Posts tagged with "London"

I'm happy to report that my blood does clot

The best time of the year to make the drive to Darren’s house is in the Autumn. It’s about five hours door-to-door — bar­ring any traf­fic or con­struc­tion — so there’s a good chance I’ll catch a sun­rise or sun­set no mat­ter when I leave. It’s par­tic­u­larly beau­ti­ful when the leaves are chang­ing and the colours are at their rich­est along the stretches of the 401.

Sometimes I’ll turn on a stand-up com­edy sta­tion instead of music, and it helps take my mind off the drea­ri­ness of the less scenic parts1. It’s like hav­ing another per­son to talk to, except the con­ver­sa­tion goes one way, and they tend to be funny when not overly polit­i­cal2 or Andrew Dice Clay.

Chinese dishes

Zhaliang and clas­sic Cantonese noo­dles. #thingsIcouldeateveryday

I still think of mov­ing back to Toronto, where there’s every­thing that isn’t avail­able to me in Ottawa. But I hate all the things that come with such an unwieldy and poorly amal­ga­mated city. At my age, I value com­fort over excite­ment, and Toronto has become a city that’s bet­ter to visit than to stay.

After meet­ing Mike in London, I knew that’s where I was meant to live, with Bloc Party and Monty Python and The Underground and rainy weather and Portishead and a bil­lion accents and Only Fools and Horses and that stoic British men­tal­ity and Paris just a train ride away. But that wasn’t my fate, and the dirty streets of Toronto are the clos­est I’ll ever get to that.

Continue read­ing “I’m happy to report that my blood does clot”…

  1. Usually the small towns with no charm or per­son­al­ity. []
  2. Cause I never get it. []

UK Detour: Day 13, London to Ullapool

Mike ini­tially told me I could stay with him for three days, because he soon had to travel to Scotland to film a doc­u­men­tary. Over the phone before I even arrived to meet him, how­ever, he sug­gested that I come with him to Scotland to make it the trip of a life­time. I couldn’t say no; to see Scotland has always been a dream of mine. And see­ing as how we used the same photo equip­ment, I could give him a hand with his film while cut­ting my teeth on using a lot of gear I’ve yet to afford.

So we loaded up the Range Rover with a ridicu­lous amount of gear, and left by 6am just so we could make it there before too late and to record the tran­si­tion from sun­rise to night. swing­ing by to pick up Liverpool Liz as another cam­era oper­a­tor before leav­ing. Mike set up his 20D to take a pic­ture every 10 sec­onds, and we made this stop-motion video.

The jour­ney took 13 hours by car, straight up to the north-west coast of Scotland to small town called Ullapool, where his friend Jean-Marc lived, who was also a sub­ject in Mike’s per­sonal project. We made it as far as Inverness before the bat­ter­ies died, which is about 900km (and another 90km to Ullapool), and took about ten and a half hours. If you watch the GPS in the video, you get a fast-forwarded view of our path through the rain and the Scottish mountains.

M&S egg sandwich

This was a pretty damn good sand­wich, from a Marks and Spencer road stop. They had a huge selec­tion of types too.

Europe 2010 travel diaries

UK Detour: Day 12, London

By my third day in London, which was essen­tially my last, I was push­ing myself to the limit of exhaus­tion. We had to pri­or­i­tize each activ­ity, as we there were so many things to do in such a short amount of time.

My impres­sion of London is one of diver­sity, his­tory, and para­noia. CCTV cam­eras are every­where, thanks to Britain’s dubi­ous dis­tinc­tion of being the most CCTV mon­i­tored coun­try in Europe.

London Night

Rainy London nights.

Continue read­ing “UK Detour: Day 12, London”…

A passenger in London

To get from loca­tion to loca­tion, Mike took us around on his yel­low 500cc Yamaha T-Max, my first time on a motor­cy­cle. It was a sen­sa­tional feel­ing to be mov­ing so freely in the open air, even in a London win­ter (you can see early morn­ing con­den­sa­tion on his wind­shield in some shots and the win­dows of some cars). I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t now con­sid­er­ing a bike for my next vehicle.

I thought I’d have to keep hold­ing onto the side rails to pre­vent myself from falling off, but quickly real­ized it wasn’t nec­es­sary, as I felt sta­ble at every turn and on every bump. The physics still baf­fle me.

One advan­tage of using the bike is that you don’t have to pay a con­ges­tion charge, some­thing used by the admin­is­tra­tion of London to dis­cour­age traf­fic and fund the trans­porta­tion sys­tem. Otherwise, it’s an £8 fee when enter­ing the downtown-ish area on a week­day between 7am and 6pm (and a £150 fine if you drive through with­out pay­ing). Also, you can weave between the gaps in cars and make your way to the head of traf­fic lines.

Europe 2010 travel diaries