Some randomness for you today. I have internet at home now, so I will be able to get on line and blog a bit more again, but having said that, I find myself busy/preoccupied with life, and there’s nothing wrong with that!
So driving home from work yesterday afternoon, I stopped at the gas station in Harvey, New Brunswick. I saw a snow man, in a pick up truck. A couple of local lads got creative and mildly inappropriate, but it is only a snowman, so whatever. This snowman had a big hard woody! Yep, a snowman boner!
I’ve never seen anything like it and I had a good laugh. Of course, I had to get a picture. I reckon that’s pretty fucking funny!
Here I am, experiencing life, yet I have made no reservation. It’s like when I turned up in Fredericton this week, no reservation, no idea where I was going to stay. I’d come looking for a place to live. A few days in the city. It was cold. A cold snap. Jesus it was cold. But then, everywhere in Canada and the northern US is experiencing some sort of a polar blast right now.
I parked the rental car in a sort of snowbank-cum-parking lot at the front of the hotel. I didn’t have a reservation for the rental car either. I wasn’t sure if I had made one, so I asked at the first counter. ‘No, we are sold out, have been all week’. She said. Uh-oh I thought to self. Luckily, the second counter had cars to rent. Would have been a long walk into the city.
I slipped and sloshed on the snowy ground as my boots tried for purchase on the uneven surfaces. A gentle breeze more akin to a slap in the face with a bucket of ice whisked past me, maybe more so through me.
I was greeted by a very enthusiastic guy at the Crowne Plaza, actually the first hotel I came across – just about any hotel would have done. I had flown across Canada that day to be here. Luckily, there were rooms available.
The guy was very friendly, and soon he was joined by a work colleague and they both seemed unnaturally happy to be receiving a new guest. It was nice. They referred me to some pubs and I got a card to play an hour of free pool at Dooly’s.
No reservations. That’s how I like to travel sometimes. It can turn out great, and it can be a cluster of disappointments and turn-aways. I’ll take my chances!
Today I’m in Montreal. First time for me. My impressions? Its big. Its cosmopolitan. It’s French. Its all the things you would hope a modern Canadian city would be. It’s the first place I’ve seen with those winter coats with the coyote fur around the front – in blue. Not sure if I’m seeing a new trend and its everywhere, but I thought it looked great.
One of the biggest highlights was the cathedral on Rue Saint Catherine. It had the most beautiful stained glass windows. The real feature though, was the stone carvings – especially the ones right up the back. I did not think that this type of wonderful detail in stone carving was even possible. It looked like something computer generated and carved out of a machine. It’s truly a wonder (there are some photos below).
It was a about -20C in Montreal today. With a breeze that freezes your skin after a short while. I had to grab a neck warmer from the dollar store to keep something over my lower face. I had the rest of me covered up pretty well.
I took a walk down Rue Saint Catherine. A long walk, all the way to the village. There are a lot of shops and food places. As you get into ‘the village’ at the far end from where I started, it gets very gay. It was a novelty to browse in the ‘speciality shops’ that cater to all kinds of kink and fetish.
On the way back, I found my way into the subway system. I was able to negotiate – I think that’s the right word – in a mixture of English and French that I didn’t understand – my way to the right platform and onto a train that took me back the way I came. At some point I realised I lost a glove when I was juggling the ticket, my phone, a toque, neck warmer and other stuff. I realised that getting a new pair of gloves was a very high priority based on the frigid conditions. I walked, with one hand in my jacket pocket past store after store that had closed for the evening.
I jumped off the subway at a stop that i knew was well before my stop. I surfaced through a miriad of art gallery type shops. I wandered, lost for a while, but laughing along the way, and found myself in china town. I found a pair of cheap gloves, but of course, the store didn’t take plastic, so my search continued. Eventually I found one of those souvenir shops and now I’m the proud new owner of some woolen CAN-ADA gloves (letters on the front and back of the gloves).
Hi Bloggers, this morning I went to a café. Actually it was the second time that I went to the same café – I had breakfast there yesterday also.
This morning I was served by a nice young man. I ordered the sausage and eggs. He came by shortly after to apologise for not having any sausages. I went with the bacon and eggs.
So this afternoon, I’m sitting in another café. Guess who walks in? The young guy from the café. He was dropping in to by a coffee for himself and his girlfriend who is working up the street. He stopped to say hi – he recognised me from this morning. We chatted for a few minutes about rentals and selling cars and other stuff. That’s the kind of place Fredericton is. People are friendly.
I looked at some places to rent. I’m tempted by a large living space that is a ‘Victorian’ era ground floor property that was a quilt shop. It’s got bags of character. The heating costs could be a bit scary though. If I get that place I might be keeping the skivvies on in the winter. It’s got an awesome verandah out the front and its very close to the city centre.
Anyway, here are some photos from around town yesterday and today… hope you enjoy. 😉
Hi Bloggers, I’m writing this post from Fredricton, New Brunswick, which is on the Eastern side (Atlantic) Canada. The only provinces further east are Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland, which is an island at sea.
New Brunswick should conjure images of moose, lumberjacks, fishermen and hunters. For our American friends, its like Maine, but in Canada. It’s actually bordering on Maine. There is a smallish river (more of a brook, really) between the two great nations. The border post I saw today was a smallish affair. It seemed like a formality, and hardly a well guarded border at that. I could have walked across a train crossing only a few hundred metres from the border post, and probably not got shot at, but I erred on the side of caution.
Last thing I need is to get on the naughty list of Donny Trump. Especially after the last little mix up with the ESTA visa waiver system, in which I accidentally clicked one of the radio buttons where you have to answer whether you’ve ever done anything bad, or maybe said something silly about the administration. I got locked out of the visa system, and when I tried to cross the border later that day, I was told to ‘park up’ while I got a stern talking to. Thankfully, they realised my error, done in haste, and I was allowed to enter the great land of the free once again. But that was on a previous trip.
I digress, this post is about the Maritimes, damn it! I only have a couple of words to describe this place: Obscenely beautiful! and I mean that in the nicest possible way.
Check the photos out. Of course, you can’t really capture the true beauty on camera, but it still turned out pretty good!
It’s Sunday morning. I’m at Saskatoon airport waiting for a flight to Toronto. The incoming flight is delayed.
I just turned to look at the jet bridge. There is a barn owl on the top of the structure. It is perched on a beacon. It is so still it looks like it could be a decoy or a small statue, but I think it’s real. I look across to the other jet bridges just to see if maybe XYE have initiated some sort of owl-statue bird deterrent thing, but I see no others….
Is that like some sort of um, what’s the word – the thing with hidden meaning, like an albatross seen at sea. (It will come to me momentarily *** it came to me – omen, that’s the word!). I wonder if pilots have a superstition about owls and things.
So I said goodbye to Jack Black, our black lab. He’s such a sweet dog. We got him about 2 years ago. He’s more the ex’s dog that he is mine. I’ve inherited Sally D, our chocolate lab. She’s a lot higher energy and more inclined to steal food from benchtops etc. Jack is going on his own flight Tuesday, and I will not see him on my return. Safe travels you gorgeous handsome dog. He’s leaving Canada for Australia.
I don’t know if I will be able to keep Sally D. She’s a real sweetheart and I don’t want to let her go. The reality is that I don’t know where I will be living in one month, or six months or whatever from now. Finding accommodation that will suit my budget, location to work and pet friendly is very challenging.
Meanwhile, I’m going to somewhere that I have never been – eastern Canada – the Atlantic provinces. That’s exciting, right? It’s a quick trip but still, there is a lot of value in seeing new places…..
I was recently back in Iowa. I went to help my friend trim her horses hooves. There were four other horses in the same paddock. I really like horses. In a previous life I was a horse owner (had 3 at one point). I would really enjoy riding and caring for them. I had some great times out riding trails, etc.
I won’t pretend to be a horse whisperer or any sort of expert. I know enough about how to care for them and enjoy their company, and that’s enough I guess.
When you have a calm temperament, you can really get in the zone with horses. It’s what I would call a human-animal energy exchange. It’s very real. I think somehow we can find ourselves in the same brain wave patterns (or something). Horses can be so calm that they are literally nodding off in your presence. I had a little four-way hug with three horses. It was a simple, special moment!
Hi Bloggers, I went away for a week or so, and have been so busy that I haven’t had much time to catch up on my blogging obsession. But, I’m back.
Last week, I went out to visit my old home-town-in-Canada, Tumbler Ridge, British Columbia. I say home town in Canada because it’s the place where my family and I lived for 5, 1/2 years after arriving in Canada. The place is awesome and beautiful. It’s very small – a town of a few thousand people. Having lived there for so long, I got to know everybody in town, and they got to know us.
Its a long and fairly uneventful ride from Saskatoon, across the prairies of Saskatchewan and Alberta. A stop in Edmonton. On the road again. It starts to get interesting once you cross into BC and the terrain gets more hilly and scenic. Alberta has lots of awesome scenery, but in the north the mountains are more into the BC side of the border.
It’s in the north of BC. Largely away from any major centres, relatively remote. It’s tucked into the mountains and foothills of the Rocky Mountains. It’s a refuge from urban living, and even farm land as much of the country is bush. It’s a centre for mining (coal) that is exported to markets in Asia. Being that it’s tucked away, and not on any major thoroughfares, its kind of like a world unto itself. There’s no traffic lights, no Starbucks or Tim Hortons, no Walmart, or anything else for that matter.
What it lacks in services, it makes up for in natural beauty, and the people are truly wonderful. After being away for 4 years, I was surprised to run into a LOT of people that I know from my days living here. It was really nice to see people at the hardware store, and the grocery store, and the community centre that I knew and worked with.
I got back into the gym there. I put in lots of workouts at the community centre gym. Its small-ish, and quiet, but has all the equipment you could need, and being small its quite social so people are inclined to say hi and chat a bit too.
Hi bloggers, I haven’t done a book review in a little while. So I bought this book a little while ago – more on that in a minute. It turned up on the kitchen counter tonight. I asked the ex if she had read it, and she said yes, she has. She then said that she gave it to her mum to take back to Australia when she last visited. Seems the my ex-mum in law thought we needed it so she posted it back!
So, how did I come across this book? Well, I was in the States, travelling for work, on a training trip. I travelled to Atlanta, Georgia for the training. It was actually in a small town about an hour out of Atlanta. It was my first time in GA, so that was kind of exciting. I picked the book up at the Atlanta airport. I needed something to read on the way home to Canada.
What I do remember from that trip is that I picked up a nasty, nasty stomach bug. Here’s how it went down: We went out one night, to this swishy wine makers estate. There was some appetizers, and a nice meal in a really fancy setting. The place was about an hours bus ride from the place we were staying.
On the way back, I had a terribly uncomfortable full feeling. It was somewhere between ‘I ate too much’ and ‘I need to potty’ and ‘I don’t feel quite right’. But never the less, all I could do was ride the bus and get back to the hotel. Some people in the group actually went out that night to continue to enjoy drinks or whatever. I was not feeling up to it. I will spare you the details, but lets just say I practically exploded. Both ends. I was very ill. Seemed like a lot of the others on that trip ended up with the same bug.
Anyway, I survived, and I’m here to write about it.
Ok, the book. Its a good read. The guy has a genuinely good sense of humour. Well written, he seems like a really average guy who took on a pretty major undertaking. As most would know now the book is a movie. In any case, I recommend it and I give the book 4 out of 5 stars.