Two hundred and ten

My last night in British Columbia

Alas, my journey is coming to an end.  I fly back to Toronto tomorrow and leave the beautiful mountains behind me.  Although I love the culture Toronto has to offer, I miss dearly the proximity to outdoor activities and beautiful landscapes that is present everywhere in the west.  I wish I could have it all.  The nomad in me is getting restless.  Perhaps it’s time for a move…

The Vancouver sushi I will be missing

For now, though, I concentrate on the book, finishing up first kiss stories and preparing myself for the difficult task of being vegan next month.  My story today comes from Isabelle working at Saje in Kitsilano.  Isabelle is a short-haired thin woman in her late fifties, obviously passionate about natural products and her job selling them.  When I mentioned my project, there was a pause and then a moment that had we been a cartoon, a lightbulb would have appeared over Isabelle’s head.

Isabelle and her vow never to kiss again…

“I remember my first kiss!  Isn’t that funny?  It was so long ago.  We were playing spin the bottle and young, very young.  I don’t remember his name.  Of course I knew the boy I wanted to kiss.  Instead I spun and the first boy that kissed me had braces.  I remember it being all metal.  Why would anyone want to do that?!  My mom said I never wanted to kiss a boy ever again!”

I asked Isabelle if she told her mom right away.  “She was right there!” Isabelle said.  “That was a long time ago.  They wouldn’t leave us alone.”

Two hundred and nine

The woes of staying in a hostel…

The communal shower (two for all the women of the floor) is the size of a refrigerator, that has a door that opens into the toilet stall directly across and I am scared to touch the walls of.  There is no room or place to put your clothes to change in to, so you either have to walk through the bathroom naked (in which the main door is always open, so inevitable some guy will be walking by in the hall as you walk past the open door to get your clothes and give him a show), or you have to hang your clothes on the door of the shower and have them get wet.

And that is the least of my worries.  Besides the drunken twenty-year old Aussies walking around the hallways yelling at each other at all times of the night, there is the thumping music of the bar below and the fact that there are always people coming and going from the dorm.  To top it all off, last night I came back to the hostel to find some girl sleeping in my bed, in the sheets that I had slept on.  She had moved all of my things that I had set out on the bed (including my water bottle, book, pen and paper) to the upper bunk and got cosy in my dirty sheets.  So weird.  I have stayed in a lot of hostels and never has that happened to me before.

Luckily, though, nothing of mine has been stolen.  And it is really cheap.  Not cheap enough for me to want to stay another night in the dorm, though – I’m splurging on a private room for my last night in Vancouver.

With the grime of the hostel on my skin and a full day of walking around, I also splurged on a prime rib dinner (getting prepared for vegan month starting Saturday) at The Keg where I used to work five years ago.  It was very odd to go back in there after all these years.  My first kiss story today comes from the bartender there.

Kristen’s first two kisses – in the same night!

“I was in grade ten and I was at a party.  It was what it was like when you’re at a party.  I won’t say there was drinking, but you know…  I had a crush on this guy I was friends with.  We were talking outside and I kinda told him I had feelings for him and he just went in for the kiss.  I had butterflies.  Then later on this other guy that I didn’t talk to that much out of the blue kissed me too!”

One hundred and ninety-eight

I’m sitting at the hostel in chilly Winnipeg re-reading my posts from the last few days.  Please forgive my grammar and spelling mistakes and for the next couple weeks I can’t guarantee my posts will be perfect.  Writing on the road with little time to spend typing can make blogging difficult!  But also sort of exciting.  Not much time to edit gives you a raw look at my writing.

Yesterday was an eventful day.  We decided to drive nine hours today to get out of Ontario a day early and visit Winnipeg.  Because of the rain, cold and wind, we kept the motorbike strapped to the back of the truck and Drew drove for the morning.  After lunch the weather looked beautiful and sunny so we unloaded the bike and we were just about to leave when off to the north a black cloud started to move in.  It was moving fast.  “We have to get the bike back on the truck NOW!”  I pulled the truck around and we got out the ramp.  The clouds were moving faster towards us and in a matter of minutes the sky went from blue to dark grey.  As we pushed the bike up the ramp a few droplets of rain fell on us.  Then harder until it poured down on us.  I took off my sweater, not wanting it to get wet.  Ice pellets started hitting my bare shoulders as we tied up the bike.  It hurt!  Then freezing rain.  We were soaked and the bike was still not secure!  Drew told me to get in the truck while he finished.  Everything was wet when we finally pulled away with the bike attached.  The rain was off and on all day, so there was no motorbike riding.  But we did get to Winnipeg.

At the Manitoba Visitor’s Centre I met my next first kiss story.  Leslie works behind the counter there.  She was helping us find the best route into Winnipeg and I told her about the book.  “What’s your first kiss story?” I asked her.  “His name was Brian Dick.  It’s funny I remember his full name!” [funnily enough most people remember the full names of their first kisses I’ve found] “I was in grade seven.  He walked me home from school and it happpened under the steps at the back of my house.  We dated.  He gave me his ring.  Years later I was working at a golf course and a man came up to me to ask me if I know who Brian Dick is.  I said that of course I did.  He was my first boyfriend.  Then Brian walked around the corner to meet up with his friend.  We both laughed. ‘You look the same!’ he said.  ‘No you look the same!’ I said.  It was great to see him again.”

On to Saskatchewan today.  But first, a photo from the road from a couple of days ago in Ontario (I have enough internet to post it finally) and one from Manitoba.  Quite the difference!:

On the road in Northern Ontario

On the road in Manitoba