Friday, August 22, 2008
those who like it, like it a lot
after traveling by city bus, coach bus, shuttle bus, train, subway, car, van, ferry and plane to venture to halifax and back, there is something to be said for the comforts of home. i ran out of clean socks midway through the trip and our toothpaste supply ran out the day before we headed back to toronto. we slept in small, awkward beds, showered in flip flops and stored food in the questionable floor fridge at our own risk. these things considered, i have virtually no complaints and no regrets...our halifax getaway was everything we were hoping it would be.
we stayed in gerard hall, one of dalhousie's residence buildings. not only was it super cheap, secure and reasonably clean, but the location really couldn't have been beat. we were no more than a 15 minute walk away from just about anywhere a traveller might need to go, including the tourist-friendly waterfront, pubs with live music, greasy pizza joints, coffee shops and american apparel.
we got things off to a good start on our first day by touring a large portion of the downtown core along the waterfront. we walked along the boardwalk where we got to see tons of boats in the harbour, enjoy the busker festival and check out a few little shops. after i had developed blisters and both nathan and i had found ourselves rather thirsty, we ventured to bearly's, for a beer and to examine the best of halifax, a free publishment listing off the best bars, stores, doctor's, causes, musicians, you name it...this became a sacred document. for our first dinner on the coast, i insisted we find a seafood restaurant so nathan could get his fill, and so we settled on the little fish, a slightly upscale place with great food [even for veggie's, such as myself!].
day two, somewhat resembled day one, in that there was a LOT of walking [seemingly all uphill]. we got up early-ish so that we could check out the farmer's market that is hosted in the alexander keith brewery on saturday morning's. if you're ever in halifax, i definitely recommend this place. it's HUGE and sells everything from food to clothing, at a reasonable price [special props to the delcious belgian waffles!]. despite torrential downpours, this ended up being one of the highlights of the trip for me, as i love to see this type of community support and development. it's also inspired me to take more initiative to support north bay's own farmer's market.
due to the rain, this seemed like a good idea to check out some of the malls, where we could dry off and grab some cheap poncho's. although we found what we were looking for, the first two malls seemed like such dud's, that we got curious as to where scotian's actually do their shopping, so we took a gamble on city transit, and ventured to a third option. upon arriving at our desired destination, there appeared to be no mall in site. somewhat let down, we referred to our 'best of...' guide, and decided to hit up quinpool road, where there appeared to be many hot spots. being poor, we walked there. we walked and we walked and we walked...we walked for what seemed like forever, only to receive our second let down- there was nothing appealing on quinpool. tired and disgruntled, we turned and headed for home. we worked it out that we walked approximately 25 km that afternoon.
after such a long day, we felt this would be the perfect night to enjoy a pub crawl. we started things off at the economy shoe shop, which i had heard prior to our travels, have the best nachos around. they certainly deserve their reputation. with our bellies full of nachos and beer, we spent the rest of the night jumping from pub to pub...hitting up about 7 in total. we attempted to go to a few others, but they were either too packed or we didn't feel like paying cover. by the time we tossed our drunk asses into bed, we were ready to sleep like babies.
we planned for sunday to be a quiet 'hangover day', although we didn't want to waste it either. we headed down the street to the discovery center, a science center probably better suited for children, but equally fun for the young at heart. it was pretty cheap and we had a blast playing around here all afternoon. in the evening, we found the nearest movie theater and checked out the much anticipated star wars movie. it was somewhat of a letdown.
monday was super tourist day! we ventured out relatively early to check out the citadel and the museum of natural history [which was featuring an exhibit on sea monsters!]. it was a TON more walking with a serious lack of nourishment, but fun just the same. we followed this up with some more economy shoe shop nachos and a nap. in the evening, we wandered around the dalhousie campus a little and went for a swim in the dalplex [dal's athletic's complex].
tuesday i had a meeting with a representative for the MREM (masters of resource and environmental management) program, seeing as how i'm really hoping to get into dal for graduate school. the meeting was informative, however, since then i've been reconsidering and am now torn between that program and the MES (masters of environmental science) program. the MREM is 16 months, has a paid internship rather than a thesis, but receives no funding from dal, whereas the MES program is 2 years, consists of a thesis and students receive financial assistance. there are some other factors to consider, but i'll likely get into that on another day. i was also signed up for a campus tour, but since nathan and i had already seen a lot of the campus on foot, we bypassed it so that he could talk to a representative from the history MA program. we both left out meetings inspired and urgently re-evaluating our plans for the future.
later in the afternoon, we took the tour of the alexander keith's brewery. this was also a trip highlight. not only do you get 2 pints included in the tour, but there's traditional singing, dancing and games. it was the perfect way to wrap up a trip to the east coast. we followed this up with dinner at the wooden monkey, an organic restaurant with a large vegetarian/vegan selection and absolutely no deep fryer. our server was insanely well informed our meal's were delicious. i wish more places like this existed.
from here on out, our trip was a whirlwind of packing, traveling and sleeping. when we got back to toronto on wednesday, we were exhausted and in bed by 10, only to get up bright and early, so nathan and i could part ways as i jumped on the bus to north bay, and he set out to visit a friend in his hometown. now that i'm 'home', i feel like i need to be running in a half dozen different directions at once. i'm enjoying the time to relax, but feel lazy when i do so. i feel compelled to decide what i want to do after graduation NOW. i want to spend time with friends, but at the same time, i really just have a lot i need or want to get done on my own. i'm trying to get mentally prepared for frosh week. i'm trying to take care of myself financially. i'm trying to get my environment clean and comfortable again. i sort of wish it would at least rain so i wouldn't feel as guilty for being a hermit.
mostly, i can't help but feel so READY to get on with my life. halifax has the rare quality of having the beauty and genuineness of a small town, but the conveniences and opportunities of a bigger city. everything people say about he east coast is true...it's gorgeous, loaded with history and the people are ridiculously friendly. after spending time there, north bay feel like somewhat of a wasteland. i'm going to enjoy my last year here at nipissing. it's treated me better than i possibly could've imagined and helped me grow in ways i didn't think possible. while i am a little scared to leave behind my friends and the familiarity of the community here, i am so, SO excited to dive into something new. even if i don't get accepted to dal, i'm going to try my hardest to find a job out on the east coast after graduation. ever since nathan first proposed our adventure back at the beginning of the year, it's been calling to my heart, and after spending time there, the desire has only been reinforced.
i have no idea how i'm going to do it, or where i'm going to end up...but one way or another 2009 is going to be very, very interesting.
isn't this period in one's life EXCITING?!
ps: i tried to upload a bunch of photos for your viewing pleasure, but blogger didn't like it. so, if you're interested check my facebook for 5 albums of atlantic goodness.
at 10:27 AM