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 parts. It’s like having another person to talk to, except the conversation goes one way, and they tend to be funny when not overly political or Andrew Dice Clay.
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”…
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 bracelets 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.
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.
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.
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.
A few moments from my trip that didn’t fit in anywhere else, but moments filled with life, connections, wit, and joy nonetheless.
Watching this only makes me miss France, Britain, and all the people there even more. Maybe I’ll get to see them again soon.
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.
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
- France: Arrival
- France: Day 3, Chartres
- The Partisan
- France: Day 5, Chartres
- Baby Scary Party
- France: Day 6, Paris
- Call me McNgangus
- France: Day 7, Rochefort-en-Terre
- France: Day 8, La Roche-Bernard
- France: Day 9, Rochefort-en-Terre
- UK Detour: Day 10, Chartres to London
- UK Detour: Day 11, London
- A passenger in London
- UK Detour: Day 12, London
- UK Detour: Day 13, London to Ullapool
- UK Detour: Day 14, Ullapool
- UK Detour: Day 15, Ullapool
- UK Detour: Day 16, Ullapool
- France: Day 18, Paris
- France: Day 19, Chartres + Paris
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.
Continue reading “UK Detour: Day 12, London”…