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.

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

far, far away from my heart

I’ve been feel­ing nos­tal­gic about Toronto ever since I drove down for ____’s wed­ding. The oth­er day I stepped out­side and the spring air brought me back to Camp Creative when I used to live there, between semes­ters in grade 5–7. At some point this year I hope to dri­ve home again and take pic­tures of those old schools where I spent the days mak­ing gimp bracelets1 and lip-sync­ing as Javert in Les Miserables.

Places are only as good as the peo­ple though, and I’m sure I miss Toronto for ____ and Darren as much as those old child­hood mem­o­ries, when life was so sim­ple that the fact that it was dis­gust­ing­ly hot nev­er entered my mind, even though I was out­side for most of the day.

Ullapool cafe

Scottish faces in Scottish places. This was lit­er­al­ly the size of half the cafe. Off-cam­era is Mike work­ing his mag­ic to con­vince these two baris­tas to let us film inside.

I miss Mike and rainy London nights too. I want to be part of a cre­ative team again, work­ing towards a com­mon vision, with some­one who can com­pli­ment my weak­ness­es with their strengths. It’s been too long since I had some­one to bounce ideas off of, some­one to give me hon­est crit­i­cism and inspire me to improve. Mike does all those things, and I’ve yet to find some­one like that here in Ottawa.

Stores in Chartres

Night shop­ping in down­town Chartres.

I miss France, and Misun and Frédéric, and how they could tru­ly appre­ci­ate who I am. I love the cul­ture in that coun­try, and the fact that you can buy a fresh baguette by walk­ing a minute from any­where. And I’m far from being fin­ished with Paris; there was so much I had left to explore, so many things I’d yet to do. I want to go back as the right per­son, not as a per­son try­ing to escape my thoughts and mem­o­ries.

Kowloon Walled City entrance

Gateway in Kowloon Walled City.

Hong Kong I miss most of all, and my fam­i­ly there. I want noth­ing more than to walk those streets with Uncle Joe or Uncle Eddie. Sometimes, I sit by my back door with the win­dow open and just lis­ten to cars pass­ing by in the dark­ness, pre­tend­ing it’s the din of those high­ways and the diesel of the trucks. Nothing ever comes close though, and it only leaves me feel­ing like all these places are so far away.

  1. Square, cir­cle, and but­ter­fly were my favourites. []

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.

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