738hrs, a cab to Majorstuen and a lovely evening in Vigelands Skulpturepark/Frognerparken for PP’s first visit there.

Wed: goodbye lunch at Nesøya with Ellen and Sita. The last time PP visited Nesøya was in 1974 and for KK it was 1978 when he accepted the role to be May’s godfather. A pleasant afternoon for last-minute shopping in GlasMagasinets and some sight-seeing along Karl Johans gate, Rådhus/City Hall, Arkerhus festning/fort where we took shelter at some military function as the sky opened up to rain cats & dogs!

Ended this trip with a bowl of warm comforting fish soup at Brasserie Sanguine og Argent Fine Dining***in Operahuset/the Opera House (opened in 2008). Another coincident, meeting Chiew Leng who was with Fort Canning/SIN, one of the projects 10yrs ago! Saw PP & KK off on the Airport Express train ending this wonderful trip with my best childhood friends. 

Who knows where our annual trip in 2013 will take us but will be looking forward to where ever and whenever we can be together again. Safe journeys to us and appreciations for such delightful company. In the meanwhile, need to pack for Canada and USA…

There’s something about childhood friends that you just can’t replace – Lisa Whelchel

Svolvær Goat

11 Sep 2012 – Goodbye Lofoten

Fri: starting from Mortsund, heading to E10 towards Svolvær side-tracking via Utakleiv/Hauklandstrand and Unstad where we had a picnic lunch by a charming tiny white chapel on the outside but actually a shed inside!

Svolvær pop 4,185 is located on the island of Austvågøya. Other than the massive fishing industry, tourism is becoming increasingly important. Sheltered by the mountains to the north and west, the Svolvær area has less fog and experiences somewhat higher daytime temperatures in summer than the western part of Lofoten, but the same mountains also create more orographic precipitation on rainy days.

Storvågan in Kabelvåg is the Lofoten Museum (an excellent museum) where you will find fishermen’s shacks, mountains, ocean,  weather – and really old history. When walking along the shacks of Nyvågar, you’re virtually passing along paths of some 6000 years of mankind and sea history.

Great to meet up with Dag Kajander after 30yrs. He is quite a local celebrity producing his own CD and writing children’s book, Cod & Tod.

Boarded Hurtigruten 1700hrs and sailing off 2000hrs towards the south; docking at Stamsund and Bodø, Took a seasick tablet after the Haddock dinner and did not feel anything crossing from Samsund to Bodø…

Sat: after the Arctic Circle, Ørnes, Nesna, got off at Sandnessjøen for a walk and hot dog, Brønnøysund/cold & wet and everything was closed. KK got off at Rørvik but we stayed on board.

Sun: arr 0630hrs bright and early in Trondheim. After full breakfast on board, then headed to Nidarosdomen and a short walk about in town. Nice to catch up with Anne for 20mins with tea on board and KK nearly missed the boat!! The sailing continued docking at Kristiansund where we got off to join a bus tour driving  on the 5.6km water tunnel with the deepest at 250m connecting to Averøy

A wonderful stave church, Kvernes Stavkirke/1300s. Yummy Bacalo/klippfish at Bjartmars Favorittkro*** and drive on the 8km + 8 bridges Atlanterhavsvegen to Molde to catch the Hurtigruten.

Mon: Ålesund, Torvik, Måloy, Flore and finally arriving into rainy Bergen 1430hrs…

Opportunities are like sunrises. If you wait too long, you miss them – William A Ward

Scenic Drives On The Lofoten Islands

9 Sep 2012 – in Vestvågøy & Flakstadøy

Tue: Happy Bday May and rain rain go away but what a pleasant surprise to visit this interesting Viking museum in Borg where archeological finds bear witness of a rich Chieftain, being a part of the Scandinavian cultural elite. Several finds are pointing towards the fact that Borg had extensive contact with not only Norway but the European continent.

Was even fortunate enough to buy this 3kg+ salmon off the hatcheries and made salmon in nearly everyways for 3 meals! Yummy, delicious and fresh fish for 3 people/3 meals NOK250 S$54.

Wed: Happy 1st Bday Olai, youngest grandchild. Another scenic drive via Sennesvika, Steine, Stamsund/route 815 to Henningsvær for lunch at Kafe Lysstøperiet*** Good shrimp open-face sandwich at this candle makers/cafe where the candles burn down in this lovely web shapes.

Thu: KK found a hiking path at Krystad/Kvavika where he took a solo hike. PP & decided that the weather was too unreliable and drove to Ytresand, Ramberg/crazy people trying to surf…

Flakstad kirke/russian influence, Gravdal/Buksnes kirke,

Ballstad, another delightful village with painting on the wall.

Am still 3 days behind with postings but it is soooo difficult to choose what pix to upload in additional to that the wordpress upload is reaching its limit and an upgrading will be necessary!

The scenic ideals that surround even our national parks are carriers of a nostalgia for heavenly bliss and eternal calmness – Robert Smithson