Sunday, August 26, 2007

I’m allergic to Saskatchewan.

Today we went to see the “Chicago of the North” (a.k.a Moose Jaw, SK).

List of exciting things to see in Moose Jaw:
- the curve in the road on the way from Regina to Moose Jaw
- the red truck on the side of the road on the way to Moose Jaw
- the potash mine on the way to Moose Jaw

There was also a set of “bootlegger tunnels” which were apparently used by Al Capone. The story goes that Scarface would come up to Moose Jaw when times were tough down in Chicago, and had also set up a “boozeline” down the tracks which apparently allowed him to take booze straight from Moose Jaw to Chicago without being found out (prohibition times, remember…). So we got a tour of the tunnels, which turned out to be an interactive experience in which we became bootleggers, and actors took us through trick walls into gun rooms and such.

Kind of hokey…. Especially when you realize that the tunnels don’t actually go anywhere – it’s like someone put up a bunch of trick walls in a stone basement that lead you around in a circle. Also, it turns out that Al Capone was not actually ever seen in Moose Jaw.

Not even once.

So my guess is that some guy started a rumour way back in the day, and that little shithole of a town clung to it like mold to the inside of a Nalgene lid. Don’t go to Moose Jaw.

Other than that, the prairies are pretty cool. “Land of the living skies” is no joke. They’re wicked. Not to live here, but definitely cool to visit.

Regina likes me, too.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

from Java Express in Regina

Well, we're in Regina. We stayed a couple of nights in a hotel that had an awesome breakfast for free! We met up with my parents on sunday - got to show them pictures of our previous adventures and new people to tell stories to. On an unfortunate note, my horse didn't make the finals for our competition, so I'm done showing. It also means that we have 5 days in Regina to wander around and find things to do. Thus far it has been going to the art gallery (Matt decided he wants to be an architect), seeing some movies, going to the farmers market, and going out to eat. At the art gallery, there was an exhibit about a green buildings, and one of the displays talked about the ILC! what a small world!

The weather has been really bad since we got to Regina too - normally it's bright and hot and sunny all day and cold and clear at night. So far this year its been cloudy and cold every day. I'm starting to lose my tan! The paper does say however that its supposed to get nice tomorrow - i hope they are telling the truth lol.

Matt and I have gone through our gear again in a quest to carry less weight. At the Calgary airport we weighed all our packs... the results were:

Matt's Large Pack: 61 pounds
Matt's Carry-on: 19 pounds
My Large Pack: 59 pounds
My Carry-on: 20 pounds

Just for reference - checked baggage can weigh up to 60 pounds and carry-ons can weigh up to 20 pounds. Spreey!

We also had a duffle bag with us that weighed 28 pounds - containing a bit of gear mike left behind as well as some food etc. Since going through everything, that duffle bag is now almost full of things to send home. We are going to reweigh our packs when we leave Regina - hopefully we'll be doing better because I'm not sure there is much we can cut out at this point lol.

Neways, thats it for now - time to go make dinner and see some of the horse show.

Monday, August 13, 2007

from Schomberg's house in Kamloops

So we're back in Kamloops after picking and sorting cherries for 2 weeks. Such good times. Right. We picked for 5 days and made a grand total of $500 dollars between the two of us. That's less than minimum wage, and we worked 8 hours a day starting at 5 in the morning. Not bad for time off in the afternoon but I'll tell you that the beach does wear thin when you have absolutely no where else to go.

We got $2.25 for a bucket like this.

Matt up a ladder. Unfortunately you can't tell he's actually 8 feet in the air.

After picking we moved to Kelowna to go and sort for Dendy Orchards. We figued that we would give something new a try since picking was the worst paying job on the face of the earth. The camp was about 90% francophone, so I didn't feel that at home for the first few days, and it was really busy because there were a lot of people staying in a very small camp. We had to fight down the weeds and sleep on a pretty big slope to even find a place for our tent. Sorting itself is the most boring, mind numbing, finger numbing job. You stand at this little sorting station and pour a bucket of cherries down the centre sloped part.

The packing house.

You then sort the cherries - perfect ones with no flaws go to the export side on your right, ones with flaws go to the left as domestics, and damaged ones are culls and get thrown into the garbage below at your left. And you do this for ever cherry in every bucket - around 100 buckets a day each containing about 375 cherries. Yes, you sort 40,000 cherries in a day. Oh and did I mention that they refrigerate the cherries and the packing house so I'm standing there for 8 hours wearing a winter hat and three shirts and work boots and my feet are numb and I can't pick up the cherries my hands are so cold. Anyways, it turned out to be a profitable adventure, and as much as I'm complaining, I actually did enjoy it and we made $700 in 4 days. Much, much better than picking.

We were supposed to stay longer sorting, but we decided that we wanted to come back to Kamloops and see Anne and take a little holiday in Banff. Then on to Regina on Friday for the Canadian National horse show. I'm really excited to go back to my other life for a bit!