End of year trip

Hehe I know I haven’t posted too much in the last recent while and that’s just because I’m but on Friday, we took a quick trip to Southern California to get away from things here. 🙂

Our flight was I think around 6:30pm and we left the house around 3, it was starting to snow and well we wanted to get to the airport early and it’s a good thing that we did because it was very busy.  Unfortunately the flight was delayed for about an hour so we sat in the plane and well that’s always an enjoyable experience.  We landed in Los Angles at around 11pm, Brandon was all amped up so he was still with us, we rented a car then drove to the hotel.

Unfortunately since we were going to be late, Maggie emailed the hotel that and for some reason they gave our room away so we ended up calling a bunch and stayed at a Best Western just north of Hollywood blvd.  Saturday we went to Universal Studios and it was pretty awesome…

I enjoyed the Simpsons portion the most since I love the show but the rest was actually kind of boring.  Brandon was a bit scared of the Mummy and other rides and he started to cry while we were waiting to get into The Walking Dead exhibit so Maggie took him out while I continued through it.  It wasn’t scary, but then again I guess I didn’t have the right frame of mind since I wasn’t trying to scare myself.  Harry Potter was kind of bleh too, at least the other rides and attractions gave a bit of a back story, having never read the books or watched the movies (not a fantasy person) I had no idea what was going on.  We did buy a wand for the little guy and those stupid things were $50!

The Water World attraction was not bad though, lots of action an neat scenes, Brandon said he enjoyed it so that’s good.  All in all Universal Studios is not big and we were able to see everything in a day which is nice. 🙂  We had burritos and tacos for dinner, mmm I love Mexican food!

Sunday we checked out of the hotel and walked around Hollywood Blvd and frankly it was a bit of a waste for me since I don’t care about the entertainment industry one bit.

A lot of other tourists were taking pictures of the stars on the ground and I did take a pic of the Chinese theater but I was pretty bored. After a bit of walking around we drove to San Diego then hit went to La Jolla cove and man is it beautiful there!

Brandon loves the water and we played on the beaches for a good few hours.  I took some videos as well and they’ll go up shortly but man it’s beautiful there and I absolutely loved spending time with the family just relaxing.  Probably as close to paradise as can be, Maggie and I talked maybe of moving there in the future. 😉

We had Thai food for dinner, it was alright Maggie and I wanted to stay out longer but since Brandon was still on Toronto time, by 5-6pm local time he’s already really beat.

The next day we went to Sea World and it was pretty great there too.

Sea World was pretty awesome, the rides were well regular amusement park style but you can get really close to the sea life here and they did a lot of really cool tricks.  Again I guess due to it being so close to xmas, we were able to see everything in a day and the little guy loved it.  He’s so damn lucky, when I was a kid we never went anywhere.

After breakfast on Tuesday morning at the hotel, we drove back to LA so Maggie could do some shopping then in the afternoon we just drove around the city to check things out.  LOL by accident we drove through some slums and I told Maggie we better lock our doors.  You can tell you’re in a poor area because all the windows and doors have security bars in front of them.

Dinner was of course, Mexican food then we dropped off the car and took the complimentary shuttle bus back to the airport.  We got there a few hours early, our flight was at 11pm and well I wanted Brandon to get some sleep.  We landed yesterday morning at 7am and well that day was pretty much a write off lol.

I’m on the holiday break so today I did a lot of cleaning and getting back into the grind at home, we had a great time and definitely will miss the nice weather!

Disney World 2017

So over the Easter weekend, our family went to Orlando to go to Disney World and we didn’t have enough time!  After having gone there I’d say one really needs a full week in order to see everything, I guess fortunately in our case Brandon is young and we really only did the kid stuff.  Our plane on Friday afternoon was delayed so we didn’t reach Orlando till around 9:30pm, a shame because we had some local sight seeing planned (packed schedule) but meh that’s alright.  Saturday morning we went to Disney’s Animal Kingdom and it was fun.  While there were obviously a ton of animals in the park, I was a bit disappointed at all the fake animals used to showcase certain rides.  

Hehe the cutest thing was when we went on the A Bug’s Life show, there’s a point where the bad bug takes over and it’s loud with a lot of flashing lights.  Brandon as so startled he curled up in a ball with his knees at his chest and his hands over his eyes and I thought it was so cute.  Hehe my little chicken but to be fair a lot of the children in the cinema were shocked and crying. We walked around the whole day going on rides and playing in general and Brandon had a wonderful time.

During the Lion King show, they were looking for some volunteer children and lol we made Brandon go out, to which he had a lot of fun leading the other kids in the activities.  We left the park around 4:30pm, Brandon and Maggie were pretty tired from walking all day (we walked over 20k steps) and for dinner we ate at one of the touristy restaurants close to our hotel.  We had an awesome table right next to a river.  Later we walked through the Disney Springs shopping area and I thought the Lego picture was pretty darn cool. 😉

Sunday we went to Disney’s Magic Kingdom and I certainly had more fun there because there were a lot more rides and “adult things” to do.  

We went on a few roller coasters and Brandon loved it when I pretended to be scared.  I took less pictures this day because some of the rides had poor lighting.  Hehe during the haunted house ride, Brandon again was very scared and both Maggie and I had to reassure him that nothing would happen, that he’d be safe with us.  Brandon also really enjoyed driving around the track chasing Maggie, later he remarked to me that he now knows he’ll be a good driver haha. It was hotter this day and Maggie & B were tired so again we called it a day at around 4pm.

On Monday we went to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, this time during the Hollywood Classics ride, there’s a part where a gang fight erupts between rival robots and this time Brandon went to hide where people’s feet were.  The lady sitting next to Maggie laughed at how cute Brandon was. 😉

Now that Disney owns the Star Wars franchise there were a lot of characters from the movies walking around and the ride was pretty good I’ll admit.  My favorite show was the Indiana Jones one, it was a huge production with large moving sets and they did quite a few bits (modified) from the Raiders of the Lost Ark movie, lol Brandon thought it was so funny to see the female lead also beat up the bad guys.  

Hollywood Studio is much smaller so in the early afternoon we went back to the hotel so he could play in the pool.  In the evening we met up with aunt Agnes & uncle Paul for dinner and it was great.  They’re both so much fun and it was great to have some quality time with them.  LOL in the garage uncle Paul gave Brandon a ride to our car in his Porsche, Brandon says we should get one too. 😉

We left Orlando on Tuesday and since we had a connecting flight, we didn’t get home till about 8:30pm which sucked and the work day after sucked a lot too but the vacation was well worth it and I’m glad Maggie made me go lol.  Brandon had a wonderful time and I hope he remembers at least a little bit when he’s older. 

Back safe and sound!

So we returned from Orlando late last night and I’m happy to report that we’re safe and sound.  The trip to Disney World was amazing and I really owe Maggie a thank you for always pushing for us to go away as a family more.  I took a ton of pictures and will edit some tonight, I’ll get them up shortly as I know a lot of friends and family members are asking. 🙂

Off to Orlando!

I know i haven’t posted much in the last little while, life’s been busy but whatever today the family is going to Orlando!  We’re going to take Brandon to Disneyworld and it’s going to be fun.  Will post some pictures later. 🙂

Pokemon Go European conquest

As you know we’re addicted to Pokemon Go and Brandon and I played a lot while we were in Italy and here are a few pics of our Pokemon holding the Italian gyms. 😉

Hehe I guess I’m most proud of holding the gym at the leaning tower of Pisa, with Maggie in tow we actually held that place for around 5 hours. 🙂  On the 7th day of the trip Maggie and I caught the European specific Mr. Mime, a super goofy looking thing but yeah a special one because it’s not available here.

LOL I bet the local players around my home thought I was banned, nope away on a trip, leveled up and powered up my guys.

A few videos from Italy

As promised here are some videos that I took while we were in Italy, they were taken with the Canon 70D, my 24-105 f4L lens & Rode shotgun microphone.

I’m glad Brandon can be happy anywhere…  The Gondola ride was 80 Euros for 30 minutes (was more like 20 minutes though) but it was totally worth it!

Italy 2016

Let me start by saying that Italy is an absolutely beautiful country, in fact I enjoyed being there so much I told Maggie that I would consider retiring there in the future.  In a way it’s a shame that Brandon is so young and doesn’t understand the significance of where he was because the history is simply amazing.  I won’t dwell on American Airlines losing our luggage as I covered that previously but we started our trip in Rome and spent two days walking around.

The city is an amazing mix of history and the modern world all combined into one, one second you’re walking on concrete and the next you’re on cobble stone.  Some buildings are brand new, others have been standing for thousands of years and while I’m not religious the amount of ancient churches and the quality of the workmanship was amazing. 🙂  It was hot, much hotter than Toronto and with only the clothes on our backs I endured the summer heat with a long sleeve shirt and long pants, both are designed for the heat but still it was very uncomfortable at times.  At the end of the second day you could see the salt stains on my shirt, luckily we started to buy clothes to wear.

Yeah sorry for the large amount of photos, if you know me I like to take pictures…  As you can see we hit all the touristy areas, Maggie did some shopping and Brandon and I played Pokemon Go. 😉  I thoroughly enjoyed all the sights except… for Vatican City.  I don’t know what it was but the grandeur & opulence of it all made me sick, Jesus talked about helping the poor and getting rid of all one’s worldly possessions but Vatican City seemed to be counter to that.  I guess it’s not Jesus’ fault (and I don’t believe anyway), people are imperfect and Christian leaders over the generations have all perverted his supposed teachings.

The Leonardo Da Vinci exhibit was very cool and lol maybe exposing Brandon to one of the greatest minds in history will increase his interests in science. 😉 The rest, well it was great and we all had a wonderful time walking around the city and learning about Roman history.

The next city we hit was Pisa, lol all tourists have to see the leaning tower right.

Pisa is very much a resort town and while the leaning tower was cool, meh it didn’t seem so special when I got up close.  Everyone was doing the stupid holding up the tower pose and I forbade Brandon from doing it because it’s retarded, yes I’m a spoil sport.  What I did like was the narrow streets, that really gave me the city an old time history feel and it was nice to duck into those tiny shops to see the things for sale instead of the commercial shopping area that well feels like every other commercial shopping area in the world.

We didn’t stay in Pisa long there were a few other attractions around but I wasn’t that interested, instead I wanted Maggie to go to Milan to do some shopping so yeah we did that. 😉

Milan is known for its fashion and I figure Maggie would enjoy it, the city itself is also beautiful with its grand central rail station.  We took trains to the various cities because it’s more efficient than flying and Italy (like the rest of Europe) has a well developed mass transportation system.

On the train we had some beggars that leave notes for you, lol just like we do in TO I guess they’re everywhere.  Nothing much to report on in Milan, it’s a cool place but we went there for Maggie and she had a lot of fun shopping. 🙂

We spent a day in Florence, at this time we weren’t sure if we’d get our luggage back and Maggie’s $1k Gucci purse was in the packed luggage so we walked around so she could get another.  Funny this place known as “The Mall” is outdoors and it’s full of Chinese people from China, there are so many Chinese here that they even had signs, menus & product desciptions written in Chinese.

After Florence we went to my favorite city of the trip, Venice.

Venice is beautiful, instead of cars everyone has boats and the small winding pathways in the city are for pedestrian traffic only.  This was the one place I wish we stayed longer and again it’s a place I could see myself living in, I mean just look at those pictures it’s amazing!  We did a gondola ride where I took some video, I’ll upload it later and post it here and it was super relaxing.  I probably should have sat next to Maggie but Brandon wanted that spot and I couldn’t say no, we walked around took the boat bus then had some Chinese food, Maggie wanted to try it and it was pretty good, though very expensive at ~$50 Euros for the 3 of us (dining out is very expensive but it’s a vacation right).

There was this other shopping destination that Maggie wanted to go to in Florence so we went back there the next day then back to Rome…

Heh my Mini Cooper would be a mid sized car in Italy, there were some really neat vehicles and pictured is a one seater.  Super small and easy to park but I guess whomever drives that is single and doesn’t carry anything.  The pasta in Italy was as you can imagine superb, I love Italian food and gained about 5 lbs despite walking at least 15k steps a day (one day we did 26k).

The bookends to my trip were a disaster but the vacation itself was amazing.  I’ll be frank, I wasn’t looking forward to the trip because I knew it’d cost an arm & a leg but Maggie pushed for it and did an excellent job with planning, she was the star of the show.  I’d go back in a heartbeat but there are so many other places that we need to travel to as well and whether this was a once in a lifetime trip we’ll see but I thoroughly enjoyed myself and will have great memories the rest of my life. 🙂

Safe and sound but frustrated

We arrived home safe and sound last night around 12am and man even the trip back was an adventure.  So American Airlines got to screw us twice, they found our luggage after 7 days and when they let us know we were at the tail end of our trip, city hopping in Italy so we said we’d pick it up from the Rome airport.

Tuesday we leave the hotel 3 hours early and it freaking takes an hour to get our lost luggage!!! I don’t know what the delay was (this is with the AA staff at the airport) but I just waited and waited at the security area.  After I rush to Terminal 5 and check in is closed.

We ask the customer service lady what’s going on and she’s says check in closes 45 minutes before the flight takes off, what 45 minutes I look at my watch and there’s still an hour!  I tell her that we’re before the cut off time, she shrugs her shoulders makes a call then says she can’t reach anyone.

Thank you American Airlines for losing my luggage on the way to Italy and with this retarded system of closing even before the “known” check in time.

Anyway as you can guess we missed our flight and took one yesterday that routed us to Chicago, then to Buffalo NY because all connecting flights to Toronto were full.  I rented a car from Avis drove home and it was nice to sleep in our beds again.

The book ends of our trip were terrible but the vacation itself was great.  I got a ton of pictures to edit and will have more American Airlines updates later when I submit my expenses to them for reimbursement (they said they’d cover the cost of our day to day necessities while we were there and we only had the clothes on our backs).

Lost my luggage!

So we flew American Airlines to Rome and while the service and plane was great they… lost my luggage.  Technically for some reason it took a detour to London and should be on it way here.  Pretty passed about it as we don’t have changer of clothes with us so we ended up buying some new clothes.

Rome is absolutely beautiful, I love the city and history behind it.  Here are some unedited pics I pulled off the Canon 70D.

Low resolution photos I pulled off the Canon 70Ds WiFi feature.  Unedited but still illustrates how beautiful the city is.  Will call the airlines tomorrow to find out what the hell is going on.

They’re gone :(

This morning I dropped Maggie & Brandon off at the airport and now they’re gone…  Sigh, my friends tell me I must love the freedom but frankly I’d prefer to have my family around.

Haha I will miss Maggie as well but I’m definitely going to miss the little guy even more, at least it’s only 3 weeks. Lots of shooting is lined up for Colin, both airsoft and RS so that’ll keep me busy.

8:13PM edit: Oh no, Maggie sent me some text messages today while I was playing at Mach 1 Airsoft and her flight had problems and that it didn’t leave till 6PM!  God what a disaster, for her sake I hope Brandon was good.  Damn it I feel so helpless with them away. 🙁