A Travellerspoint blog

Canada

Van and Montreal

east to west.

sunny 25 °C

Stayed a few days in Vancouver and am impressed. Usual crackhead human detritus hanging around in certain areas but for the most part it is a friendly, beautiful and fun place. lots of water around and although too cold to swim in it does encourage some wildlife we don't get in Europe - unless of course some warship is using sonar and all the Whales get a bit confused about which way is up.

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Van itself is surrounded by beauty but looks quite nice itself.

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Last 2 in Stanley Park which is kind of how parks should work in big cities. The guy who did the stone balancing assured me that no glue is used, just brute force and patience. Always have to be thankful for the artistic nutter.

Steph came along whale watching with me and to correct my accent etc.

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She had never been before either and put on a good show of enjoying it. I suppose we rarely do the touristic stuff when close to home but it can be pretty cool. One of a bald eagle for you.

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Which was pretty cool, the mountain in the background is Whistler or Blackcomb. One or the other.

Whales occasionally jump out of the water and splash around. The guide on the boat said that we would probably see some but that it was difficult to get decent pictures due to the unpredictability of where they would surface. That was until this one tried to jump into the boat.

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Actually got a few like that. The whales themselves are pretty stunning. Can never really understand why people see such beauty in nature and almost immediately decide to kill it. Not my immediate reaction, a chicken maybe but an Orca? Savages. Numbers seem to be doing well and their mysterious lifestyles and ability to disappear plus the fact that they are loyal, social and fairly smart all go to make them a top 5 mammal in my book. Trying to think of the other 4 but I have decided Humans are not present. Maybe top 10.

Swiftly onto Montreal. Few of the fellas from New York decided they would drive up to meet me and we went out and partied like it was 1999. Not that I mean we spent time worrying about whether our computers would work the day after or that the end of the world was coming but the party party thing. Team below:

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Liked Montreal although they did get a bit of the snobby frenchy thing going but that also means the coffee and croissants are of a better standard so its all swings and roundabouts. Bad news to break to some of you - seems like God went out of business.

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I had heard attendances had dropped off but didn't figure it was that bad. Probably had some sub-prime exposure stuffed under one of the pews.

4 blokes together could probably take a tourist bus and go to the theatre but it never really crossed our mind. Went for some beverages and watched some footy.

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Service was of a consistently high quality.

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Not much more to say about that. Many thanks to Willis and Chris and of course Tommy G. Had fun. Am detoxing... soon.

Take care all. One more blog on the Americas to wrap it up and let you achieve some degree of closure before the madness gathers pace once again. The bridge may be out but if we can just get enough speed up.....

Lid

Posted by lidster 23:50 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Kelowna and Calgary.

Oily rags and riches.

all seasons in one day 12 °C

Hello. How you? Have you ever noticed that as a town grows larger the less friendly it becomes. I was wondering whether it is because of the new inflow of johnny come latelys with a chip on their shoulder or the fact that the people who have been there a while doing not much are suddenly property millionaires. Bit of both I am sure.

Kelowna. Cute, small, fun. Went primarily to see Dallace and Kara.

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Who took me winetasting, out on the town and also to a large and interesting big iron auction. First timer that I was I drank the free booze and tried to chat. Someone's Grandad took my hand and asked me if I was a nice guy. Didn't say anything smart as I was wondering why he would give a monkey's. Random. Bought a large yellow thing with lots of bells and whistles.

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Was only scratching my ear at the time but auctions can be dangerous places for the itchy. All the stuff is being sold off dirt cheap though as the Pine Beetle has destroyed the quality of the timber in most of the trees. Needs winter cold spells of -40 for 48 hours to stop their spread and its been too warm. relative term I think you will agree.

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Country band were most excellent. No clue myself but they hummed and they hawwed and they twanged sufficiently to make a show of it.

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Jump high 5 and off on the road. Thanks for the kindness and entertainment D&K. Next time on another continent I imagine.

So Calgary. Oil boom and bust town for a while and now spreading daily. A few cowboy hats and a few flash cars but people are homely enough. Megan put me up for a few days, let me wash my clothes etc. Very kind. Megan and Heather told me the funniest story I heard during my travels and I have received a few free drinks as a result - as such Calgary - or bits of. If you want to hear the story then you'll be buying a round.

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Went out to the Badlands as they are known. Quite scary all told.

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A local site are the Hoodoos. Hard rocks laid upon softer sandstone and as the rain and wind wash away the softer stone they become, well, rather phallic piles of sediment.

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Megan invited me along for her Birthday party with 6 girls. Sounded like a decent night out.

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And it was too. This fella was clearly looking long term.

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And he almost did. At least for the night.

Apologies for the brevity (not that I get a lot of feedback either way) but if I don't catch up fast I'll be back in a job before I get through with this damn infernal blogthing. Its becoming a monster - consider yourselves lucky you only have to look at the pictures.

Going to hold a .22 aloft in the street and see if I get arrested. One blog only from jail. Would call the folks but they are in the south of france apparently. Super.

Vancouver and Montreal to follow and wrap up. Not much further now. You may be tired but its always the last mile that is most rewarding. Not sure how I would be in a position to opine on such things but it sounded about right.

Oh, and start making sandbags. If the States is anything to go by the deluge has started already. May be worthwhile building a big boat and start collecting some local animals. You never know. Tough times may be ahead.
Lid

Posted by lidster 23:59 Archived in Canada Comments (2)

Canada

O, Canada..... Eh? (West Coast so a bit more Hey? in fact)

Multi-lingual issues over devolution aside I arrived in the refreshingly chilly and wet middle-upper class section of North America. The US was fun but cannot see myself living there, outside of the usual metropoli. Canada on previous visits had been friendly, fun and engaging. This was however my first time to the West Coast. The 2 most Western territories in the South are Alberta (lots of oil - Albert if you are French speaking) and British Columbia (lots of flora and fauna and BC Bud from what they tell me). Nelson and the Kootenay lake to start, decided I should read Into the Wild while I was bussing around and aboot. Good call as it's a decent read but it does undermine your own wilderness exploits by comparison. That said, latte in hand, I followed some paths and tracks looking for no more than the eternal wanderer in me.

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Last one was my favourite. Figured it must be the centre of the solar system so quaffed the rest of my frothy lactose enriched double shot and headed forth with reckless abandon. Found some animal tracks, recent, large, scary. Got lost. Cried. Had a sit down.

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Gathered myself and sallied forth. Great story about a British Admiral in "Into the Wild" where the bloke feels that learning bushcraft was a waste of time and as such had over 300 men in his command die over the course of 2 missions. He was promoted the first time round (survival being a key qualification I presume) and died on the second attempt. Made a hero nonetheless. Story in that somewhere but I found it quite funny. Save the 300 dead of course.

More leisurely time spent the following day in Balfour and the North shore of the lake. Photographs for your squinting pleasure.
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All quite breathtaking. Certainly on a pack a day and with aching limbs from the previous hike.

If you look at a map of Canada it is truly enormous. Second largest country in the world by all accounts. Bigger than China and the US. The fact that only 32 million or so live here is largely because the majority of the country is uninhabitable or as good as. Unless you are a lunatic. Some are. Well thats the wilderness shots done for a while. To follow are Kelowna, Calgary, Vancouver and Montreal. City stuff.

Quick Hi to Andrew, Jess and friends who bbq'd some local specialities for me. Kebobs they call them. Most exotic they were too.

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One local told me she didn't believe in global warming as she just didn't fancy the idea. Ignorance may well be bliss these days. Hope she sleeps well at night.

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Lid

Posted by lidster 14:29 Archived in Canada Comments (2)

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