Posts tagged with "Canada"

Little Hong Kong Differences

I’ve been back from my trip to Hong Kong for a little over a month now. Here are some little differences I’ve noticed between there and here.

Parking

Space is at a premium in Hong Kong, so parking spots are tiny. Most cars have folding side-mirrors, and proximity sensors that beep faster the closer you are to something when backing up. Vans and SUVs have mirrors on the back windows that lets a driver see the back bumper through the rear-view mirror. That way, you can squeeze into a space without any guess work, although it takes about three or four turns, Austin Powers style.

Parking sensors

Some parking lots also have these lights above the spots that let people know if a car is parked in the space — green means it’s available. That way, you can see what spots are free with a quick glance, instead of driving around and hunting.

Taking care of the elderly

Workout area

In the parks, there are workout areas for the elderly. They include things like Gazelles, bench steppers, and wheels you can rotate for flexibility. This is so awesome. Canada should have something like this. My grandma used come to this park to work out before she had colon cancer.

Bench stepper station

Fitness guide

How cool is it that the symbol they use is the silhouette of someone doing single whip. I found this symbol in many parks actually, and I think it means that it’s a public park.

There are also speakers that beep at the traffic lights to let blind people know when to cross, and subway escalators that click constantly, so they know where to get on.

Continue reading “Little Hong Kong Differences”…

Seasonal Cycle

It’s been snowing for three days now, the first real snowfall of the season. It’s a wonderful feeling to look outside and see it falling1. Winter brings it’s own sort of coziness, like the way sun is for sports and rain is for movies.

A lot of people don’t like the winter, whether it’s because they get tired shoveling, they’re late from cleaning the car, they don’t like dealing with the messiness, or they simply hate being cold. To me, it’s all part and parcel of living in the Great White North. The summer brings as many unpleasant issues — burning car seats, stifling heat, unavoidable sweat. I wouldn’t be able to appreciate one if it wasn’t for the other.

I tend to get tired of the weather only at the end of each season, because they seem to drag on for so long2. It’s a never-ending cycle of enjoying the new season, then missing the next one.

There’s this great poem by Shioh T’ao I think of when trying to explain this:

Spring comes, and I look at the birds;
Summer comes, and I take a bath in the stream;
Autumn comes, and I climb to the top of the mountain;
Winter comes, and I make the most of the sunlight for warmth.
This is how I savor the passage of the seasons.

My version would go something like this:

Spring comes, and I admire the blossoming feminine beauty;
Summer comes, and I go for a drive;
Autumn comes, and I fall in love with everything;
Winter comes, and I cherish the warmth.
This is how I savor the passage of the seasons.

This is why I love Canada. I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.

For now, I’m enjoying the snow.

  1. Admittedly, it’s been a mild winter so far; maybe I’ll feel differently when I have to scrape ice off my windshield at -40°C. []
  2. There’s a saying that Canada has only two seasons — winter and construction. []

Canada Day '08

Sarah looks up

Thumbnail: Cashew cookies
Thumbnail: Dog
Thumbnail: Peeling potatoes
Thumbnail: Orange juice in the grass
Thumbnail: Orange juice in the grass
 

For Canada’s 141st, Aaron had the regular characters over, along with some new faces, for the annual barbecue. We stayed outside this time, lawn chairs in a semi-circle while the burgers and dogs were being cooked, and took it easy while the sun bathed us.

It was a beautiful day; sunny, with a refreshing breeze blowing through the air.

I don’t get to do this often enough.

Canada Day '07

Thumbnail: Brownies and oatmeal cookies

Thumbnail: Chaos stretches

Fresh vegetables and peanut butter on burgers. A low-key deal before leaving. I’m lucky enough to be one of the few.

It’s madness outside. Madness at the stops. Madness on the bus. People rowdy, drunk and drinking. People wearing Canadian, drinking Canadian, speaking Canadian, bearing the standard on cheeks and arms and hats and bodies. Kids, kids throwing beer bottles out the window, pouring Smirnoff ice in their empty water containers.

It’s passed midnight, darkness out the window, and reflections press themselves on me. She looks through me at him and I can see the love triangle in her smile.

Ambulances pass us by. People face-down on the ground. Police questioning witnesses.

Everyone’s at the same party, but me.

Looking for some calm in this chaos, I turn up the volume to drown them out.

you’ve got the lot to burn
a shelve of pig smotherd cries
is there a spirit that spits
upon the exit of signs?

is anybody there? (spines in a row)
these steps keep on growing long (spite as an arrow)
bayonet trials rust propellers await

no

nobody is heard

But my calm is no less chaotic.

March Books

Thumbnail: March books

I love the feel of a new book. Before the corners are dented, when the cover is still slippery smooth.

Guy Gavriel KayThe Last Light Of The Sun
I was a huge fan of Tigana (although not so much Fionavar Tapestry, even if it was partly based in the city I grew up in). I don’t even like fantasy books, and Tigana is on the list of my top five books of all time.

Carol ShieldsThe Republic Of Love
As I said in a previous post, I was in the mood for something modern although I couldn’t bring myself to admit that I was also in the mood for something romantic. I found out about this book when I noticed Karen reading it during last years May 2-4 camping trip.

Mordecai RichlerThe Apprenticeship Of Duddy Kravitz
Ever since I read The World According To Garp, a book full of lust, humour, passion, and life, discovered from the “Recommended Reading” list that my high school published every year, I had a deep repsect for the books I was exposed to in class. However, two English classes meant two different curriculums. When I was studying The Great Gatsby, the other class was studying To Kill A Mockingbird. When they were doing A Prayer For Owen Meany, I was doing Pride And Prejudice. The Apprentiship of Duddy Kravitz is to make of up for the time I spent studying The Catcher In The Rye.

It was only a few days after I bought these three books that I realized every single one of these authors is Canadian. Why does this country rule so fucking much.