Tag Archives: travel

A whirlwind trip… totality and back


My brother Charles got wind of the fact that I had Sunday and Monday off work. Just enough time to drive to the eclipse in Sweetwater Tennessee and back. He really wanted to go, and total eclipse was on my bucket list. It took me three asks to persuade Alan to come with us, but he caved. We checked the weather forecast on Sunday morning to make sure we weren’t heading for total cloud cover and headed off from Ottawa at about 10.30. We picked up Charles and left Mum’s by about noon.
Mum had packed us sandwiches and bananas so we didn’t need food until suppertime. Of course we stopped at a Crackerbarrel once it went dark. Charles had never been so we got a new convert. I picked up a road atlas in the gift shop because we had only managed to find maps of NY and PA before we left. Not that it was hard up to that point…cross the bridge and stay on the I-81. We got back in the car and drove till midnight when we stopped at a Motel 6. we were back on the road by 6 and stopped for breakfast at 8 at a McDonalds for the wifi. This was critical because we had to decide at this point if we were heading to South Carolina or Tennessee. The weather forecast looked much better for Tennessee, so back in the car and south we went.
Knoxville gave us pause and at one point I thought we were going to spend the eclipse in a giant traffic jam just north of the totality zone. How depressing would that have been? We did eventually crawl through Knoxville and on to Sweetwater. We pulled into the last space in the parking lot of a Burger King with an hour to spare and the moon already starting to cross the sun. It turned out to be a perfect location. We bought lunch from a very harried staff and sat down to watch eclipse coverage on CNN. Every few minutes or so we went to check the moons progress with our eclipse glasses left over from our Transit of Venus viewing in 2012. We left the restaurant for good about 20 minutes before totality and joined the legions of peaple with their lawn chairs in the parking lot.
Totality only lasted 2 1/2 minutes but I can say that it was worth driving 3000 km for. The crowd cheered, the crickets started chirping up a storm and the sun looked like the pictures (the ones taken with real cameras…not mine taken from my phone!). Someone let off fireworks a few hundred meters to the north west. I am not sure it was a good use of their totality watching time, but their choice I guess. The diamond ring effect happened, I got the men into the car and we booked it home. We only stopped for gas and subway sandwiches which we ate on the road. We got back to Mum’s in time for me to have a shower and head straight to work.
Road trips…gotta love em/

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A day in the Cambodian countryside.


Charles has been living in Phonm Penh off and on for many years and has befriended people over time. Today we went into the countryside to visit the home of Ro’s parents. Ro is in the middle between Charles and Chanras. It took a little over an hour to get to their home.


Apparently at least 10 other members of my extended family and their friends have enjoyed their hospitality over the years.
This platform became the table for a lovely meal, then we were invited to have a nap when the meal was cleared away.The meal consisted of three fish dishes, roast chicken, Khmer beef with green tomatoes and onions, a cabbage dish, mango salad, rice and homemade condiments.We all sat together cross legged on the platform to enjoy our meal.
On the tuktuk ride we stopped and bought some lotus seed pods and learned how to break them open like a pomegranate. You also have to peel the seeds. All in all a great day.

I am a sucker for those world heritage sites….

n.B. WordPress is apparently censored here, so it is intermittently available for posting
Today, we went on a day trip from Hoi An to the My Son temple complex. We took the swishy tour, so for $75 cnd, we had our own car and driver.As well as a tour guide, Lam, in the pink shirt. He was quite well informed and very pleasant.
We toured the ruins, a 3rd to 12th century Hindu site.Luckily we had been warned about the heat, and found surprisingly few other tourists, another thing we had been prepared for.
After the site, we went out to lunch at a “local food” restaurant (rice noodles with chicken) and ended with a boat back to the city …with a stop at the obligatory artisan village. Thankfully there was not much of a hard sell. Their hearts weren’t into it, probably the heat.

Shoot me now…

There are bits of good news. Like we are in Gettysburg and I finally got a hotel room with a king size bed. I have been trying to get Alan to realize the possibilities. He is there comfortingly snoring away BUT I also have incredible amounts of space over here. My insomnia plagued self can toss and turn at will, assuming any position I like without worrying that I will ruin his sleep as well as my own.
More good news..I have enough yarn and needles to start any hat I want on the drive home. So what is the bad news, you ask? Well, we left the house and drove on deeply slush covered roads, then behind snow plows for half an hour just to leave Ottawa. I had been proud of the speed and efficiency with which we had dispatched breakfast and packing. We crossed the border and the guard said ‘be careful, it is really bad near Watertown’. Uh,oh we had thought it was bad already, but he was right. This was the road condition for at least half an hour. We were basically following the emergency flashers of the car in front, but you can see the ruts which indicate the lanes on the highway.
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We almost turned around but there was no place to do that. We came out the other side and there was an accident scene with at least six cars in the ditch. It looked like they had followed each other’s flashers right off the road. I guess there were no ruts at that time.
ANYWAY, here is the bad news..I have to show up at a sewing class tomorrow and admit that although I have plenty of wool and knitting needles, but my efficient packing did not run as far as my sewing machine and notions, which are still set up waiting for me in my dining room. The truly sad part is that I have taken lots of classes with this group of people and possibly none of them will be surprised.

Now I know we’re not in India anymore Todo

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I have been home since Christmas day. Now, ten days later, almost everyone except me went to work or school yesterday. I have actually only left the house once since I got back. Twice actually. The first was to visit the real version of Maitland. There were only 7 of us there because most had not yet returned from the subcontinent. We almost all even had real beds. The second was to shovel the driveway because Alan went to Toronto to visit his sister and the snowplow had installed a huge 2 foot pile of icy snow at the end of our driveway. Wait, did I mention the snow/freezing rain storm?…well we had one. Quel mistake! I managed to twist my back and now I have sciatica, but don’t worry, it’s only a flesh wound.
I have been playing the part of a hermit since we got home for a couple of reasons, not the least of which is that my intestines only decided to leave India two days ago–could be worse, it has taken up to a month on previous visits. The second is that I have just not readjusted my internal clock. As a matter of fact, I am not sure I even have one anymore. ANYWAY, it is 2 in the morning and I am up and sitting in the dark. I snapped a view from my chair of the ice on the branches of our maple tree (Canadian, eh?) lit by the streetlamp across the street.
Home again, home again, lickety split.