The next item on my To Do List was to get a library card and finish the Game of Thrones book, in fact this was the first productive thing I ticked off my list, followed by opening a bank account! Well getting the library card was easy, reading Game of Thrones though not so much without the long bus journeys and travel I had in South America I've found it hard to have time to read, but now I've finished Sherlock maybe I will get more time at work to get further than the 100 odd pages I have only managed to surpass so far.
Moving down the list and next we have what everyone is here to do - Ski, well ski and snowboard. As you see on my list I have both. I wanted to take one seriously and well just give the other a bash. I suppose my choice was dictated more by friends than any other reason as Tom did skiing and has done from a young age. The mountain opened on the 22nd November 2014 but I was a long way off that, I wanted to be settled in a job first so I could afford all the essential gear. I got mine quite cheap but it all mounts up as I will demonstrate - Ski Poles ($20), Goggles ($30), Ski jacket ($22), ski trousers ($80), ski boots ($330), under layer ($20), gloves and under layer gloves ($40), hat ($30), skis ($20) and ski pass ($1400) so a total cost of $1992 and this is without the helmet I still need to buy. Luckily though a few of the costs are much cheaper than they should be and the ski pass is coming out of my wage each week. The re-use it centre became my best friend as I managed to save hundreds of dollars getting my ski's and ski jacket from there and in the village was a clearance centre which was also reasonably priced. The only thing I wanted to make sure was good was my boots as I've herd bad boots = bad season. My main aim was to get skiing before Christmas, which I did albeit by a technicality. I never made it to the top of the mountain instead just using the magic carpet learning run at the bottom of Blackcomb Mountain on Christmas Eve. Tom was kind enough to take me up, at first I thought I'd never be able to get it, but I did gradually progress a little. My next day was actually going up the mountain with Tom and a lovely girl called Anja, everyone raves about her and rightly so because she is beautiful and has a kind, warm personality. She unfortunately though has a boyfriend. Anja is also my first friend from Luxembourg though she resides in Copenhagen, Denmark. Anja teaches kids out here so I asked if she would take me up and show me the basics and along with Tom they did, my first run was a bit of disaster but I got better well until Anja left and I finished the day wanting to smash up my skis, after numerous falls. It didn't help as I'd come straight from a night shift and was tired and ratty. I could have easily given up skiing after that day though, but with money invested and time I had to keep going and trying. I've been up twice since both with Tom and have been much better once up Whistler Mountain and the other doing a series of easy runs on Blackcomb which have boosted my confidence no end, even the one and only fall I had this day I was happy with. I've not been able to go up more than these four occasions so far, the weather has been a tad on the s*** side making the mountains rather icy and I refer to go up with people at the moment whilst I'm learning so they can show me the ropes, point out my technique and what I can improve and help me anyway they can. It's taken me a while to fall in love with skiing and I wouldn't say I'm quite there yet, but I am getting there. So who knows by the next blog who knows where I will be! As for snowboarding, I've not gave that a bash yet but hope I'll be able too at some stage!
The next few items have not been completed yet, these include doing a bobsleigh and / or skeleton run. This was on my list fairly early as I went to Tom's work with him and as I waited outside I noticed a flyer for a bobsleigh run tour! I thought it would be great and something great to do and since looking into it and speaking to people I've also found doing a skeleton run is also impressive. Ideally I'd like to do both but they are both over $100 so I will have to see how things go, there is a slight chance we might get is as a free family tour from work so all I can say is watch this space.
Bungee Jump, quite rightfully question marked because of my massive fear of heights. I will speak ore about this further on in the blog. Bounce is a trampoline centre which allows you practise park jumps and just seems a lot of fun. As there is plenty of snow I'd like to build an epic snowman, not just regular but maybe someone famous, I know Matt once did a Hitler snowman so something along the lines of a well-known person or one that's just massive, but it has to be one that's epic and not just a regular snowman. Have a massive snow ball fight would also be fun and gets everyone involved either on the mountain or in the village somewhere would be great fun! I'd also like to rediscover my child hood hobby of ice skating and skate at the rink in Meadow Park, the Outdoor Park in the village and the best thing about Whistler is the lakes freeze over so you can go skiing on them, just make sure they are frozen first as Dea found out the hard way. So this story is not strictly abut skating but it's too funny not to be mentioned. We were walking back to Dea and Anja's for an after party on one particular night out when we crossed a stream that looked frozen over. Tom gingerly stepped around the lake claiming he was Jesus and he could walk on water but when Dea went to step on the frozen water she ended up being submerged to her waist. It was pretty funny. Anyway back to the list and another objective of mine is to walk around Whistler's popular Lost Lake and also go and see the train wreck located in the Function Junction area of Whistler. Going to Whistler museum is also on the list although I don't really expect any real excitement from it.
The Film Festival in Whistler was crossed off when that was in town at the beginning of December. Matt, Seb, Josepha and I went to see a fun film called The c*** ure Lads, about an English band trying to make it in Canada. It was really good and had a chap formally in Emmerdale as the lead character. It was recommended to me by a guest staying in the hotel I work. Work also managed to provide me with complimentary tickets to the film, so that saved us ten bucks each. There is also another festival on my list the Whistler Ski & Snowboard festival but obviously I can't tick this off until it is on in April. I would also like to go and see the Fire & Ice show where Whistler's best skiers and riders, including Whistler Blackcomb Snow School's finest, hit a big air jump through a blazing ring of fire every Sunday night. And ever since going to the Scandinave Spa for a job interview and seeing how nice it is I've wanted to sample their Scandinavian Hot Baths, Thermal Waterfall and Wood Burning Finished Sauna.
A massive part of Whistler culture are Hot Tub nights so it's no surprise these are on my list. If you haven't got one in your complex a lot of people go poaching. Check out this mockumentary as an example - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HwrYug5lqXc. Luckily enough Matt and Tom had a great Hot Tub on the roof of their place in the Upper Village. So the Powder Horn roof was host to a handful of nights where we would relax in the heat of the hot tub whilst the cold weather outside would freeze our hair. We also learnt from a local that if you turn the lights out the tub was a great place for star gazing where you could see a clear view of constellations such as The Big Dipper.
Going to the village Cinema was also on my list, just as I suppose for something to do, no that there was anything impressive about it like the Imax in Sydney. And I got my opportunity to cross this off one evening recently. I had been to Alpine for a house viewing, and rather than go back to the hostel wasting another $5 on bus fares I decided to stick around the Village until my shift started at 11pm. I had six hours to kill, so first I went to the library to use their internet until it closed, then had dinner at KFC. It was cold and I was tired, I could have gone to Tom and Matt's but I wanted to avoid the Chileans after a slight disagreement about cleaning with Joseph on leaving day of the Powder Horn. So I decided to go to the Village 8 Cinema where I could be warm and comfortable for two hours and if the film was terrible have a nap. I watched The Hobbit, it was a fairly long film and I wanted to watch it, not as much as Tom Ellis and I assume he would be disappointed if he knew I went to see it without him. I did fall asleep briefly and embarrassingly woke myself up snoring, luckily the more than half empty theatre didn't mind or notice and I did enjoy the rest of the film.
I always find it fascinating to see wild animals in Australia I managed to see a wild snake, crocodile, cassowary and in Peru I got to see a wild Condor. So knowing that bears and moose's were rife in Canada was always going to resort on this being on my list. It's perhaps a more general Canada one but if it happens in Whistler. Awesome and I know people who have encountered a grizzly here. Jordan came across one walking to or from staff housing. Granted I don't want to meet a bear face to face and have a selfie with one but from a far distance away would be nice. And because of the banter I have with my Dad about his love of reindeer / moose I would love to see a wild moose and not just the gigantic moose head in the hotel lobby I work in.
I knew I'd be in Whistler for at least five months so finding something to keep me active was a priority so when Tom told me that they do five-a-side football on a Thursday and Sunday at a local school it went straight on my list. Tom and I headed down to Myrtle Phillip Community Centre not really knowing what to expect. We didn't even know if we would be able to play. We were and it turns out it's a two hour session consisting of four teams of five rotating around after four minutes or the first team to score two goals. What did surprise me though was that in Canada football is co-ed meaning that women were also playing, there was one in particular nicknamed Zidane because of her France top with the midfielder's name on the back who was banging in the goals, the others weren't as great at football but a lot more talented on the eye. One called Amanda I would definitely like to make my wife! My first game back was enjoyable, yet tiring I'd felt like I'd smoked 100 fags even though I don't smoke, and playing in converse wasn't ideal. So after the first week knowing I would be back several times I purchased some football boots and gear from my trip to Van. I've been a regular attender since, going with Tom, Marcel, Jackob or Harry and Max to show my skills. It has also provoked a bet from Tom and I to see who gets the most goals over the Winter Season. The current score is 4-2 to Tom. I know poor from me, it would have been 4-3 but an unfortunate own goal struck one off mine, and to be fair I'm more defensive minded these days. Bu still as Tom as missed a few weeks I should be beating him, there is plenty of time left though! When purchasing a Luna card for $10 it enabled you to get $2 off football and also go to Yoga for free at Millennium Place in the village on a Thursday. So seen as though it was free it got put on the to do list and soon got ticked off when I went down with Matt and a massage therapist from his work called Fiona. It was right on the line about coming out with bull s*** like release your frustrations of the day and take your first real deep breathes of the day, but I still found it very enjoyable and will definitely go back whenever I can get someone to go with me again.
Whistler was home to the winter Olympics in 2010 a fact they are very proud of and is plastered everywhere, and also celebrated with two sculptures of the Olympic rings on in the heart of the village and one on top of Whistler Mountain. Getting a photo with these two sculptures went on my list and a hot with the village rings was achieved when Tom and I went around the village taking photos of him for a calendar for his mother at Christmas. And although, I have seen the rings at the top of Whistler mountain a photo has still not be taken with them. Another photo I desire from Whistler is a photo outside the shop Cows with the cow statue they have outside. Cows is prominently an ice cream shop but also sells a lot of cow memorabilia like t-shirts and cups with cow puns on, it's where om got me most of my Christmas presents and also where I am most likely to see a cow each day if I've not already seen one on a carton of milk, keeping up the theory that in fact you did see an image of a cow / bull every day of your life.
Ahhh now things get interesting as I will be touching on nights out. Now first let me go through the places where I've not been able to go yet before we get on to the more interesting stuff. So I am yet to have an alcoholic beverage or attend each of these places: - GLC and specifically their quiz night, Blacks, Dubhlin Gate (I also want breakfast here as at work we recommend this as the best breakfast in the village), Vodka Ice Room, Maxx Fish, Garfunkel's, Dusty's, Cinnamon Bear, Merlin's, Amsterdam Café, The Keg / Brandy's and Three Below. Now let me tell you the stories and about the places where I have been. First up - Tapleys the sports bar of the town. I've been here many of time sampling there kokanee and poutine. Unfortunately there has not been much football to watch there because the English soccer games tend to be on before Tapleys open. The most notable night at Tapleys came when Sam, Gemma, Marcel, Jackob and a couple of others attended Tuesday's Bingo Night. The Bingo was bang average and we were just about to leave but ended up playing the last game as we waited for Gemma to finish her cigarette. The winner of each round got a prize like a voucher for a supermarket or a free jug but this game the prizes were much larger as we played for a sky dive and via dance off to split the joint winners of Bingo, Sam walked away with a free $130 dollar bungee voucher. This drunkenly made me say to Sam that I would join him on the day he did his bungee something I instantly regretted in the morning. Some days I think I will do it, others I get the jitters and back out, so writing this blog now I've made the decision if I can win a bungee or get it free somehow from maybe knowing the owner Mike I will do it, if not I probably won't.
Another place I've had a fair few nights out is Tommy Africa's a local night club. It was the scene of my very first night clubbing in Whistler when the group went to the 80's & 90's night there on my second day in town. That was a good night apart from the bar man being a dick and wanting tips in exchange for more generous drinks, after that I started using the other bar even if there was more of a queue. I've also stumbled in their drunkenly with Harry when I got kicked out for voming in the toilet, mainly thanks to Harry carrying around with a tray of shots with him. That was the night my great plan backfired. I was at the hostel at the time and wanted to find a place to watch United vs Liverpool the next morning at 5.30am. My plan was to go out with Harry and Max; Max didn't attend because he wanted to skype the missus, then head back to theirs for an after party and be able to watch the game in the morning. The plan went well until I got to Harry's and I passed out on his floor. We also went to Tommy's on Sam's last night after a few of us got kicked out of Moe Joe's. This conveniently brings me on to Moe Joe's another night club where we have been a few nights. Sam's last night and we were there as recent as last night for James Healy's birthday. Buffalo Bill's has been the scene for Wednesday nights out, once for Tommy's birthday after a house party at his pad in Brio and Bill's was also the destination for our Christmas Eve drunkenness where Matt, Tom and I donned the shirts Grace sent for us. We had hip flasks and got utterly drunk. I cut my hand trying to Klinsmann dive through Matt's legs and also ended up in Creekside with a girl I met on Tinder until 6.30am. The day I arrived we went to Crystal Lounge which is a more chilled out place with live music and another regular establishment has been Longhorn's where Tommy Britnell works. The most notable night in this bar was when Tom and I turned up after football in our football gear, we wasn't sure if we would get in with shorts and the door man wasn't either as he had never experienced people come to the bar in the cold weather in shorts so he let us in, it was also this night that Matt attempted to perform Triple H's pedigree finishing move on me on the dance floor and he met two of the actors from The c*** ure Lads.
We are on the home straight now with the last point on my Whistler To Do List and it concerns one of my favourite things - Food! On the To Do list is the list of places I've been either recommended or saw and wanted to eat there as with the alcohol one above I will tell you which one's I've not been to as of yet starting with Sushi Village, The Mexican Corner, Splitz Burger, Earl's and Avalanche Pizza. Now to what and where I have ate. Sushi is on my list twice, I did go to Nagomi for Ste Scott's birthday but at work Sushi Village is always recommended so I would like to try there too. Peaked Pies is very much like Pie Face in Australia and offer a peaked combination of Pie, Mash, Mushy Peas and gravy I've been there a few times sampling the pepper steak pie, turkey and cranberry and the Bacon, Steak and Cheese. Ingrid's is a sandwich shop where Gemma works and I've been in a few times for lunch but my main visit there comes at the end of my night shift when I call in for an Avocado breakfast wrap with either bacon or sausage. Sam, Tommy and Marlene introduced me to the Southside Diner in Creekside and I've been there a handful of occasions, their burgers are huge as I found out when I ordered the Miss Piggy Burger which comes complete with 6oz beef patty, fried egg, sausages, bacon and ham with all the fillings, it was like a full breakfast in a burger and a heart attack waiting to happen. It was amazing! Their Philly Steak sandwich is also mouth watering brilliant. I also liked the place as it gave me the feeling I was in a diner like you see on the American movies. Tandoori Grill is probably Whistler's best Indian and Matt, Sam, Tommy and I splurged out on this for our last meal in the 211. For value for money you probably won't get better than the seven eleven pizza for eight dollars or a dollar or two more if you want a 2 litre drink you get a 14 inch pizza which I've never been able to finish, in fact if you go halves with someone as I regularly do, mainly with Matt it's enough, infact I think the seven eleven pizza was Matt's first bit of advice to me as I got to Whistler. Another great pizza joint is Fat Tony's. I'd never had one until Sam and I got to the hostel and he ordered us a Beef and Blue Cheese large pizza it was amazing! They also do $2 slices before 8pm so when I was in training Fat Tony's often got my money in exchange for lunch and they also get my money when I need a drunken snack after a night on the town this time for the more expensive $3.50 a slice but it has always been well worth it. El Furniture, or El Fernie's as it is more commonly known is another regular destination. It does the cheapest meals in town at $4.95 plus tax we go there that often that I made it my goal to try everything from the menu - so far I have tried the poutine, pulled chicken sandwich, smokey bbq burger, roast turkey sandwich, braised beef dip au jus, hard shell tacos (on Taco Tuesday), chicken ceaser wrap and mini donuts. I think my favourite so far has to be the braised beef dip aus ju. My visits to El Fernie's have become more infrequent as one I'm at the hostel again and secondly because of a mix up there left me short changing the hit waitress. She asked how much change I wanted, meaning how much I wanted tip I said I wasn't sure, I thought she was over charging me but she simply was just changing my twenty. I left her $4 thinking it was a generous tip but infact it was $1.20 short of the total bill so my absence has been as much in shame as anything else. Last but by no means least on the list is The Great Glass Elevator Candy Shop and this is not because of my sweet tooth. The Candy store also sells traditional English food lie galaxy chocolate, bisto gravy and Ribena all be it for ridiculous prices, but my aim is to buy one thing a week until I run out of things I want to give me a taste of home!
And eventually after 8212 words that's the end of the story of my first seven weeks in Whistler. I promise I won't leave it as long next time.
So until next time stay safe and take care