Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Green, Green Grass Of Home.

I love PEI in the summer.

I got home on Monday, and I'm afraid I'm going to hyperventilate I'm breathing so deeply. The air here is richer than in Ontario.

Last night I got home and stood in the driveway, just taking it all in. I could smell sweet grass and trees, bitter farmyard straw and manure, salt water from the Northumberland Straight, and summer's humidity.

The humidity isn't as incidious here, though, without the smog and crush of people and Toronto piss-whiffs. The air is rarely still enough for humidity to be opressive.

Standing in that driveway, I found myself asking again why I live in Ontario? Aren't some things worth a sacrifice? So I struggle to find work on PEI. If I have moments where I think I'm going to burst because it's so beautiful here, doesn't that tip the balance?

I've given myself three years in Toronto. That's not to say I'm going to force myself to stay, but I think three is a good number of years to get to know a place. (Besides, that's how long my phone contract is.) Hopefully by then I'll be gainfully employed for long enough to save a nestegg and make a move home.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Rewind!

Horray!

Back in Canada!

Again!

My housemates and I got back from our trip to NYC without terrible incident. I'm not bothered to write about it just now, but I'm pretty chuffed that I've been able to post some videos on YouTube for the first time.

My housemates know well the sound of this clanging Venetian bell. I think it's great. I guess it's how you take your dog for a walk in Venice.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Toronto's Never Looked So Good To Me.

Horray!

I'm back in Canada!

My flight out of London was 1.5 hours late, but I didn't miss it, it wasn't 16 hours late, and it wasn't unceremoniously cancelled, so I was thrilled. I did, however, have to sit next to a clueless young mother and her 9-month-old son who excercised his considerable lungs for many hours. Also, she sneezed on me. I think she was trying to avoid her son, but maybe her sleeve or the aisle would have been a better choice.

I am ok so far for jetlag, and I stayed up until 10pm Toronto time (2am London) to try to get back on track.

I have lost all the great ukulele callouses I built up, so the last half hour of playing with Duke has really shredded my fingertips. "Weighty Ghost" (all two chords of it) and "Home For a Rest" both sound grand, though.

Tonight my housemates and I leave for New York City.

Since I had to BUY a whole new flight out of Switzerland, I am $300 poorer than I was planning on, so this trip is going to be a bit of a struggle. I just have to remember I found some fantastic things in Europe and don't need to shop any more.

I have to go do laundry.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

EasyJet Can Suck My Dick, or, Caveat Emptor.

Never has a name been more inaccurate. EasyJet, my arse.

I am meant to be in London right now. My flight last night from Basel, Switzerland, was cancelled and I was left high and dry.

After much tossing and turning upon re-arrival at my dear friend Sarah's place, I have bought another flight with EasyJet for Wednesday the 9th, which seems to be my only affordable option. It cost me $300, and I'm cutting it far too close for my liking for my flight back to Canada on the 10th.

I cannot believe how incredibly impossible it is to talk to anyone at EasyJet. It costs £1 a minute to talk to a computer and go in circles only to be told, matter-of-factly, that they can't help.

This is the thing, though - I really only have myself to blame. The tickets to see Sarah were very cheap: £87, or about $180, all in, round trip. Because it seemed too good to be true, it was.

I have had terrible luck with flights this trip. It makes me never want to leave home again. My AC flight was 16 hours late, I missed my flight to Dublin, my flight to Verona was late, my flight to Basel was late, my flight back to London is now cancelled, which jeopardizes my flight home.

I've had crying jags and screaming fits, and fitful jagged sleep. I am worn out and worried and I want to go home!

Friday, July 04, 2008

Kiwis, Bison, And Poutine.

Trafalgar Square was quite the place to be on Canada Day. They opened at around noon, and the street hockey tourney started soon thereafter. I sat for almost 4 hours watching, with little breaks to get a Moosehead (not really my fave, but it was there), a bison cheeseburger, and to be charged £1.35 for a 56p stamp at a little souvenir shop (I went back and demanded the difference, which the cashier was not going to give me, but I told him he did something shifty and offered him a penny for 80p, which he gave me, begrudgingly).

Everyone was wearing red and white and Canada Day stuff, but all I had was my CBC exploding pizza, which I think I preferred because then only the Canadians would really know that I knew, and we'd have a little private joke.

The rock concert was the night before, which I am sorry I missed. The Trewes played, and so did Kathleen Edwards. On Canada Day, it was like Alberta barfed all over the stage. There were two country acts, which I should say, were very good, but not good party music, I declare! (Yodelling lady kicked ass.) Jian Ghomeshi was there as MC (and apparently he hosted Q in London all week), which was pretty cool for me and my CBC geekiness. I was afraid he'd spot me in my CBC shirt and I'd blurt out that I'd taken him off my Husband List because I thought he was a smug wanker. He was a good host, actually, and it was nice to see someone representing the Ceeb.

As I sat to wait for the show, I struck up a conversation with two kiwis. They (Helen and Jase) were living in Dublin but were visiting London. They were a funny pair. A champagne bottle spewed its contents in the face of a Londoner sitting next to me, so I offered him tissues, and had a nice chat with he and his wife, who worked in the building behind Canada House, which is on Trafalgar Square. I was also trying to convince the lady that was sitting in front of me to grow out her grey. She was nice.

Overall, the day was quite cool. I was a little lonely because I didn't have anyone to sit/chat with for most of the day, and I'm sure there were other Canucks in the same boat, but I was too shy to ask.

No fireworks. Next year, I would like to be in Charlottetown for Canada Day.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Dream Man?

I forgot: I had a dream that I met Shane MacGowan, but he had a perfectly white grill of Chicklet teeth. I read somewhere that he wanted his teeth fixed - it must have snuck into my subconscious.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

PPS: I Forgot.

AND: I saw Les Misérables with Terry on our first day in London. I really liked it! I didn't know the story or much of the music (damn you, Katie Holmes...), so it was mostly a brand new treat. I was jet-legged pretty bad, so I nodded off a couple of times, but a kid behind me was kicking the seat (hurrah for matinees!), so that kept me awake.

PS: Suck On It!

And I saw Colin Firth at the premiere of Mama Mia! in Liecester Square yesterday. I think we're dating now, but I don't want to get ahead of myself.

Canada Day, London, '08! Also: Back From The Continent.

WOO!!!

Party!!!

There's some kind of bash in London's Trafalgar Square today, so I'm going to get the train in from Kent and see what's going on.

On Sunday I got back from a week on the continent. I flew down to Italy (Riva del Garda), and spent 4 days there. My friends Alan and Liz were there, so they took me to Venice for a day. Venice was a trip. I just liked being on the water again, and I could smell the salt air (the Adriatic smells like the Atlantic Ocean, fyi). I rode the bus all over. The busses, of course, are ferries. Trippy!

We went up into the Dolomite mountain range the next day. This was sea level to over 6000 feet in less than 24 hours. My ears were popping so much! It was beautiful up there - very Swiss. In fact, there was a lot of German spoken up there. We saw the region where marmolade was originated. (I thought this was kinda neat despite the fact that I don' like the stuff.) We were caught in a beastly hail storm. The hailstones were as big as marbles and we had to check the car to make sure there weren't any dents. Alan was driving and we went up and down a ton of ranges with hairpin switchbacks, populated by sturdy truck drivers and homocidal motorcyclists.

The next day I was going to ride a ferry all over Lake Garda, but in the morning I had some sort of George Clooney Proximity-induced fever and didn't go anywhere. Actully, I think it was the perfect storm of a lot of reasons*.

1) I had taken a prescription pain-killer
2) I drank my first cappucino
3) It was hotter than the third ring of hell

Whatever it was, I was pouring sweat, had shallow, clipped breathing, and lost all my strength. I called my friends to come get me and I slept most of the day in their cool hotel room. By gar, it was hot. My mother would have melted.

The next day we drove to a little town near Nuremburg, where, when I asked the girl at the hotel if she spoke English, she said not at all, so... there I was, 10 years out of Herr Zimmermann's German class at UPEI, and I was doing ok! I understood what they were saying and, even more miraculously, I made myself understood! It was thrilling.

I think part of what made me uncomfortable in Italy (and now that I think back to it, Turkey) was that I couldn't understand the language. I felt like one of those colonial pricks, come to enjoy the place but exploit it at the same time with no regard for the local culture except what could be represented in a 3x5 frame.

Anyhow. The next day we drove to Cologne, and we were there for 2 nights. This is because of a hug shopping centre nearby that my friends like to explore thoroughly. Who am I to complain? I got a couple of pairs of shoes and some trinkets, but didn't do a lot of shopping, really. I got to speak a lot of German, which was cool.

Then we took a ferry from Dunkirk, not Calais. I liked that a lot. In Beligium, we bought chocolates and Alan took me to a war cemetary. (Do people know that about me? I love war cemetaries and war memorials.) It was a beautifully kept little corner of the world, and there were soldiers there from all over (Scotland, England, Germany, Australia, Canada, and one lost soul from Egypt, whose marker, out of respect, was further away from the cemetary's cross.)

The ferry passage was about 2 hours long, and we went into Dover, like normal, so I got to see those chalk cliffs.

Now I'm here for another 2 days, and then down to Switzerland for the weekend. Then I'm back here for a couple more days, then home! Whew!


*Yes, I did intend to slip in that Clooney allusion.