Ready, Set, GO!

On the morning of December 4, 2016 I got a phone call at 8:30 AM telling me I booked a commercial that was shooting in Santiago, Chile and my flight was leaving at 7 AM the next day.

Exciting? Yes. Did I get all my shit together? No. Tomorrow a friend of mine is flying to Chile to shoot a commercial (lucky duck), so I thought I’d share some of my insights on traveling and working in there so others can learn from my experience of last minute work travel and shooting a non-union commercial abroad.

Before you get yourself into this situation here’s what you need to have:

  • A fantastic boss and coworkers at your day job/ joe job/ side hustle who get it and are able to help you out when an amazing opportunity comes your way. Remember to buy them booze and treat them nice throughout the year.
  • A passport. Duh. Well, you wouldn’t have booked the gig if your passport wasn’t valid.
  • A positive attitude because you’re in for an adventure.

Do Some Research:

You are going to a new country. If you can take a few minutes to research the city you’re going to, do it, even if it’s on your five hour layover in the Dallas Fort Worth airport. Check to see if there are any travel advisories. Worried about Zika virus? Don’t! It’s not in Chile.

Quick reads:

My Experience:

I found Santiago, Chile to be a modern city with a European feel. This is likely because I haven’t traveled to South America before and have mostly traveled in Europe and the only other Spanish speaking country I’ve been to was Spain. The people are friendly but most do not speak english. I had a funny relationship with my driver who didn’t speak a word of english but kept speaking to me in spanish, like I was going to magically pick it up over the five days I was there. Sorry Julio, I let you down.

Shooting the Commercial: 

Nearly everyone on the production spoke english. The director and the DP were American. The same goes for the agency and the client.  The crew were locals and they were pretty much all bilingual.

I had a great experience on set but I have heard from other actors I know that sometimes these non-union commercials shot outside of North America can ask actors to do some things they wouldn’t ask you to do at home – like carry a 50+ lbs fridge on your back while walking down stairs in heels (ya, that happened). Remember to speak up if you ever feel uncomfortable.

One of the things that excited me the most was how beautifully the table was set when we broke for lunch. There was a tablecloth and cutlery was set out; it felt so much more civilized than the plastic table with fold up chairs I’ve normally used on set.

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A beautiful table set for a crew and vegetarian food! I was so lucky!

What to Bring:

Pack light. You’re only going for a few days.

Here’s what I brought: two t-shirts, one pair of jeans, yoga pants (to wear on the plane, so I could be comfortable and “stylish”), a sweater, a denim, top, a dress, a skirt, a jacket (for Vancouver and Santiago weather – I chose my vegan ‘leather’ jacket), underwear (of course), a swimsuit (sadly I never used it), a gym top, a pair of sandals (wishful thinking about going to the beach – which I did use!), a pair of running shoes (wishful thinking about a hotel gym), and ankle booties. I put all of that plus my toiletries in my carry-on.

In my “personal bag” I always have the following for airplane travel:

Antibacterial wipes because they do not wipe down the arm rests, screen, seat belt etc. Gross.

EmergenC – It might be the placebo effect working but I always pour a package into my water bottle and drink it before my flight.

Nasal Spray – I keep flying with head colds and it hurts so much. Imagine the feeling of someone shoving a screwdriver into your ear. My doctor suggested I get some decongestant nasal spray, which was something I never tried before and it helped almost instantly. Also putting a hot compress outside of your ear will help to get things moving but that’s hard to do on a plane.

Lotion – I always get so dry on airplanes so I like to travel with heavy hand cream. Remember to keep it under 100 ml (or 3.4 oz) otherwise the TSA will take it away and you’ll be sad.

Water bottle – If you’re traveling in North America (except Flint, Michigan) the tap water is fine. Fill up your bottle once you’re through security. It’s important to stay hydrated and bottled water is a sham: it has less regulations than tap water and it’s horrible for the environment. Seriously, there’s no reason to buy bottled water.* Stop doing it. Please.

Except, I’m a jerkface. Once I had settled in my hotel room in Chile I brought a 6 litre bottle from the grocery store nearby because I didn’t want to risk getting the squirts.

Zopiclone – I suffer from insomnia and I’m so thankful to have discovered this magic pill. I was able to get a few hours sleep on the plane and a restful sleep the first night because of my little blue Z. I also brought melatonin to take at my new bedtime in Santiago. I think taking it helped with my jet lag.

Vega All In One – I mostly eat vegetarian and I wasn’t sure what the food situation would be so I brought a mason jar to use as a shaker and some of my favorite meal replacement/ protein powder in a plastic bag.

Plus a book and notepad, but I hardly leave my house without those supplies anyway.

Things To Do Before You Leave:

  • Don’t worry about exchanging your money before you go -you’re rushing to get on a plane to shoot a commercial – you don’t have time for that shit! It’s likely the production will give you a per diem in American cash when you arrive. If you need money go to a bank when you get there and take money out on your credit card.
  • Learn some spanish, at least the basics. Make notes or print out common phrases. Learn numbers (so you can find your hotel room) and please and thank you.
  • Pack your smartphone & charger. They’re going to have to get a hold of you somehow. It’s a wise idea to get some sort of travel plan. If you’re traveling for work you can write it off come tax time. Warning: if you’re with Fido and going to South America you’ll run through your data in one day. I did and I’m pretty good about turning my data off. Make a note to contact your MP when you get back to work on getting better cell phone plans in Canada.
  • Get a power adapter – Just make sure it works with your computer cord. I learnt this the hard way (see photo below). If this happens to you ask the hotel you’re staying at if they have one you can borrow/buy, they often have spares because you’re not the first person to go to Shoppers Drug Mart and buy the only adapter they have even though it’s a P.O.S.
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If I’d had more time I would have gone to London Drugs where I bet there would have been more options than this “stylize” garbage converter that killed my curling iron.
  • Don’t bring your curling iron or hair dryer. Your P.O.S. power adapter likely will kill it in some way. It’s not worth it. Someone will do your hair when you’re on set. Your hotel should have a hair dryer in the bathroom and you’re on vacation, let your frizz fly!
  • Buy sunblock, bug spray when you get there. Since you’re doing carry-on you need all the liquids for your regular stuff.
  • Don’t worry about what you’re going to say at customs. They didn’t even ask me what I was doing in the country.

Santiago Recommendations

I lucked out and had two and a half free days to explore the city. Here are some of the highlights.

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  • The food! All of it. So good. The desserts! The seafood! The beer! The wine!  I want to go back.
  • Barrio Bellavista, is a vibrant cultural district. I went to Pablo Neruda’s house, La Chascona and I’m kicking myself for not buying the salt and pepper shakers from the gift store. Also in that area is a mountain that takes about 50 minutes to walk up, Cerro San Cristobal. If you’re lucky enough to go up it on a clear day you can see the Andes and the entire city. I walked up it and took the funicular down, it was scary, fun and would never pass North American public safety inspections.
  • Also in Bellavista I paid the equivalent of $5 US to get my photo taken with a llama. WORTH IT.
  • Take the metro. It’s safe and a good exercise for your brain to navigate a new transit system. If you’ve been on the NYC subway or London tube, you’ll be fine. This is where I really got to test out my beginner spanish.
  • If your hotel is anywhere near Apumanque,where I was saying, be sure to check out Parque Arauco and the designer mall nearby – unless you have an allergy to scents, because every store was heavily perfumed.

Most of all have fun and enjoy how fortunate you are to be able to do this!

Everyone else get ready. The advertising agency I worked with said they’re likely going to keep booking non-union actors from Vancouver and shooting in Chile because it worked out so well.

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Even though I didn’t get all my shit together, I still managed to enjoy my time in Santiago, Chile. 

 

Three Days in Vernon, BC

Wine, stand up paddle boarding, and tears of joy/ realization. What do these three things have in common? My recent trip to Vernon.

I’ve been telling so many people about it that I figured it might be useful to a few of you if I put all my tips and tricks into one long travel post. So here goes…

My mother moved to Vernon, BC a handful of years ago and the past three years I’ve gone on a road trip with a friend to soak up the summer. It’s becoming one of my most anticipated yearly traditions. Below are a few of my favourite things to do.

DRINK

If you don’t like wine, then I feel sorry for you. Lake country, between Vernon and Kelowna, has some fantastic wineries and drinking, aka “tasting,” is a great way to spend an afternoon.

Here’s where we went this year.

Intrigue – The tasting room has tonnes of tacky “I love wine better than my cat” type knick-knacks that make it look like a bachelorette party threw up in there but their wine is VERY drinkable. I took their Pinot Gris to a party recently and it was a huge hit. If you like bubbles, they have a pink sparkling wine with the awful name I Do. I don’t like bubbles, but my friend has purchased it all three times we’ve visited.

Blind Tiger – This was the first time we had heard of Blind Tiger and I found their wines to be a bit pricier than others. To their credit they were the only winery that I bought a red wine from. (It makes me sleep funny). They are an organic winery if you’re into that and they also have a food truck where you can order wood fire pizza at a decent price.

Ex Nihilo – I find this winery to be a tad on the pricey side for the region, also I’m cheap and don’t want to spend more than $22/ bottle. They have beautiful art on the walls and a nice outdoor patio where you can grab lunch. I brought back their Riesling.

Arrowleaf – If you want to have lunch with an amazing view go to Arrowleaf. Get a cheese plate and a bottle and enjoy the afternoon pretending you’re fancy trophy wives. Their wine is also very affordable and goes down quick. I’m a fan of their Rosé.

50th Parallel – Our last stop on our wine tour is also my favorite overall winery. Their building is beautiful – big, cement, strong, and modern with this ridiculously huge lampshade over the main entrance. All their wines are fantastic but I love their Rosé the most – I bought two bottles this time. They are planning to open a large dining room in the future and I’m sure it will give Arrowleaf a run for its money.

BX Press – I don’t know if you’ve heard but craft cider is the latest booze to nerd out on. That’s why Vernon is lucky to have the BX Press. Their Alexandria Lavender Raspberry is ERMERGERD, SO GOOD!  Also delicious are The Prospector and Ginny ciders. These are not the ciders you drank when you were 19 years old, these are proper, delicious, non-saccharine adult ciders.

ENJOY CULTURE

Every small town thinks that people will visit for the murals, even Vernon, and they’re wrong. I’ve been here dozens of times and I’ve never wanted to see the murals, but if you’re into that kind of thing knock your socks off.

The best thing to do culture-wise is to take a trip 40 minutes on the highway to Armstrong and catch a show at the Caravan Farm Theatre. This summer they’re presenting Our Town (runs until Aug. 21 – go now!). I had only heard about this play and that it had a reputation of being “schmaltzy” but OMGF it’s amazing. If you’re emotionally open and prone to crying in public, like me, bring a box of tissues and get ready for a life affirming Act 3. It was a PERFECT evening of theatre. Perfect. I’ve teared up several times just telling people about this play.

“Let’s really look at one another!…It goes so fast. We don’t have time to look at one another. I didn’t realize. So all that was going on and we never noticed… Wait! One more look. Good-bye , Good-bye world. Good-bye, Grover’s Corners….Mama and Papa. Good-bye to clocks ticking….and Mama’s sunflowers. And food and coffee. And new ironed dresses and hot baths….and sleeping and waking up. Oh, earth,you are too wonderful for anybody to realize you. Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it–every,every minute? – Emily  – Thornton Wilder, Our Town

GET OUTSIDE

Let’s be honest, the real reason anyone goes to the Okanagan in the summer is for 30 degree weather and time in a bathingsuit by a lake. The prettiest one of the region with its stunning deep cyan hue is Kalamaka Lake. There are a several nice beaches around it for you to get your vitamin D. We went to the biggest dirt/sand patch, Kal beach, so that I could do a thing I’ve been making fun of for ages: stand-up paddle boarding. It’s actually pretty fun, especially if you’re a jerk like I am and you do yoga poses on it to show off your sick balance and flexibility. Here’s where we rented our boards. If you’re a baller you can probably rent a boat for the day from somewhere nearby too. Lucky you!

EAT

A trip to the Okanagan isn’t complete without bringing fresh fruit and veg back to the city, so you’re going to want to checkout the Vernon Farmer’s Market (Mondays and Thursday’s 8 AM-1 PM) or any of the numerous fruit stands along the highway. We always stop at Davidson’s Orchards right before we leave to bring back frozen pressed apple juice and frozen peach pies. If you have kids, or are young at heart, I highly recommend their petting zoo and play area. Just don’t try to live up to their body standards (see below). If you’re going to a Renaissance faire and need some mead you can pop next door to Planet Bee. They also have some decent lavender honey.

Farm fat-shamming. #Farm #Donkey #Salsa

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If you’re looking for places to eat out, sorry, I don’t have any recommendations. My mom is a great cook and she has a fridge full of booze. Yes, one normal sized fridge that is full of booze. It’s amazing.

Word on the street is Ratio and Triumph are the best places to get coffee. My inside scoop is that Ratio has the best pastries and Triumph has the best coffee, but why not try them both? You’re on vacation!

On your way back to Vancouver don’t forget to stop at a corn room in Chilliwak and pick up some peaches and cream.

Summer is coming to a close now, go out and enjoy as much of it as you can. Grab a friend, some sweet booty shaking tunes (ones that tell you to put your hands in the air are the best), and hit the road. Maybe you’ll make it an annual tradition.

My Happy Holiday- Part 4

Christmas in Disneyland

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I’m looking tired but braved the teacups!

Yes, Disneyland. Kitty and I drove to Anaheim and checked in to a 4 star Marriot that did not have free wi-fi in guest rooms (Boo! Hiss!). It was such a disappointment after our luxurious experience in Vegas. I don’t think I can go back to 4 stars. Yes, Sara does mean princess.

We made it into the park around noon and it was just as busy as you’d expect it to be. I visited Disneyland once before when I was 7 years old, and as soon as we stepped on to Main Street USA I started having flashbacks to my trip in the 80s.

We turned left into Adventureland and visited the Enchanted Tiki Room. It must have left quite an impression on me because I remembered all the words to of the parrots’ song.

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My Mickey Mouse Ears and Krakatoa drink (the glass I got to take home!) at Trader Sam’s.

Most of the day is a blur but here’s some of the highlights.

  • Drinking at the Trader Sam’s Tiki Bar at the Disneyland Hotel, ordering a drink called Krakatoa (the name of the zine I co-wrote in high school) and the elaborate production that went on when the volcano in the bar erupted because of my order. Also when they played a Tiki prank on me by lowering my chair at the bar.
  • Churroes. That’s the only thing we bought in the park, besides our Mickey Mouse ears.
  • Captian EO. It’s still playing! The 4D experience of the 3D movie staring Michael Jackson directed by Francis Ford Coppola complete with rumbly seats. It’s awful and awesome in a hipster- retro kinda way.
  • The canoe ‘ride’ where we actually had to paddle a canoe around the lake. The people behind us on the ride were a sassy gay man and his lady-friend from England. We laughed the whole time about the work we had to do and yelled at people watching us ‘don’t do this, it’s awful.” Everyone just stared back at us blankly.
  • Getting on the monorail after we were drunk from Trader Sam’s.
  • Drunk driving at the Autopia ride.
  • Space Mountain- best ride at Disneyland. Also we learned that the best way to get on rides quickly is to do ask if they’re doing single riders.

Lowlights of the day

  • When we waited in a line for 15 minutes to get our photo taken with Goofy and he left with no warning or mascot handler apologizing to people in line. Not cool Goofy. Not cool.
  • Around 3:30pm there was a huge traffic jam of people, strollers and wheelchairs next to the parade root as we tried to get from one side of the park to the other. I thought there was going to be a fight or worse, that someone would pull out a gun (the bag check wasn’t that thorough).
  • 5pm when all the kids were cranky due to too much sugar and nap time.
  • It got dark! Like crazy dark. Disneyland should have more lights for night time. It was dangerous.
  • Because of crazy lines we didn’t get our photo taken with any of the mascots, also after 5pm we didn’t see any mascots. Boo-urns!

Disneyland is stuck in the past and that’s part of it’s charm. It’s also part of what makes it horribly offensive. Take It’s A Small World for instance, the only black people were in Africa and they were all dressed alike, yet every country of Europe gets to be stereotyped. Also Canada was only represented by a Mountie. Oy.

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The Canadian in It’s A Small World.

Would I do this again? Probably not. Was it a great way to spend Christmas? YES!

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Darkness in the Magic Kingdom.

My Happy Holiday- Part 3

Burbank Christmas Eve

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Santa Monica Pier

We spent the day in Santa Monica. The sun was out while we brunched and walked the pier. We poked in and out of shops that were not as bustling as  I had expected. It did not feel like Christmas eve. It was perfect. 

For dinner we met up with my Twitter friend @MusicScoop who took us to a fantastic Mexican restaurant in Burbank. Apparently Hollywood doesn’t have any decent Mexican places, but Burbank does.

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Margarita #1

I enjoyed my margaritas (yes, plural) and a burrito with extra guacamole, because even though avocado comes with everything in LA it’s always good to get extra. It was one of the best Xmas eve dinners I’d ever had, until a server came over to ask if someone had parked outside because drunk diver had hit a car. It turned out to be our new friend’s car. Luckily it wasn’t too badly banged up, but it did put a damper on the evening. It appears it’s not just LiLo and Amanda Bynes who drunk drive in LA.

Next we made our way over to a karaoke bar across from the NBC Studios called Dimples.

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The sign on the front door of Dimples says that if you get up on stage they will film you for their cable access show. We also found out that Dimples was live streaming their karaoke night with people watching from Japan, the UK, and India.

My first song: Fergalicious. I did this song a few years ago in San Francisco and the crowd went nuts. Dimples, as it had only 20 people in the join, was less enthusiastic. I was given the Dimples ‘virgin treatment’ and gifted a DVD of my performance and a photo of me on stage. One of the weirdest moments of my karaoke was when an ad for Mount Gay rum flashed on my monitor. Doubly weird for me because Mount Gay rum is from Barbados, which is where my grandfather is from. … It’s like they knew.

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We sang a lot throughout the night and bonded with the cocktail waitress who made me get up on stage and sing Rihanna’s S&M with her. Also interesting to note: Rihanna is from Barbados. Perhaps this is a sign that I’m meant to return to Barbados, or as I call it, heaven on earth, this year.

The evening got weirder when a guy on stage said “Looks like the entire porn industry is here tonight.” This is strange on two accounts: 1- I never expected to be in the same room as porn stars and 2- there weren’t that many people in the bar. From then on I was very reluctant to touch the stripper pole in the middle of the karaoke stage.

Later a man who called himself Captain Christmas appeared and sang a few songs. 

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Captain Christmas

We ended the night as Sid, the karaoke host, requested; up on stage with the porn stars singing So What? by Pink!

We stepped out of Dimples at 2 a.m. onto their AstroTurf grass and drove home, keeping our eyes open for drunk drivers, buzzing on our fantastic evening. A new tradition was born: Mexican food and karaoke.

“And guess what/ I’m having more fun/ and now that we’re done/ I’m gonna show you tonight.”

My Happy Holiday – Part 2

Hurray for Hollywood

While we were driving in from Vegas we tried to contact the Airbnb we’d booked in Laurel Canyon. I phoned, while Kitty drove, and let it ring over 15 times. There was no answer and more surprisingly there was no voicemail. How does that still happen in 2012?

We started to get nervous. We drove down the skinny , windingroads of the Hollywood hills and found our AirBNB home but there was no person there to be found. It wasn’t even clear what door we were supposed to go to. It wasn’t until I wandered around the property screaming “Hello? Hello?!” that the owner/ manager emerged.

This guy looked like a stereotypical LA wanna be rock star: long hair, messy jeans and stoned. He showed us to the room we’d booked online weeks ago, and it looked less welcoming than the photos online. That fish-eye lens is very deceiving. We were staying at my friend Andrew’s place in Hollywood for the next few nights so we’d made plans to meet up with him at 9pm to get his keys. As we were refreshing ourselves in the freezing cold apartment for the night, the fuze blew – turning off the heater and several of the lights.

I texted Andrew to see if we could spend the night with him. He was fine with that.  Our knight in shining armour! We were out the money either way, but at least we’d feel safe and warm for the night. Kitty and I took our bags and snuck out without saying goodbye to our stoned friend.

Andrew lives in the perfect spot; East of the craziness of Hollywood and Highland but close enough to walk to most of the good stuff. That evening we took it easy, walked to the Archlight theatre and saw This is 40. My review: meh. Sure, it was funny at times, but I have a lot of questions. What about their mothers? Why are women in Judd’s movies either virgins or whores?

The next few days are a Hollywood blur. We checked out an improv show at Upright Citizens Brigade, went dancing at a Soul Night in Echo, went to the Getty museum, had brunch across the street from a 1984-looking dusty blue building (see photo below). Brunch was good, but I questioned the religion of everyone around me.

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Unnamed blue building we had brunch across the street from in LA.
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Hipsters or members of the church in the scary blue building across the street?
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Drinking my $20 margarita at the Ivy. Why so much? Because the server up sold me some top shelf tequila. Jerk.

We also decided to star stalk and went for lunch at The Ivy. Sadly, we didn’t see any celebs or paparatzi, but the people next to us were talking about cocaine and their drug dealers.

The first time I went to LA as an adult was in 2005. I stayed with friends who were down there for pilot season. I was hanging around with a bunch of skinny untrained actors that made me feel ugly and fat.  This time I was there just for fun and that’s just what I was having …then came Christmas Eve.

My Happy Holiday – Part 1

The Detour

I’m not the biggest fan of Christmas. It’s a time of year that usually makes me stressed out and sad. So when my friend Kitty suggested that we get out of town this year, I was all for it.

Our plan was to fly to Los Angeles and enjoy some sunshine and random Hollywood antics.

The adventure began at customs. I’ve always had interesting conversations with the US customs agents. I think it’s because I’m usually flying solo and end up with a man on the other side of the desk. This time the conversation went something like this:

Customs agent: Where are you flying to?
Me: L.A.
Customs agent: What’s the purpose of this trip?
Me: To avoid the holidays.
Customs agent: Oh yeah?
Me: (dramatic, yet comedic sigh) Yeah.
Customs agent: I’ve worked every Christmas for the past 13 years.
* Then both of us said stuff about holiday expectations and how people get fussy during the season.
Me: Yeah, we’re hoping to go to Disneyland and get drunk at the Tiki Bar on Christmas day.
Customs agent: That sounds like a good plan. You have a wonderful time. Don’t let this season get to you.
* He put out his hand for a high five, we connected, and I skipped off into America.

Kitty and I fly stand-by, because her mom used to work for the airlines. When we got to the airport all of the flights to LA were overbooked thanks to the snowstorm in Vancouver the day before.

 After getting bumped from two flights we decided to gamble on a flight to Vegas, thinking that we could pick up our rental car there and drive to LA that evening.

Our gamble paid off, we got the last two available seats on the flight.  Once we were in the air and the pilot had turned off the seat belt sign Kitty came over to where I was and said, “You’ve never been to Vegas have you? Why don’t we just say the night in Vegas and drive tomorrow?”  This, I thought, was a brilliant idea.

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At the airport in Vegas. I look tipsy already.

How did we ever survive traveling without the Internet, smartphones, and free wi-fi in airports? As soon as we got off the plane Kitty was on her laptop looking up hotels on Hotwire. That’s where she found our 5 star hotel on the strip for about $150. She had been to Vegas just a few months prior for a moustache convention she was photographing and knew of a hotel that I would absolutely love, something named after a drink and a lifestyle…

The Cosmopolotian smells like perfume and cigarettes, because there’s still indoor smoking in Vegas. This I find disgusting, mostly because I’m allergic to smoke, but also, hasn’t smoking been baned indoors since 2002? When I tell my kids (or more likely friend’s kids) that I used to have to shower after going out to bars, and throw my clothes in the garage because if I didn’t I’d wake up with my eyes puffed shut, they’re not going to believe me. 

The hotel was quite nice and modern by Vegas standards, apparently inspired by Sex and the City. At least that’s what I assumed, because there were shoe sculptures everywhere. The hotel bar was called the Chandelier and it has drapes of crystals from the ceiling to the floor two stories below. I frickin’ loved it! Our room was on the 59th floor and looked down on the strip and the Bellagio fountains.

Here’s a cinemagram I made from our view:

We went for a decent dinner at Holsteins. We both got veggie burgers. Yes, vegetarians in Vegas! I had heard that Vegas was full of greasy American buffets, but we didn’t see any of that. As we’d arrived too late to take in a show we entertained ourselves by wandering in and out of hotels and their casinos checking out the people and the architecture. The people who are playing the slots in Vegas the weekend before Christmas are an interesting breed of people. Not only did we smell cigarettes, but Axe body spray, B.O. and loneliness. 

Of course, this happened on the evening of December 20; the eve of the Mayan appocolypse. So where was I when the world was supposed to end? Wasting away in Margaritiaville. Actually, I was just passing through on my way to Caesars Palace.

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Curtains of crystals! Vegas really is gawdy.

The next morning we circled the strip looking for the Imperial Palace hotel where a great breakfast joint Kitty had been to  called Hash House a-go-go. We asked three different people in three separate hotels where the Imperial Palace hotel was and NONE of them told us that the hotel had been renamed The Quad. I guess Vegas is constantly changing, either that or people have no clue how to give good customer service, since the hotel changed its name back in September. 

Once we finally found our breakfast joint and I drank all the fresh squeezed OJ I could get my hands on, we got on the road to LA. I had less than 24 hours in Vegas, but that was all I needed. Someone once told me that you should always leave a city with something you haven’t seen yet, that way you can return to experience it. The next time I’m in Vegas again I’ll make sure to see an Elvis impersonator and check out the old strip. 

Ahead of us was a four hour beautiful drive through the desert. We caught a stunning orange and pink sunset as we approached the city of angels. Our adventure already underway. 

How To Find Sunshine In Vancouver

I had a very Vancouver afternoon today. I hiked out of this miserable foggy city, climbed Grouse Mountain on the stairs they call the Grouse Grind.

Above those miserable gross clouds that surrounded us all day is sunshine; glorious rays of sun!

It was amazing. Plus, in order to get above the clouds I had to get some exercise. Exercise releases endorphins in your body, which create a natural chemical high. Tripple win!

Here are some photos I took on my iPhone, then edited with and app called Camera+ so that I could look more hip than I really am.