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ReportsTuesday, 6 May 2003
Truro --> Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada This morning Audrey Bailey woke me up while I was still sleeping. "Just want to say goodbye to you!" she said and when she left for work, I fell asleep again.
A few hours later I woke up again, this time I was fully awake. I had breakfast with Dwayne, who had told me that his sister was on her way from Dartmouth. She will be driving back to Dartmouth again around noon. I could travel along with her, so I didn't have to hitchhike my way.
With just a few lines of instructions to get there, I was dropped off on Russel Street in Dartmouth. According to the map I expected to be in the middle of a big city, but it was like I entered a suburb with green lawns and nicely painted wooden houses.
And this is the second Dartmouth town I am visiting during all my travels. On June 10, 2001, I also stayed in Dartmouth, only then that was in south England.
I am staying the next two nights here in Dartmouth, with Angela Davies and Simon Oakey as my hosts. Angela welcomed me in the house and showed me my room for the night.
Angela is a photographer and used to work in the production of the Halifax film industry. For example, Bowling for Columbine is produced in Halifax. "The main producer got fired from the company, one week before the movie won its Oscar, how about that?"
I immediately noticed Angela's accent, she was not from around here at all. "I am English!" she proudly said. "I am from England." She met her nowadays husband Simon when they were both travelling in Mexico. They got married and settled in Dartmouth. "Well, actually I agreed to come with Simon to Canada, but it is getting time now that he has to taste the life of the British in England," she giggles.
As a photographer Angela has a small studio in the basement. Her works exists basically out of model and art photography, I couldn't find many landscape shots in the house. The living room walls are covered with photographs of the couple as they travelled around the world a few years ago. Quite a good way to cover the walls with, I say!
Simon is a physiotherapist and he plays the trombone in his spare time. In another small room in the basement I see various trombones. "He used to be a physiotherapist in the private sector, but it drove him made because nobody wanted to be healed. Otherwise they had to go back to work and miss government money. So he now takes care of older people. They, at least, want to walk as long as possible."
Next to her at home office in the house, I also discovered their stash of video tapes and DVD's in the hallway closet. I was amazed, I thought I would only see so many movies at the video store. "Canadian television is crap," Angela explained, "It is mainly American rubbish with loads of commercials in between. I rather watch a good movie, than Canadian television." She said she honestly missed the British television a bit.
Later this afternoon, Angela had to do some errands in town and took me along halfway. We walked along the many cemeteries along the way in Dartmouth and on the other side of the harbour I saw Halifax, for the first time.
"It's the best thing in Dartmouth," she said: "It's the view of Halifax." She told me I should have a walk to the other side, over this huge and high suspension bridge, as she had to take the bus for a while.
So I walked on the bridge, which was very windy and got myself to the other side. Angela had not really told me that it was that much of a walk! I had to behave as an old man and have a sit for a few moments.
I originally planned to keep Halifax my last city at the east coast and first travel up north east of Nova Scotia, to Cape Breton and Newfoundland. But one of the reasons for me to visit Halifax before heading that way was – honestly – my cell phone reception.
I am sponsored with a free cell phone from the Netherlands, but unfortunately the international roaming in Canada has been the worst I have ever experienced. I guess the Dutch phone company (not the sponsor) has only one partner when it comes to international roaming in Canada, which is MicroCell. As you can see on map of Canada, it is almost close to no reception at all!
My cell phone is very important to me. Not only I can prepare my travels with it and contact future hosts of mine, but I can also have closer contact with my family and friends at home.
So that was what I have also been doing this afternoon. I made lots of phone calls and caught up with my parents and close friends again, since a long time. I guess that is necessary, I have a life at home too, even when I am far away.
Back at the house in Dartmouth, Angela had a model over and was photographing her in the kitchen and in the basement studio. I connected my laptop to their high speed cable connection and checked my email, while numerous sms-text messages were coming in on my phone. Cool.
Just after five o'clock I met up with Simon, who came back from his work out of town. Earlier Angela told me, while drinking various cups of tea (very English), that she could not cook. Not at all! Everyday she would just wait for Simon to come home.
"Oh, sometimes, I am starving!"
A friend of Simon also joined in and Simon's father (Simon's parents live in Dartmouth too) dropped in some fresh salmon for dinner.
Not like many other hosts of mine in Canada, Angela had heard about my travels on the BBC Radio, online through the internet. I have appeared a couple of times on Steve Wright In The Afternoon and as she listens to British radio online, she picked up the story about my travels.
Next to photography, Angela also knows a bit of filming. Next to having worked in the Halifax film industry for quite a while, she joined a one-minute-movie festival in town. After dinner we watched the tape with all the participants and it was quite interesting. All participants with the best idea of story got some money and a 8mm camera. Everything was filmed without sound and had to be edited manually. So that means, cutting the film by hand and gluing parts together again. The results were very arty!
Needless to say I also had to mention my own one-minute-movies on this website (hidden in the forum section for as long as they are there), which Angela and Simon had not seen yet. I settled my laptop in the living room and had the family surrounded the small screen.
Angela never knew something like that, these digital movies, were already possible to be done by one man on one computer. Most of the people were amazed. I have my reservations about it, because I am not always very satisfied with my own results. Oh, me perfectionist!
I settled myself behind my laptop later this night, after the guest had left and my hosts went to bed. Where was I with those reports?
Good night Dartmouth!