Our Scouts are back home!

16 08 2007

They’ve been gone since July 22nd and just got back yesterday… They all came back so tanned – amazing seeing as they were in England and France with the weather mostly being overcast… Asians… they tan so easily!

Anyway, it looks like nobody got lost, injured or thrown in jail (The big 3 concerns 😉 ) and they had a generally good time.  I now have the fun of sifting through about 2000 photos that they took while there and choosing the best to show you in a photo gallery of their trip.  We already did “Part I”, but now there’s sooooo much more!

Here’s a teaser (the opening ceremonies with 40000 Scouts):

Welcome back guys!  We even saved some rain so it would feel like you were still in Europe 😉





End of 21st World Jamboree – Update from the 40th Marpole Contingent

7 08 2007

The latest from Hylands Park:

The closing ceremony is in a couple of hours and our site is now taken down.  The tents are packed and the gear is back at subcamp.  Everyone is in a mellow mood and with a few hours to go before the closing event, hugs and kisses are liberally given…badges are also trading hands fast.
 
Our Canadian clothing and backpacks are the hottest items at WSJ.  We are quite tired to have to turn people away as most of us have swapped everything we’ve got.
 
The weather is holding with sun and clouds and we are hoping for a few more hours of dryness as we are departing WSJ for Heathrow Airport at 0240 but we have to be at the Canadian HQ at 0200.  I plan to get our car early and then drive to Dover and then sleep.
 
Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the Jamboree and are looking forward to Sweden in 2011 as part of the International Service Team.
 
Listen live to Promise FM in a couple of hours for the closing ceremonies!
 
I will have more time to write as we travel to France tomorrow and have electricity! 🙂
 
I miss you all and will see you soon!  Pictures will be uploaded shortly!!
 
EAu




Happy 100th Scouting!

1 08 2007

August 1st, 2007 is the officially recognized birthday of Scouting.  We turned 100!

There are World Jamborees, National Jamborees and Provincial Jamborees going on this  year.  It’s a BIG party!

Happy 100th Scouting!

The 40th Marpole Cubs, Beavers and some Scouts will be down at the Stanley Park Sunrise Ceremony this morning.





Mid Jamboree Update from the 40th Scouts at WJ’07

31 07 2007

It seems our leader has managed to squeak in some time at the “Internet Cafe” at the World Jamboree.  His latest update:

Hi,

If it seem like I am rushing through this, I am….it’s £3.50 per hour for Internet here!

Wow!  Our first 5 days here at the 21st World Scout Jamboree has been amazing!  We had our opening ceremony on the 29th and The Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Phillip and his son, William were there.

The highlight of the opening ceremony was when all the flags were paraded in and it finally dawns on you just how many people from all over the world is here.  Amazing that we can all live together here being so close together but not around the world with so much more space…..

Weather has been great!  It drizzled a bit when we arrived but now the forecast is for sun for the next week.  The only thing I have not gotten used to is the constant wind…it’s always windy here!

For those who have not visited the site, you can get all the WJ news here:

http://eng.thejamboree.org/

You can find the WJ radio station, Promise FM [editorial note – this link was bogged down when I tried to get there], and listen to the different people being interviewed.

There are so many people from all over the world here, it is incredible.  The logistics of moving people from one place to the next is mind-boggling.  Each session is at least 2000 people…that’s almost all of the PJ participants that needs to be moved every 3 hours…for ONE event!

Those of you from HK will be interested to know that they brought 450 Scouts and 150 IST (leaders that pay to come here to do service).  There is a massive contingent from Korea and Japan as well.

We are camping with people from Mauritius and they are very nice.  Most speak English but they all speak french.  It seems most people here know how to speak french.  Funny that the official languages are both so anything from the Jamboree is done twice!

Programming started three days ago.  First was Splash! which is a water activity though there is no swimming as we are doing our activities in a reservoir.  I went sailing with the Leader from Mauritius (Benjamin) and flipped as we caught the heavy wind the wrong way.  Funny thing was that we chose the largest sailboats (5 man boats) and was told it was very hard to flip.  Henry, who sailed in the another large sailboat did fine!

Yesterday was Terraville where participating countries set up exhibitions and games for people to play.  It was a lot of fun and I thought Taiwan did the best job.  I learned how to make a dragon ball!

Jousting with horses during lunch was extra entertainment for everyone.

Today was an educational day with Trash! which is a morning activity that focuses on conservation.  The afternoon was at the Global Development Boulevard which focuses on poverty issues.

Tommy, Kyle and Devin had a great time today when they went scuba diving in the dive tank today.  The water was a bit cold but they certainly wanted to do it again.

One thing in common about this international crowd is their liking for signing….they love to sing and sing all the time.  It’s amazing and I wish we do that in Canada.

Tomorrow is the big day!  Our Sunrise Ceremony will take place at 0800 so we have to get 40000 people there starting at 0600.  It takes quite a while when there are so many people to move.  I hope everyone will be able to wake up on time!

On a side note, fish and chips here is quite good!  Showers are HOT!  Nothing like PJ here.

I will update again as soon as I can!

EAu

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Last day in Kingston-on-Thames for the 40th Marpole

26 07 2007

This may be the last dispatch we get from our Scouts abroad.  Tomorrow they head to the World Jamboree.  We don’t know what connectivity our leader in the field (or mud puddle) will have when he’s there.

After an excitement filled day in London yesterday, today was set aside for Leader meetings and packing.  The Scouts were allowed to sleep in but everyone was awake by the time my meeting finished at 1030.  For you parents who are worried about lost passports at WJ, no need to do that anymore as they will be kept in a safe at Canada House – our WJ Headquarters.

The weather seems to alternate between days here the UK and today’s turn belonged to fierce winds with occasional pelting rain.  Though the winds are a constant, the rain seems to not last for long periods of time here.

We held our daily patrol meetings as usual in the kitchen during breakfast and everyone quickly dispersed to first wash all their clothing and then package them for WJ.  One item of special concern is the red cotton t-shirts of which everyone had two.  If it had not been previously washed, it will leak red dye on contact with water.  Whether it is the rain or the sweat from the sun, we had to make sure that we rinsed the shirts so that they did not pose a threat to turn us red.

Before heading out for lunch, we threw a load of dark colours and washed our uniforms and pants.  We needed them for the formal dinner at the University tonight.  We decided to have fish and chips for lunch and the hotel reception pointed out to a little shop just down the block called the Deep Blue.  It is funny that the cod and chips were sold separately.  Each order came out to about six pounds sterling but the quality of the cod was much better than that found in Vancouver for similar pricing.  Interestingly, the tartar sauce is also a side dish and will cost you 0.25 pounds sterling for each package the next time you go.

Despite having been told that the meals are smaller here than back in Vancouver, we have not noticed that at all.  Everywhere we have been eating, we have been satisfyingly full.

After lunch, we headed across the bridge into the town of Kingston to purchase some snacks that would certainly cost more at WJ.  Armed with two bags of chips and two bottles of pop, I headed back to the residence along with the patrol. There was a short demonstration on how to set up the tents which were purchased from MEC. Then it was an afternoon of drying clothes and relaxation until the formal dinner.  We got dressed for the departure time at 1700 and headed off to the university restaurant.  It was about a ten minute walk across the campus. It was a traditional english dinner with salad and roast turkey as the appetizer.  There was so much meat that I actually thought that was the main course.  However, the main course was beef stew with potatoes and vegetables.  Dessert was bread pudding which was interesting.  We then listened to presentations by candidates on why he or she would be the best candidate to represent Canada on Brown Sea Island.  The adults were not allowed to vote but some candidates were very articulate and could have easily gotten my support.  Now, that I’m finally packed, I’m looking forward to moving onto WJ.  I hope to be able to provide another update when I am on site!There was a short demonstration on how to set up the tents which were purchased from MEC.

Then it was an afternoon of drying clothes and relaxation until the formal dinner.  We got dressed for the departure time at 1700 and headed off to the university restaurant.  It was about a ten minute walk across the campus.

It was a traditional English dinner with salad and roast turkey as the appetizer.  There was so much meat that I actually thought that was the main course.  However, the main course was beef stew with potatoes and vegetables.  Dessert was bread pudding which was interesting.

We then listened to presentations by candidates on why he or she would be the best candidate to represent Canada on Brown Sea Island.  The adults were not allowed to vote but some candidates were very articulate and could have easily gotten my support.

Now, that I’m finally packed, I’m looking forward to moving onto WJ.  I hope to be able to provide another update when I am on site!

EAu

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Pictures Available from England

25 07 2007

Big Ben - London England

Here are some of the photos taken by the 40th Marpole Scouts as they continue on their adventure in England:

http://www.slacker.ca/brian/webpics/showpix.aspx?200707WJ01

I’ve cut it down to about 80 representative shots from their first 4 days.  They have already got 300+ that they’ve taken.  Looks like they’re having a blast!

[edit 2007-07-26 – Picture link was wrong… sorry, fixed]

 





40th Marpole in Britain – Day 4, London Tour

25 07 2007

Sounds like our leader is having a hard time keeping up with the kids.  His dispatch came in at 0100 British Daylight Time…  How long will he last?

Currently, as I am busily writing up this log, your kids are refusing to go to bed and playing cards in the kitchen.  We came back from London around 2230 after a long day!  I don’t know how they could be so tired hiking through the city but wide awake now.  Oh, well, tomorrow is a sleep in day so no matter.
 
Everyone is enjoying themselves and nobody is homesick.  This group seems to gel very well and there is no one being ostracized.
 
The day started out looking bright but a seasoned Vancouverite could tell that the wet stuff was on the way.  No matter though…today is London day!  Nothing can make it less special.
 
Even with everyone playing hacky sack until curfew at 11:00pm the night before, all of our members made it for our 0800 continental breakfast and morning patrol meeting.  We were all excited to see what London had to offer and quickly made sure we were packed and ready for the elements.
 
We met in the lobby at 0900 to pick up our London Passes and all-day transit card.  The prepaid London Pass will get us into key London attractions for free.  Our Scouts had picked some activities they had wanted to do such as bowling, arcades, seeing the aquarium and going to the zoo.  With so many other authentic London attractions, I do not know if we could fit all of those in one day.
 
With our passes in our hands, we headed off in our patrol in search for London excitement but first we have to get there by rail.  This is our first taste of London’s public transit and the national rail service seemed like all the rest and ran on time.
 
As we got into the heart of London, we were surprised that there was not more highrises….actually, there are not really any highrises.  Most buildings were between 6 to 10 stories tall and most of them looked to be hundreds of years old but were well taken care of.
 
Our first stop is the Changing of the Guards at Buckingham Palace.  Our original plan was to take the subway there to get there sooner with a better view of the ceremony.  Another PL that we bumped into on the train convinced me to walk instead.  As with all things, there are tradeoffs.  The good side of it was that as we made our way through the heart of London, we crossed over on the Waterloo Bridge which led to Big Ben and the Parliament buildings.  Even though, we have seen Big Ben and the rest of the British landmarks a thousand times, it was a bit surreal to see them in person.
 
Within ten minutes of being in London, we had seen all those plus the London Eye, Westminster Abbey, and The River Thames.  The weather was perfect with intermittent sun and a nice breeze.
 
Seeing and taking photos of these monuments, of course, had slowed us down.  When we got to Buckingham, it seemed the entire tourist population had arrived.  Needless to say, we had a poor view of the ceremonies and as a result, everyone gave it a poor rating.
 
Next was to Harrods’, the world famous department store.  We had wanted to go there for lunch but with ham costing $8 for a hundred grams and a prepared sandwich costing 15 pounds, we had second thoughts about eating there.  Besides, the security was a bit hoity-toity and limited us to only 4 youths to one adult and did not allow us to shop together.  I guess they realized we weren’t real customers anyway.
 
It was very neat to see Scouts from every part of the globe doing what we are doing.  We met Scouts from Japan, Australia, Brazil, Poland, Germany and Trinidad-Tobago to name a few.
 
Lunch, instead of a fancy sandwich, was a fancy Big Mac….which tasted the same as in Canada.  I say that because the McChickens are totally different….better meat but horrible McChickens sauce.
 
After that, we took the subway back to the British Airways London Eye and the Aquarium.  Tommy really wanted to go on the Eye, the world’s largest ferris wheel but because it is a pay attraction, nobody else wanted to go.  In the end, Tommy cost me 15 pounds (but only 7.50 pounds for him as a youth) and the rest went to the Aquarium.  It is quite the huge ferris wheel and you are so incredibly high in the scale of things.  All in all, I would chalk it up to a “once in a lifetime” experience…but just once. 🙂
 
Afterwards, Tommy and I had a quick whirlwind tour of the Aquarium as it was a London Pass free attraction.  I have to say, the Vancouver aquarium is much much better.
 
Next was the Tower Bridge – the draw bridge most commonly mistaken as the London Bridge.  We were lucky as we arrived in time to see it being raised.  We took a tour of the workings of the bridge and it was interesting to note that it took 8 years before they settled on the concept for the bridge.
 
After that, we got back into the subway and it was onto Piccadilly Circus – the shopping hub and busiest part of London.  This is definitely the most exciting part of London with huge neon lights and 40 foot TV screens.  The streets were packed with moving cars and trucks and what seemed like thousands of people weaving through them to get across the street.  Luckily, everyone one in my patrol had been to large cities such as Seoul, Hong Kong and Beijing so everyone was calm in dealing with the traffic.
 
After a taste of the big city and a sip of Starbucks coffee, we were ready to head down to Chelsea for dinner.  I had wanted to show the youths the Chelsea FC stadium and have famous fish and chips at the hotel beside it.  But after hiking for 30 minutes at a good clip as someone in our patrol had decided to get one stop earlier than required, we found out the restaurant was under renovations!  Disappointed was a mild phrase to describe most of our reactions.  This was of course only a momentary divergence from our usual cheerfulness and soon returned when we found a recommended burger joint right inside the train station that we needed to take home.  We did get a good picture outside of the Chelsea FC.
 
After our deliciously juicy burgers, we headed downstairs and took the subway home.  I have to say, everyone is great at reading the subway lines and how to get to different places.  On the side, the underground subway looks exactly the same as in HK…even the tiles are the same!
 
All in all, London proved to be an amazing city and it obviously cannot be seen in one day.  I think the youths, though they may not realized it quite yet, will appreciated being here despite our hectic schedule.  With their laughter that I hear coming from the kitchen right now, somehow I don’t think their aching feet bothered them too much after all.  My aching back though is a different story. 🙂
 
Tomorrow is a sleep in day for the youths but a morning meeting for me.  The day is devoted to WJ prep as we go through the gear that we will be using and work on our performances to show the rest of the world.
 
The real deal is about to begin….
 
EAu




40th Marpole Scouts in Britain – Day 3

24 07 2007

Latest dispatch from our leader in the field:

Yes, due to the flight times, yesterday was both Day 1 and 2.
 
Sunny and warm!  A 180 degree change from yesterday’s cold and rainy (although typical London weather) reception.
 
This jammed packed Day 3 began early at 0900 where we all hopped on the bus and headed upriver so we can ride along the Thames to Windsor Castle.  For those who haven’t seen it on the news, last week was quite wet in the UK.  A lot of the places in the country were flooded and indeed a few businesses in Windsor were doing restorations.  Anyway, due to the rising Thames, the cruise boats were no longer allowed to operate and we had to change plans quickly at the boating docks.
 
Instead, of cruising, we would be taken to Windsor Castle by bus which got us there about 90 minutes quicker than the boats.  First, though, we headed across the highway to the site where the Magna Carta was signed back in 1225.  The signing of the Magna Carta is viewed as the defining moment of the birth of democracy in England.  Our guys though it was very neat to be standing on such a historic place.  Near the monument was an oak tree planted using soil brought back from Jamestown, Virginia – the first permanent british settlement in North America.
 
Next stop: Windsor Castle…by bus.  This turned out to be a better tradeoff than the cruise as it allowed us more time to explore the area surrounding Windsor Castle which is the town of Eton….also home to the most famous high school in the world where one year’s schooling is worth 35000 pounds.
 
The massive walls and towers of Windsor Castle could be seen long before we reached the bus parking lot.  I don’t think I have seen so many tour buses in one place!  The Boy Scouts of America were also touring the Castle but they had 1200 people compared to our 200 going through it today…which is only half of the BSA contingent.
 
Lunch was catered at the parking area at 1230.  Everyone wolfed down the meal to get a quick start on the castle itself. \n\u003cdiv\> \u003c/div\>\n\u003cdiv\>The Windsor Castle is definitely a work of art.  It is both massive and grand…as Daniel puts it, "It's everything you would expect from a castle."  It certainly did not disappoint if you had the patience of walking through the whole thing. :)\u003c/div\>\n\u003cdiv\> \u003c/div\>\n\u003cdiv\>By the time we got to St. George's Cathedral, only Henry and I were left standing but the place was magnificent.  We sat and just stared at the ceiling and carvings for at least 10 minutes.  It was a very special to see all the current and past people who have been knighted along with the intricate handiwork throughout the cathedral.\u003c/div\>\n\u003cdiv\> \u003c/div\>\n\u003cdiv\>I have to admit that by this time around 1600, I was pretty much as tired as everyone else.  We headed back to the bus and came back to Kingston University.\u003c/div\>\n\u003cdiv\> \u003c/div\>\n\u003cdiv\>After a quick wash and change of clothing, we headed to town for dinner.  Daniel and I had fish and chips while Henry and Tommy had a nice sirloin steak.  Kyle and Devin had a kebab each which they thought was awesome.  Dinner came out to about 60 pounds and was paid for by Scouts Canada.\u003c/div\>\n\u003cdiv\> \u003c/div\>\n\u003cdiv\>Now, it's 2215 and the Scouts are all showered but are playing hacky sack in the hall.\u003c/div\>\n\u003cdiv\> \u003c/div\>\n\u003cdiv\>Tomorrow, we are off to London!  It'll be even more jammed packed and with even more walking than today…I don't know how much more of this exercise I can take!! :)\u003c/div\>\n\u003cdiv\> \u003c/div\>\n\u003cdiv\>Photos will be ready soon!\u003c/div\>\n”,0]
);

//–>

 
The Windsor Castle is definitely a work of art.  It is both massive and grand…as Daniel puts it, “It’s everything you would expect from a castle.”  It certainly did not disappoint if you had the patience of walking through the whole thing. 🙂
 
By the time we got to St. George’s Cathedral, only Henry and I were left standing but the place was magnificent.  We sat and just stared at the ceiling and carvings for at least 10 minutes.  It was a very special to see all the current and past people who have been knighted along with the intricate handiwork throughout the cathedral.
 
I have to admit that by this time around 1600, I was pretty much as tired as everyone else.  We headed back to the bus and came back to Kingston University.
 
After a quick wash and change of clothing, we headed to town for dinner.  Daniel and I had fish and chips while Henry and Tommy had a nice sirloin steak.  Kyle and Devin had a kebab each which they thought was awesome.  Dinner came out to about 60 pounds and was paid for by Scouts Canada.
 
Now, it’s 2215 and the Scouts are all showered but are playing hacky sack in the hall.
 
Tomorrow, we are off to London!  It’ll be even more jammed packed and with even more walking than today…I don’t know how much more of this exercise I can take!! 🙂
 
Photos will be ready soon!




40th Marpole at the World Jamboree

23 07 2007

This dispatch just in from Britain (make sound of morse teletype in your mind):

Hi,
 
Just a note to let you all know that we arrived safely!  I am so tired now….it’s 11:30pm and most of us haven’t slept for days.  Everyone is in bed now.
 
The rooms here at the university is great!  The Canadian Service Team has certainly done a great job!  Hard to believe they are volunteers.  Everyone gets a private room.  Devin’s one is huge!  Each patrol has a lounge/kitchen to heat things up or make a snack.  Plus, internet connection…though the kids don’t know this yet and even the Service team doesn’t know cause I asked them about it.  I just tried plugging my laptop to the Cat 5 outlet and it worked!
 
Everyone is having a great time and most have zeroed in on the girls.  🙂
 
If I didn’t have to travel so far, I’d swear that this place is the same as Vancouver….same temperature, greenery, air….it’s a cool showery day today.
 
Kingston is a small town about 30 minutes outside of London by the underground subway.  It’s feels really safe and there should be no problems here at all.  Most of the stores here we can find in Vancouver.
 
Will send you some pictures once I get that ready.  Also, will update you again tomorrow….after we go yachting up the Thames River to Windsor Castle.  Hopefully, the Queen will be there to greet us! 😛
 
EAu




Look out Britain!

23 07 2007

As the title says – Look out Britain!  The 40th Marpole scouts have left Vancouver and landed at Heathrow!

First lesson of air travel:  Light cylindrical objects (like foam sleeping pads) will roll off conveyor belts.  (One foamy will be joining them later!)

On Sunday, after many days of preparations, checking, rechecking, packing and repacking, five of our scouts and one of our leaders headed out to Britain to take part in the World Jamboree.  First they will take part in a 5 day “Canadian Contingent pre-camp” and then it will be off to the Jamboree celebrating 100 years of scouting.   After the 10 day Jamboree they will be touring France and Belgium for 7 days before returning home.

If you are likely to be in France or Belgium (or happen to be a french or Flemish scout reading this) drop me a comment.  Perhaps you and our scouts might meet up.

Their itinerary for the post-jamboree time is:

Aug 8     Bus back to Heathrow Airport and pick up rental van (0900)

                Drive to Dover and take ferry to Calais (1200)

                Arrive in Calais, France (1345)

                Drive to Vimy and tour Vimy Ridge monument (1500)

                Hostel: Hotel Belazur in Calais

 

Aug 9     Drive to Bruges and visit WW beaches along the way

                Arrive in Bruges (1200)

                Rent bikes and tour city/lunch (UNESCO World Heritage Site: Historic Centre)

                Ride out to the beach (1400)

                Canal boat ride (1630)

                Hostel: Passage in Bruges

 

Aug 10  Drive to Brussels

                Arrive in Brussels (1200)

                Lunch/city tour/visit chocolate factories

                UNESCO Sites: La Grand-Place and Major Town Houses of the Architect Victor Horta

                Visit malls/shopping (1600)

                Hostel: Gite d’Etape in Brussels

 

Aug 11  Belgium Waffles for breakfast

                Visit/brief hike at Parc Naturel Regional Nord-Pas-de-Calais (1100)

                Drive to Reims

                Lunch at one of the small towns along the way (1330)

                Arrive in Reims (1500)

                City tour/UNESCO Site: Cathedral of Notre-Dame (1600)

                Hostel: CIS de Champagne in Reims

 

Aug 12  Arrive in Paris (1200)

                City tour (Eiffle Tower, Champs-Elysees, etc.)

                UNESCO site: Banks of the Seine

                Hostel: Square Caulaincourt in Paris

               

Aug 13  Visit Louvre Museum

                Visit malls/shopping

                Hostel: Square Caulaincourt in Paris

 

Aug 14  Visit UNESCO site: Palace and Parks of Versailles (0900)

                Leave Paris (1000)

    Arrive in Dieppe (1130)

                Lunch and visit beaches (1200)

                Drive to Calais (1300)

                Ferry to Dover (1525)

                Arrive in Dover (1700)

                Drive to Heathrow and check in at hostel(1830)

                Drop off minivan at airport

                Take tube into London (2000)

                Hostel: Heathrow Budget Rooms

If it looks like you’re in the same area and time as they are, and might want to meet.  I’ll see what I can do to coordinate.








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