Wednesday, December 11, 2013

New Friends and New Adventures

It's been two years since Dexter passed on and the place he holds in our hearts will always remain. We'll never be able to replace him but that doesn't mean there isn't room in our life for another loyal loving companion. Someone to talk to when no one else will listen and who will always be there when you need them most. It turns out that Rosi and I are "dog people" and the sad fact is it's taken over two years to get to this point but now that we're here there's a gap that needs to be filled and our house needs to be a home again. (And yes, we talk to our dog in full sentences as crazy as that sounds)

Please let me introduce you to Austin, the newest addition to the Boisclair household. Austin is a four year old rescue from the Arizona Australian Shepherd Rescue Association. He lived with an elderly woman who couldn't take him when she had to move in with her daughter and he was desperately looking for a new forever home. The irony is Rosi and I actually drove over to Payson to meet the woman from the Association and to view two other potential dogs. Austin wasn't even supposed to be there. She only brought him along because he has a few behaviour issues and she thought the socialization would be good for him.

Rosi's a big believer in fate and in this case us meeting Austin must have been meant to be because it was love at first sight - in our case anyway - and the rest is history. We can't pick him up until next Monday because I'm in Dawson Creek working and his foster parents think it would be best that we're both home when he arrives so for now we're expectant Pet Parents - and we're both looking forward to Monday when our house. as nice as it is, will finally be a fur-filled home again.

And by the way, if you come for a visit, black dress pants might not be a good idea..... :-)

And now some other news....

I don't update to Facebook very often, and my blog sits idle for most of the time, but for whatever reason I like to keep a bit of a diary when I travel and this blog seems like a good way to do it. It's really more for me than anyone else but if you want to read along I'm more than happy to share my thoughts and ideas.

The Pearl of Africa.......... Uganda

In 2010 and 2011 I was fortunate to be chosen to accompany a team of credit union professionals that travelled twice to Mongolia to work with our rural credit union management counterparts over there. The trip was part of the Canadian Cooperative Association's overseas work with cooperatives abroad to fulfill their mandate to alleviate poverty through the development of the cooperative model. As some of my friends and family know it effected me greatly and more than once I've seen eyes roll and glaze over as I start telling one more story about my trip or my experience.

I'm now very pleased to say that I've been lucky enough to be accepted to join another team of credit union managers and executives traveling abroad, this time to the Pearl of Africa, Uganda. I'm leaving on January 16th on a flight that will see stops in Ottawa, Toronto and London before finally arriving at Entebbe.

I'm just old enough to remember some of Uganda's more infamous history, including Idi Amin and the famous Israeli raid so landing at Entebbe will be more than a little surreal - but I have to admit, I'm really looking forward to what I'm sure will be another fulfilling and rewarding trip. So if you're interested in one man's perspective and don't mind the odd rambling story or two, by all means check back after I leave to follow along on my next big adventure.


Sunday, January 6, 2013

Mexican Security Situation

Hi Everyone

Just thought I should post something about the drive down vis.a.vis the security situation on the roads etc. This blog is primarily for friends and family because I'm not one to use a Facebook account but in case you came across this by searching for info about driving in Mexico I'll give you my take in things.

First though, please understand this is just my opinion. I don't know anymore about what really goes on down than the next person.

We left Nogales AZ Friday morning at 8:00am and crossed into Mexio with no issues. In fact it's a non-event. For those of you that have never done it you don't actually "clear" customes at all. You basically just drive down a narrow road with a few customes officers on each side and you get to a split where there are two lanes; one for those that have something to declare and the other for those that don't. If you take the nothing to declare lane you just drive through and wham, bam, you're in Mexico.

The first thing we noticed over our last trip down two years ago was the increased traffic. Last time there was a deserted feel to the roads and it was a bit spooky but this time the roads were all busy and there was lots of other traffic. It may be because it's the end of the Christmas /New Year holiday and a lot of families were heading home but it was definitly busier.

The next thing we noticed was a significant increase in a police presence. And by this I mean a huge increase. We saw numerous checkpoints and lots of high-profile patrols. And if you think Mexican police aren’t intimidating you haven’t pulled into a gas station and stopped next to three large one-ton pickups that have been retro fitted with machine gun turrets and are full of very large Mexican Federale’s, all wearing blacked-out full combat/riot gear, all with balaclava’s and toting machine guns. These guys mean business and aren’t to be trifled with. But..... rather than scarring us it gave us a huge sense of comfort! No one bothered us and it was great to know the government is taking the situation seriously.

So, long story short.... we spent a long day on Friday and a half-day yesterday, driving the 1,100 klm from the border to Mazatlan and it was completely uneventful. No security issues at all and no problems of any kind. It’s divided highway almost the entire way, which ranged from really crappy, to less crappy and to OK – with a few Autopista stretches thrown in that are really quite good. The tolls add up though; $35CAN on Friday and another $30CAN yesterday. The alternative though, is taking the free roads which are a LOT slower and in much poorer condition.

So there you have it. We’re now in Mazatlan in a condo overlooking the ocean and our little SUV is securely parked in the parking lot waiting to be loaded with Mexican treasures we hope to buy over the next few days.

Adios Mi Amigos