Monday, June 30, 2008

settlement in a foreign country

About due for my week update on what is going on in Amanda's life. So I am right now in Banff and working for Banff Lodging Company I do reservations for the eight hotels they own here. I arrived in Banff on Monday, starting work on the tuesday. They didn't have staff accomodation for me until Friday so they put Brendan and I up at the Inns of Banff in this room for free until it was ready. As nice as living in a hotel room was I really needed to stop eating takeout, be able to unpack all my shit and just settle the fuck down. So you can guess how relieved I was when I finally got my staff accomodation.

Anyway on the Monday Brendan and I walked up to the Hidden Ridge hotel (also of banff lodging company) and Brendan was offered a job on the spot with maintenance. The guy didn't even look at his resume. Brendan started on Wednesday because of SIN card issues. For those of you who dont know what SIN is its Social Insurance Number. aka Tax file Number (Australia) and Social Security (USA) dont ask me what the UK equiv is I have no idea. Anyway you cant work without one I had gotten mine a few weeks before so I was fine.

That evening my work was going on a team building exercise so they took us out horseriding. The one thing I am terrified of is horses and this day was no exception. I have to admit by the end I was starting to bond with my horse Tiago. After horseriding we went out to the pub and work paid for me to get drunk. Only problem was I had to work the next day. Lucky for me I only had the flu not a hangover.

Work is interesting, Saturday was my first day alone on the phones and I actually did ok with everything. In fact I made just over $50.00 in comission which is pretty good. I lucked out though I was working the busiest night of the year in banff and all these fools tried to book last minute and all we had that was left was expensive hotel rooms. Basically comission works that if I book a same-day I get 5%. Hours are great to I work four days on 10 hours a day and yesterday was my first 10 hour shift and it really just flies by doing the extra hours. It doesnt get dark here till 11pm right now anyway so I can still go out and do stuff. Wait till winter however, I may never see the sun again!!

Another perk of my work is all the discounts and stuff we get. Like we can use the canoes/kayaks down at Bow river for free. And we get 40% discount off food in a bunch of resturants and 30% off drinks. Brendan and I ate at one of them on Thursday and saved ourselves over $20.00 and got an awesome feed. There are corporate ski passes we can sign out and I heard that we get one free lesson with the hotels private ski instructor .. YAY. Plus we get discounts on ski rentals and all that sort of thing. I'm sure there is more but thats all I've heard at the moment. My work is great and laidback everyone is nice. Seeing mum and Sandra then leaving them made me homesick though, ok perhaps by the end we were on each others nerves but being so far away from my friends and family I feel it occasionally.

Does anyone know any good online stores in Canada? I was looking for one that might sell like non-perishable foods and ship them. Variety here is slim and expensive. Its hard to cook meals I want to cook!! Also something that sells general household items like soap and stuff.

Oh another lucky thing of my staff accom? In range of someones unsecured network :D

Roadtripping Canada

I got a job!! I am now a Canadian Employee working with Banff lodging company as a reservations sales agent for Banff Lodging company. Pay is minimal at $12.00 an hour but it comes with perks like Staff accomodation, corporate ski passes, discounts with tour companies etc. Also they let you have a weekend away every now and then in one of their hotels for free. They work 10 hour days 4 days a week so that gives me 3 days off to see the sites which I would personally prefer.

Brendan is still unemployed but the girl who hired me said that she would look into getting Brendan a position. They seem really keen for me.

Right now I am sitting in the small railroad town of Revelstoke in British Columbia. We are on our way to Vancouver to spend a week on the island. I have basically been on the road for the last week sleeping in a tent, freezing my ass off. Today was the first day we had real sunshine!. We stopped off at Drumheller home of the largest dinosaur and went through Rosedale where the world record for most bridges in the shortest amount of distance is. Then we passed through the dead town of vulcan and dressed up as Klingons.

We stayed a wet cold night in Waterton Park climbing a mountain the next day only to reach the beautiful top full of snow and ice. Still the view was amazing. On the way down it began to hail/snow and I was only wearing three layers and no waterproof jacket!!!

Who knows where I will be tomorrow but I cant wait to settle down and start working I have been on holiday for three months now and Im ready like hell to get back to work.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Vancouver Island

My week in Vancouver Island has been interesting so far. I think being in close proximity with my sister and mother is starting to wear on our patience. The tent is a six-man tent which in real terms means four people can fit uncomfortably in it as long as they don’t move. We aren’t all miniscule Japanese you know… To add to that showers cost money so we have pretty much been forgoing that and just becoming one with nature. Do like the aboriginals. What has kept me sane is the fact that everywhere here seems to offer free wireless internet. Most people know give me a computer and WWW and I’ll be happy for days! Isn’t it strange that internet is free but showers cost money? What in the world are we coming to…

The trip over to the island was a nightmare we got to the Ferry at around 4pm. 4pm on a FRIDAY. We were told that we were placed on the 9pm ferry. So for five hours we waited in a car park, people were playing hockey or walking their dogs. Once we got on the ferry (an hour late) it took us 1.5 to get to the island so we arrived around 11:30pm no idea where we were and no idea where to sleep. I was frustrated from a night of no sleep so I was no help and just dozed in the back seat. They found a campsite (which was to be our home for the next four nights) and decided to set up tent in the middle of the night and work out the details the next day.

Day 1 was chilled, we spent the day walking around Nanimo and reading books. The local library was having a massive book sale and we scored about 15 books for $1.50. One such find was the Dark Elf Trilogy by R.A Salvatore. I delved into it and am now onto the third book, will be done in time for mum to take them home!

On Sunday we drove for two hours to Long Beach and did a short walk. It was nice but the drive was to long I think overall we spent about three hours just getting there.

Monday was spent seeing Chemainus famous for its murals painted along business walls etc. At one point I fell over and grazed my knee and everyone laughed. We then went on to Duncan which is another town famous for its totem poles everywhere. After that we went to Lake Cowichan where we had lunch and walked the largest floating boardwalk on the island. Then home once more and mum made chicken madras.

Tuesday we packed up our tent and headed out for Campbell River where we settled into a new campsite. We took a famous walk of thiers the Ripple Rock which turned out to be nice, but wet as it started raining the whole way. All my clothes got soaked…the walk was nice 8.5km round trip and the view of the bay was decant. We almost missed the view since the walk abruptly ended at a cliffface and we were lost as to where we were supposed to go – the answer was up …

On the way back we came across all these giant radioactive slugs hundreds of them jetblack. They were about the size of a small sausage and 10x as gross. I was scared to touch them in case they were actually leeches and latched on to my fingers. What if they were really brain suckers from out of space sent to Campbell river to take over the small town and infect all the incoming tourists to infiltrate the world!

Wednesday Day 2 in Campbell river we drove out to Strathcona Park, B.Cs oldest park. I picked Upper Myra Falls walk which was pretty about 3km one way. The falls were nice nothing exciting. We did see the lower falls which I enjoyed more and climbed all over the rocks to get the most awesome photos despite the signs saying how dangerous they were. After Myra we did a 1.5km Loop trail “Karst Creek” which was supposed to only be one way since the bridge was out but the creek under the bridge was dry anyway and Brendan and I decided to climb down the river. At one point I stood on this log and it nearly rolled out from under me. That would have been painful..

After that walk we stopped at Lupin Falls which was a 0.6km loop walk to a pretty waterfall. I always thought that Darwin had nice waterfalls but I swear every turnoff in Canada there is a new waterfall!!!

Thursday we drove straight to Victoria capitol of BC. We booked ourselves in a hostel and then Mum, Brendan and I went to see Prince Caspian: Chronicles of Narnia. It was an AWESOME movie. Omg Ben Barnes was very sexy. I’ve always had a thing for Prince Caspian, only thing that was weird was his accent I didn’t feel like it fit. I can’t wait for Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

Friday we caught the ferry back to Vancouver and spent the afternoon shopping at Metropolis and then onto the Richmond night markets which was a bit overhyped in my opinion. A lot of cute asian stuff and Nintendo Heaven! Really overpriced though so I didn’t actually buy anything but I saw all these plush I wanted so bad..

Saturday mum left back home and Sandra, Brendan and I drove to Sparwood. Then we are onto Banff where I start work on Tuesday, the company has accommodation for me on Tuesday and have put me up in a hotel for Sunday & Monday night. They also want me to come along to a staff horseriding session on Monday which I am a little freaked about since Horses are my one major fear…

Here are some photos of my Vancouver Island trip