Thu 11 – Mon 15 November 2010
Picture this situation for me and tell me it isn’t perfect; inside the Propeller micro brewery in Halifax I found myself sitting on a crate of freshly bottled beer while enjoying the latest from their range, a wheat beer, a strong IPA then a dark while chatting with fellow couch surfer, beer lover and brewer Evan who I’d met the previous night at Jeff’s potluck dinner.
Halifax had exceeded my expectations and solidified its spot on my list of places I recommend to fellow travellers. Let’s reiterate, it has a big student culture, a fantastic open mic night, friendly people and a good beer drinking scene as the above scenario aptly demonstrated. So what could come next?
I’d said a rushed goodbye to my previous host Jeff as he hurriedly exited and jumped in the car with Courtney and friends to start the drive to Ontario where they were going to a concert the following day. Evan had kindly welcomed me to stay for a few nights so over I went where I met his fellow flatmates Emma, Nathan and Molly. Evan was the only brewer in a flat of artists; Emma was a sculptor while her boyfriend Nathan was a painter, both in their final year of fine art study at one of the Halifax universities. Molly attended the same university and was in her first year of study, they were all friendly and I enjoyed our conversations.
Evan originally hailed from BC on the West coast of Canada and had previously been living in Vancouver but had moved out to Halifax on a whim, he was enjoying the slower pace of life, the smaller city and the beer and student scene which I so love. I liked Evan for his travelling spirit, fun easygoing nature and as his occupation as a brewer – super cool. Evan had done a fair bit of hitch hiking and along with other people I’d been talking to within the couch surfing community I had gotten it into my head that I’d like to try hitchhike across Canada to the West coast.
With this plan in mind I’d been spending a bit of time in outdoor oriented shops and army surplus stores picking up some ‘survival essentials’. I’d bought a flint and practiced lighting a small fire from tissue and cardboard on Evan’s kitchen bench [Don't repeat this at home kids, use the kitchen sink]. I’d found a neat multi tool pocket knife, one of those silver survival blankets, a tin mug and a couple of hand warmers – I was ready for Canada. I figured I’d be able to kill, skin and butcher the moose with my multi tool, light a fire with my flint, cook up the moose in my tin cup and then stay warm through the wintery night with the hand warmers and my survival blanket.
Other hitch hiking preparations included the construction of the most kick-ass hitch hiking sign ever. I’d been in the local supermarket earlier where part of it was under renovation and I found polystyrene packaging lying about between un-erected shelving, so along with my groceries I left with a nice slab of polystyrene which I figured I could shape into a cool sign. I’d envisioned my sign being just over a foot in length but Evan managed to convince me that big was definitely better and that I should make use of all the materials I had; my four foot kick-ass hitch hiking sign was born on Evan’s kitchen floor and refined on their dining room table.
Friday evening saw me attend my first ever ice hockey match, in style. Nathan and his friend Noah had painted a large mural for the local hockey stadium and had been given a corporate box for the nights match in recognition of their work. Nathan and Emma were kind enough to invite myself and Evan along for the night where we enjoyed the hockey, the fights, free alcohol and canapés ; I don’t know if I’ll ever have a better hockey experience.
With Evan’s recommendation my plan had been to stay till Saturday night to see Vancouver act Delhi 2 Dublin play at a local club, Evan had said they were a good live band and worth a watch. So that evening Molly, her friends and I set off for the Paragon. I always enjoy live music and these guys did not disappoint, they were a lot of fun; it would certainly have had something to do with the crowd, they were nuts, so energetic, you could tell that the band was loving it too. Everyone was pumped, dancing, jumping, singing and drinking; this was one of my favourite concerts ever, and they weren’t even playing what I’d normally consider ‘my kind of music’. I’ve watched the YouTube video and the screen doesn’t do these guys justice; check out the video [top of page] but definitely see them play live if you get the chance.
For the following morning I’d planned an early start; I wanted to start my trans-Canada hitch hiking adventure. Stay tuned.