An Afternoon Walk in Victoria Beach

Beneficial exercise is a common problem many of us are finding difficult to work into our daily living schedules. If this is so difficult then how about some form of meditation? I know few people in my life who are managing that one, including me. Walking is certainly more popular. By the way, did you know that walking can be a form of meditation? We seem to be aware of what we need to do for a healthy lifestyle, but actually doing it is another matter.

Walking has always been at the top of my list of pleasurable activities, with gentle yoga coming in second. However, I have not managed a passing grade on meditation.  Sadly, walking has not been high up on my ‘to do’ list this summer. Far too much of my time has been eaten up by those dratted weeds which I wrote about in my last post and, of course, the maintenance of our lawn, flower beds, and vegetable garden.

However about two weeks ago, after our lawn had just been mowed by Joe and our property was finally looking neat and tidy….my vegetables were growing leaps and bounds and the flowers were at their peak after some much-needed rain…. I suddenly developed an overwhelming urge to grab my camera and head out for a walk. I felt the water calling me so knew I had to head downhill towards our beach, known as Indian Beach.

Looking good.

Looking good, at last.

Black-eyed Susans in one of my flower beds.

Black-eyed Susans and Galardia in one of my flower beds.

Veggie garden.

Veggie garden.

Yes, we can claim we have a beach… of sorts. It’s rocky and the water is cold since it’s all part and parcel of the Bay of Fundy, but still a great place for exploring and hunting for coloured glass and driftwood. You might wonder, as I did, why our beach is so-called. Why not Victoria Beach our village name? A little delving into the history here reveals that the first inhabitants of Victoria Beach were the Mi’Kmaw so the name came from them. Then in the late 1700’s and early 1800’s immigrants from Ireland and England moved in to mainly fish for a living, so eventually the community was called Victoria Beach after Queen Victoria. I am not sure why the locals still refer to the beach as Indian Beach, whether it’s out of habit or to honour the fact the Mi’Kmaw who were here long before us.

Our Indian Beach

Our Indian Beach

Now back to my walk. The rain, which finally came the night before, had revived every living thing…especially my garden! As I started down the hill, it dawned on me that I had unfolding before me the perfect fodder for a much over-due post for my blog.

What made this walk truly memorable was to witness the battle the sun seemed to be having with the blanket of fog that hung around the surface of the water. Click, click went my camera trying to take in all that my eyes were seeing. It was magical! Not only did I have the antics of the fog and sun in their game of ‘hide and seek, to my right, but also the profusion of flowers and shrubbery to my left, vying for my attention.

Sun vs Fog

Sun vs. Fog

A profusion of flowers along the road.

A profusion of flowers along the road.

Victoria Beach is said to have a microclimate* which simply means that almost any native or non-native plant to Nova Scotia grows here. This includes wild flowers and perennials. The perennials were planted by homesteaders who once had houses here… both of them are now long gone. Isn’t it amazing that these flowers have outlived them! Of course, we also have to contend with those flowers and plants that aren’t natives and have invaded us, such as the dreaded Japanese knot weed that I wrote about in Insects a“My Battle With Weeds, and Other Garden Pests,” my last post. You can click on the title to read it.

That dreaded knotweed - again!

That dreaded knotweed – again!

On my walk, I discovered morning glories, red clover, daisies, Queen Anne’s lace, purple vetch, and wild rose representing the wild flower group. There were others which I cannot give a name to. For the perennials, pretty pink rose bushes interspersed with saucy, orange day lilies lined the banks which were abandoned by the inhabitants that planted them, who knows when? The laden down branches of the blackberry bushes I observed indicated a bountiful year for them provided that we continue to receive more rain. As I write this, there has been none for almost two weeks so everything is beginning to turn brown….again!

Morning Glory

Morning Glory

This could be phlox - a perennial?

This could be phlox – a perennial?

Red or should I say purple clover.

Red or should I say purple clover.

Could this be a Tea Rose? Definitely a perennial growing wild where once there was a house.

Could this be a Tea Rose? Definitely a perennial growing wild where once there was a house.

This is the way it’s been here this summer. June was one of our driest in 70 years. A little rain here and there but not nearly enough. We are now into August with no rain forecast for this week. Such a grim weather outlook gives me even more reason to be grateful for listening to the little voice inside me that whispered, “Go down to the water.” Nature was calling me, and I am grateful she did. It’s amazing what she can provide for our eyes to see if we just keep them open.

On a more sombre note, I can’t help but wonder how much longer we will be able to enjoy all Mother Nature has given us in the past. We are becoming (even here in Victoria Beach) more and more aware of how stressed she is right now. Is it not up to us to at least take note of this and begin to see her in a different light…to live respectfully with her rather than to conquer her? How can we do this, is the question? Something to think about….

*Microclimate – usually a small area within a larger territory exhibiting a different climate.

For example, in Victoria Beach this phenomenon is most noticeable in the autumn when we will often escape the first frost while Annapolis Royal does not. Or in summer, our temperatures on a hot day are usually 10 degrees cooler than in town. Since VB is located at the tip of a narrow peninsula jutting into the Bay of Fundy, we are more moderated by the water.

Our road going downhill to the beach.

Our road going downhill to the beach.

My Battle With Weeds, Insects, and Other Garden Pests

The garden about a month ago.

My garden about a month ago.

“Strange looking weeds and insects have been cropping up in my garden this year. It’s a battle to keep on top of them, let alone to get anything to grow.”

These words recently spoken by a fellow gardener instantly resonated with me since I have also been noticing and wondering just why its become more difficult  to get good results from my vegetable garden.

Ten years ago, shortly after moving to Victoria Beach, I attempted to grow vegetables in its very rocky soil. I had gardened successfully for the first time in Moncton, NB in the ’70’s so looked forward to growing my own veggies once again. Despite the rocks and soil, I was happy with my harvest up until about three years ago. Since then I have found it increasingly more difficult to get the same results. In spite of rotating my crops, filtering out never-ending buckets of rocks, and using copious amounts of compost and manure to improve the soil, my yield is getting worse. My production is falling while my cost and effort are increasing. I can’t help but wonder what is happening?

Small garden with onion, lettuce, beets, and spinach.

Small garden with onion, lettuce, beets, and spinach.

Perhaps I could use better quality organic seeds instead of the usual ones I usually pick up at the local grocery store, or try a different fertilizer….I always use sheep’s manure and compost from my compost pile. These changes are within my control, but the ones which aren’t are the ones that are causing me the most problems … weeds, insects, and other critters who love gardens as much as I do. These I can’t control, but I can learn to deal with them… I hope.

Like my quoted friend, I have been waging a seemingly endless battle with the weeds overtaking my garden. I can pull them out one day only to have most of them appear the next. It’s frustrating for not only have they taken over the garden, but the driveway and the lawn. Next they will be in the house! I know I am getting carried away here but seriously, this could possibly happen. Have you ever heard of the Japanese Knotweed?  Last year I was listening to the CBC’s, The Current, when I learned some very scary things about this extremely invasive weed.

Let me give you a little bit of history on this so-called “King of the Invasives”. It’s also been called “The Terrorist of the Weed World” and “Godzilla”. Does this give you an idea of what I am writing about here? But again I digress. It has its origin in Japan and was introduced as far back as the mid 1800’s to Europe and North America as a plant for decoration and to prevent erosion. It has a thick bamboo like stem with heart – shaped leaves and a creamy white flower which blooms in the early autumn. It is really quite pretty, and it’s easy to see why it was chosen as a nice ornamental… but only in Japan, please!

A closer look at Godzilla.

A close up of  Godzilla. Note the bamboo like stem and heart-shaped leaves.

In any other part of the world, other than Japan, Korea or China, it’s presence has been a nightmare. Australia has deemed it illegal, and in England it has managed to reduce the value of many home owners’ properties. Because of its strength and tenacity, it can wreck roads, parking lots, bridges, and buildings. Yes, in England some home owners have had it grow right through their floors! The World Conservation Union has named it the world’s worst invasive. It can grow up to 7 meters with a root spread of up to 10 m from the parent root, which can go to 3 m deep. It can create havoc with whatever environment it chooses to live in if it’s not brought under control.

Ken MacQueen wrote this about it in the June 2015 edition of MacLean’s magazine:

“Japanese Knotweed is in nearly all of our provinces, and the threat is real: it can lower house prices, threaten our bridges, and drive men to madness.”

One can’t help but sit up and take notice of this particular weed problem… especially me. Why? Because we have it growing right here in Victoria Beach along our road and, unfortunately, in some yards where there is moisture. Our yard happens to be one of them! We have had it for several years but never really took it seriously until last year. Now we are taking it very seriously… even Hubby.

The Japanese Knotweed or "Godzilla" along side our road.

Godzilla growing right along side of our road.

Last fall before the snow started to fly, he threw bags of salt on “Godzilla’s” little forest at the foot of our driveway. The salt helped to stunt its growth but didn’t get rid of it. The more people we ask about how to deal with it, the more we learn about how difficult our battle is going to be. This year out of desperation, we tried using Roundup. However, I hesitate to get carried away with this as it’s not good for the surrounding environment or for ourselves.

A third method recommended by a knowledgeable neighbour who had it growing in her yard awhile back is to smother the darn things with a huge tarp or old carpet using something heavy with no seams as the roots will find any crevice and push their way through. This will be our next step.

Our neighbour verified all the information I’ve read about how to treat this weed, and what I learned is that it’s almost impossible to get rid of! The most important thing is to persist with the treatment of cutting back, using salt or Roundup, and smothering it for as long as it takes which could be years. No wonder some people have gone mad! I am now resigned to getting serious for an all out war with “Godzilla” and not give up until the battle is won.

Godzilla creeping into our lilac trees - before cutting back.

Godzilla creeping into our lilac trees – before cutting back.

It's cut but now how to dispose of it is the problem?

It’s cut but now how to dispose of it is the problem?

I sometimes wonder if I’m not becoming too obsessed with this weed and the many others that have cropped up this spring. However, I think not and am glad of the research I’ve done. I realise that if we here in VB and other parts of Nova Scotia don’t do something about “Godzilla” we could end up having the troubles that England has been having. What if our government deems it illegal should it get out of control? That is true of Australia. What if it causes much friction between neighbours who won’t do anything about it and let it spread to their neighbour’s property? This has happened in England. What if the value of our homes plummets if our yards are full of this obnoxious weed? This, too, has happened in England. I think we do have to look at this problem more seriously to prevent it from ever happening in our own communities.

Another invasive (the wild rose) which can get easily out of control if not cut back - constantly.

Another invasive (the wild rose) which can get easily out of control if not cut back – constantly.

Without a doubt, I see the proliferation of weeds as my biggest headache with insects coming in as a strong second. During spring and early summer when I am trying to get the garden ready for planting and the yard cleaned up from the havoc of winter, I don’t dare go out to do the work required without first dressing for the part, or at least attempt to. Lots of bug repellent, legs and arms covered, socks tucked into pant legs to keep the ticks out, and a bug net for my head, complete my necessary attire for surviving the invasion of insects which seems to get worse every year. If I don’t take the time to dress for battle, I have to pay the consequences. Tick bites, if you don’t catch the little critters before they latch onto you, can leave a nasty welt, and if it’s a deer tick then watch out for one bite from one of these can get you for life if you aren’t careful. Thankfully, I and no one else here has ever seen any of the latter, but wood ticks are here… in droves! Then there are the black flies which are always waiting for me especially in the spring and early summer. Hornets, wasps and other winged creatures I no can longer put a name to seem to appear out of nowhere the minute I step into my vegetable garden to hoe, dig, seed, or weed.

This purslane weed is taking over my garden. It is edible and quite delicious.

This purslane weed is taking over my garden. It is edible and quite delicious.

Those plants that do take seed and pop up are then sitting ducks for every insect around so must be protected with various kinds of repellents which aren’t harmful to the environment. I have found many helpful suggestions on the Internet using such things as liquid soaps, beer, cayenne and a myriad of other concoctions. It takes time and lots of effort to do this, but at least it’s healthy and will help keep the insects at bay. My lettuce is looking very holely right now, but it still tastes good. In fact, a fellow gardener told me just yesterday that the aphid responsible for leaving the holes also leaves additional antioxidants for us.

Finally, we have many little critters such as chipmunks, squirrels, skunks, raccoons, rabbits, moles and deer …not so little…. which also can also be classified as nuisance factors when trying to grow things here in VB. It seems to vary from year to year. In Victoria Beach it started with the deer, but in the last several years skunks and rabbits have been joining the parade of pests. I quickly realised that a fence would be needed and since erecting the first one, I have been upgrading it ever since to make it harder for the critters to get in there for that lovely green lettuce. This year we are all noticing that our chipmunk population has exploded. So far they haven’t eaten any of my new growth, but they are leaving their calling cards… little holes in the flower and herb pots and dirt every where. Furthermore, there is something leaving much larger holes in the lawn. So far we can’t determine what or who is doing that …. skunks looking for grubs or even moles building their underground tunnels. Who knows?

Some of the many holes in my lawn.

Some of the many holes in my lawn.

Growing anything here is becoming more of a challenge every year. I have more weeds to pull, more insects to deal with, and more small critters to outwit. There is no doubt in my mind, that the changes in climate are the root cause of this, thus, creating even more challenges in the future. The question I ask myself is whether I am up to this? Perhaps I will be forced to rely on our local markets for our fresh summer veggies? However, if I am forced to give up this hobby, I know one thing: I will miss sitting down to the dinner table to eat the healthy and oh so tasty vegetables on my plate that I had the satisfaction of growing. For now this is a good enough reason for continuing my battle.

My garden as it is today. Hard to tell the vegetables from the weeds.

My garden as it is today. Can you find the plants amongst the weeds?

An Interview With Peter Robertson

This past March and April, my husband and I spent six, wonderful weeks in Buenos Aires. For the better part of a year, we call Victoria Beach in Nova Scotia, Canada our home. This was the first time either of us had been to South America. On our second day in BA, we had the good fortune to meet Peter Robertson, a lovely, kind man who was brave enough to take us under his wing and become our guide and translator for the duration of our stay. We often met Peter at a little cafe across the street from the apartment where we stayed. There we had wonderful talks on all manner of things and quickly became friends. I was particularly interested in his profession as an accomplished writer and his literary quarterly, Interlitq. Having begun a blog of my travels two years ago, I love having conversations with other more experienced writers which give me the opportunity to not only share the joy of writing, but also the hard work and dedication that goes with it.

Peter was the perfect person to discuss this with, and it wasn’t long before we came up with the idea to write something about him for Interlitq, and what better way than for me to play the part of the interviewer so his readers could learn more about him.

Of course, I was thrilled that he would ask me to contribute something to his quarterly so immediately looked up his website. I was flabbergasted at the scope of the material that he has amassed from such a talented group of writers from all over the world. There was so much to read on almost every topic and country on this planet, but almost nothing on the man who was responsible for bringing it all together. It was immediately apparent to me that, indeed, he needed to let his readers in on just who he is and what he sees for the future of Interlitq.

Here is my interview with Peter.

1.  Tell us a bit about your early life before BA, such as where you were born and raised, educated, previous career, and places lived.

I was born in Glasgow, Scotland and brought up there and in East Dunbartonshire and Perthshire. My adolescence was spent in a small town called Alyth, with a population of less than three thousand people. I spent a lot of my youth walking in the hills above the town. I went to a school five miles away, in Blairgowrie. After some time in London and Norway, I went to Cambridge University, before returning to London. I worked as a teacher and then as a United Nations linguist and researcher before founding Interlitq. I have also lived in Spain and Argentina: in Madrid for five years and Buenos Aires for sixteen years.

2.  Why did you choose Buenos Aires as your place of residence?

After my time in Spain, I felt the need for a change, but I wasn’t quite sure where to go. I didn’t want to return to the UK. It made sense for me to choose a Spanish-speaking country. Then in Madrid, I started to meet Argentines so my interest in that country grew. In the end, it was instinct, a leap of faith, and I am still here.

3.  How did your passion for writing evolve?

For as long as I can remember, I loved words. So it made sense for me to study literature at University. It’s hard to stand back from oneself and engage in self-analysis as it tends to be a futile exercise, bound up with obfuscation, self-justification, and delusion. The important thing for a writer is to have interesting stories to tell, and then to have the necessary skill with words to tell these stories.

4.  What has been the most outstanding achievement of your writing career?

It is for others to tell me if anything I write is outstanding. I was quite happy with “A Chorus of Ghosts”, but that was written quite some time ago. I would be interested in writing further examples of literary journalism. I find it a fascinating genre. I am also very keen to return to writing fiction.

5.  Regarding Interlitq, what is its main focus and where would you like to see it go in future?

Interlitq publishes international literature in many languages and is complemented by artwork. The overriding objective is to keep the publication going. We have got to that point after eight years and many vicissitudes. Then, once the review’s stability is more entrenched, to aim always to make it better. At this stage, Interlitq is becoming more flexible in its outlook. Originally the review was conceived as a quarterly, but is now publishing on a more regular basis, with featured interviews, so this is an interesting development, and we will consequently engage with new readers.

6. What advice can you pass on to all aspiring writers like myself?

Find the way that works for you. There is no one-size-fits-all. Beware of facile formulae. Do not sit and wait for inspiration – it hits the page as one is writing.

Thank you, Peter, for letting us catch a glimpse of who you are, your plans for the future of Interlitq, and most importantly for me and I hope other aspiring writers, your words of wisdom on how to approach the craft of writing.

Peter Robinson - Founder and Editor of Interlitq.

Peter Robertson – Founder and President of Interlitq.

Submitted by Betty Wright – betstravelsabout.wordpress.com

for:   interlitq.wordpress.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Celebrating My 50th Reunion

“When time which steals our years away

Shall steal our pleasures, too,

The mem’ry of the past will stay

And half our joys renew.”

This is a quotation by Thomas Moore, a 19th century poet and song writer from Ireland. I recently found it in my Mount Allison year book from 1966 along with my graduation picture. I have no idea why I chose this particular quote by this poet to sum up my years as an under graduate of the Arts at Mt. A as I was about to embark upon the world that awaited me. I only recall that I made the decision to use this in haste, after desperately combing through a book of quotations none of which seemed quite appropriate to express my particular feelings on such a momentous event. This would have to do, I thought.  Would I choose it today? Very likely not, as much water has passed under the bridge since that day bringing much change and growth. Thank goodness! Then, on second thought maybe I would! Let me explain.

After a whirlwind trip to celebrate my 50th reunion in Sackville, N.B. where Mt. A is located, I dug out my year book and found those long-forgotten words. I have to admit I was quite baffled by my choice and was struggling to even remember anything about Thomas Moore. The only Thomas Moore I could relate to was our modern-day American psychotherapist and writer of books about the soul – Care of the Soul and Soul Mates. 

After reading about the Irish Thomas Moore, the pieces of the puzzle as to why I probably made this choice became clearer. After all, don’t the choices we make in life reflect that stage in life we find ourselves, and don’t they yield terrific insight into our character and what makes us tick? Perhaps I had not made such a ridiculous choice after all?

Here is what I found about Thomas Moore the author of my quotation. First of all he was not only a poet, but also a singer, song writer, entertainer, and biographer. In fact, he was often referred to as the Irish bard just as Robbie Burns was called the Scottish bard. He was a man of the people. He was happily married to an actress with whom he had five children. Unfortunately, all of them died before he did which distressed him deeply. That, along with financial problems at various times in his life, were his main crosses to bear. He became good friends with Lord Byron supporting his belief that Greece should be an independent state. He also supported the emancipation of the Irish from the Catholic Church and strongly disagreed with Thomas Jefferson, the President of the US, for his support of slavery. He was a man who cared for people and wasn’t afraid to speak out against the wrong doings of his time. He was a very personable man genuinely liked by most people who knew him. The words used to describe him were honest, affectionate, independent, and high-minded. Wow! I would like to meet such a man today.

After learning all this, I realised I hadn’t made such a ridiculous choice after all. This quotation wasn’t just a trivial bit of nostalgia as I first thought. It goes much deeper and is certainly appropriate not just for a graduation but also for a reunion 50 years down the road. Yes, reunions can stir up many memories, some good and some bad. I guess this is why some people find it difficult attending them as they remember only the bad stuff. I have learned it’s best to let the bad go and remember only the good which as Moore says is about half – if we are lucky! Can we really ask for more, I wonder? So at this reunion choosing only to remember the good stuff, I found myself delighting in reconnecting with old friends and even old boyfriends who may have caused so much grief back then. This time around, I even got better acquainted with those I never got to know when I was there, so I made new friends as well. I actually felt like I was part of a big family where we had all come together from hither and yon to celebrate a milestone in our varied lives. We had made it to our 50th for which we received pins in honour of our doing so. It really was something to celebrate rather than something to avoid. Over the years I did attend a few not so memorable reunions. However, this one was totally different for me and will go down as not only memorable but fun. Upon reflection I realise that a satisfactory outcome to attending school/college reunions is all about how we approach them which is reflective of the changes we have undergone in our life’s journey.

One further thought I have on the subject of attending reunions especially the 50th and those beyond is that they can also be a kind of wake up call for us. The reality is that we are all getting older and do we really know what amount of time we have left? As we were all winding up our weekend, I heard this sentiment from some as we said our ‘good byes’ and wished each other well until our next one in five years time. It’s true that some of us might not make the next one. Somehow I suspect that many of us will. I sure hope so! I was particularly inspired by the class of ’46 who were enthusiastically represented by four gentlemen well into their 90’s who gave a rousing tribute to their class. They were the stars of the whole show. They were living proof that we really can get better with age just like the proverbial red wine. My wish is that there will be some of us from the class of ’66 who will be as feisty as those four men from the class of ’46 when our turn comes round in twenty years. Wouldn’t that be something!

Point your cursor on each of the images to see the captions below. 

City Living in Buenos Aires

After living for over a month in Buenos Aires, I gained a new appreciation for city living. It seems strange for me to be writing this since it was just ten years ago that Hubby and I picked up stakes to move from the big city of Toronto to a small fishing village in Nova Scotia. I can honestly say “we” were looking to escape the city for a less stressful and less expensive lifestyle, but it was”I” who vowed I would never want to live in a city again. However, Buenos Aires definitely created for me a renewed sense of appreciation for city living – something I never really acquired while living in Toronto.

There are many reasons for my change of heart. The most obvious one is that after ten years I can see the benefits of city living with a different pair of eyes. In Toronto I was one of thousands of stressed out people having to battle horrendous traffic for a job requiring me to drive all over the Greater Toronto Area almost every day. Now I am retired doing things I like to do and not having to work for a living. I have the freedom to travel to foreign countries which can give me an urban and rural lifestyle, depending on where I choose to go. I can now enjoy all that a city has to offer knowing I will be there for just a short while.

This year Hubby and I chose to rent a small, well equipped apartment to set up a base in Buenos Aires (BA) where we could once again experience some city living. For him, BA would be the perfect place to feed his desire for lots of culture, namely music, and for me to explore an exciting cosmopolitan city to feed my desire to write. Unfortunately, I have to confess that my writing suffered because there was simply too much to see and do in BA. We chose one of the best times of the year to be there – their autumn. When we arrived on March 9th, the weather was fabulous with comfortably sunny days. In the last few weeks, it rained more than we liked, but it still beat spending April anywhere in Canada with the possible exception of BC. As my mind shoots back to my days in Toronto, all I can remember is hot, humid summers and raw, cold winters. BA’s climate alone had a hand in changing my perspective.

Our studio apartment.

Our studio apartment.

Where we cooked most of our meals.

Where we cooked most of our meals.

With time on our hands to be a visitor in addition to living there, the extremely active cultural scene, the abundance of places to explore, and the temperate climate all contributed to my new-found appreciation for the city life. To be more specific and to give you a clearer picture of what will go down as one of the more memorable cities Hubby and I have visited together, I will attempt to write not only on what I (we) liked, but also on what we disliked, found amusing, or downright strange.

Let’s begin with what I liked:

  1. In case you didn’t know, BA is a multicultural city which gives it the diversity needed to never let it be boring. Like Toronto, it’s a city of immigrants who first arrived from Spain, Italy, Germany, and other European countries going back to the 1700’s. In the mid 1900’s it began to accept large numbers of immigrants starting with the Jews after WWll. Today it has the largest Jewish population in South America. More recently it has drawn in people from China, Africa, and many of the Arab countries. With 48 separate barrios or districts, it is one of the largest cities in South America with a population over 13 million. Each barrio is quite distinct. Our apartment was located in Palermo one of the more trendy barrios. We had everything we could ever want within a few blocks all within easy walking distance. We could have spent a year just in this area alone and had a different panderia  or cafe to go to for a coffee and pastry every day.
  2. One can’t help being impressed with the similarity BA has to most of the great European cities, making it evident why it’s been dubbed “the Paris of South America”. The large French neo-classical buildings, numerous monuments to their heroes of which there are many, the wide, tree-lined avenues, side-walk cafes galore, and grandiose theatres and museums are far more European than Western. After all, Argentinians have a history of gravitating to the east rather than to the north for their refinement of the arts and who can blame them?
    The greater the hero the larger the monument.

    The greater the hero the larger the monument.

    A monument of Eva Peron.

    A monument of Eva Peron.

    A wealthy art nouveau home in the Ricoleta area.

    A wealthy art nouveau home in the Ricoleta area.

    The justice building in Italian and French architecture.

    The justice building in Italian and French architecture.

  3. Another thing I liked, especially in our barrio, was the proliferation of parks both large and small. Little did I know this when I booked our apartment that most of BA’s parks were here and that the rest of the city lags behind Paris and even New York for adequate green space. This probably explains why they are so well used since they attract people from all over. We were lucky to have them within walking distance. In spite of the ongoing activity of the sports minded and fitness buffs, the families with babies and dogs, and any others who simply wanted to be out and about enjoying them, all the parks we visited were remarkably clean.
  4. Sunday afternoon in a park near where we stayed in Palermo.

    Sunday afternoon in a park near where we stayed in Palermo.

    The Rose Garden near us.

    The Rose Garden near us.

    Some parks had a lake such as this.

    Some parks had a lake such as this.

  5. Being the cultural mecca that BA is put Hubby in his element. I think he enjoyed it almost as much as he enjoys Florence. He even managed to get me to a symphony and two operas! We witnessed the opera, Don Giovanni, performed at the world-class  and very beautiful Teatro Colon. BA boasts of numerous other theatres which puts it up at the top of the list for live theatre beating out New York and London. With all of this, plus their avid interest in sports, especially soccer, there is always something on. Then, of course, there is also tango  where you can take in one of numerous shows including dinner and dance lessons for an exorbitant price. I felt that we could get a sufficient taste of tango from some of the smaller and possibly free performances that can often be found in various venues if you happen to be in that place at the right time. We had caught some in La Boca and San Telmo so it made no sense to me to blow over $100 for a show and mostly bland dinners (this according to Trip Advisor). As for the dance lessons, Hubby wanted none of that! But about two days before we were scheduled to leave, he began to have a change of heart. In the meantime, I was remaining neutral on whether we did or didn’t see a show. We found out that it was possible to take in just a show at some places so we started the search. Too late! All the solo shows were sold out! Now we have to tell our friends back home that we spent over a month in the land of tango and never once got to see a real show or take a tango lesson!
    The world famous Teatro Colon.

    The world famous Teatro Colon.

    Inside the theatre from where we sat for Don Giovanni.

    Inside the theatre from where we sat for Don Giovanni.

    Tango in the plaza at San Telmo.

    Tango in the plaza at San Telmo.

    Tango in a cafe at San Telmo.

    Tango in a cafe at San Telmo.

  6. I have to admit it was all the cafes which provided the most enjoyment for me. I love to sit alone, with Hubby, or with a new-found friend as we often did during our stay. They are perfect places for people watching or for getting into great conversations as we did with our friend, Peter, an ex-pat from Scotland. Peter is a writer who has lived in BA for over 15 years. We appreciated how he took us under his wing to show us the ropes of where to go and what to do in BA. I particularly enjoyed talking to him about what makes the people and the city tick. His psychological approach helped me understand what city living is like not only for ex-pats but also for those who have lived there all their lives.
  7. I was also impressed with the transportation system in BA. Although the subte, the Spanish word for subway, was a tad antiquated, it was convenient and cheap. Furthermore, I felt safe when using it in spite of repeated warnings from the locals to guard my belongings. When the subway couldn’t take us to our destination, we used the buses. With over a 100 bus lines running in every direction to all parts of the city, it was a bit daunting at first, but once Hubby got them figured out, we used them whenever we could to save our feet. With a bus pass, they were even cheaper than the subway!  We never once got lost as most people were more than happy to help us out with directions. In fact, if we ever looked the least bit perplexed about the numbering system or where we were once we got off the bus, there were numerous times when help was offered by an English-speaking person without our asking, and it was offered with no strings attached. So different from our what we experienced last year in Morocco where unwanted guides kept pestering us for a charge, of course.

    Being entertained on the subway.

    Being entertained on the subway.

These were some of the good things about BA which I noticed, and I’m sure I would have found more in time. Now for the things I found particularly annoying which others we talked to also noted:

  1. The most obviously one for any visitor has to be the dog poop! Yes, dog poop on the side walks is the thing I detested the most about this fair city. It even surpassed my horror at seeing the garbage on the side walks of Phomn Phen for despicable things about a city. Everyone in our area, most of whom were apartment dwellers, owned a dog or dogs, of all shapes and sizes.  Even though a law exists addressing ‘pooping and scooping’ not everyone is obeying it. With much care and focus I managed to side step it, but Hubby got caught a couple of times.
  2. The typical Argentinian’s approach to time, which is always ‘manana’ meaning ‘tomorrow’ in English, is another of my pet peeves. People here live very much in the moment so we found that setting a time for social occasions or getting things done could be problematic.  ‘Maybe’ is their preferred word. We had to learn not to have expectations and simply ‘go with the flow’ which was a big adjustment for us.
  3. Communicating was another big problem, especially for me. I tried to learn some Spanish and did manage to build up a very basic vocabulary which was far better than my Thai, for example. However, when I tried using my limited Spanish, I was often left with a blank stare followed by such a rapid barrage of words I couldn’t even begin to understand. I found this very perplexing. I concluded that we in the western world are way too impatient and don’t listen nearly so well as the people in Thailand, Cambodia or Viet Nam where they intuitively seem to know what we want and are able to provide it easily. In both Argentina and Ecuador, my attempts at communicating always seemed to baffle them which would lead to both parties talking at each other but accomplishing nothing. This led to many of the communication screw ups we encountered. I had more communication disasters in three months in South America than I ever encountered in the eight years I’ve gone to the Far East.
  4. One more thing I did not like about living in BA, which was also true of Toronto, was the noise level. Our apartment was on a fairly busy corner and practically next door to a busy restaurant which isn’t at all unusual in such a residential area where there are restaurants on practically every corner. The problem in BA was that most people don’t eat dinner until 10 o’clock about the time we were thinking of going to bed. On weekends no one seemed to sleep because at 4 a.m. there would be parties going on all around us. This caused some trouble when we first arrived when we didn’t know that most stores wouldn’t be open on Sunday until later in the day. Again we had to adjust accordingly. Eating at a late hour wasn’t a problem for us since we did our own cooking in our apartment; however, we did have to make sure we had the food bought ahead of time. As for the noise at night, I solved this with the help of ear plugs.
  5. I was not a huge fan of the Argentinian cuisine which came as no surprise to me since I’m not a huge beef eater. Beef plays a huge role in not only the diet but the psyche of Argentinians. This stems back to the country’s beginnings when the vast flat lands that surround BA known as the pampas ultimately led to cattle raising as one of their main industries. This industry  is still very much in evidence today as the majority of restaurants pride themselves in their skill at producing the best cut of the animal in a manner which they think will convert every vegetarian supporter over to their side. I have to admit I did try a few meals along with the ones cooked by Hubby where the beef far surpassed anything we would have at home, and it was more affordable. For me it ended there. I found that generally most of their food comes over salted and over sugared. Some locals and Peter, our ex-pat friend, agreed so it wasn’t just me. Salt is used in everything whether freshly cooked or from a package and other spices are still not used except by those who dare to expand their cooking skills beyond the tried and true. I never did find a natural yogurt with no sugar added. It’s mostly sold in bottles and loaded with sugar. Most baked goods are made with white flour and too much sugar even down to their croissants. I had to look long and hard for healthy bread that was anywhere near what we can get in Annapolis Royal. I finally found it at a popular restaurant and bakery not too far away from us on Lafinur 3275 called Molvan. Hubby and I happened to find it one day early into our stay after a lovely afternoon walk in a nearby park. I just had tea and a muffin but my first bite told me I had found a bakery that knew what it was doing and was producing something that wasn’t only delicious but healthy with just the right amount of sugar. It wasn’t until a few weeks later when I returned to Malvon for another of those yummy muffins that I discovered they also had bread that looked healthy so bought some and once again wasn’t disappointed. This bakery became my bread supplier for the remainder of our stay. Thanks to Hernan, the owner, and his brother who know what they are doing and have dared to hone their skills in another direction to give locals and visitors alike good and healthy food.

So much for my likes and dislikes of BA. Now I would like to mention some things about this city that I can’t categorize into either one. They can only be called either amusing or strange traits of the city and its people as a whole as seen from my perspective.

  1. The first one that comes to mind is the subject of the dogs which I have already mentioned. To go a little deeper, I can’t help but wonder just why they are so popular with the BAer’s so I’ve come up with a theory which comes from my background in psychology. My analysis is they are taking on dogs instead of a life long partner or having kids because dogs will give them unconditional love, something they think they will never find from a fellow human being. One lady in our building confessed to giving up her boyfriend because he didn’t really like dogs that much, and that anyway dogs were easier. Like many first class cities in the world and especially in our western hemisphere, the majority of people who live in the centre are usually older in age or if younger are single. In BA young families are moving to the outer areas where housing is more affordable. Most of the dwellings in our area were apartment buildings. Instead of children, people are adopting dogs, not just one dog but perhaps three or four! I simply can’t imagine having three dogs in my apartment. Many years ago I had two cats in my apartment who nearly drove me crazy. Many of these dog owners work so to keep their animals from getting lonely or just going crazy, they hire dog sitters to look after them. We were always amused to see these guys and gals walking along the streets or passing their time in the parks with other dog walkers. Here was a real growth industry for those looking for what looked like a relatively easy way to make a living.
    Well behaved dogs with their sitter.

    Well behaved dogs with their sitter.

    Dogs with their sitters hanging out in a local park.

    Dogs with their sitters hanging out in a local park.

  2. Another frequent occurrence which seems strange to us visitors but is simply accepted as a fact of life in BA is the constant gathering of groups of people to protest whatever subject is foremost on their minds. We didn’t see much of this going on in our neighbourhood but certainly did whenever we ventured down to Plaza de Mayo or any of the other larger squares in the down town area. In fact, Plaza de Mayo’s reputation rests upon protests starting in 1810 on May 25th, the day Argentina declared its independence from Spain right up to 1977 with the Mothers of the Plaza who gathered to fight for the victims of the ‘Dirty War’ who disappeared and in some cases were murdered. Today most of the protesting is about higher wages which seems to be a forever mantra with employees who claim their wages aren’t keeping up with their cost of living. Salary decreases are very common apparently. We have all heard of Argentina’s constant woes with inflation which seem to keep the country from progressing to an economic status that everyone feels they should have achieved by now. The protests are becoming so common that I have to wonder what purpose they serve as it appears that it’s more about a group of people coming together for a party. We kept hearing from Argentinians themselves that any progress towards any kind of stability is near to impossible given the unwillingness of anyone to relinquish the wrongs of the past and move forward together.
    Just another protest.

    Just another protest.

    Monument to the Mothers at the Plaza de Mayo.

    Monument to the Mothers at the Plaza de Mayo.

    The presidential palace or Pink House where Eva Peron made her famous speech to rally the workers.

    The presidential palace or Pink House where Eva Peron made her famous speech to rally the workers.

  3. This fact leads me to my next revelation regarding the people and that is their self-absorption or constant self – analysis. I wasn’t surprised to learn that Psychiatry is a very popular vocation. It seems just about everyone sooner or later ends up in the psychiatrist’s office mostly for the same reason – depression! Does this sound familiar? Coming from Toronto, I have to say that this was a huge topic as well, and one where I personally got involved with all kinds of self-help and self-growth groups. Don’t get me wrong, I think a little help is always good, but I am also a strong believer of doing the work that has to go with it. My impression is that the BAer’s like most people spend an awful lot of time and money on the subject but aren’t really stepping up to the plate to do what they need to do for themselves and their country.
  4. Another observation which both Hubby and I made was the lack of reading material relating to Argentina’s history. He searched high and low for any books on this subject in English. Oddly enough, there wasn’t much in Spanish either. He did manage to find some at an English title bookstore in San Telmo called Walrus. The BAers like to talk about their present day politics, but when it comes to their past, they hesitate and seem almost embarrassed about it. Or maybe it’s fatalism that nothing will ever change as I heard many times. It’s definitely not a subject that most want to address right now except maybe some one who wasn’t born there.
  5. Finally, it may be a silly little fashion statement and of not much consequence, but I was amused by the footwear many of the woman were sporting. Suddenly all the shop windows were featuring them in their winter displays of shoes and boots. Platforms were “in” and in a big way. Every day I would notice more and more women wearing these things. I thought they were hideous, but Hubby kept at me to buy a pair since I was wearing mostly my sandals in spite of the rain. I did hear that they not only added much wanted height but were also quite comfortable. The latter may be true as those wearing them seemed to be walking along with ease, making much better headway than we ever did with those very high heels we all felt we absolutely needed. I can’t help wondering why women feel the need to be taller?
    Clearing out the summer stock of platforms.

    Clearing out the summer stock of platforms.

    These were at a wedding we witnessed.

    These were at a wedding we witnessed.

I could probably write a book about city living and especially in a city such as Buenos Aires which draws thousands of tourists every year. It is considered as one of ‘the’ great cities of the world to visit, right up there with New York, Paris, or London. It’s a relatively easy city to visit or live in and has something for anyone who ends up there. I am glad we stayed for as long as we did because it would be very difficult to stay for just a day or two. There is just too much to see and do otherwise.

A monument to San Martin who devoted his life to liberating Argentina and Ecuador from Spain.

A monument to San Martin who devoted his life to liberating Argentina and Ecuador from Spain.

Another heroine for Argentina - Eva Peron. Her plaque at the family grave site now in the Ricoleta Cemetery.

Another heroine for Argentina – Eva Peron. Her plaque at the family grave site now in the Ricoleta Cemetery.

A Moment of Happiness

Our house this autumn from the back looking toward the sea.

Our house this autumn from the back looking toward the sea.

With all the horrible stuff happening in the world every day, it’s no surprise to hear that many people are beginning to lose hope. Is it any wonder that depression is on the rise as we are bombarded with negativity from all fronts? Natural disasters due to climate change, famines, government deficits, corruption, growing disparity between the rich and poor, Isis and the growing threat of terrorism, dealing with the deluge of refugees looking for a safe haven, not to mention smaller crimes of passion, rape, and theft are making an endless list. At times it does appear that our world is facing one of its darkest hours. But before this becomes too depressing let’s consider that our planet has seen dark periods before when culture and learning declined from about the 6th to the 12th century A.D. during what was called the “Dark Ages”. We must remind ourselves that this dark period eventually waned to give way to the light once again.

The main question is how do we as individuals cope with all this bad stuff? I expect the answers to such a question are as varied as the people who take the time to consider it. One common solution is to turn off the TV and quit reading newspapers which some are doing but is that really all we can do and is it enough? I don’t think it is because I think we need to know what is happening in the world. Without the facts how can we as citizens make informed choices regarding not only our personal lives but for the betterment of our society? Based on my own personal experiences and the knowledge I have gained from teachers, reading, and conversations, I have discovered that the answer is really quite simple and can be summed up in one word: LOVE.

In its broader context, it is about each of us making the choice to live our life out of love rather than fear. I have a difficult time accepting the fact that the world will ever reach a point where all of us will ever make such a choice. There are some who feel this will eventually happen with the appearance of the Maitreya ( a World Teacher) heralding in a long stretch of peace with no wars. If you Google Share International, you can touch base with the organization and learn more. To me this is idealism to the extreme. Do we not have to have the yin and the yang or the positive and the negative to balance things out? It’s all much food for thought. All each of us can do is make a choice to lead our life driven by the one or the other. If we choose love then we need to look within  and accept ourselves, flaws and all. This is called self-love and where the journey begins. If we can take this first step and really work at it, then we can truly love others and the world around us. This makes perfect sense to me and is my answer for combating depression and, thus, contributing in a small way to helping our ailing planet with its multitude of problems. Those of us who accept this premise can be examples not only to our families and friends but all the other people we will meet on our life’s journey.

If we choose to conduct our life from a base of fear, then we will hinder our personal growth and basically retrench. We won’t be using our talents or creativity to the extent we can and most probably will become bored with life. We certainly won’t be leaving much of an impression to our children and grandchildren. No thank you, this would not be my choice.

So if we choose love as our goal, then how do we get there? As I have already stated it has to begin by taking a good look at what makes us tick and be willing to do something about the parts we don’t like. I know that this can be scary stuff for many because I have met more than my fair share of people over my life time who won’t go there. After all it requires that we change things in our lives and risk losing old support systems which in many cases have become simply crutches. Self-love is the first step and it won’t come to us on a silver platter or from others. After facing our ‘shadow’ (a Carl Jung term) or that negative part of our personality, we can then begin the journey. This may come easy for some but for many of us, myself included, it becomes a life-long journey. We may stumble, or fall, or even give up for a while.  Some of us may not achieve it in this life time and will have to come back and try again in the next one. This picture gets clearer by the day to me as I see similar messages on Facebook, or in such books as the one I am presently reading by Gary Zukav entitled Soul to Soul. The overall theme of his book is that we must create our own authentic power through aligning our personalities with our souls. We can do this by acknowledging the negative part of our personality that causes destructive actions and be willing to change that to positive actions. In other words, we can choose to live a life of revenge or compassion. None of this is easy as I have discovered, but it’s certainly worth a try because I would rather be a patient, kind, and loving person as opposed to one who is seen as impatient, selfish, and hateful.

Having said all this, I would like to share with you the learning I have gained since I started on this journey of striving to live a life with love rather than fear:

  • I have learned that I must slow down and take time to revel in some of the simple things in life. One of the simple things for me is to take delight in all the nature around me. Recently when I stopped to look out my living room window shortly after rising to greet a new day, I was overwhelmed with a feeling of utter happiness. There before me was a sunny, autumn day showcasing the orange and golds of the trees across the road, the white picket fence of our neighbour, and in the distance the deep blue of the sea and the Point Prim lighthouse. Where did this feeling actually come from? Was it triggered by the view from my window or was it something on a grander scale such as a sign or message from the Universe? I like to think it was a sign from the Universe because it happened when I was in a negative state of mind and feeling despondent about letting go of things which no longer served any purpose in my life. I am certain that this brief moment of total joy was sent to remind me that I had so much to be thankful for. It helped me to understand that being happy has much to do with living in the moment and not sifting through the past or anticipating a future which hasn’t even arrived. It’s about seizing such a blissful moment and savouring it for all it’s worth because those moments can be rare.
    View from my living room window taken in November weeks after my "Happy Moment"

    View from my living room window taken in November weeks after my “Happy Moment”

    Looking over Digby Gut to Point Prim.

    Looking over Digby Gut to Point Prim.

  • Another learning is that we mustn’t be afraid to open up our hearts and sometimes take that risk of having them broken. Although this can be a painful experience, on the other hand, it can help us to grow stronger and better by viewing the cause of our pain with compassion rather than revenge. If we are into self growth many people we meet will disappoint us so we must be careful to not become bitter about that. However, there will always be those who are on the same path as ourselves, so if we listen to the Universe and keep on living a life based on love, we will eventually meet up with them.
  • I have also learned more about trust –   with myself, others, and, of course, the Universe. I have to trust that I can accomplish any task or project I take on to the best of my ability at the time. If I fail then let it be a learning experience rather than give up on it. I have to trust in others that they will be there for me when they are needed, and that I not be afraid to ask for help or give it in return when asked. Finally, to trust in the Universe that my life will unfold just as it is meant to and that there is always some thing or one looking out for me. This latter idea of someone there to look over me is hugely important when I am travelling on my own.
  • My final thought or learning on how to operate out of love is to get involved with people no matter how they may have let me down in the past. Finding compatible groups of people is always a challenge, but I have found that all groups have their positive aspects if I approach them with love rather than fear. We need people no matter where we are so choose to not give up on them.

For me the most difficult part of loving myself has been knowing when to let go of that part of my life which no longer serves me well. This can be old beliefs, habits, jobs, people or things. Over time, I have let go of many things but not easily. There was always much angst involved. I tend to hang on too long because I am an idealist who hopes the situation or person will change for the better. Or maybe it’s because I won’t have to be responsible for making a decision that could be risky at best. It’s also been about the fear of doing the wrong thing at the wrong time. Let’s just say that letting go wouldn’t have been so agonizing if I had only listened to my heart. In the end, the decision always got made one way or the other, and I must give myself credit for being brave enough to do something. I can honestly say, however, that once done a wonderful sense of freedom always followed. Letting go of the old put me in that realm  of new possibilities which is always exhilarating. To me this is what keeps life interesting and may allow for those wonderful moments of pure happiness.

October scenes of Victoria Beach.

October scenes of Victoria Beach.

The Fundy Rose ferry at dock in Digby taken from Victoria Beach.

The Fundy Rose ferry at dock in Digby taken from Victoria Beach.

Beating the Heat in Bangkok

Thailand’s present prime minister, an ex- military general who took on the task of governing this complex country just over six months ago, has been quoted as saying he would like to see Bangkok become the “Dubai of the East”. Judging by the number of sky scrapers and shopping centers cropping up all over the city I am guessing he was serious about this ‘off the cuff’ remark. Then again perhaps it’s a fluke or a case of be careful what you wish for as it may come true. Whatever the reason, Bangkok is starting to look like a world class city.

Thailand is not an ideal place to be at the end of March or the month of April. Being so close to the equator in the midst of summer means temperatures in the high 30’s with extremely high humidity. I definitely wasn’t looking forward to returning after having at least a few ocean breezes and the beach in Koh Lanta. However, to my surprise, I was more comfortable here than I was on the island.

I know it doesn’t make sense so I feel I must come up with an explanation for such a ridiculous turn of events. Or perhaps you might have already guessed why this is so. Bangkok like all cosmopolitan cities in Asia is concerned about its popularity as a leading tourist destination so it’s crucial for them to keep the tourists coming this time of the year in spite of the heat. Their solution is to air condition the whole city especially the places where tourists are apt to go. We can leave the comfort of our air-conditioned hotel rooms for the air-conditioned sky train and subway which can take us quickly and cheaply to the numerous air-conditioned shopping malls conveniently located at strategic stops. Once you decide which of the many shopping centres you want to go to, you can easily spend the whole day there eating, doing your blog as I am doing in one of the many cafes, take in a movie, be lucky enough to come across some form of entertainment, skate, bowl or shop! Isn’t that what they are for, or should I say WERE for? Seems like most people are there for the same reason as me and that is to keep cool and at the same time enjoy the atmosphere, people watch, catch up on our E-mails, and eat. Shopping is secondary activity except for well-heeled Thai but certainly not for tourists like me on a budget.

I am staying once again at my old haunt – the Atlanta Hotel on Sukhumvit Road, the longest street in the city. I am smack dab in the midst of the exclusive, high-end shopping malls, such as the trio of Siams which draw hoards of people. There is Siam Paragon for serious shoppers and foodies. Here you can take in a movie or see a concert in the theatre. Andre Bocelli, that wonderful Italian opera singer is performing here this week. Siam Centre is the latest addition to this huge complex catering to the youmger set with trendy merchandise, cake/coffee shops galore, and packed with students. The third member of this group is Siam Discovery where Madame Tusseau’s wax museum is housed. Oh yes, I forgot to mention the Aquarium located in the Paragon which is another huge draw.

Then there is Central World, the largest shopping mall in SE Asia. If you follow the rather bizarre politics in Thailand, you may remember that this was the mall which was torched by the Red Shirts a few years ago. It’s been rebuilt and is now bigger and better than it ever was. It is not so upscale so draws more middle class shoppers looking for good buys. This one has a skating rink which the Thai kids really love. Just a few blocks from Central are a couple of smaller centers such as the very upscale Gaysom centre always beautifully decorated, never very busy but always fun to look at. I have yet to put my foot in any of them. This year I discovered yet another mall called Central Embassy just a short walk from my hotel. This one out classes all the others in its modern design and types of stores. It has a store that only sells champagne. It has little tables where you can sit and sip it by the glass. Business was rather slow when I walked by so I guess this hasn’t caught on yet.

My most exciting discovery was another huge centre which apparently has been around for awhile but is now becoming a favourite with Thai and tourists alike. Terminal 21 is located at the Asok sky train stop. As shoppers enter, they are immediately transported into an international airport with gates (in this case escalators) taking visitors to some of the world’s most exciting cities. I visited them all the day I spent there – Rome, Istanbul, Paris, London, and San Francisco. This was without a doubt one of the most creative malls I have ever seen. Each level represents one of the cities with tiny streets radiating outwards from a central court. My favourite was London. There was the British bobby, Carnaby Street, the red, double decker bus, and the telephone booths. The only piece missing was British food. This was true of all the cities on all the levels. Here the creativity was lost as all the food options were similar to what you would find in any Bangkok mall. How great if the mall planners had some how got restaurants to offer foods representative of the city they were in.

Spending three days checking out Bangkok’s exclusive shopping malls is not my preferred way of visiting this city but for this time of year it was the answer for me. I would have liked to have ventured down to the Chao Pra River and stayed there as I did in December. The Uma Residence was out of the question this time as they no longer were offering their promotion special putting it beyond my budget. I have stayed at the Atlanta every year so it has become almost a second home. It’s still within my budget, comfortable, and does have a swimming pool which also helped  to keep me cool. However, the real plus was that it put me so close to the sky train and all the shopping centres which really helped me cope with the heat.

I took too many pictures of my days at these malls which I still can’t post with this article. However, I will be posting some on Facebook for anyone who uses it. Betty Wright on Facebook should do it.