Saturday, 22 May 2010

First impressions are not always correct

MP3 track of the day - Rat in mi Kitchen - UB40

Weather: Sunny with a gentle breeze ... perfect weather

Before leaving for the day I decided to try breakfast at the cafe attached to the hostel. I ordered a 'bagel' ... this was my first bagel and I can only describe it as a round donut of bread; I had mine toasted with jam (so effectively it was toast with jam ... only the bread was really thick). I have to admit that I didn't really enjoy it; there was waay too much jam and toast tastes sooo much better, however it did fill me up. It also didn't help that the cafe, at the time, was playing Reggie full blast ... when I left I didn't want to hear another Reggie song for a long time. I turned on my MP3 player and on came UB40 Kingston Town ... doh!

My first stop was the citadel at the top of Halifax; it was okay but I had seen a better citadel in Quebec City; I spent a little time at the top and then made my way to the harbour past the central square which had the oldest Protestant church in Canada (oh and a fish 'n' chip shop ... I'll remember that for later).

Now, in my previous blog, I had twinned Halifax with Peckham, which for the upper part of town maybe correct. However the harbour is beautiful, really really beautiful and it easily rivalled any of the other places I had visited. I decided to walk all the way along the front, taking photos and then headed to the Maritime Museum and finally lunch.

Well I had walked along the harbour about three times and it was around 2:30pm; I still wasn't feeling too hungry (that bagel was very filling) and so I headed to the Maritime museum. As I walked in a guy was walking out and handed me his 'day pass' to the museum so I got in for free! There were lots, and lots (and lots) of model ships within the museum ... which were nice, but not really what I had come to see. For me, there were two parts of the museum I wanted to see; The Halifax Explosion and the Titanic exhibition.

The Halifax Explosion detailed a piece of history that I had never known about; on the 6th December 1917 A French ship with tons, and tons of high explosives collided with a Dutch merchant ship and was set alight. The explosion that occurred was huge (the biggest explosion before the atom bomb) and wiped most of Halifax off the map. Thousands died due to the explosion and the fact that, that night, a huge snow blizzard came in. There were lots of accounts of bravery and accounts from civilian witnesses within the museum. If you want to find out more about the explosion then click on this link.

The Titanic exhibition had bits and pieces from the Titanic which sunk not far from Halifax. The exhibit included a deck chair, pieces of carved wooden oak from the 1st class cabins and a pair of 2 year old's shoes. The lifeboat situation of 'women and children first' was a myth; a male in first class had more chance of getting into a lifeboat than a 3rd class female. Also, when bodies were found in the ocean, they were still dealt with in class. First class were but into wooden coffins where as 3rd class were in blankets ... pretty terrible fact of the old class situation where, even in death, you were treated differently (which I suppose, within out society today, still can happen but to a lesser degree. I.e. the more money you have the better) .

After the museum I headed out for lunch; when I was walking long the harbour earlier, I had seen a hot dog stall which seemed pretty popular. Therefore I decided I had been in North America long enough without a hot dog and so I purchased one, with onions ... it's completely the same as in the UK.

Not completely full I walked towards the bus station where there was a supermarket. I first of all went into the bus station to meet, a rather unhelpful attendant, and enquired about a day trip to Lindbergh (supposed to be the prettiest fishing village in Nova Scotia) however there is only one bus a day at 5:45pm meaning I would have to stay over. I didn't really have the time and was slightly annoyed that there was only one bus per day ... the car really is king in North America.

I then went to the supermarket and purchased a fruit salad and chocolate (yes chocolate ... finally found a decent price of $2.00 for three Mars Bars).

I was pretty much done then and so I decided to come back to the hostel to try to work out what the hell I was going to do today. Anyway as I was here I met the English couple from Leicester and they said that the hostel was having a 'all you eat BBQ for $5.00'; apparently everyone was going and it was a great place to meet people (I also thought it was a great place to meet food poisoning but I gave it a whirl). It was a good night, I chatted to a few locals and a few backpackers (and two great guys who were working on a windmills on Prince Edward Island. One had lost his hand in a boating accident and had a hook replacement thing); at around midnight they headed to a club (which I wasn't that bothered about) and so I went to sleep.

Not sure what the plan is today; as the Aussies would say 'I've dropped the ball' with Lindbergh as I would have loved to go ... never mind. There seems to be loads to see in Nova Scotia and I feel a holiday later down the line hiring a car here.

Anyway I'm off now

Toodle Pip

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