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ReportsMonday, 19 May 2003
Whitbourne --> St. Johns, Newfoundland, Canada After these few days in Whitbourne it was time to move on again. I had to visit my second hosting address out of three on this island in St. John's and my hosts' friends could take me along to their home town.
I thanked Bob & Eva Striha for letting me stay at their place and got my gear in the back of the car of Hal and Rose and we got on the road.
It was a 45 minutes drive to the well-known capital of pubs and fisheries called
Almost all of the older buildings were destroyed by fires in the nineteenth century or demolished in the twentieth, so although St John's looks splendid with pastel-painted houses, there are not a lot of major sights, with the exception of the grand basilica.
It was easy to find my next hosting spot, right on Duckworth Street (who the heck came up with that name?) in downtown St Johns.
It was Karl Houlihan who had invited me at his house, which he shares with his girlfriend Sherri Kelly.
And this is a special host, I must mention it: Karl had invited me just after reading about me on Wired.com on March 17, 2001. He read that article and was amazed, invited me over and never really expected that I would actually pull it off this far.
"I have been following you from the early start of your travels, on May 1 2001, but never thought you would get all the way to other continents that fast. I thought you would be stuck in Europe for a long while. And now you are here! That's great!"
The first thing Karl did at his home was taking a long blue cable and run it from his computer to my laptop so I could hook up to his high-speed connection.
And he did not have any reservations about giving me his house keys. "As you will be staying for a few days, you can walk in and out whenever you want."
Karl is a fulltime folklore student at the university in St.Johns, just like Sherri. But two semesters done, they both have a long vacation until studies start again in September.
"I have had many jobs, worked at the university, was a web designer for four years and now I work behind the bar in town." Sherri works at the supermarket of Sobeys.
I was very happy with the fact that I could stay here for a few days. "Hey, stay as long as you want, it is absolutely no problem to us," Karl told me.
I mean, I don't have to move on again tomorrow on in a few days, I can actually stay here a month. Just kidding.
This evening Sherri visited some of her friends and Karl had his computer friend Ian Penney coming over too. "At some point I knew more about computers that this little guy, now he knows more about them then I do!" Karl said.
And while we were munching on chicken wings and oven made French fries and watching SOUTH PARK: Bigger, Longer & Uncut, the movie, on Karls' computer, I asked Ian if he had any knowledge of PHP- and MYSQL-scripting.
That is the stuff the reports pages and database-geeky things on this website are made of and I don't have much wisdom about that. "Oh yes, I do," he said and he sat down behind my laptop and updated some features and repaired some bugs on this website. I was amazed!
In the evening I was taken along for a visit to Erin's Pub, a well-established and popular Irish pub on Water Street.
Water Street has long been the commercial hub of St John's, though the jumbled storefronts of the chandlers and tanners, ship suppliers and fish merchants have mostly been replaced by series of ill-considered redevelopments.
"Look at those concrete office buildings," said Karl as he pointed down the streets. "They were the reason for a new law in town: it's not allowed to build anything higher than three storeys any more. That's so much better."
The story about the pub:
A long time ago three Irish musicians moved to St John's Newfoundland. They played music together and are widely known as The Sons of Erin. One of the band members then started a pub, named Erin's Pub. And if you wonder where this Erin comes from, that's the Gaelic name for Ireland: the Erin Isle.
At this small but cosy pub where you won't hear any popular music, only the traditional fiddling, guitaring and singing from local musicians, I met up with some of Karl's friends. Karl works at this pub himself and I joked with him that he does a great cleaning job! That earned me a pint of Guinness from the rest of the people in the pub.
I might enjoy St John's very much!