Jim Strew


Jim Strew

I live to travel. Asia is particularly attractive for the food and friendly people. Fortunately, my wife shares this wunderlust.

South America » Argentina » Chubut » Punta Tombo February 19th 2018

Today, I got to cross off another experience from my bucket list. We joined a small group of Germans on a 2 hour drive south of our hotel to visit a penguin colony. It was a great breeding season so there were about 1 million birds there. We must have seen about half of them. They were on, in and under everything. We drove along a straight road across a low shrub plain. Not much rain falls here, only about 200ml/year. Along the way, our eagle-eyed driver stopped to point out local wildlife. Among the menagerie were half rabbit/half dog creatures, amarillos, long-legged half camel/half llama beasts with split lips and various birds of prey. The first penguin we encountered were the losers. They did not reproduce this year. They were about 3 km the sea. ... read more

South America » Argentina » Buenos Aires February 17th 2018

We had a wonderful 2 day visit to Buenos Aires. Firstly, I was impressed and grateful for the lack of pollution in a city of this size. The sky was blue! The only time I coughed was during rush hour on a busy through-fare. Noise pollution was also minimal, unlike the constant cacophony of horns that have irritated me in the Asian cities we have been visiting during the last few years. We stayed at the Intersur Hotel in the Recoleta district (intersurrecoleta.com.ar). It has an expansive lobby and smiling staff eagerly awaiting to help you. Their English is quite good. The best architectural feature are the chandeliers. I just peeked in the door of the main restaurant as I am not a fan of Italian food. Our room did not quite maintain the elegance of ... read more

Europe » Iceland » Southwest » Reykjavík May 29th 2016

Gratefully, the wind had changed overnight and the room was not as hot and stuffy as previously. The thing with sleeping in a dorms you never know who you are going to wake up with! It reminds me of a few occasions from my drunken youth. It being Sunday morning, I had the kitchen to myself as the rest of the guests must have been out later than I was. I spent a good half hour writing up yesterday’s blog but mistakenly hit the wrong button and lost everything. When will I ever learn to hit the SAVE button more frequently instead. I know the second draft is not the same as the first, with some details forgotten and new ones added. Better save what I have just written, just in case… There. Done. After a ... read more
Harbour View

Europe » Iceland » Southwest » Reykjavík May 28th 2016

After a too short sleep, I got up and looked out the panoramic window to see another dreary drizzly day. I am too used to getting up with the sun so when it is always light, it is hard to sleep for long. A great day to find an indoor activity. I had a light breakfast of yogurt and granola and a pain au chocolate. The yogurt was thick and creamy and the bread freshly baked. Still hard to stomach for $11. I guess this is a sign of what to expect as far as pricing. The exact opposite to travelling in Asia where getting there is the expensive part. I had a half price coupon for the Maritime museum so off I went. It was only a ten minute walk away. I missed it as ... read more
View Across Reykjavik Harbour
Catholic Church Reykjavik

Europe » Iceland » Southwest » Reykjavík May 27th 2016

I visit the main post office of every capitol city I visit. This time I could do my business without having to worry about how bored my wife is getting. I must say that these folks are amongst the most efficient and customer orientated postal authorities I have ever encountered, very philatelic centred. I then went to meet a couple of friends from the village we live in for lunch. They had discovered this wonderful fresh fish restaurant on the harbour front. The Fish Baron. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xqpQQHyah7c I had a halibut brochette, brushed with lemon butter. It was excellent, fresh and flakey. For those of you that like fish soup, my friends swear by this house specialty, loaded with lobster meat and its broth. I was especially grateful to Bertrand and Claire for taking me for a ... read more
Valley View
Sparce vegitation

Europe » Iceland » Southwest » Reykjavík May 26th 2016

Because of the air traffic controllers strike, we had to circle the Reykjavik airport for 20 minutes before landing. It was a long walk from the plane to customs. I was surprised at the size of airport given the size of the city but it is a hub for Europe after all. A good occasion to stretch my legs. Customs was a breeze. The agent matched my face to the passport photo and stamped it. Somewhat like Calgary and WalMart, there were lots of greeters ready to answer questions and direct people out of the airport. Since my flight had been delayed thrice, I was worried I would miss my connections to my hotel and hot springs. Not to worry as the bus company changed my tickets to take me to Blue Lagoon and then on ... read more
Blue Lagoon 2
Blue Lagoon 3
Blue Lagoon 4

Europe » Iceland » Southwest » Reykjavík May 25th 2016

I just couldn't resist. I saw an add in the newspaper for a return flight to Iceland for $125 on WOW airlines out of Iceland. Checking further, I saw with taxes an airport fees, that the price would be double. Nevertheless, it was still a good deal. Only allowed 5 kilos before heavy fees are applied. I would be flying solo so decided to save some money and sleep in a dorm setting. Knowing that the rest of the visit would be expensive, it would be for only four days. Just enough time to visit some museums in the capital and maybe a side trip into the countryside. Rain and wind was forcast for the duration of my stay. Hours before leaving, I recieve an e-mail from the airline saying that the air traffic controllers in ... read more

We arrived in Vancouver at 8:30pm, 3 hours before we left Hong Kong. We did a quick run to the liquor store across the street to stock up for the expected party over the next few days. Then back to bed, this time horizontally. We awoke after a way too short sleep, had a good buffet breakfast¸and sat in the lobby to await pick-up by our dear friends that we had met during our sojourn in Vancouver at the end of the last century. We were on our way up the Sunshine Coast to visit my cousin who had introduced us in the first place. My cousin’s wife had left a precise travel itinerary of places to stop and the schedule of the two ferries we had to take to get to Desolation Sound. It was ... read more
Sunshine Coast
Sunshine Coast
Desolation Sound

Asia » Vietnam » Red River Delta » Hanoi March 11th 2016

I had a huge breakfast in anticipation of missed meals during the long day of travel. There were sad good-byes to our hosts at La Beauty de Hanoi. I gave maple syrup to the lady who oversees the breakfast kitchen and to the girl at the front desk who called me Santa Claus. I explained to her that it was Santa’s duty to give gifts to people who do a good job. Claudette also left a good tip in the box for that purpose. I guess it was acceptable and appreciated, judging from the wild-eyed smile from the staff present. Incredibly, we made it to the airport in virtual silence. The driver followed all the rules of the road. I wondered that they even existed, and he didn’t honk his horn once during the 45 minute ... read more

Asia » Vietnam » Red River Delta » Hanoi March 10th 2016

Yesterday we changed our return bus tickets to an earlier time. There was not much reason to spend the morning in the village except to watch the harbour activity. At least the bus company staff were friendlier than those the other day. The orders were still abrupt but with less aggessivity. Still, it was not until 3 pm that we arrived back in the capitol. There were lots of taxi drivers offering rides. We were told by the hotel staff to take a green taxi but Claudette was anxious to get to the hotel and nap. She is very congested. She took the next taxi she saw. It had a meter so we figured we were safe enough. The fare was way above the estimated rate. I am sure we were taken for a ride. The ... read more

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