Thursday, 24 May 2012

How do you call this?

My parents and I were going for dim sum with some of my relatives on a Sunday morning. The restaurant is located on the fifth level of a large mall. On Sunday mornings, because there's no other malls around, and because it is the transit transfer destination of the light rail, the buses, and other modes of transport, there's already lots of lots of people there (to use the Chinese expression mountains and seas of people). The design of the mall makes it so that you have to walk the mall, sort of like the Rideau Centre in Ottawa: the elevators are hidden, the escalators are not adjacent to each other but are on the opposite ends.

I get to the fourth floor to go up to the restaurant and I smell McDonald's breakfast before I see it. Not only am I hungry, I realize, I want a McMuffin. But even though I speak Cantonese, when I don't know how to read Chinese and when I don't know the names of the food in Chinese, all I can do to order something is to describe it.
Me: I want an Egg and Cheese McMuffin.
Cashier: What?
Me: An Egg and Cheese McMuffin. (upon seeing a picture of a sausage mcmuffin on the board) That! Number 10 except without the sausage!
Cashier: So you want a Sausage McMuffin without the Sausage?
Me: Yes, I guess, an Egg McMuffin.
Cashier: A Sausage McMuffin withou the Sausage it is.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

I'm Still in Hong Kong

I haven't written much about Hong Kong I've noticed, but what is there to say other than it is more humid and densely populated than anywhere else I've ever been? Did you know that Hong Kong's income gap is greater than that of the Cote d'Ivoire's? Did you know that There was one time that I was taking a yoga class at night around the time that it started to rain heavily and also around the time that it started getting dark and all the lights started turning on. I was looking out the window and saw a flash, then another flash in the sky. I thought it must be raining pretty hard outside and that it was lightning I saw, but no, they are the flash of big-light billboards from across the street. Hong Kong is so heavily light-polluted that I once looked up to see orange and orange clouds all across the sky.


After a few months, I'm still in Hong Kong, but only after I spent a week in Yunnan province visiting Kunming, Dali and Lijiang cities in western China and going to Malaysia for five days.

In both China and Malaysia, a popular form of toilet is the squatting toilet. There is a certain etiquette to this toilet type. You can't squat too far back or else when you're doing business #2 or else your business won't end up in the bowl. But you can't squat too far in front when you're doing business #1 or you'll spray everywhere (yes I've had all this happen to me). Cultural differences: in most facilities in China you have to provide your own paper, and in Malaysia there is an extra bum-cleaning nozzle spray you can use.
My aunt and I (or her family already has this system) came up with a public toilet rating system with 1 being the worst, dingy dirt-infested communal squats and 5 being the cleanest, most private and most facility-loaded toilets.

What attracts me to Malaysia is its multiculturalism. Whereas Canada's multiculturalism is a current of soft assimilation to Canadian values along with similar people tending to stick to their own groups, with the odd people mixing here and there, there's much more mixing of cultures in Malaysia. It's evident in the food, the people on the streets, the multilingualism etc.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

China and its development in tourism

I went to Guangdon and Guangxi provinces in China for a week with my mom's crazy cousin. He is 71, learned to drive in his 60's, but drives his car all around crazy Chinese traffic and travels around the world without speaking English. It must have to do with his musical background that makes his mind stay sharp.

He's also a great tour guide and knows a lot of history about places and likes to be spontaneous when travelling and takes his time to explore. So I went on a trip with him, his wife and my aunt.

I went to Huzhou, Yangshou and other places. The karst scenery is pretty cool, but what struck me most is the "preparation" of these places for massive Western tourism. These places are already pretty touristy, but my mom's cousin and his wife were in Huzhou just 2 years ago and they say it's changed a lot.

I stared into the coffeeshops and hostels in Huzhou, with their signs all tacked in English and thought, "Where did this come from?" Last time I was in this part of China, I remember a bunch of kids coming up to us at night and asking for money. There was nothing like that this time. Now accommodation is equipped with wi-fi and owners are hiring people from France to westernize the hostel.

Or maybe it was all here before.

Bamboo and its uses

When I was in Budapest and I told some person I was going to Hong Kong, he said he'd never been but he knew that the scaffolding that you usually see as steel is made out of bamboo. Tough stuff, that bamboo.

And it's better than steel because it's floatable - in China it's now a tourist industry to float down rafts but for centuries fisherman and others used rafts made of bamboo as a primary mode of transport.

And it's better than wood because it's edible - different types of bamboo can be boiled as part of a soup, and it can be eaten as a snack in its entirety (chew to get the juice and then spit out the fibers), and its shoots can be eaten as part of a meal.

If anyone can name me a more versatile type of plant, let me know.


I'm in Hong Kong now. Not much to say about Hong Kong; I've seen it all before. I guess it's the invisible stuff - the air molecules - that has gotten to me this time.
But I have noticed one thing and it's that HK seems to have more signs in its city than other places where I've been. In the toilet alone, they must have at least 20 signs: please open door slowly, please be careful of the opening door, floor is slippery, please dry hands, please use hand dryer, please flush toilet etc. They also have instruction signs that in other countries would be unwritten because it'd be common knowledge or common sense, like how to go up an escalator (hold handrail. stand still)

These extra signs that make the city seem quirky probably have their reason in a) dealing with a large population of people b) legal reasons when dealing with a large population of people.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Flowers and Castles

March 8 was one of the first days I was in Budapest. All around town I saw men carrying flowers. At first I didn't really notice it until I saw more and more and more men carrying flowers and then I wondered if it was Hungarian Valentine's day or something. Later I pointed this out to someone else and they told me it's International Women's Day and it is tradition to give a flower to women (or I guess a particular woman) on this day. Wow! Not even people who celebrate Valentine's day give flowers like this on this scale anymore.

So I went on some obscure 2-hour bus trip trying to look for Janos Hill. In the end I didn't find it but I did see another tourist suffer because of the same bus route. So I got on 22, and as the tourist got on the bus he asked a local woman, "This goes to Buda Castle?" "Yes, Buda Castle," she nodded. Already I was wary because this bus went the opposite direction from the castle but I didn't know where I'm going myself so I didn't say anything. In any case, after 30 minutes, far from the castle, the tourist finally figured out that this is NOT the way to the castle and he started freaking out saying, "Please, please, take me to the castle! I want to go to the castle!" I then passed a street sign that said: Buda Keszi and I guess that BudaCastle said with an accent sounds exactly like Buda Keszi. So that local woman wasn't wrong; we were going to some version of Buda Castle...

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Horse Race - Reality

I am travelling very quickly through the rest of my itinerary in Europe. Within the last week I have been to Strasbourg, a small village in France, Geneva, a small suburb of Geneva, Zürich, and Graz. And then I will finish off with Vienna and Budapest.

As a kid I dreamed of travelling to Italy, really only Italy, I didn't care about any other place in Europe. The first time I came to Europe I remember snapping pictures right and left. I only went to Germany and The Netherlands then. Everything was so different from North America! Then I got really interested in Germany. And the second time I visited London and Paris, huge megatroplises I took my time in each. That was good. This time, on the tour, I have visited both small villages and huge cities and I must say out of all of them I prefer the smaller places to places like Rome or even Berlin. Rome was beautiful but it didn't feel very liveable. The places I most enjoyed were like Strasbourg, Graz, Thessaloniki and Ljubljana...they could be metropolitan but they were also human-sized. So even though I am looking forward to Vienna and Budapest, I will be saying goodbye to the new discovery of small cities in Europe for now.

I also am excited because I bought the Lonely Planet Hong Kong and Macau book! Each time I go to Hong Kong I know more and more about the city and its people and this time I am hoping this book will help because although my relatives can tell me things, I need to discover it for myself and also reinforce my knowledge with reading in English.


Zürich is too rich. 95% of the cars on the road are Mercedes-Benz or BMW. People are dressed in such fancy suits, a sandwich in a deli goes for about $10. I've always wanted to visit this city and the day I visited was lovely, but I didn't feel like I should be there at all. It was weird.

The Industry

I've learned a lot about the tourism industry in these last two months. For example, Sweden's Mälmo's cathedral has a beautiful astronomical clock but the city hasn't made it into an attraction, so it doesn't bring in any tourist money. Compare this to France's Strasbourg's less beautiful astronomical clock. There were at least 100 people standing there who paid for the little homemade video the cathedral shows and to watch the 30-second clock action. There was another astronomical clock I saw in Prague, people stayed to watch it but it was in a public square and no one had to pay. Out of all the three clocks, imagine how much money Strasbourg's clock brings in for the cathedral since the clock does that everyday anyway whether there are paying tourists or not. But it's things like Mälmo's beautiful repainted clock - the unadvertised, the stumbled-upon - that make it worthwhile to travel. If you didn't have these things you can walk around and discover, with technology like what we have these days, you can just use a smartphone or Google streetview or image search engines to find anything you need without leaving home.

Speaking of images, I find that the pictures I take aren't sufficient to see and feel the space. The flat image does not lend itself well to the textures, the expansiveness or closeness of the places that I visit, the sounds, the smells, the air, the customs and mistakes made. Travel is sightseeing, yes, but also experience.

Around the Sound: A High Price

After Berlin, everything is sooooo expensive in Denmark and Sweden. Of course it doesn't help that I had to exchange my Euros into Kroner and I got ripped off with a large commission and a crappy exchange rate that the exchange rate charged me. Teaches me to change either at a bank or before I get into the country!

In Denmark in Helsingoer (Elsinore in English) I went to the castle where Shakespeare's Hamlet is supposedly set. It is a really cool castle. Why I love Scandinavia is because it is surrounded by seas. I love sea life even though I may romanticize it too much. I also love its architecture and minimalist designs, its wide spacey rooms, and its lack of people.

The Perfect Pretzel

I love German breads. They are dense and salty and pretzels are the best example of them. I have gone into supposedly German deli shop in Ottawa and asked for pretzels and the guy stared at me as if I was living in another world and said, "We stopped selling those long ago!" So I thought pretzels weren't such a popular thing in Germany anymore.

Fast-forward a few years and I am in Berlin and I am comparing bakeries' pretzels. The Kamps bakery's pretzels, for example, are too fluffy and has no salty crust. They try to make it up with putting more sea salt on top but it's not the same Anyway, I am glad to say that pretzels are alive and popular in Germany.

Sunday, 19 February 2012


If people in London think Harrod's has a good food hall, then wait until they've seen KaDeWe (actually, I've never been inside Harrod's). It is Germany's largest department store (and their stationery department is amazing). So I am taking the elevator up to the foodhall when I see four huge posters showing Kanada on me. They are the typical tourist posters showing Mounties, blue skies and mountains, canoes, Native Americans. Very stereotypical. Then I reach the landing on the elevator and directly facing me is a whole wall - no, a whole department - of maple syrup and maple syrup-related cookies etc. How exotic.

The food hall is comprised of many sections (a very small bag of twizzlers sells for 2 euros, by the way), but every once in a while I will see a moose dressed up in an RCMP uniform or a model wilderness plane hanging from the ceiling with the maple leaf on it. It kind of freaked me out. So this is how Canada is represented abroad, eh?

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Alternative Berlin

People riding their bikes calling for their dogs to catch up, cross the street, the dogs running after them, and unleashed in stores. People openly drinking beer on the subway not because they are alcoholics but as a norm. Graffiti everywhere to the point that it is a fabric of the city, is appropriated by advertising companies.

Reunified Berlin is relatively young. It is in a lot of debt. It is a good city to see how a city's citizens oppose gentrification (and sometimes even succeed). This must be what New York was like 20 years ago, but the big G has taken over that!

Hong Kong via Berlin

Berlin reminds me a lot of Hong Kong. They are both cosmopolitan cities with plenty of expats. They love their food and have it everywhere for cheap. They have a very extensive and integrated public transport network. And people carry those tissue paper packets everywhere. I guess that's where the comparison ends, but that is enough for me.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Waiting for you to come around

So here I am still in Rome because as I feared the train I had tickets for did not run. I am kind of angry because when I purchased the reservation tickets two days ago I asked the agent if there's a chance the trains might not run because of the snow situation and because I have to transfer in Bologna where there's lots of snow and he said no. When the Siena train didn't run yesterday I was already a bit wary.

In any case I hope the overnight train to Munich runs (it should because I saw the Munich train coming in this morning) and then in the morning I will be on my way to Berlin again...

Things I Have Learned: A List

I don't know if travel for more than a vacation period is supposed to make you a better person or teach you anything. Regardless, here are some things I'm more aware of now that I've been living out of a backpack for a month:

1. It takes me about 7 days to be able to navigate around without a map in a city like Rome.
2. To interact with people, you really really should learn Their Language. Here I spoke to more French and Latin American people than any Italians (or Chinese, for that matter).
3. You have to be flexible about money. As Lemmy said, "You win some, you lose some, it's all the same to me." I could list so many examples of how this applied to me on the trip but before this trip, I didn't have this attitude towards money.
4. You have to be flexible with plans if you want to go anywhere - literally.
5. If you travel without interacting with anybody who lives there, you can get an essence of the place from books and film, but it will be the same as having Margaret Atwood or David Cronenberg or Mordecai Richler represent Canadians.
6. Materials are just that: materials. They create weight and take up space. At home I have a collection of books, music and CDs and every once in a while I will trim the collection to get more space. It's great that I have my favorite films and books at my fingertips, but I've learned to leave materialistic things behind, to let them go more easily because it's not the material that has sentimental value but the contents. And since that is mass-produced and nowadays there is the Internet, you can get them anywhere.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Going to Monaco

I went to the Termini train station yesterday and asked for train tickets to Munich. I noticed on the screen that the agent had typed in 'to Monaco' and I said, "No no, I meant Munich!" and then the agent told me that Monaco is the Italian name for Munich. Oops!

After I went to Vatican city. First I visited St. Peter's Basilica, then I sat down to have a grocery store salad lunch. These pigeons came buy and this young one came over my shoulder and attacked my salad! These daring things are probably trained from birth.

McDonald's is an Institution here. There is a floor just for cafe complete with selling of cakes and stuff and then there is a huge second floor for the regular burgers and stuff with hundreds of seats. I saw something like this in Paris but it's even crazier here.

I haven't talked to many Roman people since I've come. On my first day here when I was walking around I felt way more comfortable speaking to French tourists in French than I was for trying out any Italian.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Roman Holiday

I was warned that I will have to do a lot of walking in Rome. Fine enough. I like walking. I just wasn't prepared to walk all over the city over ice. I hate walking in ice in Canada and I avoid it whenever I can because my feet aren't very stable. Also the trees keep on dropping piles of snow on people's heads.

In Athens, a woman who had been to Rome said, "Athens reminds me of Rome except that Rome is like an outdoor museum." And it's true - I got lost so many times on the streets and most of the time I'm confused where I am but it doesn't really matter because a site is just right around the corner. I've been to the Colosseum, the Capitolone Museum, the Villa (Gallheria) Borghese, the Pantheon, the Trevi Fountain, and the Spanish Steps. Except for the Colosseum, I've accidentally discovered these sites while trying to search for others.

My first full day in Rome is on a Sunday, and usually most things are open but there are signs all over every single attraction stating something like, "Due to the inclement weather, we are not open. We apologize for any inconvenience." Umm okay there is some snow on the ground and nobody can come to work? Except for the churches, of course, because it's Sunday. It is quite unfair to the thousands of tourists who booked vacation off and flew all the way here to have nothing open. Of course, Lazio is probably not used to this. The tourist information centres have been closed since Friday due to this weather. I think I would really like Rome except now it's really cold and I am getting tired of being outdoors in the cold all the time.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

My opinion

I don't know if there have been any demonstrations since I've come to Athens, but there certainly haven't been big ones. What I do notice though are the police and more than anything this instills a fear in me, a certain uncertainty, and I think that's the point of police presence here. Maybe.

People from other EU countries coming here notice the difference - there are more panhandlers and graffiti on tourist sites. I'm not pointing fingers at anybody but like ancient China, like ancient Egypt and other ancient civilizations, citizens here must respect their history but not dwell on it and then have things as status quo. From the ancient and classical age until now, what has happened (must I say what has declined)?

I don't know enough about contemporary Greek politics to be able to form any theories or answers.


So I travelled all the way to Greece to be told that the ferries aren't running at this time of year so I booked a short-haul flight to Rome in a week. And so that's how I found myself stuck in Athens. I say stuck because I don't like archaeological stuff so much and it is much colder here than I thought (although I hear the rest of Europe is freezing).

Anyway I decided to make the most of it and went to the Acropolis, the Ancient Agora and some museums. And I went to some places where Plato's Academy stood so if Joyce reads this I hope she is jealous!

Even more interesting than that, I noticed large expat communities of South Indian, Chinese, Philippine and Arabic-speaking people. The Chinatown here is huge and I can see some similarities: the food and goods markets here are very similar to HK and they sell sesame-dough snacks that taste like HK snacks.

Relics more rare than ancient, crumbling stones in downtown Athens include supermarkets and non-touristy restaurants. I finally found a supermarket yesterday but it was out in the suburbs.

The driving here is insane. The car really reigns here and walking around downtown is perilous enough but outside that are just miles of road and big-box furniture stores. Most pedestrians just ignore the marked crossings and light signals and cross or run for their lives when they see a pause in the flow of traffic. I've learned to do the same...the parking is also insane if folks thought that parallel parking isn't of any use, it's king here!

Photos sneak peek

I noticed I haven't put up any pictures yet so here are some from my iPhone.

One is the view out of my accommodation in Thessaloniki.
One is on a train from Berlin to Prague.

Too lazy to type

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Vacation from Vacation

I need a vacation from vacation. This has been high-speed travel and I wish to slow down for a while. In the next bit I will be in Greece although I will watch out for reports of unrest...and then soon I will be in Italy.

Since this is my last stop in the Balkans, in general I've noticed that the region leaves the toilet seats up, even in female washrooms. And if you order coffee, they usually give you a glass of water with it which is good practice because coffee without water is like sandpaper on your tongue. Copy, other countries, copy!

The Coldest City

Salonica, Greece's second-largest city. Smokers - people talking into cellphones in cafes - Paris-style cafes - architecture that reminds me of Paris - the most impatient drivers honking at all times of day and night - the humidly cold Mediterranean wind and rain - very early shop closures (2:30 pm).

Ble, a museum bakery I wandered upon, is like a museum/place of worship. There are monuments of bread displayed on its walls and shelves, huge breads. There is dark lighting and the first thing you see as you wander up the steps is some type of chocolate pot that is effusing vapour. There is heavenly music. The cakes and other desserts are displayed under spotlights in glass cases.

Bus Adventures

Ever since I left the Schengen zone starting from my trip away from Slovenia, my passport has been looked at with suspicion and it's been checked a number of times before I get a stamp on it first for travel through Croatia on the train, then Serbia, then Bulgaria, and then exiting Bulgaria into Greece. I'm not used to having people take my passport away and I'm wary of people doing it because I'm afraid they'll keep it or something but so far that hasn't happened.

From Belgrade to Sofia and then from Sofia to Thessaloniki I took the bus. So on the Serbian bus I had to apparently pay the driver for putting my luggage in the storage compartment. It was bad enough to pay in Euros instead of the local currency the first time (I'd spent all my local currency prior to getting on the bus because I had thought I didn't need any money until I got to Bulgaria). I had no idea that I had to change busses halfway through - I almost stayed on the bus to somewhere else until a person told me to get off - but I had to do it all over again on the second bus. This time the driver didn't accept Euros quite as easily. I ended up paying for almost three times the amount the job was worth but I was too incompetent to argue in Serbian and I just left it at that. Angry though.

So in Sofia I checked the train timetable that came with my train pass to see what times the train for Sofia - Thessaloniki would come. I had to do this because there didn't really exist any Greek rail timetables online. It says there is one at 17h22 so I show up at the rail station at 17h00 and a non-official-looking station official informs me that there are no trains. I must take a bus. I don't believe him so I go up to the ticket counter and they say the same thing. Then the official leads me to a travel agency which informs me that there will be a bus leaving in five minutes. Then both the official and the travel agent's assisstant rush to the bus stop and before I know it I'm on a bus to Thessaloniki.

Ljubljana, Beograd, Sofia

Ljubljana (Slovenia)
The city with an unpronounceable name, the city with lots of j's, the beloved city. This is the only place with cool weather where people are still eating outside. This is the new Reykjavik - the houses and people look the same as there, Slovenian and Icelandic have the hv [kv] sound which is quite rare, and they have the same type of hot dog stands.

Belgrade aka Beograd (Serbia)
Concrete - Stray dogs - Trams - Crumbled buildings - Abandoned Buildings - Bakeries - People eating stuff from the bakeries on the go.

Sofia (Bulgaria)
So I was hungry for breakfast and next to the place I am staying at in Sofia is a little eatery. I go in, there are nice steam trays with cabbage rolls and the like but then I see a dish that looks like an omelette with potatoes and egg sort of like a frittata. I would rather have that than cabbage rolls for breakfast so I order it and sit down and take a big turns out to be a pasta and sweet custard bake! What in the name...?! I doused it with vinegar and tried to eat the rest but couldn't down it all.
Then I get a postcard from a shop in the metro station and I want to buy a stamp but then the shopkeeper says no stamps here, I must go to the Central Hall near the McDonald's. I remember a sign pointing to Central Hall and I remember seeing a McDonald's near this area from the tour that I took yesterday, so I go near there. Walking around, I see nothing so I go into a stationery shop because they must sell stamps there, right? This must be the place the shopkeeper was talking about. What I understand of this woman's English is that the post office is located on the second floor of this building, where there is the parking garage. So I go to look for the parking garage in this edifice and I see stairs so I take it and I end up at an abandoned floor with an abandoned tattoo parlour and some other random, not open shops. On the third floor there's some random official-looking office and asking for the post office, the guy leads me downstairs and then points across the street and across a parking lot to another building that looks almost like a church. Once inside, it looks just like a Balkan version of Pacific Mall in Scarborough. The shops are set up in exactly the same way and there are lots of food stores. So very local. There are stores specifically for selling fish, cheese, yogurt, candies - and lots of candies, especially Turkish-style candies - and some fastfood places. And then tucked away in a little corner of the second floor of this building is the post office. Who would've known that in this church-like building was another world?

Monday, 16 January 2012


I decided to go to Salzburg instead of Vienna to avoid the many big cities I've been visiting one after another - to avoid the crowds, and the tourists. But surprise, surprise, it's here in the city of salt and Mozart and The Sound of Music that I hear the most English. I arrive on a Sunday and the town is teeming with barely any Salzburgiens, but many tourists.

So I took the castle tour yesterday.


A list of things that seem to be popular in Prague according to the four days I was there:
  • Dogs
  • Animals in general
  • Pizza
  • Sportingwear shops

The people I met were very helpful.

There are many Chinese restaurants in here but of course it is Czech-Chinese food probably via Vietnamese. Since a lot of Vietnamese people immigrated here. It's always interesting to see a pocket of an Asian country immigrating to the most unlikeliest of places, like here and also Thai people to Iceland. Maybe not so unlikely after all.

My friend who lives in Prague showed me around and told me that you won't really be able to get an authentically Czech souvenir in the shops since the shops are run by Russian immigrants selling stuff you would traditionally see in Moscow, like some Russian puppets or something. And then some tourists buy them and take them home and show them to others to remind them of the Czech Republic. Interesting...a new tradition?


I've left a very nice respectable city called Berlin now and I have gone to Hamburg. I was here about 7.5 years ago so all the memories come rushing back to me. I was eating at a restaurant and I may have even eaten in the same one so many years ago! It's like the real deja vu.

Esepcially since I landed here on a Sunday when most of the shops are closed, I feel that Hamburg is a more slow-paced city and I liked that when compared to the hustle and bustle of Berlin. When I was younger I wanted to live in a 'bustling city' but now I think a mid-sized city like Hamburg suits me better.

Here the names of food are hilarious - there's a brand of salt and pepper called Happy Foodnd then a brand of sugar packets called Lucky Sugar. Such positive food!

Also here there are many automatic things. Off of the subway (U-bahn) is a set of escalators that look like they're out of order until you go near it and then it activates. Hamburg's way of saving electricity costs? Then I went to a museum where artifacts were pretty old yet out in the open. In one room it was as if there were no lights until I stepped closer and spotlights came on. Very individualized service - and all from machines!

Finally there is a ticket for standing on the U-bahn platform, costs 30 cents, valid for one hour. Oh, Germany.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

The Pricce of Water

Water in restaurants cost money. I keep on forgetting that. Unlike Canada, if you ask for water, they give you still water from a bottle then charge you unless you specifically ask for tap water.

And then of course there are the public WCs especially in train stations you have to pay for them. Which may be a better system than a non-paying ugly stinky messy thing, but I'm just not used to the price.

Friday, 13 January 2012

Use it up, wear it out, make do with or do without

January 4:
Britain is so hot! It makes me think that I've packed too much and too inappropriately for European weather...everybody is wearing tweed jackets. How come I didn't notice this last time I was here? And here I am with this sporty purple jacket of mine. I feel so out of place. Oh, and my all-natural deodorant stopped working like 10 hours ago. And the accent - will everybody stop talking with a British accent already! I'm way too tired to process it (it's 3 AM Toronto time). Then, I remember that I will soon be saying goodbye to English as a native language altogether. In the airport's stores I see McVities, Walkers and Jaffa Cakes and it brings back great memories. The little carts that drive people around in the airport don't make a beeping sound here but rather a sort of techno beat. I'm assuming this is to control the amount of noise but it's not very effective at signalling people to its oncoming presence. I always think the sound is coming out of a radio somewhere but then I turn around and see a cart instead.

I must say that the overnight British Airways flight was superb. It's been a long time since I've had a "free" pillow, blanket, lots of seat space, headphones, toothbrush and both dinner and breakfast (although the breakfast consisted only of a 400-calorie muffin, it's better than nothing).

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Pearson - Heathrow - Tegel

One month after I come back from Edmonton, I'm going on my semi-pan-European trip. Technology use for travel blogging has changed throughout the years - London 2008 I paid for computer and Internet use at the airport. San Francisco 2011 I brought my laptop and blogged from there. Now I'm blogging from my phone.

So it will be easy to keep you posted. :)