Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Part 2.5 or Stories from Halifax

So my good friend and tour guide Stew reminded me of something I have to blog about. This is something that shows the difference between people from Eastern Canada and those of us from Ontario. Oh, I apologize in advance to homeless and kind that I may be about to offend.

While wandering about Halifax there were two encounters that I found humorous. The first encounter involved a man who approached us in a park for money so he could get shelter at The Y. Incidentally there apparently is no Y in Halifax. The second encounter was more creative. Two girls approached us looking for cab fare because the one’s boyfriend got drunk and took off without them.

Neither of these incidents are humorous in and of themselves. What I did find funny was the effort they put into trying to get money from strangers. The stories were not elaborate at all yet they were totally complex compared to what I am used to. What you get here is the minimalist approach to panhandling. The most you will get in Ontario is a line asking for spare change. That’s if you even get that. Many just sit with their hat or Tim Horton’s cup. Not that a message is required as we get the picture.

So in the end, for me, the humor is in how the down-homers are all friendly and provide you with entertainment for your money. They are natural born story tellers. Here in Ontario they just don’t seem to put in the effort.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

About Time For Part II

Picture it: PEI, August, 2009...

Two fags board the boat (Ferry, actually) from PEI to Nova Scotia. The ferry was big, it's been a long time since I've been on a boat that big. The trip was totally uneventful though. Kinda boring actually. We got to Nova Scotia and drove in to Halifax. Dan got pissed off at the GPS because it didn't take us in the way he did it previously. Despite this we did make it to the Prince George hotel. With Dan's past history with the hotel we were upgraded to the "Crown" floor, very nice room. I was totally looking forward to a nice swim and soak in the hot tub knowing that the set up would be nice in such a good hotel. Totally dissapointed that they chose that particular Tuesday night to close the pool for maintenance. That made me unhappy.

After checking in we gave our friend Stew a call, then the three of us headed out for dinner. Now four days in the Maritimes you would have thought we would have had seafood but we still hadn't. Well this was the night to remedy this. We finally chose a place right on the water called Murphy's. I am not a fan of fish so my idea of seafood is scallops and lobster. My order was easy, bacon wrapped scallops to start and a lobster wrap as my entree. I prefer lobster cold and already out of the shell. Whole lobster is way too much work for me. As we were waiting to order I heard these fateful words from the waitress to the patrons at the next table: "We are out of the bacon wrapped scallops." Just my luck. Well the lobster wrap was fantastic so I did get over it. Dan had the whole lobster. Carcass on a plate, creepy. After dinner we wandered and ended up at Starbucks, great end to a great day.

On Wednesday we met up with Stew at the Starbucks and he gave us an insightful tour of the downtown of Halifax. Insightful because our guide, Stew, works for the city and has lots of inside info that most wouldn't know. Like how many garbage cans are around and why there are no benches on the sidewalks. Who knew they were unsafe? Lunch was at a local pub, and there I got my bacon wrapped scallops. After that a bit more touring around then it was back in the car for the trek back to the cottage in New Brunswick.

I thought Part II would complete the saga but it looks like this is going to be a trilogy. Stay tuned for more...

Sunday, August 9, 2009

The long Awaited Family Reunion Post...

...or Highlights From My Trip to the Maritimes. Part I

Friday July 31st we headed out for the long drive across Quebec. We made stops only for gas and to stretch our legs. Jessie was awesome, she spent most of the trip sleeping in the back seat. She complained less than Dan to be sure. We finally arrived in Edmundston NB and checked in to our pet friendly room at the Best Western. The room was well set up for pets, no carpet, and it had patio doors to the parking lot. That made it much easier to deal with the luggage too. We went for a swim. Okay I didn't swim at all but did enjoy the hot tub even though it wasn't as hot as I would have liked it. After the swim we headed downtown for a walk and a bite to eat then just relaxed.

Saturday morning we headed out to the nearest Starbucks which happened to be three and a half hours away in Moncton. Best discovery ever was that there was an H&M in Moncton, there would be shopping before we left. So we grabbed our Starbucks and headed for the family. In the end it was nice to see everybody and it was all pretty low pressure. We just hung out.

The cottage was rustic by my standards but much less rustic than it could have been. Because we had Jessie with us we ended up with one of the better rooms. The upstairs was all pretty open but there were two bedrooms downstairs with doors and we got one of them. They also had the only two double beds so that was another bonus.

The rest of Saturday was pretty relaxed, just hanging out and drinking. Walks on the beach with the dog. Enjoyable. In fact when asked later about my favourite moment the first thing that came to mind was those walks and runs on the beach with Jessie.

Sunday we headed in to Moncton for a bit of shopping. No great finds but Moncton does have an awesome mall. The rest of the afternoon and evening was the reunion. Reasonably low pressure and fairly painless.

Monday was a random day trip to "the dunes" which turned out to be fairly pointless in that dogs were not allowed. We went for a quick look around while my sister looked after Jess. Then came out and just hung out with my sister, my dad and some family member from Boston. That turned out to be more fun than the boardwalk on the dunes.

Tuesday morning we headed off to PEI. My sisters partner, Andre was not feeling well so he stayed behind and looked after Jessie. Somehow I ended up being the lead car on the trek but thanks to the GPS, I managed to get us to the Confederation Bridge which was a pretty awesome structure. We headed in to Summerside where we left the family in order to accellerate the tour as we needed to be at the ferry in time to head over to Nova Scotia. From Summerside we headed to Charlottetown and wandered around downtown. Had ice cream at Cows which is an East Coast thing. Awesome parody t-shirts there. I bought one and found one I wanted that wasn't available there but a quick BlackBerry message to my Sister-in-law had one purchased for me on their visit to Cavendish. After that we headed for the ferry and then off to Halifax NS.

More to come in Part II. Time to go get groceries now.