Saturday, December 30, 2006

My First Book!

Merry Christmas and happy new year to everyone! Or, if you speak Spanish, feliz navidad y prospero año! I have put together a collection of my favorite photographs taken in the Dominican Republic, and published a book. I named the book Tesoro which means "treasure" in spanish. I chose this title, because I discovered so many wonderful things in the Caribbean - beautiful sights, new friends, a new perspective on feels like I discovered a treasure, and now I am richer because of it. The photos in the book really capture the spirit of life, in the people and places that I visited, and I would like to share them with you. Click here to buy it, or click on the picture below.
Discover the treasure of faces and places in The Dominican Republic. A collection of photographs from the Colonial Zone in Santo Domingo, to the Yaque del Norte river in Jarabacoa, to the beaches of Punta Cana, and places in between.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

What Now?

People have been asking what is going to happen with the blog now that I'm not in the Caribbean anymore. I still intend to post here on a regular basis, I'm not going to abandon this! Plus, I know in my heart that I will be back in the Dominican Republic one day. And I don't mean when I retire. I mean one day soon.
I remember on my last day there, when I was in the taxi on the way to the airport, I dropped off Meghan at her new apartment, and I wasn't sad to be leaving. Because I knew it wasn't the last time I was going to see her, and I knew it wasn't really my last day in the Dominican Republic. It wasn't "goodbye". It was more like "until next time". It was a happy feeling. And for me, that feeling is so easy to find when I am there. Every day.
So keep checking in here, because you never know. One day I will be posting messages from the beach again!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Home Is Where The Heart Is

Here is the last photo of me in the D.R! After a night of fiesta-ing, and not sleeping, I took a 20 hour journey home to Vancouver. There was no way for me to prepare for the cold weather, so I found myself wearing flip-flops and capri pants in the snow at 2:30 in the morning.
I miss the Caribbean body is still on Dominican time, I think it will take a while for the jet lag to wear off.
But it will take even longer to get used to the fast paced urban life again. There is so much traffic, and people rushing to be here and there. There are Christmas lights, but it doesn't feel genuinely festive like it did in the Dominican Republic. It feels commercial and fake. Nowhere does it say "Merry Christmas." Because people want to be Politically Correct. It's like we are being brainwashed. It's not Christmas anymore, it's a Happy Holiday. There are so many things to be cynical about! I am beginning to feel like I have to fit into a little box that that I spent the last two months escaping from.
I've been back in Canada one day, and I already want to go home.
Can I still live as Caribbean Janet here? Can I relax and have all the time in the world? Can I live each day full of life? Will I smile and and say "Hola!" to every person that I walk past, as they smile say hello to me?
Am I going to see flowers, or heaps of garbage?

Monday, November 27, 2006

Making Memories

This was a busy weekend. I went to a museum in Santiago. I walked across a series of rickety wooden bridges to get to a waterfall. I was one of 8 people stuffed into a 4 seat car. I saw a Dominican cowboy. I saw the aftermath of a shooting in Sosua. I drank rum in a cave. I stood in the Atlantic Ocean. I paid three dollars to ride a bus from the North Coast of the island to the South Coast. I ate tofu for the first time in two months. I stood outside of the oldest church in "The New World." All this, and more. Yes, it was definately a busy weekend.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Time After Time

I feel like time is running out. There is not enough time. How can that be? Isn't time infinite? I think it is, but we are not. That is why we try to hold on to time. We try to make time. But time cannot be bought, or sold, or manufactured. Time is free, but free time is priceless. Time can be spent, and wasted. But there will always be more time.


But not today. Today there is never enough time.

Often we say we would do this or that if we had more time. But if time is constant and infinite, how can there not be enough? How can we need more of something that will never run out? And if we truly believe that we would rather spend our time doing something else, then why do we keep doing things we don't want to, day after day? My friend Meghan says the definition of insanity is repeating the same act over and over again expecting different results. Isn't that what most of us are doing? The same routine, Monday to Friday, with the hopes that one day it will be better? Maybe it will be better on the day when we turn 65. We can retire...then will we have more time? What will we have more time to do? Live?

What will we be able to say we did for all of those 65 years? We let life pass us by because we were busy trying to save a little bit of time...
My days here in the Caribbean are coming to an end. I have not wasted any time here, I have not tried to save any time, or make any time. I just lived every moment here full of life, and time went by at its own pace. In many instances I didn't know what day it was, or what the clock said. I didn't think about time at all, and somehow that gave me all the time in the world.
I suppose there are people who have figured this out where they live. They didn't have to come to the Caribbean, or some other place to find out. But to me, there is something here, on this island that speaks to me. Maybe it is simply my own inner voice, but I've never heard it before. I want to keep listening to it. If I can't hear it when I come back to Canada, then I will know that this place is truly my home.
Only time will tell.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Those Rainy Days

It seems as though it is raining everywhere in the world today. Here, in the Dominican Republic the thunder was so loud, it sounded like it was created right above my house. This is what it looked like in the afternoon here, as I sat with my friend Meghan, eating lunch on our front porch.
There is water dripping from the light fixture in the kitchen. I put a garbage can under it, which is now half full of rusty water. That leak has been present since I moved in here. It's like an old friend. I have reported it several times, and it was fixed for almost a week...but I think the reason it was fixed was due to the fact that it didn't rain for a week.
Now, we have a new leak that started today. In the bedroom. It is in the corner, coming out of the air conditioner. This leak is not an old friend. But it wants to be. I cannot report the problem to the office tomorrow because it is Domingo. Everything is closed on Domingo. And so, we will all live together for a few more days. I hope the leaks keep to themselves and do not invite any more friends over.

What language does your cat speak?

This is a photo of me with my favorite kitten here. We are at a restaurant on the beach having dinner. The cat doesn't speak english. It took me a while to figure that out. Not that she would really speak a language, but if you talk to her in Spanish, she seems to understand. One time, she climbed up onto our table, curled up, and went to sleep. I am looking forward to coming home to see my own cat. I hope she remembers me.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Ignorance is bliss...or is it?

The sides of the roads here are littered with empty bottles of water, styrofoam lunch containers, broken glass, and in some places, bags of trash. The beaches are no better. Recycle? A foreign concept. Many people here don't see the point of using a garbage can, because it will not make a difference. How can one person make a difference, they ask.

They must not know who Rosa Parks is. Or Leonardo Da Vinci. Or the Wright Brothers. Or Alexander Graham Bell. Or Albert Einstein.

This garbage can has been full for some time. Instead of emptying it, they use the ground wherever they are standing. The earth is their neverending, infinite, wide open garbage can. Where I come from, it is a disgrace to litter. People do it, but we look down on them. I look down on them. Because they know better. I do not look down on my friends here, because I believe they do not know better.

There are no landfills here. Just fields of garbage. When there gets to be too much, they burn it. They burn everything. Plastic, metal, live animals who fall into holes and can't be rescued...they know nothing about the consequences toxic fumes they are sending to the ozone. You gag, and try to hold your breath when you drive past "the garbage road" where the resorts take thier garbage to be burned. The rich and powerful American and European owned resorts. Billion dollar enterprises. They know better. But they close thier eyes and pretend it isn't happening. The very people who can uncover this country's natural beauty, are ruining it.

When I took this photograph, my Dominican friends laughed at me. They thought I was taking a picture of the garbage. But I wasn't. I was taking a picture of the beautiful flowers. If only my friends could have seen the flowers too...

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Time For a Life

What is time in the Caribbean? Minutes turn into hours. Hours become days. Where else would you celebrate the full moon several days after it has ended? That is what happened to the fiesta. It came late. But late doesn't matter here. Because there is no hurry. Time can go as slowly as this crab, who lost his way from the beach. I found him sitting on my front porch, letting the time go by. He was not in a hurry to return to his home. He didn't have any meetings scheduled, or appointments with important people. He didn't have to go shopping to buy gifts to give away for Christmas, which is 2 months from now. He didn't have to buy expensive clothes that someone in a magazine said were all the rage this season. He didn't have to do anything, but live in the moment. He wasn't angry that his precious, valuable time was wasted away, and he will never get it back. No. Not him. He was content to sit beside a shell all day, alone with his thoughts. Just letting the time go by. When the night arrived, he went home to the sea.
I want to be like him.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Platanos Fritos

Fried plantain bananas. I only tried to cook them once before, in Canada, and it was a pitiful attempt. But now that I have learned how to cook them properly, now that I know not to treat them like a regular banana, and not serve them with syrup and cinnamon and sugar, I will make them more often. When I cooked them today, my Dominican friends ate every last piece. That was the best compliment I could have asked for.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Luna Llena (Full Moon)

The full moon fiesta appears to be a thing of the past. Just a few months ago, it was celebrated. But now, the president has passed new laws prohibiting late night alcohol sales, and the police force is out at night shutting down the discos at midnight, or one o'clock. They say this was done in an attempt to lower crime, and make the streets safer at night. And so, the fiesta is no more...There may be other reasons, but this is what I think has happened.
But we didn't let that stop us on Sunday night. Meghan and I went to a place near our apartment where you can drink, and dance, and talk. The building had no walls, a thatched roof, and a cement slab for a floor, with young Dominican men dancing to Bachata and Merengue music. A few wicker chairs and wooden tables were the only furniture. The bar had a fridge full of cold beer. What else could it need? It was perfect.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Island Nights

The sun sets here around 6:00. If you blink, you might miss it. The location on the island where I live is not one where the sun sets over the sea, as I always imagined it would. Instead, it makes it's descent behind the palm trees and the hotels, and usually isn't anyting spectacular. Last night as I was sitting on the patio eating dinner with my friend Meghan, we looked up and saw beautiful pink clouds. We rushed over to the beach to take some photos, as this was such a rare moment to be able to capture here. If you look closely, you can even see the moon between the trees. It is almost full, almost time to have the fiesta on the beach. Mañana...

Friday, November 03, 2006

A Trip to the Market

Today Meghan and I walked to the supermarket early. It is better to go early because the sun isn't directly overhead, and there is a bit of shade on one side of the street. If you go around noon, the sun is directly overhead and the trees cannot offer any shade. Even though it was only 9am, it was already 30 degrees. We agreed to take a motoconch ride back to the villa once we had our groceries.
At the supermarket, we stocked up on some food - a can of beans, chips & salsa, matches to light the gas stove in the apartment, laundry soap, to wash our clothes in the sink, and a candle that smells like coconut, and is made in a half coconut shell. It smells delicious! We also bought a few vegetables. Check out the size of the carrots! Meghan and I stared laughing when we saw the carrots, they were all so fat and stubby, they reminded us of...something else. We couldn't stop laughing. The staff at the market must have thought we were loco.
And, as planned, we rode a motoconche home. It took 4 minutes, as opposed to a 20 minute walk. A motoconch is basically a taxi, but on a motorcycle. It is easy to catch a ride, the motoconches are everywhere, and they are cheap. Helmets are unheard of here. People ride on motos with infants, and think nothing of it. Sometimes there are four people on one motoconch! But we were only three, the driver, Meghan, and myself...holding our bags of groceries. I have been on motorcycles here, of friends, but this was my first motoconch ride. It was fun. We gave the driver a good tip.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

I Love Dominicans!

Today I had to walk to town to buy water. It's not safe to drink the water here, you must use bottled water to do everything from brushing your teeth, to cooking. And so, you can imagine how much water is needed in one day, to drink, to cook rice, etc. As I was walking back to the villa from town, carrying a heavy jug of water, I came to a spot in the road where it had flooded from all the rain last night. I stopped to weigh my options. It was 32 degrees. I didn't really want to backtrack to go down the sidestreet to the beach, because it would add another 15 minutes to my walk home, and I was already hot and sweaty. I thought about wading through the flood, it looked like it might go up to somewhere between my ankes and my knees. There was no way around it, a cement wall was on one side, and some thorny bushes were on the other side.
The water was getting heavier.
There was no shade.
I was dripping with sweat.
I just stood there and watched the cars drive through the puddle, slowly, so not to splash the water up into their engines.
And then, a bus pulled up beside me, and the driver told me to come in. I gratefully stepped up inside, and stood in the doorway as he drove through the flood. He let me off on the other side. I tried to offer him a few pesos, to thank him for his generosity, but he refused.
That would never happen in Vancouver. The bus would just drive through the flood really fast and splash all the innocent pedestrians with the dirty water. I know this, because I have experienced it several times. There was a time I even boycotted public transit because of this.
But here, things are different, the people are friendlier, they are more aware of the people around them, and they will help you out if they can. They find it strange that I do not accept a ride, when I walk to town...the fact that I would rather walk in the heat seems foreign to them.
I guess I am not quite Dominican yet.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Upcoming Fiestas

Here in the Dominican Republic they do not observe daylight savings. The time here is now four hours ahead of Vancouver, British Columbia. They also don't celebrate Hallowe'en, but in honour of all of the tourists who do, there is a fiesta tomorrow night. No trick-or-treating, but that's ok with me. Some people here can barely afford to eat, so to think of them buying a bunch of candy to just give away seems out of place. Besides, the chocolate would melt before you even got it in your hands. Next week there will be something they do here that is part of the Dominican culture. Whenever there is a full moon, they have a big fiesta. There is a disco here on the beach called Jellyfish, where the dance floor is the beach, and there are lights hanging in the palm trees. They say that is the place to go for the full moon fiesta. I think I'll need to check it out.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Time for some pictures!

Ok, it took a while, but I finally have internet access at mi casa, so I uploaded some pictures! Click on any photo at the top of the screen and you'll be able to see them all. Also, since I'll be online more often, you can try to catch me on msn messenger. If you want me to add you to my contact list, email me your info.
It's a little bit cloudy here today, I think it might rain tonight. It is so cool to stand on the beach at night and look out into the Caribbean Sea and watch the lightning strike, miles away from the shore. It lights up the whole sky, and for a brief second, you can see the blue water, and all the anchored boats rocking back and forth.
If you want to see a bit more about the villa where I'm living, they have a website:

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Post cards

I'll send a postcard to anyone who emials me thier address. They say it takes about 3 weeks for a postcard to reach North America from here. Let's find out if it's true...please don't post your address here, email it to me.

i'm going to have to figure out how to show you all some pictures soon. I've been taking LOTS. And little video clips every now and then. Today is Domingo (Sunday). So alot of the stores, banks and so forth are closed. There are lots of families on the beaches today, and young (hot) men. I saw three guys swimming FULLY CLOTHED today. I can understand not having a bathing suit, but can't you just swim in your underwear? Do you really need to wear your shirt AND pants? I wasn't about to ask them why though.
I bought some dominican music today, it only costs $3.00 for a cd here. A guy was strolling along the beach with a big backpack full of cd's. I've made friends with some guys who work in those shops where you have to bargain for anything and everything, so I've gotten pretty good at knowing how much things are supposed to be. There's dominican prices and tourist prices for everything. I think I end up getting somewhere in between. Not bad for less than 3 weeks of being here though, right?

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

I`m still here!

Sorry I haven`t written much lately. I`m sure you`ve all heard enough about the weather here and all that. Here`s something that I see every day here - but definately not at home. The gas stations: people leave their cars RUNNING while they fill up with gas. I asked my friend to turn off his car and he thought I was crazy?!?! And half of the time the gas stations have no gas, so you will see a bunch of guys standing at the corner with 2 litre pop bottles and milk jugs full of gas, and they are more than willing to sell it to you, for thier price. Unfortunately, it isn`t always just gas in there so you have to be careful.



Saturday, October 14, 2006

Moving Day

I'm "moving" into my new apartment here today. It's more like a private villa - with its own beach, swimming pool, shops, and security. It's still in the village of El Cortecito, which is where I've been staying in a hotel since I arrived.

The weather here is very humid today because it rained last night and this morning, and it's still cloudy. That's fine with me because I spent ALL day in the sun yesterday. I'm not burnt, but if I went out in the sun today I probably would be. I don't think I've ever been this tanned in my whole life! I heard on CNN that it's snowing up north?!?! I can't say that I miss that (yet).

Well, I guess that's it for now. Bye everybody!


Thursday, October 12, 2006

I think it's Thursday's so easy to lose track of time here. Boca Chica was absolutely stunning. It was a 2 hour drive, and on the way there we bought sugar cane from some kids on a street corner. for 5 pesos (there's 30 pesos in one american dollar, so you do the math). We drove through Higuey, San Pedro, and La Romana to get there. Each little town or city is the same yet different. But between towns is the most beautiful scenery. Rivers, rolling hills, sugar plantations...I took lots of pictures. But this computer doesnt have a USB port so I can't download them to show you. Ill find one sooner or later.

Once we got to Boca Chica, we went to a restuarant on the beach where our table was on the shore with the waves gently lapping at our feet. I ate fried plantain bananas for the first time. They were delicious! Not at all like a regular banana. And of course we drank rum, and beer, and swam in the ocean. It was a perfect day.

I guess my first week here is over. I'm glad I'm staying way longer though, because I feel like things are just getting started here.


Monday, October 09, 2006

Estoy Aqui!

I am here! OMG the weather here is insanely hot. 31 or 32 degrees all day long, every day. I went for a nice 2 hour stroll down the beach yesterday. There's quite a few tiendas (shops) along the beach, usualy between resorts, and of course everybody wants you to look in thier shop, and buy something. But every shop is exactly the same, and it gets a little repetitive...I managed to get away without buing anything - except some water. After the first hour of walking in the blazing hot sun, I was so parched! I walked into a little cafe called "Coco Loco" and grabbed 2 bottles of water out of the cooler. They were $1.00 each, but the smallest bill I had was a $5. So the lady took my 5 and said "no change". Riiight. So I said to her "Bueno, entonces quiero cinco aguas" (fine, then I want 5 waters) and I tossed three more bottles into my beach bag, which was already full of a towel, magazine, sun screen, purse, and the 2 waters I just suddenly became EXTREMELY heavy. The others in the cafe were laughing, I'm not entirely sure if it was at me or with me.

The resort is very nice, there are lots of palm trees, and some wild kittys that hang around the restaurant in the evening. I fed them some fish last night, they are soooo cute. One of them is a little kitten that reminds me of my own cat.

Tomorrow I'm off to Boca Chica with a friend I met last time I was here. It's totally different when you see things as the locals do, rather than as a tourist. For instance, last night we went to what I guess is a bar, but it was not like any bar I've ever seen. There were no walls, and people sit on whatever they can find - milk crates, boxes...there was a man with a pickup truck full of pineapples, and one of the people i was with bought me one. I've never had such fresh pineapple in all my life. It was amazing. And when in your life will you ever see a huge-a$$ pineapple for $2.00?!?! And everyone was walking around with roosters - live ones - in thier hands. Ummm they had a little shack next to the bar where you can go and buy a rooster and then there is an arena beside it where you place bets on your rooster and they fight until the death. It's so sad!!!!!

Well, I guess that's it for now. Hope you are all doing well. I'm really loving it here so far.


Monday, September 25, 2006

The Final Countdown

Yes, yes, I haven't posted for a while, but there hasn't been much to say. For now, I've added some pix from the annual Las Vegas vacation. It's not all of the photos cuz there's a restriction on how many I can upload at a time. I'm hoping to have that straightened out any day now though...but that's boring, so let's move on to more interesting news...

I only have 3 more days of work. I can't believe it. I remember counting down when it was 75 more days. I can't imagine what it will be like to NOT work for 2 months. It's all happening so fast now. I think I'll start packing this weekend. It's hard to know what I will need for 2 months. I mean, it's not like I can come home if I forget something, and I don't want to rely on the "If I forget something I can just buy it there" mentality. Because what if volumizing mousse is really hard to find?

Monday, August 21, 2006

These Boobs are Made For Walkin'

One of the reasons I'm not leaving for the D.R. until October is because I wanted to participate in The Weekend To End Breast Cancer. It was a 60 kilometer walk through the streets of Vancouver to raise money for breast cancer research. We walked 35 k on Saturday - from the Plaza of Nations to Stanley Park, all the way around the seawall, to English Bay, where Uncle Joe met us for our lunch break...then down Cypress to 10, then 12th, past Trout Lake...I was ready to stop walking after the sea wall! It was a hot day, but luckily we had lots of shade. There were pit stops every 3 k or so, where we refilled our water bottles and had snacks like oranges, bananas, and granola bars. And we had motercycle bikers who put things like pink bras and boas on thier motercycles, and they directed traffic at major intersections so we could cross safely. Cars honked their horns to show thier support. People decorated their trees and lawns with pink ribbons to show thier support. It was amazing.

The last 7k were brutal. You just want to sit down, but everytime you sit it gets harder and harder to stand up. Legs are burning, feet are sore from walking on solid pavement all day long. I was lucky enough not to have any blisters, but I was battling a migraine from the sun and fatigue. We finally reached our camp at Killarney Park. There was music playing and food and showers were definately a welcome sight. Everyone was limping around, you could tell it had been a long day for everyone. We had our showers, ate dinner, and there were some beverages that were snuck in and enjoyed by some of those in our group...Lights out were at 9:30pm but I think everyone was fast asleep by then! I know I was out by 8:30.

Sunday morning we were up by 5am, had some breakfast, packed up our gear and were on the road again at 7am. Not sure what the streets were that we travelled on, I spent alot of time looking at the beautiful houses and trying not to think about how my legs were screaming at me to stop. I just kept putting one foot in front of the other and kept going, past Queen Elizabeth Park, then through the Point Grey neighborhood. There were 7 of us walking together, sometimes we all walked as a group, other times we split into 2's and 3' then we just ended up walking at whatever pace was comfortable, even if it meant walking alone. We went past Granville Island, through Kits Beach, and at this point I was starting to feel that I couldn't go on any further. Every muscle in my legs was tight and something was going on with my knee that was extremely painful. It felt like the bones were rubbing together or something. I stopped at the medic station and had my knee wrapped up with a tenser bandage, and limped my way to the Cambie Street Bridge. Once we crossed the bridge there was a sea of people there cheering on all of the walkers all the way to the Plaza of Nations. They gave us high 5's, they were all smiling and congratulating us.

It was then that I forgot the pain. It is an indescribable feeling to be a part of something like this. The relief of being at the end of this incredibly long walk is greatly overshadowed by the emotions of knowing that I had done more than just walk. I was one of 2105 people who helped raise over 5.5 million dollars to support breast cancer research. To find a cure disease that took my mother's life. And of course I signed up to do it again next year! Click here for pictures

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

I've been shot...

in BOTH arms! Yep, I got my vaccinations today. 2 shots in one arm, and the 3rd shot in the other. Tetanus, Hep A & B...and I also got a prescription for malaria and something else.
It was an interesting experience. First I had to fill out a questionnaire about previous vaccinations, allergies and stuff like that. Yeah, like I remember any of them. (The only one I'm sure of was the tetanus shot in grade 9). Next they give me what looks like a shopping list of vaccinations and the prices. Silly me, thinking that this was covered under my medical plan! Check this out; you have to pay to prevent getting certain diseases...but if you don't get vaccinated, and come back from your vacation with...say...typhoid, you don't pay for your medical expenses. I don't get it. Anyways, the nurse told me which ones I need to get, she explained what all the sympotoms of the diseases were, and then she explained the possible side effects of the vaccinations. It was all very thorough.
Not suprisingly, it didn't hurt at all. I guess when comparing it to getting pierced and tattooed, this was a piece of cake. I'm glad I don't have a fear of needles though, otherwise this might not have been so pleasant. They jabbed the needle straight into the muscle! The arm they did 2 shots in is a little stiff now. The nurse told me this would happen, and that if I keep it still, it will end up hurting for a week. So even though it's uncomfortable, I have to keep moving it. It's not bad though, it feels like when-you-have-a-good-workout-at-the-gym-and-you're-sore-the-next-day...I have to go again at the end of the month to get 3 more shots.
I tried not to think about all the animals that suffered in the lab just so I can get these shots, but I can't help it. It's the opposite of the vegan lifestyle I try to live. But sometimes you have to make a choice, even if it's the wrong one.

Monday, July 24, 2006

To Vaccinate, or not to vaccinate...

...that is the question. I try to stay away from traditonal "western" medicine as much as possible. I like to think I'm a pretty healthy person - really, how often have you seen me get ill? Maybe the yearly cold/sniffles in the winter, but that's about it. I spend so much time, effort (and money!) eating healthy, vegetarian/vegan organic foods, why would I willfully inject myself with toxic chemicals?

But, since I will be in the Caribbean for two months, and in Mexico shortly after that, I decided that I would rather not take any chances, and be realistic. I don't know how long I will be able to keep my medical coverage here in Canada, so I might as well take advantage of it - I've been paying into it for 14 years! I looked up what vaccinations are recommended by our glorious BC Health organization, and here 'tis:

Hepatitis A is the most common disease among travellers that can be prevented by vaccine. Those who will be living, working or travelling in developing countries, particularly in rural areas, should receive a hepatitis A vaccine and;

  • Ensure proper hygiene and take precautions with food and drink;
  • Avoid raw fruit and vegetables, salads, dairy products with unpasteurized milk, raw or undercooked meat, fish and shellfish, and any food sold by street vendors
  • Swim only in chlorinated pools.

uhh, avoid raw fruit & vegetables?!?! That simply will not be possible. Why don't they just say, Ïf you're a vegetarian, don't bother eating ANYTHING?!?!

Malaria is endemic (i.e., constantly present) in most of sub-Saharan Africa; in large areas of the Middle East, South Asia, South East Asia, Oceania, Haiti, Central and South America; and in parts of Mexico, North Africa and the Dominican Republic. It can be spread to humans by infected mosquitoes.

So, I'll be slathered in sunscreen by day, and bug repellent by night. What will I do with all of my perfume?

I'm not sure what other shots will be recommended, I haven't had any since grade 9. Maybe tetanus? Rabies? I have my appointment next week, I'll let you know how it goes...