Sunday, March 1, 2015


  • We've had a slew of things suddenly need replacing this month.  From a poorly made cell phone case to a kettle.  Hope this cycle has passed for now.
  • Office move imminent.  Am somewhat apprehensive and will likely have to take charge with some issues to get further things done but in the end, probably the better location, probably...Not making a decision (being on the fence about going) wasn't so good for me.  But I had to mentally "get over" a number of things first.  Had certain expectations of how things would be that just isn't going to materialize.
  • The neighbourhood featured in the pictures of Istanbul I posted recently were from the Fener/Balat area (UNESCO).  The row houses may look run down but foreigners have been snapping them up at around 800K a pop and renovating them.  It is an up and coming trendy area.  I saw dozens of photographers taking pictures.
  • I read an article about the ridiculous cost of food in the Canadian North while I was in Yellowknife ironically after finding that the supermarket costs weren't so different from home.  In our far north, it is outrageous.  I've started supporting a local group who is making a difference and want to work with them directly this year.
  • Experienced our first taxi scam.  Can you believe it was in Amsterdam?  After all these years of travel, to countries known for scamming, nothing, until now.  And at the train station, in a city where the concept has never registered with us.  I did take photo of the driver's registration and have sent a note to the company.  They replied and have started an investigation.  I realize it is a "he said she said" situation but wanted to let the company know what happened.
  • I'm noticing what I think are the lower fuel costs having a positive effect on flight prices.  No complaint here.  My frequently flyer strategy has changed in light of the points devaluations started this year for Delta.  I'm looking to pay the least amount to maintain my target status level. 
  • As much as I had been hoping to see the Northern Lights over the years, I noticed that I wasn't as "in to" them as the other travelers I met who had arranged their entire trip around seeing them and slept most of the day so they could be up for hours at night outside with their extensive photography equipment.  Whereas I was the first one up at our B & B and took off as soon as it was light enough.  Didn't know that in Japan, to see them was a good life omen. 
  • One of them invited me to join them on a walk to a viewing point one night.  I went and after about 45 min, I decided I had had enough of just standing there and started to walk back.  Got turned around (new part of town for me, forgot my map) but remembered enough to gage general direction.  
  • Ended up knocking on the door of this art gallery (saw lights and took a chance even though it was around 12:30 am) and met some of the welcoming people ever.  I ended up being offered tea, chocolates and driven back (via the ice road!).  I was heading in the right direction but they insisted of giving me an orientation tour en route.  The next afternoon I stopped by and offered to take them out for lunch as a thank you for their hospitality and ended up staying for tea afterwards.  They told me that in Yellowknife, people help each other and I wasn't the first one who knocked at a late hour to ask about directions.  They love meeting new people.   
  • While I was walking on the ice road one morning, I heard someone ask me if I was warm enough.  It was a man living on a houseboat who maintained the one trail I was walking on.  I told him I was warm and got an invitation to stop by on my way back.  Thought about it and decided I wouldn't go in but would stop and thank him for letting me use the trails.  I knew he was watching me from his window.
  • His houseboat was about 12 ft x 12 ft -- Small bed, desk, cooking area and wood stove.  His boat was out back.  I did stay once my gut told me it was OK and we chatted for a while.  He had been up there since the late 70's and help build many of the buildings in the city.   I sensed a lot of sadness from his past.   On my last morning, we bumped into each other again on the lake and he offered to take me on a snowmobile ride but I was heading to the airport shortly.  
  • The fellow who invited me on the walk (above) was from Hong Kong.   At first he bugged me a bit as he kept knocking on my door to ask questions, when I was looking forward to a quiet reflective trip.  He meant no harm but was a bit nervous as it was his first solo trip, planned 1 1/2 yr ago (friend of his had to bail last minute).  I ended up asking if he wanted to join me on a hike I was doing to an ice cave because it was obvious he really wanted to go.  
  • He is 47 yr old and has been working for his current company for the last 11 yrs and that translated to 1 day off per year of work...He was spending all of it this year in Yellowknife to hopefully capture the Northern Lights.  It was my turn to be speechless.  
  • After I recovered, it was his turn to be shocked when he found out that I take on average 10 weeks off a year.  And my trip had been decided only 3 week prior.  That I would show up without a real camera and actually wanted to walk on a frozen lake (couldn't convince him).  It was he who told me about the night vision app for my phone.   


  1. You're always going on audacious adventures aren't you? (^_-) Sorry to hear about the taxi scam. Locals should understand that making tourists happy is good for their economy on a whole.

    By the way, I'm polling finance bloggers for a future blog post idea. If you know your Myers-Briggs personality type would you mind sharing it with my readers? I'm an INTJ. Thanks. :)

    1. I don't know how audacious the adventures have been...Just following what interests me.

      Our taxi driver seemed OK at first. We even had some light conversation of where he came from (Turkey...ironically...but has lived in Amsterdam with his family for 30 years). Basically he took advantage of the fact there was a fire in one of the tunnels that morning which meant all trains to the airport were canceled and a whole bunch of us needed to catch flights. So naturally there was coordination with other travelers.

      Once we got going, he declared we couldn't share a cab after all (there was another fellow riding with us). And that whatever the fee ended up being, he was charging it to the guy and D & I separately, thus netting double but only one of us was going to get a receipt.

      Amsterdam will never hurt for tourists and most travelers never have to take a cab as the trains are so good and inexpensive (8.40 Euro for 2 to get to the airport vs. 50 Euro by cab). He knew we had to get to the airport, our luggage was in the trunk, making getting out not as easy an option (for D & the other fellow, I had all my stuff with me). I'm curious to hear of his reply to his company. I understand that taxi licenses are highly valued and regulated in the Netherlands.

      And to answer your question: Yes I do -- INFJ.

    2. Good thing public transportation is cheap over there. :) Thanks for getting back to me. I'll add you on the list and let you know when the post is done. Do you use the Twitter by any chance? I'm @liquid_f35

    3. No to Twitter. Have been slightly tempted as a way to get in touch with airlines during an emergency but I'm working on limiting the amount of "feed" that comes my way.