Sunday 15 November 2009

no place like home!

On a bit of a low today mostly because I just over did it yesterday, so I’m really tired and couldn’t walk more than a mile without needing a sit down. I didn’t do half the things I planned and spent twice the amount of money that I wanted to. Everywhere I’ve been on the West Coast has had a real problem with down and outs and San Francisco is no different. I wish America would do more about their poor. It makes me feel so uneasy seeing Louis Vuitton shops selling $3,000 handbags when there are people hardly getting by on the streets. The homeless over here tend to be more in your face, hustling is just their way of life. It takes loads of energy to find the right words and get through the day without pissing anyone off, today I just didn’t have anything to give and I just wanted to curl up in bed and hind from the world. I shouldn’t moan I am very lucky, life as delt me a much better hand that it has them.

It was another beautiful hot day and I saw some amazing street art courtesy of I also saw a less than great show at the ybca recommended by a dreadlocked space cadet I shared the dorm with last night. She told me her name was Tiger Lily but I think her name was really Tracy or something else equally pedestrian.

OK I’m going to put on my pyjamas and listen to Adam and Joe. Tomorrow Gold Gate Park, China Town and Alcatraz.

Saturday 14 November 2009

a walking holiday

Today I walked about sixteen miles, I knew I’d done a lot but not that. It was a lovely day I can’t believe how sunny and hot it is here. It’s very late and I’m really sleepy that’s what walking and fresh air does to you so I'm going to keep this short. Highlights; my first Hot Dog of the trip and I chose well Let’s be Frank make gourmet sausages visit their site if you have time the copy writing is spot on. I bough beautiful pistachio macaroons at the farmer market, wolfed them both down in under ten seconds. The farmers market was a great surprise in it’s self, was very lucky to happen upon it. A lovely arts and craft shop call Rose and Radish, I would have bought a lot in there if I had more money. I Sampled chocolate in a chocolate making factory. Walked across the Golden Gate Bridge. Saw seals swimming in the bay and did a bit of shopping. All this on a day I had no plans. Tomorrow, China town I think and maybe some art in the afternoon, we’ll see. Now it’s time to sleep. Good night.


There are some people in life that you hope to never see again, I just spent fifteen hours on a train with a dippy lady in her fifties, who every hour would ask me if she still had her guitar, which was in the over head locker. Don’t get me wrong she wasn’t a bad person (definitely irritating, but not bad), we just didn’t click and that’s a lot of time to spend with someone you have nothing to say to. Then there are people who you meet once but somehow feel like you’ve known forever because conversation comes so easily. I always feel sad when I say goodbye to these familiar strangers.

In Vancouver I met a lecturer called Peter who works in Adelaide but comes from Glasgow. I spent an afternoon full of banter with him as we took a ferry trip on a day with no views (unless you count thick fog as scenic). He’d had a fascinating life worked all over the world as a chef, lived in New York in the 80’s when it had more edge than content. Was on his way to try and see Polar Bears in Nova Scotia. A football fan, supported Scotland for his sins. Anyway I met him and his not so lovely wife again today. I got up early and discover there was a huge food market down on the docks and there he was, a chance in a million. Didn’t get chance to talk for long, didn’t get chance to find out if he saw any Polar Bears but it was lovely to meet again maybe our paths will cross once more in Austria but some how I doubt it.

Friday 13 November 2009

peace and love in portland

After a lot, well a bit of thought I did end up visiting Portland. I was worried it would be the same as Seattle and had thought about just flying down to Vegas. However I spent much longer in Canada than I had planned so it just made sense to do a small stop over and get to San Francisco for a relaxing last few days.

Portland is a cool city, it looks big as you head in as the buildings are so tall but once I started walking about it really didn’t take long to get from one end of the centre to the other. I stayed in a hippie hostel a little way out of town. It was full of Jesus sandals and mung beans. Some beardy fool kept me up half the night playing bad covers on his guitar, I so wanted to smash it over his greasy haired head. I now know for sure that I’m far too cynical to cut it as a hippie. I met my first properly properly crazy American there – “I heard a cat got killed at the docks last night, do you want to come and look for the body? I wish I had seen it die.” You have to say it in a Forest Gump accent to get the full affect. I didn’t going looking for the cat because we all know what coastally did! Instead I went to the Pearl district, which houses all the small galleries and boutiques. In New York I found a shop for Gilly in Portland I found a shop for Sally. It was a huge warehouse full of hand picked antiques and artefacts called Cargo, everything in there was very cool, quirky and best of all really reasonably priced. At one point I was walking around with about thirty things but soon realized I couldn’t afford the postage. Sally a couple of lighter surprises will soon be in the post.

Wednesday 11 November 2009

up in the air

Back in the U.S.A. and I had to go through customs again.
I’m not sure if I can answer the same questions any more times.
I really really had tobite my tongue, as the guard was being so rude
and I wanted to answer back, lucky I remembered just in time that
you couldn’t win an argument with a man in uniform! So managed not
to end up in jail and arrived safely in Portland. The sun shone on my
journey but as soon as I got off the train the heavens opened and I
ended up wet again. Portland seems very nice but I dicisided to hind
in the cinema. I saw “the men who stare at goats” and it was great.
I can’t remember ever seeing a film where the audience laughed so
loudly and so often. Highly recommend. I also saw the best trailer
for a film called “up in the air”, which just looks
like a great movie
I hope it’s out in New Zealand soon. I'm
going to spend tomorrow
morning looking around the art district then
I’m spending 18 hours on a train as I travel overnight to San
Francisco. So looking forward to getting there. Fingers crossed there
are some nice people to talk to on the journey. See you in the city.

Tuesday 10 November 2009

a case of you

"On the back of a carton coaster, in the blue TV screen light, I drew a map of Canada. Oh Canada. With your face sketched on it twice."

I’ve had this Joni Mitchell song stuck in my head for the past nine days, it’s driving me mad. I guess I should start off with an apology to anyone who thought I was dead. I’m not I just haven’t had any wifi for the past week. I’ve been with my family on Vancouver Island and I’ve had the loveliest time. I’m really shocked at how much I like Canada. It’s beautiful without question but mostly I’ve just met so many good, kind, welcoming and interesting people since I’ve been here. The family I’ve just been with are unbelievable, I have never felt so loved by people who hardly know me. I hope we will stay in touch. I’m already planning my trip back and wishing my work visa was for Canada. I’m also shocked at how many generous strangers I’ve met on my travels so far. From Diana who let me have her headphones on the plane so I could watch “the proposal”, (which I’m ashamed to say I loved – not so cool now) to Ester, whom I’m sharing a room with now and has just bought me a cup of tea. I’m going to try to stay in touch with anyone who has been good enough to pass on their contact details. Each little conversations or act of kindness has made such a difference to me, I hope I’ve been making a difference to some of their days too.

park life

I had the most perfect Saturday in Vancouver, the forecast was for rain but I got sun. I was up before anyone else in the hostel to help an Australian girl to the bus station as she had three of the biggest bags that I have ever seen. Vancouver at the moment is like little Australia as they are all over here to work the ski season at Whistler. I’ve seen inside a few of the girl’s bags and its all birth control and booze I get the feeling it’s just one long party. All the Aussies I’ve met have been very friendly but I do end up feeling like their Mum.

But I digress, back to my wonderful Saturday. I walked down to Stanley Park, which is maybe the biggest park I’ve ever been to. I started off in the Aquarium. The sea otters and beluga whales are by far the cutest, but I think my favourite feature was the Jellyfish somehow they are completely hypnotic. I’m not much of a photographer so I was really pleased with these pictures of them. The Aquarium has a 4D cinema so I saw my first (and as I enjoyed it so much second) 4D film. It’s basically a 3D film but your chair also moves and they spray you with water if a fish splashes or blow air if you’re watching a bird fly. It sound silly and I guess it is, but I really enjoyed it.

Once I had finish at the Aquarium I rented a bike for a couple of hours and cycled around the park, when I say it’s big it has three beeches, a working lighthouse and a small forest. It was the best bike ride of my life and one of the best afternoons. I’ll let the photo do the talking.