"Blogging isn't journalism, it's graffiti with punctuation."

Vancouver

Check out my interview in Vancouver 24 Hours!

vancouver24hours

Recently I was interviewed by Anny Chih at 24 Hours Vancouver (Sun News Media) about how I graduated from university almost debt free. In fact, I was able to pay off my student loans in one fell-swoop, a single cheque, before interest and late fees could accrue. How did I do it? It’s all in this article!

Clicky the linky!

The basic take away from this short piece: always always always make a case for yourself. Stick your neck out. Take chances. Even if you think you’re not qualified for something, just apply anyways. What have you got to lose?

Enjoy, munchkins!


ontario loves to mess around with the BC sound

when i was in victoria BC last year, i photographed this gandhi saying in a café

i found the same quote stencil’d onto a street lamp in chinatown the other night

and then when i was in vancouver BC a couple months ago, i photographed this moosey

then a couple nights ago by the grange, i photographed this moosey

technically, this is a caribou, but whatevs.

it’s east side v west side. bring on the gang wars.

east side wut wut!

 


it’s the crazy ones that have the good pills

i found this stencil’d into the sidewalk in vancouver this past summer.


szerelem


i heard that you like the bad girls, honey, is that true?

this video of me hiking along the ancient Inca Trail to Machu Picchu features mountains, all-terrain biking, zip-lining, monkeys, turkeys, duckies, hammock-ing, sacred valleys, heavy breathing, children playing, raging waters, Justin Bieber, beautiful incas, and lots of people waving and kissing my camera. oh, and many shots of my sweaty horseface. ENJOY!

i have realized that i took so many photos and catalogued so many experiences whilst in Peru, that i will need to break it up into several different blog posts. if i put it all in one post, it would be the longest post ever, and you guys would be scrolling and scrolling. no one wants that.

so this post will be about Cuzco only, the starting point of my hiking trek to Machu Picchu.

this is the centre of Cuzco, and also the view from my hostel. on the day i arrived, they were having a huge festival in the centre square Plaza des Armas.

why?

because they could. that’s just how they roll.

Cuzco has an elevation of 4000 feet above sea level, and they warn that you need at least a day of rest upon arrival to acclimate to the altitude.

by this point, i had taken four flights in three days (vancouver to toronto, toronto to san salvador, san salvador to lima, lima to cuzco), so my body was completely wrecked by all of the altitude changes i had already endured.

arriving in Cuzco, with my 12 kilo backpack on, i had to climb a series of steep steps to get up to my hostel, and not only did i run out of breath (me! out of breath! NEVER HAPPENS), i also became light-headed, dizzy, and very nearly lost my footing.

i drank a lot of coca tea when i arrived at the top. coca leaves are grown all over peru, and while they are the main ingredient for cocaine, exist in a sort of legal grey area in Peru. you can chew them for energy, and you can harvest them if they grow naturally on your land, but you can’t plant them, and you can only harvest so much. i think even Peruvians aren’t so certain on the drug laws there.

my hostel had a resident pussy….cat.

i was really lonely my first few days in Peru. the tour hadn’t really started yet, and i had been placed in single rooms in my hostels in lima and cuzco, whereas i’m used to staying in hostel dorms. while having a room to myself is great for having your own loo, telly, and bed, the problem is you don’t meet ANYBODY. in the dorms, you always meet people, some of whom end up being lifelong friends (in my case, some of my best friends are people i met in dorms while backpacking across europe).

so i was wandering around Cuzco for two days, pretty much keeping to myself, trying to explore the city, eat to keep my strength up, and find some graffiti and street art to keep my imagination occupied.

but really, i was just running in and out of doorways, trying to stay out of the rain.

one nice hotel clerk let me sit at the bar before it had even opened so i could come out of the rain. he was awfully nice. and i cowardly left when he was out of the room to avoid a lengthy goodbye.

incas are the first nations of peru and south america. their language is quechua. with the invasion, genocide, war, and slaughter of the conquistadors (aka the Spanish) in the 1400s, the incas were driven from their homes. now, although many incan descendants still speak Quechua, there is no employment or education available to them unless they speak Spanish. i didn’t learn this from my time in Peru, mind you. i pieced this information together from watching this scene in The Motorcycle Diaries.

llama and el paca’s rule like cows do in india. this one even has it’s own villa in the heart of cuzco. glass doors and shit.

oh you fancy, huh

i paid one sole for this photo. they all posed dutifully when i withdrew my camera and pointed it at them. then they bumrushed me for money. after years of travelling, i know this is the score. you can’t take photos of people without paying a little out of your pocket. it’s only fair.

nothing is free, and tourists shouldn’t balk at paying the small fee for a nice photo.

of course the scenery is lush and ornate. climbing the cobbled steps of cuzco isn’t really a chore if you’re in the spirit of things.

taking neurotic photos of myself is how i get in the spirt, i s’pose.

like many ancient cities that i have travelled to, the infrastructure is composed of ruins upon ruins. wreckage upon wreckage.

in the case of cuzco, it’s walls upon walls. that’s the original ancient Inca city wall that used to envelope the city. of course, they have built upon those walls now, but the originals still stand.

see the snake?

incans believed that animals represented the three states of existence.

the condor represented heaven

the puma represented life on earth

and the snake represented the underworld.

so i guess the incans built this section of the wall for satan? i’unno.

in my next post when i get to machu picchu, you’ll see how the condor manifests itself in its design.

puma coming up.

after years of backpacking and taking travel photos, i’ve learned that, especially in ancient cities, doorways are excellent for framing and centring your shots.

they draw the eye to the centre, they provide a classic frame, but most of all, they leave a sense of curiosity and wonder to the viewer. they catch of glimpse of what’s beyond the doorway, and it’s only a snippet of life. they want to see more of that life beyond the door. it makes them want to travel. doorways are interesting for a reason, they beckon.

try walking around amsterdam or warsaw or paris without stopping in some ancient doorway and finding yourself mesmerized.

see how they’ve built upon the ancient inca wall?

too bad there’s a canadian growing out of it now.

i did a city tour that day in cuzco, and was largely unimpressed by what they think tourists want to see.

they took us to a church called Qorikancha.

i kept thinking of Q’orianka Kilcher as a result.

she’s beautiful but her and colin farrell couldn’t actually kiss on camera in that film, otherwise it would have been considered child pornography.

Qorikancha used to be an Incan temple, but the christians destroyed most of it to build their dominican church in its place.

because Peru is subject to  many severe, violent earthquakes, the christian architecture has crumbled upon itself several times over (much like its leotarded belief system), but the incan foundations have remained unblemished, virtually unmoved. they didn’t use any clays or epoxy resins to keep their bricks in place, instead they used an interlocking system between the stones.

earthquake proof, devised by the incans.

you’re welcome.

q’orianka kilcher, on the other hand, has done nothing noteworthy since.

doorways. see what i mean?

i think i ended up taking so many poxy photos of myself because i was bored of the church.

Lonely Planet guides are the worst for this. when you travel, they ONLY recommend churches and museums. after stuffing my gob with nothing but churches and museums around europe, i can unequivocally say that, “you seen one, you seen em all.” fuck that, i want to do ACTIVE things when i travel.

like last year in british columbia, when i did whitewater rafting, kayaking, zip-lining, bungee-jumping, and downhill mountain biking in just a few days.

or the inca trek that i was about to participate in.

i hate churches and i hate museums (for the most part. some museums that are specialized are uber sweet. like the Bata Shoe Museum, that’s pretty kickass. but i especially hate museums that are about christian history, it’s like i paid entry for archaeology and history, and instead wound up in a fucking church, which i hate to begin with….. you see my dilemma?)

the tour took me from Qorikancha to Sacsayhuaman, which are incan ruins in the mountains that cup Cuzco in their bellies. it was, for the most part, unimpressive. the views were great, and so was the rainbow that decided to arc over our heads right before the sky sagged and capsized with rain again.

remember how i said that the inca’s used the puma to represent life on earth? look at this above photo.

see it?

Posing like raging pompous idiot gives me an immense sense of self-satisfaction. i ruined yet another kodak moment.

go me.

i think i was trying to give the wink and the gun in this photo, but i was wearing thick woolly gloves which made the act in trying ludicrous, thusly resulting in my hysterics.

i call this “inca woman with baby in the mountains, as seen from inside a wet, muggy tour bus, taken with a shit digital camera bought in 2006 in berlin for €200”

the sky is painted like an ocean.

this is the only souvenir that i bought in the whole of Peru – a keychain of two Inca figures going to town on each other. a scene from an Incan Kama Sutra if you will.

this was the cleanest one i could find. some of the other keychains had them going doggy-style. another was of the woman doing a hand-stand, spread-eagle, while the man’s tongue was all up in her ladybits. at the same time, her head was bent backwards, contorted, to give him some oral loving.

those were some talented incans.

suffice it to say, buying the missionary position one was the least offensive but still hella-funny version that i could find.

ek2NMB on Make A Gif, Animated Gifs

next post: machu picchu, or how chrissy got her groove back.


i tie my hands up to a chair so i don’t fall that way

home from Vancouver, walk in the front door, check my mail ….

and BLAMMO! suddenly everything is coming up Milhouse! (Simpsons quote)

I’ve been awarded a Toronto Arts Council grant for writers (level two)!

The last time the TAC graciously awarded me a grant was waaaay back in 2003!

huzzah! now i can actually focus on my novel without worrying where my next paycheque is coming from.

the universe owed me one. i’ve been taking many for the team lately.

i leave for Peru on tomorrow. i’ll be hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu with Karikuy, the Peruvian travel company who has generously awarded me this bucket-list-life-changing-mind-blowing-braingasm-see-it-before-you-die journey of a lifetime (i won this contest).

seeing as how i’ll be gone until october, i’ve scheduled some blog posts to go live while i’m gone.

i’ve been tinkering with what i like to call “tumblr-esque” images. i’ve taken old photographs of mine from my travels and adventures around the world, edited them, enhanced them, polished them, and added to them some of my favourite expressions, sayings, anecdotes, proverbs, and sometimes just my feelings.

if these prove popular, then they might become a regular occurrence on The Spadina Monologues. feedback is welcome!

but i know you’re all hankering for a Vancouver-graffiti spankerin.

i took almost 300 photos of Vancouver graffiti in just two days. the city is loaded with inspired and provocative artists.

on Main street near 7th avenue, “a society cannot fix a drug problem until it realizes no it is the cause of it.”

on a café window in the same location.

on carrall, in between hastings and cordova.

this piece on Cordova is a collaboration between Redrum AYS (the All You See crew) and Jerm IX, whose scrolls I have photographed before in the alleys of Toronto.

in the Cambie street alleyway in between Hastings and Cordova

this has a “planet of the apes” motif to me, and the artist has stenciled it elsewhere too in the alley.

here it is again, the two headed monster.

ryan told me that suu kye is actually a rather famous vancouver street artist.

it reminds me of classified photographs from the chinese government leaked to the press of the people they’ve executed.

dunno who this dude is, or why he’s taking photographs of himself, but the other street artists don’t like him.

they’ve tagged it, “this is not what you do for street cred.”

this prisoner makes my heart ache.

DJs are not rockstars, but the vinyls would make good discus instruments.

DJs are not angels either.

ZOMBWAY: eat flesh.

i think this one is probably my favourite piece of street art in all of vancouver.

this wheatpeaste of this martial arts dude is all over vancouver.

here it is again on smithe street.

alf as scarface.

alface.

i space invader you too.

i really wish more of these street artists put their names on these pieces. this particular wheatpaste is haunting and deserves a credit.

i love stickers. this is also by Jerm IX

this was on the side of The Foundation where Ryan and i had dinner.

ha! if this was toronto or new york or london, the tags would criticize the government. NOT VANCOUVER. everyone loves it there, and their mayor is one hottie-tottie.

shit, guy.

dan winnick was killed last year, so they erected this memorial (the ghost bike below, and the stencil’d message above) for him.

aww. bless.

on commercial drive

i don’t get it either, but i still love it.

silly costume break with ryan!!

annnnd we’re back.

who puts fish in their boots?

i want this engraved in my epitaph as opposed to words.

this was outside commerical drive station. i can’t believe someone chalked over this, it’s brilliant.

designated drug spot. reminds me of banksy’s designated riot area. well done.

looks like an asian immigrant lost amongst the city.

i’m givin’r!

this was on granville.

“one her art?”

not sure i get it, but i like the image and the “let go” at either ends.

matched with the ‘seeded heart” above.

this is great, i can now just travel from city to city and document the local graffiti scene for this blog.

although most of my Peruvian extravaganza will be spent hiking up to Machu Picchu, i will have a day or two in Lima.

i’ll keep an eye out for some great graffiti!

finished packing, and I’m so excited for this adventure. I love strapping on a backpack and just disappearing into someone else’s world.

out of my comfort zone, pushed to my limits, exploring the world, but most of all, learning more about myself.

my body is a boat, and you are travelling in me.


“blogging isn’t journalism, it’s graffiti with punctuation”

The Toronto Star recently profiled Deadboy, who, as most of you know, has been a friend of The Spadina Monologues for months now, and I’ve always profiled his work. In the article, The Spadina Monologues got a brief but important mention in reference to Deadboy’s work and my profiling of graffiti. Check out the article, because I’m pretty sure this means I am now a Toronto graffiti authority. Called it.

My panel discussion, Brands, Agencies, and Influencers Unite, at the Social Media Week conference went really well! There was easily 100 people in attendance, and they were all live-tweeting almost every point we made.

that’s darren on the left, our moderator. him and i had plenty to chat about, as we’re both playwrights and theatre nuts. bruno is sitting next to me, we took the Via train together and shared so many experiences that by the time we got to this panel, we were ribbing each other with our elbows like old chums. he’s mah boy! next to bruno is stéphane from the NFB, and not pictured is Yves from Via Rail, who took us all out to dinner afterward. Loved them all!

first they introduced the videos that bruno and i made about our train experience, and then we began to talk about brand-agency-blogger relationships.

i was able to make several important points that i’ve been wanting to express for a while, since my life as an “influential blogger” or whatever began.

#1: most of the daily pitches i receive from brands or agencies are clearly cut n’ paste with my name jammed in at the top

#2 most of the pitches basically say, “please do my job for me. FOR FREE.”

#3 these agencies or brands will mass-email-blast their pitches to a cornucopia of bloggers, rather than actually doing research into the bloggers they’re pitching, nor understanding whether or not the pitch will be suitable for these bloggers.

#4 I blog about graffiti/street art/culture-jamming….and travel/adrenaline junkie activities ….. and theatre/film. so why am i getting pitches about Mattel’s new barbie and ken dolls? or Dunkin Donuts’ national donut day campaign? or vodka tastings? Those are beyond the voice of my blog, they don’t fit with my ethos, and my readers wouldn’t give a toss about those campaigns.

#5 brands and agencies should be more concerned about pitching to influencers whom they actually want to build long term mutually-beneficial relationships with, rather than EVERYBODY for a short period of time.

according to the panel’s program, i now am the NFB’s co-director with Stéphane.

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST. I GET STEPHANE’S PAYCHEQUE THIS MONTH. IT’S IN PRINT!

s’okay, my nametag was correct.

Via Rail put me up in the posh and luxurious Opus Hotel in the heart of trendy Yaletown in Vancouver. my room was so lush. when a  single gal with an orgasmic rush of energy is given a sexy, mojo-enhancing room like this, there’s only one thing she can do.

opus hotel

what did you think i meant? get your minds outta the gutter!

or back in the gutter?

in the morning, with the sunshine pouring in through my massive window, i knew i was going to have a classically cool Vancouver day.

Opus’ communications manager left me a lil’ gift and an awfully kind note at the front desk too. he had heard me speak at the panel the night before. fanks Jer!

i decided to only wear black and white all day.

i let my personality fill in the colour.

summer 2011 is officially over. this was an exceptionally difficult summer.

i quit my job. i went through a heartbreak. and then received a bad health diagnosis.

i will not miss this summer at all.

Yet despite all of that, happiness still abounds in my life.
Life always finds a way.


#VIAyvr: travelling on Via Rail from Toronto to Vancouver

I just got off The Canadian! I boarded at Union Station in Toronto on Thursday night (the 15th), and spent three days and four nights weaving through the thick green forests of North Western Ontario and Manitoba, then zooming along the flat amber prairies of Saskatchewan and Alberta, and finally the lush and ornate Rocky Mountains of British Columbia.

The colours beyond the train windows were glorious, and they dazzled my eyes with so much beauty, it almost hurt my heart.

I’ve ridden the rail networks of Europe and Asia extensively, so I know what makes an enjoyable journey, and what makes a hellish one. This journey was luxurious, relaxed, and such a wonder. You can fit Europe within the borders of Canada, but unlike Europe, you won’t need a passport to make this journey. At each stop, the terrain changed, the people and communities changed. No two cities or town or hamlets or villages were alike. This is an amazing country we live in, and we need to explore it more, on top of exploring other countries.

We all love to fly and save time, but last year when I flew from Toronto to Vancouver, I never saw or experienced what I did on the train. I got to see what most people just pass over.

The world is a massive place, and I feel sorry for those who spend their entire lives in one place. That would be an awful waste.

The food on board was something I wasn’t expecting! Included in the price of your berth or cabin (I had a cushy cabin all to myself!), you get three squares a day, and they weren’t something just thrown together and microwaved (I’m looking at you, Europe!). I’m talking sumptuous hearty meals that I often couldn’t finish, the portions were so hearty and rich!

My single cabin had it’s own bed, chair, sink, loo, electrical outlets, towels, toiletries, a fan, and even little chocolates left on my pillow!

And the great thing about long rail journeys is the people you meet! I met some other like-minded travellers who were looking for adventure and taking adventure of everything Canada has to offer. Each night, I would encounter someone new.  There was one interesting fellow from Victoria who cycled from Victoria to Halifax this year, and he’s 57 years old! He left Victoria on D-Day, and arrived in Halifax on the anniversary of 9/11. Talk about an adventurer!

Recognize the bloke in the middle? That’s Omari Akil Newton, who stars in Blue Mountain State, a huge hit on the Spike Network. Him and I spent many nights yapping it up in the dining car, he was totally cool, and a fellow West Island native too (we grew up in the same small town of Kirkland Quebec!). Even celebs  take the train.

This was the journey of a life-time, one that I won’t soon forget, and I’m so grateful that my wanderlust and thirst for adventure facilitated such an experience! Tonight I’m talking on a panel at Social Media Week Conference here in Vancouver about the journey. So if you’re about, here are the details! I’d love to see your faces!

Remember what St. Augustine said, “The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.”


the more i know people, the more i love the smiths


i leave today! Via Rail is putting me on the cross-canada train from Toronto to Vancouver (with a brief stop in Jasper, Alberta) to blog, vlog, and live-tweet the train experience, and upon arrival in Vancouver, I will be speaking on a panel for the Social Media Week conference. The panel is “Brands, Agencies, and Influencers” and we’re discussing how to build personal brands, the relationship between brands and bloggers, and the ethics therein. if you’re gonna be in Vancouver on September 19th, register to hear a sistah speak here!

most of you know that i’m a huge travel junkie, so being able to explore my own country as much as i’ve explored others is a huge opportunity, one that i couldn’t pass on. it takes a bigger woman than me to refuse such a generous offer.

i’ve travelled the european rail networks extensively, and i swear by them because they’re fast, they’re efficient, and they’re inexpensive. i’ve always been a critic of our canadian rail system, so this experience is the opportune time to prove me wrong.

time to whip out my backpack and load it up with travel essentials. tell me, what does one wear to a panel discussion? business casual? i have my pencil skirts and blouses buried somewhere.

more importantly, what does one wear on a train for three days? Via Rail has set me up in the swanky sleeper touring class cabin, where i will apparently get my own shower, and my meals prepared by a kickass chef. i get my own cabin as well, NO SHARESIES!

when i rode the rails in europe, I always had to settle for the 4 bed or 6 bed couchettes shared with complete strangers who snored, had screaming children, or yipped out the window at every train platform we crossed.

one time, when travelling for over 24 hours from lisbon to budapest (it’s a fricken lonnnnnng train ride, with stopovers in paris and vienna), there were no couchettes left, and i had to sit upright in a compartment with 4 others all night. it was THE WORST.

in india, you didn’t even get a separate compartment. you just slept right out in the open, no curtains, no privacy, and everything at risk of being stolen.

anyway, ADVENTURE TALLY HO!

see ya on the west coast, suckas.

*   *   *

speaking of Social Media and influence, I tweeted this on the 10th anniversary 9/11:

as you can see, it was RT’d by more than 100 people, which actually happens quite a lot on my end, but that number was probably increased when it was RT’d by my main man:

now i finally know what celebrity tweeters have to endure.  some people were INCENSED by those nine little words. amazing how one little pacifist sentiment can incite so much furor. some of the messages i received in response to that tweet were ripped right out of Team America, surely. most of them were xenophobic and racist comments directed toward arabs and muslims, i might add. twitter really is the only refuge for the scoundrels.

hey everybody! got an opinion? you should post it on twitter.

PEOPLE WILL SHIT THEMSELVES.

I worked at the CN Tower during 9/11. I quit shortly thereafter, as did everyone else. I don’t just mean employees, I also mean guests and customers. Towers became taboo.

“Hi Christine,

Let me introduce myself…i’ll go by the name stikki peaches…its my street artist name!
I was sent your link from a friend of mine which knows about my work, and i just wanted to say thanks for the appreciation, exposure and love for what i do, and what other artists do. I’m the ” What if Art ruled the World? ” guy. 🙂 
Unlike a lot of street artists…i like to raise a question, universally, and throw it out there, and its been quite funny, cool, interesting to see and hear what ppl think, either on the web ( blogs ) or with ppl i may meet when actually wheatpasting one of my stencils. I try to keep a really low profile, but sometimes where i chose to lay my art down, isn’t actually the most secluded places. I guess it makes it more exciting. Anyhow, again a big thank you, and if you’re ever in the St-Laurent area again, check out Bernard street, i got a couple of pieces put up around the alleys there too. Little Italy as well.
 A la prochain…Take care.
With luv…SP.
( This message may self destruct in 3….2…1…ok maybe it won’t but whatever…) “

i’ve been blogging about Deadboy‘s street art and graffiti for months and months now, and we talk often.

guess who i finally met?

YES YES YA’LL.

Deadboy had informed me a few weeks ago that he had been asked to participate in the street art showcase  which drops in toronto on september 24th, and the official media announcement was last week at City Hall, so i went to support the man in the mask.

 i actually didn’t realize he was the one in the mask until he waved at me and came over to say hi. seeing as how we’ve never met before, and i have no clue what he looks like, i just assumed he was someone else. as he got closer, i looked at his mask and was like WAAAAAIT A MINUTE, that’s the mask used in his street art!

anyway, we spoke for about an hour, and the press conference was actually super interesting. turns out the Street Art Showcase has received invitations from Bristol (banky’s hometown) and 5Pointz in Queens!

imma be out of town on the 24th (going to Peru!), but you should definitely check out the showcase. follow them on twitter for updates. support Deadboy, tell him Estima sent ya.

speaking of City Hall….

..and another one…

see what i did there?

lol.

interesting viewpoint.

do i think that graffiti and street art is vandalism?

the short answer to that is no.

the long answer is FUCK NO.

another brilliant and colourful Spud bomb, right across the street from MuchMusic.

CHRISSY MAD! CHRISSY SMASH!

i’ve not blogged about the Good Bike project lately, because there are just soooo many bikes to cover, and i see so many of them, i doubt i could ever photograph them all before they’re busted or ripped up. but this one on queen and spadina caught my eye because it had a name on it.

the Good Bike project ladies put Jane Jacob‘s name on another bike, so i’m wondering if Isabella Angel is an activist like Jacobs?

site specific work is the most ingenious work.

i love the idea that someone saw that sewer hole with the pylons and envisioned something else for it, something that is clever and provocative and colourful.

*   *   *

speaking of colourful, i was invited to the Diet Coke TIFF fest this year.

i went last year, and as you can see from my blog post at the time, it was a much smaller affair, just our little twitter crew. we all fit into 2 limos at the time. now the Toronto twitter crew has grown so much such that the attendance was easily over 500.

i didn’t bring my camera but raymi‘s photographer colleague made up for that.

there’s ameet off to the left. we met last year when he used to date a friend of mine, but we kind of run in the same circles, so we bump into each other from time to time.

this looks inappropriate.

raymi says she looks like sharon stone in this pic.

and i look like rachel weisz.

our movie would be box office poison.

my friend paul wrote a round-up of the night’s events for The Grid, and decided to link up one of my tweets about the night in the article (go to 10:30pm, and the hyperlinked “REALLY” in brackets at the end of the paragraph).

i stand by my love of veggie poutine, dammit.

and hey, i write for The Grid too, ya know.

Estelle was brilliant, and i managed to elbow my way to the front.

she’s so gorgeous.

and her shoes were fierce, miss thang.

reg and i were made into flipbooks. watch this video until the very end, where i vent my frustation in caption-form.

*   *  *


i meandered by a venue last night that i shouldn’t have. i saw the scooter and took off running.
go away. please go away.


and you’re draped on him while you’re staring at me

Oh don't give me that look

I can finally announce some exciting news that I’ve been keeping a lid on for WEEKS now. I am an invited panellist for the upcoming Social Media Week Conference in Vancouver! I will be discussing influence, building my personal online brand, and the influence of my social media initiatives whilst on the road. The talk is fostered by Via Rail, and they are putting me on the cross-Canada train from Toronto to Vancouver, where I will blog and live-tweet while zooming through our country’s beautiful Rockies, plains, forests, and lakes. My travel junkie virus is acting up just thinking about it!

If you’re going to the conference, or will be in Vancouver from September 19 to 23, register here to attend the event.

I’ll be hanging around for a few days after the panel, so if you’re about in Van.City and want to destroy the city in hockey-fuelled riots (I kid, I kid), you know where to find me!

More details on my panel discussion can be found here.

my follow-up post will be all about Montreal graffiti. swearsies.

so for now, just indulge me.

montreal is a city rich with my family history.

my maternal family emigrated there from lebanon at the turn of the 20th century. my paternal family emigrated there from portugal around 60 years ago. almost every street, park, market, village, or mountain is stained with the faces of my family.

the look of the houses, the wrought-iron stairwells that spiral down rue berri, the distinct joual accent, the crumble and fall of the streets in disrepair, the dépanneurs hip-jointing each corner like bolts…. as if my childhood was slapping me around, waking me up.

i was remembering that dream, of that other life i used to live. i thought i had imagined it.

it had been almost 20 years since i had seen an old friend from elementary school.

we reconnected at café névé on rue rachel, and i actually remembered his mannerisms and facial expressions.

it had been so long since i had seen him, i was beginning to believe i had made him up in my head.

growing up in quebec, we  were bred (like the rest of canada) to hate toronto. then when i moved to toronto at the age of 12, i found myself converted. toronto=awesome. but perhaps because i missed out on montrealer teenage rebellion and discovery, i never developed a strong connection to the city.

minus the years that i lived abroad, i’ve spent the majority of my adult life in toronto which has a vibe and culture all its own. i love it and will always fight its corner

but now, i’m entertaining a return to montreal.

even on the Métro, bouncing about as the trains’ rubber tires rolled us from station to station, i felt somewhere familiar. somewhere that i really belonged. i fought hard to carve my name with toronto’s pen knife. but there’s enough skin left on this gal to carve another.

maybe i never wanted to return to montreal because of all the painful memories.

but that’s a blog post for another day.

philip and i have known each other for donkey’s years, we did our Masters degrees together. he likes to brag that i knew him when he was “straight.”

aw pumpkin, you were foolin’ no one.

duluth alley kids

these kids were playing jump rope in an alley off of Duluth.

zero photo-editing here. if this were black and white, this could pass for a turn-of-the-century snap.

Montreal=keepers and purveyors of vintage cool.

the de Maisonneuve cross.

my grandfather, great grandfather (et.al.) are buried up there on Mont Royal.

there’s probably no space to add me into the family plot. they’ll have to bury me sideways.

we cycled through parc jarry, and then cheered on a gay softball tournament.

40 years ago, my mother worked for the Expos in parc jarry.

phil is such a blessed character. when he laughs, his body ricochets joy. blade-worthy sharp intelligence, and loves to jaunt.

he’s also my saviour when it comes to killing spiders.

from the moment I rolled into montreal on boulevard réné levesque and gave a street kid at a red light a twoonie, my french kicked in with a throttle. for the past few years, i have maintained my french daily by switching my facebooktwitter, emails, and my blackberry to french. it forces me to practice, and it paid off. i only stumbled a bit over my conjugation (fuck you subjonctif! il faut que tu fasse un bise sur mon trou de cul).

this tex mex dinner was had on a patio in marché jean talon, which i haven’t been to since i was eight or nine years old.

my Sitto used to take me every weekend with my great aunts, and although i don’t remember much, i do remember Sitto giving me a quarter to drop into the cup of a disabled man who was selling pencils. i also remember the caged animals next to the fruit stands. they don’t sell caged animals there anymore.

he’s so fierce.

piggy backs: a billion three-year-olds can’t be wrong.

getting tanked in the graffiti alleys. we bring the party.

if you missed it in my last post, here’s the video that i made of my Montreal extravaganza.

i’m fucking endearing.

*   *   *

Once again, I’m reviewing films for this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, so if you see me around the festival circuit, or in the cinemas furiously scribbling, don’t hesitate to say hi.

If you mistake me for my doppleganger Rachel Weisz, don’t feel bad. Happens all the livelong day.

see what i mean?

Hey Rachel, if you’re in town for the fest, let a sistah know. Let’s walk the red carpets together and freak the shit outta the paps.


this is why i haven’t blogged in a while

more updates to come later about the hilarity that is my Vida Estima, but in the meantime, enjoy this video compilation i made about my adventures this summer in Vancouver and Whistler. comments are welcome!


Vancouver Day 9

there was an earthquake that hit eastern canada yesterday, centered in ottawa, it was felt in toronto, montreal, even in ohio and new york city. so, being the resident shit-disturber of twitter, i tweeted this.
before i could scour other people’s tweets, that one tweet had been retweeted 46 times, and was copy & pasted RT’d an additional 50 times. i have never been retweeted so much in my entire life. it was like two hours of massive internet fame (better than 15 minutes i s’pose). some people applauded it’s humour, others got their backs up the morality side and called me a princess bitch. either way, i loved the attention, and even made a top 30 list of earthquake tweets.
i am amazing.
so back to my last day in vancouver. day 9 (coupled with 5 days in whistler, that’s a total of 14 days in BC, if you nerds are keeping count):
weather network is notoriously unreliable. the day before it had said it would rain, but then it didn’t rain and instead was sunny with cloudy periods you mind-fucks. luckily i had enough foresight to fuck the weather and do what i wanna do no matter what. so i rented a bike, biked around the seawall again (such a great path, so fresh/refreshing), then biked along west hastings (oh gawwwwd poverty and sadness in evelyn lau proportions times a bajillion) to commercial drive. 
commercial drive is like a blend of toronto’s kensington market, bloor west annex, and ossington. lots of second hand thrift shops (kensington), vegan cafes, fruit markets, organic farming (annex), cool lounges and portuguese community centres (ossington hellooooo). this is the place i knew i’d want to live in everyday if i lived in vancouver. fuck robson street and granville, this is where the shiznat be gwan on.
i bought two second hand novels for 50cents. eat pray love and holiday in a coma/love lasts 3 years. katie had been reading eat pray love in whistler and totally whetted my appetite for its subject matter. vicki had read it and said that the protagonist was me (travels the world, falls in love) except that she prays (atheism trumps religion ya’ll),  and since the film is soon to be released, i figured i might as well read it so i can trash the movie for not being true to the book. that’s what i do best.
some of the other shops on ‘the drive’ had the coolest oddities:
i feel this way about so many of my facebook friends
fuck yeah
probably related to the men who make women wear said-burqa above
hahah. i once saw a sign like this in toronto that said, “if you plan on shoplifting, let us know, we can recommend something”
i came across this and guffawed outloud. all the pork n’ cheesers inside heard me and turned to stare. yes yes ya’ll i’m part of the tribe, i can say these things about our redonkulous culture.
they were watching the fifa footy. WHAT A SHOCKER cuz portuguese people never drink, eat pub food and watch football games. we are a much more nuanced people dontcha know.
my house
i had the eggs bruschetta, english muffin substituted out for multigrain bread, beans, and 3 veggie snausage links. NOM NOM NOM
side fruit salad that wasn’t on the menu but dude made for me anyhoo because i batted my eyelashes and puckered my lips like a donna.
journalling over rooibos tea…
my head is buried in my journal, yapping about my thoughts and feelings, scattered minutiae and self-aggrandizing shit, when someone on the sidewalk walks up to me on the patio and says in my ear “you’re still here?”
i look up and omfguy it’s a blast from the past, scarborough stylz.
it’s thomas! (pulling a classic scarborough pose, all the teen boys pulled this face in photos back then to try and be macho adult cool). we went to high school together, haven’t seen each other in TEN YEARS MY GAWD A DECADE WE’RE SO OLLLLD.
thomas had seen on my facebook that i was coming to BC, where he now lives, but we hadn’t organized a meetup or anything. but he spotted me on the cafe patio (how he recognized me i’ll never know) and thought he’d come over and shoot the shit. it was so 6 degrees of kevin bacon that we were on the same street at this particular time.
haha, candid camera skillz
we yapped for a couple hours, got somewhat fully caught up (ten years is hard to summarize), and swapped info. he runs his own catering company now, dude totally owes me a nom nom sammich.
later that night, it was hookups with my favourite westcoast chicka anny fucking chih! it was our second date. yes DATE. she’s my new girl crush. i’m putting her on the laminated list.
we had drinks at Six Acres, yapped about my whistler exploits, and other “sportive” activities we like to partake in (har har), before she discovered i’m a vegetarian. she asked me if i’d been to the foundation on main street. katie and i had walked by it, but i hadn’t had the chance to go inside and sample the vegan hipster cuisine that’s so holier-than-thou it makes me feel right at home. since it was my last night in the ‘coouuuv, she piled me into her pretty silver car and drove us up to the foundation for nummy nummy treats. god i love that girl.
at the foundation. look at all the too-cool-for-you hipsters with thrift clothes and ponytails surrounding us. the server staff wore trucker hats and flannel and chuck taylors, natch.
our shared plate had marinated tofu cubes with brockly (drool-worthy), yam-dip with pumpkin seeds, hummous with sesame seeds, salad-roughage with mango dressing, some kinda barley thingy, flatbreads and colourful tortilla chips. PIGGAGE OUTTAGE NEEDAGE!
as we wandered around the area, we also stumbled upon a film set in the middle of filming shit.
we got a personal escort through the set. seriously, you can’t go to vancouver and not see a film set. everything is fucking shot there. twilight stuff being the most popular thing that comes to mind, but really all movies are shot here. if you think that movie you love is set in the states, that’s vancouver you’re looking at. (i really like this walking-in-progress shot of me. nicely done chih-monster!)
anny snapped this photo soooo illegally, not supposed to do that, but gal is like a csis spy in training, she’s so underhanded-clever-hustler-coy. nicely done you sly international woman of mystery.
they were filming an NBC tv show called Facing Kate starring MACGYVER!! (aka richard dean anderson)
never heard of it though. nbc lineups have sucked for the past 10 years.
returned to my hostel late late late, packed up my shit, slept barely, hopped on the skytrain in the morning, boarded my plane filled with toxic travellers who had baaaad halitosis and nosey-inclincations before landing in toronto to blistering summer heat.
and so my two week British Columbia extravaganza came to an end with quite a confused emotion attached to it. i was sad to leave because in the past 2 weeks, i’ve done more on holiday and had more death-defying adventures, experiences, encounters, emotions, travels and anecdotes than some of my european, middle eastern or asian adventures combined. every day for me was packed! i never had a dull moment. but at the same time, if i had stayed A DAY longer, i got the feeling like i would have run out of things to do and would have gotten bored. vancouver is SMALL compared to toronto or montreal, but the beauty is thrilling, so it balances out. but for big city gals like me, we can’t stay too long in the small places. otherwise our brains go bezerk bonkers.
i will say that all the hottest men on the planet have converged upon bc though. that is the place to find a husband, you cougars. DOOO ITTTT.
i’m so glad i took the time to see more of my country. and next month i get to visit Fat Alberta for the calgary stampede, so that will bring the total number of provinces to FOUR. beat that, scarborough-teenagers!
this weekend i head to NYC, not bring ye olde laptop, expect blogging delays til next week.
i’m not even over my jetlag yet and i’m already headed to the big american apple pie sex (and the) city town.
wish me good travel vibes, i need this trip, been feeling as vulnerable as a virgin at a prison rodeo lately.
ps heard that my estranged sister is 5 months pregnant. thank god we don’t talk, is sure as shit ain’t babysitting.

Vancouver Day 7 & 8

the night before Day 7, i had told my hostel dormmate Nancy (who likes to just go by her last name Porter) that i was planning on making a daytrip to Victoria the following day. porter is from houston texas and had driven up through the states up to canada for a long holiday after she was made redundant at her position. she says that she was planning on going to Victoria the following day as well, and since she had a car, how about we just go together?
score!
it was so generous and gracious of her, and it frankly shocked me. i had planned to take the skytrain and bus just to get to the ferry, which would have taken so long i’d have had to leave the hostel super early! but with her car, it became a breeze!
i love these random little encounters you can have with people, and then on the off
chance of something being mentioned, the experiences you can have that come with it!
so we left EARLY, like 6:45am in the morning, for the hour ride from Vancouver to Tsawassen 
porter rocking the wheel like it ain’t no thang.

once at tsawassen (with just moments to spare because we were yapping so much we didn’t pay attention to the GPS and made a couple wrong turns!) we drove onto the ferry headed for swartz bay just outside of Victoria.

the ferry was almost 2 hours but we yapped yapped yapped, made it lots of fun

when we arrived in Swartz Bay, we drove right into the heart of Victoria where the historic China Town is. i know i know, each chinatown likes to tout itself as historic and the biggest and the first, and chingchongpingpong whatever, but apparently, this one actually has some merit. victoria is a super small town, but really fucking cool and the chinatown adds to the suave.

 unlike toronto’s chinatown which smells of rotting feces (both rat and human), garbage juice, halitosis, and is a dilapidated mess of victorian remains, Victoria has restored its chinatown to an illustrious beauty. no garbage juice!

this is john adams, a fatty professor type dude who operated a walking tour of chinatown that porter and i tagged along for. he said that Victoria’s chinatown was the mecca for north american production of Opium until the early 1900s when it was made illegal

some famous cantonese family that owned this town

“so i sez to mable i sez….”

“oh my diapers….did i just push something out or suck something in?”

“my milkshake brings all the boys to the yard.”


“when i grow up, i don’t want to be a protestant, i want to be a prostitute.”


nando’s is everywhere in the west coast, why can’t i fucking escape it! stupid portu-geek piri piri

these 3 cafes make up Victoria’s hipster locals. not really loaded for choice of venue, but still, the clientèle is totally shagable on Ossington standards.
walking tour thumbs up
so many cool hidden alleyways that the chinese used for illegal gambling and opium production
up into 16 1/2 studio we go
and a KITT-EH!!
aw. i love a good pussy.
couldn’t tell if that hombre was homeless or hawtness
after the walking tour, we bought tickets to see the play Loot at the McPherson Playhouse by notorious english playwright Joe Orton. this was actually my main reason for making the trip to Victoria, i really wanted to see some West Coast theatre whilst here, and everything in Vancouver was either too expensive or sold out. Loot is a farcical play from the 1960s about a bumbling family with a son whose stolen a lot of money after his mother has died, and hides the money in her coffin, prompting the entire clan to try and find a new place for the body while being hounded by a buffoon of a police officer. when it was staged in london back in the hippie age, it made headlines as being uber scandalous for the way a dead body is not only portrayed on stage, but manipulated and thrown about and discarded as if it were a sewing doll. but now that we’ve had shows like Six Feet Under, CSI, and hell, even Weekend At Bernie’s, this doesn’t feel as scandalous, and it even felt a bit dated, irrelevant, and untimely for 2010. even some of the dialogue was just too precious to be taken seriously. when a character asks the buffoon-cop if his wife is intelligent, the ole bill responds “she’s a woman, intelligence doesn’t really factor into it.”
nice.

but it was still a cute, funny, engaging, and INCREDIBLY WELL ACTED play (i honestly didn’t have a problem with any of the acting performances, they were all brilliant) with tight direction and clever staging.
after the play, i was going to catch the bus back to the ferry (an hour bus ride!) since Porter was staying in Victoria for a few days. but again, her graciousness came through and she offered to drive me all the way back which was totally out of her way. again, if she hadn’t offered, i never would have made the 5pm ferry back and would have had to wait until the 7pm ferry, which means i only would have walked into my hostel back in vancouver well past midnight! but with her help, i made it back around 8pm. in all, with Porter’s help, i saved myself 4hours of transit time and several hard-earned loonies. fanks girl!
the next day, aka Day 8, my old man, who has been living in Seattle for some time (after moving all around the world from Tennessee, Guinea, Africa, Montreal, Maryland, Denver, Arizona…..it goes on), drove up to Vancouver (which is just 150 miles away) to visit me. i hadn’t seen the man since 2007 when we toured Portugal together, so not only was a reunion long overdue, but it was also a bit scary cuz i wasn’t sure how events would unfold. we’ve both changed…
tell me honestly. do you think we look alike? cuz i definitely see it, but that’s because i look at myself everyday and i can see how some of my features are exactly like his. i fink i totally take MORE after my mum…but if you were to look at him and then at me, would you think father-daughter? boss-secretary? (me being the boss, ‘natch) boyfriend-token girlfriend? random portuguese football fans? tell me honestly!
aww. bless.
so dad drove up with his wife Miriam and we got on one of those velveeta tourist hop-on-hop-off buses (my suggestion fail)
look closely at this buidling, there’s something written there. zoom in. if you can figure it out, i’ll buy you a coke zero.
miriam and dad blowing in the wind. vancouver is so unseasonal right now
ah, the VAG. my old nemesis. we meet again
gay bar huzzah!!
english bay je t’aime
after the bus tour, dad had a craving for dim sum so we went to chinatown, which ended up being an epic disaster. dad got a little dim-sum-osis and ordered a large bowel-movement of food, sometimes 2 or 3 times over. the food was good, i was happy with my plate, but some of the things they ordered were apparently disgusting. dad asked to take them off the bill, and the server initially said yes, but then her boss refused. dad got mad and when the whopping $85 bill came (yes $85 for dim sum. dad ordered SOOOOO MUCH GUT BUSTING CHINESE GREASE), he almost refused to tip. i got really embarrassed, because it was clearly just a case of a language barrier and a misunderstanding, and insisted he leave a tip. he begrudgingly left a $2 tip.
$2.
on an $85 bill.
i walked out of there mortified with my head down.
luckily the dim sum place WAS showing fifa, and we watched our brilliant Brazil team slaughter the surprisingly strong Cote D’Ivoire 3-1. and all the brazillians (the people, not the shorn pubis) hit the streets.
on the walk to granville island (gotta burn off those chinese empty calories somehow)….
morrissey!!
granville makes an encore

the olympic flame, unlit.


i made the comment that i was surprised the flame wasn’t lit because when i was in sarajevo, the olympic flame there was still burning.

dad then deadpanned, “there’s lots of things in sarajevo still burning.”

bahahahha! i gotta give the man props for that. he’s seriously funny when he wants to be.

after a beer back in gastown and a shitload of walking and talking and getting reacquainted with each other, they had to set off for the drive back to seattle. it was really great seeing the man again, he was genuinely interested in what’s going on with my life, and i think he felt pretty guilty about the 3 year gap. hopefully it won’t be so long next time.

happy pappy’s for the win.

LEG WELT UPDATE. it has now spawned and branched out, laid bruise-eggs, and taken over my swollen thigh.

i am so schexy. thigh-sex anyone?


Vancouver Day 5 & 6

Vancouver Day 5 essentially consisted of me waking up super early, checking out of my Whistler hostel, taking the city bus down into Whistler Village where I had a creepy bus driver who said “looks like it’s just you and me on this bus!” and then when he learned that i was leaving Whistler, he said, “oh no, i’m gonna hafta kidnap you just to get you to stay.”
YO. BIG WHEEL POUNDER. GIRLS DON’T LIKE HEARING THAT FROM STRANGE MEN
boarded the greyhound bus back to van.city, sleeping the whole way, getting a free ride on the vancouver city bus because the driver fancied me, checking into my hostel, laundry, groceries, blogging, internet fuckery, sleeeeeeping (I know you don’t like blow-by-blow shoppings lists of what i did with my day but must explain away why there’s no photos from that day somehow, yes?)
anyway, the next day, i decided to take a daytrip to Nanaimo, knowing next to nothing about it, except that there’s this place there called Westwood Lake Park where there are some spectacular hiking trails with views of the city. So I hopped on the bus back to Horseshoe Bay (the scene of my sea-safari back on Vancouver Day 2) and took the ferry over to the Naaaaan.
where there’s westcoasters, there’s always a hippie with a guitar not far behind
i think my new lululemon’s look rather well on my swollen mountain-biking-raped legs
the city of nanaimo. behold it in all it’s inferiority.
i had no idea what a slice of pure canadiana Nanaimo is. it’s all pick-up trucks and auto-part shops and fisheries and quaint little mom-and-pop B&Bs that make me want to shove my finger down my throat. i know city folk shouldn’t trivialize the country folk, but i saw enough pancake-eating, maple-syrup-covered-faces, scrambled-egg-peppered-laps to suffice for quite some time to come
and here’s westwood lake. i’m on a trail overlooking it. after alighting the ferry, it took me 2 buses and 1 hour to get there, meaning i really needed a wee really badly. luckily, there were plenty of facili-trees.
i was half expecting bilbo baggins to hop out from behind a tree.
random poochie would not give me a moments rest!
looks like a screensaver
me on the trail
one more time for the cheap seats in the back….my mountain biking welt. looooook at the pretty colours.

i can’t believe this trip is coming to an end already. i’ve done soooo much in just 2 short weeks that it feels much longer than that. arriving here 2 weeks ago feels like a month ago! i still have a few more days left in this city, and the rain may force me not to enjoy them as i’d like to. but thinking of the sea safari, the kayaking, the cycling, meeting up with friends, getting lost in whistler’s bike trails, whitewater rafting, zip lining, bungee jumping, mountain biking, and ferrying it over to vancouver island, i think this has probably been the most active trip i’ve done to date.

never stop exploring, or taking those adrenaline-filled leaps into the unknown!


Whistler Day 5

sooo behind on the blogging front, my days are just consumed, who knew the west coast was so busy? it’s supposed to be all ganja and dreadlocks and hemp-clothes made in cambodia and stoner guitar music and save the whales maaaaaaan. instead it’s all TOO THE EXTREME GO GO GO WHILE HAVING A BLENZ COFFEEEEEEEEEE.
anyhoo, my last offical day in Whistler, i decided to go biking down the Whistler mountain. again, like my peak-to-peak ticket of the day before, my mountain bike park ticket was free because i had the air miles reward miles points. normally the mountain bike park ticket is over $100. THANK YOU FREE SHIT I NEVER THOUGHT I’D USE.
the mountain. exciting? yes. petrifying? also yes
dudes coming down the end the of the trail. that would be me in 45 minutes
the line up to take the lift
seriously, single ladies, you wanna hook up with a hot guy, go to whistler and mountain bike. IT’S A SAUSAGE FEST and all the men are fine physical specimens seething with raw testosterone. in this photo, i quite fancied the guy in the centre with the cyan-blue tee. like an aussie version of ryan gosling, but more attractive. actually, the entire whistler village is populated by aussies, kiwis, or brits. and anyone who knows me, knows that those 3 nationalities are not only my preference, but my weak spot. i’ll take a ginger kiwi over a rubbish canuck anyday. in addition, there are so few girls who brave the moutain, so when you wipe out (and you will), all the boys rush to your aid. SEX IN THE FOREST FTW!
my bike is on the bikes-only-lift directly ahead, and i’m in the people-lift behind it (taking the photo duh)
me in all my gear at the top of the mountain. i rented the bike and the body gear (arms, legs, and full-face helmet)
and off i went. so here’s the layout of the mountain. the super extreme hardcore trails where there’s nothing but obstacles and stones and jumps and wooden things are labeled the “black” trails. the intermediate trails with smaller obstacles and jumps are labeled “blue,” and the beginner trails are labeled “green.” since i’m an avid cyclist and use the trails in toronto all the time, i figured i’d be well up for the blue trails, but since this was my first downhill biking experience, i decided to first try the green trails, see how i feel, and then move up the ladder if i felt confident.
beginner trails my ass!!
the only requirements for doing the green trails is having ridden a bike before. well i ride my bike all the time and i was struggling. the downhill slope is pretty steep, which i don’t normally mind, but my rented bike didn’t have very tight brakes, so you had to really squeeze down just for some control (death grip hands!). but it’s not a gradual brake either, you press down and you immediately stop. so if you’re not careful, you can launch yourself right over the handlebars.
that was just the first problem
second problem was all the zigzagging “S” paths. i call them S because as you went downhill, the paths were shaped like S after S after S. so you’re constantly turning really fast, and i guess i can’t turn that fast. i can’t count how many time i nearly flew right over the curve and down a cliff to my death or into massive tree trunks.
anyhoo, my first wipeout occurred about 20 minutes into it, when i was beginning to feel super confident and went a bit faster. i was standing on the pedals (you’re not supposed to sit while mountain biking, that’s just cheating, and you have less control over the bike), i hit a curve super fast, all the huge stones and gravel underneath shifted, and my left side hit the gravel with a resonating smack, dragging me down the path, grating cheese along my side.
i literally was down for the count for a good 2-3 minutes. i felt the impact all the way into my ribcage, lungs and heart, and they were ricocheting the big bang through my torso over and over again. thank god i had the helmet, arm/leg armour, otherwise the damage could have been a helluva lot worse, but i didn’t get shoulder armour or toros armour, so those parts were really damaged. i immediately knew my leg was wounded, but it was only when i reached the bottom of the mountain that i noticed my shoulder took a beating too.
luckily no one came down that trail while i was down in the middle of it, otherwise another collision could’ve easily happened.
after i caught my breath and my brain stopped screaming with shock, i got back on the bike and continued on.
after that, i had a few spills, all of which ended up with me landing on my feet, thank the universe. but the bike usually ended up on its side.
as time went on, i found myself losing confidence more and more, with my fear of another fall taking over. and once you get nervous and anticipate the worst, wouldn’t you know it, the worst happens.
only about 5 minutes before i finished, i wiped out again, on a relatively easy turn. it’s just that the rocks on this trail were huge fucking stones, i braked too quickly, and my body crashed on the rocks. the impact of this one went all into my head, which the helmet took the brunt of. as of right now, i don’t have any bruises on my head, but there is a tender spot on my forehead that is swollen a bit. i shall live to see another day.
and 45 minutes later, this was me back at the bottom. my body armour all scratched and bashed to shit, my hair a fucking mess, my body ripped apart and swollen, and my limbs shaking uncontrollably.
my helmet and my bike park ticket
i nearly wiped out just coming down this end bit…PA.THE.TIC.
all the hot hot biker dudes (minus that wedgie-digger) just hanging at the bottom of the mountain.
picture of my shoulder directly after the first wipeout
then 12 hours later…
24 hours later…

scratches on my upper thigh from the gravel bike path as i hit the deck. it now feels like grated cheese
swollen thigh! seriously, in real life, this thigh looks like elephantitus.
seriously, my body looks like its being reflected on the back of a spoon
bruise on the opposite thigh. yellow-mottled greenish purple!

as of right now, my entire left side, from my shoulder through my obliques down to my thigh hurts. and i’m sore in my TRICEPS of all places. who gets sore in their triceps? unless you’re doing tricep kickbacks or chair dips! i was mountain biking for fucks sake.
look at how swolen that fucking thing is. i’ve got bull-limbs.

bruises? no. badges of honour? HELLS YES.
so that was my last day in whistler. i walked back to the hostel, a nice hour long walk along the alta lake, made my dinner, packed up my shit, said goodbye to all the mates i made in the dorms, and the next day (aka yesterday) hopped on the greyhound back to vancouver, where i am now.
yesterday was essentially a travel day and catch-up-on-shit day, so after sleeping all the way back into van.city (and getting a free ride on the city bus because the driver fancied me), i checked into my hostel, did my laundry, did some groceries, blogged, ate, slept, did fuck all. so no photos for Vancouver Day 5. tomorrow’s post will be Vancouver Day 6 (aka today)
never a dull moment at Casa Estima.

>Whistler Day 4

>

day 4 was a particularly quiet day, mostly because i knew i needed to rest up my body after the previous day’s adrenaline, and also for the following days ass-kicking of downhill mountain biking. so i took the leisure peak-2-peak gondola ride that spans between the whistler and blackcomb mountains. my ticket was free because i had enough air miles points (thank you again airmiles!), normally it’s $44 smackers
it was snowing at the top
time for some high-brow photo-fuckery
thumbs up like a chump
the lean-back-and-enjoy-the-distant-trees-down-below-armpit pose
i think i’m pulling a rather cartoonish face here. somewhat reminiscent of garfield in his 18th comic book where he was the “banana man” if you remember that book….
somewhere becoming rain
hahahhahahahha this is bloody june, innit?
glass floor. standing on this would freak most people out but i worked at the CN Tower in the summer of 2001 right before 9/11, so nothing freaks me out anymore.
this is where we all take deep breaths and sigh at the inane beauty. redonkulous vistas. freakishly purty.
i could cycle up that, but i don’t wanna
oh and by the way, this is the view from the kitchen/dining area of my whistler hostel
it looks like a fricken screensaver
so i got a phone call yesterday from a theatre company in toronto whom i had sent one of my plays to quite a while ago. they offered me a place in next season’s series, where i’ll get to work with a dramaturg and a director on polishing my play (they said i could choose either one or both, but i want both!) and it will culminate in some kind of reading/performance/workshop thingie, i’m not quite sure because when i spoke to them, i was in the main square in whistler village and a street party had erupted and i could barely hear over the sound of the sweeeeet sweeet reggae tunes. but ev’ry ting gwan be airie.
yesterday, my last official day in whistler, was a doozy. photojaculation to come later, hombres.

Whistler Day 4

day 4 was a particularly quiet day, mostly because i knew i needed to rest up my body after the previous day’s adrenaline, and also for the following days ass-kicking of downhill mountain biking. so i took the leisure peak-2-peak gondola ride that spans between the whistler and blackcomb mountains. my ticket was free because i had enough air miles points (thank you again airmiles!), normally it’s $44 smackers
it was snowing at the top
time for some high-brow photo-fuckery
thumbs up like a chump
the lean-back-and-enjoy-the-distant-trees-down-below-armpit pose
i think i’m pulling a rather cartoonish face here. somewhat reminiscent of garfield in his 18th comic book where he was the “banana man” if you remember that book….
somewhere becoming rain
hahahhahahahha this is bloody june, innit?
glass floor. standing on this would freak most people out but i worked at the CN Tower in the summer of 2001 right before 9/11, so nothing freaks me out anymore.
this is where we all take deep breaths and sigh at the inane beauty. redonkulous vistas. freakishly purty.
i could cycle up that, but i don’t wanna
oh and by the way, this is the view from the kitchen/dining area of my whistler hostel
it looks like a fricken screensaver
so i got a phone call yesterday from a theatre company in toronto whom i had sent one of my plays to quite a while ago. they offered me a place in next season’s series, where i’ll get to work with a dramaturg and a director on polishing my play (they said i could choose either one or both, but i want both!) and it will culminate in some kind of reading/performance/workshop thingie, i’m not quite sure because when i spoke to them, i was in the main square in whistler village and a street party had erupted and i could barely hear over the sound of the sweeeeet sweeet reggae tunes. but ev’ry ting gwan be airie.
yesterday, my last official day in whistler, was a doozy. photojaculation to come later, hombres.

Whistler Day 3

this was the day this trip was all gearing up for. the day of pure adrenaline and scaring myself shitless.
 first up at 10:30am, a zip-trek eco tour, zip-lining back and forth between the Whistler and Blackcomb mountains. 
instructors martin from UK and james from aussie aussie aussie oy oy oy
the before shot
naturally i was the first to volunteer to do the first line
pelvis forward, muscles out….martin looks quite embarrassed
 the line went through trees and over rushing ravines
and under the bluest of skies.
there i go!  how undignified
on the other end, fresh and peachy
here’s a video of me zipping across one of the lines. amazeballs!!
martin was super cool, full of jokes, and really helpful in teaching me how to go upsidedown and scare myself witless.
james laughed at my constant use of the term “amazeballs.”
blackcomb mountain
aww shucks.
the olympic luge track was right near by….all i could think about was georgia.
the zip lines we crossed and traversed
the great thing about zip trek eco tours is that they promote sustainabile and eco-friendly tourism, having a minimal impact on the enviro they use and replenishing it whereever possible. they also donate part of the trip fee to unicef, kiva, doctors without borders, and pediatric aids africa
see you at the end!
this one was so long, i couldn’t even see where it ended.
aaaannnnnnnd the lines are held together with duct tape. great.
whistler mountain
absolutely gorgeous and so worth it.
next up, the one thing i have no idea why i decided to do it, but still did it anyway to save face and not to embarrass myself in front of everybody – the whistler bungee jump.
the wastoids running the jump were so funny and helpful, they kept calling me “pretty lady” which helped somewhat.
the platform. more like a pirate’s plank if you ask me.
this is apparently the highest bungee jump in canada
looking at this drop, i actually didn’t think i’d be able to do it at the last minute
i almost backed out standing on the plank
see! YOU SEE!! could you do this?
smiling through uncontrollable shakes. the wastoids counted me down from 5.
and i didn’t jump.
my brain was screaming at me how unnatural this was. every survival instinct was firing, telling me to back away from the ledge, don’t let myself  be put in danger. i wondered how the suicidal actually have no problem throwing themselves off of buildings and bridges. or the 9/11 people who jumped from the towers. how bad must it have been up there for the better option to have been to jump. at least i was tethered to something!
but i didn’t come here to go out like a chump. if you’re in whistler, you gotta take advantage of these opportunities. so the wastoids were like, “ok let’s do this again!”
and they counted me down again from 5.
wastoid directly behind me gave me an encouraging nudge.
and i very UNgracefully jumped
look at me flail!
doing the splits mid air
this jump couldn’t have been more than 3-4 seconds, but it felt like 30
then the bungee went taut…
…and i bounced up
and swung around the other side of the bridge
the view was incredible.
and so is life.
they hoisted down a cord which i hooked onto my harness and they hoisted me back up
me afterwards, having to sit down cuz my legs didn’t work.
i needed a wee and an new pair of panties
and then i cried my eyes out
this dude bungeed from his ankles!! and he got dunked in the water up to his shoulders! total badass!
afterwards, in lululemon, trying on some yoga pants, i had to have a sit down in the changeroom for a few minutes.
after such a day, i needed a breather from the adrenaline.
and to contemplate things.
i live a charmed life.

>Whistler Day 3

>

this was the day this trip was all gearing up for. the day of pure adrenaline and scaring myself shitless.
 first up at 10:30am, a zip-trek eco tour, zip-lining back and forth between the Whistler and Blackcomb mountains. 
instructors martin from UK and james from aussie aussie aussie oy oy oy
the before shot
naturally i was the first to volunteer to do the first line
pelvis forward, muscles out….martin looks quite embarrassed
 the line went through trees and over rushing ravines
and under the bluest of skies.
there i go!  how undignified
on the other end, fresh and peachy
here’s a video of me zipping across one of the lines. amazeballs!!
martin was super cool, full of jokes, and really helpful in teaching me how to go upsidedown and scare myself witless.
james laughed at my constant use of the term “amazeballs.”
blackcomb mountain
aww shucks.
the olympic luge track was right near by….all i could think about was georgia.
the zip lines we crossed and traversed
the great thing about zip trek eco tours is that they promote sustainabile and eco-friendly tourism, having a minimal impact on the enviro they use and replenishing it whereever possible. they also donate part of the trip fee to unicef, kiva, doctors without borders, and pediatric aids africa
see you at the end!
this one was so long, i couldn’t even see where it ended.
aaaannnnnnnd the lines are held together with duct tape. great.
whistler mountain
absolutely gorgeous and so worth it.
next up, the one thing i have no idea why i decided to do it, but still did it anyway to save face and not to embarrass myself in front of everybody – the whistler bungee jump.
the wastoids running the jump were so funny and helpful, they kept calling me “pretty lady” which helped somewhat.
the platform. more like a pirate’s plank if you ask me.
this is apparently the highest bungee jump in canada
looking at this drop, i actually didn’t think i’d be able to do it at the last minute
i almost backed out standing on the plank
see! YOU SEE!! could you do this?
smiling through uncontrollable shakes. the wastoids counted me down from 5.
and i didn’t jump.
my brain was screaming at me how unnatural this was. every survival instinct was firing, telling me to back away from the ledge, don’t let myself  be put in danger. i wondered how the suicidal actually have no problem throwing themselves off of buildings and bridges. or the 9/11 people who jumped from the towers. how bad must it have been up there for the better option to have been to jump. at least i was tethered to something!
but i didn’t come here to go out like a chump. if you’re in whistler, you gotta take advantage of these opportunities. so the wastoids were like, “ok let’s do this again!”
and they counted me down again from 5.
wastoid directly behind me gave me an encouraging nudge.
and i very UNgracefully jumped
look at me flail!
doing the splits mid air
this jump couldn’t have been more than 3-4 seconds, but it felt like 30
then the bungee went taut…
…and i bounced up
and swung around the other side of the bridge
the view was incredible.
and so is life.
they hoisted down a cord which i hooked onto my harness and they hoisted me back up
me afterwards, having to sit down cuz my legs didn’t work.
i needed a wee and an new pair of panties
and then i cried my eyes out
this dude bungeed from his ankles!! and he got dunked in the water up to his shoulders! total badass!
afterwards, in lululemon, trying on some yoga pants, i had to have a sit down in the changeroom for a few minutes.
after such a day, i needed a breather from the adrenaline.
and to contemplate things.
i live a charmed life.

Whistler Day 2

my second day in whistler, i got up super early, like 7am, because my pickup transfer to my whitewater rafting experience was scheduled for 9am, but the craptacular bus mentioned yesterday didn’t pick up from my hostel until 9:38! i still had my rented bike from the day before, so i left the hostel at 7:30 and biked into  Whistler Village. because i didn’t take the wrong turn this time and knew where i was going, i rolled into the village at 8am! i had an hour to kill, so i walked around the deserted village, under the fog of early morning rain clouds and mountain vistas

so the transport finally picked me up and we headed to the whitewater rafting HQ near Squamish, where we got suited up in wetsuits, booties, wetjackets, lifejackets, and helmets, then yellow-bused it out to the elaho rapids about an hour outside of squamish. after a lesson on what to do in case you fall in and safety security procedures (DON’T PANIC!), we boarded our rafts on the green freezing waves
there were 7 rafts in total, 8 people + 1 instructor per raft, my raft was full of 7 French 20-year-old students and me. so i got to practice my french, which was a lot of fun. while the other rafts were told to STROKE STROKE STROKE, our instructor was yelling PAR EN AVANT!! i increased my vocabulary too, “paddle” is a “pagaie.”
anyhoo, back to the important stuff. the rapids came in bursts. we’d get these turbo high waves and then moments of calm stillness.  i was in the back of the raft, so on the negative wave, i’d be launched into the air, like going down the first plummet of a roller coaster. somehow i never actually fell into the water, but i was paddling for my life! the raft directly behind us capsized within the first 5 minutes, throwing everyone into the freezing water, leaving the instructor to pull in everyone back onto the raft!
here’s some choice shots of my raft:
 i’m fourth from the left
look at me stroking!
look at me paddle!
when the waves calmed down, our instructor nick popped out some sugary snacks from his bag (oreas, jelly-worms, and lemonade) to replenish our glycogen after all the upper-body pain! then it was back to PAR EN AVANT!!!
nick also pointed out all the different mountains, valleys, forests, peaks, and lakes that surrounded us. there was one mountain that had a huge swath taken out of it when, about 3 years ago, an avalanche occurred and tore through the trees like hot knife to butter, destroying everything from the mountain peak all the way to the rapids. the trees looked like shredded cheese.
we also did some cliff jumping
so the rafting took about 2 hours and we did about 12 miles! afterwards i was soaked and completely drained, but also refreshed and exhilarated by the lush ornate scenery we were saturated in.
they then bussed us back to HQ where they fed us a delicious bbq lunch (veggie burgers, tostitos & salsa, green salad, potato salad, etc)
by the time they dropped us off back at whistler village it was 6pm! that’s a fricken full day!! picked up my rented bike that had been locked in the village square all day, cycled back to the hostel (all downhill, hooooo!), had dinner and hit the sack.
all in all, yesterday was an amazeballs day
but today, nothing compares!
and i’ll tell you about those adventures tomorrow.
stay cool