Watergius's Journal

The world as I see it

Category Archives: life in Canada

Churchill – Polar Bear Capital of the World

October 24th – October 28th

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It was a 16 hours train ride from Thompson, city where I live now, to go to Churchill, which is so far, the farthest north that I’ve been to. It’s not the distance that makes it so long, but the speed of the train that makes you feel that you could bike your bicycle even faster. The rail is not straight, that’s what they said they reason is, and it’s seems legit. Anyway, the train ride was not that bad. The train is clean, has an electrical plug, has a restaurant, plus, I left Thompson around 5 pm which mean I slept almost all the way to Churchill.

There’s an unique thing happen if you’re about to arrive in Churchill Train Station : the train will start move backward. My guess is it has something to do with the way people built this rail in the first time or maybe, they want to flip the locomotive now so that when the train leave, it could leave Churchill without have to do it anymore. Anyway, despite of what the reason is, we arrived in Churchill the next day (Oct 25th) an hour faster, which is something that happened rarely, according to some people.

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We had breakfast in a place called Seaport while resting and waiting till it’s time for us to check in. Then, after had our stomach full, we headed to our hostel called Polar Bear Bed and Breakfast, where we stayed for two nights.

Polar Bear Bed and Breakfast

The place is clean and neat. The host was also friendly. It’s owned by a man named Don Gould, that lives with his wife and their little daughter, Hana. Little Hana was so funny and active that she will literally try to get your attention everytime you knock on their door, asking for something or simply just want to talk with her mother. The price was decent too, at least for a polar bear season like this I think. Plus, they give you coupon to have breakfast in Gypsy’s Bakery, which is like this famous place to eat in town.

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Churchill Chamber of Commerce or for short let’s say tourist information center, was the place that we visit after we put all our stuff. There, we were welcomed by a friendly lady that told us quite few things to do in Churchill. Polar Bear tour is number one of course, which was the reason we went there. But beside that, she also mentioned other things, including the best place to eat and drink. And the last thing, she explained a little bit about what to do if we encounter polar bear because polar bear have known roaming around the town. There’s no exact thing to do exactly once you face to face with this animal. But, if you’re quite far, at least you know not to do stupid thing or at least you know that you could get into houses or cars. She told us that here in Churchill there’s an open door policy, which means that Churchill residents never lock their car or door so that when someone encounter polar bear, they can find shelter by getting into a car or house.

guest book in Churchill Chamber of Commerce

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Eskimo museum is one of the place to see. They have a quite collection over there. If you ever watched Human Planet, you would have known about Narwhal. A legendary whale that has horn, just like unicorn, at least that’s what I thought until the man that work in that museum explained more about it to us. After his explanation, I realized that I was totally wrong all this time. What I thought as a horn is not a horn at all, it’s a tooth. And their position usually a little bit to the left, because it’s usually a left tooth. It’s such a good thing to learn more about this northen animal as they are fascinating and rare.

narwhal tooth and kayak that is used to hunt them

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Lazy Bear Lodge Cafe was the place that we went to to have a dinner. Why this place? Because they serve moose and one of my friend really want to taste it. So, we came to this place around 7 pm, got seated, and then we had this lady to serve us with our order. As is done in most restaurant, she asked us first what we want to drink. And this was where funny thing happened.

So, earlier after we visited the eskimo museum and another museum in the train station, we came to this restaurant to book our seat. After booked it, we also asked about whether they serve alcohol or not, and they clearly said no. But for some reason, this night when this lady asked my friend what to drink, my friend said beer and this lady wrote something in his note. Since I (or we) knew that they don’t serve alcohol, I said to that lady again that my friend ask for a beer, just in case if she didn’t hear it clearly. She nodded as if she heard it clearly. Okay, they serve alcohol then, that’s what I thought as this lady left our table and prepare our order. Then, not long after that, she came with our drink. Me and the other two of my friends got what we want. But, this friend of mine that order beer got something that he would never imagined : he got a class of milk. Hahaha. It was a funny moment because then he refused it and asked a glass of water instead. Because of this “misunderstanding”, we kind of tease him for a while by saying ‘MILK.”  Lol

Except for that small mistake, over all that lady did her job really good. She’s friendly and smile a lot. And the food there was delicious too. The moose was good. The steak that I ordered was good. We had such a good dinner. A good dinner to face the cold windy weather outside that we have to face in order to go to this famous pub, Tundra Pub.

lazy bear lodge restaurant

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The next day we left town for Great White Bear Tour’s buggy around 7.45 am. The place where this tour park their buggies is almost an hour drive from the town, quite in the middle of the wild. After boarded the buggy, we then asked to sign a paper that said we all responsible for our own action and none to blame but ourself. Well, it seems this is a serious busineess dealing with this animal Eh. Anyway, after all signed the paper, we left for the wild.

Finding bear in this wide tundra is not an easy job. If you don’t know where to find or if it’s not the right time, you could spend all day and still found nothing. But, this tour that I went with, has a lodge close to Hudson Bay and that’s where we went. And in the surrounding area where this lodge located, we saw three polar bears.

They are cute, funny, and make you wanna pet them, but they are really dangerous. They are huge and they can kill you in an instant. They are fast too despite their big size. They are just fascinating and saw them here, in the wild, was just such an amazing experience.

three polar bears playing

who’s the mightiest ?

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After spent all day yesterday visited the polar bears, except the night part (for sure) where we went to this Tundra Pub (again) because apparently they have good food too… plus good drink of course, anyway, today we had no clear plan to do. Actually we were thinking of going with this tour to see historic places around Churchill, but the tour was already full booked and we were too late. Then, we tried to rent a car, but none was available too. We were stuck here in the town, waiting for our train which was still in more than ten hours.

After discussing and think it through, we then decided to pay a visit to Cape Merry. Cape Merry is… I don’t know exactly, but according to Lonely Planet Review, Cape Merry is “ A lone cannon behind a crumbling wall is all that’s left of the battery built at Cape Merry, 2km northwest of town. It’s an incredibly beautiful location in its own right and, during summer, belugas can be seen from the shore.”
The reason behind this ignorance of mine is because we didn’t really step our foot on this historic place.

From Churchill to Cape Merry the distance is around 2 km. It’s not that far actually that you could not walk to it. But, since the month were bear’s season, you are forbid to walk there. And moreover, the wind is so strong there that the temperature could drop more than 10 degree of the real temperature. But, we ignored all those facts and we still walked there, at least till a place where we saw a sign written on a rock that said Cape Merry.

We were asked to turn around and should not continue walking by a bear patrol. Not once, but three times. We ignored it twice, until we couldn’t handle the cold anymore, and then decided to walk back. But even so, we still stopped by this deserted houses near shores, which was so cool I think.

one of the deserted house on Hudson Bay shore

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After more that two hours roamed the shores, we then went to grap all our stuff and headed to Gypsy’s Bakery to spend the rest of our few hours before our train left.

gypsy’s bakery sign

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Snow, forest, and sunshine are a great combination : it transformed the forest into a beautiful portrait. I couldn’t stop my self from seeing it and captured it.

the view just before we entered Thompson

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Agus Praditya T

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potluck, tumpeng, and fun

Saturday, September 29th

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A day earlier we decided to make tumpeng as a food that we will bring for the potluck this evening. Tumpeng, a tradisional Indonesian food that we all love to eat, but don’t have a clue of how to make it.

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-> We cooked the rice with turmeric, coconut milk, salt, cinnamon, and few bay-leaves. It didn’t turn out good. 😦  The rice was still raw, probably because all that we use to cook it was coconut milk.

hm, this was definitely still raw… our two testers gave their opinion

-> The other rice cooker that we use had good result. It had less coconut milk in there, probably half and half with the water. See how they checked it …

now we know what we did wrong with the other one

-> We then cooked another bowl of rice with a right composition. After it cooked, now it’s time to shape it like tumpeng.

c’mon, press it harder …

-> Now we had it half finish. Hmm, what else do we need to put there?

will it hold like that? or will it fall down?

-> Be creative and decorate it the way you like … and, don’t forget to put rendang there..

that looks nice.. and yummy too…

-> NOW, what are we gonna do with the failed cooked rice and the leftover of this rendang? Hm, we know, why don’t we mix them together. It’s gonna taste good…

let’s eat guys.. – picture by Ian

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The potluck started by cutting the top of the tumpeng (and gave it to the oldest person there) …

let the feast begin … – picture by Ian

-> enjoying the beautiful sunset at Paint Lake

sunset at Paint Lake, Thompson MB ©Agus

-> made ghost effect picture

hmm, it feels like there’s someone near me…

-> And finally it’s time to go home. It’s such a wonderful day..

let’s fly back home with my broom.. – picture by Ian

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Agus Praditya T

walk in her shoes

Saturday, September 15th

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If one day in the future, I walk with a woman and she is walking with her high heels. Then, she starting to slow down a bit, trying to fix her shoes. By that time I will smile and tell her to take her time cause I know how it feels.

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This morning me and my friends joined a walk for a mile. But it’s not a regular walk because all of the participants are men and they’re both wearing the same shoes, high heels.

come one guys, we can do it..

This event/walk that we did was held by YMCA Thompson with a purpose to raise awareness for woman, as well as to raise money for poor/homeless people in Thompson, MB.

be a man …

Long story short, walked with high heels for a mile was really painful (personal opinion). I couldn’t imagine how girls/women can do it and still be able to do something else along way. It’s really amazing.

almost 2 inch high heels..

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Agus Tampubolon

Where is the remote?

Got this from my friend here in Thompson, Manitoba …

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Taken at the Shamattawa dump in Manitoba

it’s time to relax

hmm, I think I’ll watch TV …

but where is the remote ???

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Agus Praditya T

problem solving flowchart

found this picture in my colleague’s office…

this is the way to do it…

3 languages, 5 days, lots of memories

August 12th – August 17th

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“Huuh… hahhh…”

“goooo…… ” ….  ” Ironfist…..”…………

IRONFIST

Each clan tried to show that they’re the best that night by trying to win the game called Exceleron. Each clan has two or three members and they have to work together to collect 650 credits (money) in order to win the game. How to get the credits? By exchanging information and trade something with other clan. Then, with that specific information and things, you can trade it with the “game master” in order to get some credits.

The game was not as easy as it sounds. In the end, only one team made it to win the game, with the other clans credits quite far behind them…

“Why was it so difficult to win the game ??”, Bill, the host of the game aka game master, asked us.

Because we didn’t share the information that we got with the other clan was the main reason. Each clans want to win by themselves and not win together. We cooperated, but we limited the information that we share so that our clan can win but not theirs. And apparently that’s not the way you supposed to do it. Not only in this game, but it’s also apply in working places : between colleagues, departments, or even company branches.

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Safe-Production, two words that stand together as one : do the work safely but keep producing. That’s what we learned the next day. In short, in our company this action can be applied by following these steps : Plan, Lead, Care, and Accept. Plan your action, what might happened and how to prevent it. Lead by example and by doing the right things. Care with each other and don’t afraid to remind your colleagues of their unsafe behavior. Accept all the boundaries, all the things that you cannot change but you must aware with.

Working with people means that you must be able to present your idea clearly and effectively. That is why, in that day we also learned Presentation Technique. So, how to make a good presentation? Simple answer. Don’t put words in your presentation, at least don’t fill all your presentations with words. As a quotation that we got that day said : The best presentation is a presentation without words.

Michael Kelly – ©Migashco

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Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) was what we learned the next day. Basically this is a method to know someone preferences so that we can understand them better. And in organization, the impact could result in determining suitable position for each person, even though it’s not 100% right.

MBTI can be used to know someone’s preferences – ©Migashco

Introduction to Type by Isabel Briggs Myers published by CPP. Inc. Used with permission

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Another important things in organization that we cover the next day was about Communication Skills, Conflict Management, and Active Listening. From all those materials, one that I remember the most was Active Listening, and that was because of a show ” Everybody Loves Raymond”..  that we watched there 🙂

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Thursday was the most exciting day of all. That day we applied almost all that we learned during those past few days in real action. We did indoor simulation to test our team work, plan, care, support, and also to learn how to be a follower and to be an instructor to reach a goal. Then, in the afternoon, we did a kind of race (almost like Amazing Race) in Blue Mountain Village which tested our knowledge about Vale and also about team work.

Blue Team – Go Blueberries !!!

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Night came that day and it’s became our last night there. Staying and learning together those past few days left great memories. Memories of new friendship, of working partner, of fun and craziness, and of our togetherness. And that night was also the last night that some of us might see our super-busy and cool HR Coordinator, Shelly Steffler.

Bill and Mike sang a song

enjoying the moment

Goodbye Shelly – taken by Ian Lubis

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Thanks to Michael Kelly and Bill from Migashco for their material

four days three night in Montréal and Ottawa (2)

Sunday, August 5th

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Water drops fell one by one from the sky as we entered Ottawa. It was already around 2 pm that day and there was no sign that sun gonna shine in a short time.

After checked in, put our stuff in the room, and rested for a while, we decided to go out despite the unfriendly weather. The area around parliament building was our first destination and from a parking lot around that place (which was free on Sunday), we walked quite far, took picture, had dinner, and watched several street performances across the town.

Rideau Water Canal Ottawa © Agus

one of the building in the city © Agus

 

In front of the parliament building we took pictures (as usual) while enjoying that beautiful place. Then, suddenly the rain got harder and wild, and we had to run and look for shelter as everybody else did.. During this raining there was something that caught my attention, a street performance by there women. They were doing like some kind of acrobatics in the air while it’s still raining. It’s a good show and full of risks, especially in the rain like that. And as I saw the show, I also noticed there were some spectators that watched them from close distance and ignored the water that kept coming to them.

street performance in the rain

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The rain finally got bored, stopped, and let the sky turned bright and clear. We looked at the watch and it’s already time to find a place to have dinner. The original plan was to find a China or Asian restaurant that offer buffet dinner. But since none of us had a clue of where about a place like that near our location (plus we had walked quite a distance), we decided to stop at a Ramen restaurant and had dinner there. And it was a good decision. The food was good, the portion was big, and the price quite was reasonable too. Too bad I can’t remember what the name was or where it’s located anymore.

After finished dinner, our plan was originally to go to the Parliament Building and see it in full of lamps and light. But, during the way there, we saw few street performances where one of them was the one that I saw in Toronto few months a go. What a small world.

lady with her fire © Agus

juggling in height (the same guy that did juggling in Toronto when I was at Dundas Sq. few months ago)

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We didn’t make it to the Parliament Building that night. We’re too tired and our bed seems to be the only place that we wanted to go to. So we fasten our walk and headed straight back to the parking lot where we parked our car for hours for free. And in a fountain near the parking lot we then saw a group of teenagers that apparently still enjoy the night.

party in the night

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The next day we woke up around 8.30 am. Then we had breakfast, took a bath, checked out, and headed to Ottawa War Museum.

what is war ?

The museum was our first stop because after that we had to be in Canadian Bungee Jumping spot for a bungee jumping. The place was quite difficult to find at first because we got lost few times. Then, after called the Bungee and got more information about their exact position, we finally got there smoothly and on time for the jump.

Only one of my friend that decided to jump along with me. But thanks to them who didn’t jump, we ended up got quite a beautiful photos of us did the jump…

The jump was fantastic. Full of adrenalin but fun. 2 minutes that I will never forget. If I got a chance one day, I would definitely do it again, and will do it with style.

bungeeeee !!!!

***

Agus Praditya T

 

four days three night in Montréal and Ottawa (1)

Thursday, August 2nd

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Tomorrow we leave at 4.30 am,  that’s how we concluded our meeting that night. So, these past few nights we’ve had meetings discussing about our plan to go to Montreal and Ottawa. There were only one week left before our togetherness here in Sudbury ended and so we wanted to spend it by visiting places in Canada. Visiting a country without visiting its capital feels incomplete, that’s the reason why we came up with Ottawa. As for Montreal, who doesn’t want to go there. Besides, there were long weekend too at the time when we planned to go there. So, we’re going to have pretty much enough time to cover those two places.

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I woke up at 4.45 am the next day after heard the alarm in my room. I set it up for 4.45 the night before didn’t realize that I set it up for a wrong time. So, that morning I was thinking that I woke up at a right time, 15 minutes before 4 am. But, I wasn’t aware of that not until later when I wanted to had breakfast and my friend called me.

“Where the heck are you ?” he asked.

Still didn’t realize that I was already late, I answer calmly “I’m in my room just about to have my breakfast.”

“What??? It’s already 5.10 and everybody already waited down here,” he said later.

“Don’t joking man, “ I replied while checking at my watch. But look like he said the truth. Since I was still in the state of mind where I assumed I woke up 15 minutes before 4, I felt kind of chill in the back of my neck at that time. Did I just loose one hour of my life without realizing it, I was thinking about that all the time while hurried up took all my stuff down and met my unhappy friends.

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Around 2 pm we arrived in Laval, one hour from Montreal where we booked our hotel. We’re using our Hilton points and hotel here is the only available place (read : cheap enough) where we can spend it and still left some of it for another purpose. We then rested for an hour and ready to start the sight-seeing.

Sky Venture was the first place that we went to. We got inside, look how the venue was, checked the price, and then decided whether it’s reasonable enough or not. Few of us started to say that they’re not interested in doing this. One said that it’s not challenging enough, and since he said that, I asked him to join me for bungee jumping which then led us for another trip that led to thrilling action, but let’s not get into that yet.

So, the plan to do sky venture was then canceled and we headed straight to the downtown of Montreal which we assume was the area around Notre-Dame and Old Port.

Notre Dame © Agus

The Notre-Dame was awesome. We even planned to get inside and watch the show that they called “The Show of Light’, which tells the story about this magnificent church and the history of Montreal too. The show was great. The lighting and sound was perfectly matches with the story. And of course, the interior of the church itself amaze us.

inside Notre-Dame © Agus

That night there was a fireworks festival too. But, it was so crowded and we couldn’t find place to park our car. And so, we only saw a glimpse of it from the car and headed back to our hotel not long after.

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The next day we left hotel around 8.30 am and headed to the highest point in Montreal, Mount Royal. They say that you can see all Montreal from here. But, since we didn’t manage to find it that morning we decided to go to the Fine Arts museum first and will ask people the direction from there.

It’s free to enter the museum when we went there. We only need to donate an amount of money as we want and we did it once for the six of us.

I don’t know at all about art, that is the truth. I don’t know how a picture with only one line in the middle to separate different colors can be that special. Not only paintings, there are different modern sculptures too that I don’t understand what the mean is. I am not just into these kinds of things I guess.

Anyway, after done with the museum we managed to find the way to Mount Royal. We went there for a while, took pictures, and then headed to Montreal Botanical Garden.

Montreal from Mount Royal © Agus

The garden was beautiful. At one spot you will feel as if you’re in China. Then in short time you can easily move to Japan or even to rain forest. It’s amazing how they can have that kind of big garden almost in the center of the town.

Montreal Botanical Garden © Agus

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Palais des congrès de Montréal was the next place that we hit. Actually, we were searching for an entrance to the underground shopping center, but since we saw lots of young people dressed in anime clothes in that place, we changed our mind. We decided to see what’s going on there and ended up taking pictures of that cosplay or had our own pictures taking while posing with them. It was fun especially when you have your favorite anime character and you try to find it just to take picture with it. At least that’s what happened with me.

Cosplay in Montreal © Agus

Because we still have another agenda to have dinner in Indonesian restaurant in Montreal, we left that place around 7.30 pm. It’s been a while since we tasted Indonesian food, so we decided to visit this one while we’re around the town. The name of the restaurant is Nonya, and the owner is an authentic Indonesian from Malang, East Java, Indonesia. I would say the food delicious, even though it’s not that spicy anymore as it’s supposed to be in Indonesia.

dinner at Nonya (Indonesian Restaurant)

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