Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Limá, Perú

My trip started few hours ago, in a Toronto paralysed by a TTC strike. I was a bit scared to miss my flight, like I did 2 weeks ago on my way to Vancouver. But luckily I arrived on time and was abel to make few phone calls before jumping in an almost empty plane that drove me safetly in a froggy Lima, capital of Peru with 1 hour ealier than what have should been annonced (,but wasn´t announced).

I waited for J. to pick me at the airport and he drove me around in all the differents area of Lima the froggy. From "La Punta" the reclused, to "San Isidro" the riche, to the "Pueblo Juoven" the poor, to "Mirales" the awake. I saw beautiful waves and heard spanish around me. Lima is a great place to ... rebound somewhere else, and I am delighted by the story of the different backpackers coming back from their trip to Cuzco THE PLACE. I can´t wait to go there.

I am staying at a great backpacker place call Loki recommended by J. He offered me a wonderfull pork sandwitch, at 6 in the morning. I forgot the name but it was in a great location (San Antonio). But the best part was to eat my first Ceviche at Pescados Capitales (Av. La Mar 1337, Miroflore). This is certainly not the last one, that I a going to have.

Thumb Up

  • Sea Food: See Ceviche above
  • Ocean: Smeel so good, and its great to see big waves finally
  • Cheap: unless I haven´t figure out the rate exchange

Thumb Down

  • Traffic is crazy. You have the 2 second rule. You have 2 second to fly over the traffic otherwise you wait tomorrow to cross the road
  • Polution, it´s just bad, and the fogg is not only a result of the sea
  • Election time: No more alcool till the result on Sunday night. Could I see my first live revolution?

PS: Pictures will be uploaded later, when time will permit

Monday, May 29, 2006


This city was mine for the last 7 years, and I was lucky to call it home. But when you leave what you like, you realise what is the most important thing that you like about a place. And in my home I like the way it was setup : many colour, and green on the side.

Toronto would not be Toronto without its island. With a $6 ride from downtown you are in a middle of the nature and full of green all around you. The view you have make worse the 6000 pennies you spend on your trip

But the most amazing thig is actually you have people living there. You canot have a house, but you can put your name on the wait list and maybe your gran-gran-son will be able to lease it for 99 years. What a true democaty !

The newly re-decorated ara of the distillery offer what would be the best impression of what was Toronto during the great depression.

Massey Hall for the people who like music ...

But since I am not living in this place, I can definately say that I love Toronto, "the biggest Hotel in the world", or "the greatest hospital in the world", depending when you arrive or at what stage you are in your life.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

San Francisco

I was looking for the Bleu House on top of the Hill in San Francisco but, Gosh! not only every house is almost blue-ish, but also you have thousand hills in this city. Where am I going to find this cliché? After all I was not there for this French Indiana Jones adventure (should I translate that into Jean Tarn-et-Garonne), but I was there to enjoy myself, and take some pictures on the way. Mission accomplished!

I borrowed the Toronto Public Library and used it intensively over my stay there. This was a useful guide for all the touring and sleeping info, but less interesting for the fooding exercise, don’t know why, but anyway. I stayed at the Golden Gate Hotel right downtown, and it was a very nice quiet and cheap Bed and Breakfast. I highly recommend it if you want to have a close to life experience in SF. The B&B is half way through one of the million hills you have around there, and leave you with a taste of how could it be to live in this town.

YOU EXERCISE in this city!

Up and Down is what I did during my time there. The first few hours I was looking at where I wanted to go, but rapidly I switched to how I was going to a place and change my list of thing to visit accordingly to the topography of my journey. Not that I wasn’t young enough or too oversized to exercise, but man! it’s a killer if you want to visit this city by foot or bike. On the other hand, running in this city by cab is the funniest thing ever. Lighting up the trunk of your car on one of these billion hills is cool. By the end of my trip, I was flying in this city by cab only, just to light up my cab trunk, and not because I was too lazy to exercise. I was like Steve McQueen in Bullet. Even a couple of time, I felt the backseat grounding in the asphalt, between crossroad, and that is great feeling to have in San Francisco. Is it a cliché?

The city is well design to do a visit by neighbourhood. One day you do the pier-bay thing, next the dot-com burst area and the other one the happy-hippy town. What shock me, somehow was the fact everything was layout by a master urban planner. There is no overlap between neighbourhoods. For example Market Street separates SOMA from Financial District in a scalpel motion. But after all, having a straight city planning does not mean that people don’t take care of their city. Actually, I would thing the opposite. The only drawback could be the non-self-evolution of the city. But SF is a well-visited city and should be looked like in the guide (guide that I used by the way). You expected to find what you have in your guide at the place you are and at the time it’s been said. Is it a cliché?

Houses are gorgeous and always seem to be on the hedge of falling. Maybe because SF is located on the earthquake spine, or maybe it is because people did not want to spend to much time in building something that will ultimately not been sue since you are always out doing some physical activities. The only question I have looking at the basement garage, is how do they fit a car in it? It always seems to sink somehow. Is it a cliché?

The main attraction of SF is not the San Francisco Giants stadium, neither the cable cars, nor the Alcatraz Island (don’t expect to see Clint Is-Good, he escaped in 1979), but it’s the bridge. The Golden Gate Bridge is incredible. The location of the bridge itself is stupendous. The piece of metal is linking two of zillion hills that exist in this place, closing the bay area and letting human-being being in this part of the world. You are a kind of excited before you see t5he bridge, and you are more excited after you seen it from far away. The only thing you want to do is getting closer and closer to touch it, and be an extension of the red Oeuvre d’Art. I took plenty of pictures of the Golden Gate Bridge, the king of all the bridges, the duke of the human cabled constructions, the prince of the all the screws, the master of all the bolts. But none of them will give you this feeling of smallness you have when you are underneath it. I loved staring at it, being on it, and imaging what could have been to build this monster that one day could be destroy by a sudden spark of our planet. The strongest and greatest of our creation is nothing in the hand of mother world. Am I a cliché?

Thumbs Up

  • Location: The bay is more spectacular than what you can imagine
  • Weather: What to say there
  • ¿ Habla Espagnol Usted? Everybody is speaking Spanish. If Vancouver is the far west Asian city, then San Francisco is certainly the northern Spanish city.

Thumbs Down

  • Backlog: Time stopped in the 70’s in the happy area. Is it a cliché?
  • Suburbia: America cities are becoming so easy to read. I felt like some downtown areas were already in the suburb.
  • Expensive: Not much to say, except that in order to enjoy this city, you should bring your extra wallet, the fat one, the one from grand-mother’s.

Friday, May 12, 2006


The first thing I notice when I arrived in Vancouver was the absence of colour. Almost like if everything was being seen through a black and white lens in this ongoing magical outdoor postcard. Not that would disturb me when I was walking around the city, but that gives me a different attitude in mind, forcing me to look and chase the colour or the difference (maybe because I visited Vancouver at the colourless beginning spring and this period is an in-between nature spot.) But even in black and white, THIS is a city!!! Everywhere you look at you can have a good shot at the sea and the mountains. What a spot!

I found out that the sea makes you look far away and makes you wonder what is behind the horizon line, but in this case, with the mountain so close on the other side of the bay, you know what is behind the horizon, preventing you from wondering and force you contemplating. The nature is its splendour is in your face. From everywhere, every street, every spot, you see the sea and the mountain behind, and if you can see it directly you have a building reflection that draw you the shape of the panorama.

This is the first time in my life that I feel an expansion of the city from the centre. You want to look out of the city, and wonder at the same time what the city looks like from outside, like a dialogue between 2 different spots. This is intriguing and interesting. The nature is coming inside the city, inviting itself without the permission of the human nature, and imposing it rules, but human are fighting back by raising the skyline higher and higher everyday. This is a place where the nature nurtures the city and vice versa.

At the same time Vancouverians (I know it’s not that, but it’s my blog and if I want to call the Vancouverers, Vancouverians I do) are very diverse and really cool people. Always having the time to spare it with you, explaining what is what or where is where. I spend quite some time at the hotel asking question about where to go, listening to a far east seller in Chinatown andI might have experience the famous West Coast attitude, but I have definitely enjoyed my time over there. I stayed at the Buchan hotel (http://www.buchanhotel.com/) close to Stanley Park in a one-bedroom hotel room for around C$ 70 per night. The hotel was nice quiet and clean. The staff was cool and West Coast profile (now that I think that I know what it is, I am using it every time I can). It seems that the main problem in this city is where to live, and not what to do or what job you have. What an amazing place to wonder and be a traveller in. Not for long by the way or you need an unlimited wallet approval by your bank.

When you combine great location and wonderful people you have a unique place on the planet. No wonder why this is the number one city in the entire world to live in!

Thumbs Up

  • Stanley Park: this park is on the top of the head of the city and what a park! I biked around and spend most of my time in this quiet place in the city.

  • Bikes city: Around the downtown city, you have a trail for bikes/roller bladder and another one for walker. This is the way to explore Vancouver. Even buses have bike carrier for passenger!

  • Restaurants: Seafood is gorgeous; I went to Hapa Izakaya (www.hapaizakaya.com), a great fusion Tapas/Sushi place and had a great time. The Rodney's Oyster House is a must for oyster lovers that I admit I am part of.

Thumbs Down

  • Runners: They are everywhere, and make you feel bad about the 5 extra pound you carry over from one winter to other
  • Crack addicts: counter alley are not safe at night, and sometime at day as well
  • Constructions: Vancouver is a massive construction site for the Olympic games, and price going up for everything. Make you hesitate between visiting the city now or maybe after 2010.