These are eight, random "Daily Photographs" from my personal Flickr collection.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

You Say Renminbi; I say Yuan.

We jumped on the SkyTrain and took a trip to Metrotown. I don't think I had been in the Metropolis mall this summer at all. I'm not ashamed by that. I generally laugh to myself when I see crowds going to hang out at a shopping center on a beautiful, sunny BC day.

I didn't really venture far into the main mall today, but we went expressly for the Crystal Mall that sits across a street next to Willingdon. That is a Chinese mall and we figured it'd be a good place to buy a few Renminbi to have for our stopover in China. I cannot believe we had never been inside that mall as it recently celebrated its 16th year since opening! There's a small fresh food market inside as well as a few floors of various businesses. The food court looks as though it may require a return trip. It's a considerably shorter trip going there than heading to downtown Chinatown.

We're going to be spending three nights in Ghangzhou on our way to SE Asia for the winter. We figured having the equivalent of $CA60 as spare cash would be useful upon arrival, especially since the conversation rate seems to be better than what we will be able to get at the airport in China.

Crystal Mall Food Market
Money Exchange
About $CA60

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Would You Be My Valentina?

2016_10_22We stuck with doing the grocery shopping on Saturday mornings. I realize for some people it seems a chore, but I rather like going to the large Superstore in Coquitlam. I can bitch and complain about how cheap things used to be here twenty years ago. I like seeing all the other people filling their trolleys with food we'd never purchase. The assortment of food is quite crazy and this branch has a pretty good aisle for ethnic foods.

The item in the picture wasn't purchased today, although I did open it at lunchtime. The other week I spotted a little shop called New Generation Foods up on Edmonds Street in Burnaby. We stopped and I was happy to see Valentina sauce bottles. The last time I bought a bottle of that was during our first winter of retirement in Puerto Vallarta. The salsa is hot but that is not the predominant reason I like it. It seems as if folks from that part of Mexico love the taste of limes. It is produced in Guadalajara in the state of Jalisco. This is hot and bitter at the same time and it goes well dumped on just about anything, except dessert.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Keeping Life Simple

I'll be the first to admit I've never really become proficient with electronic calendars. I remember that was a primary goal of a PDA. Yeah, I am talking about the ancient form of electronic pocket device in the years before the widespread adoption of smartphones; a personal digital assistant. Of course, you thought ... public display of affection. Don't deny it.

Calendar App

It's not that I'm averse to gadgets at all. The reason for my unfamiliarity stems from the fact I have always managed to keep my life extremely simple. There has never been the need for help keeping a personalized schedule. In fact, I used to go so far as to comment that people who needed a daily organizer should probably un-clutter their lives. And if one finds there aren't enough hours in a day, then it is pretty obvious that something drastic needs changing!

I will admit I am now using Google Calendar a bit more. It is useful to set up reoccurring dates and anniversaries. I like seeing them each morning on the app's 'screen widget' on both my tablet and phone. I also like the tie-in to Gmail where all flight information or hotel reservations get added automatically from my inbox data. I'm even finding the electronic calendar useful for organizing our winters away now that we have retired. For example, I can easily remember the holidays or other special events for the countries we visit.

Next, I would learn how to use my calendar's reminders. Yet, thankfully I guess, I'm not having trouble remembering things just yet.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

We Seldom Visit the Branch

HSBCI guess, in this day and age, it's nice to have a bank call just to arrange for a little chat. Our 'Relationship Manager' wanted to ensure that all aspects of our needs were being met. We went up to see Raymond this afternoon for a 2 o'clock appointment.

There was little to actually do as it's an area where things are pretty simple and straightforward. We were able to verify there was nothing needing attention. Having him want to check before our winter away was a really nice touch though.

That does remind me that I'll also need to call the credit card support number to provide our winter itinerary. Without a little warning, a sudden charge from a restaurant in Cambodia might be flagged as a little suspicious!

We've never had money trouble in all the years of travelling we've done. That, of course, goes back to the days when $US traveller's cheques were the predominant and primary method for financing a journey.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Retirement Anniversary


We both took early retirement two years ago this week. My last class occurred on Wednesday, October 22, 2014. However, Jay was working weekends at the time and today marks his last day of employment two years ago. He beat me by three days.

We are not big cake eaters anymore, so I bought this small, Safeway piece to share in acknowledgement of the day. I don't want to sound trite, but it's hard to believe how quickly two years have flown by. Wouldn't want to change a thing!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

On Columbia and Carnarvon Streets

Columbia St. In October

After staying here for twenty autumns, I think of this season a bit differently now.

In the lower mainland of BC, I am not assaulted by the brash and vivid colours of leaves, but rather enjoy the muting of tones toward an overall grey. The clouds start to roll in to temper the neon blue skies of early September. It's a time to consider slowing down. Hectic growth and the activities of summer begin to lull.

I find it relaxing. Yet for the last few years and the foreseeable future, it also signals the preparation for a winter away.

The Courts

Monday, October 17, 2016

NW Public Library

This morning I visited the New Westminster Public Library. I'd received an email that a book was coming due later in the week and also that a hold put on a travel book had been saved for me.


Over the years, I've mentioned our city's public library here a lot. I do find it a tranquil space even when full of patrons. It is quite a hike from downtown and because the weather is behaving a bit like January, I drove up today. One area where our lovely library falls short is its lack of available parking. There's just not enough area around the building! I did manage to sneak into a spot today though.

I realized I've not been inside as often this summer as in the past. I really have to make an effort to duck inside more often.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Help Ban Unnecessary Noise

See directly on YouTube


I heard this 73 times yesterday. I can hear the announcements when the TV is on and the windows are closed. I can hear from my bed. I live on a high floor behind the open Columbia Station. The PA system was used only for emergency instructions from 1998 to 2014. For example when there was a problem train or medical emergency. Now, it is a constant battle to try to turn off unnecessary 'informational' messages. Since Friday, these new ones have been playing every 10 minutes or 6 times per hour between 8AM and 8PM. We are retired and manage to hear all 73 on some days.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Worth a Thousand Words

Friday, October 14, 2016

Surrey City Centre

I'm glad I decided to go over in the morning by SkyTrain. The blustery storm that's blowing now would make walking outside pretty damp and difficult.

Central City

I'm D352. I chose a busy day.

Posted by Dennis Sylvester Hurd on Friday, October 14, 2016

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Ignoring a Reminder

The reminder for my truck insurance renewal arrived in my post box this week. ICBC always mails these out more than a month before one's car insurance coverage lapses.

The thing is, nowadays, I can ignore them. I bought exactly seven months of insurance when we got back from Egypt last winter. This will bring me right up until November 19th. By chance that is exactly the final day I might need a vehicle, as our flight to Penang, through Ghangzhou, departs the next morning. I must learn to appreciate it more when things in life line up perfectly. I will again renew at an agency when we arrive back to stay in April 2017.

Renewal Notice

Lots of people don't understand how it's cheaper to leave the hemisphere and head off to exotic locations for the winter months. It's not rocket science. For example, for five months we'll save on things such as utilities and vehicle insurance. It will honestly be very affordable for us to travel to the other side of the earth to escape the rainy season here. I expect it will also be more exciting, educational, and life-altering. I have never gone somewhere far away and come back the same person.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Batten Down the Hatches

I'm relishing today's sunshine. The clouds from the first storm of a series of three are just starting to sneak into the area now. Warnings from Environment Canada have the rain starting in the evening and getting severe in the early hours of tomorrow morning in Metro Vancouver. Over the next few days more than 200 mm (nearly 8 inches) of rain is expected to fall over on the island. We may end up with just half that amount in my city of New Westminster.


Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Back to Blogging about Beer

It is so awesomely beautiful outside today, that when my eyes are open, it nearly takes my breath away. The sun's so bright, the sky's so blue, and the mountains are so clear and imposing. I drove over the Pattullo Bridge to get some beer, mostly with my eyes open. I don't mind driving to Central City Brewing to fill my growlers. At around 11:00 AM the traffic is light on the bridge. It takes only a few minutes to the brewery which is 5 KM from where I live.

I went thinking to purchase a whole gallon of Red Racer India Style Red Ale. Although I've never tried it, I know the special IPA would be agreeable. It simply sounds like something I'd like.


Unfortunately, the gal couldn't fulfill my request. Therefore, I went with two quarts of Red Racer Super Stellar IPA. I can never get enough of that stuff although it has an IBU of 68. Call me a hophead. My other choice was a growler of Red Racer White Ale. Can't say I ever tried this one but I do enjoy variety. I guess I have limits though. For example, I passed on the Red Racer Raspberry Wheat Ale this time around.

It just didn't seem like the right time for a fruit beer when a system of enormous storms is heading this way and due to arrive by the end of the week. By then, I suppose I could fill my one remaining growler with Steel & Oak Brown Ale. That'd be perfect for stormy weather and their brewery is, in fact, much closer to where I live.

Beer in the Fridge

Monday, October 10, 2016

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving!


Although the huge meal occurred last night in Richmond, I didn't get around to taking the pictures off the camera until today. Jay took every single photo of the evening.

I have sort of fallen for Snapseed for editing images before their archival on Flickr. I like trying for a mood and seeing if I can create it in a photo. Here, I was aiming to impart a feeling of tradition and relaxation, except for Shinji who's still working hard in the kitchen. Of course, as in most every shot of the evening, my mouth is open.

Sunday, October 09, 2016

An Annual Tradition

For most of this millennium, we've been fortunate to get an invite for a Canadian Thanksgiving meal. This year was no exception as we returned to Richmond. We got there around four o'clock in the afternoon and started right off with appetizers. The cranberry champagne flowed far too freely early on.

Beautiful Richmond
Sunny Afternoon

When dinner was served, I heaped my plate so high, I didn't need to go in for seconds. We talked and discussed for hours.

Happy Thanksgivng
2016 Bird

I feel fortunate in being able to celebrate these friendships each and every October. The hosts do far too much to ensure such a feast. I want to thank them profusely.

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