LOVE Glasgow

I’ve now spent many weeks walking Glasgow, Scotland over 3 long trips. Of all European cities it’s perhaps the one I identify with most.

“People Make Glasgow”

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

I love the architecture, certainly.

And the free, quirky  Kelvingrove and Hunterian museums.

But it’s the surprises that keep me walking. I stumbled on to charming Ashton Lane near the University of Glasgow. A pedestrian strip of shops and restaurants.

The weather is crap, of course. Can we move Glasgow to the Mediterranean? 😎

Quite recently the reputation was ‘The Murder Capital Of Western Europe‘.

Over the last decade, Scotland’s biggest city cut its homicide rate by two-thirds. A change in the style of policing is seen as a major factor.

Today Glasgow is established as one of the world’s friendliest cities. Wonderful volunteerism. They keep hosting marvellous events.

I like how Glasgow tries to be the opposite of tourist darling Edinburgh. They don’t take themselves too seriously here. This disarmingly hilarious statue of the Duke of Wellington is the de facto symbol of the city. Thousands of Glaswegians signed an online petition insisting the traffic cone STAY!

I find Glasgow down to earth. Good value for the tourist.

Give it a chance.

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LeBron’s new school in Ohio

… “It’s not a charter school, it’s not a private school, it’s a real-life school in my hometown.” …

Its lengthy school day runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., along with an extended school year that runs from July through May. During a seven-week summer session, the school will provide STEM-based camps. …

… free breakfast, lunch, snacks and drinks. They will have access to a fitness trainer. …

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

The school is launching with third- and fourth-graders, but plans to add grades each year until it houses first through eighth grade in 2022.

Students get one other notable benefit: If they successfully complete the school program and graduate from high school, James will cover their full tuition at the local public college, University of Akron.

tywkiwdbi

should you fly WOW Airlines?

WOW air is an Icelandic low-cost carrier started 2012.  Every visitor I met there had flown WOW.

Summer of 2018 WOW had by far the cheapest flights Canada <> Europe. It only introduced North American destinations in 2016.

I’d heard plenty of customer complaints. Fares are low. But extras are expensive. Final costs are deceptively advertised.

For me it was great. I flew Toronto to Iceland (5 hours) and stayed over at no cost for 9 days.

  • CAD 8.99 – seat selection
  • CAD 69.61 – checking one bag
  • CAD 278.59 TOTAL including tax

I also bought a meal and drink for about $15.

That flight had no entertainment. No free drinks or snacks. They gave me grief that my one free carry-on was too large. WOW requires smaller size than other airlines.

I flew on to Glasgow.

  • CAD 259.66 TOTAL including tax. Checking one bag. AND one carry-on item.

I most often fly Air Transat Canada <> Europe. Toronto to Glasgow was running about CAD $1000 at the same time. The “free” stopover in Iceland worked perfectly for me. Most WOW flights stop in Iceland.

IF you want to stop in Iceland for a few days or more, WOW is ideal.

IF you travel light, WOW is very inexpensive.

IF you don’t care about extras like water, WOW is fine.

I’d definitely fly them again. But I’ll read the many confusing rules in advance.

WOW is far better than Ryan. Not nearly as good as EasyJet.

related – Should You Buy That Cheap WOW Air Ticket?

 

 

 

I love Sultana Biscuits

My favourite cookies are most often called Sultana Biscuits.

In Vancouver you can find them in speciality Asian food stores.

Superstore no longer stocks them. Walmart no longer stocks them.

You can buy Sultanas online from Amazon.com. But not Amazon.ca.

I’ll order — in future — from Walmart.ca.

Shouldice Hernia Hospital and Resort

NO FAT DUDES!

Feeling great, I was just discharged after 4 nights in the Toronto (luxury) Shouldice hospital. I’ll taxi to the airport. Then catch a redeye flight to “rehab” at this campsite in Iceland.

My plan is to camp near the hot springs for up to 8 nights. Hike as much as my recovery allows. There’s a good chance I’ll end up doing the 4 day Laugavegur trek.

Like almost all their patients, I was very satisfied with Shouldice.

I’d had my left side inguinal hernia repaired 30 years ago at age-30. This time it was a right side inguinal fix.

I got the appointment at Shouldice about 6 weeks after application. In Alberta it would have been about 6 months. Inguinal hernia surgery is low priority. A relatively easy operation. In fact, it’s the “oldest” and the most commonly performed surgery worldwide.

The only debate is whether to get …

1. NON-MESH (Shouldice) repair
2. MESH (Lichtenstein) repair

Both work. Most surgeons use mesh as it’s less invasive. Faster. Quicker recovery.

Some say the Shouldice is better for simple, first-time repairs. Mesh better for bilateral and/or recurrent inguinal hernias.

Shouldice does 70,000 hernia surgeries a year. It’s all they do. Specialists. Only about 1% get mesh. At Shouldice they like the traditional Shouldice technique they popularized.

Only about 1 / 1000 operations at this hospital results in serious complications.

Patients are carefully screened. Required to be within 20% of their ideal body weight. Many with pre-existing complications are refused. That’s one BIG reason for their high success rate.

Shouldice is a factory. Five days a week patients begin the program. Each day is scripted. Everybody is in the same boat.

Daily “Exercise Class” is a bit comic. One day we marched to the soundtrack of Bridge Over The River Kwai.

Americans are here. One guy from California told me he booked at Shouldice because his research showed they were best in the world. He was getting a both sides done during the same trip after putting it off for 15 years.

One fellow from B.C. decided he did not want mesh. Coming here was his only option.

Patients are mostly old men. There are a few young guys. And a few women. (I’d not realized women got hernia surgery.)

Once I get my budget finalized I’ll post it. Alberta will repay me for more than half of the medical cost, I believe. (I was told PEI pays nothing. It varies Province to Province.)

Looks like my out-of-pocket will be about CAD $1500 plus travel.

Cost at other similar hernia hospitals: India CAD$1254, Ukraine CAD$1019, Morocco CAD$1000. Thailand about £1,050 for a day procedure. Most of those would be one day mesh prices, I assume.

Canada is single payer healthcare. HOW is this for profit hospital allowed?

It has a special licence from the Ontario Ministry of Health to continue operating.

I’d go back to Shouldice if I needed another hernia operation. But before you book, read a report of a surgeon who works close to the hospital. She feels the Shouldice program requires patients to stay too long. It’s a waste of money.

Patients are charged about $250 / night for shared room and excellent food.

Shouldice.com

Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari

Happily single … that’s my story. And I’m sticking with it. 🙂

I heard something about this book. Downloaded it on a whim.

Modern Romance: An Investigation is a research book written by American actor and stand-up comedian Aziz Ansari and American sociologist and New York University professor Eric Klinenberg.

The book was published in 2015 and provides research information exploring the change in romantic society that has occurred in the past decade. …

As a selfish guy who almost never went to any effort to chase any woman I’d seem to be the last person to be interested in modern dating.

Yet I really enjoyed the book. The dating scene in 2015 sounds hilariously dreadful.

I learned a lot from the book.

On the upside, it seems to me that Tinder has got the right model for quickly getting introduced to people who might be a tiny percentage of 1% interested in going out with you.