A Travellerspoint blog

February 2009

The pancake breakfast

Well, all three of us were about ready to leave Killaloe early in the morning. There was a pancake breakfast planned, so we headed back to town, after taking some pictures of me pumping the water in Tim's crazy house of course!

They had buckwheat pancakes and waffles as well as some sausages and bacon, it was scrumptious. Most people who were there, were also at the radio station party the night before, so it reminded me a little bit of those movies where someone is traveling in a small town, then goes to the hotel, and finds out that the policeman, mayor and bus driver, are all the same person.

It makes sense to me, don't worry about it.

So Susan, Margaret, Tim and some other familiar people had some maple syrup-soaked goodness with us. After that, we packed up and went home.

In the car, Bob and Therese and I contemplated life in a place like this and what it must be like. We only sampled a taste of it, and can't make a real judgment on it, but life in Killaloe seems to have its advantages and also its drawbacks, just like any other place in the world.

Pumping water

Pumping water


Me vs. buckwheat pancake

Me vs. buckwheat pancake


Serving the pancakes

Serving the pancakes

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

The Killaloe weekend

Well, all us Ottawa Couchsurfers were invited to Killaloe for the weekend to go to Tim's party for the radio station there, CHCR 102.9 FM if anybody is in the area.

Initially Bob and his wife Therese were going to rent a van and go out there. Not enough people were interested. In fact, it was just me that was interested, so we canceled that plan, hopped in Bob and Therese's car and headed out.

The drive out was uneventful. We chatted and I sketched some stuff that maybe I would paint later on.

By the time we got there, it was lunchtime.

We stopped in at the Lion's hall to see Tim and drop off the Lisbon Bakery buns we picked up. They are supposed to be the best in town so I tried one before we left.

This is a REALLY small town guys, there is nothing here. Not even a McDonald's *gasp*. We drove around, and the only thing open was Del's Diner. So we stopped in here for a bite to eat. I guess they don't get many visitors because the lady in charge started asking us about why we were here and what we were taking pictures of her restaurant for.

We found out the stools were "original" from way back in the day. And we also found out where the famous covered bridge is. Earlier Tim told us it was a two hour drive away! Not so, it is just down the street.

After chowing down on a lunch special of burger and fries, we headed off to the covered bridge. Yep, there it is, the Killaloe covered bridge. There were also some snowmobilers making a river crossing at the same time. Right through the middle of town, snowmobiles. Only in Canada.

Anyway, Therese was on a mission to find some "interesting forest shadows" so we hopped back in the car and looked for some. We just drove around the backroads slowly until Therese saw something interesting, then we'd get out and take pictures. Hence, all the pictures of trees that I took. That was pretty fun. I have never done anything like that before. Just go somewhere for the sole purpose of taking pictures. That was something new for me.

After a while, we went back to the Lion's Hall, checked out the radio station and then went to the party. There were a few people there, but not many. That was OK, because I was not in a partying mood really anyway. I had come here to paint! So, that's what I did.

I noticed a big white sheet of paper on the wall with highlighters strewn around it. Kids were drawing on the paper and shining a black light on it. It was pretty awesome.

Basically we just sat around and talked about hippies, and learned about the Killaloe lifestyle. Which usually involves communal living and apparently playing a lot of Scrabble. The pot luck involved people randomly just unwrapping the stuff they brought whenever they wanted, and then people ate it at random times. I don't know if this is a result of consciously living in a world without rules, or if everyone was just too lazy to bring the food out and put it on a table and announce that the dinner would start.

There were some people playing some music, and a guy with an accordion, singing about Killaloe. It was pretty interesting.

Bob and Therese's friend Susan from Merrickville showed up, as it turns out, she is one of Tim's exes. (Of which he has many...) She brought some amazing pumpkin cake and caribou stew, she runs a profitable little organic squash farm out in Merrickville somewhere.

After the party, we headed off to Tim's house for a sleep. He has got to have the most crazy house I've ever seen. As soon as I walked in I had flashbacks from Yellowknife and the crazy cabin murderer.

Tim lives off the grid with solar panels, and a water pump that you have to pump with your feet on a seesaw like mechanism. There's all kinds of clutter around, presumably for all the strange inventions he concocts.

He said that I could sleep in the bed behind the wood stove where it is warm. But there is also a giant window there. As I am getting changed, I look out the window, and I either see someone run by, or else it is my reflection, scaring me. Whatever it is, I scream and run upstairs with my blanket to sleep with Bob and Therese in the attic. I know I know, DON'T go upstairs, isn't that what you always scream at the victim in those horror movies? But, I had to. That window was way too scary.

As I was moving the blankets upstairs, Tim walks in the door and I burst out laughing.

"Oh my god, I thought there was someone outside that window! I can't sleep there, I'm way too scared!"

"Ohhhhhhhhhhhh kay"

I run upstairs and set up my bed. I am just about to drift off to sleep when I hear some very strange thumping coming from downstairs.

Therese: "What...is that?"

Me: "I...don't...know" I peek out the door and notice Tim doing something weird by the stove.

Me: "Tim, what are you doing?"

Tim: "I'm pumping up the house!"

Me: "Oh, what do you mean by that?" Trying to conceal my quivering voice.

Tim: "Well, I have to pump the water so it goes upstairs to the bathroom"

My fear subsides, and suddenly I feel terrible for flushing the toilet...Phew.

Me: "OK, goodnight Tim!"

Tim: "Goodnight!"

Then finally I sleep.

Trees

Trees


Del's Diner

Del's Diner


Me vs. Del's hamburger

Me vs. Del's hamburger


Del's Diner

Del's Diner


The covered bridge

The covered bridge


The covered bridge 2

The covered bridge 2


The covered bridge

The covered bridge


Icy

Icy


Icy

Icy


Therese vs. the covered bridge

Therese vs. the covered bridge


Therese vs. the covered bridge

Therese vs. the covered bridge


Me vs. the covered bridge

Me vs. the covered bridge


Bob at the edge of danger!

Bob at the edge of danger!


The road to nowhere

The road to nowhere


The road to nowhere

The road to nowhere


Some photogenic trees

Some photogenic trees


Some photogenic trees

Some photogenic trees


Some photogenic trees

Some photogenic trees


Some photogenic trees

Some photogenic trees


Some photogenic trees

Some photogenic trees


Prints

Prints


Some photogenic trees

Some photogenic trees


The fence

The fence


Bob and Therese "tooling" around

Bob and Therese "tooling" around


Crazy guy

Crazy guy


The jam band

The jam band


Susan and Tim

Susan and Tim


Some people

Some people


Me vs. caribou stew

Me vs. caribou stew

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Postcard exchange

daf

Wall of Fame

Wall of Fame


Wall of Fame 2

Wall of Fame 2


My motorcycle (Suzuki Marauder)

My motorcycle (Suzuki Marauder)


Postcard from Martin in Florida

Postcard from Martin in Florida


Postcard from Nat

Postcard from Nat


My stupid hair

My stupid hair


Green hair.

Green hair.


Yves and Cool Looking Guy

Yves and Cool Looking Guy


My passport photo

My passport photo


Wow

Wow

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Thinking Day

Today was Thinking Day. If you have ever been in Girl Guide or Boy Scouts you will know what Thinking Day is. It is Lord and Lady Baden Powell's birthday. What you are supposed to do, is go out in the community and do something good, representing Girl Guides by wearing your uniform. I did not bring mine. My mom had one for me. In Ridgeway and Stevensville, we all go down to the United Church on Thinking Day. It was a poor turnout, but then again, it always is. No little girl that I know wants to get up early on a Sunday morning and go to church. Anyway, there were some good sports there, whom my mom guilt tripped into coming. After that, we picked up dad, who was volunteering at St. Joseph's pancake breakfast, and we drove to Toronto. Why you ask? Well, Dave was visiting a bunch of people this weekend, some of whom live in Toronto. He told me he wouldn't be leaving from Niagara Falls on Sunday like I probably was going to do. I told him that I'd probably take the Greyhound and meet him at the closest subway station to wherever he was staying, and that was the plan. After the Friday night fiasco, Mom offered to drive me all the way back to Toronto. I could not turn it down. I called my friends Brendan and Michelle, but they were busy. I haven't seen them since last summer at NXNE. Next I called Alan Parker, a soon-to-be former Sun Media employee. We met on a junket to Thailand. He'll be quitting his job at the Toronto Sun and going on a trip to Germany soon, so I wanted to see him before he went. Alan was free and had this wacked out idea to go to the Dakota Tavern for brunch. OK... tavern brunch, I know usually not so good. But this one was OK, and the bar is designed in the style of a depression era barn... So the waitresses are bringing you all you can eat scrambled eggs, pancakes and sausages in this old place where they probably just held a house-raisin' and there is a lady in a flower print dress playing a mandolin with some other country-type performers. It's an interesting scene. Oh and they also have $5 caesars starting at 9 a.m.

We made friends with Mark and Moira, we shared syrup and cream for our coffee. After that, we drove out to Richmond Hill, found out where Dave was and hung out until he was ready to go! He was happy that I found him and we left promptly at 5 p.m. Getting us back into Ottawa at about 10 p.m. on the nose.

Pathfinder

Pathfinder


Minister and Brownies

Minister and Brownies


Dakota Tavern

Dakota Tavern


Me vs. $5 caesar

Me vs. $5 caesar


Mark and Moira

Mark and Moira


Silly band

Silly band


Silly band 2

Silly band 2

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Grandma's party and trivia night

So this afternoon is Grandma's 80th birthday party. She wanted to invite us all out for lunch at Betty's a restaurant in Chippawa that is a favourite for ladies of her...how do I say... longevity?

I ordered a salmon "grilled please" and it came back, honest to God, battered and deep fried...NO IDEA how this happens, but I will never assume that anyone knows what I'm talking about when I say grilled anymore. I will specifically ask them not to batter and fry it! Wow.

The waitress was a VERY enthusiastic French lady, maintaining that yes, in fact, I did order the grilled salmon. Whatever lady.

Anyway, after a leisurely lunch, we went home, Grandma opened up presents and we ate some cake. At one point, my cousin Danielle had a toy lobster on her head. I was unable to capture this moment.

I then spent some time playing with the cat (good old Gizmo, whom I adopted in grade 3) and my mom's dogs, Destiny and Sandy. Destiny REALLY didn't like my camera. It got to the point that she would start barking and backing away as soon as I brought it within a foot of my face! I had some fun laughing at the silly thing for a while, pretending to take pictures of her.

For some reason we had to go to church on a Saturday afternoon before trivia night.

My old elementary school was planning a trip for the grade 7 and 8 students to go somewhere in Quebec for their end of the year trip. They organized a trivia night to raise money. We went to it. My mom's friend, Mark was the MC. Everyone got drunk and spent a whole lot of money on homemade desserts that Mark was extremely enthusiastic about.

"Next we have the cherry fritters, just glistening in the moonlight... Can you imagine what that coconut cream pie will taste like in your mouth?.... Do I hear $80 for the orange and chocolate cheesecake?!"

Anyway, our trivia team ended up in 3rd place, we got a lot of questions wrong because of table infighting and also because of some vaguely worded questions.

They had all you can eat pizza and chips, so it was an interesting night.

Aunt Diane, Emily, Michelle, Tim

Aunt Diane, Emily, Michelle, Tim


Everyone except Uncle Joe

Everyone except Uncle Joe


Me vs. "grilled" salmon

Me vs. "grilled" salmon


Grandma vs. lemon meringue pie

Grandma vs. lemon meringue pie


Everyone really

Everyone really


Everyone again

Everyone again


Granda vs. birthday card

Granda vs. birthday card


Mom and Grandma

Mom and Grandma


Gizmo

Gizmo


Gizmo loves me

Gizmo loves me


Destiny

Destiny


Destiny the dog

Destiny the dog


Destiny and mom holding her

Destiny and mom holding her


Sandy

Sandy


St. Joseph's church

St. Joseph's church


Trivia night

Trivia night


Ralph, Bonnie, sorry I forget

Ralph, Bonnie, sorry I forget


Dad, Ralph Bonnie and more

Dad, Ralph Bonnie and more


Mark

Mark


Me vs. all you can eat pizza

Me vs. all you can eat pizza


Mark and the auction

Mark and the auction

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

My mom didn't know I was ridesharing

Well, at about 2 p.m. I got a message from Mr. David Yin offering me a ride ALL THE WAY to Niagara Falls. Whoah. I couldn't turn that one down.

So in a few hours, I was on the road to Niagara. David's a pretty interesting fellow. He works as a policy analyst for Environment Canada on some Arctic projects. We talked about my upcoming trip there, and generally had a relaxing time.

About an hour away from Niagara, I realized that I was going to be 1 hour early at the bus station. I tried to call my parents to tell them but they weren't at home. So, I called Grandma, and she said they left "a long time ago". Why would they leave so early? What is there really to do in Niagara Falls so late at night? I had no idea. We drove to the bus station anyway, figuring I'd just wait there until they showed up in an hour.

We turned a corner when what did I see? My dad, driving his car, turning left.

"Pull a U-ey, pull a U-ey! That's my dad!"

"Oh good lord, this is WAY more than I bargained for"

Dave reluctantly turned the car around and we caught up to my parents at the next red light, beeping and waving frantically.

My mom and dad are laughing, and can't believe that they created such a strange creature.

What happened was, that my parents had to go BOWLING. They were in the middle of their game when my uncle called saying that their daughter was waiting for them at the bus stop. What did they do? They FINISHED THEIR GAME and then went to go get her.

After they found me, they took me BACK TO THE BOWLING ALLEY to finish their THIRD GAME. Oh my. Anyway, after that, we went home to bed.

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

To the market to buy food for dinner

I also wanted to stop at the Strathcona Market, so we did that. I finally got a green onion cake, but they weren't as good as the ones we made for ourselves... not enough onions.

Later, we headed over to the Italian grocery store, where there was an incredible line for cheese at the deli, and totally incompetent cheese cutters.

We bought stuff to cook for dinner, and had a quiet meal at Keith's house for Valentine's Day.

Green onion cakes

Green onion cakes


Me vs. green onion cake

Me vs. green onion cake


The Strathcona Market

The Strathcona Market


The Italian market cheese counter

The Italian market cheese counter

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Banff hot springs and back to Edmonton

Before we had to go back home, we stopped at the Banff hot springs. I had also been here in the summer before, but it's a way better experience in the winter. The steam is just incredible, and your skin tingles for hours once you get out.

Another goal of mine was to have some authentic Ukrainian food before leaving Edmonton, so I ordered some Mundare sausages, perogies and cabbage rolls from the legendary Uncle Ed's. It was definitely worth the difficulty we had in finding it.

Steamy

Steamy


Very steamy

Very steamy


Me and Keith vs. hot springs

Me and Keith vs. hot springs


Me vs. cabbage roll

Me vs. cabbage roll


Me vs. perogie

Me vs. perogie


Ukrainian food!

Ukrainian food!

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

More hiking at Lake Louise

Well, I can't go to Banff without stopping at Lake Louise. This will probably be the last time I visit the lake with the best name in the world. Once in summer and once in winter, I think that is enough.

We hiked up to Mirror Lake and Lake Agnes, it's pretty easy and very rewarding. We thought we were at the top, but then bumped into some Spanish hikers on the way down, they told us it was another 45 minutes upwards before getting to the teahouse and the end of the trail.

We went all the way up, and then all the way down. There is no way to describe how beautiful the rockies are. I hope that the pictures help.

Later, we actually could skate on Lake Louise, so that was a highlight for me too.

We thought we would try to go to Radium Springs, but it took us too long to drive, so we just went back to the hotel. Had some Mexican food under a giant neon cactus in a giant boot, and that was the end of another day of hiking.

There were a few fallen trees

There were a few fallen trees


We thought we were at the top

We thought we were at the top


Beautiful panorama

Beautiful panorama


Mirror Lake

Mirror Lake


Lake Agnes

Lake Agnes


This time we are at the top

This time we are at the top


Same photo again

Same photo again


Keith skating on Lake Louise

Keith skating on Lake Louise


Keith vs. Lake Louise

Keith vs. Lake Louise


Me vs. giant beer

Me vs. giant beer


Classy neon cactus

Classy neon cactus

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

We went hiking/sliding AROUND Tunnel Mountain

From here on in, our trip consisted mainly of hiking, hiking and more hiking. I love hiking.

We decided to take a not so steep (but long) trek around Tunnel Mountain and ending up at the world famous hoodoos. I decided not to rent the cleats the lady at the visitor centre recommended because I decided she was "too old" to understand. Turns out she was kind of right. Keith described me as "Bambi on ice" slipping and sliding down the hills. Going up icy BC hills is pretty, it's the going down part that will trip you up. I slid down on my bum quite a few times.

Didn't actually end up getting any pictures of the hoodoos, the climax of our trip. My batteries died, go figure.

The trail wasn't a loop, so we decided to go back home along the road. Nobody picked us up, even though I'm sure we looked pretty tired and pathetic and worthy of a drive into Banff. It took us a little bit of time to finally find our car, but we did it. Went back, changed and then wandered around town before deciding on ordering some Korean food for dinner.

Weird rocks

Weird rocks


Mountain

Mountain


Mountain 2

Mountain 2


A clearing

A clearing


Tunnel Mountain

Tunnel Mountain


Tunnel Mountain 2

Tunnel Mountain 2


The Sound of Music?

The Sound of Music?


Mmmhmmm, yeah...that's me

Mmmhmmm, yeah...that's me


The Hoodoos!

The Hoodoos!


Me vs. kim chi

Me vs. kim chi


Keith vs. hot pot

Keith vs. hot pot

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

We went karaoke-ing with Charla Mae

We drove all the way to Banff early in the morning.

As soon as we got there, I called Charlamae, and we set up a time to meet for karaoke the next day. Doing this job, it's really cool to know people all over the world. It gives you an interesting perspective when you can sit down with someone like old friends and just chat about the general goings-ons in their hometowns.

We met up at Wild Bill's for some karaoke. Keith had planned to go to Banff just so we could show up for karaoke night. The bar was pretty interesting. There were all kinds of people there who were REALLY into it. Keith put on a good show as usual. If you get a chance, check him out, he's the best singer I know.

Charla Mae and me

Charla Mae and me


Keith takes the stage

Keith takes the stage

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Skating in Edmonton

We went to go see the Edmonton Art Gallery, but it was closed for renovations and had a temporary home down the street. It was pretty small, but I saw some great paintings of the big prairie sky and lots and lots of farmer's fields. Later on, we had dinner at The Keg with Carmella. It was cool to finally meet her, she had some big boots to fill, and it made me happy that she thought I was doing a good job so far. There is a magnificent speed skating rink in Victoria Park that you should definitely check out if you are ever in Edmonton during the winter.

Victoria Park

Victoria Park


Keith on the speed skating rink

Keith on the speed skating rink


Me vs. pickled sausage

Me vs. pickled sausage

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Canada Comments (0)