Tag Archives: USA

Hump Day Rant Day

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Hump Day Rant Day

Today is the last day in June. And I’m still in the USA and haven’t made it back to Canada yet. July 5th is on the horizon. Perhaps Canada’s stance on the border will be more clearly stated. Or not. It’s been pretty ambiguous up until now.

The way I see it Americans are being discriminated against. Fully vaccinated with Pfizer, as a Canadian I will finally be able to return without the ridiculous cash grab quarantine. However my friends here in the USA who have had the same vaccine are not extended that privilege.

While Covid had the potential to cause a world war, Trudeau’s stubbornness is inciting rebellions among Canadians as well as Americans. Never in history has Canada been so divided. Patriotism is all but dead.

When I finally do return to Canada I know that I will be sacrificing a lot. I will not have the freedom I have here in the USA. I will not enjoy the same quality of life I have here. And I will be counting the days until I can return to Aguascalientes for the winter.

But I want to hug my kids. I want my granddaughter to know that I am a real person and don’t just live in a phone where we see each other on video calls.

Just A Number

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Just A Number

Last weekend I celebrated another birthday. At this stage of the game, age is just a number. It does not dictate what you should or should not be doing. It also should not rule your life.

I live a very unconventional life. It’s never what I envisioned my life to be at this age. In fact, four years ago I was living a more conservative life. I was living and teaching in Mazatlan. I had been there for four years.

The fall of 2018 brought many changes. I flew from Seattle to Guadalajara, where I extended my stay to two weeks. Then it was off to Mazatlan for a long weekend. Next came a week in Culiacan with my family.

I wound up in San Ciro de Acosta and somehow extended that stay to just under three months. I then discovered Aguascalientes and stayed there for three months.

Covid curtailed my travels. Eleven months in Aguascalientes and eight months here in Washington state and the travel bug has hit. I’ve been vaccinated and things are opening up in America and this nomad will finally once again be on the move next weekend.

I get really mixed reactions from my friends. I have encouraging friends who say “Go for it! Live your dream!” Many of these friends envy what I’m doing as they aren’t able to.

And then there are the friends who say “I could never do what you’re doing. Isn’t it about time you settled down? You’re not getting any younger.”

EXACTLY! I’m not getting any younger! So while my health permits, I intend to keep traveling. There are so many amazing new people to meet and incredible new adventures to be had.

Age is just a number.

Taking A Break

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Taking A Break

Courtesy of The Winnipeg Free Press I am sent daily emails updating the status of Covid statistics and restrictions in the province of Manitoba as well as across Canada. I’m done. I’m not reading this garbage anymore. It’s too depressing and it makes me angry. Here in the USA 50% of all adults have been vaccinated while Canada lags far behind. The USA has a much higher population than Canada and a federal election was held at the peak of the pandemic. Canadians are reluctant to hold an election. And as for living in a police state, I think this Canadian is in no hurry to return home when I can enjoy the freedom I have here in the USA.

As I’m writing this, I’m looking out at the river and notice the growing Canada Goose population on the lawn. Even the geese are quite content to stay here and not fly farther north up into Canada.

I celebrated another birthday on the weekend. While I had a wonderful day with friends, I had hoped to be with my kids. However they are in Canada. Maybe next year.

I downloaded the Amtrak app on my phone last night. I’m planning on taking off for a while and doing some traveling in June. While I’ve taken Via Rail in Canada, I’m a rookie with Amtrak. But I am definitely looking forward to it. The mountains and the ocean will provide some fabulous views.

As far as flying goes, the attraction was lost long before Covid. Airports the size of small cities and long lineups in security have become my norm. Did you know that the airport in Dallas has its own zip code? No, I don’t plan on flying anywhere for a while yet.

Then there are the ferries. I’ve taken a few of those in Washington state. I find looking out at the water quite relaxing. The shorelines are also interesting. I’ve taken ferries around the San Juan islands, to the peninsulas as well as to Stehekin. And I’ve enjoyed all of those rides.

The Memorial Day weekend is coming up. Attending a barbecue as well as a maskless church service are only two of the activities already lined up. Hopefully the forecast of 80s and sunshine will be accurate.

Time to practice my Spanish with Duolingo. Hasta luego!

Rant Rant Rant

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Rant Rant Rant

These are my golden years. These are my retirement years. These are times meant to be spent with family. These are times meant to be spent pursuing interests that never fit in with working years. The reality is that these are now Covid years instead.

A year ago the madness had just begun. There was a frenzy of tourists flocking back to their native countries. There was fear among those who found themselves stranded in foreign countries. Cancelled flights and border closings became the norm.

I was in Mexico when all this started. And I still haven’t made it back to Canada yet. I wonder if I ever will. I never thought I’d say that I feel safer in the USA but I feel that way now. I also enjoy a lot more freedom and have a better quality of life.

Canada can best be described as a complete gong show in terms of the mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic and the inefficiency of the distribution of vaccines. The ambiguities surrounding the quarantine and subsequent restrictions serve to only increase confusion and promote unnecessary fear. And don’t even get me started on the mental health issues associated with all the negativity resulting from shutting the economy down.

The CDC issued a Level 4 travel advisory this week. DO NOT TRAVEL TO CANADA. Is this merely a retaliatory tactic against Trudeau’s policy of protecting Canadians from being infected by their southern neighbors by keeping the land borders closed?

The way things are right now, the Americans are doing amazingly better in terms of vaccinations. Perhaps the Americans should be concerned that the Canadians are the ones who pose the real danger until Canada gets its act together.

If it were up to me, I’d open up the borders and eliminate the quarantine. I want to travel to Canada to see my family who live in two different provinces. My Canadian friends accuse me of becoming a rebel like the Americans. But this Canadian prefers to be a rebel living in the USA right now rather than a sheep up in Canada.

Still Searching

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Still Searching

Nestled in the Cascade Mountains, Leavenworth has captured my heart. Plop it down in Mexico and it would be called a pueblo magico, a magic town.

The downtown area along Front Street is especially charming. It’s easy to forget you’re in the USA. Instead it’s like being transported to a quaint Bavarian village with an incredible mountain view as a backdrop.

The gazebo. Fond memories of hearing amazing musicians such as Alpenfolk. During the accordion festival the parade of accordionists ended here with a gala performance. Maifest and Octoberfest celebrations. And so much more. But it now stands eerily quiet as though it too were infected with Covid.

Bears are everywhere here. I admit I prefer these ones to the real ones whose favorite pastimes seem to be coming into the town to raid the trash cans.

This sign in front of one of the many restaurants caught my eye.

What appeals most to me is small town life. It’s more relaxing and people are friendlier. If Leavenworth were in Canada this nomad would seriously consider settling down permanently.

Two Down And Done

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Two Down And Done

Yesterday I had my second dose of the vaccine. Now to wait another couple of weeks until it’s fully effective.

A year ago today I was in Aguascalientes. Masks were not yet mandatory. Restaurants and parks were open. There were no temperature checks or health survey forms. Schools were open.

I wonder what life will be like one year from now. Will masks still be part of our wardrobe?

We went to Sage Hills Church in Wenatchee on Sunday. It reminds me of Church of the Rock in Winnipeg. But Washingtonians are rebels so no masks or physical distancing in this huge sanctuary.

Costco was a zoo on Sunday. However masks are required. Limited menu in the food area and no sauerkraut or onions for the hot dogs.

Now that I’ve been vaccinated I feel more comfortable about traveling again. I’m not used to staying in one place for such a long period of time. Last year I was in Aguascalientes for 11 months with only one side trip to Culiacan. In another week I’ll have been in Washington state for 6 months.

It’s a wait and see game as to when I’ll leave here and where I’ll go. I’d like to go to Canada before returning to Mexico in the fall. But with all the quarantine and other restrictions it doesn’t really appeal.

My Canadian friends envy me because I have been vaccinated already. They still have a long wait ahead of them.

I remember when the vaccines first came out. I was reluctant to be vaccinated. But I travel a lot, and it’s only a matter of time before airlines will require proof of vaccination for international travel.

Two down and done.

Two Countries Two Different Worlds

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Two Countries Two Different Worlds

When I talk to my friends in Winnipeg, it sounds like we live in two completely different worlds, despite the fact that the USA and Canada share a border.

Friday night we went out for dinner to Wok About, a Mongolian Barbecue style restaurant. We bumped into my friend who was there with her two grandchildren. And we all sat at a table together to have dinner. Four different households at one table. A buffet style restaurant. And in Winnipeg if you want to share a table you need to produce ID to prove you actually reside at the same address.

Let’s talk church. They’ve been open here for a while now. And even when they weren’t supposed to be open they were open. Masks are optional in several churches. Attempts at physical distancing aren’t always successful either.

Then there is the other extreme here in Washington state. Masks are required on public transit. Masks are required to enter most stores although Safeway tends to look the other way.

I met with my immigration attorney earlier in the week. He took my temperature and I had to sign a health form. And masks were mandatory throughout the two hour meeting. I almost felt like I was in Canada.

Walking through downtown Leavenworth on the weekend I’ve noticed that the majority of people wear masks. Until they sit down at all the outdoor tables that line the main street. Lots of restaurant seating when the streets are closed to vehicular traffic.

Texas leads the way in doing away with masks and other restrictions. And I thought Washingtonians were rebels.

When I tell my friends here what’s going on back in Winnipeg and the rest of Canada in terms of quarantine and other restrictions, they don’t believe it. Until I show them the newspaper articles and other news reports. Their response is always “They could never do that here in the USA. We wouldn’t stand for it.”

Please don’t even get me started on the quarantine cash grab issue in Canada right now. This is yet another example of the disorganization and inefficiency of the way Canada is mishandling this pandemic.

For the time being, I intend to mask up when necessary and maintain physical distancing when possible. And I’m looking forward to getting my second shot on Tuesday, months ahead of when I’d be vaccinated if I were in Canada.

Time To Vent

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Time To Vent

Is it just me or is anyone else having trouble remembering things BC? Before Covid is starting to feel like a far away dream.

Why can’t the children play nicely in the sandbox? Democrats and Republicans need to put the people of the USA first instead of merely themselves.

Back in 1968 the downfall of Canada began with the election of Trudeau as prime minister. And now in 2021 Trudeaumania continues with the next generation in the form of the mishandling of the Covid situation and the latest ridiculous cash grab re quarantine.

COVID-19 isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. I expect that it will be around long after my lifetime comes to a close. It’s time to acknowledge this and learn to live with it.

Vaccines will not make Covid disappear. Travel is far from the leading cause of transmission of this virus. Rewarding people with more money to stay at home rather than work is disgusting.

Avoiding bankruptcies and lowering the suicide rate is where the focus should be.

That’s my rant for today.

Wear your mask, wash your hands often and do your best to maintain physical distance. Maybe then we stand a chance of opening up the world again. Maybe then we’ll be able to hug our kids and grandkids again instead of just blowing kisses on video calls.

To Trump Or Not To Trump

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To Trump Or Not To Trump

To Trump Or Not To Trump. That is the question. My sincerest apologies to William Shakespeare.

I am a Canadian. I am not an American citizen. Although I spend a considerable amount of time in the USA, I am a visitor here and have absolutely no affiliation with any political party in this country. I intentionally distance myself from politics.

I was here in Washington state when Trump was elected back in 2016. The atmosphere today in 2020 is significantly different from that in the last election. Families have been torn apart. Animosity between neighbors is clearly visible. Placards in yards have been vandalized and even stolen. Unwelcome graffiti with the letters BLM has arrived in town.

I have close friends who are staunch Trumpers. To them Donald Trump is a paragon of virtue. He is a true Christian because he is pro-life. He has done wonders for the economy of this country. He has a stellar reputation when it comes to international relations. He puts the citizens of this country first and foremost when deliberating policies such as healthcare and immigration. When it comes to the handling of the pandemic they are in total agreement that Covid-19 is nothing more than a mere flu bug and that is no reason to shut down an entire economy. They angrily claim that their rights have been violated when asked to wear masks or abide by restrictions in order to prevent the spread of the virus. They are also convinced that should Trump not be reelected, this country is doomed.

I also have close friends who are anti-Trumpers. They are in total opposition to what the Trumpers believe. They view Trump and his followers as a cult. They say that these followers have been brainwashed and that there are no resources available to reprogram these lost souls. They feel that Biden is the only key to unlock the door that will restore this country to the formidable world power that it once was before Trump incited the beginnings of a civil war. They want this immoral monster stopped in his tracks. They have completely lost faith and trust in their president. They are fed up with his lies and empty promises.

As I stated above, I have no political affiliation. I have merely put into written words what has been voiced to me by friends. What I do see is a nation divided as well as a dangerously high level of civil unrest. The country as a whole has been weakened and brought to its knees. Unfortunately I also see other countries in the world rejoicing that the USA has now found itself in this predicament.

Election day is almost upon us. Now more than ever before is a time for much needed prayer.

All Aboard!

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All Aboard!

This spring I had planned on taking the Coastliner from LA to Seattle on my way back to Leavenworth. But that will have to wait until COVID-19 is under control in the USA.

The one and only time I was on a train in Mexico was in December of 2010. This was the most amazing train ride I’ve ever taken in my life. El Chepe in the Copper Canyon area in northern Mexico is an absolute must for every visitor to this country. I did a four day three night excursion that included a variety of activities such as visiting missions, a cable car ride, spectacular mountain views and stays in beautiful hotels along the way.

My first train trip was from Winnipeg to London, Ontario when I was eight years old. I really don’t remember much about that trip other than the card games I played with my Dad. I also can still see the porters making up the berths at night. Their starched white smocks were in striking contrast to their dark skin. Back then I’d never encountered racism and just accepted that all porters on trains were black. The innocent eyes of a child.

My Mom and I took a train to Minneapolis to go clothes shopping once. Winnipeg really wasn’t known for fashion back then. And I must admit I still prefer to shop in the USA.

Another memorable train ride was back when I was in high school. This was a long trip from Winnipeg to Halifax, Nova Scotia. I participated in a student exchange program called The Young Voyageurs that was created as an event to celebrate Canada’s Centennial. A highlight along the way was spending a day at Expo 67 in Montreal.

The Prairie Dog Central is a train that goes from Winnipeg to Gross Isle and operates during the summer. It’s also a steam engine. I recall taking my kids on it when they were young. They loved it as most of their travels usually involved busy airports and crowded flights where they weren’t able to wander around as freely.

Another regular train ride in the summer was at Assiniboine Park in Winnipeg. This coal fuelled train went around the park and passed by the zoo and the cricket fields.

And then there are the trains at Bush Intercontinental and Sea-Tac, as well as Via Rail and the Go Train I’ve taken in Ontario. And the subways I’ve ridden in Toronto and Guadalajara. I can’t say any of these are my favorites but they are efficient.

Here in Mexico I’ve been on quaint miniature train rides in shopping malls and in town squares in Sinaloa, Jalisco and Guadalajara. I also went on a miniature train ride in Wenatchee.

Amtrak…..I hope to see you once it’s safer to travel again in the USA.