If you can visit another country, you should do it! I had the chance for a very short visit to Manila in the Philippines and it was really interesting. My friend and I visited Guam Island for a week and we transferred planes in Manila so it didn’t cost any more money to stay there for 2 nights. We stayed at a hostel near the airport and we arrived pretty late in the evening. The next day, we spent the whole day looking around Intramuros, an old Spanish walled city, the museum and main park, as well as Mall of Asia (a lot like West Edmonton Mall)! We travelled by jeepney, which was very cheap, to get around the city. We saw very poor areas and we also took a train to visit a big mall with very expensive stores. There was a lot of history in the city and there were also many American businesses. I was very surprised to see so many guns because every business and building had guards with guns. For a short trip, I saw a lot!
It’s interesting to watch videos and TV shows that are filmed in your hometown, when you can recognize many of the landmarks and objects in the video. Here are some videos that were filmed in Edmonton. They are very useful for reviewing a lot of the vocabulary that relates to different kinds of transportation. Enjoy!
The TV show was all filmed during one day at Edmonton International Airport, and shows many of the different problems that happen at an airport.
Martin Kerr’s music video was all filmed on the LRT train system in Edmonton, as well as at some stations. People from Edmonton should be able to recognize many familiar locations.
Last night, I went out with my friends. Nine women got together, and we went to Pampa. It’s a Brazilian restaurant that’s downtown. It’s a good restaurant but more expensive. We had meat and wine, and we talked about men, politics and life. We had a fun time there, and then we went to Central Social Hall. It’s a bar, and we drank and danced there. I don’t like drinking alcohol very much, so I drank one Cuba Libre, which is rum with Coca Cola. I don’t like dancing either, so I didn’t go out very late. I got home at midnight. I went home in my friend’s boyfriend’s car. The rest of my friends danced and drank until very late, so they got home about 3 o’clock. It was a good night but not very much fun for me.
When we traveled to Real de Catorce, my first bad experience was when we burst a tire on the way. We had to stop for 3 hours because we hadn’t brought a spare tire, and that was boring. The people in the village were friendly, and they helped us to buy another tire because we didn’t know where to go.
My second bad experience was in the desert. When we were down in the desert, it started raining and we couldn’t ride because the land was converted to quicksand. We got stuck in the mud for 5 hours, and we had to stand around until the rain was over. It was terrible and funny because when we finished, we were very dirty.
I’m writing about a night out with friends. One weekend, three months ago, I went to another city to visit two very good friends.
When I arrived at my friend’s house, I got dressed in her home to go out. After that, we went to pick up my other friend. We went first to a restaurant for dinner and after that, we went to a quiet pub to drink and talk. Once we went into the bar, we met other friends and we decided go to a party in another city 1 hour away from this city. But the four had drunk alcohol, so that wasn’t a great idea. We drove, and then left my car in the parking lot, so we paid for a taxi to travel to the other city. We danced and drank until 7 in the morning. In the disco, I lost my coat, but someone returned it. The moment with my friends was fantastic and it finished when they closed the disco. Then, we returned to my friend’s house and slept here. When I got up, I remembered my car but I didn’t remember where it was parked, so my friend and I searched for it for 2 hours! I was very angry and I felt pretty bad but finally I found my car and laughed about the experience.
In Edmonton, the Sugar Bowl is a restaurant and bar, and this is my favourite place. I went with a friend two weeks ago. I wanted to have food with meat, but because of my limited English, the waiter didn’t understand me and I got three burgers. I was eating burgers all week and I didn’t want this food any more! But this restaurant is always excellent. I get breakfast there with my husband every weekend, and we always have a good time there. We talk about our families, our country and our experiences and plans in Canada. There, I can see interesting people, and the majority are students at University of Alberta. The ambiance is very nice. When I finish my breakfast, I get a coffee and I go to my apartment walking between the trees, and beside the river.
I traveled to the beach in Brazil two years ago with my husband. We drove there by car. It was great because I love to drive for a long time.
When we arrived there, it was a terrible experience for me. The place was beautiful. But everything went wrong that day. The weather was pretty bad; it was raining a lot and cold. We didn’t go to the beach. We stayed in the hotel for one day with nothing to do. The hotel was horrible. The people were unfriendly, they didn’t accept cards, only money, they didn’t have parking for the car, and the room smelled bad. I didn’t like the sheets because they weren’t clean enough for me. I asked my husband to move to another hotel, but they were all full. However, I liked the food. It was terrific.
At night, my husband and I went out to see the city. I loved the city; it was fantastic. There were good restaurants, many stores were open late at night and many people were in the street. It was supposed to be a three-day vacation, but we returned home on the second day.
I went back there again, but that time, the weather was amazing and we stayed at a fantastic hotel.
I went out with some friends, and we went to a pub and restaurant. It was a good one, with a beautiful design. We had typical food, like steak, salad, and fish, and then we had wine and entertainment. It was a very good evening. My friends and I enjoyed live music, we danced, and we talked about our vacations and experiences. We enjoyed our evening and we went home by taxi. We left the pub at 2 am, and we got at home about 2:30 am.
Fantastic. We had a great time: 10/10 points.
I went home last September, and I when I came back to Edmonton, my flight was terrible. I had to wait in the airport for 3 hours. The food on the plane was bad because it was cold. The flight attendants were also cold. After I got to Montréal at 11 pm, I missed my other flight, and I waited in airport another 12 hours for the next one. I was very tired because I didn’t sleep. After that, I finally arrived in Edmonton. For me, it was a bad experience.
A bad day in Valencia:
My girlfriend and I went to Valencia in the summer. One day was horrible because that day the people were unfriendly and cold in general and the weather was terrible (Oh my God!): It rained all day! My girlfriend lost her wallet in the restaurant where we went that day and the food was pretty bad (we did not return). At night, we went to a pub with live music and it was fantastic (we liked it). We drank a lot of alcohol, we ate a very big meal and then we went home by car at about 7:00 a.m. It was a day to forget, a bad day.
How are you? I went to Beijing. The weather was fantastic. First I drove to Bar Street, a street with about 50 bars. The people were friendly. I was lost, and they directed me. I went to Wangfujing Hotel, where there were lots of people and delicious food. After dinner, I went to a teahouse because it’s a good place to talk.
Holiday: My husband, my son and I came to Beijing. The weather was horrible, we couldn’t get a taxi, I lost my luggage, and I was very anxious. The people were unfriendly. We checked into a hotel, but it was dark. When we came to a restaurant, it was crowded with too many people, and someone stole my wallet. I felt so depressed, and this holiday was very unhappy.
I wanted to tell you about my trip when I went to Germany.
This was a bad experience. Why? Let me explain that. I flew from Belgium to Frankfurt in Germany and on the plane, everyone was talking in German and a little English. I was frustrated, and I didn’t know what to do when I needed something. I didn’t know how to ask questions. You know what? I asked for water to drink and I didn’t specify that I wanted mineral water, either non-sparkling or with gas. So, the hostess gave me gas water, which I didn’t like because I don’t like sparkling water.
When I arrived in Frankfurt, I couldn’t find one of my suitcases. This was another problem, how to ask the question and in what language? The people didn’t respond, and they were unfriendly and very cold.
But just after, I asked another hostess the question: did she work at the airport, and did she speak French? She replied yes, and I was very happy because I was already starting to cry. And she got the information about my luggage. She told me to write everything that I had in my luggage and also the address where I would be. She told me to be quiet, and they would send me home. The good news is that I received my luggage 3 days later.
I went out with my friends, Victoria and Elvira, in August. I wore blue trousers, a white blouse, and high heel shoes. My friends also wore nice clothes.
We went to “Hard Rock Café”, which is a bar and restaurant. There is good food and live music. On the weekends, various rock bands perform.
We had different dishes and drank wine and beer. We talked about music, movies and fashion.
We had a wonderful time.
After the restaurant, our husbands came for us. I got home at 1:30 am.
When we lived in Kuala Lumpur, I had bad experiences with taxi drivers. My daughter and I were returning from my friends’ place. We caught a taxi near her home. He said that price would be 15 RM. When we arrived, he said that the price was 50 RM. When I refused to pay, the taxi driver shouted at us. The guard from our condominium helped us. I paid 15 RM and he left. It was terrible and unpleasant.
When I flew to Canada I had a very stressful trip. This was my first flight, I flew alone, and I didn’t know the English language. The entire trip lasted 20 hours. I had two transfers, first in Warsaw in Poland. I had very little time, maybe 50 minutes and I was afraid that I would not make my connecting flight. And my second flight change was in Toronto, Canada. The airport was very large and very strange. I had to find my baggage and my plane to Edmonton. I had three hours until my next plane to Edmonton, but checking to find my baggage and debriefings in Customs and Immigration took me a long time. Everything is very difficult when you don’t speak the English language. My last flight from Toronto to Edmonton was first delayed for 30 minutes and then the storms ended, and we could land in Edmonton. When I landed I was very happy because I was very tired of traveling. For my 2 weeks back in Poland, unfortunately, I have to survive this journey again. I have learned a little English, so it will certainly be easier!
The fourth annual Edmonton Bike Swap is on May 9th, 2015 at Northlands Hall A at 7515 118 Ave NW.
Bike intake 8:00-2:00PM
Sale from 2:30-4:00PM
Please consider donating bicycles at this event. We are collecting children’s bicycles at this event for some fantastic local groups.
Riding a bicycle serves so many purposes! You can get fit, save money, have transportation and make friends! Here in Edmonton, we are so lucky to have the Edmonton Bicycle Commuters with 2 locations in the city. Volunteers take used bicycles and prepare them to sell to you for a very reasonable price. After my expensive bike was stolen, I bought a bike there for the price of 1 bus pass. 3 years later, I’m still riding it almost every day! There will be a huge selection of bicycles at this one-day event, and it’s probably the best place to go, if you want a good-quality used bicycle at an affordable price. If you miss the sale, go to Bikeworks, look for bikes on Kijiji, or you can even buy a new bicycle. Whatever you decide, I don’t think you’ll regret your choice!
When students arrive in Canada, they often need to get a new drivers license, to be able to drive here. This can be very stressful, and maybe it seems impossible to achieve this goal. However, this student shares her experience, and proves that when you work step-by-step, you can achieve goals that seem impossible!
How to get a driver’s licence in Alberta:
I arrived in Edmonton 4 years ago. Although, I didn’t have a drivers licence, and I didn’t know English, I had an aim. I decided I would get this document even if I had to work hard on this.
I picked the Driver’s Handbook up from the Registry- yes this was my first step to my goal, but I didn’t understand anything from the book, only a few words. So I started first to focus on English, I had an oportunity to take an English course so I didn’t let it go. After one and half years, I looked at that book from time to time. I started to understand more, and then I decided to go to the second step – I went to the registry and I took the written test on the computer. I understood that my English was still poor but I could learn more from the real test. Fortunately, taking the written test is cheap. It only cost me $18 each time. I took many tests online but they were completely different and much easier than the real test. I tried three times and I failed, but the fourth time I decided not to rush with the answers and to wait until I really understood the questions. It worked and I got my “class 7”. It was not too easy, but I got it!
Yes, I had my class 7 driver’s licence so, could I drive a car, and go to the third step? It was not that easy, since I didn’t have a teacher. Although my boyfriend is a professional driver, unfortunately he is a bad teacher, and I was in trouble. I was desperate, because one year had already passed. I had my class 7 but I didn’t have a teacher or driving experience in a car.
I wanted to get my class 5 driver’s licence!!!
I resolved that problem as well, and this was my fourth step. On the internet I found Noble Driving School, which was not too expensive but quite helpful. I paid for the full course, including 15 hours in-class and 10 hours driving, so I paid around $650. I purchased 8 extra hours ($50/hour) because after 10 hours, I still didn’t feel confident enough to take a road test. My course took time, but finally I took a road test, which cost me around $90. I failed it the first time, but the secoud time I passed it.
I got the class 5 graduated driver’s licence, – this was my fifth step. Now I need one more step to get Advanced class 5 license, but for that I have to wait one more year.
My dream came true, and the impossible became possible, once again.
There are some very good tips for travel planning here. Something else that I often think about is the location of flight transfers. I really prefer to arrange about 2 hours for my flight transfers, so that I have time to walk around, take a bathroom break, pick up something to eat, and look at what’s different. Some airports, like Seattle, are very comfortable, with excellent services, like a seated massage, and delicious food. I can relax more on my flights, if I know that I have a little extra time to make my connections. What about you? What’s important.
When I was young, my family lived in Thailand for 2 years, in Southeast Asia. It was very strange and difficult to live in a foreign country, but it was also very interesting to learn about new cultures, languages, foods, and environments. I always wanted to spend time in foreign countries after that, but I didn’t want to make a quick trip to a country that’s a long way from home. In 2008, my daughter was invited to visit China with a family that she worked for, and she suggested that I also come along. I was already thinking hard about teaching ESL in another country, so I decided that the time was right to visit China, and then to move to another country (Viet Nam) for teaching. We visited in May 2008, a few months before the Olympic Games were held in Beijing. As well as Beijing, I really wanted to visit Xi’An, to see the terra cotta warriors as well as the many ancient historical sites there. We planned to fly to China on Air China, because the prices from Asian travel agents were very low for return airfare. In fact, I was able to spend 2 weeks in China on my way to Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam, without paying any extra money for the stopover.
We flew first to Vancouver and waited for our flight, and then we spent 13 hours of night in the air, arriving at Beijing on the previous day! They fed us 3 huge meals, and when it was time to land over the hills surrounding Beijing, I was sick to my stomach. The airport is very big, with trains connecting the terminals. We had a small bus that met us at the airport. I brought my bicycle with me to Viet Nam, and we also had 8 people and a wheelchair to manage. The travel agent in China made excellent arrangements for us to stay in furnished apartments in a central location, and she also helped us with any extra activities that we wanted to do. This included trips to the Great Wall (one group to Badaling, and the other group from Jinshanling to Simatai), a hutong tour, the Beijing Acrobats, and all of our travel to Xi’An. It was excellent to have so many options, but we didn’t have to travel in a big tour group.
Soon after we arrived, we visited Tiananmen Square, the Temple of Heaven, and the Silk Market. Everything was pretty amazing to be able to see in person. One of the things that we learned quickly was that Beijing food was not very delicious, to any of us. Most food was very heavy and oily, with a strange spice. Some of us ate most meals at McDonalds or KFC. I bought groceries from the store in the basement of our building, as well as some cooking utensils, so that I could eat familiar and delicious food. One of my favourite experiences was visiting a dumpling restaurant, where there was a fantastic selection of freshly prepared dumplings, but this was in a different area from where we stayed. A hotpot meal was another great meal during our stay.
After a few days in Beijing, most of us took the overnight train to Xi’An, the ancient capital city of China. For me, these full 2 days were really amazing! We had a fantastic tour director, Ting, who was an English graduate from university. We also had a minibus and driver, which meant that we could easily get to many amazing destinations. It’s hard for me to recall all of the attractions that we visited, because there were so many, and they were all very interesting, for different reasons. Of course, the highlight was the terra cotta warriors, thousands of individually made, life-sized warriors that were buried for centuries. The farmer who accidentally discovered them on his land was still visiting the gift shop regularly, but he didn’t want to be photographed. The scale of this are is so enormous that it’s difficult to imagine how many sculptures were created by the emperor at the time. Another hill nearby is believed to contain many valuable treasures, but it’s believed to be very dangerous to disturb. We visited a maternal village that had been buried in a mudslide, with everyone intact. An ancient bathhouse that had belonged to an emperor was outside the city. The city wall was really impressive, since it still surrounds the central city and is 10 kilometres in total length. We needed to manually carry the wheelchair and user up to the wall, in order to enjoy it, since there’s no elevator there. It’s possible to rent bicycles to ride around the wall.
Other sites we visited included a temple of literature, where ancient writing was carved into stone, for students to visit and study. The provincial museum had beautiful examples of early ceramics and military equipment. The Big Wild Goose Pagoda, and the Great Mosque were both very interesting places to visit. We greatly enjoyed visiting many places where artworks were produced, and the market in the Muslim district was a great place to try tea and see different tea sets. The food was excellent everywhere we went, and the quantity was amazing. Ting was such a warm and knowledgeable guide that we all cried when it was time to leave her. We returned to Beijing by the very comfortable high-speed night train.
I’ll write another post about the last part of our stay in Beijing. I took a huge number of photos in China, and I also got copies of the photos that the other people in our group took!
When we work towards a goal, it can be very easy to focus on all of the obstacles and barriers that stand in the way of achieving your goal. I often hear people start by saying “I should…”, and soon after that, they will say “Yeah, but…”. No matter what we want to achieve, there will always be things that make it difficult. Keep in mind that whatever you focus on will become bigger, and that will be what you put your energy towards. Therefore, it’s necessary to have a very clear view of where we want to go, and to keep focussing on that goal, not on the obstacles. Here’s a great blog post that explains this idea in more detail.
After reading the blog, watch the video of the crazy Ho Chi Minh City traffic. I love this video, because it really demonstrates the energy and enthusiasm of Viet Nam. To a North American, the traffic just looks like insanity, and it seems impossible that there aren’t fatal accidents all over the city. There are fatal accidents, however, within the city, the traffic flow is usually amazingly smooth, amid the chaos. I know this firsthand, because I biked everywhere around the city on my bicycle during my 3 years in Viet Nam. I only broke one little pinky finger in all of that time! Everyone focusses on where they are headed, and they (almost always) flow around obstacles like water flowing around a rock.<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/32958521″>Traffic in Frenetic HCMC, Vietnam</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/kwhi02″>Rob Whitworth</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a>.</p>
What can you do to increase your focus on your goals, and to avoid obstacles that interfere?
I posted in March about my warm weather trip to San Diego, and I included a lot of photos. Students have been studying vacations, and Simple Past, so I asked them to write questions to me about my trip. Here are their questions and my answers.
Hello Ellen, I have some questions about your trip to San Diego, please.
1) What was the main reason for your trip?
-I went to San Diego to meet my friends.
2) How was your trip?
-My trip was awesome.
3) Were the costs of your trip high?
-No, my trip was very affordable. My flight wasn’t expensive, and my hostel and bicycle rental were very inexpensive.
4) I saw your marathon pictures, tell me about it.
-I ran and walked a half marathon (21 kilometres). I really enjoyed it, but the weather was very hot in San Diego (26C), and we had a very cold winter in Edmonton (-30C), so that was difficult for me.
5) How long was your trip?
-On the way there, I travelled from midnight until 10:30 am. On the way home, I travelled from 4:30 until 11:30 pm.
6) Who was with you on the journey?
-I travelled alone.
7) I saw some pictures of the beautiful beach.
– Tell me about it. I really wanted to visit the Pacific Ocean, while I was so close. There is a short ferry trip from San Diego to Coronado Island, and the beach there is very nice. The water was warm enough for me to go into the surf.
8) What was the duration of the trip and by what means of transportation did you travel?
-I flew there, and it took 10½ hours on the way there, but only 7 hours on the way back.
9) How was staying there and what about eating and restaurants?
-It was wonderful to visit San Diego. The restaurants near my hostel were fantastic.
10) Was your trip fun?
– It was lots of fun!
Hi Ellen, tell me about your trip to San Diego.
Did you have fun?
-I had a great time.
So, how was the flight? Did you have many problems in your flight?
-My flights were fine. My only problem was that my flight to San Diego was cancelled, so I arrived later than I planned.
How long did you stay in San Diego?
-I stayed in San Diego for 4 nights
Where did you go in San Diego?
-I went to the Marine Recruiting Depot, Coronado Island and beach, the Air and Space Museum, the Art Gallery, and the Old Town. I spent a lot of time in the Gaslamp District, with historical buildings.
Would you recommend any place or restaurant to me?
-I think that the whole city is very nice to visit, and I would really recommend the art gallery, and Nobu Restaurant
What did you do for most of your time?
-I did many different things, visiting my friends, running a race, going bike riding, and looking at the scenery. It was great to have many different activities to enjoy.
Did you complete a ½ marathon, and how much time did you take to complete it?
-I did complete the half marathon (21.1 kilometres) and it was very hot that day (+26C). It took me 3½ hours to complete.
What activities did you think were more interesting in San Diego?
-I really enjoyed the downtown area, the art gallery and visiting the ocean. I’ve heard that the zoo and the marine park are amazing, but I didn’t want to take so much time and money to visit them on this trip. I wanted to visit Tijuana, Mexico, but I heard that it’s very slow to come back into the USA.
About San Diego
1-Where’s San Diego city?
-In Southern California, on the Mexico border
2- How do I get to San Diego?
-You can fly, or you can drive for a few days.
3-How was your trip to San Diego?
-It was awesome
4-Where did you stay in San Diego?
-I stayed in a hostel, downtown
5-Did you go to there by airplane?
-Yes, I flew there through Houston, and I came back through Seattle
6-Was the hotel good?
-My hostel was amazing, so affordable, and very comfortable and convenient.
7-What did you eat there?
-I ate a lot of Mexican food, seafood, and pizza. My best meal was at Nobu, a famous Japanese restaurant.
8- Did you have a good trip?
-It was excellent
9-Did you have any problems?
-My only problem was that my flight to get there was cancelled, so I arrived later than I planned.
10-What did you see there that was interesting?
-I loved visiting the ocean, and the Art Gallery was fantastic.
11- Were the people polite?
-Yes, people were quite helpful there.
12- Was the food good?
-The food was fantastic.
13-Was there terrible traffic there?
-No. I rode a bicycle and I took the bus and trolley to get around. It was very easy and inexpensive.
14- Did you meet any new people in San Diego?
-Yes, I met people from my online running club, from the November Project club, and at my hostel.
14-I heard San Diego is very beautiful country right?
-It is a pretty city. I prefer the scenery in San Francisco and Palm Springs, though.
15- Did you have a cruise on the beach?
-I went to the beach by ferry, and I went in the water there.
16-Did you swim at the beach?
-I walked into the water, but I didn’t go swimming. It’s dangerous to swim alone in the ocean.
17-Was the hotel’s room great?
-I really liked my hostel room. It was quiet and comfortable, and there were plugs for my computer and phone.
18-Who did you go to with?
-I travelled alone. I met many friends from other cities, when I arrived.
19-How was the flight?
-The flights were fine.
20-Did you have a safe flight?
21- Actually what did you usually do in San Diego?
-I never went to San Diego before, so I spent a lot of time looking around to see about the environment there.
Thank you so much.
Hello Ellen how are you doing today? Actually I don’t have enough information about San Diego city. But I think San Diego is a very nice city because I saw so many pictures and there were so many people looking very funny and friendly, and then there were so many beaches. I thought you had a beautiful time in San Diego. I think there were so many activities. We can do anything.
Were you happy on your trip?
-Yes, I really enjoyed my trip.
Did you visit the Zoo?
-No, I didn’t visit the zoo. The San Diego Zoo is very famous, but it’s quite expensive, and it takes a long time to visit.
Did you sleep in a good hotel?
-I stayed at a great hostel. It was very inexpensive, and the location was so convenient.
Did you visit the museum?
-I visited the space and flight museum and also the art gallery. The art gallery was amazing.
Did you have a problem at the Mexican border?
-I decided not to go to Mexico, because I heard that it was very slow to return to the USA>
Where did you change planes?
-I changed planes in Houston and Seattle.
Who travelled with you?
-I travelled alone, but I met many friends from the US, while I was in San Diego.
Did you have rain on your trip?
-The weather was hot and dry on my trip.
Did you watch any shows?
-I didn’t attend any shows.
Did you go alone?
-Yes, I did
The art gallery had work by many famous artists, like Salvador Dali.
Virgin Airlines noticed that most passengers ignored the safety demonstrations, although the instructions are very important. They made this very entertaining video, to help passengers to pay attention.
If you watch it, you can learn a lot of the important vocabulary for air travel.
For one day a year, many of the attractions in Edmonton are free to visit. If you don’t like crowds, this will be a stressful day for you to visit, but free is an excellent price! Because everywhere will be quite crowded, you should plan to take a bus, walk, or ride a bike to visit your favourite pool, arena, or museum.
Participating Facilities Include:
- Attractions and Cultural Facilities
- Leisure Sports and Fitness Facilities
- Arenas (open for public skate)
- YMCA Health, Fitness and Recreation Centres: