Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Death In Key West: A Bradford Fairfax Murder Mystery by Jeffrey Round

Death In Key West: A Bradford Fairfax Murder Mystery by Jeffrey Round
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

An excellent book, better than its predecessor but in the same vain.
Bradford is now set up with his boyfriend who is suddenly seeming like his lesbian life partner, Zach, and the two head to Key West for fun and excitement.
A whole new cast of characters this time, I have read three of Round’s books now and all of them have a large (too large?) cast of characters which keeps the readers guessing right up to the end. This one is no exception and is a fun read while you’re on your own gay vacation, which is where I read my copy.
A worthy follow up.

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Jasper – Day Two

An amazing day today!
We rented a car this morning and went to a path to “the edge of the world” and a local glacier, Angel Glacier at Mount Edith Cavelle. Came back to down and had lunch at Famoso, where my brother Arthur works. I had a mushroom pizza with a mango gelato and I loved it.


After lunch back in the car and over to the Jasper tram. We took it up to the top of Whistlers mountain, then decided to trek to the summit. The mountain air was so thin I thought I would die. I was gasping for breath and had to sit down every 15 steps or so.
This is me with Jasper the Bear.

Here's the cable car. Only two are on the line, one going up and one going down.

They say the town of Jasper is shaped like a "J".

This is the walk up. It doesn't look like death valley, but keep in mind there is no air.
No plants up there, and few animals.

There's a 360 degree view of mountains at the top. Arthur had a magic camera so he took this 360 degree photo, click to enlarge.

 We drove over to the Legion where Arthur works and had dinner, an amazing locally sourced pasta dish.
Afterward we went to Pyramid Lake and sat and relaxed with some breathtaking views. I also got bitten by a million mosquitoes.
The internet here is terrible, like worse than dial up as it’s slower than dial up and cuts out every 10 seconds or so. For me, this is Hell.
Apparently there's lots of elk here.


Travelling – Day Two / Jasper – Day One

We’re in Kamloops now and it’s 6 a.m. I was up at 5:10 with the sun, almost the whole train is up now. Good times. Breakfast isn’t served for another hour.
While we were moving still at 5:30 I went into the dome car and took a few photos of the amazing view. This older man was talking very loudly, very loudly, to a woman about his illness, his ex-wife, his problems, etc. and I really didn’t want to listen, plus it was very cold in there and all my clothes are in my checked bags. I have shorts and a t-shirt. So I’m back at my seat now, waiting for us to get on the road again.

Breakfast and lunch were both good, they have a cook onboard, but it’s a little pricey at $8 a time. Still, not terrible.  I’m reading Atlas, Shrugged and contemplating socialism and the balance between profit and responsibility to provide a meal to people with nowhere else to go. I suppose it’s reasonable. Breakfast was bacon, eggs, English muffin and hash browns. Lunch was grilled cheese with pickle, salad, potato/egg salad and a pickle slice. They used real cheese and brown bread, so what do you want.
Lots of nice views that I’m sure I’d be appreciating more if I hadn’t just been to Alaska, but also lots of trees and trees. And trees.


Three hours left till I get to Jasper, my lower back is starting to complain.

Got to Jasper fine and my brother Arthur was there waiting for me which was nice! We went for dinner and walked all around town, it was very nice to see him. We went and met up with a few of his friends and then I had an early night as I was tired from traveling.
Here he is in his room:

The two of us together.
And his large group of amazingly nice friends!

Travelling – Day One

Got off the boat quite easily and said bye to Alberto which was sad. A 40 minute wait for a taxi which was okay as I wasn't in a rush, my bus didn't leave until 2:15. I had wanted to take the train but the schedule didn't work out. I had forgotten how awful taking the Greyhound in America is. I get to the terminal and its in the middle of nowhere - it looks like Beirut. There are a few seats and a Cindy Crawford infomercial blaring out of a single TV. I mean blaring. There is no way you can read, think, anything. All you can focus on is the rare melons in Cindy's skin cream.
They sell water in a vending machine, it's out of order. Ack.  Someone else on the cruise mentioned the same time problem with the train and said they were taking a shuttle to Vancouver. Who knew that was an option? I don't really know what that even is but will look into it next time.
I'm remembering the first time I took the Greyhound in America with the chain smoking mental patients still in their hospital gear and people eating buckets of fried chicken and tossing the garbage everywhere. This is better than that.
I had hoped to get to the bus early but I lost track of time at a local Starbucks. When I got back I ran to buy a sandwich and a water and take my luggage out of the locker - jammed. Would not open. Fun. Called maintenance to get my bags and I'm wondering by this time if I will even manage to catch the damn bus. I get my luggage and race to the end of the line, the very last. Still, I got on.
Now a 4 hour trip to Vancouver. They large man beside me is doing Sudoku or something, whatever you call it when you have to move your arm every 10 seconds and jam it into the rib cage of the person sitting next to you. I forget the name now.
Will try and sleep.
Happy day! This is really turning out well. A few people got off last stop and I got a seat to myself! Plus when I got on they weren't Nazis about the baggage allowance, they didn't even weigh them! Everything is coming up Adam!
I wonder if I'll be able to upgrade to a sleeper car in Vancouver. When I was planning this trip, saving $200 sounded good. Now that I'm here, sitting upright for 19 hours beside someone sounds less good.

Life is funny. We're stopping in Coquitlam, B.C. on the way to Vancouver. My friend Christine moved to Coquitlam when I was 14 and in high school. It seemed like the other side of the world at the time, I never guessed I would one day be passing through. Similarly I went to Victoria with my friend Sarah 3 years ago and we went to the world's tallest totem poll. During our bus tour of Victoria the other day, we drove past the world's tallest totem poll and stopped for a picture. If you had told me at the time I would be back in that spot three years later I would have smacked your face. Now on the VIA cross-country train departing Vancouver.
When I got to the VIA desk, my luck ran out a little. No sleeper cars available at the discount rate, they would charge me the $83 change fee if there was, the only car available is $600, stuff like that. So it’s upright Adam for tonight. I really wasn’t thinking when I booked this of my state of mind, after a week-long cruise and being away for ten days, of course I would want the bed. Anyway, it’s a moo point. You know, a cow’s opinion.
They car is so old there is ashtrays built into every seat handle. There is no Wi-Fi, but there is outlets for computers. How is it I can get Wi-Fi on a boat in Mexico, but not here. How is it I can get Wi-Fi on the Greyhound bus to the train station, but not here. Are we in the third world?
They do dispense water here, it’s via this piping system that Noah built just before the ark so it tastes like a bat died in it. I’m going to keep a sample and have it tested later. Also you can only fill these little tiny one sip paper cups, so if you want to fill your water bottle you need to fill 300 paper cups and every time the water shoots out like Niagara Falls and drenches you, your hand, your clothes. Good times. I guess it’s in lieu of a shower, which is not on offer.
Will watch a little TV on my computer while my IPod charges, then will go explore.
Oh, also the intercom in here doesn’t work, it keeps cutting out. So it’s like “For your safety, it is very important that you *crackle, crackle, crackle* and don’t forget to never *crackle, crackle, crackle*. Thank you!”

Alaska - Day 7

A slower day today. Read my book, got up late.
A salmon themed tea-dance was fun, probably the most dancing I’ve done on the cruise. Good times, good show.

Oh, no, some bad people that look like our friend Mark and his partner Mike are coming to preach hate and Charlotte's Web...
Thankfully an angel that looks like our cruise director Brad is here to save the day!
 This evening we had a port of call in Victoria, B.C. I’ve been before, we bought a city tour for $20 on a double-Decker bus that was quite nice. The only negative was the bus couldn’t really stop anywhere so all the photos are blurry. They have a deer problem in Victoria, with several roaming the streets. We saw a couple and the bus slowed briefly. Very briefly.
Now I have to pack, it’s 10 pm, we have the all star finale show at 11.

The all star show was amazing, the best show of the cruise. Another great cruise, loved it.
I am going on the next one in February, to the Caribbean. Also on this cruise I booked the Baltic cruise in July 2014, Helsinki to St. Petersburg, Russia!