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Saturday, December 17, 2016

First ever southern vacation trip...

I have never been on a southern vacation before. It seems like such an ordeal to plan and carry it through, but now that I am here, it sure seems worth it.

 Wow, what a couple of crazy days we’ve had. The drive from Sudbury to Toronto Thursday afternoon was scary. We hit a bad snowstorm at Parry Sound and Scott had to follow a tractor trailer because he could barely see the highway. We got into Toronto around 9 p.m. We got the hotel room dumped our bags and then set off for dinner at a place called Jack Astor’s. It was nice and we were so glad to have a drink and relax.
Then we got back to the hotel, had another drink and decided to go to bed. Good thing. I think I had one whiskey too much. 3:00 a.m. and the hotel door opens. Hello Neil! My son was back from a rock concert and hanging out with friends and had to pay $50 in a cab to get from downtown Toronto to the airport Crown Plaza Hotel.
So we were all up and showering, shaving and re-packing the luggage at 5:30 a.m. Got down to the lobby by 6:07 a.m. to find a huge crowd of hotel guests all trying to catch the same shuttle to the airport as we were. So we were a bit disappointed for a minute. Then the drive came back into the lobby, saying he had room for four more! That was us. We were right at the front of the line for the next shuttle but he took us in the early shuttle. Lucky for us. We got into Pearson Airport just before 7:00 a.m. to find another crowd of Sunwing passengers all clamouring for registration. Well I bought the elite tickets so I got through quickly, but Neil, Scott and Jenn had to wait for the rest of famjam to show up to get through security together. That’s when the fun began. Sunwing originally sent us to gate B20, but because of the storm, some planes did not get back to Toronto on time, so they sent us to gate B27. The thing is, they would not admit there was going to be a delay, so we rushed like hell to the new gate. Then Sunwing announced a new gate again, this time gate C33. Again, more than 200 passengers rushed like hell to get to the new gate. Thank God for gray hair. As an almost senior citizen, they put me on one of those golf carts trolleys and gave me a free ride to the new gate. I gave the driver, a guy named Vincenze,  a five dollar tip!
So we all finally hook up at gate C33. All the family was there so we charge up our phones, grab some coffees, some bagel BLTs and have a nice little breakfast together. It was almost 9 a.m. and the flight was scheduled to leave at 9:15 a.m. Something told us this would not happen. The plane had not arrived at the gate, said the lady at the reception desk. Suddenly there was another announcement. All passengers with tickets for Sunwing Punta Cana please be advised of a gate change. This time we all rushed to gate B41 expecting to see our plane. No it was not there. So we sat for nearly three hours and finally we were able to board the plane just before noon. Once we got airborne, the flight was four hours to the Dominican Republic and then it was more than an hour getting through customs and immigration. There was also roughly an hour of sitting on the taxiway at Punta Cana airport waiting our turn to disembark I should have mentioned earlier.  By the time we got to the hotel for check-in it was close to 8 p.m. That’s okay, everyone showered, got fresh and we hit the dining room. OMG it was so good. Did I mention that Cesar, the hotel guy, gave us all a President√© Cervesas beer on the bus ride in from the airport.
Anyway, after supper, which included substantial amounts of seafood, salad, pasta, and sushi and more beer, we decided we needed a walk. But not before stopping at the bar in the main lobby where we all loaded up on some tropical cocktails… you know the type, double shots of rum and tequila and juice and fruity things. Well it was an excellent tropical evening with a soft breeze blowing in from the ocean.
So the boys had the bright idea of going down to watch the waves crashing in on the beach. It was excellent to stand there and watch the moon rise and smell the fresh salt air and the warm gentle wind.

I couldn’t take it. Took off the shoes and sock and decided to dance in the surf. It was a perfect day one of my first ever trip on a southern vacation. 

Monday, December 05, 2016

What can you believe

This is such an issue right now because so many “fake news” organizations are springing up on the 'net and people are posting fake news as a joke, or sometimes to deliberately spread misinformation. It drives us crazy at work because ordinary folks really have no idea of the work that goes into a story. They ask inane questions about how truthful the real news is. They have no idea that 75 per cent of our time is spent gathering information and fact checking. You can’t imagine how many times we have stopped a story because we cannot verify the information on time.  Of course if Justin Trudeau says something that isn’t true, we won’t call him a liar but we will present correct information and let people judge. We recently ran an environmental story where we presented numbers from an environmental report. One woman on Facebook said she disagreed with the numbers. That’s fine. That’s an issue between you and the environment ministry. So of course she goes on Facebook to say the story is wrong and that our reporting is wrong. OMG, this is not about winning a coffee shop argument. This is about facts. Somebody was obviously sniffing too many fumes in the hair salon. You almost wish her grade five teacher would show up at her doorstep, rap her knuckles and tell her smarten up.
I’ve got to write more later about disagreeing. Just because you disagree, doesn’t mean you’re right and the other guy is wrong, or that you’re a better person. It just mean’s you disagree.