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.

Update. Superstore in Calgary had them in the foreign food speciality aisle December 2018. 

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

 

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my NEW rolling backpack carry-on

I’m super happy with my new MEC 40L Rolling Continent Carry-On which fits the overhead compartment of even the crappiest Bombardier jets.

Click PLAY or watch a video on the same pack in 60L on YouTube.

My last two similar bags were both Samsonite MVS Spinners. Durability was poor, especially the wheels.

NEW Calgary Public Library OPEN

I’ll be spending time here.

Lots of wood. Natural light. A relaxed and inspiring space. Perfect for kids on a cold winter day.

The indigenous touches are nice.

With a FREE library card you can print up to $5 / month.

Click PLAY or watch an introduction on YouTube.

Click PLAY or see the weird and wonderful architecture on YouTube.

Click PLAY or watch the construction on YouTube.

I was only 70% if favour of spending tax dollars on a future Olympics. But I’m 100% for opening my wallet for the new library. It’s all good. I particularly like public transit train access on site.

CAD $245 million project was on time and on budget.

The Calgary Public Library (CPL) is the second most used system in Canada (after the Toronto Public Libraryand the sixth most used library system in North America.

… one of the lowest per capita funding in the country, receiving as little as half the money of other Canadian public libraries …

Nexen, a Chinese government company, donated 1.5M dollars. If this is part of their Belt and Road initiative, I’ll take it. 🙂

It’s not all good.

  • Opening hours are still lousy. Sunday’s only 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm.
  • There’s no EASY free wifi. You need to log-in with your FREE library card.

related – ‘Spectacular’: A look inside Calgary’s new Central Library on opening day

Hilton is getting into hostels

I’ve stayed in many hundreds of different hostels around the world. I like them much better than hotels. 

Cost in 2018 runs about $15 / night for a bunkbed. $35 / night for a private room. 

Most of the best I can recall were in New Zealand. The worst in North America.

One of the new upscale chains is called Clink. I recently tried to book at Clink London but it was booked out for weeks.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Happily we are soon to have more and better hostels. Companies like the Hilton chain are getting into the low end market.

… Private rooms are much more common than they once were and some of the properties are starting to mirror the design-led approach of boutique hotels. …

There’s even a debate about using the word hostel itself with many of those making the most noise preferring to use terms such as “hybrid,”  “open house” or poshtel instead. …

Hostels or youth hostels aren’t a new phenomenon. The movement goes back to Richard Schirrmann, a German teacher who founded the first one in 1912. …

“We see a massive demand in America and there is no supply, actually… and this is why we also, absolutely, think it’s the right time to step into the U.S. market,” Spanring said. …

The Big-Money Reinvention of the Humble Hostel

 

Best of the best for me are bunk beds … but bunk beds that are privacy pods.

I love Apple warranty work

Yes Apple products are WAY overpriced.

But if you ever do need shop work, they are fantastic. My laptop looks like NEW.

That’s a 3 year old workhorse MacBook Pro which had reached 1000 battery charge cycles. That’s the lifetime expectation.

The battery died died quickly.

Taking it to an Apple store in Wales the Genius recommended I pay for a new battery. And he would throw in a new display for free as the anti-reflective coating was peeling off … as it always does. The free display covered the labour for the battery replacement.

In fact I ended up with a new bottom (with battery) and a new top (with display). All new aside from the chips.

Cost 199€. (US$260)

 

 

Maps.me v Google maps offline?

How did I travel without this awesome technology?

It was no problem to find my way through the narrow labyrinths of souks (bazaars) in the Medina of Marrakesh.

Google maps offline is better, but only provides directions for automobile travel. It’s ideal if you are in a rent-a-car.

Maps.me is better if you are on public transit, bike or on foot.

For any new area I’m traveling I download both while connected to wifi. Then compare results offline.

Maps.me gets the data from community-based OpenStreetMap. It’s not as up-to-date or complete. But it does give you voice turn-by-turn navigation like Google.

I love them both.

The process of downloading an offline map is more complicated in Google. It’s one click on Maps.me.

Click PLAY or watch Maps.me on YouTube.