A Travellerspoint blog

Canada

To St. Catharines

I went to work with mom today and got the tour of the office, meanwhile I went with Sandy to St. Catharines to exchange some money and buy a microphone so that I can use my Skype while I am away.

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Dropped Steph off!

I dropped Steph off in Niagara Falls in the morning and then proceeded to do an astounding amount of laundry to try and kill the fleas and flea eggs that may be lingering in my belongings.

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Packing up and driving to Niagara

The journey begins in Shawville.

A friend of a friend, Steph, is on her way to Niagara Falls on the same day I am. When I told her about my flea predicament, she quickly volunteered to help prepare my place for spraying.

So, she took the bus to Shawville the day before I wanted to leave for Niagara.

After work, we left Shawville after packing up all of my belongings and putting them in the middle of my apartment so my landlord can spray it for fleas.

It went a lot faster than I thought it would, so I was grateful that Steph helped.

We drove to Niagara through the rain, we took a new route and managed not to run out of gas in the long stretch between Peterborough and Shawville.

My car

My car


Me and Steph in the car

Me and Steph in the car


We are in the middle of nowhere

We are in the middle of nowhere

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Taking Owen back

OK, so I had to take Owen back to the Buffalo airport. It was a pretty big ordeal. We sat in the examining room place for an hour or so. He eventually made it to the airport, and I drove home through the US and crossed at Cornwall, which was easy for me of course.

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Aleasha´s wedding

Aleasha´s wedding was outside in the rain. We had some bubbles and blew them everywhere.

I had a nice furry hat with black dress and furry cuffs.

After that, we had a nice dinner and danced all night to cheesy wedding music in Welland.

My outfit

My outfit


My hat

My hat


Wedding part

Wedding part


Flower girls

Flower girls


Aleasha

Aleasha


Aleasha and Bill

Aleasha and Bill


More wedding party

More wedding party


Wedding party 3

Wedding party 3


Fall

Fall

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Driving to Niagara Falls

I drove to Niagara Falls right after work. It was 1:30 a.m. when I got there. My tires were flat too.

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The slow way home

I left Boston at about 12:30 and made it back to Burlington at 5 to pick up Aksana and take her home. She was staying at these crazy people's house who have a live update posted on the outside of their home on how many people have died so far in Afghanistan. It's up to 1.5 million already.

We decide it would be nnice to take the slow roads home and we were right. We drove through Sand Banks state park. There were tons of little bridges and long bridges right near the water. Somehow though, we made a wrong turn and ended up leaving the US way earlier than we planned on. We had to go through customs again to get back home.

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You would not believe the ordeals I put up with...

It seems like a trend to me lately. Road trips are never simple. Fly on a plane, take a bus, take a train, even ridesharing, everything goes perfectly fine.

Put me in a car as the driver, all hell breaks loose. I'm not kidding.

After putting all the finishing touches on my condo purchase, I went to judge the apple pie baking contest at the Super Ex in Ottawa. It's not as glamorous as it sounds, trust me.

At precisely 7:35 p.m. in the evening I headed out. Somewhere in between Ottawa and Montreal, I noticed the gas was running out... right after I passed the convenient service station.

"I should turn around," I thought.

...

"Nah, something else will turn up soon I'm sure, I mean, I'm on the 417, what could go wrong?"

Three more exits, I see nothing indicating a gas station anywhere.

Predictably, the gas light starts flashing. In a Smart Car, that means I can drive 5 km before I run out of gas... OK, so I pull over at the next exit. It's not too late, and there must be some gas somewhere here.

The sign says 5 km to Pointe Fortune. Oh god, I hope they have a gas station...I'm cutting it close.

I drive through town, don't see a gas station, pull into a restaurant, they are just closing for the night.

"Hey, is there any gas here? I've almost run out."

"Nope, you've gotta drive to Rigaud, 10 km down the road."

"OMG no... I'm not going anywhere else. I'll sleep here if I have to..."

"Then you'll have to ask at the ferry..."

"What? OK..."

I drive down to the ferry on my last drops of gas. Of course they are completely Francophone and obviously do not want to help me. After convincing them that I REALLY need to buy some gas off of them, they scrounge up a small tank of diesel that the manager uses in her tractor.

I hug the friendly rolly polly ferry operator and get off on my way.

After all this stressfulness, I really have to pee, and I honestly can't wait for the next gas station, so I pull over and promptly pee on the side of the road. All over my only pair of pants...

Good thing I'm driving south? I guess?

I heard that it'll warm in Boston this weekend. Hopefully I won't need those pants...

Completely frustrated and angry with myself and still shaking with fear a little bit, I ponder whether or not the gas that the french guy gave me was diesel, I get changed and reluctantly head out on the highway again.

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On the road to Mont Laurier

So, I decided to do some random couchsurfing in Quebec for the weekend with Aksana.

On Saturday morning, she showed up at my house with her husband Denis.

Earlier in the week, I had picked Claude, who lives in a secluded cottage on Lac Marquis. It was really beautiful and he was exceedingly welcoming when we got there, but alas, we had to have some poutine before we did anything else.

Claude laughed when we told him what we wanted, so he told us to go to Touti, one of the two restaurants in town.

He even gave us three bikes that we could borrow for the afternoon. So we set off, but his dog kept following us. At first it was fun, but when we got to town, he kept running into oncoming traffic! Agghhhh!

While we were eating, Denis got up every so often to make sure the dog was not running into the street.

There were lots of people driving on the road on ATVs and even a crazy bachelor party in the back of a pickup truck. Typical northern Quebec.

After that was done, it started to rain, so we had to wait for a bit before going back.

When we got back, everyone was going crazy swimming in the lake. We all just hung out and watched the kids jump off of the dock. I didn't really get along with Claude, because he had a lot of separatist tendencies. I don't really care for Quebec staying in Canada myself, but come on, I think we are over it by now. He must be stuck in the nineties or something, because he also kept playing a bunch of lame early 1990s music.

Other than that, Claude was really cool. Most of his friends also didn't speak very much English, so they liked Aksana a lot better than Denis and I. She can speak four languages.

Claude even prepared a barbecue for everyone and we went for ride in the boat around the lake.

After that, it was time for a nap. The nap would not last very long, because all the kids started banging on the drums and doing weird karaoke. I went out on the dock and tried to sleep there, but there were toooooooo many mosquitoes.

When it got dark, we had a campfire and Claude and his friend played lots of French songs on an acoustic guitar. It was very nice.

Crazy bachelor party

Crazy bachelor party


Crazy bachelor party again

Crazy bachelor party again


Me vs. "Italian" poutine

Me vs. "Italian" poutine


Denis and Aksana

Denis and Aksana


Claude's dog

Claude's dog


Claude's dog again

Claude's dog again


Aksana and Denis on bikes

Aksana and Denis on bikes


Lac Marquis

Lac Marquis


Lac Marquis again

Lac Marquis again


Claude at the lake

Claude at the lake


Denis is canoeing

Denis is canoeing


We eat hamburgers

We eat hamburgers


Aksana in a boat

Aksana in a boat


Claude and Denis

Claude and Denis


An airplane over the lake

An airplane over the lake


Me vs. hot vanilla tea

Me vs. hot vanilla tea


Me vs. hot vanilla tea again

Me vs. hot vanilla tea again


Me on a boat

Me on a boat


Me on a boat again

Me on a boat again


Aksana Claude Denis

Aksana Claude Denis


Towing the kids to shore

Towing the kids to shore


Towing the kids to shore again

Towing the kids to shore again


Claude's house

Claude's house

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It's way too hot for Iggy Pop

Sooooooo I was totally pumped for NXNE this year, the schedule was pretty awesome. The last few years, I had seen lots of people bar hopping on those little razor scooters with the rollerblade wheels, so this year, I vowed to use mine.

I brought it along, took it on the bus until I got to Yonge and Eglinton and then started pushing my merry way along.

Ding!

What did I just hear? Oh great, the washer fell off. Awesome. The scooter starts to collapse upon itself and slowly come to a halt while I'm blissfully gliding down the sidewalk, scraping its underbelly on the hard cement. Simultaneously, the heavens open up and I'm starting to get really wet. OMG what else could go wrong?

I'll tell you what, a little later.

I decide to walk down Yonge St. until I find someone who can help me out.

I hoist the scooter up on my shoulder. A smart ass waiting for the light to turn red behind me says: "Don't you think it'd be easier just to ride the thing?"

I don't even turn around to look at him and I grumble "NO, it's broken!"

"What's wrong with it?"

"It's broken!"

And I walk a lot faster than him and get away as quick as I can, grumbling under my breath.

I begin my search for a friendly sports or hardware store. This is indeed exactly what I find.

A nice little geek-boy named Dan allen keys my scooter apart at the Trek bicycle shop and tells me he's going to NXNE too, but he's going tomorrow to see De La Soul. Oh pity, I saw them 12 years ago when they were still cool and opening for 311 on their crazy Transistor tour. Nyah.

Anyway, he manages to find a washer and replaces it for me for free.

Owen would call this the "pretty girl discount". I call it the "Louise is the coolest and impresses everyone with her musical knowledge discount".

Anywho, thanks to Dan, I make my way to Yonge and Dundas, my yearly pilgrimage to the altar of Canadian indie music. Sigh.

It is still raining a bit, so I break out the umbrella and dance around like an idiot to a bunch of fun bands. Soon, the sun comes out and here is another crappy thing. Just as I was beginning to feel really awesome and happy about overcoming the broken scooter, it gets REALLY HOT. Like so hot I don't want to move. UGH!

I go and share some shade with a lonely photographer in the Bacardi lounge area place. They are handing out free pink lemonade for a while, it was pretty nice. Compared to the reaction I got two years ago. (See NXNE 2008, when Louise gets kicked out of the Virgin Mobile lounge)

OK, so things start majorly sucking when I look down at my poor arm. I had badly burned it in the sun on the drive down yesterday, forgetting to put sunscreen on. This time, I put sunscreen on, but apparently it wasn't good enough. I am a TOTAL lobster, and in lots of pain, probably also on the edge of sunstroke. I didn't think of wearing a hat, when I left the house it was grey and rainy, I was lucky I brought the little sunscreen stick that I had.

I decide just to totally forget the whole thing, go and hang out in the park with some pink wine and chocolate covered cashews. Literally, yes, that is what I did.

I found a beautiful little sanctuary called the "Bell Trinity Square" or something to that effect, there was a labyrinth in the centre of it and people hanging out all around.

I decide I'm not going to go see Iggy Pop after all, so I ask this nice young lady if I can use her phone to text Damita to tell him not to meet me at 11 p.m. I'll be back at Craig's place by 2, I told him instead.

She and her friends turn out to be a journalism students, just graduating. So we hang out for a bit and it is nice. They are also getting hammered in the park, but I think they are a lot more drunk than I am. We end up splitting up at the concert later.

Daniel Wesley is playing a show at the Supermarket and I decide he is more important than the Mr. king of punk. I know I know, maybe it was foolish in hindsight, but whatever, as it turned out, the crowd at Iggy Pop was completely insane.

If I had not been lugging around a scooter AND an umbrella, I might have had fun. The mosh pit was insane, normally I love this stuff, but people were tripping over the scooter one after the other and everyone else was yelling at me to leave. So I dragged my crap out of there and headed off to see Mr. Wesley.

I think it was the right decision. Daniel Wesley is like, the next Sublime, I danced and I danced and there was a 5 foot radius of empty space around me probably because I was being such an idiot.

After the show, these two drunk guys buy my scooter for $5. Wow, really? Yes, please, take this cursed instrument.

Then, I hop the subway back to Craig's house and promptly pass out on the sofa. Damita calls me about a half hour later and I buzz him up.

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Indian food and swearing Peanuts characters

Well, this morning I was planning on getting up early and tackling the day. I had a retainer to pick up in Ottawa, and I also had to take pictures of my new condo so that I can put it up for rent before I headed out to Toronto.

Damita was on the way to Ottawa for me, so I picked him up and then we completed all of those crazy errands with him in tow.

We went down the #7 all the way to Toronto, it's my favourite way, it reminds me of my motorcycle. The Smart Car has no cruise control so it kind of makes your leg cramp up. We switched drivers in Peterborough and then had a picnic by the road. Most of the food I brought was gross, but I had ice cream anyway, so it's not like I was starving or something.

We met my mom and dad for dinner at Bombay Palace on Jarvis St. which was pretty delicious, then we saw Lindsey's play, Dog Sees God. It was pretty hilarious and thought-provoking etc.

It was about Charlie Brown and the Peanuts after they grow up and go to high school. There are lots of swears and sexual innuendos. I heard someone crying at the end of it even, way in the back.

If you're in Toronto, I'd recommend seeing it, check out: http://www.wix.com/fbntheatre/flybynighttheatre

Lindsey is Lucy, Charlie Brown's friend who has turned into a pyromaniac and handcuffs herself for fun while she's in prison.

Then, mom wanted to try out my new car, and then we headed over to Craig's house to sleep.

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Video tour of Shawville, Quebec

Here I am taking you on a tour of Shawville.

I'll be working here at The Equity as "Interim Editor" for up to six months while the real editor is on medical leave.

If anyone wants to visit, it's a beautiful place for a bike ride along the river, or just watching the stars at night.

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We drive to Shawville and check out the Equity

Damita picked me up early at the Kanata Park and Ride to go to Shawville this morning.

We had a nice drive along the river through Arnprior etc.

The roads in Quebec are atrocious. I don't know how well I will fare once I get my motorcycle up there.

Anyway, I stopped in at The Equity and met Ann, but Heather wasn't there yet, so Damita and I went to go get ice cream and walk down the street. By the time we got back, Heather was waiting for me. She showed me my new apartment, and gave me some new papers so that I could get up to speed on all the stuff going on around town.

I was kind of sad that the balcony on the back of the building is unusable. Maybe I could make that a weekend project to fix it?

On the way back, we stopped at the Luskville waterfall. However, I did not have appropriate footwear for this. I did not expect to be climbing up a 60 degree incline on my way home from a job interview. As soon as we made it about 1/3 of the way to the top, it started to rain. That's when I realized my Birkenstocks weren't going to cut it, so we slowly made our way down the hill, trying not to trip.

For Sale

For Sale


Damita driving the VW

Damita driving the VW


Me on Luskville waterfalls

Me on Luskville waterfalls

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Brunch at The Senator

So here we go to brunch with my mom and dad. Every Sunday I am in Toronto they meet us. I picked the Senator restaurant, not because of the historical connection it has with Digg, that I figured out later, but just because it was close to our hotel.

We checked out too quickly and I forgot my sandwich and my mom's daffodils I bought for her in the room. I had to run back and get these things twice, as I remembered them in sequence. We were still way too early for meeting them at 11.

I didn't like the breakfast here. I only had a milkshake, it was watery.

From here, mom took us to a little exhibit in Frank restaurant beside the Art Gallery of Ontario called The Dork Porch. It was interesting, but not really worth the trip there. Mom had all these things planned out, but we couldn't do them because Rick decided to leave earlier than 4 p.m. like he originally said.

So from there, we wandered aimlessly around Chinatown again, I bought some steam buns that didn't turn out to be as good as the last steam buns I bought two weeks ago. I also tried to find Thai coffee, but I could not find that either.

Later, we went to meet up with Rick and the rest of the girls, but it was a wild goose chase. They said they would meet us somewhere, and then decided to change the meeting point at the last minute, so we had to go somewhere else. Sigh.

Anyway, I got home earlier than normal because of the early departure time.

Senator Restaurant

Senator Restaurant


Me vs. cold day

Me vs. cold day


The Dork Porch at Frank

The Dork Porch at Frank


The Dork Porch at Frank

The Dork Porch at Frank


Chinatown

Chinatown


Chinatown signs

Chinatown signs


Me vs. Chinatown

Me vs. Chinatown


Ugly chandelier

Ugly chandelier


Me vs. Chinatown

Me vs. Chinatown


Dundas St.

Dundas St.


A tiger

A tiger


Owen vs. his reflection

Owen vs. his reflection


Tangerines

Tangerines


Graffiti vs. Owen

Graffiti vs. Owen


Sculpture

Sculpture


Me in the backseat

Me in the backseat

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St. Lawrence Market and Canoe

Today is the day that we go to St. Lawrence Market and Canoe, we didn't really have a whole lot planned for today.

The St. Lawrence Market is an insane mob on Saturdays, don't go there. The breakfast we had was kind of gross. There was a string quartet which was nice, and I bought some fresh juice, carrot-apple-ginger, and that was gross too.

Soon, there was a soprano opera singer on stage. It was terrible so we got out of there.

Owen bought a coat at Winners and I bought some champagne that was supposed to drown out the taste of the terrible drink that I bought. However, I did not have time to drink it so I had to carry the Spumante Bambino all the way back to Ottawa. *eyeroll*

We wandered around some more, went back to the room an got ready for dinner. It was Earth Hour and Canoe is at the top of Toronto. We thought we would see some of the lights being turned out, but it wasn't that dramatic.

Tonight, there happened to be a seven course tasting menu, with lots of wine, explained to us by actual winery reps. By the end of the meal, my flavour capacity was full to the extreme top and I could not understand what those wine reps were saying anymore. If you want a good time in Toronto, this is definitely the place to come. Make sure you check Canoe out.

String quartet at St. Lawrence Market

String quartet at St. Lawrence Market


St. Lawrence Market

St. Lawrence Market


Me vs. toast

Me vs. toast


Me vs. St. Lawrence Market

Me vs. St. Lawrence Market


St. Lawrence Market

St. Lawrence Market


Nectarines

Nectarines


Plums

Plums


Getting the juice

Getting the juice


Pineapples

Pineapples


Garlic

Garlic


Ribs

Ribs


Skinny building

Skinny building


Owen vs. Winners

Owen vs. Winners


Famous painting

Famous painting


Lost coat

Lost coat


Me in the elevator

Me in the elevator


Downtown Toronto

Downtown Toronto


Me vs. Canoe

Me vs. Canoe


Me vs. water

Me vs. water


Me vs. Canoe menu

Me vs. Canoe menu


Me vs. wine

Me vs. wine


Me vs. wine

Me vs. wine


Me vs. Canoe

Me vs. Canoe


Canoe

Canoe

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