P started to apply for her Visa around March and found out in early April that her Visa application was rejected! She and also myself were devestatated by the news! Cuz by this time I was getting very excited about having her visit Canada so got kinda involved in insuring that P Visa's application was successful so she cud visit Canada! But luckily P had a sweet dedicated persistent person working for Flight Center (I'll call her C) who was handling P's Visa Application! So C contacted P a week or 2 later and suggested P try again! Bcuz C thought that P's Visa appl was prob rejected cuz P was self employed and Canadian Immigration were prob concerned that P wud have no valid reason to return to SA once she entered Canada! It was a bunch of BS as think they were prob generalizing about most African peep but feel SA is unlike most African countries! Hell it's more like Europe but with an African flavor and sure it has a corresponding amount of poverty 2 among many black and colors due to many generations of Apartheid! Anyway C suggested that on her second application that P shud maybe include a couple reference letters from business associates who need/required her to return to her business! Plus also maybe attach a letter from her Mother who's a widow and that she depended on P for her welfare and support to live, etc.! P's Mother is firmly rooted in Wilderness and the nearby city of George! Where she has a close white rich woman friend running a successful international business who P's Mom has there to support her friend when she was going thru a rough divorce! So P's Mom prob depends on her friend more than P even tho P and her Mom are close and live together! However P's Mom stays in George as it's kind of a job as she spends most of week at her friend's home helping, support & keeping her friend company! So anyway P followed C's suggestions and applied the second time and we kept our fingers crossed!
Hell not saying S. Africa is that terrible as yes they have lot of negative things (but so does Canada!) but there are also many people who don't turn their back on these issues! Cuz a lot of S. African people don't want to bail on their birth country but are willing to work to improve the lot of South African people!!! Which is what P says she want to do as she wants to be part of the solution to change things if possible!
Anyway she got her Visa Application and the necessary paper work together and made her second application, prayed and kept her fingers crossed!!
Then she waited patiently for a month or so and luckily this time P was successful in her second Visa application! Apparently it was for a maximum of a 6 month stay in Canada starting I think around June 1 and expiring about Nov 30!! But had changed her flight to Canada to arrive on Jun 17 and her return flight back to SA was Sept 15, 2014!
Wow awesome that her 2nd Visa application was successful so started to get excited for P's visit to Canada! Plus I had made a few plans for her visit as luckily the summer months were the best time to visit Canada!!
P arrived in Vancouver on June 17 and so started her great Canadian adventure!!! She really loves Nature so cudn't wait to see the natural Canadian beauty!! So prob on the second day that P was in Canada I took her to see Harrison Hot Springs however she was more excited to go camping! I have an older '94 Ford Ranger pickup / bakkie which has a canopy covering the back plus have a couple of tents and pretty well all the camping stuff! But we had to stick around the city for a couple weeks bcuz had a couple of eye doctor specialist appointments that needed to attend!
Most of the camping we did in BC was open camping (sites we found that didn't have to pay so felt it was better as more private!
https://www.google.ca/search?q=map+of+bc&espv=2&biw=1218&bih=659&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=lEhhVL36DYayyQTSoIDgCw&ved=0CCcQsAQ&dpr=1.5 However we usually just looked around in areas as didn't look on line to find them however there are quite a few around British Columbia!
http://freecampsites.net/#!British Columbia&query=region )
On our first camping trip I took P camping north of Vancouver for 4 days to Squamish a cool fun outdoor town sandwiched between the ocean and mtns!
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Squamish,_British_Columbia We went north past Squamish to the sign pointing to Paradise Valley Road and followed that until the road became gravel! Then followed the gravel road a few km with the river on our left! We checked a few turn offs by the river and found a cool spot right by the river which was nice and isolated!! So we camped and chilled there for a night as thought it was such an awesome camp spot! Know I'll return to camp there again as have camped on the other side of the river a couple of years ago but can't recall where it was but this campsite I won't forget!!
Then we headed north past Whistler & Pemberton up to Lillooet as turn at Lillooet Lake to drive about 48 km on a gravel road to the Skookumchuck Hot Springs and campsite as had been there before!
The drive, lake and hot springs were awesome as P really loved the beautiful nature and camping!! So we thoroughly enjoyed camping there as built a fire, cook some food, ate and then went for a dip in the hot springs there!
The next day it was getting late so we were forced to camp at a paid campsite which was probably the worse campsite we stayed at over the 2 weeks we camped around BC during P's stay for 3 months! The reason the campground sucked was bcuz we were located between 2 train tracks and there were trains arriving and leaving on both tracks through the night!
The next night we drove thru the north part of the Okanagan! Then we took a forestry road up the mtn/hills on the west side of Vernon! We followed the gravel road for about 25 km to Bear Creek.
I didn't take P camping again right away for a couple reasons! My son in the military was in town to hang out at a couple music festivals so offered him my truck to camp as he flew to Vancouver from Eastern Canada!! There were also a number of things going on in Vancouver that wanted to share with P as it was close to Canada Day (the day Canada became a country! However I always tend to think of July 1 as Cannabis Day instead!
https://www.google.ca/search?q=cannabis+day+vancouver&espv=2&biw=1218&bih=659&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=OEZmVOuJOM_0igLHxoHQCQ&ved=0CCoQsAQ That's one of 2 days that lot of peep hang out at the Art Gallery in downtown Vancouver! So they end up spilling onto the street as the cops have to direct traffic as peep are smoking weed / 420! But what it's starting to be a bit of a turn off is it's becoming a bit of commercialism as there are so many booth and kisoks pedding weed and corresponding apparatus to smoke it! lol
The other weed smoking day in Vancouver and other cities is 420 the Smoke off day!
https://www.google.ca/search?q=420+in+vancouver&espv=2&biw=1218&bih=659&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=Z_VmVNWuOpSwogTFtoGgAQ&ved=0CC0QsAQ so each year on April 20 at 4:20 pm tons of peep gather to smoke also at the downtown Art Gallery!
Also took P for a bike ride by the sea wall http://vanseawall.ca/ by Kitsalano beach to Granville Island a sort of touristy hang out but not quite sure why?? https://www.google.ca/search?q=granville+island+vancouver&espv=2&biw=1218&bih=659&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=9fZmVJOmJMPxoAT50ICgAg&ved=0CFIQsAQ Then another day I took P to a place/beach I wud prefer to hang out at a lot in the summer in Vancouver / Vansterdam! Its called Wreck Beach a clothing optional beach tho I don't strip to the buff but like the vibes and atmosphere!
It can be very crowded in the summer as peep chill, smoke and drink beer even tho it is illegal to drink or smoke (anything from cigs to weed or whatever) there! There are a lot of peep selling beer, various drinks, weed and magic sh'rooms there as everyone is chill even if the cops walk around periodically however they're also chill as just do it cuz its their job as sure they'd rather not fine anyone hell they wud prob rather be chilling there!!
On another camping trip we took a ferry to Vancouver Island for a short camping trip even tho the weather kinda sucked!
Wanted to show and camp at Tofino as it pretty much is the surf capital of Canada as there aren't many places that surf! http://www.hellobc.com/tofino.aspx
However we camped at Ucluelet another small village on the other end of Long Beach from Tofino! Then spent a while walking around exploring Long Beach, Tofino and Ucluelet!
Then on the way back we stopped and camped at Chemainus and checked out the town with it's awesome murals! http://www.visitchemainus.ca/We also stopped and visited Bucharet Gardens as P enjoyed flowers which is pretty much all that is there! If I wasn't taking P around to show her sites on Vancouver Island I wudn't have gone in as found it cost $30 per person far to expensive to walk around a big flower garden!!! lol
Then the 3rd camping trip we took was to the Rocky Mtns, Jasper National Park
http://www.pc.gc.ca/eng/pn-np/ab/jasper/activ/explore-interets/glacier-athabasca.aspx as wanted to show P the Columbia Icefields as she had never seen snow in person b4! Lol
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Columbia_Icefield A bad thing that happened was P got a bad abcess and was in terrible pain however we were too far from anywhere to get her help! So we kept
driving on to Banff National Park!
http://www.pc.gc.ca/eng/pn-np/ab/banff/index.aspx however P was in so much pain at the time so we just bypassed the Park plus didn't stop in at the Radium Hot Springs!
https://www.google.ca/search?q=radium+hot+springs+bc&espv=2&biw=1218&bih=659&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=1L9hVOXSEcL0oASw-ILgDw&ved=0CE8QsAQ but stopped at Invermere Hospital to try and get some pain killers or help for P's abscess but wasn't any type of dentist!
But we drove thru an area which I consider maybe my favorite area in BC! I love the Kootenays in southeastern BC!
We took a couple of free ferries across lakes and drove down what started out as a paved 2 lane road but slowly changed into a gravel road and eventually a 1 lane road! What was awesome as met a local guy who told/showed us this isolated free camp site right by this real little lake close to Trout Lake in the Kootenays where we camped undisturbed for 2 nights! http://www.ourbc.com/travel_bc/bc_cities/bc_rockies/trout_lake.htm This was probably of this camping trip!!! However when we were taking the Summerland to Princeton shortcut road we did manage to find a cool campsite on this road which was totally isolated by a river! http://www.trailsbc.ca/okanagan/summerland
This pretty much was the last camping trip we took in BC!!
Bcuz after getting back to Vancouver I took P to spend a long day at the Pacific National Exhibition (PNE) Vancouver's annual fair which kinda signals the end of summer!
https://www.google.ca/search?q=quebec+city&espv=2&biw=1218&bih=659&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=GchhVPr8AuT1iQKIoID4BA&sqi=2&ved=0CFUQsAQ#tbm=isch&q=pne+in+vancouver I don't go on rides as get motion sickness but P thoroughly enjoyed crazy rides and greasy junk food there!
Then we had to prepare to catch a flight to Ottawa as wanted to show P the eastern part of Canada so she cud experience some of our French culture and see our Nation's Capital City of Ottawa!!
We flew to Ottawa the capital city of Canada as wanted to visit my son who is based at a military base near there!
I had arranged to visit and stay at my son's place outside of Ottawa but in that city I booked a hostel! We stayed in this cool hostel in the center of the city of Ottawa so were able to chill and see a few places in the capital of Canada!
Also went to the South African Embassy to pay my fine of $150 for overstaying my Visa by a month when left there earlier in 2014! Cuz thought shit otherwise may not be able to re-enter SA as thought hell I owed the money plus I don't like burning my bridges even if never went back to SA!
Then after that my son picked us up and took us to his place to stay for the weekend! One thing that was cool was the 3 of us got a chance to go kayaking!
We then took a bus from Ottawa to Montreal the second largest city in Canada as I had a friend who lived there!
https://www.google.ca/search?q=montreal+quebec&espv=2&biw=1218&bih=659&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=T8ZhVKPfMqnqiQKd44CoAQ&sqi=2&ved=0CGMQsAQ However we arrived in Montreal on a Monday so my friend was working during the day! So we decided to go to Quebec City first as was a must see city in Canada if possible!!
It is a very French city which is very old by Canadian standards! We stayed at a nice little hostel where we met some other cool travelers! So we hung out, chilled and did a lot of walking around Old Quebec and other parts of the city!
Then we returned to Montreal in time for the long weekend in Canada and US (Labor Day long weekend the end of the summer)! What sucked in Montreal was my friend couldn't host us as his roommate/flatmate's mother came to visit from France for 2 weeks! So unfortunately she had first priority so we had to book into a hostel which wud have been OK except for the fact that the guy running the hostel was a Scam artist however I won't go into the detail at this time!
So after that frustrating rip off experience in Montreal we headed to Toronto! Which is the largest city of Canada and according to Torontoians the Center of the Universe!!!
We then went to Niagara Falls with the world famous falls which also had turned the touristy part of the city into another Las Vegas complete with bright lights, glidder and gambling casinos!
I totally disliked the city almost as much as Las Vega as thought it was probably the worse place in Canada however the Falls are world class! Bu P enjoyed it and that's all that mattered as we were traveling so P cud see and experience Canada!
So we returned to Toronto to experience as was prob the best part of the trip to Eastern Canada! As we were able to visit and stay at my sister's home and enjoy her awesome hospitality! We also had the opportunity to visit and stay at her good friend's home north of Toronto who was also equally hospitable and kind! Feel P thoroughly enjoyed our visit in Toronto as sure she felt right at home as they seem to have a lot in common!!
So we reluctantly said goodbye to my sister and caught our flight back to Vancouver after I think a trip that P totally enjoyed!
After returning to Vancouver we had about 5 days to chill out and then P had to say goodbye to Vancouver, BC and Canada! She caught her flight back to South Africa on Sept 15 as it was so sad to say goodbye as we had such an awesome time having her visit and 2 show her the nice cool places here in Canada!
P took a bunch of pics as was always taking them but I've never did unless she asked me to take her pic! lol So if or when I find them I'll try and post them lol!
Bcuz I'm not not quite sure if P will ever get another opportunity to visit Canada again so I'm so glad I got to show her a bit of Canada LOL. So I'm sure that P must have felt some sadness to leave as know I was very sad and melancholy about her visit as enjoyed being her tourist guide as will never visit such an awesome visit to show someone so enthusastic to see nature and wonders of Canada b4!!! Thanks P for being such a gracious & easy going guest to have visit, stay, take camping to basically chill in the nature of BC and then visit the other parts of Canada!!