Canada – Ontario and Quebéc
Toronto is the biggest city in Canada with something like 5.5 million people all around the area. I stayed right in downtown, with lots of people, skyscrapers and a nice little lake nearby. Although, it is the smallest of the five big lakes, lake Ontario would cover about half of Switzerland. Except of one really bad thunderstorm during an hot evening there weren’t any annoyances. I went around markets, Chinatown, the university, docks, parks and museums. On my last day in Toronto, I went to practice a little climbing and jumping in a Parkour training court, called the Monkey Vault, I found somewhere north-west in the city.
On the next day, I was off to Montréal. Quebéc seemed to me mostly French, so it was quite different for me. Somebody told me that it’s far less French than it used to be. Mainly, because English is just the language when you want to make it in any job here, but I’m not so sure. It seems like the people were proud of their strange (as told by several French guys) quebecian French.
After my stop in Montréal I took the bus back to Ontario, where I’m currently stopping in the country’s capital named (who knows?) Ottawa.
Canada – Alberta and British Columbia
I am back. Back from the Rockies, back from wild animals and the raw Canadian bush. It wasn’t bad at all. Although, there was a lot of rain in the beginning and massive fires in the middle. Afterwards, there was a lot of water too, but I think that’s quite common when you go to an island. In the end, everything worked out without casualties, so I’ll call it success.
Now, I don’t want to bother you with a lot of text. Let the pictures talk..
I left the west coast of Canada and exchanged it for Ontario, where I’m currently in the big lake area, in Toronto.
Canada – Vancouver
Before I hit the road – or better the canadian mountains – I want to give you a small summary of the last six months of travelling:
– half a year, 26 weeks (from 2009-01-16 to 2009-07-17 – 183 days)
– Japan, New Zealand, Australia, Fiji, USA (Hawaii, Washington), Canada
– diving, snorkeling, kayaking, swimming, surfing, hiking, running, climbing
– by plane, bus, car, boat, hitchhiking, train, walking
– best breakfast: Seattle (fruits), Fiji (just everything on Beachcomber island)
– best shower: New Zealand (after days in the wild), Vancouver (just good)
– best sleep: New Zealand (in my tent in the bush and at the French Ridge Hut)
– best rocks: New Zealand (at Castle Hill), Australian blue mountains
– best food: sushi in Tokyo, fish and chips on Steward Island
I haven’t been stolen anything and lost only one t-shirt and that to the sharks while on a diving trip in Fiji. Unfortunately it was my Come-To-Pay shirt (sorry, Arvid) – you might know it from a lot of famous jump pictures.
About Canada.. I wasn’t fully healthy when I crossed over to Vancouver. Still, after a few questions at the Canadian border, everything was done. The green US passport paper (everybody makes such a big fuzz about it, cause it makes it hard to enter the States when you forget to return it after leaving) the bus driver just ripped out, after I asked about it. She told me she’ll throw it in the box at the US border on her way back – she does that all the time – aaalright.
I came across a lot of homeless people and street dealers when I walked from the bus to the hostel in Vancouver. Then on one corner an older woman in a car stopped and offered me a chicken dinner, because she bought two for one. Oh, strange Vancouver. Due to feeling not a hundred percent fit, I didn’t do much the first few days. I explored the city and went on a day tour but that’s basically all. (I saw fish again – yes, I like stating and keywording ‘fish’)
Around Capilano park, Burrard and Lions Gate bridge and Granville island..
Today, I made my way over to Calgary. I learned about distances in Canada. It was a 15-hour bus drive through awesome Canadian landscapes. I lost an hour by crossing a time zone. Tomorrow, I’ll start a 20-day camping trip through the Rockies, Banff, Lake Luise and back to the West over Vancouver Island.
Uh, before I forget.. I did an update on my domain and account. Take a look at almost.plain.at. There you’ll find a selection of my best photos in various categories (you’ll need to click them, to get to the actual gallery). Thanks a lot for keeping my plain.at account Viktor!
USA – Washington, Seattle/Mt. Rainier
The United States are different in many ways. It seems like people enjoy being told what they are allowed and not allowed to do. At least they accept loads of signs all around telling them about fines they’ll receive and jails they’ll have to visit for doing various things. I heard bus drivers shouting about random things, was told not to lean on walls or take pictures, had to face the most complex tax calculations when buying chocolate bars, but also went up rather random office buildings to visually document the views without being bothered by anybody.
Anyway, I stopped arguing with random people some time ago in Australia – so I was able to simply enjoy Seattle. Last Friday, I went with four fellow travellers and a rental car to mount Rainier to do some hiking. To see a volcano with glaciers, almost perfect blue skies and to wander over big white snow fields was definitely one of the highlights of the last week. Unfortunately, the weather was rather changeable and I got a bit sick soon after. If it were the air-condition systems everywhere or the rather cloudy and rainy weather doesn’t matter.
Nevertheless, I got up to Vancouver, Canada by the Greyhound bus without any difficulties and took the chance of being not a hundred percent healthy to sit back and relax my first days in the province of British Columbia.
Around Seattle – Pike place market, the place where grunge was born, the locks around Ballard (with fish) and at mount Rainier (with lakes and jumps!)..
USA – Hawaii, Oahu
I am not really in a writing mood since it’s gotten past 1 am and I have to catch a plane in a few hours. So, I’ll make it perfect if you’re not in a reading mood at the moment..
Greetings from where even the cash machines say ‘yes, you can’, fake 9-dollar notes showing the current president are sold and everybody’s gone surfin’,..
..starring: Honolulu, Diaond state monument, the USS Bowfin at Perl Harbor, the USS Arizona Memorial and American pie on the 4th of July.
Next Stop: Seattle (hopefully not sleepless)
Update (USA – Hawaii)
It’s been 24 weeks since I visited a country where they drive on the right side of the road. But that’s certainly not the only difference here. It’s the country where you’ll get a 130 dollar fine if you cross the streets in a wrong way, where they play the national anthem on the beach toilets – actually, where you should use the word restroom or accept being hated, where the national flag is displayed on every corner and where they show advertisements for the war on TV.
Although, Hawaii is the last of the 50 states and I was told it was ‘no shirt, no shoes, no problem!’ a few years ago, things have changed. I was forbidden entry and asked to leave because I didn’t wear shoes at Perl Harbor. Their explanation was their fear of getting sued if I’d hurt my feet (come on, I’ve walked on fire and the probability of all the guys slipping with their flip-flops is higher than the sensibility to pain of the soles of my feet). Nevertheless, I took the one and a half hour bus ride again and drove there a second time to enjoy a few hours of American pride.
Tomorrow, I’m going to find out how America goes crazy at its Independence Day. ..and if a Korean missile will hit me on my head ..as it is only the evening of the 3rd of July yet.
Fiji – around Viti Levu
Somehow, I lost a week. Just kidding – I’m not very time consistent and thus write this for what happened in the last two weeks. Well, soon I’ll be off to Hawaii and by crossing the date line I’ll get myself a day back. I’m going to stay there till the seventh of July, heading further to Seattle afterwards.
Back on Fijis biggest island Viti Levu I went on a few day trips before making my way down to the coral coast and pacific harbour. There the shark dive I intended to do was almost washed away by lots of rain. I managed to go diving one day later and although the visibility was not the best and I’m not a big fan of just diving down and watch dangerous animals being fed, it was a really good dive. We saw grey, black- and white tip reef sharks, a lot of bull sharks, a nurse shark and masses of other fish.
I did a bit of jungle walking, reading and snorkeling – where I managed to see a small sting ray, a sea turtle, two white-tip reef sharks and to dive up an old mask and snorkel.
For the optical documentation I leave you with orchids, fire dances, coconut trees, mud and kids ..while I try to figure out what I have and have not do to get into the US.