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Category: Canada (2005, world trip)

Happy Birthday Caz!

With the temperatures dropping we had slept with the window open. Not a great idea as the wind rattling the blinds kept waking me up during the night. I think the wind affected everyone’s sleep and there were six slightly bleary eyed people who finally came downstairs this morning. As Caz opened her presents and we had breakfast we deliberated what to do today.

The storm was still raging overhead but was due to die down this afternoon. Stef had felt the house shaking a little overnight from the wind and you could well believe it. Yesterday and today we watched the news reporters on the telly being blown about and soaked whilst giving the latest updates from further south closer to the centre of the storm. I was glad we were not further south and had a little conversation with myself about why people would still choose to live there knowing that this was likely to happen on an annual basis. It is a bit like people living in an earthquake zone. I suppose not everyone has the luxury of being able to choose and afford to move somewhere else.

It was not really a day to be out and about sight seeing so we ruled out a trip to one of the many local theme parks and decided to go shopping instead. You get more bang for your buck here than in the UK and my nephews Joe and Ben have been saving their money to buy stuff while they were here. Joe was in search of some new basketball gear and had been told that Walmart’s was the place to go for it, so off we went.

It was still windy and wet as we were driving and when we finally found Walmart it was a dash from the car to the shop to stop ourselves getting too soaked. Along the way the roads were still pretty wet and you could see that the water level was high in the rivers and ponds we passed. Palm fronds littered the road.

When we arrived at Walmarts it was quite quiet. Everyone went in different directions to have a look around and I felt like I spent a lot of time there hunting around to find the others. There was no baseball gear but we picked up some games and a few other bits and pieces and headed for the food section to get in some supplies. By this time everyone was fed up and just wanted to get out of the shop. Stef took position with the trolley acting a s a central contact point while the rest of us went looking for different bits and brought them back to base.

It was only when we headed for the checkout that I realised how busy it had become. The queues for each till were huge. It was also as if we had been magically transported back to the UK. It felt like everyone in the shop was British! The bad weather had kept the schools closed so they were understaffed and it took about an hour to get through the checkout. The process was not helped because the person at the till also packs your bags for you and will not let you do it for yourself!!

Noodles in the pool

Back at the house we had lunch (the hot chicken still amazingly warm) and chilled for the afternoon. Joe went back to bed, Stef went for a swim while Caz, Andy, Ben and I played one of the games they had bought at Walmart. It was called The Game of Life and was good but complex with a lot going on. One of the beauties of it is that it has a finite end so the game wraps up round about the same time you start to get bored of playing it.

As predicted by the morning’s weather reports, the hurricane blew over by early afternoon, almost exactly on queue. It was still a bit windy but the skies were clearing up and the air was now fresh compared to yesterday’s stickiness. With a pool available to play in it was too much of a temptation not to make use of it so we spent the rest of the afternoon playing about. The US$5 spent on a ball proved to be very worthwhile with Joe and Ben showing great skill at volleyball and diving. We had a birthday toast of bubbly in the Jacuzzi until the cool air became too much and we had to retire inside out of the wind.

It was probably not the ideal way that Caroline would have spent her birthday but the weather had limited our options. A tasty meal cooked by Andy and another Game of Life rounded off the day before we all crashed into bed feeling pretty whacked out.