Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A very special visit to Canada

We had decided to make a surprise visit for the expected birth of E and J's first baby, likewise the first of its generation in both our families. This decision saw us bolt over a small forever across the Central American continent. In just two days we had made the trip from Santiago Atitlan to Cancun and later Calgary.

The surprise was fantastic, neither of them suspected a thing and for all they knew we were still in Guatemala. Maybe even for most of what any of you knew, we were and are still in Guatemala. What is even more confusing is the fact that as I write this, we are indeed on our way back to Central America and may well be in Guatemala again very soon.

So what happened over the last three weeks?

Well, our little vacation from our travels to Canada lasted a whole of three weeks and was designed for two things: to see baby Wingert and surprise its parents, and to go on a snowboarding trip. Luckily, both were a smashing success!

Aunty Colette, completely in love with JTW just hours after delivery

Little baby bear James only hours old

Uncle Vinko and James spending quality time

Mum, dad and baby - the new happy family

James not to impressed with posing again with yours truly, Colette and Vinko

"Now that I am licking carpet, how do I get out of this predicament?"

The baby turned out to be little boy JTW and he is just absolutely adorable. His parents couldn't be prouder of their little human byproduct, and indeed his arrival did not come easy as James turned out to be quite a well sized baby boy. This was a very special time for the whole van Heerden/Wingert/Grgic Canadian clan and there were plenty of ecstatic feelings flying about upon his miraculous arrival and radiant presence.

Our CouchSurfing family for the Snowfest 2011, Fairmont in BC

Fellow CS'er John at the top of the Kicking Horse Gondola

Just look at all that snow and the beautiful conditions at Kicking Horse

Taking a well deserved beer break at the main lodge at Kicking Horse

We loved the tree runs at Kicking Horse, just amazing and fresh snow up to your knees!

The snowboarding trip was organized through CouchSurfing (if you haven't heard of this yet, now is the time to check it out) and turned out to be a blast of a week hanging out with a full house of 12 all snowboarders (yeah!) and shreddin' up the mountain resorts at both Panorama in Invermere and Kicking Horse at Golden, both in BC. Colette and I really pushed the boundaries of our capabilities, and particularly so at Kicking Horse where the runs are not for the faint hearted. Most were steep, some nicely treed, but all were packed with fresh powdered snow! All of this was made easier by the fact that they have a fantastic gondola that takes you all the way to the top from the base lodge that lands at the top of these idyllic snowboarding runs and conditions, which also meant we didn't have to brave the wind chill factor of a Canadian winter hanging our one bound foot and board off a chair lift...in other words, awesome snowboarder heaven! Kicking Horse has risen to the top of my list for snowboarding destinations.

The whole new Canada clan in Calgary, we had to say farewell again...

We said our farewell to the Canada family once again, and even more sadly this time with the presence of little  James in circulation. Nevertheless, we fly back to Cancun to answer our calling of more Central American exploration and travel...where to from there? Hard to say, only time and the road round the bend will tell.


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