Saturday, September 29, 2007

oh canada

(Initiated from my crackberry in the Philadelphia airport, continued from Nashville.)

There are many different types of ways to love a destination.

The legends: These are the places that everyone talks about with reverence. The places that if you say "I haven't been there" you are given the look of pity from those who have. The "oh you poor sweet naïve child". They are the first cities that come to mind and displayed on a world map. The metropolis of New York, the romanticism and arts of Paris, the juxtaposition of classic and future that is Tokyo, and the white sandy beaches of Sydney. How can you not enjoy such destinations... except maybe for the prices?

The large, but small: These are the places that are regional. They are not a world, and sometimes the national, travelor's first choice - until they visit. They are the less-trod upon, sometimes the locals complain about their status in the world ("But we are on the A list!"), yet have some combination of metropolitan, cosmopolitan, character, and history that attract visitors to become believers, advocates, and eventual residents. Philadelphia and Boston come to mind.

The local love: These are the destinations that some people say, "Why would you want to go there?" But these are misunderstood. The places that warrant a second look. These are the locations that are chock-full of hidden gems, of history, and proud people. They are where the insiders know how great the city was, is, can, and will be. Where the longer you stay, the more you are drawn in, become a part of it, just as it becomes a part of you. The place that will always be a comforting, accepting, but at the same time - wonderful. For me and many others, Pittsburgh is such a land.

...Must get on a plane, but I will explain how all of this relates to my latest visit to canada soon...

And I'm back. As I was saying, there are many ways to love a destination. Montreal blended all of the aforementioned models - and then some.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

off to montreal, but first

Well, after a couple of weeks at home to refocus on research, teaching, and some administrative business, I'm back on the road (actually, in the air - whatever - it's away from home). However, I think I've been slowly brains over the past several days. I tried checking in to my flight this morning, but was told I wasn't on the 7:40 to Philly. Apparently, when I changed my flight from Wednesday to Tuesday, I forgot to change my calendar. I was rebooked to leave at 3:30 this afternoon! Lucky for me that these were not full flights.

So I paid a $25 change fee (it seems only gold preferred and above do not have to pay change fees) to fly standby on the 7:40 flight. Cheaper than taking 2 more taxi rides. Actually, cheaper than taking a single taxi ride.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Porter Teresa?

As always, it's been awhile since my last posting. However, this was one that I couldn't pass up. Porter loves to lay down (actually, COLLAPSE) on top of the air conditioning vent after a long hard session of play at the dog park. Today's ritual collapse was unlike any other because, as you can see from the image below, he turned himself into Mother Teresa. Now, if only we could make him act saintly as well.

Monday, September 03, 2007


As I mentioned in an earlier post, we spent several beautiful days in Sydney. Since it was winter (actually, the day before we left was the first day of spring), the temperature was in the upper 50's to low 60s at night and in the low to mid 70's during the day. Among other things, we toured the royal botanical gardens
did nothing at Bondi Beach (picture coming soon),

and spent quite a while watching (you might even say we had quite an unnatural fascination with) the platypus
and sharks of Sydney Aquarium at Darling Harbour

More pictures of Sydney are here.

Great Barrier Reef

After Brisbane, we spent several days in Cairns
where we visited Green Island, snorkled the Great Barrier Reef:
and hiked the Mossman Gorge section of the Daintree Rainforest:

Pictures from Cairns and Mossman Gorge can be viewed here.

Pictures from Green Island and the outer reef are here.

Note, the photos are hosted at Snapfish and you will need to set up an account to view the sets.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

home sweet home

We made it safe and sound into nashville. Just waiting for luggage and then home to get porter. Ah, nothing like 85 degrees and high humidity at 10pm to welcome you home. Strangely, I don't feel tired, but then again I haven't laid my head upon a pillow for several days...

email woes

Fyi - these updates are coming from my phone. I would have posted more often while in australia but my phone's international data plan was completely nonexistent. So that also meant that I couldn't use my blackberry account to read and respond to mail. Thus the lax response. I promise to play catch up tomorrow!


Sara says that I'm slaphappy... And so what if I am? It's better than being cranky. But then there's still time...

in to the den

We just landed in denver and -whew - we are tired. The best part of this flight was that after not sleeping, at all, from sydney to san fran, I absolutely conked out for almost the entire flight. Now we'll go grab some dinner and prepare for the final flight of this return trip. Then we only have a taxi ride left. Woohoo.

in sfo

After several glorious days in sydney, sara and I have returned to the states! And not a moment too soon because the APEC meeting descended upon Sydney this morning. Anyway, It was a 13 hour flight, but we made it to san francisco safe and sound. Unfortunately, we don't have a direct flight home. Instead, we head from here to denver before we arrive in nashville late this evening... I already feel the jet lag setting in.