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Tuesday 4th November 2008 7:54 pm

I am home and tired, although not jet lagged as I'm too tired and the travel sickness pills are still wearing off (the latter are better than sleeping pills at putting you to sleep). All my photos are at http://www.flickr.com/photos/paranoidangel/tags/canada/, although flickr has helpfully put them in a silly order - the three numbers at the end of the filenames of each are in the order I took them.

So far I've watched four episodes of Spooks and other things too, but that was my first priority. Although I had to do them in bits because they're so emotional. Tomorrow I have off work, so I'll catch up with everything then.c


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Last day in Canada
Sunday 2nd November 2008 11:26 am

First of all, what is definitely morbid curiosity:

THE ANONYMOUS FEEDBACK MEME

They changed the clocks in Canada this weekend, so I'm five hours behind home again. But no one told my body clock that, so I woke up at 6am. And being Sunday the World's Biggest Bookstore doesn't open until 11am.

I uploaded loads of photos of Niagara Falls yesterday. So many that I had to delete kittens to make space on my card. It turns out the hotel by the airport tomorrow night does have free wireless internet, so I will upload the last of my photos - which will be lots of views of Canada from up the CN Tower. And hopefully me on the glass floor. Watch this space... (or rather, watch my flickr space because I haven't been posting to here everytime I upload photos)c


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Toronto
Friday 31st October 2008 1:39 am

I'm now in Toronto, where the snow has gone and it's warmed up a lot. I'm ready to go home now, though, because I'm just museumed out. My right leg hurt this morning to the point where I had to take a pill so I could still do stairs. Apart from that I'm definitely getting used to walking because I walked for an hour this morning and thought it was only about ten minutes.

I am looking forward to going to Niagara Falls on Saturday because that'll be so different from everything else. And I haven't allowed myself to buy souvenirs because I'd have to carry them, so I can buy tat there. And I'm looking forward to seeing Hilary and what we have planned for Sunday.

I'm just ready for my life to go back to normal now.


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Snow
Tuesday 28th October 2008 11:48 pm

I've gone off Canada now. For the past couple of days it's been quite warm, but today the temperature dropped over 10 degrees overnight. This morning it was cold, windy and raining. This afternoon it was cold and windy. This evening it's cold, windy and snowing diagonally. And settling on cars, although not the roads or pavements or car parks. The bright side is that tomorrow I only have to go out to get money, then go to Toronto. According to the weather forecast it'll get warmer again. *crosses fingers*

Although, of course now I've got used to my way around this city and getting buses, I have to get used to a new one. Although Toronto has trams, which are quite exciting in themselves, so I intend to get trams a lot, instead of walking. The soles of my feet might drop off otherwise, and that's through expensive walking boots too.

I do have some interesting photos. First of all, a nightclub called Zaphod Beeblebrox. It's interesting that the signs above it talk about hot and cold buffet in English, but hot or cold buffet in French. Also, there's The Brig Pub. They're next door to each other as well!


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Tired
Monday 27th October 2008 2:09 am

I'm very glad I have my laptop with me, it's been very useful, not just for paying my phone and electric bill (even if the website didn't work for the latter and I had to borrow Sel's computer). Although it still has the time in BST, so I wonder if it gets a signal from somewhere that tells it the clocks have changed. I don't know, I've never taken a computer out of the country before.

However, I had planned to answer emails & lj comments etc (and I have stuff marked as read in Thunderbird and my RSS Reader). But the trouble is that after walking around and learning things all day I'm too tired in the evenings to do anything much. I am looking forward to having Wednesday off, as I'll be spending the morning lazing around in Ottawa, the afternoon on a train and the evening lazing around in Toronto. Or at least that's the plan. I planned to laze around in Montreal a bit too and that never really happened.

So far I like Ottawa, it's much smaller to walk in, it has impressive buildings and people indicate (it's weird how the French in Canada are exactly like the French in France in that respect - except that here people don't try to run you over). And it has a 🙂 And some gluten free bread that tastes quite nice. And I do mean nice, rather than "not disgusting". But so far I haven't tried to take it anywhere, and I've been taking good care of it, so it hasn't fallen apart yet. It will when I get to Toronto, I'm sure. Otherwise I'll be buying it in bulk and shipping it home.

I have finally got over my jet lag and can now sleep till 8am. Usually I'm complaining about waking up that early, but it's a big improvement on 6.30am... And since I end up falling asleep about 11am, that's a reasonable amount of sleep anyway. I just dread to think how tired I'll be in the mornings when I get home. The good thing is that they don't change the clocks in Canada till next weekend, and as I have to get up early the Monday after it basically won't affect me and means I'll end up being 4 hours out at home. She says hopefully...


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Ottawa
Sunday 26th October 2008 2:04 am

I am now in Ottawa. I've been here since last night and have so far seen it in the dark and the rain. Which looks rather different from how it looks in pictures with bright sunshine...

The hostel I was staying at was basically a big house. On my floor were four bedrooms and two bathrooms - each bathroom had a toilet, sink and shower in it. So you can imagine the queues given that my room have eight people in it... It was very nice and friendly, but the room was boiling, the mattress was the softest thing ever, the bunk beds moved with the slightest movement. And I just couldn't take the sharing a room with seven people - especially as it was a smaller room than I shared with three people in Montreal.

Since they didn't take credit cards I'd only given them a bit of cash, so I decided to look into self catering hotels instead (which I didn't know existed until quite recently). I booked myself in one that was quite central and when I got here I got up to the room and it stank of smoke, even though I'd asked for a non-smoking room. The only way they could get me a non smoking room with a kitchen was to upgrade me to an executive room. I'll take photos of it tomorrow in the light because it's massive - it's bigger than my flat.


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Now in Montreal (and new time zone)
Friday 24th October 2008 1:38 am

For some reason flickr decided to put my photos in a stupid order, so it's best to follow the numbers at the end of the names of the photos, rather than the order they're on the page/RSS feed, because they won't make any sense otherwise.

The sleeper train was very exciting, but now I'm so tired. I already hadn't got over my jet lag, then I didn't get much sleep last night and changed time zones so now it's even earlier than I think it is. My computer think it's 1.35am and although it's actually only 7.35pm, I feel more like it's the former, rather than the latter. So I might well do more catching up with the internet from Ottawa and just watch videos because that's pretty much all I'm capable of.

So far I like Montreal. I have tried out bits of French, but mostly I only have to say 'Bonjour' and people speak back to me in English. So having a terrible French accent is actually a good thing. I've been walking everywhere rather than using the metro, only partly because it's a lovely sunny day that's mostly been warm enough not to need a hat (but I have needed both jumpers).

I have found a supermarket, so I have more snacks. Not the really nice wafers they had in Atlantic, but I do now have bourbons and custard creams. My potato bread fell apart on the journey in my suitcase, so I started on the Italian bread, but it's so dry it's horrible. I have found there is a health food shop on the same road the hostel is (if at the opposite end), so I will see what bread they have tomorrow.

Tomorrow I'll go to a museum, I think, and after I'll be back to the English speaking world in Ottawa, and also more getting lost.


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Halifax (not just a bank)
Tuesday 21st October 2008 10:18 pm

I am in Canada - in Halifax to be specific. The first day I was here I was just tired from lack of sleep and travel sickness pills. Now I am tired from lack of sleep and jet lag. It doesn't help that my computer clock tells me it's gone 10pm when it's actually nearly dinner time.

Sel's kittens are very sweet, if crazy. It's been really cold here, except today which was really nice weather. I'd be happy if it stays like that.

So far I really like Canada and unlike America, don't feel a desperate need to go home. The accents aren't as bad and they do acknowledge the existence of the metric system, which helps a lot.

Even though I'd been warned, all the people are amazingly friendly and people in shops and restaurants can't do enough for you. Except tell you how to pay by plastic. And I had to have help getting money out of a cash machine because it asked me a question that was non-sensical (which account I wanted to get money from - the answer was the account that belonged to the card - but Sel explained why it asked that question - crazy system).

Tomorrow I go to Montreal on a sleeper train, which is quite exciting. Then I should be on the internet more because I won't have anyone I know with me - except when I meet livii, Hilary and maybe Manda. And to think I thought I didn't know anyone in Canada and it wouldn't be quite like my Australian trip.

If you want to see them, I have put 44 photos (mostly of kittens) at my flickr page - link down the side.


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Packing and house hunting adventures
Thursday 16th October 2008 7:54 pm

I have now packed for Canada. Everything fits in my suitcase fine, which must mean I've forgotten something. But I started throwing things in there a week ago so I ought to have remembered everything by now. Even though I only have six days worth of clothes (one day of which are on a chair for me to wear on Saturday) it still feels like a suitcase full of clothes. But then my backpack will be full of food.

Last week I saw three houses. The first was just down from where I live now - three blocks away (and by blocks I mean of flats). It's more than I pay now, but was smaller - the kitchen was tiny, but the bathroom was massive. All the rooms came off the lounge as well, which is a pain for having people over to stay.

Then I saw one in a former foundry. It's also more than I'm paying now and very quirky. The lounge would be big except there's a step separating the lounge and dining room. The bedroom doesn't go right to the far wall and you can look over the rail down to the lounge below. The bathroom doesn't have a window and all the things in it (bath, toilet, sink) are all dark blue. The walls are also dark blue. So you can imagine how dark that room is, especially as it's only small. I loved it to bits, but it's just not practical to live in (there's a good reason why I haven't looked at any of the places with a spiral staircase in).

Then I saw one in the next town (that would mean I'd have to drive to work from). It's less than I'm paying now and about the same size ish. But I liked it. It's first floor, so no neighbours above and it had red carpets. You can only get to the kitchen from the lounge, but the rest of the rooms are off the hall, so it's not too bad for having people staying.

So I told them I wanted it and it's all approved. After I get back I have to give them large amounts of money and work out what date I'm moving in. Then pack and try to get rid of some of my crap and work through my list of people/companies I have to tell I'm moving. And change my doctors, which I'm not looking forward to. But at least it's all sorted and I don't have to worry about it while I'm away or when I get back.


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Argh!
Monday 29th September 2008 11:12 am

I've just spent fifteen minutes on the phone to Air Canada. Ten minutes of that was spent trying to convince them that I did in fact have a booking. They constantly asked me for pieces of reference that I didn't have, and when they came up with one I did, they couldn't find me. And then they did, so what their problem was I don't know.

When you book a flight you get to choose one type of meal from the drop-down list, so I chose non-lactose, since that only takes an hour to make me ill. So I asked them if I could have gluten free too to keep it simple, as if I listed everything I couldn't have they'd throw a wobbler no doubt.

But then I spent five minutes trying to convince them that's what I needed, otherwise I wouldn't be able to eat at all. At the end of that time all she could tell me was that I could try and ask them when I check in. Which is really helpful.

When I last flew to America Virgin managed to get me something I could eat from First Class, but there's no guarantee of that, so I'll have to bring enough to eat for the whole flight.

As if flying isn't stressful enough, given that I get travel sick and worry about getting there in time.


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Canada
Wednesday 16th July 2008 5:03 pm

I've started reading my Canadian guidebook, so I can work out roughly where I'm going to go and when. And basically I'm trying to fit in a lot in two and a half weeks (between 18th October and 3rd November), not helped by the train from Halifax to Quebec not going on the day when it would be most convenient.

So, to help me plan:
a) What is there to do in these places that people would recommend?
b) Does anyone want to meet up in any of them? (the trouble I always have going away is what to do in the evenings)

The plan is to start off with in Halifax, so that part's sorted. From there I'm thinking of going to Quebec, Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto. I fly out from the latter, so I definitely have to go there!

The only thing I know I'm going to do is Niagara Falls. Apart from that, going to Canada/US/Australia is always a problem because the main thing I do on holidays is castles. And other old things. So apart from those, I'd like to do stuff that'll tell me the history of the country, go up tall things. I don't really know beyond that.


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