Knowing the unseasonably beautiful weather wouldn’t last because this is Canada, Diane and I spent some time walking around over the past few days enjoying the amazingly green lush trails of South Surrey, British Columbia. Spoiled by long days at this latitude, when it’s nice in BC it’s spectacular. Climatically speaking, this is one of the highest growing zones for plant life and even the smallest seed will likely turn into some sort of beautiful blossom. Never knowing this part of the province existed, South Surrey is a suburban enclave that resembles where we just lived only greener and featuring modern two-story houses that are about 50 years newer than anything in Walnut a Creek. But all good things come to an end and as I awoke this morning, I stepped out on the patio and a heavy rainfall jolted me, even though it was nowhere to be found in the Yahoo weather prediction for the greater Vancouver area. After about four days of rain in one year living in drought stricken California, it felt like a new experience
Undaunted, Diane and I are meeting the first blog contact of our newly retired life this morning at a local Starbucks. Coincidentally, she’s a young Canadian woman who recently travelled to Vietnam and Indonesia, visiting almost all the places I’m sure we’d want to explore and she happens to also be staying with friends in the area. We also bought plane tickets yesterday from Vancouver to Kuala Lumpur via Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific Airlines. Scheduled to leave on June 29th at 2:00 AM, the flights are similar to the San Francisco flights to Asia only much fuller due to the heavy Chinese population in Western Canada. An email conversation with our amazingly cool banker at HSBC Malaysia confirmed an appointment upon arrival for us to open our local bank account and explore downtown KL for one day as tourists before heading to Penang to search for an apartment. Having been contacted earlier this year by a sales rep from the Novatel KL City Centre Hotel interested in offering us discounted rates in exchange for a plug on the blog, I’m hoping to take him up on the offer.
Celebrating a second retirement party for Diane, our gracious friend hosted a barbeque last night with mostly healthy items like chicken, grilled veggies and salmon. Enjoying the perfect late afternoon sunshine that looks like it will never arrive after nine hours of dreary low clouds, everyone enjoyed the marinated meats and veggies while I watched game five of the Stanley Cup Playoffs Third round. Expecting hockey withdrawal to set in after a while, we planned on staying in Canada at least until someone hoists the Stanley Cup overhead before leaving for a county where ice is found only at hawker stands serving chendol. For anyone that cares, the New York Rangers lost in a shutout to the Tampa Bay Lightning despite having the home ice advantage.
Using today as a transition, it’s time to do some laundry, pack for another 900 mile drive across the province albeit with gas prices 40% higher than the last trip, and spend a night in Jasper, Alberta before heading to Edmonton. Exemplifying the craziness of Canadian weather, the forecast is 27 degrees Celsius for those next two days with abundant sunshine followed by 9 degree plummet with rain coming for the weekend. Remembering that Canadians spend their first summer long weekend camping in the snow, the temperature usually skyrockets up right as everyone heads back to work and this year was no different. Hoping to catch a morning in the most gorgeous hot springs you’ve ever seen without needing a winter coat and umbrella, we plan on staying one night in a hotel before squatting at Diane’s parents house for a while.
So the first week of house squatting has come and gone in the blink of an eye and it’s time to waste some more time further east. Unfortunately our friend’s cabin in the lake an hour outside of Edmonton is already being occupied by another squatter whose house is apparently under construction making it highly unlikely we’ll be enjoying any serenity through cabin life anytime soon. Very disappointed, it looks like we’ll be acting like newly married kids staying at the parents house because we can’t afford to go anywhere else. Comfortable enough, this is not my first preference but adapting to unexpected situations is clearly part of being an Experimental Expat so I suppose this is an early lesson. Hoping for some sunshine, cheers for now from Western Canada
Having constructed this unpublished post before our above referenced meeting, I wanted to give a huge plug and enormous thank you to Jordan for meeting us today. Along with her friends Ben and Mark, Jordan generously offered almost three hours to share some information about her trip, blogging and life on the road. Promising we’d stay in touch and help promote each other’s blogs and interests, I want to share a link to her awesome blog covering the trip to Southeast Asia that covers the adventures she enjoyed overseas. Titled The Travel Years, Jordan’s story is well worth your time. Please pay it a visit. A more insightful post about the advantages of meeting blog contacts will follow but since we’re heading out on the road tomorrow, I’ll revisit the topic when I can devote more attention to it.