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A People Study in Aix (or Classic French Style)

  Aix is an elegant city with extremely well-dressed people, cobblestone streets, book stores, parks, gardens, and it has the beautiful Fountain la Rotunde at the end of the Cours Mirabeau, often compared to the Champs-Elysees street in Paris. There is a cultural air in Aix, and a hint of snobbishness.   So we sat at a restaurant at the Fountain la Rotunde, sipped cool drinks, and people-watched. Here’s what we saw:     I love the way French women dress. It is always a casual yet polished look. The most obvious difference was that they often wore long scarves wrapped loosely around the … More…

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House Sitting: It’s The Little Things

  House sitting sounds easy enough – who can’t look after 3 dogs and 4 chickens on a gorgeous country property?   The problem lies in the constant tension created when you are not sure of things. Why is the dog biting himself? Why is that chicken not moving? What if that had just caught on fire? What if one of the dogs gets run over? Where is this? Where is that? Driving up and down trying to find the recycle bins, or looking for a can opener for an hour. Breaking something, however small, even a glass… What if it … More…

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Lost in Summer Palaces And Temples of Heaven

  The parks in Beijing are simply stunning!     They make parks in Canada look embarrassingly simple.   Beijing’s parks are full of themed areas with separate pathways leading to separate areas within the larger park. Each one is set in a magnificent and serene setting and unique theme.   With ponds and streams, hills and valleys, glades and gardens, rare trees, unusual flowers, the landscapes were choreographed to reflect each specific theme.   Even the scent of each theme area seemed to match the theme.  With impressive displays of wisteria, bamboo, peonies, orchids, cherry blossoms and apple blossoms, ancient cypress trees, pine … More…

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