A Travellerspoint blog

August 2008

Finding Keith's glasses

There was one other place where Keith could've left his glasses. We had to get up at 5:30, to try and find them on the picnic table in the parking lot at Jean Drapeau Park. We had to go all the way back downtown and then out of town at rush hour, but I couldn't leave without trying. When we pulled up to the table, it looked like there was nothing on it, but I decided to get a little closer. Sure enough, there they were, in the exact spot Keith left them last night when he was putting on his helmet. Wow, that's a relief. But now, will I make it to work on time?

Turns out no. The ride back to Ottawa was freezing cold, and I wanted to do it as fast as possible. I thought I had enough gas to get us there, but it turns out no. The bike started running out of gas in the middle of a six lane section of the 417, about 5km from work. Crap! Luckily, Keith had CAA so we called them and they brought us $10 worth, so I got to work, only 1.5 hours late. Not too shabby.

Next up: Trip to Burk's Falls, Ontario for the Harvest Festival with Jamie.

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

Piknic Electronik

Today was the day for Piknic Electronik, so we headed back to Jean Drapeau Park. We took all our stuff with us, because it would be easier to leave later on. Ghostbeard was playing, and I thought I had heard of his name before, later I found out why. On the way to the island, we stopped for breakfast, at a way better breakfast place called "Tous les Jours" on Mont-Royal and Papineau. Way better than Cora's. Then we went shopping for our picnic that we would bring to the party. We got there two hours early and people were still setting up, so I took a nap under a tree by a pond. Sooooo pretty and relaxing. The music started pretty soon after, and it was OK. It was hot and sticky, so I stuck to a little patch of shade under a big art installation. The first DJ was playing mostly house-type music (not exactly my favourite), so I just kept a low profile for a while. But Ghostbeard, oh man, when he started spinning, the dancefloor became packed. I KNEW I had heard of him before. He played a whole bunch of remixed reggae oldies like "Romie" and "Murder She Wrote" mmmmmmmmmwah!

You know you know those songs: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-av7F1JBmj4 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fI-g_0mUUmE

Just amazing. His set was two hours long and Keith and I danced barefeet under the shadow of the structure for pretty much the whole time. The next DJ was not so good, but it was OK. We ate dinner/lunch? and then slowly went home. It had been sprinkling the whole day, so we didn't think much of it when it started raining a little bit on the way to the motocyclette. Suddenly, the rain came down in a big downpour. We decided to get a hotel for the night in Laval, where the rates are cheaper. The Econolodge had a room, but I didn't realize how far it was outside of town. We were driving in the pouring rain and it sucked big time. By the time we got to the hotel, it had stopped. Keith looked in his jacket and couldn't find his glasses. He figured he left them at a pizza place that we stopped at on the way. We couldn't remember the name of the restaurant, so calling them was out. I had no choice, I had to go look for Keith's glasses alone, in the middle of the night because

a) Keith had no motorcycle licence b)It's faster for me to drive by myself and c) We had to leave early in the morning

I was sooooo tired, I wanted to cry. But I went anyway, I rode the motorcycle halfway back downtown and the pizza place was closed! I memorized the number and figured I'd probably have to abandon Keith, sans glasses in a strange city, at least for the rest of Monday.

Me vs. freezie

Me vs. freezie

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Old-Montreal, poutine, Mont-Royal and Pop Montreal

Keith woke up today, and he was not happy. He didn't want to stay at Anika's house anymore. There was not enough privacy, and he's not used to not having his own bathroom/shower at all, or ever for that matter. So that's disappointing, but OK, I explained to Anika, and she said we were free to stay the night again, or leave, either way was good for her, obviously. I tried to come up with some good ideas for places to stay, but I don't really do well with travel plans on the fly like that, so I just picked something from Trip Advisor randomly. This also, was shared accomodations, and it made Keith feel like I wasn't listening. He was upset, so he left for a while to think about what to do. While he was gone, I had a nice time with Anika and Cedric learning how to make crepes like real French people. Cedric had just come to Montreal from France, after he met Anika in Greece last year. They are a really cute hippie couple, and they know how to make a mean lemon and sugar crepe. Just as the crepes were done, Keith came back and we all sat down together for breakfast. It was delicious, and we had a kind of broken, caveman English discussion until about noon. I wanted to show Keith around the port and the old part of town, so we went down there after washing some dishes and cleaning up. I was a little cranky and disappointed about the miscommunication. Also, I was not feeling the late 19th century heritage-style festival happening on this end of town at the moment, so I was not a happy camper either. We walked around and around getting lost and hungry. Anika gave us the address to two of the best poutine places, and I knew exactly where one of them was, so we went over there and pretty much instantly cheered up. The Mont-Royal area is my favourite part of town, it's full of small-time indie rockstars and hipsters of all shapes and sizes, it's probably about as trendy as you can get in this city. St-Laurent Ave. was shut down for a massive street party, and there was a Pop Montreal pre-show on Rachel St., right across from Patati Patata, the 2nd best place for poutine in Montreal. It was a very nice scene and it was good to get out of the hot sun and stop being all meowy for a bit. My plan was for us to go up the giant mountain, so we did that after our delicious poutine. Yes, it is the best I've ever had, by the way. We climbed up the regular person path for a while, but then Keith started tackling some of the rocks. Ai yi yi, I'm glad I wore my hiking boots, but I was also wearing a dress, and had no bag to carry my wallet and water in. There definitely were some great views on the way up, and at one point, I was convinced I'd have to call the police helicopter to rescue me off the side of the mountain, but we made it up anyway. We tried to find the sunset, but couldn't get to the right spot in time, oh well. We came down from the mountain and went for dinner at Schwartz's, yes the legendary smoked meat sandwich place. Again. Keith made friends with this Italian-French guy sitting across from us, and after that, we headed back to the Pop Montreal show. Caroline Keating was playing piano and singing very sweetly, so we stayed there for a while. I asked some of the people there how to get to the Dieu du Ciel, which is my favourite pub in town. It was easy, and I had a pepper-spice beer as well as a coffee one. Yum. Then we went back to Anika's after all.

Climbing Mont Royal

Climbing Mont Royal


Me vs. poutine

Me vs. poutine

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

La Ronde!

Anika woke me up at 7 a.m. and I was really confused. What? I must've been dreaming that someone told me I could sleep in! Oh well, must move the motocyclette. There are some weird parking restrictions on Anika's street, so I went outside and put the bike in a hiding spot, then came back to sleep for a bit. Patrick came and said he had to leave for work soon. So we got ready really fast and headed out the door. Patrick was kind enough to take us to a place where we could eat breakfast, Cora's. Keith really enjoyed the frogs on the paper placemats there. I hate Cora's. The cheery cartoony schtick makes me vomit, and anytime someone suggests I eat there, I usually pout and complain until it's over. Plus, it's not exactly the deal of the century. Breakfast cost us at least $15 total for a regular egg/sausage combo. We didn't have many ideas about what to do today, but it was a weekday, and we were up early, so I thought La Ronde would be a great option. I had never been there before and I always dreamed about it! Much like my dream of seeing Bonhomme. I finally realized both of my deepest French desires this year. So, we took the subway all the way to Jean Drapeau park and we were even a half hour early! Sweet! More rollercoasters for us. Last night, Keith was lying to me about only riding the teacups and the ferris wheel at amusement parks, so he surprised me by actually indulging in my excitement and agreeing to come along to La Ronde. Annnnnnnnnd it was so fun. When the gates opened, we headed straight to the Goliath coaster, which was awesome. Maybe the best one, there were lots of stomach gulping drops and heart pounding curves on that one, definitely a very unique yo-yo style rollercoaster, unlike anything I've ever been on before. And I'm quite the conoisseur. We worked our way around the park the whole day and Keith couldn't understand why I never got hungry the whole day. I had a lemon slushie what are you talking about? That's enough, there are more rides to go on! No time to eat! Another good rollercoaster at La Ronde is the Boomerang, it has a long line but it's worth it. It's a backwards/forwards one, that you would recognize as The Bat, if you've ever been to Canada's Wonderland. Maybe the third best was The Vampire, which was just like Top Gun at Wonderland. Your feet hang below the train, but it's noticeably smoother and there is a surprise burst of scary mist waiting for you at the end of it. The wooden coaster was great, track number 2 is the scarier track. I liked the standup one too, but it was too painful for Keith's tastes. My contacts were bothering me the whole day, and finally at the end of the day I started to fall asleep in the line. We went on one more ride, and got stuck at the end of it. We waited for the mechanic to come and fix it, and then went and got a giant crepe, full of tiramisu, whipped cream and bananas. Mmmm, it was good. $7 good? Yes, I think so. It wasn't too late, so we went back to Anika's house, and sat on the porch for a while before going to bed.

Me at La Ronde

Me at La Ronde


Sleeping on the way home

Sleeping on the way home


Subway to La Ronde

Subway to La Ronde


Me vs. crepe

Me vs. crepe

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

Motocyclette to Montreal

Against my better judgment, I had the idea to drive Keith to Montreal this weekend. He'd never been there before, so I thought it would be a great opportunity for some fun times. I found some nice French people that we could stay with on Van Horne Ave., close to Plamondon Metro station which was good. We arrived at their place at about midnight, after stopping a few times so that Keith could stretch out his legs and not be in so much pain anymore, haha. He loves riding a motorcycle. Anika greeted us at the door, half asleep, and even gave us sleeping bags to sleep in. The only thing was, that I had to move my bike off the street at 8 a.m. to make way for street cleaners. Ugh! I fell asleep and had a dream that Anika told me I could sleep in after all.

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

Flying back to Ottawa

We took a 4 p.m. flight back to Calgary, then to Ottawa. Ending up in Ottawa at about midnight. Pretty long flight. We endured it by smuggling rum into our drinks and giggling all the way home at the back of the plane near the washrooms. By the way, don't even bother watching the movie 21, totally not worth it.

Stay tuned for a blog about towing Keith to Montreal for a weekend.

Keith with turban

Keith with turban


Me with notebook

Me with notebook

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

Waterfalls #2, the dump and Arctic char sushi

This morning, we helped clean up Bruce's cabin a little bit, dried out our clothes and headed out on our way. We went for another hike at another waterfall, but I can't remember its name. We walked around exploring a little bit, and I fell asleep in the warm sunshine on a big rock. When I woke up, Keith was gone. I looked around briefly for him, decided he probably got bored and went to the car, so I headed back there. All alone in the woods, and terrified of bears jumping out from around the corners, I almost ran all the way back. He wasn't there, so waited in the parking lot on the picnic table for him to come back. Still no Keith. OK, I have to pee, so I went to the bathroom, and then in a couple minutes I hear the car door open. I left my stuff on top of the roof, so I assumed he'd figure I was close by. Nope. Keith just starts the car and assumes I've gone hitchhiking or something I guess. I walk out of the bathroom, and he just takes off, backing right into me in the process. Luckily, he saw me in the rearview mirror waving frantically. Poor me, left behind at the end of Canada, all by my lonesome. Everyone told us to go see the dump. Why? I don't know. It's pretty organized, I think that's the big reason. They line everything up and have big signs for stuff that you might need, like large appliances, tires, miscellaneous junk. Apparently, it costs too much to move your stuff out of Yellowknife once you get it here, so there's lots of good stuff in the dump. I personally, didn't see anything too palatable. Plus it would probably stink. One think that would be useful though, is the giant pile of wood they have just lying around. We paid $10 for a little bag of it at the campsite, but if we had a car and had known, we could've had all the pallette wood we wanted. After that, we went for some arctic char sushi downtown and Keith had a pint at the "best" pub in town. Not exactly so good. Both of our cameras were broken, so we stopped in the mall to ask if they could be fixed. Of course they said no way, they're toast, you better buy a new one. So that's what Keith did. We went looking for a place to stay for the night, this was difficult. I wanted to stay at a B&B so we went to a couple of the addresses on our map. None of them existed. We finally just decided to get a room at the Chateau Nova, a place we'd walked right by a whole bunch of times on the way to old town. After a long trip I think we deserved our relaxation time in the steam room and cheese/crackers/chianti combo, don't you?

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The end of the road and the crazy cabin murderer

Today was the day to pack up our campsite and hit the road!

Keith made some hot chocolate, because it was a little bit cool this morning, and after that he went for a shower while I headed down to the front of the park to reserve a rental car. This is quite the journey, so I try not to do it very much. The thing about Yellowknife is that some cell phone companies don't provide coverage there. One of them happens to be Rogers, which is the phone that Keith has. So we had to walk maybe 1k each time we wanted to use the phone. Not a big deal when you want to get away from it all, but it becomes a bigger deal when you want to rent a car. Renting a car sucks, and they didn't have my work discount company in the area, so I couldn't decide on a place. I ended up phoning all kinds of places, and settling on Hertz, because this was the only place answering the phone for me still. Anyway, we got a nice blue one, and a lady named Lorreen or Lorraine came to pick us up. She was a heavy metal rockin' chick, who moved to Yellowknife a few years ago. She said she would never go back.

OK OK OK, Keith has insurance and I don't, so he drove. We went and bought some lunch, then we went straight to that art gallery, and I bought the northern lights painting I wanted before. Next on the agenda was finding the END OF THE HIGHWAY. This is the most north you can get on any Canadian road, so we had to go there. We found the Ingraham Trail and took it straight to the end. Most of it was not paved, but we were informed by many signs on the roadside that Canada was working on it. "Canada is making Canada more beautiful. Because really, who else is going to do it?"

So after about an hour of driving through beautiful lakes and hills with lots of lilypads and stuff, we found ourselves at a stop sign. This is the END OF CANADA and all there is, is a stop sign? You've got to be kidding me. Talk about anti-climactic... We took a photo anyway.

We were also advised to go and see Cameron Falls, so we took our sandwiches and headed down there. Definitely worth the trip and the rental car. Again, one of those things you have to see to believe. I grew up near Niagara Falls, but still, I'm amazed every time there are rocks and water rushes past them, I don't know why. Maybe it's in my blood. After a lunch of croissants, we briefly spotted a black bear across the river and said hello to a couple of other hikers.

So, Keith has a little bit of an adventurous spirit, which is usually a good thing. However, as it turns out, not today. He went climbing all over the rocks, and he looked like he was having so much fun, I couldn't resist. I followed along, absentmindedly putting my camera in my hoodie pocket. Yeah, I know. We had to climb over this little stream and my foot slipped on a wet rock, when what do you know? My camera falls right into the water. I jumped in after it and picked it right up, but it still broke. Heartbroken and plagued with a major soaker, I continued on. Keith's camera was also acting up, and only taking photos from what looked like Jupiter. But I think we can fix them in Photoshop later.

As we continued down along the river we were not surprised to see a lovely, very professional looking bridge, spanning the river I didn't have to jump across. Had we only seen this bridge, my camera could've been spared. Alas, this was not to be the case. Happily, I had my Flip Video in my bag, so I took some videos of the rest of Cameron Falls.

We kept driving in search of a place to stay for the night. I saw a sign that said there was supposed to be cabins at Prelude Lake campsite. We drove down the long driveway, and asked the guy in charge if they had cabins.

"Not officially, no"

"Hey, didn't I see you hiking at Cameron Falls a second ago?"

"Yep, I sure did. What are you guys doing here?"

"Looking for a cabin."

"You can come stay in mine, $50. OK, can I get a ride with you, and then I'll show you?"

"Yeah, sure."

So we drove down to Bruce's cabin, which was very nice. But I started to get a little leery when I noticed some well-packed suitcases, still in the room he said we could sleep in. I asked him about it and it seemed to me like he was over-explaining the reasons these people had to leave in such a hurry. Keith noticed a giant hatchet by the front door. We started to rethink our decision to stay here, when Bruce cheerily chirps.

"You know what guys, you can stay here as long as you leave behind good karma."

"Ummmmmmm, OK, sounds great. By the way, where do you go for food around here?"

"Oh, you know what, I've got some food in the freezer, I'll come bring it over and we'll eat, don't worry."

"OK, thanks Bruce."

So I'm pooping my pants thinking this guy's going to drug us and then torture and kill us, and Keith goes along with him to see where he gets the food from. I'm imagining that Keith has already been bludgeoned with a blunt instrument and now Bruce is coming for me. I don't even have a set of keys for the car! I'm completely helpless!

Keith and Bruce bring back stewing beef and some vegetables and we cook a stew in the slowly setting sunlight. I didn't see the package the meat came in, so I'm imagining the meat is from his former houseguests, the ones that had to leave so fast last time. Oh god, I'm probably going to eat people, and then other people are going to eat me! Holy god, let's get out of here! I glance over and notice a JAR OF RELISH on the kitchen table. All the literary elements for a cheap and dirty horror novel are RIGHT IN FRONT OF MY FACE. I'm recognizing all of them, but WHY am I ignoring them? Because I have some strange notion that people are inherently good? Oh yeah, I have to continually remind myself of that, each time I suspect someone is trying to turn me into an unwitting cannibal!

OK, so I'm not dumb. I SAW Wolf Creek. I let Keith drink the roofie-water, and I had my own grapefruit pop that I brought with me, so I drank the rest of that. I carefully observed his body language, so that I could react at the first sign of drowsiness he displayed. Keith was my canary in the mineshaft.

Luckily, the stew was delicious and the water potable. We had a pretty nice chat with Bruce, shared some of our croissants and ate stew by candlelight and talked until it was dark.

That's all there is folks, you can't go north

That's all there is folks, you can't go north


Boooo hissss...

Boooo hissss...


Pick up yer dern gut piles!

Pick up yer dern gut piles!


Our car

Our car


Keith vs. Cameron Falls

Keith vs. Cameron Falls


Black bear in there somewhere

Black bear in there somewhere


This is where I dropped my camera

This is where I dropped my camera


Cameron Falls

Cameron Falls

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

Lightning storm and no beer on Sunday

We were getting tired and lazy, so we took a cab downtown. We hadn't been to the Pilot's Monument or the Wildcat Cafe yet, so we walked down there again. We climbed up the big rock dedicated to all the bush pilots who opened up the North to development. Very nice view of the harbour and surrounding areas. There was not a lot of room at the WIldcat, so we had to get a table on the patio. Again, there was not much shade anywhere to be found. We had to sneakily steal a spot in the shade. As soon as a couple of people left, we grabbed their dirty table and lounged in the corner for what seemed like hours, until our waitress came. I ordered some musk ox which tasted like roast beef, but with a little bit of a stronger taste. Yum. After a really long time, waiting for our bill, etc. BTW I'm not complaining, it was lovely to finally find some shade, at last, SOMEWHERE! It figures we had to come so far north to get so hot, weird. After that, we wandered around various artist workshops, met a whale bone carver and I pondered buying a Northern Lights painting, but went back to next day to actually get it. Later, we wanted some beers, but after searching high and low, could only find some at the Jade Garden, a Chinese food/pizza parlour, with a very nice manager. It was absolutely stifling in there and I probably drank my weight in beer and water, but it ended up in a small wading pool underneath my chair anyway. That's really how ridiculous it was. We asked the manager where the locals go for pitchers on a Sunday since everything is so closed, he said the only place open is Boston Pizza,... honestly. With reluctance, I went. I guess there's a weird rule here that says you have to order food with beer on Sundays, so all the bars end up being closed. All of them but the crappiest one. It's all simple microeconomics you see. We stayed there for a while and sang Leaving on a Jetplane for a couple of underage girls who later got kicked out, and then we conversed with some sort of "contractor" sitting behind me for a while. Soon it was midnight, and time to go. It had started raining so we grabbed a cab back and listened/watched the craziest thunder and lightning storm I'd EVER seen. My tent leaked a bit, but it wasn't too bad.

Pilots' monument

Pilots' monument


View from the monument

View from the monument


Yellowknife marina

Yellowknife marina


Yellowknife from Pilots' monument

Yellowknife from Pilots' monument


Me vs. Muskox

Me vs. Muskox


Wildcat Cafe

Wildcat Cafe


Cool mural

Cool mural


Me vs. wonton (Cat Empire shirt, woo!)

Me vs. wonton (Cat Empire shirt, woo!)


Keith vs. Chinese food

Keith vs. Chinese food


Christmas decorations beside Chinese cat

Christmas decorations beside Chinese cat


Boston Pizza Yellowknife, why are we HERE?

Boston Pizza Yellowknife, why are we HERE?

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

Beach day!

Today was beach day. We went swimming for a bit in the gross muddy, sandy moss. There was barely any shade anywhere, so we sat under a small gazebo, watching people play in a volleyball tournament. I chatted with a reporter who was there to cover it while Keith just generally chatted and made a scene. After a restful refreshing day in the sunlight, we went back to camp, cooked some noodles and lounged around the campfire till bedtime. I also saw my first Northern Lights, so that was just amazing. They danced and turned vibrant shades of green, yellow, even pink and white. It really was something you have to see for yourself. A photo and mywords would not do it justice. I lay captivated on a rock the entire time. They lasted no longer than five minutes. I don't believe that this could be something anyone could ever grow tired of.

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

Bullock's Bistro and a play at the musem

It was unbelievably hot in Yellowknife, NWT this morning. I woke up to the sound of a little animal rustling around in some plastic bags. No way! A squirrel was eating the trail mix I had so carefully prepared before leaving. An entire bag of chocolate, cereal, raisins and more, gone to the squirrel... *sigh* There was not much food to make for breakfast after that. Keith ate dry bagels and sardines. He loved it. He relished it with wild abandon. I wanted to go swimming at the beach to cool off, but Keith forgot his bathing suit and vehemently refused to swim in underwears. So, instead we went downtown again. This time to old town. We attempted to follow the historical walking tour, but quickly lost interest because our faces were melting off. We spotted a ramshackle little dive, Bullock's Bistro, and Keith went in after observing a sign saying "warm beer, bad service". Ignoring my gut reaction, I sat down as well. The lady informed me there would be no ice, so I just ordered a vegetable juice. "Go get it yourself." Seriously? *eyeroll* The juice was in the fridge, and yep, it was warm, too. Anyway, I was not refreshed after this meal, eaten in the direct sunlight, sans ice. Needless to say, she got zero dollars for a tip. Codfish = good however. Yesterday, we saw a poster for a play that was "pay what you can", so we headed over to the museum to watch that on the waterfront. Keith didn't want to go initially, but later he said he was glad he did. On the way to the play, he picked up a swimsuit, and I bought some sorbet along with groceries again. I had to go shopping at this every day since we had no cooler or car or anything, and I am sorry to report that there were no large marshmallows at the Extra Foods store, so I had to settle on mini marshmallows. THE HORROR! So the play was pretty fun, they put on that one about the assassin in the Pigman, an excerpt from "Squirrels" and another hilarious one about the Teddy Bears' Picnic. "All the bears that ever there was?" "Yes, even the undead bears!" At one point during Squirrels, the actress referenced the fairy tale about elves and the shoemaker that totally cracked us up. Apparently, we were the only ones to get the joke. Afterwards, an old man turns around and says "Why is it funny what does it MEAN?!" Which cracked me up even more, so I removed myself from the situation as gracefully as possible. I just did not have the patience at all to explain the subtle intricacies of fairy tale humour. We went back to the campsite, concocted another campfire, and attempted to make smores with the mini marshmallows. Keith found a thorny stick, so he put the mini marshmallows on there. What a funny boy.

Sunset at our campsite

Sunset at our campsite


Sunset at our campsite 2

Sunset at our campsite 2


Pilots' monument

Pilots' monument


Pilot's monument 2

Pilot's monument 2


Pilot's monument 3

Pilot's monument 3


Cool mural

Cool mural


Bullock's Bistro

Bullock's Bistro


Cool mural 2

Cool mural 2


Me

Me


Appropriately titled play, "Squirrels"

Appropriately titled play, "Squirrels"


Squirrel eating our trail mix

Squirrel eating our trail mix


Yes, that's a BOX of wine

Yes, that's a BOX of wine


Keith vs. mini marshmallows

Keith vs. mini marshmallows


Me and Keith

Me and Keith


Bullock's Bistro

Bullock's Bistro

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

THE GIANT EGGROLL

Keith packed up all his stuff in the morning like a maniac, and so we had to take a cab all the way to the airport, 30 km outside of town. We missed the shuttlebus *pout* We got to Yellowknife and it was boiling hot. I had told my Couchsurfing friend Phil the wrong arrival time, so he wasn't there waiting for us. We picked up our stuff and headed out. Fred Henne Park is a very easy walk from the airport, so we just did that. We set up our camp, changed into summery clothes and headed straight to town, past an energy plant that sounded like there were screaming monkeys being turned into pure atomic energy. We cried a little inside just to know that this might be happening in a country as free and responsible as Canada. But for all of our concern, we continued on our merry way into town. Keith's hairdresser told us to find the giant eggrolls, so we stopped at the tourist office and asked the man there where to get them. He pointed us to Max's and we found it. Located underground in what appeared to be a Cold War style nuclear bomb shelter. True to his word, there it was "Jumbo eggroll" Yum. It really was huge. We ate one between us and we were totally full. Delish. We walked around town, bought groceries and wine, walked back to the campground and I made a fire while Keith took his own sweet time in the shower.Five hours later, we dined on freshly smoked sausages and soft soft buns.

The Yellowknife sign

The Yellowknife sign


Chinese food

Chinese food


Monkey factory

Monkey factory


Jackfish Lake, I think

Jackfish Lake, I think


Me vs. giant eggroll

Me vs. giant eggroll

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

Hiking and karaoke....in the same day...

Today for lunch, we headed down to Whyte Ave. near the University of Alberta. We had some gross pub food, because they didn't have mussles, and then we went for a walk in Hawrelak and Laurier parks. At first I was very unimpressed by the sparse nature of the lawn and contrived manner that everything seemed to be arranged in. But walking further, into the forest and over the river, you find yourself in a little slice of wilderness, inside the city limits. Very enjoyable and relaxing. At the end of the hike, I saw a small playground. I suddenly had the urge to swing! I ran as fast as I could to find that there were none. Only some lame climbing structures and really weird basket shaped swinging mechanisms. The lawsuit society we live in has once again taken over the jurisdiction of fun. I left like belting out a few showtunes while slightly inebriated in front of strangers, so Keith called up his friends Sarah and Zach and we went down to B Street Karaoke bar near the industrial park part of town. That was super good times. Sarah sang Baby Got Back and some Shania Twain song. I saw Bjork again, with some No Doubt and Dandy Warhols thrown in for variety. Keith went to town on Add It Up and Sweet Caroline. Classic. Zach did not participate.

Keith vs. Keith's

Keith vs. Keith's


Karaoke Sarah

Karaoke Sarah


Keith and Zach

Keith and Zach


Keith vs. Neil Diamond

Keith vs. Neil Diamond

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

Driving back to Edmonton

We left at about noon-ish and made our way to Edmonton in Keith's giant red truck. Halfway there, we stopped at the farmous Burger Baron just because it looked hilarious. And it was. There was a lady who clearly had a very keen (we found out later, family) interest in the fine establishment. While I was in the washroom, I heard a very loud kerfuffle outside. Keith's unmistakable laugh could be heard right through the door. She was describing the burgers with ketchup "painted on" and they were made with love, honour and respect. They had a nice laugh together after I came out of the washroom. Then Keith invited her to come along on our great adventure. She didn't take us up on the offer and politely declined. We continued on our way singing Mika and various folk songs. Keith forgot his satellite radio so all we had were a couple of obscure CDs, but we manage, we manage.... Back at Keith's house, we watched The Fountain, a really crazy awesome movie I wanted to see for a really long time. I washed my dirty, dirty clothes. Everything smelled like a smoked sausage, I guess that's what three days around a campfire will do to you.

Canmore is beautiful

Canmore is beautiful


Keith driving

Keith driving

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

Canmore Folkfest and meeting Keith

Elly had a 15 hour drive to Saskatoon ahead of her, so we tried to leave early. Our round of goodbyes lasted longer than planned, but we still left at about 10:30 a.m. That would put me in Canmore at about 5 p.m. Riad came along with us. Choosing to take the ride Elly was offering all the way to Saskatoon. We listened to pop punk all the way to Canmore, through amazing mountains once again. They dropped me off at the hostel Keith picked, over the nearby municipal campground he usually stays at. It's pretty new and nice. They wanted a $20 cash deposit on my linen, and I didn't have it on me. Instead of going to the ATM where I'm sure there would've been an exorbitant $2 convenience fee, I opted to explore the city. The hostel people stored my bags as I went out in search of the Bank of Montreal. I climbed over a couple of fences to cut across the railroad tracks (badly bruising myself in the process, I would find out about that later). I had the wrong directions from the hostel guys, so I had to ask for more. "Walk down Main St., it should be there." said the folky looking guy at the liquor store. Alright. So I kept walking, found the bank, and kept on going. Soon, I heard the music from the folk festival, and it sounded eerily familiar. Hmmm.... what could it be? Maybe I'll buy a ticket and see if I can find Keith. I asked the security guards if they could look him up, but he wasn't working until tonight. "By the way, what band is playing right now?" "Oh, uh, Kobotown I think." "What?! Are you KIDDING me?! They're like, my favourite band ever and I missed them!" Arg! Again! I saw them once at a CBC radio taping and instantly fell in love. Then I immediately proceeded to miss them at the Ottawa Folkfest as well. Scheise... So I walked around looking for a payphone to call Keith. Another nicer security guard let me use his cellphone and it turns out Keith wasn't very far away. He came to meet me and I got a big hug, bought a ticket and went to watch the rest of the show. The Duhks were headlining tonight, so I was pretty excited about that. The music at the time was lame and boring, so I began to think about what would happen if it got a little colder later. I asked Keith how cold it got and if I needed a sweater. "Yep." "Can I use yours later?" "Nope." "What? Really?!" So, I had to go all the way back to the hotel, fetch my pants and shirt and check in and stuff. I just threw my stuff down and ran back to the show. It was almost time for supper, so I headed off to get some wild salmon from BC. I missed that in Vernon, so good thing I had a chance to get some here. Yum. We sat down beside a crotchety old man who allowed us to share a spot at his picnic table, as long as we didn't make any noise and disturb him. I think we were a little more entitled to a picnic table than he was, since we actually had food. Anyway, we left and I enjoyed my dinner without him, at the table to the right, making immediately probably more noise than before. After dinner, it was almost time for the Duhks. When they came on, I wanted to go dance. Let me tell you a little bit about over-regulation of a music festival. You can find it in Canmore. At the right side of the stage, there was a small fenced off dance area where you could see the band, but hearing it was a different story. Nice dance area. Just because there are some people who are lazy and want to sit through a whole show. Those same people are also the most vocal complainers of the crowd, hence the over regulation of the festival. OK, so the Duhks were good. I danced in the specified area and then we went back to the hostel to change for the after-party. I decided to go along and try and crash it, instead of hanging out with the oh-so-inviting hostel folk. Yeah. I waited outside the party (which was held inside a seniors' centre) while Keith asked if I could come inside. He came back in a couple minutes and said yes I could. So, that was fun too. We had some wines, I danced and Keith mingled with his peeps. It was SO HOT in there, they weren't allowed to open the doors, so I quickly got tired. I went to go sit down in the lounge, and a tall skinny black guy sat down beside me. We were just chatting about random things and he mentions he plays in the band Kobotown. WELL! Wasn't that a shame! I gushed about missing the show by "this much" and loving the band, etc. etc. Typical me-type excitement. He had just joined the group and wasn't with themn when I saw them in Ottawa. BUT STILL, seriously, amazing band. SO, the night went on, we didn't end up back at the hostel until 5 a.m. I was only awoken once by the train just outside my window, but other than that, very nice place to stay in Canmore, if you don't want to spend a whole lot of money.

Me and "wallet"

Me and "wallet"


The road to Canmore

The road to Canmore


Elly driving

Elly driving


Riad in the back

Riad in the back


Traffic and mountains from the sunroof

Traffic and mountains from the sunroof


Keith and me

Keith and me


The grand finale

The grand finale


The after party

The after party


Dancing at the after party

Dancing at the after party


Me vs. balloon flower

Me vs. balloon flower

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