Friday, October 29, 2010

McGill University campus and downtown surrounding area

It was 18 degrees Celcius, an exceptionally wonderful day in this Indian autumn. We went for a stroll in downtown, and visited McGill University, ranked 18 in the world for year 2010, and top notch in Canada.

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The campus here is part of downtown, and as such is not an enclosed area. Here are a few pictures of the campus and surrounding city building architectures and streets.

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Another day dowtown, in a windy cool evening.

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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Apple Store Experience

Online reviews of the downtown Apple store were not very promising, so we didn't expect much when we first stepped into the store. Our experience on the contrary was positive. We were greeted by a staff, holding an iPad, who assigned us to an Apple Genius. Although we knew exactly what we wanted, we nevertheless had to wait for our Genius for about 20 minutes (longer than ordering food at the restaurant), until he was released from the previous client.


During the waiting time, we played around with different gadgets available and visited the second floor, where the Genius Bars were.



Upon purchase, the Genius was equipped with a wireless credit card reader. I signed with my fingers on that reader, and the purchase receipt was directly sent to my email. The funny thing was, where the h*** did they get my email from? From the credit card, along with all my information, scary. It was a unique buying experience though.

It's always better to travel by public transport when going downtown. The parking is a rip off: $6-$8 per hour? Luckily, there's this new parking meter since 2007, where you can key in your parking space code from anywhere. There's one near the Apple store to spare you some time. Just make sure to wait until the original time has expired before slotting in more coins... otherwise you'll double-pay.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Marche Jean-Talon Fresh Market

It's been a while I haven't gone to the fresh market, in particular the Jean-Talon Market. I like the color contrasts and the variety of vegetables and fruits grown in local farms.

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berries

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The market is more vibrant during summer, but in autumn you'll see tons of pumpkins of different shapes and sizes.

pumpkin

pumpkin

We put an iPhone just to show how huge the pumpkin is.

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pumpkin

There's a stall that sells only broccoli and cauliflowers.

broccoli and cauliflower stall

Lovely natural colors of the cauliflowers: purple, orange, green.

cauliflower: purple, orange, green

The seller was very kind, and gave us tips on how he usually cooks Romanesco broccoli, also called the broccoflower. Cut the bottom stem, steam the whole flower for 10 minutes. Remove and cut into small pieces before sauteing with minced garlic, salt and pepper. He said Italians love these with their pasta. The texture is more tender, and tastes sweeter than the normal broccoli.

romanesco

The market also has a special section with seafood shops, butchers shops, fresh bakery shops. The latter sell variety of bread, cheese, and very few muffins (I did not see cupcakes at all). This particular shop caught my eyes with its unique sign.

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More pictures of the Jean-Talon market, taken from the phone:













The market can be easily accessed by public transport, a few walks away from the Jean-Talon metro station. The daily opening hours are from 7 a.m. until evening.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Invictus

While I was enjoying Sex and the City 2 and Letters to Juliet, DH watched Invictus (2009 film), directed by Clint Eastwood, starring Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon. The way DH retold the story struck a chord.

It's a biographical drama that depicts how Nelson Mandela used rugby to unite black and white South Africans following the dismantling of the apartheid. What moved me the most was that not only Nelson Mandela forgave the people who put him in jail for 27 years, but he was ready to work with them for the country's collective accomplishment. During his time spent in jail, he read, studied, and tried to understand white Africans instead of being hostile towards them.

Understanding individuals who come from a different culture is the first step towards living in unity among different races. It can also be applied to as close as a friend's family background. DH said, "The bigger person will always win at the end." I'll keep that in mind.

Back to the topic, Invictus by William Ernest Henley (1849-1903) is the beautiful and powerful poem that inspired Nelson Mandela during his time in prison.

Invictus

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

In-flight entertainment and meals

Air Canada has much improved. Each passenger now gets a personal touch screen television with an extensive list of Hollywood and world movies, as well as television series, documentaries, and even games to occupy the children. The audio entertainment options are selected on the PTVs as well.


Is it only me? I always look forward the airline meals. It must be the way they prepared the food, the meat usually comes out soft, juicy and tender, with the right amount of flavor.

Air Canada meal: beef and pasta.


Cathay Pacific meal: rice and chicken.


This Cathay Pacific flight don't have touch screen.


What is worth doing on board of a Cathay Pacific flight is to browse through their duty free catalog. You'll be surprised at the promotions you cannot get after you landed.



Transiting at the Hong Kong International airport can be one of the best shopping experience for many. Can you believe there's a Zara store inside the airport? The most popular buys are branded cosmetics and watches. There is a difference of 20%-40% with other neighboring countries, which makes Hong Kong a shopping paradise... even inside the airport.


Muji to Go at the Hong Kong International airport.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

There's no place like Home

Finally landed. I was relieved and cried when I hugged DPs. I miss them so much, it's been too long. How I wish we can stay here permanently and not go back... can't bear the long haul and turbulence.

The weather is cool, but I feel warmth. We went to the magic garden (so how I called DGM garden), and plucked organic veggies for our meals. I'm grateful that for this trip I don't have to entertain visitors, so I can spend more time with DPs and make the most of the little time I have left. There are a lot to be done, and so little time.

Can't wait to share the pictures... soon.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Banana cake / bread

I baked banana bread / cake for the second time, and I'm equally happy with the result. From the same original recipe, I added pinches of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger powder, and chopped walnuts. Hmmm... delicious! The spice flavor gives a certain warmth and comfort... the ones I feel during Christmas season.



The slice would definitely taste nice with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side =^o^=

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Hilarious Southwest Airlines Flight Attendant

A friend of mine is a loyal customer of Southwest Airlines. The organization has maintained excellent customer satisfaction ratings, and is well-known for its original announcements.

This is one of my favorite clips taken by a passenger. Wickedly funny yet professional boarding announcement... I like the way he talks... no singing involved:
  • "This will be a non smoking, non whining, non crying, and non complaining flight."
  • "...removing your bright yellow Versace vest, and place it over your head."
  • "If you're traveling with a child or with a disciplinary adult, secure your mask first, then assist your child, followed by your husband." LMAO!!!
  • "For those of you, who did not pay attention... well we wish you good luck."
LOL!!! That's the reason people love to fly Southwest.



Read more: wiki
Official site: southwest.com

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Camera bags for ladies

Here are my picks for stylish women camera bags, that don't look like a camera bag! What's your favorite?

kellymoorebag.com by Kelly Moore, photographer



epiphaniebags.com by Maile Wilson, photographer



jototes.com



And finally...
crumpler.com




For functionality, I'd most probably choose Crumpler ;) Their strap looks strong.