Tuesday, April 29, 2008

See inside there is nothing to hide

I think that I have gotten over most of the jetlag, although I have been waking up really early in the mornings. =)

So I arrived back in Vancouver on Sunday, pretty boring flight but it was nice to have a bunch of Canadians to talk with. Got in and was talking with a nice Dutch girl (was going to make sure that she got on th right bus for the ferry to Victoria) when I had my name paged on the PA. Funny I said to the cute Dutch girl (I can pronounce her name, but I probably couldn't spell it), my luggage hasn't arrived and I am guess that it won't be now. Sure enough, it was still in Amsterdam and would be arriving on the flight that came in Monday night. Oh well, not the end of the world.

So I made sure that the cute Dutch girl got on her bus, found my rental car and headed out to Marc's. By that time, I was really starting to feel tired since it was now coming up to 24 hours awake (or more, was too groggy to figure it out), and was looking forward to crashing someplace. I got to Marc's and found out that my room was still being painted. =) No rest for the wicked I guess.

So Monday I started running around doing some of the things that I was needing to do. I called up Marc and Al and went to meet them for lunch (SUSHI!) but they weren't ready yet so I walked down to the camera shop and bought a new camera.=D Picked myself up a Nikon D300 with a 18-200mm VR lens and an external battery pack/hand grip. Let's just say, it is VERY nice.

I also managed to get over to see my brother Mike, and to get some new jean's. I really surprised Mike since he was sort of turned and on the phone when I walked into his shop, so when he turned to hang up the phone there I was. It was very good to see him.

My luggage arrived last night fairly late, they delivered it directly to the house which was really nice of them. It was nice to have clean clothing and I was also happy to see that the wine bottles hadn't broken. I broke the seal on the Eau de Vie to celibrate, shame that Marc didn't like it. Hope Al does.

Today's plan includes getting the evil taxes done, finding my Snap-on dealer (almost as bad as a crack dealer, but probably more expensive), and maybe seeing some friends out at the hanger. Wednesday will be spending time with my brother Allen, and hopefully Mike and Ruedy too. Friday is sushi night, Saturday is Rum party, Sunday is gaming night. Next week, not sure what I am doing. Might go see Dad and Grandpa in Penticton, will have to see. I also might go see a Whitecaps game at Swangard if the weather isn't too bad.

I am pretty sure that these two weeks will go by super fast, but I plan on getting as much out of them as I can before heading back to Aix-en-Provence and work.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Staring straight into the shining sun

Another week, a bit quieter than the past few work wise (actually only had a 40 hour week!), but it had a few events.

Work as I mentioned was a lot slower than it has been the past little while, all of our spring maintenance is done now and other than finishing the propeller overhauls and putting the tank on the second plane, we are ready to fight fires!

The most exciting bit of action this week was Sian's birthday. Bo invited us all over for a BBQ, some champagne, wine, Eau de Vie, and Scotch. Oh, there was also some food in there too just to keep us upright. It was a nice time, with mostly us boys, Sian and her friend Anna from Germany here for a visit. The food was great, stories were fun and we all ended up rather bombed. That Eau de Vie will get you every time!

Today was another hike up on the mountain for me, but just a short one. Only 8 kilometre's today, but done at a fast pace, including the uphill stints. I was proud of myself, I powered up the hills with almost no strain, without being out of breath! I must be getting in shape or something.

I do get a chuckle when I go up there hiking, most others up there (and it is busy) don't really think "hiking" when they go. To them it seems that is a Sunday walk in the country. I have seen leather loafers, knee high boots with 3 inch heals, Sunday-going-to-church clothing and wool cardigans. The few of us that actually are there to hike and get exercise get rather stared at when we pass these other "hikers". I think I got stared at a bit more than normal today since I was wearing my Canadair CL415 shirt, and here EVERYONE knows what the Canadair is. From little kids on up, they are taught that it is the "Amicable Pompier du Ciel" flying his big yellow "Pelican" that saves everyones homes from the ravages of forest fires. So when they see someone wearing clothing that points toward working on those planes, you get a lot of admiration from them. In the end, it is a bit of hero worship that is going on (and it gives me the willies). They really are heroes though, since they do save Provence from burning down to nothing every year due to morons tossing cigarette butts out the car windows.

Two more weeks till I get to go home again. It feels kind of weird in a way, since this is more like home now. It is hard to feel like you are half way around the world when with a quick phone call or email you are right in the mix of what is happening elsewhere. The internet really has changed world travel.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Beneath a clear blue sky

What a crazy busy month March was!

It was pre-fire season maintenance month here in France, with both of our planes going in for inspections, repairs and a little TLC. With such a small crew as ours, it made for very long hours of work and very tired eyes.

Most of the big stuff is done now, we just have a propeller to swap out with an overhauled one tomorrow, and a bit of sheet metal work then they are ready to fight fires!

So I haven't been up to much other than working seventy hour weeks, eating and trying to get some sleep now and then. Hoping that the next three weeks are a bit slower so that I can get ready for my trip back home. I am so looking forward to being back home, seeing family and friends and eating mass amounts of SUSHI! Yummy=)

This weekend I am hoping to get out and do something other than sitting in my apartment trying to stay awake. Martin and Jerome are taking their motorcycles to Monaco to try out some of the twisty mountain roads along the way. I am a little jealous that I can't go with them, but not having my license and a bike is a good excuse.

I might run off to the mountain to go hiking, get some exercise or something. Or I might head off to Cassis for a day trip, or Nimes or Pont du Gard or something. I have a vehicle and I plan on taking advantage of it!

My French is coming along nicely too. I had another (my fifth) lesson today, and Mary is quite excited that I am doing well. I have started to make up simple sentences on my own to use on the pilots and Gus. It is a very tough language to learn, where the grammar doesn't make sense when translated, and getting the vocal sounds right is also very complex. But I am pulling memories from grade five back out of the dark recesses of my cranium and succeeding in impressing those teaching me! Mary even said that she would get online with me through Skype while she is in Montreal for the next two weeks to help me practise. She rocks!