A Travellerspoint blog

Days 105 & 106 - Guidebooks, Planning & Rosh Hashanah

Hey all,

I've got about half an hour until I have to leave for my train to Ottawa and it's chucking it down with rain so I thought I'd let all you wonderful people know what I've been upto the past couple of days.

Day 105 -

After breakfast I sat around and chatted with Dave, Shelly & Lucas for a while before heading in to town in hope of finding a little gift for Dave & Shelly to remind them of me. I had seen a union jack flag in an antique shop (there's three antique shops in Great Village but no other shops) which I thought would be perfect but upon arriving at the shop I found that it was all dirty so I ended up coming away empty handed in the end. I then went to the store and returned back to the house, munching on Smarties washed down with Mountain Dew as I went.

Once I got back I rang my Sister and my parents and had a good chat with them, however all the sugar and fizziness from my sweet snacks didn't sit well with me and I started to feel a bit unwell so I went up to bed afterwards. I slept for a couple of hours and awoke still not feeling too good, so I lay in bed and watched Drive Angry before being quite ill. (I won't go into details) Once it had subsided I went back to bed and read for a while before going to sleep.

Day 106 -

I awoke today feeling decidedly better after my bout of sickness last night. After breakfast I spent the majority of my day sat on my laptop (not literally) trying to sort out my travel vaccinations. Now Dave & Shelly had asked me over breakfast if I wanted to come with them to one of their friends' houses for Rosh Hanshanah (Jewish New Year) but I didn't think that it would affect me booking my vaccinations. It turns out that the major travel clinics in Ottawa are all Jewish owned and so they were all closed for the holidays. I gave up on the idea in the end and just read some travel blogs and did other non-productive (but interesting) things instead. When I mentioned to Lucas that I was going to get a guidebook for South East Asia, he very kindly said that I could have his one instead so that was great. (it turned out that he'd been given it by someone else in the first place so I shall make sure I pass it on when I'm done with it too then it can help lots of people out)

I rang a couple of my Grandmas and we chatted for quite a while before me, Dave & Lucas rushed off to Bruce & Nicky's place for Rosh Hashanah. There were lots of people there and the food was amazing! There were dishes galore containing beef, chicken, potatos, rice, carrots, breads, salads, cakes, cookies and strudels but not as I'd had them before. Although they didn't look (or taste) like anything I've had before, everything was lovely and after eating my fill (quite a bit more than my fill actually) and chatting for a while over some wine, we called it a day and headed back to the house where retired to my bed for my last night's sleep in Great Village.

Bye for now folks!

Posted by UKtoCA 07:12 Comments (0)

Days 103 & 104 - So What Happened Again?


The past two days have been a bit of a blur. I think it could be due to my lack of alcohol consumption (sober blackouts exist, right?) but it's probably more to do with the fact that I've been a bit lazy and haven't done a whole lot bar relax. The slow Nova Scotian pace of life is very much in my bones now and so adjusting to the hustle and bustle of Asia may take some time.

I've been trying in earnest to knuckle down and get some planning done for the next leg of my trip but when it's nice and sunny outside, I find it hard to muster up the enthusiasm. I rang around a few travel clinics yesterday to find out prices for the vaccinations that I will require and whilst the prices didn't vary too much between places, I was taken aback by the cost of antimalarials here; $550 for a 3 month supply! (or $730 [£500] for my whole trip as I actually need four months' worth) After this shocking news I found myself unwillingable to plan anything else so I took the dogs out for a walk. On my return I rang my Sis and arranged to call her the next evening for a catch up, then I spent the rest of my day watching Alice in Wonderland and Inglorious B*****ds (both wicked films), stuffing my face and generally relaxing. (I need to build up my fat supplies for China as it may be a bit chilly..well, that's my excuse anyway) Dave rang and said that they would be back very early the next morning so I went around and tidied the house up a bit (nothing much needed doing really as I have tidiness OCD which has been instilled in me by inherited from my Mother) I went up to bed quite early but found myself engrossed in a travel guide of Asia that I found in the house. It's from 1996 so a lot of it is very outdated but it still makes for interesting reading and I managed to read over a hundred pages of it before glancing at the time and seeing that it was 1am. I somehow managed to put the book down and went to sleep, wary of the rabid squirrels that could break through the ceiling at any moment.

Well that's it for today folks. Oh, and if you're wondering what happened on day 103, I honestly can't remember...and it was only two days ago! What that says for the state of my short term memory I don't know but I imagine it's more down to the fact that each day has tended to mirror the last over the past few days. (the day I took the truck being an exception) Because of this it's hard to remember exact details and I find that my memories of each day mix with those of the next if I fail to write my journal every day.

Over and out.

Posted by UKtoCA 08:49 Comments (0)

Day 102 - Trucks, Trials & Tribulations


So today was the first stressful day I have had in a very long time indeed. It all started with the decision to go out for the day rather than staying in the house as it was a nice sunny day. Lucas had given me the ok to use the truck this week so I got some lunch together and a beach towel and went in search of the sandy beach in Economy. I figured out how the truck worked a lot easier than the ride on mower and driving on the right hand side of the road was no trouble so I set off in the direction of Economy and I got about half way there when I noticed there wasn't much petrol left in the truck. I didn't think this would be a problem however as I knew there was a petrol station in Economy so I continued on my way and I arrived only to find that it was shut! I didn't have enough petrol left to get back to Great Village so I decided to continue on as I thought that there must surely be another petrol station nearby. After about 10Km I arrived at the next village and saw a petrol station but that one wasn't of much help either as it was also closed.

Slight panic set in now as I was down to the top of the red line and I knew that the next town was about 30Km away and you had to go over Economy Mountain to reach it. I also had no credit on my phone and didn't know the number for any recovery services either which didn't help but I couldn't do anything but continue going. I reached the top of the mountain and saw the first sign for Parrsboro which informed me that it was 18Km away, and I just hoped that I would make it. I passed sign after sign, counting down the distance to the village and hopefully a functional petrol station and eventually I made it. Running on what I imagine was fumes by that point, I pulled in to the open and working Parrsboro petrol station and I felt a wave of relief pass over me. (phew!) I filled up then parked on the street and went off for a bit of a wander.

There wasn't a whole lot there as it is quite a small place but there was a church, a pharmacy (which was good as I had ran out of deoderant and was starting to pong a bit!), a few shops, a quaint town hall, a theatre and a visitor information board. One of the sights listed on the information board was a place called two islands which was only a short drive away. It said that there were fossil cliffs and a beach there and as I'd came all the way to Parrsboro I thought that I may as well check them out before heading back. (little did I know that this was a bad idea!) I set off across the small bridge which connects the islands to the mainland and the road composition changed from tarmac to gravel and dirt. I continued down the road which got ever thinner, in worse condition and remote until I finally arrived at...a dead end(?) There was no way down to the beach that I could see so I headed back the way I came, (up an insanely steep bit of gravel path which the truck struggled to get traction on) going down each road that I came to and each time being met with a dead end and no paths in sight. I eventually came to a sign at the entrance to the island development which listed a road as having beach access, so I got in the truck to turn it around and head back up the way I had came.

Now had I looked behind the truck before backing it up I would've noticed the point at which the road dropped off into a ditch and I would've taken precautions to not back up too far, however I didn't do and as I'm not used to backing such a big vehicle up I managed to end up with the back end of the truck in the ditch. If I had been in a 4x4 this wouldn't have been too much of an issue however the truck is RWD only and so all that happened when you pushed the accelerator in reverse or drive was the rear wheels spun around as they had no traction. I got out to survey the situation and it looked bad, (yes I have pictures of how much of a goon I am, feel free to look at them and laugh) not just because I was stuck but because I had no credit on my mobile, no reception, no spade to try and get the car out with and to top it all I was on a remote gravel path miles from anywhere. Now if I was to say I didn't panic I would be a liar. I spent an hour and a half panicking, using gravel, rocks and bits of tree to try and get enough traction under the rear wheels to get some movement but to no avail and In the time that I was trying all of this not a single car went past which shows just how remote an area it was.

Eventually I admitted defeat and set off walking in the heat to try and find someone that could help me. I walked for a few kilometres and came to the office of the real estate company that owned the housing development on the island. I thought that I was saved but surprise surprise, it was closed. There was a sign on the door saying to go to the house opposite if it was closed, so I did so but the porch was blocked off and it looked like noone was in. I then saw that a window was open so I shouted "Hello!" for a while and I could hear movement inside the house, then much to my surprise (and joy) a lady came to the door! I explained my predicament to her and she said not to worry, she would ring the garage in town and get them to come out and tow me. I thanked her and walked back down to wait for the tow truck but about fifteen minutes later, the same lady drove down in a golf buggy and said that her husband was on his way to come and help as a tow truck would've cost a lot of money. We chatted for a while about what I'd been upto in Canada and where they were from, then her husband turned up laughing at the mess that I'd gotten myself into.

He had a super heavy duty pickup truck (i.e. a six wheeled 4x4 beast) and a towing chain which he managed to attach in a couple of minutes, then I started the truck up and gave it some welly whilst he towed me up and before I knew it I was back on the road. (with no damage to the truck, woo!) I raked up all the gravel that had been moved in the towing process and thanked them both profusely before setting off back down the road way from the islands. (never to return!) The kind couple had told me about a beach at the geology museum which was about 8Km away so I drove there and cleaned up as my hands and arms were covered in mud, scratches and a mysterious rash after digging about in mud, pulling out grass and weeds, getting rocks from a river and bits of tree from the undergrowth. I then walked down and sat on the 'beach' (read: rocks next to a river) and had some lunch (it was nearly 5pm by this time how time flys when you're stuck in a ditch) before setting off back to the house. I got about 10Km out of Parrsboro then noticed that I didn't have my watch on and I had that sinking feeling when I recalled how I had taken it off and put it on the side in the toilets when I washed my hands earlier. I spun around and headed back to the museum and luckily they had it behind the desk for me so after another incident had been resolved I finally set off on the road home.

I was no more than 5Km out of town when an ambulance drove up behind me getting closer and closer. Now the speed limit was 80Km/h and I was doing maybe a few Km/h more than that but the ambulance didn't seem satisfied with my speed and decided to drive right up my backside all the way over Economy Mountain. (with no lights or sirens on may I add) After the descent down the other side a quite large gap built up between us but no more than a couple of kilometres later they were back driving right behind me. After a couple of failed overtaking attempts on the winding country roads we drove through Bass River and I pulled over to the side of the road to let them pass. They pulled up to my window slowly and motioned for me to wind it down so I did and the guy driving proceeded to ask me if I was ok as I was "Driving on and off the road" whilst the lady in the passenger seat looked me up and down as if to see if I was drunk. I advised the guy driving that I was fine thanks but I would be even better if he didn't drive right behind me. I advised him that the speed limit was 80Km/h and that I was doing that or just over and as he had no lights or sirens on I couldn't see why he'd have a wish to go faster than that, especially if it means that he makes other drivers concentrate more on him behind them than the road ahead. I mean surely paramedics know that speed kills and they're meant to save lives not take them, right?

After giving them a piece of my mind, they said "Ok, bye" and sped off, leaving me free to drive on at a normal speed. I got back to the house a while later and my final "Oh my god" moment of the day was when I closed the truck door with the keys in it. (that's how they roll in Nova Scotia - lock doors? never) Now I had manually locked both doors before and I thought that it would still be locked but luckily it opened (mega phew!) and I got all of my stuff out, vowed never to drive it again and went inside to chill out. I spent the evening watching The Beach, (a really good film about this guy that goes travelling in Thailand and ends up on a remote beach) eating and drinking to my heart's content. At about half eight I found myself rather tipsy and tired so I headed up to bed but found myself distracted by the night's sky. Out here there's little light pollution so you can see hundreds of stars with the naked eye and I'd say billions with a telescope. As there was a telescope downstairs and I had nothing else to do but sleep, I brought it up onto the deck and spent a couple of hours looking at all of the stars (and the internation space station) before getting very tired and calling it a night.

So that was my very long and stressful day. If you managed to read the whole of my blog post then well done! If you couldn't hack it and just skipped to this paragraph then no hard feelings, I would have probably done the same.

Bye for now!

Posted by UKtoCA 08:23 Comments (0)

Day 101 - Ride-on Mowers, Visa Forms & Dodgeball


So today I got up, came downstairs then got some breakfast and I had got halfway through eating it when Dave, Miriah & Mannie turned up. We all sat around and chatted for a while then Dave went off and tilled the garden whilst I did my blog. Once he had finished, he showed me how the ride-on mower works as I had said that I would mow the grass as I had nothing else to do. Once I was ok with everything they left and I watched TV for a while before deciding to get on with the mowing as it was a nice day. It took me ages to get it to start as I first filled it up with petrol thinking it was out (which it was) but it still wouldn't start. I tried putting it in different gears, pumping the manual choke and everything else I could think of and then it just decided to start working by itself in the end!

It took an hour or so to mow all of the grass but the ride-on mower was so fun. It was like being on the dodgems in terms of the speed, control and turning circle that you have and I had a blast at the same time as getting the garden looking good. I put the mower back in the barn and made my way back up to the house where I put some mini quiches and sweet potato chips in the oven for my tea and settled down to watch Dodgeball. I'd never seen the film before and it was hilarious! (even more so after a couple of beers) Once it had finished I filled in and printed off my visa application forms for China and Vietnam (Laos, Cambodia and Thailand give visas on arrival) before retiring to bed and falling asleep listening to the ever louder sound of animals trying to gnaw through the walls.

Au revoir!

Posted by UKtoCA 08:10 Comments (0)

Day 100 - Planning Time


So today I spent nine hours sat at my laptop painstakingly researching a route for my onward travels. I did get distracted by other peoples' travel blogs, Facebook, Amazon (looking at phrasebooks and guidebooks) but I did manage to get a route sorted out which was my main objective for the day. I need to sort out visas and book my flight out still but the plan is for me to travel down from Ottawa to Toronto, fly out to Hong Kong and then travel overland for a month, eventually arriving in Vietnam. From there I will travel through Vietnam and into Cambodia, up to Laos and then down through Thailand ending in Bangkok, with the whole Vietnam-Bangkok leg of my trip taking about three months.

Along with sorting out a flight and visas I also need to get my vaccinations done, post some thing home, buy phrasebooks and do a whole host of other less important tasks. I'm excited to be going somewhere vastly different to back home and being able to experience new languages, food, cultures and customs. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time in Canada but I think I'm ready to go more out of my comfort zone now. (and go to somewhere that doesn't charge £4 for a block of butter!) Whether I will still feel as ready when I arrive in China clutching my Mandarin phrasebook, surrounded by lots of Chinese people all staring at the 'big nosed pinky' I don't know but I'm sure everything will work out just fine.

Right, I'm off to make some cookies and fill out my visa forms so I'll sign off now.

zài jiàn!

Posted by UKtoCA 07:17 Comments (0)

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