Great Bear Rainforest

You only need sit still long enough in some attractive spot in the woods that all its inhabitants may exhibit themselves to you by turns.  Henry David Thoreau

In the case of these photos, the attractive spot was on the water, in a zodiac with six other people being as still and quiet as possible to observe this grizzly in the Great Bear Rainforest in June, 2013.  I can’t believe it’s been four years since that trip!  I still think about it often and I’m grateful to have memories of spending eight days on a boat exploring a very unique, beautiful, wild, and amazing place in my own country.

Great Bear Rainforest 4Great Bear Rainforest 2Great Bear Rainforest 1

Great bear Rainforest

One of my favourite photos ever – look at that face!!!

 

 

 

 

up on the roof

Still have some Puerto Vallarta pics to share which is a good thing! Between being busy at work and figuring out how I’m going to handle my workload, and being uninspired by the April landscapes this year, I haven’t picked up a camera in awhile. The prospect of May flowers, though, will change that soon!

If you’re interested in traveling and experiencing different places, I really encourage you to think differently about your accommodations and look beyond hotels and resorts.  Renting a house was not without frustrations – there were a few pool issues to be sorted out which meant contacting the owner in Texas and then dealing with the property manager who lived across the street and was extremely busy running a fishing boat charter company, and a language barrier with the pool guy.  Also, because the house was for sale, there were a few showings, but we knew that a possibility before renting, and received a discount for the inconvenience.  Some people have asked if there were any worries about renting a place online because what if the place doesn’t look like the pictures and you’ve spent all that money and it ends up being in a bad neighbourhood?  You do need to do some research.  I looked on AirBnB and Home Away.  Read the reviews, then try to read between the lines of those reviews.  I only look at places that have more than 5 reviews, preferably more (because it’s pretty easy to get three of your friends to give you a good review!). If there’s an address look it up on Google Maps street view.  Establish a rapport with the owner either by phone or email  – do they respond to your inquiries quickly and answer your questions?  This all sounds like it takes some effort, but I enjoy it! Keep in mind, this was for a two week stay, and a good portion of the travel budget was going towards accommodations.  I wouldn’t put this much effort into a three day stay, for example.  Ultimately, the house in Puerto Vallarta was chosen for its million dollar views and my bucket list rooftop, private pool! All the research paid off! All the pics were taken from the rooftop.

The sunsets!

oh the sunsetsalone on the oceansetting sun

The neighbourhood…5 de Diciembre

stained glassbrick buildingmagic hourmountain vista-2open windows-2palm trees and hanging clothes

all in a day's work

Felt a little nervous for this guy painting on the roof!

hillside

And the iguana who liked to sun himself on the ledge of the house’s second level.

so handsomeiguana

 

walking in Puerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta is a wonderful city.  It also made me mad, sometimes!  (Mad, might be too strong a word).  But, the great thing about travel is it makes you adapt.  You can’t think things are going to be like they are at home.  That’s the point of travel – to see and experience different things. Case in point, in Puerto Vallarta, the pedestrian never has the right away and drivers never use their signal lights. You learn this fast. You never know if you should actually step off the curb to cross the street, because the person who may actually appear to be going through the intersection, is actually going to turn right. So, you wait, or run (more  like that nervous traveler fast walk across the street, clutching bag to hip). Everyone drives and talks on their phone (even the bus drivers barreling down the cobblestone streets). Once you get about two or three blocks off the main tourist streets, the sidewalks are extremely uneven.  For someone like me, who likes to gawk at things and take pictures, and is also a little clumsy, this is a precarious situation.  But, you learn to adapt. And it actually becomes part of the charm.

Here are some pictures from a walk through one of my favourite neighbourhoods in Puerto Vallarta:

favourite streetsteps to si senor restaurantPV NeighbourhoodPV Neighbourhood 3PV Neighbourhood 2blue doorcandy can windowscolourFungus Fou

 

take me back to New Orleans

I imagine Halloween in New Orleans is pretty amazing with all the ghost stories, mystery, voodoo, and colourful, colorful characters.  New Orleans was amazing when I was there in March – so alive and loud, so much music and food, a little smelly down some streets, a little creepy, but so intriguing, and so unforgettable.  Everywhere you go there is something interesting to see, particularly, at night, when you see things in a whole different way. As you’ll see,  I took a lot of pictures of Royal Street in the French Quarter at night. I will go back someday.

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Cornstalk Hotel on Royal Street, built in 1816.  Like many other buildings in the French Quarter, it’s reported to be haunted.

jackson-square-at-night

St. Louis Cathedral at night. Make sure to check out the last picture in this post…it’s the backside of the church.

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During the day, Jackson Square is full of artists selling their work, buskers, fortune tellers, performance artists, magicians, and of course, tourists.  It’s pretty deserted once the sun goes down.

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My friend here spotted me zooming in and taking his picture from a block away while waiting outside a restaurant – and let me know I wasn’t his friend.

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Red Truck Gallery window on Royal Street, I took a picture of this sculpture called Steadfast by Tom Haney pretty much every time I walked by.  If money was no object, I would have bought it.

 

All of the following pictures are storefronts on Royal Street…

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royal-pharmacy

I really enjoyed walking through the Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden at the New Orleans Museum of Art…

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Back of St. Louis Cathedral…it’s quite a sight in person.

french-quarter-at-night

 

simple things

I always have a camera in my bag (well, two if you count my phone)…but these are the results of actually taking a camera out of my bag!  Work has been a little stressful, and as an antidote to that stress, I’ve been taking more pictures, and thinking about why I started my blog so I can come up with a tag line/slogan. There are two reasons… the possibility of a strike was looming at work and I wanted something to do when I wouldn’t be walking the picket line (our contract ended up being settled before that happened).

The second reason, and the one that still guides me, is that we are inundated with so much negativity in all forms of media everyday, and I wanted to put something out into the world the opposite of that.  A negative free zone, if you will.  My goal continues to be to showcase the simple things in life…a pretty flower, a  funny animal, cool things I see in my travels, and just the beauty and wonder around us if you take the time to look.  Photography has become a way to share how I see the world, a stress reliever, a great motivator to get out and see things, and allows me to exercise my creative side.

In that spirit, these are pictures I’ve taken over the last few days during everyday events – on my lunch break at work, taking the long way to walk to a neighbourhood store, and just stopping to look up at the sky…

cotton candy clouds-2

watching cotton candy clouds roll by on a Friday night

 

Christmas in June

3D tree

These two pictures are for the couple yesterday who got off the bus while I was standing with my camera pointed up a tree, and stopped, looked at the tree, and walked away shaking their heads!

pink house-2.jpg

the song “Pink Houses” was in my head for the rest of the day

 

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guessed on the right camera to take on my walk this morning

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Walks. The body advances, while the mind flutters around it like a bird. ~Jules Renard

I’ve shared this quote before from George Santayana, but it’s one of my favourites, and goes with the theme of this post:

“The world is not respectable; it is mortal, tormented, confused, deluded forever; but it is shot through with beauty, with love, with glints of courage and laughter; and in these, the spirit blooms timidly, and struggles to the light amid the thorns.”

You don’t always get to choose the things that happen in your life, but you always get to decide how you handle things. (I wrote that mostly as a reminder to myself!!!)


wise words

Love-2

Love, Red Blue @ the Besthoff Sculpture Garden, New Orleans Museum of Art

juvenile delinquent-2

Spiritual Beings-2

windows on Camp Street (or Constance Street, I’m not sure) in the Arts/Warehouse District, New Orleans

Love Yourself

graffiti on the train bridge, Saskatoon, SK

or just create your own….

letters

Man of Letters, Besthoff Sculpture Garden, New Orleans Museum of Art

I still gush about New Orleans to anyone who asks (and some who don’t), but there is just so much to explore in the city.  If you find yourself in New Orleans, and want a (quiet) break from the action in the French Quarter, check out at the sculpture garden at the New Orleans Museum of Art, I enjoyed it more than the museum (but I’m generally not overly fond of museums).  I would put it on a “must do” list of things to do in New Orleans.

Everybody is not special

I shared this one previously, I like it because it’s thought-provoking. 

French Quarter after the rain

I loved taking photos at night in the French Quarter – it’s just as pretty and colourful at night as it is during the day.  The restaurant in the picture, the Italian Barrel, was one of my favourites of the trip, and I’d highly recommend it if you find yourself in New Orleans. A block or two down the street on Decatur is a really cool store that I can’t remember the name of (I’ve spent the last hour on Google and Google Maps trying to figure out exactly which store it was on Decatur)… it’s full of all sorts of weird, wonderful, bizarre, and beautiful treasures, oddities and works of art. I want to go back to New Orleans just to visit the store (discovered it on the last night of the trip) again!

Barracks Street-2

Italian Barrel restaurant on the corner of Barracks and Decatur