Friday, June 5, 2015

A FRIDAY CHAT ( about this & that )

Well well well - I have to apologize in advance - you come for a chat and I'm in " rant " mode.
Come in anyway - please?
I need to vent.

Last week Susan from Between Naps on the Porch wrote up a post on a travel camera she had purchased for an upcoming seemed like a great camera - small - lightweight - and it comes complete with all the bells and whistles !
Travel camera?
I wanted to buy it as my regular camera !
448.00 dollars.

So I ran over to the site - and lo and behold they don't ship to Canada !

No problem - I'll just scurry over to Amazon.CA - and purchase it from there, right ?

FOR 806.00 DOLLARS ???????????????

I'm sick of this.................really I'm just sick to death of it.

We're not talking a 10% increase - we're talking - in many cases - a 100 % + mark up!
And before any of my fellow Canadians think it's the States doing it - it's also Canada doing it - many Canadian manufacturers are charging their fellow citizens much more for a product than they're charging our neighbors.............
What the hell is going on here?

AND THE GOVERNMENT IS COMPLAINING ABOUT THE LOSS OF REVENUE DUE TO CROSS BORDER SHOPPING ???  20 billion on goods alone - and that's not including the taxes that are generated on that 20 billion.

Are you freaking kidding me?
Most Canadians live within a very close distance to an American border - including yours truly -
I could go to New York or Vermont very easily.................far too easily to justify being ripped off like this.
It would take me 1 1/2 hours to be shopping in a price friendly zone.  Plus I could then fill up while I'm there because the gas is ALSO CHEAPER !

And that's exactly what I intend to do.

I would suggest my fellow Canadians do the same - check prices on bigger ticket items before purchasing.
You bet...............until this Country of mine does something about it - I'll be contributing to the US economy and saving a ton of money.
I know people that do their groceries in the U.S................

Suzan says - I'd like to go to Boston this summer
John says - That's a great idea - we can drive down
Suzan says - And Manhattan
Suzan says - And Vermont
Suzan says - And
John interrupts - WHOAH !  There's places we could go in Canada too you know
Suzan says - But I'd like to shop too.............

The ducks came back.
Remember last year -  What the duck is going on here
The pool is filthy - hopefully we start on that this weekend because I'm pretty mortified by it.
John sat out yesterday watching them like he was at a park.
I'm surprised he didn't have a bag of bread crumbs out there with him.

Suzan says - Aren't you embarrassed by this?
John says - Not at all
Suzan says - The neighbors can see it you know -
John says - You care to much about what the neighbors think
John says - Oh go blog someone.

When I was a little girl - we watched a show called Captain Kangaroo...................


But Australia takes things to a whole new level

Meet Roger -

If that's not the most terrifying thing you've ever seen - than you must be Australian !
There's just nothing cutesy about an animal that looks like Rocky .................It's got abs !

We had to book a room for someone coming to Montreal...................and then to Manhattan.
A quick phone call - that's all it should take.
Not, however, when your call is answered by someone in INDIA
Besides the fact that I could barely understand a word she was saying - she had no inkling of either city.

Lady says - Where is Mamattan , M'am
Suzan says - MANHATTAN
Lady says - Could you spell it please?
Suzan says - M -A - N - H - A - T - T - A - N ................
Lady says - Is that in Canada as well?
Suzan says - Where am I calling exactly?
Lady says - I'm in India M'am
Suzan says - Why am I calling someone in India to make hotel reservations in North America?
Lady says - Where is Manhattan M'am
Suzan says - New York - N -E - W   Y - O - R - K
Lady says - I know how to spell New York M'am
Lady says - So is the reservation for Montreal or for New York
Suzan says - It's for both - first Montreal for 3 nights and then New York for 3 nights
Lady says - New York or Manhattan M'am
Suzan says - MANHATTAN which is in NEW YORK
Lady says - Is that in the U.S.A. ?

I told her it was ok - and that I was going to book it online

And then I booked him a hotel in New Dehli..................

TIP FOR HOTEL CALL CENTERS - make sure your offshore employees have some sort of geography skills - or better yet - hire a local to take calls.  You may have to pay them more than a dollar an hour but I figure when you're charging 300 dollars and up - for a 3 star room the size of a bathroom - you can afford it.

Did I ever tell you about the time I took all the kids to Cuba?
With John and my Mom?
And we met a guy by the pool who was also from Canada - B.C. to be precise.
He was married to a beautiful Cuban girl - and they had a son.
He spent half the year in Cuba - and half in B.C.
Anyway - he invited us to a party they were having to celebrate his birthday.

I was over the top thrilled because this was going to be such an authentic glimpse into Cuban life.
The kids didn't want any part of it - so just my Mom - John and myself were going.

I got all dressed up - this was a party, remember, and I wanted to look my best.

We hopped in a taxi and off we went......................further and further away from the city center.
I can remember feeling a little frightened the further out we went.
What if this guy was a scam artist?
What were we doing ?
We didn't know him or this family from a hole in the head ....................they could rob us - kill us - and no one would ever find our bodies.

We passed dirt roads - with tumble weed blowing around - skinny mangy looking cats laying on roofs with their tails lazily swinging back and forth - feral dogs barking at the taxi - and a row of shacks all lined up impossibly close with impossibly tiny alleys beside each one.

I wanted to turn around - seriously - I wanted to turn around - except I was just as afraid of the taxi driver to be honest with you.

I stepped out from the taxi - with my high strappy sparkly sandals - long silk skirt - make up and hair - jewels hanging off me - into the biggest culture shock I'd ever had ( up to that point )

My Mother said - " well where did you think you were going - to a Hollywood event? "
John said - " you're completely overdressed "
My heart said - " run ! "

But in we went - to what was basically a dirt compound.
There were 3 or 4 shacks - all loosely connected - I think as kids got married they added on - so that the whole family was living within this " unit "

We were given the tour - and at one point a man gently pushed me into a room - to show me the newly installed toilet - I shook my head and told him that I wasn't really into " bathrooms " but he basically pushed me into this little room....................I was 100% convinced this was the place where they murdered strangers.
But no, it was indeed a bathroom - with a toilet.
It's beautiful, I told him and pushed myself back out to safety - my heart pounding.

The party was centered around a giant metal pot - sort of like paella I guess - without the seafood - resting on a fire in the middle of the compound - everyone just grabbed food out with their hands and plopped it on paper plates.

When it was time to leave we were asked if we'd like to stay to watch a cock fight -
No no - we have plans for this evening, I quickly informed them.

And off we went back to the hotel.

But I will tell you this.
These have to be the most joyous, beautiful people I have ever come across in my travels.

And I've come a long way since that trip.  St. Maarten was kind of the same.

Paris has it's architecture.
England has it's pubs.
Italy has it's food.
The Carribbean has it's music.
But Cuba?
Cuba has it's people.
And sometimes idiotic tourists.

It looks like the ban on travel will be lifted for you Americans.
Book a trip.
Havana is like stepping back in's a broken city to be sure but hauntingly beautiful.
Leave your strappy sandals and silk skirts at home though - they're not necessary


I think I'll do a post on Cuba next week so don't be surprised if you see parts of this chat repeated lol !

Ok - gotta run - we're picking up a bedroom set to be painted for a client this weekend -
Of which this is a part of

You all have a wonderful one- see you Monday !


  1. Suzan....I wish you knew just how much I look forward to your Friday chats! I seriously love them all...the serious parts and the funny ones. I spend a good portion of my time reading them laughing. Love the kangaroo....but I agree, there's nothing cute about him! They freak me out and they always look as though they would like to hurt you. I mean....look at his eyes. I will say though that I watched the sweetest viseo on youtube with my students earlier in the year after a program came to school with a baby kangaroo. It was about a man in Australia who takes in orphaned kangaroos and raises them and then releases them back into the wild. It was so sweet! Anywho, good luck on finding the camera. Is there anyone you know over the border who you could have it shipped to and then pick it up from them? That is awful how they are price gouging you in Canada! Have a beautiful day....I know I will! It's my birthday and my summer break begins today!!! And I'm having a little b-day giveaway fun on the blog today!

  2. Yeah, that price thing drives me crazy too. I bought a camera in the US For half the price I'd seen it in Canada - half price even with the exchange rate factored in. It's ridiculous. Every time I'm in the states I stock up.

    1. WHY is this legal? It's sickening really .............

  3. Suzan, I have used this company when I have been in a jam. Check them out!

    1. Thanks so much Laurayne - I've used ReShip in the past but this looks even better !

  4. I don't think I will ever get to Cuba. That was a great story!!! I hope to God you get your pool cleaned up!!! Have a good weekend!!

  5. I had SUCH a crush on Mr. Greenjeans! Always did go for older men...

    That sux about the camera ~ let me know if I can help; I'd be glad to.

  6. loved the post and you are so right about prices. You really have to shop around to get good products and price. Hope you find your camera for a better price.
    Have a great weekend and get your pool ready for summer so you can be taking a dip.

  7. Every time I see your Friday Chat posts (which I enjoy immensely) I can't believe another week has gone by! Love the Cuba story and the U. S. different pricing is really ridiculous. There seems to be no reason for it.

  8. Oooo nice armoire, bet you do a great job as always. Crazy travel adventure, really, really crazy. Glad you survived it 😎. Yes, I feel the same about US versus Cdn pricing. Free trade bullcrap is what it is. No wonder are homes are 'overvalued' as a recent report said. We're paying 2x the cost. Taxes, shipping, border fees, the grocery list goes on and on. And greed, let's slip that in there too. Dave and I shake our heads to see how the Americans can shop for a kitchen or bathroom, marble everywhere for 8 grand, including cupboards and the labour to get it installed. Rip me off, I Am Canadian. Last time I looked at a map a containership could go just as easily into Halifax, Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, as the USA ports. Makes no sense at all... now that I've ranted I'm going to make dinner in my 8x12 kitchen that cost very big bucks, too many really for the size! grumble grumble grumble xo Patty. ps Tell John not to feed the birds, they'll only bring in more wanting the same treatment! shoo shoo

  9. I hope to get to Cuba. And I miss seeing pics of the duck pond aka pool.
    I love the armoire. I already see possibilities.
    And sorry about the price changes. I have an etsy shop and feel so bad about the high cost of shipping.
    Thanks for the Friday Rants. I feel better.
    Barbara Ann / shop / barbaraannscreations

  10. No BarbaraAnn - it's not the shipping I'm talking about - the shipping costs I totally understand - this is like price gouging
    2 separate prices for the same item - one for the U.S. and one for Canada - Target was guilty of doing it here which may be part of the reason it did not do well.
    It would be like you put 2 prices on your etsy shop - one in U.S. dollars - and then one in Canadian dollars at double the value ( and I'm not talking about the exchange rate even ) simply the value of the item
    Even buying a book a Canadian author for crying out loud - will cost us more than it'll cost you guys. Something's wrong.
    You DO have to see Cuba - especially Havana - the old cars - the colors - the chippy buildings - it's a photographer's paradise !
    Have a wonderful weekend !


Due to a large amount of spam ( that I'm tired of going back to posts and deleting ) I'll be using comment moderation from now on !!!
Can I beat these spammers at their own game? Probably not - but I'm going
to try my damnedest !!!