Tag Archives: travel

East For the Winter

4 Sep

August 29th, 2013

Yesterday, I moved to Halifax. From Victoria. This is not even close to my first cross-continental move, but it was nevertheless a long and frustrating journey, as most plane trips tend to be. I settled into my corporate one-bedroom apartment, virtually identical to my corporate one-bedroom in Victoria. (By settled, I mean I signed the lease and managed to get my suitcases up three flights of stairs without blowing my back out.) I moved here to attend the Atlantic Circus School, which brought on may questions from friends and family, as well as the half-joking remarks of “You should blog about this!”, so I figured it was time to revive rainydaycircus.

I’m currently camping out in my bedroom, which is empty save my suitcases, my sleeping bag, and the bits of garbage so kindly scattered around by my kitten Lemon. I adopted Lemon a couple of weeks before moving- smart move, right? She was born with a malformed hind leg, and as all veterinary professionals and staff, I’m not allowed to have normal pets, and I’m a sucker for gimps. So I took her in. It made sense at the time, and still does, in a backwards sort of way.

The rest of my apartment is likewise empty, save two lawn chairs that I picked up at a thrift store today. They are my living room furniture. Hopefully a table of sorts will be added at some point. My supper was tomato scrambled eggs, cooked in the one and only pot brought along. I cut the tomato with paper scissors, as I don’t know where my Swiss army knife is hiding. Seeing as I no longer have a dishwasher, I reverted to my old ways and ate it straight out of the pot, feeling very un-grown-up and oddly homey.

My balcony (yes, I have a balcony!!) has a view of the circus school, and I can’t wait to fill it up with plants, winter or no winter. (Kale is frost-hardy, right?) Along with the circus school, I’m also looking at the industrial park it’s located in, which does give the apartment a dirty urban hole look (which it totally is, though it’s still too new to be dirty, give me a few weeks for that). I can’t help but feel like one of those Russian gymnasts that lived in dorms with a window looking directly into their gym. At least I won’t have to walk far to get to classes.

My earthy hippie views haven’t changed since I last wrote in this blog. I’m still pretty gung-ho about organic and local food, and old school living. I got rid of my car before I moved here, and I’m not intending to buy another one. Yesterday I rented a car (a beast of an SUV, which was somehow the cheapest option) and did all my heavy shopping- flour, oil, milk, etc. all the stuff that would be too much of a pain to carry in a backpack. Got a bottle of Dr. Bronner’s soap, a giant box of baking soda, and yet another giant box of washing soda, which I’m hoping will be all I need for cleaning. I even got a corn broom, which I was surprised to find at the dollar store of all places. I’m trying to avoid plastic as much as possible, which is an interesting road to walk. The darn stuff is everywhere. Even at the thrift stores, I’m trying to stay away from it. It’s more of an experience thing (ie. “how will my living space feel without plastic?) rather than a must-not-waste-fosil-fuels thing (thought that’s a worthwhile reason in and of itself), hence no second hand plastic. I once met a rather interesting lady from the Shi’shal First Nation, who spent hours telling me about her childhood in the bush and how she picked some of her few western habits. She told me how she wouldn’t let her daughter play with plastic toys when she was young, because her tribe believed that “plastic gets into your soul, it turns your spirit into plastic”. (I was later shocked beyond belief to find out that today most children are born with plastic in their DNA. I haven’t researched this myself, though, it was hearsay as one friend was told by his family doctor.) I’d love to test this out fully some day, and live in a place completely devoid of plastic, though this is not a possibility in my rental apartment so I’ll have to contend with reducing.

On my two-connection and zillion-hour flight, I alternated between reading “the People of Sparks” (yay for post-apocalyptic pioneer life) and crocheting a circular disaster, which is currently serving as my dishwashing cloth. Lemon slept most of the way, and spent the layovers on her leash, charming the passengers at the airports we passed through. She’s proved herself to be an excellent travel cat so far, a trait I fully intend to exploit. And we both caught a head cold. (Someone tell me, do cats catch cabin colds, or is this the quintessential kitten upper-resp-probably-herpes combo? Anyone with veterinary nerdity?) As I write, she’s lying between my elbows, rubbing her eye goop on my arm and fulfilling her function as the resident purrbag. I can handle that.

Tomorrow, I’m hoping to brave the public transit into downtown Halifax. My mission is to find a bike. And a shower curtain, preferably non-plastic. Rain or shine. Probably rain.

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Joys of Travel #1- Analyzing Airport Sushi

8 Jan

After reading a book about the North American food industry, shoved at me by a vegangelist friend, I had the hopelessly hippie idea of making a New Year’s resolution based on eating mindfully and ethically… Details to be announced later, but the gist of it is that I will from hereon buy and eat organic and ethically produced foods only. (And do it on a budget, mind you.)  The exceptions to the rule are travel and house visits (refusing food at a family visit would be the epidemy of rudeness). And since I greeted 2012 visiting my brother in the capital of capitalism, also known as New York City, the year of mindful eating hasn’t officially started. Still, I try to change my mindset the best as I can given the circumstances, and be mindful of what goes through my digestion. It’s been an interesting ride already.

I spent the first few days of the year eating out as per my brother’s head-to-head-opposite-to-mine American lifestyle, trying to keep to the vegetarian options on the menu (to avoid eating factory-farmed meat) and cheating every now and then out of either lack of choice or sheer temptation. (I am human after all, and the point of the resolution is cultivating mindfulness, not self-denial.) Then came a weekend in Quebec, which involved camping out in an old Catholic church for two nights and joining hundreds of jugglers for 48 hours of magic, mayhem and sleep deprivation, also known as TurboFest- the Quebec Circus School’s annual festival. During the festival, most of us subsisted on trail mix (couldn’t find organic trail mix in the Manhatten supermarket where I bought it), coffee, chocolate, and the sandwiches from the school’s cafeteria (hummus and cheese wasn’t too bad). I don’t know if anything beside my Endangered Species chocolate was organic, nor do I have the faintest clue whether the coffee was shade-grown or fair-trade. They were the only options I had though, and my body was abused enough without having to starve it for the sake of ideals. So that was that.

Now, my location is Montreal Trudeau Airport, and I have just discovered an airport food that is a half-decent alternative to grossly overpriced burgers: sushi. More specifically, the one, the only, the magnificent Avocado Roll. In a Comparative Anatomy 101 approach, it has several advantages: it doesn’t contain farmed salmon or other dubiously-sourced seafood, it’s significantly more filling (and tastier in my humble opinion) than the infamous cucumber roll, and only costs $3.50 for 8 pieces. On an Everyday Economics 101 approach, it’s about the same size (and about as filling) as a Starbucks sandwich, and costs half as much. Not bad. From an environmental perspective, it comes in a plastic container along with disposable chopsticks, but so does just about everything else at the airport. Besides, I was able to bypass the chopsticks as I randomly found a pair stashed in the dark depths of my laptop case- don’t ask why. I have no clue when I shoved them there, and for what purpose, but I decided to keep them as my reusable travel chopsticks. Here’s to hoping that all airports I go through have a sushi bar… (Riiight…)