Saturday, February 19, 2011

On Writing And Reading

A new Video Blog. This one ponders my lack of 21st Century luxuries in this new land I'm in and the lengths I have to go to to entertain myself.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Love And Other Things

New video blog, for the day that's in it!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Hello From VC, BC!

My second video blog. My first one, the tour of our apartment, was done in one take. This one took several, over the course of two hours or so before i was happy with the final result. Mostly it was a case of trimming the length and content to keep it flowing. Enjoy!

Welcome To No. 6

My first video blog, a quick video tour of our new place, now mostly furnished.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Fully Automatic Friend Mode

I've been told more than once that I can make friends anywhere I go. It comes naturally to me. It's not a talent I had to work at to perfect, but it has always seemed odd to me that other people find it so hard to do. The question has also crossed my mind as to how fast I am at doing it. How long does it take me before I make a new friend in a place I've never been?

The answer, apparently is about 10 to 15 seconds.

On arriving at the SameSun Nations hostel in downtown Vancouver, Claire just wanted to drop the luggage and crash out for the night. At this point is was some time after 9pm local time and we had been up since 6am Irish time, some 32 hours previous according to our bodies. I had napped briefly on the plane, but Claire hadn't, so we got the key to our shared room, shifted several large bags up two flights of stairs and barged in on the current occupants.

It was at this point that Claire and I did two very different things. Claire said a quick hello to the others in the room, three guys of varying nationality, and left to seek out the bathroom, equipped with a random assortment of toiletries. I, on the other hand, camped out on the top bunk and turned my mouth and vocal cords to full auto.

By the time Claire returned, I knew who was in the room by name, where they were from and whether they were staying or leaving soon. The guy on the top bunk across from me was Will from Sydney and was just on the last leg of a trip around the US. He was flying out of Vancouver tomorrow for LA and then on to Sydney after a short stopover. Below his bunk was Jeon from China who had very little English, referred to Claire as my "honey" and grew stranger and stranger over the following days, much to the amusement of myself and third guy in the room.

Sam had just arrived from the UK the same day, but on a different flight. Like us, he was staying for a year and hoping to find work in or around the city. We got chatting for a bit and when Claire decided that she couldn't stay awake any longer, the three English speaking guys headed downstairs to the bar to continue our conversation. I bought the first round of drinks, which ended up being a glass of water for Will, who was travelling early the next day and still recovering from his last night out in Vancouver, a 7-Up for Sam and a coke for myself. Seriously. What are the chances that me, being a lifelong teetotaler would happen upon two guys that, at least for that evening, were staying on the soft stuff as well?!? Insane! Sam offered to buy the next round, before we discovered that we get free refills on minerals, and at that hour, two large glass fulls were enough. He promised to make it up to me the following evening.

We wandered back up to the room shortly before midnight, snuck in as quietly as possible and drifted off to sleep.

The next morning all three of us were downstairs enjoying breakfast, and letting Will fill us in on things to do in Vancouver.

I miss Ireland. I miss my friends terribly. The first Sunday here was particularly hard as I realised I couldn't be at our weekly breakfast meet-up, or hang out and chat about the stuff we watched, or read online, or whatever. But I love making new friends, and I know I have the chance to make loads here. After I finish writing this, I'm heading to our local gaming store just a few blocks away to join in their boardgame night and hopefully make even more. I've already spent over an hour chatting with the staff about games and comics.

I think I'm going to be alright.

Chasing The Setting Sun

Leaving Ireland was never going to be easy, but boarding the British Airways flight direct to Vancouver was less daunting a task that I had built it up to be. My mind was on other things than the adventure that lay ahead.

It was my first time traveling through Heathrow Airport that I can recall, and all the warnings and stories of long walks between terminals had been forgotten about thanks to a speedy and clear internal transport system that got us from place to place with time to spare. Thankfully, that allowed us to enjoy the sushi restaurant we stumbled upon after clearing customs and we boarded our flight with full stomachs and happy thoughts.

On boarding, Claire and I discovered that we were seated in separate rows, but thanks to a lovely fellow traveler, I was able to move forward and join Claire before take-off. The sun was setting slowly over London, and the sky was still bright and blue with just the subtle hint of approaching dusk.

The flight was entirely uneventful. I played my DS, Super Scribblenauts helping the hours pass until my battery finally gave out and I was left alone. Claire typed on her laptop, listening to music or somesuch on her headphones. The rest of the journey was passed either watching parts of movies on the in-flight entertainment system, or catching a quick nap, wrapped in my warm jumper, my head resting on a kindly gifted cushion of air.

As the end of our nine and a half hours in the air drew near, the plane banked softly and we were met with a brilliant orange, red and yellow. We had raced the sun across the Atlantic, and the winner was undecided. At 33,000 feet, we could still see witness the setting sun, but on the ground it was probably dark already.

Regardless, our two hours standing in the line for immigration and customs meant it was well past sunset by the time we got outside. A taxi took us through thick fog, across the bridge into downtown, and we were greeted with our first glimpse of Vancouver. Towering skyscrapers glowed orange behind the fog, and here and there we got a break that opened up a wondrous view. Soon we were in the heart of downtown and unloading our bags at the hostel.

We had arrived. And we were too tired to start panicking now.