Friday, 31 July 2009
What was worse is that it was making me angry and starting to act in the same way as many New York residents - rudely and with no thought for those around me.
Thursday, 30 July 2009
1. The volume of the air con unit. If it is too hot to sleep you need it in but if it is too noisy then it is hard to sleep
2. The lack of a clock. If I have to turn in a lamp to see what time it is I am awake - even if it is 6.30 am
3. Not checking the room before you arrive - having to ask for a plug for the basin
4. Provision of small things like toiletries and notepaper
5. Classier staff - not leaving an envelope for a tip in the room when you arrive
I know that this hotel is half the price of the previous one but small things can make all the difference
Wednesday, 29 July 2009
If President Obama would like to spend his stimulus money on improving the quality of the rails then the train might be allowed to go close to its top speed. We got a lot faster as we got closer to New York. Early on cars kept overtaking us.
Now in Saint James Hotel in New York
Tuesday, 28 July 2009
The Falls are great and the attractions with them worthwhile. I would recommend Maid of the Mist, White Water Walk, Aerocar, Skylon Tower, and Walk behind the falls and less so Niagara Fury . Helicopter rides need to be booked well in advance and ring up when you book it to get your slot early.
Turn your back to the Falls and it could be Leicester Square, Times Square, Hollywood Boulevard or any other overly tacky tourist attraction .
Monday, 27 July 2009
So having carried my field studies coat around so far I thought I would wear it as you go close to the falls and it did its job admirably keeping my top half, rucksack and camera perfectly dry. It was on the other hand a little shorter than the ponchos they provide so had very wet legs. This did not compare with the gentleman who's poncho was ripped by the wind on the approach as he looked like he had a shower with his clothes on (which he did). The hubris comes from wearing jeans. Every field trip we tell the kids that when jeans get wet they stay wet and other trousers are preferable. Did I listen to my own advice? No. In fairness I couldn't wear my shorts as they are being cleaned after I sat in a puddle and was left with a very suspicious brown mark on their seat but I had other options!! Contact lenses also would have been a good idea.
2. Go on the Maid of the Mist first as this is the only attraction that does not let you skip the queue
3. Niagara Fury is okay but I understand how the Falls formed and I was a bit confused.
4. Save your poncho - rather than have three new ones.
5. You are going to get wet - so shorts and sandals dry quickest
6. When using the free transport - the second part of the bus is usually quieter and easy to access
7. Get up early - queues start to really build up around 10.30-11am
8. Watch out for free coupons - lots of them everywhere
9. Dusk is the best time to go up the Skylon Tower so you view it in daylight and night-time.
2. Its is lovely and going to get out early and beat the rush to the major tourist attractions. A joint ticket looks the best value for all the attractions. Have brought a coat to avoid buying pacamac poncho thing
3. Firework display was good - probably best to stay in your room if you are high or be half way between the two falls to get the best view. Arrive early as it is busy. Would have like to see them integrate the falls into the display rather than just be a display near the falls.
Sunday, 26 July 2009
- On the ticket it says arrive 60 mins before the bus arrives. If you arrive that early you are told to go away as you are to early and getting in the way.
- The customer service representative inside the buildings knows what the plan should look
- like but this in no way represents what is actually occurring outside.
- It is possible for a driver to not know where the bus he is driving is going. When I say is this bus going to Niagara Falls the correct answer was yes.
- A queue of people going to separate places can form on the same platform and all of them be wrong despite what they have been told.
- The number of seats on the bus decides who gets on not whether you have bought a ticket. If the bus is full when you get to the second stop if no-one gets off you have to wait for the next one and hope
- Half the people in the waiting room think they are on the next bus but they are not in the queue and have no chance.
- Most queues cross the areas where buses drive meaning that getting run over whilst waiting for the bus is highly probably but what ever inconvenience there might be don't leave the queue.
Its a wonder more passenger don't go postal at them.
Picture of the day - more rain. Now in Niagara.
2. Visit the CN Tower at dusk so you get to see the landscape at both day and night. If you eat at the restautant then you get free entry which is better value for both the tower and the restaurant.
3. Think about whether you need a whole day pass on the subway, most attractions are within walking distance and it might be better value to buy individual trips.
4. If you go to the Sirius stage you get free music but it tends to get better later as the bands get more professional.
5. Don't bother with the film about the CN Tower - a 17 minute film on pouring concrete
6. Have water proof shoes with you - Toronto does not drain well and there were a lot of puddles around
After time the difference I discovered is subtle. America tends to shout out at you advertising itself in self promotion with bright lights and endless commercialism. In Canada it is a lot more under stated and I think that the difference I was looking for is that Canada is different but they don't necessarily tell you about it, outside of bears dressed as Mounties, the under-statedness is Canada.
Picture of the DAY: Toronto skyline with the flag from the boat.
Saturday, 25 July 2009
Thursday, 23 July 2009
Most hair raising incident - opened overhead locker to find that my hand luggae and all improtant document etc had vanished. As there were so few other people it had slid right to the front of the plane but did give me a bit of a scare
Best moment so far - Red Arrows coming into land at the airport will I looked out of the window, taxied, refueled and then took off again. Some reason they were iffy with cameras in departure lounge.
Best fact. People who wore old fashioned and out of date square ended shoes were often called squares. Pointed shoes were more expensive and a sign of social standing. Know that I know this it makes me a square and know you know it you are a square as well.
Next stop Toronto. Toodle pip.
Wednesday, 22 July 2009
I recently became aware that the two main candidates are both less than 30 and this made me wonder and question if there was a inbuilt prejudice to my MP being younger than me. I have kind of accepted never playing professional sport for England but how about an MP. If I would not consider that I have enough life experience to be an MP and vote on the impacts of economic policy on the future how about someone younger. The more I thought the more questions I ask
- Are the major parties being disrespectful by selecting young candidates?
- Are younger candidates likely to be more or less likely to by led easily by party bigwigs than other first time MP's? (are they just yes men/women)
- Is there experience of education/ health etc. going to impact positively or negatively on their work as an MP?
Other things to note about the campaign
- all the parties are on a major leaflet blitz - sometimes two or three a day. The DVD presentation however was a waste of time as very few were watched.
- using a loudspeaker on a car to raise awareness is not welcome as it scares next doors dog
- the absence of door to door campaigners of anyone other than low level minions is disappointing
- if I am in a car park and you are a candidate come over and try to win my vote (I actually didn't notice and A told me)
The choice is between Labour and Lib Dem because Chloe Smith (Conservative) has spent a lot of time on how she will re-invent Parliament expenses which vastly overstates the kind of power she will have and secondly as the vote was last night shows woeful knowledge of the political timetable.
Oh and I am coming away.
Saturday, 18 July 2009
Friday, 17 July 2009
2. Have 120 exams left to mark. Started with 710 so nearly done. A productive weekend could get that done
3. Have almost bought a new car. The green Hyundai has reached the end of the road and is destined for Wymondham car auction courtesy of the dealer. This is what the next one will look like
4. Have been to see the new Harry Potter film. Very good film on its own but not a great adaptation of the book. The first two films were okay and helped set the scene but they did manage to pick out three excellent actors to be the leads although Daniel Radcliffe is a bit short compared to the other two especially Emma Watson. Check it out here
5. Well Done to England saving the first test. We can't lose 5-0 anymore.
Tuesday, 7 July 2009
Anything that takes planning time is a waste of time in school and lets face it who needs more paper work. If you are rubbish should take 5 years to get rid of you. Current incompetence procedures take a lot less than that.
Conservatives have decided to get rid of Quangos (Quasi autonomous non-government agency) and one of the ones in the firing line is the Qualification and Curriculum Authority (QCA). QCA meet with relevant agencies, teachers and government before deciding what should be taught in GCSE, making sure they are equally easy/ hard and ensuring that the writing and marking process are fair. This according to the government is a waste of money and needs to be democratised. Why we need to vote for people this to fill this role is beyond me. Should this be decided by a minister or by someone who works in the field of education. It took 6 years to introduce the new GCSE's as it was a major change (bye bye coursework) longer than a government is elected for.
Saturday, 4 July 2009
Had four phone calls so far. All functional in style. Not much to choose between them
Met the Labour candidate. Not impressive. Grilled him a bit. At least he has bothered to call.
Waiting for the others to call.
Still not met any major politicians yet.