The far southern reaches of the Okanagan and Similkameen Valleys are the far northern reaches of the Sonoran Life Zone and include semi-desert landscape species found nowhere else in Canada, including scorpions. While the area is not technically desert, it is part of a threatened ecosystem in Canada known as shrub-steppe.
There are two museums dedicated to the dry landscape of the area, both of which label the area as "Canada's only desert", even though it's not technically desert and other areas of BC are similarly dry and hot.
Sunday, July 8, 2012
Tuesday, June 5, 2012
A “tuk-tuk” in Thailand is a three-wheeled cabin cycle. The basic tuk-tuk configuration resembles a motorized version of the traditional pulled rickshaw or cycle rickshaw: a cabin compartment attached to a motorcycle. Auto rickshaws are an essential form of urban transport in many developing countries. Its compact shape and nimble performance makes the tuk-tuk a popular choice of transport in traffic-ridden Thai cities.
(I didn’t actually drive the tuk-tuk… the tuk-tuk driver just had me sit in his seat to take the picture.)
If you want to get a feeling of what it is like to drive around Chiang Mai in a tuk-tuk, watch the video that we recorded below.
Monday, May 7, 2012
Papaya salad, or “Som Tam” as it is known in Thailand, is a spicy salad made from shredded unripe papaya. It was listed at number 46 on “World's 50 most delicious foods” compiled by CNN Go in 2011.
|Som Tam stand at the side of the road in Chiang Mai|
To prepare Thailand's most famous salad, pound garlic and chilies with a mortar and pestle. Toss in tamarind juice, fish sauce, peanuts, dried shrimp, tomatoes, lime juice, sugar cane paste, string beans and a handful of grated green papaya.
When you take the salad “to go”, it is put in a plastic bag. (We still can’t figure out how they are able to inflate the bag like a little balloon when they seal it with a quick spin and elastic band.)
You have to be very careful when you request the number of chilies to be added. “Thai spicy” brings tears to your eyes.
Som tam is one of our favorite Thai dishes and we would look for stands along the streets wherever we would go.
After witnessing how much we enjoyed it, even Gabriel and Naimah started eating it!
While explaining the delectable wonders of Thai cuisine, CNN Go sums it up well:
“The Land of Smiles” isn’t just a marketing catch-line. It’s a result of being born in a land where the world’s most delicious food is sold on nearly every street corner.
Sunday, May 6, 2012
Thursday, April 26, 2012
Back in Chiang Mai, we stayed at a guesthouse called “Joy’s House”.
|Trying out some bikes|
|Playing in the pool|
|Relaxing by the pool|
While we were sitting by the pool, some of the locals introduced us to a fruit called “Champoo” (or “rose apple”) that were growing on the trees around the pool. Based on its outward appearance, it could easily be mistaken for a small pear, although the skin is quite waxy compared to pears. Champoo are eaten skin and all. The texture is somewhere between a watermelon and an apple, as is the taste. There are several varieties of Champoo, with the most common in Thailand having a light green skin. This green variety is available almost year round, while the seasonal variety that we ate vary in color from apple red to almost black.
Monday, April 23, 2012
Thursday, April 19, 2012
“Lakeland” is a 3.5 hectare organic farm. The small children live and learn on the farm, and are knowledgeable in the fields of organic farming, recycling, composting, and conservation. The farm allows the children to learn hands-on how to build a self sustainable community.
With the monsoon season approaching, it was important to landscape part of the gardens to provide support for when the rains come. Our time at the Children's Shelter included the "building of a nature dam" which involved some serious physical labor including:
- gathering 100 bags of rocks from a nearby river
- transporting the rocks back to the farm
- using the rocks to landscape a sloping hill to support the earth for when the rainy season starts
- creating the beds for the vegetables
- transferring compost from one part of the farm to the new gardens
- planting beans
- chopping up banana trees to make new compost
All of the children on the farm contribute to the tasks.
|Piling into the back of the truck to head to the river|
|Treating the kids to some treats at a little store on the way to the river|
Everybody worked really hard irrespective of size or age.
The children took a much needed break to play in the water.
In the video below, Wayu does a crazy backflip in front of a German volunteer which really scares her (understandably because it looks like he is going to land on his face). He sees that she got scared so he runs over to give her a reassuring hug.
Back at the farm, we laid the stones to reinforce the garden beds.
And the following day, we worked on the compost and planting the beans.