Sunday, September 30, 2012


Damrak - Amsterdam, originally uploaded by MorBCN.

Amsterdam welcomes you like a long lost home. Everything is easy and convenient. If your lost you don't even have to ask for directions some smartly dressed and very attractive Dutch man will point you in the direction of the hidden vegetarian restaurant you are looking for and give you advice on it as well.
A city built on sand surrounded canals and streets perfectly laid out for transportation on bicycle and cable cars. The best thing to do in Amsterdam is do as the Amsterdamers do and rent a bicycle. Cycling around this city is pure joy, because you will not be killed.. well one odd bit is that they let motorized scooters on the bike lanes who are mostly insane and I don't think they should be allowed in the bike lanes if there are just going to cut in and out like mad people.
The boutique shopping and design stores are some of the best I have ever seen. There has been a lot of care put into creating things that are useful and so beautiful that it makes me want a home so I can fill it up with these 'things'.
Of course everyone is fit, and gorgeous, so people watching is an easy way to spend some time. Watching women leave their tiny babies outside shops on their bike carriers is something you don't see in many western countries.. but also short skirts and high heels on bikes aren't something you see very often anywhere as well.
The streets are full of coffee shops (marjuana shops) that cater to different crowds. The locals don't really care much about this but interestingly they are changing the laws to make it only legal for locals to smoke in 2013 which will be interesting as most of the shops in the center are littered with tourist getting stoned all day long.
The red light district is something that still haunts me in what we think as progressive, but is ultimately a support of revictimization of women come from eastern europe as a way of escaping and sold into this industry and are stuck in this industry. The majority of women in the sex trade are not there because they love to have sex, they are there because they were molested/raped as children and don't know any different and fall into this path. The women looked very young, orange skin from over tanning, skinny but not sickly skinny, and dyed hair with way to much make up. The clientele on the street was mainly men from other countries. I do know this goes on all over the world and will go on for quite some time, and don't believe in criminalizing this, but there needs to be an awareness and understanding of every women's story as it is never a pretty one. If we get to the root of the issue we can start to get women into healing and doing something more compassionate for themselves.

On another topic I have done two days of yoga in a row at Breathe yoga studio on Overtoom street. It has been wonderful to reconnect and enjoy a normal schedule of somewhat luxury. Yoga, bike rides, coffee, and I got to see my brother William for a few days :)
I have been couchsurfing with an awesome girl here named Jolijin who has her own blog on vegan cooking here (it's in dutch) :
My next stop is Barcelona for a day and then the train up to Pamplona to start the Camino de Santiago. Wish me luck!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Isle of Mull

Isle of Mull, originally uploaded by veggy.
Taking the ferry from Oban to the Isle of Mull has been a life long trip in the making. As soon as we pulled into Oban I felt at home. It may also have to do with not seeing the ocean for almost 4 months.. the longest I have ever been away from the ocean.
The Isle of Mull (Scottish Gaelic Muile, pronounced [ˈmulə]) — or simply Mull — is the second largest island of the Inner Hebrides, off the west coast of Scotland. We are staying at quaint and homely bed and breakfast.

Our bed and breakfast is set above the shores of Loch Scridain in the village of Pennyghael with stunning views of Ben More and surrounding mountains.
Driving from the ferry to here is a one way road of rolling hills and lush greenery of epic colours and contrasts. A landscape photographers dream because it is rare to see shades of colour like this.
An afternoon of tea and biscuits followed by a dinner at the Pennyghael hotel where I got to try the local amber ale from the Isle of Mull brew company. Tomorrow we are off to explore the Isle of Iona and Staffa.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

It's been a long time.. a London update

Untitled, originally uploaded by veggy.

Well my friends, it's been a long time. So very much has happened. I have been living in London, England for the last seven months working on four of the largest shows in the world. With that now under my belt I have had time to reflect on what I have seen and done and am feeling more inspired to write again. One of the most lovely things about London (the place I love and hate at the same time) is the free museums. You are able to walk right into these absolutely stunning architecture marvels and see almost any single thing you want to see or learn about. London has it all! One does think.. how did they get it? Of course they stole most of it from say Egypt but at least they have preserved it for only the most fortunate who are able to get to one of the most expensive cities in the world to see. Having lived most of my time in East London in the largest Bangladeshi neighborhood outside of Bangladesh, London is a city of amazing culture and depths. People who will never learn "English" and children who wear full hijabs yet full British accents.. the lines of culture and living here come together. The city is now mainly owned by the Saudis as noted most prominently by the owners of Harrods but the list goes on. Nowhere in the world do you see wealth like you do here. (Sorry West Vancouver). London is still the land of opportunity. I can see it everywhere. Still stuck very much in the past, living and choosing to live in the bureaucratic inefficiency. People still smoke tons, run right over cyclists, and spend all their money on alcohol. Londoner's are not healthy. Chip/Burger/Chicken shops are most common, leaving a whole generation spending their welfare checks on this instead of real food. Microwaves are very popular and a chosen option for cooking in most homes and work places. I asked about having a toaster and it was a fire hazard.. just a little taster of reasoning that makes little sense.

It is all very interesting to watch and be a part of it culturally. It will be interesting to see the last health effects on the National Health system in the years to come.
Environmentally, every single item is wrapped in plastic, including produce so shops don't have to employ people and you can scan the items yourself. People throw things into recycling bins even though there is nothing that states what can actually be recycled because as most of us know you can't recycle everything but the system here sure makes you think you can.
I know I have been living in the Vancouver bubble of environmental sustainability and well being and I thought we had a way to go in Canada.. but boy does the UK have a long way to go. What Canada misses in culture, it makes up for in every other single way. The UK continues to output the most amazing musicians, actors, shows year after year and it is because it is supported. People care here about seeing things. There are constant festivals about everything you could ever want, but it also has the population to support it.
As you can see the pull is strong in me. I love culture, and I love nature. Balance in London is tough but possible but right now I am a much deserved holiday. More updates to come.