Friday, August 17, 2007

South Thompson River Pictures Late Summer

My friend Sheila, who lives in Kamloops, B.C. (Canada), sent me two pictures she took last week, and I share them here, with her permission.

Sheila says, "They're taken just upriver from Monte Creek, which is east of Kamloops, heading towards Shuswap Lake. "

"We'd been boating up the South Thompson river for about 15 minutes after we left Kamloops when I took the first photo. The mountain is on the north side of the river.

"Later, at about 8 p.m. when it was just getting dark, we were floating back down river, facing towards Kamloops, very close to Monte Creek, when I took the second photo."

Seeing these photos reminds me of the road trip Sheila and I took in this area last summer. She left the Trans-Canada Highway near here to take a road less travelled that runs along the north river bank, through reserve lands.

Seeing these photos also reminds me to get busy and scan the photos I took in and around Kamloops!

If you'll be traveling to the Kamloops area, look for the Kamloops Mounted Patrol around town. Men on Horseback always make for a great photo op.

More photos of South Thompson River at Cherry Creek area and Kamloops Lake

Update June 2008: See Sheila's new blog about RVing with pictures from B.C. Now that she is able to post her own photos, I guess these are the last I'll get from her!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Allowable Airline Carryons Still Hit and Miss

When it comes to allowable airline carryons, the saga continues. 
Update December 28, 2009

Latest TSA Rules - note that wording changed re: no restroom visits last hour of flight time to now be 'at discretion of crew'.
Last year, all the security changes in airline security allowed carryons had to be covered in several blog entries, (also here) including one about my mother's trip within Canada. This week, she got back from her annual trip west. She took the same airline as last year, to the same destination, but amended her carryon liquids according to current guidelines.

She placed her toiletries in a clear ziploc bag, though she added her own personal touch: Inside the large ziploc, she added three smaller non-ziploc, though perfectly clear plastic bags. In one, her dental items; in another, her hair items -- travel size shampoo, conditioner, etc. from the drugstore; and the third contained her makeup items.

Her lunch, she kept cold with a small, blue freezer gel pack. She disposed of the water bottle she brought from home to tide her over until she could buy a new one after passing security.

My mom travels light -- there wasn't much. When leaving Toronto Pearson (YYZ), security looked at her large ziploc bag with the three smaller clear bags within. They did not open it, nor did they comment. The contents were obvious. Her frozen gel pack likewise escaped comment, and off she went to Kamloops, B.C. (YKA).

After several weeks, she headed back to the small Kamloops airport for her flight home. Well, for some reason, security gave her a hard time. Not sure if the staff (one officer in particular, the same one who gave me a hard time a year ago ) are a tad overzealous, or rigidly by-the-book conscientious, or just general twits.

Her frozen solid gel pack to keep her lunch cold -- confiscated.
Her ziploc bag with toiletries -- the security lady unzipped it, emptied out the three smaller, non-ziploc bags, then repacked the contents of each in their very own smaller ziploc bags. When mom pointed out that Toronto staff had allowed these carryons as is, the Kamloops staff replied," We don't care what they do in Toronto. This is how we do it here."

All this wonderfulness in the security check for a fully booked flight on a very small plane.

My mother had something new for her return trip, something that hadn't been with her for her flight from Toronto: A small jar, the lid held fast with tape, the contents something shredded, and off white in colour.

Mom kept her mouth shut as the security person silently picked up the jar, held it to the light, jiggled the contents. She never asked mom what it was, but appeared to be checking for the amount of liquid it might contain. (Last year, Winnipeg security confiscated the orange she brought for a snack.)

The small jar contained fresh, ground horseradish, from my brother's garden. Mom said to me later, "For all the guard knew, it could have been some sort of explosive, and I almost said as much when she put the jar back in my bag. But I kept my mouth shut. I'd had enough trouble"

But the staff was not done with her yet. As she moved away from security, another guard, who had been looking on, told her there was no more room for backpacks in the cabin, and she would have to check it after all. Ergo, this whole exercise was moot.

So she handed over her backpack, making sure they would get it to her in time to make a tight plane change in Calgary. But no -- she couldn't board yet! Not after the second lady looked at her boarding pass and noticed mom had been given a window seat in an exit row.

"Are you able to open the door in an emergency?" she asked my octenagarian, very fit mom.

"Yes," said mom. "I've sat in that seat before."

"But are you sure you could open the door if you had to?"

"Yes," said mom. "If I had to, I could fly the plane!"

Amid laughter from the other passengers who had all been listening, mom finally got to board the plane.

Now, I consider current security regulations a tad paranoid, a bit of a red herring and generally ineffectual. But what annoys me more is, after jumping through all the allowable carryon hoops, there's no consistent application or enforcement, at least not in Canada, on domestic flights. I can only imagine the carry on hassles on international flights, or with different airlines.

Passenger inconvenience coupled with ever increasing fares and security surcharges are not at all conducive to tourism. Knee jerk regulations in the guise of safety do none of us any favours, except maybe the vendors of water and toiletries.

See currrent regulations in Canada and previous blog entries.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Dim Sum at Sun Sun in Mississauga, Canada

As promised, here are the photos from our dim sum earlier this week. While there are a number of places in Mississauga offering dim sum, some of them only serve it on weekends.

We always go to Sun Sun in the Mississauga Chinese Centre as here it is served every day, and we really like their food. On the weekends, they offer a greater variety of dishes, but, even on weekdays, there's enough to keep us happy.

Sun Sun Chinese Restaurant Mississauga

Here's the notice in the Sun Sun entrance with hours and specials.

We often get a large, plain congee (rice soup) to take home, and while it is usually very good, one busy weekend, it seemed 'thin'.

Tea, Bok choy, Dumplings at Sun Sun

Here's the picture of the first few items from the first few carts. After that, we were too busy enjoying our meal to take photos.

The steamer near the chopsticks holds 'pork shu mai' (though I don't know how to spell it correctly). These we get whenever offered. Clockwise, the green is steamed baby bok choy.

The small brown rolls (about the size of cabbage rolls) we hoped contained bean curd, but found they were filled with seasoned pork. In any case, they were delicious.

The white dumplings are shrimp and chives in rice wrappers. These, too, are a great favourite. A small cup of piping hot green tea completes the photo.

The Sun Sun servers speak English with varying degrees of success, and may not always understand what you are asking, so a little body language will go a long way.

And you don't have to order dim sum -- you can always order from the menu, though on weekends when there's a line up at the door and the kitchen is pretty busy, it might be better not to.

For dessert, we ordered one bowl of bean curd (tofu) steeped in a simple sugar. Light, gelatinous and fairly bland, it is not one of my favourites (I prefer mango custard), but it was a fine end to the meal.

(I posted about this dim sum last fall; see earlier post)

Map Location Mississauga Chinese Centre

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Thursday, August 02, 2007

Mississauga's Oriental Food Centre a great shop for produce

Yesterday, after another great dim sum (more on this tomorrow) at the Mississauga Chinese Centre on Dundas east of Cawthra, we stopped in at the Oriental Food Centre to pick up a few things that we can only get at an Asian grocery store.

Did we luck out on the lychees!

Exterior Oriental Food Centre Mississauga

I thought luchees must be in season as I'd seen them at mainstream grocers that week, but they looked so sad and beaten up, I gave them a miss.

But here, at the Oriental Food Centre, they looked fine, and better still, they were being sold in bags (about 3-4 lbs) for one dollar!

As soon as I got home, I emptied the bag into hot, soapy water, as lychees in the husk can get mouldy in a heartbeat, and this morning, I shelled them all to keep them from spoiling and popped them in the fridge.

It's fast and easy to shell a lychee fruit -- just make a split in the shell and squeeze the meat into a bowl. Your hands never touch the insides.

And Oh, what a lychee feast we are having! Replace the pit and stuff in some creamy cheese, or chop them and mix with crushed ice in a glass, or put them on ice cream and add a splash of fruit liqueur, or just eat them out of hand.

This busy supermarket apparently has a very high turnover, which means that produce is not only fresh as possible, but very well priced.

Beautifully ripe pineapples from Costa Rica were 2/$5, and and extravagant bunches of fresh coriander just 99 cents each.

A friend of ours who loves to boil up a mess of crab from time to time always buys it here.

Good thing we'd just finished dim sum, or we'd have gone wild.

Related: Oriental Food Centre Mississauga
Pictures Tropical Fruits chirimoya, passion fruit, mangosteens, longans, more. Mississauga Chinese Centre

PIctures, information on Chinese shopping centre, restaurants, dim sum

Books About Tropical Fruits on

Handy Pocket Guide to Tropical Fruits (Periplus Nature Guide) Tropical Fruit The Great Exotic Fruit Book: A Handbook with Recipes

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Osmow's :: Best Shawarma in Mississauga

Here's one of the best spots to get shawarmas in -- well, probably in the world. This is Osmow's, located just south of Thomas Street on Queen Street (Mississauga Road becomes Queen Street in Streetsville). Turn down the side street and park in the back, then enter through the back door or walk around the front.

The smallish interior was fully and very smartly renovated in January and February 2007. You can eat at the counter or at one of several small tables. At first, we'd usually stand and shuffle for 20 minutes or so with all the others who are getting take out, but then we got smart and called our order in ahead of time. The shawarmas are beautifully crisp on the outside and drippily sauced on the inside, and make the best fast food dinner or late night snack. And all this for a flat $5 each. Bargain!

When we lived in Streetsville, it took us 15 minutes to walk to Osmow's. From here in Port Credit, it takes 20 minutes to drive up Mississauga Road, so it's been a few months since I've had my fix.

The address is 251 Queen Street -- but just look for Thomas, then park and walk. And if you're in a hurry, phone ahead : 905-826-6021

Update September 2008
Just brought home a shawarma - we forgot to phone ahead, and so had a long wait on a Sunday afternoon.

Not as good as in the past; the double wrap pita now carries a 50 cent fee (not a deal breaker - prices have risen generally everywhere) but the shawarma sandwiches proved NOT to have double wrapping. We even asked and inspected before leaving the restaurant.

The wrapping now is wax paper only - not foil, which keeps the shawarma hot for the 20 minute drive home. Would have paid more for foil as cold shawarma not as tasty as fresh baked, and sauces leak through wax paper.

And finally, it really concerns me when staff go from handling money, telephones, computer and boxes and bowls to handling food without first (at least) rinsing their hands. As well, the cooks tended to do same - handling common elements then using their hands instead of tongs to add various toppings.

Could be an unusually busy day, but will keep an eye out for this to become a pattern. Let me know what you find if you go.

More places to eat in Mississauga :: See Snapshot Journeys Mississauga restaurants or use the search box to find restaurants and pubs on this blog.