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Friday, December 8, 2017

TRANS-CANADA: Day 7--Vancouver, again


Okay, I'm still in Vancouver, for my train departs at 8:30 tonight.  So while this is still Day 4, I named it Day 7, for my next live posting will be on Tuesday, December 12, when I arrive in Toronto.


Still foggy.  How foggy?  Can't see the top of my hotel.  Here was my transport mode for the day, plus a bunch of re-photos fogged over, starting with Canada Place.  Certainly looks like a cruise ship


I show the Christmas Market again, for it is next to Canada Place, but, more so, the trolley driven sarcastically commented, here you have the pleasure of paying $10 just to go shopping.

Just above is a main road of the drug/homeless district.  Also known as Downtown Eastside, it is located close to Chinatown, and is slowly being converted to respectability.  Still a bit scary, but not as much as when I accidentally walked through this area a couple of decades ago.

Next, the trolley wandered through Stanley Park, named after Lord Frederick Arthur Stanley, British politician who became the Governor General of Canada in 1886.  Hockey's Stanley Cup is also named for him.

I stopped by the Aquarium, for at least it was warmer and you could see something:


There was a lot to see, for a lot of money ($39, but $30 for seniors):


A lot of jellyfish:


A few flying land animals:


The day before I took this Girl in a Wetsuit photo.  Today, you could at least see the sulfur piles in the background:


This is Vancouver's modern day version of Copenhagen's The Little Mermaid.  All in good fun, as prankers regularly swim to the rock and dress her in the attire of the season or day.

There were thousands of expensive Christmas trees growing all over Stanley Park, the kind you buy in Hawaii, the Douglas Fir:

Walking back to my hotel later in the day, I stopped by Tim Hortons, Canada's multinational fast food and largest quick service chain, with 4,613 restaurants in 9 countries.  Opened by hockey player Tim Horton in 1964, the franchise was purchased by Burger King in 2014.  Did you know that the majority owner of Burger King is from Brazil?  I had Caesar salad, chili, tomato soup, cheese fries, too much bread and leftover drinks from last night.


What is traditional Canadian cuisine?  It is a collage of dishes from the range of cultures.  Not a stew pot, but a smorgasbord.  Salmon is the sushi of choice.   Add some maple syrup, whale meat dipped in soy sauce of the indigenous people (referred to as First Nation), dried meat, bannock (a kind of flat bread), poutine (French fries with cheese curds topped with brown gravy), butter tarts and Kraft Macaroni Cheese...and you're getting close to Canadian food.  

The hard alcohol of choice is Canadian whisky.  Food trucks, serving distinctly international cuisine are doing well.  Lumberjack's or loggers breakfast is a huge dish of three+ eggs, ham, bacon, sausages, fried potatoes and several large pancakes.  

TRANS-CANADA: Day 6--HAVE YOU EVER HAD FANTA ORANGE?

( Again, just a filler while I'm training from Vancouver to Toronto. )

I've drunk Fanta soda pop all my life.  More recently, it has been Fanta Orange.  Never thought to ask what this was until recently.  

Recently, I've had two separate Thanksgiving dinners and usually also end up with some leftovers. So this year I prepared something I've long been dreaming to do, and, actually, never before did: prepare a plate of hot turkey sandwich.

Growing up in Kakaako, aside from saimin, I never went to a real restaurant, and there were not all than many where I grew up, if any.  I remember my first meal at a diner with my brother.  He ordered hot turkey sandwich, so I did, too.  This dish has been on my mind most of my life.

After my annual Thanksgiving dinner with Betsy/Harvey Lee (left) and their family and friends, I dropped by my regular table at 15 Craigside, where they kept a chair for me.  The advantage of being there is that I can pick and choose what I want from the usual assortment, make an appearance of eating the meal, and asking them to pack the remainder.  I save $1.50, the price of take-out, and get to choose what I want, which was turkey, gravy, cranberry sauce and salad, with a cup of cranberry juice that I have to control my blood pressure.

I added a slice of white onion to the sandwich doused in gravy, and made a truffle dressing for the salad.  I had opened a fabulous bottle of red wine for my dinner last night (which will be described at the end of this posting), but thought beer was more appropriate.  However, I saw a bottle of Fanta Orange in my refrigerator, so that was my choice.  The meal was fine, but I happened to read the ingredients on the back of the bottle:
  • made by Coca Cola Company
    • Pepsico is #2
    • Nestle is #3 (mostly water, but also coffee)
    • Suntory #4
  • caffeine free
  • 100% natural flavors
  • contains no juice (what???)
  • high fructose corn syrup (this is terrible stuff)
    • What happens is that a soft drink with more fructose than glucose (sucrose, or sugar, is half of each) does not provide a signal to your brain that you are satisfied or full.
    • Worse, fructose becomes visceral fat, which induces diseases.  And fructose seems to increase Low Density Lipoprotein, which is bad cholesterol. 
  • sodium polyphosphates
  • glycerol ester of rosin
  • yellow dye 6
  • red dye 40
So I looked further, and learned from Snopes:
  • this was the first new soda after Coke by Coke
  • there are more than 100 Fanta flavors
  • originated as a cola substitute in Germany during World War II (Snopes has a detailed story)
  • the drink then included the "leftovers of leftovers," whey and apple pomace
  • Fanta is Fantasie in German
  • Fanta largely went away after the war, but came back in 1955 to neutralize Pepsi, but not in the USA
  • In 2015 Germany released their 75th-anniversary version with the original taste (using whey and pomace), and said "the feeling of the Good Old Times," which was soon abandoned, for many interpreted this to mean Nazi rule.
  • How's this:  the German drink contains orange juice, in Canada tangerine juice, but in the USA, NO JUICE!
Love the Fantanas, which keeps changing, first appearing in 2002:


Incidentally, if you must:

So what should you drink?  Water.  Or wine.  Coke and Pepsi use corn sweeteners,  Not good.  Sierra Mist is goodSprite is bad.  All the common ginger ales use fructose, while Whole Foods and Trader Joe's sell this drink with sugar from cane, which, is okay, relatively.

The bottom line is that soda pop is bad for your health, and government will more and more tax it, just like alcohol and tobacco.  Why did I have a bottle of Orange Fanta in my refrigerator, anyway?

Last Friday after  golf, I dropped by Marukai, for I had a 5-50% off certificate that expired that day.  Certainly, I am aware that 99% of the winners, and probably more, only get a 5% deduction.  But the concept works, for everyone in front of me had enormous amounts of food in their cart.  I only had a slice of $99.99 Japanese Wagyu Beef and one pound of $53.99 blue fin tuna, and wanted to keep them cool, so picked up a cold Orange Fanta.  I enjoyed my hot turkey sandwich, but balanced that with a spectacular dinner the night before:


That is a 10-year old Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon from my Stanford collection.  The scotch is a Nikka Yoichi single malt, which was the one that broke the Scottish monopoly in 2009.

Okay, if you thought I was on a Trans-Canada train trip from Vancouver to Toronto, why am I tossing in these dated meal articles?  There is no World Wide Web capability on these trains, and I just happened to have this piece hanging around.

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TRANS-CANADA: Day 5--SURELY, YOU JEST


The Star-Advertiser had the following obscure headline recently:

Tests can’t say if rat bait killed Lehua Island fish

In August the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) began a project to eradicate rats on Lehua Island, located just west of Niihau.  There are 17 seabird species and 25 types of native plants on Lehua which are threatened by invasive rats.  While it was recommended by some to just install bait stations that would, over time, sterilize the rat population, by helicopter and hand baiting, three rounds of rodenticides were applied beginning in August.  Said DLNR:

The operation was executed as planned—successfully, safely, and under the close watch of regulators from the Hawaii Department of Agriculture and an independent monitoring team from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The active agent, diphacinone should have had very little risk to marine and other wildlife.  Well, it worked, and rats were decimated.  Unfortunately, fish and booby juveniles also died.  To quote DLNR:

Preliminary results of samples taken from dozens of dead fish found on Lehua Island during the state’s rodent eradication project are “inconclusive” as to whether rodenticide killed the fish, the Department of Land and Natural Resources said this week.

What DLNR should have said is that the project was a success...however, 46 fish and two birds were unfortunately killed in the process.  There are more than 50,000 birds and maybe a million fish that live on and around Lehua.

More about how Donald Trump is changing the United States of America:
  • Barack Obama and Democrats tried to forestall completion of the Keystone Pipeline.  The current Republican White House immediately approved the project.  However, there was 210,000-gallon oil leak, just before regulators in Nebraska were to decide on whether to allow a major expansion of the system.  HOWEVER, OFFICIALS SAY STATE LAW DOES NOT ALLOW PIPELINE SAFETY TO BE A FACTOR IN THEIR UPCOMING DECISION.
  • Nicaragua signed the Paris Climate Change Agreement, leaving the United States and Syria as the only countries yet to support the accord.  Syria and the USA!!!  Oh, Syria also just indicated they too would sign, bringing the number of nations up to 197, leaving only the U.S. as the holdout.
  • Earlier this Fall the USA quit the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).  However, Republican presidents just don't like UNESCO, for Ronald Reagan previously quit in 1984, and we did not rejoin until 2002 (hey, that was Republican George W. Bush).  While their politics have historically been the issue, there are programs like tsunami warning and the like that are crucial for some.  I've been to some of their gatherings, and it is no secret that minor nations go out of their way to spite the U.S.
  • Yesterday, the USA dropped out of the United Nations Global Compact on Migration, created by the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, unanimously adopted by all 193 members a year ago.  Is this terrible?  Well, if you're Donald Trump, it's about time, for our foreign birth numbers are growing oh too dangerously.  Our foreign born population percentage averaged from around 14% from 1860 to 1920, dropped to 4.7% in 1970, and has returned to around 14% today.  How many of you reading this posting would be U.S. citizens if your recent ancestors were not allowed into the country?
As I'm on Trans-Canadian Railway from Vancouver to Toronto, where there is no internet capability, just thought I'd toss this in to cover Saturday. Anyway, all you would see are photos of the color white from the train.  However, try getting reservations during prime time, like in the Fall.

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