Skip to main content


Showing posts from 2009

Cooling down in Calgary

So I'm looking at the weather map and there's this dark blue bubble around Calgary and the southern Canadian rockies. Numbers like -5, -10, -15, -19 in Banff, and its the beginning of October. But Calgary's crazy that way - it'll warm up again. It was 20 a couple weeks ago and I went swiming! The economy's a bit nicer, but to me that's just a rumor - our company has no more projects coming up (though they've been telling us there's more coming for months) - so our hours are so short I'm pretty much out of work. I was hired back to be the site assistant on a project on a Tuesday. On Friday the site shut down. Play it by ear, I guess. I'm not looking forward to working outside in any case. So with all my time off I'm applying to other jobs - hopefully I'll get a job at MEC. Speaking of using my time off - it's good to nurse this cold I've come down with. Be careful - H1N1 will get ya! Its not all cold, tho. I did go to BC with Tr

Dundas and Peterborough, summer of '09

So the flight back from Latvia was long. There were three flights actually: first from Riga to Oslo (I was in Norway for an hour!), then to London, then to Toronto. In Oslo they forgot my luggage so I had to hang around Heathrow for 12 hours - not very pleasant. To pass the time I commandeered a wheelchair and had people look at me while I wheeled around. Took the bus to Gatwick once I got my bad. Watched the Virgin Airlines jumbos until I could leave. Finally made it to TO and mom drove me home. Dundas was nice. Had a party for my brother's champagne birthday on the 31st. Went to the Crawford's cornhole competition (its not what you think, but then again maybe it is). Had a tent town at my place. We heard it was going to rain so we got a bunch of tarps and strung 'em all up. It did end up raining - a ton! The tarps stayed up (for the most part), and we stayed dry (for the most part...). We even kept the fire going all night! Played frisbee the next d


So I stayed with Ilze for a week. It was very relaxing, going to the beach and taking trains downtown. After that I stayed at my cousin Ieva's place in downtown Riga. I also knew her roommate Aleksandra from back in the day when we were classmates at GVV. I stayed there the rest of my time in Latvija. So since its been a while since I posted anything (and a month since some of the stuff in Latvia happened!), I'll just rattle it off: -Went and saw all KINDS of castles (in Sigulda and Cesis) mostly and monuments (all over the place). -Ended up going to Sigulda 4 times -Met up with my dad and went and saw all kinds of relatives, including my grandma's sister, friends Ainars Abols and Guntis Groskops, my dad's GFs family in Cesis, the major of Kandava and more. -Went to Kurzeme with my dad, and again later with him and his friend Maruta. Saw the beach in Ventspils, and the town where my dad was born. -Hung out at the family farm in Valmiera. -Helped out at the


So the rest of Amsterdam was OK. Blundered around the city with one of the brits (Gaz - love the name!) I met in Rotterdam. Went to a park and saw lots of people and people on bikes. There's lots of people on bikes in the Low Countries. Really, the only thing you need to know about them is to get out of their way. That's why its so fun to ride a bike in the Low Countries. That night went on a pub crawl around the Red Light District. Met some (more) cool people. I now realize how its easy to meet people who, like you, are looking to have a good time. Keep traveling! The Pubcrawl got a little out of control tho - almost got in a fight until two Spaniards broke it up. Hahaa! yikes. The next day I packed up, got some souvenirs, and rode my bike to the airport. The bike had an ir-repariable flat, so I rode there on a flat. It was a loooong ride. Left the bike there, hopefully someone needy will get it. It was falling apart. Many of the souvinirs I got were porcelai


Ok, so Rotterdam was nice. Amsterdam is wicked. more on that later... So I didn't end up going to that BMX thing, instead I met some limeys and we went to The Hague. I inquired why the town was called that, and mostly its just because its called De Haag in Dutch. And why is the land of the Dutch called The Netherlands? So many questions. De Haag was nice too. We didn't go to the ICC because it was actually far away, you can't go inside, there's nothing to see, it was raining, and we wanted to see Bruno. Borat was better. So it was good to rest up in nice Rotterdam. Rode to Amsterdam. It was windy and I took a couple wrong turns into the wind. Grrr! First day here I stumbled into the Red Light District - pretty much first thing I did. Good thing I didn't take photos of the prostitutes in the windows, I didn't know i'd get a cup of piss thrown at me or worse! Met a 'Charlie' - guy who takes you're money believing you bought drugs.

Ride to Rotterdam

So remember that bike I was telling you about? Well I got to Rotterdam with it. It really is a clunker, and it sucks that its got an internal deraileur and breaks so I don't know how to fix them. It made it tho, and it should get me to Amsterdam in a couple days if it doesn't get stolen in the mean time. The ride was very interesting. I gave myself like 6 days to get to Amsterdam. I could have done it in 2. So I'm spending a few days in Rotterdam. Along the way you notice things. Like how the entire North Sea coast line is like Wasaga beach. There's cafe's and restaurants and beach bums and wind surfers and change rooms and bars and towns along the way. Like the WHOLE way from the Belgian border to the suburbs of Rotterdam. I guess that's what you get when you cram 16 million people into a space half the size of New Brunswick. It was really cool riding accross the Schelt. It was epic riding on the massive storm surge barriers along huge wind turbi

In Brugges

So I left Paris. I will have to go back some day, tho better planned. I decided to go to Brugges on the advice of Paul Auzins, and I was not dissapointed. I knew it would be good as soon as I got here - there was parking for a couple hundred cars, but bike racks for a few thousand bikes! And there was the Brugges Cactus Festival (yes, those familiar with the Dundas variety) going on, so I knew this place was gold. This place is great - Venice of the north. Once again I blundered around for a while, but this place is made for blundering - everythings very close. And there are tourists EVERYWHERE. Its not really a problem, especially since I'm a tourist too, and I met a lot of them. Being in Belgium, I had to try the beer, and boy have I tried lots! So, naturally I got pissed. Seems to be a theme here in Europe. It helps when a beer and a soda cost about the same... Things I did here: go on the brewery tour, go to the beach on my new bike (more on that in a bit...), pla

Down and Out in London and Paris (and Stonehenge)

So the beer pong went well - it turned into a hell of a party in the hostel bar. Its not really surprising considering its called Clink Hostel. Met lots of people from everywhere. Met some that were going to Stonehenge the next day and I tagged along. It was actually really cool driving around London, looking at all the random monuments and stuff. Stonehenge was interesting - the tour guide put it best: " we don't know who made it. We don't know why they made it. And we don't know how they made it, but it wasn't made with slaves. We really don't know that much about it." We also went to Bath - very interesting and nice town. Got off the bus and took lots of pictures. I'm such a tourist! Also went up the Bath Abbey tower. And took pictures. Got back to London and we commenced to blunder around and look at historical places some more. Actually that's mostly what I'm doing in Europe. That's ok. Its cheaper than actually

Woooaah London...

Its crazy here. Crazy right hand drive and weird taxis and double decker busses! People clean the benches for you! People don't speak english, but british. The streets lead you in circles. Acually its not that crazy... I flew in this morning on the overnight flight. My mom drove me to the airport on the way to work and I had to wait like 8 hours before my flight. I thought it would be UUUUber boring but I met tons of Latvians who I knew - they were coming from the Latvian Song and Dance fest in Hamilton from the weekend (don't know if I told you about that - I'm Latvian too). I was talking to them for so long I almost missed my flight - they called me like 5 times! The flight itself was good. I had the extended legroom seat by the window, and saw the sun set over Canada this morning for the last time for 6 weeks. The only issue was an air leak witch ended up nearly freezing my shoe before I realized my foot was really cold. Kinda made me question the integrit

Livin it up in the mountains

Ok, I figured it out, why I don't post as much - I started writing these while travelling. Ofter I find myself having tons of time with nothing to do. And I got all these crazy times to talk about! So generally its good to write it down. Even better if other people might read it. When I'm not travelling for long periods of time, I have to squeeze all the adventure in before returning much too soon to reality (ie - working life), where procrastination rules supreme. So, really, it makes sense that I don't post. That, and the pic uploader on this blog engine sucks, which drags to posting out waaaay too long. So no pics. If you want em, go to Facebook, look up (you got it) Matiss Valdmanis. There's only one. Believe me. So AAANYWAY, back to all that posting that was put off in reality... So went skiing again with Tracy, this time at Sunshine. veeeery nice. I went to Jasper with Zack. Saw ALL kinds of wildlife - like 200 big horn sheep in three heards, tons

75 days of meh (and counting...)

Hahah! This is a record... 75 days! Lately I've been in a strange headspace - not doing anything (well, not much), not hanging out with people and not caring. Before I would do be lazy and feel guilty about it. But not anymore! This is the totally apathetic new me! I'm not really surprised by this new way of life. Mid 20's. Steady, shitty job that pay's decent. The Brits call it 'a shambles'. Seems all I want to do is ride, but the stupid winter here isn't going anywhere. It was like -15 ALL day the other day, and its the END OF MARCH! In the summer I really became jaded and cynical (but not bitter!), mostly about the world. Then the stock market crashed. Obama won. Baby seals are still being harvested (but, really, does it matter?). Crisis everywhere. Now I'm more just like: meh. Life goes on. A little sad, I guess, but more in a pathetic than depressed way. I don't think I'm the only one who feels like I do tho. This winter h

Hell of a Drives

Hey everyone - Kinda went AWOL there. I've always had trouble keeping up with these, but almost 3 months in excessive. Lets see - went through my first period of my in-school carpentry school. Was fun, and not too difficult. Learned a lot. It was good to go on an 'education vacation' as I called it. Don't know how totally serious I am about doing the whole apprenticeship, but it was fun, it got me a raise, and now I feel confident enough to be able to build my own house someday. Drove home for the holidays with Yuri. Hell of a drive. Well really, could a drive across the country in the winter be considered anything less than "Hell of a drive?". At home for the holidays I seemed to stay out late every night until at least 1, usually around 3. Seeing family and friends, it was great! Went beer-bogganing (in case you didn't already know what that is, you drink beer and go tobogganing), played some epic pool, fell through the ice, did nothing much