27 februari 2011

Some late season snow


It's almost March, but we had some 5-10 centimeters of snow overnight. Temp was hovering around zero, snow turned to snow when I type this. But had some fun outside!

This is in Deep Cove. In the background is the boat house where the Deep Cove Rowing Club stores their boats. Ge-an had mentioned they start rowing outside tomorrow again... Maybe not :)

Grandparents had sent some cool swimming trunks. On Sunday Robin and Jamie go to swimming lessons. Thought it was funny yo show the contrast :)

More foto's in our Flickr stream

Posted by Brijn at 12:13 pm | Comments (0)

30 december 2010

A quick photo post


Just a quick post with a link to our Flickr site with some freshly uploaded pictures. The weather was very nice over the last few days.


Posted by Brijn at 05:27 pm | Comments (0)

04 oktober 2010

Callaghan lake Provincial Park

Having only spent one weekend camping this seasons, we really wanted to get out at least once more. The forecast for the weekend was pretty good.
We took of Saturday morning with the idea to camp at Alice Lake, our usual destination, but were unpleasantly surprised by the $30 camping fee. A quick look in our Backcountry Mapbook showed Callaghan Lake Provincial Park as a nice option. We had planned to go to Brandywine Meadows anyway on Sunday, and this was close to it....

Short drive up a nice forest service road brought us to the basic campground. Spent some time stargazing, it was very clear (and dark :)

Next morning we drove up a pretty exciting Forrest Service Road to the snowmobile hut near Brandywine Meadows. Had not driven this car yet on roads like that. Was pretty exciting, but we made it :-)

Make sure to watch in HD :)

Posted by Brijn at 11:53 am | Comments (0)

16 mei 2010

Quick overnighter at Mount Seymour


Robin and I (Bas) went for a quick overnighter at Mount Seymour. Snowcamping in shorts and a T-shirt is pretty special ;-)

Posted by Brijn at 10:32 pm | Comments (0)

09 mei 2010

Summer feeling in Lynn Canyon

The forecast for today was 18grC and sunny, so we want for a quick walk near the Lynn Canyon suspension bridge. After a 15-20 minute walk you are at natural pool. A very nice spot. See pictures at our Flickr Page, and a video below:

Posted by Brijn at 10:08 pm | Comments (0)

14 november 2009

Halloween and the Tooth Fairy

Just a few pictures

Click to get full images

To give you an idea of the decorations done by people for Halloween

Robin and Jamie

More R & J

Good thing that Tooth Fairy came!

Posted by Brijn at 07:52 pm | Comments (0)

26 april 2009

Dutch Canadians!

A Dutch Update!

Last week Ge-an was rowing in a Ouwetaartenrace close to Seattle. On the way there we passed thru Lynden, where 50% of the population is from Dutch descendants.

To continue in the theme we visited the Tulip Festival today...

Ge-an really want me to say that the Ouwentaartenrace is the "Lake Stevens Sculling Regatta". We had heard of Lynden before and noticed it was on a possible scenic route to Lake Stevens.

We managed to arrive there around lunch time. After a bit of searching we found a restaurant that served pannekoeken (Dutch pancakes)!! They didn't pass our Real-Dutch test, but pretty good.

Funny to walk around in Lynden, windmill, clogs and a "Postkantoor":

We camped on the Rivers Meadows campground, around 20 km from Lake Stevens. We dropped Ge-an early in the morning for her races. Robin and Jamie packed up the tent and played for a bit. Around lunch time we headed for Lake Stevens again (so that Jamie could fall asleep in the car).

After an extended, scenic drive (Jamie had a long sleep :)) we saw Ge-an's last race:

This weekend brought very nice weather so we where looking for something outside. On a website we found the "Tulips of the Valley Festival" near Agassiz (a 100 min drive from us).

Not long before we left to Canada we had taken pictures of Robin in a Dutch tulip field. Below is a scan of the 6x6 slide from that day:

We are guessing the nice weather was the reason for the crowds that headed for the Tulip Festival. Visitors where predominantly Asian, the owner however are probably Dutch since the lady at the entrance gate answered us in Dutch when she overheard us talking Dutch ;-)

Below a selection of the pictures we took. A larger selection can be found as a PDF slideshow. This file is 30MB large, so it could take a while, but well worth the wait if we might say so :)





Posted by Brijn at 08:59 pm | Comments (0)

27 augustus 2008

Slowly we turn it into our house

We are not making quick progress with the house renovation. Not a big problem since it's perfectly livable. But once every while we do get inspired and do something...

In this case it was the "overloop" (staircase). A fresh coat of paint, a new halogen light rail. Not to much work, most of the work was in sanding and painting the wood panelling. It was dark brown before, and now a ligt yellow/brown. Turned out a bit yellower then we expected, but close enough.

One of the other things we did was add a picture rail. People who visited us in Rotterdam, The Netherlands might remember the large Innemee we had on the wall:

We bought and where given two smaller works by Innemee that are not in the Rotterdam picture.

We wanted to give them a nice spot in our new house. The straircase was the only place where there was enough room to properly show them.

We just finished hanging them and are pretty happy with the result!

Posted by Brijn at 08:14 pm | Comments (1)

07 augustus 2007

Summer is here...

....and the wheather finally caught up. We had to wait til the end of July before it really started to feel like summer. We had some good days before, but nothing that seemed to last.

With the summer season, the guest season also started. It has been a long time since our last canablog entry and we have had most vistors already. It was a lot of fun having people over. And what is especially nice is that we have lot’s of space for guests, and lots of things to do for them. We can use lots of help with painting, putting in new flooring, cleaning, upgrading the bathroom, and having lots of BBQ’s. Though most of the people seemed to prefer going up Grouse Mountain and visiting Lynn Canyon over helping out with redecorating our house....... strange

So we ended up going up Grouse and walking at Lynn Canyon and visiting Fort Langley too. We had a great week of going on daytrips with my parents and another week of camping with Bas’ parents. And we now know Jamie likes camping too, just like Robin. Jamie was realy fond of eating dirt, eating sticks, eating rocks, eating… well anything he could get in his mouth before we would notice and take it away again. Robin still remembered going camping last year, and how much fun he’d had. And I think he was not disappointed this year either. We had some rainy days and some gorgeous sunny (beach) days. Nice enough to go swimming. On our way back we made a stop in Egmont (aan zee bij de bergen). I wonder where the immmigrants to that place cam from ;-).

A week later when everyone was gone again, Robin went to Pedalheads. With long summers for children (they get 2 months, July and August) and few vacation days for parents (2 weeks in the mimimum here and enough employers stick to that in the first year or 2 you work for them), summer camps for children is a thriving business here. Most of them are daycamps. For Robin it was just like going to daycare but in this case he got biking lessons. They check if children can peddle, if they can brake when asked to, and if they can they simply take of the training wheels and start biking. Robin was a little hesitant at first about biking without his training wheels, but he quickly got the feeling . And now 3 weeks later he is riding around the block as if he never did anything else. There’s a firelane between 2 blocks that is car free and nicely paved. So Robin can go there without us having to worry, and he now loves to ride around the block all by himself.

The street itself is quiet save too. It is a dead end street with lots of traffic bumps, so kids can play safely on the street. One of the most played games here is hockey or street hockey. And of course Robin is very much affected by what he sees, so he had to have a real hockey stick too. For the record all hockey here is “ice-“hockey (a term unknown to Canadians). The other type of hockey is called field hockey, but it’s not nearly as popular as (street)hockey. Give Robin a field hockey stick and he would think it’s a hockey stick for babies. Hockey here is like soccer in Europe without the hooligans. People are passionate about it in a friendly way.

The rest of the time we either enjoy the pool in our complex or we are working in the house. Redecorating takes a long time. Between working, enjoying some summer, playing with and taking care of Robin and Jamie, there is not much time left to work on the house. But with another long weekend last weekend and some help of friends we managed to finish our bedroom. So we can now put our bed back again and Robin and Jamie can have their bedroom again.

The next update will hopefully be a bit quicker.. There are also several video's in the pineline.. Question is, will they ever come out :)

Posted by Brijn at 09:45 pm | Comments (0)

11 april 2007

PS 1282 Walk thru video

Time to go to bed, but I did manage to create a quick-and-dirty walk thru video of our new house. I hope you won't get seasick, I did not bring the steadycam.

Upload is currently going, but in about an hour you should be able to find the video at http://www.brijn.nu/video/2007_0410PS1282.wmv, a 129Mb WMV file.

Posted by Brijn at 10:52 pm | Comments (0)

03 april 2007

Woeheee.. Premier Street 1282

About twenty months after we arrived in Canada we made another big step.. We moved into our new house!

On Saturday the 31st of March we picked up our U-Haul moving truck and loaded all the boxes. In the end we had less help then planned. But with three pair extra ends the loading went pretty quickly.

We had rented a 17" truck.. Turned out to be just right. We didn't have a lot of furniture, but since we decided to leave it all assembled (thinking we had plenty room) it took quite a bit of space in the truck :)

The schedule was pretty tight, officialy we could get into the new house by 12pm. The old appartment had to be empty by 1pm.

We had received the key on Friday so we could get in earlier, but if the house would burn down after we had gone in, but before the official posession time, it would have been an insure nightmare.. So we did go in a bit earlier.. But not much.

All the boxes are now sitting in the living room. We are slowly cleaning things, and moving and unpacking the boxes.. Cleaning was really needed. Two Dutch friends helped us cleaning on Saturday. We estimate that just the kitchen took 12 man hours.. But now it's a nice white instead of the beige it was before :)

First repair: replacing the shower head.. I (Bas) judge hotels, campsites etc by the quality of their showers. During my first shower I discovered this house would score very, very low ;-) Hardly any water was coming out, just enough to get wet.. A quick trip to the Rona (Gamma) fixed the problem.. Shower now scores real high ;-)

We are now thinking that we will start with Robin's room. Painting and laminate. A good practice room with a bit cheaper laminate then what we plan for the living room.

We don't have broadband yet, I hacked together a Wifi solution so that we at least have internet, but bandwidth is very limited. Installation will be next Tuesday. Expect some pictures then.

Time to go to bed. More updates in the near future..

Oh. The new address:

Jamie, Robin, Ge-an and Bas Rijniersce
1282 Premier Street
Vancouver, BC V7J 2H4

Posted by Brijn at 09:33 pm | Comments (0)

11 februari 2007

Yes! We bought a house

Almost two years after we arrived we will move into our new house: 1282 Premier Street, North Vancouver

The house is in an area called Lynnmour. If your memory is really good you might remember a previous entry on Canablog where we how we almost bought a house. This whas in the same area. One of the remarks at the end of that Canablog entry was that we would like to stay in Lynn Valley. We would still prefer that, but it seems unlikely that we can do that with the current house prices.
There is a roughly 60-80k CAD price difference between Lynn Valley and Lynnmour. We now have a house with three floors (well, two and a basement), so of plenty space for our stuff :-)

We where very lucky to get this house, it's was not on the market. But it had been and our realtor ("makelaar") approached the current owner. Turned out she was interested in selling it, but wanted to keep it quiet. She has foster kids, when she puts the house on the market the organization that assigns the kids stops assigning them, removing her only source of income.

Our realtor listed the house for her as a exclusive listing, a listing that is not visible to other realtors and the "Funda" website. Only after the sale has completed the other realtors will be able to see it.

There is a bit of work to do, especially in the basement. But with that much room, we can easily take the projects one by one.

The location is brilliant, a few hundred meters to the west is a path along the river (see the map on top of this post) that we can follow, it leads us to Lynn Canyon park. That is where we now often go to to for a short hike.

All in all, we are pretty happy. We can move in on the 31st of March.

Posted by Brijn at 11:17 am | Comments (0)

31 december 2006


Last day of the year already. One and a half year after we arrived here.. Time is flying :-)

We are in the process of making our first set of Oliebollen. Did you know that the oldest recipe for Oliebollen is from 1667.

How many people in Canada would know that their doughnut is actually a variant of the Dutch oliebol?

From www.zingergersmans.com:

Doughnuts are an American tradition that dates back to the arrival of the Dutch. It seems that the original idea of the American doughnut may actually be tied to a New Year's Eve tradition in the Netherlands. The "oliebol" (the name means, literally, "oil ball") is a yeasted batter with raisins that's fried in hot oil and could be light and fluffy or denser with powdered sugar. One Dutchman I talked to said with a broad smile, "We eat piles of them for New Year's Eve in Holland." The American name? Of course no one really knows but it could well be that early recipes suggested that the cook make up little "nuts" of dough to fry.

We wanted to buy some premade Oliebollen mix that we use in The Netherlands. But the Holland Shop had sold out, so we are now using a recipe to make it from scratch.

Not much else happened, a major storm caused a bit of trouble (250.000 households lost their power). Stanley park had some major damage, look at the pictures in this thread on a hiking site i follow to get a feel for the damage.

Next weekend I'm (Bas) planning my first real backcountry trip. Objective is Needle Peak. I'll be going with somebody I haven't actually met yet. But we both follow Club Tread, the hiking site linked above. We are both at the same stage, did some climbing courses and now want to make the step the more "real" climbing. Needle Peak is hardly a mountaineering destiunation, but you have to start somewhere :-)

After three months of staying at home, Ge-an will have to start working again on the 2nd of Jan.. That will be a big change, we have to get into an efficient routing to get both kids and ourselves to daycare/work.

Ge-an might add something a bit later....Well let's do it right now. My addition would be about the boys :-). They are both doing great. Jamie is growing and growing, as a baby should. He has nice "michelin" legs. And he is starting to make his first ure ure sounds. He is a very happy baby, we get lots of big smiles from him.

Robin is the being the real toddlere he is. He can make you laugh one moment and get under your skin the next. A good thing for him is just to get outside and run or play in the snow or mud, bike or ride his scooter (and no that not a scooter but a "step" in Dutch) whatever is available.

For now: Best Wishes for the new Year

Posted by Brijn at 06:33 pm | Comments (2)

06 mei 2006

What we miss in Canada

In our budget we have included a trip to the "Holland Shopping Centre" in New Westminster every two months..

To give you an idea what we miss we included the shopping list below:

1550g licorice,$20.00 [Drop]
6x Raisin buns, $2.79$ [Krentenbol]
AH Gevulde koek, $6.15
Barkhuis groninger cake, $3.95 [Ontbijtkoek]
6x Bolletje beschuit, $6.60
Dinteloord syrup, $3.15 [Stroop]
2x DeRuiter chocolate flakes, pure, 300g, $10.38 [Chocolade vlokken]
1x DeRuiter vlokfeest, 300g, $4.95 [Chocolade vlokken]
1x DeRuiter white anise hail, 300g, $3.99 [Anijshagel]
AH appelstroop, $3.85
Medium Gouda, 710g, $13.42 [Kaas]

To add a Dutch finish to the day we made some pancakes with stroop" for diner :-)

Posted by Brijn at 07:09 pm | Comments (0)

01 februari 2006

BC has never seen this much snow

Two mails yesterday: One from Whistler "It's official Jan 06 is the snowiest month in recorded history"... They got 469cm of snow in ONE month :-) Seymour just mentioned that they had 500cm+ in this season...

Yes, live is good :-) Skiing was one of the reasons for moving here. We are trying to make most of it. We use the excuse that we have to find a nice place to go to with my (Bas) parents next Winter.

Last weekend we headed out to Big White. A bit further from Vancouver (about 4.5h), but many people recommended it as a cheaper and more family friendly version of Whistler.

The trip to Big White was interesting, the scenery varied from extremely winter'ish (Coquihalla Highway) to almost summer'ish (around Merritt).

Big White is a resort that was build from scratch. They looked for a nice mountain, build a road to it and created some ski runs. As a result every building is Ski-In/Ski-Out, pistes run thru the city, pretty amazing.

The skiing was nice as well. Pics at Gallery,also see this nice video (top link on the page, 32Mb)!)..
From the Important-News-Front, Ge-an has found a new job at Arc'Teryx, a very cool high-end, outdoor clothing/backpacks company. Just a bicycle ride away, that will beat the 40min drive to Ikea :) Also no weekend shifts, altough that is not entirely true.. If the contract is signed tomorrow (Thursday here), the first days on the job are Fri/Sat/Sun. The fact that it's a product introduction in Whistler does soften the pain a bit ;-)

On the other work front (Bas), there is nice trip to Korea coming up. In Korea the ships are build on the Samsung shipyard. I will be there to install the computer systems on a new ship. Hopefully I'll also be joining the naming ceremony. Must be pretty interesting..

And off course we won't forget Robin. He himself will make sure we won't. Lately he's has been everything from an owl to a baby kangeroo. The later is his favourite pretend animal. It allows him to jump and jump and jump all day long. Also when I (Ge-an) will start my new job Robin will go to daycare fulltime. His english will improve even faster then.

Posted by Brijn at 07:21 pm | Comments (1)

04 januari 2006

The new year (and a bit of the old)

The last update has been awhile ago. We had our third visit from Europe. My (Bas) parents came over for the Christmas and new year.. We spent just over a week in Whistler, planning to ski there...

But when we arrived the freezing level was at 2500meters. A bit of a problem when the highest mountain is 2200 meter. I had been there a week earlier for an avalanche course. Minus nine, and clear skies.. A lot of change in a week..

Fortunately the freezing level dropped enough later to produce snow every night. In the nine days we where there over a meter of snow was added to the snowpack. Yeahhh!
Whistler is well known for it's huge off-piste area. We only tried a little bit of it, but it was loads of fun. Movies will be added later (with over an hour of raw material; it takes a while to convert it into something nice).

Pictures can be found at http://gallery.brijn.nu/whisdec05

While we were in Whistler it continued to rain on the local (Vancouver) mountains, causing all the ski areas to close down. They are fearing a repeat of last year, a wasted season with hardly any snow.. But fortunately over the last two days they got some fresh snow. Enough for a nice snowshoe walk on Mount Seymour for my parents.

My parents are leaving tomorrow again for the Netherlands. The next visitors will be in the summer again.. Several people are planning to come.. Maybe you can let us know when you plan to come:
- Arrival date
- Days you want to stay with us
- Departure date
It would be a bit of a shame if you all come at the same time, and you have to sleep in the garden (Although we do have a tent available in case of emergencies :)) or worse, under the carport..

When the movies are ready i'll post an update..

Only thing left is to wish everybody a good new year!


Posted by Brijn at 07:40 pm | Comments (0)

13 december 2005

Live as usual

it's only 4(.5) months after we arrived here, but we have really settled into our new lives...

There are obviously things that continue to amaze us, like working a full day and then still go for a few hours of skiing ;-)

Ge-an has started at Ikea in the returns department, a good way to build some Canadian work experience. Something that employers here really want to see.

We also celebrated our first St Klaas overseas. Sinterklaas arrived by paddle wheeler (raderboot) in New Westminster. A surprisingly large group of people was there to welcome St Klaas and his black Peet's. Probably a lot of second generation Dutch immigrants. Since we had shown Robin the Sinterklaas journaal over the internet he was well prepared and really enjoyed it.

We also experimented with St Klaas via Webcam. It worked quite well, both sides had sent a box with gifts beforehand. We took turns in opening presents and reading poems. Certainly not as good as "live" but still OK, especially if you think about it, there is 15,000km between the two ends :-). Robin got some really nice Dutch gifts.... Klompen, which he now wants to wear everyday (he loves the noise they make). And skates, which we still have to try.

As of december 1 all Canadians are preparing for the other St. Clause. All the streets and shops show christmas decorations. In the mall here there is a Santa you can visit and take pictures with. Opening hours 10 to 18 hour. It appears people are giving more to good causes this month then in the rest of the year. In reality that is probably not true, because good causes, fund raising party's, and volunteering are big business here. But these days fund raisers are everywhere, on every cornenr of the street some good cause is being presented, people are being pursuaded to give. Local grocery store all have their own food bank where you can drop a bag of food you just purchased at the store. The food goes mostly to poor families with small children. Everybody feels compelled to do something.

For the rest everything you see in movies about christmas..... it's all true. Houses turned into large, lighted displays. Choirs singing and bands playing on the street. I (Ge-an) was invited by a colleague of mine to come to her Christmas party. Once there she sat behind the piano and we all were singing along with the X-mas songs she played. Thought sometimes it felt I just walked into a movie, it really was great fun.

Bas finally took his driving test and also past. Flawless. So now he can go out at night again drive up the mountain and go skiing. The other day we used 1 ticket, Robin was at the daycare, I went skiing during the day and Bas at night. Two pistes have lights on them, and the piste is open till 10 at night. We had some fresh snow which made the skiing even better. It still amazes us that we can actually leave home and whithin half an hour be skiing down a hill. It's like Mike............ AMAZING

And at Christmas we will be skiing in Whistler. We can hardly wait. Robin is till to young to go skiing, though he does ask to go skiing. And he is the only one of us with a full yearpass for Whistler, which is extremly cool. And with his goggles, skisuit and snowboots he is the coolest. He loves the snow, so we will make snowmen and go sledding with him. Bas' parents will be with us for 2 weeks. We are hoping for some fresh snow, but it will be fun anyway.

So much for now, enjoy the holidays and best whishes to all.

Posted by Brijn at 07:50 pm | Comments (0)

17 november 2005

Winter is here

The first real entry I made on this blog in November 2003 was about skiing. Ever since I have been keeping a close eye on snowheights, places to ski, etc..

Now we are here, and the snow is here too!

On the last day of October we decided to walk to Black Mountain in Cypress park. It's was relatively cold, so we were hoping for some snow.. Unfortunately we only found rain, lot's of it :-) Have a look at the video (35Mb) of that trip..

Four days later there was 50cm of snow.. It snowed for most of the week, as a result Whistler-Blackcomb was having it's opening earlier then ever. Ofcourse we went there :-) Since it was really early in the season we found a nice and cheap hotel. Skiing was good (altough extremely tiring :). Have a look at the video and the photo's.

The last weekend was (another) long weekend. So we had a few days to play in the snow :) We made a trip to Cypress and timed how long it took us to get to the snow.. The result still amazes us, the difference a 15min car ride can make!! :)

Unfortunately the weekend brought typical Vancouver weather, loads of clouds (as can be seen in the video). The next Monday was an absolutely amazing day, clear skies, sunshine.. The typical I-have-to-work weather. I decided to leave a bit early so that we had some time to drive up to Seymour.. I wise decision :-) Have a look at the video and the pictures, worth the wait.. really!

Unfortunately the forecast for the coming week is far to warm :( But i'm sure there will be many more days of snow ;)


Posted by Brijn at 08:54 am | Comments (0)

01 november 2005

Hello again…

Well long time since we wrote an entry so it’s about time….....

Let’s start off with visitor number two. In his way also a first; the first relative to visit us. Two weeks ago my brother came over for a holiday. He flew to Toronto where he stayed a couple of days. Then he took the train across Canada to get to Jasper. 48 Hours of forests, lakes, prairies and 3 time zones later (or actually earlier) he arrived in Jasper. Robin and I meanwhile had driven up to Jasper from Vancouver in a day and a half.

We were lucky to get the last good weather of the season, not too cold. The first evening we saw a wolf (or coyote; the experts can’t really tell from the video, so I prefer to call it a wolf) and a Moose. Though after this great start, the wildlife seemed to have vanished. The only other animals we saw later during our trip were squirrels (plenty) some elk, and only on the last day of Ger’s holiday did we see two grizzlies (on Grouse mountain in a fenced off area)

For compensation the views in the Rockies were fantastic. We were very lucky to have some sunshine and high clouds, and……. snow on all mountain tops. Driving over the Icefields Parkway was amazing. If you think it’s beautiful in the summer, as I did, next time go in the autumn. The colors, the snow on the mountains and the skyscapes are amazing. We have been walking through the snow; Robin started throwing snowballs at us till his hands froze. He is too young to understand he can stop before his hands actually get too cold. So when he stops throwing snow he immediately starts crying because his hands are so cold……

After Jasper Banff and Canmore (we stayed with friends where Robin had some playmates too) we drove for one long day through mist and rain to get to Vancouver. There we went to all the touristy places, some which Bas haven’t even seen yet.

Then just as I was dropping Ger of at the airport, Bas called with a surprise, a big surprise. Tickets to the hockey (ice-hockey that is for all Dutchies) game that evening. And tickets to the hockey are hard to get because last season’s there was no hockey at all. There had been some sort of work conflict between players and NHL. Since I wasn’t able to find a baby-sitter on such a short notice we took Robin with us. He loved it! We all did. It’s a very fast game, lots of things happening at the same time. We might have to read Hockey for Dummies, so we know the rules too. It gets confusing if you don’t know why they do what they do even if they do it well. Of course “our team” won! Canucks rule!!!

This time of the year there is another certainty besides hockey. Rain. Once it starts it goes on for about six months. At least that is what we were told. So far I find it is not as bad as the people here in Vancouver think. After every two or three day the sun will be out again. Only we seem to be picking the rainy days for hiking. First in Lynn Valley we were simply soaked. Robin walked quite a bit of the way himself. That means we’re not so fast and extra wet. And Robin gets even wetter jumping up and down in the water puddles.

But rain down in Vancouver this time of year also means SNOW (!!) on top of the mountains. So last Sundays we went up Black Mountain in Cypress Park. We were hoping to see some real snow. Unfortunately at the snowline there was no more mountain left, and all we saw was some wet snow. Next time we will have to find a mountain that’s a little higher. Some 50 meters more would have done the trick. So next weekend we’ll be going to Whistler where the mountains are now covered in snow. There is even so much snow in Whistler that the ski lifts will be open during the weekend.

But before I get to far ahead at what we will do somewhere in the future, there one more new experience we had….…… TRICK or TREAT…….. I carved a pumpkin to put outside by the door, we had a drawing with bats and ghosts and pumpkins, and we had a big, big trumpeting elephant in our house. We had to take this elephant out trick or treating. Bas stayed at home to fill the bags of witches, warlocks, Thomas the trains, Pooh bears, princesses and Spiderman’s with candy. The neighbors with their Tigger and me with our elephant went to the mall and later to the houses in our block to get candy.

The last thing from North Vancouver this moment is a joke question: “What do you get went you mix Halloween and Diwali (the Celebration of Light for Hindi)?” We hope to get your answers before the next canablog.brijn.nu entry posting ...................

Posted by Brijn at 10:43 pm | Comments (1)

07 oktober 2005

Vancouver is ....

..... the best City to life in

We just found out we live in the best city in the world. Of course we unknowingly knew this when we moved here, but it's good to hear we made the right choice...... http://www.cnn.com/2005/WORLD/europe/10/04/eui.survey/index.html

No real other news, the surrounding mountains did get there first snow! It's gone now, but it was a cool sight anyway.. Hopefully lot's more to come in the near future..

Oh, there is other news.. We both passed our theoretical for the BC drivers license, and Ge-an passed the practical test as well!!
Our Dutch drivers license only allows us 90 days of legal driving in BC. Unfortunately we can't just convert it (German, Swiss, Japanese can :( ).. But at least Ge-an can now drive legally :)

Posted by Brijn at 09:40 am | Comments (0)

20 september 2005

Efficient government

What if you need your permanent resident card a bit quicker then normal...

Well, then you send a "hurry-up" request to the Immigration service!

Something like that at least.. At the 21st of July we became landed immigrants. The immigration officer mentioned that the Permanent Resident card would take 6 to 8 weeks to be delivered to our address.

This Sunday I will travel the Philidelphia (USA) for Seaspan to attend a user conference of a piece of software that we use.
Unfortunately my PR card has not arrived yet, and without it I won't be allowed back into the country! On Monday Ge-an called the immigration service for me and they told her that processing time is up to 16 weeks! Oooops.. Apparently they are re-issueing card to all Permanent Residents because it needs to contain a photo (thanks to our neighbours).

Fortunately the website also describes an appeal procedure if the listed processing time has passed. The website was not updated yet to reflects the 16 weeks, so good grounds for an appeal..

Seaspan wrote a nice letter that they really need me to travel, also included an Eticket to show that there really is a journey planned and some other documents. Dumped it all on the fax and waited for an answer. They promise to reply within two business days.. It took them only a few hours.. Unfortunately they told me that it was not possible to process my application urgently :(

Today I phoned them to check what other options were available. After checking my file the lady on the phone had good news: they did process my PR card after my request and it was mailed to me today..

Wowww.. Still not entirely without error, but for a government agency not bad at all.

A Chinese colleague at DVB that shared the room with me spent several hours every month on the phone to get his Dutch permanent resident card. By the time I left it was a year after his landing.. The IND should have a look at their Canadian colleagues!

Today our first visitors returned to Germany.. It was fun having them around. Our next visitor is Ge-an's brother..


Posted by Brijn at 10:01 pm | Comments (0)

11 september 2005

Finally !!

Our stuff arrived last friday....

We have been called minimalists by our neighbours in the past month. We arrived in Canada with nothing more than our clothing and our camping gear. We did get some initial furniture from our neighbours, 2 tables, 3 chairs, a television and a big foamy to us as bed, but that was it. We have been camping in our house and it was allright. It appears we don't need that many thing to be able to live quit nicely....

So now all of a sudden we have back or stuff. Some of the thing we did not remember packing... Oh did we really bring that? What a waste of space..... Have we indeed become minimalists? Does Robin need that many toys? He was happy with the stick and pineapples the garden here so abundantly provides. Do we really need all those plates? We had guest over before our things arrived and allready got a new set Ikea plates. much cheaper than shipping our plates. We shipped 1/4 of our DVD bt don't have a DVD player anymore. Will we need a new one? (Yes!, but that is just Bas adding something to Ge-an's text ;)

Well yes, there are some non essential things we would like to own again some day. But for now we (and especially Bas) would be very happy if all the computers had been working properly. The way I (Ge-an) sees it, Bas has a nice new computer project to work on at home. What makes it even better is that out living and our study are once again 1 room. The combined living-study-play-dining room! Now that is an extreme makeover.

Oh and for me, I just like having some books again :-), 1/10 of the original volume of books we had... We can live with a lot less than what we had in Rotterdam, as long as we have a library within 500 meters (we do) and a library pass......

Posted by Brijn at 10:14 pm | Comments (1)

05 september 2005

Something new ...

Well, the weather changed last week.

For the first time since we have been here we had rain. It was misty, rainy but luckely not really cold. Coincidently we also had our fist visitors.... or maybe it wasn't a coincidence?

And to all dutch people reading this, the germans won the race to Canada ;-). Bas' ex-collegue Bjorn with wife and 3 months old baby came over for a three week holiday. They stayed here for a couple of days, and this weekend we met with them in Whistler. Since all the tent sites were taken (unbelievable in this rain) we put our tent up at their RV lot. Strangly we were not allowed to use the grass and thus slept on the pavement.....oefff)

Today is Labor day in BC, which means Bas has a day off and we could enjoy a long weekend. We had hoped to do some hiking in Whistler, but as said the weather did not help. So in the end we only went hiking to Whistler village were we enjoyed a very good meal. The next day, we did a short hike to the Nairn falls before returning home.

Today, we thought we could escape the bad weather by going shopping in Ikea... (oh no not again that Ikea, YES!!) So far we have slept on either our camping matresses or a thin foam matress borrowed from our neighbours. Time for a real bed... Alas we were not the only ones at Ikea. It seems to be no different from the Netherlands in that matter. Whenever the weather is going to be bad, and there is a bank holiday, go funiture shopping!

In the afternoon it turned out the weather was not as bad as was predicted. Good enough for a nice hike in Lynn Valley. Short but nice. And Robin could run around, which is what he likes best, and throw with a little ball.

Our bed will be delived Thursday, we hope that our furniture (on it's way now for almost two months) will also arrive this week (hopefully wednesday).. Our empty house will be suddenly full then ;-))

Posted by Brijn at 09:09 pm | Comments (1)

28 augustus 2005

First week @ Work and ..... Rain!

Holiday is over, back in the regular routine of....

I started on Monday at Seaspan Ship Management in Vancouver. Seaspan is specialized in providing a full service for container liners. Seaspan owns the ships, takes care of maintenance and arranges crewing. The only thing the container liner has to do is directing the ships to where the cargo is.

I commute to the office by bus and seabus, they both take about 15 minutes. The seabus is nice, a 15 minute ride over the Burrard Inlet, the strech of water between North Van and downtown Vancouver.

The seaspan office is located right beside the Seabus terminal, very convenient. The office is at the 26th floor, the view over Vancouver is amazing!

The work is pretty interesting, since I'm the only IT'er I get to do everything.. exactly what I like!

Friday was especially nice, we visited a large containership and got a full tour! It's not everyday that I'm sitting at a PC very close to an eight cilinder with three turbo chargers, cylinders several meters in height and 83 centimers in diameter....developing 50.000 horsepower :-) We got a very extensive tour covering all the interesting places on the ship.. amazing to see. It's like a small industrial plant.

Now that there is some income again we decided to head for Ikea and get some chairs.. We still only had two chairs, so during diner one of us was always sitting on the ground :-) We also ran into a nice hallstand (kapstok). The Ikea is only 20 minutes away.

Other good news is that our container is apparently getting close. On Monday (for us tomorrow) we should hear more!

When I went out this morning I was very surprised to see something that we haven't seen here since we arrived.. RAIN.. We hope that it will turn to snow quickly :-)

Posted by Brijn at 07:19 pm | Comments (0)

21 augustus 2005

BC, Yukon and Alaska Trip

One broken windscreen, one flat tire, 7614km and loads of fun.. Our BC, Yukon Alaska Road Trip.. Pictures at http://gallery.brijn.nu/bcyual Warning, lengthy read (it will receive some updates later)...

Day 1: 05-08
Km: 580
From: Vancouver
To: Williams Lake + 30km
Campsite: Whispering Willow

We left Vancouver at 9.30 on Highway 1. The road till Chilliwack we know by now (see the Climbing Mt Cheam entry). Mt Cheam showed nicely above the highway without cloud cover :-) We will have to go back there.

On the way the vegetation changes dramatically, from the rainforest around Vancouver to the very dry (almost desert like) landscape between Cache Creek and the Hwy 97 / Hwy 69 junction (Hat creek ranch). In this very dry part there were a lot of forest fires that caused considerable smoke. We had the opportunity to see this at close range. It is not so much the trees that burn, but more the undergrowth. We did see one fire fighting helicopter, but it seems that they let fires burn if there is no property in danger.

Robin enjoyed most of the drive, so not many stops were needed. He is old and tall enough now to look out of the windows and recognize many things, and then explain us what it is :-) Koe… Paard…. Trein.

In Williams Lake we did some grocery shopping and decided to drive on until the first nice campsite since it was time to stop driving (around 16:30). After about 30 more kilometers we found the (empty) Whispering Willow campsite. Nobody there, we will leave the camping fee tomorrow in an envelope :) Simple facilities, but very clean and... warm water, and a truly good shower, no coins needed.

Tomorrow we will see how far we get. It will probably take us two days (1.5) to get to Hyder.. In Hyder we plan to stay for 2 days so Robin can get his usual nap at mid-day. In the car his nap are often a bit to short.


Date: 06-08-2005
Start: Williams Lake
End: Telkwa, Tyhee lake
Km: 586km

Hmmm, Picasa just ate the pictures of today :-((( Not to many fortunately, but still.. Back to the Microsoft wizard for downloading.

Robin went to bed late yesterday (around 22:00).. And around 4:15 he woke up due to the cold. During the night he had crawled out of his warm sleeping bag, and it was only 10 degrees Celsius in our tent. We then packed him more carefully in his sleeping bag. As a result he only woke up at 9:15 :-) So a late start, we started driving around 10:30..

The landscape today was completely different from that yesterday, far greener. It looked a lot like Sweden, hilly, and covered in mainly low pine trees. Especially the last bit was very beautiful, some snow capped mountains in view again. Along the way many pine trees that have turned brown, if I remember correctly this is the work of the xx Pine Beetle. The damage is very extensive!

Something for my father along the way, the best boating area I have ever seen. Unfortunately we couldn’t stop to take a photo, but we saw a very large speedboat in a small pond about 5 time the size of the speedboat. And depth or better the lack thereof was another problem a sailer would have had in this pond. That was a very funny sight.

At around 18:00 we were in Houston (we have no problems) where we stopped at an A&W (a Mac like shop) where we ate some fries and a burger :-) This saved us the evening diner preparation. Just past Telkwa we found a nice campsite in the Tyhee Provincial Park. This campsite was used by far more people then yesterday’s (nobody).

Tomorrow we will need 3 hours to get to Hyder, were will stay for 2 nights. Hopefully we can do some bear watching!!

Date: 07-08-2005
Start: Telkwa
End: Stewart
Km: 368

An earlier start this morning… We left at around 9:30. We were not in a hurry so we made a few stops on the way. One was in Moricetown where a river passed thru a narrow canyon. Many salmons were trying to get upstream, and several local fisherman (first nations) were trying to catch them.

Close to Stewart (Hwy 37W) we saw a couple of bears. The first one was a young black bear that crossed the road. We followed it for a little bit and that way came across a nice little lake. It was one of those typical little lakes in the mountains here. Very shallow, so a number of different water plants can grow there. And mountains in different shades of green all around it. A dock went into the lake for 10 meters. We used it to take some pictures of the lake and its surroundings.

Just as we drove on we again saw some bears, and this time we were lucky. We had enough time to get them on tape. Promising for tomorrow! The other wildlife in this particular area is the butterfly. There are suddenly so many butterfly here there is no way you can escape them. Over a stretch of 50 kilometers there are thousands if not millions of butterflies. A strange sight, especially since we saw very, very few butterflies earlier or later on our trip. Here there is no avoiding them, which also means we cannot avoid killing them while we are driving. Butterflies give horrible big yellow splashes on your windscreen. Yuck!

We arrived in Stewart (BC) at around 16:30, and we decided to continue to Hyder (AK) to have a look. As soon as we crossed the border everything changed, road went from paved to gravel, many derelict houses, the rest looking shabby. Thus we decided we would not camp in Hyder but in Stewart. On our way out the Canadian border police asked how long we had been in the USA… euhhhhh… 2 minutes 

We checked with the local tourist info where we could camp and watch the bears. Camping was just around the corners, and bears were at Fish Creek. Exactly, just follow the road through Hyder  . The other attraction in this area is 35 km further on the road (still gravel still trough Hyder). It is the Salmon Glacier. The second biggest glacier in … (world/north America/?) To make things more clear there is only 1 way going to and through Hyder. There is no way you can get lost there. Furthermore there is only one campsite in Steward, two or three restaurants some shops and an information panel. There were 2 girls working at the information office, but this being everything there is in the area they had quit an easy job. Maybe even boring.

At the campsite we found that our neighbor was Dutch, Bram. He is traveling through Canada for 3 months. And sometimes the world is small. Bram is a biologist. He studied with Bart. Now last year my sister went to Siberia with this Bart to do research on geese. They say you need only 6 connections to get to anyone in the world….

We decided to plan for an early start tomorrow morning (06:00) and watch the bears, then continue to the Salmon Glacier. The information office girls did have a good tip go early to the bears to avoid being packed on a small walking board with 300 other people.

Date: 08-08-2005
Start: Stewart
End: Stewart
Km: 150km

We managed to get up at 06:00 and be ready to drive 06:45. We were at Fish Creek at around 07:00. And already a good many people were out on the walking board. Big lenses all around 
There was one bear active, but that was a lot of fun, Bear-Mac-Drive-Thru. There was so much salmon in the creek that he could just jump around a bit grab a fish, take one or two bites, and score the next fresh fish. He also could choose between big fish and bigger fish.

Besides getting it on video tape, we must have shot several hundreds of pictures, so the next job is to sort those 

We continued on the gravel road to Salmon Glacier. Not a change to get lost, there is only one way. Massive! And really beautiful, we made quite a few pictures with the Rollei as well. Let’s see what comes out of those. Unfortunately we decided to skip some of the picture taking for on the way back. Since the weather looked excellent. Weather stayed fine, but the sky became very hazy 

In the evening we went out for diner. Finally something other than pasta and red sauce. Ge-an had a very nice fish of which half was donated to Robin who preferred the fish to hid chips. I should have got the fish too, but I took a hamburger. Wrong choice, it was OK, but not very good. Desert on the other hand was excellent Frozen Chocolate Nut Cheese Cake. We need to find the recipe for that one!!

After diner we discovered that all gravel driving of the day had resulted in a flat tire.

Start: Stewart
End: Boya Lake Provincial Park
Km: 550km

Due to some required phone calls we needed to make, we had a late start. We also needed a repair for the flat tire. This was quickly done, so at 10:30 we were on our way..

This day will probably be remembered by us as the Drive-Over-Deserted-Gravel-Roads. We would sometimes not see another (oncoming) car for 30 or more minutes. Note that this is on one of two major highways to the north.. Absolutely amazing! Compare that to traffic in the Netherlands.

The scenery was impressive as well, a seemingly endless number of trees and mountain ranges. With every x kilometer a nice lake. Very few villages, I think we only saw 5-10 in the 550km.

We are now at 59dgr Latitude, a new experience. It shows though. We are typing this in daylight, while it’s 21:30 

Date: 10-08-2005
Start: Boya Lake Provincial Park
End: Haines junction
Km: 673

Again we planned a traveling day. Distances here are huge. So we tried to get an early start today, but in the end woke up at 7:30. When we left at 9:30 our aim was getting to Whitehorse, Yukon. Yukon ho!!

But before we got to the Yukon, a number of things “happened”. First of all Robin had his second birthday, which meant singing “in de Gloria” for most of the time. It is one of his favorite songs. Since he is learning more words, and more song, he is also starting to sing himself (self-made songs) and found a way of letting us know which song he wants to hear. And because we have no tape or CD-player in our car, we keep singing ourselves.

The next thing was turning a corner and suddenly seeing a moose!!! I braked immediately, and Bas managed to get it on video. But the minute we went to get our photo camera it ran of into the bushes. Since there was a big truck coming we started driving again, very quickly at full speed. Then all of a sudden we saw another moose running alongside our car. It kept up with us for 10 meters. Wow…this time a really big moose too.

The road itself was hilly with many, many curves. Again a hilly landscape with nothing but pine.

Our first stop was just after crossing the border between BC and the Yukon (60 dgr. lat.) We stopped for fuel and some cookies. From there one we took highway 1 (Alaska highway) to the north-west. The second stop was Carcross where we had lunch (icecream) and got a cake for Robin’s birthday (which in the end he didn’t like. Luckily we did, so we had some more). At that point we also decided to drive al the way to Haines Junction, instead of stopping at Whitehorse. The Alaska highway is a lot better, wider, and all paved, and therefore faster than highway 37.

Whitehorse itself, mayor city!! Huge!! At least 36 kilometers through the city limits (we hardly saw a house). And they have there own radio station. We enjoyed programs like “trading” (I would like a book, and I have a fresh jug of milk from our cow to trade), and “call for your favorite song” (Can I hear John Denver one more time today please)…. Maybe we should get Edwin Evers up there ;-). By the way since we have fast internet at home now, we can enjoy “Evers gaat slapen” Best show in the world, better than “ Evers staat op” since this show never occurs together with morning traffic jams on the A4 from Rotterdam to Amsterdam .

And now it’s half past ten in the evening, and we still don’t need a light. We are at 61 drg lat. Farther up north than we have ever been. A lot of wasps that seem to be living of the dead mosquito’s, midgets and other insects on our windshield. I feel itchy, but the actual number of mosquito/midget bites is not that high. I could still count them if anyone is interested….. I suppose not.

Date: 11-08-2005
Start: Haines Junction
End: Haines Junction
Km: 140

We had a lazy day today. We slept in till 9:00 when Robin woke us up. Since we have driven a couple of days, we thought a day of would be nice. It took a while before we could convince Robin we were not going to drive today.

We talked to a couple of cyclists that had stayed here overnight as well.. They turned out to be Dutch/Belgian. They had a nice car behind their bike and Robin enjoyed playing with it for a bit while we were talking to them. And again the world is small. They lived in Breukelen and she (Eva) had worked at Bever. Well then you must know……Martine. Yes!!
When they had to leave Robin did not like it for a bit, he was very unhappy for twenty minutes, not very common for him. Quite sad 

He still wanted to drive, so we decided to drive into town to get some groceries. As in many of these towns there is one “General Store”. They often combine a gas station, small café and grocery store. In this case they also had Internet . And being the only store in town we ran into the same couple one more time. Robin didn’t notice them, he had an apple.

Robin reaction at our rest-and-stay-at camp-day was funny. Apparently he has become so used to traveling by car, the only thing he wants is drive in the car. But back at the campsite Robin was a bit happier and understood it was playtime, he decided to try out a couple of professions. The first was playing the sax or fagot, we don’t know yet. His grandfather may tell us from seeing the pictures/video. The second profession he tried was being a lumberjack. The third one was photographer. We made some great pictures.

In the end we did drive for a bit. You can hardly escape it here, distances are so large. We drove up to Sheep mountain visitor centre, to see if we could do a nice hike there. In the end we decided that we are probably spoiled. The thing is, we can’t do a trail that takes more than one day, and we do want the superb views there are here. Only into Kluane NP the superb views take at least a 2-3 day hike. So in the end instead of going hiking we decided to go down to Haines tomorrow. It is said to be a beautiful drive, crossing one of the highest passes in the area.

Date: 12-08-2005
Start: Haines Junction
End: Haines Junction
Km: 606

We decided to drive down to Haines, AK. The road to Haines (250km) is supposed to be very beautiful. It was a long way for a daytrip, but ala, getting used to long distances is part of integration, eh 
We had a nice breakfast at the excellent bakery in Haines Jct. At arounf 10:30 we left HJ. The drive was beautiful indeed. We decided to stop for \making pictures a few times.. Part of them on the Rollei, so we have to wait a bit to see what the result will be.

At the border learned that it’s veruy important to remove these green visa papers. If they are left in your passport might be tagged and the automatic VISA [ingetrokken].. we didn’t know, and the Candian border people hadn’t removed the old VISA from last years holiday.. This very friendly US Customs officer explained this to us, we then had to fill out a new green VISA form and pay US$ 6… Oops, we only had Canadfian $ :-) But the friendly officer decided to wqaive the fee this time!

Haines itself was not so interesting, we decided to have an early diner and started on the way backh.

Date: 13-08-2005
Start: haines JCT
End; Tok, AK
Km: 485

Yesterday we had been counting the remaining days and the options that had for that time.. We combined this by reading an Alaska/Yukon Wildlife viewing book that we had picked up a the visitor center in Haines Jct.. There are two roads not to far from Haines Jct that would lead us over some very wildlife dense roads.

To get to these roads we need to drive a bit more up north into alaksa to a place called Tok, from there a gravel road to Chicken (yes.. really). From Chicked to Dawson City (YK) over the Top iof the World highway thru some tundra landscape.

Then alter on we pick up another 4x4 only road, we have to see if we will make that timewise, but we’ll see..

After a very lengthy and slow drive we arrivedin Tok. Unfortunately we didn’t see anything from the surrounding environment due to smoke from wildfires. The wildfires return every year and play an important t role in nature here.. The fire destroyed areas can often be seen from the road..

Tok is small and uninteresting, but after a visit to the local Rourist info we decided to stop here. North of chicken is also an active wildfire so dense smoke is to be expected.. Nothing to be to drive thru, but camping might not be a good idea..

We had past a msall campsite just before Tok and we diced to stop there.. Simple but nice , but we are now sitting in the tent. Long before our bedtime due to the amazing amount of mosquitos ((

Date: 14-08_2005
Start: Tok, AK
End: Dawson City, YK
Km: 350?

Lots of smoke on the way, so not much to see.. Lot’s of gravel so a long and slow day. Highlight, a old miner Dredge along the way.. A mammoth steam powered machine that was used during the goldrush to mine for gold on a larger scale. We have to check, but we probably found a very small bit of gold in the creek where the dredge was located.

The good thing was crossing the border again. We are now back in Yukon Canada! Our “homeland”. And from that point on the mist grew thinner (we were also a lot higher up and the winds were east so the smoke blew from the Yukon into Alaska) and this gorgeous landscape opened up. We were at 1100 meter, 100 meter above the tree line. It really looked like Scotland to me (Ge-an). And then there is the name of this road. High over the tops of the mountains, with great views over the entire area, this roads is rightfully named Top Of The World Highway.

At the end of the day we took the ferry to Dawson City, the only way to cross the river. Dawson City itself was very nice, they clearly put some effort in making it look OK. It was helped by the fact that there were some festivities for Discovery day..

We decided to to a hotel in the center of the city, we went out for diner..

Unfortunately we were awake for part of the night due to a lot of drunk people that I think came back from the Casino.

Date: 15-08_2005
Start: Dawson City, YK
End: Lapie Canyon
Km: 610km

We slept until 10.00 since we missed quite a bit of sleep during the night. There was too much noise from drunken people. Packing was obviously quicker. So we filled up the gasoline and were on our way on 11:00. Along the whole route today we either viewed or were in the Tintina Trench. This is a fault that crosses the Yukon from South-East to North West and into Alaska. It’s so big it shows clearly on a satellite image.

We missed a couple of photo opportunities because Robin was just asleep  including the award winning photo of the year. An eerie photo of some dead trees in a pond surrounded by the most beautiful mountains.
We are at the campsite now. It’s half past ten and there still enough light to type. We are the only persons at this campsite. Some motor came by to check it out but they went on. Ten km. furter there is a motel. Maybe they are` heading that way. Before we pitched our tent we first went to Ross River a small town 10 km. to the north. Unfortunately everything (General Store and gas station) was closed due to Discovery Day (a provincial holiday in the Yukon). Hopefully at least the gas station will be open tomorrow. The next gas station is 363 km further. We should just have enough gas for that, but it would be better not to have to gamble on it.

Robin found out he could pretend to ride a horse using a stick. This particular stick being 2,5 meters in length was not what we thought the best for it. But Robin decided that that stick was indeed his horse/boat. In the end he couldn’t decide on what it was a horse (Robin is learning how to jump) or a boat.

Start: Lapie Canyon
End: Liard Hotspirngs
Km: 606km

Nice htspirings, should go there in winter

Start: Liart Hotsprings
End: Chegwynd
Km: 825km

Nice, continued until 21:30. Partly we made some moon pictures (just rising over the mountains!) We found out that we can put up the tent (in the dark) in 13 minutes (with Robin-watching). Last tentnight, one long day to North Van

Start: Chegwynd
End Vancouver
Km: 1085km

Posted by Brijn at 10:48 pm | Comments (0)

04 augustus 2005

A job, and on our way to Alaska

The job that had been in the pipeline now came out as a contract... woeheee!!

At the 22nd of August I start in my new job. First for two months as a external contracter, but after that on a normal contract... A very fun job with many interesting components (ranging from strategic planning to end-user support).. Really looking forward to it.

We waited with our trip to Alaska until the contract was finalized, we are now looking at our packed bags and will leave tomorrow morning..

We will have two weeks, to the 9000 kilometer that the original plan contained is not smart in two weeks :-) So we will see how far we get.

For the next two weeks we will probably don't do any updates :)

We will be back!

Posted by Brijn at 11:10 pm | Comments (2)

01 augustus 2005

4x4'ing and hiking Mount Cheam

That was fun! We selected a hike with a 4x4 access road.. Driving up there was big fun.......

We bought the 4x4 so that we could reach Trailheads that are not easily reached with a normal car. Many of these trailheads only have a special type of access road, the Forest Service Road (FSR). These roads are build by the logging companies to extract the trees from the forest. So not your typical Dutch 4 lane highway.. No Sir... Think big holes, cross ditches, waterbars.. If we would have started with a carton of milk we would have ended with whipped cream, that's for sure... Was it fun? YES, very much.. Did the car do well? Yes, only once we needed to shift into 4 weel drive, the rest was just clearance that was needed.

Mount Cheam is in the Fraser River valley, near Chilliwack. About 120km East of vancouver. To the exit of the highway we needed an hour and a half. The FSR took another hour :)

The hike itself was beautiful! Alpine meadow leading to a real summit. Unfortunately we didn't have a nice view, there were a lot of clouds that obstructed the view. Some short breaks gave us an idea of the valley view that we could have had :)

Pictures of this trip can be found at:

We don't know what we will do tomorrow.. We might go camping at Alice Lake.. Or maybe we stay here.. We will see.. The coming days will gradually get warmer (up to 30gr+).


Posted by Brijn at 10:48 pm | Comments (1)

30 juli 2005

Our backyard

Two more gorgeous days in North Vancouver, and we spend them in our backyard...

The Lynn headwaters park is just down the road for us. Last sunday we already hiked up to Norvan Falls. A 15 km. hike with little elevation gain. The area is totally forested. The main trees are red cedars and douglas firs. Especially the cedars grow very tall, 30 meters.

All the important paperwork is done. That means Robin is gettig his regular naps again. Which again improves his mood.

To get in shape for some more hikes, we went to Lynn peak yesterday. This hike is quit teh opposite of teh hike we did to Norvan Falls. The hike up Lynn peak is relatively short but very steep. We gained 700 m in 3 km. Bas had Robin in the backpack. And these days carrying Robin means a load of 15 kg. Pfff.. We lost some swaet on that peak, but it was worth it. The view from Lynn peak is excellent.

(Ge-an with the Greater Vancouver area in the background)

Today, saturday, we did a very short hike, still in Lynn valley. This time we went to the Lynn canyon suspension bridge and twin falls. At the beginning there is a small but very nice ecology centre. This is a popular place for tourists aswell. The hike itself was about 2 km.

Tomorrow we will drive to Chiliwack (1.5h east of Vancouver) and will hike up to Mount Cheam. A beatifull alpine environment.. Mt Cheam is just over 2100m high.. The views should be amazing..
It will be busy since people have a long weekend (Monday is BC day)..

We still have to plan the rest of week, when do we start driving up north, it depends on several other things.. We'll see...

Posted by Brijn at 09:56 pm | Comments (0)

29 juli 2005

Happy Birthday!!

It's the 28th of July and we are already a week here. And today is my birthday!

First yesterday, we had to take care of the last official paperwork, getting our Social Insurance Number (SIN) and getting MediCare (the basic medical insurance in BC). We were amazed by how easy and quickly all that went. Ten minutes and we were on our way again. I believe the dutch immigrant service (IND) can learn a lot from their canadian colleagues.

Later that day we went to Deep Cove, a picknick area around a fjord. Lots of sailing boats and canoes there. Even a small swimming part. At those moments being here feels as just being on holiday. Every scene is still new to us.

And then , today... Iced Angel Food.... mjummie. Blue skies all over, just like we had for the past six days. And two other tasks waiting to be completed. But first it was time for presents and cards. Thank you all for the many (e-)cards & phonecalls I received, I really enjoyed that!

So on this beautifull day we had to take another trip to the bank. And it seems we have been upgraded, hooray. This time we got to go upstair, and met with a financial consultant. A lady with gold diamonds on her business card. It is getting more and more clear to us how the banking in Canada works. And one part is building up a relationship with the financial consultant at your own bank. The other is getting a (good) credit history. We will needs to show a good credit history the moment we would want to buy a house. Hence we applied for a credit card. Since we do not yet have any credit history in Canada (and our Dutch credit history means nothing here) we have to deposit te full sum of the credit into a secured bank account. Just to make sure the credit company runs zero risk when issueing a credit card in our names.

The second thing we did was get advise on some other insurances from BCAA (in the Netherlands: ANWB). We do have a new but second-hand car, we do have standard insurance for that and even 90 days full service with mechanical problems, but we also plan to take that car into Alaska and back, and 7000 km round trip. And we would like someone to tow us to a service station if the car does break down.

Coming back at our appartement we found some more stuff from our neighbours. It's actually very funny, it seems the are all very concerned about the fact we don't have our things yet. While we don't mind camping in our appartement, it seems our neighbours do. Later this evening Wendy from the other end of the block came with a toaster. And we allready have a table 3 chairs a television (!) and some toys for Robin. Everyone here is so friendly.......


Yesterday we also went to a barbeque that was organised by somebody from a hiking website I (Bas) have been active on for a while. It was nice to meet all these people. It was a very international gathering. The BBQ was planned in such a way that we could attend, they remembered how it was when they had just immigrated, and how nice it would have been to meet people then... Again, Canadian people are super friendly..
Got some useful tips there as well

At the end of today we drove to the Lighthouse Park, a small park at the end of West Vancouver. We had a really nice view on downtown Vancouver from there. The picture below show Vancouver with in the background Mt Baker (USA).

Tomorrow morning we want to hike up Lynn Peak.. A short but steep hike in our back yard :)


Posted by Brijn at 05:35 am | Comments (5)

26 juli 2005

We got some wheels

Monday was a our buy-a-car day, it took a while, but we are now the owner of a nice Chevrolet Tracker (really a Suzuki).

Sunday we had a day off. We did a hike in our new backyard: the Lynn Valley Headwaters park. The first part is a very easy walk that is used by many runners and elderly walkers.. After the first, gravel road, part it turn into a mor interesting trail. Very nice, but we will need to get used to all the bugs.

The walk was a 15km return trip, Robin enjoyed it as well.. Walked small parts of it, but mostly enjoyed it from the backpack..

Pictures can be found at http://gallery.brijn.nu/canada

Monday was dedicated to buying a car. Since I had waited to long with transferring funds to our Canadian account it was a bit of struggle to get all the money that we needed in the account. In the end the quickest, cheapest and easiest way was to get money from our ABN account out of an ATM, and then later deposit it at the bank.. But even if there is enough money sitting in the ABN account, the cards will still block after a certain amount.. All in all it was a bit of a juggle to get it all there in time..

The car buying process is itself was straight forward, but lengthy. We test drove the car and where happy. The sales person made up a proposal (stating the sales price etc).. He then runs this past a sales manager who has to approve it. After that we can approve it..

The next step was handled by a colleague, she took care of all the financials.. and yes... here we wrote our first cheque :-)

The last step is to get the mandatory basic insurance coverage, called Autoplan. For that it turned out that the car had to be AirCared, an emissions check that is mandatory in apparently a part of BC (???).. This took another half hour.

Almost five hours after we started the test drive we were the proud owners of a 2001 silver-grey Chevrolet Tracker 4x4 (really a Suzuki Vitara).

Posted by Brijn at 04:41 pm | Comments (1)

24 juli 2005

Banking in Canada

We new that the differences in banking where huge between The Netherlands and Canada... But that we would be standing in the bank laughing out loud... no.. that we didn't expect

On our second day (Saturday) we had an appointment with our bank. We opened a savings account here last year, while on holiday. We wanted to convert this account to a checkings account so that we could use it to pay in shops and write cheques to other people.

Since we are completely unfamiliar with how banking works here we got a nice explanation on many of the basics:
1) There is no mentionable amount of interest on either savings or checking accounts. So we got rid of the savings account. We don't have much many here anyway at the moment. But I will need to check later if other banks offer better rates (I think ING Direct has a better offer)
2) You pay the bank for using many things. For example, for $3.95 per month you can do 10 self-serve transactions. A selve-serve transaction is getting money from an ATM (pinautomaat) or paying in a shop, 4 full-serve transactions. A full-serve is when you go to a teller (an employee behinf the counter).
When you want to use your card to pay in shop you can if they support Interac (big relief for me, I'm so used to that)... but... every transaction costs $1.50!!!

And several other things, if you want more things to be free, you get a bigger package. A package that is unlimited for everything will cost us $24.95 a month.. But this fee is waived if you keep $5.000 on the account.. As soon as it drops below $5.000 you will pay the fee..

All clear, then we got the question about what design our cheques should be... Huhhhhhhh... How do you mean... It turns out the cheques come in a zillion different layouts. And you can choose one :-) Amazing...
I'm thirty years old and don't recall to ever have used a cheque in the Netherlands. So a personalized cheque was something I had never thought off..
We choose a cheque with an photo of mountains in Banff National Park on it.. I'll scan one if we get the scanner..

At this point we had been with her for more then an hour, but where finished. We decided to try if we could get money from the ATM from our ABN-AMRO account and deposit it in the Canadian account.
If you transfer money between the banks (using internet banking) you pay 11 Euro's cost per transaction. I wanted to see if withdrawing money from the Dutch account directly was cheaper..
We were able to get 2x $1200 using both cards and deposited that on the Canadian account.. Sounds simple.. But the depositing was the really fun part.
In The Netherlands I can also deposit cash money atABN-AMRO. I go to the machine, put in my card, a cover opens and I can place in my money.. the machine makes a funny noise while counting the money and tells me how much it was..
This is what I was expecting here, and it was, up to the point where you have to feed it the money.. here you enter the amount you want to deposit, get an envelope, put the money in, and feed the envelope to the machine... Duhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh... Somebody is taking these envelopes out, counting the money and then comparing it with what we told the machine??? Wowwww :-) It seems that after the machine has accepted the envelope the money is already in your account. Will be interesting to see how they change it when you make a mistake with counting..
Ge-an deposited also a few years old cheque that so got from a travel agency as a refund.. Same story, enter the amount, put the cheque in an envelope and feed it to the machine..

That was our banking experience up to now, we have still have to use the Interac system for the first time.. But that is probably OK..
Fortunately for us Canada is also moving more towards what we are used to in The Netherlands.. There is a good change that after I have found a job, I will not be given a cheque to deposit.. But they will Direct Deposit the money to my account... :-)))

The rest of the day we spent looking for a car...pffffff... what an ordeal.. The car sales people here apparently work on a comission basis and will do anything to get you to buy a car.. that doesn't work to well with us..
We started of looking for a Toyota Corolla. but there are not to many available and since they are import cars they are relatively expensive.
Our list now constists of two widely different cars:
1) Dodge Neon, 2000, 70.000km, $9.488
2) Chevrolet Tracker, 2001, 86.000km, $12.500

Since they are both fairly recent american cars reliability is OK.. The tracker is really a Suzuki.. The Neon is a family car, the Tracker a real 4x4.. Gas mileage is obviously better for the Neon.. But not to bad on the Tracker since it's just a 2.0L 4cyl..

Neon is cheaper, the Tracker the car that would like to have in the end anyway..

Pffffffffffffffff, not easy

Misc things of yesterday.. People are so super friendly. We went for a walk around the appartment area.. Robin saw a dog and started talking to it, the owner came to us and we have a really nice chat with them..
There is a small forrested area behind the appartments, she told us that a bear had walked down to there three weeks ago :-) They follow the creek bed :)
We found that there are many Garage sales over the weekend, a good way for us to find cheap furniture and other items.. So we will start today (Sunday) by checking some of them out...

After that it's time for the first hike in the Lynn Headwaters park.. Weather is absolutely amazing, so will try to get an early start..

Posted by Brijn at 03:35 pm | Comments (1)