Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Camping at Clearwater - May Long

First, I am writing this from Kamloops airport because Air Canada is the worst airline ever. My first flight of three was delayed, which means significant airport waiting and missing out on delish dinner plans. I would be less sad about the whole situation if they had some level of customer service, they could have done any number of things, an upgrade, access to the lounge, food and drink vouchers, any voucher?! But no, it's just a "sorry for the mix up". Of course if I was a man and didn't have stupid girl emotions, I would be able to chuck the shits. Instead I cry. Air Canada, I really hate you. If Canada wasn't so stupidly protectionist and had competition I would NEVER fly you.

Anyway! Luckily I have just returned from a relaxing long weekend, camping at Wells Gray National Park. Wells Gray is about 2 hours north of Kamloops. I love Canadians views on the weather, I think I was told at least 10 times that it was going to be freezing (going 2 hours NORTH and all). Apparently May Long Weekend you're supposed to go south, to find that warm weather?! It's not like we just came out of 3-4 months of minus temperatures or anything. So, it wasn't cold at all. I think it was in the 20s during the day, and I slept in a tent no problems at night. I bought all my thermals but didn't ever need them.
We had two short sun showers. No big deal!
This was my first tent experience in Canada, and probably the first since a Falls Festival however many years ago. I'm not going to lie, I was a little scared I was going to get eaten by bears. Wells Gray is supposed to be home of the bears, including Grizzlies! I made sure I didn't keep anything that could be construed as a bear snack in my tent. I needn't have worried, I only saw one bear the entire trip and only because I got up to go to the toilet around 6am and the lady who ran the site saw me and took me for a spin on her golf cart to see one. No babies though.
Skipping rocks across the river and stick races
We went for a mini walk along a cliff to see a fantastic view of Helmcken Falls. There's a lookout on one side, and also a short hike on the other. We did both, but the hike definitely had the view. The sun was right behind us so we had some fantastic waterfall rainbows.
On the left from the safe lookout, the right.. that dodgy cliff you can see in the first photo!
Prom pose and the ladies perched on the edge!
Steph had a fantastic set-up for dinner. We ate so well! It makes me like camping much more. Sadly O'Hara had to work so he wasn't there to test out his chef skills at the camp ground. I also tried s'mores for the first time. You know what? They are freaking disgusting! I don't like graham crackers for one, and Hershey's chocolate is revolting. It's so overly sweet it was just gross. Perhaps I would have developed the taste if I started eating them at a young age? I was so disappointed. It was something I'd been looking forward to!
Lil risking her life on the dodgy jetty and my perfect s'more that tasted shit
You can see Lil's jetty skills HERE. It's hilarious.

I think it's possible we've had the last of the nice weather before rainy June gets here. I'm concerned my flight may be further delayed as there is a severe thunderstorm warning in Kamloops today. Hurrah! I hope my office window is fixed, I did a HUGE happy dance when it was installed last week until two hours later when I had a significant water feature in my office. It was almost as premature as the happy dance I did when I totally made it to first base in softball... only to be called out (a few times as I was clearly not listening). The shame!

Monday, 13 May 2013

Sparkling Hill Resort Spa Weekend

I think part of the reason I was able to deal with last weekend (aside from the awesome activities) was because I knew I had sufficient relaxation planned in my future. O'Hara had his birthday(s) on Thursday so as a late 1 year anniversary celebration we decided to go to Sparkling Hill Resort.

Now, the first I thought I may like to go here was when I read about it in the Sydney Morning Herald. Yep, it took a recommendation from a travel section in an Australian newspaper before I believed it was cool. We did also have multiple friends who'd stayed there and said it was awesome, but the first I heard about it was in the paper. 
Crystals, crystals everywhere! 
 So why is it called Sparkling Hill? It's really freaking sparkly! They've decked the place out with around 1.9 million Swarovski Crystals! That's a sparkly resort. They're literally everywhere, it's pretty.

We left after work and stayed Friday and Saturday. It seems you need at least two nights, as there is loads of things to do and check-in isn't until 4pm. When staying at the hotel you have access to the spas and pools, and breakfast is included (and amazing). Dinner at the restaurant isn't really worth the price, but Vernon is very close by so we did one night in town. It was the first time I had restaurant Thai since leaving Australia. So good! There are all sorts of different saunas and spas, hot, cold, super hot (+90degC), steamed, dry, scented. Our bodies experienced a variance of 200 deg Celsius during the weekend. Yep! I also confirmed that I am the sweatiest person in the world. About 3 sec into any of the hot rooms (steam or dry) and I am actually dripping. Most people were looking a little clammy, I literally looked like I'd just got out of a pool. Gross.
Relaxation in the tea room and sunny times
Luckily for us were experiencing an early heat wave, so paid off-season prices but had 30deg weather. It was wonderful. For our indulgent treatments I had a full body scrub and a facial, O'Hara had a headache massage and we both tried the Cold Sauna. Also O'Hara did not hate it. Our Australian friends know just how much he likes to wear a robe and slippers! NYE? Anyone?

So, the Cold Sauna at Sparkling Hill was the first in North America. I can't work out if there are more available now, apparently they're used quite extensively in Germany and Japan. It's basically 3 rooms, -10deg C, -50deg C and -110deg C. You read right, MINUS one hundred and ten degrees Celsius. So what does that feel like? Painful!! It's a dry cold so they say it's "comfortable", though about as comfortable as it can possibly be at -110. You wear bathers, socks, shoes, a mask and headband. There is a lot of exposed skin and you're there for 3 minutes. It's supposed to be amazing for pain management, inflammation, arthritis and injuries/surgery. As we don't have any of those, it was more for the experience! Worth it, but I don't need to do it again unless needed!
My badarse weekend outfit and O'Hara blowdrying his hair so it doesn't freeze. BAHAHA
It was a wonderful weekend away. Our only complaint was the fridge in our room didn't actually cool anything. We tried all the different settings, called front desk to get ice, and a guy came to service it. Instead of fixing it though he handed us a lukewarm can of coke and said "See! It is cooling a bit". Apparently all the fridges are like that? It's not the first hotel we've had that problem with in Canada. I think it's really just an attempt to make you purchase their booze. Sadly we were drinking our last bottle of wedding sparkling from Aus, so it was a bit sad to be drinking it warm!

Next time we go there we'll make sure the fridge is cold!

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Canucks and a Weekend of Fun!

We went to a NHL game! Bucket list, check. Sadly they didn't win, lost in time overtime actually. That was a bummer. I might just stick with the Blazers from now on.
These smiles would have been even bigger had they won... 
Fancy shmancy rink with two Zambonis!
So weekend of fun went something like this...

  • Drive to Vancouver and meet Alexis and Hal
  • Have delish seafood feast at Joe Fortes
  • Watch Canucks game
  • Meet Greg and Lil at farewell drinks (not theirs)
  • Sleep
  • Drive back to Kamloops, and drop O'Hara at work
  • 3 hour nap
  • Pick up O'Hara and go to 65th birthday party
  • Drop O'Hara home and go to karaoke birthday party
  • Sing until nearly 2am
  • Sleep
  • Meet Wilson's and Dave and Kim for coffee
  • Softball tourney for 5 hours
  • Pick up O'Hara
  • BBQ at Alexis and Hal's house
Also the weather was in the 30s. Aaahhhhhhhh-mazing! 

So for my delish seafood feast I had oysters and scallops. Oysters I've decided are better in Canada, than they are in Aus. I don't know why exactly, but I think it's because they are a bit smaller and more flavourful! 

Karaoke party for Sarah's birthday was so fun, I'm was still struggling with my voice. 4 days later! There were wigs and dress ups and some sweet dance moves. Jo and Gerad have a sweet set up at their place. There is a downstairs tiki bar, and now I have a new goal in my life! 
Beautiful -> Not so beautiful
Karaoke is better in costume. Fact
The softball tourney actually ran Saturday and Sunday, but I could only make it one day. A bit sad as the Saturday sounded out of control. They turned softball into stumps! Shotgun a beer, and the amount of time it takes to finish it is the amount of seconds you have to spin with your head on the bat. Apparently it ended with a lot of people on their butts! Hilarious. Sadly though at the end of the day we lost in the grand final. This is my first season playing softball so I'm not contributing a lot. Still, I've made it home a few times and got a couple of people out. It's about the best I can hope for! We bought our own gloves, so now it's just work to break them in and make them awesome. It's hard to get used to catching left handed, but I figure I'm better at that than throwing left handed. Also, I throw like a girl. I'm being trained by O'Hara.... Fitzy I feel you would have been much more useful on the pitch than we are. O'Hara's cut shots deliver a bit of a shock down right field but we both need a lot of practice!

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Spring, not as exciting as you'd expect

In what feels like forever, the most exciting things in my life have been Boogie, our amazing Anzac Day/Farewell party and the Blazers made it to the final round of the playoffs (only to be ousted by jerky Portland).
I'd love to post more photos from the party, but I'm 90% sure we'd be fired
So, Boogie the Bridge is an annual run held downtown Kamloops last weekend. I did my first fun run in about a zillion years! Well tried. I still can't run 5k, I'm sure that's supposed to be a really easy distance! There is a 5k, 10k and 21k and this year 2400 people ran/walked. All for charity, it was a lot of fun. There's a bunch of people cheering and playing music along the way. I was told that would make it really easy to run, but those people lied to me.
I've always wanted to bite a medal!
Aside from that, Spring has been SLOW. The weather seems to be hit and miss (no smugness), Kamloops is dry as hell (dryer than Cobar, imagine that!!) so there's no lovely flowers and not a lot is really going on. Hence why my blog posts have been about zero. Luckily, life is looking up!

It's playoffs time in the NHL, Alexis and Hal got us tickets and we're going to see the Canucks play! Excited is an understatement. Lets go Canucks!

Next weekend it's a spa getaway, next it's camping with the bears and after that it's LA. So. Pumped! Also beach volleyball has started, we're playing softball and boot camp is outside. Vitamin D levels are on the up and my body thanks me.

Look forward to some way more exciting stories!