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Friday 5 August 2016

Sandals Grande Ocho Rios

Sandals Grande Ocho Rios

Location: Ocho Rios, Jamaica
Address: Main Street
Date: Sept 2009
Website:  www.sandals.com

  During a long weekend in Jamaica we spent almost all of our time at the Sandals Grande Ocho Rios.  We arrived at the airport in Montego Bay and then traveled by bus to the resort.

We will share our pool with you, but the liquor is all ours.

  We had a room in one of the plantation villas which included a fully stocked bar.  Each villa also included a shared pool for its four rooms.  The first evening we enjoyed a nice dinner at the Manor House where every request was "No Problem".  Once night began to fall the crickets woke up and sang throughout the night.  After dinner we returned to our room where we were glad to relax, take advantage of our bar and have some time to ourselves.  We discovered later that we were not alone as in the night an army of ants had marched single file through our bathroom window and clear across the wall.

No Problem.

  The next day after breakfast one of us headed for a massage, while the other took photos around the resort.

We are big chess players.

  The resort is a popular wedding destination so there are many flowers and gazebos just waiting to help with the perfect photo from the perfect day.

He stopped for a drink and then headed east.

  One of the plants on the grounds was the Traveller's Palm which is more closely related to a banana plant than a palm tree.  It gets its name from the fact that its soft trunk is filled with collected water and that its leaves tend to spread out in an east or west direction in line with the sun.  A thirsty traveller could have a big drink and then use the plant as a sort of compass to get their bearings again.

Backwards kcommaH.

  One of our pictures is of this backwards hammock.  We wondered if it had been hung backwards or if it had recently flipped out a guest who had consumed too much rum in the sun.

To The Sea.

  The massage client finally emerged from the spa.  She was very relaxed and disorientated by the massage of her life and her hairstyle had grown in size from all the different oils.  The massage client was then poured into a small bus in order for us to cross the highway that divided the resort.   This brought us down to the lower half of the resort and closer to the Caribbean Sea.

Riviera Garden.
 Riviera Garden Walkway.

  The lower portion of the resort included more walkways through the beautiful resort grounds.  We sat for a while and again realized that we were not alone. A brown anole was climbing on the leg of one of the chairs beside us.  These tiny lizards are native to Cuba and the Bahamas but have taken over many other Caribbean islands.

Brown Anole.

We hope you don't mind if we save the rest of the resort for another blog post.
No Problem.

You can read the second part of this blog here.

Map of Our World
Sandals Grande Ocho Rios

Post # 125

Saturday 30 July 2016

Rogers Cup

Rexall Centre

Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Address: 1 Shoreham Drive
Date: Aug 2010
Website:  www.rogerscup.com

  The Canadian Open tennis tournament takes place every year in both Toronto and Montreal.  It has been in place since 1881 and is currently referred to as the Rogers Cup.  Each year the event rotates between the two cities.  So on even numbered years the men will play in Toronto and the women play in Montreal.  The next year the men head to Montreal and the women come to Toronto.  We have been lucky enough to attend the event several times, but we still have never seen the women play.

Nicolas Kiefer serves.
Andy Roddick returns.

  Back in 2004 we saw Andy Roddick defeat Germany’s Nicolas Kiefer.

Sunset over the Rogers Cup.

  In 2010, after an evening of long rain delays, we saw Canada's Peter Polansky win against Jurgen Melzer.  We also witnessed the doubles match featuring Canadians Vasek Pospisil and rising star Milos Raonic.  They were playing against the number one and number two ranked players at the time. They successfully defeated Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic out on the court that night.

Grigor & Kevin.
 Andy VS the Neon Shirt.

  In 2014 we watched matches between Grigor Dimitrov and Kevin Anderson as well as Britain's Andy Murray and  Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.  Tsonga won his match, but he was wearing a very bright shirt which we thought was a little too close to tennis ball colour to be allowed.

What a racket!  I'm having a ball.

There were two mascots for the games:  The Racquet and The Ball.  They danced around a bit between the matches and then temporarily obstructed the view for some fans during the match. 

Obstructed view seating.
The Raquet and The Ball made of sand.

  The Rogers Cup event also includes stations with food, contests and giveaways.  There was also plenty of opportunity to show off your tennis skills.

Practice makes perfect.

  Aside from the main stadium there are tennis courts with smaller viewing areas where players can practice and other qualifying matches are held.  The Rogers Cup is always a fun event where we were lucky enough to see some world class tennis.
Future Tennis Stars.

  This year Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto had a tennis court set up to promote the tournament where the public could come and play.  There were also some events set up and entertainment like The Fire Guy and his flaming tennis racquet below.

Excuse me sir!  Would you like to see a smoking serve?

Milos Raonic.

  Speaking of smoking serves, Milos Raonic has one of the fastest in tennis today.  At a previous Rogers Cup he hit a serve which was clocked at about 249 kilometres per hour. We were lucky enough to see that serve in action back in 2010.  This year we are hoping that Milos Raonic will play his way to becoming a men's singles champion.

Map of Our World
Rogers Cup (Toronto)
Nathan Phillips Square

Post # 124

Wednesday 20 July 2016

Fork in the Road (Strange Brew)

Where should we go?  Loonie bin or brewery?

Location: Scarborough, Ontario, Canada
Address: 1 Brimley Road South
Date: Nov 2014
Website:  www.toronto.ca

  In the movie Strange Brew, Bob & Doug Mckenzie drive to a fork in the road and have to decide which way to go.  They have to use the signs to decide between Elsinore Castle, Elsinore Research & Development, Elsinore Brewery, or the Royal Canadian Institute for the Mentally Insane.  Geez there's a lot of arrows eh?  In reality there are four different Toronto locations that have been composited into the film.  We have added our own re-creation at the top of this blog using photos from when we visited the real life locations.
Looking up Brimley Road from Scarborough Bluffs (June)

  The main location is at the bottom of the hill that leads down to Bluffer's Park in Scarborough.  The brothers encounter their signs where the red "Do Not Enter" sign is located.  Once they decide to continue on and try to get their money from the brewery, they go up the road on the left.  This is actually against traffic as it is usually one way southbound.  We have taken photos at the Bluffs countless times, but never a picture looking up the road.  It is the Bluffs themselves or Lake Ontario that make for the best photo opportunities.  The first time we went to take our picture was in June (above), but it didn't quite look right with all the green trees.  We ended up returning again in the fall and finally got the shot we wanted (below).

Looking up Brimley Road from Scarborough Bluffs (November)

  On the left side of the hill is Elsinore Castle, which is played by Casa Loma.  Casa Loma was completed in 1914 and has stood watch over Toronto ever since.

Sure looks spooky up there.  I don't like the look of this at all. (Casa Loma)

  Near the center of the road is Elsinore Brewery which  is played by the R.L. Hearn Generating Station.  The station was used for electrical generating since the 1950s and decommissioned in 1983.  That is the same year that Strange Brew was released.  The movie added the big Elsinore name using special effects.  There was some additional filming done at this location when Bob & Doug arrive at the brewery and walk through the parking lot.  You can read more about this location here.

It's real big eh?  Yeah, but don't get scared.  Just think of all the free beers we're gonna get.

  We also used another picture we had taken during a day spent sailing on Lake Ontario.  Here you can see the huge chimney and the line of hydro towers heading away from the station.  The hydro towers appear to be used in the composite along with 2 chimneys.  We couldn't quite figure out the best angle to get all of this in one picture.

Hearn Generating Station

Finally, the R.C. Harris Water Filtration Plant plays the part of the Royal Canadian Institute for the Mentally Insane.  It is located up on the hill to the right.  It plays a bigger role in the film at the end when it catches on fire.  An extremely beer bloated Bob saves the day by relieving himself on the fire.  He does in two minutes what would have taken the fire department two hours.  You can read more about this location here.

Hey that's the looney bin eh!

You take all of these locations, mix them up into one shot and you sure have a Strange Brew of Toronto landmarks eh?

Map of Our World
Fork in the Road (Strange Brew)
Casa Loma , R.L. Hearn Generating Station , R. C. Harris Water Treatment Plant
Bluffer's Park

Post # 123