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During my travels newspaper columns were published weekly in the Dutch daily newspaper
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This project has been supported by these great and warmhearted companies:
Netherlands: Paping Buitensport, ODLO, IPtower.nl, AVRO Dutch Broadcasting Org., Travelcare, TunaFish, Book A Tour, StadsRadio Rotterdam; UK: Lazystudent, KissFM, The Sunday Times, The Guardian; Isle of Man: SteamPacket/SeaCat; Ireland: BikeTheBurren; Belgium: Le Temps Perdu, Majer & PartnersAustria: OhmTV.com; Norway: Scanrail Pass, Hurtigruten, Best Western HotelsSouth Africa: eTravel, British Airways Comair, CapeTalk, BazBus Spain: Inter Rail, Train company Renfe; Australia: Channel 9 Television, Bridgeclimb, Harbourjet, SeaFM Central Coast, Moonshadow Cruises, Australian Zoo, Fraser Island Excursions, Hamilton Island Resort, FantaSea Cruises, Greyhound/McCafferty's Express Coaches, Aussie Overlanders, TravelAbout.com.au, Travelworld, Unlimited Internet, Kangaroo Island SeaLink, Acacia Apartments; Malaysia: Aircoast; Canada: VIA rail, Cedar Springs Lodge, BCTV/GlobalTV, St. George Hotel, VICKI GABEREAU talkshow, Ziptrek Ecotours, Whitler Blackcomb Ski Resort, Summit Ski & Snowboard Rental, High Mountain BrewHouse, Cougar Mountain Snowmobiling, Whistler Question Newspaper, Snowshoe Inn, First Air, Nunanet.com, Canadian North Accommodations by the Sea, DRL Coachlines Newfoundland, The National Post and Air North.


Reports

Thursday, 8 May 2003
Dartmouth --> Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

After waking up around 9am this morning, my second morning at the house of Angela Davies and Simon Oakey in Dartmouth, I helped myself with the coffee machine in the kitchen and joined Angela in her office. She was busy with recollecting her photo archive and printing various photos.
"Why not take another few photos of you?" she asked. And again I was taken into the basement where I posed "very professionally!" for the camera. "This will be your book cover," Angela joked. "Can I have that photo for free then?" I asked. "Oh sure," she said without hesitation. "Wait a minute! My photo on your book won't be free! You'll sell lots of copies!"

When the photos will be all developed and printed, Angela told me she will put them on her website at cheerful-pictures.com.

It was around 1pm when I had my first bite to eat this morning. I wasn't hungry and the coffee was doing well enough. But just for certainty I ate a bowl of cereal. I never know when I get to eat again later in the day.

Around 2 o'clock Simon arrived back from his work. Today was a short day, I guessed. Last night he had already offered to take me to my next destination across the river this afternoon.

I packed my bags and put everything in the trunk of the car. I was ready to go to my next hostess.

With all three of us in the car, Simon didn't just want to take me across the river and drop me off in Halifax. He first drove us all up the hills of Dartmouth. The sun was appearing through the rainy grey clouds and from the top of the suburbia hills I had this wonderful lookout on Dartmouth below and Halifax across the Harbour River. "The best thing in Dartmouth is the view on Halifax," Angela declared again.

Then we were ready to cross the bridge to the other city, where I would stay at an apartment in the downtown area. At the right address on South Street I said goodbye and thanked Angela and Simon, before ringing a doorbell on South Street.

My new hostess Jeannine Corkery opened the door and welcomed me in the student apartment she shares with two other (not at home).
As one of them was with her family on Prince Edward Island, I was given the bed in her room; otherwise I would have had the couch in the living room.

I joined Jeannine in the kitchen where she made me coffee and tea for herself while she finished that last plates of some dirty dishes.

She told me that she has a university degree in science, but that she has already worked in the Halifax filming industry for a few years.

"It was the physical too hard work as a light assistant, carrying around all kinds of equipment that I now have overworked muscles. I haven't done much work for a year and have to visit a physiotherapist very week."

She does not want to continue in the film industry, it is too hard for her. "I want to go into health, I think. Maybe become a doctor. I am looking for something with a lot of responsibilities."

While nipping from my coffee Jeannine told me that she heard about me a long time ago, in 2001, when I was interviewed by the CBC when I was in South Africa. "Since then I actually never visited your website again, I totally forgot about it. And I don't have internet at home either, it's too expensive for me."

As a result of this, Jeannine asked me how long I have been travelling, which countries I had visited so far, which one was the best and the worst, how long I already was in Canada, what I liked most, if I had any family at home, how long I would continue my travels and from which part of The Netherlands I was from.

"From the east, a small city named Zwolle," I answered. From experience (I answer the where do you exactly come from-question a few times per week) I know that nobody knows Zwolle and the east of The Netherlands will never ever sound familiar to a non-Dutch person. "Is that near Amsterdam?" is the usual next question.

In a Canadian perspective everything would be near Amsterdam as my home country is the size of Nova Scotia itself. 150 kilometres east of Amsterdam you will have to start German as you would already have entered another country!

Jeannine, a very serene person, was amazed by all these facts which came of the tape in my mouth that my mind was playing. I don't have to explain this to the people who do follow my travels just a little bit.

We moved to the living room, where a huge map of the world covers almost one entire wall. She tells me about the travels of her brother, who sailed around the world in nearly two years. "They had a camera team on board, who filmed everything for years. It was made into a tv-series named Tallship Chronicles and that was the only way for the rest of the family to keep track of my brothers' travels."

I was surprised by the amount of videotapes that were stacked next to the television and asked Jeannine who was the film freak in the house. "Well, actually, flatmate Karen is addicted to the TV-series Dawson Creek and as she isn't here, I am asked to record every episode every day. One tape is good for four episodes."

I imagined that Karen would have quite a commitment to watch all these recorded episodes. "I guess she will be fast-forwarding most of it," Jeannine said.

The conversation continued on about my travels and because of Jeannine's being short of the internet with all its every day updates, I showed her the latest article as published in the Halifax Chronicle Herald. And I showed her all my one-minute movies of my first eleven weeks in Canada.

"You hitchhike?!!!" she asked as she had never heard about it. "Yes, I will have to if I want to travel around the world without spending any money," I said.
"What? You have no money?"

I started to wonder if the reception of the CBC radio in Canada was good enough when I was interviewed live in South Africa.

I also wondered how many people would have just invited me over through this website, but never kept track of my travels – not even for a little bit. Lately I received an email from somebody writing me "you are welcome to stay at my place, I love to hear all your stories. You must have great ones to tell the entire family." Reading that, made me shriek. Excuse my honesty here...

If I feel too uncomfortable with too many questions about my travels or with me talking about myself too much, I just tell the hosts that asked for it. On the spot. But it doesn’t really support my head in writing an interesting (or by far funny) report about this day.

I always hope the people at the next place to stay did not invite me because I am a world traveller or because I am Dutch, as that happens too. It might sound harsh, huh? I just don't want to freak out myself and loose my mind myself while travelling…

We hung around on the couches of the living room. The television was on and I watched it with one eye and I browsed through girly magazines I found next to the couch. Jeannine was doing the same, except also talking to some of her friends on the phone.

"I planned to take you out for dinner tonight with my boyfriend," she said around 5.30pm. "Really? That would be fun!" I said as I had not seen that much of big city Halifax yet. But as she couldn't be exactly sure when her boyfriend Derek would come over to join us, she made me a plate with apple parts and peanut butter as dipping sauce. That was good, because after this morning's cereal breakfast at 1pm, my stomach had already started exploring eatable different other parts inside my body.

When Derek, a tall guy with long hair and a beard, showed up around 7.30pm the plans changed. From 8 to 10pm this night, last week's World Wrestling Entertainment show in Halifax would be broadcast and Derek was one of the people in the audience with a big sign saying "Where is Mr. T?". The show had to be recorded on the VCR.

But that meant that Jeannine could not record her own favourite television show Survivor in the Amazon. We had to stay home to watch this show as the world's most bizarre and fake wrestling entertainment was occupying the video recorder.

"You don't mind this, Ramon, do you?" Jeannine asked me, who clearly showed regret that she could not take me out in the city. Especially when she asked if there was nobody else I could call to hang out with.

"I have some twenty other invitations from people, but if I call one of them now, they would have me to stay over for the night," I tried to explain.

So for dinner Jeannine and Derek decided to order in pizza at the pizzeria around the corner. It was delivered at the door.

While watching wrestlers jumping on each others faces and throwing each other out of the ring once in a while I munched away various corners of pizza. In Karen's bed room, my bed room for the night, Jeannine was watching Survivor on a small television. Halfway that show I joined in and because Derek had already seen the wrestling show in real life himself, he joined us on the bed too.

In a small room on a small bed we all watched the small television. "Can you pass that last piece of pizza, please?"

It wasn't much later after the show that Jeannine and Derek said good night and went off to bed. I settled myself in my room for the night, watched one more vague television show on the small television and then settled myself behind my laptop, to tell you all about this great day in Halifax.

Good night Halifax!

Ramon.