Friday, December 16, 2011

From Vegas to Winnipeg -Snow, dinosaurs, pub and a dentist...

Out and about in Winnipeg

My journey from Las Vegas to Winnipeg didn't start well. I was assured by the Concierge the day before that a Hotel bus left every half an hour from 3.30am to do the run to the airport, but after getting up before 4am and waiting for well over an hour I was still waiting as 5am passed. My flight was at 8, so I had a bit of leeway and gladly accepted the offer of a shared taxi ride with a bloke from Minnesota, who had also been told the lie by the Concierge.

Las Vegas airport was so busy for that early in the morning and it took a good hour to book in, drop off my bag and get through the security checks. I had a ticket, but it said that seats would be assigned at the gate, so when I arrived I spoke with the lady and she quite abruptly told me to wait till my name was called. So did I have a seat or not? She said I did, but it would be assigned later. I asked why it couldn't be assigned now and she didn't really have an answer apart from 'A third of the plane is waiting so please wait'. That was bollocks as there was now a list showing in the screen and only 5 names on it including mine! I still don't know why I had to wait, but eventually she called my name and gave me a boarding pass, that had been sitting on the desk the whole time. I think it was a case of 'wanting to feel important' from her.

Ice candles on the street in Winnipeg

Young sam stealing sweets from the pinata

Typical?? English type pub!?

The flight was ok apart from being no food and we landed on time in Denver, where after finding my next gate I had to go through the same sequence. However, this time the girl on the gate was much better. She told me I would be assigned my seat as soon as she was sure of spare, single, single seats and sure to her word checked me in, did the passport details and gave me my boarding card in plenty of time, even though she had to cope with a dodgy printer and irate passengers, due to the flight being overbooked.

It was only a 50 seater plane and took 2 hours to get to Winnipeg, where after security, I was taken to one side and made to go through my travels, money situation and explain what I was doing in Winnipeg, before eventually being allowed to enter the country. I met Buffy who had been waiting and she laughed at my story of the day – explaining that I look both too young and too old to be travelling the world!!

We headed into town, dropped off my gear at Buffs apartment and went straight out to her Works Christmas do, for a few drinks. On the way we got lost, but eventually met up with Joel, to drop his car back – He had lent it to Buffy to pick me up -Cheers Joel!!
It was pretty cold -about minus 15 degrees C, so Buffy had borrowed a big warm jacket and gloves for me from her brother and I wore it to the pub/bar where we had pulled pork for dinner, before heading to the Christmas do.

The do was fun – I met a few of Buffs workmates and her boss, who is also called Rick. He has a son, Sam, who kept sneaking away and stealing sweets out of a Pinata, before being discovered and taken away only to sneak away again a minute later. It was a nice night out though and after a few beers we walked back home in the cold, to get some well needed sleep.

Saturday morning I had a good lie in and then we spent most of the day vegging out in the apartment before a quick tour around the local area to see where everything is and to get something for dinner. We ended up getting some great sausages and had them with mash and beans and a couple of beers. On the evening Buffy had got tickets for a concert at a theatre in town. It was a concert with a local Canadian singer songwriter called JP Hoe. It was a pretty good night, with a few funny videos interspersing the music. Its not something I would usually go to, but it was pretty good. A quick drink in a local pub followed after the concert and then it was home to bed.

Sunday was a lazy day. Bacon butties for lunch, a walk around town in the late afternoon was followed by a night in the pub with Buffy and a few of her friends – They are a good bunch and I only had to buy one drink all night – I will attempt to try and buy some back at the next night out, if they will let me!!

Buffy was working on Monday so I had a great lie in till lunch and then went to the local shop where I bought some food for dinner and attempted to copy one of the dishes we had had in Vietnam – Fried potatoes with tomato, garlic and vegetables. It turned out pretty good, but next time I will use even more garlic I think.

A horse and Buffy

A sweet shop train!

surgery around 2pm and he would try to fit me in somewhere, so I spent most of the morning watching the clock and waiting to go out and hopefully get it fixed. As usual though, when the time came to go, my tooth wasn't that bad, but I know it will flare up again later on if I do nothing, so I got my gear on and went out.

I'm glad I did in the end, as after a really pleasant hour at the dentist, I left with a new filling in a tooth that had a deep cavity. It is now much better than it was before and the dentists was great as I was left for ages, to relax in the big dentists chair, which was really comfortable. Thanks have to go to Sandy, for doing a great job on my tooth!!

After the dentists, I walked back towards the city and stopped off for a while at the Wilderness Supply store where Buffy works, spending a time looking around the store and trying not to spend any money – Its a cool little store and has a good amount of stock, so its probable that next time I need some travel gear , I may well be shopping there.

After a quiet evening in, I went out the next day. It was pretty warm – about zero degrees and I enjoyed a good walk about and look around the city. I visited The Forks, again, to wander down by the half frozen river and watch people ice skate on a small man made rink outside the market and also to pick up some mini doughnuts, freshly made on the spot. Then I took a free bus back into the city and had a quick walk around the outside of the Legislative Building, that has The Golden Boy atop it. A 4 metre high golden statue standing on the top of the domed roof. Its quite cool and is also based on the figure of mercury, that forms the Royal Signals cap badge.

That evening me and Buffy were picked up by Buffy's brother and driven across town to the family home in the suburbs. Its a lovely house, with a big open living area and downstairs games room, which is massive. We had a really nice evening, playing with the dogs, eating a lovely dinner and enjoying a few quiet drinks as we chatted. Its nice to meet all of Buffy's family and friends and I really enjoyed myself.


Hockey being played in the park

Little outdoor rink

Mini Doughnuts!!

The next day was there was a real biting wind and so after a bit of brunch in a local 'Stellas', cafe me and Buffy spent a couple of hours in the afternoon messing about in the science section of Manitoba Museum, where we filmed a stop motion Dinosaur epic, built our own scalextric cars (which we raced and Buffys car won), played with electricity and mirrors, tried out an anti gravity simulator (a mechanics under car trolley) and I beat her in a sudoku race. It was a really fun way to waste the afternoon out of the biting wind outside that took the temperature of -8 degrees Celsius down way lower. A lovely relaxed evening followed on my own as Buff was at a rehearsal for a choir concert which takes place tomorrow.

Home made scalextric cars - Buffy won!



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