30 March 2012

USA trip in March 2012 Part I of III

Amanda was booked to take a course in Houston, USA for a week.  This gives us a great opportunity to visit the USA a little cheaper than normal since we won't have to pay for hotel and one of the flights.  We had been planning the trip for a while and were going to add on a short vacation to Oklahoma City to visit Emily at the end of the course thus we all get a real break before back to work.  Two weeks before we were due to depart things got a little complicated, Amanda's course was postponed.  The decision was upon us.  Should we stay or go!  We decided since we had already booked flights, hotels, cars and arranged to meet people we would go.

Travel to Houston
If you have ever travelled with a baby/infant you will know sometimes things just don't work out to plan.  As we don't have a car in Bogotá, Fiona seems to always get car sick on the way to the airport.  Now we are on top of this (or so we thought) it doesn't seem to be a problem, our current solution is not to feed her before we leave and to have something to catch the inevitable vomit, this time it was a success.  Once at the airport we got checked in and through security without a problem though we discovered Fiona didn't want to sit in her pram/stroller a theme she continued throughout the holiday. She does however want to push her pram and have no one else touch it,  this would not be a problem if she could walk in a straight line or watched where she was going.

The flight was going well and Fiona was being very good, everything was going smoothly until the food and drinks arrived at which point Fiona coughed once and proceeded to projectile vomit onto Amanda and I, the situation was compounded as the food cart was right next to us we could not get out of the seat for approximately 5 min to change Fiona/wipe of ourselves clean.  Now we have spare clothes for Fiona while we are flying, what we didn't have was spare clothes for Amanda and I.  Following this incident the rest of the flight was uneventful and we arrived in Houston smelling distinctly of vomit and hungry but all in tact.

Houston activity's 
Since we were on holiday we make use of the fact we were in an excellent tourist destination and visited some fantatourist spots as well as doing some shopping.

Fiona is just tired not bored :)
This was the second time Fiona and I had made the trip to the Johnson Space Centre at Houston.  This time we were with Amanda and as last time the centre was fantastic.

We got lucky with the tour we took as it was different to the last one I took.  The tour took us around the centre and out to where they train the astronauts in a mock up of the International Space Station.  We then made the trip around the Saturn V rocket which is enormous!

Mock up of ISS

Saturn V
Mock up and model

After the tour we explored the rest of the museum, once again  Fiona managed to fall asleep just as Amanda and I were enjoying one of the excellent features on space travel but we managed to get her into the pram so she could nap shortly afterwards which allowed Amanda to get her hand on some moon rock.

Lots of buttons....

Luna Rover
Amanda touching....
Moon Rock = Happy Geologist
Model Shuttle
Downtown Aquarium 
Fish that scare Fiona
Another must see location for any trip in Houston although not that big the aquarium is really well laid out and they do have nice exhibits and a touch pool.  When you walk into the aquarium their is a tank of fish right in front of you, Fiona ran up to the tank and said "Fish"  and was pointing at them right up to the point where one of the fish went against the school and swam straight at her.  She almost fell over in shock! probably not helped that Amanda and I thought this was hysterical!

Fiona looking for something
Nemo, Clown Fish

Moray Eel
Blue frog, poisonous 
Lion Fish

Fiona was not so sure about being a diver

spotted ray
Tigers say "Meow" according to Fiona

The only sad part of the aquarium was the Tiger enclosure, she just looked sad :(

Children's Museum 
Although I didn't take many photos here I can say Fiona loved it.  If you have children in Houston and you don't buy family membership for the year you are crazy.  Fiona even had a go on a tricycle, she was good at going backwards.


Dinner with Friends
We had planned to go to a friends (Andrew and Jemma)  and have a BBQ however the weather was just not quite good enough.  This meant Pasta Bolonese, given some of the photos of Fiona on Facebook I was surprised at this choice especially on entering their house, they are brave people.  I need not of worried though as Fiona was fantastic and I don't think she left any marks anywhere on either walls or furniture...  Thanks for a great evening guys.
Steve and Lina, we had dinner with Amanda's old boss and her husband at an Argentinian  Steak house near the Galleria.  Although pricey it was some of the best steak I have had and once again great company.

Wall of Water
This is something we saw from the road while driving around Houston so we stopped to get a few photos the next day.  Wiki link Wall of Water 

Nick's Tattoo
The final thing we did in Houston was for me to get a Tattoo.  I've been considering this for a long time and finally plucked up the courage to get it done.  After a lot of research I choose a Tattoo shop called Electric Chair and the artist who did my work was Stephanie and I think she has done a really good job, which given it is permanent is pretty important.

Initial design
On my leg right after it was done

10 March 2012

Almost 1 year in Bogota, Colombia

So my family and I moved to Bogotá, Colombia almost a year ago because of my wife's job.  We had been expecting to go to Kuala Lumpur and until December 2010 we were fully expecting the move out East however as with any job in the Oil Field sometimes things just don't work out the way we plan.

So in April 2011 we set out for Colombia.  Our trip didn't get off to the best of starts, I was very ill the night before we were due to fly and this illness kept with me until a day after we arrived in Bogotá.  Air France/Charles De Gaulle airport decided instead of allowing us to arrive with all our luggage we would be best served with only 3 of 6 pieces for the first 3 days of our move.

The first few days of Bogota were a bit of a blur to me, Illness and the increase in elevation took their toll and I felt a little under the weather to say the least.  Speaking of weather, Bogotá has the strangest weather patterns I have ever lived in.  I guess being so close to the equator and at such elevation is the reasons but every day on average any day of the year it will get to a high of 19C and a low of between 5C and 9C.  It also rains a lot, not predictably everyday like a tropical region just almost every day.  I have also noticed that almost everyone has a coat, sunglasses and an umbrella with them everyday, most likely you will use all of them everyday also.

So what have we seen and done so far while here in Bogotá. Lucky we have seen some of the major tourist attractions.

Salt Cathedral.
This is outside of Bogotá, here is the Wiki Salt Cathedral Link


A church on a hill, aren't they always!  Wiki link to Monserrate

View of Bogotá from Monserrate

Gold Museum 
This is right in the centre of Bogotá, Wiki Gold Museum Link.  It is a really good place to visit and the tours are in English. :).  All this gold got me thinking of about the Dwarfs in the Discworld books and their song about gold, I digress here are some pretty pictures I took.

Day of the candles
This is another Colombian holiday.... Day of Candles wiki link

Before and after
We have also tried to take part in Ciclovia which is where they close the streets off to cars during holidays and on Sundays.  Although this too was not a smooth start.  The first time we took part on bikes, some idiot crashed into Amanda and the result was a broken wrist.

Amanda enjoying car free streets
This meant that biking at Ciclovia was off the cards for a while.  :(  but we did manage to do lots of km's running.  We are now back to cycling occasionally and running/walking to enjoy the rest of the time.
Looking over the city on a Ciclovia day

And finally for now
Cute and fluffy
While out walking with one of my friends here in Bogotá we discovered a stray sickly kitten under a bush.  Being the kind people we are we ended up rescuing the cat.  Clearly a cat from under a bush does not come without problems, this one has many but the main thing is he can't close his eye's properly. So far we have had two surgeries to try and fix this to no avail yet.   

Post 1st Surgery
Post 2nd Surgery
Cone of shame!
Cone of shame free and making a break for it

 Right that is enough about me for now... Next post when I think of something interesting to say.

03 March 2012

here we go......

So I've decided to set up a blog, not sure what I'll be talking about yet but I promise it will not  all just be about bikes and cycling, I will also try and keep any rants I have short, ok that defeats the point of a rant but I will try my best to keep them on topic.

Since I'm not just talking about bikes at the moment the first post better have some content so here it is.

Fantasy F1(http://fantasyf1game.net/league/table) is almost upon us which means another season of following F1 and shouting at the TV (it really helps) to ensure I win my league.  Last year it didn't go quite to plan, perhaps I was not shouting loud enough.. I came 3rd out of 4.  This year will be different, so watch out to all my competitors.  My teams are "vettle is a punk" and "fracasa total"

I've also recently joined Endomondo (nick on endomondo) which is a really nice way to track your gps activities, I will try and link to my stats page in the next couple of weeks so if anyone is interested they can abuse/encourage me to do more.

Think that will do for the moment.  I'm sure layout and content will change a lot as I come up with a format I am happy with.