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Reports

Friday, 9 May 2003
Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

This morning Jeannine let me easily sleep in as I did not set my own clock or was waken up by anything. It was around 11am when I joined her in the kitchen. She had made blueberry pancakes for my breakfast.
She was about to head out to a friend's house of her where she had to take the dogs out for a walk. "I will be walking for a few hours, if you want to come along."

I wanted to joke that I rather only walk to raise money for charity, but knew she would not know my recent history about the Walk for Kids I joined last week in Charlottetown.

By the way, that Walk has risen over $1.5 million nation-wide! I thank those ones that have pledged me for that walk!

I could not join her on her walk because I was about to meet up with my next hosts in downtown Halifax in about an hour. I collected my bags and had to hit the road again. I thanked Jeannine for letting me stay for a day at her place and walked down South Street to where the busy streets of Halifax start.

I walked past a bar that promoted itself as an internet café and I decided to try my luck. I wasn't going to meet my host yet and the weather still wasn't that great to be walking around with my heavy weight wheeled duffle bag behind me. It was cold and very windy!

The lady behind the cash register told me that I was welcome to use the computer anytime. "Just say to my people that you are the world traveller," she said. And I sat down one of the many monitors and had a quick email check.

Half an hour later I walked further through town and after a walk through the Historic Properties of Halifax. The Historic Properties are located on Halifax’s waterfront and represent Canada’s oldest surviving group of waterfront warehouses. It was interesting to walk through, but I was a bit disappointed that I could walk through the entire place in less than five minutes. That is the real historic part of Halifax.

I had to meet up with my next hosts at the Nova Scotia Casino Hotel. This is where my next hostess Kristi Little works and where his husband Jamie would pick both of us up.

Kristi is the sales manager at the hotel since last September and Jamie himself is currently between jobs.

They got happily married in May last year and decided to live in Halifax, where also Kristi's family lives. Kristi had worked for eight years as the entertainment manager on cruise boats and has that way seen almost every fancy harbour in the world.

"After eight years I decided to do something else and I wanted to get a degree in tourism at the university in Vancouver." And there she met the also well-travelled Jamie Little in class and from one thing came another and now they got married.

Jamie calls himself a web savvy, but unfortunately for him his pc's monitor literary blew up last week and he is now stuck without a new one yet. Jamie showed me the loose wires in their little computer room and I almost had to cry with him.

The couple lives in this really cool character wooden house. It is the house where Kristi grew up in with her parents and after the wedding the parents decided to give it to them. "It was of course an offer you don't easily refuse; it was cheaper than to buy a house that's for sure!" Jamie laughed.

I joked to Kristi with a remark that I would love to stay for a day at the Casino Hotel, but Jamie then told her that it would not be such a bad idea after all. "Hey, and the hotel gets some nice publicity, too," he said. Kristi said she will throw up a ball, so – you never know what might happen the coming few weeks.

Kristi, always around with a big smile on her face (she must be very happy!) told me she had a small party planned for tonight. Friends and colleagues came over as the couple had made a table with all kinds of food. Kristi rather referred to it as a food feast. "Get a plate and join in, Ramon!"

And I joined the guests that arrived when the night began and we talked about travelling, houses, Halifax, construction and etcetera. It was all very casual and everybody just mingled in. And meanwhile more people would pop in the kitchen, which is – a very Canadian thing I still presume – always the main living room in a Canadian house. Just tell me if I am wrong.

It was Jamie who read about my travels in last weekend's Halifax Chronicle Herald. He was so enjoyed by that article that he invited me over. "I have travelled myself too, and it is just great to meet other travellers and to exchange those fresh thoughts."

To help out with Jamie's problem concerning him to be unable to get on the internet, I plugged his cable into my laptop. He at least could check his emails and I could use the internet later this night.

If I would come to that. Because we also had to go out tonight!

Kristi, Jamie and their friend Kelly were the only ones left in the kitchen around 10pm and we got ready to hit the city. First I had to experience a Guinness in the Scottish-styled Fife & Drum Pub, down the Casino Hotel in town. I met up with some people I met earlier today and had a blast with that band that was playing.

From this place Jamie took me along to the Privateer's Warehouse, also known as the famous Lower Deck, a stone bar in a building built for hoarding goods looted from American ships in the 18th century.

This is the place to be in Halifax, I learned. The bar was fully packed and within a few minutes I was already sweaty. And also here there was a great band playing the songs all locals can sing along. Its name was Clam Chowder and they are also known as one of the best band in Halifax.

Jamie had to take me here because he was really proud at this place. "This is Halifax!" he told me through all excitement.

But the night wasn't that long and we had to move on after midnight and we ended up at the third pub named Pogues, quite a new one. This is where I met up with Kelly and a friend of hers again. I had a hard time to explain Kristi that I – a deejay at home – don't dance. With the best excuse I have: "Deejays don't dance." Jamie understood that and disappeared with Kristi to the tiny dance floor. I was saved! I always need a bit more time to get 'loose'. Call it shyness. Perhaps.

At Pogues there was also a band (Good one! Boys Next Door) playing and I noticed that all bands all played the same songs the whole night.

Kirsti explained me that that was done on purpose. "In Halifax people tend to stay in one pub the entire night. And they want to sing along with the music they know. If a band suddenly plays unknown songs, we Halifaxers don't know what to do!" she laughed.

I could totally understand that and joined in for another beer.

It was good that I reserved tomorrow as another day at their house. At the end of the night, when we got home with the taxi, we all were going to need a very vital sleep-in!

Good night Halifax!

Ramon.