A Dinosaur Day in Drumheller

Hey kids, I know it’s been far too long since my last letter. Sadly, it’s that worst excuse of poor excuses: I’ve been working a lot. Back in January, I started with a new company, the Evans Hunt Group. The project has been a tough one (I’ll tell you all about it when it’s ready for public consumption), but it’ll be rewarding for a number of reasons (not the least of which is how much more I know about things in Calgary that you’ll both like).
I’m working with friends, people I’ve known for years — they’re people I also trust implicitly, so I have no reservations about working long hours. The downside, of course, is that I’ve seen less of you two. That’s probably what’s been hardest on me. Especially since Monkey probably feels a little neglected with all the time Mommy needs to spend with Choo Choo. It’s also why, despite the workload, I simply had to take some time to be with you and Mommy, and do something fun.
So went to see dinosaurs in Drumheller.
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Xmas in NYC, Day 2

My dogs are barkin’. It’s been a day on my feet. A good day, to be sure, but a lot of walking, and a lot of standing. The same was true for Alex, and it would be for Mi Pequeña Niña if she hadn’t slept for a solid hour or so while we were walking about. (Considering that was her only nap of the day, that’s not a bad thing, either.)
The way started out as a rough plan to go to the Empire State Building, and check out the view of Manhattan. But our plans here are very flexible. Aside from the fact that I’ve been to New York City twice before, we’re travelling with a napping toddler, who is apt to change our plans at a moment’s notice for any number of reasons. So I try not to go too crazy when plans are forced to change.  
(Emphasis on the word “try”.)
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The Obligatory Vacation Recap

In the few minutes I have before I dive back into another conference session, figured I’d cover some of the items of our last vacation. This was a 2.5 week excursion mostly to Scotland, with a few days in England. Alex planned most of the trip, with me handling things like the transportation and hotels to stay along the way. Overall, about a 50/50 split on the events et al.
Sadly, at the end, it wasn’t a usual vacation. Until now, it’s always been either just me, or myself and Alex. Now there’s three of us, and the Wee One doesn’t have our stamina for travel and has a pseudo-schedule that needs to be followed from time-to-time.
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Je suis en Paris, Jour Trois!

No crepes for me this morning. As I’m beginning to discover, the French don’t consider crepes a breakfast thing. At least at the shops near the hotel. But hunger knows no bounds and I was forced to hunt out an alternative. The hotel clerk misdirected me to a boulangerie (that wasn’t there), but I managed to find a small grocery store on the way back to the hotel. A warm baguette and a chunk of a somewhat smelly cheese made for a pretty decent breakfast. The leftovers should cover me for tomorrow as well.
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The Shanghai Museum

Lest I neglect a wonderful place in Shanghai. One of our first stops was the Shanghai Museum. This is a fairly new place, having only opened in the last couple of years. And its exhibitions are among some of the best I’ve ever seen. The building itself is quite nice to look at (as are many of the buildings in Shanghai), but the collections are even better.
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Listvyanka and Lake Baikal

The cold seems to be slowly moving away. It hit me a little harder than it did Amy, so while she dealt mostly with the sniffles, I’ve been dealt the ol’ phlegm-attack. Mostly throat clearing, so it ain’t all nasty.
Until today, I had yet to cash any of my traveller’s cheques. Useful things these are not. Major problem: very few places in Russia care to honour them. You have search high and low to find places that will handle them, and not for an obscene rate of conversion. It’s silly, really. In future, I’m sticking to my usual system: bring a bank card. It’s accepted at most ATMs world-wide, though you do sometimes have to hunt for the right ones.
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Hermitage, Railway Museums, and Palaces, oh my!

Oy. The last 36-ish hours have been a whirlwind of activity.
Hit the Hermitage, as you already know, and then hit it up a second time to find the errant Picasso section (which wasn’t well-marked on the “map” we were given). This was over two days, I might add.
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Visiting the Hermitage

[This entry originally posted on How To Get Lost: Visiting the Hermitage.]
The Hermitage is if not the largest art museum in the world, definitely in the top five. The place is MASSIVE. It makes the British Museum seem like a corner store by comparison. It doesn’t hurt, though, that it used to be the palace for the Romanov family (though opened to the public in the 1800s).
After a fairly hearty Russian breakfast of bread, meat, and cheese (I’d forgotten how much I’d missed Russian cheese!), we headed out to the museum. Nord Hostel is about 100 metres from the site of Bloody Sunday, between the Winter Palace and the Army headquarters. It’s a short walk to the museum’s doors.
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BC Vacation: Fort Steele and Cranbrook

No-one told me that we were doing any surprises this weekend. ‘Course, then it wouldn’t be a surprise, would it?
Allen (Alex’s father) took Jean (Alex’s stepmom) down to Cranbrook so she could catch a flight out to southern Ontario for a wedding. This meant the condo was quiet for a number of hours. That meant we didn’t get up until late. I love sleeping in.
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Turning Japanese Again, Shinkansen to Hiroshima

No hangovers. This was a good way to start the day, even if it was a lot earlier than Jen really would have liked. (Mind you, Jen likes noon as a wake-up time.)
It was warm in the room. The Japanese seem to like it warm. Even trying to turn the heat down didn’t help. Twenty-four degrees is just uncomfortable. We rose, repacked our bags, and prepared for the trip to Hiroshima. Neither of us were particularly hungry, so would skip breakfast. Chris called to inform us of the paper shinkansen schedule, which we’d found out about the night before.
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My Trip to Japan, Yokohama

Another day, another adventure. Today, though, we would throw in a different nationality.
We all rose at basically the same time and quickly prepared for our departure. We needed to be in Yokohama by about 10:30, which meant we had to leave fairly early. It’s just shy of two hours to Yokohama.
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