Monday 16 June 2008


Grand Prix in Montréal: Streets blocked off downtown with thousands of people eating and drinking outside, guys wandering the streets with tyres over their shoulders. We weren't there to see the Grand Prix, but it was a fun weekend to be in Montréal. Met up with Tim (quote: "Shit! Everything is in French!"), who was doing his own tour of Canada at the same time.

Had a fun couple of days checking out the sights in Montréal, then it was a bus to Plattsburgh NY (pop. 20k), 8-seater cessna to Boston MA, and a real plane to Baltimore. The cessna ride was awesome, almost like a scenic flight around the edge of the Adirondacks. I know a guy who learnt to fly at Plattsburgh - he could take off and land his small plane four times on the gigantic runway there, it is an alternate landing site for the space shuttle!

Biggest regret: forgot to ask a Francophone Montréal resident what they think about the American and Canadian Anglophone use of the word entrée. It annoys me, and I don't even speak french...

Canadian blood donor

We did an overnight canoe trip in Algonquin park north of Toronto, which was probably the best part of our Canadian trip. The park is pretty amazing, with thousands of small and large lakes available to explore by canoe. We chose a fairly easy route with only one 300m portage. We pretty much had the whole area to ourselves because it was black fly season. We camped overnight at a beautiful campsite on a point in a bend of Little Doe lake.

View Larger Map
Mr. DEET was our friend on this trip. From the moment we stepped out of the car for the next two days we were all covered head to toe in 40% DEET insect repellent that I bought at the hunting store. I also had the 100% DEET vial as a backup, but I was scared of it :)

A liberal application kept the black flies and mozzies hovering in a cloud about 10 cm from your exposed skin. The black flies are sneaky little bastards though. They landed on my back and crawled up under my T-shirt to give me a ring of bites around my waist. Nasty! They inject an anti-coagulent so the bite continues to bleed for quite a while after the bug is gone. Still, the bite isn't itchy so I'd take it over a mozzie any day!

Apparently all the moose (meese?) try and get away from the lakes during black fly season (they don't like them either!). Sure enough, we met one on the road on the way back to return the canoes. Cool!


Niagara falls is amazing. We did the 'Behind the Falls' tour which takes you through tunnels behind the falls to where you can look out into a wall of white and hear the roar. You also get a great close-up profile view. After that we took the Maid of the Mist for a close-up soaking. Lots of wearing disposable raincoats :)

Toronto, I won a....subway ride?

Toronto is a cool city. Like all the Canadian cities we went to there were bicycles everywhere, which is something I really miss from home. They built this gigantic tower right in the middle of it that is ridiculously taller than every other building in the city. It has a cool glass floor - it was entertaining watching em trying to walk on it and chickening out :)

Both Toronto and Montreal have the strangest subway ticketing system I have ever seen. It's a gigantic scratchie!?! How the hell am I supposed to fit that in my wallet? And every time I want to use it I have to go through the booth where everyone who doesn't have tickets is waiting on the cashier. Jeez, get it together Canada.

We went out with our friend Katrina who took us to the Wayne Gretzky bar for the Stanley Cup final. Sweet!

Monday 9 June 2008

Vibram five fingers: Coolest shoes ever

I have got to get some of these babies. Garth, I think these shoes were made for you.