adventures in the far east β€” of canada!

A weekend of good b’ys

In food, friends, st. john's on July 12, 2009 at 5:24 pm

No, not goodbyes. If you thought that…then you’re just not paying attention!

After the excitement of Friday, I barely woke up in time for a lunch thing with the Memorial University prof I met (first meeting at Christian’s Bar last week, of course) who also does high school. MATH of all things, haha. Yikes, my worst subject, and I liked to say that I was done with math for life. It seems not, at least as it comes in the form of a person.

Anyway, this came from that Kijiji post I made weeks ago, to which I’m still receiving some replies. I have a lovely batch of friends now, but that doesn’t mean I won’t meet with these people if they’re willing–you can never meet too many interesting people, right?

He introduced me to Leo’s, a quaint, family-run restaurant that he says serves the best fish and chips in town. I’m not usually a big consumer of fried things, but every so often sure, and in the name of a new experience, I’ll do just about anything once. Afterward asking around, many others have also confirmed the superiority of Leo’s over Ches’s, another restaurant literally steps away that is more famously cited as being the best fish and chips place. Leo’s is more a best-kept secret; prof-man says Ches’s has embraced the whole tourism thing, and have some gimmicky thing (certificates, but not a screech thing) to attract visitors.

Fish and chips has never been expensive. The fries were good, but the fish…wow! I wasn’t expecting to be impressed…they were large hunks of cod, lightly fried. Thought they’d be like fish sticks, or something.

Somehow, the people of Leo have perfected the art of frying up fish so it is just cooked on the inside…it was still soft but flaky, moist and juicy. I was told that they only ever use fresh fish, just caught that day, and never frozen; if for whatever reason they have to use frozen fish, they will put up an apologetic note to inform everyone. The staff at the restaurant knew my host well, and they bantered in a way that was familiar and warm.

Afterward, he drove me to Quidi Vidi, the village absorbed in St. John’s by the Atlantic, but sheltered by what’s called The Narrows, exactly like what it sounds, but hard to visualize just how narrow it is before it widens into this cove where the village is. He told me there can be a raging storm on the Atlantic, but because of the Narrows, it’s still very calm at Quidi Vidi. Oh, I didn’t have a camera with me, but he was good enough to drive me back to retrieve it before this little excursion. I don’t feel too bad, because given the size of St. John’s, you can drive across it in 30 minutes (confirmed with Google!).

A view of Quidi Vidi

A view of Quidi Vidi

Quidi Vidi village home

Quidi Vidi village home

The Narrows

The Narrows

Then he showed me his place, and we just hung out and chatted. He’s nearish the airport…so, Jamie, you may have a better picker-upper when you arrive! I’ll ask him next I see him…he’s pretty chill, I don’t foresee any problems, and he’s on break with school out. But he said something about a math convention in August…hmm.

Delivered back home, I met up with Jeanne again, and she gave me my screech certificate (she held it for us Friday night, as she had a bag). Then we strolled to Harbourside Park and its section of St. John’s harbour to just relax and chat by the sea breeze, because it was too bloody hot but too nice not to be out…

St. John's harbour

St. John's harbour

Anchors by the harbour

Anchors by the harbour

Rocky outcrop of St. John's harbour

Rocky outcrop of St. John's harbour

I was impressed to discover that the Harbourside Park had more free shows during the weekend, singers doin’ their thing; a schedule was posted on benches. Is there no end to free music and performance in this city? πŸ™‚

Harbourside Park

Harbourside Park

Later, we headed back to my place, and I fed us Thai green curry. The superior stuff to the restaurant, of course. She loved it, as did Ruth…I love feeding people! πŸ˜€ Next came Karen’s birthday party at her place, and we got picked up by a co-worker of hers. A real funny guy whose humour reminded me of one of my own co-workers, and lo and behold, he told me he was great friends with Chris. I have begun to see what I’ve been told so often here–it’s a small city where everyone seemingly knows everyone. 6 degrees of separation? There’s probably like 3 in St. John’s! I’m quite liking it, but some of the people who’ve lived here for years say sometimes though, they wish they could be a little more anonymous. I can see what they mean, but I haven’t reached that point, yet!

Her party was lovely, BBQ and cake in her lawn…and a lot of us were under these makeshift tarp tents to…shelter us…

Under the tent at Karen's

Under the tent at Karen's

Ahem. I have not talked about this yet, but it is certainly a…uniquely disgusting negative of St. John’s (and it’s only a problem here). 5 or 6 years ago, the city’s deciduous trees were overrun by spanworms. People figure being a port city, every so often something like this is brought across from wherever. Albertans, think pine beetles (a pest they don’t have here), but for elm, maples, and other trees with leaves.

They’re these startlingly large brown caterpillars that eat and crap like machines; if you look up at trees, many leaves are chewed through. People tell me when you squish them, they’re all gooey green, because of their diet. Anyway, years ago when it was really bad, the city’s trees were nearly leafless! I’m told now they’re nearing the end of their cycle, and will soon (thankfully) die off.

They wouldn’t be a problem if they didn’t like to dangle on a thread of silk and hang there like twigs (which they resemble as camouflage if they still very still), or writhe on the end of their bungees. I’ve literally run into a few myself–yuck. Every time trees overhang the sidewalk (very, very often in this old city), you’re bound to see some, and I’m constantly alert to spotting and dodging them, but sometimes you just don’t see them…

Ruth told me that when it was really bad and she slept upstairs in the house, she once thought the pitter-patter on the rooftop was the rain. But it was not raining–it was a mass of spanworms eating and crapping simultaneously onto the roof and car, so many of them it sounded like water! Don’t believe me? An image I found that friends have described to me (that I didn’t initially believe either…”A solid mass of worms on a tree or side of a house.”):

Spanworm infestation

Spanworm infestation

Back to the tent…it was to shelter us from the many worms (not nearly as much as the above image nowadays) that can drop or hang down, and their poo. And I’m not joking…throughout the night, you would hear some pitter-patter of their crap hitting the tarp! Ugh.

The party was another great venue to chat up some new people. It wouldn’t get too late into the night, though–many were planning to head downtown (George Street), and many were bound for the Idler’s second show at The Dock. As much as they rocked, I could not go this time, despite wanting to–I had a group run today with The Running Room I wanted to check out at 8:30 am…and I did manage to drag myself out to it.

Walking by The Rooms at night...blurry but cool

Walking by The Rooms at night...blurry but cool

Oh, and that gets into my Sunday, a short, uneventful day usually. I tend to do laundry and relax; the peace was not unwelcome. Any more excitement and I’ll go into overdrive!

The run was alright, but I must admit, slightly too easy. We did almost 9 km in 70 minutes or so at, to me, a fairly leisurely pace. However, I did not know the route, so I had to run by the front leader (there’s also a mid and back leader). I would have happily led further ahead if I knew which paths to take among the many running and walking trails, but oh well. Good people though, and I think I’d do it again. There are other groups of harder difficulty…they had groups for 3 km to 16 km, but I thought I’d start somewhere in the middle and see how it is.

I may do the harder ones next time, but…to me, increasing distance only does so much. Yes, it’s more “challenging”–but effective running for the body is faster, or you do interval training (very fast, very slow). I may not be able to do the 16 km, for example, all the way through at the front of the pack, but somewhere along the looooong run, your body has quickly adapted to the constant stress, so it’s not as great as most believe. Maybe you can run 90 minutes non-stop for a year, but a few months in, it does less and less for you.

But I digress. It was still not bad, but again, too bloody hot. Damn you, good weather!

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  1. o_o Ew. Eeeeww. When I come, you’re going to have to teach me what I’m looking out for. Although, this dangling on a thread and just sort of hanging there sounds similar to what I’ve see a green caterpillar/worm/thing doing around here. But yeah, you don’t want to see me bug freak. It doesn’t always happen, but when it does it’s not pretty >_<

    As for pick-up, right on! If it's anyone but you, just give them a sign with my name on it or something. Or a big Flash symbol, or something from Greek mythology. Then I'll know who to drift towards.

    Glad to hear you're still having lots of fun, and meeting tons of people. You'll know everyone in St. John's in no time πŸ˜‰

  2. Don’t worry, they’re usually quite visible!

    I’ll ask him about it when I see him Sunday.

    As to meeting everyone…definitely, walking around here, you tend to bump into someone you know. I don’t know a ton of people yet, but it’s already happening!

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