ScrimismsPresently suffering a dearth of witticisms


Musings and Photos and Travel12 Jun 2010

I have an iPad.  I got it last week at the Apple Store in Montreal, where we spent the weekend being tourists.  I would have picked one up sooner, but they sold out pretty quickly in Ottawa.  I’ve had it for a week now, and figured I’d post a little review here on the old blog.

In short, I like it.  It’s definitely a luxury item, and doesn’t replace an actual computer, but I’m finding it useful and fun, and will probably continue to do so after the initial novelty wears off.  I have one of the 3G models, which carries the added cost of a monthly data plan, but the iPad really shines as an “always connected” device.  I understand that most folks use their smart phones for their Internet-on-the-go, but I’m a telephony Luddite and my phone is categorically “dumb”, so the iPad fills that role for me.  I like that you can adjust your data plan month by month, and so can save some money when you don’t actually need cellular internet access.  While we were visiting Montreal, the 3G came in handy for checking email and finding our way around the city.  Since the trip I’ve pretty much just used wifi at home and at the office, except for browsing the web on the bus a little bit (more on that later).  I think during normal operation I won’t bother to buy the 3G data, but it’s great when traveling, and is much preferable to paying for hotel wifi, not least because you can take your connectivity with you when you leave the hotel.

It’s while traveling that the iPad really shines.  At a pound and a half it’s much easier to lug around than a laptop, it can always get online (unless you’re beyond the range of the cell towers), and it fits comfortably in a backpack or shoulder bag.  It’ll even download and beautifully display photos directly from your digital camera, which we would have made great use of on the Montreal trip, if only the Apple Store hadn’t run out of camera adapters.  Oh well, I’m looking forward to using the  iPad for in-the-field photo viewing in future.  In the mean time, I’ve contented myself with loading the photos of our trip via iPhoto on my Mac after we got home.  There are also some great on-the-road apps, such as the excellent Urban Spoon, which shows you nearby restaurants along with reviews and ratings, and the built-in maps app, which told us which subway line to take and how much it would cost to get to the Montreal Biodome, where I took this and many other pictures of penguins.

I’ve taken the iPad on the bus everyday this week, where I’ve mostly used it as an ebook reader.  Canadian publishers haven’t got their act together and so new books aren’t available on the iBooks store yet, but I don’t mind, because there is a ton of public domain material on Project Gutenberg to be downloaded and read.  I’m half way through The Three Musketeers and am enjoying it immensely.  I wasn’t sure how I’d like reading on a lit screen, but I’ve found it to be just fine, especially with a bit of daylight to counteract the screen glow.  It looks not unlike an actual book, and flipping pages with a finger feels natural.  And the iPad is more portable than the copy of Anna Karenina I lugged around for a month a while back.  I’m also quite curious to see what iPad magazine issues turn out to be like.  I’d ditch my paper New Yorker subscription for an electronic one if the experience is right.

And what of the other iPad capabilities?  As mentioned, viewing photos is great.  I watched an episode of Doctor Who on it the other night, and found that to be quite acceptable.  I’ve used it as the world’s largest iPod, and while the iTunes-like-but-not-quite-iTunes interface is a bit confusing, music via headphones is just fine.  The built-in speakers are understandably not super.  Except for some online chess, I haven’t done much gaming on it yet, but it seems like it could be a good gaming device.  I am looking forward to exploring that aspect.  

Typing with the on-screen keyboard is pretty good.  My one quibble there is that it takes two taps to get an apostrophe.  I typed the bulk of this blog post on the iPad, and while it took a bit longer than it would have on a real keyboard, it wasn’t unpleasant.  Unfortunately the included notes app with its cartoon felt marker font and lack of wireless syncing is a bit of a letdown.  I wrote this using the free version of Evernote, which syncs to my Mac via the cloud.  I’m not sure if Evernote is the answer to all my iPad writing needs, as the free version won’t save notes on the iPad so you can access them when you’re offline (so forget looking up the grocery list from the grocery store, for example). Also, it crashed on me at one point while writing this and cost me a paragraph. When my current month of 3G runs out I’ll either shell out for the paid version (5 bucks a month or 45 for the year) or ditch it for some other app. Maybe I can write my own notes app, I am keen to do some programming for this gizmo at some point…

Surprisingly, given Steve Job’s assertion that the iPad is the best browsing experience ever, I’m only feeling luke-warm about the web in the iPad.  I find browsing a little constrained.  Perhaps that’s because I normally open a million browser tabs at once, and the iPad’s browser doesn’t really allow that.  This is also the one area where the lack of multitasking hurts the iPad: it’d be nice to be able to go do something else while waiting for webpages to load in the background.  On the whole, one doesn’t really notice the lack of multitasking most of the time, as apps load quickly and remember state very well.

I don’t know if the iPad is quite the “magical and revolutionary” gizmo that Apple’s marketing department would have us believe, but it is pretty slick, and using it makes me feel a little like a character in science fiction.  I think I’ll probably discover more uses for it the longer I have it, too.  I’m not running around recommending it to everyone, but I like it a lot.  

Be warned: an iPad is surprisingly hard to put down once you pick it up.

Photos and Travel01 Aug 2009

After the ballgame in Toronto last Friday (and as of writing, the trade deadline has come and gone and Roy Halladay is still a Bluejay! Hooray! At least until the off season…), Shengrong and I spent the rest of the weekend in Niagara Falls. She’d always wanted to go ever since Dashan (possibly the best known Canadian in the world) took her on a “tour” of the falls in one of his TV programs. The falls are very well-known in China: westerners who go to China want to see the Great Wall, Chinese who come to Canada want to see Niagara Falls.

The falls themselves are as spectacular as you would expect. If you’ve never been there, there are two waterfalls, one much larger than the other. There’s a boat called the “Maid of the Mist” that’ll take you up close, which is a pretty intense experience, and made more so for us because it absolutely poured rain for the 30 minutes we were on the boat, and then the sun came out. They give you a stylish blue slicker to keep you from getting soaked by the spray, so we came out of the experience relatively dry.

The town of Niagara Falls is a little surreal. It’d pass as a fairly ordinary small town, except for the giant tourist area grafted on to the side nearest the waterfalls. There are plenty of hotels and restaurants, which is to be expected, but also a large number of “attractions” like the one pictured above that don’t really fit. Apparently, everyone is trying to offer an answer to the question of “we’ve seen the waterfall, what now?”, and answer it louder than his neighbour. I suspect there’s a positive feedback loop in action: each outlandish attraction pushes the next to be even crazier.

The waterfalls, at least, are beautiful. We mostly stayed away from the surrounding madness, but I couldn’t resist snapping the photo above of Frankenstein’s castle-and-burger-king, which is across the street from the toppled over Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum and just up the hill from the pro-wrestling themed “pile driver” amusement ride, and the wax museum where teenage girls busily snapped pictures of a wax statue of Heath Ledger as The Joker in the window.

I found myself trying to imagine what the Falls would have been like before the town. What must the first people to see it have thought, coming upon this roaring display of nature surrounded by the quiet woods? It would have been like finding the hand of god reaching down to the earth in the middle of the wilderness.

Musings and News and Photos and Travel27 Jul 2009

Roy “Doc” Halladay, the best pitcher the Toronto Bluejays ever had, is very probably going to be traded before the end of the week. I’d never seen him pitch except on TV, and, with a little bit of panic, realized that his Friday night start in Toronto might be my last chance. So I did what any die-hard Jays fan would do in my position: took the day off work and booked a flight. Shengrong said I was “feng feng dian dian de” for my impulsiveness, but gamely came along.

Halladay is incredible. Because he plays in Canada, and not say New York, he isn’t as widely known as he could be, and he seems to like it that way. Whenever he talks to the media he’s thoughtful and well-spoken, even a little shy. One the field, he’s incredibly intense. He rarely smiles or even looks up at the crowd. He glowers down at every batter like an ace pitcher should. Occasionally, steam comes out of his ears.

And what a pitcher he is: “dominant” is a word often used to describe him. He’s an incredible athlete: all of his pitches from the 94 mph fastball with deadly movement, to his pinpoint curveball, to his devastating 92 mph cut-fastball (Marino Rivera, the Yankee’s legendary closer, throws only cutters), to the sinker and the change-up, are “plus” pitches, meaning better than the average for the league. He has great command of all of them: he can throw any pitch for a strike on the corner of the plate when he wants to, and the hitters can never guess what might be coming next.

But there are many pitches with great “stuff”, as the pitch-arsenal is called. Great pitches alone don’t make a great pitcher, and his “stuff” is just the beginning of greatness of Roy Halladay. Some pitchers with wicked pitches try to strike everyone out. They spend five or six pitches per batter and are worn out after five or six innings. They’re happy when they manage to finish the seventh. Halladay can “pitch to contact”, he throws pitches that look appetizing enough for the batters to swing at, but they don’t connect solidly with the bat, and turn into easy outs. He saves the strikeout for when he really needs it, and thus saves his arm. He usually leads the league in innings pitched and throws more complete games in a season than most other teams. He once threw a 10-inning complete game and won it 1 to 0. Incredible.

And then there’s his work-ethic. Starting pitchers throw every 5th game, and Halladay is known to make the most of the time in between, both in terms of physical conditioning and in his analysis of the opposing hitters, learning their weaknesses, formulating a plan. I don’t know if Malcolm Gladwell mentioned Halladay in his book on how “genius” is often a product of a huge amount of work, but if he didn’t, he should have. When Halladay first arrived in the major leagues, he dazzled everyone by nearly throwing a no-hitter in his second big-league game. Then he ran intro difficulties and seemed to fizzle out. He was sent down all the way to A-ball and most people thought that was the last they’d hear of him; he’d be the baseball equivalent of a one-hit-wonder. But Doc worked is butt off in the minors, retooled the mechanics of how he throws the ball, and came back. He’s been to six all-star games, he’s thrown 44 complete games, he’s won the Cy Young award for best pitcher in the league.

But Roy Halladay, the arch-competitor, has never been to the post-season. He’s on a team that hasn’t made the playoffs since 1993, and that’s not good enough for the Doc. He’s current contract ends after 2010, and he’s said that, while he’d prefer to win in Toronto, time is running out for him (he’s 32) and he might look to other teams where he’d have a better shot. Right now, his trade value is as high as it has ever been, and so the Jays, fearing that he’d leave in 2010 and they’d get nothing back, have put him on the market. It’s unclear whether the Jays will get the kind of deal they want for him, but there’s a very real chance he could be going.

Whether he’s traded or not, I’m glad I got to see him on Friday. If it was his last game in Toronto, it was in some ways a fitting conclusion to his Bluejays tenure. He was brilliant, throwing 9 innings, giving up only 2 runs (1 earned) (giving up fewer than 4 earned runs in 9 innings is considered “good”), allowing only 4 hits, walking only 3, and striking out 10. The crowd, although not as big as it ought to have been for Doc’s final game, was certainly aware of what they might be about to lose. They gave him a standing ovation when he walked off the field after his warmup, they gave him a standing ovation after almost every inning, they stood and cheered whenever he got two strikes on a batter.

But for all of Doc’s superman effort, his team couldn’t get him the win. His opposing starter, Tampa Bay’s Matt Garza, kept right up with him, allowing only two runs to the Jays and baffling their hitters over nine innings. In the tenth inning, the Jay’s bullpen coughed up two more runs, and then the Jay’s hitters went quietly. As much as he tries to carry the team, Halladay couldn’t carry them enough to win the game.

Food and Photos and Travel05 Jul 2008

It’s not exactly a secret that “Chinese food” as often experienced in North America (egg rolls, chicken balls, fried rice, fortune cookies, etc.) is not something a typical Chinese person would be familiar with. Finding out exactly where and how this particular deep-fried cuisine originated would probably make for a fun project, but it isn’t my project today. I’m going to talk about the food I ate while I was in China. Thanks to Shengrong’s cooking and the occasional trip to a more authentic Chinese restaurant (they exist), I didn’t find the food to be totally outlandish, but there were a few strange bumps in the culinary road.

In Beijing, we stayed on the campus of the China University of Geosciences, and ate a few of our meals at one of the University restaurants, “”. One of my favorite things there were battered chicken wings heavily spiced with cumin. Shengrong ordered those on our first day since they’re more like the kind of food I’m used to. That was really the only meal in which I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to manage the food without any trouble, as I was really tired and jetlegged at the time. After that I ate everything happily, and when I got back to Canada I found my own cooking kind of boring for the first few days. Unsurprisingly, I got a lot better at handling chopsticks.

At the entrance of “Local Food” – it was pretty large and usually full of diners.

In a nice room of the restaurant where we ate lunch a few times, overlooking the university quad.

Naturally, we had to try Beijing Duck during our stay in Beijing. We ate it in “Quan ju de”, the most famous Beijing Duck restaurant, just off Tian’anmen Square. The duck is cooked with a crispy outside and then cut into small slices. You mix a few slices with leek, cucumber and a special sauce and roll them in thin pastries, using your chopsticks. It took me a while to get the hang of it, but I really liked the end result.

Some ducks waiting to be Beijing’d.

Shengrong ordering duck.

Other highlights from Beijing included a surprisingly good (and cheap) meal of chicken and black bean procured very late at night from a small student-frequented spot on campus, and dumplings at the great wall.

We had several nice meals in Wuhan, both at restaurants and as cooked by Shengrong’s mom. Shengrong and I cooked a few dishes on our last night there, using some spices we brought from home. I’m not sure how well they went over, but everyone in the family had the good grace to eat them and smile…

The Chinese answer to the question of “what shall we eat?” is often different from ours. For example: when we’d stop for ice cream, Shengrong would select a mung bean flavored popsicle. I wish I’d taken a picture – they were such a delightful shade of green. I tried one and was nonplussed. The American tourists whom Shengrong helped order snacks at the Beijing museum weren’t too keen on the mung bean flavor either. Can’t say I blame them.
Another cultural quirk that I wasn’t really expecting is that nobody in China drinks anything cold. And heaven forbid you should want a cool glass of water… the best you’re likely to do is a cup of hot tea minus the tea. Even the bottled water would be on a shelf and not in a cooler. As someone drinks a lot of water in a typical day, this took some getting used to.

The table at a place where we ate in Wuhan. There are a few differences between the Chinese restaurant experience and the one we have here. For starters, larger restaurants are usually better quality: the concept of a tiny restaurant with a limited menu and delicious food doesn’t really exist there. People tend to dine out in large groups (the bigger the crowd, the more dishes you can order, after all) and often eat in private rooms. Chinese place-settings are different from what a Westerner would expect: one receives chopsticks (naturally), a spoon, a small plate on which to put bones and other things you aren’t going to eat, and a small bowl, in which you put your rice and a few morsels from various dishes.

Three dishes from that meal: soft-shelled turtle, squid, pork.

Brother turtle, up close.

I put some thought into what the strangest thing I ate in China was. High on the list was having oatmeal for breakfast. That, in and of itself, is not unusual, but I’d never eaten oatmeal with chopsticks before, which lent the proceedings a kind of surreal air. I liked breakfast in China generally, and enjoyed the dumplings and the sticky rice with mushrooms and tofu and egg, which is a typical Wuhan breakfast dish.

But no, the strangest thing I ate in China was probably this:

It’s the ovaries of some kind of special frog, stuffed inside a papaya. Apparently considered a delicacy. I’m not sure how the chef who invented that got his inspiration… How was it? Kind of watery and not strongly flavored.

This isn’t really of anything we ate, but I put it in out of interest since it’s broadly food-related:

It’s a little hard to make out because I was far away, but those guys are dynamiting fish in Wuhan’s east lake. I’d never seen that before. The fish were flying out of the water like popcorn.

And lastly, Chinese Dairy Queen. The prices were ridiculously expensive. 26 yuan will get you a frosty, or 26 servings of rice at any other restaurant. Your choice.

Photos and Travel21 Jun 2008

As promised, more on China.

We flew 5 hours to Vancouver and then 11 hours to Beijing, with 4 hours at the Vancouver airport. The international lounge at YVR is the nicest airport terminal I’ve ever been to. It’s like a high-end shopping mall with airplanes parked outside: lots of shops, natural light, even a giant fish tank. One of the terminals at Heathrow has a similar “mall” feel, but isn’t nearly as nice. We heard PA announcements in four languages: English, French, Chinese, Japanese. Most of the flights that weren’t going to the USA were going to Asia, so that makes sense. I was surprised to learn you can get direct polar-route flights from Vancouver to Europe.

When I was a kid flying out to Vancouver to see my grandparents I thought the 5 hour flight was pretty long. On this trip, it was just the warm-up hop. The 11 hour flight to Beijing was surprisingly easy to endure. We tried to sleep a bit, though it was always daylight outside the plane. It was basically “2pm” for half a day… The Boeing 767 had a fancy cabin interior with lighting that gradually changed color. I guess it was simulating sunset and then dawn, perhaps to help with the jetleg. I actually found the 12 hour time adjustment not all that difficult and was sleeping at the proper times within a day of arrival, so maybe it helped?

Our route was fairly northerly and besides the mountains from the last post, I also got some pictures of ice floes.

Beijing’s new capital airport is absolutely gigantic. Built partly to deal with the influx of foreigners for the olympics (and, like a few other olympic landmarks we saw, still under construction at this late date), it’s one of the largest airports in the world. The entire main terminal is a dome with no interior support, making for a lot of open space.

We spent a week in Beijing before heading down to meet Shengrong’s parents in Wuhan. Beijing felt like a very cosmopolitan and modern city. And yes, they have McDonalds. Oddly, the most prevalent western fast food restaurant was KFC.

We saw all of the usual tourist sites, from the forbidden city to the great wall, and did a bit of shopping. I was constantly amazed at the department stores in China. I don’t think we have anything quite like them here: they make Sears look pretty puny. I wish I’d taken some pictures inside one, but I guess I was just too awestruck by my attainment of consumer nirvana. These stores were all over the place in the shopping districts of Beijing and Wuhan, and are have interiors that are bright and clean and ultra-modern looking. A typical floor-plan might be something like this: First floor: expensive things like perfume, jewelry and handbags. Second and third floors: women’s clothing. Fourth floor: men’s clothing. Fifth floor: “sports” clothing for both genders. Sixth floor: electronics. Seventh floor: food court. Each floor is gigantic, and is subdivided according to brand, and each brand’s area had its own staff manning the shelves.

One thing I learned quickly was that in a Chinese store, you don’t pick up the merchandise and carry it to the cash. Rather, you point it out to one of the ubiquitous staff members, who write you a ticket that you take to the cash register. Once you bring back the receipt, you can collect your goods. I encountered loads of small differences like this on the trip: the great thing about overseas travel is that you get to have all sorts of your assumptions about the world smashed.

The Canadian dollar is pretty strong and prices in China are good (and I had Shengrong to haggle for me so we didn’t have to pay the “foreigner price” too often) so we bought a few things. I got a couple paris of shoes, a new shoulder bag, and other odds and ends. But enough about shopping.

The Olympics are coming to town, and it’s a really big deal. Olympic signs and advertisements are everywhere. This count-down clock is on the front of the National Museum at Tiananmen Square (sadly, closed for renovations at present). Yes, I’m wearing a shirt that says “Australia” on it. Just trying to mess with the locals.

These Olympic characters were a common sight.

The national “bird’s nest” stadium appears to still be under construction. Must be a good time to be a builder in Beijing…

We went several times to Tiananmen square. I said in the other post that it is huge, and it really is. It’s the largest city square I’ve ever seen, by far. Think of the biggest city square you know and double it a few times and you’ve probably got the right idea.

Looking across the square at the national museum and its infestation of cranes.

Monument in the middle of the square.

Tiananmen at night.

The gate of Heavenly Peace, at the end of the square before the Forbidden City. Can you find me? There’s a convenient arrow pointed at my head.

I really enjoyed Beijing. I was expecting to feel a lot of culture shock, but I didn’t feel much. Perhaps spending time with a Chinese girl for a couple of years helped in that regard. Also, because Shengrong spoke the language and knew her way around, I didn’t really feel the sense of being cut off from people that sometimes goes along with foreign travel. One thing I didn’t really get a sense of was how many people spoke English. There are lots of English signs in Beijing, English announcements on the busses, etc, but while it is clear that some people know a few words, it was hard to get a sense of the extent of it. The only part of China I really navigated on my own were the airports when heading back to Canada, and that was pretty easy.

Another thing I was expecting to be more of a shock was the food. After the first couple of days I got quite used to it. Nothing ever really upset my stomach, and I got a lot better with chopsticks after using them every meal for two weeks. The only negative effect was that now that I’m home, the food I normally cook for myself seems a bit pedestrian. I’ll talk more about food later on. We ate a few “interesting” things…

Photos and Travel16 Jun 2008

I’ve just come back from China. It was a fantastic two-week trip to Beijing and Wuhan. I’ll relate more about it in subsequent communications; for now, here are some of our photos.

As photographed from the plane on the flight over: a very large mountain in Alaska? Russia? I’m not entirely sure where we were at that point.

Meteor impact crater?

Beijing, at the gate of the Forbidden City.

Detail from the Nine Dragon Screen in the Forbidden City.

Inside the Forbidden City. There is reconstruction work going on, as you can see.

Mao’s tomb, in Tian’anmen square. Tian’anmen is absolutely huge – I don’t think it’s possible to take a photo that does it justice. Of course, as I quickly learned, everything in China is huge…

Even the ducks! Okay, not really. This is outside a restaurant just off Tian’anmen where we ate Beijing Duck. Which I must say I really liked.

As if the Forbidden City wasn’t enough, the Emperor also had a posh summer palace with extensive gardens.

Tower of Buddhist Incense, inside the royal gardens.

There were a surprising number of English signs, especially in Beijing. Most were much better translated than this one. Waiter, there’s Shanghai in my soup…

They always talk about “climbing” the great wall. I understand why now: they built the gigantic thing on top of mountains wherever they could.

The view from the Great Wall, looking the other way. China is hosting the Olympics this year, maybe you heard…?

East Lake in Wuhan.

A very large number of turtles at a Buddhist Temple in Wuhan.

Wuhan traffic goes from bad to worse, with the Yangtze river bridge in the background.

Lastly, Wuhan’s famous Yellow Crane Tower – one of the top four towers in all of China.

Photos and Travel27 Apr 2006

And I am not one to disappoint.

My Minotaur Buddy
My Minotaur Buddy

The Minotaur!
Actual Size

The Minotaur!
Camera Trickery

Standing tall
Stand tall, bull man!

Dear reader, the food in Crete is amazing. The things you get from street vendors are nice (one could get used to having Pita Gyros for lunch), but in order to get the full effect you have to get a little off the obvious tourist path.

We had the good fortune to be taken by some Greeks to two very nice Cretan restaurants. Eating out is a little disorienting until you get used to the idea that everyone eats supper very late. We’d show up at a restaurant at 8:30 or 9 and it wouldn’t be open yet.

I must say the mode of dining is pretty ideal if you, like me, want to try everything. Typically, you order eight or ten different dishes, and they just bring them to you a few at a time as they are ready.

First you’d get things like bread and salad and baked feta cheese, and maybe some seafood. Mid-ways you’d have things like fried mushrooms or an omelet made with potatoes. Eventually you’d get to the meat (mostly pork, lamb or beef), which is prepared very simply: slightly salted and fried in olive oil. The flavor is brought out in ways you just don’t get when you do a lot of fancy things to your dinner.

I drank a fair bit of Cretan red wine (4 euros – approx. $6 – for a bottle! In a restaurant! Try to find that in Canada). I’m not a big wine snob, but I can tell you that it was quite smooth and tasty.

As if that wasn’t enough, they’d bring us a locally produced liqueur called “raki” with our desert. It’s made from the parts of grapes that are left over from wine production, and served very cold.

Someone told us that the average Greek consumes 200 liters of olive oil a year. The Greeks certainly eat very well, and yet there’s hardly a person over weight. I think the key is some combination of eating fresh foods (I saw only one McDonalds anywhere on the island), exercise, and not snacking between meals. It’s good to know that it is possible to eat large portions of very flavorful food as part of a healthy lifestyle. “The Cretan Diet” should be the next fad.

Travel25 Apr 2006

I spent four full days in the city of Herakleion. (Or “Heraklio” or “Iraklio” or “Ηρακλείου”). I spent the first day walking around and exploring the city. It was a little bewildering at first. Traffic is chaotic, the streets are narrow, and there were people everywhere.

I kept expecting people to be speaking French. When I hear French, I can usually follow the general direction of the conversation, or at least pick up a word here and there. In Greece, for pretty much the first time, I found myself completely surrounded by an impenetrable language. Even the signs blended into the background. Fortunately for me, a surprising number of the natives spoke English: especially those positioned to run into tourists, like the people running the open-sided food stalls, cab drivers, hotel clerks, and shop owners.

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News and Travel20 Apr 2006

I’ve been in Ontario for a week. I’m half-way home; I’ll be in Fredericton tomorrow. I’ll write more about my trip later. Highlights included my grandmother’s 90th birthday party, seeing Martha, and catching a pair of Jays games.

Also, I’ve got to finish writing about my trip to Crete at some point…

Travel05 Apr 2006

In which Ian and his Dad visits many airports.

The problem with living in the Maritimes is that in order to go anywhere good you have to do a lot of redundant flying. For example: the first leg of our trip to Greece was flying 90 minutes to Montreal, which is precisely the wrong direction.

In Montreal we ate a sandwiches prepared by a very unenthusiastic girl manning an airport food stall, and then hopped on another plane, this time heading east to London England, which of course means we flew right past Halifax again. This flight began on Sunday evening and ended the following morning. The “night” you experience during an eastward transatlantic flight is a very abbreviated night, since you’re headed towards the sun at 800 km/h. If you sleep, you don’t sleep for very long.

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