In this post I have no tall tales of riding elephants, climbing mountains, or eating weird food. Just a few stories and perspectives from a traveller who was at home for a visit. After the motorcycle ride to/from Newfoundland, I headed to Toronto. I saw some friends from high school, which was awesome, and watched (yet another) university buddy get married. It was great to visit old university friends; these days I only see them every 1 – 2 years when there is a wedding.
The University of Waterloo boys at Danny Lau’s wedding (Danny is the sharp-dressed man, 3rd from left). Good times. (pic from Lauren H)
It’s fun to see how our lives have diverged. My buddies have careers, front lawns, high-quality wives, offspring, toasters, minivans. And saws. Lots of saws. I have been unemployed for a long time, have a house made of nylon that zips up (ie: tent), been single since forever, and own little more than a motorcycle, some skis and hockey equipment. These guys work, renovate their house, take care of their spouse/kids and check the Canadian Tire flyer to see when garden hoses are going on sale. I’m just getting drunk all over the planet (OK, a little more than that, but you get the picture… our lives have taken completely separate paths… I’m sticking to my strengths.) They are respectable, real men with real lives and I applaud them. Well done, gentlemen, you never cease to amaze me.
In other wedding news, I had some suit problems. So, I’ve been rocking the same suit since 1997 when I bought it for my Grade 12 prom. Sooner or later (likely later) I’m hoping it will come back in style. I haven’t altered the suit during this time. Now, I have been riding a lot of buses, eating a lot of noodles, and drinking a fair amount of beer in the last year of my life. I seemed to have picked up a little junk around the midsection. The night before I leave for the wedding my Mom suggests I try on the suit pants. Good call. I squeezed into them, but the waist was cutting of circulation to some vital organs. The next morning, minutes before I leave for the wedding, my Mom, fresh off a 12-hour night shift, let my pants out a few inches. Thanks, Ma!
Traveling is hard on the body. When I am done with this trip, I’m going to get back on this thing called “regular exercise.”
My trip to Canada included a visit to my grandparents at their house (aka, the cottage) in Ompah. Many of you have been here and know it how awesome it is. It’s timeless. Between taking it easy on the hammock beside the lake, fishing (I didn’t catch squat this year!), water-skiing, and my grandmother’s cooking, it is just what the doctor ordered for a weary traveller.
How nice is this place? It has been host to many great parties over the years, too. My dad took this one a few years ago.
Self-portrait on Palmerston Lake. As they have been doing for decades, my grandparents let me borrow one of their boats to go fishing. The fish shot me down, I didn’t catch a thing. Where have all the fish gone?
Here is a photo album of my visit to Canada. I should note that pretty much all Newfoundland pics were taken by my parents, and the Ompah pics by my Grandmother.) I got really lazy with the camera in Canada.
You may want to sit down, it is time for another installment of my “How To” video series on The Unique Art of World Travel. In installment #9, I show you how to act cool, calm, and collected on a bungy jump. This one takes a little explanation. At some point in your travels, especially in NZ, you may get peer-pressured into doing a bungy jump. Now, even though you will likely be scared out of your tree, you need to play it cool because there will be at least one video camera rolling, and probably some ladies in the audience. In this video, I will demonstrate how to act calm and collected before, after, and during the jump. You will be a legend, I promise. Follow these steps:
1. What you do: While the operator straps you in, make a crack about how secure this all looks. The irony here is that you are a man of action and care nothing for the security. Throw caution to the wind.
Reality: I’m so terrified my palms are sweating profusely. And, the operator cares nothing for my lame joke.
2. What you do: Wave at the camera, like you are just going out for groceries. If you’ve done this once, you’ve done this a thousand times.
Reality: I’m trying to hold back tears of fear.
3. What you do: As you approach the ledge, turn to your buddy and say something cool, calm and collected, like “Excuse me, I’ll be right back”. You bad-ass.
Reality: I am thinking, “My pants are dark in colour. When I pee them, hopefully nobody will notice.”
4. What you do: On the bounce up, applaud. Jolly Good show, this bungy jump! Well done! But you’ve done scarier things, of course. In fact, you could really use a newspaper to read, just to pass the time while you are hanging 100 metres by a bungy cord. You make it look like you are on the verge of boredom.
Reality: Holy shit!! Somebody get me down from here!!
5. What you do: After getting back into jump pod, it’s time for some more witty remarks. You tell the ladies that your balls are sore from the harness. Sure, they are huge and made of steel, but still, you have practically been hanging from them.
Reality: I have now idea why I’m talking about my balls. Probably because my hands are still shaking from the adrenaline rush and I’m trying to distract people from them. So, I said the first thing that came into my mind.
Let me demonstrate:
And that’s how it’s done. You will be the envy of everybody at the jump. You are so cool people will start calling you Bond. James Bond. Hopefully you brought a hockey stick to fight off the ladies.
Btw, just in case you are bored, you can now find a direct link to these videos on the left-hand side of this blog, under “Links”.
During part 1 of my trip, I left Canada and went east to India. I continued in an easterly direction through Asia, Australia, New Zealand and eventually arrived back here in Canada. So, I finally confirmed for myself something I’ve been told for years: The Earth is round.
And, as they say, what goes around, comes around. Looking forward to seeing you all again next time I come around.
Cheers from Medillin, Colombia, my home for the next two weeks while I take Spanish lessons.