Thursday, March 3, 2016

Winter in Winnipeg part 6

I'm back in Hong Kong. The flight from Hong Kong to Toronto was on time, but the flight from Toronto to Winnipeg was two and a half hours late. That's not a lot of time when you're flying to the other side of the planet, but you notice the difference between arriving at 11pm and 1:30am after 18 hours on planes. I'm glad I picked a hotel right next to the airport. The flight out of Winnipeg left in the morning, so even with delays I was going to get home at a reasonable hour. But, naturally, those flight were all on time. We actually landed in Hong Kong half an hour early.

It was an interesting trip. I've never flown across the world for a funeral before. It was more emotional than a standard vacation, but I enjoyed spending time with Lily and I got to see more of Winnipeg than I ever thought I would. It's never been on my list of places to see, but it's one of those cities that has a lot more to it than you expect, especially when you have a native showing you around.

Lily took me to a lot of places, but one of the most interesting was the Forks, arguably Winnipeg's main downtown place to see and be seen. It's named after the bend where the two rivers meet and it's where Winnipeg was founded. Today, it's basically the city's main public square. It's the starting point for a wide variety of outdoor activities, has the city's main market, a couple of museums and a few theaters. It's Winnipeg's Times Square and Central Park combined into one much smaller and far less crowded site.

In warmer weather, there's a long walking and bicycle path along the river. At times like this, it's a frozen wonderland of ice skating, cross country skiing, toboggan runs and any other winter activity people can think of.

We looked at the market, and pretty much everything else, but we spent most of our time skating. I don't remember the last time I went ice skating. We both grew up with it, but now we live in a place where there's never an inch of snow. If you want frozen water, you have to take it out of the refrigerator.

It was mostly sunny on the day we went, with a few clouds here and there, so there were more people than the rest of the week. It snowed the day before we went and was overcast the day after. Everyone knew this was the best time to be out on the river.

Not only was the river far more frozen than you'll ever see in Hong Kong, but it was much colder. Lily's been in Winnipeg for a month, so she's used to it, but I had to adjust. I grew up with real winters, but this is the first time in years I've seen thermometers read negative in both celsius and fahrenheit. I saw one with -24°C/-11°F. After skating around for a while, I didn't even notice. It was a beautiful sunny day.

We also went to a place called Sky Zone. It's a huge indoor space, basically the size of a warehouse, with large trampolines everywhere. There are different zones for different trampoline activities. They have sports on trampolines, games on trampolines and exercise on trampolines. The trampolines are huge and can fit enough people to play a game of trampoline volleyball.

Safety is a big issue at this place, so you can only go on trampolines based on your size and age. In other words, Lily & I were not bouncing around with children or sumo wrestlers. It's a family place, but you can't really do everything with your entire family. But it's all indoors, which is great on days when the sun refuses to shine. It didn't snow much while I was there, but most days were overcast and it never got above freezing.

Since living in Hong Kong, I've taken trips to Paris in spring, Europe and Japan in autumn, The United States, Japan and Thailand in summer and Bali in winter, which was technically their summer. The closest I've ever come to a winter trip was Tokyo in November. The coldest it got was 10°C/50°F and it only rained once. Until now. I left Minnesota right after a blizzard and haven't seen anything even close to a real winter since going to Winnipeg. Canada reminded me of home.


  1. For me, snow is so weird after living in South China so long

  2. I'm still getting used to hot winters.


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