Sue and John were on a fishing trip with their kids, but they had left a key for us and they had a nice flat driveway for the Boogie Bus. We changed into clothes a little nicer and went downtown to meet an old friend of Step’s, Micheal, and his fiance Kim, for Saturday night in Halifax.
The rumours are all true: Halifax sure likes to party. We met them at a kind of yuppie tapas-like bar called Mosaic which looked good and was crowded, but had terrible service. Kim kept saying the bathrooms were really nice, and when I finally used one it was nice, with little square tiles and a glass sink, but nothing to write home about. When I later saw the bathrooms at the dance club we went to, Reflections Cabaret, I thought maybe it was all relative, because in their bathroom the floor was actually muddy, there was no way you wouldn’t have to squat, and the cold water taps had been removed I guess because of so many people doing E and only drinking water so they could at least have to buy it. Step’s beer was cheap but my soda water was 4 dollars. I don’t mean to be down on Reflections Cabaret—I hardly ever go to dance clubs so as far as I know those are standard conditions. The people were nice and the music was good, and I enjoyed their dress code which was only “No Sports Jerseys”. I also enjoyed hanging out with Michael and Kim—good peops who like a good party night.
Halifax downtown was super-hopping, with tons of people on the streets. All the girls were really dressed up so I was glad I had taken off my T-Shirt and put on a dress, at least (I find it hard to drum up an interest in “girl” clothes). At around 3 in the morning we went to a “pizza” place and got some Halifax donairs, then a cab. We got a cab pretty quickly, which it turned out was beginner’s luck, because there is a big shortage of cab licenses in Halifax, just like Vancouver, and their bus system isn’t that good either, just like Vancouver. Get it together, Canadian port cities! In these days of eco-concern, why have the best option be driving your car? At least in Vancouver you can ride a bike but Halifax has extreme hills.
The next day the Sue and John family came home and we hung out a bit, then Step and I went back downtown and ate at the Wooden Monkey, which is one of those restaurants which focus on local suppliers and bio-dynamically farmed foods. It’s always the same story: doubt that such a business is viable, then having it be a huge success because, it turns out, people want to eat local and seasonal. I had a lamb burger with goat cheese with mint in it. It was really good and I will someday try minting some goat cheese at home.
Afterwards we went to Ginger’s Tavern, because every Sunday they have an improv group “Picnicface”. I have really seen an inordinate amount of improv in Vancouver, and have gotten Step interested in it, as well, and so we are always keen to see what’s going on in other towns. It happened that this night YTV had sent a scout so the usual night had been turned into a “showcase” with a few stand-ups and visiting improv troupes. It was really busy but some two guy shared their table with us so we didn’t have to stand in the aisle. Step bought them a beer and one of them was bowled over by this because the beer cost 6 dollars. Ha! He would be distraught to drink in Vancouver. Anyway, most of the entertainment was good, very good; we love Picnicface!
When we got back to Sue and John’s Sue was up and had a bunch of bottles of Russian vodka with different flavours for us to try. I could only have sips but I liked the birch one.
The next day we went downtown and explored the waterfront a bit. We checked out Argyle Fine Arts who had a show of paintings on vinyl records. We’re not really souvenir buying types and hadn’t bought much across Canada so we didn’t feel guilty when we bought 2. One was a “break-out” painting by Lindsay Hicks, who apparently usually sells seascapes and the like by the boardwalk, and the other was a collaboration by Mary Kim and Yang Hong. Yang Hong is from Vancouver. Ironic!
Another thing we liked was a felt Nintendo Entertainment System with Mario and Duck Hunt by Blythe Church. I am a Nintendo enthusiast and we were recently given an NES by our friend Daniel (thanks, Daniel!). We couldn’t buy Blythe Church’s felt version because it cost too much for us, but we enjoyed seeing it. There was a bunch of other stuff by Blythe Church, like felt guitars and dolls. The lady working at the gallery told us Blythe Church was about to be featured on Martha Stewart (or was it Oprah?), so that should be a good break for them.
While at the harbour we also toured the HMCS Sackville, the last remaining of a kind of ship called a Corvette that was used as a submarine bomber in the 2nd World War. Step used to be really interested in war machinery and military stuff when he was a kid, until he understood what terrible results that were got from using them, but he still has residual interest because whenever we saw anything of military historical interest he always gives it a good look.
We went by Strange Adventures, the comic book store, and they had a good selection of stuff but sadly the staff had the poor social skills often associated with comic book sellers (and they weren’t even the owner—just the apprentice). I wasn’t allowed to take pictures of the inside of the store, I guess in case I was planning to replicate the store exactly at a rival comic book store across the street, but I did take a picture of the awesome mural on the outside, featuring Buddy Bradley and Mr. Natural. To be honest, I still stealthily took pictures inside, but since I wasn’t allowed to I won’t post them here. I also bought a Big Book of Scandals because it’s gossipy, and took a free comic book day Simpson’s Comic because Ian Boothby wrote it.
Then we visited the Propeller Brewery for Step’s supply of local microbrew (he can’t know his favourite until he tries every one), where Laura’s future husband works, and then it was time to roll out.