Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Bangor, Maine

So Monday Ted one of the guys I was couchsurfing with and I went up to Acadia National park for some hiking. Ted was great he knew the way around paying the entrance fee so we took a one way look road and parked a little way up. We had to hike down to the hike but it was a beautiful coastal walk and I got a ton of pictures. We also went past Thunder Hole where the surf crashed into the rocks and made a boom sound, apparently a few weeks earlier there was a hurricane and a bunch of people got swept off the lookout so they blocked it off. Oh I should mention it was an amazing day, blue skies and about 8C.

So we did this hike called beehive and there were two options you could walk an extra 500m and it was ‘easier’ (we walked a bit of it back and it was only slightly easier) or you could walk a shorter path and it was supposed to be more difficult. We took the more difficult part which was INSANE. It was literally climbing straight up the mountain.. we were on the edge of this cliff and holding metal bars to pull ourselves up. So halfway up as we are inching along this mountain I said to Ted “Did I mention I’m terrified of hieghts?” and he said “I thought you said you were claustrophic – heaps of wide open spaces here” as he gestures to the 100 foot sheer drop mere centemetres from my feet. “Well yea that to but I’m pretty much terrified of EVERYTHING” Still I grit my teeth and kept climbing, I could feel it in my legs (getting ready for snowboarding!!) The view was amazing and worth it, we followed a loop around and climbed another mountain with another amazing view. Overall it was a good 6km of hiking back to the car.

After the hike we drove up Cadillac Mountain for some absolutely amazing views of Bar Harbour and beyond, did I mention there were blue skies – you could see for miles. I couldn’t have asked for better hiking weather!!

We headed home and stopped by Stephen Kings house which was pretty cool, he had bats on his gate! Also went to Hope Cemetry this beautiful little cemetary which is a bit of a hangout for people it was also where the son was buried in the movie Pet Sematry. We finished off the night with some drinking I picked up a couple of local Maine Beers. There was this snake adder brew from North Korea and I got dared to try it. There was literally a dead snake in it... dont tell Dj!! It was disgusting but hey I did it..

Anyway right now I am in NYC staying at my Uncles Pad in Elmhurst. I drove the 7 hours without any hassles... it was a bit hairy coming into NYC but I did cross the George Washington bridge in my Jeep and didn’t crash at all.

Monday, October 26, 2009


Here is a little news about a little province known as PEI (Prince Edward Island) Canada’s smallest province. Um anyway as you know I have spent the last two days here, the weather was absolutely miserable. Gale force winds and really cold. My cs friend Cynthia took me around I got to see a lot of the real PEI the families behind it. Everyone pretty much knows everyone, the families all have some connection mostly related – its like Tasmania to Australia!! Another interesting thing is that the PEI canadian accents have a real irish twang to them. I almost thought they were old irish blood even though thier family had been on PEI for aaaaaaaaages. Anyway Saturday night Cynthia took me to her old mates place and we had fresh PEI mussells. I didn’t even know I liked mussells but they were DELICIOUS I could have eaten the whole bowl and very nearly did. I think Im turning into a seafood freakorama. I did do a bit of a coastal tour but the weather sucked to much balls.

I crossed the border today from New Brunswick into Maine and was detained for three hours.. ridiculous... fuck I hate US customs. They decided I was trying to import medication because I had a lot of prescription meds. All mine but I did have more then required its just so expensive to go to the doctor and get meds over here I get them from Australia... Anyway they took like half my medication away and did a seizure form bleh... I guess I was lucky they wanted to fine me 5000 bucks and send me back to Canada. Still my entire car was searched... I did have about a gram of weed and a pipe but I threw it out just before I crossed the border you could smell it in the car.. I think they found where it was and was trying to locate some weed so they could charge me. The bastards also took my tomatoes!!!!!!!!!

I sped to Bangor, Maine which is where I am now.. Saw like four cops but they didnt even chase me... I really want to get a speeding ticket in every state. My cs hosts are great we are going to do some hiking tomorrow and it turns out this is the home town of Stephen King so going to check out his house and a few of his movies were filmed here.

Friday, October 23, 2009


I left my host Matt in the wee hours of the Nova Scotia morning, I was ready to get on the road. He was a great guy but I guess our personalities didn't really mesh like the other two. I would not hesitate to welcome him into my home back in Darwin however. I did enjoy my time in Nova Scotia and the weather was amazing I really could have used an extra month there.

I am hideously underprepared for the weather. I left all my winter gear in BC thinking I was going straight to Florida after Ontario to hang out, I have a couple of hoodies and that is it. Oh and my famous hamburger toque. PEI is freezing, its raining and all I have is a hoody...

I am staying with the extended family of my first couch surfing experience Cynthia. She and her husband Randy hosted Brendan and I on our way to Alaska and then also on the way back. She is originally from PEI so she decided to fly in and see her family and hang out with me at the same time. I originally joined couchsurfing to save a little money since we traveled to Alaska in march and camping was out of the question, also hotels were around $100 a night! Yet it all changed for me because the people I met and the experiences I have had now have me choosing locations to visit depending on the people I will stay with. I have made some friends I plan to keep in contact with forever. I admit that not everyone I mesh with but like I said its quality over quantity and couch surfing is the way to travel for me. I have never had a bad experience. I really cant wait till I am home and hosting myself.

Anyway enough rambling, I am staying in PEI for a couple of days. I haven't decided yet if I will leave Saturday or Sunday. I will cross the Maine border Sunday and stay in Bangor but I was considering heading back to Fredericton to party with Charles (my CS friend) on the Saturday night (depending of course on his schedule). Fredericton is on the way to Maine. I guess I will decide tonight. I also don't know what to do after Maine, straight to NYC or stop in New Hampshire, Massachusetts along the way.. I dont know what there is to see at this time of the year.

I did a little hike in Cape Jourmaine to see the famous PEI bridge and some nice coastline. I haven't really done much else just relaxing. The weather is pretty miserable.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Nova Scotia

Ahhh well first my cough is still plaguing me and I was just looking on the internet about constant coughing and found this medical forum turned religious its kind of funny take a look I dont want to see a doctor in case I have something contagious then they wont let me into the US. Maybe Ill wait till im in Florida.

Anyway I spent to long at the Hopewell rocks waiting for the tide.. I did go to Fundy National Park which was free entry because end of season I guess still the info centre was open and the chick gave me a map for a few good short hikes. I took the wrong road and ended up trapped in construction for ages then I had to turn around and got stuck in the construction again.... So I got to Wolfe Point finally to see the highest tides in the world or some shit. Pretty. By now it was 3pm.... I had about a 3 hour drive to Truro, NS so I decided to scratch the hikes and just left the park.

On the way to Truro I picked a hitchhiker up who was buying his cigarettes in New Brunswick because it was cheaper by about $15 then buying them in Nova Scotia, different taxes are strange. Sometimes I think Canada is about 10 different countries.

So I got to my new location about 6pm. My new host is cool. He has a whole new turnaround on life and extremely positive to listen to. He also has a Ball Python called.. Monty which is absolutely beautiful I had to pull him out of his cage straight away! Holding him made me think of Dj and how much I miss him but it felt good to be one with a reptile again. We talked for a while a couple of his mates were round as well, strange questions like "do you walk in the forest and see crocodiles". Well ok just one of them was asking strange questions.

Today I went down to Peggy's cove which is probably the most photographed lighthouse in the world, and you can see why, its beautiful and even now when tourist season is over there was heaps of people walking around. I tried to take Sandra's challenge of getting the lighthouse without any people and almost did but these two annoying old people just wouldn't move!!! After Peggy's cove I drove along the coast for a while headed to Kejimkujik National Park, Seaside Junction to appreciate a bit of Nova Scotia's amazing shoreline. I did a nice 5.5km hike and my lungs didnt act up which was good, it wasnt a hard hike though no real uphill but amazing scenery!

Anyway by the time I finished that and drove back it was 7pm. So now I'm chilling with Matt my host and eating a Vegemite sandwich. Tomorrow im off to PEI

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

chilling in new brunswick

I can hear the waves move, I’m sitting outside at the Hopewell rocks waiting for the tide to come in so I can get a different view of the famous landmarks. But lets backtrack a little bit.

I actually got to sleep in a little bit yesterday morning, rose about 8am. After getting ready Ben toook me to a little spot known quite well to Rimouski locals. We did about a 2km hike up a mountain and I was not well. Its disappointing because I know that I am more then capable of hiking 2km without to much stress but the illness that has been plaguing me since Tiesto has gotten into my lungs. I think I have a pretty bad infection in there and I was coughing so much whilst trying to get up the hill I could feel pain in my lungs. I can honestly say I have never felt like this before so I was a little worried. However I was stubborn and already half way through the hike so refused to turn back. Ben kept saying we were almost there which drove me on though he lied a little bit :D. The view was worth the pain however a nice overlook of the area, we could have gone higher but I dont think I would have made it. He then took me to a waterfall which was amazing. I have seen plenty of tourist trap waterfalls and this one I think was better then nearly half of them. It really goes to show how amazing couchsurfing is, I see a different side of things and get to meet wicked people!

He also took me to a famous submarine and lighthouse, one of the actual tourist traps in the area. After the hike and sightsee I packed up my stuff, said goodbye and went on my way about 12pm. I felt sad I couldnt stay longer as we got on really well, we shared a love for trance music and passion for travel. Hopefully in the future sometime he will make it to Darwin.

Quebec especially further away from Montreal and QC is primarily a french speaking province and very few people actually speak english. So I waited until I crossed the border at New Brunswick which is offically a dual-speaking province and went to the pharmacy to get something for my lungs. I definately feel a little better today so here is hoping.

I stopped in Grand Falls, NB for lunch which was an amazing hand-made sub by moi with ham, spinach, tomato, cheese and red pepper & feta cheese hummas. SO GOOD. The falls were cool. After the falls I pretty much headed straight for Fredericton where I was staying with another couchsurfer, Charles. I had some trouble keeping a safe speed. The limit was 110 and I generally sit on about 20k over on highways but my silly jeep kept creeping up to 140km/h I dont want to be going to fast and get comfortable with it!

I got to Charles’s place about 7pm. Was happy to be out of the car after the five hours. Charles was fantastic, we both had the IT background to talk about and I felt comfortable opening up to him he was really easy going, gave me a few New Brunswick beers he also played me some songs on his guitar. He was a local NB his first language was french but you wouldnt have known. I found the NB local accent is very similar to the typical canadian accent like people from rural alberta & Saskatewan etc. People from Ontario tend to have an accent closer to the Americans. I was suprised because another NB local I had met in the Yukon had a very thick french accent. Charles mentioned closer to the north (Quebec) they tend to speak french more so that could explain it. Anyway went to bed about 11pm. I slept pretty well although did wake up in the middle of the night coughing like mad for about 45 minutes.

This morning I was up at 7am and out the door by 8am. The hopewell rocks low tide was 8:15am and you have a window of about a 3 hours in which to walk around before you are stranded. The weather was shit though, crazy fog pretty much the whole drive I did sit on around 130km/h anyway. I ran out of fuel and followed some signs to refuel but the fog got me confused and I couldnt find the petrol station and ended up in some random spot. I had to use the GPS to get me back on track. I made it to the rocks with about 10 minutes to spare I could see the tide coming in fast. I ran down to the beach and walked around the rocks for a bit. I lost my shoes in the mud.. anyway now im just chilling until the tide comes in a bit.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Quebec, cant complain

Quebec, can’t complain. I probably should have been kicked out of Canada for worst driver of the year today and two french guys did fall at my feet this evening, literally. Ok explain?

So last night was fun Lisa and I went to some bar which had Ottawa anihilating Montreal in Hockey. Now that’s a fun hockey match to watch you can really see the hatred between the two teams, I think there was a fight every two seconds! We were drinking some Quebec beer which was on special for $3. After chilling at the pub for a little while Lisa took me to the best poutine in Montreal. This place has 25 different types of poutine. I chose pepper sauce with onions, minced meat, mushrooms and of course the staple poutine ingrediants of mozzerlla cheese curds, gravy and fries. Talk about a heart attack waiting to happen, I couldn’t finish mine it was huge but so delicious I just wanted to savour everything!

We were home and in bed before midnight and then up again at 630am, today. I wanted to get on the road early and Lisa had to work. I was happy to see I had another parking ticket J’adore Montreal <3 Well I decided to place it at my feet and thats where that will stay. Hehehehe.

So I made it to Old Quebec City about 1030am and parked on a random street. Walked around for two hours just taking in the sites, taking thousands of photos. I dont know what to write about it except Old QC shits all over Old Montreal, although the Basilica in Old Montreal was still amazing. I had lunch at a little cafe with a Moka and Eclair. Well, when in france?

Leaving however I accidently nudged the car in front of me, bad turning circle and then drove off without looking to see if I did any damage. I was going really slowly though pretty sure the car was alright. I had issues getting out of Old QC my GPS kept wanting me to turn into the river and I did want to cross the river ...just preferably over a bridge and not swimming.. So confused and attempting to get out of the stupid city myself I went the wrong way down a one way street then even worse cut a taxi off on a roundabout! Oh man.. I was so frustrated with my horrible driving all that pride I had been feeling about my recant awesome freeway skillz gone in one brief moment.

So I drove to Rimouski which is very east quebec, made it there about 4pm. People further quebec do not really speak english. I had a couchsurfer lined up Benoit. He had a soccor game on till seven with his university and I went along for the ride and to watch men run around kicking things. Two of the soccor players just about took me out scrambling for the ball and falling down in a heap at my feet – le sigh. After the game we went to a store and looked at the many types of quebec beer available bought a few then went back to his place and chilled out trying to watch a movie and drink. We talked a lot though we had a lot in common and I felt very easy communicating with him his english was fantastic. We didnt watch the movie and ended up having a trance dj in the background instead, still I was up at 630 so very tired and about to crash! He is taking me to a nice waterfall hike tomorrow then I will be driving on to fredericton.

My flu is not completely over, its fucked. I have a horrible cough hanging on...argh..this is why I hate being sick lasts for ages!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Montreal in two days.

I'm not going to lie, I took it easy in Montreal. My flu is still hanging on making me tired and the cold weather is aggravating it. I saw the main things I wanted to see however.

Day one Lisa took me to a local market where we picked up supplies for dinner. I think everyone in Montreal speaks English and pretty much everyone speaks french as well. The Lonely Planet book is right you will listen to two people talking and they will switch from French to English. Its surreal. Everything is written in french however, but its pretty easy to work out that the huge red hexagon with "arret" written on it means stop :D After the market we went into Old Montreal where we walked around taking in the scenery. We did stop at Basilique Notre Dame, there was so much construction I had to climb a fire hydrant to get a good picture in front of it. The $5 entry fee was sort of worth it the church was beautiful, I know I am not religious but I felt calm being inside.. its absolutely amazing and I think if there is one thing you should see in Montreal its that.

Day two,

We had breakfast at a cute little cafe on Ste Laurent. I managed to order for myself, benedictine was pretty much self-explanatory and our waitress's first language was English anyway so she helped. After breakfast we hiked up Mt Royal which offered a stunning view of Montreal. I think it took a little longer because Lisa was distracted by all the men jogging past. Then we headed down and went shopping along a main street. My car has remained outside Lisa's apartment and last night received my first ever parking ticket in my history of parking illegally (only in Darwin I usually park legally elsewhere). In my defense I was unaware that parking on the street was illegal for non-residents (need some kind of a permit sticker.. I bet one of the signs in french told me) I think I will frame it, its all in french and there is no bloody way I am paying $50. I will be leaving Canada by July next year and my car registration isn't due until August. TAKE THAT QUEBEC!!

Tonight we are going out on the town then tomorrow I am leaving Montreal. I will be driving to Quebec City for a few hours then arriving in Rimouski for the night.

backtracking a little September 29th a hike in the middle of Muskoka

Donovan one of the Kitchen guys I hung around with had grown up in the Muskoka area and took me and Clayton (bakery) on a little random hike outside of his hometown Gravenhurst. I put on my runners and got in the car. He laughed at me..

"Look at you in your nice white pants..."
"what? I can roll them up to my knees"
"Yea thats not going to help"

I probably should have believed him..

We got stoned first another not so good idea. Donovan has a very short attention span and knew the area better then me he took off with clayton not far behind. If you know me at all you know that I am a hugely paranoid person, I am scared of everything. So being out in the middle of bear country having no idea where I was let alone the two guys I was hiking with were and the extra added paranoia of being horribly stoned I was literally going insane imagining countless things. Not only that I am also claustrophobic. We had to cross this one swamp which I think took me about a half hour, there was no crossing and it was thick with trees. I couldn't move I was surrounded by trees... I felt them closing in on me. I had no choice but to cross the swamp however so I ended up just pushing with all my force on the trees, my arms were so sore the next day from the exertion. I tried to walk on the trees but fell in the swamp anyway which was about a foot deep.

We also crossed three huge rivers by taking beaver dams across - cool yes but dangerous? This was the middle of fall, it was freezing. The dams were soft on the sides and it was easy to accidentally slip and fall in the river.

Anyway pictures of the hike are here despite everything it was an amazing hike with beautiful scenery and I would not hesitate to do it again. However I would do a few things differently I would wear pants that were not white, my actual waterproof hiking boots and not have any pot beforehand.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Muskoka - Ottawa - Montreal

Well I have arrived and sipping a red wine in true French fashion.

The journey here was a bit of a dream. I had a bad sleep the night before, the fish tank and strange dreams about murderous families breaking into the room kept me up (oh they made me watch the devils rejects before bed)

I made it to Ottawa about 2pm and had a bit of a hassle trying to find a car park so I could check out the parliament buildings. The signs were all over the place and the streets impossible. You could pretty much NEVER turn, I decided right then and there I found Ottawa harder to drive in then Calgary. At least in Calgary despite the one way streets you can turn, in Ottawa you need to go about a KM before they let you go left or right!

I didn't spend to long in Ottawa, I checked out the parliament buildings and did a bit of walk around. Amazing, the architecture was beautiful. Its got me all excited for Old Montreal tomorrow. Also ended up at Sparks mall which happens to be Canada's FIRST EVER pedestrian mall (slightly anticlimactic)

I don't know why I didn't plan my trip better, Montreal was only another two hours from Ottawa and I for some reason thought it was four. Jeepy had a bit of an accident on the way, the bumper must have been loose on the right side, maybe a bolt fell off and with my insane driving (ok compulsive speeder I admit it) somewhere between Ottawa and Montreal the right side ripped off and went flying over the windshield and into the oncoming traffic. I think it missed everyone and I was hardly going to attempt to turn around and collect the pieces so I said goodbye and left a little piece of myself back in Ontario.

I was to meet Lisa after she finished work at 8pm and ended up making it into the city at 630pm this was despite the horrible hour delay in INSANE peak hour traffic. I decided to walk around but got to cold and ended up jumping into a little bar where I had a local Quebec beer and contemplated life momentarily. I met up with Lisa when she finished and we went back to her apartment.

And that's where I am now, sipping my red wine and pouring over brochures for the next few days.

End of an Era & Beginning something new

I believe a tear was nearly shed as I walked away from my home for the last three months. I thought I hated Cleves but in reality it was my home for a short while and I did manage to meet some people that I will remember for the rest of my life.

Still if you are a traveler like me I really dont reccomend going anywhere near Clevelands House, the money & the work is horrible its pretty much just 24 hours of drunkiness for five months. It really did take a part of my soul Im not sure I will ever get back, It brought me to hate Ontario.

Anyway I am off - Driving up to the great capitol of Canada for lunch - Ottawa and then onto Montreal for a few days. I will be staying with Lisa and she promised some red painting of the town. Jeepy is packed and ready to go.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

At the end of every week each one of us becomes a freak!

3 more days and I'm out of here!

I have some Ontario slang for you, yes we know I'm a sponge I soak it all up then travel across the globe and pass it on to other unsuspecting sponges.

I'm just saying! - Maybe my favourite, used kind of instead of "you know what I mean" to add confirmation onto the end of your statement. Like "oh the drive to here was hell, I'm just saying!" Also has a derivative "What are you saying?" which actually means "what are you doing" however I dont use that one I think its whack.

Whack - I think its newfie slang basically means what it says "your whack"

yes bye (pronounced yes boi) - another newfie slang dont really know what that means sometimes its just said sometimes its in confirmation. Don't try and understand the newfies!

First stop on Wednesday is Ottawa Canada's proud capitol! Then Montreal for a few days :)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Amanda: 1 Flu: 0

So after being pretty much unconscious for the last two days I finally opened a can of whoop-ass on the evil killer flu of doom that has been plaguing me and have managed to leave my bedroom and enter the real world again. Cleves staff christmas party tonight, will make an appearance its been over a week since I drank.

My last day is on Tuesday, cant fucking wait! Montreal, Halifax, PEI, New York, Florida, Colorado, Seattle (and whatever inbetween) - Here I come!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me

Well I should write about the weekend before the memory of my fantastic night becomes another blur. If there was one good thing about me coming to Muskoka its the fact I met Chad & Cammy in the carpark after underworld. Hanging around these two amazing sweet guys made me realise how much I really don't get along with the college kids I work with.

My birthday itself was pretty tame, I was actually working but Clayton a great guy in the bakery made me a cake which was really sweet of him. The celebration of turning 28 was to happen that weekend to Tiesto!

I would never put Tiesto up there as one of my favourite Djs, maybe not even top 10 but I do like his music and I love to dance. Plus I had a lot of fun with Chad & Cammy at Underworld I was looking forward to partying with them again!

So for lunch I actually had a kind of “date” at turtle jacks in Port Carling with this guy who was sort of schmoozing me but I wasn’t really interested. He is a nice guy but not particularly my type just kept trying to impress me by telling me the same three stories he told me the week before. He did pay for lunch however and bought me a birthday present which was also sweet, that's kind of a new thing for me I don't generally let guys buy things for me... I don't like feeling like I owe them something, especially if Im not interested in them I get guilty. However he insisted and lets be honest my muskoka wages are shit so I gave in pretty easy on that one!

After lunch I drove to Toronto to Cammys house where I was meeting Cam & Chad. I was introduced to his family and sat around making small talk to his folks. We headed out for dinner I forget the name of the place but I had Chicken Parmigiana. Pretty much an Australian pub menu staple but almost impossible to find in Canada. Just about my favorite :D

After dinner we headed to Tiesto arriving about 10pm. We headed in and stood in line for about a half hour. Security confiscated every glowstick in the house and they weren’t even selling them inside! I guess Tiesto wanted everyone to look at his face on the big light show board all night! Lucky for us Tiesto wasnt coming on till 11:30 but the pre dj was really good. I was loved up and dancing hard. Tiesto did an amazing job some new stuff and old classics. He finished up around 3am and we headed out to the carpark where we had a car park party with a bunch of other people I dont remember their names. Then cams friend Brian and his gf Andrea came with us and we went into Downtown Toronto where there was this weird art show that went from Sunset to Sunrise all the places had some weird art. Like there was this weird hall and all these people with paper bags on their heads were standing around they would bump into you and then say sorry. It was some thing to represent passive aggressive behavior.

I peeed in the bushes in the middle of Toronto because I couldn't find a bathroom and I was about to pee my pants! We walked around for ages looking at art and then we went back to Cams house about 7am. We lay down in his living room watching bad cartoons. Chad went home about 11am and we flicked channels for another three hours before trying to finally lie down at 2pm. No go we just talked for four hours then got up and at dinner with his family. His family is funny they knew all about what we had been doing and his sister has ADD so she just kept talking, I choked down some turkey and tried to keep up but when Im sketchy I find it hard to deal with crowds. I was way to far gone to drive home so I ended up crashing at Cams and we stayed up talking some more, watching bad movies we eventually passed out at 2:30 am Monday Morning.

I bought him breakfast and then drove back to Muskoka, I had to work at 730pm. I guess the whole 30 hours+ awake and walking around in the cold all night wrecked me because I spent Tuesday in bed with a killer flu, still cant complain to much I had a really amazing weekend and would do it all again if I could. I'm sad I will be leaving Toronto in a week and wont see them until April for Coachella, still that would make Coachella all the more awesome :D Ive always believed in quality over quantity and these guys will be lifelong friends.