Sunday, July 29, 2007

Halifax, Pt. 2: Besides the Barfing

The Halifax of my memory is breezy and cool. Not humid and burning hot. But that's what it was last week. Eric and I spent a lot of time walking around various neighbourhoods looking for shade. Eric and I and Shelley and Steve spent a lot of time out under their cabana, what I liked to call the lanai. We ate and read and chatted and drank beer. This picture is not the best picture I've ever taken, but I think it captures our activities fairly well. The visiting, the whole trip, the hanging out, was so easy. I loved it, but it also made me very sad that we do not all live in the same city. It's not fair and I'm going to stamp my feet.

Because I'm not in much of a story telling mood, I'll just jot down things we did that I enjoyed, and think that you should enjoy too, if you are ever lucky enough to be in Halifax.

1) The market. It's open every Saturday, so I actually got to go twice. One of my very fond memories of Halifax is going to market at 7 on a summer morning, buying big bags of peas and bunches of carrots, then going to catalogue for 5 hours at the DalTech library, which had windows that opened, facing the harbour. I would turn the music on loud, munch on peas scooped right from the shell and catalogue old reports from the CMHC.

2) Quinpool Rd. I actually hate Quinpool Rd. It feels like a strip mall. But Eric and I hit a couple of neat stores on it. Gaudet Optical is where Hilda gets her glasses, and Hilda, hands down, has the best glasses going. But I was in a funk by the time we got there, so it ended up like bra shopping. Every time I tried on a pair of glasses, I thought, Ugly. Uglier. Ugh. How can you be that ugly. I stopped trying on glasses right about that point. We poked around for a bit more. That is, until we got upstairs, and I let myself be cajoled into trying a couple of other pairs on. These ones took the pressure off of trying to look good.

Then we went to Aqua Creations, where we looked at every tank, and Eric told me about various fish controversies and pointed out his favourites. It sounds like something girlfriendy to do, like I would just suffer through it to make my man happy. I assure you that I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Maybe it was because I wasn't looking at my unhappy mug in bad glasses frames. But I learned a lot. In fact, I now know the difference between a sunfish and a pleco. Which I did not know before. I also know that fish people can get some weird about making new species for no good reason.

3) Bach's Cafe. It is a place who loves J.S. Bach, coffee, music and polar bears. They don't love air conditioning, apparently. But I love them.

4) Gottingen St. When I first moved to Halifax, my racist cousin told me I should not move to Gottingen St. Because, you know, that's where all the "gangs" were. And yes, it's likely there are gangs in the area. But he was using it in its Canadian Racist form. Gottingen is a great street and I ended up living not far from it. It's changed a lot since I was there, some places gone, some sprung up. If there were a few more trees, I'd have walked it even more. As it was, Eric and I walked it a couple times from stem to stern, once to get beer from Propeller Brewery, where we saw people buying growlers.

One of those times, Eric ducked down beside the Marquee, a den of iniquity for me back in the day, to see if they still had a terrible mural up. They do, of Ray Charles. I could put a picture of that up, but jesus, it's just ugly, so instead, I give you a picture of Eric that catches my breath every time I look at it. Hot and damn, he's a handsome man.

5) The reading. It went quite well. We got about a dozen people, I think, who seemed to enjoy all the readings on offer - Edwina Etiquette made a surprise appearance. And we raised $54 for the Bursary Fund, which made me really happy. Rita McKeough told me I was maybe a closet performance artist. That thrilled me to my toes. High praise indeed.

6) Shelley and Steve and Milo and their house. I had a great time staying with Shelley and Steve. Milo is such a cute dog. Their house is this sprawling, i'm-always-turning-the-wrong-direction house that is cozy and homey. They have supernice roommates named Rita and Mark. I adore Rita, who is a crazy brilliant performance artist. Mark seems very nice, though I don't have as much of a sense of him. He laughs a lot and sleeps very soundly, which is useful if you're going to be barfing in the bathroom next to his bedroom. I got to help Shelley organize her room a little bit, and we got it looking even homier.

Shelley and Steve are welcoming and thoughtful, inspiringly so. Shelley had put her lovely organic cotton sheets on the bed and made our room up so beautifully. I hope that we were half as good as guests as they were as hosts.

Also, did I mention it's not fair that we don't live in the same city?

7) Point Pleasant Park. I suggested a walk around PPP because we were post-barfing and the park is easy to get to by bus, and easy to have a quick and shady walk around. I thought. Unfortunately, I was remembering the pre-Hurricane Juan PPP. It is not so shady now. Where there once were trees, there are no trees. Only grasses and bush. I would stop and gape, sweeping my arm over the panorama of solitary trees and scrub, then stabbing my finger at a lonesome copse of pines. "This! Used to all be like That!" Beautiful cycle of renewal, etc., but still, shocking. We dragged our tired carcasses around some now very bright trails, ate a bit of left-over pizza, and collapsed happily in the shade by the bus stop.

This sign confused me. There's high voltage in the fountain? Or is it a pastiche homage to Electric 6?

So back to regular life tomorrow. I can't even remember what's going on at work, which is good, but might be surprising tomorrow. I've got a Special Top Secret Project that I need to get done by the end of the week. And I seem to have become addicted to the sweaty yoga, so I'm going to try to fit some of that in too, hopefully with Ariel. And I have gifts to give and babies to smooch. All in all, time to get back to regular old life.

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