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Singapore’s Winning Bid Video for 2010 Youth Olympics

The city of Singapore will host the first ever Youth Olympic Games this coming August! Check out the winning bid video that the Singapore Youth Olympic Games 2010 bid team used to woo the International Olympic Committee, and sway their votes in Singapore’s favor against the other short-listed competing city, Moscow.

Watching this has raised my excitement to new levels! It promises to be an amazing inaugural event!

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JMJCjut7rVE

(source: http://www.singaporeyoutholympicgames.com)

2010 Singapore Youth Olympics Official Theme Song

“Everyone – Official Theme Song of the Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games. Sung by Jessica Mauboy, Steve Appleton, Jody WIlliams, Tabitha Nauser & Sean Kingston.

The music video for “Everyone” was shot entirely in Singapore. The singers were filmed performing the inspiring tune against iconic Singapore backdrop/landmarks like the city skyline, Singapore Flyer, Marina Barrage, and Esplanade. Intercut with montages of young athletes competing in various sports, the music video captures the youths’ unwavering pursuit of excellence and the positivity they exude in chasing their dreams. Through the snippets of these young sportsmen & women’s unrehearsed performances, we share their aspirations and celebrate the human spirit with the youth of the world.”

(source: YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/singapore2010)

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hHrnaGJ8ckg

Tinhorn Creek, Wine Tasting with a Social Twist

The Tinhorn Creek Winery had a very cool event last night, at the CBC building on Georgia Street in Vancouver.

Think speed dating… only instead of talking to a random stranger, you are tasting random wines, hidden in paper bags and trying to guess what it is that you are drinking! At the end of the evening, the bottles were revealed by wine maker Sandra Oldfield, and those who guess correctly were entered in a draw for prizes.

The event was called: Wine Tasting With a Social Twist. As in social media twist! There were big-screen tv’s posting current tweets about the event for all to see and respond to. Very cool!

Tinhorn Creek Wine Tasting, with a Social Twist

@TinhornCreek Wine Tasting with a #SocialTwist

Tinhorn Creek Wine Tasting, with a Social Twist

Tinhorn Creek Wine Tasting, with a Social Twist

@TinhornCreek Wine Tasting with a #SocialTwist

Tinhorn Creek Wine Tasting, with a Social Twist

A big thank you to Rebecca Bolwitt of Miss604.com for the opportunity to attend this event via the tickets I won on her blog! And thank you to Sandra Oldfield of Tinhorn Creek Winery for making such delicious wine!

Awesome event! Awesome people! AWESOME WINE!!!

(More photos of the event on Flickr!)

Jewels for a Cause Charity Event May 27th

I am excited to be photographing a charity event for the Jewels for a Cause  at the Hollyburn Country Club in West Vancouver on May 27th!

Jewels for A Cause was started by Teri-Ann Donaldson and Jennifer Rainnie eight years ago with a mission to bring our community together for a mutual cause to enhance the lives of women and children. It began as a very grass roots way for friends to get together, drink wine, buy jewelry and donate the proceeds to charity. The event has grown each year and has now become a very large gathering with over a dozen jewelers and artists showcasing their work. Last year approximately 200 women attended the event and they raised $5,000 for the year’s charity of choice – KidSport – in honor of Wendy Ladner-Beaudry.

KidSport helps provide support to children in order to remove financial barriers that prevent them from playing organized sport. For more information, please visit www.kidsportcanada.ca.

In addition to KidSport, Jewels for a Cause has also supported the BC Cancer Foundation, Make A Wish Foundation, YMCA Camp Elphastone, on the Sunshine Coast and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Canada. These ladies have always felt strongly about donating their profit each year to a charity which supports or aids women and or children.

Featured Artists / Designers at This Year’s Event:

The event will be sponsored by Barefoot Wine, has an entry fee of $10, payable by cash or cheque (there will be an ATM machine available but sorry, no credit), and will be held at:

Hollyburn Country Club
950 Cross Creek Road
West Vancouver

So please come join us for a great cause next Thursday night, May 27th at 7pm, enjoy a glass of wine and buy some jewelry by these amazing artists, and support a good cause!

[mappress]

Travel to Bali: Denpasar to Lovina

My arrival in Denpasar, Bali was very smooth. Having sat in the first row of the plane in my upgraded business class seat (woohoo!), I was one of the first people off and into the visa payment lineup.

If you are going to Bali for 30 days or less, you can apply for your travel visa on arrival. It costs $25 USD. If you are planning a longer stay, you must get your visa before your trip from your local Balinese consulate.

So I showed my passport, paid my $25USD, listened to some British woman complain that they did not take credit cards (which she would know, had she done her homework…) and then proceeded to a second lineup for customs and entry into Bali, Indonesia. This didn’t take long, they looked at my passport, took my visa receipt and waved me through. Easy peasy! Next I picked up my luggage, which was already set aside and waiting for me beside the luggage carousel, and I was on my way!

Welcome to Bali

My ride was waiting for me when I exited the airport and I was in the car in minutes and immersed into busy Denpasar traffic. There were more motorcycles and scooters than I’ve ever seen! and people just seem to drive where they please with a loose understanding that they should stick to the left side of the road! (Yes, they drive British style here…) Every time we passed another vehicle, the driver would honk the horn, letting them know we were there. It was very fast paced and honestly, a bit scary…

On the drive, it started to rain. HARD! Like crazy-out-of-nowhere-rain! It was difficult to see anything out of the front windshield at times and we had to slow the car right down to about 30 km/h. I felt sorry for those people out there on their scooters and motorcycles, but the weather didn’t seem to phase them at all.

Although I was very tired after my almost 27 hours of traveling so far, I tried my hardest to keep my eyes open to see what I could on our approximately 3 hour drive to Lovina on the north side of the island, where I am staying.

The coolest thing I saw on the way was MONKEYS!!!! They were just kinda hanging out on the side of a winding road, playing and eating. There were several vehicles of tourists stopped on the side of the road for a closer look. I was told that if given the chance, these sneaky little buggers will steal whatever they can from you and your vehicle!

My main impression from the ride was that driving in Bali is not at the top of my to-do list! For starters, they drive on the left side of the road here. This messed with my head a few times when driving into oncoming traffic on the left side of the road! I must have had at least 18 heart attacks during the ride from the airport to our destination! However, outside of Denpasar, things did calm down somewhat and I think that I may potentially rent a scooter in Lovina after a few more days of getting used to things and acclimatizing to the rules of the road…

And there you have it! Three blog posts later and I’m at my final destination: a gorgeous home in Lovina, which I will tell you all about in an upcoming post!

For more information on Bali and the neighbouring island on Lombok, I recommend the Lonely Planet guide.

Travel to Bali: Taipei to Denpasar

Well… I think I was MEANT to take this trip at this time or something, because things are only getting better and better (and better!) as my travels continue!

We are finally boarding the plane from Taipei to Denpasar, on Bali, Indonesia. Looks like a packed flight on this one. Not much chance of getting an empty seat beside me. I’m usually in no hurry to get on planes because seriously, why be squished into that tiny seat in that tin box longer than you need to be? But from the looks of the crowd lining up to get on, I wanted to make sure I would get some overhead storage space for my carry on bag relatively close to my seat. So through the line I went…

Everyone’s boarding pass was making a short high pitched beep as it was pulled through the machine, and then mine went through and it made a different, double low toned beep… I was thinking, “what now!” But, it seems it was nothing to worry about! In fact, it was my second seat change of the day; my seat at 21A had just been changed to 1K! Which makes it what? Yeppers! That’s right!! I was upgraded to BUSINESS CLASS!!! WOOHOO!!! My first time in business class, EVER!

Business Class Cabin

So here I sit, in my LARGE cushy seat with my plump pillow, nice thick wool blanket and glass of champagne! Pretty sure flying doesn’t get any better than this! The seats have power outlets for my laptop, and looks like an internet connection would be possible, if I hadn’t packed my RJ45 cable in my suitcase… (d’oh!) The seats are electric with foot rests, and lumbar support in my back and if I wanted to lie back and sleep, the seat reclines all the way back into a sleeping position! Craziness!

(Apologies to those of you who experience business class all the time, but not having traveled a whole heck of a lot, i’m new at this and a little bit excited to be so spoiled! Haha! –or should I say so LUCKY?! Someone buy me a lottery ticket back home, it will be sure to win today!)

The flight attendant refers to me by name, and hands me a menu of food and cocktail options for the flight. Wow! I never knew how spoiled they were up in these hidden front seats behind that mystery curtain until now! So although it’s only about 9:30am here in Taiwan, I order a vodka/soda because my biological clock is telling me that it’s 6pm in Vancouver. And hey! If they’re gonna offer me free booze while I sit here in business class, I’m gonna TAKE IT!!!

Enter vodka/soda with two slices of lime in a REAL glass (none of that plastic crap they’re getting in economy class!) complete with cocktail stir stick! LOVE IT!!!! I could get used to this! If this keeps up, this is going to be a fantastic month of adventure!

My cocktail in a REAL glass!

Next on the menu: A shrimp cocktail appetizer, then shrimp, rice and bokchoy in a creamy mushroom sauce as the main course with a Californian Cabernet Sauvignon, and cheesecake with fruit, whipped cream and chocolate sauce for dessert, all followed by a lovely cup of green tea. Holy horse! I’m not going to have to eat for a week!! The best airline food I’ve ever tasted, that’s for sure!

Business Class Entre

Business Class Dessert!

Approaching Bali by Air

Approaching Bali by Air

Yep, there’s no better way to spend 5 hours flying through clear skies, 11,634 meters above the ocean to the tropical paradise island of Bali, Indonesia… Haha! Today, this is MY LIFE!!! I wonder what tomorrow will bring! 🙂

Stay tuned for more Balinese adventures coming soon…

For information on Bali and the neighbouring island on Lombok, I recommend the Lonely Planet guide.

Travel to Bali: Vancouver to Taipei

Right from my check in experience at the Vancouver airport (YVR), I was very impressed by China Airlines and their efforts to accommodate my seat request for my 13 hours flight from YVR to Taipei (TPE) Taiwan. My seat was decent to begin with, 9A by the window fairly close to the front of the Airbus 330-300, but the clerk at the desk said he could probably do better for me and find a similar seat with an empty one beside me as the flight was only at 70% capacity. He would let me know at the gate if he was able to make the change. And SUCCESS! I ended up in 12K, a window seat on the opposite side, with the whole row to myself! YES!

The flight was smooth for the most part, a few bumps and fasten seat belt warnings along the way, but nothing major. The food was… well… it was airline food… But surprisingly, I was able to sleep away about 7 hours of the flight… Almost like a time machine deleting these hours from the flight time! 🙂

The landing at Taipei was smooth. There was an attendant waiting there to help passengers find their next gate. So after a short train ride and a bit of a walk, I found Gate 1A, complete with drunk-airport-crazy-lady and all!

When I first arrived at the gate, drunk-airport-crazy-lady was passed out at the end of the people mover (you know, those escalators that don’t actually escalate? they are just flat people movers)… Then I decided to find myself a snack and some tea, and when I passed her for the second time, she was awake and ranting at everyone who passed her. Then she stumbled her way to my gate, and caused a bit of a ridiculous scene. Yelling, screaming and waving her arms like a crazy person. (ah-hem, straight jacket please!) The airport crew then moved her to a separate area in hopes, I think, to calm her down… But lemme tell ya, I sure hoped she wouldn’t end up on my 5-hour flight from Taipei to Denpasar!

Honestly, I’d be surprised if they let her on a plane at all…. but no security had shown up yet, so who knew…? If this was Vancouver, they would have tackled, pepper sprayed, tazed and handcuffed her by now! (ok, ok, bad joke… but still… the point is that this would never be acceptable airport behaviour at YVR…)

Anyway, now I have some dude sitting behind me in the waiting area and a China Airlines worker, who claimed to be the purser for our flight, hijacked his guitar and played Eric Clapton tunes flawlessly! Loved it!

Hehe, if the rest of my trip is this interesting, I think the next month will be an amazing one!

I later ended up talking to said “dude” with guitar (who ended up being from Vancouver Island) and he was telling me how he got upgraded to business class on his flight from Miami to Taipei and how great that was. I was pretty happy having an empty seat beside me, but I had to agree that a 13 hour flight in business class would have kicked ass!

So, that’s it for the first leg of my 30-hour travel adventure. Stay tuned for Part II in my next post about the flight from Taipei to Denpasar

Torch Relay at Robson Square with Roberto Luongo

You could feel that Olympic energy returning to Robson Square last night with the torch relay coming through, carried by Roberto Luongo. Hoping to see the fans just as excited during the Paralympic Games over the next ten days in support of the amazing athletes and the additional challenges they face in order to compete in this amazing event.

The crowd gets hyped for Roberto Luongo’s arrival.

Paralympic Torch Relay at Robson Square

Luongo finally arrives.

Paralympic Torch Relay at Robson Square

Luongo’s family, excited to see him.

Paralympic Torch Relay at Robson Square

Paralympic Torch Relay at Robson Square

The lighting of the cauldron.

Paralympic Torch Relay at Robson Square

Paralympic Torch Relay at Robson Square

Passing the torch to the next 24 hour relay torch bearer.

Paralympic Torch Relay at Robson Square

Gabriela Luongo joined her father on stage.

Paralympic Torch Relay at Robson Square

Paralympic Torch Relay at Robson Square

Paralympic Torch Relay at Robson Square

Gold medal winner, Roberto Luongo with his family.

Paralympic Torch Relay at Robson Square

Post torch even interview. Luong speaks about his gold medal (he showed it to Ryan Kessler first!), the paralympics, the sledge hockey team and how the Olympics affected his NHL game.

[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vv0GmRke9Dk]

After all the Luongo excitement was over, I was excited to meet one of the day’s torch bearers. He told me all about riding on the bus with Roberto Luongo that day and how excited he was about having the honour of carrying the torch.

Paralympic Torch Bearer

For more photos from the Robson Square event, please visit my flickr page.

My Paralympics Media Accreditation!

Here it is! I was approved to receive VANOC media accreditation for the 2010 Paralympic Games! I am very excited to have this opportunity to photograph the amazing athletes participating in the Paralympics and cheer them on in their respective sports! Go Canada GO!!!

I’m aiming to go to and photograph at least one Paralympics event each day of the Games, so check back here and my Flickr account often!

My Paralympics Media Accreditation from VANOC!

Labonte Named Flag Bearer for Canada at the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games Opening Ceremony

The Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC) today announced that sledge hockey captain Jean Labonté has been selected as flag bearer for Canada at the opening ceremony of the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games in Vancouver.

“Jean has demonstrated throughout his career the determination, athletic excellence, and strong character that embodies the Paralympic spirit,” said Blair McIntosh, chef de mission, Team Canada.”  Jean is a most deserving athlete to not only captain our sledge hockey team but to also lead our entire Canadian delegation into B.C. Place for the first Paralympic Winter Games on home soil.”

The native of Gatineau, Québec has competed in three previous Paralympic Winter Games, earning a gold medal in 2006 and silver in 1998. Labonté is one of the most decorated and admired athletes in the sport, having played in five International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Sledge Hockey World Championships, taking the gold medal in 2000 and 2008, and bronze in 1996 and 2009.


(photo courtesy of the Canadian Paralympic Committee)

The veteran defenceman demonstrates great leadership both on and off the ice. Labonté is an outstanding ambassador for sledge hockey and for the Paralympic movement.  He has worked tirelessly to promote Paralympic sport across Canada, educating Canadians about sport for athletes with a disability, and encouraging young and old to participate and take advantage of sporting and volunteering opportunities in their communities.

“When the eyes of the world focus on B.C. Place for the opening ceremony of the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games – the first to be hosted in Canada, they will witness an historic moment in Canadian sport,” said Carla Qualtrough, president, CPC. “The profile of Paralympic sport has reached new heights and our flag bearer, Jean Labonté, has helped lead the way. It is a tremendous honour to carry the flag for your country. Jean, like all of our Paralympic athletes, is about to make Canada very proud.”

The Opening Ceremony of the 10th Paralympic Winter Games is scheduled for 6pm PT on Friday, March 12, 2010 at BC Place in Vancouver.

About the Canadian Paralympic Committee

The Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC) is a non-profit, private organisation with 43 member sports organisations dedicated to strengthening the Paralympic Movement.  The CPC is responsible for creating an optimal high-performance environment for the Canadian Paralympic athletes to win at Paralympic and ParaPanAmerican Games.  By supporting Canadian Paralympic athletes and promoting their success, the CPC inspires all Canadians with a physical disability to get involved in sport through programs delivered by its member organisations.  For more information, visit www.paralympic.ca.

Follow the Canadian Paralympic Committee by becoming a fan on Facebook, and following on Twitter.

(News Release courtesy of the Canadian Paralympic Committee.)

(Photo credit on blog page: Ariane Colenbrander)