adventures in the far east — of canada!

Canada/Memorial Day pt. 2 (but first: today!)

In culture, friends, internship, st. john's on July 4, 2009 at 3:02 am

I’m having a blast. 🙂

The workplace at Target is so…free-flowing, and collaborative, and so casual. Creative is right by Production, and so we’re (but not me yet, as I’m not making the big decisions) always working closely with them. A typical scene we get into:

(One of the projects the company’s been a part of is Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism–a government account. Every year there’s this nice direct mail piece that comes with great coupon deals, encouraging people to vacation in the province, because it pretty much has everything. One is for Quilting, and a Quilting Tour or something).

PRODUCTION HOLLERS: There’s a typo in a coupon!
ART DIRECTOR I WORK UNDER: What? Where?
PRO: I’m pretty sure you mean, “for local quilters,” and not “for local quitters.”

And everyone just breaks down in hysterics. XD

Or the ever-snarky (but terribly friendly) co-worker: “Wow, I mean, I was skeptical about quilting, but here they also include a quilting tour?? I’ll have to go.”

After work today, in the awesome wake of the Couch Surfing encounter, I met with the roommate I got to know some from Ontario who was the friend of a friend of my CS’er contact. After work and my own quick meal, I met her on–where else–George Street, at the pub we plan to be screeched in on next week with a male roommate of hers (see it’s amazing how just making 1 or 2 friends instantly expands your social circle). Unfortunately, he could not attend this weekend, so we’ve postponed until we can all do it together!

Anyway, had some very cheap (as in not expensive, but very good) beer, and had complementary popcorn at Christian’s Bar. Got to know this student from Ontario a lot more, and she’s fantastic; we have similar interests: foreign films, new experiences, world views, etc. It’s like we were old friends, very easy to talk with.

Later, we met up with a pair of her own work friends from Memorial University at Bridie Molloy’s Pub & Eatery (literally less than a minute’s walk, during which I noted Green Sleeves Irish Pub that has live entertainment every night, and a place that’s a 24-hour karaoke bar), one celebrating his birthday. We introduced ourselves, chatted, swapped stories, drank, ate, and got along so well, I’ve been invited to his birthday thing at a cabin 15 minutes out of the city Saturday! I humbly accepted, and we were both excited to meet him and his friends tomorrow. Our waitress also worked with my buddy at the university, so there was some friendly banter there as well.

The beer in St. John’s is cheap, and they have some great local brews. All in all, I spent a little over $20 for…2 Keith’s, a pint of local brew from Quidi Vidi (“kiddy viddy”), a pint for the birtday boy, and nachos to share between the 4 of us. And while we were there, Lamb’s Rum was giving out a ton of free drinks–very tasty rum you can taste cinnamon in (one of my favourite things…), and they kept providing free sample shots of it in Pepsi or ginger ale.

The live music was raucous and energetic (some Newfoundland tunes–many clapped or stamped along with the beat, and sang with the singers! It was joyous, I wish I knew the words), and the company even better…we all left a little tipsy, very happy, and excited for tomorrow!

I’ve never been much of a pub-go’er in Calgary, but the vibe here is so different. There are a few DJ’ed dance clubs, but everywhere else–as I said, everyone stamping, clapping, and singing along…

Back to Canada/Memorial Day
Honestly, not a whole lot more to tell! After the Confederation Building tour, I took more pictures around the place, and headed back to the Hill to take in the last of the cultural performances. You know, like what you’re used to seeing–bellydancing, a tai chi demonstration, more contemporary Indian dance…a nice reminder that yes, although St. John’s is a small city, it is also still multicultural. Perhaps not to the point of Calgary, but no one seems to treat me any differently.

Pretty dancing

Pretty dancing

John Bingley Garland, the first speaker

John Bingley Garland, the first speaker

A row of speakers

A row of speakers

Provincial shield**

Provincial shield**

Confederation Building lobby, emptied

Confederation Building lobby, emptied

John Cabot, a Newfoundland icon

John Cabot, a Newfoundland icond

Confederation Building

Confederation Building

**Constructed by the Johnson family (if you recall, rich philanthropist who also did the Geo Centre).

Contemporary Indian dance

Contemporary Indian dance

African drumming

African drumming

Taoist Tai Chi Society

Taoist Tai Chi Society

Belly dencers

Belly dencers

And now for something interesting:

River trail

River trail

Where am I...?

Where am I...?

…I’m actually in St. John’s, still. The city has a lot of walking trails, and on the one I took that day, I was suddently struck by how natural it felt. I paused on the path, looked around to either side…and could believe that I was not in St. John’s anymore at all (more specifically, I was going through Pippy National Park. Very dense trails, thickly lined trees everywhere.

That just about finishes my Canada Day activities–the cultural demonstrations and presentations went without a hitch. I went home, had dinner, and did chores until the very last thing–fireworks over Quidi Vidi Lake.

Quidi Vidi was once a village, but it’s been absorbed by St. John’s for a while now. They border its lake, and it houses the city’s oldest brewery.

I timed my trip walking to Quidi Vidi Lake so I’d arrive on time to see the fireworks. Bad idea!

First of all, I was worried I’d get turned around in the dark. But when I stepped outta the house…the cars passing me I noticed were all going in the same direction. As I entered the main roads–suddenly the streets were filled. I mean filled. Like an endless street of people heading towards Lake Ave. Cars were held at intersections for a long time as we all crossed, and some just parked nearby and walked the rest of the way. There was no way I was going to be lost!

As I said, I wish I arrived earlier–upon arrival, I discovered a multitude of food and snack stands on Quidi Vidi Lake, happily feeding people willing to pay. There were live amusements and entertainers there for people before the show. I witnessed the tail end of a fiery poi dance, fire juggling, and a guy who ate or blew fire. It wasn’t long before the first fireworks erupted, and everyone just turned away.

Poi

Poi

Fireworks

Fireworks

Fireworks here were very pretty. As I said before–scenes with water are always best, and fireworks are no exception–with every explosion and colour echoed by Quidi Vidi Lake, it was incredible! Every so often one would be fired behind some clouds, but whatever.

When I returned, Karen told me of a few other places you could see the fireworks at (one of which she was just at), and they were similarly jammed pack with people (Signal Hill, and some neighbourhood hill). It was ridiculous to think about–walking back from the Lake, the people crowded into that one, closed off road; looking back, I couldn’t see the end of the human mass! Once again, St. John’s citizens show their passion and liveliness…

What a day it was–I was exhausted! However, it was a lot of fun to experience Canada Day in a completely different place in the country; when you live too long in a city, I think you stop caring or knowing all the local things that happen, or have seen it too much already to be bothered. It’s so refreshing to experience it all over again.

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  1. Sounds awesome!

    And quick reply to your emails – in terms of France, I’d want to know how much the bus, ferry, and room would cost. I’ll look into it when I get a chance.

    I also totally don’t mind bringing you some stuff on behalf of your parents. The tricky thing will be figuring out a time/place to meet them or your brother to pick things up. I suppose I could transit up to Dalhousie and make the exchange, or whatever works.

    A more detailed reply may be forthcoming. But! If France is reasonable, I don’t see why we could do that Fri-Sat (or whatever), and still have 2-3 days for eating, walking, and seeing the sites. That sort of thing. It’s just more about cost XD;

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