Thursday, July 31, 2008

One more item off the to-do list

Since I've been in Botswana, I've been trying to things I didn't get a chance to do last time. I saw the big lizard, I took a picture of women carrying things on their heads, I ate the traditional food.

The day before I left last time, I discovered a place that sold pies near the place I was working. They looked really good, but I didn't have a chance to try them. Today I ate a spinach and cheese pie for lunch. It was quite good.

Tomorrow? Safari.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Food ... and the contest results!

First, there was lunch where I sat on a patio drinking a smoothee and eating sticky chicken tramezzini in the winter.

(Believe me, Botswanan winters don't feel like winter - although it is chilly first thing in the morning and at night.

Then there was supper were I ate saswaa, a traditional food. It was beef with pap. (What is pap? I still don't know.) Beef is big in Botswana, and they are very proud of it. However, I grew up on well fed Canadian beef which I still prefer. Anyway, it turned out to be shredded, seasoned beef. It tasted kind of fatty. (Maybe that's what pap is?) The white stuff that looks like potato? That seemed to be mushed up rice.

Over all, it was OK but I don't think I'll rush out to have it again.

Finally, the contest winner.
The creativity prize goes to Camille for the following suggestion:
- Do a mini-workout in the hotel lobby, pretending you are hosting a workout show on TV - make sure to get the hotel staff and other guests involved.
(Note: I do not see myself doing that.)
The bonus prize was awarded as follows:
There were 4 people who gave me comments. I assigned them all a letter/number combination, then I flipped 2 Botswanan coins to determine the result.
The 25 thebe coin was the letters - A was if the 25 was showing, B if it wasn't. (I have no idea of head/tails on these coins)
The 5 thebe coin was the numbers - 1 if the 5 was showing, 2 if it wasn't.
And ... A1 came up, so congratulations to Connie.
Prize delivery details will follow when I get back to Canada.
Edited to add: Thank you to all who made suggestions. I enjoyed reading all of them, and I will probably be using some of them next week.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Today after dinner we went to the casino, where I played the slot machines. I do not understand the attraction. I ended up losing 9 pula (which is a little less than $2) which was not a huge loss, but I found figuring out how to use the machines more fun than actually playing.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Walking to the mall

I forgot to mention - don't forget that Tuesday is the last day for the contest! I've decided to make a change - there will be 2 prizes - one for the most creative entry & one drawn at random from the entries.


Today I wanted to go to the mall for lunch, and our ride was not around, so my colleague and I walked to the mall (in Africa). I've gone in a car dozens of time, but I've never walked before. It was a nice walk - it's a little over a kilometer. I didn't see any big lizards, but I did see a small one.

I took pictures along the way, but unfortunately my camera's memory card was in my computer, so I can't download them until I get home.

Later, we went to the main mall and looked at locally made souvenirs. The local handcrafts are mostly carvings and baskets. They were very inexpensive. I spent about $30 and got 4 things.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Back to the game reserve

My luggage arrived today! I was very impressed. I then unpacked and then almost immediately had to change rooms. The good news is that I'm now back in the room I was in last time, so I don't have to worry about walking past my new room.

Another colleague (from India) arrived today, so a bunch of us went to the Gaborone game reserve.

We picked up pizza and had a picnic in the game reserve. One of my colleagues thought it would be a good idea to feed one monkey.

The picture above shows what happens when you feed one monkey. A bunch more came running! We had to defend our food.

Last time I was at this game reserve, my colleague saw a big lizard. Unfortunately, I missed it, but I saw one today. That thing streaking through the water? It's a lizard.

We also saw zebras this time. All in all, it was a good day.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

If it's Saturday, this must be Johannesburg

Well, I'm still tired but I think I got about 6 hours of sleep on the flight here, so I'm very happy with that.

When I checked in in Ottawa, I only checked my bag through to Johannesburg. That means that when I got here, I went through customs in South Africa, picked up my suitcase, took it to the check in counter, went back through customs & security, and re-entered the secure area. Hopefully this will mean that my bag will make it to Botswana this time. At least I know it made it this far.

One more flight to go, but it's not for another 4 hours. It's almost 5 a.m. in Ottawa, 11 a.m. here. I get to Botswana (assuming all is on schedule) at 4 p.m. local time (10 a.m. Ottawa time). That's 44 hours from the time I left for the airport.

Since I've been to Botswana before & I'm staying at the same hotel, I've been dreaming about the comfortable beds since the first flight.

Editted to add:
In Botswana now. Our flight got postponed until after the next flight, then we all got merged into one. Very rough landing, we were all glad the plan actually stopped. Our luggage is not here (probably in Johannesburg) and our ride didn't meet us (because our original flight never showed up). We ended up accepting a "taxi" ride from someone who works for the airline. In the hotel room now, so I'm happy.

Don't forget the contest! I'm enjoying the suggestions so far, and I will probably start using some of them soon.

Friday, July 25, 2008

The hills are alive ...

Today I'm in Munich.

My colleague & I decided to go see some of the city as we are here for 12 hours. We took the train down to the historic area. We walked out and saw this:

I was impressed, until I turned around and saw this:

We had lunch here:

It was very good.

Now we're both exhausted - the flight from Ottawa to Frankfurt was not condusive to sleep.

Hopefully we'll be able to sleep tonight on the Munich/Johannesburg flight. (The flight goes Ottawa-Frankfurt-Munich-Johannesburg-Gaborone).

Also, today was the first time I went through customs without being asked any questions at all.

Pictures are hopefully available here

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Powered off

Well, I'm off on another trip. The hotel I'm staying at is just left of the centre of that map (and just to the right of what looks to be an empty lot, but is actually attached to the school nearby). The hotel is kind of L-shaped but with a gap - the restaurant is actually in the parking lot and is not attached to the rest of the hotel.

Anyway, since I'm probably the only one interesting in my messing around with google maps, I'll get on with it. Inspired by Krstlchik's green tips, I'm doing something I've never done before - I'm powering off the electronics in my entertainment stand before I leave. (Usually I don't do that because I won't be able to record anything, but it's summer and there's nothing on, so I'll give it a try.)

Updates will continue whenever I have internet access, so stay tuned.

Also, don't forget about the contest!

The prize will be something I pick up on my trip, so get those contest entries in.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Give peas a chance

We all know that carrot juice is murder. (Also, the Arrogant Worms look really, really young in that video.)

Anyway, today I tried carrot juice. It was much better than I expected. It smelled kind of carrot-y, but tasted like fruit juice.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


Today I met up with a couple of friends and I had a picnic at someone else's workplace. It was nice. Hopefully we'll be able to do it again.

Also, I am holding a contest.

Here's the deal. I will be living in a hotel room for a couple of weeks (without transportation) so new things will be hard to find. I'm looking for suggestions for new things I can do that do not require accessories/ingredients and do not involve leaving the hotel.

To enter, leave me a comment with one or more suggestions. (You can also leave me suggestions for more complicated things to do but I'm really looking for easy/simple things.)

The contest lasts a week, which means it ends next Tuesday (which I believe is July 29).

The winner will be chosen based on my subjective opinion on which idea is the most interesting (and fits the criteria most closely). The winner will, of course, get a prize.

Editted to add:
To add a comment click on the link that tells you how many comments there are already. A window should pop up. You can post using your google (i.e. gmail) account if you have one, or choose Anonymous or Open/URL. Just make sure your name is in the post somewhere.

I will be bringing the prize back from my trip, if that provides any incentive to enter.

Monday, July 21, 2008

It turns out it does make sense

I work in an industrial part that only has one access point. Everyone enters and leaves by the same street.

However, lately I've noticed people going down what on a map is a dead end street (in red on the left). Where are they going?

Today I went down that dead end street. It turns out that it's only a dead end in theory - in practice you can get into the parking lot of one of the strip malls along the main road.

Sunday, July 20, 2008


Landsdown Park is in the middle of Ottawa. It's right on the canal and holds events like the Ex, farmers' markets, craft shows, and various other public events. When Ottawa had a football team, this is where they played.

Anyway, the lower south side stands were in bad shape and needed to be removed. (The upper south side stands were OK.) Today was the day for imploding the lower stands, so I watched the implosion live over the internet. It was interesting - I could actually see the charges go off one at a time.

I'm not sure how the link is going to appear once they stop broadcasting live, but here it is:

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Out to Carp this week

Another Saturday, another farmers' market. This week I went to the Carp farmers' market .

It has a lot of variety. I ended up buying cheese, peaches, and carrots.
I haven't tried any of them yet, but they look really tasty.
Editted to add a bonus new thing:
I had considered doing this earlier in the week, but it was either raining or I was tired and lazy.
Tonight I went to see the National Arts Centre Orchestra in the Park.
It was really enjoyable. Sitting in a lawn chair in a park listening to live music on a summer evening is really relaxing. There was a wide range of people there - from toddlers to seniors.

Friday, July 18, 2008


So a couple of years ago I injured one of my ankles. I have no idea what I did. I did all the right things afterwards - rest, ice, compression, elevation - and it got better. However, it has never made its way back to 100%. (In the interest of full disclosure, I should point out that I've never consulted a doctor or a physiotherapist about it, it really wasn't ever all that serious.) I still wear an ankle brace when I exercise, especially for yoga, which is the class I'm most likely to hurt myself in.

(I didn't hurt myself today because I skipped it for no good reason whatsoever.)

Anyway, my ankle was irritating me today, so tonight I did some ankle exercises.

I liked the isometric strengthening exercises and my ankle felt better afterwards.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Dr. Horrible

So this week Dr. Horrible is out. You can read the details here

An amazing side effect of it is that it is available - via hulu - around the world. Usually I can't watch things on hulu because I'm not in the US, so today for the first time I watched a video on hulu. Specificially this one.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

No particular reason for this one

Today I used the internet to find and print off a map of the public tranit system for a city I've never been to.

And then when I got home from work, I had an IM conversation over Facebook. I didn't even know that was possible.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Last summer I was unemployed. I spent the summer chatting with former colleagues & generally networking.

Today I returned the favour when I met with a former colleague to talk about what I do now and give him my advice about job hunting.

Monday, July 14, 2008


I have some trees in my yard that need trimming, so today I started looking into getting that done. As part of this endeavour, I looked up businesses with the Better Business Bureau.

I still haven't figured it out. Does anyone have a recommendation for tree trimming in Ottawa?

Sunday, July 13, 2008


Today I signed up for twitter.

I don't know how often I'll use it - and realistically, I don't know if anyone needs to know more about my life - but I'm going to give it a try. I've added it to this page as well.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Mmm, saskatoons...

Today I went to the Main Street farmer's market. It happens every Saturday from 9-2. I've been to other farmer's markets, but not this one. It required me to find Main Street, which is harder than you would expect.

The whole goal was to get saskatoon berries. I grew up in Saskatchewan, where they grow wild. Every year we'd all traipse off to the bush to pick them. It took a really long time. I much prefer buying them already picked. :)

Also on the way home I had to stop while the Pretoria bridge was raised to allow a boat to go under it on the canal.

(Picture 1: farmer's market; Picture 2: saskatoons Picture 3: the bridge)

Friday, July 11, 2008

More addictive than I would have anticipated

The justification for today's new thing was kind of flimsy.

However fuzzy the rationale, today I played Guitar Hero on Tour (i.e. the Nintendo DS version). I can see why the instructions involve warnings about playing it for too long. It is addictive.

My biggest complaint is that to play it I have to remove the Nerf case from my DS. This is not good. I have a history of accidentally flinging electronics across the room. I guess I'll just have to be careful.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Again with the Easter egg smell

Today I cleaned my microwave using vinegar and water. Basically you put some vinegar in a half full bowl of water and then microwave it for 5 minute make the microwave easier to clean.

It seemed to work (although the microwave wasn't terribly bad beforehand).

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

What on earth follows the P?

Today on the way out of the gym I picked up a Women's Post (Canada's Newspaper for P <... covered by a picture ...> omen.

Ah, their web site tells me the P stands for Professional.

I found it interesting that the cover story is by a man. (Not that men can't write things of interest/value to women, of course.)

As well, many of the articles had little to do with professional women - there was a lot about the arts, but that's a very specialized area.

Also, there is a real estate section that doesn't include information on where the real estate is (although the phone numbers are Toronto numbers). Canada's a lot bigger than just Toronto.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Google is taking over the world

Google really has their fingers in many pies.

Today I set up a google notebook. It looks like it could be useful for browsing the web - you can cut & paste URLs or pieces of web pages and add comments about them for later reference.

I'm not sure how often I'll use it, but I'll give it a try.

Monday, July 7, 2008


Two minor things today.

First of all, I set up igoogle at work, and I played Simpsons millionaire. (Sorry, I have no idea how to link to it).

Then I got curious about the google logo today, so I googled Marc Chagall.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Odd uses of a microwave

I don't remember where I heard it, but today I decided to microwave a lemon before juicing it to see if that resulted in more juice. I microwaved the whole lemon for 10 seconds.

I was somewhat cynical about it, thinking that there was no way to tell if it worked (because how would I know how much juice I would have gotten if I hadn't microwaved it). However, it obviously made a difference - it was much easier to juice than usual.

I'll have to remember this for the future.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Paddle boats

My sister called me on Thursday night to find out if I'd be home this weekend & if it was OK for her to come and visit.

Here is a part of our conversation:
Colette: Hey, what do you think of paddle boats?
Wanda: I don't know. Wait, you've never done that before, have you?

In fact, I have been in a paddle boat before. However, today is the first time that I did a labyrinth in a paddle boat.

It took us about 1.5 hours. We did the simplest option, which just involved following numbered beavers throughout the labyrinth. There were 50 in total.

I'm glad there were signs, as it was really easy to get disoriented.
There were other options (involving using a guide book & figuring out clues) but I'm glad that we went for this one, as it gave us the most opportunity to just relax and look around.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Working out

My baby sister* is in town this weekend.

Since I was planning to go to the gym after work, I asked if she wanted to join me. She did, so today I brought a guest to the gym.

We did a body flow class, which is a combination of yoga, pilates, and tai chi. Unfortunately, she hurt her hand. Hopefully she will recover soon.

* OK, I admit it, she's 25. Not really a baby.

Thursday, July 3, 2008


I've been using Yahoo IM for several years - it was something all of my co-workers used at my last job. I still log into it every day at work to keep in touch with them and with various non-work contacts.
However, today for the first time I created a yahoo avatar for myself. Now the people I'm chatting with can see an avatar for me. It's actually quite pointless when I try to explain it.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Random fate to the rescue

I had no ideas for a new thing today. (Well, actually, I came up with one idea and then walked right past it & wasn't paying attention - it will have to come to my rescue another day.)

Luckily, fate (and Krstlchik) came to my rescue, because today I found out that I won a photo scavenger hunt. Krstlchik has organized a few of these, and the winner is based solely on who gets the most pictures. I managed to take 50 out of 50 (even though a couple were stretching it).

I have to say that I enjoy the scavenger hunts. Usually I'm pretty unobservant, so having to take 50 random pictures makes me much more aware of what's going on around me.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Happy Canada Day!

As I've mentioned before, I live in Ottawa, which is the capital of Canada. That means that there is a huge Canada Day party downtown, as well as smaller parties around the region.

I didn't go to any of them.
Instead, I had a few friends over to play games. We used to do this regularly, but it's been a while. Many of the games we played were familiar, but there was one new one, so today I played Pitch Car. It was fun - a littee frustrating at first (I'm the pink car way behind the others) but eventually I caught up and the end was relatively close. I'd like to try it again.