The Emperor is in Town

As I was walking down University Ave. on my way home on Wednesday, a curious thing happened. Police, leaning against their motorcycles, were blocking every intersection I passed. As I reached Queen Street, the Policeman on duty suddenly sprung to attention, activated the sirens on his bike, and blocked the intersection while screaming at pedestrians to stand their ground. The city stood still. Nothing happened. A few drivers honked their horns, eager to get moving, and some pedestrians started to shuffle their feet. The policeman continued to bark at everyone, assuring them that they only need wait another minute. Sure enough, the sound of sirens began to crescendo until a full convey of police cars rushed through the intersection followed by several black cars, one of which was sporting a small Japanese flag. As the last of the police escorts were passing by, the Policeman blocking the intersection jumped on his bike and joined formation with the convey. City life resumed. The Emperor of Japan has arrived.

Japanese Emperor visits Ontario legislature

Canadian visit a break from cloistered existence

Consider buying foreign currency..

This week, gas prices in the GTA have dropped anywhere from 5-10 cents since last week. Now, after gas prices have been climbing steadily for the past few months since the last big drop late last fall, prices are dropping again. I am no financial expert, but after following the major currencies for the past year, my observation has been that the Canadian dollar tends to follow the trends in the oil market fairly closely, likely because Albertan oil is one of Canada’s major exports. When gas prices were severley over-inflated last summer the Canadian dollar surpassed the American dollar, which hasn’t happened for decades. When the oil prices dropped sharply last fall, the Canadian dollar dropped in value.

The current drop in oil prices is certianly a good indicator that the Canadian dollar is due to plummet, especially if the estimates in this Chicago Tribune article are true and the price of oil drops to $20 a barrel by the end of this year. There is a lot of buzz about dropping oil prices in the finance world right now, so you may want to investigate for yourself. If you need to buy foreign currency, now might be a good time!

A few  more articles:

Mandarin's Free Canada Day Buffet

In celebration of Canada Day along with Mandarin’s 30th anniversary in Canada, all 21 Mandarin restaurants in Ontario offered a complimentary buffet for Canadian citizens. This promotion occurs once every 5 years, and needless to say, is extremely popular since a typical meal at Mandarin is $16.99 + tax + tip for lunch, and as high as $23.99 + tax + tip for dinner.

My family, always ready for a free meal, not to mention one of such high value, arrived at the Burlington Mandarin at 11:15 am not expecting anything too crazy since the first seating was at noon. Upon arrival, we discovered a good 400 people in line outside the restaurant that snaked its way along the entire plaza and onto the sidewalk of the adjacent street. Despite the size of the line, we braved the 4 hour wait to get inside, and enjoyed an amazing meal. Mandarin went above and beyond by even handing out complimentary water bottles to all those waiting in the hot, sun-baked parking lot, along with miniature Canadian flags with which to celebrate Canada Day.

Thank you Mandarin for your incredible generosity! It is no small feat to feed the tens of thousands of hungry Canadians that showed up at all your locations, and you handled the event with great kindness and patience.

Website Established

Welcome! (and is now the home of Raphael Sammut’s personal blog.

I’ve been meaning to set up a site for some time now, and decided to get something together this summer while I’ve still got lots of spare time.

I’ll be updating this portal fairly frequently with entries, pictures, and other media as great experiences occur in my life. I’ll also have to catch up a fair bit with some events from the past that deserve publication.

Some exciting entries to look forward to:

  • A summary of the first National Engineering Summit held in Montreal from May 19-21.
  • I’ll be taking a trip to Vancouver during the last week of July for a 5-day camp in the Squamish Valley (near Whistler).
  • A bike trip (still in the works), likely in the Niagara region.
  • Business Ventures! Yes, I’ve started my first business and have many more ideas brewing. Stay tuned for updates.
  • A 12-month work term in Alicante, Spain with CYPE Ingeneiros (and lots of travelling, too!) starting in September 2009.
  • Reflections, as inspiration strikes me.

Until my next post,