Why are we always fighting for freedom and love?

Why are we always fighting for freedom and love?  Why we did not learn from mistakes and from the past?  Why we repeat the bad incidents?  We should all forget how to hate. Freedom and Love should be with us without fighting.

I thought the dark era ( World Wars ) is finished and people live in a peaceful world ( I was told we are the generation of unknown to the war.  ) . Everybody is always looking for peace.  People travel and learn each other, enjoy each other, experience their culture and love each other.   We learn how to solve the problems with more civilized manner.

When I heard the news of Paris attack, I was worried about my friends,  people I do not know or ever met.  Why they can do that!!

Many people sacrificed their life for our peace.  Why can’t we respect them?  Why can’t we keep the progress and work together to make our world much better?

I thought about Nelson Mandela’s quotes from his book, Long Walk to Freedom after this news.

No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, then can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite. ( P622 )

A man who takes away another man’s freedom is a prisoner of hatred, he is locked behind the bars of prejudice and narrow-mindedness. I am not truly free if I am taking away someone else’s freedom, just as surely as I am not free when my freedom is taken from me. ( P624 )

I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. …. I can rest only for a moment, for with freedom come responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not yet ended. ( P625 )

From my recent trip to South Africa

Nobel Square


Robben Island Robben Island Robben Island

This is where Mandela hide his manuscript

Robben Island Manuscript

Mandela’s cell

Robben Island  Mandela Cell

Where they worked

Robben Island  work placeNelson Mandela Square … This is now.  I felt peace in my mind.

Nelson Mandela Square Nelson Mandela Square


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How To Prevent and Prepare for Lost Luggage

Have you had an experience that the airlines lost your luggage?  I do.  Twice so far.  Fortunately they delivered on the next day but one of the agents did not have her bag for an entire trip when we went for 7 days educational trip.  My client’s bag is missing almost 1 month and still missing.

To prevent lost luggage,  of course, it’s better to book a direct flight. But many cases, you have to take the flight with at least one connection.

If you have to take a connecting flight,

1. Book with the same airlines.
2. Do not book segment by segment for the same day connection flight.

For example, if you are going from Vancouver to Victoria falls in Zimbabwe, Africa.  Try not to find the cheapest flight from Vancouver to London, London to Johannesburg, then Johannesburg to Victoria Falls by each segments and book separately.  Unless you are going to stay over night in London.  If you buy tickets separately, you may need to pick up your bag and check in again at each airports.   If you are connecting on the same day, you should check from Vancouver to Victoria Falls.  If the choice with different airlines comes up,  each airlines may have a ticketing and luggage agreement and they can issue an entire itinerary in one ticket and they can check in your luggage to the final destination.

However as a travel agent, we always double-check these airlines agreement and minimum connection time as well as a fare base.  If the fare base is not a through fare,  the airlines do not have responsibility for the next flight. For example,  if the flight from Vancouver to London delays and if you miss the next flight, you may need to buy a new ticket, or you may need to pay extra night in London to catch the next flight.  You should get a travel insurance to cover for the delay as well.

Even I checked all these agreements in our booking system and called the airlines to double-check, still the airlines lost my client bag.   I cannot trust the airlines.  Each airline staff says different things, so I always tell my client to make sure the destination of luggage tag and also ask a check-in agent if you need to pick up the bag in between.  Because even luggage tag says final destination, some countries ( airport ) require you to pick up your bag for custom and security, and drop off right after.

She was on 3 weeks Kumuka tour from La Paz to Lima.  Her tour leader helped her and she also e-mailed me.  So I told her what she needs to do.  Somehow she did not get a copy of claim form which has her claim number.  You should always get receipt or copy of any paper work and payments.  Even they do not give it to you, you should ask for it. You should always have a written proof. Verbal communication won’t count.  There are so many people working.  I told her to fill in their detail claim form online.  She can do that after 24 hours of missing bag.  I am not sure how much details she filled in but the airlines asked me the same thing when I had to take over.  Now she is taking another tour in the States and her tour leader no longer be able to help her.

This client is a Japanese student who used to study English in Vancouver and I recommend her to go to MEC ( Mountain Equipment Co-op ) to buy her backpack.  So I called MEC to get her purchase record which of course they cannot send it to me.  But they sent to my client and she forwarded it to me, then I checked her bag online but it was discontinue item.  So I forwarded her e-mail to MEC and called to get the description of the bag and photo. They kindly looked into their old data and found these info and sent it to me.   Then I sent that information to the airline.     MEC has a great website with photo and description of the products. So as for preparation, you should print out description of your bag  and also keep in a virtual space such as Gmail with Photo ( or  screen shot of homepage ) .  Also you should keep the list of  item inside of your bag. The airlines will ask you all the details including color, size,  brand, and value.  See the form below;

LAN Baggage Search From

Also you should have a name tag , the one hides your information inside.   I put my business card in my name tag,  then when I fill in the tag from airlines, I put my name, e-mail address,  phone number and just city.   Some information they can reach me but easy to change it if the information goes to bad people.  If you are a female traveller and not comfortable putting your name showing as a female, you can put last name only or use male name from your family. But you should have your name inside of the bag.   Then don’t forget to mention the name of tag when you claim.

Do not put any valuable inside of your check-in bag. If the airlines lose it, they won’t compensate 100% of the value.

The more information you have, the faster they can find. But still it is no guaranteed…

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How To Protect Your Bike From The Bike Thief

Double lock with serious locks such as Magnesium hardened chain and class 3+ U-lock, locking through frame and wheel to the bike rack,  keep the serial number and take photos.

I learn the hard way…  My yellow Giant TCR-2 road bike was stolen last Thursday, July 5 between 4:45 pm and 6:10 pm from the bike rack in front of Shoppers Drug Mart at the intersection of Granville St. and Dunsmuir St.  in Vancouver downtown.   The bike rack is along the Granville St which is only buses are allowed.  Busy street with many pedestrian and easy to spot if somebody try to steal the bikes.

I posted on Craigslist and Kijiji, then I got an e-mail from an eye-witness.  She said she realized something wrong. The guy was moving really fast, quite stressed by the rack. Then she saw a huge pair of clippers in his hand.  So she tried to stop him and spoke really loudly ‘the guy is stealing the bike !!’.   But nobody helped her.   She was afraid of his big pair of clippers and he looked under drugs.  She could not do more.  After the thief left with my bike, one guy came up to her – ” Was that your bike? ”

I appreciated what she did and I felt a little bit of relief to know that somebody tried to stop.   When I came out from the gym and saw my lock being cut and hanging from the rack,  I went to Shoppers and Holt Renfrew to see if I can see their security camera but they did not let me.  I did not have a phone with me, so at least a girl at the cosmetic counter let me use their phone to call the police.   I asked if the police try to find the bikes, then they said they do not look for stolen bikes or monitor the website.  Basically they will be a judge when the bike was found.  Also if you do not have the serial number, they do not give back to the owner even if you have detail description.  The serial number is very important!!

Since then, I have been  calling, e-mailing and visiting bike shops and pawn shops; posted  on Facebook, Craigslist, Kijiji, and Bike Revolution Canada; have been checking those site and also pinkbike.com

After posting on Facebook, my massage therapist whom I have not seen over 2~3 years and whose bikes were also stolen twice gave me a lot of good advises and also recommend me to go to Hasting St. to ask people.  He said this will be the best chance of finding my bike, the bike will disappear with 48 hours, probably to Montreal or somewhere else in Canada.  One of the staffs at the bike shop said he heard they go to Surrey because it is easy access by skytrain and they have more population than Vancouver.  These advises give me some idea where to search.

One of the pawn shops told me that they need to report the serial numbers to police every time when they get bikes.  One pawn shop said they need to wait one month before putting in a store.   Then one said they won’t buy it if it is suspicious.

MEC does not sell used bikes ( I thought they do… so I e-mailed my photo) but correspond my e-mail right away and told me that the store has to wait for a year.  MEC was very helpful and answered my questions and gave me an advice.  They also sent me this , where to find the  serial number.  They said they keep record of the serial number and purchase record for their members.

I also e-mailed to Global BC because I thought Holt Renfrew may show the video to a reporter.  I learn that so many people are victims of the bike thieves.  If they show what the thief looks like and how to do it on TV, they can save more cyclists.  They should report  not only encourage people to ride a bike to work  but also bring awareness of the bike thief and community to help each others .

The store seems to be tough place to sell and people are keeping eyes on the Craigslist.  Where do the thieves sell all these bikes??  Where did my stolen bike go?

I miss my bike very much.  I think about the good day with my bike,  the great feeling of  the air and the smooth ride.  It was a gift from my boyfriend in Australia.  Something is not replaceable.

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