A Travellerspoint blog

September 2008

Flat tire before my big trip

Today was probably the worst day in the history of the world to get a flat tire on my bike. I'm leaving for Thailand tomorrow and what happens on the way to work today? Oh yeah, ftt ftt ftt that's not my bike making that noise, it must be a passing car. Ohhhhhh no, it's getting harder to pedal. Dammit. Yep, it's me making that noise. I try to change my tire at a nearby gas station with my keys. I succeed in completely devastating my tire rims, but I fail to get the tire off. Wow. OK. What now? I'm almost late for work, so I park my bike outside of the closed bike store, 1 km down the street from where I got a flat, and take the bus the rest of the way to work. I manage to hop back down there at lunch and ride back in record time. Despite the attitude the guy in the store is giving me. He found out that my spare tube also had a flat, so if I had managed to change it myself this morning, it wouldn't have mattered anyway. So I tie up all kinds of loose ends at work, and then head to the dentist. He activates my retainer and I go home, cook up an old frozen pizza (there's nothing else good in the fridge). I pack up the rest of my crap, educat Annalise on the responsibility of taking care of Alpenhorn, say goodbye to my dad, mom and Keith and then go to bed early.

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

TripAdvisor Cause Campaign

TripAdvisor Cause Campaign

TA Causes campaign

TA Causes campaign

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

Volunteering and motorcycling back home

Me and Jamie slept in until 9 or 10 ish, and then we packed up and went to the front gate to volunteer. Nobody was there on time, so we were told to go away, and then come back later. So we took some more of our stuff back to the car and came back later. There was a group of people there, and we just sort of stood there until someone said something to us. Nobody did, and they started walking away, so I yelled "Dave?" "Yes?" "We're here to volunteer" "Oh, OK, get in the truck then" Luckily I said something or else we probably never would have found him. Jamie and I jumped in the truck and then spent the rest of the afternoon compiling garbage from one small can into one big garbage can, then picking up garbage. We found some corn from last night, so we ate some of that. It was soooooooo sweet and delicious. Soon it was 3 p.m. and our shift was over. I had to go home already, since it would be dark by the time I got there. Just as I was about to leave the parking lot, there was Alejandro and his car full of Ottawa people! Hey cool, good to see you guys, I'll follow you home! "OK, how long will it take you to get ready?" "Um...five minutes..." "What?! Five minutes?! I guess so." OK...so I got ready as quickly as possible and then followed them to Huntsville. I thought they were all in a rush to get home, but they stopped in Huntsville for lunch and puttered around the Bulk Barn. I didn't really care, but Alejandro was kind of like, "Come on guys, let's go!" Anyway, I drank a big huge coffee because I was cold and tired, then about two hours later I was REALLY cold and I REALLY had to pee. So I pulled over as soon as we got into Barry's Bay to fill up with gas and then put on some more clothes. I waited in line for what seemed like forever and THEN this girl blatantly butted in front of me! Can you believe it?! I was OBVIOUSLY having bladder problems, she didn't have to do that. Ridiculous.

Anyway, the ride home was pretty uneventful, except for Alejandro almost hitting a deer. By the time I got back to Ottawa I was frozen to the bone and shivering uncontrollably. Ack! It took me almost an hour to completely warm up again. Next time I bike in the fall, I will be wearing long johns and a winter jacket! My oh my.

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

Motorcycling to Burk's Falls!

I haven't seen my friend Jamie Rowland in like, 10 years at LEAST, and since I have this newfound freedom with my motorcycle, we decided it was about time that I went for a little road trip and visited her.

At first, I thought I'd go to Newcastle and spend the weekend there, or maybe in Ajax, where Jamie works. But later, I found out about this rave/hippie fest about a half hour north of Huntsville called Harvest Festival, thanks to Sam. It was happening the same weekend I was supposed to visit Jamie, so I asked her if she wanted to go. I thought she sort of knew what was going to happen there, but I later found out she had no idea. She agreed to go camping with me, even though she was evidently a little nervous about the whole thing.

The camping part would only last one night, but we would email back and forth at least 100 times, going over the list of things to bring. Jamie had thought of everything, and yep, she brought all of it too. The night before the party, we talked on the phone making sure we had everything that we would need. On my motocyclette, I can't take anything but the bare minimum, so I was glad that Jamie had volunteered to bring the bulk of the stuff that we would need, including a monstrous tent and air mattress.

I got up pretty early and set out on my way. This ride was hands-down, the most beautiful I have been on yet. My route cut through the southern part of Algonquin Park, and I marveled at the colours of the reds, yellows and oranges of the changing leaves on the trees. I had to fill up with gas at a station inside the park, paying way more than I have ever paid for a tank of gas. There are only two gas stations in Algonquin, and I happened upon one of them as I was running out. I looked at my watch, oh my, 12:30, I said I would meet Jamie at 1 p.m. in Burk's Falls. It will still take an hour to get there, so I had to call her and tell her I would be late. She was already there waiting for me! I felt bad, but she was cool with driving back to her dad's house (which is 10 min. away I think) and waiting for me to arrive.

So, I drove up to Burk's Falls after that, and called Jamie once I got there. She was about five minutes away, so I just waited for her for a few seconds and she showed up! I think both of us look about the same as we did in highschool so we recognized each other immediately of course. One thing I have to say, Jamie is NOT a Facebook friend, as you are probably assuming at this point. We had actually been emailing each other and sometimes talking on the phone since leaving Notre Dame in 1999. We're actually real friends who care about each other and stuff.

By the time I got there, it was 2 p.m. and the gates to the festival were opening. We bought some drinks and some food to eat while at the event, and then had some pizza at a tiny pizza place on a rickety picnic table haphazardly placed adjacent to a noisy air conditioning unit outside. We chatted a little bit about our lives now and blahblahblah, and then we went to the party. Jamie in her car and me in my motorcycle behind her.

Upon arriving at the venue, I was presented with an official looking waiver that says, "I absolve Harvest Festival from all responsibility" in case of injury or death blahblahblah. There was no way I could read it and sign it while in line on my motorcycle. So I asked if I could pull over to read it at the side, because of the big line of people idling their cars behind me, I said that I felt I was being placed under duress to sign it. The lady wearing green kitty ears on her head and a big smile, said no. Ok, I'm thinking, this is a waste of time and paper, this will never hold up in court. So I signed the stupid sheet and paid for my ticket.

Jamie and I had signed up for volunteer duties, but you still had to pay beforehand because so many people flake out of cleanup duties on Sunday morning. *eyeroll*. I got to park my bike near the front of the parking lot and Jamie had to go all the way back. It wasn't that far away, but by the time I got there, she had already made friends with Ryan and Ryan, two strapping lads who had offered to help her carry her monumental amount of stuff she had brought to this party. So we gave the Ryans our stuff, and they helped us find a place to put our castle of a tent (wayyyyyy at the back). It was inconvenient, but quiet and nice back there.

So we set up our big,giant blue tent, (it took quite a while to figure out how to get it all together, btw) but we managed, and then we set up our chair to join the Ryans' circle of friends. They consisted mostly of married schoolteachers, with a couple of Mac tech support people thrown in for good measure. They were all from Toronto, and I talked quite a bit with Monique and Shanna about traveling in Thailand. They absolutely love it there. I haven't actually talked to anybody who doesn't, but there you have it. Hippies in Toronto adore Thailand (excepting the underage prostitution of course, they added)

Before we knew it, it was time to see the circus and sideshow. This was very interesting. For most of it, I was thoroughly disgusted (crucifying Jesus in an ocean of symbolic semen? Come on, give me a break, sometimes there's art and sometimes there's bored people with no talent attempting to shock people with pure mindlessness). But Jamie was so humorous..."Oh I get it, it's art, that's what they do...OK" I giggled through the whole thing, just laughing at her reactions.

There were a few genuinely talented people performing in the circus, sword swallowers, people swinging around on ropes and people dancing with flaming poi. I felt sorry for them, because they were surrounded with people that wouldn't know what talent is if it bit them in the nose. So anyway, I was feeling a little bit sorry for the fate of humanity.

After this, Jamie and I sort of wandered around, observing the way that people act at raves and parties like this. (I had never been on this side of the two-way mirror before. In highschool, I was always the one dancing my brains out, completely unaware of anything around me). One tent was placed beside a haunting swamp. We walked down there earlier in the day, and I had remarked that someone had actually thought about where to put this tent. The swamp was even more captivating at night, because there were lights shining on the whole thing, casting shadows and creating a naturally ocurring honest-to-God work of art.

We wandered around some more, I wasn't feeling really into the dancing part, as usual, and it was really strange for me. I was content to just walk around and criticize the whole entire thing. There were people lining up for food in the food tent, and it resembled a concentration camp. It was then, that I had the thought that raves are kind of like a concentration camp. The government used to be up in arms about this sort of thing happening, back in the nineties, but now, not so much, because I think the powers that be realized that most of these people don't matter in the long run. They can just explode their brains with mind altering drugs on the weekend by themselves if they want to, and society would probably be better for it anyway. Maybe.

Later on, as I was stepping out of the already-overflowing portapotties, somebody yelled "Louise!" right behind me and it was my friend Alejandro from Ottawa! I found out that he had filled up his buddy's car with a bunch of other people that I knew, and they had just gotten there. They had mentioned that they were interested in going to the festival too, but I had just assumed that their plans had fallen through, and they didn't go after all. I hadn't seen them for about two months, so it was kind of weird to see them all the way across the province.

Sam hitched a ride with the rest of the Ottawa people, and she came by a few minutes later. She had just gotten back from Burningman in Nevada, and also had a new boyfriend since the last time I saw her. My how things change in a few weeks.

Jamie in front of the castle

Jamie in front of the castle


Me and jamie in our campsite

Me and jamie in our campsite


Jamie and me in our campsite

Jamie and me in our campsite


Swamp

Swamp


The swamp

The swamp


Gross soup

Gross soup


Larvae/pods

Larvae/pods


Circus

Circus


Fire people

Fire people


More fire people

More fire people


Fire

Fire


People dancing

People dancing


Swamp at night

Swamp at night


Jamie vs. sculpture

Jamie vs. sculpture


Sculptures in the day

Sculptures in the day


People in weird costumes

People in weird costumes


Another sculpture

Another sculpture


Jamie vs. sculpture 2

Jamie vs. sculpture 2


Me vs. sculpture

Me vs. sculpture


Blowing up the mattress

Blowing up the mattress


Our castle

Our castle


Jamie and me

Jamie and me


Our campsite

Our campsite


Horse sculptures

Horse sculptures


Campers

Campers


Parking lot

Parking lot


Trees in the dance tent

Trees in the dance tent


Paintings?

Paintings?


No camping

No camping


More tents

More tents


I don't know

I don't know

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